Saturday, December 25, 2010

Obligatory Holiday Post

I'm not a huge holiday person. Not that there aren't things I enjoy, like spending time with family, but I'm just not into the whole grand production of Christmas. I honestly do not think I own any Christmas decorations (okay, I may have a decorative plate somewhere that is currently being used as a cat food dish).

It's not a "bah-humbug" type of mentality. I don't have any hostility towards the holidays, and I grew bored with the war on Christmas a long time ago. I don't slip into a rage if I see a fake Santa running around or see that other people enjoying these things. Good on them if they do, whatever makes you happy. If it's a blow-up Frosty doll, go with it. It's just that for me personally, I don't have a lot of interest, because it's not my thing.

But music is! And the holidays do provide me an opportunity to post this song, which I've always loved.

There's probably some deeper meaning in regards to my love of this song and my emotional disconnection from things like tinsel, reindeer, and everything else that encompasses the holiday spirit. But I have to go visit family and eat some stuff right now, so I'll refrain from the psychoanalysis. If you want to read a lovely write-up on the song, I suggest you go here.

Have a good one, and stay safe out there.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Day After Saturday "Fuck Yeah, Snowpocalypse!" Links

Another day, another glaring revelation that Fox News is nothing more then a propaganda outlet for the GOP. But who cares, right? We all know a direct order to slant the news coming from the managing editor at a news organization isn't actually news - Perhaps if they had found, say, personal emails among friends making fun of political opponents in private this would be a real story that indicates bias (bias!) in the media.

So as you've probably heard, Obama was really pissed that the Professional Left decided to take him up on that whole "Hold me accountable" thing. The Village, of course, is besides themselves with glee over the hippie punching. KThug notes that the villagers' memory of past 'centrist' victories is a bit off, and wonders if Obama has bought into the same history. I understand that there's not much Obama can do about the tax cut issue now. But I do hold him accountable for not pushing this issue when it should of been pushed - long before this lame-duck session, before it came down to a "do this or I'll shoot this dog" situation. And I really wish he'd learn from these things. It doesn't seem like he is.

With that said, no matter how much grief I give the current administration for their horrible negotiation skills and their naivety when it comes to dealing with the opposition , this whole "Let's primary Obama in 2012" thing? It's a really stupid idea. No guys, seriously. It's a really, really, stupid idea.

Bill Donahue, who is always mad, is now mad that the NY YMCA is betraying its religious roots by replacing Santa Claus with Frosty the Snowman this year. Yeah, I don't get it either.

This is quite possibly the stupidest "exposé" ever written by a Republican (and that's saying a lot). Did you know that food stamps can buy... FOOD? And that if you decide to max out all your funds for the month in one shopping trip, government-hired ninjas will NOT drop from the ceiling and instantly revoke all welfare-related luxuries? Quality reporting from Tucker Carlson's Daily Caller. This is right up there with the ever so trenchant "Obama isn't the type to go to the Applebee's Salad Bar" observation. Hey rich, over-entitled motherfuckers? Perhaps it would be less embarrassing for you if you'd just stop trying to pretend that you know anything at all about being someone other then a rich, over-entitled motherfucker.

Ah ha! I knew they were messing with me.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Star Tribune: Calling having sex with an unconcious person rape is "unusual"

Holy shit, this is really starting to piss me off.

In light of the rape charges against Wikileaks spokesperson Julian Assange, The Star Tribune has an article today about Sweden's "Liberal" laws regarding consent (those wacky Swedes with their egalitarianism!). I thought that was bad enough, but I shit you not, people, underneath the subtitle that actually says "Tales of flings at center of Assange case spotlight Sweden's unusual rape laws" it contains this line:

A minor threat or force, such as pulling an arm, can be enough to result in charges. Sex with a person who is unconscious, drunk or asleep can be classed as rape.

Yeah, it's usually classed as rape here in America too, you fucking morons. Because it's fucking rape. Really have to love how the author frames it at the same level as "pulling an arm". Because pulling an arm and fucking unconscious people without their consent? Totally the same thing.

You know, I have no idea what went down with Assange and those women. And if people want to try to find inconsistencies in story, or point out that the timing seems a bit suspect, fine, go for it. I'm skeptical myself. But you know what? Stop acting like the charge is bullshit on its own merits. It was bad enough when people were saying it was a farce because apparently if someone agrees to protected sex, they're to blame if their partner is a complete asshole and fucks them without it. This idea that withdrawn consent is somehow irrelevant, that someone's need to finish/not use a condom/demand acts that their partner does not want somehow overrides anyone's right to their own bodily autonomy is disgusting enough.

But now it's apparently "unusual" to call fucking someone that is unconscious what it is: rape.

Major fail, Star Tribune. Seriously, fuck you.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Don't Make Boehner Angry. You Wouldn't Like Him When He's Angry.

Oh hey! Guess who's all butthurt again about that fact that sometimes Democrats are actually still in congress and, you know, do stuff?

No. Guess again. And shame on you. She's a child.

Ding ding ding! That's right, we've all made Orangey McGee cry again because he is madder then hell that the Democrats might actually push something through the House that he doesn't personally like. He's so mad that he's tempted to use vulgarities to express just how really friggin' mad he is, so you best fetch your smelling salts before you read the ultimate smackdown on Democrat foolishness:

"I'm trying to catch my breath so I don't refer to this maneuver going on today as chicken crap, all right," the top-ranking House Republican said sarcastically, "but this is nonsense! We're 23 months from the next election and the political games have already started trying to set up the next election.

"We have an honest conversation at the White House about the challenges that we face to get out of here. ... And to roll this vote out today, it really is just ... it's what you think I was going to say," he said.

Oooo! You're in deep shit now, Demoncrats! Wait... "Chicken Crap"? Really dude?

Whatever. Anyway, Boehner's has a major sad because a wrench has been thrown into his bipartisany politicking. See, everything was going so well with his dealmaking with Obama and Co., in which Democrats will give anything and their grandmother so that Republicans can scream "syke!" and get their Bush Tax Cuts extended for the rich folks forever and ever. Perfection, and then sure enough, comes that damn Hell-Fire Pelosi to fuck everything up by actually acting like a leader and not sitting in a corner weeping silently while congressional aides throw spitballs at her like you are supposed to do, Pelosi. So as a result, Middle Class tax cuts passed the House, people. And now Republicans might have to argue keeping wasteful tax cuts for the wealthy that haven't done a damn thing for the economy on the merits of "Rich people rule, poor people drool" instead of just holding the rest of the country hostage for them. So unfair.

Harry Reid is also giving at least the illusion of playing hard ball with this issue, which means he will issue some sternly worded letters and frown a lot before he folds completely. And if he doesn't, we are in luck: Mitch McConnell has announced it dead on arrival in the Senate, as he has all 42 Republican senators sworn to vote against it. Which means it has no chance of passing, because to use something like reconciliation for this issue would be a low down dirty act that only the crappiest of people would ever attempt.

But back to Boehner and his hurt feelings: Why, Democrats, must you ruin the integrity of the congress with this vile act? Things were going so well and bi-partisany! Like when Obama screwed over federal workers in the name of sacrifice and the Republicans responded in kind by sacrificing some of their own priorities, like allowing the Democrats to pass legislation this session, allowing low-income children to eat lunch at school, or allowing the currently unemployed to keep up with their utility bills this Christmas. That's three (and counting) sacrifices for the price of one! How could you possibly turn your back on this wicked eleventy-thousand-dimensional chess Obama was working on?

Shame on you, Democrats. See, we need to freeze salaries and cut unemployment benefits to reduce that deficit that no one actually cares about. I supposed some could argue that keeping the high end tax cut would add trillions to our debt, but it's worth it because JOBS! And I'm sure that even though those tax cuts never created any job during the Bush years like they were supposed to, they will now with 9.8% unemployment and expiring unemployment benefits, because businesses with no customers will have the incentive to hire people to stare at the wall.

