Thursday, November 12, 2009

Last Call

One of the bright spots in 2009 for the Dems has been Sen. Al Franken, and his legislation in the Defense bill has turned into a rallying cry against the misogyny of the GOP.

The charge stems from a Franken-sponsored amendment that would prohibit the Department of Defense from contracting with companies that require employees to resolve workplace complaints — including complaints of sexual assault — through private arbitration rather than the courts.

Thirty Senate Republicans voted against the amendment, and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, liberal commentators and state Democratic Party chairs have been merciless.

Angry letters denouncing Republican senators have appeared in newspapers from Tennessee to Idaho. Unflattering videos of senators trying to explain their votes have gone viral on the Internet, including one of Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) swatting away a hand-held video camera held by a liberal blogger questioning his vote against the amendment.

And Democratic strategists are salivating at the prospects of using the vote against the eight GOP senators who voted against the amendment and are up for reelection in 2010.
Sadly, I think the Dems are about to make a huge mistake, either killing the amendment to please defense contractors, or proving that the Democrats have their fair share of misogyny by letting the Stupak Amendment be in the final language of the Senate bill.
Depressing the vote of women so they don't turn out for either side in 2010 will seriously damage the Dems in 2010.  There's still time to correct the situation, but a lot depends on the next few months.

Oversight Versus Hypocrisy

There's a difference between oversight and hyprocrisy.

An oversight is something like "The RNC's insurance plan covers elective abortions."  It's embarrassing to Republicans and goes to show that they do not practice what they preach.  Politicians do that.  Plenty of Dems do it too.  In this case nobody should be surprised.  Telling America what can and cannot be in insurance plans is one thing, but voting that America's women won't be able to use insurance exchange plans to cover elective abortion while having it in your own insurance plan is still oversight.

Hypocrisy is Jack Moss's defense of the RNC in this case.  The difference is that you fail to recognize the oversight as anything even remotely debatable as something that needs to be corrected.
Which is bogus. First, I sell insurance for Cigna. It's not true. There is NO opt out if you don't want "elective abortion coverage", the plan is what it is and contains what it contains.  It's a "universal coverage".   The issue is whether or not you would use it.

We know that only liberals do.

  Secondly those anonymous employees - who could be fired for even discussing the specifics of any plan, and I will find out who they are, don't know what they are talking about.

 Most insurance plans have some type of  "elective abortion" coverage when the mother's life is in danger, except for Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida - which covers NO abortions for any reason.  By the way it's the plan most Democrats carry in South Florida.

One could not expect the RNC to offer no insurance at all, and having such insurance isn't any indication of disqualification of position on abortion. I'm against breast implants but my plans pays for one.
In this case, Jack Moss just made one of the best arguments in favor of removing the Stupak amendment from the final reconciled health care reform bill:  since it is an elective procedure, and having the coverage for the elective procedure is not an automatic validation of the procedure, there is no need to remove coverage from America's women.  In effect, Jack Moss is saying that abortion is a choice under the current law of the land and should be covered as what it is: an elective medical procedure for women.

How enlightened.

Secondly, Moss's statement that "only liberals" would ever choose to have an abortion is idiotic.  Is Moss going to stand at the clubhouse door and rip up membership cards for any conservative woman who has ever had an abortion, and then brand them with a big ol' L?

Please.  And people wonder why I say Wingnuts are misogynists.

Political Cartoon Of The Moment

From Cagle Politcal Cartoon Index

Zandar's Thought Of The Day

As one of the tens of millions of Americans who live in a state other than New York and who has seen local job losses and and unemployment rate skyrocket because of the trillions of dollars taken out of the economy by the Wizards of Wall Street who we were forced to bail out at our own expense, I would just like to take a moment and say "Tough shit."

I have no sympathy for Wall Street.  You get strings with your trillions.

My God, It's Full Of Stupid

This. (h/t Balloon Juice)
In many ways, the terror attack at Fort Hood is President Obama's 9/11.
That was said by Red State's Jeff Emanuel over at Politico.

I pretty much have no choice but to nominate this as one of the most completely moronic opening statements to an argument that I have covered here in the last sixteen months on this blog, and this is just the first sentence in one of the worst arguments I've ever read.  It's so packed full of stupid, it's actually crystallized into buckyballs of metastupid, forming a dense, impenetrable structure in a similar way to how carbon becomes diamond or holiday fruitcake becomes food-based Kevlar.

(More after the jump...)

