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Friday, April 30, 2010

Growth Spurt

The new report on the growth of GDP is out and the Washington Post has all the details. Naturally, conservatives are going to say it's not enough - and it never is for them.

The U.S. economy grew at a 3.2 percent annual rate in the first three months of the year, evidence that the economic recovery continues to plug along but that growth is not accelerating in a way that would bring down joblessness rapidly.

The first-quarter gain in gross domestic product represents a deceleration from the 5.6 percent pace of growth in the final months of 2009, and is a bit below the 3.5 percent growth analysts were forecasting.

The growth in gross domestic product, the broadest measure of economic activity, was driven by a 3.6 percent rise in personal consumption expenditures. That is the largest component of GDP and suggests that American consumers are gradually coming out of their shells and returning to stores following the recession that probably ended last year.

You know what that means?

The consumer is back.

And while some within the conservative realm will pretend to be economists and dribble out their pre-screen talking points about how growth would have been better if "this" or "that" had been done, take a look at the chart below.

Granted, the growth at the end of the previous quarter was elevated due to businesses replenishing inventory ( another signal - to me at least - that businesses saw an uptrend coming and they knew they needed product ) but just take a look at how GDP has grown since Obama took office. That's a pretty clear indicator that "socialism" seems to be working.

Conservative Pollutants

Palin took to her fancy Tweet Machine recently to give her first statements regarding the oil spill of the coast of Louisiana.

But do you remember what she said about drilling before?

Conservatives are using this disaster to push the message that Obama doesn't have a plan, while attempting to craft their own spin away from blanket advocacy of off-shore drilling. And as I posted yesterday, Limbaugh insists that this is all planned.

As the spill edges closer to land, threatening delicate eco-systems, the clean-up process is slated to take months with no word yet on when the pipe into the ocean floor will be capped of.

To me, this says something of conservativism and how they view the world around them. They don't consider the consequences.

Selective Editing

Here's a short one, but one that should be addressed considering conservatives love for "Republican Jesus".

Do these people not remember that Reagan offered amnesty to illegals?

Seems that conservatives need a history lesson.

This Is What A Journalist Does

I'm sure there are far more adept people than I writing about this this morning.

But let me just say Ho-Lee-Shit!

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

I'm very impressed with how Maddow handled herself against this sanctimonious prick. There was a moment where she did seem to exude some amount of frustration, but she knows what she's doing, and she does it well. Let's just say that you'll not see this type of interview happening over at Fox"News".

Muzikal203 at Daily Kos has a nice piece up about this now.

The fact-checking has already shown that Stein is a blatant liar.

Twitter friend GottaLaff from The Political Carnival has coined a new term - "Steined".

One has to simply see the look on Dan Stein's face to see that he honestly doesn't care what Maddow presents to him, what is revealed about his organization, or what associations he and former members have had. This is the face of conservativism at it's rancorous worst. Racism writ large.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Bound To Happen

I was actually expecting Beck to be the first one to dive headlong into the shallow end of the pool.

I mentioned this to Laffy from the Political Carnival earlier, and I was actually half-joking. These clown get more predictable every day.

Reproductive Legislation

It amazes me that women haven't revolted in a major way over this.

With two days left in the legislative session, the Republican-held Florida Senate passed a controversial amendment 22-17 Wednesday requiring women who are seeking abortions to pay for ultrasound exams, using legislative maneuvering to deliver an election-year victory to religious conservatives.

The ultrasound requirement would apply to first-trimester abortions, which make up more than 90 percent of abortions in Florida. Ultrasounds are already required in late-term abortions that are performed after the first trimester.

Women could refuse to view the ultrasound image after filling out a form. Exceptions to the ultrasound requirement are provided to victims of rape, incest and domestic violence — but they would have to provide proof.

It appears that there was actually a woman that voted for this piece of legislation. Sen. Ronda Storms ( Rep - you're shocked, I know ) voted for this and I'm seriously questioning her ability to thing outside of her little ideological box.

But, all hope is not lost. Courtesy of the House Dems in Florida, all bills have stopped because of this measure.

The Democrats will refuse to take a final vote on any bills today unless Republican leaders promise not to take up and hear the bill, House Democrats spokesman Mark Hollis said.

House GOP leaders need the 44 Democrats’ votes to roll over some bills so that they can be voted on. So far, the Dems have already blocked that from happening on one item.

More from stevesmill at DailyKos.

Here's what I don't get. Conservatives think they can legislate the female reproductive system into abject slavery. The sad truth of the matter is that they have been largely successful on many fronts.

And what of this "proof" that is required if you are raped or a victim of incest. I'm entirely sure how a "rape kit" works ( and the woman would probably have to pay for that too ) but what would the hospital accept as "proof"? This is just simply disgusting on multiple levels.

It's a longstanding talking-point that anyone that is pro-choice wants to have unfettered access to abortion - abortion on demand. This, as should easily be recognized, is not only patently false, but demonstrably ignorant of the facts. No liberal/progressive woman sits around thinking to herself, "gee, I sure would love to get pregnant so I can have an abortion".

A woman's choice to have an abortion is not one taken lightly - ever. This new measure that Florida conservatives are trying to force upon the women of the state serves no greater purpose than to inflate their own sense of self. Imagine the woman who tried to show proof she was raped and was forced to see the child inside her.


When It Hits Home

And this latest mine disaster will impact my town and my job, as I work for a company that sells supplies to them.

Two western Kentucky miners were missing Thursday and rescuers were unable to contact them after a roof collapsed in a large underground coal mine that had a history of safety violations, officials said.

Rescue crews were in the mine on Thursday morning, said Ricki Gardenhire, a spokeswoman for the Kentucky Office of Mine Safety and Licensing. Mine operators told a news conference that they are holding out hope of finding the miners alive.

U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration spokeswoman Amy Louviere said rescue crews entered the Webster County Coal Dotiki (doh-TEE'-kee) Mine about 11:30 p.m., and traveled approximately four miles to the area where the miners are trapped. Their efforts to stabilize the roof and haul away rock were temporarily halted about 4:50 a.m. because of "adverse roof conditions."

I live in a very peculiar world. I don't feel that coal is necessarily the only source of energy for America, but I also know that many families in my region have no other real options in order to provide for their families.

That being said, the company that I work for values the safety and reliability of what we build and what we provide. As far as the Dotiki Mine, which I have been on site multiple times, you get the sense of safety when on premises. But far too often, that's where it stops.

Reports are coming in from friends and family members around the area that one of the men ( as yet, unidentified ) has been found alive. The initial word coming in stated that a "rock fall" had occurred in the ares where the two men were operating a continuous miner. Safety crews were able to get to the rear of the vehicle, but the remainder of the area was completely blocked off from the fall.

I'll update this post as the story develops.


The body of Micheal Carter was recovered from the area of the rock fall at Dotiki Mine. It is still uncertain as to whether or not the other miner, Justin Travis, is alive or not.

Discussing this issue with fellow employees and residents of the area this afternoon, you get the overriding sense that people are more concerned with protecting the mine against any scrutiny. This strikes me as more than just a little odd, considering that safety and security should be priority number one. But then again, we are living in a time where some feel that their jobs are going to be taken away by the government. This is most certainly a sentiment that is echoed through the mining community.


Regional news station WFIE has a live Twitter feed up and video footage from teh Dotiki Mine site and is continually updating as new information comes in.

