Monthly Archives: July 2011

Limbaugh Groupie Steyn: a real Christian is dumb as a box of rocks

You may have noticed the Christian right – through its outraged punditocracy on talk radio and FOX –  getting their sacred underwear all knotted up again because the secular ‘mainstream media’ said Anders Breivik, the Norwegian mass murderer, is a Christian (gasp!).

Bill sets us straight

O’Reilly, for instance, said there is “absolutely no evidence that this guy is any kind of Christian”.

(Because neither Breivik’s 1500 page manifesto calling for a new Christian Crusade nor his video full of Christian imagery count as actual evidence.)

So here comes right-wing media luminary Mark Steyn on the Hugh Hewitt radio show, taking his turn to make the case. How does he know? He has irrefutable evidence.

This guy isn’t a serious Christian. He’s a devoted New York Times reader, and he’s an extremely well-read guy . . .

Breivik is well read! He can’t be our kind of Christian.

(h/t Andrew Sullivan)

Sunday funnies. Not.

We elected them, but how do we unelect them in a gerrymandered nation world owned by a multinational meglithic oligarchy? (h/t friend Shep)

CLARIFICATION: My words above (unlike the cartoon itself) are actually not directed at the newly elected Tea Partiers, who may be the least ‘owned’ members of Congress. My words are directed at the majority of our Congress Critters, all too many of whom daily do the bidding of their Galtian overlords. (hint: that’s not us)

US spending more as a percentage of GDP? Yup. Ummm, maybe because GDP is shrinking? Yup. But don’t tell Wolf Blitzer; it’s a little too complicated.


Not fair! That's hard.

Stuff I wish I’d thought of but didn’t:

Obama is spending way more than _____________ (choose your president/decade). This is true. Krugman ‘splains why:

The fact is that federal spending rose from 19.6% of GDP in fiscal 2007 to 23.8% of GDP in fiscal 2010. So isn’t that a huge spending spree? Well, no.

First of all, the size of a ratio depends on the denominator as well as the numerator. GDP has fallen sharply . . .

A 6 percent fall in GDP relative to trend, all by itself, would have raised the ratio of spending to GDP from 19.6 to 20.8, or about 30 percent of the actual rise.

That still leaves a rise in spending; but most of that is safety-net programs, which spend more in hard times because more people are in distress . . .

That’s another 2 points of GDP, or about half the rise.

So we’re still left with a bit, around 1 point of GDP. That’s the stimulus, more or less. And there are two things you need to know about it. First, it’s temporary, and already fading out fast. Second, a large part of the stimulus “spending” was actually aid to state and local governments, intended not to expand spending but to avert a fall — that is, it was about maintaining government, not expanding it.

Now that wasn’t hard, was it? Of course, that doesn’t change the fact that Obama’s still a commie plant, here to destroy us from within.

Jobs? Jobs? What is this jobs thing of which you speak?

Ventured into Limbaugh land in the car today, just in time to hear him launch into a passionate defense of the Tea Party die-hards.

“This is what the 2010 election was all about! Cutting spending, that was the deal!”

This stuff just writes itself.

UPDATE: In comments, Ojmo brings attention to David Frum, who listened to some of the same show. Here.

Bonus oldie – why not?

Oldie! Oldie! It’s Friday! Oldie!

Actually before my time (I’m not that old), but still a favorite.


Sure, true things are true but . . .

I posted a few days ago about the singularly un-Christian tweet from’ America’s pastor’ Rick Warren, in which he transmitted yet again that stupid meme that 50% of Americans pay NO taxes!!  It is of course false on it’s face, since there is no way to avoid taxes.  What is true is that 50% of Americans pay no Federal Income taxes.

I just visited a site new to me, and one I look forward to visiting again, where Donald Marron takes a moment to tell us who those 50% are, and the reasons why they pay no federal income taxes..

The number one reason should come as no surprise. It’s because they have low incomes. As my colleague Bob Williams notes:

“A couple with two children earning less than $26,400 . . . their $11,600 standard deduction and four exemptions of $3,700 each reduce their taxable income to zero.”

Low incomes (or, if you prefer, the standard deduction and personal exemptions) account for fully half of the people who pay no federal income tax.

The second reason is that for many senior citizens, Social Security benefits are exempt from federal income taxes. That accounts for about 22% of the people who pay no federal income tax.

The third reason is that America uses the tax code to provide benefits to low-income families, particularly those with children. Taken together, the earned income tax credit, the child credit, and the childcare credit account for about 15% of the people who pay no federal income tax.

