Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Rim job regret

Floridians voted for Rick Scott (R-nasty) because he's an asshole. Now they've awakened to the new enormity of their hemorrhoid problem:

"The first-time governor -- less than a year into his term, typically a honeymoon period for newly electeds -- now has an approval rating of 27 percent," Maxwell writes. "That makes him one of the least popular politicians in the United States and only slightly more popular than a hemorrhoid."
I have no sympathy for Scott's regretful voters. Under the assault of greedhead political ads, they turned off their bullshit detectors at exactly the wrong time.

From tough shit to fuck you

Memo from Republican Eric Cantor to Americans:

Your suffering and need is leverage that conservatives can use to make life even more insecure and bitter.

And if you've been saving the little people without demanding payment for services, well, screw you. You're probably the type would would run into a burning building without regard for your own safety. You don't need radios that work in an office tower; you're obviously a soft-headed schmuck.

These people are completely immoral assholes. Why is it that we don't make them ride the stang out of Washington?

Update: Note to Barack Obama: When hostage-takers get a good deal out of it, they take more hostages. Duh. When the hell are you going to act as if you've figured out the fundamental fact about Republicans: They'll do whatever is necessary to win. They don't give a crap what a sweet, reserved personality you have. In fact, that will only encourage them to think you're a pushover. I only wish you would bring Chicago rules from "The Untouchables" to bear here. Time to start putting their political careers into the morgue.

Cow chip on his shoulder

Because there's no place in the modern world for a talentless hack who's had a succession of high-paying jobs with zero accountability. Because there's never been any lasting accountability for all the times his view of the future has turned out to be - predictably - total unalloyed bullshit. Because he can say anything that comes to mind and not be fired.

That's why Pat Buchanan has such a massive inconsolable grievance - because he's white and male, and that's no longer a complete guarantee that every blithering moron can find a sinecure just because he's melanin challenged and the proud owner of a Y chromosome, even if he needs pharmaceuticals to get it up.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Debasing the brand

It's an inevitable result of capitalism that every quality brand is doomed eventually to debasement. (In Boston, Filene's De-Basement.) The reputation one entrepreneur has built will, in the depth of some business downturn, become the easy asset that some lazy bastard can exploit. This B-school grad will work the numbers and think he's an entrepreneur.

Fox owns National Geographic TV, which for no apparent reason from its origins is reporting on the tenth anniversary of 9/11, exploring the execrable Duhbya's memories of that day and time. The teasers for their show bear all the marks of soft propaganda.

I knew from the day I learned that Fox had bought Nat Geo that it too would become a propaganda vehicle. We'll see for sure tomorrow whether that has indeed happened.

Freedom to starve

America's favorite face of Ayn Rand libertarian bullshit:

After a lunch speech today, Ron Paul slammed the Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA, and said that no national response to Hurricane Irene is necessary.

"We should be like 1900; we should be like 1940, 1950, 1960," Paul said. "I live on the Gulf Coast; we deal with hurricanes all the time. Galveston is in my district.
Sane people notice when their slavish adherence to ideology leads them into insane positions. Ron Paul is not one of those sane people. He doubles down on bullshit and calls it principle.

Insane, batshit insane? Sociopathic? Or just a fucking moron? Ron Paul...

The single common thread of radical Republican conservatism is that you're on your own.

Update: Paul is not alone as a batshit insane sociopathic moron. Fox gives space to laissez-faire dipshits from the Competitive Enterprise Institute to argue that we don't need publicly funded weather data. They report as an article of faith that private reports are better. What they omit, relying on the steady ignorance of Fox readers, is that all private forecasts, other than your finger in the wind and their fingers up their asses, are based on free data they receive from the National Weather Service.

"You're on your own" is far too mild a summary of Republicanism. Really, their guiding principle is, "Fuck you."

And it totally beggars belief that these assholes are so willing, over and over and over again, to be penny-wise and pound-foolish, just as long as the penny goes to the wealthy in corporate profit and the pound of costs comes out of the hide of everyone else.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Class warfare - the winners

Click image for full Garry Trudeau/Doonesbury cartoon.

Right-wing bunkosphere

Global warming is real and well-correlated with the dramatic increase in atmospheric CO2 caused by the Industrial Revolution.

But information cannot argue with a closed mind. And that's what the teabaggers have.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Idiocracy, the sequel

If enough idiot voters once again form a majority in 2012 and elect this weak echo of Duhbya, I'm seriously going to get to work on that exit strategy. Belize, I think, or Costa Rica. I had a little Spanish in high school decades ago.

