Saturday, July 17, 2010

Quote of the Day

By Creature

"Failing to appoint Elizabeth Warren would be the straw that breaks the camel’s back. It will go down in the history books as a turning point – downwards – for this administration." -- Simon Johnson on the administration's big decision on who will head the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

And I couldn't agree more. Appointing Warren will help energize a depressed base. Not appointing Warren, well, see above about the back and the camel and the breaking.

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Friday, July 16, 2010

Summer School

by Distributorcap

School daze
School daze
Good Old GOP rules daze

They are chomping at the bits for the fall.....
Have we not learned a thing
Are they going to run the student council again?

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Argentina legalizes same-sex marriage

Argentina's had a pretty crazy, if not uninteresting, political history -- from a military regime in the '40s, to Juan Perón and "peronism" (and Eva "Evita" Duarte, his famous second wife) in the '40s and '50s, to various coups and a succession of short-lived governments in the '50s and '60s, to an authoritarian military dictatorship in the '60s and '70s following the so-called Revolución Argentina, to Perón again, now more of a right-wing tyrant (with Isabel Martínez, his third wife, as vice president), to Martinez, succeeding her husband as president upon his death, to a military coup that toppled her, to the "dirty war" that accompanied subsequent military rule, to the emergence of legitimate democratic rule in the '80s, all the way to the rule of the Kirchners, husband (Nestor) and then wife (Cristina Fernández de), since 2003.

And, of course, it has a pretty crazy national soccer coach, Diego Maradona.

But there's no denying that it's a pretty progressive place, not least with respect to gay rights:

BUENOS AIRES — Argentina's Senate narrowly approved a law early on Thursday authorizing same-sex marriages, making Argentina the first country in Latin America to allow gay couples to wed.

After nearly 15 hours of debate, the Senate voted 33 to 27 in favor of the measure, which was sponsored by the government of President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner. For weeks, she waged a bitter war of words with the Roman Catholic Church over the issue, saying that it would be a "terrible distortion of democracy" to deny gay couples the right to wed and that it was time for religious leaders to recognize how much more liberal and less discriminatory the nation’s social mores had become.

In its race to derail the change, the church organized large protests involving tens of thousands of opponents of the measure, with Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio, the archbishop of Buenos Aires, calling the bill a "destructive attack on God's plan."

Kirchner deserves enormous credit for standing up to the Church, which dominates Argentina, and its bigotry. If only there were such moral and political courage to be found in Washington among supporters of gay rights, instead of the cowardice of those who at most back "civil unions," which are separate and unequal.

Portugal and Iceland also legalized gay marriage this year, adding to the small but steadily expanding list of nations, most of them in Europe, to do so.

But in a region where the separation of church and state is not always so clear, the law demonstrated a rare but increasing willingness by some Latin American nations to confront the church on fundamental issues, like Chile's legalization of divorce and Brazil's public distribution of contraceptives in recent years.

"There is no question that the law is unusual for a country that is not as secular as Western European democracies," said Javier Corrales, a political science professor at Amherst College. "There's a clear conflict with the church. Very seldom do we see presidents willing to fight the church so strongly on this particular issue in Latin America," even in countries led by left-leaning governments.

Argentina's new law will give gay people the same marital rights as heterosexuals, including adoption and inheritance rights, and reflects the broadening legal recognition of same-sex relationships across Latin America. 

I'll probably never cheer for Argentina in soccer, not after Maradona's "hand of God" against England, not to mention various other transgressions, but I heartily cheer this huge step forward for equal rights, not least in a country with such a suspect past.

And as Argentina and much of the rest of the civilized world moves on into a more just and decent future, the U.S. finds itself being left further and further behind in a dark age of its own exceptional intolerance.

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BP stops Gulf oil leak, but the disaster continues

So BP has apparently stopped the oil leak -- for now.

And not a dead sea turtle too soon. (Seriously, click on this link to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, which is posting "daily wildlife collection reports" as part of its oil spill response. It's sad and depressing and terrifying.)

Thanks BP! You're the best!


