Friday, February 27, 2009
Born and raised in central Appalachia, Shawn Grim is a walking hillbilly cliché. His mother has no teeth, none of his relatives graduated from high school and there's a gun rack on the wall of his family's ramshackle trailer. But he was still shocked last year when his brother, "Little Man," was caught in flagrante with his half-sister. "That is really disgusting in my book," said his mother of the incident, apparently not a one-off.Um, PR fail?
Decades later, the state is still battling some of the core problems underlying those stereotypes. More than 40 percent of the state’s older adults are toothless—the highest rate in the nation, according to the CDC. Nearly a third of all adults have lost six or more teeth. And because the state's Medicaid and Medicare programs do not generally reimburse for dentures or routine care for adults, and rates of dental insurance are low, West Virginians often end up living without teeth or with painful decay that looks all too much like the plastic "hillbilly teeth" still sold for Halloween.
There's also a certain lack of cohesion between officials and locals when it comes to promoting the state's big makeover. While the governor is pushing a forward-thinking "New West Virginia" campaign, tourist-conscious businesses in some parts of the state are proudly serving up less refined fare. The annual Road Kill Cook-Off in Pocahontas, for instance, features dishes you're unlikely to see at your local restaurant, including intestine-challenging "flat cat," "bumper bruised bear" and "deer schmear fajitas." The mere mention of it puts a hard edge in the governor's voice. "Are they still running that s––– down south?" he asks an aide in disbelief, before adding: "Well, I tell you what, if you see [the organizer], kill the son of a bitch."
Thursday, February 26, 2009
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
Representative Pocan and his allies at One Wisconsin Now, an extremist gay-rights group in Madison, have been on a jihad to attack anyone that questions their radical agenda of tax increases, special rights for homosexuals and government control of everyday business decisions.While doesn't Mike Mikalsen just get it over with and call him a fag?
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
Monday, February 23, 2009
* Lee Seigel cared not for the Oscars.
* An alternative view on Jackman's night.
* The Progressive drags out the tired Slumdog = Poverty porn argument
* Oscar Noir
* Anyone else catch Will Smith's Boom Goes the Dynamite moment?
* Kate Winslet in Extras
* Val Kilmer for Governor?
Sunday, February 22, 2009
* The end of Texan Power in Washington
* Banks need more than cash bailout -- they need credibility
* Jesus Christ, look at the size of that snake!
* Strippers for Darwin!
* Probably the best Oscars liveblog: KSK
* My guess as to when the Oscars actually end tonight: 11:12 Central time.
Chances are you will become the conservative movement's new standard-bearer within 48 hours.
Right now, conservatives in general and the GOP in particular are so desperate for some kind of leadership that they are perfectly willing to anoint anyone their new leader. Late last year it was Joe the Plumber. This week, it's Rick Santelli. A month from now it could very well be me. It's a sign of just how rudderless the GOP is these days.
And it's only going to get worse.
Santelli is being hailed by conservatives because he basically threw a fit on national TV. Rob Mentzer couldn't have assessed Santelli's tirade any better when he called it "moronically oversimplified." If you want to see an even worse assessment of the economy, go check out this mind-numbing clip from Glenn Beck that's being hawked by Todd Lohenry. It's almost incomprehensible. Santelli and Beck aren't informing their audiences, they're just venting, and that's all the conservatives seem interested in doing these days.
Check out this "op-ed" by Berry Laker -- or rather, check out as much of it as you can tolerate. Laker's clearly inspired by Santelli to go on his own rant. There's nothing substantive to his lamentations, just a lot of frustration -- and it's hard to blame him for that. There's a complete leadership vacuum within the GOP and he's being obscenely under served by conservative media outlets ... I'd be pissed too.
This will only continue. Marc Ambinder has a pretty sharp assessment of why the White House went after Santelli this week:
The early press reaction asks why the White House would give Santelli free publicity and elevate him to Official status? Easy: they'd rather the opposition be identified with Santelli and stock brokers than with, say, a Joe the Plumber type (but who actually is a plumber and who has serious real reservations about the mortgage plan). Let opponents of the plan get into a tizzy, and let them have Santelli -- whose regular guy creds have to be established -- as their spoxman [sic.].
You can bet that conservatives will be looking for another Santelli in a few weeks, as soon as this one becomes yesterday's news. Maybe it can be you?
Saturday, February 21, 2009
Friday, February 20, 2009
The Crisis of Credit Visualized from Jonathan Jarvis on Vimeo.
[via John Dickerson]
[via Julian Sanchez]
Thursday, February 19, 2009
I don't know ... too soon?
The GOP3So its the usual suspects ... one problem: the Tea Party homage has already been done ... by the Ron Paul folks.
Silent E (twice in one day!)
The Ol' Broad
Cindy Kilkenny (she goes for the duece as well)
The Badger Blogger Guy
What's next? Will the GOP be renting a blimp?
