31 August 2010

Quote Of The Day II

"So, if the Muslims own that property, that private property, and they want to build a mosque there, they should have the right to do so. I just think what's made this country great is we have religious freedom. That's not the only thing, but it's one of the most important things in the Constitution." -Republican Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah, breaking with the majority of his party in supporting the construction of the Park51 project.

It's good to know that there are still some sane Republicans out there...

Head nod: David Gibson at Politics Daily

Glenn Beck Throws Stones

-Pat Bagley, The Salt Lake Tribune, Salt Lake City, Utah

Joe Sestak's First General Election Ad Against Pat Toomey

And it's a doozy:

Sestak needs to do something if he wants to catch up to Pat Toomey.

Things are pretty bad in Pennsylvania and the "he's for them, not for us" theme might resonate with the middle-class.

However, President Obama is not popular here, and that could work against Joe Sestak.

Although, to be fair, Obama supported Arlen Specter in the Democratic primaries -- I think Sestak should trumpet that from the rooftops.

Crying Wolf

Charles Johnson (of LGF fame) hits the proverbial nail squarely on the head:
It is, in a sense, a classic case of the boy who cried wolf. Day after Day (and even hour after hour on the blogs) folks like Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh and Pam Geller are sounding apparent "alarm bells" about all kinds of nasty stuff that's apparently set to befall our country.

But as the supersaturation of media starts to numb our minds, the outrage factor goes out the window. What used to be "Oh my god! What the hell is going on here?!" has now degraded to "Yawn...not this shit again...." On the surface this might seem like a good thing, because it will draw attention down from folks like Pamela Geller and her friends.


Like a drug addict who needs a consistently stronger hit to get high each time, the blogs and commentators need to start making more extreme and more outlandish statements to get the "oh my god!" response out of the average joe.

As these statements and rhetoric escalate, the fire just gets more and more gasoline dumped on it and it's only a matter of time before it starts to, one way or another, burn out of control.

I think that most Americans don't believe that Obama is a 'sekrit muslin' or that our country is being taken over by Nazis. However, the ever-rising volume in the media-machine does give me pause. Johnson is right to be worried that blogs and commentators (minus Yours Truly, of course) continuously raise the bar when it comes to overly-heated partisan rhetoric.

I do hope that things start to cool-down soon as I would hate to see lasting damage from the political divide that currently afflicts our nation.

And You Thought YOU Were Having A Bad Day...

Head nod: Wired.

Great Job, Anti-Mosque People

Constitutional rights aside, here is more reason to support the Park51 project:
America’s enemies in Afghanistan are delighted by the vehement public opposition to the proposed “Ground Zero mosque.” The backlash against the project has drawn the heaviest e-mail response ever on jihadi Web sites, Zabihullah claims—far bigger even than France’s ban on burqas earlier this year. (That was big, he recalls: “We received many e-mails asking for advice on how Muslims should react to the hijab ban, and how they can punish France.”) This time the target is America itself. “We are getting even more messages of support and solidarity on the mosque issue and questions about how to fight back against this outrage.”

Zabihullah also claims that the issue is such a propaganda windfall—so tailor-made to show how “anti-Islamic” America is—that it now heads the list of talking points in Taliban meetings with fighters, villagers, and potential recruits. “We talk about how America tortures with waterboarding, about the cruel confinement of Muslims in wire cages in Guantánamo, about the killing of innocent women and children in air attacks—and now America gives us another gift with its street protests to prevent a mosque from being built in New York,” Zabihullah says. “Showing reality always makes the best propaganda.”
The bad guys are using the anti-Islamic tensions in the United States as a f**king recruiting tool for more bad guys.

Awesome. Great job Pamela Geller.

Photo: Sherin Zada Kanju

The Odds Of Sarah Palin-As-President Continue To Decline

According to the latest polling from Vanity Fair and CBS News' 60 Minutes, only 25% of adults think that Sarah Palin is qualified to govern a paper bag be President. A full 60 percent feel that she is not.

Specifically, Republican think that Palin is qualified by a thin margin of 47-40 percent. More boadly, self-identified conservatives are a bit closer at 41-40 percent.

Any way that you look at it, that 60 percent number is bad news for a Sarah Palin 2012 campaign -- not that she would even consider running (I don't think she'll run).

Quote Of The Day

"I can't spend all my time with my birth certificate plastered on my forehead," Mr. Obama told NBC's Brian Williams in an interview in New Orleans. "The facts are the facts. And so, it's not something that I can I think spend all my time worrying about. And I don't think the American people want me to spend all my time worrying about it. I'm not going to be worrying too much about whatever rumors are floating on out there. If I spend all my time chasing after that then I wouldn't get much done." -President Barack Obama, in an interview over the weekend with NBC News' Brian Williams.

30 August 2010

Texas Governor Rick Perry Has Good Taste

... in both museums and decisions regarding his political career:
The governor’s national talk prompted a member of the audience to ask Perry if his support for Republicans outside of Texas was a sign that he has presidential ambitions.

“No,” the governor responded. “I have no intention to go to Washington, D.C., except maybe to go to a museum, like the Smithsonian.”
Then again, how could you be the President of a country from which you seemingly advocated secession?

Yeah, that wouldn't work out very well.

Photo: Getty Images

My Faith, My Voice PSA

Via David Gibson at Politics Daily:
A brick was thrown through the window of a California mosque last week and a few days earlier signs were left at the mosque that read, "No temple for the god of terrorism at Ground Zero." Earlier this month, a plastic pig inscribed with messages such as "Remember 9-11" and "MO HAM MED the Pig" was stuffed into the mailbox of another Islamic center in California. (Like Jews, Muslims have a prohibition on eating pork.)

The public service video posted Monday on YouTube clearly hopes to reverse the dynamic of bias.
I would hope that something like this would help -- but I'm not going to hold my breath. If you've seen some of the protests, you'll know why I am a skeptic.

