Random thoughts, dubious rants, curiosities and worthy citations on the media, politics, marketing, music, inanity, and animals, among other things. Words and pictures and stuff, mostly from south central Wisconsin USA
I apologize in advance for going way, way past the "fair use" standards by completely re-posting this piece from Jed Lewison, an editor at Daily Kos. But it's worth getting out there to as many people as possible.
What was the average monthly private sector job growth in 2008, the final year of the Bush presidency, and what has it been so far in 2010?
What was the Federal deficit for the last fiscal year of the Bush presidency, and what was it for the first full fiscal year of the Obama presidency?
What was the stock market at on the last day of the Bush presidency? What is it at today?
Which party's candidate for speaker will campaign this weekend with a Nazi reenactor who dressed up in a SS uniform?
In 2008, we lost an average of 317,250 private sector jobs per month. In 2010, we have gained an average of 95,888 private sector jobs per month. (Source) That's a difference of nearly five million jobs between Bush's last year in office and President Obama's second year.
In FY2009, which began on September 1, 2008 and represents the Bush Administration's final budget, the budget deficit was $1.416 trillion. In FY2010, the first budget of the Obama Administration, the budget deficit was $1.291 trillion, a decline of $125 billion. (Source) Yes, that means President Obama has cut the deficit -- there's a long way to go, but we're in better shape now than we were under Bush and the GOP.
On Bush's final day in office, the Dow, NASDAQ, and S&P 500 closed at 7,949, 1,440, and 805, respectively. Today, as of 10:15AM Pacific, they are at 11,108, 2,512, and 1,183. That means since President Obama took office, the Dow, NASDAQ, and S&P 500 have increased 40%, 74%, and 47%, respectively.
The Republican Party, whose candidate for speaker, John Boehner, will campaign with Nazi re-enactor Rich Iott this weekend. If you need an explanation why this is offensive, you are a lost cause.
The moral of the story is this: if you vote Republican, I hope you enjoy Election Day -- because you're not going to like what comes next.
If you have some misguided friends who have bought the bullshit coming out of FOX News and similar venues, and might not follow a link to Daily Kos, then send them here instead.
[Major h/t to Jed, and apologies for the shameles lift as well. But I know you'll agree that it's OK in special circumstances.]
It's great that we have a president who is so fucking smart, and can articulate things clearly and concisely, using proper English.
I made a point of watching this presidential interview live specifically because it was with Jon Stewart and The Daily Show. That's how little I think of traditional and cable television news these days.
The fact that President Obama would appear on The Daily Show is every bit as logical and strategic as President George W. Bush NOT appearing on The Daily Show... which would have been a disaster.
Craig Kiborn must be sitting at home muttering "That could have been me. That should have been me." No, Craig. It shouldn't have been you. Not even close. So whatever happened to you anyway, Craig?
A "President McCain" would have tried to be hip and funny in the same situation, and would have failed miserably. I can easily picture that creepy fake smile.
I seriously doubt Bob Scheiffer would ever have said "Dude, you don't want to use that phrase" in response to hearing the President say "He did a heck of a job."
I bet George W. Bush would have turned, smiled and waited for the applause to die down each time, basking in it all the while.
That said, I bet there wouldn't have been much applause if George W. Bush did an interview like this. (See #3.)
At first I was a little surprised there wasn't some opening schtick like every other night on The Daily Show. But I quickly realized it would be wrong to keep the President of the United States sitting in the green room with a deli tray and some bottled water while he waited out a monologue.
I wish the White House communication staff did a better job at hammering home all the things this administration has accomplished in the past 18 months or so. It's a pretty impressive list, especially given that the Republican Party pretty much played the role of spoiled petulant child all this time at the expense of the American people.
I would love to see Jon Stewart moderate at least one of the presidential candidate debates in 2012.
Republican tax plan adds more than
$36 billion to the federal deficit next year; transfers most of that to the rich.
The Washington Post reports that the analysts for the non-partisan Congressional Joint Committee on Taxation have been crunching some numbers on both the Democratic and Republican tax proposals. With that Bush tax cuts due to expire, we need a new plan.
A Republican plan to extend tax cuts for the rich would add more than
$36 billion to the federal deficit next year -- and transfer the bulk
of that cash into the pockets of the nation's millionaires, according
to a congressional analysis released Wednesday.
Hmmm. But I thought Republicans were against (right now) any kind of deficit spending... except for wars and associated profiteers, of course. Anyway...
New data from the nonpartisan Joint Committee on Taxation show that
households earning more than $1 million a year would reap nearly $31
billion in tax breaks under the GOP plan in 2011, for an average tax
cut per household of about $100,000.
And the distributions of the tax cuts look kind of like this:
Wow! That sure is a big gray dot there.
Meanwhile, there are some who think both plans are a bad idea...
Given the soaring national debt, many economists deem both proposals
unaffordable. Even some Republicans, including Reagan administration
budget chief David Stockman and former Fed chairman Alan Greenspan,
have urged lawmakers to let them expire and allow income tax rates to
pop back up to their levels during the Clinton administration.
