Thursday, October 8, 2009

Last Call

Bill-O: Still completely wrong about things and living in his own little world...a world where Sister Sarah and Bachmanniac are held up as female role models.
Last night, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) and Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly discussed why she is “second to Sarah Palin in far-left angst,” setting off a conversation between the two about why Bachmann faces so much criticism from her colleagues and the press. Bachmann claimed she has “stalkers” at “a competing cable network,” presumably referring to MSNBC. (Note to Michele: O’Reilly is actually a stalker.) O’Reilly then offered his own explanation as to why Bachmann is criticized so much, contending that it’s because she’s so “good-looking”:

O’REILLY: Do you think — and this is an off-the-wall question. And I’m telling the audience that it’s just something that’s occurred to me. Both you and Sarah Palin are good-looking women. I mean, you’re attractive, young — relatively young — women who other women can identify with. You’re a mom, a wife. You had a private-sector job.

I think that’s it. I think that the success of Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann drive the far left crazy because you don’t fit — they don’t like what you believe in, but you can attract others to listen to you. I think that’s what’s going on.

Bachmann responded that she and Palin are pulling away votes from Democrats, “especially in a woman block — a middle America woman block.”
The Republicans are pulling women voters away from the Dems because of Michele Bachmann and Sarah Palin? Doubtful. What is much more likely is that the number of women attracted by Palin and Bachmann pales in comparison to the number of women turned off by a party of sexist asshole men who think women should know their place. And that's just this week's misongyny. Remember, this is the same group of people that cried foul that anyone would question Sarah Palin's qualifications in any way and screamed that it was sexism. But when it comes to actually voting for laws to give women legal recourse to say, pursue prosecutions of military contractors who might sexually assault them, the Republicans are more worried about the contractor companies.

Cause you know, that's how Republicans think America should work. People should have rights unless it interferes with big business, in which case, screw them.

If It's Thursday...

Almost forgot, geez.

New claims down to 521K (good, lowest since January) and continuing claims to 6.04 million, also good. Still, we need these numbers down if we're going to make any headway, and so far they're still high.

Father's Day

Keith Olbermann's ailing father inspired a full episode of Countdown dedicated to a special commentary on America's health care system that aired last night.

Do watch this when you get a chance, especially anyone who's ever had a father, grandfather, or any relative or loved one in the hospital who has been gravely ill. Our health care system is broken. It needs to be fixed. It's something we'll all need at some point in our lives.

The transcript of the commentary is here, and it's one of those things you'll be gobsmacked at reading. We all know someone who has had an experience like this. Perhaps we are that someone.

Our Misogyny Goes Up To Eleven

The Republican way: when losing an argument and deep in a hole, dig faster and hope you get dirt in somebody's eye, as Greg Sargent documents:
At a presser this morning, Pelosi struck back at the NRCC, saying: “I’m in my place. I’m the Speaker of the House.” Here’s the response from NRCC spokesperson Joanna Burgos:

“Rather than deflecting from the real issue at hand and refocus on defeating terrorists, Nancy Pelosi would rather make party politics a higher priority than our national security. The fact of the matter is that most Americans agree with General McChrystal’s strategy on Afghanistan, but Pelosi self-righteously believes she is better suited to craft our country’s military policy. The last time Americans saw this type of outright contempt directed toward a four-star general is when this same San Francisco liberal attempted to undercut General David Petraeus by declaring his successful surge strategy a ‘failure.’”

It’s worth pondering why it is that the GOP is tripling-down on this strategy at a time when GOP strategists keep saying the party needs to broaden its appeal. Perhaps Republicans think that anything drawing attention to a prominent Dem at odds with a military figure reflects badly on Dems in general.

Or maybe Republicans think any fight with Pelosi is a winner for them, elevating Pelosi as the face of the Democratic Party. It’s true that recent polls show that Pelosi is an unpopular figure nationally. But you’d think if there were anything that could turn Pelosi into a more sympathetic figure, it’s this.

Remember, these were the same guys that said questioning Sarah Palin's experience, intelligence, competence, knowledge or fitness for the White House was horribly sexist and unfair to women.

Apparently Democratic women don't count.

