Sunday, October 31, 2010

Pic of the Week

There were so many to choose from at yesterday's Rally to Restore Sanity / Keep Fear Alive, but this was one of the best (note the jug of corn syrup). Favorite signs were -- among hundreds of great ones -- "Tea Parties are for little girls," "Down with Zippers," "Having a Sign Makes Me Right," and "I Think We Can All Agree that Boobs Are Awesome." Here's more.

That's "Slub" To You

Former half-term Alaska Gov. Winky You Betcha is miffed that her anointed Senate candidate Joe "Brawny Man" Miller's slipped into third place, after acknowledging that he lied to his former employer about unethical computer use. She's particularly mad at the CBS affiliate, which she says stands for "Corrupt Bastards Club," apparently not realizing that "club" doesn't start with "S."

Well, Winky bounced around several schools before grinding out a "sports journalism" degree at the U. of Idaho, where she must have earned her intellectual stripes. As preznit, she wud be jes grate, if she don't kwit!

(photo: D'oh!)

"What Jon Stewart Missed"

We did notice one clinker in the otherwise sublime "Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear," and Taylor Marsh nails it. In watching Jon Stewart conflate the fact-free, vicious rantings of Beck, Hannity, Limbaugh, et al, with the occasionally over-the-top (but truth-based) rants of Olbermann and Schultz, we're reminded of Robert Frost's (!) description of a liberal:

"A liberal is a man too broadminded to take his own side in a quarrel."

These are times when one should not be fearful about pushing back against and calling out the lies and liars of the fringe Right. There simply isn't an equivalence between what's going on in the Rethuglican/ tea party/ Fux New Nutwork/ hate radio noise machine and the push back on the left. There isn't. And Jon Stewart should be aware enough to know it.

It All Depends on Who Shows Up Tuesday (Duh)

Another pre-postmortem of possible results on Election Day comes via Steve Benen who helpfully compares polls of "registered" voters versus "likely" voters. Since most if not all pundits are using the "likely" voters model, the predictions have been dire for Dems. But if those "registered" voters got off their asses and showed up on Tuesday, the results would be quite different. Ah, repose on Tuesday, repent for the next two years.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Early Postmortem

Granted, we won't know the extent of Democratic losses until after next Tuesday, but whether it's along the lines of historical midterm losses (25-35 seats) or a Rethuglican tsunami (50+), or something in between, Eric Alterman has what we think is a reasonable analysis of a main reason why it's come to this point (spoiler: his name might be Rahmbo).

As far as what to expect from a Rethug-majority House, Paul Krugman (linked by Steve Benen) has the dire forecast.


Stewart/Colbert Rally Today

Today on the Mall, Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert and thousands of others (including Silver Spring bureau chief Brian and his lovely wife Chi) will be rallying to the cause of Restoring Sanity and Keeping Fear Alive (?!). If you're regular viewers of the Daily Show and Colbert Report, you know all about what's going on -- and if you don't, you're keeping company with the "concerned," humorless media who have multiple critiques of the rally, but who, gosh darn it, just don't get it. Counted among the latter are such pearl-clutchers as Kaplan Daily's reliably "moderate" Anne Applebaum, and critics Paul Farhi and Carlos Lozada. We must be reminded, these are Serious People, whose panties must be disentangled from their posteriors whenever decorum is breached.

As Ryan Kearney notes, the rally "has few opponents outside the Fox news studio." Few opponents, yes, but the usual share of Concerned Thoughtful Voices.

If you look at the crowd pictures (eg., at Huffington Post, MSNBC, etc. it appears that the gathering was an order of magnitude greater than the Boo Hoo the Hoot nutfest in August - looked like several hundred thousand to our Silver Spring bureau chief who was live on the scene; packed from one side of the Mall to the other from before 3rd Street to beyond 7th Street. Let's see how it (down)plays with the "mainstream media" tonight and tomorrow.

HuffPo reports CBS and Canada's CTV are pegging the crowd at over 200,000 (more than double CBS' estimate for the Boo Hoo the Hoot Nutfest in August).

From the Sports Desk: Giants Among Men

We had to share this hilarious WaPo story on the San Francisco Giants' pitcher Brian Wilson, who's quite a character on a team of characters. Here's the opening paragraph:
"One day in late August, the local Fox Sports channel in the Bay Area was conducting an interview with Brian Wilson, the San Francisco Giants' notoriously flaky closer, who was at his home on a webcam. Wilson, holding his pet dog on his lap, was in the middle of an answer, when all of a sudden the TV host, and the entire viewing audience, got an unexpected eyeful. A man appeared in the background, naked except for a leather thong, leather harness and leather mask. 'What was that!?' gasped the flabbergasted host. After first playing dumb, Wilson finally deadpanned, 'Oh, that's the Machine. He lives next door. He doesn't say much. He comes over for sugar every once in awhile.'"
Apparently "the Machine" is now a YouTube icon of sorts. Here's another priceless snippet from the article:
"Their first baseman, Aubrey Huff, has been known to parade through the clubhouse in a red "rally thong" for laughs. Their ace pitcher, Tim Lincecum, has become a counterculture hero in San Francisco, in part because of an offseason marijuana-possession arrest - which has led proponents of Proposition 19, a proposed statute that would legalize marijuana statewide, to use his face on placards and T-shirts that say, 'Let Timmy Smoke.'"
All we can say is, GO GIANTS!

(photo of Brian Wilson by E. Risberg, AP -- cooool man!)

Saturday Song

We'll go back a way in time for this song by Bobby Darin from 1959. It was the golden age of solo singers (Sinatra, Bennett, and all of the teen idols), and Darin was among the best.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Violent Wingnut Linked to Beck

Although the Beltway media has virtually ignored hate media's instigation of violence on the teabagger right, Think Progress reports that wingnut Charles Wilson, a man charged with threats against Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), was apparently inspired by Boo Hoo the Hoot Beck. According to court documents, Wilson's family said he "came under the spell" of Boo Hoo's unhinged paranoid rants against health insurance reform legislation:
"He became basically housebound due to illness and his small world became even smaller. His brother got him a computer and he was able to stay connected with family. And he watched television and found Glenn Beck… I understand how his fears were grown and fostered by Mr. Beck’s persuasive personality."
To say demagogues like Boo Hoo, Limpballs, and others in hate media are responsible for inciting violence is taboo among the Beltway media poobahs, who are courageous when ferreting out waste in government programs aiding the poor, but terrified of the reactionary bully who threatens to punch him. And if another Oklahoma City occurs, they will spend hours of airtime "analyzing" the root causes and conclude that Obama should have compromised more.

