Until Republicans control the Senate.
Liberals love the arcane rules of Congress until those rules start gnawing their own posteriors. Then, of course, it's an abuse of power. Kinda like recess appointments and executive orders were during the Bush administration. It was a crime when GWB did it, but liberals embrace these tactics now Their Guy is in charge. I expect the same to be true in the 112th Congress.
Friday, December 31, 2010
Until Republicans control the Senate.
Wednesday, December 29, 2010
I thought this was an interesting argument regarding the trend of liberal avant garde becoming ho-hum normal.
Two decades ago, the gay left wanted to smash the bourgeois prisons of monogamy, capitalistic enterprise and patriotic values and bask in the warm sun of bohemian "free love." And avant-garde values. In this, they were simply picking up the torch from the straight left of the 1960s and 1970s, who had sought to throw off the sexual hang-ups of their parents' generation along with their gray flannel suits.
As a sexual lifestyle experiment, that failed pretty miserably, the greatest proof being that the affluent and educated children (and grandchildren) of the baby boomers have reembraced bourgeois notions of marriage as an essential part of life. Sadly, it's the have-nots who are now struggling as marriage is increasingly seen as an unaffordable luxury. The irony is that such bourgeois values — monogamy, hard work, etc. — are the best guarantors of success and happiness.
That homosexuals would want the same things heterosexuals do--love, family, stability--shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone in the 21st Century. I'm sure there was a time when those identifying themselves as gay were doing so in an in-your-face f-u gesture, but I've met few gay people who felt that way. I would say that's a tiny fraction of the population. I have to agree with Goldberg on this part:
Personally, I have always felt that gay marriage was an inevitability, for good or ill (most likely both). I do not think that the arguments against gay marriage are all grounded in bigotry, and I find some of the arguments persuasive. But I also find it cruel and absurd to tell gays that living the free-love lifestyle is abominable while at the same time telling them that their committed relationships are illegitimate too.
Tuesday, December 28, 2010
Remember when oversight was the favorite word of Democrats? Back in 2006, Democrats were interested in oversight of the environment, welfare, and the FCC. Democrats were really hot for oversight when it meant trying to hobble a Republican president.
Of course, oversight is just another word for putting the brakes on stuff we don't like, which is why it's ok when we're exercising Congressional oversight powers over a Republican president (cuz he's gonna destroy us) but is a shocking power grab by the rat bastards when exercised by Republicans against a Democratic president. In this case, oversight comes in the form of a provision of the 1996 Congressional Review Act.
House Republicans will have carte blanche next year, and will be able to pass as many of these "resolutions of disapproval" as they want. The key is that a small minority in the Senate can force votes on them as well, and they require only simple-majority support to pass. If they can find four conservative Democrats to vote with them on these resolutions, they can force Obama to serially veto politically potent measures to block unpopular regulations, and create a chilling effect on the federal agencies charged with writing them.
Considering the midterm elections were all about reining in government, you'd think Democrats would be all squiggly about doing the will of the people and fulfilling their constitutional duties to provide oversight to the president. But that only applies if the president is a Republican. I'm sure Democrats will love any ramp-up of executive power as long as the guy wielding it has a "D" after his name.
Monday, December 27, 2010
Saturday, December 25, 2010
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.
Friday, December 24, 2010
It's Christmastime, Which Means It Must Be Time for the Anti-Religionists To Come Out of the Woodwork
It never fails that once December hits, stories of atheists struttin' their stuff come out of the woodwork.
We've already had the atheist ads on the buses here in Fort Worth that created such a stir.
Then there's this I'm too cool to believe in God so I elevate science to the same status idiocy from Ricky Gervais. I'm sure Ricky would be insulted if you pointed out that the same awed tones he used about science are exactly the tones used by the "religionists" he despises. Vox Populi has a great takedown (can you really blame God for this?) for Ricky:
Gervais is not so much incorrect as completely incoherent when he says that science "bases its conclusions and beliefs on hard evidence". First, he reveals the usual atheist's inability to distinguish between "evidence" and "scientific evidence". Second, science does not possess either conclusions or beliefs and it does not base them or anything else upon evidence; Gervais clearly doesn't understand how the scientific method works because it is used to produce evidence (of the scientific variety), it is not based upon evidence of any kind. Third, his example is spectacularly ignorant, as science not only did not develop penicillin, but the parochial arrogance of scientists actually retarded the development of the effective medical application of what had been the very sort of traditional medieval practice that Gervais disdains for decades. His knowledge doesn't even rise to the level of Wikipedia: see the story of Ernest Duchesne and his 1897 paper that was ignored by the Institut Pasteur.
I continue my traditional eyerolling at rude atheist behavior towards religious believers, specifically Christians. As a Presbyterian, I believe God doesn't need my help pointing out man's stupidity and hubris. He's a big boy and will take care of all this anyway. But as a woman who's given birth to three healthy babies, I find it stunningly stupid for anyone to blandly lecture me that evolution over a million years (or a billion or zillion, or however many science has now decided it takes to explain away humanity) caused a single cell to become a 9-pound baby boy. And every so-called advancement of science--whether in medicine or chemistry or astronomy--only further convinces me that God is both Great and Good.
I don't bother arguing these things with those who don't believe because I still think that's between them and God (or them and themselves, I suppose). Just don't be a sanctimonious jerk in the process.
Finally, for our anti-religious trifecta, we have Michelle Malkin's column on the ACLU's campaign to force Catholic hospitals to perform abortions. I was cruising Pandagon yesterday, and in my best Amanda Marcotte imitation, I'd say that the ACLU is just preventing Catholics from hating women and trying to stop them from having sex. Of course, none of that is true; the Catholic church likes women to have sex, just keep it inside marriage and don't kill your inconvenient offspring.
But the ACLU, in the interest of baby-killing equality, can't stand the idea that there's a hospital somewhere that won't allow a 38-week pregnant woman to yawn and decide it's just a 20-minute procedure (see earlier Pandagon posts).
As the Washington-based Becket Fund, a public interest law firm that defends the free expression of all religious traditions, pointed out to the feds: "The ACLU has no business radically re-defining the meaning of emergency health care,' just as it has no business demanding that religious doctors and nurses violate their faith by performing a procedure they believe is tantamount to murder. Forcing religious hospitals to perform abortions not only undermines this nation's integral commitment to conscience rights, it violates the numerous federal laws that recognize and protect those rights."
Of course, there are always other non-Catholic hospitals an abortion seeker could go to, but that's not the point, is it? This is about attacking Catholicism on one of its basic tenets. Which is a great way to celebrate Christmas.
Wednesday, December 22, 2010
This article is about Great Britain, but the same phenomenon is true in the U.S.
My father could roam the hills and valleys of West Virginia without his parents knowing where he was all the time. I could roam my own neighborhood in much the same manner. But my children? The youngest daughter isn't allowed to leave the house without her brother along (granted, she's old enough now that I figure she can ride her bike around the neighborhood, but the habit is ingrained).
Why are we limiting our children's freedom? I suggest 2 reasons. One is a fear of crime. We spend so much time watching the news about all the horrible things happening to somebody's children that we fear it happening to our own. This is why parents won't let their kids walk home from the elementary school alone, the way generations before them did.
The other reason, IMO, is a lack of sidewalks. My neighborhood has sidewalks within it, but the busy streets do not. This limits how far anyone can walk safely (kids do walk to the middle school and high school, but it isn't safe).
The greatest freedom to roam that most children have is on the internet, and that's probably far more dangerous than walking to the local strip center.
Sunday, December 19, 2010
This story, discussing Republican redistricting that could harm Democrats in 2012 and beyond, directly contradicts the Democratic talking point of the last few years: that demographics favor Democrats in the long-term.
The 2010 census report coming out Tuesday will include a boatload of good political news for Republicans and grim data for Democrats hoping to re-elect President Barack Obama and rebound from last month's devastating elections.
The population continues to shift from Democratic-leaning Rust Belt states to Republican-leaning Sun Belt states, a trend the Census Bureau will detail in its once-a-decade report to the president. Political clout shifts, too, because the nation must reapportion the 435 House districts to make them roughly equal in population, based on the latest census figures.
