Blog Credo

The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.

H.L. Mencken

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Clowns To The Left Of Me, Chokers To The Right

The GOP reaches out to women voters.

The House passed the Senate version of the Violence Against Women Act.  The Senate version provides for protection for women on reservations, who were undocumented or were in same sex relationships.  The GOP House version stripped those out provisions because Native Americans snuck in here with their butch lesbian lovers to have anchor babies or something.

The GOP thus managed to fight a one year losing battle to protect some forms of abuse of women.  Really.  Well played, sirs.

While 87 Republicans voted for the Senate version, 138 did not.  Needless to say all 199 Democrats voted for it.

So a majority of Republican House members decided to vote against protecting some women from abuse and violence.  Presumably, straight, white women were worth protecting, but brown and lesbian women weren't.

Two things.  One, the majority of Republicans in the House are assholes.  They are mean-spirited, tight-assed jerks with the empathy of pavement.

Two, the Hastert Rule has died and thank goodness.

When we finally end this sequester nonsense, I think we can place the number of Republicans who vote for a sane way out to be around 87.  But I'll take the "under" on that bet.

Bob Woodward Has Jumped The Shark

All I think that needs to be said about this is said here:

UPDATE: If Woodward jumped the shark, I jumped the gun.  There is more to be said:

To reconcile Woodward’s journalistic reputation with the weird pettiness of his current role, one has to grasp the distinction between his abilities as a reporter and his abilities as an analyst. Woodward was, and remains, an elite gatherer of facts. But anybody who has seen him commit acts of political commentary on television has witnessed a painful spectacle. As an analyst, Woodward is a particular kind of awful — a Georgetown Wise Man reliably and almost invariably mouthing the conventional wisdom of the Washington Establishment.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

The DC Media Establishment Is Broken

"Do you agree?"  "I agree."

Let's segue from Jennifer Rubin to, well, most everyone else who writes about politics in DC.

The "both side do it, and while we recognize that the GOP is really to blame, Obama should use Jedi mind tricks to end this crisis" meme is going full bore.

Similarly, the Supremes are likely to strike down the Voting Rights Act in another pulled out of their asses 5-4 act of judicial nullification of decades of established law.  This will pass unnoticed as an act of judicial malpractice, because, well, opinions differ.

While I get that people like Bob Woodward represent a form of collective establishment small-c conservatism, the fact is that one reason the GOP refuses to acknowledge settled fact is the prevalence of this false equivalency journalism.  If Bob Woodward and David Ignatius suggest that the sequester is Obama's fault because he can't talk the House GOP from being batshit insane, why should the House stop being batshit insane?

And one of the primary forms of attack on this terrible journalistic malpractice has been the blogosphere.  Ezra Klein got his start as a blogger, so did Nate Silver.  They both take the position that actual facts matter.

BTW, if the VRA is repealed I give Texas a week before they start gerrymandering the shit out of their state districts.

Just Too Easy

The fail parade that is Jennifer Rubin at the WaPost continues with 76 trombones.

Basically, Rubin lead the snit fit because Chuck Hagel said that the "Israeli lobby" intimidates US Senators and that he's a US Senator, not an Israeli Senator.

(When Lindsay Graham challenged Hagel to say which Senators had been cowed by the Israeli lobby, I would have loved for Hagel to toss him a mirror.)

Anyway, now Rubin is saying, "Only if AIPAC had opposed Hagel more vociferously, he could have been defeated."

For a host of reasons - ideology, anti-science, reflexive anti-Obama positions - the GOP has entered a phase where it literally cannot make sense from one day to the next.  On the sequester they are simultaneously arguing that the sequester is no big deal, but it is also going to kill us all in our sleep and it's all Obama's fault.  Rubin is arguing that Hagel is an anti-Semite for saying that pro-Israel lobbyists exert too much influence over our foreign policy and then turns around and say that the pro-Israel lobbyists could have defeated him if they had exerted more pressure.

