Summer’s End

Nothing lasts, not planets nor stars nor the universe itself. And even summers end. So says the leaf at Lord Hill, lying there in the sun with its blush of fall colors, but holding on to a last bit of green there at the end. A nice metaphor. And for a while there, it seemed like the only good I was going to get out of my new pack o’ batteries, but that’s a scene from later in the story.

Let’s go back to the beginning, when I decided to take Thursday off in order to wring one last precious drop from summer, and woke up to dark gray skies and a cold wind.

Damn you, Murphy!

My intrepid companion and I had planned to go to Tiger Mountain, where it’s rumored there are views all the way from the Issaquah Alps to Seattle itself. We stood out on my porch looking at the solid cloud cover stretching from horizon to horizon and decided the hell with hiking six miles up a mountain to a viewpoint with no view. Although Weather.com assured us there’d be sunshine later in the day, well, weathermen have been wrong before. So we decided to head out to St. Edwards State Park, where there are too many trees for clouds or lack thereof to really make a difference. I didn’t bring my camera. Dark, dank day, why bother?

Damn you again, Murphy!

By the time we got there, the clouds were breaking up. Once we’d descended the hill by the Grotto trail and arrived at Lake Washington, there wasn’t a single damned cloud to be seen, the water was glorious blue, and everything was sparkly and warm. Considerably more sparkly and warm than the last time I’d been there, which was in the spring of 2007, when I’d actually had my camera with me.

So you shall have to use your imaginations to paint in a deep blue sky, sparkling blue water, and a speedboat anchored peacefully nearby. The water, aside from those moments when passing boats disturbed it, lapped peacefully up against the shore, and by the rocks it had gathered in limpid little pools that showed off the sandy, pebbly bottom quite nicely. Nothing for it but to take off ye olde shoes, roll up ye olde jeans, and go wading.

Me being me, there was also rockhounding involved. I found not one, but two, pieces of beautiful gray mica schist lying about, and a bit of smoky quartz, and other sundry treasures still awaiting identification.

After lingering there for a very long time, we headed to downtown Kirkland, where I gave in to temptation and am now the proud owner of a bit of rhyolite with two perfectly-formed garnets in it. And I fell for the piece of lingrite from Grand Reef Mine in Arizona. And the agate limb cast. And a bit of Biggs jasper with patterns that make it look as though ferns are growing in it. And the wee sprig of amethyst in red hematite dug up in Thunder Bay by the owner hisownself.

Got off lightly that time, really.

Friday being all sun-shiny, we decided for a reprise, this time at Lord Hill, where there’s rumored to be a view of both the Cascades and the Olympics. There was indeed a view at the first viewpoint we went to – of tiny fragments of mountains through a bunch of damned trees. So there we were, having trudged over a mile through dank, dark forest, dodging piles of horse shit, rewarded with nothing but more tree trunks. It hardly seemed worth it.

Luckily, we did not give up, but decided we’d attempt the second rumored viewpoint along the Pipeline cutoff trail. Worth it? Why, yes, I should think so. You take a little side trail that looks like it goes nowhere, make a steep climb, and come to a big mossy outcrop of limestone where you have to scramble over the last few feet:

And then, once you’re over that bit, you’re on Lord Hill’s bald spot with a view to die for. There are the Olympics across the valley to the right:


And Mt. Rainier across the valley to the left:


But that’s not the whole story, by far. If you take one of the little barely-there trails trekking along through the bushes and short trees on the hilltop, you’ll come to a cliff, and there the Cascades are, swept out in a line that begs for a panorama. My camera can’t do panoramas, so this shall have to do:

This as well:


Is that or is that not perfectly awesome?

And so there it is, the last drop of summer. How do I know it’s the last? Two things: Weather.com says next week’s going to get rainy and chilly, and I started developing a head cold early this morning. That is what we call a clue around these parts.

