Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Last Call

So, with Demon Sheep having basically taken over the intertoobs tonight, the best part is listening to the Teabaggers howl with laughter at Carly Fiorino and say "Boy, Carly's just a laughing stock and a complete asshole in the GOP Senate primary in California, not like our Teabagger guy ChuckDeVore!"
The communications director for California Republican Senate candidate Chuck DeVore tweeted on Thursday that America, the world and even charity organizations should immediately leave the island once immediate and limited recovery is done.
"[T]he best thing the int'l community can do is tend the wounded, bury the dead, and then LEAVE. That includes all UN and charity," wrote Josh Trevino
"He's not a creep at all!"
In addition to fiscal discipline, however, DeVore's closet includes some weird and potentially damaging associations. As pointed out by a Republican source, the assemblyman is connected to noted birther Floyd Brown. Brown, who is famous for creating the 1988 Willie Horton ad and, more recently, pushing an effort to impeach Barack Obama, was supported by DeVore in his efforts to attack Democratic candidates in the 2008 presidential primary.

"Poll after poll shows it works," DeVore said of Brown's deeply controversial product.

All of which is not to say that associations like these -- and his relative obscurity -- will trip DeVore up in a primary race. Indeed, he likely relishes his current frame as a man of the conservative fringe.
Which is probably why he's getting stomped in the polls.

They just don't get it.

They Are Just Unlikeable

The one real hope that the Dems have in 2010 is in the end, people really hate the current crop of Republicans.  Take for instance the GOP now going after the military's top brass on DADT.  As BooMan notes:
Steve Benen is right when he points out that the Republicans used to show some deference to military leaders. But now that the military has more progressive views on homosexuality and torture than the Republican's rabid base, it's open season. It's almost odd that individual Republican candidates are doing very well in polls when the party as a whole represents the views of a startlingly small percentage of the electorate.

More Republicans than not think Obama should be impeached. They probably think he should be impeached for enacting TARP even though that took place under Bush. I think the stupidity of the Republican base (77% of them believe public school students should be taught that the book of Genesis in the Bible explains how God created the world) actually makes Republican officeholders act insane. It explains why John McCain won't accept a repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell even though all his preconditions for that have been met (including Colin Powell changing his mind). 
And that's not all, there's a major rift developing between the GOP and the Teabaggers on the Citizens United decision too. Zach Roth:
Just hours after the court ruled last month, RNC chair Michael Steele praised the decision, calling it "an important step in the direction of restoring the First Amendment rights" of corporations.
But some Tea Partiers don't agree. Shane Brooks, a Texas-based Tea Party activist, told TPMmuckraker in an email:

This decision basically gives the multinational corporations owned by foreign entities [the right] to pour unlimited funds into the pockets of corrupt corporate backed politicians to attack everything this country stands for. We might as well be able to vote for Disney or the SEIU as President of the United States of America.
In a recent blog post, Kevin Smith of the Nashville Tea Party wrote that the ruling "puts corporations in a position to crowd out smaller competition and buy politicians from the local sheriff to the President himself."
In a statement provided in the wake of the ruling to the Reid Report blog, Dale Robertson, the Houston-based leader of, took the same view:

It just allows them to feed the machine. Corporations are not like people. Corporations exist forever, people don't. Our founding fathers never wanted them; these behemoth organizations that never die, so they can collect an insurmountable amount of profit. It puts the people at a tremendous disadvantage.
Jim Knapp, a Sacramento based Tea Party activist, went even further, telling TPMmuckraker via email: "Most of the anger by Tea Party supporters is directed at the effects of special interest money."
The Democrats need to be hitting the Republicans hard on DADT and Citizens United.  These are winning issues, guys.  They will mobilize the base and depress the Teabaggers.  Ya dig?

Besides, opposing both DADT and Citizens United are the right thing to do.

Another Milepost On The Road To Oblivion

It depresses me that I feel I must write a post pointing out how far our public discourse has fallen when the New York Post is quoting the National Enquirer about John Edwards beating his wife and this is seen to be acceptable journalism because, after all, the National Enquirer was right about Edwards' affair when the rest of the entire Village missed a Presidential candidate having an affair in the first place.

It depresses me a lot.

Almost as much as Demon Sheep.

Can't Sleep, Evil Demonic Sheep Will Kill Me

Carly Fiorina is running for Barbara Boxer's seat in the California GOP Senate primary, and just posted this...really...completely...messed up ad.  With sheep.  A lot of sheep.  EVIL SHEEP THAT WILL DEVOUR YOUR SOUL.

