Saturday, April 30, 2011

Picture of the Week

A picture of Wisconsin's Rethug Gov. Scott "Too Much Johnnie" Walker on the back of a truck, with a hilarious question. On Wisconsin!

Guess Who's Coming to Dinner?

The White House Correspondents' Dinner is on for this evening. It's an annual farce, where the White House Press Corps basks in its own self-importance, and schmoozes with the politicians they should be holding at arms length, as well as Hollywood celebs and corporate tycoons.

This year, the increasingly despicable Kaplan Daily has invited none other than race-baiter and vulgarian Donald "Rump" Trump as one of its guests (along with the Orange Boner). President Obama will attend, so imagine his chagrin when the "carnival barker" that's been smearing him is smugly sitting at the Kaplan Daily table. The view of many can be summed up in this letter to the Kaplan Daily:
"I am a Republican. I am not particularly fond of President Obama. I am furious, however, that this man, born a private citizen of the United States of America, was made to feel obliged to reveal the intimate details of his records of birth. I am disgusted that there are those among us who feel that they had the right to press him to do so. And I am sickened to think that, even after the disclosure of these facts, there will likely remain those for whom the citizenship issue is yet unresolved. I am grateful to the president for his effort to put this 'issue' to rest, and I am deeply sorry that he was forced to such an extreme. I will never be ashamed to be an American, but I may never be more ashamed than I am right now of some among our number.

Kenneth C. Mino, New York"
Mr. Mino gets it, as we suspect many fair Republicans do also. Sadly, a once great newspaper doesn't.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Trump's Investigators Find Stuff on Obama!

Via Jimmy Kimmel!

All-Brit Weekend Song

We admit we're Anglophiles, and with the wedding of Prince William (love that name!) and Kate (now the Duchess of Cambridge) taking center stage in most of the world, it seemed appropriate to send you into the weekend with the quintessential British band. Enjoy.

"Get Over It"

As the lunatic fringe continues to sniff the fetid remains of the birther debacle for new "clues," they continue to represent a danger to the Rethuglican / New Confederate Party. Independents are turned off by the nutty but dominant fringe of the Party, and a recent poll by USA Today/Gallup indicates that 64% of the public say they would never vote for front runner crypto-racist gasbag Donald "Rump" Trump. Eugene Robinson's column in the Kaplan Daily puts a fine point on it:
"Look, I’m not surprised that the first black president faces unprecedented scrutiny about his origins, and I hope Obama’s not surprised, either. This sort of thing comes with being a historic 'first,' and there’s no way around it. To those deniers who can’t come to terms with the fact of the Obama presidency, I have nothing to offer but this: Yes, he’s smarter, richer, luckier and better looking than you, and he’s your president. Yours, mine and ours. And he’s black. Get over it."
They won't, of course. Maybe for us, it's better to abide by the adage that if your adversary is self-destructing, don't get in their way.


It was a flawless ceremony, and Kate Middleton (a.k.a. the Duchess of Cambridge) looked wonderful. She should be a very popular royal, as her new husband William already is. Here's hoping they have a long and happy life together.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Quote of the Day

"At this point, we can't be certain who [Obama's] parents are, which means I have no proof that he's even a black man. He could be white, and if that's the case I don't understand why we're questioning his legitimacy." -- Steven Colbert, mocking birthers on the Colbert Report.

If there's any question by now that there's a strong undercurrent of racism in the birther smears, the "unqualified black man uses affirmative action" canard that Rump Trump is trotting out over Obama's college records should answer that question.

UPDATE: Venerable CBS journalist Bob Schieffer came out and accused Rump of racism. Good for him.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Mid-Week Song

This 1972 hit by the Main Ingredient seems an appropriate choice for today's birther busting / Rump Dumping. Enjoy.

The Rethugs' Hostage-Taking Base

The loons and crackpots that seemingly inhabit the far-right base of the Rethuglican Party, as well as their own alternate universe, are doing great damage to Rethug prospects nationally, says Harold Meyerson in today's Kaplan Daily (to which we say, play on!). Having been fed a steady diet of lies, stuff and nonsense by right-wing outlets like Fox and the hate radio nuts for years, the Rethug base has gone so far off the deep end (think birfers, sharia law being imposed everywhere, Obama's an Islamofascistsocialist, and climate change denial) that any Rethug looking at a run for office is in effect held hostage by these loons and crackpots and has to play their loony tune just to gain traction. Even Karl "Turdblossom" Rove has started to look upon the madness as a huge looming problem for Rethugs in the months and years ahead. Sample from Meyerson's article:
"If Rove really wanted to stop Trump and the birthers in their tracks, he should have looked Fox News viewers straight in the camera's eye and told them to change the channel."

But that would be biting the hand that feeds him, wouldn't it?!

National Security Team Shuffle

Word leaked out today that President Obama is going to name current CIA Director Leon Panetta as Secretary of Defense, replacing Robert Gates. In Panetta's place at CIA, Obama plans to name Gen. David Petraeus. Panetta's one of the most experienced officials in DC, having served in the Clinton Administration as Chief of Staff and OMB Director. Petraeus won praise for his surge strategy in Iraq, and has been a good team player under Obama. Looks like a good move all around.

Rump Roast

Now that the White House has released the President's actual birth certificate, Rethug vulgarian and egomaniac Donald "Rump" Trump has less to yammer about. Without naming Rump, it was satisfying for the President to refer to the "sideshows and carnival barkers" exploiting the non-issue. But that won't stop Rump from trying to smear the President. Rump's latest race-bating smear against President Obama is suggesting that he wasn't qualified for Ivy League schools, that he was a "terrible student" [wink wink affirmative action]. And how does Rump know this? He says it's based on things he's "heard." Salon's Alex Pareen has an interesting article about Rump's hypocrisy, noting:
"Leaving aside the fact that Obama, who went on to graduate Harvard Law magna cum laude, seems like he was probably a very good student, Mr. Trump might need a refresher course in how unqualified people actually do manage to get into the prestigious Ivy League Universities . Let us take, as an example, the story of a student so obviously unqualified, so transparently unworthy, that a book was written about what his admittance into Harvard said about the sorry behavior of supposedly elite colleges. That student -- that dull, below-average student who somehow made his way into Harvard -- was Donald Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner."