MORE: Here are few more Tea-
The core of Steele’s winning coalition were the RNC’s newer members—people like Preibus and mostly-unknown state party chairs like Jim Greer of Florida and Bob Tiernan of Oregon. Half of Steele’s 21-person “whip team” on the committee rose to their current Party leadership roles after the disastrous election of 2006. They’re the brave ones who swam toward the sinking ship.
Blaise Hazelwood, Steele’s campaign manager, put the 42,000 to work. Hazelwood first came to prominence as the driver behind the “72-Hour Task Force” in 2001—the party’s last meaningful revision to its tactical campaign playbook. This time, Hazelwood innovated again, asking those online supporters to email their national committee members. While urging a vote for Steele, the supporters pledged a specific donation of volunteer hours to their state parties. This caught the eye of hungry state chairmen like Preibus.
This was a fresh committee: 141 of the 168 who voted had never served through a contested chairman’s race. They were much more impressed by Steele’s actions than by the cajoling of the old bulls.
I'm still lost as to what Reince Priebus did for Steele, aside from being an early adopter. I guess I'll have to wait for another inside account.
[via Taegan Goddard]
Just to catch you up to speed...
On Tuesday, State Senator Mary Lazich got on her high horse to whine about the Gov. Doyle's claim that his administration was focused on "taxpayer protection." As she is wont to do, Lazich recklessly throws around numerous statistics and claims, such as "Wisconsin’s per capita income levels are some of the lowest in the country." That's just not true. Wisconsin is middle of the road -- and definitely not in the bottom 10 -- in terms of per capita income. I personally find this amusing because Lazich had "hoped the governor would cite this statistic" during his budget speech. Now we know why he didn't mention it. It isn't true.
So it should come as little surprise that several readers decided to push back on Lazich's inanity -- and push back they did! The comments section of the post erupted with criticism from all sides of the ideological spectrum -- left, right, libertarian each took their turn pissing on Lazich's argument to demonstrate how porous it was. Some examples:
So what massive cuts are you going to propose? How many thousands of state workers are you going to add to the unemployment lines? You are calling for clarity and concision. Start with some of your own.And
If you're not part of the solution, then you're part of the problem.And
For the sake of taxpayers in need of protection, YOU are a DISAPPOINTMENT.
You've written about TAXES, TAXES, TAXES forever. Enough already, you've become a boring old school marm!!!! What about the reduction of spending!!!! Are you just afraid to stick your neck out or haven't your handlers provided you with a script yet? CLUCK!!! CLUCK!!! CLUCK!!!And that's just from the first three comments!
Eventually the conversation careened back to Lazich's erstwhile support of TABOR way back in the day, and that's when the shit really hit the fan! It was getting so bad that Franklin-renowned windbag Kevin Fischer felt it necessary to intercede on behalf of his employer:
I challenge Fred Keller or anyone else to produce documentation that Senator Lazich voted against TABOR. No such documentation exists. Therefore, Fred Keller's credibility on past vicious attacks against Senator Lazich and any other blogs or comments he chooses to make about Senator Lazich in the future should seriously be taken into question or rejected outright.Fischer also accused Keller of being on a "personal crusade to tar and feather Senator Lazich and to do so will print anything and everything, whether he has the facts to back it up or not." Got that?
At this point, its on between Fischer and Keller. Not only does Fischer throw the gauntlet down in the comments section, but he devoted an entire post to the subject on his blog, calling Keller a liar (and committing the faux pas of not linking to the person he is debating, I might add). Furthermore, in the comments of this post Fischer adds to his smears of Keller:
Fred Keller not only lied, he knowingly lied, and got caught. And now he's not man enough or decent enough to admit it, he's DEFENDING his lie. I thought he was a better person with at least some integrity and class. I was very wrong. But I guess there are some who buy into his philosophy that lying is ok if it benefits you.So now Keller is now not only a liar, but he also lacks genitalia! This just keeps on getting better and better!
Keller came back later today with a post that reprints an old MJS piece observing Lazich's antipathy to TABOR, ending his post with this:
And this brings us to perhaps the most ironic thing about most talk show hosts, like Kevin Fischer. Though they may savage politicians and others they oppose, they fear criticism or critiques of any kind. They can dish it out, but they can’t take it.Keller also lets a few links do the talking by including paths to various online pieces that refer to Fischer as "Perhaps no one exemplifies the sort of juvenile name calling that goes on better than Kevin Fischer," and "Kevin Fischer, an outspoken windbag."
So its getting personal...
I think all this business is awesome. There's just so much to enjoy here: the two guys involved here are basically neighbors, both geographically (they're both from Franklin) and ideologically (they both claim to be conservatives); they have two very different writing styles; and their respective views appear to be a mirror on local sentiment with regards to Mary Lazich.
Great stuff, all of it! If there's any way to throw more gasoline onto this fire, by all means do so!
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
The fact of the matter is as follows: This economic crisis was severely oversold by President Obama and the liberals in Congress while the liability to the average American taxpayer went largely unreported.Perhaps the Casanova should spend less time romancing the women and more time watching TV if he's going to wax economic.
