Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Russia's Rick Santorum

This guy is almost as delusional as Frothy Mix, but far more dangerous:
"Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin warned that his opponents could provoke unrest after Sunday's presidential election, even going so far as killing a prominent opposition figure to stoke outrage against his government.

"Putin is all but certain to regain the presidency, but his allegations Wednesday reflect heightened tensions four days before the vote and nervousness about the protests expected to follow.

"'They are looking among well-known people for a sacrificial victim," Putin said during a televised meeting with campaign activists. "They could, I'm sorry, knock someone off and then blame the authorities.'"

Or, of course, his "delusion" could simply be a projection of what he already has planned.

North Korea Nuclear Moratorium

Kudos to President Obama, Secretary Clinton and the negotiating team for this:
"Under an agreement reached in direct talks in Beijing last week, North Korea has agreed to allow the return of nuclear inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency, and has agreed to implement a moratorium on long-range missile tests, nuclear tests, and nuclear activities at Yongbyon, including uranium enrichment activities, the State Department said. In return, the United States will provide North Korea with a large food aid package."

Cartoons of the Leap-Day

(click to enlarge)

(Pat Oliphant, via

(Walt Handelsman, via

Mid-Week (Mittens) Song

Dedicated to Willard "Mighty Mittens" Romney who, by barely winning Michigan yesterday, was a loser. Here's Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers' song "Even the Losers" from their 1979 breakthrough album "Damn The Torpedoes". "Even the losers get lucky sometime." Yes indeed, Mighty Mittens.

Mighty Mittens Mojo

Humanoid replica and tree height expert Willard "Mighty Mittens" Romney won both Rethug primaries in Michigan and Arizona yesterday, regaining some momentum lost in the past couple of weeks. His solid win in Arizona was not a surprise. However, his narrow victory in his "home" state of Michigan was by 3 percent, after leading his nearest rival by double digits three weeks ago. Weird Willard was apparently aided by absentee early voters and by Dems and independents who sat on their hands, rather than vote for the weaker Rick "Frothy Mix" Santorum (ed. note: will the Dems show the same lack of smarts / passion in November?). Weird Willard's next test will be next Tuesday, "Super Tuesday," with primaries throughout the South and in key states like Ohio. As progressives who want to see the Dems win in November, we say "Go, Rick, Go!"

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Obama Addresses UAW Convention

Here's a clip from President Obama's address to the United Auto Workers convention in Washington, D.C. today, wherein he applies a blowtorch to Rethuglican asses:

(MSNBC, via TPM)

Class Warfare Scientific Study: The Rich Are Crooks!

Are one-percenters different from the rest of us? Other than having more money and paying less taxes, that is. A study by UC-Berkeley seems to indicate that, well, they're lacking something called morality -- unless you accept their worldview of "I'm a maker, you're a taker" as representing a morality of sorts. Here's a snippet:
"Scientists at the University of California at Berkeley analyzed a person’s rank in society (measured by wealth, occupational prestige and education) and found that those who were richer were more likely to cheat, lie and break the law than those who were poorer.

“'We found that it is much more prevalent for people in the higher ranks of society to see greed and self-interest … as good pursuits,'” said Paul Piff, lead author of the study and a doctoral candidate at Berkeley. “This resonates with a lot of current events these days.'” (emphasis added)
That explains a lot about the Rethuglican worldview, doesn't it.

The Rethugs' Fight Against Women

Rethuglican state legislatures in Virginia, Alabama, Pennsylvania, and Arizona, among other states, are considering or enacting legislation intruding on womens' privacy and reproductive rights. Reading the off-year 2010 elections as some kind of mandate for extreme right positions on social issues, Rethuglicans have overplayed their hand in dramatic ways, none so much as impacts women. However, as Jessica Valenti notes, this really isn't a recent development:
"Their fear of sex—of women’s sexuality in particular—has become a major media talking point, and a source of outrage among American women. But what I don’t understand is why anyone is surprised. Republicans have long based their agenda for women in a deep-rooted disdain for all things female. We’ve been down this road many, many times before."
The good news is that the majority is pushing back hard, and forcing the misogynist wingnuts to water down their proposals. But voters have a long memory when it comes to issues affecting their personal lives, and the Rethugs have awakened a sleeping giant with their overreach.

UPDATE: The Virginia Senate today passed its version of the ultrasound bill, requiring external ultrasound procedures. The bill passed along party lines, with unanimous Rethuglican support. The bill goes back to the Virginia House of Delegates now.

Let The Chickens Come Home To Roost

While clueless plutocrat Willard "Caddyschmuck" Romney appears to have the Rethuglican primary in Arizona sewed up, Michigan's primary is the focus of national attention as a make-or-break state for weird Willard. For Michigan Dems, a vote for uterus cop and theocrat Rick "We Don't Need No Education" Santorum would help to seal weird Willard's fate. Should Caddyschmuck cry "foul" at a Dem crossover vote today? Let's check his own record on crossover voting:
"When there was no real contest in the Republican primary, I’d vote in the Democrat primary, vote for the person who I thought would be the weakest opponent for the Republican."
That was Caddyschmuck's explanation of why he voted for Paul Tsongas in the 1992 Democratic primary in Massachusetts. Turn about is fair play.

(h/t to Daily Kos)

Monday, February 27, 2012

A Reminder to Dem Voters

The Michigan primary is open to Dems and Independents (as are the Tennessee, Vermont and North Dakota primaries). So check out this video.

And The Oscar For Best Takedown....

...goes to Sacha Baron "Borat" Cohen, for crashing the Oscar red carpet event dressed as the character in his upcoming movie "The Dictator," and carrying a fake urn of Kim Jong Il's "ashes," which he proceeded to spill. While Cohen's stunt was characteristically over-the-top, it served to deflate some of the pomposity of the evening. In any event, we say congrats to the winners, and "hooray for Hollywood!"

