Thursday, March 31, 2011

Billions Show Up for Tea Party Rally

A HUGE crowd of teabaggers showed up in Washington today to put pressure on Weeper of the House John "Orange Boner" Boehner (Rethug-OH) to slash government spending and not compromise with Democrats. The crowd, estimated to be in the millions... no, what?... hundreds of thousands?... what? Dozens? You must mean dozens of thousands, right? No? Why, there must be some mistake. Only dozens?!? Let's go over to Fox for an authoritative, trustworthy explanation of whassup with this rally by America's best and brightest.

(Image: Fox, you have permission to use this photo for today's tea bagger rally; can you maybe airbrush in a few palm trees, just for the hell of it?)

Top Officials Abandon Gadhafi

In one of the major Libyan defections to date, Foreign Minister Moussa "Whosa Yousa" Koussa arrived in London earlier today asking for asylum. Koussa is the highest ranking Libyan official to defect since the start of the uprising. The defection is good news to the rebels who are seeking to regain the initiative after falling back under several days of attack by Gadhafi forces. Former Libyan Foreign Minister and Ambassador to the U.N. Ali Abdussalam el-Treki also defected to Egypt on Thursday, fueling speculation about additional high-level defections. Koussa certainly won't be the last.

More Troubling News at Fukushima

While the nuclear crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant continues, the plant owner, Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) faces estimates of at least $12 billion to safely close and decommission the facility. Adding to TEPCO's damaged image is the information that their disaster readiness plan was woefully inadequate.

The latest information from the International Atomic Energy Agency indicates that very high levels of radioactivity are being found many kilometers from the plant, and that uncontrolled chain reactions may be occurring in Building 1. It's hard to imagine a worse scenario: failed nuclear facility on the shores of the Pacific, nuclear fuel burning and sending radioactivity into the atmosphere and sea. We can only hope that the heroic efforts of the plant staff and firefighters stem the tide.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The Wasilla Wingnut's Wisdom

In today's edition of "The Wasilla Wingnut's Wisdom," we observe our snowbilly grifter and noted military analyst commenting on the situation in Libya. Wonkette has the video, and it makes us wonder what Dem would dare to squirmish with her.

(photo: The Shakespeare of Politics, makin' up another word)

Mid-Week Song

We're going waaaay back for today's song, back to 1956 when this song reached #1 on Billboard's Top 100 list 55 years ago this week. Light, melodic, and representative of the popular music at the time.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Wingnuts Agree With Gadhafi

Think Progress has some revealing quotes from some right wingers, including Poot Gingrich and Michelle "I See Commies" Bachmann, that capture the "oppose Obama at any cost" mentality of the wingnut right on the subject of Libya and Moammar "Daffy" Gadhafi. Like Daffy would have us believe, both Poot and the Minnesota Loon want us to think that al-Qaeda is the leading force among the rebels (despite the CIA's opposite analysis). Therefore, we should leave the people of Libya to Gadhafi's tender mercies. That'll show al-Qaeda! Their "reasoning" doesn't account for why you see Libyan rebels shouting "thank you America" for taking Gadhafi's armor and artillery out.

Echoes of this same cynical garbage was heard during the more benign Egyptian uprising. If President Obama says "yes", they say "no." If he says "less", they say "more." None of their pronouncements are connected to anything but a reflex to oppose everything the President says or does. Not only are they unworthy to lead the country, they're not even worthy to run a lemonade stand.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Banana Republicans, Cont'd.

It looks like the restraining order imposed on Wisconsin's Rethuglican government didn't stop them from continuing to flout the law. On Friday, the Rethug government published the union-busting bill that they recently passed without public hearings in the wee hours of the morning, violating the restraining order issued by a Dane County judge.

For Wisconsin's Rethuglican politicians, laws don't matter -- except the questionable ones they pass. And if the courts disagree with you, ignore them too. That's what you do in a banana republic that's responsive only to your corporate benefactors.

BONUS BANANAS: And if the scholars disagree with you, try to intimidate them.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Boss Hogg Barbour: "Fat Cats' Candidate"

We've often wondered what was the appeal of Gov. Haley "Boss Hogg" Barbour (Overseer-MS) as a potential presidential candidate. After all, Mississippi ranks last or near last among all the states in poverty level, infant mortality, education, etc., etc. In a word, it's a pit. Granted, it's been a pit for a century, but as far as we can tell Barbour hasn't succeeded in raising the quality of life there one tick in his long career. A man like Barbour should have been able to bring some of his insider, string-pulling capacity to bear on his state, one might think.

What insider, string-pulling capacity is that, you ask? Well, once again the Dick Whisperer surprises us in his Kaplan Daily column on Barbour. After knowing about Barbour's history, any (oxymoron alert!) grass-roots teabagger, (oxymoron alert!) populist Rethug might think twice about Boss Hogg being their party's standard-bearer. Or not.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Geraldine Ferraro Dies

Geraldine Ferraro, the first female Vice Presidential candidate on a major party ticket, has passed away at age 75 of complications from blood cancer. Ferraro, the Democratic nominee for Vice President in 1984, was a New York Congresswoman when she was picked by Walter Mondale to be his ticket-mate. They went on to lose in a landslide to the Reagan/Bush ticket.

Ferraro not only took pride in the fact that she was the first woman, but was also the first Italian-American to be on a major party presidential ticket. Speaking for both her gender and heritage, she began her 1984 convention acceptance speech,
"My name is Geraldine Ferraro. I stand before you to proclaim tonight: America is the land where dreams can come true for all of us."

