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Saturday, January 30, 2010

A History Of Bitterness

The country has reacted almost as predicted to Justice Sam Alito's "not true" mumble during Obama's premiere SOTU speech, but this shouldn't have come as a shock considering the Alito holds a grudge tighter than just about anyone.

Just days before Obama's inauguration, he paid a visit to the members of the Supreme court at the request of Chief Justice Roberts. Guess who didn't bother to show up?

The absence of Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr., who was at the court Wednesday morning for arguments in two cases, was a mystery. He has, however, voiced lingering anger over Senate Democrats, including Obama and Biden, who voted against his confirmation three years ago. When walking on Capitol Hill, Alito has said, he crosses to the far side of the street whenever he nears the Senate Office Building.

This paints a crystal clear picture of the type of man Alito is and adds relevant context to what he did on Wednesday night. This man is not fit to be a member of the Supreme Court, as he not only lacks the ability to keep his feelings in check in everyday life and has shown the entire world that he is unable to do so in a professional setting.

( h/t to commenter rdale )

Friday, January 29, 2010

Palin's Music-City Message Still On?

Well, gosh-darn-it if she didn't just refute all the gobble-de-gook about her not jumping across the "holler" and paying Nashville a visit.

When she responded to the question regarding her "benefit" for speaking, claiming that the money will go back into "the cause", I'm wondering exactly what she expects her base to believe.

I'm not going to postulate that Sarah Palin is a money grubbing right-wing troll, but if she got over $100,000 for making a speech, I think it's safe to say that we won't be seeing her just giving it all over to Dick Armey at FreedomWorks. Sure, she's likely taking in more than a modest stipend for being in the employ of Fox"News", but don't just sit there and expect us all to believe that this is charity work.

More from Think Progress

Andrew's Blubbery Rage

I often wonder why MSNBC even tries to interview people like Andrew Brietbart, since it always devolves to a cacophonous mash of unintelligible speech.

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

I'll get to the relevant James O'Keefe details in a second.

It appears that Breitbart is making us of a new conservative talking point. Did you catch it? MSNBC received stimulus money? Judd Gregg made the same claim on MSNBC the following day, and it's just as much bullshit the second time as it was the first.

General Electric got stimulus dollars and they own NBC. So, in the fog that is Andrew Breitbart's cognitive skills, this means that MSNBC received stimulus money. Bill O'Reilly used this same line of reasoning to claim that General Electric had direct dealings with the government of Iran, when these were completely innocuous contracts that had no connection to their government at all.

But back to why Andrew was on to begin with - he was obviously more eager to get Shuster to fall into his semantics argument and put just enough distance between himself and O'Keefe since this little stunt is still very illegal and is not going to end well for any of the four involved.

This is a perfect example of how conservatives approach problems within their ranks: deflection.

The Illusion Of Growth?

Does the newly reported fourth quarter growth in the economy really mean what you think it does?

While there is a traditional economic law that shows a distinct relationship between GDP growth and job increases, some reports are saying that this isn't such great news, and that the relationship metric is becoming largely irrelevant.

The average person isn't going to understand the intricacies of economics and how a variety of factors ( both real and imagined ) can bring about growth or retraction. But the problem that many Americans run into is one of their own making, as they largely rely on people outside the field of economics for their information.

How good this growth is will most certainly be debated and all the noise that will likely come from Fox"News" and conservative talk radio should be recognized for what it is - noise.

Random Audio Action

Of all the mash-ups that one could think of, I would have never pegged Jonathan Davis' vocal track from "Falling Away From Me" to sync-up perfectly with "Dust In The Wind".

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Dancing Around Tapping

Raw Story is reporting on James OKeefe's likely breach of a gag-order due to his "tweet" regarding an alleged statement that government officials are not going to pursue "wiretapping" charges against the conservative prankster.

Aside from that, there are some serious questions that this story brings up that conservative media figures are roundly ignoring.

In the "post 9/11" world that we live in ( and conservatives are all to eager to remind us of that ) one would think that a prank or infiltration with intent upon a government official's office would constitute serious legal repercussions.

While OKeefe thinks that he can crow loudly that the "wiretapping" charges may be dropped, he's already in a serious mess. Regardless of whether or not any devices were found on him or his band of merry men, this still constitutes a felony that is punishable by up to 10yrs in prison with a hefty fine.

Now that those involved, both intimately and peripherally ( such as Andrew Breitbart ) have had time to formulate a strategy and possibly make some sort of plea deal with prosecutors, one has to question how serious law enforcement officials are taking this.

It's almost too difficult to not delve into that "what if" realm that conservatives are so fond of. By that, I mean, "what if these men planned on doing something else"? The point is, this isn't Planned Parenthood or an ACORN office, this is a Federal building. Not only that, but the storyline for this just doesn’t make much sense at all.

Allegedly, OKeefe and his partners were attempting to tamper with the phones in some fashion in order to see how the office personnel would react when incoming calls weren't able to be taken. How would they be able to determine whether or not an incoming call was being made without having some device that would detect the incoming signal? Granted, they may not have been able to listen in, but they would have altered the office communications in such a manner that they would have information regarding a call that the office wouldn't.

This case will continue to grow stranger as time passes and more, credible, information comes to bear.

Of Zealots And The Patriots They Hate

It certainly didn’t take right-wing religious zealot Tony Perkins to complain about gays in the military after Obama’s SOTU last night.

The military is a warrior culture for a reason: Our service members wear the uniform to fight and win wars, not serve as liberal social policy guinea pigs. The sexual environment the President is seeking to impose upon the young men and women who serve this country is the antithesis of the successful warfighting culture and as such should be rejected.

This statement, more than just about anything that Perkins says, show just how ridiculously ignorant he is of members of the gay community. It’s as if he is claiming that if gays and lesbians can serve openly in the military that suddenly everyone will be wearing butt-less, leather, chaps, having orgies, and singing show tunes.

But the one thing that Perkins doesn’t seem to understand is this – gays and lesbians are already serving in the military and there hasn’t been this dramatic “sexualization” of the United States armed forces.

It’s truly a sign of his pathetic character traits of Tony Perkins when he is more concerned with silencing patriotic Americans that are willing to lay down their life for this country simply because they don’t fit his canted view of the world.


With a plurality of people weighing in over at Wired Magazine Online in regards to what is essentially Apple's giant iPhone retool ( iPad ) one has to wonder exactly why you would buy it.

As for me, I'm satisfied with my iPhone and don't have the desire to pay for a purely gimmicky piece of Apple gadgetry that costs more than my house payment.

There is one aspect of the iPad that will likely drive down the price of the Kindle - people are looking at it as a tool for reading books on. While the Kindle last year was pricing right around $300 ( nearly $200 less than the basic iPad ) it's a fair assumption that the price of the Kindle will drop according to the selling frenzy that will likely accompany the iPad.

What's your thoughts on Steve Job's latest piece of technology?

Poor Sammy

This has been the only take-away from the SOTU speech last night that conservatives can get behind.

Make no mistake, this is a breach of protocol for a sitting member of the SCOTUS. It’s being touted as this years “You Lie” moment. And to me, it shows that Alito both can’t hold his tongue when it’s required and has apparently let his personal opinion color a decision that will have far-reaching ramifications for this country.

Not to delve to deeply into the conservative “what if” world, but had this been Sotomayor mumbling during a Republican speech, Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck would be calling for her execution.

State Of The Speech

If there had to be one take-away from last night's speech, it would be this - no matter what was said, proposed, admitted, revealed, rejected, or renewed, Republicans would say that this was an abject failure for Obama. But, as always, they are letting the world know that they are on the wrong side of the issues.

Even though Obama made the economy and recovery and creation of jobs a pivotal portion of the SOTU, Republicans have immediately took to their trusted venues of supplication ( Fox"News", conservative bloggers, talk radio ) to claim that there were no new ideas, or that plans would essentially "grow government" and provide little to no help.

