Sunday, May 31, 2009


Dear Right Wingnuts:

who are you gonna shoot when you run out of doctors?

who are you gonna shoot when you run out of Unitarians?

who are you gonna shoot when you run out of cops?

who are you gonna shoot when you find out that it wasn’t liberals and blacks and Puerto Ricans keeping you down, it was the rich fat white guys sitting in their radio booths urging you to kill other people?

Don’t sit there, Wingnuts, crying like you’re the victims in all this, that it’s not your fault your fellow Wingnuts are going around armed to the elevens, that the big mean libruls are to blame for your violence and hate. It’s not the libruls pulling the trigger. It’s not the Unitarians painting bulls-eyes on their shirts. It’s not the doctors and the cops going about doing their jobs trying to bring order to a chaotic universe. It’s you pulling the trigger. It’s you painting bulls-eyes on everyone. It’s you shooting up schools and clinics and churches and offices and homes.

Goddamn you, Wingnuts. Goddamn you all to Hell.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

All Politics Is Madness: The Sotomayor Gambit

It's been a mad week, in more ways than one, with Obama announcing his first Supreme Court Justice nominee with Sonia Sotomayor, a Puerto Rican woman with a long career as prosecutor and judge... and with the wingnut talking head faction of the Republican Party responding by going into Crazy-Ass Insane Mode so quickly that forget Light Speed, they've gone to Plaid.

The best I can do right now is throw up a few thoughts:

  • Sotomayor isn't Harriet Miers. Miers was at most an office manager throughout her legal career: she had some corporate litigation cases but most of her time was served as head of the Texas Bar Association. Miers lacked courtroom experience, above all the experience of being a judge at any level. Even conservatives were balking at her nomination. Bush the Lesser's administration tried to weaken that argument by pointing out other SCOTUS nominees like Earl Warren never had judicial experience as well: that actually inflamed the Far Right more because conservatives hate hate HATE that Warren as the worst of those detested Activist Judges.
    Before I lose focus on this: By comparison Sotomayor has judicial experience up the wazoo. Placed at a District level by Bush the Elder in 1992, Clinton bumped her up to the Appellate level in 1996 and she's been on the Democrats' SCOTUS short-list since 2005. Toss into that her brief career as a DA prosecutor and that's already a career equal to the likes of Alito, Breyer and Ginsberg (the other Justices have barely a few years of judicial experience but have decades with the Attorney General's office and related federal agencies that handle constitutional issues on a daily basis, giving them quality experience).
  • Sotomayor is Puerto Rican, and would be - technically - the first Hispanic SCOTUS Justice ever (there's semantic arguing over how to classify Justice Cardozo: he's Portuguese/Spanish, but he had considered himself of Jewish ethnicity above all, so...)
  • I think Obama knew exactly what he was getting himself, his administration, and this nation into when he nominated Sotomayor. I think he knew the Far Right Noise Machine would go straight into Insanity Mode and attack Sotomayor within three seconds of the pre-announcement leak. He knew that the likes of Limbaugh, Gingrich, Fox Not-News, NRO, Weekly Standard, WSJ and other Right-leaning sources would not stand for ANYONE he picked, so he picked the nominee that would cause the Republicans the most self-inflicted damage. I bet Obama even knew that one little paragraph (and it IS little, for God's sake) where Sotomayor said her life experience as a "wise" Latina woman would give her "better" judicial insight than a white male and that it would drive the Limbaugh crowd to crazier heights of shriekitude, that her one statement would make the Republicans overreact to her being a woman and a Hispanic. That the Far Right would even go so far as to charge Sotomayor (and by extension their true target Obama) with "reverse racism" or even outright racism (focusing on the Ricci case, which will most likely be the blunt instrument used against her in the Senate), even when her actual judicial record shows no such evidence. The Far Right is going so far as to bring back retired SOB Tom Tancredo. Remember him? The one idiot who went out of his way to insult Miami Cubans (!!!), and then feigned outrage when they assaulted him when he dared to show up later in Miami for a book signing. There's crazy, and then there's stupid, and then there's Tancredo the one Republican who automatically drives every Hispanic-American into the arms of the Democrats. And so you've got all this overreaction by the wingnut base that would further alienate women and Hispanics against the Republicans. When a Hispanic Republican media adviser openly complains about the flame war - he didn't hide behind the "anonymous source" shield - that's telling you something.
  • And all Obama had to do was select a qualified judge. All he has to do now is stoke the Far Right with a few more half-hearted pseudo-apologies, and then sit back and let the GOP eat themselves with their own rage, impotence and racist stupidity. Dear G. Gordon Liddy: don't confuse Puerto Ricans for illegal aliens. Puerto Ricans are U.S. citizens (since 1917). They may be Hispanics but that is such an over-arching umbrella covering everyone from Mexico to Chile that its' ethnic status is actually rather fluid.
  • The current polling numbers show Obama's gamble is playing beautifully: all the polling shows comfortable acceptance margins by the public for Sotomayor and for Obama's handling of the pick. While the poll numbers always fluctuate, there's little the Republicans can say or do that would make things worse for the Sotomayor selection. Unless they get even more racist and misogynistic than they already are. It *would* be nice to see if libel and defamation laws have any teeth left...
  • The odds of a filibuster are surprisingly low. While it may be the one weapon the Republican Far Right wingnuts will eventually hope (grope?) for, the deal is the Republicans who are actually in office with their own asses on the line aren't about to go nuclear on a pick like this. Having a heavy hitter like Sen. Cornyn openly rebuke Limbaugh is rare: equally rare is that there's no sign Cornyn has back-stepped his statement or apologized to the Grand Overlord Rush (yet, the weekend is still young).
    If a Republican is crazy enough to force a filibuster, or even a cloture vote on the matter, you are gonna see the biggest stampede of Puerto Ricans to the local Elections offices to switch their voter IDs to (D)emocrats in human history (by the by, there's more Puerto Ricans in the U.S. than in Puerto Rico!).
That's all I have for the moment (but not the nonce, by what my dictionary tells me). I'm sure there'll be more batsh-t crazy stuff over this as the days pass.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Unfinished Business

