Friday, May 28, 2010

Last Call

The Big Dog weighs in on Blanche Lincoln vs. Bill Halter, and tells progressives to go Lewinsky themselves.
Using unusually vivid language to describe the threat against Sen. Blanche Lincoln, Clinton urged the voters who nurtured his career to resist outside forces bent on making an example out of the two-term Democratic incumbent.

He pounded the podium with Lincoln at his side, warning that national liberal and labor groups wanted to make her a “poster child” in the June 8 Senate run-off to send a message about what happens to Democrats who don’t toe the party line.

“This is about using you and manipulating your votes to terrify members of Congress and members of the Senate,” Clinton said in the gym of a small historically black college here. 
Right.  Voting against Lincoln to send Dems a message is "being used" and "manipulated" by the Left.  I guess that means voting for Blanche Lincoln and her nakedly transparent ploy to win over progressive votes with her little derivatives amendment to the financial reform bill, which will be dropped by the House and Senate in conference the second Lincoln clears the primary runoff on June 8, is not manipulating voters at all.

Hey Big Dog?  Stop crapping on the rug again.

In Which Zandar Answers Your Burning Questions

Digby asks, upon remarking that the DoJ is sort of looking into homegrown terror threats now:
Do people believe that Al Qaeda is going to take over the United States? Really?
This one's easy.  Replace "Al Qaeda" with "swarthy gentlemen" and you're a lot closer to the truth.

Something's Wrong, Something's Amiss...

Ask yourself with a 9.7% unemployment rate and tens of millions of Americans out of work why the deficit is now more important than job creation.
A Democratic plan to send $23 billion to the states to save the jobs of 100,000 to 300,000 public school teachers, librarians, counselors and other employees slated for layoffs looks dead for the time being.

Blame it on election-year politics. The anti-Washington, anti-spending mood has become so potent that even Democrats are antsy about helping teachers, one of their most long-standing and generous allies.

"We are in a situation now where a portion of our caucus is rebelling against just about any kind of spending," said Democratic Rep. Emanuel Cleaver of Missouri.

The layoffs already have begun. Advocates for teachers are calling them catastrophic. Critics of the emergency aid say states need to clean up their fiscal acts and make changes.

In the meantime, large, populous states such as California and Texas, for example, are each expected to absorb the loss of more than 30,000 teachers and other personnel, according to White House estimates.

Schools are cutting staff and programs because the recession has depleted state tax revenues, which pay for public education.

Democrats in the House of Representatives had hoped to pass the $23 billion emergency bailout this week as part of a spending bill for the war in Afghanistan that was slated for passage, but fiscally conservative members from tough districts weren't happy about having to defend another vote that would increase the deficit.
So another 100k-300k lost jobs in a borderline depression economy is a easier thing to defend?  Politically it's poison to save a teacher's job now?  You know what?  We deserve to have the GOP run this country into the ground.  States can't clean up their fiscal acts if they are never, ever allowed to raise taxes.

So all that happens will be cuts, cuts, cuts and cuts by people who say any taxes and any government spending are inherently evil.  Well, all except the military, that is.

If it wasn't going to assure the destruction of the country, I'd tell the Dems to screw it and let the GOP have the country again.

Top Kill Slays The Drag--OH NOW WHAT IS IT?!?

Top Kill(tm).  Still not working.
Warning that "ultimate success is uncertain," BP said Friday it could take all weekend to complete its "top kill" technique aimed at plugging the catastrophic leak in the Gulf of Mexico. 
Good thing it's a long weekend.  Hope you weren't headed for, say, the Gulf Coast for Memorial Day.

Look, in all seriousness I understand the government doesn't have the expertise in plugging massive oil geysers a mile deep.  There's no Department Of Plugging Oil Well Geysers, either.  But since there's not, and since we live in a world where these things fail and will cost us untold billions, you think we could maybe, you know, work how how to fix stuff like this BEFORE IT HAPPENS.

Full Circle (Jerk)

It's our old friend Rep. Steve King of Iowa, and he's got everything figured out...
Rep. Steve King (R-IA) issued a press release today that partially blames Muslims for the Department of Justice's attempts to challenge Arizona's controversial new immigration law.

"The ACLU, SEIU and the Muslim American Society are calling the shots at the Justice Department," the press release says, later blaming "the ACLU and their radical affiliates" for "dictating the policy of the White House."
These guys are beyond embarrassing to the point of insanity.  Obama Derangement Syndrome is the only idea the GOP has.

