Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Expiring Unemployment Benefits

While Obama is putting time into important stuff like freezing the wages of federal employees and apologizing to Boehner and McConnell for not being bipartisan enough (no really, that happened), unemployment benefits will expire for 2 million people tonight at midnight.

Call your congressman and let them know the issue is important to you.

Monday, November 29, 2010


We are so fucked.

Anyone want to be the Democratic nominee for president in 2012, cause it's pretty clear Obama isn't interested.

We're all Republicans Now

If you just take their ideas and fight for them yourself, you don't even need to compromise anymore!
The Obama administration announced on Monday an ambitious plan to freeze the salaries of federal employees for two years in an effort to address massive deficits and get a handle on the country's unsustainable fiscal path.
The Administration's own press release is stunning in so many ways:
Because of the irresponsibility of the past decade, the President inherited a $1.3 trillion projected deficit upon taking office and an economic crisis that threatened to put the nation into a second Great Depression.
So we're going to get tough with the people who caused this mess freeze the pay of people who have nothing to with anything and save less than .05% of our national debt.
Now, the economy is growing, and we have gained private sector jobs for the past 10 months. But families and businesses are still hurting, and our top priority is making sure that we are doing everything we can to help boost economic growth and spur job creation.
We're going to grow the economy by making sure people have less money to spend. Got it.
Just as families and businesses around the nation have tightened their belts so must their government. That must be done in a targeted way that focuses our investments in what works and in what will lay the foundation for job creation and economic growth for years to come while cutting back elsewhere in our budget.
And rather than cutting money to the companies that are currently robbing our government blind and easily evading their taxes, we decided to go right at those who deserve these cuts the most, the people who have decided make a career in government service.
This was a decision that was not made lightly. From the doctors and nurses who care for our veterans to the scientists searching for better treatments and cures, the men and women who care for our national parks, and the thousands who make sure that the Social Security check is in the mail and that students get their scholarships, federal workers serve their fellow Americans. They do so often with great sacrifice and motivated by a patriotic love for their country. This freeze is not to punish federal workers or to disrespect the work that they do. It is the first of many actions we will take in the upcoming budget to put our nation on sound fiscal footing – which will ask for some sacrifice from us all.
It's not to punish you, we're just cutting your pay. And not giving a fuck about the people who rob the government daily for amounts exponentially larger than most of your paychecks combined. But it's not about you, we respect you, just not enough to pay you what you're owed.

Friday, November 26, 2010

The Obama Administration After Two Years

This (via digby) is probably the most inteligent debate I've ever seen on cable television. Thank you Chris Hayes.

It's long, but watch this clip if you want to understand the challenges we face dealing with the Obama Administration over the next two years.

No, They're Just Crazy

Our political discourse needs far more Matt Taibbi: (via crooks and liars)
Every election year since 2004, Rolling Stone has David Gergen and Peter Hart dissecting the election results, and this year they add Matt Taibbi to the mix. Taibbi (shown in a recent video) says what he thinks about the teabaggers and Gergen is horrified:
Gergen: If it were not for the extra boost of enthusiasm the Tea Party provided, I imagine the Republicans would have won only 40 to 50 seats, instead of the 60-plus they gained. But the Tea Party also makes it harder in the future for Republicans to maintain a coherent party. Matt is right that they will have a large voice in the nomination process in 2012. But one cannot discount that someone could arise, as Reagan did in the past, who can bridge the differences within the party and keep people united.

Taibbi: To me, the main thing about the Tea Party is that they're just crazy. If somebody is able to bridge the gap with those voters, it seems to me they will have to be a little bit crazy too. That's part of the Tea Party's litmus test: "How far will you go?"

Gergen: I flatly reject the idea that Tea Partiers are crazy. They had some eccentric candidates, there's no question about that. But I think they represent a broad swath of the American electorate that elites dismiss to their peril.

Hart: I agree with David. When two out of five people who voted last night say they consider themselves supporters of the Tea Party, we make a huge mistake to suggest that they are some sort of small fringe group and do not represent anybody else.

Taibbi: I'm not saying that they're small or a fringe group.

Gergen: You just think they're all crazy.

Taibbi: I do.

Gergen: So you're arguing, Matt, that 40 percent of those who voted last night are crazy?

