“Can you stop talking about politics and be a cop, please?” Detective Alex Cross (Tyler Perry) snaps at his boss, high-ranking cop Richard Brookwell (John C. McGinley) near the end of Alex Cross, an adaptation of James Patterson’s novel Cross, about a brilliant, African-American detective. In the immediate context, Cross is asking his boss to [...]
Question: If the snap polls, along with the pundit consensus, had indicated Mitt Romney had won Tuesday's debate, would anyone on Fox News have cared what moderator Candy Crowley said while the two candidates discussed last month's terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya?
The hysterical, and at times deeply disturbing, reaction to Crowley's moderator role only erupted as way to explain away Romney's poor showing. Angry that Romney's weak performance might hurt his November chances, conservatives lashed out at the nearest target, Crowley. ("Shut your big fat mouth, Candy.")
But conservatives didn't simply condemn Crowley's performance as a journalist. ("Disgraceful"!) They spent the week turning her into a mythical figure of liberal destruction; a potentially violent agent (a "suicide bomber") sent by Obama to dismantle the Republican campaign for the presidency. In doing so, unglued commentators attached Crowley to a sweeping campaign conspiracy.
Is criticizing a debate moderator out of bounds? Of course not. Media Matters found fault with Jim Lehrer's performance at the first presidential debate this year. Is it completely insane to denounce a moderator by likening him or her to a political killer?
If President Obama can hold on to Ohio, where he is currently favored to win, he only needs to capture one or two other swing states to get to 270 Electoral College votes.[...]
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Former Sen. Phil Gramm, seen here after devouring a human soulFormer senator Phil Gramm, who is primarily famous these days as being associated with every major economic meltdown and scandal in the last twenty years, and who said in 2008 that the whole Great Recession did not actually exist, calling it a "mental" recession and saying that we had become a "nation of whiners", wants you to know that the real problem with America is not all that various shit he and his fellow near-crooks have done over the last dozen years but, instead, all of the damn poor people today taking advantage of food stamps and disability and whatnot instead of going out and getting some of those jobs that still do not actually exist:
In 1980 and 1992, only 3% of the American labor force drew disability benefits from the government. Today it is 6%. The number of workers qualifying for disability since the recession ended in 2009 has grown twice as fast as private employment.See there? The reason so so many people are voting for Barack Obama in this election is that they're not hungry enough. In the wake of the Great Recession. When the first sub-eight-percent unemployment numbers have come in in for-freaking-ever, itself a dismally modest improvement that proved so shocking to conservatives that they have all but convinced themselves that it must be a government plot. Why, if we let those 18.5 million people starve, they'd be much more pissed off?and then they'd go out and vote for Mitt Romney!
How would Presidents Jimmy Carter or George H.W. Bush have fared on their Election Day if 40% of the Americans who were unemployed had instead qualified for disability benefits? How would voters have reacted in 1980 or 1992 if food-stamp benefits had grown by 65% instead of an average of less than 25% during the first four years of their administrations?
During the past four years, the Obama administration's aggressive promotion of the food-stamp program has increased the number of recipients by 18.5 million. Do these people feel the same level of discontent about economic conditions as the rest of the voting population?
This is, mind you, the exact philosophy behind Romney's infamous "47 percent" comments: those damn poor people all have it too good, what with social programs designed to allow them to not die in the streets, and of course people like that aren't going to vote for the good, responsible Republicans who want to bring back "dying on the streets" as this century's hot new thing. It does not dawn on Phil Gramm, who is a remarkable idiot by any standards, that the increases in food stamps and other government assistance are the obvious and expected results of a prolonged and utterly devastating economic downturn?no, it must be because we are just being too damn generous these days. This is the world according to Phil Gramm. He then goes on to complain that Obama hasn't fixed all the various things Phil Gramm and his fellow financial wizards have screwed up in the last decade, so clearly it's time to pass the reins to Mitt Romney so Phil Gramm and his fellow financial wizards can get back to screwing it up worse.
