Monday, February 28, 2011

Public To Rethugs: Hands Off The Unions

A new CBS News/New York Times poll shows that the public supports public sector employees in their fight to retain their benefits and collective bargaining rights. By a margin of 56 to 37, the public indicated that the pay and benefits of public employees should not be cut to reduce state deficits, and by an even larger 60 to 33 percent indicated that public sector employees should have the right to collective bargaining. Our posting of February 24 cited a Gallup poll showing similar results.

So much for the claims of Rethug Governors that they have a "mandate" to undermine public employee unions in order to deal with their states' budget problems. Americans sense that this is about fairness and preserving what's left of the middle class, and the Rethugs are on the wrong side.

In Memoriam

Two notable figures passed away yesterday. Brooklyn Dodgers great Duke Snider died at the age of 84. Center fielder Snider helped to lead the 1950s-era Dodgers to six World Series, and was an eight-time All Star. Also, the last surviving American soldier from World War I, Frank Buckles, died at the age of 110. Even at his advanced age, he participated in Congressional hearings on veterans issues.

Rest in peace.

Department of Delusional Thinking - Hollywood Division

Actor Charlie Sheen, having torpedoed his hit sitcom "Two and a Half Men," skewered its producer, bailed out of every detox program in California, and generally made a complete ass of himself on talk shows across the country, is now saying he wants a raise before he comes back. If producers are interested in having Mr. Sheen back, he can be reached on his barge sailing down De Nile.

(Photo: A man waaay past the need for an intervention.)

Monday Morning "Hooligan" Watch

Wannabe union-buster Gov. Scott "Too Much Johnnie" Walker (Mossback-WI), a member of the weasel family by all accounts, is the subject of two worthwhile articles in the Kaplan Daily, by The Dick Whisperer and by E.J. Dionne. "Hooligan" -- yeah, that just about captures it.

(Photo: Hey Gov. Flyweight: "Mama gonna knock you out!")

Sunday, February 27, 2011


Sailors and Marines man the rails as the amphibious transport dock ship USS Green Bay (LPD 20) departs San Diego on its maiden deployment to the western Pacific Ocean. Green Bay is part of the Boxer Amphibious Ready Group and Amphibious Squadron (PHIBRON) 1. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Stephen M. Votaw/Released)

Quote of the Day

"That’s not to say there is no fiscal mission in the right’s agenda, both nationally and locally — only that the mission has nothing to do with deficit reduction. The real goal is to reward the G.O.P.’s wealthiest patrons by crippling what remains of organized labor, by wrecking the government agencies charged with regulating and policing corporations, and, as always, by rewarding the wealthiest with more tax breaks. The bankrupt moral equation codified in the Bush era — that tax cuts tilted to the highest bracket were a higher priority even than paying for two wars — is now a given. The once-bedrock American values of shared sacrifice and equal economic opportunity have been overrun."-- Frank Rich, in today's New York Times, commenting on the far right's goals beyond paying lip service to "fiscal responsibility."

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Tick, Tick, Tick, Tick

There's growing concern on the right about the malignant effect that Fux hate-spewer and loony conspiracy-weaver Glenn "Boo Hoo" Beck is having on their cause. Wingers Jennifer Rubin and Peter Wehner have written recently about Boo Hoo's rants and wild conspiracy theories, with Wehner writing in the conservative rag Commentary that "it’s only a matter of time — and I suspect not much time — until he blows apart professionally." Rubin writes that Boo Hoo doesn't speak for the conservative movement. Yesterday, former Rethug Congressman Joe "JoeScar" Scarborough called Boo Hoo out for his delusional behavior, saying at one point that he's "out of control."

Boo Hoo has been a useful tool of the right to sell crackpot ideas to the low information viewers of Fux. But his increasingly unhinged diatribes are becoming a concern to his former cheerleaders, who realize that it's only a matter of time before they witness a career-ending, total mental breakdown live on the conservative "news" network.

Cartoon of the Day

Cartoon by Ben Sargent (click to enlarge)

Friday, February 25, 2011

Media Fails to Cover Rulings Upholding Health Reform

As we predicted, the "mainstream" media hasn't been so fair and balanced in reporting the three rulings upholding the constitutionality of the health reform act, versus the two that didn't. They need to be careful not to get a hernia carrying so much Rethuglican water.

(Image: Politico, AP and the Kaplan Daily)

Calling Gov. Walker

We've got someone on the line for you, Governor Dimbulb:

Rep. Paul Broun Townhall: "Who's Going To Shoot Obama?"

Rep. Paul Broun (New Confederate Party/GA) is one of the most far-right members of Congress, but even so it was surprising when a wingnut cracker (and fan, no doubt, of Boo Hoo Beck) got up at Broun's town hall meeting this past Tuesday and asked, "Who's going to shoot Obama?", and Broun didn't denounce the crackpot. (We should also note the town hall audience of mental defectives laughed after the question was asked.) Broun is now furiously trying to backpedal and claim he was too stunned by the question to respond forcefully. Oh, yes, and they notified the Secret Service -- after the fact. Riiiight!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

America Backs Collective Bargaining Rights

In a poll taken the other day by the Gallup organization, an overwhelming majority of Americans support the right of collective bargaining for public employees. By a margin of 61 to 33 percent, Americans believe public employees -- teachers, firefighters, office workers, etc. -- have a right to organize and bargain with their governmental units for wages, working conditions, benefits, etc. Wisconsin Governor Scott "Too Much Johnnie" Walker is clearly in the minority as far as public opinion. And his claim that he was forthright in the last election about taking collective bargaining away from public employees? Not surprisingly, he's lying, as PolitiFact shows.