Taken together, those three factors — incomes that fall below the standard deduction and personal exemptions; the exemption for most Social Security benefits; and tax benefits aimed at low-income families and children — account for almost 90% of the Americans who pay no federal income tax.

Of course, they’re also probably lefty pinko lazy gay communist liberals.  Or so suggests ‘Pastor’ Warren.


Time traveler Obama went to 1919 and started all this.


The ignominious journey of the US debt ceiling from 1919 to present. Seven requests in Bush II’s term (8 years). Four requests from Clinton (8 years). Four in Bush I (4 years). Seventeen in Reagan’s term (8 years).  FDR only asked 8 times in 11 years – through the Depression and World War II.

Damn that Obama. Trying to pay their bills.

If I’ve read this correctly, we didn’t raise the debt ceiling at all between 1919 (for WWI)and 1939.

  • February 2010 – $14.294 trillion
  • December 2009 – $12.394 trillion
  • February 2009 – $12.104 trillion
  • October 2008 – $11.315 trillion
  • July 2008 – $10.615 trillion
  • September 2007 – $9.815 trillion
  • March 2006 – $8.965 trillion
  • November 2004 – $8.184
  • May 2003 – $7.384 trillion
  • June 2002 – $6.4 trillion
  • August 1997 – $5.95 trillion
  • March 1996 – $5.5 trillion
  • August 1993 – $4.9 trillion
  • April 1993 – $4.37 trillion
  • November 1990 – $4.145 trillion
  • October 1990 – $3.23 trillion
  • November 1989 – $3.1227 trillion
  • August 1989 – $2.87 trillion
  • September 1987 – $2.8 trillion
  • August 1987 – $2.352 trillion
  • July 1987 – $2.32 trillion
  • October 1986 – $2.3 trillion
  • August 1986 – $2.111 trillion
  • December 1985 – $2.0787 trillion
  • November 1985 – $1.9038 trillion
  • October 1984 – $1.8238 trillion
  • July 1984 – $1.573 trillion
  • May 1984 – $1.52 trillion
  • November 1983 – $1.49 trillion
  • May 1983 – $1.389 trillion
  • September 1982 – $1.2902
  • June 1982 – $1.1431 trillion
  • September 1981 – 1.0798 trillion
  • September 1981 – $999.8 billion
  • February 1981 – $985 billion
  • December 1980 – $935.1 billion
  • June 1980 – $925 billion
  • September 1979 – $879 billion
  • April 1979 – $830 billion
  • August 1978 – $798 billion
  • October 1977 – $752 billion
  • June 1976 – $700 billion
  • March 1976 – $627 billion
  • November 1975 – $595 billion
  • February 1975 – $577 billion
  • June 1974– $495 billion
  • December 1973 – $475.7 billion
  • October 1972 – $465 billion
  • March 1972 – $450 billion
  • March 1971 – $430 billion
  • June 1970 – $395 billion
  • April 1969 – $377 billion
  • June 1967 – $358 billion
  • March 1967 – $336 billion
  • June 1966 – $330 billion
  • June 1965 – $328 billion
  • June 1964 – $324 billion
  • November 1963 – $315 billion
  • May 1963 – $309 billion
  • July 1962 – $308 billion
  • March 1962 – $300 billion
  • June 1961 – $298 billion
  • June 1960 – $293 billion
  • June 1959 – $295 billion
  • September 1958 – $288 billion
  • February 1958 – $280 billion
  • July 1956 – $278 billion
  • August 1954 – $281 billion
  • June 1946 – $275 billion
  • April 1945 – $300 billion
  • June 1944 – $260 billion
  • April 1943 – $210 billion
  • March 1942 – $125 billion
  • February 1941 – $65 billion
  • June 1940 – $49 billion
  • December 1939 – $45 billion
  • December 1919 – $43 billion

Hit us again harder. Please.

  • Irresponsible tax cuts.
  • Toothless regulation.
  • Interlocking directorates.
  • Boards hand picked by CEO’s.
  • Quarterly earnings now the fickle measure of a stock’s worth.
  • Perverse incentive systems.
  • A business media of enthralled groupies slavishly following and thrilling to rock star plutocrats.
  • The collapse of the  concepts of the common good and civics.
  • Devotion to profits above all.
  • The demonizing of any talk of fairness or social justice.
  • Purposefully ignoring our collapsing infrastructure while we prop up the economies of China and Brazil and their enormous investments in their own infrastructure (transportation, ports, broadband) that will ultimately make us even more uncompetitive than we are now. (After all, there’s no profit in proppingup a joint where workers demand a living wage.)
  • Our government’s committment to protect the ‘job creators’ who, during a decade of historically low tax rates have managed to lose more American jobs than at any time since the Depression.