Rubin is on quite the losing streak.  Her unfailing flogging of Romney's campaign helped sustain the illusion in some quarters that Romney was viable.  That must have been a rough night when the returns came in.  Romney at least has his millions to console him.  Rubin has to keep churning out incoherent and spectacularly wrong columns.

Bless her heart.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

This Is Pretty Good

I haven't been combing the Internets as much since the elections since it all seems to be Flying Monkeys All The Time.

But James Fallows has a nice bit here:

Ezra Klein Is Confused

Klein can't figure out what the GOP position on the sequester is, because what they are saying makes no sense in any rational world.

My guess is that he's being subtly snarky.  The Republican position makes perfect sense if we accept the fact that the entire GOP Caucus is being held hostage to people like Louis Gohmert.

Use that calculus and the entire nonsensical position of the House makes perfect sense.

Booman makes this clear.

Monday, February 25, 2013

WTF Utah?


Just repeal the damned Sequester.

If you want to cut federal spending to the bone, do it through the budgetary process.  Don't put in place some fiscal doomsday machine.

Repeal the Sequester and then have a straight fight over the budget.  And let the electorate make the final decision as to who is to blame.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Random Oscar Observation

I worked really hard to see as many Best Picture nominees as I could.

The one I missed was Life of Pi.

I think the Steven Spielberg hate is kind of lame.  Lincoln was amazing.  Just because so many of the voters didn't like history class is no reason to torment the poor man.

I guess Lincoln could still win under the nine nominations curveball. but it looks like  Life of Pi's night.
Wow, totally thought it would be Jessica Chastain.  But Jennifer Lawrence actually did a great job with a tricky role.
"Our next presenter needs no introduction."  That was pretty funny.

If it's not Daniel Day Lewis, I'll plotz.

Joaquin Phoenix was having a snack.

Good!  Amazing performance, impossible role.  Wow, first guy to win three Best Actor awards.

OK, stayed up this long...

Argo?  What the f......?!?!?

I blame Obama.

No seriously, I blame Obama.

Walking Dead Liveblog

Well, let's see what the Governor has in store tonight.

Or what they have in store for the Governor.

Merle being Merle.  Herschel being Jeremiah.

Carl... ouch.  Yet... aww.
Merle and Herschel, quite an odd couple.

Maybe Merle isn't a mole.  Still not sure, but maybe.

Carol sometimes seems like a comparable moral center to the show with Herschel.  I'm not sure that they have used her properly.

Oh, Andrea.  You can't trust Milton with your secrets.

The Governor needs a pirate eye patch.  There we go.

Oh, Milton...
(Christoph Waltz?  Really?  Over Alan Arkin, Robert DeNiro and Tommy Lee Jones?)

Andrea learned a few things from Michonne.

Ah... Tyrese!

I'm guessing Michonne isn't the forgiving kind of person.

Noooo, not Tyrese in Woodbury!
Andrea makes an entrance..

"Where's Shane?"  Ummm.

Wow, that was really interesting.  Andrea was making sense in a pre-zombie world.  But maybe Rick and the group were right in rejecting what seems like a reasonable offer of mediation.
Michonne finally has a speaking part!

Aha!  Interesting change of direction.  And Tyrese knows about the back entrance.

Wow, Carol.  So much for being the moral center...

So what will be the moment when Andrea opens her eyes?
Actually, what will be the moment when Tyrese opens his eyes?

So, will Andrea try Carol Coitus Interruptus?

Wow, Tom Waits of course survives the apocalypse.  Beth's a better singer than Tom, but some things simply can't be killed.

Ah, there's Tom...  Somehow perfect.  Not a huge fan of the use of pop songs, but I'll make an exception.

Oh, Andrea.  Love is a weakness in the land of the Walking Dead.

Interesting teaser for next week.  I guess they didn't want to put too much into the Oscars episode.
I took the character quiz and came up as Glenn.  Interesting.


I just saw a picture of the Braves stretching before a ST game.  Green grass, warm sun - things I will not see for a month at least, and that's only if we go to Georgia.

Feeling kind of stabby....

