Thursday, January 29, 2009

Did he write that with a straight face?

College dropout and professional loudmouth Rush Limbaugh has proposed his own version of an economic stimulus plan. My favorite part was probably this paragaph:

Keynesian economists believe government spending on "shovel-ready" infrastructure projects -- schools, roads, bridges -- is the best way to stimulate our staggering economy. Supply-side economists make an equally persuasive case that tax cuts are the surest and quickest way to create permanent jobs and cause an economy to rebound. That happened under JFK, Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush. We know that when tax rates are cut in a recession, it brings an economy back.

George W. Bush's term ended a little less than two weeks ago, and until Obama gets his stimulus package passed we're living in an economy that's 100% a product of Republican economic policies. So if supply-side economic theory can persuasively be argued to produce permanent jobs, why are businesses shedding jobs by the tens of thousands? Why is the U.S. auto industry on the verge of collapse? Why is the economy teetering on the edge of a global depression?

Now, I think it can be said that if George W. Bush's supply-side economic policies had left the nation with a staggering national debt and a roaring economy there could be something to be said for them. If, on the converse, these policies had managed to significantly shrink the national debt, but left us with an iffy economy there could be something to be said for them. But the fact is that the supply-side policies that were championed and implemented over the last 8 years of the Bush presidency left us with a doubling of the U.S. national debt and an economy that's teetering on the edge of total collapse. That's right, over the course of eight short years, Bush and his GOP cronies added as much debt as all the other presidents in our 227 year history combined and left us nothing but war and economic insecurity to show for it.

Under these circumstances I think it's safe to say that the supply-side economic laissez-fairy tale that Limbaugh is promoting has been pretty conclusively discredited.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The lies of the Right

OK, this one's just great (courtesy of Wonkette).

So Andy McCarty over at the National Review's "The Corner" blog complains that Barack Obama is directing over $4 billion dollars to Acorn as payback for the group's political support:

Keeping Politics Out of the "Stimulus" Bill [Andy McCarthy]

So lemme make sure I have this straight: President Unifier is warning Republicans to "keep politics out of" debate over the Stimulus Bill Generational Theft Act into which his party has stuck $4B+ for ACORN, among other pay-off-our-political-allies goodies?
And where does McCarthy come up with this $4 billion figure? He helpfully references a Fox News article that states:
House Republican Leader John Boehner issued a statement over the weekend noting that the stimulus bill wending its way through Congress provides $4.19 billion for “neighborhood stabilization activities.”

He said the money was previously limited to state and local governments, but that Democrats now want part of it to be available to non-profit entities. That means groups like ACORN would be eligible for a portion of the funds.
It's really like a schizophrenic game of "telephone" where: (1) Obama decides to open neighborhood stabilization project funds to non-profits in addition to state and local governments. (2) This leads John Boehner to protest on the off chance that Acorn might apply for some of this money. (3) Finally, once this information manages to sink down to the bottom of the intellectual swamp that is The Corner it gets twisted and transmogrified such that now Obama is personally handing Acorn a $4 billion check (about 5% of the entire proposed stimulus package).

Do these Corner bloggers really have no shame nor basic sense of honesty? No, wait... don't answer that.

(Correction: $4 billion is about .05% of the stimulus pachage, not 5%, as noted in the comments.)

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

A Treasury of Obama Innauguration Memories

Change has come to America... finally!

Not everyone is happy, though (Quick somebody call a waaaaaahhhmbulance!):

Many sensible centrists and conservatives – even among those who did not vote for Obama – have expressed a willingness to give Obama the benefit of the doubt. They say, for the sake of the country, that they hope that Obama will make a good President. It’s a natural enough sentiment, I guess; people like for the trains to run on time. I will agree with it in this one respect: I hope that he keeps the country safe from a terrorist attack.

Beyond that, however, I hope that Barack Obama is a failure as a President.

Before you recoil in horror that I could express such a sentiment, allow me to remind you what the pleasant face and smooth rhetoric hide in the case of Barack Obama: they hide a morally depraved and crooked man. A man who, in the midst of a discussion about infants left to die without medical care on an operating table, blithely explained that he was more concerned about the grisly prospect of one abortion doctor second-guessing another abortion doctor (presumably Obama supported eliminating medical malpractice suits in Illinois, and such support was tragically lost to posterity). A man who used his position of authority in the Senate to funnel money forcibly extricated from taxpayers to his wife’s employer, and interests friendly to his Presidential campaign bundlers. A man who has gotten to his position of power by climbing the greasiest and dirtiest ladder in all of politics.

