John, that is the worst fucking song I ever heard in my life. We open in three...– Harry Saltzman, as related by composer John Barry (who died suddenly yesterday). The song in question? A little something known as the James Bond Theme.
[Romney] did some interesting things there on health care, you know. We got some...– David Axelrod, making it abundantly clear that they’d rather not run against Mitt Romney in 2012. Seems pretty dismissive about Huckabee and Palin. Huh…
Next up: American Mexceptionalism →
Only one sitting president in the last 82 years has publicly uttered the magical phrase “American exceptionalism” — care to guess who it is? Ronald Reagan, he of the “shining city on a hill?” George W. Bush, who closed his speeches by asking that “God continue to bless” America? Nope. The only president to publicly discuss (and for that matter embrace)...
You can support democracy in which the risk of Islamists gaining power and...– Adam Serwer, hitting the nail squarely on its head. This is why Obama’s administration is using words like “reviewing our assistance posture.” That’s meant very clearly as a warning to Mubarak in advance of any heavy-handed crackdowns. By the same token, revolution is vastly...
Early on, I decided to make a used-records store on Telegraph Avenue one of the...– Michael Chabon, blogging for a week in relief of Ta-Nehisi Coates. Superbly, I might add.
Mr. Boehner, Where Are the Jobs?
John Boehnner, March 2010: When are we going to address the number one issue on the minds of our fellow citizens? When are we going to focus on the economy and getting people back to work?
Speaker John Boehner, Jan 7, 2011: The job-killing health care law was passed over the objections of the American people, and they have continued to speak out against it, loudly and clearly. With this vote, we have begun to make Washington listen and heed the voice of the people. [So we get the "Repealing the Job-Killing Health Care Law Act"]
Speaker John Boehner, Jan 20, 2011: [The American people] spoke about [abortion] on America Speaking Out. They spoke on this issue loudly and clearly. [So we get the "No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act," which is, no doubt, creating millions of jobs.]
Speaker John Boehner, Jan 26, 2011: ...formally endorsed a bill Wednesday to revive and expand the school voucher program for the District of Columbia, calling it “a model for similar programs throughout our country.” [So we get the Scholarships for Opportunity and Results (SOAR) Act, narrowly aimed (like a laser!) specifically and only at spending tax dollars on sending students outside the DC public school system. That ought to get the economy going.]
South Pol: It doesn't really matter what Obama... →
southpol: Here’s John Boehner oh so earnestly confused as to why Obama just doesn’t understand how great America is. BOEHNER: Well, they — they’ve refused to talk about America exceptionalism. We are different than the rest of the world. Why? Because… Naturally, the right’s own Jeff Miller (R,FL) had this to say: “I don’t think we need the president to remind us how great this...
Status Quo, Everyone! →
In one of the great surprises of the era, meaningful filibuster reform is going nowhere and Ezra Klein reports that: …this process kicked off because Democrats were furious at Republican abuse of the filibuster. It’s ended with Democrats and Republicans agreeing that the filibuster is here to stay.[…] Both parties are more committed to being able to obstruct than they are to...
The Republican Party is the party of K-N-O-W. We know how to lower the cost of...– Paul Broun (R, GA) (of “spew venom” fame), has a host of apparently secret plans. Which is fine. But once, just once, the host needs to say: “okay, that’s great. We’ve got plenty of time here, so let’s start with item one. With program specifics, budget figures,...
The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by mean of...– Justice Louis O. Brandeis (Olmstead vs. United States)
High Lonesome Theology →
Charlie Louvin remembers his brother: When Ira was killed by a drunk driver in 1965, he died with a warrant out for his arrest on DUI charges and with three bullets buried near his spine-the work of his third wife, who had shot him five times in 1963, after Ira had tried to strangle her with a telephone cord. For Ira, to be a man was to be a drunk, and he was by all accounts the kind of...
Ryan warns that if we don’t deal with our fiscal problems, we’ll have to raise...– Paul Krugman hedging like Lehman on that “reasonably.”
Random Thought #371
politicalprof: It should be remembered that no one—and I mean no one, of any party—who advocates more tax cuts for Americans, whether businesses or individuals, is serious about solving the American national deficit. The only reasonable response to anyone who follows a statement about the need to reduce or cure the United States’ national debt with a statement about the importance of more tax...
Beyond Medicare, the major drivers of the deficits are not talked about so much...– Bob Herbert, saying what so many others seemingly find so very hard to face or admit. This is who we are, and it’s critical that we face it. Yapping about Social Security and the necessity of cuts to same is just that: yapping. The money is in Medicare (as in: controlling the costs of) and...