Quote of the Day

"Asked by the AP reporter if he follows NASCAR, Romney responded, 'Not as closely as some of the most ardent fans. But I have some great friends who are NASCAR team owners.'" -- Clueless weirdo Willard "Corporations Are People" Romney, who can't stop painting himself as an extremely wealthy plutocrat, even when trying to relate to the "little people" that he enjoys firing.

: The NY Times reports:
But the crowd initially booed Mr. Romney, who occasionally struck a discordant note, as when he approached a group of fans wearing plastic ponchos. “I like those fancy raincoats you bought,” he said. “Really sprung for the big bucks.”
Clueless plutocrat or clueless condescending plutocrat? You decide.

(photo: "You missed a spot, my good fellow.")

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Chart of the Day

(click to enlarge)
When the Rethugs use gas prices as a phony political issue, it's worth noting under which recent President domestic oil production has risen.

(From "Up With Chris Hayes" today, figures from the U.S. Energy Information Agency)

How About A Little Michigan Mischief?

Michigan Dems could do the country a big favor on Tuesday by voting for Rethuglican high priest and uterus cop Rick "Frothy Mix" Santorum. Remember that Michigan's primary is open to Dems and Independents, and there's information that enough Dems could cast ballots for Frothy and deny weird plutocrat Willard "Caddyschmuck" Romney an essential win in Michigan. It's not only smart politically, it's a means for Michigan Dems to slap Caddyschmuck for his "let Detroit go bankrupt" stance.

The race in Michigan is already close, with polls shifting back and forth. While Frothy is still less likely to get the Rethug nomination than weird Willard, it won't hurt to have the Rethugs fighting all the way to their convention in Tampa, broken, bloodied and ill prepared for President Obama in November. If Frothy Mix should capture the nomination, look for an Obama landslide.

Sunday Comics - Right Off The Cliff

(click to enlarge)

(Tony Auth, via

Sunday Reading: "Go, Rick, Go"

John Heilemann writes in the New York Magazine about "The Lost Party," and how the Rethuglicans are splitting between the culture warriors (represented by Pope Rick "Frothy Mix" Santorum) and the establishment/country club types (Willard "Ann Drives Two Cadillacs" Romney). It's a long article, but worth the read. Here's why Heilemann thinks it would be best for anyone who wants to foster a more responsible Rethuglican party (oxymoron?) to favor a Santorum candidacy:
"But if it’s Santorum who is the standard-bearer and then he suffers an epic loss, a different analogy will be apt: Goldwater in 1964. (And, given the degree of the challenges Santorum would face in attracting female voters, epic it might well be.) As Kearns Goodwin points out, the rejection of the Arizona senator’s ideology and policies led the GOP to turn back in 1968 to Nixon, 'a much more moderate figure, despite the incredible corruption of his time in office.' For Republicans after 2012, a similar repudiation of the populist, culture-warrior coalition that is fueling Santorum’s surge would open the door to the many talented party leaders—Daniels, Christie, Bush, Ryan, Bobby Jindal—waiting in the wings for 2016, each offering the possibility of refashioning the GOP into a serious and forward-thinking enterprise.

"Only the most mindless of ideologues reject the truism that America would be best served by the presence of two credible governing parties instead of the situation that currently obtains. A Santorum nomination would be seen by many liberals as a scary and retrograde proposition. And no doubt it would make for a wild ride, with enough talk of Satan, abortifacients, and sweater vests to drive any sane man bonkers. But in the long run, it might do a world of good, compelling Republicans to return to their senses—and forge ahead into the 21st century. Which is why all people of common sense and goodwill might consider, in the days ahead, adopting a slogan that may strike them as odd, perverse, or even demented: Go, Rick, go."

Even in the highly unlikely event of a Santorum nomination, we think Heilemann might be a wee bit too optimistic that a Santorum drubbing in November would lead to the Rethuglican Party becoming a "serious and forward-thinking enterprise." Maybe if they un-plug Fox "News," the hundreds of hate-radio stations, and the telebangelist industry, and force the Rethug base to deal with the real world for a change... in other words, I doubt I'll see it in my lifetime.

BONUS: More Sunday reading, courtesy of Maureen Dowd (h/t Silver Spring Bureau Chief Brian):
"The Republicans, with their crazed Reagan fixation, are a last-gasp party, living posthumously, fighting battles on sex, race, immigration and public education long ago won by the other side.

"They’re trying to roll back the clock, but time is passing them by."

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Crackpot Cracker Confederates

The insanity just doesn't stop. Here we have language from a bill introduced in the Georgia State legislature sanctioning "nullification" -- i.e., the unconstitutional proposition that a State has the right to ignore any Federal law it chooses. If you remember your history, that's one of the issues the Civil War was fought over. Apparently, two of the crackpot crackers who lead the Rethuglican/ New Confederate party in Georgia think the issue wasn't settled and needs to be fought all over again.

Here's the text of two parts of the bill, introduced by Rethuglican Majority Leader Chip "Off The Old Blockhead" Rogers and Rethuglican President Pro Tem Tommie "Bobby Joe Cletus Bocephus" Williams, so you can see for yourself the latest depths to which the low-information, secessionist peckerwoods known collectively as the Rethuglican Party have sunk:

"(1) There is created the Joint Commission on Recommendation, which shall be charged with recommending and proposing for a vote by a constitutional majority the nullification in its entirety of a specific federal law or regulation which is deemed to be outside the scope of the powers delegated by the people to the federal government in the United States Constitution or at odds with the Georgia Constitution . . .

"(4) Upon recommendation for nullification, the General Assembly may vote to nullify following such recommendation. The appropriate documentation reflecting the vote shall be documented in legislative journals of the House and Senate. In the event the General Assembly votes by a constitutional majority to nullify any federal statute, mandate, or executive order on the grounds of constitutionality, neither the state nor its citizens shall recognize or be obligated to live under such statute, mandate, or executive order."

