Monday, January 31, 2011

They Keep Trickling On Us

As we watch the unfolding crisis in Egypt and the demands for greater economic opportunity, Think Progress notes that income inequality in the U.S. is greater than that in Egypt: Egypt is ranked the 90th in inequality, while the U.S. ranks 42nd in inequality of income, according to the CIA World Fact Book. It's another sign that right-wing "trickle down" economics has been a huge failure and a scam. According to the article:
"Currently, the top one percent of households make nearly 25 percent of the total income in the country, after they made less than 10 percent in the 1970′s. Between 1980 and 2005, 'more than 80 percent of total increase in Americans’ income went to the top 1 percent.'"
While there won't be rioting in U.S. streets over this issue, it's a clear sign that the concentration of economic power is increasing -- a result of decades of tax breaks and loopholes, insider dealings, deregulation and other goodies for the richest Americans, who are "trickling down" on the rest of us, but not in a nice way.

(image: Don't Trickle On Me)

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Cartoon of the Week

A light bulb, a flashing red light, and lit matches. Progress, fear, and violence, as depicted in their contemporary political forms. Brilliant cartoon by Barry Blitt of the NY Times, above this column by Frank Rich.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Rethug Crime Blotter

He's barely been a U.S. Congressman for 3 weeks but Florida Rethug David "Reimburse Me" Rivera is already facing allegations that he siphoned off $60,000 in campaign funds for unexplained personal use. A state criminal investigation is underway to determine whether Reimburse Me violated campaign finance laws.

He looks like the male version of failed Delaware Senate candidate Christine "Witchy Woman" O'Donnell, who apparently lived off of campaign contributions as a perpetual candidate for whatever position opened up. Count on them to be the first to object to gummint spending and waste/fraud/abuse. It's how they roll.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Weekend Song

Charlie Louvin (nee Loudermilk), 83, of the Louvin Brothers country duo, passed away on January 26. Along with his brother Ira, who died in 1965, the Louvin Brothers were an early influence on such talents as the Everly Brothers, the Byrds, and Emmylou Harris, among others. While country music is not for everyone, you can still enjoy their close harmonies, interweaving along with the mandolin (Ira) and rhythm guitar (Charlie). Here's their biggest hit, from 1956:

Don't Tell This To A Teatard

"Wednesday's Congressional Budget Office estimates indicate the government will have to borrow 40 cents for every dollar it spends this fiscal year, which ends Sept. 30. Tax revenues are projected to drop to their lowest levels since 1950, when measured against the size of the economy." -- Item in the New York Times.

Rahmbo Don't Need No Stinkin' Finger

Now that the Illinois Supreme Court has ruled that former White House Chief of Staff Rahm "Rahmbo" Emanuel can be on the ballot for Mayor of Chicago, he's once again become the favorite to win the election on February 22, with early voting allowed starting next Monday. The Supreme Court's unanimous ruling was based on residency law going back to the 19th century.

Bowing to calls for civility in politics, Rahmbo had his middle finger amputated, as seen in the photo *cough cough*.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Not History, Herstory

There's an increasing tendency on the far-right to twist or outright fabricate U.S. history to suit their political message. Case in point: half-term Alaska Governor Sarah "Mama Fizzley" Palin, who thinks that the Soviets won the "space race," and that the cost of the space race caused their country to collapse roughly 30 years later. Fizzley, who is trying to compete with loony Michele "I See Commies" Bachmann for the tin foil hat demographic, was responding to President Obama's "Sputnik moment" reference in his State of the Union message.

While Fizzley may not realize that the U.S. "won" the space race by being the first on the moon -- thanks to a massive Government-led and funded effort -- she's bucking Rethuglican orthodoxy by saying that the Soviets' expenditures on the space race caused their economy to collapse. Here all the time we thought St. Ronnie of Hollywood brought the Evil Empire to its knees by winning the arms race, which the Russkies couldn't match.

As Keith Olbermann often said when referring to the Wasilla Wingnut, "That woman is an idiot."

Uprisings in the Arab World

After a popular uprising toppled the government of Tunisia, it may have only been a matter of time before the frustration with strongman rule in the Arab world boiled over. Now demonstrators in Egypt and Yemen have taken to the streets, in Egypt to demand an end to Hosni Mubarak's 30-year rule, and in Yemen to protest the government of Ali Abdallah Saleh. Spearheading the protests in both countries are thousands of students and young people who are angry at a lack of economic progress and dictatorial rule. The Egyptian government is employing thousands of police and security forces to control the demonstrations, which have spread from Cairo to Suez, and the situation is extremely tense. Yemen is a new "ground zero" for expanded al Queda operations, and the government there has been cooperating with U.S. efforts to disrupt their activities.

Developments in Egypt and Yemen bear close watching given the strategic importance of these Arab nations. Will it be a failed "Prague spring" moment or will democracy take root in these important Arab countries?

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Mid-Week Song

A Tom Petty classic is our choice for this rainy/sleety/snowy day on the East Coast. Enjoy.

