Friday, September 11, 2009

Last Call

What Max Baucus has done for health care, he's going to do for climate change.
n public, Baucus has kept a laserlike focus on the health care negotiations — honoring the administration’s wishes to put cap and trade on the back burner until Congress completes its work on health care.

“We’ve got health care. It’s going to take up most of the month. It’s going to be difficult to also do [climate],” he told Environment & Energy Daily this week.

But while Baucus has been the public face of health care negotiations, a dedicated team of his aides has been working on the climate bill. As the Finance Committee chairman and the second-most-senior Democrat on the Environment and Public Works Committee, Baucus is in a uniquely powerful position on climate issues.

The Finance Committee is charged with overseeing the flow of money in and out of government, a jurisdiction that Baucus believes gives his committee control over how hundreds of billions of dollars in pollution allocations would be distributed to industry and consumers under a cap-and-trade system.

That turf puts Baucus in direct conflict with Sen. Barbara Boxer, chairwoman of the Environment and Public Works Committee, who believes her committee has control over cap-and-trade allocations. Boxer would fold the provisions into her broader climate and energy bill, which would establish caps on greenhouse gas emissions for the next several decades, according to Senate Democratic aides.

Massachusetts Democratic Sen. John Kerry, who’s working with Boxer to draft the climate and energy bill, says they are still working out the jurisdictional dispute with Baucus.

And by "do for health care" I mean "give the Republicans everything they want, then wonder like an idiot why they refuse to actually take it."

You'd think after his all-star schmuck performance over the last three months, Harry Reid wouldn't let Max Baucus near a bowl of tapioca pudding much less climate change legislation. But that would mean that Democrats were running the Senate, and that Harry Reid was doing his job.

The Strange Story Of Steve Nunn

Here in the NKY the big story is the bizarre story of former Republican lawmaker and gubernatorial candidate Steve Nunn, who was arrested at his parents' grave site near Bowling Green this morning just hours after his ex-fiancee' was found dead. Nunn had apparently slit his own wrists.

Nunn, 56, is being treated at the Bowling Green Medical Center where a medical center spokeswoman said he was in fair condition Friday afternoon.

Kentucky state police say Nunn has been charged with six counts of wanton endangerment of police officers for pointing or “at least brandishing” a gun at officers who found him at the Cosby Church Cemetery in Hart County. He will be jailed on the charges once he is released from the medical center, they said.

Nunn's ex-fiancée, Amanda Ross, 29, was pronounced dead Friday morning at Lexington's University of Kentucky Medical Center after she was shot in a parking lot at 541 W. Short St., just before 6:30 a.m. Friday morning, according to Lexington police and the Fayette County coroner.

The Lexington/Fayette County Metro Police Department contacted state police in Bowling Green to look for Nunn, “a subject whom they wanted to question concerning an earlier homicide this date in Lexington,” according to a statement from state police.

Barren County Sheriff Chris Eaton said Lexington police called his office Friday morning, asking him to look for Nunn.

Eaton said when he did not find Nunn at his house, he headed for the old Nunn family farm where Steve Nunn grew up. That's when he said he got a call that Nunn had been found at the Cosby Church Cemetery where his father, former Gov. Louie B. Nunn, and mother, Beula Nunn, are buried.

He said Nunn was found between 9:30 a.m. and 10 a.m. (Central) at the Cosby Church Cemetery. He was bleeding from wounds to both wrists, Eaton said.
Nunn ran for Governor back in 2002, and had recently resigned his position as Deputy Secretary of the Cabinet of Health and Family Services...for a domestic violence incident.

Now the young woman is dead. Innocent until proven guilty in a court of law, but Nunn's actions are of a man who knows exactly what he did, and can no longer live with his actions. He tried to take the coward's way out, and he had a history of domestic violence (and worked for Health and Family Services for the love of God.)

I do not personally believe in the man's innocence in this situation.

Carnival Of Madness

The Democrats in the House are in full "urinate on self" mode over tomorrow's Birtherfest Tentherpalooza We Hate Obama Weekend Derangementstock Glenn Beck's 9/12 Project rally on the Washington D.C. Mall.