It's like a live-action Studio Ghibli/Miyazaki film gone horribly, horribly wrong.

Haiti Update, Part 4

The good news, Big Dog is now helping to run the UN reconstruction effort in Haiti.

The bad news?  The death toll from last month's quake is now up to the 200,000 mark and rising.

We will be rebuilding Haiti for years.  That is just fact.

McConnell Con Job

Mitch McConnell is a dirty politician.  Also, the sun produces heat and light and is made mostly of fusion.
As we reported yesterday, McConnell, a longtime foe of efforts to get money out of politics, last week took to the Senate floor to pooh-pooh the notion that the court's decision could allow a flood of foreign money to sway our elections, citing an existing law that prevents foreign nationals, including corporations, from spending on U.S. elections. But that ban doesn't cover the U.S. subsidiaries of foreign companies, or to foreign-owned corporations that incorporate in the U.S.

That's not just some technical loophole. Democrats and campaign-finance reform advocates argue it's a very real weakness in the law, that, even before Citizens United, gave foreign corporations influence in our elections. And McConnell's own ties to one foreign defense contractor offer a pretty good illustration.

Since 2005, McConnell has received $21,000 -- spread between his campaign and his leadership PAC -- from a PAC run by BAE Systems Inc., according to federal campaign disclosure records examined by TPMmuckraker. BAE Systems Inc. is the American subsidiary of BAE Systems, the world's second largest defense contractor, headquartered in Britain.

In addition, United Defense Industries, another defense contractor bought by BAE in 2005, reportedly pledged half a million dollars to the McConnell Center at the University of Louisville, a political science foundation that the senator created.

McConnell has been good to BAE, which owns a facility in Louisville, Kentucky. For fiscal year 2010, the senator requested earmarks for the company worth a combined $17 million.
So, to sum up, Mitch McConnell thinks it's a great idea for foreign companies to be able to contribute to the American electoral system, in effect giving foreign corporations rights to Constitutional free speech that the same GOP stalwarts think is a terrible idea to give to, say, foreign terror suspects.

Of course, the foreign terror suspects aren't paying Mitch McConnell 21 grand in exchange for $17 million in earmarks, either, so it's easy to see why Mitch doesn't think the Constitution applies to them.

That's my Senator!

Zandar's Thought Of The Day

Evan F'ckin Bayh does not like to be referred to as "Evan F'ckin Bayh" by Dirty F'ckin Hippie bloggers who apparently want him to stop being Joe F'ckin Lieberman.

Who knew?

Epic Johnny Volcano All Alone Fail

Sen. John McCain is lookin' mighty lonely on DADT right now.
In trying to explain his seeming flip-flop on ending the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" law yesterday, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) told Air America he supported the policy because General Colin Powell strongly recommended it during in the Clinton administration.

Added McCain: "I have not heard General Powell or any of the other military leaders reverse their position."

Today, Powell said he supported ending the law, the New York Times reports.
Oops.  So...we should end DADT and stop discriminating against gays in the military, since we're following Colin Powell now?

I'll be looking forward to seeing Sen. McCain make that announcement today...


Much Love On Blogroll Amnesty Day the crew over at Pygalgia for the blogroll link.  Favor returned!

Check them out, some good stuff over there.

Question Time With The Dems

President Obama has taken Question Time on the road, this time facing off against Senate Dems.  It was somewhat less contentious, but the session was nevertheless enlightening.  Blanche Lincoln wanted to know about jobs, and President Obama sounded like a Republican in his response:
Blanche Lincoln, another endangered senator, asks what Democrats can tell people to assure them that they are working to stabilize the economy. Part of the answer, Obama says, is to remind them: "Part of what we've done over the course of the year is put a floor under people's feet. That's what the Recovery Act did."

He cautions that Republicans will say returning to "what we've been doing before the crisis," citing giving tax cuts to the rich, and stalling health care reform and Wall Street reform, will ease the pain of the recession. But the Democrats' strategy, he says, should be a "non-ideological" approach.

"We've got to make sure that our party understands that, like it or not, we have to have a financial system that's healthy and functioning, so we can't be demonizing every bank out there," he says. "We've got to be the party of business -- small business and large business -- because they produce jobs."
The problem is that voters do see the Democrats as the party of business...the party of giving the voter the business and preferring corporate America to Main Street.   What happened to to Volcker Rules?  You're not demonizing banks at all, in fact you're letting them walk away with hundreds of billions of our money.  Geez.
(More after the jump...)

