Monthly Archives: December 2009

‘This is for my friend Ted Kennedy’

Robert Byrd, 467 years old and still out-classing everybody else in the Senate:

Senators couldn’t wait to skip town after the long-delayed passage
of health care reform legislation this morning. High on the agenda, up
there with celebrating the holidays, and visiting with families, will
be sleep.

A tired Sen. Robert Byrd (D-WV) set the tone for the event. When the
clerk called out his name, Byrd broke with protocol. Instead of calling
out his vote, Byrd shouted “Mr. President, this is for my friend, Ted
Kennedy. Aye.”

Man kicks more ass before breakfast than the rest of us do all day long.



With A Voice As Big As The Sea

There doesn’t need to be a war at all:

What prompted humans to imagine that religious impulses and the
rational quest for insight are at war with each other? Once it became
clear that the sun would “return’ whether or not blessed candles were
lit, why did the idea of prayer come to seem naive? When mystical
wonder was walled off from measurable observation, science restricted
its range, and religion anathematized critical thinking – disasters
both. But the festivals this week, sparked by this morning’s dawn, call
to mind the age-old spaciousness of informed imagination. Happily, it
remains so. Knowledge is holy. Season’s greetings.



Malaka Of The Week: The St. Bernard Parish Christmas Gift Thief

As always, there’s a lot of malakatude around but this is a rare example of malakatude with a happy ending but not, of course, for the malaka in question. Last week, somecreep broke into Our Lady Of Lourdes Church in St. Bernard Parishand stole all the Christmas presents they planned to give to the needy. Compounding the malakatude, the church had re-opened a mere one month ago after being flooded by Hurricane Katrina and ye olde Federal flood. The Debrisville media have been riding this story so hard that donations have flooded in (pun intended) to replace the stolen prezzies. (Eek, I sound like an Aussie.)

Yesterday, police arrested the ironically named Herman Peter Smiles, a local crackhead who had broken into the church to rob the poor box to steal money to feed his habit. He found the holiday swag and took it with him thereby wiping the smiles off many a face. Fortunately, the Grinchlike crackhead is a *really* stupid criminal: he lives down the street from OLOL, someone he told about the crime turned him in and he’s already confessed. The goods were also all recovered: the malaka was too high to try and sell them. What a buzz kill, man.

Here’s how WWL-TV news in NOLA covered the denouement of the story:

span style=”color: #ff0000; “>
In short, the church ended up with more goodies to give away and the arrest of the malaka burglar wiped the, uh, smile right off Mr. Smile’s face. Hmm, I wonder if he signs his name with a smiley face? Probably not: I suspect that the convicts frown on smiley faces atAngola…

This noirish holiday story with a happy ending reminds me not of George Frakking Bailey or Frank Frakking Capra but of the frakking Grinch who tried to steal frakking Christmas from the frakking twits in Whoville. Here are Aimee Mann and Grant Lee Phillips withYou’re A Mean One, Mr. Grinch:

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‘Posted on the Internet’

Oh, God, get with the program already:

Let’s recount what evidence the paper had at that point.

1) An eyewitness account called in by an editorial aide shortly
after the incident occurred. The aide said that the cop actuallydid pull out a gun, not that he “may” have; and

2) Video and photos that clearly corroborate the eyewitness account of thePostnewsroom employee.

Yet thePoststill couldn’t bring itself to say that an
officer had actually taken out his gun at a snowball fight. Not, at
least, until the print editions hit the streets over the next couple of
days—which is among the great points made on this issue by blogger bsom.

How’d this happen? Not clear at this point. Zapotosky has failed to
return numerous requests for comment, as has top local editorEmilio Garcia-Ruiz.

Yet the reason why thePostscrewed this up is that they all have linkophobia. If you link to an outlet—such as, God forbid, theWashington City Paper—you’ve
lost. You got scooped and all your colleagues are going to look down on
you. Linking is a huge sign of weakness—you just can’t do it. Far
better to, like, call a top police official, buy his version of events,
and just place it in a post, regardless of the contradicting evidence
that’s already posted elsewhere.

