Saturday, May 30, 2009

GOP Makeover: "Young Cons" First Hip-Hop Single

Heh. Heh-heh. Ha. AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHAHAHAHAHAHA.

Following in the proud footsteps of Vanilla Ice and the Manhattan Transfer before them, two GOP dudes (apparently the "Young Cons") are all of the sudden getting some skeptical play from the blogosphere for a video in which they lay down rhymes about Ronald Reagan, oil drilling in protecteded wilderness, their homie Jesus and maintaining marriage inequality. It's fascinating if you can manage to keep a straight face.
Rawstory has the video.



UPDATE: Crooks and Liars has the background on these two suburban white thugs.
Three things taught me Conservative Love
Jesus, Ronald Reagan and Atlas Shrugged
Please please please someone give these two a record deal!

Friday, May 29, 2009

What Krugman Said

Over the last few months I've seen quite a few people ringing the inflation alarm bells, claiming inflation is on its way, and it will be the end of the world as we know it (some examples).

Paul Krugman has evidently heard similar alarms, and addresses them in yesterday's column for what they are, wrong.

First things first. It’s important to realize that there’s no hint of inflationary pressures in the economy right now. Consumer prices are lower now than they were a year ago, and wage increases have stalled in the face of high unemployment. Deflation, not inflation, is the clear and present danger.

So if prices aren’t rising, why the inflation worries? Some claim that the Federal Reserve is printing lots of money, which must be inflationary, while others claim that budget deficits will eventually force the U.S. government to inflate away its debt.

The first story is just wrong. The second could be right, but isn’t.
He also has a theory of what's behind the inflation alarm.
All of this raises the question: If inflation isn’t a real risk, why all the claims that it is?

Well, as you may have noticed, economists sometimes disagree. And big disagreements are especially likely in weird times like the present, when many of the normal rules no longer apply.

But it’s hard to escape the sense that the current inflation fear-mongering is partly political, coming largely from economists who had no problem with deficits caused by tax cuts but suddenly became fiscal scolds when the government started spending money to rescue the economy. And their goal seems to be to bully the Obama administration into abandoning those rescue efforts.

Needless to say, the president should not let himself be bullied. The economy is still in deep trouble and needs continuing help.

Yes, we have a long-run budget problem, and we need to start laying the groundwork for a long-run solution. But when it comes to inflation, the only thing we have to fear is inflation fear itself.
Go figure, the reasoning behind the inflation fear could be because some on the right have ideological differences of opinion with the Obama administrations actions and plans to get out of a recession. I suppose we couldn't expect them to just voice their opinions and let the public decide for themselves. They chose rather to try and scare votes their way. I can't say that I blame them, they won quite a few elections that way.

Fight for Healthcare, Support OpenLeft

OpenLeft is hosting a fundraiser to keep the blog kicking, and for those without the benjamins to spare, you can still pitch in. Bowers via BlogPAC email.

One of the tools we have on our side that we lacked 15 years ago is new progressive media. Now, progressives dominate the new online space, and serve as a counter to blowhards like Rush Limbaugh over the radio. However, many of these new progressive media outlets are struggling to make ends meet during these difficult economic times.

Fortunately, today you can help solve both problems. The Service Employees International Union has pledged to donate $1 to my blog, Open Left, for every person who signs up for their fight to secure universal health care and a public insurance option. You can sign up here:

Fight for health care, support progressive media

By signing up, you can join the fight not only to pass universal health care, but to build the new media needed to support this and other progressive campaigns.

OpenLeft deserves the support. Writers and activists there have taken the influence of progressive blogging to new levels of interaction and infusion into the established political machines. If you can spare a bit, donate. If you can't, sign up through the link above, and SEIU will donate for you.

This is an investment opportunity, not charity.

Open and Free

The President reaffirmed his support of Net Neutrality in a speech on internet security.

Our pursuit of cyber-security will not -- I repeat, will not include -- monitoring private sector networks or Internet traffic. We will preserve and protect the personal privacy and civil liberties that we cherish as Americans. Indeed, I remain firmly committed to net neutrality so we can keep the Internet as it should be -- open and free.
Since the FCC slapped Comcast's bit-torrent blocking last summer, Net Neutrality hasn't gotten many headlines. Obama's speech is a reminder that the fight is far from over, and that advocates have the luxury of a sympathetic White House on an issue Obama hasn't wavered on since the campaign.

My guess is, once things slow down a bit -- say late 2009, early 2010 -- we'll see Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) back in the spotlight with Neutrality legislation, and a congress willing to take the issue up.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Zombie Reagan 2012

Via Oliver Willis, Like Kryptonite to Stupid.

Michele Bachmann, The Graphic Novel

BiasedLiberalMedia.com:

It’s all there, the global conspiracy to end American freedom, the apocalyptic last days of human kind, the lesbians in the bathroom, the threats, the vengeance, the Bush-kissing, the sordid lies, Satan, Jesus Christ, the flying imams...
(h/t Wonkette)

Should've Just Released the Photos

When Obama blocked the release of detainee abuse photos, the conventional wisdom was that it was a good move, as "everyone knows we tortured" and they would only feed anti-American sentiment. But my argument is that the photos will not stay under wraps, and Obama missed an opportunity to create at least a semblance of accountability by blocking their release.

And now, as predicted, the photos are coming out anyway. And it's not pretty.

Photographs of alleged prisoner abuse which Barack Obama is attempting to censor include images of apparent rape and sexual abuse, it has emerged.

At least one picture shows an American soldier apparently raping a female prisoner while another is said to show a male translator raping a male detainee.

Further photographs are said to depict sexual assaults on prisoners with objects including a truncheon, wire and a phosphorescent tube.

Another apparently shows a female prisoner having her clothing forcibly removed to expose her breasts.

Detail of the content emerged from Major General Antonio Taguba, the former army officer who conducted an inquiry into the Abu Ghraib jail in Iraq.

Allegations of rape and abuse were included in his 2004 report but the fact there were photographs was never revealed. He has now confirmed their existence in an interview with the Daily Telegraph.

Instead of defending government secrecy, the President could have offered the release of these photos as an olive branch in his (respectable) notion of simply moving on. Now, the reports play out as "ah, I can see why they wanted to keep this from getting out."

Blocking the photos was a mistake.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Fourth Grade Social Studies and Supreme Court Nominations

MyDD's Senate Guru on the predictable yapping from wingnuttia on the Sotomayor nomination:

But look at what Judge Sotomayor actually said: "Court of Appeals is where policy is made." Policy, not law.

And she's quite right.

