Saturday, December 24, 2011

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Charts of the Year

This is a great idea from Ezra Klein, and Jared Bernstein's chart and explination made it even cooler:
"Corporate profits have not only recovered their post-recession highs, they’ve surpassed it. And compensation as a share of the economy is far lower. The image of the above figure should be viewed as a big, scary dragon of sorts."
 The Washington Post sucks, and doesn't let you imbed images, click through to see why his chart is so awesome.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The Joe Buck Disgusting Act of the Week: Politifact

If you read this blog, you're aware that the conservative game plan for the last __ years involves constantly lying about everything and depending on the media to not call them out, and report the story in a he said she said, you decide fashion. So when CNN and other news organizations started citing this service called Politifact I thought it was hilarious they treated it as this crazy new technology, rather than "doing their jobs".

The inherent problem with Politifact was going to be as follows: Conservatives lie constantly about fucking everything. If a fact checking service was going to do it's job, it was going to call out conservatives a lot more than it would with anyone else... opening themselves up to the charge of liberal bias. And since the charge of liberal bias is apparently so strong that shielding yourself from this label is actually more important than doing your job for most media organizations, this was always going to be an issue.

So while it was nice that people were pretending to care about accuracy... there was always this looming problem when Politifact would have to decide between doing their jobs or getting to sit at the cool kids table with all the other worthless news organizations.

And now, perfectly in line with everything wrong with our media, we get this logic: (TPM)
Here’s a long, sad story about how Democrats’ basically true claim that House Republicans voted to end Medicare ended up with PolitiFact’s Lie of the Year award.

Back in April, House Republicans passed a budget that included a plan to phase out Medicare over several years and build in its place a subsidized, private insurance marketplace for seniors.
Democrats called this a vote to “end Medicare.”

You can quibble. It wasn’t a vote to end Medicare — BLAM! — all at once. But under the GOP plan, within a couple decades, the current health retirement program for old people would be gone and in its place would be an entirely different one. It would just, by political design, have the same name: Medicare.
Ignoring policy in favor of process, and with an eye toward political balance, PolitiFact rated this basically true Democratic claim “Pants on Fire.”

Liberals, economists, health policy experts, and yours truly objected strongly to PolitiFact’s conclusion. But instead of rethinking their conclusion, the PolitiFact turned the opprobrium into a badge of honor: The claim itself became a candidate for PolitiFact’s “Lie of the Year” contest; Paul Ryan — the House GOP budget chairman who authored the plan — engaged in a modest ballot stuffing campaign; and the Democrats’ true “lie” came in third place, just behind the GOP claim that the stimulus created zero jobs, and Sen. Jon Kyl’s claim that abortion services are “well over 90 percent of what Planned Parenthood does.”
In a way I'm actually glad this happened, because sometimes it takes an example this stupid to bring the amount of lying to the forefront. Of course that won't be what happens, the conclusion will be that Paul Ryan is a reasonable man who simply wants to fix medicare, and shame on those crazy hippies for saying otherwise.

The fact free discourse lives on, now with it's very own "fact checking institutions" to help ensure that no one has the slightest clue about what's going on.

Monday, December 19, 2011

A Bold New Plan To Get Rid Of Medicare

And this one comes with the backing of a "liberal" senator! David Dayen:
In a surprise move, Paul Ryan found a Democratic partner to propose a new Medicare plan that does not fully privatize it, but instead keeps fee-for-service Medicare as an option alongside a premium support plan. This is the same proposal that the front-running Republican Presidential candidates have made.
From the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities:

Its sponsors say the proposal would avoid shifting health costs to beneficiaries, but that’s not so.   It would replace Medicare’s guarantee of health coverage with a flat payment that beneficiaries would use to help them purchase either private health insurance or traditional Medicare.  It also would limit the growth in spending per beneficiary to the growth of gross domestic product (GDP) plus one percentage point (presumably on a per capita basis).  But health care costs have risen faster than that for several decades and, as Chairman Ryan acknowledged at a December 15 briefing, if that faster rate continues, the amount of the government’s premium support payment to beneficiaries would be cut back — with more of the costs of coverage shifted to beneficiaries — unless Congress intervened and made offsetting cuts elsewhere within Medicare.

Specifically, Ryan-Wyden would give Congress a period of time in which it could cut provider payment rates or make other changes to limit the rate of growth of Medicare spending before the premium support payments were automatically cut.  But Congress would not be — indeed, could not be — “required to intervene.”  And, Congress could well fall short of mustering the requisite majorities to enact alternative cuts — including 60 votes in the Senate — in the face of likely opposition by providers and other health-industry interest groups.

