2009-02-25

Public Hated Jindal's Response

I don't actually have polling numbers to back that title up as I do in the parallel post below, but if the Fox News guys had this reaction, then you know how it played in the country at large:
BRIT HUME: It read better than it sounded… this was not Bobby Jindal’s greatest rhetorical moment.

NINA EASTON: The delivery was not terrific.

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER: Jindal didn’t have a chance.

JUAN WILLIAMS: Childish.
If it had been in the ballpark of a close decision, they would have spun it as a great victory for Jindal and the GOP.

Or how about David Brooks, one of those "Washington Conservative Intellectuals" that Rush Limbaugh hates so much:
JIM LEHRER: Now that, of course, was Gov. Bobby Jindal, the governor of Louisiana, making the Republican response. David, how well do you think he did?

DAVID BROOKS: Uh, not so well. You know, I think Bobby Jindal is a very promising politician, and I oppose the stimulus because I thought it was poorly drafted. But to come up at this moment in history with a stale "government is the problem," "we can't trust the federal government" - it's just a disaster for the Republican Party. The country is in a panic right now. They may not like the way the Democrats have passed the stimulus bill, but that idea that we're just gonna - that government is going to have no role, the federal government has no role in this, that - In a moment when only the federal government is actually big enough to do stuff, to just ignore all that and just say "government is the problem, corruption, earmarks, wasteful spending," it's just a form of nihilism. It's just not where the country is, it's not where the future of the country is. There's an intra-Republican debate. Some people say the Republican Party lost its way because they got too moderate. Some people say they got too weird or too conservative. He thinks they got too moderate, and so he's making that case. I think it's insane, and I just think it's a disaster for the party. I just think it's unfortunate right now.
That'll make for fun Rush listening tomorrow.  I can't wait.

I don't know what to do with so much positive emotion.  I'm still a little out of sorts with this change that's finally come to our nation's politics.

Update: Here's the longest Jindal video I can find, and it is truly a trainwreck:

2009-02-24

Public Loved the Semi-SotU

CBS insta-poll on Obama's Semi-SotU
Stimulus is going to help me?

Before:
  • 62%
After:
  • 79%
And from CNN:
85% said the speech made them feel more optimistic about the direction the country is headed in (though granted, feeling more optimistic than before might be a low bar), and only 11% said it made them more negative.

And 82% say they support Obama's economic plans as outlined in the speech, with only 17% against.
An ORC poll found that 92% were somewhat or very positive about the speech.  Wow.

It was a perfectly crafted address, striking the balance between sober honesty, hope for the future, and rebuttal of Republican dishonesty. We'll turn this crisis into opportunity, let there be no doubt. I love this guy.

Obama and McCain at Fiscal Summit

At the Fiscal Summit yesterday, a bunch of great stuff happened. Sure, sure, Obama game a great speech filled with sober assessments, honesty and graciousness. That's quickly becoming par for the course.

Part of that graciousness created the other notably awesome event of the day. Obama called on Senator McCain to ask the first question or make the first statement to the group. Unable to resist getting a dig in at the President, McCain said:
"We all know how large the defense budget is," the Arizona Republican said. "We all know that the cost overruns, your helicopter is now going to cost as much as Air Force One. I don't think that there's any more graphic demonstration of how good ideas have cost taxpayers enormous amount of money."
"Oooooh, that got him!" thinks McCain and his Republican buddies. "I just made him look like a hypocrite at his own Fiscal Responsibility Summit!"

Obama replied, as always on the counter-punch:
"I've already talked to [Defense Secretary Robert] Gates about a thorough review of the helicopter situation. The helicopter I have now seems perfectly adequate to me. Of course, I've never had a helicopter before. So, you know, maybe -- maybe I've been deprived and I didn't know it. But I think it is an example of the procurement process gone amuck, and we're going to have to fix it."
Booya.  Smackdown delivered.  Anyone wonder why Obama won the election?

Update: There's video! Hooray!



I love this guy.

2009-02-21

Record Gamma Ray Burst

The great guys at NASA just observed the largest Gamma Ray Burst in recorded history.  Luckily, it was far enough away not to cook us:
Astronomers believe most occur when exotic massive stars run out of nuclear fuel. As a star's core collapses into a black hole, jets of material — powered by processes not yet fully understood — blast outward at nearly the speed of light. The jets bore all the way through the collapsing star and continue into space, where they interact with gas previously shed by the star and generate bright afterglows that fade with time. ...Fermi team members calculated that the blast exceeded the power of approximately 9,000 ordinary supernovae, if the energy was emitted equally in all directions.
That's a biggun.  I hope I was on the other side of our planet at the time.

