Because Soshalism, That’s Why!

Further evidence of the Kenyan Mooslim’s utter failure to grasp the essentials of free market economics.

Bonus flashback [Huffpo link]:

On the auto bailout, despite GM going public last week and sending billions of dollars back to taxpayers, Perry still insisted that it wasn’t successful and said the federal government shouldn’t be involved in private sector growth.

Double bonus flashback:

In 2009, Mr. Romney said Mr. Obama’s plans for rescuing the automobile industry were “tragic” and “a very sad circumstance for this country.”

Of course, this being Romney, he now says that this tragic idea was really his in the first place, which contortion is one of many reasons that Rick Perry is the most likely GOP nominee.


Image:  Giovanni Battista Tiepolo, Pulcinella and the Tumblers,  1797.

Honest Questions

Atrios links to this Media Matters post about the day of service on 9/11, where they find a bunch of stupid wingers (Gateway Pundit, Pam Geller, somebody at Fox Nation*, Weasel Zippers and, of course, El Rushbo) calling Obama a socialist because he asked us to serve soup at a kitchen instead of shop.

My questions: is it worth even paying attention to those blogs? Are they influential enough to bother? Does what they say trickle down to Fox News and then into major media outlets?

In other words, I wonder if energy spent calling out the fringe-y, absolutely predictable “Obama can do no right” critics just empowers them. Should they be treated like trolls and simply ignored, or does shining a light on them help further discredit them?

Just to be clear: I think Media Matters does a great job, I think Geller and others say is despicable, and I don’t think there’s anything to fear by calling them out. I’m asking a question of practical politics: I’m pretty sure that pissing off liberals puts some gas in Geller and Rush’s tank, so is it worth calling them out over every issue? I just don’t pay that much attention to right-wing blogs, so I don’t know how these bloggers rank and what influence they have in the general media environment.
[*] My understanding is that anyone can post at Fox Nation — it’s not an official Fox News vehicle. Correct me if I’m wrong.

We Dodged A Bullet

The North Anna nuclear plant, ten miles from the epicenter of last week’s earthquake, was designed to withstand a 5.9-6.1 magnitude earthquake, and may have exceeded its design limits. It’s a good thing everything worked:

The spent fuel pools at North Anna contain 4-5 times more than their original designs intended. As in Japan, all U.S. power nuclear power plant spent fuel pools do not have steel lined, concrete barriers that cover reactor vessels to prevent the escape of radioactivity. They are not required to have back-up generators to keep used fuel rods cool, if offsite power is lost. Even though they contain these very large amount of radioactivity, spent reactor fuel pools in the U.S. are mostly contained in ordinary industrial structures designed to protect them against the elements.

North Anna lost power and its generators worked (one failed but another spare was put on-line to replace it). As with other US plants, the spent fuel needs to be moved to dry cask storage, where no electrically-powered cooling is needed.

This must have been for the Texas preachers, too

Rick Perry loses a round:

A federal judge on Tuesday blocked key provisions of Texas’ new law requiring a doctor to perform a sonogram before an abortion, ruling the measure violates the free speech rights of both doctors and patients.

U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks upheld the requirement that sonograms be performed, but struck down the provisions requiring doctors to describe the images to their patients and requiring women to hear the descriptions.
The law made exceptions for women who were willing to sign statements saying they were pregnant as a result of rape or incest or that their fetus had an irreversible abnormality. Sparks questioned whether the Republican-controlled Texas Legislature was trying to “permanently brand” women who are victims of sexual assault. Sparks wrote that forcing doctors to discuss the results with a patient who may not want to listen “compels physicians to advance an ideological agenda with which they may not agree, regardless of any medical necessity and irrespective of whether the pregnant women wish to listen.”

Sparks was particularly troubled by the requirement that victims of sexual assault or incest sign statements attesting to that fact to get around the provision. That would require women to disclose “extremely personal, medically irrelevant facts” that will be “memorialized in records that are, at best, semi-private,” Sparks wrote.

