Saturday, January 08, 2011

Judge John Roll Dead: Killed In Arizona Shooting

Federal Judge John Roll was killed during a shooting in Arizona that also involved an attack on U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.

U.S. Marshal for Arizona David Gonzales confirmed to the Associated Press that the U.S. District Judge had died. He offered no other details on the shooting.

Arizona Central talked to Gonzales in 2009 after Roll allowed a $32 million civil-rights lawsuit to proceed against a local rancher. The case was filed by illegal immigrants and drew the ire of local talk radio hosts, who "spurred audiences into making threats."

In one afternoon, Roll logged more than 200 phone calls. Callers threatened the judge and his family. They posted personal information about Roll online.

"They said, 'We should kill him. He should be dead,' " Gonzales said.

Both Roll and his wife were given a U.S. Marshals Service protection detail at the time. Roll called the month-long protection experience "unnerving and invasive." According to Arizona Central, authorities identified four men believed to be responsible for the threats, but Roll declined to press charges at the recommendation of the Marshals Service.

Sad day in Arizona.

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Giffords On Palin's "Target List"

"We need to realize that the rhetoric, and the firing people up and … for example, we’re on Sarah Palin’s ‘targeted’ list, but the thing is, the way she has it depicted, we’re in the crosshairs of a gun sight over our district. When people do that, they’ve gotta realize that there are consequences to that action."

U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords, in an interview with MSNBC after her office was targeted with threats, vandalism and harassment following her vote for healthcare last spring. (via misterhippity)

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Pima Sheriff's Office Update

Pima sheriff’s office:


  • it was a pistol with an extended magazine
  • shooter is 22, between the ages of 18 and 22 he had one minor encounter with law enforcement.
  • They’re pulling surveillance video from surrounding areas and trying to figure out how he got there.
  • first 911 call came in at 10:11am, then many.
  • “several prominent individuals” in the crowd, and one federal employee was shot in addition to the congresswoman.

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Jared Loughner, white male, 22 years old

Fox News identifies shooting suspect as Jared Loughner, white male, 22 years old.

(Source: inothernews)

Friday, January 07, 2011

Republican Attacks Light On Facts


‘…since President Obama signed health reform into law on March 23, 2010, the economy has created approximately a total of 1.1 million new jobs in the private sector. One-fifth of the new jobs—over 200,000—have been in the health care industry.

Nevertheless, Republicans have spent the week decrying health reform as “job killing” legislation.’

Just like the “death panels”, “jobs killer” is another baseless, made up attack by the Republicans on behalf of the health insurance industry.

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Oh CBO, Stop With All The Mathy Facts

The Affordable Health Care Act is the biggest fear for Republicans: it saves money and attracts voters to the Democratic Party.

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Thursday, January 06, 2011


When Murdoch’s Fox News and New York Post consider it important to consider what kind of shoes President Obama was wearing on vacation, you know the Republican Attack Machine needs some new material.

"This morning the trio of Brian Kilmeade, Steve Doocy, and Gretchen Carlson devoted two segments -- two whole segments -- to the New York Post's question of whether it was appropriate for Barack Obama, as the President of the United States, to wear flip-flops while on vacation. "

Faux News does it again.

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How the Republican Assault on Health Care Could Backfire On Them

How the Republican Assault on Health Care Could Backfire On Them


When it comes to health care, Republicans should be careful what they wish for.

Their upcoming vote to repeal the health-care law will be largely symbolic — they don’t have the votes to override President Obama’s certain veto. The real thing happens later, when they try to strip the Department of Health and Human Services of money needed to implement the law’s requirement that all Americans buy health insurance. This could easily precipitate a showdown with the White House—and a government shutdown later this year.

On  its face it’s a smart strategy for the GOP. The individual mandate is the lynchpin of the heath-care law because it spreads the risks. Without the participation of younger or healthier people, private insurers won’t be able to take on older or sicker customers with pre-existing medical conditions, or maintain coverage indefinitely for people who become seriously ill. The result would be to unravel the health-care law, which presumably is what many Republicans seek.

At the same time, the mandate is the least popular aspect of the law. According to a December 9-12 ABC/Washington Post survey, 60% of the public opposes the individual mandate. While they want help with their health-care bills, and over 60% want to prevent insurers from dropping coverage when customers become seriously ill, most Americans simply don’t like the idea of government requiring them to buy something. It not only offends libertarian sensibilities, but it also worries some moderates and liberals who fear private insurers will charge too much because of insufficient competition in the industry.

