Archive for February, 2011

Party Sanctioned Sabatoge

Posted in Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 28, 2011 by rottenart

It’s official: the Republican party is actively seeking to hurt the economy and raise unemployment to satisfy the tiny percentage of the American people who think the deficit is more important than jobs. We had an inkling of this sort of thing when Speaker Boehner uttered his famous “so be it” remarks and now we have definitive proof. Of course, we already had the Goldman-Sachs report but the new independent analysis from Moody’s is just reinforcing the premise. Don’t be fooled by the Wall St. Journal, kids; the GOP is going to slash the budget and American jobs be damned.

The truth is that we’ve been in a similar situation before. As a caller, roger, on the Diane Rehm show put it this morning:

And the last time we were, we got out of it by engaging in massive deficit spending and a absolute mandatory jobs program that was called WWII and the draft. And it actually led to the greatest prosperity we’ve ever seen.

And as a corollary, before the ramp up to a war footing got the economy into overdrive, a massive federal jobs program put the country back to work with the extra benefit of rebuilding the national infrastructure. Of course, there’s no way such a thing could happen today. Republicans simply won’t accept reality and Democrats are too cowardly to do what’s right. The history of the country, the facts on the ground today and simple common sense tell us that the plan to gut federal spending is a disaster waiting to happen. And the Republicans are apparently not ashamed in the slightest about it. In fact, they seem to relishing the possibility of a meltdown.

So, really, the only question left is the one Steve Benen is asking: why the hell is this not considered front page news?

Sunday Quick Links

Posted in Other Stuff with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 27, 2011 by rottenart

So, another lazy Sunday is here. I, however, am buried up to my eyeballs in computing nonsense. But I’m sure I’ll take it easy regardless! In the meantime, here’s some stuff worth checking out:

  • Giant corporations really don’t pay very much in income tax. How patriotic of them.
  • The pro-union rallies in Madison, WI just keep growing, even in heavy snow. In related news, Wacky Teabag Governor Paul LePage of Maine has decided to enter the fray.
  • Robovie PC was the winner of the world’s first robot marathon in Osaka, Japan. His winning time was 54 hours, 57 minutes and 50.26 seconds.
  • The space shuttle Discovery lifted off from Cape Canaveral, FL in its last flight ever. It marks the beginning of the end of the shuttle era for NASA.
  • A fatal five-alarm fire in Brooklyn last Saturday was ignited by candles arrayed around a bed for a voodoo sex ceremony.
  • Researchers at the University of Michigan have built the world’s smallest computer. It’s no bigger than the ‘N’ on a penny.

Heard about anything else crazy and exciting this week?

Slashing the Public Sector? What Could Go Wrong?

Posted in Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 25, 2011 by rottenart

In another example of union-busting disguised as fiscal austerity, Providence, RI has fired every single one of its teachers. It should be noted that not all will ultimately lose their jobs, but the mayor says he want “flexibility” in who he can hire back. In related cost-cutting news, Philadelphia’s cuts tot he fire department in the form of “rolling brownouts” may possibly have cost the lives of two children when a recently shuttered fire station couldn’t respond to a fire.

See, in Tea Bagger (or simply Republican) fantasy land, fiscal responsibility means gutting things like the fundamental right to form a union and fire protection. I mean, what have those greedy teachers and firefighters ever done for us? What’s that you say? Perhaps a small tax increase on the wealthiest members of society to plug some these budget holes? Well, obviously you just don’t understand sacrifice, you communist.

 

Republicans Sure Are Funny

Posted in Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 25, 2011 by rottenart

Rep. Paul Broun of Georgia, easily one of the wackiest congressmen in the house, is in some hot water today after it was revealed that he laughed (according to some witnesses) when asked by a constituent “who’s going to shoot Obama?” In case you’re worried about the seriousness of the remark, the Secret Service checked the elderly guy out and closed the case, so there’s no threat, just very poor judgment. Rep. Broun, for his part, denies the report that he laughed and offered his own version of events, a full three days after the incident occurred. Given his past statements concerning Obama, forgive me if I have a hard time taking his apology at face value. However, just for the sake of argument, let’s assume that the elderly gentleman was simply making a joke and Broun chuckled along, all in jest, nothing to see here. If that’s what happened, shouldn’t we focus on what is actually funny? For reference, let’s take a look at some more quality conservative humor to get a sense of what they mean when they use the word ‘satire’:

“My only regret with Timothy McVeigh is he did not go to the New York Times Building.”

—Ann Coulter

‎”I’m thinking about killing Michael Moore, and I’m wondering if I could kill him myself, or if I would need to hire somebody to do it.”

—Glenn Beck

‎”So, Speaker Pelosi, I just wanted to — you gonna drink your wine? Are you blind? Do those eyes not work? There you — I want you to drink it now. Drink it. Drink it. Drink it.