The Pain In Spain

Fitch's just downgraded Spain's credit from AA to AA+.  This is one of those "not good" things.  Dow down 110 or so.  Meanwhile, the only constant in the financial universe is people who will tell you that the best stock market ever is just around the corner.
Nonsense, says James Altucher, president of Formula Capital. The economy and market will continue to surprise, he tells Aaron in this clip. In fact, he's calling for a 'checkmark'-shaped recovery, stronger than the ‘V’ we hear so much about. "The debate is over, it’s already been a V, now the question is, does it continue? I think it does," he says.
Why is he so confident?
  • -- The job market is improving. “We've seen temp workers go up for seven months in a row," the fastest pace since 2004. Average pay and hours worked are up and the U.S. added 290,000 jobs last month, the biggest jump in four years. Plus, he notes, “jobs in self-employed positions and start-up businesses have jumped by 1.9 million in the past four months."
  • -- Car sales are up by 25% in April compared to a year ago. “How did Toyota have 27% year over year car sales increase?"
  • -- Pending home sale are up 21% year over year.
Altucher is confident all this will translate into record profits and an all-time high on the S&P 500 by the end of next year. "I know people are going to laugh," but the proof is in the pudding, he says.
This one goes in the Future Stupidity file dated December 2012. Also, I want what he's smoking.

Low Nooners

Nooners hits a new Village Obama Derangement Syndrome low, and that's really saying something.
I don't see how the president's position and popularity can survive the oil spill. This is his third political disaster in his first 18 months in office. And they were all, as they say, unforced errors, meaning they were shaped by the president's political judgment and instincts.

There was the tearing and unnecessary war over his health-care proposal and its cost. There was his day-to-day indifference to the views and hopes of the majority of voters regarding illegal immigration. And now the past almost 40 days of dodging and dithering in the face of an environmental calamity. I don't see how you politically survive this.

The president, in my view, continues to govern in a way that suggests he is chronically detached from the central and immediate concerns of his countrymen. This is a terrible thing to see in a political figure, and a startling thing in one who won so handily and shrewdly in 2008. But he has not, almost from the day he was inaugurated, been in sync with the center. The heart of the country is thinking each day about A, B and C, and he is thinking about X, Y and Z. They're in one reality, he's in another. 
This goes on for another 1000 words or so, how Obama is just the worst, most incompetent, most aloof, most detached, most wrong President of wrongess that wrongosity has ever spawned in the history of wrongkind, and all of this is just so blindingly obvious after just 18 months that Nooners is just in shock, you see.

Your liberal media is in the tank for Obama, right?  She just completely blows a gasket here and goes full firebagger in the end, declaring the Obama presidency over, and every just really HATES HATES HATES the guy, right?  Best part:
But Republicans should beware, and even mute their mischief. We're in the middle of an actual disaster. When they win back the presidency, they'll probably get the big California earthquake. And they'll probably blow it. Because, ironically enough, of a hard core of truth within their own philosophy: when you ask a government far away in Washington to handle everything, it will handle nothing well.  
Damn that government for not stopping earthquakes and oil spills and stuff!  Because the frre market can fix it, right?

I salute you madam.  This column will go down in infamy.  Sully finishes her off:
The premise of Noonan's moronic column is that the federal government, especially the president, should be capable of ending an oil-pipe rupture owned and operated by private companies, using technology that only deep-sea oil companies deploy or understand. And if such a technical issue is not resolved by government immediately, it reveals paralyzing presidential weakness and the failure of an entire branch of political philosophy. Again: seriously? It's Obama's fault that under Bush and Cheney, government regulation of oil exploration was so poor and corrupt, corner cutting appears to have been routine? And this, Peggy, is what governments do, even when run by crazy-ass liberals. Governments do not dig for oil; they merely regulate those who dig for oil. That the government failed to do so under the previous administration does not seem to me to be proof that this administration has failed. 
Too true.  This is Village Idiocy, even for the Village Idiots.

Another Milepost On The Road To Oblivion

CalcRisk shows us the money...for homebuilders?
Legislation introduced yesterday by Reps. Brad Miller (D-N.C.) and original co-sponsors Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) and Joe Baca (D-Calif.) would help alleviate the severe lack of credit for acquisition, development and construction (AD&C) financing that threatens to end the budding housing recovery before it has time to take root, according to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB).

“We applaud these lawmakers for taking the lead to address the housing production credit crisis that is jeopardizing the housing and economic recovery now under way,” said NAHB Chairman Bob Jones, a home builder from Bloomfield Hills, Mich.

H.R. 5409, the Residential Construction Lending Act, would create a new residential construction loan guarantee program within the Department of Treasury to provide loans to builders with viable construction projects. Designed to unfreeze credit for small home building firms, the measure would expand the flow of credit to residential builders on competitive terms.
Umm...guys?  Point of order?  The reason why homebuilders are hurting is because there are millions of unsold homes on the market driving the price of homes down nationwide...exactly what will giving billions of dollars in loans to homebuilders making it easier to build more houses do in order to fix the problem of too many houses on the market?

