Stories to Watch: 9/20/11
The zucchini pancakes were great, but I had to make a whole passel to use one zucchini up. So now I have a literal pile of leftover pancakes in my fridge. This is what’s known as “a problem you want to have.” Now here’s the news…
Today in pot-calls-kettle-black news: Rick Santorum — who once argued that same sex marriage would lead inevitably to man-on-dog sex — claims Rick Perry “ignores reality for ideology.” Bonus fun: the argument’s about a border fence and Perry’s right. Rick’s also really pissed at Google, because he’s a clown and doesn’t know how the internet works.
Speaking of Rick Perry, Public Policy Polling reports he has “an under water approval rating in Texas and he’s leading Barack Obama by a smaller margin than John McCain won the state by in 2008.” It’s probably because they’re angry at all his sponging off the state.
The Georgia Parole Board denies clemency to Troy Davis, despite the fact that many witnesses to the crime he’s accused of committing have recanted, saying they were coerced by police into giving false statements, and nine people have signed affidavits identifying someone else as the shooter by name. The ACLU called the clemency hearing “a sham.”
Screw the Blue Dogs.
Eric Holder says the Obama administration is still going to try to close Gitmo before election day.
Texas Rep. Wayne Christian both spills the beans and demonstrates just how poorly Republicans understand simple English. In talking about the GOP’s attempts to shut down Planned Parenthood, Christian says, “Well of course this is a war on birth control and abortions and everything, that’s what family planning is supposed to be about.” That’s right, Christian’s idea of “family planning” is “Surprise, you’re pregnant!”
Occupy Wall Street has some pretty disturbing video of cops roughing up protesters.
Finally, Michele Bachmann visits a traffic-signal plant in Iowa — one that “thrives on government-funded road projects like those Obama has promoted" — to bitch about how much government spending has hurt the plant. Because she’s smart like that.
Stories to Watch: 9/17/11
Man, does it ever feel like fall today. Now here’s the news…
A horrific crash at a Reno, NV air race kills 3 and injures 50. That death toll is expected to rise, as some of the wounded probably won’t recover.
Although his approvals continue to slip, people like President Obama’s jobs plan.
Michael Gerson brings up a good point; even if you don’t like Rick Perry or the way he ran Texas’s program, HPV vaccinations are almost inarguably a good thing.
And, while we’re on the subject of Perry; he likes to put himself across as a straight-talker, but the fact is that he’s a windsock.
Despite GOP talking points, extending unemployment benefits does not turn people into lazy hobos.
Rick Perry leads Mitt Romney in polling for the GOP nomination. Grain of salt alert: “”For comparison, at a similar stage in the campaign in 2007, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani was the leading choice of Republican primary voters (at 34%), followed by former Tennessee Sen. Fred Thompson (23%).” So, yeah.
Finally, John Boehner gets a primary challenge from a Tea Party/religious right nutjob. Thankfully, David Lewis probably doesn’t stand a chance in hell. I don’t like Boehner at all, but I like the idea of trading bad for worse even less.
Stories to Watch: 9/14/11
Frost warning tonight. Nothing says “summer’s going away” like a frost warning. Cover up your tomatoes, people. Now here’s the news…
A Bloomberg poll finds that voters aren’t very excited about Obama’s jobs plan — 51% are opposed, 41% supportive. Which is weird, because Gallup found people supporting it, 54% - 32%. Likewise, Reuters/Ipsos found that Obama got a little bump from his jobs speech and introduction of the plan. Looks like Bloomberg’s results are being outvoted.
Democrats haven’t been doing well in special elections. Does that spell trouble for President Obama? Nate Silver has bad news.
Louie Gohmert plays the politics of “you snooze, you lose.”
The Pennsylvania GOP tries to game the electoral college to deny Obama a 2012 win.
Rick Perry’s claim that he only got five grand from the company that makes HPV vaccine turns out to be mostly bullshit.
