Tuesday Reads: So Many Racists, A**holes, Morons, and Lunatics; So Little Patience

Obama and daughters books

Good Morning!!

Just look at those awful teenage girls wearing coats in a bookstore! How shocking! And the President in jeans and casual jacket! Impeach him immediately!

As everyone knows by now, GOP aide to Rep. Stephen Fincher (R-TN) Elizabeth Lauten learned the hard way that when you attack the President’s family on Facebook, lots of people see it; and then your ugly words go viral on Twitter and other social media sites.

Addressing her comments directly to the Obama girls, Lauten wrote that they should ‘‘respect the part you play,’’ and added: ‘‘Then again your mother and father don’t respect their positions very much, or the nation for that matter, so I’m guessing you’re coming up a little short in the ‘good role model’ department.’’

Lauten also urged the Obama girls to ‘‘dress like you deserve respect, not a spot at a bar.’’

Lauten later apologized for the comments and deleted the original post, which drew harsh criticism across social media.

In her pathetic “apology,” as Eugene Robinson noted on Rachel Maddow’s show last night, Lauten failed to say she was sorry for insulting any of the  members of the Obama family.

‘‘When I first posted on Facebook I reacted to an article and I quickly judged the two young ladies in a way that I would never have wanted to be judged myself as a teenager,’’ Lauten told The Commercial Appeal of Memphis in an email. ‘‘Please know, those judgmental feelings truly have no place in my heart. Furthermore, I’d like to apologize to all of those who I have hurt and offended with my words.’’

Whatever, lady. I’m glad you’re out of a job. Instant Karma is so satisfying.

Eugene Robinson

Eugene Robinson

Speaking of f**king a**holes, I’ve managed for a long time now to avoid seeing or hearing anything about MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” or its moronic hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski. Unfortunately, this morning I accidentally clicked on a link to Mediaite and read something about their asinine TV show.

This morning the above-mentioned Eugene Robinson was on the program and dared to say that Michael Brown might have had his hands up when he was shot and killed by Darren Wilson. Robinson’s reasoning? A number of eyewitnesses said so and there’s nothing in the evidence that proves Brown wasn’t surrendering.

According to Mediaite’s Evan McMurry, things “got awkward.”

“I don’t believe there’s anything in the record, certainly not in the forensic evidence, that precludes the possibility that he had his hands up at some point when he was approaching the officer,” Robinson said.

“That’s an awfully low standard,” cohost Joe Scarborough replied. “There’s also no evidence that doesn’t suggest a flying saucer from Venus swooped over all of them. There’s no evidence that it’s precluded, Gene. I’m not being difficult. I’m just saying the truth actually does matter.”

“I think it’s a very uncomfortable question for you, Gene,” Brzezinski said. “Because if you say no, there’s no evidence his hands up, you’re probably insulting a lot of people. Do you feel uncomfortable with the question?”

Now what do you suppose Brzezinski meant by that? Oh yeah, Robinson is black and so Mika thinks he must have to lie in order to pacify other black people. Are you lying to please your puppet master Joe Scarborough and the racist audience to your show, Mika?

You can watch the video at the Mediaite link above.

nfl

The racists are also up in arms about the five St. Louis Rams players (all black) who had the nerve to express solidarity with Ferguson protesters by standing with their hands up before their football game on Sunday. St. Louis police officers were enraged by this mild display of support, and complained loudly in the media.

St. Louis police chief Jon Belmar then publicly claimed that the Rams organization had apologized for the players actions. A battle of words followed, in which the Rams denied apologizing and Belmar kept insisting they had. From the NY Daily News:

St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar said the St. Louis Rams apologized to local law enforcement officials Monday after five players walked onto the field Sunday with their arms raised high in solidarity with the Ferguson protesters, a claim the team denied in a bizarre war of words that erupted overnight between the team and cops.

Police immediately cried foul at the act during the Rams’ Week 13 home blowout of the Oakland Raiders, but the NFL sacked the cops’ request and chose not to discipline the players.

There was still fallout to manage and Rams COO Kevin Demoff tried to satisfy the outcry by local cops when he called Belmar on Monday and apologized for the players’ unsanctioned actions, according to the chief.