As the prank phone call to Too Much Johnnie Walker by right-wing industrialist "David Koch" demonstrated, there's a lot of slime and deceit in the Wisconsin Governor, and we're certain there will be further displays of it in the days and weeks ahead.

(illustration: And a lying one at that)

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Someone Needs Caller I.D.

Anyone following Wisconsin politics knows that Gov. Scott "Too Much Johnnie" Walker (Trog-WI) is beholden to the extreme right-wing Koch Brothers for his political success. The Koch (they pronounce it "coke" but we think "cock" is more a propos) Brothers are well-known as big time funders of the tea party movement, climate change deniers, and anyone else with a reactionary agenda.

Enter the on-line newspaper "Buffalo Beast," and more specifically editor Ian Murphy. Murphy, being the enterprising journalist he is, had been trying to contact Gov. Union Buster but had been unable to get past his Praetorian Guard. So, he figured the person most likely to get a phone chat with Gov. Dip Stick would be his patron, David Koch. Blimey if the Guvner didn't take the call and, well... HuffPo has the tapes and transcripts, go over and have a chuckle (or weep a little, as the case may be)!

(Photo: "Bartender: a little "Too Much Johnnie" Walker and Koch, please!")

Another Ruling Supporting Health Reform Law

You are very unlikely to hear it in the mainstream media, but U.S. District Judge Gladys Kessler became the third Federal judge to rule in favor of the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act, which has been President Obama's signature achievement thus far. Two Federal judges appointed by Rethuglican Presidents have ruled against the Act. Guess which rulings captured vastly more media attention?

As more and more provisions of the Act take effect, the public will notice that they are not being marched off to socialist concentration camps to be interviewed by death panels. Sadly, the good news that the law is being upheld isn't considered as "newsworthy" as victories by the wingnuts and their backers in the private health insurance industry.

Mid-Week Song

"Handle With Care" was a 1988 hit by the Traveling Wilburys, a supergroup made up of George Harrison, Roy Orbison, Bob Dylan, Tom Petty and Jeff Lynne. They ceased recording following the death of Orbison in December 1988. George Harrison, who died in 2001, would have been 68 this Friday.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

When You Live in a Glass Mega Mansion...

Reactionary tub o' lard Oxycontin Rush Limpballs has never shown the slightest sign of self-awareness, but his latest broadside against Michelle Obama makes us wonder if the hateful f**k has ever stood in front of a mirror. It seems Limpballs doesn't want Obama to tell people to each healthy foods because he doesn't think she's in good enough shape to do so. Well, I for one would put money any day on the First Lady kicking Limpballs' ginormous ass in any fitness or attractiveness contest, wouldn't you?

Limpballs isn't the only right-winger to go after the First Lady in recent days - Mama Fizzly and Michele "I See Commies" Bachmann have recently attacked her for supporting breastfeeding (!). Yes, the barking dog right-wing attack machine is always "on", even when an Obama's doing something good.

(Photo: Next time, stick in in your ear)

Sign From the Demonstrations

One of our favorite signs from the demonstrations in Madison was this one. The National Football League Players Association may be the only union of millionaires but they came out in support of the demonstrators, along with some past and current Green Bay Packers.

The Deceitful Governor of Wisconsin

By now, it's obvious to all but the most dishonest Rethugs that the real goal of Wisconsin Gov. Scott "Too Much Johnnie" Walker isn't to get public employees to contribute more to their health and pension benefits. The unions representing Wisconsin's teachers and other public employees said days ago that they were willing to give back previously-negotiated benefits. Too Much Johnnie Walker still won't compromise: he wants to eliminate collective bargaining rights from Wisconsin's public employees (except, of course, the police and firefighters unions which regrettably supported his election). He wants to dismantle the unions that opposed him and other Rethugs in the elections. And the State deficit he's shedding crocodile tears over? Here's Ezra Klein's take:
"The governor called a special session of the legislature and signed two business tax breaks and a conservative health-care policy experiment that lowers overall tax revenues (among other things). The new legislation was not offset, and it helped turn a surplus into a deficit [fiscal years 2011-2013]. As Brian Beutler writes, 'public workers are being asked to pick up the tab for this agenda.'"
The Governor gave $120 million in tax breaks to business and a private sector health care scheme that would undercut the State's public Badgercare program. He's doing the bidding of some very wealthy right wing backers, who would like a corporate-friendly, one party government.

For a good rundown of why what's happening in Wisconsin is a big deal -- in addition to watching the excellent Rachel Maddow on MSNBC -- Gene Robinson has a column in today's Kaplan Daily that's worth reading.

(photo: At least he's not shy about who he represents)

Monday, February 21, 2011

Monday Morning Reading

E.J. Dionne wraps it up very nicely this morning: "The Tea Party is Winning." Yes, thanks to a large assist by the "mainstream media" (always dependable, unquestioning carriers of Rethug water) and incompetent and/or faint-hearted Democrats (including the Obama administration's political team, who never met a message they didn't screw up). If Washington Democrats can't win the argument against this collection of clueless nitwits, here's hoping some Cheeseheads can do the work for them in Wisconsin!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Bloodbath in Libya

The story out of Libya is horrific. Apparently, Libyan forces fired on a crowd of mourners at a funeral for slain protesters in Benghazi. The demonstrators are fed up with dictator Moammar Gadhafi's 40-year plus reign, and have been protesting for days. According hospital personnel, at least 200 have died in Benghazi from gunshot wounds received from automatic weapons.