Going back to my grade school social studies class, we learned that there are three sources of "policy":

  1. laws passed by the legislative branch,
  2. executive orders signed in the executive branch, and
  3. judicial decisions handed down in the judicial branch.

Judges don't make laws. But they do make policy. And any conservative - or Republican Senator - who disagrees with that should probably have to repeat the fourth grade.

Bennett and Hatch(ed) liked her then, now find her a "liberal activist judge." Reagan wanted to appoint a woman to the court. Bush Sr. thought empathy in judges was an admirable qualification.

None of this matters to the GOP. Cognitive dissonence is their campaign strategy now. You can spot their prospective 2012 candidates by the "no" votes on this one (we'll soon have at least one example of how doubling down on bat-shit pans out for them), and you can almost hear the GOP Latino votes being incinerated with each word out of their mouths.

It's a very sad time for thinking conservatives.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Top 6 Lies, Distortions, Straw Men in Cheney Torture Speech

And this list is just the beginning.

read more | digg story

Louisiana Gives Thompson's Video Game Law the Axe

Warchol:

The [Utah] bill, sponsored by Rep. Morely and supported by the Eagle Forum and Lt. Gov. Gary Herbert, would have made the sale of an age-restricted game to a kid a deceptive trade practice, allowing parents to sue the retailer.

But the bill's sponsor Louisiana Sen. A.G. Crowe has gutted the measure after conferring with retailers and attorneys. Even with that, the bill is being challenged by other lawmakers for being vague and duplicating other state laws.

Crowe can expect to receive ranting emails from Thompson with videos attached of scantily clad cartoon strippers.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Super Conservative Mayor In Gay Relationship With Illegal

I don't know which hypocrisy to laugh at first...

The mayor of San Angelo, Texas, J.W. Lown, abruptly announced his resignation just days before he was to be sworn in for his fourth term as mayor. He made the announcement from Mexico, where he had suddenly bolted to. He is in a relationship with a male illegal alien and they're trying to fix the alien's status.


read more | digg story

I Almost Want to Back a Utah Republican

Almost.

Picking through the online commentary on Mark "Change in a Teabag" Shurtleff's announcement Wednesday that he would indeed be running for Governor Senate.

I'm not fan of any of our Utah GOP delegates. They too often render themselves trite in sticking to the wingnut ideology rather than represent effectively situation by situation (see Rob Bishop, Jason Caffetz, specifically). But the idea that someone like Bennett, who at least appears capable of thought, could be knocked out by a Tea Baggn' wannabe, who's political career has quickly become the equivalent of a whore looking for a street corner* is at times more frustrating than the blind faith Republican voting our state so often enjoys. And this I say about a person I actually liked, until very recent events.

I don't think Shurtleff will pull it off. But I also doubt he'll be laughed out of town afterward for his obvious pandering to lower-information voters, irrational angry mobs, and those easily influenced by empty rhetoric. And it's little solace he may be thwarted early, splitting the bat-shit voters with Tim Bridgewater.

If he gets taken seriously, it will make a sorry statement about the discourse in our state, and how little a person needs actually offer to be a viable candidate for federal office.

So I toy with the idea of at least making a few phone calls for Bennett in 2010. I won't, but getting me to even think about it is quite an achievement.

(* learning my lesson from Maureen Dowd: I lifted this line from a friend)

Rob Bishop's Clever Plan

Sometimes what seems like an instantly gratifying short term plan -- perhaps even one of those "how can I not?!" scenarios -- turns out to be a really stupid idea.

Derf.

This may be one of the first times I've supported Rob Bishop on any legislative move.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Challenging the GOP Guantanamo Meme

John Cole:

CNN just had James Inhofe on talking about how we could not bring the Gitmo folks to the states because they are too dangerous, and it reminded me of something that has been bothering me the last few days. There seems to be an effort to pretend that we chose to put these people in Gitmo for security reasons.

That is simply nonsense on stilts. It was little more than barbed-wire and plywood when we started detaining them there, and we had to build the damned place. We didn’t put the detainees there because it was super secure. We put them there so there would be no controlling legal authority and we could do whatever the hell we wanted with them.

Cheney's Story: It Ain't Shakespeare

Obama and Dick gave speeches at roughly the same time this morning. Obama speaking on national security and continued plans to close Gitmo (live blog here), Cheney (speaking at AEI) on how great things went in the Bush White House, and how we're all just a bunch of douche bags for not propping he and Georgie up as American Heroes. TPM offers up a nice pre-response to the predictability of the media pitting the President and the Face Shooter as political equals.

Vice President Cheney's crew is putting out advances this morning on today's speech at AEI, offering 'praise' for Obama when cheney-blog.jpghe deserves an answer when he leads the country in the wrong direction. Clearly there's going to be a lot of mano a mano razzmatazz that the media tries to gin up around this. But for those who want to remain among the lucid, let's not forget who the former vice president is.

This is someone who not only organized and seemingly directed a policy of state-sponsored torture. He did it in large part to get people to admit to crankish conspiracy theories he got taken in by by a crew of think-tank jockeys in DC whose theories most even half way sensible people treated as punch lines of jokes. So it's Torquemada or 1984 but only after getting rescripted by Mel Brooks.

This is an extremely gullible man who has just come off being the driving ideological force in an administration that most people can already see produced more fiascos and titanic, self-inflicted goofs than possibly any in our entire history. By any standard the guy is a monumental failure -- and not one whose mistakes stem in some Lyndon Johnson fashion from tragic overreach, but just a fool who damaged his country through his own gullibility, paranoia and bad judgment. Whatever else you can say about the Cheney story it ain't Shakespearean.

Pew Survey: GOP Going Whig

HuffPo, on the latest Pew data:

“There is an enormous amount of material about the deterioration of the Republican Party in this survey,” Andy Kohut, who runs the Pew Research Center, told the Huffington Post. The GOP is currently 88 percent non-Hispanic white; it has grown steadily older, from an average of 45.5 years in 2000 to 48.3 years in 2009; it is increasingly dependent on self-identified white evangelicals (35 percent of today’s GOP, on Southerners (39 percent of today’s GOP), and on voters who describe themselves as conservative (66 percent of today’s Republican electorate). Those who espouse conservative views on the family, homosexuality and civil liberties — a population which was in the majority in 1987 — have fallen to the 50 percent level or below, the Pew survey found.
The GOP has two possible strategies at this point in time. Double down, and hope the Democrats lose favor in the next 10 to 20 years, making what the GOP "stands for" (using a very lose definition of "stand" of course) popular again, or adapting their message and brand to encompass these changing demographics and social attitudes. Let's call option number two the smartest approach, and option number one -- espoused by Tea Bagger's and Mark Shurtleff's around the country -- the "Whig" solution.