Rump might also have trouble explaining to his teatard followers why 54% of his $1.3 million in donations have gone to Democrats. Also, Rump has flip-flopped on everything from women's reproductive choice to raising taxes on the wealthiest Americans. He even has his menswear made in China, while bashing China for taking American jobs. So, Rump's no slave to consistency or honesty.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Li'l Danny Snyder Writes Again

Our favorite Redskins owner, Li'l Danny Snyder, has propelled himself back in the news today with an op/ed in the Kaplan Daily. In it, Li'l Danny (a.k.a. "the amoral little shit") dredges up his rationale for suing Washington City Paper for an unflattering article it printed last year. Why now? He's refiling the lawsuit and wants to remind everyone what an amoral little shit he is, I guess. Rather than link you to the op/ed, Kissing Suzy Kolber has helpfully taken it and provided explanatory text.

(Image: Li'l Danny Snyder, keeping his best friends close by)

Literary World Awaits Next Bestseller

Wasilla's man-about-town Levi Johnston has a new tell-all book to be published in the fall. Wonderfully titled, "Deer in the Headlights: My Life in Sarah Palin's Crosshairs," it promises to reveal more information about the dysfunctional snowbilly clan. Now that Sarah "Mama Fizzly" Palin's Presidential hopes are fizzling, it may not get the attention it deserves, but we hope a salacious detail or two emerges (Did Mama Fizzly make a pass at young Levi? Was husband Todd cheating on the Wasilla Wonderwoman?). Levi promises to "tell the truth," so tell, Levi, tell!

(photo: If looks could kill, Levi would be moose meat)

"War? What War?"

Rethug Presidential hopeful Willard "Mittens" Romney had an op-ed piece in the conservative New Hampshire paper, the Manchester Union-Leader, which stated:
"Barack Obama is facing a financial emergency on a grander scale. Yet his approach has been to engage in one of the biggest peacetime spending binges in American history."
Unbeknownst to Mittens, we are engaged in a war in Afghanistan, and are wrapping a costly one up in Iraq. We won't even mention Libya.

It's easy to forget the nation is at war when you -- and your five military-age sons -- have no skin in the game. As Mittens once said about his five sons' choices not to enlist in the military, “one of the ways my sons are showing support for our nation is helping to get me elected.” No wonder it's all quiet on the Mittens Front.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Barbour Won't Run; Cillizza Devastated

Mississippi Rethug Gov. Haley "Boss Hogg" Barbour announced today that he won't be a candidate for President in 2012 (crickets chirping). The announcement will cause disappointment on three streets: K, L, and Wall: for K St. and Wall Street because Barbour was the darling butt-boy of corporate America. For L Street, because now Barbour troll and Kaplan Daily political, analyst Chris "Because Haley Said So" Cillizza will have to find another Rethug sphincter to affix his nose to for the next 18 months. Mitch Daniels? Chris Christie? We're sure Cillizza's not only up to the task, he relishes it.

Turn About Is Fair Play

Turning tables on Congressional Rethuglicans is always in order, but with the House Rethugs' passage of Rep. Paul "Lyin'" Ryan's reactionary Randian budget, Senate Dems were handed an especially valuable gift. Steve Benen, in the Washington Monthly, notes that when the same House Rethugs voted to abolish the Affordable Care Act back in February, Senate Rethugs knew that the Senate majority wouldn't go along, but wanted to get Dems on record for future campaign purposes. They did everything they could to force a symbolic vote.

Now, they've got a steaming pile on their hands with Lyin' Ryan's draconian proposal, which hits at the heart of the social safety net for senior citizens and the poor, while giving the rich another tax windfall. Senate Dem leaders are considering bringing up the radical House proposal -- which is extremely unpopular with older voters and the public at large -- to put Senate Rethugs on record for the 2012 elections, which they are desperate to avoid.

We say, "go for it," Senate Dems, and make them eat it.

Monday Morning Reading

Today's Monday read is a leftover from Sunday's Kaplan Daily. Joan Williams writes about how the Democrats need to learn some basic messages about how to speak to working-class families. There's no question Democrats need to make a better case for why their economic policies are vastly preferable to middle-income, working-class families than the Randian, Social Darwinist policies being touted by the teahadist Rethuglicans. It's an interesting piece that we hope is being absorbed at the White House and DNC.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Wanker of the Week, With an Oliver Twist

We've got a winner! (Actually that would make him a loser in this contest.) He's Rethuglican Michigan State Sen. Bruce Casswell (the "C" is silent!). Check out why he's our choice, and why we call them "Rethuglicans."

(Photo: State Sen. Bruce Casswell (remember, the "C" is silent!): "We can't have tax cuts for the wealthy and afford new clothes for you, Twist!")

Royal Wedding Preview!

Our London bureau chief, Nigel Puck, was fortunate enough to get this video of the rehearsal of William and Kate's royal wedding this Friday (please don't tell anyone about their surprise entrance!).

(courtesy T-Mobile)

Friday, April 22, 2011

Weekend Song

The magnificent Sarah Vaughan and Billy Eckstine sing Irving Berlin's "Easter Parade" for Sunday's Easter celebration. The classic Easter song performed by two classic African-American singers, written by the classic Jewish-American songwriter. Is this a great country or what!? Enjoy.

Randian Adolescence

Some of the friction we've been noting in the right-wing ranks involves the fault line between "traditional conservatives" (i.e., "tards") and libertarians (i.e., "libertards"). Other fissures involve not so much ideology as pathology: i.e., the "outright nut" camp (Boo Hoo Beck, Bachmann, et al) versus the camp willing to exploit the "outright nut" camp (call them the "cynical hypocrites" -- Gingrich, Pawlenty, Trump, to varying degrees). We enjoy watching the fracturing, of course, as seen in the polling of potential Rethug candidates, where a substantial majority is unhappy with the selections to date.

