Thursday, April 29, 2010

Roaches scurry

Political junkie though I am, I had not previously realized that the Senate requires a supermajority vote* - usually dispensed with by unanimous consent - to start debate.

But Republicans are nothing if not endlessly creative in finding ways to say no, in this case, of course, to even talking about making Wall Street safe(r) for America's economy. I have to thank them for exposing to me yet another facet of the brokenness of the Senate.

Part of that brokenness I would also lay at Harry Reid's feet. Finally, finally, he exposed us to the plain fact (which many of us already grasped) that Republicans are a bloc of blockheads. I've called for a long time for the Democrats to make the intransigent two-year-olds on the other side of the aisle pay a deep and visible political price for their tantrums.

Reid made Republicans stand up under the glare of TV cameras and defend the indefensible. They caved. Immediately. And scurried for cover.

The filibuster and its less-known cousins (how many are there?) need to die. The Republicans have worn them out.

Jan. 3, 2011, no matter which Democrat is Majority Leader...

* Actually, I'm still guessing. It's possible that unanimous consent is the only way debate can start, that the hoary old Senate not only lacks its own equivalent of the House's discharge petition, it even lacks a way for the majority's leadership to force a measure to floor. But I can't find out for sure, since all the Senate Floor Procedures I've tried to read from the Committee on Rules and Administration are unavailable.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Natural law

One more thing I meant to say about Lindsey Graham's gaseous effluvia about skipping immigration reform ahead of global warming...

“Moving forward on immigration — in this hurried, panicked manner — is nothing more than a cynical political ploy,’’ Graham said.
It seems to be a law of nature that Republicans accuse their targets of exactly their own sins. Graham, obviously hurried and panicked, makes a cynical ploy to escape his illicit political relationship with a Democrat, throwing up some sleight of hand in which he vehemently attacks a convenient target - Harry Reid - who is universally despised in Graham's South Carolina.

I'd bet that Frank Luntz (y'know, the nonpartisan pollster) or some other liar-for-pay has actually advised the ignoramus caucus to immunize themselves from accusations by beating their adversaries to the punch - even if the charge barely even makes sense.

Update (4/28): More evidence of Republican projection, at least regarding cynical political ploys:
And because irony apparently can't die too often, I see that Rick Santorum says Democrats's decision to bring up immigration in D.C. is a "cynical attempt to try to further turn Hispanics away from Republicans." And the effort to turn white people in Arizona (and elsewhere) toward Republicans by means of an immigrant-bashing law ... that wouldn't be cynical at all, would it, Rick?

Monday, April 26, 2010

Calling the tune

Krugman identifies another corruption of our vaunted, innovative financial system:

[Debt rating] was a system that looked dignified and respectable on the surface. Yet it produced huge conflicts of interest. Issuers of debt — which increasingly meant Wall Street firms selling securities they created by slicing and dicing claims on things like subprime mortgages — could choose among several rating agencies. So they could direct their business to whichever agency was most likely to give a favorable verdict, and threaten to pull business from an agency that tried too hard to do its job. It’s all too obvious, in retrospect, how this could have corrupted the process. [Emphasis added.]
Since Enron corrupted Arthur Andersen by applying the leverage of money to built-in conflicts of interest, it has been obvious that it would be impossible for any alleged watchdog paid by the watchees for its watching to resist payment from the same parties not to watch. Free market competition guarantees it.

Krugman's hardly ever slow on the uptake. Maybe he just didn't have any public statements to point out, proving that he had noticed long ago.

(h/t Atrios)

If he filibusters, make him pay

I've long advocated Atrios's program: Force feed the Republicans their own bullshit by making them filibuster in the Senate well on C-SPAN, with press releases from the Leader's office that pick out juicy and wingnutty quotes for the easy consumption of our perennially lazy big media organizations. Cut Youtube clips together for stinging ridicule? Duh.

Then, on Jan. 3, 2011, kill the filibuster.

This climate did change

Lindsay Graham (R-what passes for semi-reasonable, especially in the lunatic politics of South Carolina) didn't bolt from his work with John Kerry on carbon emissions and climate change because of some poisonous and high-handed change in the Senate calendar by Harry Reid. (Note to journalists: The fact that Graham claimed that is, ahem, a lie, though you're all far too whipped to say that.)

