So tomorrow for our Blue America Live Chat we're hosting Democratic Congressional challenger Lee Rogers of California, and this afternoon I came across this hilarious story about Lee that just makes me adore him:
When one of his aides suggested that U.S. Representative Howard "Buck" McKeon hold an auction for a charity offering a lunch for four as the prize, he probably didn't think there was any danger of the idea blowing up in his stupid face like it has. McKeon (R-Ca), the Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, is used to being in the news, but he'll be getting a lot more free publicity in the future.
Buck McKeon is a real piece of work. You might remember him grandstanding during the last session of Congress, threatening to hold up the last defense authorization bill because he was offended by the Don't Ask, Don't Tell repeal. You see, McKeon's opposed to gays serving openly in our military, and was willing to risk funding for the entire enterprise to make his opinions known.
Well, ol' Buck has auctioned off a lunch for a lucky winner, along with three guests, and that winner turns out to be none other than McKeon's opponent in the coming election, one Dr. Lee Rogers. Rogers bid $300 for the lunch, and because his was the only bid, he wins! He's already announced who he'll invite to break bread with Rep. McKeon: three reporters.
Awesome! And you can live chat with Lee Rogers tomorrow at 2 pm Eastern, 11 am Pacific, here at Crooks and Liars.
Open thread below...
Given Rick Santorum's views on climate change, which he reiterated at a slightly higher wacko level than previously in a guest essay today at the right-wing web site Redstate, he probably thinks that there's a studio out in the desert someplace where all the equipment and backdrops used to fake the Apollo moon landings are decaying under lock and key.
But while Santorum reiterates his global-warming-is-a-hoax-calculated-to-destroy-jobs-and the-American-way-of-life, many who agree that massive climate change is happening, is human-caused and is already having a negative impact across the planet haven't yet been motivated to push hard to do something serious about it. That includes most members of Congress, who presumably could do something about it if they had the political will and a sense of urgency. It also includes many on the left who don't see climate change as an issue of immediate concern.
Solutions Journal has interviewed Naomi Klein about the right, the left and climate change:
Q: What is the political philosophy that underscores those who accept climate change versus those who deny it?
A: The Yale Cultural Cognition Project has looked at cultural worldview and climate change, and what?s clear is that ideology is the main factor in whether we believe in climate change. If you have an egalitarian and communitarian worldview, and you tend toward a belief system of pooling resources and helping the less advantaged, then you believe in climate change. And the stronger your belief system tends toward a hierarchical or individual worldview, the greater the chances are that you deny climate change and the stronger your denial will be. The reason is clear: It?s because people protect their worldviews. We all do this. We develop intellectual antibodies. Climate change confirms what people on the left already believe. But the left must take this confirmation responsibly. It means that if you are on the left of the spectrum, you need to guard against exaggeration and your own tendency to unquestioningly accept the data because it confirms your worldview.
Q: Members of the left have been resistant to acknowledging that this worldview is behind their support of climate action, while the right confronts it head on. Why this hesitancy among liberals?
A: There are a few factors at work. Climate change is not a big issue for the left. The big left issues in the United States are inequality, the banks, corporate malfeasance, unemployment, foreclosures. I don?t think climate change has ever been a broad-based issue for the left. Part of this is the legacy of siloing off issues, which is part of the NGO era of activism. Climate change has been claimed by the big green groups and they?re to the left. But they?re also foundation-funded. A lot of them have gone down the road of partnerships with corporations, which has made them less critical.
The discourse around climate change has also become extremely technical and specialized. A lot of people don?t feel qualified and feel like they don?t have to talk about it. They?re so locked into a logic of market-based solutions ? that the big green groups got behind cap-and-trade, carbon markets, and consumer responses instead of structural ones ? so they?re not going to talk about how free trade has sent emissions soaring or about crumbling public infrastructure or the ideology that would rationalize major new investments in infrastructure. Others can fight those battles, they say. During good economic times, that may have seemed viable; but as soon as you have an economic crisis, the environment gets thrown under the bus, and there is a failure to make the connection between the economy and the climate crisis ? both have roots in putting profits before people.
Blast from the Past. At Daily Kos on this date in 2005:
Two Afghan prisoners who died in American custody in Afghanistan in December 2002 were chained to the ceiling, kicked and beaten by American soldiers in sustained assaults that caused their deaths, according to Army criminal investigative reports that have not yet been made public. [...]