So to ask the rich to sacrifice the tax cut on their income above the amount that they are already getting a tax cut on? No way. And in case the waste and uselessness of these tax cuts aren't enough of an argument for you, won't you think of the will of the American people? After all, Republicans have assured us that the last election showed there is mandate on tax cuts, because don't we all remember the 2010 election, and how tax cuts were the most important issue for voters after jobs, health care, jobs, the war, jobs, low voter turnout, jobs, dissatisfaction with Obama, and jobs? Sure, polls consistently show the mandate does not actually exist and the overwhelming majority of people don't want to expand useless and wasteful tax cuts, but Republicans won the election, and obviously they did so because the public was able to read their minds and know that this would be the major issue they would push for.

But all in all, the drama is unnecessary because the White House will set this injustice straight by screwing over the Democrats in congress and their constituency by staying the course in their bi-partisan goals. This has worked out very well for them in the past, as we know from the last election. It's a brilliant move: By extending those olive branches to the Republicans, the Republicans wouldn't dare turn around and blame the Democrats for the utter failure of the economy, as that would be rude and unseemly, something the Republicans never are. It's not like trying to create a worse environment for the 2012 "Palinpalooza" election is their goal, or anything.

So relax, Boehner. Obama has promised you that he was wrong in not folding to you guys completely in the past, and he's learned from that. And he knows that gesture of goodwill will pay off in the future, when you join him in this national sacrifice by cutting entitlements to your own voter base, right? Guys?

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Big Picture

This just bums me out:

Webb has pushed for a onetime windfall profits tax on Wall Street's record bonuses. He talks about the "unusual circumstances of the bailout," that the bonuses wouldn't be there without the bailout.

"I couldn't even get a vote," Webb says. "And it wasn't because of the Republicans. I mean they obviously weren't going to vote for it. But I got so much froth from Democrats saying that any vote like that was going to screw up fundraising.

I honestly can't think of an idea that would be more popular. It throws some red meat to the liberal base, it would boost up the Democrats populist brand, and the Tea-Party-influenced Republican party would have a tough time arguing against it considering the lingering anger over bailouts, both real and imagined.

A lot of people get really pissed off at the "There's no difference between the two parties" mentality that a lot of those that have given up on politics seem to carry around on their backs. And yes, to an extent, it is annoying (I feel that a main difference between the two parties was aptly summed up by ED Kain a while back - at the very least, Democrats have some interest in governing). But when it comes to the Banana Republic in process that is killing our country, neither party is going to save us. At this point, you just wait until Alexander the Great decides to show up.

Hell, as much as I hate to say it, the Tea Party may be our best bet to break that trend. Not that the GOP can't find some way to temper the anti-Wall Street hostilities while holding on to the sentiment that they are on the peoples' side, the DNC has pulled off that dog and pony show very successfully for decades now. But at the very least, Tea Party populists have a voice in the current discussion, whereas we've framed the national discussion in a way that a Democrat will never be seen as a credible ally against monied interests (because of Teh Socialism). Odds are, actually making some leeway at dissolving the Wall Street/Government marriage is probably going to have to be a Nixon Goes to China situation.

I sure as hell don't know how to fix it.

Meh. Maybe I'm just bugging off this Sinfest comic.

Via ObWi

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Because it's a seasonal internet tradition...

You need to watch at least one video of cars sliding down an icy hill. And this one has a bus!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Wait, Wait, Don't Tax Me

Hey! Do you know what would totally solve that whole deficit crisis thing that most people don't really care about? Getting rid of the funding for those Nazis over at NPR because of their violation of the first amendment when they stopped giving Juan Williams a paycheck.

Also too - doing away with earmarks. So long as they are not for transportation projects concerning Minnesota's 6th district, because as we all know, those aren't really earmarks at all, because Michele Bachmann says so, and we all know that earmarks freedom dollars for transportation projects desired by Republicans can never be wasteful.

So... It's become pretty obvious at this point that the GOP establishment is going to attempt to keep their Tea Partiers at bay with symbolic spending cuts that are aimed more at pissing off liberals then helping reduce the country's deficit burden. Which the Tea Party will dig because really guys, it's never been about taxes with them. Ever. And golly, who could have predicted that the Republicans wouldn't be serious about actually cutting spending after a full ten years of paying lip services to fiscal responsibility while going on a mad spending spree?

I would hope that the Democrats start hitting Republicans hard on this. I mean, seriously? How fucking stupid do you have to be to say that a bridge isn't an earmark when the most well-known joke of an earmark is a fucking bridge? I mean, I know the whole bridge thing was supposed to be shifted to ridiculing funding for volcano monitoring and all, but that didn't work out so well, did it? No, it's the bridge, it's always the bridge, that will be the symbol of wasteful spending, and will someone please throw this in Bachmann's face?

But I bring this up not just to hate on Bachmann, because it would be snarky and immature to use a blog post to point out yet again that she's a complete moron. No, I bring this up because there's an obvious theme here guys. And it's probably about time we started playing on it.

Despite all the bravado and sweet talk from the supposed spending slashers in congress, they have no interest in actually cutting spending. "Big Government", in the sense of "I don't want my tax money to help those people", sure. And if they can destroy a few liberal institutions under the guise of "cutting spending, they will toe that party line, because merely stating "Well, why wouldn't we? It pisses off liberals, doesn't it?" doesn't sell as well with independents as it does with the base. But as far as actual spending cuts go? NPR? That's nothing. Even earmarks, as much grief as they get, are nothing more then a tiny, minuscule amount of what makes up government spending, and are taken out of already appropriated money. And if you are just going to exempt those things that your constituents want, it's completely meaningless.

The big problem we have right now in terms of the deficit is health care. Mind you, this is what the Democrats shot themselves in the head over trying to fix (and didn't get that far, in some respects), and what the Republicans, in an attempt to appease the Tea Party, want to dismantle, even though they have no viable suggestions on how to fix what is the real problem with our deficit outlook today. Their health care "plan" actually adds to the deficit. But sure, let's ignore all that and ban some earmarks.

It's a pretty simple soundbite. The only thing borrow and spend Republicans like more then promising to lower your taxes is benevolently receiving the gratitude of their constituents at ribbon cutting ceremonies. It would be very helpful to the health of the country if we started pointing that out.

And yes, I realize that attempting to point out the Republican bait and switch in regards to spending is playing within their frame of "spending = bad". Yes, the liberal in me would love to have a discussion about the positive effect government spending can have in it's citizens lives (Look at this graph. Look at the income tax rates. Then think of your history, and what this country accomplished during the time of high income tax rates. Now look at what those rates are currently. Now think of the last awesome thing this country has actually done to make us the envy of the world. Then cry a little). And likewise, the libertarian in me would love to have an actual discussion about wasteful spending programs, usually those that revolve around the "This is completely useless, but the base will love it" types like drug wars, actual wars, border fences, failed education programs, and close-your-legs-problem-solved sex education.

But we can't have either of these conversations until we point out the obvious fact that today's mainstream "fiscal conservatives" just... aren't. And that's going to be hard to shake, because the stink of "fiscally conservative" Republicans "tax and spend" liberals rhetoric that has been around since Reaganomics screwed us all (and even he raised taxes) is still going strong in popular culture today. But until we start making some inroads in regards to why this dogma is completely false, until we start pointing out that amazingly enough, those services and projects that you liked weren't actually paid for by unicorn farts, we have to argue within this framework in order to destroy it.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Saturday Links (That I actually got up on a Saturday!)

Ah, winter in Minneapolis. The peaceful serenity of gentle flakes floating lightly to the ground. The picturesque branches of lonely November trees being weighted down by pretty white glistening jackets of snow. The crazy guy at the end of my block screaming obscenities at the top of his lungs in 30-90 second intervals at eight in the morning.

Yes, the snowy season is here, and as a result, I've made it my goal to not step foot outside of my house today. Which means, I have Saturday links! On a Saturday!