It’s been an amazing summer. But now, it’s time to go inside, ease back into writing by watching the Lord of the Rings trilogy (extended editions, of course), and follow the cat’s lead by contemplating this summer’s treasures:


There are worse ways to spend a winter. And then, at winter’s end, it shall be summer again.

Happy Hour Discurso

Today’s opining on the public discourse.

I’ve stopped asking if the right wing can get any more ridiculous. Of course they can.

For instance, they’re on about dolls now:

Just when you think the right wing’s ability to freak out over imaginary outrages can’t possibly get any more ridiculous(death panels, Obama’s fake birth certificate, census data being used to take our guns away and put us all in FEMA interment camps), they go and top themselves again:

An outraged Andrea Peyser writes in the NY Post today:

And while you were snoozing, the creators of American Girl, which is sold by Mattel, got bold. They engaged in all-out political indoctrination.

Snuck into the collection is a doll that comes with a biography that is weird and potentially offensive enough to keep Mom running to the Maalox. Gwen, you see, is harboring a terrible secret.

She is homeless. A homeless doll.

(…)

What message is being sent with Gwen?

For starters, men are bad. Fathers abandon women without cause. She’s also telling me that women are helpless. And that children in this great country, where dolls sell for nearly 100 bucks a pop, are allowed to sleep in motor vehicles. But mothers don’t lose custody over this injustice. Because, you see, they are victims, too.

ZOMG! Our poor innocent children could be exposed to the fact that there are homeless people! Where will this liberal perfidy end?

Horrible how we evil libruls acknowledge people the right would rather pretend didn’t exist, innit?

And speaking of indoctrination, the right is also in hysterics over children having a sing-song about the President – despite the fact they had no hysterics when the sing-song was about Bush:

Conservatives have been up in arms over a tape showing schoolchildren in New Jersey singing a song in praise of President Obama. Glenn Beck said the tape showed “indoctrination that is going on.” Sean Hannity ranted, “This video makes me mad…Mao would be proud.” Typical of this overblown outrage was this statement from RNC Chairman Michael Steele:

Friend, this is the type of propaganda you would see in Stalin’s Russia or Kim Jong Il’s North Korea. I never thought the day would come when I’d see it here in America.

But as Huffington Post recalls, “back in 2006 children from Gulf Coast states serenaded First Lady Laura Bush with a song praising the President, Congress, and Federal Emergency Management Agency for their response to — of all things — Hurricane Katrina.”

IOKIYAR. Even taking the unprecedented step of naming a school full of kiddies after the President is fine – as long as it’s Bush:

Attending a school named after a sitting president: patriotism.

Stockton school officials said they believe theirs will be the first school in the nation named for the president. The White House did not respond to requests for confirmation.

To one school board member, Clem Lee, a Republican, the Bush name is an expression of patriotism.

“It was an expression of the sentiment ‘America Now’ for me,” Lee said. “There’s probably some post-9/11 stuff mixed in there. We have a president who is facing really an unprecedented challenge. So my vote was informed by a culmination of all those things.

“I am the first person to admit that it might be premature to honor a sitting president,” he said. “But it’s quite defensible.

It always is.

It probably wouldn’t be so annoying if these people showed any sign of self-awareness. Just something simple, like “I know I’m being a hypocrite, but…” Yet they don’t. They seriously don’t seem to see any disconnect between believing the praise and adulation of Bush was right and good, and any hint Obama’s being given the same treatment is horrible and evil. Sometimes, I wonder if they have some mild form of Korsakoff’s Syndrome, causing them to forget how they were all perfectly fine with the shit they’re screaming about before a Democratic butt got to sit upon the Oval Office desk chair.

That Democrat, incidentally, has turned FEMA right around:

Many parts of Georgia have been devastated this week by what’s been described as a “once in 500 years flood.” It’s affected 20 counties, killed at least nine people, and caused about $250 million in damages. Vice President Biden appeared alongside members of Congress and federal officials in an Atlanta suburb yesterday, where the American Red Cross had set up a shelter.