Take a close look at that 10:20 update on the maybe-gun-pulling cop:
“The plainclothes D.C. police detective may have unholstered his pistol
during the confrontation with participants in the huge snowball fight, based on video and photos posted on the Internet.”

Bold and italics are mine. They’re mine because this is the most
cowardly, selfish, arrogant news conduct out there today. What the fuck
is “video and photos posted on the Internet”? How does that help
readers? It’s as if I can go to, and there, on the
first screen, will be the video and photos of the snowball fight and
the maybe-gun-wielding cop. “Posted on the Internet” would be
acceptable if this were 1997.

The reporters used this hazy phrasing because they were too
chicken-shit to do something that we all have learned to do over the
past, say, decade or more. And that’s to link to competitors and
acknowledge their contributions to stories.

Look, nobody likes admitting they got stomped. But the Post in part got stomped because it refused to believe its own editorial aide, and that’s just stupid. Sack up, admit you got stomped, and move. Flap around, wank in public, and this becomes a two-week embarrassment to us all.

But knowing big-city papers and how they treat their poorer competitors the way I do, they’d rather die than acknowledge the smaller papers exist. Tell them you work somewhere with a lesser circ and you’ll get a pat on the head, like what you do isn’t EXACTLY the same thing they do, like you don’t understand some mythical thing. What the fuck ever. You can go and take the story away from your competitors by reporting it better, but it’s cowardice in the extreme to ignore facts right in front of your face because you just don’ wanna. How does that help you in any way?



Have Yourself A Vitty Little Christmas

Diaper Dave has posted a touching holiday message to his constituents. I thought I’d share it with folks who share my opinion of thiswingnut malaka:

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I’m only surprised that Bitter Vitter didn’t trot our his wife and kids to convince us that he’s really a swell guy. 

I have a confession to make, I only posted this because I had a kick ass title but while I’m at it, here’s the late great Lou Rawls:

Speaking of Us Being a Country of Assholes

Here we go with some seriously crazy crazy in the comments to this story that is, at its heart, about how hard it is to be different at a time of conformity:

No one ever talks about the homosexual lifestyle. It is wildly
different than the hetrosexual lifestyle. Studies have shown homosexual
men are far more promiscious than hetro men. There are homosexual bars
that have private areas for you know what only because that’s expected
in the culture.

Question – Of the entire homosexual
population, how many are truly homosexual and how many are simply
sexual deviants? Afterall, how do you classify a bisexual?

Question: You’re aware you spend more time thinking about secret sexy gay seXXorZ than actual gay people having gay sex do, right? I mean, I haven’t exactly taken a survey, but COME ON. Private areas for you know what? Tell us, commenter! What?

It’s OK to hate the sin, but not the sinner. We are all sinners. And we
don’t have to accept everything just because hollywood and the media
say it’s OK.

There’s nothing more loving than calling someone’s love life a sin! And who in Hollywood told you it was okay? I need someone to clear some stuff with my relatives. Tell me who I can call to give the official Hollywood blessing.

What about the parent’s right to disapprove of their son’s lifestyle?
Are we all bound to give the nod to everything in life so we’re not
seen as discriminatory? I like what I like and don’t like what I don’t
like. That is my right and it’s none of your business telling me to do
otherwise. Stop infringing on my rights.

Yes. My calling you a dick is infringing on your right to go through life being a dick without being called a dick by anyone. You’re oppressed. Call the ACLU, I’m sure they’ll help you.

I come from a large family, I have a nephew and 2 nieces who are gay. I
love them very much as I would love them if they had 2 heads or if they
were in prison or sick or mentally challenged.

I want to spend Christmas with this guy and his two-headed sick imprisoned relatives who are just like the gay people he knows! Wheee!

quite figure out how this became the lead story in the newspaper…is
it the first in a series on dysfunctional families at Christmas? (can
we even call it “Christmas” any more?)