Kind of blogged myself into a corner with the last post. Had a lot of people tell me that post made them feel a little better about the election. So it's kind of hard to follow up a message of "Hey dudes, it will be okay" with a message of FUCK YOU WISCONSIN I WANT MY GODDAMMED HIGH SPEED RAIL TO CHICAGO I HOPE YOU DIE IN A FUCKING FIRE the following day. So I ate that anger, people. For the sake of your feelings. You're welcome.

Want some links?

Tough love: LaHood tells states attempting to opt out of high-speed rail projects that they must return the money and cannot use it on other transportation projects. Wisconsin is already pulling a "What? You mean if we don't build that rail line, those jobs you promised us won't exist? How does that work?" on this. New Jersey gets it the worst, as they are being billed for the work that already went into a rail tunnel that was scrapped by the Governor. More of this, please.

Why I don't cook at home. Seriously, if it weren't for my husband, I'd starve (or have a heart attack by age 30).

So apparently now it's not enough to save the jobs of the asshole failures on Wall Street that brought the country to it's knees (because god forbid we give other, more competent people a chance at those jobs), we are now allowing them to run over people with their cars and drive away. Because they are the best and brightest we have, people. (via Hullabaloo)

Ta-Nehisi Coates riffs off of Radley Balko and puts together a post regarding the violated social contract between the police and its citizens. Go. Read.

Celestina has some useful and humorous suggestions for alternatives to the "like" button that is so prevalent on social media these days. I do really need a "I know I'm an asshole" button.

I've been bugging off of this article for a few days now. It's a pretty thorough explanation of what exactly went wrong in the United States that set the course for the clusterfuck that we are in now. I'm sure the people that need to read and understand these lessons will pass it off as European garbage. But I think it's about time we started being honest with ourselves about the path this country is on. What's at the end does not look promising for us. (via Balloon Juice)

And finally, for those that haven't seen it yet, the uncut interview of Jon Stewart by Rachel Maddow is up on Maddow's MSNBC site. It's long, but it's worth a viewing if you have an hour to kill. I won't get too much into it, as everyone else is talking about it and probably has better insights then I do. So I'll just point out a couple of things I took away from it, one, Stewart's explanation of why he doesn't "get on the field". I've never been one to desire Stewart to be a hard-core partisan; I felt his strength was always in skewering the news cycle. But I have to admit that I was frustrated about the Rally to Restore Sanity, in the sense that, really dude? Three days before an election and you couldn't even encourage people to vote? Is it partisan to urge participation in the political process? But I do understand what he's saying, in the sense that once he does get into that game, he loses what he calls his liberties that come with being a satirist. So I take the point.

However, the other thing I take away is that I don't think he really understands what liberals are upset about when it comes to his equivalency in political rhetoric, or why we see it as false. I wish Maddow would have pressed him on this a bit more, because I felt her complaint that the left is often held to a tougher standard on rhetoric because it is often accepted as institutionalized on the right was a valid point, and one which Stewart didn't provide a decent answer for. It's as if he wants to frame the critique as "people on the right are crazy, people on the left are sane, why won't you point this out?", and that's not really the argument. Most people won't dispute the fact that the left and right both contain ass-loads of crazy. The issue is that the right tends to mainstream their crazy, while the left disowns anything that could be seen as remotely crazy. Michael Moore and Al Gore are still pariahs. But Newt Gingrich is seen as a major player in the Republican party. You cannot grab an anonymous comment on Daily Kos and compare it to a comment made by Congresswoman Bachmann and say "See? Both sides are nuts, what we need is rationality from them". In regards to the larger media, I think the example regarding the Tea Party disruptions of Town Halls during the Health Care debates and Code Pink also illustrate this: Code Pink is, rightfully or no, dismissed as radicals by the mainstream media, while what is, in actuality, nothing more than a re-branding of Bircherism is seen as the greatest political revolution this country has seen in the past twenty years. So when someone like Maddow seizes on this, and is then dismissed as a partisan hack, people understandably become upset. I think the idea that pointing out this phenomenon within our current political discourse is somehow hackery or a barrier to honest debate shows that yes, there are different standards here.

Well, I suppose I should probably go walk the dog. Hopefully crazy profanity screaming guy has worked out all his anger issues by now.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Teapocalypse Now?

Remember Election Night 2004? So do I. I was feeling pretty optimistic. Yeah, you knew, on a certain level, that you probably weren't going to get what you wanted out of the elections. But living in Minneapolis, and seeing all the sign waving and excitement that enveloped the city, this idea that yes, yes, we are finally going to get the crazy out of office and go back to our normal lives tomorrow, you almost got a sense that hell yeah, we could do this. So my naive, over-liberal self went to bed happy. And I woke up the next day to what I thought at the time was absolute hell. It was this crushing realization that no, elections weren't reasonable. The realization that people actually wanted these assholes in office. All in all, it was a rough day.

You'd think I'd feel the same way today. I know a lot of my fellow liberals are taking it pretty hard. And there are regrettable events that happened Tuesday night. We lost Feingold. We kept Reid. Iowa voted out three of the state justices that ruled gay marriage bans unconstitutional. Nancy Pelosi lost her Speaker of the House position. Yes, Democrats kept the Senate, but that's really only because Sarah Palin is an idiot that stuck her nose in where it didn't belong. Local elections were a disaster for Democrats, and this will have pretty dire consequences when it comes to redistricting. Ron Paul 2.0 (now with even more unchecked privilege issues!) will explain to us for years to come why it's our patriotic duty to kick black people out of our stores and force women to bear children while ripping out the social safety net from under them, all while pundits nod thoughtfully along at his new, fresh, hip ideas. And good lord, the punditry out right now, driving everyone mad with their "This just proves Obama must move to the center/this just proves the majority of Americans love the Tea Party" narrative that was actually formed last August (2009, not 2010). If there's one thing I learned on election night, it's that I really, really, really hate cable news pundits. And there is the frustrating fact that Lucy gets to hold up the football again, and yes, she will pull it away again (you honestly think Republicans are going to cut Social Security or find a way to pay for their tax cuts or entitlement programs? Bwa ha ha ha!) but when she pulls it away someone, somewhere, will scream that it was George Soros instead, and the mess starts all over again.

It gets old.

But oddly enough, I'm not angry. Or really that sad. I'm more reflective, I suppose. Perhaps this is some sort of mental defense mechanism, but I just can't bring myself to be that upset over this. Perhaps it's because unlike past disappointing elections, I pretty much expected today to end up like it did (Country's going to hell, but I was right! Go me!). I knew Republicans would take the House, history dictates that the opposing party usually does, and we always knew that Health Care reform was a suicide mission. I knew the media was giving the Tea Party movement a legitimacy they did not deserve, and as such, creating a self-fulfilling prophecy. I knew we weren't going to get the voter turnout we had in 2008, not just because it was a midterm election, but also because Obama set a bar so high he wouldn't have been able to reach it with a ladder, leaving no other option but disappointment (And shit y'all, Dancing with the Stars is on). It was easily predictable, and there's nothing to be done about it now. Election cycles happen. But as a small comfort, when I look at the larger picture, I just don't see this election as any sort of defining moment in politics. I know that demographics and history are always on my side, and the Republicans have decided to fight what can only be a losing battle against those realities. They apparently have no interest in reaching out to new voting bases and instead are actively alienating them in order to appeal to their xenophobic base. I can take small pleasure in knowing that this will not work out well for them. So on that level, I'm fine, and will just wait patiently for the next two years, or four years, to pass.

But in the meantime...

I'd go into the lessons Democrats could learn from this massive loss, but I already have, and most of that hasn't changed (anyone else note that the Blue Dogs lost half of their members, making up half of the Democratic seats lost? But no story there, right? No, America just loves Tea!). Although I neglected to add SELL! SELL! SELL! to that list, because Democrats are astoundingly bad at that. No, the public didn't like things like the stimulus or the GM bailout. But these things worked. And unlike Health Care, we can see clear, obvious results in them. Democratic polices halted the unemployment drop, and saved many jobs (not as many as it could have, but still). GM, who was pretty much done for, is now increasing production for their Cadillac brand in Michigan. Democrats seemed to think that because these policies were so unpopular, they should never revisit them again, even if they were sucessful. This is a bad idea. The public doesn't understand policy, sure. But they sure as hell understand results. And I think "We saved the fucking American auto industry" is a pretty good sell. So why not mention it?

