To be, or not to be: that is the question,
Whether ’tis nobler to flip or to flop, like a fishmonger’s ware,
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Taketh pride in the firing, as poor Seamus shall bear.
Feb 26 2012
To be, or not to be: that is the question,
Dec 20 2011
Who knew? Presidential candidate for the GOP nomination, Newt Gingrich is like the family’s crazy uncle that gets let out for family gatherings and then gets sent back to is room. His recent emergence as the “favorite” for the nomination has met with some harsh criticism and not just from the left. Many of the right wing punditry are not happy with Newt Gingrich’s surge in the polls for the nomination. During Newt’s interview on Face The Nation with Bob Schieffer, he said he would have “activist judges” (translation: judges who disagree with Newt) hauled before Congress to answer for their decisions, if necessary arresting them:
SCHIEFFER: One of the things you say is that if you don’t like what a court has done, that Congress should subpoena the judge and bring him before Congress and hold a Congressional hearing… how would you enforce that? Would you send the Capitol Police down to arrest him?
GINGRICH: Sure. If you had to. Or you’d instruct the Justice Department to send a U.S. Marshal.
I have no idea how Schieffer didn’t react with disbelieving “what?” much like Barbara Walters’ response when Herman Cain said he would want to be Secretary of Defense.
Obviously Newt is off the rails and a couple of former Republican Attorney Generals with some questionable constitutional decisions under their belts think so, too. Former attorney generals Alberto Gonzalez and Michael Mukasey, also a former judge, weighed in on Newt’s judicial lunacy to defy the Supreme Court and, if necessary according to Newt, eliminate the courts that disagree with him all together. In appearances on Fox News they called Newt’s ideas “ridiculous,” “irresponsible,” “outrageous,” and “dangerous”:
KELLY: He wants to see the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals entirely abolished, your thoughts on that?
MUKASEY: Ridiculous. . . . to say that you’re going to undo and entire court simply because you don’t like some of their decisions, when there are thousands of cases before that court, is totally irresponsible. It’s outrageous because it essentially does away with the notion that when courts decide cases the proper way to have them reviewed is to go to a higher court. It’s dangerous because, even from the standpoint of the people who put it forward, you have no guarantee that you’ll have a permanent majority. . . . It would end with having a Democratic majority that then decides to abolish the Fourth Circuit and the Eleventh Circuit. And you go on and on and on. And I guess they could then reconstitute another court. It would reduce the entire judicial system to a spectacle.
Former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales had a similar reaction:
GONZALES: The notion or the specter of bringing judges before the Congress, like a schoolchild being brought before the principal is, to me, a little bit troubling . . . . I cannot support and I would not support efforts that appear to be intimidation or retaliation against judges.
Keep in mind that these two men, supported some if the most unconstitutionally egregious of George W. Bush’s policies, including torture.
But poor Newt, he’s even slipping in the polls. According to Public Policy Polling, Rep. Ron Paul has now taken the lead in Iowa:
Newt Gingrich’s campaign is rapidly imploding, and Ron Paul has now taken the lead in Iowa. He’s at 23% to 20% for Mitt Romney, 14% for Gingrich, 10% each for Rick Santorum, Michele Bachmann, and Rick Perry, 4% for Jon Huntsman, and 2% for Gary Johnson.
Gingrich has now seen a big drop in his Iowa standing two weeks in a row. His share of the vote has gone from 27% to 22% to 14%. And there’s been a large drop in his personal favorability numbers as well from +31 (62/31) to +12 (52/40) to now -1 (46/47). Negative ads over the last few weeks have really chipped away at Gingrich’s image as being a strong conservative, now only 36% of voters believe that he has ‘strong principles,’ while 43% think he does not.
Paul’s ascendancy is a sign that perhaps campaigns do matter at least a little, in a year where there has been a lot of discussion about whether they still do in Iowa. 22% of voters think he’s run the best campaign in the state compared to only 8% for Gingrich and 5% for Romney. The only other candidate to hit double digits on that question is Bachmann at 19%. Paul also leads Romney 26-5 (with Gingrich at 13%) with the 22% of voters who say it’s ‘very important’ that a candidate spends a lot of time in Iowa. Finally Paul leads Romney 29-19 among the 26% of likely voters who have seen one of the candidates in person.
Iowa is no predictor of who will get the nomination and the caucuses are an undemocratic form of voting with no absentee ballots and very low voter turn out but Iowa is a predictor for early primary states. However, the recent harsh criticism from right wing politicians and pundits may keep Newt out of the Oval Office. Poor crazy Newt. Back to your room.
Dec 20 2011
I have spent a number of years complaining about the interactions between Democrats and Republicans, but after the recent events involving the Keystone XL and civil liberties cave-ins, I’ve decided it’s time to stop complaining and embrace the madness.
