Time to Be Fillin’ the Hold

(Postdated for those who’ve only just got out of the taverns. New content be below.)

Captain Cujo be worried, me hearties: the hold be nearly empty, and the crew be nowhere in sight.  We have an unhappy captain:

At the risk of being a martinet, I’m not satisfied. We sail this weekend regardless, because I doubt I’ll be able to do much next weekend, and if we keep pushing cruises back we’ll eventually be so far back in time that we meet ourselves, or something like that.

We can’t be havin’ wi’ this.  So allow myself to repeat myself:

Captain Cujo be lookin’ for ye!

Once again, I’ll be donning the funny hat and and as many pistols as I can carry as I host a cruise of the carnival. I’d love to see submissions from folks who haven’t participated before, particularly if they’re regular readers. If you submit your entry before January 29, that would be even better. I’ll have more time to work on that narrative thing I heard about in composition class. January 29 is the deadline, however.

If you’re still not sure what sort of article works as a COTEB article, click on the COTEB keyword and check out some past carnivals.

So, as Admiral Hunter says, send us your treasures, and we’ll see you in a few days.

BTW, if you don’t have a website, but you have an article that you’ve written, send it to me and I’ll put it up here as a guest post.

We be expectin’ a big crew this time, especially in light o’ the fact so many o’ us missed the boat after the holidays.  So get yer submissions in by January 29th.

Or suffer the shame o’ missin’ the boat.

Dear, oh Dear

I seem to have let time get away from me this evening.  At least I’ve got something to show for it:

Yes, it looks funky with the scale off to the side, but I’ve got reasons.  Namely, I’m not sure where land’s going.  For the poles, that didn’t matter so much, but for inhabited continents, one doesn’t want a scale in the way.  And look at all that nice lovely room I’ll have for legends and so forth.

Doing this takes an extraordinary amount of time.  To top that off, most of today at work was frantically busy, so I couldn’t sneak in ye olde political reading in between calls.  But I gathered some snippets for your reading pleasure.  For instance, you really mustn’t miss Judd Gregg’s temper tantrum.  My, he gets testy when folks ask him for policy specifics rather than meaningless platitudes, doesn’t he? 

The big news, of course, was the aftermath of the State of the Union address.  Rudy Giuliani has severe comprehension problems.  That’s the charitable way of looking at it – the uncharitable view is that he’s a lying little shit.  Take your pick.

All is not well in the world o’ Teabagger conventions.  Not with Blackburn and Bachmann pulling out.  That leaves the organizers with no one but Sarah Palin to justify their $500 + attendance fees.  Tickets are still available!  Hurry, they’re – well, not actually going fast, so no worries on finding a seat if you want to spend half a grand to listen to Palin’s pablum.  I’d go, but I’ve got to pluck my nosehairs that day.

In good health care reform news, Pelosi’s preparing to hit insurance companies where it hurts.  I like this idea of making them suffer the same anti-trust laws my own company has to follow.  It veritably warms the cockles of my heart.

I wonder how the Senate will fuck that up?

Speaking of the Senate and total fuck-ups, check out Evan Bayh’s moral wrongs.

Pretty thin gruel today, I know.  But at least now you have time to go press-gang posts for COTEB, right?

Happy Hour Discurso

Today’s opining on the public discourse.

Time flies when you’re obsessing over a map.  Just ask Efrique how addictive it is.  So do forgive me for making this as short and sharp as possible.

All is not well in the state of Dumbfuckistan.  In fact, there seems to be a revolution brewing, courtesy of Teabagger fave Bachmann and her sidekick King:

The Sioux City Journal reports that Reps. Steve King (R-IA) and Michele Bachmann (R-MN) are teaming up to introduce a “Declaration of Health Care Independence.” “We demand Constitutional protection of the right to make our own health decisions and our own health care choices free of government denials, bureaucratic red tape and greater intergenerational debt,” reads the declaration’s “Preamble.” When Bachmann first floated the idea a couple of weeks ago, King said it “lit up for me.” Bachmann, too, is quite fond of King, floating him as a potential presidential candidate last year. The Hill explains that Bachmann, King, and a few other right-wing congressmen have been meeting privately to collaborate on a plan to revolt against their Party leaders:

Conservative lawmakers, including Reps. Steve King (Iowa), Michele Bachmann (Minn.), Louie Gohmert (Texas) and John Shadegg (Ariz.), have been meeting privately to “foment revolution,” according to a source involved in the discussions. […]

King said the group’s effort is aimed at getting “aggressive” on pushing conservative policy alternatives. […]

One Republican member seeking anonymity explained that the group of rabble-rousers is frustrated not only with the conference leaders but also with the leadership of Republican Study Committee (RSC) Chairman Tom Price (Ga.).

And here is my hope for the future of my country: that the insanity of the Con party rips it apart before they can do any more damage to us.  I feel a wee bit o’ optimism today.

Bonus King idiocy: trying to defend the indefensible.

Meanwhile, governing in a bipartisan fashion is still impossible with this bunch of nitwits.  Case in point:

The Senate voted yesterday on a proposal to create a bipartisan commission on deficit reduction. The effort failed — “only” a 53-member majority supported the idea.
Reasonable people can disagree on whether the commission was a worthwhile idea, but if we put merit aside for a moment, it’s worth noting what yesterday’s vote tells us about Senate Republican attitudes right now.
Six GOP senators co-sponsored the legislation to create the commission, and then voted against their own idea. Asked for an explanation, the Republicans said the commission — which was intended to push policymakers to make uncomfortable decisions — might have told them what they didn’t want to hear, and should therefore not exist.

Read the whole thing. It’s an object lesson in the kind of fucktarded thinking that passes for policy positions with these morons.

In dumbfuck Dem news, it turns out Ben Nelson had a knife in hand, ready to plunge into the backs of his caucus:

For any legislator who wants to learn how to drive a bargain, check out this stunning interview Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE) conducted with Life Site News.
Now that the Democrats have only 59 votes–insufficient to overcome a filibuster–Nelson is providing an inside look at his legislative strategy. And it’s…remarkable. Nelson famously insisted that, to get his vote, Senate health care legislation would have to include restrictions on abortion financing. Now, however, he says his plan all along was to pull a bait and switch: Wait until the House and Senate met to merge their two bills and then push for yet tougher language.
“[O]nce it went to conference, as part of the conference, there was still another 60 vote threshold, and that is when I would have insisted… for my last 60th vote, it has to have [Stupak-like language],” Nelson said.

Raise your hand if you’re surprised.

Steve Benen thinks he’s full of shit and just trying to polish his Con cred for the conservative voters he hopes to woo.  This is one of those rare times I disagree: I think Nelson absolutely planned to do this, even though he’d lose.  He’s proven time and again just how willing he is to betray his own.  But I have to admit one thing: the Dems really need to sit down with this asshole and learn how negotiation is done.

Moving on to things that aren’t actually stupid or outrageous… I just want to point out something that gets lost in all the GOP noise: Dems aren’t actually losing all their battles:

For instance, in this year of alleged Republican insurgency, the Democrats have actually won three congressional seats. Did you know that? I doubt that most people do.

That’s one message.  Here’s another:

It’s understandable that policymakers would look to statewide elections to get a sense of the public’s mood. Last week, a narrow majority of Massachusetts voters chose a conservative senator, and the political establishment took that to mean the electorate is shifting to the right.
But if those results offered broader lessons about voters’ attitudes, maybe this week’s results in Oregon do, too.

Facing a budget crunch that threatened to close schools early, lay off teachers and slash healthcare benefits, Oregon voters ended two decades of tax scrimping Tuesday by approving higher taxes on corporations and wealthy families.

The two ballot measures passed handily in a referendum watched closely around the country as a signal of whether voters are ready to approve targeted tax hikes to bail out cash-starved state treasuries.

One can only assume that Republicans will see these results, notice that usually-tax-averse voters just endorsed tax increases, and interpret Oregon’s vote as “sending a signal” about the kind of economic policies Americans want to see right now.
Or maybe not.

