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A couple of weeks ago, I got a letter into the Inky about the NSA and mentioned that the current NSA program was fundamentally the same as G.W. Bush's. A right-winger wrote me to complain "You liberals always have to drag up Bush's name, don't you?" Well, this piece about Republicans changing their minds and deciding that Obama's NSA program is the worst thing ever, shows the reason I did that. I completely agree with them that the program is terrible, but the hypocrisy of denouncing Obama's program when they said nothing about Bush's IS pretty stunning.
I would be truly amazed if anyone in Florida thinks that Governor Rick Scott's habit of answering questions was in any way appropriate for any politician under any circumstances. He just casually blows off any questions he doesn't feel like answering. The facts that the citizens of Florida have a right and a need to know his thoughts on some matters is something he treats with complete disdain
Hmm, let's see, hundreds of thousands of voters without IDs, 9,300 polling places and only 71 DMVs (places to get IDs)...nah, I don't see any problems with that! [/snark] If the Corbett Administration had been putting up plans to spend lots of money to fix the problem, that'd be one thing. But they've been doing no such thing, which means to me that they're not at all serious.
Very cool and quite necessary if the pot businesses are going to function well. Attorney General Holder is carrying out an action that's badly needed.
GunFAIL #53 - Numbers 11 & 12 are especially "WTF?!?!?!!"
The Inky's Trudy Rubin thinks it's really terrible that the US is abandoning Syria. Yeah, Assad is a really evil guy, but Russia is backing him and Russia's a whole lot closer to the scene than we are. She makes a heartfelt plea, but as America's armed forces are exhausted by years of fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan, it's far from clear what the US can do about the Syrian situation.
MMFA makes a very good point. If Christie felt invincible and thus got carried away by the power he possessed, then the media's always giving him worshipful coverage probably had a lot to do with that.
Further conversations with people on the other side of the aisle.
Our blogger loses a good friend to the recession.
Death penalty by lethal injection is a lousy solution that purports to be a clean, non-guilt-inducing way to execute prisoners. If we're going to continue executions (Which I oppose doing), let's do it "old school" and use something like lions or the firing squad (Guillotine works IF the device is kept in good working condition, otherwise, it's just as messy as an axe is).
On the ACA, now that it's up and running:
With new corruption allegations, I think Christie's pretty much finished as a 2016 presidential contender. No wonder people are looking to Romney with hopeful eyes.
Traditional media: "What? Why would we cover unemployed people losing their benefits?!?!? Ugh, that's so...real life! Why would we cover that when we can re-hash Benghazi for the zillionth time?"
PA Governor Tom Corbett intended to visit one of the schools that has been devastated by budget cuts, learns there were going to be protesters there and cancels his appearance. Protesters showed up anyway and marched and rallied and made speeches.
TV talk show host Nancy Grace rants about how “dangerous” marijuana is. She obviously once saw Reefer Madness and never forgot it. Her story about the stockbroker who lost everything due to her "pot addiction" sounds VERY highly suspect, as in, the stockbroker was probably doing far more than just pot.
Update: Bwah-hah-hah!!! Nancy Grace's hysterical overreaction does more for the pot legalization cause than all of the legalizers could do combined!
Very happy to see PA's Voter ID law struck down! I always thought it was a law blatantly and unequivocally designed to reduce Democratic votes, period!
Public demonstrates common sense by turning away from Duck Dynasty. Show isn't canceled by any means, but ratings are significantly down.
For some reason, the Senate bill to slap further sanctions on Iran has run out of steam. Why? Who knows? Who cares? We'll take our good news wherever we can get it!
Why isn't the public up in arms about the Senate Republican filibuster of unemployment benefits? A big part of that is the worthless, crappy coverage that the issue gets from the traditional press corps.
I've been having an online argument with a conservative in the Inky about whether the ACA is suffering a "Death Spiral." The piece here is very clear. No.
Uh...what? The NSA can't search its own database to see if it's been spying on Congress because to do that would violate internal rules?!!?!?
Four years after the earthquake, how effective has aid to Haiti been? Not useless, but seriously short of how effective such aid could be. Major problem is that an awful lot of the money is being spent to aid American industry.
Yeah, that's, uh, kind of a sort of a REALLY big problem for Christie. Where was he during the George Washington Bridge lane closures? Was he aware of the problem? Did he do anything to fix it? Turns out he was meeting with the guy who ordered the lanes closed, DURING the time they were closed! And there were other members of the Port Authority present at the meeting. A New Jersey newspaper denounces all of the Republican arm-waving and attempts at distraction. Ooh! This has gotta hurt! Knowing what a man-crush Chris Christie has on Springsteen, he's got to be completely devastated over how his hero disses him here.
I watched this segment of Fox News' Neil Cavuto "wondering" where all that infrastructure money "actually" goes. Yeah Neil, that's a real mystery [/facepalm]. Wonder if it ever occurred to him to actually compare what we need to what we spend.
ZDNet said earlier: "In a document (PDF) on the nsa.gov website, the agency said that the internet carries 1,826 Petabytes of information per day, and that its activity "touches" 1.6 percent of that data — approximately 29 petabytes, or 29 million gigabytes, of data each day." Problem: none of that data collection is actually doing America any good. A study of 225 terrorism cases showed that bulk data collection was irrelevant to solving those cases.