I'm all in favor of another March to the Sea, but this time burn it all down.

(Photo: Perfectly at home in today's Rethuglican/ New Confederate Party - the original Nullifier, John C. Calhoun)

"Made in America"

A little jingoistic? Yeah, maybe. Truthful? Yeah, definitely.

Also, don't bet against Barack Obama.

Today's Read

Rolling Stone's excellent Matt Taibbi on the Rethuglican "debates" and the chickens coming home to roost for the far-right Rethugs:

"Throughout this entire process, the spectacle of these clowns thrashing each other and continually seizing and then fumbling frontrunner status has left me with an oddly reassuring feeling, one that I haven't quite been able to put my finger on. In my younger days I would have just assumed it was regular old Schadenfreude at the sight of people like Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich suffering, but this isn’t like that – it's something different than the pleasure of watching A-Rod strike out in the playoffs.

"No, it was while watching the debates last night that it finally hit me: This is justice. What we have here are chickens coming home to roost. It's as if all of the American public's bad habits and perverse obsessions are all coming back to haunt Republican voters in this race: The lack of attention span, the constant demand for instant gratification, the abject hunger for negativity, the utter lack of backbone or constancy (we change our loyalties at the drop of a hat, all it takes is a clever TV ad): these things are all major factors in the spiraling Republican disaster.

"Most importantly, though, the conservative passion for divisive, partisan, bomb-tossing politics is threatening to permanently cripple the Republican party. They long ago became more about pointing fingers than about ideology, and it's finally ruining them."

Perhaps there is justice in the world.

BONUS: Even one-time heir-apparent Jeb Bush is repelled by The Crazy:
"I used to be a conservative, and I watch these debates, and I’m wondering, I don’t think I’ve changed, but it’s a little troubling sometimes when people are appealing to people’s fears and emotion rather than trying to get them to look over the horizon for a broader perspective, and that’s kind of where we are."

Mr. Mendacity, Cont'd.

Steve Benen at the Maddowblog continues his public service of documenting the falsehoods and misleading statements made each week by Willard "Mendacious Mittens" Romney in his quest to purchase the Presidency. You'll see little if any of this in our broken mainstream media, which prefers to play scorekeeper rather than actually practice journalism.

Among our favorite whoppers: 1) that President Obama doubled the budget deficit, when it's been reduced from $1.3 trillion when he took office to $1.1 trillion, and 2) that the President didn't put crippling sanctions in place against Iran, when in fact he did and Iran is being hammered by them.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Millionaire Mitt Drops Bomb At Ford Field...

... Luckily, no one was there so Willard was the only casualty. (Willard "Millionaire Mitt" Romney hires out Ford Field in Detroit to bore a mere 1,200 one-percenters -- just because he could!)

What are those things in the middle of the top photo? They can't be teleprompters! Only the affirmative action Kenyan usurper uses teleprompters!

BONUS: Clueless plutocrat Mittens' only take-away line from the elaborately staged speech, speaking about his wife: "Ann drives a couple of Cadillacs." Hopefully not at the same time.

Weekend Classic Performance

Continuing with a classic mood from Wednesday's Boston Cello Quartet, we're going with a classical selection that the Hackwhackers enjoyed in their youth: Tchaikovsky's Symphony 7 in E-flat, final movement. While far less famous than such works as the 1812 Overture, The Nutcracker, and Piano Concerto #1, this symphony evokes the grand sweep of Imperial Russia in the late 1800s. We were just hoping we'd have snow here in the East to make it feel more Russia-like. Eugene Ormandy conducted the Philadelphia Symphony Orchestra in this 1963 recording.

Strange Bedfellows*

It's hard to miss the Rethug tag-team of weird Willard "Tree Man" Romney and crackpot Ron "Race War" Paul, as they appear to be coordinating attacks against their Rethug rivals and laying off of each other. You'd think that their campaigns would diverge more than any of the others running: weird Willard as the phony conservative, say-anything-to-win plutocrat, and the reactionary Paul as the authentic voice of the far-right libertarian movement. Willard talks economic policy, Race War talks legalizing heroin. Willard wants military intervention abroad, Race War wants disengagement and demilitarization.

It's anyone's guess why this odd alliance has sprung up, but it's certainly about Paul extracting something of value from Mittens. We'll see whether this strange duo continues if Mittens loses in Michigan.
*Not that there's anything wrong with these two fellows sharing a bed, although it might present a problem for their base. Just sayin'.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Willard's Many Loves

Wherein Willard "I Love Cars" Romney channels Brick Tamland (Steve Carell) - or is it the other way around?


Let's Play "Who's The Crackpot?"

Let's look at these two pictures and play "Who's the Crackpot?" One of these two thinks the Girl Scouts is a radical organization that promotes abortion and homosexuality. That would classify as a crackpot idea, no? So which one of these do you think is the crackpot?

If you said the crackpot was the guy with the Neanderthal brow, that would be Indiana Rethuglican State Rep. Bob Morris -- and you'd be right!

Chickenhawks On The March!

It's been awhile since we've taken notice of failed cable TV wingnut Tucker "Mothertucker" Carlson. He's been toiling in the wingnut Wurlitzer vineyards trying to keep his right wing knock-off of the HuffPo, "The Daily Caller," alive.

But, here he goes again. On the Fux Channel yesteday, bow-tied b-esser Mothertucker said that "Iran deserves to be annihilated." While Mothertucker has since attempted to walk back his bellicose BS, it's worth noting that this strapping young man has never seen fit to volunteer for military service, preferring to cheer others of his generation on as they put their lives on the line so that Mothertucker can live the good life and spend his step-mommy's Swanson Foods fortune.