Tale of Two Responses

The official response to the President's State of the Union address was delivered by reactionary Rethug Congressman Paul Ryan (Social Darwinist - WI), whose touted "Roadmap for America's Future" would do away with Medicare and disrupt Social Security. Unfortunately for him, he came across as an earnest young funeral director, talking in solemn and almost grim terms about the future. Of course, he didn't mention the improving job numbers, corporate profits and bullish stock market -- signs that the stimulus and other Obama measures are working, albeit slowly. After watching Obama's hopeful and positive address, it was a downer watching the official Rethug response -- they truly have nothing but "cut spending and cut taxes" in their repertoire.

Since Ryan's type of right-wing rhetoric isn't enough for the unhinged base of the Rethuglican/New Confederate Party (a.k.a., teahadists), Minnesota's crackpot Rep. Michele "I See Commies" Bachmann trotted out her singular type of divisive crazy talk on the Tea Party Express web site. Her remarks were sprinkled with the usual nuttery about "America is under attack," and the lie that reform is "government-run" health care to be policed by "16,500 IRS agents." Seriously. In clips of her remarks that were shown on the news this morning, she appeared to be staring off into space while speaking. While that was attributed to having two different cameras present, it certainly captured the spacey quality of the loon from Minnesota.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

State of the Union Preview

With much of the Beltway Village media distracted over which Democratic Senator will sit with which Republican Senator at tonight's State of the Union address, there's actually some serious content that President Obama is expected to touch on, namely investments in education, science and infrastructure to make the U.S. economy more robust and competitive. He's expected to support some budget cuts, but not the ham-handed cuts the Rethugs are recklessly proposing, along with tax reform/elimination of loopholes. Everyone should be on their best behavior (we'll see), although we expect the Rethugs to sit on their hands for most of the hour, except when texting their contributors or mistresses.

UPDATE: The SOTU went pretty much as expected. Some business-friendly proposals, coupled with calls for seizing our "Sputnik moment." Nice weaving of national priorities with real-life situations represented by guests in the gallery. No catcalls from the teahadists in attendance.

Do As I Say, Not As I Do

It would appear that the revolving door between politics and lobbying is operating smoothly, as Ezra Klein notes:
"In 2010, Sen. Evan Bayh retired. Part of the reason, he told me, was that the corrosive effect of money in politics had left his profession looking corrupt. 'You want to be engaged in an honorable line of work,' Bayh said, 'but they look at us like we're worse than used-car salesmen.'

On Friday, Bayh announced that he was joining Apollo Global Management, a private-equity megafirm, as 'a senior adviser with responsibility for public policy.' Something tells me that this isn't going to vastly improve the way Americans think about their politicians."
ConservaDem "Bye" Bayh was usually one of the first to support Rethug policy proposals, so it isn't much of a surprise that he'd go for the big corporate bucks after retiring. Now he can save a place at the firm for the equally sanctimonious Sen. Joe Lieberliar (Party of Joe - CT) when he departs the Senate.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Crazy Talk

On yesterday's Press The Meat, er, Meet The Press, Rethuglican House Majority Leader Eric "Can't" Cantor initially refused to denounce far-right birther claims that the President wasn't born in the U.S. as "crazy talk." Think Progress has the key excerpt here.

While Can't tries unsuccessfully to weasel-word a response, he finally acknowledges that the President "is a citizen of the United States." Thanks so much, Can't, for your grudging stamp of approval, I'm sure the President is relieved. Now you can figure out a way to tell your far-right base that's not what you really meant.

Blast At Moscow's Busiest Airport

Moscow's Domodedovo Airport was hit today by a blast that has so far resulted in 31 deaths and 130 injured, according to the Russian Health Ministry. The explosion occurred in the international arrivals section of the airport, which is Moscow's busiest. Russian authorities have placed Moscow on terror alert as a result of the blast.

Terrorism officials suspect that this explosion was the result of a bomb placed in a location that would cause the greatest casualties, where arriving passengers congregate and which has less security. Chechnyan separatists have been waging a terrorist campaign against the Russian government for years, and have claimed responsibility for bombings in Moscow and other Russian cities.

: Officials are now saying it was a suicide bomber in the baggage claim area. The toll is rising, too -- now 35 dead and 180 injured.

The Pack Is Back

The Hackwhackers' sentimental favorite Green Bay Packers are heading for the Super Bowl, after their 21-14 performance against the Chicago Bears yesterday. The Pack will face the Pittsburgh Steelers (whom we were rooting for against the NY Jets) in a showdown of two old-time franchises that were among the original National Football League teams (Packers, 1921, Steelers, 1933). The Pack is still the only community-owned team, and the Steelers are still owned by the Rooney family (son Dan Rooney is Obama's ambassador to Ireland). These are two great teams with long histories in football. It should be a great game.

Go Pack!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Doubting Thomas

Reports are surfacing that Supreme Court Justice Clarence "Long Dong Silver" Thomas failed to report uber-wingnut wife Ginni's income on financial disclosure forms... for the past 5 years. According to Common Cause, ninny Ginni earned over $686,000 from the right-wing Heritage Foundation, a rather large (Long Dong Silver-esque) number that somehow Clarence failed to recall when filling out his financial disclosure forms - which are, of course, intended to flag any potential conflicts of interest. As some in the blogosphere are noting, what do you think would have been the reaction in the Drudge-ruled "mainstream media" if, say, Justice Breyer had had the same "lapse" of memory?