Texas, Our Texas →
Obviously very early, but signs say that it could go for Obama in 2012…under certain circumstances: Texas ought to stay safely in the GOP column for 2012 but with a weak nominee Obama would have a chance and these numbers are further confirmation that you’re probably talking about 400+ electoral votes for the President next year if his opponent is [redacted]. But unsaid, and...
Agin it afore I was fer it. Now agin it. Agin.
McCain, 1999: Ethanol subsidies should be phased out...we don't need ethanol subsidies. It doesn't help anybody.
McCain, 2003: Ethanol does nothing to reduce fuel consumption, nothing to increase our energy independence, nothing to improve air quality.
McCain, 2008: I support ethanol and I think it is a vital, a vital alternative energy source not only because of our dependency on foreign oil but its greenhouse gas reduction effects
McCain, 2011: Ethanol is a joke [and government programs promoting the corn-derived fuel are wasting money].
Getting to "Citizen"
MR. GREGORY: There's been a lot of talk about discourse, about how you all can get along a little bit better and do it a little bit more civilly. And I wonder, this is the leadership moment here, OK? There are elements of this country who question the president's citizenship, who think that it--his birth certificate is inauthentic. Will you call that what it is, which is crazy talk?
REP. CANTOR: David, you know, I mean, a lot of that has been an, an issue sort of generated by not only the media, but others in the country. Most Americans really are beyond that, and they want us to focus...
MR. GREGORY: Right. Is somebody brings that up just engaging in crazy talk?
REP. CANTOR: Well, David, I, I don't think it's, it's nice to call anyone crazy, OK?
MR. GREGORY: All right. Is it a legitimate or an illegitimate issue?
REP. CANTOR: And--so I don't think it's an issue that we need to address at all. I think we need to focus on...
MR. GREGORY: All right. His citizenship should never be questioned, in your judgment. Is that what you're saying?
REP. CANTOR: It is, it is not an issue that even needs to be on the policy-making table right now whatsoever.
MR. GREGORY: Right. Because it's illegitimate? I mean, why won't you just call it what it is?
REP. CANTOR: I--because, again...
MR. GREGORY: I mean, I feel like there's a lot of Republican leaders who don't want to go as far as to criticize those folks.
REP. CANTOR: No. I think the president's a citizen of the United States.
MR. GREGORY: Period.
REP. CANTOR: So what--yes. Why, why is it that you want me to go and engage in name-calling?
MR. GREGORY: No, I'm just...
REP. CANTOR: I think he's a citizen of the United States.
MR. GREGORY: Because, because I think a lot of people, Leader, would say that a leader's job is to shut some of this down. You know as well as I do, there are some elements on the right who believe two things about this president: He actively is trying to undermine the American way and wants to deny individuals their freedom. Do you reject those beliefs?
REP. CANTOR: I...
MR. GREGORY: As a leader in our Congress.
REP. CANTOR: Let me tell you, David, I believe this president wants what's best for this country. It's just how he feels we should get there, that there are honest policy differences.
MR. GREGORY: Fair enough.
Lemkin: Well, that was easy...what, it only took about 1500 words worth of exchange to admit the simple and well proven empirical reality that Obama was born in the United States. All of next month on MTP, presented without commercial interruption: we go to work on gravity and evolution. Two "theories" and 672 hours of unrelenting follow-up questions to establish Mr. Cantor's entirely straightforward, no-nonsense positions. Only on NBC.
Palin Free for February →
Dana Milbank is facing his Palin problem: And so I pledge to you: Sarah Palin’s name will not cross my lips - or my keyboard - for the entire month of February. Who’s with me? Lemkin is with you all the way, baby, and have been since 1/11/2011; that was a post that marked an unofficial end to Palin around here. So: Goodbye to all that.
They don’t want civility. They want silence from the Republicans. And the...– Paul Broun (R, GA), truly reveling in the new era of civility. Spewing venom is a good thing in Georgia, right? Jus some ole time plain folk talk. To the dirty fucking hippies in the audience: Broun’s onto you! Hide your stash! It’s a trap!
Jomentum Agonistes →
Greenwald on the Joementum farewell tour: Support for all those violent and illegal acts just isn’t something we hold against someone, and it’s certainly not going to preclude someone from being a “Democratic hero.” Indeed, even Lieberman’s false claim — repeated just yesterday — that we found evidence that Saddam was developing WMDs (while...
CBS almost reported Reagan was mentally unfit in... →
Good Lord: CBS’ Leslie Stahl recalled in her 2000 book, “Reporting Live,” that she was instructed not to ask then-President Reagan any questions during a 1986 meeting. “Reagan didn’t seem to know who I was. He gave me a distant look with those milky eyes and shook my hand weakly,” she wrote. “Oh, my, he’s gonzo, I thought. I have to go out...
