Friday, March 6, 2009

Last Call

So, Republicans tell me Thou Shalt:
  1. Hate poor people because they are all shiftless, lazy minorities, unless they are the working-class salt of the earth who are your friends and neighbors and you should help them because Jesus wants you to,
  2. Admire the wealthy creative classes who provide the real engine of the economy, unless they are liberal elitists lying to you about global warming while flying around in private jets,
  3. Refuse to take government handouts or work for the government unless you're in the military and then the government doesn't provide you with enough, so donate hot sauce, or you're a GOP politician, then you're doing the People's Will,
  4. Despise the media because they are manipulating you unless you're Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Bill O Reilly, FOX News, etc.,
  5. Patriotically defend this country from critics unless the government is run by Democrats, in which case it is your duty to dissent,
  6. Brutally rail against immigrants period unless they are badly needed Asian scientists or paid under the table illegals working for your business,
  7. Treat all minorities as inferior unless they spout GOP talking points at relative intervals,
  8. Treat women as inferior unless they are running for Vice-President on the GOP ticket, in which case the world is filled with misogyny, or they submit to your dominion as Male,
  9. Despise science as a secular affront to God's will unless it generates cool weapons for killing people and/or allows greater control over what people think,
  10. Be a complete hypocrite on all of these issues at the same time unless you are batshit crazy, which makes the whole process much more efficient.
So, no. They do make the Democrats look appealing as a political party. Also, I don't tend to respect anybody whose argument I can effectively defeat with the words "But how do you explain why you voted for Bush then?"

Screw You, Rush

Just screw you.
On his radio show Friday, Rush Limbaugh suggested that Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA) would be dead by the time health care reform legislation passes. "Before it's all over, it'll be called the Ted Kennedy memorial health care bill," the talk show host says. He says President Obama has moved on to health care because he can't solve the economic crisis.
From space, you can see two distinct man-made artifacts from orbit: The Great Wall Of China, and How Much Of A Ginormous Asshole Rush Limbaugh Is.

Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Executive Director Brian Wolff released a statement in response:

"Rush Limbaugh's reprehensible remark that, ' before it's all over, it'll be called the Ted Kennedy Memorial Health Care bill' is truly outrageous.

"Leader Limbaugh minimizes the struggle of hardworking Americans without access to affordable health care and demonizes a patriotic Senator who has spent his life fighting so that every person has the opportunity to live the American dream.

"Leader Limbaugh crossed the line. National Republicans must stand up to their leader, Rush Limbaugh, and tell him that enough is enough."

The Democratic campaign arm has also launched a petition, asking Republican Party Chairman Michael Steele to denounce Rush Limbaugh "once and for all" in light of his latest comments.

Can you imagine what kind of hellfire would descend upon any...any...liberal figure who publicly suggested that a GOP senator who was ill would in fact die before passing a bill to help millions of Americans (putting aside the fact that your average GOP senator would in fact never vote for or author a piece of legislation that would actually help millions of Americans as a general rule)? It would become a firestorm of Biblical proportions. That person would be stripped of their job as demanded by the Village and the GOP.

But Rush? It's totally cool and perfectly acceptable to intimate that Ted Kennedy's going to die, and that the Democratic Party would in fact use it as a political tool to pass health care legislation. Good for Brian Wolf and the Democrats to come out swinging on this.

Screw you again, Rush. Ted Kennedy is a trillion times the human being you'll ever hope to be. I honestly hope Rush Limbaugh never has to go through not being able to go to the doctor because he doesn't have health insurance, or being terrified a hospital visit would bankrupt you. Been there. Kidney stones. I got lucky, I was back in school at the time, otherwise it would have been $20k I most certainly didn't have.

So yes, I hope this bill passes, right after Ted Kennedy authors legislation declaring Rush a Complete Douchebag.

[UPDATE] Remember kids, Conservative assholes say if you're homeless and don't have health care and you're living in a shelter but you have a pay as you go cell phone because you're in a shelter and you don't exactly have a land-line for job interviews or anything, you're not really poor, in fact you're just another lazy negro like the other record 31.8 million Americans on food stamps and you're a welfare king/queen that is everything wrong with America.

Also, any liberal dumb enough to enable you by volunteering at the shelter where you're at is probably just some stupid elitist trying to feel better about herself, you know, like Michelle Obama.