(Photo: "Unreported income? Humna-humna-humna. Do you know anything about 'unreported income', dear?")

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Rethugs And Their Corporate Benefactors

Teabaggers and other faux populists take note: your Rethuglican Party has been raking in the loot from banking, insurance, health care, agribusiness, and Wall Street concerns for the past two years, a trend that will likely increase as we move toward the 2012 elections. Whose interests do you think the Rethugs will be pursuing in the next two years?

Saturday Morning Birthday Songs

Today would have been the 80th birthday of R & B legend Sam Cooke. Cooke, who was killed in 1964 at age 33 , was known for such classics as Chain Gang, You Send Me, Bring It On Home, Only Sixteen, Cupid, Having a Party, Another Saturday Night, and these two favorites:

Friday, January 21, 2011

Goodbye, Keith

Shockingly, sadly, tonight's was the final "Countdown with Keith Olbermann." He announced he's leaving MSNBC, with no further word about his future plans. "Countdown" was MSNBC's top-rated show, which made the abrupt departure all the more mystifying. It's also a significant blow to progressives, who saw few of their champions in the media; one as articulate as Olbermann will be sorely missed.

It occurred to us that maybe, just maybe, the ending of "Countdown" might have had something to do with the recently approved sale of NBC to Comcast. It's also possible the famously mercurial Olbermann had strictly personal reasons for leaving.

Whatever the reason, he leaves a void that will be difficult, if not impossible, to fill. As Keith would sign off, "Good night, and good luck."

South Koreans Rescue Hostages From Somali Pirates

In a daring operation early this morning, South Korean Navy commandos rescued 21 hostages aboard a South Korean merchant ship that was hijacked off the Somali coast last week. One hostage was wounded but is expected to recover - the other hostages were unharmed. Eight Somali pirates were killed and five captured in the operation, which was remarkably planned and executed in only a matter of days after the hijacking. The rescue comes at a time when South Korean President Lee Myung-bak's government had been criticized for its slow response in November to a North Korean attack on a South Korean island, as well as the sinking of a South Korean warship by the north earlier.

The perfectly executed operation bolsters the Lee government's new zero-tolerance approach to attacks on South Korean interests, as well as sending a message that it would not negotiate with Somali pirates.

(Photo: South Korean military trains off coast of Somalia in April 2009- Yonhap News)


It shouldn't surprise anyone that Congressional Rethugs are touting a bogus plan to "cut spending," as this item in Think Progress notes. Their budget smoke-generator purports to have come up with $2.5 trillion in spending cuts over 10 years, when in reality the cuts add up to $330 billion. Rethug Rep. John "Figures Lie" Campbell was oddly enough pinned down by Fux's Neil Cavuto, and did his best imitation of Ralph Kramden's humna-humna-humna when he couldn't give a straight answer.

Expect more of the same in the months ahead, as Rethugs realize that being in the House majority means sticking closer to the facts than they're used to doing. Making things up (to put it civilly) like they did when in the minority won't cut it now that they need to play the mommies and daddies.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Is It Too Early To Ask?

How's that reloady, crosshairsy thing workin' out for ya?

Let's see:
- Sales of your second "book" are a fraction of your first
- Your reality show/infomercial on TLC is cancelled
- Prominent Rethugs are distancing themselves from you (see Poot Gingrich, The Dick Cheney, etc.)
- Your unfavorable ratings are the highest ever
Not lookin' so good for ya (wink wink)

Ask Not

Today marks the 50th anniversary of President Kennedy's inauguration. The speech he delivered that cold January day is one of the most celebrated in American history. We remember that his Presidency began with such idealism and energy, only to end prematurely and tragically. You can read his address here.

(photo: UPI)

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Spokane MLK Day Bombing Thwarted

Hear about the thwarted bomb attempt at the Martin Luther King Day parade in Spokane, Washington? No? So, why no alarm bells in the "mainstream media?" Given that the region is a hotbed of Aryan Nation and other far right racist groups, that's the direction the FBI is looking. Maybe because the perpetrators aren't likely to be dark-skinned Mooslims with foreign-sounding names? Or because the media has been sufficiently cowed into not focusing on this as yet another instance of (thwarted) domestic terrorism from the crackpot right?

Mid-Week Song

We're going classical today with French composer and pianist Erik Satie (1866-1925) and one of his most-recognized pieces, Gymnopedie #1. Slow down and enjoy.

Time to Go, Joe

Senior Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberliar (Party of Joe-CT) is announcing that he won't seek another term in the Senate. Lieberliar, who was on the Dem ticket in 2000, but turned on the Dems, embraced (literally) Dumbya and McNasty and played the skunk at the picnic during the health insurance reform debate. He was one of the most aggressive backers of Dumbya's decision to attack Iraq, and was widely seen as Israel's most faithful voice in the Senate. However, his poll numbers in Connecticut were abysmal, and chances were he'd be defeated in the 2012 election anyway.