Looking Up

This Kaplan Daily story caught our attention. Astronomers at the University of California-Berkeley are estimating that the Milky Way galaxy alone may contain billions of Earth-sized planets. They also determined that there were 166 solar systems within 80 light years from Earth, which would make exploration more feasible. Whether any have livable environments similar to Earth is another question.

Humans may never make physical contact with these other planets -- we may destroy ourselves first. But the fact that we're able to increasingly understand and appreciate the immense neighborhood we live in is progress -- and humbling.

(photo: NASA)

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Quote of the Day

"Though. . .conservatives are allergic to facts, they do love anecdotes. Nothing disproves years of global warming research like a cold day in July, and food stamps are a waste of money because some guy somewhere traded them for a flat-screen TV. As soon as a conservative pundit has found one counterexample, he’s done all the research he’ll ever need." -- blogger "mistermix" at Balloon Juice. Rethug icon St. Ronnie of Hollywood was, of course, the master of the misleading anecdote, and his latter-day followers have honed the misleading anecdote-as-universal truth to perfection.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Meg-a Gaffe

California Rethug candidate for Governor Meg "Mega Bucks" Whitman has made one of the biggest political gaffes of this election season with a statement in her own campaign ad: "You know, 30 years ago, anything was possible in this state."

True, and the Governor 30 years ago? Her opponent, Jerry Brown. Now, Brown has turned it into a devastating campaign ad. Maybe Mega Bucks' campaign staff isn't familiar with "the Google." BWAHAHAHAHAHA!!

(Image: How true)

Mid-Week Song

In the late '60s, Joni Mitchell wrote this beautiful, wistful song about love, life and clouds. Judy Collins turned it into a major hit, and it wears well to this day.

"I Lied"

Teatard favorite and Alaskan Senate candidate Joe "Brawny Man" Miller admitted in a 2008 e-mail that he lied about his use of government computers for political purposes while working in local government in Fairbanks:
"I lied about accessing all of the computers. I then admitted about accessing the computers, but lied about what I was doing. Finally I admitted what I did."
The e-mail was part of a number of documents released under court order by a judge after former Fairbanks mayor Jim Whitaker raised the issue of Brawny Man's ethics while employed under him.

Brawny Man's Kool Aid-drinking right-wing supporters are impervious to their candidate's flaws, but it may hurt him among Alaska's independents, who are keeping Sen. Lisa "Murky" Murkowski's hopes alive for a write in ("Let's see. . .Mir. . .cow. . .)

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Buck: No Separation of Church and State

Colorado Rethug candidate for Senate Ken "*uck" Buck has opined on the issue of separation of church and state (you know, First Amendment), joining with tea bagger luminaries Sharron "Obtuse" Angle, Christine "No Dildos" O'Donnell and no doubt countless other American talibangelists in denying this fundamental premise of American democracy. While there has always been a push and pull with those, mainly on the right, who want to have (Christian) religion integrated into every aspect of American civic life, this election cycle seems to have brought out more than the usual number of numbnuts running for office who claim adherence to the Constitution but who have no real idea of what the Framers intended and what the courts have upheld over the course of two centuries.

We would be happy, if he doesn't "agree with the concept of separation of church and state," to direct Mr. Buck to a few countries where no separation exists and see how comfortable he is living there.

It's Why We Call Them "Rethugs"

Violence is no stranger to the far right. We've seen the nutbags who listen to hate radio or watch the Fux Network, and then attack or shoot someone. Yesterday, some Rethug coward pushed a female demonstrator down on the ground while another stomped on her head at a Rand "Sprinklerhead" Paul rally in Kentucky. Who says chivalry is dead among the American Taliban?

Police are trying to identify the thugs from video shot at the scene. Let's hope they're found and arrested. And let's hope that Sprinklerhead's supporters have nothing to celebrate on election day.

UPDATE: It looks like the thugs have been identified, and one held a position in Sprinklerhead's campaign. Figures.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Quote of the Day

"Imagine an election in a Third World nation where a small number of millionaires and billionaires spent massive sums to push the outcome in their preferred direction. Wouldn't many people here condescendingly tut-tut over such a country's 'poorly developed' sense of democracy and the inadequacy of its political system? That, of course, is what is going on in our country as you read this. If you travel any place where there is a contested House or Senate race, you are bombarded with attack ads, almost all against Democrats, paid for by groups that do not have to reveal where their money comes from." -- E. J. Dionne in the Kaplan Daily. He goes on to note that while this is "a huge deal," the media is treating it like politics-as-usual.

Rethugs: We Don't Need No Stinkin' Compromising!

This should surprise no one who's been paying even the slightest attention the past two years: should Rethugs retake the House, don't expect any "bipartisanship"! What we can expect, with more Rethugs likely heading to Washington, is amped up extremism, obstructionism and partisanship. I wonder if that's what the voters who are casting their ballots in just over a week are looking for.

UPDATE: As if further proof would be needed, here's what Missy McConnell has to say.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Sunday Morning Reading

We have two items for your consideration this fine fall Sunday that point out, yet again, what's at stake in the midterm elections:

-- Via Steve Benen, we get a peek at one Jesse Kelly, a Rethug wingnut running for Congress in Arizona's 8th district. Kelly has some "interesting" views on the government's role in ensuring food safety (not to spoil the read, but he's one who safely falls under the category of "E. coli conservative"). Apparently, this crackpot has a good chance of winning.

-- Gail Collins has a piece in the NY Times on Wisconsin's Sen. Russ Feingold, who's doing battle against yet another Randian Rethug millionaire, Ron "Tiny" Johnson. The strong possibility that Feingold, a man of principle and integrity, could lose to someone like Tiny reminds us of Steve Benen's line in the above blog: "I can only assume the vast majority of the country has no idea what they're about to elect."