The individual mandate is also most susceptible to legal challenge. Twenty states, led by Florida, have joined together in a lawsuit to argue that the mandate oversteps federal authority. Virginia and some interest groups are also challenging the mandate’s constitutionality in federal court. In the first major ruling, on December 13, Judge Henry E. Hudson of the federal district court in Richmond called the mandate an “unbridled exercise of federal police powers” and an overreach of the Constitution’s Commerce Clause. The U.S. government is now appealing that decision.

You might argue government mandates to buy insurance aren’t unusual. After all, most states require people to purchase auto insurance in order to drive a car, and most lenders (including those underwritten by Fannie May or Freddie Mac)  require potential homeowners to buy home insurance. But the analogy doesn’t quite hold. These requirements come from states or from banks—not directly from the federal government. More importantly, they rest on basic act of volition. No one has to buy a car or a house. Not so with health insurance under the new law.

Nonetheless, there’s a great irony in the Republican assault — and a hidden danger for Republicans.

The federal government wouldn’t be nearly as vulnerable to these political and legal obstacles had the health-care law been built upon the framework of Social Security or Medicare—public insurance financed by payroll taxes—as many Democrats had initially urged. Not only are these programs enormously popular (“Don’t take away my Medicare!” was a rallying cry among some conservative populists during the debates over the health-care law) but they also rest on a more widely accepted relationship between the individual, the government and the market.

Americans are accustomed to paying for public insurance through their payroll taxes. Such payments aren’t viewed as federal mandates that encroach upon individual freedoms, or as payoffs to private companies likely to make even more money from mandatory purchases of their products, but as well-deserved entitlements. Indeed, the biggest problem with Social Security and Medicare is they’re so popular that politicians have had a hard time trimming their benefits to match payroll tax revenues. Had health care been added as another public insurance program financed by payroll taxes, the challenge might be even greater — which may help explain the fierce resistance of Republicans to using Social Security and Medicare as templates for the new health-care law.

For 60 years, the battle over health-care reform has been waged over these two ways of spreading costs and risks: either through payroll taxes and public insurance, or mandated purchases from private insurers. For most of those six decades, Democrats advocated the former. Harry Truman’s initial plan for adding health insurance to Social Security was defeated, but Lyndon Johnson’s Medicare succeeded.

Apart from George W. Bush’s drug benefit, which was also based on this Democratic framework, Republicans have been on the side of mandated purchases from private insurers. In 1974, Richard Nixon’s proposed Comprehensive Health Insurance Plan would have required private employers to provide their employees with comprehensive health insurance coverage purchased from private insurers. (An employer mandate is tantamount to an individual mandate in that employees are forced to pay it indirectly, via lower wages.) Ted Kennedy simultaneously proposed universal coverage financed through Social Security taxes, essentially copying Medicare. Neither plan succeeded, but Nixon’s framework redefined idea of national health insurance from then onward.

President Obama and a majority of Democrats in the last Congress opted for the Republican model even though many Democrats would have preferred Medicare for all, or at the very least a public option. Most polls showed that the public favored such an option. But the White House hoped for Republican support and wanted to ward off opposition from health insurers and pharmaceutical companies by promising them some 30 million additional customers.

Set against this background, the current Republican attack on mandatory coverage is curious because it begs the essential question of how society would otherwise spread health-care risks. If successful—either in Congress or in the courts—a Republican victory could turn into a Phyrric one by opening the way to the alternative model, based on the system Americans seem to prefer: payroll taxes and public insurance.

(I wrote this for today’s Wall Street Journal)

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House GOP Flub: 2 New Members Vote Before They’re Sworn In

Dave Weigel gets the details on two new House members who voted on the House rules package but they hadn’t been sworn in yet. Their votes should be removed from the record.

The GOP made a show of reading the Constitution, yet failed to uphold it on an actual vote. Genius.

Indicative of the GOP mindset: rules are relative to who breaks them.

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Ted Williams: Meet The Felon With The Golden Voice

"Before becoming the country’s most distinctive new voice, Ted Williams compiled a lengthy rap sheet that landed him in several Ohio lockups on a variety of criminal charges, according to law enforcement records."

