Monday, August 31, 2009

White House Experience

Bush daughter Jenna Hager becomes 'Today' reporter

NBC's "Today" show has hired someone with White House experience as a new correspondent — former first daughter Jenna Hager, the daughter of former President George W. Bush. . . . She "just sort of popped to us as a natural presence, comfortable" on the air, [Executive Producer Jim] Bell said. Hager will work out of NBC's Washington bureau.
I think these guys have just as much relevant "White House Experience":

Go here for an effective analysis of this exciting development.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

How They Roll

Digby agrees with Perlstein in predicting that Republicans will attempt to capitalize on the outpouring of positive sentiment toward Ted Kennedy on the occasion of his death by usurping him as one of their own, and she points out that, in fact, this is already starting to happen. However, in a rare lapse of message discipline, it seems that these folks didn't get the memo. My, my. So maybe it won't work.

On the other hand, there are apparently a lot of people out there who think that Glenn Beck speaks for them, so, well anything can happen. In related news, of the You-Can't-Make-This-Shit-Up variety: it appears that Beck has hired the services of a very aptly-named consultant.

Friday, August 28, 2009

End of Summer

Well, of course, down here in the netherlands, summer goes on until about mid-October but as for the Friday series of Summer Songs here at BTW, this is it until next year:

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Change of Pace

Well I'm sick of reading and writing about wingnuts. So let's look at some pictures from my boys' latest trip to Big Bend National Park with their dad, just a couple of weeks ago:

Don't know about you, but I feel MUCH better!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Righties stayin' classy

This morning, first thing, Atrios wrote:
Just waiting for the Republicans to be tremendous dicks about this.

It's what they do.
Well, lo and behold, check out the comments from our troll friend Mark (calling himself "Obama Kevorkian") at Mike's tribute post. Of course - full disclosure - I may have prodded the anthill a little bit with my first comment....

I get e-mail

My friend Nancy sent me this and declares that she is starting the Texas franchise. I wrote her back that she'll probably get rich. Do you suppose P.Z. Myers has heard of this?

Our Eloquent President Pays Tribute

Very Smart Republicans*

Anonymous Liberal, who is a "lawyer", very patiently and clearly explains the concept of "law" to Jonah Goldberg who will never, ever, get it.

*"Very Smart Republicans" from Susan at Kiss My Big Blue Butt.

UPDATE: Sigh. H/T Sandy Underpants who supplies a wonderful title.

RIP Liberal Lion

I know Obama had hoped - me too - that Teddy would live to see health reform pass. There are of course numerous wonderful tributes to be found around the liberal blogosphere. Several very good ones are at Firedoglake (where they are currently liveblogging Obama's remarks), but I especially love the title to this one, The Wind takes the Lion. UPDATE: Donna has a nice one, too.

A word about the picture I used for this post: It was interesting to browse the available selection. I found this picture first on a site that had it in better clarity, and reversed, but suggested that I should get permission from the copyright owner before publishing it. But then I found it again on another site, as it is here, and it was titled "moonbattery". I love the picture, and I don't think it shows what the person who gave it that title thinks it does.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

More "Very Smart Republicans"

Oh dear Lord. Via Sadly, No! we see Chris Wallace saying this today on Fox News:
I guess one of the questions I have about it is why would those even be in a document about end of life? Usually people don't even contemplate end of life until they're in an irreversible coma.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Truth in media

Well, you won't find it at Fox Broadcasting Company.

And some lies just won't die.

And that's largely because journalists won't kill them.

You get the government you pay for

And guess who has shelled out the most in the healthcare debate! From Think Progress:
The health insurance industry has so successfully lobbied Congress “in the early stages of the healthcare overhaul deliberations that it is poised to reap a financial windfall.” “It’s a bonanza,” one health insurance executive said of plans to require all Americans to have insurance, adding that the industry’s reaction to negotiations thus far can be “boiled down to one word: ‘Hallelujah!’