(P.S. - Speaking of Wisconsin, Wisconsin 31, Iowa 30)

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Weekend Dedication

This is dedicated to the ones we love.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Great Moments in American Edumacation

"I don't think we came from monkeys. I think that's ridiculous. I haven't seen a half-monkey, half-person yet." Perfesser Glenn "Boo Hoo the Hoot" Beck, of "Beck University," on his radio show the other day. To quote Bill Maher's put down of Christine "No Dildos" O'Donnell's denial of monkey-to-human evolution, "you don't evolve in the time it would take to watch them." Also, it begs the rejoinder, "Have you looked in a mirror lately, Boo-Hoo?" Moron.

Hi-Tech British Sub Runs Aground

The H.M.S. Astute, a British sub with "stealth" technology, recently ran aground on a mud bank off the Scottish coast. "Astute?" Bloody 'ell! No one will say that name again without snickering. Better they should re-christen the ship the H.M.S. Asstoot, in honor of the great... um, "fraternal" tradition of the British Navy. Just a thought.

(Photo: I say, which one of you chaps was pedaling?)

Another Day, Another GOP Crackpot Candidate

Today it's "constitutionalist pastor" (i.e., talibangelist) Stephen "He's No Bro" Broden, Rethug / New Confederate Party candidate for the 30th Congressional district in Texas. As Think Progress reports, Broden thinks the violent overthrow of the U.S. Government is "on the table" if the government is not producing results (to his liking). Fortunately, it's not considered likely this crank will ever enter the halls of Congress (he's running behind incumbent Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson), but the fact that he's their nominee tells you all you need to know about the increasingly fringe Rethuglican / New Confederate Party.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Here Come The Judge's Wife

We admit to being mystified over the creepy telephone message left on Prof. Anita Hill's phone by teabaggin' tornado Ginni "The Ninny" Thomas, who of course is the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence "Long Dong" Thomas. Nineteen years ago, during Long Dong's confirmation hearing, it was revealed by Hill that she had been sexually harassed by Long Dong. She produced several credible, contemporary witnesses who backed up her story, and also some from Long Dong's past who said it was consistent with earlier behavior. A desperate Long Dong, when faced with the prospect of career death, went on the offensive and played the race card ("high-tech lynching" comes to mind).

Here's Dahlia Lithwick's take in Slate on The Ninny's bizarre phone call:
"It's also not clear why Ginni Thomas believes that re-arguing Thomas v. Hill 19 years later could possibly benefit Clarence Thomas. Yes, the Internet is buzzing today with claims that Prof. Hill, who never wanted to testify against Thomas in the first place and hasn't sought out any of these Desperate Housewives-style battles, is a liar and always was one. But the Washington Post has already found a former girlfriend of Justice Thomas' who claims that Hill's account of Thomas' behavior in the early 1980s is consistent with the Clarence Thomas she once dated. A new generation of Americans is being reminded of the fact that Hill took a polygraph test at the time of the hearings while Clarence Thomas did not. Anyone who ever read Strange Justice, by Jill Abramson and Jane Mayer, is recalling the exhaustive research they put into establishing that Anita Hill had been smeared."

There's speculation that what drove The Ninny to make the passive-aggressive call was the impending story about her teabagger organization receiving several hundred thousand dollars in anonymous contributions, which could raise questions about Long Dong's impartiality if a teabagger issue came before the Court. Whatever the reason, we now know that Long Dong isn't the creepiest one in the Thomas household; The Ninny has just edged him out.

(photo: "I believe Clarence. I also believe that people will take me seriously in this headgear.")

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Mid Week Song

(BTW, I'm not sick of myself, I'm just feeling a little under the weather...)

Buying Our Democracy

The New York Times is reporting that some of America's wealthiest individuals have been invited to a strategy meeting in Palm Springs next January to "outline a vision of how we can foster a renewal of American free enterprise and prosperity." The sponsors? The ultra-right wing Koch brothers, who fund extremist advocacy groups established to protect their own vast wealth and prerogatives.

Clearly, the oligarchs are rubbing their hands at the thought of reversing progressive policies of the past two years and beyond. Their infusion of cash into anti-Dem attack ads as well as their funding of right wing "think" tanks that produce bogus research on everything from climate change to outsourcing jobs is paying off. Meanwhile, the "U.S." Chamber of Commerce defends outsourcing jobs overseas while funding ads that accuse Dems of "job killing" policies, while receiving money from overseas companies. Need any further evidence that we face a serious challenge in November and beyond?

Voter Suppression, Rethug Style

A Rethug-connected group, "Latinos for Reform," ("reform". . .riiiigght!) ran Spanish language TV ads in Nevada telling Latino voters not to vote in order to register their protest against the lack of immigration reform. Behind the lofty-sounding group is a Rethug hack, Robert De Posada, who was formerly connected with both the Bushit Assministration and the Rethuglican National Committee. The cynical intent, of course, is to suppress the Dem-favoring Latino vote in a state where the election is tight. Univision has declined to run the ad further, so it appears that the efforts of this Rethug front group were to no avail. But it points up a long-standing Rethug tactic: keep the minority vote down and you'll win. They know that when voter turnout is high, especially among minorities, that tends to favor Dems, who hold an edge in registered voters in key states.

While the hamfisted attempt to discourage the Latino vote failed this time, it demonstrates the utter shamelessness of the Rethugs, who as a Party stand firmly against immigration reform and path to citizenship proposals, and who regularly demonize Latinos to their white voter base. It's also despicable to suggest that Latino Americans shouldn't exercise their right to vote, a right purchased with the blood of countless Latino American servicemen and women.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

"First Amendment? What's That?"

Delaware's witchy woman and teatard candidate for Senate Christine "No Dildos" O'Donnell caused some big laughs earlier today in a radio debate with Dem Chris Coons. No Dildos, who favors teaching "creationism" in public schools, asked Coons "where in the Constitution is the separation of church and state." After the laughter subsided and No Dildos yammered on, Coons reminded the self-appointed Constitutional scholar that it's found in the First Amendment, and is one of the basic guarantees under the Constitution. No Dildos was still incredulous. Seriously. Clearly, No Dildos hasn't gotten beyond the "we the people" part (she wasn't familiar with other amendments to the Constitution, either).