Shhh. If you say it any louder the liberal gay penguin police will come break your door down and eggnog-board you.

The one thing that gay people cannot bear to hear is… You’re not so
special! But that is really what it is all about. We ALL have things
that we hide from our relatives at holiday dinners. We ALL have things
that our friends understand more than our families do. We ALL struggle
to find a place in the world.

SO THERE. I win the suffering Olympics! Be just as miserable and stifled and resentful as I am, goddamn it!

How selfish of these people to air their dirty, nasty secrets at
Christmastime? It ruins everyone else’s holiday. I am tired of the
“feel sorrry for me because I am gay/lesbian” stories. If they cause
tension, it’s their own fault. How would it be if someone announced she
is a prostitute or he is a drug dealer?

It would be better than if you showed up and announced you were the author of this comment.



Who says I don’t like Christmas?


p style=”text-align: left;”>photo viaHuffpo


Voter engagement no longer required

To the extent my opinions matter, and it’s not much of an extent, I agree with those in the let’s-take-what-we-can-salvage-and-quit camp on HCR, because there’sa few decent pieces left. Do I think that’s realistic? Yeah, you know why? Because it’s the only fucking option we’re going to get.

An important symbolic corner’s been turned here. The idea that what we voters —the ones who sent these guys up to the show — really want, really think, hasobviously already been devalued.

It’s sorta weird, really, because on most subjects it’s the first thing
they think of, both about the policy itself and the myriad imaginary
attack ads that can be run based on the policy. If voters don’t like
this thing, it’ll likely be repealed before most of it even takes
effect, either because Republicans take over or because frightened
members of a Dem controlled Congress do so. Sure, there’s the
optimistic view that it could be “made better” instead of repealed, but
I’m not really feeling all that hopey.

The POTUS can say, with a straight face, that we all just misunderstood what we all fucking saw with our own eyes.

“Nowhere has there been a bigger gap between the perceptions of
compromise and the realities of compromise than in the health-care
bill,” Obama said. “Every single criteria for reform I put forward is
in this bill.”

Whoever he’s talking to there, it’s not us.

Say what you will about White House advisors, they aren’t stupid. They knew, the POTUS knew, that when he said he didn’t campaign on the public option, that the claim could, and would, be instantly countered.

And that just doesn’t matter to them.


Don’t Tell Me How To Do This

Go read Sars and all her commenters and then come back.

The short version of this whole clusterfuck is this: A woman Tweeted that her young son had been in an accident and asked for prayers, then followed up that he had died. Another woman proceeded to question if the death had really occurred, and to do so publicly and in a hectoring fashion. In observing variouspseuicides and hoaxes being outed over at Fandom Wank, I’ve learned that really the best thing to do if you suspect someone is faking their pain for sympathy or cash is to shut the fuck up and wait because the truth always comes out. And if you’ve kept quiet, then you don’t look like an asshole as the questioner in this case did when it became public knowledge that the death was real, and terrible.

The need to be right in public is a powerful thing. Moreover, the need to be the defender of the innocent in every little thing from breakfast cereal on up so as to cast yourself in an important role is a powerful thing. And writing something and putting it out there in public, which is what you do on your Twitter feed and your Facebook profile and this here blogosphere thingy, automatically opens it up for criticism. That some people don’t know this is publication, because of the false sense of intimacy a tight-knit online community can give them, doesn’t make it any less published. And published means it can be carped upon by the biggest assholes on the planet.

But this isn’t about how posting personal shit means you’re asking for it, because it doesn’t. This is about how we need to QUIT BEING DICKS TO OTHER PEOPLE. Seriously. Quit telling people how to grieve or worry or fear or cope. Quit it. The only reason to lecture someone else about his or her grieving is to point out what a superior person you are for alone knowing how to do this right. Fuck you. Just shut up. You’re not doing anybody any good. There is no way to earn Valedictorian of Mourning, and so long as it’s not a contest who fucking cares if I’m winning it? The only thing that has kept me sane during the past three months of suck has been the 347 consecutive games of Word Twist a friend and I play on Facebook every day. Does that make me a shitty person? You might say so. I don’t care.