Let's get this straight: Nobody is saying the economy just isn't all that bad -- the issue is just how bad it is right now.
MORE: Here's another moment of greatness from the Casanova:
Anyone who knows the Casanova realizes he is not a follower of Rachel Maddow.Apparently it only takes two whole sentences for the Casanova to completely contradict himself.
She is a hate-mongerer who spews the moveon.org propaganda at any chance.
I have followed her show on MSNBC since its' inception in September, and have found myself more outraged with every broadcast.
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
Primary elections in odd-number year elections get little attention. The odds are most people don't know what's on the ballot and they simply do not care.There's a pretty obvious argument to be made that anyone who would make such a comment clearly has "no clue what Tuesday is all about." Anyone with the temerity to suggest that "my vote should count and yours shouldn't" has no business in the civic discourse.
If you are one of these individuals, do not listen to some newspaper editorials that claim it's your patriotic and civic duty to vote. If you have no clue about what Tuesday is all about, stay the hell home.
For a guy who likes to project the image of a rabble rousing populace, Fischer is without question the most elitist loudmouth in Wisconsin. I can't think of another "pundit" who has advocated that people not vote. This country has enough problems encouraging political without someone on the inside actively working to disenfranchise the electorate out in the open.
This isn't the first time Fischer pulled this gambit. I doubt it will be the last, but as Fred Keller likes to say, "Franklin deserves better."
Monday, February 16, 2009
Shame on me for not noticing this sooner...Huh?
"What shocks me the most is Apple allowed this App. to be sold in the Apps store in the first place."
Evidently, Kevin Binversie is shocked, shocked! to discover there is gambling going on in this establishedment.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with Apple's card counting app. Pretty much every licensed casino in the universe has a policy that prohibits the use of cell phones, Blackberries, walkie talkies, Blue Tooth devices -- in short any communications device you can think of, including iPhones. If you want to take your call, you have to leave the table and your hand. No casino is going to risk having one person call in an opponent's cards from across the hall. Any dealer who wishes to keep his or her job would immediately ask a player to step away from a table the instant he or she saw anything that looked remotely like a cell phone. At the end of the day, it's probably much easier just to learn how to count cards than to go through the trouble of learning how to conceal a device casino security is already looking for for other reasons.
Where this app may come in handy are the thousands of other places where gambling takes place outside the casino, say for instance, online or at weekly games among friends. I don't know how helpful an app like this would be (there are plenty of computer programs to help online gamblers get an edge -- not that I have any first hand knowledge of such things), but I can see how an app like this would appeal to a certain kind of gambler.
Besides, technically speaking, it's not gambling until you lay your money down!
Sunday, February 15, 2009
Let's get this straight right off the bat: the Fairness Doctrine is done. It's an anachronism that will never see the light of day ever again. I hate it. Others hate it. And I seriously doubt it would ever be upheld by the Courts in the unlikely event it ever became law.
I used to think Democrats should just let it go and stop sounding so behind the times by bringing it up every now and then, but I've recently come to see the value in bringing the specter of the FD out of the mothballs from time to time. Here's why:
Conservative talk radio loves talking about the Fairness Doctrine for obvious reasons: it threatens the very way they do business. They get riled up about it. Their listeners get riled up about it. The talkers get to sell themselves as valiant defenders of liberty blah blah blah. It's all a very cute media kabuki dance that generates a ton of meaningless hot air over a complete non-issue.
So why am I warming up to Democrats talking about the FD from time to time? Because the GOP and talk radio fall for this red herring every time. Every minute they spend talking about the FD on the air is a minute lost talking about a real issue. Every minute devoted to predicting the impending end of free speech in America is a minute spent pissing away credibility when that end never comes. The talk radio audience will likely never tire of listening to stories around the campfire of the big, bad Fairness Doctrine, but voters will eventually pick up on the fact that conservative pundits seem more inclined to talk about something that no one else gives a damn about than important things, like the economy.
So here's my suggestion: find the ten or twenty Dems in the House and five or ten in Senate that actually support the FD and give them come up with some kind of schedule where every three weeks or so one of them goes on TV or issues a press release with some kind of cryptic pronouncement about the future of the Fairness Doctrine a d let talk radio go ape shit. "Blah blah blah -- I think we should look into something that ..." or "Ideally, what I'd like to see is...." etc. While that's happening, the Dems can get some real work done and when the furor dies down, they can wheel out another colleague who can jump start the cycle anew.
So by all means, give the talkers something to rage about. Let them valiantly stand up against a menace that doesn't exist. Hopefully the grown-ups will be able to se the reprive to take care of the real issues.
Looks like a steroidal version of the Dirty Dozen.
Here's what I'm interested in seeing: how will Tarantino's dialog adjust to a movie that's essentially a period piece? Soldiers in WWII don't have the pop cultural center that mark Tarantino's oeuvre, or at least they don't have one that contemporary audiences will immediately grasp.
