Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Last Call

Hey look, FOX rolled the wrong video suggesting crowds for a teabagger event were really much larger than the crowds actually at the event being reported on. Hey look, this is not the first time they've done this even this month. Hey look, Think Progress caught them red-handed again.
This afternoon, Fox News host Gregg Jarrett proudly announced that Sarah Palin is “continuing to draw huge crowds while she’s promoting her brand new book. Take a look at — these are some of the pictures just coming into us.” But the pictures that the network chose to display on-air appeared to be old file footage of Palin rallies from the 2008 presidential campaign. Individuals in the crowd are seen holding McCain/Palin signs, and others are holding pom-poms and cheering wildly. “There’s a crowd of folks,” an enthused Jarrett observed, referring to the old footage.
Hey look, nobody at FOX News gives a damn. Fair and balanced, you know...

...but wait! With the Obama administration attacking FOX News as being nothing more than a propaganda arm of the GOP, suddenly there's a lot more scrutiny on FOX about their journalistic integrity and practices.
The unwelcome mishap follows soon on the heels of another FOX Pas - when the network's Sean Hannity ran video of a hugely attended TEA Party protest rally in Washington in September as Hannity was talking about a less-attended Nov. 4 rally outside the Capitol.

Comedy Central's Jon Stewart called out Hannity on that video, and Hannity apologized, on air, for what he called an "inadvertent'' error. Hannity has a book-tour interview of Palin on his show tonight, and we're betting Stewart's Daily Show crew will be watching.

So, as you might suspect, the No. 1-rated cable news network is taking today's mixing of videos quite seriously;

How seriously?

The Swamp hears tonight that it's highly like that serious disciplinary action will be taken for those responsible behind the scenes in the control room. News executives there consider this to have been a sloppy and unnecessary error.
It's only a sloppy and unnecessary error if you get caught, you mean.

Harry's Big Score

The CBO says Harry Reid's bill comes in well under the $900 billion over 10 years mark at $849 billion, will reduce the deficit down the road, and covers 94% of Americans.

That's good news.

Now will the Senate even be allowed to debate the bill with every single Republican automatically voting no on anything the Dems do?

[UPDATE 5:37 PM] And this is where we've come to: the fact that a Democrat is considering actually allowing the party's premier domestic agenda bill to be debated -- not the final vote of the bill mind you, but whether or not the bill will even be allowed to be discussed -- the fact that Ben Nelson is considering whether or not it should even be allowed to be discussed in the Senate chamber is in and of itself news.

I swear, every Senator in the United States should have to spend 30 days with an average American family before being allowed to take office.

Mitch And Rand

Seems that Mitch McConnell is backing Trey Grayson for Junior Senator from the Bluegrass State, and not Rand Paul.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) is making his candidate preferences known in two Republican primaries -- hosting a fundraiser in New York City on Dec. 7 to benefit former New Hampshire attorney general Kelly Ayotte and Kentucky Secretary of State Trey Grayson, according to a copy of the invite obtained by the Fix. Ayotte will face at least two candidates in the GOP primary -- businessmen Ovide Lamontagne and Bill Binnie -- while Grayson is being challenged by Rand Paul, the son of Texas Rep. Ron Paul. The National Republican Senatorial Committee made news last week when it made clear it would not involve itself financially in contested primaries. But, McConnell's involvement for Grayson and Ayotte make clear where the "smart money" is in these primary fights.
Yeah I know, it's Chris Cillizza, but it's still news that Mitchy is holding a fundraiser for Grayson, not Paul.  That means that the Republicans as a whole are backing Grayson (they're not going to make trouble for Mitchy in his backyard) and that could shape up into a nasty primary battle down the road, especially with this news coming just a couple of days after McConnell and Paul met in Louisville.

Clearly, Mitch didn't like what he had to hear.  And he also thinks that Rand's enough of a threat that he has to personally hold a fundraiser for Grayson in 2009.  Couple this with the fact that Grayson's already playing the Hoffman card on Paul, and things are shaping up to get truly interesting over the next couple of months.

Zandar's Thought Of The Day

What the purple atomic hell is Sully smoking?  Leave the Breitbart/Drudge-style histrionics to Breitbart and Drudge, bro.

[UPDATE 3:20 PM] Although I have to admit, Ben Smith dogging on Sully's credibility is irony thick enough to stop time.

