Friday, April 20, 2012

Last Call

Orange Julius and the rest of the House GOP have a new game of chicken to play this month:  attaching the Keystone XL pipeline to the highway bill in order to force the President's hand.  What they got out of it?  Enough Dems for a veto-proof margin, apparently.

Defying a White House veto threat, the House on Wednesday passed legislation that extends transportation program funding through September and mandates construction of a controversial oil pipeline from Canada to the Gulf Coast.
All but 14 Republicans, with support from 69 Democrats, voted 293-127 for legislation that falls far short of Speaker John Boehner’s (R-Ohio) earlier plan to move a sweeping five-year, $260 billion package.

But Boehner’s retreat serves two crucial tactical and political purposes for the Speaker. It sets up talks with the Senate on the highway bill and keeps the Keystone pipeline — a centerpiece of GOP attacks on White House energy policy — front and center ahead of the November election.
Republican leaders hailed the bipartisan vote  as a rebuke of President Obama.  Two senior Democrat leaders, Reps. James Clyburn (S.C.) and John Larson (Conn.), approved the measure.

The wingers are sensing a win in the Senate too, possibly even a veto-proof one.

Then there is the Senate. Democrats are using the filibuster to stop the pipeline, which means 60 votes are required to pass it. (Some Democrats who bitterly opposed the filibuster when Republicans used it against Obama initiatives are notably silent these days.) In a vote last month, 11 Senate Democrats stood up against Obama to vote in favor of the pipeline. Add those 11 to the Republicans' 47 votes, and the pro-pipeline forces are just a couple of votes away from breaking Harry Reid's filibuster.
"We're right around the corner from actually passing it," says a well-informed Senate source. "Two-hundred-ninety-three votes in the House is a gigantic number. People want this thing."

People want the highway bill, not the pipeline.  Byron York there completely fails to mention that the Keystone XL pipeline is tacked on to the Federal Highway bill, which is yet another example of why he's a hack working for the DC Examiner and not, you know, an actual news outlet or anything.
It turns out in an election year when jobs are the number one priority, voting against the highway bill is pretty much suicide for your average House member.  There's a bit more leeway in the Senate, but even so, it's looking like as with the horrible JOBS Act (also passed with an overwhelming veto-proof margin) that the Senate is going to go along with anything that even remotely sounds like they're doing something and leaving President Obama to be attacked for anything that happens as a result.

So of course, I fully expect the Dems in Congress to cave here, put the President in an untenable position, and then having to listen to the Purity Police tell me that there's no difference between Obama and Satan again and why I'm a moron for voting at all.

This is a fight the Republicans are going to at least do some serious damage with.  How much damage depends on how many Dems are going to leave the President at the tender mercies of the GOP.  At this rate, you have to ask if the Dems aren't trying to lose on purpose so they can stay out of power.

Cry Meh, And Let Slip The Blue Dogs Of "I'm Not Sure"

West Virginia Dem Sen. Joe Manchin isn't sure if he's going to even vote for President Kenyan Melaninson at this point.

Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., who has done more than any other Democrat up for reelection this year to distance himself from President Obama, said he does not know if he will vote for Obama or presumptive GOP nominee Mitt Romney in November.

I’ll look at the options,” Manchin said this week. The last three years “have made it pretty rough” for his state, he said.

That stance is at odds with almost every other Democrat who is up for reelection this year or is from a state that Romney is likely to win. And it’s an indication of the unique effort Manchin has made to establish his independence from Obama and other Democrats. The senator has regularly used floor speeches and closely watched votes to, as he puts it, “respectfully” highlight differences with Obama, especially on environmental issues. He said Obama has never called him or sought a one-on-one conversation.

Manchin said his own vote will depend on how his constituents view the contest.

At this point, Manchin should just switch parties and be done with it, except in West Virginia (like Kentucky) he'd immediately be primaried by somebody even more insane.