The Democratic talking point is that the country is becoming less white, which favors their candidates. But now we're hearing that it's population that predicts dominance?
The military's ridiculous Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy is now history and that's only 15 years too late, IMO.
Call it a leftover from my more liberal days, but the military policy regarding homosexuals never made a lot of sense to me, especially once we weren't kicking people out for being homosexual (just for answering someone who asked if one were). I understand that Don't Ask, Don't Tell was just a compromise to force the government to stop punishing people for being in the military and being gay, but this policy always left me scratching my head.
These days, I'd just as soon everybody kept this information to themselves. You're gay? Fine. You can talk about your boyfriend, your girlfriend, your spouse and what y'all had for dinner. But I don't want a lecture about gay rights on Dancing With the Stars or any other television show I bother watching. That's about as equal as it gets around here.
UPDATE: I won't link to the stupid American Family Association which takes a "teh sky is falling!!1!!" approach to the subject of gay people in the military not hiding it anymore, but Confederate Yankee discusses the whole thing.
Saturday, December 18, 2010
If the Villager victory dance over this deal today is any indication, liberals have just been dealt completely out of the narrative and it's now simply a battle between conservatives, Tea Partiers and the president. And all the important parties agree that it is a perfect template for future "compromise."
I suppose in Digby's eyes compromise previously was telling Republicans to shut up and vote for their budget-busting, economy-cratering ideas.
Then there was this:
Of course, you have to keep in mind that the Republicans gave up nothing real in this deal. Since they never expected to keep the estate tax at zero all they gave up was a fake desire to make the tax cuts permanent -- they always wanted the issue for the election -- and an equally phony pose that they didn't want to extend unemployment.(Even they aren't dumb enough to pull that much money out of the economy at the moment) That's it, the full extent of their contribution to the "compromise." So keep your eyes peeled for the next irrelevant shiny object they throw out to the Democrats as compromise bait. I'm sure they have them all lined up.
Digby's wrong, of course, about what Republicans wanted from the Deal. Republicans did, in fact, want the threat of tax increases gone and didn't want the death tax reinstated at all. As for unemployment, there's debate about whether letting people live on the dole as long as desired is a good thing or not (it's really not, but liberals think you want everyone to starve if you point out human nature and the tendency not to change until forced to). And does Digby honestly think $313 billion in extra spending is an "irrelevant shiny object"? This from the same people complainig about not raising taxes in a recession.
I think the compromise was as good a deal as Barack Obama was going to get and he took it. Republicans possibly could have done better in the next Congress, but that would have required allowing tax rates to jump January 1, along with the attendant bad press, and I can't see John Boehner wanting that to be the new face of the Republican-Controlled House (although Democrats would love it).
One thing the crying and whining from Democrats over the last six weeks makes clear is that anything that doesn't add more debt and make people more dependent is going to be viewed as Making People Starve. I'm sure there are some non-thinking people who will find this appealing, but most people are going to see fiscal restraint as a good thing.
Friday, December 17, 2010
This is the biggest "Duh!" moment we've had in a while.
Author Frank Dikotter pours through thousands of documents from Mao-era China and discovers that 45 million people were killed during the Great Leap Forward when the Communists starved its own people to "progress."
As Moe Lane points out:
(T)he People’s Republic of China’s ‘Great Leap Forward’ caused truly frightening numbers of deaths: looking at the actual source material, its author is now estimating a death toll of 45 million (50% more than previous estimates). That works out to about 6.5% of its population, based on the 1960 census: to put that in perspective, the equivalent for 2010-era USA would be 20.15 million, or just over the entire population of New York State.
You don't hear the apologists for communism as much now as you used to, but "progressives" will occasionally argue that the problems with Stalin and Mao were in execution (literally), not theory. But the theory is evil, as well, and there's nothing "democratic" in any of the "democratic" communist regimes.
Thursday, December 16, 2010
Blenn Greenwald is wringing his hands over the inhumane conditions that Wikileaks terrorist Bradley Manning must live with.
Since his arrest in May, Manning has been a model detainee, without any episodes of violence or disciplinary problems. He nonetheless was declared from the start to be a "Maximum Custody Detainee," the highest and most repressive level of military detention, which then became the basis for the series of inhumane measures imposed on him.
Well, gosh, I'm glad Manning isn't violent now, but he admitted punching an officer in the face (hence his demotion), so it isn't like there's no history of violence here.
Most importantly, if Manning hadn't wanted to be subjected to solitary confinement, he probably shouldn't have downloaded more than 260,000 cables and then given them to a guy like Julian Assange to harm his own country. This isn't "whistleblowing." It's treason.
Glenn Greenwald is constantly telling us that the reason the terrorists want to kill us is not because they are regressive degenerates who hate Western values like freedom and tolerance, but rather because they just don’t like our military policies and how we’re all meddling in their business.
Well, I am not a man without a heart, so I am willing to propose a solution to Greenwald’s problem which I am confident the Army would be amenable to. As an added bonus, it will serve as an opportunity to validate Glenn Greenwald’s views on the causes of Islamic terrorism. We will give Bradley Manning his pillow and blankie back, and remove him from solitary confinement. In fact, we’ll let him be around lots of people. We’ll call an emissary with the Taliban or Al Qaeda, and tell them that we have a political prisoner to release to them, no strings attached. We will tell them that we are going to release to them an American who thoroughly rejects our interventionist policies and our military meddling - he rejects them so strongly, in fact, that he did everything in his power to see that American soldiers were killed and that Islamic terrorists were given access to our operational details. Therefore, we have decided to let him go to be with the Taliban so that he can self-actualize and join the fight against America with them.
I’m sure that like John Walker Lindh, the Taliban will be happy to have an American like this on board. So we’ll drive Manning out there to meet them at some safe remote location in Afghanistan somewhere, and we’ll release Manning and let him rush to join his new Taliban brethren.
Then we’ll tell them he’s gay.
Yeah, that'll work.
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
Media Matters' resident jerk Eric Boehlert is complaining because journalists don't call Senate Republicans "obstructionists" at every reference. I have to say, given journalists' usual penchant for demeaning R's, it is a little surprising that one doesn't see this term in every news story, but I chalk that up to nuance.
Boehlert's complaint goes to the heart of the liberal view of the MSM. It isn't there to report what happens. Reporters are there to shape what you think of the news. So, if Democrats, say, run across the border to stop redistricting in Texas, that's not labelled "obstructionist," but Senate Republicans exercising their right to shape the legislative agenda is.
What makes Boehlert's complaint so silly is that the problem isn't Senate Republicans; it's Harry Reid, who didn't have to bring up other legislation to challenge Republicans. And if anyone thinks Democrats in a similar situation wouldn't use the filibuster to block particularly noxious legislation, they're delusional. The difference is that the country is closer to Republican ideas than the poisonous, disasterous legislation Democrats have tried to cram through Congress. Besides, Democrats poisoned this well with the Obamacare votes--particularly on Christmas Eve--and it's a little late to complain about civility now.
The atheist bus ads have finally caught the attention of the New York Times. This story has been floating around Fort Worth for a month now, which is why, I suppose some Christian groups have had time to organize a protest.
A public bus rolls by with an atheist message on its side: “Millions of people are good without God.” Seconds later, a van follows bearing a riposte: “I still love you. — God,” with another line that says, “2.1 billion Christians are good with God.”
A clash of beliefs has rattled this city ever since atheists bought ad space on four city buses to reach out to nonbelievers who might feel isolated during the Christmas season. After all, Fort Worth is a place where residents commonly ask people they have just met where they worship and many encounters end with, “Have a blessed day.”
"We want to tell people they are not alone," said Terry McDonald, the chairman of Metroplex Atheists, part of the Dallas-Fort Worth Coalition of Reason, which paid for the atheist ads. "People don’t realize there are other atheists. All you hear around here is, ‘Where do you go to church?’"
