31 August, 2009

WTF, Japan?

Um... wasn't I just reading in my Japanese Politics textbook that this would never, ever in a trillion billion years happen in Japan?
Major news from the Japanese elections:

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japanese voters swept the opposition to a historic victory in an election on Sunday, ousting the ruling conservative party and handing the untested Democrats the job of breathing life into a struggling economy.

The win by the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) ended a half-century of almost unbroken rule by the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and breaks a deadlock in parliament, ushering in a government that has promised to focus spending on consumers, cut wasteful budget outlays and reduce the power of bureaucrats.

Holy fucking shit, Batman!

For those of you who haven't read a (soon-to-be-revised) textbook on Japanese politics, here's a brief primer: the Liberal Democratic Party is the conservative one, and the Democratic Party of Japan is the slightly less conservative one with a few liberals sprinkled in. I'll let any actual Japanese readers give us a less-simplistic rundown of the two.

If you're wondering why I'm a bit shocked, look at it this way: fifty years is a long time for any party to enjoy nearly unbroken power, but the LDP has been in power pretty much since the day the Empire ended.


Japan's going to be a mighty interesting place politically in the next few years...

Quote o' the Day

George at Decrepit Old Fool takes down the Pope's latest nonsense, and throws out the best quote on overpopulation evah:
We’re smart enough to protect ourselves from disease and starvation, but there’s no way to fix “we’ve run out of world”.
You got that right!

Your Daily Dose of Health Care Reform Stupidity

This is delicious:

Texas Republican Pete Olson probably figured he could get away with using a young child as a propaganda tool at a recent town hall meeting -- but he was in for a big surprise.

Republican Congressman Olson (R-TX) tells the townhall about a mother who was turned away by the free market doctors for her unborn child's heart defect. She was denied by the free market doctors but persisted and was able to find a specialized doctor and got a very delicate operation and a heart transplant 17 days after he was born. Olson then claims that the public option would have denied him the needed health care and he would have died! After being challenged he abruptly ended the discussion. Watch as he is challenged, and clueless as to what to say.

As Olson spews out his talking points, people in the crowd repeatedly point out to him that it wasn't the government who turned this poor child away, it was the insurance companies. Olson was absolutely gobsmacked when people started calling him out on his obvious gaffe as he stood there looking like a deer caught in the headlights.
Heh heh heh whoops. Sucks when your constituents are too smart for your own good, eh?

Free drinks for the folks who pwned him.

Digby shoots down the "all we need is tort reform!" bullshit. With a bazooka.

The latest right-wing meme attempts to answer the WWTD (What Would Teddy Do?) question by claiming he'd compromise the cause of his life away - a trope easily debunked, but you know how they react when caught out in a lie: they lie harder. Orrin Hatch is the latest to spout that bullshit. Jed Lewison, who as a staffer to Sen. Maria Cantwell got to see Kennedy in action, takes it down hardcore. Shove that reality in the faces of all who try to claim Kennedy was the Great Compromiser.

And, finally, Steve Benen and Kevin Drum want to know why there's even a fucking debate:
Kevin Drum recommends we take a moment to get "back to basics."

Let's recap: the United States spends about twice as much on healthcare as any other developed nation in the world and in return receives just about the worst care. Can someone remind me again why there's even a debate about whether we should put up with this?

We shouldn't.

Think You're a Libertarian? Think Again!

DarkSyde has put together a brilliant Top 10 Signs You Might Not Be a Libertarian:

Notice a propensity of newly minted Libertarians showing up lately? Perhaps it's just coincidence their ranks swelled in inverse proportion to George Bush's approval rating, ditto that so many are mouthing traditional conservative talking points. But what about the everyday gun toting townhall screamers and taxcutters and deficit hawks we see on cable news: are they really libertarian as so many claim, or just conservatives in glibertarian clothes? Here's a few warning signs.

  1. If you think Ron Paul isn't conservative enough and Fox News is fair and balanced, you might not be a Libertarian.
  1. If you believe you have an inalienable right to attend Presidential townhalls brandishing a loaded assault rifle, but that arresting participants inside for wearing a pink shirt is an important public safety precaution, there's a chance you're dangerously unbalanced, but no chance you're a Libertarian.
  1. If you think the government should stay the hell out of Medicare, well, you have way, way bigger problems than figuring out if you're really a Libertarian.
Plenty more where that comes from. Enjoy!

Happy Hour Discurso

Today's opining on the public discourse.

Ooo, Virginia, you're in for such a treat! Look who you've got running for Gov (h/t):

At age 34, two years before his first election and two decades before he would run for governor of Virginia, Robert F. McDonnell submitted a master's thesis to the evangelical school he was attending in Virginia Beach in which he described working women and feminists as "detrimental" to the family. He said government policy should favor married couples over "cohabitators, homosexuals or fornicators." He described as "illogical" a 1972 Supreme Court decision legalizing the use of contraception by unmarried couples.

The 93-page document, which is publicly available at the Regent University library, culminates with a 15-point action plan that McDonnell said the Republican Party should follow to protect American families -- a vision that he started to put into action soon after he was elected to the Virginia House of Delegates.

During his 14 years in the General Assembly, McDonnell pursued at least 10 of the policy goals he laid out in that research paper, including abortion restrictions, covenant marriage, school vouchers and tax policies to favor his view of the traditional family. In 2001, he voted against a resolution in support of ending wage discrimination between men and women.

But that's not the best part. This is:

The thesis wasn't so much a case against government as a blueprint to change what he saw as a liberal model into one that actively promoted conservative, faith-based principles through tax policy, the public schools, welfare reform and other avenues.

"Leaders must correct the conventional folklore about the separation of church and state," he wrote. "Historically, the religious liberty guarantees of the First Amendment were intended to prevent government encroachment upon the free church, not eliminate the impact of religion on society." [emphasis added]

Frothing fundie goodness wrapped in a crispy Con shell, right? And the only meager defense he can muster up is to say, "But I've changed!"

Two ways to defeat this sack of Con shit, liberal ladies and gentlemen of Virginia. When you're talking to folks who don't think the Establishment Clause is folklore, remind them that a man who's hit ten points on his 15-point action plan to establish what amounts to a theocracy on the Commonwealth can't credibly claim he's become a moderate. And when you're talking to frothing fundies who think that 15-point plan of his is divine, remind them he's distancing himself from it at Mach 7.

That should do.

Speaking of elections, there's two things the voters of Arizona should know before McCain stands for reelection. He admits that torture is illegal:

Sen. John McCain disagrees with former Vice President Dick Cheney's claim that enhanced interrogation techniques helped keep the country safe. "I think the interrogations were in violation of the Geneva Conventions and the convention against torture that we ratified under President Reagan," McCain told CBS' Bob Schieffer Sunday.

But thinks we shouldn't investigate:

"I believe that the president was right when he said we ought to go forward and not back. I worry about the morale and effectiveness of the CIA. I worry about this thing getting out of control," the Arizona senator said.

There's something deeply, deeply wrong with that man.

Speaking of things that are deeply wrong, is it just me, or does it seem really warped when companies not only whip their employees into a frenzy of fear about pending legislation, but start whipping up their customers, too? We saw Wellpoint send out an email blast to its customer base warning of increased premiums and all sorts of mayhem if health care reform passes. Now there's an electric company trying the same thing on clean energy legislation:

An electric utility in southern Illinois is frightening thousands of its customers by spreading misinformation about President Obama’s clean energy reform agenda. The Wayne-White Counties Electric Cooperative has joined the American Petroleum Institute’s “Energy Citizens” propaganda campaign, telling its members to oppose the American Clean Energy and Security Act. Wayne-White is even “organizing a bus trip” to the state capital to join an API rally on September 1:

Wayne-White encourages concerned citizens to participate in the free bus trip and rally in Springfield. The co-op recently mailed out nearly 10,000 informational letters and signature forms to enable concerned citizens to help themselves by speaking out and opposing this issue. As of Monday, more than 4,000 postcards had been returned to the co-op office which will be hand-delivered to Burris and Durbin at their Springfield offices, the Wayne-White news release said.

