Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Beats Golf

Obama eyes Camaro, touts success of bailed-out auto industry - latimes.com

Lest anyone doubt his solidarity with the American blue-collar worker, President Obama left the office Tuesday afternoon and spent some quality time with a Camaro...

Fraud On High

Prosecutor: Ind. top election official accused of voter fraud, obsessed with political success - The Washington Post

Indiana’s top elections official committed voter fraud to preserve his political clout and protect his finances, a special prosecutor said Tuesday during opening arguments of a trial that will determine if Secretary of State Charlie White keeps his office — and his freedom...

I'd tell you more but it's an AP link.

Abortions And Anal Probes

VA State Sen. Janet Howell amends mandatory ultrasound bill with mandatory rectal exams for the boyz « Uppity Woman

Monday, January 30, 2012

Message Received?

G.O.P. Governors Soften Tone After Confrontations of 2011 - NYTimes.com

A year after a coterie of new Republican governors swept into the statehouses and put in place aggressive agendas to cut spending and curb union powers, sparking strong backlashes in many places, many of them are adopting decidedly more moderate tones as they begin their sophomore year in office...

GOPers Trying To See Who Can Increase National Debt The Most

Trillions in tax cuts - The Washington Post

The case for continuing the George W. Bush tax cuts, at a cost of $3.7 trillion over 10 years (including interest), is shaky enough. The cuts for the wealthy alone, which President Obama would end, would cost with interest about $1 trillion over the next decade. But the GOP candidates want to continue all those cuts — and add many more, the vast bulk of which would again go to the wealthiest taxpayers.

Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney proposes additional cuts that would drain $180 billion from the treasury in 2015 alone, according to calculations by the Urban Institute-Brookings Institution Tax Policy Center. The nonpartisan center has not calculated the 10-year cost of the plan. But merely multiplying by 10 illustrates that Romney is talking trillions...

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Newt's Sugar Daddy

The Man Behind Gingrich’s Money - NYTimes.com

...Those qualities may also help explain why Mr. Adelson, 78, has decided to throw his wealth behind what had once seemed to be the unlikely presidential aspirations of Newt Gingrich. Now, in no small measure because of Mr. Adelson’s deep pockets, Mr. Gingrich is locked in a struggle with Mitt Romney heading into Florida’s Republican primary on Tuesday...

Fan Boys For China

Jobs, Jobs and Cars - NYTimes.com

...For Mr. Daniels tried to wrap his party in the mantle of the late Steve Jobs, whom he portrayed as a great job creator — which is one thing that Jobs definitely wasn’t. And if we ask why Apple has created so few American jobs, we get an insight into what is wrong with the ideology dominating much of our politics...

Lest We Forget: O'Bad Edition

Sunday: Ok, I think we’re on to something here « The Confluence

...No, the reason I didn’t vote for Obama and won’t vote for him ever, is because of the way he participated in disenfranchising Florida and Michigan when it was convenient to him and the rest of us 18,000,000 voters at the convention. I consider that a conspiracy to deprive voters of the right of self-determination which is about the worst sin you can commit in a Democracy. And every bad thing that has followed can be traced back to his actions. He pushed out of the race the more qualified candidate who would have had a better understanding of the mechanisms of government to manipulate during an economic crisis and one who came prepared with a well thought out set of policies on everything from mortgage modifications to infrastructure to healthcare.

The end (his nomination) justified his means (the manipulation of primary and caucus votes) but the rest of us suffer for it...

Health Reform Working In Mass

MA Health Reform: Got to Admit It's Getting Better - Health Stew - Boston.com

...On a host on indicators, Massachusetts shows substantial progress on measure after measure between 2006 and 2010 -- I saw only two measures showing a slight reversal, and neither statistically significant. Remember, in 2010 we were in the depths of the economic downturn with unemployment stuck near ten percent.  About nine million Americans lost health insurance in the downturn -- and almost none of them lived in Massachusetts... 

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Tea Baggers Uniting?

Cain endorses Gingrich - Political Hotsheet - CBS News

Atlanta businessman and former presidential candidate Herman Cain endorsed Newt Gingrich Saturday night at a West Palm Beach Country Republican gathering after two months of wavering on whether he would offer his support to a fellow candidate.

The endorsement comes just three days before the crucial Florida primary, by far the largest state to vote so far in the GOP sweepstakes, and could help Gingrich energize tea party support. Gingrich campaign has flagged since his upstart, double-digit victory over front-runner Mitt Romney in the South Carolina primary a week...

Hair Wars

The Secrets of the Republican Hair Helmet

...What is more scandalous than that, however, is the idea that a woman would favor a haircut that seems even more reactionary than her husband's politics. While Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann are deplorable for their own reasons, at least Sarah's unfussy soccer mom updo's and Michele's natural-seeming cascade appear modern, effortless, and flattering. To liberals Callista looks like some sort of dead-eyed, Lego-haired Stepford Bible beater and after beauty queens like Palin, Bachmann, Ann Coulter, and S.E. Cupp, Callista looks a bit marmish and out of style. Even to conservatives...

Mitt The Mean Hoisting The Toad

Ah, those petards from the past! Blast from the past: Romney uses vintage video to hit Gingrich - latimes.com

Friday, January 27, 2012

Creepy Ricky On Abortion

Rick Santorum On Opposition To Abortion In Cases Of Rape: 'Make The Best Out Of A Bad Situation'

GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum explained his opposition to abortion even in cases of rape during an interview Friday, saying that women who face such circumstances should "make the best out of a bad situation..."

There's more red meat for the crazies at the link.