Taibbi: I interview these people. They're not basing their positions on the facts — they're completely uninterested in the facts. They're voting completely on what they see and hear on Fox News and afternoon talk radio, and that's enough for them.

Gergen: The great unwashed are uneducated, so therefore their views are really beneath serious conversation?

Taibbi: I'm not saying they're beneath serious conversation. I'm saying that these people vote without acting on the evidence.

Gergen: I find it stunning that the conversation has taken this turn. I disagree with the Tea Party on a number of issues, but it misreads who they are to dismiss them as some kind of uneducated know-nothings who have somehow seized power in the American electorate. It is elitist to its core. We would all be better off if we spent more time listening to each other rather than simply writing them off.

Hart: I agree. The point here is that the Obama administration would be at their own peril to somehow misread this as a fringe, unacceptable group of people. This is a huge portion of the electorate, and they represent a core within the Republican Party.
Yes, they do represent a large portion of the Republican party. And in no way does mean they aren't out of their fucking minds.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

And a present everyone can enjoy, Tom Delay's going to prison!
Jurors deliberated for 19 hours before they came back with guilty verdicts against Mr. DeLay on charges of money laundering and conspiracy to commit money laundering. The verdict was the latest chapter in a long legal battle that forced Mr. DeLay to step down. The trial also opened a window on the world of campaign financing in Washington, as jurors heard testimony about large contributions flowing to Mr. DeLay from corporations seeking to influence him and junkets to posh resorts where the congressman would rub shoulders with lobbyists in return for donations.

Mr. DeLay faces up to life in prison on the money laundering charge. [...] Judge Pat Priest has wide discretion in sentencing the former majority leader, who was known as “The Hammer” for his no-holds-barred style during 20 years in the House of Representatives. Mr. Delay could be sentenced from 2 years to 20 years in prison for the conspiracy count, and from 5 years to 99 years, or life in prison, for the money-laundering count..
Enjoy the holiday!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

All Is Not Well In Afghanistan

How the fuck does this happen:
KABUL, Afghanistan — For months, the secret talks unfolding between Taliban and Afghan leaders to end the war appeared to be showing promise, if only because of the appearance of a certain insurgent leader at one end of the table: Mullah Akhtar Muhammad Mansour, one of the most senior commanders in the Taliban movement.

But now, it turns out, Mr. Mansour was apparently not Mr. Mansour at all. In an episode that could have been lifted from a spy novel, United States and Afghan officials now say the Afghan man was an impostor, and high-level discussions conducted with the assistance of NATO appear to have achieved little.

“It’s not him,” said a Western diplomat in Kabul intimately involved in the discussions. “And we gave him a lot of money.”

American officials confirmed Monday that they had given up hope that the Afghan was Mr. Mansour, or even a member of the Taliban leadership.
Sweet Jesus.

I'm sorry Obama and Gates didn't include "people realizing we don't have the slightest clue what's going on and robbing us blind" as one of the opportunities our occupation would provide for the people of Afghanistan.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

No Hipster Hats

If you havn't heard Kanye West's new album do so, now.

But besides that, this massive write up in Complex magazine about the making of Dark Twisted Fantasy seems to confirm everything crazy and awesome I loved about Kanye, with all kinds of  ridiculous details.
On a late March afternoon, I arrive at Avex Honolulu Studios, the seaside recording studio on Oahu where West tracked 808s and is now block-booking all three session rooms, 24 hours a day, until he decides he's done. He had deliberately concealed the names of the players he'd enlisted, but I can't say I'm totally shocked to find him posted up in the studio's A room with Kid Cudi and the Clipse's Pusha T. Those are his guys, after all. What does elicit a visceral reaction—hard, heavy laughter—is the wall of Kanye Commandments posted on 8.5"x 11" sheets of paper on one side of the studio. They include the obvious—"No Tweeting" and "No Pictures"—and some...well, some less obvious ones, too. Not that "No Hipster Hats" and "Just Shut the Fuck Up Sometimes" aren't rules to live by.

"Just shut the fuck up sometimes" and "no hipster hats" are most certainly rules to live by.

Read the whole article, it's well worth your time.