I don't know where McDonald hangs out to be asked constantly about his church affiliation, but as a lifelong Fort Worth resident, I'll tell you it isn't something that comes up constantly in my conversations. Maybe that's because I'm Presbyterian and I figure your unbelief is between you and God. But the idea that atheists are "lonely" because during the celebration of Christ's birth people talk about their faith strikes me as just so much whining for nothing. Vox Populi sums up my feelings:
And thus are all the claims that their various ad campaigns are about anything but annoying Christians at Christmastime belied. Can you even imagine how upset Jews would be if Christians began running ads directly attacking Jewish beliefs during the high holidays in a similar manner? Or how ballistic Muslims would go if similarly attacked during Ramadan? Atheists constantly attempt to portray the public celebrations and positive assertions of Christian belief as some sort of attack on their non-belief, but that is nothing more than absurd and juvenile drama-queening.
I think the people complaining about the ads are giving these clowns more attention than they deserve, which is, of course, why the ads are being run on buses to get high exposure.
If you're an atheist during Christmas, suck it up. You don't have to celebrate any more than you celebrate Independence Day or New Year's. There's no Christmas police forcing you to attend Christmas Eve mass or anything. This "lonely" atheist whining is just an excuse to be obnoxious and rude.
Monday, December 13, 2010
Sunday, December 12, 2010
Modern presidents are never challenged from their base, always by the people who didn't love them going in. You're not supposed to get a serious primary challenge from the people who loved you. But that's the talk of what may happen with Mr. Obama.
I think this is still a lot of political thumb-sucking, personally, and the reason is found farther down in the article:
The Democrats' problem is that most of them know that the person who would emerge, who would challenge Mr. Obama from the left, would never, could never, win the 2012 general election. He'd lose badly and take the party with him. Democratic professionals know the mood of the country. Challenging Mr. Obama from the left would mean definitely losing the presidency, as opposed to probably losing the presidency.
Most of the things I read (from news sites and blogs, mainly) indicate that liberals are unhappy with Barack Obama, but the alternative from the GOP (Sarah Palin is always the boogey man) scares them enough to stay loyal to Obama. Republicans angry with the GOP, wanting to "teach them a lesson," stayed home in 2008. They didn't vote for the opposition. I can't imagine liberals wanting to destroy their party over DADT or tax cuts or the public option.
When the Senate voted against cloture on the bill for money for the 9/11 responders health care, liberals were (as is their usual stance these days) outraged. From an acquaintance on Facebook:
Sure, let's all quit paying taxes. If you want to drive somewhere, your backyard is as good a place as any. Who needs an educated populace or wants to bring crime down and production up by making it available to everyone. Let's let senio...rs die of disease and hunger. Not to mention children eating free and reduced lunch. All while their parents make less and less to feed the coffers of those who are most wealthy, because they are "entitled" even with all the infrastructure provided by the government - Federally insured deposits, government loans, tax cuts for sending jobs abroad, roads, bridges - to keep their "own" money. Because by gawd, these are self-made people who made their own way. Bullshit.
You get that? If you think Congress should have to figure out how to pay for the goodies it hands out, you want children and old people to starve. This kind of disgusting behavior has worked well over the years for Democrats, but it's time to call bullshit on their "Bullshit!" screams.
Nobody's talking about recinding all taxes. This kind of extremist argument is self-serving only. Believing that raising taxes in a recession, and that the Senate's first responsibility is to deal with the tax cut issue, isn't the same as wanting infrastructure to lapse.
What we have here is the classic problem of willful two-year-olds. Anyone who's had children recognizes the symptoms.
1. Child misbehaves.
2. Parent redirects child to appropriate behavior.
3. Child continues misbehaviing.
4. Parent redirects child to appropriate behavior, reinforcing the solution to the problem.
5. Repeat Steps 1-4 again, then child throws temper tantrum.
What we're seeing is the temper tantrum ("You can't make us deal with tax issues first!").
I don't mind taxation for things the federal government should be doing, but the Facebook comment above shows why liberalism leads to economic and personal slavery. Not only is your government responsible for national security and keeping the streets paved, but ensuring that all children eat breakfast and lunch at school (which, these days, has nothing to do with starvation or poverty) and old people--with or without resources--are comfortable.
Saturday, December 11, 2010
A new and devastating study on the declining marriage rates of middle income Americans was released last week and here is the transcript.
Highly-educated Americans (those with a college degree or better) have a much higher rate of marriage and the author explains why:
First, they have access to better-paying and more stable work than their less-educated peers. This is important because marriage still depends on money — especially the financial success and stable employment of men.
Second, highly educated Americans are more likely to hold the bourgeois virtues – self-control, a high regard for education, and a long-term orientation — that are crucial to maintaining a marriage in today’s cultural climate.
Third, highly educated Americans are now more likely to attend church or to be engaged in a meaningful civic organization than their less educated peers. This type of civic engagement is important because being connected to communities of memory and mutual aid increases men and women’s odds of getting and staying married.
Finally, highly educated Americans are increasingly prone to adopt a marriage mindset — marked, for instance, by an aversion to divorce and nonmarital pregnancy, and a willingness to stick it out in a marriage — that generally serves them well through the ups and downs of married life. They recognize that they and their children are more likely to thrive — and to succeed in life — if they get and stay married.
Children raised in single parent households have few resources when times are tough. Their parents are poorer--there's power in pairs--and less able to help children adjust to the adult world. And these adults are more willing and prone to accept government aid. The rise in unmarried women with children who are Democrats (who want to redistribute wealth) is not without cause.
The gay marriage debate of the last decade has taken the spotlight off this pressing issue.
Indeed, the biggest marriage story among ordinary Americans is that cohabitation is mounting a major challenge to marriage as the preferred site for childbearing and co-residence in Middle America (as well as in many poor communities). This is disturbing because children and cohabitation do not mix. Children born to cohabiting parents are at least twice as likely to see their parents break up before they turn five, and they are much more likely to suffer educational and emotional problems, compared to children born into married homes. Finally, children in cohabiting households are at least three times more likely to be physically, sexually, or emotionally abused than children in intact, married families. And yet scholars estimate that more than 40 percent of American children will spend some time as the wards of cohabiting adults (one of whom is often unrelated).
Brace yourselves, the great intellect of the American public has spoken and says it wants it all:
Americans want Congress to bring down a federal budget deficit that many believe is “dangerously out of control,” only under two conditions: minimize the pain and make the rich pay.
The public wants Congress to keep its hands off entitlements such as Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, a Bloomberg National Poll shows. They oppose cuts in most other major domestic programs and defense. They want to maintain subsidies for farmers and tax breaks like the mortgage-interest deduction. And they’re against an increase in the gasoline tax.
The story goes on in that vein, explaining all the areas Americans don't want the federal government cut, and who they think should pay for it, namely, the mythical rich.
I agree that the cap on earnings covered by Social Security taxes should be lifted. But if Social Security is means tested, it will become just another welfare program and a lot of people in the middle class will be angry with the results. If you're making $75,000 a year, the system is going to tell you why you should be paying for yourself.
Charles Krauthammer called the latest tax deal the swindle of the year, but that hasn't stopped Democrats from scuttling the whole thing. It's probably a good thing Obama's letting Bill Clinton be president again.
Thursday, December 09, 2010
Here is just one of the lies Democrats tell about tax rates (and expect to see this chart everywhere):
The idea is that, somehow, only millionaires benefit from extending all the Bush tax cuts. But the reality is, more people benefit under Republican policies than Democrat ones. The difference is that Democrats don't want everyone to benefit. They want to play class warfare and call small business owners making $250,000 "millionaires."
Media Matters is a joke.
Ok, now that I've stated the obvious, here is the latest example.
At the height of the health care reform debate last fall, Bill Sammon, Fox News' controversial Washington managing editor, sent a memo directing his network's journalists not to use the phrase "public option."
Instead, Sammon wrote, Fox's reporters should use "government option" and similar phrases -- wording that a top Republican pollster had recommended in order to turn public opinion against the Democrats' reform efforts.
Of course, the government-controlled health care option Democrats loved was, in fact, a "government option." The fact that "government option" didn't poll well didn't change the truth. And it isn't like "public option" was the only way Democrats referred to government-run health care. Even Nancy Pelosi called government health care something other than a "public option", and I doubt Media Matters would argue that she was "slanting" anything.
Media Matters doesn't mind journalists slanting the news, provided they slant it in a liberal direction. You never see pro-lifers called "pro-life supporters" on the news. They're always called "anti-abortion activists." Even Slate's Jack Shafer notes, "If using the phrase government option is spinning the news, so is using public option."
