Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Last Call

And Winger perennial Confederate Yankee finally comes out and says what the right-wing whack-jobs have been thinking for years now:  since the left keeps thinking we're going to eventually descend into using politically-motivated violence anyway, let's show them what politically-motivated violence is capable of.
We have moved "closer to midnight" not because of any singular act , but because of inertia of a political class that does not respect or enforce the laws, or this nation's sovereignty. We have diametrically opposed views of how our nation can and should be run, and it appears that there is very little room left for negotiation.
Propagandists for the elitists at Media Matters seem troubled by A Nation on the Edge of Revolt. They portray it as a threat when "Conservative media figures openly discuss armed revolution."
I hope they do feel threatened. Attempts at peaceable protests have been met at turns by feigned ignorance, then mockery, then attacks on the character and motives of those would not sit quietly by. Perhaps it will take a serious review of our capacity for violence to get them to realize we shall not surrender our individual liberties to their lust for power.
I have not yet been swayed to the point of view that an armed conflict is inevitable, TN_NamVolunteer. But we are close enough that one would be wise to prepare for a possible conflict, just as one would prepare for any coming storm.
Spoken like a true nut-job.  And sure, the right is lousy with these violence types, in love with their own macho fantasies of "taking the country back" from people who don't agree with them by any means they deem necessary.

Of course, unlike most of the hardcore paramilitary militia types, Confederate Yankee here just parlayed his blog into a job at the Washington Examiner.  Last time I checked I didn't see Dave Weigel, Ezra Klein, Spencer Ackerman, or any of the other folks on JournoList calling for politically motivated violence against the government.  I wonder if anyone on the right will say word one about CY here.

My guess is "no".

Orange Julius Is Famous

He's even on a billboard here in Cincy on I-75!

"Hey, that's not my driver!"

To be fair, most of those 119 outings were fundraiser meetings rather than, you know, helping people in West Chester who are out of work.

It's hard being the Party of No guy, you know?

Which Way, Weiner?

As awesome as NY Dem. Anthony Weiner is on taking the fight to Republicans, he's completely silent on the whole Cordoba House issue.  He's in a tough spot, trying to reconcile his passion as a liberal firebrand and a staunch ally of Israel.  Greg Sargent puts him on the spot.

I can't get Weiner's office to say whether he defends plans to build the Islamic center or whether he sides with many Republicans and with the Anti-Defamation League and opposes it. I've been asking for two days now, and his office was promising yesterday to make him available to discuss the issue. But suddenly, his spokesman went quiet and stopped answering calls and emails.

The reticence of some New York politicans on this issue has been astonishing. While Mayor Michael Bloomberg has voiced strong support for plans to build the Islamic Center, others have been circumspect. Senator Chuck Schumer, for instance, has only said through a spokesman that he "doesn't oppose" the plan.

Weiner has positioned himself as something of a national figure, and has won plaudits from liberals nationally for his feisty, confrontational approach to Republicans and his willingness to fight it out on controversial issues. So it seems fair to wonder where the heck he is on the Islamic center.

I sincerely hope he plans to say something about it. And if he does come out strongly in favor of it, I'll be the first to give the man credit. But if he doesn't, maybe we should all stop clapping for him.

So which Weiner will we see, the one that savaged obstructionist Republicans on the floor of the House, or the one that spouted right-wing nutjob talking points on the Gaza flotilla raid that would make any neo-con proud?  This isn't something he can avoid anymore.

Which way, Weiner?

Zandar's Thought Of The Day

The Party Of No in action, folks:

And it will only get worse. Dozens of nominations are still open, with open positions because Republicans have blocked the government from working, period. Republicans cry that government is broken. They are the ones that broke it.

Building A Controversy

My personal views on the entire Cordoba House/"Ground Zero Mosque" issue is that A) there are already plenty of mosques in Manhattan, B) that's because there are plenty of Muslims in Manhattan, and C) it's like a YMCA, only for Islam, which is the kind of thing you should find in Manhattan anyway.

Building a place like that in Manhattan only proves that America's view of religious tolerance is superior to that of the twisted hatred that AQ preaches, but not if you don't believe in religious tolerance, apparently.  NRO's Daniel Foster shakes his head at the notion as the last hurdle to building the Cordoba House was vaulted 9-0.
Commissioner Christopher Moore spoke movingly of his watching from a nearby subway entrance as the planes struck the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. But he also said the desire to protect the Park Place location because of its connection with the attacks was misguided, comparing it to an attempt to landmark “a guardrail on a highway where fatalities have occurred.”

When the votes were counted and announced, some members of the audience began shouting: “Shame on you!” “This is a horrible betrayal!”

Andy Sullivan, a construction worker who said he had helped man the “bucket brigades” at Ground Zero in the days after the attacks, asked loudly of the commissioners whether they had lost loved ones on 9/11.

“Be sure to look in those cameras,” Sullivan said as the commissioners left stage, “and apologize for this disgrace.”