Oddly enough, the Dotiki Mine site was referenced in an April 23rd piece in Business Week regarding it's citiations for safety violations that ultimately would lead to what happened late last night.


Justin Travis has been found. He is alive but his condition is not being reported at this time.

As further details are coming in, it appears that Travis and Carter were cleaning up a "small fall" prior to the event that would eventually trap the two men. It's unsure as of yet whether or not they should have been evacuated from the scene rather than take on any clean-up efforts.


More information regarding the DOTIKI Mine and their safety record has come to light. It's being reported that in the last 12 months, 25 "falls" have been reported.

Also, units of Alliance Resource Partners ( the company that owns the Dotiki Mine ) traded lower ( 6.2% ) and it is likely that that decline may steepen based on relevent information that comes from this incident.


It appears that earlier reports from sources not directly connected to the mine rescue effort have been shown to be incorrect. Justin Travis is still trapped inside the mine as of 42 minutes ago.


Tragically, but somewhat predictably, both miners have been located and are dead.

A news release issued by Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear Thursday afternoon indicates both men missing after a Hopkins County mine accident have been found dead.

"Today has been a terrible day for Kentucky and for our coal-mining families," the governor said in a statement. "I am very saddened to announce that we have lost two miners, Michael Carter and Justin Travis, in the roof collapse at Dotiki mine in western Kentucky. Our entire state mourns along with their families and friends. Despite our sadness, we must press forward to the work ahead of us – fully investigating what caused this accident and determining ways to avoid such accidents in the future."

The rescue effort had to abruptly end after the body of Justin Travis was found due to the unstable nature of the mine - more rocks began to fall. A further investigation is pending but I'm curious if MSHA will completely shut down the mine until it can be shown to be a safe working environment.

I'm going to keep an eye on this story.

Music And Message

If you're up for it, here's the video for M.I.A.'s track "Born Free".

Good luck trying to find this on YouTube, as Google had it buried, but not deleted.

The first time I watched this, I was immediately reminded of GaGa's video for "Telephone". Not because these two tracks are similar in style and delivery - this track sounds a bit more like Atari Teenage Riot than anything else that's out today - but because it appeared that M.I.A. and director Romain Gavras were trying to outdo GaGa and Jonas Akerlund. But after multiple viewings, I think I get the point, although it's forced and a bit overreaching at times.

Rather than wearing an evening gown fashioned out of hairless lemurs and parading around with a chorus line of post-op transsexuals, M.I.A. has opted to not appear in her video. Instead, the director takes you along for a ride with police officers rounding up red-heads. That's right, The Ginger Cleansing.

Although the subject, given the context of our times, is rather obvious, the overriding "message" - if there really is one - does tend to get blurred and obscured by the very realistic violence contained within the clip. For anyone that may not get it, and it's pretty easy to get, it's about immigration and how America handles it and could potentially handle it.

Bare with me, but just take into consideration recent events and how conservatives look at immigration. Could this be any more blatant of an example of how far-right conservative ideology views handling illegal immigrants in our country? Granted, it's over the top and one could argue that it rightfully should be. The only problem that I have with the video is that it tends to fall into too much of a "let's shock you just for the sake of shocking you" point of view on a few occasions.

The primary aspect of this clip that makes it powerful is that it has this documentary feel to it - though the prototypical MTV-esque shots tend to dovetail throughout the piece. It's this type of realism that is missing from many videos today. By and large, they are nothing more than overtly gimmicky piece of digital mish-mash that does nothing but liter the pop culture landscape.

And while some will claim that this is some sort of fever-dream of Eric Cartman's come to life, I think it provides some interesting insight into the mind of the fringe-conservative movement. Not in-so-much as they would actually perpetrate such actions ( at least one would hope ) but it's purely because their inflammatory rhetoric tends to conjure images like these.

In the end, the video for Born Free isn't spectacular in every fashion, and that's purely due to the fact that it does try too hard at times. I think that, given some better editing and slashing of a few select clips, this would be a more powerful video. Not only that, but removing it from the genre of popular music would most certainly lend more of an air of credibility to it's intended meaning. After all, nothing says pre-packaged clap-trap like modern, corporate, pop. Thankfully, M.I.A. has at least tried to move away from that.

Faking Your Beliefs

Is S. E. Cupp trying to be a conservative Daria?

Wait, I thought she was an atheist. Why, all of a sudden, is she defending religion? Oh, that's right, she's trying to peddle some screed that she penned in order to get face-time on Hannity's program. Talk about someone that can't stand by their convictions. As they say, everyone can be bought for the right price.

Standard Operating Procedure

Much has been made of the Tea Bagger protest at Quincy, IL.

Tea Party protesters in Quincy, Illinois who did not follow a Secret Service agent's orders were met with 15 police officers dressed in riot gear Wednesday, according to a local newspaper report.

The Quincy Herald-Whig reported that the tense moment happened when protesters, who were marching toward the location where President Obama was speaking, did not obey a Secret Service agent's orders to move to the other side of the street.

When the crowd didn't move and began singing "God Bless, America" and the national anthem, Quincy Deputy Police Chief Ron Dreyer called for members of the Mobile Field Force to walk up the street.

The officers, mainly from Metro East departments near St. Louis and dressed in full body armor, marched from the east and stood on the south side of York facing the protesters.

There was no physical contact, and the officers did not come close to the crowd, but there were catcalls and more than a few upset tea party members, including a woman who shouted, "This is communism!"

Purse-lipped, conservative, prattle-box Michelle Malkin foamed at the mouth as if this were some display of Marshall law, but it was simply standard operating procedure consider the President was within proximity of the protest.

Here's the video.

Not a SWAT team, just police in riot gear. Nothing out of the ordinary, as they are dispatched in the same fashion and with the same gear everytime a situation like this ( or worse ) is reported. After all, the fire department isn't going to show up in khakis and a t-shirt if your ADT alarm goes off because of a small grease fire in your kitchen, why should we expect anything less from a police department.

While Malkin and the Fox"Nation" frame this as an orchestrated show of force from inside the administration against a few old ladies, I find that more than just a little difficult to swallow. But, such is the conservative message creation machine. We can't have the people receiving accurate information, can we. After all, when Bush was in office, the Secret Service and local law enforcement forced protesters to remain in caged areas several blocks away from where he was speaking.

Considering the hate and violent rhetoric from the Tea Baggers, I'm sure that the Secret Service isn't taking any chances, regardless of where they are and who is protesting.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Republican Weed Scam

And conservatives were screaming because ACORN allegedly did this type of thing.

Orange County authorities are launching an investigation into possible voter registration fraud after a local newspaper reported over a hundred cases of voters being tricked into registering as Republicans by petitioners who asked them to sign petitions for, among other causes, legalizing pot.

The Orange County Register reported last week that the Orange County District Attorney's office announced it would team up with the Secretary of State on the case, following a Register report that 99 written complaints were filed since March by voters who said they were registered as Republicans without their consent.

Another 74 voters reached by the Register said they, too, were unwillingly made members of the GOP.

According to the story, those trying to get the phony petition signed apparently told most skeptical respondents that they had to fill in the "Republican" in order for their signature to count.

I'm sure that most people, especially now, would be very wary when signing something and being asked to claim that they were Republican. I'm sure there's lots more trickery to this than we know right now. Then again, some people can be easily duped. Could this be another conservative filmmaker stunt trying to show that voters in California are "stupid"? Who knows.

Considering Fox"News" went full bore on ACORN and the alleged voter registration fraud from '08, I won't be holding my breath waiting for them to cover this story.