By all accounts, officials are responding effectively, and federal aid made available by the administration will be used for recovery programs, including temporary housing and low-cost loans. After a half-hour helicopter tour of the area, Biden vowed that there would be no “bureaucratic stalling and shuffling” as officials addressed the emergency.

I was also struck by the willingness of two very conservative Republican senators — Johnny Isakson and Saxby Chambliss — to credit “the White House’s quick response” and commend the administration’s efforts.

Chambliss praised the Obama Administration for a response that was both “magnificent” and “quick.” Isakson said he had spent last night on the phone with local officials, all of whom reported FEMA workers on the ground.

Apparently, the response isn’t “magnificent” or “quick” enough for the Teabaggers:

It’s pretty much a given that Georgia is a red state, chock full of teabaggers and states rights foamers who fuss constantly about socialism, the intrusive federal government, and abolishing all taxes. The opinion blogs on the AJC are full of rants about how evil the Democrats are, Obama wasn’t born in this country, and we’re all going to hell in a handbasket because of the meddlers in Washington, DC.

Then we had a flood.

You guessed it.

The cry has changed from “Obama’s a socialist!” to “Give me a FEMA check!!” and complaining that the federal disaster declarations didn’t go out fast enough and don’t cover a wide enough area.

Keep your guvmint hands off my FEMA check, eh? Nice. I can’t wait to bring this up next time Georgia starts making noise about secession.

Cons will probably see nothing wrong with Georgia Cons screaming secession one minute and then screaming for federal disaster relief the next. After all, they can’t see anything wrong with lending credence to the most unhinged elements of the right:

The radicals running the How To Take Back America Conference are so nutty, you’d think GOP lawmakers and leaders would want nothing to do with them.

Take Janet Folger Porter, for example, who’s helping run the event. Porter, a leading right-wing activist and talk-show host, believes the United States is “cursed” for having elected President Obama, who took office as the result of a communist conspiracy. She’s told her audience that the H1N1 flu vaccine is really a nefarious plot by the government to kill millions of Americans, and that the Obama administration is creating internment camps for conservatives.

Porter is just one of the truly unhinged conservatives who helped make this weekend’s event a reality, along with other nutty activists like Phyllis Schlafly, Joseph Farah, Mat Staver, and Rick Scarborough.

Are Republicans keeping their distance? Some are, some aren’t. Four sitting Republican members of Congress — Reps. Michele Bachmann (Minn.), Steve King (Iowa), Tom Price (Ga.), and Tom McClintock (Calif.) — will be addressing the conference today. Former presidential candidate and Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (R) will headline the event this evening.

Once again, IOKIYAR. Faux News won’t be howling non-stop about your extremist associations for the next several months because they, too, share your special kind of myopia.

And they’re aided and abetted by people so busy panicking they forget how to think. Like TNR’s Michael Crowley, who’s apparently been watching way too much teevee lately:

If it were up to me, I don’t know what I would do; I would need to know more facts. I am not a proponent of torture, which I think has done enormous harm to America’s image abroad and moral fiber at home. But I ride the subways these guys may have been planning to attack and I would like to be quite sure we’ve found all of them. At a minimum, this is a good opportunity to stress-test the debate about interrogation techniques, because it may be that life can imitate 24 after all.

Oh yessss. It would be irresponsible not to.

Why do I increasingly feel like the last seven or eight years never happened and I’ve awakened sometime in early 2002? More 24 bullshit? Really? What, did Crowley miss out on the post 9/11 pants peeing extravaganza or is this is some kind of retro panic chic? (Can’t you just feel the breathless, macho arousal in his words?) Jesus.

Somebody needs to tell Crowley that we’ve had the debate and we don’t need any “stress testing.” It was “tested” on quite a few subjects and it didn’t work no matter how fast Dick Cheney dances on the head of a pin. Plus there’s this.