Later, Sullivan told reporters that the controversy surrounding the mosque is far from over.

“You’re going to have a problem getting labor there,” he said. “Everyone I’ve talked to will not lift a finger to build that disgrace.”
Somehow, I'm betting in this economy you'll find people who want to build the center.  Good thing this is America, where we really do value religious freedom and we're proud of the fact.

Bluegrass Nihilism

David Corn argues that Rand Paul vs. Jack Conway is the most important Senate race of 2010 and most likely of the entire fall, because it's a battle between Jack Conway's pragmatism and Rand Paul's avowed nihilism.
As reported by Details magazine, Paul, while campaigning recently in Kentucky's coal country, maintained that there should be no federal regulation of the mining industry: "If you don't live here, it's none of your business." Asked about the Big Branch mining disaster in West Virginia, where an explosion killed 29 miners last April, Paul said,

Is there a certain amount of accidents and unfortunate things that do happen, no matter what the regulations are? The bottom line is I'm not an expert, so don't give me the power in Washington to be making rules. You live here, and you have to work in the mines. You'd try to make good rules to protect your people here. If you don't, I'm thinking that no one will apply for those jobs.
I'm not an expert. Don't give me the power in Washington to be making rules. Ponder the implications of this. So members of Congress who are not oil industry engineers should not regulate deep off-shore drilling? Actually, by Paul's logic, legislators should not impose any health, safety, or environmental standards on any industry. And the answer to such tragedies as mining disasters is . . . well, nothing. The workers in unsafe facilities can simply quit their jobs -- that is, unless they've already been blown apart due to bad company practices.

Paul wants to become a senator so he can do nothing. No doubt, that's an attractive notion for some Kentucky voters; he's been leading Democrat Jack Conway in the polls. But when the economy is in the dumps following a crash of free-wheelin' Wall Street, when climate change is a continuing threat, and when U.S. global competitiveness is slipping, doing nothing ought not be a top-priority item. Worse, Paul is celebrating his lack of knowledge, while suggesting that no one in Washington is really capable of governing. As his comments about the BP oil spill suggested, he would have no problem granting corporations free rein -- even after they screw up. His motto could be "BP Knows Best."
And that's true.  Rand Paul wants to be Senator so he can do nothing.  Nothing about oversight, nothing about regulation, nothing about safety, nothing about solutions, nothing about anything but refusing to use his power to help his constituents.  You should solve your own problems, Rand chides.  The United States Government isn't here to help you.  It's here to do as little as possible for you, and if you elect Rand Paul, well...he won't do a damn thing about mine safety or Kentucky's 10%+ unemployment or anything like that.  He's no expert, why should he make decisions?

So it comes down to this in November, Kentucky.  Nihilism versus responsibility.  Rand Paul wants to be the Senator of Nothing.  He admits he's not qualified to make decisions.  He admits he wants to be Senator to not use his power.

If you think that will help you, then Rand's your man.  Me?  I'd like my Senator to make a difference in my state.  But silly me.

Of course, Rand isn't the only crazy Republican Senate candidate running on a platform of do-nothing nihilism.

Burning The Anti-Bobblehead

Josh Marshall smells the coming backlash against new ABC's This Week host Christiane Amanpour.
I hate to say it. But anybody got a guess how long Christiane Amanpour lasts at This Week?

To be clear, I think she was an absolutely inspired choice by the ABC brass. Brilliant. But with this pushback from the right, do they have the stomach?
Doug at Balloon Juice answers "No."
I’m not sure how this ends: maybe with a heavily edited Breitbart tape, maybe with an Anti-Defamation League attack on her for saying something critical of the Israeli government, maybe ABC will just claim the ratings were no good.

We’ll see, but I’ll be surprised if she’s still on it in 2011.
I think both Doug and Josh are correct:  the Israel Lobby will collect Amanpour's head, it's only a matter of time.  Which is a shame, because she's light years better than anyone else hosting a Sunday roundtable right now.

By The Time I Get To Arizona, Part 11

What is it about Arizona Republicans that makes them lie like dogs about undocumented immigrants?   Gov. Jan Brewer lies about them performing decapitations, Sen. John McCain lies about them performing kidnappings and Phoenix being the "kidnapping capital of the US", Sen. Jon Kyl lies about them causing an increase in property and violent crimes, and now Sheriff Joe Arpaio is lying about having a Mexican drug cartel price on his head.  As Steven D. points out, Arpaio's been so ineffective that there's no reason for Mexican drug lords to touch the guy.  In fact, he's a great distraction so they can continue to get drugs into the country.

