Saturday, November 19, 2011
Rick Santorum says Americans should "suffer"
During a town hall meeting in Ottumwa, Iowa Friday afternoon, Rick Santorum argued that Americans receive too many government benefits and ought to "suffer" in the Christian tradition. If "you're lower income, you can qualify for Medicaid, you can qualify for food stamps, you can qualify for housing assistance," Santorum complained, before adding, "suffering is part of life and it's not a bad thing, it is an essential thing in life."
Rick Perry's "dog whistle" and a campaign that is nearing its end
That's the dog whistle that Rick Perry is going for. The president was not raised privileged. He wasn't handed anything. He absolutely had to work for everything he got. But for Rick Perry to say that President Obama was privileged and didn't have to work for what he got, that code is, he got into Columbia University, he got into Harvard University not through merit, not because he is smart, but because he took the place of someone else through affirmative action, that someone else being someone white.
Friday, November 18, 2011
This day in music - November 18, 1968: Glen Campbell's "By the Time I Get to Phoenix" and "Gentle on My Mind" are certified Gold
Ann Coulter throws Newt Gingrich under the bus
Herman Cain gets Secret Service protection
Presidential candidate Herman Cain will receive protection from the United States Secret Service, the agency confirms to CNN.
Cain will be the first candidate in the race for the Republican presidential nomination in the 2012 election cycle to be placed under the protection of this federal law enforcement agency.
It is not yet clear why Cain is getting Secret Service protection.
Herman Cain embraces his own stupidity
Patriotic Millionaires demand higher taxes on the wealthy
Thursday, November 17, 2011
NFL 2011: Week 11 Thursday Night Football
Moral of the story, weird things happen, and with Michael and Richard putting on a "pick 'em" clinic here I figured this is an opportunity (a Hail Mary one at that) to make-up some ground. I'm taking Denver. I'm hoping Sanchez offers up some pick-sixes so that Tebow doesn't have to do it all... Yes, I'm working to maintain a straight face here.
This day in music - November 17, 1962: The Four Seasons start a five-week run at No. 1 on the U.S. singles charts with "Big Girls Don't Cry"
Vote Bachmann off the island
Things aren't going well for Mitt Romney: weak support with a low ceiling, intense conservative opposition, and, yes, Romneycare
Jonathan Gruber, the M.I.T. professor whose ideas were central to Mitt Romney's health reform law as governor of Massachusetts, has pilloried Romney in the past for seeming to distance himself from his signature accomplishment. But I'm not sure he's ever gone quite as far as he did in this interview with Capital New York, in which he said Romney is flat out "lying" when he tries to make a distinction between Romneycare and Obamacare.
I'm with Steve Benen and Jonathan Bernstein: Why aren't Romney's GOP rivals attacking him more aggressively over this? A recent Bloomberg poll found that more than half of likely Iowa caucus goers would "rule out" supporting Romney because of Romneycare's individual mandate. Why aren't Romney's rivals hitting him harder over Romneycare, day in and day out?
Why isn't this an absolutely dominant issue in the GOP primary?
Elizabeth Warren hits back against Karl Rove and company
NEW YORK - Two days after the encampment that sparked the global Occupy movement was cleared by authorities, demonstrators in New York City and around the country were promising mass gatherings Thursday in support of the cause.
In San Francisco Wednesday, anti-Wall Street activists swarmed into a Bank of America branch and tried to set up camp in the lobby. About 100 demonstrators rushed into the bank, chanting "money for schools and education, not for banks and corporations."
Thursday's day of action had been planned before New York City and park owners cracked down on the encampment in Zuccotti Park in lower Manhattan, but took on added importance to the protesters after tents, tarps and sleeping bags were cleared out early Tuesday and the granite plaza was cleaned for the first time since the group arrived more than two months ago.
"We will get boots on the ground again," said Rory Simpson, 29, who described himself as an itinerant activist as he made signs Wednesday evening. "This is not over yet."
So long as it's not boots to asses, everything should be OK. The idea is to take the message where it matters: to the people, and to the bankers.
The bankers won't care, but they must be challenged. The people will care, and they will listen-- most of them. It wouldn't surprise me if a counterprotest shows up, but so what?
This is all happening against the backdrop of two events. First, the attempt two nights ago to shut down OWS by throwing them out of Zuccotti Park, and second...
“Unless the euro zone debt crisis is resolved in a timely and orderly manner, the broad credit outlook for the U.S. banking industry could worsen,” the New York-based rating company said yesterday in a statement. Even as U.S. banks have “manageable” exposure to stressed European markets, “further contagion poses a serious risk,” Fitch said, without explaining what it meant by contagion.
The “exposures” of U.S. lenders to major European banks and the stressed nations of Greece, Ireland, Italy, Portugal and Spain, known as the GIIPS, are smaller than those to some of the continent’s larger countries, Fitch said.
I respect Fitch Ratings, and have oftened referred to them on some matters. This time, however, I think they may be understating the case a bit.
The "GIIPS" problem is deeper than the European Union has admitted.