From talk of the economy, to healthcare, and even vowing to repeal DADT, conservative Republicans went to their pitiful grammatical analysis tools: counting how many times Obama said "I" or "me", as if pronoun usage by the President shows that he cares little for the country he was charged to lead. But isn't that what was expected of Obama last night - that he align himself with the failures of his first year and to own up to why things had to be done a certain way? It was, but you can't tell conservatives that. After all, they tend to forget what they say after a few hours if it's politically expedient.

And while there were some jokes, some laughter, and some visible disapproval by many ( including Justice Sam Alito who is allegedly some non-partisan Judge ) this was a very powerful SOTU speech. But now, it is the task of Republicans to tear each and every component apart, inserting their own version of context and removing the facts that stand in their way.

Revisionist history isn't reserved solely for decades past. After all, in the soundbite culture that 24hr news networks operate in, it in imperative to get your message out quickly and repeat it as often as you are able. Fox"News" is masterful in this regard, and I am sure that tonights opinion programs will be rife with distortions of Obama's speech, complete with analysis from those that are employed as nothing more than "yes men".

It was stated on NPR recently that Obama needed to be more pedagogical with his first SOTU, that he needed to be detailed and cite examples and give anecdotal reasoning in order to educate not just the American people, but the Congressional body that has become mired in the legislative process. I, at least, believe he was more successful in meeting that challenge than most will give him credit for.

The unfortunate aspect of the modern political process is that conservative Republicans will now be so hell-bent on shouting down everything Obama had to say last night that their rhetoric will dominate much of the remaining 48hrs of this weeks news cycle. Pundits and commentators will be called upon to respond to specious allegations made by prominent voices like Beck, Hannity, Limbaugh, Rove, and others. And while the networks will be so focused on parsing the language they use, the speech will be forgotten by many, replaced with the dizzying task of dealing with the conservative noise machine. This is, thankfully, not true for us all.

It is a new year for America and for Obama. He has laid before us a plan that is what this country needs, though there are some aspects that will continue to need mending and care. Last year was no picnic for sure, but this is no excuse to forget was was done. This is what separates Republicans from Democrats - we ( be we liberal or progressive or moderate ) are willing to look back and take stock in what has happened in order to rethink and reshape our strategies. Republicans of all stripes despise the fact that we have hindsight as well as a vision for the future. It is those two attributes that Obama displayed last night.

There's lots to be done this year, for both parties. It's time to not just "wait and see" what happens, but to get active and remain that way.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Shorter Fox Nation

There's So Much More To This Story

Even though we jump to conclusions when it comes to literally everything any and all Democrats do or say, we respectfully ask that all those with fully operationaly higher brain functions completely ignore the fact that James O'Keefe broke the law and wait for us to render final judgement on this. No need to pay attention to law enforcement agencies, as those are full of liberal bias. After all, we have far too much invested in this guy to let something like a Federal crime get in the way of our agenda.

Tears Of An August Ego

A recent Harris Interactive Poll shows that Oprah is still most liked amongst television personalities. But that's nothing new. What is is who came in second place - Glenn Beck. Now take a wild guess as to where Bill O'Reilly showed up - 10th.

Ever since Beck's rise to prominence at Fox"News" I've stated clearly that he is a direct threat to Bill O'Reilly and his coveted 8pm EST slot. Bill knows this to, as he has literally kept Beck at arms length throughout his tenure. From Beck's own segment on The Factor to a joint speaking-tour the two are going on - though O'Reilly was sure that the title was taken from his book and not Beck's.

One can speculate with a fair amount of certainty that O'Reilly is not pleased that he is no longer the face of Fox"News". The smiles, laughs, and jovial attitude that he displays when in Beck's presence is pure theatre, although I'm wondering if Beck knows this. After all, his brain is usually addled with wild conspiratorial nonsense most days. But one has to wonder whether that is all for show.

It's been proven that he has take a complete 180 degree turn from his more vocal standpoints while he was at Headline News. The "new" Beck fits in far too well at Fox"News" for it to be real. But what if it is? What if Beck is foolish enough to not only believe what he says on his show but has somehow managed to convince himself that O'Reilly and he are "friends".

Oh, to be a fly on the Fox studio wall.

Tea For One?

And I was looking forward to going to Nashville next month to try and score and interview with some of the residence of Wingnuttia

Tea Party Nation founder Judson Phillips likely assumed that scoring a dinner speech by the former Alaska governor and GOP vice presidential candidate would guarantee a huge turnout for his National Tea Party Convention, scheduled to start Feb. 4 at Nashville's Gaylord Opryland Hotel. But according to Tea Party insiders, the tickets for the Palin banquet aren't selling—and some conservative activists who have already paid to attend are now demanding refunds. With the controversial event shaping up to be a potential flop, some Tea Partiers are urging Palin to cancel her speech to avoid a humiliating public relations disaster.

Could this be the beginning of the downfall of the Tea Baggers? Maybe not, but this is most certainly not a sign of good things on the horizon for them.

The segment of this story that makes me feel that Palin’s star-power is fading is due to the fact that her key supporters are the reactionary lot that make up the modern-day-anarchistic movement affectionately known as Tea Baggers. They have, by and large, sold their metaphorical souls in order to align themselves with her, so why are they leaving her high and dry on this one.

Some, like the portly watch-guard of ( Erick Erickson ) claimed that the convention in Nashville seemed a bit “scammy”. But, isn’t that part and parcel of what makes the Tea Baggers who they are – people willing to be duped into shouting pseudo-clever catch-phrases and carrying picket signs that reflect just how out of touch they are with not only the bulk of America but with the English language as well. They’ve been bused across the country several times and bought multiple copies of Palin’s* book, swallowed everything that Glenn Beck has spoon fed them for dinner, and washed it down with a glass of his own tears. Why are they concerned with the ticket prices? Why are they concerned with Judson Phillips turning a profit? Are they anti-capitalists now?

But here’s the kicker – is Erick Erickson responsible for creating a rift within the Tea Baggers?

Most Trusted By The Same People As Before

This poll will likely have a lot of people scratching their heads, but it makes more sense than you might first realize.

Americans do not trust the major tv news operations in the country- except for Fox News.

Our newest survey looking at perceptions of ABC News, CBS News, CNN, Fox News, and NBC News finds Fox as the only one that more people say they trust than distrust. 49% say they trust it to 37% who do not.

CNN does next best at a 39/41 spread, followed by NBC at 35/44, CBS at 32/46, and ABC at 31/46.

Predictably there is a lot of political polarization in which outlets people trust. 74% of Republicans trust Fox News, but no more than 23% trust any of the other four sources. We already knew that conservatives don't trust the mainstream media but this data is a good prism into just how deep that distrust runs.

My only question with the results is what do the remaining 14% of people have to say about Fox”News”? Do they have no opinion one way or the other? But that’s not what this post is about.

Even though the very partisan nature of Fox”News” is evident in virtually all of it’s programming, the 49% number reflects the percent of people that voted for McCain in 2008. By that measurement, Fox”News” is no more “trusted” now than it was two years ago.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Club Fed Gets A New Resident?

I know it's more of a contemporary realization of what Federal Prison life is like for high profile inmates is like.......

........but if James O'Keefe goes in for the hard time ( upwards of 20 years according to Constitutional scholar Jonathan Turley ) is he going to have it REAL easy or is this going to be real punishment for his actions? I guess we'll see.

Pitching O'Keefe

One has to wonder whether or not conservatives are going to put a lot of distance between themselves and their wunder-kid James O'Keefe after he and his cronies Watergate-style tap-and-grab scheme. It hasn't happened just yet, but there are murmurs of it already.

Michelle Malkin jumped headlong into damage control mode. And by that, I mean she told her mouth-agape following to essentially ignore this until the verdict ( her verdict? ) was in.

This is neither a time to joke nor a time to recklessly accuse Democrats/liberals of setting this up — nor a time to whine about media coverage double standards. Deal with what’s on the table

She's now rather skeptical of O'Keefe's "truth!" statements as he left jail. My question is this - who posted his bond? Andrew Breitbart, perhaps ?