He also played a mean bass with Thin Lizzy in the 70s.

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Women's Bodies Are Not Bargaining Chips

"You think abortion is wrong? Don’t have one. I think killing people is wrong, so I’m not in the army. My tax dollars still go to fund it, though (in fact about 21 cents of each of my tax dollars). My tax dollars also go to keep prisoners on death row even though I think the death penalty is morally wrong. My tax dollars fund Guantanamo and Bagram, extraordinary rendition, and Jim DeMint’s salary, all of which I find disgusting. So why is abortion, a legal medical procedure, so remarkably different that we have to go overboard making sure tax dollars don’t fund it?" - Sarah Jaffe
Source: GlobalComment

CBO Paints Grim Picture of Repeal

A few days ago I asked whether the Republicans would wait for a Congressional Budget Office score before voting on their proposal to repeal health care reform. To their credit, they have. And the news from the CBO is exactly what you would have thought: Getting rid of the Affordable Care Act will mean higher deficits.

The CBO is projecting that repeal would increase the federal deficit by around $230 billion in the next decade and by an even larger amount after that. Wait, there’s more. The CBO also estimated how repeal would affect insurance premiums.

And, once again, the effect is entirely predictable. Premiums for people buying coverage on their own would fall a bit, but only because people were getting less protective insurance and because many with pre-existing conditions would be locked out of the market altogether.

And even though premiums would be lower, many people buying coverage on their own would still end up paying more for their policies, because they would not benefit from the enormous subsidies that the Affordable Care Act makes available.


Facts have not stopped Republicans in the past, hopefully their new Tea Bag deficit hawks can remember their rhetoric and fake rage.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Glenn Beck Dropped From New York Radio Station WOR

Glenn Beck has been dropped by New York radio station WOR due to poor ratings, the New York Daily News reports. Beck's radio show is due to go off the air on Jan. 17, and he is being replaced by Mike Gallagher, another nationally syndicated conservative talk show host.

Meanwhile, Politico notes that Beck's television ratings took a slight tumble in 2010. He was down 6.5% in total viewers compared to 2009, and 2.5% in the coveted A25-54 demo.

The End Is Nigh.

Not that New York is a hotbed for loony Right Wing drama queens, but it is the #1 market and WOR is the #2 talk radio station here. Suck the big one, Glenn.

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Chomsky on Socialism

Chomsky on Socialism. A must watch.

Socialism is working people in control of the communities in which they live.

Socialism was used to smear the Soviet Union, which was the exact opposite, where people had no control on the communities in which they lived.

The history of America is based on socialism, being in control of your destiny. It is a extension of Democracy.

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Putting a lazy, “special interest loving”, old boy turd in charge of the House, while you have opposition from within by the Tea Klanners, and afar from a rejuvenated Democratic Party, will be quite the page turner.

One thing you can count on, Republicans will always do the wrong thing.

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Getting The 60th Vote

"Successful governance is about getting 60 votes for things that move the ball forward. The people who tend to control the 55th through 60th votes on any given issue are not like you and me. They are driven by a baffling combination of raging egomania and crippling terror. They want to be treated like statesmen even as their decisions are based on a paralyzing fear of contested elections, primary challenges, Fox News and party pressure. They have few opinions on what good policy looks like, what opinions they do have on the subject change frequently, and they’re not willing to risk very much on them anyway."

Ezra Klein (via technipol)

The compromises used to get those votes usually waters down the Bill, making it less effective and curtailing the benefits to Americans. Sucks that we always lose our focus on these quasi-principled politicians who screw things up.

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Homeless Man With A Golden Voice

The New Year’s first viral video star is Ted Williams, a homeless man from Ohio, whose amazing, radio-perfect voice has awed people from around the world.

Williams was known for panhandling with a handmade sign announcing his “God-given gift of a voice.” After hearing about him, The Columbus Dispatch paper stopped by one of his known panhandling haunts to record him saying voice-over phrases, like “coming up next!”

Check out the video, he has the classic radio voice. Very uplifting story of guy who has had many ups and downs. Good luck, Ted!

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Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Obama Is No Reagan: He's Way Better

Obama is 11 points higher than Reagan at the same 2-year point of their first terms, according to Gallup. You can hear this narrative all over the liberal media. NOT.

Republicans in the coming 112th Congress will further push up these approval ratings.