Compare and contrast: Ron Paul’s vision of American healthcare vs. Barack Obama’s.
It’s shit like this, Obama: “According to the Financial Times, President Obama is going to propose cuts of ‘several hundred billion dollars from Medicare and Medicaid,’ when he presents his proposal for deficit reduction next Monday.” It’s a lot easier to win these fights when you don’t start by agreeing that your opponent is right — especially when they aren’t.
Meanwhile, Blue Dogs continue to ignore the fact that they got their asses handed to them in 2010. This time, they’re playing “adult” by siding with the GOP against Obama’s jobs plan. Your path to electoral victory through Republicanism-lite was a huge failure, people. Deal with it.
Finally, here’s a Republican solution to unemployment — import big ol’ Burmese pythons and fabulous wealth will follow. No, really.
Stories to Watch: 9/7/11
Big GOP debate tonight. I, for one, plan to skip it. For one, it’s at the Reagan Library. The last debate there turned into a macabre contest to see who could fit in the dead man’s clothes. Expect “I’m Reagan! No, I’m Reagan!”
For another; all the candidates have basically been in a competition to see who can be the most like the GOP congress. So you know what they’re going to say; tax cuts, regulation, “job creators,” Jesus, wank, wank, wank. I could practically write the transcript right now.
I’ll read about it tomorrow, so I don’t have to suffer through it. Now here’s the news…
Karl Rove thinks Rick Perry’s biggest problem will be the self-inflicted wound caused by his own idiotic book. His views on Social Security, for example, are “toxic in a general election environment and they are also toxic in a Republican primary.”
In way-local news, Wisconsin State Rep. Mark Pocan announces he’ll be running for the congressional seat Tammy Baldwin will leave open to run for the US Senate. Liberal as all get out and strongly supported by labor, he’ll probably win it in a walk.
Al Gore’s not real happy with President Obama right now. He shouldn’t be. And neither should you. Gore writes of the president’s abandonment of EPA guidelines for smog, “Instead of relying on science, President Obama appears to have bowed to pressure from polluters who did not want to bear the cost of implementing new restrictions on their harmful pollution — even though economists have shown that the US economy would benefit from the job creating investments associated with implementing the new technology.”
The Union of Concerned Scientists agrees with Gore — Obama’s move was boneheaded. “This delay is shocking,” says UCS Scientific Integrity Program Director Francesca Grifo. “President Obama’s decision will leave us with a rule that flouts the Clean Air Act and ignores science. They’ve allowed politics to trump science at the expense of the American people’s health.”
Greg Sargent reveals one reason why the right plays the victim card so often. The short version is that the base is gullible, thin-skinned, and easily spooked — which translates into a fundraising bonanza every time someone cooks up some new and imaginary offense, plot, or threat. The long version is even worse.
Erick-Erick is frustrated with Sarah Palin’s coquettery. I’ll bet he’ll even take her poster out of his locker at CNN.
Harry Reid plans to put a clean disaster relief bill up for a vote and dare Senate Republicans to join Eric Cantor in holding Irene victims hostage.
Rep. Allen West continues to be a hateful jackass.
Finally, the GOP will not rebut the president’s jobs speech. “The Republicans’ refusal to respond to the president’s proposal on jobs is not only disrespectful to him, but to the American people,” says Nancy Pelosi.
Stories to Watch: 9/6/11
Hey, how was your Labor Day? Mine involved bratwurst, so it was perfect. Now here’s the news…
Boehner and Cantor want a pre-jobs-speech meeting with the president to “discuss potential areas of bipartisan agreement,” according to Politico. To translate that from Republican into English, they want to make threats, whine, and throw tantrums.
Is Rick Perry using wildfires in Texas to dodge debates? It sure seems that way. I mean, there’s no logistical reason that he has to be in the state, just as there’s no reason he has to be at the sites of the fires themselves. It’s not like he’s out there on the line, pitching in. Although, after what he’s done to the fire departments in Texas, they could probably use the help.
