Sunday, July 31, 2011

Headlines - Sunday July 31

h/t Dick:
The reward for being a total douchenozzle in the Newscorp organization.
Today's history lesson.
Question of the day: Is Lady Gaga Orly Taitz in drag?
Andy Borowitz: "Bin Laden died before he could destroy the US economy. But fortunately for him, the Tea Party lives on."
Fox News Reports: Obama Starting to Wonder Why He Moved to U.S.
President Nostalgic for Land of Birth, Fox Says

WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report) – According to the Fox News Channel, President Barack Obama is so weary of the debt ceiling stalemate in Congress that he is beginning to wonder why he moved to the United States in the first place.

Fox News anchor Shepard Smith broke the story today, reporting that "sources close to the President say he's increasingly nostalgic for the land of his birth."

"To someone like President Obama, this wrangling in Congress must seem very foreign," said Mr. Smith.  "In Kenya, debt ceilings are raised automatically by the village elders, who then celebrate with a ceremonial feast of cabbage, mangoes and goat."

While Mr. Smith stopped short of saying that Mr. Obama planed to leave Washington and return to his native Kenya, "his birth certificate does allow him to return at any time he sees fit."

"As he sees Congress push the United States ever closer to default, who can blame Mr. Obama for longing for simpler times, roaming free on the savanna?" Mr. Smith reported.

In other debt ceiling news, by unanimous vote the House of Representatives passed a bill raising Speaker of the House John Boehner's medication.

As for the debt ceiling negotiations, they are "right on schedule," according to the ancient Mayans.

I sent the above to the only wingnut I know. This is her exact reply:

"Well, I sure have no idea about that ... but I do know that Shepard Smith is the most liberal person on FOX who has his own program.  I understand he is "tight" with a lot of lefties.  It is rumored that he is GAY, along with CNN's Anderson Cooper.  I think Anderson might be ... but I'm not so sure about Smith .... but it really doesn't matter one way or another.  They are both liberal is all I know."

Is it any wonder this country is f***ed?


Andrew Sullivan: Aiming for impeachment?
They did the last Democratic president; and they feel even more strongly that this one is illegitimate, despite his thumping majority in the last election. Here's the scenario. The House GOP pushes for  completely unserious Boehner plan (including a balanced budget amendment) that they know will be vetoed; they then filibuster the Reid plan in the Senate, forcing Obama to invoke a 14th Amendment executive prerogative, which they will then turn around and impeach him for.
Far-fetched? I hope so. But every time you think you have reached the end of Republican extremism, they manage to move further out of the solar system. But it will take a huge effort by the propaganda machine on the right to make Obama's decision not to default his fault, rather than the GOP's. At this point, if the Reid plan cannot make it through the Senate on time or through the House at all, I'm beginning to believe that Obama should invoke this controversial power, given the extreme danger the stalemate is creating for both the US and the global economy, and challenge the courts to reverse it.
I suspect it would be popular among Independents. And allow Obama to regain the initiative over events dictated by a single faction in one party in one chamber whose fanaticism is only matched by their irresponsibility.
Pamela Geller's edits: Instructive, I'd say.
I think something we need to work on in the next election cycle is figuring out to make it clear to the American electorate that the Republican Party isn't just in denial about climate change, they actually oppose anything that would reduce our consumption of fossil fuel products. That's why, for example, Rep. Darrell Issa, the chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, is going to investigate the negotiations between automakers and the administration that resulted in new strict fuel economy standards.

Issa sent out letters to executives of the country's major automakers Friday alerting them to the investigation and requesting that they keep all documents related to meetings with administration officials on the standards.

In the letters, which were obtained by The Hill, Issa says the administration's efforts to negotiate the fuel economy standards "raise serious concerns." The new rules, which were announced Friday by President Obama, will also limit consumer choice, Issa says.

"I am concerned about the agreements lack of transparency, the failure to conduct an open rulemaking process, as well as the potential for vehicle cost increases on consumers, and negative impact on American jobs," the letters say.

Mind you, this is an agreement the automakers signed off on. It would require vehicles to average 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025. That would save consumers almost 2 trillion dollars in gasoline costs, preserve 12 billion barrels of oil, and reduce carbon dioxide in the atmosphere by 6 billion metric tons. The average consumer would save over $8,000 on a new car bought in 2025 compared to a car bought today.

But, for Republicans, this means less profit for oil companies and so we must have investigations.

While nice, it's a little too little and a little too late. Several years ago, IPCC scientists urged that we should make very serious changes before 2012 or else the climate crisis would be unavoidable. Yet several months out from that deadline, we're not even close.