Thankfully, this nitwit's fifteen minutes of fame is just about up.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Zinger of the Week

"As Attorney General of Kentucky, I'm always amused to get a lecture in constitutional law from a self-certified ophthalmologist." - Kentucky Dem senatorial candidate Jack Conway on tea bagger/ Rethug Rand "Sprinklerhead" Paul in their debate this weekend. Snap!

Sour Krauts

Throughout recent (20th century) history, times of economic stress have seen a rise in right-wing "populism" in America and other Western democracies. This is currently being borne out in the tea party movement in this country, as well as in the rise of similar phenomena in Western Europe, where it is often manifested as anti-immigrant "populism" due to the additional threat of home-grown terrorism (eg., in the UK with the tea-tardish English Defence League, in official government actions in France and Italy to expel gypsies, and in France's banning veils in public).

Well, you can now add a disturbingly large segment of Germany to the list (funny how the UK, France, Italy and Germany all have conservative-led governments). Perhaps responding to her "base", German Chancellor Angela Merkel recently told a meeting of her Conservative Democratic Union party that
"This multicultural approach, saying that we simply live side by side and live happily with each other has failed. Utterly failed."

What a warm, welcoming sentiment from Frau Merkel! How sensitive to the historical burden Germans bear from past, um... "issues" with cultural purity. What's next for Frau Merkel and her supporters? This?

(Photo: Angela Merkel - Ich bin ein sour Kraut!)

Good News Out of New York

The latest polls out of New York show Dem Andrew Cuomo with better than a 2-to-1 lead over teatard candidate and professional thug Carl "Porno" Paladino. Porno, who has a gift for telling people he's going to "take them out" -- occasionally with a baseball bat -- seems too strong a cup of tea for the Empire State. The poll cites "widespread doubts about Mr. Paladino's temperament and qualifications." Who'd a thunk that?

Porno is only one of a number of teabagger candidates who have tried to play off the fears and disappointments of a public trying to get through an economic recovery. But when you look at them and listen to their reactionary message, it's hard to believe that a significant minority takes them seriously at all. Porno's deficiencies are constantly on display, as are Delaware's "No Dildos" O'Donnell, and Nevada's Sharron "Obtuse" Angle. Whether it's dabbling in witchcraft or telling people to exercise "their Second Amendment rights" if they don't like a politician, these nutjobs aren't fit to govern, much less vote.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Quote of the Day

"Few cared when The Boston Globe reported last fall that the Secret Service was overwhelmed by death threats against the president as well as a rise in racist hate groups and antigovernment fervor. It’s no better now. In a cover article last month, Barton Gellman wrote in Time that the magazine’s six-month investigation found that 'the threat level against the president and other government targets' is at its highest since the antigovernment frenzy that preceded Timothy McVeigh’s bombing of a federal building in Oklahoma City in 1995." -- Frank Rich in today's New York Times. Read it for a fuller picture of the rage on the right and its consequences.

Tea Baggers: We Get Good Welfare, Not Bad Welfare

Few tea bagger/ Rethug candidates better demonstrate the disconnect between their idiotic, Randian rhetoric ("get gummint off my back!") and the reality of their willingness to take government benefits that they're entitled to (but think others aren't) than Alaska's "GI Joe" Miller. Matt Taibbi has an amusing piece in Rolling Stone about, hypocrisy of these would-be rugged individualists (Sharron "Obtuse" Angle is another teatard example) who happily take their government benefits (Good Welfare) while railing against the "parasites" who take their unemployment insurance and other forms of social safety net benefits (Bad Welfare). All of which leads to our observation that you don't need a GPS to locate a tea bagger/ Rethug; all you need to do is plot where stupidity, selfishness, and lack of self-awareness intersect.

(Photo: "GI Joe" Miller, self-made hypocrite)

On Wisconsin!

Badger football fans (us included) are celebrating last night's huge win over #1 ranked Ohio State. The final score was Wisconsin 31, Ohio State 18. Wisconsin's David Gilreath set the tone for the night when he returned the opening kickoff 97 yards for a touchdown, and #18 Wisconsin led the rest of the game behind the running of John Clay and James White, and quarterback Scott Tolzien. Great effort all around.

Here's their famous fight song (apologies in advance for the shameless boosterism and to our family's Michigan grads)

Saturday, October 16, 2010

"There Will Be Blood On Many Hands"

As we noted below in "Wingnut Violence, Cont'd.", unstable right-wingers are more than willing to use violence against anyone that's been deemed a "progressive," "liberal," "Islamosocialist," "Democommie," [fill-in-the-blank crackpot epithet]. Now one of the targets is pushing back hard.

Drummond Pike, CEO of the Tides Foundation, a favorite bugaboo of demagogue Boo Hoo the Hoot Beck, has written a letter to 10 of Boo Hoo's corporate advertisers asking them to remove their advertising from the Fox "News" Nutwork. This follows the arrest this summer of Byron Williams, an avid listener of Boo Hoo's, who was on his way to San Francisco to kill as many Tides Foundation staff (and ACLUers, if possible) as he could. If there's one passage in Pike's letter that should get the corporate heads' attention it's this:
"No one, left, right or center, wants to see another Oklahoma City... The next 'assassin' may succeed, and if so, there will be blood on many hands."

Boo Hoo has already lost over 100 advertisers because of his incendiary rhetoric. Let's see if this effort causes a few more to drop this dangerous moron.

(Image: Boo Hoo, emphasizing our point)

Friday, October 15, 2010

October Music

Today was blustery, with bright sun and dark clouds shifting quickly back and forth, and October colors beginning to show. The third movement from Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto No. 1 in B flat minor to me captures this bright, dark, gusty day. Take 6 minutes off and treat yourself.

Wingnut Violence, Cont'd.

A 50 year-old man was arrested yesterday by Spokane, Washington police after brandishing a knife and meat cleaver at a group of supporters of Dem Sen. Patty Murray outside her debate with her Rethug challenger. There's no further details on the man's motivation, aside from wingnut rage, but we're betting he's a faithful listener to right-wing hate radio. As in the case of the California loon arrested for assaulting four police officers while on the way to attack an organization vilified by radio psychopath Boo Hoo the Hoot Beck, this type of crazy behavior is on the rise. Be assured that the purveyors of hate speech and their Rethug beneficiaries will never take responsibility.