Needs More Grayson

One of the sadder losses during the 2010 midterms was Allan Grayson. He went to the floor of the house last week to talk about why we don't need more tax cuts for the rich, and the results were fucking awesome. (via digby)

Monday, November 22, 2010

Shit Alan Simpson Says

The other day on twitter, Matt Stoller said something pretty dead on about Alan Simpon's "crazy" comments:
Alan Simpson says in normal speak what DC elites say in code. But both are mean and crazy.
I've actually thought this for a while. Simpson's rhetoric may be less refined than others who talk about this issue, but you really do get the feeling that he's saying in public the way a lot of people talk about this stuff in private.

Last week was no different:
The Republican co-chair of the White House's fiscal commission predicted this morning that his controversial recommendations for reducing long-term deficits will have a real opportunity to become enacted next year, when the nation brushes up against its debt ceiling, and newly elected Republicans threaten to send the country into default.

"I can't wait for the blood bath in April," said Alan Simpson at a Christian Science Monitor breakfast roundtable with reporters this morning. "It won't matter whether two of us have signed this or 14 or 18. When debt limit time comes, they're going to look around and say, 'What in the hell do we do now? We've got guys who will not approve the debt limit extension unless we give 'em a piece of meat, real meat, off of this package.' And boy the bloodbath will be extraordinary."
So Alan Simpson is openly wishing for a disaster so that he can force his plan of cutting social security and income redistribution for the wealthy on the American people.

Simpson isn't the only one pushing for these cuts that feels this way, he's the only one stupid enough to say so out loud.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Train Of Thought Lounge: Daft Punk

Even in pieces, this sounds awesome:

How About More Money For The Rich?

Idea __________ was attempted for 10 years and didn't do shit to generate economic growth. Why not try _______ again, I bet it will work this time!

Take it away Mike Pence: (via Jed L at dailykos)
Jim DeMint and I are offering legislation on Capitol Hill today to say, look, let's make all the current tax rates permanent, uh, and then let's start to work from there toward putting in place the kind of policies that'll really get this economy moving again. You know, I think it's fair to say, if the current tax rates were enough to create jobs and generate economic growth we'd have a growing economy. It's not working now. Let's at least give some certainty there and then we'll fight for more tax relief.
That's the type of honesty you don't see everyday from the Republican party!

And I know I've been talking about this constantly, but what makes the shitty Democratic tactics on extending the tax cuts so infuriating. Think of all the different messages you can try:

"We tried them, they don't fucking help the economy"

"Republicans want to give your money to rich people"

"Republicans want to cut _____ so they can give money to rich people"

"The average tax cut for the rich (80,000) is more than most people make in a year"

And on, and on and on...

Baby Steps...

These are good noises:
Steny Hoyer, the number two in the House Dem leadership, told Democrats at a caucus meeting this morning that they would get to vote this year on just extending the Bush tax cuts for the middle class, a senior Dem aide tells me, signaling support for a confrontational move towards the GOP that liberals have been pushing.

Asked if Democrats would definitely get a chance to hold this vote, the senior aide responded: "Definitely."

Hoyer's declaration comes as Democrats have been debating the way forward on the Bush tax cuts, and another aide tells me that "more than half" of the Dem caucus supports this course of action.

The move indicates that House Dems are growing more resolved to draw a hard line on the Bush tax cuts, forcing Republicans to choose between supporting Obama's tax plan and opposing a tax cut for the middle class. However, the way forward still remains murky. Even if such a measure were to pass in the House, it's unclear whether the Senate will agree to such a vote, and the White House has not endorsed the approach.
This is such a no brainer... you can do it guys!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

This American Reich

I guess we shouldn't be surprised, but the man who runs Fox news is no less out of his mind than the teabaggers who pay his bills:
The onetime Republican strategist is a man of strong opinions, in case that wasn’t clear, and he also puts his money where his mouth is. When Juan Williams was fired by National Public Radio for remarks he made on Fox about fearing airplane passengers in Muslim garb, Ailes rushed to award him a three-year, $2 million contract.

“A guy who gets fired and humiliated in the press can lose a lot of confidence,” Ailes says. Calling Williams “a pure liberal,” Ailes says he wanted to compensate the pundit for his losses because he was “mad” and “I didn’t want him to have to call his wife and say we lost money.”

