Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The Return of the Dick

Former Vice President Richard Bruce Cheney, the man who was acting President for George W. Bush's first term, the man who has done the most damage to America since the year 2000, is back with his memoir. Don't even think about an Amazon link for this one.

It turns out he's such a continuing asshole that those he smears in the book, including Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice from the same Administration, are calling him out on it. Whatta guy.

Here's the list of questions someone should ask him on the tour. Got to imagine he's an ultimate "get" for The Daily Show. Think he has the guts to go up on Jon Stewart -- and think Stewart would do any better with him than he did with Rumsfeld?

And, by the way, how much had you been drinking when you shot your best friend in the face?

Even better: Did You Tell Scooter Libby To Leak Valerie Plame's Identity As A CIA Agent To The Press?

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

How Dangerous is Stupid?

Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX) in their words, not mine:
“He’s like Bush only without the brains,” cracked one former Republican governor who knows Perry, repeating a joke that has made the rounds.
Interesting that the intelligence question is making the rounds, from Politico to Fox News, the latter of which is happy to leave the question open as not particularly germane to the Presidency. After all, they are dedicated to removing President Obama from office, and everyone know he's smart. Or don't they:
On his program tonight, Sean Hannity tried to turn the tables on those who would question Perry, asking his panel whether the media were missing the point that President Obama was the stupid one.
Jackboot Hannity at it again. Somebody give that fascist a uniform.

The fact is that the last time America leaned towards on quote-unquote common sense over intelligence in electing a President, the winner was George W. Bush and the loser was the United States, with ruinous tax cuts, a collapsed economy and over $1.242 trillion in war costs, let alone potentially hundreds of billions in waste and fraud.

I hate to smear the entire rightwing in this country, but as they say on Fox News when confronted with the truth, "You're confusing our viewers."

Ignorance is death.

Class Warfare

The Republicans have declared class warfare by violating historical norms for taxation of the wealthy and the raising of taxes during U.S. wartime. With the Crash of 2008, the abject failure of the Bush tax cuts in any philosophical or economic sense, the laughable lie that calls the wealthiest Americans, the ones who have benefitted most from automation displacing those pesky workers and replacing Americans with foreign workers, "job creators."

Even Rep. Dan Lundgren (R-CA) doesn't have the energy of believability in his tired repetition recitation, his "I'll take my ball and go home" hostage move when confronted:

No one seriously believes this crap anymore and it's the antidote to the fallacies and identity politics of the teabaggers. And I don't care to call them "Tea Partiers" since I doubt Sam Adams would have approved of the majority of them. It's an economic theology that somehow denies progressive taxation in the name of liberty.

Like the robber barons who ruled America with a violent fist at the turn of the previous century.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Working Help

The movie version of The Help, so to speak, works, which is both surprise and a relief. It's the best kind of Hollywood common reader movie, a.k.a. "middlebrow" entertainment designed to enlighten as well as, ultimately, uplift and delight. In the tradition's best movies -- say, The Best Years of Our Lives, To Kill a Mockingbird, there's enough complexity that we accept the movie as a truthful reflection of a problematic real world era.

We accept the flattening of historical complexities into good guys and bad guys in return for the superior performances of actors like Viola Davis, who holds the movie together as focused voice and biggest journey, the journey of self-respect that was the foundation of the Civil Rights Era and resonates in the ongoing struggle today.

While being fairly labelled as Civil Rights light, it's effective in bringing painful questions back, including what led up to the era.

Slavery, America's original sin, was about the complete denial of a human being's identity, the person as property, that identity to be bought and sold no matter how many times it breaks up a slave family. The uneasy truce that followed the Civil War for 100 years was essentially a recodification of the old system, with personhood still denied by an epithet, by the devilish nerve to kidnap young men and women in the night and hang them from trees.

