Wednesday, May 30, 2007

all asshat, no cattle

From The International Herald Tribune (h/t Rick Perlstein at .common sense):
The Bush administration said Tuesday it will fight to keep meatpackers from testing all their animals for mad cow disease.

The Agriculture Department tests fewer than 1 percent of slaughtered cows for the disease, which can be fatal to humans who eat tainted beef. A beef producer in the western state of Kansas, Creekstone Farms Premium Beef, wants to test all of its cows.

Larger meat companies feared that move because, if Creekstone should test its meat and advertised it as safe, they might have to perform the expensive tests on their larger herds as well.

The Agriculture Department regulates the test and argued that widespread testing could lead to a false positive that would harm the meat industry.

A federal judge ruled in March that such tests must be allowed. U.S. District Judge James Robertson noted that Creekstone sought to use the same test the government relies on and said the government didn't have the authority to restrict it. - A federal judge ruled in March that such tests must be allowed. The ruling was scheduled to take effect June 1, but the Agriculture Department said Tuesday it would appeal, effectively delaying the testing until the court challenge has played out.

Note: it doesn't say Bush is fighting to keep meatpackers from having to test their animals for mad cow, which is how I read it at first. No no, it says he's actually trying to prevent them from being able to test them all.

This would bring corporate welfare to a new low, but the agricultural industry has been in this rut for years, where small ranchers/farmers/packers are forcibly denied their right to produce a better product so that the big dawgs won't be forced to raise their standards. How, exactly, is this capitalism?

These are the kind of people that many are starting to refer to as "E. coli conservatives," that is, people who have developed their economics around their desire to protect big business. For the E. coli conservative, the protection of big business is not the by-product of laissez-faire economics; rather, laissez-faire economics is the by-product of protecting big business. When the two come in conflict (and that happens more often than one might expect), it's the economics that goes out the window, not the protectionism. These are the people who support corporate welfare, which is designed to preclude competition and is, thus, the very antithesis of free market economics, but even that is not what gives them their name. The term comes from their willingness to endanger other people's health and lives for the sake of big business' bottom line, most egregiously illustrated by the support of a lazy, dangerous, and exploitive livestock-raising and meatpacking system that has led to the pervasive presence, in beef especially, of the eponymous bacteria previously found only in the animals' excrement. This is why it's no longer safe to eat rare steak.

Perlstein has some choice morsels for this one:
First, observe the contempt for liberty. When E. coli conservatives say self-regulation is preferable to government, they're even lying about that. Second, observe the contempt for small business. When a small company want to - voluntarily! - hold its product to a higher standard, the government blocks it, in part because bigger companies have to be protected from the competition, in part because a theoretical threat to the bottom line (false positives) trumps protection against a deadly disease.

There's your conservatism, America: not extremism in defense of liberty. State socialism in defense of Mad Cow.


I knew there was a reason I loved Heroes:
NBC's hit series "Heroes" was the most-watched new show on network television this year despite its demanding plot lines and stretches of subtitled Japanese. Its season finale, which aired May 21, dominated the 9 p.m. time slot. What explains the show's popularity, especially with younger viewers? I think it is that, like the Fox thriller "24," "Heroes" is a response to Sept. 11 and the rise of international terrorism. But while "24" skews to the right politically, "Heroes" seems like a left-wing response to those events. In fact, it functions as a thoughtful critique of Vice President Dick Cheney's doctrine on counterterrorism.

Read the article; it's an interesting essay on the political and moral underpinnings of Heroes vis-a-vis 24, and by association, the Bush Administration. Some of the points I'd thought of before, but many I hadn't. It's all true, though: the Gandhian critique of deploying evil to stop evil, otherwise known as "the ends justify the means," the recognition of humans' propensity to both good and evil, the emphasis on diversity as a strength, rather than a weakness...