Since the earliest days of marketing, people have tried to spin their product (whether it's dish soap or legislation) in the most positive light possible. That's what calling government-run health care the "public option" is. Calling that bullshit isn't slanting the news. It's telling the truth.
Wednesday, December 08, 2010
I'm truly excited that Democratic Underground is skewering Righthaven, the jerk suing bloggers for copyright infringement without so much as a warning to remove material.
Righthaven is attempting to make a business out of suing Internet websites for copyright infringement. It has filed 180 copyright actions so far —without ever first asking that a work be removed from the target website—in each case alleging “willful infringement” and attempting to extract settlements by threats of statutory damages (up to $150,000), attorneys’ fees and seizure of the domain name.
Apparently, Righthave decided to sue Democratic Underground and that was the wrong dog to poke. DU hired a law firm and blew so many holes in Righthaven's arguments that Righthaven wants to withdraw the suit. I hope DU manages to get legal fees and damages for this nuisance.
I like it. Anything that pisses off so many liberals so quickly must be a good deal.
OTOH, it isn't perfect. The death tax is still there and much too high, and extending unemployment for another 13 months gives people another 13 months to sit around fretting and doing nothing about finding a job. It's not perfect but probably the best we could hope for.
Tuesday, December 07, 2010
I would agree to a short-term extension of unemployment. But I have proposed, since we spent $134 billion last year in unemployment, that we change the entire program into a worker training program and not give anybody money for doing nothing.
For me, the irony is that I had said something similar that very morning without knowing anything about Gingrich's idea. It simply makes sense to me that people unemployed for a year or more are going to be very hard to fit into today's job market and it's crazy to pay people not to work. Unfortunately, there are a lot of people who will, in fact, do nothing until their unemployment runs out, and with the latest unemployment extensions, it means someone could be sitting around unemployed for nearly four years. Does anyone honestly think a person who hasn't worked in four years is going to find employment quickly after the unemployment checks quit coming?
Yet reading the Think Progress piece, you'd think we were talking about slave labor here, rather than getting people to be self-supporting again.
The economy grows by nearly two dollars for every dollar spent on unemployment benefits “because recipients typically spend all of their benefit payments quickly.” The money “ripples through the economy into supermarkets, gasoline stations, utilities, convenience stores.” Flush with the revenue provided by these new consumers, those businesses are then able to hire additional workers and diminish the ranks of the unemployed.
Except for the fact that somebody is having to work in the private sector to pay for those benefits "rippling through the economy," and that person has less of his own money to spend. It's hard to imagine who it is who can't find a job in three years, but I guess if you're a trade show organizer, there probably aren't many of those jobs out there these days. You might have to take a job that's beneath you. Well, in another 13 months. In the meantime, I'll continue working my two jobs to support you.
Sunday, December 05, 2010
Nate Silverman (not my favorite pollster) has an interesting article on the dilemma facing Democrats over raising taxes (by letting the Bush tax cuts expire on someone or anyone). What popped out at me first was this statement:
It’s a little bit more difficult to identify the preferences of Democrats, because there are more divisions within the party: between the president and Congress, between moderate Democrats and liberal ones, between Democrats who are electorally vulnerable and those who aren’t. It is safe to say, however, that on balance, the Democrats would prefer to extend the tax cuts only below the $250,000 threshold, and not above it.
This goes with something Aphrael said last week, which was that to many Democrats, raising taxes only on a segment of the populace is a compromise, because some Dems would like all the tax cuts to expire. At the time, I didn't really give this much thought, because it seemed crazy to me that in a bad economy, there were people who wanted to raise taxes on everyone, including the poorest people. But in the last day or so, I've heard arguments from some liberals that amount to the same thing; these are people complaining that we need to go back to "Eisenhower era" tax rates or "Reagan era" tax rates.
The people making this argument, of course, are only concerned about the top marginal rate and how much "the rich" will pay. But the truth is that going back to the tax rates of the Eisenhower administration wouldn't have quite the effect liberals want. For one thing, that 92% tax rate was for people making millions of dollars. And, as with raising tax rates back to the levels of Ronald Reagan, there were significantly more loopholes in the tax system so that virtually no one paid that higher rate.
Ronald Reagan's tax plan was drastic because it cut out most tax shelters (for example, no more credit card interest deductions) while flattening the rate structure. But there would be at least one unintended consequence to going back to either of these levels: it would hurt the working poor.
If Congress passed a new tax law pushing the rates back to Eisenhower (or Reagan) levels and Barack Obama signed it, items like the Earned Income Tax Credit and higher deductions for children would go away, not to mention that tax rates would go up for just about everyone. Even Silverman notes that letting all the Bush tax cuts expire would detrimentally affect everyone in a bad economy, which is why there is almost no talk about doing it.
So why are some liberals still talking about this idea like it is the cure-all we've been needing? My only guess is that the fringe left is so wedded to the idea of sticking it to "the rich" that they aren't concerned about the consequences their policies would have for everyone else. That policy isn't even sane and is far more cruel than anything the Evil Republicans can dream up.
Obama practically begged congressional Republicans to work with him on everything from the stimulus to health care, financial regulatory reform to energy. The GOP minority not only refused to compromise or negotiate, they conceded, publicly and on the record, that this was a deliberate strategy -- even in a time of crisis, Republicans decided it was important to deny Democrats victories for their own partisan purposes.
Does "begging the GOP minority" include snarky exchanges that demean the GOP?
As he left the White House, House Majority Whip James Clyburn of South Carolina was asked about Republican complaints that Democrats aren’t listening to what their GOP colleagues have to say. “We’re responding to the American people,” he said. “The American people didn’t listen to them too well during the election.”
And then there's President Obama attacking Republicans for disagreeing with him on issues like health care, financial regulatory reform, and energy. Does begging include Obama using the GOP as a punching bag even when Republicans compromise?
We've seen what the Democrat playbook is going to be the next two years: Those mean ol' Republicans won't compromise with us. Of course, compromise to Democrats means rolling over and doing what Democrats propose, ruining the country in the process. Well, in the words of James Clyburn, the GOP is responding to the American people and the American people didn't listen to the Democrats too well during the election.
Saturday, December 04, 2010
Valerie Plame may finally convince the world that her version of events is the truth if historians watch her movie.
"Fair Game," based on books by Mr. Wilson and his wife, is full of distortions - not to mention outright inventions. To start with the most sensational: The movie portrays Ms. Plame as having cultivated a group of Iraqi scientists and arranged for them to leave the country, and it suggests that once her cover was blown, the operation was aborted and the scientists were abandoned. This is simply false. In reality, as The Post's Walter Pincus and Richard Leiby reported, Ms. Plame did not work directly on the program, and it was not shut down because of her identification.
Sad to say, we've this revisionist crap before.
Thursday, December 02, 2010
For two straight years, we've heard Democrats whining and complaining about how much they tried to work with Republicans to get "bipartisan" legislation. Of course, everyone knew that was horseshit, but today's maneuvers to raise taxes on Democrats' preferred target is probably the best example yet of just how horseshitty Democrats actually are.
This afternoon, House Democrats will hold an up or down vote on vote on President Obama's plan to extend tax cuts to income below $250,000, and they've figured out a way to prevent the Republicans from pulling procedural tricks that might sink it -- a straight vote on whether or not wealthy people deserve an additional tax break. Today, at his weekly press conference, House Minority Leader John Boehner compared the move to fertilizer.
"I'm trying to catch my breath so I don't refer to this maneuver going on today as chickencrap, alright?' Boehner said. "But this is nonsense."
Brace yourself for some procedural jargon: Dems once believed they were faced with two mixed options for holding this vote. The first was to hold an up-or-down vote under the normal rules. But that would give Republicans the opportunity to introduce what's known as a motion to recommit -- a procedural right of the minority that would have allowed them to tack an extension of tax cuts for high-income earners on to the legislation.
The second option -- suspending the rules -- would have foreclosed on that right, but would have required a two-thirds majority of the House for passage: 290 votes, an impossible hurdle.
