Monday, November 23, 2009


"It is hard to free fools from the chains they revere."--Voltaire

Found this on TPM. A liberal blogger interviewed people waiting in line for a Sarah Palin book signing in Columbus, OH. Fascinating, give it a look.

SNL on the President's China Trip

Gotta say, the skit wasn't that far from the truth:

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Robert Reich on the Health Care Fight

From one of the smartest men ever to serve in government, here is Robert Reich's take on the state of the health care reform bills now being fought over in Congress. The entire article is well worth reading:

But even the House's shrunken and costly little public option is too much for private insurers, Big Pharma, Republicans, and "centrists" in the Senate. So Harry Reid has proposed an even tinier public option, which states can decide not to offer their citizens. According to the CBO, it would attract no more than 4 million Americans.

It's a token public option, an ersatz public option, a fleeting gesture toward the idea of a public option, so small and desiccated as to be barely worth mentioning except for the fact that it still (gasp) contains the word "public."

And yet Joe Lieberman and Ben Nelson mumble darkly that they may not even vote to allow debate on the floor of the Senate about the bill if it contains this paltry public option. And Republicans predict a "holy war."

But what more can possibly be compromised? Take away the word "public?" Make it available to only twelve people?

Our private, for-profit health insurance system, designed to fatten the profits of private health insurers and Big Pharma, is about to be turned over to ... our private, for-profit health care system. Except that now private health insurers and Big Pharma will be getting some 30 million additional customers, paid for by the rest of us.

Upbeat policy wonks and political spinners who tend to see only portions of cups that are full will point out some good things: no pre-existing conditions, insurance exchanges, 30 million more Americans covered. But in reality, the cup is 90 percent empty. Most of us will remain stuck with little or no choice -- dependent on private insurers who care only about the bottom line, who deny our claims, who charge us more and more for co-payments and deductibles, who bury us in forms, who don't take our calls.

We've got to do this, or it'll be 1994 again. Don't let Ted Kennedy down! Write, call, or email your congresscritter.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Dems Get the Health Care Debate Going!

Senate Democrats tonight scraped together the sixty votes necessary to begin debate on health care reform--hooray!!

Errr, wait a minute: we're just getting to the debate itself? What the hell?! We've got renegade Democratic senators still holding out on the public option, there's still quite a bit of difference between the Senate and the House versions of the bill, various groups within the Democratic party have problems with either version, and we've celebrating the chance to debate the bill?

Yep, that's where we are in American politics today, folks: the Republicans are so afraid of health care reform that they're afraid to even talk about it. This isn't the first time the Rethugs have played Chicken Little with much-needed reform, either. From Social Security to Medicare, the wingnuts have consistently played the fear card to oppose progress in this country. For example, here's a taped message from Ronald Reagan opposing Medicare:

"One of the traditional methods of imposing statism or socialism has been by way of medicine." He urged his listeners to write to Congress opposing Medicare and warned, "If you don't do this, one of these days you and I are going to spend our sunset years telling our children and our children's children what it was like in American when men were free."

This spot was paid for by AMA and AMPAC, and played at Operation Coffee Cup coffees put on by doctors' wives.

Sound familiar? The same, lame excuses are being spouted by Repugs today. The Republican party has a long and unsavory history of doing everything it can to block, delay, and weaken progress in America that would help ordinary Americans. As far back as the 1920s, Repugs have opposed the advancement of the poor and the middle class.

Why today we see lower and middle-income individuals supporting inane policies that are antithetical to their own self-interest (tort reform, for one example, not to mention opposition to health care reform!) is something that I and many others have thought long and hard upon. I can't explain it, I don't understand it, and I am totally repelled by it. The tea partiers and their ilk are just the latest and, for what it's worth, most organized manifestation of this trend in American politics. I'm hoping that they do their level best to defeat "mainline" (such as the are) Republican candidates in primary challenges in 2010. Maybe then we can have a 60+ seat majority in the Senate, and truly get some things accomplished.

But for now, we've gotten past this hurdle, and here comes the hard part: getting a bill out of the Senate that we can live with. Here's hoping that the Democrats can pull this off!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Bible Verses

You may have heard about the distinctly un-Christian, contemptible, and definitely traitorous new use of Biblical verse to damn President Obama, and incite violence towards him and his family:

There’s a new slogan making its way onto car bumpers and across the Internet. It reads simply: “Pray for Obama: Psalm 109:8”

A nice sentiment?