What Rachel Said

MSNBC star Rachel Maddow took on the "U.S." Chamber of Commerce on her program last night, and it was a brilliant take-down. We've been saying for days that the Dems have a golden opportunity to unmask the phony Rethuglican / corporate concern for "creating jobs," since they've done everything to promote sending jobs overseas. The corporate face of the Rethug Party is the Chamber, and they're on record in opposing laws that would remove incentives from outsourcing jobs abroad. They're running deceitful ads on behalf of Rethugs -- likely funded by foreign companies -- that accuse Dems of "job-killing" policies. Rachel demolishes them in this must-see clip from her show.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Giving Democrats Credit -- And Taking It

The Kaplan Daily's David Ignatius has an op/ed on the lack of credit being given - and taken - over the TARP and auto company rescues of the past 2 years. We like his opening:
"Constant repetition of anti-government rhetoric in our political echo chamber has dulled Americans into overlooking an important and perhaps surprising fact: We have just lived through one of the more notable successes of government intervention in modern times - the auto and bank rescues that almost surely saved the country from another Great Depression."

He goes on to say that Obama and Democrats should stop apologizing and running away from this success story. That, however, would require more political savvy and larger sacs than many Democrats seem to possess around election time. Pity.

Full of Shot

The Kaplan Daily has a piece that discusses the actual injuries suffered by Harry "Bullseye" Whittington, the guy that former (Vice) President The Dick (a.k.a. Dead Eye Dick) peppered with a shotgun blast in February 2006 while on a hunting trip. As it happened, Bullseye was more severely injured than was "reported" at the time (typically, reporters failed to dig into the story, accepting the White House version -- see: Iraq War rationale, U.S. Attorney firings, etc.)

Bullseye suffered wounds to his face and neck, with lead shot narrowly missing his carotid artery, and the chest, where lead shot is still lodged close to his heart. In fact, Bullseye suffered a mild heart attack while in intensive care for a week, and still has multiple pieces of lead in his body from the shooting.

The kicker is that while The Dick acknowledged "responsibility" 4 days after the shooting (which wasn't revealed to the lazy press until the next day), he's apparently never apologized to his human target. Pathetically, Bullseye apologized to The Dick for intercepting the 200 lead pellets with his body (the Rethugs do observe their royal pecking order).

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

From Soup to Nuts

Frothing fundamentalist Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association has uncovered a secret plot to impose Sharia law in the United States!! The plot involves the introduction of 15 Campbell's Soup flavors that are halal-certified!! Sweet Jesus on a cracker, call out the militia! Wait... what? The soups are only being marketed in Canada? You mean our kindly neighbors to the north? Are they aware of this imminent danger?!?

Watch out Canada, lest you become Canuckistan!

(Photo: Bryan Fischer, soup Nazi)

(h/t Sadly, No!)

"The Empire Strikes Back"

One of the missed opportunities that's looming for the Dems in this whole "U.S." Chamber of Commerce scandal over receiving foreign contributions is explaining the connection between big business, Rethuglican politics, and outsourcing jobs. The Chamber has long been an unofficial arm of the Rethuglican / New Confederate Party going back decades, and corporate opposition to Obama's initiatives is what the National Journal's Ron Brownstein called "the empire strikes back."

So, it's no surprise that they, and their corporate members, want the Government to return to the laissez faire, corporate tax cutting environment that the Rethugs love. What is surprising is that the Dems haven't made the clear connection between the Rethug / Chamber axis and foreign businesses that are contributing to Rethug campaigns -- and who directly benefit from outsourcing U.S. jobs. Think Progress' article on this topic should be mandatory reading for every Dem up for election/reelection and for the White House.

And while the mainstream media tut-tuts the foreign money issue, make the issue about the Chamber's support for policies that encourage outsourcing, and link that support to their support for Rethug candidates. It's simple, right? Sadly, the Dems fumble with their message and waste valuable time.

Stats of the Month

It's less than two months until the midterm elections. Let's play a game called "Where's the disconnect?" Check out these numbers from a new Kaplan Daily-Kaiser-Harvard poll (via the Kaplan Daily) and see if you can spot the disconnect:

57% of independents say the federal government has the wrong priorities.

53% of independents say the federal government hasn't really helped their families.

71% of independents say someone in their family has received unemployment benefits, mortgage interest credit, or Medicare, Medicaid, or Social Security payments in the last two years.

These are independents, mind you, not the typical Rethug wingnut "moran." We're doomed.

(Image: the M-16 is a nice touch)

Mid-Week Song

The October Project was a New York City-based alternative / new age folk group that had some modest success in the mid-'90s. This song, "Return to Me," was featured in the Tommy Lee Jones flick "Blown Away." Mary Fahl's alto is lush and beautiful, and reminiscent of singers from Judy Collins to Amy Lee of Evanescence. No better way to celebrate a beautiful October day.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Playboy Kim Disapproves Succession

Kim Jong Nam, the "playboy" 39-year-old eldest son of Kim Jong Il, has spoken out against the hereditary succession of his younger brother ("Young General" Kim Jong Un) to be the next Dear/ Fearless/ Whatever Leader of North Korea. Speaking to TV Asahi from China, the inveterate gambler Kim said he was "against third-generation succession." He also said, "I have no regrets about it. I wasn't interested in it and I don't care." He then said, "Is the craps table open yet?" (No, we made that last quote up.)

Kim Jong Nam fell out of favor with his father when he tried to enter Japan in 2001 with a fake passport. He said he wanted to see Disneyland Japan.

We really only noted this story because we wanted to run this picture of the "playboy" (hee-hee), which only goes to show you how low the standards are in North Korea!

(Photo: Kim Jong Nam: "Hey buddy!")

Governor Gubmint

It's a longshot, but Dems think that Houston Mayor Bill White has a shot at unseating secessionist Rethug Gov. Rick "Hair" Perry in Texas. They're running an ad that takes the photogenic but vapid Governor to task for wanting to require pre-pubescent girls to get a highly controversial vaccination for the human papilloma virus, a proposal that was shot down by the Texas legislature.