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Interesting Read,0,2682953.story

I've been very impressed with Malloy as a governor.  He's been intelligent, balanced and forceful when he needs to be.  Of course, he has super-majorities in the legislature, but he's done well.

He also has the charisma of a doorknob, which limits his upside beyond Hartford.

But this is an interesting take about what happens when a smart, calculating politician comes face to face with something that exceeds the moral calculus of politics.

Friday, February 22, 2013


Four classes with three preps, including a course I've never taught before; a full faculty meeting; wrestling practice; drive the Things to Hartford because I have a wrestling tournament tomorrow; Glorious Wife is in Boston; and Thing Two is home on crutches with a sprained ankle.  We are expecting a snow storm tomorrow that will no doubt complicate the wrestling tournament.

The good news is the first spring training game is being played right now.

Not sure it evens out...

Thursday, February 21, 2013

I'm Leaning Towards "No"

Hey Mexicans!  They baked you a cake!

Conventional wisdom has it that the Republican Racist Caucus will piss and moan a bunch, but eventually we will get immigration reform, because the mandarins of the GOP realize that they HAVE to pass immigration reform in order to remain viable nationally.

I don't think so.

I think there simply is too much ingrained institutionalized hatred of both Latinos and Obama within the ranks of the GOP to allow a bill to pass.

Case in point: Obama puts out his plan which is substantively quite similar to Rubio's.  Rubio declares it DOA, because it has Obama's name on it.  Childish, sure, but illustrative of how reflexive the GOP's hatred of Obama is.  They simply can't allow him to get anything he wants.  It's the attitude of a tantrum prone toddler, but it's also the SOP for the GOP.

Secondly, the House members - and several Senators - who can combine to "kill the bill" don't give a rat's ass about the national prospects of the Republican Party.  Some Teatard standard bearer from a safe district in Idaho or Virginia isn't going to turn around and imperil himself by embracing a common sense measure to allow people in this country to legalize their status.  So what if it sinks any chance Rubio/Paul/Jindal/McDonnell has for winning the White House.

They will be taking their cues from the Ted Cruz's of the world, not the sodden mess that is John Boehner.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Immigration Dance

This is the key dynamic.  For all his anger and repressed rage, McCain still is smart enough to see that immigration reform is essential for his party's future in Arizona, Nevada, Texas and maybe Georgia.

But the angry old cranks who turn up at Town Halls and yell at Senators are not interested in the long term health of the Republican party or even the merits of a comprehensive immigration bill.

They are scared.  Scared of what Lou Dobbs and Rush Limbaugh and the lesser bile spewing demon spawn of the Right Wing Wurlitzer have been whispering in their ears for years.  "Mexican drug cartels are killing Americans in their sleep."  "Fast and furious..."  "Aztlan"

And so McCain - who could be fashioning a piece of legislation that will be his legacy since McCain Feingold got eviscerated by Scalito and Company - is instead going to have to spend his time warding off the crazy in his own party.

There have been a lot of stories written about what the GOP needs to do in order win national elections again.

The first thing they have to do is wean themselves off the crazy.  But the crazy has been their bread and butter ever since Bubba Clinton got into the White House.  The crazy is what keeps them warm.

How can the GOP become not-crazy and still remain the GOP?

Stop The Killing

No.  I'm not talking about gun violence in America.

I'm talking about the BBC and PBS.

Which show has a higher body count?  The Walking Dead or Downton Abbey?

Monday, February 18, 2013

I've Got Zip

Ted Cruz is a jerkoff... Lindsey Graham is a crass opportunist... blah blah blah.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Walking Dead Liveblog

OK, so Rick was freaking out, the Governor was plotting, Andrea was inspiring and Tyrese was perspiring.  Let's see where we go from here.

Has Ghost Lori come to absolve or torment?  Or is the torment the absolution?
The great thing about the Governor is that you're never quite sure if he's veering towards sincerity or just playing another game?  Is he a sociopath?  Or a damaged person?  He's a villain, but you're never sure if he's a complete monster.

Daryl agonistes.  Great storyline.

The new Glenn is a bad ass, but not as much fun as old Glenn.