Maybe not.

The psalm reads, “Let his days be few; and let another take his office.”

Presidential criticism through witty slogans is nothing new. Bumper stickers, t-shirts, and hats with “1/20/09” commemorated President Bush’s last day in office.

But the verse immediately following the psalm referenced is a bit more ominous: “Let his children be fatherless, and his wife a widow.”

This makes me boil over in anger. However, I'll let Bill in Portland Maine from DailyKos respond for me:

Since the right-wing fringers enjoy sharing their favorite Bible verses with us, I'd like to reciprocate by sharing one of mine with them. It comes right after Psalm 109:8 and I believe it says:

And the wise man lookethed at the creepy people seething with un-Christlike rage at their duly-elected leader and saideth, "Bite me, douchebags." And lo the Lord respondedeth: "Amen, Brother. You getteth the pie and they getteth the clap."

Yeah. That's how I remember it.

AMEN, brother, AAAAAA-MEN!!

Palin Booed in Indiana

Huffington Post:

Unhappy fans of Sarah Palin went rogue on the Alaska Republican during her book tour stop in Noblesville, Indiana on Thursday.

The local Borders outlet had handed out 1,000 wristbands to book purchasers; the wristbands were supposed to procure fans Palin's signature on their hardback copies of "Going Rogue." But several dozen people who had been promised signatures were turned away empty-handed after waiting hours in poor weather, a local news outlet, the Indy Channel, reported.

"We gave up our entire workday, stayed in the cold, my kids were crying," one man was quoted saying. "They went home with my wife. She was out here in the freezing cold all day. I feel like I don't want to support Sarah."

On one hand, you have to feel both sorry for the people standing out in the cold and rain waiting to get Palin's scrawl on their books; on the other, it inspires (in me, at least) contempt for their willful ignorance. Did they really think that Palin gave a damn about them? Have they listened to anything other than Faux News reports on her in the last year?

Of course they haven't, that's why they were in line in the rain waiting for her to sign her books. These were the hardcore wingnuts, ready to defend to the death their heroine, and their right to be stupid. The fact that the only truths in her book are that her name is Sarah, she was once the governor of Alaska, and she ran for Vice President, the fact that almost everything else in the book has been proven to be a lie, matters not to them. "She's one of us!", they proclaim.

Now for me, anyone who couldn't even name a book, magazine, or website that they read daily to stay informed isn't smart enough to be elected dog catcher, much less Vice President. But then again, I live in the reality-based community. And if you think that being so ignorant that you admit you don't know the duties of the job you're seeking, so stupid that you're repeatedly caught in lies about easily-checked facts, and if you shoot wolves from a helicopter; if all that makes you qualified, in some tiny minds, to be president, then I don't want you anywhere near the levers of power, and I repeat my wish that the Founding Fathers had made intelligence--and not age, race, or gender--the prime qualification for the right to vote.

So, Rupert Murdoch, please give this woman a talk show, and let the inevitable forces of history consign her to its gutters.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Archie Bunker is Afraid of Khalid Sheik Mohammed

Despite what the MSM is reporting, only "old, white, and Republican voters" oppose trying Khalid Sheik Mohammed and the other Guantanamo inmates:

Buried in the internals of the new Marist poll of New York City residents is a striking finding: Opposition to trying Khalid Sheik Mohammed and his co-conspirators in a New York court is almost entirely driven by old, white, and Republican voters.

The poll finds that overall, 45% of New Yorkers think the trial is a good idea, versus 41% who think it’s a bad idea.

When the numbers are broken down by age, the only group against the trial is made up of those over 65, by 46%-41%. The other age groups are in favor of it.

When the numbers are broken down by race, the only group against the trial is made up of whites, by 49%-41%. Blacks and Latinos both favor it, Latinos overwhelmingly so.

And when the poll is broken down by party, Republicans are overwhelmingly against the trial, 68%-23%. Dems and “non-enrolled” both favor it.

Who's afraid of the big, bad terrorist now?