Then he turned his sights on NPR executives.

“They are, of course, Nazis. They have a kind of Nazi attitude. They are the left wing of Nazism. These guys don’t want any other point of view. They don’t even feel guilty using tax dollars to spout their propaganda. They are basically Air America with government funding to keep them alive.”  

It’s hardly surprising that Ailes would defend Williams or castigate NPR. But trotting out such Third Reich rhetoric seems, shall we say, disproportionate to the situation. NPR spokeswoman Anna Christopher says only that “we will let Mr. Ailes’ words speak for themselves.”  
Well, at least it's not a mystery why offensive rhetoric and lies are tolerated on a daily basis...

Not Everyone Is Suffering

Just a reminder...
NEW YORK, Nov 16 (Reuters) - Wall Street may earn $19 billion in 2010, its fourth-most profitable year, even as regulatory changes and a weakened economy limit its ability to generate profit, New York state's comptroller said.

The comptroller, Thomas DiNapoli, also said that while it is too soon to predict bonuses, the average payout may rise because banks are shedding jobs and a smaller pool of people wll be eligible to get bonuses.
All this while the Administration is ready to cave and make sure the super rich get their tax cut.

Why the fuck would you not want to have a big public fight on this issue?

There's part of me that actually thinks the lesson they took from the election was that they were too mean to big business.

Sweet Jesus.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Going Galt With Your Vote

I found this in a compilation of the strange write in votes found in Alaska:


If only more people had woken up and made a point like this, then... well... the recount would have lasted longer?

Worst Human in The World

I'm sure there are lots of terrible people in this Republican congress, but this guy is off to a flying start:
Maryland physician Andy Harris (R) just soundly defeated Frank Kratovil, one of the most endangered Democrats on Capitol Hill going into the November election. And he did it in large part by railing against 'Obamacare' and pledging to repeal Health Care Reform. But when he showed on Capitol Hill today for an orientation for incoming members of Congress and their staffs, he had a different question: Where's my government health care?

According to Glenn Thrush of Politico, Harris created a stir at the orientation meeting by demanding to know why he had to wait a month after he was sworn in in January for his government-subsidized health care to kick in. After responding in a huff, he even asked if there was some way he could buy into the government care in advance, seemingly thinking there might be a government program similar to the so-called 'public option' championed by progressive Democrats in 2009.

According to an unnamed congressional staffer quoted by Thrush, Harris stood up at the meeting "and asked the two ladies who were answering questions why it had to take so long, what he would do without 28 days of health care."
There really aren't enough vulgar words in the English language to describe what this guy should do to himself.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Maybe They'll Be Nice This Time!

Everyone plant your head firmly in the sand:
President Barack Obama warned Sunday that Americans did not vote for gridlock in mid-term polls as he called on Republicans to work with him, as he returned to a changed Washington from Asia.

Obama set the stage for a key political week -- including the start of a lame duck session of the old Congress and planned talks with Republican leaders, as he returned aboard Air Force One from a 10-day trip.

"Campaigning is very different than governing," Obama said, nearly two weeks after mid-term elections dealt a severe blow to his Democrats and handed control of the House of Representatives to the Republicans.

"They are still flush with victory, having run a strategy that was all about saying no, but I am very confident that the American people were not issuing a mandate for gridlock."

"My expectation is, when I sit down with (Republican leaders) along with Democratic leaders ... they are not going to want to just obstruct, they are going to want to engage constructively," he said.
Normally I'd say something like "I hope he doesn't actually believe this", but not anymore.

It's been two fucking years. He actually does believe this will work.

We are soooooooooooo fucked.

Defending Israel From The United States

I love it when people accidentally say what they actually believe:
Soon-to-be GOP House Majority Leader Eric Cantor met on Wednesday with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu -- the same day when the actual U.S. Secretary of State met with Netanyahu -- and vowed that he and his GOP colleagues would protect and defend Israeli interests against his own Government.  According to a statement proudly issued by Cantor's own office:

