Friday, June 18, 2010

AM Radio Hosts Rules The Republicans

"As Dave Weigel points out, the escrow fund idea was proposed by BP itself, at the prodding of Republicans who endorsed the idea well before President Obama ever heard of it.

This story is another example of the harm done by allowing talk radio & Fox – rather than elected officials and aspiring candidates – to define the GOP. Anybody heard any objection to the escrow fund from Mitt Romney? Has Mitt Daniels termed it a “shakedown”? Bobby Jindal seems cool with the idea, ditto Mitt McConnell. But these real leaders are crowded out by people trying to bump ratings a point or two by inciting another prime time hour’s worth of anti-Obama indignation." - David Frum

David Frum, who has his GOP bonafides, winces at the Right.

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Rahm's Got Balls

Quote of the Day

"In the past, corporate America was not only at the table, they owned the table and the chairs around it. Obama doesn't start off confrontational, but he will be confrontational if there is resistance to the notion that there are other equities."

-- White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel, quoted by the New York Times, in forcing oil giant BP to establish a $20 billion compensation fund for oil spill damage.

In the past? Not quite. Still, a change I can believe in.

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Big Oil: A Big Mature, Extremely Profitable Industry That Needs Subsidies

Peter Welch [D-VT]:
"The question for Congress, and I’m going to ask you to comment on this, is whether we’re at a point where taxpayers are being well served when taxpayers are continuing to provide subsidies for a business as usual energy policy that’s based on a carbon energy, 19th century approach, versus a clean and renewable fuel policy of the 21st century that we need. And the question, really, is should taxpayers of the United States continue to provide billions of dollars in subsidies to an industry, the oil industry, that’s mature, to an oil industry that’s extremely profitable?"
Corporate welfare "yes", help for individuals "no". Congress blows.

GOP = BP T-Shirts

Sucking the nozzle of Big Oil was always the GOP's wet dream, they didn't have to be so obvious.

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Iceland Passes Investigative Journalism Reform

Iceland has passed a sweeping reform of its media laws that supporters say will make the country an international haven for investigative journalism.

The new package of legislation was passed unanimously at 4am yesterday in one of the final sessions of the Icelandic parliament, the Althingi, before its summer break.

Created with the involvement of the whistleblowing website Wikileaks, it increases protection for anonymous sources, creates new protections from so-called “libel tourism” and makes it much harder to censor stories before they are published.

“It will be the strongest law of its kind anywhere,” said Birgitta Jonsdottir, MP for The Movement party and member of the Icelandic Modern Media Initiative, which first made the proposals. “We’re taking the best laws from around the world and putting them into one comprehensive package that will deal with the fact that information doesn’t have borders any more.”

Iceland rewrites law to create haven for investigative reporting

A new age for the whistleblowers and wiki-leaks.

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Thursday, June 17, 2010

FiveThirtyEight: World Cup Odds Update

Vuvuzela Scandal Of Yore

It all makes sense now.

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The Reflexive Anti-Obama GOP: Attack First, Think Later

So the Republicans cry "socialism" at every chance they can at whatever Obama does, decrying that the Government is not the solution and taxpayers are fed up with footing the bill for corporate tomfoolery.

Cue the BP disaster in the Gulf. Obama gets BP to put up $20 billion for their mistakes so the US taxpayer is not picking up the expenses and lost wages in the Gulf.

Obama keeps taxpayer out of it and still gets lip from the Republicans. It's just so obvious by now. The GOP is out to stop anything Obama does. It's so reflexive, no thought whatsoever. Obama can not look good at any time because that hurts their political chances. So what if it's good for America, that never enters their minds.

Getting Shit Done

"What are the odds that Obama's huge success yesterday in getting BP to pledge a cool $20 billion to recompense the "small people" in the Gulf will get the same attention as his allegedly dismal speech on Tuesday night? If you take Memeorandum as an indicator, it really is no contest. The speech is still being dissected by language experts, but the $20 billion that is the front page news in the NYT today? Barely anywhere on the blogs."

Great article on the cool headed-ness of Obama. He may be emotionally unsatisfying at times, but he speaks honestly and the ship of State is gradually shifting with him. Change you can believe in.

"And that's why Obama's incrementalism, his refusal to pose as a presidential magician, and his resistance to taking the bait of the fetid right (he's president - not a cable news host) seems to me to show not weakness, but a lethal and patient strength. And a resilient ambition."

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GOP Splinters: Barton v Boehner

Obama gets BP to pony up $20 billion to cover costs. An amazing move. Instead of tax payer money, the company responsible pays for the clean-up.

Rep. Joe Barton [R-TX], the ranking member of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, calls it a shakedown and a "tragedy" for BP. A good ol' boy from Texas sided with Big Oil and attacks the President. What a surpise.