Obamacare as we know is the crown jewel of socialism. It is socialized medicine....– Michelle Bachman (R, MN), seemingly pushing yet another Constitutional amendment, this time to “repeal” the Senate. Say what you will about her, but that’s some strict original intent right there. The sentence containing “president in the position of the White House”...
Farewell, JoeMentum →
Mr. Lieberman, whose term is up in 2012, chose to retire rather than risk being defeated Probably a powerful potential primary challenger in the Connecticut for Lieberman caucus somewhere…this avoids a nasty convention split.
[The N.R.A.’s interpretation of the Second Amendment was] one of the greatest...– Chief Justice Warren Burger, from the same article as the Bork quote.
[the Second Amendment works] to guarantee the right of states to form militias,...– Robert Bork, yes that Robert Bork, showing us just how far we’ve moved right on this issue. And, of course, many others. But still: wow.
Those Liberals at the AP
The far-left journalists over at the AP make the hard calls and reports that there is trouble at the mill, everyone: LONDON — Prime Minister David Cameron yesterday waded into waters in which past British governments have foundered, promising fundamental changes to the country’s expensive and over-stressed public health care system. I see. Crazy expensive socialist medical care. Only Lord...
One slicker and a pair of rain boots →
Michael Chabon considers the President’s speech: Having struggled all the way through to make my own sense of sorrow and confusion congruent with what I saw happening in Tucson, having found that point of tangency at the rueful and admonitory heart, the father’s heart, of the speech, I fell all the way out again, right at the end. “If there are rain puddles in heaven,”...
The Unfollow Button
correlationstonone: kateoplis: “I believe that for all our imperfections, we are full of decency and goodness, and that the forces that divide us are not as strong as those that unite us.” I think there’s more then a few dead kids lately that prove you wrong. Goddamn Pollyanna platitude-spouting optimists. You know what the best part of America’s collapse is? Watching hope founded on...
Prediction: Obama’s performance tonight is strong, so [conservative...– Adam Serwer, tweeting a hole right through the fabric of time and space. There really is nothing that will fail to aggrieve the pundocrats ruling our world.
Arguing Tucson →
George Packer continues the good fight, incinerating false equivalencies as quickly as he can type: In fact, there is no balance—none whatsoever. Only one side has made the rhetoric of armed revolt against an oppressive tyranny the guiding spirit of its grassroots movement and its midterm campaign. Only one side routinely invokes the Second Amendment as a form of swagger and intimidation,...
As if on Cue
Rest assured, gun violence only ever provides reasons to put more guns into circulation and never, ever serves as an argument for stricter regulations or requirements for those who wish to own or carry a gun: Our model legislation is called the Giffords-Zimmerman Act,” said Heller. (Giffords staffer Gabriel Zimmerman, 30, was killed on Saturday.) “It would require the Arizona...
DeLay Gets Three Years →
Senior Judge Pat Priest sentenced him to the three-year term on the conspiracy charge. He also sentenced him to five years in prison on the money laundering charge but allowed DeLay to accept 10 years of probation instead of more prison time. The former Houston-area congressman had faced up to life in prison. His attorneys asked for probation. As one who assumed he’d never be...
On Random Thoughts 306 and 307
politicalprof: #306: Does anyone believe that the tragedy in Arizona would have been less dangerous and less tragic if 20 people had pulled out their guns and started firing at the shooter? #307: Did anyone else notice that in Arizona, one of the most gun-friendly states in the United States, that the shooter was subdued by people who hit him and jumped on him? Not by armed vigilantes who...
Climate of Hate; Just the Beginning →
It’s true that the shooter in Arizona appears to have been mentally troubled. But that doesn’t mean that his act can or should be treated as an isolated event, having nothing to do with the national climate. Last spring Politico.com reported on a surge in threats against members of Congress, which were already up by 300 percent. A number of the people making those threats had a history of...
…the attempted assassination of a sitting member of Congress is inherently...– Adam Serwer To which I add: yep.
A Kind of Relief
George Packer made several excellent points last night, one of which seems to be this morning’s emerging “serious person” consensus on the Giffords shooting and the political motivations (and their sources) that all-too-clearly underlie it: It would be a kind of relief if Loughner operated not out of any coherent political context but just his own fevered brain. Emphasis...
Full Faith and Credit
John Chait sees some hope: My guess is that Republicans are hearing from the business lobby that even risking a default would be totally unacceptable. This because he notes Paul Ryan’s recent statement implicitly accepts that the debt ceiling will be raised (not can be, or might be): “I want to make sure we get substantial spending cuts and controls in exchange for raising...
