Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Last Call

So remember Monday when Andrew Breitbart crashed Anthony Weiner's presser and threatened to release a "far worse" picture in order to "protect" the Congressman's family and force Weiner to come clean?

Weiner came clean literally minutes afterward.  As far as the picture goes?  Well, Breitbart, that paragon or journalistic integrity that he is, waited a whole 40 hours or so to then try to finish off the Congressman before leaking the picture to the Opie and Anthony show on SiriusXM, who then tweeted it.

Prominent conservative voice Andrew Breitbart showed two radio hosts what is likely the X-rated photograph of Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.) he signaled he had in his possession earlier this week.

After revealing the explicit image said to be of the congressman to Sirus XM's Opie and Anthony on Wednesday, the picture was subsequently leaked into the public eye on Twitter.

Opie wrote in a tweet, which included a link to the photo, "Opie'd eye - this is a pic from @anthonycumia phone of the infamous weiner." He subsequently said on the social media platform, "Lots of you confused how the pic got out there. Myself and Anthony will explain in a bit right here on Twitter."

Nice guy, that Breitbart.   And his message is clear:  he will do anything in his power to try to destroy the Democratic Party, its politicians, and anyone remotely connected to them.

The media could do something about Breitbart and his blackmail games, but they won't.  After all, they would be next.

War Pigs Never Stop

If it's a slow news summer, it must mean it's time for a "report" saying Iran is just months away from a nuclear bomb and that WE MUST INVADE NOW or something.

Iran is only a matter of months from being able to create a nuclear weapon, according to experts.

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, 54, has long been pushing his country's nuclear capabilities, and at the current rate of uranium enrichment the first bomb could be eight weeks away.

Gregory S Jones, from RAND, published a report this week explaining the severity of the situation and to confirm the fears expressed by a United Nations watchdog.

Surprise, it's our old friends at the ultra right wing think tank The RAND Corporation, with a report sourced in a story in Rupert Murdoch's UK Daily Mail.  First bomb by August!  We must invade now or else millions will die AIYEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE...

Oh wait, our liberal media is reporting that Iran already has nukes.

Sigh.  Yep, it's summer alright.  Isn't the far bigger problem Pakistan's nuclear arsenal, folks?

Dear America:

"California is a theocracy run by insane clerics to the failed religion of global climate change and is just like Islamist Iran, and probably just as dangerous to America.  Radical Islam and climate change are the exact same thing!  Why haven't we invaded California yet to free these oppressed people from their state of tyranny?  Certainly we have a couple of Predator drones we can use on Sacramento, right?  Why aren't these religious nutjobs who believe in "climate science" all gone yet?"

--Joel Kotkin, Forbes

Bonus verbatim stupid:

"Being essentially a religion, the green regime answers its critics with a well-developed mythology about how these policies can be implemented without economic distress."

Yep, keep telling yourself it's just a fairy tale, like Angry Invisible Sky Person and the Atlanta Thrashers.  Remember, there's an easy way to tell the difference between a true skeptic and an idiot like this as Joe Romm explains:

So here’s one way to tell if you’re a genuine skeptic or a climate denier.

When trying to understand what’s happening to our climate, do you consider the full body of evidence? Or do you find the denial instinct kicking in when confronted with inconvenient evidence?

For example, let’s look at the question of whether global warming is happening. Do you acknowledge sea level rise, a key indicator of a warming planet, tripling over the last century? Do you factor in the warming oceans, which since 1970 have been building up heat at a rate of two-and-a-half Hiroshima bombs every second? Glaciers are retreating all over the world, threatening the water supply of hundreds of millions of people. Ice sheets from Greenland in the north to Antarctica in the south are losing hundreds of billions of tonnes of ice every year. Seasons are shifting, flowers are opening earlier each year and animals are migrating towards the poles. The very structure of our atmosphere is changing.