Rest in peace.

Cartoon of the Day

(click to enlarge)
Actually, Scottie's looking further back, maybe to the turn of the century.

Saturday Song

We've picked one of the last songs that the Beatles performed together live for our Saturday song. Enjoy a ride home.

Friday, March 25, 2011

More Rethug Candidate News!

No doubt as a public service, Wonkette has three pieces today on potential Rethug presidential candidates. Just as you would expect, ignorance, hypocrisy, prejudice, and dishonesty are all on full display!

-- Poot Gingrich has new Biblical interpretations to share;

-- Haley "Boss Hogg" Barbour speaks out on abortion, while simultaneously making an abortion of civil rights history; and

-- Tim "No Good 'N'" Pawlenty stands strong against mooslim Americans (or is that an oxymoron for you, Tim?).

Hair Today, Candidate Tomorrow?

Every few election cycles, when egomaniac Donald "Rump" Trump has something to promote, he acts like he's considering a run for President. A silver spoon billionaire-- who was born on third base but thinks he hit a triple -- The Donald likes to issue outrageous statements that should disqualify him from being within 100 miles of the nuclear trigger. That won't stop him from making the rounds on talk shows, teasing the talking heads about a run for the Rethug nomination. His recent inane comments indicating that he's a "birther" will only help him with the tinfoil hat base, not the general population.

Regardless, we wonder how his previous statements about being pro-choice and his multiple marriages will sit with the teatard base. Probably not so well.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Poot's Missing Tweets

Vanity Fair Daily headline: "Missing: Newt Gingrich's Tweets Before July 2010"

And you thought when we said "tweets" we were referring to Poot's candy stash. In all seriousness, this jerk, who has been flipping back and forth on the Libya situation, is going to need to erase more from his past than those tweets.

(photo: Got some 'splainin to do)

Quote of the Day

“If Democrats believe it’s going to go away, they’re wrong. I don’t represent the hide-under-the-desk wing of the Democratic Party. I believe we’ve got to lean into this fight. . .We have to stop cowering.” -- New York Congressman Anthony Weiner, quoted in the Kaplan Daily today, speaking about the Affordable Health Care Act that's under attack by insurance industry-sponsored Rethugs. We need a lot more Anthony Weiners in Congress.

If Dem politicians don't defend what they've voted for, they don't deserve reelection. And President Obama needs to realize that his strategy of negotiating with himself to achieve more conservative policies is a loser for his increasingly disillusioned base.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

On the Hat Fashion Front



Mid-Week Uplift Song

Neal Young, Richie Furay, Steven Stills, Bruce Palmer and Dewey Martin: Buffalo Springfield's "On the Way Home." Enjoy the high energy!

Rethug Govs On A Slippery Slope

Rethuglican politicians like to pretend that they represent the "voice of the people," when in fact, as Steve Benen points out, that's hardly the case. The overreaching of several far right Rethug Governors is costing them public support in their states. They apparently thought they could get away with imposing a right-wing agenda that they didn't campaign on. From Wisconsin to Ohio to Michigan, the governors who rode in on an off-year teatard wave pushed for destroying public unions, cutting taxes for corporate benefactors, and otherwise acting like empowered autocrats. It's only served to awaken not only the Dem base, but independent voters who never approved the radical positions taken by the Rethug Govs.

A Star Is Gone

One of the biggest stars in Hollywood history, Elizabeth Taylor, died today at the age of 79. Taylor won the Academy Award for Best Actress twice, once for Butterfield 8 and later for Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? Her exceptional beauty and her turbulent private life made her one of the most publicized stars of the '50s, '60s, and '70s. She put her fame to good use as the first major celebrity to stand up for AIDS awareness and research, after having lost her friend Rock Hudson to the disease. She devoted much of the last years of her life to raising funds for AIDS research, and deserves a lot of credit for that. RIP.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Lunch With A Legend

ESPN 980 radio in DC sponsored a "Lunch with a Legend" today with Redskins great Larry Brown. This Hackwhacker has had the pleasure of knowing Larry for several years; he's a terrific guy, very gracious and unassuming, with a dry sense of humor. He is active in local charities. His modest personality belies his records: #3 as the all-time Redskins rushing leader (when the NFL played fewer games per year), a 4-time All-Pro, and the 1972 NFL Most Valuable Player. It was gratifying to see a good turnout for Larry at Morton's in D.C.

Now, let's get him into the Hall of Fame in Canton, OH.

(photo: Running back Larry Brown in November 1972)

Drunken Caller Hired by Daily Caller

Ninny Ginni Thomas, drunken Anita Hill serial caller and wife of Supreme Court mime Clarence Thomas, has been hired as a "special correspondent" by preppy Tucker "*ucker" Carlson's vanity e-rag The Daily Caller. The ethically sketchy Ninny, whose hubby couldn't seem to remember to report her 6-figure income on his financial disclosure form, will no doubt cover a full range of topics, from the astroturf teabag groups she fronts for, to what wine gives you the most courage to call an imaginary girlfriend of your hubby, to uncovering the latest proof that Obama's turning the country into a morally degenerate socialist/ mooslim dictatorship. When she's not making (hic) daily calls for The Daily Caller (hic), that is.

