Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Last Call

And the Dems are ditching the public option for either:

A) A national plan run by the health care companies which the Progressive Left will never allow because it's actually worse than what we have now,


B) opening up a Medicare buy-in for those 55-64 and up which the ConservaDems and The Snowe Queen will never allow (that won't take effect until 2014.)

Reconciliation, anyone?

The Score On Obamacare In The Senate

Ben Nelson's Stupak-like abortion amendment has been tabled, and the Snowe Queen's not going for the Medicare buy-in plan.

That currently leaves the potential "yeas" at 59 to beat that filibuster.

In other words, this really may all come down to Ben Nelson being serious or not about killing the bill over his amendment failing, as he promised he would if it wasn't in.

Oh, and the public option?  It's going to be scrapped in order to allow Medicare buy-in for people age 55-64. Only 20 plus years to go for me then.  I'm sure Medicare will still be around...

FOX News Still Fails At Math

Fox poll

For you math majors out there, that's a total of 120%.  Bonus points for also spotting that it's a Rasmussen poll where two of the three answers make Science Look Evil.

Tedd Petruna, Action Zero Part 2: First Dud


Tedd!  Petrunaaaaaaaaaaaa hewillsaveeveryoneofus!

Well, only in his own mind.
A security consultant who was a passenger on AirTran Flight 297 says the man who claims he thwarted porn-watching Muslim hijackers clearly fabricated the story, but Brent Brown adds that the airline's version of events underplays the seriousness of what happened.
Brown told WSBTV that Tedd Petruna, who says a group of Muslim terrorists were casing the plane, is "living in a fantasy world." (Petruna now has his own hash tag on Twitter.)

But Brown, whose firm is based in Atlanta, also said that AirTran's explanation of what happened doesn't tell the whole story. He said a group of passengers -- "of obvious Middle Eastern descent, which doesn't concern me" -- were refusing to cooperate with flight attendants and using cell phones while the plane was on the runway. The atmosphere was "extremely tense," and the crew was upset, according to Brown.

He thinks it was some "people who were maybe not the best citizens for flights," and the situation may have been aggravated by a language barrier. The entire WSBTV interview is here.
So what we have here is a failure to communicate.  All indications are that AirTran acted responsibly and correctly, as did the crew on the plane.  The fact remains that a security consultant actually on the plane said there was an incident, but nothing like what Tedd Petruna said happened, because he was still never on the plane.

I want to hear the Winger explanation for this one.  So what, now the passengers actually on the plane like Brent Brown are in on this massive conspiracy too?  Really?  Or are they just going to ignore the fact that Brown has said Tedd Petruna lied about the entire story?

Flying While Muslim.  It will always be a crime to the Wingers.

Zandar's Thought Of The Day

Via Atrios:  Which is more futile:

the hope that the Senate's war bond idea will pay for Iraq and Afghanistan,


the hope that the Senate's Medicare buy-in idea was going to pass?

A Taxing Ordeal

It's the end of the year and tax time is right around the corner.  There are millions of working poor families in the US, and they struggle with tax time just like anybody else.  Some have to pay taxes.  Some get refunds.

And some of them get audited for simply being too poor.
It all started a year ago, when Porcaro, a 32-year-old mom with two boys, was summoned to the Seattle office of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). She had been flagged for an audit.
She couldn't believe it. She made $18,992 the previous year cutting hair at Supercuts. A few hundred of that she spent to have her taxes prepared by H&R Block.

"I asked the IRS lady straight upfront — 'I don't have anything, why are you auditing me?' " Porcaro recalled. "I said, 'Why me, when I don't own a home, a business, a car?' "

The answer stunned both Porcaro and the private tax specialist her dad had gotten to help her.

"They showed us a spreadsheet of incomes in the Seattle area," says Dante Driver, an accountant at Seattle's G.A. Michael and Co. "The auditor said, 'You made eighteen thousand, and our data show a family of three needs at least thirty-six thousand to get by in Seattle."

"They thought she must have unreported income. That she was hiding something. Basically they were auditing her for not making enough money."
They thought Rachel was cheating because how could a mother of two be raising two kids in Seattle on $19K a year?  It must be welfare fraud.
Oh, and it gets worse, after the jump.