On the other hand, occupied France would seem to provide ample opportunity for the stylized violence that another hallmark of his flicks.
Saturday, February 14, 2009
Ornstein said he assumed that Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, and Cantor "talked to all of the wavering members -- and clearly eight to 10 wanted to vote for it -- and said it was real important to have a unified position and leave the Democrats to rise or fall on this. I find it really kind of astonishing, because it was a Republican strategy that is taken from Nancy Reagan -- 'just say no' -- which is one thing when you are talking about stopping drugs and another thing when you are talking about stopping an economic recovery."Cao's claim that he received the "freedom to vote for the needs of my district and this bill does not address the needs of the district" seemed like utter bullshit.
And apparently it was just that. From the Politico via Think Progress:
Beforehand, Cao acknowledged that Republican leaders had put “pressure” on him to oppose the package, and the party’s chief deputy whip, California Rep. Kevin O. McCarthy, stood near Cao during the entire vote.Jesus, that line does not take it's reader to a visual place that does Cao any good at all.
Looking at the bigger picture, one has to wonder how often the best interests of districts with Republican representation are deferred for the sake of "party unity" or what have you.
Cao may not have had a prayer of ever being re-elected -- and he certainly has none now -- but this episode seems indicative of deeper issues with the Republican caucus in Congress. The GOP needs all the seats in Congress it can find these days, and to start giving them away for the sake f standing united in the face of complete and total legislative failure seems remarkably foolish.
Oh, and speaking of bullshit, this needs to stop and soon...
This afternoon Franklin's favorite legislative Yes-man took to his blog to valiantly defend a "young couple falling victim to these tough economic times." The only problem is that this young couple is a physician and Republican state legislator Scott Newcomer, who have it so rough that they just bought $1.5 million home three years ago and have stopped paying mortgage payments on their previous house.
Fischer seems to take great umbrage at the thought of criticizing Newcomer for neglecting his fiduciary responsibilities.
And this just a couple of weeks after ridiculing a high ranking Democrat for failing to own up to his own financial obligations...
There's a lot of mind-blowing content in this post. Obviously, the hypocrisy of Fischer's double standard for his fellow Republicans should be offensive to any serious individual, but just as astonishing, is Fischer's suggestion to the MJS that the real story should focus on "those individuals who took out loans they had no business securing that led the country into the housing crisis, many of them poor minorities."
He actually went there, folks! Fischer came right out and said: Ignore Newcomer's financial troubles and start paying attention to the poor colored folks' nefarious plot to destroy the economy!
At best this comment is poorly informed, at worst it's pretty racist -- I'll leave it up to the reader to decide which.
So much for being a strong believer in personal responsibility (see the comments section)...
Lastly, Does Fischer honestly expect us to think that the Newcomer's have fallen on tough economic times when they have two homes, one of which is valued at 1.5 million? It's one thing to defend a colleague, it's quite another to take your apologetics to such an absurd end.
[I]f lawmakers during 1919 had been able to see the path they were starting with their 22-cent minimum wage, they likely would not have done it.I take that to mean she doesn't believe in any minimum wage, which would have been a more honest argument to make than the brief history of Wisconsin minimum wage increases as a function of of their relationship to inflation.
Now, if Lazich still wants to play herself off as a historian of economics, then why doesn't she calculate the lost wages that would have been earned by workers earning the minimum wage had it been indexed for inflation between 1919 and 1956 (or between any of the other periods of time between hikes). Let's see if employers are the only one's getting screwed by the way the minimum wage is currently managed.
And while we're still talking about inflation let's just point out that Lazich whole argument about the trend to increase the minimum wage beyond "what inflation calls for" becomes null and void by the very nature of the bill, which would adjust the minimum wage according to inflation in the future.
But all this inflation talk is a very sterile way of addressing a problem that Lazich hasn't considered. What Lazich clearly fails to understand is that inflation isn't the only factor that makes life more expensive over time. So instead of juggling all of the percentages that Lazich throws out at her readers, here are a couple of numbers to consider:
That's the annual salary of someone making the proposed minimum wage ($7.60/hour) who works 40 hours a week for 52 weeks a year. Here's another number:
That's the poverty line for a family of three (including one child under the age of 18), or at least that was where the poverty line was at in 2007.
What I find astonishing is Lazich's insistance on using her own sorry arguments for justifying her vote on this piece of legislation. Betwen this sorry business and her idiotic "save the camps!" garbage, Lazich's office seems hellbent on making her look even more foolish than most people already regard her. Why don't they just save themselves the trouble and just spit back the talking points that WMC hands out?
[via James Rowen]
Friday, February 13, 2009
This is brilliant for Moller. Now millions of douchebags like me are going to be offering him so many goal + pop culture combo calls that he will never have to think up another one ever again. Like so:
Cory Stillman takes the puck across center ice. He's got a two-on-one fastbreak with Horton to his right. Stillman dishes to Horton. Horton winds up for a slapshot. Now passes to Stillman -- WHO SCOOOOOOOOOOOORES!!!!
