Abbott and Costello explain the CPAC budget panel. Open thread below...
Archives for February, 2009
David has more at the main site as I'm sure everyone already knows, but here's one portion of Limbaugh's hour and fifteen minute long free commercial that CNN and Fox gave him where he's talking about the "war on poverty" or a.k.a. the lazy Negroes are ruining the country by being on welfare. My husband was wondering if they were going to give the Democrats some equal time for a rebuttal. I honestly think subjecting people who don't normally listen to his gas bag to him is probably the best thing CNN could have done for the Democrats without meaning to.
With unemployment numbers rising as they are this is the brain dead state of the Republican party right now. Their great leader decrying helping poor people.
So I'm sitting in the barbershop the other day, waiting for an open chair, reading the paper, when I come across this little article:
Now the odds are that the vast majority of you have never heard of Lyman Woodard, and those of you who do have a Michigan- or more specifically, a Detroit- connection. I knew Lyman from his time playing for a band named the Sun Messengers, a really fine rock/funkl/jazz outfit for whom Lyman played the Hammond B3 organ. Lyman was a great guy to share a drink with, but what I'll remeber him for the most is the joy he demonstrated every time he was playing his instrument, and the fact that he was such a wonderful player.
At least a decade has passed since I last saw Lyman, but every time I heard a recording featuring a Hammond B3, I thought of him. Now I imagine him at that great jam in the sky, cigarette burning on an ashtray just within reach, eyes half closed, head tilted back, grinning like you've never imagined, coaxing a wail out of his B3....Thanks for the memories, Lyman. Rest assured: I'll never forget. think of Lyman.
Paul Krugman's latest column praises President Obama's new budget big-time. I haven't seen Paul that excited in a long while.
Elections have consequences. President Obama’s new budget represents a huge break, not just with the policies of the past eight years, but with policy trends over the past 30 years. If he can get anything like the plan he announced on Thursday through Congress, he will set America on a fundamentally new course.
The budget will, among other things, come as a huge relief to Democrats who were starting to feel a bit of postpartisan depression. The stimulus bill that Congress passed may have been too weak and too focused on tax cuts. The administration’s refusal to get tough on the banks may be deeply disappointing. But fears that Mr. Obama would sacrifice progressive priorities in his budget plans, and satisfy himself with fiddling around the edges of the tax system, have now been banished.For this budget allocates $634 billion over the next decade for health reform. That’s not enough to pay for universal coverage, but it’s an impressive start. And Mr. Obama plans to pay for health reform, not just with higher taxes on the affluent, but by putting a halt to the creeping privatization of Medicare, eliminating overpayments to insurance companies.
And even if fundamental health care reform brings costs under control, I at least find it hard to see how the federal government can meet its long-term obligations without some tax increases on the middle class. Whatever politicians may say now, there’s probably a value-added tax in our future.But I don’t blame Mr. Obama for leaving some big questions unanswered in this budget. There’s only so much long-run thinking the political system can handle in the midst of a severe crisis; he has probably taken on all he can, for now. And this budget looks very, very good.
If there was any question that Rush Limbaugh has become the de facto head of the Republican Party, his much-anticipated speech toe the Conservative Political Action Conference today (which he semi-mockingly called his "First Address to the Nation") should have laid them to rest. There was a positive frenzy around him.
But this was not a riveting speech, because in the end it was just an hour and fifteen minutes of Limbaugh's patented gasbaggery. It was meandering and unfocused, and ultimately came down to his usual message: Liberals bad. Really really bad.
Of course, there was the usual bizarre inversion of reality:
President Obama has the ability -- he has the ability to inspire excellence in people's pursuits. He has the ability to do all this. And yet he pursues a path, seeks a path that punishes achievement. That punishes earners. That punishes -- and he speaks negatively of the country.
Ronald Reagan used to speak of the shining city on a hill. Barack Obama portrays America as a soup kitchen in some dark night in a corner of America that's very obscure. He constantly is telling people that bad times are ahead, worse times are ahead. And it's troubling because this is the United States of America.
... President Obama is so busy trying to create anger, and an atmosphere of crisis. He is so busy fueling the emotions of class envy that he has forgotten: It's not his money he is spending.
And inevitably, the eliminationism posing as a joke:
It is not their task, it is not their right to remake this nation to accommodate their psychology. I sometimes wonder if liberalism is not just a psychosis or a psychology, not an ideology. It's so much about feelings, and the predominant feeling liberalism is about is feeling good about themselves. And they do that by telling themselves they have all this compassion.
The coup de grace comes near the end of the speech, when he compares the nation's economic crisis to the Super Bowl; of course he wants his team to win! Because to guys like Rush, it's all just a game anyway.
I do hope a lot of people watched this. Because Limbaugh's appeal is very, very narrow indeed. Mostly nasty, ill-tempered paranoids.
