Archive | April, 2012

Joe Arena on Obama, Boehner, and the Librul Media

30 Apr

Saw an odd Tweet Monday morning from WIVB (Channel 4) anchor Joe Arena: 

It’s a news anchor (whose Twitter profile reads, “News 4 Morning Anchor. Part time Winging It Buffalo Style host and an all around heck of a guy! Buffalo · http://www.wivb.com“) yukking it up with conservative TV talk-show host Stefan Mychajliw over some “typical Barry” (meaning President Barack Obama) behavior, linking to a story in the Washington Post

That story in the Washington Post amounts to a facile summarization of an interview that CNN’s Candy Crowley conducted with Republican House Speaker John Boehner. Apparently, Boehner claims to have a great relationship with the President (whom his caucus has gone out of its way to obstruct almost always), and that the current battle over the imminent doubling of student loan interest rates is made up. 

But as is typical in Beltway journalism – and is missed here by the morning anchor on Channel 4 – there’s a critical follow-up missing. If you read the transcript of the interview, Boehner says this: 

Democrats and Republicans for months have been working together to try to figure out a way to resolve the problem. And for the president to politicize this for his own re-election is picking a fight where one doesn’t exist.

The next words out of a quality interviewer’s mouth should be: how can you say a fight “doesn’t exist” when you yourself just said that the two sides have been working “for months” to try and resolve this particular issue? Crowley doesn’t ask it, Boehner doesn’t offer it, and here we have Joe Arena commiserating with Stefan Mychajliw about “typical Barry”. 

Yes, typical Barry, pointing out that the Republicans are obstructing something to score political points against Obamacare. 

But most “journalists” who maintain Twitter accounts that are linked to their employment as journalists go out of their way to avoid controversial political opinions. No one knows if Ginger Geoffrey, Aaron Besecker, Nalina Shapiro, or John Borsa is a Republican or a Democrat. No one knows what any of them thinks about “Barry” and his typicality. 

Not to be outdone, Arena then Tweeted, 

[blackbirdpie url=”https://twitter.com/#!/joearena4/status/196946917882724353″%5D

Linking to this story, at the ultra-conservative “Newsbusters” site, run by the execrable “Media Research Council”, whose stated mission is, “Exposing and Combating Liberal Media Bias”.  The story is about a speech that anti-bullying activist Dan Savage gave, where he essentially said, (as “Newsbusters” writes,) 

…he said there are people using the Bible as an excuse for gay bullying, because it says in Leviticus and Romans that being gay is wrong. Right after that, he said we can ignore all the ‘B.S.’ in the Bible.

The shock-horror is that Savage actually used the phrase “bullshit”; as if high schoolers have never heard that term. But the more salient point is that Savage is objectively correct. Not only do conservatives and their Christianist allies rely heavily on certain cherry-picked passages in the Bible to morally justify their homophobia and hatred, but Savage is also absolutely right that we can “ignore” it. 

Why? 

Because the Bible says that homosexuality is an abomination. You know what else the Bible says are abominations

  • haughty eyes
  • liars
  • unequal weights & measures
  • a woman wearing her boyfriend’s jeans or shirt
  • arrogant people
  • incense
  • adultery

You k now what the Bible says is perfectly hunky dory? 

  • Slavery (Exodus 21:2-6)
  • Sex Slavery  (Exodus 21:7-11)
  • Beating your slaves (Exodus 21:20-21)
  • Rape (Deuteronomy 22:28-29)
  • Murdering a rape victim (Deuteronomy 22:23-24)

You can believe whatever you want. I don’t really care. You can think whatever you want. I don’t really care. But if you’re a journalist and you’re using a Twitter account that identifies you as being an anchor for a straight news program, you should probably Tweet your opinions about “Barry” and that durned librul media on a separate account. 

As to Arena using a Channel 4-branded account to provide political commentary on national issues, I sent an email to WIVB News Director Joe Schlaerth this morning, noting that this post would be published after 5pm.  I received no reply. 