Wayne-White’s CEO Daryl Donjon has claimed that the legislation, which would spur a clean-energy economy by capping pollution and supporting renewable energy and efficiency, “is an unfair tax to the Midwest and would raise electric rates by 80 percent.” In the letter sent to Wayne-White’s captive audience, the utility claims “Cap & Trade” will “lead to the transfer of wealth from the midwestern states to the coastal states” and is “scary.”

I do believe he gets his talking points from watching Faux News. Needless to say, they're false. Totally false.

There's something deeply wrong with the utility companies in Illinois. Donjon wants his customers to suffer polluted air and the effects of global warming. People's Energy of Illinois doesn't mind if their customer base dies in gas explosions as long as they can save a penny or two on high-pressure gas inlet valves. My Illinois readers may want to remind their utility company that dead customers = fewer customers. They seem to be forgetting that minor detail.

Moving on to astroturfing and other news, you're going to love this:

So far, we’ve had Birthers, “death panels,” a “death book,” concentration camps for conservatives, and the pervasive “Obama=Hitler” meme. And that’s just been in the first eight months of Barack Obama’s presidency.

But if you thought the wingnuts had already driven over the cliff and into the abyss, just wait. They really have just gotten started on their descent.

In a few weeks, there’s going to be a big gathering of right-wing True Believers in St. Louis, at a convention called “How to Take Back America”.


Guest wingnut luminaries speaking at the convention will include Rep. Michelle Bachmann, Rep. Steve King (the guy who claims that gays and lesbians wouldn't become hate-crime victims if they didn't flaunt it), Joseph Farah of World Nut Daily, and Gen. William G. "Jerry" Boykin (more about him shortly) plus, of course, such convention organizers as Phyllis Schlafly.

As Kyle at RightWingWatch notes, it looks to be a smashing good time, especially at the workshops, where you can bone up on such subjects as:

"How to recognize living under Nazis & Communists"

"How to deal with supremacist judges"

"How to defeat UN attacks on sovereignty"

"How to stop socialism in health care"

"How to counter the homosexual movement"

"How to stop the killings: pro-life solutions"

And a paranoid time will be had by all. It's too bad I don't own a fleet of black helicopters - this would be a prime opportunity for a prank.

Here's something you probably won't see on teevee, although you would've seen nothing else if someone vaguely associated with the left had spouted it:

Via Burnt Orange, while Lloyd Doggett (D-TX) appeared at a MoveOn.org health care event yesterday in Austin and reaffirmed his support of the public option, a couple hundred wingnuts staged a counterprotest.


Secessionist-in-Chief Rick Perry and GOP Rep. Brandon Creighton (who authored a secessionist bill) were supposed to speak at the event but backed out at the last minute. Here's who replaced them.

Instead of Perry or Creighton, the protesters had Larry Kilgore, a “Christian activist” and candidate for governor who has endorsed executions for homosexuals; Debra Medina, a Ron Paul Republican and a slightly-less long-shot candidate for governor; and Melissa Pehle-Hill, yet another fringe candidate and a member of a self-appointed “citizens grand jury” investigating Barack Hussein Obama, aka Barry Soetoro.

Kilgore captured the sentiment of the mob. (video here)

I hate that flag up there,” Kilgore said pointing to the American flag flying over the Capitol. “I hate the United States government. … They’re an evil, corrupt government. They need to go. Sovereignty is not good enough. Secession is what we need!”

We hate the United States!"

Why does the right hate America?

Because the left's in charge right now. They'll be back to calling us traitors for requesting that the United States stop torturing people and not engage in so much domestic spying about two nanoseconds after another Con manages to weasel his way into the Oval Office, never fear. In the meantime, perhaps we should see if there's a few square miles of the country we could lop off and shovel them all in to. After all, they'd like to secede so very much, and I hate to disappoint them.

They can travel to the new country of Greater Wingnuttistan on the Teabag Express:

An update on the cross-country Teabagging from CNN.

Hundreds of people turned out for a series of weekend events as the Tea Party Express cruised across northern Nevada.


At an event Saturday in Winnemucca, Nevada, Carolyn Rowe came to the tea party in a T-shirt depicting Obama as the joker from "Batman." In place of the familiar "Hope" logo of Obama's campaign was the word "Joke."

She says she is concerned about the number of so-called "czars" in the Obama administration and she fears losing her choice of doctor if health care reform passes.

"I believe he's trouncing the Constitution and taking control of our country in a direction we don't want," says Rowe, from beneath a wide brimmed straw hat. "I think he has a hidden agenda, and I think he doesn't tell the truth and that in itself bothers me."

So to review, George W. Bush started a war on false pretenses, illegally spied on American citizens, held people without warrants and tortured them, ginned up phony terror warnings for political gain, pissed on the Geneva Conventions and led the universe in signing statements -- but Obama's "trouncing the Constitution" because he wants everyone to have access to health care. Interesting.

A study in contradictions, are they not? And when they preach concern for the elderly, remember they only mean those elderly people who don't try to mention inconvenient truths at town halls:

Here's a press report of the event. This bit, I think, tells you what these brave, civil, patriotic dissenters are all about:

The tone of the forum was set early when audience members began shouting over 84-year-old Germaine Duval of Manchester, who told of having a stroke while she was driving near Livingston Park.

A hospital stay left her with thousands of dollars in bills, although she has Medicare, she said. "You have to do something about the gap (in Medicare coverage)," she said, but several people began shouting she had gone over the two-minute limit set for speaking.

Which speaks for itself.


30 August, 2009

You Knew This Was Coming

Cantina regular Steve C. sends this our way:

Ah, Glenn Beck. What an endless source of inane entertainment you are. Truly, you inspire us to many LOLZ.

Katrina: Revelation and Rebirth

No Sunday Sensational Science today, my darlings. We'll soon have the latest installment of COTEB to occupy us, and while we wait, there are some important pieces on Katrina and its aftermath I hope you'll peruse.

Katrina made landfall four years (and one day) ago. You all know what happened next: a city drowned, thousands were killed or displaced, and the Bush regime made a total hash of everything start to finish. Four years on, Obama's the one promising to rebuild a city that should have already been shining and new.

But there are deeper stories to the horrific incompetence that nearly killed New Orleans:

I don't get to use the word "heroic" very often. Van Heerden is heroic. The Deputy Director of the Louisiana State University Hurricane Center, it was van Heerden who told me, on camera, something so horrible, so frightening, that, if it weren't for his international stature, it would have been hard to believe:

"By midnight on Monday the White House knew. Monday night I was at the state Emergency Operations Center and nobody was aware that the levees had breached. Nobody."

On the night of August 29, 2005, van Heerden was shut in at the state emergency center in Baton Rouge, providing technical advice to the rescue effort. As Hurricane Katrina came ashore, van Heerden and the State Police there were high-fiving it: Katrina missed the city of New Orleans, turning east.

What they did not know was that the levees had cracked. For crucial hours, the White House knew, but withheld the information that the levees of New Orleans had broken and that the city was about to drown. Bush's boys did not notify the State of the flood to come, which would have allowed police to launch an emergency hunt for the thousands who remained stranded.