The Arizona Fallout

I think that's an apt title, considering prominent conservatives and former Bush officials aren't exactly cozy with the idea. But then, there are others who hint that we should actually take a more hardline approach - as if the new law in Arizona doesn't make America look bad enough.

Here's something that Arizona's governor might not understand - she has just put her state on the path to economic ruin.

From a tourism aspect ( from both Mexico and within the United States ) this law is disastrous from the start. Considering that amount of revenue that state brings in from people travelling just to see sporting events is incentive enough to not have a law this draconian.

And it's more than just tourism that's going to be effected. Companies that do business with Arizona and ship goods into the state are already looking at boycotts. It's a domino effect that conservatives are largely ignoring. So what do conservatives think of this bill, while they ignore it's far-reaching implications? Why not ask resident spokesmodel Caribou Barbie:

So despite what Karl Rove says and thinks of the new immigration law in Arizona, full time PR pornstar Sarah Palin still has to prove she's all "mavericky" and junk by insisting this law isn't something that it clearly is.

But conservatives ( and that includes Fox"News" ) aren't staying on message with this issue like one might expect them to. Even Marco Rubio ( the conservative movements new poster boy, now that Scott Brown was proven to be a dud ) says he has concerns with the law. There is a definite and palpable rift forming amongst that Republican party. One side wants to appear tough on immigration while the other is trying to hold onto as many votes as they can.

So what do local law enforce officials have to say?

Here's Tuscon Police Chief Roberto Villasenor yesterday afternoon on NPR:

It's going to cause some concerns for us. As a local law enforcement chief taking on the responsibility of federal immigration enforcement is something that we really don't have the resources to accomplish. And so that's one of the concerns we have. And also, I think that there's really not enough definition of what the requirements are going to be for local law enforcement in this regard, and there are some definitions that the governor has tasked our Arizona state agency, Arizona post to define what reasonable suspicion will look like in regards to this law.

Who are you going to believe then - A law enforcement official who sees that the application of this law is going to be hurtful to his fellow officers and the citizenry of Arizona and any non-white person that happens to be visiting or Sarah Palin and Sean Hannity?

One final aspect of this story that the major media outlets are reporting on ( yet ) is that the author of the new immigration law has very close ties to Neo-Nazis. Yeah, he's the guy we want writing immigration laws.

Ratings Versus Accuracy

This really isn't surprising, and I'll explain why.

Fox News Channel has been the top-rated cable news network for a long time, but until this month it was only for double-digit months.

Well it’s now official – FNC is number one in April for the 100th consecutive month.

The streak began in January 2002, when FNC became the most watched cable news channel in prime time and total day in total viewers, surpassing industry leader CNN. It hasn’t looked back.

And while it hasn’t looked back, the look hasn’t changed very much at all. While CNN and MSNBC have undergone major changes, prime time looks just about how it did back in January 2002. Bill O’Reilly was there, Greta Van Susteren came one month later. Sean Hannity was there (although he shared a show for most of the time with Alan Colmes). Shepard Smith has been the lead news anchor since then as well. It goes without saying how incredibly rare to see the sustained success of this fairly untouched group.

In reading this, I'm reminded of Christopher Nolan's film "The Prestige". There is a scene in that film where Micheal Caine's character describes how a great magic trick is done.

He describes how that audience is set up, how they are distracted, and finally how the magician concludes his trickery to make the audience believe what they have seen is real. Fox"News" is a perfect example of this.

I have said this multiple times and it is no less true even today. Higher ratings in no way equal accurate reportage. This is something that is touted by Bill O'Reilly on a virtual daily basis. And make no mistake, Fox's water-carriers abound. I honestly feel sorry for them in most cases, but I also know that magic and trickery can easily seduce.

Fox"News" is successful primarily because of the consumerist nature of most Americans - we thrive off of entertainment, scandal, and things that shock our senses. I must admit that I watch Fox"News" throughout the evening, but not because I see it as a source of information, but to monitor and evaluate it's ability to take a story ( or create one ) and mold it into this twisted visage in order to frighten the average viewer.

From the start of the broadcast day until the final "live" hour of transmission, you can literally see how the conservative point of view is folded into literally every program. Anyone should be able to see this, but this certainly isn't the case.

One can't but marvel at the audacity and unblushing dishonesty of Fox executives and employees. I say this, because it's further proof that greed ( whether for money or power ) is such a motivating force in this country. On any given day, you can literally see how various Fox"News" personalities are attempting to gain just an inch of spotlight by saying and doing things that would make them appear to be the greater "magician" on the network.

As television viewers, we seek the programing that is going to hold our interest. The same can be said of news networks. And while it's true that MSNBC has more liberal opinion programs in primetime, they certainly know how to separate their hard news programs from them. CNN, in my opinion, is a peculiar creature that tries too hard to be all hard news and ends up looking like an abject fool - especially since they hired Erick Erickson.

Fox"News" is always going to draw a crowd because they are the car wreck on the side of the interstate that we have to crane our necks to see as we drive past. We stare in shock and wonder at what we see, but then we move on. Out of the millions that do watch, I often wonder how many of those people are watching for the same reasons that I am. I wonder how long they are watching. Are they watching an entire program? Did they stop just long enough to hear Sean Hannity call Obama a terrorist sympathizer? Or did they leave the television on all night just to have some background noise and ended up falling asleep when the Ambien kicked in?

Fox"News" is a magician - but not a particularly good one - since most of us have figured out how they do their tricks. It's just a shame that people keep going back to see their act. It's like it's so bad that it's become comical.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

No Rationing Of Editing

I suppose one can read into this the tired conservative meme of "grandma's going to die". But listen closely to what he says.

I'm curious as to what Orzag said in between the edit points. I'm sure that there is relevant information that was left out in order to push the conservative perspective.

For starters, his comments about quantity versus quality and the "fee for services" system makes perfectly good sense. Having seen how the current healthcare system is more concerned about pushing you through a battery of tests and procedures that serve no greater purpose than to simply put you through the tests as "standard operating procedure", I can certainly see how quality is preferable. I recall my mother telling me that my grandmother was misdiagnosed for over 10 years because of this system.

Another way to look at this is that if you need to get stitches for a massive cut on your arm, putting band aids on it for three days isn't going to do you any good if you don't get the stitches until day 4.

The second part of Orzag's statements are very important.

He points to the medical advisory panel that could potentially put for proposals to immediately take effect. Orzag's caveat to that was that these proposals could be and can be voted down at any time through congress and then signed by the President. To claim that these people are going to remove treatments across the board is not only a tactical move designed to frighten people, but not grounded in any fact based analysis.

Here's where conservatives are getting the "rationing" talking point. However, who's to say that this will be used to take anything away? This is where it's far too easy to get into the arena of speculation. This is what conservatives are really good at, imagining the worst case situation and presenting it as fact.

I see this panel as no more sinister than the FDA. They have the power to regulate food and drug safety ( which impacts the medical industry already ) and no one has raised a fuss for decades - until now, that it. But that's all part of the faux populist rage that makes up the Tea Bagger movement.

By and large, this whole idea of "rationing care" is nothing more than conspiratorial nonsense. Certainly, one has the right to assume what they will, but it's another thing entirely to misinform the country regarding an issue that already impacts the country in a way that damages families in ways not many of us can comprehend.

As for me, I would really like to see the complete, unedited, footage of Peter Orzag's statements. After all, part of the magic of movies and television is contained within the editing process.