In today's Kaplan Daily, former Bushie speechwriter Michael "Mushroom Cloud" Gerson, who for the time being falls in the "tard" camp, goes after the "adolescent" worshipers of Ayn Rand who occupy the most fetid swamps of the far right. Give credit to Gerson, though, for having enough sack to take on the brittle Randian ideology so forcefully. But let's keep the circular firing squad going, shall we?!

Two Stories From Pakistan

We noticed two stories from Pakistan running side-by-side in today's Kaplan Daily. One dealt with the growing split between the U.S. military and the Pakistani military over strategy in dealing with al Qaeda and their allies, the Haqqani network in Pakistan. The other story dealt with the Pakistani Supreme Court siding with 5 accused rapists, who were charged with raping a woman in 2002 on orders from their tribal council.

In different ways, the stories illustrate the dilemma in dealing with erstwhile ally Pakistan. Pakistan doesn't see the Haqqani network and al Qaeda as their foremost adversary: that would be India. Fearing "encirclement" by India if Afghan extremists are defeated by a pro-Indian government in Afghanistan, the Pakistanis are seen as less than cooperative in rooting out extremists on their own territory. We're fighting an enemy, just not the same one. That's not likely to change.

The rape case is a more immediate story of women's status in that country of medieval tribal cultures. The Pakistani Supreme Court chose not to believe that Mukhtar Mai was raped out of retaliation for her younger brother's romance with a woman from a more powerful tribe. As if a Muslim woman would come forth in a culture where being raped makes you a non-person and make that story up. It shows just how differently countries value women's rights and their basic humanity.

Pennies for Poot

Right-wing Rethuglican gasbag Newt "Poot" Gingrich seems to be fading in the fundraising department. According to the Federal Election Commission, in the first three months of 2011, Poot raised a pathetic $53,000. That's a big drop-off from last year, and may reflect the Rethug base's fickle pursuit of the newest shiny object (see, Donald "Rump" Trump) out of disenchantment with their potential Presidential lineup.

Given Poot's all-consuming ambition and his ruthless treatment of past wives, maybe he'll be dumping wife #3 and looking for a wealthy heiress as wife #4. After all, it worked for AZ Sen. John McAngry.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Rethug Family Values, Cont'd.

Nevada Rethuglican Sen. John "Don Juan" Ensign is resigning his position effective May 3. Don Juan has been under investigation by the Senate Ethics Committee as a result, in part, of hush money reportedly paid to silence the husband of an aide that Don Juan was boinking.

We trust that Don Juan will say in his final statement that he is resigning to "spend more time with his family."

(photo: "Yes, I know my wedding ring's on this finger. . .")

Huck Bops Boo Hoo

Hate radio's deranged Boo Hoo Beck lashed out at Fux Channel personality and Rethug Presidential hopeful Mike Hucksterbee yesterday over The Huckster's endorsement of First Lady Michelle Obama's campaign against childhood obesity. After Boo Hoo called him a "progressive" (snort), the Huckster fired back:
"I had the audacity—not of hope—but the audacity to give respect to the efforts of First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move campaign to address childhood obesity. I’m no fan of her husband’s policies for sure, but I have appreciated her efforts that Beck misrepresented—either out of ignorance or out of a deliberate attempt to distort them to create yet another 'boogey man' hiding in the closet that he and only he can see."
Bonus points to Huck for calling Boo Hoo's sanity into question.

First, Donald "Rump" Trump takes a shot at Willard "Mittens" Romney, now Hucksterbee mixes it up with Boo Hoo Beck. This political cycle for the Rethugs is getting more fun to watch every day.

Poll of the Day

According to a new New York Times/CBS News poll, 57 percent of Rethuglican voters said "none" when asked which Rethuglican Presidential hopeful the were the most enthusiastic about. When asked if they felt that birther and egomaniac Donald "Rump" Trump was serious, nearly 60 percent of them said "no." And fast-fizzling Rethug star Sarah "Mama Fizzly" Palin? She's viewed least favorably among all voters: 55 percent of all voters view the snowbilly grifter unfavorably.

(image: Maybe the Rethug candidates have a stature problem. Apologies to Walt Disney)

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

BP Oil Spill - One Year Later

Today is the one year anniversary of the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. It seems much longer ago than that to me. Kos has a summary of the toll in terms of human life (11 dead) and many tens of thousands of wildlife lost. The long-term effects on the Gulf and its residents is, of course, yet to be tallied. Thank you corporate greed and corner-cutting! And thank you, too, laissez-faire deregulators for your role in the disaster. One year later, and the House Rethugs/ New Confederate Party wants to gut environmental and industry oversight. It's all too mind-boggling.

"We're Not Racists, We Just Do Racist Things!"

The latest evidence of teatard racism comes from Orange County, CA, where a member of the Orange County Rethuglican Central Committee and avowed teatard leader, Marilyn "Monkey Business" Davenport, sent out an e-mail with a Photoshopped picture of a chimpanzee mom and dad with baby Obama. It was so deeply offensive and racist that even Rethug officials in California called for Monkey Business' resignation. Instead what we got was an initial statement that she was "joking," followed by an "apology" and a refusal to resign her post. And yet, all we hear from the teatards is, "we're not racist, we just want to cut gummint spending!" (Strange that they were silent during Dumbya's running the debt up).

The anti-Obama rage of the teatard movement is typically interpreted by the mainstream media as purely a reaction to gummint spending and the debt. We know better, because the teatards themselves are telling us differently.

Mid-Week Song

Thunderstorms on the east coast later today, so we've picked this thundering song from the great Bruce Springsteen.
"I was tryin' to find my way home
But all I heard was a drone
Bouncing off a satellite
Crushin' the last lone American night"
(Talking about Pills Limpballs, are you?)

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Credit Where It's Due

Last night, Arizona Rethuglican Gov. Jan Brewer vetoed two bills that her Rethuglican legislature had passed: one bill would have required Presidential candidates [wink wink Obama] to show a birth certificate or other documentation to get on the ballot, and the other would have permitted students to carry guns on university campuses in Arizona. Brewer was reported to have said that the birther bill "was a bridge too far."

Whatever her motivations for vetoing the radical bills, the Governor deserves credit for doing the right thing.

