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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Shorter Fox"Nation"

How dare The Washington Post spend so many words in an article discussing Hillary Clinton's hair!

Holy Shit! Have you seen Michelle Obama's wardrobe?!?!?!?! This is outrageous and demands our full attention to it in a highlighted section!!!!!

Let's Erase This Without A Back-Up Plan

Because only a conservative would consider the educational well-being of our children a "tax burden".

Think Progress highlights Sharon Angle's plan to thwart any Constitutional or other reasoning for giving funds to education. For what purpose? I suppose only she knows.

In 2003, the Nevada legislature enacted a budget which did not include education funding, on the theory that they would take up a second bill which ensured that the public schools could remain open when the school year began. Because the Nevada Constitution requires both a balanced budget and the state to fund education, this second bill would include a combination of tax increases and education spending.

The two bill strategy broke down, however, when a minority of the state Assembly — led by Sharron Angle — refused to enact any bill which raised the new revenue required to reopen the public schools. Because a two-thirds majority is necessary to enact any tax increases, Angle’s minority was on the verge of shutting down all public education in the state of Nevada.

Eventually, the Nevada Supreme Court thwarted Angle’s plans. The court case which Angle refers to, Guinn v. Legislature of the State of Nevada, waived the two-thirds super majority requirement in order to ensure that the state met its constitutional obligation to provide public schools. So when Angle says that she appealed this decision to the U.S. Supreme Court “to fight for our Constitution,” she really was fighting against the Nevada Constitution’s requirement that all children have the opportunity to obtain a public education.

And while there is some truth in what Angle is speaking of, the reality that conservatives want programs without having to pay for them should be openly and continually exposed.

How can you have programs like public education, the fire department, a protective police force, or even those city parks where you walk your dog without taxes?

The continued fetishization of "privatizing" everything in America in order to satiate the reactionary and ill-informed Republican electorate will be the undoing of those that claim to champion it.

When Protecting Women's Health Is Rationing

Some conservatives are simply beside themselves at the thought of the FDA possibly revoking Avastin for use by women with advanced breast cancer.

This is a typical standpoint for the purely reactionary group, and one that doesn't consider the implications of using a drug that has not yet been proven to be effective to the degree where it will benefit patients.

The Washington Post does a nice job at framing this from a political perspective and folding the actual health risks into nothing more than an ancillary character within it's write-up of the potential FDA decision:

Federal regulators are considering taking the highly unusual step of rescinding approval of a drug that patients with advanced breast cancer turn to as a last-ditch hope.

The debate over Avastin, prescribed to about 17,500 women with breast cancer a year, has become entangled in the politically explosive struggle over medical spending and effectiveness that flared during the battle over health-care reform: How should the government balance protecting patients and controlling costs without restricting access to cutting-edge, and often costly, treatments?

The Food and Drug Administration is reviewing the recommendation of influential scientific advisers to revoke authorization of the drug to treat metastatic breast cancer. Contrary to initial research, new studies indicate that the benefits of the drug, which costs $8,000 a month, do not outweigh its risks, the advisory panel concluded....

And that is all conservatives need to have "proof" that Obama, Reid, and Pelosi are out to kill all the women in America who are unfortunate enough to be cursed with breast cancer.

However, once one takes a look at the realities of the decision to reconsider Avastin as a drug of choice for women that suffer with breast cancer, you begin to get a sense of how out of touch conservatives are with science, healthcare, and how both could possibly harm the American public.

NPR has some details to consider....

As breast cancer specialist Eric Winer at Boston's Dana-Farber Cancer Institute tells the Post, "For better or worse, Avastin has become in many ways the poster child of high-priced anti-cancer drugs."

Even if FDA goes along with the experts' advice to yank approval Avastin for breast cancer, doctors would still be able to prescribe Avastin for that use. But, and it's a big but, insurers would be less likely to approve payment if the FDA decides the evidence doesn't back up Avastin.

The Avastin case also represents a test of how FDA deals with setbacks for drugs after they've been given speedy approvals based on preliminary data. A Government Accountability Office report last year faulted the agency for not be diligent enough in following up on those actions.

FDA has the power to withdraw approval of a drug if a company hasn't performed promised studies, or they don't pan out. But as of last September, the GAO noted, the FDA "has never exercised its authority, even when such study requirements have gone unfulfilled for nearly 13 years."

The FDA is expected to make a decision on Avastin by the middle of September.

.....and while the specter of insurance company denial of paying for the drug is most certainly a talking-point generator for conservatives, the science behind the use of Avastin is being completely ignored by conservatives who are more eager to validate the "death panel" and "rationing" meme, even though the promise of Avastin use was completely destroyed with follow-up studies of the drug:

....followup studies, known as the AVADO and RIBBON-1 trials were indeed performed, and the results published. The AVADO trial was a phase III randomized double-blind clinical trial (N=736 subjects) comparing docetaxel with docetaxel plus Avastin in women with stage IV HER2-negative breast cancer. Its results were less than impressive. While it did demonstrate a decrease in PFS due to the addition of Avastin, PFS did not improve anywhere near the five months it did in the E2100 trial; rather it improved from 8.2 months to 9.0 months, a mere 0.8 month or 24 days. As in E2100, there was no detectable effect on OS. There was, however, a troubling trend towards a shorter OS in women who received Avastin. Even though the difference was not statistically significant, women who did not receive Avastin survived a median of 31.9 months; those who received the lower dose survived a median of 30.8 months; and those who received the higher dose level of Avastin survived a median of 30.2 months. In contrast to E2100, in the AVADO study Avastin did not increase the toxicity of treatment measurably.

The initial results of the RIBBON-1 trial were reported at the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) meeting last year and were similarly disappointing. In the trial, Avastin was tested in a randomized, double-blind study enrolling 1,237 patients. Oncologists could choose from capecitabine, taxane, or anthracycline-based chemotherapy, and patients would be randomized to that plus or minus Avastin. The results were that Avastin improved PFS by 2.9 months when added to capecitabine, and 1.2 months when added to anthracycline-based chemotherapy. Again, there was no improvement in OS in women receiving Avastin. In fact, it was these studies that led the FDA advisory panel to vote 12-1 to revoke FDA approval for Avastin for use in breast cancer...

While there is still no real "sure" for cancer, conservatives are treating this story of Avastin, the FDA, and the realities of science as if the Obama administration are actively trying to prevent a cancer cure from being available to women in America.

More information is available here.

So what is the conservative standpoint here?

First of all, it is apparent that the modern conservative movement is more concerned with doing away with the FDA - an agency that is responsible for ensuring that medicines are safe for men, women, and children; even conservative ones - than approaching the use of questionable medications from a scientifically reliable standpoint.

Are we to believe that conservatives of the 21st century are willing to imbibe untested and unfounded chemical cocktails in the hopes that they could possibly cure a given ailment? I'd like to see John Boehner, Steve King, or Jim DeMint take an injection of an unproven medication for whatever they are suffering from to show that they stand by their "anti-government" stance. But more than that, how about the average conservative voter? Let's take a random sampling of registered Republican voters that identify with the modern conservative movement, post those results, and then see how many would be willing to take an untested drug for something as simple as allergies and find out how many show up to the free clinic where this unknown medication will be dispensed.

