Happy Hour Discurso


Today’s opining on the public discourse.

News too funny not to lead with:

From the File of Things That Really Shouldn’t Surprise Anyone Who’s Been Paying Attention to American Culture, we have this:

A new nationwide study (pdf) of anonymised credit-card receipts from a major online adult entertainment provider finds little variation in consumption between states.

“When it comes to adult entertainment, it seems people are more the same than different,” says Benjamin Edelman at Harvard Business School.

However, there are some trends to be seen in the data. Those states that do consume the most porn tend to be more conservative and religious than states with lower levels of consumption, the study finds.

“Some of the people who are most outraged turn out to be consumers of the very things they claimed to be outraged by,” Edelman says.

You’ll love the state that comes in at #1. Hypocrisy runs rampant, doesn’t it just?

Want more hypocrisy? You know there’s plenty. How about some fiscal responsibility hypocrisy?

This is one of those strange stories in which Democrats want to spend less money and make a federal system more efficient, and conservatives are livid.

The situation is pretty straightforward. When Clinton was elected, the student-loan system was burdened by a layer of unnecessary bureaucracy. Higher-ed students would get a loan from a private lender, but it was effectively a no-risk system — the federal government would guarantee the loan in the event of default. The industry was getting government subsidies to provide a service the government could perform for less. Clinton wanted to streamline the process and make it cost less — the government would make the loan, cut out the middleman, and save billions.

Conservatives and loan industry lobbyists went nuts, forcing Clinton to backtrack. The eventual compromise led to two types of student loans — direct loans and guaranteed loans. Colleges were allowed to choose the system they preferred. (They preferred the direct loans until lenders started bribing college-loan administrators.)

Sixteen years later, the Obama administration wants to save $4 billion a year, end subsidies to lenders, and make the process more efficient. The White House and Department of Education have apparently come to the conclusion that there’s no point in laundering loans through lenders, who make a tidy profit, for no reason.

And once again, conservatives are livid.

This is why I ceased listening to their blather about government spending, responsibility, etc. etc. a long damned time ago. They’re as hypocritical over government spending as they are over porn, not to mention corrupt as hell.

More news that shouldn’t shock anyone with a functioning brain: Tom Delay is still a dumbshit:

Just days before the Inauguration, Rush Limbaugh famously declared, “I hope [Obama] fails.” Since then, some conservatives have been hesitant to embrace this view. Pat Robertson said, “That was a terrible thing to say.” “Anybody who wants him to fail is an idiot,” said Gov. Mark Sanford (R-SC). Responding to Sanford, Limbaugh reiterated his position yesterday, saying, the “hell we don’t” want Obama to fail.

One of those “idiots” adopting Limbaugh’s stance is former House Majority Leader Tom Delay (R-TX). In an interview with ThinkProgress at CPAC today, we asked DeLay whether he agrees with Limbaugh’s statements. DeLay said Limbaugh was “exactly” right to root for Obama’s failure:

TP: Do you agree with Rush Limbaugh that we shouldn’t hope for President Obama to succeed?

DELAY: Well, exactly right. I don’t want this for our nation. That’s for sure.

I don’t think Cons are hoping Obama will fail because they genuinely think they have better ideas. They know they don’t have better ideas. But bad ideas are the only ideas they have, and they know that if the American public gets a taste of peace, prosperity and progressive living, they’ll never vote for Cons ever again. Who’s going to go back to eating shit sandwiches when you’ve enjoyed steak? Well, there’s a few swing voters who are that stupid, but not enough to help the Cons. Thus, the Cons really, really need Obama to fail. And they’re making assclowns of themselves rooting for it.

I’ll be very happy to remind undecided voters just who didn’t want them fed, sheltered and employed come next election. It’ll make canvassing fun.

It would be even more fun if I could go canvass in one of the states whose governors are grandstanding jackasses:

I guess the Republican governors are counting on their residents becoming so poor, they won’t have TVs and so they won’t find out what they’re missing in other states? I really don’t see the point of playing such heartless games with peoples’ lives:

For people like Henry Kight, 59, of Austin, Tex., the possibility that the money might be turned down is a deeply personal issue.

Mr. Kight, who worked for more than three decades as an engineering technician, discovered in September that because of complex state rules, he was not eligible for unemployment insurance after losing a job at a major electronics manufacturer he had landed at the beginning of the year.

Unable to draw jobless benefits, he and his wife have taken on thousands of dollars in credit-card debt to help make ends meet.

[snip]

Mr. Kight and other unemployed workers said they were incensed to learn they were living in one of a handful of states — many of them among the poorest in the nation — that might not provide the expanded benefits.

“It just seems unreasonable,” Mr. Kight said, “that when people probably need the help the most, that because of partisan activity, or partisan feelings, against the current new administration, that Perry is willing to sacrifice the lives of so many Texans that have been out of work in the last year.”