The Village's Overton Window

Since it's been a whole 37 minutes since a media outlet had to speculate on the Democrats losing the House as an absolute, the real question (for the Village) is can the GOP win the Senate?  Today's contestants:  Politico's Jim Vandehai and Alexander Burns.
With all the usual disclaimers attached — do not engage in political odds-making while taking medication or operating heavy machinery — here's why a Republican takeover is at least possible:

GOP officials tell POLITICO former Sen. Dan Coats will run against incumbent Democratic Sen. Evan Bayh, instantly transforming Indiana into a competitive race.

Rep. Mark Kirk won the Republican Senate primary in Illinois, beating back a tea party challenge and giving the GOP the best chance of winning President Obama's former seat.

This comes one week after Beau Biden, the son of Vice President Joe Biden, decided not to run for his father’s former seat in Delaware. Democrats have a credible backup candidate in New Castle County Executive Chris Coons, but GOP Rep. Mike Castle, who has run and won 11 times statewide, is the strong favorite.

To pick up 10 seats, Republicans would have to run the table in competitive races — and get a miracle (or a big favor from an old friend), too. More on that in a moment. 
Scott Brown truly did change everything:  No matter what, the GOP always has a majority in the Senate.  Why do we even have a Democratic party?  I love how the answer is "No way in hell unless you believe the GOP can pull off multiple Scott Browns, and since the GOP proved it can, we expect Majority leader Mitch McConnell next January."

God, this is annoying.

Toyota Under The Bus

It was Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood at the congressional hearing with the warning.
Owners of vehicles that Toyota Motor Corp. has recalled for accelerator-pedal defects should “stop driving” them and bring them to a Toyota dealer for repair, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said.

“We need to fix the problem so people don’t have to worry about disengaging the engine or slamming the brakes on or put it in neutral,” LaHood said today at a House Appropriations panel hearing in response to questions from a lawmaker. “If anybody owns of these vehicles, stop driving it and take it to a Toyota dealer.” 
That's...not good.   There are a couple million of these cars out there, and this is going to be a logistical nightmare to get these cars repaired no matter how you look at it.

On the other hand, during the last administration, this would have been ignored completely.  Damn that big government interference, right?

[UPDATE 1:27 PM] And Now LaHood is completely, well, backpedaling on his statement.

Demand Question Time!

MoJo's David Corn is leading the charge to get Question Time to be a regular feature of our democracy, and he's got an interesting left/right coalition of good government types on board.  Politico's Mike "Not Ben Smith" Allen:
David Corn, Mother Jones' Washington bureau chief, describes how the new campaign came about: "It's hard to imagine all of us agreeing on anything (except perhaps John Edwards' future in politics). But we had an idea that transcends ideology-and cable-talk squabbling and blogosphere bickering. On Sunday evening, a group of endorsers worked on a Google document of a shortened version of my original draft. Sharing ideas via email, we quickly resolved any disagreements. . Moffo found a designer who cooked up a nifty logo: a campaign-style button declaring, 'Demand Question Time.'

"None of us are naive and believe that implementing Question Time will cure what ails our country and our political process. We do realize that if QT does become a Washington routine, politicians and their aides will do what they can to game it to their advantage. . But even though there are problems with the presidential debates-which have been taken over by the political parties and a corporate-sponsored commission-those events still have value. . If you want more Question Time-even if only for its entertainment value-you can saddle up with dozens (and maybe it will turn into hundreds, thousands, and millions) of your fellow Americans in calling on our elected representatives to show us their best stuff on a regular basis."

Demand Question Time invites visitors to sign a petition: "We live in a world that increasingly demands more dialogue than monologue. President Obama's January 29th question-and-answer session with Republican leaders gave the public a remarkable window into the state of our union and governing process. It was riveting and educational. The exchanges were substantive, civil and candid. And in a rare break from our modern politics, sharp differences between elected leaders were on full public display without rancor or ridicule. ...

"So we call on President Barack Obama and House Minority Leader John Boehner to hold these sessions regularly - and allow them to be broadcast and webcast live and without commercial interruption, sponsorship or intermediaries. We also urge the President and the Republican Senate caucus to follow suit. And we ask the President and the House and Senate caucuses of his own party to consider mounting similar direct question-and-answer sessions. We will ask future Presidents and Congresses to do the same. It is time to make Question Time a regular feature of our democracy."
Now I'm all for this, and so are a lot of folks, from The Nation's Katrina VandenHeuvel to FiveThirtyEight's Nate Silver to Grover Norquist, Markos "Great Orange Satan" Moulitsas and Glenn "Instapundit" Reynolds.  It's a good idea.  We need to have more of this.