(h/t mistermix on Balloon Juice)

Glimmer of hope?

Nate Silver gives reason for hope in the Democratic lead on the generic House ballot.

Last year, Republicans won the popular vote for the U.S. House — essentially what the generic ballot is trying to measure — by 7 percentage points. So a poll showing Democrats 7 points ahead instead is a pretty significant swing.
Of course it's waaay too early to count on, but we need hope to gird up for the arduous campaign ahead. Imagine the difference:
  • President Perry, Vice President Bachmann, Senate Majority Leader DeMint, House Speaker Cantor
  • President Obama, VP Biden, Senate Majority Leader Elizabeth Warren, House Speaker Pelosi
Imagine even further that Majority Leader Warren reforms the filibuster (to death).

Of course, this is total fantasy. No freshman Senator is ever going to be elected Majority Leader.

But I have to say that meeting Warren yesterday has me daring again to dream.

Warren Buffett, Fox's most hated socialist

Why does the mere phrase class warfare end all debate?

Time to say, "Class warfare? You fat cats don't want the middle class to defend itself in a war that you've been winning unopposed for thirty years."

If the wealthy continue to get their way on everything, the time will come when class warfare won't be a metaphor. That's when liberals yield to radicals and there's bloody revolution.

Of course the idiot conservatives can't see that coming, just as they can't see that liberals in the 1930s saved them from the communist tide. Ungrateful bastards! Yet I still want to save their hides again - because America is a better country as a liberal country than it would be as a tyranny of either extreme of the political spectrum.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Could Rick Perry do for America what he did for Texas?

Total effing boatloads of government jobs:

Over the last few years, government jobs have been awfully consequential in Texas: 47% of all government jobs added in the US between 2007 and 2010 were added in Texas.
I'm for it.

Less popular than atheists

Less popular than Muslims!

 [T]he Tea Party ranks lower than any of the 23 other groups we asked about — lower than both Republicans and Democrats. It is even less popular than much maligned groups like “atheists” and “Muslims.” Interestingly, one group that approaches it in unpopularity is the Christian Right.
Of course, those of us who were not performing daily self-service colonoscopies also knew this:
Early on, Tea Partiers were often described as nonpartisan political neophytes. Actually, the Tea Party’s supporters today were highly partisan Republicans long before the Tea Party was born.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Care to revise your statement? Want to change your bullshit story?

Wonder if anyone on Fox will claim that it's not the phone hacking, it's the cover-up that matters.

In Mr. Goodman’s letter, dated March 2, 2007, Mr. Goodman challenged his dismissal, saying that his actions “were carried out with the full knowledge and support” of other senior journalists. He also said another senior journalist arranged for payments to a private investigator who carried out the hacking.

Mr. Goodman also asserted in his letter that the practice of phone hacking was “widely discussed in the daily editorial conference” at the newspaper until “explicit reference to it was banned by the editor.”

Mr. Watson said the committee had seen two versions of the letter, one more heavily redacted than the other. One version sent to the committee by News International, the British newspaper subsidiary of the Murdoch family’s News Corporation, had been redacted to black out references to “editorial conference” and “the editor.”

The News of the World had long insisted that the phone hacking was restricted to Mr. Goodman, a single rogue reporter.
Look, News Corp. and all its properties lie early and often. I wonder just how Clintonesque they'll become in their denials that they've perjured themselves before Parliament.
“We have written to Andy Coulson to ask him whether he would like to amend his previous evidence,” Mr. Watson said. “Clearly if Clive Goodman’s account is accurate, it shows the evidence he gave us was at best misleading and probably deceptive.”
What's really odd: no investigative follow-through on this side of the Atlantic.

Lying without consequence

"Obama inherited unemployment of 5.6%."

This is of course a lie, only one among many.


  • You can't trust their facts.
  • You can't trust their analysis.
  • You can't trust their good faith.
Our culture has been debased by bullshit. There are no longer any consequences for publicly and repeatedly lying. At least not if you're a conservative.

In past eras, even those dominated by assholes, Americans were able to see what was true and act on it. We no longer are - because an industry that is Constitutionally charged with showing the truth is dominated and steered by bought and paid for by right-wing corporatists.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

This ain't Israel in 4 B.C.

No time for fundamentalist imperryalism:

God said He would not be present at Perry’s much-talked-about Christian day of prayer on Aug. 6, calling the governor’s use of his public office to endorse a religion both “irresponsible” and a violation of the Constitution.
Unfortunately, those who claim god talks to them hear their own desires as the voice of god.

House advantage

Click image for full Mike Smith/Las Vegas Sun cartoon.

