Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Oshkosh: 63% of Census Forms Returned

Right on pace with the rest of the state.

Not surprisingly, states with high voter-turnout rates seem to also have the highest rates of Census form returns.

Great Moments in Charter School Education

From Slate:
A Philadelphia elementary school has come under scrutiny for its unusual setup: By day it services kindergarten through eighth graders by housing the Harambee charter school, and by night it services a (hopefully) older crowd by hosting the Damani nightclub, an after-hours club situated in the school's cafeteria. As a charter school, Harambee isn't subject to the same rules as public schools, but district officials are understandably upset about the arrangement. "A school and a nightclub cannot coexist in the same space and (the arrangement) must cease immediately," Superintendent Arlene Ackerman wrote in a letter on Monday. While the building used to be the site of an old Italian-American social club, officials say that Damani's liquor license expired two years ago and that it's been serving drinks illegally. While city officials didn't comment on the situation with the school, the club has less than two weeks to renew the license before building inspectors shut it down.

Jonathan Krause thinks Trains Will Ruin us All!

Today Jonathan Krause has decided to scare his readers with -- seriously -- a real think piece he read in Parade on the national debt. Krause decided to lay the reasons for the mounting debt on three causes: heath care, high speed rail (?), and high taxes. Let's look at these straw men, shall we?

Krause wants to scare people with "the cost" of health care, especially future cost of Obamacare, which he clearly believes will pussify America until we're all limp-wristed fags like those pansies in Europe or those anime-fiends in Japan. The fact is that the countries he references spend less on health care as a percentage of GDP than the US does ... in most cases much less:
United States: 17%
France: 10.7%
Britain: 8.4%
Japan: 8.2%
Canada: 10%
Even more importantly, the current US health care system is the one that has ballooned beyond financial sustainability:
When measured against GDP, it appears that increases in the cost of healthcare are not uniquely a Canadian phenomenon, but happening in virtually all healthcare systems. Moreover, these increases are more moderate in Canada. For example, in the U.S., healthcare spending as a proportion of GDP increased from seven percent in 1975 to 15.3 percent in 2005. In Canada, the figures rose from seven percent to 9.8 percent over the same time period, remaining constant at about eight to 10 percent of the nation’s GDP for the last 20 years.
What Krause doesn't take into account is the expansive welfare states in European countries that don't exist in America, nor the lethargic economy that has stagnated Japan much of these last 20 years. Health care ain't cheap, but it's not the only meal on the bill.

Next -- and this is just demonstrates how the guy has no consideration for the facts whatsoever -- Krause wants to blame high speed rail on the national debts of Britain, France and Japan:
Another similarity: high speed trains. Japan, France and Britain all have federally-subsidized high speed rail lines. Japan's system loses 20-billion dollars a year. Britain subsidizes a now-private system with about 8-billion bucks annually--while French taxpayers pick up about 10-billion dollars worth of rail line debt every year. These numbers do not include the billions that were spent in development and construction of the original high-speed rail lines. To their credit, Canadians have not wasted money on any high speed rail systems.
I don't know where he's getting these numbers, but we're going to roll with 'em:

In early 2009, the national debt of England was estimated to be about £2,000,000,000,000 (or $3,029,660,000,000 using today's exchange rate). That means the annual $8 billion Krause claims the British government spends on high speed rails accounts for about 0.0026% of the cumulative national debt. Even if we assume that figure has remained unchanged for the last two decades and multiply it by 20, it would still only represent 0.052% of the British debt.

In France, the national debt is about $2 trillion dollars. That means annual high speed rail subsidies account for 0.005% of the total French national debt.

Japanese national debt is expected to reach ¥973 trillion (or $10.8 trillion) by the end of the year. That means the $20 billion Krause claims the Japanese are losing on account of high speed rail this year accounts for 0.00185% of national debt.

Basically, Krause is completely full of shit in this claim. He pulled high speed rail out of his ass because that's a topic of conversation in Wisconsin at the moment and he's trying push a square peg into a round hole.

What Krause also fails to mention is that the cost per gallon of petrol in these countries is exceedingly expensive:
Britain = $6.66
France = $6.89
Japan = $5.19
Those are prices that we'll see in the US sometime in the near future.

Lastly, Krause mentions taxes, but his reason for doing so is never made clear. Are we to expect high taxes like those abroad because of those countries' enormous debts or will these taxes lead to said debts? He doesn't say. That's because he doesn't really care. Krause just wants panic his readers with the impending socialist creep.

MORE: Here's Steve Prestegard lapping up this bullshit.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

House-cleaning at the Vatican

Obviously, needed now more than ever.

And this should include the relativist apologists like Ross Douthat and the folks at First Things, whose defenses seem to entirely consist of shifting the blame to things like Vatican II or the New York Times.

Conservative Catholics have pushed the "slippery slope" argument with respect to gay rights for decades now, claiming that welcoming gays into the church would lead to the acceptance of polygamy, pedophilia and even sex with animals -- but here we are, in 2010, and the the most vehement apologists and defenders of actual pedophiles and child abusers -- and not the hypothetical ones at the end of the "slippery slope" -- are the conservative Catholics.

It's repugnant to see a wing of the church who has claimed the banner of eternal mores sink into such a relativistic morass, but not unexpected given the Church's long history. Reading Ross Douthat feebly blame Vatican II for unleashing a torrent of teh Gay on the clergy must be how outraged Catholics felt when reading defenses of simony or other medieval institutional ills during the Dark Ages. Reprehensible charlatans like Bill Donahue are even more despicable.

The scandal in Germany is just now reaching a fevered pitch. In Ireland the church is in crisis. The scandal is even reaching Brazil and once it has a foothold in South America it has the potential to run like wold-fire through the Spanish-speaking and deeply Catholic Americas where a culture of machismo and deference has likely made silence surrounding the abuse all the more difficult to break.

There are no less than three sins being committed for each case of abuse: the act against the child, the hypocrisy o the perpetrator and the cover-up by the church. The child abuse scandals make a gay prostitution ring in the Vatican look down right quaint by comparison. The church can expect to continue to hemorrhage moral authority until it finally understands that it has to come clean.

Tuesday Afternoon Link Orgy

Mark Bowden on Gen. David Pataeus.

Who is the hottest girl in the history of painting? [via V]

Is the time right for a viable third party? No, says Stu Rothenberg.

School vouchers lose yet another supporter.

One meathead's hilarious account of trying to hook-up with Paris Hilton on Spring Break.

This week's edition of Demography is Destiny.

Dude tries to flee from cops by breaking into ... a prison.

The Sarkozys dine at Ben's Chili Bowl.

Now Here's Something that Would Never Happen in Oshkosh...

Never. Ever ever never ever never ever ever never never never:
Two Wausau residents running for separate seats on the Wausau City Council have statements in their campaign literature that are identical to each other, putting into question whether the two are working together or being led by someone else.


The literature designs are different for Kaiser and Van Ryn, but that's where the differences stop. Both Kaiser and Van Ryn's campaign literature carry the same "I Pledge" statement, which reads "... I will diligently search out any and all ways to reduce spending so our taxes are the lowest they can possibly be. I will do what is financially in the best interest of you, the taxpayers, every time."

The last sentence is underlined in both literature pieces.

[via Jim Rosenberg]

Kevin Fischer is a Fat Sad Sack Pussy Who can go Fuck Himself

As long as he's going to whine like little bitch about anonymous speech on the internet, we might as well give him a really good reason to do so.

