Friday, September 30, 2011

Wall Street Mocks the Protest

Get a load of those crowds in the street!

The Wall Streeters with the champagne thought, "How better to react to this protest," but these pictures may go down in history as one of those Colossally Bad Ideas. The "optics" ain't good for the banksters.

Meanwhile, at Occupy Wall Street, hundreds of airline pilots join the protest.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Sen. James Forrester Lied About His Medical Credentials

Sen. James Forrester, who represents Gaston, Iredell, and Lincoln counties in the NC General Assembly and who was a prime sponsor of the anti-gay marriage amendment proposed for the NC Constitution and who is (supposedly) some kind of medical doctor, falsified his credentials on his own campaign website and on the Gaston County Republican Party website ... claiming that he is a "Fellow of the American College of Preventative Medicine" (ACPM).

Not only is Forrester not a Fellow of the ACPM, the highest level of distinction. He's not even a member. And never has been a member. Matt Comer broke the story after one of his associates contacted the ACPM to inquire about Forrester's claim.

The ACPM, which apparently takes the credentialing of member doctors a good deal more seriously than Mr. Forrester treats the truth, is not amused. The executive director of the ACPM wrote:
The quick answer to your questions is that Dr. Forrester is not, and never has been, a member of ACPM (much less a Fellow, which is our highest designation of membership) .... However, this is troubling to us, too, that he’s apparently claiming to be a Fellow of ACPM, and we would like to know where Dr. Forrester is making these proclamations so that we can approach him and demand that he cease falsely using ACPM credentials in his campaign or wherever else he’s using it. If you can point us to some places where he’s using those credentials, we’d be most appreciative.
At a Gaston County townhall meeting on Sept. 8th, Forrester made certain certifiably false medical claims about the life expectancy of gay people, which were dutifully reported in the Gaston Gazette without challenge or verification. Those claims made by Forrester have subsequently been refuted, though Forrester refuses to answer questions about where he got his "facts." Possibly the same place he got his "fellow" status with the American College of Preventative Medicine.

Forrester also asserted at the Gaston County townhall that Asheville is "a cesspool of sin" because its gay-friendly. Mr. (Dr.) Forrester knows cesspools, since he evidently lives neck-deep in one.

Has the Worm Turned?

And here we were thinking that "Tea Party" was a proud label worn by politicians like Virginia Foxx as certifiable evidence that they were patriots bent on saving America.

But in Wake County right now, in the heat of a new Wake County School Board race, "Tea Party" constitutes fighting words.

Just because Republican candidates for the Board spoke at Tea Party rallies, and just because they've benefited from electioneering by Americans for Prosperity and Art Pope, nationally recognized funders of the Tea Party, and just because they've been attending to the agenda of resegregating Raleigh's schools ... why, hell's bells! That doesn't make them, gulp, Tea Partiers.

When Is a Lie a "Discrepancy"?

When? When Republicans are in control of the NC General Assembly.

Republican Speaker of the NC House Thom Tillis, along with other Republicans in the Clown College like Dan Soucek and Jonathan Jordan, have been claiming that "NO teachers were harmed in the making of the new Republican budget for the state!"

They lied, naturally.

Teachers have been fired.

Because of the new Republican budget.

That fact seems only now to be entering the public's bloodstream.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Monday, September 26, 2011

Bears Watching

City of Fayetteville, NC, challenging NC's new municipal annexation law.

When the Corporate Coup Began

It's not recent, the corporate takeover of the Known Universe. It began in the "Gilded Age," the decades immediately following the Civil War, when a tiny minority of men
...harnessed America's vast mineral resources and tapped its long-stored capital to create needed industrial growth but who, to turn that growth into personal wealth, had stationed themselves at the "narrows" of production, the key points of production and distribution, and exacted tribute from the nation. They were the men who had blackmailed state legislatures and city councils by threatening to build their railroad lines elsewhere unless they received tax exemptions, outright gifts of cash -- and land grants so vast that, by 1920, the elected representatives of America had turned over to the railroad barons an area the size of Texas. They were the men who had bribed and corrupted legislators -- the Standard Oil Company, one historian said, did everything possible to the Pennsylvania Legislature except refine it -- to let them loot the nation's oil and ore, the men who, building their empires on the toil of millions of immigrant laborers, had kept wages low, hours long, and had crushed the unions. Their creed was summed up in two quotes: Commodore Vanderbilt's "Law? What do I care for law? Hain't I got the power?" and J.P. Morgan's "I owe the public nothing."
It's important to remember that it was during this same period, and in service to the railroad barons, that the doctrine of the "corporation as person" first took hold in the U.S. Supreme Court. (Mittens Romney verbally pays homage to that doctrine, but every other national Republican and Democratic candidate that we know anything about also worships at that altar, if less obviously, sad to say.)