And our entirely broken government, now wholly owned by those who created it all. Bill Mahar explains some of it:

How we see Obama – steady as she goes

This is the last 12 months approval/disapprove ratings from, which is an aggregator of the other polls. Don’t think I’ve ever seen such a steady level. It’s really quite remarkable.

I do not heart Maureen Dowd

But every once in a while she turns an especially good phrase. In a column this week, she describes our overlords and the city on a hill as:

. . . .a shrieking, destructive, primal, feudal, apocalyptic, wasteland of partisan banshees . . .

I would add ‘tribal’. And maybe ‘wholly owned’.

I am the go-to place for Scalia. I guess.


For well over a year, the top search term that brings people here is ‘scalia’. I don’t know whether that’s a function of how frequently people enter his name into search engines or if there was something particularly delicious about my one and only (I think) post about the good Justice. If that is the case, I wish I could find the damn thing and figure out what was so enticing about it!

We are mock worthy. Indeed we are.

From Medical Transcription, via Andrew Sullivan. The best part:

The U.S. spends roughly $400 billion on paperwork and other administrative costs per year. This is enough to completely fund health care reform in 2011.

Read on if you dare . . .

Continue reading

If you missed the Sunday shows or give a damn . . .

The July 24 Bobblespeak Translations are up! Enjoy.

David Gregory and Bill Daley are serious

Don’t dare call this freedom of the press: Murdoch’s three continent media empire

Hacker-gate is off the front pages right now, as our media obeys its own one-story-at-a-time-all-the-time rule. But until the next ‘newsworthy’ phase erupts, let us remind ourselves of a few things about the Murdoch empire.

Here’s a good summary of its impact (from a Joe Nocera column last week):

I generally admire entrepreneurs who build giant companies Rupert Murdoch . . . has not been a force for good over the course of his long career. His Bill O’Reilly-ed, Glenn Beck-ed Fox News has done a great deal to coarsen the political discourse. His tabloids have lowered the standards of journalism on three continents — and routinely broken the law on at least one of them. He had dumbed down his prestige papers, like The Times of London. He has run roughshod over cross-ownership rules meant to prevent one man or company from having too much power — and then used his lobbying might to get those rules diluted. He has put kowtowing to China ahead of freedom of the press, even killing a book set to be published by his HarperCollins unit that the Chinese authorities objected to. He has consistently used his media properties to reward allies and punish enemies. It’s a long list.

Murdoch’s media reach is the very definition of undue influence (as are the tens of thousands of lobbyists who choke our government, but that’s another story).

From wikipedia, here is a list of just the categories of entities owned by News Corp, followed (after the jump) by the full list of the companies. There’s not time enough in my life to count them, but do go ahead and try if you’ve the stomach. You’d better grab some popcorn before you make the attempt.


Continue reading

The poor: WWJD?

Megapastor and Christian spokesman for US of A Christians, Rick Warren, has spoken with his lord and has the answer.

So sayeth the Lord

Let’s go get ’em! Lazy scum.

Obama gives good speech


Measured and persuasive, last night President Obama was the soul of moderation, rationality, and responsibility as he made the case for passing his version of the debt deal. But he did leave a few items out of his story:

He blamed his predecessor for squandering the budget on two wars and a prescription drug program. But he neglected to mention that he continued those wars, and expanded American military operations into new countries; meanwhile he secretly bargained away the public option with the same pharmaceutical companies that had benefitted from the drug program he criticized.

He pointed out that Americans making under $250K would see no tax increase at all. But he neglected to mention that those same Americans will be in fact paying more, by having to make up for the cuts to Social Security and Medicare out of their own pockets.

He called his plan a balanced approach and said no one would be required to sacrifice too much, while acknowledging the cuts would be “painful”. But he neglected to mention that he was planning Social Security and Medicare cuts as far back as January 2009; the kind of cuts a Republican president could never push through.

Obama’s narrative of reason and compromise heroically standing up to the Tea Party’s barbarian hordes was quite stirring, and if one ignores the fact that he just happened to shit-can fundamental Democratic principles and programs as the first step in the process, quite true. No doubt at this moment, Democrats are battling tooth and nail to get his version of the debt ceiling deal passed, a deal they would have fought to the death if proposed by George W. Bush.

All in all, it was an excellent speech; classic Obama.

Is there a lesson here in how kids learn?

