Happy Hour Discurso

Today’s opining on the public discourse.

I’m enjoying the novelties of sitting around stuffing my face while consuming politics and dinosaur evolution. It’s nice to be nearly completely unpacked.

I wish I’d had time to focus earlier in the week, because I apparently missed a mother lode of dumbfuckery. Rep. John Shimkus is the gift that keeps on giving:

What’s more, be sure to watch to the end of the video clip, at which point Shimkus argues that we’re not pumping enough carbon into the atmosphere: “There is a theological debate that this is a carbon-starved planet, not too much carbon.”

I’ve heard a few conservatives over the years argue, “Kill ‘em all and let God sort ‘em out.” I didn’t expect, however, to hear an elected member of Congress apply this thinking to environmental policy.

When I get the sound on my computer back up, I’m definitely watching that video. I’ll just have to remember not to have anything in my mouth when I do it. I’d like to keep my new home spit-take free.

Cons seem ignorant regarding nearly everything, but it’s nowhere more proudly displayed than on environmental issues. Check out Glenn Beck trying to sound off on energy policy:

Beck: You can’t make wind energy work without nuclear energy as well. Wind stops –

Borelli: You know that, but Congress doesn’t know that.

Beck: Use your common sense! Hey America! Use common sense here! Let just try this out!

Wind, when it blows, makes energy. When it stops, you can’t store it, so what’s making the energy?

What, indeed?

Suffice to say that one can easily find out that there are numerous strategies for dealing with the unreliability of wind power:

[snip]

A series of detailed modelling studies which looked at the Europe wide adoption of renewable energy and interlinking power grids using HVDC cables, indicates that the entire power usage could come from renewables, with 70% total energy from wind at the same sort of costs or lower than at present. Intermittency would be dealt with, according to this model, by a combination of geographic dispersion to de-link weather system effects, and the ability of HVDC to shift power from windy areas to non-windy areas.[27][28]

Pumped-storage hydroelectricity or other forms of grid energy storage can store energy developed by high-wind periods and release it when needed.[29] Stored energy increases the economic value of wind energy since it can be shifted to displace higher cost generation during peak demand periods.

I’m afraid to ask if they can get any more stupid than this. I’m sure the answer is not yes but fuck yes.

For any of you wondering just how obstructionist Cons have become, I have your answer right here:

Yesterday, Sen. John Kyl (R-AZ) slammed the idea of passing health care reform and other Obama priorities through a simple majority of the Senate, a process called reconciliation. “Now, if they do that, that, in effect is the nuclear war,” Kyl said. The Republicans have become experts at using Senate filibusters — or often just the threat of filibusters — to block the Democratic agenda while in the minority. As this chart from Norm Ornstein shows, the use of filibusters have skyrocketed under Republicans:


Steve Benen would like to remind everyone that it wasn’t always this way, which means we had a fuck of a lot of “nuclear war” going on throughout our nation’s history without anyone quibbling. These poor Cons get overheated awfully easily, don’t they?

And they’re determined to keep up the obstruction:

You won’t be terribly surprised by this, but the eight most prominent members of the House GOP leadership are confirming that they will all vote against Obama’s budget later this week.

Greg Sargent has a list of statements. It’s exactly what you would expect from the Party of No.

Remember, these fucktards think they’re completely normal:

Jon Chait had a great piece yesterday about the “fecklessness” and “parochialism” that too often interferes with the Democratic Party’s ability to advance its agenda. U.S. News‘ Michael Barone argued in response that the Democratic Party also struggles because it’s made up of constituencies who aren’t “normal.”

[T]he Republican Party is the party of people who are considered, by themselves and by others, as normal Americans — Northern white Protestants in the 19th century, married white Christians more recently — while the Democratic Party is the party of the out groups who are in some sense seen, by themselves and by others, as not normal — white Southerners and Catholic immigrants in the 19th century, blacks and white seculars more recently. Thus it’s natural for the Democrats to be more fissiparous.