Credit Where Credit is Due

30 Apr

Thomas E. Mann is a Senior Fellow of Governance Studies at the Brookings Institution. Norman J. Ornstein is a Resident Scholar at the American Enterprise Institute. They co-authored an editorial piece for the Washington Post drawing on their 40-some years of experience observing and studying the way Washington works.

Basically, it’s now safe to dispense with “both sides do it” as an excuse

In our past writings, we have criticized both parties when we believed it was warranted. Today, however, we have no choice but to acknowledge that the core of the problem lies with the Republican Party.

The GOP has become an insurgent outlier in American politics. It is ideologically extreme; scornful of compromise; unmoved by conventional understanding of facts, evidence and science; and dismissive of the legitimacy of its political opposition.

When one party moves this far from the mainstream, it makes it nearly impossible for the political system to deal constructively with the country’s challenges.

“Both sides do it” or “There is plenty of blame to go around” are the traditional refuges for an American news media intent on proving its lack of bias, while political scientists prefer generality and neutrality when discussing partisan polarization. Many self-styled bipartisan groups, in their search for common ground, propose solutions that move both sides to the center, a strategy that is simply untenable when one side is so far out of reach.

The authors trace this shift to a few events since the early 70s, but lay most of the blame on Grover Norquist and Newt Gingrich – two horrible people who behave horribly.  During his congressional tenure, Gingrich helped radicalize the GOP and effectively criminalize the notion of legislative compromise.  Likewise, Norquist’s idiotic pledges – the signing of which has become de rigeur for Republican congressional candidates – prohibits bipartisanship and compromise, and has served to marginalize any semblance of a “moderate” Republican Party. 

Today, thanks to the GOP, compromise has gone out the window in Washington. In the first two years of the Obama administration, nearly every presidential initiative met with vehement, rancorous and unanimous Republican opposition in the House and the Senate, followed by efforts to delegitimize the results and repeal the policies. The filibuster, once relegated to a handful of major national issues in a given Congress, became a routine weapon of obstruction, applied even to widely supported bills or presidential nominations. And Republicans in the Senate have abused the confirmation process to block any and every nominee to posts such as the head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, solely to keep laws that were legitimately enacted from being implemented.

In the third and now fourth years of the Obama presidency, divided government has produced something closer to complete gridlock than we have ever seen in our time in Washington, with partisan divides even leading last year to America’s first credit downgrade.

On financial stabilization and economic recovery, on deficits and debt, on climate change and health-care reform, Republicans have been the force behind the widening ideological gaps and the strategic use of partisanship. In the presidential campaign and in Congress, GOP leaders have embraced fanciful policies on taxes and spending, kowtowing to their party’s most strident voices.

We joke here a lot about how the radicalization of the GOP became particularly acute when the country rather convincingly elected its first Black president in the midst of an epic global economic meltdown in late 2008. The hatred and Obamaphobia was so acute that the reaction ranged from Republican members of Congress voting against their own bills and resolutions in order to prevent Obama-success optics, to questions of Obama’s legitimacy because of his atypical background. 

Unlike Republicans, “independents” and Democrats largely prefer compromise to gridlock. And if you’re about to invoke the way Democrats in Congress behaved under George W. Bush, consider: 

Democrats were not exactly warm and fuzzy toward George W. Bush during his presidency. But recall that they worked hand in glove with the Republican president on the No Child Left Behind Act, provided crucial votes in the Senate for his tax cuts, joined with Republicans for all the steps taken after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks and supplied the key votes for the Bush administration’s financial bailout at the height of the economic crisis in 2008. The difference is striking.

Striking indeed.

Because it’s unlikely that the Republicans will soon return to mainstream American politics from what a former veteran GOP staffer called an “authoritarian” “apocalyptic cult” , the authors make a recommendation to the press. Stop uncritically transcribing he said/she said accusations from both sides in an effort to maintain some sort of “objectivity” – tell people who’s telling the truth, and whose positions are particularly damaging to the country. 

Certainly part of the contemporary Republican ethos is to simply say “no” when Obama or the Democrats say, “please”. But if there’s any ideology at play, it is a somewhat epic societal cleave. 