We all lose our minds a little when part of the world drops out from under us. We all do crazy, crazy shit that doesn’t make any sense to anybody but us. We cut our hair off, sleep with the TV on, have sex with people we shouldn’t, drink too much, go for cross-country bike rides, stop talking to everybody, quit our jobs, get tattoos, drive too fast. We say things that make other people look at us cross-eyed. That’s just how it works. The world’s been wrenched into a new shape and we have to figure out how to live in it, each of us alone. You can’t figure it out for me and I can’t figure it out for you, so if what I’m doing seems nuts to you, well guess what? What you’ll do in a week or a month or a year will seem just as nuts to me. Calm down. My hair will grow back.


Why I’m Glad Health Care Didn’t Die

1. It’s a giant fuck you to the teabaggers, the Michelle Bachmanns and the rest of the stupid contingent in America.

2. Now that the stupid contingent has cried wolf (or, to be perfectly accurate, EVIL DEMON RABID PSYCHO ZOMBIE WOLF FROM HELLLLLLLL!!!!) about all the bad things the health care bill will do, when said bill does no such thing, it’ll make it a little more difficult for them to get political traction with that shit in the future.

3. On the other hand, when the bill doesn’t do all the things that Americans really want it to do (like give them a bloody public option), Americans are going to be pissed. And that may make it easier to get that stuff done down the road.

4. While getting Republicans to back the omnibus bill was impossible for obvious reasons, now that the bill has passed, it might be easier to peel off some Republican votes to support some incremental fixes in the future (see points 2 and 3).

5. In the meantime, maybe we can get something done about the most egregious Blue Dogs and egomaniacs. Get Joe effing Lieberman out of the picture and the whole thing gets a lot easier. And given the fact that most Americans do support the public option, and Joe wasn’t all that popular before all this went down, well… He could pull that “Connecticut, you love me!” thing once. Now they realize that they’re just not that into him.

I’m not all that happy about the bill. The lack of a public option is offensive, the Nelson amendment is worse than offensive, and there are still a lot of holes. But I do believe this is better than not getting the bill passed at all.

‘The Free Uniting of Two People’

Feliz Fucking Navidad:

Mexico City lawmakers on Monday made the city the first in Latin
America to legalize same-sex marriage, a change that will give
homosexual couples more rights, including allowing them to adopt

The bill passed the capital’s local assembly 39-20 to the cheers of supporters who yelled: “Yes, we could! Yes, we could!”

Leftist Mayor Marcelo Ebrard of the Democratic Revolution Party is widely expected to sign the measure into law.

bill calls for changing the definition of marriage in the city’s civil
code. Marriage is currently defined as the union of a man and a woman.
The new definition will be “the free uniting of two people.”

change would allow same-sex couples to adopt children, apply for bank
loans together, inherit wealth and be included in the insurance
policies of their spouse, rights they were denied under civil unions allowed in the city.

are so happy,” said Temistocles Villanueva, a 23-year-old film student
who celebrated by passionately kissing his boyfriend outside the city’s




A Saints Christmas

The dream of a undefeated New Orleans Saints season is over and I’m relieved. It’s hard enough to win a championship without carrying that burden. Of course, there are still Cowboys fans lingering in the Quarter and I’ll be delighted when they STFU, saddle up and go back to Texas.

Anyway, since I’m in retail, substantive blogging will be light this week so I thought I’d post a *good* Christmas video featuring local hero Kermit Ruffins who is not only a great entertainer but a helluva nice guy. Kermit is one of those people I run into a lot around town and he’s even worse with names than I am so he always calls me “Chief” even though I’m more of an “Ace” kinda guy. Enough of that, heere’s Kermit the non-frog:

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What We Got

A description here.

On top of that, the always-valuable chance to say “suck it” to Republicans and their death panel nonsense. It’s not anything real, but I’d be remiss in leaving it off the list.