Graham found the excuse he needed to go full metal wingnut to appease the ignoramus caucus, now the dominant Republican faction. He had previously pushed to speed up on immigration reform. What he really wants is to regain the good graces of his teabagger constituents. Absent Reid's own electoral need to respond to his neighboring state's new law on driving while Mexican, Graham would have found something else - "Your necktie, Mr. Majority Leader, is an obamanation, uh, abomination up with which I shall not put!"

None of this flanking right will work for Graham. Not only did he once say something agreeable to a Democrat - and you know the Democrat Party is bent on the satanic destruction of the Holy United States of Neo-Confederate America - Graham also isn't married to an acceptably deferential Southern Baptist woman with whom to play hide the salami. Instead, he's a bachelor, so there are three choices, none of them acceptable to the ig-caucus:

  • He ain't gittin' none.
  • He's a goddamned fornic-, fernicat-, furni-, aw hell, playboy, and that means he ain't p-whipped like me.
  • He's one a them other kinds a teabagger, the kind that oughta be stoned - and I don't mean on no pot - stoned according to our lord Jesus Christ the prince of peace's dad, who sure as hell wasn't no damn hippie freak believer in not castin' the first stone at them types a folks.
What changed for Graham was Doug Hoffman, Marco Rubio, and now - incredibly - three even wingier candidates who find Utah's Bob Bennett to be not frothingly extreme enough, at least in part because they would prefer to be living through the Second Great Depression right about now. Hey, they have a year's food stockpiled, right? Graham doesn't want to follow Dede Scozzafava, though she is far more moderate than he is, nor especially Charlie Crist.

Teabaggers and the Republican right - you couldn't pry them apart with a crowbar - want fire and brimstone from their pols. No more laws! The Ten Commandments are enough (even though there are actually 11 or 12 of them, but who's counting?). Not even laws based on Republican proposals, and especially never any real liberalism.

What they want is more of the aptly named Jim Dement, sorry, DeMint. And Republicans everywhere are falling all over themselves to give the crazy extreme wingnuttitude to them.

Outsourcing to Jon Stewart

Hardly anyone in big media has the guts to criticize the bullshit of Fox News. I guess journalists all fear some future job interview after Sarah Palin privatizes her Minitru into the capable hands of propagandist Rupert Murdoch. A job interview, they hope. That cage of rats around the face, ugh, almost as disgusting and painful as Glenn Beck!

So the New York Times outsources its critique to Jon Stewart by pretending to merely report what he says:

[Stewart] said on the show this week that he criticizes [Fox] a lot because it is “truly a terrible, cynical, disingenuous news organization.”
Evidence for Stewart's assertion, if anyone is obtuse enough to still need it, is Fox's drumbeat that the logo of the recent nuclear summit is derived from the characteristic Islamic symbol of the evening star at new moon. The logo, which the Times unaccountably neglects to show, is:

Hydrogen! Oh my Lord Jesus Christ! (No, not Allah. Never Allah.)

Just say for sake of argument that the logo is a reference to Islam. If so, it would only serve as a stark reminder that radical Islam and nuclear proliferation are indeed a serious threat that we in the liberal west are rightly working against. Would that concern be unpatriotic? Hardly.

The whole logo controversy only works as propaganda if its recipients are already in thrall of delusions about President Obama. It only appeals further to their unreasoning beliefs and, mostly, to their tribal, often bigoted mistrust of him.

Nor is this the first time the wingnutosphere has made mountains (for Mohammed!) out of graphical molehills. They actively search for invidious touchstones to enrage their easily manipulated flock of dittoheads.

The obvious purpose of Fox's logo-rrhea (hyphen signals scatological joke) is to keep its audience in constant angry arousal for electoral purposes. Many of them are armed, and quite a few of those gun owners are clinically insane.

Fox doesn't care. The coming violence - coming further violence actually - will only drive ratings up, and Fox's large stable of provocateurs will piously declaim that they had nothing to do with the violence, that it was of course liberal words and government that forced the neo-Confederates off the deep end. Because, God save us, the Muslims have already taken over Microsoft!