Toad Analysis Well-Broiled

Deconstructing a Demagogue - NYTimes.com

...Gingrich, as he showed in a gasping effort in Thursday night’s debate in Florida, is a demagogue distilled, like a French sauce, to the purest essence of the word’s meaning. He has no shame. He thinks the rules do not apply to him. And he turns questions about his odious personal behavior into mock outrage over the audacity of the questioner.

After inventing, and then perfecting, the modern politics of personal destruction, Gingrich has decided now to bank on the dark fears of the worst element of the Republican base to seize the nomination — using skills refined over four decades...

Well. I think Jesse Helms really invented this personal destruction gambit back when he first ran for office, but Newt knows how to do it for sure.

Lying Liars Lying Lies About Each Other

Gingrich professes shock at Romney’s ‘dishonest’ debate performance - The Washington Post

Former House speaker Newt Gingrich said Friday that the reason he seemed less combative during Thursday’s televised debate was that he was shocked by what he described as rival Mitt Romney’s “totally dishonest” replies to several questions...

Gingrich Family Values

"Gingrich Family Values: Using daughters from your first wife to convince everyone that your second wife is lying about your third wife."---from a Facebook post by Nathan Crawford attribted to a Yahoo commenter.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Bill Clinton Redux

Time to bring back Bill Clinton - The Washington Post

...It is tit for tat all the way when it comes to those two. Still sick, after all these years, of Clinton and his melodrama? Who can say that with a straight face and not be equally tired of Gingrich? Still feeling queasy about the character questions surrounding the Arkansas traveler’s sexual behavior? How does that hurt him in a world where Pope Limbaugh pronounces that it was a “mark of character” for Newt to ask his second wife for permission while cheating on her. If nothing else, Clinton vs. Gingrich might banish from campaign rhetoric all pious baloney about sex. Not a word could be uttered about Clinton’s impeachment, not with the hindsight that the married Javert of the House was at the same time fooling around with an aide named Callista down at the agriculture committee...

Questions Of Respect

Jan Brewer vs. Obama: Can you respect the presidency but insult the president? - CSMonitor.com

Class Warfare Or Just Jealousy?

Jonathan Weiler: Mitt Romney and the Politics of Envy

...The growth in economic inequality and wealth concentration in America has become an ever more incontrovertible fact. Thanks in substantial measure to Occupy Wall Street, wealth distribution has made its long overdue entry into the mainstream of American political discourse. In response, Republicans in general and Mitt Romney in particular have fallen back on a single, simple "insight" to explain the traction of wealth distribution as a galvanizing political issue: envy.

In a recent interview, NBC's Matt Lauer asked Romney whether "anyone who questions the policies and practices of Wall Street and financial institutions, anyone who has questions about the distribution of wealth and power in this country is envious? Is it about jealousy or fairness?"...

Follow The Lies

Gingrich Campaign: Newt Was Wrong - The Daily Beast

Tough Questions In AZ Race

Arizona Candidate’s English Under Challenge - NYTimes.com

Mr. Third Person Rips The Toad

Bob Dole blasts Newt Gingrich

Former GOP presidential nominee Bob Dole is unleashing a torrent of criticism at Newt Gingrich, saying he was a "one man band" who always wanted "his way or the highway."

In an open letter released by Mitt Romney's campaign, Dole comes out swinging against Gingrich just five days before the Florida primary. The GOP presidential candidates meet at 8 p.m. ET tonight in their latest debate...

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Today's Toad News

Newt Gingrich rips Nancy Pelosi’s ‘strange fantasies’ - Tim Mak - POLITICO.com

Saying that Nancy Pelosi “lives in a San Francisco environment of strange fantasies,” Newt Gingrich on Wednesday dismissed the House Democratic leader’s odd claim that she knows something that will prevent him from becoming president...

Newt Gingrich vs. John King, Round 2 - MJ Lee - POLITICO.com

Newt Gingrich unleashed on John King once again about CNN’s decision to start the Republican presidential debate last week with a question about his ex-wife, telling him in an interview Tuesday evening, “You didn’t have to take the bait...”

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Hoping For Unions

Is the union movement making a comeback? - CNN.com

...But the fate of unionism is all about class power in American society and the ideologies that motivate those who either defend or defame these institutions. The Occupy Wall Street protests have moved issues of economic inequality closer to the top of the contemporary political agenda, but it's the unions -- in their sometimes plodding and prosaic fashion -- that have long ameliorated the stark disparities of wealth and income that an unfettered capitalism so naturally produces.

Tax fairness is a big political issue this campaign season, but of far greater impact on the distribution of American wealth and power is the existence of a union movement and the prospect that it might one day grow again...

Monday, January 23, 2012

Mitt Gets Semi-Tough

Gingrich and Romney Trade Jabs as G.O.P. Race Rolls On - NYTimes.com

Mitt Romney, facing a restive Republican Party and a resurgent Newt Gingrich, opened a combative new phase of the presidential campaign on Monday and warned of the prospect of an “October surprise” if Mr. Gingrich emerged as the party’s nominee...

Sunday, January 22, 2012

The Corruption Of High Education

How Big-Time Sports Ate College Life - NYTimes.com

...It is that point — “this commercial thing” in the middle of academia, as Charles T. Clotfelter, a public policy professor at Duke, put it — that some believe has thrown the system out of kilter. In his recent book “Big-Time Sports in American Universities,” Dr. Clotfelter notes that between 1985 and 2010, average salaries at public universities rose 32 percent for full professors, 90 percent for presidents and 650 percent for football coaches...