Considering it crimps their narrative, I’m plumping for not.  But it’s a fact we should be shouting far, wide and loud.  Americans may not be thrilled with Dems just now, but that doesn’t mean they’ve suddenly all turned Teabagger.  Important thing to remember.

And, finally, a link from Ezra Klein I found fascinating: “A lot of liberals in Congress seem to have bought into the odd premise that the benefits that they receive would somehow be a step down for the rest of the country.”

It’s just too damned bad we didn’t tie health care reform to Congress’ own health care plans.  If they’d been forced to switch to what they give us, and if their failure meant they’d lose their own insurance, we’d probably be on single payer right at this minute.

Something to keep in mind next time we’re looking to improve our standard of living.

Happy Hour Discurso

Today’s opining on the public discourse.

Someone opened the floodgates of stupidity today.  And it looks like the reservoir was full.  Hope everybody has flood insurance.

We begin with intrepid faux-investigator and sometime fake pimp James O’Keefe, who’s decided that hidden camera operations aren’t half as fun as trying to tap Congresspersons’ telephones:

James O’Keefe, the young conservative filmmaker who was behind the undercover operations that led to the ACORN scandal last year, was arrested with three others for allegedly trying to bug the New Orleans office of Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA) yesterday.
The FBI announced today the foursome have been charged with entering federal property under false pretenses for the purpose of committing a felony.
The affidavit alleges that the botched phone bugging began with two of the four men — Joseph Basel and Robert Flanagan, both 24 — entering Landrieu’s office in downtown New Orleans in Village People-style construction worker garb, claiming they were telephone repairmen.

I hope they enjoy those federal felony charges, there.  At least they’ve got Faux News coming to their defense. There truly aren’t any depths of stupidity that Faux News won’t dive in to, are there?

Speaking of Faux News and depths, there’s no limit to how low they will go:

Well, you’d think Bill O’Reilly would at least be a little embarrassed that Fox News Channel was the only news entity on cable TV not to broadcast last week’s “Hope for Haiti” concert.
But no. Instead of apologizing or even mentioning some kind of lame excuse why Fox didn’t air it, on his show last night O’Reilly actually went on the warpath against the benefit and its organizers, demanding “transparency” and a full accounting of where all the money’s going.
What really got his dander up? The benefit’s organizers “wouldn’t or couldn’t” provide a spokesman to come on his show and explain himself.

Awww, poor Billy.  He got his widdle feelings hurt by people who had better fucking things to do than stroke his ego.  Things like, y’know, concentrate on the folks who need help, and the folks who are willing to help them.

In upcoming election stupidity, McCain challenger J.D. Hayworth butters up the birthers by pretending the President never presented a certified birth certificate.  I particularly like his shout-out to sports fans, there, saying that football players have to pony up, so why not the Prez?  Alas for that argument, I’m relatively positive that high schools, colleges, and the NFL consider Hawaii’s official short form certificate adequate proof of birth.  And Hayworth might possibly be bright enough to realize this, but he’s got to play to the frothing inane portion of the Con base, and so we get even abjecter stupidity than we usually hear from this dumbshit.

Bonus fuckwittery in the AZ election: Teabaggers are furious at their darling Sarah Palin for supporting McCain.  Somebody pop us some popcorn – this is bound to be entertaining.

Turning now to Indiana, Sen. Evan Bayh’s challenger had some fascinating fanaticism on display:

Richard Behney, an Indiana Tea Party activist and candidate for the Republican nomination for Senate against Democratic Sen. Evan Bayh, made a striking pronouncement at a meeting late last year of the “Evansville 2nd Amendment Patriots”: That if new people don’t get elected to Congress in 2010, he’ll be getting out his guns to face down the American government.
“That’s the beauty of this, folks. We can do it before it gets to guns,” said Behney, in praise of the electoral process. “All right, our founders brought out the guns. When they showed up at Lexington and Concord, regular folks, farm boys, doctors, merchant men, and they said you ain’t taking our stuff. They stood up to the most powerful army in the world, and they bought our freedom, literally with their blood. And we don’t have to do that yet.
“I believe personally, we’re at a crossroads. We have one last opportunity. And I believe 2010 is it. All right? And we can do it with our vote. And we can get new faces in, whether it’s my face or not, I pray to God that I see new faces. And if we don’t see new faces, I’m cleaning my guns and getting ready for the big show. And I’m serious about that, and I bet you are, too. But I know none of us want to go that far yet, and we can do it with our vote.”

