Early Monday Morning Open Thread

ballard racoon n parkbencher
(Ballard Street via GoComics.com)
Professor Krugman would probably rather reason with racoons than Republicans:

The Ignorance Caucus
Last week Eric Cantor, the House majority leader, gave what his office told us would be a major policy speech. And we should be grateful for the heads-up about the speech’s majorness. Otherwise, a read of the speech might have suggested that he was offering nothing more than a meager, warmed-over selection of stale ideas.

To be sure, Mr. Cantor tried to sound interested in serious policy discussion. But he didn’t succeed — and that was no accident. For these days his party dislikes the whole idea of applying critical thinking and evidence to policy questions. And no, that’s not a caricature: Last year the Texas G.O.P. explicitly condemned efforts to teach “critical thinking skills,” because, it said, such efforts “have the purpose of challenging the student’s fixed beliefs and undermining parental authority.”…

O.K., at this point the conventions of punditry call for saying something to demonstrate my evenhandedness, something along the lines of “Democrats do it too.” But while Democrats, being human, often read evidence selectively and choose to believe things that make them comfortable, there really isn’t anything equivalent to Republicans’ active hostility to collecting evidence in the first place.

The truth is that America’s partisan divide runs much deeper than even pessimists are usually willing to admit; the parties aren’t just divided on values and policy views, they’re divided over epistemology. One side believes, at least in principle, in letting its policy views be shaped by facts; the other believes in suppressing the facts if they contradict its fixed beliefs….

Apart from the ongoing breakdown of the American political experiment, what’s on the agenda for another Monday morning?

58 replies
  1. 1
    Bruuuuce says:

    Reatreating once more unto the Turdblossom, dear Republicans?

    The aide said that guys like me were “in what we call the reality-based community,” which he defined as people who “believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality.” … “That’s not the way the world really works anymore,” he continued. “We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality—judiciously, as you will—we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out. We’re history’s actors…and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.”

  2. 2
    Knockabout says:

    Almost off the front page, our poor poor Zandar.

    I’m sure you’ll be delighted to know that Zandar’s favorite hack is using his argument on drones not being a big deal.

    That’s right folks, Zandar has become the “Village Idiot” he despises the most.

    I expect that will be his final front page post here.

  3. 3
    Bruuuuce says:

    OT, but big news: Italian news agency ANSA says Pope Benedict will resign at the end of February

    Not yet confirmed by the Vatican, but if true, WOW!

  4. 4
    danielx says:


    Gosh, in a couple more generations they might even come up with a Pontiff who hasn’t been involved in concealment of serial child molestation.

  5. 5
    gene108 says:

    BBC World News is reporting on my TV that the Pope’s resigning at the end of the month.

  6. 6
    Bruuuuce says:

    @danielx: We can only hope. Meanwhile, we can also hope that they can elect someone who’s closer to the spirit of Vatican II than the spirit of the 1100s.

  7. 7
    Bruuuuce says:

    According to WCBS-AM radio in NYC, the Vatican now confirms the report. https://twitter.com/reuters/statuses/300922108811284480

    Can I get a couple of wows, and a huzzah or two?

  8. 8
    Knockabout says:

    But aside from that, the hysterics should chill out. Drones are simply the latest war-fighting technology; the legal and political principles are as old as the nation.

    –Jennifer Rubin, this morning

    We’ve had this debate about people being killed in military action since this whole American experiment began, folks. Here’s the thing, if we’re going to be over there doing this kind of thing, and right now that’s the policy, I’d rather see drones than boots on the ground.

    –Zandar, last night

    You’re done. Bye.

  9. 9
    scav says:

    @gene108: indeed. guard has nothing specific yet.

    still. hope we don’t get worse, unlikely we’ll get wildly better unless the cardinals do something unexpected, no?

  10. 10
    Raven says:

    Bigger breaking news, Mornin Joe says we have a SPENDING PROBLEM!!!

  11. 11
    gene108 says:


    Stephen Colbert for Pope!

    Papacy moves to NYC, so he doesn’t have to quit his day job.

    Suck it Italians…the new schism…

  12. 12
    Raven says:


  13. 13
    Amir Khalid says:

    This looks big. The New York Times has it too. Unless there’s been an internal coup at the Vatican, I’m tending to think the upcoming abdication is health-related — the old boy is well into his 80s, after all.

  14. 14
    Baud says:


    That’s not the way the world really works anymore,” he continued. “We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality.

    That’s not entirely wrong, since we are all part of the reality we observe. Karl’s hubris was that he believed he could create the whole of reality through sheer will alone.

    Interesting news about the pope. More interesting will be to see what direction the Church takes now.

  15. 15
    Raven says:

    Mika is under his desk.

  16. 16
    scav says:

    for those hoping for the next red shoe to drop, the beeb does have a live text thing going.here

    1109: The Pope says his strength is no longer adequate to continue in office, in a statement reported by Reuters news agency.
    1107: This is a surprise announcement, and makes him the first pope to resign in centuries.
    1104: Vatican spokesman Frederico Lombardi has told the AFP news agency that he will step down at 20:00 on 28 February.
    1105: Welcome to the BBC’s live coverage of the news that Pope Benedict XVI has announced his resignation.