“Mr. Demoff clearly regretted that any members of the Ram’s (sic) organization would act in a way that minimized the outstanding work that police officers and departments carry out each and every day,” Belmar said in an email to the department, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported. “My impression of the call was that it was heartfelt and I assured him that I would share it with my staff.” ….

But CNN’s Rachel Nichols said Rams spokesman Artis Twyman told CNN the team “did not apologize” to St. Louis police.

And Demoff backed up that claim when reached by the Post-Dispatch late Monday. “In none of these conversations did I apologize for our players’ actions,” Demoff told the Post-Dispatch. “I did say in each conversation that I regretted any offense their officers may have taken. We do believe it is possible to both support our players’ First Amendment rights and support the efforts of local law enforcement as our community begins the process of healing.”

My advice to Belmar and police departments all over the country: Get over it and stop killing innocent citizens.

John Boehner swears in Florida's Ted Yoho.

John Boehner swears in Florida’s Ted Yoho.

And speaking of moronic a**holes, John Boehner is set to do battle with the crazy caucus today. Reuters: Boehner to seek support for plan to avoid government shutdown.

House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner will try to sell fellow Republicans this week on a government spending bill that avoids a shutdown fight but allows the party to strike back at President Barack Obama’s immigration order.

Republicans have a lot riding on their handling of must-pass government funding. Having scored huge wins in Nov. 4 voting that handed them a majority in the Senate and gave them a bigger majority in the House, Republican leaders want to demonstrate that they can govern responsibly next year.

But many are still outraged that Obama bypassed Congress and is moving ahead unilaterally on immigration, granting what they claim is “amnesty” to people who came to the United States illegally.

House Republicans will meet on Tuesday after a 10-day Thanksgiving break to discuss their response, including a leading option for Boehner that would fund most government agencies through September 2015, with only a short-term extension for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

House Republican lawmakers and aides say this would give them a chance to use their stronger House and Senate majorities next year to pass explicit spending restrictions on some DHS agencies, to try to stop Obama’s immigration overhaul.

More details from Bloomberg Politics:

House Speaker John Boehner and his fellow Republican leaders are turning to large-animal veterinarian and Tea Party darling Ted Yoho to help avoid a second government shutdown in as many years.

The freshman Florida Republican has proposed a bill that aims to remove the president’s executive power when it comes to deportations. It’s a symbolic measure that would have essentially zero chance of passing in the last days of a Democratic-controlled Senate. But Boehner and his crew hope it’s enough to pacify a Republican caucus seething over President Barack Obama’s immigration actions last month.

Boehner and other Republican leaders have vowed to avoid a repeat of the 16-day shutdown last year. Their best shot may be coupling Yoho’s bill with a measure that would temporarily fund immigration agencies and provide longer-term financing for the rest of the federal government. The deadline is Dec. 11, when current funding ends.

Yoho, whose opposition to Obamacare contributed to the last shutdown, was an unlikely star of the 2012 election cycle, knocking off 12-term incumbent Cliff Stearns in a Republican primary for a North Florida district after selling his veterinary practice to run. Since being sworn in, the 59-year-old Republican has voted against Boehner for speaker, said an Obamacare tax on indoor tanning was “racist,” and suggested that a government shutdown could stabilize markets.

Yoho sounds like a lunatic. How on earth do people like this get elected?

Bill Cassidy tries to smile and fails miserably.

Bill Cassidy tries to smile and fails miserably.

Speaking of lunatics, last night I watched the final debate between Louisiana Senate candidates Bill Cassidy and Mary Landrieu. If the result of the runoff election on Saturday weren’t so important, the “debate” would have been a laugh riot. The main topics were abortion, guns, Obamacare, Cassidy’s double dipping at the expense of taxpayers and Landrieu’s weak support of the hated black President.

It was difficult to listen to what Cassidy was saying, because he is so strange-looking, and when he forces a smile, he looks like something out of a vampire movie. Even though Mary Landrieu is a pretty conservative Democrat, I couldn’t help liking her when I noticed she had a hard time not laughing out loud when Cassidy was talking.