The passage above, lifted from Robert A. Caro, "The Power Broker: Robert Moses and the Fall of New York," which is an exceedingly old (published 1974) and exceedingly weighty tome (over a thousand pages! yikes) but compulsively readable and instructive about the practice of politics in 20th-century America.

Friday, September 23, 2011

The Deliberate Obtuseness of Thom Tillis

Thom Tillis, the new Republican Speaker of the NC House, has been going around the state, holding town hall meetings, and when he hears from laid-off public school employees, he uniformly expresses shock and even bewilderment. "How could that be?" he sez. "The Republicans in the General Assembly did not cut any teaching jobs."

There are lies of commission and lies of omission. The latter is a deliberate withholding of the truth and no less destructive of the public trust.

When a now unemployed teacher's assistant in Wilmington confronted Tillis, he lied even more deliberately. He huffed, "We'll get to the bottom of that," implying that the woman was the victim of her local school system instead of the victim of a doctrinaire conservatism that is hurting this state's prospects for a generation yet to come.

Tillis simply ignores and will not admit that a $400 million+ cut to schools "discretionary" spending did in fact impact teaching jobs. Yesterday in Boone, former House Speaker Joe Hackney, conducting with other Democrats in the NC House their own town hall tour of the state, said that we may never know the true total number of job losses in education from the new Republican budget but that the number is certainly in the 10,000 range already, counting both public school jobs and university system jobs. Add to those losses are layoffs in the court system, juvenile justice, cultural resources, etc.

To help off-set projected losses in Watauga, the Republican majority on the county commish coughed up an additional $700,000, very much against its will and begrudgingly, so that Watauga is not in the fix of many other counties, as far as public education goes.

Those who cannot see through Tillis's crocodile tears for out-of-work teachers likely don't want to know the truth, but a growing majority will not forever forgive him for his deliberate attempt to shift the blame and pass the buck.


I happened to be watching last night when yet another Republican crowd at a Republican presidential debate showed their true colors ... booing an active duty soldier in Iraq because he's gay.

Let's see ... at these dismal Republican debates, we've had cheering for Rick Perry's death penalty statistics and vocalized "YES!"-es for letting an ill but uninsured man die without health care.

What's next? Booing Jesus Christ because he preached,
Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel. Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess. Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also. Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of deadmen's bones, and of all uncleanness.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

This Republican Is Running Against the Republican State Budget

Republican Christy Jones, a Davidson County elementary school teacher, is blasting the budget passed by the new Republican majority in the General Assembly in her primary run against incumbent Republican Jerry Dockham in state House Dist. 80.


Her issues statements on her website identify her as a dangerous Republican moderate, particularly on the topic of funding for education. She apparently didn't get the Thom Tillis memo with the talking points: "We didn't cut education spending, no nevah!" But since she's actually in touch with the reality that public education is being reduced to something that can be easily drowned in a bathtub, we must make allowances for her insubordination.

We wish her luck, but we fear the Davidson Tea Party will want to deal with her in their inimitable way.

This is suddenly all over my corner of Facebookland.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Tuesday Smorgasbord

Do they even believe it themselves?

1. Congresswoman Renee Ellmers (Republican, NC-2) sez that when Bob Etheridge sent out mailers to constituents, it was a shocking waste of tax-payer money. When she does the exact same thing, it's God's holy will.

2. Appalachian State University is a Commie palace because it hosted two "green" lectures last February.

3. Former state Democratic Party Executive Director Andrew Whalen sez that what we really really need are more Blue Dogs in Congress, peeing all over the rugs.

