Friday, May 27, 2011

Sucks To Be A Republican


Nobody Asked Me, But...

1) I want to throw out some food for thought here: The way some people on the left think about religion is almost exactly the way some people on the right think about the arts.
History shows us that religion and art go hand in hand: where there is one, there is the other. That's not to say that it's a causitive relationship, probably more coincidental. An esthetic appreciation of beauty begins to make one wonder about how beauty is created, and creation begets (pardon the pun) a wonder about the mysteries around us.
Could Bach, Rembrandt, Ansel Adams, or Michaelangelo exist without religion? Perhaps. Could religion exist without Bach, Michaelangelo, or...well, photography is less important as a realist art...or Duncan Stroik, the architect? Perhaps.
But both would be the less for the loss.
2) to be him, huh? The son begs compassion for a father who had none. Disgusting.
3) This rather boring article raised in me an interesting question: Is Google de facto censoring the Web?
4) Is this a joke? Please say this is a joke. I mean, I know Facebook is a shitty little....OK, not so which leaves this rather self-indulgent boorish man with plenty of time on his hands, but he actually goes to the farm, kills the chickens and pigs he'll eat, has them sent to a butcher, then has them delivered to his house? And then we wonder why people laugh at America?
5) David Einhorn may be a smart man when it comes to business, but to buy into the Mets at this point is silly. Of course, it could be less of a labor of love for this multibillionaire and more of a roll of the dice.
6) By the way, the juice quote of the week belongs to Gail Collins

“They say the way to win the next election is to scare the daylights out of senior citizens. I think that’s irresponsible,” said [Senator Jon] Cornyn [R-Texasshole], who predicted, back in 2009, that the Democrats were going to turn Medicare into “a health care gulag.” 

[emphases added]

7) For one, I hope so. And when she gets her ass kicked in primary after primary, and she tries to blame the "lamestream media" for her failures, that will kill her public persona.

8) Speaking of crazy Republican broads...

9) How big a coward is Fat Fuck Chris Christie? He's so chicken, he's decided to give up on fighting global climate change, throwing in the towel rather than sticking with it. How Jersey elected this cretin is beyond me. Oh. Wait. The Jersey Shore. I forgot!

10) The more I think about this article...and it's headline...the more creeped out I get by the implications. All I need to hear is Catherine The Great is involved.


Thursday, May 26, 2011

Walkering The Dinosaur

In another court case today, Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin had his balls cut off.

Colour ME Shocked

The SCOTUS has passed down what appears to be a reasonable decision:

The 5-to-3 decision amounted to a green light for vigorous state efforts to combat the employment of illegal workers. The majority opinion, written by Chief Justice John G. Roberts on behalf of the court’s five more conservative members, noted that Colorado, Mississippi, Missouri, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia had recently enacted laws similar to the one at issue in the case.

(I'll get to why it's not really a reasonable decision in a second...)

The onus of the hiring of undocumented workers clearly rests with the employer. After all, the immigrant is not creating jobs out of whole cloth (and if they can create jobs, they ought to be fast-tracked to citizenship.) There needs to be someone here who is willing to offer a job to a non-American worker.

This is precisely where the focus of enforcement lies, or rather should lie, instead of building fences and patrolling with dogs and shotguns. If there are no jobs to be had for undocumented workers, they won't cross the border. It's really that simple.

Now, the Obama administration had joined with business and civil liberties groups in opposition to this law, and the focus of that is on a fairly important point: this state law supercedes a 1986 Federal law on immigration, and the Constitution specifically reserves "states' rights" for issues that the Federal cannot or will not address.

Which is not the case here. The SCOTUS has made a fairly stupid decision on that point, one I expect will be overturned by a future SCOTUS. Preferably soon.


He's In All The Way!

Rick Santorum will take the plunge in the end.

But Dey Ain't Be No Racistsists!


More Fearmongering From The (Who Else?) Right Wing Lunatics

Really. George Soros' media empire reaches 300 million Americans every month. Wow! Man the ramparts! Some foreigner is trying to take over our nation! America for Americans!
That still makes it about 3% as effective as Rupert Murdoch's hate-machine, douchebag. And he's a fucking Aussie, asshole.