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WI Gov. Scott Walker [R] Hires UnitedHealth Lobbyist As Deputy Chief Of Staff

Wisconsin Gov.-elect Scott Walker announced that Eric Schutt, vice president of state government affairs for UnitedHealth Group Inc., will serve as his deputy chief of staff.
Schutt, who worked in the Wisconsin state Legislature before joining Minnetonka-based UnitedHealth, was among four senior staff appointments Walker announced Wednesday.
Schutt's recent job was to lobby lawmakers on behalf of UnitedHealth Group as a registered lobbyist.

The GOP and Tea Baggers must be proud.


Think of the jobs that would have produced.

Monday, January 03, 2011

Texas Is $25 Billion In The Red: Why Is No One Talking About It?

"So why haven't we heard more about Texas, one of the most important economy's in America? Well, it's because it doesn't fit the script. It's a pro-business, lean-spending, no-union state. You can't fit it into a nice storyline, so it's ignored.
But if you want to make comparisons between US states and ailing European countries, think of Texas as being like America's Ireland. Ireland was once praised as a model for economic growth: conservatives loved it for its pro-business, anti-tax, low-spending strategy, and hailed it as the way forward for all of Europe. Then it blew up."
Budget Deficit in Red Stare Texas? Created by Republicans?

Cutting tax revenues and property taxes has consequences. But I guess if you talk in a Texas accent, the wool is pulled over the rubes eyes pretty easily.

Giuliani: Frequently Wrong, Never In Doubt, Backs MEK Terrorist Group

A group of prominent Republicans may have actually committed a crime last month when they traveled to Paris to speak to an Iranian opposition group that the US has deemed to be terrorists.

Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, former Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge, former national security adviser Fran Townsend and former Attorney General Michael Mukasey all attended a forum organized by supporters of Mujaheddin-e Khalq (MEK).

The MEK is a communist group that helped Saddam Hussein carry out attacks against Iraq's Shiite population in the 1990s. The group attacked Americans in Iran in the 1980s and helped with the 1979 takeover of the US embassy in Tehran.

The US designated the MEK a foreign terrorist organization in January 2009.

Giuliani and the former Bush officials, however, sided with the group due to their opposition to the current Iranian regime.

"Appeasement of dictators leads to war, destruction and the loss of human lives," Giuliani told the forum. "For your organization to be described as a terrorist organization is just really a disgrace."

"The United States should not just be on your side," he said. "It should be enthusiastically on your side. You want the same things we want."

"If the United States truly wants to put pressure on the Iranian regime, it takes more than talk and it takes more than sanctions," Townsend declared.

Georgetown University law professor and attorney David Cole believes that under US law, the group of conservatives may have gone too far.

"The problem is that the United States government has labeled the Mujahedeen Khalq a 'foreign terrorist organization,' making it a crime to provide it, directly or indirectly, with any material support," he wrote in Monday's edition of the New York Times. "It is therefore a felony, the government has argued, to file an amicus brief on behalf of a 'terrorist' group, to engage in public advocacy to challenge a group’s 'terrorist' designation or even to encourage peaceful avenues for redress of grievances."

The Supreme Court has ruled that any "advocacy performed in coordination with, or at the direction of, a foreign terrorist organization" is a crime.

Playing both sides of 9/11. Classic Republicanism.

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"I feed the poor, I’m called a saint. I ask why the poor have no food, I’m called a communist." - Dom Helder Camara

Reagan Insider: GOP Destroyed US Economy

Stage 1. Nixon irresponsible, dumps gold, U.S starts spending binge

Richard Nixon's gold policies get Stockman's first assault, for defaulting "on American obligations under the 1944 Bretton Woods agreement to balance our accounts with the world." So for the past 40 years, America's been living "beyond our means as a nation" on "borrowed prosperity on an epic scale ... an outcome that Milton Friedman said could never happen when, in 1971, he persuaded President Nixon to unleash on the world paper dollars no longer redeemable in gold or other fixed monetary reserves."

Remember Friedman: "Just let the free market set currency exchange rates, he said, and trade deficits will self-correct." Friedman was wrong by trillions. And unfortunately "once relieved of the discipline of defending a fixed value for their currencies, politicians the world over were free to cheapen their money and disregard their neighbors."