4. South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley (R) admitted that she had simply made up her assertion that half the people who applied to work at a nuclear facility in the state had failed drug tests, yet said she will still push to drug test the unemployed.

5. Rep. John Fleming (R-LA) said that while his businesses made $6.3 million last year, after you “pay 500 employees, you pay rent, you pay equipment, and food,” his profits were “a mere fraction of that” — “by the time I feed my family, I have maybe $400,000 left over.”


President Obama laid down a simple principle yesterday:
Middle-class families shouldn’t pay higher taxes than millionaires and billionaires. That’s pretty straightforward. It’s hard to argue against that. Warren Buffett’s secretary shouldn’t pay a higher tax rate than Warren Buffett. There is no justification for it.

It is wrong that in the United States of America, a teacher or a nurse or a construction worker who earns $50,000 should pay higher tax rates than somebody pulling in $50 million. Anybody who says we can’t change the tax code to correct that, anyone who has signed some pledge to protect every single tax loophole so long as they live, they should be called out. They should have to defend that unfairness -- explain why somebody who's making $50 million a year in the financial markets should be paying 15 percent on their taxes, when a teacher making $50,000 a year is paying more than that -- paying a higher rate. They ought to have to answer for it. And if they’re pledged to keep that kind of unfairness in place, they should remember, the last time I checked the only pledge that really matters is the pledge we take to uphold the Constitution.
If he'll actually stand his ground on that, and fight like hell for it, let the Republican Party campaign against that principle. Just let 'em.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Tepid Tea

The so-called Constitution Day Tea Party Rally on Saturday in Wilkesboro was a bit of a bust. It was touted beforehand as the greatest mash-up of super-patriots evah: "The Boone Tea Party has banded together with four other High County [sic] tea parties to host the biggest Tea Party Rally in the area...."

Organizers acquired (rented?) the 1,100 seat Walker Center of the Wilkes Community College for the event and dangled various other enticements: "over 20 dynamic speakers, rousing music and a family-oriented time."

They promised -- and delivered -- Congresswoman Virginia Foxx. Sen. Dan Soucek was there. Rep. Jonathan Jordan was there. Watauga County Commissioners David Blust and Vince Gable were there. One attendee told us that elected officials and candidates for office probably accounted for 20% of the 300 people ("maybe, at a stretch") in attendance. It was a small crowd in a big space.

Given that turnout, Congresswoman Foxx might be overheard to pout: "Do we have to keep kowtowing to these people?"

ASU Students Identify Soucek with Bigotry

College students are not always alert to or even aware of political shenanigans in our state's General Assembly -- because (hey!) they've got their own difficult fish to fry -- but it's reassuring to see that they're quite aware of Sen. Dan Soucek's pet project of writing discrimination against gays into the state's constitution.

This editorial in The Appalachian might give Mr. Soucek pause (along with Mr. Jordan, lest we forget that he marched arm-in-arm with Soucek across the border into Bigotville).

You can read the entire thing at the link. But here are a couple of exerpts:
...This legislation is a bigoted attack on the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community, as well as an ill-conceived attempt to stop the tide of acceptance and tolerance of sexual diversity in this state and around the country. If certified into law, the amendment places North Carolina, again, on the wrong side of history.

...The Appalachian believes it is ... reprehensible that this measure be brought to vote during a primary election.

Rather than “letting the people decide,” as many of the bill’s proponents tout as a fair way to get the amendment passed, The Appalachian believes that the lower turnout overall in primary elections, in particular the historically low turnout of young voters, is a ploy to skew the results.

If “the people” were to decide, a vote would occur during a November general election in which a significantly higher percentage of voters come out to the polls.

One of the central critiques of the bill is that it puts a minority rights issue before the voters....
The editorial goes on to blame Soucek explicitly as the co-sponsor of this travesty. Not since that other Republican politician, David Blust, declared that college students should not be allowed to vote in local elections has an elected official done as much to alienate this large voting bloc.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

They Showed Up on Wall Street Yesterday

Occupy Wall Street, yesterday.