The Public Option Option Play

BooMan argues that while GOP governors may talk tough, if the Democrats pass a public option health care plan with a way for states to opt out, they're not going to do it.
What would happen if, for ideological reasons, some state like South Carolina decided they simply didn't want to participate in the public option? They'd still get hammered by the increase in Medicaid eligibility, but they wouldn't get any subsidies, they wouldn't see any drop in the uninsured, and they wouldn't see any increase in taxable income.

Granted that it is a bit difficult to game out the shifting revenue streams in a bill as big as this one, and that we're talking about a proposal that has few details, but the opt-out compromise would probably not lead to any states actually opting out.

Something similar happened with the federal stimulus bill back in the spring. Govs. Mark Sanford, Rick Perry, and Sarah Palin all made noises about declining stimulus money because it would dictate to them how much unemployment insurance they had to pay out. But, in the end, no governors were willing to turn down federal money that would just be shifted to competing states.

Now, the immediate response from the FDL crew to this opt-out idea has been to raise concerns that the insurance industry will be be able to easily buy off state legislatures all across the country (even in Blue States), and get them to, 'either by referendum, legislature, or simply a gubernatorial decree,' opt-out of the public option. I don't dispute the financial clout of the insurance industry or the corruptibility of state legislators, but I see this as a rather knee-jerk reaction. I'd see a lot more validity in this critique if we were discussing an opt-in provision.

Because state legislators are already facing the necessity for brutal budgetary cuts (which definitely make them unpopular and threaten their careers) it would take quite a lot of persuading to get them to accept a huge bill from the federal government at the same time they are turning down a big wad of federal funding and killing off their taxable revenue stream.

Of course, the devil is in the details. The opt-out provision could come with even more disincentives than I've discussed here. Remember, the federal government forced states to raise the drinking age and establish uniform speed limits by threatening to withhold federal transportation dollars. Each state had the right to opt-out of that transportation funding but, in the end, none of them did.

I wouldn't reflexively oppose an opt-out compromise. I'd wait to see what it looks like before deciding.

From a purely economic standpoint, BooMan's got a point. States aren't going to turn down Federal money, legislatures will not let them do so because no state can run a budget deficit, and any governor who turns down health care money is going to get his/her ass served up on a platter at the next election.

And because of this little honey trap, I think it might be a useful tool to get conservatives to say "Well, it's your problem now" to the states and punt. Governors are talking about tenth amendment battles? Let them see how long they last turning down billions and still having to pay for health care.

They'll fold every long as it's economically feasible.

The 23 Percent Solution

A Pew Research report shows that roughly one in four people worldwide are Muslim.
There are about 1.57 billion Muslims in the world, according to the report, "Mapping the Global Muslim Population," by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life. That represents about 23 percent of the total global population of 6.8 billion.

There are about 2.25 billion Christians, based on projections from the 2005 World Religions Database.

Brian Grim, the senior researcher on the Pew Forum project, was slightly surprised at the number of Muslims in the world, he told CNN.

"Overall, the number is higher than I expected," he said, noting that earlier estimates of the global Muslim population have ranged from 1 billion to 1.8 billion.

The report can -- and should -- have implications for United States policy, said Reza Aslan, the best-selling Iranian-American author of "No God but God."

"Increasingly, the people of the Middle East are making up a smaller and smaller percentage of the worldwide Muslim community," he told CNN by phone.

"When it comes to issues of outreach to the Muslim world, these numbers will indicate that outreach cannot be focused so narrowly on the Middle East," he said.

And this is true. Islam's reach outside of the Middle East is growing very rapidly, and American foreign policy has to reflect that not all Muslims live in Southwest Asia.

Then again, Obama has been very keen on reaching out to the world's Muslims, and he has taken heavy attacks on that from the folks who honestly believe we're at war with all 1.57 billion of them.

Going Coup-Coup Part 2

Last week I talked about's John Perry, and his article intimating America's military is planning a coup to overthrow Obama. And these "True American Patriots" are on the move, as the Radio Hate Waves continue.
While discussing the Newsmax column on his XM Sirius radio show last week, Michelangelo Signorile heard from a caller, “Jim from Oklahoma,” who explained that the idea of a coup is already being planned by a group of at least 200 people:

Pulling our government down, pulling our President out, and putting him back where he should be [...] [using] the right to bear arms, it’s in the Constitution. [...] We need a coup, there needs to be a coup and if the United States military won’t do it, we’ll do it.