We have tens of thousands of lines of evidence that global warming is happening. A genuine skeptic surveys the full body of evidence coming in from all over our planet and concludes that global warming is unequivocal. A climate denier, on the other hand, reacts to this array of evidence in several possible ways.

The most extreme form of climate denier won’t even go near the evidence. They avoid the issue altogether by indulging in conspiracy theories. They’ll pull a quote out of context from a stolen ‘Climategate‘ email as proof that climate change is just a huge hoax. I have yet to hear how the ice sheets, glaciers and thousands of migrating animal species are in on the conspiracy, but I’m sure there’s a creative explanation floating around on the Internet.

That creative explanation is apparently "global climate change is a religion based on pure faith, and there's zero scientific evidence to support it."

Tweety And The Moose

The maddening thing about MSNBC host Chris Matthews is not that he's wrong most of the time, it's that he can be so exceedingly clueless about politics 4 times out of five and yet manages to absolutely nail the Sarah Palin Perpetual Narcissism Machine in 90 seconds.

"She wants us to think about government the way the early Colonists thought about England.  She wants us to arm ourselves that we can fight the Redcoats.  She wants us to live in a relentless, simmering state of rebellion:  ever angry, ever mistrustful, ever detesting the people we've elected to run the government, the people who cover the people in government.  She wants us to feel towards government the way angry, middle-aged bikers look at government:  as the enemy.

This is why the 2012 election is not about who will lead us, but whether we are ready to vote against the belief that we are governing ourselves.  What a negative, self-defeating proposition she makes.  What a strange reason for remaining in public life.  She gets the history wrong because she gets the United States wrong.  We are a self-governing country, and the people that matter are the ones who help us do it, not the people who attack, but do not lead."

And I don't often say this, but Chris Matthews is 100% right about Palin.  This is why she will never run for a government office again, because she's running a long con involving at heart, a childish, petulant, entitled viewpoint that says if you don't agree with the actions of our representative democracy, instead of settling that at the voting booth the next election, that instead they are illegitimate and must be rebelled against.

When people she disagrees with win an election, that election is void.  That's not what a democracy is all about at all, and certainly not what the United States of America is all about.  And yet, Matthews's analysis both seemingly proves that Palin has no intention of running for public office, and that she shouldn't be taken seriously as a candidate for such.

That's Palin laid bare, certainly.

Follow Up: Florida's Welfare Drug Testing

(CNN) – Florida Gov. Rick Scott on Sunday defended recent legislation that requires adults applying for welfare assistance to undergo drug screenings, saying the law provides "personal accountability."
"It's not right for taxpayer money to be paying for somebody's drug addiction," Scott told CNN's T.J. Holmes on Sunday. "On top of that, this is going to increase personal responsibility, personal accountability. We shouldn't be subsidizing people's addiction."
I get it.  I agree completely. It's not a perfect solution, but if a person is performing an act that makes them unemployable, then it should be discouraged.  Paying for someone else's needs, I'm all for that.  Helping someone while they are down, and supporting those who cannot take care of themselves, you betcha.  Funding a loser's pot or meth habit while hard workers have to make sacrifices and go without makes no sense.  If you are going to accept the assistance, you have to accept the terms.  I think it is completely reasonable to enforce this.  If someone doesn't want to comply, they have a choice.

However, this is a little simplistic.  If someone is going through treatment, we could give a little leeway as long as they show results.  That's how you know that drugs is really just a cash crop for the system.  There is little to no giving back to the public.  Drug money funds our schools and local governments, tax money is spent on commercials and billboards, but no money seems to go for direct treatment.  What little there is seems wasted and poorly planned.  Meanwhile, addicts are flourishing and we're picking up the bill.

Something's gotta give.  Make it so that if people want to quit, they absolutely can.  Then they have a choice to make, accountability and consequences for their decision.  