Van Heerden, of course, lost his job for telling the truth. And that involves a tale of oil corporations furiously greenwashing and astroturfing, and a university more interested in cash than competence.

As for why it's taken so long to rebuild the city, an explanation might be found in right-wing blatherer Neal Boortz's opinion that rebuilding New Orleans will only bring back "the debris that Katrina chased out." No one in the Bush regime would phrase it so crassly, of course but I don't doubt that a heaping helping of scorn topped their general incompetence like rancid whipped cream on a shit sundae.

Apparently, in their world, people who didn't own cars weren't fit to live:

I did not seek out professor van Heerden about Bush's deadly silence. Rather, I'd come to LSU to ask him about a strange little company, "Innovative Emergency Management," a politically well-connected firm that, a year before the hurricane, had finagled a contract to plan the evacuation of New Orleans.

Innovative Emergency Management knew a lot about political contributions, but seemed to have zero experience in hurricane response planning. In fact, their "plan" for New Orleans called for evacuating the city by automobile. When Katrina hit, 127,000 wheel-less New Orleans folk were left to float out.

You know the tragic result.

Four years and a new administration later, New Orleans is finally seeing some progress:
Victor Ukpolo, chancellor of Southern University at New Orleans, said the administration has been able to "move mountains" for his school, virtually wiped out by Katrina and the breached levees. [snip] In half a year, Obama's team says it has cleared at least 75 projects that were in dispute, including libraries, schools and university buildings. The administration has relied on a new, independent arbitration panel, and assigned senior advisers to focus on the rebuilding.

The administration recently reversed a FEMA rule that barred communities from building fire stations and other critical projects in vulnerable areas. Local officials said the rule could have effectively killed off some places.


Jindal and Rainwater said the previous administration often wouldn't recognize new information or acknowledge there were real disputes. Sometimes, Rainwater said, Bush officials seemed blind to the devastation around them and said they had to be good stewards of public money.

"They never recognized the enormity of what we're working through," Rainwater said. "We're not just trying to rebuild buildings here but entire communities."

"That's the difference" under Obama, Rainwater said. "It's the recognition. ... We're all able to sit down around the table."
Hopefully those discussions will include urgent talks and then even more urgent action on flood control. Christie Hardin Smith visited New Orleans recently and brought back pictures showing how much has been accomplished. All of that progress could be wiped out in a virtual instant if the proper precautions aren't taken.

Maybe someone in the Obama administration should have a little chat about New Orleans's safety with Dr. van Heerden. The man has a good eye for a bad levee.

Let's raise a round to him, and to the citizens of New Orleans past, present and future: by your efforts, may the Big Easy make a Big Comeback.

Salud, amigos.

Your Daily Dose of Health Care Reform Stupidity

So, two weeks ago, we all got the happy joyous news that religious leaders were banding together to make health care reform a reality. And I'm sure some people were overjoyed because finally the right didn't have the lock on the religious folks. But we just waited for the other shoe to drop, because we knew this was coming:
First up from the God Machine this week is a new push from evangelical religious groups to kill health care reform.

Conservative Christian groups on Wednesday (Aug. 26) ramped up opposition to health care reform, saying the current system "has problems" but "it is working."

Members of the newly formed Freedom Federation, comprised of some of the largest conservative religious groups in the country, say they oppose taxpayer-supported abortion, rationed health care for the elderly and government control of personal health decisions.

Mathew Staver, who heads the legal group Liberty Counsel and is dean at Liberty University's law school, said the group agrees on certain core values.

And nothing, apparently, says "Christian values" to these groups and leaders like opposing the protections health care reform would provide to tens of millions of American families.

Note the tired reliance on debunked talking points, the single-minded antipathy to personal health decisions (i.e., abortion), and the propensity for sticking their fingers in their ears and screaming "LA LA LA LA CAN'T HEAR YOU LA LA LA" when confronted with evidence that the current system is unsustainable. Classic fucking fundie. They make me wish Jesus were real and the Second Coming were happening this week, just so I could see the look on the poor bastard's face when he sees what a good portion of his followers have got up to in his absence.

Talk about priceless.

Elsewhere, Harry Reid must be feeling the scorching heat of a bunch of angry liberals, because he decided to explain that he's after bipartisan agreement because Dems "only have 60 votes on paper." He then helpfully explained that Kennedy is dead (thanks, Harry, we hadn't noticed), and Sen. Byrd's not voting much lately, blah blah blah. All true. Which is why I'm going to say this clearly, simply, and in large font:


I mean actually filibuster, not threaten a filibuster. I want to see fat old men with Cadillac health care plans fight against the H.E.L.P. Committee's bill by engaging in a full-on filibuster. I want this plastered all over CSPAN:

Preparations for a traditional filibuster can be very elaborate. Sometimes cots are brought into the hallways or cloakrooms for senators to sleep on. While in a filibuster the senator talking must remain in the same spot and is only allowed to filibuster twice in a legislative day. A legislative day lasts until the debate is adjourned, which can take days. According to Newsweek:

They used to call it 'taking to the diaper,' a phrase that referred to the preparation undertaken by a prudent senator before an extended filibuster. Strom Thurmond visited a steam room before his filibuster in order to dehydrate himself so he could drink without urinating. An aide stood by in the cloakroom with a pail in case of emergency.[10]

Put them through this. Make them into a circus. And show the American people what length these fuckers will go to in order to deny them meaningful health care reform.

That's what you do when you "only have 60 votes on paper," you dumbshit.

Let's see how seriously people take, oh, say, Sen. Enzi's garbage arguments when he's forced to make them wearing a diaper or pissing into a pail.

Grow a fucking pair, Harry. And that goes double for the President (h/t):
There’s this fear that Barack Obama will become the Grover Cleveland of this era – Grover Cleveland was a good man, but he became a conservative Democratic President because he didn’t fight the powerful interests – people say Obama should be FDR – I’d much rather see him be Theodore Roosevelt --– Teddy Roosevelt loved to fight – … I think if Obama fought instead of really finessed it so much . . . I think it would change the atmosphere.
Roar, godsdamnit.

Creationists Practice Law

Unfortunately for them, even with practice they're no good at it.

Ed Brayton recently found two wonderful examples. In the first, Kent Hovind gives his bestest legal advice:

Kent Hovind may be in prison but that hasn't slowed down his production of moronic arguments. On his blog he posts a letter he wrote to Frank Lay, the principal of Pace High School in Florida who seems to have a difficult time distinguishing between his school and his church. In that letter, Hovind suggests a brilliant legal strategy:

From what I can glean from the newspaper articles that have been sent to me (I know, never trust what you read in the paper - I quit taking it when my parakeet died), it seems that Judge Rodgers ruled that school officials could not endorse religion or talk about their religious beliefs within the school's cases or at school sponsored events. If what I read on LifeSiteNews.com, June 4, is true, ACLU attorney Benjamin Stevenson said school officials have a responsibility to "protect the silently held religious views of others" and to be sure that no one will "impose their religious views" on others. One headline read, "Religion Banned from Santa Rosa Schools."

If this is indeed what the court and the ACLU intend then you need to begin removing the religion of evolution from your school's textbooks, tests, classes, and videos shown in class immediately! You certainly don't want to be held in contempt of court!

Evolution (not the misnamed micro-evolution that we all agree happens) is a religious world view that is not supported by science or common sense. You have been ordered to remove religion. This will be a great challenge since this particular religion is very thoroughly mixed into nearly all of your science and history books (not to mention math and literature).

I'm sure Kent's "legal" scheme for removing evolution from classrooms will work just as well as his "legal" scheme for avoiding paying his taxes did.