Saturday, August 22, 2009

More sorting

Mike and I have been having a friendly little conversation with local conservative blogger named Nick who responded to my point that the for-profit private insurance industry in this country has failed to provide the citizens of this country with adequate access to health care by beginning his next post with this sentence:

With regards to free market health care, one of the big reasons it is failing to work for everyone is excessive government regulation — you know, like Obama is proposing with his “reforms.”

Oh that Obama and his silly "reforms"! The Government just needs to step out of the picture altogether and let the insurance companies run their businesses how they please and THEN all our problems would be solved, right?

These talks make me tired. I think I'll let Dan Froomkin take it from here.

Sorting it out

Mike links to this elity, smarty-pantsy post from Media Matters - you know, that wholly-owned subsidiary of George Soros, Inc. - which attempts to address the so-called "myths and falsehoods about health care reform" but it's Barbara O'Brien that gives us the real scoop.

Friday, August 21, 2009

August in Texas. Have I mentioned that it's hot?

Thank you, Mr. President!

My estimation of Barack Obama which, I confess, had been waning lately, just went up by several percentage points. That the world is a witness to the entire Washington pundocricy pondering the significance of being "wee-weed up" is priceless beyond description! H/T Think Progress and God Bless You, Barack Obama!

UPDATE: But yes, he still has a lot of work to do. Charm goes only so far.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Now we're dumping quadriplegics

Hoo boy.....

TPM does a little fact checking for The Bugman.

On healthcare reform insanity

First off, Publius:
It's worth keeping this perspective in mind. Progressives are seeking health coverage reform because we want to help people. It's fundamentally a moral issue. There's no nefarious plot. We just want to help people get coverage, and help them keep coverage. We want to end all the horrible things that happens to people without coverage (or without enough).

That's what's so insane about the hysteria. Do people really think that Obama and the Dems are laughing hysterically about evil government takeovers, etc.? What do these people think the Dems' actual motivations are? I can tell you the real motivation is -- it's simply to help people get affordable health care. That's what motivates me, anyway. It sounds quaint, but it's the whole "make the world a better place" thing.

That said, there are obviously better and worse means to reach these ends. And that's what political debates are for. But the sheer intensity of the hysterical ideological opposition is completely disproportionate to the actual goals. It's like these people really think we're out to destroy the country. And that perception is being fueled by con artists like Lou Dobbs, Chuck Grassley, and Sarah Palin.
And his first commenter echos my exact thoughts as I read this post:
It's like these people really think we're out to destroy the country.

yes, they actually think that - at least that's what we have to believe if we take their word for it. i don't know if the GOP pols think that, and i think it's obvious that a lot of pundits are just demagoging. but the GOP rank and file, the people who have pushed Glenn Beck's ratings through the roof, all of my wife's older relatives, the guy down the road who paints huge anti-Obama signs and sticks them in his front lawn, the people who show up at town halls and cry that their country is being destroyed ? yeah, i think they believe it. and they're terrified of it. they're insane, but terrified.

Posted by: cleek | August 19, 2009 at 04:20 PM
I don't know where "cleek" is from, but down here in Texas, they're not only insane and terrified, they're armed to the teeth! Next up, James Fallows (emphasis mine):
We wouldn't be talking about Elizabeth McCaughey's distortions if the Obama administration hadn't turned out to be strangely inept in the selling of its policy positions (not just health care, something similar happened with TARP, even affirmative action during Sotomayor's confirmation, and it's only a matter of time before the GOP takes aim at other issues).

For the life of me, I can't understand why they can't personalize these issues (the way successful presidents always do). Who are his opponents? They're the pigs protecting the trough. Done. Who can't understand that? But no--instead we'll get discussions about a plan which doesn't exist followed by outrage over distortions.
Fallows calls this "Administration Clumsiness" but Greenwald has a somewhat more sinister and cynical view:
"...Negotiating health care reform with politicians who oppose health care reform doesn't make sense. Negotiating reform with politicians who've vowed to vote against reform under any circumstances is insane."

