12 July, 2009

Happy Hour Discurso

Today's opining on the public discourse.

We haven't had a good laugh at Karl Rove's expense for a while. Happily, he's provided us with prime fodder for amusement. Turn your irony meters off lest they explode:

Today on Twitter, former Bush White House adviser Karl Rove responded to questions posed by CopyChaser asking “@KarlRove What’s going on with all the czars? Is Obama’s strategy to change the engine of our success as a nation: freedom & capitalism?” and “@KarlRove And do we need both a ‘green’ czar and a ‘climate’ czar?” In response, Rove had this to say:

(I told you to turn the irony meters off. Shrapnel is, therefore, your responsibility.)

I know. Karl Rove complaining about a "giant expansion of presidential power" is like the Discovery Institute complaining about quote mining. But it gets even better:

It's interesting to hear Rove come to this conclusion now, given the extraordinary Bush/Cheney affinity for czars. Kyle Schmidt noted that Rove himself was deemed the "domestic policy czar" in the Bush White House.

Schmidt also reminds me that I wrote a piece on this subject a couple of years ago, which sought to detail the Bush administration's reflexive creation of new czars for every conceivable policy challenge. In the span of about six years, Rove's White House oversaw the creation of a "food safety czar," a "cybersecurity czar," a "regulatory czar," an "AIDS czar," a "manufacturing czar," an "intelligence czar," a "bird-flu czar," and a "Katrina czar."

It was such a common strategy for Bush, Rove, and the gang, that it quickly became the butt of jokes. Newsweek satirist Andy Borowitz suggested in 2007 that the White House needed a "lying czar" to "oversee all distortions and misrepresentations."

Yes, my darlings, that's right: a former czar who was one czar among many is complaining about too many czars. Delicious, isn't it?

Here's something else delicious:

Newt Gingrich tried to take a page out of Sarah Palin's playbook and took to the waters for a photo-op.
However, a fisherman ripped him.

The House speaker went down to a New Hampshire river yesterday with a horde of reporters in tow some say to test the waters for a possible presidential bid to chat up some anglers.
But Gingrich had hardly waved hello when a feisty fisherman named Tim Kipp ruined the Republican's photo opportunity.
"Your politics are some of the meanest politics I have ever heard," Kipp shouted as he stood waist-deep in the Androscoggin River. "You make Calvin Coolidge look like a liberal."

Gingrich appeared stunned, but recovered slightly and told Kipp: "Despite our political differences, good luck today."
But Kipp was just warming up.
"This guy is the most meanspirited, vicious politician we have seen in a long, long time," Kipp told the reporters.

"The water we are fishing in right now will be destroyed by his policies."

So much for chatting up fishermen in blissfully ignorant peace, then, eh?

Cons are busy trying to figure out how they can kill the nomination of an eminently-qualified, fairly moderate Latina judge, since the monstrous base they created demands it. Trust Sen. Sessions to step right up, take his best shot, and blow his feet to smithereens:

Sessions then gives the standard GOP laundry list:

  • She's a racist (a.k.a. "wise Latina woman" remark"),
  • she'll take away our guns (a.k.a a ruling that top conservative judges agreed with),
  • she hates white people (a.k.a. following precedent in the Ricci case), and,
  • she's associated with a terrorist organization (a.k.a. the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund).

In other words, same crap, different day. Now, I can appreciate that Sessions has a job to do and wants to do it right. And if Sotomayor had said things like, oh, I don't know, maybe calling the National Association for the Advancement of Colored people and the American Civil Liberties Union "un-American" and "Communist-inspired," or, during a murder investigation of the Ku Klux Klan, said that she "used to think they [the Klan] were OK’ until (s)he found out some of them were ‘pot smokers," or if she made a habit of calling African American men "boys," and cautioned them about how they talked to "white folks," she would be unfit to hold any position of power and respect. Right, Mr. Sessions?

This is enormous fun. It's going to be even more fun watching the shrapnel from this particular explosion take out the last little bit of minority support the GOP's clinging to.

