The Reuters newsfeed on a Monday morning isn’t usually a barrel of laughs. But still reeling from the tortuous to-and-fro on securing the US-Mexico border in the last couple of weeks’ Republican Presidential Debates—which saw Newt Gingrich proposing that these efforts be handed over to American Express, Rick Perry branded a traitor by Jon Huntsman for saying that you can’t just box the whole country in, and the likes of Michele Bachmann seeking to hand fence manufacturers the biggest Keynesian stimulus they’ve ever seen—I was left wondering how this development will play out in the next one:
(Reuters) - To Mexican drug traffickers, the tall new steel fence now carving along the southern boundary of this Arizona border city looks more like field goal.
Since its completion in July, police on the U.S. side of the 18 to 30-foot-tall fence have retrieved dozens of football-shaped bundles of marijuana.
They say the tightly wound packages are being lofted over the new bollard-and-steel mesh barrier from Nogales, Mexico to rogue receivers in the namesake city in Arizona.
“They are quarterbacking them (the bundles) over the fence and hoping the receivers are in the right spot to pick them up,” said Santa Cruz County Sheriff Antonio Estrada of the new trend at the start of the U.S. football season.
The cannier candidates may seek to join the dots and put some of the unemployed to work as blockers, kick returners, quarter and zone defense, scrimmagers, or indeed anyone capable of delivering a slobber-knocker in aid of homeland security. Hell, if they televise it, it could be self-funding.
Unreliable source Howard Kurtz wrote a piece about the Fox Death Star’s own Darth Vader, who is allegedly leading a broad-based Decrazification Initiative to steer the network brand away from Beckistan. Supposedly this is behind the departure of Beck, the downplaying of Palin and other assorted moves.
It’s Kurtz, so caveat emptor and all of that. But the piece contains an Ailes quote that may have inadvertently revealed the network’s master business model:
“Listen, one out of every 25 people in America is a psychopath.”
Either Ailes meant to say 25 percent of the American people are psychopaths or he underestimates the Crazification Factor significantly. Either way, there’s a lot of soap to be sold.
Jon Chait wrote an interesting piece on Mitt Romney’s chances of clinching the nomination. Chait says that he had assumed the GOP base would find Romney unacceptable because he’s not really a right-winger, and the party is more right-wing than ever.
But now Chait is rethinking that because Romney doesn’t really try to argue policy points (thus revealing himself as a squishy conservative) but has instead adopted the “Two Minutes’ Hate” strategy, using every public pronouncement to bash President Obama:
Yes, conservatives have developed a series of policy stances — say, that subsidizing and regulating private health insurance is the greatest threat to freedom in American history. Rather than treat this as a principled view, Romney simply treats it as an atavistic expression of hostility toward Obama. He defends his Massachusetts plan by pointing out that it involves private insurance. That makes it exactly the same as Obama’s plan, but Romney probably figures most conservative voters don’t know that, and he’s probably right.
That ignorance is a triumph of Fox News, of course. I had hoped the army of uninformed rage zombies the network and right blogosphere spawned would lead them to nominate an unelectable candidate. But Chait has a point about it being also useful for allowing non-wingnut Republicans to elide the differences between themselves and the voters they’re trying to reach.
Well, not really. He’s just wrong as usual, this time combining his uniquely wrong insights about both politics and poetry to accidentally imply that New Jersey’s portly guv is The Beast.
Kristol, who as you may recall was instrumental in foisting kooky bumpkin Sarah Palin on an unsuspecting world, looked upon the current GOP field on display during this week’s debate and was appalled by its kookery and mediocrity. In an editorial entitled “Yikes,” Kristol wrote:
Reading the reactions of thoughtful commentators after the stage emptied, talking with conservative policy types and GOP political operatives later last evening and this morning, we know we’re not alone. Most won’t express publicly just how horrified—or at least how demoralized—they are.
The e-mails flooding into our inbox during the evening were less guarded. Early on, we received this missive from a bright young conservative: “I’m watching my first GOP debate…and WE SOUND LIKE CRAZY PEOPLE!!!!” As the evening went on, the craziness receded, and the demoralized comments we received stressed the mediocrity of the field rather than its wackiness.
Not admiring your stitch-work, eh Dr. Frankenstein? My heart. It bleeds for you. Not.
I don’t know about you, but it’s been a slightly trying week here one way or another, so far topped by our cat Gus going missing overnight, sparking a neighborhood-wide hunt this morning that eventually led to my finding him sitting in a neighbor’s hedge about 20 yards from the house, impervious to rattlings of kibble packets and plaintive calls from his worried houseslaves. At the moment, I’m assuming something’s freaked him (there’s tree felling and roadworks going on all around us at the moment), rather than anything being seriously wrong, but he’s a bit subdued and confined to the house (he’s going to love this!) under observation for the next day or so, just in case. I’ll take him to the vet on Monday if he’s still not right.
So I felt like something soothing to listen to, and this vid hit the spot. That’s a traditional Swedish nyckelharpa—a bit like a bowed hurdygurdy (played by Mariusz Radwanski)—accompanied by a gorgeous development of the guitar family called the arch-harp guitar (invented by James Kline, who’s playing it here) that makes me go “WANT ONE!!!!”
As ever, think of this as an open thread if you feel the need.