That's obviously true. In fact, it's so obviously true that no matter how dumb one might think Democrats are, they're certainly not so dumb that they failed to realize that the GOP was highly unlikely to help Obama pass health care reform no matter what the bill contained. From the start, it's been obvious to everyone -- the Obama White House and Senate Democrats included -- that the GOP would not help Obama pass health care reform. Why would the GOP want to help Obama achieve one of his most important and politically profitable goals? Of course they were going to try to sabotage the entire project and would oppose health care reform no matter what form it took. Everyone knew that from the start for exactly the reason that it was so obvious to Benen.

The attempt to attract GOP support was the pretext which Democrats used to compromise continuously and water down the bill. But -- given the impossibility of achieving that goal -- isn't it fairly obvious that a desire for GOP support wasn't really the reason the Democrats were constantly watering down their own bill? Given the White House's central role in negotiating a secret deal with the pharmaceutical industry, its betrayal of Obama's clear promise to conduct negotiations out in the open (on C-SPAN no less), Rahm's protection of Blue Dogs and accompanying attacks on progressives, and the complete lack of any pressure exerted on allegedly obstructionists "centrists," it seems rather clear that the bill has been watered down, and the "public option" jettisoned, because that's the bill they want -- this was the plan all along.

The Obama White House isn't sitting impotently by while Democratic Senators shove a bad bill down its throat. This is the bill because this is the bill which Democratic leaders are happy to have. It's the bill they believe in. As important, by giving the insurance and pharmaceutical industries most everything they want, it ensures that the GOP doesn't become the repository for the largesse of those industries (and, converesly, that the Democratic Party retains that status).

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Susan calls them "Very Smart Republicans"

...and she has pictures!

Personally, I like having pubic options because I enjoy being a girl. And I like to cha cha with the other pubic option. However, having known some Republican men, I can understand why a Republican woman would oppose it.

Like trying to argue with a dining room table

And speaking of croutons....

Went to see Julie and Julia last weekend and thoroughly enjoyed it, especially since it focuses on two favorite activities of mine: blogging and cooking (Heydave, take note!). Meryl Streep is amazing and I predict another Oscar nomination for this performance (yeah, I know - really going out on a limb with that one, right?). Anyway, this seems a good opportunity to feature a YouTube of the REAL Julia:

Freshly made garlic croutons...

This is priceless!

I got my first mouser from my local animal shelter about 3 - 4 years ago and I have had no sign of rodents in or around my house since the day she arrived (except for the one or two corpses she presented me with in the first couple of days). I now have 3 cats (all from the same shelter) which was not my plan but what can you do. Last September I had to put my cherished black lab down, so I've been most grateful for the company my cats have provided, not to mention their skills at environmentally friendly pest control.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Found in Translation

I actually watched Meet The Press yesterday because I wanted to catch Rachel Maddow sparring with Dick Armey, and I have to say that this version of the show is what Miss Mona Lisa Vito (from "My Cousin Vinny") would call dead-on-balls accurate! ("It's an industry toim.") H/T to Eschaton which has been featuring and linking to these summaries for several weeks now. They're great.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

If we can't have Molly, it's a good thing we've got Digby

Today she points us to another great column from Rick Perlstein, which I highly recommend, but here's the take-away from Digby:
Perlstein is an unparalleled historian of the conservative movement and I expect him to know these juicy details from 40 or 50 years ago. But I would also expect Washington politicians and political media to know that many of the same people are who ginning up the lunacy and acting like hysterical freaks right now are not only acting in the conservative tradition, they are also the very same people who pulled this stuff just a decade ago.

I guess everyone thought that that whole 'vast right wing conspiracy" thing was something Hillary made up in her head because Tim Russert told them so.

Arlen Specter and Joe Sestak were interviewed yesterday at NN by Susie Madrak and Ari Melber. Specter made some news when he revealed that from the beginning the Republicans had circulated among themselves that they were going to "break Obama" --- and it didn't originate over health care, but even before the stimulus. They never had any intention of acting in good faith. This didn't surprise me either. But it certainly seems to have surprised the administration, or at least they thought they could win them over anyway. But they can't.

It's an illness that health care reform can't cure. You just have to find a way to live with the problem and not let it kill you.