However, maybe 5 years ago, that cleave was between, e.g., expansion of social programs vs. maintaining or minimally, incrementally improving the status quo. Now? The cleave is far starker, as Republicans eschew the status quo and advocate for a return to pre-Depression-era policies and a nihilist abolition of social programs. While the country should be continuing the conversation we essentially ended in 1964 over expanding Medicare to all, we’re arguing over whether we should privatize and voucherize Medicare, and turning Social Security into a big Fidelity account. 

This crisis will eventually right itself, but it’ll take something pretty epic to defeat the destructionists. 

The Morning Grumpy – 4/30/12

30 Apr

All the news, views, and filtered excellence that’s fit to consume during your morning grumpy.

1. Ten things you need to know about Sen. Marco Rubio, the current leader in the clubhouse in the race to be named the Republican Vice Presidential nominee.

He is not the son of Cuban exiles. He thinks. Maybe? Up until last year, Marco Rubio described his parents as exiles from Fidel Castro’s communist regime in Cuba: “In 1971, Marco was born in Miami to Cuban-born parents who came to America following Fidel Castro’s takeover,” his Senate biography stated. But it turns out his parents actually arrived in the US in 1956, before the revolution, and even made multiple trips back to the communist island.

Turns out, he can’t keep his story straight on any issue, which makes him the perfect running mate for Mitt Romney. Wafflepalooza 2012!

2. The FBI…saving us from, the FBI?

When an Oregon college student, Mohamed Osman Mohamud, thought of using a car bomb to attack a festive Christmas-tree lighting ceremony in Portland, the F.B.I. provided a van loaded with six 55-gallon drums of “inert material,” harmless blasting caps, a detonator cord and a gallon of diesel fuel to make the van smell flammable. An undercover F.B.I. agent even did the driving, with Mr. Mohamud in the passenger seat. To trigger the bomb the student punched a number into a cellphone and got no boom, only a bust.

This is legal, but is it legitimate? Without the F.B.I., would the culprits commit violence on their own?

A good question, one to which we don’t have an answer.

3. The death of facts and the emergence of truthiness as a virtue.

Bill Adair is the editor of PolitiFact, a website run by a team of seasoned journalists that checks facts made by members of Congress, the White House and interest groups. Despite Huppke’s obituary, he tells NPR’s Raz that the market for fact-checking remains strong.

“Whether the fact has actually died or is just on its death bed, I think it means it’s a great time to be in the fact-checking business,” Adair says, “because there are just so many questions about what’s accurate and what’s not.”

“We are in a time when there’s more political discourse than ever … and when you hear somebody say your team is wrong, almost like a referee, you’re going to argue with the ref. You’re going to say the ref is biased.”

I miss facts. Although there has never been a time when we all agreed on everything, I miss when most of us shared the same set of facts.

4. With its non-descript name, the Utah Data Center sounds like the kind of place one would find nerds working on computers and backing up data to tape or disk for long term storage. However, it’s not that kind of place. It’s much more sinister. Yes, sinister.

The blandly named Utah Data Center is being built for the National Security Agency. A project of immense secrecy, it is the final piece in a complex puzzle assembled over the past decade. Its purpose: to intercept, decipher, analyze, and store vast swaths of the world’s communications as they zap down from satellites and zip through the underground and undersea cables of international, foreign, and domestic networks.

The heavily fortified $2 billion center should be up and running in September 2013. Flowing through its servers and routers and stored in near-bottomless databases will be all forms of communication, including the complete contents of private emails, cell phone calls, and Google searches, as well as all sorts of personal data trails—parking receipts, travel itineraries, bookstore purchases, and other digital “pocket litter.” It is, in some measure, the realization of the “total information awareness” program created during the first term of the Bush administration—an effort that was killed by Congress in 2003 after it caused an outcry over its potential for invading Americans’ privacy.

This dovetails nicely with a bill that just passed in the House of Representatives. It’s called CISPA, and boy oh boy, is this a beauty. If you don’t know what CISPA is, here’s a great infographic that boils it down to the basics and another.