Cartoon of the Day

(click to enlarge)

It's dawning on the Talibangelist Rethugs that their mission to patrol every American woman's uterus is a loser politically. For all their yapping about being "small government conservatives," it's obvious that "small" is in the eye of the beholder in their case.

The outrageous bill passed by the Rethug House and Senate in Virginia would require a woman seeking an abortion to undergo a mandatory transvaginal ultrasound procedure, purely for the purpose of intimidating and harassing her into not proceeding. Virginia Rethuglican Governor Bob "Blowdry Bob" McDonnell was gung-ho for the bill, until it became obvious that, once again, the religious wingnuts had vastly overreached. Now, he seems to be backing away, asking for a watered-down version of the bill. This is but one reason why these fanatics must, MUST, be defeated at the polls. Be assured that if they aren't, they'll try again and again.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Mid-Week Performance

We have to call this a "performance" instead of a "song" because it's the sublime Schubert's Marche Militaire played by the sublime Boston Cello Quartet. Hat tip to P.E.C. for bringing this fine quartet to our attention!

Klueless In Kabul

An incident involving the burning of several Korans by military personnel at the Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan has led to large, violent demonstrations and an apology from the NATO commander, U.S. General John Allen. The U.S. embassy in Kabul is now on lockdown, and demonstrations are spreading across Afghanistan, with a death reported near Jalalabad. NATO officials are saying that the burned Korans contained messages between militant prisoners. OK, but shouldn't we have turned the books over to Afghan security forces and let them deal with them?

How anyone in their right mind could fail to appreciate what the burning of Korans would trigger is beyond us. It's not another Abu Ghraib, but at a bare minimum, it signals just how careless we are in dealing with other cultures and their religious beliefs. We want the Afghan public on our side, and this is a severe blow to that goal.

(photo: M. Hossaini/AFP/Getty Images)

Poot Agrees With Terrorists

While discussing national security in a speech to a crowd of young God botherers at Oral Roberts University, moon colony promoter Poot "The Swinger" Gingrich said that President Obama "is the most dangerous President in modern American history." While Poot is known for his bombastic exaggeration and delusions of grandeur, Poot actually stumbled into the truth on this one. Barack Obama is the most dangerous President in modern American history; just ask Osama bin Laden, Somali pirates, Anwar al-Awlaki, al Qaeda deputy Abd al Rahman, and many, many more just how dangerous Obama is. Add Gaddafi for good measure.

At least that's something Poot and al Qaeda can agree on.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Turning the Clock Back on Birth Control

Ann Gerhart in today's Kaplan Daily:
"Who says you can’t turn the clock back?

"Decades ago, near the end of the Age of Aquarius, a Republican congressman from Texas argued passionately that the federal government should pay for birth control for poor women.

"'We need to take sensationalism out of this topic so that it can no longer be used by militants who have no real knowledge of the voluntary nature of the program but, rather, are using it as a political stepping stone,” said George H.W. Bush. “If family planning is anything, it is a public health matter.'”

"Title X, the law he sponsored that still funds family planning for the poor, passed the House by a vote of 298 to 32. It passed the Senate unanimously. A Republican president, Richard Nixon, enthusiastically signed it.

"That was 1970.

"This is now: The issue of birth control has suddenly become an obsession of the 2012 presidential campaign. To many observers, it seems that the clock has indeed been turned back."

Remember when conservative Republicans were sane?

Where Are The President's Surrogates?

With the Rethug primary process in full swing, it's hard to avoid seeing one or more Rethug candidates, or Rethug officials, on TV blasting President Obama with one false charge after another. Typically, the White House ignores the nonsense coming from the Rethugs, desperate not only with their feeble candidates, but because of an improving economy and increasingly popular President. Sometimes you'll see Obama Press Secretary Jay Carney respond -- someone not really projecting strength or confidence -- or someone from the reelection campaign. But the responses are few and far between, or ignored, perhaps due to the colorless messenger.

The Dems should get on this problem, because the Rethugs are masters at spin control and staying on message. Forget Dem leaders in Congress. We cringe when we see, for example, Sen. Harry Reid attempting to articulate the Dem position. If Central Casting was filling the role of a small town undertaker, Reid's the guy. Far better are people like former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell, Sen. Barbara Boxer, or even former New York Gov. Elliott Spitzer (despite his personal baggage). It's not that the Dems don't have surrogates, it's that they don't seem to use them as well as the Rethugs. That has to change.

Headline of the Day

"Police Find Crack In Suspect's Butt"
Let's hope they, 1) weren't too surprised to find one there, and 2) didn't have to use drug-sniffing dogs. From a HuffPo story about the arrest of a Florida man.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Cartoon of the Day - Pastor Rick Edition

(click to enlarge)

(Tom Tomorrow, via Daily Kos)

BONUS: While we're on Pastor Rick, please check out this excellent piece by David Atkins.

Friedman's Odd Fixation

The "Mustache of Understanding," a.k.a. New York Times columnist Tom Friedman, has a well-known hobby horse: a "centrist" third party on the ballot in 2012. He might as well be a paid publicist (hmmm) for one of these political unicorns -- "Americans Elect." Not surprisingly, he's used his valuable space in the Sunday Times to once again ride the same nag. Outside of a few anonymous billionaires pulling its strings, and deluded, misinformed or co-opted people like Friedman, it's hard to detect a clamoring for an "Americans Elect" third party, especially in an election year as critical as 2012. What then is Friedman fronting for? Robert Kuttner has this (excerpted) analysis:
"Tom Friedman of the New York Times is at it again, claiming that what America needs to fix our economic and political mess is a radically centrist third party. Radical in this case means conservative when it comes to belt-tightening. Friedman in Sunday's Times urges a third party 'to fill the space between the conservative Santorum (or even Mitt Romney) and the left-of-center Barack Obama.'