Regarding the midterms, Cantor may have given Netanyahu some reason to stand firm against the American administration.
"Eric stressed that the new Republican majority will serve as a check on the Administration and what has been, up until this point, one party rule in Washington," the readout continued. "He made clear that the Republican majority understands the special relationship between Israel and the United States, and that the security of each nation is reliant upon the other."
Leave aside the absurdity of believing that Israel needs to be protected from the extremely deferential and devoted Obama administration.  So extraordinary is Cantor's pledge that even the Jewish Telegraph Agency's Ron Kampeas -- himself a reflexive American defender of most things Israel -- was astonished, and wrote:

I can't remember an opposition leader telling a foreign leader, in a personal meeting, that he would side, as a policy, with that leader against the president.  Certainly, in statements on one specific issue or another -- building in Jerusalem, or somesuch -- lawmakers have taken the sides of other nations.  But to have-a-face to face and say, in general, we will take your side against the White House -- that sounds to me extraordinary.
As Kampeas notes, Cantor's office quickly disputed his understanding, but this is hardly the first time Cantor has violated supposedly sacred political conventions in order to side with Israel over his own country.  Last August, Cantor led a GOP delegation to Israel and while in Jerusalem -- which happens to be "foreign soil" -- he condemned his own President and American policy for opposing the expansion of Israeli settlements in the West Bank.  Criticizing America while on Dreaded Foreign Soil is supposed to be one of the most extreme taboos in American politics:  Al Gore was bitterly denounced as a borderline-traitor for a 2006 speech in Saudi Arabia criticizing American foreign policy, and Gore at the time was merely a private citizen, not a leading political official.  But American political figures like Cantor feel free to do exactly that -- criticize America on foreign soil -- when it comes to Israel; recall the same thing being done by by Mike Huckabee.
The Obama Administration has been so hard on Israel that Israel has continued to do exactly the same things they've always done, with zero repercussions.

This country's discourse on our relationship with Israel is between Republican and Democrats who both support letting Israel do whatever it wants until the end of time. Of course there are a few people who speak up, but we all know they're actually anti-Semites and we can't take them seriously.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Train of Thought Lounge: Duck Sauce

Thanks to our friend Niko at The Shit Show for pointing this out.

The number of awesome people they got in the video is pretty incredible.

And here's an NPR story on the popularity of the song.

Duck Sauce: Barbara Streisand:

How About Not Preemptively Caving?

I saw peices of these ideas bouncing around the interwebs the other day and I thought they deserved mention.

I know that "I don't deal with what the White House deals with" on a daily basis, but it seems like this stuff wouldn't be terribly difficult to try.

Idea #1: Create a Commission that doesn't suck

Make a "Commission on Unemployment" that looks at how we can reduce the unemployment rate. The same way the Administration stacked the deficit commision with people who want to cut social security, stack this commission with people who are cool with the idea of direct government job creation.

When they come up with a report, you hammer the Republicans for not wanting to reduce the unemployment rate. Over, and over and over again. When they call it socialism, talk about how they don't care about the unemployment rate. When they talk about it being a government takeover of something, talk about how they don't care about the unemployed. You get the idea.

Idea #2: Hardball on the Tax Cuts

Let the Bush Tax cuts all expire. Create New "Obama Tax Cuts" that are only for everyone who makes less than $100,000 dollars a year.

Create a nifty page with one of those Obama style logos where people can see how big their tax cuts would be. Have Democrats go on TV every day for as long as it takes talking about how the Republicans don't want you to get an "Obama Tax Cut".

This really doesn't seem that hard. And I'm also aware that neither one of these things is very likely with the orange one as speaker, but showing the American people what you stand isn't exactly a waste of your time.

Oh yeah, and it beats creating the "Obama Deficit Commission" that proposed cutting social security, raising taxes on the middle class and lowering them for the rich.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

We're All Republicans Now!

More 11 dimensional chess from the a Administration, obviously:
WASHINGTON -- President Barack Obama's top adviser suggested to The Huffington Post late Wednesday that the administration was ready to accept an across-the-board continuation of steep Bush-era tax cuts, including those for the wealthiest taxpayers.

That appears to be the only way, said David Axelrod, that middle-class taxpayers can keep their tax cuts, given the legislative and political realities facing Obama in the aftermath of last week's electoral defeat.

"We have to deal with the world as we find it," Axelrod said during an unusually candid and reflective 90-minute interview in his office, steps away from the Oval Office. "The world of what it takes to get this done."
The Republicans are unapologetically defending tax cuts for the super rich.