24 has become the Godwin’s Law of torture talk. And I’m sorry, but if you whip out 24 in all seriousness, you’ve just invalidated your own argument.

Better countrymen, please.

My Thoughts Exactly

I’ve been meaning to write something impassioned and profound about how Americans should never ever in a thousand million trillion years ever vote Cons back into power again. I haven’t gotten round to it, and it’ll probably be best to wait until closer to election time anyway. But Nonny Mouse’s “Buyer’s Remorse” post is a good place to start reminding folks of consequences:

So over my morning toast and coffee, I read BoldProgressives’ article on Nancy Randolph, who with her husband were a modestly well-off married couple from Maine, and had paid for what they had thought was excellent health insurance… until Mr. Randolph was diagnosed with cancer and the insurance company denied him coverage. He died, and the couple ended up in bankruptcy. Heartbreaking, gut-roiling stuff. And my heart truly does go out to Nancy Randolph, hers is a terrible tragedy made so much worse by knowing it was preventable. But there was one small point that bothered me…

Nancy Randolph voted for Republican Olympia Snowe.

In the clip, Nancy explains she voted for Snowe because she thought the senator would be ‘independent’. What, she didn’t notice the great big R beside the candidate’s name on the ballot? She didn’t notice how ‘independent’ a certain senator from a nearby New England state has been?

Far, far too many people in this country have either voted Republican, or worse, didn’t vote at all, because they didn’t think all those issues progressive have been so annoyingly vocal about for years would ever affect them.

[snip]

We are all reaping the Republican whirlwind, and it will take all of us to get out of it. But that doesn’t mean we have to compromise in the name of ‘bi-partisanship’. Actually, this country is still wealthy enough to afford universal health care for all its citizens – what it can not afford, quite literally, is thinking we have to settle for Blue Dogs and the not-really-all-that-bad Republicans like Snowe, or so-called ‘compromises’ that are not compromises at all. We want… no, not want… we desperately need real progressive politics, so we must elect real progressives who support real progressive policies, and relentlessly hold them to their promises once they’re in office. We don’t have to settle for Blue Dogs or the not-really-all-that-bad Republicans like Snowe. We won’t settle for make-do, second best, get by, let-them-eat-cake, mealy-mouthed, half measure compromises.

We simply… can’t.

Precisely.

Your Daily Dose of Health Care Reform Stupidity

We’ve got a lot today. Sit down, buckle up, and let’s roll.

Mass. Cons get thrown out of court on Sen. Kirk’s appointment. Actually, I should say hurled. What’s all that they say about frivolous lawsuits?

Sen. Ensign’s been a special kind of stupid. He displays the Con misunderstanding of how the law works by arguing that Tenthers should be allowed to opt out of mandates, and then demonstrates the Con propensity for pandering to Faux News by proffering an anti-czar amendment to the Baucus Bullshit. Allow me to quote Hermione: “What an idiot.”

Debbie Stabenow to Jon Kyl: “Your Mom!” No, really:

As a rule, if a senator is pushing back against a colleague’s rhetoric, and references the other senator’s mother, it would be a fairly dramatic breach of protocol. But that’s not always the case.

Igor Volsky reports today that Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) has been pushing an amendment to “prohibit the government from defining which benefits should be included in a standard benefit package.” Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) noted that basic maternity care ought to be required.

“I don’t need maternity care,” Kyl replied. “So requiring that on my insurance policy is something that I don’t need and will make the policy more expensive.”

Interrupting him, Stabenow added, “I think your mom probably did.”

Debbie. I love you. That was fucking awesome. And might be part of the reason why Kyl’s dumbfuck amendment got defeated.

Dems are celebrating the 100th day since the Cons promised to proffer their own plan. Meanwhile, 3/4 of Republicans say they have no idea what the GOP’s plans for health care reform are. Imagine that.