Gadhafi -- once called a "lunatic" by the late Egyptian President Sadat -- is clearly pulling out all the stops in an attempt to retain power, including killing of unarmed civilians. This is by far the ugliest scene in the unfolding uprisings across the Arab world.

(photo: The lunatic -- and killer -- in his comic opera finery)

Sunday With Frank Rich

Today's column by Frank Rich in the New York Times captures the dilemma of the Rethugs: how to keep their wingnut base fired up without appearing absolutely insane to the rest of America. Their most demagogic leaders, Boo Hoo Beck and Mama Fizzly Palin, are losing ratings and appeal. They are devoid of any solutions but cutting taxes and cutting programs for the middle class.

Some of Rich's best writing is when he's skewering Rethug pols, in this case when Messrs. Santorum and Romney groveled before the Crackpot Political Action Committee several days ago:
"Santorum, a former Pennsylvania senator who lost his 2006 re-election bid by a landslide of 17 percentage points, believes he can be president despite being best known for having likened homosexuality to 'man on dog' sex. Even less conversant in foreign affairs than canine coitus, he attacked Obama for deserting Hosni Mubarak, questioning the message it sent to America’s 'friends'. . . Romney, on the other hand, is the closest thing the G.O.P. has to a front-runner, and he is even more hollow than Santorum. Indeed, his appearance at CPAC on the morning of Friday, Feb. 11, was entirely consistent with his public image as an otherworldly visitor from an Aqua Velva commercial circa 1985."
Snap! No one dishes it better than Frank Rich.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Cartoon of the Day

This 1930s-era cartoon -- by A. Redfield, a pseudonym for New Yorker cartoonist Syd Hoff -- seems all too relevant today. (click to enlarge)

(h/t to Balloon Juice)

Pushing the Far-Right Agenda

We're about a month into the teatard/Rethug-led House of Representatives session, so let's pause for a moment to reflect on some of the more flagrant reactionary items being pushed by this nihilist bunch (most of which is going nowhere fast):

-- passing a bill to repeal the health care reform law;

-- stopping Wall Street reform act by proposing defunding of the Securities and Exchange Commission;

-- blocking Federal aid for Planned Parenthood while redefining rape to make abortion more difficult;

-- defunding public radio and TV;

-- taking a meat ax to social program discretionary spending, while maintaining Pentagon and farm subsidy spending intact;

-- eliminating the Environmental Protection Agency.

If there's been a more far-right, troglodyte House in the past 50 years, we'd like to hear about it.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Weekend Song

We've got another birthday this weekend - the great Smokey Robinson will be 70 on Saturday. Let's hope he can get out and celebrate by ...

Eyes On Madison

Each day, the crowds of protesters have grown outside the Wisconsin state capitol in Madison. Labor leaders, including AFL-CIO President Rich Trumka (ed. - a personal friend of Hackwhackers), are drawing a line in the sand on state, municipal and local employees' rights to bargain collectively. The reactionary teatard Rethug Gov. Scott "Too Much Johnnie" Walker is determined to portray this as a "budget battle" when in fact it's all about the teachers, state employees, etc. right to collective bargaining. After all, they form a key bulwark in the Dem's get-out-the-vote army each election, and unions are the one institutional body that comes anywhere close to countering the enormous influence of corporate money in election campaigns.

The coming battles in Ohio and Florida, and other states now run by right-wing Governors, will take their cues from Wisconsin, so it's vital that progressives establish a firewall to contain the social Darwinist, Rethug message of "you sacrifice, I don't have to."

Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Battle in Wisconsin

We've been watching the unfolding battle over paleo-Rethug and teatard Gov. Scott "Too Much Johnnie" Walker's attempt to bust public sector unions in Wisconsin (birthplace, for God's sake, of the Progressive movement). Under the guise of budget trimming, Walker has introduced a brazen bill to end collective bargaining for many public sector employees in Wisconsin. What this is really about is Walker trying to knock off his political enemies, not balancing the State budget. After several days of mass demonstrations at the State capitol in Madison, Walker really has a fight on his hands, with 14 Democratic state senators leaving the state to prevent a quorum in the State senate. To which we say, "We hear it's lovely in south Florida this time of year!"

(Photo: The scene the other day in Madison.)

Poke Gets In Your Eye

There's been a lot of attention paid to orange-hued House Speaker John "Boner" Boehner's callous remark the other day that if budget cuts result in thousands of jobs lost, then "so be it." For someone who pays considerable lip service to job creation, Boner's remark revealed a deep cynicism: he's not that concerned with people losing their jobs, because the higher the unemployment the better for Rethugs in 2012.

So it was with some amusement that we saw one of Boner's favorite pork projects defeated in the Rethug-majority House yesterday. By a wide margin, the House eliminated funding for an alternate engine for the F-35 Joint Strike fighter, cutting some $450 million and 1,000 jobs in Boner's suburban Cincinnati district. Giving him a poke in the eye, Boner's teatard freshmen abandoned him, with 47 voting to cut funding for the engine.