You're defending tax cuts for poor and middle class Americans.

This is a clearly a fight you want to run away from.

Well if the Center-Right and Right Agree...

The Chairs of Obama's Catfood commission released their recommendations, and they're just as horrible as everyone predicted they would be. Paul Krugman summed up the commission's findings very well:
So you’re going to tell janitors to work until they’re 70 because lawyers are living longer than ever.

Still, I guess this is what it takes to get compromise, if by compromise you mean something the center-right and the hard right can agree on.
You create a commission stacked with assholes who want to cut Social Security, and stunningly enough the propose cuts to social security.

It's a political albatross for the Democrats and a giant waste of everyone else's time.

The Train of Thought Lounge : ATB - “Remember that Day”

Greetings friends. For those looking forward to the weekend to unwind after a tough political week, I give you some reflective beats from ATB’s Sunset Beach DJ Session. No vocals, just chill vibes and some old school Balearic elements.

Just sit back, close your eyes and think of crashing waves:

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Ray LaHood is a G

Kind of nuts since he's the only Republican in the Cabinet (or maybe because of that, as DDay suggests), but Ray Lahood knows how to play hardball:
In some post-election hardball between the Obama administration and newly-elected Republicans, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood is threatening to take back stimulus funds from states if they do not follow through on proposed rail projects.

CNN obtained copies of letters LaHood sent to incoming Republican governors in Ohio and Wisconsin who have stated their opposition to rail projects already underway in their states. In the letters, LaHood said a rail link between Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton and Cincinnati in Ohio, and a high-speed rail connection between Chicago, Illinois, and Milwaukee, Wisconsin, are vital to economic growth in both regions.

Lahood wrote that he respects the power of governors to make decisions for their states, but, "There seems to be some confusion about how these high-speed rail dollars can be spent."

To Wisconsin's Gov.-elect Scott Walker, LaHood said that none of the funds can be used for roads or any other projects. He went on to say, "Consequently, unless you change your position, we plan to engage in an orderly transition to wind down Wisconsin's project so that we do not waste taxpayer's money." That letter was delivered on Monday.

A similar letter was sent to Gov.-elect John Kasich in Ohio on Tuesday. In that letter, LaHood mentions the thousands of jobs that would be created with the construction of a rail link between the state's largest cities.

LaHood said he was aware that Kasich had asked President Barack Obama if $400 million dollars from the federal government intended to fund the passenger rail project could instead be used for road construction and freight lines. LaHood wrote, "I wanted to let you know that none of those funds can be used for anything other than our High-Speed Rail Program," and he signaled his intention to take the money back if the project doesn't move forward.
 Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes!

Can Ray "so hood" LaHood be in charge of all the Administration's negotiations from now on?

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

No Peace Talks, Only Conquest

Israel has never been serious about peace talks of any kind, because they know we'll let them do whatever the hell they want:
Israel has revealed plans to build nearly 1,300 housing units for Jewish settlers in occupied East Jerusalem.

Building settlements is illegal under international law and recent efforts to revive Israeli-Palestinian peace talks have stalled over the issue.

The announcement comes as Israel's Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, is on an official visit to the US.

Palestinian officials have reportedly described the move as an Israeli attempt to sabotage the talks.

"We thought that Netanyahu was going to the United States to stop settlement activity and restart negotiations, but it is clear to us that he is determined to destroy the talks," chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat was quoted as saying by the AFP news agency.
We have the power to stop this, we just choose not to. Obama initially looked like he was gonna take a hard line with Israel, but has since backed off.

I wish more people would acknowledge the direct link between our unconditional support of Israel and their monstrous actions, because...well... it does exist.

The rest of the world isn't blind to this, it would be nice if our media stopped reporting with it's head in the sand.

Reality On Sanity

Disclaimer: I absolutely love Jon Stewart and I think he's done more to engage young people in politics than every politician of the last 20 years combined.