House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) has distanced himself from Barton's remarks and the Rush Limbaugh wing of the GOP. "I’m glad they’re being held accountable" were his words.

How long before Boehner is apologizing?

UPDATE: Barton retracts.

Source: The Hill

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Another Take On Obama's Address

"Sure, I knew Obama was doing an Oval Office address. Sure, I knew it was about energy policy. No big deal; I’ll read it in the morning, right? Little did I know that the latest outbreak of tsunami-grade emo-progressive poutrage—with some accompanying conservative rat-fuckery—was in full force.

IM less than HO, POTUS addressed every issue he needed to last night. He discussed the past, how we got in this situation, his own mistake in believing the safety technology was sufficient, the government response, and BP’s “recklessness.” He went on to commit to the Gulf’s recovery and to accountability, and presented a blue print for our government’s next steps. He tied the situation to our energy policy specifically, but without pushing any hot-button issues. He acknowledged MMS corruption, and his Administration’s plans to address it. He even pointed out how our addiction to fossil fuels has led us to us to risky deep water drilling, and how the environmental costs of fossil fuels far outweighs any energy tax. He continued to be the mature one in the room, asking his opposition for ideas instead of attacks.

It was sober, responsible, and an important update for confused citizens trying to understand this situation, presented by their POTUS in simple language that was designed to inform and reassure.

But, unfortunately he did not declare an end to fossil fuels. Or he did not mention cap and trade specifically. Or he did not put pressure on the Senate. Or he made a religious reference. Or he should not make religious references because he doesn’t attend Sunday services. Or he’s trying to use this disaster as to redistribute wealth."

When the conservatives are yelling that President Obama is doing too much, and the progressives are yelling that he’s doing too little, Obama gets results.

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Man Convicted of Torching Black Church After Obama Election

June 16, 2010

Man Convicted of Torching Black Church After Obama Election

A 23-year-old Massachusetts man plead guilty today to torching a predominantly black church several hours after the election of Barack Obama, a crime that prosecutors say was motivated by bitterness over the election of the nation's first black president.

Boston Globe: "Investigators said Haskell was one of three men who, several hours after Obama's election, broke into the church through a window, poured gasoline inside and outside, and ignited it. The fire destroyed nearly the entire structure."

Black man democratically elected. Man burns down black church in protest. What logic.

Somehow these people in Springfield, Massachusetts should pay for the election? Hate crimes and civil rights crimes against a church should set this guy up for the next nice years in prison. I hope he gets a warm reception.

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A Cautionary Tale For Obama

"With only one telling exception, no Cold War Democratic candidate ever won a decisive majority of the popular vote. Truman got 49.5 percent in 1948; Kennedy got 49.9 percent in the squeaker of 1960. Carter got a bare majority over Ford in 1976, a result of public hostility over Watergate. The one candidate who did sweep the country was Lyndon Johnson, and he made support for civil rights central to his plans for the Great Society. The great Democratic victories (Roosevelt and Johnson) were all progressive, highly ideological crusades against poverty and injustice.

History does not vindicate the viewpoint of the right-wing Democrats. The centrist theory is wrong, not only in terms of electoral results; it is also wrong in terms of White House blunders that brought down three Democratic presidents - Truman, Johnson, and Carter. While FDR’s fidelity to progressive causes kept him in the White House for four terms in a row, no Cold War Democratic president kept the White House beyond a single elected term. The policies and mistakes of Democrats in office set the conditions for subsequent elections. What did the presidents of one elected term - Truman, Johnson, Carter - do wrong in office? Every one of them made right-wing errors that precipitated his own downfall and betrayed the liberal mandate that held the Democratic Party together. The fall of Truman in 1952, the humiliation of Lyndon Johnson in 1968, the defeat of Carter in 1980 - great Democratic traumas - were all direct results of right-wing follies in office."

A History of Centrism: A Cautionary Tale for Obama

Democrats are willing to be half the debate. The Republicans don't want the debate to occur in the first place.

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People Ahead Of The Politicians

"It was a great speech if you'd been on another planet for 57 days". -- Keith Olbermann, on President Obama's address to the nation

Another massive crisis, another critique of the President. He's too level-headed. He used the word "ass". He is part of the problem. He's the only solution. Pundits, take your pick.

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Dissent Of The Day

A Daily Dish reader writes:

"Quit classifying the whole tea party movement as people who stood by when Bush and his thugs shit on the Constitution. They say the tea parties actually grew out of the 2008 campaign of Ron Paul - someone who was very critical of Bush and his totalitarian ways. There is also a new show that many people are labeling as the tea parties' own TV show: Freedom Watch, hosted by Judge Andrew Napolitano. He is a guy who criticized Bush and his horrendous civil liberty and spending policies.