(Image: Lady Libation herself, Ninny Ginni Thomas)

Monday, March 21, 2011

A Rethuglican Jobs Program In Wisconsin

Apparently Wisconsin Gov. Scott "Too Much Johnnie" Walker doesn't feel Wisconsin is so broke that it can't help out the mistress of a fellow Rethuglican. With State and local job cuts threatened by Koch-sniffing Scottie, it's odd that State Sen. Randy "Randy" Hopper's mistress (and lobbyist) landed a job with the State's Department of Regulation and Licensing (ed. note, given Scottie's aversion to "gummint regulations," she's probably got a hatchet with her). So much for the State being "broke."

No doubt this little bit of hypocrisy will make its way into political ads, as Wisconsin's citizens continue to collect signatures for the recall of Randy Randy and their lying weasel of a Governor.

(photo: Monkey business is welcome, too)

Sofa Sergeants

We're seeing the usual neocon/Rethuglican suspects criticizing the Administration for their actions toward Libya. One predictable presence on the TV gabfests this weekend was none other than bitter loser Sen. John McNasty (R-Ariz.). Whenever the mainstream media wants to get an automatic criticism of President Obama, their go-to guy is the very cranky former "maverick" (whose keen judgment gave us the Wasilla Wingnut on the national stage).

This weekend on CNN, McNasty and his reliable Likudnik sidekick, soon-to-be-ex Sen. Joe Lieberliar (Party of Joe-CT), criticized Obama for failing to initiate hostilities with Libya sooner, and alone if necessary. This perfectly captures the neocon philosophy of "shoot-ready-aim" that they planned and executed so well in Iraq under former President Dumbya. That anyone values or seeks their opinion on matters of war -- particularly in the Middle East -- is astounding, given their pathetic track record of failure.

"Betting on Japan"

E.J. Dionne writes in today's Kaplan Daily about his first impressions of Japan when he visited in the 1990's; about the "sense of extraordinary achievement of the Japanese people in the years since the war's end." When this Hackwhacker visited Japan for the first time several years ago, I had similar impressions of Japan as well (the energy, the enthusiasm, the intelligence, the resourcefulness, and more). Frankly, I fell in love with the country and its people (full disclosure: I may be somewhat biased since my daughter-in-law is Japanese).

Dionne makes the case that the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disasters that struck Japan offer it a unique opportunity to take stock of the shortcomings of its social and political systems (as it seems it already is doing), reinvent itself, and rise once again as it did after World War II. As Dionne puts it, "The spontaneous forms of solidarity and inventiveness that Japan's triple tragedy has called forth suggests a society that has lost neither its resourcefulness nor its organizational gifts." We, too, believe that in overcoming this disaster and rebuilding -- as Japan inevitably will -- the Japanese people will again demonstrate their ability to achieve the extraordinary.

If you haven't given to the Japanese relief effort, please consider doing so. Here's a useful link, again, for vetted charities.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

It's On

Operation Odyssey Dawn has begun, enforcing the no-fly zone over Libya authorized by the United Nations. A flotilla of 25 American, Canadian, and Italian ships have begun operations off the Libyan coast. Over 100 Tomahawk cruise missiles have been fired at Libyan air defense systems, and French warplanes have seen action over Libya.

The Rethug Agenda: "Useless Distractions"

Witness as Bill Maher hilariously rips the Rethugs several new ones (after closing the annoying ad):

Banana Republicans

Now that Dane Co. Wisconsin Circuit Court Judge Maryanne Sumi has issued a restraining order for Gov. Scott "Too Much Johnnie" Walker's union-busting efforts, let's hope that contributes to the eventual unraveling of those efforts.

Seeing the public abandon them in droves, the State's Rethuglican pols cobbled together a separate bill to deny collective bargaining rights to public workers, to try to short-circuit their plummeting public support. They literally passed the measure in the dead of night without public hearings, a violation of Wisconsin statutes. We'll see what happens next, but at the very least, this whole episode has demonstrated the Wisconsin Rethuglicans' contempt for not only public employees, but for open government. There may not be palm trees in Madison, but they've got some banana Republicans in their state government.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Weekend Springtime Twofer

Our first selection comes from the Hall-of-Fame-named Ferlin Husky, who died yesterday at age 85. The country music star's first hit, from 1957, was "Gone," which seems an appropriate song to note his passing.

Our "bonus" pick today is a 1965 chiming guitar beauty from the Lovin' Spoonful. Have a beautiful weekend. Remember to help Japan. Happy Spring!

Good for Gerson

We're almost always at odds with former Bushit speechwriter and op-ed columnist for the Kaplan Daily Michael "Mushroom Cloud" Gerson. However, he's written an interesting column that slams largely right-wing dirty trickers who doctor video and peddle the trash to the broader media. Case in point: the recent "expose" of NPR by video sleazebag James "G. Gordon Diddy" O'Keefe. As Gerson says,
"It is now clear that O’Keefe’s editing of the raw video from his interview with NPR’s top fundraiser, Ron Schiller, was selective and deceptive. . .But the controversy also raises deeper issues about the ethics of undercover journalism. In this case, O’Keefe did not merely leave a false impression; he manufactured an elaborate, alluring lie."
"These tactics are not a new brand of gonzo journalism. They are a sophisticated version of the political dirty trick. Would it be citizen journalism to fool a senator’s psychiatrist into revealing demeaning information about his or her patient? Or to befriend a prominent conservative pastor, goad him into making homophobic statements, then edit, exaggerate and put them on the Internet?"
Sadly, ethics are not in the tool kit of amoral punks like O'Keefe.