Many media accounts portrayed this part of the plan incorrectly (due to a confusing sentence in the proposal document that the sponsors issued yesterday), reporting that beneficiary premium support payments would be shielded — rather than cut — if health care costs rise faster than the target.

Ryan and Wyden also claim that their proposal guarantees that traditional Medicare “will always be offered as a viable and robust choice.”  Unfortunately, that’s not the case either.   Under a premium support system, traditional Medicare very likely would attract a less healthy pool of enrollees, while private plans would attract healthier enrollees (as occurs today with Medicare and Medicare Advantage).  Although the proposal calls for “risk adjusting” payments to health plans — that is, adjusting them to reflect the average health status of their enrollees — the risk adjustment process is highly imperfect and captures only part of the differences in costs across plans that result from differences in the health of enrollees.

Inadequate risk adjustment would mean that traditional Medicare was only partially compensated for its higher-cost enrollees, which would force Medicare to raise beneficiary premiums to make up the difference.  The higher premiums would lead more of Medicare’s healthier enrollees to abandon it for private plans, very possibly setting off a spiral of rising premium costs and falling enrollment.  Over time, traditional Medicare could well cease to be financially viable and could unravel — not because it was less efficient than the private plans but because it was competing on an unlevel playing field in which private plans captured the healthier beneficiaries and, thus, incurred lower costs.  The fact that Ryan-Wyden would allow private plans to tailor their benefit packages to attract healthier beneficiaries and deter sicker ones only makes this outcome more likely.
So yeah, this is a really horrible idea.

And it's hilariously insane politically, because the one chance the democrats seemed to have of a victory this November was running on the fact that all the Republicans voted for Paul Ryan's plan to destroy medicare.

Before any of this, I actually kind of liked Ron Wyden, because he was fairly liberal and had some interesting policy ideas. No one can no for sure what motivated him to do this, but my best guess it's another case of Egoism running rampant in the Senate.

Let's be clear about the stakes of this decision: Wyden is teaming up with the person who wants to end medicare to propose something that would weaken medicare at best. Additionally, he is fucking over every single person in his party by making their reelection chances that much harder.

Why would he do this? Well Dayen hints that this a retaliation against Obama for dropping his idea out of the health care bill, which seems about right considering the pettiness and entitlement we often see in the Senate. The other option is that he's an attention whore, and considering all TV invites and good press the DC media gives any democrat who wants to cut medicare/start stupid wars, I could see this being an option too.

At the end of the day, his actions are what's most important, and they merit him a strong primary challenge. The fact that I haven't seen that option even mentioned tells you just about all you need to know about the shittiness of the democratic party.

Friday, December 16, 2011

War, What is It Good For?

Juan Cole, listing the cost of the Iraq war:
Moreover, the American public still for the most part has no idea what the United States did to that country, and until we Americans take responsibility for the harm we do others with our perpetual wars, we can never recover from our war sickness, which drives us to resort to violence in international affairs in a way no other democracy routinely does.

Population of Iraq: 30 million.

Number of Iraqis killed in attacks in November 2011: 187

Average monthly civilian deaths in Afghanistan War, first half of 2011: 243

Percentage of Iraqis who lived in slum conditions in 2000: 17

Percentage of Iraqis who live in slum conditions in 2011: 50

Number of the 30 million Iraqis living below the poverty line: 7 million.

Number of Iraqis who died of violence 2003-2011: 150,000 to 400,000.

Orphans in Iraq: 4.5 million.

Orphans living in the streets: 600,000.

Number of women, mainly widows, who are primary breadwinners in family: 2 million.

Iraqi refugees displaced by the American war to Syria: 1 million

Internally displaced [pdf] persons in Iraq: 1.3 million

Proportion of displaced persons who have returned home since 2008: 1/8

Rank of Iraq on Corruption Index among 182 countries: 175
No words.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Train of Thought Lounge: The Roots

Final exams are occurring so posting will be light for the next few days.

Enjoy your Thursday while a new team of assholes tries to destroy the only good healthcare system we have.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Trolling, a New Campaign Tactic

I'm not posting this for any other reason than that I find it really funny:
Who inspires you to give?

This holiday season, we’re giving you a chance to have a little fun at the expense of a Republican in your life by letting them know they inspired you to make a donation to the Obama campaign.

Simply enter their name and email address below. Then, we’ll send them a message letting them know they inspired you to donate.