Jim confirmed that he was “dead serious.” Although he was coy about specific details, Jim said that he was motivated by homophobia and an interest in bringing back slavery. A second caller confessed that her own mother has been scheming against the government because she has been captivated by racist thoughts and a belief that “Jesus is coming to overthrow Barack Obama.” She pleaded for people to recognize the extremist threat against Obama.
It's pretty extreme, but it's being fed and watered in vitriol and paranoia. These guys aren't going away, and it's only going to get worse at it goes on.

Republicans Are Terrified Of Obamacare Passing

Because Karl Rove is in the WSJ saying the exact opposite of the truth again.
Passing health-care reform could be harmful to the health of congressional Democrats.

Just look at how President Barack Obama's standing has fallen as he has pushed for reform. According to Fox News surveys, the number of independents who oppose health-care reform hit 57% at the end of September, up from 33% in July. Independents are generally a quarter of the vote in off-year congressional elections.

Among college graduates, opposition to health-care reform is now 50%, while only 33% support it, according to Gallup's Sept. 24 poll. College graduates are slightly more than a quarter of the off-year electorate.

Among seniors, opposition to ObamaCare hit 63% in last month's Economist/YouGov Poll. But the number from that poll that should spook Democrats is this: 47% of seniors said they "strongly" oppose health-care reform, just 27% "strongly" support it. Seniors are the biggest consumers of health care, and their family members will probably take their concerns seriously. Seniors will likely cast about 20% of the votes next year.

The trend behind these numbers is that voters are turning away from Democrats. In 2006, the year the GOP lost control of Congress, Democrats enjoyed a double-digit lead in several "generic ballot" polls—a measure of voters' party preference. Democrats held that lead until this year. Today, Gallup's generic ballot shows Democrats have a razor thin 46% to 44% edge. According to Gallop's numbers, independents now favor Republicans by nine points.

I addressed that Gallup Poll Karl is rattling on about here, and Nate Silver has taken on the FOX News poll here. The reality is that Americans want Democrats to get off their lobbyist genuflecting knees and pass real health care reform, and they are running out of patience.

If Karl Rove is trying to convince Democrats that they shouldn't pass health care, let's keep in mind Karl Rove doesn't have the best interests of the Democratic Party in mind. Do the opposite of what he says, and you win. After all, the Republicans listened to him in 2006 and look what happened...

Zandar's Thought Of The Day

CNN: Dem. Rep. Alan Grayson: Liberal Hero?

Democrat Alan Grayson...

Actor John C. Reilly.

Just sayin'.

Gender Offenders

Al Franken is starting to kick some serious ass in the Senate. Republicans, on the other hand, are working hard to win the confidence of American women:

In 2005, Jamie Leigh Jones was gang-raped by her co-workers while she was working for Halliburton/KBR in Baghdad. She was detained in a shipping container for at least 24 hours without food, water, or a bed, and “warned her that if she left Iraq for medical treatment, she’d be out of a job.” (Jones was not an isolated case.) Jones was prevented from bringing charges in court against KBR because her employment contract stipulated that sexual assault allegations would only be heard in private arbitration.

Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) proposed an amendment to the 2010 Defense Appropriations bill that would withhold defense contracts from companies like KBR “if they restrict their employees from taking workplace sexual assault, battery and discrimination cases to court.” Speaking on the Senate floor yesterday, Franken said:

The constitution gives everybody the right to due process of law … And today, defense contractors are using fine print in their contracts do deny women like Jamie Leigh Jones their day in court. … The victims of rape and discrimination deserve their day in court [and] Congress plainly has the constitutional power to make that happen.

Not even the Republicans would be stupid enough to trash this one, right?

On the Senate floor, Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) spoke against the amendment, calling it “a political attack directed at Halliburton.” Franken responded, “This amendment does not single out a single contractor. This amendment would defund any contractor that refuses to give a victim of rape their day in court.”

In the end, Franken won the debate. His amendment passed by a 68-30 vote, earning the support of 10 Republican senators including that of newly-minted Florida Sen. George LeMieux. “He did what a senator should do, which was he was working it,” LeMieux said in praise of Franken. “He was working for his amendment.”