The second example, believe it or not, is even funnier:
Sandefur has an amusing post at the Panda's Thumb about the Institute for Creation Research lawsuit against the state of Texas for refusing to give them official accreditation to hand out advanced degrees to their ill-educated victims.

The word "herein" is sprinkled randomly throughout, rather like the way Miss Teen South Carolina sprinkles "such as." It occurs four times on page 2 alone-including "venue herein," whatever the heck that means. There are italics, boldface, ALLCAPS, and all sorts of different combinations herein, of course. There are delightful spelling errors ("advertizes"), rhetorical flourishes ("as if with a 'scarlet letter'"), and neologisms (I can't decide if "favoritistically" or "applicational bounds" is my favorite). Of course it quotes the Bible. It even has rhetorical questions! In a complaint!
Something tells me their chances for accreditation just got a fuck of a lot slimmer.

My best friend, who as a church-going Christian has had many opportunities to perform case studies, assures me that too much prayer rots the brain. He can add these examples to his body of evidence. With them, I do believe he'll have proved his case beyond a reasonable doubt.

Happy Hour Discurso

Today's opining on the public discourse.

Let's work our way down the food chain of Con stupidity today, shall we? We begin with an apex predator, Sen. Chuck Grassley. How predatory is he? He wanted to pull the plug on Grandma a long time ago (h/t):
It's not preposterous to imagine laws that would try to save money by encouraging the inconvenient elderly to make a timely exit. After all, that's been Republican policy for years.

It was Sen. Grassley himself who rammed the GOP's most astonishing pro-death policy through the Senate in 2001. The estate-tax revision he championed reduces the estate tax to zero next year. But when the law expires at year's end, the tax will jump back up to its previous level of 55 percent. Grassley's exploding offer has an entirely foreseen if unintended consequence: It's going to encourage those whose parents and grandparents are worth anything more than a million bucks to get them dead by midnight on Dec. 31, 2010. This would be a great plot for a P.D. James novel if it weren't an actual piece of legislation.
Where were the Teabaggers with their care and concern for the elderly when that little gem went through Congress, eh? Or was that okay with them because hey, if a few old folks have to die for lower taxes, that's a patriotic sacrifice?

Enquiring minds suffering pounding headaches from all the Teabaggers' silly shouting want to know.

We're not done with Chuck Grassley just yet. Oh, no. Not when he's spouting global warming denialism talking points all over the place:
When not busy lying about healthcare reform and working to cripple Ted Kennedy's legislative legacy, Republican Senator Chuck "Aww-shucks-I'm-not-a-scientist" Grassley is skeptical of anthropogenic climate change, because climate has changed in the past:

[H]istorically, and you can go to the core drillings in the glaciers to get proof of this, that we’ve had decades and decades, and maybe even centuries of periods of time when there’s been a tremendous rise in temperature, and then a tremendous fall in temperature. And all you’ve got to do is look at the little ice age of the mid-last millennia as an example.

You know, natural temperature changes, like the Permian-Triassic extinction, which on the Grassley wingnut calender probably falls on the same warm, sunny day Noah started gathering animals two by two. It's so very tragic that the good senator from Iowa didn't stumble across this heartfelt scientific principle, along with his sudden fiscal responsibility, until years after the frenzied run up to the trillion dollar Iraq War. Afterall, Saddam's imaginary anthrax, like rabies, leprosy, or your friendly flesh-eating bacteria down the street, also occurs naturally. That stuff has been around for 'millennia'. So how could those frisky microbes or any manmade spin-offs possibly pose a threat? Stay with me now as we ride this right-wing logic roller-coaster to the screeching end: it then follows that if the earth is naturally warming, the oceans naturally acidifying, and the ice naturally melting, the only obvious rational solution a carnival barker like Mr. Grassley can deduce is to add to it without a care in the world.

We could have so much fun coming up with other examples following his "reasoning." Such as: a person's weight "naturally" fluctuates, so why watch what you eat? The reader is invited to imagine away.

In the meantime, we'll slide a few notches down the food chain, where we find Gov. Tim Pawlenty trying to outdo his hypocritical compatriots at stimulus hypocrisy:

In an interview yesterday with Bloomberg, Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R-MN) gave a blistering speech attacking President Obama, slamming the the stimulus and efforts to reform health care. Pawlenty declared it would be “ludicrous” to think that the Recovery Act is “what pivoted” the economy back to stability. He also said any “fair critique” of Democratic health care legislation includes the argument that “death panels” would make life-or-death treatment decisions.

But as Bloomberg later reported, Pawlenty’s criticisms of the stimulus are at odds with both economists and the statements of Pawlenty’s own economic development director, Dan McElroy. McElroy, Pawlenty’s “point man on jobs and economic development,” leads the Department of Employment and Economic Development. He recently went on a 10 city road show titled “Advancing Economic Prosperity” touting the benefits of the stimulus. Speaking about the positive effects of the stimulus, McElroy said:

“Our goal was to put this money to work as quickly as possible. Communities and job-seekers throughout Minnesota are seeing tangible results from this funding.

A longtime adviser to the governor, Pawlenty has praised McElroy as, “one of the smartest, most hard-working change-oriented leaders that has come to state government in modern history.”

I think we're seeing a vivid example of why people don't trust politicians. How the fuck can you trust a man who blasts the stimulus that the rest of his staff are so busy praising? I mean, at least Bobby Jindal's signing his own name to stimulus checks so people don't get confused.


We come now to the bottom of the Con stupidity food chain, where the Teabaggers dwell, and CNN allows them to lie:

But CNN did the real honors Friday, featuring a couple of segments on the tour. The first was a fluff piece about what a cool bus the people on the tour get to ride in. Awesome, dood.

Then Tony Harris did an interview with Mark Williams, the chief spokesman for Our Country Deserves Better PAC, the organization behind the "Tea Party Express." And while Harris did try to ask Williams some skeptical questions, it was a very congenial segment.

Most of all, Williams was able to flatly deceive the CNN audience about their purpose and intent. Harris asked him whether or not the entire thrust of the "tea parties" was to attack President Obama's policies -- a reasonable point, since these "partiers" were nowhere to be found when George W. Bush was busily busting budgets and running up massive deficits in the name of tax cuts for the wealthy.

Harris, though, pretended throughout the segment that they were purely a nonpartisan outfit only angry about overtaxation. Which is a large wagonload of hooey.

The "Our Country Deserves Better" PAC, in fact, was founded in August 2008 -- before the election -- specifically to oppose Barack Obama and his policies.


That's a nice bit of track-covering. Too bad none of these cable anchors are sharp enough to catch on to it.

Alas, sharpness is not a trait prized by media moguls, and so we usually end up with some pretty dull crayons in the MSM box these days. Crayons that are happy to color within the lines provided.

In their defense, the Teabaggers are really clever liars. Why, it takes at least ten seconds with Google to debunk them. And when you get to Glenn Beck defenders, why, those lies might even require three seconds' worth of - gasp - critical thinking:

Now radical right-winger Gary Kreep, head of the United States Justice Foundation, is leaping to Beck’s assistance. He has established DefendGlenn.com, not to justify Beck’s indefensible hate speech, but to spread smears about Color Of Change and Van Jones. On the website, Kreep instructs Glenn Beck fans to tell advertisers that Van Jones “went to prison for inciting the 1992 Rodney King riots in L.A.”:

Tell them CoC’s founder went to prison for inciting the 1992 L.A. Riots, and accused President Bush of giving troops orders to shoot black people after Hurricane Katrina.

In reality, Van Jones was a legal observer in San Francisco, not Los Angeles, during a non-violent rally that took place after, not before the riots. Jones and hundreds of others were seized in a mass arrest. He was released within a few hours, all charges were dropped, and “the City of San Francisco ultimately compensated him financially for his unjust arrest.”