I'm guessing that the turnout would be pretty low - more like none-existent.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Monday Musicology

While listening to this NIN Remix EP in my car today, I'm reminded that remixes of tracks today are either lackluster interpretations of pre-packaged pop or no one even bothers with re-imagining the recordings of today because they are - guess what - pre-packaged pop.

This isn't to say that you won't hear remixes of Katie Perry, Lady GaGa, or MIA, but are these the artists that true electronic music pioneers really want to work with? I'm certain that there are some out there that feel even these three examples are on the "cutting edge" of modern musical entertainment, but when you have to rely on zit-cream commercials, exploding crotch costumes, and videos that emulate genocide, then I'm guessing that your music is lacking in just enough substance for you to require supplemental income.

But lets go back to 1997, when Halo 11 was released. Here is Plug's remix of The Perfect Drug.

While Reznor describes the time in which he wrote this track as one where he was listening to a lot of Drum and Bass and Jungle, it seems only fitting that Plug ( Luke Vibert ) remixed this track. For me, it's a standout of the EP.

More Sauce For The Goose?

But I want video of who the geese ( God ) pooped on?

My guess is that this could possibly be one of the first waves of Canadian Geese headed south looking for greener grass to eat and not the "God flock" that Beck is wanting you to believe in.

I'm in Western Kentucky and have been seeing Geese do "v-formation fly-overs" for weeks now. And this has been happening for years. Does this mean that God is going to bless this part of Kentucky with something?!?!?!?!?!

Likely not, as Canadian Geese are sited around DC around this particular time, despite what Beck would have his viewers believe. But would we expect them to think otherwise? Of course not.

Multi-Layered Candidates

Well, not so much multi-layered as all edging more to the fringe. This time, it's the real-life stand-in for the Walrus from the Alice In Wonderland film.

“[I]t is a very great honor that anybody would even think of asking. I’m obviously not a politician. I’ve never run for any federal elective office at all and, you know, it is something that would obviously require a great deal of effort,” he said. “What I do think, though, and what concerns me, is the lack of focus generally in the national debate about national security issues. Now, I understand the economy is in a ditch and people are concerned about it, but our adversaries overseas are not going to wait for us to get our economic house in order.”

When pressed as to whether that means he would consider a run, Bolton seemed to suggest that he might do it, at the very least to help put national security issues at the top of the debate agenda.

“In the sense that I want to make sure that not only in the Republican Party, but in the body politic as a whole, people are aware of threats that remain to the United States. You know, as somebody who writes op-eds and appears on the television, I appreciate as well as anybody that…there is a limit to what that accomplishes,” he said. “Whereas, some governor from some state in the middle of the country announces for president they get enormous coverage even if their views are utterly uninformed on major issues.”

When pressed a third time about running, he said that while “he is not going to do anything foolish,” he added, “you know, I see how the media works…you have to take that into account.”

I can only ponder who all would be the oysters in that story if this all came to pass.

Conservatives continue to digitally wet themselves whenever a far-right conservative is even offered-up as a potential Presidential candidate. From Palin, Chris Christie, on down to even Glenn Beck, Republicans really don't have anyone that is a clear cut or even viable choice in 2012. Well, maybe Romney or even - God forbid ( pun fully intended ) Mike Huckabee; and those two would likely be relegated to the "they aren't conservative enough" category come primary time.

Having seen how conservatives have reacted to quite literally everything Barack Obama and his administration have done, one can but reflect on what exactly what would happen if a conservative Republican controlled the White House and Congress. Anyone recall how that all worked out?

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Education, Conservativism, And Reality

The hypocrisy of the modern conservative movement is not only laughably transparent, but simply mind-numbing at times.

Here's a clip of the man that is slowly becoming the new "conservative Jesus", amongst some within the right-wing blogosphere, talking about how it's not right that his state didn't get Federal funding for schools under the "Race To The Top" program.

While Hot Air tries to reinforce the point that representatives of the Christie administration gave the correct numbers in a "face to face" interview and that the numbers are also available on the Treasury website, who's to say that those numbers aren't correct as well? After all, this is a man that has been hoisted onto a golden pedestal by Republicans all across America as a shining example of leadership and fiscal responsibility - so wouldn't it stand to reason that he would have a staff with the competence enough to know the difference between one number and another? Apparently not.

That aside, don't you just love the way that Christie is blaming the Obama administration for his own administrations incompetence. By that, I mean that I would really love to see the PDF file of the application where the incorrect data was placed. Are we to simply take Christie at his word? Are we to believe that the "single page" that was submitted that was headlined with numbers that even Kindergartners can distinguish was returned incorrectly by a conservative administration?

Moreover, the conservative point of view that there are "too many pages" to a given project only further echoes the reality that conservatives favor an over-simplification of America. After all, if just took "one page" to fix all the problems and obstacles that we faced, wouldn't this country be so much better?

And while Christie states at multiple times that he is responsible for this, there is more than enough blame for those he and his mouth agape followers would love to see fail. So what was this press conference all about? Was is about his administration being held responsible for an error, or was is about him blaming Barrack Obama for something that his staff simply couldn't do?

I think we all know the answer.

And isn't this a great opportunity for us to revisit how much Chris Christie belittles the value of teachers in the state that he claims to lead.......

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

This, Unfortunately, Isn't The Start's simply a continuation of what is already germinating in America.

Talking Points Memo has more details:

According to NY1, the cabbie managed to lock the passenger in the back seat while he called 911. Then both cabbie and crazy deranged passenger were taken to Bellevue Hospital, a few blocks away. According to NY1 -- and sort of incredibly -- as of late last night, the crazy deranged passenger had not yet been charged. No word on the condition of the cabbie at this point, either. Right now, NY1 appears to be the only source for this story (and their source seems to just be the police).

Okay so: Anyone else sadly not surprised at a Muslim hate crime in New York City these days? The anger that flared up at the anti-Mosque protest on Sunday sure looked like it could have led to something scary. Anti-Muslim invective is not a new phenomenon -- Glynnis MacNicol reminded me how after 9/11, many Muslim (and Indian) cabbies put American flags in their windows, to signal their patriotism. It's not just in New York, either: In San Diego, a cabbie was attacked in May after taking a pit-stop to pray. In Chicago, cabbies are now driving around with anti-Islamic ads on them, sponsored by a group called "Stop The Islamization of America." on Open Salon, a contributer wrote about hearing the 9/11 stories of cab drivers, particularly one Muslim man.

Hate crime, or opportunity for conservatives? If you guessed both, you're right - but that's not a good thing.

The apparent anti-Muslim assault on a New York city cabbie by a man shouting “Assalamu Alaikum. Consider this a checkpoint" produced an immediate round of recriminations over its connection to opposition to a New York Islamic Center and an apparent rising tide of Islamophobia.

But as often at the intersection of politics and violent crime, the story doesn't appear to fit any easy stereotype: The alleged assailant, Michael Enright, is — according to his Facebook profile and the website of the left-leaning media organization Intersections International — a student at the School of Visual Arts and a volunteer for Intersections, which recently produced a statement of support for the Park51 project and is funded by the mainstream, liberal Collegiate Church of New York.

Intersections did not respond to two messages, and the group does not appear to be picking up the phone. Enright did not respond to a message through his Facebook account.

But this appears to be the same man: Police described Enright as a resident of Brewster, 21 years old, and an employee of an "Internet media company who had recently spent time with a combat unit in Afghanistan filming military exercises until this past May."