No, not really. You're not the best. And the catastrophe isn't over. Brad Plumer:

[T]he Macondo site won't be fully and permanently plugged until BP finishes drilling a relief well. Kate Sheppard has a great piece today about some of the challenges involved there, including this useful warning: "A relief well drilled to quell last year's Montara blowout off the coast of Australia took five tries before it succeeded -- with an average of one week between them." Now, BP claims it can bottle up the well once and for all by July 29, though do note that just happens to be the date of BP's second-quarter shareholder meeting.

And this doesn't mean the oil-spill disaster is over. There's a lot of crude bobbing along in the Gulf right now: Scientists estimate that between 92 million and 182 million gallons have gushed out into the ocean since the Deepwater Horizon platform first blew up back in April. BP is still using dispersants to break up the oil and send it down to the sea floor, even though no one quite knows how the chemicals might affect marine life in the area. And note that oil's still washing ashore, and Bobby Jindal's artificial "barrier islands," which were supposed to protect Louisiana, are now crumbling.

There may be reason for "cautious optimism," as Steve Benen puts it, but I'm afraid my anger is still -- and I think rightly -- getting the better of me. I want this to work, of course I do, but BP and its enablers must pay for the damage they have done, the full extent of which we cannot yet grasp.

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Geithner opposes Warren

By Creature

This is why I'm having trouble blogging. Like the public option, having Elizabeth Warren head the soon-to-be consumer protection agency was/is something tangible, some real change a liberal could hang on to. And now it's being slapped away by a White House too enamored with Wall Street to see clearly.

Well, check that, I'm sure they see clearly, they simply don't see it from the "small people's" perspective.

Once again, this will be a test for Obama himself. He got the bill he and Wall Street wanted. Now will he fight for what his base wants? I'm not holding my breath.

Update: Well, it seems the Treasury Department is paying attention and it looks like good news on the Warren front. Here's their response via a direct email to Michael:

“Elizabeth Warren has been a driving force behind the creation of the consumer financial protection bureau, and we have worked very closely with her over the past year and a half to make that idea a reality.

“Given her strong leadership on consumer protection, Secretary Geithner believes that Elizabeth Warren is exceptionally well qualified to lead the new bureau, and, ultimately, that’s a decision the President will have to make.” -- Andrew Williams, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs.

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Thursday, July 15, 2010

For Catholics, women priests are akin to child molesters

Just in case you needed another reason to detest the Roman Catholic Church:

The Vatican today made the "attempted ordination" of women one of the gravest crimes under church law, putting it in the same category as clerical sex abuse of minors, heresy and schism.

The new rules, which have been sent to bishops around the world, apply equally to Catholic women who agree to a ceremony of ordination and to the bishop who conducts it. Both would be excommunicated. Since the Vatican does not accept that women can become priests, it does not recognise the outcome of any such ceremony.

With all due respect to you Catholics out there, perhaps the Church you place as the intermediary between you and your God, the Church to which you confess your "sins," the Church that you allow to govern so many aspects of your lives, could do with some perspective, don't you think?

Then again, this is a Church that did its best to cover up the sexual abuse that was rampant in its ranks, a Church with a long and bloody history at the center of a bigoted and bloodthirsty religion, a Church that has long oppressed women (and so many others), so I'm not sure perspective of the kind we expect in civilized, liberal society is likely.