Me? Bring it on.
A top House Dem leadership aide has emailed a memo to Dem aides on the Hill and outside liberal groups warning they should brace for a turnout of up to two million people, suggesting Dems worry that if enough conservatives descend on the Mall it will amount to a major PR victory for the right.

The aide, Doug Thornell, warned in the memo that the dust-up over Joe “you lie” Wilson has been invigorating conservatives. “It looks like Saturday’s event is going to be a huge gathering, estimates ranging from hundreds of thousands to 2 million people,” Thornell wrote in the memo, which was forwarded by a source.

In another sign of concern, the memo painstakingly detailed a range of turnout predictions from the event’s organizers, such as this one from tea party leaders promising a crowd of up to 1,000,000.

Adding to Dem concern is the fact that Beck recently claimed a major victory in the ouster of former green jobs adviser Van Jones.

The House leadership memo predicting huge turnout could have been written in hopes that it would leak and inflate expectations for turnout, anticipating that it will fall far short. But Dems on the Hill insist they’re genuinely worried about what tomorrow will bring.

I hope it is two million. I honestly, geniuinely hope that two million virulently angry full-on birther/tenther crackpots show up with their DON'T TREAD ON ME flags and "Tree of Liberty" posters and "OBAMA=HITLER" signs and a couple hundred thousand kids being used as political props, and I hope whatever God is out there sees fit to make sure there's a whole hell of a lot of TV cameras there broadcasting live.

Because America needs to see it. The unedited, 110% unrated Director's Cut Special Edition of Obama Derangement Syndrome in all its terrible, rancid, exquisite, pus-filled, switchblades in the alleyway glory, brothers and sisters. Please, please, please let it just turn into a massive angry mob with people screaming how the viewers at home should be mortally terrified about Obama providing affordable health care while holding swastikas and burning effigies. I want to see folks out there with their guns and whatnot (in Washington D.C. no less, that'll go over well) saying how Obama is the anti-Christ.

In short, I want America and the world to see exactly what two million racist, paranoid, birther nutjob assholes looks like. I want it replayed on every TV all weekend long. I want news crews to show up and interview random whackjobs and see just what Republican members of Congress and Glenn Beck have created out there and I want those Village Idiots to say "My God, what have we done?"

And I want America to really and truly see the ugly, dirty, horrific underside of this movement and say "I want no part of these assclowns."

So please, by all means, let's see what happens when you get two million rabid Obama-hating lunatics in the same place with Glenn Beck and some cameras. I relish the thought.

Let's do it, guys. Let's see your hand. I'm getting some popcorn this evening.

Crank the Pretty Hate Machine up, boys. It's prime time!

[UPDATE 6:05 PM] Both Brian Beutler and Dave Weigel say the 2 million number is BS and the Dems are trying to sandbag the event should "only" a few hundred thousand turn up.

I say a few hundred thousand rabid teabaggers around some cameras is still going to be a hell of a freak show, folks. And they're going to be the hard core ones.

Probing The Darkness

Via Atrios, looks like Eric Holder's boys have eyes set on a very big prize.
U.S. investigators are probing the former head of American International Group Inc's (AIG.N) Financial Products unit, Joseph Cassano, and other executives for securities fraud, a law enforcement source familiar with the case said on Friday.

The source said that a grand jury may be impaneled this month in New York to consider potential charges that executives failed to disclose the value of toxic assets to the bailed-out insurance company's outside accountants and shareholders.

"The investigation is really who knew what and when about these assets," said the source, who asked not to be identified because the probe was ongoing. "They were holding toxic credit default swaps and may not have disclosed their real worth."

Yeah, make this happen, please. These bastards need to share cells with Bernie Madoff, and the cells need to share space with an active volcano filled with exploding bees.

How the hell do you punish somebody who effectively wrecked an entire economy?

(Oh wait, you let him serve as Fed chairman.)