One reason Perry might not be eager to debate; he might be forced to answer questions about why his state has the worst numbers for health insurance coverage in the nation.
This is what happens when you give Republicans everything they demand. Knock it off, Mr. President.
David Brooks continues to suck, be ridiculous.
Ezra Klein talks economy, history, Republicans, stimulus, and “motivated skepticism.” Long story short, Republicans are freakin’ nuts.
Mittens Romney rolls out his own big jobs plan, ahead of President Obama’s speech on the same subject. You already know what’s in it; it’s got “GOP economic mumbo-jumbo” written all over it.
Finally, Dick Cheney is a man who is absolutely flawless in his own mind. In an interview with Wolf Blitzer, Cheney refused to admit to any mistakes at all in his eight years as VP. You know what this means, right? Getting hammered and shooting Harry Whittington in the face? Dick meant to do that.
Stories to Watch: 9/3/11
Pretty dead around here, actually. Nothing much happening. Rained all day. The boredom is palpable. Now here’s the news…
With the Obama White House relatively scandal-free going into 2012, House Republicans are trying their damnedest to cook up a scandal in time.
Meanwhile, President Obama draws back from new regulatory standards for smog — standards that have sound science behind them — in an obvious attempt to win over anti-regulation voters. It’s a fool’s errand; they’re GOP and they’ll hate him no matter what. Worse, he backs up the argument that regulations are bad for business and environment has to take a back seat to polluters. A terrible, terrible decision that I hope will haunt this White House for a very long time.
Supply-side economics fails again: Austerity-minded Europe sinks, while spendthrift Argentina soars.
Meanwhile here at home, the hopeless mush of contradictory economic policies that are the result of compromise does about as well as you’d expect.
How did one Florida sheriff save taxpayers $1 million? By de-privatizing the jail. That’s right, non-profit government can do things cheaper than for-profit corporations. In other words, despite Republicans’ best efforts, math still works.
Paul Krugman seems very irate with Eric Cantor. We should all be very irate with Eric Cantor.
Here’s how employment works; when the numbers head in the right direction, Republicans claim responsibility. When the numbers head in the wrong direction, it’s Obama’s fault.
Finally, S&P is back to giving AAA ratings to subprime mortgages securities. Because that worked out so well the last time.
Republicans Call to Rally the Base, But the Base is a No-Show
Yesterday, the farthest-right congressional Republicans decided it was time to call in the troops. Facing criticism from all sides that they’ve been too extreme, too irresponsible, too unyielding, and too crazy in the debt limit fight, they decided that a show of force was necessary. What they got instead was a sad little metaphor for their own delusions of popularity.
It had all the makings of a big time tea party rally: Presidential candidate Herman Cain, conservative Sens. Jim DeMint of South Carolina, Rand Paul of Kentucky and Mike Lee of Utah all showed up outside the Capitol Wednesday to urge members to “hold the line” against a deficit reduction compromise.
The only thing missing? A big audience.
At the start of the rally, which was organized by the American Grassroots Coalition and Tea Party Express, there were roughly 15 attendees waiting to hear the conservative lawmakers speak. By the time the senators had spoken there were still fewer than 50 tea partiers in attendance.
"My Republican leadership in the House is doing a great job. Imagine having to negotiate with Barack Obama. Imagine having to negotiate with Harry Reid. Give John Boehner, give Eric Cantor all the credit in the world," Rep. Joe Walsh told what, for lack of a better word, I’ll go ahead and call a "crowd," "But embolden them. Let them know that the American people are ready for a real reform. They need your help. We need your help."
It’s a thought, but I really doubt that a few dozen people are going to do the trick.