Epic Edumacation Fail

Jim DeMint, you stay classy.
Days after he predicted there would be rioting from a public angry with all of the federal bailouts, Republican Senator Jim DeMint made another judgmentally-questionable statement --that students at D.C. public schools have a higher likelihood of joining gangs than of graudating from high school.

In comments made at a Republican news conference on the need to save the district's federal school voucher program, DeMint said, "If you send a kid to [public] school in D.C., chances are that they will end up in a gang rather than graduating," according to an article in The Washington Times.

The Times noted that the graduation rate for D.C. Public Schools was close to 70 percent last year, which puts it in line with the national average.

DeMint's own state of South Carolina however has a much lower graduation rate - 56 percent, which is the fourth lowest rate of any state in the country, according to a 2008 article by South Carolina newspaper, The Post and Courier.

Al Versus Norm, Part 503

Minnesota's Supreme Court has shot down the effort to seat Al Franken provisionally, but left a hole large enough to drive a truck through.
The Minnesota Supreme Court today ruled that Al Franken was not entitled to be certified winner of the U.S. Senate election pending the outcome of a trial challenging his 225-vote recount lead.

The court said state law says a certificate of election cannot be issued until the state courts have finally decided an election. The court also said federal law did not require states to certify senators by the time a new term begins in January. Moreover, it said the U.S. Senate could always seat Franken even without a certification.

It's seating Franken without certification that's the catch. The GOP will go absolutely berserk should the Democrats try this, and I'd actually agree with them. Like it or not, Franken has to be certified as the winner, or the Democrats are walking into a massive trap that will delegitimize everything Franken touches, especially after Blago and Burris.

Even Harry Reid can see that disaster coming from a mile away, and speaking of Burris, he has his own batch of problems.

Galt-ernate Reality

So, the right has taken up the call of Ayn Rand's novel Atlas Shrugged and its protagonist, the Original Whiny Rich Boy, John Galt (empahsis moi):
“Just this weekend,” said Rep. John Campbell (R-Calif.) on Wednesday in an interview with TWI, “I had a guy come up to me in my district and tell me that he was losing his interest in the business he’d run for years because the president wanted to punish him for his success. I think people are reading ‘Atlas Shrugged’ again because they’re trying to understand what happens to people of accomplishment, and people of talent and energy, when a government turns against them. That’s what appears to be happening right now.”

The plot of Rand’s novel is simple, despite its length — 1,088 pages in the current paperback edition. The United States is governed by bureaucrats, “looters” and “moochers,” who penalize and demonize creative people. The country is in decline because creative people are disappearing — they have followed the innovative John Galt to a mountain enclave, “Galt’s Gulch,” where they watch society crumble. Creativity has gone on strike (the working title of the novel was “The Strike”), and the engine of capitalism cannot run without it.

For Campbell, this is a powerful and relevant story. The congressman calls “Atlas Shrugged” an “instruction manual,” and inscribes the copies that he gives to interns. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), the ranking member of the House Budget Committee, also gives copies of the novel as gifts and refers to it to make the case against President Obama’s policies. “It’s an audacious scheme,” said Ryan in his speech to the Conservative Political Action Conference last week. “Set off a series of regulatory blunders and congressional meddling, blame the free market for the financial crisis that follows — then use this excuse to impose a more intrusive state. Sounds like something right out of an Ayn Rand novel.

What all these wonderfully creative and talented elite forget is that frankly, they're the ones who lost trillions in the first place. The "blunders" that these idiots and morons are discussing were not made by the government. They were made by these self-proclaimed masters of the universe who lobbied the government to remove as much oversight and regulation as possible from our financial system. With this oversight gone, these creative geniuses then promptly manufactured financial instruments so maddeningly complex and arcane that at the first hint of financial downturn, entire financial giants collapsed seemingly overnight from being leveraged 35 to 1.

Now that they have been caught, these guys are in fact blaming the rest of us, the "unproductive" members of society, the "moochers" that in this country who only exist because the government takes lifeblood from these heroes and dares to bestow them on the rest of the useless dregs of humanity, i.e you and me.

Well, I've got news for the Galties. You're not a unique and beautiful snowflake, as Tyler Durden once said. We're all in this together, and when given the chance to excel with your ubermensch powers, you instead got greedy and led the country down the primrose path to Hell.