Still don't believe me? Fox and the neo-Confederates didn't object to this far more Islamic logo:

Crescent moon, stars! But it's a Republican logo. IOKIYAR. And we know that Saudi Arabia's party in America couldn't possibly have anything to do with Islamic symbolism.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Who you calling Anglo?

Click image for full John Branch/San Antonio Express-News cartoon.


Click image for full Bob Rogers/Pittsburgh Post-Gazette cartoon.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Beast with two backs

When the economy goes tits up, it's not Wall Street that gets screwed.

Click image for full David Brown/Los Angeles Sentinel cartoon.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Waking up

The good news is that even a reflexively centrist conciliator such as President Barack Obama has limits to the bullshit he'll tolerate from the ignoramus caucus of the Party of No:

"It doesn't matter who he chooses, there is going to be a big 'ol fight over it. So he doesn't have to get sidetracked by those sorts of concerns," the official told me. The GOP has attempted to obstruct "anything of consequence" put forth by the Obama administration since he took office, the official said. "The president is making this decision with a pretty clear view that whoever he chooses is going to provoke a strong reaction on the right," the official added.
My recommendation:
  • On John Paul Stevens's replacement, fight visibly and without bending with the Senate Republicans, win or lose.
  • If they succeed at their filibuster, no need to go nuclear. Make a recess appointment at the first opportunity.
  • On January 3, 2011, get whoever is the Senate Majority Leader to kill the filibuster, not to mention the unconscionable system of secret holds. Through overuse, they've outlived their function of caution and become the obstructive tool of a bunch of two-year-olds throwing tantrums.
  • Gain Senate confirmation of your recess appointee with fifty-whatever votes you have.
  • Call Mitch McConnell and sweetly tell him to go fuck himself. With a chainsaw.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Worked for Doc Hollywood

Let's enact a sweet piece of nostalgia as if it could possibly be good public policy in a predominantly urban and suburban nation. Barter chickens - or a pig or Vialula's reputation - for an ACL reconstruction, and let the orthopedic specialist, with a quarter million dollars in loans to repay, slop the hawgs.

As Anonymous Liberal says, it's hard to have any kind of conversation with a movement and a party so determined to shout la-la-la-la whenever reality rears its ugly head and proves not to be the perfect place for the ignoramus caucus that they fervently desire it to be.

The reason that violence from the right is coming is that the wingnuts have built a humongous P3 containment to protect their stupidity from the world. The world is at negative pressure, so the virulent wingnut pathogens leak into it, yet the nuts never have to learn anything but the profitably fomented rage that comes so naturally to them.

They are going to view us as vermin to be exterminated. Or converted. Our choice.

Make the earth move, baby

Like American conservative Christians, Iranian Islamic clerics can't be in the same room with female sexuality. Showing a little ankle under their chadors, Iranian women make the ground move for the righteous mullahs. And it's the women's fault - or Allah's - that a few square centimeters of bony flesh give them such wood that they can no longer control themselves.

What is wrong with these freaks? And how did any people allow themselves to be under their control?

Typical wingnut shit-fit

If it's not obvious to you, Republicans are nasty sore losers. They don't believe in democracy. They believe only they can govern.

Democrats, by contrast, are much more even-tempered and stable.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Dust in the wind

Click image for full Mike Keefe/Denver Post cartoon.

Opportunity breaks the door down

Click image for full Matt Davies/Journal News cartoon.

No business like show business

Click image for full Clay Bennett/Chattanooga Times Free Press cartoon.

Friday, April 16, 2010

What's David Vitter up to these days?

It's David Vitter watch, day 1009!

A Republican political operative is hiding in the shadows of "performance art" by a Libertarian stalking horse candidate. The obvious purpose is to continue to harp on Eliot Spitzer's consorting with prostitutes. The Libertarian is herself a madam. (Management! Obviously the Republican constituency...) At least she has the courage of her conviction(s), and advocates legalization. As if that would pass.

Meanwhile, David Vitter (R-not caught paying skanks lately) is running for reelection! And a porn star who was twittering about running against him has decided not to - that pole dancing beats poll dancing.

John Ensign (R-Indecent Proposal) also remains in the Party of NO, just not the party of saying no.