Surviving In The Center

FirstRead delves into the question of the conservative movement's direction:
One of the more profound changes in American politics is how much more conservative the nominees inside the Republican Party have become. The Tea Party and Jim DeMint are now closer to the representing the center of the GOP, not George W. Bush and his “compassionate conservatism.” This has presented longtime Republican moderates/centrists with a dilemma of what to do, and we’ve seen three different responses so far, which were on display in some form this past Tuesday. One path was demonstrated by John McCain, who decided to shift his positions (on immigration, Supreme Court judges) just enough to the right. He easily won his primary on Tuesday. A second response was exemplified by Lisa Murkowski, who essentially stayed as she was. She appears headed for a defeat in the too-close-to-call GOP Senate primary in Alaska. And a third trail was blazed by Charlie Crist, who decided to leave his party. He’s currently engaged in Florida’s three-way Senate contest. Who charted the right course?
This rightward movement inside the GOP appears likely to pay big dividends this fall. Republicans are energized, Democrats are not (right now), and the economy is hardly humming -- all of which are a recipe for significant Republican gains in November. But when we head into the 2012 presidential election, when the electorate expands, you got to wonder if a Republican Party that doesn’t have room for a John McCain of 2001-2007, a Charlie Crist of 2007-2008, or a Lisa Murkowski of 2010 can reclaim the center of American politics and the presidency, even if they gain control of Congress in the fall. Then again, the center will judge the GOP on not just how it conducts itself if they get the majority, but on the results.
It occurs to me that allowing a political party to veer too far leftward or rightward will result in loss of power. As a someone who is relatively centrist in his political beliefs, I may be biased in that thought, but it doesn't mean that I'm wrong...

Polling data supports the notion that the majority of Americans fall somewhere in the middle of the political spectrum, with a minority falling to the outer fringes. So, for a party to ignore what the majority of Americans are thinking will not work to further that political party's interest (or power).

Cartoon: found at The Lone Draftsman

Quote Of The Day

“Something beyond imagination is happening. America today begins to turn back to God.” -Glenn Beck, at his 'Restoring Honor' rally on Saturday.

Happiness Is...

Back to school.

Today is the first day of school for The Boy. He's starting first grade in a new school district (because of our move). Contrary to the image you see above, he had a bit of the 'butterflies-in-the-stomach' syndrome this morning.

The Little Girl on the other hand does not start at her new pre-school until next week. Despite this, we still got her all suited-up this morning for our annual back-to-school photo.

John Bolton For President?

Yes, that John Bolton:
I’m obviously not a politician I’ve never run for any federal elective office at all and, you know, it is something that would obviously require a great deal of effort,” he said. “What I do think, though, and what concerns me, is the lack of focus generally in the national debate about national security issues. Now, I understand the economy is in a ditch and people are concerned about it, but our adversaries overseas are not going to wait for us to get our economic house in order.”

When pressed as to whether that means he would consider a run, Bolton seemed to suggest that he might do it, at the very least to help put national security issues at the top of the debate agenda.

“In the sense that I want to make sure that not only in the Republican Party, but in the body politic as a whole, people are aware of threats that remain to the United States. You know, as somebody who writes op-eds and appears on the television, I appreciate as well as anybody that… there is a limit to what that accomplishes,” he said. “Whereas, some governor from some state in the middle of the country announces for president they get enormous coverage even if their views are utterly uninformed on major issues.”
Head nod: Weigel

29 August 2010

Sunday Morning Music

"Space Cowboy" by Jamiroquai, from their 1994 album The Return of the Space Cowboy.

28 August 2010

Saturday Morning Cartoon

Eat your Wheaties, and you too might be able to fight like CHUCK NORRIS!

27 August 2010

On Ken Mehlman's Sexuality

I tweeted about this a little bit yesterday, but largely I have avoided commenting on the subject of Ken Mehlman's sexuality because, well, I didn't feel that it was really that big of a deal (or a surprise, for that matter).

The response that I have seen (and read) has largely been predictable. Reasonable conservatives have been metaphorically slapping Mehlman on the back, and many angry liberals have been attacking Mehlman for his contradiction in rhetoric and action versus his personal life.

While I understand the point that those (who are angry) on the Left are making, I find it difficult to get behind their argument. Maybe I'm naive, but I think that it takes a special kind of courage for a person who is gay (man or woman) and a Republican/conservative to come out of the closet about their sexuality. It's hard enough to come out to your family and friends, nevermind that this guy was the friggin' Chairman of the RNC and a campaign manager for George W. Bush's 2004 presidential campaign. Mehlman was essentially a black sheep in a lion's den, surrounded by hungry lions.

Personally, I feel bad for Mr. Mehlman. I can only imagine what it must have been like to be struggling with your own sexuality and be forced to strut around parroting talking points like, "Republicans are for government that stands on the side of marriage, and on the side of strong families." That had to sting.

That conflict aside, I think that

So, good for you Ken Mehlman. I wish you the best of luck. Now the conservative movement has another voice of reason on the issue of sexuality and marriage equality.

Photo: AP

Tweet Of The Day

Yowza. In response to the idea that Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski might run on the Libertarian ticket in November (if she comes up short of the GOP nod), her rival candidate for the Republican nomination Joe Miller compared her to a prostitute. Classy.

Mr. Miller has since pulled it down, but the Swing State Project grabbed the screenshot.

Head nod: Political Wire

Michael Bloomberg On The "Mosque"

Spot on.

An Electoral Do-Over?

Nevadans appear to want one with Sharron Angle:
According to a new Las Vegas Review-Journal/8NewsNow poll, 2 in 3 self-identified supporters of Republican candidate Sharron Angle say they wish another Republican was on top of the ticket instead. Only 24 percent of Angle supporters express approval she won the nomination.
The numbers aren't that much better for incumbent Senator Harry Reid:
[A] recent Mason Dixon poll shows the embattled Reid neck and neck with Angle, holding a statistically insignificant 1-point lead, 45-44 percent.