There's an old proverb about riding the tiger that ends with the rider being eaten.We say to the teatards, bon appetit. We say to Boner, so be it.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Quote of the Week

"It's pretty clear that the tea party Republicans who are demanding these cuts [see post below], and who have been allowed to drive the Republican budget strategy, don't really know or even care what programs work and what don't. So far, they've probably spent a grand total of 20 days in Washington, talking to themselves and learning little about the government they are meant to run. They wear their ignorance almost as a badge of honor." -- Steven Pearlstein in today's Kaplan Daily.

Rethugs At The Gate

As the Fiscal 2012 Federal budget battles begin to unfold, Congressional Rethuglicans are up to their old tricks: propose taking a meat ax to the 15 percent of the budget that's discretionary, and play smoke-and-mirrors games with the rest. And whatever you do, don't think of closing tax loopholes or increasing taxes on the wealthiest Americans.

While the 2012 battle is beginning, the Government is currently running on a continuing resolution for Fiscal 2011, and the Rethugs are determined to bludgeon programs for health, the environment and working Americans. To wit:
"Republican amendments, if fully enacted, would:

– Eliminate the White House Council on Environmental Quality, the Special Envoy for Climate Change, the Assistant to the President for Energy and Climate Change, the NOAA Climate Service, the Department of Energy’s ARPA-E, National Science Foundation K-12 funding

– Block US funding for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the Global Environment Facility

– Suspend enforcement of fisheries laws and construction and conservation acquisition programs of the National Parks and Department of the Interior

– Block rules for toxic cement plant pollution, hazardous coal ash, industrial boiler pollution, water quality, climate change pollution, climate change adaptation, energy-efficient lighting, mountaintop removal, atrazine, and water conservation"
Rewarding polluters, undercutting environmental science, and other Rethug goals are only the start. In coming weeks, watch the right-wing social agenda heat up: everything from denying a woman her reproductive rights to bogus anti-Muslim "Sharia law" legislation to give their reactionary base red meat. In many ways, they're a worse group than came in to office in 1994, led by Poot Gingrich. Their reactionary proposals won't end up winning many new friends -- or voters -- in 2012.

Mid-Week Song

You may have caught the Avett Brothers performing with Bob Dylan at the 2011 Grammys. There was a lot of positive buzz about them the following day, although they're no strangers to recording -- their first album was released in 2000. In 2009, they were named by Rolling Stone magazine "The Artist to Watch." They combine folk, bluegrass, rock and other influences. Here is their song "I and Love and You."

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Losing the Message Battle Again

Two interesting, and related, pieces by Robert Reich and Dean Baker today. Both make the hard-to-argue-with case that once again, as in the health reform debate, Obama has ceded the terms of the budget/deficit debate to the Rethugs and their enablers in the "mainstream media." In losing the message battle, the war over the proper role of government in the economy and society is also being lost to the reactionaries and oligarchs that comprise the Rethuglican Party today. As you read these articles, see if you get the same feeling we get that this is a President who has an unerring knack for snatching defeat out of the jaws of victory.

Reich argues simply that the budget cutting debate is "the wrong debate about the wrong thing at the wrong time." Baker says Obama, unlike teller of tales St. Ronnie of Hollywood, has missed the opportunity to tell the true story of how it's not government social spending, public employee unions and the deficit that are responsible for the economic mess we're in.

A Valentine From Shirley Sherrod

Last year, former Department of Agriculture employee Shirley Sherrod was the victim of an edited video that purported to show her making racist statements. In fact, if the full video had been aired, it would have shown Sherrod using an old story to illustrate how we need to overcome racial divides and concentrate on economic hardships.

Now, Sherrod is suing the right-wing smear merchant Andrew "Half" Breitbart for his role in promoting the edited tape, which damaged her reputation. Half Breitbart, of course, is one of the geniuses behind the nitwits that tried to tap Sen. Mary Landrieu's phone and who dressed as a pimp and prostitute to bring the ACORN organization down. So we're hoping that Ms. Sherrod's suit is successful, and that Half Breitbart's half-bright caper sets him back a few bucks.

Monday, February 14, 2011

SHOCKING NEWS: Rethugs Are Biggest Liars!

Which party has been documented to lie three times more than the other party? Take a guess. (Oops - I guess the headline gave it away.)

Resistance Spreading in Middle East

Daily Kos has an updated summary of largely youth-based anti-autocratic movements gaining steam throughout the Middle East, following the ouster of Egyptian President Mubarak. If there was only some assurance that the old despots won't be replaced by new ones.

(Photo: Protesters in Algeria, Feb. 12, AP Photo/Sidali Djarboub)

Gutless Wonders

It's amusing to watch Rethuglican "leaders" squirm when asked about the myths that President Obama wasn't born in the U.S., or that he's a Muslim. Yesterday on Press the Meat, House Speaker John "Orange Boner" Boehner was confronted with the fact that angry Rethug know-nothings believe that Obama is a Muslim not born in the U.S. (My, where could they have gotten that notion?) Not my problem, indicates the Orange one (smirk smirk).

It's ultimately in the interest of the Rethug politicians to play coy about this. They don't want to alienate their far-right, conspiracy-obsessed lunatic base, but don't want to appear completely idiotic to "independents." So they use weasel words and hedging to avoid an answer. Gutless, absolutely gutless.