Jones also has never “accused President Bush of giving troops orders to shoot black people after Hurricane Katrina,” as the DefendGlenn site claims. Kreep’s inflammatory lie has no factual basis whatsoever.

Kreep’s unhinged attacks come as no surprise, however. He is one of the leaders of the “birther” movement, claiming that President Obama is not a citizen of the United States.

Bet you never saw that one coming.

29 August, 2009

Good to See a Good Man Honored

I've spent the past two days doing quite a bit of adventuring in the Seattle area. And one of the most touching things has been seeing the American flag flying at half-mast in Sen. Ted Kennedy's honor:

Ballard Locks

Snoqualmie's Millennium Park

It's an honor he well deserves after all he's done for us:
  • The Mental Health Parity Act of 1996
  • State Children's Health Insurance Program (S-CHIP)
  • Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act of 2009 (Americorps)
  • The Civil Rights Act of 1964
  • The Voting Rights Act of 1965
  • Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993
  • Fair Housing Act of 1968
  • Handicapped Children's Protection Act of 1986 (overturning a SCOTUS decision)
  • Ryan White Care Act of 1990 (AIDS care)
  • Americans with Disability Act of '90
  • Civil Rights Act of 1991
  • Minority Health & Health Disparities Research & Education Act of 2000
  • National & Community Service Trust Act of 1993 (Americorps)
  • Mammography Quality Standards Act of 1990
  • Military Child Care Act of 1989
  • The WARN Act of 1988 (60 days notice prior to plant closings)
  • Employment Opportunities for Disabled Americans Act of 1986
  • Anti-Apartheid Act of 1986 (vetoed by Reagan)
  • Job Training Partnership Act of 1980
  • Refugee Act of 1980
  • Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act of 1980
  • Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act - 1975
  • Title IX of Education Amendments of '72 (bans sex discrimination by schools getting Fed $)
  • Establishment of Women, Infants & Childrens ("WIC") Nutrition Program at USDA
  • Low Income Heating Energy Assistance Act of 1970
  • Older American Community Service Employment Act of 1970
  • Occupational Safety & Health Administration Act of 1970
  • The Voting Rights Act amendments of 1970
  • The Bilingual Education Act of 1968
  • The Economic Opportunity Act of 1964 (War on Poverty: Head Start, Job Corps)
  • The Mental Health Parity Act of 1996
I don't think that's an exhaustive list, but it'll do.

We love you and we miss you, Teddy. Here's to your life. I think you can say of you what was said about two of our local residents:

Memorial Bench in Juanita Bay Park, Kirkland

It was indeed.

Your Daily Dose of Health Care Reform Stupidity

Let's just jump right in.

Grassley is being an absolute motherfucking idiot who doesn't want health care reform. If anyone is still in doubt about this, go here and here. For an explanation as to why Dems continue to put up with his bullshit, the best I can come up with is that they feel sorry for him because the Con party has his balls in a vise. But sympathy for one man is no reason to deny millions effective health care reform.

Let's see just how clear Cons can make their intentions. Sen. Bill Bennett says killing health care reform is their #1 priority. Cased fucking closed, people. Now let's stop using them as an excuse for watering down legislation in order to win bipartisan votes - we all know it's to win insurance industry money.

Speaking of the insurance industry, Wellpoint tries to sic their customers on Congress and ends up making a strong case against... Wellpoint. Oops. Insurer, pwn thyself.

Senator Harry Reid's come up with his own special definition of the public option. Sen. Reid needs a wake-up call from his constituents.

The difference between reform supporters and reform protestors is night-and-day. For one thing, supporters are nice. For the second, they can find Iraq on a map.

Mike Huckabee makes an utter ass of himself trying to grandstand on Kennedy's death.

And, finally, a burning question on many minds has been, What Would Teddy Do? Greg Sargent reminds us that we already have the answer - and it's not just H.E.L.P.:

But there’s another, oft-overlooked initiative Kennedy championed that makes the point even more strongly. I’m talking about the Medicare for All bill, which was wholly Kennedy’s baby.

Kennedy introduced Medicare for All in 2005 and 2007 and it never got voted out of committee. According to the Commonwealth Fund, a respected health care policy group, it was a “universal public insurance program” that would offer compulsory “Medicare type benefits” from cradle to grave. Public, government-run health care.

“It would have functioned similar to the way Medicare functions now,” Sarah Collins, a vice president at Commonwealth, told our reporter, Amanda Erickson. “It would have been basically a public health option, a single payer proposal.”

Ron Pollack, the head of Families USA (which favors a public plan), argues Kennedy’s embrace of Medicare for All confirms he would want a public option. Kennedy’s initiative, Pollack says, was government-run “single payer” health care — universal public health care.

With the “what would Kennedy want” storyline really about to gain steam, seems like Kennedy’s Medicare for All should be a big part of the discussion.

With that answered, the only question remaining is how we get it done.

A Damned Good Question, Easily Answered

Jesus' General asks, "Who's a better Christian?"

No fucking contest whatsoever.

Happy Hour Discurso

Today's opining on the public discourse.

Tonight's typos are not courtesy of the kitty, but courtesy of the fact that I've hiked a good many miles today. I is tired. But since stupid never rests, neither shall I - at least not until I've given the stupid a good several whacks with the Smack-o-Matic.

And right now, although it's a stiff competition, no one is more fucking stupid than Idaho state Rep. Rex Rammell:

Despite coming under widespread criticism for hisjoke” about hunting President Obama, Idaho Republican gubernatorial candidate Rex Rammell wrote a tweet this morning doubling down on his own tasteless humor:

Rammell is facing fire from allies in his own state.
I hope he's facing fired - as in, this being his Macaca moment. A person who does not apologize after making an inexcusable joke about the assassination of the President and then doesn't have the sense to back down, but instead makes another inexcusable joke, has no business even running for office, much less occupying one.

I didn't think many people were more clueless than Glenn Beck, but he sure is trying. Lucky for him Beck's going exponential on the dumbfuckery:

Yesterday was especially astounding. He argued on the air, for example, that President Obama intends to create a "civilian national security force," which will be similar to Hitler's SS and Saddam Hussein. Apparently, this has something to do with AmeriCorps, which Beck initially said has a $500 billion budget. (He corrected himself later in the show, though his guest didn't blink when he originally made the claim.)

Towards the end of the show, after scrawling on a variety of boards and pieces of paper, Beck summarized his key observation. On a chalkboard, Beck had written the words, "Obama," "Left Internationalist," "Graft," "ACORN Style Organizations," "Revolution," and "Hidden Agenda." If you circle some of the first letters of these important words, Beck says, it spells "OLIGARH." Beck told his viewers there's only one letter missing. If you're thinking that letter is "c," you're not medicated enough to understand Beck's show.

The missing letter is "y," because the word he hoped to spell is "OLIGARHY." No, that word doesn't exist in the English language, but that's probably because the dictionary was written by some communist community organizer who wants to keep Glenn Beck and his viewers down.

The quote of the day, however, came towards the end: "I'm tired of being a sheep. I'm tired of being a victim. I'm tired of being pushed around. You know what? The gloves come off."

That's a great idea, Glenn. It'll be much easier to slip that nice white straitjacket on you if you're not wearing bulky gloves.

Oh, and Glenn? When you're already in trouble with advertisers for calling the President a racist, it might be a good idea not to follow up with shit like this:

Eric Boehlert at Media Matters wonders if Glenn Beck has forgotten that the entire reason he is in hot water with advertisers revolves around the fact that he called the President of the United States a "racist" and someone who has "a deep-seated hatred of white people".


