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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Paranoid, delusional Republicans

A new Newsweek Poll shows that 14% of Republicans truly believe that President Obama wants to impose Sharia Law on America while another 38% believe it is probably true. That suggests proves a slight majority of Republicans are truly delusional.

There can be no other explanation because there is certainly nothing that Obama or his administration have ever said or done to suggest that this may be true in any way, shape or form. They believe this only because the echo chamber of Beck/Palin and others continually reinforce this loony idea in not so subtle ways.

In other news about the war on the incipient arrival of Sharia Law in America, construction equipment at a proposed mosque in Murfreesboro in Tenneessee was destroyed by a presumed arsonist over the weekend, proving, as Asif Mandvi of the Jon Stewart show suggested last week, that 18,000 blocks away from 'Ground Zero' is still too close.  

Approximately 20,000 or so further blocks away, a turban wearing Sikh was punched in the face in a Seattle convenience store while the attacker yelled, "You're not even American, you're al-Qaida. Go back to your country."  As punishment an American Indian should be allowed to punch the attacker in the face telling him to 'go back to his country.'

Happy Birthday Van Morrison

A very youthful looking Van Morrison from American Bandstand in 1967

Monday, August 30, 2010

Not surprising

For months, conservatives have led a hateful campaign against the proposed Park 51 Islamic community center that is going to be built two blocks away from Ground Zero in New York City. High-ranking Republicans have spearheaded this campaign, with former House Speaker Newt Gingrich even going as far as to claim that Park 51 will act as a launching pad for the introduction of “Sharia law” to America.

Now, Newsweek reveals the most concrete evidence yet that this campaign is serving to bolster support for Islamic radicalism abroad. In an interview with the magazine, a Taliban operative going by the name Zabihullah said that, by “preventing this mosque from being built, America is doing us a big favor.” He goes on to explain that the anti-mosque campaign is providing the Taliban with “with more recruits, donations, and popular support.” Another Taliban official expects that the anti-mosque campaign will provoke a “new wave of terrorist trainees from the West,” similar to suspected Times Square car bomber Faisal Shahzad. Zabihullah concludes, the “more mosques you stop, the more jihadis we will get”:

The full story here.

How Wall Street beat Obama

It was writ when Obama picked the usual Wall Street/Treasury cronies to head his financial team right after he won the election.

Newsweek has the sad stor.y

Sunday, August 29, 2010

"Tax the rich, feed the poor" That was 1971. Today, it's feed the rich and somehow, everyone else will prosper.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

And in Glen Beck's world

He's hosting a 'huge' gathering in Washington DC this weekend to commemorate Martin Luther King's 'I Have a Dream' speech. He's trying to recapture something or other on the back of a truly great Black leader.

I mention his race because a well known Tea Party zealot based in D.C. published a guide do how to stay safe for all those real Americans coming heading into degenerate and dangerous D.C. The guide outlines which metro lines and which areas to avoid. It's pretty much all the black or mixed neighbourhoods of DC.

What a wonderful tribute to Dr. King. Then again, in the world of Beckmania it's African Americans who are the recists these days.

The irony is too perfect.

Sadly, this was the theme song for the John Kerry campaign in 2004. I rationalised his defest by believing another 4 years of Bush would finally cure the country of Republican ideas. That seems to be far from the case.

The Perfect Storm

I am moving this weekend which is, at best a stressful exhausting process. Then my computer died, fortunately a cooling fan problem so no data imperiled. I got it back up and running last night.

The Coup De Grace today. My hand met an art object in my storage unit and the result is a broken pinkie, a few stitches and a swollen and bruised hand, It's my left hand and needless to say, I am left handed. Posting for the next few days will be sporadic with links and music rather than articles.

Normal irritability should resume about the middle of next week.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Bous Slim Harpo

His original version of Shake Your Hips covered by The Rolling Stones on Exile on Main Street.

Slim Harpo gets down to celebrate my 500th post

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Republicans try to explain their fiscal policy and it's not pretty

This time it was Sen. Mitch McConnell the Senate Minority leader defying reality on 'Meet the Press' this morning.

The issue is extending the Bush tax cuts, specifically for the richest 2% and the effect it will have on the deficit. ($830 billion over the next 10 years for those counting).

The issue is how to 'pay' for them. Republicans used this concept to delay the extension of unemployment benefits as well as a bill to save over 130,000 teaching jobs nationwide. The Republicans filibustered until other budget cuts equaling the cost of the aforementioned bills were made, i.e. being 'paid for'.

Now that they're talking about extending the tax cuts for the top 2% they suddenly have no idea what 'paid for' even means. Read and cringe.

MCCONNELL: What are you talking about, paid for? This is existing tax policy. It’s been in place for ten years. [...]

GREGORY: For a final time, I’ll go back to my question which is, the extension of the tax cuts would cost $3.2 trillion. That’s borrowed money, that adds to the deficit. Do you have a plan to pay for that extension?