It's very, very good to hear that this message is resonating more with the nation's youth.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

discas scribere*

When I was an undergrad, I took a course on the Renaissance, and we all had to give presentations to the class on a certain figure or book from the period. One of my classmates picked Rene Descartes for his presentation, and so far as I can tell, he put some work into it and had an okay understanding of the material. When he began his presentation, however, the very first word to flop out of his mouth was a jarring "Rene Desscartss..." For those of us in the class who knew the name or had the slightest inkling of French, the word seemed to plop languidly onto the floor and lay there in middle of the room like a steaming turd or a dead cat, and we stared at it, horrified, not even listening to the rest of his speech, save for the many-- so many!-- occasions where he repeated the name, seeming to point at the word to remind us of it again and again. As if we could get past it in the first place!

Similar moments happen online, where one's ignorance of a term's pronunciation--or in the case of writing, spelling--can undermine one's own credibility. Obviously, spelling on blogs doesn't carry the same import as spelling in an academic journal, as we're expected to be typing on the fly and thus letting a typo here and there slip by. Terminology, however, is different: showing knowledge of the subject matter's terminology is a necessary step to establishing your bona fides, and misspelling the lingo exposes readers to the unmistakable whiff of dilettantism. Like, for instance, when you're writing a post or trying to make a point about constitutional law or political theory and you drop a "habeus corpus." When I see that, my eyes glaze over, your point fizzles, and I click the "back button," assuming (often correctly) that you have no idea what you're talking about.

Ahemmmmmmm *donning my tweed and elbow patches and making my best elite Classicist affectation*
Habeus is a Latin-esque gibberish adjective modifying "corpus."

Habeas is a command verb meaning "have" as in "have your body [brought before a court of law]." As in habeas corpus, the right to contest your imprisonment in court.

Habeas freakin' corpus, people. Learn it.

*Learn how to spell.

one of the few meaningful moments of the last several years

and it passes without notice in our revered news media. Cindy Sheehan calls it quits:
Camp Casey has served its purpose. It’s for sale. Anyone want to buy five beautiful acres in Crawford , Texas ? I will consider any reasonable offer. I hear George Bush will be moving out soon, too...which makes the property even more valuable.

This is my resignation letter as the "face" of the American anti-war movement. This is not my "Checkers" moment, because I will never give up trying to help people in the world who are harmed by the empire of the good old US of A, but I am finished working in, or outside of this system. This system forcefully resists being helped and eats up the people who try to help it. I am getting out before it totally consumes me or anymore people that I love and the rest of my resources.

Good-bye America are not the country that I love and I finally realized no matter how much I sacrifice, I can’t make you be that country unless you want it.

It’s up to you now.

It's an ominous sign for our nation's soul when Cindy Sheehan gives up hope.

As an aside, it's also quite significant that she hears "George Bush will be moving out soon, too," considering he bought the ranch in... ready for it?... 1999.

Friday, May 25, 2007

George Bush disenfranchised the troops: the definition of "caging"

I can't believe this, from Greg Pallast, detailing the practice of "caging" as practiced by the Bush/Cheney campaign and minimized by Monica Goodling this week as "a direct mail term." It's far worse than I personally was expecting. It begins with the campaign compiling a list of likely Democratic voters by focusing on those in African American neighborhoods, and then it takes a particularly sinister turn (h/t ThinkProgress):
Here’s how the scheme worked: The RNC mailed these voters letters in envelopes marked, “Do not forward”, to be returned to the sender. These letters were mailed to servicemen and women, some stationed overseas, to their US home addresses. The letters then returned to the Bush-Cheney campaign as “undeliverable.”

The lists of soldiers of “undeliverable” letters were transmitted from state headquarters, in this case Florida, to the RNC in Washington. The party could then challenge the voters’ registration and thereby prevent their absentee ballots being counted.

It was an attempt to use African Americans' service to their country to rob them of their right to vote. Tim Griffin, one of Rove's flying monkeys, allegedly led such a caging effort in '04. He's now the U.S. Attorney for the state of Arkansas.

they're dancin' dancin' dancin' machines watchemgitdown watchemgitdown

I promise not to do much posting on video games, but I've just always wondered where they got a lot of the dances in World of Warcraft.

Subpoenas, now with immunity!