I really just wanted to thank you for having me over here to wine country. You know, to be invited, I thought I had to be a major Democratic donor or a longtime friend of yours, which I’m not.

By the way, I put poison in your — no, I — I look forward to all the policy discussions that we’re supposed to have — you know, on health care, energy reform, and the economy.”

–Glenn Beck

“To fight only the al-Qaida scum is to miss the terrorist network operating within our own borders. Who are these traitors? Every rotten radical left-winger in this country, that’s who.”

–Michael Savage

“I tell people don’t kill all the liberals. Leave enough so we can have two on every campus—living fossils—so we we’ll never forget what these people stood for.”

–Rush Limbaugh

‎”This war [between liberals and conservatives] has to be fought with the scale and duration and savagery that is only true of civil wars.”

– Newt Gingrich

“I say round liberals up and hang em’ high. When I hear someone’s in the civil rights business, I oil up my AR-25.”

–Michael Savage

Ha ha.

Of course, that’s just a tiny little sample. But remember, these hilarious jokes would never entice someone to actually act violently, right? Aside from the violence, I think the real issue is that conservatives are not funny because their brand of ‘humor’ stems from hatred, condescension and ignorance. When you factor in the violence you get something else entirely. The extra added bonus is that even unfunny jokes let you claim plausible deniability when some lunatic actually kills people.

Those Republicans. What jokers.

This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things

Posted in Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 24, 2011 by rottenart

So, it turns out Americans are boneheads. Luckily for us it’s not simply a case of gross stupidity, however. While it’s true, as Drew Altman, president and CEO of the Kaiser Family Foundation (the group who commissioned the poll), put it:

“[P]eople are very busy just getting through the day and they don’t have a lot of time to sort through news reports about the policymaking process. They see the word “repeal” in the local paper or hear it on TV and think the law has been repealed. Second, there may be some partisan wishful thinking going on; 30 percent of Republicans think the law has been repealed while only 12 percent of Democrats do. But overall, it is obvious that the knowledge of basic civics is pretty low.”

Well, duh. But, as is pointed out in the linked article, a large part of the failing is on the mostly useless media’s part. They’ve reported on Republican attention-grabbing in the house as well as the two federal judges who have ruled against the PPACA as is they were the second coming. But the benefits of the law or the three federal judges who have ruled in favor of the law? Nary a peep or simply buried on page B14 (this refers to pages in an actual newspaper, for you youngsters). Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi has this nifty chart to show you exactly which side the media is on. Hint: it’s not the side of the PPACA.

Drew Altman is correct. It seems every American needs the box set of Schoolhouse Rocks for Christmas this year because we’re woefully ignorant of our own government and how it operates. But Steve Benen’s point stands strong too: the corporate owned, vanity obsessed, mostly useless mainstream media is doing its damnedest to keep us stupid.

Um, Say What?

Posted in Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , on February 24, 2011 by rottenart

I don’t know what to make of this news. I know the military is desperate but generally gets everything it wants. However, the war in Afghanistan is costing us an arm and a leg (literally) and is increasingly unpopular. It doesn’t surprise me that they would stoop to such underhanded tactics to gin up support. However, what’s more surprising is the list of senators they targeted: Sens. John McCain, Joe Lieberman, Jack Reed, Al Franken and Carl Levin as well as Rep. Steve Israel and Adm. Mike Mullen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, among others. I mean, Al Franken probably isn’t the biggest booster for war but did John “Bomb Bomb Bomb Iran” Mccain really need to be brainwashed?

All in all it’s a disturbing story that I’m sure is not a new development. Add this to the news that the military is also procuring software making it easier to “sock puppet” online and you have a picture of a defense department that is seemingly out of control in its ability to influence opinion. And make no mistake, as the war drags on this sort of story will only become more common as the goals of the military and the goals of the American people become further from each other.

Cutting Public Art in OK Isn’t Fiscally Responsible

Posted in Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 23, 2011 by rottenart

On the local beat, the OK legislature is currently considering bills that would suspend or do away with the Percent for Public Art program in the state. This comes at a time when austerity is the word of the day and cuts to government spending are being made seemingly just for the hell of it as opposed to any sort of logical metric. Except here’s the thing about the Percent for Public Art act: its funds don’t affect the state’s finances. The art is paid for through a percentage of the construction cost. That means OK gets public art at literally NO COST TO THE STATE. So the argument that suspension or cuts are necessary in these tough economic times is really bullshit. Fallin just found an additional $100 million in revenue and is thankful she can cut taxes because of the growth rate trigger;  would she be happy with a program that not only has nothing to do with the shortfall but has the extra added bonus of potentially increasing the growth rate? It means she can cut more taxes!!!

The Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition is front and center on this issue and I know anything they support, I’m behind too. It’s pretty critical that Okies get on the horn to their state legislators soon because these bills are going before the chambers in the next couple of days. We need public art in OK. I would like something to look at on the highway besides Wal-Mart bags and Sonic cups.