Well, he claims to not have known about this:

We have no knowledge about or connection to any alleged acts and events involving James O’Keefe at Senator Mary Landrieu’s office. We only just learned about the alleged incident this afternoon. We have no information other than what has been reported publicly by the press. Accordingly, we simply are not in a position to make any further comment.

Sounds a lot like someone trying to protect one of their assets, doesn't it? This becomes more relevant as proper context is added to Breitbart's hamfisted "no comment" during an interview with Hugh Hewitt:

HH: And are you free to tell me how much you pay him?

AB: I’ll…perhaps at another date, but he’s paid a fair salary.

HH: Is he…so he is an employee?

AB: I’m not sure that’s technically the thing, but yes, he’s paid for his life rights. And he’s, you know, he’s still…we reserve the right to say yes or no to any of the stories that he puts up on our site as we do to any other contributor who comes to the site.

At this point, it appears that Breitbart has about as much to lose if O'Keefe takes the full brunt of the federal charges. That being, since he has put so much stock into the ACORN footage, it's likely that he is going to do anything within his power to protect James O'Keefe as he can while it is clear that others within the conservative movement are playing the "we don't know this guy" schtick.

Blast From College Radio Past

This track was in rotation at the radio station at Western Kentucky University when I first started back in 1995 and it's stuck with me ever since.

Thank God For Carla Gugino

Youth Gone Mild

While cruising through some of my favorite blogs this afternoon, I came across this piece from Samurai Frog that sheds an interesting light on the Massachusetts special election that I don't think I've seen covered anywhere:

What interested me was the youth voter turnout, or rather, the lack of it. Something like 15% of voters under the age of 30 showed up to vote. That's... wow, that's like nothing. Some of the people I'm reading are positing that this is also going to be disastrous to the Democratic Party because, the stereotype goes, young people favor Democrats. The implication has been that people in their twenties are so disillusioned with President Obama for not pushing through health finance reform that they're not going to turn out to vote. I think that's only partially the case.

And while SF's piece delves into a more cynical view of who and what political figures really are - and trust me, from time to time I feel this way myself, though I do hold out hope now and again - the overriding thesis within is true: Obama needs to get his hands dirty. But more on that later.

The youth vote in Mass could very well be more of a signifier to what will happen not just in November, but in 2012 as well. As previously shown here, Scott Brown's election was no referendum on healthcare reform specifically and not on the Obama agenda generally. The youth vote simply wasn't there for either Brown of Coakley, which says that to me that neither of them had anything to offer in the way of political or social change. The younger people of Massachusetts just weren't interested because over the past year there as been more talk than action.

It appears that Obama is starting to realize that he needs to take a more active roll, but is it too late? We'll likely see tomorrow night during Obama's first State Of The Union. And while some within the conservative community are already hyping this up as "just another speech", I'm beginning to wonder who's going to take the opportunity to "Pull A Wilson" and make an abject fool of themselves.

I'm getting off track.

The younger generation today desires action - they look at politics from a unique perspective that demands a faster pace, a quicker step, and more solid results. Unfortunately, that isn't how Washington works. When people hear talk of fundamental change, they think that big things are going to happen fast, but they don't. The reality is that the legislative process is slow and rather uneventful. We get the highlights every night and don't have to deal with all the "edited footage" - that's where pundits and commentators come in and speculate. And that, more often than not, create more confusion that realization.

Unless you're a Tea-Bagger, you know that the change that we voted for is slow in coming. It's on the horizon and we can almost touch it, but will it be the same once we get up close and can smell it?

The Economics Of Mental Disorders

Will this recession likely be a stimulus for the medical industry?

...we are in the midst of creating what Canadian medical historian Edward Shorter calls a symptom pool for our economic uncertainty: We are debating as a culture which symptoms and feelings we will collectively recognize as legitimate expressions of distress over this particular problem. The idea is that, while our mental issues are totally real, they are often diffuse and hard to explain. So, as we strive to communicate our internal pain, we’re drawn toward describing symptoms that are culturally legitimized. Our unconscious minds, in short, are quick to learn the language of suffering for our given time and place, even if that means adopting symptoms we didn’t notice earlier.

This phenomenon is not new. Researchers have documented that women at the turn of the 20th century commonly reported a specific set of symptoms, including leg paralysis, temporary blindness, and facial tics. These symptoms happened to fit the accepted definition of hysteria. “Patients unconsciously endeavor to produce symptoms that will correspond to the medical diagnostics of the time,” Shorter explains. “This sort of cultural molding of the unconscious happens imperceptibly and follows a large number of cultural cues that patients simply are not aware of.”

The very idea that our socio-political atmosphere essentially causes us to create our own media problems is a fascinating concept. The larger question begs to be asked - which pharmaceutical drug company is going to attempt to make money off of people's anxiety that they may lose their home? And, by extension, will this lead to an new round of interesting excuses to leave work early or ask for paid leave?

But then there's this - if you know that your fears, your apprehensions ( be they based on a realistic template or not ) will be used against you by drug companies in order to turn a profit, will you really be putting that much faith into how dangerous they are or aren't?

A Question Of Economics: Pt. V

There so much speculation going on surrounding Obama's alleged State Of The Union "spending freeze" request that it's hard to discern the facts from the fantasy.

While some conservatives are crowing that they have won, to some economists saying that this is very a "Hoovereque" move on Obama's part, one has to wonder precisely what he's going to say.

It's very easy to get lost in rank speculation, though not all of it is reactionary paranoia, but one shouldn't just simply rest back on one's heals and hope for the best. After having read Krugman, DeLong, and a variety of other economic minds, I'm inclined to be a little skeptical of this plan.

None-the-less, I'm going to wait until Thursday morning and read the political tea-leaves and see where this plan could really lead us.

Headline Propoganda

Talk about a misleading headline:

The Fox"Nation" seems to favor a stand with the corporations rather than the average American. But this shouldn't be a shock at all, since they are owned by NewsCorp, who is now free to run ads making all sorts of outlandish claims not just against Obama but any political figure with whom they disagree.

But there is something that the Fox"Nation" don't seem to realize - the SCOTUS ruling has the potential to lift the veil on corporations like NewsCorp ( Fox"News" in particular ) whom wish to disseminate propaganda under the guise of free-speech. I'm wondering how much longer Fox"News" is going to be able to hand on to their "fair and balanced" meme. After all, no one believes it anymore.

Surely You Jest

It can’t be said enough – conservatives have absolutely no sense of humor. Not only that, but they can't seem to discern when someone else is clearly saying something in jest.

This clip has made the rounds at Fox”News” ( naturally ) and was highlighted by Hannity last night. Also, various conservative bloggers have cited this as some form of signifier that there is a divide amongst the genders within the Democratic party. In reality, this shows the lack of seriousness within the modern conservative movement when it comes to reporting what matters to the American people.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Racial Animus And The Marriage Question

Leave it to Fox"Nation" to allow some very racially provocative language and suggestions in relation to marriage within the black community - specifically Nashville, Tennessee:

Roughly 50 percent of black women in Davidson County have never been married, compared to 25 percent of white women, according to 2008 U.S. Census Bureau data. Nationwide, 46 percent of black women haven't tied the knot vs. 23 percent of white women.

The statistics back up what Crouch came to recognize on her own — that marriage is no longer a given for young black women. How women react to these odds is a personal decision that experts say has implications for everyone.

Is is just pure coincidence that this story is highlighted on Fox"Nation" shortly after the release of video showing Scott Brown questioning Barack Obama's mother's age at the time of his birth as well as her marital status? Perhaps, but it does seem rather suspicious.

That aside, the "tradition" of marriage is not necessary within the lives of everyone. Some women, as well as some men, chose not to marry. And that, within the eyes of the conservative community, is wrong - and thereby - against God.

To the average commenters at Fox"Nation", it is blatantly obvious they think most ( if not all ) black men are lazy welfare recipients who have multiple children by multiple women. Conversely, their opinions of black women isn't much better, as they are seen in a near masochistic light - preferring to be in abusive relationships with "thugs" and "players".

