Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Last Call

Bob Cesca sums it up brilliantly:
I was going to open this piece with an analogy about the tea party groups and why they're treated seriously by the press and the Republicans. The analogy would go something like: "Imagine [insert left-wing activist group here] getting a serious profile in a mainstream newspaper, and imagine serious Democratic politicians appearing at their convention."

The problem is, when I really evaluated what the various far-left activist groups are all about and compared them with the tea party movement, there really wasn't any equivalency. At all.

Because when you strip away all of the rage, all of the nonsensical loud noises and all of the contradictions, all that's left is race. The tea party is almost entirely about race, and there's no comparative group on the left that's similarly motivated by bigotry, ignorance and racial hatred. 
Do read the whole thing.   There really is a fundamental, basic difference between progressives and teabaggers.  When one says "How can I make America better?" they mean "for all Americans."  The other appends the phrase "for me" after that question.

And that "for all Americans" part includes the teabaggers themselves.  They are still Americans.  They have families, jobs, loved ones, bills to pay, mouths to feed, just like the rest of us.   The great thing about America is people get to have their opinions, and people like me get to have blogs where I point out how and why I disagree with them.  In turn, they get to respond.

Their vote counts the same as mine come Election Day.  The difference is what we choose to do with that vote, and why we choose to use it.

That's Your Plan?

The GOP figures they can win this year the same way they did in 2008, by demonizing Obama.
"What can you sell when you do not have the White House, the House, or the Senate?" asks a Republican National Committee PowerPoint presentation.

Answer: "Save the country from trending toward Socialism!"

That -- along with a heavy dose of fear-mongering about President Barack Obama, sums up the Republican Party's strategy heading into the 2010 mid-term elections, according to documents obtained by Politico.

In a presentation delivered to donors and fundraisers in Florida on Feb. 18, RNC Finance Director Rob Bickhart made it clear what the 2010 race was going to be about for the GOP: Creating a caricature of President Obama and the Democrats meant to help the Republicans recoup their losses from the last two election cycles.
Yeah, that'll work great.  Make with the funny pictures and the racist comments and the hate e-mails.  That worked so well for you in 2008 when the voters realized the real issues facing the country had nothing to do with Obama photoshopped as an African witch doctor.

The GOP plan is Obama Derangement Syndrome.

It Must Have Sounded Convincing In The Bathroom

If I'm reading this correctly...
"It is starting to get really disgusting," Erickson, the editor-in-chief of the right-wing site RedState wrote. "First, the GOP said it needed diversity and chose the orange Charlie Crist over the Latino, Marco Rubio. Then the GOP said it needed to do better outreach in the black community, so it ignored Michael Williams in Texas and tried to find a rich white guy to run for the Senate. Now that Kay Bailey Hutchison has lost the Texas primary to Rick Perry without even making it into a runoff, the Washington, D.C. Republicans are scared to death a black man might actually get appointed to the Senate as a Republican."

Even South Carolina GOP Sen. Jim DeMint supports Michael Williams, Erickson noted. "This is really sick," he wrote.

Though Erickson said in a postscript that he was using "a hefty dose of sarcasm," he went on to restate the same point. "The fact remains that the GOP preaches diversity all the time and when presented with an attractive Latino and black candidate, they pass on both because they are too conservative," he wrote.
...then Denial Denialson here is arguably the single most deluded human being on the face of God's green Earth.

Yes.  The GOP totally refused to support these minority candidates because they were too conservative.  Also, I'm a champion Scottish bagpiper, I'm a winning Formula One driver in my off hours and I invented cold fusion because I was bored last Thursday.

Too conservative.  That's totally it, Erick.  Totally.

Red State, Red Planet

Via Matt Osborne, the funniest damn thing I've heard all week.  Republicans say CO2 is good for you?  Fine, says Bob Kincaid of the HORN.  Let's ship them to Mars!

There's no liberals on Mars.  The Republicans will love it there!

Democrat Eric Massa Retires From House

The official reason is cancer.  The unofficial reason:  nasty allegations he sexually harrassed a male staffer.
Rep. Eric Massa, D-New York, announced Wednesday that he will not seek re-election and denied a report that he harassed Capitol Hill staffers.

Massa, a cancer survivor, told reporters in a conference call that he was briefly hospitalized last December.
“I kept it private between myself and my immediate family,” Massa said. “It was a very intense and personal experience especially in light of having gone through this before.”

Massa said he keeps up a brisk pace "and my doctors have made it clear that I can no longer do that."
Kind of a weird case here, and Massa was one of the better progressives in the House.  Equally weird is CNN's report:
Massa is the 10th House Democrat to announce that he will not seek another term in the House nor run for a higher office in 2010. Seven House Republicans have also said they will outright retire at the close of the 111th Congress.
So if you go by this, you'd totally believe the Dems were bailing from the House in greater numbers than the Republicans.  It's just not true.   20 Republicans are retiring, the Dems are up to 14 now.

Funny how that works.