“(It) is difficult to avoid the troubling conclusion the Texas Legislature either wants to permanently brand women who choose to get abortions, or views these certifications as potential evidence to be used against physicians and women,” Sparks wrote.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry, a Republican who is running for president, was critical of Tuesday’s ruling. Perry had made the law one of his top priorities for the 2011 legislative session.

GOP front-runner Rick Perry pushed a law that directs a physician to read a script to a woman, and the woman to “hear” the words (whatever that means).

As a reminder, here’s a leading conservative intellectual lecturing us all that laws like this are nothing to worry about, and are simply an attempt to “stroke the egos” of Texas preachers.

Finally, journalists should remember that Republican politicians have usually been far more adept at mobilizing their religious constituents than those constituents have been at claiming any sort of political “dominion.” George W. Bush rallied evangelical voters in 2004 with his support for the Federal Marriage Amendment, and then dropped the gay marriage issue almost completely in his second term. Perry knows how to stroke the egos of Texas preachers, but he was listening to pharmaceutical lobbyists, not religious conservatives, when he signed an executive order mandating S.T.D. vaccinations for Texas teenagers.

Pure politically motivated nonsense, of course. It’s a state law, Rick Perry made it a top priority, and women and physicians in Texas will have to abide by the law, despite the dishonest representations of conservative theorists who repeatedly assure us the religious Right has no real clout in the GOP.

Despite denials by conservatives who are hoping to assuage the fears of moderate voters by lying to them, elections have real-world consequences and laws like this are one of them.

h/t to commenter soonergrunt

Dear Heather, Plato would have hated your article

Occasionally somebody publishes something that is such a combination of totally uninformed and incredibly condescending that you almost have to admire it. There’s a kind of shit-eating brio that you just have to take your hate off to for a minute.

Then after that minute, you need to take a scalpel to it.  Fair warning, this post will be quite long. Let us begin.

Read more

Open Thread: The TerMITTnator

(Mike Luckovich via
Don’t have a Mac, iPod, or iPad, but (or should that be “therefore”?) I LOL’d.


Steve Benen at the Washington Monthly reports that my personal nemesis, Willard “Mitt” Romney, has decided he can no longer stand above the fray now that James Richard “Guv Goodhair” Perry is stealing the GOP primary limelight:

In a speech to the Veterans of Foreign Wars national convention today, Romney has apparently come up with an opening salvo.

According to excerpts of the speech released by his campaign, Mr. Romney plans to say: “Career politicians got us into this mess, and they simply don’t know how to get us out!”
It is an argument Mr. Romney has made repeatedly on the campaign trail — that he is not a career politician, and is one of the few candidates, having spent 25 years in the private sector, with the know-how to create jobs — but never in such a pointed contrast to Mr. Perry, who first entered politics in 1984 and has not lost an election since.

… Romney’s reliance on his private-sector background is itself problematic — he got rich by putting thousands of Americans out of work.
But even if we put all of that aside, the “career politician” line seems especially odd given Romney’s background. Isn’t this the guy who ran for the Senate in 1994, ran for governor in 2002, ran for president in 2008, and is running for president again in 2012? Indeed, by most measures, he’s been running for the White House continuously for more than four years.
In other words, wouldn’t Mitt Romney be a career politician, too, if only voters liked him a little more?

As a stickler for accuracy, I must point out that Willard started his vulture-capitalist career with a mere multi-million-dollar trust fund, although in true Galtian fashion he’s used all the tools of the modern MBA sociopath to multiply that into a quarter-billion-dollar fortune for his campaign managers to steal from his own kids. But President Obama can safely state that Romney has devoted his life to destroying American jobs in both the public and private sector… or is that going to be the Romney campaign’s advertising pitch to his fellow Republicans?

Open Thread

I had this really weird dream last night that I was hanging out with Patton Oswalt and David Cross and Oswalt told Cross to “STFU while the candles are burning or there will be no fun.” Later on I had a dream that I went back into the Army to my old unit and realized I hated all the people I thought I liked.

I have no idea wtf that meant, but thought this was a good time to share it.