But I also feel like there’s an ugly edge to all this…that hasn’t really been fully exploited.
I mean, Republicans have tried to force through a lot of disgusting ideas this Congress as they’ve held various bills hostage, but it seems like, if they really tried, they could do so much more.
But I’m not here to complain, I’m here to help; that’s why today we’ll be trotting out a few ideas of our own that Republicans can attach to bills throughout 2012, with the assistance of certain errant Democrats.
It’ll be fun, it’ll be festive, but most of all…it’ll be an exercise in Civic Responsibility, and in these difficult times, that’s something we could sorely use.
Dec 10 2011
I got a weird little story about my friend Blitz Krieger to bring to you today.
He’s had a crazy car problem, he has, and over the past few months he thought he had found a solution – in fact, he thought he had found the solution of his dreams – but in the end, he’s discovered that the things you dream about often don’t go according to plan.
The way it’s worked out for him so far, it’s been a lot of anticipation followed by a sudden wave of frustration, but I feel like he’s a lot better off having his particular problem with his car…because if he’d had cancer instead, he’d surely be dead by now.
Nov 08 2011
Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette
One of the editorials that was featured today in Punting the Pundits addressed the lack of choices for the office of President of the United States that voters are facing. The author, Hadley Freeman, called the Republican field “farcically unelectable”. Barack Obama may well have made a Faustian pact considering that if faced with a reasonable opponent from the GOP, he most assuredly would be leaving office on January 20, 2013.
But then there is that word: “reasonable”.
Rachel Maddow gave her take on two of more absurd candidates, Rick Perry and Herman Cain:
Best case scenario, that dude’s hammered. Worst case scenario, that is Perry sober and every time we’vee seen him previously, he was hammered
And then there is Mitt Romney and as Heather at Crooks and Liars points out:
I could not do a better job of summing this speech up if I tried, so I’ll just refer everyone to this post by Stephen D. Foster Jr. at Addicting Info — Mitt Romney Vows To Privatize Medicare, Raise The Retirement Age, And Fire Thousands Of Government Workers
Overall, Romney’s plan is heartless, gutless, unimaginative, and caters to the extreme right wing, the wealthy, and to corporations. It’s a blueprint for making America fail and wiping out the middle class and should automatically disqualify him from holding any office. It kills the voice of the American people and destroys the programs we hold most dear. If a Republican wins the election next year, it will be perilous for the United States and the American people. Their policies have been destructive for thirty years, and now they want apocalypse.
As Ms. Freeman said, “That sound you heard on the breeze? That was the sound of Obama laughing.“
Oct 10 2011
Back in August, columnist Ari Berman wrote an article in Rolling Stone about the GOP war minorities, elderly, students and the poor who traditionally vote Democratic, by passing state laws that make it increasing difficult, not just register to vote but to actually suppress voting:
As the nation gears up for the 2012 presidential election, Republican officials have launched an unprecedented, centrally coordinated campaign to suppress the elements of the Democratic vote that elected Barack Obama in 2008. Just as Dixiecrats once used poll taxes and literacy tests to bar black Southerners from voting, a new crop of GOP governors and state legislators has passed a series of seemingly disconnected measures that could prevent millions of students, minorities, immigrants, ex-convicts and the elderly from casting ballots. “What has happened this year is the most significant setback to voting rights in this country in a century,” says Judith Browne-Dianis, who monitors barriers to voting as co-director of the Advancement Project, a civil rights organization based in Washington, D.C.
These new restrictions fall most heavily on young, minority, and low-income voters, as well as on voters with disabilities. This wave of changes may sharply tilt the political terrain for the 2012 election. Based on the Brennan Center’s analysis of the 19 laws and two executive actions that passed in 14 states, it is clear that:
These new laws could make it significantly harder for more than five million eligible voters to cast ballots in 2012.
The states that have already cut back on voting rights will provide 171 electoral votes in 2012 – 63 percent of the 270 needed to win the presidency.
Of the 12 likely battleground states, as assessed by an August Los Angeles Times analysis of Gallup polling, five have already cut back on voting rights (and may pass additional restrictive legislation), and two more are currently considering new restrictions.
States have changed their laws so rapidly that no single analysis has assessed the overall impact of such moves. Although it is too early to quantify how the changes will impact voter turnout, they will be a hindrance to many voters at a time when the United States continues to turn out less than two thirds of its eligible citizens in presidential elections and less than half in midterm elections.
This study is the first comprehensive roundup of all state legislative action thus far in 2011 on voting rights, focusing on new laws as well as state legislation that has not yet passed or that failed. This snapshot may soon be incomplete: the second halves of some state legislative sessions have begun.
So far, 34 states have passed such laws.