But like yelling at clouds, while a fun activity sometimes, talking about what the Democrats should do is a waste of time if you aren't a Very Serious "centrist" that writes for a major newspaper and has awesome ideas about how to invade countries in order to save the economy. So bah, Democrats. Right now I'm more interested in what the Republicans are going to have to deal with.

The GOP had a good night, but it's not all roses and champagne for them, mainly because it was their party that became the Tea Party's bitch Tuesday night. Appeasing this crowd seems right up the GOP's alley, being that the actual message of the Tea Party is "Medicare-funded scooters for me, but seriously, fuck anyone that doesn't look like me", but it's not 1970 anymore and such a blatant appeal to xenophobia isn't going to work for them. So the Republicans are going to have to figure out a way to appear as small government advocates while appeasing an aging and ailing crowd that only grows more dependent on programs like Medicare and Social Security, figure out a way to toss red meat to the religious-right (yep, they still exist!) while not stepping on the toes of Anti-Government interventionist libertarians, and figure out a way to appeal to the real, blue-collar 'murikans while making sure those corporate donations that benefited them so handsomely in this midterm keep rolling in.

Needless to say, it's a lot to balance.

Not to mention, they have to actually govern again, instead of just whining about how unfair everything is, and we know from past experience that doesn't work out all that well for them. They are already trying to downplay their control of the House while at the same time describing the election to be a mandate on Obama's policies. It's a nice attempt, but the high profile of this midterm election will be a double-edged sword. Sure, the "Tea-Party Tsunami" makes for great headlines for the party right now. But it also adds renewed interest in their procedures; newly-minted Speaker of the House John Bohner is not going to be a greatly unknown and uncared about public figure like some Speakers have gotten away with (remember Hastert? No? Me either). I'd actually feel bad for Boehner if he weren't such a douchbag, I have a feeling he got all choked up during his speech not because he was so moved by America but because he realizes that in another two years, he'll be the most hated politician on the planet. Have fun, buddy!

With the spotlight on them, Republicans are not going to be able to blame Obama for things like shutting down congress or, if they really are that stupid, and they might be, pushing for impeachment. But their Tea Party overlords are demanding nothing less, and they are some seriously vengeful, grudge-holding people. They are still reacting to the culture in the 60s, for fuck's sake. And being that they've told us, again and again, that no, they really *didn't* like Bush and really *did* care about his excessive spending, wasteful wars, and assaults on civil liberties, it's going to be a lot harder to whistle past the graveyard when the same pattern repeats itself. The Republicans themselves set this own trap for themselves, describing their wins as second chances. We've changed, baby, we promise. Always a party that has been quite brilliant at bucking narratives that could damage them in the long run, this time, they've embraced an unobtainable goal with open arms. And in return, their hands are tied. As a commenter on my local newspaper put it (and I'm paraphrasing here, because I'm not digging through that cesspool to find it again): "Congrats, Republicans! Now fix everything in two years." In short, welcome to Obama's hell, GOP.

Now, there are still things that work in their favor, mainly our ever-stupid media and the ever-present corporate interests that have even more sway thanks to the Citizens United ruling. The public will lose interest, and like I said, look at results and not policy, so they could throw blame on Obama for congressional gridlock (which Republicans want, as they are at their best when playing the victim). But the GOP has a huge problem, they've created not only a "big tent" but a "big tent full o' crazy assholes who think the GOP owes them big" and they just can't stuff that Tea Monster they've been poking for the past few years back under the bed, anymore then they can keep the libertarians, social conservatives, or corporatists under there. And when there's a whiff of possible power in the air, all of these groups are going to make a grab for their own piece of that pie, and if they are denied, turn on each other. It's only a matter of time before the GOP circular firing squad breaks out, and for anyone not in that circle, it's going to be an amazing thing to watch. The schism that has been slowly widening in the GOP is going to become a series of wide gashes that no band-aids or Contracts with America will be able to cover.

The Republican's strength in the past was always their uncanny ability to keep everyone in line, and on point. This is not feasible anymore, because the Republicans long abandoned actual ideas in favor of "liberals hate it, so it must be awesome". Sadly, liberals hate a lot of things, we even hate each other most of the time, so it goes without saying that some of these things aren't going to jive nicely with each other, and back into the circular firing squad they go. So now Republicans will have to learn how to deal with the enemies of your enemy's enemy, and I doubt the Democrats, who have been herding those damn cats for decades now, are open to giving them any pointers on that front. It's more of a point and laugh situation, actually.

It's interesting, I always figured that the GOP would run into trouble once it's "small government" values and "social conservative" values ran up against each other (which they can't help but do). But this Tea Party faction is a different beast entirely. These guys don't even want democracy, or consistency. They just want to rule, and scream bloody murder and wave around guns if they don't get their way. I really have no idea how one can successfully deal with that and still appeal to the majority of the country.

Best of luck, guys.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Politics gone to the dogs

Even though I agree with them on an ethical level, I think that pet store bans are a bit of overkill. So when I first saw the headline to this, I was sure that the subject was the proposed California ban a while back. But instead, it's an all out protest against... basic standards for humane care by dog breeders:

A conservative group in Missouri is picking up the backing of the Tea Party and Joe The Plumber in its quest to stop the Humane Society and other animal rights groups from passing "radical" anti-puppy mill legislation.

The measure, which can be read in full here, is called Proposition B or the "Puppy Mill Cruelty Prevention Act." It aims to help eliminate the "3000 puppy mills" in Missouri that constitute "30% of all puppy mills in the U.S.," according to Michael Markarian, the Chief Operating Officer of the Humane Society.

"This measure would provide common sense standards for the care of dogs," he told TPM, including sufficient food and clean water, vet care, regular exercise, and adequate rest between breeding cycles, among other things. Markarian said the measure only applies to "commercial dog breeding facilities" that have more than 10 breeding females who they use for "producing puppies for the pet trade."

It just seems like a bizarre, non-winning issue to push: This is America, goddammit, and here in America we support raising litters of puppies ankle-deep in their own shit! I will not stand for this shortage of ill-raised cheap puppies with multiple health health problems that will cost me a fortune in future vet bills! Is there really that large of a block of dog-hating voters out there? Did they just need some new organization to vilify? Wait... Humane Society = Humane = Humanity = OMGSOCIALISM.

The joke was always that right-wingers would support biting the heads off of live kittens if it pissed off liberals enough. Maybe that's next.

Of course, as an aside, if you are going to go the opposite route and play to the dog-lovers crowd, you probably better make sure your dog isn't biting the shit out of other dogs. And Labradors, at that; the most beloved dog of the heartland. Why does Carl Paladino's dog hate America?

Sunday, October 3, 2010

And they say we're lost, and I say you're right.

Too annoyed with the news as of late to do links this weekend. Here's Sims instead.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

I don't really think there's a way to present these findings without pissing off a lot of people.

This really doesn't surprise me in the least:

On average, people who took the survey answered half the questions incorrectly, and many flubbed even questions about their own faith.

Those who scored the highest were atheists and agnostics, as well as two religious minorities: Jews and Mormons. The results were the same even after the researchers controlled for factors like age and racial differences.

"Even after all these other factors, including education, are taken into account, atheists and agnostics, Jews and Mormons still outperform all the other religious groups in our survey," said Greg Smith, a senior researcher at Pew.

Let's all take a moment to be smug about that. Done? Okay.

I remember back in my younger, more assholish days debating the religion on the internets, and my big scare factor was that although I wasn't a person of faith, I was raised Catholic, so I knew that bible inside and out. So don't try to fool me, fundies, 'cause read something once. I know your game.

Ah, more assholish days, how I miss you sometimes.  