[UPDATE 2 3:25 PM] BEHOLD THE FEAGLE!  (And yes, it's damn good to see T-Rex back.)

What Digby Said

Yet another episode:
I've been writing for some time that Americans are confused about the recession and furthermore that the Republicans are making headway with their easy explanation that the cause of all their pain is government spending. I have felt for years that the Democrats needed to explain economics better because the free lunch supply siders and deficit hawks are on the verge of turning America into a dysfunctional state akin to California.

I guess that's not going to happen:
Obama warned the United States' climbing national debt could drag the country into a "double-dip recession," though he said he's still considering additional tax incentives for businesses to reverse the rising unemployment rate.
Let's hope he just misspoke or the story is mischaracterizing his statement. If the Democrats really are so spooked by the Virginia and New Jersey results that they feel they need to cut spending with 10% unemployment and explicitly adopt the GOP's false implication of the deficit being the cause of recessions then we have a problem. A big one.
What I want to know is why Democrats feel the need to ever listen to the Republican point of view on anything economic when the last Republican administration was an unmitigated disaster that cost this country trillions and trillions of dollars, millions of jobs, and thousands of businesses. When Republicans open their mouths on anything economic, the universal Democratic response should be "We're still going to be fixing your fiscal and economic idiocy for years to come. You nearly bankrupted the global economy. You're no longer allowed to have a valid opinion on this matter. Thank you."

Instead, Obama sounds like Bush fifteen months ago. If President Obama really and honestly thinks that tax incentives are going to create jobs in this economy, he deserves the fate that voters will have in store for the Dems in 2010 and 2012.

But sure, cut spending during a recession.  Not like that's happened before.  Oh did in the 30's.  Obama can't really be that dense, can he?  That's something I expected from McCain.

Burn Notice

2009 is shaping up to be a record year for Wall Street profits. And anyone still surprised or shocked at this simply hasn't been paying attention to the Obama administration's economic team.
In a report released Tuesday by Thomas P. DiNapoli, the comptroller of New York State, Wall Street profits in 2009 are on track to exceed the record set three years ago, at the height of the credit bubble. The report noted that the four largest investment firms in Manhattan — Goldman Sachs , Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley and the investment banking arm of JPMorgan Chase — earned $22.5 billion in the first nine months, in contrast to losses of more than $40.3 billion in 2008, primarily at Merrill.

“The national economy is slowly improving, but Wall Street has recovered much faster than anyone had envisioned,” Mr. DiNapoli said in a statement.

(More after the jump...)

A Nation Of Laws

The Great Orange One calls out the Wingers on the KSM trial in New York.
American liberals are tough on terrorists and secure in their knowledge that the Sept. 11 conspirators are guilty of mass murder. American conservatives are timid cowards who fear that the U.S. government can’t actually prove that the Sept. 11 killers committed their heinous crimes. Sound weird?

Maybe. But what else can be concluded after watching conservatives collectively lose their heads over President Barack Obama’s easy decision to try Sept. 11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four other co-conspirators in U.S. District Court in New York City? Seems that macho conservatives are terrified of shackled terrorists in orange jumpsuits and the United States Constitution.

(More after the jump...)

More Stupak Stupidity

A new GWU study on the Stupak Amendment language confirms what I've been saying for a while now: that it would effectively end abortion insurance coverage for all women.
A new study by the George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services adds some expert imprimatur to what many progressives have been saying all along: The Stupak amendment to the House health care bill--which will prevent millions of women from buying health insurance policies that cover abortion--is likely to have consequences that reach far beyond its supposedly intended scope.

The report concludes that "the treatment exclusions required under the Stupak/Pitts Amendment will have an industry-wide effect, eliminating coverage of medically indicated abortions over time for all women, not only those whose coverage is derived through a health insurance exchange."

In other words, though the immediate impact of the Stupak amendment will be limited to the millions of women initially insured through a new insurance exchange, over time, as the exchanges grow, the insurance industry will scale down their abortion coverage options until they offer none at all.

"As a result, Stupak/Pitts can be expected to move the industry away from current norms of coverage for medically indicated abortions. In combination with the Hyde Amendment, Stupak/Pitts will impose a coverage exclusion for medically indicated abortions on such a widespread basis that the health benefit services industry can be expected to recalibrate product design downward across the board in order to accommodate the exclusion in selected markets."
And anyone who still thinks this wasn't the original intent of the language with the intent of using it as a poison pill to kill Obamacare outright is either naive, in denial, or both. Stupak's decided that this is the best way to kill health care reform, to make it so poisonous that the status quo, as horrible as it is, will still be better.