Oh, and the FBI won't back up Arpaio's claim, either.
Oh, by chance has the FBI confirmed this alleged $1 MILLION bounty against Sheriff Joe, yet and are they actively investigating it? Uh, sadly no:

Maricopa County Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Lisa Allen said that the FBI is assisting in the probe of the threat against Sheriff Joe Arpaio. 
But FBI Special Agent Manuel Johnson, a spokesman for the bureau's Phoenix office, said that he knows of no FBI investigation, although, he said, they were aware of it. Johnson said the bureau would pitch in if Arpaio's office requested their assistance.
What a surprise. That's what I call a giant middle finger directed by the local FBI office toward Sheriff Joe and his "spokeswoman" Lisa Allen. Poor Sheriff Joe. The FBI wouldn't lie for him. Maybe because he's the subject of a federal grand jury investigation:

His critics say he has a long history of abusing his power and launching bogus criminal investigations against political opponents. Those critics note that while the probes were launched with great public fanfare, they rarely resulted in convictions. 
A federal grand jury is probing the complaints, but Arpaio's allies have defended the investigations as necessary. The 78-year-old sheriff, who has been chief law enforcement officer for the county that includes Phoenix and many of its suburbs since 1992, would not discuss the issue with CNN in a July report, citing the federal probe.
But hey, who among his devotees in Arizona and nationwide reads past the headline anyway? 
Arpaio's full of crap, just like every other Arizona Republican who only has fear and lies to spread in hoping that you'll vote for them.  Fear and lies are all they have had for a decade now.  Latin Americans are the new evil to be purged.  Republicans think you are easily misled cowardly idiots.

They always have.

The Online Life

The latest Nielsen study shows that Americans now spend a third of their on-line time surfing blogs, social networks, and playing games...and that's up from 25% just last year.
Perhaps you think you’re doing something useful when you boot up your PC and head online. Odds are, there’s a one-in-three chance you’re spending your time on Facebook. Or playing with virtual sheep.

So says Nielsen in a new report about what American do online. Title: “What Americans Do Online.”
The key takeaway here is that social networks and online games take up about a third of our Web time. That’s up from last year, when the two categories combined to take up about 25 percent of our time.

And that’s good news for Facebook and Farmville-maker Zynga, which dominate the two categories. It’s neutral news for Google (GOOG), since search’s share has stayed consistent at about 3.5 percent, and it’s bad news for Yahoo (YHOO) and AOL (AOL), since portal time has decreased by 19 percent.
That's actually a significant jump, and companies like Facebook know it.  Even the time we spend checking e-mail online is now down to just five minutes out of every hour, and instant messaging is down to half that of email.

Apparently we really are all busy playing Farmville.

It's Still The Economy

Matt Taibbi argues based on his experiences at Tea Party events that if Obama simply improves disposable income for Americans, the Tea Party goes away overnight:
At every Tea Party event I’ve gone to, the scene always devolves in one of two directions: either everybody trades stories about the corruption of Charlie Rangel or ACORN or Jeremiah Wright or some other notable nonwhite villain, or else a group therapy session breaks out in which everybody shares their harrowing experiences of being unjustly accused of racism. Once they reach one of those two destinations, they camp out there, conversationally, not just for minutes but hours.

I remember being in Nevada with one group of Tea Party folks: I had one guy in my ear for a full half an hour about how “the mainstream media” had reported that a white man with a gun attended an Obama speech, and how in the end it wasn’t a white guy at all but a black guy… or something along those lines. The guy was staring at me like he had just told me the greatest and most interesting story since the Gospel and expected that when he was done, I would get the whole world on the phone so that it could apologize to him personally for how that initial misreport had made him feel.

Your average person doesn’t spend hours a day pondering his racial victimhood like this – not unless he enjoys it, and if he enjoys it, he’s an asshole! (Especially if he’s white. If he’s white, the scale of his assholedom is almost incalculable). The Tea Partiers and the Glenn Becks of the world are bad in this respect, but they obviously have some dance partners on the other side now. There’s the NAACP passing a resolution like the Tea Party’s white-whining epidemic is a national emergency, and now there is all this criticism of Obama for being silent on race, as if spending one’s time dealing with the Gulf disaster, two wars, and a financial collapse instead of validating some Fox-generated suburban angst is somehow political malpractice.

Maybe I’m wrong and we do need a national “dialogue on race,” but my guess is that if Barack Obama figures out a way to turn the economy around and create some real paying jobs, a lot of this racial angst will disappear pretty quick. If you tune out the hottest parts of the Tea Party rhetoric and just focus on who these people are, what you’ll basically see are a bunch of middle-aged white people who spent their teens listening to Eddie Murphy albums and deep down are a lot more worried about their credit card debt than they are about ACORN taking over the government. Add a little more disposable income to that crowd and this whole debate will recede to tolerable levels. Or maybe not -- but we can all hope, I guess. Is anyone else dreading 2012?
Taibbi's got a point.  The problem is the Democrats show no signs of wanting to do much of anything about that whole disposable income thing.  Bill Clinton was far from the greatest progressive President we've ever had, but he got re-elected because he knew it was all about the economy.  Obama?  Not so much.  Nobody gives a damn about the national debt if you've been out of work for a year, dig?  Republicans of course don't care about the unemployment rate.  They will simply cut taxes again.

But the Democrats are coming across as not giving a damn about the unemployment rate either.  And they're going to lose big unless that changes.


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