Sweet merciful crap, will this guy ever just shut the hell up already? Economics-wise, he's History's Greatest Monster. He and his wife Wendy were prime shakers behind energy deregulation?leading directly to the Enron scandal and collapse (Wendy both helped deregulate Enron and then went to work for them at a tidy salary, ka-ching, because that is how the Phil Gramm household operates.) His deregulation penchant also brought us all the unregulated glory of credit default swaps, leading Time magazine to call him out as one of the 25 People to Blame for the Financial Crisis. Oh, and then he fled from the senate to a sweetheart lobbyist position at UBS, just in time for UBS to wreck itself mightily in the subprime mortgage business, get called out for intentionally cheating customers, and be probed for assisting client money laundering. If there's one guy who knows how to cause epic, nation-shattering economic fiascos, it's Phil Gramm. If you told me he was one of the four horsemen of the economic apocalypse, my only reply would be to wonder if maybe he wasn't actually two or three of them.
That pedigree seems to be precisely why the Wall Street Journal editorial page still wants his opinions on things. Any Wall Street wizard can be wrong?and how! Not every captain of the financial industry can be wrong so very, very often, to such devastating effect, and still be able to declare with a straight face that all these troubles today are caused by The Poors.
Wait?yes they can. That's exactly what they all do. It's the only damn reason the Wall Street Journal editorial page even exists.
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I spent weeks covering the Gulf oil disaster for the National Wildlife Federation, so to hear that BP thinks it can bully the Justice Department into giving it a sweetheart settlement deal? What's the word I'm looking for?
I recently moved from the DC area to New Bedford, MA, whose waters have been fouled by not one but two major oil spills in the last 40 years - the Florida barge spill in 1969 and the Bouchard No. 120 spill in 2003. You may not have heard much about either of those spills because New Bedford ain't exactly Miami Beach, but fishermen and wildlife lovers can still tell you plenty about the reduced catches and silent marshes.
Gulf Coast residents can stop me if this sounds familiar: The companies responsible wrote their checks, the government cleaned up what it could & moved on, but the oil from both spills isn't hard to find.
Tell U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to hold BP fully accountable.
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This week's town hall debate featured only one really surprising question, on gun violence. In any other election one might have expected a question about this topic, but both Barack Obama and Mitt Romney have been completely silent on the issue, so in all likelihood neither one of them expected it. And they gave answers that should have warmed the heart of any gun advocate. Obama, whose action on guns has consisted of signing two laws expanding gun rights (you can now take your guns into national parks and on Amtrak), said that "what I'm trying to do is to get a broader conversation about how do we reduce the violence generally." When his turn came, Romney gave his nod to the standard pro-gun line, "I'm not in favor of new pieces of legislation on guns," and went on to say that the real problem is single-parent homes.
So if you're a gun advocate, these are really the best of times. On one hand, you have a president who has not and will not do anything to restrict gun rights. Yet on the other hand, that president is seen by your constituency as an alien, threatening figure, enabling you to whip up fear of him, which fills your own coffers with contributions and showers skyrocketing sales on your patrons in the gun manufacturing industry. As I've discussed before, the number of Americans who own guns has been steadily declining for years, while the numbers of guns being sold is going up, meaning that existing gun owners must be expanding the size of their arsenals. This is something both the National Rifle Association and the gun manufacturers explicitly encourage them to do; while they're more than happy to encourage people to buy their first gun, they know the real money is in convincing the guy who already has five guns to buy ten more. The Associated Press reports some new information they've gathered on just how great it is to be in the firearms industrial complex these days; here are some excerpts:
An analysis by The Associated Press of data tracking the health of the gun industry shows that sales are on the rise, so much so that some gun manufacturers can't make enough weapons fast enough. Major gun company stock prices are up. The number of federally licensed, retail gun dealers is increasing for the first time in nearly 20 years. The NRA is bursting with cash and political clout. And Congress and the administration have expressed little interest in passing new gun laws, despite renewed calls to do so after deadly shootings in Colorado and Wisconsin...