Birther Army

It's this type of story that does not paint a very good picture of our country.

Formal court martial charges have been brought against Lt. Col. Terrence Lakin, the Army doctor who believes President Obama may not be a natural born citizen, for failing to follow orders, the military said today.

Lakin was charged Thursday "with one specification of a violation of Article 87, Missing Movement and four specifications of a violation of Article 92 (three specifications of Failure to Obey a Lawful Order, and one Specification of Dereliction of Duty)," said Chuck Dasey, spokesman at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, where Lakin is assigned.

The court martial is likely to raise the prominence of what is already a cause célèbre among Birther adherents.

This type of action is pathetic on two levels. Not only is this man a member of the US Armed Forces, but he is a doctor.

Though many will refuse to admit it, the Birther movement is largely predicated on one thing and one thing only - abject racism. But don't expect any conservative to admit that there is any such thing.

Here's an exit question for you. Considering this man's abject ignorance and willingness to not only put his fellow servicemen in danger for not reporting for duty that he signed up for, but putting your life in danger by picking and choosing when he will and won't serve, do you really want someone like him protecting your freedoms?

Filibustering Our Desires

Are you really surprised?

Undaunted by a Senate setback, Democrats appeared increasingly confident Monday they will be able to take advantage of Americans' anger at Wall Street and push through the most sweeping new controls on financial institutions since the Great Depression.

The Senate, in a 57-41 vote, failed to get the 60 supporters needed to proceed on the regulatory overhaul. One Democrat, Sen. Ben Nelson of Nebraska, joined with the Republicans.

This certainly shouldn't come as a shock to anyone, as Republicans will do their level best to stop or slow down anything that the Obama administration wants to accomplish, even if it's against their better interests.

I'm honestly not surprised that Ben Nelson voted with the Republicans on this, considering the fire-storm of criticism that was leveled at him after the so-called "Cornhusker Kickback".

But what the average American is largely ignoring is this - Republicans would be willing to destroy you, your family, their future, and this country if it meant that the Obama administration wouldn't be able to stop corporations from doing it. Rather ironic, I think.

We're Coming To America

This is probably Beck at his most ignorant

This yammering about what he perceives as "social justice" aside, does he not realize that the original colonists came here to escape religious persecution? It wasn't about "social justice".

And considering what Beck thinks social justice is, I have to call into question what he thinks equal justice is. Who is equal in Beck's eyes?

Here's something that struck me as odd. Beck claims that immigration is "good" for the country, that it "renews" us. I would really like to hear what he has to say about Arizona's new immigration law. After all, one has to pose the question of why so many people literally risk their life to get here. Some would make the claim that it's so they can commit crimes, manipulate "the system". But considering that, proportionally, American citizens perpetrate more crimes than illegal immigrants this claim doesn't really hold up. Why do so many people come here?

Chalk this up to more of Beck's incessant blabbering about something which he knows nothing about. But he does have a really big platform and lots of money behind him. I suppose that's enough to make some people believe him.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Skirting The Edge Of Racism

I was just called a racist jackass for correctly stating there were racial undertones to this piece I saw posted on Twitter.

The film Watermelon Man was about a white man insensitive to blacks who woke up one day to discover that he was turning black.

While unsurprising to many, it is ironic that America is waking up today to find out that the half-black man in the White House is nothing like the post-racial politician he made himself up to be during the 2008 campaign.

Obama speaks with unusual demographic frankness about his coalition in his appeal to "young people, African-Americans, Latinos, and women who powered our victory in 2008 [to] stand together once again."

And now, he gets to warm up the bus before running over his National Security Adviser for an anti-semitic joke, assuming the media doesn't grant him yet one more affirmative action pass. Well, at least he gets to sit in the driver's seat and not in the back. I suppose there's some progress in that!

After the speech, two participants suggested, in private conversations with the Forward, that Jones’ joke might have been inappropriate. After all, making jokes about greedy Jewish merchants can be seen at times as insensitive.

A prominent think-tank source who attended the event said the joke was “wrong in so many levels” and that it “demonstrated a lack of sensitivity.” The source also asked: “Can you imagine him telling a black joke at an event of African Americans?”

It's not difficult to see the race bating nature of this post as well as the racial undertones in the title alone - The Watermelon Man?

So, in response - and certainly not of a reflexive nature - I pointed out the racial nature of the post and when confronted with the "I know you are but what am I" ( The Pee-Wee Herman response ) I offered up the challenge for the self ascribed
conservativecowgirl to provide conclusive proof that I am, in point of fact, this "racist jackass".

Not that it bothers me in the least, as I've had just about any and every label leveled at me since I started blogging. But let's focus on Dan Riehl's post.

For starters, not only is the title of the film used indicative of one of the oldest and most widely recognized racial stereotypes, but the inference that Dan makes that America is waking up to see that Obama is "much blacker than we had first realized" is just as disgusting and makes no headway in the conservative chant of late that there is "no racism" within the movement.

Dan is likely echoing Fox"Nation" when comparing how he feels America should look at Obama while he makes a call to minorities ( and women ) to come together not only to better themselves but their country as well with the upcoming elections.

It appears that it was Dan's intent to get someone "non-white" to respond to this. I, however, am not, but could easily see that this wasn't some idle comment within the broader context of the piece.

Dan follows with this with a two-fer - the obligatory "affirmative action" jab coupled with a "hey buddy, now you can sit up front" schtick. Not only that, but Riehl likely realizes that conservatives have convinced themselves that Obama care little to nothing about Isreal ( as evidenced by the continuing slams against Obama and his relationships with Netanyahu ) and his inference that Obama is going to somehow prove he is pro-Isreal by tossing his National Security advisor under the proverbial "bus".

Regardless of what Obama does, whether he chastises that man for the poor and uncalled for slur or he does nothing, conservatives will either claim that he's willing to kill his own kind or - as is now - that he cares nothing about Isreal. It's a lose/lose.

Dan concludes his piece with a standard point of view that conservatives like to use - the "what if" option. It's much better to never respond to such claims simply because they never happened. But that doesn't mean that it's already happened in the mind of a conservative willing to use racial animus to make themselves look clever amongst their peers.

In the end, I'm not surprised at all by this, nor am I surprised by the response that my clear and honest statement brought. It's a sign of a rank amateur to use racially charged and divisive rhetoric within a piece, and just patently ignorant to use it in one that has no broader context other than to get as close to using the dreaded "n-bomb" without coming out and saying it.

For The Love Of Money Over Country

Limbaugh got another chance to blubber and whine over at the Wall Street Journal about how it's Left and not the Right that uses violence against the country and how conservatives ( specifically the Tea Baggers ) who love their country more than anyone else.

I reject the notion that America is in a well-deserved decline, that she and her citizens are unexceptional. I do not believe America is the problem in the world. I believe America is the solution to the world's problems. I reject a foreign policy that treats our allies like our enemies and our enemies like our allies. I condemn the president traveling the world apologizing for America's great contributions to mankind. And I condemn his soft-pedaling the dangers we face from terrorism. For this I am inciting violence....

....Let me just say it. The Obama/Clinton/media left are comfortable with the unrest in our society today. It allows them to blame and demonize their opponents (doctors, insurance companies, Wall Street, talk radio, Fox News) in order to portray their regime as the great healer of all our ills, thus expanding their power and control over our society.