Digby on why everybody’s still pissed:

It’s fairly obvious that the administration and the Democrats
always saw the public option as a negotiating chip and fully expected
to throw it in at the end. There’s a reason why Obama hedged on it for
the last six months. In fact,it seems likely to me that Reid put it
back on life support just so they could ritually sacrifice it. (He knew
he didn’t have 60 and needed something to “compromise” with.)

they knew going in that they were going to use the old “if liberals
hate it it must be good” marketing ploy, both to get the Senate princes
on board as well as sell it to Real American Independents (the new
“values voters.”)What they didn’t expect was that the wider public
would actuallylike the
damned thing, which made that play a lot more risky.
And if public
opinion doesn’t come back up pretty quickly now, that’s a risk that may
not have paid off.

Emphasis mine, somewhat related to what I wrote about last night, which is that the political conversation is so profoundly fucked that we don’t expect the DFH’s to be right when they provide ample polling data that suggests OMG PSYCHO LIBERAL positions like “everyone should be able to get to the doctor without getting taken up the tradesman’s entrance by some jackass in‘accounts receivable’ every time” are actually popular. If you put single payer out there tomorrow you’d have a solid majority in favor and you’d have every pundit and halfbright mummy’s boy with an Ivy League degree opining that the 10 percent screaming with teabags are really the sensible ones in America.


Today on Tommy T’s Obsession with the Freeperati – “Bag O’ Slime” Edition

Good morning, everyone!

Imagine a big burlap bag full of slime and hot pus. Then look into the mind of the Freeperati.

But I repeat myself…

First up –The bastards!!


White House Threatens to Close Offutt Air Force Base If Nelson Doesn’t Vote for Obamacare

stoptheaclu ^

| 12/15/09
| stoptheaclu

Posted onTuesday, December 15, 2009 6:07:05 PM byAmerican Dream 246

Quite an explosive leak! I wonder how this will affect things?


The way “explosive leaks” usually affect things for Freepers?


It is
certainly a thuggish and dangerous thing for Obama to play with
National Security over this craptacular idea of socialized medicine.
Quite a desperate move.

According to a Senate aide, the White
House is now threatening to put Nebraska’s Offutt Air Force Base on the
BRAC list if Nelson doesn’t fall into line. Offutt Air Force Base
employs some 10,000 military and federal employees in Southeastern
Nebraska. As our source put it, this is a “naked effort by Rahm Emanuel
and the White House to extort Nelson’s vote.” They are “threatening to
close a base vital to national security for what?” asked the Senate

Indeed, Offutt is the headquarters for US Strategic
Command, the successor to Strategic Air Command, and not by accident.
STRATCOM was located in the middle of the country for strategic
reasons. Its closure would be a massive blow to the economy of the
state of Nebraska, but it would also be another example of this
administration playing politics with our national security.

So much for the idea of Obama trying to save jobs and improve the economy!

Nelson’s vote, since all Republicans are still in line to oppose this,
Reid is still left with 59 votes. So, some arm twisting is taking
place. Nelson doesn’t want this bill to fund abortions so he is now
being threatened, and national security along with him. How shameful
this would be if Democrats felt shame.

Ed Morrissey:

Well, that explains a lot right there.

Obama administration has little left to use for leverage. Why not
national security? After all, if we’re going to bring terrorists into
Illinois, what does it matter if we put the US Strategic Command on
wheels for a few years?

What a nightmare!

Cue Pavlovian Freeper knee-jerk rage in five…four…three…two…one…

To: American Dream 246

I can’t wait to impeach this douchebag in 2011.

posted onTuesday, December 15, 2009 6:08:40 PM
(Somewhere in Kenya, a village is missing its idiot.)

Is he calling Nelson a douchebag?

To: American Dream 246

It’s da Chicago way you know what I’m talkin’ bout?

posted onTuesday, December 15, 2009 6:08:55 PM

Oh dear – he seems to have gotten the Black Panthers mixed up with Al Capone.