Feingold +4 vs. Thompson

Another day, another poll.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Monday Night Link Orgy

David Frum on how the GOP can recover.

Michael Weiss on David Frum.

Thomas Malthus: vindicated ... ish.

Bush/Obama voters.

Hitler as canvass.

Yet another Scott Brown victory post-mortem (but this one's kinda interesting).

The GOP frat boy complex.

Anti-New Atheism

GOP Drops $2000 at a Hollywood Strip Club

That's a lot of singles...

MORE: I suppose this update will detail just how limited my knowledge of West Coast Houses of Ill Repute is. Apparently "strip club" isn't an entirely accurate term of art to describe Voyeur West Hollywood, though "House of Burlesque" doesn't seem to cut it either. The establishment in question, however, does seem to qualify as a night-club-inspired-by-the-orgy-scene-from-"Eyes Wide Shut," for what it's worth.

EVEN MORE: This is probably the best way to look at the whole matter.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Radio Daze

I thought this was especially appropriate on the day when the RNC decided to start shilling for a radio talkers latest "book":
That question — the question of how we value things and how we deliver them, the question Republicans recused themselves from — is what politics is all about. Politics is about delivering goods to people. It’s about deliberating on the value of goods and then bringing them to the public — goods like economic growth, domestic security, education opportunities, environmental health and so on. Health care is one of the goods that politics concerns itself with. And thus the question of whether the Health Care Reform will prove to be smart politics will be answered on the basis of if — and only if — it effectively delivers more and better health care to more people (at tolerable costs). I think that it will. Some people probably disagree. The purpose of the senate’s slow deliberative process is so that these different views will clash together to shape a better bill — one that delivers more goods to more Americans.

The absurdity of the Republican’s position is that they chose to ignore this basic fact of what politics is about. They acted as if the deliberation on the bill was itself the politics of the bill. They acted as if politics were not about helping people’s lives but, instead, about a kabuki warfare of lies and messaging in the realm of ideas and rightwing talk radio shows.

In other words, the GOP has not only taken its cues from talk radio, but they have entirely forgotten that talk radio doesn't actually serve a real constituency. That might work in the short term, but eventually this will have disastrous consequences.

Paul Esslinger's Greatest Hits

Shortly after Paul Esslinger was elected Mayor last year we predicted bad things:
After nine years on the city council Essingler has nothing to show for his tenure except a string of polarizing incidents that do little in terms of moving the city forward, but are a great way of getting one's name in the paper.
Of course, Esslinger has extended that practice to his tenure as Mayor. Here are some of Esslinger's greatest hits almost a year after being elected:
Although Councilman Bucholtz has turned out to be a dedicated public servant and something of a breath of fresh air on the council, the whole process was a belabored mess and not exactly a confidence-building exercise.
What he should have done was express his intentions to both Bowen and Maddox and seek their input on possible successors. Then when the time came to make the changes public, he should have released a statement thanking the two of them for their service. I'm not suggesting Esslinger give them the keys to the City, but a "thank you" was the very least he could have done ... and I mean the absolute minimum.
To Esslinger's credit, he did manage to pull an event together, but only after considerable hand-wringing during what was essentially a "no confidence" vote by the traditional sponsors of the event.
A flip-flop on a project shortly after Esslinger bought out the ownership of Screwballs bar. Left unsaid was the positive effect that project was going to have a several competing taverns downtown and if that was a factor in his decision to oppose the project.
The Deer Cull really wasn't so much about what Esslinger did do so much as he what he didn't do. Instead of providing much leadership on the matter, he actually went to Governor Doyle to see what he could about it:
There's absolutely no need for another committee to essentially resolve a single animal control issue and it's ridiculous that Esslinger has to waste political capital by meeting with the Governor over this issue. (I don't care who is in the office, but the Governor of Wisconsin has far more important things to worry about that a whether the City of Oshkosh can take control a few dozen deer.)
If there's one incident that embodies the Esslinger management style, it's this one. The sad thing is that this is the kind of project that, with a little forethought and advance notice, could have been net positive to the city. Arranging a price with the seller and asking him to put the truck on hold would have made raising private funds easier (even in this economy). Now no one's sure if the money's going to Esslinger, the city, the fire department, the seller... It's a bloody mess, it never had to be and it will likely be the thing most voters remember when they enter the voting booth next spring.
Pretty much an embarrassment to everyone in the city.
Ongoing ...

If we've missed any, feel free to jog our memories in the comments section below. In the past we've referred to ordeals such as the above as "distractions" -- nothing really corrupt or criminal, just the product of incredibly poor decision-making. The problem with these distractions is that they have a tendency to occupy the time and energy of a city council that could be working on other things. For example, we have been talking about buying an antique fire truck since early November of last year. Six months is a long time to worry about a fire truck that's not actually going to be putting out any fires.

But if you look at the way these distractions have unfolded -- they are listed above in chronological order -- a pattern starts to emerge. The first few were acts of thoughtlessness on his part, or political calculations that were made without regard to the optics. The more recent incidents, however, have veered into "conflict of interest" territory and appear to be evidence of a sense of entitlement that points down a trajectory that should worry the city.

When he ran for Mayor, Esslinger said he wanted his office to concentrate on four issues: public safety, sewage treatment, jobs and infrastructure. Instead, he's mostly devoted his attention to jukeboxes and firetrucks. God only knows what's next.

Mayor Esslinger: Working for Himself

No surprise here:
Records obtained by The Northwestern show the mayor approved many of the fees that could be repealed. Esslinger voted to increase live music/jukebox fee, mechanical devices fee and the limited service restaurant inspection fee during meetings in 2003 and 2006 while a member of the council.

Esslinger said his experience owning Screwballs since last summer has changed his perspective on fees businesses have to pay.


Oshkosh Tavern League President Pat Purtell said his organization did not lobby for the changes, but welcomes rolling back any fees on its members. He said Esslinger had complained to him shortly after he purchased Screwballs last summer about the fees.
Some of these fees seem a bit over the top. Others, like the $20 per electronic gambling machine could be increased, since those things make a goddamn killing.

The real problem I have with this story is that it's a perfect example of how Esslinger operates. The only times he ever seems to want to do something is when he sees something that effects his everyday life. As a result, the city might lose up to $50,000 a year in revenue and might also have to fork $15,000 (this year) for an antique fire engine it will get basically railroaded into buying.

And for what reason? Because Esslinger doesn't want to pay $360 in fees? We don't know if we should all be astonished by just how transparently self-interested this move is or amazed at how petty.

Pictoral Postscript


Saturday, March 27, 2010

Adios, ACORN

Jesse Walker at Reason has a spot-on autopsy on the soon-to-be-deceased ACORN:
But while ACORN learned from Alinsky's confrontational style, there's an important difference between the Alinsky model and the ACORN model. As the liberal writer Harry Boyte put it in his 2004 book Everyday Politics, Alinsky thought the best way to build political power was to "create an organization of existing community institutions," such as churches and neighborhood associations. ACORN, meanwhile, "avoided organizing through institutions and sought out previously disconnected community residents"; as a result it was "plagued by rapid turnover in leadership and transcience of affiliates." The group's central tactic was door-to-door canvassing—to the point where, in Boyte's view, "the canvass has become the tail that wags the dog. Narrowly scripted issue campaigns come to dominate, while the more complex, vital work of public leadership development and the creation of sustainable local cultures of civic engagement disappears." The canvassers, meanwhile, were overworked and poorly paid, and on at least one occasion went on strike. Until the recent scandals hit, ACORN was best known in some circles for being the group that worked to raise the minimum wage but didn't want to pay the minimum wage to its own employees.
And that's how you end up having ex-cons registering voters.