IT PUTS THE LOTION IN THE BASKET OR ELSE IT GETS THE HOSE AGAIN!!!
McLean with the puck behind the net. There's still another 45 seconds left in the Panther power play ... He's waiting for a lane to open -- now McLean centers it to Kreps, but the puck deflects off his skate right to Weiss -- WHO SCOOOOOOOOOOOOOORES!!!! STEPHEN WEISS WITH A WRISTER TO THE THREE HOLE!!!!
GO DO THE VOODOO THAT YOU DO SO WELL!!!!
Dvorak's all alone at the blue line with an empty net and he just gives the puck a kiss and ... HE SCOOOOOOOOOOOOORES!!!!
RELEASE THE HOUNDS!!!
There. That's all I could come up with off the top of my head, but hopefully by now you can see how much more fun this activity would be, say, with a ton of booze.
Feel free to post your suggestions in the comments.
[via Will Leitch]
Thursday, February 12, 2009
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
- The Stimulus deal gets reached. (That was quick.) Nearly everyone who is not a Republican thinks Sens. Collins, Snow and Specter are more powerful today than they were last week ... and Republicans want their hides.
- Unions are going after vulnerable GOP congressmen ...
- ... And those GOP congressmen are responding like dipshits (seriously, Cantor's spokesman should be looking for a job tonight).
- They blew a chance at reclaiming the Virginia state senate because they couldn't keep their hands off the Twitter.
- Conservatives even took a hit in the Culture War with the Gov. of Utah -- Utah! -- coming out in favor of civil unions for gay couples.
MORE: Totally forgot about the peanut bastards -- another banner day for proponents of deregulation everywhere!
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
That's pretty amazing considering their party's leader had some of the lowest approval ratings on the planet not too long ago.
I have really nothing more to add right now except that there's a really Obama-ish poster hanging out to the left of this post. Which is kinda interesting since the Likud party had a very Obama-ish web site.
MORE: Now it's time for the hard part.
First of all, this is the single most lucid explanation of the banking crisis I've heard to date ... and it's still a lot for most people to comprehend. The next step should be to find a quick way to explain why "without a banking system we don't have an economy." That lady at the beginning is pissed and there are plenty more like her across the country. Someone has to get out there and explain why banks are getting money and why the government is just cutting checks out to everyone like they did earlier last year.
Secondly, I think this tape goes a long way -- but definitely not all the way -- toward explaining why were dealing with numbers in the $600-900 billion range when folks talk about the TARP. I don't think anyone knows exactly what kind of money is going to be thrown at the banks to shore up their assets, but it certainly seems as if the initial $700+ billion used in the TARP was to some how accommodate the $550 billion that the banks absconded with on September 18th, plus a few extra billion for the banks that didn't get their cash out in time.
Now if there can only be some accountability to go along with the program ...
Lastly -- did that dude just say there was almost a $5.5 trillion bank run in September?!?
This is almost like an economic Cuban Missile Crisis. If that would have happened, the entire country would have gone about their typical days like any other on September 18th and woken up in a post-apocalyptic wasteland a la the Road Warrior the next morning ... if not actually, than certainly in a metaphorical sense.
[Only semi-related tangent: Congressman Kanjorski's remarks make the senseless garbage that State Senator Glen Grothman was spewing this morning look even more ridiculous.]
No wonder Hank Paulson looked like such a train wreck during the final months of the Bush Administration: he had literally stared into the abyss and the abyss stared back at him.
[via Teagan Goddard]
Mary Lazich really must think that everyone who she represents and who reads her blog is retarded. That's the only explanation I can think of for what has to be considered one of the all time stupidest explanations for rejecting a piece of legislation:
See, she voted against the raise in the state's minimum wage for the kids ... so they could go to camp:
I received several communications from a constituent very concerned about the impact on camps. The constituent correctly points out that the minimum wage increase bill contains a 24 percent increase for minor staff and an 11 percent increase for adult staff at camps. The increases that would go into effect this June would create an immediate $10,000 shortfall at the constituent’s camp. Camp directors do not want to see themselves put in the terrible position of contributing to increasing the unemployment numbers.God forbid camp directors should be put in a position where they might not be able to hire a dozen 16 year-olds to play capture the flag, drink in the woods and try to score with the chicks at the girls camp across the lake!
Is this fucking woman for real?
If this is genuinely her reasoning for voting against the the bill than she should be able to provide us with the following numbers:
- How many camps are in her district?
- How many camps are in the state of Wisconsin?
- How many of these camps operate on a seasonal basis (i.e. only during the summer) in her district?
- ... in the state of Wisconsin?
- How many seasonal "adult" staffers are we talking about in her district?
- ... in the state of Wisconsin?
- How many year-round adult staffers are in her district?
- ... in the state of Wisconsin?
- What about the figures for "minor" staffers?
