Monday, March 19, 2012

Last Call

Expanding on what Bon said today, Rick Santorum has a Pastor Dennis Terry problem.

One of the great refined arts of contemporary American politics is the Cultural Right “dog-whistle”—the ability of candidates to pose as just normal, standard-brand conservatives mainly concerned with creating jobs and balancing the federal budget—even as they deploy veiled appeals to voters mainly interested in criminalizing abortion and same-sex relationships, putting racial, ethnic and religious minorities back in their place, and generally restoring the mores and folkways of an idealized American past.

But when campaigns get down to the lick-log, and defeat seems imminent, sometimes there’s no time for “dog whistles,” or for confining the unvarnished cultural message to quiet, unobserved places where hints and code-words can be discarded (you know, like Ave Maria University). Sometimes you just have to let it all hang out. I supposed that’s how Rick Santorum found himself yesterday being introduced in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, in this manner (h/t Right Wing Watch):

So by the transitive properties of Jeremiah Wright, Rick Santorum hates all liberals, gays, single women and women who want control of their uteri, and "that one."

Oh wait, we knew that already.  This isn't news.

Hell, he doesn't even care about unemployment.

We need a candidate who's going to be a fighter for freedom. Who's going to get up and make that the central theme in this race because it is the central theme in this race. I don't care what the unemployment rate's going to be. Doesn't matter to me. My campaign doesn't hinge on unemployment rates and growth rates. It's something more foundational that's going on. We have one nominee who says he wants to run the economy. What kind of conservative says that the president runs the economy? What conservative says I'm the guy, because of my economic experience, that can create jobs? I don't know. We conservatives generally think that government doesn't create jobs. That what government does is create an atmosphere for jobs to be created in the private sector.

All that matters is GET RID OF THE BLACK GUY AND THE PEOPLE WHO ELECTED HIM.  Got it?   Don't think it's war?

They do.

Santorum Is A Tool

At least he is consistent.  Rick Santorum hates women every time he gets a chance.

Here is a link to a nice recap of the Santorum Stupidity, and remind us that his hypocrisy knows no bounds.  For example, he doesn't believe women should serve in combat because of "emotions"... a statement that he had to clarify later.  He said a female soldier might cause an emotional response if in danger.  When reasonable people pointed out that soldiers took care of their brothers on the battlefield and had a huge emotional attachment to their male friends, Santorum had no real comeback.  Any time he is pressed to explain the logic of the stupidity he spews, he crumbles like a  cookie.  If I had to describe him, it would be as a long, stuttering brain fart that has left a skidmark on already-stained GOP credibility.

Santorum was also forced to defend a passage in his book, It Takes A Family, that argued that radical feminists had essentially brainwashed women into thinking work was the only arena where they could find happiness. He said that passage was written by his wife, although she was not given an author's credit.

Radical feminists?  I guess I have never been invited to the real discussions, because the ones I have attended talked about letting women make their own life decisions.  There was never any mention of brainwashing or trying to talk housewives into joining the ranks of the working.  Besides, those silly women can't think for themselves, that's why they are so susceptible to brainwashing, am I right?  Doesn't that pretty much capture the scorn for a woman's mind that I see above?  And when it bit him on the ass, he took the safe bet and attributed it to his wife, though she wasn't given credit for the quote originally.  Isn't that convenient.

He's a coward, an asshole, and a primitive mind trying to grab all the attention possible.

Campaign spokesman J. Hogan Gidley says that "nobody has a better record on supporting women's issues than Rick Santorum."  Bwahahahahahaha.  What the HELL does Gidley consider women's issues?  Medical decisions, respect under law, recognition as individuals who can conduct their own private life?  I must be confused then, because it seems to me that Santorum has done everything except demand women be burned at the stake.  And his bullshit goes all the way back to 1994.

"What we say is that in order for Mom to be able to go on welfare if she has a child out of wedlock, you have to tell us who the father is," Santorum said at an event in Carlisle, Pa., on April 1, 1994. "If you don't tell us who the father is, you're not eligible for any welfare benefits, none, not even medical care. You tell us who the father is or you don't receive benefits."

Santorum argued that his proposal could persuade single women to slow their sex lives, which, in turn, would lead to less out-of-wedlock parenting. "If Mom knows that she isn't gonna receive welfare if she doesn't tell us who Dad is, y'know maybe she'll be a little more careful, maybe," he said.

"Or maybe she gives us a list, say 'Well it could be one of five,'" Santorum went on. "I mean, y'know, I don't know what she's gonna do, but at some point we're gonna see her cooperate."
Or, you know, stop making birth control more difficult to obtain.  Santorum is more obsessed about controlling sex lives and porn watching that he could never run a nation.  He'd be more concerned trying to be the political equivalent of Buddy Christ.  A certain portion of the GOP has taken it upon themselves to be the decency police for the nation.  A large portion of those folks are freaking nuts.  Santorum is their king.  He wants women to slow their sex lives, but gives no reasoning besides it feels morally right to him.  That's because there is no other reason.  He says one way or another, those sluts are going to fess up to who they've been sleeping with.  In his world, it would be a woman's burden to what... copy IDs and keep a journal in case mother nature throws her a surprise?