The Republicans don't actually need these filly-busters to sustain their perpetual filibuster. Keeping the Dems at 59 is enough. They're just immune to their own hypocrisy.

The Republican way

It's not surprising that a Senator from a tobacco state, Mitch McConnell (R-better keep your KY handy if you're not a corporation), would use obfuscation, denial, and bullshit to fog his true objectives. Paul Krugman:

It’s a truly shameless performance: Mr. McConnell is pretending to stand up for taxpayers against Wall Street while in fact doing just the opposite. In recent weeks, he and other Republican leaders have held meetings with Wall Street executives and lobbyists, in which the G.O.P. and the financial industry have sought to coordinate their political strategy.

And let me assure you, Wall Street isn’t lobbying to prevent future bank bailouts. If anything, it’s trying to ensure that there will be more bailouts. By depriving regulators of the tools they need to seize failing financial firms, financial lobbyists increase the chances that when the next crisis strikes, taxpayers will end up paying a ransom to stockholders and executives as the price of avoiding collapse.

Paul Krugman (and I, here and here) can tell that the Republicans are bullshitting, but the teabaggers go right on screaming that they pay too much in taxes, never mind that their taxes have gone down during the Obama administration.

The teabaggers are the Republicans' target demographic because they're easily fooled into believing nonsense that keeps them serfs to the feudal lords of Republican crony capitalism.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

That ain't Monopoly money

Click image for full Tim Eagan/Press Democrat cartoon.

Who's auditioning for Lady Macbeth?

Click image for full Keith Knight cartoon.

Monday, April 12, 2010

But the pension fund was just sitting there

The reason for the narrowly averted banking collapse of 2008:

[E]ven when banks can fail, bank managers and/or owners have an incentive to make risky bets; after all, their downside is limited — at worst, the bank goes under — while their upside isn’t: if they can earn high profits for a few years, they can walk away with a lot. Remember that in the S&L crisis of the 1980s, quite a few people made out like bandits while running their banks into the ground.
The simple fact is that unfettered markets have no reliable mechanism to align the timing of rewards with the timing of risks. That lack leaves inevitable opportunities to profit individually from disastrous debt overhangs that hurt the rest of us.

Updated (8/6/2010) for clarity of the last paragraph.

Conservative bias

Should President Obama nominate a liberal to succeed John Paul Stevens on the Supreme Court?

Why is there even a question that the answer is yes? The only question for a Republican President is whether he should nominate a strong conservative or an extreme conservative. He may screw up the choice - Souter - but a Republican's intent is always to get another ideologue onto the court, and preferably a youngish one.

For some obscure reason - couldn't be the self-forgiven hypocrisy of an overweening will to power - the Republican caucus in the Senate never holds itself to its own stated principle of an up-or-down vote if a liberal is shackled in the dock, I mean, giving testimony.

Instead, they shout, "Bork, bork, bork," like a bunch of capons with too much gravel in their gizzards. They claim that the borking of Robert Bork was the original sin of politicizing the court, never mind the Bork's subsequent role as a culture warrior on the extreme right has proven the Democrats were correct to bork him.

Last, take a look at the people CNN asked to comment on the question of a liberal on the court (oh, my, Mildred, such a scary prospect):

  • Ed Rollins, a well-known Republican operative
  • Douglas Kmiec, a Reagan appointee to the Justice Department (who by the way uses his paragraphs to nominate a friend of Samuel Alito's, someone who defended Alito's dishonest question-dodging to hide his extremism during his confirmation)
  • Ilya Shapiro, from the libertarian but mostly conservative Cato Institute
  • Ed Whelan, former law clerk to Antonin Scalia, the most open extreme conservative on the court
That leaves two slots that could have been filled with someone willing to answer yes. Instead, we get two prominent but not public figures who speak in platitudes and analyze the politics:
  • Patricia Millett, who practices before the court and is therefore not going to say anything controversial
  • Julian Zelizer, who declines to take any advocacy role at all
Liberal media? Where?