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Crunch Time

By Carl
The Teabaggers have made a lot of noise over the past year. But it might signify nothing, after all.
The trouble with populist movements that are anti-government is they are also suspicious of anyone who wants to organize the movement for effective change. Now, I'm not suggesting that the Teabaggers have an actual agenda that would create effective change, at least as the normal people in this nation would define it. Indeed, most studies of the movement indicate that there's a lot of rage out there, but apart from Obama and Congress in concept, there's no focus to this rage.
What does this mean?
It means a couple of things we should keep in mind going into the fall:
1) Fundraising for the Teabagger candidates is going to be extra hard. If you aren't focused, you don't have your heart into a movement. Compare, for example, the Teabaggers to the Obama insurgent candidacy in 2007 and 2008. Hillary Clinton all but had the nomination locked up, and all the big money donors were quite happy piling her plate high to fund her general election campaign. Barack Obama made appeals to small donors, liberal donors, and to people who worried that the smear campaign launched against Hillary by the Republicans was true, that she was a corrupt politico who would do little to change DC.
Obama's supporters, in other words, had a focus for their anger, so contribute they did. In massive numbers. I suspect that campaign has already generated a large number of masters theses in political science. It was remarkable.
The Teabaggers lack that kind of focal point, a body of candidates who can generate the kind of enthusiasm that anger has to be channeled into. People don't like to be angry. They like to have faith that things will get better if they can just get something done. Obama presented that. The folks on the right wing who are exploiting the Teabagger anger have presented no such solution.
2) Which brings me to the next point: if you don't have a focal point for your anger, and you don't have an agenda to create effective change, you really have nothing. The Perotistas of the 90s at least had the rallying cry of lower deficits. You don't hear that much from Teabaggers. Lower taxes, yes. Less government, yes. But you don't have the hammering point that the deficit is out of control. That's a change that would get people to join up. What you have instead is a bunch of greedy cheapskates who have zero clue about what it means to be a citizen of a society. They want society out of their lives, not government. They would prefer a nation of loners, not a nation of doers. Life left them behind, and this is their way of getting revenge on the world.
3) If a candidate in Alabama, a Teabagger favorite, leading the polls heading into a runoff election loses a runoff to an establishment candidate...IN ALABAMA, the very heart of white anger...your movement has lost its direction already. Indeed, one of the few victories Teabaggers generally point to, Senator Scott Brown of Massachussetts, has already jumped Teabagger ship twice and sided with Democrats on two major issues.
I think 2010 will see the end of the Teabagger movement, as well as the collapse of Glenn Beck into Ann Coulter obscurity.
(crossposted to Simply Left Behind)

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The harsh reality of Tea Party racism

(Sorry again for my absence the past several days. I'm still feeling unwell and don't have much energy to blog. But I'll see what I can do.)

Politico has given a platform to a couple of teabaggers who, predictably, use that platform to hurl predictable attacks at, predictably, liberals:

A clear pattern of behavior has emerged over the last 16 months. According to liberals, if you disagree with their thinking, and if you disagree with the Obama administration, you are not only wrong, you are a "racist."

The latest strike by the left comes from the NAACP, which has resolved that the tea party movement is inherently "racist." At its most simple, this is a direct attack on the First Amendment rights of millions of Americans. 

The only surprising thing about this attack is that the authors, Jenny Beth Martin and Mark Meckler, the co-founders of some right-wing group called Tea Party Patriots, restrict their horizon to 16 months. After all, this is the sort of thing we've heard from conservatives for years and years (if not decades and decades), the implication being that there is no racism on the right (or, here, in the Tea Party "movement") and that liberals play the race card simply in order to discredit conservatives.

The authors are right that their "movement" is quite large -- and I use "movement" in quotes because it isn't a unified front but rather a loosely connected collection of fringe groups that share much of the same extremist right-wing ideology (and while they're fringe in terms of the political spectrum, they're far more mainstream in terms of conservative and Republican politics).

But the NAACP is right that there are "racist elements" among the teabaggers. "You must expel the bigots and racists in your ranks or take full responsibility for all of their actions," NAACP president Benjamin Jealous has said." Note that Jealous did not say that all teabaggers are "bigots and racists," just certain "elements." There's a big difference there, but the hostile defensiveness of teabaggers is telling: either they don't want to own up to the racism and bigotry of their own kind, out of ignorant denial or willful suppression of the truth, or they agree with it but are smart enough not to be so outspoken about their real views.

There is extensive evidence of racism and bigotry among teabaggers, much of it directed at President Obama. Like so many conservatives before them, the teabaggers may try to turn it around on their critics, claiming that allegations of racism are part of some nefarious liberal smear campaign, but they cannot escape the undeniable truth -- that is, undeniable for any reasonable person who lives in reality -- that there is an ugly strain of racism and bigotry in their ranks, a strain that taints the entire "movement."