And this points out one of the problems facing the Tea Party faction in particular and the Republican Party in general — they claim to speak for the American people, but they don’t. There’s a reason why Republicans keep citing the 2010 elections as evidence of what the American people want. And that reason is that, since then, there really hasn’t been a lot of evidence that the people want what Republicans are selling at all. They used to be able to organize huge rallies, but that was really just a fad. When you offer simple solutions to complex problems, it doesn’t take long for people to lose interest in the process. People start talking about debt limit negotiation, whip counts in the House, and the nation’s bond ratings and their eyes glaze over. Turns out it wasn’t so simple after all. Disappointment mixes with sheer boredom and they wander off, their attention spans spent. Because, let’s face it, people who demand simple solutions demand them for a reason. That reason is not that they have the patience for the complexities of reality.
As things stand today, no one is really winning the public opinion war, but Republicans are definitely losing it. Gallup reports that approval for President Obama is at 45%, congressional Democrats at 33%, and congressional Republicans at 28%. Republican populism is missing that whole “popular” part.
Even among Republicans, support for the party is weak. Where 82% of Democrats approve of Obama and 73% approve of dems in congress, only 57% of Republican voters feel the same way about the GOP. So I guess a Tea Party rally with a crowd numbering in the dozens doesn’t come as much of a surprise.
Intended as a show of strength, their rally demonstrated only their weakness.
Stories to Watch: 7/27/11
A lot of things will happen if the US loses our AAA credit rating.None of them are good.
House GOP compare themselves to a street gang beating people up. Not the best PR move ever.
Cranky old Grampa McCain tells the right kids to get off his lawn for once. He rails against the Tea Party and GOP leadership on the Senate floor — which is good — but in the process unfairly maligns hobbits.
Boehner responds all the “rudderless House Republicans” headlines by saying that a lot of Tea Party freshmen want to force a default. Is Boehner really worried about this or is he just using crazy ‘baggers to play “good cop/bad cop?” I honestly don’t know.
16th minute alert: Tea Party rally-goers answer the call to show grassroots opposition to any plan that falls short of ‘bagger purity. How did that go? Not well. “At the start of the rally, which was organized by the American Grassroots Coalition and Tea Party Express, there were roughly 15 attendees waiting to hear… conservative lawmakers speak,” Politico reports. “By the time the senators had spoken there were still fewer than 50 tea partiers in attendance.”
Meanwhile, Sarah Palin is headlining a Tea Party event in Iowa. If you figure the DCs rally and the attendance of Palin’s movie, expect upwards of dozens to attend.
Although the president has ruled it out, House dems call on Obama to invoke the 14th amendment and raise the debt limit on his own.
Finally, think you aren’t going to get enough drama, histrionics, and stupidity out of the debt limit debate? Cheer up, the gas tax renewal is right around the corner… So there’s a another chance for Republicans to run up the deficit, so they can complain about it later.
Stories to Watch: 7/2/11
I had a good time in Milwaukee. It seemed it was a good day to get the hell out of Madison. When we left here, it was hot and muggy and just awful. But Summerfest is right by the lake, so there was a nice breeze and the humidity was barely noticeable. All in all, a good call. Now here’s the news…
At this point in time, Herman Cain is probably not measuring the drapes for the Oval Office. How fickle the ‘baggers are.
In his weekly address, President Obama says we can’t afford tax breaks for “millionaires and billionaires.”
Reports of hacker group LulzSec’s death seem to have been greatly exaggerated.
The Department of Justice just called the Defense Of Marriage Act (DOMA) unconstitutional. This is kind of a big deal.
Mittens backs off his bogus claim that Obama has made the economy worse since Bush. Of course, he lies as he does so; “I didn’t say that things are worse,” Romney claims. Oh, yes you did.
Finally, Ezra Klein points out that the deficit is a problem that, if ignored, really will go away. The fight isn’t about how to eliminate the deficit, the fight is over how to cushion the blow. “We don’t really have a deficit problem. We have a Congress problem,” he writes. “Congress pretends otherwise, because they don’t want to take the blame for the deficit-effects of the legislation they plan to vote for, but that’s the truth of it.”