And without discipline America was also encouraging "global monetary chaos as foreign central banks run their own printing presses at ever faster speeds to sop up the tidal wave of dollars coming from the Federal Reserve." Yes, the road to the coming apocalypse began with a Republican president listening to a misguided Nobel economist's advice.

Stage 2. Crushing debts from domestic excesses, war mongering

Stockman says "the second unhappy change in the American economy has been the extraordinary growth of our public debt. In 1970 it was just 40% of gross domestic product, or about $425 billion. When it reaches $18 trillion, it will be 40 times greater than in 1970." Who's to blame? Not big-spending Dems, says Stockman, but "from the Republican Party's embrace, about three decades ago, of the insidious doctrine that deficits don't matter if they result from tax cuts."

Back "in 1981, traditional Republicans supported tax cuts," but Stockman makes clear, they had to be "matched by spending cuts, to offset the way inflation was pushing many taxpayers into higher brackets and to spur investment. The Reagan administration's hastily prepared fiscal blueprint, however, was no match for the primordial forces -- the welfare state and the warfare state -- that drive the federal spending machine."

OK, stop a minute. As you absorb Stockman's indictment of how his Republican party has "destroyed the U.S. economy," you're probably asking yourself why anyone should believe a traitor to the Reagan legacy. I believe party affiliation is irrelevant here. This is a crucial subject that must be explored because it further exposes a dangerous historical trend where politics is so partisan it's having huge negative consequences.

Yes, the GOP does have a welfare-warfare state: Stockman says "the neocons were pushing the military budget skyward. And the Republicans on Capitol Hill who were supposed to cut spending, exempted from the knife most of the domestic budget -- entitlements, farm subsidies, education, water projects. But in the end it was a new cadre of ideological tax-cutters who killed the Republicans' fiscal religion."

When Fed chief Paul Volcker "crushed inflation" in the '80s we got a "solid economic rebound." But then "the new tax-cutters not only claimed victory for their supply-side strategy but hooked Republicans for good on the delusion that the economy will outgrow the deficit if plied with enough tax cuts." By 2009, they "reduced federal revenues to 15% of gross domestic product," lowest since the 1940s. Still today they're irrationally demanding an extension of those "unaffordable Bush tax cuts [that] would amount to a bankruptcy filing."

Recently Bush made matters far worse by "rarely vetoing a budget bill and engaging in two unfinanced foreign military adventures." Bush also gave in "on domestic spending cuts, signing into law $420 billion in nondefense appropriations, a 65% percent gain from the $260 billion he had inherited eight years earlier. Republicans thus joined the Democrats in a shameless embrace of a free-lunch fiscal policy." Takes two to tango.

Stage 3. Wall Street's deadly 'vast, unproductive expansion'

Stockman continues pounding away: "The third ominous change in the American economy has been the vast, unproductive expansion of our financial sector." He warns that "Republicans have been oblivious to the grave danger of flooding financial markets with freely printed money and, at the same time, removing traditional restrictions on leverage and speculation." Wrong, not oblivious. Self-interested Republican loyalists like Paulson, Bernanke and Geithner knew exactly what they were doing.

They wanted the economy, markets and the government to be under the absolute control of Wall Street's too-greedy-to-fail banks. They conned Congress and the Fed into bailing out an estimated $23.7 trillion debt. Worse, they have since destroyed meaningful financial reforms. So Wall Street is now back to business as usual blowing another bigger bubble/bust cycle that will culminate in the coming "American Apocalypse."

Stockman refers to Wall Street's surviving banks as "wards of the state." Wrong, the opposite is true. Wall Street now controls Washington, and its "unproductive" trading is "extracting billions from the economy with a lot of pointless speculation in stocks, bonds, commodities and derivatives." Wall Street banks like Goldman were virtually bankrupt, would have never survived without government-guaranteed deposits and "virtually free money from the Fed's discount window to cover their bad bets."

Stage 4. New American Revolution class-warfare coming soon

Finally, thanks to Republican policies that let us "live beyond our means for decades by borrowing heavily from abroad, we have steadily sent jobs and production offshore," while at home "high-value jobs in goods production ... trade, transportation, information technology and the professions shrunk by 12% to 68 million from 77 million."