The only report we've seen today is here. Haven't yet been to the NYTimes to see if The Old Gray Lady deigned to cover it.

Huff Post has zip on it.

Think Progress is covering it.

Friday, September 16, 2011

When Did Dan Soucek Choose?

"I think there is a real fundamental difference between the civil rights of African Americans and the gay and lesbian community," he said. "You can't choose the color of your skin, but you can choose your sexual behavior." --Sen. Dan Soucek, during debate over the anti-gay marriage Constitutional amendment, this week in the NC General Assembly.

You can choose your sexual behavior? Not according to the American Medical Association. Not according to the American Psychiatric Association. Not according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.

As someone suggested on Facebook this a.m., the real question is this: "Was Soucek born a bigot, or was it his choice to be one?"

Thom Tillis' Cronyism,

The pay-to-play shenanigans of Jim Black, felon, live on (and on) in Republican Speaker Thom Tillis.

A Leader For the 21st Century ... NOT!

What a mensch isn't Pat McCrory!

Despite hiking his skirts during the bash-gay-people one-ring circus in Raleigh, he still managed to get the discrimination-against-gay-people ICK all over his polished, corporate self. It may have been Laura Leslie who single-handedly forced him out of the closet (so to speak).

To steal shamelessly from Sir Toby Belch, "Some are born bigots. Some achieve bigotry. And some have bigotry forced upon 'em!"

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Questions About Who Bought Heavenly Mountain

Monte Mitchell has a veeery interesting article in this a.m.'s Winston-Salem Journal about the auctioning off yesterday of the former Heavenly Mountain property (a.k.a., "Laurelmor"). It was finally gaveled down for $10.5 million, "more than four times the reserve price of $2.48 million."

But here's where it gets, well, impenetrable. From Mitchell's article:
...Marvin Salt, publisher and editor of the Cambridge Christian Press, in Cleveland, was the agent representing the buyer, whom he identified as Ohio International Alliance Missions Trust.

The trust is affiliated with One In Christ Church and Norwalk Bible College.

"It's now owned by a trust that has a church on the title, and our college will be here within the year," Salt said as he hurried off to sign documents with Chartwell Auctions, the Cleveland-based auction company that conducted the sale.

But there's still a bit of mystery as to who the winning bidder is.

The websites for both Cambridge Christian Press — — and Ohio International Alliance Mission Trust — — are incomplete and apparently still being developed. A voicemail left at the offices of Ohio International Alliance Missions Trust was not returned Wednesday. Norwalk Bible College has a Facebook page with six "likes" and no apparent website.

The bidder spells his name as Marvin Salt on his business cards, but websites list a Dr. Marvin Sault as executive director of Ohio International Alliance Mission Trust. No one answered calls to the number on his business card....
Some things just look like a scam on the face of it. "It's now owned by a trust that has a church on the title" is a curious circumlocution and a bit different from saying the property is now owned by a church. "A trust that has a church on the title" sounds like a convenient fiction, as do the various websites and the different spellings of the chief agent's name.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011


NC House "Democratic" Rep. James Crawford, one of the Five Goobers who voted for both the Republican budget plan and for the constitutional amendment to write discrimination against gays into our governing document, has been appointed by Republican Speaker of the House Thom Tillis to be the only "Democrat" among the five chief budget-writers in the NC House.

If you're a "Democrat," nothing will get you rewarded in the Raleigh Clown College faster than always voting like a Republican.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Dems Who Voted To Enshrine Discrimination in the State's Constitution

The Ten Democrats in the NC House who voted with Republicans on the gay discrimination amendment:
William Brisson of Dublin
Jim Crawford of Oxford
Ellmer Floyd of Fayetteville
Ken Goodman of Rockingham
Charles Graham of Lumberton
Dewey Hill of Lake Waccamaw
Frank McGuirt of Wingate
Bill Owens of Elizabeth City
Garland Pierce of Wagram
Tim Spear of Creswell

Includes the original Five Goobers plus five more, three of whom are black reps who should remember a thing or two about writing discrimination into Southern constitutions.