The Wall Street Journal invited Bill Ayers to write a commentary on the Obama innauguration, presumably to remind us all that the terrorists won.

John Roberts flubs his lines:

And the Right-wing nutcases start wondering whether this means that Obama isn't president after all:

Ashton Kutcher showed up to the festivities with some tramp half his age (Huffington Post):

Joseph Lowery delivers the best speech of the inauguration, his trembling voice seemed to encompass and echo the 400 years of African American hopes, aspirations, disappointments, sadness and joy that finally led to this moment in time:

At times it seemed like a wedding more so than a political event:

And America has a new First Family:

Monday, January 12, 2009

Quote for the day

Quote for the day:

"In my closet at home, I've got two 12-gauges, a 20-gauge, three handguns and a .30-06. And I'll take you on anytime, Ken."
After the debate for the future RNC Chairman devolved into a pissing contest over who had the most love of Ronald Reagan coupled with the most guns in his closet, former Tennessee GOP chairman Chip Saltzman playfully offered to gun down his opponent, Ohio Secretary of State, Ken Blackwell.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Dumb comparison of the day:

Blogger Michael Weiss commenting on Joe "the Plumber" Wurzelbacher's recent appointment, by Pajamas Media, as foreign correspondent covering the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. Though Weiss is generally negative on Wurzelbacher, this comparison is just idiotic:

Claims of knowing what the hell one is talking about are at least as grossly exaggerated in cyberspace as they are in the op-ed page of the New York Times.

Trager's colleague Abe Greenwald, who I should add is a friend as well as a former Jewcy contributor, defends the plumber selection, writing "if there’s anything we can afford less of in discussing the Middle East it’s 'expertise.'" Greenwald has in mind John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt, whose joint thesis was widely discredited in print publications and by other "experts" (Walter Russell Mead doesn't blog yet, does he?) But he might have also mentioned Juan Cole and Marc Lynch, two names previously unknown outside of the Arabist quadrants of the academy who have since attained a measure of celebrity owing exclusively to their personal blogs. This is the new form of "expertise," and guess what? It's no less suspect than the old.

For the record, here is a sampling of Juan Cole's biography (Source: Wikipedia) that sheds light on the extent to which Cole can claim expertise in matters related to the Middle East:

Cole obtained his undergraduate degree at Northwestern University in 1975, having majored in History and Literature of Religions. For two quarters in his senior year he conducted a research project in Beirut and returned to the city as a graduate student in the fall of 1975, but the civil war prevented Cole from continuing his studies there. Therefore he pursued a Masters degree at the American University in Cairo in Islamic and Middle Eastern studies, graduating in 1978. Cole then returned to Beirut for another year and worked as a translator for a newspaper.[1] In 1979 Cole enrolled at the University of California, Los Angeles as a doctoral student in the field of Islamic Studies, graduating in 1984. After graduation, Cole was appointed Assistant Professor of History at the University of Michigan where he would become a full professor in 1995.[2]
  • 1975 B.A. History and Literature of Religions, Northwestern University
  • 1978 M.A. Arabic Studies/History, American University in Cairo
  • 1984 Ph.D. Islamic Studies, University of California Los Angeles
  • 1984-1990 Assistant Professor of History, University of Michigan
  • 1990-1995 Associate Professor of History, University of Michigan
  • 1992-1995 Director, Center for Middle Eastern and North African Studies, University of Michigan
  • 1995- Professor of History, University of Michigan

Wurzelbacher's expertise, meanwhile, derives from his being an unlicensed plumber from Ohio, a background that has allowed him to make such astute observations on Middle Eastern society and politics as that "a vote for Obama is a vote for the death of Israel":

Weiss can disagree with Cole as much as he likes, but challenging the validity of his expertise merely because he keeps a popular blog on Middle Eastern issues is just stupid. Cole's blog is an outgrowth of Cole's expertise, not the reason for it. Furthermore I am always leery of the demagoguery of those who utter the word "experts" with a contemptuous sneer, and belittle the notion of expertise in general, merely because the experts in question disagree with them. We saw far too much of this attitude from the Bush administration in the lead-up to the Iraq invasion and the piss poor planning taht followed it.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Quote for the day

Ann Coulter revealing herself in all her shallow glory:

"Um, my general policy is to take advice from people who sell more books than I do, not fewer books than I do."

Not that we needed any further confirmation, but here again we see that with Coulter, it's all about selling books. The end.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Op Ed

So this New York Times Op Ed makes me wonder. Do you have to be a war criminal to get an Op Ed piece in the Times, or is it merely helpful?