Again, I have to ask myself how any self-respecting black man or woman could even align themselves with the modern conservative movement.

Blaming Bush? Of Course They Should

Each and every time conservatives throw their hands in the air, exhale a massive puff of hot air, and shout "aw, come on", it's really a signifier that they don't want their parties abject failures and lack of foresight to be put into the spotlight. The party of "accountability" doesn't want to be held accountable in any shape, form, or function.

And while some are claiming that Democrats are rethinking this strategy - of which I think they shouldn't - it should be noted that even after a year of Obama being in the White House, he's still having to deal with the catastrophic mess that was left ( quite literally ) at his doorstep.

Conservatives whining that it isn't fair, isn't right, or is a cheap shot at Bush whenever any Democrat ( be they liberal, progressive, or other ) mentions King George's name need to accept the fact that his strategies failed - big time.

Speaking of strategies, perhaps someone ought to tell Harold Ford Jr. that tax cuts on the wealthy didn't help at all. In point of fact, they cost more than twice what proposed healthcare reform cost. Of course, you don't hear that Bushian fact coming up hardly at all - and it should be.

Young Joan And Lita On The Screen

Definitely looking forward to this.

It's sad that in the past 10 to 15 years when we got bands composed of kids ( literally ) it was Hanson and The Jonahs Brothers. I'm tempted to mention that one "metal band" ( Bad For Good ) was around in the late 90s, but they were just about as gimmicky as the pop nonsense previously mentioned.

Never-the-less, this movie is not to be missed.

South Carolina Can't Catch A Break

.....when it comes to their politicians that is.

I'll let the audio speak for itself.

What is it about Republican politicians and the less fortunate in our nation? Hell, it's not even the politicians, it's Republicans en masse.

From degrading returning vets that end up homeless, to those trapped in New Orleans after Katrina, to this asshat that thinks that he can replace Mark Sanford. No wonder people often fall to stereotyping Republicans, because far too often it's true.

So Now It's A Victory?

Curious featured headline this morning on Fox"Nation" that signals the withdrawal of Marines from Baghdad as a "victory".

The U.S. Marine Corps wrapped nearly seven years in Iraq on Saturday, handing over duties to the Army and signaling the beginning of an accelerated withdrawal of American troops as the U.S. turns its focus away from the waning Iraqi war to a growing one in Afghanistan.

Wasn't this referred to as defeat every time it was proposed by anyone? Why the sudden change of heart in wingnutia? I'm guessing that this will be considered a "success" of the Bush administration before the end of the week.

Massachusetts Myth

The continued meme that Scott Brown’s election was a referendum on the Obama agenda – that it had moved too far to the left - has been grossly overstated. One has but to look at the relevant date from a Washington Post/Harvard University poll that shows a plurality of Massachusetts voters approve of their own, universal, care.

Nate Silver takes this on:

Make no mistake: a lot of voters in Massachusetts were speaking their minds about health care. The evidence is much stronger that this was a vote about health care than the Obama agenda in general; in fact, special election voters in Massachusetts approved of Barack Obama 61-37**.

Still, it's important to keep in mind exactly what those voters were saying about health care, as the message was rather mixed. And Democrats can take some comfort in the fact that, several years after a near-universal health care program in Massachusetts was implemented, it is overwhelmingly popular with that state's voters.

What the voters that swept Brown into office didn’t agree with were the buzz-words that overly stimulate our consumerist, sound-bite, culture

In an open-ended question among voters who said that health care was a key determinant in their vote, 19 percent of all voters and 30 percent of Scott Brown voters cited a procedural reason, such as "dealmaking", "closed doors", "lack of transparency", "partisanship", "moving too fast", etc.

These are words used by all news outlets within multiple platforms, but it is Fox”News” that is hyping these sound-bites to the full, negative, potential against the Obama administration.

And while some will say, myself included, that our elected officials are sent to Washington to ensure that our states benefit from legislation, those that oppose the special deals given to Louisiana and Nebraska are rightfully concerned. But are they concerned over the fact that their elected officials didn’t step up as Nelson and Landreau did? This may or may not be a factor, but my own first blush assessment.

In the end, conservatives shouldn’t put all their chips on Brown, as he isn’t exactly the man that they are making him out to be. Not only that, but the voters in Massachusetts are being vastly misrepresented in this storyline.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Obama's Greatest Weapon Never Part Of His Arsenal

I've been thinking about all the chatter around the liberal/progressive blogging realm about how Dems should use Reconciliation in order to pass the Senate Bill and then iron out the wrinkles as they go. An interesting idea, but will take time and Republicans would likely bog down that process, even though it would be against their own best interests.

What Obama could use right now is the Line Item Veto, but he can't. Rudy Giuliani saw that that option was completely off the table back in the 90s. And though the argument was that this placed too much power in the hands of the President, it would be a great tool in the hands of Obama, considering how the much of the Senate completely buggered up healthcare reform.

Strike One?

I'm going to call this one early - don't expect Scott Brown to win any more friends or maybe even lose his re-election bid if this the man he will patterns his legislative practices on is John McCain.

Malkin most certianly isn't a fan of McCain ( anymore ) and let's it known as often as she can:

Red Flag Number One: A reader from Arizona informed me the day after the Bay State Bombshell that he had received a robo-call from Massachusetts GOP Sen.-elect Scott Brown. “He basically wanted me to vote for John McCain in November,” the reader said in his description of the automated campaign call supporting the four-term Sen. McCain’s re-election bid. “No wonder [Brown] said he hadn’t had any sleep…he was busy recording phone messages!”

Malkin is one of the most vocal supporters of the Tea Bagger movement ( aside from Beck is more of a "studio-gangster" on that front anymore ) and her opinion, patently absurd as it is, is often taken as gospel.

Ed Morrissey over at HotAir seems rather pleased that key portions of McCain/Feingold have been overturned:

Free political speech is not free if the government can dictate when and where you exercise it. It’s true that CU could have run the movie earlier than 30 days before the election. They felt — not without reason — that their speech would be more effective using the same venues within 30 days of the election. Assuming they break no other laws, what gives government the right to dictate when on the calendar they can exercise free political speech? Apparently, being “rich” is a Constitutional exception through which the government can infringe on rights.

So with reports of the GOP rearranging it's "strategy" to not just include by mirror Brown's, one has to wonder if his plan really is so revolutionary.

Limbaugh's Beckian Logic

....I'm a bit late to the party on this one, but here's my take anyway.

One begins to see that conservatives have a bizarre form of reasoning when it comes to protecting those that they favor. A perfect example of this is that of Rush Limbaugh and his apparent love for Wall-Street, and not the common conservative that he claims to be giving voice to.

So it was with little surprise that Rush went to bat for the big banks that played a major part in the massive downturn in the economy. But there was a catch:

That's almost a purely anti-semetic rant, but it's blatantly a stereotyping of the Jewish people. Not only that, but it's pure Glenn Beck style reasoning, a slap-dash form of "connect-the-dots" designed to make the Obama administration look like they are "anti-whatever-beck-thinks-is-in-danger-at-the-moment" but ultimately makes him ( or in this case Limbaugh ) look like the blathering imbecile they truly are.

Supreme Backfire?

I was thinking this morning that aside from the recent SCOTUS decision to allow big corporations/labor unions the same "free speech" rights as individuals wouldn't necessarily be a complete molestation of the political process. The reasoning behind this is rather easy to see when you realize that you'll be able to see what companies are backing a particular candidate. And, considering Wall-Street's love of Republicans, wouldn't it stand to reason that this should be an eye-opener for perspective Republican voters?

But the broader question is this - will the GOP care if people know who stands with them, because they sure are loving this decision.

– Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX): “It is about a nonprofit group’s ability to speak about the public issue. I can’t think of a more fundamental First Amendment issue. … [The ruling could] open up resources that have not previously been available [for Republicans].” [NYT]

– Rep. Steve King (R-IA): “The Constitution protects the rights of citizens and employers to express their viewpoints on political issues. Today’s Supreme Court decision affirms the Bill of Rights and is a victory for liberty and free speech.” [Statement]

– Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN): “If the freedom of speech means anything, it means protecting the right of private citizens to voice opposition or support for their elected representatives. The fact that the Court overturned a 20-year precedent speaks volumes about the importance of this issue.” [Statement]

– Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY): The court took a step toward “restoring the First Amendment rights [of corporations and unions]. … By previously denying this right, the government was picking winners and losers.” [AP]

– RNC Chairman Michael Steele: “Today’s decision by the Supreme Court in Citizens United v. FEC, serves as an affirmation of the constitutional rights provided to Americans under the first amendment. Free speech strengthens our democracy.” [Statement]

– Senate Candidate Marco Rubio: “Today’s SCOTUS decision on McCain-Feingold is a victory for free speech.” [Statement]

There is a fair bit of Republican camouflage being thrown around with this decision. They are framing this purely as a "First Amendment" issue, that it's private citizens that will benefit. This completely ignores that fact that large corporations will have more control over the voices of politicians that claim to have "private citizens" best interest at heart.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

And Plus Is The New Minus

A reader pointed out to me that my statement about the Village Voice yesterday likely missed some sarcasm, but there is no denying the stupidity from this Philly paper.

Yeah, that evil liberal-media-bias sure is running rampant isn't it.

( h/t : Atrios )

Do Teabaggers Even Exist Anymore?

Here's something that I was just pondering on my way to grab some lunch - does the alleged "tea-party" movement still exist anymore?

Follow me on this.....

Independents in Massachusetts voted in metaphorical and literal lock-step with Republicans to elect ( cue dramatic music ) a Republican. That's right, not someone running on the Conservative ticket, but a Republican. He didn't label himself the "conservative" candidate like the laughably incompetent Doug Hoffman did, he was ( and still is ) a Republican.

So what happened to the tea-baggers voicing their disdain for not just Democrats but Republicans? Here's a clue - they still love the Republicans, since the "we hate both parties" mantra is just a facade. All the gimmicks, the sound-bites, the signage were there within Brown's supporting electorate to help create the image that Brown was this "independant", but he most certainly is not.

Just a few months ago they were doing just about everything to call for a third-party candidate until Scott Brown caught on. And like it or not, those that voted for him just elected another establishment Republican - you know, those people that the tea-baggers allegedly can't stand.

The Malpractice Of Conservative Moral Authority

When conservatives write a book, no matter the subject, rest assured that they are going to attempt to re-write clearly defined segments of American history ( even some of it’s most recent aspects ) in order to prove their point – flaccid though it may be.

Case in point , Mark Theissen attempts to bully Chritiane Amanpour while denying that torture ever existed but then ultimately claiming that it saved American lives.

The “which attack would you have preferred succeeded” meme has been used multiple times by conservatives as a misdirection tool. It’s a clear signifier that conservatives are ultimately willing to use the spectre of torture to validate their own misgivings and moral failures.

It’s not a question that combating terrorism is difficult, but no one party can claim that they hold sway as the dominant force of success. After all, Theissen’s obtuse assurance that torture ( waterboarding, “advanced interrogation” ) offered actionable intel to prevent attacks has been proven false time and again.

In essence, Mark Theissen's thesis in the book is nothing more than an epic poem designed to warm the hearts of torture apologists within the conservative movement.

I am curious, thought, how Theissen would respond to recent disclosures that prisoners at Guantanamo were murdered.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Hot Brown

The title comes from the name of a sandwich that was created by a chef at the Brown hotel in Louisville, Kentucky. It's now no longer a unique menu item found in one hotel made by one chef. It's been relegated to the lunch special section of places like TGI Fridays and Applebees. Everybody can make a Hot Brown now.

And in the same way, everyone wants to have their commentary about Scott Brown be unique, to stand out, to draw attention to them and not the new Senator from Massachusetts. And who can do this better than anyone outside of Rush Limbaugh? Why, Glenn Beck of course.

What's with all this commentary about how "pretty" he is. This is the same incessant prattling that we hear from conservative commenters who were near a drool-induced coma when Sarah Palin was spirited away from Alaska in late 2008. Looks? That's the angle that these people are playing?

But back to Beck and his "Scarborough-ization" of Mr. Brown. He's likely to lose some amount of support from the hardcare "Brownies" out there who would likely sacrifice their first born if Scott told them it would lower the tax burden on the Middle Class. He's flirting with upsetting the same people that are his primary audience share. But one simply has to wonder why is it imperative that a conservative's "power" is directly proportional to their genetics? It's rather creepy.

And just like the sandwich that my state pioneered, Scott Brown clones will begin to pop up all around this country. They won't have any plan other than rehashing debunked talking-points and their "flavour" will be just as bland as the slap-dash sandwich found at your local kitchy eatery.

How Brown Really Won

The idea is being floated by some within the progressive/liberal blogging realm, and it's starting to make a lot more sense. And this has little to do with Coakley and more to do with Obama's agenda.

No, it's not that it was wrong, it's that it wasn't enough and got derailed sometime over the summer.

Follow me to the way-back machine........

1 - The Economic Stimulus, you know that nearly $800 billion dollars that hasn't been fully spent yet and of which Republicans have been shouting "IT FAILED" since the day after Obama signed off on it, wasn't big enough. Many economists have stated as such and they are in the position to know more than Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity, or Michelle Malkin - the trio where far too many conservatives get their economic advise.

2 - Over the summer, healthcare reform got almost completely derailed by Max Baccus and conservatives took the opportunity to use this to their advantage. This was the time during the onslaught of the "death panel" and Democrats started to invest all their time in confronting specious claims by people like Sarah Palin.

And that's when it all went downhill. The economy was forced to play second fiddle to healthcare reform. And, for all intent and purposes, Republican obstructionism worked. They shifted the focus of the Democratic party and it worked to their advantage. Then came Scott Brown.

Here's where the conservative storyline could easily have changed, because it didn't have to be Scott Brown, it could have been any conservative that had the ability to deliver a line like "it's the people's seat". Brown had a slight advantage as being a State Senator, but that would have likely been a negotiable point. After all Sarah Palin was campaigning to be a hairs breath away from the President, and look at what she had to bring to the table.

So for conservatives to claim that it was their platform, their ideological perspective, and a real "man of the people" that cause the loss for Coakley, that's pretty disingenuous. This loss is purely a matter of political malpractice and a loss of true focus from Obama and the Democrats in both houses of Congress.

But one thing Brown and his supporters should know - we are fully aware of this mistake and this win doesn't mean that the elections in November are going to reflect what happened in Massachusetts.

Majority Is The New Minority

At least when it comes to the United State Senate.

I've never read the Village Voice, and now I know why. Apparently they see Brown's win last night as not only transformational in the political sense but in the numerical sense, as their title for the linked article references a 41 Seat Majority for Republicans.

The election of Republican Scott Brown to replace the deceased Ted Kennedy in the Senate from Massachusetts yesterday destroys the Democrats' 60-vote super majority, widely presumed to be needed for passage of a health care bill, or so it would seem from headlines ("House Dems largely reject idea of passing Senate health care bill"), from Republicans who cheered "41!" at Brown's victory as if it were some kind of milestone, and from conservative Democrats like Evan Bayh, who portrays the election as a "wake-up call," indicating that Democrats should propose a weaker health care bill that will not piss off insurance lobbyists and other powerful Republican constituencies.

And while the article isn't too terribly written, the premise laid out in the title suggests that Republicans can have more power than Democrats no matter how many asses they have in seats in the Senate.

But just think about this - during the Bush administration, there wasn't a super-majority amongst Republican members of the Senate and that clown got EVERYTHING he wanted. Why is that? Is there some irrational fear that Senate Dems have when it comes to the legislative process? I hardly think so, but there is certainly a procedural clusterfuck that happens with every Senate action that largely favors the Republicans. That's why I say it should be a majority vote, no filibuster, no cloture vote, no excessive "debate" ( read: obstructionist tactics based on parliamentary procedure ) and just a series of 10 minute speeches with a final vote.