Soucek&Jordan's Enduring Legacy

Senator Dan Soucek was one of the chief sponsors of the original Senate bill that will write official discrimination against gay people into the state's constitution. Soucek's name has disappeared from the newest iteration of that proposed amendment, and Soucek himself has been invisible, as various members of the Republican Clown College have been out publicly warning the Brethren about The Gay Menace. It's almost as though Soucek has enough sense of be embarrassed.

Yesterday, our House rep down there in the Clown College, Jonathan Jordan, voted for the proposed amendment. Soucek will do the same today (or maybe tomorrow, if they don't have the 30 votes they need today) because he cannot go against his effing party. Hasn't the courage.

Soucek and Jordan ... profiles in bigotry!

Here's how an editorial in this a.m.'s News&Observer sums up the mendaciousness:
This is a misguided cause, mean and vindictive and discriminatory, motivated by a cold-blooded extremism. At a time when Republicans should be trying to prove themselves as leaders, they are doing just the opposite.

Great Moments in Bloodthirstiness (Take Two)

Monday, September 12, 2011

BREAKING TODAY: Writing Discrimination Into the State's Constitution

Changing the state's constitution for the new Republican majority in the NC General Assembly turns out to be chaotic, the opposite of transparent, and almost impossible to follow. After Friday's shenanigans of trying to conceal the new text of the proposed anti-gay marriage, and to deny that it was even coming up for discussion today, they switched the start of the debate from the NC Senate committee to an NC House committee. They were going to put the hearing in a small room, then moved it to a big room, then announced they would not be taking any public comment today, and then said that they were moving the proposed state-wide referendum from next November's general election to May's primary election. All of which prompted this tweet from among the Raleigh press corps: "If you're keeping track, so far today marriage amendment has changed chambers, cmtes, bill #s, content, and ballot date. In 75 min."


Because they couldn't get the Dem votes (not to mention a few Rs?) to put it on the ballot in November? Or because the May primary is more likely to draw more Republican voters than Democrats?

If the Republicans who want to write their religiosity into the state constitution get their way and manage to pass this abomination, Greg Flynn is suggesting a revised marriage vow for heterosexuals: "Till death, job loss, violence, infidelity, divorce or someone else's same-sex union us do part."

The Real Numbers of NC Teaching Jobs Lost

Despite Republican NC House Speaker Thom Tillis's lies to the contrary, hundreds -- thousands -- of NC teaching jobs have been lost to the Tea Party wrong-headedness of the new Republican majority in the NC General Assembly.

ProgressNC has the actual numbers of those jobs lost, county by devastated county.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Did McCrory Rent the Dog?

You be the judge. Does Pat McCrory really know the name of his dog ("his dog")?

Saturday, September 10, 2011

NC Senate Tries To Squelch Public Comment on Anti-Gay Marriage Amendment But Gets Outted


Manifest, outright fraud committed by Dan Soucek's bosses in the NC Senate .

Laura Leslie, once again, proves herself the best political reporter in Raleigh.

Friday, September 09, 2011

Coming, a Week From Saturday...

Occupy Wall Street!

Organizers are calling for 20,000 citizens to erect a tent city on Saturday, Sept. 17, on Wall Street in the heart of The Beast, a Tahrir-Square-type citizens uprising against the oligarchy.

But will 20,000 show up? Writes Paul Farrell for MarketWatch in the Wall Street Journal: "Warning: Could be a lot more."

Farrell, at length:
[Is this] The start of WWIV? Too strong? Maybe just the “Second American Revolution?” Too dramatic? Either way, this is a new D-Day, the invasion of Wall Street. And a global game-changer.

On Sept. 17, the Arab Spring becomes the new American Fall, with 20,000 revolutionaries in a tent city. Plus “solidarity” occupations in major financial centers worldwide, all ready for a long siege, vowing not to leave till they get their “one simple demand.”

Occupy Wall Street is a “leaderless resistance movement” spearheaded by the edgy Adbusters magazine, which in July issued a call for the Sept. 17 occupation of Wall Street.

