Jul 26

Behold the power of a motivated group of suicidal maniacs

I’m talking about the Teahadists, of course.

“The greatest concern to the Cut, Cap and Balance Coalition is the integrity of the Cut, Cap and Balance Pledge that was signed by 39 House Members and 12 Senators, and whether voting for the proposed deal constitutes a Pledge violation,” reads the memo.”

“We hold that is does violate the pledge, on several grounds.”

… it’s so nice for our entire government to be in lockdown because of a tiny minority (heh) of terrified ignorant bone-stupid old white people. I would like to say we deserve better than this… but that would be a lie.

Oct 22

Paragraphs I wish I had written

I’ve said something similar a number of times, but this one is awesome

We are a profoundly ignorant. People don’t know anything about their own religions. We know little of our own history, let alone our history in context with the rest of the world. We worship sports heroes who torture dogs, but we point at scientists and laugh. A profoundly messed-up woman like Christine O’Donnell can run on a platform of "See? I can’t manage my finances either. I’m you." We had eight years of a dry drunk as president because people thought he was the guy they’d want to have a beer with — as if that were ever going to happen. Now there are people who would vote to give the nuclear codes to an aging high school mean girl because they’d like to fuck her — as if that’s ever going to happen. Smart people are regarded with scorn as "elites." Ignorance is regarded as a virtue.

via Brilliant at Breakfast.

Aug 01

The Death of the Middle Class

Many have been speaking about the death of the middle class for years, but hell, even the Financial Times is on the beat now.

Once upon a time this was called the American Dream. Nowadays it might be called America’s Fitful Reverie. Indeed, Mark spends large monthly sums renting a machine to treat his sleep apnea, which gives him insomnia. “If we lost our jobs, we would have about three weeks of savings to draw on before we hit the bone,” says Mark, who is sitting on his patio keeping an eye on the street and swigging from a bottle of Miller Lite. “We work day and night and try to save for our retirement. But we are never more than a pay check or two from the streets.”

The slow economic strangulation of the Freemans and millions of other middle-class Americans started long before the Great Recession, which merely exacerbated the “personal recession” that ordinary Americans had been suffering for years. Dubbed “median wage stagnation” by economists, the annual incomes of the bottom 90 per cent of US families have been essentially flat since 1973 – having risen by only 10 per cent in real terms over the past 37 years. That means most Americans have been treading water for more than a generation. Over the same period the incomes of the top 1 per cent have tripled. In 1973, chief executives were on average paid 26 times the median income. Now the ­multiple is above 300.

Alexis de Tocqueville, the great French chronicler of early America, was once misquoted as having said: “America is the best country in the world to be poor.” That is no longer the case. Nowadays in America, you have a smaller chance of swapping your lower income bracket for a higher one than in almost any other developed economy – even Britain on some measures. To invert the classic Horatio Alger stories, in today’s America if you are born in rags, you are likelier to stay in rags than in almost any corner of old Europe.

emphasis added

I strongly believe that the death of unions due to the incessant war waged against them by the Haves after their hard-won victories (much like our country’s abortion and privacy rights, there was never a single victory by the business/right, but a series of tiny steps that decreased the power and scope of their target bit by bit until the target was eventually unrecognizable. See also, boiling frogs).

Setting aside the gross unfairness of massive income inequality, a huge problem with this setup is that it will invariably lead to social unrest (as you’re seeing bubble up somewhat with the idiotic Tea Party), which will lead, eventually, to blood (whether on domestic shores or foreign, I don’t know).

My generation is the first generation that will not have a higher standard of living than our parents. My generation has known this for a long time (I remember discussing this in undergrad). I think that sociologists and other commentators forget this factor when trying to question why Gen X and Y are such sarcastic, cynical bastards. The reason is – we know we’re on a hamster wheel going nowhere. What is there to look forward to?

Jun 23

Commander in Chief, bitches!

Kudos to Obama for sacking McChrystal. It seriously made my morning. Obama didn’t cave and that kind of rank insubordination must not stand.

In terms of cojones-to-political-climate-pressure ratio, this ranks slightly behind Truman-MacArthur and way way behind Lincoln-McClellan, but awesome nonetheless. The latter two actually involved dangers to the republic as opposed to an HR incident, but we have to understand that today’s paradigms have also changed.