The whole thing is worth reading. ACRON was a terribly run organization on just about every level and will likely serve as an example of how not to create a "business model" for successful community organizing group. Far from being the urban election fraud boogie-man that they conveniently allowed the right to paint them as, ACORN was more accurately described as the gang that couldn't shoot straight. Above all things, they were incompetent, and Walker does a good job of laying out the institutional issues they doomed they from the get-go. There was fraud alright, but the problem canvassers were more interested in cheating ACORN out of an honest paycheck than they were with stealing elections. That's no one's fault, but ACORN's.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Sinead O'Connor

Ripping up a picture of the Pope on SNL pretty much ended her career, but it turns out she was on to something.


Eisenhower Memorial

Very cool:

"Scientists Discover 90 Percent More Universe"

And to think I had been worried about there not being enough universe...

James T Harris' Alternate Universe

It's hard to pick out just one passage for derision because just about all of it is so wildly wrong.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Movie Futures

What an awful/amazing idea!

David Frum out at AEI


MORE: This story just got a little sexier.

MORE STILL: Apparently, it was all about the Benjamins...

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Can Someone Explain to Conservatives that Suicide is not Covered under Health Care Reform?

Says Joe Klein:
The Republican Party has to be very careful about where it's headed. After all, it was protesters shouting "baby killer" at U.S. troops in the 60s that helped put the Democratic Party in the American doghouse for 40 years.
Then there's this:
Mark Williams, the Sacramento-based chair of the Tea Party Express, and Eric Odom, chairman of Liberty First ... both dismissed the argument that incidents of racism, homophobia and vandalism threaten to tarnish the movement. Williams said charges that Tea Party protesters hurled epithets at Democrats like John Lewis and Barney Frank were unproven, then suggested it wasn't beyond the realm of possibility that lefty infiltrator seeking to sully the Tea Partyers had been the real culprit.
That argument strains credulity. No one's going to buy the agents provocateur theory. In fact, I sure that most people feel insulted by the mere suggestion.

The Coming Hypocrisy

Ezra Klein (via M):
In about 12 hours, the GOP's position has gone from ‘repeal this socialist monstrosity that will destroy our final freedoms’ to ‘there are some things we don't like about this legislation and would like to repeal, and there are some things we support and would like to keep.. . . At this rate, they'll be running on expanding the bill come November.”
That backtracking is already starting to happen:

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) has long been a vocal critic of the Democrat's health reform efforts, but today he started taking credit for some provisions of the bill, and talking up his own role in crafting the legislation.

In a release sent out by his staff to reporters today, Grassley says the bill will "hold tax-exempt hospitals accountable for the federal tax benefits they receive" thanks to his work.

We noted this before, but the GOP abandoned any claim to the benefits of this bill a while ago. That, of course, isn't going to stop the most craven of GOP electeds from shamelessly looking to score some cheap points, but it's only going to get more ridiculous.

The Very Definition of Agony

Don't ask us how we ended up on the Green Party's Wikipedia page, but we did and found this astonishing piece of trivia:
A convention was held at UCLA in Los Angeles on August 20, 1996 where each state party who placed Nader on the ballot told their story, followed by a two hour and twenty minute acceptance speech by Nader that was broadcast on C-SPAN and Pacifica Radio - the first time Greens in the U.S. had that kind of national exposure.
Two hours and twenty minutes! That's not an acceptance speech, that's a suicide drill.

Mike Huebsch Really has this Constituent Services Thing Down Pat

This is from a hilarious exchange between a tea bagging organizer and state Rep. Mike Huebsch of La Crosse (who was like the majority leader or Speaker of the Assembly or something at one point):

From the Teabagger:
From: Jake Speed []
Sent: Friday, March 19, 2010 11:47
To: Rep.Huebsch
Subject: Re: State Representative Mike
Huebsch's E-Update March 19, 2010

Why aren't you drumming up support for things such as SJR-62??? It will give WI residents the constitutional right to choose their own health care coverage. Kapanke says he supports it unless he is just making promises he doesn't intend to keep!

You call yourself a conservative but you don' always seem to support conservative
It's your standard I'm-angry-and-you're-not-doing-enough communique, but rather than just sending Mr. Speed a polite thank-you-for-sharing-your-concerns form letter, Huebsch get loses his cool (emphasis added below):
-- On Tue, 3/23/10, Rep.Huebsch wrote:

From: Rep.Huebsch
Subject: RE: State Representative Mike Huebsch's E-Update March 19, 2010
Date: Tuesday, March 23, 2010, 8:24 AM


I don't support conservative values?! You honestly believe I'm contributing to the the debacle that is happening in Madison and Washington? Before you comment again without knowing what you're talking about, I would suggest you do some homework.

Of course I support SJR 62 and its goals. And so does Sen. Kapanke. When I served as Assembly Speaker in 2007 and 2008, I scheduled a similar resolution for a vote. The resolution was in response to Democrat efforts to pass Healthy Wisconsin in our state and it was approved by Assembly Republicans. It was killed by Democrats who controlled the state Senate.

I am also supporting efforts to authorize the Attorney General to take legal action against the federal government.
If you have ideas for how to convince the Democrats who control both the state Assembly and state Senate to schedule SJR 62 for a vote or a resolution authorizing the AG to act, I'd be glad to discuss those with you.

Mike Huebsch
That's right, you ignorant douchebag! When you speak to Mike Huebsch you better know what you're talking about or shut the fuck up!

Anyway, Mr. Tea Bagger was so put off by Huesch's response that he sent him a lengthy, rambling diatribe about Scott Walker and some other stuff. You can read the whole thing -- as well as find copies of the original emails -- here.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Well, Lookie Here ...

Feingold +3 ...

The Markets Continue Their Inexorable Descent into Chaos Following the Passage of HCR!

Great Moments in Teabagger Debate

They come from all over.

In Arizona [via MY]:

The front door was smashed out at Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords’ congressional office last night.

At 2:40 a.m., just a few hours after staff left the building after the late-night vote, the alarm system went off, said spokesman C.J. Karamargin. The panel to the front door and the glass panel alongside it were smashed out. The perpetrator likely had to hop the gated fence to get access to the door, since it’s not viewable from the parking lot.

Earlier today, self-described conservative blogger Solomon "Solly" Forell posted a tweet that included a call for assassination, as well as this line: "We'll surely get over a bullet 2 Barack Obama's head!"
In Virginia:

A tea party organizer angry over Rep. Tom Perriello’s (D-Va.) vote in favor of health care reform published what he thought was the freshman member’s home address on a blog, in case any readers “want to drop by” and provide a “personal touch” to their views.

Rather than giving out Perriello’s address however, the tea party activist instead mistakenly printed the home address of the congressman’s brother. Perriello’s brother and wife have four children under the age of eight.


In an interview with POLITICO, Troxel admitted to writing the post and said that he has no intention of removing the address from the blog.

Troxel found the address through a directory website and said he would only replace what he currently has on the blog with an address provided by Perriello’s office.

“If they would like to provide me with the address of Tom, then I’d be more than happy to take it down,” he said. “I have no reason to believe it’s not his house.”

In New York [via BJ]:
The same day a brick crashed through her Niagara Falls office, Rep. Louise Slaughter (D) says her staff discovered an assassination threat aimed at her family members. The Democratic headquarters in Rochester was also targeted.