Thank you for supporting this campaign, and happy holidays.
Really want to fire up your GOP friends? Buy them a gift from the 2012 store. I recommend the birther mugs — they get the message across pretty well.
So the article talks about this as an opportunity to list build with Republicans, which I guess kinda/sorta/doesn't really make sense. I'd prefer to laugh at the fact that their campaign is dedicating resources to something that doesn't seem to have a more worthwhile purpose than trolling Republican friends of Obama supporters.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Doing It Wrong

Not that I thought the scum of the earth bigots at the Westboro Baptist Church were a bunch of rocket scientists, but I didn't think it was that difficult to be consistant in your prejudice:

(Look at her shirt)

Monday, December 12, 2011

For A Political Advantage to Be Named Later...

Yet another example of the Obama Administration choosing pointless political posturing over a meaningful policy change that would make a difference in people's lives:
The Obama administration stunned women’s health advocates and abortion opponents alike Wednesday by rejecting a request to let anyone of any age buy the controversial morning-after pill Plan B directly off drugstore and supermarket shelves.

For what the Food and Drug Administration thinks is the first time, the Department of Health and Human Services overruled the agency, vetoing the FDA’s decision to make the contraceptive available without any restrictions. Revealing a rare public split, FDA Administrator Margaret A. Hamburg said her conclusion that the drug could be used safely by women of all ages was nullified by Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.
There is absolutely no excuse for this. Fucking appalling.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Accusations of Anti-Semitism Is All They Know

With the Israeli Lobby, charges of anti-antisemitism are the feature, not the bug:
The former spokesman for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) is shopping a 3,000-word trove of opposition research against bloggers critical of Israel to friendly neoconservative journalists.

I’ve obtained an email sent by Josh Block to a private listserv called The Freedom Community, in which he throws around accusations of anti-Semitism against liberal bloggers and calls on other list members to “echo” and “amplify” his assault and “use the below [research] to attack the bad guys.”
Block sent out his email following publication of an article by Politico’s Ben Smith Wednesday about writers at the Democratic-affiliated Center for American Progress and Media Matters who enunciate a more progressive take on the Israel-Palestine conflict than is usually found in Washington. Block was quoted in the story accusing CAP columnist Eric Alterman of writing “borderline anti-Semitic stuff,” a charge Alterman (who is himself Jewish) dismissed as “ludicrous.”

Block’s email to The Freedom Community list arrived under the subject line “Important piece to echo and the research to do it….” – a reference to the Politico story. He wasted no time throwing around more accusations of anti-Semitism.

“This kind of anti-Israel sentiment is so fringe it’s support by CAP is outrageous, but at least it is out in the open now — as is their goal – clearly applauded by revolting allies like the pro-HAMAS and anti-Zionist/One State Solution advocate Ali Abunumiah and those who accuse pro-Israel Americans of having ‘dual loyalties’ or being ‘Israel-Firsters’ – to shape the minds of future generations of Democrats,” Block writes. “These are the words of anti-Semites, not Democratic political players.”
The responses to Josh Block's assholeness here and here from the people he smeared are really great.

None of this is surprising, but it's always important to point out the disgusting tactics AIPAC will use to smear anyone critical Israel's amoral and counterproductive foreign policy.

Own Your Incompetence

Long time readers of the blog will know this stuff really pisses me off:
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney made a surprising assertion on MSNBC Wednesday, saying that in early 2009, as Barack Obama was taking office, there weren't any major economists who understood just how bad the recession was.

The problem is that the evidence doesn't support his claim.
"There was not a single mainstream, Wall Street, academic economist who knew at the time, in January of 2009, just how deep the economic hole was that we were in," Carney told Morning Joe hosts Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough on Wednesday's program.
Yeah, uh... bullshit!
In reality, though, well-respected analysts and economists from all corners were sounding alarms about the state of the economy -- in early 2009, and even before.

Numerous experts warned that the stimulus bill wouldn't go far enough to address the nation's economic woes as it was making its way through Congress in the early days of Obama's presidency. They cautioned that the economy was pointed toward higher unemployment and weak or nonexistent growth -- conditions that have indeed come to characterize Obama's first term in office.

For example, Douglas Elmendorf, director of the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office, testified before the House Budget Committee on on January 27, 2009, that without immediate action, the economy would sag below its potential by nearly 7 percent for the next two years, and that unemployment would exceed 9 percent by early 2010 -- something that actually happened four months later, in May 2009.