With that said, Bill Maher could not be more right:

Keith Olbermann is also dead on about this:
"Sticking up for the powerless is not the moral equivalent of sticking up for the powerful."
And Olbermann may come across as a jackass sometimes, but there's a difference between objecting to his style and comparing him to people who have made careers out of defending bigotry, demonizing the poor and advocating endless war.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Preemptively Destroying the CFPB

The lesson the Administration seems to have taken from the midterm elections is that people were clamoring for them to be more owned by the banking industry:
MELISSA BEAN FLOATED AS CFPB HEAD – Buzz on Friday had Rep. Melissa Bean (D-Ill.) possibly getting tapped as the first Consumer Financial Protection Bureau head depending on the outcome of her too-close-to-call reelection race, in which Republican Joe Walsh maintained a slight lead as of Sunday afternoon. But a possible Bean nomination is not sitting well with reformers on the left who say the moderate Illinois congresswoman is far too close to the banking industry. Said one administration official: “It’s not clear she would be acceptable to the reformers.
I disagree with that last sentence. It's pretty fucking clear that she would not be acceptable to reformers.

If you had asked me to make a list of the worst people to make head of the CFPB, Melissa Bean would be very close to the top. Jane Hamsher breaks down her record:
That's a fucking shit show.

If the White House nominates Melissa Bean it shows they have absolutely no interest in keeping with the goals of the CFPB, and are 100% captured by the banking industry. The classic Republican tactic is not to destroy the institution, but to put someone in charge that has absolutely no intention of doing the job. Installing Mellisa Bean at the CFPB would do exactly that.

This "Political Moment"

This tweet from David Roberts seems pretty spot on:
Obama's temperament is not suited to this political moment. Given the nature of this political moment, though, that's kind of a compliment.
I was talking to someone the other day about how Obama's style would have probably been much more effective back during a time when all Republicans weren't completely insane.

The game got more fierce, the Administration needs to update their playbook.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Pelosi For Minority Leader

This might be the quote of the year from Ryan Grim:
Conservative Democrat Heath Shuler (D-N.C.) has floated the prospect of challenging Pelosi for minority leader, but he is taken about as seriously by his Democratic colleagues as he was by secondaries when he was a bad quarterback in the National Football League. 
Shuler is a moron and doesn't stand a chance against Pelosi, but I'm sure that Steny Hoyer would be more than happy to take over if he thought support for he was on the decline.

Of Pelosi, Reid and Obama, only one of them was fighting for progressive policy during the last 2 years. Even now as Obama is sending signals that he's willing to cave and extend the Bush tax cuts, Pelosi is fighting back saying that she won't budge.

Sign this petition saying you support Nancy Pelosi as Minority leader to show your support!

Update: Brainfarted and originally titled the post Pelosi for Majority Leader. Ugh, it's been a long week.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Why Do They Hate Trains?

This type of stuff just baffles me:
The newly elected Republican governor of Ohio, John Kasich, who ousted Ted Strickland, a Democrat, has also reiterated a campaign pledge to kill a $400 million stimulus-funded rail project in his state.

“Passenger rail is not in Ohio’s future,” Mr. Kasich said at his first news conference after the election. “That train is dead.”

Mr. Kasich had previously called the high-speed rail project the “dumbest idea” he had ever heard, saying that there was too little demand to justify its construction and that the state could not afford to operate it. Like his Wisconsin counterpart, he also said the rail money should be spent on roads.
You use your first press conference to celebrate that "Passenger rail is not in Ohio’s future"? Why should Ohio residents get excited about that?

It used to be that everyone would talk a good game about things like "renewable energy" and "high speed rail" and then just do the opposite when in office. These people are actively campaigning against the stuff, and winning!

What the fuck is wrong with everybody?

Learning The Right Lessons

We're off to a flying start:
WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama says he could have found a better balance between regulating businesses and making his support for the private sector clear.

Obama has faced accusations that his administration has been antibusiness. He said he realizes he needs to make clear to the business community, and the country, that the most important thing the administration can do is to boost and encourage the business sector and make sure businesses can hire.

He said setting the right tone publicly is important and could make a difference in how businesses decide to spend their money. The president said that setting that tone is one of the things he didn't manage as well as he needed to.
Clearly, unemployment is at nearly 10% because the captains of industry got their feelings hurt by President Obama, so they stopped hiring and started hoarding money.

Looking back at the first two years of the Obama Administration, I'm glad the takeaway is that they were too anti-business. Even with the growing evidence, I keep hoping against hope that no one in the Administration actually believes this shit.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Thoughts On Last Night

Well, that was bad.