A clear majority of the American people want no part of this. They instinctively know that the Obama way is not how things get done in this country. They are motivated by love. Not hate, not sedition. They love their country and want to save it from those who do not.

You'll notice that this isn't the full article, as the remainder is Limbaugh blaming Clinton for the attack in Oaklahoma city rather than the hyperventilation of the right-wing radio.

For starters, I can see exactly how someone like Rush Limbaugh would claim to "love" their country. Not only is it part of their job description, that they have to be so hyper-patriotic that it borders on conservative pornography, but they stand to make a great deal of money based on how much flag-sucking they do.

The one aspect of this that I can't stomach though is how conservatives only love their country when it is perceived to be in danger from some hidden force. This isn't to say that they won't contribute to their communities, but it's the aspect of how conservatives determine who and what needs assistance. To put it more bluntly, conservatives only love certain aspects of America. They will often fight for their community and specific people within it, but if they don't "see" something as in need, they don't feel that it concerns them. It's in this light that we see conservatives as the true "elitists", those that are more than willing to say who is and who isn't a "real" American and where "real" America actually is. It would be interesting to see how a conservative would draw a map of the US.

And let it not be mistaken, money and love of country - in the conservative mind - are so inextricably linked that it's quite disgusting.

One of the pillars of conservative ideology is that people that have "worked hard" for their money deserve to keep it. And while there is a great deal of nuance to a statement like that, one can't but wonder how a person like Rush Limbaugh is more deserving to earn such a ridiculous amount versus a man/woman that went to college and studied to become an archaeologist or even then man/woman that went to trade school to be an auto mechanic. What is Rush actually contributing to American society that makes him more "deserving" than anyone else?

I make that point in order to make another. The amount of money that one makes more often then not colors your viewpoint of American life. This isn't to say that everyone in every income class is going to be displeased with what they make - no everyone is motivated by greed - but when I and many people look at what I do for a living, I find myself asking the question of how this is in anyway "fair"? By that, I mean that it seems rather odd that someone like Rush can make millions per year simply by being inflammatory, derogatory, and a patent liar in many instances while people like construction workers, miners, or even our military will never be able to dream of touching such an amount in our lifetime. Certainly, one can argue that it's a matter of "choice", but has it come to the point in America where we have to "choose" based on the rate of pay instead of what we have a passion to do?

The end result of all of this is that conservatives in the middle class, those that work the difficult an dangerous jobs, actually buy into Limbaugh's canted and ideological twisted view of American. They do this at their own peril. They do this because they have lost sight of what it truly means to love your country. This is because they have lost the ability - if they ever had it - to see this country for what it really is and who has really built it. The worst part of all of this is that they are letting Rush Limbaugh tell them what the definition of "love" is and how others that don't think and act as he does lack this passion for their nation. And this all goes back to the money aspect. They see the millions that Limbaugh makes and they are tricked into believing that if someone makes that amount of money for such a simple task as talking on the radio, then they must love their country more than anyone.

Bordering On Chaos

While anti-immigration wingnut Michelle Malkin was probably gleefully bouncing up in down in her computer chair while typing out her piece on Arizona's preposterous, and likely unconstitutional, immigration law, there's still some unease amongst some of her fellow conservatives.

Here's a portion of Malkin's screed:

It’s official: GOP Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer has signed the nation’s toughest immigration enforcement bill. They’re doing the job the feds won’t do — taking the law and our borders seriously to protect the health, safety, and welfare of our citizens first.

Cue the ACLU lawyers, the open-borders lobby, and the race-card players. And watch the Left show you what intolerance is really all about.

You ever notice that the ACLU is always the first to get slammed when something like this happens? I mean, I can at least see how conservatives are want to allow people's civil liberties to be trampled on, but one has to wonder how a woman of Philippine/Cuban decent is so eager to shill for this law. After all, if she ever visits Arizona, she's just as likely to be stopped for "driving while not white" as anybody. I'm sure that's at least in the back of her mind, but don't expect her to admit it.

Here's Allahpundits take on the new law in which he addresses the fact that there's still a lot of gray area in it that doesn't give law enforcement a very clear picture of what is and what isn't "reasonable suspicion".

The “reasonable suspicion” requirement is still there (see yesterday’s post for more on that) but this version specifies that there have to be independent grounds for suspicion beyond race. Also new is the list of documents that someone can present to create a presumption that they’re here legally, although it’s unclear to me how that’ll work in practice. If you’re pulled over on suspicion of being illegal for whatever reason and you produce an Arizona driver’s license, does the cop then let you go (probably, in most cases) or does he get to hold you while he tries to come up with further evidence to overcome the presumption? Another open question — and this is the key for civil libertarians — is whether “reasonable suspicion” can be formed simply by virtue of the fact that the suspect isn’t carrying one of the ID types listed. If so, then cops could theoretically start pulling people aside on the sidewalk and hauling them in if they don’t produce their “papers.” I don’t read this section that way; it sounds like “reasonable suspicion” must exist before any “reasonable attempt” to verify the suspect’s immigration status is made. But if I’m misreading it and “reasonable suspicion” is satisfied if the suspect is guilty of nothing more than being Latino and forgetting his driver’s license at home, then they’re going to have a Category Five legal and political clusterfark on their hands when the first American citizens of Hispanic descent are mistakenly arrested.

You'll notice that I quote Allah on her fairly regularly. This isn't because I accept his point of view on all things, but because he treads that fine line between "against everything Obama does" and "for everything that conservatives do". That being said, I don't think it makes him a particularly honest blogger either, as this too often comes off as pre-damage control just in case the need arises.

To the point though that law enforcement officials have to now police race ( and that's what's happening people ) as well as protect that citizenry that is here legally, this is likely to be a resource-drainer in many instances.

And even though the "birth certificate" claim is being walked back by conservatives now, there has already been an instance of this happening even before legislation was signed by the governor of Arizona. So who's to say that this isn't going to happen again?

By and large, this new law does not make Arizona look good. Well, to hardline right-wingers it does, but the socio-political and economic ramifications that this poses are far more reaching that most people are going to realize. Certainly, immigration reform is needed, and this most certainly is not the way to approach it. From my perspective, this not only will make life more difficult for legal immigrants, but for natural-born citizens of not only Hispanic heritage, but anyone that isn't white.

This is not going to play out well, especially for conservatives.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Ghostwriters On Reform

I still don't think Palin writes these things.

In the wake of the recent financial meltdown, Americans know that we need reform. Not only have many individuals learned lessons about personal responsibility through this, but we’ve been able to engage in a discussion about government’s appropriate role.

The current debate over financial reform demonstrates what happens when political leaders react to a crisis with a raft of new regulations. First off, the people involved in writing government regulations are often lobbyists from the very industry that the new laws are supposed to regulate, and that’s been the case here. It should surprise no one that financial lobbyists are flocking to DC this week. Of course, the big players who can afford lobbyists work the regulations in their favor, while their smaller competitors are left out in the cold. The result here are regulations that institutionalize the “too big to fail” mentality.

Moreover, the financial reform bill gives regulators the power to pick winners and losers, institutionalizing their ability to decide “which firms to rescue or close, and which creditors to reward and how.” Does anyone doubt that firms with the most lobbyists and the biggest campaign donations will be the ones who get seats in the lifeboat? The president is trying to convince us that he’s taking on the Wall Street “fat cats,” but firms like Goldman Sachs are happy with federal regulation because, as one of their lobbyists recently stated, “We partner with regulators.”

