Thursday, January 31, 2013

Oh, Won’t Someone Please Think of the Insurance Companies!

Alternatively I could have started with something along the lines of “First they came for the insurance companies and I said nothing because I’m not an insurance company.”

So, yes, some kook in Idaho has actually compared insurance companies to victims of the holocaust because Nobama is going to load them all on that train,  send them to the concentration camps and “establish a socialistic health care system”.  And something, something about how the companies are being forced to dig their own graves because the “private insurers are used by the feds to put the system in place because the federal government has no way to set up the exchange”.

Beyond the fact that I have a hard time actually boo-hooing about health insurance companies who are madly gouging their customers to boost their bottom lines higher every year, the fedz do have a way to establish that sochulistic health care system.  It’s called Medicare.  If Congress had actually wanted Obamacare to become the “Crown Jewel of Socialism”, in the words of the Girl with the Faraway Eyes (h/t Charlie Pierce), they could have expanded Medicare.  It was even in one of the original proposals to allow the 55 to 64 year old crowd to buy into Medicare but even that was too much socialamism for a Congress that was, at the time, controlled in both houses by Dems.

So I’m guessing the insurance companies will not be loaded wholesale onto those trains after all.  More’s the pity.

Posted by marindenver on 01/31/13 at 07:21 PM
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Profiles in Stagnation: John McCain

On March 31, 2006, back when John McCain still played an honorable man on T.V., I headed down to the St Barnabas Church hall on the Bronx/Yonkers border to hear the senator speak to a largely immigrant crowd about immigration reform.  In May of 2005, McCain cosponsored an immigration reform bill with Senator Ted Kennedy.  The crowd was mainly Irish and Irish-American (the Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform was instrumental in organizing the event, and the Legalize the Irish T-shirt was the de rigeur outfit of the night.  Of course, this being the New York metropolitan area, other immigrant groups were represented as well.  Besides local politicians and numerous media outfits, Irish-born boxer John Duddy was present as a celebrity guest.

read the whole post »

Posted by Big Bad Bald Bastard on 01/31/13 at 05:24 AM
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Categories: PoliticsElection '08St. McSame

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

No Exit

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Shifty-eyed Frenchman Wayne LaPierre was on Capitol Hill today, using his pie-hole to spray lies and obfuscations in defense of guns ‘n ammo makers’ profits much as a prepper might fantasize about using a drum magazine-fitted assault rifle to spray bullets at imaginary urban hordes to protect his bunker.

While LaPierre was lying and obfuscating, yet another nutbag went on yet another shooting rampage, which Captain Mark Kelly, husband of Gabby Giffords, pointed out to the committee. Early report:

Three people were shot and wounded Wednesday, one of them with life-threatening injuries, when a gunman opened fire at a Phoenix office complex, authorities said.

One of the three victims sustained “extremely critical” injuries, while the two others were less severely wounded, police said, correcting their earlier report that all three had been critically injured.

Phoenix police Sgt. Tommy Thompson said the gunman was not in custody and that authorities were seeking an “older white male.” Police said shell casings at the scene indicated that at least two weapons were used.

Witnesses told KNPX that they heard nine or 10 shots total. A woman who works in the building told the station that she immediately began running down the hallway.

“We didn’t know where to hide, because all of our offices are all windows,” she said.

I know just how that woman felt: 20 years ago, another disgruntled white man showed up at an office building where I used to work with a gun he’d purchased legally. He shot and killed several people. Everyone in the building, me included, ran away like scared little bunnies and hid. It turns out that’s a natural human reaction. Even for concealed carry permit holders!

Chances are, they’ll find the Phoenix shooter dead after he kills himself with one of his legally purchased guns. That’s what the guy who shot up my office building did.

It was kind of a shock when I thought back on it after this latest incident and realized it’s been 20 years since that happened. So little has changed.

[X-posted at Balloon Juice]

Posted by Betty Cracker on 01/30/13 at 06:16 PM
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Categories: NewsPoliticsNutters

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Supreme Court Docket 12-307:  The Stupid! It Burns!

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The annals of jurisprudence, like all other repositories of human endeavor, contain some really great stuff along with a sprinkling of silly rubbish.  Think “Prohibition” or “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” Or, how about the biggest loser of all time: “The Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA)”?