MCCONNELL: You’re talking about current tax policy. Why did it all of a sudden become something that we, quote, ‘pay for’?

This week, the Washington Post excoriated Republicans for almost unanimously backing a proposal by Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) that would permanently extend all of the Bush tax cuts, calling it “a chilling sign of what a number of lawmakers believe passes for fiscal responsibility.”

Despite arguing that deficit reduction is the top current priority, rather than job creation, when it comes time to protect their patrons, Republicans follow the lead set by both Karl Rove and Dick Cheney, who amidst the Bush deficit splurge both said on numerous times that, "deficits don't matter." They omitted the qualifier, that they don't matter only when a Republican is in the White House or when it serves their country club brethren.

How Fox betrayed Petraeus

So virulent is the Islamophobic hysteria of the neocon and Fox News right — abetted by the useful idiocy of the Anti-Defamation League, Harry Reid and other cowed Democrats — that it has also rendered Gen. David Petraeus’s last-ditch counterinsurgency strategy for fighting the war inoperative. How do you win Muslim hearts and minds in Kandahar when you are calling Muslims every filthy name in the book in New York?

You’d think that American hawks invested in the Afghanistan “surge” would not act against their own professed interests. But they couldn’t stop themselves from placing cynical domestic politics over country. The ginned-up rage over the “ground zero mosque” was not motivated by a serious desire to protect America from the real threat of terrorists lurking at home and abroad — a threat this furor has in all likelihood exacerbated — but by the potential short-term rewards of winning votes by pandering to fear during an election season.

Another brilliant Op-ed from Frank Rich in the NY Times today.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Corporations protecting corporations.

Earlier this year, in an abominable decision that negated any complaints about judicial activism by the right, the Supreme Court rules that corporations can make unlimited political donations without having to disclose any details of the donation.

Target, which previously has had a good track record on a variety of issues, stepped into it with a $150K donation to Tom Emmer, the GOP anti-gay candidate for Governor of Minnesota. It's caused a major shitstorm with boycott calls and a more recent backlash from institutional shareholders demanding Target revamp its political donation process. That's the good news. Other corporations will think twice about their right to give unlimited political donations.

The bad news. joined in the fray raising money to place an ad on MSNBC. MSNBC refused to run the ad. MoveOn executive director Justin Ruben said the rejection was "the height of hypocrisy" and accused MSNBC and its corporate parent, General Electric Co., of trying to protect Target from consumer anger.

Those who ignore the lessons of history

In our 24 hour news spin bullshit cycle the media's absolute refusal to focus on anything of substance other than partisan hackery is leaving us with an understanding of history of a lobotomized newt (not the Gingrich kind but the amphibian kind).

David Sirota explains.

This is why in the debates over war, economics and taxes, we aren't urged to consider past conflicts; we aren't encouraged to remember that America experienced its most storied growth under the New Deal's aggressive financial regulation; and we aren't told that wages and job growth expanded in the mid-20th century with a top income tax bracket above 70 percent. We aren't reminded of these facts because they threaten the defense industry, Wall Street and high-income taxpayers, respectively -- and those forces exert enormous influence over our political discourse, whether through media sponsorship, political campaign contributions or lobbying.

Gov. Bob McDonnell (VA) - liar

Gov. McDonnell famous for re-introducing Confederate History Month in Virginia and anti-gay bigot has no shame.

He's been celebrating the fact that Virginia turned a $1.8 billion deficit into a $403 billion surplus.

On Fox Business News he told a gushing host

Well it took a lot of work and a lot of bipartisan support in both houses of the legislature but I think we took a very conservative, fiscal, practical approach to budget. You can’t spend what you don’t have.

In all his celebrations about fiscal prudence he has omitted one somewhat significant fact. It could never have happened without $2.5 billion in Federal stimulus money. He wasn't done yet in the interview.

And we can’t keep adding a trillion and a half dollars to the national debt every year with this deficit, you’ve got to be fiscally prudent and incentivize the free enterprise system so you don’t have more government bailouts and more dependence of people on government. It’s a very different model and I hope Richmond would be a model for Washington.

The sycophant Fox host gushed again and never bothered to ask him about how the very thing he was railing against was the real reason his state has a surplus. Fox News, doing what it does best, bowing down to its Republican masters.

Some whimsical humor for a Saturday morning

Friday, August 20, 2010

Paul krugman - always right about the economy

Reading Paul Krugman's blog these days is like looking into a hall of mirrors, infinitely refracting the same message: I told you so. Today he offers a perfect example. Noting t Morgan Stanley's confession that its prediction that U.S. Treasury bond yields would rise sharply in 2010 had been a "mistake," Krugman agilely linked to a post he had written in November 2009 expressing strong doubts about that very forecast.