From NOLA.com:

The gloves came off during the testy final U.S. Senate debate Monday night between Democratic incumbent Mary Landrieu and Republican Rep. Bill Cassidy. Controversies dominated the discussion, including assertions that  Cassidyfalsified time sheets and Landrieu used taxpayer money to take charter airplane flights to campaign events.

Landrieu worked her main allegation, that Cassidy billed Louisiana State University for work he didn’t perform, into answers throughout the debate. She said it’s an issue that should follow him beyond Saturday’s election.

“If he wins, he will be fighting more than President Obama. He will be fighting subpoenas because he padded his time sheet,” Landrieu said. “He’ll talk about everyone else’s record but his own.”

Cassidy denied the allegations and defended his record. “These charges are absolutely false. The Landrieu campaign takes these charges, and they twist them anyway they can. I’m proud of the work I’ve done at LSU,” Cassidy said.

A physician, Cassidy said his work at LSU hospitals helped people, while Landrieu’s charter flights helped only her. Landrieu countered that she had taken responsibility for the flights, which she attributed to a bookkeeping error, and paid back the Treasury.

Read more at the link.

During their extended argument over abortion, I was surprised to hear Cassidy state as fact that a 20-month fetus is viable and capable of feeling pain. I was also shocked when Landrieu said she is against all abortions and thinks they are immoral, but that the government shouldn’t be making those decisions. At least she’s “pro-choice.”

After watching that debate, I thanked my lucky stars that my Senators are Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey.

That’s about all the news I could dredge up this morning. I’ll be so glad when the holidays come to an end. What stories are you following today?


Incestuous Amplification and the Beltway Feedback Loop

PaulKrugman_TiredSo, all you kind folks that get up way too early in the morning for my tastes and habits sent me to the Morning Joe website to watch Paul Krugman commit beltway heresy.  I actually had to play it twice to believe my eyes.

I am reminded of the occasional student that would turn up in a freshmen class and proceed to school the professor on his subject.  I saw this when I went to university and I experienced it when I taught freshmen classes.   For some reason, all your education, experience, research, and accolades matter naught before people who are absolutely convinced they are right because they just are. I’ve been watching for  the internet reactions and they’re wonderful.  None is better than Krugman’s response who likens it to the drumbeat leading up to the invasion of Iraq.  Even though the evidence was weak and called bogus by experts, we invaded a country with the incestuous amplification of the villagers who really wanted to be war correspondents.

No matter how much proof we have that austerity makes things worse and the current deficit is cyclical, there are a bunch of those in the press that insist they’re not, well … just because they really love the idea of Simpson-Bowles and the unnecessary suffering that would be induced by a study that their committee wouldn’t even approve.  I don’t know why they want to induce unnecessary suffering but maybe it has something to do with not being impacted but being able to report from the middle of homeless and starving grannies.

Krugman called it “Incestuous Amplification, Economics Edition”.

Back during the early days of the Iraq debacle, I learned that the military has a term for how highly dubious ideas become not just accepted, but viewed as certainties. “Incestuous amplification” happen when a closed group of people repeat the same things to each other – and when accepting the group’s preconceptions itself becomes a necessary ticket to being in the in-group. A fundamentally flawed notion – say, that the Germans can’t possibly attack though the Ardennes – becomes part of what everyone knows, where “everyone” means by definition only people who accept the flawed notion.

We saw that in the run-up to Iraq, where perfectly obvious propositions – the case for invading is very weak, the occupation may well be a nightmare – weren’t so much rejected as ruled out of discussion altogether; if you even considered those possibilities, you weren’t a serious person, no matter what your credentials.

Which brings me to the fiscal debate, characterized by the particular form of incestuous amplification Greg Sargent calls the Beltway Deficit Feedback Loop. I’ve already blogged about my Morning Joe appearance and Scarborough’s reaction, which was to insist that almost no mainstream economists share my view that deficit fear is vastly overblown. As Joe Weisenthal points out, the reality is that among those who have expressed views very similar to mine are the chief economist of Goldman Sachs; the former Treasury secretary and head of the National Economic Council; the former deputy chairman of the Federal Reserve; and the economics editor of the Financial Times. The point isn’t that these people are necessarily right (although they are), it is that Scarborough’s attempt at argument through authority is easily refuted by even a casual stroll through recent economic punditry.