Essentially, CISPA will allow any private company to share vast amounts of sensitive, private data about its customers with the government.  The bill will also override all other federal and state privacy laws, and allow a private company to share nearly anything—from the contents of private emails and Internet browsing history to medical, educational and financial records—as long as it “directly pertains to” a “cyber threat,” which is broadly defined.

CISPA would empower the military and the National Security Agency (NSA) to collect information about domestic Internet users. Other information sharing bills would direct private information from domestic sources to civilian agencies, such as the Department of Homeland Security. CISPA contains no such limitation. Instead, the Department of Defense and the NSA could solicit and receive information directly from American companies, about users and systems inside the United States.

All of this without a warrant. Locally, Reps. Higgins and Slaughter voted “NO” on this bill while Rep. Hochul voted “AYE”.  This bill still has a way to go before it becomes law; the Senate version must pass, then pass through conference committee and make it past a potential veto from President Obama who does not support the House version of the bill. Keep an eye on this bill, it’s a big one and no one seems to be paying much attention. I mean, there are big issues like dog eating, sluts, and other fauxrage to be concerned about, but let’s try and keep our eye on the ball this time.

5. What are you worth to Facebook?

Facebook’s amended IPO filing shows that it did $1.058 billion in revenue in the first quarter of this year. If that revenue stays steady, Techcrunch notes, Facebook will make between $4.69 and $4.81 from each of its 901 million monthly active users.

We give Facebook everything. We tell the blue box in the sky about all of our consumer preferences, our location and travel patterns, our favorite music, and our sleep and eating schedules. We entrust it with ownership of our memories, photos (that’s right, once you upload it, your information is owned by Facebook, not you), our history and our “now”. We provide the greatest treasure trove of marketing data ever assembled by mankind and it’s worth barely exceeds the price of a McDonald’s value meal.

Maybe the value proposition is skewed a bit. Most people who use Facebook frequently don’t understand that THEY are the product, not the technology or the website. And that is what is skewed.

Fact Of The Day: The Internet version of the “1% “.  The “90–9–1” version of this rule states that 1% of people create content, 9% edit or modify that content, and 90% view the content without contributing.

Quote Of The Day: “Know what’s weird? Day by day, nothing seems to change. But pretty soon, everything’s different.” -Bill Watterson

Video Of The Day: I’m pretty psyched for the new “Avengers” movie, aren’t you? Amazing what they can do with CGI nowadays…I mean, they brought back Paul Lynde!

Cartoon Of The Day: “The Flea Circus” – Tex Avery

Song Of The Day: “Bonnie & Clyde” – Serge Gainsbourg and Brigitte Bardot

Follow me on Twitter for the “incremental grumpy” @ChrisSmithAV

Email me links, tips, story ideas: chris@artvoice.com

Collins’ Rebranding

30 Apr

Small businessman? Barack Obama? What an incredible lack of self-awareness. This is going to be AWESOME. 

Retirement

30 Apr

 

Courtesy Marquil at EmpireWire.com, the newest editorial cartoonist for Newsday‘s Hudson Valley sites.

Romney v. Ledbetter

27 Apr

From a Romney campaign conference call a few weeks ago

The Lilly Ledbetter Act was the first bill President Obama signed into law in 2009. It legislatively reversed a Supreme Court decision, to make it easier for women to sue an employer when pay discrimination is suspected. While Romney eventually said he wouldn’t repeal it, he also won’t say whether he’d have signed the act.  

It sometimes seems as if the Romney campaign is unprepared to be distracted from its reactionary “tax breaks for millionaires”-heavy “platform”. 

Conservative “Humor”

27 Apr

[blackbirdpie url=”https://twitter.com/#!/MonicaCrowley/status/195558620920954880″%5D

Monica Crowley is a Fox News “analyst”, whatever that means.