Proof That Empty Slogans Rule The Modern GOP

While last night's "victory" for Scott Brown was ultimately expected these last few weeks, one begins to realize that conservatives are more than willing to elect a gimmick, a slogan, or a "pretty face" in favor of someone with actual leadership qualities. I'll forgo rehashing the well established examples of Scott Brown's "priorities" that he holds close to his heart and focus more on what the GOP has to do now.

After all the drool and hype has dried off in a few days, conservatives have to come to grips that they really aren't leaps and bounds ahead of the Democrats like they have convinced themselves they are since just around 930EST last night. What really have they gained aside from the ability to filibuster in the Senate? And that aside, Democrats hadn't been fairing well at all with 60 votes. But such is the nature of the Senate, a boondoggle no matter who holds the high ground in terms of numbers.

Brown's got a lot of work ahead of him if he wants to hold true to his "people's seat" meme. After all, the "people" of Massachusetts have a very different perspective on politics than just about any other state. Last night was proof that a fickle cross-section of voters can sway an election one way, even if it means slitting their own metaphorical throats.

Once question I do have regarding Brown's time in his new "people's seat" - does he start an all new 6 year term or was he elected simply as a placeholder to ride-out Kennedy's remaining time? If the former is true, then he runs to risk of falling into the trappings of government ( that same government that he and other teabaggers claim to not trust ) and becoming more of a poison pill to his state than people realize at this point. If the later is true, then it's likely that Brown will play the part of pure obstructionist to it's hilt in order to prove some school-yard bully type point that he can do what he wants, consequences be damned. The again, the same is more than likely true for the first, unless of course a Republican wins the Presidency in 2012, then we will likely see Republicans overly eager to repeal any and everything that Democrats have accomplished. But that's another story for another time.

So what is Brown's bringing to the Senate that already isn't there. Again, aside from being "Mr. 41", he really hasn't enumerated anything that other Republicans have before him. In other words, Republicans have gained no new ideas, no fresh perspectives, and no solid ground so to speak. Coverage of what Brown does now will most assuredly be quite ironic for conservative media outlets. After all their accusations that "the mainstream media" had some slobbering love affair with Barack Obama, Fox"News" will be nothing but wall-to-wall Brown. It has to be in order for them to burnish his image enough that the average conservative voter will completely ignore his faults and his short-comings. As of last night, he has the ultimate PR agent - Roger Ailes.

At this point, Democrats have to not just show their supporters that Brown's is nothing to be afraid of, they have to ask Brown what he has to offer. Is he really a "man of the people"? Is he willing to "work together" for a "common goal"? Or is he as he readily appears to be, nothing more than another obstructionist who ascended to his new "people's seat" on gimmicks and slogans?

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Year One : Attack Of The Teabaggers ( or ) Nice Try But Not Enough

By and large, conservatives became the party of paranoia, revisionist history, misdirection, and distortion on Janurary 20th of last year. This isn’t to say that they hadn’t already been steeped in these practices prior to the inauguration of Barack Obama, but they were certainly amplified to the Nth degree.

This has not been an easy year for Obama, The monumental task of repairing damage done the previous 8 years wasn’t going to be easy, yet his record has been molested into something completely unrecognizable in many respects. His successes have been marginalized or completely ignored by many in this country. In replace of substantive discussion regarding Obama’s actions as President, the majority of Americans are caught up in responding to specious accusations like Obama’s birthplace, alleged ties to “radicals”, his view of America, and those chosen to be in his cabinet.

Conservatives invested every ounce of energy they had in turning Obama into a morbid caricature of evil. He was labeled a Socialist, Totalitarian, Marxist, Communist - even though none of those can co-exist along side one another – that jaunted around the globe “apologizing” for America and was literally inviting a terrorist attack. There were no attempts at bipartisanship by Republicans in either House of Congress, even though there were cries for it by them. From the very start, Obama was faced with obstructionism from the entire Republican Party.

While he had succeeded in many areas, including the Stimulus, the beginnings of Cap and Trade, vastly improved the image of America around the world, and seated a US Supreme Court Justice. However successful these things were, they were quickly labeled as abject failures by conservatives. Not in-so-much as they were bad, but conservatives would not be seen as failures in their own right. They would do anything to ensure that Americans were convinced Obama had already failed.

Republicans, conservative “tea-party” activists or not, throughout the campaign claimed that Democrats revered Obama as a God-like figure that could do anything. However, they faced their own ironic deification of the man, as they set the bar so high that it was literally unapproachable. This isn’t to say that Obama didn’t try. The only problem was that he didn’t try hard enough. The stimulus wasn’t enough, the full implementation of Cap and Trade still hasn’t taken effect, healthcare reform became ensnared in too many Republican trappings, and he hadn’t effectively pushed-back at those conservatives that leveled inflammatory attacks.

Suddenly obstructionism, willful ignorance, and yes – racial animus ( though the later will be viciously denied despite conclusive proof of its existence ) were considered “patriotism”. Suddenly there had been no terrorist attacks during Bush’s term, that the economic collapse was solely the fault of Obama, that even pointing out the widely recognized and recorded history of the Bush administration was unacceptable. Conservatives were convinced that America did not exist anymore, that we were in danger of losing every freedom and liberty once the Oath of Office was taken by Obama.

It’s been a difficult year, and Obama has faced a great deal. He’s still got more work to do, but so do all Democrats. We can’t let ill-informed conservatives control the message or rewrite history any longer.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Shorter Bristol And Sarah

We're Glad We Chose Life

Of course we aren't concerned in the least that we both had that "choice" to begin with, we're just happy to get the money for exploiting our kids.


Aside from the continuously unfolding tragedy in Haiti, it's wall-to-wall Brown on television. But here's something odd that caught my eye over the weekend.

At first blush, it would appear that Brown is attempting to coddle to his religious Right base by doubting the "out of wedlock" status of his birth, though it is well documented that his mother was married at the time of his birth. But you'll notice at the end, he says that it's more important to focus on Obama's mother's age at the time - 18. So why are either of these important in the broader landscape of Obama as, at the time this clip aired, candidate for President? The answer is they aren't. This is almost a devalued concept as the original "birther" allegations.

Now, Brown is attempting to claim this is all fabricated by Martha Coakley:

He doesn’t believe that. This is more desperate campaigning from Martha Coakley. When she isn’t calling for higher taxes, she’s making things up about Scott Brown.

So if he doesn't believe it why did he say it? Sure, this was over a year ago and he may have changed his mind, but that doesn't change the fact that he said it to begin with with seemingly no validation. What does Obama's mother's age at the time of his birth have to do with his ability to hold higher office?

What They Think Brown Can Do For Them

When information came out recently that Scott Brown voted against aid to be given to rescue responders to the attacks on Sept, 11th, the conservative Right was quite literally silent about it. And their silence spoke volumes, as always. His response was, quite literally, that it simply wasn't a priority:

As Think Progress reports, it seemed that Brown's "priorities" lay with his masters in large corporations and their ability to leisure activity space:

During the same month Brown was voting down efforts to support 9/11 rescue workers, he was pushing a bill to appropriate a tax-subsidized bond to build a golf course in Norfolk, a city in his district. “Priorities,” indeed.

Also during the same period, he was busy fighting for tax subsidies for corporate interests. According to a 2002 article in the Lowell Sun, Brown scored a perfect pro-corporate tax subsidy rating in the months following his anti-9/11 rescue workers vote.

But this isn't the only blemish on Brown's record that conservatives are overlooking - and hoping the Massachusetts voter will as well.

The structuring of his campaign staff is quite unusual, as they are listed as "consultants", not traditional employees. This is a psuedo-clever - albeit apparently legal - way to remove Brown from the liability of payroll taxes and offering health insurance.

As stated before here, Brown is largely supported by Wall Street interests and big corporations. They have, after all, filled his campaign coffers more than anyone else. In normal electoral situations, this would set off a firestorm of criticism within the conservative movement. But, this is no normal election Massachusetts is facing tomorrow. And to that end, it would appear that conservatives are willing to have a puppet take the place of the late Ted Kennedy simply so they can have one opposition vote on one bill.