The biggest historical news moment in The Help is the shooting of African-American rights activist, Medger Evers, happening in the very town of Jackson where the movie's set. Considering the tripling of death threats against the President when Obama took office, there's something palpable about the film for our time, a safe place to think about a time when America was not as fair, in law or custom, as it is now. As the film has a comedic heart, its irony is more ultimately more positive than negative, but it's an emotional experience throughout, in large part due to the exemplary cast of women.

Viola Davis' Abiline is given the main voice, not Emma Stone's Skeeter although the trailer would have you fooled into thinking it's all through the white chick's eyes. Davis, 41, has won two Tony's and was nominated for an Oscar for Doubt, so I think the only question is whether she gets nominated in the Best Actress category or the more likely chance of dominating as Supporting Actress. There's an argument to be made that it's an ensemble piece, but you can't submit Stone as Best Actress without betraying the story. I haven't read the book, but saw that it uses three voices -- Abiline, Skeeter and Minny -- which the filmmakers wisely consolidated into Abiline.

Davis is the lead, with Stone close behind and the terrific Octavia Spencer as the rebel, Minny. I loved seeing Jessica Chastain playing the opposite of her idealized mother figure in The Tree of Life, Allison Janney is great as Skeeter's mom, Sissy Spacek and Cicely Tyson are welcome anchors at the senior end, and Stone does come out of this a leading lady who can act, is naturally attractive in an interestingly non-bombshell way, and may just be the current smart it girl of her young generation.

I don't want to post the trailer because it's both misleading and spoiler-filled. Just trust me that you don't have to feel guilty going to see it. Even white Liberal guilt.

Someday, it'll probably be a musical.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Come on Irene

This, on the busy weekend before Labor Day weekend:

- It now appears Irene may hug the coastline potentially making a landfall in southern New Jersey Sunday afternoon with the center coming very close to or over New York City Sunday evening.

- This track means more people could have catastrophic impacts from Irene in the Northeast beginning Saturday night in southern Virginia and lasting into Monday in Northern New England.

- Even though Irene should weaken some it will still bring hurricane force winds, extreme rainfall, significant coastal flooding, and a tornado threat.

- Irene should be hitting the Northeast near the new moon when tides will be higher before adding Irene's surge and wave action.

- Heavy rain could track as far west as western Virginia, western Maryland, central Pennsylvania and central and western New York.

- Widespread wind damage and power outages are likely throughout the Northeast.

- Plan ahead ... Make sure that you have plenty of water, non-perishable food, flashlights and a transistor radio.

Good luck, me droogies, friends and family.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

I Knew It

Michelle Bachmann Revealed To Be Elaborate Joaquin Phoenix Performance Piece

“I also wanted to see just how long I could get away with it. I’m sorry if it spun a bit out of control. I honestly thought I’d get called out after two, maybe three weeks tops. No one is as surprised as I am that people took ‘Michelle Bachmann’ seriously.”


“Seriously, I’ve completely run out of ideas for where else I can take this character. It seems there is literally nothing I can sign, do, or say, including making vague death threats, that will cause people to meaningfully question ‘Michelle Bachmann,’” Phoenix said. “I’m releasing her rap album next week. Between that, and this press conference, I imagine this whole social experiment will finally come to an end.”
And the shameless Rick Perry - hoax as well?:

Who else would compare the Civil Right Movement to lifting taxes and regulations on the rich?


Just lost two, Jerry Leiber of Leiber & Stoller, rock & roll, and Nick Ashford of Ashford & Simpson, Motown/soul. I love great songwriters, this hurts.

Jerome Leiber was born on April 25, 1933, in Baltimore, where his parents, Jewish immigrants from Poland, ran a general store. When Jerry was 5, his father died and his mother tried, with little success, to run a small store in one of the city’s worst slums. When he was 12, she took him to Los Angeles.