Describing this projected gap between potential and actual economic output, Elmendorf called it the largest shortfall "in terms of both length and depth ... since the Depression of the 1930s."

That same month, Paul Krugman, a left-leaning economist and Nobel laureate, wrote in a New York Times column that Obama's plan to jump-start the economy was "nowhere near big enough," arguing that it was "unlikely to close more than half of the looming output gap" at a time when the country was experiencing "the most dangerous economic crisis since the Great Depression."

But Krugman wasn't the only economist to draw a Great Depression comparison. Martin Feldstein, Harvard professor and former economic adviser to Ronald Reagan, wrote in January 2009 that "this recession is likely to last longer and be more damaging than any since the depression of the 1930's."

And James Galbraith, a left-leaning economist and former executive director of the Joint Economic Committee said, "there are many good reasons to think" that America is in "a true financial crisis of the type in the 1930s." Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody's Analytics warned at the time that "the economy appears headed toward its worst downturn since the Great Depression."

Dean Baker, a left-leaning economist and co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, issued a warning similar to Krugman's in January 2009, writing in the Guardian that "[t]his downturn is so severe that [the stimulus bill] may not be sufficient to offset even half of its impact."
And a January 2009 survey of more than 100 economists, conducted by the National Association for Business Economics, found that that business conditions overall were the worst in the survey's 27-year history. At the time,78 percent of the economists said they expected GDP to keep falling.

Strongly-worded warnings about the economy were pouring in even before January 2009, in fact. Nine months earlier, in April 2008, left-leaning economist Joseph Stiglitz, a Columbia professor and Nobel laureate, told CNBC that the recession was "going to be one of the worst economic downturns since the Great Depression." And as early as 2006, the economist and New York University professor Nouriel Roubini -- famous for his perennially bearish outlook, but also regarded by many as a prescient forecaster -- was predicting a recession, triggered by a softening housing market, that would be "much nastier, deeper and more protracted than the 2001 recession."

"There were a lot of us who were saying that the stimulus was nowhere near large enough at the time," Baker told The Huffington Post when reached for comment on Wednesday. "The fact that it was going to be considerably more severe than the Obama administration was predicting at the time -- there were a number of us who were quite explicit about that."
There were plenty of people who saw this coming, just not the fuck ups you hired. You hired people from the same school of thought (and in some cases, the exact same people!) that pushed through the deregulation of the financial sector that destroyed our economy in 2008. Ten years later, they were still making horrible decisions. Who could have imagined that?

Plently of people saw this coming, and knew you weren't doing enough. You just chose to hire people who were more concerned with the perils of the government "doing too much", rather than doing everything humanly possible to turn the economy around.

That was solely your fuck up, and the fault of your administration. Own it.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

He Doesn't Even Know What He's Bitching About

JP Morgan Chase CEO, Obama buddy and unspeakable asshole Jaime Dimon said something pretty awesome yesterday, continuing the "rich people whining" theme of this week's posting:
Next time you read an article about the behavior response to marginal tax rates on high income earners, I would urge you to refer back to JP Morgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon's fine whine that "most of us wage earners are paying 39.6 percent in taxes and add in another 12 percent in New York state and city taxes and we're paying 50 percent of our income in taxes."
What makes that so incredible? Matt Yglasias:
The thing about this is that the actual top marginal income tax rate is 35 percent. The entire debate in congress over taxes is that President Obama wants to restore the top marginal rate to the level that Dimon thinks it already is. Meanwhile, Dimon doesn't even know what tax rate he pays. Just saying.
Jaime Dimon, while crying about paying too much in taxes... DOESN'T EVEN FUCKING KNOW WHAT TAX RATE HE'S PAYING.

This is pure speculation, but do you want to guess why he doesn't know? I'll say it's because he's so fucking rich that the difference between paying 35% and 39% makes absolutely ZERO difference to him in any sort of tangible way. Which is, of course, the whole point of progressive taxation, and forcing people like Jaime Dimon to pay a higher tax rate. You seriously can't make this shit up.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The Rich and Powerful Need Love Too!

As my understanding of politics and power has evolved over the years, one thing that has really stunned me is how even the richest most powerful elites we have need more than their power and vast riches. They often need to be loved, or at least thanked for all the great work they think they're doing by being rich or powerful. I had always gone under the assumption that if you're a really powerful senator, or a really rich hedgefund manager, why would you give the slightest fuck about mean things said about you... but the evidence keeps piling up that they do.