Defenders of slavery, opponents of civil rights -- they were racists, not the victims of liberal propaganda. The same goes for the racists in the KKK and the neo-Nazi movement, just as it goes for the various racists in the Tea Party "movement." No, that "movement" isn't the KKK, and not all teabaggers are racist, but to deny the existence of widespread racism in the Tea Party "movement" is to deny a fairly significant element of what that "movement" is all about.

Helpfully, Think Progress has put together "a short video demonstrating the vile racism that has been exhibited at some Tea Party events." I encourage you to watch it:

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Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Floating Balloons

By Carl
A bit of intriguing political theatre took place yesterday. You probably heard about it, but didn't pay much mind to it.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi bashed White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs Tuesday night, even as the president's top spokesman continued to backpedal from his assertion that Democrats could lose control of the House in the November election.

The fusillade from Pelosi and other Democrats at a closed-door meeting escalated an already fiery clash between the White House and its own party in Congress. During the tense evening meeting, the speaker grilled the top White House aide in attendance, senior legislative affairs staffer Dan Turton, about the impact of Gibbs' comments.

"How could [Gibbs] know what is going on in our districts?" Pelosi told her members in the caucus meeting in the basement of the Capitol Tuesday night. "Some may weigh his words more than others. We have made our disagreement known to the White House."

As noted, Gibbs has begun to walk back his comments, predicting the Dems will salvage the House and Senate this fall.

What makes this intriguing is, did Gibbs leave the reservation on his own accord, or was he thrown under the bus? (I must be a real pundit now! I'm using meaningless cliches.)

If Gibbs' words were aimed at Democratic activists, specifically liberal and leftish activists, then this was a surgical strike that had unfortunate (but deliberate) collateral damage. It's true, the Dems have played fast and loose with the party alliance between Congress and the White House. It took forever to pass a watered-down version of healthcare. While that's really a Senate issue, Pelosi could have been more forceful in getting a version slid through the House, forcing the Senate's hand.
That this was a scare tactic for liberals has some merit. There's a lot of griping about Obama's failure to live up to the ideals imposed upon him in the heat of the 2008 campaign. Failing to secure a Democratic majority in the House would surely seal his Presidency, since the intractability of Senate Republicans would only double and they could conceivably peel off some moderate Blue Dog Dems to some odious legislation.
If Gibbs' words were primarily aimed at Pelosi and company, then likely he's venting the frustrations of the administration as noted above. And he probably did it as a loose cannon and both inartfully and unintentionally. The question then becomes, why this warning?
I have a theory: this could have been a signal that the White House is rationing Obama's charisma and power to focus on specific races in key states that would impact his re-election. Why not kill two birds with one stone, and open the re-election campaign, by showing up in key districts and battleground states that he will need in 2012, instead of trying to salvage what the Congress has lost of their own accord?
The next few days will be interesting, to say the least.
(crossposted to Simply Left Behind)

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Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Cagey Or Caging?

By Carl
President Obama floated a balloon yesterday in the form of laying out a potential campaign strategy for his re-election (and clearly, he's chosen not to be a one term president): Run against George W Bush.
Specifically, he wants to talk about the direction he wants to steer the nation and where its come from.
I'm of two minds on this. On the one hand, conventional wisdom suggests that, once you've had four years in office, it's a little hard to paint yourself as the victim of circumstance. We still have troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, with no suggestion of withdrawal anytime soon. The economy is showing signs of early growth, but jobs and job creation, a peculiar measure by which a President is usually judged, have been a dark grey area.
I say "usually judged," because in 2004, George W Bush had a three million job deficit on his ledger, yet managed to get re-elected. Indeed, that Bush was re-elected is more a testament to the Democratic foolishness in choosing a candidate as opposed to Bush's own charisma. His approval ratings, you may recall, dipped deeply into the forty percent range, and after re-election, flirted with 30% at times.
On the other hand, Obama took over a nation that was at its lowest point, if not in history, then since the Civil War. Our invulnerability had been tested not less than three times in the previous eight years: the terror attacks as well as the twin stock collapses of 2000 and 2008. We are, to be frank, shell-shocked. A nation deeply in need of treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder, and this is before we look at the horrible state of the nation's political will, before we consider the two wars that seem unending, and before we look at the cynical way our leaders have behaved since 9/11.
It's understandable we're depressed and angry, so perhaps Obama's best strategy is indeed to put a happy face on the future. Hell, worse it couldn't get, right?
I'm angry. I look at the news, and look at the rage that's arisen from a small rageaholic minority of Americans and think I'm not alone. And I see that rage beginning to catch fire in moderates, who are not only angry at Obama, but at Republicans, Democrats, governors, mayors, hell, they're angry at the dogcatcher!
This could be healthy, long term, if we can keep it from boiling over into random acts of stupidity and channel it into citizen involvement, not in politics, but in watchdogging those who would corrupt the political process (like a Sarah Palin or a Glenn Beck, or a Goldman Sachs). We need a break from that kind of obstreperous and strident nonsense. We need to cool everything out while making sure we don't get sucked dry by the cynical fearmongerers of the right and the corporatocracy.
Get mad. But keep a clear head.
(crossposted to Simply Left Behind)