  17. 17
    scav says:

    @gene108: Seconded! Bring on the white smoke on set!

  18. 18
    Baud says:


    Colbert will be a shoe in after he blames Obama for the pope resigning.

  19. 19
    scav says:

    @scav: Guard much better here

  20. 20
    Bruuuuce says:

    @Baud: The thing about creating one’s own reality is that there are still larger forces acting. Even politically, that’s true, far less on the levels of physical sciences. When the philosophy that “we create what we want” extends to trying to hold back the tide, or claiming that rape victims’ bodies have special natural defenses against pregnancy, it becomes laughable and mockable.

  21. 21
    NotMax says:

    The head of the Kumbh Mela festival organising committee in India has resigned a day after a stampede killed at least 36 people at the train station in the northern city of Allahabad.

    State minister Azam Khan said he was “stepping down on moral grounds”.  Source

    Rail Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal said an inquiry has been ordered into what led to the stampede. He said the railway station saw huge crowds of people wishing to return home after prayers on the river banks. “There were just too many people on the platforms,” Bansal told reporters.


    “We have announced Rs. 1 lakh for the next kin of the deceased in the incident and Rs. 50,000 for the grievously injured persons and Rs. 25,000 for those who have suffered simple injury in the stampede,” he said.  Source

    1 lakh = 100,000 rupees.

  22. 22
    danielx says:


    Why not? Der Rove is trying to wish the Tea Party out of existence, and scamming contributors out of millions at the same time. What’s not to like?

  23. 23
    Schlemizel says:

    Seems there have been plenty of Popes that ruled long after the had the capacity to do so, wonder what makes this one so special. Do they need a Sicilian to manage issues inside their bank? Is word about to leak that goosestepping is not the only activity in his past that he is embarrassed about?

    AS for the odds of the college picking a non-reactionairy, modern leader – yeah, right just as soon as the goopers do. The problems for both groups is the same: they are run by backwards thinking, reactionary good ol boys who are first and foremost looking out for their own interests and power.

  24. 24
    Bruuuuce says:

    @danielx: What’s not to like?

    Turdblossom, running free even after all he’s done to damage the country.

  25. 25
    magurakurin says:


    jesus, dude. Show us on the doll where Zandar touched you.

  26. 26
    scav says:

    What’s not to like about the detail that another pontiff to resign (there have been a small few) was Benedict IX in 1045 who had been blessed by a succession of financial scandals. XVI’s got more than mere finance on his scaldal-menu.

  27. 27
    PsiFighter37 says:

    Oh hey, just because it needs to be said loud and clear, every day and every day – fuck Lindsay Graham. I hate that shitbag more than ever when he’s whining. Even McCain has stopped beating the Benghazi dead horse, but Lucy doesn’t seem like he’ll be content until he fucks that dead horse in public, possibly with a male cohort.

    What an awful, loathsome human being.

  28. 28
    dmsilev says:

    Will the Republicans filibuster Obama’s nomination to replace the Pope?

    Also, too, what sort of retirement benefits does an ex-Pope get?

  29. 29
    Schlemizel says:


    If its like the old days someone would just slip a little something extra into his evening gruel or something sharp between his ribs. Not really much of a retirement plan.

  30. 30
    PsiFighter37 says:

    @dmsilev: Since the last one retired in the 1400s, maybe a guarantee of hot water for a bath every night by candlelight? A stable of horses? Not having to talk about any more child abuse cases?

  31. 31
    Paul in KY says:

    @Bruuuuce: Good luck on that.

  32. 32
    Bruuuuce says:

    @Paul in KY: I don’t expect it. Doubly so with so many of the Cardinals being the ones who elected Benedict, or whom he elevated because they agree with his regressive philosophies. But we can hope.

  33. 33
    Paul in KY says:

    @magurakurin: Maybe there is drone footage of it ;-)

  34. 34
    SFAW says:


    Since the last one retired in the 1400s,

    Ah, but with Global Warming, can we expect “600-Year-Event” papal resignations to occur more frequently?

  35. 35
    Paul in KY says:

    @Bruuuuce: Maybe they need to get another Italian in there. John XXIII & Paul VI were both Italian.

  36. 36
    SFAW says:


    Yeah, we get that you hate Zandar with the heat of 10-Brazillion suns.

    Here’s a gentle suggestion – no, the merest hint of a suggestion, really – but why don’t you start your own fucking blog, call it “The ‘I Fucking Hate Fucking Zandar, That Fucking Fuck’ Blog,” and go crazy over there.

    Because, although ALL of us here absolutely LOVE your witty takedowns, bon mots, song stylings, and generally risible comments re: Zandar, we are DESPERATELY concerned that you might – unjustifiably, of course – be painted as a monomaniacal asshole, a/k/a a Johnny One-Note, and this would, unfortunately, detract from your earth-shatteringly-important message.

    Hugs from me and the gang.