2009-02-19

Democrat's New Rules Reveal Corruption

I've rooted for Jack Murtha's electoral defeat before, on the grounds that he was reportedly a corrupt Democrat. It now looks like he's in serious trouble:
More than 100 House members secured earmarks in a major spending bill for clients of a single lobbying firm — The PMA Group — known for its close ties to John P. Murtha , the congressman in charge of Pentagon appropriations.

....PMA’s offices have been raided, and the firm closed its political action committee last week amid reports that the FBI is investigating possibly illegal campaign contributions to Murtha and other lawmakers.

No matter what the outcome of the federal investigation, PMA’s earmark success illustrates how a well-connected lobbying firm operates on Capitol Hill. And earmark accountability rules imposed by the Democrats in 2007 make it possible to see how extensively PMA worked the Hill for its clients.
No wonder Murtha was opposed to the increase transparency, eh? This is what happens in the age of Obama - if you are corrupt, you will be caught regardless of political party. I love this.

Chairman Steele - Gift to Democrats

Posted without comment:
"We want to convey that the modern-day GOP looks like the conservative party that stands on principles. But we want to apply them to urban-surburban hip-hop settings.... [W]e need to uptick our image with everyone, including one-armed midgets...  It will be avant garde, technically. It will come to table with things that will surprise everyone -- off the hook.
...
"I don't do 'cutting-edge.' That's what Democrats are doing. We're going beyond cutting-edge."
I mean, how can you comment on that?

Predator's Cat Outta the Bag

Back in 2006, the following image of a Pakistani airstrip was taken and merged into Google Earth:


This comes on the heels of Sen. Boxer's embarrassing slip that she understood the drone flights were based out of Pakistan.  She did a good job of covering for herself, saying that she was referencing a new story, not any privileged intelligence, but this seems to confirm the story.

The Pakistanis are not going to be happy.

(h/t Wired)

2009-02-18

Overlooked in the Stimulus - Tax Cuts

This point hasn't been widely picked up, but the tax cuts in Obama's Stimulus Plan are arguably the largest in American history - targeting those tax cuts to the bottom ~80% instead of the top 5% like Bush.  So the GOP just voted against the largest tax cut in history, for people that will spend it back into the economy.

How's the Club for Growth going to feel about that?  Oh, right.  Tax cuts only count if they're tax cuts for the rich.

Palin the Perpetual Victim

It's been a good long time since I wrote anything about Palin, and I got a hankering. Hence the post on her Pro-Choice daughter earlier today, and now this:
A couple of weeks before the Alaska legislature began this year's session, a bipartisan group of state senators on a retreat a few hours from here invited Gov. Sarah Palin to join them. Accompanied by a retinue of advisers, she took a seat at one end of a conference table and listened passively as Gary Stevens, the president of the Alaska Senate, a former college history professor and a low-key Republican with a reputation for congeniality, expressed delight at her presence.

Would the governor, a smiling Stevens asked, like to share some of her plans and proposals for the coming legislative session?

Palin looked around the room and paused, according to several senators present. "I feel like you guys are always trying to put me on the spot," she said finally, as the room became silent.
Wow.  She's the perfect George W. Bush Republican.  She thinks her job is being a cheerleader, rather than a leader.  Having an agenda is hard work she leaves to someone else.

Cutest Dog EVER

In perhaps the most off-topic blog post ever for Rational Discovery, I give you Ultra Puppy, Destroyer of Worlds (through cuddling).

Awwwww.

Democrats Call for Burris to Resign

Once again, the Democratic Party shows the kind of spirit I love.  Across the board, we're calling for the resignation or removal of Roland Burris.

David Orr:
It doesn't matter if there's some obscure explanations here and there. The credibility is shot. And we don't need this gamesmanship being played in our U.S senator. We need someone who has the reasonable credibility - Democrat or Republican - in this state who can go to work.
The Attorney General is getting in on it, as well as Sen. Boxer's Senate Ethics Committee:
llinois House Speaker Michael Madigan yesterday referred questions about Burris’s statements to Sangamon County prosecutor John Schmidt...

“The matter is under review by this office,” the prosecutor, Schmidt, said, confirming the House speaker’s referral. Springfield, the state capital, is located in Sangamon County.

Natalie Ravitz, a spokeswoman for U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer, a California Democrat, confirmed the federal ethics inquiry.

