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March 21, 2006

Try not to shoot anybody in the face.
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Does this make any sense?

Now, sometimes I didn't -- I like the size of the pie, sometimes I didn't particularly like the slices within the pie. And so one way to deal with the slices in the pie is to give the President the line-item veto. And I was heartened the other day when members of both parties came down in the Cabinet Room to talk about passage of a line-item veto. I was particularly pleased that my opponent in the 2004 campaign, Senator Kerry, graciously came down and lent his support to a line-item veto, and also made very constructive suggestions about how to get one out of the United States Congress.

Let's see here. They told me what to say. David.

(image thanks to holden)
Categories: Blogs
All good local people should rally to support Anne Dicker for Pennsylvania State House. She's running in the 175th district - Queen Village, Bella Vista, Society Hill, Old City, Northern Liberties, Fishtown, Kensington, Port Richmond. I know Anne a little bit personally, and have been aware of her activities since she comped me into a Dean fundraiser back when I was still anonymous and nobody knew who the hell Howard Dean was. Anne cofounded the local Philly for Dean organiazation which has morphed into Philly for Change (still DFA affiliated), which is still a very active organization.

She was helping Patrick Murphy with his campaign but when an open seat appeared she entered the race.

You can meet her at the campaign kick-off party tomorrow:

Wednesday, March 22
7:00 pm
New Wave Cafe
3rd & Catharine Streets
Categories: Blogs
Red Dawn is indeed a wonderfully awful camp movie. But it's also the basic template for how right wingers imagine themselves as they're furiously typing away for victory in their basements.
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Um, I thought the first 20 years of Luke Skywalker's life were really really boring?
Categories: Blogs
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Lucky troops:

WASHINGTON - President Bush said Tuesday the decision about when to withdraw all U.S. troops from Iraq will fall to future presidents and Iraqi leaders, suggesting that U.S. involvement will continue at least through 2008.
Categories: Blogs
From Greg Sargent:

Either way, the problem is this: Those critics can't be placated. The right wouldn't stop shrieking their "media is liberal" war cry if every single major liberal columnist in America were hauled off in tumbrels and beheaded on the Mall. Right-wing media criticism isn't about achieving the "balance" they supposedly seek; it's about bullying and intimidating mainstream reporters and pundits to fear being labeled as "liberals" if they don't reproduce GOP spin, even when they know it to be false. It's also about enabling right-wing voices that are far out of the mainstream to infiltrate the media.

Take a look at Domenech's maiden voyage. He writes:

[E]ven in a climate where Republicans hold command of every branch of government, and advocate views shared by a majority of voters, the mainstream media continues to treat red state Americans as pachyderms in the mist - an alien and off-kilter group of suburbanite churchgoers about which little is known, and whose natural habitat is a discomforting place for even the most hardened reporter from the New York Times.

Domenech's MSM-bashing, of course, is belied by his own apparent hiring. And the paper's columnists include conservatives Charles Krauthammer and George Will. Indeed, one way to think about the right's "media-is-liberal" campaign is as a kind of crude protection racket. The analogy isn't perfect, but the idea is this: The right-wing criticism effectively says to the MSM, "Look, there are a lot of pretty pissed off people out there who think you're too liberal. You need to hire some of us to protect you against them and the too-liberal charge."

And Chris Bowers:

I still believe this, only now I feel it has developed to such a degree that the right-wing blogosphere itself has been all but annihilated. Most major right-wing bloggers have now been incorporated into the established news media apparatus. Glenn Reynolds is a columnist for MSNBC. Andrew Sullivan is a columnist for Time. Michelle Malkin is a frequently published columnist in a number of offline outlets. And now, RedState co-founder Ben Domenech has a regular column in the Washington Post. Despite being the latest in a long line of conservative bloggers to achieve "mainstream" status with the established news media, his first column was, predictably, an attack on the same institutions that just hired him and gave him space.
Categories: Blogs
From Big Pharma's site:

This idiocy should be self-refuting, but maybe I'll explain it so even dittoheads and Jeff Goldstein can understand. I'll assume his fatality numbers are roughly correct.

There are 300,000,0000 people in this coutnry. There are about 130,000 troops serving in Iraq. Think about that and why that graphic makes you the likely winner of this year's Nobel Peace Prize for Excellence in Wankery.

(tip from reader s)
Categories: Blogs
The incompetence dodge is just that. But it's precisely where the foreign policy line is being drawn in the Democratic party, between those who thought all along the war was a disaster and those who imagine that if they had been in charge things could've worked out better.