Whether Palin has a hand in the initial "brainstorming" process for her Facebook screeds or not, let's take a look at what she's saying and then put the relevant context to it.

But first, a video.....

You see, this is where Palin utilizes a something called "projection". She's trying to paint this picture of malevolent Democrats cavorting with banking lobbyists in order to distract you from what you just saw in the clip above.

The invitation to the fundraiser, obtained by the Party Time blog of the Sunlight Foundation, shows that the it was hosted by lobbyists Wendy Grubb, Kirsten Chadwick, Scott Reed, and a variety of corporate PACs. Grubb is a top lobbyist for Citigroup, a bank that took taxpayer TARP funds and has yet to repay them. Chadwick, a former staffer to Rep. Roy Blunt (R-MO), is a lobbyist for Zurich Financial Group, a financial services conglomerate.

ThinkProgress, along with several other journalists, waited outside of the fundraiser at the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) building. Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) walked quickly past reporters into his car, refusing to take questions. Both Sens. Cornyn and George Lemieux (R-FL) dodged reporters by driving into the NRSC’s underground lot. Although ThinkProgress tried to ask both GOP lawmakers and the other attendees of the fundraiser about regulation reform legislation, only Charlie Black spoke to us. Black is a longtime corporate lobbyist who now represents a variety of investment banks, including Goldman Sachs, within a trade group called the “Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association.”

Conservatives can't have their constituencies realizing that they care more for the corporation than the average American. Then again, these voters could very likely know this to be true but simply don't care. But I have to ask myself from time to time, are these people so blinded by ideological ignorance that they don't see that corporate lobbyists are more important than they are? I can recall multiple conversations with people in my town who will defend these corporations, Republican politicians, and conservativism with more vigor and passion than they would defend their own children. It's truly an amazing time to be living in when you have people completely disinterested in looking out for their better interests in the name of political alignment.

And Sarah, if Republicans think there should be reform, then why did all 41 Republicans Senators oppose the Obama administration's plan?

It's a fairly simple answer, really. They are opposing everything simply because the Democrats are in power. The only problem is that the Dems aren't being aggressive enough. Not just with Financial reform, but with virtually every initiative that they have tried to implement. From the Stimulus on down to Wall Street reform, Democrats have continually tried to be bipartisan and Republicans have just turned up the volume and screamed like the sky was falling. It's time that stopped.

A pity, though, that conservatives see Palin's Facebook page as a reliable news source and lack the capacity to not only fact check but to see the glaring reality right in front of them.

The Projection Of Denial

Here we go again....

For starters, Markos didn't call anyone a Nazi. That was Beck blatantly mischaracterizing a clearly worded statement that is grounded in well documented fact.

One would think by now that people would be on to Beck as nothing more than a carnival barker, a guy who's sole point is to get you to buy the useless crap he's selling.

This is the primary problem with the Tea Baggers - they lack that ability to think for themselves. It often seems like I'm repeating myself with these posts, but it bares repeating that Beck's revisionist history and complete lack of intellectual honesty are not only going to be his downfall, but the downfall of Tea Baggers across the country.

David Neiwert at Crooks And Liars has chronicled Beck's use of eliminationist rhetoric for quite some time, so to hear Beck claim the contrary is patently false.

Considering the mindset of the typical Tea Bagger, they can take what Beck says and twist it into something more sinister. Some may claim that you can't get more sinister than Beck, but rest assured that it is possible.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

The Face Of A Tea Bagger: Pt II b/w Comment Response

Chase Whiteside again does the work that most media won't do

Before I get into why Chase's reporting is so revealing of what Tea Baggers really know, here's a reader comment I received earlier regarding Ron Paul and Palin's participation in the "movement".

You need to do some research on your history before you go running your mouth on a blog and make yourself out to look dumber than Palin.

- Ron Paul Tea Party 2007
- Neo-Con
- Tea Party Hijacked

- Palin lying

Your lack of understanding about how the ORIGINAL Tea Party was 100% in support of Ron Paul and his message, and the fact that he raise a WORLD RECORD for political contributions in a 24 hour period, $4.3 million is astonishing.

Furthermore, the neo-cons saw dollar signs when Ron Paul's Tea Party, but was already locked in with McCain and couldn't just up and leave that during 2008. So Palin quit her day job as Governor of Alaska in 2009, and now make 10 times that amount going to conventions and selling her stupid book. Now she is trying to redirect funds that should be going to Ron Paul into her own pocket.

PALIN is a greedy, lying, retarded puppet that will say or do anything to improve her ratings and profits.

Do your homework or you risk making yourself look like an ass....oops...too late.


While this anonymous person has a point that Ron Paul supporters have been known to rally around their cause, it's a bit disingenuous to claim that they started the first Tea Bagger shoutfest. That seems more like latching onto what FreedomWorks has managed to accomplish within the last year.

Not only that, but one would think that a group that is so impassioned, so willing to rally around Ron Paul's every breath, that they would distance themselves from the Palin fanatics that make up a massive portion of the Tea Bagger movement.

The fundraising point is a bit odd as well. After all, Scott Brown raised well over $1million in about 24 hours and now look how he is viewed by conservatives. I think the phrase buyers remorse is quite apropos here.

The broader point of my piece, which was taking on the current incarnation of conservative protesters, was that they really have no clear goals or leadership. It was to that end that I tied in the Paulites and how the remainder of the Tea Baggers were quite incensed that he even be mentioned in the same breath as a person like Palin, Beck, or Limbaugh.

By and large, the Tea Baggers are simply reflexive in nature, regardless of who they are supporting. This is evidenced in Chase Whiteside's video. They see something that sounds "pretty" ( Obama's a commie-socialist-marxist that's going to take away your guns and Bible ) or someone that's "pretty" ( I guess Palin would be the only choice here, considering her Milf-ish exterior ) and they just run with it until something better comes along.

But what Chase does is something that no major news network is going to do - show these people for who they really are. Wasn't there a report out that showed how these people are somehow more educated and thereby more attune to what is going on in America? Doesn't appear that way does it. Particularly with the lady who's obviously a Ron Paul fan.

Media Stunts

Greta is just following her pre-program script

Did you catch the part where she mention who the government, leading up to the crisis, didn't protect people? Know who was sitting in the Oval Office then? I know I do.

Greta is a rather peculiar creature on Fox"News", as she's designed to portray balance to the network ( even though she and her husband were notorious, serial, stalkers of Sarah Palin ) but is in a time slot where most people aren't really paying attention to the news. I see her program as background noise for most Fox viewers while they are getting ready to go to bed - save maybe those on the West Coast.

But my question is really this - why is Fox trying to protect those that were key players in the economic rape of this country? I suppose that one could say that greed is a motivator, but it's more than likely the promotion and advocation of ignorance that is more in play in this regard. After all, keeping your audience enamoured with red-meat conjecture rather than fact-based analysis does tend to hold the attention of the modern conservative.

Happy Earth Day

Be prepared to hear lots of clap-trap from conservatives today ( and from Fox"News" ) about climate change in that typical anti-science tone that they so love to use.

What are you doing to help the environment?

Take some time today to recycle, car-pool, use less water, or plant a tree. Every little bit helps no matter what those prattle-heads say.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


And I was just saying how he had all but disappeared.

It's to be expected that DeMint would say this, considering who he was giving the interview to. That's why these little games of patty-cake are generally pointless and a waste of time.

But here's where I take exception with what DeMint has to say.