No word on what his post-retirement plans are, but he's been such a good representative for the health insurance companies that he may wind up on K Street. Thanks for your "service," Joe, and don't let the door hit you etc., etc.

(photo: One last kiss goodbye)

Baby Doc's Return

Former Haitian dictator Jean-Claude "Baby Doc" Duvalier unexpectedly returned to Haiti a couple of days ago, following 25 years in exile. Baby Doc is alleged to have embezzled tens if not hundreds of millions of dollars from Haiti during his corrupt rule. He now faces charges of corruption and embezzlement, but it's questionable whether the fragile Haitian government has the ability or will to prosecute. There are also allegations that his regime tortured and murdered thousands of civilians at the hands of his special security force -- the Tonton Macoute -- during his rule.

Why would Baby Doc return in the first place? MONEY. He's down to his last few millions, and he probably thinks he can beat the charges and find political support for a comeback (he's only 59) in the near-chaos of Haiti. This would allow him to continue the looting that preceded his exile to France. After all, there are now billions in aid money floating around Haiti ripe for Baby Doc's picking.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

SHOCKING: A Reasonable Republican

That would be former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist of Tennessee, who tells all who will listen on the right (crickets chirping) to give up on the health care reform law repeal and instead build on it. Frist, who isn't running for any office, has the freedom to behave like a grown-up, unlike his elected Rethug brethren.

Department of Delusion

One of the right's most prominent neocons, John "The 'Stache" Bolton, says that he could win the Rethuglican nomination for President in 2012. [Pause for gentle chuckling]

The 'Stache, who looks like Wilford Brimley and acts like Yosemite Sam, was the failed U.S. Ambassador to the UN who wants to put the UN out of business, and who (like other neocons) used knowingly false assumptions to justify the war in Iraq. He typifies the attitude on the far right that negotiations and diplomacy are a waste of time, and that the use of military force should be our first resort, not our last. Good luck with that message.

(photo: The 'Stache + The White House = Delusion).

"The Victim" Speaks Out

Doubling down on cluelessness, former Alaska half-term Gov. Sarah "Mama Fizzley" Palin appeared on the Fux Channel last night to speak about the Tucson tragedy and to say "they're not going to shut me up." [ed. note: Please don't shut her up. Let her talk and talk, and dig and dig.] Asked about the use of crosshairs in the infamous Facebook image, Mama Fizzley said, "I don't think that was inappropriate." Ooookaay.

As Eugene Robinson observes in today's Kaplan Daily op-ed,
"At the risk of being bold, I might observe that her faux-presidential address about the Tucson massacre seemed to fall somewhat flat, drawing comparisons to the least attractive public moments of such figures as Richard Nixon and Spiro Agnew. I could go so far as to observe that Palin almost seemed to portray herself as a collateral victim."
Last night, she reinforced that message, rather than using the opportunity to simply acknowledge that there's too much violent rhetoric and imagery in politics, and that she will do her part to avoid it. She's increasingly a captive of her own rhetoric and of her hardcore base that wallows in victimhood and threats of violence.

UPDATE: Even Poot Gingrich is urging Mama Fizzley to "be more careful" and "think through what she's saying." Wow, the irony.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Boiling Tea

Not only do the teahadist Tories' views run counter to those of our Founding Fathers, as Bill Maher noted in our earlier post, but 13% of them feel that violence is justified against the current government, according to a new poll. Again, we hope we're wrong, but would it surprise anyone if a teatard snapped and committed an act of political violence in the weeks and months ahead?

Bill Maher on the Founding Fathers and Teabaggers

You gots ta love it (not the ads)!

America the Bellyful

Having recently returned from an all-too-brief visit to warmer climes (thank you Hackwhackers team for allowing me to leave the glass-and-steel Hackwhackers Headquarters in downtown Washington for a well-deserved break!), I feel I need to make one critical observation based on my travels: Americans are grossly overweight. Perhaps this isn't as much of a revelation to you as it was to me -- experiencing not just overweight, but obese people everywhere I went. Most seemed to be in my boomer g-g-generation, give or take a generation. Some were so overweight that they had to be transported everywhere by means of motorized scooter, airport tramcar, etc. Most looked like they were carrying provisions for a long winter around their midsections.

I realize some of this is genetic or based on a medical condition, and I'm sympathetic. But, to be real, I have to believe that much, if not most of it, is based on habit and pure gluttony. (I suddenly have a new-found interest in Michelle Obama's effort to fight childhood obesity, "Let's Move.") To wit, I've penned this version of "America the Beautiful," more in sorrow than in jest:
Oh bellyful in spacious pants
And ample waves of weight!
For ice cream mountains majesty
Above all, fruit-less plates!
America, America! God, shed some tons will thee?!
Don't cram thy food
Lest it protrude
From cheek to bulbous cheek!

Full disclosure: I gained six pounds while I was off, so I'm going on my "twigs and berries" diet now (not those "twigs and berries" my UK friends!).