Daffy Ducked

Soon after the U.N. Security Council passed a resolution calling for the international community to "take all necessary measures" to prevent Libyan dictator Muammar "Daffy" Gaddafi* from unleashing more attacks on citizens, Daffy declared an immediate cease-fire. Probably a good thing for him, if he follows through. With air strikes by the U.S., Britain and France imminent, the Libyan dictator backed down -- for now. Knowing that fact, the allies have gone further and demanded that Libyan forces be withdrawn from territory previously captured in the east.

Clearly, the world community wants Daffy gone, and as cleanly as possible. He's now on notice that further attempts to brutalize his people to hold on to power will be met with force.

(photo: Will there be a second career for Daffy in comic operas?)
*His name is spelled in different ways, but he's still Daffy to us.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Quote of the Day

"But if Obama lacked audacity, he was full of hope for a dialogue. 'I’m willing to bet,' he wrote, 'that responsible, law-abiding gun owners agree that we should be able to keep an irresponsible, law-breaking few . . . from getting their hands on a gun in the first place.' And the president’s tender approach was promptly met with a slap in the face from the National Rifle Association’s chief executive, Wayne LaPierre: 'Why should I or the NRA go sit down with a group of people that have spent a lifetime trying to destroy the Second Amendment in the United States?'” -- E.J. Dionne in today's Kaplan Daily, commenting on President Obama's editorial piece in the Arizona Daily Sun and his reluctance to stand up to National Rifle Association propaganda.

While we're on the subject of leadership, Obama is in danger of becoming President "Where's Waldo?" on the Federal budget battles, the various crises in the Middle East, job growth measures, anti-union attacks in Wisconsin and elsewhere, even the human tragedy in Japan. Showing up on ESPN to pick NCAA basketball games, or speaking about bullying in schools is fine, but then virtually disappearing from view is, well, disappointing to say the least.

UPDATE: Well, this afternoon he spoke about the looming nuclear problem in Japan, and what we are doing to help. This guy likes to take his time in reacting.

The O'Hackwhackers say, "May the wind be at your back and the sunshine in your face on this St. Patrick's Day."

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Teahadists Gone Wild

The Kaplan Daily's Dana Milbank surveys The Crazy going down in State capitols around the U.S., thanks to the election of all those teabaggers last November. What democracy hath wrought!

Mid-Week Song

The Dave Brubeck Quartet was the most popular jazz group of the 1950s and 1960s. Their 1959 hit, "Take Five," is one of the best known contemporary jazz tunes, having sold over 1 million copies. The quartet's drummer Joe Morello, who died last week, was considered one of the best in jazz. His fluid drum solo begins at 2:50.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Helping Japan

As we said earlier, it's hard to write about the shallow foolishness of our politics and celebrities when an immense human tragedy continues to unfold in Japan. Again, for anyone out there wanting to do something (and join Hackwhackers in contributing), here's a useful contact for vetted organizations assisting the victims of the earthquake and tsunami. If you think that because Japan is a modern industrial power they can handle this alone, think of this disaster as perhaps ten times worse for Japan than what the U.S. suffered after Katrina. And that's not accounting for the potential nuclear catastrophe which we hope and pray will not happen.

Every day, as more rescuers arrive in the affected areas, names of obliterated towns and cities roll by: Otsuchi, Hishonomaki, Watari, Minamisanriku. Miles and miles of total devastation, rubble and ruin. But the faces of the survivors are the most gripping and heartbreaking. In the picture above, a father receives news that his young wife and two children, aged 2 and 6 months, have perished. This moment captured is being repeated hundreds, thousands of times as recovery efforts continue. How can anyone not be deeply moved and heartbroken?

(photo: S. Fukada, International Herald Tribune)

Monday, March 14, 2011

A Diller, A Dollar, A Teatard Scholar

This past weekend in New Hampshire, nutty teabagger favorite Rep. Michele "I See Commies" Bachmann showed us how well she learned U.S. history. In front of a crowd of fellow teabaggers and holding a teabag, the Minnesota loon exclaimed, "You're the state where the shot was heard around the world in Lexington and Concord." Um, no, Congresswoman, that would be Massachusetts. Of course, she also said about the founding fathers, “we also know that the very founders that wrote those documents worked tirelessly until slavery was no more in the United States.” Again, no, Congresswoman, that would be Lincoln about 80 years later. Back to school, fool!

It's galling that dimwits like Bachmann and her fellow teatards regard President Obama and Democrats in general as not being "real 'Murcans," when they themselves have no clue about the American history they pretend to honor. And as if the original tea party participants were Tories/Conservatives like their present-day, corporate-backed impersonators.

Rethug Sex Blotter - Wisconsin Union Buster Edition

Wisconsin Rethug State Senator "Randy" Randy Hopper is one of the troglodytes currently facing a recall effort due to his support for Wisconsin Gov. Scott "Too Much Johnnie" Walker's union-busting. As a full-fledged Rethug hypocrite, randy Randy has also left his wife for a 25-year old former staffer who worked alongside (under?) him -- Ed. note: if he claims it's all because he loves Wisconsin so much and has been working so hard in its interests, it's a sure sign he's maneuvering to be Wisconsin's Newt Gingrich. The upshot of this is that randy Randy's estranged wife has joined the recall effort to remove him from office! Bwahahahaha!

(Photo: State Sen. "Randy" Randy Hopper, soon to be ex- Senator and hubby?)

Pimped Again!