Shorter Behney: “Elect me or I’ll shoot.”  There’s a bumper sticker slogan for ye.  All I can say is, if this freak gets enough freaks and fucktards to the polls to elect him, I’m fetching my mother from Indiana and installing her here.  She deserves better representation than this violent little fuck.  And I never thought I’d say this, but: “Mom, if it comes down to a choice between Bayh and this asshat, vote for Bayh.”


I wonder if he passes the GOP’s proposed purity test?  One thing’s for sure: as nuts as Scott Brown is, he isn’t quite nuts enough.

And, in health care stupidity, the House Dems are ready to make a move as soon as the Senate assures them the most fucked-up bits of the Senate bill will be fixed via reconciliation.  The former kings and queens of the Senate are screaming bloody murder, but as Greg Sargent points out, “Because it only needs a majority, what those three have to say about it doesn’t really matter!”  This gave me one of the warmest, fuzziest feelings I’ve had in a long time.

Of course, Cons have already declared open war:

The GOP Senate leadership has privately settled on a strategy to derail health reform if Dems try to pass the Senate bill with a fix through reconciliation, aides say: Unleash an endless stream of amendments designed to stall for time and to force Dems to take untenable votes.

The aide described the planned GOP strategy as a “free for all of amendments,” vowing Dems would face “a mountain of amendments so politically toxic they’ll make the first health debate look like a post office naming.”

To which a former Senate parliamentarian sez their strategy is “patently absurd:”

But at least one former Senate parliamentarian is calling the strategy “patently absurd.” According to Robert Dove, who served as Senate parliamentarian until 2001, “In the Senate, the motion to go to that [reconciliation] bill is not debatable, and the bill itself is only debatable for 20 hours. All amendments must be germane.” “If there are differences between the two houses in their reconciliation bills, then you would either work out those differences through a conference, or through amendments as they bounce back and forth,” Dove told Lester Feder, who has been covering health care policy for The Nation and the O’Neill institute’s health law blog.
Dove also revealed that Vice President Joe Biden, not the Senate parliamentarian, is “the ultimate decider” of “what can stay in under the rules“:

But no vice president has tried to play that role in reconciliation. We haven’t had vice presidents that have tried to play important procedural roles for a very long time. The last one was Nelson Rockefeller, in 1975, and before him Hubert Humphrey, in the 1960’s. But no vice president has ever tried to play a role in reconciliation. Basically, since Walter Mondale was vice president, they have kind of been co-opted by the president and given an office down in the West Wing. Their interest in playing Senate politics has become attenuated. That has left the Senate parliamentarian in an extremely powerful position.

In this case, at least, as long as the Dems don’t snatch defeat from the jaws of victory once again, it looks like the Cons can huff and puff all they want, but only until they take a punch to the solar plexus from ye olde rules.

And Tom Udall has joined the anti-filibuster crusade.  Even if it goes nowhere, it still shines a spotlight on some rather unprecedented abuse by Senate Cons, and might make a few otherwise clueless voters realize why we used to hear of legislation passing with less than 60 votes.

Looks like pollyticks is getting fun again, my darlings.  Stay tuned.

Happy Hour Discurso

Today’s opining on the public discourse.

Happy Hour’s back, but I can’t say it’s actually happy.  Reading political news lately has been one long experience in repetitious dumbfuckery.  I’d hoped Dems would extract their heads from their asses after the initial shock of seeing a Teabagging shitheel elected to Ted Kennedy’s seat, but no such luck – they’re still acting like the world’s ended.  This tells me that there’s far too many who are merely using the loss of one Senate seat as an excuse to do what they’ve wanted to do all along: take the coward’s way out.

And this means we’ll probably have Cons in charge of the country, merrily finishing the demolition they’d begun under Bush, because the American electorate isn’t wise enough to primary the stupid fucks causing the current problems and elect people who can actually get useful shit done.