He was referring to Gov. Rick Perry of Texas, who has said he may decline the extra money rather than change state policy.

Who woulda thunk unemployed people might be a tad upset with governors who refuse the money that might help them survive this recession? Shocking, I know. I have a feeling some of those states may be bluing up in a hurry.

Of course, at the rate the Cons are going, every state’s going to be trending a bit more blue:

For GOP lawmakers anxious to push back against the Obama administration’s agenda, the answer isn’t to engage in a debate over the role of government. Rather, the Republicans have decided the way to win the broader policy debate is to find individual spending proposals that sound funny.

The strategy hasn’t been especially effective. The money for marsh-mouse preservation turned out to be a lie. The money linking Vegas to Disneyland by way of high-speed rail was also non-existent. The volcano-monitoring program turned out to be a pretty good idea.

But now they’ve got a new one. Republicans, Fox News, the New York Post, and Drudge have found a $200,000 provision in the omnibus spending package for “tattoo removal.” How can anyone defend that?

It’s actually pretty easy to defend. Greg Sargent looked into it.

[A] little reporting reveals that that this “tattoo removal” program is an anti-crime program in the San Fernando Valley that re-integrates reformed gang members and makes it easier for them to find jobs. Two Los Angeles law enforcement officials I just spoke to — one who identified himself as a “conservative Republican” — swore by the program for reducing crime and saving lives.

The chief of San Fernando Police Department told Greg that the program is “important” and “reduces attacks.” A local probation officer added, “This program is one of the best life-saving and life-changing programs out here. I am about as right wing a conservative as you would ever find.”

I’m going to have to start making a list of questions. We’ve already got a start with “Why do Cons hate D.C.?” Now we’ve got “Why don’t Cons want to reduce crime and save lives?” By the time the next election rolls around, we should have a pretty good list going.

Does anybody know where I can find a fifty-foot scroll? Preferrably one that unrolls dramatically…

Comments

  1. says

    “This is one of those strange stories in which Democrats want to spend less money and make a federal system more efficient, and conservatives are livid.”A possible insight into the conservative mind here, for which that story is supporting evidence.In a civilization where:* most of the easily-exploitable resources have been snapped up (“purchased” — from whom?) by certain interests…* …thus making it almost impossible, now, to make a reasonable living without obtaining a certain highly-prized type of connection to those interests (a “real job”)* …even though those interests are often very reluctant to establish such connections, especially in times of economic crisis* …and yet these resources are sufficient to produce a huge surplus for those interests…* …who then trade that surplus for units of value (money)…* …of which they then have so much that they can live in a manner which we would consider “luxurious” while spending only a small fraction of it……that it simply doesn’t make sense to oppose welfare for those who otherwise couldn’t afford basic necessities, due to the short supply of “jobs” and the oversupply of basic necessities. (Example: how does it make sense that people are being kicked out of their houses and there is also an oversupply of houses, many of them freshly-built in brand-new subdivisions?)In other words, you have to have some way of spreading basic wealth around, so that it isn’t just the Major Resource Owners who have some (while everyone else works for them or starves). We have to have some form of welfare if we are going to avoid imposing unacceptable and unnecessary hardship on a big chunk of the population.Legislatively encouraging layers of “entrepreneurship” to perform work which would be done more efficiently without such layers, thereby providing enough “jobs” so that everyone (in theory) gets enough to live on, could be seen as a viable alternative solution — call it “capitalist welfare” (although to me it actually sounds a lot more like the make-work bureaucracies of Soviet Russia… but I digress).As such, one could argue that it’s as good or perhaps better than the traditional government-to-enduser welfare system; individuals have to actually show up and contribute substantially in order to receive their handouts, thus discouraging cheating and the dreaded “welfare queen” syndrome, and keeping workers primed for more useful work, should any turn up.Point being: conservatives see this kind of “inefficiency” as being for the public good. (Yeah, I know, I’m probably giving cons too much credit for being well-meaning. Still, something like this thought-process may play a role in the chaotic miasma that is the conservative worldview, and as such it may be helpful for us to understand it.)This could be well and fine, but for a few things:(1) the corrupting influence of industries (of which the student loan biz is just one example) whose existence depends entirely on continuing to be paid to do something which nobody needs them to be doing;(2) the inherent dishonesty of making it look like a service is being provided, value is being added, when in fact it’s basically just busywork (The Terrible Trivium comes inescapably to mind);(3) the pointlessness of making people spend their time doing something useless when they could be doing something useful instead (note: “useful” does not necessarily imply “money-making”, especially given the circumstances as described above)(4) the sort of mentality which happily exploits a system which rewards people for doing pointless work is, I should think, not a mentality we want to encourage.(Ok, that’s my ramble. Hoping to get back to The Great Debate soonish; still wrapping up the loose ends of my deadline project, and no I shouldn’t even be posting this…)