Thursday, May 24, 2007

the media doesn't get Gore's critique of them

Gore's sojourn this week through the circus mirrors of medialand has been a strange trip, indeed. First he went on Good Morning America, where he gave a long synopsis of his new book, The Assault on Reason, arguing that the way news networks have trivialized the news has crippled the voters' ability to oversee a functioning democracy because, duh, they're perpetually uninformed and misinformed about "the big issues"... and then all Diane Sawyer could talk about was whether Al was going to run. She even asked him if he's dropped any weight yet. Classy!

Then Jack Shafer of Slate fame botches his hit job on the book by construing Gore's argument as Gore is against the news talking about anything but politics. The tenor of his article, the surprising and unprofessional bitterness of his sarcasm, in my opinion gives away the fact that he's a lot more interested in mauling Gore than addressing his argument on the merits, which explains what just has to be willful obtuseness to the former vice president's simple and painfully obvious point.

As Upton Sinclair once said, "It is difficult to get people to understand something when their salary depends upon them not understanding it."

As more proof that he's (willfully or otherwise) totally blind to Gore's point, he approvingly cites Maureen Dowd's recent column on Gore. Digby provides the necessary context and perspective to why that was such a telling choice of articles for him to cite, but suffice it to say, if MoDo's columns had any less substance in them, they'd float off the page and into the stratosphere, where all the hot air in them would undoubtedly contribute to global warming. A sample of the "journalism" Shafer points you to so that you can be informed on Gore's argument:
t’s no wonder Al Gore is a little touchy about his weight, what with everyone trying to read his fat cells like tea leaves to see if he’s going to run.

He was so determined to make his new book look weighty, in the this-treatise-belongs-on-the-shelf-between-Plato-and-Cato sense, rather than the double-chin-isn’t-quite-gone-yet sense, that he did something practically unheard of for a politician: He didn’t plaster his picture on the front.

“The Assault on Reason” looks more like the Beatles’ White Album than a screed against the tinny Texan who didn’t get as many votes in 2000.

The Goracle does concede a small author’s picture on the inside back flap, a chiseled profile that screams Profile in Courage and that also screams Really Old Picture. Indeed, if you read the small print next to the wallet-sized photo of Thin Gore looking out prophetically into the distance, it says it’s from his White House years.


Diane was not so easily put off as he turned up his nose at the horse race and the vast wasteland of TV, and bored in for the big question: “Donna Brazile, your former campaign manager, has said, ‘If he drops 25 to 30 pounds, he’s running.’ Lost any weight?”

Laughing obligingly, he replied: “I think, you know, millions of Americans are in the same struggle I am on that one. But look, listen to your questions. And you know, if the horse race, the cosmetic parts of this — and look, that’s all understandable and natural. But while we’re focused on, you know, Britney and KFed and Anna Nicole Smith and all this stuff, meanwhile, very quietly, our country has been making some very serious mistakes that could be avoided if we the people, including the news media, are involved in a full and vigorous discussion of what our choices are.”


Mr. Traub said that, as he followed the ex-vice president around, the Goracle was “eating like a maniac: I watched him inhale the clam dip at a reception like a man who doesn’t know when his next meal will be coming.”


Doug Brinkley, the presidential historian, said that even though the fashion now is for fit candidates, after the Civil War, there was a series of overweight presidents. “It showed you had a zest for life,” he said. (The excess baggage may make Bill Clinton and Bill Richardson look roguish, but unfortunately, too many cheeseburgers and ice cream sundaes make Mr. Gore look puffy and waxy.) “Maybe,” Mr. Brinkley suggested, “Gore can sit in Tennessee and do it via high-definition satellite — like McKinley, just eat and sit."

To borrow a line from Chandler Bing, I can't decide if Dowd is more funny "ha ha" or funny "KABOOOOOOM!!!! *brains splatter on floor*"

somebody thought Falwell wasn't anti-gay enough

Did you know that the protesters at Falwell's funeral whom Mark David Uhl was planning to bomb weren't anti-war protesters or anti-fundamentalists or people who thought Falwell was too hardline, but rather the infamous Westboro Baptist Church of Fred Phelps and "God Hates Fags" fame? Falwell's funeral was being crashed by people who thought Jerry Falwell was too friendly to gays!