Cons are outdoing themselves on the “We Luv Health Insurance Companies!” front. Now they’re threatening to filibuster HHS nominees unless Humana’s allowed to lie to its customers again.

Meanwhile, Blue Shield denies a woman’s claim for emergency treatment because, they say, she should’ve known that waking up to blood spurting out of her nipple isn’t an emergency.

And an insurance company employee explains how the company fucks you over, and apologizes for having to fuck you over as part of their job description.

Try not to be too shocked here, but it appears that Faux News was lying when they claimed Nancy Pelosi’s going to write her own health care reform bill.

The CBO likes the public option. Are you listening, Blue Dogs? And if you’re not listening to the CBO telling you the public option’s going to save the country a shitload of cash, maybe you’ll listen to your constituents, the majority of whom want a public option with no trigger, thanks so very much. So much for the tough district argument, eh?

And, finally, we end on a somber note today. This is precisely why we need health care reform:

A 22-year-old woman from Oxford, Ohio, died from swine flu on Wednesday. Kimberly Young graduated from Miami University in December and continued to live in Oxford, Ohio, within Minority Leader John Boehner’s congressional distrct. Reports now indicate that after initially getting sick, Young put off treatment because she was uninsured:

Young became ill about two weeks ago, but didn’t seek care initially because she didn’t have health insurance and was worried about the cost, according to Brent Mowery, her friend and former roommate. […]

On Tuesday, Sept. 22, Young’s condition suddenly worsened and her roommate drove her to McCullough Hyde Memorial Hospital in Oxford, where she was flown in critical condition to University Hospital in Cincinnati.

“That’s the most tragic part about it. If she had insurance, she would have gone to the doctor,” Mowery said.

Time to get this done, before we lose too many more people who had to balance cost against care and ended up on the wrong side of the equation.

Happy Hour Discurso

Today’s opining on the public discourse.

Rowan Atkinson did a skit called “A Warm Welcome,” wherein he played Satan welcoming people to hell. There were so many fornicators that he was forced to split them into groups.

I bring this up because I’m forced to do the same with stupid people. Alas, far too many of them are politicians.

Let us begin with the Global Warming Denialism Society. Sen. James Inhofe is, of course, one of the senior members. Here he is in all his glory on C-Span’s Washington Journal:

At the end of the interview, Inhofe explained what guides his views:

CALLER: Yes, I agree with the Senator on what he says about the climate change. I believe that the world is just changing like it usually does. […]

INHOFE: I think he’s right. I think what he’s saying is God’s still up there. We’re going through these cycles. … I really believe that a lot of people are in denial who want to hang their hat on the fact, that they believe is a fact, that man-made gases, anthropogenic gases, are causing global warming. The science really isn’t there.

A man denying global warming because “God’s still up there” talking about science not really being there… that’s absurdist performance art, that is.

When they can’t convince folks that global warming’s not happening because God says so, they’re trying to scare-monger everybody into paralysis by saying combating climate change will be horribly expensive. Paul Krugman reminds us of the simple fact they’re basing their bullshit on lies (h/t):

So where do the apocalyptic warnings about the cost of climate-change policy come from?

Are the opponents of cap-and-trade relying on different studies that reach fundamentally different conclusions? No, not really. It’s true that last spring the Heritage Foundation put out a report claiming that Waxman-Markey would lead to huge job losses, but the study seems to have been so obviously absurd that I’ve hardly seen anyone cite it.

Instead, the campaign against saving the planet rests mainly on lies.

Thus, last week Glenn Beck — who seems to be challenging Rush Limbaugh for the role of de facto leader of the G.O.P. — informed his audience of a “buried” Obama administration study showing that Waxman-Markey would actually cost the average family $1,787 per year. Needless to say, no such study exists.

But we shouldn’t be too hard on Mr. Beck. Similar — and similarly false — claims about the cost of Waxman-Markey have been circulated by many supposed experts.