Not all the Tea Party people are only in it to be anti-Dem or anti-Obama. You and much of the media are trying to create a false narrative that groups the whole movement into a group of Bush-loving racists. Do not forget there is a libertarian wing, and it is the most honest group of people out there. They are principled, and the R or D in front of a politicians name means nothing to them. Please acknowledge this and quit stereotyping such a large and diverse group of people."

The sliver of real libertarians out there have a case. Sadly, they have been swallowed up by a mass Tea Bag movement that clearly did not exist under Bush and is peopled by millions who supported him to the bitter end. Too little, too late, all the time.

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Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Republicans Talk About Tax Cuts Like Frat Boys...

"Republicans talk about tax cuts like frat boys talk about oral sex; they don’t care who it comes from as long as they’re the ones receiving."

Tax cuts with increased spending equals deficits and debt. The GOP's scam of using the working class to benefit the rich goes unnoticed by many hard working Republicans. You can't make this sh*t up.

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The 14 Funniest Animated Soccer Gifs

#3. Epic Crotch Shot

Understanding Pseodo-Conservative Republicans

An excerpt from The Radical Right:

"From clinical interviews and thematic apperception tests, Adorno and his co-workers found that their pseudo-conservative subjects, although given to a form of political expression that combines a curious mixture of largely conservative with occasional radical notions, succeed in concealing from themselves impulsive tendencies that, if released into action, would be very far from conservative.

The pseudo-conservative, Adorno writes, shows conventionality and authoritarian submissiveness" in his conscious thinking and "violence, anarchic impulses and chaotic destructiveness in the unconscious sphere. The pseudo-conservative is a man who, in the name of upholding traditional American values and institutions and defending them from largely fictitious dangers, consciously or unconsciously aims at their abolition."

The pseudo-conservative [or Tea Party Republican].

"John Yoo anyone? Dick Cheney? I can think of few examples of this more telling than the suspension of habeas corpus, the enactment of preventative war as policy and the institutionalization of torture as the celebration of American traditional values. So Hofstadter helps me understand how a movement based on inalienable individual freedom had nothing to say about the most authoritarian period in the American executive branch in their lifetimes." - Andrew Sullivan

I like this quote: "[the pseudo-conservative] feels that his liberties have been arbitrarily and outrageously invaded ... he is the most bitter of all our citizens about our involvement in wars past but seems not the least concerned about avoiding the next one.

Sullivan slams it home:

"The Bush-Cheney presidency was, in some respects, the perfect pseudo-conservative administration. They waged war based on loathing of the experts (damned knowledgeable elites!); they slashed taxes and boosted spending for their constituencies, while pretending to be fiscally responsible; they tore up the most ancient taboos - against torture - with a bravado that will one day seem obscene; and they left the country in far worse shape than they found it."

And out of these ashes we get the rage of the Tea Party.

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NRA Gets Exemption On Finace Reform That Unions Don't

John Bresnahan of Politico: "House Democrats have reached an agreement with the National Rifle Association on campaign-finance legislation that would roll back the Citizens United Supreme Court decision, removing a major obstacle to the bill, according to House sources." CW: this story makes me despair. When did the NRA become the fourth branch of government? What's the idea of getting NRA "approval" & exempting them from laws?

The legislation, offered by Maryland Rep. Chris Van Hollen, chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, would require special-interest groups to disclose their top donors if they choose to run TV ads or send out mass mailings in the final months of an election.

Democrats are justifying the NRA exemption, saying the organization has a long history of being involved in the political process, and they say the real goal of the new campaign finance bill is to expose corporations and unions that create ambiguous front groups to run attack ads during campaigns. Unions would not be allowed to use the NRA exemption.

They claim the NRA acts in "good faith"?

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Jon Stewart On Alvin Greene

Yet another South Carolina scandal. I can't get my head around it yet. Is this just what happens in South Carolina? This guy gets 60% of the vote?
"The scoundrel here appears to be the alphabet"
The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
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Petraeus Slumps, Collapses

Like most illuminating experiences, beyond words. This is what endless wars do to your leaders.

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Monday, June 14, 2010

Banks Focus On Other Losses After Volcker Rule Gains

WASHINGTON — Bankers have all but given up on defeating one of the most contentious provisions in the financial regulation bill — one that would effectively bar federally insured banks from trading for their own accounts — and are now focusing on battles like heading off a prohibition on derivatives trading.

As House and Senate negotiators head into a final push to send the legislation to President Obama, they have largely agreed to stricter limits on so-called proprietary trading than those envisioned in the versions passed by either chamber.

That outcome would be a victory for the White House and for the provision’s most dogged advocate, Paul A. Volcker, the former Federal Reserve chairman.