I honestly don't think Bart Stupak could give a damn one way or the other, he's just using abortion coverage as a wedge issue to destroy the entire bill.

Call Of Money: Modern Marketing

Activision's last smash hit video game, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, has grossed $550 million in just five days.
"Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 "raked in an estimated $550 million in international sales in five days, beating Hollywood's champion "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince," which holds the box office record for a five-day gross with $394 million in international sales.

"In just five days of sell through 'Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2' has become the largest entertainment launch in history and a pop culture phenomenon," stated Robert Kotick, CEO of Activision Blizzard , in a press release. "The title's success redefines entertainment as millions of consumers have chosen to play "Modern Warfare 2" at unprecedented levels rather than engage in other forms of media."

The video game also crushed the five-day revenue record for video games.

"Grand Theft Auto IV" held the title previously with $500 million generated in sales within its first five days on shelves.
Haven't played this one myself (been playing Dragon Age and Borderlands) but pretty much half the guys at work are raving about it.  Interesting to note that a video game can gross half a billion dollars plus in five days.  Video games are getting to the point where they're bigger than movies.

Quote Of The Week

From one of Josh Marshall's readers at TPM:
"How is it that it will take 'decades' for history to judge the Bush administration yet we know already that the Obama administration is a failure?"
Because that's what the de facto Republican-loving Village Idiots tell us.  Same reason 2010 is considered a "favorable national environment" for the GOP despite the fact that Republican Party brand is the most damaged it has been in ages.

The daily challenge of the Village is to justify how the final analysis of any and every political event is good news for conservatives.

The Hoffman Effect Rolls On

A new CNN poll shows that 51% of Republicans would rather see a ideologically pure candidate nominated than a winning one.
The CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey's release on Tuesday comes just two weeks after internal party divisions led to the GOP loss of a seat in the House of Representatives that it had held since the 19th century.
The poll indicates that a slight majority, 51 percent, of Republicans would prefer to see the GOP in their area nominate candidates who agree with them on all the major the issues even if they have a poor chance of beating the Democratic candidate. Forty-three percent of Republicans say they would rather have candidates with whom they don't agree on all the important issues but who can beat the Democrats.

Democrats polled seemed to place a slightly higher priority on electoral victory: 58 percent say that they would like their party to nominate candidates who can beat Republicans, even if they don't agree with those candidates on all the issues. Fewer than 4 in 10 Democrats say they would rather see their party nominate candidates who agree with them on all major issues, but have a poor chance of beating the Republican candidate.

"One reason for the difference between the parties: the Democrats have a relatively even split on ideological grounds. Thirty-four percent of Democrats are liberal, 40 percent are moderates and less than one in four call themselves conservatives," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.

By contrast, 73 percent of Republicans questioned in the poll say they are conservatives, with only 26 percent describing themselves as liberal or moderate Republicans.
And why not?  The GOP is in some ways more effective in controlling Washington as the minority Party of No then when they were in charge.  They can't dictate the narrative, but they remain united across the board in opposing any legislation the Democrats try to pass, and they are choosing to filibuster everything, always.  Everything now has a 60 vote threshold to pass.

By becoming 100% partisan, the GOP can prevent anything from passing by peeling off even one Democrat.  They win by doing nothing and it's clear their backers would rather see that happen than to see a handful of Republicans cross the line and engage in bipartisanship.

If you understand only one thing about the Republican party in 2009, it's that they believe Democrats are the enemy, and that they must be destroyed.

In Which Zandar Answers Your Burning Questions

John Cole remarks:
I would love to hear how the Republican plan for slashing the deficit and tackling the debt will work. I’m interested in how capital gains tax cuts, making the Bush cuts permanent, ending the “death tax,” continuing the prescription drug plan while ignoring the rising costs of health care, permanent war in the middle east and privatizing social security are going to bring our books back into the black.
Three things here:
One, cutting taxes on rich people and businesses magically grows revenue, just look at the last eight years!  Rising tide lifts all boats.  That's the American way.  You are a real American, right?

Two, only America-hating liberals would question a single dime of our commitment to killing all Raghead Sunzabitches.  Why do you hate the troops and America?  I mean you're a real American, right?