Also available here.

But conservatives deserve help

At least that's what they think. The rest of us - y'know, Americans? Just a bunch of sponging weasely freeloaders who can't make it on our own without taxing success to death...

The George Carlin clip starts at 2:12 or so here.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Stand-up on the Titanic

If there aren't enough lifeboats again this time around to save the entertainment, instead of small string ensembles, maybe we'll get to swim in the bracing North Atlantic to gallows humor:

Calling the results of today’s Iowa straw poll “alarming,” Standard and Poor’s took the unprecedented action of downgrading Iowa’s IQ.
We've already hit the iceberg. How long till we go down by the head? Carpathia, are you out there?

Friday, August 12, 2011

Ask not what the teabaggers can do for you

... ask what you can do for your teabagger's sponsor.
Click image for full Joe Heller/Green Bay Press-Gazette cartoon.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Twilight in America, thunder on the right

It's wicked hot all across America. Massachusetts is having torrential rainstorms that would seem like monsoon even in Memphis, where they would at least be more familiar. There are enough goddamn moths here in New England to carry off a flock of sheep, and no more pecorino romano for us.

Fox has intentionally effaced the difference between weather and climate, but even Fox's viewers have to be starting to wonder if maybe there is something to this global warming shit after all. Call out the big guns! Gotta keep those dollars flowing into fossil fuels! Most of all, can't let those liberals with their smug reliance on facts win.

Fox brings on Joe Bastardi, chief meteorologist of AccuWeather. Oooh, impressive. He reassures viewers that, not only is global warming wrong, it's transparently, obviously wrong. Bastardi is airily confused how such a theory could possibly have achieved such popularity. He leaves it to the hosts to introduce (in-traduce) slanders against scientists, and they do. "Poll shows Americans think scientists lie, the dirty egg-headed SOBs." (O.K., not quite.)

What are Bastardi's arguments?

First, conservation of energy, which he dresses up in its tuxedo as the first law of thermodynamics to make it sound as complex and authoritative as possible for the great unlearned. Bastardi is claiming that greenhouse gases would have to create energy to warm the earth. This claim immediately proves that he deserves nothing more than total mocking disdain. By the same argument, a greenhouse couldn't work either. Maybe Thelma and Delbert, sitting on their barcaloungers suckling the bullshit teat of Rupert Murdoch, have never been in a greenhouse, or maybe they think the gas bills must be immense to keep one of them so warm with all that single-pane glass.

This thermodynamic argument is the anencephalic descendant of the second law argument against evolution. (Yeah, I'm sure that one's been advanced with a straight face on Fox, too.) Only god can violate thermodynamic laws! More complex organisms couldn't possibly occur naturally in a physical environment of never-decreasing disorder. As if there were no sources of energy available to overcome entropy. Hint to convinced Fox viewers and other ignoramuses: Don't look up when you go out during the day. Oh, and don't think even a first thought, much less a second one, what makes it daytime. You might have to change your mind.

The sun, implicated in both evolution and global warming! Fox-aholics can't even believe in the sun anymore. The sun can be the energy source of global warming and global warming's cause can still be human because gases we've put into our atmosphere in huge amounts retain more of the sun's heat, rather than allowing it to radiate back into space. Where it has no effect on climate. But where it still exists. This is the first most basic scientific explanation of the warming data. It's almost as if half the population is immune to learning.

Second, Bastardi claims that LeChatelier's Principle prohibits this kind of change. Oooh, another fancy name - did I pronounce it correctly? It must be good stuff! Of course, Bastardi makes a total and elementary misconstruction of the real science. Sure, any chemical reaction becomes less responsive to an increase in one reagent as that increase grows further.

But that doesn't mean there's some magic fairy keeping the addition of a reagent from changing the final chemical concentrations. (If you believe there is a magic fairy, what's its rate constant, dickhead?) You may have more trouble dissolving that sixth heaping tablespoon of sugar into your iced tea, but until you get the solution saturated, you're making your swee' tea sweeter. Or you could just eat it out of the bowl.

Somehow, more and more CO2 has dissolved into the atmosphere, and while there it continues to have all its expected effects.

The fact that the oceans are also absorbing CO2 doesn't change the measured atmospheric concentration, it only means that if we reverse the trend, the oceans will release some of their CO2 as gas, and that will slow improvement.

The rest of Bastardi's so-called science is a complete muddle of discredited bullshit. But for Fox...

That ought to hold 'em until fall brings a breeze and relief from uncomfortable reality. Oh, heterodoxy, the confusion, the pain. Let them get back to loving Big Brother.