How did Milton survive the apocalypse?
Milton, you probably aren't going to beat Andrea... at anything.

See Glenn?  Being a badass isn't always a path to happiness.

Carol's got a boooooyfriend...

Is the new Daryl finally going to realize that Merle has never changed?
Oh, Daryl just got zombie kill of the week...  OK, zombie kills of the week.

Ah, the showdown!

Yay!  Daryl!

I always thought the Governor staged the fight between Merle and Daryl in order to get Merle inside the prison.  What will he do if Merle comes back a failure?
So... what's up with Rick?  And Tyrese's group for that matter?

Herschel is the new Dale.

Baby therapy.  Talk therapy.  It's all good.  Still, some Abilify might be nice for Rick about now.

OK, so much for Carol and Axel...
That whole thing was more than just a little kick ass.  Wow.  All that was missing was a Tyrese sighting.

I think Rick is angry.  Just a hunch.

Was the Governor's attack on the prison a way to get Merle into the prison?

For God's Sake, Just Stop It

Look.  I know we haven't always gotten along in the past, and for the last twelve years or so, it's been pretty rocky between us.  So Republicans, I can understand if you don't want to listen.

But, stop it.

Just.... stop it.

Stop trying to find a minority candidate to solve your problems with minorities.

Michael Steele and Herman Cain, and yes, Ben Carson are not going to suddenly win you votes from people who care about a pluralistic America.

Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz - who are conservative Cubans - are not going to win you votes among the other Latino demographics who are liberal.

There is a thing called tokenism.  And minorities are acutely aware of when they are being treated as a token.

If you want to appeal to minorities and women and young people, you need to change your policies.  Simply put, you can't just throw up a minority candidate and expect minorities to vote for you, when your policies - from voter suppression to retrogressive taxation to gutting social spending that benefits the poor - is what makes minorities vote for Democrats.

Not because Obama is a black guy.

And your inability to see that simply drive the message home all the more.

Sunday Thought

The next pontiff of Rome should be Dutch.

Because the only possible thing to top ex-Benedict is someone who knows Holland days.

Thank you, I'll be here all week.  Try the veal.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Speaking Of Hagel

Josh Marshall usually doesn't right this much at one sitting.  Worth reading:

Exclusive! Must Credit Zombieland!

Vatican spokesman eager to change the subject 
from centuries of enabling child rape.

News from the Vatican is that the GOP is filibustering the Conclave.  They mistook the College of Cardinals for Stanford, which - despite the Hoover Institute - is a repository of "book larning" and so dangerous.  And they immediately launched into a filibuster of the efforts to select a new Pope to replace Leon Panetta... er... Pope Panzerfaust I.

Spokesmen for the Vatican tried to explain that the GOP could not, in fact, filibuster the Conclave, to which John McCain and Lindsey Graham replied that it wasn't a filibuster anyway, so relax.

Unnamed sources within the GOP caucus report that strategists knowledgeable about the decision to filibuster the Conclave are banking on reservoirs of good will amongst the cardinals.  "Our last remaining strength is among angry, old, white men.  And few people are angrier or older than this collection of 60 year old celibates."

Another source confirmed that if there appears to be any irreparable breach developing between the Catholic prelates and the GOP a few well chosen words about abortion, birth control pills and legitimate rape should repair the damage.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Not Big Enough

The faint hope that we have reached a level of stupidity so profound that God would send a comet to destroy us was brought closer to reality this morning.

Consider this a warning shot across the bow of the world.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Stay Thirsty My Friends

Just basically outsourcing the blog.

Apropos Of Nothing

This is cool:

Happy Valentine's Day

x-posted at f-ing Facebook:

A Valentine's Day Wish for my sons:

Be fools for love, my little friends.
Open your heart to the possibility of pain and joy.
Throw your arms wide enough to embrace the world and if that exposes your tenderest parts, and if those tenderest parts are wounded, know that they will heal.
And when your broken heart heals, it will heal bigger and stronger for having loved in the first place.

In short, love the world as I love you.