[snip]

So here’s the bottom line: The claim that climate legislation will kill the economy deserves the same disdain as the claim that global warming is a hoax. The truth about the economics of climate change is that it’s relatively easy being green.

But it’s not easy if you’re David “Diapers” Vitter, and you have to protect all those contributions polluters flood your coffers with:

Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) is blocking an EPA nomination because he wants the agency to delay establishing safety procedures for formaldehyde. Meanwhile, major emitters of the dangerous chemical have been generous contributors to the senator’s reelection campaign.

So, he’s in bed with prostitutes, polluters and…. wonder who the third p will be?

Moving on to our next group, “Craziest Cons in Congress,” we find Rep. Steve King going for the crown:

In the ongoing contest to see which House Republican is the single nuttiest, Rep. Steve King (R) of Iowa is making another run at the title.

The Madman from the Heartland has had quite a week.

[snip]

He kept things going yesterday on the House floor, standing alongside Socialist Realist art to argue that President Obama is the leader of ACORN.

Today, however, was my personal favorite. King is apparently angry — it’s not clear why — that President Obama is changing U.S. missile-defense policies in Europe. The White House is scrapping a Bush-era policy that didn’t make sense, for a more effective anti-missile technology, with a better track record, and more flexibility, which will be implemented sooner. The move was endorsed by the Secretary of Defense and backed by the unanimous judgment of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

King initially said the president is honoring the “Neville Chamberlain school of diplomacy or capitulation.” The Iowa Republican added, “I was thinking about the situation of how it was that Hitler actually negotiated with the Russians for a while. It ended up with Poland being divided and a global war as a result.”

So, as far as King is concerned, Obama is both Chamberlain and Hitler?

Next we’ll be hearing how Obama’s just like Genghis Khan. Mark my words.

Why is King stepping up the insanity? Perhaps he’s jealous of Rep. Michele Bachmann’s action figure:

Look out, Barbie — here comes the Michele Bachmann action figure!

As Minnesota Public Radio reports, the increased fame of the second-term Congresswoman had spurred a Connecticut company, Herobuilders, to manufacture a new posable toy in her image.

Somehow, I don’t think the representatives will understand this is a joke at their expense.

We have only one contender for Dumbfuck Governor o’ the Day right now (although Greg Sargent says Rick Perry’s possibly on about secession again, I refuse to visit the pages of the Weekly Standard on a night when I’m already pressed for time). Trust Gov. Jindal to always keep his place in line:

Yesterday, the White House held a conference call between Vice President Biden and governors of U.S. states and territories. The purpose of the call, according to the White House pool report, was to “exhort the states to collect and submit quarterly numbers of jobs created and saved by the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act by the deadline of Oct. 10.” Forty-nine state governors or their representatives joined the call. The one person who skipped it? Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R).

[snip]

Jindal has been one of the most outspoken critics of the Recovery Act — at the same time he goes around the state and takes credit for the federal dollars he was handing out.

And the bonus fuckery:

A Jindal appointee has even blocked the state transportation department from placing signs indicating that projects were funded by the stimulus:

State projects financed with federal stimulus dollars will have no signs that say that, said Mark Lambert, spokesman for the state Department of Transportation and Development.

Lambert said the decision was made by DOTD Secretary William Ankner.

“He directed that signs not go up,” Lambert said of Ankner.

Lambert noted, however, that “road and bridge work paid for with state surplus dollars included signs that pointed out the source of the funds.” His explanation was that the state signs were cheaper.

You’ve got to be fucking kidding me. But, alas, they are not.

Our final group is a huge one – the Right-Wing Hysterics. Observe them in full hue-and-cry against Muslims praying at the Capitol:

It’s gone largely under the media radar, but in Washington today, tens of thousands of Muslim Americans are expected to gather to pray as part of the “Islam on Capitol Hill” event. To say that the religious right is concerned about this would be something of an understatement.

[snip]

The event has no stated political agenda, and no elected officials are expected to attend. Abdellah has simply called on people to come to the Capitol to “pray for peace and understanding between America and its Muslim community.”