But while 5 percent of Nevadans say they remain undecided, the survey suggests more are leaning towards Reid. Eight in 10 undecided voters say they wish Angle wasn't the GOP nominee while 58 percent express a similar sentiment about Reid.
I'm not sure who is better worse...

Star Wars Yoga

TPW will be happy to know that THIS is some yoga that I could get into:

Quote Of The Day

"We are either going to go down the socialist road and become like Western Europe and create, I guess really a godless society, an atheist society. Or we're going to continue down the other pathway where we believe in freedom of speech, individual liberties and that we remain a Christian nation.

"So we're going to have to solve that argument before we can once again reach across and work together on things." -Congressman John Fleming (R-La), giving us all great hope of trans-partisanship happening, well, never.

26 August 2010

The Epitome Of Insensitivity

If building an Islamic center near ground zero amounts to the epitome of Muslim insensitivity, as critics of the project have claimed, what should the world make of Terry Jones, the evangelical pastor here who plans to memorialize the Sept. 11 attacks with a bonfire of Korans?
A question for the ages. Or at least for the moment.

Scary Stories

-Joe Heller, The Green Bay Press Gazette

Democratic Congressman Jokes That Pelosi "Could Fall Ill And Die"

U.S. Congressman Bobby Bright was heard having a little fun at U.S. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi's expense during his recent participation in the Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce's Eggs and Issues.

Bright, who is is in his first year in Congress and facing a battle against Montgomery City Councilwoman Martha Roby this fall, joked that Pelosi might lose her own election, decide not to run for the speaker’s job or otherwise not be available.

He suggested, jokingly he insisted to his audience, that Pelosi could fall ill and die in coming months. That remark drew laughter from the crowd.
Having a little fun? Ugh.

Stupidity knows no political party.

Head nod: Hotline On Call

Harry Reid Ad: "Sharron Angle: Too Extreme"

Harry Reid is pulling out all of the stops for his re-election bid:

72 Migrants Found Dead In Mexico

The bodies of the 58 men and 14 women were found above ground in a structure on the ranch, which is about 14 miles (22 kilometers) from the town of San Fernando, near the border with Texas. The Mexican navy, which was called in to investigate the case, said it is one of the largest discoveries of bodies in Mexico's 4-year-old war on organized crime.

Members of the Mexican navy were tipped off to the site after a man with a gunshot wound approached a military roadblock.

The man said he had been injured by a criminal gang, according to a statement released by the navy.

Mexico's attorney general's office identified the man as an Ecuadorean immigrant with a bullet wound to the neck.

"The navy went to the area where the man came from and encountered gunfights. A naval officer was killed and three of the delinquents were killed," said an officer who answered the telephone at the navy's communication department. The officer, who was not authorized to speak on the record, declined to give his name.
I first heard about the increasing violence in Mexico on NPR a couple of weeks ago. But this? This is just insane.

Who kills 72 people in cold blood?

Photo: The bodies of 72 men and women that were allegedly killed by the Zetas drug gang are seen inside an abandoned warehouse in the town of San Fernando, just 100 miles from the the Mexican border with the U.S. near the city of Matamoros, Mexico, Wednesday Aug. 25, 2010. (El Universal/AP Photo)

MoJo For Prez...

Marc Ambinder has an interesting piece up over at The Atlantic about Morning Joe's venerable host, and the possibility of the former Congressman from the "Redneck Riviera" running for President:
Joe Scarborough, former congressman from Florida and co-host of MSNBC's agenda-setting wake-up show Morning Joe, has protested, kindly and loudly (he is kind and loud), when speculation arises about his presidential ambitions. He points out that MSNBC is not the platform a conservative would use to build street credentials among his base. He insists he enjoys his current job, turning down entreaties from Republicans to run for Senate by noting that he has more influence as a broadcaster than as a member of the saucer cooler.
However, I think that commenter Max12 raises a very good point as well:
Why in God's name would the GOP nominate for President a guy who by 2016 would have been out of office for 15 years and someone who has never even won a statewide race, much less a national campaign?
I like Joe -- I really do. He brings a fresh voice of dissent to mainstream conservatism. He's not a right-wing blow-hard like Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh or Bill O'Reilly (most of the time). Scarborough seems to take positions after giving thought to the topic, rather than waiting to see which way the politically-conservative winds are a-blowin'.

But, these are not qualities on which one can should build a strong campaign.

Photo: Getty Images

Chris Matthews Takes Rick Lazio To Task

...over Lazio's stance on the Park51 project:

Say what you will about Matthews, but I thoroughly enjoy seeing a politician (who is clearly distorting the truth) being taken to task for doing so.

The Ideology Of The Center

Recently, I've come across a new centrist political blog called 'Rise of the Center', and befriended its found Solomon Kleinsmith. While Solomon and I do not always see eye-to eye, the guy makes some very salient points on the idea of party ideology and political dogma:
People instinctually fall back on things they see as being solid when they feel threatened. The stereotypical example is when people “find religion” when their life takes a turn for the worse, but another is falling back on ideology, which really is just like religion in a number of ways.

Like fundamentalist religions, some strains of political ideology work to simplify the world they attempt to explain, to a point where the likeness to reality is tenuous at best. Like the Catholic church’s mistaken view that the universe revolved around the Earth, many on the more extreme fringes not only disagree with the majority on political principle, but see a radically different world, where conspiracy theories make sense and hidden meanings that they somehow surmise by reading between the lines of what is going on around the world become more than just a guess… they become reality to them.

This is the stuff of Birther, or Truther madness, what John Avlon so aptly calls Bush or Obama Derangement Syndrome in his fantastic book Wingnuts: How the Lunatic Fringe is Hijacking America.

We don’t need an ideology for the center… we’ve come to our conclusions just fine without any damn political dogma telling us how we should arrive at our political beliefs, thank you very much. Many of us shrink from the two major parties largly because of this, as we saw that old political dogma wasn’t giving us workable answers to the problems of today.
I highly recommend that you bookmark his site and check back often. As for me, very soon you'll see a link to Rise of the Center in the blogroll over there -->

25 August 2010

Quote Of The Day

"Right Wing Extreme has pulled support for the International Burning of the Koran day and will not attend the event. After much thought and prayer the organization’s leadership determined this event does not glorify GOD in way that leads the lost to Jesus Christ." -a statement from Right Wing Extreme, in which they ask Dove World Outreach to cancel an event on September 11th at which many copies of the Koran will be burned.