“I am just waiting for it to play out. I am not jumping in one way or another,” Manchin said. “I’m worried about me. I’ve said it’s not a team sport. You need to go out and work for yourself.”

Translation, screw the black guy.  I've got serious energy lobbyist dollars to harvest in a state where being black is only good if you're a cart full of coal, and I'm in it for myself.  Any questions?

Somehow I Don't Trust These Guys

The latest round of Americans Elect nonsense is at this weekend as a technocrat appeals to the iGeneration about voting, the Sensible Centrist Austerity way.  Now with technology!

This digital revolution is more than just innovating for convenience. Something deeper and more significant is at stake: the integrity of our consent, the underpinning of our government's legitimacy and authority.
"Consent of the governed" only exists if it can be expressed, and that is an increasingly difficult task. When we vote for president, we don't simply vote for the best candidate; we vote for the best candidate who has previously been ratified by one of two political parties.
This creates a philosophical "blackout" space in which no candidate, because of his or her beliefs, will ever be elected president (see Jon Huntsman). This blackout space should concern all of us, because of its appeal to the general electorate, who will never get that option. What's worse is that this space is growing with each cycle. It's not clear that either Ronald Reagan or Bill Clinton would get through their primaries today.
That's why the Americans Elect innovation is so exciting -- because it relieves us of anachronistic structures that harm our political system. It's the iTunes of politics.
Status quo apologists and those who benefit from partisan gridlock might pooh-pooh this idea, particularly if the candidate doesn't get to Ross Perot levels in November. But these critics miss the point. Americans Elect is not just about running for the White House in 2012. It's about electing our leaders in a new way so that the governed are truly consenting.

Right, because removing the political party middlemen from the traditional process of the rich buying our elections makes it that much better solely on the purity factor, except for the fact that they are lying about doing it.  Primaries are for suckers, now engage in our primary!

That particular cargo shipload of manure up there was written by Nathan Daschle.  You know, son of former Dem Senate Leader Tom Daschle.  Just a reminder that it's not just wealthy, obnoxiously centrist Republicans flogging the Throw Your Vote Away movement here in an attempt to make the "reasonable" case for crushing austerity amid tax cuts for the one percent because it's our duty, being good serfs, to pay for our lords.  It's feel-good political euthanasia, designed solely to put down resistance to the status quo of "We're your betters, now here's what you need to do for us."  To help you remain tranquil in the face of almost certain electoral death, smooth jazz will be deployed in 3...2...1...

Daniel Larison nails these guys to the wall:
There is a powerful case to be made that a two-party system that operates within the very narrow confines of bipartisan consensus on many major policies is harmful to the country. Americans Elect isn’t making that case or anything like it. What the Americans Elect project represents is an effort to produce the distilled essence of everything that is wrong with the current two-party system and then pretend that it is an exciting, new alternative.
S'truth right there, folks.  By comparison, Paul Ryan is at least somewhat honest about his plans to Soylent Green us all.  And let's remember that there's nothing Centrist about the GOP.

Sleep Stupidity

We have made some advancements in stupdi... er, sleeping.

We have a programmer who learned that staying up late didn't boost his productivity.  In fact, he learned that by sleeping until he naturally woke up increased his production in less time.  He also mastered the trick of making a list of things to resolve before sleep, and in the morning had resolved some of his problems.

For what it's worth, I've done something similar.  When I code too much, I find myself dreaming in code. I will literally write the commands (including inventing variables on the fly) that allow the event in the dream to take place.  I know it sounds crazy.  I've also learned that if I wake up at 4 a.m. and allow myself to doze, I will resolve any problems that are lingering while I drift in and out of sleep.

Lack of sleep has been linked to heart disease, obesity, diabetes and stroke.  We try to juggle so many things in our busy lives that it makes sense to dip out of our snooze time, but that often backfires.

For those who want to try some different techniques, play with different ways to engage your brain before, during and right after sleep.  And if you are willing to spend a few bucks to try it, you can try masks that improve lucid dreaming, which allows you to take control of your dreams by becoming aware that you are in a dream state.