I'm with those (obviously) who think it's fundamentally important not just to repudiate the execution of policy by the Bush administration, but the policies themselves and their justifications. "Like Bush only better" will not win a presidential election.
Categories: Blogs
From Edsall:

Tom Edsall: The hiring of Ben Domenench of RedState has provoked a firestorm, if the volume of questions this morning is any measure. One theory in the newsroom is that he was hired at the behest of Dana Milbank.
More seriously, I am told that this is part of the Post's web operation's efforts to provide diverse views. These decisions are, unfortunately, above my paygrade, much as I would love to have the power to hire and fire.

There are a couple of more questions there about it as well. In any case, for the record I'm not of the belief that the Post is required to provide balance on its editorial page or website. But Posties have expressed a desire for balance, and if hiring Domenech who has no counterpart on the left is their way of achieving that it's ridiculous.

Meanwhile, DeLong suggests that this is a clever plan by the Post to publish a frothing idiot to discredit the Right. Who knows, might explain Krauthammer too. I doubt it though, and skippy notices some wee factual errors.
Categories: Blogs
Where we first came in we had Andrew Sullivan claiming that he was for Bush tax cuts but that he wanted spending cuts to match them:

So let's recap: I'm in favor of Bush's tax cuts, but want spending cuts to match them; I favor balanced budgets... I want more money for defense, specifically more troops...

Now we find out that he in fact supports a bunch of big tax increases (and rolling back one of Bush's tax cuts).

Kevin Drum has challenged me to detail how I'd balance budgets while keeping Bush's tax cuts. (A small clarification: I'd keep the estate tax as it once was; and I'd add a buck to the gas tax pronto.) I'd prefer experts like Brian Riedl or Veronique de Rugy to propose detailed cuts. But my back-of-the-envelope wish-list is that I'd repeal the Medicare drug entitlement, abolish ear-marks, institute a line-item veto, pass a balanced budget amendment, means-test social security benefits, index them to prices rather than wages, extend the retirement age to 72 (and have it regularly extended as life-spans lengthen), abolish agricultural subsidies, end corporate welfare, legalize marijuana and tax it, and eliminate all tax loopholes and deductions, including the mortgage deduction, (I'd keep the charitable deduction). For good measure, I'd get rid of the NEA and the Education Department.

Let's try to separate the things which are tax increases and those which are spending cuts.

Tax increases:
Repeal estate tax cut
A dollar a gallon gas tax increase
Eliminating all tax loopholes (?) and deductions except the charitable deduction.

Spending cuts:
Repealing Medicare drug plan.
Abolish agricultural subsidies.
Eliminate NEA and Department of Education.

The rest are policies which don't do anything in and of themselves (balanced budget amendment, line item veto, earmarks), in the realm of fantasyland (taxing marijuana), too ambiguous to really address directly ("corporate welfare"), or do nothing for the health of the budget generally unless you support raiding payroll taxes (social security benefit cuts).

Let's start with the spending cuts. All these numbers are going to be ballpark. Eliminating the NEA will save about $120 million. Eliminating the Department of Education will get you $56 billion and make a lot of state and local governments very angry. Farm subsidies will get you about $25 billion and throw the Senate to which ever party opposes the cuts. Killing Medicare D will save you about $65 billion. So, total roughly $145 billion in spending cuts.

Now for the tax increases. A buck gallon gas tax increases taxes by about $100 billion. No estate tax repeal (bring it back to where it was) increases taxes by $25 billion. Ending the mortgage deduction alone increases taxes by about $75 billion. I'll not worry about the other deductions.

So, Sullivan does come close to getting rid of the federal deficit by reducing spending about $145 billion and by increasing taxes by about $200 billion, mostly with regressive taxes hitting the poor (gas taxes) and middle class (gas tax & mortgage deduction), although he also wants to increase military spending so we'll have to pay for that somehow.

My dream is that Republicans propose these things, so Democrats can rule for all eternity.

Repeating, all these numbers are ballpark and shouldn't be cited with any authority...(and if anyone notices a number that's grossly off let me know).
Categories: Blogs
Not that this wasn't obvious, but now we know. Bush equates leaving with losing.
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From Roy:

One of the benefits of making fun of people who never learn anything is that you can go away for a long while and when you come back, they're still idiots.