This, of course, brings up an interesting question-- does this knowledge in any way change or mitigate your opinion of Mark David Uhl? Obviously, it shouldn't, but I'd be lying if I said it didn't at least send flitting across my consciousness the thought that, "Well, it would be nice to be rid of them..." Then I felt a sudden empathy toward the totalitarians in our midst who base their opinion on governmental force on whether they like the victims, and I felt a little sick.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

RIP Jerry Falwell

Hopefully someday, when we're not quite at each other's throats as much anymore, someone will be able to make an honest and edifying assessment of Jerry Falwell's impact on this country, which, positive or negative, was certainly significant. Now, however, is a time of high emotion, and despite our opinions on the man (and said impact), should be the time when his family, friends, and followers mourn as they should, and the rest of us show a little class and leave them be. I don't care who the person was, it's cruel to innocent loved ones, as well as utterly tasteless, to say ugly things about a man who just passed on. If you don't have anything nice to say...

Oh, and don't go around dKos, that joint is a real cesspool right now. If there's anything I don't like about communication over the web, it's that it's made our hearts harder. We say things that are much harsher than what we'd actually say to someone in real life and react much more aggressively and pitilessly and vainly, probably because we just see a screen with letters on it instead of an actual person. Combine that with the extreme polarization that causes us to cast political differences as incorrigible moral failures, and you have a very toxic and inhuman atmosphere. Communication can't take place because of the barriers that don't allow us to connect in recognition of each other's goodness and validity as human beings. Whether Falwell himself had any part in the creation and maintenance of such an atmosphere is beside the point right now; the point is that, one day, we are going to have to get past this.

That, mon freres, is the message of Christ, and I suppose talking about Christ's message is the best place to start for that assessment.

when all you've got is a Hammer...

I just listened to the first part of the Diane Rehm show, where I had the pleasure of hearing Newt f*^king Gingrich lecture today's politicians on, yes, being too partisan. Then, in his answer to the very first caller's question, he claimed that the only answer liberals have to global warming was "to raise taxes and give more power to trial lawyers."

That was right after he totally evaded the first emailed question about his own dubious role in the country's polarization with the Clinton impeachment.

But damn those politicians and their partisan soundbytes!

UPDATE 12:06PM: My landlady tells me that Gingrich eventually skipped out on Diane only 40 minutes into the show, which royally pissed her off, as he had promised her the whole hour, so she had no guest for the last 20 minutes (apparently, she spent it ranting about Gingrich's performance).

Gingrich is perhaps the worst of these hyperpartisan politicians (Tom Delay being second) when it comes to practicing oppositional politics. He doesn't care about actually fixing anything. Rather, his entire being is geared toward soundbytes and framing and political maneuvering. Everything, and I mean everything, that comes out of Gingrich's mouth has one purpose: to disparage and discredit his opponents. There are no moments of candor with him; he's always got one hand on his dagger and one eye on the backs of Democrats, liberals, and intellectuals.

This is what, to me at least, is emblematic of current Republicanism: defeating Democrats and marginalizing liberals is the point of every word and every action. You don't see this with liberals, or even most major Democrats (with perhaps the exception of Rahm Emmanuel). When Al Gore is talking about climate change or John Edwards about poverty, you don't get the sense that they've got Republicans or conservatives in the back of their mind, and they hardly ever come up.