While both Fox"Nation" and Politico play the "friend of a friend" game with this, it's rather easy to see through this paper-thin facade.

While the reactionary Right will claim that since this man was affiliated with Intersections, that THAT is conclusive proof that he is a leftist. That's a pretty sad argument to make, as people that want to break into visual media - particularly cinematography - will take on almost any available job that would grant them access to shoots that will boost their portfolio and hopefully garner them a position where they truly desire to be. Where you work doesn't directly reflect your political outlook. I worked for almost 5 years for a hydraulics firm packed with racist, Right-wing Palin worshipers and I'm definitely not aligned with them.

But then we are most certainly to see the "but he volunteered with them" argument that will be used to paint a portrait of "lefty-sympathy". It all wreaks of the continued conservative clamour to try and prove that it's the liberals/progressives that are the violent ones.

Exit question: Michelle Malkin's already got this man's name and place of residence, so why didn't she check his voter registration status like she has done so many times before to prove a point? Could it be that she wouldn't get the answer she wanted?

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Returning To Normal Digital Life

Regular nightly / full-weekend blogging will resume as of tomorrow.

The new job is offering me as much OT as possible, and I just can't pass it up right now.

Hope by handful of readers are well........

Sunday, August 22, 2010

No Racially Motivated Reaction Here

John Cole posted this earlier, but I think it bares repeating an further analysis.

I don't think I've ever seen more conclusive proof that the modern conservative movement is, despite all statements to the contrary, made up by a fairly large population of whites that are more than willing to judge a person based solely on the color of their skin.

And to echo Cole's point that this man clearly states that he was not once asked his position on anything, I think it bares repeating that those that were acting in a threatening manner toward this man were met with the exact opposite. This man composed himself quite well as he was surrounded by people shouting at him simply because of the color of his skin.

The only question that I have is whom the man was that was obviously escorting him away from the crowd. He seemed to present himself as someone with a position of power enough to make decisions on who should and shouldn't be there. Not only that, but did you catch the exchange between the rather tall fellow and the two men standing next to him as the "interloper" was escorted away. It seems that they thought this was all some sort of set-up to make them look racist. Considering how they treated this man, not once allowing him to voice his opinion or make any sort of case for or against Park 51, singling him out based on nothing more than he was "not white", I'll let you be the judge as to how they really feel.

Constitutionally Fetishistic

In which we find Michelle Bachman continuing to pass off herself as knowledgeable.

There was an interesting segment on NPR recently where the question was posed to a guest on All Things Considered if members of the Tea Parties and conservatives in office were using the specter of The Constitution to create a false sense of importance to their issues. The answer given was that people often see a person referencing The Constitution, no matter what the argument at hand, to be more attuned to the intricacies of the founding document even though specifics and analysis may not be given. Bachman, and all those like her, are banking on this perception to work for them come election time.

This is precisely like name-dropping. The more important you sound, the more likely that those whom are easily lead will agree with you. This doesn't speak well of those that identify with Michelle Bachman.

The Price Of Deception

I've found myself in many discussions with conservatives on Twitter regarding the cost of the Bush Tax Cuts and the one unifying answer that I get from them when pressed to explain why they agree with them based solely on the cost is that there "is not cost".

Seems that Mitch McConnell thinks this way as well.

As Think Progress points out, either McConnell doesn't know what he's talking about or he is attempting to defend one of the largest factors in the expansion of the deficit in the last 10 years.

In addition to incorrectly stating the effect that the expiration of the cuts would have on small businesses, McConnell basically summed up the Republican approach here, which is that cutting taxes for the rich is either free or worth exploding the deficit to implement. In reality, extending just the tax cuts for the richest two percent of Americans — which President Obama has proposed allowing to expire — costs $830 billion over ten years and $36 billion next year alone.

But lets just think for a moment about why these tax cuts were implemented to begin with. The idea was that more money would be available to Americans who would reinvest into the economy, thereby preventing a recession. Anyone recall how that worked out?

So aside from McConnell's inability to be honest with those watching MTP, I think this should be asked of him - why are you so willing to continue to back a program what is widely recognized to have failed?

Friday, August 20, 2010

The Give And Take Of Conservativism

This is simply amazing............

So "great Americans" should give up their rights when the "need" presents itself?

Actually, this doesn't surprise me, as this country was taken over by white puritans that demanded that the Native Americans give up the right to their "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness".

Does this mean that Gays can be "Great Americans" if they give up the ability to marry someone they love?

Does this mean that a family that has lost a son, a brother, a father, mother, or daughter in Iraq or Afghanistan must give up their right to voice opposition to The Westboro Baptist Church openly and hysterically protesting their loss?

Should I go on?

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Rating Worship At The Altar Of Beck

The sophomoric taunts and stereotypical "mine's bigger than yours" dribblings of Beck and crew have ceased to become just sad - they are just plain pathetic now.

While it would be far to easy to destroy the notion that because Beck has a larger audience that he must have all the facts, I think it's a far better approach to point out that childish nature of the conservative movement.

All too often, we hear conservatives speaking about their responsibilities, their mature approach to governance, or even that they are more "grown up" than their liberal/progressive counterparts. But when we see and hear people like Beck, Hannity, Limbaugh, and even elected conservative officials do nothing but belching out rhetoric that is sub-par when compared to "your ugly and your mother dresses you funny", one has to wonder what it is that draws so many people to them and accept what they are stating.

I've often stated that people, by nature, often want to feel like they are a part of something. It's that herd mentality that causes people to gravitate to the most popular kids in high school - to do and say and act as they do in the hopes that they will be seen as equals. For anyone to want to be seen as an equal to Glenn Beck should give anyone with higher brain functions pause.

Beck, on virtually a daily basis, is known to throw tantrums, scream and make silly noises to show his "passion" and "love" for America. And while it's sometimes fun to point and laugh at Beck's twitching machinations, there's always the response to his thesis of the moment when people like Olbermann, Maddow, or any non-conservative pundit, anchor, or commentator takes him on. The idea of debating issues on merit is sorely lacking within the conservative realm, as they prefer to act like the spoiled brat in grade school who taunts people to make up for their own inadequacies in life.

Such is the case with the clip above, as it's quite likely that Beck knows he would be on the losing end of the argument had he tried to put up a contradictory position to what Olbermann was stating. And it's funny, since this is allegedly the same position that Beck takes up on a nightly basis - how freedom of religion and honesty in reporting issues at hand should always rule the day in America.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Dont' Call Them Out......

.....because accountability isn't in their genetic make-up!!!!

This is some unfiltered, unscripted, real talk from Obama that has some conservatives seriously bent out of shape.

So how did those Bush Tax Cuts that were designed to recirculate more money into the economy work out? How much did they cost? How about the cost of the occupation of Iraq and the confrontation in Afghanistan? Those dollar figures alone should make conservatives wet their collective Depends on a daily basis. But do they? Of course not, as that would admit that conservative ideology is responsible for more than half our current debt.

I say we need more talk like this from not only our President, but all Democrats. Let the Republicans twitch and whine. They always create the problems and want us to solve them, so why are we even reaching across the aisle now?

The Same, But Explained

Standard fare from Rush, but I think this should be examined.

