Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Yodeling? Offensive?

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

Obama Freezes Federal Wages for 2 Years

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.

Why Your Teenager Isn't That Smart Yet

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

The state of Blogging

This pretty much sums up the state of blogging.

Media Blah Blah Solutions

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."

Why the MSM Are Obsessed with Sarah Palin

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

The Gaffe Double Standard

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?

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

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

Voters R Stooopid

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.

Millionaires Want Their Taxes Raised

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.

Friday, November 19, 2010

1 Out of 280

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

Why Is It That the Same People Angry Bristol Palin Is in the Finals of DWTS...

Are against Voter ID laws? Seems like picking your elected representatives is a bit more important than a television show.

Conservatives Don't "Get" Racism...Except They Do

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.

Of Course Everybody's Excited About Prince William's Engagement

In miserable times, everybody likes a distraction.

It's 1977 all over again, folks.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Why Civilian Trials for Terrorists Doesn't Work

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"?

Fan Base and Dancing With the Stars

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...

"I Won" Is Gonna Bite Obama's Butt

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.

When to Get One's Panties in a Bunch

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).

Sunday, November 14, 2010

What Is It With Liberals and Violence?

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.

The Unintended Consequences of Government Subsidy

One of the things that every high school civics class teaches children is how the tax code works. To simplify it,

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.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Getting It Straight

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

How to Balance the Budget

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

Ted Rall: Just Another Peace Lovin' Liberal

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.

Only Fox News Is Biased

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

The Case That's Not What It Seems

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.

Well, The Election Was All About Him

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

Keith Olbermann Suspended Indefinitely?

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.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

The GOP Didn't Just Kill It at the Top...

Perhaps more important than the GOP gains at the national level is the crushing number of Republicans who won at the state and local level.

Devastation: GOP Picks Up 680 State Leg. Seats

Republicans now hold the redistricting "trifecta" -- both chambers of the state legislature and the governorship -- in 15 states. They also control the Nebraska governorship and the unicameral legislature, taking the number up to 16. And in North Carolina -- probably the state most gerrymandered to benefit Democrats -- Republicans hold both chambers of the state legislature and the Democratic governor does not have veto power over redistricting proposals.

From Hot Air:
In the longer term, though, Republicans will have more connection to voters and build better organizations in states where they have achieved control. That will put Democrats at a disadvantage for fundraising, but also in developing candidates for public office. It will put more Republicans into statewide offices, into governorships, and into Congress. That impact will likely be felt long past the next census, and may be the most underrated effects of the 2010 wave.

Here in Texas, Republicans now have a super majority in the legislature, meaning Democrats can't stop any legislation from reaching the governor. This is great news for legislation that has been bottled up for years (hello, Voter ID!).

Why Republicans Won Tuesday

Of course there's a lot of armchair quarterbacking about Tuesday's elections from both sides of the aisle. Not surprisingly, liberals think the problem was that blue dog Democrats didn't want to spend enough. Seriously.

It's impossible to emphasize enough that the reason Democrats got their asses kicked so badly in this election comes down to two things:

1. Unemployment
2. Obamacare

I've always said that it wouldn't matter if Barack Obama had found a cure for cancer, if the unemployment rate was over 8%, Democrats would lose in 2010. And 2012, for that matter.

But worse for Democrats is the anger their underhanded and sleazy tactics in passing Obamacare created. Americans, perhaps naively, believe that the legislative process is connected with public support for certain ideas. Once Americans make it known they don't support certain legislation (think Hillarycare), that legislation is supposed to die a quick death. But rather than admitting that the People didn't want Democrats' version of health care reform, those "representatives of the People" told the People F.U. and passed it anyway. Not hard to figure out why so many voters decided it was time to revoke the D's driver's licenses.

George Will says voters recoiled from liberalism. He has about the best definition of progressivism I've seen:
The progressive agenda is actually legitimated by the incomprehension and anger it elicits: If the people do not resent and resist what is being done on their behalf, what is being done is not properly ambitious. If it is comprehensible to its intended beneficiaries, it is the work of insufficiently advanced thinkers.

Karl at Patterico's Pontifications watches the struggle of liberals to understand what happened to them. Good stuff.

I'm a little rusty at this, so bear with me while I get back in the swing of things...

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Bombing Them Back to the Stone Age

Democrats in Texas, that is. What a wonderful night.

Quote of the Day

"Government is instituted for the common good; for the protection, safety, prosperity, and happiness of the people; and not for profit, honor, or private interest of any one man, family, or class of men; therefore, the people alone have an incontestable, unalienable, and indefeasible right to institute government; and to reform, alter, or totally change the same, when their protection, safety, prosperity, and happiness require it." --John Adams, Thoughts on Government, 1776


It's been a while since I've hit the blog, mainly because RL is very busy these days. I'm working full-time for the first time in a couple of years (I've done freelance work during that time and still do), plus the kiddoes are back in school and that requires more attention than Amanda Marcotte would ever believe. And I've satisfied my wiseass self on Facebook where I tend to argue with people I would recognize at WalMart.

But tonight is such a sweet and tasty night, I just couldn't help but putting up a post. At this moment, Republicans have picked up 31 seats in the House and 4 seats in the Senate. Given the predictions of political death for Republicans after the 2008 elections, this is a particularly wonderful result.