Sarah, Here's Some Cheese For Your Whine

Sarah Palin has the gall to complain about "sexist" coverage of her by Newsweek. (This isn't the first time she's had a problem with a Newsweek cover, either.) Who does Palin think she is, after she slandered President Obama in her first national primetime appearance? What "actual responsibilities" did you fulfill as mayor of Wasilla, you liar?! Wasilla had to hire a city manager because you didn't fulfill your duties. Amazingly, Caribou Barbie has the never to bitch & moan about Newsweek publishing a picture that she posed for, in the first place! (And look at how Runner's World runs for cover, but still posts a slideshow of Palin photos, including the infamous "legs" shot.)

So now Miss $300-Spike-Heels-at-the-Vice-Presidential-Debate thinks the media isn't being fair to her??

Have some cheese, Sarah, and:

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Obama Bowed? So What, Cheney Wore Army Boots!

The Fox talking heads complained this morning that President Obama bowed to the Emperor of Japan.


To the Emperor of Japan.

And they have a problem with this?? 

First of all, wingnut dipshits, the Emperor bowed back. That's how it's done in Japan. A bow is a show of mutual respect, not a one-way flow of power. The President showed the Emperor respect due his station, and the Emperor returned the show of respect.

Secondly, does anyone remember this:

Vice President Dick Cheney, representing the United States of America at ceremonies marking the 60th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz concentration camp.

Notice the parka and galoshes. So, which is more disrespectful to the people of this country, and to our allies? A bow, or showing up at a solemn ceremony dressed like a garbage collector?

Also during the festivities, Liz Cheney, ever the dutiful, deluded daughter, floated the idea of her father, the aforementioned arch-demon Dick Cheney, as the Republican candidate in 2012. That girl is gonna go places! Places with lots of locks and padded rooms, that is.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Speed-Reading the Palin Book

BarbinMD at DailyKos:

The Associated Press has a lengthly fact check of Sarah Palin's upcoming book, "Going Rogue." So lengthly in fact, that I'll just save you a little time and list the facts that are not in dispute.

Her name is Sarah Palin.

She is the former governor of Alaska.

She was John McCain's running mate.

They lost.

She wrote a book.

I find it interesting that the AP would take the time to point out Palin's lies, and how out of touch she is with the facts. Of course, the wingnut media will never print this story. Personally, I'm really, really hoping that Palin will win the nomination in 2012, so Obama can wipe the floor with her lying, egomaniacal self that November, and we'll finally be rid of this plague that John McCain foisted upon the American people.

Palin/Bachmann 2012!

Joe, You Keep Using That Word

Joe Lieberman thinks that it's "inconceivable" that the 9/11 suspects will be tried in New York. Notwithstanding the fact that no one has ever escaped from a supermax prison in the United States, ignoring the reality that we already have domestic and foreign terrorists incarcerated on American soil, and casting aside the idea that Joe is at all relevant to any discussion of foreign policy (representing solely the insurance companies of America, as he does) despite his chairmanship of the Homeland Security Committee in the Senate....Joe needs a steaming cup of shut the fuck up. Harry Reid, when are you going to strip Lieberman of his chairmanship? It can't be too soon!

Meanwhile, the Rethugs are seeing the sky fall at the idea that terrorists might be on US soil. The GOP, especially Rep. John Boehner and Sen. John Cornyn, need to grow a pair, and stop jabbing the fear button. It may have worked for eight years under Bush, but people are smarter now, and tired of all that. Well, at least people outside of a tea party! As Kos said:

Dear Republicans,

Thanks for making clear that "home of the brave" refers only to US liberals, since we aren't pissing our pants at the thought of Gitmo inmates on US soil.

And Joe, "inconceivable?" Here, have a listen:

Thanks also to teddrummond at TPM.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Don't Let The Doorknob Hit You Where The Dog Shoulda Bit You

Lou Dobbs announced last night that he's leaving CNN. Yea!! Looks like CNN management finally realized that he's an insane, racist hypocrite. Now Dobbs is free to go to Faux News and compete against Glenn Beck for the title of "Bugfuck-Craziest Commentator."

Monday, November 9, 2009

Michele Bachmann Hates Women, Too
Michele Bachmann Is A Stupid & Crazy Bitch (Part 1,982 of a continuing series)

In my post last week about the House passing the health care reform bill, I missed this:

That's Michele Bachmann interrupting Congresswomen who try to address the House in turn on the floor of the House of Representatives yesterday. Unwilling to even let the other side make their arguments, Congresswoman Bachmann has fallen to trying to shout down her colleagues. Screaming over those who were elected to do the people's business. Interrupting like a child when someone she doesn't agree with gets a turn at speaking. Bullying others when she can't get her way.