But even better, if you go back and read that post, you will find Krugman digging up a Morgan Stanley analysis of the housing market dating back to 2006 calmly dismissing any chance of "a much-feared decline in prices on a nationwide basis." Among those who had been warning of a housing bubble: Paul Krugman.

The full article here with links to his various predictions.

What would a morning be without Jon Stewart's wisdom

Extremist Makeover - Homeland Edition
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Steven Colbert on the "end" of the Iraq war

The Word - What If You Threw a Peace and Nobody Came?
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Sarah Palin - when it's OK to use the 'n' word'.

"I would ask the president to show decency in this process by eliminating one member of [his] inner circle, Mr. Rahm Emanuel," Palin wrote in February. "The Obama Administration's Chief of Staff scolded [liberal critics] calling them, 'F---ing retarded,' according to several participants, as reported in the Wall Street Journal. Just as we'd be appalled if any public figure of Rahm's stature ever used the "N-word" or other such inappropriate language, Rahm's slur on all God's children with cognitive and developmental disabilities - and the people who love them - is unacceptable, and it's heartbreaking."

A few days ago, Dr. Laura Schlessinger's repeated use of the word "n****r" on her radio show caused her to to complain that liberals had forced her off the air. In response here is Sarah Palin's tweet.

"Dr.Laura:don't retreat...reload! (Steps aside bc her 1st Amend.rights ceased 2exist thx 2activists trying 2silence"isn't American,not fair")," Palin wrote in an inscrutable Tweet.

More Americans now believe Obama is a Muslim

than when he was elected President. Back then about 10% of Americans believed Obama is a Muslim. Today that number is up to 20%. I can see why. New York magazine has gathered the evidence to make it much easier for you to make up your mind.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

and following on from the previous post

Rand Paul, the GOP Senate candidate has come up with a unique solution for the state's burgeoning drug problem, particularly with painkillers such as Oxycontin AKA Hillbilly Heroin,

The problem is particularly severe in Appalachian Eastern Kentucky which currently has the highest rate of prescription drug abuse in the country. With soaring unemployment and little hope for anything else the abuse of prescription drugs literally kills their pain.

Paul, however favors cutting federal funding for undercover drug investigations and drug treatment programs that are “badly needed” in his state. While recognizing drugs as a “scourge,” Paul didn’t think Kentucky’s high-profile drug problem was “a real pressing issue.”

Instead he went for #1 in the GOP playbook for the solution. Give the rich more money so they can invest in creating jobs which know the rest.

Their is this myth in Republican circles that the more money the richest among us have, the more jobs they will create because they will take that money and invest it in growing their businesses. In the real world it doesn't happen that way. In the real world businesses hire and expand as demand increases. In Estern Kentucky the only thing in demand is something to kill the pain.

People like Paul just don't get that.

GOP priorities

Chris Christie was elected Governor of New Jersey last November, beating Jon Corzine teh incumbent who was hurt by the economy in a state that Obama had won easily the prior year.

Here are some of Christies achievements since then.

His budget proposal this year refused to extend a tax on earners over $400,000 — which would have generated $900 million for the state — but it did cut $820 million to public schools. He also vetoed a tax on residents with incomes over $1 million, which was designed to help fund property tax relief for senior citizens and the disabled, among other programs. According to the non-partisan Office of Legislative Services, due to Christie’s veto, “a retired couple living on a fixed income of $40,000 would see an increase of $1,320 in taxes under the governor’s plan while a family making $1.2 million would receive a tax cut of $11,598."

It's a microcosm of GOP policies in general, a reverse Robin Hood. Christie is a big suppporter of school vouchers. The best way to promote that is to strangle public education to the point where it can no longer function the way it should.

Catering to the top few percent of earners to tbe detriment of everyone else should, in a sane world be political suicide. Sadly, when it comes to public policy we are no longer in a sane world. Democrats in general seem terrified of being tagged with the "class warfares/socialist", allowing Republicans to bamboozle the average voter with a constant drumbeat of fear and hysteria. Sadly, it seems to work and we will see the results in November when the Democrats could lose control of the House.
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As usual, some of the best political commentary comes from a comedian.

Stiff Little Fingers: Rough, raw maximum punk when it mattered.

Monday, August 16, 2010

A war on Islam would make a war on terrorism impossible

Those words were written by George W. Bush's former speechwriter, Michael Gerson. It says something when we have to look to former Bush people for sanity in the current anti-Muslim hysteria.  I apologize for returning to the same subject again but I find the current level of rhetoric on the 'not really a mosque' near ground zero has reached levels of vile xenophobic rhetoric I have never seen in the 35 years I have lived in America. 

Today we saw Laura Ingraham, the almost Ann Coulter like fellow blond right wing voice do a 180 degree turn in about 8 months.  In December she interviewed Daisy Kahn, the wife an co-founder of the project, Abdul Rauf.  Here's a part of the interview,

INGRAHAM: I can’t find many people who really have a problem with it. [Mayor] Bloomberg is for it. Rabbis are saying they don’t have a problem with it. [...] I like what you’re trying to do and Ms. Khan we appreciate it and come on my radio show some time.
KHAN: Yeah, we need the support of people like you seriously.