Introducing the Conservabot 9000

(Click on image to enlarge)

Monday, April 18, 2011

Department of Clueless Talk

"I have a great relationship with the blacks. I've always had a great relationship with the blacks." -- Possible Rethuglican Presidential candidate and egomaniac Donald "Rump" Trump, in an interview with an Albany, NY radio station last week.

1. We suspect he's been in a racial time capsule from the mid-1960s.
2. We also suspect his "relationship" with "the blacks" is virtually non-existent.
3. We'd like to hear about his relationship with "the Jews," etc.

(photo: What, he doesn't own a mirror?)

"We Don't Pay Taxes, Only The Little People Pay Taxes"

Those were the infamous words of the late "Queen of Mean" hotel mogul Leona Helmsley, and they're largely true today. On this tax day, it's worth noting that the value of the budget cuts in 2011 ($38 billion) is exceeded by the value of the tax cuts on the wealthiest Americans ($42 billion) -- so the cuts in domestic programs actually did pay for tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans after all. But don't weep for them: they have the Rethuglican / New Confederate Party under contract to protect their interests. And they've been doing quite well, thank you very much.

Your tax dollars -- and Rethuglican politicians -- at work.

(photo: The late Leona proves that the face can be a window to the soul -- or lack thereof)

Monday Morning Reading - Class Warfare Edition

Let's hear from the New York Times and one of our favorites, E.J. Dionne, in the Kaplan Daily this morning on Rethuglicans and their favorite people. We quoted him a few days ago, but it's worth repeating the words of Warren Buffett from a few years ago: "There's class warfare, all right, but it's my class, the rich class, that's making war, and we're winning."

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Wisconsin's Reverse Robin Hood Governor

Radical right-wing Rethug Wisconsin Gov. Scott "Too Much Johnnie" Walker continues to wage war on Wisconsin's working and middle class. Breaking his pledge not to raise taxes if elected, Scottie's proposing to eliminate nearly $50 million in exemptions and credits that benefit the poor and middle class, while cutting taxes on businesses and investors.

God forbid the Koch Brothers and their like be asked to pay their fair share; let what Scottie sees as society's "parasites", i.e., the bottom 95%, pay the freight. This social Darwinist is going all out, redistributing more wealth to the rich from working families, before Wisconsin's voters have an opportunity to recall his ass.

Liberals as Suckers?

Today's required reading is an article by Sally Kohn in the Kaplan Daily. She asks if liberals are being suckers and sowing the seeds of their own demise by practicing tolerance in the face of relentless, destructive right-wing behavior. A sample quote:
"Liberals can keep patting ourselves on the back for standing tall and tolerant while conservatives land blow after blow, but taking the high road of civil compromise will feel less and less noble as decades of vital government programs pile up in bloodied heaps on the ground."

It's Sunday, so can we get an "amen?"

BONUS READ: Paul Krugman (who's no sucker) echoes Kohn's theme, marveling at the faux umbrage Rethugs are taking at Obama's take-down of media fair-haired boy Lyin' Ryan's Randian budget proposal, whose real goal is not deficit reduction but dismantling the social progress of the last half-century.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Photo of the Week

(Photo: Vice President Joe "ZZZZ" Biden, asleep at President Obama's budget deficit plan roll-out this week -- and he's supposed to be Obama's point man on budget negotiations!! Shhh... Don't wake Joe the Slumberer! Maybe the gaffe machine will sleep his way off the ticket in 2012.)

The Polluter Party

If you don't think Rethuglicans are hostile to environmental protection, then read this story in today's New York Times. Teahadist Rethuglican Governors and legislatures in Maine, Florida and North Carolina want to eviscerate their states' environmental funding and regulations, in an attempt to reward the powerful business interests that supported them:
"When Republicans wrested control across the country last November, they made clear that reducing all government was important, but that cutting environmental regulations was a particular priority....The strategies have been similar across the affected states: cut budgets and personnel at regulatory agencies, prevent the issuing of new regulations, roll back land conservation and, if possible, eliminate planning boards that monitor, restrict or permit building development."
As with their assault on Medicare, labor, and womens' reproductive rights, the Rethugs are taking the results of an off-year election ostensibly about jobs and treating it as a mandate to impose every far-right policy they can before the next elections.

More than ever, Dems need to push back hard, with the majority of the public on their side on these issues. The voters know overreaching when they see it, especially when it adversely affects the quality of their lives.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Weekend Song

To most Americans, it's a weed - colorful, yes, but still a weed to be eradicated. To others, it's a green for making tea, or a salad ingredient. Either way, to me the dandelion's an early sign of spring and a reminder that gardens and lawns need tending. So here's your topical song for this spring weekend, courtesy of the Rolling Stones (and "the Bacmaster"). Now go tend your gardens!

Krugman Takes on Ryan's Nonsense

In today's New York Times, Nobel laureate Paul Krugman highlights the differences between the radical and selfish budget proposal developed by the Rethuglicans' newest shiny object, Rep. Paul "Lyin'" Ryan, and the President's balanced view. It's well worth reading. Krugman quotes Obama's rejection of the Beltway conventional wisdom that Lyin' Ryan's proposal was somehow "courageous" and "serious":
"On Wednesday, as I said, the president called Mr. Ryan’s bluff: after offering a spirited (and reassuring) defense of social insurance, he declared, 'There’s nothing serious about a plan that claims to reduce the deficit by spending a trillion dollars on tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires. And I don’t think there’s anything courageous about asking for sacrifice from those who can least afford it and don’t have any clout on Capitol Hill.' Actually, the Ryan plan calls for $2.9 trillion in tax cuts, but who’s counting?"
Several Rethugs, in response to the President's speech, used code words like "job creators" for the wealthiest 2%, and implied that this was Dems using "class warfare." As billionaire investor Warren Buffett noted a few years ago, “There’s class warfare, all right, but it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning.” The Rethuglican right serves as the shock troops for the very rich in that war, as Obama made very clear on Wednesday. Now it's time to keep pressing that message over and over.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

"Frothy Mixture" May Run For Rethug Nomination

Far-right ideologue and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick "Santorectum" Santorum has announced his formation of a fundraising committee as a preliminary step to running for the Rethuglican nomination in 2012. As one of the most extreme right wingers in the Rethuglican/New Conservative Party, Santorectum is a favorite of the American Taliban social conservative movement for his positions on gay marriage and women's reproductive rights. He lost by double digits to Dem Sen. Bob Casey in 2006, and has been a Fux "News" contributor recently.