Anyway, someone informed me that stating I was raised Catholic really doesn't boost up my bible-learnin' bona fides, as the fact that Catholics don't actually read the bible is somewhat of a running joke within the Church. To which I was like, what the hell did they do to pass the time during the Sunday faith marathon then? Because what with the mass and the Sunday school classes and all, it gets a bit long and boring. I guess to pass the time they'd just tell jokes about Catholics. Or more likely be devout, because I suppose a lot of them took it more seriously then I did.

The obvious, enjoyable and cliché observation here is that naturally anyone that actually learns about their own religion wouldn't want any part of it (because it's lame, ha!). The less offensive interpretation is that a serious reading through these religious texts can only bring to one's attention the contradictions within them, and this will eventually make a person skeptical. But more likely it's that those that are more inclined to be skeptical in the first place would probably take on the process of reading through these texts because they have an intellectual interest in doing so, and are not content to merely rely on faith and the preacher's interpretation.

But there's also the factor that major religions like Christianity can still be major players in public policy today, so there's a strong tendency to play along within the sphere of religion when discussing law and politics. Athiests and Agnostics are aware that just saying "I don't believe the same thing you do" has no sway in these sorts of debates, it's just taken as proof that they are wrong. So those that aren't inclined to believe that law X must be passed or else baby Jesus will cry tend to buck up on information to defeat the faith-based monster that's always sniffing around in our panty drawers. Once you start using one's one faith to counter faith-based arguments, you start playing on their field, you can't as easily be passed off as an unreliable observer or ignored.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

James O'Keefe back in the media doing dumb shit again

This is just bizarre. Naturally it reeks of misogyny, because O'Keefe is an equal opportunity bigot and it just wouldn't be ground-breaking journalism if he wasn't picking on someone that committed the crime of not being a white dude. But I'm pretty good at picking up that sort of code, and I'm not even sure what the point of this "prank" is supposed to be about. The MSM is overrun by sexy blonds pushing their sexy blond agenda? Blond women are only credible if they are on Fox? Bitches be stupid? The media is totally liberal because... hey look a dildo? Female journalists can't be trusted because all they want is sexytime? Seriously, can someone explain this one to me?

I just can't see how horrifying a CNN reporter by sexually harassing her would make CNN look bad. The only way this would work out as a positive for O'Keefe would be if he was actually able to seduce this reporter. So the guy is either an idiot or completely out of his mind.

Maybe he thought that she would try to fake-seduce him right back?

Edit: Actually, the more I think about it, the more I think that last part is what is going on. He seems to think that CNN is sending out blonde bombshells to target poor hapless conservatives, so maybe he thought once she thought she had an opening, she'd play up the fake-seduction thing herself and he could rail on about how CNN is using sex to get dirt on people. The dude's shown himself to be kind of a misogynist in the past, so it wouldn't surprise me at all if he thought this angle was the most damning, that conservatives were being victimized by these beautiful succubus reporters - if you take on the view that women rule everything because men are helpless in the face of hawtness you probably would sympathize with that. It's still stupid, but that is a strong theme in patriarchy, so it would have probably worked. That's the generous view of a possible motive, anyway.

Obama has better things to do then listen to you whiny bastards


Admonishing his own party, President Barack Obama says it would be "inexcusable" and "irresponsible" for unenthusiastic Democratic voters to sit out the midterm elections, warning that the consequences could be a squandered agenda for years.

Dude, no. This isn't how it works.

"People need to shake off this lethargy. People need to buck up," Mr. Obama told Rolling Stone in an interview to be published Friday.

It's your fucking job (or the job of your PR people, who seem to have abandoned your administration the second you took office) to get people to "shake off this lethargy". You don't guilt people into voting for you by treating them like bratty little kids. You earn people's votes by virtue of the job you do.

The president told Democrats that making change happen is hard and "if people now want to take their ball and go home, that tells me folks weren't serious in the first place."

Oh god. The stupid. It burns. This is exactly the problem, brainiac. When you make people believe that your policies will place a unicorn in every garage, and instead a few years after you take office most people don't even have the garage anymore let alone the unicorn in it, people start to think that maybe this whole hopey-changy thing was somewhat of a farce, you know, that you guys weren't that serious in the first place, so why the hell skip "Dancing with the Stars" to vote for your asses again?

I'm just amazed at how tone-deaf this strategy is, especially considering who it's coming from. Did these guys really forget what won them the election? He has to have some basic level of understanding about what worked for his campaign. Yet he takes it as an affront that he has to actually appeal to these voters again. How does he go from the candidate that spoke for millions of Americans, who felt they finally found a voice in his election, to talking down to these supporters like they are spoiled little children?

This is a huge disconnect here. It's like he wants to pass every complaint against him off as unreasonable, when in reality, he's dealing with a pretty understanding crowd (the professional left still has yet to parade around Washington carrying guns and talking about overthrowing the government). Look dude, I understand that Jane Hamsher can be annoying most of the time. But that doesn't instantly turn every left-leaning person into some sort of extremist. Wanting better health care is not unreasonable. Wanting to repeal DADT is not unreasonable. Wanting you to stand up to Republicans when they are deliberately clogging the works is not unreasonable. Wanting to do away with tax cuts for the rich is not unreasonable. Wanting to put people to work is not unreasonable. Time and time again, no matter how well it actually polls in this country, this administration feels it has to put a firm wall between what they are doing and what liberals might like them to do, and the absurdity is almost to the point where I think that's the whole goal. It really doesn't matter if it's the most common-sense solution imaginable (*cough* bigger stimulus), if it makes even one conservative sad, they'll drop it like it's hot. Time and time again, no matter how many times it's been shown that the "professional left" was actually right in their criticisms, they still need to get the gold star of approval from the Republican crowd that has, mind you, been wrong, very wrong, about pretty much everything, last week, last year, last decade. This makes no sense, unless we take a grander view of the whole picture, that the system is rigged, and assume they want too these policies that seem to fail the majority of Americans in favor of the few and privileged, and are just feeding everyone a line. And if that is the case, you sure as hell don't get to guilt the supporters that longed for something different.

We could take the hippie punching if it got results. It doesn't. We could take the appeal to the right-wingers, if there was any chance he could win a few over in this political climate. He can't. We'd understand there are fights they can't win, if they didn't seem to run scared from all of them at the first mention. They do. We could take the compromise, if he didn't sell the farm off at the first bid and offer up the barn and tractor for nothing. He does.

Obviously it would be stupid to stay home and let some of these crazies march into office. And I suppose on some level I can understand a guilt trip that people have to vote for them because the opposition is fucking crazy. But with Obama trotting out this "irresponsible" crap and Biden running around saying liberal supporters are all "whiners" because gosh, some might not buy into the idea that they are owed these votes? This is not the way to reach people. Shit, there's times I won't even do the dishes merely because I sense that my husband is trying to guilt me into doing them. And that's the fucking dishes. This strategy is a horrible, horrible idea. There are so many better ways to handle this.

Which I should probably get into at some point, instead of just snarking and bitching all the time on here.

(via Echidne)

Friday, September 24, 2010

Post in which I start with making fun of Tom Emmer and once again default to the concern that our country is doomed.

The husband mentioned to me last night that Tom Emmer has a new ad out appealing to his gay hatin' base. For the most part, it's framed as that moderate and reasonable concern that Minnesotans might not have the freedom to be able to vote in order to deny people the same basic rights they themselves enjoy. Because putting it to a popular vote was always how civil rights were won in the past, which worked because Americans are always reasonable people that can see past their own fear and prejudice when it comes to defending the constitution and bill of rights. In fact, I'm not sure why we have to have things like courts to uphold civil rights and liberties at all, since we've always done such a good job on that subject.