Someone is going to have to help me out with this one. Democrats experience more intra-party fissures than Republicans because African Americans and white secularists aren’t “normal”? Republicans join in lock step because it’s the party of marrie
d white Christians — who necessarily are “normal”?

How normal you can be when you’re completely batshit fucking insane is up for debate.

The Ineffable Idiocy of Cardinals

No, I’m not talking about Arizona’s football team, although I’ve never been impressed by them, either. No, not the birds, either – they seem relatively intelligent, although I’m sure there’s a few dumbshit ones out there. This is a cardinal of the religious variety, playing the hypocrite for all he’s worth:

An American Cardinal, Daniel DiNardo of Houston/Galveston, has jumped on the K-Lo bandwagon and condemned Notre Dame for honoring a Democrat.

I find the invitation very disappointing. Though I can understand the desire by a university to have the prestige of a commencement address by the President of the United States, the fundamental moral issue of the inestimable worth of the human person from conception to natural death is a principle that soaks all our lives as Catholics, and all our efforts at formation, especially education at Catholic places of higher learning.

So where was DiNardo when in 2001, Notre Dame invited George W. Bush, who had honored the “inestimable worth of the human from conception to natural death” by executing more people than any other governor in US history?

There’s more examples where that came from.

Seriously, do these pious wankers ever pause for a wee bit o’ the old self-examination? Do they ever listen to their self-righteous slobberings and think, “Hey, whoops, double-standard, there”?

Yeah, I don’t think so, either.

Heckuva Job, Bushie!

You know how when you break a glass in the kitchen, you still find little shards of glass months later, usually by stepping on them in the middle of the night? The aftermath of the Bush years will be much the same. I expect a lot more news like this in the coming months and years:

Following the example of his father putting a guy with a real talent for sex harassment in charge of the EEOC, George W. Bush put his own stamp on how the EEOC should operate:

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission…has itself willfully violated the Fair Labor Standards Act on a nationwide basis with its own employees, an arbitrator has ruled.

This is what you get when you let Cons rule. You might as well put toddlers in charge of the china cabinet: they do as good a job keeping that whole as Cons do running the government.

The Problem With PZ’s Analogy

I’m finally catching up on Pharyngula, unpacking the bedroom be damned. I notice that he spanked Rep. John Shimkus for his “We can’t cut CO2 emissions – we’ll starve the plants!” and “God won’t let global warming destroy the earth!” idiocy. In doing so, he makes a comparison:

However, please note: human beings aren’t plants (well, most of us, anyway — John Shimkus does seem to share some similarities with root vegetables).

It would be a great analogy, except for one thing: root vegetables are useful.

Happy Hour Discurso

Today’s opining on the public discourse.

In moving news, settling in continues apace. The cat has finally discovered how to sit comfortably with her ma in the recliner. And after more hours of shopping than I care to think about, I have glorious silk curtains on order for the bedroom and a set of bookshelves that roughly blend with my current ones on the way. By the end of tonight, my office will be put together. This is no thanks to my bookcase-building abilities. I follow directions slightly better than Republicons govern, but that ain’t sayin’ much.

Speaking of Cons, they bear a remarkable resemblance to my first attempt at putting the sides together on these shelves: you’d think the sides should point the same direction, but they don’t:

The GOP’s “budget” was roundly mocked throughout Democratic circles and even in the suddenly-caring-about-policy traditional media for not having any numbers, the way that, you know, a budget does. Yesterday, John McCain sought to calm the waters by claiming that the Senate GOP would put together, in fact, an actual budget with hard numbers instead of just a pamphlet with a bunch of circles and positive affirmations.
DAVID GREGORY: Do you think that Republicans should provide a detailed budget alternative?

McCAIN: Yes.

GREGORY: With numbers?

McCAIN: Yes.

GREGORY: Will that happen in the Senate?

McCAIN: We’re working on it, working very hard on it.

Rick Klein reports that Sen. McCain is mistaken.

