RIP Gore Vidal ? he said things that, at times, made people uncomfortable because he forced us to think, as he did in this clip from 1968; would that we had more like him (I would say that he at least hinted at bits and pieces of what was then the future, but which has come to pass in terms of in-vitro fertilization, using food for fuel such as ethanol, etc.)?
?and yes, it?s baaack?
#15, Jean Schmidt
#16, Phil Gingrey
#17, David Schweikert
#18, Virginia Foxx
#19, Pete Sessions
#20, Charlie Dent
#21, Cathy McMorris Rodgers
#22, Chris Smith
#23, Todd Akin
#24, Buck McKeon
#25, Kristi Noem
#26, Hal Rogers
#27, Lou Barletta (Two bonus selections: Boren and Ross)
#28, Paul Broun
#29, Mary Bono Mack
#30, David Dreier
#31, Marsha Blackburn (including backgrounder)
If we hold Mitt Romney up to the transparency standards and wealth of previous presidents in a algebraic way, Mitt should release about 71 years of tax returns.
Open thread below...
Among the things I have learned or re-learned this week: American conservatives deem themselves the proper judges of how other countries should present themselves and their histories at the Olympic games. There is literally nothing Mitt Romney can foul up that won't result in Washington Post opinion-haver Jennifer Rubin penning a column on how wonderful Mitt Romney is and how it isn't his fault. Congressman Steve King is nuts, which is not news, but he is nuts in the kind of ways that suggest you maybe shouldn't let him anywhere near your pets or kids. The way to reduce the deficit is to cut taxes on rich people yet again, no really we promise this time, and it's because if we do it this time the prosperity unicorn will finally come poop money on us all. Eating fast-food chicken as a form of sexual protest is the most conservative effing thing I have ever heard of in my entire life, and I am very, very pissed I didn't think of it first. Has anyone done a "beer bong for Jesus" protest yet? I'm patenting that right now. (I know Chuck Grassley is currently in the middle of an effort to get people to eat more meat on Mondays because some FDA hippie said to eat less meat on Mondays, or something to that effect. That's also high up on the list of most conservative damn things I have ever heard, and seems to suggest once again that you could have half the country drinking bleach if Obama went on television to tell them they shouldn't do it.)
I have no particular point here. I know sometimes someone says "I have no particular point here" and they actually have a point, they're just trying to sneak it past you or something, but I really don't. That would be mean, and we've already all been through too much already. I'm just going to sit here, watch the Olympics, and try to determine which of these gymnastic routines are secret homages to communism. (Spoiler: all of them, as well as every swimming relay race. And we're not even going to discuss the postmodern economic symbolism present in each water polo match.)
Blast from the Past. At Daily Kos on this date in 2007:
Whatever else can be said about Senator Barack Obama's "Comprehensive Strategy to Fight Global Terrorism" speech today, it has certainly put the spotlight on foreign policy in a manner far more suited to get to the root of things than the silly media-enhanced spat over whether a Democratic President should dial up the likes of Fidel Castro, Kim Jong-il and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on the afternoon of January 20, 2009.
The screaming started before the verbatim transcript was to be found anywhere. You can find it here.
Among progressives, foreign policy is always difficult to discuss for more than three minutes before the shouting starts. Because progressives (that is, liberals and those of us further to the left) have divergent goals (although these often overlap, as in, say, Darfur), and we don't have the same analysis, although there is considerable overlap. It's that overlap which makes us allies. Over the past few years, we've been more or less united around getting out of Iraq and staying out of Iran, but when the talk turns to the details, and when we go further afield, our differences cannot be submerged. In part, that's because some progressives choose words that make other progressives (and especially the full spectrum of Democrats) squirmy: words like "imperialism" and "hegemony."
This is nothing new obviously; it's essentially where we were during the Vietnam era. It's why many people are asking whether, say, Senator Hillary Clinton is an updated 21st Century version of a Cold War liberal or somebody with a fresher vision. It's why the term "terrorism" itself, much less "global war on terrorism." can kindle the outpouring of fierce debate we've seen today.
That debate is further complicated by the fact that left progressives themselves are divided.
I was born, but it wasn't yesterday. I had heard long ago that Chick-Fil-A was a right-wing fundamentalist company, worse than all those Republican-donating burger chains out there. I recall eating there only one time, maybe 20 years ago, when there was absolutely nothing else around to eat. Blah.
By putting out a homophobic statement denouncing gay marriage, the chain's CEO has boosted sales tremendously, from what I've heard. I don't think there can be much doubt about the effect that this has had. Gay people and those reasonably sympathetic to them weren't eating there a lot in the first place, so any boycotts that have resulted have been negligible. It's the traditional Chick-Fil-A customer base that has been energized by this.
I haven't looked at many Chick-Fil-A's around the country, so I'm going mainly by what the Mainstream Media says about this. There are gaping primates all over the country standing in line outside the stores, dragging their knuckles to the door just to get a rarefied taste of that unique blend of featherless cardboard and white-bread goo.
Aside from their politics, I always thought the Chick-Fil-A ad campaigns, you know, the billboards with the semiliterate cows, were detestable and in the poorest of taste. You remember those -- "Eat mor chiken," and such. And I'm not even a vegetarian. It's just stupid to make fun of unfortunate barnyard animals.
(Sadly, I've had Tea Party commenters on this site who were no more literate than the Chick-Fil-A cows were.)