Mitt Looks To FL

South Carolina Raises New Doubts About Republican Contest - NYTimes.com

...The confidence that carried Mr. Romney into South Carolina 12 days ago with two victories under his belt was gone by Saturday. He limps away from the state Sunday with one win fewer and primary results that have started turning the race into exactly what he did not want it to be: a faceoff against a conservative candidate.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

O v. The Unrisen Jobs

The comment thread at this post is really interesting, in a dumb-as-rocks sort of way. Obama sparred with Steve Jobs over outsourcing - POLITICO.com

Christian Conundrum

The evangelical dilemma in South Carolina: adulterer or Mormon? | The Ticket - Yahoo! News

For South Carolina conservatives, especially evangelical Christians, the 2012 campaign season is the year of magical rethinking. Look at the frontrunners:

If you want a president with a legacy of marital fidelity, you're going to have to work around Newt Gingrich's adultery.

If you believe that Mormons don't really qualify as Christian, you may find yourself struggling with Mitt Romney.

Of course, there's also Rick Santorum and Ron Paul. Then you just have to convince yourself either man can win; the probability fluctuates from week to week....


Bricks And Bibles

Protesters Throw Bricks and Bibles at Police in San Francisco - ABC News

Good (Piracy) Question

If feds can bust Megaupload, why bother with anti-piracy bills? - CSMonitor.com

Religion And Politics

The Confluence: Another Reason to Go to Washington DC

...We can not continue to govern ourselves in a modern world using the texts of a tribal people from 3000 years ago.  There are a lot of things we don’t do in this country because we recognize them as barbaric and cruel.  We don’t burn witches, beat children in school, own slaves or prevent women from voting.  We figured out that these things were wrong and we civilized ourselves.  It is now time to put The Scriptures in their proper historical context and free ourselves from their ancient rules and regulations that no longer apply to a modern people.  Failure to do so means we will fail to evolve as a civilized society. That doesn’t mean you have to give up your belief in God.  It means your definition of God will get bigger and more awesome.  God stops being irrational, jealous, vengeful, a capricious, mysterious enigma, a fudge factor in the equation of the universe.  Or it may mean that you can navigate through the world using your own resources and with greater attention to the suffering of the men and women around you because their hardships are not always the result of sin or some supernatural plan.  Sometimes, those hardships are the result of injustice, ignorance, cruelty or just a series of unfortunate events...

Friday, January 20, 2012

It's A Male Problem

Ultra-Orthodox Jews and the Modesty Fight - NYTimes.com

...It seems, then, that a religious tenet that begins with men’s sexual thoughts ends with men controlling women’s bodies.

This is not a problem unique to Judaism. But the Talmud, the basis for Jewish law, offers a perhaps surprising answer: It places the responsibility for controlling men’s licentious thoughts about women squarely on the men.

Put more plainly, the Talmud says: It’s your problem, sir; not hers...


The Sound Of Chickens...

...coming home to roost. Newt the Toad tries channeling his inner Rush but I doubt he sways any unbelievers.

Newt Gingrich’s Alleged Open Marriage Request Sparks Outburst Towards John King at GOP Debate

...Gingrich allegedly asked her to share him with a congressional aide, all while skewering President Bill Clinton for his own extramarital affairs. The former speaker also allegedly called Marianne to say good night while sleeping next to his mistress—and now third wife—Callista....

O'Apologist Vents

Andrew Sullivan: How Obama's Long Game Will Outsmart His Critics - The Daily Beast

...And what have we seen? A recurring pattern. To use the terms Obama first employed in his inaugural address: the president begins by extending a hand to his opponents; when they respond by raising a fist, he demonstrates that they are the source of the problem; then, finally, he moves to his preferred position of moderate liberalism and fights for it without being effectively tarred as an ideologue or a divider. This kind of strategy takes time. And it means there are long stretches when Obama seems incapable of defending himself, or willing to let others to define him, or simply weak. I remember those stretches during the campaign against Hillary Clinton. I also remember whose strategy won out in the end...

Gaseous vapors notwithstanding, Mr.Sullivan bends history to suit his vision. Obama did not win the nomination; Clinton received more votes. Like all his laurels, Obama was given the nomination by a corrupt process. Sullivan may think Obama is a master of the eleven-stack chessboard; I think he is more like grey water seeking the path of least resistance as gravity forces it to the sewer.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Paul Does Good

Ron Paul proposes bill to repeal indefinite detention provision | The Raw Story

Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) introduced legislation to the U.S House on Wednesday that would repeal Section 1021 of the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012.

The $662 billion defense spending bill contained controversial provisions, Sections 1021 and 1022, that required terrorism suspects to be detained by the military without trial, regardless of where they were captured...

ACI And What It Indexes

This article has an ACI of 26. (It is humor!) Calvin Trillin offers a new way of measuring pretentiousness - Slate Magazine

Crazed Cruise Captain

Costa Concordia Cruise Captain Claimed He 'Tripped' Into Lifeboat: Report - ABC News

The captain of the Italian cruise ship gave a slapstick explanation of how he ended up safely in a lifeboat instead of going down with his ship, saying he tripped and fell into the boat as it was being lowered into the sea, Italian media reported today.

"I had no intention of escaping," Francesco Schettino, 52, said during his first court hearing Tuesday, according to Italy's Corriere della Sera newspaper.

"I was helping some passengers put the life boat to sea. At a certain point the mechanism for lowering it, blocked. We had to force it. Suddenly the system unblocked itself and I tripped and I found myself inside the life boat with a number of passengers..."

If this idiot were an American, I bet you the Italians would have already executed him.

Real Bain = Real Romney?

When Romney ran Bain Capital, his word was not his bond - The Washington Post

...The real Bain way may be nothing more than a clever tactic to eliminate competition from a heated auction in order to buy a business at an attractive price. After all, Bain Capital is seeking the highest returns for its investors. But Bain’s behavior also reveals something about the values it brings to bear in a process that requires honor and character to work properly. If a firm’s word is not worth the paper it is printed on, then its reputation for bad behavior will impair its ability to function in an honorable and productive way.