Republicans, however, just won't STFU about Democrats and liberals and how stupid and evil and weak and traitorous and fascist they are, and Gingrich is one of the main reasons for this. He showed them a way of winning that was no holds barred, that had no vision, no answers, no end other than winning, and he molded the GOP to work like him. It's all they know, and that probably goes a long way to describing just why they've been so singularly ineffectual administrators and lawmakers. They can cut taxes, they can start wars, they can stage PR stunts, and they can denigrate liberals, but that's all they've got. That's the entire GOP playbook: 4 moves designed and poll-tested to win elections. They're not so great at maintaining healthy economies or keeping government running smoothly or answering societal problems or stopping impending environmental catastrophies, but for a decade and a half the GOP has been winning by pretending everything is a nail and they put all their other tools in hock when Gingrich proved to them that responsibility and openness are unnecessary in government. Now, of course, they're reaping what Gingrich and Armey and Delay sowed, as these tried-and-true techniques are diminishing in their returns. Authoritarian cultism, propaganda, and corruption can only hide one's incompetence for so long.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

shades of delay

A brief reminder of what the Congress was like just one short year ago. You may remember that, in the beginning of 2006, the president made a bunch of recess appointments. These were the nominees of his that were so unqualified and so obviously the product of corruption and patronage that even Senate led by his own party couldn't confirm them. According to congressional rules, recess appointments made between Senate sessions only last for the duration of the following term, but appointments made during a session last for its duration plus the next one. So check this out:
The Senate calendar on the Democratic site shows no meeting until Congress opened on January 18, 2006, which would lead one to assume that date marked the opening of the second year of the 109th Congress. But the Library of Congress indicates a session was held on January 3, 2006, thus officially opening the 109th. And lo and behold, the Daily Digest reports a 41-second pro forma Senate session, from 12:00:04 PM to 12:00:45 P.M., on that date. The Senate convened, immediately adjourned and thus began a "recess in the middle of the session," not meeting again until January 18, 2006.

The day following the less-than-a-minute convening, of course, Bush made his recess appointments—now officially during a session of Congress—which allowed his eminently rejectable appointees to complete the "balance of the session in progress plus the full length of the session that follows." Meaning we’re stuck with this gang of uncomfirmable, incompetent, unqualified losers for an extra year.

This is how things were done in Washington when the Republicans were in charge.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Ike or FDR?

Ben Smith at The Politico has a nice graph showing how the top 3 Democratic presidential candidates have been doing in the polls for the last quarter. What you see is some upward movement on the parts of Edwards and Obama along with some flagging on Clinton's part, but for the most part they're all staying pretty steady, with Hillary way ahead.

Now people are saying that Hillary's still leading only because it's so early and nobody knows the other candidates blah blah blah. But is that true? Can we really say that a significant number of people in this country do not know who Barack Obama is? Others will say that Obama and Edwards are just splitting the anti-Hillary vote, and when one of them jumps ship, the other one will overtake Clinton. One problem with this theory: according to a recent poll I saw (and of course, now can't find) Hillary is the 2nd choice candidate for both Edwards and Obama supporters.

Again: for supporters of Edwards and Obama, the favored 2nd choice candidate is not the other anti-Hillary, but Hillary herself.

How can this be? How can Obama supporters be more comfortable voting for Hillary than for Edwards, and vice versa? How can Hillary Clinton, who is not charismatic, not inspiring, has a broad reputation for being cold and calculating and a serial panderer, who surrounds herself with unionbusters and corporate hacks, who voted for the Iraq War and chose as her signature issues violent video games and flag burning, be not only winning in the polls but be the favorite 2nd choice as well when there are 2 charismatic, inspiring idealists in the race?

When you have Barack Obama, John Edwards, and Bill Richardson in the race, what possible motivation could there be for picking Hillary Clinton?

I've been wracking my brain about this for several months, since it became clear to me that the explanations above don't cut it, and I've at least come up with a hypothesis.

Hillary Clinton is the safe candidate.

Here's what I mean: Clinton has a decent amount of experience, at least over Obama and Edwards. She can raise money by the boatload. She's well-connected. She's built her entire campaign on specific solutions for the problems at hand in pretty minute detail (or so goes the perception, anyway).

She's also got some of the qualities found pathetically lacking in the Current Occupant: she's got at least one popular, trusted, experienced advisor by her side already (the former president), and she's seen as intelligent, patient, and politically savvy. She's almost everything President Bush is not, and say what you will about her possible vulnerability to corruption and "small" solutions, there's no question in most people's mind that she would make fewer mistakes than the Commander Guy.