According to a spokesman for Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., the Senate GOP’s plan remains the same: Republicans are planning to offer individual amendments to the Democratic budget but not a detailed, comprehensive budget of their own. Sen. Judd Gregg, R-N.H., the top Republican on the Senate Budget Committee, has pointed out that if the GOP amendments are accepted en masse (which will not happen), the amended budget would be the Republican alternative.

I think Mitch and John need to have a confab so they can get their stories straight. They might want to bring Rep. Paul Ryan in with them:

Last week, the House GOP presented its alternative budget proposal. Members of the media, including conservative commentators, widely panned the document for being scant on details and appearing more as “campaign-style talking points.” Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), ranking member of the House Budget Committee, has said he will release yet another budget proposal, but this time with more specifics.

Though Ryan has been most critical of the deficit impact of Obama’s budget, he has been unable to assess the deficit impact of his own budget. After being repeatedly asked this weekend by Bloomberg’s Al Hunt about “how large” the deficit would be under the Republican plan, Ryan finally respond, “A lot”:

HUNT: But the Obama budget deficit is $1.4 trillion. How, roughly, how large will yours be?

RYAN: Their budget deficit is $1.8 trillion. […]

HUNT: Gimme an idea of how large yours will be?

RYAN: A lot. Let’s put it that way.

So. They’re upset over the Obama budget deficit, but if they plug actual numbers instead of wishes and dreams into theirs, they end up with a huge deficit themselves. Brilliant, aren’t they just?

Hysterical, too:

It’s already astounding that the Norm Coleman-Al Franken Senate recount has taken this long to resolve. Franken has won the first recount and Coleman’s lawyers even acknowledge that he will win the case before the Minnesota Supreme Court when the verdict comes down shortly. But this is the first time I’ve heard the word “years” to describe the timeframe for resolution.
Texas Sen. John Cornyn is threatening “World War III” if Democrats try to seat Al Franken in the Senate before Norm Coleman can pursue his case through the federal courts.

Cornyn, the chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, acknowledges that a federal challenge to November’s elections could take “years” to resolve. But he’s adamant that Coleman deserves that chance – even if it means Minnesota is short a senator for the duration.

World War III, eh? All for Norm? These people really aren’t quite right in the head.

He’d better watch it, though. If the Cons get too feisty, the Dems may call in the far left bloggers, and we’re a formidable force. In fact, it turns out we’re Bill O’s #1 enemies:

In their interview with Bill O’Reilly this morning, the ladies of The View failed to question him about his comments on rape or his record of stalking and harassing his perceived enemies. Instead, they let O’Reilly make a series of attacks that went unchallenged:

BARBARA WALTERS: Who are your current enemies?

O’REILLY: I have enemies all over, Barbara. Come on. Is this a telethon? I mean…

WALTERS: Number one. You just said every day, every week you look for a new enemy. Number one enemy at this moment.

O’REILLY: I would say the far left blogs. I mean, they’re just everyday.

Heh. We are a mighty and awesome force. Almost as mighty as the right’s stupidty.

Mitch McConnell Moans

Mitch McConnell seems a wee bit confused about what “bipartisanship” is:

Boo hoo:
“I must say I’m disappointed,” Senate Minority Mitch McConnell of Kentucky said Sunday on CNN’s State of the Union. “After two months, the president has not governed in the middle as I had hoped he would. But it’s not too late. He’s only been in office a couple of months. Still before him are the opportunities to deal with us on a truly bipartisan basis,” the Republican told CNN Chief National Correspondent John King.

Bipartisanship is a one way street, dontcha know.

It would seem so. Mitch McConnell doesn’t seem to realize that Obama’s not governing from the middle because every time he tries to include the Cons in this whole governing thing, they fuck him over six ways from Tuesday and then whine about how nobody listens to them. And if you think it’d be better if Obama did his governing from the middle, you don’t know Cons. Obama could turn into a far-right demogogue, doing everything they wanted him to and more, and they’d still be bitching about how far left he is.

He’s a Democrat. That’s all they see. And they do so love the excuse to whine, moan and complain like elderly aunts.