The FCC responds to some criticism of their data used for articles pointing out that the US is lagging in broadband coverage and quality.  The funny thing is, while they claim that the media has taken their data and run wild with it, they also go point by point and acknowledge all those problems exist.  I don't get it.  It's almost like the author is personally offended by the discussion, not because the media was wrong, but because they were correct and their numbers supplied that knowledge.  Is it not enough to just produce data and let people read and interpret it for themselves?

Click here for the full article, and the broadband coverage map that started it all.  By any standards, we're lagging.  I'm not sure why the FCC decided to publish a retort, but in my book it didn't do anything but diminish their credibility.

No Dealing On The Debt Ceiling, Part 15

Here is the basic problem with the GOP position on the debt ceiling, as demonstrated by GOP Rep. Paul Broun of Georgia.

"We have created this huge debt. […] We’ve got to stop the outrageous spending that’s going on. We hear the CBO says well if we don’t raise the debt limit, it’s going to put so many people out of work, I don’t remember then number, I think it’s 250,000 or something, are gonna be put out of work. Well those are gonna be government employees that are put out of work. There are a lot of government employees that need to go find a real job!"

To recap, a government employee currently collecting a salary from taxpayers is saying he'd rather see 250,000 Americans get laid off indefinitely or lose their jobs than raise the debt ceiling, because government employees are not real Americans, they are instead uniformly evil parasites who must be shunned, reviled, or eliminated when possible.

The fact that Paul Broun hasn't been run out of office for saying "Get a real job!" to teachers, firefighters, police officers, mail carriers, park rangers, etc. is lamentable.

So when Republicans stigmatize all government workers, who will they scapegoat next?

But that's only half the problem.  The other half is even other Republicans are warning that failure to raise the debt ceiling could have catastrophic, permanent repercussions on our economy, Republicans like former McCain-Palin economics man Doug Holtz-Eakin.

"It's a bad idea," Holtz-Eakin said at a panel discussion of former CBO heads in Washington. "Little defaults, big defaults; default's a bad idea period and there should be no one who believes otherwise."

He's not the only one:

Rudy Penner, CBO director under President Reagan, also slammed the suggestion that default was anything but dangerous.

"The dumbest thing to do would be to default even for one day right at this point," he said. "I don't see much good coming out of these notions that somehow if we got a big budget deal it would be OK not to pay interest for a few weeks or few days."

Penner added: "It's playing with matches around gasoline as far as I'm concerned and would be an incredibly stupid thing to do."

Robert Reischauer, CBO director under Presidents Bush Sr. and Clinton, said while he could envision a scenario in which a sudden plunge in the stock market shocked both parties into compromising on a deal, it was too unstable and dangerous an approach to trifle with.

"Do I advocate that? No," he said. "Do I think that's risky? Yes. But we're looking for adult behavior here and seeing none. "

I've long said that the economic giants in the country aren't going to let the Republicans blow up the bond market.  But August is only two months away, and there's no sign that the GOP is going to do anything other than continue their hostage taking.  It's time for the economic powers that be to step in, and I truly believe they will do so, and very soon.

The Workplace Gender Bender

Via Yggy, new evidence shows that the pay gap between men and women occurs immediately out of college.

A woman graduating with a bachelor’s degree last year earned a median starting salary of $36,451. For a man, it was $44,159. When you calculate a lifetime of percentage raises and compound interest, that nearly $8,000 difference is staggering.
As demoralizing as the findings of “Gender and College Recruiting” might be for this year’s female grads, its implications for future generations of women in the workplace are downright alarming. NACE’s analysis, which painstakingly isolates a systematic gender effect by taking into account the differential salary levels among majors and then comparing salaries within the same major, gives lie to the conventional wisdom that paycheck parity will somehow materialize for women with the mere passage of time.

And let's keep in mind this is for college graduates, not for dangerous blue collar jobs like construction or meat packing or industrial fishing jobs where men dominate.  A woman immediately finds herself earning 82.5 cents for every dollar a man earns even with a college degree in the same fieldBut even with jobs where women outearn men, the gap is still massive.