I’m not going to amplify the noise.  We all know how fucking useless Dems are being at this moment, and so I will merely direct your attention to Steve Benen’s manifesto and be done with it.  There’s their road map out of the wilderness.  If they’re too stupid to use it, and if the Democratic base is too stupid to use primary challenges to their advantage, there’s not much I can do about it.

But I do want to highlight this bit o’ advice: if Cons want to obstruct, then by all means, Dems should let them obstruct.  Fuck cloture, let’s see some actual filibusters (h/t):

Gov. Ed Rendell of Pennsylvania has some advice for his fellow Democrats skittish about health care reform in the wake of the Republican upset in that Massachusetts special election.
“My message to those Democrats is don’t be afraid,” Rendell told ABC News. “Listen, you got elected because you wanted to do something to change the quality of people’s lives — here we have a chance to do something historic and if it means some of us are going to lose because of that so be it. At least you will have lost your office fighting for something and accomplishing something.”
He tells his fellow Democrats in Washington, DC, to “get that best bill as strong and as tight as you can then send it back to the Senate and let’s see if they (Republicans) are going to filibuster.”
“Make them filibuster,” he told ABC News in an interview for Good Morning America this morning. “Make them go before America people.  Make the American people look at a modern day spectacle of what a filibuster would entail. I think it’s time to call their bluff. I think it is too easy to throw up your hands and say, ‘We don’t have 60 votes.’ Remember its 51 votes for passage, they have to filibuster. Make them filibuster.” [emphasis emphatically added]

Actually making the 41 fucks standing in the way of the majority’s will stand up there and actually filibuster everything they want to filibuster rather than just capitulating to their every threat, thus pretending this democracy can’t pass legislation without 60 votes, might actually show the public exactly who’s at the root of the problem.  Yes, Dems are acting the perfect spineless sissies, but Cons are the ones actually fucking the country over.  As per usual.

So, no more filibuster 2.0.  Let’s get back to basics.  It’ll at least be good for the adult diaper industry.  And it could put a downward crimp in this chart:

And as for the endless whining, what Greg said:

House Dems say they’re frustrated with Obama for not forcing them to pass the Senate health bill with a fix later. Dear House Dems: If you want to pass the Senate bill, stop whining about Obama and pass the Senate bill.

Grow up, grow a spine, and grow a fucking pair.  Then perhaps people will want to vote for you.

Moving on.  When I talk about electing better Dems, that’s a little vague.  You know what we’re looking for: progressive champions who aren’t afraid to mix it up, who come out swinging rather than go down cowering, and who don’t kick sand in the base’s face in a craven attempt to win the approval of “centrists” and the right.  And I can tell you exactly who we’re not looking for.  His name’s Harold Ford:

Ford identifies “four simple steps we must take immediately to put us, and the nation, on a better course.” The list includes dropping the kind of comprehensive health care reform that Democrats have already voted for — he thinks protections for those with pre-existing conditions can be done on its own, proving he hasn’t done his homework — and also promotes passing immigration reform.
But the real fun was noticing how the other two of the four points complement one another. Ford, for example, believes Democrats should cut taxes some more…

[C]ut taxes for businesses — big and small — and find innovative ways to get Americans back to work. We can start by giving any companies that are less than five years old an exemption from payroll taxes for six months; extending the current capital gains and dividend tax rates through 2012; giving permanent tax credits for businesses that invest in research and development; and reducing the top corporate tax rate to 25 percent from 35 percent.

…and a few paragraphs later, Ford goes on to encourage Democrats to focus on deficit reduction.

[W]e need to address budget deficits now rather than waiting for some ideal future economic situation.

That cutting taxes makes deficit reduction largely impossible doesn’t seem to bother the former congressman, probably because he’s not especially serious about public policy.

Sorry, Harold.  The Dem caucus doesn’t need a gigantic embarrassment on the level of Michael Steele.  We’ve already got one.  His name’s Joe Lieberman.  And I do indeed hope he ends up running as a Con, for several reasons: it would be highly entertaining to watch the Teabaggers attack him, it might prove to his bestest buddies that he really truly is a two-faced fucktard, his inevitable defeat would end his self-important grandstanding, and it would remove a stain from the Dem caucus.  I know, Harold, I know you think you’d be the ideal man to step into Lieberman’s shoes, but those shoes are getting taken out back and burned just as soon as we can extract Lieberman’s feet from them.  Thank you for playing, now go the fuck home.

