Sunday, February 28, 2010

Headlines - Sunday

h/t Dick

Thank you, Senator Bunning for missing a basketball game to single-handedly hold up a 30-day extension of unemployment and health benefits to millions of Americans because you were "trying to make a point to the people of the United States" (which, apparently, is "tough shit").

You sir, are a douchebag. 

'I'm trying to make a point to the people of the United States and it's this: tough shit!'
Funny how Jim Bunning didn't care about deficits when he introduced a bill authorizing George W. Bush to invade Iraq based on a bunch of trumped-up horseshit. He didn't care about deficits when voting for the Bush tax cuts. But when it comes to help for Americans who need it, he's on the wrong side every single time:
* 2005 -- Voted WITH the credit-card industry on the bankruptcy bill.

* 2005 -- Voted WITH oil companies by giving them more tax breaks.

* 2006 -- Voted FOR higher deficits by extending the Bush Tax Cuts.

* 2007 -- Voted AGAINST children by opposing S-CHIP.

* 2008 -- Voted AGAINST helping people facing foreclosure.

* 2009 -- Voted AGAINST women by opposing the Ledbetter Act.

* 2009 -- Voted AGAINST children again by opposing S-CHIP.

* 2010 -- Voted AGAINST reducing the debt by opposing the Debt Commission.

Kentucky, the state which for some bizarre reason sends this guy back to the Senate every six years, has the 4th lowest per capita income. Only Mississippi, West Virginia, and Arkansas are worse off. More than one in ten Kentucky workers is unemployed. And yet Jim Bunning opposes help for his own constituents (if you want to assume that the citizens of Kentucky are still his constituents, which is doubtful).

the New York Times noted yesterday, Bunning didn't care about the impact of unemployment compensation on deficits while George W. Bush was in the White House. His "come to Jesus" moment on deficits seems to have miraculously coincided with the inauguration of a Democratic President:
Senator Bunning once cared about the unemployed. When the benefit was due to expire in November, he joined a unanimous vote to extend it until the end of February. "Kentucky has been hit hard by the current economic downturn," he said at the time. It still is, but Mr. Bunning refused to consider the extension unless it was paid for with funds from the fiscal stimulus plan. For years, Mr. Bunning didn't seem to have a problem with blowing up the deficit for the Iraq war and tax cuts. Now he's a deficit hawk when it comes to average Americans.

This is the cancer that has infected the Republican Party. For them ideology trumps everything. If it takes destroying the country to regain power, they're perfectly willing to do so, even if what they end up presiding over is a hollowed-out, burnt-out shell of a nation. It's ALL about ideology. It's ALL about power.

Once a government official becomes entrenched, he controls his own message, because voters simply do not pay attention to what their so-called representatives in Washington are actually doing. We can shrug our shoulders at the Kentuckyans who seem to think that electing someone who votes against their interests every time won't be relevant once they get invited into the Club of the Rich that Ronnie Reagan told them they could get into if they Just Work Hard Enough (never noting that most of those in the Club of the Rich got there through inherited money or by being nothing but middlemen), or at the New Jerseyans who still think they're voting for Marge Roukema even though it says "Scott Garrett" on the ballot -- except that their delusion affects us all.
Money for killing foreigners, but none for us. 
Look Who Took Money From Toyota - by Leonard Pitts Jr.

We the people.

Those are, of course, the first words of the preamble to the U.S. Constitution. ``We the people of the United States . . .''

It doesn't say anything about corporations.

So count me among those mystified by January's Supreme Court decision to sweep away decades of established law limiting the amount of money corporations can inject into political campaigns. The court ruled, 5-4, that corporations enjoy the same right to free speech as persons do. Speech being defined as writing large checks to political candidates.

The ruling raised the very real specter that our next president will be sponsored, not elected -- a chilling prospect to those of us who already wondered how a legislator beholden to a corporation for his office can be truly expected to put the people first.

This week's congressional hearings only heighten the concern. Lawmakers are investigating the recent recalls over safety defects that have besmirched the reputation of the Toyota company. We are indebted to The Washington Post for publishing an analysis of legislators' financial ties to the automaker. It turns out, according to The Post, that of the 125 members of Congress on the committees investigating Toyota, over 40 percent have accepted campaign donations totaling $135,673 from the company in the last 10 years.

Keep reading:


Keep it classy, NY Post!