"Scaring White People For Fun And Profit"

Maddow weighs in on the Park51 'controversy' and has a really interesting conversation with Suhail Khan of the Conservative Inclusion Coalition.

The Result Of Anti-Muslim Hysteria

...perpetuated and grown by the likes of Pamela Geller. It was only a matter of time:
According to Detective Marc Nell, at 6:12 pm last night, the driver picked up Michael Enright, 21, at the intersection of 24th Street and 2nd Avenue in Manhattan. The cab proceeded to drive north, and Enright asked the driver, who Nell identified as a 43-year-old Asian male, if he was Muslim. After the driver responded that he was, Enright allegedly stabbed him repeatedly with a Leatherman tool, according to police.

"[Enright] stabbed the driver in the throat, right arm, left forearm, right thumb and upper lip," Nell said.

According to police, the driver called 911, and stopped the cab on 3rd Avenue between 40th and 41st streets, managing to lock Enright inside until police arrived.

The good news (if you can find 'good' in any of this) is that:

1. the cabbie is in stable condition and
2. the alleged attacker was apprehended and will be charged with attempted murder as a hate crime, assault with a weapon as a hate crime, aggravated harassment second degree because of race and religion, and criminal possession of a weapon.

Sadly, I think that things will continue to get worse before they get better -- particularly with all of the anti-Muslim rhetoric that is floating around...

Stupid Vs. Evil

I'd say it's probably a little bit of both...

Head nod: Mr. Furious

The Winner Of The Election

-John Cole, The Scranton Times-Tribune

Presidential Approval (Or Disapproval) Ratings

Welcome To Bizarro-World

Where everything is topsy-turvy, and Elisabeth Hasselbeck thinks that Barack Obama is a cool guy:
In a two-part interview with Fancast, the conservative co-host of "The View" came out in support of gay marriage and described President Obama as "an incredibly cool guy."

"I am not ultra-ultra-conservative on every issue. I actually support gay marriage," she told Fancast in part one. "I think the gay marriage thing would definitely surprise people. I mean, for some people, it will surprise them to the point that they won't want to hear it. 'No, that can't be, I really want to have this sort of idea of her in my head,' so I sort of rain on their parade there. I am a person that does believe that life begins at conception, but I also don't believe that the government should tell women what to do with their bodies. So I'm torn there in terms of supporting laws [for or against abortion]. I always say I would rather change a heart than a law. I think it has to start there. Always trying to mandate, mandate, mandate this or that is not the way that I believe this country should run."

Hasselbeck said it would be more appropriate to describe her as a "Federalist" than a "conservative."
Yes, that Elisabeth Hasselbeck. Strange, no?

We now return you to your regularly scheduled blog-gramming.

Photo: AFP

Ron Paul's Statement On The Park51 Project

Video worth watching:

I meant to post about this the other day, but never got around to it. If you haven't done so already, go check out the Congressman's statement. Money:
The debate should have provided the conservative defenders of property rights with a perfect example of how the right to own property also protects the 1st Amendment rights of assembly and religion by supporting the building of the mosque.

Instead, we hear lip service given to the property rights position while demanding that the need to be “sensitive” requires an all-out assault on the building of a mosque, several blocks from “ground zero.”

Just think of what might (not) have happened if the whole issue had been ignored and the national debate stuck with war, peace, and prosperity. There certainly would have been a lot less emotionalism on both sides. The fact that so much attention has been given the mosque debate, raises the question of just why and driven by whom?
Read the rest here.

Joe Scarborough And His Amazing Exploding Head

You have to give Joe credit for his honesty:
Gene how is that any different, because I made the mistake of turning on this network in prime time last night and my head almost blew off, how is that any different from what Democrats did to George W. Bush from day one, from what Republicans, I will say this, did to Bill Clinton in 1992. I can read you the columns that were written before George Bush was sworn in by Washington Post columnists that you work with, talking about how George W. Bush has no legitimacy.
I wonder if Maddow and Olbermann (or Lawrence O'Donnell) will be sending Scarborough a Christmas card this year...

Head nod: Ed Morrissey

Stimulating Results

Yesterday Vice President Joe Biden and House Republican Leader John Boehner gave dueling speeches about the state of the economy and the effects of the stimulus package that was passed as the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. It’s really hard to sift through the partisan haze of the speeches to really see what we got out of the record deficit spending.

The is according to a CBO report that was also put out yesterday.

  • They raised real (inflation-adjusted) gross domestic product (GDP) by between 1.7 percent and 4.5 percent
  • Lowered the unemployment rate by between 0.7 percentage points and 1.8 percentage points
  • Increased the number of people employed by between 1.4 million and 3.3 million
  • Increased the number of full-time-equivalent jobs by 2.0 million to 4.8 million compared with what would have occurred otherwise (see Table 1). (Increases in FTE jobs include shifts from part-time to full-time work or overtime and are thus generally larger than increases in the number of employed workers).
  • The full report is after the break.

John McCain Routs J.D. Hayworth In Arizona Primary

DANG. It appears that it's time to retire my 'JD Hayworth' tag:
Sen. John McCain routed former Rep. J.D. Hayworth in the Arizona Republican primary Tuesday night after a contentious campaign marked by stinging attacks and McCain’s attempts to burnish his own conservative credentials.

The four-term Senate incumbent appeared headed toward a nearly 2-to-1 victory over Hayworth, a former congressman and radio show talk host who attempted to cast himself as the "consistent conservative.” McCain, who led in every county in the state, held a 57 percent to 32 percent advantage with 82 percent of precincts reporting. Little-known conservative Jim Deakin, who was criticized by McCain opponents as a spoiler who would split the vote against the senator, pulled in 12 percent of the vote.

