Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Epic Doing Your Job Fail

Arizona Republican Sen. Jon Kyl is upset that the Democrats scheduled confirmation hearings on Sonia Sotomayor on July 13.
"This seems like a unilateral and political decision by Leahy and Senate Democrats,” said one Republican Senate aide, adding: “[Leahy] knows that the longer this nomination sits, the public support for her will begin to dwindle.”

Republicans argue that they would need to read 76 cases a day to get prepared for the hearings.

She has 10 times as many decisions as Roberts did,” said Kyl, who is also on the Judiciary Committee.” “It takes a long time to go through that material. We’ll simply have to wait and see how that review goes. I’ve checked, and it’s not going really fast. It’s hard to do.”

Then having ten times the judiciary experience as the Chief F'ckin Justice of the Supreme Court, you should have no problem confirming her.

Thanks for playing.


Pyrrhic Victory

Murdered abortion doctor George Tiller's clinic is being closed as per the Tiller family.
After Dr. Tiller was shot and killed on May 31 as he served as an usher at his Wichita church, abortion rights advocates – including at least one abortion provider in Nebraska – had said they hoped others might step in and keep Dr. Tiller’s clinic open to provide late-term abortions. Abortion rights advocates had said the loss of such a clinic would be devastating to families of women who learned late in pregnancy of catastrophic health issues.

Even some abortion opponents, who had long devoted their efforts to closing down Dr. Tiller’s clinic, said they did not wish to see it happen under these circumstances. Last week, Troy Newman, the leader of Operation Rescue, had said that closing the clinic now would send a worrisome message. “Good God, do not close this abortion clinic for this reason,” he said in an interview with The New York Times. “Every kook in the world will get some notion.”

Scott P. Roeder, an outspoken opponent of abortion, is in a Wichita jail, charged with murder in Dr. Tiller’s death.

Immediately after the shooting, the Tiller family had announced that the clinic was closed for the moment, but provided no long term plan until Tuesday.

In the statement, the Tiller family said it wished to assure his previous patients that it would work to keep their medical histories and patient records “as fiercely protected now and in the future as they were during Dr. Tiller’s lifetime.”

The family also said Dr. Tiller’s work would be honored through private charitable work. “We are proud of the service and courage shown by our husband and father and know that women’s health care needs have been met because of his dedication and service,” the statement said. “That is a legacy that will never die.”

Abortion rights advocates said they believed the nearest abortion provider to Wichita may now be about three hours away, near Kansas City.
Which is the real issue. The practical application of abortion is that fewer and fewer doctors are even willing to perform the procedure anymore. If you live three hours away from the nearest clinic that will do the procedure, then for a lot of people it's no longer an option.

So yes, Scott Roeder won. He did what years of protests and lawsuits and threats and attempted murder could not do: close the Tiller Clinic for good and remove abortion as an option for the women of Wichita.

All he had to do was commit murder to stop what he believed was mass murder.

I respect the family's decision to close the clinic. I do not agree with it, as it will almost certainly motivate the next Scott Roeder out there to kill the next George Tiller.

What price victory, indeed.

[UPDATE] Ross Douthat basically argues that if Americans just would be allowed to vote to end all abortions, why then abortion doctors wouldn't get murdered. See how simple the solution is if you're a Winger?

If you have abortions, well...doctors are going to get killed. Just stop making abortions available and they'll be no reason to kill them.

The terrorists have won.

[UPDATE 2] Roeder is now claiming 'victory' for the closing of the clinic, according to CNN.

Punditry's Mendoza Line

In baseball, poor Mario Mendoza was a hell of a defensive shortstop in the 70's, but in 1979 he hit .198 for the Seattle Mariners and was forever saddled with the term Mendoza Line to commemorate hitting under the .200 mark (his lifetime batting average was a paltry .215, technically.)

