Tuesday, April 28, 2009
For a while now, Specter has been one of those on-the-fence types of guys that can occasionally be counted on to weigh reason and Republican talking points and come down on the side of reason. Not always, but enough of the time so that he and the two Distinguished Ladies of Maine are the ones with the fullest voice mail inboxes in Washington. Not much point in trying to get James Inhofe to talk about anything. Those three? They're swayable.
Of course, Specter is looking ahead to the next election, in which he was looking like lunchmeat to the Republican Party as they tried to run a right-wing challenger in the primary. So his stated reasons for switching were probably secondary, even if valid. But take it where you find it.
The downside to this? Norm Coleman and his crew are going to fight even harder to delay seating Senator Al Franken. Oy.
The other downside? He just went from being a moderate Republican to being a conservative Democrat. Do we really need another Joe Lieberman to gum up the works? Eh, it beats having another James Inhofe. But it does prevent a more liberal Democrat from maybe unseating him next year. Oh well. We'll take the vote now, thank you.
Welcome aboard, Senator. Please enjoy your stay.
Saturday, April 25, 2009
Thursday, April 23, 2009
Celtics looking old and glum. The usual hirings, firings and trades. But wait, what's this in the Headlines section?
Pens turn to whom? SATAN? Oh no. For shame, Pittsburgh. Is winning really worth your immortal soul?
Okay, okay, I'm probably only about the eight gazillionth person to make fun of this guy's name. Even Yahoo Sports thinks it's funny. Don't believe me? Check out the URL to his profile there. And it's pronounced shuh-TAHN. I guarantee you he will never play for the Devils. That would be just too too much.
Monday, April 20, 2009
On the tenth anniversary of the Columbine massacre, it's a fine idea to contemplate just how much sway the gun lobby holds in our country.
Dionne puts it in some perspective here.
Try to imagine that hundreds or thousands of guns, including assault weapons, were pouring across the Mexican border into Arizona, New Mexico and Southern California, arming criminal gangs who were killing American law enforcement officials and other U.S. citizens.
Then imagine the Mexican president saying, "Well, we would really like to do something about this, but our political system makes helping you very difficult." Wouldn't Mexico's usual critics attack that country's political system for corruption and ineptitude and ask: "Why can't they stop this lawlessness?"
That, in reverse, is the position President Obama was in last week when he visited
Mexico. The Mexican gangs are able to use guns purchased in the United States because of our insanely permissive gun regulations, and Obama had to make [an] unbelievably clotted, apologetic statement at a news conference withMexicanPresident Felipe Calderón.
BO's statement, and more, at the link.
Thursday, April 16, 2009
"The Bush veterans have systematically discovered that every flaw associated in the public mind with their hero turns out to be a defining trait of Obama. I am not a trained psychologist, but some form of projection seems to be at work."
It's way worse than the pot calling the kettle black. It's the pot calling the kettle a pot.
What the hell is this?
Good gravy Marie. Is this really such a problem? That we wear clothing inappropriate to our tasks? Hey, George. Is that tie helping you to write? Dude, maybe we just like the way it looks. Or the way it feels. Or the way it doesn't wear out as quickly as those three-piece suits you wear.
Crikey, if this is your biggest concern then we've got nothing to worry about here in this country. Do we?
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
Here's a photo from Salon's Mike Madden, currently tweeting (hate...that...word) from D.C.'s Lafayette Park, where a bunch of idiots are pretending that returning the marginal tax rate on the very wealthiest Americans to 10% lower than it was during most of Ronald Reagan's presidency is some kind of unprecedented tyrannical socialist crime against America, worthy of not just protest but revolt.
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
Look, in a race this close, it's really impossible to tell who actually won. The margin of error --due to many factors including poorly designed or completed ballots, voter disenfranchisement, clerical errors, etc. -- is higher than the vote differential. It's possible that Coleman won. It's possible that Franken won. But what we really have here is a tie. Of course, someone has to win. And, based on the rules of the State of Minnesota, Franken is the winner.
Remember back on election night when Coleman had a teeny-weeny lead and he declared victory and said Franken should just accept the results? Remember that? Nope. Much more important now to point out the glaring deficiencies in the process that led to the heinous disenfranchisement of Minnesota's voters.
Coleman is technically within his rights to keep pursuing this. But it's pretty obvious at this point that there isn't a case here. He actually lost votes in this last challenge, for crying out loud. Everything was conducted as fairly as possible by all accounts. No one is making accusations of fraud or inconsistency.
Let's be honest. This isn't about trying to get Coleman seated. (Although they'd like that.) All it's about at this point is delaying the day when the Democrats have one more vote in the Senate. Every day they delay Senator Franken being sworn in is a small victory for the Republican'ts.
Thursday, April 9, 2009
He has a terrific piece in today's WaPo about umpires, which I can't recommend highly enough.
The whole thing is great but this particular bit is priceless.
"Sport -- strenuous exertion structured and restrained by rules -- replicates the challenges of political freedom. Umpires, baseball's judicial branch, embody what any society always needs and what America, in its current financial disarray, craves -- regulated striving that, by preventing ordered competition from descending into chaos, enables excellence to prevail."
I'm swooning. Enjoy.