I don’t know if Bain Capital still uses the bait-and-switch technique when it competes in auctions these days (I’m told that it doesn’t). But that was the way the firm’s partners competed when Romney ran the place. This win-at-any-cost approach makes me wonder how a President Romney would negotiate with Congress, or with China, or with anyone else — and what a promise, pledge or endorsement from him would actually mean...

O Sez "No" To Pipeline

Keystone oil sands pipeline rejected - Jan. 18, 2012

The Obama administration rejected a bid to expand the controversial Keystone oil sands pipeline Wednesday, saying the deadline imposed by congress did not leave sufficient time to conduct the necessary review.

"The rushed and arbitrary deadline insisted on by Congressional Republicans prevented a full assessment of the pipeline's impact, especially the health and safety of the American people, as well as our environment," Obama said in a statement...

Has he discovered a set or has he finally realized that saying "No" to GOPers doesn't hurt him?

A Primer On Copyright

Everything Under the Sun: The Nonsensical Anti-Piracy Laws

...A more recent entrepreneur got in to this way of thinking, as well. In 1976, a young Bill Gates wrote an open letter to hobbyists using copied software that he had exclusive rights to. Bill's tone has changed over the past few decades. In fact, he was quoted in 1998 as saying, "As long as they are going to steal it, we want them to steal ours."

This new way of thinking is slowly beginning to sink in to some in the entertainment industries. Piracy, in this case copyright infringement, is an invaluable tool for market insight. It's basically free market research and advertising. Producers can see what is being downloaded the most and create groups that would appeal to the masses. Advertisers save money since "piracy" is the same, if not better than word of mouth advertising...

Food Stamps Flapping At Debate

Risks for G.O.P. on Attacks With Racial Themes — Political Memo - NYTimes.com

...Mr. Gingrich drew a standing ovation when he responded that a historically high number of Americans were on food stamps under Mr. Obama, and defiantly declared, “I believe every American of every background has been endowed by their creator with the right to pursue happiness, and if that makes liberals unhappy, I’m going to continue to find ways to help poor people learn how to get a job, learn how to get a better job and learn someday to own the job.”

Mr. Gingrich is correct that food stamp program participation is at record levels but he ignores the depth of the recession inherited by Mr. Obama when he took office...

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Land Of The Unfree

10 reasons the U.S. is no longer the land of the free - The Washington Post

...Even as we pass judgment on countries we consider unfree, Americans remain confident that any definition of a free nation must include their own — the land of free. Yet, the laws and practices of the land should shake that confidence. In the decade since Sept. 11, 2001, this country has comprehensively reduced civil liberties in the name of an expanded security state. The most recent example of this was the National Defense Authorization Act, signed Dec. 31, which allows for the indefinite detention of citizens. At what point does the reduction of individual rights in our country change how we define ourselves?...

Rubbing It In

Take your blood pressure medicine before you read this article:

Everything You Need to Know About Wall Street, in One Brief Tale | Matt Taibbi | Rolling Stone

If there was ever a news story that crystalized the moral dementia of modern Wall Street in one little vignette, this is it.

Newspapers in Colorado today are reporting that the elegant Hotel Jerome in Aspen, Colorado,  will be closed to the public from today through Monday at noon.

Why? Because a local squire has apparently decided to rent out all 94 rooms of the hotel for three-plus days for his daughter’s Bat Mitzvah...

Mitt's Nice Tax Rate

I pay about 35%. Mitt makes a lot more than I do. It just don't seem right. (sic)

Romney says he pays about 15% in income tax

Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney told reporters on Tuesday he currently pays taxes "close to the 15% rate" and that most of his income comes from investments...

Scott One Step Closer

Organizers say they submitted enough signatures to recall | Reuters
Organizers of the petition drive to recall Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker submitted what appeared to be more than enough signatures on Tuesday to force the first-term Republican to defend his seat in a special election...

Monday, January 16, 2012

The Lonely Of The One

The Rise of the New Groupthink - NYTimes.com

SOLITUDE is out of fashion. Our companies, our schools and our culture are in thrall to an idea I call the New Groupthink, which holds that creativity and achievement come from an oddly gregarious place. Most of us now work in teams, in offices without walls, for managers who prize people skills above all. Lone geniuses are out. Collaboration is in. 

But there’s a problem with this view. Research strongly suggests that people are more creative when they enjoy privacy and freedom from interruption. And the most spectacularly creative people in many fields are often introverted, according to studies by the psychologists Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi and Gregory Feist. They’re extroverted enough to exchange and advance ideas, but see themselves as independent and individualistic. They’re not joiners by nature...

...Culturally, we’re often so dazzled by charisma that we overlook the quiet part of the creative process. Consider Apple. In the wake of Steve Jobs’s death, we’ve seen a profusion of myths about the company’s success. Most focus on Mr. Jobs’s supernatural magnetism and tend to ignore the other crucial figure in Apple’s creation: a kindly, introverted engineering wizard, Steve Wozniak, who toiled alone on a beloved invention, the personal computer.


Finally, someone besides me sees the hand behind the Unrisen Jobs.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

The Sane One To Quit?

Officials: Huntsman to withdraw from GOP race – USATODAY.com

Jon Huntsman will withdraw Monday from the race for the Republican presidential nomination, campaign officials told the Associated Press on Sunday...