The demographics will not shift backwards. Social attitudes trending "tolerant" rarely regress. Poll after poll shows an increasing, if still hesitant, openness from voters toward a government that "does more" rather than an ideological subscription to anti-tax rhetoric.

The country is maturing (or degrading, if you're a Ron Paul-ite) beyond unrealistic libertarian principles of governance, and I believe voters are realizing playing a more active role in how the governance works, rather than just obstinantly, and ideologically opposing all things federal, or anything with the word "tax" attached. Especially when you do so in the face of serious economic, health care, equality, education even national security challenges. There may still be room for candidates to play this in their favor in Utah, Idaho, Montana, or Wyoming, but the rest of the country is moving on, and it's unlikely that is an accident, or that such a social adjustment will revert in on itself to follow an opposite trend. In history, only plagues and famine have caused that. Yet the "Change in a Tea Bag" GOP is hanging their proverbial hats on that very regression. For leadership they offer Eric Cantor, Jim DeMint, Michael Steele, and trapping themselves into a torture investigation by trying to take out Nancy Pelosi.

If this is still the case in 2010, 2012, paying attention to the GOP at all will be a waste of time. Our attention would be better directed at which party will be taking the place of the Republicans in our system of government.

Read more on the Pew survey here. (h/t Oliver Willis)

Security Slipping in Iraq

Real News video.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Drafting Corroon

From the Draft Peter Corroon for Governor 2010 Facebook group:

Dear Draft Corroon Supporters,

We just passed the 300 members mark this morning, and it's only been 4 days since the Facebook group to Draft Peter Corron for Utah Governor was started. That is awesome!

Our plan is to present comments to Mayor Corroon after we have 1,000 supporters. So, we're asking two things from each of you!

First, can you invite 4 (or more!) friends to join this group? We need about 700 more people to join for this to have a true impact.

Second, if you haven't already, please take a moment to write a brief endorsement of Peter Corroon for Governor. These are the comments we are going to present to him, and perhaps one of these comments will be just what is needed to convince Mayor Corroon to run for Governor.
Do you really need to live a few months of Gary Herbert (starts about 8 min into the video) to decide? Join the group, tell your friends.

Honoring Thomas

Scholars and Rogues pays tribute to one of their (and my own) journalist icons, former UPI scribe turned Hearst White House columnist, Helen Thomas.

Helen Thomas’ amazing career has not been without controversy. She is known for direct and pointed questions. After a lifetime censoring her own opinions, she gave an off-the-record comment to the Daily Breeze in Torrance, California, calling George W. Bush the “worst President in American history.” When then-White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer confirmed she had said it, she lost her prestigious front-row position in the press briefing room and was moved to the back row. Ms. Thomas’ ostracism came at a very crucial moment in 2003 as President Bush gave a press conference in which he told the reporters that America was on the verge of war. Ms. Thomas recalls that no reporters within view of the President asked him why, and the President did not call on her from the back of the room.

Ms. Thomas wrote a polite note to President Bush apologizing for calling him the worst President. He graciously replied, then called on her at the next press conference. True to her profession, she took the opening and asked him then, “Why did we go to war?” After that, she said, she was put in the deep freeze.
Bravest woman in politics. A journalist not afraid to hold the President, or even her own peers, accountable for 60 plus years (and going).

Shurtleff (Officially) Throws His Tea Bag in the Ring



Via Facebook and Twitter, AG Mark Shurtleff writes:

It's time to take this country back from Washington and Washington's Elite, back to Principles instead of Broken Promises! I invite you to join me on May 20th at 12:30 on the Capitol Steps for my announcement about a Senate Campaign and how we, the people, can Take Back America. [...] I invite you to join me Wed. May 20th 12:30 @ the Utah Capitol Building for my formal campaign announcement. http://tinyurl.com/ocesce #tcot

#teaparty #teabag #teabaggers
#I-really-wish-I-hadnt-announce-on-twitter-last-week-i-would-rather-be-governor

At 12:45ish, Shurtleff officially "sacked up". Next week Shurtleff will unveil his new campaign theme (song):

Gingrich Threatens EFCA Twitterer With Lawsuit

Cease and Desist!

"We are writing to demand that you immediately take down an illegal and fraudulent posting on Twitter...which falsely purports to be written by our clients and unlawfully uses the name of Messrs. [Newt] Gingrich and [Saul] Anuzis," reads a letter (PDF) from Stefan Passatino of the law firm McKenna Long & Aldridge.

The cease and desist notice comes in response to an online movement intended to convince Gingrich's Twitter followers (among others) to sign a petition in support of EFCA. Gingrich and his lawyer takes issue with the campaign, but that's possibly because the finer points of Twitter have eluded both of them.


Tuesday, May 19, 2009

For the Record: The 13 People Who Made Torture Possible

The Bush administration's Torture 13. They authorized it, they decided how to implement it, and they crafted the legal fig leaf to justify it.

read more | digg story

Singleton's Plan for The Trib: The Math

Warchol posted recently, on The Crawler, a memo from Salt Lake Tribune publisher Dean Singleton, laying out a strategy for increasing revenue from online content. Singleton writes:

We cannot continue to give all of our content away for free; we must consider, create and deploy new products and sites that both decouple our interactive revenue from our classified business and offer a compelling new experience for a younger (non-newspaper buying) demographic.
As a business owner I can say that if a consultant tasked with addressing a slumping revenue problem came to me and said, "Ya know, Jason, what I think the problem is is that you're just not charging enough for your product," I'd fire those people. Quickly. And in a manor news worthy, assuming (and it's a big assumption reading Singleton's plan for the Trib) there were any local rags around to cover it. For business owners out there, imagine it. Problem: "We can't sustain ourselves at this level." Problem solving team recommendation: "Charge more, indefinitely, to stay afloat." Result: Competing providers of similar, if lesser quality product sweep your market out from under you.

I've been through the research on this issue a million times, because it's important to me. And I've yet to see one paper succeed with the plan Singleton lays out. Local newspapers, and their continued viability should be important to all of us. If Singleton sinks the Trib with this ingenious master plan of "we're not charging enough," we're left with Joe Cannon's "daily PSA" D-News for statewide coverage. If that doesn't keep you awake at night, this post isn't for you. If it does give you chills, take a look at a unique research project undertaken by Neiman Journalism Lab's Martin Langeveld, crunching the numbers on charging for access to online content:
Total 2008 newspaper online revenue was $3.109 billion. Newspaper sites averaged 67.3 million monthly unique visitors in 2008, nearly all of them to free content. Now suppose a switch were turned, and each and every newspaper started imposing a monthly fee on all those visitors. Whether in the form of a monthly subscription or micropayments, clearly, the UV count would drop significantly.