Among those implicated in the killings at Bagram were members of Company A of the 519th Military Intelligence Battalion, from Fort Bragg, N.C. The battalion went on to Iraq, where some members established the interrogation unit at Abu Ghraib and have been implicated in some abuses there.
My question is this, given the events in Afghanistan, how could this battalion have been moved to Iraq and given any role in prisoner interrogation before this investigation was complete? Cynical minds might say it was because of the events in Afghanistan that some members of this battalion were tapped to establish the interrogation unit at Abu Ghraib.
The Obama campaign has decided to make the case for the Affordable Care Act, with a series of videos and ads highlighting people who are being helped by the provisions already in effect. They are, unsurprisingly, expertly produced and extremely moving. Take a look at this one:
I'm sure Republicans will object that this is too emotional and manipulative. But guess what? There actually are real people's lives at stake. This issue isn't just about ideological principles, or about a political calculation of how the ACA will affect the two parties over the coming decades. Those things aren't completely irrelevant, but much more important are the costs and benefits to living human beings.
How persuasive will this be? Well, it isn't as though every voter is going to be sat down and shown John Boehner or somebody saying "If the government mandates that you buy health insurance, you might as well be living in the Gulag!" then get shown this video. If that were the case, it'd be no contest. But that's not how things work in the real world.
Nevertheless, the approach is a sound one. The videos do contain information about what's in the ACA, but they present that information through the stories of individual people. And Republicans can't play on the same field. It isn't as though they can tell a powerful story of a person who ... didn't want to buy insurance, then had to, and now he's insured!
Frankly, I don't think the Obama campaign really needs to win the debate about the ACA between now and November. Once he has the nomination sewn up, Mitt Romney is probably going to want to avoid talking about health care, since all that discussion does is remind voters of his flip-flopping and pandering on the issue. But the effects of the ACA will be an ongoing issue in a second Obama term, so they're to be commended for starting to make their argument now, and for putting the focus on real people who are affected by the law.
It?s amazing. It?s almost like everything we?re hearing from Republican lawmakers about how America can?t afford to pay pensions is ? total bullshit. It?s almost like even if all those fatcat union workers are spending their money on T-bone steaks, that[...]
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GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum actually said today that the danger of increasing amounts of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, and the resultant climate change it can cause, is nothing to worry about because: "Tell that to a plant, how dangerous carbon dioxide is."
Well, under the same theory, if we locked one of the Santorum children in an airtight room filled with only carbon dioxide, then they'd flourish just like a pretty little rose, wouldn't they?
What a ridiculous argument.
And I guess they keep a lot of cyanide available in the Santorum household because cyanide is made up of carbon and nitrogen, and ask any barbecue fan how dangerous charcoal is, and ask any plant how dangerous nitrogen is.
All jokes aside, this is a sign of how extreme, and dangerous, the Republican party has become. They're anti-science, and anti-facts. In Santorum's case, you almost believe that he believes what he's saying. That he's too dumb to even see the logical fallacy in what he's asserting. And it's something the Republican party does a lot. They enjoy talking to their voters like they're idiots - it's the same thing Fox News does, pandering to the gullibility of their audience. The thing is, it's not bias, it's far worse than that. You can be biased and still make a reasonable argument. They're not interested in reason. As Santorum famously said the other week, only an elitist would want their kid to go to college. Because the goal is to have the populace be as dumb as possible, and politicians as unrestrained as possible.
The real irony is that all its talk of the dangers of unlimited government, it's the Republican party that's trying to do away with the gate-keepers of government power, be they the media, the courts, science or facts.
Title: Ramble TambleArtist: Creedence Clearwater Revival
A few years back, Steven Hyden from The Onion's A.V. Club made a case that this Creedence cut was the "most rockin' song of all time". Duly noted. What do you consider the most rockin' song of all time?
A letter by the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press (RCFP) and co-signed by 46 news media organizations and associations was written to the US Defense Department requesting access to records during the court-martial of Pfc. Bradley Manning, who[...]
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The wind turbines seem to be offline, but the blades were rotating gently in the morning breeze. The light reflecting and changing on the bright white surfaces was fascinating, and the clean, aerodynamic look– contrasting with the rusty rail cars and low buildings.