But who's to say that this version of reality that conservatives are banking on is what will really happen. It's dangerous to put all your chips on one number in just one game.

bob Cesca quotes John Chait on how a Brown win might not be so bad after all.

1. Finish up the House-Senate negotiations quickly and hold a vote before Scott Brown is seated. Republicans will scream, but how could they scream any louder? It's a process argument of murky merits that will be long forgotten by November.

2. Get the House to pass the Senate bill, and maybe use a reconciliation bill (which only needs a Senate majority to pass) to implement as many House-Senate compromises as possible.

3. Go back to Olympia Snowe. I have not seen any persuasive reporting, or even conjecture, about what Snowe is actually thinking. Her substantive demands have been met.

While I agree with the first two, the thought of going back to Snowe makes little sense to me. But that's another issue for another time.

And while conservatives are more than willing to ignore Brown's character, casting him as the iconographic figure that has broad populist support, the reality of this race is that Brown is to the left of Dede Scozzafava, the Republican woman that conservatives attempted to push aside by endorsing Doug Hoffman - and we all saw how that turned out. Once Hoffman finally made up his mind on concession ( after three times ) he was largely removed from any and all conservative discussions. To them, he was dead.

If Brown loses, and right now that's a fairly big "if", he's got a lot of work to do if he's going to make conservatives happy. And this has little to do with the state he's allegedly running to represent. He's got the entire conservative movement breathing down his neck. Not to propose anything but to obstruct everything. It's not really a difficult task, as Republicans have been marginally successful at it since January of last year. The question that conservatives and tea-baggers need to ask is this - are Scott Brown's priorities going to stay the same if he wins?

Friday, January 15, 2010

The Friday Night Music Chain feat. Nine Inch Nails

Inspired in part by a posting of Calvin's at his Canadian Cave Of Coolness.

Nine Inch Nails

The Perfect Drug

The Perfect Drug ( Plug Remix )

Plug ( Luke Vibert ) has always been one of my favorite Drum and Bass producers. This is, in my opinion, one of the standouts from the Perfect Drug remix EP that came out in the late 90s. Trent Reznors close ties with those within the dance music genre is undeniable and somewhat comforting.

Gave Up ( Live Studio Version feat. Marylin Manson )

NIN & David Bowie - I'm Afraid Of Americans

Brown Hype And Irony

Conservatives, when it comes to citing information in order to push a specific school of thought, often reference material that is too closely linked to their own self-interests. More plainly put, when you reference a poll that you conducted to prove your point, it pretty much invalidated from the jump.

Fox"News" is notorious for doing this. And now, Pajamas Media has a poll out that says the Scott Brown in some 15 points ahead of Martha Coakley in the special Massachusetts election to replace Ted Kennedy in the Senate. However, Nate Silver provides the context to this that shows this isn't something Democrats should worry about.

Worry about Suffolk. Worry about what PPP and Rasmussen are going to have to say over the weekend. But for the love of God, don't worry about the Pajamas Media poll which reports a 15 point lead for Scott Brown, which I'm not going to do the favor of posting a link to.

The poll was conducted by a firm connected with the Black Rock Group, which bills itself as a "strategic communications and public affairs firm" and whose chief spokesman/strategist, Carl Forti, just so happens to be the spokesman for this polling firm that nobody has ever heard of and just so happens (as David Dayen dutifully reports) to be the spokesman for a big pharma lobbying group that's pushed the death panels meme and just so happens to be the lead PR flak for Pajamas Media.

This bizarre bizarre Mobius Strip form of political strategy plagues Scott Rasmussen as well, considering his former ties to the Republican Party.

One important thing to remember about polls is that they reflect a person's feelings at the time of the poll, not what they are going to do once at the "ballot box". As of right now, the race is well within the margin of error, so it's anyone's game at this point.

But let's take a look at what is likely to happen is Brown wins.

One of his key, if not THE key, pillars of his campaign is blocking healthcare reform. If Brown wins and becomes the "41st vote" - his current moral boosting chant - that will in effect help to derail healthcare reform, he will be profiting from the taxpayer due to the healthcare coverage that is offered to elected members of government. The taxpayer pays their salary and that salary is used in part to pay for healthcare coverage. It's a rather ironic place Brown could potentially find himself in - as a member of the government that conservatives continually rally against. Then again, conservatives only rally against government when they aren't in the catbird seat.

Not only that, but Brown is hardly the "man of the people" he claims to be, as his campaign coffers have been filled in these final hours by the financial sector. It seems that those that favor profit over the consumer are more than willing to back a candidate for his stance that would favor them. After all, another conservative pillar is massive deregulation, the same that got us into the greatest economic disaster not seen since the 30s.

As of this writing, it could be either Brown or Coakley. If it's the former, be prepared for more of the same from conservatives, and be prepared for Brown lay willingly in the arms of his masters - the special insists that care nothing about the tea-bagging masses that oppose them. If it's the later, be prepared for conservatives to cry foul play. Either way, there's still a great fight ahead of us that are for the betterment of this country.

The Imagery Of Hypocrisy

Ed Morrissey unleashed his famously flaccid righteous indignation upon the DSCC today.

Why, you ask? It was a campaign ad citing Scott Brown's close ties to Wall Street that features two buildings from the WTC complex. This didn't sit well with dear Eddie's delicate sensibilities:

Has anyone ever seen a major campaign this badly handled in one short week? Most of the blame goes to Coakley, but the DSCC was the group that sent Michael Meehan to help with messaging this week. His first contribution was to commit assault and battery on a reporter for the Weekly Standard. Now the DSCC chooses an image of the World Trade Center, Ground Zero on 9/11, to represent Wall Street and to attack Brown. That’s not just “distasteful and disrespectful” to someone who served in the war on terror and remains in the National Guard to this day, it’s flat-out stupidity.

Conservatives like Ed shouldn't be so eager to castigate someone for using WTC imagery. After all, they are the group that has the market cornered on using the deaths of nearly 3000 people for their own political and personal gain.

The Voice From Western Kentucky

I've often said that I do feel ashamed of my state, of the bulk of it's people, of how things like racism, ignorance, misogyny, and voting Republican even if Satan were on the ticket are seen as "tradition". The Western portion of the state, where I reside, is a mixture of "moderate" conservatives, balls-to-the-wall-twitchy tea-baggers, and a limited number of honest voices that come from people who have the ability to think for themselves.

One of those voices, April form Paducah, made it onto Rush Limbaugh's radio program and he proved once again that no situation will prevent him from browbeating a woman:

This is how Rush operates: His opportunistic nature tells him that is someone somewhere uses racial animus and is called on the carpet because of it, he feels that he can do the same thing. The only difference is that he then excuses himself by saying he was illustrating what that person(s) said. It wasn't his words, he was using them as a signifier of the times.

Unfortunately, those of us that have the ability to see through such a transparent lie know that Limbaugh uses such rhetoric to reveal what he believes about Democrats, be they liberal or progressive. Sure, he was using language allegedly used by Harry Reid, but the context - something that he claims to fully understand - was in reference to Obama's plans for aid to Haiti and how that could - in Limbaugh's mind - make blacks in America see Obama. It's no longer about Obama, it's about all blacks in America. The context has shifted.

But back to April. It would seem that she is a frequent caller, as her initial statement reveals. The only problem is that she is quite uncomfortable confronting Rush. Perhaps this is due to her anger at what he said or that she simply has the words but is unsure on how to put them together. Given Limbaugh's rich and lustrous history of downgrading women, if a woman caller is granted the opportunity to be on his show they have to meet his standard or he will not only dismiss all that they have to say but turn their thoughts and opinions into a sexist joke, which is what he did to April.

