Happy Hour Discurso

Today’s opining on the public discourse.

And the future of the Republicon party is

The results of the presidential straw poll at the Conservative Political Action Conference have just been released, and you’ll never guess who won.


Here it is in order:

  1. Mitt Romney
  1. Bobby Jindal
  1. Sarah Palin & Ron Paul
  1. Charlie Crist

Romney won last year as well. Prior to that it was Rudy Giuliani and George Allen.

So you can see what great prognosticators they are.

I’m a little surprised to see Charlie Crist in the Top Five – he just doesn’t strike me as insane enough for that crowd. Then again, it’s possible they threw his name in there for shits and giggles, and there were only the six choices. Sarah Palin and Ron Paul tying for third is hysterical. Can’t you just see that ticket?

Amazingly enough, Mike Huckabee didn’t even make the list, but it wasn’t for lack of trying:

On Thursday, Mike Huckabee offered the CPAC faithful the kind of rhetoric they want to hear.

“The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics may be dead,” said Huckabee, “but a Union of American Socialist Republics is being born.” Democrats, according to Huckabee, were packing 40 years of pet projects like “health care rationing” into spending bills. “Lenin and Stalin would love this stuff.”

The estimable Mark Kleiman, noting the bizarre remarks, said Huckabee may be “self-destructing” as a credible national figure.

Yes, yes, the CPAC crowd is the extreme of the extreme. But in the YouTube era you can’t go around mouthing this stuff and be taken seriously as a candidate for President.

I’d really love to believe that, but I don’t.


That’s just not how modern conservative politics works. In Republican circles, there’s no such thing as excessive rhetoric.

True, that. For instance, the CPAC straw poll also returned Glenn Beck and Bill O’Reilly as their #s 2 and 3 most favoritest media personality. This is what they consider worth watching:

Whenever Glenn Beck and Bill O’Reilly get together, a new black hole of wingnuttery opens up in the time-space continuum. This could eventually prove to be unhealthy for human existence.

Take last night for example:

O’Reilly: There’s got to be a reason why Feinstein and Pelosi and Leahy and all these far-left loons want to do damage to the country. This hurts the United States. Al Qaeda — you know who the happiest people in the world are on a CIA investigation? Al Qaeda. They’re the happiest people. Let’s find out what the CIA’s up to. Who does it help? It helps Al Qaeda.

Beck: Are you saying that — Wait a minute, are you saying that these guys might be un-American?

O’Reilly: I’m not saying un-American. I would never say that. I’m saying misguided severely. And maybe should be tortured.

Beck: [Laughs] Who gets to do that?

They go on to soft-peddle the torture rhetoric by contemplating Beck’s show as the instrument – and they are correct in that regard: Glenn Beck’s program is a torturous thing to watch. If you’ve never had the displeasure, check out this gem. It’s a “special” postulating that by 2014, we’ll be living in a Mad Max world. You get the feeling that Beck wants the extreme right wing to take up guns, nukes and whatever other weapons they can muster, and destroy American civilization, all because he can’t stand the idea of a popular Democrat as President.

Sad, pathetic men, aren’t they? Do you see now why I put “special” in quotes? The short bus is a little too long for people who can’t even find their ass with both hands, a GPS, and two aides.

Beck, O’Reilly et al aren’t the only ones jumping on Limbaugh’s “Root for failure!” bandwagon, either. More and more Con lawmakers have signed on for the trip:

Just before President Obama was inaugurated, hate radio host Rush Limbaugh declared, “I hope he fails.” Though some Republicans have distanced themselves from Limbaugh’s sentiment, conservatives at CPAC have fully embraced it.

In an interview with ThinkProgress today, radio host Mark Levin and former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA) added their voices to the chorus of conservatives hoping for Obama’s failure:

TP: What do you think about what Rush said about, I mean, do you hope, should we hope that President Obama fails?


TP: Yes?

SANTORUM: If…absolutely we hope that his policies fail.

“I believe his policies will fail, I don’t know, but I hope they fail,” added Santorum.