Kevin Drum Makes An Interesting Case

I need to think about this one for a while, but Drum points out: why not make the dead pay for their own Medicare?
His plan, in sum, is that whatever medical care you get during your old age will be free. You'll receive a bill, of course, so you can keep track of it, but you don't owe a dime.
Your estate will. What this essentially means is your estate will have first claim on any money you owe them.
Illogical? Tell that to the IRS, who also has priority claim to your estate. Not sure how that would work out in the end. The IRS is responsible for collecting Medicare taxes from your earnings, so I imagine not too much would change. The IRS would merely add your medical care to their filings against your estate.
This way, you get to keep and spend more of your money while alive, and your heirs would have less to inherit when the time comes. We might even throw in a proposal that the Medicare reimbursements would take first priority even over taxes, thus reducing the size of the estate.
Interesting idea, Kevin.

Dead Candidacy Walking

Do you hear the deafening silence generated about the current crop of Republican Presidential candidates?
Indeed, the only buzz about anybody from the right lately has been from two people who are most distinctly UNcandidates: Donald Trump and Sarah Palin.
Newt Gingrich could have generated the kind of buzz that a nominee engenders. He really does have a pretty substantial resume for a candidate, on face: Speaker of the House, author, professor, engineered the Contract With America which was one of the biggest political gambles in history and one on which he placed a winning bet (none of this speaks to the value and/or quality of that resume, you will note.)
Which makes the curious collapse of this shnook's current candidacy all the more mystifying. 
The latest? A charge of graft has been levelled at Callista Gingrich, some of which has landed on Newt himself. 
Here's the curious bit: how clumsily his staff have tried to spin this.

Update: I just spoke to Newt Gingrich’s press secretary, Rick Tyler. He said that the deal the Gingriches got was the same one that Tiffany’s offers to anybody else: interest free financing for 12 months. And that all debt with Tiffany’s was paid off within a 12-month period. If there was hundreds of thousands of dollars of debt outstanding for a second consecutive year, which there was, then that was new debt, associated with new jewelry purchases.

Now, as others have said in other places with respect to this story, no one is telling Newt how to spend his money. He wants to buy a half million in jewelry for his trophy wife, that's fine. So is paying for plastic surgery (if you look closely at her). Nothing wrong with that. It's the American way.

What IS wrong is this:

At the same time Tiffany & Co. was extending Callista (Bisek) Gingrich a virtual interest-free loan of tens of thousands of dollars, the diamond and silverware firm was spending big bucks to influence mining policy in Congress and in agencies over which the House Agriculture Committee--where she worked--had jurisdiction, official records show.

Filings by Tiffany’s lobbyist, Cassidy & Co., and other government records show that the firm’s spending on  “mining law and mine permitting-related issues” in Congress, as well as the Forest Service, the Interior Department, and Interior’s  Bureau of Land Management shot up sharply between during the period when Callista Gingrich was chief clerk at the House Agriculture Committee.

Spy Talk's figures are grossly understated, but you get the drift. There's more than the hint of quid pro quo here. Tiffany does yeoman business in silver. Callista Gingrich's golddigging appetite is for Tiffany jewelry. Newt swaps his wife's work for a couple of diamond necklaces, with no-interest financing.

Now perhaps it's true. I have a credit rating that would qualify me for one of those loans, and I do get such courtesies from other places I shop, like Apple. I don't think I've blown $500,000 on any of those, tho.

Now, this story could easily have gone away quietly. You point out that it's not her job any longer, this thing ended in 2006, that under a Gingrich presidency she'll be under much more scrutiny, and that she will never ever do it again. Or words to that effect. People had problems with Hillary being an advocate and a feminist and while she never got around to baking cookies (she did publish her recipe, tho), you go the hint that she wouldn't cause a whole lot of trouble for Bill.

Which proved more true than vice versa.

The kicker, in my opinion, the deathblow in the great videogame that is the Presidential primary process, was Newt saying this on Sunday:

The way Mr. Gingrich sees it, as he said on “Face the Nation” on Sunday, he’s “a guy running for president who pays all of his bills,” who lives within his budget and who is in fact “very frugal.”

The way some voters out in the rest of America might see it, he’s a guy who paid more for jewelry than some people pay for their houses.