“Whenever allegations of improper conduct are brought to the attention of the Senate Ethics Committee, we open a preliminary inquiry,” Ravitz said in an e-mail.
I'd love to see him refuse to resign, then get expelled by the Senate Democrats. Of course, the Republicans will try to block his expulsion, just like they helped bring him into the Senate in the first place. After all, there's nothing like having the taint of Blago stinking up the Democrat's side of the chamber.

Pro-Choice Palin says Abstinence-Only is Unrealistic

Wow, there are some real gems in this interview with Bristol Palin.
She told Van Susteren that teaching sexual abstinence to teenagers is "not realistic at all."
Duh.  And yet the Bush Administration spent many hundreds of millions of dollars on this approach.  The result?  More unintended pregnancies and more abortions.

Furthermore, she talks about "her choice to have the baby:"
She also denied that her mom’s anti-abortion stand was why she didn't terminate the unplanned pregnancy.

"It was my choice to have the baby," she said. "It doesn't matter what my mom's views are on it. It was my decision."
It's worth saying that the very choice that her mother is so proud of Bristol for making is the choice Sarah Palin would deny to everyone else.

Brilliant.

2009-02-17

Another Burris Lie: He DID Raise Money for Blago

Despite his assurances to the contrary, here's yet another confession from Burris:
U.S. Sen. Roland Burris has acknowledged he sought to raise campaign funds for then-Gov. Rod Blagojevich at the request of the governor's brother at the same time he was making a pitch to be appointed to the Senate seat previously held by President Barack Obama.

Burris' latest comments in Peoria Monday night were the first time he has publicly said he was actively trying to raise money for Blagojevich. Previously Burris has left the impression that he always balked at the issue of raising money for the governor because of his interest in the Senate appointment.

In comments to reporters after appearing at a Democratic dinner, the senator several times contradicted his latest under-oath affidavit that he quietly filed with the Illinois House impeachment panel earlier this month. That affidavit was itself an attempt to clean up his live, sworn testimony to the panel Jan. 8, when he omitted his contacts with several Blagojevich insiders.
Time to go, "Senator."  Luckily, the Illinois Legislature is already looking into charges of perjury, and the Attorney General is moving on the issue as well:
Illinois Atty. Gen. Lisa Madigan led a growing chorus of Democratic officials Monday calling for a deeper investigation of U.S. Sen. Roland Burris' explanation about how he was appointed by now-ousted Gov. Rod Blagojevich.

Burris has maintained there was nothing inconsistent between his testimony before state lawmakers and a recently filed affidavit outlining more extensive contact with Blagojevich insiders than he had previously disclosed. But Illinois Republicans pressed their call for a perjury investigation by the county prosecutor in Springfield and on Monday, Democrats expressed increasing discomfort over Burris' evolving explanation of efforts to get the seat.

"This is a particularly frustrating revelation," Madigan said of Burris' recent disclosure that he had contact with five Blagojevich insiders. "I encourage the Sangamon County state's attorney to take a closer look at this in the interest of truth, integrity and transparency."

Burris said political accusations were threatening to ruin his reputation and he would appear before state lawmakers or anyone else to preserve it.
Yeah, Roland.  It's other people's political attacks that are threatening to ruin your career, not your own lies on the matter.

2009-02-15

Military Loves Obama

Just like in the campaign, the military loves Obama:
Pentagon officials don't normally gush, but Whispers has learned that top staffers were positively enthusiastic following their first meeting with the commander in chief in the secure conference room dubbed "the Tank" recently. They were impressed by the "high-level, global-strategic" discussion and by President Obama's detailed grasp of the difficulties that face the U.S. military. Said one senior Pentagon official: "He asked a lot of really, really good questions."
I love it when the officers are on the Democrat's side.  Of course, I'd "gush" too after 8 years of dealing with President Bush, who sits like a plotted plant in his briefings, waiting for Dick Cheney to make the decision.  After all, President Bush seemed to think that his main job as President is being a cheerleader, not making hard decisions.

2009-02-14

Congressional Approval Ratings

There are gratifying numbers on Congressional Approval Ratings being produced by theResearch 2000 Poll.  The upshot, with the Net Change computed by comparing to results from January 5th, 2009:

Ouch.  How's that obstructionism working out for you?

Burris Lied to Blago Impeachment Panel

How do we get this guy out of the U.S. Senate?  (from the AP)
Sen. Roland Burris admitted Saturday that former Gov. Rod Blagojevich's brother asked him for a campaign contribution before the governor appointed Burris to the Senate.