Notice how Rush immediately starts his defense of how mouth-agape conservatives are reacting to Cordoba House ( not a mosque by it's strict definition. Also, the name is now Park 51 ) by creating the "what if" narrative that has nothing to do with the form, function, or name of the building. From the jump, Rush has completely contorted the issue from one of freedom of religion to retail. But more on that later.

While Rush's incessant and seemingly amphetamine fueled blatherings about Park 51 are not grounded in reality for one second, it's interesting to note that there is already a Muslim "chapel" at the Pentagon that not one conservative seems to even be remotely bothered with. And this was something that Limbaugh brayed about like a donkey with dysentery. Do these people not do any research?

But more to the point; conservatives like Rush are all too eager to run headlong into that brick wall that is labeled "what if". It's not even partially connected to the issue at hand. It's a tactic that is utilized to distract you from what is really going on. The same can even be said about the name AND the location of Park 51. It's almost 3 blocks from the most northern edge of Ground Zero as well as not even being a mosque.

Keith Olbermann had something to say about this that I think bares repeating.

Possibly the one point that Keith brings up that I think needs to be highlighted is that conservatives are so intellectually lazy when it comes to reporting on issues such as Park 51 - which shouldn't be an issue to begin with. There has been a place of Muslim worship within a comparable distance to what is now known as Grown Zero for longer than I have been alive; even almost as long as people that are up in arms against Park 51 have been alive and yet we have heard nothing from them.

Why is that?

While Rush as attempting to conflate the very real and very honest issue of a big package store pushing the "mom and pop" "small businesses" that he claims to champion out existence, I sat back and listened to this nearly 3 minutes of inane drivel and finally got it.

As much as I have said that conservatives like Rush lack the ability to exercise rational thought, reasoning, even basic query on issues like why Park 51 is going to be located where it is, I have to say that I am wrong. Conservatives do have that ability - they simply choose not to use it. Why? There is only one answer - that they can't be seen as wrong.

When a person like Rush Limbaugh has so much invested in his position, so much drool and heavy breathing put into his false premises, there's no way he's going to pass up the opportunity to make people believe something that simply isn't there. There's no way that he will deny any moment where he can say the building ( that is essentially on par with a YMCA ) is going to be a breeding ground for terrorists.

Does any conservative have the ability to be honest about this?

And this was the guy that helped George W. Bush steal the election away from Al Gore. How's that for a slice of irony?

Repeal, But Give Us Some

Think Progress and The Wonk Roomare on top of issues once again that conservatives are wanting their inflamed base to ignore. Top of the pops this week is the fact that most of the states that have pending litigation against healthcare reform are accepting money that is granted to them by................wait for reform.

Yesterday, the Department of Health and Human Services announced that 45 states and the District of Columbia “will receive $1 million in grant funds to help improve the review of proposed health insurance premium increases, take action against insurers seeking unreasonable rate hikes, and ensure consumers receive value for their premium dollars.” The $46 million are part of the $250 million in rate review grant dollars authorized by the new health care law. Indeed, interest is so high that states that oppose the health law applied for grants. As the Wonk Room points out, 19 of the 22 states that are suing the federal government over the constitutionality of the health care law will receive $1 million each to improve their rate review capabilities.

I'm reminded of a comment that I saw on Twitter some months ago that stated how conservatives desire their social programs and their government intervention but never want to pay for them. This is also seen in how conservatives have viewed the Economic Stimulus - criticize it at every opportunity but cash in when you think no one is looking.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Fucking Epic!!!!! Maybe

I'm starting to wonder exactly what is going to happen at Beck's "No This Isn't About Martin Luther King Even Though It's The Anniversary Of His Historic Speech At The Same Location" '8/28' Rally. He keeps hyping it up so much that I wonder if there's going to be a Black Oak Arkansas reunion where Beck will ascend 50 feet up in the air and then charge at Mach 3 to the nearest liquor store and proceed to intravenously imbibe all the Jagermeister within a 45 second time frame while simultaneously reciting Ulysses in Mandarin Chinese. Now THAT, I would actually pay $4.95 to see.

I love how this whole "returning to God" meme has taken hold of Beck, and that he insists that anyone not "connected" to his God will ultimately be forgotten, be washed away by history. I suppose that someone should tell most of the historical figures in history ( who happened to conquer most of the known world in their time ) that they are now officially irrelevant in Beck's eyes as they didn't worship his God.

That aside, I'm reminded of how conservatives have to have this numerical tag applied to almost all of their rhetorical flourishes. 9/11, 8/28, 2010, 9/12, et al. It's like the mind of the commercialist conservative has become so compartmentalized that in order for them to recall anything even moderately adjacent to socio-political history that is has to be reduced to a 4-character hashtag.

Random aside: I wonder what image we would get if we graph these numbers out at X / Y coordinates? Likely nothing as interesting as the Fibonacci Circle. There's more of a chance that we would end up with a slightly less flattering rendering of Ronald Reagan and Alfred E. Newman's illegitimate love child.

But back to Beck's "rally".

Here's what will ultimately happen.

1. Beck and all his mouth-agape conservative followers will claim that an unnamed university has used a "body spacing" technique to conclude that 1/3 the population of America attended the rally.

2. There will be black people there. There will be no less than a week's worth of coverage from virtually every program on Fox"News" about it. But rest assured that black people are coming - lots of them.

3. No racists will be in attendance. Well, none that Fox"News" will report on.

4. The crowd will be completely comprised of "Independent" voters.

5. Hey, did I mention that there would be some black people there twoo?

6. The only media covering the event that showed the "real people" there will be Fox"News" and those that edit the tapes that Breitbart uses.

7. Did I say black people yet?

It's really a shame that I live so far from DC, as I would so love to attend this blatantly coattail-riding, hyperbolic stuffed, meme-fest. But alas, I will be waiting beside my desktop for Chase Whiteside to do glide through the crowd and show us what's really going on.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

The Blind Side Of Rand

After taking a break for a few days due to the new work schedule, I came across this piece from Bluegrass Politics that featured yet another comment about how Dr. Rand Paul still has little clue with the problems that plague the state that he is intent on representing in The US Senate.

Republican U.S. Senate nominee Rand Paul said he doesn’t think the drug problem in Eastern Kentucky is “a real pressing issue,” even though others have described substance abuse in the region as an epidemic.

Paul’s latest comment, made in late July while speaking to an Associated Press reporter, expands on his previously stated position in favor of cutting federal funding for undercover drug investigations and drug treatment programs. Many officials say both are badly needed in Appalachia, a hotbed for marijuana growers and drug dealers selling prescription pills and methamphetamine.

His Democratic opponent, Jack Conway, favors using federal money, as does the region’s Republican congressman, U.S. Rep. Harold Rogers of Somerset.

“I don’t think it’s a real pressing issue,” Paul told The Associated Press, suggesting that Eastern Kentucky voters are more concerned about fiscal and social issues.

Perhaps a review of Meth use from the National Drug Intelligence Center, a report that shows Meth lab creation in Kentucky soared in 2009, or even how Kentucky law enforcement and local media completely disagree with Paul's claims.

We are, however, dealing with the person that claimed that "accidents happen" when the Deep Water Horizon rig exploded and sank in the Gulf Of Mexico. Perhaps he thinks there is a "free market" response and solution to meth use and its ultimate consequences.