"Friedman has written this column before. [snip]

"As the Friedman column suggests, a lot of the pundit class laps up this 'radical-center' malarkey. The Washington Post ["Kaplan Daily"] editorial page has been an ongoing commercial for fiscal austerity, and (former U.S. Comptroller General David) Walker has generally gotten a very respectful press. It was the influence of the deficit hawks that pushed Obama into appointing the late and little-lamented Bowles Simpson commission, which in turn compelled the president to waste nearly a year obsessing about budget balance when he should have stayed focused on recovery. [snip]

"The combination of bad economic advice, a ballot slot bought and paid for by secretive private equity and hedge fund players, and a candidate who became a media figure courtesy of Peter G. Peterson, epitomizes everything messed up about our politics. How fitting that Tom Friedman should be its tribune."

The Rump Slump

As we all remember, human replica Willard "Tree Man" Romney was endorsed a couple of weeks ago by vulgarian egomaniac Donald "Rump" Trump in a very brief press conference in Lost Wages, NV. It couldn't have lasted more than five minutes, with the candidate and his wife looking uncomfortable as Rump spoke. There was the sense at the time that Mittens was wary about the value of fellow plutocrat Rump's endorsement, given Rump's embrace of birtherism, and his public humiliation and mocking at last year's White House Correspondents Dinner by the President.

Perhaps that sense of foreboding is borne out by this poll in Real Clear Politics, as analyzed by Steve Benen. The day after Rump's endorsement, Tree Man Mittens' poll numbers started to drop off. Did the endorsement have a negative effect? It's hard to say, but Rump is unfavorably viewed by the public as a circus master who thinks everything is all about him.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

A Message for 2012

TPM's Josh Marshall suggests that the Obama reelection campaign can run on a 7-word slogan: "GM is alive, Bin Laden is dead."

The Rethugs will hate it, but that's what makes the slogan so appealing, plus the fact that it's absolutely true.

A Frothy Mix of Hateful Bullshit

Theocrat Rethuglican loon Rick "Frothy Mix" Santorum lost his last election by 18 points. Ethics issues dogged him in the Senate. He's a well-known homophobic bigot. It's only a measure of how weak and divided the field of candidates is on the Rethuglican side that he's actually leading the Rethug polls in some states. We hope shining light on this ultra-fringe radical will illustrate, because of how far off the deep end his party has gone and how little analysis this has received in the "mainstream" media, how this now passes for Rethuglican normal:

"We all know that this country was founded on a Judeo-Christian ethic. But the Judeo-Christian ethic -- sure the Catholics had some influence -- but this was a Protestant country," said Santorum. "And the Protestant ethic, mainstream, mainline Protestantism, and of course we look at the shape of mainline Protestantism in this country and it is a shambles, it is gone from the world of Christianity as I see it." -- Santorum in 2008 at Ave Maria University.

"[Obama's agenda is] not about you. It's not about your quality of life. It's not about your jobs. It's about some phony ideal. Some phony theology. Oh, not a theology based on the Bible. A different theology."-- Santorum on February 18, 2012, in Columbus, Ohio.

We'll keep shining the light on this loon as he continues to share his divisive, un-American rhetoric.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Rethug Hypocrite of the Week

From HuffPo:
"Republican Congressional candidate Paul Babeu, currently serving as a sheriff in Arizona, stepped down on Saturday from his position as the co-chair for the Mitt Romney presidential campaign in the state, after an explosive allegation from a Mexican man, who claims to be his ex-boyfriend, that Babeu threatened him with deportation to Mexico.

"'Sheriff Babeu has stepped down from his volunteer position with the campaign so he can focus on the allegations against him,' Romney spokeswoman Andrea Saul confirmed in an email to The Huffington Post. 'We support his decision.'

"In a press conference Saturday, Babeu said the allegations are false, but confirmed that he is gay, something he had not previously discussed. According to a tweet by the Arizona Capitol Times from the speech, 'I am gay,' he said.

"The Phoenix New-Times broke the story about the Mexican man, which it referred to by only his first name, Jose. Babeu is both a staunch Republican and a hawk on border security -- making the allegations all the more surprising and potentially damaging." (emphasis added)

All the while his constituents thought he was patrolling the border, the self-loathing hypocrite was really just trolling the border.

(Photo: Sheriff Babeu, not allowing any stinkin' Messican penetration ... of the border, we mean.)

Mr. Mendacity

The broken mainstream media fails over and over again to chronicle the half-truths and downright lies of most Rethuglican politicians. Aside from occasional back page "fact check" columns, the stenographers we generously call "journalists" present the lies on a platter, ready for easy public digestion without any seasoning of truth.

Thankfully, Steve Benen is performing a vital task in cataloging the lies of Willard "Mittens the Medacious" Romney each Friday. Here's his latest effort. One of the most cynical lies concerns his position on the auto industry bailout. He wants everyone to believe that private interests would have stepped in to purchase General Motors and Chrysler under a managed bankruptcy scenario, when in fact the credit markets and private financing were locked down during the economy's free-fall during that time. There was no private sector alternative, and Mittens the Mendacious knows it.

This is Your Republican Party

“It is not the role of government to feed people. Government exists to protect and defend our God-given rights. Government fails when it usurps these bounds." -- Kevin "Kook" Kookogey, chairman of the Williamson County (Tenn.) Rethuglican Party, on why gummint shouldn't be feedin' them poor (i.e., in Kook's mind, "poor" means "black") children. We wonder to what God Kook's referring, because it sure ain't the Judeo/Christian God.

Shame on Shamu

As expected, New Jersey Governor and one-time Great White, Hope of the Rethuglican Party Chris "Krispy Kreme" Christie * has vetoed a same-sex marriage bill passed by the New Jersey legislature. Christie, who has been touted as a possible Vice Presidential candidate (assuming there's no brokered Rethug convention where the delegates get Krispy Kreme fever), wants to have the issue of same-sex marriage on the November ballot. As someone who, to give credit, has spoken out against anti-Muslim and anti-black bigotry in his party, it's a shame Christie didn't have the same courage to muster when it came to his gay and lesbian constituents.