Liberal V. Conservative: The Dif

Chris Mooney: Why Republicans Deny Science: The Quest for a Scientific Explanation

...The point is not necessarily that the answer is yes, but rather that it is reasonable to ask questions like these. The root causes of our political differences are now under intensive exploration by multiple different research groups, which are churning out quite a lot of published, peer reviewed science. And while this work is surely not complete (science never is), it is also unlikely to be just plain wrong. Indeed, after having spent the past year reading this research and interviewing the scientists producing it, I can confidently say that those seven studies are just the tip of the iceberg.

Here's the bottom line: An increasing body of science suggests that we disagree about politics not for intellectual or philosophical reasons, but because we have fundamentally different ways of responding to the basic information presented to us by the world. These are often ways of which we are not even aware--automatic, subconscious--but that color all of our perceptions, and that effectively drive us apart politically...

Dems Already Going Lame?

Reid On Bipartisanship: Republicans, Drop The Tea Party 'extremism' | Fox News

...Repeating three times his claim that Republicans are engaged in "obstructionism on steroids," the Nevada Democrat said President Obama for two and a half years "bent over backwards" to reach out to Republicans, only to find a fist rather than a hand to shake. Reid said he'd prefer that Democrats not have to go it alone in the Senate this year, but since last September they have succeeded on moving several items without minority cooperation...

Saturday, January 14, 2012

SC-- Land Of Dirt

Politics in South Carolina is a dirty business - NY Daily News

“...Negative is just the way we do it down here,” said Prof. David Woodard at Clemson University, who jokingly traced the Palmetto State’s penchant for pugnaciousness to the start of the Civil War. “This is the state of Fort Sumter, after all. We’ve always been cantankerous...”

O Gets On The Right Side

The White House Comes Out Against SOPA - Forbes
Conservatives and Liberals alike have been telling me I’m being naive for believing that President Obama, a sane individual, would not support bills like SOPA or PIPA if they were passed and sent to his desk. The man was practically elected president due to his ability to work the internet for campaign cash and grassroots support, and I believe him to be tech savvy enough to recognize how these bills would decimate the web and tech industry...

Some Obvious And Worth Repeating

America Isn’t a Corporation - NYTimes.com

...But there’s a deeper problem in the whole notion that what this nation needs is a successful businessman as president: America is not, in fact, a corporation. Making good economic policy isn’t at all like maximizing corporate profits. And businessmen — even great businessmen — do not, in general, have any special insights into what it takes to achieve economic recovery.

Why isn’t a national economy like a corporation? For one thing, there’s no simple bottom line. For another, the economy is vastly more complex than even the largest private company...

Arguments Of The Heart

Anglachel's Journal: Money, Morality and Mittens

...Substituting morality (He abuses his pet! He laughs at the little people!) for politics (What are his policies on healthcare? How did he handle corporate regulation when governor?) reduces the scope and scale of public scrutiny, asking people to respond viscerally and with antipathy/euphoria towards a particular political actor rather than step back and ask questions about a larger policy and approach to governance. It's a method that can win elections but won't have much power for building and sustaining coalitions. It is also by its very nature more amenable to politics of resentment (You threaten me, you're The Other, you're an enemy, you must be eradicated) which in turn favors the forces of reaction, whether restorative or redemptive...

Lies about Welfare

Whites and Welfare: GOP and the Food Stamp Fallacy

The leaders of today's Republican Party are expert storytellers. When it comes to manipulating racial stereotypes for political gain, they are akin to animation artists of the 1920s: coloring the lines in black and white.

Last Thursday Newt Gingrich told a crowd of senior citizens in New Hampshire, "The African-American community should demand paychecks and not be satisfied with food stamps." Rick Santorum was even more egregious, claiming he doesn't "want to make black people's lives better by giving them other people's money" (although he later claimed that he never intentionally said "black")...

Newt Lies?

FactCheck.org: Facts strained in anti-Romney ad – USATODAY.com

Friday, January 13, 2012

The Daily Justice Outrage: Orlando Style

Occupy protester spends 3 weeks in jail for writing on sidewalk | The Raw Story

An Occupy Orlando protester has been freed after spending three weeks in jail for using chalk to write on the sidewalk.

The City of Orlando dropped the charges against Timothy Michael Osmar because they said the three weeks he spent in jail was about what he would have served if convicted of the crime...

Say It Ain't So...

...O Lord is that me pulling for Newt The Toad?

Newt Has Rush and Rudy Fuming | Crooks and Liars

...Even though all fists were shaken in Newt's general direction, Rick Perry should not go unnoticed. Today one of his major donors, Barry Wynn, withdrew support and gave it to Mitt. Perry's response was entirely self-destructive and personal. Specifically, he said "If they want to cut and run, that's their problem." Now Wynn isn't just your ordinary run of the mill Republican. In addition to being a major donor, he's also Jim DeMint's treasurer. Yes, that Jim DeMint. Mr. UberConservative kingmaker guy. I'm not sure if Perry believes in what he's doing or he's just taking things personally enough to melt down and self-destruct. Whatever the case, it's entertaining.

According to at least one poll, it's working. A new InsiderAdvantage poll shows Newt in a statistical tie with Mitt Romney in South Carolina. Watch out, Mitt.

The Rage Of The Nurses <snark>

A Nightmare on Wall Street... - YouTube

Mitt The Mean: Envy Edition

Romney: Income inequality is just 'envy' - Jan. 12, 2012

According to Mitt Romney, the nation's growing focus on income inequality is all about envy.

"You know, I think it's about envy. I think it's about class warfare," the leading Republican presidential candidate said Wednesday on The Today Show...

Mitt The Mean: Pot Edition

Mitt Romney meets dying medical marijuana patient. - YouTube

Thursday, January 12, 2012

NH Results Analyzied

Analyze This. « Uppity Woman

The New Hampshire primary results just go to show you how convoluted the religious right and social meddlers really are. Rick Santorum almost took Newt. Which means even Newt isn’t crazy enough for them.