And let's be clear, this is a good thing, because it opens up a point of leverage on these elites that I didn't think previously existed. There have been a lot of examples of this recently, (some involving a campaign at work so I don't want to get into it here, but shoot me an email or ask offline if you're curious), and I've been absolutely fascinated by these stories.

A perfect example from the other day about a rich hedge fund manager:
Last week, Cooperman circulated an “open letter” to President Obama that accused him of a ”divisive, polarizing tone” that risks further inflaming an “already incendiary environment.” The letter was a sensation on Wall Street, so Andrew Ross Sorkin interviewed Cooperman to find out what exactly ticked him off badly enough to inspire him to write it:
“What pushed me over the fence was the president’s dialogue over the debt ceiling,” Mr. Cooperman said, explaining that just when it seemed like a compromise was near, President Obama went on national television and pressed harder on “millionaires and billionaires,” a phrase that has stuck in the craw of many of the elite.
For example, Mr. Cooperman zeroed in on what he described as the president’s belittling remarks about taxing the wealthy: “If you are a wealthy C.E.O. or hedge fund manager in America right now, your taxes are lower than they have ever been. They are lower than they have been since the 1950s. And they can afford it,” the president said back in June. “You can still ride on your corporate jet. You’re just going to have to pay a little more.”...
Mr. Cooperman acknowledges that, in the debt ceiling debate this summer, it was as much the fault of Republicans and House Speaker John Boehner’s inability to gain support for a compromise as it was the Democrats that a deal did not get done. And Mr. Cooperman accepts that taxes are indeed at record lows.
But he says the president could do a better job of pressing for higher taxes on the rich without “the sense that we’re bad people.”
As Greg Sargent points out in the post, the most staggering thing about this is that he agrees with Obama on the fundamentals. He accepts that taxes are at record lows, and that the Republicans are also at fault for the debt ceiling nonesense. But this billionaire's feelings are so hurt because Barack Obama said the most milk toast possible line tweaking the rich for not paying enough taxes. It's not like Obama was breaking out some Che Guevara or even FDR style class warfare, he merely pointed out (in the tamest terms possible) facts that this billionaire largely agrees with, and yet what he said made him mad enough to write a angry letter to other rich people about it.

Being rich and powerful may seem great, but apparently it just isn't what it's cracked up to be unless someone is also telling you how awesome you are.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

How to Lie To the 99%

Frank Luntz is a GOP language guru who makes his living lying about Republican policies and phrasing them in a way that sane people won't find them revolting. He now has a memo on how to discuss issues that have come up due to the emergence of the Occupy movement. Let's take a look at what concepts Luntz felt rich assholes might not be able to figure out on their own. Credit to Yahoo news for transcribing Luntz' thoughts on each one:
1. Don't say 'capitalism.'
"I'm trying to get that word removed and we're replacing it with either 'economic freedom' or 'free market,' " Luntz said. "The public . . . still prefers capitalism to socialism, but they think capitalism is immoral. And if we're seen as defenders of quote, Wall Street, end quote, we've got a problem."
The honesty of this one is telling, and also a sign that in the long run, the occupy movement is winning.
2. Don't say that the government 'taxes the rich.' Instead, tell them that the government 'takes from the rich.'
"If you talk about raising taxes on the rich," the public responds favorably, Luntz cautioned. But  "if you talk about government taking the money from hardworking Americans, the public says no. Taxing, the public will say yes."
This is the first of what you will begin to see is a pattern with Luntz. When something is stated factually, and extremely popular, don't just change the wording, but change the entire meaning of the sentence, then it becomes unpopular!
3. Republicans should forget about winning the battle over the 'middle class.' Call them 'hardworking taxpayers.'

"They cannot win if the fight is on hardworking taxpayers. We can say we defend the 'middle class' and the public will say, I'm not sure about that. But defending 'hardworking taxpayers' and Republicans have the advantage."
It's always funny when he admits something is just completely lost for republicans. In this case, it's the third rail issue of "talking about the middle class".