Twenty years this month, Chinese students and workers began a pro-democracy protest in Tiananmen Square during a similar democracy movement in Eastern Europe.

The protests grew from hundreds of thousands to millions, spreading to other Chinese cities. With the whole world watching, it seemed as though China would enjoy - like the Philippines in 1986 - a People Power moment that would reform the government from one-party authoritarianism to a multi-party government, surely as cumbersome and ineffective as any other parliamentary system but at least an open system.

And then the night of June 3, 1989.

The day after the tanks rolled in and violently quashed (The actual body count may never be known, but nearly everyone eyewitness or researcher on the crackdown notes at least a hundred soldiers and thousands of protesters dead) the student protests, before the Chinese government could completely close off the media and censor anything and everything about Tiananmen, cameramen caught on film a lone protester standing in front of a row of tanks, challenging the horror that the army brought on their own people.

Tank Man
see more Political Pictures

That's my sentiment. It's been twenty years. I hope he's still alive. I hope there's still a chance in my lifetime to see China end its insane and corrupt one-party rule. I hope.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

LibraryThing currently down

Somehow, my LibraryThing list got co-opted by a default. It looks as though the LibraryThing site has a new method of plugging widgets in... and I have no frakkin idea how that works just yet.

So, in the meanwhile, just remember that Republicans think that filibustering Supreme Court nominees is wrong, WRONG!... oh wait, they're not in the majority anymore. Nevermind. Prepare for the filibustering of Sotomayor.

UPDATE: Figured out the widget to add LibraryThing's custom HTML code. Go ahead and check out mah readings. Oh, and buy my book!

Monday, May 18, 2009

To reaffirm: Amendment ideas

Noting that I can get sidetracked with political squabbles of the day, I've considered re-printing the core amendment ideas I've been bouncing aboot since Post One (whenever that was...)

The Top Five Amendment Ideas I'm really keen on:

That's it. The five amendments I'd love to see in my lifetime. Now, to actually *DO* something about 'em...

Thursday, May 14, 2009

It's Official: the Republicans think it's a marketing problem

From Roger Simon at Politico:

A member of the Republican National Committee told me Tuesday that when the RNC meets in an extraordinary special session next week, it will approve a resolution re-branding Democrats as the “Democrat Socialist Party.”

When I asked if such a resolution would force RNC Chairman Michael Steele to use that label when talking about Democrats in all his speeches and press releases, the RNC member replied: “Who cares?”

While I know there's only 4 to 7 people ever viewing this site, meaning no one high up on the Republican food chain would have read what I already wrote about how stupid it is to use 'Socialist' as an insult anymore, I'd have hoped someone else with better connections would have tried to warn the GOP Establishment by now. Seems that hadn't happened.

The Republicans used to use proxies - like their media cohorts, allies like Fox Not-News and their Party Leader Limbaugh - to dish out the insults and name-calling the past 20 years or so. But now, they're making the actual party take over such duties.