Emmer's angle here strikes me at first to be to be pretty desperate - if you have to dress up your rhetoric to hide your actual meaning, doesn't that mean you've already lost that battle in popular opinion? Once you have to start whistling to the dogs, I think you've lost that battle. I'm kind of surprised, to be honest; I didn't think Emmer would touch the culture wars this election. I assumed it was his Achilles heel that just begs for "extreme right-winger" counter attacks, something I assumed wouldn't do him any favors in a gubernatorial election in a overwhelmingly moderate and politically tuned in state. Yes, these social issues, no matter how much the fiscal conservatives want to say otherwise, are still simmering underneath the tea-party kettle. But for the most part, they aren't brought to the forefront of important issues for this election year, because the conventional wisdom tells us that it's the economy, stupid.

But the latest poll from Rasmussen shows Emmer leading. And even if you allow for the right-leaning Rasmussen's habit of tinkering with polls to get a desired outcome, that's still way too close.

And it's not just Emmer.

Bachmann's new ad surprised me as well - in which she tries to link Tarryl Clark to Nancy Pelosi (Clark isn't on your side! She's on Nancy Pelosi's side! OMG!). Running against Nancy Pelosi in local elections has traditionally been a failing strategy for Republicans (see recent elections in NY-23, PA-12). Mainly because aside from the political junkies, no one really knows who Nancy Pelosi is, but also because on the local level, your constituents don't really care about Nancy Pelosi's evil socialist plan, they just want their damn potholes fixed. If Tarryl Clark could get her act together and start taking an offensive stance rather then a defensive one (and if she could stop with the over-enunciation in her ads, because it's starting to creep me out), I think she could burn Bachman pretty bad at this point. She's showing her weak side - if all you have is Hell-Fire-Pelosi, you've really got nothing. But Bachman too, is leading in the polls.

So I have to wonder what the hell is going on here, first, why would these two candidates switch up their campaigns and play with desperate, decisive tactics? And second, why does it appear to be working? Both Emmer and Bachman have hit some low points: Emmer with his son's passed-out-chick penis art, millionaire restaurant servers and grand speeches at businesses saved by policies he was against, Bachman with her loyalty to the tea-party, "Jim the Voter Guy thinks you're a moron" campaign, and well, the fact she's fucking insane. But these snafus have not seemed to affect them in the polls, they still show them to be pretty strong contenders. So what gives? What constituency could they possibly be playing for?

Oh yeah. Them.

If you asked me a year or so ago about this phenomenon, I'd of told you it's both hilarious and awesome. The more extreme the right gets, the more the country will back away slowly and go with people that aren't appealing to the worst in America. And I'd probably say the same thing today, but the truth is, I'm starting to get worried.

I can't help but recall a few other things that have happened as of late, mainly Karl Rove's bowing and scraping to the Tea Party after he hurt Delaware Senate hopeful Christine O'Donnell's feelings and Newt Gingrich's adoption of his new favorite "Did you notice Obama's a black dude" argument. Understand who we are talking about here - Newt came out pretty strong last year as the new moderate voice of the Republican party (there must of been a book he needed to sell), leading the heads of lefties everywhere to explode because dude, if Newt is your moderate, that means your party is off the rails. It seems like only yesterday that my main fear was Newt would be the one to shift the political discourse further to the right, because of these attempts to paint himself as the rational prodigy in a sea of crazy. And as for Bush's brain? Karl Fucking Rove? This was the guy that prided himself on being the 24-hour news cycle talking point setter. If Karl Rove thought that kittens were taking over America by force, the lead story of the day would be about hairballs of mass destruction. You didn't disagree with Rove. Ever. This guy ruled politics for over a decade. That Rove crumbled and Newt decided his gravy train was flowing from the other side of crazy sets a dire tone for the GOP establishment - those harmless little teabagging puppies they pet and cooed and wiped up after to in order to buck up enthusiasm for their party have now grown into frothing beasts that that bite you, shit all over the place and refuse to go back in the crate.

Again, this would probably work in the Democrat's favor under normal circumstances, but Democrats have shown themselves to be complete fucking idiots when it comes to campaigning this year, and that the enthusiasm gap is very, very real. That's right, they can't even get rid of the Bush Tax Cuts for the wealthy (despite overwhelming support in battle ground states), and doesn't the fact that we are still calling them the Bush Tax Cuts rather then, you know, the new, improved, Obama Tax Cuts for the middle class tell you all you need to know about how poorly the DNC is playing this one? And it makes me want to bang my head against the wall, because the movement conservative takeover of the GOP is giving the Democrats an absurd amount of material to work with. The mask is slipping, guys. Take advantage of that. The Democrats can hit the Republicans pretty hard right now, and any whining on behalf of the GOP's party would come across as vapid and silly (you can't really preach about angry old liberals when your party is calling for armed rebellion and talking about how the President is the enemy of America). So this is a rare time that the Democrats actually could be assholes to their opponents and get away with it! This is the rare time that they could actually reach out to their own base and let them know that even though they are fucked over every other election year, they really are appreciated sometimes. This is the rare time that they could actually win against the beltway wisdom, because even the Very Serious people in the DC media circuit can't defend this level of crazy.

And they do... nothing. Goodness, they wouldn't want to rock the capsized boat. People might get angry or call for impeaching the president or something. People that would never vote for them might not vote for them. No, instead of attacking all this crazy right in front of their own faces they instead attack their own base, you know, that professional left that never did anything for them but get Obama elected. And this is the situation at hand going into these 2010 elections, a naive and moronic DNC versus an insane and moronic GOP. And we all know who's yelling the loudest and will be turning out in droves on November 2nd:

Yeah. Them.

Update: Emmer's ad was actually put out by the National Organization for Marriage. I'm not sure how much influence Emmer had over it, if any (it does contain footage from ads the Emmer campaign did put out). Emmer does state favoring a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage on his campaign website.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Day After Saturday Links

Arrr me mateys! Thar be not a lot of seafarin' adventures writ on th' captain's log this week, but don't forget to celebrate Talk Like a Pirate Day in all it's pirate-y goodness.

Dude you have no Koran auto-tune remix. It's... catchy. (via Balloon Juice)

The Rally to Restore Sanity and the March to Keep Fear Alive are coming to the National mall this October 30th. This should be good.

Mice with human brains. Good lord, this country is stupid.


Hey now, considering the type of stuff NY gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino could be sending out, I'd thank my lucky stars all I got was a smelly mailer.

Narcissists? On The Facebook? You don't say!

Meh. Seriously, I got nothing.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

No one could have predicted

So apparently Pastor What's-His-Name, the now famous insane book-burning fundamentalist guy, will totally reconsider roasting marshmallows over his bonfire of Korans if the president personally calls him and asks him to stop with the silly. Which, you know, Obama can't really do. Because then he'd have to personally call all the other crazy-ass people and ask them not to do crazy-ass things. And being that this is America, that would pretty much be a full-time job.

So instead, the media has seen fit to wring their hands in deep concern and give this pastor 24-hour news coverage to ensure that his little hate-fest will be broadcast and talked about all across the world, enraging anti-American sentiments everywhere, while the Very Serious people opine: "Damn, look at that crazy motherfucker. Can you believe how crazy that motherfucker is? Seriously, that is one crazy-ass motherfucker. More at 11".

I mean, we get it, guys. The dude is a potent combination of being 2/3s crazy and 1/3 camwhore. His elevator doesn't go all the way to the top floor, but he stops on every floor and flashes his naughty bits at whomever is there when the doors part. He has a few screws loose because he's too busy making the power drill make that loud "WHIRRRR!" sound. Insert some other failed attempt at witticism here. And another. We get it. People be crazy. People be wanting attention. Realistically, this is basically equivalent to plastering the Phelps klan's antics on the front page on a daily basis. Yet this is the biggest post-labor day story ever, and unfortunately that means people are starting to get pretty pissed off about it.