No one was inside when the brick was hurled through the Democratic Patry Headquarters on University Avenue. Attached was a note quoting conservative Barry Goldwater: “Exremism [sic] in defense of liberty is no vice”.

The note was the only clue -- until now.

“I’m advocating broken windows. I’m advocating vandalism," says Mike Vanderboegh. We spoke to him by phone from his home in Pinson, Alabama.
Also in New York:
A Republican running for governor of New York thinks the passing of health reform is the same as 9/11. Per the New York Daily News:
"'The day that that bill was passed will be remembered just as 9/11 was remembered in history,' Carl Paladino, a Buffalo businessman seeking the Republican and Conservative Party lines, told host Curtis Sliwa on AM 970 The Apple this morning. 'It was an attempt by these people in Washington to defy the Constitution. It is clearly in conflict with all of the basic precepts of the Constitution.'"
In Washington, DC:
Per Politico, “The only thing worse than winning ugly is losing uglier. The Democrats’ ungainly march toward a victory on health care reform Sunday night provoked a graceless response from angry House Republicans, who shouted insults across the chamber, encouraged outbursts from the galleries, brandished ‘Kill the bill’ placards from the Speaker’s Balcony and, apparently, left veiled threats of electoral retribution on the benches of undecided Democrats. And that all came before Texas Republican Rep. Randy Neugebauer shouted ‘baby killer!’ as anti-abortion Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.) spoke on the House floor.”
In America:
  • 67% of Republicans believe that Obama is a socialist.
  • 57% of Republicans believe that Obama is a Muslim
  • 45% of Republicans agree with the Birthers in their belief that Obama was "not born in the United States and so is not eligible to be president"
  • 38% of Republicans say that Obama is "doing many of the things that Hitler did"
  • 24% of Republicans say that Obama "may be the Antichrist."
Again, from Washington, DC:

IT IS only natural that the Republican Party should respond to the passing of Obamacare by appealing for Americans to vote Republican in November. And it is true that the first consequence of a Republican takeover of the House would be that Nancy Pelosi would lose her job as speaker.

Nonetheless, it is a bit ungentlemanly to illustrate a call for voters to "Fire Pelosi" with a picture of her engulfed in flames.

In Texas:
Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) — a judge in his prior career — comes out for repealing the 17th Amendment, to “restore the balance” between the federal government and the states by giving the right to appoint senators back to state legislatures.
That should do it for now...

Are You Fucking Kidding Me, Sarah Palin?

On the day the woman signs a $1 million per episode reality TV gig, Palin has the audacity to ask supporters for a donation.

This woman is clearly not going to be President. Ever.

The Bump Begins


By 49%-40% those surveyed say it was "a good thing" rather than a bad one that Congress passed the bill. Half describe their reaction in positive terms, as "enthusiastic" or "pleased," while about four in 10 describe it in negative ways, as "disappointed" or "angry."

The largest single group, 48%, calls the bill "a good first step" that should be followed by more action on health care. An additional 4% also have a favorable view, saying the bill makes the most important changes needed in the nation's health care system.

(emphasis added)
Only to be outdone by:
Making matters slightly worse for Republicans, the same poll found that 46% of Americans believe President Obama's handling of the health care issue has been excellent or good. For the congressional GOP, it's 26%.
[via BJ]

MORE: According to TPM's poll average (with all the attendant caveats, naturally) this could mean an almost 20 point swing in just a matter of days.

I'll Take That Bet (or, Owen Robinson has Gone Stark Raving Mad)

Owen Robinson is doubling down on his prediction that Health Care Reform will help bring about "violent revolution" by actually predicting a date for when this will happen:
So I stand by my statement that I expect to see violent revolution within my lifetime. If I had to pick a date, I think it’ll be around 2035 or 2040. That’s when the crushing weight of what we are doing will no longer be able to be sustained and it will only take a small spark to ignite a conflagration.
We'll take that bet. In fact, we'll give Robinson odds: there won't any kind of revolution, violent or otherwise, throughout the rest of the century. (Frankly, we don;t think we can hold out much longer than that, otherwise we'd go further.) So here's our bet: if Robinson's wrong, he has to live with the indignity of being yet another embarrassment who predicted the End of Times and was wrong; but if he's right, we'll furnish him and his family with a gold plated pitchfork and first class accommodations to wherever the last vestige of freedom on God's green Earth happens to be at the time of "the uprising."

Robinson calls himself a "student of history" but then goes on to cite Europe as example of "stagnation" even though the EU had a GDP over $2+ trillion over the US last year. Europe also has some of the most internally peaceful countries in the world. Even the former Soviet Bloc countries have developed strong democratic institutions in a relatively brief amount of time since the fall of the Berlin Wall. There has been no history of violent revolution in Western European countries with large welfare states since the end of WWII.

Robinson's defense of his claim is an incoherent mess that tries to amalgamate a bunch of issues (finally, a conservative who doesn't think there's enough immigration coming into this country!) into a unified theory of "We're All Gonna Die!" but just ends up creating little more than confused chaos. It's the future-tense equivalent of saying "9/11 was an inside job" since there's as much evidence pointing to both conclusions (i.e. none) and both theories come from deep-seated places of fear and paranoia within the claimant.

The United States has suffered through real constitutional and economic crises before -- not imagined ones like the fever dream Robinson's living through right now. We've gone through a Civil War, a Great Depression, too many recessions to count, the impeachment of several executives, and Presidential elections that have yielded two winners (twice). This is a country where when a neo-Nazi skinhead sneezes, the ACLU will be there to blow his nose and defend his right to suffer from allergies. It's a country where 80 million Evangelicals shit bricks when someone suggests removing the phrase "under God" from the Pledge of Allegiance. The extra-governmental institutions and redundancies that watch over America are incredibly strong -- a change in health care policy will not ruin the Republic.

If conservatives are going to clutch desperately at an idealized vision of 1980s Reagan America like Gollum to his precious, then I guess we can all expect to see Republican fatalism start to find vogue shortly ... Robinson actually sounds like he's traded in the "shining city on a hill" for Mad Max's post-apocalyptic hellscape. Well, if that's how someone sees America these days, I guess warning of a "violent revolution" as a means of course correction might actually provide some solace, but it also means you're just batshit crazy.

I nearly forgot:


Everyone's a Winner!

And on the day the rest of America received health care reform, Sarah Palin got a reality TV show.

It's a helluva country, isn't it?

Is this how Kevin Fischer Auditions Strippers?

In a review of -- I shit you not -- "Dancing with the Stars," Kevin Fischer oozes out the following with regards to a fellow Franklin blogger who did not treat a previous contestant with as much slobbering, erection-inducing deference as he did:
Evans' remarks were symbolic of a nation of women who, instead of cheering Presley's courage instead acted like cackling jealous hens.

My challenge to the petty Evans at the time stands. When she turns 62, I invite her to my house, we will move all the furniture, turn on the music, and she is more than welcome to tango, rumba, and do the splits in defiance of yours truly and Priscilla Presley.


Again, my living room is wide open to any and all jealous and petty school board members who foolishly think they can do better.
Go forth and read the whole thing. It's priceless on so many levels, containing such well-crafted passages as:
This season the ABC brass has brilliantly come up with a super female lineup that will draw in more male viewers.

Erin Andrews?

A guy faced being arrested to see her in the shower.

Pamela Anderson?

The world knows she can act. But can she dance? Inquiring minds want to know.