Flower shops, candy stores, jewelry stores, and Hallmark love you, too!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Paul Wins CPAC Straw Poll... Again

For the second straight year, far-right libertarian Rep. Ron "Sprinklerhead's Dad" Paul (Rethug?-TX) won the straw poll at the Crackpot... er, Conservative Political Action Conference. With 3,742 votes cast, Paul garnered 30% of the votes, with Willard/Fluff/Flip Flop Mittens Romney second at 23%. Former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson, whose issue over the past several years has been legalizing weed, was third (!) at 6%. Where did the over-inflated egos finish that are normally at the top of the "mainstream media's" list of Very Serious Candidates for Preznit? Hee-hee: Poot Gingrich, 5%; Tim "No Good 'N'" Pawlenty, 4%; Mama Fizzly, 3%; and Huckleberry Mike Huckabee, 2%!!! Bwahahahaha! Oh yeah, that's "conservative stool" alright!

(Image: Ron Paul, right, and Paultard -- or is it conservative stool?)

Wisconsin Upsets #1 Ohio State

The 14th-ranked Wisconsin men's basketball team upset #1-ranked Ohio State, 71 - 67 in Madison. Ohio State had been undefeated prior to this loss. Senior standout Jordan Taylor was on fire in the second half, and scored a total of 27 points. Forward Mike Bruesewitz had a key three-pointer in the final minute of the game to ice it.

Happiness reigns at the Hackwhackers' abodes this afternoon. On Wisconsin!

Pakistan Looks At Murder Charges for American

We're not sure what to make of the news from Pakistan that a U.S. Embassy employee is being held in relation to the killing of two Pakistanis in Lahore. His story is that he was the victim of an attempted armed robbery, but Pakistani authorities are forging ahead with charges that it was "a coldblooded murder." The embassy and State Department are vigorously defending him on the basis of diplomatic immunity and self-defense.

The employee, Raymond A. Davis, is listed by the embassy as holding an "administrative and technical" position, and was carrying a 9mm Glock, a pocket telescope and GPS equipment. Hmmmmm. We're guessing that he hasn't been involved in distributing humanitarian aid.

It's clearly a significant bump in U.S. - Pakistani relations, which have been tense over increased drone strikes inside Pakistan. Also, Pakistan - Indian peace talks have also restarted after being suspended following the attacks in Mumbai a couple of years ago, and they can't afford to be derailed.

Letters We Wish We'd Written Dept.

From today's "Letters to the Editor" in the Kaplan Daily:
"I have never looked to either political party to be a paragon of consistency, but the news that Republicans are again trying to pass federal laws restricting abortion the same time that they challenge the constitutionality of the Democrats' health-reform law has more than the usual whiff of hypocrisy.

How can it be that a federal law regulating the national health insurance market and expanding health-care coverage to millions of Americans is beyond Congress's power or somehow treads on individual liberty, while federal mandates restricting what doctors and patients can and cannot do inside a hospital room are perfectly acceptable? Does a woman's uterus have a sufficient nexus to interstate commerce that the GOP has satisfied itself on the constitutionality of Congress regulating in this area?

Perhaps the next member of the GOP to offer a soaring paean on the wisdom of limited government and the blessings of liberty should deliver it in front of a mirror."

Friday, February 11, 2011

Valentine Weekend Twofer

With the majority of popular songs having love or love lost as the main theme, it's impossible to select the most appropriate song to recognize Valentine's Day on Monday. So, essentially we gave up after several hours of searching. Herewith, then, are two songs selected mainly because the word "love" appears in the title (also because Feb. 12 is Doors keyboardist Ray Manzarek's 71st (!) birthday, and we love the dance stylin' of the Soul Train gang - yes, that's Rerun doing the slo-mo butt drop at around 1:19). Happy Valentine's Day!

Truth in Imagery

We want to know what genius we have to thank for the term "three legs of the conservative stool" currently in vogue among right-wingers like CPAC darling Rep. Michele Bachmann (Loon-MN). Stool. It's the best description of the Rethuglican party and its agenda so far.

(Photo: Which leg of the conservative stool is being created here?)

Pot, Meet Kettle

Speaking to the wingers at CPAC, The Donald says the U.S. has "become the laughingstock of the world." Well, sir, you've done your part, too. Exhibit A:

Comic Relief

America elects the first (not really) openly drunk Senator, "Dave Tillis." He sounds like a Rethuglican, so he'd be forgiven, celebrated -- and re-elected. From the Onion News Network.

Nation Elects First Openly Drunk Senator

The Heat's On Hosni

UPDATE: Hosni's history. He has stepped down from the Presidency and turned power over to the Supreme Council of the Egyptian Armed Forces, who will supervise the transition to democratic reforms. Egyptians are celebrating in the streets.

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak is reported to have left Cairo for his residence in the Red Sea resort city of Sharm el-Sheik. His speech to the nation last night infuriated the demonstrators who have been calling for his resignation and the implementation of reforms. Hundreds of thousands have been massing in the center of Cairo this morning to continue their protests. This action on Mubarak's part would seem to be an effort to demonstrate his turnover of power, as well as to protect him from the swelling crowds, although the Egyptian Army seems to be supporting the "transition" announced by Mubarak last night.