Despite a spirited bid by Hayworth, who cultivated support from — and staffed his campaign with — Tea Party activists, McCain's $21 million blitzkrieg ultimately rendered him an unacceptable alternative, despite widespread antipathy toward McCain among many grassroots conservatives.
Doug and I had an exchange on the Twitter yesterday in which we placed predictions for the margin between McCain (winner) and Hayworth (not-winner). I had surmised that McCain would win with a 12-16 point margin. Well, I was wrong. It appears that Doug won that virtual bet. In fact, he was a bit conservative in his prediction of a 20-point margin...

Oh, and Hayworth was waaaaaay off with his prediction.

Photo: CNN

24 August 2010

John Boehner Offers The President Some Advice

'Fire them all.'

Boehner is not joking around -- he wants to see some heads rolling:
House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) blasted the Obama administration's economic policies in a speech Tuesday and called on the president to fire his top two economic lieutenants.

Boehner said President Obama should ask for and accept the resignations of Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and Larry Summers, head of the National Economic Council. Firing his economic team is one of five actions Boehner argues the president should take to right the economy.

Boehner criticized the administration's economic team for lacking private sector experience, saying employers and small businesses are "rightly frustrated" by the administration. "The lack of real-world, hands-on experience shows in the policies of this administration," Boehner said.

"Obama should ask for - and accept - the resignations of the remaining members of his economic team, starting with Secretary Geithner and Larry Summers, the head of the National Economic Council," he said. "Now, this is no substitute for a referendum on the president's job-killing agenda. That question will be put before the American people in due time. But we do not have the luxury of waiting months for the president to pick scapegoats for his failing 'stimulus' policies. We've tried 19 months of government-as-community organizer. It hasn't worked. Our fresh start needs to begin now."
In his defense, Boehner is not the only one who wants to see those heads roll.

But, I have to ask; if the President does fire his economic advisers, both in Treasury and NEC, would Boehner be happy? If Obama were to take the Minority Leader's advice, would the Congressman give the President kudos... publicly?

I doubt it.

But that doesn't necessarily mean that Boehner's idea is a bad one...

Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Levi Johnston Makes It Official

TMZ reports:
[T]he documents, filed on Friday with the Alaska Public Offices Commission, Johnston states that he intends to run for a position in the City of Wasilla.

Levi doesn't specify which position he's running for ... but he's previously stated that he wants to become the next mayor ... a position once held by his baby mama's mama Sarah Palin.

By filing the document -- Levi is permitted to officially begin his campaign ... which means dude can legally accept campaign contributions.
So, which is worse: Levi Johnston running for public office, or me getting political news stories from TMZ?

You decide.

Blagojevich Sits Down With Jon Stewart

"You're a young, sweet boy, trying to help people." Heh.

Home Sales Drop To Their Lowest Level In 15 Years

Ouch. Some pretty bad news on the economic front:
Existing-home sales plunged to their lowest level in 15 years in July as inventories soared, painting a grim picture for the housing market absent government support in a stubbornly sluggish economy.

Home resales dropped a record 27.2%—nearly twice as much as analysts had expected—to an annual rate of 3.83 million in July, the National Association of Realtors said Tuesday. Meanwhile, inventories rose to 12.5 months from 8.9 months in June, pressuring already depressed home prices. Inventories are at their highest level in more than a decade.

"Historically July is the peak inventory month in any given year," NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun said.

Economists surveyed by Dow Jones Newswires had expected existing-home sales to fall by 14.3% to an annual rate of 4.6 million.


The steep decline in sales in July reflects both a souring in the U.S. economic recovery and the expiration of a government tax credit program that has been supporting the housing market for more than a year.

The tax credits offered certain buyers as much as $8,000 to sign a contract by April 30. Deals originally needed to close by June 30, but lawmakers pushed that deadline to Sept. 30.

Still, the tax credit's expiration drove pending-home sales down 30% in May and caused a double-digit dive in mortgage-application volumes even as interest rates hovered near their lowest levels in generations. July's existing-home sales data reflect the May plunge in pending sales, which typically become existing sales within a couple of months.

Mortgage rates remain low, but lingering troubles in the labor market continue to restrain the nation's housing recovery. That trend likely will continue for some time.

The good news is that things can (hopefully) only get better, right? RIGHT?!

Photo: Molly Riley/Reuters

Tweet Of The Day (Updated)

I'm sensing a new theme amongst (allegedly) non-fringy elements in the GOP/RNC. Ugh.

UPDATE:: Apparently, the tweet has now been removed from Mr. Herman's Twitter feed.

I can't imagine why...

Shirley Sherrod: 'Thanks, But No Thanks'

Not really all-that-surprising: Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack offered Ms. Sherrod a job and...
Shirley Sherrod has declined an offer to serve as the U.S. Agriculture Department's deputy director of the Office of Advocacy and Outreach.

The position includes administration and outreach to improve the Agriculture Department's civil rights efforts and image nationwide.

She said she needs to "take a break" from the events of the past few weeks, but looks forward to "some type of relationship with the department in the future."

"We need to work on issues (of) discrimination and racism in this country, and I'd certainly like to play my role," Sherrod added.
I can't say that I blame her -- but this leads me to wonder; what is next for Ms. Sherrod?

Having been thrust, albeit involuntarily, into the national political spotlight, will the networks immediately go to her for commentary on race? On agriculture? On Andrew Breitbart?

Or, will Sherrod simply fade into the political landscape and be a name that we remember randomly, several years from now. "Hey, I wonder what ever happened to Shirley Sherrod?"

Once can only guess...

Quote Of The Day

"We're going to pull off an upset of historic proportions." -J.D. Hayworth, Republican candidate for U.S. Senate in Arizona, talking about his chances of beating Senator John McCain in the primary election today.