But Democrats figured out a way to avoid this. They're attaching their tax cut plan as an amendment to a separate bill [the Airport and Airway Extension Act, to wit]. That legislation already passed the House, and has just been returned from the Senate. The rules say it can't be recommitted. So the GOP's hands are tied.
That's what Democrats call bipartisanship.
Here's the headline:
Two Million Americans May Be Forced to Seek Work As Extended Jobless Benefits Run Out
Shouldn't people be looking for work while they're getting Unemployment?
Wednesday, December 01, 2010
We all tend to take our personal experiences and compare them (favorably) to the world at large. Sometimes, this creates an accurate picture of the world and sometimes it doesn't.
I was thinking about this today after my husband told me certain decisions he'd made in response to Obamacare. Remember, President Barack Obama promised that, not only would you be allowed to keep your insurance and your doctor, but that your rates wouldn't go up.
Well, guess what? Our health insurance rates are going up and our coverage is going down. In and of itself, this is bad enough. But the higher cost for health insurance has created some unpleasant and unintended consequences.
And uncertainty. Because we are uncertain about what health care costs will be like next year, my husband decided to cut down his United Way contribution. Way down. His reasoning is that he can donate more later if our health care doesn't cost as much as he thinks it might. While I hate cutting that contribution, it makes sense to me.
And the whole situation got me to thinking: if rising insurance costs--remember, our insurance wasn't supposed to go up under Obamacare--is causing us to cut our charitable donations (at least in this area), what will those increases do to others? Is this the Hope and Change We Can Believe In?
Tuesday, November 30, 2010
I was going to say something truly crass in response to the news that you can't yodel while mowing your grass anymore because it may offend your neighboring Muslim, but I decided against it. The ridiculousness of the story, coming on the heels of this post on the acceptability of offending Christians, does a better job than I ever could.
That's my new acronym for It's OK to Insult Christians. Not that insulting Christians is anything new, mind you (remember the taxpayer-funded Robert Mapplethorpe art?). Apparently, we have yet another taxpayer-funded art exhibit with images designed to anger Christians, among others. The exhibit is at the Smithsonian Institute, and has given incoming House Speaker John Bohner and soon-to-be Majority Leader Eric Cantor reason to threaten spending for the institution.
The exhibit, “Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture,” includes video images of an ant-covered Jesus on a crucifix, male genitals, naked brothers kissing, men in chains, Ellen DeGeneres grabbing her breasts, and a painting the Smithsonian itself describes in the show's catalog as "homoerotic."
It is being presented at the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery, where it opened on Oct. 30 and is set to run throughout the Christmas Season before closing on Feb. 13
David C. Ward, a National Portrait Gallery historian who is the co-curator of the exhibit, told CNSNews.com: “This is an exhibition that displays masterpieces of American portraiture and we wanted to illustrate how questions of biography and identity went into the making of images that are canonical.”
Ants crawling in Jesus' belly is "canonical"? Who okays this stuff? I'm not for suppressing the arts, but is this really the best use of taxpayer money right now? Moreover, why is it that the only art considered "important" these days seems to be art designed to offend Christians specifically and conservatives in general? Why can't artists find another religion to offend (like, I dunno, Islam or something?)?
But that's just in Washington, D.C. Closer to home, atheists are buying ads on the T, the Fort Worth bus system.
"We're not trying to convert anybody," coordinator Terry McDonald said in a phone interview. "There's so much religion in this area, and it's so visible, we're just trying to let people who are not believers know that there's a lot of people like them."
Really? Is this a big problem? Don't atheists already know there are a lot of people like them? All they have to do is watch a couple of episodes of Glee to discover that Christians are scummy hypocrites and religion sucks.
What it really comes down to is that Christianity is a great religion to bash because you won't get stabbed or stoned or blown up for bashing it. The worst you're going to get is Pat Robertson condemning you on a program that only 4 people watch (that's one more than the number watching MSNBC). Plus, if you do something nasty to Jesus and Christians object, you (a) get lots of media attention for your talentless "work" and (b) you can feel holier-than-thou (do atheists feel holier-than-thou?) and call anyone offended "intolerant." That's a double scoop of goodness for lefties.
Monday, November 29, 2010
It's a token--and I do mean token--effort at trimming the budget. It saves $5 billion over 2 years, but as Ed Morrissey notes, we're talking about a $2 trillion deficit.
Of course, liberals are no happier with a wage freeze than conservatives. Echidne seems to think it's unfair for federal workers--who get paid by folks in the private sector--should have to live with the same tough economy as the rest of us. I can't remember when the last time was I got a cost of living increase that matched the cost of living. It's very hard to work up much sympathy for the guys making 150 grand.
Laughably, Jacob Davies at Obsidian Wings complains that "Federal workers must "sacrifice" because of an economic catastrophe they didn't cause, in a way that will do nothing to help the federal government or the economy." So, wait. The only people who should be "sacrificing" right now are those who "caused" the economic problems? How, exactly, does that work? Do only workers for Fannie and Freddie have to take the wage freeze since they "caused" the problem? Or is this more of the same liberal whinging that only "the rich bankers" caused the economic collapse (without help from people buying houses they couldn't afford or running up personal debt)?
I'm sure all those people unemployed don't think they "caused" our economic woes, either, but they're dealing with it. Not to mention all the people working harder than ever to keep things together. There's no reason federal employees can't take a wage freeze like millions of other Americans. Suck it up.
The old joke about teenagers moving out while they still know everything still applies, but now, there's scientific evidence to back up what every parent already knows: teenagers have no forethought and don't consider the consequences of their actions.
More interestingly, to me, this research suggests that the decision-making center of your brain--the prefrontal cortex--doesn't fully develop until the late 20s. By that time, people have been through college (or dropped out), gotten married and had babies (not necessarily in that order). Is it any wonder young adults get in so much hot water so quickly with finances, careers, dating, and family? According to the science, they simply aren't mature enough to handle making these decisions. Yet the same guy who spends all his money on gaming systems has the same voting rights mature adults do.
Ann Coulter has proposed repealing the 26th Amendment, based on the crappy voting record of young adults. But given the research that shows 18-year-olds don't have the mental capacity to make good choices, maybe it isn't such a bad idea.
Saturday, November 27, 2010
I always like reading Bob Herbert's nonsense in the New York Times, not because he says anything important, but that, next to Glenn Greenwald, he uses more words to say nothing than any other writer out there.
Take the column linked to above. Herbert bemoans the class divide, the bloated balance sheets of Wall Street fatcats and the meager choices available for the poor (which includes people who bought more house than they could afford and are now in foreclosure). His solution?
What’s really needed is for working Americans to form alliances and try, in a spirit of good will, to work out equitable solutions to the myriad problems facing so many ordinary individuals and families. Strong leaders are needed to develop such alliances and fight back against the forces that nearly destroyed the economy and have left working Americans in the lurch.
Yeah, that's a workable solution. Because there are so many "alliances" out there wanting to work "in a spirit of good will" to help lower the unemployment rate. I hate to tell Herbert, but the alliance to help "working Americans" was formed November 2 when Republicans won a historic ass-kicking. But I really doubt Herbert will appreciate the way the GOP will "fight back."
Newsbusters notes that Charles Krauthammer castigated the host of PBS's Inside Washington for its regular Sarah Palin segment.
As Krauthammer points out, the media obsession with Palin's every move (and non-move, for that matter) exaggerates her importance within the Republican party. But why would that be?
I have a couple of theories. The first is that their obsession is equal to their hatred of her and their determination to highlight every misstep, every gaffe by Palin and show that as the face of the Republican Party. Palin isn't the GOP. She holds no elected post within the Republican Party and doesn't speak for anyone but herself.
The second reason for the Palin obsession is seedier: she sells. They mention her because it boosts ratings and that is more important than anything else.
Friday, November 26, 2010
When I first heard the caterwauling about Sarah Palin calling North Korea our ally, I admit to a bit of eyerolling. The MSM just can't resist pointing out every misstatement by Palin as the latest evidence of her stupidity and unfitness for the presidency.
Now Sarah Palin's struck back with a well-written post pointing out the numerous gaffes by our erudite president Barack Obama, noting that most of them have received little or no airplay because, well, people do make mistakes.