As we know, ACORN/ Landrieu/ CNN "pimpmaster" and video doctor James "G. Gordon Diddy" O'Keefe's latest scalp was that of NPR's Ron Schiller. As we should have known, the video "evidence" that the pimpmaster used to embarrass Schiller out of a job was as doctored as the Mickey Finn O'Keefe was going to use to "seduce" CNN's Abbie Boudreau. As we also should have known, the media uncritically lapped up the latest exercise in wingnut fantasy filmmaking, and the spineless wonders at NPR reacted with l'affaire Sherrod-like speed in running for cover while cutting Schiller off at the knees. I'm quite sure no one in the media or political sphere will get played by the pimpmaster again! Kudos all around!

Sunday, March 13, 2011


Here's a one-stop page for links to organizations accepting donations for Japanese earthquake/ tsunami relief. Also, go to for a list of vetted organizations that can accept donations (h/t to P.E.C.).

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Desperate Efforts to Save Fukushima Power Plant

Desperate efforts are underway to save the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant north of Tokyo from melt-down following Friday's catastrophic earthquake. None of the end-game scenarios looks very promising, but the hope is that measures undertaken so far will minimize loss of life. Awful.

Bill Maher: America's Rich Are Taking Your Money

After covering Charlie Sheen, St. Patrick's Day, Eva Braun, pedophile priests, and Snooki, at around 2:10 Bill takes on America's rapacious super-rich and their let- them- eat- cake world view, via Crooks and Liars (as you might expect, it's R-rated for language):

Sovereign Idiots

Where's Rethuglican show trial maestro Rep. Peter "Right Wing" King when we need him? Here's a story about some of his fellow far-right "patriots" (i.e. "sovereign citizen" militia members) plotting to exercise their Constitutional Second Amendment right to kidnap and kill Alaska State troopers and a judge. Five militia wingnuts were arrested by police and have been indicted by a grand jury for threatening those actions. Also seized was an arsenal of assault rifles, machine guns, grenades and at least one grenade launcher. No word whether the police also confiscated poster-sized pictures of the Wasilla Wonder Woman or inflatable dolls.

Unfortunately, they weren't Muslims, so Right Wing King can't be bothered.

Why We Love Madison

The marquee of Madison's Orpheum Theater -- where two Hackwhacker sons worked once upon a time -- shows the wit and fighting spirit of the city. (h/t to Balloon Juice)

Friday, March 11, 2011

Weekend Reminder Song

It seems rather mundane to be thinking about time changes when there is such terrible devastation in Japan. (The earthquake was the biggest in modern Japanese history and the fifth largest in history; the death toll is expected to be in the thousands, from the earthquake and resulting tsunamis). Nonetheless, this weekend daylight saving time begins in most of North America, Europe and Russia, so remember to set your CLOCKS forward an hour before retiring Saturday night. And it never hurts to say a prayer.

Devastation in Japan

The huge 8.9 earthquake and resulting tsunami that struck the northeast coast of Japan today was reportedly the largest in Japan's modern history. Initial reports are that at least 300 people lost their lives in and around the city of Sendai, with the death toll sure to climb much higher. The NY Times is reporting that officials in Japan are saying that thousands are unaccounted for. The U.S. has pledged to provide disaster aid to Japan, and is repositioning naval ships and other assets to help in the recovery. Fortunately, the U.S. is one of the few countries that has the global resources to help in situation like this. This will be a major story for many weeks to come.

Clearly, our ability to forecast earthquakes is getting better, but is limited. Disasters like this should spur efforts at further research. So much devastation has been caused by earthquakes just in the past few years: Indian Ocean, Haiti, New Zealand, Chile, and now one of the worst in Japan. Our hands and hearts go out to them.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Department of Sanctimonious Lies

Here's disgraced former Speaker and potential Rethug Presidential candidate Poot Gingrich on the Christian (!) Broadcast Network about why he cheated on his second wife:
"There's no question at times of my life, partially driven by how passionately I felt about this country, that I worked far too hard and things happened in my life that were not appropriate."
So he cheated because he loved his country soooo much. Wonder what his excuse was when he coldly presented his first wife, Jackie, with divorce papers in the hospital when she was recovering from cancer surgery?

(photo: Please blame his adultery on patriotism!)

Good Question

"Washington Democrats have been too afraid and divided to engage compellingly on the fundamentals of what government is there to do and how the burdens of deficit reduction should be apportioned. Wisconsin Democrats have shown that the only way to win arguments is to take risks on behalf of what you believe. Are Washington Democrats prepared to learn this lesson?" -- E.J. Dionne in today's Kaplan Daily. We're wondering what President Obama and Dem leaders will do about the unequal sacrifices being proposed by Rethugs in the Federal budget, and the situation in Wisconsin. Waiting.



In a questionable procedural move late yesterday, Wisconsin Senate Rethugs voted on a seperate bill to strip collective bargaining rights from teachers and other public employees. The proposal to strip worker rights had previously been in a budget bill, which required a three-fifths quorum in the State Senate. No such quorum is apparently needed for a bill separate from budget issues. Thus, the Rethuglicans have made their bed with right-wing radical Gov. Scott "Too Much Johnnie" Walker and the corporate plutocrats who want unions eliminated and a one-sided political landscape.

Public opinion in Wisconsin has moved steadily away from Scottie and the Rethuglicans toward the public employees, and this political rabbit punch should further anger them. It's certainly awakened the so-called Reagan Democrats -- blue collar voters who have trended Rethuglican in recent years -- who now see their gains threatened by a greedy, unprincipled attack. As thousands of demonstrators chanted to the Rethugs in the Wisconsin State Capitol last night, "Shame!"