Specifically Not Feelin' Randy, Part 6

I was wondering when Rand Paul was going to weigh in on immigration.  And by "weigh in" I mean "reveal himself once again to be nothing more than a wingnut lunatic".
Paul recently suggested to a Russian TV station that the U.S. should abandon its policy of granting citizenship to the children of illegal immigrants -- even if they're born on U.S. soil.

Paul also said he's discussed instituting an "underground electrical fence" on the border to keep out unwanted elements, though he emphasized that he's "not opposed to letting people come in and work and labor in our country."

The real problem, Paul said, is that the U.S. "shouldn't provide an easy route to citizenship" because of "demographics."

According to Paul, the proportion of Mexican immigrants that register as Democrats is 3-to-1, so of course "the Democrat Party is for easy citizenship."

He added: "We're the only country that I know that allows people to come in illegally, have a baby, and then that baby becomes a citizen. And I think that should stop also."

The 14th Amendment grants citizenship to anyone born in the United States, regardless of whether or not their parents are U.S. citizens.
Imagine that. Rand Paul, running as a Republican, thinks the Constitution should be amended because the 14th Amendment "helps the Democrats."   You know there Rand, the 13th Amendment gave rights to slaves and former slaves, and the 15th gave minorities the right to vote, and those are helping Democrats too, right?  Maybe you should get your GOP buddies to craft legislation to effectively repeal those like they are trying to do with the 14th.

What "libertarian" would want the government to repeatedly check papers of people to see if they are given the government-granted title of citizen, anyway?   Oh right, "Rand Paul libertarians".  Better known as Teabaggers.

Boston Uncommon

Arizona's immigration law and the lousy economy is leading to backlashes against "illegals" even in states like Massachusetts as that state's Senate cracks down.
The measure, which passed on a 28-10 vote as an amendment to the budget, would bar the state from doing business with any company found to break federal laws barring illegal immigrant hiring. It would also toughen penalties for creating or using fake identification documents, and explicitly deny in-state college tuition for illegal immigrants.

The amendment would also require the state’s public health insurance program to verify residency through the Department of Homeland Security, and would require the state to give legal residents priority for subsidized housing.

The amendment will now be part of negotiations with the House as part of the entire state budget.
It's not law yet, but just as Republicans found their hated scapegoats in gays in the first decade of this century (and long before that, really) the reactionary crackdowns are now hitting Latinos.  It's the unintended consequences of laws like this that will be the problem:  getting sick or applying for housing while Latino in Massachusetts could soon be a nightmare.  After all, the onus is now on the person to prove they are a citizen if this law passes.

Do you think Republicans will stop demanding papers at subsidized housing and insurance?

Backhanded Compliments

The wingers are trying a new tack this week on blaming Obama for BP's oil spill as Obama's Katrina:  they're defending Obama. NRO's Yuri Levin sets ups the pins...
I think it’s actually right to say that the BP oil spill is something like Obama’s Katrina, but not in the sense in which most critics seem to mean it.

It’s like Katrina in that many people's attitudes regarding the response to it reveal completely unreasonable expectations of government. The fact is, accidents (not to mention storms) happen. We can work to prepare for them, we can have various preventive rules and measures in place. We can build the capacity for response and recovery in advance. But these things happen, and sometimes they happen on a scale that is just too great to be easily addressed. It is totally unreasonable to expect the government to be able to easily address them—and the kind of government that would be capable of that is not the kind of government that we should want.
You can feel the slime oozing out of Levin on this one like the oily mess washing up on Louisiana beaches.  Obama can't fix the problem because in Levin's view, the federal government is supposed to be incompetent and weak on domestic issues, and that's a good thing.  That virulent, rabidly anti-government Tourette's that wingers have rears its ugly head again, just another notch in the "Any Democratic administration is illegitimate" belt that they've been carving in since the Clinton years (and the Carter years before that).

Kevin Drum puts an end to this idiocy quickly.
The Deepwater Horizon explosion is almost the exact opposite [of Katrina]. There is no federal expertise in capping oil blowouts. There is no federal agency tasked specifically with repairing broken well pipes. There is no expectation that the federal government should be able to respond instantly to a disaster like this. There never has been. For better or worse, it's simply not something that's ever been considered the responsibility of the federal government. (The well capping, not the cleanup.)

In the case of Katrina, you have the kind of disaster that, contra Levin, can be addressed by the federal government. In the case of the BP spill, we're faced with a technological challenge that can't be. They could hardly be more different.
Wingers equate this to "See how useless government is?"  Thinking people equate this to "Boy, BP really should of had their act together."  As Digby reminds us, the last 20 months should have proven beyond a doubt that the whole "the best and the brightest among us go to the private sector" theory is a complete sham.


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