For the first time since 1993, the number of federally licensed retail gun dealers in the U.S. increased slightly in 2010 and 2011, as the country added 1,167 more licensed retail gun dealers, according to Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives records. After the assault weapons ban in 1994, the number of gun dealerships dropped annually until 2010. As of October 2012, there were 50,812 retail gun dealers - that's 3,303 more than in 2009...
Obama is not yet through his first term, but the federal government already has conducted about as many background checks for gun owners and prospective buyers on his watch as it did during the first six years of George W. Bush's presidency. In the first 3 1/2 years of the Bush administration, the FBI conducted about 28 million background checks. During the same period of the Obama administration, the FBI conducted more than 50 million. The gun industry uses the number of background checks on gun owners as a reliable indicator of demand.
Ruger and Smith & Wesson represent nearly 30 percent of the U.S. gun manufacturing industry and lead the market in production of pistols and revolvers, according to government statistics. The two companies have been running production lines around the clock, hiring workers and operating at maximum capacity, said Barrett, an industry analyst who also owns Ruger stock.
They literally can't produce them fast enough. Just try to imagine something similar happening on another issue, let's say a Republican president who actually enhanced environmental regulations, while environmental groups successfully presented him as the most pro-pollution president in history and saw their contributions balloon. There really is no other issue on which one could imagine this happening. Is it because gun owners are, as a group, uniquely paranoid and gullible? Or is it because of the unique nexus of a powerful interest group (the NRA) and a powerful industry working together for that industry's industry's financial interest? However you interpret it, they'll be celebrating if Obama wins, because they'll know their right to buy as many guns as they want will be safe, yet they'll still be able to tell gun owners that the Kenyan Communist in the White House is coming for their guns any day now. And those gun owners will believe it, and keep buying.
Many on the far right have been convinced to let go of the facts and embrace conspiracy theories about Barack Obama. Now, these same folks are being targeted by a scheme to convince them to let go of their cash. They are told in slick TV advertisements that their money will be used to defeat [...]
Yeah, I think this vet choose exactly the right term: It's cheesy of Scott Brown to pretend his two weeks in Afghanistan are on a par with National Guard members who served a full tour of duty:
WASHINGTON -- The man who inspired Sen. Scott Brown to write a bill making it illegal to falsely claim military honors said he thinks the Massachusetts Republican is stretching the truth when he claims to have "served in Afghanistan."Brown made the Afghanistan declaration in his recent debate with his Democratic opponent for the Senate seat, Elizabeth Warren.
But Brown's service in Afghanistan was not combat. It was part of his annual two-week stint with the National Guard, in which he requested, in a highly unusual move, to serve in Afghanistan.
"It sounds to me like we just got another Blumenthal Connecticut, Mark Kirk type things there," said Vietnam veteran Doug Sterner, referring to exaggerated military claims two years ago by now-Sens. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Mark Kirk (R-Ill.)"I thought it was seriously misleading," said Sterner, whose website outing heroes was the basis for Brown's "Stolen Valor" bill. Sterner's criticism echoes a Boston Globe editorial published Thursday morning.
"I think it does go to an issue of personal character and that concerns me," added Sterner, who earlier this year broke with Brown and has endorsed Warren.
Sterner said it wasn't that Brown's service was with the National Guard that's the problem. Scores of Guard members have been recipients of the Medal of Honor, he noted. Brown's mistake, he said, was implying that his service in Afghanistan was a real tour of duty.
"I would be the last person to denigrate anybody's National Guard service, but I thought the claim, putting himself on par with men and women who have done combat tours, often in excess of a year, 14 months, was a pretty cheesy thing to do," Sterner said.
He allowed that Brown can legitimately claim spending time in Afghanistan. But he said he also thought it broke the spirit of what Brown tried to with the Stolen Valor Act, which Brown himself said was aimed at stopping people from benefiting by swiping the real glory from others.
Rep. Joe Walsh hails invention of the new "never die" machine which makes health and life of the mother exception for abortion irrelevant. [...]
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