And that, of course, is the point. People do misspeak. And sometimes, as with the Dancing With the Stars rumor, people don't speak at all but are reported to have said things anyway.
My point isn't to defend Sarah Palin as the great thinker of our time. I'm not even sure I think she is someone I consider highly qualified to be POTUS. But the constant piling-on from liberals and their buddies in the media is ridiculous and counterproductive. Ridiculous because Palin is no dumber than any of the other politicians we seem to elect, both Democrat and Republican. And counterproductive because the smear job done to her makes people--like me--who otherwise might not care one wit about her, support her.
Worse, in my opinion, is the misogynistic and elitist undertones of every attack. Whether it's complaints from PETA that she clubbed halibut on TV or arguments that she's making up words ("refudiate"), there's something utterly paranoid about the constant attacks on Ms. Sarah. Every woman, liberal or conservative, should be deeply suspicious of a media willing to paint women as unfit for office because they took a while to graduate from college (and changed colleges, no less!) and have small children. These are certainly not hindrances for men, after all.
I realize that Barack Obama can make as many gaffes as he wants without anyone questioning his intellect. After all, he's a clean, articulate black man with an Ivy League degree. And he earned it, dammit. Whereas Hillary Clinton rode her husband's coattails and Sarah Palin only got by on her looks. Right?
Posted by sharon at 11:29 AM
Thursday, November 25, 2010
And for the season, my favorite Thanksgiving joke:
A young man named John received a parrot as a gift. The parrot had a bad attitude and an even worse vocabulary. Every word out of the bird's mouth was rude, obnoxious and laced with profanity.
John tried and tried to change the bird's attitude by consistently saying only polite words, playing soft music and anything else he could think of to clean up the bird's vocabulary. Finally, John was fed up and he yelled at the parrot. The parrot yelled back. John shook the parrot and the parrot got angrier and even ruder. John, in desperation, threw up his hand, grabbed the bird and put him in the freezer.
For a few minutes the parrot squawked and kicked and screamed. Then, suddenly there was total quiet. Not a peep was heard for over a minute. Fearing that he had hurt the parrot, John quickly opened the door to the freezer.
The parrot calmly stepped out onto John's outstretched arm and said, "I believe I may have offended you with my rude language and actions. I am sincerely remorseful for my inappropriate actions and I fully intend to do everything I can to correct my rude and unforgivable behavior."
John was stunned at the change in the bird's attitude. As he was about to ask the parrot what had caused such a dramatic change in his behavior, the bird continued, "May I ask what the turkey did?"
Sunday, November 21, 2010
That's what liberals always say when voters choose Republicans over Democrats.
At a recent discussion on the Nov. 2 election hosted by the local Society for Professional Journalists, UW-Madison political science professor Charles Franklin was expounding on why Republicans emerged triumphant, in Wisconsin and throughout the land.
In my questions to Franklin, I noted that the public seemed to vote against its own interests and stated desires, for instance by electing candidates who'll drive up the deficit with fiscally reckless giveaways to the rich.
Franklin, perhaps a bit too candidly, conceded the point. "I'm not endorsing the American voter," he answered. "They're pretty damn stupid."
Liberals think that anyone who isn't a millionaire should vote for them so the voter can take the millionaire's money. But voters understand that when Democrats promise to screw over only "the rich," the voter is going to get screwed. Why? Because "the rich" employ a lot of those voters or sell goods to those voters who will end up paying for the screwing.
Liberals mock anyone who votes for candidates based on more than their personal prurient interest (such as the pro-lifer who votes for candidates who don't think babies are fair game until kindergarten). Yet the same liberals argued all through the past election cycle that voters should vote for Democrats because of Obamacare (which wasn't supposed to affect anyone who already had insurance *snicker*), immigration and race issues.
In 2006 and 2008, Democrats lied to voters about what they would do and what would happen if Democrats were voted into office. They promised not to raise taxes, then promised not to raise taxes on anyone making less than $250,000 per year, then about who were the uninsured, whose health insurance would change and whose would not, and how much it would cost (remember when Democrats said you could have healthcare like Congress?). Democrats lied about the stimulus bill and unemployment. They flipped off every American over Obamacare, and now they have the nerve to argue that the voters are stupid for not wanting more Democrat bullshit?
Democrats have insulted voters for years (remember What's the Matter with Kansas?) when voters use their brains to vote out Democrats. Let's hope Democrats will have more opportunities to insult the electorate in 2012.
According to this publicity stunt.
More than 40 of the nation's millionaires have joined Patriotic Millionaires for Fiscal Strength to ask President Obama to discontinue the tax breaks established for them during the Bush administration, as Salon reports.
"For the fiscal health of our nation and the well-being of our fellow citizens, we ask that you allow tax cuts on incomes over $1,000,000 to expire at the end of this year as scheduled," their website states. "We make this request as loyal citizens who now or in the past earned an income of $1,000,000 per year or more."
I got 2 questions:
1. When these people file their tax returns, do they take any deductions? If so, why? There's no law requiring that you take all the deductions available to you.
2. If these people really want to pay more in taxes, why don't they just give their money (however much of it they consider their "patriotic duty") to the IRS?
I'm all for voluntary taxes. These publicity stunts aren't about contributing to the general good. They're about forcing others to pay what someone else decided they should have to pay.
IOW, write your check to the IRS and STFU.
Saturday, November 20, 2010
Friday, November 19, 2010
That's the number of convictions against terrorist Ahmed Ghailani, who killed 224 Americans in bombings in Nairobi, Kenya, and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.
Liberals are pompously arguing that the system worked and that it's unconscionable to complain that terrorists shouldn't be tried in a court system designed for petty thieves. What nonsense.
My favorite excuse is that Barack Obama's DOJ has promised to keep the guy in jail regardless of the trial results. Now there's a result that should send shivers down the spine of anyone to the right of Teh One. The idea that we're depending on the POTUS to decide this guy's dangerous enough to keep in jail regardless of the result of these show trials does put us smack dab in the middle of the moonbats' favorite metaphor: a banana republic.
As Patterico noted, the witness against Ghailani who was barred from his civilian trial probably would have been allowed in a military trial (Glenn Greenwald's assumptions notwithstanding).
This embarassment should have the Holder DOJ thinking twice before trying this again. In the meantime, we're all a little less safe because of the political correctness of this regime.
Thursday, November 18, 2010
Are against Voter ID laws? Seems like picking your elected representatives is a bit more important than a television show.
For those assuming conservatives are just closeted KKK members, Adam Serwer sets 'em straight:
What's clear, though, is that conservatives deploy racially tinged rhetoric against liberal policy priorities and Democratic politicians, and that Obama being president has a lot to do with these arguments being used. Rush Limbaugh wouldn't be comparing him to gang members if he weren't black. With Clinton, Limbaugh's sexism, rather than his racism, would be amplified. So while it might be unfair to suggest people are conservatives because they're racists, it's entirely fair to ask why conservatives are comfortable with their most prominent ideological figure's casual use of racism as a political bludgeon.
There's another option here that guys like Serwer miss, which is that conservatives like Limbaugh use the attack that is most likely to enrage liberals. That's why he mocks environmentalists with chainsaw sound effects or feminists with the shrewish voices of their leaders (not to mention calling them "babes" constantly). The "casual use of racism" is simply a way of taunting liberals to explain why their fealty to a black president regardless of his abandonment of their treasured beliefs isn't racism itself.
Republicans know they'll be called racists no matter how carefully they construct their criticisms of Teh One. That's why comparing the POTUS to spraycan-wielding graffiti artists is both subtle and effective. And, in the comments, Tom Maguire completely destroys the author's argument that the word "gang" is only used against darker-skinned politicians.
If liberals spent less time being offended and searching for "dog whistles" from commentators, they might discover that their slide to obscurity is directly related to their policy proposals, not racist/sexism/otherism by the voters.
In miserable times, everybody likes a distraction.
It's 1977 all over again, folks.
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Terrorist kills hundreds of Americans and is only convicted on one count. Civilian trials for terrorists is nutty and dangerous.