They think dying due to lack of medical insurance is one of the ways in which freedom is messy:
They hate gay soldiers:
Any questions? I have some: There are several debates left—can the next audience display even more shocking evidence of heartlessness and depravity? Maybe the next moderators can pose questions related to kitten mauling and orphan starvation so we can finally plumb the depths.
We don’t often run appeals here, and this is a slightly unusual one, for a cause dear to the heart of an old pal of Rumproast’s, Thers of Whiskey Fire and Eschaton (who played a key role in helping us do our bit to get the Elizabeth Warren vid to go viral). Here’s what he has to say:
I lost my gym to a flood! That’s just weird…
There are lots of people in our little corner of the world who have lost their homes and their jobs, and we still have both. I go to our Y to work out and to go swimming with my kids. Other people go there to work and put food on their families.
Ah fuck. If you haven’t figured it out by now, I’m trying to guilt you into sending some money to help some of our local flood victims.
What’s that old saying about when you point your finger at somebody there are four fingers pointing back at you? Despite Republican claims that Obama is fomenting class warfare by having the nerve to ask the wealthy to pay the same proportionate share of their income in taxes as middle class taxpayers, it’s becoming crystal clear that the real class warfare is being waged by Republicans on lower and middle income Americans.
In addition to resurrecting the meme that people who don’t make enough money to have a federal tax liability are somehow “lucky” and therefore need to get more “skin in the game” (like, maybe, a pound of skin?) they are today asking Fed Chair Ben Bernanke not to do anything that could conceivably improve the economy.
Monday the top four Congressional Republicans (John Boehner, Mitch McConnell, Jon Kyl and Eric Cantor) signed a letter to the Chairman saying in part:
It is not clear that the recent round of quantitative easing undertaken by the Federal Reserve has facilitated economic growth or reduced the unemployment rate. To the contrary, there has been significant concern expressed by Federal Reserve Board Members, academics, business leaders, Members of Congress and the public. Although the goal of quantitative easing was, in part, to stabilize the price level against deflationary fears, the Federal Reserve’s actions have likely led to more fluctuations and uncertainty in our already weak economy.
We have serious concerns that further intervention by the Federal Reserve could exacerbate current problems or further harm the U.S. economy. Such steps may erode the already weakened U.S. dollar or promote more borrowing by overleveraged consumers. To date, we have seen no evidence that further monetary stimulus will create jobs or provide a sustainable path towards economic recovery.
Not only is this political meddling in the decisions of the independent Federal Reserve Board unprecedented, it is just further proof that the Republican leadership does not want the economy to improve. Full stop period.
Combine this with the upcoming threat to shut down the governmentagain over the issue of whether disaster relief spending should be offset by cuts elsewhere and it doesn’t require a whole lot of deduction to conclude that the Rethugs are truly waging a class war and won’t stop until we’ve become a feudal society. Because, apparently, this is what the Founders had in mind, or something.
Is NYT columnist Maureen Dowd a real person? As far as I know, she is. But sometimes I suspect the real Ms. Dowd is lounging at a tiki bar in St. Thomas while a dusty old program rearranges the copy, inserts new names and buzzwords and cranks out the same tired old column she originally wrote in 1993.
In the Platonic Ideal of a Dowd column, Democratic men lactate, Democratic women possess testicles and conservatives or nominally Democratic conservative archetypes get to embody their actual genders and be regarded as tough hombres regardless of their activities away from the klieg lights. Actual events the column purports to analyze may occasionally require role switches to make some inane point, but all elements are accounted for in some configuration. Today’s column on the Ron Suskind book that alleges sexism in the White House is no exception:
It’s passing strange that a man who was raised by a strong single mother, who talks affectionately about the influence of the banker grandmother who helped raise him, who married a strong woman, who lives with his mother-in-law and who has two daughters he adores, could ever create an Oval man-cave where some women felt uncomfortable.
Or maybe after all that petting and pecking by women, he just wanted to macho it up at the office, bonding by talking sports, playing sports and watching SportsCenter. This president in particular, though, has to be careful to make sure he includes the feminine perspective, even if it’s from men who have a full complement of it, like Joe Biden and David Axelrod.
Biden and Axelrod are girls. Girly Obama must get his macho on. Only men watch SportsCenter. Given the binary nature of the Dowdian worldview, it’s fairly easy to replace her with a program.
The top two leaders of the U.S. Marine Corps say Marines will “step out smartly” to implement a repeal of the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy towards gays in the military, now that the law has been changed, despite previous publicly expressed opposition to ending the military’s ban on openly gay troops.
[Master Sgt. Anthony Henry], who had been invited to set up a recruiting booth on the first day of the end of “don’t ask, don’t tell” at the Dennis R. Neill Equality Center in downtown Tulsa, instead spent it in quiet conversation with a trickle of gay women who came in to ask about joining the Marines.
The Marines were the service most opposed to ending the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, but they were the only one of five invited branches of the military to turn up with their recruiting table and chin-up bar at the center Tuesday morning. Although Marines pride themselves on being the most testosterone-fueled of the services, they also ferociously promote their view of themselves as the best. With the law now changed, the Marines appear determined to prove that they will be better than the Army, Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard in recruiting gay, lesbian and bisexual service members.