That's because, if you watch what he's been doing so far, what seems to be emerging is that he is basically building a case justifying his declaration that Obama is a racist who hates white people.

This became crystal-clear midway through his Fox News program Thursday night, during a segment featuring ex-Democrat now complete loser Patrick Caddell and the ever-vivacious Michelle Malkin to heartily agree with whatever craziness came burbling out of his mouth.

They were all gathered to talk about the "army" of "thugs" that President Obama is planning to gather under the combined umbrellas of ACORN, SEIU, Color of Change and whatever other insidious "radicals" Beck believes he's uncovered.

And what does this "army" of "thugs" look like?

Why, they're all black people, of course.

Watch the segment and observe the examples he offers of the kinds of "thugs" he says Obama intends to incorporate into his army: some gun-toting Black Panthers, a shot from a Louis Farrakhan sermon before a Nation of Islam gathering, and a group of young black men doing military-style exercises.

This, as he explained earlier in the show, will be "Obama's SS."

So we now can see the arc of Beck's thesis this week: He was right to call President Obama an anti-white racist because he is this very moment forming an army of militant black thugs to take over your white neighborhoods and threaten your children and impose a liberal fascist state.

Or something like that.

If only. Maybe the liberal fascist state would make Glenn Beck go away.

Luckily for Glenn Beck, a group of Texas fucktards are doing their best to make him seem almost sane:

An organization calling itself the “Texas Nationalist Movement” plans to march on the Texas capitol tomorrow to demand “Sovereignty or Secession”:

Texans will converge on Austin to deliver a petition to Restore America by Demanding our Sovereignty or we will be forced to call a vote for Secession.


We must stand up and be counted or we will find ourselves in another government. Either we restore America, we will live in a Marxist dictatorship, or we will secede and start over again.

The organization’s petition echoes language used by other “tenther” activists who believe that everything from Social Security to Medicare to the federal highway system violates the Tenth Amendment. According to the petition, Texas officials must either “immediately move for the restoration of the complete and unadulterated Sovereignty of Texas, explicitly adhering to the 10th Amendment wording of the U.S. Constitution,” or “move immediately for complete Secession from the United States of America.” In light of Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s recent expression of support for Texas secession, the petition could receive a friendly hearing.

With apologies to my Texas readers and all Texas liberals suffering the stupidity, my inclination is to say, "Fucking secede already." Then we wouldn't have to worry about Texas's school board fuckery and the potential for them to ship a Bush clone our way. We'll set up a program to resettle our liberal friend in much better surroundings. And my readers should always remember that I have an airbed and a living room. We'll take care of you.

Just please make the insane idiots go away.

Fuck, here comes another one:

President Obama should fire Attorney General Eric Holder for appointing a special prosecutor to investigate potential CIA abuses of terrorist detainees, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) wrote Friday.

Gingrich, in an op-ed for the Washington Examiner, said that the president should dismiss Holder unless the attorney general resigns.

"In the latest skirmish in the Democratic Party's war on the CIA, Attorney General Eric Holder has failed to uphold this fundamental public trust. And for that, there should be consequences," Gingrich wrote.

Let me get this straight, Newt. You want Obama to fire Holder because he's doing his fucking job? Seriously? I mean, this probe is limited to those who went above and beyond the lawbreaking the Bush regime authorized, and you're saying Holder should be fired because he's appointed a prosecutor to investigate that lawbreaking? You're saying the Justice Department's supposed to turn a blind eye to (extra) torture and murder?

Wow. You're an idiot.

It's just too bad the MSM chattering class won't realize what a fucktard you are. They're too busy pushing McCain as Teddy Kennedy's replacement:

On CNN yesterday afternoon, reflecting on Ted Kennedy's legacy as one of the giants of the U.S. Senate, Wolf Blitzer pondered who might someday emerge as a legislative leader with Kennedy's stature and success.

"A lot of people think it might be someone else who sought the presidency, lost and decided, 'You know what, my life's work will now be a senator' and that is Senator McCain, who has been a very good friend to Senator Kennedy," Blitzer said. "We'll see if that becomes the passion that became the passion of Senator Kennedy after he lost to Jimmy Carter in that Democratic presidential nomination back in 1980."

What's more, as Faiz Shakir noted, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution's Cynthia Tucker also argued yesterday, "John McCain could be the Senate's new Ted Kennedy." Tucker said McCain, since last year's election, "has bowed to the harsh nihilism that seems to be all that Republicans represent these days," but said "McCain's reputation for a principled bipartisanship was intact" last year.

I guess I was watching a different presidential campaign last year. As I recall, McCain spent the year lying, flip-flopping, running cheap and ugly ads, and choosing a crazy person as his running mate.


As for the comparison itself, Kennedy was among the most accomplished lawmakers in the history of the United States Senate. McCain has an impressive personal background, but very few accomplishments to his name. Kennedy was principled, brilliant, and knowledgeable. McCain is inconsistent, easily confused, and has no patience for details. Kennedy was widely admired and respected by those who worked with him. McCain is known for screaming at his colleagues, even Republicans, who dare to disagree with him.

We knew Ted Kennedy. Ted Kennedy was a friend of ours. John McCain is no Ted Kennedy.


I can't decide which of the people highlighted is the bigger fucktard. Nominate your favorite in comment. The winner gets an extra-special session with the Smack-0-Matic.

At least that gives us something to look forward to...

One More Day to Get Aboard!

We be sailin' this weekend, me hearties, and most o' ye still seem to be in the taverns. Rouse yerselves and man yer posts! Submissions need to be in by end o' day Friday, or ye won't be part o' this next epic journey o' the HMS Elitist Bastard.

So pick yer best Elitist Bastardly post (or two, or e'en three if ye're Bastard enough) and send it in to elitistbastardscarnival@gmail.com.

(Postdated to ensure all good Bastards get aboard - new content be below)

28 August, 2009

Need to Know

Summers in Seattle are short and fickle, so I've been squeezing every last drop I can out of this one. My adventures have taught me how much I need to know.

Learning is one of those endeavors without end. If you stop at a taste, you may believe you've been sated - I know people like that, people who nibbled at knowledge and then wandered away in favor of something easier. Maybe it's because they were force-fed rather than allowed to develop an appetite. Perhaps they came to believe learning was too hard, or they weren't good at it, or some other bollocks. If they're lucky, later in life, they'll get a second chance at the buffet and realize they've been starving all along. Maybe they'll realize how much they need to know.

Maybe they'll wander down to Ballard Locks and see a man with a telescope.

Wait a second, you say - a telescope at boat locks? In broad daylight? That's one of the things I love the most about this city, the incongruity of enlightenment, lodged in the most unexpected places. My friend and I headed down to watch the boats travel between Lake Union and Puget Sound, and stumbled into an astronomy lesson. A gentleman had his telescope set up on the lawn across from the visitor's center, pointed at the sun. He had a passel of people there waiting for their chance to have a close look. And while they sat and stared in awe at solar prominences and the mottled texture of the sun's surface (yes, it really does look like an orange peel), he gave a little lesson on our nearest star. All for free.

For the first time in my life, I got to view the Sun through a telescope. It looked something like this:

The filigree arches of those prominences will remain etched in my mind forever. There's nothing quite like seeing it for yourself. And it'll probably make you want to learn all about the Sun. Just don't go pointing a telescope toward it without learning about the proper filters, first.

This summer began with my first view of the Moon through a 24-inch telescope at Lowell Observatory. You've seen plenty of photos of the Moon. Head on down to your nearest observatory and see it for yourself. It fair takes your breath away.