Bastardi may call himself a meteorologist, but he isn't. He has an undergraduate major in meteorology with no advanced training. He's a weather girl who lifts weights and probably caps his teeth. He's a storm-chasing celebrity. He's willing to whore himself out to Fox for the money, the hell with the truth.

  • You can't trust their facts.
  • You can't trust their analysis.
  • You can't trust their good faith
Their stock in trade is bullshit, perfumed just enough that ignoramuses will be satisfied by the pablum they take to be plausible mumbo-jumbo.

There's a little coda on the bullshit symphony: At around 3:08 in the linked video, Bastardi blames environmentalists for claiming that the winter's snows could have been caused by climate change. At least we should have waited for hurricanes and heat waves. This slimy putrescence knows quite well that any such claim merely of possibility, not of fact, was made in response to the massive conservative propaganda that the mere existence of winter disproves warming is happening at all.

Oh, but this all happens on "Fox and Friends", and that's an opinion show. Defenders of Fox will tell you this and claim it's exculpatory. It's just the opinion segments on Fox that lean right. The news is fair and balanced. Yet the Fox News logo keeps right on spinning (how apt!) in the lower left corner, whispering, "This is news. You should believe this. You want to believe this."

Anyone who tells you that Fox is not pure propaganda likes a steady diet of bullshit, wants confirmation of their stupid and venal prejudices, can't find their ass with both hands even while their head is doing self-service colonoscopy. (And yeah, that sadly includes friends and family I love, much as I hate the sin of their willful ignorance.)

The stupid is winning, and that drives me up the fucking wall.

The bleak news for liberals, nostalgic for a time when journalism was about what had happened and why, is that the revolution will be televised. The revolutionaries will be reactionaries hunting liberals, nostalgic or not, and Fox will be their Radio Rwanda.

We thought Nixon was extreme. Then we thought Reagan was extreme - and he courted the far right. Then we knew Gingrich and his bomb-throwers were extreme. Then the Bushists implemented extreme neocon foreign policy, a muscular foreign policy to grasp empire openly. Now the Teahadists, having already re-achieved the 1920s, want to go back to the Robber Baron era.

No doubt as a stepping stone to neo-Confederacy.

(h/t Atrios)

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Fever swamp

See, it's a rising tide!

Click image for full Adam Zyglis/Buffalo News cartoon.

We can black male him, get it?

Republicans are not trustworthy partners in any negotiation.

[W]hat makes America look unreliable isn’t budget math, it’s politics. And please, let’s not have the usual declarations that both sides are at fault. Our problems are almost entirely one-sided — specifically, they’re caused by the rise of an extremist right that is prepared to create repeated crises rather than give an inch on its demands.
These days, the GOP and their oligarchic allies are about the only force in American politics that can make President Obama and the Democrats look good.

Big media dies while we watch

For some reason, the big media represented by CNN continues to pay worthless blowhards like William Bennett to write up their vacuous opinions. This column amounts to "bring back the Lennon Sisters and Lawrence Welk."

Let's go back to jazz. None of those players took drugs. Suuure.

Oh, right, Bennett would only be schlerotically nostalgic for Big Band, and we know... Oh fudge.

Look, musicians such as Amy Winehouse are human. Some of them are fuck-ups just like the rest of us. Some of them die tragically. That's no reason not to recognize their work.

Take Bennett for example. He has a gambling problem. Everyone who claims they win at slots has a problem - with the truth at the very least. And this credibility-free button-presser ran up hundreds of thousands of debts playing slots like a lab rat with a pleasure electrode inserted in his rat brain.

Yet wingnuts still lap up his stuffy bullshit, so he can pay his gambling debts. Despite the fact that he's a talentless hack...

If Bennett had any talent, we should celebrate it even if he's an addict. His problem is that he has nothing to say that's worth saying. I'd say he should try taking something, but his face suggests that already alcohol hasn't worked.

Friday, August 5, 2011

They'll be coming for my dual citizenship

Michael Lind, whom I first read in Up from Conservatism, is always thought-provoking, even when he and I disagree.  But I can't find anything to quarrel with in this:

[T]oday's Tea Party movement ... should be called the Fort Sumter movement, after the Southern attack on the federal garrison in Fort Sumter in South Carolina on April 12-13, 1861, that began the Civil War. Today's Tea Party movement is merely the latest of a series of attacks on American democracy by the white Southern minority, which for more than two centuries has not hesitated to paralyze, sabotage or, in the case of the Civil War, destroy American democracy in order to get their way.
Nor in this:
Contradicting the mainstream media narrative that the Tea Party is a new populist movement that formed spontaneously in reaction to government bailouts or the Obama administration, the facts show that the Tea Party in Congress is merely the familiar old neo-Confederate Southern right under a new label. The threat of Southern Tea Party representatives and their sidekicks from the Midwest and elsewhere to destroy America's credit rating unless the federal government agrees to enact Dixie's economic agenda of preserving defense spending while slashing entitlements is simply the latest act of aggression by the Solid South.
We have a real national political problem that dates from the very beginning of our nation. One part of it, the part I grew up in, doesn't want to be American if that means it doesn't get its own way.