Dems Behind The "One In Eight" Ball

As much as I think Jim Pethokoukis is full of crap from a political punditry standpoint, the David Rosenberg report he references in today's column is something of an earthshaking one. Rosenberg gives his 12 reasons why he believes the U3 will hit 12-13%, meaning one in eight Americans will be unemployed in the next couple of years.

(More after the jump...)

When You're Too Crazy For The Bachmanniac...'ve basically completely smashed the Crazy-O-Meter.

Rep. Michele Bachmann's (R-MN) is now distancing herself from the use of Holocaust imagery at last week's Capitol Tea Party, which she had organized and promoted, after a Jewish Democratic Congressman called on her to apologize for leading the event and not denouncing the offending posters.

"Sadly, some individuals chose to marginalize tragic events in human history, such as the Holocaust, by invoking imagery and labels which have no purpose in a policy debate about health care," Bachmann said in a statement. "These regrettable actions negatively shift the focus of the current discussion on this issue. The American people deserve an open and honest debate to ensure the best possible solution to our health care problems, and I agree that these unfortunate instances are wholly inappropriate."
Well holy crap, I need to check my lottery numbers and make sure there are no airborne porcine mammals overhead.  Only took, well, an act of Congress to get her to point this out.  Specifically, an act of Democratic Congressman Steve Israel.
Rep. Israel has released this statement, responding to Bachmann: "It shouldn't have taken peer pressure, media inquiries or national outrage to get Rep. Bachmann to take a stand in defense of Holocaust victims."
No it shouldn't, but that's our Shelly for you.

Identity Crisis

As BooMan notes, where Republicans are definitely losing folks on the party identification question, these folks are switching to independent, not Democratic, and in the long run that's not good for the Donks.

(More after the jump.)

The Long, Dark Snack Time Of The Soul

So, what have you got for me today, Rumpies?

Snack Time in a Snuggie with Lou Dobbs

Red is just not Lou Dobbs color. OK, well politically it is, just not in a fashion sense.

Epic Command And Conquer Win

I want a truck-sized rail gun, too.
Not to be less than the US Navy, the Army has tested their own electromagnetic rail gun, firing several times at Dugway Proving Grounds. Manufacturer General Atomics calls it Blitzer. I call it Hey Enemy Tank, You Have Been Blended.

Blitzer will continue testing through 2010, until they fire "tactically relevant aerodynamic rounds." That means shells designed to obliterate enemy tanks, bunkers, and anything that moves on the ground. Looking at it, I can't help but to think on Cowboy Bebop and Spike's Swordfish II fighter. Just imaging General Atomics mounting an optimized model in an oversized version of their Reapers. [General Atomics via Popsci]

I mean, c'mon. Who wouldn't want one of these:

It shoots through schools. (And pretty much anything else.)

Hmm, here's a thought. I hope this thing is not pointed anywhere near the Large Hadron Collider when it's switched on, otherwise, well, the universe may decide to use it to "self-correct".

Still, EPIC WIN.

Trying Something New

So, I'm going to be testing out this LinkWithin service to see if actually pulls up other posts I've made on the subjects I've posted about. I'll give it a couple of days and see how it goes.

So far, it seems to like pictures. A lot.

I'm told it will take time to process my blog to select things other than Lou Dobbs. I'm really hoping it does that.


[UPDATE 12:05 PM] So, let's test with a pic, eh?

Epic This Interview Is Over Fail

Last month I talked about Indiana GOP Rep. Steve Buyer, who seems to have a bit of a legal problem stemming from the foundation he appears to be using for...less...than charitable purposes (unless Steve's golf game at Walt Disney World counts as charity.)

CBS finally caught up to Rep. Buyer, and the results were nothing short of EPIC FAIL.
Rep. Steve Buyer (R-IN) sat down for an interview with CBS Evening News about his charity, but struggled to answer basic questions about the Frontier Foundation, which collects big donations from industry sources trying to influence Buyer but gives out no money for its putative mission of supporting Indiana students.

Buyer abruptly ended the interview with CBS, which aired last night, literally rushing out of his seat to make a meeting.

Among the questions he couldn't answer: why the foundation, which as recently as last month shared space with Buyer's campaign office in Monticello, Indiana, no longer has a physical address.

"I was so focused on making sure that we were legal, that I probably didn't pay as close attention as I should have on, quote, appearances," the congressman said.