From Hugh Hewitt:
224 innocents were killed by this terrorist, including 12 Americans. They will never receive justice because of the absurd legal theories of a small group of justices and the refusal of Barack Obama and Eric Holder to demand of their left-wing colleagues in the Congress a continued insistence on military tribunals.
How on earth do liberals justify this bizarre notion of "fairness" and "justice"?
I'm a fan of DWTS since Season 3. The show is trivial and meaningless and allows people to vote for people they like over people who can dance. Believe me, in all the seasons I've watched, the person who won wasn't necessarily the best dancer. As is often the case in these poll-based shows, fan base is more important than talent.
That brings us to Bristol Palin and her remarkable staying power. I've had this week's semifinal installment of DWTS spoiled by overanxious friends complaining that Brandy is out and Bristol is still there, but I've gotten used to that phenomenon (if you TiVO something, you can't have access to any media before you watch the show. Period.)
Now we hear that supporters are rigging the votes (or, rather, exploiting a flaw in ABC's system) in Bristol's favor. And that liberals are complaining about it and that conservatives, the little sneaks they are, are enjoying it.
My opinion is that after Jerry Rice came in third one season, it's hard to complain about someone else rigging the vote.
UPDATE: Thanks to Memeorandum for the link.
UPDATEx2: Apparently, some guy shot his TV because he didn't like Bristol's dancing. Must've been a teabagger. No, wait...
Words are powerful things, and I can't imagine that Republican leaders aren't remembering Barack Obama's "I won" snark after the 2009 inauguration. Now, Republicans are rebuffing the President's invitation to the White House, recalling how he crashed their retreat to lecture them on their duty as citizen legislators.
Obama has a long, long way to go to rebuild any kind of bipartisanship.
Apparently, yesterday was the day for liberal outrage.
First, there was the bald racism of Rush Limbaugh, which, apparently, was also a "dog whistle." That's quite the feat, as Tom Maguire points out, since "bald" implies "open and obvious" and "dog whistle" implies "stealth." But who am I to judge? Only liberals seem to know what dog whistles look like anyway. I certainly didn't see one in Rush Limbaugh's insult of Barack Obama. It does prove my long-standing point that any criticism of Teh One must be racism.
Secondly, there's outrageous outrage of Sarah Palin's teenage daughter acting like a teenager, that is to say, inappropriately at times. I had a post, once upon a time, about adolescent speech and school discipline, and was told by someone that it wasn't a homosexual slur. My own opinion on the subject--that children should be taught not to say these things and why it may be offensive to some people--still stands. But having said that, Willow Palin using teenage vernacular (do the same outraged people feel insulted over the use of "bitch" and "slut," I wonder?) in no way reflects on Sarah Palin as a parent or role model (not that some people won't use this incident to attack Palin just as bad behavior by the Bush twins was, somehow, George W.'s fault).
Monday, November 15, 2010
MSNBC’s president vowed to fire Keith Olbermann after he threatened to take his case to other networks.
Fox rewards individuality and allows free speech.
Sunday, November 14, 2010
Look, I know our textbooks don't like to teach kids the link between liberal ideology and violence, but you don't have to go back to the 19th Century to see it. Take this post at Echidne's site for just another example.
Andrew McCarthy bloviates on how everybody "knows" the Right is looking to assassinate Barack Obama, then goes on to praise the disgusting lunatic Ted Rall for calling for armed revolution. Such talk always amuses me because liberals will talk with fear about the Second Amendment and "rightwing violence" followed a heartbeat later with calls for armed revolution against the unfair work practices of the KFC down the street. Do these people even think about the dissonance of their thoughts?
What I love most about liberals is when they call for boycotts (as this article does at the end). It just makes me giggly when they act as if 4 people not watching The Simpsons is going to cause the demise of Fox Corporation. Seriously. I'm all for people supporting companies they like and not supporting companies they don't like. But if I decide not to watch Glee because I'm tired of its agenda, I don't expect the show to go off the air.
1. If you want more of something, the tax code subsidizes it.
2. If you want less of something, the tax code taxes it.
This theory plays out in many ways in our twisted system. Businesses get tax breaks for supplying insurance to employees. Why? Back in the 1940s and 1950s, insurance was one way businesses could give employees incentive to work for them without increasing wages. Over time, the idea of business subsidizing health care looked pretty good to government because it meant fewer people who would need services provided from the government (such as county hospitals.
Another incentive in the tax code is the home mortgage deduction. Owning a home causes people to display a variety of desirable behaviors (lowering crime rates, less urban blight, etc.), and so the tax code has this deduction in it to encourage people to buy homes (the current debate about the elimination of this deduction to help balance the budget shows just how ingrained it is in the American psyche).
The tax code also punishes behavior. High taxes on liquor and cigarettes are designed to stifle interest in these products.
These government subsidies "for the greater good" seem like a good thing at the time they are passed, but, as with everything else, there are unintended consequences. The home mortgage deduction has (according to all the talking heads) enticed people to buy bigger, more expensive homes that they cannot afford without the deduction. Some argue that deductions for children and child care just give people more reason to overpopulate the planet. Still others think allowing churches to be tax exempt is an egregious violation of the First Amendment.
Here is the latest unintended consequence of government subsidy: Obamacare means fewer people want to work.
Speaking at a little-noted event at the University of Southern California’s Leonard D. Schaeffer Center for Health Policy and Economics, Mr. Elmendorf noted that, outside the healthcare sector of our economy, the greatest impact of the Obamacare agenda will be in the labor market. It was October 22nd, just days away from the big midterm election, and Elmendorf’s presence at this conference, and his remarks at the conference, did not receive nearly the amount of press attention that they deserved.
Mr. Elmendorf stated that, in some cases, Americans will simply choose not to work, because their needs for healthcare will be provided by the enhanced Medicaid funding that is provided for in the Obamacare law. As Journalist Matt Cover noted at CNSNews.com (he was one of few journalists that actually reported on this event), this assessment of Obamacare by Mr. Elmendorf coincides with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s remarks last May. Back then, Speaker Pelosi insisted that Obamacare would allow “artists” to “quit their day job” and pursue their art, free from the constraints of having to provide for one’s self, because the government would now take care of artists’ healthcare needs.
Liberals think working is a bad thing. Having to provide for yourself--especially in a job that is less than entertaining--is evil. In the liberal world view, it's unfair that some people have jobs they enjoy and thrive at while others are stuck doing menial things. This is especially true if the "fun" job pays well and the "menial" job doesn't.
Many liberals (like Amanda Marcotte) were perfectly honest about Obamacare: the government should provide health care (not insurance) for everyone so that no one "has" to get a job or stay in a job. Why? Because it isn't fun to work when you don't want to or don't like what you do.
I don't know what these "fun" jobs are that liberals are afraid rich people have. Even those evil CEOs have meetings and responsibilities they don't like but accept as part of the job. Every small business owner I know doesn't like something about running their own business, but they recognize that nothing is "fun" all the time.
Life may be a picnic, but that doesn't mean someone doesn't have to do the work for it ahead of time. Liberals thinks money magically appears and it isn't fair that someone else got more. Programs like Obamacare are designed to allow more people to not take care of themselves. That's just a bad idea.
Posted by sharon at 7:35 AM
Saturday, November 13, 2010
Republicans are responsible for everything that happens when:
1. They control both houses of Congress and the presidency.
2. They control one house of Congress and the presidency.
3. They control the presidency but neither house of Congress.
4. They don't control either house of Congress or the presidency.
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
Barack Obama's bipartisan commission has released an outline of its recommendations to reduce the national debt.
The plan calls for deep cuts in domestic and military spending, a gradual 15-cents-a-gallon increase in the federal gasoline tax, limiting or eliminating popular tax breaks in return for lower rates, and benefit cuts and an increased retirement age for Social Security.
Among the popular tax breaks to disappear is the home mortgage deduction, the child tax credit and the earned income tax credit.
Liberals like Echidne are wringing their hands at the idea of the home mortgage deduction going away because--gosh--rich people don't care about home mortgage deductions.
Take the mortgage deductions for an example. They have always been a bit tricky to justify from an equality point of view, because they give a tax cut to those who can afford to buy rather than to rent and because the size of the price reduction they create is larger the more taxes you would otherwise pay.