This comes at the same time as the legislature in the Hackwhackers' home state of Maryland has passed a same-sex marriage bill which Gov. Martin O'Malley will sign into law. Opponents here have vowed to petition to get it on the ballot in Maryland as well.

Rethugs might think, along with the contraception issue, that they have a culture war winner here -- but they would be wrong. Gay marriage is no longer opposed by a majority of Americans. But, seeing the economy improving, Rethuglicans are grasping at every culture war straw they can to get traction against progressives. This only serves to demonstrate that theirs is a morally and intellectually bankrupt party.

* As one who's been fighting the Battle of the Bulge myself for some years now, I know I shouldn't be mocking Christie's girth. But, dammit, the guy continues to be such an overall ass that I just can't help myself. Sorry.

Cartoon of the Day

(click to enlarge)
Right off a cliff.

Tweet of the Week

(hat tip to Daily Kos)

Friday, February 17, 2012

Weekend Song

Thinking of Whitney Houston a bit when I finally landed on this as the weekend song.

Quote of the Day

"Cornell University’s Suzanne Mettler points out that many beneficiaries of government programs seem confused about their own place in the system. She tells us that 44 percent of Social Security recipients, 43 percent of those receiving unemployment benefits, and 40 percent of those on Medicare say that they 'have not used a government program.' Presumably, then, voters imagine that pledges to slash government spending mean cutting programs for the idle poor, not things they themselves count on. And this is a confusion politicians deliberately encourage. For example, when Mr. Romney responded to the new Obama budget, he condemned Mr. Obama for not taking on entitlement spending — and, in the very next breath, attacked him for cutting Medicare." -- Nobel Prize winner Paul Krugman in the New York Times. His article, "Moochers Against Welfare," examines the low-information conservative voter who's fine with Gummint entitlements, as long as they don't go to someone else.

What's Wrong With This Picture?

That's right: where are the women at the table?

Yesterday, House Rethuglicans ran a silly political hearing for the purpose of fanning their transparently phony "war on religion" campaign against the Obama Administration. They failed miserably. It became clear that the hearing was a PR disaster for the Rethugs when they didn't have a single woman appear on the panel to discuss women's reproductive rights. In fact, they denied Georgetown University law student Sandra Fluke an opportunity to testify.

The public is overwhelmingly in favor of women's access to contraceptives, and the more the Rethugs fight this particular battle in their Culture War, the bigger the losers they'll be, even with the women in their own party.

All You Need Is Love

When you think Willard "Mittens" Romney can't get any more phony and weird, he surprises you. For example, in remarks to the Chamber of Commerce in Farmington Hills, Michigan, Weird Willard came up with this strange rap:
"I love this state. It seems bright here. Trees are the right height. I like seeing the lakes. . .I love cars. I grew up totally in love with cars."
We know that Mormons are prohibited from drinking alcohol, but what on Earth is he on? Trees are the right height?

Yesterday, a pundit compared him to a Conehead, just arrived from outer space and mangling the language. Trying to be "normal" in interacting with the public seems to be a bridge too far for Weird Willard.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

You Know Where You Can Put It, Foster Friess

Foster "Would You Like a Shake With Those" Friess, billionaire sugar daddy of Pastor Rick "Frothy Mix" Santorum, has a contraception method only a Rethuglican could love:
“Back in my day, they used Bayer aspirin for contraceptives. The gals put it between their knees and it wasn’t that costly.”

Hee-haw. Hee-haw. If only his mother had a Bayer aspirin to press tightly between her knees back in the day, we wouldn't have to abide a dimwit plutocrat like ol' Foster.

Deal Reached on Payroll Tax Cut Extension

Following the capitulation of House Rethugs earlier this week, Congress is set to vote tomorrow on extensions of the payroll tax cut and unemployment insurance. [As an aside, the vote is likely to split Rethugs between the Weeper of the House "Orange Boner" camp and the elevator-doesn't-go-to-the-top-floor teatard camp. Lovin' it.] The additional money in the pockets of working Americans is likely to keep the economy on a recovery arc, while the extension of the unemployment insurance safety net now runs through the end of 2012.

This is what can happen when President Obama and Democrats stand firm and don't allow fringe teatards to dictate policy. Let's see more of those tactics in the future.

Lowest Jobless Claims in 4 Years

In yet another sign of an improving economy (sorry, Rethuglicans!), weekly jobless claims have hit a 4-year low. The 348,000 claims were the lowest weekly total since March 2008 when the economy was beginning its long job-shedding slide under the Bushit Assministration (wow, we haven't used that phraseology in a while!).

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Sanctimonious Santorum, Cont.

Rethug front-runner of the moment Rick "Frothy Mix" Santorum set up a charity about 10 years ago, "Operation Good Neighbor." In the spirit of Brother Santorum's deeply held religious views, one should expect the charity did great things for the poor and downtrodden it was supposed to help. Huh? What?
"[H]omeless families and troubled children were not the biggest beneficiaries of Operation Good Neighbor. Instead, the foundation spent most of its money to run itself, including hundreds of thousands of dollars in fees for fundraising, administration and office rental paid to Santorum’s political allies.

"The charity also had significant overlap with the senator’s campaigns and his work on Capitol Hill. Among the leading donors to the foundation were Pennsylvania development and finance firms that had donated to his election efforts and had interests that Santorum had supported in the Senate.

"Santorum, whose last-minute surge in the Iowa caucuses has brought new attention to his presidential bid, portrays himself as a common man concerned about the gap between the nation’s rich and poor. But in the case of his charity, his efforts ended up mostly helping his cadre of political friends. [emphasis added]

"Before it folded in 2007, the foundation raised $2.58 million, with 39 percent of that donated directly to groups helping the needy. By industry standards, such philanthropic groups should be donating nearly twice that, from 75 to 85 percent of their funds.