Sunday, April 11, 2010


Click image for full Jim Morin/Miami Herald cartoon.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Sarah Palin's appeal

Sarah Palin is only convincing to people who aren't mature enough graduate from middle school. That's why Heathers bullshit like this comes out of her well-lipsticked mouth:

"It's kinda like getting out in the playground, a bunch of kids ready to fight, and one of the kids saying 'go ahead, punch me in the face, I am not going to retaliate, go ahead and do what you want to with me.' "
It deserves every bit of President Obama's condescension, if not more:
"[L]ast I checked, Sarah Palin's not much of an expert on nuclear issues."


"I would say to them is that if the secretary of defense and the chairman of the Joints Chiefs of Staff are comfortable with it, I'm probably going to take my advice from them and not from Sarah Palin."
Palin's an idiot. No news there. And of course she's forgotten that Ronald Reagan also signed a START treaty with the Russians.

Why doesn't the media do something equally random and ask Obama about Anne Hathaway's opinions? She's much prettier than Palin, and - as a very special bonus - she is undoubtedly smarter and better informed.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Pity the poor white victims of northern aggression

Neo-Confederate nostalgia is a hallmark of Republican politics in the South. Gov. Robert McDonnell (R-1861) somehow forgot that the Confederacy fought for the right of white people to own and dispose of as they would black people whose descendents still live in Virginia.

Read the whole proclamation, now with its slapdash patch. It's filled with curtseys to the poor put-upon white people who long for the day their treasonous ancestors wore gray:

April is the month in which the people of Virginia joined the Confederate States of America in a four year war between the states for independence that concluded at Appomattox Courthouse.
War for independence! Concluded! He can't even bring himself to call it a civil war. There's no way he could own up to the real cause of war or to admit the defeat and unconditional surrender that Grant imposed on Lee, who was powerless to resist further.
[I]t is important for all Virginians to reflect upon our Commonwealth’s shared history, to understand the sacrifices of the Confederate leaders, soldiers and citizens during the period of the Civil War.
These white defenders of slavery chose their course, chose to make war on the United States, yet Virginians are supposed to reflect upon their so-called sacrifices alone. Pity the poor white victims of northern aggression!
[A]ll Virginians can appreciate the fact that when ultimately overwhelmed by the insurmountable numbers and resources of the Union Army, ...
Neo-Confederates still take refuge in the article of faith that their heroes were better soldiers than the Union's because they were outnumbered and still held out for four years. But they were on defense, which is always easier and less costly in men than offense.

Instead of starting over, McDonnell shoehorned in an anti-slavery clause, leaving behind all the tropes that serve neo-Confederate nostalgia and excuse-making.

CNN has this, to which I say amen:

"[McDonnell] says the wrong thing, he sends a signal to his base and then he makes an apology," [Virginia State Sen. Henry Marsh III, a black Democrat,] said, "It's a question of whether or not he's sincere or not."

McDonnell didn't forget. He knew exactly what he was doing. He didn't declare Civil War History Month, now did he?

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Col. Klink defense

So-called Maestro Alan Greenspan, still pining for Ayn Rand's seductively simplistic rationalization of infantile selfish fantasy, reasserts all the things he "knows" that the Great Recession has disproven. As the Great Depression which birthed him had disproven before.

Only an honest man could abjure the convictions of a lifetime, based on new (to him) experience. Instead, Greenspan quote-mines his inscrutable mumbles for something, anything exculpatory:

He pointed out that the Fed had warned about subprime lending and low-down-payment mortgages in 1999, and again in 2001.
There's no time - or authority - left for Greenspan to redeem himself. He had a run of luck, and then the maelstrom... He can't fix it, so he can't let himself regret letting it blow up.

Citigroup's executives, fat and happy and well-paid to ignore the truth, essay instead the Sgt. Schultz defense.
“No one, including myself, ever conceived we would see real estate prices plunge 30 to 40 percent, with homeowners walking away from homes en masse for the first time ever,” Thomas Maheras, the former co-head of Citi’s investment bank who oversaw its mortgage activities, said.
Lots of people knew there were problems. If educational TV is running "Flip That House" marathons, warning! People with no special training were wondering where all the buyers for million dollar houses would come from. Maheras was raking in too much money to notice.