As the apocalypse draws near, Stockman sees a class-rebellion, a new revolution, a war against greed and the wealthy. Soon. The trigger will be the growing gap between economic classes: No wonder "that during the last bubble (from 2002 to 2006) the top 1% of Americans -- paid mainly from the Wall Street casino -- received two-thirds of the gain in national income, while the bottom 90% -- mainly dependent on Main Street's shrinking economy -- got only 12%. This growing wealth gap is not the market's fault. It's the decaying fruit of bad economic policy."

Get it? The decaying fruit of the GOP's bad economic policies is destroying our economy.

Warning: this black swan won't be pretty, will shock, soon

How?: Gold. Tax cuts. Debts. Wars. Fat Cats. Class gap. No fiscal discipline.

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2011: 7 Billion

With the worldwide population expected to exceed seven billion in 2011, National Geographic magazine offers a 7-part series examining specific challenges and solutions to the issues we face. The magazine introduces the series with its January cover story “7 Billion,” offering a broad overview of demographic trends that got us to today and will impact us all tomorrow. The first in-depth story will appear in the March issue, focusing on humans’ impact on the planet’s geology. Other stories will follow throughout 2011.

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Judith Miller Criticizes Assange... For Not Verifying His Sources

Judith Miller, the former New York Times reporter who was much criticized for her reporting on Iraq's Weapons of Mass Destruction capabilities in the build-up to war, offered some pretty ironic criticisms of Julian Assange on Fox News this weekend.
While arguing that Wikileaks is a new kind of journalism that people need to "get used" to, she called the Wikileaks' founder a "bad journalist." Why?
"Because he didn't care at all about attempting to verify the information that he was putting out or determine whether or not it would hurt anyone," she said.
For comparison's sake, here's what Miller once told Michael Massing in defense of her reporting (courtesy of Crooks and Liars):
"[M]y job isn't to assess the government's information and be an independent intelligence analyst myself. My job is to tell readers of The New York Times what the government thought about Iraq's arsenal."
(h/t Crooks and Liars)
Cheney And Chalabi got Judith to plant stories and leak secrets in the NYT as unnamed sources, but that only led to a $3 trillion dollar war and hundreds of thousands of dead civilians.

Typical conservative, do as I say, but god forbade that you should do as I do, especially behind closed doors.

Angry White Guys Upset That I Said Tea Party Is A Bunch Of Angry White Guys

On Fox News Watch I said the Tea Party movement is basically a bunch of angry white guys with racist signs. As a result, a bunch of angry white guys took to the InternetRacist signs, emails, and attitudes, have been all-too-frequent among this group.
Alan Colmes gets the headline of the day. The tea party doth protest too much methinks.

Sunday, January 02, 2011

Pro-Choice Is Not Pro-Abortion

"I have met thousands and thousands of pro-choice men and women. I have never met anyone who is pro-abortion. Being pro-choice is not being pro-abortion. Being pro-choice is trusting the individual to make the right decision for herself and her family, and not entrusting that decision to anyone wearing the authority of government in any regard."

Hillary Clinton (via yourmomisarepublican)

The Right Wing always turns a pragmatic position into a incorrect phrase: pro-choice becomes pro-abortion, estate tax becomes death tax.

Plus they make up completely meaningless terms like “death panels” and “limited government”. Then use them to get votes from the intellectual lemmings.

The willful ignorance needs to stop.

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The Wall St Journal's Whining About Obama Can Stop

The Wall Street Journal ran an entire editorial on this in early March. The drop in the Dow, the WSJ insisted, was a direct result of investors evaluating "Mr. Obama's agenda and his approach to governance." Karl Rove and Lou Dobbs made the same case. So did Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and Fred Barnes. John Boehner also pushed the line. It was one of Mitt Romney's favorite talking points for a while, too.

That was nearly two years ago, and wouldn't you know it, they're not saying that anymore. Oliver Willis flagged this chart, showing S&P 500 growth over the first two years of every president since Eisenhower. You'll notice that column all the way over to the right shows a sharp increase under the current president.


Now, it's worth emphasizing that a chart like this one comes with all kinds of caveats. The first and most obvious is that the value of a stock market index is hardly the best metric for measuring the strength of the economy. Indeed, it isn't even close. The second is that it's easier to generate major gains like these when one starts from a very low point -- and after eight years of disastrous Republican policies, Bush bequeathed an economy in shambles.

A chart like this makes it especially difficult to take Wall Street's whining about the president seriously.

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