Mr. Berman sat down for a discussion on Democracy Now with Amy Goodman and ProPublica reporter Lois Beckett who co-wrote, “The Hidden Hands in Redistricting: Corporations and Other Powerful Interests,” about how money is helping re-shape Congressional districts along partisan lines, a practice known as gerrymandering.:
Question: Where is the Obama Justice Department that should be challenging these laws as they relate to the 14th Amendment and the voting rights act?
Sep 19 2011
Paul Krugman: Free To Die
Back in 1980, just as America was making its political turn to the right, Milton Friedman lent his voice to the change with the famous TV series “Free to Choose.” In episode after episode, the genial economist identified laissez-faire economics with personal choice and empowerment, an upbeat vision that would be echoed and amplified by Ronald Reagan.
But that was then. Today, “free to choose” has become “free to die.”
I’m referring, as you might guess, to what happened during Monday’s G.O.P. presidential debate. CNN’s Wolf Blitzer asked Representative Ron Paul what we should do if a 30-year-old man who chose not to purchase health insurance suddenly found himself in need of six months of intensive care. Mr. Paul replied, “That’s what freedom is all about – taking your own risks.” Mr. Blitzer pressed him again, asking whether “society should just let him die.”
And the crowd erupted with cheers and shouts of “Yeah!
Susan Grigsby’s brother Steve died a painful death fighting for care as an uninsured American. Susan watched, horrified, as the GOP Presidential Candidates on CNN’s Tea Party Debate stood silent when the the audience cheered for the idea that we as a society should just let an uninsured man die. Now Susan wants an answer from each and every GOP candidate.
Sep 16 2011
Or how to cheat to win by rigging the system:
Republican state legislators in Pennsylvania are pushing a scheme that, if GOPers in other states follow their lead, could cause President Barack Obama to lose the 2012 election-not because of the vote count, but because of new rules. That’s not all: There’s no legal way for Democrats to stop them.
The problem for Obama, and the opportunity for Republicans, is the electoral college. Every political junkie knows that the presidential election isn’t a truly national contest; it’s a state-by-state fight, and each state is worth a number of electoral votes equal to the size of the state’s congressional delegation. (The District of Columbia also gets three votes.) There are 538 electoral votes up for grabs; win 270, and you’re the president.
Here’s the rub, though: Each state gets to determine how its electoral votes are allocated. Currently, 48 states and DC use a winner-take-all system in which the candidate who wins the popular vote in the state gets all of its electoral votes. Under the Republican plan-which has been endorsed by top GOPers in both houses of the state Legislature, as well as the governor, Tom Corbett-Pennsylvania would change from this system to one where each congressional district gets its own electoral vote. (Two electoral votes-one for each of the state’s two senators-would go to the statewide winner.)
Some Republicans in the House see a downside to this thus hitting a snag:
With next year’s presidential election expected to be hard-fought, even sapping some electoral support from Barack Obama in Pennsylvania could have a major impact on the national results. But to several Republicans in marginal districts, the plan has a catch: they’re worried that Democrats will move dollars and ground troops from solid blue districts to battlegrounds in pursuit of electoral votes – and in the process, knock off the Republicans currently in the seats.
Suburban Philadelphia Reps. Jim Gerlach, Pat Meehan and Mike Fitzpatrick have the most at stake, since all represent districts Democrats won in the last two presidential elections. They and the rest of the Republicans in the delegation are joining with National Republican Congressional Committee officials to respond and mobilize against the change.
“Any proposed change to the election laws shouldn’t be done under the radar,” Fitzpatrick told POLITICO. “If every vote matters, everyone should have a chance to discuss this.”
State GOP chairman Rob Gleason is also opposed to the plan.
As David Nir at Daily Kos points out the electoral college is unfair as it is but there is a solution:
(T)he only way to fight back is to push for the national popular vote, something which can be achieved via an interstate compact between states. The states in the compact would all award their EVs to the winner of the national vote, but the law would only take effect once enough states signed on (i.e., states with 270 electoral votes between them). Several states have already signed on (including big boppers like California and Illinois), and this way, no constitutional amendment is necessary.
If the GOP presses forward with their Pennsylvania plan, we’ll have to respond somehow, and I think the national popular vote is the best plan.
As John Aravosis at AMERICAblog notes:
If the Democrats tried this, the Republicans would be rioting in the street. They’re quite literally trying to steal the presidential election. How will the Democrats respond? The word feckless comes to mind.