I assumed that an industry-average $1-a-month fee would reduce traffic by 30 percent, $2 would knock off 50 percent, $5 would chop out 70 percent, $10 would say goodbye to 90 percent, and $25 would wipe out just about all of it. And further, I assumed that the 2008 ad revenue level of $3.109 billion would be reduced by the same percentage as the visitor reduction (which is probably a generous assumption).

So the question becomes: Will the new monthly fees offset the lost ad revenue? Here’s what happens:

  • At $1 a month, with viewer retention of 70 percent, subscription revenue would be $566 million. But ad revenue would drop by 30 percent, or $933 million, for a net loss of $367 million.
  • At $2 a month, with viewer retention of 50 percent, subscription revenue amounts to $808 million. But newspaper sites would kiss away half their ad revenue, or $1,555 million, for a net loss of $747 million.
  • At $5 a month, and 30 percent of visitors sticking around, subscription revenue swells to $1.212 billion. But 70 percent of ad revenue, or $2.173 billion takes a walk, cutting the net by $946 million.
  • At $10 a month, sites retain just 10% of visitors, who pay a collective $808 million for the privilege, but 90 percent of ad revenue ($2.798 billion) flies the coop, leaving newspapers poorer by $1.990 billion.
  • At $25 a month — well, I won’t bother with the arithmetic. Make your own assumptions, but nearly all the ad revenue goes away and viewer fees don’t replace more than a small fraction of it.
Are these viewer retention assumptions valid? Granted, they come from the top of my head. If you disagree, make your own assumptions; the math is simple. We don’t have a lot of real-world before-and-after figures from news sites that have imposed fees. But we know, for example, that the New York Times’s 2005-2007 Times Select experiment drew 227,000 paying customers at an average of about $3.70 a month (based on reported revenue of $10 million a year), at a time when the Times’s free content was drawing 13 million unique visitors a month — a conversion rate of less than 2 percent.
Obviously these numbers would be a bit higher for the Trib, considering the demographics of the region, and their competition on a local, rather than national level like the Times. But would they be different enough? Not likely. We're somewhat insulated from the outside world, but not isolated, and with a choice between paying for it, or getting a lesser quality, but adequate free substitute, the majority goes generic.

Singleton speaks, as so many before him have, as if he's stumbled upon an untried and as of yet unrealized revelation: Simply charge them for it! I can't believe we haven't thought of this before.

The trouble with Singleton's master plan for the Trib is that many have tried it before. Few have succeeded in any significant way, while other's -- like the non-profit Voice of San Diego, for example -- are forging the way ahead with paired down overhead (Executive overhead, AP fees, etc.) and doubling down on a focus on local, original coverage. They operate at a lower cost, and provide a more integral format of news coverage to their region that is irreplaceable and -- get this! -- people will use it with loyalty, and regularity, bringing with them advertising revenue perhaps on a smaller scale, but consistent and bankable for a for-profit business.

Singleton's plan suggests passing on that tried and proven facet of the news industry in search of a way to breathe new life into a rotting business model. And if he succeeds at putting the plan in place, we'll all pay. Not with our pocketbooks, as he believes, but with a loss of an alternative voice in our state news coverage.

And I'll say it, since the Trib staff can't: how much time would Singleton's salary buy his papers?

(crossposted at KVNU's For the People)

Monday, May 18, 2009

Todd's Desk


Stopped to visit at the UDP office on Friday, and snapped a pic of what has got to be the most "I'm very busy" office desk I have ever seen, belonging to Executive Director Todd Taylor.

Lindsey Graham vs. Ron Paul (with Video)

Reeeeeeer, scratch scratch, reeeeeeeeeer!

Lindsey Graham faced hecklers at the South Carolina Republican Convention Saturday. The State reported:

Graham told the crowd there was nothing wrong with any conservative, and he wanted to build an open party that could win in Pennsylvania and Connecticut, as well as South Carolina.

“You’re a hypocrite!” one man yelled.

“I’m a winner, pal,” Graham shot back. “Winning matters to me. If it doesn’t matter to you, there’s the exit sign.”
Someone is about to get tea-bagged. Watch it, here.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Dumbing It Down For the Public

President Obama in Newsweek:

I think one of the biggest mistakes that is made in Washington is this notion you have to dumb things down for the public.
Policy wonk Ezra Klein, in his last post at TAP, which he leaves this week for the pages of The Washington Post:
Pause on that for a minute. The Prospect, to its credit, has always rejected the idea that readers wouldn't be interested in something even though it was important. To be fair, that's a product of our business model: A non-profit isn't dependent on advertising revenue, and so can take chances that a for-profit can't. But the Prospect's model has not been disproven. Quite the opposite, I think.

The Obama era has been a period of policy. Of substance. The drama is in the budget, the composition of the stimulus bill, the survival of the banking system, the inclusion of a public plan, the fight over climate change. It's not that we've put away childish things. Rush Limbaugh's name, for instance, is still in the news. But we've also learned to pay attention to adult things. The Prospect has been doing that for almost two decades now, and they provided me with a home to do the same. And the Prospect was right. Turns out that you can build an audience with charts and graphs and hearings and budget commentary. The words "reconciliation," "nationalization," and "community rating" do not scare readers away. Scatterplots do not harm your traffic.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

BOR


We swapped some volunteer time for admission to tonight's ACLU's Bill of Rights Celebration with Rachel Maddow.

Anything interesting happens, it'll be tweeted/twitted/twittered with gusto.

DS: Nuances of the Pew/Gallup Abortion Polls

Following PEW's poll earlier this week, Gallup, yesterday, released results of a similar poll on American attitudes toward Roe v. Wade and abortion. Democratic Strategist breaks it down:

First of all, the headline-grabbing finding by Gallup involves its efforts to split Americans into two camps self-identifying as either "pro-choice" or "pro-life." Aside from all the issues with how these two terms are perceived, this methodology also forces asunder and thus distorts the views of the vast "mushy middle" on abortion policy, which Gallup itself measures at 53%, in a secondary question that divides respondents into three camps ("illegal in all circumstances," "legal in any circumstances," and "legal only in some circumstances.")