Steve Benen “can’t recall ever hearing so many prominent political figures hoping for American leaders’ failure like this, especially not in the midst of a crisis.” He delivers a stunning bitch-slap to the failmongers:

About a half-century ago, actor John Wayne, who was very conservative, was asked for his thoughts after JFK defeated Richard Nixon in 1960. “I didn’t vote for him,” Wayne said, “but he’s my president, and I hope he does a good job.”

Wasn’t it these self-same Cons who were telling us just a few months ago that anyone who failed to support the President is a traitor?

Cons are achieving stunning new heights of insanity and hypocrisy. And just like all insane hypocrites, they’re eating their own:

The finance director for the Republican National Committee resigned abruptly Friday afternoon, and a source familar with the situation said he was forced out.

Reince Priebus, who’s running the transition team for new RNC Chairman Michael Steele, confirmed that Tim Crawford resigned Friday after just two weeks as the committee’s interim finance director.

No word on why (sex? Drugs? Embezzlement? Saying something reasonably sane?), but an insider says he didn’t resign on his own initiative. This should get interesting – especially considering Tim Crawford is also Sarah PAC’s treasurer. Oh, the plot sickens, it does, it does!

And if you think that unfolding drama might provide hours of entertainment, you’re going to be delighted to discover just how much more is in store:

Sen. Jim Bunning (R) of Kentucky hasn’t been getting along with his party lately. Convinced that his erratic behavior, bizarre comments, poor fundraising, and weak poll numbers all but guarantee his defeat next year, the Republican Party has been pushing Bunning to retire, and quietly reaching out to other potential GOP candidates.

Bunning has responded with varying degrees of outrage. He’s no longer talking to most of his Republican colleagues. He announced this week that he no longer trusts NSRC Chairman John Cornyn. On Tuesday, Bunning talked openly about suing the National Republican Senatorial Committee.

This, however, would represent a whole new level of spite.

Already in conflict with his party’s leaders, Sen. Jim Bunning has reportedly said privately that if he is hindered in raising money for his re-election campaign he is ready with a response that would be politically devastating for Senate Republicans: his resignation.

The Kentucky Republican suggested that possible scenario at a campaign fundraiser for him on Capitol Hill earlier this week, according to three sources who asked not to be identified because of the politically sensitive nature of Bunning’s remarks.

The implication, they said, was that Bunning would allow Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear, a Democrat, to appoint his replacement — a move that could give Democrats the 60 votes they need to block Republican filibusters in the Senate.

“I would get the last laugh. Don’t forget Kentucky has a Democrat governor,” one of the sources quoted Bunning as saying.

“The only logical extension of that comment is, ‘(Make me mad) … enough and I’ll resign, and then you’ve got 60 Democrats,’ ” said another source who was present at the event.

Bunny’s now trying to claim he never threw that challenge in his colleagues’ teeth, but multiple sources beg to differ.

He’s a crazy SOB even by Con standards. He might just follow through. And that would propel the right-wing hysteria machine into the stratosphere. It seems, my darlings, that we are fated to live in interesting times.

We’ll see if the Cons survive them.

Political Snark at its Finest

Digby highlighted one of the most beautiful rants I’ve read all week. I’m only going to give you snippets. Go. Read the whole thing. I don’t care if it’s Saturday – you only think you have better things to do:

No. You’re idiots and your mothers are embarrassed by every single one of you. It’s almost rush hour. Go panhandle outside the Heritage Foundation now. And Accuracy in Media remains one of the most blissfully ironic names in the political lexicon. Once, when writing about John McCain for Esquire, just at the very beginning of the Full Monica, I went to CPAC. (In those days, it should be noted, McCain didn’t have three votes in the hall.) What you had there then was what you have there now–the distilled essence of what Krugman was talking about when he mentioned Beavis and Butthead in relationship to the conservative movement the other night.


Look at this decaying lump of abject fail. Kids, in every place save his own mind, Newt Gingrich ended up a profound political failure. Rick Santorum lost. Badly. Global-warming denial? At least invite some UFOlogists to really liven things up. Election fraud? From the party of Katherine Harris? Citizen-led reform? In a country that has demonstrated its revulsion toward all you stand for in two consecutive elections, and that’s now lining up at almost 60 percent behind a huge big-gubmint stimulus plan that makes Arthur Laffer cry like a child every night?