Precisely. No one begrudges Trump his wealth, for example, even if it is built on debt and on the forgiveness of Americans whose taxes subsidized his bankruptcies. He owned or owns airlines, casinos, cologne brands, real estate of untold value, golf courses...well, you get the idea.
Hell, Trump Tower is next door to Tiffanys!
Trump would never try to imagine himself frugal or buffalo someone into thinking he was (he might be cheap, but that's a negotiating ploy).
Add to this faux pas of Gingrich all the anger he engendered from opposing Paul Ryan's plan (and the echoes down the corridor that rejection will have in the campaign next year, whether he is a candidate or not) and any number of paper cuts he's self-inflicted (including his questionable marital fidelity), and you're looking at a man who is dying from the tiny little nicks and dings that become magnified in a campaign run.
Dead. Candidate. Walking.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

A Sarah Palin Movie?

I wonder who directed it, Leni Riefenstahl?

It's Fun Watching Conservatives

Take Shelby Steele, for example. Watch as he twists himselfs into knots trying not to call the President a "Nig--*BONNNNNNNNNNNGGGGGGGGGGGG*"
Shelby, babe, it's really very simple: rather than engage him politely and debate him on the issues, the right wing of the nation has decided to double down on the strategy that kept Bill Clinton a one-term President-- and to be fair, was co-opted by the Democrats to keep George W. Bush from winning re-election: engage him on personal issues by proxy.
About as successfully, too.
All anyone ever had to do was, in 2009, get on FOX News and tell Glenn Beck to shut up and sit down. You guys could have had a fight on your hands.
As it is, it's ballgame over, and look out, Joe Biden is making noise about 2016!

Only A Right Wing Assclown

....could turn a mistake by an orchestra into a flaw of President Obama's
Haters be hatin' and racists be racin', I guess.


TO: The Right Wing Punditry and other brainless clueless asshats
FROM: Actor212
Get over yourselves. You ain't that important.

Jane Sore-win

Actually, that should read "Sore-Lose"
Pre-emptively, she obtained a court order to vacate any vote certification from last night's special election in her district.
Undoubtedly, this will be voided, since one cannot claim "irreparable harm" (the standard excuse) before the fact.

In Your Face, Teabaggers! (Redux)

The standard mantra of the Republican party has been to cut entitlement programs and keep taxes low because that's what the rabble want, right?

While well aware that there were political risks, many Republicans went into this year convinced that the rapid growth of the national debt had changed the public mood when it came to tackling the entitlement programs, starting with Medicare, the biggest driver of projected future deficits. In an ambitious budget plan written by Representative Paul D. Ryan, chairman of the House Budget Committee, House Republicans embraced a proposal that would convert Medicare into a subsidized program for the private insurance market.

Even after Tuesday night’s loss in the New York special election, in a district Republicans had held for decades, some Republicans remain chin out, calling the Ryan plan much needed medicine that the public will eventually embrace.

Others up for reelection, and some of those running for president, will not firmly commit themselves one way or another. And a small but growing number are saying no.

The "loss" the Times refers to is the victory of Democrat Kathy Hochul over a split GOP ticket of Jane Corwin and Jack Davis, a Teabagger in one of the most conservative districts in the country, much less New York State. The percentage split 47-43-9, makes the race seem closer than it was. In truth, the Republican budget proposal was defeated 56-43 (adding Davis' and Hochul's totals together, which as Nate Silver points out, ain't too far from the truth.)

Damn. Even President Obama couldn't pull off that stunning a victory! And to top it all off, Corwin had visits from John Boener and Eric Cantor to try to salvage her campaign, all for nought. Talk about rubbing noses in it!

So there's a strategy here for Democrats to take back the House, believe it or not, but it's going to require quite a bit of work and quite a bit of money to offset the Citizen's United debacle. For one thing, the first step is the one already being contemplated: Force an up or down vote in the Senate on Medicare reform.

And there's not a ghost of a chance this could be filibustered away. After all, it's the centerpiece of the Republican legislative agenda. Can you imagine a Senator being dumb enough to tell Paul Ryan to fuck off?

Even voting against the plan will raise hackles for Senators like Olympia Snowe or Susan Collins, who will undoubtedly face a tough, Koch-financed primary challenge for re-election if they do.

Sort of fun watching these asshats twist in the wind. When you don't get it, you deserve to have it stuffed down your throat, I suppose.


Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Anyone Remember Tim "The Truth" Pawlenty?

Yea...about that...

In Your Faces, Teabaggers!

Health care reform, what you so cutely call "Obamacare," WORKS!