Georgetown Law student Sandra Fluke testified to Congress some weeks ago about the importance and cost of contraceptive coverage for women in insurance plans. Not just for contraceptive uses, but also for medical uses involving, e.g., ovarian cysts. Because Fluke stood up for herself, for women, for her beliefs, she has been the target of a blistering, hateful series of attacks from such conservative philosophers as Rush Limbaugh

Yesterday, news broke that Fluke had become engaged to be married.  If you Google the exact term Crowley used in her Tweet, the Daily Beast article using that headline reveals that Fluke is engaged to her longtime boyfriend

[blackbirdpie url=”https://twitter.com/#!/humanadverb/status/195568558628020224″%5D

[blackbirdpie url=”https://twitter.com/#!/MonicaCrowley/status/195569989875531776″%5D

Ah,  but she was insinuating something.  As I pointed out above, the articles announcing Fluke’s engagement noted to whom she was to be married.  On top of that, it’s an old stereotype that feminist women who, for instance, don’t share the Nordic looks of most females on Fox News must all be lesbians. “Feminazis”, I think Limbaugh calls them.

[blackbirdpie url=”https://twitter.com/#!/MonicaCrowley/status/195565385901293568″%5D

Wait – first Crowley pleads seriousness – she claims it was a “straightforward question” to which she had received “no answer yet”. But now it was humor? What, exactly was the joke? 

[blackbirdpie url=”https://twitter.com/#!/WhoMD/status/195587821237579778″%5D

[blackbirdpie url=”https://twitter.com/#!/MonicaCrowley/status/195589182385700864″%5D

Yes, shock horror – who would think that a Fox News “analyst” who made a homophobic quip against a heterosexual woman who was just engaged to be married would have a problem with lesbianism? 

To her credit, Fluke responded thusly

“I’m not going to let this kind of thing get to me personally,” Fluke said during an appearance on MSNBC’s “The Ed Show.” “What really bothers me about it [is] the blatant homophobia in the comment, and the idea that that is an acceptable thing to say publicly.”

“I don’t want an apology from anyone personally,” Fluke said. “I think it is possible she owes an apology to the LGBTQ community, because I am not offended to be asked whether or not I’m with a woman. It’s not offensive to me to be gay, but it was clearly meant as an insult.”

Conservatism has been reduced to this. It isn’t about proposing policy solutions to economic, social, and international problems – it’s just about hatred and prejudice. You see it in the Trayvon Martin case. You see it in the way in which conservatives argue about Obama’s policies. You see it in the way they treat anyone who dares to move the country’s policies and consciousness into the 21st century. 

Mitt Romney is likely to lose in November, and when he does, the clamor from the right wing of the Republican Party is going to be deafening. They’re going to double down on the notion that Romney wasn’t conservative enough, and next time they’ll probably convince themselves to nominate someone like Santorum – or worse.

Then that person will be defeated worse than Romney. Because general election voters aren’t going to buy in to whatever a Santorum type is selling. Calling Sandra Fluke a whore may play great with the reactionary types who self-identify as tea partiers, but it doesn’t go over well with middle-of-the-road casual voters. 

It’ll be at least a few more election cycles before Republicans start to look at less insane candidates for office. It took Democrats Carter, Mondale, and Dukakis before they settled on Clinton, and then we had to go through Kerry before we settled on someone new and inspiring. 

In the meantime, let’s make fun of the strong woman with a short haircut, and call her a “lesbian”. 

I don’t get the joke. 

The Morning Grumpy – 4/27/12

27 Apr

All the news, views, and filtered excellence that’s fit to consume during your morning grumpy.

 

1. Presented without comment as I’d rather the video speak for itself. Carl Paladino meets members of the #Occupy movement.

2. Is Buffalo interested in stimulating business? Increasing government transparency? Utilizing the power of the private sector and our universities to make the city a better place to live? If so, they should follow the lead of municipalities across the country that are taking part in the “Open Data” movement. What is open data? It’s the idea that municipal data should be freely available to everyone to use and republish as they wish, without restrictions from copyright, patents or other control.

The data created,collected, and stored by city government should be made available to the public for analysis, manipulation, and development. It’s data about us and the city we pay for with our tax dollars. It belongs to the community and the City of Philadelphia is the latest city to adopt the concept of transparent open data.

Philadelphia may soon have an opportunity to compare notes with other cities that have pursued open data platforms around the United States, including San Francisco, Chicago, Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, Boston and New York City. NYC has set up a wiki to help implement its landmark open data legislation, an example that Philadelphians might draw inspiration from, with respect to forming more collaborative and transparent processes online.