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Wisconsin Public: Beam Scottie Up

It's becoming increasing clear that Wisconsin right-wing hack Gov. Scott "Too Much Johnnie" Walker's poll numbers are heading south fast. . . far enough south that they may reach the Illinois state line and the 14 Dem State Senators. While putting on an arrogant public face, in private the Guv has to be drowning in flop sweat, now that 51 percent strongly or somewhat oppose Scottie's union busting moves. Even worse for the Koch-head Governor, 68 percent of Wisconsin's independent voters -- ones that sadly put him in office -- are against his actions. And the polls keep widening as he digs in his little heels.

So keep up the good work, Scottie, and whatever you do, DON'T NEGOTIATE.

(photo: Get the transporter ready, Mr. Sulu)

Truth Told, Heads Roll

We were starting to write a post about the resignations of the Schillers (Vivian and Ron - no relation) at National Public Radio over Ron's truth-telling about many teabaggers ("they're racists"), but Ken Layne over at Wonkette already did the job much better. BTW, the real fail here was Ron's admission that NPR would do better without its 10% federal funding, something the Rethugs will be only too happy to take him up on.

(Image: We, and Ron Schiller, rest our case.)

Will The Middle Class Recover?

With all the evidence of growing disparities in wealth between the middle class and the wealthy over the last 10 years, it's truly revolting to know that the economic recovery now underway is again rewarding those at the top. Harold Meyerson writes in today's Kaplan Daily:
"Indeed, many of the nation's leading corporations have been spending more money buying their own shares than they have on job-creating investments, research and development, or higher wages. . . The jobs that businesses have been creating, moreover, aren't anything to write home about. They pay significantly less than the jobs that have been lost. . . It's one thing for a nation to be downwardly mobile during a recession. It's quite another to be downwardly mobile during a recovery - but that looks to be precisely what's happening."
A major factor the Meyerson cites is the decline in private sector unions, which in the past forced management to share increased revenue, and which helped to create a vibrant middle class in post-WWII America. Meyerson calls the corporate focus on increasing shareholder value "shareholder capitalism," which is obsessed with cutting costs -- even if middle class jobs are lost in the process. With corporate balance sheets in the black by roughly $2 trillion, maybe it's past time to call on the corporate predators to do their part in the recovery, and remind them it's about jobs, jobs, jobs.

Mid -Week Song

James Blunt's hit "You're Beautiful" was released in 2005 and climbed the U.K. and U.S. charts. On first listening, it seems to be about Blunt seeing a beautiful stranger, when in fact he has said it was about seeing his ex-girlfriend with her new boyfriend. While not a favorite of progressive rock or indie music listeners, the song has a melodic hook and poignant lyrics.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Quote of the Day

"The narrative that al-Qaeda uses to recruit suicide bombers is that the United States and the West are not fighting terrorism but trying to destroy Islam. Peter King, with his little hearings, is about to make it harder to refute the jihadists' big lie." -- The Kaplan Daily's Eugene Robinson, commenting on New York Rethug Congressman Peter "Right Wing" King's upcoming "hearings" to, let's be honest, question the American Muslim community's loyalty.

Two things should be pointed out. A study by University of North Carolina terrorism expert Charles Kurzman found that in 48 of 120 cases exposing terrorist plots, the largest single source of information was from the Muslim community. Second, Right Wing King's own record as a longtime vocal champion of Provisional IRA terrorists until recently qualifies him as a supporter of terrorism. Ironically, in its heyday, the IRA received much of its weaponry from Muammar Gaddafi. Got that, Right Wing?

Monday, March 7, 2011

Don Juan Ensign Leaving?

Sources are reporting today that beleaguered Rethug Sen. John "Don Juan" Ensign (Adulterer-NV) will not seek reelection in 2012. The ethically challenged Ensign is under investigation by the Senate Ethics Committee over questions of payoffs-for-silence during the implosion of his affair with the wife of a chief aide. Ensign may have had a tough reelection fight, although the example of Rethug Sen. Diaper Dave Vitter (Pampers-LA) winning reelection in Louisiana in 2010 might make the argument to the contrary, given the demonstrably low standards of the Rethug base.

(Photo: Sen. Don Juan Ensign, Cialis male model in waiting?)

Holy Huckleberry

It's pretty clear that potential Rethuglican Presidential candidate Mike "Huckleberry" Huckabee wants the political spotlight these days. There was the dishonest jab at President Obama being raised by a Mau Mau-loving father and grandfather in Kenya, followed by the transparent lie that he "misspoke." Recently, The Huckster criticized Oscar-winning actress Natalie Portman for conceiving a baby outside of marriage (although she's marrying the baby's father before the baby is delivered).

This morning on MSNBC, there was an interesting spin placed by David Frum on The Huckster's criticism of Portman: it was a veiled shot at potential rival Wasilla Wingnut "Mama Fizzly" Palin and her daughter Bristol, as someone who talks the talk, but doesn't walk the walk. Maybe, and it would be delicious if Mama Fizzly and Huckleberry would square off. But he's also determined to be the candidate of the far right social conservatives, who are the most potent voting bloc in the Rethug base, and this nutty talk is what appeals to them.

(photo: God save us from a President Huckleberry)

Bye Bye, Boo Hoo?