And what I hear in Limbaugh's voice is a lot of fear. What they really fear is the possibility that Obama will succeed.
From The White House Blog:
In the Weekly Address this morning, President Obama explains how the budget he sent to Congress will fulfill the promises he made as a candidate. On fiscal responsibility, a fair tax code, a clean energy economy, real health care reform, and education, this budget sets out a new vision for our country.
But having put his priorities on paper and having stood behind them, the President recognizes that there are those who will fight against change every step of the way.
Friday morning on CNN Kiran Chetry spoke with Arizona's AG Terry Goddard about the raging drug war taking place along our southern border and how U.S. gun and drug laws are perpetuating the violence.
Since George Bush allowed the assault weapons ban to expire, the gun smuggling trade in the U.S. has skyrocketed and many of these weapons are ending up in the hands of Mexican drug lords and are responsible for thousands of murders. The right has been going bonkers, warning Democrats want to take everyone's guns from them and turn us into a nation of dopers, but it's high time they admit that our gun laws are aiding drug cartels and making it possible for them to get more drugs into our country.
Goddard points out that the vast majority of the drug cartel's income comes from the sale of marijuana which begs the questions - is it time to reinstate the assault weapons ban and legalize pot? Both President Obama and AG Eric Holder have said they want to reinstate the assault weapon ban, hopefully they will be successful. As for the legalization of pot, I think the time has come.
When Republican party chairman Michael Steele said "We want to convey that the modern-day GOP looks like the conservative party that stands on principles. But we want to apply them to urban-suburban hip-hop settings," was this what he had in mind?
I met the world's first self-proclaimed "Republican rapper" on the second day of the 2009 Conservative Political Action Conference. He is Hi-Caliber, a former construction worker from New Jersey who told me that after just 10 minutes of listening to right-wing radio shock jock Michael Savage ranting about "Islamofascism" and illegal immigration, his "whole views on the world changed." Now Hi-Caliber records inspired battle anthems against President Barack Obama, who he denounces as a "socialist in the White House;" he attacks Nancy Pelosi as "phony baloney;" assails the liberal media; calls for a border fence; and warns darkly of the Fairness Doctrine.
Now, political music is a slippery slope; the subtlety and nuance that give class and listenability to a great song often exist at the expense of the message. Indeed, anyone who's dabbled in protest music can attest to the fact that a "What's Goin' On" or a "For What It's Worth" doesn't come easy.
Still, as long as Hi-Caliber finds his inspiration listening to Michael Savage, and clearly NOT the hip-hop stations where Nas and B.I.G. could teach him a thing or two about flow, the G.O.P.'s new hip-hop revolution will be led by an MC who finds it reasonable to rhyme "Conservative" with "Jersey Kid".
h/t Firedoglake for the videos.
From Bill Moyers Journal:
Robert Johnson, former managing director of Soros Fund Management and an expert in emerging markets, believes the government's approach — which he calls "drip intravenous capital injection" — wastes taxpayer money and won't solve the financial crisis. The government's approach, Johnson argues, is too cautious. Recent developments in Central Europe only reinforce that the world faces a possible economic collapse, Johnson told Bill Moyers on the JOURNAL, in which "the architecture of the integrated world would be shattered."
Johnson calls for more drastic intervention, but thinks nationalization is the wrong word, "People talk about nationalization. I just call it restructuring. Restructuring is a part of capitalism. That's how the airlines get restructured when they go through bankruptcy. Or you might have to deal with the auto industry, how you deal with venture capital projects. Do the same thing with the banks." Johnson explained on BILL MOYERS JOURNAL how a restructuring would work.
Full transcript to follow.
I normally don't put that much thought into toilet paper selection; I just buy what's on sale. But this campaign has convinced me to look for and purchase toilet paper made from recycled paper. From the Guardian:
The tenderness of the delicate American buttock is causing more environmental devastation than the country's love of gas-guzzling cars, fast food or McMansions, according to green campaigners. At fault, they say, is the US public's insistence on extra-soft, quilted and multi-ply products when they use the bathroom.
"This is a product that we use for less than three seconds and the ecological consequences of manufacturing it from trees is enormous," said Allen Hershkowitz, a senior scientist at the Natural Resources Defence Council.
"Future generations are going to look at the way we make toilet paper as one of the greatest excesses of our age. Making toilet paper from virgin wood is a lot worse than driving Hummers in terms of global warming pollution." Making toilet paper has a significant impact because of chemicals used in pulp manufacture and cutting down forests.
A campaign by Greenpeace seeks to raise consciousness among Americans about the environmental costs of their toilet habits and counter an aggressive new push by the paper industry giants to market so-called luxury brands.
More than 98% of the toilet roll sold in America comes from virgin forests, said Hershkowitz. In Europe and Latin America, up to 40% of toilet paper comes from recycled products. Greenpeace this week launched a cut-out-and-keep ecological ranking of toilet paper products.