Then today on Morning Mix with George Stephanopolous she said,

INGRAHAM: There’s a disconnect, George, between the elites and the way they think about this, and, I think most New Yorkers, and most of the country. I know Michael Bloomberg was out there saying, “Well, our values need to be properly represented to the world, and if this mosque isn’t going to be built, what is that going to say? The terrorists win!” Well, I say the terrorists have won with how this has gone down. 600 feet from where thousands of our fellow Americans were incinerated in the name of political Islam, and we’re supposed to be cheering this?!

Never let it be said that Ingraham would miss an opportunity to jump on the bandwagon. I cannot imagine anyone with the name Daisy being connected to radical Islam in any way.

I hate to say it, considering that I have decried the prevalent Nazi/Hitler comparisons but this reminds me of the demonization of the Jews by Hitler. Not that Muslims would suffer anywhere near the same fate in America and I believe this hysteria will die down soon enough.

Here's Newt Gingrich's opinion, one of the milder ones from opponents of the project.

"It's an assertion of Islamist triumphalism,” part of “an Islamist cultural-political offensive designed to undermine and destroy our civilization.” Those who think it’s O.K. are “apologists for radical Islamist hypocrisy”

Nevermind that Imam Abdul Rauf was chosen by the Bush administration to lead his post 9/11 outreach to the Muslim world and nevermind that he has worked closely with the FBI and has received lavish praise from them.

There was a welcome dose of sanity today from two former Bushies. This morning, former Bush advisor Mark McKinnon noted that trying to prevent peaceful Muslims from worshiping near the site of Ground Zero will only serve to enforce “al Qaeda’s message” that the West is at war with Islam.

Former Bush speechwriter Michael Gerson — using Bush-era terminology — reinforced McKinnon’s view. “Those who want a president to assert that any mosque would defile the neighborhood near Ground Zero are asking him to undermine the war on terrorism. A war on Islam would make a war on terrorism impossible,” Gerson writes.

Insanely obvious signs

The rest of them here

Hitler invading Poland = Obama's tax policies

So says Steven Schwarzman, the billionaire founder of private equity giant, the Blackstone Group. This sort of hyperbole would be laughable were it not so pervasive in today's discourse.

Schwarzman's big complaint is that private equity companies like his are beneficiaries of a tax loophole that allows them report their massive earnings as Capital Gains and pay the IRS only 15%. Last year the top 25 managers alone earned about $25 billion.

Let's assume Schwarzman, who didn't make the top 25 list has an unmarried personal assistant who earns $60,000 a year. The personal assistant pays 25% of his/her earnings to the IRS and as a salaried employee has no loopholes; 10% more than Schwarzman does.

A long delayed bill that may not even pass would raise the Hedge Fund managers' tax rate to 35%. Boo-hoo, I'm crying for them already. Schwarzman is so outraged at his affront to him that he feels the need to compare it to Hitler invading Poland because when you really think about it, it's the same thing.

These are also the same people baying that the #1 priority is to reduce the deficit, as long as someone else has to bear the brunt of that and as long as it's not billionaires like him.

Bryan Fischer - taking lunacy to a new level

Fischer is the "Director of Issues Analysis" for the American Family Association which has boycotted such iconic American companies as Disney, Ford, Pepsi, Hallmark, KMart, Proctor & Gamble, Kraft Foods, Burger King and American Airlines for for not being sufficiently Christian in their view.

Last week Fischer made waves by taking the anti-mosque paranoia one step further and calling for the banning of all new mosques anywhere in America. He claimed the 1st Amendment guaranteeing religious freedom didn't apply because Islam is not a religion, it's a cult.

Now he's claiming that Governor David Paterson of New York is about to impose Sharia Law on New York. I can just see the police trying to force the women of New York to wear their burkas. That might cause a few problems.

What the fuck is it with this paranoia by the right about Sharia Law in America recently. Yea, when pigs fly, then again flying sheep almost became a reality.

The 25 worst Americans ever

Right Wing News is one of the more rabid right wing blogs which is quite an achievement in the current climate where these people truly believe that the imposition of Sharia Law in America is imminent.

They recently asked right wing bloggers to vote on the 25 worst Americans ever. Not surprisingly, considering their current world view the list is largely made up of currently perceived enemies of truth, justice and the American way. the list isn't surprising.

Here's the list in all its awesomeness.