Had to post this:

Wednesday, February 13, 2013


Egads, what a month.  Even at 28 days it's too long.  January grinds you down and February swallows you up.

I read the SOTU instead of watching it.  I have to catch up with Downton Abbey and there was a new Justified on, so I went with that instead.  Can't say I regretted it, though it read as a pretty good speech.

I hear Marco Rubio was improperly hydrated.  Seriously, why even do a response?  They've killed more careers than extramarital sex and are a lot less fun.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Don't Believe The Official Line



They were "hacked".

Ted Cruz Is Rivaling Inhofe For Senate's Asshole

What Bill Nelson said in his boring monotone is the Senatorial equivalent of hitting him over the head with a folding chair.  (In keeping with our wrestling theme...)

I Don't Know What To Say About This

I know some people who were involved in bringing the '96 games to Atlanta.  I have no doubt that this decision was made because of graft and bribery.  The swells who support modern pentathlon bribed members of the committee.

This is an outrage.  Plain and simple.  Wrestling is one of the world's oldest and most prestigious sports; modern pentathlon is a joke.

But all of these governing bodies - IOC, FIFA, the owners of American professional sports teams - are profoundly undemocratic and unresponsive.  At least Bud Selig and Roger Goodell have to worry about the fans and selling their product.  They bend to market forces if nothing else.

But these European based sports bodies are just the worst.

And this is a dark day for the Olympics.

UPDATE: Spread the word:

Monday, February 11, 2013

Pope Panzerfaust I Retires

Well that was interesting.

No telling why he's hanging it up.  Being Pope must've been a pretty swell job once upon a time.  But given the recent child rape scandals and the financial shenanigans involved, it suddenly became a very different gig.

Given that Pope Panzerfaust was at the heart of covering up these scandals, I guess I don't have too much sympathy for him.

Still, he was widely seen as a place holder pontiff anyway.  Someone to bridge the gap after JP II.

The question is, the Church has been given an opportunity to re-invent itself for the 21st century.  Hell, for the 20th century.

Whom they pick as their next pope will go a long way towards telling us whether the Catholic hierarchy intends to confront their past sins and make amends or continue to walk blithely down the path of denial and ultimate irrelevancy.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Walking Dead

And here we go...

So is the Governor warped or just planting Merle in with Rick's group?

Plant.  Merle gave it away.
Leave Merle!

Tyrese is going to be my new favorite, I bet.

OK, option C.  Merle and Daryl on their own.  Didn't see that coming.
Hey.  Glenn.  I think you get him.

The funny thing is that the Ricktatorship is not really all THAT different from the Governor, except Rick retains some small sense of decency.  But the reason they are leaders is that they have become tough, tough SOBs.
Hey, Governor.  Don't piss off Andrea.  You won't like her when she's angry.

Ahhhh, sexual tension between Rick and the teenager.  Figured that would happen.  Also, too, Carl has a crush on her.

Lori's eyes.  And Lori's vengeful nature.
"You're like me own son, Glenn."  Got something in my eye...

This probably means they'll kill of Herschel soon.
Rick's starting to lose it again.  Always a fun moment.

So Little To Talk About

I guess... drones?  That's the beat at Daily Kos today.

Global warming?  Nothing to see hear.

Walking Dead is on tonight.  Downton Abbey, too.  Quite a pairing...

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Blinding Nemo

Well, we have power.  And two plus feet of snow.  My guess is there must be drifts deep enough to lose Thing Two in.

And did I mention my snowblower is broken?  I guess it doesn't matter too much as there's too much snow for it to work...

UPDATE: Got the snowblower working.  Thanks be to the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Most Offensive Super Bowl Ad

I hated the Paul Harvey ad.  This sums up why:

Sequester THIS!

Anything Congress does, Congress can undo.  For instance, say, the Assault Weapons Ban.

The Sequester is a made up crisis (like the fiscal cliff curb) that can be unmade by Congress.  We are starting to reduce the deficit anyway.  If we can get the economy going again, even more will go away.  If people are back at work they won't be claiming unemployment and food assistance.