Capitulation Nation

Sens. Kent Conrad and Max Baucus had a busy morning, validating Joe "You Lie!" Wilson's outburst Wednesday night and caving into the Wingers in a near-record 36 hours, as TPMDC's Brian Beutler reports.

I just got off the phone with Frank Sharry, Executive Director of the immigrant rights group America's Voice, who's not exactly pleased that Sens. Kent Conrad (D-ND) and Max Baucus (D-MT) are responding to the Joe Wilson scream incident by writing immigrant restrictions into health care legislation.

"Baucus and Conrad are caving on a fake issue that is trumped up by Republicans not to better the bill but to trump up opposition to reform," Sharry declared. "I just find it stunning that they would validate what Joe Wilson did."

Sharry also points out that the changes to the bill are likely to be extremely inefficient.
Under Medicaid, he says, "there is currently a verification system in place called the SAVE program, which works pretty well."

But under President George W. Bush, Congress passed the Deficit Reduction Act, which implemented a checkpoint system resembling the plan Baucus and Conrad have adopted. In 2007, a Government Accountability Office report (PDF) found that "the DRA documentation requirements have led to widespread declines in Medicaid enrollment and increased administrative costs [and] have cost significantly more to implement than they have saved in expenditures by excluding undocumented immigrants from Medicaid coverage. For every $100 spent by federal taxpayers to implement the new requirements in six states, only 14 cents in Medicaid savings can be documented."

And you can bet this is a preview of the sheer mouth-breathing, fever-bright racist insanity that will rage across Greater Wingnuttia when Obama takes up immigration reform.

Sadly, we have Democrats already willing to throw Hispanics under the bus at literally two words from a Republican lawmaker.

Double G Versus The Crazy

Glenn Greenwald leaps off a building and impales the entire Village at two hundred miles an hour, then goes to get a cheeseburger as he defines the difference between what the Village thinks is crazy if you're a Republican (nothing you can do makes you crazy if you're a Republican) and what a crazy Democrat is (opposing the Iraq War).
As HTML Mencken insightfully noted in what is one of the best blog posts ever written, our political mores demand vehement repudiation of petty acts of incivility (not all, but most) while tolerating and even approving of extremely consequential acts of indecency as long as they're advocated with superficial civility. Those who use curse words to oppose torture, wars and lawbreaking are evil and unSerious (The Angry Left); those who politely and soberly advocate morally repugnant, indecent policies are respected and Serious. As long as one adheres to Beltway decorum, one can advocate the most amoral and even murderous policies without any repercussions whatsoever; it is only disruptive and impolite behavior that generates intense upset. Beltway culture hates "incivility" (public use of bad words) but embraces full-scale substantive indecency (torture, lawbreaking, unjustified wars, ownership of government by corporations, etc.).

All of that leads to the most interesting and revealing aspect of the Politico article. Needless to say, no establishment media outlet is permitted to write an article that includes criticisms of "one side" without emphasizing that the criticisms apply just the same to "the other side" -- regardless of whether that's actually true. That's what "balance" means. Thus, Politico publishes an article discussing the fact that the Right is dominated by crackpots and it is therefore required to claim that the Left is, too. Here are their examples to provide the balance needed so as to not upset Matt Drudge and Rush Limbaugh:

Nor are Democrats strangers to having their crazy uncles take center stage. During the run-up to the Iraq war, for example, Reps. Jim McDermott (D-Wash.), Mike Thompson (D-Calif.) and David Bonior (D-Mich.) famously flew to Baghdad, where McDermott asserted that he believed the president would "mislead the American public" to justify the war. The trip made it a cakewalk for critics to describe the Democratic Party as chock-a-block with traitorous radicals.

That's one of the most amazing passages I can recall reading. Even now -- when everyone knows that the President did exactly that which Rep. McDermott, in 2002, said he was doing: "misleading the American public to justify the war" -- those who pointed out that truth are deemed "crazy."
Got that? Saying the President wasn't born in Hawaii and is a secret Muslim plant is patriotic dissent. Saying that members of the Bush administration lied about intelligence in order to gin up an attack on Iraq, insanity.