It was while attending Fairfax High in Los Angeles and working in Norty’s Record Shop that he met Leonard Sill, a promoter for Modern Records, and confessed that he wanted to be a songwriter. After Sill urged him to find a pianist who could help him put his ideas onto sheet music he met Mr. Stoller through a friend, and the two began writing together

“Often I would have a start, two or four lines,” Mr. Leiber told Robert Palmer, the author of “Baby, That Was Rock & Roll: The Legendary Leiber and Stoller” (1978). “Mike would sit at the piano and start to jam, just playing, fooling around, and I’d throw out a line. He’d accommodate the line — metrically, rhythmically.”


Nickolas Ashford was born in Fairfield, S.C., and raised in Willow Run, Mich., where his father, Calvin, was a construction worker. He got his musical start at Willow Run Baptist Church, singing and writing songs for the gospel choir. He briefly attended Eastern Michigan University, in Ypsilanti, before heading to New York, where he tried but failed to find success as a dancer.

In 1964, while homeless, Mr. Ashford went to White Rock Baptist Church in Harlem, where he met Ms. Simpson, a 17-year-old recent high school graduate who was studying music. They began writing songs together, selling the first bunch for $64. In 1966, after Ray Charles sang “Let’s Go Get Stoned,” a song Ashford & Simpson wrote with Joey Armstead, the duo signed on with Motown as staff writers and producers.

They wrote for virtually every major act on the label, including Gladys Knight and the Pips (“Didn’t You Know You’d Have to Cry Sometime”) and Smokey Robinson and the Miracles (“Who’s Gonna Take the Blame”).

While writing for Motown, Ashford & Simpson nursed a desire to perform, which Berry Gordy Jr., the founder and patriarch of the label, discouraged. They left the label in 1973 and married in 1974.

God bless the creators.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Libya Within Reach

It's looking like President Barack Obama is once again proving an excellent Commander-in-Chief, having chosen to help the Libyan rebel uprising in a smart, internationally coordinated, well-timed way. And it seems that raging asshole of so many decades, Qaddafi, is looking at short numbered days:
Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi’s grip on power dissolved with astonishing speed on Monday as rebels marched into the capital and arrested two of his sons, while residents raucously celebrated the prospective end of his four-decade-old rule.

In the city’s central Green Square, the site of many manufactured rallies in support of Colonel Qaddafi, jubilant Libyans tore down posters of him and stomped on them. The rebel leadership announced that the elite presidential guard protecting the Libyan leader had surrendered and that their forces controlled many parts of the city, but not Colonel Qaddafi’s leadership compound.
I still hope he ends up on a meathook (for Lockerbee alone), but maybe he'll get some undeserved mercy.

However, with the GOP, their mouthpieces and their propaganda machines like Fox News give the President credit for foresight and decisiveness? Will they give him the partial credit he deserves for this victory?

BTW, unlike with Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld in Iraq, there's actual planning underway for after the revolution.

Friday, August 19, 2011


Love this video, hope it's a harbinger of things to come:

Tax. The. Rich.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Science and Its Opposite

IBM is putting our brain processes on a computer chip. This is distinct from the way computer chips have worked up until now. Get ready for the Matrix.

On the other hand, the newest candidate "doesn't believe in science." Perhaps he's not so evolved himself.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011


In my book, if by now you deny catastrophic climate change and somehow put the blame on "greedy scientists" (as opposed to the truly corrupt scientists taking their money and marching orders from big oil companies and the Koch Family talking points), you are no longer qualified for higher elective office:

In his stump speech, Perry referenced "a substantial number of scientists who have manipulated data so that they will have dollars rolling in to their projects."

"We're seeing weekly, or even daily, scientists who are coming forward and questioning the original idea that man-made global warming is what's causing the climate to change," Perry said. "Yes, our climates change. They've been changing ever since the earth was formed."

Fool or grifter? I'd go with the latter, but maybe he's less smart than he even looks.

And if Perry is flying in as the savior of the Party, how come his Party leaders are reacting like this:

Since then, we've had Karl Rove -- of all people -- warning about the GOP field growing too extreme (by which he actually means, "too full of Rick Perry," whom Rove hates).