- How do these figures compare with the economic impact of a raise in the state minimum wage for people who work full-time, year-round and have obligations like families (as opposed to those just looking for some spending cash once they get back to school)?
Well, if this is their answer and they're sticking to it, then we here at the Chief have take our hats off to the Office of State Senator Mary Lazich: your fine work has transcended just being merely an embarrassment to the people of suburban Milwaukee, you are now a disgrace to Democracy.
If I were in charge of organizing Unions I would plaster that quote over every piece of literature, stick in on every mailing and insert it in every stump speech I gave between Maine to San Diego. There are legitimate reasons to oppose an increase in the minimum wage, but this is ridiculous, and should go to show that Republicans are not only completely out of ideas, but are just as void of explanations for why they do what they do.
Rubin's contract with Columbia still has three years left on it, and he's currently hard at work helming a new album by Josh Groban (another Warner artist), so there's practically nothing standing in his way of collecting multiple paychecks and Grammys through 2012 (except the imminent death of the music business, which nonsense like this will surely help expedite).
In the essay, Grothman asks his readers two questions and helps his audience divine the answers using the rhetoric of talk radio. Here's the first question Grothman unloads:
Is the secret to a strong economy to have the government spend money?That's not the right question to be asking right now. In fact, that's a question no one is asking right now. The actual question is something more like this:
Does government spending stabilize a faltering economy when the private sector is unwilling or unable to keep money circulating?The difference is not semantic and is essential to understanding just how much trouble individuals, businesses and financial institutions are in these days. Here's Grothman's answer top his own rhetorical question:
Last spring, Congress either borrowed or printed $170 billion and sent out checks as part of President Bush’s stimulus plan. At the time, February 13, 2008, the Dow closed at 12,552.24 and unemployment was at 4.8 percent. In the beginning of October, President Bush announced a $700 million bailout plan — also presumably paid for with borrowed or newly printed dollars. The day the plan was signed, October 3rd, 2008, the Dow closed at 10,325.38, and unemployment was at 6.6 percent. Today the Dow is under 8,000 and unemployment is at 7.2 percent.I'm confident that Grothman is the only "economist" who is blaming the Stock Market meltdown that began last fall on government stimulus spending. Astonishingly he doesn't even mention subprime loans, dodgy derivatives trading, convoluted balance sheets, the housing market bubble or any of the other actual reasons that banks and other financial institutions froze up, went under or begged Washington to bail them out.
As if this comic cocktail of arrogance and ignorance of the current economic crises wasn't enough, Grothman continues to drink from this asinine argument by asking a second question:
Is our current economic crisis caused by a failure of the federal government to create jobs or by lack spending so far?The answer, according to Grothman, is damn right it has! Grothman goes on, at length, for the next three paragraphs describing how federal government spending has increased in various areas during the Bush administration. Apparently Grothman thinks that increases in areas like education, health care, and transportation between the fiscal years 2001-2009 qualify as a "stimulus" program and are in no way related to an increase in demand for services, inflation, and, in the case of Medicare, the introduction of a massive entitlement program in the form of Medicare Part D several years ago.
Remember, all of this Grothman is describing occurred during a Republican administration, something he glosses over by dismissing Bush as an ideological anomaly:
When asked to explain the difference between the Democrat and Republican parties, I try to explain that Democrats are usually for larger government and the Republicans for less. Bush sure muddies the waters. He probably should have run as a Democrat.The only problem with this little piece of historic revisionism is that Bush had a Republican Congress that was perfectly willing to march in lockstep with him. So not only has the current financial mess been all government's fault, but it's the government that was run by the party of which Grothman is a member!
The breathless obliviousness of this piece is staggering -- it's not Wall Street's fault, don't look at the Republicans. It's all because we've spent too much money!
Grothman is clearly not interested in looking for solutions to the current dilemma -- he's looking to score a few cheap political points. That's what a hack does -- and while Grothman has hardly distinguished himself as a statesman, it would be nice of him to at least give the appearance that he is looking for answers to questions that actually have relevance.
I do have to give Grothman some credit: His essay makes voodoo economics look like modern medicine. This petulant theory is more like "conspiracy theory economics" -- the product of a blind paranoia that can only come from a deep-seated prejudice and a willful dismissal of any facts to the contrary. On the other hand, this absurdity is a more creative departure from the now absent blame of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac as the government entities that "single handedly" crashed the market (now absent because it never caught on ... because it just wasn't true).
It's interesting that this essay showed up on the web site of one of the state GOP's vice-chairmen. It's not written in blog form and carries the pretense of an op-ed piece. My guess is that Grothman shopped it around to a few papers and editors said to themselves "There's no way we can justify wasting column space on this incoherent nonsense." It's a wonderful demonstration of a how a basic grasp of policy is not a prerequisite to a career in politics.
MORE: Grothman's timing couldn't be more asinine.
Monday, February 9, 2009
- Isreal maybe be an important democracy in the Middle East, but it's internal politics are just as nutty as any other democracy's.