23) Saul Alinsky (7)
23) Bill Clinton (7)
23) Hillary Clinton (7)
19) Michael Moore (7)
19) George Soros (8)
19) Alger Hiss (8)
19) Al Sharpton (8)
13) Al Gore (9)
13) Noam Chomsky (9)
13) Richard Nixon (9)
13) Jane Fonda (9)
13) Harry Reid (9)
13) Nancy Pelosi (9)
11) John Wilkes Booth (10)
11) Margaret Sanger (10)
9) Aldrich Ames (11)
9) Timothy McVeigh (11)
7) Ted Kennedy (14)
7) Lyndon Johnson (14)
5) Benedict Arnold (17)
5) Woodrow Wilson (17)
4) The Rosenbergs (19)
3) Franklin Delano Roosevelt (21)
2) Barack Obama (23)
1) Jimmy Carter (25)

Note: Richard Nixon made the list, not for Vietnam or Watergate but for passing the Clean Air and Water Act. Shame on the 23 bloggers who voted for Obama thereby tacitly acknowledging that he is actually an American. They should be expelled immediately.

Poor Charles Manson! Not evil enough to even make the list ahead of such evildoers as Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid. Also not on the list are Roger Taney-Chief Justice and Justice Henry Billings Brown who wrote the Dred Scott and Plessy v Ferguson decisions that confirmed slaveowners rights and the principle of separate facilities for blacks. They would probably make the list of most admired Americans.

Also not on the list are such sterling citizens as Al Capone, Jeffrey Dahmer, Jim Jones, John Wayne Gacy and Lee Harvey Oswald.

A flood of biblical proportions

It's estimated that about 20 million people have been left homeless by the flooding in Pakistan. Most are rural inhabitants who have also lost their livelihoods for at least a year if not longer. The tragedy hasn't received much publicity because the loss of life has been relatively low at about 1,500.

It's also in a relatively unstable country that doesn't need more problems.

One factor of global warming predictions is the increasing severity of weather events throughout the world. Maybe it's time we started naming severe weather events after the names of prominent global warmer deniers like Senator James Inhofe of Oklahoma who believes that global warming is the biggest hoax ever perpetrated on mankind.

For those who recall Monty Python's Ministry of Silly Walks.  Original video here.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

The First Amendment is no longer operational

It never ceases to amaze me that the GOP/Tea Party shows so much reverence to the constitution except when they want to change it or ignore it. Take the 1st Amendment for example. Freedom of religion obviously doesn't apply to the 'not really a mosque, not really at Ground Zero', despite the fact that the Imam in question was chosen by none other than George W. to head up the administration's Muslim outreach program in the wake of 9/11.

Sharif El-Gamal is the type of Muslim Bin Laden and the Jihadists loathe even more than they do the West and America. Instead of religious tolerance, the founding principle of America, those babbling morons on the right are only ploughing the same ground as radical Islam. No good can come of it.

Friday, August 13, 2010

There are idiots and then there is Mark Rubio

Mark Rubio is the GOP Senate candidate in Florida. He has a plan to reduce the deficit. Like every GOP it makes no sense but his plan adds a new wrinkle that shows just how dumb he really is.

He not only wants to extend the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest 2% (cost $830 billion over 10 years), he wants to pass even more tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy. How will he pay for it? By eliminating earmarks which account for less than 1% of the budget.

Then he said this:

Well, here’s what I think. I think every non-defense department, every non-defense discretionary spending program should be sunsetted every 10 years. Every 10 years, those programs should sunset and we should require that they be reauthorized by Congress. That means they’re going to have to justify their existence. Look at it this way, it’s like term limits on agencies.

If he's lucky enough to get elected to the Senate he should get himself "Congress for Dummies" and study hard because currently every discretionary spending program has to be re-authorized by Congress every year.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

The war on drugs.

A possible life sentence for possession of half an ounce of medical marijuana in Texas. Where else?

Why we need Elizabeth Warren more than ever.

Elizabeth Warren, a Harvard Law professor with an expertise in bankruptcy and consumer finances is the only rational choice to head up the new financial consumer protection agency. In our upside down bizarro world we have consumer protection agencies for virtually everything except the one industry that has taken more advantage of consumers than all other industries combined, the financial services industry.

She came up with the idea in 2007 and has been a tireless worker for consumer rights in financial services area. Some in the White House and some Democrats in Congress have been wary about nominating her because their patrons in the financial world will come out with guns blazing. She is the last person they want running the agency because she will ensure that the agency has teeth and will use them whenever and wherever needed. They also fear a knock-down drag out fight with the GOP and some moderate Democrats.

If ever a fight was needed it would be one with the GOP opposing her and most Democrats supporting consumer protections. If nothing else, it will shed daylight on the lie that the GOP supports the middle class and consumers.

Yesterday's news that Wells Fargo has been found guilty of 'unfair and deceptive business practices' in manipulating debit card charges to maximize overdraft fees is more proof that Elizabeth Warren is desperately needed to head the agency.

Jon Stewart - John Boehner is 'profoundly retarded'

Deductible Me
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Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The 'not actually a mosque' near ground zero.

Some common sense reason from Hendrick Herzberg in The New Yorker.