On April 20, 2003, Santorectum declared in an interview with the Associated Press,
"In every society, the definition of marriage has not ever to my knowledge included homosexuality. That's not to pick on homosexuality. It's not, you know, man on child, man on dog, or whatever the case may be."
He was widely ridiculed for comparing gay marriage to pedophilia and bestiality, and was the target of a gay syndicated columnist who coined a sexual neologism for "Santorum" and proceeded to Google-bomb the term, once making it the top search result on Google for the former Senator's name. And may it be so once again.

Way To Make Someone Feel His Age

Our entertainment desk reports that the lovely British actress, Julie Christie, turns 70 today (whaaaat?). Famous for her roles in the '60s and '70s in such movies as Darling (Academy Award, Best Actress), Fahrenheit 451, Dr. Zhivago, McCabe and Mrs. Miller, and Shampoo, Christie was a key figure in the vibrant artistic scene in '60s London. Most recently, she played the lead in Away from Her, a movie about a couple dealing with Alzheimer's disease, for which she received an Academy Award Best Actress nomination.

Full disclosure: in the mid-'60s, this Hackwhacker had a bit of an adolescent crush on her. Not that she's lost anything over the years: she placed 9th in FHM Magazines' list of the 100 sexiest women of all time. Happy Birthday. . .dammit.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Obama Outlines Budget Approach

Well, this is better than we had any reason to hope for. Obviously, we'd like to see more details emerge. But let's not start negotiating with ourselves right out of the box this time, o.k., please?

This Explains a Lot

A new study by British researchers has shown that people who describe themselves as "liberal" have brains with a larger anterior cingulate cortex (which is associated with the ability to understand complexity), while self-described "conservatives" have a larger amygdala (which is associated with feelings of fear and anxiety). In short, conservatives who may be reading this won't understand, but they'll be mad and scared as hell anyway.

(Image: A conservative brain -- moran!)

Quote of the Day

"Worst of all, this is a vision that says even though America can't afford to invest in education or clean energy; even though we can't afford to maintain or commitment to Medicare and Medicaid, we can somehow afford more than $1 trillion in new tax breaks for the wealthy. Think about it. In the last decade, the average income of the bottom 90% of all working Americans actually declined. Meanwhile, the top 1% saw their income rise by an average of more than a quarter of a million dollars each. And that's who needs to pay less taxes? They want to give people like me a two hundred thousand dollar tax cut that's paid for by asking thirty three seniors to each pay six thousand dollars more in health costs? That's not right, and it's not going to happen as long as I'm President." -- President Obama today, in a strong rejection of the Rethuglican vision of an America based on rule by the wealthy. Now the fight has been joined. Full transcript here.

"Not Intended To Be A Factual Statement"

On the floor of the Senate recently, reactionary Arizona Rethuglican Sen. Jon "Road Kill" Kyl spoke against funding for Planned Parenthood, claiming that "over 90%" of its funding went toward abortion services -- when only 3% does, and none of that is Federal funds. After being caught in his obvious lie, Kyl's office later issued what has to be the most hilarious explanation of all time: "The statement was not intended to be factual." Bwahahahaha, like every other statement Road Kill Kyl makes. Lying sack of Rethuglican mendacity.

Since then, Stephen Colbert has had a field day with Road Kill Kyl's weasel worded excuse by issuing endless "not intended to be a factual statement" tweets about Road Kill. Others have picked up the game, such that over 40 tweets per minute are being posted in mockery of this lying buffoon.

(photo: Not intended to be factual)

Never Missing An Opportunity To Miss An Opportunity

As we've noted before, we believe that President Obama's negotiating style leaves a lot to be desired. First on health insurance reform, he capitulated on the public option before negotiations even began with a Rethuglican opposition that was not negotiating in good faith. Then, during the lame duck session, he caved on extensions of the Bushit tax cuts for the top 1%, despite broad public support for letting the rates rise on the rich. Recently, he played on the Rethuglicans' favorite field -- cutting gummint spending -- without even questioning their premises. Then there's Gitmo and his failure to support labor battles in Wisconsin, Ohio, etc. While this may earn him a handful of points with "independent" conservatives who won't vote for him at the end of the day, it's weakening his support with many progressives.

Concerning the upcoming budget war, the Kaplan Daily's Ruth "Magic" Marcus cites the White House's late-to-the-game response to the radical Rethuglican budget proposal (emphasis added):
"First, [Obama] did not lift a finger to help his co-chairs, Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson, assemble the 14 votes necessary to get the commission’s plan a congressional vote. Then, when the plan was released, the president pointedly declined to express a view. He stuck to the vagueness strategy in his State of the Union address and his 2012 budget proposal. In the meantime, the void was filled — and the playing field was shifted even further rightward — by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan. The Wisconsin Republican unveiled a plan that makes the centrist Simpson-Bowles proposal look as if it were written by Nancy Pelosi and Howard Dean."
We'll see how he does in today's unveiling of his "vision" on the budget. The fact that he's conceded turf to the Rethuglicans already on tax rates for the rich and deep cuts in spending isn't a promising start.

Civil War Analogy of the Day

"With its paranoid misreading of Obama as a socialist (echoing the 1860 South's misreading of Lincoln as an abolitionist), with its zeal for confrontation and its utter disregard, evident in its 2012 budget proposal, for the minority poor, today's Republican right betrays a mind-set that hearkens back to the secessionists who fired on Fort Sumter. Shutting down the government isn't comparable to shooting it down, of course, but the South's war on egalitarian government and labor standards threatens to diminish our country." -- Harold Meyerson in today's Kaplan Daily, discussing the grounds on which the Civil War is still being fought: whether Northern or Southern labor systems and versions of government will become the national norm. Read it.