As a former Meth user myself, I can attest to the horrors and loses that occur once the person completely loses the ability to remove themselves from use. I was a lucky one, as I was able to quit with reasonable ease and had the support of friends and family. So, for Paul to make the complete absurd claim that Meth use isn't such a big deal is to be even more divorced from reality than I had originally thought.

I have to ask again - is Kentucky really willing to have this man as an elected representative?

Thursday, August 12, 2010

From The Mouth Of Conservative's Past

I like how Mitch McConnell says that this man absolutely has to be wrong because he held his "boss" accountable in a book he wrote. After all, we know that modern conservatives have a serious problem with accountability, even though they continually preach it.

I just love how conservatives are so intent on call Barack Obama "The Most Anti-(insert current-most abstract idea they are pretending to give two rips about) Ever"!!!!!!!

And while Mr. Stockman took the time out of his day to defend his position, I find it more than just a little telling that McConnell's handlers had to bring in a "stand-in" as it is crystal clear that Mitch doesn't have the sand or the skill to bring even a moderately understandable rebuttal. That isn't to say that the plasticine talking-point automaton that took Mitch's place did any better.

One last point I would like to bring up. While Stockman made a very clear point about reforming "entitlement" programs, he never once brought up the buzz-word that conservatives have been all too willing to repeat for the last 10 years - privatize. And this coming from the chief economic architect who worked for the man the modern conservative movement has elevated to a religious icon. Think about that for a bit.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The Past Is Off Limits For Some

Anyone recall how often conservatives speculated, fabricated, and postulated about Barack Obama's past? Of course you do. But guess what happens when a widely recognized publication reports on Rand Paul's alleged college escapades?...............


But it's not just Fox"News" that is attempting to push this story aside. It's their affiliate website and HotAir ( and I'm going to address the video at the end of HotAir's post tomorrow ).

These two voices alone will frame the conservative media narrative for days on end. These two places alone can forcefully push a storyline that is not only specious, but completely preposterous. But this storyline is going to ultimately backfire on them, as they were more than willing to claim questionable and/or false allegations around Barack Obama were fact. Was this reported on? Yes, it was.

Let's take a look here, here, here, here, here, and many more places.

Most of these were claims that Obama was initially supported by domestic terrorists. This was the meme that was carried by Fox"News" and their water-carrying, knuckle-dragging, constituency for months and months and is still being perpetuated. I could go on with this portion of my post for some time, but it's been discussed enough.

The bottom line is that while Rand Paul likely engaged in some crazy escapades in college - like many people do - the very fact that the claims against him ( as of now ) are equally as specious as Obama "palling around with terrorists", the defense that a fucking eye doctor is getting that the goddamned President of the United States ISN"T GETTING should say something about the state of the conservative movement.

Palin Protection

A quick one before I get into more substance tonight.

The reactionary Right are all twitching with abject rage at the fact that someone is calm and rational when confronting "Quitty McHalf-Gov" ( sorry, I had to steal a bit of how my dear Twitter/Blogger friend Laffy refers to her ).

It seems that Michelle Malkin's fill-in is trying to one-up "The Purse-Lipped One" in how they use energy better spent in helping society to kowtow to the blitheringly ignorant in society.

Over at the Daily Caller, Jim Treacher comments about how Think Progress is “scrutinizing yesterday’s clip of Palin talking to the angry lady with a sign like it’s the Zapruder film.”

Newsweek wrote, “Palin gets snarky on a school teacher.” The school district’s website lists Kathleen Gustafson as a “Theater Tech,” but why expect Newsweek to get curious and check for themselves whether or not her claim is literally true? (had Gustafson been with the Tea Party the school district would have no doubt heard from a Newsweek fact checker by now)

When Palin asked Gustafson what she did for a living, and she said she was a teacher, that’s where eyeroll-gate started.

Oh, I don’t know, maybe Sarah somehow knew that Gustafson is also the director/singer in a drag queen band, that it was possibly a radio stunt or that Gustafson is (or at least was) president of the Kachemak Bay Family Planning Clinic — you know how the pro-abortion folks love Sarah

Just check the links that Powers provides and you'll see not only how far reaching this argument is, but how quickly the fringe-right ( that is usually parroted by most modern conservative media outlets ) delves into ad hominem attacks that they all too quickly claim their opposition uses.

I have but one word..............


Monday, August 9, 2010

Palin: Pwned!!!

If I actually believed in God I would say "God bless this woman who took it to Sarah straight on!"

But first, some conservative spin from one of Palin's mouth-agape fame-suckers: Allahpundit.

Late afternoon traffic bait via Breitbart. I assume this was posted by a Sarah-hater, but I’m not sure why: She acquits herself well, as even certain lefties are fair enough to admit, and it’s fun to watch her confront a hostile protester given her rap for hiding inside the Fox News bubble. Even Bristol, newly liberated from 165 lbs. or so of fame-whore dead weight, gets in a shot. Faced with the fact that there’s nothing here that’s actually damning, the lefty spin du jour is that Palin seems to rolls her eyes when the woman tells her she’s a teacher. Which, I guess, is smoking-gun proof that Sarahcuda, the daughter of a science teacher … hates teachers? Or books, or something? Whatever.

You'll notice that while Palin claims that she's all for fighting for "free speech" that her guards with the nice little ear-pieces really don't want this to be featured on tape.

And I like how Bristol gets in her jab that "she's representing *circular hand jesture* United State". Guess her media head-fake that her and Levi were getting back together isn't playing out like she hoped so she has to make sure she's protecting "Mama Grizzly".

And yeah, Palin clearly "rolls her eyes" at the 1:50 mark as the woman declares that she's a teacher. I'm not going to overly-speculate about why Palin would or wouldn't care about teachers in America, but considering that this woman confronting her has called her a quitter and a "money-hungry celebrity", it's clear that Palin was not just annoyed with the confrontation with someone that she used to represent, but didn't have anything to offer once a "real American" slapped her in the face with the reality of who and what she is.

For a good laugh, check out the comments on Breitbart TV and you'll see how easily Palin fanatics are bowled over with not only her lack of candor but her inability to face reality.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Invective At It's Worst

No racism here. Nope, none at all.

I'm going to start a pool for those that read this blog. How long is it going to be before Rush just can't hold it back any longer and drops the N-Bomb on the air? 6 months? Next week? Tomorrow?

It's this type of racial animus, this race baiting, that spills out into the far corners of America where certain cross-sections of primarily white communities feel comfortable being totally and unblushingly racist. I used to work with a group of people that saw racism as tradition, as something they shouldn't be ashamed of. And predictably so, these people were "Christians" who could just as easily quote passages from the gospel of Matthew as well as Sarah Palin's latest Facebook posting that someone had to write for her.

Rush Limbaugh has nothing but utter contempt for anyone in the black community that enjoys even a modest amount of power that they have earned because of their hard work. You'll notice that Rush will never laud the accomplishments of a black man or woman that has worked their way through life, paying their dues, earning every cent they have, if they have a voter registration card that has a D listed on it instead of an R. I'm actually of the belief that Rush just simply doesn't like anyone in the black community at all, but that he tolerates them. And there are black men that fill in for Rush when he decides to jet off to some vacation hot spot that the common man he claims to champion will never be able to afford. He let's these men sit in his "seat of power" for a few hours each year to keep up the facade that he isn't a racist. But I, and many others, know better.