The Juggling Act

-John Cole, The Scranton Times-Tribune

23 August 2010

Tweet Of The Day

What makes this tweet worthy of news is that, up to this point, there has not been any official members of the GOP or the RNC to adopt the "Obama-is-a-Muslim" meme. Huffpo:
Reached on the phone Monday, Lehman stood by her initial tweet, arguing that it was during his speech that Obama let the real truth slip.

"I was watching television when he was over there talking to the Muslim world and he made it, in my opinion, clear he was partially Muslim," Lehman told the Huffington Post. "The way he was approaching that speech was, 'Hey I'm one of you. I'm with you.' He didn't have to say that... but he did."
Head nod: JMG

Keep America Safe PAC's Anti-Mosque Ad

Simply despicable:

Now, before all of you F**k Islam Conservatives people get your religiously intolerant panties in a bunch, I should clarify: the ad is despicable, not the pain and suffering of the families that are highlighted. I, unlike you, am not an insensitive prick.

This type of persuasion gets me riled up -- and for good reason.

What if, what if, it were a bunch of Christians who flew those planes into the WTC? What if it were a group of Jews? Would you be screaming that no more churches or synagogues be allowed to be built near Ground Zero (not on it, by the way)? Yeah, probably not.

"We remember." Give me a friggin' break. We ALL remember. To insinuate that those of us who stand firm in our belief in the First Amendment are somehow forgetting disrespecting the memories of those who lost/gave their lives on September 11th, 2001 is utterly dumbfounding.

Of course we remember.

But, to let the actions of a couple of warped extremist Muslims dictate what the rest of regular Muslims can and cannot do in our country is, in my opinion, shameful.

Chuck Hagel To Endorse Joe Sestak

Chuck Hagel, seen here being attacked by giant microphones...

The Pennsylvania senatorial race keeps getting more and more interesting...
Pennsylvania Democrat Joe Sestak’s campaign for Senate is getting a much-needed bipartisan boost in a competitive race.

Former Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.) will endorse the Democratic nominee at events in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia on Tuesday, according to Sestak’s campaign.


Hagel, who decided not to seek reelection to the Senate in 2008, has a reputation for bucking his own party. He declined to endorse Arizona Sen. John McCain in the 2008 presidential contest, and his wife went a step further by backing Barack Obama.

Hagel and Sestak also share a military background: Hagel is a decorated Vietnam War veteran and Sestak is a retired three-star Navy admiral.
The question is: will Pennsylvania voters be swayed by the endorsement of Chuck Hagel? My sense is that the endorsement by a Republican who was routinely labeled a "RINO" by many in his own party will have little-to-no bearing on the overall race.

Actually, a better question would be: do Pennsylvania voters know who Chuck Hagel is?

Photo: Getty Images

On Those Infographics

A few readers have written in to question and/or complain about the infographics that have been appearing on the blog lately. I thought that I'd take just a minute to explain...

As an up-and-coming blog, I receive numerous requests each month from, errr, services... who promise to increase traffic or provide content that will generate revenue on my site. Normally, I simply delete such requests because, well, I'm a H U G E skeptic.

A while ago, I was approached by a company that produces infographics, and (this is the kicker) they provided links to other, reputable websites who also use their service. Since I'm always looking for interesting content, I decided to take the plunge and see what the hubbub was all about...

What I've found is that these infographics are interesting, and more often than not -- funny. Most fit with many of the themes of this site, but most importantly, I get paid (a very small amount of money) to post them. =)

That's right. For a couple of bucks, you too can buy some space here.

Muslim ≠ Terrorist

click to embiggen

Via: Mark Schmidt

22 August 2010

Sunday Morning Music

This is "Hit It And Quit It" by Funkadelic, from 1971's Maggot Brain.

It's never too early for some good fuuuuuunk...

21 August 2010

Saturday Morning Cartoon

Eat those Sugar Smacks -- it's cartoon time!

20 August 2010

On Dr. Laura

Not literally of course. More of a figurative sense. *shudder*

Maybe you heard about her n-word-laced-screed the other day? The money-shot:
CALLER: How about the N-word? So, the N-word's been thrown around --

SCHLESSINGER: Black guys use it all the time. Turn on HBO, listen to a black comic, and all you hear is nigger, nigger, nigger.


CALLER: I hope everybody heard it.

SCHLESSINGER: They did, and I'll say it again --

CALLER: So what makes it OK for you to say the word?

SCHLESSINGER: -- nigger, nigger, nigger is what you hear on HB --

CALLER: So what makes it --

SCHLESSINGER: Why don't you let me finish a sentence?

Yeah, so the good doctor used the n-word 11 times in her race-rant. If you ask me -- and by reading this post you are doing just that -- that is 11 times too many. Period.

I really like what John Ridley had to say on NPR's Morning Edition:

My bottom line? Dr. Laura is free to say whatever the hell she wants to say. If she wants to go on the air and use the n-word non-stop for the duration of her show, she is free to do so (although I would guess that her PR folks would discourage that).

Nobody is trampling her First Amendment rights by pointing out that her multiple-offense usage of the n-word is completely uncalled for.

If History Had A Facebook Account

... its newsfeed might look like something like this:

I love that John Hancock's profile picture is Will Smith as "Hancock". Hilarious!

Source: Cool Material

Head nod: Sven

19 August 2010

Finally: Some Common Sense At The Associated Press

As reported by Michael Calderone at The Upshot:
The Associated Press, one of world's most powerful news organizations, issued a memo today advising staff to avoid the phrase "Ground Zero mosque."

The Upshot reported Tuesday that the AP started using the phrase "Ground Zero mosque" in some headlines in late May. Other news organizations, such as the New York Times, have avoided that phrasing.

The AP began using the phrase as the controversy over the proposed Islamic cultural center and mosque in Lower Manhattan started bubbling up to the national level. Many news organizations, across platforms, routinely dub the project the "Ground Zero Mosque."

The AP has always been clear in the text of stories that the project would be built two blocks from Ground Zero and not on the actual site. But AP headlines, at times, ran with the phrase adopted by opponents of the project and amplified by the media.

Now the news organization is taking steps to make sure that no longer occurs.
While I do not always agree with what the AP does (ahem), this move is a positive one.