Firebombing for the Lord

Aren’t these the same people who tell us that without Christianity, the country would descend into chaos, mayhem, and general bodily harm? Because it doesn’t look like their religion has kept them from engaging in all three:

A few weeks ago, I interview Joann Bell on my radio show about her experiences when she filed a lawsuit over school prayer in Oklahoma. She was assaulted by a school employee, had her own obituary sent to her in the mail and had her house firebombed. But she’s hardly alone. I’m gonna post some other stories, taken from a brief filed by Americans United in a court case asking that their client be allowed to remain anonymous in a church/state lawsuit.

In almost every church/state lawsuit I’m aware of, there is harassment and intimidation of the plaintiffs. In most of them there are also threats of violence. In many, there is outright violence and vandalism.

So much for superior morality, then, eh?

Happy Hour Discurso

Today’s opining on the public discourse.

For once, let’s lead off with some smart rather than some stupid. This is one of the many reasons I love my former governor:


Immigration is one issue we haven’t heard much about in the Obama Administration, for various reasons. But advocates have not stopped their push to take the undocumented out of the shadows and provide them a path to citizenship. The President has said little publicly on the issue since Inauguration Day, though he promised the Congressional Hispanic Caucus a statement of support in the spring.

However, today’s Washington Post reports on a policy shift toward punishing the businesses who hire the undocumented rather than the individual workers themselves.

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano has delayed a series of proposed immigration raids and other enforcement actions at U.S. workplaces in recent weeks, asking agents in her department to apply more scrutiny to the selection and investigation of targets as well as the timing of raids, federal officials said.

A senior department official said the delays signal a pending change in whom agents at U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement choose to prosecute – increasing the focus on businesses and executives instead of ordinary workers.


Nice to see we may get a lot less of the families broken up at gunpoint there. I know the right loves to scream about the scary brown people crossing the border illegally and taking our jobs, but hauling mommies and daddies away while leaving the employers unscathed isn’t the way to solve the issue. Janet Napolitano used to be governor of Arizona – she knows the realities of illegal immigration, and she knows just how ridiculous those raids were. Kudos to her for nipping that shit in the bud.

Now if only the Cons would get as smart. Alas, they have not. In fact, I do believe Michael Steele needs a brain transplant:


Michael Steele is the gift that keeps on giving. Two months into President Obama’s term as president and Steele proclaims that he’s done with Obama.

You haven’t spoken to him.

Steele: No.

But you’ve reached out.

Steele: Several times and I’m done.

So there’s no bi-partisanship going on?

Steele: Not that I know of.

With all the problems President Obama has inherited from the Republicans, does Steele believe that Obama is supposed to get jiggy with him and they should run a little bebop together?


Well, considering what self-important assclowns the Cons are, I believe the answer to that last question is “yes.”

And you remember how Cons loves them some torture? How they’re claiming “enhanced interrogation techniques” are all that stand between us and certain death? Yeah, well, I know this will shock you, but they’re totally fucking wrong:

The Bush administration was fond of citing Abu Zubaida as evidence of the great success of its “interrogation” policy. Bush himself claimed that Zubaida was al Qaeda’s “chief of operations,” and that he was a fount of valuable information. Zubaida also has the dubious honor of being the first detainee waterboarded.

In 2006, Ron Suskind reported in his book that none of the administration’s claims about Zubaida were true. Based on his interviews with intelligence officials, Suskind wrote that Zubaida was not only mentally ill, but also had little knowledge of al Qaeda’s actual operations. He was apparently more like a travel agent — and his stories sent the CIA and FBI down many an unnecessary goose chase. When Bush learned all this, he kept misleading the public anyway.

Today, the Post corroborates Suskind’s account that Zubaida was essentially worthless — and that we waterboarded him for nothing:

In the end, though, not a single significant plot was foiled as a result of Abu Zubaida’s tortured confessions, according to former senior government officials who closely followed the interrogations. Nearly all of the leads attained through the harsh measures quickly evaporated, while most of the useful information from Abu Zubaida — chiefly names of al-Qaeda members and associates — was obtained before waterboarding was introduced, they said.