I think Obama done good but something was missing

I think his speech was pretty good. Clear, succinct, to the point. He missed a few points and overplayed a few others, but mostly it was a good speech and right for this moment.

I thought however, that an essential ingredient was missing in this speech – I was listening for an implied threat of presidential action. This would have been the time to set up any future presidential action that might become necessary should the Congress fail.


Boehner: “it’s the only way to stop Washington from spending your money”.

Translation: “it’s the only way to stop ourselves from spending your money”

Is it still a bully pulpit when the networks cede the same amount of time to 1/435th of another branch of government?

Just wonderin’.

If a Prez can’t do some presidentin’ on the teevee without his governing opponent nipping right at his heels, does he have a bully pulpit any more?

Wonder if they’ll have political parties?

I hope they have enough traffic lights

Guess the wars are on my mind today – all this deficit talk without any talk of wars is disgraceful. So I decided to check in and see how things are going with our new Embassy in Baghdad.

Did you know:

  • It’s the largest and most expensive embassy in the world
  • It’s two and a half times the size of Vatican City
  • It’s budgeted at $6.2 billion
  • The embassy complex comprises 21 buildings on a 104 acre (42 ha) site (Disneyland is 85 acres).
  • A Kuwaiti company got the contract to build it

From Wikipedia:

The embassy has extensive housing and infrastructure facilities in addition to the usual diplomatic buildings. The buildings include:[8]

  • Six apartment buildings for employees
  • Water and waste treatment facilities
  • A power station
  • Two “major diplomatic office buildings”
  • Recreation, including a gym, cinema, and a swimming pool

The complex is heavily fortified, even by the standards of the Green Zone. The details are largely secret, but it is likely to include a significant US Marine Security Guard detachment. Fortifications include deep security perimeters, buildings reinforced beyond the usual standard, and five highly guarded entrances.[citation needed]

Your basic small city. Embassy my ass. We’re never leaving Iraq.

And let us not forget the 800 or so military bases we have across the world which cost us about $102 billion yearly.

Jobs. Jobs. Jobs.

Idiot sighting

“My daughter and I went through the McDonald’s take-out. I gave the clerk a $5.00 bill and since our bill was $4.25, I also handed her a quarter. She said ‘you gave me too much money’. I said ‘yes, but now you can just give me a dollar bill back’. She signed and went to her manager who asked me to repeat the request. I did so and he handed me back the quarter and said “we’re sorry but we don’t do that sort of thing’. The clerk then proceeded to give me back $1 and 75 cents in change. “

(from one of those normally irritating mass emails, a few of which I occasionally open.)

Afghanistan, cost of war and money to the Taliban

It’s been way too long since I posted an Afghanistan update, something I used to do frequently. Perhaps it’s because we’ve been there so long now that it’s receding into a background noise. The news media barely mentions Afghanistan any more unless more than a few Americans are killed.  (As for Iraq, it’s not mentioned at all.)

But I did continue my Afghanistan calendar and can tell you that today is the 292nd day of the tenth year of the war. That’s 73 days short of the 11th year. And we’ve spent almost $500 billion there. Add in Bush’s war, Iraq, and we’ve spent $1.3 trillion.

Here’s a little something from the Washington Post this morning – breaking news: we’re wasting money in Afghanistan and bunches of it are going to arm Taliban fighters:

. . . money was traced from the U.S. Treasury through a labyrinth of subcontractors and power brokers. In one, investigators followed a $7.4 million payment to one of the eight companies, which in turn paid a subcontractor, who hired other subcontractors to supply trucks.

The trucking subcontractors then made deposits into an Afghan National Police commander’s account, already swollen with payments from other subcontractors, in exchange for guarantees of safe passage for the convoys. Intelligence officials traced $3.3 million, withdrawn in 27 transactions from the commander’s account, that was transferred to insurgents in the form of weapons, explosives and cash.

So it’s okay I guess.

Who needs the Weather Channel when we’ve got Rush?

The thrice married (or is it four times?), often morbidly obese, onetime drug addict, son of privilege, college dropout Mr. Limbaugh of Palm Springs has the full dirty on those heat wave weather reports. Thanks to some good digging by Elaine Magliara at Jonathan Turley’s res ipsa loquitur,  we now know that the hot weather heat index is fake, fakety, fake, fake. But the cold weather heat index  is truly, completely, entirely on the up and up.


They’re playing games with us on this heat wave, again . . . Going to be 116 in Washington. No, it’s not. It’s gonna be like 100, maybe 99. A heat index, manufactured by the government to tell you what it feels like when you add the humidity in there.