I don't see the practical gain for putting half the country in a position that cannot be won.  It's political suicide, and makes him look nucking futs.  So I have to wonder what he gets in return for selling out women, the poor, the workers who can't have a sick day because they may lose their utilities.  How does he expect a woman to support herself and a child if she can't get equal pay or afford birth control?  Santorum regularly voted against raising minimum wage and has shown the requisite Republican disregard for minorities.

I guess the GOP's math skills are in question, because women aren't a minority.  Maybe Santorum and his like will be what brings the pendulum swinging back towards reality.

Which means I was right all along: Rick Santorum is just a tool.

Uruguay's Little Homicide Problem

MONTEVIDEO, Uruguay -- Uruguayan police say an investigation into dozens of possibly induced deaths at two hospitals has led to the detention of at least two people.

Police inspector Jose Luis Roldan said Sunday that officials suspect that hospital workers brought a sort of poison from Brazil and gave it to patients who were in critical condition.

I'm bothered by the idea that multiple employees somehow worked together to kill "dozens" of people, as the article says later. Dozens?

I don't know how many of you read Black House by Stephen King and Peter Straub, but this reminds me of the disturbing scene there where you learn the hospitals are feeding grounds for the vampire sisters that came at dusk.  The weak, the sick and the worried made up a feast of the innocent.  It is truly a terrifying thing, to be at our most vulnerable and at the mercy of those around us.

It's by no chance that a horror writer got there first (if you don't believe me, give Misery a read) but normally these "death angels" are lone operators who are fulfilling a complex and personal need.  This was a group, and while no official statement has been released, it will be hard to explain this level of cooperation and cunning.

I sense a good story, and hope the expected press release clears up some details.

"Bionic Pancreas" Gives Diabetics Hope

If you are diabetic or love someone who is, a breakthrough has surfaced that within a few short years can help diabetics of both types live a normal life, and go to sleep without fear that they slip into a coma or something equally horrific. The entire article is mostly focused on Elle, a 12-year-old who was desperate to try the "bionic pancreas" and have a day off from her disease.

Elle was selected to try out an experimental device called an artificial or "bionic" pancreas. During the three-day study, Elle didn't have to poke her finger every few hours to find out her blood sugar level because the "bionic" pancreas recorded it automatically and adjusted her insulin accordingly.

Shaheen didn't have to set her alarm to wake up every three hours at night because the device was designed to catch a dangerously high or low blood sugar and treat it.

"For the first time since she was diagnosed, I didn't have to worry," says Shaheen, who lives in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

Medical device companies are racing to be the first to market an artificial pancreas, which takes over the work of the diabetic's malfunctioning organ. The device could potentially be used for Type 1 diabetics or Type 2 diabetics who use insulin.

"It's transformative technology," says Aaron Kowalski, assistant vice president for treatment therapies research at JDRF, a research foundation for juvenile diabetes.

JDRF is funding artificial pancreas trials at 13 sites worldwide, including Yale University, Stanford University, the University of Virginia and the University of Colorado. Device companies also are funding several other studies.

The artificial pancreas not only pumps insulin as necessary, it learns the patient's response so it gives just the right amount, self-adjusting every few minutes.  It also can release sugar, in case there is ever too much insulin or unexpected activity.  They expect a working model in approximately four years.  It can't come to soon.

And The Geeks Say... Hallelujah

Stephen Hawking is coming to Big Bang Theory in an upcoming episode. The article on Yahoo Entertainment says he is playing himeself, and has come to share his brilliance with Sheldon Cooper, someone who will understand.

Hawking has always had a great sense of humor about himself and nerds in general. He has voiced himself on several episodes of The Simpsons (I remember being so shocked when I found out it was really him). To the best of my knowledge, he has never truly appeared as himself, so this may be a first.

The episode is scheduled to air April 4th. I'll be sure to catch that one, and I'm sure most of my friends will, too.

Meanwhile The GOP Message...

The GOP message is now the Puritopian message:  the recovery's just not good enough, so let's throw it all away because clearly Obama has failed us.

Former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, a heralded Republican strategist, offered up yet more evidence Sunday that the GOP is coalescing around a 2012 message along the lines of: the economy is improving but it could be much better.

"The American people are being told by the news media, by the liberal media elite, how great the economy is. Well the economy is not great out in America," Barbour said on ABC's This Week. "Maybe it's gotten a little better but it kind of reminds me of an old country song from my youth -- the lyrics were, I've been down so long it looks like up to me now."

"So yeah, we've had some improvement on jobs, but we need a lot more," he added.