Second of all, the purported shift that Gallup reports, showing "more Americans 'pro-life' than 'pro-choice' for the first time," is explained in Gallup's analysis as a phenomenon produced almost solely by Republicans and Republican-leaning independents (e.g., roughly those voters willing to actually vote Republican). Given what's been happening to support for Republicans in recent months, this finding raises some questions about the sampling techniques, but could also reflect a shift in the perceived threat to the abortion status quo once George W. Bush left office. After eight years of constant excitement among right-to-lifers about getting that fifth vote on the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade, that prospect is now pretty distant. And instead, Americans have been exposed to a constant wailing of alarms about Obama being "the most pro-abortion president in history," determined, somehow, to expand abortion rights. That Republicans and Republican-leaning independents might polarize on the subject isn't terribly surprising or necessarily significant.

But more important than any of these reservations about the Pew and Gallup surveys on abortion is a perpetual problem with public opinion research generally on this topic: it rarely deals with the nuances that matter most in setting public policy or assessing the actual political impact of each party's positioning.

The nuance that I've written about recently deals with the simple fact that Americans seem to care quite a bit why a woman seeks an abortion. And once they are aware of a plausible rationale, anti-abortion attitudes appear to relax.

The Pelosi Distraction

Fox host Neil Cavuto interviewing Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ):

Is it a potential Mexican standoff? And by that, I mean, Senator, that Democrats feel they have the goods on the prior administration to drag out hearings on what they knew about Iraq and when. Now Republicans have the goods, presumably, on Nancy Pelosi about what she knew about interrogation and when. So to avoid mutual self-destruction, both parties cease and desist.
Derf.

So we're to call it a draw because of questions of when Pelosi was briefed on the torture authorized by the previous administration, while completely ignoring the torture authorized by the previous administration.

Bait and switch. Even if the CIA did admit in the briefing with Pelosi that they were waterboarding, it still leaves 45 days previous of potential law breaking prior to the briefing.

And even under the Bush administrations own questionable "24/Ticking Time-bomb" defense of torture, the waterboarding was being done to discover a non-existent link between Iraq and Al-Quaeda, not a potential attack on American soil, as stated in the "legal" memo drafted by Yoo.

I'm not distracted.

FBI Whistleblower: Gonzales & White House Ordered Torture

Also To Testify To Congress CIA Torture Program Architect Was Unqualified, That Torture Bred Resistance, & Was Unsuccessful.

read more | digg story

America's Growing Surveillance State

The Obama administration isn't just watching rightwing extremists. It's watching us all – and we should all be concerned. (guardian.co.uk)

read more | digg story

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Michael P. Leahy, TCOT Founder, Tea Bagger... Tax Dodger

The tea bagging just will not stop being one of most entertaining "movements" of wingnuttia for me. Good for a chuckle:

The timely blog Teablogging has revealed its sources:

According to documents obtained by Teablogging by running a goddamned simple Nexis search on the internets, national Tea Party organizer, Top Conservatives on Twitter cofounder and TCOTReport.com publisher Michael P. Leahy has, over the past 16 years, amassed nearly $150,000 in state and federal tax liens, small claims court judgments and civil suits.

Teablogging has .pdfs of all the documentation. My own impression looking them over is that Mike thinks the rules are for everyone else. Why protest taxes if you think you're not required to pay 'em in the first place?

FCC Opens Public Comments on National Broadband Plan

The FCC has opened public comments on everything from a national broadband strategy to low power FM, and al a carte cable.

To file a public comment (before June 8th), visit the site.

Some reasons to do so:

Metered Internet Likely on Way

One Nation Online

Putting the Angels in the Details: A Roadmap for Broadband Stimulus Success

Blocking or Metering: A False Choice

Broadband Reality Check II: The Truth Behind America's Digital Decline

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Lessons In Foot Stomping

Sen Bennett (you know, the incumbent in that twitter primary) has some issues with the Dept. of Interior. He's decided to show this by blocking people from actually working in the department.

Bennett, R-Utah, led the charge to block Hayes over his concerns about Interior Secretary Ken Salazar canceling an auction of federal lands for oil and gas leases in the Beehive State.

Salazar, a former Colorado senator, blasted his former colleagues who voted against his top deputy.

"This was a tired vote of bitter obstructionism," the secretary said in a statement. "It may be uncomfortable for some to watch us have to clean up mess after mess -- from corruption to lawbreaking -- that is the previous administration's legacy at Interior, but to cast a vote against such a qualified and fine person is the height of cynicism."

Bennett said the issue wasn't Hayes' credentials but Interior's lack of response to the senator's concerns that Salazar didn't pull the leases for legitimate reasons, instead bending to the will of the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance.

"This was a purely political decision based upon a lawsuit by an environmental group," Bennett said. "The real issue in this matter is the credibility of the Department of Interior."

Lost in of the debate was the fact that U.S. District Judge Ricardo Urbina indefinitely halted action on 77 of the leases before Salazar took his action.
One would imagine that being short on employees will only make it take longer for the Dept. of Interior to get around to looking into those leases for Bennett, but at least he made his point, for now.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who forced a vote to overcome Bennett's "hold" on Hayes, said he would continue to bring up the nominee.


"David Hayes is going to be confirmed," the Nevada Democrat vowed on the Senate floor.

"If I have to wait until Al Franken comes, he is going to be confirmed," Reid added, referring to the Democratic candidate for Senate in Minnesota who is fighting to be seated.

The Senate voted 57-39 to move forward on the nomination, but Reid needed 60 votes.
As it turns out waiting for Franken may not be necessary (via Congress Matters)
We "need 60" to get this done. We got 57 on the record.

Number 58 was actually Reid himself, but he voted no for procedural reasons. (Any Senator who votes with the prevailing side can later move to reconsider that vote, so Reid ended up voting no in order to reserve the right to bring the nomination up again.)

Not voting today, though, were Senators Ted Kennedy (D-MA), John Kerry (D-MA) and Barbara Mikulski (D-MD). Jon Kyl (R-AZ) and Olympia Snowe (R-ME) both voted for cloture.

I'm sure Kennedy, Kerry and Mikulski all had good reasons for missing the vote. For instance, Kennedy's got his health issues. Kerry, I understand, was in Massachusetts attending a service member's funeral. But had they been there, they could have been votes number 59, 60 and 61.

Now, it probably would have been a good idea to have checked in with the Democratic Caucus to see who was and wasn't going to be on hand for the vote.
So it turns out Bennett got his song and dance (instead of embarrassment) due to some {gasp} unorganization from the democrats.