The Krugman view on the economy isn’t an outlier in the community of economists.  That’s because we know theory and we know the empirical evidence that supports the theories.  Here’s a list of 10 People that disagree with the narrative of the deficit scolds as compiled by Joe Wiesenthal at TBI.

But actually there are plenty of economists and economically-literate minds who think that, to varying degrees, the deficit is not what we should be worrying about.

For Joe Scarborough’s sake, here’s a list of people. With each we’ve linked to comments they’ve made about their (lack of) worry about the deficit.

Anyway, that was just a partial list, but one that covers conservatives, liberals, Wall Street economists, and former government officials.

The funny thing is that polls show that the American public isn’t all that worried about the deficit either.  The economy and jobs outpolls the deficit concerns by about 2 to 1 in polling from all kinds of pollsters.  David Atkins–writing at Hullabaloo–calls it the problem of the Kool Kids Table.

Here at Hullabaloo we call it the Kool Kids Table, a pathway to power and social acceptance inaccessible to those who don’t hold the “right” views.

Do I believe that everyone in Joe Scarborough’s sphere of influence knows that Keynesianism is accurate and that Krugman is right, but chooses to say otherwise because it pads their bank account? Of course not. It takes a conspiracy theorist and an idiot to believe that. Washington is corrupt, but it’s not that corrupt.

No, most of these people believe what they say. I don’t doubt that Scarborough’s perplexed shock is genuine. Just like I believe that most of the conservative theologians who burned Giordano Bruno at the stake believed that our solar system was the only one of its kind. After all, anyone who believed otherwise wasn’t taken seriously and didn’t advance in the Church hierarchy. Everyone who was anyone knew better, and since Bruno refused to accept the conventional wisdom he had to be shunned and ultimately silenced. Bruno’s ideas were unserious and dangerous. The man had his head in the sand and couldn’t see what seemed obvious to everyone else.

Perhaps one day the Church of the Austerians will belatedly apologize to Keynes, Krugman, Stiglitz and all the other great economists whose names have been dragged through the mud. But not likely soon, and not during their lifetimes. In our own sordid lifetimes, Popes Simpson and Bowles will continue to bestow favors upon their cardinals, giving communion only to the Kool Kids who deserve it.

It is actually a freshman economics problem to argue that now is a very bad time to focus on the deficit.  It’s very simple math.  There are 4 actors paul_krugmanin our economy.   That would be businesses, the foreign sector, households and the government.  During a bad economy, the first three actors generally pull back.   Households tend to save and pay down debt, businesses don’t order as much inventory or expand because households are pulling back, and the foreign sector is generally impacted by the US economy and will slow down its buying too unless the dollar should become very weak and our prices fall dramatically. US policy normally doesn’t let that happen.

So, the idea is that the government–using its taxing and spending policy–can make up for the fall off in economic activity.  It can buy things from the private sector or do things like public works and directly offer households jobs and income and businesses a reason to expand.  It can also do this by handing money over to state governments to do the same.  All the activity of the four actors contributes to our GDP so if all four of them are pulling back, we get a recession.

We know this not only by talking about it in conceptual terms but also by studying the great depression and the austerity policies of countries like the UK. The UK fixated on austerity and–as a result–has had miserable economy experience and is now fallen into another recession.  As Krugman explains, we’ve done relatively better because we had some stimulus.  Had it been politically feasible to make it stronger, we’d have had a much stronger recovery.  It’s not just a matter of embracing a Keynesian mindset, it’s just a matter of knowing the math or what’s called the national accounting identity. Remember, it’s an identity which means it’s true by definition. You can’t have four negative numbers summed together on one side of an equation with out the other side being negative too.