Friday, August 14, 2009

A boycott that won't be difficult

I live in a small town northwest of San Antonio, and San Antonio has only one Whole Foods that is pretty far off my beaten path. Furthermore, their prices are absurd, so I really won't have any trouble not shopping at Whole Foods. But John Mackey doesn't know that, and it's time to write him and tell him that he has lost my business. Jackass.

August drags on

and the heat feels almost.....canned:

Not Very Deep Thought

Republicans may be lousy at governing, but they sure are expert at capitalizing on ignorance and fear.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Off. The. Rails.

In the comments to that last post, our friend Freewheel wonders if wingnuts have gotten nuttier lately. I'd say Most Definitely, there has indeed been a certain ramping up of the Crazy. Consider the TexasFred specimen I examined in that post, then look at what turns up in Fred's very next entry:
Barack Hussein Obama (IDIOT), has nothing to worry about, his Secret Service guys, armed with MP-5 sub-machine guns, will keep The Obamessiah safe and sound from the ignorant and unwashed masses. Obama will spout off his usual line of Obamaure and walk away with that smug, superior look on his face, thinking to himself, “I got em fooled again”.

“I think what the president will do is turn to that person and probably ask them to be civilized” said Robert Gibbs, the Obamanures mouthpiece. I wonder? Does that civility apply when The Obamessiah becomes a cold blooded MURDERER? That is exactly what’s coming next. The Obama administration is going to push legalized MURDER off as an alternative health plan!

Obama is a hard core libber. Libbers are abortion on demand MURDERERS. They don’t look upon abortion as murder. Somewhere in their tiny, perverted little minds they have been able to justify the death of an unborn child and they can live with it. Our sick, our infirm, our disabled and our elderly are NEXT on the list.
Seriously. I honestly don't know how much of this garbage Fred actually believes and how much of it is just dog-whistle tactics to incite his extremely nutty, bloodthirsty, and trigger-happy readers. (I'd link, but that would be a bad idea, trust me.) Fred and his cohorts are very, very eager for their violent fantasies to come to fruition, and I don't think they are particularly concerned about who gets it. If one of their own happens to get hurt (see Kenneth "The Fainting Goat" Gladney), they have their Victim Script ready, but of course they are simply foaming at the mouth for "libbers" to be on the receiving end of their "Second Amendment rights" and Fred is doing very little to disguise his eagerness for that outcome, boasting gleefully about how "afraid" his ideological opponents are of him and his ilk. Steve Benen, over at Washington Monthly notes the same thing:
Rep. Paul Broun (R) of Georgia, for example, told constituents yesterday that Democratic leaders may be moving towards declaring martial law.


Now, as a factual matter, this is blisteringly stupid. But as a political matter, the only reason a right-wing lawmaker would say something like this is if he's deliberately trying to drive already-angry conservatives over the edge. Broun sees a simmering fire, and he's reaching for the kerosene. He realizes far-right activists are feeling paranoid and enraged, so he tells them the nation's political leaders are "trying" to impose some kind of fascistic martial law on the populace.

It's more than just irresponsible; it's the kind of rhetoric people offer when they want to encourage a furious mob to get even angrier. While we ponder when the "right-wing primal scream" might get out of hand, we have elected members of Congress holding trying to amplify that scream.
So, as hard as it is to believe, what I'm saying is, Yes, the craziness is definitely ramping up, but the forces behind it certainly appear to be deliberate and quite calculated.