“'That’s exceptionally poor,' Ken Berger, president of Charity Navigator, a national organization that rates charitable groups, said of the Santorum group’s giving. 'We would tell donors to run with fear from this organization.'” [emphasis added]

I think Mr. Berger's advice would also apply for anyone thinking Santorum is an honest, salt-of-the-earth politician -- run with fear from this sanctimonious hypocrite.
(via today's Kaplan Daily - we don't need no stinkin' link)

(Photo: "(sniff) Daddy won't cut me in on the skim.")

Good Signs For Obama

In a new New York Times - CBS News poll, President Obama is showing greater strength as the economy continues to pick up steam and unemployment numbers drop. And it's not only the President's favorable rating, which is now back in positive territory:
"In what could be a turning point, the percentage of people who said they believed the economic outlook was improving is now greater, by double digits, than the percentage of those who said they believed it was getting worse, a reversal from a low point in September, when pessimists outnumbered optimists by more than three to one."
The President also leads all of the Rethuglican contenders, as independents are moving back into the President's column, and Rethuglican voters remain unsettled and unenthusiastic about their choices.

All in all, while it's still a long way to November, these are very positive trends for President Obama.

Mid-Week Song

British diva Adele was the big winner at Sunday's Grammys, but the Foo Fighters did very well in garnering 4 awards, including a win for Best Rock Performance for their single "Walk."

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Valentine's Day "Head"-line

"In birth control fight, Catholic bishops take hard stance on Viagra" -- Daily Kos. Well played.

Some Good News

We saw a couple of positive developments in Talking Points Memo this morning:

1. The Rethuglicans are split on the contraceptive access issue that erupted last week. Maine Senators Olympia "Light" Snowe and Susan "I'll Have a Tom" Collins are bucking party leadership to say "no" to them and to the right wingers in the Catholic Church hierarchy.

2. The President's FY 2012 budget is causing the Rethugs conniptions (always a good sign that they're losing). Case in point:
"In his budget message, Obama alludes to the GOP’s alternative vision: to use the mushrooming national debt as an excuse (or opportunity, if you’re so inclined) to phase out some of the most popular services the government provides while reducing taxes on wealthy Americans."
Only good can come of the Rethugs picking the losing side in the contraceptive wars, and in siding with the wealthiest Americans and big corporations at a time when the public wants to see fairness in the economy.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Mittens' Michigan Blues

We're two weeks away from the Michigan Rethug primary -- a long time in politics -- but theocratic bedroom monitor Rick "Frothy Mix" Santorum has a healthy lead over well-lubricated weather vane and pretend severe conservative Willard "Severely Clueless" Romney by a margin of 39% to 24%, with Poot Gingrich polling a miserable 11%.

Severely Clueless Willard wants Michiganders to believe he's a "favorite son" -- along with Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Utah -- since his dad, George "I Was Brainwashed" Romney was governor of the state long ago. Sadly for Willard, his position on the 2009 Federal loans to General Motors and Chrysler was "let Detroit go bankrupt." Now, GM is the leading auto maker in the world, and Chrysler's sales are booming. How's that grab you, Mr. Job Creator?

"Machiavellian Maneuvering and Machinations"

No, not Congress. No, not Wall Street. No, not Fox "News." No, not the Rethuglican establishment, although you're getting warm. Guess again.

Cartoon of the Day - Willard's Free Market Experience

(Click to enlarge)

(Tom Tomorrow, via Daily Kos)

Bedroom Politics At Their Worst

As we noted yesterday, right wing Bishops in the Catholic Church are doubling down on their opposition to employee access to contraceptives, even if the costs are fully covered by the insurers. It's a losing issue with the public at large, and with Catholics in specific. Contraceptives have been an accepted part of American life for 50 years, and women don't want to go back in time.

That's why we were happy to see Rethuglican leaders push the extreme view that Catholic owned business should have the right to deny their employees contraceptive care regardless of the employee's religion under company-provided health benefits. Senate Minority Leader and turtle impersonator Mitch "Missy" McConnell came out in support of legislation that would ban access to birth control in those circumstances. Of course, the Rethugs falsely portray this as a "religious freedom" issue, knowing that it's an absolute loser politically if it's seen as anti-birth control. We hope they go all in, and drive away those independent and moderate voters who want to keep Rethuglican politicians out of their bedrooms.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Willard Wins Maine Carcass

Well, the results are in, and Lord Willard of Romney narrowly beat Ron "Race War" Paul in the Maine Rethug caucus. The real story? Of Maine's 258,000 registered Rethugs, Lord Willard won an awesome 2,190 votes in a state that's considered his back yard. Sadly for Willard, 61 percent of the vote was against him.

Enthusiasm!! Turnout!! Victory!! On to the nomination!! Hold your noses!!

Contraception As A Wedge Issue: Catholic Church FAIL

Writes Andrew Sullivan in Newsweek:
"Most Catholics will be fine with this compromise, as are the Catholic Health Association and Planned Parenthood. But the bishops? They’ve gone out on a very long limb. This could be the moment when the culture-war tide finally turns and the social wedge issues long deployed so effectively by the Republican right begin to come back and bite them. [snip]

"...Contraception is popular. Even in conservative Mississippi, a recent ballot initiative to amend the state constitution to ban the morning-after pill failed badly at the polls. If this issue won’t work for the GOP in Mississippi, they’ll have a hard time winning a general election over it. And if the bishops think opposing Obama’s compromise will rally Catholics to their cause, they are even more out of touch than they realize. This will indeed become a wedge issue—between the bishops and their flocks. Yes, finally a social wedge issue that helps Democrats, not Republicans."