(Image: Anonymous blogger -- not me.)

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Quote of the Day

"Americans will pay a high price if opponents get their way. Reform means that tens of millions of uninsured people will get a chance at security; and many millions more who have coverage can be sure they can keep or replace it, even if they get sick or lose their jobs. Repeal would also take away the best chance for reining in rising health care costs — and the government’s relentlessly rising Medicare burden. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimated that repealing the reform law would drive up the deficit by $230 billion over the first decade and much more in later years."--Editorial in the New York Times.

Hooray For Hollywood

Hackwhackers' entertainment desk notes that tonight's Golden Globes will be hosted by the hilarious Ricky Gervais, who promises not to pull any punches with the likes of Mel Gibson and Charlie Sheen. Gervais, the comic force behind The Office and other works, is well worth sitting through the show biz excess and false camaraderie that typify these award shows. Look for some uncomfortable squirming in the audience as Gervais lets the zingers fly. Love it.

In another story, Golden Globe nominee for best actor Colin Firth was awarded his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. His star was placed on the sidewalk outside of the Pig N' Whistle pub on Hollywood Boulevard, so Firth said,
"When I come here to stare at my star, this is where I'll pop in for a quick pint after a long day's stare. I have a feeling I'm going to be here when I'm about 93, under a pile of blankets, asking for spare change and trying to convince anyone who will listen to me that I am the guy whose name is on the sidewalk."
Nice to see he has things in perspective.

Sunday Morning With Frank Rich

The New York Times' columnist Frank Rich reflects today on the simmering violence in our political arena. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords foreshadowed the violent act done to her back in March 2010, referring to the now infamous "crosshair" symbols, saying "they've got to realize there's consequences to that action." As Rich notes, no one listened to her at the time. He says:
"This isn’t about angry blog posts or verbal fisticuffs. Since Obama’s ascension, we’ve seen repeated incidents of political violence. Just a short list would include the 2009 killing of three Pittsburgh police officers by a neo-Nazi Obama-hater; last year’s murder-suicide kamikaze attack on an I.R.S. office in Austin, Tex.; and the California police shootout with an assailant plotting to attack an obscure liberal foundation obsessively vilified by Beck.

Obama said, correctly, on Wednesday that 'a simple lack of civility' didn’t cause the Tucson tragedy. It didn’t cause these other incidents either. What did inform the earlier violence — including the vandalism at Giffords’s office — was an antigovernment radicalism as rabid on the right now as it was on the left in the late 1960s."
Keep in mind that, leading up to the 2010 elections, the rage on the right was focused on defeating Obama's legislative proposals and individual members of Congress. Now, as they gear up for the 2012 Presidential election, it will be on the man they've vilified and depicted as a usurper, as the emblem of everything they despise -- culturally, politically and racially. So if you think they'll "tone it down," think again.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

A Birthday To Reflect On

Martin Luther King, Jr. would have been 82 years old today. It's hard to believe that he was only 39 when he was assassinated. He had accomplished enormous things in a brief life, yet we wonder what else he would have accomplished had he lived longer. We were made far poorer for his loss.

Saturday Song

Buffalo Springfield's great hit from the '60s is still relevant today. Imagine.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Steele Away

Rethuglican National Committee chairclown Michael "Shizzle" Steele is withdrawing today from the race to head the RNC, after losing ground on two ballots to Reince "Prepuce" Priebus, RNC committeeman from Wisconsin. The man who once imagined himself the "shadow" President (no pun intended) to Obama is out of a job.

We have been expecting this tragic event for some time now, as Shizzle has driven the RNC deep in debt and caused the spotlight to fall on his multiple gaffes and gunshot wounds to his feet. Needless to say, this is a sad development for Hackwhackers and for the world of late night comics and fellow bloggers. Happily for Shizzle, there's a ready-made audience on the Fux Channel and on the Rethuglican speaking circuit for his detached-from-reality spiel.

UPDATE: Prepuce is, elected!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

The Heat Is On

Scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and NASA's Goddard Institute are reporting that 2010 was tied for the warmest year on record (with 2005). Moreover, the past decade had 9 of the 10 hottest years on record.

But Boston just got 18 inches of snow, so global warming is a hoax.

"What? Us Promote Violence?" Cont'd.

An actual billboard in Tucson advertising Rush Limpballs' hate radio show.

A Hackwhacker Challenge

Read these final words from the President's Tucson speech without choking up:
"Christina was given to us on September 11th, 2001, one of 50 babies born that day to be pictured in a book called 'Faces of Hope.' On either side of her photo in that book were simple wishes for a child's life. 'I hope you help those in need,' read one. 'I hope you know all of the words to the National Anthem and sing it with your hand over your heart. I hope you jump in rain puddles.'

If there are rain puddles in heaven, Christina is jumping in them today. And here on Earth, we place our hands over our hearts, and commit ourselves as Americans to forging a country that is forever worthy of her gentle, happy spirit."
We couldn't do it either.