Apparently, the only thing a woman requires in this world to be desired by men is a prior stalking lawsuit... and act? Act? Obviously, Fischer has never seen "Barb Wire."

Monday, March 22, 2010

How Did the Market Respond to Health Care Reform?

The Dow said: meh.

Teabaggers vs. Immigration Reform Mimes

Marc Ambinder's earlier post that inherent nativism among teabaggers being a liability is hard to disagree with, but I don't think he ever thought it would lead to violence against female mimes:
Yesterday, approximately 200,000 people gathered at the National Mall to show their support of comprehensive immigration reform. Roy Beck, director of the immigration restrictionist group, NumbersUSA, decided to add himself to the mix and report on the event via a live stream that was available on the group’s website. According to Anne Manetas of NumbersUSA, a group of female mimes threatened Beck and his bodyguards with “constant efforts at crushing physical intimidation” instigated by “blowing hateful whistles” and waving balloons.
One has to admit: this is a pretty hilarious rock and hard place to be caught between. On the one hand, you got the possible assault of a pair of female mime, which never sounds good no matter how you spin it. On the other hand, you've got someone who was apparently so threatened by female mimes that they felt the need to resort to self defense, which sounds equally ridiculous.

Health Care Reform Should End Tommy Thompson's Senate "Run"

Our feet are fairly firmly planted in the Thompson-will-not-run camp (see here for more, if you must), but the new health care reform bill probably just ended any further thought he may have about running.

The most recent poll on HCR's popularity in Wisconsin is just less than a week old and comes from Rasmussen:
Just 43% in Wisconsin favor the health care reform plan, while 54% are opposed. Those numbers include 25% who strongly favor the plan and 46% who strongly oppose it. Those results are similar to those found among voters on the national level.
An 11 point spread is nothing to scoff at, but this will close in the weeks and months ahead and Republicans have no choice but to assume that the 54% who oppose HCR will be the ceiling. That number will shrink after a few weeks of good press and the President barnstorming the country to help build support. Many of the first changes to the system will start taking place in September of this year, which will further endear the legislation to voters just before election time.

Thompson has already hinted that, if he did run, he would take the Romney Route and appeal to the teabagger wing of the GOP instead of fighting ideas with ideas. This will come into direct conflict with his tenure as HHS Secretary in the Bush Administration.

If you don't recall much of Thompson's time at HHS, it's because he was viewed as something of a non-entity. Health care reform was never on the Bush administration's radar, nor was health regulation for that matter. Appointments to key positions at HHS came from the White House and Thompson spent much of his time doing what was at the time thought to be a sexy gig: preparing for a biological or chemical terrorist attack. Every now and then something like Mad Cow or Avian Flu showed up on his plate, but what Thompson was primarily used for was anti-terror window dressing. He was a largely ineffective administrator who never really got the chance to shine.

In other words, Thompson has some impeccable heath care bona fides, but absolutely nothing to show for it compared to HRC. Despite this inconvenience Thompson has been out in the real world saying things like this:
Even though American health care is the best in the world, said Thompson, he predicts the health care system will collapse about 2013. "The first reason is that we spend about 16 percent of our GDP on health care, while other countries spend from four to 11 percent. Japan spends 7 percent. We spend a lot more than any other country." And, he said, by 2013 we'll double the expenditures; from $2 trillion to $4 trillion -- from 16 percent of GDP to 20 percent of GDP.
How would repealing the current HCR bill -- which is where he seems to be going -- help that situation? It doesn't. According to THT, we're damned if we do and damned if we don't. That's not a winning message.

Making matters worse, Thompson is all over the place on HCR. He's for it one day and against it the next, and that's before we start talking about all the lobbying interests that might be influencing his public stances. In other wordds, why would Wisconsin bother sending a health care "expert" who only wants to repeal the current bill back to Washington?

Romney to the Rescue ...?

We here at the Chief believe that the only legitimate GOP 2012 White House candidate is Mitt Romney. Needless to say we're pretty interested in hearing about how he's going to react to an HCR package, of which David Frum says: "The Obama plan has a broad family resemblance to Mitt Romney’s Massachusetts plan. It builds on ideas developed at the Heritage Foundation in the early 1990s that formed the basis for Republican counter-proposals to Clintoncare in 1993-1994."

It's exactly as bad as one would expect:
America has just witnessed an unconscionable abuse of power.


It will create a new entitlement even as the ones we already have are bankrupt. For these reasons and more, the act should be repealed. That campaign begins today.
There's going to be a race to the bottom for the GOP nomination in 2012 and Romney already knows how to win it -- the question that remains is will he know how to recover from it during the general? The answer is almost certainly no and only compounds a problem we discussed yestserday.

Teabaggers vs. Immigration Reform

Marc Ambinder:
Democrats assume that the immigration debate will open the curtain on the Tea Party movement; health care will be child's play compared to the tantrums over the prospect of earned legalization and other measures. The overlap between the Tea Partiers and ethnocentric immigration restrictionists is huge, and even many Republicans worry that the embedded nativism in the movement, whether or not it is also racialized (as a proxy for being against Obama and his ilk) will come to the fore in a way that once again diminishes the fervor of right-leaning independents and energizes Hispanics.

But forget immigration even: the next two big presidential initiatives, domestically, at least, will be -- or should be -- easy political victories: reauthorizing but reforming the education law, and financial services reform.

First Overnight Polling is in

And it's not looking good for the GOP.

Remember, in the short term these figures will likely get a slight bounce from all the talk about the "historic" nature of the vote. How they fluctuate in the long term will depend on how well Obama and Co. promote the plan.

Mike Haskins: Future Leader of the Master Race! -- Let's Give him a Warm Round of Applause, Everybody!