..for a start, it won’t be at Ground Zero. It’ll be on Park Place, two blocks north of the World Trade Center site (from which it will not be visible), in a neighborhood ajumble with restaurants, shops (electronics, porn, you name it), churches, office cubes, and the rest of the New York mishmash. Park51, as it is to be called, will have a large Islamic “prayer room,” which presumably qualifies as a mosque. But the rest of the building will be devoted to classrooms, an auditorium, galleries, a restaurant, a memorial to the victims of September 11, 2001, and a swimming pool and gym.

And these are the 'dangerous militants' behind the project.

Feisal Abdul Rauf is a Columbia grad. He has been the imam of a mosque in Tribeca for close to thirty years. He is the author of a book called “What’s Right with Islam Is What’s Right with America.” He is a vice-chair of the Interfaith Center of New York. “My colleagues and I are the anti-terrorists,” he wrote recently—in the Daily News, no less. He denounces terrorism in general and the 9/11 attacks in particular, often and at length. The F.B.I. tapped him to conduct “sensitivity training” for agents and cops. His wife, Daisy Khan, runs the American Society for Muslim Advancement, which she co-founded with him. It promotes “cultural and religious harmony through interfaith collaboration, youth and women’s empowerment, and arts and cultural exchange.”

Never one to let an actual fact get in the way of a good soundbite, Newt Gingrich had the following to say about the project.

"It's an assertion of Islamist triumphalism,” part of “an Islamist cultural-political offensive designed to undermine and destroy our civilization.” Those who think it’s O.K. are “apologists for radical Islamist hypocrisy”

Newt, thanks for reminding us once again that you are a lying hypocritical ass.

Most effective political ad of the year

This man could become speaker of the house in November. Don't let it happen.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Newt Gingrich - It's not what I do, it's what I say

From an Esquire profile on the sleazebucket.

He asked her to just tolerate the affair, an offer she refused.

He’d just returned from Erie, Pennsylvania, where he’d given a speech full of high sentiments about compassion and family values.

The next night, they sat talking out on their back patio in Georgia. She said, “How do you give that speech and do what you’re doing?”

“It doesn’t matter what I do,” he answered. “People need to hear what I have to say. There’s no one else who can say what I can say. It doesn’t matter what I live.“

Monday, August 9, 2010

The theory of relativity is a liberal conspiracy

Conservatives see liberal conspiracies in just about anything but they have reached new heights of absurdity. Andy Schlafly, son of Phyllis Schlafly the iconic anti-feminist, postulates this in Conservapedia, the on-line encyclopedia for conservative thought. The younger Schlafly writes,

The theory of relativity is a mathematical system that allows no exceptions. It is heavily promoted by liberals who like its encouragement of relativism and its tendency to mislead people in how they view the world

Does this imply that multiplication tables, also a mathematical absolute are thus also a liberal plot. Schlafly goes on to claim that almost no-one who believes in the theory of relativity reads the Bible.

historian Paul Johnson's book about the 20th century, and the article written by liberal law professor Laurence Tribe as allegedly assisted by Barack Obama. Virtually no one who is taught and believes relativity continues to read the Bible, a book that outsells New York Times bestsellers by a hundred-fold

Obama might be involved in this abomination. It must be a conspiracy then. He goes on to say that events in the Bible such as Jesus turning water into wine instantly are proof that the theory of relativity is wrong. This is described as 'action-at-a-distance' by Jesus according to John 4:46-54. For the layman this claims that Jesus had the ability to cause something to happen instantaneously in another location (i.e., faster than the speed of light), negating Einstein's theory.

Next up: The law of Gravity is a Socialist plot because Socialism implies everything has to be equal. I am sure the Bible can explain this conspiracy as well.

Income inequality in America

A chart on growth of income inequality in America based on the proportion of total income earned by the top 10%

 Other facts from this slideshow on Huffington Post.

At least twenty-nine states have made cuts to public health programs, twenty-four states have cut programs for the elderly and disabled, twenty-nine states have cut aid to K–12 education, and thirty-nine states have cut assistance to public colleges and universities.

According to the White House, in 2004, the last year data on this was compiled, U.S. multinational corporations paid roughly $16 billion in taxes on $700 billion in foreign active earnings— putting their tax rate at around 2.3 percent. Know many middle-class Americans getting off that easy at tax time?

In 2007 62% of all bankruptcies had medical costs as the root reason.  In 2001 it was 50%.  There were 1.4 million personal bankruptcies in 2009, a 32% increase from 2008.   This means that every 30 seconds some is filing bankruptcy for medical reasons in America.  

10 drugs not to take while driving.

Fucking funny. Double click to watch on Youtube for the full screen.

Our dilemma in Arghanistan

The war is costing billions and seems to be going nowhere and then you read this.

The Taliban publicly flogged and then executed a pregnant Afghan widow by firing three shots into her head for alleged adultery, police said on Monday.