Vice President Omar Suleiman, who was appointed by Mubarak, is no more trusted by the demonstrators than his mentor, and certainly won't be accepted as the de facto President. Keep those plane engines warm for Omar.

(photo: Ben Curtis, AP)

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Headline of the Day

"House Republicans Battle Turmoil In Their Ranks" -- NY Times.

Loving it.

Buh Bye, Kyl

Far-right Sen. Jon Kyl (Papers Please - AZ) is announcing that he won't seek re-election in 2012. Kyl is the #2 Rethuglican in the Senate. Kyl has been one of the most severe critics of the Obama Administration on everything from health insurance reform to economic policy. Kyl joins several Senators -- Webb, Hutchinson, Conrad and Lieberliar -- who are throwing in the political towel for 2012.

Since Arizona is a safe Rethuglican state, it's interesting that Kyl would back out now. Most likely, he's gotten an offer he can't refuse from the private sector to lobby, etc. Thank you for servicing us, Senator -- in the animal husbandry sense, of course.

Reports: Mubarak Stepping Down?

The New York Times reports that Egypt's strongman President Hosni Mubarak may step down as early as today. The Egyptian Army, a respected institution in Egypt, is reportedly brokering a deal with Mubarak to cede power, perhaps to his Vice President, Omar Suleiman, although it's unclear. According to the report:
"...the military’s chief of staff, Sami Anan, made an appearance in Tahrir Square, where he pledged to safeguard the people’s demands and their security. Thousands of protesters roared in approval.

Gen. Hassan al-Roueini, military commander for the Cairo area, also appeared in Tahrir Square and told the demonstrators, 'All your demands will be met today,' the Associated Press reported."

As the report states, there is confusion how the military would interact with civilian authority. But it seems evident that Mubarak's departure is imminent, and that's good for Egypt's long-term political and economic viability.

UPDATE: Looks like Hosni needs a heave-ho. He's turning some power over to Suleiman, but staying on until September. Doesn't look good for tomorrow.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Rethug Sex Blotter, Craigslist Edition

People wondering if the new Rethuglican majority in the House would bring with it a new sobriety and sense of responsibility have another indicator to add to the recent example of Rep. David Rivera (Rethug-FL): New York Rethuglican Rep. Christopher "Sexy" Lee. The married Lee has been busted sending a topless picture of himself (Warning: it's not pretty) to a young woman he contacted via the "Women Seeking Men" section of Craigslist. (He should've gone the safe route and hooked up with South Carolina Rethug Governor "Not Picky" Nikki Haley.)

What is it with these right-wing Rethugs and their double lives, cheating, lack of self-awareness, and overall dishonesty?

UPDATE: Sexy Lee resigned this evening. Hey hey hey, good bye!

(Photo: Rep. Lee with shirt on, thank God)

Webb Won't Run Again

Virginia's one-term Democratic Sen. Jim Webb announced today what many were expecting: that he won't run for re-election in 2012. In the opinion of most observers, Webb, a tough-to-pigeonhole Democrat, would have faced a difficult, but winnable re-election battle. Former Rethug Sen. George "Macaca" Allen is running to reclaim his seat, but faces a teabagger challenge.

A ray of hope for Democrats is the possibility popular former Governor and current chairman of the Democratic Party, Tim Kaine, may be persuaded to enter the fray to save the seat for the Democrats.

O'Liely Comes Up Waaaaay Short

The hostile pre-Super Bowl interview of President Obama by the Fux Channel's top pinhead Bill O'Liely didn't draw the massive audience that O'Liely bragged it would ("the most watched in the history of mankind" -- riiiiight). The interview drew around 17 million viewers, far short of Barbara Walters 1999 record interview of Monica Lewinsky which drew 70 million voyeurs, er, viewers. Tough luck, Billy O, you lost to the mighty Clenis again!

And by the way, when is President Obama going to stop bending over for right wingers, expecting them to show respect and fairness? Not gonna happen. These one-on-one "interviews" with non-journalists just diminish his prestige (we include Jon Stewart, too). We still remember Obama's pre-inauguration dinner with the odious righties Wee Willie Kristol, Chuck Kraphammer and Quill Will; that sure did a lot to change their view of him.

Mid-Week Song

London-born Tamil/Sri Lankan singer M.I.A. (Maya Arulpragasam) had her 2008 hit song, "Paper Planes," appear on the Oscar-winning Slumdog Millionaire soundtrack, as well as the popular movie trailer for Pineapple Express. It's certainly an offbeat tune, that features the sound of a cash register and gunshots (!) as part of the percussion. The video was filmed in Brooklyn.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Olbermann To Return

Current TV is announcing that progressive commentator Keith Olbermann will host his own show on their network starting in the late spring. Olbermann will also serve as the cable channel's "chief news officer." Olbermann left MSNBC late last month.

Current TV was in the news a couple of years ago when two of its reporters were detained in North Korea and were freed after former President Bill Clinton traveled there. Former Vice President Al Gore is chairman of Current TV.

Wingnut Wars

The increasingly disturbed rants of Fux's Boo Hoo Beck are causing some alarm bells to go off among his fellow wingnuts. Neocon smarm-meister Wee Willie Kristol reacted to Boo Hoo's apocalyptic nuttery regarding the crisis in Egypt being a vast Islamic/left wing plot to establish a caliphate in "Babylon." Calling Boo Hoo "hysterical," Wee Willie warned that Boo Hoo was "marginalizing himself." Boo Hoo hit back on his radio show, sarcastically referring to Wee Willie as "Billy" and questioning his feality to conservatism. Apparently other Rethugs are going quietly to Fux's leadership and saying that Boo Hoo is on "thin ice."

