Saturday, August 20, 2011

Soak the Poor

Chicago Ted showed me this episode of the Daily Show last night. If there is a hell, these Fox people are headed there. I may be there to welcome them, but they'll be there.

Sorry, but there's a 30-second commercial first.

Saturday, August 06, 2011

Call Me Amazed, and Humbled

Last week the NY Times ran a front-page story about the closing of Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C. It was an interesting story that told some of the rich history of the facility.

The story included a photograph of the crowd at the Center's closing ceremony, watching a parachute jump. Go take a look at it. And while you're there, check out the photo credit.

The photo was taken by Joao Silva, the NY Times photographer who had both legs blown off by a land mine in Afghanistan. Previous posts about Silva can be found here and here.

Joao Silva is back at work, largely due to will power that makes me feel like a bowl of jelly and – are you ready for a little irony? – outstanding medical care received at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center.

Mr. Silva, I salute you.

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Nothing Suspicious About THAT!

Oh, this is really special.

It appears that on the Ides of March, 2011, a corporation was formed in Delaware called W Spann LLC. Said corporation, on April 28, made a $1 million donation to a Mitt Romney Super PAC called "Restore Our Future." Then, on July 12, the corporation was dissolved, without, apparently, actually doing any business. Thanks to Michael Isikoff at NBC News for breaking the story.

The names of the person(s) who formed the corporation are not publicly available (though there's a Wikipedia article that says it knows who it was).

Talking Points Memo reports:
Experts and watchdog groups say the W Spann case highlights broader disclosure problems in the post-Citizens United era. One issue is whether corporations could be used as a vehicle for anonymous donations from foreign nationals. While only Americans can legally contribute, the FEC's three Republican commissioners have blocked efforts to craft rules defining exactly how this applies to corporations, who may be partially owned by foreign entities or may be an American subsidiary of a foreign company. Politico's Ben Smith noted on Thursday that the issue is particularly relevant to "Restore Our Future" because, unlike anonymous-money nonprofits like Karl Rove's "Crossroads GPS," Super PACs only report their contributions to the FEC and not to the more aggressive IRS.
That such a donation could be made by foreign nationals – including foreigners who want to institute Sharia Law in the U.S. (snicker) – is just half the problem.

Thanks to five Bozos on the U.S. Supreme Court, this obviously corrupt activity may be perfectly legal. And just the beginning.

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Look Quick! A Republican Who Doesn't Hate America!

I am not a fan of Chris Christie, governor of New Jersey. But I will give credit where credit is due. The context of this becomes apparent quickly, because he gives it himself. This is a must-watch video:

Why are scenes like this so rare?

Via Talking Points Memo.

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

What Is To Be Done?

Steve Benen has a thoughtful post over at The Washington Monthly called, Wanted: More American Liberals. It does a good job of laying out where we are.

A new Gallup poll says 41 percent of those asked described themselves as conservative, compared to 21 percent describing themselves as liberal.

A significant takeaway quote from Benen's post:
It’s important to keep some caveats in mind when looking at results like these. For one thing, the public’s understanding of what these words actually mean varies considerably, and not everyone who considers themselves “conservative” is on the same page as, say, Jim DeMint. For another, ideological identification often doesn’t match up well with policy positions.
And that is really true. Conservative politicians want to end Medicare and Social Security, yet I'd guess that most people who call themselves conservative would like to preserve both programs. Most people who call themselves conservative probably don't like polluted air and rivers, yet conservative politicians promote policies that guarantee both. It goes on and on.

On the other hand, it would be much better for elections if people had conservative policy ideas and called themselves liberals.

Monday, August 01, 2011

How They Fell

Let's Default

This is a post I never dreamed I'd be making. As I'm writing, Congress is considering and voting on the latest Grand Compromise.

It's a disaster. It appears to have been written by an infinite number of monkeys sitting at an infinite number of typewriters. There is no sense to it. And it contains a guarantee that this madness will continue for months, maybe years.

What has happened is that a relatively small group of simple-minded people in the Republican Party, called Tea Partiers, has threatened to destroy the credit of the United States of America unless they get their way.

Technically, it's extortion.

To default on the debt is a terrible, terrible thing. We will pay for it for decades. History will call us the Worst Generation. And it should.

But this country cannot survive if a small group of morons is allowed to have their way just because they threaten to destroy us all if we don't give them what they want.

Whether this Grand Compromise passes or not, we are in for some terrible times. But we will never get ourselves out of it if we yield to extortionists. The greater evil is to allow this compromise to pass.

Addendum Aug 2: Joe Nocera sees it, too.
You know what they say: Never negotiate with terrorists. It only encourages them.

These last few months, much of the country has watched in horror as the Tea Party Republicans have waged jihad on the American people. Their intransigent demands for deep spending cuts, coupled with their almost gleeful willingness to destroy one of America’s most invaluable assets, its full faith and credit, were incredibly irresponsible. But they didn’t care. Their goal, they believed, was worth blowing up the country for, if that’s what it took.


For now, the Tea Party Republicans can put aside their suicide vests. But rest assured: They’ll have them on again soon enough. After all, they’ve gotten so much encouragement.

A Disaster

I have to agree with Paul Krugman:
A deal to raise the federal debt ceiling is in the works. If it goes through, many commentators will declare that disaster was avoided. But they will be wrong.

For the deal itself, given the available information, is a disaster, and not just for President Obama and his party. It will damage an already depressed economy; it will probably make America’s long-run deficit problem worse, not better; and most important, by demonstrating that raw extortion works and carries no political cost, it will take America a long way down the road to banana-republic status.
Jimmy Carter was called a weak president, but he was not. He was undermined by the Northeast liberals in his own party, who did not understand and snickered at his evangelical Christianity.

Barack Obama is a weak president.

God knows, I'm sick of the Clintons. But Hillary would not have caved.