116. When’s the last time the heat index was reported as an actual temperature? It hasn’t been, but it looks like they’re trying to get away with doing that now.


An hour ago, the wind chill factor in New York City was minus two. In Chicago, an hour ago, the wind chill factor was minus 19. An hour ago, the wind chill factor in Washington was minus one. In Philadelphia, an hour ago, the wind chill factor was minus eight. Make a note, ladies and gentlemen: whenever it’s hot outside, we get news story after news story about global warming. Now that it is freezing, record cold  [Moe’s translation: not manufactured] . . . Now that it’s cold, record cold out there, we will not see any news stories on the major networks questioning global warming. There is one in the LA Times today: “Game Over on Global Warming?” with a question mark after it. It has some interesting statistics in it, but not one story — not one story — will we see about global warming maybe not being real, in the middle of record cold.

Both measurements come from the National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration, a division of the communist and very gay Commerce Department. The discerning Mr. Limbaugh of course, knows which is worthy of belief.

Immigration message wars: you know who’s winning

This one has it all covered

Anti immigrant fervor is all around us; there has always been a subset of Americans who hide in their dark corners and whisper to each other about the purity of the race.

Increasingly though, we see this meme transmitted  out in the open, via right wing media, mostly talk radio, and via FOX and blogs. The language on TV is much more polite of course, at least on FOX’s ‘news’ shows. But it’s increasingly in full view on FOX & Friends and on Hannity, where the non-European, non-Christian is  viewed with suspicion.

The case for immigration gets lost in this cacophony.

So here’s something I’d like to see. I wish someone would create a series of pro-immigration videos disguised as anti-immigration videos. Let them warn us about the ‘other’ and tell us of the dire consequences of allowing these lesser beings among us. Tell us why we should be afraid. Do the videos absolutely straight-faced with no disclaimers that ‘we really don’t mean it’.

And set the videos in 1895 or 1910 – as full blown period pieces properly costumed and using the angry, often hateful protest language of the day; and direct that language at the ‘others’ of the era – the Irish (especially Irish-Catholics), the Italian, the Jew and the Chinese.

I’d really like to see that.

Sorry, no check today. Go back and try again..

Suppose the day actually comes when the US Treasury must begin making daily decisions about what bills to pay today. Should the members of the Congress and Senate, whose job it was to act in the best interests of the country and failed at that job expect paychecks?

Nah. Penalize them. No paychecks till they’ve put things right.


What the f*ck, just do it Barry

A few terrific debt/deficit editorials /op ed’s from the New York Times yesterday, one of which features this chart. This story from Teresa Tritch is “How the Deficit Got So Big”. Folks who voted for Obama and have been feeling some pain lately, might find some comfort here. Good, short read and she concludes:

A few lessons can be drawn from the numbers. First, the Bush tax cuts have had a huge damaging effect. If all of them expired as scheduled at the end of 2012, future deficits would be cut by about half, to sustainable levels. Second, a healthy budget requires a healthy economy; recessions wreak havoc by reducing tax revenue. Government has to spur demand and create jobs in a deep downturn, even though doing so worsens the deficit in the short run. Third, spending cuts alone will not close the gap. The chronic revenue shortfalls from serial tax cuts are simply too deep to fill with spending cuts alone. Taxes have to go up.

Then there’s this  by Eric Posner and Adrian Vernuele suggesting a Presidential action to resolve the debt ceiling argument unilaterally based on, not the 14th Amendment, but on:

 . . . the necessities of state, and on the president’s role as the ultimate guardian of the constitutional order, charged with taking care that the laws be faithfully executed.

When Abraham Lincoln suspended habeas corpus during the Civil War, he said that it was necessary to violate one law, lest all the laws but one fall into ruin. So too here: the president may need to violate the debt ceiling to prevent a catastrophe — whether a default on the debt or an enormous reduction in federal spending, which would throw the country back into recession.

A deadlocked Congress has become incapable of acting consistently; it commits to entitlements it will not reduce, appropriates funds it does not have, borrows money it cannot repay and then imposes a debt ceiling it will not raise. One of those things must give; in reality, that means that the conflicting laws will have to be reconciled by the only actor who combines the power to act with a willingness to shoulder responsibility — the president.

New quote

Just added to the QUOTES page:

“It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men” 
                                Frederick Douglas

Oslo Terrorist Anders Behring Breivik Manifesto


Via, this video was sent to his friends on Facebook , along with a massive 1500-page manifesto.  You may have to hit Play more than once to view it:

Vodpod videos no longer available.