Things are looking somewhat ominous for Fux Channel lunatic Glenn "Boo Hoo" Beck: his ratings have plummeted nearly 40%, and some 300 advertisers have abandoned his program. As the New York Times' David Carr noted yesterday, there are rumblings at Fux that Boo Hoo's outrageous, paranoid schtick is costing the network, and his contract may not be renewed. We can only hope (although the more Fux's credibility and revenues decline, the better).

Boo Hoo will, of course, land on his feet with a lucrative hate radio show and various other enterprises to fleece his gullible tinfoil hat followers. But it's noteworthy that his act is growing stale, even among the raging right. As Carr says,
"Mr. Beck remains firm in his belief that something is going terribly wrong and it may be time to stock up on canned goods and head to the basement. The problem with predicting doomsday is that if you’re wrong, you have to figure out what to say the next day."

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Collective Bargaining and the Republican War on the Middle Class

Professors Jacob Hacker and Paul Pierson have a must-read Kaplan Daily article on the Rethuglican attempts in Wisconsin, Ohio, and elsewhere, to destroy the power and influence of America's labor unions. The authors survey post-WWII history to demonstrate how the war on the middle class by the wealthy, corporation-loving Rethugs has evolved. Money quote:
"In moments of candor, critics of unions reveal that their agenda transcends budget concerns. House Speaker John Boehner, for instance, decried an economic rescue package for states last year as a 'payoff to union bosses and liberal special interests.'

But the goal of union opponents is not to exorcise 'special interests' from American politics. It is to protect the special interests that represent corporate America and Wall Street from any serious challenge."

Which brings to mind a related joke: A CEO, a teabagger and a union worker are sitting around a table. A plate with a dozen cookies is brought in, and the CEO immediately takes 11 of them. When the other two look at him in surprise, the CEO locks eyes with the teabagger, nods toward the union worker and says, "You'd better watch him; he wants a piece of your cookie!"

Huckabee, Gingrich: "Vibrations of Weirdness"

In today's Kaplan Daily, a writer takes Rethuglicans Mike "Huckleberry" Huckabee and Newt "Poot" Gingrich to task for riding the teatard tiger of Obama Derangement Syndrome (paranoia, rage and, well, ignorance) thereby tarnishing the "conservative" party. Here are some word clues as to who the writer is: Tory. Pedantic. Chicago Cubs. Quill.

The blind squirrel, etc., etc.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Saturday Song

1960s rock band Jefferson Airplane was known for it's avant-guard, psychedelic tunes. But many of their early efforts were lovely ballads, like this long, wistful one from their Surrealistic Pillow album in 1967.

The Poetry of Charlie Sheen

While Hollywood rant machine Charlie "Crazy Charlie" Sheen's career and life seem to be imploding (apparently unbeknownst to him), he's created a thriving cottage industry of satire and dark humor. (We can all be glad that his twin son toddlers were removed from his house the other day, where they were tended to by his live-in porn star girlfriend and a bikini model). Jimmy Fallon had a devastating impersonation of Crazy Charlie unveiling his new men's cologne. Now, the Daily Beast's Michael Solomon has re-created his rants as "poetry." Here's a sample-- dig it, daddy-o!:
Tune in Tomorrow

They lay down
With their ugly wives
And their ugly children
And just look at their loser lives.
And then they look at me
And say,
“I can't process it.”
Well, no,
And you never will!
Stop trying!
Just sit back
And enjoy the show.
As a "rock star from Mars," Crazy Charlie can't be understood and appreciated by mere mortals. Someday soon, we'll all be begging to work for him. Always remember, Charlie's not losing, he's. . . .winning! Duh!

Friday, March 4, 2011

A Look Inside The Governor's Bunker

(Ed. note: No, we're not comparing Walker to Hitler. It's just for giggles, thank you. Also, the formatting crops some of the subtitles - check out the video on You Tube for the "unabridged" version - sorry!)

Lying Must Make Him Cry

Lately, one of the far-right's favorite targets for criticism/ridicule is First Lady Michelle Obama. You only have to see the daily poo-flingings of Mama Fizzly Palin, I See Commies Bachmann, and Rush Limpballs to get the drift of their message: Mrs. Obama is a latter day Marie Antoinette, who wants to dictate what food you eat, how much you should weigh, waste taxpayers' money, etc.

Deranged Fux oracle Boo Hoo Beck is no slouch when it comes to attacking the First Lady on made-up grounds. Now, PolitiFact has awarded Boo Hoo their coveted "Pants on Fire" award for the outrageously false claim that the First Lady has 43 staff members catering to her needs, compared to 3 for former First Lady Nancy "Fancy" Reagan. The actual number for Ms. Obama and her immediate predecessors is about 25. And Fancy Reagan? She had around 15, not "3".

Here's the truth: Boo Hoo is full of boo-shit.

Jobs, Jobs, Jobs

While the Rethuglicans do everything in their power to undermine job growth for political reasons, the employment figures out for February indicate that the economy continues to improve. The unemployment rate is now 8.9%, and the private sector added 192,000 jobs in February. Meanwhile, Rethuglicans in Congress continue to press for budget cuts that could cost the economy 700,000 jobs -- which they will then blame on the Obama Administration come 2012.

Check out the chart at this link, which shows where we were headed in the last year of the Bushit Assministration, and how we've avoided what could have been a second Great Depression, no thanks to the Party of No. This chart should be superglued on the forehead of every Rethuglican politician/pundit/activist, just to remind people of where their bankrupt policies lead.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Poot The Pretender

Disgraced former Rethug Speaker of the House Newt "Poot" Gingrich is known for his arrogant, abrasive personality, but we didn't know he has a creative side. Think Progress notes that his rather crappy website features a photo of Poot and his Stepford wife, Calista, posed in front of what seem to be hundreds of diverse supporters. Actually, the crowd picture is a stock photo, once used -- hee hee -- by the late Sen. Ted Kennedy's website. D'oh!