In Jeff Goldstein's case, HE went away from a long time and when he came back he was an even bigger idiot.
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Where the hell did that come from?
Categories: Blogs

March 16, 2006

Poor Lieberman keeps trying to tell everyone that Lamont is just a big angry meanie. Hilarious.

U.S. Sen. Joe Lieberman took issue Thursday with the tone of his Democratic opponent's campaign.

Ned Lamont formally announced Monday that he will oppose Lieberman for the party's nomination, becoming Lieberman's first Democratic challenger since he first won election to the Senate in 1988.

Lamont has blasted Lieberman for his support of the Iraq war, calling him, "Republican Light." During his kickoff speech said that unlike the senator, he would never be called, "Bush's favorite Democrat."

"This shouldn't be about one issue or about name calling ... angry name calling," Lieberman told the Associated Press Thursday. "I don't think the public wants that."

Lamont denies he is being negative, noting he spent a lot of time talking about issues such as education and health care in his announcement speech.

"I called it an old-fashioned kitchen table debate within the Democratic family," the Greenwich, Conn. businessman said. "I thought it was a great kickoff."

As the Lamont blog points out, Lieberman does seem a wee bit concerned about this race.
Categories: Blogs
Not really, but I've been rather puzzled by the concerned reactions to V for Vendetta. The two basic ones seem to be "it glorifies terrorism!" and "it makes references to the Bush administration which means it's really about the evil Bush administration!"

The first one is just silly. The world of the comic book, and presumably the movie, is a genuine fascist totalitarian state. I'm reasonably sure that the violent overthrow of tyrannical governments is something we're usually okay with. I mean, we kept encouraging Iraqis to do just that. I seem to remember something in our own history too. The fact that the fascist state evolved from the country we know as the United Kingdom doesn't change the fact that it is indeed a fascist tyranny.

As for the references to contemporary events in the film, that's a way to provide a frame that the audience can understand. Whether the filmmakers intend it to be part cautionary tale or not, if you do a movie about the "near future" it certainly makes sense to ground it its past, or our present. The original book is similarly grounded in the author's view of then-contemporary England.

Anyway, I haven't actually seen the movie, but if a movie about a fascist tyranny has people freaking out because they view it as a critique of the Bush administration I think that says more about their own view of the administration than the filmmakers'.

Oh, and David Denby's smack on Moore for being concerned at the time about quarantining AIDS patients is ridiculous. Discussion of quarantining AIDS patients was pretty standard fare in the mid-1980s, and though it never went anywhere as a matter of policy in the US, LaRouche did get quarantine proposals onto the California ballot twice. Yes it was LaRouche, and yes they were defeated, but he still managed to get the signatures to get them on the ballot.

And, from the December 20, 1985 New York Times:

A majority of Americans favor the quarantine of AIDS patients, and some would embrace measures as drastic as using tattoos to mark those with the deadly disorder, according to a poll published today.

The Los Angeles Times Poll found that 51 percent of the respondents supported a quarantine of acquired immune deficiency syndrome patients, 48 percent would approve of identity cards for those who have taken tests indicating the presence of AIDS antibodies and 15 percent supported tattooing those with AIDS.

In the mid-80s there was plenty of reason to be concerned that such measures could be taken. From a Nov. 4, 1985 CSM article:

Also on Wednesday, Representative Dannemeyer introduced five bills in Congress. They would: make it a felony for an individual from a high-risk group to donate blood; prohibit anyone with AIDS from working as a health-care professional in institutions receiving federal funds; deny federal funds to cities that do not close bathhouses frequented by homosexuals; keep children with AIDS from attending public schools; and allow health-care workers to wear special protective clothing around AIDS patients without interference from hospital officials.


For Rep. Don Gilmore, a Republican state representative in Ohio, public pressure prompted him to introduce an AIDS-quarantine bill.

''I'm shocked, I'm getting support from all over the US,'' he says of his proposal that all the AIDS victims in Ohio be quarantined in their homes. He says the bill has strong support among his colleagues in the legislature. He does not expect it to pass, however, because, he predicts, state health authorities will adopt other AIDS-related measures to syphon support from the bill.
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John wants a list of Bush stupidities. I want to take us all the way back to the beginning when a spy plane was downed in China. The crew was held for weeks and Bush's biggest concern was whether or not they had Bibles. The Chinese returned the plane itself in crates months later, presumably getting a nice look at whatever tech goodies were in there, after Bush got down on his knees and begged forgiveness. At the time the spin from the wingers was that even though we apologized we didn't super duper apologize, so it was okay.
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