- If your contractors are billing you any more than $15,602,022,489,829,821,422,840,226.94 for the construction of your Death Star, you're getting ripped off.
- Old soviet criminal underground tattoos are as bad-ass as you think they are.
- There are almost as many people working in the Pentagon PR department as there are working in the entire State Department.
- How did the New York Post react to the news of Alex Rodriguez's steroid use? With characteristic elan:
- Seriously, JFK had some serious game when it came to press conferences:
- Very frequently, when I read the American Thinker, I have a difficult time wondering if what is written is serious or satire. Here is a perfect example.
- Will the Kindle do for books what the iPod did for music? Is anyone else uncomfortable with the stange book burning connotation in the product's name? Will the Kindle have this title available:
Sunday, February 8, 2009
But what's more interesting is that in 2003 there was a greater disparity among conservatives who found the veteran talker unfavorable. That year, 29% of Republicans gave him the thumbs-down, whereas today only 23% judged him unfavorably. Who knew rooting against America would find favor in the hearts of the Right?One possible cause for this shift in approval is that moderate Republicans who would have disapproved of Limbaugh a few years ago are no longer calling themselves Republicans. It shouldn't surprise anyone if this number continues to decline in the next few years. That's not necessarily a sign that Limbaugh is more popular among Republicans and could be yet another sign that the party is getting more conservative.
Friday, February 6, 2009
Thursday, February 5, 2009
Not only has Sensenbrenner continued to speak out against the economic stimulus bill, but he has offered a very reasonable solution to our current economic woes. Sensenbrenner has suggested that the federal government waive the collection of all income taxes for one year.You bet your sweet ass the emphasis was in the original.
Apparently, there were $2 trillion collected by the Federal government from income taxes in 2006, which is well over twice what the current stimulus is projected to be. So where's the money going to come from to cover the little things like, oh, I don't know, national defense?
Is it just Me or Does Anything Someone Who Refers to Himself in the First Person as "the Casanova" Says is Hilarious?
Whenever a Hollywood elitist goes outside of their element and tries to use their celebrity to dictate policy, the Casanova will call them out. It's a big job but somebody has to do it.I'd like to personally thank the Conservative Casanova for looking out for us ignorant masses. I'm sure the vigilant gaze of Ronald Reagan -- who was himself something of a Hollywood celebrity at one point in time -- on his blog will find no irony in this project whatsoever.
+ the talent show scene in Mean Girls
the Jonesboro (GA) High School Dance Team
I think this whole business is hilarious -- but I'm not going to comment on it until Jeff Wagner, who really loves him a good scandalous cheerleader/kids caught on camera story gives me the go-ahead.
"Insurgency, we understand perhaps a little bit more because of the Taliban," Sessions said during a meeting yesterday with Hotline editors. "And that is that they went about systematically understanding how to disrupt and change a person's entire processes. And these Taliban -- I'm not trying to say the Republican Party is the Taliban. No, that's not what we're saying. I'm saying an example of how you go about [sic] is to change a person from their messaging to their operations to their frontline message. And we need to understand that insurgency may be required when the other side, the House leadership, does not follow the same commands, which we entered the game with."
"If they do not give us those options or opportunities then we will then become insurgency of a nature to where we do those things that are necessary to making sure the American public knows what we think the correct answer is," Sessions said during the 60-minute interview. "So we either work together, or we're going to find a way to get our message out."
When pressed to clarify, Sessions said he was not comparing the House Republican caucus to the Taliban, the Muslim fundamentalist group.
Here's the text, just in case the captures renders the print too small to read:
It's a huge pet peeve of mine. In an ideal world, everyone who writes or comments on the Internet would have to divulge his/her true identity. Not all but far too many that choose to use a false identity or nickname have an ulterior motive at hand.So how does that jive with Fischer ghostwriting some of his boss' posts on her blog?
These cowards hide behind a false name to pump themselves up in their feeble minds, cause mischief, be mean or cruel, or at worst, commit crimes.
Wednesday, February 4, 2009
Read it for yourself if you'd like, or you can just skim through this little compendium of '80 references in the piece:
- "the era of Reagan": You saw that one coming a mile away, I'm sure.
- “hip to be square”: No kidding, after providing his audience with a temporal milestone, the author leads off with a Huey Lewis and the News shout out. If that's not an expression of a primal longing for '80s retro chic, then I don't know what is.
- "The Gen X-ers who come of age during the Reagan era...": Ah, youth ... wasn't it cool?
- "Punk": As in the music/lifestyle/culture/etc., which had its Golden Age during the '80s, but is little more than just another overly commodified music genre today (and has been for quite some time now).
- "Alex P. Keaton": Enough said.
Good luck with that.
I bring this up because there is an analogy to this type of nostalgia that plagued the left for decades: the curse of the aging liberal who just wanted things back like they were in the '60s. These folks were the worse -- always complaining how things were just so much better in the '60s, students were so much more active and how there was so much more at stake (and shit) because there was, like, a draft and Vietnam and Nixon and -- Jesus Christ, just thinking about these dipshits makes my head hurt.