Bachmann not only hates everyone not like her, it seems she also hates people like herself, too! I find it amazing that she would join with the Republican men who employed this disgraceful and disgusting tactic, against other women regardless of their party affiliation. What a model of Christian charity and empathy Bachmann is! And what an example of everything a modern American woman should NOT be.

And I haven't even gotten to Bachmann's lunatic fringe rally last Thursday, yet!--I'm still finding words for that. More later.

Why Does Tom Coburn Hate the Troops?

Sen Tom Coburn (R-OK), John Ensign's confessor and co-conspirator, has been identified as the lone senator holding up a bill to improve benefits for wounded veterans:
Veterans and their supporters called on U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., on Friday to drop his hold and allow a vote to be held on a bill to offer assistance and improve benefits to wounded veterans and their caregivers.

Without identifying Coburn by name, Sen. Daniel Akaka, D-Hawaii, chairman of the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee, said a single senator is denying veterans improved benefits.

Akaka said Senate Bill 1963 also would provide assistance to caregivers who sometimes have to give up their jobs to stay at home and care for wounded veterans.

[...]Ultimately, Akaka said, the burden for caring for wounded veterans must be carried by the government that sent them to war in the first place.

""It is time for this body to act,'' he said in comments on the Senate floor.

Sen. Mark Begich, D-Alaska, agreed and did identify Coburn as the senator with a hold on the bill.
So, when do we get to hear Limbaugh and his ilk asking why Colburn hates the troops? Yeah, yeah, I know: never. This kind of crap has to be stopped. Harry Reid needs to use his majority to put an end to Rethug obstructionism. The Party of No, indeed!

Thanks also to Matt Yglesias.

Got It In One

Kos, Retweet from Twitter:

The weird thing about the coathanger amendment (the Stupak anti-abortion amendment to the health care reform bill) is that I thought Republicans didn't want government between a doctor and patient. Hypocrisy?

Hell yes, it is!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

House Passes Health Care Bill!

The House, in an unusual Saturday night session, passed a bill calling for sweeping reform in America's health care system. The vote was 220 - 215; one lone Republican, Ahn "Joseph" Cao of Louisiana, voted with the Democratic majority in working to ensure that all Americans have access to quality health care.

NY Times:
Handing President Obama a hard-fought victory, the House narrowly approved a sweeping overhaul of the nation’s health care system on Saturday, advancing legislation that the Democrats said could be their defining social policy achievement.

After a daylong clash with Republicans over what has been a Democratic goal for decades, lawmakers voted 220 to 215 to approve a plan that would cost $1.1 trillion over 10 years and that Democrats said would provide relief to Americans struggling to buy or hold on to health insurance.

"This is our moment," President Obama told the Democratic caucus in a closed-door meeting today. Damn right! After a week of nay-sayers lying about the consequences of Tuesday's election results, I want to see what they have to say now. The President used his powers of persuasion to shore up his fellow Democrats, with the results that only 39 Blue Dogs voted against the bill.

This is history, folks; this is the closest we've ever gotten to achieving this goal. President Clinton never got this close, and no one before him ever got closer. Expect the Rethugs to pull out all the stops in the Senate: in the House, they've already tried shouting down Democratic congresswomen, rallying insane teabaggers to storm the Capitol, attempts to stall the vote, and outright lying about health care reform. It ain't over yet, but this is damn good progress. Congrats to Speaker Pelosi and President Obama!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Jon Stewart Nails Glenn Beck

The Daily Show's Jon Stewart does a picture-perfect spoof of idiotic racist Faux News commentator Glenn Beck:

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Thursday, November 5, 2009

Damn! So Near, And Yet So Far

Glenn Beck suffered an appendicitis attack yesterday during his radio show. He's currently hospitalized following surgery. We send him our coldest regards.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Much Ado About Nothing

As I predicted, the wingnut punditry is celebrating its wins in the New Jersey and Virginia gubernatorial races, while ignoring the shellacking it took in NY-23 and Cal-10.  Not too hard to make that prediction, since Virginia goes opposite the party in power, and New Jersey was Corsine's to lose, and he did. 