Mid-Week Song

Dire Straits had a number of hits in 1985 from their top-selling "Brothers in Arms" album, including "Money for Nothing," "Walk of Life," and this song for Wednesday.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

April 12, 1861 - April 9, 1865

The Civil War lasted 1,457 days. Roughly as many Americans died in the Civil War as died in all of the other wars that the U.S. participated in. Some 365,000 Union soldiers, and 260,000 Confederate soldiers died, with some 412,000 wounded on both sides. Ten percent of all males aged 20-45 in the Union were killed, as were 30% of all Southern males aged 18-40. At the end, the first U.S. President to be assassinated was killed on April 15, 1865, shot in the back of the head by an angry coward.

With the Emancipation Proclamation in October 1862, President Lincoln changed the face of the U.S. forever. Although it would take almost another 100 years for African Americans to realize their freedom, there was no turning back on the promise of freedom. Secession was defeated, and the Union was preserved and America grew stronger. As Lincoln said in his 1862 address to Congress:
"The fiery trial through which we pass, will light us down, in honor or dishonor, to the latest generation. We say we are for the Union. The world will not forget that we say this. We know how to save the Union. The world knows we do know how to save it. We -- even we here -- hold the power, and bear the responsibility. In giving freedom to the slave, we assure freedom to the free -- honorable alike in what we give, and what we preserve. We shall nobly save, or meanly lose, the last best hope of earth."
We can't afford to let reactionaries rewrite history to their own liking, whether out of political advantage or of bigotry, or both. Too many died on those many battlefields to toy with the basis for their ultimate sacrifice.

(photo: A fence divides the field at Gettysburg battlefield)

Flash Forward: The Rethuglicans' "Southern Strategy"

The push for civil rights for African Americans began after World War II, accelerated through the 1950s with school integration, and reached a culmination in the 1960s with boycotts, civil disobedience and the passage of landmark civil rights legislation. During this period, the Democratic Party underwent a transformation from a party anchored in the South, and in control of major urban areas nationwide, to a party of the suburbs and East and West coast cities. The Rethuglicans, meanwhile, morphed into a party with its base in the South and Midwest rural communities. Along with their regional metamorphosis came the political and cultural baggage from the Jim Crow years. As Rethuglican strategist Lee Atwater put it:
"You start out in 1954 by saying, 'Nigger, nigger, nigger.' By 1968 you can't say 'nigger' — that hurts you. Backfires. So you say stuff like forced busing, states' rights and all that stuff. You're getting so abstract now [that] you're talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you're talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is [that] blacks get hurt worse than whites. And subconsciously maybe that is part of it. I'm not saying that. But I'm saying that if it is getting that abstract, and that coded, that we are doing away with the racial problem one way or the other. You follow me — because obviously sitting around saying, 'We want to cut this,' is much more abstract than even the busing thing, and a hell of a lot more abstract than 'Nigger, nigger.'"
That was the essence of the Rethuglicans' "Southern Strategy," which has locked up Dixie for them for several election cycles. It was cemented in 1980 during the presidential campaign between Jimmy Carter and St. Ronnie of Hollywood, when St. Ronnie opened his campaign in Philadelphia, Mississippi, the site of the murder of 3 civil rights workers in the '60s, and spoke glowingly of "states' rights." Rethuglican politicians go to great lengths to distance themselves from overtly racist appeals, but the fact remains that, as Atwater outlined it, they've refined their message to a "dog whistle" that can be clearly heard by reactionaries and racists who want to return to the good old days.

: The dog whistle seems to be effective: Think Progress notes that 28 percent of Rethuglicans sympathize with the Confederacy, as do 4 in 10 white Southerners. By a majority, Rethugs don't believe slavery was the cause for war. Party of Lincoln indeed.

A Southern "Hero"

When the first shots were fired at Ft. Sumter on the morning of April 12, 1861, one of the most rabid racist secessionists was present: Edmund Ruffin. Ruffin traveled from Virginia to Charleston, SC to, as he put it, "commit a little treason." He later bragged, erroneously, that he had fired the first shot at the Fort. Unable to accept Union victory, on June 17, 1865 Ruffin draped a Confederate flag over his shoulders, and committed suicide with a gunshot.

(photo: In his final act, Ruffin shot a traitor)

The Ignoble Cause

In the century and a half since the Civil War, myths have grown up about the South's motive for secession from the United States. States' rights, tariffs and taxes, etc. are some of the motives cited for the treason. Perhaps the best testimony as to the major motive was given by the Confederacy's own vice president, Alexander Stephens in March, 1861(emphasis added):
"The new Constitution has put at rest forever all the agitating questions relating to our peculiar institutions—African slavery as it exists among us—the proper status of the negro in our form of civilization. This was the immediate cause of the late rupture and present revolution. Jefferson, in his forecast, had anticipated this, as the 'rock upon which the old Union would split.' He was right. What was conjecture with him, is now a realized fact. But whether he fully comprehended the great truth upon which that rock stood and stands, may be doubted. The prevailing ideas entertained by him and most of the leading statesmen at the time of the formation of the old Constitution were, that the enslavement of the African was in violation of the laws of nature; that it was wrong in principle, socially, morally and politically. It was an evil they knew not well how to deal with; but the general opinion of the men of that day was, that, somehow or other, in the order of Providence, the institution would be evanescent and pass away... Those ideas, however, were fundamentally wrong. They rested upon the assumption of the equality of races. This was an error. It was a sandy foundation, and the idea of a Government built upon it—when the 'storm came and the wind blew, it fell.' Our new Government is founded upon exactly the opposite ideas; its foundations are laid, its cornerstone rests, upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery, subordination to the superior race, is his natural and moral condition."
Writing in today's special commemorative supplement to the Kaplan Daily, Philip Kennicott documents the historical whitewashing that took place after the end of Reconstruction in 1877, and that contributed to 90 years of Jim Crow laws denying civil rights to African Americans. One peculiar product of the false narrative of Southern honor was the erecting of statues throughout the South:
"Southern states, primarily led by women’s Confederate groups, were in the middle of a frenzied campaign to clutter the landscape with memorial statuary in celebration of the humble foot soldier. Between 1900 and 1913, by one accounting, the South was unveiling Civil War statues at twice the rate of the North. And these statues had become more, rather than less, bellicose in posture, with a once popular image of a soldier at 'parade rest' yielding to more aggressive and animated statues, depicting troops with guns at the ready."
Recent Confederacy-supporting statements from Virginia Gov. Bob "Old" McDonnell, Texas Gov. Rick "Hair" Perry and Mississippi Gov. Haley "Boss Hogg" Barbour reinforce the idea that the struggle continues to represent the Civil War in a truthful manner, not as the New Confederate/Rethuglican Party would have it. In this weekend's Parade magazine, Jon Meacham writes about the Rethug/ New Confederate Party revisionism that's attempting to position the reactionary fight against health care reform and climate change as a continuation of the South's "noble" fight against "Big Government" in 1861-65. Yeah, right. Disgusting.