Ha, that's funny! Get it? SEE YA? Blind governor?


Teh Cuda to headline NRA meeting as aide quits

SportingclaysPalin This is a natural, of course. The moose-huntin', duck-shootin', he-woman of the deep Alaska wilderness (or as HuffPost's Paul Slansky would have it, this "preternaturally ignorant, demagogic harpy whose entire platform turned out to be unearned umbrage") fits the gun-totin' brain eaters org like a surgical glove at a procto exam. 

"Governor Palin is one of the most requested speakers in America today," Wayne LaPierre, NRA's executive director, told CNN. "She's an outdoorsman, hunter and a steadfast supporter of our Second Amendment freedom. We are pleased to have a fellow NRA member speak at our 139th annual meeting in Charlotte this May."

Keep reading:


When Glenn Richardson stepped down as speaker of the Georgia House in a sex scandal with a lobbyist, it was widely denounced as another politician who ran on "family-values" while living la vida loca. Voters of Paulding Country, however, quickly replaced him with another Republican running on family values, Rep. Daniel Stout. Stout, however, may be a bit too close to family: he was divorced 10 years ago after his wife accused him of having an affair with her mother while she was pregnant with his child.


Saudi cleric defends marriage of 9-year old girl and blasts human rights treaties as the work of atheists and fornicators. 


A study from the London School of Economics and Political Science has concluded that folks who identity themselves as liberals and atheists tend to have a slightly higher IQ than the general population. A higher IQ is also predictive of "sexual exclusivity" among men, but not women.



The Goalposts of Misery Keep Moving

Not long ago a sustained unemployment rate of 8% would have been deemed horrifying and unacceptable, and one can be dammed sure that if a Republican president tried to sustain it as part of normal reality the liberal netroots would be constantly up in arms about it, official logos made for the opposition groups that would spring up winking on websites everywhere. Yet with this Democratic President Obama here we are at a steady 10%, oh well, liberal, suck on it, we've got a Republican worried about inflation to get appointed to the Fed.1

With leadership like this one imagines a 15% rate before Democratic President Obama would eventually decide a crisis really had arrived for the little people, why, maybe $600 billion annually for Defense and a war in Afghanistan could be a bad idea in times like these. Ya think? The saintly Atrios thinks the unemployment metric is useless, it means nothing to these people, and he's certainly got a point, everyone knows the best way to make an American administration skip those $4,000 a night Hawaii vacations to get the job done is to have a stock market crash. Or a big bank failure.


Climate change denialists = climate change liars

The denialists are at it again in the comments, parroting the latest lie.

UEA CRU's Dr Phil Jones agrees there has been no statistically significant global warming since 1995.

Wow. You'd think they'd realize that twisting the words of a scientist around 180° from what they actually said is a very bad strategy — it would be like trying to claim that I'd decided evolution was false. This is no exception. Deltoid has a wonderfully clear quote:

This led to a Daily Mail headline reading: "Climategate U-turn as scientist at centre of row admits: There has been no global warming since 1995."

Since I've advocated a more explicit use of the word "lie", I'll go ahead and follow my own advice: that Daily Mail headline is a lie. Phil Jones did not say there had been no global warming since 1995; he said the opposite. He said the world had been warming at 0.12°C per decade since 1995. However, over that time frame, he could not quite rule out at the traditional 95% confidence level that the warming since 1995 had not been a random fluke.

Anyone who has even a passing high-school familiarity with statistics should understand the difference between these two statements. At a longer time interval, say 30 or 50 or 100 years, Mr Jones could obviously demonstrate that global warming is a statistically significant trend. In the interview he stated that the warming since 1975 is statistically significant. Everyone, even climate-change sceptics, agrees that the earth has experienced a warming trend since the late 19th century. But if you take any short sample out of that trend (say, 1930-45 or 1960-75), you might not be able to guarantee that the particular warming observed in those years was not a statistical fluke. This is a simple truth about statistics: if you measure just ten children, the relationship between age and height might be a fluke. But obviously the fact remains that older children tend to be taller than younger ones, and if you measure 100 of them, you'll find the relationship quite statistically significant indeed.

What's truly infuriating about this episode of journalistic malpractice is that, once again, it illustrates the reasons why the East Anglia scientists adopted an adversarial attitude towards information management with regard to outsiders and the media. They were afraid that any data they allowed to be characterised by non-climate scientists would be vulnerable to propagandistic distortion. And they were right.