Now, we're firmly back in "somebody send us a savior" territory, with the air full of rumors that various "candidates to be named later" are poised to become "candidates to be forming presidential exploratory committees very soon."

For example: "Paul Ryan needs to run for President," say some people! Yes, despite the fact that Ryan (R-Wis.) enjoys enormous influence over the political landscape from his easy-to-defend House seat, it seems that your "Paul Ryan should run for President" boomlet is not going to go away anytime soon.

Earlier this week, the Weekly Standard's Stephen Hayes floated the notion that Ryan was "strongly considering a run for president." That was followed by metric ton of rumors and further insistences along the same lines. And now comes the news that Mitch Daniels and Jeb Bush -- two men who have previously found their names on the 2012 wishlist -- "promoting" the notion of a Ryan run in the GOP primary.

By all means, Paul Ryan, you Ayn Randian ideologue, run.

Hot Out of the Gate

He accuses Ben Bernacke, Federal Reserve Chief, of almost-treason and condemns a Federal farm program that does not actually exist. Red meat all the way, regardless of the truth.

They say the boy is father of the man:

Neither photo meant ironically.

Monday, August 15, 2011


Clearly a smart guy, Game of Thrones author George R.R. Martin is a wonderful interview subject. Witness this recent interview at Google, to an overflowing room, with some great questions:

His thoughts on power and the difficulty of ruling, towards the end of the hour, are particularly smart and interesting.

Geek on.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

The Second Coming of George W. Bush

I'll be shocked if Texas Governor Rick Perry is not the next Republican nominee for President. He's W. without having been born with a silver spoon. In fact, he used to be a Democrat. But now he's a hard-right Christianist anti-tax, crony capitalist ideologue with Reagan's hair but youth and Texas. The question is whether the U.S.A. electorate is ready to make the same disastrous mistake they made just 12 and 8 years ago with another hard-right Christianist anti-tax, crony capitalist ideologue, also a low-grade achiever at college, also with a killer political instinct, also chronically underestimated but great at winning elections.

It chills me to say this, because so many of my friends on the Left are cynical about President Barack Obama. At least it's not about corruption, but they're pissed that he's not acting more pissed, that he's not winning the tax battle and budget battle, which means the jobs battle -- since GOPconomics are proven to be disastrous in actual practice...hence the collapse of the system just in time for Obama to get elected on a high tide of idealism.

So I wish they'd consider this trenchant analysis of Obama operating in the context of the ongoing Civil Rights struggle by an Andrew Sullivan reader:

How does Obama break the iron unity of the GOP opposition to assemble a governing majority in the US Congress? ...

Obama acts entirely within the tradition of mainstream African American political strategy and tactics. The epitome of that tradition was the non-violence of the Civil Rights Movement, but goes back much further in time. It recognizes the inequality of power between whites and blacks. Number one: maintain your dignity. Number two: call your adversaries to the highest principles they hold. Number three: Seize the moral high ground and Number four: Win by winning over your adversaries, by revealing the contradiction between their own ideals and their actions. It is one way that a oppressed people struggle.


Honestly, I have been reminded more than once in the last few months of those brave college students sitting in at a Woolworth’s lunch counter, back in the day. Obama sits at that table, like they did at the counter. Boehner and McConnell and Cantor clown around, mugging for the camera, competing to ritually humiliate Obama, to dump ketchup on his head.

I don’t think those students got their sandwiches the first day, but they won in the end.


If white progressives understood much about the politics of the African American struggle in the United States, we would see Obama in the context of that struggle and understand him better. And you don’t have to be African American to know something about the history of the African American struggle. The books and the testimony is there. It’s not all freedom songs. But you have to be convinced that it is something that can teach you something you don’t already know.

The Help is seeming timely, middlebrow as it might be, popularizing the Civil Rights reading of our recent and ongoing history.

If Perry wins the nomination and Romney accepts having been swooped on, joins as VP, it unites the GOP. It could be Pawlenty as Veep, quitting the race the day after he comes in third in the Ames Iowa Straw Poll, the day after Perry enters, never has to face him in a debate and embarrass himself further. I don't know if Mitt could accept the demotion -- maybe run Treasury? -- so my money is on Perry/Pawlenty vs. Obama/Biden.