Stupidity Runs Rampant

The Anti-Defamation League wants an apology from Peoria's bishop following a recent homily comparing President Barack Obama's policies to those of despots Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin.
During the message at St. Mary's Cathedral in Peoria, Roman Catholic Bishop Daniel Jenky contended social services for Catholics could be eliminated if Obama's directive to include contraceptives in health insurance continues. Jenky went on to compare the actions to past cultural wars against the Catholic Church.
Clemenceau, nicknamed ‘the priest eater,’ tried the same thing in France in the first decade of the 20th Century," Jenky said. "Hitler and Stalin, at their better moments, would just barely tolerate some churches remaining open, but would not tolerate any competition with the state in education, social services and health care."
"In clear violation of our First Amendment rights, Barack Obama, with his radical, pro-abortion and extreme secularist agenda, now seems intent on following a similar path,” he said.

So let me see if I get this right.  Michele Bachmann makes a tar baby reference and there is little to no outrage from the right.  Then this jackass compares Obama to Hitler and Stalin because he wants to make sure women's prescriptions are treated the same as the fellas.  It's radical and pro-abortion to give women a choice about their bodies.

But Obama says he wasn't born with a silver spoon in his mouth, and Mittens flips out because shit's getting real.

Is that really what we have here?  God help us, I think it is.

What In Tar Nation Is She Doing?

The Bachmanniac strikes again.

During a recent interview with the blog Shark Tank, Bachmann insisted that new legislation wasn’t necessary because Obama “already has the tools and he knows it.”

“So, if there is a problem then president Obama is the problem for failing to utilize these tools that he has,” she continued.

This is just about waving a tar baby in the air and saying that something else is the problem. I have never seen a more irresponsible president who is infantile in the way that he continually blames everybody else for his failure to, first, diagnose the problem and, second, to address the problem. It’s always everyone else’s fault.”

Bachmann concluded: “The president is a complete and utter fraud and a hypocrite on this issue, with all due respect to the president.”

With all due respect, Congresswoman Bachmann, you're a sad, pathetic, attention-seeking airhead who is a blight on the people of the great state of Minnesota where I once had the privilege and honor of living and working.  The people there are kind, honorable, intelligent, hard-working and honest, and you are the complete opposite of that.

You do them a disservice daily.

Oh, and I'm being far nicer than ABL.

Whatsoever You Do To The Least Of My Brothers

As I've said time and time again, the Republican pro-life position ends on the day of your birth.

House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) on Thursday dismissed criticism from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), falsely claiming the group did not represent all Catholic bishops.

Referencing Matthew 25, the USCCB called on Congress to put the poor first in budget priorities and rethink cuts to programs that benefited the least among us.

“These are not all the Catholic bishops, and we just respectfully disagree,” he said on Fox News after being questioned about the bishops criticism of his budget plan.

The USCCB later responded to Ryan’s comment, informing The Hill that they represented “all of the U.S. bishops on key issues at the national level.”

Ryan has said that his Catholic faith helped shape his budget plan. But Catholics have questioned his admiration for the libertarian novelist Ayn Rand, who advocated the “virtue of selfishness” and called Christianity the “the best kindergarten of communism possible.”

Ryan’s House-approved budget for 2013-2022 would cut the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, which provides food stamps, by $133.5 billion over the next decade. Approximately 2 million individuals would be cut off from the program entirely, according to the Center of Budget and Policy Priorities. Another 44 million would see their benefits cut.

So, I wonder if the bishops will lay into Ryan and all the Republicans who voted for a plan to take food out of the mouths of 46 million people the way they went after President Obama for actually providing contraception for women, including the poor.  Somehow I doubt it.

That's the main reason I don't take the bishops seriously politically.  They rail against the President, but give death-penalty happy and austerity-crazed Republicans a pass.  It's ridiculous.


Related Posts with Thumbnails