There’s much to like in this executive order, for open data advocates, but one phrase in particular jumps out: “Each City department and agency shall develop a schedule for making information available to the public and updating it on a regular basis.”

It’s important that data not just be released, but also subsequently updated. Information released usually covers the gamut of municipal data, including; crime statistics, emergency services response times, payroll, utility consumption, public transportation information, school attendance/enrollment stats, parking regulations, etc. This data can then be manipulated and analyzed by the community for greater accountability. It also provides a rich dataset for startup entrepreneurs to use as they develop technologies and applications for the market.

All of this is quite unlikely in the city, but with data nerd and technocrat Mark Poloncarz in the Erie County Executive’s office, perhaps we can start there.

3. There is only one issue in America, campaign finance reform. Namely, publicly financed elections. Without reform, we cannot expect that our elected officials can or will sensibly address the issues that affect us. The pernicious influence of corporate money in our politics makes the creation of legislation a distant second priority for legislators who wish to be elected or re-elected.

Some who believe this are, like me, on the left, and see every issue that we care about — from financial reform, to climate change, to health-care reform, to sensible Internet policy — blocked by the corrupting influence of money.

Some who believe this are on the right, and see every issue that they care about — from financial reform, to a smaller government, to simpler taxes, to the end of crony capitalism — blocked by the corrupting influence of money.

The problem of money (and the corrupting influence of it) in politics has never been more stark or more dire.

The nature of campaign spending in the two elections since Citizens United has changed American politics fundamentally. After this election, that change will seem normal. The idea that 196 Americans — the .0000063 percent — can contribute close to 80 percent of super PAC expenditures will seem ordinary. The tiniest slice of the 1 percent will then gladly accept the role of funding America’s elections, in exchange for the continued acquiescence by the rest of us — acquiescence in its dominant role in American politics, and because that role has been privately, not publicly focused, the continued plundering of our children’s futures.

If we let this issue go unremarked now, we could well pass a point of no return. The new normal is too profitable for those who control our government. Lobbyists can now promise clients triple digit returns on lobbying investments — what rational CEO would invest in a better mousetrap when more lobbyists on Capitol Hill promise more profit? And when the average salary increase for moving from the Hill to K St. is 1,452 percent, what rational congressperson is going to make it her cause to end the corruption that is this system?

Is there an opportunity to change this, even without the unlikely campaign finance reform we so desperately need? Perhaps, says Lawrence Lessig.

For the first time in modern history, there will be a candidate on every presidential ballot in November who is not the nominee of either major party. That candidate will have been selected by voters from across the country who register at AmericansElect.com, become delegates, and who reveal, through a series of questions, their own position on a wide range of issues. Those delegates will then narrow the field of possible candidates through a series of online caucuses. The final six nominees will then select a Vice President not from his or her party. Those six then continue to an online convention which, through online caucuses, will select the Americans Elect nominee.

Lessig goes on to address the concerns and conspiracies around this organization, but I think the concept is valid and this open online caucus system is worth engaging. You can sign up for AmericansElect, regardless of party and it will not change your voting choices in November or change your party affiliation. Check it out and let me know what you think. There are serious and unserious candidates involved – much like in any primary election – but this is as Lessig states, might be the last best chance we have for campaign finance reform.

4. If Mitt Romney were elected President and were able to repeal Obamacare, 30,000,000 people would lose their health insurance and he has no plan to ensure they get replacement coverage.

Do the Republicans, including presumptive presidential nominee Mitt Romney, have an alternative plan that would significantly improve access to health care? Nope.

Do they have a plan that would make quality health insurance less expensive for people who aren’t young and healthy? Nope.

Are they pretending they do? Yup.

Solid campaign plank, eh? I think Romney’s new campaign slogan should be, “Because, Fuck You, that’s why. I got mine.”

5. Liberal media? Boy, I wish. A new study from the Institute for Policy Integrity at NYU found that usage of the phrase “job-killing regulation” in newspapers has increased 17,550% between 2007 and 2011.