Rick Ungar of Forbes [ed. note: the self-described "Capitalist's Tool"] is reporting that recent data provided by the nation’s largest health insurance companies reveals that a provision of the Affordable Care Act -- "Obamacare" – is bringing big numbers of the uninsured into the health care insurance system. The uninsured in this study include the sick and the young.

The provision of the law that permits young adults under 26, long the largest uninsured demographic in the country, to remain on their parents’ health insurance program resulted in at least 600,000 newly insured Americans during the first quarter of 2011.

Wellpoint, the nation’s largest publicly traded health insurer with some 34 million customers, reports adding 280,000 new members in the first three months of 2011.

Add in the results of some of the other large health insurers including Aetna, who added just short of 100,000 newly insured to their customer base, Kaiser Permanente’s additional 90,000, and Highmark’s 72,000 new customers, and we begin to sense our health insurance pools are filling up with some badly needed young blood.

BAM!, as the kids say.

One of the most tragic aspects of the private healthcare shenanigans that was the old system was that millions of people were remaining uninsured, despite the facts that they were both human and subject to major risk taking behaviors, like driving too fast (or while drunk) or "planking" or what have you.

The rest of us covered those uninsured ninnies, and these aren't poor newbie adults we're talking about. Many of them have good jobs (or had, before Bush got hold of them) but simply opted out of insurance because, well, "More BEER! WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!"

Bringing these folks into the insured fold has a double benefit: one, their own insurance will now cover them when they do something clumsy which lowers our premiums and two, their entrance into the pool means that insurance companies can lower premiums to the rest of us, since these same people are less likely to suffer the chronic illnesses that come with aging like high blood pressure, obesity, high cholesterol, and heart disease.

The original Health and Human Services projection for additional insured Americans in 2011 was a modest 1.2 million. It looks like we're going to blow that out of the water.

And yet, insurance companies, for all the scaremongering by conservatives, have been drawing record profits. Gee...think it might have something to do in part with more insured Americans? I sure do.

Health care reform is only just getting started. In my book, Obama did too little, but fortunately it's not too late, too.


Whenever You Imagine Athletes Are Pampered, Overpaid Jerks...

...I want you to remember this name: Taj Smith
One of the problems with America is we look to the easiest way to solve a problem, which engenders an awful lot of frustration for children when they don't hit it big immediately. We so focus on the successful and rich that we forget the rest of them, and us, that make those people who they are.
For every Ben Roethlisberger or Snooki or Lady Gaga, there are a hundred Taj Smiths and his kind, doing the back-breakign work that makes other people's wild success possible. It's nice to read about them and their struggles to remind ourselves that greatness is not measured on paper or in ratings but in our own hearts.

Monday, May 23, 2011


TO: David Brock
FROM: Actor212

No One Could Have Foreseen This!

Dentists prefer to treat kids with private insurance over Medicaid patients, because they can earn more money.

Why I Love America

Where else can a black kid from Hawaii grow up to be a native son of Ireland?

Once We Tackle Global Warming, There's This

For those of you who may have noticed the little story last week in the news, it seems as tho the ridiculous denial of climate change is over.
Now, can we move on to solving that as well as this?

Finally! A Solution To Teabaggery

Also, food for zombies. Also.



So....Is This Pandering To The Teabaggers Or Not?

I'm going to go with, uhhhhhhhhh, no. I suspect that Ryan's stock is still pretty firm amongst hoi polloi so Brown is actually going to piss them off. Again.

*Rubbing Hands With Glee*

Boy, I haven't been this excited since I got some dirt on a professor!
A former member of Sarah Palin’s inner circle has written a scathing tell-all, saying Palin was ready to quit as governor months before she actually resigned and was eager to leave office when more lucrative opportunities came around.
Popcorn, anyone?

A Junkfood Candidacy


The Associated Press is reporting that the former CEO of Godfather's Pizza and Tea Party favority Herman Cain, has officially entered the 2012 GOP race. The man who famously said, "Don't condemn me because the first black one was bad," has tossed his hat into the ring. ”In case you accidentally listen to a skeptic or doubting Thomas out there, just be to clear … I’m running for president of the United States and I’m not running for second,” he told a crowd at Centennial Olympic Park on Saturday. The announcement by the businessman, author and talk radio show host that he was joining the expanding Republican field came after months of traveling around the country to introduce himself to voters.