We've lost probably the best Senator I've seen during my lifetime.

Sestak and Grayson also lost...

Harry Reid is more skilled than most people give him credit for.

Not all bad, because the blue dogs got absolutely slaughtered.

With all the media love the teabaggers are getting, keep in mind that if it weren't for them, the GOP could have had 50 Senate seats (and then probably 51, with Lieberman flipping)


The pundits will all see this as a sign that Obama was too liberal.

Obama will see this as a sign that Obama was too liberal, and relish the chance to triangulate, Clinton style.

Issues he will be ok triangulating on:
-"Free Trade" agreements, starting with Korea
-Deficit commission reforms, even if the include Social Security or Medicare cuts.
-Further escalating Afghanistan

Even though Obama will push for it, the Republicans won't even want to let him triangulate, because it might not hurt him enough politically. They've made it clear, they're playing for 2012. And with that said...

The Republicans will shut down the government. What happens after that, I have absolutely no clue.

Anyone else have predictions on how this turns out?

A Return to Civility?

Think this year was the most vicious, mudslinging election in history and that America must return to civility before it tears itself apart?

You are wrong.

On the other hand, as a friend pointed out, there were like 5000 voters in America at the time so really they were always just talking about people everyone already knew to be hideous hermaphroditical characters who wanted to see all children writhing on pikes.

Not at all like today.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Say Hello To Our New Orange Overlord


The countdown to a government shutdown starts... now.

Election Liveblog: Apocalypse 2010

Starting at 9 PM...

Hey, Let's All Listen To Harold Ford!

The man who made a career out of losing elections continues to have great ideas:
Democratic Leadership Council chairman Harold Ford was on MSNBC this afternoon discussing today’s midterm elections and the implications for Democrats and President Obama should Republicans take control of one or both houses of Congress. While Ford said he “loves” all the “wonderful feats” of the past two years, such as health insurance and financial reform, he said that the takeaway for Obama from a GOP victory today would be to extend the Bush tax cuts:
FORD: The reality is the country is worried about jobs, economic growth and our future. And there’s a belief that the President and his team have gone about this in a way that has not only not been pleasing to independents but has not gained the confidence of the country as it relates to their future and as it relates to the country feeling like we can compete and succeed going forward. Extend the Bush tax cuts, be willing to work with Republicans, push the reset button with the business community. I think these are the two or three tone changes. … They’ve got to send a clear message to the country, “We’ve heard the message. We are ready, not to give up on our goals, but to govern in a different way to achieve those goals.”
That sounds like a fantastic idea, Harold, and I'm sure you'll make it a top priority as the next senator from Tennessee New York go fuck yourself.

Tonight: Election Liveblog

It's supposed to be ugly, but that makes it even more of a reason to chat with your friends as everyone tells us that we're getting crushed because Obama went too far to the left.

Do your part to make this less painful than it has to be:

Tonight - 9 PM - Be There

Oh yeah, and if you need help finding your fucking polling place, this site can help:

Monday, November 1, 2010




We the People of the First State from Friends of Christine O'Donnell on Vimeo.


The Awesomeness of War WIth Iran

David Broder has found a way to restore the economy:
Here is where Obama is likely to prevail. With strong Republican support in Congress for challenging Iran's ambition to become a nuclear power, he can spend much of 2011 and 2012 orchestrating a showdown with the mullahs. This will help him politically because the opposition party will be urging him on. And as tensions rise and we accelerate preparations for war, the economy will improve.

I am not suggesting, of course, that the president incite a war to get reelected. But the nation will rally around Obama because Iran is the greatest threat to the world in the young century. If he can confront this threat and contain Iran's nuclear ambitions, he will have made the world safer and may be regarded as one of the most successful presidents in history.
The casual way people like Broder discuss killing lots of human beings is fucking stunning.

Mark Penn Never Disappoints

When asked "What moment in the past few months of this campaign, Dem or Rep, made you cringe the most?", he answers:
"When Obama came out in favor of the New York Mosque. Why would he bring it up?"
Questions I wish someone had asked Mark Penn: Why are you answering surveys this election cycle and not lending your genius to someone's campaign?

Oh wait...