Mike Haskins is back with some vintage domestic terrorist apologetics!
I AM your #1 fan! No one else navigates this page LMAO! David Lane was no domestic terrorist was those within his organization who were allegedly doing the dirty deeds. Lane was found not guilty on all charges yet the federal authorities rounded him up anyways under bogus rico statutes and gave him life ontop of life.
OK ... so he was only guilty of the RICO charges (like that's an improvement over anything), but what Haskins omits is that Lane was also found guilty of violating the civil rights of a Jewish radio talker when his gang murdered the man in his driveway.
Sorry if I admire the philosophy of a person who cared deeply about the future of his kind...
Rather, the racist hate "philosophy" of a violent criminal who sought to over throw the government.
what an awful thing to do these days in our politically correct insanity-society! :0
Here's where it starts to get creepy:
Whats sad is that you sheeple dont even know whats WONT see it coming...and when this economic system of ours thats been affirmative-actioned down the river and all the money runs out and all those people Osama-Bin-Barack promised all the hard working mans' money too...wont know what to do and the '94 LA riots will look like a grain of sand compared to the pile of crap this country will quickly become.
Oh, where to begin? Haskins fills this passage with some suggestive "race war' imagery -- references to the LA riots, affirmative action, cryptic pronouncements of "what's coming," etc. -- but never really explains what's on his mind. Does he think the current economic crisis is due to affirmative action, something that no economist anywhere believes? I would be an interesting theory to expound upon, I'm sure ...
And in the end it all comes down to race.
This is a moment of rare clarity from Haskins. This is actually the antithesis of the conclusion most Americans have reached over the last 50 years. I know it's hard being a white male in Brown County, where 91% of the population is white, but he certainly does appear to have some grievance against 9% who aren't.
All the so called minorities are mad because the european male has succeeded in this country and dominated as well. People call the fringe right-wingers crazy? Well, the mexicans openly discuss reclaiming their lands of the west coast/southwest.
This is the ridiculous Reconquista conspiracy ...
The silly natives have actually declared oklahoma, nebraska, the dakotas and more part of their own sovereign nation.
Um ... "silly natives"? Yeah, this guy isn't racists or anything ...
But when a white man encourages white flight (David Lane) to a certain part of the country he is tagged as no worse than Hitler.Now, in the age of affirmative action, you dont have to work your way up the chain of command; it is freely given to you based on skin color. And as the open ended oppression of the white male continues..and youre beginning to see examples of this every day, the general public will awaken. it might take 20 years..but they will awaken.
You ever listen to Messianic religious radio? You know how the phrase "with recent events" is designed to indicate that some kind of prophecy is in the process of being fulfilled. Well, cue the crazy in 3 ... 2 ... 1 ... and:
With recent events such as the New Haven firefighters, denied job promotions because of color.....the Atlanta sheriff whos first move after claiming office was to remove all white officers from the force and replace them with black and latinos....and JB, how come no one says a word about the North Carolina State Professor calling for the extermination of whitey?
Because he's crazy and since there has not been any recent history of African-American sustained political/ideological/religious violence against white people, no one takes him seriously.
Do you whacky libs agree with this thought?
No. No one does, including black people, since there aren't any taking whomever this dude is seriously.
That is supremacy and totalitarianism in its purest form! But if a white man were to say that hed be worse off than hitler and lynch mobbed! Why was THAT not second story on the 9 o clock news instead of my little flyers? Hmmmmm...figure that one out!
I don't need to figure it out. I already know the answer. The reason you're lame publicity stunt made the news is because there is a long history on racially motivated violence against minorities in America and this country has made tremendous strides to end it. Our society has collectively agreed that when threats to that ultimate goal arise, people must speak out against it.

It was also a really slow news day, as I recall.
As for your hopes of my non profit falling will never happen. White people united can never be defeated. What i have planned in the works will unite every pro-white organization on the planet...and its not going to be called WEPC either. My ego will lead to its demise!?!?! laughable! My ego is totally in-check! What ego? Really? I have an ego!?!
"What i have planned in the works will unite every pro-white organization on the planet" ... Yeah, that doesn't sound threatening or anything.

Well, I guess we all need to have goals in life. Some work for wife, family, a nice house in the 'burbs, while others just want a week on an deserted island with the Norwegian women's national soccer team. Mike Haskins just wants to be the Cyrus of white folks everywhere:

Moving on...
Zach w says.."keep up the fight chief" I ask, Chief..what exactly are you fighting for? And dont dare say racism....pleASE. What you call racism is my reaction to hatred. My reaction to the discrimination. A gradual process that that has led to my current beliefs. When i hear black men openly engage in conversation about "knocking up" every "White hoe" on the planet so that one day there will "only be mulattoe babies" so "(we)" can go and "kill off da rest a da white folk", i am repulsed and i want to spread the word.
I don't know where he's hearing this and since he hasn't left a link to anything, I can only assume he's making it up. It's hearsay.
When i see street gangs recruiting white kids and teaching them to hate themselves (the "latin" kings do this, as well as the "gangsta disciples" (take white kids and turn them to the cause of the brown pride and black pride and into good little che guevara t-shirt wearin', fist, sickle and hammer yielding communist filth....i am repulsed. Ohhh..but we have to have EMPATHY toward the parasite gangbangers that flood our streets with drugs and turn your kids into dope addicts and sluts.....Anything else wouldnt be politically correct!
Lot of gang-bangers in Allouez, are there?

Here I think we have revelatory passage. Haskins is living in a world where street gangs occupy a disproportionate degree of power. Whether this is a reality of his living situation or the product of too many hours watching "OZ," Haskins really doesn't understand how the world works outside of the visceral dog-eat-dog law of the streets.

That's obviously not how it works. If Haskins is truly repulsed at gang activity, he has a legal and socially-accepted recourse: going to the cops. They're the professionals, you know, the guys who enforce the laws? What makes this passage all the more troubling is that it seems to expose the vigilante purpose of Haskins' social club, something that should worry local law enforcement.
Well thats enough for ya today....dont wanna give you too much entertainment at once! Its all fun and games to you sir, but on this end of the connection my will is strong and my cause at the top of my mind.
And here comes the coup d'grace:
We must secure the sxistence of our race and a future for our children.
(emphsis added)
Those are David Lane's 14 words -- the racist credo that is de rigueur throughout much of the white supremacist movement . We've talked about it before here. Here's a more thorough look.
I think this pretty much proves our point about Haskins.
Now read away, take my statements out of context and rearrange them to fit your needs on your page. Yours truly..your Number One Fan
It's always good to feel loved ... even by a guy with so much hate in his heart.


"I’ve said in the past that I think we will see violent revolution in our nation within my lifetime. If this passes, I will be certain. "
By the standards of the Wisconsin blogosphere, Owen Robinson is one of the more even-keeled bloggers out there, but when he starts raving about "violent revolution" one really needs to re-evaluate one's definition of nautical balance.

Anyway, he's not alone. Many conservative bloggers in Wisconsin have decided to hoard canned foods and ammo in preparation for the coming 1000 Years of Darkness take-over of the means of production reconquista glorious socialist revolution race war health care reform.

On behalf of the non-perishable foodstuffs industry, I would like to thank you all for contributing to the economy.

There will be no violent revolution in America any time soon, and it's ridiculous to assert as much. At worse there will probably be a hand-full of weekend warriors playing revolutionary at a paintball course picked up for plotting some farcical instigation. To predict a "violent revolution" is to suggest that the fabric of American society is so weak and fragile that it could collapse into chaos at a moment's notice ... or it just suggests that the speaker is paranoid and lives in a constant state of panic and fear. Take your pick.

Anyway, here are some Wisconsin bloggers predicting the End of Days. I guess this means they'll be moving to that lone island of sanity on God's green earth where men can truly live freely unburdened by the heavy-hand of government: Somalia.
Last Best Hope [title]
Is no longer.
The Day America Died.
Peter DiGaudio
Let the tyranny begin.
I am now truly concerned about the future of my country.
Brad V, at LiB
United Socialist States of America.
Badger Blogger
Individual Freedom

Born: July 4, 1776
Died March 20, 2010
No Runny Eggs
That Pelosi bitch evidently believes she is entitled to be in charge of our lives, and Obama has shown he is nothing more than a tool of the libs>progressives>socialists>commies.


The level of my anger right now is such that, against my better nature, I am actually wishing HARM on that scum sucking plastic faced whore!
An Ol' Broad Ramblings
The Day Our Freedoms Died.
Texan in Wisconsin
The home of the brave? Yes. Those that fought to separate ourselves from governmental tyranny on our own soils, those who fought socialism and communism abroad, and those who fought and still fight the wars against terrorism, there is bravery. But freedom? The very reason this country was founded, against a system of government control and taxation, and to provide every man freedom from such control, has been betrayed.

Tonight, with the passage of the Health Care Reform Bill, the blue runs from our flag and pools to the ground like the blood given from those brave men who fought and gave their lives for freedom. All we are left with now is a red flag of socialism and a society that would rather take from others than fight for their own.
Tim Dotson

Yo Queen,

About those shots we fired at Lexington, Concord and Bunker Hill? Sorry. I guess we really didn’t mean it. We really want to be just like you after all. And the surrender at Yorktown? Just a big misunderstanding.

