This Is The Right Take

On the Halperin nonsense:

’m sorry, but this is crazy. Halperin’s crack was crude and dumb, but it doesn’t deserve indefinite suspension. Halperin’s use of an expletive is trival when compared with the degradation of our political discourse we witness on a regular basis from Halperin and many others — degradation that is seen as perfectly acceptable because no curse words are employed. Suspending Halperin only reinforces a phony definition of “civility” in our discourse, in which it’s unacceptable to use foul language and be “uncivil,” but it’s perfectly acceptable for reporters and commentators to allow outright falsehoods to pass unrebutted; to traffic endlessly in false equivalences in the name of some bogus notion of objectivity; and to make confident assertions about public opinion without referring to polls which show them to be completely wrong.

I care less about Halperin’s use of the word “dick” than I do about the argument he and Joe Scarborough were making — that Obama somehow stepped over some kind of line in aggressively calling out the GOP for refusing to allow any revenues in a debt ceiling deal. This notion that Obama’s tone was somehow over the top — when politics is supposed to be a rough clash of visions — is rooted in a deeply ingrained set of unwritten rules about what does and doesn’t constitute acceptable political discourse that really deserve more scrutiny. This set of rules has it that it should be treated as a matter of polite, legitimate disagreement when Michele Bachmann says deeply insane things about us not needing to raise the debt limit, but it should be seen as an enormously newsworthy gaffe when she commits a relatively minor error about regional trivia. This set of rules has it that it should be treated as a matter of polite, legitimate disagreement when Republicans continually claim that Dems cut $500 billion in Medicare in a way that will directly impact seniors, even though fact checkers have pronounced it misleading, but it should be seen as “demagoguery” when Dems argue that the Paul Ryan plan would end Medicare as we know it.


Remember, Halperin is the clown who insisted that McCain not knowing how many he houses he owned during the economic crash was good news for… John McCain.

I love the smell of Franzia in the morning

The wingers don’t seem very excited about DickGate but FranziaPundit amused me:

Am I the only one who takes more offense at the blurted phrase “Oh my God” (by Joe Scarborough) than the use of the word “dick” to explain the President’s behavior? I think insulting the President is rough political discourse, but saying “Oh my God” is taking the Lord’s name in vain.


But calling people a dick. It’s rude, but actual dicks aren’t able to take offense, and even if they were, they wouldn’t determine your fate in the afterlife.

I have no real point here, except that sometimes I forget how weird that blog is.

Colbert’s Joke Is On Us, Apparently

Campaign finance reform advocates are worried that Stephen Colbert’s SuperPAC shtick may open the door to some real abuses by the corporate-owned press depending on how the FEC rules.


For its part, the commission has been treating Colbert’s request like any other. It’s created some quirky moments, like when Colbert had to assure the commission that the cash he collected outside their office was “received by Mr. Colbert personally as payment for shaking his hand” and wasn’t going to his yet-to-be-formed “super PAC.”

Ultimately, if they follow the suggestions of their staff, the FEC seems set to let the Colbert Super PAC go forward one way or another. The commission will consider one of three draft opinions authored by their staff, all of which appear to let Colbert’s parent company Viacom pay for the Colbert Super PAC’s expenditures without having to publicly report their donations.

That’s a move that has campaign finance reformers worried. Public Citizen wrote a letter to the FEC on Wednesday calling on the commission to reject the request.

“This would carve out a gaping loophole in campaign finance laws, allowing any company involved in media to foot, in secret and without limit, the electioneering expenses of political committees,” Public Citizen’s government affairs lobbyist Craig Holman said in a statement.

Holman warned that if the FEC granted Colbert’s request, “the next request will be for media companies to directly finance unlimited candidate campaigns under the press exemption – an abuse that is already being advocated in some quarters.”


Now, nobody does satire like Colbert.  The whole point of satire is to play the absurd straight and let the unintentional humor shine through.  And I honestly think Public Citizen is overreacting.  Colbert is clearly drawing attention to corporations and their control over media influence and elections, which seems to be the entire point of the exercise.   Yes, if media corporations are allowed to use the press exemption to get around campaign finance laws, it would be a disaster (what campaign finance laws we have left, anyway.)  But there do seem to be some potentially ugly ramifications here if the FEC approved Colbert’s PAC as is.

I personally think the FEC understands this and will not approve Colbert’s request for precisely that reason.  The press exemption is pretty ludicrous, and needs to be examined.  Colbert I believe is using this farce to force the FEC to erect some strict barriers on using the press exemption and spell them out in the campaign finance rules.  The whole point is for Colbert to play all this out by drawing attention to just how ludicrous it all is on its face.  He does it daily.

At least, I hope that this is where all this is going.  If the FEC says “Hey sure, press exemption, whatever, go for it media conglomerates!” then the joke’s truly on us.