Like all right-wing hypocrites, Hair Perry is all for getting the Gubmint out of your lives, except in the most personal and confidential areas: sex, religion and family.

(photo: "Was it something I said?")

Monday, October 11, 2010

Uber Idiot

The latest teatard scandal is causing problems for the Rethuglicans in Ohio. It's been revealed that their candidate for Congress, Rich "Id" Iott, likes to dress up in Nazi SS uniforms and re-enact WWII from the German perspective. Wunderbar, Colonel Klink!

Id Iott is trying to 'splain everything by saying it's harmless historical fun, all except the Holocaust, which they manage to leave out of the re-enactment. The rightward lurch of the Rethuglican / New Confederate Party accelerated with the failure of their economic philosophy and the election of the first black President. Who would have imagined the total nutjobs and loons that the teatard base would foist on the Rethug establishment, who must wonder from time to time if the tiger they're riding will eat them some day?

Is That Shelby or Smell Me?

Reactionary Rethug Sen. Richard "Smell Me" Shelby (Confederate-AL) has been doing his small part to help the Rethugs gum up the gears of government, and then blame Democrats when things don't work. One of the wrenches Smell Me has thrown into the gears is his hold on the nomination of Peter Diamond to be a member of the Federal Reserve Board. Smell Me's objection? Why, Diamond lacks the qualifications! That would be the same Peter Diamond who just won the Nobel Prize for Economics.

(Photo: "Nobel Prize? Why - ain't he got a bell?")

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Quote of the Day

"'I do enjoy Glenn Beck,' Williams also says, 'and the reason why I enjoy that is because... no other channel will speak about the same things that he's talking about, and if you go and investigate those things you'll find out that they're true.' Unfortunately for Beck, this satisfied viewer currently resides at the Santa Rita Jail near Oakland and stands accused of a freeway shootout with police. Williams pleaded not guilty to four counts of attempted murder of a police officer. But according to court documents, he said he had been on a mission to kill people at the liberal Tides Foundation, which happens to be a favorite Beck target." -- Kaplan Daily's Dana Milbank, referring to shooter Byron Williams and his favorite TV personality. The mainstream media largely thinks this kind of thing will go away on its own, and that Beck's just an "entertainer." There are other Byron Williamses out there waiting for their opportunity, waiting for the word from Beck.

International Tea and Bad Faith

Two items this Sunday demonstrating, if it was ever necessary, that Americans don't hold a monopoly on intolerance and wingnut pathologies:

-- There's a far-right British group calling itself the English Defence League that is fighting the "Islamification" of British cities. These fearful souls are concerned about Sharia law being imposed in the UK and are forging links with the crackpots in this country with similar pathologies (hello, Krazy Kat Bolton and Pammy Jugs Geller).

-- Our dear friends in Canada apparently have their own Richard Nixon in the form of Prime Minister Stephen Harper, according to "Harperland," a book by journalist Lawrence Martin. Harper "is a leader of bad faith...who will put politics ahead of the national good every single day of the week," according to Martin. Plus he's got a nasty, vindictive streak that sounds more Nixonian than Canadian.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Tunnel Vision

On Thursday, New Jersey Rethug Gov. Chris Christie canceled the largest public works project in the nation, the rail tunnel under the Hudson River to New York City. After a firestorm of criticism, He's now reconsidering the decision. Paul Krugman has a great take on Christie's move, and what it represents about the current political climate.

(Image: He needs to tighten his own belt before he cancels any more projects)

You Say It's Your Birthday

A very special Happy Birthday to John Lennon (would have been his 70th!) and to Silver Spring bureau chief Brian (the Big 3-0)!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Friday Song

After being nominated for the 2010 Grammys as Best New Artist, the Brooklyn-based group MGMT has been getting better airplay. Their song "Kids" was also nominated for Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals. Here's their bizarre video (with a whopping 33 million hits). The keyboard/synthesizer has a strangely compelling sound.


-- Chinese democracy advocate Liu Xiaobo won the Nobel Prize for Peace. Expert at making bad press for them worse, news of the prize was blacked out in Chinese state media and Internet websites. The Chinese also recalled their ambassador to Norway. Bravo to the Nobel committee and shame on the Chinese government.

-- A few days ago, there was a piece on PBS Newshour about the Senate race in Kentucky pitting Democrat Jack Conway against Rand "Sprinklerhead" Paul. Gwen Ifill interviewed a "businesswoman" at a Paul event and she managed to capture in a sentence or so exactly what the Rethug ethos is all about. Paraphrasing her, she asked why a productive, wealth-producing businesswoman like herself should be forced to have her wealth redistributed to those who are less productive. This at a time of unprecedented and growing income disparity between the middle class and the wealthiest Americans. We will hereby update our "Consequences" blog post to reflect this common far right Rethug view that there is no such thing as a social contract among Americans and that it's everyone for themselves, i.e., the Social Darwinist view of society. That's pure Paultard/ Ayn Rand nonsense, and it's disturbing -- but not terribly surprising -- that such a large swath of the Rethug base selfishly subscribes to it.

Wingut Crime Blotter, Fux Chapter

One of Fux News' reporters in New York City has been arrested on charges of sexual assault of a minor, according to Gawker. And by minor, we mean a 4 year-old girl. Charles Leaf, who was one of Fux's most enthusiastic bashers of the proposed mosque in lower Manhattan near "ground zero," is being held on $250,000 bail and will be arraigned on November 4.

(photo: We'd support Sharia law in this instance)

Reminding the Voters

(click to enlarge)

The red bars represent the job situation under Preznit Dumbya, while the blue bars show the situation under President Obama. We were losing nearly 800,000 private sector jobs per month as Dumbya and The Dick exited. Now, while slow and painful, the jobs have been coming back, despite every obstruction the Rethugs could throw in the President's path. So Dems, here's a suggestion: Remind the voters, show this graph, and ask them if they really, really want to go back.

(source: Washington Monthly)

Poll of the Day

While it's not a poll reflecting a 2010 race, TPM reports on a poll taken among Connecticut voters regarding Sen. Joe Lieberliar's chances when he's up for re-election to the Senate in 2012. The results for holy Joe? Grim.