More death threats from religious folks
Mullen: Surge in Afghan violence expected
Iraq 'Less Safe Than a Year Ago': US Watchdog
4,474 soldiers killed in Iraq - 104 since our antiwar president took over
1,680 soldiers killed in Afghanistan - 733 since we voted for hope.

Income tax rates for the top brackets from 1913 to 2008. As you can see, the rich are being soaked.


Time to Reset Our Moral Compass


We Got Numbers - Well, nobody doesn't like SaraLee, and it seems few people like President Carebear. His poll numbers have dropped to the lowest point of his career and are hovering around 40%. Maybe if he, oh, I dunno, promised to NOT CUT THE SAFETY NET?! (Gallup)


Kelly Thomas, a 37-year-old homeless schizophrenic, is shown on the left, after his confrontation with Fullerton California police officers, and on the right before his brutalization. He was taken to UC Irvine Medical Center in Orange County in critical condition on life-support and died five days later. Kelly was unarmed, had a slight build, and of medium height. Continue reading 'Five Fullerton Cops Beat Homeless Man To Death'


Jon Stewart at his best.


It's a common claim from the Right, but it's not true. Senator John Cornyn (R-Texas), in a Senate floor speech,  claimed "Fifty-one percent — that is, a majority of American households — paid no income tax in 2009. Zero. Zip. Nada." At least he used the often omitted "income" adjective. However, those individuals still pay payroll taxes, like Social Security and Medicare, sales taxes, and often property taxes. Continue reading 'Half Of Americans Don't Pay Any Taxes'


As predicted, the House rejects Reid plan

They decided to take it up as a "suspension vote" to prove it won't pass.

WASHINGTON — With just three days left until the country is set to begin defaulting on its debt, the House rejected a debt proposal by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) on Saturday — a move Republicans designed purely for theatrics to show the bill lacked the votes to pass.

The bill was rejected by a vote of 173 to 246. Eleven Democrats joined all of the House Republicans in opposing Reid's bill. The defecting Democrats included Reps. John Barrow (Ga.), Dan Boren (Okla.), Bruce Braley (Iowa), David Loebsack (Iowa), Jim Matheson (Utah), Mike McIntyre (N.C.), Collin Peterson (Minn.), Mike Ross (Ark.), Kurt Schrader (Ore.), Peter Visclosky (Ind.) and David Wu (Ore.).

What the hell kind of deal will pass both the House, the Senate and the White House at this point? None shall pass.


Trickle-Down Economics, Rich Uncle Pennybags, the Debt Ceiling Debate, and You…in 15 minutes


Budget stalemate gives airlines huge tax bonus, so they increased fares


Mitch McConnell went to the WH to discuss a deal - which resembled the bill that Mr. Boehner won approval for in the House on Friday more than it did the one that Mr. Reid had proposed.


ProPublica has a good comprehensive piece on why parts of the FAA are shut down:

Thousands of public sector workers on furlough, thousands of private-sector construction workers laid off, and this congressional campaign to destroy labor unions is costing us all 30 million dollars a day.


Dana Milbank had a solid column up Friday about the slow political death spiral of Orange John and his surrender to the nutter nihilists. This framing of his political future seems spot on:

"Get your ass in line," Speaker John Boehner had told House Republicans who resisted his plan to raise the debt ceiling and avoid a default.

But really, it was Boehner's butt that was on the line — and late Thursday night, he had it handed to him.

For his six-month-old speakership, it was a grievous if not mortal wound. The legislation under consideration was fairly pointless — a solution to a self-inflicted crisis that faced certain defeat in the Senate — but Boehner made it into a test of his leadership. And rank-and-file Republicans returned a vote of no confidence.

Mostly Dead seems like a generous description of the weakest Speaker of the House in the Modern Era.


Jill: Politico uses the "T" word


Michele Bachmann is even more craven and evil than she is stupid -- and that's a high bar to clear. "During an appearance this afternoon at the National Press Club, Bachmann gave a highly ironic defense of her use of federal home loans: MODERATOR: I got a lot of questions from people asking is it fair for you to call for dismantling federal programs you ultimately have been a beneficiary of? So in terms of guaranteeing home mortgages, do you think the federal government has a role in that...? ... BACHMANN: Now unlike all of you, who I'm sure pay cash for your homes, there are people out there like myself who actually have to go to a bank and get a mortgage. And this is the problem. It's almost impossible to buy a home in this country today without the federal government being involved. Whether it is with the FHA, whether it's with Fannie, whether it's with Freddie, it's almost impossible to buy a home...What's important is that we do dismantle a number of these federal programs that everyone agrees are clearly out of control." (So only Gods Chosen Wingnuts deserve to own homes, Michele?)


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