Demand Question Time and sign the petition.

[UPDATE 10:01 AM] The Question Time site,, is getting swamped.  They're working on it.   You can also follow the #questiontime hashtag on Twitter for more info.

[UPDATE 1:02 PM] Demand Question Time is up and running.  Sign the petition!  And if you're on Facebook, join the Demand Question Time group, And follow them on Twitter at @demandQTime.

Just Walk Away

More and more American homeowners are in a precarious position where the value of their home is now deep underwater.  And more of them are simply walking away.
The number of Americans who owed more than their homes were worth was virtually nil when the real estate collapse began in mid-2006, but by the third quarter of 2009, an estimated 4.5 million homeowners had reached the critical threshold, with their home’s value dropping below 75 percent of the mortgage balance.

They are stretched, aggrieved and restless. With figures released last week showing that the real estate market was stalling again, their numbers are now projected to climb to a peak of 5.1 million by June — about 10 percent of all Americans with mortgages.

“We’re now at the point of maximum vulnerability,” said Sam Khater, a senior economist with First American CoreLogic, the firm that conducted the recent research. “People’s emotional attachment to their property is melting into the air.”

Suggestions that people would be wise to renege on their home loans are at least a couple of years old, but they are turning into a full-throated barrage. Bloggers were quick to note recently that landlords of an 11,000-unit residential complex in Manhattan showed no hesitation, or shame, in walking away from their deeply underwater investment.

“Since the beginning of December, I’ve advised 60 people to walk away,” said Steve Walsh, a mortgage broker in Scottsdale, Ariz. “Everyone has lost hope. They don’t qualify for modifications, and being on the hamster wheel of paying for a property that is not worth it gets so old.”

Mr. Walsh is taking his own advice, recently defaulting on a rental property he owns. “The sun will come up tomorrow,” he said.
(More after the jump...)

Timmy Goes Off Script

President Obama officially has a major Tim Geithner problem as the Treasury Secretary continues to throw the administration and Congress under the bus...while testifying to Congress.
Overzealous bank regulators and an attempt by Congress to punish greedy bank executives are combining to restrict the ability of the nation's 8,000 community banks to lend to small businesses, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said Tuesday.

Called to testify before the Senate Finance Committee about the Obama administration's fiscal 2011 budget proposal, Geithner instead spent much of his time discussing why lending hasn't picked up at community banks, often the only lender to small-town America.

"Where is the urgency, Mr. Secretary, in solving this," Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., demanded of Geithner. "People put the screws to the community banks and gave all the money to the big banks. I'm telling you they are coming into my office every day with these stories, so I would urge you . . . to act now and not wait for legislation."

Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., said he's hearing "cries of anguish" from small businessmen who can't get loans and must close their doors. Kentucky Republican Sen. Jim Bunning turned red-faced as he angrily described how small banks in his state are being hamstrung.

"It's the (federal) regulators that have stopped the flow of money out of the community banks to the small business person, for fear of the (federal) regulators coming in and consuming the bank," thundered Bunning. "They're stopping all lending to the people who absolutely need the lending."

Geithner acknowledged that federal bank regulators who fell down on the job before the crisis now want to appear tough.

"They are now overcorrecting and they're making it hard for them (community banks) to make new loans," said Geithner, adding that he's hearing complaints too. "They say the same things to me."

Correcting the problem, he cautioned, is difficult because bank regulators are independent agencies that don't take orders from the Treasury Department.
At this point, Obama's Treasury Secretary is not only defending the banks, he's on Capitol Hill pushing the other party's talking points, and throwing his own President under the bus on his new plan to get tough with banks. I've been against Geithner from the absolute beginning and have wondered when Obama was going to get rid of him for some time now, but at this point Obama doesn't have a choice.

When your cabinet official is actively sabotaging your directives while testifying to Congress, it's time to show that official the door.  I can understand pushback from the Volcker Rules in private, but Geithner is actively wrecking the President's financial reform agenda that Treasury Secretary he should be supporting.  Instead, he's spouting the GOP line that regulation is the problem, not the solution.  Considering Americans believe the Obama Administration's lack of getting tough with the banks is a major problem, Obama's going to have to make a decision here and damn soon.

It's gotten to the point where Geithner is a Republican appointee when he's going on TV agreeing with Jim Bunning.   Time to discuss his


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