The disclosure is at odds with Burris' testimony in January when an Illinois House impeachment committee specifically asked if he had ever spoken to Robert Blagojevich or other aides to the now-deposed governor about the Senate seat vacated by Barack Obama.
One lie on the books. Here's another:
The affidavit also discloses for the first time that Burris told former Blagojevich advisers Doug Scofield and John Wyma of his interest in the post at a fundraiser in June, and later with Blagojevich chief of staff John Harris, who was arrested with Blagojevich on Dec. 9.

Scofield, Wyma and Harris were among the Blagojevich associates Burris was asked about in his Jan. 8 testimony by state Rep. Jim Durkin, the impeachment committee's ranking Republican.

In response, Burris said he had spoken only to Lon Monk, a former Blagojevich aide-turned-lobbyist, last summer about his willingness to take the seat.

"This wasn't a couple of questions that I can understand someone may forget, it goes way beyond that," Durkin said Saturday. "To say that he wasn't given the opportunity to explain himself is a load of B.S."
Yup, Burris is a liar.  He told these lies to ensure that at the end of a thoroughly corrupt process he still got seated as a U.S. Senator.  In so doing he obstructed an investigation into the man who tried to sell him that Senate seat.  Even if no money changed hands, this is absolutely unconscionable.

He is unfit for the chamber.  Time for him to go.  And while we're at it, let's amend the Constitution to provide for the popular special election of replacement Senators.

Rush the Traitor

Rush Limbaugh has already said he wants Obama to fail in the pursuit of his policies, because he thinks those policies will be bad for the nation. Fair enough - he is in opposition, after all.  In fact, I'm fairly happy to have Limbaugh defined as the leader of the Republican opposition, given his radioactivity with the general public.

But now he's gone one step too far.  Rather than hoping that Obama fails in his pursuit of his policies, he's now hoping for the policies themselves to fail.  He's not hoping that the Republicans stop Obama, but that Obama's policies fail to achieve the intended effect.
"I want everything he's doing to fail... I want the stimulus package to fail.... I do not want this to succeed."
What is the purpose of the stimulus package?  To avert a disastrously deep recession, and return the American economy to the prosperity creating juggernaut that it once was.  And he wants the package to fail to achieve that purpose.

That's no longer rooting against Obama.  That's rooting against America.  That's rooting against the American people, who don't have a job they can't lose like Rush.

Global Warming is Fake!

Take a gander at the following graph, depicting the climate for last winter as deviating from the 1951-1980 average:


Of course, basically the entire national press corps lives in the area that got colder, so what kind of stories do you think we got?

2009-02-13

Obama's Lincoln Speech

Obama's speech to the Lincoln Banquet. What a cool guy:





He gets me almost every time.

2009-02-12

FDR Did More than Worsen the Great Depression...

... he started it. So says Rep. Austria, Republican from Ohio:
"When (President Franklin) Roosevelt did this, he put our country into a Great Depression," Austria said. "He tried to borrow and spend, he tried to use the Keynesian approach, and our country ended up in a Great Depression. That's just history."
Some will remember that the Depression started in 1929, while FDR wasn't President until 1933. Oy. Your Republican Party at work!

And for those that think FDR worsened the Depression, or that the New Deal didn't work, eat chart, suckers:


Or how about unemployment?


Yeah, cuz 15% unemployment is no better than 25%.

Public Overwhelming Supports Accountability

Surprise, surprise!  The public actually supports the idea that no one should be above the law in this country, and if that means investigating the Bush Administration, so be it!
Close to two-thirds of those surveyed said there should be investigations into allegations that the Bush team used torture to interrogate terrorism suspects and its program of wiretapping U.S. citizens without getting warrants. Almost four in 10 favor criminal investigations and about a quarter want investigations without criminal charges. One-third said they want nothing to be done.

Even more people want action on alleged attempts by the Bush team to use the Justice Department for political purposes. Four in 10 favored a criminal probe, three in 10 an independent panel, and 25% neither.
Awesome.  This puts the Obama Administration in quite the pickle, since the country supports it, but the media will be absolutely aghast at the thought of prosecuting members of the former Administration.

2009-02-10

Gunman's Manifesto

Remember that shooting at a liberal Church before the election?  Well, the gunman's manifesto is now public:
"This was a hate crime," Adkisson wrote in a four-page "manifesto" he had left inside his truck and intended to serve as a suicide letter.

...

This was a symbolic killing," Adkisson wrote. "Who I wanted to kill was every Democrat in the Senate and House, the 100 people in Bernard Goldberg's book. I'd like to kill everyone in the mainstream media. But I knew these people were inaccessible to me.

...