This wretched shell of a man is going to slip up sooner or later. The mask is going to slip enough and the remainder of the country that has a doubt will see once and for all that Rush Limbaugh is nothing but a racist in the most purest and unvarnished form. But it likely won't matter, as any statements made by him that reveal his feeling will be chalked up to "satire", or a "clumsy moment". I would imagine that there would be a special episode of Hannity where Rush would be provided supplication and covering fire. Perhaps even a segment on Huckabee where Limbaugh could talk about the "healing power of God".

Rush Limbaugh is not human - not by a long shot.

The Same Show, Different Packaging

Caught this over at Bob Cesca's blog - who really hit the nail on the head in reference to the factually challenged narrative that is presented in the film - but I thought I would approach this from a different angle all together.

Let's watch, shall we........

There has been more energy put forward in trying to ensure that Barack Obama and any and all that side with him are seen as destroyers of the very fabric of space-time than energy put forward in trying to correct the problems that were clearly, precisely, and accurately reported as being caused by conservative economic policy. Imagine what would happen if people like Newt Gingrich, Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck, Hannity, Limbaugh, and even Megyn Kelly actually did something to help this country out instead of just acting like a bunch of spoiled teenage girls who got their phone privileges revoked because they ran up a $500 bill.

Think about all the books, "documentaries", radio and television programs that were created just to push this poorly conceived narrative that Obama is going to ruin America. What if all that energy was used to ensure that the "common man" that conservatives claim to love could keep their job, their home; could be confident that their police force would have adequate funding, or their schools wouldn't have half their teachers fired. Think about how much better the country would be already.

That won't ever happen though, as their is too much money to be made by being the spoiled brats that conservatives prefer emulating. It boils down to one simple concept - thinking of yourself before thinking of your country. It's the conservative way of life.

So Which Is It?

The conservative blog HotAir has long been known for not only it's sophistry, but it's connection to Michelle Malkin as well as being a conservative haven that will openly parrot even the most preposterous narratives that Fox"News" insists on peddling. However, it seems that some of the new bloggers that HotAir management has decided to showcase can't seem to stay on message when it comes to certain topics that their media masters at Fox are tackling.

Case in point is a new piece by Mike Antonucci who takes the predictable dig at financial bill directed at poorly funded educational programs around the country. Not to deviate from the conservative viewpoint that public school teachers and an organized workforce will ultimately be the downfall of America, Antonucci bundles the two together in a severely short-sighted and ultimately faulty meme that does nothing but further the notion that Congress has no idea what is really happening with their country.

The teachers’ unions got their $10 billion bailout through the U.S. Senate and the House will likely follow suit when it reconvenes. Both of Maine’s Republican Senators, Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe, crossed the aisle to put the measure over the top. Here are a few more news stories about what has been going on in the states while this amendment worked its way through Congress...

What follows is a rather short and overly simplistic list of 6 school districts that are actually seeing some light at the end of the tunnel. And to the eye of a reactionary conservative, this would likely prove the author's point, that there is no need for any financial assistance to any school district in the United States. However, this poorly constructed thesis falls apart when you take the few seconds to consider that not all school districts are as lucky as the 6 that Antonucci cherry-picked for his piece.

But the faulty premise that is presented within the HotAir blog also is in direct contrast to what Glenn Beck recently screamed about - that school funding is being cut across America. So which one is it? Are teachers in America being rehired or are they still under threat of removal from their respective schools?

Conservatives love to have it both ways, but they rarely - if ever - get away with it. Mike Antonucci has provided us with another example of how the message will shift as many times as possible as long as they can shape the narrative to favor them. Unfortunately for him, he isn't nearly as adept at his craft as he would like to think, considering how transparently flawed his standpoint is.

Right-Wing Iconography Pt. 1 : Glenn Beck

In which we find Jason Mattera doing his level best to turn Glenn Beck into the Messiah that his kind claimed liberals/progressives were doing to Obama.

Regardless of whom is asking this of Glenn Beck, this is clearly playing to his sense of megalomania, and conservatives are more than willing to heap praise upon a man that has a clear history of reversing his position on a variety of topics once Fox"News" offered his a bigger paycheck to play the role of "Champion Of The Common Man".

The sincerity of Beck's statements are about as solid as the "belief" that he speaks of. Because we all know that a man like Beck will believe anything and tell you anything provided that he is in the employ of someone that will shift the decimal point in his checking account a couple of spaces to the right.

Amended Position

Because nothing says you love The Constitution like wanting to change it.

I would argue that one of the root causes of people from other countries entering the United States illegally has more to do with the chance to provide for their families as far too many companies are willing to "look the other way" in regards to their hiring processes. And while these companies are willing to treat these illegal immigrants like slave labor, getting paid by a shady company in America does tend to beat out the alternatives of living back in your home country in more ways than one.

Conservatives like Boehner are more than willing to use The Constitution as a stick to whip their poorly informed electorate into a frenzy by claiming that liberals/progressives are trying to subvert it, and with the next insist that it's not a perfect document as it actually allows people that are born here to be called Americans. It's the later, and clearly xenophobic, machinations of Boehner - and all that think as he does - that paint an even clearer picture of what conservatives desire this nation to look like; a lily-white landscape of corporatist zombies that want a dense mine-field separating Mexico and the US.

Racially Coded Concern

Whenever conservatives like Glenn Beck attempt to show concern in regards to individual states or cities lack of funding or that certain municipalities have to make cuts in specific areas, rest assured that they are going to seriously skew the facts.

Aside from Beck's theatrics and the obviously tilted nature of his choices for what should be cut from the budgets of the cities he highlights, one thing became immediately apparent to me - each of these cities have more than a 50% black population. I mean, after all, nothing says that a city is more dangerous or that a population is more ill-educated than when it's pointed out that there are black people in your neighborhood. This should be glaringly obvious to even the most novice among cable news watchers, as Beck made it a point to showcase one specific region of St. Louis rather than the entire city.

And while it is a sad fact that educational funding is cut before anything else in times of financial crisis, I find it rather disingenuous that Beck is insisting that this is something that is exclusive to Democratic leadership. After all, one has but to look at how Chris Christie is handling New Jersey and you'll see right away that conservatives don't really care as much about teachers as Beck wants us to think.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

When We Return.........

I will return to semi-regular posting duties on Friday with a MASSIVE amount of posts for the weekend. The new job is keeping me occupied but not out of the loop. Hope the 4 people that read this blog are well............ ;)

Monday, August 2, 2010

An Accident Waiting To Happen

In the interest of full disclosure, I worked for a hydraulics and machining company for 5 years that exclusively serviced the mining industry in Western Kentucky, Southern Illinois, Southern Indiana, and Northern Alabama. I have intimate knowledge of how miners are treated, how management uses their workers, and how safety is often usurped in order for quota to be met and profitability to increase.

With that in mind, and with my proximity to the recent Dotiki Mine disaster this Spring, I am actually not surprised at what Rand Paul thinks about mine safety and the decisions workers make.

“The bottom line is: I’m not an expert, so don’t give me the power in Washington to be making rules,” Paul said at a recent campaign stop in response to questions about April’s deadly mining explosion in West Virginia…“You live here, and you have to work in the mines. You’d try to make good rules to protect your people here. If you don’t, I’m thinking that no one will apply for those jobs.”