Brooksley Born gets the last word:
“The Fed utterly failed to prevent the financial crisis,” she said. “The Fed and other banking regulators failed to prevent the housing bubble, they failed to prevent the predatory lending scandal, they failed to prevent our biggest banks and holding companies from engaging in activities that would bring them to the verge of collapse without massive taxpayer bailouts.”

The ignoramus caucus

People used to be ashamed of their ignorance. They used to want to learn the truth. No more.

Now, they are coddled in their witlessness by big media:

A few minutes later he got to the next point, which seemed awfully similar to the first. "Number two, you don't know who might end up being in that situation," he said, then carried on explaining further still.
Anne Kornblut apparently can't be troubled to give a shit about government even though it's her job. Well, sure, she reports for the Washington Post, but what she really wants is more gigs in a red dress on Fox. So she gives cover to the proud know-nothings:
For as brilliant as people say this sad excuse for a world leader is he ought to get his word meaning correct. He states that he is going to spend a lot of time cleaning up "misapprehensions" that people have. I think you ment misconceptions mr obama. I don't know what a misapprehension is. Does anyone else? (bcgloveman | April 6, 2010 9:02 PM)

Typical of this Prez. When he don't want to tell the truth or he don't know the truth, he starts stuttering & ranting on & on!! This man has no idea what he is doing!! We will all pay deeply for this mess he has created except for the ones that don't want insurance or to lazy to go get a job with benefits!! Why did a woman go into the doctor the day after Oslima signed this & expected to get a free b00b job? As long as us hard working people keep giving to the ones that won't work, this will only get worse than it is right now! (releggneh1 | April 6, 2010 7:53 PM)
It's like these people give their wives "I'm with stoopid" T-shirts and then demand they wear them.

Never mind that President Obama spoke off the cuff for more than 17 minutes without a teleprompter. The wingnuts are not going to give that malmeme up - ever:

I'm embarrassed for Harvard University......and their alumni.

The guy can't even answer a question without a teleprompter.

ramble, ramble, ramble.....on (analgesic33 | April 6, 2010 11:49 AM)

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Late for April Fools

In the up-is-down, black-is-white world of Republican politics, a Republican occasionally strays off message and says something reasonable. But three?

April 1st would have been the perfect day for this - one day a year for Republicans to dispense with their constant outlandish distortions and try to make sense.

The real answer is that they would rather be quoted for saying anything other than answering questions about paying to watch simulated lesbian sex. Showing their well-buried humanity was probably the only gambit extreme enough to get the media even partially off of the Voyeur sex club.

One last weird oddity: When a Democrat has a scandal, every follow-up story recaps all the saucy details. ($90,000 in the freezer!) I had to search through the CNN Political Ticker all the way back to March 30 to find the name of the club that the hard right went to to get right hard.

Gray lady catches up

Snopes gets an overdue star turn in the New York Times. It's immensely amusing to me that the Mikkelsons understand the foundational and factual role of journalism when so many of their so-called professional competitors do not. Ironically (itself used ironically), Snopes is profitable.

This also amused me:

“[E]ven when there were Republicans in the White House, the mail was still overwhelmingly anti-liberal,” Mr. Mikkelson said.
Wingnuts really, really want their beliefs to be true - even if they're visibly not. Pointing out to them that they're wrong will get you accused of liberal bias. If you're a journalist who's not regularly accused of having a liberal bias, you're probably a right-wing propagandist.

Monday, April 5, 2010

In lieu of a toaster

Click image for full Joel Pett/Lexington Herald-Leader cartoon.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

No excuse too lame

Teabaggers showed their bigotry openly because Nancy Pelosi walked softly and carried a big gavel. When they advocate personal responsibility, they're advocating it for us.

(h/t Atrios)

Three days late

Wish I'd had this on the first...

Click image for full Abell Smith/Kitsap Sun cartoon.

Making shit up

Rachel Maddow (bless her!) calls the Republicans and Fox, their propaganda arm, on their bullshit:

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Can you imagine how often she'd have to use the word bullshit if she only could? About as often as I do...

While I'd love to have her as my Senator in 2012, she's more valuable critiquing the debasement of American politics than engaging the bullshitters in debate in the well of the Senate.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Unplug the damn thing

The MGH lost a patient due to warning fatigue. In response, they made it impossible to turn off alarms and they added more speakers.