UPDATE: Digby has more and says it better:
This is beyond free floating anxiety; it's a form of mass hysteria and it wasn't precipitated by ideological differences with Obama. It's Vince Foster Banarama 2.0. And it's grown even though they had a run of eight long years of blood and Jesus. Maybe it's because there aren't any normal Republicans anymore so their feedback loop is completely closed --- or maybe it's the addition of FOX News and Free Republic to their old toxic stew combined with the fact that they were so soundly humiliated by Republican failure that has given them this new energy. But basically, it's the same people spouting the same crap: pissed off white, middle aged conservatives who think they own this country and can't stand it that they have to share it with anyone else.
UPDATE II: Oh dear. TexasFred doesn't like the Southern Policy Law Center:
Non silba sed anthar. There’s a Latin phrase that just drives the Southern Poverty Law moonbats crazy. It translates to, Not for self, for others, and that is just SO wrong on so many levels apparently. The Southern Poverty Law folk claim that is is also a Klan buzz word. Maybe so, but you know, if those Klan guys are as ignorant as the Southern Poverty Law pukes make them out to be, where did they come up with a Latin phrase of such magnitude?
Yeah! Whaddya say to THAT, libbers! Nevertheless, much of the rest of this post is dedicated to Fred's assurance that his anger has NOTHING WHATSOEVER to do with Obama's race. Oh no. Fred explains:
The anger that Americans are feeling have nothing to do with the color of Barack Hussein Obama’s skin. Our anger has everything to do with the presumed fact that Barack Hussein Obama is a Muslim sympathizer, or possibly a closeted Muslim.
Got that? Or should I translate it into Latin?

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

TexasFred has a Message for us!

Sorry to have been so quiet lately. The tsunami of rightwing lunacy that has erupted in response to Obama's attempt to reform our healthcare system has had me just plain tired. Seems like just when Sarah Palin or Newt Gingrich steps out on the national stage to say something completely batshit insane, some other goon steps up to the plate to take things just a little bit further down the road to falling right off the cliff. You'd think I'd be used to it by now, considering that I live in the middle of Wingnut-topia. But, of course, down here in Texas, we grow our own special brand of Nutz, a prime example of which is that porcine figure of a man who calls himself TexasFred, and what a surprise: He has A Message for us, The American People:
I have heard the TEA Party called a lot of things lately.

A rudderless ship, operating under a full head of steam with no direction whatsoever. I have seen a few examples of that too, as much as I hate to say it.
I'm more tempted to call it a leaky inner tube.
I have heard our organization denigrated by the left, references made to some perversion that apparently only those on the perverted left were familiar with until recently when our detractors began to refer to us as *tea baggers*.
The perverted right was totally taken aback by this development.
I won’t even attempt to decipher the thoughts of the far left and their moonbattery, but I will say this, as disorganized, as rudderless as we may be, the TEA Party, and a few other groups out there that are motivated by pure patriotism, and nothing else, have scared the hell out of the Libs, Dems and far left moonbats.
Yes, indeed, we moonbats quake with fear in the face of Pure Patriotism, and nothing else!
We are called Right Wing Radicals by the left. That is a name I wear proudly. Thomas Jefferson was a right wing radical. Most of the founding fathers of this nation were right wing radicals, and to be even remotely considered in that group is an honor.
Got that? Thomas Jefferson and most of the founding fathers of this nation were right wing radicals. Uh huh. Read on, though, 'cause TexasFred is just getting warmed up.
Some folks are members of TEA Party groups because a TEA Party gathering is where they get their current news. Sad, I know, but the truth. Those people are terribly out of touch, they are uninformed regarding current events and are beating dead horses that have NO bearing whatsoever on the direction this nation has taken.
You don't say!
They constantly forward email after email of OLD information, they mean well, but for crying out loud, some of us are hard core political bloggers and activists. We have seen that stuff many times over. They load in-boxes with useless or irrelevant garbage. They mean well I suppose, but they need to get up to speed on real time events before they attempt to bring people like me DOWN to their speed with OLD stuff.
Heavy lies the Stetson, or in Fred's case, the cheap $4.00 imitation.
America has reached a point of unprecedented division. We are divided on politics, abortion, religion, the management of our nations business, TARP, Cap and Trade, Immigration reforms, bailouts, just to name a few of the reasons for our division.

We are being forced to accept things that are quite simply, unacceptable.
A first in our country! Some faction being "forced" to accept things that are, quite simply, unacceptable!
We have a President that has constantly had his legitimacy to hold that office questioned, his birthright questioned. We have a President that is highly suspect of being a Muslim sympathizer, if not, in truth, secretly a Muslim.