For minority women, the gap is always far, far larger to boot.  The gap has existed for decades, but Republicans always say there's no reason to legislate trying to close it.  I'm sure it'll happen any day now.

Romney's Wrecking Ball Of A Record

Peter Daou argues on Twitter that Mitt Romney is a serious threat to Obama on the economic issues:

Romney is a threat because he can focus on a dead simple message: 'I'm a successful businessman, I'll create jobs and fix the economy' #2012

That argument would have merit if in fact Mitt Romney didn't have a horrendous and easily exploitable record as a CEO, as Rev. Al Sharpton (filling in for Ed Schutlz) discusses with E.J. Dionne.

Debbie Wasserman Schultz also went after Romney's record on jobs as Governor of Massachusetts.Br

Brett Arends at CBS Marketwatch sums it up as he noted early last year that Romney was going to make this play:

The Republican contender was the governor of Massachusetts from January 2003 to January 2007. And during that time, according to the U.S. Labor Department, the state ranked 47th in the entire country in jobs growth. Fourth from last. 

The only ones that did worse? Ohio, Michigan and Louisiana. In other words, two rustbelt states and another that lost its biggest city to a hurricane. 

The Massachusetts jobs growth over that period, a pitiful 0.9%, badly lagged other high-skill, high-wage, knowledge economy states like New York (2.7%), California (4.7%) and North Carolina (7.6%). 

The national average: More than 5%. 

This was after four years. So far Obama has been in office for just one year. How was Romney's performance by his first anniversary? 

Fiftieth out of fifty. 

That's right. In Romney's first year in charge, Massachusetts ranked dead last in America in jobs growth. 

And keep in mind 2003 was the start of the "Bush Boom". Romney was the worst jobs governor in 2003 and he never got much better.

If Romney wants to run on his jobs record, he's going to get slaughtered.   But what about his record as a businessman?  Well you know, Romney made a lot of money -- by screwing over American workers.

While much of Romney's presidential campaign will focus on his executive experience in the Massachusetts statehouse, the former Bay State governor and GOP presidential hopeful's calls as co-founder of Bain Capital have had a much bigger impact on the American consumer so far. 

The venture-capital-turned-leveraged-buyout firm helped fund Romney's personal fortune, believed to be between $190 million and $300 million, and provided $45 million of the $110 million he spent on his unsuccessful 2008 presidential run. 

Sometimes the calls didn't quite work out, as was the case when Bain Capital and then-aspiring Senate candidate Romney bought American Pad & Paper Co. for $5 million in 1992. Bain charged Ampad advisory fees, used it to buy a few other office-supply makers and ran the company's debt from $11 million in 1993 to nearly $400 million in 1999. 

Meanwhile, it acquired an Ampad plant in Marion, Ill., in 1994 and shuttered the 200-worker facility the next year after workers held a strike over layoffs and pay cuts. 

The labor strife was used against Romney by Sen. Edward M. Kennedy in the 1994 race for Kennedy's Senate seat and, though Romney gave Kennedy the toughest contest of his career, Romney lost by 18 points. 

The subsequent closing of a 185-worker Ampad plant in Buffalo, N.Y., despite a $50 million public stock offering only three years earlier (and Ampad's ensuing bankruptcy in 2000 and liquidation in 2001) made that transaction one of Romney's few regrets during the Bain years and the kind of thing he told The New York Times he would "be more sensitive" about if he could do it over again — despite helping himself and Bain investors pocket $100 million from the deal. 

Yes, Romney made some great investments, but at every turn he was a union-busting, worker-bashing greed head who made millions off of the little guy by "streamlining" companies and taking advantage of record-breaking American productivity...while real wages have stagnated for decades and her personally pocketed tons of money as CEO.

Let Romney run on that record.  Certainly worked well in 2008, didn't it?

Oh, and the latest Quinnipiac poll has Obama beating Romney by 6 points, in line with a number of other polls in the last several months that shows Obama beating the entire GOP field.


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