Sep 14 2011
During the latest of what will be a year long parade of circus clowns, Michele Bachmann once again demonstrated not only her ignorance but hatred of her own womanhood when she lashed out at Texas Governor Rick Perry for his school program to vaccinate young girls with Gardisil, that protects against nine strains of the virus, HPV, the major cause of cervical cancer. While taking issue with the possible ulterior motive for the program which he had instituted by an executive order, Bachmann took it a step further alleging that the vaccine is dangerous, “”Little girls who have a negative reaction to this potentially dangerous drug don’t get a mulligan” and “They don’t get a do-over. The parents don’t get a do-over.”
In her post debate interview she went even further making the specious and debunked claim that the vaccine can also cause mental retardation. claiming that a woman had approached after the debate telling her that she had a daughter who suffered mental retardation as a result of that vaccine”, repeating the same nonsense unchallenged in a morning interview. This woman will do and say anything to bolster her fading campaign.
Not that this will put the myths that is being strewn as a factual but here are the facts:
According to a Center for Disease Control page devoted to health concerns surrounding HPV vaccines, 35 million doses of Gardasil were distributed as of June 22, 2011, resulting in 18,727 reports of adverse events. Ninety-two percent of those adverse events were “non-serious” and included things like “fainting, pain, and swelling at the injection site (the arm), headache, nausea, and fever.” Among the serious adverse events were reports of the neurological disorder Guillain-Barré Syndrome, blood clots, and death. There’s no mention on the CDC page of any reports of Gardasil resulting in mental retardation.
Just to double check, we asked Dr. Kevin Ault, an associate professor of Gynecology and Obstetrics at Emory University and an investigator in the clinical trials for Gardasil, whether he’s familiar with allegations that Gardasil can result in mental retardation. “I’ve not heard that one before,” he told us. He added that even for the serious adverse effects that have been reported, there’s been no evidence that they were actually caused by Gardasil. “There’s been a nice study from the CDC,” he said, “that basically [showed that] if you compare a group of people who got the vaccine to a group of people who didn’t get the vaccine, all these things are rare and they occur equally” in both groups.
Aug 13 2011
Fresh off his prayer event, The Response, Gov. Rick Perry will announce his candidacy for the Republican Presidential nomination in South Carolina at the third annual RedState conference in Charleston. A lot of attention has been given to Perry’s connection to the event and Rachel Maddow in an extensive piece exposed the hate message that many of the so-called Christians were spreading as the crowds prayed and cheered.
One of the sponsors is a little known bizarre, evangelical group, the American Apostolic Reformation. Al Jazeera notes the AAR’s similarity to the Taliban. The group has been around awhile and was first noticed in the 2008 campaign when one of its most prominent practitioners, Kenyan witch-hunter Thomas Muthee, anointed Sarah Palin. AAR has bragged on line about destroying ancient Native American artifacts much like the Taliban did in Afghanistan with the destructions of the two colossal images of the Buddha in Bamiyan province in early 2001. The ultimate goal is to replace secular democracy, both in America and around the world, with a Christian theocracy, an ideology known as “dominionism”, striking similar to the Taliban and radical Islam. And this is the group that social conservative, religious zealot Rick Perry embraces.
In a long article, the Texas Observer describes them as “Rick Perry’s army of God”:
The new prophets and apostles believe Christians–certain Christians–are destined to not just take “dominion” over government, but stealthily climb to the commanding heights of what they term the “Seven Mountains” of society, including the media and the arts and entertainment world. They believe they’re intended to lord over it all. As a first step, they’re leading an “army of God” to commandeer civilian government.
On a lighter note, Stephen Colbert’s Super PAC, Americans for a Better Tomorrow, Tomorrow, has produced its first two campaign ads in Iowa targeting “Rick Parry”.
Aug 09 2011
The Republicans “crazies” are flooding the primary field with felons, the head of the KKK and the religious fanatics that make the Westborough Baptist Church members sound sane.
Rachel reviews the role of the social conservative fringe in 2012 Republican politics.
And now for you’re main event, Texas Governor Rick Perry, fresh from his raucous Day of Prayer in Houston, will toss his cowboy hat into the fray on this Saturday in his bid to out crazy Michelle Bachmann and the other clowns in the GOP Clown Circus. What can you expect from Perry? Well, certainly not peace, prosperity or sodomy but lots of praying and revisionist history.
This bunch make Richard Nixon and Barry Goldwater look like left wing radicals.
Jul 01 2011
According to a CBS/NYT poll 71% of Republican voters want more choices. That doesn’t say much about the current field of candidates.
Overwhelming dissatisfaction with the direction in which our country seems to be heading, and mediocre approval ratings for President Obama, should provide plenty of opportunity for Republican presidential candidates to find traction.
But a new CBS News/New York Times poll suggests the current field have a long way to go to impress the nation’s conservative-minded voters.
click on image to enlarge
Apparently the Democrats aren’t that enthralled about their current only choice:
click on image to enlarge
And by the way, there were 428,000 new jobless claims filed. Where are the jobs?