And the only way to get "a lot more" is to hand the government over to the GOP that created the financial meltdown and Great Recession in the first place.   Brilliant.  Except that's exactly what the whiners on the left are saying...the same message that the GOP is now rallying around in order to defeat President Obama.

When your message is unceasingly how President Obama has failed us, but you're willing as a "progressive" to accept the "short term pain" of a GOP takeover of the government, you're not a progressive.  Binary worldviews are indeed terrible, but guess what?  Voting is binary: either the D or the R wins.  If you're not with the D's...what does that make you?

You're a Republican.  And you're the problem.

Your Liberal Media Strikes Again

It's pretty clear that our liberal media is sensing the President Obama blowout, so in order to keep interest in horse-race politics, it's time to go on the warpath against the President.  This weekend's example was the big WaPo hit piece on the President's debt ceiling negotiations from last year:

What happened? Obama and his advisers have cast the collapse of the talks as a Republican failure. Boehner, unable to deliver, stepped away from the deal, simple as that.

But interviews with most of the central players in those talks — some of whom were granted anonymity to speak about the secret negotiations — as well as a review of meeting notes, e-mails and the negotiating proposals that changed hands, offer a more complicated picture of the collapse. Obama, nervous about how to defend the emerging agreement to his own Democratic base, upped the ante in a way that made it more difficult for Boehner — already facing long odds — to sell it to his party. Eventually, the president tried to put the original framework back in play, but by then it was too late. The moment of making history had passed.

The actions of Obama and his staff during that period in the summer reflect the grand ambitions and the shortcomings of the president’s first term.

A president who promised to bring the country together, who confidently presented himself as the transformational figure able to make that happen, now had his chance. But, like earlier policy battles, the debt ceiling negotiations revealed a divided figure, a man who remained aloof from a Congress where he once served and that he now needed. He was caught between his own aspirations for historical significance and his inherent political caution. And he was unable to bridge a political divide that had only grown wider since he took office with a promise to change the ways of Washington, underscoring the gulf between the way he campaigned and the way he had governed.

In the end, that brief effort, described by White House officials as the most intense and consequential of Obama’s presidency, not only illuminated pitfalls in the road he had taken during the previous three years but also directed him down a different, harder-edged, more overtly partisan path that is now defining his reelection campaign.

You won't find better propaganda on FOX News as the post lays 100% of the blame for the collapse in the debt ceiling deal at the feet of President Obama...a deal that right now the Republicans are saying they no longer have to follow and that they will not do so.  Steve Benen:

That threat is becoming increasingly real. Reuters reports that House GOP leaders are "ready to break a hard-fought budget deal," in large part because rank-and-file Republicans are insisting upon it. House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) are now reportedly seeking a compromise on the compromise, asking Dems to accept an additional $19 billion in cuts, on top of the cuts Democrats already agreed to swallow.

How would congressional Republicans justify reneging on a deal they struck just seven months ago? To hear them tell it, there's room for a semantics debate -- both sides agreed to a $1.047 trillion cap on discretionary spending for fiscal 2013. GOP officials are now arguing that the cap is simply a ceiling, and that there's nothing wrong with pushing a budget that's lower than the agreed-upon maximum.

But the fault is all on President Obama.  The WaPo piece is brutal in its outright fabrications and assumptions, portraying Speaker Boehner and Eric Cantor as the "moderates" in the room, standing bravely between the Tea Party and President Obama's socialism.  At the end, the heaped scorn on the President ends with this:

Suddenly, the same Democrats who had accused Obama of meekness in negotiating with the GOP were praising his aggressive new tone. What happened during those days in July when the grand bargain was almost reached, but not quite, had changed him. He no longer seemed divided.

His goal now was unequivocal: to win a second term.

How dare President Uppity McOther try to win. He should just show that he's the better man and resign now.  You can tell President Obama was on the comeback trail because this piece magically appears in the press just when he's hit the 50% favorability mark again.

And why is "President Obama failed grand bargain" important?  This is why:

The president's budget would add $6.4 trillion in deficits between 2013 and 2022, the CBO said. 


The president has publicly advocated striking a "grand bargain" -- which would involve entitlement and other spending cuts as well as tax increases -- to reduce the country's long-term debt burden. But fraught negotiations with House Republicans fell apart over the summer.

The CBO analysis shows that the president's budget would end up stabilizing the debt -- meaning the country's deficits stop growing faster than the economy. The annual deficit in his proposal would fall to 2.5% of GDP by 2017 -- well below the 8.1% projected for this year. But they would climb back to 3% by 2022. And barring any more significant debt-reduction plans, deficits thereafter would continue on a northward trek.

You see how this game is played?   Once Mitt Romney is the nominee, the "liberal media" will finish turning rabid on the President, and Romney will give their corporate owners all they want.  Meanwhile, the media moguls have to keep Obama from getting too far ahead.

Pay attention.  Last week it was gas prices, now deficits are all that matter.  Next week who knows?  But you can bet it will be President Obama's fault...and his "failures"...that ends up on the front pages.


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