Sunday, April 22, 2012

Last Call

Next time you hear "There's no difference between Romney and Obama on LGBT issues!" from someone, recall this story about how the largest anti-gay group in the GOP is vowing to destroy Mitt Romney over having a gay person on his staff.

A leading anti-gay figure in the Republican Party attacked Governor Mitt Romney for hiring an openly gay spokesman, sending a shot from the GOP's socially-conservative base across the nominee's bow.

Bryan Fischer, the director of issue analysis for the Tupelo, Miss.-based American Family Association, is probably the most straightforwardly anti-gay Republican to appear regularly in the party's mainstream. Presidential candidates including Rick Santorum have appeared on his radio show, and he spoke at the Values Voter Summit in Washington in October.

He responded yesterday to Romney's decision to hire an openly-gay — "out & loud gay," in Fischer's terms — foreign policy spokesman, Richard Grenell by calling it a "message to the pro-family community" of "drop dead."

You have a choice in November if you believe as I do that gay rights are human rights.  Here's a hint: the Republican Party is the wrong one.

This Week In Village Idiocy

Tom "The Mustache Of Understanding" Friedman shows once again how maddeningly clueless he really is.  As usual, he starts out identifying the problem clearly:

DOES America need an Arab Spring? That was the question on my mind when I called Frank Fukuyama, the Stanford professor and author of “The End of History and the Last Man.” Fukuyama has been working on a two-volume opus called “The Origins of Political Order,” and I could detect from his recent writings that his research was leading him to ask a very radical question about America’s political order today, namely: has American gone from a democracy to a “vetocracy” — from a system designed to prevent anyone in government from amassing too much power to a system in which no one can aggregate enough power to make any important decisions at all? 

“There is a crisis of authority, and we’re not prepared to think about it in these terms,” said Fukuyama. “When Americans think about the problem of government, it is always about constraining the government and limiting its scope.” That dates back to our founding political culture. The rule of law, regular democratic rotations in power and human rights protections were all put in place to create obstacles to overbearing, overly centralized government. “But we forget,” Fukuyama added, “that government was also created to act and make decisions.”

Now.  There's a distinct difference between the two political parties on this central issue of the role of the federal government.  The Democrats believe there should actually be a federal government, the Republicans don't.  It's that simple, but where does Friedman go with this?  You got it, right into the Hell Of Both Parties Do It.

For starters, we’ve added more checks and balances to make decision-making even more difficult — such as senatorial holds now being used to block any appointments by the executive branch or the Senate filibuster rule, effectively requiring a 60-vote majority to pass any major piece of legislation, rather than 51 votes. Also, our political divisions have become more venomous than ever. As Russ Feingold, the former Democratic senator, once remarked to me: At the rate that polarization is proceeding, partisans will soon be demanding that consumer products reflect their politics: “We’re going to have Republican and Democrat toothpaste.” 

In addition, the Internet, the blogosphere and C-Span’s coverage of the workings of the House and Senate have made every lawmaker more transparent — making back-room deals by lawmakers less possible and public posturing the 24/7 norm. And, finally, the huge expansion of the federal government, and the increasing importance of money in politics, have hugely expanded the number of special-interest lobbies and their ability to influence and clog decision-making. 

Indeed, America today increasingly looks like the society that the political scientist Mancur Olson wrote about in his 1982 classic “The Rise and Decline of Nations.” He warned that when a country amasses too many highly focused special-interest lobbies — which have an inherent advantage over the broad majority, which is fixated on the well-being of the country as a whole — they can, like a multilimbed octopus, choke the life out of a political system, unless the majority truly mobilizes against them. 

Again, everything he describes here describes one party over the last three years especially, but he blames both again and again.  We'll be trapped in this hell, Mustache says, until we get rid of the artificial blockages.

We'll actually be trapped in this hell until we get rid of the lobbyists and the GOP.

Special Place In Hell

Desperate times call for desperate people, or something like that.
The Times said Gomez, 4 feet 7 inches tall and weighing 65 pounds, told classmates at Horizon High School in Horizon City that she had had leukemia as a child and the disease had reappeared -- and that doctors in January 2011 gave her six months to live.
Classmates held fundraisers and Gomez got help in forming the Achieve the Dream Foundation, ostensibly to aid families of children with cancer, according to the report.
But six months later, Horizon City police received a complaint that Gomez did not appear to be ill, and an investigation turned up no sign that Gomez ever had cancer. 
Not only did she piss the money away, but she did damage to every charity that helps people who find themselves in that situation (you know, when it's not a lie).  I cannot even imagine what a slap in the face this is to folks who have lost loved ones to cancer.

The good news is, she'll live long enough to pay for this in full.

Stayin' Alive

Robin Gibb is awake and talking to family members.  The coolest thing of all?  He is showing signs of recovery and responded to family singing to him.

After more than a week in a coma, Bee Gees singer Robin Gibb has woken up and is showing signs of recovery. 

The singer's spokesman says Gibb has been able to communicate with family members who are by his side at a London hospital, reports the BBC

Family members say Gibb has responded to music they've played for him, according to the report. 
I wish him well.  He's survived so much that it would be criminal to lose him to pneumonia.  

Another Milepost On The Road To Oblivion

It's one of the fastest routes to national prominence as a Republican congressional candidate:  pick any President Obama policy point in his agenda and then publicly call him un-American and worse for even thinking about it.

And now, Gentle Readers, it’s time for another edition of Tea Party Republicans Say the Darnedest Things. On Thursday, April 19 at a Tea Party rally in Lamoni, Iowa, Think Progress reports that Republican Congressional candidate Dan Dolan declared that President Obama’s support of the so-called “Buffett Rule” is proof that he “does not love” the United States of America.

It is Dolan’s contention, apparently, that the president is using public support of the Buffett Rule, named for billionaire Warren Buffett, an adjustment designed to bring tax rates on millionaires in line with the rates normal citizens pay, as a wedge issue to divide the country against itself.

Dolan said, “I have a hard time thinking that he loves this country if he’s willing to turn them against themselves for his own advancement.” 

Public opinion polling shows that the Buffett Rule enjoys a wide margin of support among American citizens, with 72 percent in favor, including 53 percent of Republicans. 

Which of course means that only the 27 percent (There's that number again!) who disagree with the Buffett Rule are the real Americans, and the rest of us are Kenyan Colonialist Socialist traitors, including the majority of GOP voters who agree with the rule. Never mind that Reagan, Bush the first, AND Bush the Second would have been kicked out of the party for their stance on taxes if they were running today.  Hence, Mitt Romney, who will literally lie and say anything to gain power.

It's getting tiresome, this projection.
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