It'll be much more racially charged than against Romney and even McCain, because it'll be a Perry, Texan, Tea Party/Bircher Party. Secessionist Party -- that's the whole Confederacy right there. Then the straight shot up from TX to ND, the Western Conservative reliables Utah, ID, AZ, etc. So if they can pick off FL, NC, even PA...

Every voter from Dwight Eisenhower all the way to the Left of Cornell West should be thinking hard about slagging on our current President, when they consider the relentless sales job that's coming like a storm:

Compelling stuff. Wonder if the truth with be able to get out, if it'll get beaten down, or if everyone will know:

And that's not the worst of it. A rising tide of evangelical voters as tool of the oligarchy. Being sold by a folksy swaggernaut from Texas who likes executions.

Sound familiar?

Friday, August 12, 2011

Iowa Crazy

Another GOP Presidential debate, on the eve of the non-binding Iowa Straw Poll (it's not even the Caucus) and the entry of Texas hard-right religious conservative Republican Rick Perry into the nomination race.

This group - Romney, Bachmann, Pawlety, Gingrich, Paul, Santorum, Cain and (premiere debate appearance by) Huntsman - are so out in right field that the non-Fox cable news networks are all just outright calling them crazy. The only thing that holds that party together, all the different constituencies, is Grover Norquist, quite and accomplishment. No new taxes, less taxes, no taxes. One way ticket. To hell. Even when offered the hypothetical of 10:1 cuts:taxes increases, by a show of hands not a one of them, not even someone supposedly "moderate" like John Huntsman, would take the deal. Because the Republican Party completely is i-n-s-a-n-e:

Dangerous people. It's time to state as a fact that the Republican Party as it now stands is hellbent on destroying what's left of the social fabric of America through their very staunchness on social issues and, more importantly, taxes. They are fine with letting the wealthy get it all. And, historically, it is when the selfishness of elites hits critical mass that great states spiral into decline. It doesn't have to be that way...but it is.

This crew is so crazy that the Democrats sent out a mass email tonight telling everyone to watch the debate. It's that terrifying. Not a single one would raise a penny of taxes on or cut tax breaks for the rich. Even though America wants Congress to tax the rich.

In the sane world, Obama has pivoted to jobs, and is asking the nation to call their Congressional Representative to do so as well.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Just Sayin'

When the GoOPers say that Obama's contributed more to the national debt than any other President, show them this:

Per Ezra Klein (source of the chart):
What’s also important, but not evident, on this chart is that Obama’s major expenses were temporary — the stimulus is over now — while Bush’s were, effectively, recurring. The Bush tax cuts didn’t just lower revenue for 10 years. It’s clear now that they lowered it indefinitely, which means this chart is understating their true cost. Similarly, the Medicare drug benefit is costing money on perpetuity, not just for two or three years. And Boehner, Ryan and others voted for these laws and, in some cases, helped to craft and pass them.
Yep, George W. Bush...still the worst President in my lifetime.

The gift that keeps on giving.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Polls and Elections

The GOP polls lower than ever in the history of the CNN poll, i.e. since 1992. President Obama sees a surge against the "generic Republican candidate."

And in Wisconsin, the recall election meant to oust GOP control falls short.

Monday, August 08, 2011

London's Burning

London calling to the faraway towns
Now that war is declared-and battle come down
London calling to the underworld
Come out of the cupboard, all you boys and girls
- "London Calling" by The Clash
The boys and girls have emerged. It's insane over there right now:
The rioting and looting that convulsed poorer sections of London over the weekend spread Monday to at least eight new districts in the metropolitan area and broke out for the first time in Britain’s second-largest city, Birmingham, in what was developing into the worst outbreak of social unrest in Britain in 25 years.