Department Of Messed-Up Video

Please pardon the commercial at the beginning of the video...

Shocker: Rudy Giuliani Opposes The Park51 Project (UPDATED)

Read that post title with dripping sarcasm please.

Who isn't surprised by the completely unsurprising position that Giuliani has taken?
Former New York City major Rudy Giuliani said Thursday that if the developer of a proposed Islamic community center and mosque near Ground Zero was genuinely concerned with healing religious wounds, "he [would] not go forward with this project."

"This project is not healing," Giuliani, the mayor of New York during the 9/11 attacks, told Matt Lauer on NBC's Today Show. "This project is divisive, this project is creating tremendous pain to people who have already paid the ultimate sacrifice."

Giuliani said the developer, Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, appears to "recognize that there are two ways to interpret the Koran: the better way, which is the peaceful way; or the warrior way, which is the way in which you get into trouble with jihad."

"The reality is that, right now, if you are a healer you do not go forward with this project. If you're a warrior, you do," Giuliani added.
Photo: Ben Baker

UPDATE:: Reader Kris points out in the comments, that I have not included all of Rudy Giuliani's comments in my post -- and he is correct. Here is the entire transcript of the interview:
>> now the debate raging over those plans to build a mosque near ground zero. the current mayor of new york city, michael bloomberg, has been one of the most vocal proponents of that mosque. but former mayor rudolph giuliani has a different opinion. mr. mayor, good morning. it's nice to see you.

>> good morning.

>> what's your problem with it? most people say, look, it's legal, it's within the constitution. we protect religious freedom in this country. why don't you think it should be built there?

>> i agree with all that. and beyond that it's an act of right project as far as i can tell under new york law. they never even had to go through all the reviews they went through. the question here is a question of sensitivity. people's feelings. and, are you really what you pretend to be? as i understand this cordoba house, the idea of it is to healing, to show that muslims care about the same things that christians and jews do. that we're one people. that we should be one. well, if you're going to so horribly offend the people who are most directly offended by this, most directly affected by this, the families of the september 11th victims, who i happen to know and have got ton know, you know, really well, then how are you healing? i mean all this is doing is creating more division, more anger, more hatred, and i mean, there are --

>> are you worried about the imam behind this project? in terms of his politics, his religious beliefs, do you find him to be anything but the moderate that he's described as by the current administration? and by the way, the bush administration before that?

>> i'm confused by the imam. i see all the things that you're saying. but i also see a man who said that america was an accessory to september 11th. those are the very words that require me to give $10 million back to an arab chic or prince. he gave us $10 million for the 9/11 --

>> let me clarify so people understand what you're saying. shortly after 9/11 on "60 minutes" he said, quote, i wouldn't say the united states deserved what happened, but united states policies were an accessory to the crime that happened on 9/11, because we have been accessory to a lot of innocent lives dying in the world.

>> well, that's exactly what the the -- what the arab prince said when he gave me $10 million. that america was an accessory to september 11th because of its foreign policy. america was not an accessory to september 11th. all you've got to do is read about jihad and -- second thing, the second thing he said was, he refused to condemn hamas, with whom he is alleged to have had some ties. a terrorist group. it's recognized by everyone as a terrorist group. and he said america should apologize. so, okay, that's one part of it. the other part of the it is, he has had a history of appearing to be a hero, appearing to be someone that wants to talk about a moderate islam.

>> he's made appearances with condoleezza rice--

>> there are two ways you could interpret the koran. the better way, which is the peaceful way, or the warrior way, which is the way in which you get into trouble with jihad. but those quotes trouble me. but here's what troubles me more. if he's truly about healing, he will not go forward with this project. because this project is not healing. this project is divisive. this project is creating tremendous pain to people who have already paid the ultimate sacrifice.

>> there are a lot of issues are divisive, and yet they have to be tough choices --

>> matt, matt, but not this. that's true. a lot of issues are divisive. but if you want to claim to be the healer, then you're not on the side of the person who is pushing those issues.

>> let me play you something you said on our program, "meet the press" back on december 22nd of 2002. so about 14 months after 9/11.

>> if you think about the attacks on september 11th, i think everyone will acknowledge that part of the core of that attack was the fact that we have freedom of religion in america. that -- that part of why america was founded. it's part of what we're all about. it's one of the most prominent things about us, that you can be a catholic, a protestant, a jew, a muslim, or no religion at all, and no one's going to interfere with you.

>> and no one's going to interfere with you. by saying that these people shouldn't build their mosque where they plan to build it, isn't that interfering?

>> no, of course not. first of all, they have freedom of religion. they can build it. they have every right to build it. the question is, should they build it? are they displaying the sensitivity they claim by building it? for example, the pope asked the nuns to take the convent back from right in front of auschwitz or one of the concentration camps. they had a perfect right to be there. they had the freedom of religion there. the nuns were sensitive enough to the concerns of jews that they pulled it back. now here's a man who is selling sensitivity. he's got $180,000 in the bank, he wants to raise $100 million. ask me how he's going to do it, i don't know. you don't do it by creating this kind of vicious, sort of angry battle that's going on. the people who are speaking about it --

>> some would say he didn't create the vicious, angry battle. that it's the people who decided to weigh in on it who added it to the battle?

>> i was the first person on september 11th that stepped forward in the heat of battle, that afternoon, my first press conference and said, no group blamed. do not blame arabs. we have to understand this is a small group, and we have to focus on them. but, the reality is, that right now, if you are a healer, you do not go forward with this project.

>> a couple of real quick --

>> if you're a warrior you do.

>> a couple of quick things. do you think union workers in this city, plumbers, electricians, carpenters, will build on that site?

>> before i returned to new york last night on an airplane, i was talking to a couple construction workers there. they told me, typical new york accent. we ain't working on that project. let them see if they can go find somebody to work on that project. my answer is, i know new york well enough, you're going to probably find somebody to work on it. i question whether they can raise the money. every indication from the attorney general's report of their charity is they have about $180,000. $100 million project. where is the money coming from?