So, what’s the problem? In reality, there isn’t one. But in the active imaginations of religious right leaders, the “Islam on Capitol Hill” gathering is grounds for quite a tantrum.

Right Wing Watch has been chronicling the reactions from Christian right leaders all week, and the panic has become more palpable as the week has progressed. The Family Research Council believes today’s participants may “pray for shari’ah law to come to America,” so Christians’ efforts to convert Muslims should “accelerate.” Wallbuilders’ David Barton warned that today’s event undermines Christianity’s place at the top of the heap in America. The National Day of Prayer Task Force warned of “a dark spiritual intent and a coming day of great trouble to America.” A group called Operation Save America intends to send members to the Hill to wage some kind of spiritual battle. A variety of religious right leaders quickly created The Ad Hoc Committee of Americans for Transparency and Honesty in Religion to demand that organizers of today’s event denounce acts of terrorism.

“I don’t understand. This is a simple event. All we want to do is pray,” Abdellah said. “In America, name one event where Christians tried to pray and Muslims disrupted it.”

Poor Abdellah. Poor innocent git, expecting brotherly love from a bunch of rabid Bible bashers. He’s got to realize that right-wing Christian groups amiably allowing Muslims to pray in public, too, is about as likely as Osama bin Laden issuing a video saying that despite our differences, he actually loves America and hopes it has a nice day.

Which, in turn, is about as likely as Teabaggers not acting like a rabid bunch of buffoons:

One People’s Project has the full-length version of this video, taken from the big 912 rally in Washington, D.C., showing a middle-aged white man and his Asian wife chasing after and harassing a trio of black people — primarily two teenagers and an adult guardian (possibly their mother) who were selling “Don’t Tread on Me” flags along the long grassy mall.

As you can see, the man — who identifies himself as Tim Jones — shouts after them: “ACORN! These people are ACORN!!! They are frauds!!! ACORN is fraud!!! Obama sucks! This woman sells signs for profit of ACORN!!”

It attracts more harassers, and it verges on the point of an outbreak of violence when the D.C. bicycle police show up and break up the scene.

But really, folks, they’re not racists! Even though they inexplicably didn’t run after any white vendors screaming “ACORN!!1!11!”

And, finally, the creme de la stupid:

A new birther infomercial running on a CBS affiliate in Texas and elsewhere around the country tells viewers a “got a birth certificate?” bumper sticker can be theirs for the low price of $30.

The 28-minute program — quite possibly the first ever birthermercial — features community access production values, heavy use of foreboding strings soundtrack, and standard-issue Birther ideology.

For a $30 contribution, viewers also get a fax sent in their name to the 50 state attorneys general and Attorney General Eric Holder demanding that President Obama produce his real birth certificate.

A Birthermercial. My darlings, I do believe the right-wing should have taken the red pill, but I’m afraid they’re so far gone in their little fantasy world they’ll never see reality again.

At least they’ll be 30 bucks poorer for their dumbfuckery, though.

Fools… money…. parted. Hmm. Think we should start a business, my darlings?

Your Daily Dose of Health Care Reform Stupidity

Okay, this is both pathetically stupid and funny as shit:

Sen. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.), the Senate Budget Committee chairman and a member of the unsuccessful Gang of Six effort, raised a few eyebrows this week with a message for his “progressive friends.”

Conrad, a consistent opponent of the public option, wanted liberals to know “government-run programs” aren’t necessary to lower costs and expand access. He explained that he’d finished reading T.R. Reid’s “The Healing of America” over the weekend, and learned Germany, Japan, Switzerland, France, and Belgium are doing just fine. “[A]ll of them contain costs, have universal coverage, have very high quality care and yet are not government-run systems,” Conrad said.