(Cross-posted at ZVTS)

[UPDATE 12:10 PM]  Well.  Looks like it’s a moot point as the FEC has in fact approved Colbert’s PAC as is. (h/t The Moar You Know)

The mask slips

I don’t have anything special against Mark Halperin. Okay, that’s not true, I think he’s a sociopathic douchebag. But what bothers me most about him is not his poor sense of humor or poor track record of predicting things accurately, what bothers me is that he presents himself as a non-partisan observer. He’s a Republican, his dad served in the Nixon White House, he loved the Bush White House even more than the rest of the Villagers, I could go on and on. Every now and then, the mask slips, as when he called Obama “a dick” yesterday.

It’s going to be a blast watching him and Mika and Joe Scar cry about Jon Huntsman’s failed candidacy.

Sample of One

I’ve posted about my proud Hispanic, former Goldwater Republican mother before. I always assumed that the recent brown hate bothered her, but I learned the depth of her animosity last night. It started with her pulling out this George Will column:

The Republican future without Hispanic support would be bleak. Forty-seven percent of Americans under 18 are minorities, and the largest portion are Hispanics. One in six Americans is Hispanic. In 37 states, the Hispanic population increased at least 50 percent between 2000 and 2010. The four states with the largest Hispanic populations — California, Texas, Florida and New York — have 151 electoral votes.

[…]But, Cruz says, unlike California’s Hispanics, those in Texas “show a willingness to be a swing vote.” Furthermore, the three Hispanics elected to major offices in 2010 — Florida’s Sen. Marco Rubio, Nevada’s Gov. Brian Sandoval and New Mexico’s Gov. Susana Martinez — are Republicans.

Mom read that out and said “George Will is wrong – Hispanics will never vote for Republicans again”. Then, she said that she had “maybe” voted for a couple of Republicans “back in the 60s” but she hadn’t voted Republican for years. With all respect to my mom, that’s a story spun from whole cloth: she was active in the local Republican party for decades, voted proudly for Reagan, and reluctantly for GWB in 2000. But, after the treatment that her people have received in the last few years at the hands of the haters in the Republican party — especially Arizona Republicans — she’s formed a grudge that she’ll carry to the grave, along with the rest of her family.

Also, too: She re-iterated her belief that the Mexican Cession of 1848 was an unlawful taking: “Not many people know that most of that land is really the property of Mexico.” So, when I say she’ll hold a grudge, believe it.

Bailin’ Palin (or Why Sarah Palin’s bus tour was cancelled)

Those of you who have been reading my little posts for a while will know that I do everything I can to avoid coming into direct contact with Sarah Palin ever since I was a judge on the Miss Alaska pageant all those years ago.

After that experience, and our little plane trip together, I trust Sarah about as much as I’d trust Roman Polanski around a particularly attractive twelve year old. However, I do like to keep tabs on her and, after reading about her little bus tour, I was determined to get someone on the inside.

My dear friend and fellow Shady Pines resident Sandra Frazer volunteered. In the end it only took one phone call. Sandra crapped on about how unfair the people at Wikipedia are and how she and Marge Albrechtson are both devoted followers of Sarah and, above all, both very rich and slightly senile, and before you could say “You’re so much prettier than that Bachmann woman”, they’d been issued a personal invitation to visit Sarah in New Hampshire.

Sandra and Marge were waiting outside the Yankee Fisherman’s Cooperative in Seabrook. Marge has been skipping her meds and, while she wasn’t in a violent mood, she did keep slapping at her herself to quieten down the squirrels she’d stashed in her knickers that morning before she left Shady Pines. There was a lot of squeaking and complaining going on, although I understand most of it was coming from the pack of journalists who were also waiting there.

They’re such filthy hairy little things, always pissing themselves and biting people for no reason – by which I mean the journalists of course, not Marge’s squirrels who are generally quite well behaved.

Sarah arrived first in her SUV, followed by Todd and Piper and the rest of the entourage in the Palinbus. Sarah was very polite, especially after she spotted that big ol’ diamond ring that Sandra was wearing – the one that Jimmy Carter gave her after he broke off their affair back in 1983. Sandra said it was like one of those cartoons where Daffy Duck’s eyeballs turn into dollar signs, and Todd even had to rush in to wipe the drool off Sarah’s bottom lip. Sarah wasn’t even fazed by the two pairs of beady rodent eyes peering at her from out of Marge’s purse.

Sandra told me that Sarah was looking quite good, although she appeared to be wearing something from Donatella Versace’s Piggly Wiggly collection. Even Todd had made an effort and had worn his best Megadeth t-shirt – the one without any obvious holes.

After Sandra managed, with some difficulty, to get her hand back from Sarah, Sarah fetched Trig out of his storage box at the front of the bus where they keep him when he’s not in use, and then wandered off with him to have some photographs taken next to some dead fish.

Marge and little Piper set about making friends. The only squirrels Piper had even seen were either roadkill or food (and possibly both) and so she was quite impressed when Marge started producing them from her clothes like some slightly confused musician from Hamelin. Soon they were yammering away to each other and they both went off to talk to some lobsters in a tank out the back.

Sandra was left alone with Todd.