But removing that deduction will also have odd equality effects: It's the middle classes who depend on that deduction to buy a house. The rich don't need it to be able to afford to buy.
Reducing or eliminating the mortgage deductions, combined with tax cuts of the types shown here, will do -- what? They must mean a move towards a larger relative tax burden for the middle classes, unless public spending is really really slashed.
Well that's not really what would happen. To start with, people shouldn't be buying houses for the mortgage deduction, and if you can't afford the house, that deduction isn't going to help. Secondly, anyone who thinks rich people don't care about tax deductions is either blind, stupid, or willfully ignorant. Rich people take all the deductions they can get, just like middle class people. Isn't that why liberals were so anxious to raise the tax rates?
Of course, the commission's proposals gore everyone's ox, whether you are a tax-and-spend liberal or a military-lovin' conservative. And there's no account here of how these severe changes in taxing and spending would affect the economy. It will be interesting to see the debate to come.
See more opinion here.
Tuesday, November 09, 2010
Sure to be in a bargain bin near you soon, Ted Rall's written a book and he wants to declare secular jihad on Christians.
Christian fundamentalists, the millennial end-of-theworlders obsessed with the Left Behind series about the End Times, neo-Nazi racists, rural black-helicopter Michigan Militia types cut from the same inbred cloth as Timothy McVeigh, allied with “mainstream” gun nuts and right-wing Republicans, have been planning, preparing, and praying for the destruction of the “Godless,” “secular” United States for decades. In the past, they formed groups like the John Birch Society and the Aryan Nations. Now the hard Right has a postmodern, decentralized non-organization organization called the Tea Party.
Right-wing organizational names change, but they amount to the same thing: the reactionary sociopolitical force—the sole force—poised to fill the vacuum when collapse occurs. The scenario outlined by Margaret Atwood’s prescient novel The Handmaid’s Tale—rednecks in the trenches, hard military men running things, minorities and liberals taken away and massacred, setting the stage for an even more extreme form of laissez-faire corporate capitalism than we’re suffering under today—is a fair guess of how a post-U.S. scenario will play out unless we prepare to turn it in another direction...
A war is coming. At stake: our lives, the planet, freedom, living. The government, the corporations, and the extreme right are prepared to coalesce into an Axis of Evil. Are you going to fight back? Will you do whatever it takes, including taking up arms?
I dunno how Rall plans to take up arms against right wingers, considering liberals hate arms. And I guess it would be inconvenient for Rall to remember that more people were killed by communism in the 20th century than any bunch of Crusaders. Those are mere details.
If you recall, Rall is the cartoonist who called NFL player-cum-soldier Pat Tillman an idiot for going to serve his country. There was quite a furor over that one, but it wasn't his first time insulting normal people for not being a whacked out liberal. Take a look at Rall's interview with the equally whacked out Dylan Ratigan:
Notice how both Rall and Ratigan calmly talk about people not paying their mortgages--not because they can't afford it but because it's "not fair" that the evil banks and mortgage companies get that money. The idea that living in a house you don't own and aren't paying for is squatting doesn't bother these guys because in their eyes, the ends (bringing down the evil corporations) justifies the means (theft). Moreover, they seem incapable of understanding that bringing down those evil corporations will throw a lot of people out of work who aren't mortgage bankers. While they howl at the idea of firing government employees, these jerks think nothing of tossing thousands of normal joes out on their ears for the crime of working in the private sector. Sheesh.
This video has gone viral today, and for good reason. Take a look. Regardless of whether you think it's acceptable for candidates to shill on TV, it's something they do, and the talking heads allow their favorite candidates on to do it. The problem here, of course, is the rampant hypocrisy of Rachel Maddow declaring that Fox News does it but MSNBC doesn't. That's just a bald-faced lie and she knows it. Thank goodness there are people to call her on it.
Monday, November 08, 2010
A court forcing a cheerleader cheer for her rapist? Well, that's the way Think Progress presented this case decided by the Fifth Circuit.
If you only read Think Progress, you would think the Fifth Circuit had gone batshit crazy and forced an innocent person to cheer for her rapist. But the case was not quite what liberals dressed it up to be:
A former Silsbee, Texas, high school cheerleader did not have a First Amendment right to refuse to cheer for a basketball player she claimed had sexually assaulted her, a federal appeals court panel has ruled...
In January 2009, a racially divided grand jury from Hardin County refused to indict the players, who did not have criminal records...
(The cheerleader)said that school officials ordered her to cheer for Bolton, who also played on the basketball team, at a February 2009 game. (The cheerleader)cheered for the team, but refused to cheer for Bolton individually...
In May 2009, (her) parents...sued... argu(ing) that Sheffield violated the First Amendment by retaliating against H.S. for filing sexual-assault charges by revealing details about the case to the public.
With respect to the school and the school defendants, H.S. and her parents contended that she was punished because of her “symbolic expression” not to cheer for Bolton.
Symbolic expression? Nope. Not according to the Fifth Circuit, which ruled that there was no evidence of retaliation and also that not cheering didn't constitute free speech.
One can disagree with the court's decision, but in no way does the decision show Republicans as pro-rape the way Think Progress argues. As Robert Stacy McCain says:
What seems to be at issue is whether cheerleaders enjoy First Amendment protection for disobedience to school administrators. The 5th Circuit agreed with the trial court that they do not, and also upheld a fine against the plaintiff for bringing a “nuisance” suit. The 5th Circuit wasn’t asked to decide whether Rakheem Bolton raped “H.S.,” or whether unchaperoned parties for teenagers are a good idea, or anything like that.
It was strictly a First Amendment case (although, it being Texas, I’m frankly surprised the father of “H.S.” didn’t make it a Second Amendment case). Reacting as programmed, however, feminists Melissa McEwan and Echidne of the Snakes accuse the court of being pro-rape. The case also offers an extra “Blame Bush” bonus for progressives, considering that the 5th Circuit decision was rendered by a panel of three GOP-appointed judges.
It's not uncommon to run into fringies chomping at the bit to unleash some rage at their favorite targets, but this case in no way shows Republicans in general or GOP-appointed Fifth Circuit judges in particular as pro-rape.
Poliico has an article up about how President Obama has alienated not only most of the American people, but devoted Dems, as well.
In his effort to change Washington, Obama has failed to engage Washington and its institutions and customs, leaving him estranged from the capital’s permanent power structure — right at the moment when Democrats say he must rethink his strategy for cultivating and nurturing relations with key constituencies ahead of 2012.
“This guy swept to power on a wave of adulation, and he learned the wrong lessons from that,” said a Democratic official who deals frequently with the White House. “He’s more of a movement leader than a politician. He needs someone to kick his ass on things large and small and teach him to be a politician.”
These kind of quotes always make me wonder if Democrats attended the same election I attended.
Democrats act surprised that Obama is an inexperienced, self-absorbed, arrogant, and incompetent leader. But Obama is his raison d'etre. Is it no wonder this is the end of the affair?
Friday, November 05, 2010
It seems to me that there's got to be more to this story than meets the eye.
MSNBC star Keith Olbermann donated money to several candidates, a news bomb dropped by Politico. In response, the president of MSNBC, Phil Griffin is shocked! Shocked! That there's
gamblingpolitical donations going on in this establishment.
Come on, Phil. Really?
I'm not arguing that employees don't sign away all sorts of rights when they join any company. Nor am I saying that Olbermann wasn't aware of the policy (he obviously had to be). But I have to agree with Bill Kristol that suspending Olbermann for donating to candidates is squirrelly.
First, he donated money to candidates he liked. He didn’t take money, or favors, in a way that influenced his reporting.
Second, he’s not a reporter. It’s an opinion show. If Olbermann wants to put his money where his mouth is, more power to him.
Third, GE, the corporate parent of MSNBC, gives money to political organizations. GE executives and, I’m sure, NBC executives give money. Why can’t Olbermann?
Liberals scream about Fox Corporation's $1 million donation to the GOP and now Republicans are comparing Olbermann's misstep with it. But the truth is that there's nothing wrong with either donation; individuals and corporations should be free to donate to the candidate of their choice. Unless Politico can show a clear connection between Olbermann's donations and coverage of these candidates, the suspension is bogus.