By early Tuesday, unrest was also reported by the police in two other major cities, Liverpool and Bristol, and an enormous fire was consuming a large warehouse in the Enfield section of London.

Prime Minister David Cameron, apparently caught off guard while on vacation with his family in Tuscany, reversed an earlier decision not to cut short his holiday in the face of plunging world financial markets and boarded a plane for home to lead a cabinet-level meeting on Tuesday to deal with the turmoil.

The tragedy here is to the shopowners whose businesses have been looted and torched, the workers who won't be able to go back to work in the ashen shells, the inevitable loss of life I expect we'll hear about soon. Lives ruined by asshole rioters taking advantage of a bad situation and making it worse.

On the other hand, what sparked this massive convulsion of rioting?

This started on Saturday after the protest about a police shooting of a man called Mark Duggan. People were upset with the shooting but the rioting was unneccessary but not surprising as things have been brewing for months.

The areas of the original riots are areas most affected by cuts to services. Young people have seen their benefits cut, they have seen this conservative government remove funds they need to get to school and college, they have seen a 75% cut in services which were used to find them employment and they have been treated with disregard and contempt both by government and by a media who has written most of them off. But that was three nights ago.

Since then we have had opportunists destroying the livelihoods of hard working people in the area they live. Real small businesses and peoples houses have been destroyed and those people have lost everything. The people who have done this don't care because they have nothing in their lives be it parents or authority figures who they really respect.

They cannot respect the police.

They may not follow things closely but they do know that the police had been taking money from newspapers and that the top two policemen in London have resigned. They know the police think of them as scum and they think the same of the police. This is the police who got away with killing an unarmed man in an underground station after lying about it, who have been seen on video assualting people and getting away with it and on thursday shot and killed another member of the public. They know that the IPCC (the Independent Police Complaints Committee) is a toothless useless group and the CPS (Crown Prosecution Service) have been seen to be reluctant to prosecute police for their crimes. What reason would they have for respecting that?

They cannot respect the politicians.

Local MP's can try their best but the people who made the decision to cut their services, to call them layabouts, and restrict their chances to change their circumstances have no link to the community they live in. They have seen politicians sent to prison for claiming expenses. They have a conservative government and the cabinet consists mainly of millionaires who's main policy is to enrich their banker backers in the city and give tax breaks to their friends which is paid for on the backs of the poor. Why would they respect them?

Eerily reminiscent of the LA riots two decades ago. And there's unrest in Israel as well -- only it's not violent:

Add up the estimates of 300,000 in Tel Aviv and 30,000 in Jerusalem and more elsewhere and you come to this startling idea: one out of every 20 Israelis was on the streets demanding a better country Saturday night – the equivalent of three million people in France, four million in Egypt, 15 million in the United States. And those comparisons themselves shatter, because, as Ma’ariv’s NRG site reported, the police couldn’t possibly keep track of the crowd that broke down gates and overflowed into alleys and side streets. Or as a police source told the paper: “This is the biggest demonstration we’ve ever, ever faced. We’re seeing hundreds of cars that have simply been left on the Ayalon Freeway and people are walking to the demonstration.” And that’s besides the people who couldn’t get on the overpacked trains to Tel Aviv.

You know, I honestly do think something is happening here. I honestly do think that people have discovered something in themselves and in the faces next to them that they thought they’d lost, that they were sure they’d merely dreamed and gotten over in the morning while trying to get to work. I think that any reporting of what’s happening in Israel that doesn’t include the shocked reborn ebullience of the crowd has missed something. I’ve been in many angry demonstrations, more than I can count or remember. I can’t remember being in a crowd of people so happy.
You think it can't happen here? With austerity on the menu in the U.S., and the inability to TAX THE RICH due to the teabagger/Norquist/Club for Growth takeover of the GOP, something's got to give. Since I'm skeptical that the Tea Party Downgrade will lead to changing any tea-brains, I expect inchoate rage to rear up before long.

Not the good kind of protest. Not now.

Not at this time of mounting global unrest.