Hey Wait A Minute Mister Postman

The USPS plans to cut another 30,000 jobs this year and get rid of overtime in an attempt to get back to profitability.
Corbett said the agency expects 30,000 employees to retire during fiscal year 2010, which ends Sept. 30, 2010. More positions will be eliminated as other employees resign and those positions are not filled.
"We expect that we will be able to get to the right staffing levels through natural attrition," he told

The USPS, which is not permitted to lay off employees, is currently under a nationwide hiring freeze. It has eliminated jobs in the past by offering early retirement packages and through attrition. It cut a whopping 40,000 positions this way in fiscal 2009 alone.

The USPS has shed more than 100,000 jobs in the last five years. It currently has about 600,000 full-time employees, down from about 705,000 full-time workers in fiscal year 2005.
So this massive, multi-year hiring freeze is simply the only way the USPS can stay in business.  As I said, these are good paying jobs.  They are going away permanently.  That's the difference between this recession and so many others:  the jobs lost here are never, ever coming back.

At best, they will be replaced by minimum wage or temp positions in industries that are growing, rather than permanent jobs with benefits.  Wages will continue to go down, productivity will continue to increase along with profits for corporations, and the middle class will continue to vanish.

Water Water Everywhere

Even on the Moon.
A moon probe has found millions of tons of water on the moon’s north pole, NASA reported Monday. The vast source of water could one day be used to generate oxygen or sustain a moon base.

A NASA radar aboard India’s Chandrayaan-I lunar orbiter found 40 craters, ranging in size from 1 to 9 miles across, with pockets of ice. Scientists estimate at least 600 million tons of ice could be entombed in these craters.

The radar, called the Mini-SAR, sends pulses of left-polarized radio waves out to measure the surface roughness of the moon. While smooth surfaces send back a reversed, right-polarized wave, rough areas return left-polarized waves.

Ice, which is transparent to radio waves, also sends back left-polarized waves. The Mini-SAR measures the ratio of left to right circular polarized power sent back, or the circular polarized ratio (CPR). However, a high CPR alone can’t distinguish between rough patches and regions with ice.

The north pole craters had a high CPR on the inside, with a low CPR on the edges. That suggests a material enclosed in the craters, rather than surface roughness, caused the high CPR signal. According to NASA, the ice would have to be relatively pure ice and at least several feet thick to give this signature.
Good news for both lunar exploration and for India's space program.  The US should be leading the way on this, but of course NASA's Constellation moon program is all but canceled due to lack of NASA funding.

For a President convinced that science and exploration technology that creates new jobs is America's path back to glory, he sure doesn't seem too interested in the science and exploration part.

What BooMan Said

In absolute agreement with BooMan this morning on what the SCOTUS case on Chicago's gun control laws will mean.
I think the Second Amendment is an anachronism, but the proper way to deal with an anachronism is to amend the Constitution, not ignore it. But, the Second Amendment is a federal right. It says that Congress can't restrict your right to bear arms. It doesn't say squat about the state or local governments. That distinction is about to change. Conservatives on the Supreme Court are going to strike down nearly every local or state gun control law in the country. This is the price of letting Bush get reelected. I dropped everything in my life and worked my heart out (for ACORN) to prevent Bush from being reelected. This is why.
And he's right.  We've seen this same court eliminate campaign finance reform as unconstitutional.  They will now do the same with gun control laws.   Local and state gun control laws will be invalidated nationwide.  Alito and Roberts will continue to cause lasting damage to decades, in some cases over a century, of American jurisprudence and accepted law.

They will continue to do so for a very long time.

Just Talking About Roger Ebert

Roger Ebert's new computerized voice, based off hours of his own movie commentaries, really does sound fairly like the guy.  Technology is really getting places on matters like this, and it's good to, well, hear Ebert again.

And yes, like John Cole says, Ebert's Twitter feed is pretty awesome.  Follow @ebertchicago if you haven't already.

Perry Wins By Knockout

Rick Perry handily won the Republican primary for Texas Governor last night over Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchinson and will go on to face Democrat Bill White.
Hutchison called Perry to concede the race after returns indicated that the governor was cruising toward a resounding victory in the closely-watched primary.

"Now we must unite," she said. "We must win Texas for Republicans."

Perry's win ended a yearlong intra-party fight that was billed from the start as a clash of Texas political titans but ended with a whimper as Hutchison struggled to fight a tide of anti-Washington sentiment among conservatives.
The governor cast his victory as a warning shot to Washington in the mold of recent GOP wins in the Virginia and New Jersey governor's races and the Massachusetts special Senate election.

"I think the message is pretty clear," Perry told supporters at his election night party near Austin. "Conservatism has never been stronger than it is today."
Perry won the primary outright by getting more than 50% of the vote, so there's no worry about him being Hoffmaned. Having said that, the Lone Star State's voting demographic continues to become more Hispanic.  Perry is favored in a year where most incumbents are not, but there's a lot in Perry's record in his lurch to the far right over the last year that Bill White can attack.

We'll see.


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