4. Don't talk about 'jobs.' Talk about 'careers.'
"Everyone in this room talks about 'jobs,'" Luntz said. "Watch this."
He then asked everyone to raise their hand if they want a "job." Few hands went up. Then he asked who wants a "career." Almost every hand was raised.
"So why are we talking about jobs?"
Answer: Because when lots of people don't have jobs, whether or not they're going to have a career at said imaginary job isn't exactly their biggest concern at the moment.
5. Don't say 'government spending.' Call it 'waste.'
"It's not about 'government spending.' It's about 'waste.' That's what makes people angry."
He's right, it's not about government spending, because people actually like a decent number of things the government does. But if we lie and say that all government spending is waste, then they don't like it! See what he did there? The key was lying.
6. Don't ever say you're willing to 'compromise.'
"If you talk about 'compromise,' they'll say you're selling out. Your side doesn't want you to 'compromise.' What you use in that to replace it with is 'cooperation.' It means the same thing. But cooperation means you stick to your principles but still get the job done. Compromise says that you're selling out those principles."
Given the last 2 years of the Republican party I'm not really sure why he bothered to include this one.
7. The three most important words you can say to an Occupier: 'I get it.' 
"First off, here are three words for you all: 'I get it.' . . . 'I get that you're angry. I get that you've seen inequality. I get that you want to fix the system."
Then, he instructed, offer Republican solutions to the problem.
Shorter Luntz: Say "I get it". Then explain to them why you don't get it.
8. Out: 'Entrepreneur.' In: 'Job creator.'

Use the phrases "small business owners" and "job creators" instead of "entrepreneurs" and "innovators."
I don't even understand the difference here, other than the need to add job to every republican initiative for the sake of doing it.
9. Don't ever ask anyone to 'sacrifice.'
"There isn't an American today in November of 2011 who doesn't think they've already sacrificed. If you tell them you want them to 'sacrifice,' they're going to be be pretty angry at you. You talk about how 'we're all in this together.' We either succeed together or we fail together."
So Frank Luntz has better awareness on this issue than Barack Obama. Awesome.
10. Always blame Washington.
Tell them, "You shouldn't be occupying Wall Street, you should be occupying Washington. You should occupy the White House because it's the policies over the past few years that have created this problem."
Back to the "lying" theme we've seen repeated several times.
Don't say 'bonus!'
Luntz advised that if they give their employees an income boost during the holiday season, they should never refer to it as a "bonus."

"If you give out a bonus at a time of financial hardship, you're going to make people angry. It's 'pay for performance.'"
The best part of this list, is you can see a room full of the 1% in suits furiously taking notes at Luntz' shocking suggestions.
Guy #1:"So if you give out a bonus at a time of financial hardship, you're going to make people angry."
Guy #2: "Wow, I'm so glad we came to this, how else would we have figured that out???"

The idea that Luntz gets paid ungodly sums of money to tell rich people how to lie to non-rich people pretty much says all you need to know about the state of the world in 2011.

Friday, December 2, 2011

The Joe Buck Disgusting Act of the Week: Governor Sam Brownback and Ruth Marcus

This happened a week or so ago so I know I'm late to the party, but let's look at a brief recap:
Emma Sullivan, of course, is the Kansas teenager who went on a field trip to the state capitol, listened to some remarks from Governor Sam Brownback, and tweeted:
Just made mean comments at gov. brownback and told him he sucked, in person #heblowsalot.
The governor's staff went ballistic, Sullivan's school principal demanded she apologize, the governor and the principal eventually backed down, Sullivan became an internet hero for a few minutes, and Ruth Marcus was appalled. "If you were my daughter," she wrote in the Washington Post, "you’d be writing that letter apologizing to Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback for the smartalecky, potty-mouthed tweet you wrote after meeting with him on a school field trip."
So as someone who writes a blog that calls politicians mean names I felt obliged to take time and thank Emma Sullivan for her contribution.

If Sam Brownback doesn't like being told he blows, maybe he should suck less?

And if Ruth Marcus has thinks it was a good use of her Washington Post column to bash this girl and her family, maybe she should suck less as well?

Maybe Ruth Marcus could have written a column about the fact that Sam Brownback has made a career out of demonizing gay people? Between that and few mean words, I'll tell you which one I think is a hell of a lot more offensive.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

It's Possible to Do the Right Thing

Despite popular belief, it is possible to be a politician and not whore yourself to banking industry:
Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley said today that she has filed suit against five major US banks for allegations related to mortgage fraud and unlawful property seizures. Coakley said she will hold a press conference at 1 p.m. today to detail the suit against Bank of America Corp., Wells Fargo & Co., JPMorgan Chase & Co, Citi, and Ally Financial.
I know that the president of the United States faces more political pressure than attorney generals from Massachusetts, New York or Delaware, but there is nothing stopping him from directing Eric Holder to look into these practices nationally. More importantly, he most certainly does not need use his political power to force a settlement that lets the banks of the hook.

I'm not saying any of this stuff is easy or without cost, I just think any excuses made for Obama on this front are particularly week. He has the power to investigate the banks, he has used his power to shield them from scrutiny instead.