What Steve M Said

NMMNB today on Tomato Guy:
Beyond that, remember that wingnuttia will never forget. Palin, in particular, will never forget. Palin has been compiling an enemies list to rival Nixon's -- Katie Couric, Andrew Sullivan, Steve Schmidt, David Letterman -- and this guy is now on it permanently. No, check that -- we are now on it permanently, for (in the latest addition to her multi-count indictment) what he did. That will be the message from the GOP and Palin noise machines -- that this is how "the left" treats its ideological opponents. What the hell do we get out of that? More sympathy for her? A lessened sense among the general public that she's a laughingstock because incidents like this garner sympathy for her? That helps us?

Attack her on ideas, attack her on stupidity, attack her on temperament -- but please, for the love of God, don't do things like this. They're nasty and stupid in the first place -- and they are nourishment for the professional victim party, the GOP, and its quintessential professional victim, Sarah Palin.

Years from now, Palin and her acolytes will still be waving the bloody tomato.
Even worse, this tomato will be used to justify whatever crazy actions the Wingnuts and Teabaggers will do to Obama in the future.  No matter what truly hideous stuff they pull out, no matter what happens to Obama, it will be "But do you remember the guy with the tomatoes attacking Sarah Palin?  How is (Insert Crazy Teabagger Action Here Where People Actually Get Hurt) any different?  How is the Left any different?  They started this.  The blood of (Insert Crazy Teabagger Action Here Where People Actually Get Hurt) is on Tomato Guy's hands and the hands of every Obama voter."

And then the Village will come in and say how the Wingers are right, and isn't it sad that (Insert Crazy Teabagger Action Here Where People Actually Get Hurt) happened because of Tomato Guy and that really, all the violence on the right is sadly just a reaction to the unfair anger of the real villains, the Dirty F'ckin Hippies?

Steve's right.  God help us all, but he's 100% correct.  They will be using this to justify everything that happens between now and November 2012.

What will Obama get hit by, I wonder?

The Party Of Always No

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer gave a pretty depressing speech today over at the Center for American Progress about the Republicans basically refusing to vote for any legislation whatsoever and then blaming the mean ol' Democrats. Ezra has the goods:
What Hoyer doesn't offer much of are solutions. But then, solutions are hard. Harder even in the House than the Senate.
On the one hand, the House is in better shape. Unlike the Senate, it's not paralyzed. But that's not to say it's working well, either. A world in which the only votes available for legislation are Democratic votes is a world in which the possible compromises and coalitions are very narrow. The House health-care bill, for instance, could have done a lot more to control costs if some Republicans had been interested in cutting deals. Hard compromises -- like capping the employer tax exclusion -- could have been justified by the need to attract Republican votes. Without that space to gain votes from politicians representing different interests, however, there wasn't room to make deals opposed by Democratic interests. And not all Democratic interests were right about every aspect of this bill.

But fixing that is a lot harder than fixing the Senate's anti-majoritarian tendencies. Ending the filibuster is easy, at least as a technical matter: You just end it. Making it safe for politicians to compromise with one another is much more difficult. Hoyer's speech is a call for Republicans to recognize their responsibility to the country, but responsibility seems sadly outgunned in the current era.
Why be responsible when it's so much easier to simply obstruct any and all legislation, then blame the Democrats?  You have a compliant media that wants to advance the story that Republicans still run Washington and are popular and that the Democrats are losers despite the massive margins in Congress, you have a ready-made astroturf organization of former Republicans and lobbyists dispersing talking points to the media and the Teabaggers, and you have the talk-radio screamers and winger bloggers ready to howl on cue whenever they are needed.

The problem is far larger than just the Republicans ceding any and all responsibility towards improving the country.  Many, many people are deeply invested in seeing Obama fail as miserably as possible in order to get another Dubya in the White House.

That's always been the plan.  Why compromise when you can obstruct and then destroy all opposition?  The binary Bush worldview didn't end on January 20, 2009.

[UPDATE 4:44 PM] Just as a reminder, Republicans pull crap like this:
They’d all walk to the front of the House and, laughingly and jokingly, put their arms around each other’s shoulder like it was some kind of clownish fun. And they did this over and over to make sure every vote took half an hour. That’s how low things have gotten. I could give you countless examples just like that. They’re simply obstructionists and there’s nothing you can do about it.