*Sigh*, more coverage from our lazy, derelict press corps. Problem is that, after the initial headlines, the press loses interest and the later corrections never become widely known. I had an online conversation with two right-wingers who insisted that the IRS “scandal” and Benghazi were not "fake scandals." Uh, 'fraid to say, these are very much fake scandals.
Not looking good for the president's ability to make recess appointments.
Former Fox News anchor Brit Hume has a very interesting definition of "old-fashioned" and "masculine." I just can't remember any truly masculine fellows who lost their tempers and exploded at their opponents like Christie regularly does. Maybe General Patton, who went crazy a few times, one time slapping a soldier who clearly had PTSD and stuff like that. As I recall, Patton didn't win any popularity by doing that.
The NYT's Jonathon Weisman says: "With his strong-armed change to the filibuster rule and an iron-fisted control of the Senate floor, Senator Harry Reid has engaged in the greatest consolidation of congressional power since Newt Gingrich ruled the House, unleashing a bitterness that may derail efforts to extend unemployment insurance."
Hilarious! In the context of the Chris Christie “Bridgegate” scandal, Jon Stewart "defends the honor" of New Jersey criminality. Very interesting theory as to the “why” of Bridgegate. Looking through the document dump, C&L concludes that Christie was/is surrounded by thugs, but by smart thugs who knew how to insulate the boss.
Former SecDef Bob Gates puts out a book and we get some criticisms of Obama. As "criticisms" go, this is pretty weak stuff. Of course Obama didn't believe in the war in Afghanistan. He knew that America wasn't prepared for a draft and that insignificant numbers of people had signed up to serve as construction engineers or to otherwise do public works there. Obama had such limited tools to work with, of course he didn't have any faith of winning there. Folks might recall that when Eisenhower took over and inherited the Korean War, he didn't press for “victory” either. He wanted it ended, ASAP!
Judges to women in Texas who want access to reproductive health minimizes burden of having to make a 300-mile round trip to get an abortion. 42% of women who seek abortions live below poverty line, so no, it's really not that easy for them.
The ACA is doing really well, not that one would know that from our lazy, derelict media. Fortunately, some reporters are starting to call out their peers!
Aww! [/snark] Liz Cheney has dropped her Senate run, citing family health issues.
Boo! Hiss! Supreme Court puts a hold on marriage equality in Utah! 900 couples got together before the decision came down.
Beltway “Villager”calls for Democrats and Republicans to compromise. It would kinda help for him to, you know, do some homework and to understand that his proposed agenda is completely unnecessary in order to achieve reduced deficits. Also, his calls for Social Security reductions are amazingly cruel, seeing as “most older workers have almost nothing saved for retirement.” Reducing Social security pretty directly takes food right out of people's mouths. And no, income inequality has far more to do with declining unionization and the rise of low-wage work than with jobs that need a high level of skill.
Person who later appeared on Fox News openly called for President Obama to be assassinated. What's his main complaint that justifies his calling the President a “tyrant”? Why, of course, Benghazi!!!
Mitt Romney wishes he could re-do the 2012 campaign. It's difficult to see what Romney could have done much better. His main claim was that, being a businessman, he could fix what was wrong with our economy. 1. Business and government are not interchangeable. Success in one doesn't mean you'll be successful in the other. 2. His particular business, Bain Capital, wasn't a model of success that would be in any way applicable to America as a whole. Their record at helping companies thrive was mixed, at beat.
Uuh, what? Republicans are going to attack the ACA?!?!? Again?!?!?! Uh, guys? Guys? Don't you understand? The fight is over. It's done. It's finished. It's like fighting marriage equality in Utah. The bell has rung. It's finished. Go home.
Speaking of dead-enders, fellow in Utah is starving himself until marriage equality is repealed via nullification. Gee, I guess no one ever told him the unpleasantness between the states in the 1860s. As the blogger says: "Knock yourself out, jackass. Have your friends and family join in."
Oh, and others are advocating an uprising to turn back marriage equality. One of the claims: "State sovereignty supercedes what this judge did."
Interesting reviews on how the ACA is doing on its first full day. Especially worth noting are how the medical situation was just five years ago.
The Nation reviews the case that it and others pursued against the government on the warantless wiretapping issue. As usual, the “dirty fucking hippies” were right!
Hoo-yah to the Chief Justice on this! Low taxes and balanced budgets are "nice to have" kinds of things. A functioning judiciary is an absolutely critical necessity.
Wow! Support for the war in Afghanistan now hits 17%. The number of “Bush dead-enders” in mid-2007 was 23% (That's the number of people who thought Bush was doing a good job in Iraq). In January 1973, 60% thought the US had made a mistake by fighting in Vietnam. The 40% left over is over twice as high as the current suppoters of the war in Afghanistan.
The blogger asks a very good question. The reporter states that seeing presidents attend Sunday and/or Christmas church services is a "ritual." Really? Since when?