If all you want is someone who will stop f**king everything up and pissing all over our allies, put competent people in charge, and take a cautious, don't-rock-the-boat approach to being the Chief Executive, then I can see how you would be drawn to Clinton. If you want someone with big ideas and big solutions, who wants to tackle big problems, she's probably about the last candidate you'll want in the Oval Office.

This thesis, you may note, doesn't tackle the issue her being the fav 2nd choice. I honestly don't see how you could look honestly at all 3 candidates and have Hillary as your second choice, seeing as Obama and Edwards are so alike and would draw so many of the same people (everyone I know who's a Democrat that pays close attention to politics, for instance, is vacillating between Obama and Edwards, with an occasional nod to Richardson or Dodd; Clinton is out of the question for pretty much all of them). Could it be that Obama's and Edwards' supporters have so antagonized the other side that they'd rather hand the whole thing to Hillary and let the other have a crack at it? Is it that Obamans don't really know anything about Edwards, and Edwardians haven't paid any attention to Obama, so that to them there are only 2 candidates really in the race, their own and Hillary? Perhaps both?

and another

Nancy Pelosi pushing an Iraq funding supplemental through Congress, a television adaptation:

That's worth 5 slaps

Nice. Watch this, you won't be sowry.

and so it begins...

So our illustrious mayor has won his primary (with nearly 80% of the vote, no less, though it appears that about 12 people voted this year), and is well-positioned for November. I would like to draw attention, however, to the GOP primary, which was really the race to watch. This is hysterical:
Miller conceded about an hour after the polls closed.
"Terry Miller was a formidable candidate," Manigault said, adding that Miller has promised to help him in his fall campaign.

Miller said later that he did not make such a promise.

Miller declined to elaborate on the election results. "That's the way it goes," Miller said when reached at his home by telephone.

Did anyone else read about Terry Miller and picture Beau Bridges' character from My Name is Earl?

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Matthews uncorks

Chris Matthews is a real character to watch. His show is one of the tried and true examples of the new "Newspeak" form of media on cable TV; it seems like he and his guests are regularly guilty of some of the worst offenses when it comes to "conventional wisdom" absurdities (what Atrios calls "high Broderism") and dissemination of rightwing talking points as "news," but Matthews has a memory and intellect big enough that, to borrow an idiom from The Matrix, "he keeps trying to wake up."

Every once in a while, it will occur to him that what his guest is telling him doesn't make sense with fact X that another guest told him.... and come to think of it, fact X really is just a euphemism for fact Y that was debunked long ago... and while we're here, ya know fact Y really implies philosophy Z, which you can't believe if you also believe in tenet A which every American believes... and suddenly Matthews does a big dramatic "BURRRR....BURRR....DOES NOT COMPUTE" moment on some poor protofascist who came onto his show thinking he could add another level of nonsensical rightwing code to Matthews' long ago hacked program.

Friday, May 04, 2007

your Republican party

From Crooks and Liars. The field is asked to raise their hands if they don't believe in a process you can watch in a petri dish in an afternoon, and the field is split on it. So for those of you who think W "the Commander Guy" is too high falutin' and intellectual, there are at least three candidates in the Republican field for you.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

who are these people?

Because they don't sound like any Americans I've ever known. Here's Paul Harvey, host on an ABC radio program and Presidential Medal of Freedom honoree:
We didn’t come this far because we’re made of sugar candy. Once upon a time, we elbowed our way onto and across this continent by giving smallpox-infected blankets to Native Americans. That was biological warfare. And we used every other weapon we could get our hands on to grab this land from whomever.

And we grew prosperous. And yes, we greased the skids with the sweat of slaves. So it goes with most great nation-states, which — feeling guilty about their savage pasts — eventually civilize themselves out of business and wind up invaded and ultimately dominated by the lean, hungry up-and-coming who are not made of sugar candy.

Yes, you did just hear him justify slavery and biological war against Native Americans. You'll also notice the latent "Roman Empire" argument in there that we talked about yesterday.