Damn, that’s tasty!

Another Noxious Bush Reg Bites the Dust

A few months ago, I alerted you to Bush’s little scheme to allow healthcare providers to redefine birth control as abortion and then refuse to provide the service. At the time, I gave you what I considered wise advice:

We can’t rely on Obama’s ability to roll these rules back. Better for the country if they’re never implemented at all.

It’s nice to be half-wrong sometimes. Looks like we can rely on Obama after all:

Today, the Obama administration plans to rescind the controversial “conscience rule,” which “allows healthcare workers to deny abortion counseling or other family planning services if doing so would violate their moral beliefs.”

That’s my President, that is. He’s not got a perfect record in rolling back Bush abuses – in fact, if a few things don’t change over the next week, a trip to the woodshed will be in order – but he’s doing a tremendous amount of good very, very quickly.

This is why I find it rather difficult to apply the Smack-o-Matic in his case. Every time I pick the damned thing up, he does something that makes me put it right back down. Y’know, little things like, oh, I dunno,

Ending the war in Iraq.

Restoring Superfund, making polluters pay, and ending tax breaks for the fossil fuel industry.

Planning a budget even Paul Krugman can love.

Going for healthcare reform.

Delivering a kick-ass speech that helps prepare the country for progressivism.

And that’s just a few items from the last few days.

It’s a good thing the Cons have been such raging idiots, or the poor Smack-o-Matic would be gathering dust. We can’t have that.

The following illustration describes the situation precisely:

Our President is practically MacGuyver. I’m loving this.

The Revolution’s Been Postponed Due to Lack of Interest

Oh, look! Sad, pathetic people holding hands:

So, remember just last week when derivatives-trader-turned-working-man-populist Rick Santelli delivered his infamous rant about Obama’s housing and other economic plans? Remember when Andie Collier at Politico announced that Obama was in trouble because America was “a nation of Santellis” (presumably, good news for McCain)?

Remember all those “Chicago Tea Parties” Americans were supposed to participate in, taking out their righteous anger against Obama’s anti-American economic plans? It was supposed to the be first wave of Americans taking to the streets against socialism, the birth of the New Minutemen. Michelle Malkin insists there’s a growing tax revolt that “the MSM won’t cover.” It seems there was an army of angry citizens waiting to storm the barricades, holding “Obamination” signs and taking back the Republican Republic for sweet laissez-faire liberty.

Well, those were on for today. The protests received the assistance of numerous conservative organizations and their email lists, from The Heartland Institute to Americans for Tax Reform to the American Spectator, and were all scheduled to happen today, the 27th of February.

The results? Not so impressive.

Let’s see…The Pittsburgh party was canceled due to rain. A whopping 79 people showed up today in Jacksonville, FL. Looks like maybe over a dozen showed up in Asheville, NC. Almost 10 people made it to the Buffalo, NY, protest. About 100 people throughout all of Los Angeles came out to Santa Monica Pier. All of about 300 people made it out throughout the entirety of Atlanta. 250 made it out to Dallas for the tea party there. 150 in Lansing. Looks like about 100 went to watch the Joe the Plumber and Michelle Malkin teabag fest in D.C. (if you had to retch, it’s not my fault, just your dirty, dirty mind…)

The very best numbers these jokers managed to pull was 1,500 people in St. Louis (UPDATE: St. Louis wasn’t anywhere close to 1,500; it was more like 400 if that–delusional, pathetic FAIL), and somewhere between 500-1,000 in Chicago–if reports from the organizers are to be believed.

Perhaps most hilarious is the 250-person turnout in Houston which was said to be

pretty good turn-out considering the livestock show barbeque cook-off in Reliant Park was a competitor.

When the choice is between revolution and chargrilled cow, and people plump for the cow, you know the nation’s not quite ready to storm the White House just yet.