Battle Hymn of the Republic

What better way to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War than to hear the Union's stirring anthem, sung by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir? Other than to burn a Confederate flag, that is. More comment and opinion on the anniversary as we move through the day.

Monday, April 11, 2011

The Window of Acceptable Debate

... Is always open and moving to the right (click on image to enlarge -- moderately).

Preview for Tomorrow

Tomorrow marks the 150th anniversary of beginning of the Civil War, when slave states committed treason by seceding from the Union in order to perpetuate slavery. Tomorrow, Hackwhackers will look at the legacy of the War and at attempts by the right-wing to rewrite history and honor the Confederacy.

(photo: Lest we forget what the South's "noble cause" was all about)

Quote of the Day

"For Obama, it is not good enough to cast himself as the school principal scolding competing congressional gangs. He needs the courage to defend the government he leads. He needs to declare that he will no longer bargain with those who use threats to shut down the government or force it to default on its debt as tools of intimidation. We’re all a bit weary of Obama telling everyone to be grown-ups, but this would be the grown-up thing to do." -- E.J. Dionne, who lambastes the reckless teatard calls for shutting down the Federal Government, wondering when President Obama will step to the plate and take them on.

Bonus reads: Progressives everywhere seem to be singing from the same hymnal today: see NY Times and Paul Krugman.

A Modest Proposal

In today's Kaplan Daily, there's an interesting article about the antipathy of many in the fine State of Oklahoma toward federal spending. The feeling is summed up by lawyer John Hager, who says "I'm not sure what they [the feds] do has a big impact on my life." The article goes on to present a few facts about the relationship between the federal government and Oklahoma:

-- Oklahoma gets back $1.35 for every $1 its residents and businesses pay in Federal taxes;

-- 7% of the Oklahoma City region's workers are federal employees (more than double the national average), and Federal spending on highways, an FAA center and Tinker Air Force Base employs 20,000 civilians, pumping millions into the prosperous Oklahoma economy;

-- Oklahoma is the most Republican state in the Union (Obama didn't carry a single county), with Rethugs holding 70% of the State's legislative seats.

With all this in mind, and the fervent desire of teabaggers and small gummint ideologues everywhere to defund the federal government, Hackwhackers proposes that we start with Oklahoma: the rugged individuals who go about their lives in blissful ignorance of the benefits they take advantage of while simultaneously railing against federal spending should be the first to step forward as the patriots they (think they) are and take an immediate cut in federal spending, to bring their 1:1.35 tax/spend ratio into perfect balance. How about it Oklahomans?

(Image: Two of the many boobs residing in Oklahoma)

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Let's Make A (Bad) Deal

The FY 2011 budget deal that Congress reached to keep the Government open illustrates the relative strength of the teahadist core of the Rethuglican Party, and the relative weakness of the Dems. The $38 billion in cuts is the largest in history, and was taken almost exclusively out of domestic discretionary spending. Since we are past the mid-point in FY 2011, the $38 billion for the remainder of the year annualizes to $76 billion, not far from the original teahadist demand of $100 billion. No special interest tax loopholes were plugged, no sacrifices made by the top income bracket in this whole process.

One bright note: the Rethuglicans failed in their drive to defund Planned Parenthood and thousands of other clinics providing health services for women. Contrary to the misinformation spread by the Rethugs -- and repeated by lazy dopes in the media -- no Federal funds would have gone to abortion services. What the Rethuglican Taliban apparently objects to is that birth control is provided to poor and working women through these clinics (along with breast exams, cancer screenings, and treatment for STDs). Birth control flies in the face of their "abstinence" nonsense, and they dug in their heels. If they had prevailed, some 2 million women could have been faced with unwanted pregnancies, and past trends indicate that as many as 800,000 could have chosen abortion. So we ask, "Why do the teahadist Rethugs want to promote abortion?"

Friday, April 8, 2011

Weekend Song

The film looks like it was done by D.W. Griffith, but the song is classic Everly Brothers. Enjoy your weekend.

Department of Big Surprises

Why is anyone really shocked at the recent poll by PPP that revealed that 46% of Rethuglicans in Mississippi believe that interracial marriage should be illegal? After all, this is the demographic that fled the old Democratic Party in the early '60s over civil rights, and found a happy home in the New Confederate/Rethuglican Party. It's the demographic that believes that B. Hussein Osamabama is an alien Muslim Kenyan, who stole the Presidency from Angry White People, and that joins right-wing militias and gets their jollies from hate radio.

Big surprise.

(note to inJustice Clarence Thomas and wife Ninny Ginny -- you might want to avoid over-nighting in Mississippi; same goes for Sen. Missy McConnell and wife Elaine Chao, Rupert "Moloch" Murdoch and wife Wendy Deng, etc.)

Strange Business in Wisconsin

In a very strange turn of events in Wisconsin, some 14,000 votes from a suburban Milwaukee county were not properly counted initially in the State Supreme Court election. On Wednesday, Rethug jurist David "Prossertute" Prosser -- a supporter of Rethug Gov. Scott "Too Much Johnnie" Walker and a Koch-sniffing corporate tool -- appeared to have lost to Assistant State Attorney General JoAnne Kloppenburg, which would have meant trouble for Scottie's union-busting initiatives.