Sunday, August 07, 2011

Presenting The Tea-cession

Here's the actual passage from the S&P downgrade announcement:
Compared with previous projections, our revised base case scenario now assumes that the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts, due to expire by the end of 2012, remain in place. We have changed our assumption on this because the majority of Republicans in Congress continue to resist any measure that would raise revenues, a position we believe Congress reinforced by passing the act.
Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) said it best himself today:

"I believe this is without question the Tea Party downgrade," he said. "This is the Tea Party downgrade because a minority of people in the House of Representatives countered the will of even many of Republicans in the United States Senate who were prepared to do a bigger deal."

Kerry intimated that the "grand bargain" that President Obama initially negotiated with House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), a package of larger spending cuts and revenue increases, was scuttled by a smaller group of Republicans who were unwilling to negotiate at any cost.

"There were some people in the Republican party - and Mitch McConnell even admitted this - who wanted to default," Kerry said. "He said there were people in his party who were willing to shoot the hostage. In the end they found that the hostage was worth ransoming."

The meme is spreading: It's The Tea Party Downgrade. Next comes the Tea Party Recession, hopefully not Tea Party Depression.

Thank you, Tea Party. For revealing that you're willing to send America back into a deeper recession that will likely take longer to get out of -- watch those interest rates this week -- all because of your inflexible anti-taxation ideology.

Let's see how much support they have after the pension funds get hit.

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Still the Winner

According to the new NY Times/CBS News poll, the whole debt ceiling crisis, where for the first time a political party (starts with "R") used the full faith and credit of the United States of America as a bargaining chip, that same party is the l-o-s-e-r in public opinion:

More than four out of five people surveyed said that the recent debt-ceiling debate was more about gaining political advantage than about doing what is best for the country. Nearly three-quarters said that the debate had harmed the image of the United States in the world.

Republicans in Congress shoulder more of the blame for the difficulties in reaching a debt-ceiling agreement than President Obama and the Democrats, the poll found.

The Republicans compromised too little, a majority of those polled said. All told, 72 percent disapproved of the way Republicans in Congress handled the negotiations, while 66 percent disapproved of the way Democrats in Congress handled negotiations.

The public was more evenly divided about how Mr. Obama handled the debt ceiling negotiations: 47 percent disapproved and 46 percent approved.

The public’s opinion of the Tea Party movement has soured in the wake of the debt-ceiling debate. The Tea Party is now viewed unfavorably by 40 percent of the public and favorably by just 20 percent, according to the poll. In mid-April 29 percent of those polled viewed the movement unfavorably, while 26 percent viewed it favorably. And 43 percent of Americans now think the Tea Party has too much influence on the Republican Party, up from 27 percent in mid-April.

And the public is smart enough to know that jobs, not deficits, are the problem to be solved:
But with the nation’s unemployment rate at a stubborn 9.2 percent, 62 percent of those polled said that creating jobs should be the priority.

“Cutting spending is important, but getting people back to work is more important,” said Diane Sherrell, 56, a Republican from Erwin, N.C. “If people are working, they are more productive. There is less crime, there is less depression, there is less divorce. There are less hospital and medical bills. If you put people back to work, you are cutting spending.”

Stanley Oland, 62, a Republican from Kalispell, Mont., said that the government needed new jobs to generate the economic activity and the revenue it requires.

“That revenue supports the basic foundation for the economy, creates more jobs and stimulates the economy,” he said. “Unless you have working people you don’t have revenue from taxes. If you cut spending, jobs will be eliminated and you won’t get any revenue. Every dollar spent creates jobs.”

Yep, they know that Obama's still digging out of the guano pile created by President Cheney/Bush's tax cuts, unfunded wars and mandates. There's one message that, I contend, can resonate today over all others:

Tax. The. Rich.

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

More Hostage Taking

If someone dies over the next month due to a failed FAA safety inspection, you have your Republican Congress to thank, once again:

Earlier Wednesday, Democrats decried what they saw as Republican "hostage-taking" -- since the situation had forced 4,000 agency employees out of work and airport safety inspectors to continue working without pay.