It’s also very hard to join a revolution when you’re laughing your ass off at the erstwhile revolutionaries (forgive me for filching the whole thing, Digby):

Courtesy of Dave Weigel, here’s the scene from today’s wingnut populist uprising in DC:

They really don’t know, do they?*

Apparently not.

If you’re not already on the floor in tears of mirth, prepare to be so:

Recently, I’ve come under editorial attack for my interest in the sexual practice known as teabagging. Before I address the specific calumnities tossed my way by jealous hacks, let me say that if a man enjoys lowering his scrotum into his partner’s mouth, and enjoys having his partner suck on one testicle, then the other, and then, if possible, both testicles at once, followed by a judicious application of the tongue to the base of the scrotum, sometimes accompanied by a gentle stroking of the penis, then I say that man should be granted his fun, and should be permitted to look for other teabag afficionados however and wherever he can. No one can disagree with me on that point.

So, uh, yeah. Thanks for the offer, my conservative countrymen, but I’ll pass.

The deeper irony here? Since conservatives consume so much more internet porn than liberals, there had to have been at least a few people at each gathering who knew exactly why those signs were an incredibly poor choice of slogan. And yet, due to the nature of conservative gatherings, those in the know wouldn’t have been able to say a damned word, lest they admit they’d been looking at dirty pictures and thus incur the wrath of their fellow hypocrites.


Happy Hour Discurso

Today’s opining on the public discourse.

News too funny not to lead with:

From the File of Things That Really Shouldn’t Surprise Anyone Who’s Been Paying Attention to American Culture, we have this:

A new nationwide study (pdf) of anonymised credit-card receipts from a major online adult entertainment provider finds little variation in consumption between states.

“When it comes to adult entertainment, it seems people are more the same than different,” says Benjamin Edelman at Harvard Business School.

However, there are some trends to be seen in the data. Those states that do consume the most porn tend to be more conservative and religious than states with lower levels of consumption, the study finds.

“Some of the people who are most outraged turn out to be consumers of the very things they claimed to be outraged by,” Edelman says.

You’ll love the state that comes in at #1. Hypocrisy runs rampant, doesn’t it just?

Want more hypocrisy? You know there’s plenty. How about some fiscal responsibility hypocrisy?

This is one of those strange stories in which Democrats want to spend less money and make a federal system more efficient, and conservatives are livid.

The situation is pretty straightforward. When Clinton was elected, the student-loan system was burdened by a layer of unnecessary bureaucracy. Higher-ed students would get a loan from a private lender, but it was effectively a no-risk system — the federal government would guarantee the loan in the event of default. The industry was getting government subsidies to provide a service the government could perform for less. Clinton wanted to streamline the process and make it cost less — the government would make the loan, cut out the middleman, and save billions.

Conservatives and loan industry lobbyists went nuts, forcing Clinton to backtrack. The eventual compromise led to two types of student loans — direct loans and guaranteed loans. Colleges were allowed to choose the system they preferred. (They preferred the direct loans until lenders started bribing college-loan administrators.)

Sixteen years later, the Obama administration wants to save $4 billion a year, end subsidies to lenders, and make the process more efficient. The White House and Department of Education have apparently come to the conclusion that there’s no point in laundering loans through lenders, who make a tidy profit, for no reason.

And once again, conservatives are livid.

This is why I ceased listening to their blather about government spending, responsibility, etc. etc. a long damned time ago. They’re as hypocritical over government spending as they are over porn, not to mention corrupt as hell.

More news that shouldn’t shock anyone with a functioning brain: Tom Delay is still a dumbshit:

Just days before the Inauguration, Rush Limbaugh famously declared, “I hope [Obama] fails.” Since then, some conservatives have been hesitant to embrace this view. Pat Robertson said, “That was a terrible thing to say.” “Anybody who wants him to fail is an idiot,” said Gov. Mark Sanford (R-SC). Responding to Sanford, Limbaugh reiterated his position yesterday, saying, the “hell we don’t” want Obama to fail.