We also know that we’ve been in worse situations with deficits. Notably, the post-World War 2 period saw huge government deficits. Our economy expanded, we had extremely progressive taxes, and we paid the deficit down. They sky did not fall down because we ran up huge deficits during the War. In fact, buying war bonds that financed the war was seen as patriotic. We personally supported government spending this way. We did not do the same thing in our following wars and skirmishes. Bush Two put two very expensive and long, drawn out wars on the deficit while lowering taxes and decreasing the progressiveness of the tax system. This policy behavior is a huge problem.

The truth is that Keynes himself never suggested an economy run a perpetual recession.  The fiscal policy prescription is to run a deficit during recessions, run towards a balanced budget in a Goldilocks economy where everything is just right, and run a budget surplus in an overheated, inflationary economy.   It seems we never hear any of this from the obnoxious freshman student that sits in the front row and insists his high school reading of Ayn Rand tells him something completely different. We also never hear this from ideologues who really have a completely different agenda in mind.  Their agenda is basically just to drown government in the bathtub and they don’t want any thing to work.

The problem is the kids at the Koolaid Table never, ever learn and are more motivated by access to power than access to knowledge.  It’s evident in that they keep playing the deficit hawks running around yelling the sky is falling and they’ve done so for about 5 years.  Or, as Krugman puts it:

KRUGMAN: “People like me have been saying for five years don’t worry about these deficit things for the time being, they’re non-issues, other people have been saying imminent crisis, imminent crisis … how many times do they have to be wrong and people like me have to be right before people start to believe us?”

Krugman must have an endless amount of patience to continually sit down with a group of these obnoxious freshmen.  I wonder at  how he does it day-in-and-day-out.


Franklin Graham Just Doesn’t Buy President Obama’s Claim to be a Christian

Franklin Graham, son of Nixon pal and fellow anti-Semite Billy Graham was invited on MSNBC’s Morning Joe show today to opine on the religious beliefs of the various candidates for President of the United States. Why anyone gives a sh&t about whether these guys are “christians” or not is a mystery to me, but it seems it’s all we hear about since Rick “The Dick” Santorum became the frontrunner for the Republican nomination.

Graham had no trouble saying that Santorum and Newt Gingrich are “christians.” But he was very wishy washy about Obama, and in the end left the impression that he believes Obama to be a Muslim. As for Mitt Romney, Graham “likes him,” but Mormons aren’t “christians.” Here are some of the relevant quotes from the interview, via Politico:

ON OBAMA: “You have to ask him. I cannot answer that question for anybody. All I know is I’m a sinner, and God has forgiven me of my sins… You have to ask every person. He has said he’s a Christian, so I just have to assume that he is.”

Graham told the interviewers that he had talked to Obama personally about his beliefs and that Obama told him he only started going to church because he was told it would help him as a community organizer.

“If he says he’s a Christian, I can accept that. All I know is what Jesus Christ has done in my heart and how he changed my life,” said Graham.

ON SANTORUM: “Do you believe Rick Santorum is a Christian?” asked Geist. “I think so,” responded Graham.
“How do you know, if the standard is: only the person knows what’s in him when you apply it to the president, why is it different for Rick Santorum?” replied Geist.

“Well, because his values are so clear on moral issues. No question about it. I just appreciate the moral stances he takes on things. He comes from a Catholic faith… I think he’s a man of faith,” said Graham.

Graham wasn’t quite so enthused about Gingrich’s beliefs and he was definite that Romney is a mormon, and while mormons may believe in Jesus, they believe in a lot of other funny things too so they can’t be christians.

But that’s not all. There’s more that isn’t in the Youtube video above. From the WaPo On Faith column, Graham also told the stunned Morning Joe panel:

Graham: “Under Islamic law, under Sharia law, Islam sees him as a son of Islam because his father was a Muslim, his grandfather was a Muslim, his great-grandfather was a Muslim. So under Islamic law the Muslim world sees Barack Obama as a Muslim, as a son of Islam. That’s just the way it works. That’s the way they see it. But of course he says he didn’t grow up that way, he doesn’t believe in that, he believes in Jesus Christ so I accept that. But I’m just saying that the Muslim world, Islam, they see him as a son of Islam.