If political punditry has a Mario Mendoza, it's Politico's Ben Smith, a guy who -- like Mendoza -- only manages to get a hit about one in five times...today he manages to ground out yet again.
And the Muslim attack comes roaring back from the political fringe today with a Washington Times op-ed by Frank Gaffney that concedes while he isn't -- "necessarily" -- a Muslim, there is a valid Hitler comparison to make:
This is not to say, necessarily, that Mr. Obama actually is a Muslim any more than Mr. Clinton actually is black. After his five months in office, and most especially after his just-concluded visit to Saudi Arabia and Egypt, however, a stunning conclusion seems increasingly plausible: The man now happy to have his Islamic-rooted middle name featured prominently has engaged in the most consequential bait-and-switch since Adolf Hitler duped Neville Chamberlain over Czechoslovakia at Munich.


"Stunning" is his response to one of the most vile winger screeds I've read in quite some time. And this guy gets paid to do this. He does at least note that Obama mentions Jesus a lot (because he's a Christian), but he then goes for the gusto by pointing out that this is pissing off atheists.

Obama can't win, dur. Still hasn't occured to Smith that Obama can't win because of people like Ben Smith.

On second thought, maybe Smith's lack of self-awareness is more like a failed Turing test than it is a Mendoza Line.

Obama Derangement Syndrome Documented

Salon has a great piece up debunking the wingnuttiest myths surrounding Obama. Some examples:

Myth: Republican Chrysler dealers were targeted for closure.

Who's spreading it: Michelle Malkin, World Net Daily, Doug Ross, the Washington Examiner, the Zero Hedge blog

What they believe: The Obama administration told Chrysler which of its dealerships needed to be closed -- and they wielded that power for political ends, punishing dealers who donated to Republicans while protecting Democrats. And the numbers prove it: The vast majority -- nearly all, in fact -- of the closed dealerships were owned by Republican dealers.

What is real: This one actually deserved looking into. After all, when the government takes over a major car company and starts having a hand in its business decisions, there's the possibility for all sorts of malfeasance. But it just didn't turn out to be true.

The reason so many of the closed dealerships were owned by Republican donors? Well, almost all car dealerships, period, are owned by Republicans. What statistical evidence there is to back up the hypothesis is flawed and basically meaningless. And Chrysler, not the administration, decided which dealerships to shutter.

However, now, like all good conspiracy theories, the proponents of this one have refused to let it die. One mathematical analysis showed no favoritism toward Democrats, and no targeting of Republicans -- but it did seem to indicate (if you're a little rusty on your statistics) a trend toward favoring Clinton donors. So now the hypothesis has shifted, and to back it up, the people advancing the theory are pointing to one dealer group in particular. Owned by people like Black Entertainment Television founder Robert Johnson, a major backer of Hillary Clinton in 2008, and Mack McLarty, who served as White House press secretary in Bill Clinton's administration, it didn't lose a single dealership.

Sure, that might seem at first like an indication of something nefarious. But if you seriously think the Obama team is risking everything to protect a guy who brought up their candidate's drug use on the trail during the Democratic primary, well, we have an American car company we'd like to sell you.

There's another half-dozen of these, and the fact that five months into the man's term there's an actual need to still do this shows just how far journalism has fallen in this country.

Wingers Declare War On "Government Motors"

Wingers like El Rushbo have decreed that General Motors must die in a socrched earth boycott in order to prove Obama wrong.
"In the effort to reverse this lurch beyond the farthest left fringe of previous Democratic statist urges, individual Americans have a role to play. They have to say no to GM products and services until such time as the denationalization occurs," says Hugh Hewitt. He acknowledges that this is a serious step that could hurt people currently working for GM: "But there isn't any alternative, every dollar spent with GM is a dollar spent against free enterprise. Every car or truck purchased from Government Motors is one not purchased from a private car company that competes fairly against all other car companies."

Where Hewitt makes his point as a seemingly reluctant and composed agitator, Rush Limbaugh makes no bones about what he wants in his own praise of the idea. The most amazing thing here is that Limbaugh appears to be openly admitting that the purpose of this is economic and political sabotage -- to prevent President Obama from succeeding at something.