The choice for many people in my region - Hopkins County, not 20 miles from the Dotiki Mine in Webster County - is often one of either "support your family with a fairly decent amount of money" or "work far too much for not enough money if you can find work".

Safety in this working environment is second to production, don't let anyone ever tell you otherwise. My friend Micheal Carter is dead now because of negligence of Alliance Coal, Dotiki management - and by extension - companies that provide substandard supplies and equipment in order to save money rather than lives.

Are Kentucky residents really so ignorant and blind to reality that they would elect this man?

If there is a God somewhere, I hope that he or she would not allow this to happen.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Puttin On The Hits?

Question the timing.

While there is always going to be idiots out there wanting to draw attention to themselves as well as those that are actually wanting to do others harm, I'm not entirely convinced that this is as real as it's being presented. But that isn't stopping the fine folks at Fox"Nation" from showcasing this as a signature story. The comments section is quite the sight to behold as well.

I'm not going to go so far as to say that this sounds like a teenager that's been paid off by supporters of Arizona's newly implemented immigration law, as I don't have a voice that one would immediately expect to hear coming from someone of my age, but he certainly doesn't seem too confident in his words.

With that out of the way, the first thing that sprang to mind was how this woman allegedly got this text and voice message. Do the drug cartels buy lists of phone numbers like marketing agencies do when they want to try and push their wares on people. Did this woman make some sort of purchase that would cause her number to show up on a list that murderous drug dealers would want to get their hands on? Are they just randomly dialing numbers in the hopes that they will be able to send a text or have a voice message reach someone in Arizona? Sorry folks, but I call bullshit on this one.

Never-the-less, the FBI is investigating, as that is their job to look into instances such as this. However, there really should be some investigation into the anonymous man and his wife, as well looking into the number where the texts are originating from. That's really standard operating procedure with these types of threats, but I'm of the mind that this is going to end up being coordinated by someone here in the states in order to bolster support for the immigration law.

Christie's Continued Assault On Teachers

In which the Morning Joe crew don't challenge Chris Christie the way they should.

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

What Christie is doing is nothing new for conservatives, but I still have to ask - why teachers? Why not look at freezing the salaries of government officials first. After all, nothing says "fiscal responsibility" like making sure that your position in the political landscape isn't damaging the area you are attempting to govern. I think this is the first step that Christie should have taken. After all, conservatives are continually trying to make sure that no member of Congress has a pay increase.

Certainly, everyone should have to sacrifice, but to hear Chris Christie talk down to a teacher and essentially tell her to quit if she doesn't like it, you get the feeling that he isn't so much concerned with the financial well-being of those in his state as he is in maintaining the caricature of a modern conservative.

As an aside, something I found rather odd and somewhat unsettling. It involves education in the state of New Jersey, but a style that Christie might endorse. It doesn't paint a pretty picture of the future of private education in New Jersey.

Front And Off Center

It almost seemed inevitable.

The White House Correspondents Association voted unanimously Sunday afternoon to move Fox News to the front row of the White House briefing room.

The seating change was prompted by the resignation of veteran UPI reporter Helen Thomas.

According to Ed Henry, the senior White House correspondent for CNN and member of the WHCA board, the Associated Press will move to the front-row middle seat formerly occupied by Thomas.

Fox News will replace the AP in its former seat, also in the front row, and NPR, which lobbied for Thomas' seat along with Fox and Bloomberg News, will take Fox's former seat in the second row.

And right on time, conservatives are already starting to crow. But does this really change who Fox"News" is? Not by a long shot.

While this will likely provide show fodder for the likes of O'Reilly, Hannity, and Beck, the reality is that Major Garrett is no more a "journalist" now than Beck is a theological scholar. Garrett is still going to try and pigeonhole Gibbs and Gibbs is still not going to stand for it. We'll all just get a better look at Garrett's face when he gets his feeling hurt.

Liz's Attack Plan

I'm still considering the potential damage, or non-damage, of what Wikileaks has done. That will be for another post later on. But check out what Darth Vader's Apprentice thinks Obama should do.

First conservatives are against the Obama administration having any sort of "control" over the internet and NOW Liz Cheney is calling on Obama to forcefully shut down Wikileaks? Does she expect us to send in the military or something?

Yeah, let's call up Reykjavik and tell them if they don't shut down Wikileaks that we aren't buying any more Bjork CDs.

Those Media Bastards

In which Palin degrades that which created her. No, really.

Yeah, polls have no relevance if they say bad things about you. This from the woman that consistently references polling data that shows that Obama is below 50% in approval.

--- Just a side note, Obama is polling about even with Reagan during his second year in office in 1982. But don't tell Sarah, shhhh ---

Her blathering about her Q-score aside, this woman is a creation of the media - and not just Fox"News", mind you. If it weren't for the fawning mass media, then Palin would be about as meaningful to the socio-political landscape as Joe Eszterhaus is to screenwriting. To those that catch that last reference, you get extra "cool points".

It's almost to the point that we have reached a saturation point with Sarah Palin. It would almost make sense for her to quit Fox"News" at this point, just so she doesn't become any more stale than she already is. But where would she go? She couldn't do talk radio, as that would require her to take calls; and we all know that this woman can't survive in an unscripted landscape.

From Page To Picture

I just recently finished Thomas Franks book that this documentary is based on.

( h/t Gryphen )

Gay marriage? Who gives a shit!

This is going to be interesting; even the trip the seemingly brainwashed teen takes with her family to visit the Creationist Museum which is - I'm ashamed to say - in my state.

You can read more about Thomas Frank's book here.

Late To The Party - Again

So, after mulling it over for a few hours last night and this morning, I'm actually going to give my few cents on Rep. Weiner's best impersonation of a British Parliamentarian for the CSPAN audience.

But it didn't stop there, as King and Weiner were on Hannity's radio program not long after the two were interviewed on Fox"News".

And while conservatives - from Limbaugh's specious theories to Michelle Malkin's sidekick invoking former Soviet rulers on down to Allahpundit's all too predictable, faux-intellectual, analysis of the moment - are more than willing to spin any direction they can to get away from the very simple fact that they refused to help those they they claim to idolize, it shouldn't come as a surprise that these are the same people that invoke the deaths of nearly 3000 people as often as most of them brush their teeth.

It's become reflexive nature for conservative Republicans to block any and everything a Democrat does - be they liberal, progressive, moderate, or even one of the alleged "Blue Dogs". This, to me at least, is the moment where it's really turned around on them and shown them for who they really are.

If you take a look at what Limbaugh and Allahpundit had to say about this, you'll notice that they are framing this episode as Democrats trying to shove in amendments regarding immigration when, in point of fact, this was about preventing Republicans from larding up the bill with what Karoli at Crooks And Liars calls "poison pill amendments". And that's precisely what they would have done. Democrats tossed up what should have been an easy ball for Republicans to hit out of the park and since they didn't get to manipulate the outcome, they opted to hurl the bat into the stands and run off to the dugout and cry.

The various aspects of this legislation and how conservatives screwed it up ( again ) aside, I think that it's high time that Weiner let his passion be shown. Conservatives can't handle the fact that Democrats have that fire for their country burning inside them, so their only option is to paint their opposition as completely unhinged lunatics. Sure, it works for their base, but it doesn't extend beyond that. Unfortunately, that's far too often all the traction that the meme du jour needs - the right conservative parroting something that ultimately amounts to nothing. How do you think Andrew Breitbart has made it as far as he has?