It was an odd thing to say, and reflects some important confusion about these international systems. As Ezra Klein explained, “In France, for instance, the government provides all basic insurance coverage directly. In Germany, insurers aren’t permitted to make a profit. In Japan, health insurance is publicly provided, and private insurance is available only to ease co-payments or cover services that the government leaves out.”

What a fucking loser. Total reading comprehension fail, not to mention total awareness-of-how-other-countries-actually-run-their-health-care-systems fail. When this putz comes up for election, he’s gotta go. This is Bush-level stupidity, and it’s unbecoming in an ostensible Democrat.

PWN o’ the Day goes to Sen. Jay Rockefeller:

Discussing one of Sen. John Cornyn’s (R-TX) amendments, Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) said, “If there’s anything which is clear, it’s that the insurance industry is not running this markup, but it is running certain people in this markup.”

He went on to say that Cornyn’s amendment — one that would add caveats to an employer mandate — “is about giving subsidies to insurance companies… instead of giving it, helping people. This is the grandfather of all grandfathers.”

“With all due respect, Senator, I don’t know what amendment you’re referring to –,” Cornyn said.

“I’m referring to yours,” Rockefeller said.

“You’re certainly not referring to my amendment –,” Cornyn said.

“I am,” Rockefeller said.

It’s hard to forgive Rockefeller’s FISA fuckery, but after this, I shall never again call him “Jello Jay.” Snap!

Speaking of insurance companies, I’m sure none of you fell for AHIP’s “We Luv Reform!” schtick (or if you did, it was a mere stumble), but just in case, it’s always good to remember that while the insurance industry’s lobby blabbers happy bullshit about how they’ll change their ways, the insurance companies themselves have absolutely no interest in doing so. Color me shocked.

And I’m sure you never fall for this either, but when Cons try to tell you how they’re the party of small business and/or the working man, they’re lying, delusional, or both. If they were really a party with the best interests of small businesses/workers at heart, they’d pass reform: health care costs are crushing small businesses, and keeping employees locked into corporate jobs rather than opening businesses of their own.

You may notice Dems getting feisty on health care reform (those not completely in thrall to the insurance industry and slavishly devoted to the notion of negotiating a bipartisan deal with an opposition party that has absolutely no interest in negotiating, anyway). There’s a reason for that. Meet Democratic Senator #60.

That’s right, bitches.

And while the Cons in Massachusetts are doing their level-best to stop Sen. Kirk’s appointment through the courts, they’ve not gotten very far just yet.

Why, yes. Yes, it was a blatant political move Massachusetts Dems just made, revoking their previous law requiring a special election in order to get one more Dem butt into the Senate, but you know what? I’m proud of the fuckers. They pulled a classic Con move on the Cons, dealt a bit o’ quid for the quo, and administered a dose of the medicine they’ve been forced to take for years now. Good for them.

Don’t make it a habit.

Now all Dems need to do is impress upon Sen. Nelson that being a Democrat means not supporting Con filibusters, nor even flirting with such an idea, and all shall be well. If you’re one of Ben Nelson’s unfortunate constituents, you may want to give him a ring and advise him how you feel about his contrary streak.

Despite Nelson’s noise, Chuck Schumer and Jay Rockefeller are “very confident” health care reform will include “a good, strong, robust public option.” Nancy Pelosi’s condemned triggers in language that leaves me no doubt she won’t put up with one in the final bill. She’s got House liberals standing strong on the public option, and Blue Dogs who seem to be weakening in their opposition. Oh, some are still yipping, but it looks like a lot of bark with little bite behind it – if you visit that last link, you’ll see how full of shit they are on their supposed “principles.” And if they have even a hint of self-awareness, they understand just how bad it looks for them to blather about controlling costs while they’re acting as accomplices in helping insurance companies price competitors out of rural markets.

Upshot: what we’ll end up with won’t be single payer, but at this point, it’s starting to look like it won’t suck, and might even accomplish some good.

No thanks to the health industry, Cons, and the few dumb-as-shit Dems who’ve been enabling them.