Claims that regulations have a significant impact on American employment call for careful scrutiny. Because they are repeated so often, the idea that regulations “kill jobs” can start to sound true, or at least “truthy.”  But when you scratch the surface of these claims, too often they are based more on ideology than sound methodology.

Some of the most heated rhetoric in this debate can give the impression that regulations are creating a widespread jobs crisis and that the economy would be thriving were it not for President Obama’s environmental protection agenda.  But what are all these claims linking negative job effects to regulation based on?  In the scrum of politics it is often not clear: sometimes no analysis is cited, no data is included, no supporting documents are attached.

We need more journalists and fewer “reporters/stenographers” in our media. But, with lower revenues and profit margins in our news industry, we get what organizations can afford. Unfortunately, that means fewer Brian Meyers and Jim Heaneys in our newsrooms and a lower quality “obtainable version of the truth“.

Fact Of The Day: The United States has 5% of the worlds population and nearly a quarter of all the worlds prisoners

Quote Of The Day: “Truly free people do not need to be told they are free.” – Jacque Fresco

Video Of The Day: “A Scientist Visits The Creation Museum”

Cartoon Of The Day: “The Two Musketeers” – Tom & Jerry

Song Of The Day: “Hercules” – Elton John

Follow me on Twitter for the “incremental grumpy” @ChrisSmithAV

Email me links, tips, story ideas: chris@artvoice.com

What Romney Considers to be “Better”

25 Apr
Mitt Romney - The Shake-N-Fake Candidate

By Flickr User DonkeyHotey

1. After sweeping the Tuesday once known as “super”, and effectively all-but-securing the Republican nomination for President, Mitt Romney took out his Etch-a-Sketch and made his first attempt to erase Mitt Romney as “Severe Conservative” and create Mitt Romney as “Paternal anti-Socialist Optimist.” His campaign theme, which until Tuesday had been, “I am just as insane a right-winger as Santorum, and just as unscrupulous a corrupt Washington insider as Gingrich” switched to “A Better America”. 

Aside from being a rip-off of the prospective hopefulness of the Obama 2008 campaign, imagine the right-wing response had Obama selected that phrase for his slogan. “Better?! N0bama thinks America is no good!” and other disingenuous cries echoing jingoistic American exceptionalism.

After all, no other post-industrial market economy with a pluralistic representative democracy exports jobs, votes against their own interests, coddles millionaires, and becomes bogged down in Asian quagmires like the United States of America. 

Romney has barely uttered a word about what he’d do as President – not publicly, anyway. Suffice it to say that a guy who’s never been in the middle class has absolutely no idea how to fix the problems ailing America’s middle class, nor does he likely care. The middle class don’t cut massive checks to friendly SuperPACs or max out to the Romney campaign.

So, now that it’s already been revealed that the Romney plan is going to be a rehash of the policies of George W. Bush, here’s the shorter version of the Romney campaign and how it intends to bring about a “better America”: 

a. A war in Asia with numerous anticipated but unplanned-for complications, and subsequent occupation; 

b. Tax cuts for millionaires; 

c. A renewed effort to voucherize or expressly privatize Social Security and Medicare; and

d. Revocation of Obamacare, which would return us to the days of lifetime maximums, denial of coverage for pre-existing conditions, revocation of policies to cover kids up to age 26 on their parents’ plans, and continuation of the fiscal nightmare whereby the uninsured routinely go bankrupt in the face of medical bills, and government foots the bill for primary-care-by-emergency room. 

Romney’s support among the Republican faithful is a mile wide and 1/16th of an inch deep. The only motivator that will get true believers out will be a hatred of Obama. 

2. Apparently, Carl Paladino did for Newt Gingrich in New York in 2012 what Carl Paladino did for Carl Paladino in New York in 2010. 

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Vote Your Ass Off, Kevin

25 Apr

County Legislator and Canisius Political Science Professor Kevin Hardwick told the Buffalo News that being a Republican voter and waiting for primary day is like being in line for concert tickets, and the window closes just as you reach the front.

The Daily Show got a hold of that line and recruited Hardwick to help them do this great piece (the “next logical conclusion” line is fantastic):