Thanks for being cool with it. We’ll send Obama over to bow to you shortly.


The Democratic Party

James Widgerson (with tongue firmly planted in cheek, one supposes)

Your Freedom, R.I.P.

Berry Laker

Goodnight America...

James T. Harris

Stick a fork in us. We're done.

Billiam's Bloviations

Sunday, March 21, 2010

The Party of Ideas

One of the strategic blunders that the GOP have committed during the health care negotiations will be the abandoning of the "Republican ideas" that were included in the bill. Those idea aren't Republican ideas anymore since every last member of the GOP caucus voted against them, which begs the question: what ideas do they have left? The Democrats held off on the left's most radical ideas -- the public option, single-payer, etc. -- but the GOP just abandoned their most centrist ideas, left them to the Dems and now are left standing with the most right wing policy ideas that are just as unfeasible as single payer and or a public option.

So what were the Republicans left with? Not much. There was no policy substance to any of the Republicans speeches on the House floor tonight. The GOP Congressmen could have been replaced with teabaggers ranting about "freedom" and "socialism" and other abstract concepts that don't do a damn thing about solving an actual problem.

The coming weeks are going to very telling about how the GOP moves forward from this lose. Are they going to continue their misinformation campaign or complain about a mythical "constitutional crisis" or at they going to get to work pushing an agenda that solves problems? There's no indication that they will choose they latter, which means the talk radio brigade will fill the vacuum with their predictable nonsense while the Dems enjoys a brief bump in popularity and publicity.

The GOP Loses to a Girl

I guess the only thing more painful than a devastating legislative defeat will be the weeks of fawning over Nancy Pelosi that will follow (and which has already begun).

At the end of the day, health care reform looks to be as much Pelosi's brainchild as anyone's else. We get it: conservatives hate her. She's a woman in power. She's from San Fransisco. She doesn't come off very well on TV ... But she can pretty clearly play ball with the rest of the boys. Like it or not, what Pelosi managed to pull off was nothing short of monumental and the fact that she irritates the shrillest faction of the conservative base almost as much as Hillary Clinton used to makes her victory all the more enjoyable.

Just the Beginning ...

Kevin Fischer tries to find solace in the ridiculous we-didn't-lose, we've-only-begun-to-fight! argument:
“What they (Democrats) don’t realize is that today’s vote isn’t the end, but just a new beginning in the debate over health care. Buckle up, because if they manage to cobble together enough votes to pass the Senate Health Bill today, we’re set for weeks and perhaps months of a constitutional and political crisis the likes of which we haven’t seen in our lifetimes.”
Yeah, a "constitutional crisis" probably isn't going to happen and neither is (as) much GOP opposition once the bill the leaves the House.

The only thing conservatives have left is vitriol, hyperbole and apocalyptic pronouncements of the end of the republic -- which will arrive in short order. I, for one, can't wait for them. They will have two fundamental effects:
1.) Making their speakers look desperate and silly.

2.) Making the GOP/Tea Party Clique/Talk Radio/Shrill Conservative Bloggers look powerless, impotent and unable to win the fight to "save America."
This isn't a "constitutional crisis" -- this is a crisis of conservatism on an epic scale and the most troubling thing for the GOP is that the party doesn't seem to show any desire to moderate itself in the near future. There's a real possibility that Dems will take a few loses this November, but it may take President Obama's landslide re-election in 2012 before the GOP learns that it needs to begin ignoring the most virulently right wing aspects of its base.

"We followed the most radical voices in the party and the movement, and they led us to abject and irreversible defeat."

David Frum on the strategic catastrophe of the GOP health care reform "Waterloo."

This is Why We Can't Have Nice Things

Good grief ...

Let the Apocalyptic Hyperventilating Begin!

I guess we can all expect to see nonsense like this for much of the next week or so.

Remember this night.

For it is the eve of what may very well be the 2nd American Revolution.

If the democrats pass this incredibly irrational piece of shit know as the health care bill, it should be the lighting of the proverbial fuse that results in an amazing sequence of events. There are turning points and hinges in history, this is without a doubt a profound one.

I for one plan on losing some people that heretofore I considered “friends.” I will be asking people who they voted for, and if they supported this nightmare. If they answer Obama and/or Yes. That’s it, its FUCK YOU ASSHOLE and Good bye. I am getting a very strong sense of what it must have felt like to live in the south just prior to the start of the war for southern independence..

Folks, this is the time when all honest men and women need to stand up and start judging. Forget all that bullshit about thou shalt not judge! If you don’t judge your neighbors and your elected representatives on this, then shame on you! You will be part of the sinking of this formerly great county damn it!

We'll try and collect some of the best of the sandwich board-wearing doomsday criers throughout the week, but we think it'd be wise ofr everyone to heed Alex Massie:
Needless to say the left are just as happy to hop aboard the moral panic bandwagon as the right. But there isn't a moment at which, preserved in jelly, one may perceive the United States pure and unsullied. Times change and so do countries. This health bill may be a monster (or it may not!) but it's not going to lose the Republic.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

1000 Words

The LA Times has an interesting piece on a ruling by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals regarding the use of the phrase "under God" in the pledge of allegiance and uses this magnificent picture from a city council meeting in Janesville to illustrate the otherwise mundane business of appellate court judges issuing a ruling.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Scott Walker's Cronyism

This is laughable.

See here. And here.

I expected Scott Walker to run a hard negative campaign, but I thought it was going to be of the petty name-calling and schoolyard taunt variety. I suppose I was a little naive in thinking Walker wasn't just going to flagrantly lie his way through November, but that's certainly the tone that his campaign has set.

MORE: Just to be clear, this whole business started because Walker decided to put one of his sugar daddy contributor's pet issues at his campaign's front and center. If that isn't cronyism, then, please, explain to me what is...

Tommy Thompson will Decide if He's Running for Senate After he has another Pina Colada on the Beach

Asked if he would run for Senate, Thompson said he still has time to make a decision but usually likes to make his after family vacations. He said he plans to go on one after Easter.
How many folks get to think about switching jobs after a nice weekend of antiquing these days?

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Terri McCormick does kinda Make Things More Interesting in her own Special Way

Listen, i know that Terri McCormick is a few sandwiches short of a picnic, but this is certainly a innovative batshit insane way of attacking your opponent:
Appleton, Wisconsin — Terri McCormick, Republican Congressional candidate in Wisconsin’s Eighth District, has obtained direct information from another member of Congress that Wisconsin’s own Steve Kagen is the point person for passing the Obama-Pelosi Health Care bill. “My contacts have informed me that Steve Kagen is the man on the House floor who is rallying support for the bill. He is using his status as a doctor to woo Blue Dog Democrats who are on the fence about the bill,” said McCormick.
The "Point Man"? Steve Kagen? A second term back-bencher? I don't doubt that he's whipping votes by using his MD credentials, but ... the "point man"? Really? What kind of favors can Kagen do for undecided Dems? Wouldn't someone with a little more senoirity, experience in the House, connections and, well, talent be the "point man" on what many people are calling the most important piece of legislation in a generation?

The best part of the claim is that it comes from "direct information from another member of Congress." Is McCormick running for Congress or applying for a job with the Post-Crescent? Name names, lady -- don't pull the anonymous sources nonsense out unless there are hookers and blow involved.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Tommy Thompson is a Conspiracy Kook's Wet Dream

I had a good chuckle when I read this:
Thompson’s work on a number of health and pharmaceutical boards is also bound for rigorous scrutiny. He is part-owner and board member of VeriChip Corp., which makes microchips that can be implanted in humans and serves as president of Logistics Health Inc., a company that helped evaluate people who claimed injuries from the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center.