Their allies have names like “CultureJammers,” “,” “People of the NYC General Assembly,” “,” and recently they were joined by the noted civil disobedience anarchists, “Anonymous” and many others worldwide. This movement reminds us of the historic rag-tag armies General Washington commanded from 13 Colonies for the first American Revolution.

The new ones are also united in the spirit of the Tahrir Square revolutionaries: “One thing we all have in common is that we are the 99% that will no longer tolerate the greed and corruption of the 1%,” according to posts on the Occupy Wall Street website . Leaderless, yes. But now their real power comes in a new strategy: “one big swarm of people” challenging authority. They want their democracy back: “One citizen. One dollar. One vote.” Get the corrupting influence of money out of elections.

Bottom line: They want to eliminate “the greatest corrupter of our democracy: Wall Street, the financial Gomorrah of America.”

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Can You Find Dan Soucek?

Now, THAT'S Educational!

General (and don't you forgit, boy!) Tony Tata, Superintendent of the Wake County Public School System, is attending a Republican campaign event in Raleigh alongside Republican mayoral and Republican school board candidates.

Well, hell! He was hired by the Republican majority on the Wake School Board, so who would have supposed he might stay aloof from politics, anyway? Plus he obviously needs to help in any way possible to keep the anti-diversity Republicans in power in Wake County. A $250,000 annual salary is a terrible thing to waste!

But how high would Tea Partiers leap if a Watauga County Superintendent became a featured speaker at a partisan Democratic event?

A Hurricane Committee That Ron Paul Can Be Proud Of

Ron Paul, that madcap fella who seems to be channeling the crazy perfesser character from the "Back to the Future" movies, doubled down last night on his call to abolish FEMA. Just let good ole ordinary red-blooded American folks who've been flattened by a hurricane get up out of the debris and start cleaning up things themselves. Snap to it, your sluggards who've become dependent on government!

As if to advance that philosophy, the much-touted "Hurricane Irene Committee," appointed in the NC General Assembly by Republican Senate Pres. Pro-Tem Phil Berger last week, has announced that it will accomplish Ron Paul's dream ... precisely nothing.

According to Under the Dome, Republican Sen. Pete Brunstetter, the co-chairman of the committee, said "it isn’t likely the committee will propose any Irene-related legislation next week. He said there might be a organizational meeting."

"Might be," but don't count on it.

You people down east just need to get your own microwave out of the elm tree.

Bush The Third, Guns Blazing

It's clearly Rick Perry's nomination to lose. It's also clearly the Tea Party's party now. That was nowhere more obvious than when spontaneous cheering erupted in the Reagan Library when Perry's death penalty record in Texas was reviewed -- 234 people put to death. Damn right! The bloody-minded have their candidate!

Perry wouldn't back down, which is the only thing that counts for Tea Partiers. Democrats too, since they have a president who seems to do little else.

The fact that Perry wouldn't answer straight questions with straight answers will not matter at all. Why do a quarter of Texans lack health insurance, if your state is so well governed? His answer: “What [Texans] would like to see is the federal government get out of their business!” In other words (we think), it's none of your effing business. He also attacked Massachusetts and by extension Gov. Mittens, for its government mandated, effing socialist health-care.

Perry was asked (twice!), Who are the scientists ("the many scientists") who you say have cast doubt on global climate change? Perry couldn't name a single one. Instead, he compared himself to Galileo in one of the dumbest moments of the night, as though Galileo wasn't the scientist of the 16th and 17th centuries who suffered at the hands of the science-denying Rick Perrys of that age. But never mind.

He pitched to the 20-somethings that Social Security is a criminal enterprise, a fraud, aimed at taking their money and giving it to granny. Some 20-somethings seem to have bought into this political head-fake. But 20-somethings also don't tend to vote in Republican primaries, so we'll see how that Social-Security-Ponzi-Scheme daisy chain works out for him in the long haul. But we've got it clear now: The Perry Doctrine is that Social Security = Public Menace.