Americans have been living with this legal albatross around their necks for a long time now as it slowly wended its way from bad idea, enacted September 21, 1996; to political football; to indefensible travesty of law until, finally, it has been dumped on the US Supreme Court, along with its evil twin, California Proposition 8, for [probable] disposal.

Both of these stinkers arose from the conservative belief that “the best offense was a good defense.”  Since it might not play well to the whole country to declare same-sex unions anathema, they did the next best thing—define legal marriage as pertaining only to opposite sex couples, thereby excluding same sex couples from the 1,100 or so legal and financial benefits that accrue to marriage partners in our society.

Both DOMA and Prop 8 have been found wanting when challenged numerous times in lower Federal Courts.  Both have long, well-documented records of legal challenges that, nearly always, result in findings of “unconstitutional.”  DOMA is such a loser that President Obama ran, in 2008, on a platform that included repealing DOMA.

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Posted by Bette Noir on 01/29/13 at 03:46 PM
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Categories: LGBTPoliticsBedwetters

God of the Achievement Gaps

Pity poor General Jerry Boykin, who cites crippling pee-shame as a reason why women should not be allowed to take on combat roles in the U.S. military (never mind that women have been on the front lines of U.S. military engagements since the days of “Molly Pitcher” (for a stirring tale of heroism in the early days of the American Revolution, one can’t beat the “better than fiction” tale of sixteen-year-old Sibyl Ludington).

Boykin’s ridiculous assertion that shame about one’s dirty business would undermine morale in a gender-equal military reminds me of the “God of the Gaps” argument used by Creationists and other religious apologists, which posits that divine causes are necessary to account for lacunae in scientific knowledge.  As science progresses, the gaps shrink, there’s less room for God, and the apologists move their goalposts and find another “gap” to defend.  In the case of those arguing that women should not have equal opportunity, male supremacist apologists claim that women are unable to perform certain tasks.  As women demonstrate that they have the ability to excel in traditionally male-dominated fields, the arguments of the sexists become more ludicrous, the goalposts move to the extent that assholes like Boykin are reduced to citing their, uh, assholes as a reason to deny equal opportunity to women- the “God of the Achievement Gaps” gets smaller and smaller.

Cross-posted at my eponymous blog.

Posted by Big Bad Bald Bastard on 01/29/13 at 12:32 PM
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Categories: PoliticsWar On Women

Monday, January 28, 2013

Former Romney Advisor Has New Career

Via Rawstory, it looks like Bay Buchanan, former Romney campaign spox, has canned punditry for real estate:

Just two days after the election, Buchanan started an online real estate course and recently became a sales associate for McEnearney Associates Inc. in McLean, Va.

“Being somebody that they kind of know will be a real positive and, as you know, I’m just a charming person,” Buchanan insisted, adding that “compared to what I did in the past, this is an easy sell.”

“It’s so negative and TV is more difficult than ever in the sense that it’s really not an honest debate anymore,” she said of her television talking head days. “I can’t just live my life going on TV and being angry all the time.”

And, well, I’ve got no snark about that. Oh, as a pundit, she was great snarkfodder but it’s kind of nice to think that someone can look at being a tv talking head person and walk away if it actually isn’t fulfilling or useful to them (or anyone else, for that matter). And after looking over Bette’s grand recap of some of the GOP’s post-electoral shenanigans, I shouldn’t wonder if other conservative spokesfolks wouldn’t be thinking of doing something along the same lines. Just as happened shortly after the 2008 election, one expects to see some “serious” pundits (think Frum, Douthat, Brooks), plump for “Conservative smarter”, while seeing bloggerati go for “Conservative harder.”  But the old tricks won’t be unlearned  and there’s no point in message tweaking when it’s the ideas that aren’t hitting it with people.

What’s left isn’t “going Galt” but “going straight”. Not that I’m advising the opposition party in what to do, after all. But I do wish Bay Buchanan luck in her new field, where selling a “fixer-upper” might bear the promise of actually being a fixable commodity.

Posted by Vixen Strangely on 01/28/13 at 10:12 PM
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Categories: PoliticsElection '12MittensOur Stupid MediaPolisnark

How About Starting With the Man in the Mirror?

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Evidently, Republicans are semi-serious about their campaign to “stamp out the uglitude”  in the hopes of winning some elections this century without redistricting every other week.  At least they’re willing to spend money on it. 