My points here are:

1 - Is keeping the day to day manager out of his job the best way to get an organization to look at something you want them to look at? I mean really, keep them short handed, that will speed things up.

2 - Senate democrats really need to get their act together, I mean really, they could have got the guy in office, and made Bennett look silly if only they'd counted votes.

And finally 3 - Doesn't this make Bennett look desperate for achievement of some kind. Like maybe he's afraid of a run from the right by someone with overly active twitter thumbs?

Ins Corps: Kill Single-Payer & we'll cut a whopping 1.5%

That is the Insurance Corporation's Deal: Kill Single-Payer Health care and they''ll cut a whopping 1.5% of costs. But we all know what "cuts" mean to them - they're going to cut more "unnecessary" tests, "undesirable" patients, nursing positions, and so on... Never mind that single payer would save 3.5 trillion dollars.

read more | digg story

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Shurtleff: Time to Rock and Roll... Or Tea Bag... Or Something

In the much ignored -- until today -- Mark Shurtleff secret-US Senate-run vs. Twitter matchup, it's Twitter, 1, Shurtleff, 0.

Nice catch by David @ Pursuit of Liberty.

Although I think this screen cap (pictured right) of Shurtleff's twitter updates should be notification enough he hopes to muster the fundraising support of angry mobs throughout the state for such a run. Calling this tripe "running right" is an insult to conservatives. Not Republicans, just conservatives.

Online footprints can be such a challenge to those hoping to soar with the eagles, no?

And it looks like Shurtleff is not the only tea-bagger challenger eye-balling up Bennett's seat. (Get it? Get it?)

Better than the circus, folks.

Put It Where the Sun Don't Shine

Your "bipartisan compromise," that is:

National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Pete Sessions told The New York Times on Monday that he thought the administration intended to "diminish employment and diminish stock prices" and "to inflict damage and hardship on the free enterprise system, if not to kill it."

Practically Bachmann-esque.

The Republican Party has become a national repository for sweaty-palmed, street-corner conspiracy theorist yahoos. In suits.

I poke fun, but really, I appreciate and encourage the wingnut free-speechifyin'. I'm not sure where they think it's getting them, but I'm certain "back in the majority" isn't one of the possibilities. We've moved from "turning off independents" territory to full on "Eeew!" since Janurary 20th, and the deeper they dig, the higher the climb back out.

Also, it's bringing much needed political humor to the narrative, missing since Palin crawled back to her "View of Russia" front porch.

WH Office of Public Engagement: Citizens Briefing Book

(h/t Joe Trippi)

Interesting news out of the White House this week–the administration has taken the Office of the Public Liaison and renamed it the Office of Public Engagement, and has put out its new “Citizens Briefing Book.” Check out the news on WhiteHouse.gov/blog and watch the video here:

Monday, May 11, 2009

Supreme Court Candidate Evalutaions... From Your Couch?

Slate:

Within days of the announcement that Associate Justice David Souter would be leaving the Supreme Court, court watchers were drafting their shortlists of jurists, academics, politicians, and appellate lawyers most qualified to fill his hiking boots. And in contrast to the last round of Supreme Court confirmations—of Chief Justice John Roberts and Associate Justice Samuel Alito—now we can evaluate the candidates from the comfort of our own homes, without ever cracking the spine of a law book.

Let the YouTube confirmation wars begin.

Watch here.


Couple-a Brothas

Michael Steele is an idiot.

I tried to say it another way, with more words, more extrapolation of insight, etc.

But there's nothing more to ad. Idiot.

The video is good for a laugh though.

Seymour Hersh: Children Sodomized at Abu Ghraib, On Tape

After Donald Rumsfeld testified on the Hill about Abu Ghraib in May, there was talk of more photos and video in the Pentagon's custody more horrific than anything made public so far. "If these are released to the public, obviously it's going to make matters worse," Rumsfeld said. Since then, the Washington Post has disclosed some new details ...

read more | digg story

Climate Debate: Why Conservatives Encourage Confusing Weather with Climate

It's helping them win the "spin" war on climate change regulations:

These results actually suggest a somewhat more profound relationship than Egan and Mullin identified from local data; each increase in average US temperatures in degrees Fahrenheit is associated with a 2.8 point increase in the percentage of Americans who expect to see the effects of global warming by the end of their lifetimes. Although we should caution against overinterpreting this data since we have only ten observations to work with, the relationship is nevertheless statistically significant at the 95 percent level. (A further caution: the effect decreases to 2.0 points if the discontinuous 1997 data point is dropped and the statistical significance drops to 85 percent).

It may seem implausible that Americans can remember discrepancies in average temperatures of as little as a degree or two, and even more so that it will affect their perceptions about global warming to a material degree. Something of a cottage industry has emerged on the right, however, to treat any period of below-average temperatures, even of a few days, as a point of evidence that global warming concerns are exaggerated. Meanwhile, normally fair-minded and intelligent conservatives like Michael Barone use weasel-worded phrases like "temperatures actually haven't been rising over the past decade" while skirting over the fact that temperatures throughout the last decade have been significantly higher than in the past (each of the last 11 years has each been associated with above-average temperatures in the United States, although 2008 was only barely so). Nor are conservatives like Barone likely to mention that temperatures were above average in 2008 almost everywhere BUT the United States and Canada [...]

Barone further suggests that a belief in global warming "has taken on the character of religious faith" for "liberal elites". If he is arguing that liberals take science as seriously as conservatives take God, then I suppose we should take that as a compliment. At the same time, the fact that Barone, or Matt Drudge, or Fred Barnes, or (more notoriously) George F. Will treat climate change as yet another bit of truthiness to be passed through the spin cycle is something which should both appall and alarm liberals: the former because nothing is a surer sign of the conservative elite's capacity for intellectual dishonesty, and the latter because perceptions about climate change are literally as fickle as the weather, and liberals are losing ground in the spin war at the very time they have the opportunity to advance serious policy reforms to mitigate it.
It's not an accident they concoct "discussion" like this. It's smart politics on their part, and our own failure if we lose the framing on this one, especially, as Silver writes, at a time when there is a lot of opportunity for progress. We're losing this one by playing it smart, while they aren't above going bat-shit. Do we stoop to their level in a means justify the end approach, or will the intelligence of the average voter (outside of Texas and Oklahoma, of course) prevail? It's nice to see that a google search for "Sutherland Institute Earth Week" returns links to our "who's who" keepin'-em-honest posts, but nationally that isn't always the case. Consider the latest utter b.s. from Rob Bishop on the shaky report from Italy on green jobs. People take him seriously, and he's not above whoring his reputation citing a bad study, apparently, to push the meme. Should advocates for responsible regulation be willing to do the same, or do we just keep hold of the high ground on this one?