The one issue on which Perry wavered was his executive order in Texas to vaccinate 12-year-old girls against the HPV virus, especially considering his withering contempt for Gov. Mittens' "government mandate" for health care in Massachusetts. Perry's executive order was a mandate for government-sponsored health care. Not only that. The HPV vaccination is the gateway drug for increased teenage girl promiscuity, since the vaccinations are really about making sexual activity safer. Apparently, Big Pharma won that round in Texas, since they had drugs to sell at government mandate. Can't personally think of a more un-Republican thing for Perry to have done, and it was the one piece of his past history that seemed to cause him some visible nervousness.

Jon Huntsman, you disappointed us! Your campaign has characterized those other six guys and the gal from Minnesota as "a bunch of cranks," but last night you seem to have been blissfully on some other plane of existence -- perhaps posing for a GQ photo spread -- and you conspicuously refused to take the (calfskin) gloves off. If you're not willing to fight for it, how are you any improvement over the incumbent?

Michele Bachmann ... eh.

Newt Gingrich, whose Statler-and-Waldorf angry muppet act has become a drinking game at our house.

Ron Paul, who I believe promised to get me a gallon of gas for a dime.

Herman Cain, who wandered off into the dusty weeds over "the Chilean model" for Social Security.

You couldn't make this stuff up.

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

The Koch Bros. Million-Dollar-Donor Club

Yep. Art Pope makes the list, "one of the most trusted members of the Koch's elite circle" and a regular at the Kochs' secret seminars, as well as a "valuable junior partner in many key Koch operations."

He owns Dan Soucek and Jonathan Jordan too, incidentally, along with the entire NC GOP.

NC GOP: "Pardon, Your Sexual Obsessions Are Showing"

Rob Schofield, this a.m., summing up the GOP's queerfear press conference in Raleigh yesterday and their push next week to get a special constitutional amendment on the ballot in 2012: any honest assessment, what really went on in the General Assembly yesterday and what, sadly, appears destined to happen next week, is but the latest in a long and desultory list of historical events in which American conservatives (and, indeed, backward-looking people all over the planet) have taken their own uninformed, troubled, and repressed obsession with sexual behavior and attempted to elevate it into some kind of divine command.

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Monday, September 05, 2011

Beans, Spilled

A Republican staffer on Capitol Hill (he served 16 years as a professional staff member on the Republican side of both the House and Senate Budget Committees) sees quite clearly what the Corporate Coup has done to both political parties. He retired in June after 28 total years as a Congressional staffer, and he goes on the record about what he has seen in an important piece of writing. Virginia Foxx gets a mention, along with Patrick McHenry.

Ho boy.

Once Again ... (Not That the Facts Matter)

How did the U.S. run up so much debt?

The crucial turning point came back in 2001. At the time, Uncle Sam was actually running surpluses, and "the outlook was so rosy" that forecasters were predicting the U.S. could pay back every dime it had ever borrowed. That's when President George W. Bush made a pivotal decision: Rather than use surpluses to pay down the national debt or fix Social Security, Bush elected to push through two massive tax cuts, on the grounds that "the surplus is the people's money."

Bush and Congress then financed two wars at the cost of $1.3 trillion, spent $272 billion on a Medicare prescription benefit, and expanded other defense and domestic spending. When the economy cratered in 2008, it cut deeply into revenues already diminished by Bush's tax cuts. All told, Congressional Budget Office statistics show, Bush's policies account for more than $7 trillion of the debt the U.S. has accumulated over the past decade. President Obama's policies, including his $719 billion stimulus program, have added $1.7 trillion to that debt.

Today, future budget forecasts "are unrelievedly gloomy, showing huge deficits essentially forever." And, it all began with a choice, 10 years ago, to cut taxes to their lowest level in 60 years, with
no cuts in spending.
[Lifted from Lori Montgomery, who covers U.S. economic policy and the federal budget for the WashPost, focusing on efforts to tame the national debt. She has written extensively about every major piece of legislation to pass Congress since 2008, including the TARP bank bailout, the Obama stimulus package and the Democratic overhaul of the health care system. Hattip: K&BM]

Sunday, September 04, 2011

The NC GOP's War on Teaching

Some might call the war on our state's teachers, waged this year by the new Republican majority in the NC General Assembly, "piling on."

That's the term suggested by Rob Christensen.

What's piling on, anyway? Who indulges in it? Cowards and bullies, almost exclusively.