It would of been better off if we could sweep this guy under the rug like we do for the rest of our cranks. Not that there isn't a story here, because there is; but it's really not what the media is making it out to be. For me, this just is the logical conclusion that comes about in our political climate this summer. Because maybe, just maybe, if some people in the county hadn't been getting their jollies this August by whipping up anti-Muslim fervor, we wouldn't have to worry about Douchebag Mcgee and his merry band of bigots. But who could of foreseen that this would happen when morons were running around on every radio show and in every paper claiming that Islam is not to be trusted, that it's more then likely anti-American, that Muslims are being all rude and disrespectful to Real 'Murikans by being all Muslim-y and shit, that the President is one of those Muslims, which is a totally bad thing, and his plan is to destroy America with his Muslim death rays? Oh wait - pretty much everybody could see that.

Not that this will change the discourse. In fact, I'm sure those hyping all this anti-Islam claptrap as of late are pretty pleased this happened, because now they can say they aren't bigoted at all when they talk about how they are tired of "pretending" that Muslim-Americans are actually honorable Americans deserving of first amendment rights, because they aren't burning books now, are they? Are they?? That's totally different.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Day After Saturday Links

I actually have a few things I want to write about, but it's a holiday weekend and I'm feeling a bit lazy. So for now, here's some links.

The RNC 8 is now the RNC 7. Erik Oseland has pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy, with the agreement that he won't be made to testify against the others.

Minnesota gubernatorial candidate Tom Emmer decides to run an ad using his family to shore up his family values cred (it's really the only thing he can run, being that, you know, he has no ideas). Too bad one of his "blessed" son's family values is drunkenly drawing squirting cocks on a passed out girl in permanent marker and posting the photos on Facebook. Someone is gonna be soooo grounded. Now, I'm not going to go so far to call this sexual assault like some are, but I'll just say that I was a pretty wild child in my youth, and neither myself nor my friends ever did this kind of shit. Because we aren't assholes.

Only 28% of Americans can tell you who the chief justice is. In all honesty, I'd of thought the number was lower.

I'm sure glad Minnesotans voted Tim Pawlenty back into the governor's office knowing full well he was going to abuse that position while running for president. He's not only denied much-needed federal health care funds to an already broke state (because the well-being of one's constituents pales in comparison to the awesomeness of being able to run on opposing Obama's health care bill), he's actually making us spend our own money on failed health programs like abstinence only education which serves to cost the state more in the long run. And dude, if you are going to claim that this isn't some dirty cynical ploy to boost your numbers among movement conservatives, you might want to wait a bit before sending out the fund-raising emails on the issue. Asshole. Tim Pawlenty 2012: I have no problem fucking over a state for cheap political gain, now let me do the same for your country!

And just another quick note on Pawlenty, this post from Wonkette (regarding Pawlenty's classification of federal aid as "free samples" from a "drug dealer") pretty much sums up the level of stupid we are dealing with here:

However, we might take issue with the idea that these federal handouts are “free samples,” since, last we checked, Minnesotans were still required to pay federal taxes. It’s more as if your local drug dealer extracted money from everyone on your block, but then you refused his weekly handouts of crack cocaine that was purchased and cooked up using those extracted moneys. Oh, and also, in this analogy, “crack cocaine” is not a dangerous drug that can kill you, but is instead something that’s actually good. So it’s like you’re giving your drug dealer money but not accepting the delicious, nutritious food that he delivers, with his “meals on wheels” service.

Decent summary of the increasingly authoritarian atmosphere we are educating our kids in. Via Balloon Juice, in which the poster thinks it's being overly hyped, that children will always rebel, and may do so in increasingly high numbers if the push to conform is too great. I disagree. I think we are running a huge risk of raising generations of citizens that don't see civil liberties as an important issue that will have dire consequences for the county in the long run. I just keep thinking back to this terrifying survey. It's not going to be immediate. But little by little, we are chipping away at the value of civil liberties in favor of raising children with the experience that subservience to the state is the preferred norm.

This is kind of amusing: So apparently Movement conservative leaders have finally clued into the fact that their supporters are batshit insane, and hope that they can present a more "moderate" face of the Tea Party to the media by banning signs at their rallies. Sadly, they cannot weld metal plates over their mouths to prevent them from speaking.

However, they can attack the source! The Daily Calling is like, totally upset at those mean old kids from New Left Media that keep showing up at these rallies and forcing the Tea Baggers to say stupid shit on camera by holding up an apparently magical racist-transforming microphone to them. The fact that they admit that they are college students from "Wright State" without instantly clarifying that isn't the same thing as the blog "Red State" is the most ultimate form of manipulation the world has ever seen. John Cole suggests that maybe they should dress up like pimps to make it more fair.

And finally, on a lighter, non-political note, Allie Brosh's post about "The Four Levels of Social Entrapment" is hilarious. Level Two at the grocery store: the story of my life.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Day after Saturday links

Glenn Beck's rally was yesterday. Do you care? Me neither. Let's get to it.

Full body scanners are now available to anyone that wants to buy them. Law enforcement agencies appear to be a pretty good customer. These mobile scanners are pretty handy because you don't have to bother with pesky things like warrants to use them.

Your tax dollars well spent: $3 Million dollar settlement to the victims of the Metro Strike Task Force. Also, $165,000 was paid out to the zombies arrested in Minneapolis a few years back for supposedly carrying fake WMDs (yeah, seriously). The zombies are donating the majority of their settlement to the cause of the RNC 8, another group familiar with police abuse, because zombies are just classy like that.

The first step in asking your boss for a raise is making sure you have a clean vagina.


I'm still not exactly sure why the Democrats flee from liberal talking points. Republicans seem to utilize them quite often, even when they make absolutely no sense at all (via Balloon Juice).

Psycho columnist whining about no-fault divorce pretty much makes the point of exactly why we need to have no fault divorce.

No one could have predicted that whipping up rage about mosque-building as an election year tactic would lead to acts of arson. But it has nothing to do with Islam, really! We just hate terrorism!

Today is the five-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. Or, alternatively, the five year anniversary of one of the largest governmental failures in recent history. I'm just going to link to Molly Ivin's piece published soon after all this shit went down, because it rings as true today as it did five years ago:

To use a fine Southern word, it's tacky to start playing the blame game before the dead are even counted. It is not too soon, however, to make a point that needs to be hammered home again and again, and that is that government policies have real consequences in people's lives.

We should not forget about what happened on the Gulf Coast five years ago. Not just in what led up to the levies failing, but especially the aftermath where we left the survivors (and the few brave people that stayed to help others through the chaos) stranded and hopeless. This should not happen in America, ever. We should still be very, very angry.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

No word on if Broder sent him some doughuts with sprinkles as well

You've got to be fucking kidding me.

Yes, now that he's done selling out his soul to beat a Teabagger in the primaries, John McCain can get right back to his mavericky awesomeness. Just like he did a few years ago. And a few years ago before that. And a few years before that. And just like he will in the future for many times to come, because why not? The guy could eat kittens on live TV and the press would implore you to just give him the benefit of the doubt, man, he has to do these things because that's politics.

The guy's an opportunistic asshole. He's always been an opportunistic asshole. That is all there is to him. What is it about John McCain that makes the press fawn all over him?

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Tom Horner will pry my $5 pack of Camels out of my cold dead hands

So Tom Horner put out his budget plan today. And before I nitpick it to death, I'd just like to state that I appreciate that he's trying to have somewhat of a blueprint for the budget, unlike Tom "Taxes, schmaxes, everything will be magically paid for with unicorn tears" Emmer. It's going to follow that everyone is going to have a fit over this proposal because there are things to attack from both a liberal and conservative standpoint, and because it is the most detailed plan we've seen so far, easy to attack and wrinkle up one's nose at. Perhaps this is the point, Horner put himself out there in a big way today, and although suggesting things like taxing new items and services can garner a lot of bad attention, it's still attention. Which Horner really needs right now (unlike the other two, he can't really buy it).

So here's what I see as the good, the bad, and the ugly.

