Friday, April 15, 2011

Last Call

Obama says more in a few open mic, off the record moments than he has all year on the Republicans.

Republicans have made defunding Democrats' health care law a top priority, but at a closed-to-the-press fundraiser Obama candidly described to donors how he defeated their attempts. Perhaps not realizing his mic was on, Obama's private remarks were caught by CBS correspondent Mark Knoller, who was able to listen to through a live audio feed.

"I said, 'You want to repeal health care? Go at it. We'll have that debate," Obama said, describing his negotiations with Speaker John Boehner. "You're not going to be able to do that by nickel-and-diming me in the budget. You think we're stupid?'"

According to CBS, Obama quoted himself as telling Boehner to "Put it in a separate bill," adding that "if you think you can overturn my veto, try it. But don't try to sneak this through."

And surprise, Democrats proved this afternoon that they can play the procedural gotcha game with the best of the GOP.   More of this, please...instead of the supine, spineless Dems that lost the House.

Exciting New Horizons In Obama Derangement Syndrome

Today's contestant:  Mickey Kaus (whose move to the Daily Caller tells you everything you need to know) discussing this Jay Cost Weekly Standard piece:

Cost doesn’t go into why Obama managed to get to the top of politics without being all that good at it. The answer is distressingly obvious: Obama’s the biggest affirmative action baby in history.  When other pols are trying, failing, learning, while climbing up the middle rungs of the ladder, he got a pass.

He got a pass?  He got a pass?

A guy who went through eighteen months of brutal, foul, nasty, racist, ugly, depressing, demonizing, dehumanizing "opposition research", where he was attacked for being:

too black,
not black enough,
not white enough,
too white,
too smart,
too stupid,
being a "community organizer",
palling around with terrorists,
being far too ethnic,
being far too mundane,
a secret Muslim,
a Christian-hater,
an anti-Semite,
a fist jabber,
a misogynist,
a effete out-of-touch snob,
a Kenyan plant,
too "clean and articulate",
and for being the damn anti-Christ...

and he got a pass?

Mickey Kaus can kiss my black ass.  Repeatedly.  Obama fought through all that racist, idiotic, stupid garbage and he won.  They only made it harder for him.  He took a nasty knock at the polls in 2010, and they made it harder for him again.  He's still here.  Pass?  Obama's the most battle-hardened political survivor out there.

In Kaus's view, is it possible for an African-American to make it without being an affirmative action baby?  Maybe he ought to ask himself why the hell he still has a job if he's spouting inanities like that.

Oh wait, he works for the Daily Caller.  That explains it.  The guy getting a paycheck from Tucker Carlson's Wingnut Welfare gravy train says the President is the quintessential affirmative action case.  That's a Charlie Sheen lack of awareness folks...and you don't get that without plenty of time as a Villager.

Only guy getting a pass here is Kaus.  Not from me.

Hornswoggled And Flim-Flammed

The expected kabuki theater of the House passing the Ryan Unicorn Plan got very, very far off-script as the Dems struck back today in the House, turning a routine dismissal of the ultra right wing Republican Study Committee's amendment to make the Ryan budget even worse suddenly became the GOP's default voting position for a few minutes.  Brian Beutler documents the carnival:

The vote was on the Republican Study Committee's alternative budget -- a radical plan that annihilates the social contract in America by putting the GOP budget on steroids. Deeper tax cuts for the wealthy, more severe entitlement rollbacks.

Normally something like that would fail by a large bipartisan margin in either the House or the Senate. Conservative Republicans would vote for it, but it would be defeated by a coalition of Democrats and more moderate Republicans. But today that formula didn't hold. In an attempt to highlight deep divides in the Republican caucus. Dems switched their votes -- from "no" to "present."

Panic ensued. In the House, legislation passes by a simple majority of members voting. The Dems took themselves out of the equation, leaving Republicans to decide whether the House should adopt the more-conservative RSC budget instead of the one authored by Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan. As Dems flipped to present, Republicans realized that a majority of their members had indeed gone on the record in support of the RSC plan -- and if the vote closed, it would pass. That would be a slap in the face to Ryan, and a politically toxic outcome for the Republican party.

So they started flipping their votes from "yes" to "no."

In the end, the plan went down by a small margin, 119-136. A full 172 Democrats voted "present."

Kudos to the Dems to turn this piece of political theater on its ear as now Orange Julius has to explain to his troops why when given free and clear reign to pass the most fiscally conservative budget to date, one that has cuts so deep that it eliminates the deficit for next year and actually balances the budget (unlike the Ryan Unicorn Plan, by the way) the GOP wimped out.

If this doesn't all but eliminate the dwindling control Boehner had over the Tea Party loonies, nothing will.  The Dems saw an opportunity to force Boehner to tell the Tea Party kids to go screw themselves, and now he'll have to live with the consequences.

And let's nor forget all but six House Republicans voted for the Ryan Unicorn Plan to kill Medicare.  Thanks for letting the Dems have the House back, boys. Advantage:  Pelosi.

Zandar's Thought Of The Day

To recap, the GOP presidential hopefuls have all been skirting the birther stupidity for the last year and all have been drifting around, nobody with a commanding lead.