One of those “idiots” adopting Limbaugh’s stance is former House Majority Leader Tom Delay (R-TX). In an interview with ThinkProgress at CPAC today, we asked DeLay whether he agrees with Limbaugh’s statements. DeLay said Limbaugh was “exactly” right to root for Obama’s failure:

TP: Do you agree with Rush Limbaugh that we shouldn’t hope for President Obama to succeed?

DELAY: Well, exactly right. I don’t want this for our nation. That’s for sure.

I don’t think Cons are hoping Obama will fail because they genuinely think they have better ideas. They know they don’t have better ideas. But bad ideas are the only ideas they have, and they know that if the American public gets a taste of peace, prosperity and progressive living, they’ll never vote for Cons ever again. Who’s going to go back to eating shit sandwiches when you’ve enjoyed steak? Well, there’s a few swing voters who are that stupid, but not enough to help the Cons. Thus, the Cons really, really need Obama to fail. And they’re making assclowns of themselves rooting for it.

I’ll be very happy to remind undecided voters just who didn’t want them fed, sheltered and employed come next election. It’ll make canvassing fun.

It would be even more fun if I could go canvass in one of the states whose governors are grandstanding jackasses:

I guess the Republican governors are counting on their residents becoming so poor, they won’t have TVs and so they won’t find out what they’re missing in other states? I really don’t see the point of playing such heartless games with peoples’ lives:

For people like Henry Kight, 59, of Austin, Tex., the possibility that the money might be turned down is a deeply personal issue.

Mr. Kight, who worked for more than three decades as an engineering technician, discovered in September that because of complex state rules, he was not eligible for unemployment insurance after losing a job at a major electronics manufacturer he had landed at the beginning of the year.

Unable to draw jobless benefits, he and his wife have taken on thousands of dollars in credit-card debt to help make ends meet.


Mr. Kight and other unemployed workers said they were incensed to learn they were living in one of a handful of states — many of them among the poorest in the nation — that might not provide the expanded benefits.

“It just seems unreasonable,” Mr. Kight said, “that when people probably need the help the most, that because of partisan activity, or partisan feelings, against the current new administration, that Perry is willing to sacrifice the lives of so many Texans that have been out of work in the last year.”

He was referring to Gov. Rick Perry of Texas, who has said he may decline the extra money rather than change state policy.

Who woulda thunk unemployed people might be a tad upset with governors who refuse the money that might help them survive this recession? Shocking, I know. I have a feeling some of those states may be bluing up in a hurry.

Of course, at the rate the Cons are going, every state’s going to be trending a bit more blue:

For GOP lawmakers anxious to push back against the Obama administration’s agenda, the answer isn’t to engage in a debate over the role of government. Rather, the Republicans have decided the way to win the broader policy debate is to find individual spending proposals that sound funny.

The strategy hasn’t been especially effective. The money for marsh-mouse preservation turned out to be a lie. The money linking Vegas to Disneyland by way of high-speed rail was also non-existent. The volcano-monitoring program turned out to be a pretty good idea.

But now they’ve got a new one. Republicans, Fox News, the New York Post, and Drudge have found a $200,000 provision in the omnibus spending package for “tattoo removal.” How can anyone defend that?

It’s actually pretty easy to defend. Greg Sargent looked into it.

[A] little reporting reveals that that this “tattoo removal” program is an anti-crime program in the San Fernando Valley that re-integrates reformed gang members and makes it easier for them to find jobs. Two Los Angeles law enforcement officials I just spoke to — one who identified himself as a “conservative Republican” — swore by the program for reducing crime and saving lives.

The chief of San Fernando Police Department told Greg that the program is “important” and “reduces attacks.” A local probation officer added, “This program is one of the best life-saving and life-changing programs out here. I am about as right wing a conservative as you would ever find.”

I’m going to have to start making a list of questions. We’ve already got a start with “Why do Cons hate D.C.?” Now we’ve got “Why don’t Cons want to reduce crime and save lives?” By the time the next election rolls around, we should have a pretty good list going.