Worse, they think that this attempt at name-calling is actual good policy: That instead of thinking up new positions on taxation, or business regulation, or social issues like civil unions and abortion and immigration, all they have to do is come up with better insults and BLAMMO, the Republican Party will be in the majority again.

Guys, I take it none of you watched The West Wing. You missed that episode where C.J.'s backstory had her working as a disillusioned media hack for Hollywood and a media mogul wants her fired for not promoting his crappy movies into more Golden Globe nominations:

"...The movies were bad, Roger, all of them. Even the little kid was bad, but he was a little kid, he had a couple of scenes, big eyeglasses, lisp, he's going to the Golden Globes. You know why the New Coke marketing campaign failed? Because nobody liked New Coke. The movies were bad. If the movies were unknown, I could help you, but they weren't. They were just bad!"

Calling them 'Socialists' isn't going to make the Democrats less popular or less trustworthy, wingnuts. Calling them 'Socialists' isn't going to solve the problems YOU have as Republicans selling a crappy product ("Tax Cuts! No Gays! Bomb Everyone! It's Not Torture Because We Say So!"). If you think it's a marketing issue, wingnuts, you ought to look first at fixing your crappy product instead of mocking your competitor's product.

UPDATE: On May 20th, the RNC changed the proposed insult campaign and decided instead to decry Obama and the Dems' "March towards Socialism". Apparently someone realized directly accusing Lefties of overt "Socialist" attitudes wasn't selling well outside of the 30 percent Rightie base, so they figured making the Democrats look like a bunch of walking ethusiasts would work better. The Republicans still haven't figured out it's not the Democrats' product, it's the GOP Sh-tburgers no one wants to buy anymore that's the problem.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Florida Politics: Crist and the GOP Paradox

I know, I haven't written about amendment ideas for a good while - it's because the ideas already thrown out there like "No More Lying," "Death to Greedheads" and "President Is NOT Above the Law" are kinda it, any other amendment idea comes along as response to a momentary crisis, but I digress - but at least the political scene keeps me motivated in publishing from time to time.

The choice news du jour is local: Florida Governator Charlie Crist will officially thrown his hat into the ring for the open U.S. Senate seat for 2010.

While the polling numbers for the competitive race (both primary and general) are still early they also look pretty good for him. Crist remains popular across the board in Florida, even among Democrats (!!!) at a time any Republican Governor would feel lucky to be polling above 5o percent. Despite the budgetary woes Crist has been able to keep himself away from that mire, leaving it to an increasingly unpopular (thanks for all the corruption, guys!) state Lege.

But as for being a popular - or even a Moderate - Republican, well, a closer look is warranted... and if he truly is a Moderate Republican, closer concerns need to be addressed...

Crist's popularity among moderates (and Democrats) is derived mostly from three things: 1) Sincere attempts to court state Blacks and Hispanics, mostly by improving voter access for minorities and stopping dubious voter roll purges; 2) Presenting himself as eco-friendly regarding carbon emissions and Everglades protection; 3) He's not Jeb Bush, even though their gubernatorial achievements are mostly similar outside of points 1) and 2). Where Jeb had it better over Crist was unshakable support from the Republican ranks... but even there Crist is still popular with rank-and-file GOP voters. It's the local (and federal) Republican leadership that is at odds - rather openly - with Crist.

But in truth Crist is a rather solid conservative: openly pro-life and pro-Jebus for one thing; heavy on the gov't spending cuts and avoidance of tax hikes wherever possible for another (what else to call Amendment One for Super-homesteading he promoted, which evaded the real problem the state has in raising revenue via property taxes?).

The thing that really gets the GOP leadership all hot and bothered is that Crist DOESN'T stick to the script. When he needs to, which has been often, Crist jumps the Republican Reservation fence and goes rogue. The most obvious example is the one the Club for Greed, primary challenger Marco Rubio (a local up-and-comer who DOES toe the party line), Rush Limbaugh, GOP Guvnners like Palin and Jindal and Sanford, and nearly every GOP Congressperson and Senator NOT named Specter, Snowe or Collins will point to:

Crist openly supported Obama's stimulus package.

It's only a really big deal simply because the Republican Party had decided, back in January and February when every economist not on the Club for Greed and CATO Institute payroll were screaming for federal relief from a massive Recession, to simply deny and obstruct the stim package in toto. And that the whole party had to reject the Stim. Simply on principle. Because after 8 years of reckless GOP spending and relaxing of financial and business regulations that helped CAUSE the economic crisis in the first place, the Republicans finally decided they were the Responsible Fiscal Geniuses all along and they all wanted Obama to FAIL and so the Stimulus package had to be opposed even in the face of economic armageddon.