Simply repeal the damned sequester and then fight over the budget they way James Madison intended.


Seriously, it's almost like the weather is getting more extreme for no reason that scientist can explain ever.

In case you were wondering where Nemo came from...

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Winter Storm Nemo

As we await the coming Snowpocalypse 2013, I am struck by how everyone goes out to buy milk. Why do we buy milk?  Is milk some sort of anti-blizzard totem?

My snowblower doesn't work because that's just the way this winter is working out.

The wrestling tournament has been moved to Sunday which means I just lost my only free day. Or rather free half-day.

Life sucks, but it beats the alternative.


"It's not that conservative people are more fearful it's that fearful people are more conservative."

Hence all the angry white men in tri-corner hats wanting to "take back our country".

It's not really all that complicated.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Wake Me When It's Over

Never had so long a winter, except for all the ones before it, I guess.

The Wonderful Wife always wanted to move south.  For the first time I agree.

And I still didn't win the lottery this week.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Missing The Point

Steven D at Booman's place misses an essential point of the drone program.  And I bet most of the commentators miss this essential point, too.

They are focusing on when someone may be determined to be planning attacks on the US.  What if they renounced - but quietly - their intents to attack the US and we go ahead and kill them anyway?   What - asks Steven D - about Timothy McVeigh or the Unibomber.

Allow me to interject:

Look... There is ex parte Milligan and posse comitatus.  The military may not be used when courts are open and functioning.

Full stop.

The use of drones is intended only for those situations where using police (US or otherwise) or special forces is not feasible.  Since most of these guys are out in the Hindu Kush or the wilds of Yemen, that seems pretty reasonable.

Now, I get the idea that having a non-adversarial panel or even a "well-informed senior governmental official" make a lethal decision is troubling.  And I agree that in a perfect world that is not something we would want.

But in no way shape or form does this apply to US citizens in the US.  Or Germany.  Or England.  Or India.

It applies to US citizens who are actively engaged in hostilities with the United States.  Determining the difference between some guy ranting on the Internet and someone actively plotting an attack is tricky.  And this memo isn't reassuring on that point.

But the people who think that this means drones are going to be used by future presidents against people in the US are only slightly different from the people who keep Bushmasters in their closets for when the gubmint comes.

Monday, February 4, 2013

The Wilderness

When the Democrats were wandering in the presidential wilderness from roughly LBJ to Clinton, they had a lot of voices in their party that pretty much only seemed to be out for themselves or for their narrow interest group.  The New Left, Jesse Jackson, Scoop Jackson, the DLC... There was a group for everyone and too many voices.

It looks like the GOP is falling into that dynamic.

As "the Establishment" fights with "the Base" you can be sure that they won't be coming up with new ideas.  Rather they will be fighting about the old ideas.  Bill Clinton gave the Democrats a new direction: fiscal responsibility and social moderation that has largely defined the mainstream of the party since 1992.  This has lead to gnashing of teeth among the Manic Progressives, but there is a reason Democrats have only lost the popular vote once since 1992.

Meanwhile, if there is a perfect symbol of what is wrong with the GOP, it's that the "Establishment" has turned to Turdblossom himself to lead their efforts.

Once again, Rove has found a way to suckle at the teat of millionaires and billionaires without actually having to succeed.  Because this time will be different.

Karl Rove helped a mildly charismatic son of a former president win a contested election that, frankly, he probably lost.  Then incumbency and wartime patriotism got that man re-elected by the slimmest of margins.

Why in the world does that make Karl Rove worth the millions of dollars that the GOP mandarins will spend on him?

Put another way, why is being "Bush's Brain" anything but an employment liability?

Sunday, February 3, 2013


Why beat the Falcons if the Niners are just going to crap the bed like this?

The Puppy Bowl was more intense

UPDATE: Annnnnnd, it's worse.

Friday, February 1, 2013


I've been critical of Obama's approach to global warming as being too sly and not pronounced enough.

But that's a nice trend.  Congratulations on winning that "war on coal" Mr. President.