You lost. Obama won. Now you pay the price. And actually, we're all paying the price for you. Your time is over. You had your shot. You blew it to the tune of trillions.

Now it's our turn.

About Time For This About Face

News is breaking that Obama plans to reverse Bush's executive order banning stem-cell research on Monday.
ABC News has learned that on Monday morning President Obama will hold an event at the White House in which he signs an executive order overturning the ban on federal funding of embryonic stem cell research.

The announcement will be about "restoring scientific integrity to health care policy," an administration official tells ABC News.

In August 2001, President George W. Bush signed an executive order banning federal funding on embryonic stem cell research except for a few dozen lines that were grandfathered in. The White House at the time estimated scientists would have more than 60 cell lines to use, but ultimately fewer than two dozen lines were usable.

Twice during his presidency, Mr. Bush vetoed efforts to overturn his ban.
Good for him. We need some good news right about now.

In Which Zandar Answers Your Burning Questions

Josh Marshall asks:
There's often a lot of game-playing in getting appointees approved by the senate. But this requires more attention. The senate Republicans are refusing to give a vote to two of President Obama's key (hopefully soon to be) economic advisors -- Austan Goolsbee and Cecilia Rouse. So for the moment they're barred from advising the president at all. The Republicans seem pretty candid about the fact that this is pay back for stuff that happened back in the Bush era. But aren't we in the throes of a catastrophic economic crisis?
Why yes Josh, we are.

And if you think that actually matters to the GOP at all other than "How can we use this to regain political power?" then I have a nice beach house in Kansas to sell you. Remember, these are the same folks that think Obama's destroying the economy on purpose to force a permanent socialist/fascist state, and to them the economy's only been in trouble since November 5th, 2008.

Take This Job And Shove Me

U-3 number, 8.1%, U-6 number up to 14.8%. A staggering 651,000 jobs lost in February, 851,000 total. A little better than I expected.

Strap in. Here there be dragons. The unadjusted seasonal U-6 is a nasty, nasty 16.0%. One in 6 Americans are out of a job or underemployed.

Not too far from one in five.

[UPDATE] Behold the Chart Of Green Doom(tm).

That green line? That's us, approaching 4.5 million lost jobs in this recession with no bottom in sight. Remember, it took us over four years to put back the jobs lost from the last recession. The "lost decade" scenario is looking more and more likely.

Plan N Again

Even Time Magazine seems to think Plan N could be worth it at this point. The best example of Plan N working? IndyMac Bank.
IndyMac will soon earn the first half of its name back. The government, which seized the failed bank last summer, is expected to close a deal in the next week that would return the California mortgage lender to private ownership. For IndyMac, the deal means independence in less than eight months. For the government, the IndyMac sale provides a shining example that takeovers can work at a time when the Obama administration may soon begin pushing for more nationalizations.

"The fact that the government ownership of IndyMac is coming to an end in just eight months is successful," says Kevin Stein, a former associate director of resolutions at the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and an investment banker at FBR Capital Markets. "Nationalization is a tool that has been used in the past and can be effective in the future in certain situations."

A how-to model for nationalizations could prove valuable in the months ahead. The government is in the process of stress testing the nation's largest banks as part of Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner's plan to fix the ailing sector. And many think the outcome of those tests could lead to more takeovers. So far, Geithner and other officials have denied they are interested in running banks. But in the past few weeks, a number of prominent Republicans and fiscal conservatives, most notably former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan and Senator Lindsey Graham, have joined those who think the government should consider nationalizing the most troubled institutions. Bank of America, Citigroup and Wells Fargo could all be candidates for increased government ownership and control.

It's a pretty powerful argument. If the government can do for Citi and BoA what they have done for IndyMac, then we could in fact start fixing the problem.

Of course, it's all but inevitable at this point that this will be the case.

Tinfoil Time

The latest meme out from the unholy combination of Republican wingnuts, anti-government Libertarians, and Wall Street shills is that Obama is somehow destroying the economy on purpose to permanently enshrine the Socialist State of America.

From Jim Cramer to Doug Ross to Bill Anderson the argument is that Obama's policies are throttling growth in order to make ordinary Americans entirely dependent on the government, giving the government nearly unlimited political power.

Of course, all you need to know about the veracity of the theory is confirmed by the fact that Michele Bachmann believes it with all her heart.


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