Also, these results  guarantee that all the Paul crackpots are all over the youtubes like cockroaches, declaring Ron Paul The Winner. Just like four years ago. And four years before that. And…oh nevermind.  The Paulies will sprout another boatload of online ‘polls,’ in which they will all vote 20 times, and point to these polls as proof that Ron Paul is Winning.  This never fails. I will say that Ron Paul does believe in leaving people alone and not interfering with their lives. Unless you are a woman...

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Bitter Bile

Arizona shootings: George Morris has strong words for Giffords, Kelly

Myths Of The Right Debunked

5 Founding Fathers Whose Skepticism About Christianity Would Make Them Unelectable Today | | AlterNet

To hear the Religious Right tell it, men like George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison were 18th-century versions of Jerry Falwell in powdered wigs and stockings. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Unlike many of today’s candidates, the founders didn’t find it necessary to constantly wear religion on their sleeves. They considered faith a private affair...


Flogging Mrs. Obama

Wednesday: Two things « The Confluence

SOS Gets 10% Of Vote?

Write In Hillary New Hampshire: Preliminary Results « Still4Hill

The Daily Uh-Oh: Iran Nuke Edition

Iranian Nuclear Scientist Killed In Car Bomb Blast, US Denies Involvement | Fox News

It seemed a clockwork killing: Motorcycle riders flashed by and attached a magnetic bomb onto a car carrying a nuclear scientist working at Iran's main uranium enrichment facility. By the time the blast tore apart the silver Peugeot, the bike was blocks away, weaving through Tehran traffic after what Iran calls the latest strike in an escalating covert war.

The attack -- which instantly killed the scientist and fatally wounded his driver on Wednesday -- was at least the fourth targeted hit against a member of Iran's nuclear brain trust in two years. Tehran quickly blamed Israeli-linked agents backed by the U.S. and Britain...

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Mitt The Tax Meanie

Robert P. Jones, Ph.D.: The Politics of the White Working Class in the 2012 Election

...For Republican candidates, such appeals run counter to the Tea Party orthodoxy of smaller government and tax cuts, many of which would disproportionately benefit the wealthy. Santorum's proposals that attend to the problems of white working class families are cutting against the grain. A new analysis shows, for example, that Mitt Romney's tax plan would cut taxes for the rich, while households making less than $20,000 a year would see their taxes rise by more than 60%. Many of the white working class do not fall into the latter category, but none have an annual household income of more than $75,000. And Romney's plan is downright moderate in terms of tax cuts for the rich, compared to the some of the other tax proposals that have been introduced...

Five Minutes To Doomsday

Symbolic 'Doomsday Clock' moves closer to atomic crisis - CNN.com

The symbolic "Doomsday Clock" scientists use to portray what they feel is the risk from nuclear holocaust has moved a minute closer to midnight...

Saving More Iranians

AFP: US rescues six more Iranians despite tensions

Monday, January 09, 2012

Mitt The Mean

Mitt Romney: "I like being able to fire people" for bad service - Political Hotsheet - CBS News

With just one day to go before the first-in-the-nation New Hampshire primary, Mitt Romney -- the former Massachusetts governor and frontrunner for the nomination -- described his faith in the free market with words that might come back to haunt him.

"I like being able to fire people who provide services to me," Romney said at a Monday breakfast in New Hampshire, when talking about health care. "You know, if someone doesn't give me a good service that I need, I want to say, 'I'm going to go get someone else to provide that service to me...'"

Countering Specious Tax Arguments

Will Rice | Taxes, Charity and Ignorance: Will Rice pushes back against the specious argument that paying down our national debt should come from charity instead of reform | Coffee Party

...Wealthy people who advocate for higher taxes on themselves and people like them, but abstain from making voluntary contributions to help retire the federal debt, are being perfectly consistent. Their aim is an improved system of taxation in which everyone takes an appropriate part, not haphazard, insufficient acts of charity that fall entirely to the most generous. The real hypocrites are the critics who pretend not to understand the difference between taxes and charity.

Iran Doing Evil --Again

Iran sentences American to death in spy case - CNN.com

Iran has sentenced an American ex-Marine to death, accusing him of espionage...

Sunday, January 08, 2012

Huntsman Scores

Jon Huntsman doubles down in fight with Mitt Romney - latimes.com

...In this morning's "Meet The Press" debate in Concord Huntsman referred to a Romney attack the night before, that while the rest of the GOP field was out supporting their party's candidates at home, Huntsman was praising Obama as his ambassador to China.

"I was criticized last night by Gov. Romney for putting my country first," he said this morning. "He criticized me -- while he was out raising money -- for serving my country in China, like my two sons who are in the United States Navy. ... I will always put my country first. I think that's important..."

Saturday, January 07, 2012

MoDo Pegs Creepy Ricky


The Grating Santorum - NYTimes.com

...He bashes President Obama as a European-style socialist and preaches fiscal conservatism. Yet in the Senate, he made sure dollars from the socialistic Medicare program went to Puerto Rico on behalf of a hometown firm — United Health Services — that later gave him nearly $400,000 in director’s fees and stock options.

He was among the pay-for-play Republicans who tried to strong-arm lobbyists and say that if you wanted to have influence you had to cough up campaign money.

While Karen Santorum was home-schooling their seven children in Virginia, Santorum soaked the Pennsylvania taxpayers to the tune of $100,000 by enrolling the children in a Pennsylvania cyber charter school...