I've spent the summer reading science books. I've read up on biology, geology, biogeography, anthropology, and just about everything else I could get my hands on. You'd think I'd be stuffed full o' knowledge by now. The think about knowing is, the more you know, the more you need. The more you learn, the more you want to learn. At least, if you allow yourself to have fun. And if you take field trips. Field trips are fun.

The more I learn about the world, the more it fascinates me. I don't take the Earth for granted anymore. I don't even take my fuchsias for granted now. After reading up on evo devo and evolutionary biology in general, each bloom, each new leaf, looks like a miracle. Even the flaws are fascinating. And I need to know more.

You all probably understand that. You're Elitist Bastards, after all, or you wouldn't be here reading this. You've felt the need to know.

I'm going to take you two steps further.

First, challenge yourself to learn about something you never had any interest in before. For me, that was biology. For you, it may be chemistry, or political science, or something really arcane like lapidary. Pick a topic and run with it. Learn all you can. See if you don't discover that a little knowledge means you're left with a burning need to know.

Second, challenge others. I don't mean in-your-face challenge. I mean take your knowledge and throw it out there for people to grab hold of. Astronomers, set your telescope up in a public park. Chemists, do some sidewalk demos. Whatever your talent, whatever your area of expertise, even if it's something as arcane as dorodango. Take it public.

Some religions fish for souls. We shall fish for minds. And I'll bet you we can hook quite a few. People need to know.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to know how the Cascades formed, what waterfalls really are, and there's all that Arizona geology I need to know more about...

Your Daily Dose of Health Care Reform Stupidity

The next time you wonder where utterly outrageous Con lies come from, look no further than the RNC:
The Columbian reports today that Raymond Denny, a 64-year old man from La Center, Washington, recieved a thirteen-question survey in the mail from the RNC, and that one of the questions implied that the health care reform bills before Congress would purposely discriminate against people who affiliated with the Republican Party:

And the sad thing is, people swallow this shit.

Steve Benen has further lowlights. I'm frankly afraid to look at the whole thing. Makes me even more sympathetic to the town hall attendee who spanked McCain hard.

Speaking of spankings, Greta van Susteren whacked Michael Steele right over the noggin with the $64 million-dollar question: "But can you sort of, you know -- you know, bring me in on the secret why the Republicans didn't do health care reform when they owned the House, the Senate and the White House?"

Ouch. Very ouch.

Speaking of very ouch, let's talk about Blue Dogs and pwnage. First, to understand them, we should look at the money - the over 1/2 of their campaign contributions that have come from the health care industry, to be exact. That could be one explanation for their fucktarded stance on health care reform, which is poised to make the insurance industry billions while fucking over the rest of us. But Rep. Pete Stark believes the fact they're brain dead is also relevant.

One can only imagine what he thinks of the 13 Dem Senators wavering or dead set against meaningful health care reform. And I know precisely what I think of Baucus's self-serving lies about the late, great Sen. Kennedy. I think Max should be called out as a lying sack of shit and then voted out of a job.

In the meantime, impossible as it seems, John Stossel has managed to make an even more colossal idiot of himself. He's actually stated, in public and for the record, that “There will be death panels if we do nothing” about Medicare. This was after calling Medicare a Ponzi scheme. I wonder how many seniors watch ABC? I wonder how long it will take for ABC to realize that a dumbshit spouting lies about Medicare and death panels might not be good for business? ABC, after all, is not Faux News.

For those in any doubt that our system needs reforming, I refer you now to Susie Madrak's ongoing adventures with our vaunted health care system. You want to talk about rationing, waits, and bureaucrats getting between you and your doctor? Her ankle simply requires surgery to repair it. Ask her why it's taken over two years and still no surgery.

Or, if your heart is hardened toward human hard-luck stories, you might want to look in to why the lolcat community is also suffering:

While you're there, sign on to support meaningful health care reform that includes a robust public option. Nothing less.

Why I Adore Barney Frank

Crooks and Liars put together a video montage of Rep. Barney Frank's Dartmouth town hall - you remember, the one wherein he utterly annihilated that poor little fool who spouted her "Nazi policy" bullshit. She wasn't the only one stupid enough to stand up and utter right wing talking points. And she wasn't the only one Barney spanked hard.


Frank explains what deficit hawks should concern themselves with:

"I am struck by those who say, well, you don't care about the deficit. No, I do. I do care about the deficit. That's one of the reasons, not the only one, why I voted against the single most wasteful expenditure in the history of America. The Iraq war. If we hadn't gone to the war in Iraq, which I thought was a terrible mistake and voted against, we would have had more than enough money to pay for health care."

He argues with a "tenther" who thinks that Congress isn't authorized to provide health care for their citizens:

Frank: Do you think Medicare is unconstitutional, sir?

Teabagger: I think that Medicare needs to be reformed.

Frank: Do you think it's unconstitutional? You said that the Constitution doesn't give us the authority to do it, but Medicare was done. And, do you think Medicare is unconstitutional?

Teabagger: I think that Medicare needs to be reformed.

Frank: But you won't tell me whether you think it's unconstitutional, which you said--

Teabagger: I am not a Constitutional scholar-

Frank: Then why did you start off arguing about the Constitution?

That's really a fantastic exchange, where Frank digs an inch below the surface and finds nothing. He insists on having this questioner back up the rhetoric he cribbed off of Free Republic or wherever he got it, and the guy just couldn't do it.

Gorgeous. Elect this man to the Senate. We may have lost our Liberal Lion, and he can never be replaced - but a bulldog's not a bad backup.

Happy Hour Discurso

Today's opining on the public discourse.

I do believe this is conduct unbecoming to a lawmaker:
One of these days, it sure would be nice if Republicans felt the need to denounce this kind of radical, vile rhetoric.

At a town hall Wednesday night, Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK) told constituents, "We're almost reaching a revolution in this country."

Inhofe also said he doesn't need to know what's in a health care reform bill to vote against it.

"I don't have to read it, or know what's in it. I'm going to oppose it anyways," he said at the event in Chickasha, Okla.

The senator was in good company, with most of the audience agreeing with him and expressing their disdain for big government and Democrats. One man said, "No more compromise. We're losing our country."

I can't begin to understand why Inhofe and his like-minded extremists are so angry. But for an elected member of the United States Senate to speak publicly about the possibility of a "revolution" is deeply frightening.

What's more, let's not forget that Inhofe isn't the only one throwing around insane rhetoric like this. Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) has encouraged her supporters to "rise up" and be "armed and dangerous." Several GOP lawmakers are talking up the idea of "nullification," which is effectively secession-lite. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison's former press secretary recently wrote about "the coming revolution," which he suggested might be similar to "Project Mayhem" from the movie "Fight Club." (In the film, "Project Mayhem" involved militarizing terrorist cells that blew up banks.)

Inhofe is a U.S. senator, and he's decided to fan the flames.

Of course he did, because he's a fucktard who can't even be bothered to do his job. I don't know how the fuck he found enough deeply stupid people to elect him, but all he's in government for is to fuck things up. He's a useless piece of garbage who's a disgrace to the Senate.

I hope the fuckwits stupid enough to play with fire are the first to get burned. We should be so lucky.

And here we have yet another fucktard making the kind of "jokes" that get people killed:

Much of my family still lives in Idaho, and my dad is fond of hanging at the gun range. He says he hears guys talking casually about how easy it would be to shoot President Obama with a long-range rifle. And how they'd really like to do it. Jokes like that are becoming common there, too.

So it really didn't surprise me when one of the wingnuttiest wingnuts in Idaho (this is really saying something) joked about how he'd happily buy a hunting tag for shooting President Obama:

Rex Rammell, a long-shot gubernatorial candidate seeking the Republican nomination, criticized Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter on Wednesday for not making good on a promise to buy the first wolf tag. Tags for hunting the gray wolf went on sale Monday.