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Monday, July 12, 2010

An explanation

I apologize for not posting anything the past few days. I've been dealing with some health issues and have generally lacked the energy to blog.

I hope to be back at it soon. In the meantime, make sure to keep checking back, as usual, for some great contributions from my co-bloggers.

-- Michael


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How the Other 100 Live.

by Distributorcap

Unless you live on Klingon or have a brain the size of Snookie's (which is about 40% of America) - it comes as no surprise that the US Senate is completely out of touch with the reality of America. On Sunday July 11 - Senator John Kyl of Arizona, who is one of the biggest assholes to ever grace the halls of Congress, appeared on Fox News and stated that the Bush tax cuts, which are set to expire this year, should renewed - even if they are unpaid for or not met with matching cuts in spending.

In other words - Kyl (who found his new inner deficit-cutter on 1/21/09) wants to let the rich get richer even if it grows the deficit.

This is from the same man douchebag who is one of the many Republicans holding up the extension of unemployment because - (are you ready) those dollars for the out-of-work Americans will increase the deficit.

I cannot fathom how any die-hard teabagger can justify this complete dive into this bizarro world of illogic - but they will. The hate of liberals and democrats and humane people manages to bring the best in justifying the un-justifiable.

Back in March, Kyl, ever the bundle of warmth and humanity said
Unemployment insurance "doesn't create new jobs. In fact, if anything, continuing to pay people unemployment compensation is a disincentive for them to seek new work,"
from Steve Benen
Kyl said what he actually believed: he wouldn't pay for them at all. Spending requires budget offsets, tax cuts don't. Indeed, in Kyl's confused mind, one should "never" even try to pay for tax cuts.

It's quite a message to Americans: Republicans believe $30 billion for unemployment benefits don't even deserve a vote because the money would be added to the deficit, but Republicans also believe that adding the cost of $678 billion in tax cuts for the wealthy to the deficit is just fine.
The US Senate is an enigmatic (or maybe phlegmatic) organization. You have 100 elected officials deciding the fate of millions of Americans when it comes to things like war, infrastructure, medical care and an unemployment safety net. For most Americans (probably even Snooki), all they know about the Senate is that it is one of the two legislative houses of government, that there are two from each state, and they give a lot of money to rich bankers.

What they don't realize is that the Senate is one of the world's most elitist and unbalanced organizations, designed to get the Constitutional convention beyond a stalemate. Each state has equal representation with absolutely no tie to that state's population. For example, the two asswipes Senators from Kentucky (population 4.3 million) have as much voting power and clout as the two Senators from California (36.9 million people). Washington, DC - which has more people than Wyoming - has NO Senate representation. Seems pretty stacked huh?

To any person with a brain, this would seem like an obvious case of taxation without equal representation. Barbara Boxer's is the agent for 18 million people, while the insane Jim Bunning "talks" for 2.2 million. Until the enactment of the 17th Amendment in 1913 - those 100 senators (96 back then) were not even elected by the people - they were 'elected' by the state legislatures.