The latest pep rally took place in Charlotte, North Carolina where Republicans decided to shoot the messenger and move on.  I have to agree with Christian Science Monitor reporter, Patrik Jonsson, on the takeaway from that meeting:

The meeting confirmed what most Americans can see plainly: The Party of Lincoln is having a crisis of confidence. The failure of Mitt Romney to connect deeply enough to win a race against a vulnerable Democratic incumbent shook the party establishment, which is already dealing with a powerful internecine and absolutist revolt from right-wingers in the guise of the tea party.

For now, Republicans say they’ll focus less on changing the message than tweaking the messenger. Talk of beefing up the party’s ground game and social media activities dominated much of the discussion, as did “tone” – how ill-chosen words by a few candidates, including Mr. Romney, helped shade perceptions and weaken the party’s message.

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Posted by Bette Noir on 01/28/13 at 12:16 PM
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Categories: PoliticsElection '14Election '16Nutters

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Hedgehogs on the Beach

This post is a slightly elaborated version of a post I put up at my blog last night.  I originally didn’t think it was good enough to post here, but a comment by Smut Clyde improves my post immeasurably:

From the annals at Right Wing Watch, here’s a story of creationist grifters Kevin Swan and “Creation Museum” creator Ken Ham claiming that they are “effectively very, very close to Omaha Beach in the war of the worldviews?”

I think Swanson and Ham are being surprisingly accurate in their characterization of their role in the culture wars.  Swanson and Ham are the human equivalents of the “Czech hedgehogs” that littered the beaches of France- they are vicious, dense, and serve only as an impediment to progress. 

As an added bonus, here’s Ham’s talk of the specter of the loss of the “war of the worldviews”:

It is, it’s an extremely important battle. Because, you know what, it only takes one generation to lose a culture. That’s all it takes. And if you can capture one generation, you’ll have the culture. And just as, you know, when the Israelites crossed the Jordan river and there were 12 stones to remind the next generation of what God did and what did we find? They weren’t reminded, the next generation, they lost it in one generation, we’re losing this culture before our very eyes today because the church opened the door to allow the philosophy of naturalism, and evolution, millions of years, to permeate into God’s word. We need to shut that door. If we don’t shut that door, that’s where the battle’s at right now, if we don’t shut that door, we’re going to lose this culture, America will be the England and Europe of tomorrow.

GASP, we’ll be the England and Europe of tomorrow?  Will that mean that we’ll have super high-tech jet fighters trains from the future?  Well, clear those goddamn hedgehogs off the beach already!


Postscript: The danger of posting a link to a Nena video (even Nena singing in English, which is second-rate Nena) is that I will now spend the rest of the night watching Nena videos. 

Addendum:  Smut Clyde pointed out an unintentional bit of autogodwinning on the part of Ham and Swan:

I would have chosen the Battle of Britain, myself, if I were looking for an example of an underdog in a climactic clash of civilisations to obtain the sympathy of my audience. But if Ham and Swanson prefer to identify with the Nazis, I’m not gonna stop them.

Smut nails it- Swan and Ham are talking about defending “their” culture from the onslaught of modernity, in essence comparing themselves to the German soldiers who were trying to stave off the Normandy invasion.  And to think, all this time, I thought creationists had problems with Poe’s law, not Godwin’s.

Posted by Big Bad Bald Bastard on 01/27/13 at 10:29 PM
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Categories: PoliticsTo Poe Or Not To Poe?

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Down in Mississippi and Up to No Good

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Most of us might expect that things couldn’t reasonably get much worse for the State of Mississippi, but we’d be wrong.  Meet Rep. Gary Chism and Rep. Jeff Smith, GOP local talent serving in the Mississippi State House and collaborators on, arguably, the single most asinine piece of legislation ever produced in the “laboratories of Democracy”— House Bill 490 the Mississippi Balance of Powers Act.

As a rule, I don’t pay a lot of attention to how Mississippians manage their abysmal state.  That’s their problem.  But every once in a while, usually when they get their backs up about race, Mississippi legislators cough up some horrifying, embarrassing, loogey of a law just to remind us that we’re not all that “exceptional”, after all.

They did it after the Civil War, then again after the Civil Rights Act became law and they’re doing it now because some uppity black Socialist foreigner is trying to tell them what to do.

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Posted by Bette Noir on 01/26/13 at 09:14 AM
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Categories: PoliticsNuttersTeabaggery

Friday, January 25, 2013

Palin’s 15 Minutes Finally Up

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News Flash!