Clueless In Wasilla

Steve Benen, writing for the Washington Monthly, aptly characterizes yesterday's remarks by President Obama in Tucson and those of Alaska's former half-term Governor Sarah "Mama Fizzley" Palin as "rhetorical bookends." Benen writes:
"The political world spent a fair amount of time yesterday pondering the career-changing errors of Sarah Palin's video message, and its petty, defensive, resentful qualities. A half-day later, that same political world saw President Obama speak at a memorial service, delivering an inspiring address."
Precisely. Praise for Obama and criticism of Mama Fizzley has been equal opportunity, from the New York Times to right wingers like columnist Charles Kraphammer. While Fizzley has a right to object to people linking her directly with the deranged shooter in Tucson, she failed to reflect on her own angry rhetoric and to pledge to "do better" as the President put it. She was, in short, angry, defiant and unwilling to change her tune, in stark contrast to the President's tone at the memorial. Did we really expect something different from her at this point?

Our prediction: this will hasten her decline as a political force of any consequence. Fizzle, as it were.

A Fitting Memorial

President Obama's speech at the memorial for victims of the Tucson shooting rampage is receiving high praise from supporters and opponents alike. One of the emotional high points came when he revealed that Rep. Gabrielle Giffords had opened her eyes for the first time earlier that day, and touched her nose and gave a "thumbs up" sign. Doctors treating her expressed amazement at her incredibly rapid progress.

The other emotional high point was when the President spoke of how best to honor the dead and wounded: to reflect on our level of discourse which has allowed images of violence and gun play to seep in, and to "do better." "How we treat each other," the President said, "is entirely up to us." Referring to the 9-year old victim Christina Taylor Green, Obama said to growing applause,
"I want us to live up to her expectations. I want our democracy to be as good as she imagined it. All of us - we should do everything we can to make sure this country lives up to our children's expectations."
His words may not change some of the hardened attitudes of his most bitter opponents, but it showed the nation that we are led by a good man trying to do the right thing. . .as our children would expect.

(photo: UPI)

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Drink and Be Merry

News Item: "Boehner To Host RNC Party During Tucson Memorial" A cocktail party no less.

They're nothing if not classy.

Mid-Week Song

We need to decompress from the events of the past few days. We've always liked this easygoing pop tune from The Association. Lyrics (and misspellings) included.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Dee-Fense, Dee-Fense!

Showing an extraordinary amount of defensiveness, the far right is furiously spinning the tragedy in Tucson as something the Dems are taking advantage of. Initially, they set up a straw man, claiming that their critics were tying shooter Loughner directly to right wing kooks like Nevada's Sharron "Right" Angle and Minnesota loon Michele "I See Commies" Bachmann -- who famously called on her constituents to be "armed and dangerous" last year, among other incitements. On the contrary, Dem public officials have been careful not to make any direct link between Loughner's actions and violent rhetoric by Rethuglicans.

From pill-popping hate speech king Rush Limpballs to unhinged conspiracy peddler Boo Hoo Beck, the right has unleashed a coordinated damage control campaign to redirect the spotlight from their incendiary language. Stay tuned to see how the mainstream media, which is usually cowed by the likes of Limpballs and Boo Hoo, will treat their spin.

Monday, January 10, 2011

It's The Slammer for The Hammer

Former Rethuglican Majority Leader Tom "Bug Man" DeLay gets sentenced to 3 years in prison for money laundering and conspiracy.

Hope he appreciates the lilac-embroidered briefs we sent to him.

Quote of the Day II

"Where’s that toxic rhetoric coming from? Let’s not make a false pretense of balance: it’s coming, overwhelmingly, from the right. It’s hard to imagine a Democratic member of Congress urging constituents to be 'armed and dangerous' without being ostracized; but Representative Michele Bachmann, who did just that, is a rising star in the G.O.P. And there’s a huge contrast in the media. Listen to Rachel Maddow or Keith Olbermann, and you’ll hear a lot of caustic remarks and mockery aimed at Republicans. But you won’t hear jokes about shooting government officials or beheading a journalist at The Washington Post. Listen to Glenn Beck or Bill O’Reilly, and you will." -- Nobel Prize winner Paul Krugman, in today's New York Times.

Quote of the Day I

"It is facile and mistaken to attribute this particular madman’s act directly to Republicans or Tea Party members. But it is legitimate to hold Republicans and particularly their most virulent supporters in the media responsible for the gale of anger that has produced the vast majority of these threats, setting the nation on edge. Many on the right have exploited the arguments of division, reaping political power by demonizing immigrants, or welfare recipients, or bureaucrats. They seem to have persuaded many Americans that the government is not just misguided, but the enemy of the people." -- Editorial in the New York Times this morning.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

"What? Us Promote Violence?"

While we're watching the right wing scrub websites and desperately trying to sell the tale that "both sides" engage in violent rhetoric and gun play, it's worth remembering, here and here, the recent past.

The Insanity Continues, cont'd.

Among the six dead in yesterday's rampage in Tucson were a 9 year-old child and Federal District Judge Roll. As details of the 22 year-old shooter emerge, it's clear that he had mental issues but was able to legally acquire a 9 mm Glock which he used in the slayings. Police are also looking for an older white male who may have some connection to the shooter. UPDATE: The shooter, Jared Loughner, may have ties to the anti-Semitic, anti-immigration extremist group "American Renaissance."