Friday, January 06, 2012

Romney Helps The Rich

Romney’s tax plan saves top 1 percent $82,000 - The Washington Post

The Tax Policy Center has released its formal analysis of Mitt Romney’s tax plan. The result? Regressive, but not as regressive as the tax plans of his rivals. Compared to current rates, Romney’s plan would cost a family in the bottom 20 percent $157 and save a family in the top 1 percent $82,000. That looks pretty tilted toward the rich. But here it is against the other GOP tax plans the Tax Policy Center has assessed — and against President Obama’s September proposal to the supercommittee:...

Paul Hits Huntsman With Racist Ad

Well, it seems racist to me. You be the judge: The Associated Press: Huntsman objects to ad featuring adopted kids

Don't Hold Your Breath...

...waiting for Iran to say "thank you."

U.S. rescues Iranian ship held by pirates - CBS News

A U.S. Navy destroyer has rescued an Iranian fishing boat that had been commandeered by suspected pirates just days after Tehran warned the U.S. to keep its warships out of the Persian Gulf.

New Xian Law For All

Santorum wants to impose 'Judeo-Christian Sharia' - CNN.com

...Plainly put, Rick Santorum wants to convert our current legal system into one that requires our laws to be in agreement with religious law, not unlike what the Taliban want to do in Afghanistan...

Thursday, January 05, 2012

Pity Poor Crazier? Nah.

Did Sexism Do Michele Bachmann In? - Yahoo! News

...During the campaign, I asked a few influential Christian conservatives why Bachmann was never able to recapture her initial support. One cited Bachmann’s claim about the HPV vaccine causing mental retardation as proof that she wasn’t a serious candidate. Obviously, that is proof that she wasn’t a serious candidate, though it’s odd that he should have seen it that way, since the right has rarely been troubled by the spread of misinformation about reproductive health. One of Perry’s claims to fame, after all, is a Texas law that requires doctors performing abortions to give their patients a booklet claiming, falsely, that abortion can increase the risk of breast cancer.

In the end, the reason Bachmann was a frightening candidate was because she’s such a perfect product of the Christian right. As such, she believed in its doctrines about gender. She disavowed feminism, proclaimed the duty of wives to obey their husbands, and told Sean Hannity that her daughters aren’t allowed to ask boys out on dates, saying, “They have to wait for the boys to call.” Perhaps she thought if she championed such strictures passionately enough, they wouldn’t apply to her.

Pity Poor Toad? Nah.

Newt Gingrich suffers from super PAC buyer's remorse - Kenneth P. Vogel and Dave Levinthal - POLITICO.com

Where Creepy Ricky Gets His Loot

Santorum Becomes Millionaire in Six Years After U.S. Senate Loss - The Washington Post

...Since his 2006 re-election defeat, the former Pennsylvania lawmaker has gone from being one of the poorer members of the U.S. Senate to earning $1.3 million between January 2010 and August 2011. In 2007, he spent $2 million to buy a 5,000-square foot home in Great Falls, Virginia, according to property records.

Santorum’s financial rise was powered by consulting contracts with fuel producer Consol Energy Inc., faith advocacy group Clapham Group and American Continental Group, a Washington consultancy, as well as media engagements...

In other words, he gets his wealth the old fashioned way-- from Wingnut Welfare.

More Jobs-- Obama or Skippy?

Simply Left BehindThe Non-Rapturist's Guide To The Galaxy: Pssst, Mitt....

Creepy Ricky, Racist

NAACP rips Rick Santorum for comment about African-Americans, welfare  - NY Daily News

GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum is in hot water with the NAACP for singling out African-Americans in a comment about federal benefits.

At an Iowa campaign stop Sunday, the former Pennsylvania senator reportedly told supporters, "I don't want to make black people's lives better by giving them somebody else's money. I want to give them the opportunity to go out and earn the money..."

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Insider Protest

Wall Street - a raw deal for the 100 percent

The stunning reality is that five years into the financial meltdown, it's business as usual on Wall Street - outlandish rewards for insiders with downside for almost everyone else. Occupy Wall Street protesters are right - something is wrong - but they're not sure what. Here's what I say: A rigged game affects not just the 99 percent, but everyone, and with global repercussions...

What About The Next President?

Obama Signs Defense Bill Despite 'Serious Reservations'

Indefinite military detention of Americans became the law of the land Saturday, as President Barack Obama signed a defense bill that codified that authority, even as he said he would not use it...

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Al Qaeda Dying?

Al Qaeda on the Ropes: One Fighter's Inside Story - The Daily Beast

Deep among North Waziristan’s mountains, far from any village, Hafiz Hanif finally tracked down the remnants of his old al Qaeda cell last summer. The 17-year-old Afghan had wondered why he hadn’t heard from his former comrades in arms. They didn’t even answer his text messages in May, after the death of the man they all called simply the Sheik: Osama bin Laden. Now Hanif saw why. Only four of the cell’s 15 fighters were left, huddled in a two-room mud-brick house, with little or no money or food. Except for their familiar but haggard faces, they looked nothing like the al Qaeda he once trained with and fought beside. They welcomed him warmly but didn’t encourage him to stay. They said the cell’s commander, a Kuwaiti named Sheik Attiya Ayatullah, had gone into hiding. The others had either run off or died. “Why should we call you back just to get killed in a drone attack?” Hanif’s friends explained...

Burying Reaganomics

Update: The myth of Raygun the Tax Cutter also gets whacked in this excerpt from 60 Minutes.
AnnabelPark | Eric Cantor and the Ghost of Reagan | Coffee Party
...The voice that breaks the fourth wall belongs to Cantor's press secretary, Brad Dayspring. After the interruption, 60 Minutes immediately cut to Reagan in 1982 announcing a tax raise and the need for compromise. It felt like Reagan conspired with CBS News to give Cantor and the House Republicans a good bonk on the head.
The ghost of Reagan stole the show and revealed the chasm that separates Reagan from Cantor. The biggest difference between Reagan and Cantor is that Reagan in regard to the national budget and the economy had the strength of character to do what was right for the country, instead of prioritizing his political reputation or image...