Watching him must be like watching a mental breakdown in slow motion. The paranoid fantasies, delusions and strange conspiracy theories have all the marks of someone who has lost his marbles. Shame on Fux for not staging an intervention and getting Boo Hoo the psychiatric help he desperately needs.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Me, Me, Me

It's worth remembering that "libertarians" would just as soon take food from your table as blink, if it suited them. Here's Digby, recalling a personal experience with their selfish, amoral philosophy:
"I was in rush hour the other observing some self-centered dude blocking four lanes and snarling traffic for blocks to spare himself a minor inconvenience and it occurred to me that the logical result of our recent embrace of vulgar libertarianism is a total breakdown of social order. Even in rush hour traffic where it's vital to everyone's survival that we observe certain norms, there always seems to be some entitled, selfish ass in an expensive car making it worse for everyone else these days."
'Cause it's how they roll.

World Champions!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Quote of the Week - Deja Vu Division

"[T]here is a group in our party that is extremely reactionary, that would like to turn the clock back to former days if it could do so...You know the people who believe that anything that is done for them represents social progress but if it's done for anybody else it represents socialism." - Earl Warren, then-Governor of California, July 2, 1952, on the eve of the 1952 Republican convention, where he was a candidate for president. The comment was in response to a question from a panel on the ABC Radio show "Crossfire." Hmmm... Tea Party? Mama Fizzly? "I See Commies" Bachmann? Boo Hoo Beck? The Koch Brothers? Are bells ringing? BTW, we note there are no Earl Warrens speaking up in today's Rethug/ New Confederate Party. (h/t Crooks and Liars)

Conservative Christmas

Today marks the 100th anniversary of the birthday of our 40th President, St. Ronnie of Hollywood. Since the end of his second term in 1989, conservatives have been on a Crusade -- literally -- to plaster St. Ronnie's name on every building, bridge, airport and mountain as a way of saying, "St. Ronnie's our FDR/Truman/JFK, so suck on it, Dems!" 2011 is expected to be an orgy of commemorations of St. Ronnie's birth by his right-wing cult followers, hoping that some of St. Ronnie's magic mojo rubs off on them. Ironically, if St. Ronnie were to run in a primary in the Rethuglican / New Confederate Party, he might not be conservative enough for the reactionary base.

In the midst of all this puffery, it might be well to step back and review his record, which both diverged from right wing orthodoxy in some ways, and reinforced it in others. Think Progress has a nice summary of that record; the naughty Wonkette has a more pungent video record.

So, not to be totally churlish, we wish the departed St. Ronnie a happy birthday, and we're even sending him an asbestos suit as a birthday gift.

(photo: A conservative supporter, left, embraces St. Ronnie)

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Defying Parody

This news item from Reuters:

(Reuters) - Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin's bid to trademark her name and that of her daughter, Bristol, ran into trouble at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office because the application forms were unsigned, government records show.

Run, Sarah, run!

Quote of the Day

"Billion dollar corporations paying to organize people so they'll complain about taxes also isn't a revolution. It's what billion dollar corporations do. They only pray they'll find customers gullible enough to not realize they're being used as pawns. But then, that's why God created marketing departments, to come up with a cute, endearing 'Tea Party' brand name ('New! Improved! From the Makers of the John Birch Society!') and bamboozle otherwise mature people into dressing up. And flim-flam them into seriously believing that they're not only part of something, they're part of a 'Revolution!' -- Robert J. Elisberg, writing in the Huffington Post, contrasting events in Egypt with the lame "Tea Party" charade.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Weekend Memorial Song

We're just learning of the death of Marvelettes lead singer and co-founder Gladys Horton on January 26. One of the original Motown groups, the Marvelettes produced such hits as "Beechwood 4-5789," "Playboy," and "Too Many Fish in the Sea," and blazed a trail at Motown that would be followed by The Supremes and Martha and the Vandellas. In the photo, that's Gladys Horton on the right, with Katherine Anderson on the left and Wanda Young in the middle. Here's their #1 hit from 1961 that put Motown Records on the map, with Gladys' timeless line, "De-liver the let-ter, the soon-er the bet-ter."

Rand-Aid for Israel

Teahadist Sen. Rand "Sprinklerhead" Paul might want to prepare for incoming bombs from the American Likud after his off-message comment that we should cut aid to Israel. Chuck Kraphammer, Wee Willie Kristol, Jonah "Doughy Pantload" Goldberg, et. al.: are your pudgy little fists clenched in rage?

Sprinklerhead's apostasy highlights a rift in the far right between the neocons / social conservatives, for whom Israel (and specifically the Likud Party) can do no wrong, and the libertarians and paleoconservatives, who have both fiscally conservative and anti-Semitic roots. Let's see how this latest kerfuffle plays out on the far right.

(photo: The Sprinklerhead in a contemplative mood)

"Day of Departure"

Hundreds of thousands of Egyptians are gathering peacefully in Cairo's Tahrir Square to demand that Hosni Mubarak resign immediately. Calling it the "day of departure," the demonstrators have been joined by Egyptian government figures, among them Arab League secretary general Amr Moussa. Largely absent are counter-demonstrators, who have clashed violently in past days with the anti-government crowds.