And its way is backward, reactionary, aristocratic, and often violent.

First degree Murdoch

When they say bare-knuckled, this is what they mean:

The real transgressions of the Murdoch empire are not its outrĂ© partisanship, its tabloid sleaze, its Washington lobbying, or even what liberals most love to hate, the bogus “fair and balanced” propaganda masquerading as journalism at Fox News. In fact, these misdemeanors are red herrings—distractions from the real News Corp. corruption that now threatens to bring down its management and radically reconfigure and reduce its international corporate footprint. The bigger story is this: An otherwise archetypal media colossus, with apolitical TV shows (American Idol), movies (Avatar), and cable channels (FX) like any other, is controlled by a family (and its tight coterie of made men and women, exemplified by the recently departed Rebekah Brooks) that countenances the intimidation and silencing of politicians, regulators, competitors, journalists, and even ordinary citizens to maximize its profits and power and to punish perceived corporate, political, and personal enemies. And, as we now know conclusively, some of this behavior has broken the law.
It's about money and power - and the ideology that places all power in money, with the sleazy propaganda it takes to achieve power with money in what once was an open society.

Who steals my purse steals trash

Now that the world can no longer deny America's willingness to blow off our debts, who'll put money in our purse?

Of course, [China's moves into the euro, South Korea's into the renminbi and gold, and other nations' into gold] are all minor moves in a currency market still dominated by U.S. dollars. That's good news for the U.S. economy in the short-term, because it lessens the threat of a massive sell-off and keeps borrowing rates relatively cheap. But the recent pileup of central banks and sovereign wealth funds into gold (according to the FT, central banks are on their biggest bullion buying spree in 40 years) is a warning signal that global esteem the almighty dollar (and the U.S. economy's strength) is already eroding.
There's a huge and growing overhang of dollar positions that other countries want to unwind. Whenever the race for the exit starts, it's going to get ugly for us. Uglier.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Liberal economic devastation

Even the Boston Herald has noticed that, compared to the rest of the U.S., the Massachusetts economy is growing well:

The University of Massachusetts’ quarterly MassBenchmarks report yesterday estimated that the state’s economy expanded at a 4.3 percent annualized clip between April and June. That’s way above the 1.3 percent second-quarter growth rate that the Commerce Department reported yesterday for the U.S. economy overall.
The wingnuts are all flushing this down the memory hole ("does not compute"), but they'll be raving when the double-dip recession starts. They will of course blame so-called liberal economic policies, instead of the Republican gutting of those policies.

Just wait for the sequel

Click image for full Tim Campbell/Current Publishing cartoon.

The way they were

Click image for full Jen Sorensen cartoon.

Why were they so afraid of a slave uprising?

Conservatives believe what they choose. They choose whatever exculpates them:

Why does the ugly resuscitation of the myth of the happy slave family matter? Because it is part of a broad and deliberate amnesia, like the misleading assertion by Sarah Palin that the founders were antislavery and the skipping of the “three-fifths” clause during a Republican reading of the Constitution on the House floor. The oft-repeated historical fictions about black families only prove how politically useful and resilient they continue to be in a so-called post-racial society. Refusing to be honest about how racial inequality has burdened our shared history and continues to shape our society will not get us to that post-racial vision.
Who are the revisionist historians? Not those who continue to learn, those who cling to their flattering myths.

What the debt hostage crisis told the world and the markets

There's no longer a consensus in American politics, particularly on the ascendant insane right wing, that the U.S. should pay its debts.

You'd sell your stock - and your dollars - too.

Of course, the fact that we're beginning a double-dip recession and the debt deal is contractionary should drive the stock market down.

Dr. Strangelove for racism

You just can't make this stuff up it's so stupid.

Republicans can't help themselves when it comes to showing, without intending to, that they're throwbacks to the 18th century. Offensive shit just rolls off their tongues.

If he follows pattern, tomorrow, Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-wha? what'd I say?) will get all passive-aggressive that he's the victim of reverse racism or some such bullshit.