Now, thanks to Rethuglican Waukesha County Clerk Kathy "Nick O' Time" Nickolaus, Prossertute holds a 7,500 vote lead over Klopperburg. This isn't the first time Nick O' Time has been in hot water over an election:
"An audit of Nickolaus' handling of the 2010 election found she needed to take steps to improve security and backup procedures, including by not sharing passwords. The audit was requested after the county's director of administration said Nickolaus had been uncooperative with attempts to have county experts review her systems and confirm backups were in place."
Nick O' Time also previously worked for a Rethug caucus when Prossertute was Wisconsin Assembly Speaker from 1995 - 1996. She received immunity from prosecution in 2002 during a criminal investigation into activities of the caucus. Good to know that such an upstanding citizen oversees elections.

(photo: "Going once, going twice. . .sold to my corporate contributors.")

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Rethug Crime Blotter, Cont'd.

A campaign worker for the Pawlenty Exploratory Committee was arrested by police in Iowa and charged with being drunk in public and trespassing after he attempted to enter a home through the back door. Benjamin "Australian For Beer" Foster was discovered banging on the door of the Steward residence by their 15 year old daughter at 3 a.m. Tim Paw's campaign has put boozing Ben on a two-week suspension.

Maybe that will chill Iowa's far-right social conservatives a bit toward Tim Paw. We'll toast to that!

Bonus #1: "Pawlenty Exploratory Committee" -- henceforth it's members will be referred to as "Pec-kers."

Bonus #2: From the "You can't make this stuff up department:" boozing Ben's middle name is "Limbaugh."

Time for Moderates to Speak Up

With the clock ticking on the fate of the 2011 budget (the White House says Obama will veto any further stopgap measure, calling it a "distraction"), E.J. Dionne says it's time for budget moderates to get off the fence and call out the radicalism of the Rethug/ Lyin' Ryan budget proposal. Let's dispense with the notion being flogged by the "mainstream" media and Villagers that Ryan's proposal is a "courageous" step toward addressing the deficit. Our favorite line:
"There is nothing courageous about [the Rethugs] asking for give-backs from the least advantaged and least powerful in our society."

Update: John Cole has a marvelous rendering of Lyin' Ryan's budget philosophy and the reaction of the credulous dimbulbs in the media.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Kloppenburg Declares Victory in Wisconsin

It was tight as a tick, and a recount is a virtual certainty, but JoAnn Kloppenburg declared victory this afternoon in her race for the Wisconsin Supreme Court against Koch-sucking, Scottie-Walker-complementing incumbent Rethug David Prosser. How tight was it? Out of nearly 1,480,000 votes cast, Kloppenburg's margin is 204 votes. (Sad to know that sane people in Wisconsin only outnumber crazies by 204.)

Based on past performance, we won't be surprised if Rethug sleazies (Walker and his rubber-stampers in the legislature) maneuver to nullify the results.

Mid-Week Song

British-born musician Taio Cruz had a top 10 hit last summer with his dance club pop hit "Dynamite." With Nigerian and Brazilian parentage, he's a walking United Nations, who sounds a lot like Usher. Sorry for the obnoxious "subscription" notes.

Bye Bye Boo Hoo

Raving paleo-right-wing numbnut Glenn "Boo Hoo the Hoot" Beck is leaving Fox "News" Channel at the end of the year, it was announced today. As good as that news is, it must be tempered by a few considerations:

1) Boo Hoo will continue creating "projects" for Fux ("creating" out of the fetid nutscapes of his lizard brain, we might add);

2) What manner of crackpot will Fux want to put in Boo Hoo's time slot? Pastor Terry Jones? Bryan Fischer? A Mama Fizzly/Coulter/ Cheney harpie? Awesome.

Quote of the Day

"Obviously, Republicans want to take back the White House, but so far the field looks like a turn out for a Craigslist ad for a free couch." -- Stephen Colbert, "The Colbert Report," April 5.

The Rethug's Plan for a Diminished America

Harold Meyerson has a column worth reading in today's Kaplan Daily. In his column, Meyerson shows that the plan offered by Rethug budget whiz kid Paul "Lyin'" Ryan is not a budget plan, but a right-wing ideological attack on middle class Dem programs of the last century. As Meyerson says,
"The cover under which Ryan and other Republicans operate is their concern for the deficit and national debt. But Ryan blows that cover by proposing to reduce the top income tax rate to just 25 percent. He imposes the burden for reducing our debt not on the bankers who forced our government to spend trillions averting a collapse but on seniors and the poor. The reductions in aid to the poor, says the budget blueprint that Ryan released, will be made 'to ensure that America’s safety net does not become a hammock that lulls able-bodied citizens into lives of complacency and dependency.' That’s a pretty good description of America’s top bankers, but Ryan’s budget showers them with tax cuts."
Did you catch Lyin's petty dig at those lazy middle class people looking for a hammock? Why next thing you know, those Negro bucks will be jumping in their Cadillacs, getting t-bone steaks with food stamps.

It's worth noting -- even if the Beltway media avoids it -- that Lyin' Ryan's budget plan doesn't hold water in terms of the claims it makes. It's the same Rethug formula: cut taxes for the wealthy and corporations, slash regulations for environmental protection and health care, and ditch sustainable energy initiatives. What taxes that are collected come disproportionately from over-burdened middle and lower income citizens.

If America buys this repugnant con job, we're in a world of hurt.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Wingnuts in the News - Police Blotter Edition

Today we have the stories of two right-wing crackpots who characteristically believe they have supreme moral authority and the right to mete out punishment accordingly:

This fool killed his neighbor because the neighbor's dog wandered into his yard a little too often. Gun and property rights forever!

This homophobic crank tried to attack a Gauguin painting at the National Gallery of Art because she thought it was about lesbianism. Liberty and the pursuit of happiness for me, not for you!

Kaine To Run For Senate

Dems got some good news today as former Democratic National Committee Chairman and Virginia Governor Tim Kaine announced that he will run for the U.S. Senate seat now held by retiring Dem Sen. Jim Webb. Kaine was a popular Governor, as was his mentor, Sen. Mark Warner, and should give the Dems as good a chance as any to retain the seat. A likely opponent will be former Gov. George "Macaca" Allen, whom Webb defeated in 2006, and who was his own worst enemy with repeated slurs and gaffes that revealed a bigoted side.