Limbaugh reassures any GM workers who might be listening that the boycotters aren't angry at them. "They don't want to patronize Obama. They don't want to do anything to make Obama's policies work!" he explains. "This is an untold story, by the way. Of course, the government-controlled media is not gonna report anything like this but there are a lot of people who are not going to buy from Chrysler or General Motors as long as it is perceived Barack Obama is running it, because people do not want his policy to work here because this is antithetical to the American economic way of life."

In order to save American jobs you see, we must destroy hundreds of thousands of them and the President trying to save them. It's the only way. The fact that a metric shit ton of Democratic union workers get shafted and then the GOP gets to blame Obama for it is entirely bonus material for these guys.

I say it again. The GOP plan is Destroy. Obama. It doesn't matter what Obama does, if Obama fails at it then the GOP wins. They don't care how many jobs are lost and lives are destroyed. They would rather see GM burn because Obama tried to save it. General motors is dead to them anyway, it's Government Motors now, an arm of the Obama administration, and it has to die along with all the jobs and cars with it.

They hate Obama enough to put possibly millions out of work just to prove him wrong.

Think about that.

[UPDATE] Steve Benen sums it up:

This isn't complicated. If GM's finances improve, the government can divest, American jobs will be saved, and taxpayers can get a return on their money. That would be a good thing.

There's been debate in conservative circles over the last several months about whether, in the midst of multiple crises, it's appropriate to root for failure. But it's even more striking to see some conservatives trying to actively ensure failure, regardless of the consequences for the country.

And he's still befuddled by this somehow? Actively ensuring Obama's failure has been the plan all along.

[UPDATE 2] John Cole wins the internets:
The first thing I thought when I looked at DougJ’s post about these morons organizing a boycott of GM and Chrysler was that they just spent the last three weeks incorrectly screaming that Republican Chrysler dealerships were unfairly targeted by the Obama administration for closure, so now they want to boycott them and finish off the rest of them- “Republican dealerships were unfairly targeted! Let’s kill the survivors!”
Which is true. Why does Rush hate Republican Chrysler donors?

Not Going To Happen

Ahh, Cassandra, the oracle doomed in Greek mythology to be the prophetess of the truth, and yet cursed that no one would listen to her dire warnings. TARP Oversight Panel chair Elizabeth Warren should consider changing her name as she warns the bank stress tests should be redone immediately, as we've already exceeded the worst case scenarios those tests assumed.
The tests, for instance, used worst-case scenario data for economic yardsticks such as the unemployment rate and mortgage delinquencies.

The report notes that the jobless rate is now 9.4 percent, with a 2008 average of 8.5 percent. "If the monthly rate continues to increase during the remainder of this year, it will likely exceed the 2009 average of 8.9 percent assumed under the more adverse scenario," the authors note.

For this reason and others, the tests should be repeated, as much as necessary, partly because "banks continue to hold large amounts of toxic assets on their books".

The report's key recommendations also include: the release of more information on the test results; a more transparent repayment process for firms receiving financial aid; and better disclosure on how the Treasury Department would use repaid TARP funds.

In one way or another, TARP has been highly controversial from its inception in the Bush administration through its latest reincarnation with the Obama administration. Observers say how and when the money gets paid back has become as much of a political football as how its been used by banks.

COP Chairman Warren has been highly critical of both the government’s administration of TARP and banks use of the money.

COP member Hensarling Monday introduced legislation calling for the termination of the program by the end of 2009, saying, "the economic justification for TARP’s creation and taxpayer assistance to financial institutions no longer exists."

Critics say though the stress tests appeared to partly achieve the goal of helping to rebuild confidence in the financial system, they may have also created a false sense of security about the health of banks, which is partly reflected in the stock market’s hearty comeback.

Then again, apparently I should consider changing my name to Cassandra. I've been saying that the stress tests were bogus for months now. The TARP Oversight panel is apparently saying just that.

The odds of Obama and Congress actually doing something about this? Nil. The banks are fine! It's a bull market! We should cancel TARP! We should cancel the stimulus package! You gotta get in on the V-shaped recovery! The doubters are wrong, shut up!

And the band played on.


Back to work then.
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