Among Connecticut voters overall, Lieberliar has a miserable 31% approval rating; among Democrats it's a dismal 20%. If the election were held in November, Lieberliar would lose in a landslide. That would be a fitting outcome for someone who was on the Dem ticket with Vice President Al Gore in 2000, but who was denied the Dem nomination for Senate in 2006, and who actively and enthusiastically campaigned for the Rethug Presidential ticket in 2008. After receiving support from a gracious President Obama to retain his Senate Committee positions, Lieberliar turned around and fought real health insurance reform, holding back his vote in order to defeat a public option. He can usually be counted on to block progressive legislation, teaming up with the likes of Ben "Dover" Nelson. But thankfully, it appears as though we won't have holy Joe to kick around after 2012.

(photo: Consider it done, sir!)

Thursday, October 7, 2010

The Rethug Mask Slips, Cont'd.

Maybe Rethuglican National Committee Chairclown Shizzle Steele is secretly running the Rethug advertising operation, or incompetence is contagious among the Rethugs. To wit: the Rethugs started running an ad against West Virginia Dem Gov. Joe Manchin, who's running for the late Sen. Byrd's Senate seat, that depicts three good ol' boys chatting about how Manchin would be an ally of President Obama if elected to the Senate. So far so good, but then the casting call and script were leaked. The Rethug ad agency said they were looking for "a 'Hicky' Blue Collar look" and went on to describe the clothing the "good ol' boys" should wear (including John "Deer" caps). The actors hired were found in Philadelphia.

The main point is that the Rethug politicians and the elites they represent never met a real working-class West Virginian; even their multi-millionaire candidate running against Manchin maintains his residence in Palm Beach, Florida. They think West Virginians themselves buy the stereotypical image that the Rethug elites have of them. Sadly, some low-information voters will buy the Rethuglican garbage, but it's always good to see the mask slip away -- if only for a moment -- to reveal the face of the Rethug / New Confederate Party.

Shocking News! Loopy Lou's A Hypocrite!

Hola and move over Mega Noggin Whitman! We have another Rethuglican hypocrite who has railed against hiring illegal immigrants only to be found to have... hired illegal immigrants. It would appear that all the while gasbag Loopy Lou Dobbs was making $6 million a year bashing people who employed illegal immigrants, he had at least 5 illegal immigrants tending to his estate grounds and to his daughter's champion show horsies. Yes, the same Loopy Lou who, night after night from his perch at CNN, bashed the government for letting those Messicans in, bashed businesses for hiring them, and most of all bashed illegal immigrants themselves in his own smug, pompous and, now we know, hypocritical way. So, from now on we can be certain that when Loopy Lou's lips are moving, he's lying.

(Image: Loopy Lou's shocked, shocked to discover illegal immigration in his establishment!)

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Time to Dog the Rethuglicans

Yesterday, Think Progress published an investigative piece that exposed the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's funneling of foreign corporate contributions into campaign ads supporting Rethuglicans here in the U.S. Remember that the "U.S." Chamber fought hard against a Dem proposal to repeal tax incentives for businesses shipping jobs overseas; now we see the fuller picture.

The Rethugs, thanks to outfits like the "U.S." Chamber of Commerce, are rolling in contributions from corporate tycoons and the wealthy, who like things the way they were. Going into the final weeks of the election campaign, the Rethugs are outspending Dems by a margin of 6 to 1. In an interview with the Huffington Post, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi pushed back, saying that the Rethuglican love for big donors will end up boomeranging, once the public gets the message:
"If Democrats can't match them in spending, said Pelosi, the party would tar Republicans by connecting them to corporate cash. 'Of course, they all have euphemistic terms, 'For Seniors' or 'For Prosperity,' or whatever it is, but really it's just cover,' she said.

'Whenever you get hit with an overwhelming weight, you have to jujitsu it. So we want to turn it against them... I want to tattoo them right on to the Republican candidate,' she said, smacking her hand for emphasis. 'Big oil, big banks, big health insurance: We're going to tattoo you with that, so it's like doggy-doo stuck on your shoe. Wherever you go, people will know.'"
Yes, and recognize the odor.

(photo: No one can say the Rethugs haven't been hard at work at something -- click on picture to enlarge if you dare)

Tuesday, October 5, 2010


"The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity." W.B. Yeats

That seems to be the meme so far for this election cycle. We'll wait until all the votes are counted in November to see whether or not enough Democratic "unexcited" votes can match or overcome the Rethug "excited" votes (an unexcited vote counts the same as an excited one, after all). In the meantime, reading the posting about the Orange Boner below reminds us of one of the consequences of a Rethug takeover. Here are, summarized, a few more:

Rewarding bad policy decisions past and future:
In a case of mass amnesia, voters would be rewarding the party that "drove us into the ditch" a short two years ago. The Rethugs haven't learned a thing from the market collapse two years ago; if anything, they've painted themselves into a more extremist corner by taking up the outlandish positions held by the tea baggers and Club for Growth crowd: cut taxes for the rich, starve government, repeal health and financial reform. So, to summarize: the more dangerous and destructive our actions and ideas, the more you want to support us. Hmmm.

Rewarding bad behavior: Even occasional readers of this blog don't need to be reminded of the Rethugs' bad behavior over the past 18 months. The hate, innuendo, and fearmongering at both the level of Rethug officeholders (Bachmann, DeMint, McConnell, Boner, et al) and their surrogates (the teahadist nation, Fux "News" Nutwork, hate radio, etc.) has reached unprecedented levels from our 40-plus years perspective in political observation. Voters would be rewarding and asking for more obstruction, deceit, reactionary retrenchment, and unfettered access to pols via massive plutocrat and corporate campaign donations (thank you, John Roberts' court!). Again, hmmm.

Stopping reform dead in its tracks:
Notwithstanding progressive angst about the flaws in the health care and financial reforms, and the efficacy of the stimulus, voters would be sending the message that they want these reforms rolled back or repealed, and don't subscribe to the notion that government has a role to play in stopping the economy from going off a cliff. That's a recipe for disaster the next time the economy implodes and, more immediately, for those who are just now starting to benefit from health reform.