Does anybody know where I can find a fifty-foot scroll? Preferrably one that unrolls dramatically…

Our Mission Be Delayed

February be a short month, and Admiral Dana be dealin’ with shipwrecks. We’ll spend an extra week in port – shore leave for the lot o’ ye! Just have yerselves on board by Thursday the 5th o’ March – we be sailin’ next Friday! Those o’ ye who’ve already boarded get extra rations o’ rum this voyage.

Friday Favorite Childhood Cartoons

My supervisor has taken to announcing his lunch break with cartoons. Since we’re roughly the same age, our tastes coincide. It’s sad that the highlight of my work day is seeing what cartoon he’s hyping next, but at work, you must take whatever nuggets of joy you can find.

He’s reminded me of those halcyon days of childhood, when I used to drag my arse out of bed at five or six a.m. just so I wouldn’t miss my favorite show. Take a trip down Memory Lane with me, why don’t you.

Thundercats. Hands-down favorite cartoon evah. I wanted to be Cheetara when I grew up. Everything about this cartoon was awesome, from the characters to the stories to the theme music. Not to mention the logo – whoever designed it was a sheer genius.

There’s been talk of a movie in the works. I generally despise live-action – I’m a purist that way – but a fan put together a trailer, and damn if it doesn’t look spectacular. I hope the producers are paying attention. Here it is, for your viewing pleasure:

They should just hire this guy to do the film. Seriously.

He-Man. Okay, fine, yes, I’ll admit it – She-Ra, too.

But I thought that He-Man had a much better transformation. There’s no competition between “I have the power!” and “I am She-ra!” But She-Ra kicked He-Man’s ass as far as stunts went. She almost inspired me to become a gymnast.

But Battlecat kicks Swift Wind‘s ass. Sorry to say. I like unicorns a lot, mind you, but that character was lame.

Almost as lame as He-Man’s hairdo. Almost.

Transformers. Oh, yeah. Oh, hell yeah. One of the greatest shows of all time, that was. Although reality never quite matched up to the fantasy – I spent a good portion of my childhood lamenting that my Transformers action figures couldn’t transform as fast as in the show, and they didn’t make that awesome Transformer noise. I loved that sound!

Optimus Prime was my hero and role-model. He showed that kindness and compassion didn’t make you a weak sister. I’m not ashamed to admit I cried like a baby when he died.

Never saw the movie. I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. Sometimes, you just have to keep the original enshrined in your mind, whole and complete, perfect in itself. Complete with cheesy 80s electronic music.

You’re probably getting the idea that I was a total tomboy as a kid. Yepper. Oh, I had my girlie moments, but for the most part, I watched the boys’ cartoons and played with boys’ toys, and fuck that froufy shit. Didn’t watch Care Bears or Rainbow Brite. Didn’t sigh over the sparkly fairy fantasies. But there were a couple cartoons in my pantheon that weren’t all about rivets and battle.

Scooby-Doo. You knew that was coming, right? I mean, is there anyone who doesn’t love Scooby-Doo? This one ran every afternoon after school, and I’d get pissed if the bus was late. It didn’t matter how many times I’d seen an episode – I never wanted to miss a minute. I of course wanted a dog just like Scooby. And I became known as the Scooby-Dooby-Doo girl at school because I’d sing the theme song on the swings.

The show may have inspired my brief flirtation with the idea of becoming a detective, too.

Shaggy is the official mascot of me and my best friend. We used to hang out with a guy who thought he was Fred – liked to get us into crazy situations in a spirit of investigative adventure. We were always pulling a Shaggy on him: “That’s a great plan, Fred. There’s just one problem – I ain’t doing it.” Shaggy taught me the value of just saying no. Ironic, eh?

And, of course, the Smurfs. I don’t really want to talk about it. But I’ll admit that this is the show that dragged my sorry arse out of bed so early on Saturday mornings.

Besides. Without the Smurfs, we wouldn’t have had this awesomely wrong exchange in Twisted Toyfare Theatre #12 (paraphrasing from memory):

Mego Spidey: “Are you really the only girl?”

Smurfette: “Yeah. And for twenty bucks, I’ll be your only girl, too.”

So wrong it’s right.

Weigh in, my darlings. What cartoons kept you glued to the tube as kiddies?