Moreover, within weeks of his capture, U.S. officials had gained evidence that made clear they had misjudged Abu Zubaida. . . . None of [their earlier claims] was accurate, the new evidence showed.

I know this will have no impact whatsover on the Cons’ thinking on the subject. They’re as hard to turn around as a broken-down semi trailer loaded with lead. But this should end the debate among intelligent people. Torture doesn’t work, never has, never will, and is an absolutely bugfuck stupid way to try to protect a country.

This must be why the Cons love it so. Other than the fact it makes them feel all big and strong, just like Jack Bauer.

Another thing that seems to make them feel big is playing Opposite Day with anyone who wants to protect the environment. I mentioned their Earth Hour stupidity yesterday, but we didn’t quite get the full flavor. This is how ridiculous they are:


Last night at 8:30 was Earth Hour when everyone around the world was supposed to turn out their lights for one hour in order to raise awareness of the climate crisis.

But throughout the wingnut blogotubes, they decided to turn on all of their lights as a too-clever way of canceling out Earth Hour. Here’s another wingnut who’s offering a list of suggestions for how to go about doing this. Utterly brilliant suggestions like:


8. Burn tires

Smart! Your neighbors will enjoy the fumes and odor coming from your hillbilly bonfire.


24. Leave your oven open

And maybe climb in.


34. Turn on your air purifier

Yes. You’re going
to need it when your house fills with fumes, gasses and stink from your open oven and burning tires in the yard. Incidentally, if the air is so clean and unpolluted, why the air purifiers?

Why, indeed? That would be a sign of hypocrisy right there.

And, finally, Judd Greg seems to be angling for Con approval. How’s he doing it? By being the biggest dumbfuck he can be:

I’m not exactly sure why Judd Gregg has decided to lead an increasingly nasty line of attacks against Obama. On a purely personal level, you would think that Gregg would be grateful for Obama’s vote of confidence. But not so much. Yesterday, Gregg delivered the Republican weekly address and quite graciously noted the following:


He also is proposing the largest tax increase in history, much of it aimed at taxing small business people who have been, over the years, the best job creators in our economy[.] These are staggering numbers . . . and represent an extraordinary move of our government to the left.

Steve offered more examples last week. Again, what’s strange is not so much Gregg’s opposition, but his aggressive and gratuitous tone.

Looks like someone plans to run for another office once he finishes this Senate term. If he decides to run again Palin for president, he’ll be glad to know John McCain’s still available for an endorsement:

John McCain isn’t supporting Palin in 2012 just yet.


He’s waiting to see how the field unfolds.

Maybe he’s waiting to see if Joe the Plumber will be her running mate.

Or maybe he’s waiting to see if someone smarter comes around. Afraid to tell him this, but with Cons the way they are, he’ll be waiting a long damned time.

We Shall Soon Return to Our Regularly Scheduled Blogging

I just realized it’s Sunday. We’re supposed to have Sensational Science. But to give you an idea of how far my brain has shut down, I forgot what the time difference is between Washington and North Carolina, thus leaving my best friend twiddling his thumbs for an hour while I scampered here, there and everywhere looking for those 1,001 items that you didn’t know you needed until you moved into a new place. Every weekend for nearly two decades I’ve been calling this man, and yet I forget what time it is. Gah.

I’ve been trying to scan the political news, and can only get through a few sentences before my brain tries to crawl into a corner and die. Trying to unpack over 30 boxes of books on top of the usual household implements will do that to you.

In better news, thanks to the kindness of a strong friend, I do have a new microwave. You don’t realize how much you rely on those damned things until you haven’t got one.

Things will return to normal shortly. In the meantime, don’t forget to check in at Z’s place later for COTEB XI.

Roland Burris Strikes Again

This man has watched too many movies:

Roland Burris could prove that he’s not a liar, but then he’d have to … well, you know the rest:

Sen. Roland Burris (D-IL) claims he has proof he never made an inconsistent statement about his appointment to the Senate, only he can’t show it to you.

Are personality disorders a requirement for Senate service these days? It’s certainly beginning to look like it.