To: American Dream 246

Isn’t this a scene from the Godfather movie?

posted onTuesday, December 15, 2009 6:09:38 PM
(Never give in. Never give in. Never…except to convictions of honour and good sense. W. Churchill)

… or “American Gangster”. I get those two mixed up all the time, too.

To: American Dream 246


posted onTuesday, December 15, 2009 6:09:39 PM
byJim Robinson
(Join the TEA Party Rebellion!! God save this great Republic!!)

Ah – leave it to Big Jim to get us back on message.

To: American Dream 246

The Gumbahs down in Little Italy could take a few lessons from the Obama thugocracy.

posted onTuesday, December 15, 2009 6:10:20 PM

Oops – back to Little Italy again. Has anyone informed James Gandolphini and David Chase?


To: American Dream 246

Carefully and properly collect this evidence for immediate impeachment proceedings.

posted onTuesday, December 15, 2009 6:11:37 PM
(Free Aquabird!)

div class=”a2″>To: American Dream 246

It is certainly a thuggish and dangerous thing for Obama to play with National Security

Let’s call it what it really is:treason.

posted onTuesday, December 15, 2009 6:13:58 PM
p>To: American Dream 246

If this is true, which I’m sure it is, then
this Senator should Change party and hold a press conference, saying he
does not respond to blackmail.

posted onTuesday, December 15, 2009 6:26:15 PM
(Don’t argue with my posts. I typed while under sniper fire..)

p>Well, there’s about six pages of this hyperbolic mouth-breathing about “poor Ben Nelson”, then…

Ben Nelson dispels Offutt AFB closing rumor – audio ^

Posted onThursday, December 17, 2009 11:11:53 AM bypitviper68

Ben Nelson says that he knows who started the rumor, and that it may
be embarrassing if/when that info comes out. Says, no one threatened
him or offered him ANYTHING for his vote.

He’s says the abortion issue is not the only thing stopping him from supporting the Senate bill.

posted onThursday, December 17, 2009 11:11:53 AM


To: pitviper68

He is lying..

posted onThursday, December 17, 2009 11:13:39 AM
(Dont Tread on Me)

div class=”a2″>To: cardinal4

Of course he’s lying.

posted onThursday, December 17, 2009 11:15:44 AM
(Give me back my conservative vote; then find me a real conservative to vote for)

div class=”a2″>To: pitviper68


I’m going to believe a dim-bulb-crat?


posted onThursday, December 17, 2009 11:16:27 AM
byDa Coyote

p>Wow. From victim to “dim-bulb-crat” in .00254 seconds. That’s some pretty serious turn-on-a-dime action, even for these morons.

To: pitviper68

According to Glenn Beck this morning, there are 3 confirmed sources who attest to the threat to Nelson.

posted onThursday, December 17, 2009 11:39:28 AM
byBluebird Singing

Oh, well, there’s an unimpeachable source.

To: pitviper68

I really can’t blame him for denying the
rumor. The Party would crucify him, at best. But do remember – he
basically CAN’T vote in favor of the bill or everybody would think he
caved in to the Party.If the rumor is false, I would say that somebody
was very smart to set him up from being the last, the 60th senator. If
the rumor is true, somebody was a true Patriot for divulging it.

posted onThursday, December 17, 2009 11:58:53 AM
byEx-Democrat Dean

Well, in that case, you can clearly not choose the wine in front of you.

Thus endeth the thread – and the lesson.Five pages of posts – 215 of them to be exact – on how the unholy alliance of Jimmy Cagney and Denzel Washington are ruining the country, and exactly fifteen posts on how they were Rick Rolled.


More mendacious moronity after the jump.

