Sunday, August 31, 2008

At the very least, he knows the meaning of "empiricism"

After the last eight years, the word "markets" makes me twitch. Whenever one of the right's beady-eyed ideologues begins to drone on about "the magic of the market," I can't help but think, "Ok, who's getting screwed this time?" It's involuntary. So naturally I'd prefer Obama not come within a thousand miles of the poisonous University of Chicago school of dehumanized economics. But, over time, even these enablers of upward redistributionism have produced a few sound thoughts, and it sounds as if Obama may have taken the wheat from their crooked fingers and left aside the strychnine-laced chaff. Given current realities, the approach he describes here a) is probably the best we progressives can hope for and b) might actually work. Hell, I'll just be happy to have a president who knows the meaning of "empiricism."

How Obama Reconciles Dueling Views on Economy - The New York Times

America as it should be

Bringing Pell Grants to My Eyes - The New York Times

Dear God

An Open Letter to God, From Michael Moore - CommonDreams

Even the Republicans blame the Republicans

The Republicans, Bound for Mars - The New York Times

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Canada's health-care system is better than ours, no matter what the special interests say

Mythbusting Canadian Health Care -- Part I -

Mythbusting Canadian Healthcare, Part II: Debunking the Free Marketeers -

Excellent choice, John. Please keep doing your cardio

"...what is it exactly that the V.P. does every day?"

That's the GOP's nominee for vice president, Sarah Palin. Of course, on one level, you can't fault her confusion. Watching Cheney these past eight years, you'd think the veep's primary reponsibility was finding new and innovative ways to break the law and subvert the Constitution. Still, if McCain does win, this is the person who will be a heartbeat away (literally, given McCain's age) from the presidency. Sleep well, America!

Sarah Palin Doesn't Know What a Vice-President Does - AlterNet

An Astonishingly Arrogant V.P. Selection - The New Republic

Friday, August 29, 2008

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Meanwhile, back at the McCain campaign, the jackassery continues

First it was Phil Gramm and his view that any objections we Americans might have to having our home values plummet, our life savings looted, our jobs erased, and our health care eviscerated make us a nation of "whiners." (And keep in mind that much of this calamity is due to Gramm's own legislative maneuvers as well as to the felonious behavior of the festering scum financiers in whose laps he lovingly rests his head....)

Now comes this pinhead:
[John] Goodman, who helped craft Sen. John McCain's health care policy, said anyone with access to an emergency room effectively has insurance, albeit the government acts as the payer of last resort. (Hospital emergency rooms by law cannot turn away a patient in need of immediate care.)
"So I have a solution. And it will cost not one thin dime," Mr. Goodman said. "The next president of the United States should sign an executive order requiring the Census Bureau to cease and desist from describing any American – even illegal aliens – as uninsured. Instead, the bureau should categorize people according to the likely source of payment should they need care.
"So, there you have it. Voila! Problem solved."

Texas Still Leads Nation in Rate of Uninsured Residents - Dallas Morning News

The sneering idiocy and indifference to reality this remark demonstrates is nicely dissected in the comments section. (It's very, very encouraging to think that many of these responses were written by Texans).

LATE ADDITION: Feeling No Pain - The New York Times

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

You gotta hand it to the propagandists

Half of Americans Believe GOP Spin on Obama's Tax Plan - AlterNet

Words to live by

From Michelle Obama's convention speech:
[Barack] talked about "The world as it is" and "The world as it should be." And he said that all too often, we accept the distance between the two, and settle for the world as it is - even when it doesn't reflect our values and aspirations. But he reminded us that we know what our world should look like. We know what fairness and justice and opportunity look like. And he urged us to believe in ourselves - to find the strength within ourselves to strive for the world as it should be. And isn't that the great American story?

You betcha.

Call it the Chicken Little strategy

Sadly, it still works.

Here's Why We Call Ourselves "Progressives" -

Ending corporate welfare as we know it

An Economy that Works for All - The Nation

Don’t Let Corporations Off the Tax Hook - The Progressive

Thursday, August 21, 2008

McCain's all-purpose retort

A Noun, A Verb, and ‘Prisoner of War’ - The Carpetbagger Report

Why I Will Not Vote for John McCain -

More on McCain's temper: McCain Denies Claim He Roughed Up Sandinista - MSNBC

Ladies and gentlemen, our country is doomed

The Right's Five Most Hilariously Boneheaded Anti-Obama Smears - AlterNet

I think the 'nutters have some sort of brain disorder that prevents them from listening to themselves.