The tense political atmosphere in the past two years has been supercharged by a rise in hate speech on the far right, by radio and TV personalities and by some Rethug politicians. The disruption and threats of violence at Congressional town hall meetings by teahadists has been documented, as has the exponential rise in militia-type groups and threats against President Obama. When you have candidates endorsed by the Rethuglican / New Confederate Party using violent imagery as "a Second Amendment solution" when it comes to removing members of Congress (Nevada's Sharron "Right" Angle), and "don't retreat, reload" (failed Alaska Gov. Sarah "Mama Fizzly" Palin) you have to ask how much of this has seeped into the consciousness of confused people like Jared Loughner and enabled their violence. Some commentary yesterday seems to point in that direction:

"When you look at unbalanced people, how they respond to the vitriol that comes out of certain mouths about tearing down the government. The anger, the hatred, the bigotry that goes on in this country is getting to be outrageous." Pima County sheriff Clarence Dupnik.

"This morning in Arizona, this time of the ever-escalating, borderline-ecstatic invocation of violence in fact or in fantasy in our political discourse, closed. It is essential tonight not to demand revenge, but to demand justice; to insist not upon payback against those politicians and commentators who have so irresponsibly brought us to this time of domestic terrorism, but to work to change the minds of them and their supporters - or if those minds tonight are too closed, or if those minds tonight are too unmoved, or if those minds tonight are too triumphant, to make sure by peaceful means that those politicians and commentators and supporters have no further place in our system of government." Keith Olbermann on Countdown last night.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

The Insanity Continues

Democratic Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was shot in the head today at a public appearance in Tucson, AZ. There are reports that she is alive but critical. Six others are reported to have been killed by the shooter, who was tackled and is in police custody.

We don't know the motive for the shooting at this point, but last March, her office was vandalized by wingers who were furious at her vote for the health insurance reform act. Last June, an anti-Giffords event was held with the slogan, "Get on Target for Victory in November. Help remove Gabrielle Giffords from office." Alaska grifter Sarah "Mama Fizzly" Palin had Giffords on her "target list." Would it surprise anyone if this were a political assassination attempt?

When will we learn to take these rabid wingnuts seriously and hold them accountable for their deranged, violent rhetoric??

Saturday Song

While one half of the Hackwhackers team is looking out on a light snow, the other half is on a cruise in warmer climes. You could say sailing.

Friday, January 7, 2011

The Job-Killing Rethuglicans

Now that the Rethuglicans control the House, they'll need to cope with the fact that their political proposals will be analyzed and examined. Number one on their agenda is the repeal of the health insurance reform legislation. So when the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said that repeal would add $240 million to the deficit in the next ten years and far more after that, the Rethugs shrugged and said "Doesn't matter." Then, there's their mantra that the health insurance reform is a "job killer." Never mind the fact that the jobless rate dropped from 9.8 to 9.4 percent last month, and that 1.1 million jobs have been created in the private sector since last March when the bill was passed. And an estimated 400,000 jobs would be lost per year over a decade with repeal. "Doesn't matter."

Their failed philosophy is impervious to facts and reality. Their disinformation campaign in the last election succeeded beyond their wildest dreams, thanks to millions in contributions from the likes of the "U.S." Chamber of Commerce and wealthy wingers. But now they have governing to contend with, and unless the mainstream media continues to give them and the teahadists a pass on facts, they're going to have to get real. Don't hold your breath.

The Orange Boner's "Big" Moment

"I think someone's compensating for his small government." -- Steven Colbert on the Colbert Report.
Yes indeed.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Department of Knock-Me-Over-With-a-Feather-Boa

Figure skater Johnny Weir has a new book, "Welcome to My World." In it, he comes out as... gay. This shocking revelation is destined to be added to the catalog of such similarly shocking revelations as, yes, "the Pope is Catholic," and "bears poop in the woods."

(Photo: What!? Johnny Weir is gay??!!??)

Please Let It Be True

Uber wingnut Rep. Michele "I See Commies" Bachmann is reported to be considering a run for President in 2012. Seriously. This could potentially pit her against former half-term Alaska Gov. and Twitter twat Sarah "Mama Fizzly" Palin in the contest to be the biggest flaming wingnut. A debate between the two would be comic gold. Let us pray.

Mama Fizzly Palin's poll numbers have dropped steadily, while Bachmann is less of a known quantity to the general public. Should she decide to jump into the Presidential race, Bachmann's over-the-top nuttiness should produce the same results.

From The Sports Desk

Michigan football coach Rich "Rich Rod" Rodriguez has been fired after three disappointing seasons. Michigan's proud football tradition suffered under Rich Rod, who had abruptly left as coach of the West Virginia Mountaineers earning him the undying enmity of fans there. Michigan Athletic Director Dave Brandon, reflecting on Rich Rod's poor record and handful of NCAA violations, said it best: "Michigan is not used to this."