Except for Crist. Crist hosted a rally in Florida, posed with Obama, praised the Stimulus money coming to his states and all the other states. Even as the rest of the Republican Party voted No even with Obama's attempt at bipartisanship and compromise, became the Party of No much to the chagrin of the whole country... and even as the Republican Party kept losing voters across the board (SEE Tedisco's Failure to Win New York District 20 Even Though Its A Solid GOP District) and even as Crist's popularity never wavered (why else is Nate Silver projecting an EASY primary AND general win?).

Because this is really the one thing in Crist's favor: He's not stupid. He may be crazy - as all Floridians tend to be, hi guys! - but he's not stupid.

Because Crist, sitting in the governor's seat, was seeing a looming state budget threatened by a massive financial shortfall. Florida's meager tax system was generated by property sales and millage rates that went into the red as the housing/mortgage bubble went POP; sales taxes from all those tourists we USED to get before 9/11, the gas crisis of 2007-08, AND the unemployment crisis of 2007-Current kept them from enjoying our beaches and crappy Disney rides; and by avoiding any direct taxation on companies to move their corporate HQs here as a means of generating better state-level wealth so that residents wouldn't rely on public resources, only to have said companies ship all their jobs overseas to India and China anyway.

Without that Stimulus funding, Crist was facing something few states want to face: utter bankruptcy. A lot of states, even Republican ones, were facing massive deficits and possible bankruptcies. The typical GOP Governor response was "Not gonna take the Stim money." Palin said it, Sanford said it, Perry said it... until their own State Leges - some of them Republican-led and none of them thinking of running for the White House in 2012 - basically knee-capped them and said "WE NEED THE FRAKKING MONEY!" Except Crist. Like I said, not stupid: Crist saw the mood of the populus, he did the REAL basic math all politicians ought to do, and he full-heartedly applauded Obama and gave the President the bipartisan cover he needed to sell the Stimulus nation-wide. And that Stimulus money - for the most part - saved the state budget (what's gonna save it next year, though...).

So this is the deal: The Republicans as led by Rush, Newt, BillO and Grover are reeling right now, mostly from self-inflicted wounds they won't even admit to, and currently in a serious anger mode not only focused on Obama but anyone who even dares to associate with him. Which means Crist, currently the most prominent Republican caught on film hugging Obama, is also on their "Hate Him" List. Other Rubio allies are gonna have to include Mike Huckabee, who has to be thinking if Crist wins the Senate in 2010 he'll be in a better position to run for President 2012; and Jeb Bush, who has a personal animus against Crist (mostly because Crist has done almost the same things Jeb did but got more praise for it, and when Crist did things Jeb opposed it made Crist even MORE popular). Meaning these prominent Republicans are gonna seriously go out of their way to hurt one of their own. Almost like when the Kos crowd went out of their way to hurt Lieberman in 2006, the only difference being that if the GOP hardliners hurt Crist it's actually going to make things worse for the whole Republican Party.

'Cause here's the Paradox: Crist is running as an extremely popular Republican at a time nearly no other Republican is polling such high numbers, statewide or nationwide. Yet you're going to see a large part of the Republican's political machine turn against him, even though Crist represents the best possible chance the Republicans will have to A) keep a Senate seat (R), and B) prove that the Republicans are not a dying party. 'Cause this is the thing Kos and his krewe want: they WANT Rush and Co. beating up on Crist during the primary, because it'll be just like when the Republican hardliners beat up on Chafee and Gilchrist and ended up losing those incumbants' seats to solid Democrats. Democrats are terrified of Crist: if he survives the primary, even wounded, he'll still be a more attractive candidate than the likely Democratic challenger (Kendrick Meek). And even though Obama won this state in November (and McCain won it in the 2008 primary, even over more 'acceptable' conservative choices like Romney (bleh)), Florida is a solid GOP state: Crist survives the primary and the Democrat might as well concede right then.

So this is the challenge to the GOP. Should the party wake up, accept Crist as a solid candidate, and make it a smooth ride to November 2010 and ensure the Republicans don't lose more footing in the Senate? Or should the party continue its descent into irrational (and it IS irrational) Obama Hate and Tax-Cut Obsessiveness, push hard for a Rubio candidancy, make it more likely the next Senator from Florida is Meek, and make it absolutely certain the Republicans have NO power at the Federal level for the next 2-6 years (or even longer)?