The seeds of this dysfunctional body go back to the creation of the US Congress. Under the Connecticut Compromise of 1787 (which passed 5-4, a vote tally that is all too familiar) - a bicameral legislature was created with an upper house (Senate) that had a fixed number of seats per state, and a lower house that have representatives based on the population size. The lower house was given the right to initiate all appropriation bills. Years later, Theodore Roosevelt described the Senate as “where every great fortune was incubated, every new commercial empire was sanctioned, every reform circumvented”. His words ring true today.

Combine this history with the fact you need to be worth millions to even run for Congress - and you have the perfect storm for the creation of the world's most plutocratic (not deliberative) body.

Kyl's idiocy and coldness can easily be explained away - he speaks for the place where he works and plays. And this playground is definitely more Southampton than Coney Island. In 2010, 66 of the 100 Senators are millionaires. Yes that is 2/3. Back when Bush was appointed in 2000 - only 34, or one-third were. That is double in ten years. Not only are they rich, they are very rich. The wealthiest Senator is Herb Kohl of Wisconsin, worth an estimated $215 million dollars. There are 18 Senators worth more than $10 million. The top 6 (Kohl, Warner, Kerry, Rockefeller, Lautenberg, Feinstein) are all Democrats. The average net worth for each of the 100 is around $14,000,000 - meaning the combined net worth of all US Senators is $1.4 billion dollars. (as a note of comparison, the total net worth of all 435 House members is about $2.1 billion. Darryl Issa is wealthiest Rep, worth $250 million). A great source for all this information is the Center for Responsive Politics.

It is a safe assumption that any member of the US Senate would have no idea what is was like to go down to the unemployment office, to count pennies in the supermarket or to worry if your home would be taken away by one of the banks propped up by the US Senate. $1.4 billion buys a whole lot of Starbucks and Perrier.

Ask the average American about net worth and they will know how much Lebron James, Cameron Diaz, or even maybe Bill Gates are worth. But those three (even the odious King James) are not making policy or keeping unemployment benefits from those unable (read NOT unwilling) to find work. You would think it would make a difference to the struggling Kentuckian that Mitch McConnell, who has continuously blocked unemployment insurance extensions, is worth $17 million. Or that Ben Nelson - another heartless soul blocking the funding - is worth $18 million. You won't see either of these guys looking for change to buy coffee or begging Dianne Feinstein to treat them to a donut. That $425 unemployment check - buys food for the guy who has sent out 2,500 resumes, but in the US Senate - that check would be used to clean up Larry Craig's last wide stance.

It doesn't take a brain much bigger than Snooki's to figure out why Kyl (who is one of the poorer Senators at a net worth of $800K) wants to continue tax cuts for the rich, I mean his friends. His recent statement on Fox just proves that the US Senate is actually designed to protect the interests of the wealthy in America, while disregarding the interests of the masses. And yet, election after election, the voters continue to elect people like Kyl and Inhofe and Demint and Bunning and McConnell and a whole slew of other aristocrats because, well I have no idea why. I can't see how a stance on guns, abortion or school prayer would outweigh feeding your kids and holding onto a job. But it does.

Welcome to the United States of Stupidity where Lindsay Lohan is much more important than oil in the Gulf. Where 5 million people watched Lebron James choose which team would pay him $100 million.

Poor John Boehner Snooki, so orange and so dumb - but even I would bet on Snooki to know that the the relationship between corporations, wealth, and US Senators is stronger than ever. Only when Americans begin to really vote their pocketbook (not the donation tray or their fear of those nasty terrorists) will you see their interests being represented in the government.

Until then - the show goes on.

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The long view

By Mustang Bobby.

A lot of people are quoting Atrios's summation of the White House mid-term election campaign strategy, so I might as well, too.
So let's say Obama's people have correctly deduced that there's no chance in hell of getting anything through Congress. They have two basic options. First, they could get on the teevee every day and say, "This is my plan to help. Republicans in Congress won't pass it." They could hold rallies in Maine. Allies could run ads. At least people would know who is for and who is against...and just what it was that people are for or against.

Option two is back off proposals you've previously made and have Axelrod get on the teevee and say, "there is some argument for additional spending in the short-run to continue to generate economic activity.”