Then Donald Trump takes a month to fully embrace birtherism and he takes a healthy lead in the polls.

Only 38% of Republican primary voters say they're willing to support a candidate for President next year who firmly rejects the birther theory and those folks want Mitt Romney to be their nominee for President next year. With the other 62% of Republicans- 23% of whom say they are only willing to vote for a birther and 39% of whom are not sure- Donald Trump is cleaning up. And as a result Trump's ridden the controversy about Barack Obama's place of birth to the highest level of support we've found for anyone in our national GOP polling so far in 2011.

Trump's broken the perpetual gridlock we've found at the top of the Republican field, getting 26% to 17% for Mike Huckabee, 15% for Romney, 11% for Newt Gingrich, 8% for Sarah Palin, 5% for Ron Paul, and 4% for Michele Bachmann and Tim Pawlenty.

Among that 23% only willing to vote for a birther Trump is cleaning up even more, getting 37% to 13% for Huckabee and Palin, and 10% for Romney and Gingrich. He's a lot weaker with the 38% who say they're perfectly happy to vote for someone who's dismissed the birther theory- with them Romney leads at 23%, with Huckabee at 18%, Trump at 17%, Gingrich at 10%, and Palin at only 7%.

Better than anyone else, The Donald understands the GOP electorate's chief concern:  They hate the fact their country voted a black man into office, and they mean to correct that.  This is what they want, and more importantly they want to vote for someone who understands that millions of pissed off Republicans will never accept "one of them" in the White House.

So yes, Trump finally plants the birther flag and the support overwhelmingly follows.  The birthers now have their candidate.  And that should tell you everything you need to know about the Republican base in 2011.  Dismiss him at your own peril, for even if Trump never runs, if he successfully establishes birtherism as the mainstream position for the Republicans, he's done the damage.

Forget dog whistle references, it has becomes overt racism through a bullhorn now.  Welcome to the GOP primary.  May the worst person win.

Windows Syndrome Strikes Blackberry

Windows Syndrome - releasing a product when it is not complete, thus producing a half-baked product that ultimately fails.  However, due to one or two claims to fame, the brand suckers consumers into purchasing for a bloated price and a lifetime of regret.

Well, maybe lifetime of regret is a little strong.  But if you ask people who have bought the new Playbook, the reviews are not kind.  Without a BlackBerry phone, the pad will not work with email (one of those claims to fame alluded to above).  That's unnecessary and I hate the crippleware principle.  If they're so damned smart, they can make email work on the device, that's all I'm saying.  BlackBerry's reply that there will be significant improvements released after launch makes me wonder why they didn't just leave it in the oven a little longer and do it right.

I've used BB products, and I was never impressed.  Much like Windows, I considered them to be a recognized name and nothing more.  Their network is a PITA and the phones are buggy and sluggish.  If you're used to that then maybe the Playbook won't seem so bad after all.

StupidiNews! Fun Fun Fun Edition

Nintendo has confirmed they will be releasing a new console.  They hype is pretty good, and Nintendo has a reputation for taking a while but producing a good product.  I can't wait to see what it is!

Scream 4.  I'm there, and not ashamed to admit it.  I grew up at just the right age for the horror film boom, and I'm a big fan of the creativity and not-too-serious attitude.  The reviews have so far been good, I hope that $6 bag of Milk Duds isn't bought in vain.

Taco Bell is about to grace the world with a Dorito taco shell.  To give credit where it's due, it can't be hard to spice up (haha) their menu and do it well, but this is a great idea.  Right now it's in test markets.  This might actually make me break my "only once a year or so" rule about Taco Bell.  I love Doritos.

Not So Great Scott

GOP Gov. Rick Scott of Florida has a bit of a problem.  It's just three months into his job and the people of the Sunshine State already want to throw his ass out on the curb.

Only three months removed from Governor Rick Scott's (R) inauguration, a majority of Florida voters now say the state is headed in the wrong direction and that, if they could do it all over again, they wouldn't have elected Scott in the first place, according to a new Suffolk University poll.

In the poll, 54% of voters said the state was headed in the wrong direction, compared to 30% who said it was going the right way. Further, just under half (49%) of all voters said they disapproved of Scott's job performance, versus only 28% who said they approved.

Scott's approval rating is so bad that the poll found him losing a hypothetical do-over election to Democrat Alex Sink by a ten-point margin, 41% to 31%.

Previous polls have also found Scott's job approval deep underwater, including a Quinnipiac poll released earlier this month that pegged his approval to disapproval split at 35% to 48%. A March PPP poll showed Scott with an even worse 32%-55% split, and found him losing a do-over election -- by a 20-point margin.

Poll after poll finds that Scott and the state's GOP super-majority in the state legislature are pretty much already despised at this point.   They have unrestrained power because Florida Dems stayed home in 2010, and independents went for Republicans, blaming Charlie Crist and Barack Obama for the dismal Florida economy.