When I, a 63-year-old former Catholic, hear someone in the Catholic Church male hierarchy speak of "moral authority" or "religious freedom," I consider whether the Catholic Church was the "moral authority" or defended "religious freedom" in these cases:

-- the Crusades, Church-led murderous forays to recapture the Holy Lands from the Muslims;

-- the Inquisitions, wherein the most ghastly torture methods and murder were used for well over 6 centuries to "cleanse" Europe of non-Catholic believers, including Jews, Protestants and Muslims;

-- the Thirty Years' War, wherein the Church instigated the most horrific destruction and warfare not seen in Europe until that time, again to "cleanse" the continent of the new reformist movement, Protestantism;

-- its institutional anti-Semitism (i.e., the "Blood libel") up until recent decades;

-- its opposition to women's suffrage;

-- its tacit accommodation with the rise of fascism and Nazism in Europe in the 1920's and 1930's;

-- its policy against the use of condoms in the fight against AIDS in Africa;

-- its policy opposing gay and lesbian marriage;

-- its opposition to the health care reform act; and

-- its repeated efforts to protect pedophile priests, cover up their illegal activity, and deny the victims the dignity of timely restitution.

"Moral authority?" "Religious freedom?" Who are they kidding?

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Whitney Houston, 1963-2012

What a wonderful talent; what a terrible waste.

On The Culture War Front

On this morning's "Up With Chris Hayes," Hayes made a good case why progressives should be encouraged about the events of the past week or so. From the Court's overturning of Prop 8 in California, to the victory of Planned Parenthood in the Komen foul up, to the latest kerfuffle over allowing birth control coverage by Catholic institutions, Hayes argues persuasively that the general public is overwhelmingly with progressives on each of these issues -- and the Rethuglicans are painting themselves into an extremist corner in opposition. Watch.

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Extremist Catholic Bishops Balk at Compromise

For your consideration:

"Yesterday, the USCCB offered two press releases on the announcement. The first was a cautious one, saying in essence 'we appreciate the first step, but we need time to look at the details.' The second and longer statement was much more blunt and disdainful. For instance, with regard to the changes announced yesterday, they say this (emphasis in the original):
'. . . in the case where the employee and insurer agree to add the objectionable coverage, that coverage is still provided as a part of the objecting employer’s plan, financed in the same way as the rest of the coverage offered by the objecting employer.'" (Firedoglake)

And the kicker:
"Although Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan of New York has been leading the national fight against requiring Roman Catholic hospitals, universities and charities to cover birth control in their health insurance plans for employees and students, some Catholic institutions in his own diocese and others throughout New York State have for 10 years been complying with state law mandating precisely that coverage.

"The state began requiring contraception coverage in 2002, and Catholic institutions, after losing a court battle over the issue, have followed the law. Historically Catholic institutions like Fordham University, which is run by a lay board of trustees in the tradition of the Jesuit religious order, provide contraception coverage for employees and students." (NY Times, via Hullabaloo)

Time to stop haggling with these pedophile-pampering extremists. These anachronisms have had more say about the health and well-being of women than they ought to have had in the first place.

The Circus Is In Town

It's time for that annual fap-fest, the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC - or Crack-Pot Action Conference, if you prefer) here in Washington, D.C. As ever, there's the usual assortment of protozoan life forms (here it comes): birthers, tenthers, one-percenters and their stooges, talibangelists, homophobes, racists, yahoos, gun fetishists, hate-radio sociopaths, neo-con Israel-firsters, and teatards -- both the grifter class and the knuckle-draggers they manipulate; a fractured coalition with one mission: limit the Kenyan usurper to one term. HuffPo has a good live blog covering the sordid details.

But it seems there's no joy in Dudville. The choice among Willard "One Percent" Romney, Newt "Moonbeam" Gingrich, Rick "Frothy Mix" Santorum and Ron "Crazy Uncle" Paul leaves your average Rethug somewhat colder than usual. Pity that.

Meanwhile, the doughy, gimlet-eyed crazies at CPAC are giving the rest of us plenty to observe (from a clinical standpoint that is):

-- you have your White Nationalists mingling in the nearly all-white conference, with organizers struggling to keep the racists in the big tent of the conservative movement while not attracting too much media attention;

-- you have your self-loathing closeted gay Rethugs taking time off from gay-bashing to boost the local male escort business (don't worry, Gov. Perry, Rep. Dreier, and Matt Drudge, we're not talking about you!); and

-- you have your wolf-crying Number One Gun Nut from the N.R.A. telling the gullible folk who need a gun to validate their manhood that the Kenyan usurper is comin' to git their AK-47s and grenade launchers (the same warning he had for the gullible in 2008)!

That's your CPAC roundup. 'Nuff said.

(Image: Open bar at CPAC)

Friday, February 10, 2012

Cartoon of the Day, Part Deux

(Click to enlarge)

(Mike Luckovich, via

Weekend Song

Today is songwriter extraordinaire Carole King's 70th (!) birthday. Her career as a songwriter and entertainer spans the past 50 years. This is the first of her songs to chart, hitting #1 in 1960. It's the Shirelles classic "Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow."


It was inevitable that some backtracking would occur on the birth control access feature of the Affordable Care Act, and today the President offered a compromise. The compromise would require health insurance providers to offer birth control at no charge to employees of Catholic hospitals and universities, so that the Church would not have to pay for the coverage. We'll see if the fired-up right wing of the Church accepts the compromise, or chooses to go on a Crusade against provision of birth control generally. The latter course would further alienate women from the Church, and ultimately be a well-deserved disaster for it. The Rethugs will continue to play the issue cynically and with a healthy dose of deceit.

It will be interesting to see what happens to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, who oversaw the roll-out of the Affordable Care Act and allowed the Rethugs to control the message, and this hasty retreat on women's reproductive rights. Are these simply failures in public relations, or are they failures to gauge, plan for and counter the inevitable opposition from the right? Or both? Someone needs to be held accountable.