What's wrong with this picture?

Though I'm sure the nurses can still squelch alarms temporarily, the MGH response only makes the fundamental problem worse. Their equipment has exceeded the bandwidth available from their personnel, and they've added more information to the channel. Good luck with that. Good luck keeping annoying devices plugged in.

A better systems solution would require more precise triage (or n-age) of alarm criticality, rather than having every medical device in the hospital chirp away maddeningly in the hope that a nurse or doctor will hear the right one at the right time.

Top scofflaws

Second only to frankly criminal organizations, the most impactful evaders of the law in America are corporations. Minimum wage? Pfft!

Try to fight back, and they'll lobby with paid-for politicians to deprive you of representation:

“We’re going to tell legislators all over the state, if they want to play hardball by trying to kneecap industry in Baton Rouge,” said the Louisiana Chemical Association president, Dan BornĂ©, “then we should play hardball and kneecap them with their state appropriations.”
Yes, there are many, many corporations in America, so some of them are bound to neglect all restraint on their profit motives. There are stories in the press about them every day. Yet hardly anyone hates corporations universally the way a large minority of people viscerally despise unions, which are corrupt much less often in any time period.

Maybe it's because those of us with rational mature perspective, who judge unions and corporations alike individually for what each does, are all liberals. Certainly, the insane branch of conservatism, which more and more often looks like the predominant branch, commonly lumps members of a category together and prejudges them - unions, minorities, Muslims, liberals, women, crash victims, government officials, and you name it.

If you don't believe me, take a look at the wingnuts in any newspapers comment threads. They're not just misanthropic. They're dysanthropic.

Show me

CNN and the Boston Globe, among many others, are reporting on the wacko militia direct mail campaign to get the governors of all fifty states to resign. But they're not showing us why letters should strike fear into our hearts.

Sure, I think there's violence coming. But why do letters get major coverage, when they are apparently devoid of any threat more specific or less peaceable than "leave office or be removed"? Tim Pawlenty (R-Minn.) has the right idea:

“We get all kinds of, shall we say, ‘interesting’ mail, so it’s not out of the norm,’’ Pawlenty said yesterday. “It got more attention because it went to so many governors.’’
Of course, it also got more attention because of the alleged Hutaree plot.

Public figures get hate mail. It unfortunately goes with the territory. There are loonies out there who will send ugly letters to the children of public figures, and maybe we should do something about that, but for adults it's real violence not hurt feelings we as a society should concentrate on.

I didn't believe the Bushist case for war in Iraq because they showed no convincing evidence. There's no convincing evidence of a threat here either. Till there is, I'm all for wariness, but this is still a false alarm.

Show me the letters. I'm a grown-up. I can take it.

Friday, April 2, 2010

This is a test

D'ya think regional rump party Republicans, who have been so adamantly opposed to using any statistical methods at all in the census, would change their minds as soon as they find out it might benefit them? I mean, I know they're not big on minds or on change, but they have self-interest perfected.

Click image for full New York Times graphic.

Another Republican scandal

This asshole only wants to handle Republican dicks. (Boehners?)

Git 'er done

Barack Obama is a smart guy and a conciliatory guy. In his quest for bipartisan support, conciliatory has won out over smart.

Despite his exceptional potential, Obama dismayed his progressive base in his first year in office by clinging to an illusion of bipartisanship long after Republicans made clear that their only goal was to destroy him. But since early March, something potentially transformative has happened. The seeker of common ground has metamorphosed into a fighting partisan. Faced with the prospect of a humiliating, defining defeat on health reform, Obama has begun exercising the kind of leadership that his admirers discerned during the campaign.
The lesson of the arduous politicking required to get even modest health insurance reform is that smart needs to win over conciliatory. There is simply no conciliation with the current Republican leadership. They treat every conflict as total war and project that attitude on their adversaries, which is why they only respect force.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Sequel to Groundhog Day

Click image for full David Horsey/Seattle Post-Intelligencer cartoon.

Eye of the beholder

Click image for full Mike Lester/Rome News Tribune cartoon.

Colt made 'em equal

Click image for full John Cole/Scranton Times-Tribune cartoon.