  37. 37
    Elizabelle says:

    @Amir Khalid:

    I gotta say, had noticed how much the Archdiocese of Los Angeles was dragging feet on releasing documents about their not disclosing child abuse, plus the rebuke of Cardinal Mahoney and the Bishop of Santa Barbara, very recently — considered “unprecedented”.

    I have been wondering if the Pope is involved more personally in that scandal and that’s speeding his decision to resign.

    But it’s probably health-related, and if so, I commend Ratzinger for setting this precedent.

  38. 38
    Cassidy says:


    You’re done. Bye.

    Ummm, should anyone tell him he doesn’t have a say about anything around here, or are we just going to keep laughing and mocking? It’s kind of sad and pathetic at this point.

  39. 39
    handsmile says:

    So Joey Ratz handed in his two-weeks notice. Who knew the Papacy was just like any other job?

  40. 40
    Robin G. says:

    I don’t understand how Catholics can make a papal resignation work with their theology. How does one just stop being the voice of God on earth?

  41. 41
    SFAW says:

    @Paul in KY:

    Maybe they need to get another Italian in there.

    How about “Pope Nino the First”? If the College of Cardinals could convince Scalia that he has the brilliant Catholic mind they need to head the Church, I’d consider that a win-win scenario.

    And maybe he’d take Clarence Cardinal Sockpuppet with him. The world would be a better place, were this all to happen.

    Well, not the Catholic world, of course, but America would be in much better shape.

  42. 42
    SFAW says:


    It’s kind of sad and pathetic at this point.

    But in an endearing way.

  43. 43
    Ecks says:

    @SFAW: Sully and Mike just need to sneak into her (gotta be McLaren) room at night and whisper “Zaaaaandar”, and her screams will power Monsteropolis more than children’s laughter ever had a hope at.

  44. 44
    Paul in KY says:

    @SFAW: If that is what it took to get Scalia & his lickspittle outa here, I would start giving the Catholic Church mad props for ‘taking one for the team’.

    I know Nino would love the outfits.

  45. 45
    RobertDSC-iMac G5 says:


  46. 46
    SFAW says:

    @Paul in KY:

    I know Nino would love the outfits.

    Yeah, he seems to get off on retro hats like that. Although I think he REALLY love stuff patterned after whatever Torquemada wore.

  47. 47
    Paul in KY says:

    @SFAW: That & what Torquemada got to do.

    Nobody stops the Spanish Inquisition!

  48. 48
    chopper says:


    he’s starting to sound like an odd mix of baghdad bob and she who shan’t be named.

  49. 49
    Mike E says:

    @handsmile: Like any job with an AWESOME wardrobe allowance! Party like it’s 1399!

  50. 50
    gnomedad says:

    the other believes in suppressing the facts if they contradict its fixed beliefs

    Just like liberals are the real racists, they’re the real whatever-you-call-this. I’m rubber and you’re glue.

  51. 51
    gnomedad says:


    Meanwhile, we can also hope that they can elect someone who’s closer to the spirit of Vatican II than the spirit of the 1100s.

    Bah. It’s hard to believe he’d resign voluntarily unless he felt the fix is in.

  52. 52
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:


    Bah. It’s hard to believe he’d resign voluntarily unless he felt the fix is in.

    Great minds… He’s probably been grooming a successor for a while now.

  53. 53
    Malachi Constant says:

    That sort of thinking (picking and choosing and ignoring data) comes straight out of religious fundamentalism so it should come as no surprise that the rump of the GOP has applied it to politics as well.

  54. 54
    susan says:

    The Nuns on the Bus probably know something about this. Someone should talk to them…

  55. 55
    handsmile says:

    @Mike E:

    Perhaps Silvio Berlusconi can provide the entertainment for his retirement party. A little “bunga-bunga’ for Benny and the boys.

  56. 56
    Hidden Heart says:

    All current members of the College of Cardinals were appointed by John Paul II or Palpatine XVI. The next pope might well be African or Latin American, but he’s going to be a nasty wretched piece of reactionary dogma unless a majority of the College suddenly decides to turn their backs on their patrons, their careers, and the ideas they’ve espoused their whole working lives. There simply are no surviving cardinals from the days of Paul VI and John XXIII.

  57. 57
    Tone in DC says:


    magurakurin Says:


    jesus, dude. Show us on the doll where Zandar touched you.


    Other comments ask for better trolls. To me, that’s like asking for better malaria. All I want is for the zapper to nail mosquitoes like knockabout.

  58. 58
    jawbone says:

    As Krugman notes, there are indeed differences between the Dems and Repubs, especially if the Democratic Wing of the Democratic Party is considered. However, a majority of Dems currently seem to be bought and owned by Big Corporations and Big Money.

    So, Dems may come to that support for Corporatism due to looking at the facts –without Big Money and Big Corporations’ money they can’t afford to get elected– but in terms of how we in the lower economic quintiles are affected by legislation and policy, it’s one party with two wings. Both keep Corporatism and expanded executive power aloft. Both ignore many of the basic needs of the majority of people in this country. Both avoid taking on important issues, such as actual health care and taking steps to limit global warming.

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