Personally, I decided decades ago that their food totally sucks, and later I learned that they were prehistoric fundamentalists who always close on Sundays (See you in church).
But clearly, the effect that this had was calculated. Their traditional customer base, the great unwashed, all decided at once that they just HAD to have themselves one of those no-taste Chick-Fil-A sandwiches.
They are welcome to them. I can find better things to eat from tins in a dollar store, tossed with sauteed veggies and a bowl of pasta.
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For all the talk of self-reliance in Texas, the very first marker at the San Jacinto Battleground State Historic Park just outside of Houston—where Texas independence was won—notes the fact that the people of Cincinnati contributed two cannons to the cause in 1836. These are the famous Twin Sisters. Here is an account of the [...]
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Welcome to August.[...]
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Title: Doin' That RagArtist: Grateful Dead
Happy Birthday Jerry!
I know it's hard to believe. But it's true.You can file this under yet another thing that only Mitt Romney could dream of doing:
Michele Davis, a former top aide to Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson, has told colleagues that she will join the Romney campaign to lead a vigorous effort to defend his career in the private sector, a source told BuzzFeed Wednesday.But she wasn't just a flack for crony capitalists, she was also a registered lobbyist for Fannie Mae:
Davis is currently a partner at the Brunswick Group in Washington, D.C., a corporate public relations and strategy firm, where she was reportedly the firm's lead ? alongside her then partner Hilary Rosen ? in managing the oil company BP's public relations effort in the wake of a giant Gulf of Mexico oil spill. She served as Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs and Director of Policy Planning at the Department of the Treasury from 2006 through the end of the Bush Administration, and is a veteran of the politics and P.R. of government and finance.
Davis will also bring some very high-profile baggage to Romney's campaign. She arrived at Treasury from Fannie Mae, the giant, government-backed firm that backs a large share of the nations mortgages. She was vice president for regulatory policy at Fannie Mae from 2002 to 2006, and is listed as a registered lobbyist for the troubled and controversial entity ? which made a practice of keeping a bipartisan squad of Washington insiders on payroll ? in 2004. (Indeed, Mitt Romney attacked rival Newt Gingrich for taking payments from Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae's sibling entity.)I don't think the Obama campaign has commented on Romney's new hire, but I'm sure that if they were speaking honestly, they'd only have one thing to say: "Thank you."
In her role, Davis defended Fannie Mae's independence, despite substantial tax advantages: She was quoted in Newsday that year saying the entity "does not receive a penny of funding from the government" or any subsidy.
There was a huge colon-clogging, gizzard glutting eat-in at Chick-fil-A on Sunset and Highland Wednesday for the Mike Huckabee-called, frothy Rick Santorum-embraced, Sarah Palin-endorsed, Rush Limbuagh-hyped "National Chick-fil-A Chick-fil-hAte[...]
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The federal regulator for government-backed mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac said Tuesday that he would not allow the firms to reduce loan balances of troubled borrowers, saying there would be no clear-cut financial benefit and that such a move could cause some homeowners to intentionally default in hopes of getting taxpayer aid.
?We concluded that the potential benefit was too small and uncertain, relative to the known and unknown costs and risks,? said Edward J. DeMarco, acting director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency.
The decision came after months of internal analysis at FHFA and sustained pressure from the Obama administration, Democratic lawmakers on Capitol Hill and housing advocates, who argued that so-called ?principal reduction? was an essential tool needed in helping to soften the fallout of the housing crisis.
Reaction to DeMarco?s decision came swiftly Tuesday afternoon.
Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner struck an unusually personal tone in chastising DeMarco for his decision, even while acknowledging DeMarco?s role as an independent regulator of Fannie and Freddie.
?Five years into the housing crisis, millions of homeowners are still struggling to stay in their homes and the legacy of the crisis continues to weigh on the market,? Geithner wrote in a letter to DeMarco on Tuesday. ?You have the power to help more struggling homeowners and help heal the remaining damage from the housing crisis.?
Paul Krugman responded by calling for DeMarco to be fired:
DeMarco?s basis for the rejection was that this forgiveness would represent a net loss to taxpayers, even if his agency came out ahead.
That?s a very arguable point even on its own terms, because the paper he cited (pdf) in support of his stance took no account of the positive effects on the economy of debt relief ? even though those effects are the main reason for offering such relief. Since a reduction in debt burdens would strengthen the economy, this would mean greater revenue ? and this might well offset any losses from the debt forgiveness itself.
Furthermore, even if there?s a small net cost to taxpayers, debt relief is still worth doing if it yields large economic benefits.
In any case, however, deciding whether debt relief is a good policy for the nation as a whole is not DeMarco?s job. His job ? as long as he keeps it, which I hope is a very short period of time ? is to run his agency. If the Secretary of the Treasury, acting on behalf of the president, believes that it is in the national interest to spend some taxpayer funds on debt relief, in a way that actually improves the FHFA?s budget position, the agency?s director has no business deciding on his own that he prefers not to act.
I don?t know what DeMarco?s specific legal mandate is. But there is simply no way that it makes sense for an agency director to use his position to block implementation of the president?s economic policy, not because it would hurt his agency?s operations, but simply because he disagrees with that policy.
This guy needs to go.
Krugman's right. It's not DeMarco's job to impose his philosophical orientation on his agency.