We have a president that has appointed numerous CZARs to oversee his wishes and desires for America. The little dictators are APPOINTED, not elected, and the legality of that action is being called into question.

Our President is suspected of being a follower of the teachings of Marx, Stalin and Hitler. Many of his programs today stand in testament to those suspicions. Our President has asked that Americans report anything *fishy* to his minions. Fishy? There’s a word that bears a broad definition in today’s political world.
No kidding! Let's see, where in that last few paragraphs could the word "fishy" be applied...?
We are led by a President that is supported by the far left and union goons.
As opposed to the previous eight years when we were led by a President that was supported by the far right and his corporate goons.
We are led by a President that encourages his union goons to hit us twice as hard as we hit them. We haven’t hit anyone, but some of Obama’s union goons, SEIU members I am told, have engaged in violence against peaceful Americans who were voicing their opinions at political gatherings. Does that action by union goons not smell of Chicago gangland politics?
No, but something in that version of events certainly smells "fishy".
So far, I have been terribly disappointed with the so-called Conservative parties that I have seen. Mostly they have been made up of people that perhaps have had a few good ideas, but are afraid of their own shadow. They are afraid to speak out and tell the REAL truth. They are afraid of offending the few current members they have or any future members they possibly may gain. They don’t appreciate people like me, people that will look you in the eye and tell you the REAL truth, and not give a damn about the consequences.
Fred has been disappointed by people who fail to appreciate him. I can appreciate that.
The time for polite, well mannered civil discourse has long past. It’s time to fire up the people of this nation, the REAL Conservatives of this nation, and by God it’s time to take this nation back from the demons that are trying to destroy her with their socialism and a love of all things anti-American!
And Fred is just the guy to lead the charge of Death to Civil Discourse!

Tired, I tell you. The whole thing just leaves me feeling tired.

RIP Eunice Kennedy Shriver

"I have no idea"

KLEIN: How did this become a question of euthanasia?

ISAKSON: I have no idea. I understand -- and you have to check this out -- I just had a phone call where someone said Sarah Palin's web site had talked about the House bill having death panels on it where people would be euthanized. How someone could take an end of life directive or a living will as that is nuts. You're putting the authority in the individual rather than the government. I don't know how that got so mixed up
Yeah. What a mystery.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Friday, August 7, 2009

High Cotton

Seems there's some sort of anniversary coming up, Woodstock's 40th or some such. Here's a nice article on the subject.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Monday Morning

First off, I am delighted to report that on Saturday evening I met up with one member of that select and elite group that is My Commenters, Ruth, and what a blast that was! Ruth hails from Sherman, TX, (north of Dallas, near the Texas/Oklahoma border) and was in Austin for the annual meeting of the Texas chapter of the ACLU, and since I live about 2 hours from Austin, we agreed that this was a good opportunity for us to finally meet each other. So, at 6 p.m., Ruth and Julie - the Austin friend she was staying with - and I met up at Chez Nous for a wonderful evening of fine food and conversation. I hope we can do it again soon! Meanwhile, Ruth has moved from her bloghome at Cab Drollery to The Seminal at FireDogLake, so be sure and check it out.

The friends I stayed with couldn't join us for dinner Saturday night, but they heard all about it from me. On Sunday, we went to see Woody Allen's latest, Whatever Works which was better than okay but not great, and we talked about looking forward to seeing Julie and Julia. Since we're fans of both Julia Child AND Meryl Streep, it seems like a win-win, doesn't it?

In other movie news, this (H/T Mahablog) makes me really, really sad. If Hollywood must remake a movie, why not remake a BAD movie and make it better instead of mucking up one of the greatest classics of all time? That said, I agree with Barbara and the article's author that Tom Hanks seems the most likely choice to play Elwood P. Dodd, but as long as people are asking for alternate suggestions, I'll throw out Richard Jenkins, who did such a fine job in The Visitor and Burn After Reading, as the dark horse choice. Let's see if Spielberg takes my advice!

Last but not least, this is hilarious!