These aging anachronisms did two things that both anchored them to the 1960s and caused the left to essentially stagnate for much of the 30 years between the mid-1970s and mid-2000s. First, the "smart" ones retreated to an echo chamber -- academia -- where their ideas mattered little to those who weren't department chairs. Second, the "activist" class never adjusted to the times. Their tactics were always geared toward the media environment of the '60s and got really old, and much less effective, over time. Instead of adjusting, however, they stubbornly stayed the course and were happy with "fighting the good fight" so long as they were able to nostalgically look back at the '60s and say to themselves "Man, those were the days!"
Conservatives have already started down that road with their selective hagiographies of Reagan and are starting to sound just as pathetic as as those aging flower children did not so long ago. Looking to the past to determine what the kids of today are looking for is folly. It's gotta be new. Conservatism in the '80s was new, but after almost thirty years of being the only game in Washington -- it's not exactly counterculture anymore.
Worst Legislator and Legislative Aide
Garnering the third-most votes for worst legislator was Sen. Mary Lazich (R-New Berlin). “Literally nuts,” pronounced one GOP activist. “There may be no legislator taken less seriously.”
That rating becomes all the more interesting when you consider that Lazich’s aide is Kevin Fischer, an outspoken windbag who does a blog on FranklinNOW.com, has guest hosted on WISN-AM 1130 and is a regular pundit for Milwaukee Public Television’s InterChange program.
Fischer’s grating style has even annoyed some of his fellow conservatives. Fairly Conservative blogger Cindy Kilkenny calls Fischer a bully. As Milwaukee Magazine Pressroom columnist Erik Gunn has written, Kilkenny has been on a campaign to prove Fischer has been working on his blog on state time. She hasn’t gotten the public records she requested from Lazich’s office and is now threatening to contact the attorney general.
Lazich told Milwaukee Magazine she doesn’t tolerate “nastiness” from her staff, but Fischer said Lazich has never counseled him to tone down his often intemperate style.
All told, there may be no combination of legislator and legislative aide who are taken less seriously in the capitol than Mary Lazich and Kevin Fischer. They work together for a reason.(emphasis added)
Tuesday, February 3, 2009
Which is good news for Priebus because in the last two election cycles he's presided over a state GOP that's gotten its ass beaten down. Let's just take a quick stroll down memory lane:
- Lost control of the state senate
- Lost an extremely expensive Governor's race
- Lost an open congressional race in a traditionally GOP district
- Lost the state assembly
- Failed to make Wisconsin even remotely competative for the GOP presidential nominee
- Failed to unseat the vulnerable incumbant in the traditionally GOP district he helped lose in 2006
But, if you need someone to win a race between six candidates competing for a grand total of 168 votes in a contest that has six seperate rounds of voting, well, then Priebus is the guy for you!
Let's just hope Priebus remembers all the little people back here in the Badger State when the GOP calls him up to the majors and asks him to lose elections from the comfort of the party's headquarters in Washington.
MORE: Really, how many full time staffers are there at the RNC? Is a "transition" really necessary? I understand the PR value of calling something a transition, but isn't this kind of a ridiculously transparent gimmick?
Next time you get ready to shout "You suck!" as a basketball ref, consider the plight of Patrick Rempala.
The 64-year-old fan faces charges of battery and resisting arrest after going onto the court at a high school game in Indiana. Rempala's Washington Township team had just been beaten 32-21 by Michigan City Marquette, and he decided to take it out on referee Glen Fifield.
The ref walked away after Rempala yelled "You suck!" But then, police say, the fan pushed him again and Fifield informed Rempala of two things: 1) He is an Indiana state trooper. 2) Rempala was under arrest.
More scuffling ensued during which, Fifield said, the fan told him, "You can't arrest me, you're a referee."
Some people will read it and say, oh he's just using hyperbole. Well, yes he is. Others will read it and say, 'No, man, this is spot on!' Yup, they would be right too.
ON SECOND THOUGHT: Whoops ... I read the rest of the original article wrong. Here are the grafs that Lohenry didn't bother quoting:
If nothing else, GOP aides are using the appearance to get staffers to attend the 9 a.m meeting.
“In case you weren’t planning to attend CWG tomorrow morning, you might want to reconsider because Joe the Plumber will be joining us!” Kimberly Wallner, an aide to South Carolina Sen. Jim DeMint, wrote in a message to her e-mail list this afternoon.
So basically Joe the Plumber is basically the "free pizza while it lasts" lure to get staffers into the meeting and not anyone who is going to be taken seriously by the leadership.
Well played, GOP. Well played.
Monday, February 2, 2009
This Post is About Frank Eliason, Comcast's New Internet Guru (and Not the Porn that Ran During the Super Bowl)
Anyway, we wish the best of luck to Frank Eliason, pioneer of inernet-based cable customer service.