Let me repeat that, just for good measure: you just heard a man who Bush gave a Medal of Freedom justify slavery and biological war against Native Americans.

Then there's this guy. Thomas Sowell, columnist for The National Review, one the country's most prestigious conservative publications, writes:
When I see the worsening degeneracy in our politicians, our media, our educators, and our intelligentsia, I can't help wondering if the day may yet come when the only thing that can save this country is a military coup.

Why yes, you did just a prominent conservative in one of the country's most prestigious conservative magazine voice his wish for the military to take over the government.

And finally, Harvard professor Harvey Mansfield, writing for the most prestigious conservative publication in the country, The Wall Street Journal, makes an extended argument (an entire article, in fact), expressly agitating for one-man rule in the United States of America over the rule of law.

It actually uses the term "one man rule," and at one point, even refers to that one man as a "prince!"

How are these people not considered extremists? On what basis do their writings belong anywhere else than on street pamphlets?

An equally legitimate question: if not when they become express proponents of one man rule, military coups, and treatment of minority groups as subhuman, in the United States, in fact, how explicitly do they have to advocate fascism before we can call them fascists?

"Proud Home of the Commander Guy"

From The Houston Chronicle:
Two years after writing a law requiring highway "Welcome to Texas" signs to tout the state as the home of President Bush, state Rep. Ken Paxton today passed a bill that will remove the designation once the 43rd president leaves office.

Paxton, R-McKinney, says after Bush is out of office he "didn't see any reason to leave his name" on the signs. HB 693 was passed on the local and consent calendar today and now goes to the Senate. It will require that if any Texans become president in the future, that favorite son or daughter will be named on the signs for the duration of their term.

Paxton tries to add all sorts of mitigating language in the 2nd paragraph to make this smackdown sound more palatable to state Republicans in all likelihood. I find that both hilarious and sad. I especially like the stipulation mentioned in the last sentence, which looks an awful lot like the preparations for a future defense of having been so proud of the Decider in Chief back in the "two thousands otts": "Hey, don't look at us, we put every homestate prez's name on the welcome signs!"

Maybe they should change it to "Proud Home of the Saying: 'Fool me once...'"

GOP debate tonight

I smell a bloodbath. And that's just between all the inter-candidate barbs; if the Politico really does ask its most popular member-submitted questions, it's gonna be watching the cast of The Office run for president.

FYI-- "SilentPatriot," who submitted several of the top questions, developed his questions with Glenn Greenwald. Fear the power of the netroots!

this guy has his own show... on CNN

There are just so many ways to slice up Glenn Beck that choosing any one tack wouldn't do justice to the grand cynicism, malevolence, and buffoonery of this:
On the May 2 edition of CNN Newsroom, while previewing his May 2 special, "Exposed: The Climate of Fear," CNN Headline News host Glenn Beck told host Don Lemon that he is doing the special because "the scientific consensus in Europe in the 1920s and '30s was that eugenics was a good idea," adding: "I'm glad that a few people stood against eugenics." Those comments recall remarks Beck made on the April 30 broadcast of his nationally syndicated radio program, in which he likened former Vice President Al Gore's fight against global warming to Adolf Hitler's use of eugenics as justification for exterminating 6 million European Jews. On that program, Beck stated: "Al Gore's not going to be rounding up Jews and exterminating them. It is the same tactic, however. The goal is different. The goal is globalization. The goal is global carbon tax. The goal is the United Nations running the world. That is the goal. Back in the 1930s, the goal was get rid of all of the Jews and have one global government."

Beck continued: "You got to have an enemy to fight. And when you have an enemy to fight, then you can unite the entire world behind you, and you seize power. That was Hitler's plan. His enemy: the Jew. Al Gore's enemy, the U.N.'s enemy: global warming." He added: "Then you get the scientists -- eugenics. You get the scientists -- global warming. Then you have to discredit the scientists who say, 'That's not right.' And you must silence all dissenting voices. That's what Hitler did."

All bad enough, of course, in its mean-spirited absurdity. But are you ready for the punchline?