Tagged , , ,
Athenae, Political Crack, Propaganda, So Called Liberal Media, Stupid Republican Tricks

It’s Always The Left’s Fault

If only we’d be nicer:

Obama can’t pass anything that doesn’t have unanimous support in the
Democratic caucus because of the ruthless obstruction and opposition of
the Republican Party. This forces him to govern to the center and make
all his compromises with centrist Democrats and/or the two
still-existing centrist Republicans in the Senate. The Republican
obstruction empowers people like Joe Lieberman. It actually gives veto
power to every single senator, but the only way to make up for a
defecting Democrat is to win over Olympia Snowe or Susan Collins. So,
if Bernie Sanders or Roland Burris revolt, he has to move the bill
further to the right in response.

The left is immensely frustrated with this situation and inclined to
blame the administration, but this is a simple logic tree. Obama cannot
push the progressive position on pretty much anything if the centrists
refuse to go along. Compounding the problem, progressives don’t really
know how to influence centrists. They tend to insult them, call them
whores, attack their families, and generally question their morals.
Over time, this sets up the situation we saw with Lieberman where heswitched positions
on a Medicare buy-in proposal simply because the measure was pleasing
to people who have been demonizing him for over three years. Rather
than persuade the Ben Nelsons and Blanche Lincolns of the Senate,
progressive tactics make them even more inclined to reject anything
they perceive to be coming from the left.

It’s quite possible that the health care bill we’re looking at right
now is worse than it would have been if ads and insults weren’t hurled
at the people who have control over what will be in the bill. It
reminds me of the campaign against General David Petraeus. Rather than
educating the public about what was anticipated to be misleading
testimony before Congress, would up being censored by
Congress, and the anti-war movement never recovered. That didn’t mean
that MoveOn was wrong on the merits, only that they had a tin-ear and
pursued self-defeating strategies.

But, if I have learned anything in my years of political activism, it’s
that the left will act like the left, the right will act like the
right, and that this is something it is foolish to ignore. You can’t
plead, beg, or reason with people who are just wired to act the way
they do.

Look, I don’t necessarily disagree about the political realities of Congress, but I take a different lesson than Booman does from the dynamics described above. Let’s break this down:

Compounding the problem, progressives don’t really
know how to influence centrists. They tend to insult them, call them
whores, attack their families, and generally question their morals.

What you have, in Joe Lieberman, is a man willing to let people die so he can maintain his power. How else do you explain his statements of self-congratulation after he scuttled the Medicare buy-in last week? What you have, in Bart Stupak and Ben Nelson, are men willing to let people die to promote their saintliness on the important moral issue of how some women are sluts. How else do you explain their insistence that only rich girls be allowed to have abortions, since those rich girls can pay for their own?

They don’t favor an incremental approach to health care reform, for example, a longer time-period of phasing in improvements, or more or less government control over this or that particular of the bureaucracy that will oversee and maintain the health care system. They don’t want to find solutions to the problems facing uninsured and even insured Americans. They want to score points about peripheral bullshit. They want to settle scores. They want to hear their own voices on the evening news.

They’re not centrists. They’re monsters. Whore is actually too kind a word for them.

And these people aren’t empowered by Republican obstructionists, who anyway are too busy out on the lawn singing along with teabaggers who hold up pictures of Obama with a bone through his nose. These people are empowered by a bitchy political media eager to hold them up and pet them for bucking their own party. Do you think Joe Lieberman would be in the position he’s in, or even still IN the Senate, were he not being propped up by pundits who need an example of someone who believes in nothing so those same pundits can sleep at night? The tenor of the story is always that poor principled Joey (or Ben, or Bart, or whoever) is being unfairly attacked by those mean hippies because the mean hippies are mean, and hippies, and stupid, and not grown-ups, and don’t understand.

So you’re Joey, or Ben, or Bart, and you’re watching the news and all you’re seeing is that you’re right, you’re right, you’re right. Is that giving you any incentive to compromise at all? Fuck no. You’re gonna be ever more convinced that a) you’re right and the hippies are stupid and mean and b) you’re the story, and what really matters here is your personal vindication, and not the bill, or the people it would help, or the future of the American economy because that’s actually a real thing that’s going on.