But with the so-called Volcker Rule now likely to become law after appearing to be dead at earlier points in the legislative process, banks are battling hard to fend off further restrictions on their activities.

Some facts:

The derivatives market is now estimated at $700 trillion (notional, or face, value, not market value). The world's gross domestic product in 2009: $69.8 trillion; America's, $14.2 trillion. The total market cap of all major global stock markets? A mere $30 trillion. And the total amount of dollar bills in circulation, most of them abroad: $830 billion (not trillion).

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BP Engineer: Deepwater Horizon Rig A ‘Nightmare Well’ Six Days Before Explosion

A BP drilling engineer warned that the Deepwater Horizon oil rig was a “nightmare well” that had caused the company problems in the past. The e-mail came just six days before the well exploded:

More than five weeks before the disaster, the Deepwater rig was hit by several sudden pulsations of gas called “kicks” and a pipe had become stuck in the well. In fact, the well had to be shut down because of “one intense kick of natural gas.” The blowout preventer was discovered to be leaking fluid three separate times. “As early as June 2009, BP engineers had expressed concerns in internal documents about using certain casings for the well because they violated the company’s safety and design guidelines.”

Man’s arrogance is rivaled only by his ignorance. Better get on your boots for tomorrow's meeting.

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One Fox Employee To Another

"Well, first, Greta, you know why we love you? Because you're not afraid to ask the questions," - Sarah Palin.

And the script goes on.

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Palin: They Victimize Me For Looking Hot

A reader on boob-gate:

"What am I going to wear so that nobody will look in an area that I don't need them to look at?"

Nicely played. But then everyone should have expected this. A woman who does her bogus Q&A sessions sitting in a skirt so short that she can't even shift in the chair without threatening to show her "political credentials" and one half expects her to simulate the leg cross scene from "Basic Instinct"....Who shows up for a rally for special needs children wearing a tiny jean skirt more appropriate for her teenage daughters and sky high strappy "take me boys" sandals with elaborately sparkled show girl toenails....who appeared at Belmont, arriving late to be sure to be noticed, wearing inappropriate clothing including a black bra under a figure forming white shirt - well the problem isn't that she doesn't want them to look. It's that she wants them to look, so she can then cry "sexist".

She creates the situation she wants to gripe about. It's intentional. It's a way of appearing faux "feminist" while also displaying the wares that got every golddigger in history a sugardaddy. It's a way of controlling her product messaging.

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Taking Back the Language

Taking Back the Language

— I hate seeing the word “conservative” used to describe right-wingers.

America’s right-wingers are not “conservative,” as they don’t want to conserve anything. America’s right-wingers are radical activists with a regressive agenda. They’re regressives — the opposite of “progressives.” Call them “regressives” or “right-wingers” and their agenda “regressive” or “right-wing;” “conservative” is the wrong term.

— The “Tea Party” is neither a party nor a “movement.” Instead, the “Tea Party” is a wing of the GOP, composed of the most ignorant and reactionary Republicans. Therefore, Tea Partiers should be called Tea Party Republicans.

— A pregnant woman doesn’t carry a “child” to term, she carries a fetus.

Not a “child,” not a “baby,” a FETUS. Using the other terms demonstrates that the propaganda of the forced-pregnancy crowd has seeped into the user’s consciousness. It’s particularly annoying to see “child” and “baby” used in place of “fetus” by pro-choice bloggers when describing the non-sentient life form in a pregnant woman’s uterus.

— The next time someone sneers when saying “liberal,” mention that “liberal” is derived from the word “liberty,” then ask why the person has contempt for “liberty,” a person’s “right to act according to his or her own will.”

Republicans end up being liberal with things like their interpretation of torture, their denial of climate change, their use of theocratic purity tests for their leaders and one and on. Thanks for nothing.

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When Contradictions And Hypocrisy Are Your MO

In an interview with POLITICO, the president said: “I think it’s fair to say, if six months ago, before this spill had happened, I had gone up to Congress and I had said we need to crack down a lot harder on oil companies and we need to spend more money on technology to respond in case of a catastrophic spill, there are folks up there, who will not be named, who would have said this is classic, big-government overregulation and wasteful spending.”

The president also implied that anti-big government types such as Tea Party activists were being hypocritical on the issue.

“Some of the same folks who have been hollering and saying ‘do something’ are the same folks who, just two or three months ago, were suggesting that government needs to stop doing so much,” Obama said. “Some of the same people who are saying the president needs to show leadership and solve this problem are some of the same folks who, just a few months ago, were saying this guy is trying to engineer a takeover of our society through the federal government that is going to restrict our freedoms.”

Teabaggers want problems to be solved before and after they occur by not having and having the government involved. Pretty clear.

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