(At least until they close this little security loophole)
July 29, 2010
July 22, 2010
“When you’re falsely villified and sacked, you’ve been Vilsacked.”
July 19, 2010
The GOP is still in love with Ronald Reagan; Republicans invoke his name in hagiographic tones. Newsweek provides a little perspective with two articles. The first, “Even Reagan Wasn’t a Reagan Republican” notes:
Conservatives would claim that the Republican Party can only regain power by “returning to its roots” and banishing heretics. But a funny thing happened on the way to winning national elections again: the GOP has drifted so far right that it’s retroactively disqualified the only Republicans since 1960 who’ve actually managed to, you know, win national elections. Based on their public statements, policy proposals, and accomplishments while in office, none of the modern Republican presidents—not Richard Nixon, not Gerald Ford, not George H.W. Bush, not even Ronald Reagan or George W. Bush—would come close to satisfying the Republican base if they were seeking election today.
The second, What Would Reagan Really Do?, asks how Reagan would have reacted to today’s problems:
It’s doubtful, for example, that a contemporary Reagan figure would seek to solve every problem by cutting taxes. In 1981, the former California governor swept into office promising to slash taxes to their lowest-ever levels—and with the Economic Recovery Tax Act, that’s exactly what he did. When Reagan arrived in the White House, the top marginal tax rate was 70 percent; by 1987 it was 38.5 percent (roughly the same as the rate under Bill Clinton). But while today’s conservatives continue to call for lower taxes in the name of the Gipper—Grover Norquist’s Americans for Tax Reform, for example, pressures Republicans to sign a “no new tax” pledge every election cycle—there’s simply no evidence in Reagan’s record to suggest that he would’ve followed his signature achievement by pushing for ever lower rates.
In fact, much the opposite. In 1982, Reagan agreed to restore a third of the previous year’s massive cut. It was the largest tax increase in U.S. history. In 1983, he raised the gasoline tax by five cents a gallon and instituted a payroll-tax hike that helped fund Medicare and Social Security. In 1984, he eliminated loopholes worth $50 billion over three years. And in 1986, he supported the progressive Tax Reform Act, which hit businesses with a record-breaking $420 billion in new fees. When it came to taxation, there were two Reagans: the pre-1982 version, who did more than any other president to lighten America’s tax burden, and his post-1982 doppelgänger, who was willing (if not always happy) to compensate for gaps in the government’s revenue stream by raising rates.
As a coda, there’s Barry Ritholz of “The Big Picture”, who criticizes those in the GOP who are now arguing hard for austerity and a reduction in spending, especially since Reagan had no such love of austerity:
I continue to see the Austerian movement in the United States as thinly disguised partisan politics. These are people who will say anything to keep the subsidies and tax benefits flowing to their electoral base. They will say anything –regardless of whether they actually believe these things — to thwart the opposing fellows priorities.
Anyone who believes the new deficit fighters care about deficits has not been paying attention. This is simply about power and money and legislative priorities and cash. With only a very few exceptions, it has nothing to do actual fiscal priorities and debt loads and deficits.
July 9, 2010
Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you your social-conservative wedge issue for Election Day 2010:
A federal judge in Boston, Massachusetts, has ruled that the federal ban on gay marriage is unconstitutional, because it interferes with an individual state’s right to define marriage.
The ruling gives same-sex married couples in Massachusetts the same right to federal benefits that heterosexual couples enjoy.
July 7, 2010
Even CBS News can’t believe it; they titled their article “Glenn Beck University? Yes. Glenn Beck University.”
Yes. Glenn Beck University. For all your lunatic revisionist educational needs. Mother Jones has already speculated on the course offerings.
In the end, Storm DiCostanzo gets the last word.
July 5, 2010
Minority Leader John Boehner says that the Dems in Washington are “snuffing out the America that I grew up in.”
Over at Daily Kos, brooklynbadboy responds:
I don’t know the America John Boehner grew up in.