Think about it this way: who is holding the debt of those nations, about to default? Mostly, it's European banks. Some of those banks are on fairly stable ground, to be sure, but many are not. Indeed, some received bailout packages from the US in 2008 and 2009. And now, we're directly bailing out the EU.
Let me rephrase that: our debt is holding together their debt.
So if you went to the bank and mortgaged your house, then your neighbor came to you and said "Listen, I'm tapped, and I need to get my house fixed. Can you lend me a few?" Now you're not only in danger if you run into trouble, but if your neighbor loses his house, you've lost that money, as well. Yea, you can pay it back over time, but that's income you won't have later on.
Now, five nations are on the hook. Italy and Greece have had a minor crisis already. Of those five, while it's not likely all five will fold, it's also unlikely that none will.
If one does, it's conceivable the EU can survive. If two go, all bets are off. And two are already on the brink, barring a sudden influx of discipline and growth.
Meanwhile, Occupy will be keeping a public face for those who did not get a Fed-approved bailout two or three years ago. Occupy will humanize for the dishuman right wingers the face of the 99%. And Occupy will remind Bernanke and Obama that there is a more pressing need than bailing out Goldman Sachs or Citibank: bailing out people who have fallen through the cracks.
University of Texas Republican calls killing Obama "tempting"
Hours after Pennsylvania State Police arrested a 21-year-old Idaho man for allegedly firing a semi-automatic rifle at the White House, the top student official for the College Republicans at the University of Texas tweeted that the idea of assassinating President Obama was "tempting."
At 2:29 p.m. ET, UT's Lauren E. Pierce wrote: "Y'all as tempting as it may be, don't shoot Obama. We need him to go down in history as the WORST president we've EVER had! #2012."
Pierce, the president of the College Republicans at UT Austin, told ABC News the comment was a "joke" and that the "whole [shooting incident] was stupid." Giggling, she said that an attempted assassination would "only make the situation worse."
"Insofar as she's a representative [of the College Republicans], maybe it shouldn't be said, but she's made a positive statement in a way," said Cassie Wright, the group's vice president.
"I don't really see anything wrong with it," Wright added. "It's just a personal comment, not representative of any group. Just freedom of speech, you know?"
Wednesday, November 16, 2011
This day in music - November 16, 1970: Anne Murray's "Snowbird" is certified a Gold record
Michele Bachmann, cervical cancer's BFF
Michele Bachmann is still defending her opposition to the vaccine that prevents HPV, the leading cause of cervical cancer. At a campaign event in Sheldon, Iowa on Monday night, she sympathized with a mother who believes her daughter Jessica, now 16, has been debilitated by headaches, pains and seizures brought on by the vaccine three years ago and can no longer attend school.
"Michele, on behalf of myself and a lot of other mothers that have a child that’s sick from the Gardasil vaccine, I would like to thank you for the attention that you brought to it," Julie Wepple said, according to the Des Moines Register.
Bachmann thanked Wepple for bringing up the vaccine issue. "Parents have to make that decision for their kids because it isn't the schools that are going to follow up with Jessica," she said. "It isn’t the schools that live with Jessica every day. It’s Jessica who’s having to have her body live with the ravages of this vaccine."
After the debate, she sent out "a fundraising appeal," as the WaPo reports, claiming that the HPV vaccine, already opposed on the right for supposedly promoting promiscuity, can lead to "mental retardation." There is good reason to call out Perry, who mandated the vaccine in Texas, for his connections to the vaccine's maker, the pharmaceutical giant Merck, but Bachmann's claim is completely unfounded, just the sort of claim you can expect from a rampant conspiracy theorist like her. Even if you're suspicious of Big Pharma (as I am), even if you think that some vaccines are unnecessary and possibly worse (as I do, though I'm hardly anti-pharma and consider most vaccines to be essential to good health), it takes a leap into the chasm of craziness to think that this particular vaccine, Gardisil, causes "mental retardation." There may be side effects, of course, as there are with all drugs, but Gardisil would appear to be safe. My conservative friend Ed Morrissey acknowledges this, and Dear Leader Rush actually said that Bachmann had jumped the shark (as if this was finally the last straw).
Giving Smokin' Joe Frazier his due
In his familiar, incantatory style, Jackson said that if Rocky, a fighter that existed only on the movie screen, deserved a statue in downtown Philadelphia, so did Frazier, a somewhat forgotten figure whose former gym in north Philadelphia is now a store that sells furniture and mattresses.
Apparently struck by the absurdity of it all, Michael A. Nutter, Philadelphia's mayor, has said he is working with the Frazier family to build a memorial, an idea, the Times indicated, "that seemed to gain momentum with the rhythm of Jackson's eulogy."
Rocky is fictitious; Joe was reality. Rocky's fists are frozen in stone. Joe's fists were smokin'. Rocky never faced Ali or Holmes or Norton or Foreman. Rocky never tasted his own blood. Champions are made in the ring, not in the movies.
Okay, Jessie. Take a deep breath. But you do have a point. It's true that I really cannot imagine how anyone can justify boxing, a sport the goal of which is to literally incapacitate one's opponent to the point that he cannot go on, with bonus points if rendered unconscious.