The logic behind the cool -- practically supine -- response is that Yelling and Screaming on TV isn't this White House's shtick; leave that to the Glenn Becks and the Fox News and Rush Limbaughs of the world while the Obama administration calmly goes about its business of keeping the country running. This seemed to work when they passed the stimulus package and healthcare reform. The fact that it also drove progressives to vituperativity didn't factor in.

But times have changed, especially since the Republicans have mastered the art of saying No, then turning around and saying "See, you can't get anything done, you won't work with us, and all you do is blame us for the huge clustastrophe we left you." This isn't March or April any more; there are less than four months before the mid-terms. The economy isn't going to recover all the jobs that were lost during the recession in that time; hell, they'll be lucky if they make up half of them by 2012. So if that's what the mid-terms are going to be decided on, the Democrats are going to get licked, possibly even to the point that John Boehner becomes Speaker of the House. If so, expect to hear two years of whining and complaining about how he can't get anything done because the Obama administration and the Democrats screwed up so badly. That's how that works.

On Meet the Press, Robert Gibbs basically sent out the message that the White House knows they're going to lose in the mid-terms and they're already focused on 2012. There may be some political gamesmanship here; setting expectations low so that when it happens it won't come as a shock, or if, by some miracle they retain just enough to keep the majority, it will seem like genius. But if that's the plan, why is the White House sending out mixed signals? If the president is going to go out on the stump in Kansas City and go into full campaign mode, then don't send Robert Gibbs and David Axelrod out on the Sunday chat shows two days later to lower expectations. All that does is give Chris Mathews something to talk about on Monday: "Mixed messages! Let's play Hardball!"

E.J. Dionne
notes that the Democrats have lost a good deal of support among the independent voters. That may easily be, but the one thing that could save the Democrats is the wingnut factor. We're already seeing some of the extremist talk from candidates like Sharron Angle and Rand Paul get some WTF traction, and that has to have an impact on the independents; they are by and large repelled by ideology and vote based on practicality. It's hard to imagine them getting on board with some of the batshittery being put out there by some candidates. I find it hard to believe that a candidate who talks about "Second Amendment solutions" or who holds a seance with George Washington is going to rally any large group of voters besides the ones who haven't been taking their proper medications.

(Cross-posted from Bark Bark Woof Woof.)

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Suck It, Arizona!

By Carl
This response to the Federal lawsuit seeking to overturn the noxious AZ SB 1070, the so-called Immigration Law is ludicrous at best.
At worst, if the law stands, it would set a very dangerous precedent to other groups who don't always have the favored eye of any particular state. Say, for example, a gay couple were to marry in Iowa, but move to Arizona. Let's say a whole bunch of couples begin to migrate to Arizona. What's to stop the state from passing yet another law determining that, since the couples violate the state's marriage statute and marriage is the basic building block of a nation, their citizenship should be revoked? After all, we've given a state the power to determine what constitutes "being an American" so how far out of the realm of possibility, given the distinctly....untermenschen...attitude Arizona is displaying here, is it to think that Arizona would not reserve the right to decide who gets to remain an American?
Full faith and credit be damned!
The immigration issue is a deeply tangled, deeply difficult and deeply divisive one. For my part, I believe that the laws pertaining to immgration ought to be loosened. This nation was built by immigrants, from the Mayflower on down to Ellis Island and beyond. The first generation immigrant has sparked new industries, created new jobs, built communities (every large city has a Chinatown or Little Italy), and brought their unique culture to our own and assimilated while assimilating.
I'm not sure why the Latino population is held in such low regard for somehow "destroying America." They do the dirty disgusting jobs that even the poorest citizen would turn his nose up to: field worker, busboy, janitor. However, every immigrant population has had to start with nothing in America, and work their way up. The story of the Irish or Italian, nevermind the Jew, is no different than the story of the Mexican or Nicaraguan. 
In a day and age when the established population has been so savaged by its own kind, perhaps we need fresh blood and a fresh way of looking at things in order to restart our economic engine. This is what immigrants throughout our history have excelled at. 
Open our fists and shake hands, says me. 
(crossposted to Simply Left Behind)

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Sunday, July 11, 2010

Truth in Comics

By Creature

If it's Sunday, it's Truth in Comics.

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