What Rethugs are not saying is that in the elections with national consequences, the Democrats swept them. The NJ And Virginia races were about local, not national, concerns. Also, these gubernatorial contests don't necessarily reflect the voters' concerns about the larger issues, nor do they indicate a swing to the right. In 2006, Tim Pawlenty was reelected as governor of Minnesota amidst a Democratic rout of the Rethugs nationwide, and in 2008 Obama won big here. (BTW, didn't T-Paw become a veritable model of Republican moderation after 2006?) "Bob 4 Jobs" in Virginia? Where do you think those jobs will be coming from?--the government! The federal government is the only entity that can create the number of jobs needed to pull us completely out of this recession, and to claim that the Repug win in that state is a refutation of Obama is utter and complete nonsense. 

Meanwhile, the Democrats added to their majority in the House with the wins in New York and California. Indeed, NY-23 is sending its first Democrat to the House since 1853--how's that for an endorsement of Pres. Obama's agenda? Sarah Palin and the wingnut clown parade behind her (*cough* T-Paw) don't look too powerful today! Meanwhile, CA-10 replaced a centrist with a progressive Democrat, and both Democratic winners are strong for health care reform. Also, New Jersey's Democrats added to their majority in the state legislature. So what's all this ballyhoo about a Republican "victory?"

Bullshit, that's what it is. After health care reform is passed--and make no mistake, it WILL be passed--the Democrats will be in position in the 2010 midterms to add to their majorities in both the House and the Senate. If national Democrats stay close to Obama and a progressive agenda, we will win big. If they don't, expect a repeat of 1994. Between then and now, however, expect the most outrageous attempts to scuttle health care reform.

And dammit, Maine voted in Prop. 1, denying equal rights under the law to its gay and lesbian citizens. Time is on our side, though--keep fighting!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

A Tale Told by Many Idiots....

"Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more: it is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing."

--Macbeth: Act 5, Scene 5

I've been avoiding the news today, in large part because all the hoopla about three races and one referendum frankly is insignificant and immaterial, in terms of Barack Obama's success or failure as President. I'm sick of all the importance being given to a congressional seat that's been held by Republicans since before the Civil War; sick of all the prognosticating and interpretations regarding the prospects of Virginia's gubernatorial election going to the party not in the White House, which it has for the last twenty-seven years; I'm sick of hearing about the race in my ancestral state of New Jersey between a corrupt fat man (no, Rush isn't running--he's the fat & cowardly man) and a former Goldman Sachs chairman pretending he really gives a damn about ordinary people. 

It all doesn't mean shit.

NY-23 has been warped by outside money and influence. Doug Hoffman, the Conservative candidate, doesn't even live in the district, has received 95% of his campaign funds from outside the state, and is clueless about local issues, only able to parrot the Sarah Barracuda talking points he's memorized. I wouldn't trust him to collect my garbage, much less be my congressman; he's a weak, opportunistic wingnut who called Glen Beck "one of my mentors"--but it's not up to me. The fact that Palin and our erstwhile governor Tim Pawlenty endorsed him over the Republican candidate Dede Scozzafava portends a nice, nasty civil war in the Republican party between now and the 2010 midterm elections. Good luck, NY-23! And remember: Jefferson said people get pretty much the government they deserve. Hope you've been good.

(Speaking of Pawlenty, who does he think he's kidding, dissing Olympia Snowe? Answer: probably the same people who think he'd make a good president. However, I seriously doubt that that group extends much beyond who he sees in the bathroom mirror in the morning.)

Virginia has gone with the opposite party from the one in the White House for decades, and the Obama machine has been largely offline in the off-year election. So why is this even remarkable, that the state might elect a Republican? Why, because the Rethugs have little to cheer about, and every little, incremental step they make towards regaining power must be trumpeted as "the beginning of the end!" for Obama. Yeahhhh, right.

New Jersey? Anyone who says he'll cut taxes in NJ has a shot, and the battle for most insulting attack ad has been more of a sideshow that anything that makes a material difference. With the nation's highest taxes and insurance rates, a good lie will go a long way against the truth here...whatever that may be. 

Lastly, I think Maine will do the right thing, and uphold the rights of it's gay and lesbian citizens.

All this together means very little towards the passage of meaningful health care reform, ending the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, fixing the economy, getting people back to work, and restoring America's place in the international order. But hey, I guess when you've got twenty-four hours of news to fill, and little to say, you have to do something.

Monday, November 2, 2009

This Pretty Much Sums Up the GOP Position on Health Care