Hard questions.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Introducing Fwitter

Via Fora.tv. Get smart, faster.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Goodbye, News Corp.

Rubert wants you to pay to read the bullshit his papers make up online.

News Corp. Chairman Rupert Murdoch is determined to charge readers for the online content of his newspapers -- and says they'll be paying sooner rather than later.

In a conference call with analysts and journalists after the release of the media and entertainment giant's quarterly results, Murdoch said The Wall Street Journal has proven newspapers can charge for online content. Asked specifically if he envisioned charging readers for that content from his general interest newspapers such as The Times of London or The Sun, Murdoch replied, "We are absolutely looking at that. Very much so."

He added, "I would think you will see some [papers charging] within the next 12 months."

Murdoch told analysts that News Corp. is "certainly planning" to charge for content at all its newspapers, adding, "but we will have to just test it first on some of our stronger ones."


Lemme know how that test goes.


Obama, Post Campaign Impressions

Pew research offers up a word usage model of

How Impressions of Barack Obama Have Changed

Number 1? "Intelligent." Number 3? "Socialist."

The IQ polarization of party ID continues.

Barack Obama, Apostate?

Upping the ante on bat-shit crazy.

Muslim tradition dictates a child born of a Muslim father is automatically of the same faith. If that child denounces the faith he is then known as an ‘apostate.’ By denying his Kenyan father’s Muslim faith, does this make the new American president a threat to America’s security?

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Joe Sestak

For Senate. Please.

Top 10 Supreme Court Nomination Battles

Justice David H. Souter's retirement from the Supreme Court means President Obama will make his first appointment to the high court. TIME takes a look back at some of fiercest Supreme Court nomination battles in history.

read more | digg story

Monday, May 4, 2009

Obama, Krugman, Stiglitz, Roast Beef

This was nice to read.

Mindful of his predecessor, Barack Obama seems to be trying harder to make sure he hears all sides. On the night of April 27, for instance, the president invited to the White House some of his administration's sharpest critics on the economy, including New York Times columnist Paul Krugman and Columbia University economist Joseph Stiglitz. Over a roast-beef dinner, Obama listened and questioned while Krugman and Stiglitz, both Nobel Prize winners, pushed for more aggressive government intervention in the banking system.
Krugman and Stiglitz have both been open in criticizing the administration, and Blue Dog Democrats for hedging bets on the stimulus, and banking industry intervention (Shortest Stiglitz: nationalization would still be cheaper). That they are being consulted directly, even for one night, is encouraging on many fronts.

If Carville Is Right...

The GOP is going to get a lot less grand.

In an interview with the Huffington Post, James Carville said that it's impossible for the Republican Party to abandon -- or even soften -- its alliance with the Christian Right.

Said Carville: "I don't think they can do that because their party would crumble... That is not an option really available to them. They can talk about other issues and do other things, but once you have a Republican nominee, or serious Republican leaders who are pro-choice or pro-gay marriage, they are going to lose a lot of their voting base. These people will break off. And I don't think that's a real open discussion among people that really know what is going on in the Republican Party."

Celebrating Gains in Utah County

Daily Herald, on the Utah County Democrats convention:

Democrats made significant fundraising gains in Utah Valley in 2008 and garnered thousands of new votes compared to other years, but they failed to actually win a single seat. Building on those gains was the theme on Saturday.

"We have to celebrate our gains," said state party chair Wayne Holland. "We have made two consecutive gains in two election cycles."

Utah County Democrats raised $80,000 in 2008, compared to $7,000 in 2006, said Richard Davis, county party chair.

"The Republicans, however, raised $150,000," he said. "We were outspent two-to-one. We have a lot of ground to cover."

In 2006, there were fewer than 100 donors to the party. In 2008, that number jumped to more than 1,300, he said.

Now, local Dems must build on the momentum by recruiting and training candidates, raising money and volunteering to help candidates, Davis said.

"Please volunteer," he said. "We really need your help."

We all need to take a good long look at what Utah County is doing right. And contrast, again, the message being spread in the Herald article with this one:

Holland cautions that new candidates should view their maiden run for office as an apprenticeship.

Van Wagoner agrees.

Baby steps, basically. And it has more than an ounce of truth to it, admittedly. But my question for Holland and Van Wagoner remains: do your words, each and every time you speak, help build county parties, and draw out volunteers, and are we directing enough effort in that direction? Are we taking the steps, using the methods preferred by activists, political junkies, soccer moms and busy professionals to (stealing the words of a certain community organizer) engage and activate? While we pour so much effort into attracting conservative voters and candidates, are we perhaps ignoring wasted skills among the already convinced? At several conventions I've heard the popularity of Becker and Corroon touted as example of "the future." But incremental successes like what happened in Utah County will bring us more like Becker. What's happening in Utah County energizes potential volunteers and coalitions much more than chanting "Matheson, Becker, Corroon" repeatedly could ever achieve.

For the sake of convenient oversimplification in explanation, I think what Utah County did that isn't happening as much elsewhere is organize creatively. And it should be happening as much in 2009 as in 2008 and 2010 in every county. When does "we lack the resources" become less of an explanation and more of a perpetuation? What Utah County has achieved is proof enough the same organization can be built in every county in the state, and I believe that is where the state party should be focusing more.

We have the tools and the opportunity and the county parties to back it, but in most areas, we've yet to take that first baby step, or lack the organization and volunteer support to make it happen, and we've done that to ourselves.

Kudos to Utah County for setting the bar a little higher.


Sunday, May 3, 2009

GOP 2010

All you moderates out there, y’all come. I mean, that’s the message,” Steele said at a news conference. “The message of this party is this is a big table for everyone to have a seat. I have a place setting with your name on the front.

“Understand that when you come into someone’s house, you’re not looking to change it. You come in because that’s the place you want to be.

- Michael Steele

Balloon Juice:

[...] he still fails to understand what is happening. Once Collins and Snowe are drummed out of the party, the definition of what is “moderate” will change yet again. The music will stop, and Lindsey Graham, with his ACU rating of 90, will find himself without a seat because he isn’t conservative enough.

It is already happening with Chuck Grassley (ACU rating of 76), who the conservatives are trying to screw out of the Judiciary seat because of insufficient fealty to the cause. Jeff Sessions of Alabama is their choice. He’s a “real conservative.” The same with Orin Hatch, whose ACU rating is only 80. He recently pointed out that conservatives aren’t going to win a fight over the Souter Supreme Court seat, and I am sure we will soon learn how he is insufficiently conservative and needs to be purged. Plus, he talks to Ted Kennedy.