I don’t know what it’s like for a high school graduate to be able to get a union job at a factory and earn enough money to support a wife and kids. I don’t know what it’s like to be born at a hospital and have my parents rejoice at my birth rather than cower in fear of the bill. I don’t know what it’s like to have food, clothing and housing expenses constitute reasonable percentage of household income.
…I don’t know what it’s like to go to a bank and be offered one type of 30-year fixed rate mortgage. I don’t know what it’s like not to have to worry about bank fees that cost more than small household appliances. Usury laws. Boy, those must have been nice! There were all those heavy regulations on banks that were in place since the 1930′s. John Boehner didn’t have to worry about financial crashes during his first 37 years of life because there weren’t any. Since deregulation began in 1982, I’ve had three.
I don’t know what it’s like to live under a government that looked out for ordinary people. Never have. I don’t know what it’s like to have a government that did great things like build national highway systems or explore the heavens. Or alleviate poverty in city centers and far-away mountains. I don’t know what it’s like to never have to worry about the national debt. That’s because in John Boehner’s America rich people paid taxes.
July 2, 2010
As reported here, newspapers used to describe waterboarding as torture… until it became “enhanced interrogation” and a vital part of the “war on terror”, at which point newspapers all but stopped describing it as such:
“From the early 1930s until the modern story broke in 2004, the newspapers that covered waterboarding almost uniformly called the practice torture or implied it was torture,” the study noted. But the study found that things changed in the years when “war on terror” became part of the American lexicon.
The New York Times defined waterboarding as torture, or effectively implied that it was, 81.5 percent of the time in articles until 2004, the study found. But during 2002-2008 — when the George W. Bush White House made a concerted effort to normalize harsh interrogation methods for use on terror detainees — the Times “called waterboarding torture or implied it was torture in just 2 of 143 articles.” That’s 1.4 percent of the time.
The study also noted a disparity in how newspapers defined waterboarding when the United States employed the practice versus its use by other nations — in the latter instance, newspapers more readily called the practice torture.
July 1, 2010
In a tongue-in-cheek call for immigration reform, farm workers are teaming up with comedian Stephen Colbert to challenge unemployed Americans: Come on, take our jobs.
Farm workers are tired of being blamed by politicians and anti-immigrant activists for taking work that should go to Americans and dragging down the economy, said Arturo Rodriguez, the president of the United Farm Workers of America.
So the group is encouraging the unemployed — and any Washington pundits or anti-immigrant activists who want to join them — to apply for the some of thousands of agricultural jobs being posted with state agencies as harvest season begins.
All applicants need to do is fill out an online form under the banner “I want to be a farm worker” at http://www.takeourjobs.org, and experienced field hands will train them and connect them to farms.
Read on at Yahoo News for the whole AP article.
A team of leading historians and psychiatrists issued a report Wednesday claiming that the United States was likely the victim of abuse by its founding fathers and motherland when it was a young colony.
“In its adulthood, the U.S. displays all the classic tendencies of a nation that was repeatedly mistreated in its infancy—difficulty forming lasting foreign relationships, viewing everyone as a potential enemy, and employing a pattern of assault and intimidation to assert its power,” said Dr. Howard Drexel, the report’s lead author. “Because of trust issues stemming from the abuse, America has become withdrawn, has not made an ally in years, and often resents the few nations that are willing to lend support—most countries outgrow this kind of behavior after 230 years.”
…”The U.S. is characteristic of an abused nation in that, even decades after noisily pushing away from Britain, it still maintained close contact with the motherland, took care of it, even giving it financial aid—all the while fearing disapproval even though the parent country is now old, decrepit, and powerless,” said Bauffman, a prominent contributor to the fourth edition of the Democratic Symptoms Of Maltreatment handbook, or DSM-IV. “On the other hand, Canada, which was raised in the very same continent by the same mother country, only exercised small-scale resistance, remaining loyal well into its maturity. Though some see Canada as cold and remote, it has, unlike the U.S., managed to lead a peaceful, reasonably healthy existence.”