Speaking of shooting oneself in the extremities and shrapnel and so forth, the idiot taking aim at himself in Kansas should provide a good show:

Now, Tiahrt has decided to stand up to the evil Socialists, President Obama and Nancy Pelosi by proposing a plan that would repeal federal stimulus funds for his state -- which would be a total disaster and force the state to make massive cuts to their budget which is already hurting with the stimulus money:

U.S. Rep. Todd Tiahrt, R-Goddard, has a bill to repeal funding under the federal stimulus.

Of Kansas’ six-member congressional delegation, only U.S. Rep. Dennis Moore, D-Lenexa, whose district includes east Lawrence, voted for the $787 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. All five Republicans voted against it.

But Tiahrt, who is running for U.S. Senate, has ratcheted up the rhetoric, producing a campaign ad against the stimulus program that asks viewers to help him stop President Obama and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

State officials said without the stimulus funds, Kansas would be hurting worse. Read on...

Apparently, Tiahrt learned nothing from Republican Governor Mark Sanford's abysmal failure in South Carolina when he tried to do the same thing.
They're so much like lemmings it's eerie. Is following each other over cliffs some conservative ritual I wasn't aware of? Or does that level of dumbassery come naturally?

And there seems to be an irresistible urge amongst them to parade their abject ignorance of science:
In his 2006 State of the Union address, then-President George W. Bush urged Congress to pass legislation curbing what he considered "egregious abuses of medical research." Among the threats in need of a legislative remedy? A ban on "creating human-animal hybrids." It wasn't long before it was widely mocked.

But some conservatives on the Hill continue to take the matter very seriously.

Senate Republicans have introduced legislation to ban the creation of human-animal hybrids. [...]

[Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kan.)] introduced a bill [Thursday] that would prevent U.S. researchers from developing embryos that use both human and animal material, a controversial practice underway in the UK.


There are currently 20 co-sponsors for Brownback's bill -- 19 conservative Republicans and Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.), who warned this week against the "blending" of species.

It's unclear whether the legislation stands a chance of passing -- my sense is, it's unlikely -- but this kind of ban may have serious consequences for medical researchers. Indeed, when far-right activists talk about banning "human-animal hybrids," they're often trying to make a sweeping ban on stem-cell research, which can involve mouse cells.

What's more, whether these 20 conservative senators appreciate it or not, research that may fall under the "human-animal hybrid" umbrella includes some potentially life-saving science. I recently spoke to a scientist who explained, "For example, it is currently unclear just how certain viruses spread in a person. Animal models are the preferred method of studying such things (for obvious reasons) but many pathogens are species restricted, meaning you cannot infect a mouse with them. By generating a mouse that carries genes to make what are effectively human cells (molecularly, and only a specific subset of cells, such as liver cells, or immune cells) these experiments can be done. Legislation banning such research has profound implications for our ability to stay competitive in the world in terms of basic research, not to mention in terms of medical developments."

Conservatives have also struggled to define what, in their minds, constitute an actual "hybrid." If someone with heart trouble has a transplant with a pig valve, is this a "blending" of species that should be outlawed?

Sometimes, I'm afraid to ask such questions, because I'm pretty sure their answer is "yes." When people are this fucking ignorant, absolutely anything's possible.

Finally, let's take a look at the kind of person major Con blogs think makes a good spokesperson:

The conservative blog Townhall has a new spokesperson making the rounds these days and well, let's just say she is the perfect example of today's GOP -- and all that is wrong with it.

Jillian Bandes has been quite busy lately, appearing on CSPAN Friday morning, then showing up on MSNBC where she got very nasty with our dear friend Jane Hamsher of Firedoglake, who laid waste to her right wing talking points.

Bandes is no stranger to controversy. As Tintin at one of my favorite blogs, Sadly No! reminds us, she made her bones by publishing an anti-Arab screed in her college newspaper:

Hey, whatever happend to Jillian Bandes? You remember her. She was the redneck wingnut who was fired from the UNC student newspaper after writing a column advocating that all Arab guys should be strip-searched at airports and that this wasn’t really a problem because Arab guys would enjoy getting all “sexed up” at the airport. Well, guess what? Jillian is now a contributor to the Clown Hall blog — “Where racism isn’t just a philosophy, it’s a job qualification!

You know, these idiots really do exceed my expectations of their dumbfuckery daily.

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