Both parties are pushing on. The Democrats want to live up to Obama's campaign pledge not to raise taxes on the middle class. Meanwhile, Republicans are demanding support for their high-dollar plan, despite the deficit and the rather selfish and unseemly "let them eat cake" appearance, because they know that people who make over a million a year are really hurting. Can you imagine having to go from the 25 year old Macallen to the 12 year old stuff? Outrageous!
I'm inclined to roll with the President and the Democrats on this one, but I actually think Stockman and Greenspan are correct.
It's not over. Not by a long shot. But today a federal judge struck down California's Proposition 8, the 2008 statewide ballot issue that essentially made same-sex couples second class citizens. And he advanced a fairly sweeping opinion that makes a whole lot of sense.
Proposition 8 fails to advance any rational basis in singling out gay
men and lesbians for denial of a marriage license. Indeed the evidence
shows Proposition 8 does nothing more than enshrine in the California
constitution the notion that opposite sex couples are superior to same
Plaintiffs do not seek recognition of a new right. To characterize
plaintiffs’ objective as "the right to same-sex marriage" would suggest
that plaintiffs seek something different from what opposite-sex couples
across the state enjoy —— namely, marriage. Rather, plaintiffs ask
California to recognize their relationships for what they are:
Props to Judge Vaughn Walker for doing the hard work to create a fact-packed decision. This isn't some activist judge making law from the bench. This is a thoughtful, bold ruling.
As Rachel Maddow opined this evening, in this country we don't put rights up for a popular vote. Rights are not a popularity contest, where the majority gets to impose some kind of moral superiority on the minority.
Keith Olberman's "special comment" from November 10, 2008 is worth revisiting...
[h/t Barb and Pico at DK for zeroing in on the excerpts]
There are somewhere around 13% of US citizens that identify as atheists or nonthiests... people who do not believe in a god or other supreme deity or what have you. Closer to 16% claim no religious affiliation. And well over half think religion shouldn't play a roll in politics. Of those who do hold a religious affiliation, only about one third see their church membership as being conservative. (Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life).
Of course, given that the Republican Senate caucus sees 41% as a controlling majority these days, I guess it stands to reason that the religious right wing zealots would freak out that staffers in the Obama administration would have the unmitigated gall to meet with a group of nontheist -- atheist -- "don't buy into a god thing" leaders. Because those godless people are haters, don't you know.
"It is one thing for Administration to meet with groups of varying viewpoints,
but it is quite another for a senior official to sit down with activists
representing some of the most hate-filled, anti-religious groups in the nation,"
says In God We Trust's Chairman Bishop Council Nedd.
And, to be fair, guys like the good Bishop know hate when they see it. Hell, they have brought hate to an art form. They own the franchise rights to hating gays, hating a woman's right to control her own body, hating people who have a god that isn't their god, hating people who say stuff like "Jesus was an Ethiopian (aka Black), hating contraception, hating sex ed in schools, and probably hating competing forms of hate. I think they invented self-loathing too... gotta give bonus props for that one.
So what's on the minds of those anti-god, atheistic haters that the religious right haters hate so much? ABC's Jake Tapper reports...
[Sean Faircloth, executive director of the Secular Coalition of America] said they would address three items: "religiously based child abuse
issues, so-called faith-healing" and religious child care being exempt
from some health and safety laws; the "pervasive" religious atmosphere
in the military and ways in which troops "with non-theistic views are
made to feel unwelcome"; and faith-based initiatives.
Hmmm. OK. So they want to talk about people who let their kids suffer and die by withholding basic medical treatment so as to let "god's will" take it's course. Yeah, that would appear to be a needless tragedy and therefore kind of a problem in the 21st Century... worth discussing. And these heathen haters want to talk about that unspoken "Go Our God, the Godliest God of All, or Go Home" military policy. This appears to be a reasonable issue for consideration, given the Constitution does seem to have provisions for both freedom of and from religion. And then there are those so-called "faith-based" initiatives that some might call cash giveaways to religious organizations. But, wait; don't those programs help people? (Sounds like socialism... insert drama sting here... but let's overlook that for now.) It appears reasonable to think that secular organizations should be able to administer some of that faith-funneled money too. Maybe they can call themselves names like The Church of Common Sense, if that will make it easier.
For a bunch of people who call themselves Christians, these buffoons really give Christianity a bad name. I remain convinced that the vast majority of people who identify as Christian are good, decent, and tolerant people. (And the Pew study seems to back that up.) But these few hardliners seem to want to speak for everybody... loudly and hatefully. Isn't that always the way? (Oddly, as we've learned, they also follow a "Do as I say, not as I do" kind of policy, but that too is for another time.)
Presuming there was a Jesus, and he was as loving and giving and selfless as he is made out to be, I have to think this crap makes him kind of mad... the way some people throw his name around and attach it to shit totally inconsistent with everything he stood for. Reminds me of a great t-shirt I saw.