Does one HAVE to be religious in order to be not just a Tea Bagger, but a conservative? Conversely, does one HAVE to be anti-religious to be a liberal/progressive? The answer to both is obvious. But conservatives love to use religion more than they love to study scripture in order to find out what their religion actually espouses.

It may be a bit of a stretch, but I get the sense that DeMint is doing a little coattail-riding with this interview. After all, Glenn Beck has fashioned himself into quite the televangelist and his show ratings show that conservatives are not only enjoying it, but buying into his preposterous theories.


Guess who's ahead of schedule.

Hey conservative, would you like some crow with your tea?

General Motors also announced new investments in two factories that will build the new versions of the Malibu sedan.

One has to wonder what excuse conservatives will make for this successful end to the GM bailout. After all, they can't possibly say they were wrong for wanting the company to fail.

The Face Of A Tea Bagger

I've said multiple times that I believe the Tea Bagger movement really doesn't have any clear goals in mind, nor do they have any form of leadership. It is clear, however, that every shoutfest that erupts throughout the year is clearly orchestrated by people like FreedomWorks with the accompanying PR push from Fox"News".

Now, Edison Research has compiled polling data taken from last week's Tax Day Protest in Washington and come up with some revealing answers as to who the Tea Baggers look up to.

The survey, an exit poll conducted Thursday by Edison Research at the massive Tax Day protest on the National Mall, found that the attendees were largely hostile to President Barack Obama and the national Democratic Party — three-quarters believe the president “is pursuing a socialist agenda.”

Yet they aren’t enamored of the Republican Party as an alternative. Overall, three out of four tea party attendees said they were “scared about the direction” of the country and “want to send a message to both political parties.”

The results, however, suggest a distinct fault line that runs through the tea party activist base, characterized by two wings led by the politicians who ranked highest when respondents were asked who “best exemplifies the goals of the tea party movement” — former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas), a former GOP presidential candidate.

It's always been clear that animosity, hatred, and misplaced rage were part of the glue that kept this group in a semi-stable state, but it's only within the last few months that the Paulite's have been showing their true colors.

Anyone remember how conservatives reacted when Ron Paul won the straw poll at CPAC? It was at that moment, that you could tell that the nuttiest were starting to take over the nut house.

Palin has always been a "face" of the Tea Bagger clan, and is often referred to as a "leader" of the movement, though the spin has continuously been that since there is not an "elected" leader of the movement that THAT is what makes it organic and pure grass-roots. But Palin's status is actually no greater than the status of a movie star. Conservatives, by and large, prefer the gimmick over the substance, and Palin fits the former quite well. She's learned to be coached and to stay on message with some of the top conservative performers.

What was puzzling to me regarding this poll was that it made no mention of Glenn Beck, Michelle Bachman, or the Tea Bagger's former favorite politician Jim DeMint - and boy did he disappear fast after healthcare reform passed. This leads me to believe that, like all people that idolize a particular actor/actress/musician/author, the "idol" will become marginalized at some point when something louder, flashier, and with more pretty colors catches their attention.

The Walk-Back

I'm kind of late to this story, but it think it bares some more reflection.

Recently, former Clinton adviser and toe-sucking enthusiast Dick Morris appeared on Hannity's Fox"News" program to tout this rather dubious claim that Bill Clinton was forced to reappoint Janet Reno to the AG position in his cabinet because he was directly involved and responsible for what transpired in Waco, TX.

Even before Morris started his walk-back on this topic, one of conservatives favorite bloggers voiced his concerns that this claim was rank speculation and had little, if any, value.

I'm not one to agree with Ed Morrissey on anything, but I'm fairly certain that he did this out of a purely damage control reflex.

I find this less than compelling for a couple of reasons. First, Morris doesn’t have the best reputation for credibility, and this story relies entirely on his recollection. Morris doesn’t even know the “big secret.” Second, Clinton had already won the last election he would ever contest — so what was the danger in kicking Reno out?

And here's Morris this morning on Fox And Friends

Morris' lack of credibility doesn't appear to be a problem with the execs at Fox"News", as he is continually peddling his bitter anger over being removed from the Clinton administration all those years ago. But that certainly fits right into a specific portion of the mission statement of Fox - blame Clinton for everything as often as possible.

The broader point of this is that conservatives, and Fox"News", can't let it be shown that the Tea Baggers are in fact enraging specific demographics within the conservative realm, those being militia groups and lunatic-fringe gun-rights activists. They have a vested interest in altering American's perceptions of the Tea Baggers.

Morris has a unique position in the broader landscape of Fox"News" because of his connection with the Clinton administration. And that is one of the reasons why he is continually allowed to drool out this inaccurate and inflammatory nonsense. However, there had to have been some amount of push-back or else he wouldn't have altered his statement.

I tend to look at Fox And Friends as the conservative media "news dump" show. While they likely have a higher viewership than other morning shows, they don't have near the power that Beck or Hannity do, so it's a safe program to do damage control with, as it will largely be ignored. You know, conservatives have to have some background noise in the morning while they are sipping their Ensure and eating oatmeal.

The Power Of Prayer

Here's why Christopher Hitchen's knows his stuff.

I'm not a particularly religious person, though I do still attend church on occasion just out of pure curiosity, so this topic really intrigued me.

Hitchens is unblushing in his beliefs ( or lack thereof ) while Perkins is a classic conservative Christian - loves only select parts of the Bible and shows abject ignorance to the Constitution and the very real and well documented history of the Founding Fathers. As a friend of mine once mentioned - can any conservative tell you where Thomas Jefferson went to church?

I do, however, have to offer this one caveat. No one is forced to pray, as it's completely voluntary. But it's easy to that this does step on religious freedoms enough to violate the Constitution. As Hitchens rightly pointed out, what about other days of religious prayer? This isn't a strictly "Christian" nation, it's a nation that was designed to be accepting of all religions.

Without Merit

Check out this clip and then tell me where Limbaugh gets this "proof" that the Obama administration knew about pending litigation against Goldman Sachs.

This has always been a major issue with me - conservatives don't fact check.

But here's the other side to this issue. What is so troubling about the White House having a sponsored link when you key in the search terms "Goldman Sachs SEC"?

This is yet another example of Rush, and people like him, looking out for the interests of a corporation rather than the average American. The economic rape of this country was perpetrated by people like Goldman, so why shouldn't a bright light be pointed in their direction and information on how to reform these kinds of people be available. You remember that whole "transparency" thing that conservatives complained wasn't real? It's right there and Rush is whining about it.


Monday, April 19, 2010


Probably no blogging today. I'm nursing a serious head-cold that I fear will be the catalyst for another sinus infection. In the meantime, here' some video silliness......

Friday, April 16, 2010

R.I.P. Peter Steele

I found out about the passing of one of my favorite musicians yesterday morning.

Peter Steele was the front-man and bass guitar player for Type O Negative, what I believe to be one of the greatest goth/metal bands of all time. I had seen them on numerous occasions back in the mid to late 90s when I was in college. They were, by all accounts, very tongue-in-cheek in their approach to most songs they did - as evidenced with there one and only charted song "Black No. 1".

Throughout his career with the band, Steele always exuded a sense of passion and understanding for topics like death, love, loss, and mythological stories. He also had a very dry and bizarre sense of humor and was often known to be quite off-putting in interviews, though his intent was to keep this persona alive when he was away from the band.

I don't want to speculate too much on what it was that drove Peter to use drugs or what drugs he did take, but one has to wonder what it's like to have all these thoughts in your head, pouring them out onto paper, creating such razor sharp compositions - themselves a continuous reminder of who you are and where you came from.