Asked by reporter Sharyl Attkisson about legislation he has introduced or supported that helps donors to Frontier, Buyer says at one point: "Trying to match up legislation like that is erroneous. You shouldn't do that Sharyl. I think that it's, I think it's wrong."

No address for his foundation? No actual charitable donations made by the foundation? Yeah, this isn't possibly fraud or anything...


Collective Insanity

It's nice to know even Salon thinks the GOP has lost its mind with the Hoffmanization of the party, as Gene Lyons points out.
To rational minds, the resultant disaster could hardly have been more comprehensive: a lagging economy (the worst job creation since Hoover), yawning budget deficits (Bush doubled the national debt in eight years); two unfinished wars, costing thousands of lives and hundreds of billions of dollars -- one completely unnecessary, the other so forgetfully prosecuted that Gen. Stanley McChrystal warns the United States and NATO could yet lose it.

Meanwhile, if Pakistani terrorists had done to New Orleans what Bush's hapless FEMA appointees did after Katrina, he'd have invaded Iran. Staffing regulatory agencies with See-No-Evil disciples of Ayn Rand made them feckless spectators of the banking crisis that damn near destroyed the nation's financial system, dragging the economy into the deepest recession since (again) Herbert Hoover.

By the time the make-believe cowboy retired not to Photo-Op Ranch, but to the Dallas suburbs, his approval ratings hovered in the mid-20s. That they were so high testified to GOP team spirit. But what on earth were Republicans smoking?

Courtesy of Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck, Rep. Michele Bachmann, Limbaugh and a passel of pusillanimous GOP congressmen, we're definitely finding out. With the alternatives being rethink or go crazy, much of the GOP base has chosen the comforts of delusion.

Ahh, but it's not just any ordinary crazy, it's the fever-bright crazy of righteous indignation, the crazy of those resigned to believe there is no other choice. It's the crazy of salting the fields, the crazy of scorched earth tactics, the crazy of mutually assured destruction.

It's the crazy of "If we're going down, we're taking the country with us!" you see. If they can't win, then neither will the Democrats...and what's left to "win" won't be worth winning at all.

And It's Unpopular, Too

Yet another reason for Obama to craft a withdrawal timetable: the American people don't want more troops in Afghanistan and are increasingly opposed to the war according to the latest CNN poll.
Though the public is divided down the middle over whether Obama is taking too long to make the decision on troops, the poll suggests that there is widespread agreement that Afghanistan will never have a stable democratic government.

Only one in 10 people questioned said that will occur within a year; only one-third said that will ever happen. That may be one big reason why 56 percent of Americans oppose sending more troops, while 42 percent favor increasing troop strength.

According to the poll, four in 10 support the war in Afghanistan, with 58 percent opposing the conflict.

It's time to get out.

[UPDATE 10:26 AM] More on these developments by Juan Cole, particularly on Ambassador Eikenberry, who is a former General himself.
Eikenberry is a China specialist who can not only speak but interpret Chinese, who has a Stanford MA in international affairs, and who served two tours in Afghanistan under Bush. His appointment as ambassador in Kabul had been a surprise, since the generals are not usually sent in as diplomats, and the US military was already well represented in US government counsels on Afghanistan. But now it appears that Obama cleverly put Eikenberry in as chief diplomat precisely because he is worldly and experienced in the country, and in a position to second-guess the Washington war hawks who always think that a victory is around the corner with just a few more troops.

Obama is said to have rejected all the plans so far presented to him, insofar as none leads to a foreseeable end-game.

If AP is right, this development is encouraging. All along, the things missing from Washington's plans for Afghanistan have been a firm, specific set of goals, a detailed means of attaining them, and a way to know when they have been attained.
In other words, things are looking up, and President Obama may finally be considering what the American people want: an end game in Afghanistan.

Village Stupidity 101


Don't we have enough of a problem with locking up "terrorists" for all eternity without giving them trials or due process? Maj. Hasan is an American. He gets a trial. He gets a defense attorney. To suggest otherwise is lunacy of the highest order.

Ballooning Into Something Much Larger

Balloon Boy's parents are apparently going to cop a guilty plea to setting up their son's faked balloon ride as a hoax.
The Colorado parents in last month's notorious "balloon boy" case will plead guilty to offenses for creating a hoax that their son had flown away in a large balloon.

Richard and Mayumi Heene are to plead Friday morning in Larimer County Court, according to a statement issued by Richard Heene's attorney.

Mayumi Heene is expected to plead guilty to an offense of false reporting to authorities, a misdemeanor of the lowest level, according to the attorney.