And to LeMieux's credit, he's not as dumb as the rest of his colleagues in the (R) section. Every one of the 30 votes against the amendment? A male Republican.
Alexander (R-TN)
Barrasso (R-WY)
Bond (R-MO)
Brownback (R-KS)
Bunning (R-KY)
Burr (R-NC)
Chambliss (R-GA)
Coburn (R-OK)
Cochran (R-MS)
Corker (R-TN)
Cornyn (R-TX)
Crapo (R-ID)
DeMint (R-SC)
Ensign (R-NV)
Enzi (R-WY)
Graham (R-SC)
Gregg (R-NH)
Inhofe (R-OK)
Isakson (R-GA)
Johanns (R-NE)
Kyl (R-AZ)
McCain (R-AZ)
McConnell (R-KY)
Risch (R-ID)
Roberts (R-KS)
Sessions (R-AL)
Shelby (R-AL)
Thune (R-SD)
Vitter (R-LA)
Wicker (R-MS)
Every. Single. One.

Keep on expandin' that there Big Tent, boys.

Surge Or Else

GOP House pointman Eric Cantor is issuing ultimatums to Obama on Afghanistan: Surge Or Else.

On Tuesday, the president sat down with congressional leadership from both parties and held a solemn and frank discussion about how to proceed in Afghanistan. The mood in the room was one of genuine concern for the difficulties that lie ahead. All sides agreed that this is a time to put politics aside — to do what’s best for our country and the men and women in the field.

There was broad agreement that our primary goal is to ensure that Afghanistan never again dissolves into the safe haven it once was for Al Qaeda terrorists to train for, plot and carry out attacks against the United States and its allies. Republicans reiterated to the president our belief that his initial strategy constitutes the best way to accomplish this goal. When the topic of political will for the mission was broached, I reassured the president that Republicans would offer him our support if he makes the right decision and accepts the recommendations of the commanders in the field. We also urged him to make a decision promptly so that any delay doesn’t signal a lack of commitment to Afghanistan and the region.

And if Obama doesn't give McChrystal every single soldier he's asking for and then some, Eric Holder and the Republicans will do...what, exactly?

Attack Obama ruthlessly in the Village press? Refuse to support his domestic or foreign policy agenda? Strike out on their own and forge relationships with other countries by going over Obama's head?

They're doing all that now. Kind of a hollow threat if you ask me.

Circular Fireworks

As I noted yesterday, Bob Dole has gone over to the Forces of Light here on health care, calling out Mitch McConnell and the Party of No and saying Republicans need to get on the Obamacare bus.

The Wingers have now promptly disowned the man and are threatening REVOLUTION!!111! and stuff. Daily Pundit's Bill Quick:
Afraid they cannot hold their members? Those members had better fear that they cannot hang on to their seats.

If the GOP helps pass socialized medicine, it is dead to me and, I suspect, dead to a whole lot of other folks as well.

Robert Stacy McCain:
Are we talking about the same Republican wussies who endorsed Charlie Crist in Florida? The effeminate weaklings who supported John McCain for the 2008 GOP presidential nomination? So far as anyone can tell, there is not a single Republican in the Senate who possesses a sound brain, a straight spine and a functioning set of testicles.
Another Black Conservative's Clifton B:
I am actually embarrassed at this point to admit that I voted for this fool. We really must make an all out effort not to vote for ninnies like Dole in 2010 and beyond. Republicans like Dole are the reason this nation keeps drifting leftwards towards socialism. These Republicans would not know a conservative principle if you wrote one on their foreheads and stood them in front of a mirror.
TrogloPundit's Lance Burri:
Well thank God for Bill Clinton, then. Five words I never thought I’d say.
The Blogprof:
“Dead to me” is putting it mildly.

If they help pass this monstrosity, consider me a sworn enemy of the Republican Party.
In the immortal words of Lawrence Fishburne in Osmosis Jones, "Somebody get me a towel, cause it's gonna get mes-sy."

It's like Ouroboros, only it's made of Teh Stupid. Watching it devour itself is kind of funny. Like I said, they have no choice but to double down on derangement. They've made that bed, now they have to roll around in the bedbugs.


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