And if you need any more reasons to fear these consequences, let these names ignite whatever passionate intensity you may be lacking: (Senator) Rand Paul, (Senator) Christine O'Donnell, (Senator) Sharron Angle, (Senator) Joe Miller, Rick Perry, Michele Bachmann, Jim DeMint, (Speaker) John Boehner, (Majority Leader) Mitch McConnell, (Chairman) Joe Barton, Eric Cantor, Dick Armey, Karl Rove, Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck...Enough?

Smoke Gets In Your Eyes

New York Times columnist Bob Herbert has a timely reminder of what we would be getting with a Rethuglican takeover of Congress, specifically the House of Representatives. Rethug Minority Leader John "Orange Boner" Boehner would be the presumptive Speaker of the House, and the Orange man has a seedy history of taking big money from corporate lobbies, most notoriously from the tobacco industry. In one infamous episode in the mid-1990s, Orange Boner handed out checks from the tobacco industry to his Rethuglican colleagues on the floor of the House. He was later chastised by embarassed Rethuglican colleagues, who are shy about exposing their corporate string-pullers.

Over the intervening years, he hasn't changed his, um, colors. As Herbert notes, Orange Boner can always be counted on to deliver for business interests:
"The hack who once handed out checks on the House floor is now a coddled, gilded flunky of the nation’s big-time corporate elite.
When House Democrats were preparing for the first floor vote on financial regulatory reform, Mr. Boehner and other Republican leaders summoned more than 100 industry lobbyists and conservative activists to a private strategy session. One could be forgiven for thinking that behind those closed doors they may not have had the public’s best interests in mind. According to Mr. Lipton, Mr. Boehner told the gathering, 'We need you to get out there and speak up against this.'"
It's staggering to think that a hack like Orange Boner could wind up as Speaker of the House; the big business influence and insider dealings that his teabaggers allies supposedly abhor would be back in spades. Even more reason to get out and vote so that this doesn't happen.

(photo: No checks this year for the Orange man)

Monday, October 4, 2010

UK Recognizes Druidry as Religion

Druidry - the worship of the natural world and its forces, which dates back to the Iron Age - is now officially recognized as a religion in the UK! Congrats! As an aside, we hope that this has opened the door for the long-awaited recognition of the Greco-Roman gods (if "By Jove!" isn't as British as kidney pie, we don't know what is!).

To honor Druids everywhere, we would like to offer this evocative, dazzle-worthy musical piece by Britain's ultimate Druid band - Ginger-root Baker, Jack Spruce, and Eric Thunderclapton - a.k.a., Cream:

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Of Useful Idiots... and Just Plain Idiots

We have two articles to recommend for your Sunday morning edification:

Dana Milbank on Perfesser "Boo Hoot the Hoot" Beck's manufacturing "history" to conform to his crackpot worldview; * and

Frank Rich on Christine "No Dildos" O'Donnell's role as useful idiot to establishment Rethuglicans and their billionaire backers.

(Question to Hackwhackers readers: Is it just us or do you feel like you lose a few million brain cells as a result of reading about the Becks and O'Donnells of the world?)

You must see this Glenn Beck meets Donald Duck cartoon before it disappears off the internet tubes!! Laff riot! (via Yglesias)

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Why Are They So Afraid?

The next Nobel Peace Prize winner may be in prison when the award is announced. His name is Liu Xiaobo, and he's been in a Chinese prison since December 2008 on charges of subversion. He's the primary author of Charter 08, the Chinese democracy movement's call for peaceful transition to a democratic form of government. When you read about what he's been through, and his courage in standing up against the full authority of the Chinese government, you'll think to yourself, this is the one deserving of the Peace Prize.

The Chinese are so fearful of the embarrassment Liu's winning would cause them that they've warned the Nobel institute not to award Liu the Nobel. Now, that's not embarrassing, is it fellas?

[We're about to get borderline sanctimonious here, but stay with us anyway.]

The Chinese government must come to understand that intimidation doesn't work, whether at home or abroad. We fear it will be a long time before it learns that lesson in terms of its own people, but at least the world at large now has an opportunity to stand for the principles the Nobel Peace Prize embodies. Give Liu the Nobel.

Anchor Away

After a cringe worthy interview on Sirius Radio, in which he implied that Jews controlled the major networks and that CNN was discriminating against him, afternoon CNN anchor Rick "Dirty" Sanchez was fired by CNN. Cuban-born Dirty's initial target was frequent tormentor Jon Stewart of the Daily Show, who occasionally runs clips of Dirty being himself -- clueless and hyper. That led into this statement referring to Jews:
"Yeah, very powerless people. [laughs] He's such a minority. I mean, you know, please. What are you kidding? I'm telling you that everybody who runs CNN is a lot like Stewart and a lot of people who run all the other networks are a lot like Stewart. And to imply that somehow they, the people in this country who are Jewish, are an oppressed minority?"
Wow, that's some kind of hate speech there. In recognition, Hackwhackers is pleased to give the Aryan Anchor Award, Cubano chapter, to Dirty with a stiff-arm salute.

(photo: Dirty expresses regret over his statements)

Saturday Song

It's the beginning of a beautiful weekend on the east coast, after much tropical rain. "Fields of Gold" by Sting was playing on the radio yesterday, and it stuck with me.

Friday, October 1, 2010

News From Page 15

If you had the time and diligence to plow through to page 15 of the Kaplan Daily today, here's the news item you would would come across. Of course, we shouldn't be surprised at the placement, since displaying it more prominently would tend to clash with the media's carefully constructed narrative of the past 18 months.

Buh-Bye Rahmbo

As expected, "Rahmbo" Emanuel is leaving his post as White House Chief of Staff and all-around asshole to run for Mayor of Chicago (in the great Chicago tradition, we wish we could vote early and often against him). The powerful corporate Dem is being replaced by Pete Rouse (whose mother is Japanese American, making him the first Asian American WH Chief of Staff-- banzai!). Some are predicting the departure of the anti-progressive Rahmbo will enable Obama to move to the left in the remaining 2 years of his (first?) term. Let's hope so.

(Photo: Right back atcha, Rahmbo!)