>> in your gut do you think if we sit down a year from right now the project will be under construction at this site?

>> i think governor paterson had an approach. nice compromise, find another place, have a beautiful mosque there. don't offend easily 80%, 90% of the families are seriously offended. i know people who are crying over this who have lost loved ones. you or i might not even agree. we might say, okay, put the mosque there. but maybe we haven't lost that -- that son, that father, person who is watching their child today, and still remember every day that person is gone. it wasn't an attack in the name of islam. it was a perverted kind of islam. but the kind of prevalent view that goes on in a lot of parts of the world. we've got to be sensitive to everybody here.

>> rudy giuliani, good to have you here.

>> good to see you.
My emphasis.

Photos Of The Day

Photos: AFP/Getty Images and AP File respectively

ACT: High School Test Scores Are Stagnant

Given these new numbers from the ACT, we see a classic, and dangerous, paradox; how do you motivate teenagers to do well in school:
New data show that fewer than 25% of 2010 graduates who took the ACT college-entrance exam possessed the academic skills necessary to pass entry-level courses, despite modest gains in college-readiness among U.S high-school students in the last few years.

The results raise questions about how well the nation's high schools are preparing students for college, and show the challenge facing the Obama administration in its effort to raise educational standards. The administration won bipartisan support for its education policies early on, but faces a tough fight in the fall over the rewrite and reauthorization of the No Child Left Behind program.

While elementary schools have shown progress on national achievement exams, high-school results have stayed perniciously low. Some experts say the lack of rigor in high-school courses is partly to blame.

"High schools are the downfall of American school reform," said Jack Jennings, president of the Center on Education Policy, a nonpartisan research organization in Washington. "We haven't figured out how to improve them on a broad scope and if our kids aren't dropping out physically, they are dropping out mentally."
As my "real job", I work in higher education -- specifically undergraduate enrollment. On a day-to-day basis I see the results of a general educational malaise on the part of high school students in this country.

To gain admission to most colleges and universities, students should must demonstrate that they have challenged themselves in multiple academic areas -- and not simply excelled in gym class or student council (both of which are important too, but have far less of an impact on college admissions). The instance of ignorance on this basic fact of preparation for college is astounding. Many students think that, just by showing up for four years of high school, they will be able to attend virtually any college or university of their choosing. Needless to say, this is patently false.

If trends in secondary education do not change in the near future, America will continue it's slow decline in global competitiveness, particularly in the fields of math and science -- where I believe Americans are woefully behind countries in middle and far east.

Unfortunately, trying to convince a raging-hormone laden teenager that their education is of utmost importance is akin to telling a three-year-old that eating green beans will help them to grow up big and strong...

"That's Why I'm Voting Tea Party"

From the website:
+ The Tea Party might have a quasi-mainstream official platform, but it also seems to be a magnet for far right loonies, angry racists, borderline psychotics and those that are simply grossly misinformed.

+ These shirts are for those fringe nutjobs that make the Tea Party rallies so much fun to read about.
...and a great job lampooning the fringier elements. My favorites (in addition to the one above) are:
  • Obama doesn't realize fire departments are socialism
  • Obama won't force Muslims to worship Jesus
  • Obama was born in the darkest depths of Mordor

The Religion Question

It seems that people still question the religion of the Leader of the Free World:
A new poll from the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life indicates that the number of Americans who erroneously believe President Obama is a Muslim is growing.

In March 2009, the percentage was 11 percent. Today, it's 18 percent.

The percentage of those asserting that the president is a Christian -- which he is -- has gone down in that time, from 48% in March 2009 to 34% today.

A plurality of Americans -- 43% -- say they don't know what religion the president is.
I'm sure that the President's lukewarm support of the Park51 project has not helped these numbers.

But, I find myself asking an important question; Who cares? What difference does it make what religion the President follows?

Photo: Nam Y. Huh/AP

Quote Of The Day

"The McCain endorsement was not the final straw for me; it was the Fiorina endorsement in California. There was a great principled conservative that didn't have a chance in hell out there named Chuck DeVore. She [Sarah Palin] endorsed the one who was not a conservative by any stretch of the imagination, but she was going to win. Endorsing people that are going to win because you want to be on the right side of a senator is not the kind of political courage that's gonna take this country back." -Jesse Kelly, Republican candidate for Arizona's 8th Congressional District, challenging Sarah Palin's conservative bonafides by targeting her endorsement of Carly Fiorina (and John McCain as well).

I wonder how many other conservatives feel this way, but are too timid to speak out against Mrs. Mama Grizzly?

Tweet Of The Day

Head nod: Cynical-C, via TYWKIWDBI

18 August 2010

Candidate: Islam's Plan Is To Destroy Our Way Of Life

Annnnnd, the crazies get even crazier:
PANAMA CITY — A Congressional candidate told local high school and middle school students Tuesday that Islam’s plan is to destroy the American way of life.

“I’m totally against it. If I had my way, it would pretty much be over my dead body,” said Ron McNeil, a candidate for the U.S. House District 2 seat, who was referring to a controversial plan to build an Islamic center and mosque near Ground Zero in New York City. “That religion is against everything America stands for. If we have to let them build it, make them build it nine stories underground, so we can walk above it as citizens and Christians.”

Some people in the audience applauded McNeil’s response. However, one student appeared up-set and asked McNeil what gave him or the federal government the right to tell an American that they can’t build an institution.

“This religion’s plan is to destroy our way of life,” McNeil said.

The student responded by saying he did not feel it was a Christian’s place to determine whether Islam is right or wrong.

“It’s our place as Christians to stand up for the word of God and what the Bible says,” McNeil replied.
Sadly, that one student is absolutely right; no one person, or the federal government has the right to tell an American what they can and cannot build (if it's on private property).

If you ask me, when a middle/high school student schools you on the Constitutionality (or UN-Constitutionality in this case) of your opinion, you should be disqualified from running on the basis of stupidity.

Head nod: Doug

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