We interrupt your regularly scheduled blogging to report that FauxNews has dropped Klondike Barbie’s contract!  Yes, she has become too whiny, resentful and uninteresting even for Fox viewers!

What will she do now?  Well, according to a source *close to Palin*  “She remains focused on broadening her message of common-sense conservatism across the country and will be expanding her voice in the national discussion.”

*scuse me just a jiff*  *SNORT, HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!  wipes eyes, sighs*

That is all.  You may now return to your regularly scheduled blogging.

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Posted by marindenver on 01/25/13 at 06:40 PM
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Thursday, January 24, 2013

AstroTrump!

Philip Bump at Grist made a neat catch earlier today—an ad from Craigslist NY that read:

Earn Quick and Easy $20 for an hour or less of work
Wednesday December 31st, 1969

Our firm needs 100 volunteers to attend and participate in a rally in front of the British Consulate/Embassy in Midtown Manhattan on the East Side on Wednesday, January 30, 2013 at 12 noon. The event is being held in order to protest wind turbines that are being built in Scotland and England. Your participation will be to ONLY stand next to or behind the speakers and elected officials/celebrities that will be speaking at the rally.

It is a really simple job and easy money for anyone who is around Manhattan at the time. We need all of our volunteers to RSVP for this event. It is VERY important that you RSVP because we have had people confirm spots and fill spots on the first day of the advertisement in the past. If you have participated in one of our events in the past (Ovation) please make a note of that in your RSVP email and we will email EVERYONE back to confirm your attendance.

We look forward to hearing from you all and again, the money is quick, the job is easy and we pay in CASH at the end of the event.

Looking forward to seeing you next Wednesday!

I took that from a feed site called Job Hustler since the version on Craigslist has been pulled now that Bump has publicized it for whoever’s planning this shindig, but Rebecca Leber at ThinkProgress caught a screenshot (right-click any of these screenshots below and then left-click on “View Image” to see them full-size):

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You’ll see the firm behind this seems to be called Ovation—if anybody knows anything about these folks, do pipe up.

Whoever it is has put out a few variations. Here’s another one I found at Job Hustler

Easy job earn $20
Wednesday December 31st, 1969

Our firm needs 100 volunteers to attend and participate in an event and assist with public relations in Midtown Manhattan on the East Side on Wednesday, January 30, 2013 at 12 noon. It is a really simple job and easy money for anyone who is around Manhattan at the time. We need all of our volunteers to RSVP for this event. It is VERY important that you RSVP because we have had people confirm spots and fill spots on the first day of the advertisement in the past. If you have participated in one of our events in the past (Ovation) please make a note of that in your RSVP email and we will email EVERYONE back to confirm your attendance. We look forward to hearing from you all and again, the money is quick, the job is easy and we pay in CASH at the end of the event.

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My, they’re obviously aiming upmarket with that one—“assist with public relations” eh? La-di-da!

Now, Phil Bump, Rebecca Leber, and I all have nasty, suspicious minds, so we’re assuming that Donald Trump is ultimately behind all this, in my case on the basis of (1) his history of antagonism toward windfarms in general, and one that’s planned in the vague vicinity of his controversial golf development in Aberdeenshire, Scotland in particular, and (2) my history of not being too keen on the bullying avaricious toad. It didn’t take me long to hunt down yet another more recent version I found at a site called Feedage that clinches it for me. See what you think:

Are you a golfer? From England/Scotland? Earn $20/hour - Easy Money (Midtown East)
2013-01-23T17:34:26-05:00

Our firm is looking for extras that are avid golfers or look like golfers; we are also looking for individuals from England and Scotland. If you meet both qualifications - even better. We are hosting an event next Wednesday, January 30th at 12 noon i [...]

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So if you’re in that area of Manhattan next Wednesday around noon, and if you can avail yourself of some plus fours, ultra-loud check trousering and Argyle sweatering, a Burberry flat cap, possibly a four iron, and an English or Scottish accent (I hesitate to suggest taking along blown-up placards of any of these ads, but I’m sure you could improvise), who knows, maybe you could find yourself an instant media star ...

More: Via curly in the comments, there’s a “Wind Power Not Trump Power” Facebook group that’s organizing a rally of its own at the same time and location.