Come on, Poot. You know how to get a crowd of your supporters together: start by calling for a Government shutdown, invading every Muslim country from Morocco to Indonesia, and eliminating taxes on wealthy individuals and mega-corporations. As a sweetener, call the President a foreign-born Marxist. That'll do it!

(photo: Poot's already taking our advice)

Rethugs: Please Ignore This Poll

A new NBC/Wall Street Journal poll should give Rethugs a case of the vapors. The wide-ranging poll of Americans reveals that more than 60 percent are concerned that Rethugs will go too far (hard to believe) in cutting programs that they support, and a whopping 81 percent feel that an income surtax on those making $1 million and more would be the best way to reduce the deficit, followed by earmark elimination (78%), reduced Defense spending (76%), and eliminating oil and gas industry tax credits (74%). Not exactly what Rethuglicans are offering, is it?

We fervently hope that the true believing, teahadist-fearing Rethuglicans in Congress will ignore these findings, and drive their party off a high political cliff by sticking to their core principles: tax breaks for the super wealthy, shoveling money at the Pentagon, and cutting programs that benefit the middle class and elderly. Oh, and throw in union-busting, too. As clueless Charlie Sheen might say, "Winning!"

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Palm Trees in Madison? A Fox Exclusive!

The far-right Rethuglican lie machine is working overtime at Faux/Fux News... and it seems sometimes they're not even trying to hide their ham-handed bias. Witness this, where palm trees, hitherto unknown in Wisconsin, appear as a backdrop to a Faux story on "violent" union protesters in Madison. Of course, there ain't no palm trees within a thousand miles of Madison -- the footage used was shot in Sacramento, a quibble the sociopaths at Faux/Fux want their audience of credulous cretins to slough off as they stoke up their fear and anger. There are no violent protesters among the biology teachers, nurses, firemen and snow plow operators who, after all, are simply demonstrating to maintain their collective bargaining rights in the face of an extremist assault from the far right. Bastards.

Midweek Song

The Boss has a song whose title we hope Sgt. Pepper Gaddafi will be singing very soon:

Doing The Huck Shuffle

Former Rethuglican Governor and Fux Channel personality Mike Hucksterbee was on a hate radio show this past Sunday, and was asked a birther question by the host. Media Matters captured the interview, in which Hucksterbee stated that President Obama grew up in Kenya, listening to his father and grandfather, and absorbing "their view of the Mau Mau Revolution." Later, after being called on his lie, Hucksterbee backpedaled, saying that he misspoke. Really? After he seemed to know so much about the Mau Mau uprising, he got Kenya and Indonesia confused? Tell us another whopper, Huck.

The truth, of course, is that Obama spent most of his childhood in Hawaii -- where he was born -- with a few years spent in Indonesia. He's visited Kenya three times, the first time when he was in his late 20s.

The far right continues to spread whatever lies they can fabricate about President Obama's origin, faith, policies, etc. It's in their DNA, and it works because very few in the mainstream media call their lies out. The low information citizen / Fux audience laps it up, because they can't let go of the fact that America elected a black President with a "funny" name.

(image: Richard Milhous Hucksterbee?)

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The Libyan Loon

We realize we've been flogging the events in our ancestral state of Wisconsin lately, so here's some international flavor:

It's Sgt. Muammar's Lonely Hearts Club Band! Mockery aside, it looks like Sgt. Muammar's time is running out. While military units are defecting daily, he still has a rabid core of followers and paid mercenaries to cause great pain. The best hope is to have more senior military leaders turn on him, and a NATO-led no-fly zone over rebel-held areas to take away his ability to terrorize them.

(photo: He even has a picture pinned to his uniform, so if he gets lost, someone can send him home)

The People's House

A Dane Co. judge has ordered the State Capitol building to be re-opened to the public, after reactionary Gov. Scott "Too Much Johnnie" Walker ordered it closed to the public after two weeks of protests inside the capitol building. The temporary restraining order was requested by the AFL-CIO and other groups, and is in effect until a judicial hearing can be held.

Apparently Too Much Johnnie Walker was under the impression that the capitol building was his private property (which may not be too far in the future if the Gov. and other Wisconsin wingnuts have their way). After all, one of the measures that the Gov. is proposing is to sell off public power facilities to private companies (cough cough Koch cough cough). Can the capitol building be far behind?

Quote of the Day

"...since Sept. 11, 2001, America has found Muslim allies willing to die at our side in the fight against Islamic radicalism. Just to demonstrate some connection to reality, perhaps conservatives should delay their criticisms of Islam's irredeemable violence until after the inspiring, courageous, mainly peaceful protests of Muslims in the Middle East draw to a close. For some conservatives, liberty is found only in their private stock, aged in Anglo-Saxon cellars, to be sipped and savored at their leisure. But much of the world, it turns out, is thirsty and cares little about the vintage." -- Conservative columnist Michael "Mushroom Cloud" Gerson in today's Kaplan Daily, proving once again that a even a blind squirrel occasionally finds a nut. Extra bonus points for him naming elitist wordsmiths George "Quill" Will and Peggy "Nooners" Noonan as offenders. Kudos to him.