Behold, The Moose Bull Party

Oh I think I may have made the Rumpies' day with this one.
Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin on Monday left open the possibility of running for president as a third party candidate in 2012.
Palin (R), in an appearance on the conservative Lars Larson radio show, indicated that the a possible third-party candidacy might be contingent on whether or not the Republican Party gets back to its "conservative base."

Larson asked Palin if she would consider a third party bid, to which Palin responded "That depends on how things go in the next couple of years."

When pressed if her answer meant yes, the 2008 vice presidential nominee responded "If the Republican party gets back to that [conservative] base, I think our party is going to be stronger and there's not going to be a need for a third party, but I'll play that by ear in these coming months, coming years."
Oh please, please please do the Ross Perot thing.  Please.

The Capital Job, Part 2

Obama is considering redistributing leftover TARP money to small businesses to help with job creation.  Naturally, this is socialism and Republicans hate it.  My question is, do Republicans like John Boehner really, really want to go down this road where they're going to attack small business owners as un-American welfare queens?
Boehner and other Republicans in Congress have made a point of assertively countering the Obama administration's work toward a new jobs initiative, having hosted a rival "jobs summit" the same day the president hosted business and labor officials for a meeting at the White House.

In that vein, Republicans will hold their own meeting with Minority Whip Eric Cantor (Va.), Republican Conference Chairman Mike Pence (Ind.), and freshmen members of the conservative Republican Study Committee to tout GOP alternatives on job creation.

Boehner said tomorrow's speech by Obama provides an opportunity for the president to work with Republicans in Congress, though Boehner cautioned that using leftover funds from last year's $700 billion financial bailout program would be unacceptable to the GOP.

"Republicans have offered common-sense solutions all year long," he said. "President Obama should seize this opportunity to begin working with Republicans to implement fiscally responsible solutions that help small businesses create jobs and get our economy moving again."
Let's review:  TARP money for small business job creation, bad.  Instead, we should spend the TARP money on deficit reduction and then turn around and cut taxes, increasing the deficit.  Fiscal responsibility and all.  because deficit reduction will create jobs...how?

[UPDATE 1:08 PM] I know it's the Brookings Institute, but did Obama really just pledge to help create jobs by paying down the deficit and cutting corporate taxes? I mean he wants to expand the stimulus too by another $50 billion, but isn't this whole kitchen sink approach the reason we're in trouble now in the first place?  You know, not enough stimulus because ConservaDems and the Ladies From Maine demanded tax cuts in the package and deficit reduction, and as a result we needed more stimulus?

Is anyone in the White House economic team paying attention up there?

ACORN Beef Sandwich And A Side Of Lies

So yeah, the whole big ACORN prostitution scandal of the Millennium and all that?  Guess what?
ACORN employees caught in those undercover videos advising a couple posing as a pimp and a prostitute on how to break the law acted unprofessionally and inappropriately, but did nothing illegal, an independent report has found.
The report, by former Massachusetts Attorney General Scott Harshbarger, recommends nine steps for ACORN to take in order to regain public trust in the wake of the scandal, including that it return to its "core competency - community organizing and citizen engagement empowerment, with related services."
On the key question of potential illegal conduct, it finds:
While some of the advice and counsel given by ACORN employees and volunteers was clearly inappropriate and unprofessional, we did not find a pattern of intentional, illegal conduct by ACORN staff; in fact, there is no evidence that action, illegal or otherwise, was taken by any ACORN employee on behalf of the videographers.
So the ACORN guys are off the hook legally.  But here's the big one:
Harshbarger also notes that the videos were sometimes less than perfect representations of the events they depict. He writes:
The videos that have been released appear to have been edited, in some cases substantially, including the insertion of a substitute voiceover for significant portions of Mr. O'Keefe's and Ms. Giles's comments, which makes it difficult to determine the questions to which ACORN employees are responding. A comparison of the publicly available transcripts to the released videos confirms that large portions of the original video have been omitted from the released versions.
In the wake of the scandal, Congress voted to cut off all federal funds from ACORN. In response, the group is suing the US government, arguing that the measure is a bill of attainder, and therefore unconstitutional.
Here's the real issue.  The videos?  Those have been altered.  The whole ACORN prostitution scandal was a setup from the beginning.