NY Times produces exhaustive report on Benghazi, knocking down most conspiracy theories, Heh! Rep. Darrel Issa is convinced, CONVINCED I tell you!!!, that Benghazi was a scandal as opposed to a tragedy. "Whuuh?!?! Facts? What are these 'facts' you speak of? Why are you bothering me with mere facts?"
The judge in the latest NSA case is saying that there was/is a necessity for the NSA to collect bulk data in order to prevent attacks. His quote: "'This blunt tool only works because it collects everything,' [Judge] Pauley said." Slight problem is that ProPublica examined whether the NSA has ever achieved any successes at all. And their answer is "No."
Digby's piece reinforces the questionable validity of Judge Pauley's ruling and also reinforces my own long-time view that for 9-11 to occur had far more to do with dereliction of duty and straight-up carelessness than with any technical limitations on the part of the surveillance people.
I thought back in 2003 that an attack on Iran was a really, really terrible idea. Still do and this piece agrees with that.
The emerging conventional wisdom is that Obama just had a really terrible year. The reality is more complicated and in fact, this year may be historic and remembered fondly in years to come.
I write a piece on using secondary sources to examine leftist communications. Doesn't work well. I recommend reading original sources for learning what lefties think. Economist Dean Baker examines the same piece I did and makes further observations.
I just have a really hard time coming up with rational reasons as to why anyone would outsource propaganda. Isn't that, like, critically vital to the war effort?
Heh! Senator Toomey (R-PA) is asked to comment on Pope Francis and responds with a meaningless word salad, meaning he's trying to walk a fine line between respecting the Pope's office and disavowing Francis' liberal viewpoints.
A reporter writes a 6,600-word piece about Senator John McCain. Why? Well, er, um, “The Crowded Hour,” a time like Teddy Roosevelt's charge up San Juan Hill, that defined TR for the remainder of his life. Okay, how does that moment even vaguely resemble anything in McCain's life right now? Well, er, um, ya see, ehhh, I got nothin'.
Excellent proposals for combating wage inequality. None of these require Congressional approval and all can be accomplished by presidential action right away. Democrats come up with a plan of their own.
Utah forbade marriage equality for gays and lesbians. Judge overrules that. Gays and lesbians rush the courthouses to marry, fearing (sensibly, I think) that their marriages will be overruled any moment and they clearly want to create “facts on the ground” that will make it harder to overturn their now-actual marriages.
There are two criteria to decide whether NSA spying is wrong. The first is: “Is it Constitutional?” Courts have been pretty clear on that, no it isn't. The secondary important consideration is “Is it effective?” and on that question, it completely fails.
Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted investigates Ohio's 5.6 million votes. He finds some fraud. How much? 17. Not 17,000 or even 1700. 17 fraudulent votes out of 5.6 million votes cast. All 17 people had legitimate IDs that they could have used to vote, so even checking for IDs would have been useless.
The Chris Christie “bridgegate” is getting really serious, in no small measure because Rachel Maddow keeps running segments on it. A pity about Somerby. I stopped reading Bob Somerby a long time ago. No particular reason, I just moved on to other blogs. I looked up his column a few years back and he had a real hate on for Maddow. This piece (Which points out that people don't lawyer up for nothingburgers) apparently confirms that he's got a REAL problem with her.
Interesting stuff on inequality. It's a broadly popular issue, but there are numerous language minefields to watch out for, several terms that are unpopular. It should be marketed, but carefully.
After five years of doing nothing but criticizing the ACA/Obamacare, can Republicans offer a competitive alternative? If they can't, will anyone take them seriously? A Congressman already says he's getting asked all the time "What's the Republican alternative?
Very sad to see the truly decayed and dishonorable state of our once-proud democracy. These people should have felt perfectly free to step up and accept their awards in person.
Wow! Pope Francis just impresses me more and more. Here he appears to be going full Gorbachev on the Vatican. He's firing people from the old, crusty Vatican bureaucracy who are in the way Yee-hah to that!
Our first female full (4-star) Admiral!
Politifact covers their “Lie of the Year” several years too late. Obama made his “You can keep your health insurance if you like it” statement several years ago. Piece raises serious questions about press responsibility. And it's also quite interesting to see that Politifact already rated this statement, quite accurately, and then with nothing having changed in the meantime, rated it inaccurately.
The utter, unmitigated disaster that is Bitcoin and how the problem relates to Libertarianism.
The kerfuffle of the day is Fox Newsperson Megyn Kelley declaring that both Santa and Jesus were white. Actually, if you want to look at their origins, both would be rather dusky or olive-skinned. In response to Megyn Kelly, it's not just bad history/archeology to claim Jesus was white, it's also bad theology.
Republicans try to spin away the “War on Women.” Reaction from Pelosi is priceless:
Jon Stewart occasionally looks at the question "Stupid or Evil?" I dunno, I gotta come down on the side of stupid for this one. Palin doesn't appear to understand the junior high school concept of "Checks and Balances." The concept does NOT depend on people being Christian or even moral. It depends on their recognizing their own self-interest. And actually, the idea of Palin becoming a niche entertainment figure is a good one. Yes! Give her a sports show!
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