Democrats blame Republicans for the partial FAA shutdown, accusing them of reneging on their promise to put Americans back to work because the stand-off has prevented tens of thousands of construction workers to continue building airport projects.

"The FAA is in limbo. Airports are the economic engine of the small communities around the country, and that economic engine is now stuck in neutral," Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) told reporters Wednesday. "Under the cover of the debt ceiling crisis, they are holding these aviation workers hostage until they get everything they want...they have taken brinksmanship again one step too far."

If the FAA impasse continues through Labor Day, the IRS stands to lose an estimated $1 billion in tax revenues on airline ticket sales because when the FAA financing expired last month the agency lost its ability to collect the taxes.

Looks like the GOP is -- again -- unionbusting:
The dispute centers on the House GOP’s insistence that the reauthorization of the FAA make it harder for unions to organize. The House passed an FAA reauthorization bill that would reverse an earlier policy that would allow union efforts to organize airlines to be decided by simple majority vote. Unions have pressed Democrats hard not to pass the House bill, and so far, they have agreed; this, plus other sticking points, led to the impasse over reauthorization.
A big GOP favor for Delta Air Lines?:

Delta, one of the few large airlines that is largely nonunion, has beaten back recent efforts by the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers to organize 13,000 Delta baggage handlers and other fleet service workers and 15,000 ticket agents and other passenger service workers. In November, the Association of Flight Attendants failed in its effort to be recognized as the union representing 20,000 flight attendants at Delta.

That effort failed even though the National Mediation Board, which oversees airline and railroad labor matters, a few months earlier changed a 76-year-old rule, making it easier for unions to win a representation election. Under the old rule, workers who did not vote were counted as “no” votes; under the new rule, only those casting ballots count.


Delta has spent $1.6 million this year lobbying on airline issues, including a bill that includes a Republican-proposed change in the voting rule. Gina Laughlin, a Delta spokeswoman, said in a telephone interview, “We’ve been consistent in our opposition to the rule change since it was proposed back in 2009.” She noted that JetBlue, SkyWest and FedEx have also opposed the rule change.

Good luck, all of you who are flying this summer.

Just be sure to pack your own parachute.


Have you addictive site, Awesome People Hanging Out Together? It goes like this:

(Patti & Robert!)

and this:

(Walt & Sophia!)

Also in awesomeness, Matt Damon. Best last line ever:

His mother's a teacher and he's right about the economics:

"I'm so disgusted," he told a reporter about the protracted negotiations. "I mean, no, I don't know what you do in the face of that kind of intransigence. So, my heart does go out to the President. He is dealing with a lot."

Still, despite any sympathy, he was furious with the negotiations' outcome, as well as the greater thrust of American economic policy.

"The wealthy are paying less than they paid at ay time else, certainly in my lifetime, and probably in the last century," Damon said. "I don't know what we were paying in the roaring 20's; it's criminal that so little is asked of people who are getting so much. I don't mind paying more. I really don't mind paying more taxes. I'd rather pay for taxes than cut 'Reading is Fundamental' or Head Start or some of these programs that are really helping kids. This is the greatest country in the world; is it really that much worse if you pay 6% more in taxes? Give me a break. Look at what you get for it: you get to be American."

When asked whether he thought tax cuts helped create jobs, he was more than clear in his belief that they do not, and struck again on the inequality in the nation.

"I didn't go start a small business with my tax break, and I don't know anyone else who did. No, everybody's socking their money away," he said. "I was against those tax cuts. I thought they were ridiculous. So little is asked of the upper class anyway. I mean, what percent of them or their kids are fighting in any of these wars? What percent of their day is occupied by the fact that there are men and women in positions over the world, risking their lives. If you walk down 5th Avenue, there's no sense of shared sacrifice."

I wonder if he ever thinks about running for office. I'd vote for him, Affleck as well.