Three, all those expesnses for one and two are possible because the plan is to basically eliminate all other social programs in America, because only poor people, illegal immigrants and lazy minorities use them, and you're not one of those, are you?  Of course not, you're a real American, so there's no reason not to cut a program that you, being a real American, would never use. 

And you are a real American, right?

Start The House Party

Or stop the housing starts party, as the case may be.
New U.S. housing starts in October unexpectedly fell to their lowest level in six months, weighed down by a sharp decline in construction activity for both single-family and multi-family dwellings, a government report showed on Wednesday.
The Commerce Department said housing starts dropped 10.6 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 529,000 units, the lowest level since April and the percentage drop was the biggest since January. Analysts polled by Reuters had expected housing starts to rise to 600,000 units. September's housing starts were revised upwards to 592,000 units from the previously reported 590,000 units.
There's that term again: "unexpectedly fell".  Anyone who's been paying attention to this blog or any of the far better econ blogs out there that I link to should most certainly be expecting housing starts to fall sharply these days.  Housing prices continue to plummet.  We're in a catch-22: the housing depression won't abate until unemployment does, and the unemployment picture continues to be affected by the decreased spending power of the American consumer due to the housing depression.

So yes, with a glut of homes on the market, why do people keep expecting housing starts to increase in the middle of a broad housing depression?

If we're putting half a million new homes on the market every month here, and people aren't buying the full additional supply (mortgage applications are at a 12-year low despite low, low rates) well then gosh, what's going to happen when you have an oversupply of a product on the market and decreasing demand for that product?

Could it be a continuing plunge in home values?  That's basic macroeconomics 101 right there, kids.  I can figure it out and I haven't had an econ class since the Clinton years.

Third Party Naughty

Doug at Balloon Juice has a point:  I can't think of a reason why Sarah Palin is good for conservatism either.  But the notion that the GOP will lose membership to a Ross Perot/Jesse Ventura style third party is also wrong.

The Teabaggers don't want a third party.  They want to take over the Republican Party and kick out everyone who is not a Teabagger.  They figure once that happens, moderates will come crawling back rather than deal with the Dems.  Once the moderates "know their place" and understand they need to shut up and worship Super Combat Jeebus, everything will be fine.

Sarah Palin is their Che Guevara.  It really is that simple.

Harry Makes His Move

The Senate version of the Obamacare bill will be rolled out this afternoon on Capitol Hill at 5 PM.
Notice of the meeting went out to Democratic Senate offices Tuesday night, signaling the long wait for the merged bill is about to end.
Reid will get some high-level support as he rolls out the plan.

President Barack Obama, who is traveling overseas, dispatched Vice President Joe Biden, Interior Secretary and former Colorado Sen. Ken Salazar and former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle to the Hill Wednesday to assist Reid in securing votes, according to Democratic sources.

“Of all the bills we’ve seen, it’ll be the best: saves more money, is more protective of Medicare, is a bill that’s good for the American people,” Reid told reporters Tuesday. “I’m not going to get into the numbers today, but it’ll — I think if you’re not impressed, you should be.”
So we'll get our first look at the bill later today.  Will it still include the state opt-out on the public option, and will it include the Stupak language?  More than likely the answer to both questions will be yes...that is if the ConservaDems ever deign to allow the bill to a vote.

Quantity Is Job One

The House plans to have a jobs bill on the table before the end of the year.
Top lawmakers are looking at a variety of options, including road construction, tax breaks and assistance to hard-pressed state governments which could create jobs but also worsen budget deficits in the short term, said House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer.
"We're moving ahead at a pace that hopefully will allow us to do something in the next three weeks," the Maryland Democrat said at a news conference.

Some of these programs could be funded by a transaction tax on Wall Street, or money left over from the financial-industry rescue package, said the House's No. 4 Democrat, Representative John Larson.

Democrats are under pressure to bring down the 10.2 percent unemployment rate, at the highest level since 1983, before the November 2010 elections. Unemployment is expected to remain high into next year even as the economy picks up, a factor that economists say could threaten the fragile recovery.
Any jobs bill would be better than nothing, and it would be difficult for the Republicans to oppose it going into an election year to boot.  The Dems are going to need to do something.

Of course it would be far better if the root of the problem was addressed and a raft of job and wage protection measures were passed, but that won't happen. Republicans don't like it when working class Americans benefit, it makes them vote Democratic.


Related Posts with Thumbnails