Wait, why am I rambling on about this? WTG, Obama! Kick some whiny ass republican ass and watch the rightostan blogosphere implode as they try to reconcile praising Rolling Stone and an insubordinate general in a time of war at the same time.

Mar 27

Before I forget

Nancy Pelosi is a remarkable politician and one of the top Speakers this country has ever had. Her determination, singular focus, and management skills are remarkable. Without her, we would not have health care reform (of any kind).

Now, I wouldn’t want to have a beer with her because the skills that make her a great Speaker make her a pretty miserable social “normal” human (see also: Madonna and M.D.s) but I wanted to note for the record how much I appreciate her and admire the job she has done.

Note: this is in response to James Brooks’ saying on PBS “She is not a great speaker — I mean a spokesperson, a communicator. I personally don’t think she’s great on policy. But she has the skills to know how to control this body, which is a fractious body, even when you have a majority. And, so, those skills are maybe in her blood from her father and her brother, but also skills that she really possesses. And there’s no denying she is a very effective legislator.”

What an asshole. Brooks, that is.

Mar 21

There’s a reason these people are afraid of Health Care Reform

… because they’re first on my Death Panel list.

This video is a great example of how the TeaBaggers are the expression of the American nativist/right id. They’re incoherent, ignorant jackasses who know nothing, but are very angry about it, whatever “it” is. In this case I really think “it” stems from having a black president[1, 2] and, probably, a poorly expressed inner rage at increasing feelings of powerlessness and meaninglessness in a corporatized, multicultural 21st century. It doesn’t excuse their stupidity or expression of the lizard brain, but it is … understandable.

See also, this video where HCR opponents scream at a Parkinson’s sufferer. I don’t think I’ve seen a video more fuel my misanthropy in quite some time.

Things were much easier for the TeaBaggers when we could lash out at those furrin brown people with the funny ibn- and al- and mohammedan-esque names.

[1] Teabaggers chant “nigger” at Rep. Lewis
[2] Man carries assault rifle to Obama town hall meeting

Jan 21

Elections have consequences

… and 8 years of Bush == an end to what little democracy we have left. The essence of the case is an emasculation of representative democracy, an increase in corruption, the overturning of long-standing precedent, and an opening of the floodgates to direct, corporate participation in campaign spending. From the NYT:

A bitterly divided Supreme Court ruled on Thursday that the government may not ban political spending by corporations, labor unions or other organizations in elections. The court’s majority in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission swept aside a century-old doctrine in election law, ruling that the campaign finance restriction violated the First Amendment’s free speech principles. The dissenters said opening the floodgates to corporate money will corrupt democracy.

Well, I guess at least the corporate influence will be unmistakably obvious now. So we’ve got that. We’ve also got a near 0 probability of any reform candidate ever winning, and a near 1.0 probability of incumbent protection … leading to further ossification of our government and the strengthening of the oligarchy. On the other other hand, maybe this is outrageous enough to re-spur the reform movement … in another 100 years.

While I should add that I believe the definition of an “activist” judges is one who issues a decisions with which you disagree, this is an activist decision. There is nothing more “activist” than overturning a 100-year old precedent, which the Scalitothomasroberts group did. Thus, the Bush “minimalists” and “strict constructionists” and “originalists” are … activists.

Also, fuck you, Kennedy.

Sep 12

That’s a big load of WTF

1) Started at the Alamo? The tea baggers are protesting independence from Santa Anna’s Mexico? The Rio Grande flows into Boston Harbor where the tea floats and … WOLVERIIIIINES!!!!!

I can get behind the idea that they are doomed idiots who choose to hole themselves up in an indefensible location despite orders directly to the contrary. I mean, that much is just obvious.

2) Glenn Beck is one whiny little bitch. And his music sucks.

3) I believe “listening to the people” is exactly what doing what you were elected to do entails.

4) Shorter: I’M DUMB AS HELL AND I’M NOT GOING TO TAKE IT ANYMORE!

5) Mixed metaphor warning: Dont tread on one if by land two if by me the Alamo sea.

And, finally, I’m starting a 9/13 movement.

In my pants.

Sep 11

That’s not what my hedge fund manager told me

A Decade With No Income Gains

The typical American household made less money last year than the typical household made a full decade ago.

To me, that’s the big news from the Census Bureau’s annual report on income, poverty and health insurance, which was released this morning. Median household fell to $50,303 last year, from $52,163 in 2007. In 1998, median income was $51,295. All these numbers are adjusted for inflation.

Progress!