First, the proposed tax on cigarettes and alcohol (full disclosure, I love both of these things). I find these "sin taxes" to be just lazy (Horner is predictably citing health reasons to support this tax increase). It's an easy way to push a regressive tax on the lower and middle classes without coming out and saying that's what you are doing. People will cry bloody murder if you say "You know, I think poor people should get a tax increase", but if it's smokers? Well, fuck them, right? Assigning sin taxes to addictive substances just seems sadistic to me. Sure, no one "needs" cigarettes or alcohol, but no one "needs" fancy cheeses or yachts either (but you sure as fuck need a jacket during the winter). But unlike fancy cheeses and yachts, lots of people are hopelessly dependent on tobacco and alcohol while not being dependent on fancy cheeses or yachts.Yet it's the addictive substances that come up for sin taxes every damn time. I suppose you are safe in assuming that you won't have to worry about that revenue stream running dry if you are taxing highly addictive substances. Taxing fancy cheeses, on the other hand, might make a fucker go Galt. Mah Brie!

Second, the clothing tax. I'm not necessarily against this one. I've thought it's long past due, we are a rarity in the nation because we don't tax clothing purchases. And I actually can get behind Horton's idea of dropping the overall tax rate by one percent while adding clothing on, increasing the revenue stream over a broader sense is a better alternative then narrowing it to specific areas only (I'm looking at you, Mark Dayton). But even if you could argue that a tax is needed on clothing, I'm not sure if now is the best time to impose one. I fail to see how requiring the private retail sector to take a tax hit would encourage job growth. Neighboring states patronize clothing stores in Minnesota because of it's tax-free status on clothing. The Mall of America was built here because of our tax-free status on clothing. So it seems like we should be encouraging people to shop retail, and a tax increase on clothing isn't going to have that effect. Perhaps the effect would not be that great, I couldn't say for sure. But I really see no logic in arguing that a tax increase on a person will decrease their spending while a tax increase on the product they wish to spend there money on would not.

Third, a statewide hiring freeze in the public sector and cutting off funds to counties (but allowing counties to raise their own taxes by one percent). Again, I worry about job creation here. If we are going to argue that private business cannot hire because of the strain put on them by the economy, offering jobs through the public sector may be the only way we can create jobs. Obviously a hiring freeze isn't going to create jobs, and along with his proposal to cut aid to counties I worry that we may actually lose jobs. No, you can't just have the government go in and create jobs for everyone that is unemployed. But history has shown that public works projects are a reliable way to get people working, and then spending, again during a hard recession, and if we can create jobs while at the same time investing in our infrastructure, I'm willing to take a hit in terms of debt on that.

Forth, racinos. I'm fine with allowing more gambling, particularly if it is set in an area that already allows other forms of gambling like race tracks (I don't dislike Dayton's plan to put a casino in the Mall of America either). I understand why local tribes are concerned about this, but that seems like an entitled stance to take, they don't own the market on it. However, I'm a little concerned about Horton's plan for earmarking these funds. A fund to go towards disaster relief is all fine and well, but using it build a goddamn Vikings stadium? I was lukewarm about the idea when times were good, but now? No. Fuck no. That is the stupidest thing one can do. I suppose one could argue that this is the same as providing public works projects to increase employment, and I wouldn't deny it could, but I don't feel right with such a project when so much of the benefit would go to private owners, unlike projects to increase our water lines and roadways, which benefit the people. I would feel the same way if someone wanted to use these funds to upgrade the Walker Art Museum. It is not unreasonable to ask those institutions that are a private/public hybrid to be put on the back burner for a while.

As a few odds and ends: I appreciate Horner's desire to invest in education. These days, the idea has been painted as some sort of socialist tactic instead of a serious investment we need to make to keep on top of the global economy. I would like a plan that does even out the tax rate disparity between the the very wealthy and the middle class, so I would like to see at lease a slight increase in taxes on the wealthiest in the state. I don't really know what to say about a corporate tax decrease, but I think allowing tax breaks for businesses investing in newer technology is a smart way to go.

I suppose I should find some sort of clean way to finish this post up. But what the hell, it's my blog, so I suppose I can end it however I want. Overall, I'm still leaning Dayton. But I think that Horner's got some good ideas here, and I do respect that he's willing to piss everyone off with his proposal, because that's the way it has to be, people.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010


After people totally hurt her feelings over something as minor as screaming racial epitaphs on the air, Dr. Laura is quitting her radio show:

"I want to regain my First Amendment rights. I want to be able to say what's on my mind, and in my heart, what I think is helpful and useful without somebody getting angry"

So she's giving up the radio and joining the "era of the internet". Because as we all know, there are no "angry, hateful groups who don't want to debate" on the internet.  

This should be fun.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Day after Saturday because I had shit to do links

If you are of the notion that more people voting in elections is a good thing, then this is good news. I'm sure it will produce the predictable voter-fraud hissy fit from the right, because how dare poor people walk around thinking they can go do things like vote (ew!), but it's a good way to balance out the voter suppression we've been seeing for the past ten years. I'm just waiting for the "They only sign up for welfare so they can register to vote twice" argument to pop up.

Andrew Breitbart has sex with goats.

You really can't get a better example of what is meant by white privilege then Dr. Laura's bizarre rant the other day. She now says she feels pretty bad about repeating the racial slur multiple times (but it was only to prove a philosophical point! Really!). No word on if she feels bad about telling the woman who was asking how to deal with racism from her husband's friends to basically suck it up, because apparently reacting poorly to being treated as some token black freak existing solely for the amusement and airing of racial grievances by white dudes is "hypersensitive".

This is pretty awesome. Bad-ass dancers from an Ohio strip club grow tired of constant protests from a local church, and decide to take them up on their offer to join their church - hanging out outside, grilling, and staging a protest of their own, in revealing clothing, with supersoakers. Woman with the "Beware the false prophets" sign, I love you. The pastor sounds like a total creep, promising the strippers that if they just turn to god, he "will put a roof over your heads, and your bills will be paid, and your children's bellies will be full". O RLY? Anyone that promises that sort of thing is full of shit, so good on them for calling out his little coffer-filling publicity stunt.

Via Balloon Juice - Third tier right-wing bloggers compile a list of the most terrible Americans that ever existed. Carter comes in at #1, beating out both John Wilkes Booth and Timothy McVeigh. I've got nothing, people. I can't even laugh at this level of stupid.

But at least it's still fun to pick on libertarians.

Lastly, let's talk about the Mosque in New York. So apparently Obama finally came out and scolded the bullies on the ground zero playground that keep throwing sand at kids that pray all funny. After much gushing over his mad 11 dimensional chess skillz and bravery yesterday to stand up for an unpopular project, this happy occasion turned out to be pretty short lived after Obama decided he needed to "clarify" his words the next day, after the predictable hissy-fit ensued. It's a damn shame. I would have gone all in if I were him, because in case he hasn't noticed by now, the fringe is going to paint him as a terrorist supporter no matter what, so he might as well be on the right side of history.

I don't know what to say about the "Ground Zero Mosque" at this point. This whole line of reasoning frustrates me, this idea that the moderate and fair stance is to claim that they have a right to build, but are totally assholes for doing so. I mean, no shit they have a right to build there. That's not even up for questioning. Allowing that Muslims have a "right" to practice their religion and build houses of worship isn't a reasonable compromise, dudes, so no cookies for you. I'm more interested in taking up the reasoning behind this mosque freak out, and why we are hiding behind this pseudo-civil "discussion" instead of just calling this crap out as the illogical, bigoted nonsense it actually is. I'm more interested in looking into why this freak out is happening now, instead of eight or nine years ago. As digby points out, the Bush administration, to their credit, was pretty good at keeping the crazy under wraps, it is now the combination of a well-funded right-wing media machine and the public's anxiety about the economy that is allowing the fringe a permanent home in mainstream discourse. The levels of xenophobia that the Republicans and the right-wing noise machine are sinking to as of late is becoming a bit unnerving. I have a feeling we will see a lot more of this in the next decade, as the GOP plan to appeal to the worst in it's ranks renders it obsolete. They aren't going to die quietly. And so this whole situation kind of makes me feel uneasy; I always try to take the more optimistic road and figured that this level of irrational fear and mistrust would never make it into mainstream discourse, and if it did, it would disgust people.

I was wrong.