(photo: Take a hike)

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Let the Backpedaling Begin!

Think Progress sums up the furious backpedaling going on in Rethug ranks on the subject of the $100 billon in cuts in discretionary spending the Rethugs promised in their lemon "Pledge to America." Turns out that was "hypothetical." What they really meant was more like $50 billion, or maybe less. Maybe a lot less.

Not even in power one day and another "Pledge" is out the window. Is that a tea kettle whistling...?

Mooslims Infiltrate CPAC!

Wingnut conspiracy alert!! The crackpots at World Nut Daily and Frank "Gas" Gaffney have detected mooslim infiltration in CPAC... wait... CPAC? The Conservative Political Action Conference? Holy jihad, those mooslims are everywhere!

We Hackwhackers encourage World Nut Daily and Gaffney to continue their investigation of CPAC, specifically uber-wanking reactionary Grover Norquist (psst! his wife's a mooslim, you know!) and former Bushie Suhail "Neo Con" Khan, whom they believe to be behind the infiltration. After all, any squabbling among inmates in the wingnut welfare asylum is always entertaining and much to be desired!

Big Spike in Job Growth in December

Nearly 300,000 new jobs in December. Most economists had been predicting about 100,000. That's December, before the Rethugs took over the House from those "job killing Democrats!"

All Together Now. . . .

The recent "debate" for candidates for the Rethuglican National Committee chairman post was less a debate and more of a contest to see who could agree more with far right articles of faith. No strong shots at current RNC Chairclown Michael "Shizzle" Steele's monumentally inept leadership, no dissent from right wing orthodoxy on guns / gays / God, no sign of intellectual life. It was all "yes yes yes" or "no no no" in unison. Much like a Politburo meeting in the old Soviet Union.

We'll let Jon Stewart wrap up the lame proceedings as only he can.

Mid-Week Song

Today, the Rethugs and their corporate sponsors retake the House. We're in for an ugly two years. So Green Day's hit song seems appropriate:

"I want to be the minority
I don't need your authority
Down with the moral majority
'Cause I want to be the minority"

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

"You Just Can't Close the Door on This Crowd"

That's Bob Herbert's lament (and ours, too) about the Rethug majority taking control in the House. As we noted earlier, you'll see some familiar faces back again from the '90s, and some familiar hypocritical tactics. Like all true believers, they'll be going off the deep end shortly. Let's see if anyone in the "mainstream media" notices.

Monday, January 3, 2011


It's being reported that Rethuglican National Committee Chairclown Michael "Shizzle" Steele's chances of winning reelection are getting slimmer by the day. Committee members are lining up with other candidates, and a solid 55 have said they would not support Shizzle under any circumstances. Ominously for the gaffe-machine that Shizzle became in his 2-year comedy show, none of the 168 Committee members said Shizzle was their second choice, ruling out his emergence as a "compromise" candidate. Don't be surprised if Shizzle decides to aggressively play the race card as he faces defeat.

For a puffed-up guy who thought he was the shadow President (no pun intended) and Obama's equal as head of the opposition party, it's been a long, steady decline in Shizzle's fortunes. As we've said in previous posts, we'll miss his knack for inappropriate, tone-deaf, and downright harebrained actions. Truly comic gold.

(photo: Shizzle attempts to convince a young Committeeman to vote for him)

House Rethugs: S.O.S.

It's deja vu all over again: House Rethugs are moving ahead in staffing key positions with... lieutenants of disgraced former House majority leader Tom "Bug Man" DeLay. They're certainly hearing what the American people said in November, aren't they?! No business as usual for them! Steve Benen has the info on the three DeLayers.

(Image: Con-servative Tom DeLay)

A Teatardist's Awakening?

More on the tea party front! The Kaplan Daily ran a long piece the other day about a tea party activist named Gena Bell that reveals the extent to which Ms. Bell and other naive teatards are being used by the likes of "Americans for Prosperity." ("Americans for Prosperity," you may recall, is an astro-turf far-right organization funded by the billionaire Koch brothers for the express purpose of derailing the Obama agenda.) Ms. Bell and fellow teatard sheeple were invited by "Americans for Prosperity" to be a rent-a-crowd for a demonstration AFP was organizing at the climate change conference held recently in Cancun, Mexico. Expenses paid.

It appears from the article, though, that the astro-turfers need to do a better job of keeping the wool pulled over their sheeples' eyes. At some point, it dawned on Ms. Bell that the Koch Brothers' agenda and hers might be different (she's said to have "felt like a prop for Americans for Prosperity"). Can I get a "Duh!" Wait until the new session of Congress gets underway, Ms. Bell; you'll get a chance to see what it's like to feel like a prop for House Rethugs, too!

(Image: "We is not 'morans,' we is competnt!")

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Ironic Quote of the Day

“As long as you have a Democratic president and a Democratic-controlled Senate, I don’t think there are many people who are expecting that the government’s going to be transformed overnight into something in the image of the Tea Party. That would be delusional.” -- Teahadist freshman Rethug Sen. Mike Lee (Magic Underwear - UT).

Delusion hasn't stopped a teatard so far.