Later in the interview, Beck addressed Robert F. Kennedy Jr., who called Beck "CNN's chief corporate fascism advocate." In response, Beck said: "[P]eople who question global warming, they're called Nazis. They're put right up next to Holocaust deniers." [emphasis mine]

Without the slightest hint of irony. That's how stupid they think we are.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

and then there's Rick Perry

Yes, folks, I actually have more dumbf**k VA Tech comments for you this evening! From The Dallas Morning News (hat tip to Rene):
Texans who have concealed-weapon permits should be allowed to carry their guns anywhere in the state, including churches, courthouses and bars, Gov. Rick Perry said Monday.

Currently, state law prohibits concealed weapons in certain places, including private property where signs are posted disallowing the guns.

But after meetings with U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Michael Leavitt about the rampage at Virginia Tech, Mr. Perry took issue with the idea of barring weapons from campuses.

"It's time for us to have that debate in Texas from the standpoint of whether or not a law-abiding citizen in the state of Texas can take their appropriately licensed and permitted weapon anywhere in this state, whether it's on a college campus or wherever," Mr. Perry said.

Leave it to the astute Gubbner Goodhair to decide that what the VA Tech shooting proves is that guns and alcohol don't mix enough.

In a very crowded field, this is possibly the dumbest application yet of what I'm going to call the "VA Tech" argument. The "VA Tech" argument is sorta like the "Roman Empire" argument, that is, the Roman Empire fell because of whatever you don't want other people to do, no matter how absurd.

Similarly, the VA Tech shooting shows definitively that your position on gun control, no matter how batshit f**king crazy, is the correct one.

Could you imagine being the professor of a class where every kid could potentially be packing heat? Or a high school class with kids who are 18? You still wanna flunk the "troubled" angry kid in the back of the class, looking as stressed out and frazzled as he does in his black trenchcoat? And what about you, judge? Still feel comfortable sentencing Joe Bob to prison, with his brother sitting in the back of the room near the exit, shooting daggers out of his eyes?

Of course, I guess that's better than having everyone paranoid enough to get a concealed carry permit drunk and armed at Deputy Dawg's Olde Tyme Saloon. Gawd, what a maroon!

ARMPAC finally dead

Good riddance, motherf**kers. This is cause for celebration right here!

Seriously though, the "in like a lion, out like a lamb" aspect of this is pretty surreal. I mean Tom Delay's PAC was one of the bad guys' main funding arms for a decade and more; up until last election, you could pretty much tell which Republicans were the worst (and best funded) of the bunch just by reading down the list of ARMPAC's beneficiaries. Both Chris Chocola and Randy Neugebauer were on that list, if I remember correctly. This PAC was also the national version of Texans for a Republican Majority, which eventually ran afoul of state campaign finance laws (no small feat in Texas) and led to Tommy Boy's indictment and resignation.

Looks like we're finally starting to see some of the roaches crawl back into the gutters.

voter fraud fraud

Ya know how many of us have been opining that the scary part of this US Attorney purge isn't the people who got canned, but potentially why didn't the other attorneys suffer the same fate? Well...

Happy Mission Accomplished Day

The Conciliator

It's about time The New Yorker stepped up to the plate. Here is their new full-length (and you New Yorker fans know what I mean!) piece on Barack Obama, and it's very good. I'm not sure yet, however, whether its influence on my opinion of Obama is positive or negative, though. In it we are shown a man who, for all his liberal opinions, has a very conservative estimation of the efficacy of "quick" change, revolutions, and charismatic figures ("Burkean" is the word both the magazine and others use). I find that both reassuring and disappointing, because in general I agree and I like that kind of skepticism, Lord knows we could use an introspective realist in the Oval Office, but we have some rather huge problems looming large on the horizon that I think require more drastic efforts than is normally merited. Climate change comes to mind. There is a strong temptation to look for a candidate who's a little more reminiscent of Roosevelt, a big personality looking to do big things and willing to fight for change on a grand scale.

Then again, the paragon of the introspective realist was Abraham Lincoln, and look what he did!