Now, Sandra may be 72, but she’s still a well preserved and handsome woman – the result of decades of facials made from pituitary glands untimely ripped from impoverished Cambodian orphans and a large amount of whalebone under the kind of stress that makes diamonds out of coal. She also likes her men big and dumb. Show her a Carhartt baseball cap, a farmer’s tan and an expression of amiable stupidity (cf. Jimmy Carter) and her ovaries start fizzing like Kathryn Jean Lopez in a seminary.

Todd was doing his usual thing of staring off into the distance and mumbling the lyrics of Whitesnake songs, so he didn’t notice Sandra’s quite obvious interest until she grabbed him by the front of his sweatpants, dragged him behind some convenient bushes and pounced on him like Oprah Winfrey on a baked ham.

Fifteen minutes of impassioned kissing later, Sarah arrived back at the bus with half a dozen lobsters under one arm and Trig under the other. Todd’s hair was a little askew and he was holding a clip-board carefully in front of the Little Dude, who pointedly refused to go down, but there was otherwise no sign of what had happened so far.

It was time to head off to the clambake, which was being held at the summer residence of Jeff and Elizabeth Davis, two of Sarah’s staffers, although it took a while to locate Piper, who had been playing hide and seek with Marge. She’d hidden herself in a pile of cod and no one could find her until one keen-eyed fisherman noticed that one of the cod seemed to have a bow in its hair.

Sarah and Piper and Trig and Marge all got into the SUV. They offered to give Sandra a ride too, but she begged off, saying that Todd had very kindly offered to show her his collection of velvet paintings of dogs playing poker, and so she was happy to ride with him in the bus.

Sarah was in her element, chatting to the press when she arrived at the clambake, schmoozing with such luminaries as John Sununu, and watching Piper and Marge playing Hide-the-Rodent with Trig. All was going well until halfway through the evening when Sarah realised that she hadn’t seen Todd since they left the co-op, and wandered off to find him, carrying a plate of food.

Sandra told me, with what I must say was only the merest hint of embarrassment, that when Sarah threw open the door of the bus, releasing a cloud of amyl nitrate and marijuana smoke that must have made Andrew Sullivan’s nose twitch six states away, Sandra was on top of Todd, stark naked, mid-orgasm and shouting “Ride me like Paul Revere!” at the top of her voice.

The words “wild, screaming, hair-tearing hissy fit” apparently do not begin to do justice to what then ensued.

Sarah lobbed clamshells at Todd, followed by the plate, and Sandra heard each of them hit his forehead with a pronounced thud. Sandra extracted Little Todd from her nether parts and made a break for the door, leaving behind her red Dior suit and some very new Jimmy Choos. She says that the last thing she saw before she managed to escape was Sarah advancing towards Todd brandishing a plastic spork and screaming that she was going to cut off his “fucking Levi Johnston”.

I won’t bore you with the sordid tale of how Sandra managed to convince John Sununu to lend her his limousine to get to the airport, or how in Sarah’s absence Marge cornered several journalists and started raving about squirrels and how they want to take over the country – You can expect that to be taken up as part of the Tea Party platform any day now.

In finishing, however, I will just note three things. First, that the news reports, while noting that Sarah and Todd’s motorcade managed to break several road rules after leaving that clambake, just before the Sarah Palin bus tour was “postponed” indefinitely, entirely failed to mention Todd’s amazing ability to drive a bus with one hand clamped to his crotch to staunch the bleeding.

Second – the last time I saw Sarah Palin on the television she seemed to be wearing a very nice red Dior suit and some quite adorable Jimmy Choo slingbacks, which goes to show that beggars can’t be choosers.

Finally, that Sandra came home from her last appointment with the gynecologist – menopause having been staved off for years because of all those Cambodian hormones – with a little surprise. It won’t be easy raising a baby in a retirement home, but we’ll do our best.

We’re thinking of calling it Clam.

[H/t for the image to the gorgeous Rumproasters.]

[Cross posted at Sarah Proud and Tall.]

Thursday Morning Open Thread

President Obama’s “unusually feisty” press conference yesterday (NYTimes has the full video) seems to be getting excellent reviews. The Washington Post praised his “combative new tone“; Dana Millbank added, “This was Obama as he ought to be… Populism, pugilism and American exceptionalism: From a stoic president, this was a refreshing blend..”
Greg Sargent pointed out that “Obama mounted a surprisingly aggressive moral case for ending high end tax cuts, casting it as a test of our society’s priorities, and argued — crucially — that anyone who fails to support ending them is fundamentally unserious about the deficit.”
Matthew Continetti, speaking for the Disloyal Opposition, whined that “President Obama spent most of his press conference belittling Republicans… he’s playing the same old game of coalition politics, desperately trying to divide the public by pitting Republicans and the rich against the rest of America.”
And back among the sane people, Nancy Pelosi said Bravo!.. The President has spoken out and there will be a clearer understanding of what the choices are for the American people. We join the President in what he has long called for: a balanced, bipartisan package that creates jobs, protects Medicare, and respects the retirement of our seniors and the education of our children.”


So… with such cheering words to launch us once more unto the breach, what’s on everybody’s agenda as the Great Independence Day Holiday Weekend-Plus looms upon us?