The "liberal media" executed ACORN in the court of public opinion.  Why was this so easy?  Maybe the fact that a majority of Republicans believe ACORN stole the election for Obama in 2008 has something to do with this.  Andrew Breibart's little scoop was manufactured.  Nobody questioned it.  Nobody will apologize for it.  The damage is done anyway.

And people wonder why I say the media is one of the largest problems we have in our republic.

Rediscovering Democracy

After eight years of Bush's executive orders on science (or the lack of it), suddenly the FOX Street Journal has a problem with the executive branch doing anything executive.
This ruling has been inevitable since at least April and we warned about it during Mr. Obama's campaign, but its cynicism and willfulness still astonish. The political threat is so potent precisely because invoking a faulty interpretation of the 1970 Clean Air Act will expose hundreds of thousands of "major" sources of emissions that produce more than 250 tons of an air pollutant in a year to the EPA's costly and onerous review process. This threshold might be reasonable for traditional "dirty" pollutants (such as NOX) but it makes no sense for ubiquitous carbon, which is the byproduct of almost all types of economic production.
The White House knows this, which is why earlier this fall Ms. Jackson announced a "tailoring rule" that limits this regulation to sources that emit more than 25,000 or more tons a year like coal-fired power plants and heavy manufacturing. Ms. Jackson claims this unilateral rewrite of a statute is a concession, but its real purpose is to dodge a political backlash while still preserving the EPA's ability to threaten business and recalcitrant Democrats.

For now, this decision moves into the courts, and years if not decades of litigation. Yet the decision really is historic: The White House has opened a Pandora's box that will be difficult to close, that is breathtakingly undemocratic, and that the country, if not liberal politicians, will come to regret.
Which is funny, because when Bush was telling scientists that they couldn't study stem cells and quashing federal studies on climate change, the same WSJ editorial board was telling us how a useless gridlocked Congress was unable to make the decisions that Bush needed to make, and wasn't it great that we had an executive branch with this kind of power?

As I've been saying, anything done in Washington by a Republican is democratic, popular and good.  Anything done by a Democrat is fascist, hated, and evil.  Even if it's the same policy.

In Which Zandar Answers Your Burning Questions

Digby asks:
Can someone explain to me why these people hate this climate science so much? I mean, I get that they don't like gays and think women should stay barefoot and pregnant. I understand that they hate taxes that pay for things that help people they don't like. Evolution -- yeah, that's obvious.

But global warming? Why? Is it all about their trucks or what? I just don't get where the passion comes from on this one.
It's not climate science they hate.  It's science period.  Science is what evil liberals use to keep Real Americans down, you see.  Only ignorance can set you free.

Dumb down the population:  Science is bad, so why believe in it?  Public schools are bad, so home school your kids and teach them about creationism. Universities crawling with "liberal thought" are bad, so go to conservative Christian schools. Critical thinking is bad, so faithfully toe the party line.  Smart, educated people are bad because they'll only manipulate you, so listen to the talk-radio screamers instead and be a "real American".

What's left is a population told they are bravely resisting being sheep by becoming lemmings instead.

[UPDATE 3:52 PM] Amanda Marcotte answers Digby's question with an arguably even more valid answer than mine...science denial simply pisses off liberals, and that's all that matters to Wingers.

Group Not Think

So a man lobbed a tomato or two at Sarah Palin up at her Mall of America book signing in the Twin Cities yesterday.  He missed Palin.  He did however, hit a Bloomington cop standing next to her.  Judging from the Winger blog reaction, there's a couple things they all agree on:
  1. The guy had to be a crazy liberal.  No real American would ever disagree with Moose Lady.  Ever.
  2. Only a crazy liberal would miss.  Conservatives never miss targets and cause collateral damage by hitting the wrong people, even in places like Iraq and Afghanistan.
  3. The cop had every right to blow a smoking hole in the guy's chest, and all civilians are subject to getting their asses kicked at any time by cops, even kids.
  4. This proves Obama Derangement Syndrome is a myth, but Sarah Palin Derangement Syndrome affects tens of millions.
To review, liberals can't hit people with weapons, but should be shot because they are terribly dangerous. Only liberals are capable of insane over-reactions to political figures, but anyone who disagrees with that is a crazy evil liberal who's trying to take over the world and should be dealt with through any and all means, up to and including lethal force.

Keep in mind that a good 30 percent or so of America feels this way, and it's growing.


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