Bibi Sanubar, 35, was kept in captivity for three days before she was shot dead in a public trial on Sunday by a local Taliban commander in the Qadis district of the rural western province Badghis.

The Taliban accused Sanubar of having an "illicit affair" that left her pregnant. She was first punished with 200 lashes in public before being shot, deputy provincial police chief Ghulam Mohammad Sayeedi told AFP.

More on the economy

Tim Geitner, Secretary of the Treasury wrote an op-ed in the NY Times. Yippee, everything is getting better. Others disagree.

Geithner's story is essentially this: Don't believe what you experience in your own life; believe us. The economy is really a lot better than it looks (true on Wall Street, but not on Main Street.) Geithner had the bad timing to write this just before the economy lost another 131,000 jobs.

This is Geithner's variation on Marxist economics -- in this case Groucho, who famously said in the movie Duck Soup, "Who are you going to believe, me or your own eyes?"

Paul Krugman - right as usual

The lights are going out all over America — literally. Colorado Springs has made headlines with its desperate attempt to save money by turning off a third of its streetlights, but similar things are either happening or being contemplated across the nation, from Philadelphia to Fresno.

Meanwhile, a country that once amazed the world with its visionary investments in transportation, from the Erie Canal to the Interstate Highway System, is now in the process of unpaving itself: in a number of states, local governments are breaking up roads they can no longer afford to maintain, and returning them to gravel.

And a nation that once prized education — that was among the first to provide basic schooling to all its children — is now cutting back. Teachers are being laid off; programs are being canceled; in Hawaii, the school year itself is being drastically shortened. And all signs point to even more cuts ahead.

The full editorial here.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

My first rock idol.   Cliff Richard and The Shadows.  The English Elvis and the English Ventures.

GOP: Incoherent fiscal policy - Incoherent polititians

Today on NBC’s Meet the Press, House Republican leaders John Boehner (R-OH) and Mike Pence (R-IN) had a tough time answering host David Gregory’s questions about how they would pay for extending the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy.  These idiots will be running the show if the GOP wins the House in November.

Newt Gingrich hypocrite asks for it and gets it.

In a post condemning the overturning of Prop 8 in California banning gay marriage Gingrich allowed comments to be posted. Here is a sampling:

• Newt you cheated on your first wife then dumped her when she was in the hospital with cancer. Later you cheated on your second wife with a 27 year old congressional aide. Maybe you should pipe down about defending marriage.

• Mr. Gingrich will become immune to allegations of hypocrisy on the issue of marriage when he stops passing judgment on the right of others to marry.

• No one with Mr. Gingrich’s sorry record of serial adultery and failed marriages has any business dictating who may marry and under what conditions they may do so… Due to his personal history, silence is the only honorable option left to Mr Gingrich.

• Which one of your multiple marriages was the most sacred to you?

Being wrong is obviously no hinderance to some.

Robert Rubin was President Clinton's Secretary of the Treasury. In that position he was instrumental in passing the bill that helped unleash the investment bank insanity that ruined the economy. After Clinton left office he went to Citibank, where for a paltry $20 million a year, he had sure the economy would crash.

In President Obama's worst move, he let Rubin and his cohorts continue the cozy Wall Street/Treasury/Econ Policy cabal after Bush. You would think with that sort of resume he would have the decency to quietly disappear to a cabin in the woods to write his memoirs. You would be wrong.

He's still pontificating and still talking shit. Today, both he and former Bush Treasury Secretary, Paul O'Neil both said that a second stimulus might create uncertainty and undermine confidence.

All evidence points to a slowing of the tepid growth the economy has experienced over the past six months. Job growth has stalled and any hiring in the private sector is being more than offset by layoffs in the public sector.

O'Neill said that companies are concerned about demand and won't expand facilities or hire employees until sales have improved. Rubin added that things are bumpy bot not terrible. It's easy to say that when screwing the economy earned him something north of $100 million.

So according to these two clowns, businesses are not expanding because they don't have confidence that sales will grow but if we spend more money to stimulate demand that will undermine confidence.

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Friday, August 6, 2010

One of the most under appreciated singer/songwriters we have.

Paul Krugman rips the newest GOP fiscal genius

The Flimflam Man

One depressing aspect of American politics is the susceptibility of the political and media establishment to charlatans. You might have thought, given past experience, that D.C. insiders would be on their guard against conservatives with grandiose plans. But no: as long as someone on the right claims to have bold new proposals, he’s hailed as an innovative thinker. And nobody checks his arithmetic.

And I do mean slash. The Tax Policy Center finds that the Ryan plan would cut taxes on the richest 1 percent of the population in half, giving them 117 percent of the plan’s total tax cuts. That’s not a misprint. Even as it slashed taxes at the top, the plan would raise taxes for 95 percent of the population.

That will go over well. Then again, maybe not.

Conspiracies are everywhere.