Only the completely crazy need apply to the GOP.

Tribal. Regional. Doubling down on dead ideas.

2010 should be a good time.


Financial Feeding Frenzy


Ezra:

Noam Scheiber has an interesting story in this week's New Republic tracking the effort by the banks to screw over the professional investors. The very short summary is that the banks wanted a "safe harbor provision" that would give them legal immunity from investor lawsuits if they modified mortgages. This has, in turn, generated a massive counter-lobbying campaign from the hedge funds and other types of investors. "Think of the new dynamic as a kind of Iran-Iraq war come to Capitol Hill," writes Scheiber. "Where there are no obvious good guys, the next best thing may be two powerful rivals beating each other to a pulp."

Goposaurs

The newest video from Daily Kos TV takes look back at the Republican Party’s reaction to the defection of Arlen Specter and what it has revealed about the state of the modern GOP:





read more | digg story

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Rice May Have Admitted to Conspiracy, Nixon's John Dean Says

In little-noticed comments Thursday, former White House counsel for President Richard Nixon John Dean said Thursday that former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice have unwittingly admitted to a criminal conspiracy when questioned about torture by a group of student videographers at Stanford.

read more | digg story

DFA: Online Public Healthcare Briefing Monday, with Howard Dean

From the inbox:

Next week, Congress will begin making the actual decisions about what reforms will make it into this year's healthcare bill.

Our actions over the next few days and weeks will be critical in building the support we need to win.

Meanwhile, conservative groups have launched a new assault on inclusion of a public healthcare option like Medicare. Their million-dollar ad campaign claims that healthcare will be rationed and "bureaucrats" will "decide the treatments you receive." It's an old message that you and I know isn't true, but it will stick if we don't fight back with our message of Choice, Competition, and Comfort.*

So we're holding an emergency online briefing on Monday night with Governor Howard Dean, M.D. at 9pm Eastern to make sure we're all ready for the fight ahead. This is a joint Stand with Dr. Dean event hosted by MoveOn, one of our biggest campaign partners.

All you need to join in is a computer with speakers and an internet connection. Please join us.

Emergency Online Briefing with Dr. Dean
Monday, May 4, 9pm Eastern


Hosted on MoveOn.org's web site at:
http://www.moveon.org/drdean/?id=16038-3139585-xg0J2sx&t=7


Last time Democrats tried to pass comprehensive healthcare reform, it failed. And it failed in part because the opposition was better organized and spread a bunch of lies that progressives weren't prepared to rebut.

It's up to us to make sure that doesn't happen again.

Friday, May 1, 2009

The Morality of Politics

Interesting item for discussion at the UDP blog on the aftermath of a Democratic campaign in Utah County.

Worth a read.

H. Res. 383: Lee Wexler Conyers Bush Investigation Bill

H.Res 383 establishes a committee to review national security laws and practices.

Read the full bill here.

Wexler (via email):

I am proud that President Obama released the so-called "Torture Memos" because it demonstrates his commitment to openness while shining a spotlight on this awful chapter of our nation’s history. Our proposed Select Committee would not only establish how and when torture was authorized, but also tackle the critical issue of preventing future abuses.

This committee would have the authority to ask the hard questions – to look close – and deliver the truth about the proper role of our government that protects both our civil liberties and the safety of our citizens. We must do both.

The committee will investigate many of the outrageous policies of the Bush Administration to unearth and expose what happened during the past eight years. Witnesses will be subpoenaed and testify under oath. Based on what we learn, the committee will craft legislative recommendations that will be utilized as the Patriot Act and other critical national security legislation are renewed in the coming months and years.

State Party Chair Race (Video): Kathy Snyder, Rob Miller (for Wayne Holland), and Candidate Jeff Bell

From the 2009 Cache County Democrats convention.

State Treasurer candidate Kathy Snyder (for Wayne Holland).

Outgoing State Party Vice-Chair Rob Miller (for Wayne Holland).

State Part Chair Candidate Jeff Bell (JMBell.org): Part One, and Part Two.

More videos from Cache, Weber, and Davis conventions here. Next up, the State Part convention in June. And Rob, we need to talk about this "Local bloggers are already saying everything we say" business near the end of your speech. :)

House Budget Vote Unity

Surprising support for Obama's budget, even from Blue Dogs (Bayh's unsurprising cop out notwithstanding). Democratic Strategist:

47 House Democrats represent districts carried by John McCain in a bad Republican year. They voted 34-13 for the Obama-backed budget. 13 Democratic senators represent states carried by McCain; they voted for the budget 10-3.

Of the four House Democrats voting against the budget who represent districts carried by Obama, three (Barrow of GA, Foster of IL, and Nye of VA) are from seats recently won by Republicans, and the fourth is Dennis Kucinich. Only two Senate Democrats from states won by Obama voted against the budget: Arlen Specter, who switched parties the day of the vote, and Evan Bayh, from a state that narrowly went Democratic for the first time in 44 years (true also, of course, for Virginia senators Warner and Webb, who voted for the budget).

Looking at the Democratic groupings often suspected of disloyalty is interesting, too. The Blue Dog Coalition in the House voted for the budget by a 41-6 margin. And in the Senate, the 15 Democrats whose names have most often been associated with the "moderate working group" led by Evan Bayh split 13-2 in favor of the budget.

The Brand is Tainted

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) via The New York Times:

"Do you really believe that we lost 18-to-34-year-olds by 19 percent, or we lost Hispanic voters, because we are not conservative enough? No. This is a ridiculous line of thought. The truth is we lost young people because our Republican brand is tainted."
Diseased. And Republicans bristle at the mere suggestion, so to calm thy oversensitive tea-baggn' nerves, let me remind you the Democratic Party just emerged from the same "taint." No party is immune, but every party or coalition has the choice to either ignore the fact, and double down on more of the same (think Inhofe, Demint, Michele Bachmann Batshit) or find a new direction.

Put more simply by Ethan a few months ago.
It's not only issues like gay marriage and abortion, but those will be the signs of a return of the GOP.

I don't think we'll see it for a very long time though, if Newt's revival is any indication of the master plan. Contract with America 2.0 isn't going to cut it.

Which is fine with me (we're not done SOCIALSIM!-izing the system yet). But eventually we need the two party system back.

Related: Tea bags may be a great investment for the next few years.