Richard Heene is expected to plead guilty to a felony offense of attempting to influence a public servant.

Though the Heenes could receive jail time for the charges, the prosecutor has recommended probation, Richard Heene's attorney said.

The threat of deportation for Mayumi Heene was a factor in the plea deal negotiation, the attorney's statement said.

"Mayumi Heene is a citizen of Japan. As such, any felony conviction or certain misdemeanors would result in her deportation, even though her husband and children are Americans," the statement said.

Given all the insanity this going to trial would cause, a guilty plea is seemingly a good idea. Not sure about the probation, however, especially for a white collar felony for influencing a public servant.

I think we've had enough white collar felons walk on probation in this country, and very few of them manage to rope children into their schemes. Perhaps we should try to prevent this kind of thing in the future in both cases.

If It's Thursday...

New jobless claims down to 502K, continuing claims down to 5.631 million.

Still a very long way to go.

[UPDATE 10:40 AM] No offense, Mr. President, but we need a hell of a lot more than a jobs forum in December. We need a jobs program in December. Time to get to work on that.

Reading Comprehension For The Loss

Right-wing reaction to last night's story that Obama was putting the Pentagon back to the drawing board on Afghanistan have been predictable, harsh, and in some cases, mind-bogglingly wrong.

Col. Mustard wants Obama to get busy feeding more troops to the black hole already.
Will someone tell our President this is not a term paper. You don't get to move the paragraphs around, tweak the punctuation, and cut and paste until it reads just right.

Keep screwing around on this and there will be no Afghan government left to which we can turn over "responsibility."
The problem is that there's no legitimate Afghan government to turn over things to now, either.

Reliapundit just says we're throwing the towel in.

Well, maybe if we weren't paying the Taliban hundreds of millions to not attack us, that would be a start. And replacing one American puppet leader with another will not help the legitimacy problem at all.

But Power Line's John Mirengoff gets the award of the day for this one:
If it were true, however, that Karzai poses the obstacle to success that Eikenberry perceives, Obama should decide not to send in any more troops and should seriously considering bringing home the troops who are in Afghanistan now. But, according to AP, this is not what the president has in mind. Instead, he reportedly is leaning towards adding 30,000 or more U.S. forces. Half would fight and the other half would training and hold ground. And, as noted, there would be some sort of provision to "clarify" when the U.S. would bug out.

So let's get this straight: Karzai is too pathetic to justify sending in the 40,000 troops Obama's hand-picked commander wants, but sufficiently able to justify sending in 30,000.

As weak war leaders go, Karzai takes a back-seat to President Obama.

No, John, Obama may not in fact be leaning towards 30,000 or more U.S. forces. The whole point of the article is that the President was going to consider that, but Eikenberry's cable changed his mind and now he is not accepting any of the four options to send in more troops. In fact, the article you're complaining about says right here:
The president was considering options that include adding 30,000 or more U.S. forces to take on the Taliban in key areas of Afghanistan and to buy time for the Afghan government's small and ill-equipped fighting forces to take over. The other three options on the table Wednesday were ranges of troop increases, from a relatively small addition of forces to the roughly 40,000 that the top U.S. general in Afghanistan prefers, according to military and other officials.
Was considering. Past tense. As in "is not considering now." As in "Obama has rejected those options and wants a withdrawal plan." Yes, the "half-and-half" plan is one of the options that "military officials" were considering, but Obama as of last night is now looking for other options. The article does say a troop increase is still "likely" but then again, all four of the options on the table Wednesday morning were troop increases, which means a troop increase Wednesday morning was in fact certain. Since Obama now is looking for other options, and a troop increase is now likely but not certain, perhaps we are looking at a withdrawal plan.

And I do have to give Mirengoff some credit: he is absolutely correct when he says that if Ambassador Eikenberry is right about the Karzai government (and I believe he is, and said that Karzai's government was never going to be viewed as legitimate and that because of that a military solution is not possible here and here and here and here and here) then we need to withdraw.

Once again, I'm hoping the President will do the right thing and begin a drawdown. The Karzai government is a joke. We're reduced to bribing the Taliban not to attack our convoys and paying military contractors billions just to haul supplies around the country. Extra troops will not win us this war without a stable, legitimate government. Since one isn't possible, then neither is a military solution.

It's time to go, and I'm hoping Obama is finally ready to say "What is best for the Unites States is to reduce our presence in Afghanistan."


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