Denver has just introduced a bike sharing program. Funded purely by private corporations including the largest sum from Kaiser Permanente, a non-profit hospital chain, the program makes 400 bikes available at 40 stations for people to use. Membership fees keep the program cost effective and sustainable. Sounds good, doesn't it.

Not to GOP and Tea Party favored candidate for governor, Dan Maes. According to him, the program is part of a vast conspiracy.

It's "converting Denver into a United Nations community."

"This is all very well-disguised, but it will be exposed," Maes told about 50 supporters who showed up at a campaign rally last week in Centennial.

Maes said in a later interview that he once thought the mayor's efforts to promote cycling and other environmental initiatives were harmless and well-meaning. Now he realizes "that's exactly the attitude they want you to have."

"This is bigger than it looks like on the surface, and it could threaten our personal freedoms," Maes said.

First they give us bikes to use and before you know it, they'll be herding us all into camps and enslaving us and then they'll impose Sharia Law. It's so damn obvious, I'm surprised no-one figured this out sooner.

Terminally ill man faces eviction for prescribed medical marijuana use

A terminally ill man is facing eviction in Nevada where medical marijuana is legal. He has a prescription signed by his doctor but this isn't good enough for a housing complex where he has lived for 17 years.

Compassion is obviously in short supply.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Worst political candidate ever.

Arthur Lee and Love

One of the great unappreciated bands. Arthur Lee died four years ago today. He led a tragic but brilliant life. His music lives on.

Shatton Angle is also a douchebag

Sharron Angle, the Tea Party favorite running to unseat Harry Reid in Nevada said yesterday that the media should only ask her questions she wants to answer.

What a chickenshit coward.

Rand Paul is a douchebag

Rand Paul, the libertarian/Tea Party Senate candidate for Kentucky might just be a gift for the Democrats he seat, normally a safe GOP is in play. That doesn't mean he's a douchebag of the highest order.

A couple of days ago he argued that safety regulations in coal mines should be abolished because "no-one will work in a mine that isn't safe". Tell that to the families of the 29 miners killed in West Virginia in a mine that had a history of safety violations.

Kentucky is a large coal mining state with one of the highest unemployment rates in the country.

He also argued recently that hilltop removal for coal mining is a good thing. He said it makes the landscape look better and you can build things on them. Hilltop removal also led to the largest inland case of environmental pollution, ruining thousands of miles of rivers in the south.

Oh, and by the way, since the Citizens United decision by the Supreme Court that allows corporations unlimited political contribution, the coal mining industry has been pouring milions into supporting his candidacy.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Sharia Law - not in our back yard.

As I wrote about earlier, the new Iowa GOP platform includes their opposition to the imposition of Sharia law in America. The implication of including something that on the face of it, is an absurd impossibility shows that many on the far right somehow believe that this is a real possibility with a President who's middle name is Hussein and who spent a few years in an being educated in an Islamic madrassa, despite a complete absence of proof.

Including it in their platform is about as redundant as opposing sexual molestation of children or opposing the reintroduction of slavery but then any conspiracy on the right, no matter how far fetched never seems to go away.

It's an idea that has been floating around on the right for some time now. It's manifested in the opposition to the Muslim center being built, near, not at ground zero as most opponents suggest. The building of a mosque is also at the source of an election battle in Murfreesboro in Tennessee where one Republican candidate has described Islam as a cult, not a religion.

In Florida, a church has scheduled a Koran burning celebration while in Southern California opponents have come up with a new wrinkle. They urge protesters to bring dogs to a demonstration against a mosque because 'Muslims hate togs".

Over the weekend a mosque and educational center in the Dallas area was vandalized with offensive graffiti and fire, causing $20,000 in damage.

Imagine the outrage if the shoe was on the other foot and a church in a predominantly Muslim country was similarly vandalized or if a mosque decided to hold a 'a bible burning' ceremony.

To it's credit, the Bush administration did an excellent job in tamping down most anti-Muslim sentiment in the aftermath of 9/11. It seems that lesson has long been forgotten by the right.

The assumption among many on the right is that all Muslims are either Jihadists or potential Jihadists so offending any of or all Muslims is justified. The people doing the above will differentiate themselves from their fanatical Islamic counterparts by claiming that we don't fly jetliners into buildings or blow ourselves up to kill all those around them. We are civilized and they are not. The comparative levels of fanaticism. however, are far more difficult to separate absent actions of terrorism.

There is no doubt these anti-Islam protests and actions are getting far more publicity in Muslim countries. There is equally no doubt that this is giving Islamic militants more fuel for their hatred of all things Western. These actions will push moderates into the Jihadi camp.

Have we learned nothing from the past? The military and CIA in questioning prisoners in Iraq found that the atrocities at Abu Ghraib did more to help Al Qaeda's recruiting than any anything else. To quote Forrest Gump, "Stupid is as stupid does."