And then they got a major dose of perspective:  Rick Scott destroying tens of thousands of jobs to scrap high speed rail and then pushing to line his own pockets by sending state employees and those who receive state aid to his own chain of clinics for drug testing and privatizing the state's schools and hospitals as the state's wingers plan one-party rule through disenfranchising as many Democratic Party voters as possible, eliminating corporate taxes for Florida's fat cats and basically legalizing bribery for state lawmakers.

Yeah, no wonder Floridians are pissed off at the guy.  He's Lex Luthor in a bad suit.  But you're stuck with him Florida, because "There's no difference between the parties so why bother."  Keep Rick Scott in mind heading into 2012.  One party Republican rule at the federal level means Scott's Galtian utopia for everyone!

This Week In GOP Pants On Fire

I've been ignoring former Godfather's Pizza CEO and Republican presidential quasi-candidate Herman Cain up until this point, as his normal lunatic "Democrats are the ones putting African-Americans on the plantation" self-hating stupidity just wasn't worth addressing.

He seems to have crossed a big, thick red line on Planned Parenthood...

...and that brings us to Politifact and this week's GOP Pants On Fire Lie.

This presidential election season, Georgia’s homegrown prospect Herman Cain is talking about race.

Cain, a black, conservative Republican, recently said the media is "scared that a real black man may run against Barack Obama."

And there’s this one about pro-abortion rights group Planned Parenthood:

"When Margaret Sanger - check my history - started Planned Parenthood, the objective was to put these centers in primarily black communities so they could help kill black babies before they came into the world," Cain said during a talk in Washington, D.C., at the Heritage Foundation, a conservative group.

"It's planned genocide," Cain added. He wants the U.S. Congress to yank funding for Planned Parenthood, which receives about $75 million a year to provide non-abortion health services.

Was Planned Parenthood founded to help kill unborn black babies?

Cain asked his audience to check his history. So, we did.

Republicans have been using the "Liberals are trying to secretly kill you guys, vote for us!" ploy for years.  Sadly, Herman Cain's only point of being on Earth is to roll with this series of cynical, nasty, downright evil lies that assume that black folk like me would choose to vote Republican if we were just little bit smarter and could see the truth of his words, like how Planned Parenthood exists solely to exterminate us.

Is it any wonder Cain is lying through his teeth?

Sanger’s first birth control clinic opened in 1916 in the Brownsville neighborhood of Brooklyn, N.Y., which was mostly Irish and Jewish.

When she did open a Harlem clinic in the early 1930s, about half of its patients were white. Members of the black establishment, including DuBois and black newspaper the Amsterdam News, supported it. This was hardly the pro-genocide camp.

None of these centers performed abortions.

Black leaders at the time understood that contraception and women's health care were vital in order for any community to be successful, something the white community knew for a very, very long time.

Planned Parenthood’s early objective was not to "help kill black babies before they came into the world."

Sanger failed to rise above the ethnic and racial paternalism of her time, but that’s a far cry from being genocidal.

Cain’s claim is a ridiculous, cynical play of the race card. We rate it Pants on Fire.

Shocker, huh.  But Cain will continue to be taken seriously by Republicans.

The Badger Awakens, Part 6

GOP Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin's failure on his controversial "emergency budget fix" bill is now complete, as even Walker admits that the measure will not save the state money.  The man who grilled Walker in front of Congress and the country?  Go figure.  Dennis Kucinich.

KUCINICH: Let me ask you about some of the specific provisions in your proposals to strip collective bargaining rights. First, your proposal would require unions to hold annual votes to continue representing their own members. Can you please explain to me and members of this committee how much money this provision saves for your state budget?
WALKER: That and a number of other provisions we put in because if you’re going to ask, if you’re going to put in place a change like that, we wanted to make sure we protected the workers of our state, so they got value out of that. [...]
KUCINICH: Would you answer the question? How much money does it save, Governor?
WALKER: It doesn’t save any. [...]
KUCINICH: I want to ask about another one of your proposals. Under your plan you would prohibit paying union member dues from their paychecks. How much money would this provision save your state budget?
WALKER: It would save employees a thousand dollars a year they could use to pay for their pensions and health care contributions.
KUCINICH: Governor, it wouldn’t save anything. [Goes on to present letter from LRF and is denied unanimous request for it to be placed in the public record by Issa]

But...but...conservatives like Col. Mustard told us that this measure was necessary, absolutely vital, in order to save Wisconsin taxpayers from the predation of greedy union thugs and their immoral bosses!

There will be no groundswell of support for public sector unions, even as people feel a connection to public sector employees.  The reason is that not much really has changed for public sector employees or the public, other than putting Wisconsin's ship of state on a proper fiscal course.

Wisconsin has been a devastating blow to public sector union power and pocketbooks, but it was not a blow to public sector employees whose jobs now are more secure because layoffs will not be needed to balance the budget.

But gosh, you mean the whole thing was just a plan to reduce the power of Democrats and unions in the state, and had nothing to do whatsoever with saving taxpayers money?  It was just a cynical ploy to manipulate people into once again supporting Republicans destroying the middle class?

Perish the thought.  Republicans full of crap, lying to voters, only interested in maintaining their own power.  It doesn't save taxpayers a dime.  That of course was never the point.

So, what do you plan to do about it, Wisconsin?


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