The far more important problem is that the Village sees the two are morally equivalent, and then use those who opposed the war as justification for spreading birtherism and other mindless hatred. The Village has been all over that for a while now, and it's just plain incorrect.

Hasn't stopped them before, of course. Do read the whole Double G article however, it's a good one.

A Martyr Of Perspective

The planned museum dedicated to 9/11 is wisely including a display on the hijackers themselves and what motivated them eight years ago.
A museum dedicated to the September 11 attacks will display written quotations drawn from "martyrdom" videos made by the hijackers, along with witness testimonials that will be screened to prevent sympathizers from praising the perpetrators, museum officials said on Thursday.

Previous attempts to put into context the motivation of the men who used hijacked passenger planes to attack the United States on September 11, 2001, have been met with emotional public opposition, with politicians canceling plans for an "International Freedom Center" in 2005.

But the president of the National September 11 Memorial & Museum said photographs of the 19 hijackers would be displayed along with the quotes as part of the "witness testimony" in the museum.

The memorial and museum are planned for the World Trade Center site undergoing reconstruction in lower Manhattan. The underground museum should open by 2013.

Museum president Joe Daniels told reporters the exhibit would present the facts, focusing on "what happened on that day, why it happened, what does it mean to live in a 9/11 world."

"Let the perpetrators speak for themselves," Daniels said.

Good. That's a mature and intelligent response to this, which means of course that the Wingers will be demanding Joe Daniels be removed as director and the that the museum will never open with this planned display.

I'll tag this one and revisit it when the backlash comes.

Pawlenty Of Reasons To Worry

Steve Benen notes Minnesota's GOP Gov. Tim Pawlenty is taking a page from the Mitt Romney playbook.

Minnesota Republican Tim Pawlenty urged fellow governors on Thursday to more frequently assert state sovereignty over the federal government and suggested that the country may increasingly see states suing the federal government.

Asked by a caller about the option of asserting the Tenth Amendment as a tactic to reject a successful health care overhaul by President Barack Obama during a tele-town hall organized by the Republican Governors Association, Pawlenty said, "that's a possibility."

Speaking generally about the tenth amendment, Pawlenty said the country has not had "a proper federalism debate since Ronald Reagan raised the issue in the 1980s."

"You're starting to see more governors, me and governor [Rick] Perry from Texas, speaking out on this and asserting our tenth amendment rights," Pawlenty said on a call listened to by more than 12,000 people.

Nice. As I've noted before in Arizona and Texas, more and more GOP governors are turning into "Tenthers", falling back on the 10th Amendment as giving state executives the power to nullify any health care reforms or any federal programs that they simply don't like. The GOP really, really wants to have this fight, especially based off the Town Hall Blitz model. They want the Federal government so emasculated that it can't interfere with state Republicans passing their own laws on immigration, health care, abortions, taxes, etc.

Of course, this wasn't a problem until a black Democratic POTUS came along, but hey. And I love how all of these guys line up to brag how well they're bringing home stimulus money from the Feds too, and will never touch Medicare or Medicaid.

Pawlenty's pandering comes just a week after he criticized President Obama's speech encouraging kids to do well in school. The governor argued, out loud, that the White House might have been trying to compile a list of children "for the purpose of a mailing list." It's likely he knew this was moronic, but Pawlenty has some Tea Baggers to impress, and some right-wing ground to make up.

But this ridiculous "Tenther" rhetoric is even more radical. As Ian Millhiser recently explained, "[C]nservatives are increasingly enraptured with tentherism, which claims that landmark federal programs such as Medicare, Social Security, the VA health system and the G.I. Bill are violations of the 10th Amendment -- and many leading conservative officials are determined to impose the tentherism on the country. Rep. Michelle Bachmann (R-MN) is a tenther, as are Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) and Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC)."

Tim Pawlenty probably realizes this is insane, but his ambitions have overridden his judgment.

Sad, too.