Morning Joe: But you do not think he’s a Muslim.

Graham: No.

Morning Joe: Categorically not a Muslim.

Graham: Well, I can’t say categorically because Islam has gotten a free pass under Obama and we see the Arab Spring and coming out of the Arab Spring the Islamists are taking control of the Middle East. People like Mubarak, who was a dictator, but he kept the peace with Israel. The Christian minorities in Egypt were protected. Now those Christian minorities throughout the entire Arab world are under attack. Newsweek magazine last week, cover story, was the massacre of Christians in the Islamic world from Europe all the way through the Middle East, Africa, into Asia and Oceania. Muslims are killing Christians. And we need to be forcing, demanding, that if these countries do not protect their minorities, no more foreign aid from the United States. They are not protecting the minorities.”

MSNBC checked with an expert to see if what Graham said about the Muslim religion being automatically passed down from father to son is true.

According to Edina Lekovic, director of policy at the Muslim Public Affairs Council, being born in a Muslim family doesn’t make one a Muslim. A person has to make an active choice to become a Muslim, Lekovic said.

As everyone knows by now–even if we never wanted to–Rick Santorum thinks that Obama believes in “some phony theology. Oh, not a theology based on the Bible. A different theology,”

I’m beginning to get the feeling that some kind of poison has been released into the body politic–a poison that has driven a large percentage of our politicians and corporate media mavens insane. Why are we talking about this? Why should I care who is a christian and who isn’t? Most of all, why should I care what Franklin Graham thinks about anyone’s “moral values?

But of course, I have to care about this poison that’s been injected into the body politic because I don’t want crazy people like Franklin Graham and Rick Santorum to actually take over and run the government.

I read an interesting post by Ed Kilgore this morning before I heard about the Morning Joe ruckus. It’s called What It Really Means When Santorum Attacks Obama’s “Theology” Kilgore heard from former Beliefnet editor Steve Waldman about a 2008 interview Waldman had done with Santorum in which Santorum said

Obama’s efforts to talk about the importance of faith in his life is “phoney–absolutely disingenuous. I think he’s a complete phoney.”
Obama, Santorum argued, chose Trinity Church in Chcago because it was politically advantageous — “faith was an avenue for power.”
(At the end of the attack, he added that of course it would be inappropriate for him to judge the authenticity of Obama’s faith, as only God could do that.)

….

After he’d accused Obama and other Democrats of religoius fraudulance for a few minutes, journalist Terry Mattingly of GetReligion.org asked whether it’s possible that rather than being fake, perhaps, Obama was sincerely reflecting a form of liberal Christianity in the tradition of Reinhold Neibuhr. Santorum surprised me by answering that yes, “I could buy that.”

However, he questioned whether liberal christianity was really, well, Christian. “You’re a liberal something, but your not a Christian.” He continued, “When you take a salvation story and turn it into a liberation story you’ve abandoned Christiandom and I don’t think you have a right to claim it.”
In other words, Obama’s faith is fraudulant in part because liberal Christinaity is.

I’ve come across this sentiment before. To a degree rarely discussed, many conservative Christians truly doubt both the theological truth and the spiritual authenticity of liberal Christians

So in other words, in order to be a “christian,” you have to be a conservative. Religion is somehow wrapped up with politics. Talk about twisted!

Here’s just one more perspective from a professor at Georgetown University:

“He [Santorum] has this internal tic, of wanting to get into what I call theological disputation. And theological disputation is a loser,” said Jacques Berlinerblau, a professor at Georgetown University who has studied the use of religion in U.S. politics. He meant that Santorum seeks to tell others how to behave and even what to believe, using his own specific beliefs as an unshakable guide.

Berlinerblau said the danger, even among other Catholics, was that Santorum would seem gratingly familiar. “They know Rick Santorums. They’ve met Rick Santorums their whole life,” he said. “It’s just, ‘Well, I know what that guy’s about, and I don’t want anything to do with it.’ ”

I can definitely agree with that sentiment. There something very wrong with people like Franklin Graham and Rick Santorum, and I sure don’t want anything to do with it. I don’t even want to hear about it anymore.