Mubarak and his inner circle are reportedly furious at the U.S. and its western allies for siding so quickly with the demonstrators, and insisting on his immediate resignation. The U.S. is walking a tightrope in signaling to the pro-democracy forces that we support their aspirations, while not appearing to play kingmaker for the Egyptians. These next few days and weeks are going to be historic for the Middle East and the world.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Meanwhile, The Economy. . .

...continues to show signs of strengthening. Last week's jobless claims were down more than expected, to 42,000. Added to the surge in consumer spending in January and an increase in factory orders, there are continuing signs of progress on the economy -- something you won't hear Rethugs referring to.

UPDATE: On Friday, it was announced that the unemployment rate fell to 9 percent, a two-year low.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Asshat of the Month

Why it's Redskins owner Li'l Danny Snyder! Never a favorite of ours, the amoral little shit is now trying to get a reporter fired for writing an unflattering profile about him (BTW, is there any kind of profile one could write about Li'l Danny that could be anything but unflattering?).

One more reason we proudly say, Go Packers!

UPDATE: Dave Zirin has a great piece on Li'l Danny here.

Reagan Solicitor General: Health Care Mandate Constitutional

Testifying today before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Reagan Solicitor General Charles Fried said he was "quite sure the health care mandate is constitutional." Fried, who currently is a professor of law at Harvard, went on to say that the argument that health care regulation is not regulation of commerce (which is permitted by the Constitution) is "entirely wrong and even worse quite confused."

Watch this get lost in the "mainstream media," which is continuing the role of Rethug lie-enabler that it established for itself during the year the health care debate was raging. How so? As Steve Benen shows (via Kos), the media is giving much more attention to the two rulings against the health care law than to the two rulings that declared it constitutional. Fairly unbalanced I would say.

Clashes in Cairo

We're watching the unfolding chaos in Cairo, where pro-government and anti-government crowds are exchanging rocks and Molotov cocktails in Tahrir Square. Pro-government crowds reportedly have been roughing up news reporters (including Anderson Cooper) as the tension has grown considerably and the Egyptian Army has thus far declined to intervene.

In one bizarre scene before nightfall, several pro-government protesters rode into the anti-government crowd on horses and camels. (While we're not minimizing the seriousness of the situation, we had to smile at the use of camels -- their breath alone can be a weapon).

(photo: A.A. Dalsh, Reuters)

Mid-Week Song

Portland-based indie band The Decemberists have this song on their new album, "The King is Dead," which debuted last month at #1 on Billboard's Top 200. If you hear echoes of R.E.M., you're right: the band cites R.E.M. as one of their influences, and R.E.M.'s Peter Buck plays on 3 of their album tracks.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Ordure in the Court

As Steve Benen notes, from coverage in the mainstream media, you'd think that all of the Federal court cases regarding the health insurance reform law have been decided in favor of the Rethuglican position. In reality, two have been opposed, and two have upheld the law. In the most recent one, Federal District Judge Roger "Rogered" Vinson went far beyond the norm in ruling the entire law unconstitutional, as opposed to just the individual mandate requirement. Judge Rogered was appointed by none other than St. Ronnie of Hollywood, so his partisan leanings should be pretty clear. But why has the media Village played up the "losses" and downplayed (or not covered) the "wins" in the courts for the law? For the same reason they fail to fact check right wing fables on every subject: a mixture of solidarity with the righties and plain old laziness.

Quote of the Week

"In a world where the majority can govern with or without you, you have a strong incentive to participate constructively in the process. In a world where the majority can't govern without you, and won't be reelected if they can't govern, you have a strong incentive to walk away from the process. Success for the majority means electoral failure for you. That means your interests and the country's interests are not aligned." -- Ezra Klein, in his column in today's Kaplan Daily. Klein discusses at length the recent decision by Sen. "Missy" McConnell (Rethug-KY) and his new girlfriend Sen. Harry "Mr. Peepers" Reid (D-Wishywashy) not to change the dysfunctional filibuster rules in the Senate. It's a decision that should rightly haunt the Democrats, and "Mr. Peepers" in particular, simply because it wasn't in the country's interest to continue that polarizing anachronism.

Any Excuse to Bomb

Neocon guru John "The 'Stache" Bolton is taking advantage of the unsettled situation in Egypt to peddle some crazy talk about speeding "the timetable up" for attacking Iran. The 'Stache, who supports the authoritarian Mubarak regime, thinks that if Mubarak is replaced by Mohamed El Baradei, a Nobel Peace Prize winner and former chief weapons inspector for the IAEA, Israel (and by extension the U.S.) will be forced to step up plans to attack Iran's nuclear facilities. But as Think Progress notes,
"Bolton’s message reflects a growing trend among the right to use the Egyptian protests to scare monger about Iran, especially after Mohamed El Baradei, the former International Atomic Energy Agency chief weapons inspector, returned to his native Egypt following the protests. El Baradei had a very contentious relationship with Iran while he was tasked with monitoring the country’s nuclear program on behalf of the international community."
That last fact hasn't stopped the far right from demagoguing El Baradei as a Islamic radical as an excuse for warmongering. We've seen that the 'Stache may have delusions about running for the Presidency. To let this winger anywhere near the nuclear button would be suicidal.