Job Killing vs. Actual Killing →
Steven Pearlstein writes about the GOP’s latest tick: adding “job-killing” to the front of basically any Democrat-related noun. He finds just one teensy problem with the practice: Repealing health-care reform, for instance, would inevitably lead to thousands of unnecessary deaths each year because of an inability to get medical care. Although lack of effective regulation...
Fiscally responsible” is code for cutting taxes on rich people and gutting...– Duncan Black, simplifying it for you. I’d only add that these same forces, and (of course) their media enablers, repeatedly include Social Security despite the fact that SS has its own funding source, is not in any imminent danger, and does not contribute to the deficit at all, nor will it...
Well, I guess at least the GOP’s rampant and immediate hypocrisy is becoming something of a narrative over to the WaPo: For two years, Cantor and his colleagues campaigned against high deficits. Now, in the new majority’s first major act, they plan to vote to increase the deficit by $143 billion as part of a repeal of health-care reform. For two years, Cantor and his...
Shocking News, Everyone →
The Washington Post Editorial Board is beginning, beginning mind-you, to think that maybe the GOP isn’t quite so serious about deficits after all: Deficit financing is fine, it seems, when it comes to tax cuts. But that’s not all. Under the new rules, not only are tax cuts exempted from the pay-go concept, but the only way to pay for spending increases is with spending cuts...
Is Rahm Still Available?
Bill Daly, potential Obama Chief of Staff: [The Obama administration] miscalculated on health care. The election of ’08 sent a message that after 30 years of center-right governing, we had moved to center left — not left.
Ezra Klein: The health-care law the president signed was modeled off of the health-care law the Republican governor of Massachusetts had signed, which was in turn modeled off of the health-care law the Republicans in Congress had proposed in 1993. That's "left"? And meanwhile, Daley thinks the country had moved substantially leftward over that period -- "after 30 years of center-right governing, we had moved to center left" -- but that even a compromise bill based on Republican ideas was too far left for the country, which would imply that the administration he served in the early-'90s, which pushed a more ambitious health-care bill when the country was further to the right, bordered on communist.
Lemkin: Yep, and do we really want anyone who has ever been quoted peddling that particular brand of horseshit running the President's days in the inevitable "Eliminate ACA or we destroy the economy of the United States of America now and forever through default!" battle that will be coming on in, oh, five or six weeks? I say no, but then I'm less than skilled in multi-dimensional chess...
Rest Assured, Austan: It's Just a Game
Michele Bachman (R, MN): at this point I am not in favor of raising the debt ceiling
Mike Kelly (freshman R, PA): [Raising the debt ceiling would be] absolutely irresponsible.
Lindsey Graham (R, SC): [Failing to raise the debt ceiling] would be very bad for the position of the United States in the world at large, [but I'll gladly hold it hostage] until a plan is in place [for the nation's long-term debt that satisfies whatever GOP hobbyhorses are in play on the day in question.]
Austan Goolsbee: This is not a game. The debt ceiling is not something to toy with. [...] If we get to the point where you've damaged the full faith and credit of the United States, that would be the first default in history caused purely by insanity.... There would be no reason for us to default, other than that would be some kind of game. [...] We shouldn't even be discussing [default]. People will get the wrong idea. The United States is not in danger of default.... We do not have problems such as that. This would be lumping us in with a series of countries through history that I don't think we would want to be lumped in with.
Lemkin: Which of these do you suppose will hold the media and popular opinion in its sway? This is probably the purest expression of GOP nihilism there is. They will destroy the country's economic footing, irrevocably, and turn us into a land of gentle skin and pelt traders clustered down by the river if they have their way. At least that model eliminates any potential for minor to moderate increases in Social Security taxes on the wealthiest 2% of all future skin and pelt traders clustered down by the river; plus trade at those stands will likely be entirely conducted through valuable metal transfer. And that's another big big win for their side. And winning the day is what it's all about.
Put it this way: suppose that from here on out we average 4.5 percent growth,...– Paul Krugman brings the optimism while not-so-gently chiding his fellow media travelers’ insistence that all focus be upon what are essentially made up problems of deficit and government spending. Employment is the problem. Fix that and you can work on wage growth and lessening income...
No, Tax Cuts Do Not Pay for Themselves →
thebroadermarket: By Jordan Eizenga One can understand the attraction for thinking that tax cuts should stimulate higher rates of economic growth. With greater after tax income, workers are more likely to work harder and longer and, facing fewer taxes, entrepreneurs are in a better position to start companies and hire new workers. The problem is that the data does not bear this out either. ...