“Newt Gingrich Is a Disgusting Person” Open Thread

On Morning Joe today, Mika Brzezinski and Columbia Economics Professor Jeffrey Sachs reacted to Newt Gingrich’s advice to Occupy protesters “Go get a job right after you take a bath.” I’m not a fan of Brzezinski, but I have to applaud her today. And can we please see a lot more of Jeffrey Sachs and a lot less of John Heilemann and Mark Halperin?

From Raw Story:

“That was about the most arrogant and unself-aware, and those are probably the only words I could use to think for any Republican politician in this field could say,” Brzezinski said. “Someone needs a bath, and I don’t think it’s people on Occupy Wall Street.”

Sachs summed up Gingrich’s comments in one word.

“Disgusting,” he said. “Absolutely disgusting. No sense of any meaning in all of this. Absolutely revolting actually. And especially when what they’re protesting against is the incredible abuse of power the criminality on Wall Street, it’s shocking.”

Sachs added: “For a guy who has slipped millions of dollars from Fannie Mac to quote, ‘be a historian,’ months after he left the Congress, it’s especially disgusting. But this man is a disgusting person.”

Wow! Tell it like is, Professor! Every time Newt Gingrich gets back into the spotlight, he quickly demonstrates what a total a$$hole he is. Tomorrow night there will be another Republican debate, and for now Newt is the front-runner. I’m betting he’ll say or do something so repulsive it will even turn off Republican audiences.


Late Night Open Thread: Elizabeth Warren Gives Me Hope

I know hope has become a bit of a dirty word since 2008, but that’s what I get when I listen to Elizabeth Warren talk. Hope, and an infusion of energy and enthusiasm. Yesterday, the Morning Joe crowd tried to throw Warren off her stride, but she didn’t even blink. No matter how nasty they were, she was just as nice as can be while putting them in their places. This woman is a natural politician. Watch it:

I can hardly believe I’m doing this, but I’m going to link to a diary at Dailykos by jobu. Don’t feel you have to click on the link. Here’s what jobu had to say:

First up was Mark Halperin. His gotcha question was regarding China and its military and its (blah blah blah) National Security implications. EW took his question, reframed it, tossed it right back in his lap and watched as the oatmeal oozed from from his ears. She rightfully answered the question in terms of our Economic Security and refused to budge from this position despite Halperin tossing his oatmeal all over his high chair. Priceless. But just an appetizer to what was to follow.

The conclusion, the grand finale of her Grucci like display was a follow up question from Willi Geist. He wondering how she was going to be able to take on the special interests all by her poor, helpless little self. What followed was what I have been waiting for from a Democratic Party Candidate for quite some time. EW started with a question to the effect of why should I give up? She built on that to a crescendo of I will fight for you common sense positive.

Warren took it to four snotty men that I cannot tolerate. And what she has to say is so genuine, so intelligent, so empathetic. I’m sooooo ready to vote for her!


Barney Frank on Morning Joe

Barney Frank was on Morning Joe Tuesday. The interview was wide ranging and involved serious discussion of issues. Because of his seniority as the former chairman of the House Finance Committee and current ranking member, he can bring insight to the discussion. When he speaks, I make it a point to listen. He provides framing of subject in a manner that is understandable by the public. Also, we gain insight into what a major leader of the House is thinking.

Key issues discussed were:

  • federal debt is a result of past mistakes by both parties
  • NATO is a mechanism for Europe to outsource their military costs to the US
  • we need a new model of medical care which involves more than Medicare
  • clarifying end of life care considerations
  • the need to re-evaluate the utility of NATO
  • putting a missile shield in Poland to protect them from Iran is not our problem
  • problems of Libya are more germane to countries within spitting distance of Libya while NATO wants us to step up with more
  • Less defense spending could leave more money for health programs.

The  Morning Joe, Barney Frank segment can be viewed here. The first part of the segment is information to set up for the discussion with Barney which starts at 4 minutes. The video is about 17 minutes which enables a good discussion. Joe basically conducts the interview and generally lets Barney make his points.  He typically interrupts the conversation only for agreement or clarity.