The view of the windmills at the tops of the little streets off Allens Ave is amazing, but I was unable to get the right perspective– and also people were looking at me like I might be up to something. I decided to go back another time, and maybe capture that picture with a paintbrush– which is often more true than a camera.
I am still waiting to see what the police department in Sanford, Florida does with the Trayvon Martin case. FOURTEEN DAYS and counting. I am glad to see Adora Obi Nweze, President of the Florida State Conference of NAACP Branches, get involved.
Parts of her statement:
"This murder of an unarmed black teen occurred on February 26, 2012 during Black History Month and while Orlando hosted basketball?s finest event-?the All--?Star Weekend (February 24?26). The shooting death of young Trayvon was kept under wraps?it went unreported by the media.
It was not until All Star Weekend was over and with mounting pressure from the family?s attorney that the death
of this young man was released to the public.
One thing is certain: according to public records, the shooter, George Zimmerman, who has confessed, has a violent history,having been charged with battery on a law enforcement officer and resisting arrest with violence in 2005.
It is unheard of for a neighborhood watch volunteer to carry a loaded gun or (as apparently happened here) to reject the clear instructions of police on a 911 call not to continue to follow Trayvon." (h/t to David for this release) [More here]
I just saw the widow of Professor Derrick Bell on the Ed Shultz show, and the woman was the personification of class. It's just a shame that this woman had to go on national television to defend her late husband's honor because of the belly crawlers and goons over at FOX NEWS.
So there is this new poll out which should make some of you living in A-merry-ca with an education past the 8th grade consider packing up and moving to Canada.
Public Policy Polling has released information about southern republican voters that show that many southerners still believe that President Barack Obama is a Muslim. It is no clear from the poll how these people have come to this conclusion.
The information shows that only 14% of Alabama republicans believe that Obama is a Christian, while 45% believe he is a Muslim, and the 12% of Mississippi republicans believe that Obama is a Christian, while 52% of Mississippi republicans believe he is Muslim. [Source]
You will need your passport to travel to Canada.
Finally, I have this theory about the GOP lawmakers waging war on women in A-merry-ca: They are men who, for whatever reason, were not too fond of women in the first place. I suspect that this is a chance to get back at all those women who wouldn't give them the time of day when they were in high school and college. For them, it's payback time.
They couldn't get a vaginal probe then, but they will be damned if they don't get one now.
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A former senior strategist for Sen. John McCain's (R-AZ) 2008 presidential campaign says that the depiction of Sarah Palin by actress Julianne Moore in HBO's film "Game Change" was "very accurate."
"I think for all of us that were in the campaign it really rang true," Steve Schmidt told MSNBC's Mika Brzezinski on Monday. "It gave you a little bit of [post traumatic stress disorder] PTSD at times."
In the movie, Schmidt's character -- played by Woody Harrelson -- deals with a mentally unstable Palin who knows little about foreign policy and often refuses to cooperate with the campaign.
"I think when you look back at that race, you see person who's just so phenomenally talented in so many levels, an ability to connect, but also someone who had a lot flaws and someone running to be in the national command authority who clearly wasn't prepared," the former McCain aide explained. "Someone was nominated to the vice presidency who was vastly unprepared to take the oath of office should it become necessary, and as it has become necessary many times in America."
Schmidt added that losing the election was not as bad as the idea of Palin someday becoming president.
"What's worse in that context for me is with regard to the country that I love, that I have family members in the uniformed services in the armed services," he said. "We have 100,000 people in Afghanistan. When a result happens that puts someone who is not prepared to be president on the ticket, that's a bad result."
"I think the notion of Sarah Palin being president of the United States is something that frightens me, frankly."
On Sunday, McCain continued to defend his vice presidential selection, saying that Palin was the "best qualified" person for the job.
?I thought she was the best qualified person,? he told Fox News host Chris Wallace. ?I thought she had the ability to excite our party, and the kind of person that I wanted to see succeed in the political arena."
?What I don?t understand, even in the tough world of politics, why there continues to be such assaults on a good and decent person, Sarah Palin, a fine family person, a person whose nomination energized our campaign,? McCain remarked. ?We were in the lead and they continue to attack and disparage her character and her person.?
Watch this clip from HBO's "Game Change."
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