BREAKING! Robertson claims "God even angrier with Chile than Haiti"

Citing what he described as the "the persecution of a great hero who rid their land of Godless communists" as a possible cause, prominent TV evangelist and amateur seismologist Pat Robertson today argued that the 8.8 magnitude of the earthquake that struck Chile early this morning should serve as a warning to the population that "God is even angrier with them than he is with the people of Haiti."

Keep reading:



Hmmmmm. There's a story brewing about some shady dealings with Big Oil and SarahPac over at Palingates. Sarah's old Twitter account "AKGovSarahPalin" has been deleted, but after she resigned, Palingates made a complete PDF-copy of it.

And get yourself a Sarah Palin bobblehead doll while they last.

Bobbles McDingBat is already a bobblehead, so the doll is anatomically correct.



Great. After already having compromised THREE TIMES Obama is ready to compromise on health care reform AGAIN with the GOP if they are serious.

I want a president that isn't a pussy.

And speaking of pussies:

At the NAACP Image Awards on Friday night, a former special adviser to President Obama turned the other cheek to Glenn Beck.

The adviser, Van Jones, has long been criticized by the popular Fox News talk show host, who called him a "communist-anarchist radical," among other things. Beck's attacks are widely believed to have been at least partly responsible for Jones' removal from his post with the Obama administration.

"Last thing I want to say is this: To my fellow countryman, Mr. Glenn Beck. I see you, and I love you, brother. I love you, and you cannot do anything about it. I love you, and you cannot do anything about it. Let's be one country! Let's be one country! Let's get the job done!"


"....Germany has atoned. Young Germans know of their nation's dreadful crimes. But young Japanese are taught nothing of their nation's guilt."

A horrendous story from the BBC of one man's tale of being a prisoner of war during WWII in Asia. Horrific.


Republicon Rep. Trent Franks: 'African Americans were better off under slavery."

Meanwhile, Republicon Steve King sings the praises of lobbyists.


Hate-filled Right wing slams White House for meeting with atheist 'hate groups'

Officials from the Justice and Health and Human Services departments (not President Obama) met Friday with representatives of the Secular Coalition for America, an umbrella group that includes American Atheists and the Council for Secular Humanism.

"It is one thing for Administration to meet with groups of varying viewpoints, but it is quite another for a senior official to sit down with activists representing some of the most hate-filled, anti-religious groups in the nation," said Council Nedd, chairman of the religious advocacy group In God We Trust.

Since when are ethical humanists a hate group? Could you die? Is this not hilarious?



The Wingnuts have got their panties all bunched up over the new logo from the Pentagon's Missile Defense folks:

It seems they think it looks like a mashup of the Obama Campaign logo and the Islamic crescent.

Apparently the design work was done in 2007 and 2008, under the last president. But that's not stopped the Wingnut Noise Machine before, and it won't this time.

Charles Pierce is just as thrilled to read the praises of Newt Gingrich as I am…

I think that the Parson Meacham over at Newsweek may have set the Sucking Up To Vicious Idiots bar so high that in response, Time may blow out an ACL trying to get over it. How else to explain publishing, this brimming swine-trough of lies, phony history, pious nonsense, and disingenuous twaddle promoted by the single most duplicitous piece of pond-scum ever to be burped up along the Potomac? Newt Gingrich on the blessings of bipartisanship? Why not Newt Gingrich on how to support your wives in time of illness? There has to have been someone in the upper echelons of Time who said, "Look, folks, before we all go get lunch at 21, how's about we talk again about printing something that is the exact equivalent of publishing a treatise on thoracic surgery written by Charlie Manson?"

Was everybody there drunk? Stoned? Out of town early for the weekend?

The persistence of the notion of Newt Gingrich, Political Genius, or of Newt Gingrich, Transformational Figure—or, in fact, any notion save that of Newt Gingrich, Opportunistic Hack–is going to puzzle scholars for centuries. Anyway, here's a little something from last week, proving that he's still a blight and that Time needs editors who aren't so easily conned out of their money.

Cosmologist Sean Carroll gives an entertaining and thought-provoking talk about the nature of time, the origin of entropy, and how what happened before the Big Bang might be responsible for the arrow of time we observe today. (Don't miss Part 2 of this talk)


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