The Cost of Scott Walker's Ear: $72,475

$72,475 is the amount Super Steel Chairman Fred Lubar donated to GOP causes in 2008.

Apparently, that's how much it's gonna cost you to get Scott Walker to try and finagle a bail out for your company.

That's basically what Walker's doing here: trying to get Super Steel a bailout in the form of a contract from the state (despite the numerous complications such an arrangement would entail).

So if the price is right Scott Walker will even ignore his opposition to bail outs.

Scott Walker Promises Rampant Cronyism When He's Governor

If you donate enough money to Walker and the GOP, you too can have your pet issue be a part of his campaign for governor!

This is getting ridiculous. Walker's campaign looks more like a piece of Dada performance art than a serious run for office.

In the middle of an awful economy, Walker is actually dragging out the Chairman of a company -- and huge financial contributor -- to complain about a contract that said company didn't even bid for ... so much for standing up for the little guy!

Spinning Scott Walker

Here's Aaron Rodriguez on the the on-going Brown Bag imbroglio:
Walker's advertisement is a Brown Bag Guide to Government, not a Brown Bag Guide to Campaigning. The former involves taking taxpayer money and spending it frugally as if it were their own. This demonstrates the basic principle that the county government shouldn't spend more than it has. The latter involves taking money from donors - supporters who want him to spend their money in order to get elected. The implication of the AP story is that they don't expect a frugal man to run for governor because it requires some healthy spending. As Walker's spokesperson said, the AP's expectations are plainly absurd.
There is simply no way to emphasize enough just how wrong Rodriguez is about this. It demonstrates a fundamental ignorance about how electoral politics works. Campaigns are essentially try-outs or dry-runs that allow candidates to show voters how they would operate an office. Saying that there's a difference between the way someone campaigns and the way someone governs is ridiculous -- that'd be like just taking a politician who says "Trust me!" at his word. Words have to match deeds -- if they don't, it's called lying.

Are All Members of Americans for Prosperity Such Enormous Assholes?

I'm sure that by now you've gotten a chance to see the deplorable video of teabaggers taunting a man with Parkinson's disease. If not, here you go (the really vile stuff starts around 0:50):

I just want to point out what that odious fucker in the white dress shirt and tie who was flinging money was holding in his other hand: a placard that read "I AM AFP," presumably handed out by Americans for Prosperity, given that they "hosted" the rally.
I'm sure we'll start to hear "But that was just one guy!" or "I betcha the liberal media just edited out all the sketchy stuff the union thugs were up to!" or some other nonsense, but there are no excuses for what this motherfucker did and if this is the kind of fucknut that AFP attracts, then all of you people are sick.

MORE: Seriously, from the bottom of my heart, Fuck AFP.

Why is Scott Walker Lying about the Brown Bag Idea?

, Walker's central campaign gimmick is quickly becoming a fiasco:
Walker campaign spokeswoman Jill Bader said the brown bag theme idea for Walker didn't come from SCM but was devised during a brainstorming session with campaign staff in Wisconsin. Bader said when the campaign discussed its ideas with direct mailer SCM, the firm mentioned it had done a similar ad for Voinovich.
But earlier in the very same article:

Reusing successful campaign tactics certainly isn't new. But Walker, a Republican candidate for governor, has taken the brown bag idea to a new level by making it the central theme of his campaign.

It's the focus of his first television ad of the campaign, he's urging voters to get on board with his "brown bag movement," and he's hosting brown bag lunches across the state. His supporters can also purchase brown paper bags promoting his anti-tax philosophy.

Both Walker and Voinovich's fundraising letters, signed by the candidates' wives and mailed in a brown bag, were devised by the same New Hampshire-based direct mail consulting firm, SCM Associates. Voinovich's brown bag letter, used in his first race for U.S. Senate in 1998, netted SCM an American Association of Political Consultants' Pollie Award that year for best campaign fundraiser.

SCM isn't running from the fact that it came up with both campaigns. It even bragged about it on its Facebook page in a Feb. 26 posting: "Brown bag movement takes off in Wisconsin. Our client, Scott Walker, running for Governor starts a movement based on an SCM Associates mailing. But Walker is the real deal, he brown bags two ham and cheese sandwiches on wheat every day."

First Walker lies about cutting his salary in his first campaign ad, then it turns out he actually eats out quite more often than the brown bag thing would suggest, and now his campaign is lying about who came up with the idea?

It doesn't really matter where the idea came from, but lying about makes it an issue. Walker's spokeswoman is clearly not being honest when she says that the brown bag concept was concocted in a brainstorming session and not by the consultants the campaign hired that did the exact same thing 12 years ago.

Scott Walker + Throbbing Eurotrash Techno Beat Found in a Gay Night Club = Hilarious

The unintentional homo-eroticism of Kyle Maichle continues to amaze ...

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Random TV Recommendation

Carve out some time to see a rerun of Winning Time: Reggie Miller vs. the New York Knicks if you get a chance this week. So far as TV sports documentaries are concerned, it's exceptional.

I was worried that the director was going to heavy-handedly play the Reggie Miller = the good guy, Spike Lee = the bad guy card -- but that didn't happen. Instead, Miller and Lee are portrayed as impish rogues cut from the same block. The documentary may as well have been called "Two Former Rivals Smiling Knowingly Whilst Waxing Nostalgic." Obviously, there's a lot more to it than just that, but the interviews with Miller and Lee are a lot of fun to watch and probably could have stood on their own in a more minimalist cut of the program.

One thing that I had forgotten about the early/mid-1990s NBA was just how physical the game was back then. The 1980s were like the Dark Ages of NBA defense, a time when teams scored 120+ points a game fairly regularly. By the time the '90s rolled around the League was ready to overcompensate. Centers and power forwards started hitting the weight room and sharpening their elbows and the game got rough. Today's ballers are far more balletic on D then their brethren of 15-20 years ago -- LeBron James blocks shots today that Dennis Rodman would have ignored for the sake of taking out the shooter yesterday.

Anyway, you don't have to enjoy basketball to like it. In a lot of ways it's just a good old fashioned story about two of the game's most exceptional trash talkers. In fact, that might by the film's most glaring flaw: there just isn't anyway to learn what was actually said between Miller and Lee and still be appropriate for basic cable. It may not be all that important in the end -- the telling glances that Miller and Lee throw at the camera are fine substitutes.

The Dubious Historionics of the Tea Party Clique

This is downright hilarious:
A member of the audience passed a question to the moderator, who read it to Armey: How can the Federalist Papers be an inspiration for the tea party, when their principal author, Alexander Hamilton, "was widely regarded then and now as an advocate of a strong central government"?

Historian Armey was flummoxed by this new information. "Widely regarded by whom?" he challenged, suspiciously. "Today's modern ill-informed political science professors? . . . I just doubt that was the case in fact about Hamilton."

Alas, for Armey, it was the case. Hamilton favored a national bank, presidents and senators who served for life and state governors appointed by the president.

Gen. David Patraeus: Filthy Hippie

First he says America's relationship with Israel is important, but not as important as the lives of America's soldiers, then he says Don't Ask, Don't Tell should be reconsidered -- next thing you you'll he'll be expressing concerns about Guantanamo Bay...