Rammell's remarks on Otter came in an interview Wednesday after the Times-News asked about comments Rammell made Tuesday night at a local Republican party event.

After an audience member shouted a question about "Obama tags" during a discussion on wolves, Rammell responded, "The Obama tags? We'd buy some of those."
While free speech is wonderful and allows all kinds of people to say all kinds of outrageous things, I think the line has to be drawn with elected officials joking about buying tags to hunt the President. That kind of talk is so far out of bounds it can't see the stadium with the Hubble.

These assclowns demand we show them respect and trust them to govern when they encourage talk of revolution, joke about assassinating the President, and reflexively oppose legislation that would not only provide health care to all Americans, but help bring down the deficits they were largely responsible for. And there's an enormous parade of them who are happy to rake in stimulus money with both hands while decrying that same stimulus in Washington. The latest:
The AP reports that Republicans who opposed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, commonly referred to as the stimulus, are nonetheless vigorously pursuing money from the program. Many GOP members, like Rep. Brett Guthrie (R-KY), are still slamming the stimulus as waste and a failure, yet at the same time are making internal appeals for more funds. Guthrie, attacked the Recovery Act for its “staggering” costs just days before he urged Defense Secretary Robert Gates to consider using stimulus money to renovate a military hospital in his congressional district.

Other opponents of the stimulus now pleading for stimulus money include:

Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) and Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-GA) opposed the stimulus and attacked it as a bloated government giveaway. However, both senators recently asked Gates to steer $50 million in stimulus money for a bio-energy project. Visiting a food bank aided by money from the stimulus, Chambliss exclaimed last week, “I’m very pleased that the government continues to play a key role, here, from the standpoint of providing food.”

Rep. Mary Fallin (R-OK) — who called the stimulus a “Big Brother spending program” — asked Army Secretary Pete Geren to use $8.4 million in stimulus money for repairs to buildings at two Oklahoma National Guard sites.

Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK) told CNS News last month, “I don’t think it [failed] - I know it. I said at the time, there’s no stimulus in the stimulus bill.” He also called the Recovery Act simply “welfare.” However, a recent press release from Inhofe hails $1.9 million in funding for a Claremore regional railroad-based trans-modal facility, noting the investment will “help spur additional economic growth” and that the senator is “happy” about the way the money is being used. Inhofe, of course, makes no mention that the money is authorized by the Recovery Act.

Rep. John Carter (R-TX) opposed the Recovery Act, and recently called the entire program a failure that should be “repealed.” Regardless, Carter’s public pronouncements did not stop him from requesting $621 million in hospital projects from the stimulus — then calling the funds a victory for the economy in central Texas.

Rep. Bill Young (R-FL), another stimulus opponent, now lists various links on his website to help his constituents “take advantage of the federal stimulus money.”

The DCCC has a Hypocrisy Hall of Fame with a list as long as your leg highlighting the two-faced sons of bitches, and their list only includes the Reps, not the Senators, who are engaging in this bullshit. As Steve Benen said, "The campaign committee probably ought to save room for a lot of inductees."

They'll have to buy extra servers at this rate.

I wonder how much hypocrisy we'd be hearing if a vote against the stimulus and continued claims that the stimulus is a worthless waste that should be abolished meant those reps and senators didn't get a single shiny dime from that package?

Speaking of people who should be required to experience a life without government largesse, the Tenthers come to mind. They're the assclowns who think the Tenth Amendment means things like Medicare are unconstitutional. Their latest outcry is against roads:
In a recent radio interview, Rep. Carol Shea-Porter (D-NH) made the seemingly-innocuous statement that the federal highway system, as well as federal laws ensuring safe drugs and safe airplanes, are constitutional. Nevertheless, Shea-Porter is now under attack by “tenther” activists who believe that virtually everything the federal government does is unconstitutional:

Author and historian David Barton, the president of WallBbuilders, [sic] says Shea-Porter’s comments reflect her view that Washington government should run everything. He notes that both the Ninth and Tenth Amendments say anything that is not explicitly covered in the Constitution belongs to the states and to the people.

“All of those issues belong to the states and the people. Healthcare is not a federal issue. It is a state and people issue — the same with transportation. The Constitution does say that the federal government can take care of what are called the post roads — those on which the mail travels — but outside of that, states are responsible for their own highways, their own roads, their own county, local, state roads,” he notes.
You know, I hate to break this to you, fucktard, but the mail travels on nearly every single fucking road in this country. So even by your own inane argument, roads are very much a federal issue.

I'd ask for smarter Cons, but I know I wouldn't get them. Not when they're too clueless to realize that inviting Sarah Palin to a gathering without a backup speaker in place is just asking for a disaster:
If these circumstances sound familiar, it's because we've heard this story before.

Organizers of an Anchorage event that has been billing Sarah Palin for weeks as a star speaker were left scrambling Wednesday after learning that the former governor won't be there for tonight's event and claims to have never been asked.

It would be at least the fourth time in recent months that an anticipated Palin speech has fallen through after Palin and her camp disputed they had ever confirmed it. That includes the brouhaha over whether she'd speak at the annual congressional Republican fundraising dinner in Washington, D.C., this summer.

This time it's an event promoting an Alaska ballot measure aimed at making it illegal for teens to get an abortion without telling their parents. The Alaska Family Council has been advertising that Palin would give a speech and become the first official signer of the ballot petition tonight at ChangePoint, the Anchorage megachurch.

Alaska Family Council President Jim Minnery and his group have been promoting the event, and Palin's appearance, after having been in contact with the former governor's aides. Palin's spokesperson said yesterday, however, that "this is the first we have ever heard of a speech."


She's not showing up. Palin's spokesperson said Palin will not even be in Alaska when the event is held.

Now, in general, a mix-up between a far-right group and a far-right politician over scheduling issues wouldn't be especially noteworthy. But what's interesting about this is that it keeps happening. This is, as the Anchorage Daily News noted, the fourth time some members of Palin's team committed to an event that other members of Palin's team never agreed to.

Guess the idiots who invited her to their little anti-choice fest forgot the old saying: "Once is chance, twice is coincidence, but third time's a pattern."

That was probably enough of a laugh for one day, but there's one more gem I just can't pass up. Cons see an opening for them in Ted Kennedy's death, and they're viewing this as the perfect opportunity for Mitt Romney. They need to get their eyes checked:

In Roff's fantasy scenario, Romney could serve a couple of years, dazzle Republicans with his ideas, and then parlay his Senate service into the GOP presidential nomination in 2012. It's not just Roff -- National Review's Lisa Schiffren likes the idea, too.

This is certainly an ... what's the word ... imaginative proposal. But I don't think it's especially realistic.

First, Romney ran for governor in Massachusetts as a center-left, pro-choice, tolerant New England Republican. He left office after just one term as a conservative with an approval rating in the 30s. Which version of Romney would run for Kennedy's seat? He couldn't run to the right; he'd lose. He couldn't run to the left; it would ruin his presidential ambitions.

Second, Roff may have missed it, but while President Obama's approval ratings aren't as strong as they were, he maintains a 73% approval rating in Massachusetts. It doesn't look as if the Bay State would be anxious to replace Ted Kennedy with a harsh, reflexive opponent of the White House.

And third, by all appearances, Mitt Romney isn't actually a resident of Massachusetts.

Other than these minor details, though, it's a great idea. Run, Mittster, run.

Please do. The way must be cleared for the Palin/Bachmann 2012 ticket. You fuckers owe us a good laugh after all of the disasters you've visited upon the country.