After all, he was a community organizer...


Well This IS A Sur---yawwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwn!

Tim Pawlenty is running for President

The Big Dopes

Saw this article at today about doping in bike racing in response to the Sixty Minutes item last night featuring Tyler Hamilton, so I figured I'd chime in with a comment:
Would you ban someone for having a technological advantage, like a lighter bike or better repair crew?
Of course not. It's a competitive advantage, one available to anyone willing to pay enough for it.
Similarly, if everyone is doping, but some are doping better than others, then what's the point in pretending your sport is clean?
Because it risks the lives of the athlete? What in sport doesn't?
Because it sets a bad example for children? You mean how like Contador dropped Schleck because the latter's chain slipped?
Because those who don't dope are at a disadvantage? That might be a valid point, but one easily dismissed by the fact that the guys doping are the ones making the money in endorsements and championships, and the folks who don't dope know that going in.
Fairness is all well and good, but if the problem is that widespread then by definition it is fair and those who don't dope are the ones who are forcing themselves into an unfair position.
Also, this fairness you mention intrigues me a little, because I suspect it extends beyond the "Save Jens Voigt" crowd, to where you and I get on a bike and pedal our hearts out and if we're really lucky and the downhill is steep enough, we can embrace the speeds riders in the peloton can achieve for hours on end.
This fairness, in other words, is about how we stack up against the elite. That's asking an awful lot of fairness.
I don't like it anymore than you do, thinking that there but for the grace of HGH go I.
I'd like to believe Armstrong was just that much better a rider, but the evidence is piling up against not only him but the entire race industry.

Poor Souls

Item 1 - Harold Camping's 'Rapture' prediction ends in tragedy; teen believed dead.
Item 2 - Retired MTA employee sinks $140,000 into a recent Armageddon ad blitz.
I'm sure a more than casual Google search would reveal many more tragic stories.
It's easy to mock these people, to be sure, but I want to draw a moral equivalence for you.
Imagine that Harold Camping is a mortgage banker. Imagine that these people are looking to buy a home.
If we're going to mock these people and say they made bad choices, well, it's true, they have. But it's also because someone dangled an irresistible promise in front of them. In this case, eternal salvation (and given my background, I can certainly appreciate why that has such appeal), in the case of a mortgage banker, a beautiful home for easy monthly payments.
In my opinion, Harold Camping ought to be as culpable in the eyes of society as Goldman Sachs or Bank of America or any number of people who destroyed people's lives (not to mention a global economy but that's a different equivalence).
Sadly, he'll get off scot-free to ravage another family's bank account or kill another teenager. Or to further damage the name of Christianity.
I don't want to get into a long and involved discussion of religion vs. atheism here, but let me pre-empt commenters a little by saying that Christianity is not one religion or group of religious nutjobs like Harold Camping. The large majority of people of faith, be they Christian or Jew or Muslim or Buddhist, simply want to be left alone to live their lives with whatever hope for a better world to come, including yours truly.
What people like Camping and evangelicals do embarasses us, too.
I had a sense of the power religion has on me yesterday, as I sat front pew in my church for a memorial mass yesterday. You may recall my mom died earlier this year, and since much of her social circle was not living locally (and the weather being as savage as it was), we decided we'd wait until the Spring, until after the celebration of the Resurrection, to have a service.
The beauty of the poetry, the reflective memories of my childhood spent running up and down naves and aisles helping my folks out, and the power of an authoritarian God sitting in judgement of us all, crept up on me then smacked me upside my head like a tubesock of iron bolts.
I comprehend the very deep emotional, almost visceral reaction church has on me because the rational side of me can step back and watch, and then analyze later on. It is, for me at any rate, not unlike the reaction I have while looking at a beautiful landscape or a portrait. Not identical but both reactions could be described as "beatitudinal."
But I digress...Camping and his ilk, despite protestations to the contrary, do not have the well-being of humanity in mind when they attempt to scare and bully people into conforming to a behavior they deem appropriate, no matter how benign the reasons. The ends do not justify the means, and Mr. Camping next time ought to shut his mouth and make private preparations and moreover, trust that Jesus will see fit to warn those who matter.
Keep it off our streets, Camping. You're killing children.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Rapture Advice - The Hangover


When Jesus comes back, He isn't going to give us a heads' up.