Or -- put more kindly -- let's just say that self evaluation, reality testing, and fundamental logic are not among their strengths as thinkers.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The McCain campaign: an irrational mélange of patriotic swagger and blindness to reality

McCain’s Warped Worldview - Truthdig

If McCain is elected, one will only be able to conclude that we, together, collectively as a people, are just too stupid to live.

If you're keeping score, this makes two economic cycles that have annihilated the premises of right-wing economics

Bush 36,000 - The New Republic
The initial effect of tax cuts for the rich is to increase public debt and income inequality. Conservatives justify these consequences by pointing to the alleged second-order effects of tax cuts--promoting stronger incentives and higher growth. But, if the second-order effects are so tiny they get washed out by larger economic factors--and the evidence overwhelmingly suggests they are--why should we pay the price for them?

When the macroeconomic rationale for upper-bracket tax cuts is gone, you're left with nothing but a naked upward-redistribution scheme.

Bush-McCainonomics in a nutshell.

LATE ADDITION: At a time of war, the country went into debt so they could have more: On Rodeo Drive, the Economy's Booming - LA Times

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Deep in the Big Oil tank

For Conservatives, "All of the Above" Means "No Clean Energy" -

Fox News: "The s--t shoots out of our ears like a fire hydrant!"

If these GOP-talking-point puppets are going to keep calling themselves "fair and balanced" with a straight face, then they at least need to add the fire hydrant motto. That's balance!

Are all 'wingers mentally ill? Or is it just the ones with guns?

Is insanity one of their membership criteria? Really, what is it about far-right-wing ideology that attracts the violently psychotic? As the author below notes, it can't help that the apparent carriers of this disease--the loony creme de la creme, if you will--are awarded their own radio and TV shows.

The Tragic Arkansas Shooting and Conservative Hate Speech - AlterNet

The irony and tragedy of course is that, under the more humane, civilized, liberal conception of the public good that F.D.R. fostered and conservatives have tried to erase, America would have had a system of universal health care in place, one that could have provided this man with the psychological/psychiatric services he clearly needed, before he finally snapped. (Mental-health benefits are rarely offered by low-wage employers like Target, and even sliding-fee clinics can be prohibitively expensive on a Target worker's paycheck.)

Permanently grounded

The End Of Aviation - The New Republic

Monday, August 11, 2008

The labor market is a market failure

Corporate America Prepares for Battle Against Worker Campaign to Roll Back Assault on the Middle Class - AlterNet

Republicans and Democrats are not the same. Not exactly.

I don't quite buy the easy rhetoric of pox-on-both-their-houses, they-are-equally-vile party equivalency. Democratic pols at least occasionally consider the interests of those of us in the bottom 90 percent of the income distribution. And I believe their attitudes toward us are, on average, less contemptuous than the average Republican's.

Still, I understand the cynicism. Politicians of all stripes are far too beholden to their contributors--too consumed by the need to "dance with the ones that brung them," as the late, great Molly Ivins used to quip--and too willing to profit from their government connections once they leave public life. The only way out, in my view, is the enactment, at long last, of honest, thoroughgoing campaign-finance reform. But until that day comes, here are two articles that remind us why such reforms are so urgent--and why the accompanying cynicism is not so unreasonable.

Candidates For Sale - Rolling Stone

Where Obamaism Seems to be Going - The Progressive

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

We’re finally reaping the whirlwind

The Heart of the Economic Mess - Robert Reich's Blog
The heart of the matter isn't the collapse in housing prices or even the frenetic rise in oil and food prices. These are contributing to the mess but they are not creating it directly. The basic reality is this: For most Americans, earnings have not kept up with the cost of living. This is not a new phenomenon but it has finally caught up with the pocketbooks of average people.

Exactly. And if (unlike Reich) we rightly reject the Great Education Myth, one of two things must happen. Either wages for lower- and middle-income people are going to have to come up considerably, through a revitalized labor movement, government intervention, heavily rewritten rules of trade, etc.--i.e., through what I assume will be a fundamentally forced and strenuously resisted change in behavior by companies--or most Americans are going to have to accept a much lower standard of living, which few will be willing to do. Either way, the social and policical impacts will be concussive--to put it mildly.