Facts are such inconvenient things for most Republicans. (Oh and thanks to Cannonfire for pointing the way to this piece. It's an oldie but goodie.)
The Myths of Reaganomics - Murray N. Rothbard - Mises Daily
I come to bury Reaganomics, not to praise it.
How well has Reaganomics achieved its own goals? Perhaps the best way of discovering those goals is to recall the heady days of Ronald Reagan's first campaign for the presidency, especially before his triumph at the Republican National Convention in 1980. In general terms, Reagan pledged to return, or advance, to a free market and to "get government off our backs..."

Congress Thinking About Maybe, Just Maybe, Doing Something?

Lawmakers to press SEC to change rules on settlements for wrongdoing - The Hill's On The Money
...In a rare bipartisan move, the top Republican and Democrat of the House panel announced earlier this month they wanted to explore the issue, in the face of a growing public perception, driven in large part by the Occupy Wall Street movement, that Wall Street forces have not been called to reckon for their contribution to the economic downturn and financial crisis...

Whither Skippy?

GOP in Iowa: No George W. Bush
"...While the candidates routinely lionize Ronald Reagan and blame President Barack Obama for the nation's economic woes, none has been eager to embrace the Bush legacy of gaping budget deficits, two wars and record low approval ratings -- or blame him for the country's troubles either," reports the Associated Press...

Iran Still Posturing

Iran threatens US over aircraft carrier - FT.com

Tehran ratcheted up tension with the west on Tuesday after the country’s army chief threatened a US aircraft carrier, sending oil prices to the highest level in three weeks...

Monday, January 02, 2012

Debt Fools And Foolery

Nobody Understands Debt - NYTimes.com

...Perhaps most obviously, the economic “experts” on whom much of Congress relies have been repeatedly, utterly wrong about the short-run effects of budget deficits. People who get their economic analysis from the likes of the Heritage Foundation have been waiting ever since President Obama took office for budget deficits to send interest rates soaring. Any day now!

And while they’ve been waiting, those rates have dropped to historical lows. You might think that this would make politicians question their choice of experts — that is, you might think that if you didn’t know anything about our postmodern, fact-free politics...

Dilbert's New Year

If you are wanting in the humor department. read the following from that most unfunny place--The Wall Street Journal. Dilbert Creator Scott Adams's Year Without Fear - WSJ.com

Welcome To The Clinton Club, Rick

Those of us who voted for Hillary Clinton know a thing or twoabout being disenfranchised.

Virginia AG abandons plans to back GOP primary ballot fight - Political Hotsheet - CBS News

...On Fox News Monday morning, Perry said he has hundreds of thousands of supporters in Virginia, primarily veterans and active-duty military in the Norfolk area. His supporters and other Virginia voters will be "disenfranchised" if the ballot requirements are not changed, he said.

Sunday, January 01, 2012

Remember The Middle Class

Debating the future of the middle class - latimes.com

...With the coming election, however, the year ahead offers voters, business leaders and politicians an opportunity for a joint debate over the fundamentals of capitalism in America. As the president put it in Kansas: "What's at stake is whether this will be a country where working people can earn enough to raise a family, build a modest savings, own a home, secure their retirement."

Those four goals have been undermined since the 1970s by the unequal distribution of the wealth created largely by the American worker's boundless gains in productivity. Until the crash of 2008, which still inflicts an unaccustomed level of pain on the middle class and the working class, the crippling of American upward mobility was a phenomenon little noticed or swept under the rug. In the last year it has come out of hiding, a position it is likely to keep occupying over the next ten months...

Huntsman Star Rising?

First Read - Huntsman says he's only viable alternative to Romney

While the rest of the pack campaigns in Iowa, here in New Hampshire Jon Huntsman is playing the electability card aggressively, calling himself the only viable alternative to Mitt Romney. Today, the former Utah governor who is skipping Iowa said that while Iowa is key in "winnowing down" the Republican field, he believes the New Hampshire's first-in-the-nation primary will determine the candidates' electability in a race against an "establishment" candidate...

No Cop Impersonating By TSA

Proposed law prohibits TSA employees from dressing like cops - Boing Boing

The STRIP Act, proposed in the US House of Reps, would require TSA employees to stop dressing like police officers, because they aren't cops, and when they give orders to travellers, travellers assume that these are the orders of real law enforcement officers, rather than minor bureaucrats:...

While we're at, why not extend this rule to include anyone who is not a certified police officer? Uniforms give some people a false sense of empowerment without a heightened sense of responsibility.

Turn-About And Fair Play

Gingrich, reeling from attack ads, says he feels ‘Romney-boated’ - The Washington Post

Struggling to reverse a slide in his standing, Republican presidential contender Newt Gingrich said Sunday he’d been “Romney-boated” in Iowa and suggested his GOP rival would buy the presidency if he could...

Good Luck On Pot Reform

States say it's time to rethink medical marijuana - CNN.com

Medical marijuana advocates are hoping state governments can succeed where their efforts have failed by asking federal authorities to reclassify pot as a drug with medical use.

Shortly before Christmas, Colorado became the fourth state to ask the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration to reclassify marijuana as a narcotic in the same league as heavyweight painkillers including oxycodone. The governors of Washington and Rhode Island filed a formal petition with the agency in November, and Vermont signed onto that request shortly afterward...