Posted by YAFB on 01/24/13 at 08:41 PM
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Categories: PoliticsNuttersOur Stupid MediaSkull Hampers

Donald And Walter, Served Up As Only Woody Herman Can

Big band colossus Woody Herman didn’t cover hack songwriters or marquee bands. In fact, he preferred to duplicate the songmaking of artists whose fame and talents rivaled his own. That became apparent yet again when Woody dedicated half a vinyl album to a cream-of-the-crop selection of Steely Dan tunes.

Herman’s Dan collection was hard to find (and expensive once you found it) when I acquired mine 15 years ago. I don’t know whether that situation has improved in the intervening years. But just in case the tracks are still fugitive, here’s what Polly and I excavated on YouTube. Enjoy the signature Fagen/Becker medley of American blues styles, with a steaming dollop of woodchoppers’ winds and horns on top!

There’s more below the fold:

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Posted by StrangeAppar8us on 01/24/13 at 07:32 PM
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Blackheart (Open Thread)

Here’s Joan Jett, the boss hen (and my pal Ravenclaw the Red, who appears to be popping out of JJ’s breast, “Alien”-style):

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JJ is nice to humans, but she’s pretty mean to her fellow fowl. I mentioned her bullying ways once before, and some of you gently admonished me, saying that JJ was being firm, not a bully. Well, maybe. All I know is I’m glad I don’t have a red comb or neck dooley-bobs for her to pull!

Open thread.

Posted by Betty Cracker on 01/24/13 at 02:39 PM
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Categories: Critters

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Hill Back on The Hill

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Secretary of State Clinton tangled with the preening Republican arseholes in the Senate this morning and is right now confronting the unhinged yahoos in the House. I thought she was terrific this morning, from what I saw.

However, I think Steve M at No More Mr. Nice Blog has it right when he notes that, while we lefties perceived Madam Secretary deftly catching her interrogators’ self-serving slings and arrows and hurling them squarely back at her inquisitors’ junk, the right isn’t watching the same show. In response to Senator Johnson’s obsession with Ambassador Rice’s Sunday morning talk show talking points, Secretary Clinton said:

“With all due respect, the fact is we had four dead Americans,” she said. “Was it because of a protest, or was it because of guys out for a walk one night who decided they’d go kill some Americans? What difference, at this point, does it make? It our job to figure out what happened and do everything we can to prevent it from ever happening again, senator. Now, honestly, I will do my best to answer your questions about this. The fact is that people were trying, in real time, to get to the best information.”

Steve observes that the wingnuts have already pounced on the quote: “What difference does it make?” and notes:

They have what they want: a soundbite they can rip from context and use as a cudgel to beat the administration and Secretary Clinton with. I’m not sure if they really expect their efforts to color mainstream coverage of this story, but it’s clear that that’s what they’re hoping. They have a new “you didn’t build that,” a new “spread the wealth around,” and they’re going to wring everything they can out of it.

He’s right, I’m sure. But I’m betting they’ll meet with similar levels of success with their latest chew-toy. Which is to say, zero outside the wingnut echo chamber. Please proceed, Governor.

[X-posted at Balloon Juice]

Posted by Betty Cracker on 01/23/13 at 02:14 PM
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Categories: NewsPoliticsHillary ClintonNuttersTeabaggeryTelevision

The Voice of the Turtle is Heard in our Land*

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Song of Solomon 2:10-13
King James Version (KJV)

10 My beloved spake, and said unto me, Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away.

11 For, lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone;

12 The flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land;

13 The fig tree putteth forth her green figs, and the vines with the tender grape give a good smell. Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away.

I know, I know that’s turtledove . . . but this works for me.  Because the Turtle bellowing almost non-stop, these days, is the gentleman from Kentucky, Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Never, Never Land).  And, frankly, his bellowing is music to my ears because it signifies that something wonderful this way comes . . .

I’m willing to tolerate McConnell’s recent tantrums because . . . schadenfreude!  Mitch has had a remarkably awful time of it for the last four or five years—watching the first black man preside in the Oval Office and proceeding to Mitch’s Personal Worst—failing to render Obama a one-term president as he had vowed.  Because Mitch actually has an awful lot less clout than he thinks he does . . .

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Posted by Bette Noir on 01/23/13 at 10:52 AM
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Categories: PoliticsBarack ObamaElection '14NuttersTeabaggery

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