Most of the focus of this past week has been on Dems, considering they’re acting like absolute fools, but that doesn’t mean Cons have stopped acting stupid.  Far from it.  And it seems the stupidity is deeply ingrained indeed (h/t):

If you’re the kind of person who reads this blog, you’re probably already familiar with the churlish Republican practice of refusing to call the Democratic Party by its true name. Disiplined GOPers will instead refer to “the Democrat Party,” or “the Democrat agenda.” But yesterday on ABC ‘s “This Week,” Republican Senator Jim DeMint of South Carolina, whom Michelle Cottle recently profiled in TNR’s pages, took this practice to a comically nonsensical extreme:
DEMINT: We can’t promote freedom and democracy by repressing free speech. That’s not the way to do it. I think people should be able to come together in associations and organizations and spend money to get their message out. I think that’s going to promote the democrat process, instead of really what we’ve got now, is where you essentially give the labor unions carte blanche over our system, grassroots as well as spending.
The democrat process? DeMint has so thoroughly conditioned himself to avoid the label “Democratic” that he apparently now has trouble uttering the word even when it comes with a small ‘d.’

The “democrat” process.  How very precious.  Almost as precious as handing al Qaeda a propaganda victory:

After the failed Christmas terrorist plot, Republicans and conservative detractors of the administration worked quickly to characterize the unsuccessful attack as a “success” — a word both Brit Hume and Bill Kristol used soon after the decidedly unsuccessful incident. The point, of course, was to try to further undermine the administration.
Adam Serwer noted this morning that the rhetoric has, not surprisingly, bolstered terrorist propaganda.

Alleged underwear bomber Umar Abdulmutallab didn’t hurt anyone but himself, and he was quickly subdued by unarmed civilian passengers. But the Republican reaction — hyping the failed bombing as a victory — was so successful that Osama bin Laden claimed the failed operation in a recent videotaped message.

Marc Lynch added:

Osama bin Laden has released a new tape to al-Jazeera claiming responsibility for the attempted Christmas Day bombing, linking it to Gaza and declaring that America would not be secure until Palestinians were truly secure. Bin Laden’s ability to frame an entire tape around a failed bombing attempt demonstrates how badly the American public’s over-reaction played into al-Qaeda’s hands. It should not be surprising that bin Laden would claim responsibility on behalf of al-Qaeda Central or threaten new attacks, whether or not it’s actually true. [emphasis added]

The point isn’t to characterize the Cheneys and other GOP attack dogs as terrorist sympathizers; it’s to note that, in their zeal to weaken Obama’s presidency, they’re inadvertently giving U.S. enemies exactly what they’re looking for.

I know that far too many of my fellow Americans find thinking a difficult and distasteful activity, but you don’t have to think long and hard before realizing that handing the reins of power back to this bunch of freaks is a horrible idea, and best avoided.

Alas, I fear even thinking short and easy may prove too strenuous for voters.  

It Be That Time Again

(Postdated – new content be below)

Ahoy, ye Elitist Bastards!  Captain Cujo be lookin’ for ye!

Once again, I’ll be donning the funny hat and and as many pistols as I can carry as I host a cruise of the carnival. I’d love to see submissions from folks who haven’t participated before, particularly if they’re regular readers. If you submit your entry before January 29, that would be even better. I’ll have more time to work on that narrative thing I heard about in composition class. January 29 is the deadline, however.

If you’re still not sure what sort of article works as a COTEB article, click on the COTEB keyword and check out some past carnivals.

So, as Admiral Hunter says, send us your treasures, and we’ll see you in a few days.

BTW, if you don’t have a website, but you have an article that you’ve written, send it to me and I’ll put it up here as a guest post.

We be expectin’ a big crew this time, especially in light o’ the fact so many o’ us missed the boat after the holidays.  So get yer submissions in by January 29th.