So forget the hippies. This isn’t about the hippies being mean and running General Betray-us ads. This is about the political conversation beingso fucked up that it doesn’t matter anymore that you are right, it only matters HOW you’re right, and the right way to be right changes on the hour, based on whether Howard Fineman’s toupee has changed from winter to summer and if your codpiece catches Tweety’s fancy. Forgive us our sins if, after eight years of this shit, we start getting a little annoyed and say “blow job” on the news.

I’m not saying this as someone who thinks we should burn health care reform all down and start over, by the way. I do tend to look at this bill and say let’s take what we can get now and fight, fight, fight to make it better through various pieces of legislation and whatever executive orders we can pressure Obama to sign, because that’s how it works in the NBA. But that doesn’t mean that I will for a second pretend that this is the case:

It’s quite possible that the health care bill we’re looking at right
now is worse than it would have been if ads and insults weren’t hurled
at the people who have control over what will be in the bill.

No. Just … no. We don’t get to hide under our beds and flagellate ourselves over what WE could have done better, for the very simple reason thatain’t nobody on a progressive blog cashing fat checks from Aetna while demonizing poor women on national TV and then going home to prime rib. I realize that some hippie somewhere maybe said something dumb to Joey’s wife, but I’m saying that it does in fact matter who is right and who is wrong on this. We can argue all day long about the merits of this versus that tactic but you cannot sit there and tell me some girl with a web site drowned this whole thing.

Because if that really is the case, and if the bill really does suck because we weren’t nice enough, then that means UNITED STATES SENATORS would rather let Americans die than allow themselves be insulted on the Internet.And I’m sorry, I will put up with a lot of shit from this world for the good stuff in it, but I cannot live in a world where that is the case.

We heard this over and over during the run-up to the war, and in the aftermath of 9/11, after the 2004 election and gay marriage bans, and during every important fight of the past decade: If only the people who cared about the outcome of the debate most would shut the fuck up and calm down and not be so unforgivably and uncouthlyinvested in it, things would be fine. Stop giving right-wingers ammunition. Stop giving them excuses. Stop protesting. Stop running ads. Stop being loud. Stop embarrassingme the good little progressive who’s doing it right.

As if there was anything MoveOn or Code Pink or Cindy Sheehan or for that matter Jane Hamsher (though I do think equating progressives opposed to the Senate bill, and teabaggers opposed to … stuff, is nonsense) could ever do that was worse than the nicest thing Dick Cheney had ever done. As if those attacking progressives would EVER lack a convenient scapegoat. As if those attacking progressives would ever even NEED a scapegoat at all when they had some papier maché and baling wire around. As if those attacking progressives would ever NOT be able to twist the political punditry into covering the debate the way it’s always been covered, as one between nice normal folks and nutters with puppets. And as if those attacking progressives would then be unable to get other progressives to push the notion that the way something is covered —passionate debate quelle horreur! — is the way something really is.

I realize Booman is talking optics, but what I’m saying is that at some point we HAVE to talk outcomes instead, because in the end the outcomes are the optics. And the potential outcomes were these: Progressives get what they want, and everybody in America gets health care they can afford. Joey and Ben and Bart get what they wanted, and they get rich and famous, and fuck the rest of us. No contest.



Athenae, Of Interest

Weekend Question Thread

In honor of a very dear friend graduating from college today:

Of what accomplishment in your life are you most proud?


Athenae, Of Interest

Saturday Blogwhoring Thread


Post away. Before Basement Ferret up there comes for you.


Adrastos, Music

Icy Blue Heart

There’s something about a Friday evening after a long day at work that makes me want to hear a “tears in your beer” song. Sometimes, it’s classic honky tonk with George Jones or Kitty Wells but tonight my semi-morose thoughts have turned to a singer-songwriter of my own g-g-generation, John Hiatt.Icy Blue Heart is a pure-D “tears in your beer” tune that features one of the greatest opening lyrical couplets ever:p align=”center” class=”asset asset-video” style=”margin: 0pt auto; display: block;”>