The caller in this clip is a right-leaning, Republican McCain voter who just happens to think that torture is wrong. Oh no! Rush has no idea what to do with the guy. So he calls him names. If, as Olbermann says in the post-video commentary, the litmus test for what makes a good Republican is support for torture then these guys are going to have a long stretch of time in the minority.
How sad is it that we're even debating torture in this country?
Almost everything Limbaugh throws at the listener would apply directly to himself. "You're embarrassing and ludicrous." Project much?
Wednesday, April 8, 2009
- Staunch Libertarian and Conservative Icon George F. Will
- Neoconservative War-monger Robert Kagan
- Neoconservative and Compulsively Wrong William Safire
- Big Flaming War-monger and Israel Apologist Charles Krauthammer
- G.W.Bush Speechwriter Michael Gerson
Will is smart. I like him, but I usually don't agree with him. Kagan and Safire are idiots who continue to act as apologists for the worst failures of the Bush administration and to pretend that hundreds of thousands of dead people and billions of dollars out the door is actually buying us democracy in the Middle East, regardless of what those pesky "facts" might be. Gerson, as noted above, was a Bush speechwriter. Do you need to know anything else?
His column today is a scream. It is positively Rovian in its hypocrisy. As you know, the Rove model is one of pure projection. Whatever is wrong with you, just assert that the other person is the one who has that problem. Then they'll have to fight that charge and it'll never stick to you.
Gerson laments the polarization of today's political culture. The main culprit?
[Wait for it.]
That's right. It wasn't Bush. It wasn't Cheney. It wasn't Tom Delay or Newt Gingrich or Karl Rove himself or any of the talking heads at Fox News or Rush Limbaugh. It was the president.
Here are some fine nuggets of joy from Mr. Gerson.
"Who has been the most polarizing new president of recent times? Richard Nixon? Ronald Reagan? George W. Bush? No, that honor belongs to Barack Obama."
Yes, the man with a 66% approval rating. Not the man who left office with a 28% approval rating. Gerson offers some statistics to back his claim up, but they demonstrate the way the culture has changed, not anything about the current president. Gerson as much as admits this, basically refuting his own point. Oh, but wait, here comes that projection I talked about.
"Obama has been a unifier, of sorts. He has united Democrats and united Republicans -- against each other."
Ha! Um, sorry. That happened a long time ago, and the list of culprits was mentioned a few paragraphs ago. It's the one that starts with Bush, although I think Rove gets the lion's share of the blame. The fact that the Permanent Republican Majority so quickly fizzled out is the main reason these caged rats are biting so ferociously. Their dreams have been shattered. And it's their own fault. They're desperately trying to blame someone else. They couldn't be wrong.
"[L]ast week's votes on the budget resolutions [were] a landmark of ineffective governance. Not a single Republican in the House or Senate supported the bill, largely because the Democratic majority forced its will. Republicans were flattened, not consulted."
I've already written about what a farce this concept is. I'll decline to comment further, other than to snort derisively. You can picture me snorting derisively, right?
"Obama's polarizing approach challenges and changes the core of his political identity."
His what? His polarizing approach? Excuse me, no. Projection again. Big time. Least polarizing approach in history, possibly.
"Polarization in American politics has its own disturbing momentum, aided by some strident Republican voices. But that does not require a president to make it worse. And it is a sad, unnecessary shame that Barack Obama, the candidate of unity, has so quickly become another source of division."
Ah, yes. Begin with a weak denunciation of some unnamed Republicans. Then blame it all on the guy who inherited the culture, is trying to change it and is being thwarted by those same Republicans. But don't just blame him for not changing it. Say he's actually made it worse.
If Michael Gerson has a mirror in his house, I doubt it gets much use.
Wednesday, April 1, 2009
A little over a decade ago, John Calipari put UMass basketball on the map. With the help of current NBA star Marcus Camby, he took a program that was strictly local and made them, briefly, a national power. After a few exciting NCAA Tournament experiences, they got all the way to the Final Four in 1996. Although, due to some hanky-panky involving Camby and some overzealous agents, they were stripped of their appearance after-the-fact. Which is like getting your marriage annulled. The official papers say it never happened, but everybody knows better.
Coach Cal split right before that particular piece of shit hit the fan to coach Memphis. He's done pretty well there too, taking the Tigers to the Final Four in recent years and making them a national power, albeit one that can't make a free throw, clutch or otherwise, to save its life.
Now he's bolting for Kentucky and a whole pile of money. It's kind of ridiculous that the NCAA still likes to pretend that it's a loving caring organization that functions like a souped-up PE class for the future doctors and lawyers of the world, when at its high end it's basically a professional sports organization that doesn't have to pay its talent. Oh, yes, free education blah blah blah. Like all of those freshman who play one year at OSU or Kansas and then bolt for the NBA. I'm sure they're using their education well.
So, without paying the players, there's plenty of scratch left for the coaches. And Cal is going to be making close to $4M a year to mold fine young men into Wildcats. While they cut the women's soccer team due to "lack of funds". Wonder where they went.
UMass, meanwhile, has sunk back down to their prior level of irrelevance. They made it to the NIT final last year, and then they had another coach bolt on them and started really sucking again. Former UMass coach Travis Ford is now happily coaching at Oklahoma State, who happened to make the big tournament this year. Hey, it worked for Cal.