Seeing Type O Negative live is something that it difficult to describe in words, given the proper venue and tone of the evening. The times I saw them I was consistently up front and center. Standing well 6-1/2 feet tall, Steele was an imposing figure on stage and most nights would have a bottle of red wine sitting on a pedestal next to him. And when the band played, it was literally a transformational experience.

Steele's voice, whether speaking or intoning about unrequited love, was like a black angel screaming downward toward the mortals below him. And that is one of the primary reasons that he is irreplaceable. I think it's safe to say that his bandmates know this as well.

Rather than post one of Type O's official videos, I've opted for live versions of my two favorite tracks from what I believe was their seminal LP - October Rust. Peter was a true original and a man that followed his passions unlike most. It is unfortunate, however, that it was that same passion that would be his undoing. In some morbid way, Peter Steele's death almost seems fitting, considering the themes that were intertwined in the music he created. I hasten to say that Steele was destined to die like this, but it does make sense in that peculiar sort of way.



What's Fair Isn't

A little class warfare to start you morning?

Who precisely is Kilmeade talking about? The poor? The elderly? Does he even know what he's talking about or is he just reading from the script handed out in the pre-show meeting? Do you honestly care?

The broader point that is likely to be made throughout the day, as Fox & Friends is generally a trial-balloon for the talking-points that are to be used during the following programs. So for anyone to claim that it's a valid argument that certain people aren't paying their fair share doesn't seem to understand who is asking the question and why.

You always hear conservatives talk about a "fair tax" that would somehow miraculously level the playing field in America. I'm no economist, but that simply sounds like an idea that would make the upper-earners in America have to pay in less than they should while the lower income brackets will get the shaft. Not much of a level field but more of a hill with most of us at the bottom.

Observations From The Corner

Yesterday afternoon, several dozen people ( all white and most above the age of 40 though I did see a few kids holding signs and looking rather puzzled as to what they were actually doing there ) gathered in an abandoned parking lot in downtown Madisonville, KY.

There were the obligatory "Get Your Hands Of My ____" signs and a few timid shouts at cars that honked their horns as they passed. Overall, the atmosphere felt a bit forced and lacking in the passion that one would think a Tea Bagger would have. In all, it wasn't really a "march" or a "protest", just people idly shuffling around.

The one thing that made the event almost worthless to capture on film, aside from the fact that no one wanted to appear on camera, was this extremely annoying band that played 70s standards at an almost ear piercing level. One had to wonder if the low turnout had anything to do with the heat emanating up from the concrete, the near inaccessible parking area, or the amateur-hour band that couldn't figure out how to turn down the treble.

I stayed about an hour and actually had a few revealing conversations. I say revealing because the overriding sentiment from the 6 or so that would actually speak to me was one of complete lack of ability to fact check everything they took in as truth. Each and every time one of them would repeat something that Glenn Beck or Sarah Palin or Rush Limbaugh had said about Obama, taxes, or government in general, I would ask them if they had verified these claims. I got more than a few odd and puzzled looks. This was usually followed up by "but they fact check these things before they say them". It was quite exasperating at times.

As I left, there was this woman that came up to me and asked if she could pray for me. Not being a particularly religious person to begin with, I asked why she thought I needed to be prayed for, to which she replied - with a particularly morbid grin - that Obama was "the anti-christ".

I had to make my exit as gracefully as possible, as I nearly burst into uncontrollable laughter at that point.

The Thankless Party

This clip is really getting under some people's skin. But he has a valid point.

Conservatives are want, on a daily basis, to claim that Obama is "think skinned" and that he can't take what's being dished out to him. The reality Obama's statements is completely lost on even the most educated of Tea Bagger. While the truth regarding taxation since Obama took office will not sway any Tea Bagger, it should be pointed out that their Contract For America isn't exactly the picture of fiscal responsibility that they claim to champion.

If you bothered to click the links above, you'll be taken to posts by Malkin and Allahpundit. The former is all pursed-lipped rage while Allah does a great deal of reaching and speculation in an attempt to make some type of semi-cogent point. Both seem to lack the ability to exercise even a fraction of intellectual honesty, but are you really surprised?

Mining For Talking Points

Recently, Limbaugh ( and others ) have set out to do some damage control for Massey Energy and Don Blankenship.

Rush's key point in his tirade against Obama and those decrying the action of Massey was that it was a failure of the United Mine Workers union, that they are somehow to blame for this disaster.

In a recent program, Rush had this to say:

So I checked the e-mail during the break and a bunch of people say, "Hey, Rush, there was no union at that mine. At that Massey mine there was no union. Blankenship kept the union out of there. You can't blame the union for it." The left are trying to blame the Massey disaster on its union busting, in fact. But: "In 2009 the National Labor Relations Board agreed with a decision that Massey Energy rehire 85 coal miners who said they had been discriminated against because they were union members." So there were union workers there, and so the United Mine Workers should have been overseeing their safety. United Mine Workers of America. There were union workers at that mine, and the left is trying to say, "You can't say that, Limbaugh! Why it's a nonunion shop. That SOB CEO got rid of all the unions!" No, no. He agreed to bring back 85 of them. You people, it's been 21 years. At some point you are going to learn: If you go up against me on a challenge of fact, you are going to be wrong. It's just that simple.

Don't you just love his megalomania.

Here's where he's wrong.

The ruling cited by Limbaugh refers to a subsidiary of Massey Energy - Mammoth Coal. The reason that this is important is that Mammoth doesn't run the Upper Big Branch Mine. The company that operates that mine is Performance Coal Co. Limbaugh's claim that 85 union members worked at Upper Big Branch is in no way grounded in fact.

The UMWA further debunks Limbaugh's assertions, as they cite that the Upper Big Branch Mine had no union representation. Had there been these alleged 85 union miners there, inspections would have been monitored by union representatives and those alleged 85 men could have left the workplace voluntarily or been taken from the workplace by their union rep without retribution from the company should the site be deemed unsafe.

The broader point of this is that Limbaugh is attempting to not only slam the UMWA, but to do his level best to spin away from his abject ignorance of what happens in the mining industry and how the UMWA's safety record compares to a non-union workplace.

Rush, I've been blogging for just under 2 years. Your 21 years of lies, distortions, and disinformation just go disproven by 15 minutes of internet research. It's just that simple.

Let's Get Physical

I'm pretty sure that Steve King is going to be lauded for his passion in this clip by fellow Tea Baggers. Then again, there may not be anything said by conservatives, as they tend to shy away when they realize it's they that tend to get violent when their actions and words are thrown back at them.

It's quite clear that Victor Zapanta never once accused King of being a murderer, so King's outburst is not only unjustified, but completely and totally out of line.

Isn't there some recourse against King for assaulting Zapanta in such a way? I'm certain that when pressed about it, people will say "it's not like he hit the guy", but you have to understand that this is a sitting member of Congress and is held to a higher standard than others. His behavior, and that of the remaining members of Congress, are looked upon as representative of his/her districts.

Then again, I'm honestly not surprised that it was Steve King to pull this kind of stunt. With his viewpoints and his rhetoric, it was bound to happen sooner or later. I'm fairly sure that King knew he was pushing the edges of what he could and couldn't do and stepped just enough over the edge to where he would escape any damage to his political appointment should the time arise where people started considering whether or not he was fit to represent them. Then again, I could be wrong.

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