The Long View

Via BooMan, the question of Afghanistan is the elephant in the room, and it looks like progressive Dems are going elephant hunting.
The leading Senate Democrat on military matters said Thursday that he was against sending more American combat troops to Afghanistan until the United States speeded up the training and equipping of more Afghan security forces.

The comments by the senator, Carl Levin, a Michigan Democrat who is the chairman of the Armed Services Committee, illustrate the growing skepticism President Obama is facing in his own party as the White House decides whether to commit more deeply to a war that has begun losing public support, even as American commanders acknowledge that the situation on the ground has deteriorated.

Senator Levin’s comments, made in an interview and in the draft of a speech he will deliver Friday, are significant because his stature on military matters gives him the ability to sway fellow lawmakers, and his pivotal committee position provides a platform for vetting Mr. Obama’s major decisions on troops.

Underscoring the increasing unease, the House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, said earlier on Thursday that the president would face opposition if he sought to fulfill an expected request from Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, the top commander in Afghanistan, for more American combat troops.

“I don’t think there is a great deal of support for sending more troops to Afghanistan in the country or in Congress,” Ms. Pelosi told reporters, emphasizing that she was eager to see a report due from the White House in two weeks on benchmarks to measure the success of the administration’s six-month-old strategy.
Republicans will insist that Obama send more troops in. The problem of course is that Afghanistan is not Iraq...and the Republicans don't have the votes by themselves. BooMan sums it up:
If there is anything that can bring about bipartisanship in Washington, it's Afghanistan. It's clear from comments made this week by Carl Levin and Nancy Pelosi that Obama doesn't have automatic support for additional troop increases in Afghanistan. If he asks for more troops, he'll have to rely on a lot of Republicans to get the funding.
He can only spit in the face of progressives so many times before even they get the point. Besides, a majority of Americans now oppose the war there.

In the end, economics will force us out anyway. We simply can't afford more war.

Cincy Sellout

How bad are things here in Cincy economically?

The Bengals can't even sell out their home opener against the Broncos this weekend.
The NFL has granted the Bengals a 24-hour extension in hopes that Sunday’s opener against the Broncos will sell out and continue a 44-game sellout streak of regular-season and postseason games.

Bengals ticket manager Andrew Brown continued the weeklong line of saying “a few thousand” seats are still available. When pressed, Brown did say less than 5,000 seats remained but had no comment when asked if under 4,000 were left.

The game now must be sold out by 1 p.m. on Friday in order for it to be aired in Southwest Ohio and Northern Kentucky. Three stations – WKRC (Ch. 12) in Cincinnati, WHIO (Ch. 7) in Dayton and WKYT (Ch. 27) in Lexington would be blacked out. if the game is not sold out. The nearest market to air the game would be Columbus.

Between this and the antics of Chad "Impending Suspension" Ochocinco, it's hard to know which will be the bigger disaster on Sunday here.

Times are tough, however. Ohio's unemployment rate is up to 11.2%, 11.0% in KY and 10.6% in Indiana. People around here just can't afford to watch the Bengals lose in person, you know...enough so they probably won't be able to see the Bengals lose on TV, either.

Timmy Makes A Prediction

Timmy says unemployment will "absolutely" be lower this time next year.
Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, appearing in a town hall program that concluded moments ago on CNBC, said that "absolutely, absolutely," unemployment will be lower this time next year.

Responding to a poll showing 56 percent of Americans believe there's another financial meltdown in the future, Geithner said "another collapse is within our power to prevent" if the government sticks to its stimulus and recovery efforts underway.

The one-hour program began at 7 p.m. and was hosted by CNBC anchor Erin Burnett and economics reporter Steve Liesman. It was held in Washington at the Newseum.
I saw part of that town hall, and Timmy was pretty smooth for the most part. I however have very, very strong doubts that August 2010's unemployment rate will be below this year's 9.7%, and I believe next year we'll be looking at unemployment approaching 11, possibly 12% in a worst case scenario.

Yes, it'll be that bad. The housing market still has a long way to go in the crash department. Things will only get worse as our consumer economy fails to consume.

Going to mark this one in the future file.

StupidiNews, 9/11 Edition

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