The reality of this clip is this - Limbaugh has no sense of context, of what it means to live outside the confines of his Palm Beach studio, what it means to be black or a woman. The disaster in Haiti is programming gold for him. It's an opportunity to lambaste a troubled nation of people that are "beneath him". He most certainly discouraged donations. The caveat that he offered was simply put forward to paint the Obama administration in a negative light. That's all he knows how to do. Like all conservatives, he has no plan, no alternative, it's simply oppositional positioning. And that is why conservatives see him as one of the leaders of the party.

Think Progress has more.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Beauty And The Geek

Complete with a contrived New York setting that includes a view of both the Statue Of Liberty and "Ground Zero", a pre-tapped Beck/Palin interview aired last night to what had to have been a salivating tea-bagger crowd.

After visualizing people like Rich Lowry sitting in their leather Lay-Z-Boys with their open robes, warm lubricant at the ready, I noticed that Palin seemed a little uncomfortable. I'm not entirely sure why, as the editing suite occupied by the Fox"News" producers would do any and everything to ensure that she didn't come off as the rank amateur that she still is.

The start of the interview set the overall tone - of Beck doing his smoothest R&B vocalist impersonation while spoon-feeding Palin those juicy tidbits that only he can conjure up. Truth-be-told, it was rather creepy watching Beck essentially profess his psycho-sexual fantasies of her in a diary entry that he read to her. It was like the nerdy kid in high-school professing his love to the head cheerleader during open assembly the last day of senior year.

The interview was largely predictable - glittering generalities from Palin and talks about how the modern conservative has the market cornered on patriotism.

From talks about the symbolism of Lady Liberty to the location where the interview was taped ( and Palin let is slip that this most certainly wasn't live ) on down to who her favorite founder was ( guess what her answer was - "all of them" ) Palin didn't seem too thrilled to be with the man that stakes his very livelihood on manufacturing the conspiracies that Palin herself thrives on from time to time. She was simply there to gain exposure, period.

But more to the pre-taped atmosphere that Beck and Palin were in. Beck always does his program live, always. This isn't Palin's niche, as she has known to shove her foot vertically down her flag-sucker on more than one occasion. She was in the same situation with O'Reilly and every time that Greta felt it necessary to jaunt up to Alaska and stalk her family while her husband gave Sarah political advice. Simply put, it's the Fox"News" way of making sure that Palin's image is polished to a refined shine so she can come off as a successful television personality.

At the end of the interveiw, the average voter - Republican or Democrat - came away with absolutely no new knowledge about Palin. She's still the same gimmicky superstar that conservatives believe has the capacity to run this country. And to that end, they are still as wrong and delusional as day one.

The Rush To Racial Divisiveness

Does this surprise anyone?

It's as predictable as the claims that he responded to this quicker than the failed Christmas Day terrorist attack. But this isn't the first time Limbaugh has used racially charged rhetoric as inflammatory attacks on Obama.

This next quote ties two of Limbaugh's favorite things together: Income Tax and conspiracy theories about the Obama White House:

Rush has always placed himself above anyone that isn't white - period. He is, for lack of a more appropriate term, a racist of the highest order. And while many will claim that he has black friends, or that Thomas Sowell ( who is black ) will guest-host his show from time to time, this does not erase what he is.

But this is not a first for Rush Limbaugh, to claim that a disaster isn't such a big deal or that we, as the United States, shouldn't stand along with the rest of the world to help the less fortunate. After all, so long as this twitching mass of cigar smoke, cholesterol, and hate can sit by and make money of off hate and racism, he will not care about those that are less fortunate.

As Keith Olbermann put it last night, I would wish him to Hell would the fact of who is truly is already not be Hell enough.

The Zapruderization Of Conservative Memes

Much in the way that an SEIU member allegedly "beat down" a member of the tea-bagger movement, this non-story is being touted as proof positive that Democrats are resorting to violence in the face of opposition.

While the video doesn't really show an attack, what you can see - through restarting the clip from around the 5 second mark is a hand up in the air, another hand, a flash and then you hear the clang of the guard-rail. Immediately following that you see a man - the person that shoved the arm out of his face? - picking up the man with the camera and asking, "are you ok"?

If one were to look at this honestly, it's likely that the person running toward Martha Coakley, once having his arms removed from another man's face, was off balance and wasn't shoved into the rail due to some "thuggish" act as it is being portrayed.

Secondly, after the man is picked up, he gets in the other gentleman's face again. What's important here is that we can't hear what they are saying to one another - in as much as what words we can hear have any context to the situation. After all, the people that are using this as some Zapruder-esque footage that validates multiple specious claims that the Democrats party has turned into a bunch of gangsters.

If you see a man claiming to be a "reporter" go lunging after a political candidate, and in light of threats made against members of the Democratic party, what would you do? Would you attempt to block this person - who is obviously not wanting to be stopped and is intent on running up to the candidate - until it was clear they meant no harm? Most sane people would. Let's try running up to Scott Brown mumbling some incoherent statement flailing our arms around and see if we aren't tackled by someone by FreedomWorks.

Conservatives are likely to dismiss all this by claiming that Martha Coakley heard the question asked by the reporter and that serves as his identification, that he posses no threat. That, in and of itself, is a rather disingenuous statement. After all, the man that successfully threw two shoes at George W. Bush in Iraq was a journalist that was apparently cleared by security.

In the end, conservatives are more than willing to inflate a story to it's most illogical end just so that they can say they are being bullied, that votes are being stolen, that the government is doing all it can to take away every freedom you have.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Chaning The Game

No clearer picture is given as to what matters in the eyes on conservatives than when they refuse to answer a very simple question and their fanbase rallies around them. Alternately, those same conservatives are often seen with their metaphorical torches and pitchforks shouting that any and every Democrat be held to a different standard when it comes to accountability.

Case in point, once again revolving around the dubious claims in the new book Game Change, we see John McCain being asked by Matt Lauer about some of the claims in the book regarding his campaign and Sarah Palin. It appears that John isn't knows what he's going to be asked and then suddenly....

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As McCain hits Lauer with a double dose of "why you bringing up old shit" coupled with "but what about the troops", one gets the sense that hit other statement - that he simply doesn't care - has more weight to it than one might first realize. And that weight surely is being carried by folks in the conservative blogging realm.

This clip got some buzz this morning because he appears to say at one point that he didn’t know how well Palin had been vetted. I don’t think that’s what he meant, though; he’s simply issuing blanket I-don’t-knows in response to questions about dirt in “Game Change,” but the testiness shines through when Lauer presses him. Is he just bored with the subject, or is there … something more?

That's Allahpundit over at HotAir, who seems to be confusing the word "apparent" with "actually". The spin from that site alone shows the double standard quite clearly, but it also begs the quesiton - are conservatives the ones that are truly afraid of Sarah Palin?

The reason that I ask this is because of the power that she weilds within the modern conservative movement. It's power that she doesn't know how to control. She quite literally, at this point at least, can open her mouth and tell someone that John McCain doesn't belong in the party anymore and suddenly his place in the Senate is in peril. It doesn't work the other way, and it's likely that McCain knows that. Could that have influenced the way he did/didn't answers this question?

Rachel Maddow took on the Palin/McCain allegations in Game Change on her MSNBC program:

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Most of us realize that Palin was, and likely still is, unqualified to be VP of the United States. Her true calling, at least until she quits, is that of easily guided mouthpiece at Fox"News". John McCain is doing his best to distance himself from her selection as VP because he knows this as well, but he still needs to keep her at arms length for the sole purpose of tapping her on the shoulder and saying to people, "hey, I know her, isn't she awesome".

The book Game Change, however, is likely to be riddled with many falsehoods, as the authors aren't exactly open to talking about who they interviewed. The credibility of the quotes in the book are most certainly in question, so once again - why no real push-back from Palin and McCain? O'Reilly was literally feeding Palin her responses in regards to the book and McCain had the opportunity to simply say "it's all a lie" but he chose to say he didn't know and that frankly he didn't care.

This book has, and will be, a thorn in the sides of many until some real fact-checking is done. Conservatives and Fox"News" aren't going to do it, there simply going to run with the, as yet, unsourced quotes about Hillary, Bill, and Obama in order to get some face time on the TV. The double standard remains in play.

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