It's a shame that not more Democratic Representatives don't have Mr. Weiner's passion.

Let The Bulk Buying Begin

With all this time spent on her Twitter-machine, going over what is ghost-written on her Facebook page, and doodling more notes on her palm in order to make some semi-clever point about politics and message, Palin has managed to bring another person into the fold to help her conjour another tome of nonsensical drivel. But there's a different angle to this book.

The former Alaska governor and potential 2012 GOP presidential candidate will release a new book -- "America by Heart: Reflections on Family, Faith and Flag" -- in November.

HarperCollins, Palin's publisher, released a photo of the book cover with Palin, hair down, clad in a gray sweater wearing a sparkly American flag pin and bracelet.

The 224-page book, her second, features selections from people who have inspired Palin's "deep love of country," and its includes excerpts of her favorite songs, speeches and poems.

So, it will be like a conservative mixtape in book form? This ought to be good.

I'm guessing her inspirational excerpt will likely include country/pop lyrics from Toby Keith and speeches by Thomas Jefferson - the later will likely have all formal context removed from it in order to make some vague reference to how America was formed from the very brow of God. And as far as poetry is concerned, I'm fairly certain we aren't going to see anything on par with say Emerson or Langston Hughes. There's no telling what we're going to see in that department.

But the title itself does make one wonder what the parts that she* writes are going to reveal about her that we didn't already know. In terms of family, are we going to be treated to a reflection on what happens when you use your children as theatrical props in order to gain sympathy? And what about faith? Will there be grand revelations about what it's like to hang with a witch doctor or attend one of those seminars where people get "de-gayed"? Then there's the flag - a conservatives favorite tool. Is Sarah going to show us the best way to accessorize with Old Glory that won't violate US Flag Code - even though she's been guilty of that several times.

I'm sure that the book will get plenty of attention from conservative bloggers that are more than willing to hype this as one of the centuries greatest pieces of non-fiction. Not only that, but I can already sense The Heritage Foundation writing out a check to Harper Collins for 2 million copies. Got to pad those numbers, you know.

------ * are we really still supposed to believe that she write all this stuff on her own?

To Create A More Fractured Union

And the secession talk amongst conservatives continues. This time in an op-ed by Jeffery Kuhner of the Washington Times.

And while Kuhner's piece is standard fair, making sure to include all the Luntzian talking points he can, it is the final passages that frame a narrative that I'm not even sure Kuhner can follow to its conclusion.

Arizona is where the old republic will stand or fall. It is showdown at high noon. Either America returns to its constitutional system based on real federalism, states' rights, individual liberty and decentralized power, or it continues to slide toward the darkness of a socialist superstate. Washington - with its swollen bureaucracy, imperial arrogance, rampant corruption and dangerous detachment from ordinary citizens - is despised and distrusted by many Americans. A secession of the heart is taking place - a profound alienation from the liberal ruling class.

In the future, many states - including Arizona - may decide they have no other option but to break away from the union. The choice is becoming starkly apparent: devolution or dissolution.

This idea of a "liberal ruling class" is completely preposterous, as those in power that even marginally espouse strict liberal ideology far too often wilt away when having to deal with their mouth-agape conservative Republican counterparts - their push for specific legislative change all too often becoming a contorted version of far better ideals.

That aside, let's take a realistic look at what succession actually means. It's not just a removal from the Union as far as borders are concerned, it's a removal from EVERYTHING that the United States has to offer. Not only would Arizona lose all protections provided by the US Armed Forces, it would loose all funding made available by the Federal Government. No funding for roads, schools, police and fire departments, Medicare, Social Security, or even the Postal Service.

But aside from what would obviously would change within Arizona, one has to wonder what currency they would use. After all, since they would no longer be a part of the United States, they wouldn't be able to use the dollar as the form of currency with which to purchase goods and services. What about the court system or even laws? There would quite literally have to be an entirely new form of government set up in order for the new State/Country to function. And considering how conservatives feel about government, I'm of the mind that should the state break ties with the United States that they would have a far more draconian system in place, despite how people like Jan Brewer feel about the Obama administration.

There are a whole host of questions that conservatives simply aren't asking when they boast of a state or states succeeding from the Union. They refuse to ask these questions likely because they know that succession is a bad idea and that there would likely be a mass exodus to other states once people realized what would actually happen once the state had to completely restructure. It's not even a clever talking point anymore, it's merely something used to distract. In that regard, Mr. Kuhner isn't even trying to make a semi-cognisant point. He's wasting valuable media space in order to fan the flame of divisiveness in order to misdirect his readership. The sad fact is that there are actually people who will fall for his way of thinking - or should I say NOT thinking.

Not Seeing Is Apparently Still Believing

We are, by and large, a visual culture. We thrive on being able to "see" something in order to believe that it's not only true but that it is in important to us. This aspect of our existence has taken a very peculiar turn in recent years, as many of us are relying heavily on what others tell us is or isn't there. Many of us are no longer "seeing" what is actually around us but are merely "believing" what we are being told is there.

Early this morning Nate Silver at FiveThirtyEight had a post that clearly illustrated this point as it relates to the alleged "Ground Zero Mosque" in New York City - Cordoba House. And while this is not specifically a "mosque" and most certainly NOT at "Ground Zero", the perceptions of far too many have been distorted by the likes of Fox"News" as far back as May, but has been disseminated throughout the conservative blogging realm by the likes of Michelle Malkin, Sean Hannity, to Sarah Palin.

Those that are against this Muslim center seem to be ignoring not only the facts surrounding it, but the realities of other buildings that are near "Ground Zero" that you can't see right away.

Recently, I came across a posting at Bob Cesca's blog that talked about a strip0-club that was located the same approximate distance that Cordoba House would be located from the former site of WTC Towers 1 and 2. And as the author of the piece rightly points out, where is the outrage surrounding the "exploitation of women" near such hallowed ground?

I can almost hear conservatives complaints that strippers and Muslims can't be compared, but I think this is also a matter of perception versus perspective. Not all strippers are coked-up floozies that take drugs and leave their children in seedy hotel rooms while they turn tricks and spread diseases. Likewise, not all Muslims are willing to strap a bomb vest on and charge into a building filled with children and blow the structure into dust in order to further their religious beliefs.

Modern American thought, and most certainly that since Sept. 11th 2001, toward Islamic faith is that everyone that practices it hates America and all that dwell within her borders. To be blunt, this is a complete load of shit. The ironic flip side to this is that modern American thought, most expressly shown by the conservative movement of the 21 century, is that Christianity is pure and untarnished, even though this is the religion that is used to excuse all manner of actions against gays, lesbians, members of other religions, or even how the average American - regardless of specific orientation - is treated do they not follow the socio-political guidelines of conservative teachings.

Conservatives of the modern era have become more and more susceptible to openly and unflinchingly embracing misleading information and outright lies surrounding a variety of subjects. This is troubling because their vision is being obscured by those they are framing the narrative they are following. Why is it that conservatives lack the ability to walk around their world and look at what is really there? I'm sure they would find that much of what they are being told doesn't match up with what they see.

As an aside, one can but wonder how people like Malkin, Hannity, or Palin would react if a Baptist church was build just a few blocks from a Planned Parenthood building that was attacked by an unhinged conservative.

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