Liberals are a pest like termites. Millions of them. Each little bite contributes to the downfall of this great nation. The only way we can rid ourselves of this evil is kill them in the streets. Kill them where they gather.
He's obviously a fan of the hate-filled right-wing authors.  I wonder if he was an acolyte of Ann Coulter, who famously said:
We need to execute people like John Walker in order to physically intimidate liberals, by making them realize that they can be killed too. Otherwise they will turn out to be outright traitors.
Looks like you got your wish, Ann.  The whole thing is straight from the mouth of Talk Radio and the Right Wing Attack Machine.  Culture of life, indeed.

The New Deal Made the Great Depression Worse?

Really? Really?



I didn't think so. Charts and graphs are so useful, aren't they?

Fox News Plagiarises from GOP

Saying that Fox News is an outlet for the Republican Party wont come as a surprise to anyone - we've known they receive Republican talking points for quite some time based on whistle blower accounts and statements from Bush's own Press Secretary. But now we've got hard documentary evidence.

The following graphic was presented as the product of Fox News' network research department.  "We took a look at how..." the Stimulus Bill grew, they said. But, in fact, it's straight from the Republican Party press release from that morning. How do we know? Check out the date at the bottom.


December 2009, huh? Unsurprisingly, that's the exact same typo that appeared in the Republican press release.

Go ahead and continue being a mouthpiece for the GOP, Fox. But at least tell us when you're copying and pasting.

Obama Learns his Lessons

Obama on Bipartisanship:
They were pleasantly surprised and complimentary about the tax cut that were presented in that framework. Those tax cuts are still in there. I mean, I suppose what I could have done is started off with no tax cuts, knowing that I was going to want some and then let them take credit for all of them. And maybe that’s the lesson I learned.
That's what we've been saying, but Obama is too damned sincere in his desire to change Washington. Making a deal with the Republicans for votes in exchange for 35-40% tax cuts would have been a better political tactic, but it also would have been closer to business-as-usual in Washington. Obama, to his credit, started out with something that "pleasantly surprised" the Republicans.



I think he'll continue in this vein, continuing to burnish his bipartisan cred with the public, and only thwack Republicans over the head when he's in a commanding enough position.  He's not good on the attack - he's good on the counter-attack.

2009-02-08

The Maddow Era: Stimulus

It's about time we had a truly liberal voice on TV - not that I agree with a lot of classical liberalism, but the deafening silence from the Left on TV has been unhealthy. Some might cite Olbermann, but he's truly just a reaction to Bush's unprecedented awfulness. I don't see him as pushing a Liberal Agenda. Maddow, however, is a pusher, and she does it with style.

Here she is on the Stimulus Plan:


She's great.

2009-02-06

Obama on Stimulus

I love this guy. The first minute and a half is precious.



That's the leadership we've been looking for. Campaign Obama is back.  The full video is available from C-Span.

Terrorist Watchlist Edits

We've known for years the the Terrorist Watch List has millions of names on it, rendering it worse than useless as a tool for preventing actual terrorism.  Well, the Congress has finally gotten the ball rolling on fixing the program:
The House passed a bill Tuesday aimed at helping people who have been misidentified as terrorists clear their names from government watch lists and databases.

The bill (HR 559), sponsored by Yvette D. Clarke , D-N.Y., passed by a vote of 413-3....“This is a good bill,” said Pete Olson , R-Texas. “This is a bipartisan bill.”

It's always been sort of Kafkaesque that a gigantic security bureaucracy could stick your name on a terrorist watchlist and basically give you no way to get it off. It's long past time for Congress to address this.
About time.  Everyone agreed it was a problem, but the Republicans couldn't bring themselves to vote for it until Bush left town.

2009-02-04

Hearts and Minds!

Now this is how you fight the War on Terror:
Al-Qaeda chiefs are raping young male converts to shame them into becoming suicide bombers, it emerged yesterday.
The intense social stigma and fear of more gay sex attacks leaves Muslims prepared to die.

The warped new tactic was revealed by a reformed Algerian militant. Abu Ba├žir El Assimi said: “The sexual act on young recruits aged between 16 to 19 was a means to urge them to commit suicide operations.”
Brilliant Psy-Ops!  I don't begin to care if this is true.  I'm sure that the CIA could engineer enough first-hand evidence to make it appear true enough for some Arab new outlets to run the story.  If we could push this meme into the consciousness of the Arab Street, we'll have won the war without dropping another bomb.

2009-02-01

Daschle's Time to Go

Not cool, Daschle. Accepting a driver from someone without payment, or even acknowledging it as a form of income?  Not cool.

Our Liberal Media, Part a million


After seven years of Bush screwing it up, it is now Obama's Vietnam.