Archive for June, 2010

GOP can’t quite get its message right on BP

UPDATE: Barton is sorry for saying he’s sorry:

Under pressure from the leaders of his own party, Rep. Joe Barton (R-Tex.) late Thursday retracted his apology to BP CEO Tony Hayward for the way his company has been treated by the U.S. government. . .
According to a GOP leadership aide, Barton met with House Minority Leader John Boehner (Ohio) and Minority Whip Eric Cantor (Va.) Thursday afternoon, and was told, “Apologize, immediately. Or you will lose your [subcommittee] position, immediately. Now that he has apologized, we’ll see what happens going forward.”

Now, if they can just get Rush Limbaugh to apologize.

President Obama may be struggling with finding the right political message to communicate on the oil spill, but the Republican Party is finding it equally difficult to come up with the right message. The party of very limited government has found itself calling for a big government response to the oil spill. Worse yet, the party of Big Business has found some of its …

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Big trouble for the Democrats — and Nancy Pelosi — in November

As any psychologist will tell you, anger and fear are among the most powerful emotions. That’s the leading reason that Republicans are so confident of their chances for taking back the House of Representatives in November, dispatching the first woman Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi.

GOP voters — angry about many things, including Democratic control of the legislative and executive branches — are eager to vote in November. Democrats? Not so much. There is still a huge “enthusiasm” gap between Democratic and Republican voters about the coming mid-term elections. From USA Today:

Midterm elections, when turnout is traditionally low, are all about getting voters engaged enough to actually go the polls and vote. In the USA TODAY survey taken Friday through Sunday, there’s sobering news on that front for Democrats. Just 35% of Democratic and Democratic-leaning voters said they were “more enthusiastic than usual” about voting in November. That’s down eight percentage points …

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US Rep. Linder insults jobless workers like Jack Shaft

WASHINGTON — For much of human history, the comfortable have looked down on the afflicted, blaming them for their suffering. Psychologists say the practice gives the lucky among us a way of distancing ourselves from human travails, providing a barrier against the distressing thought that life’s arbitrary misery could engulf us, too.

It’s no great surprise, then, that a deep recession has given new life to the old notion that providing unemployment benefits simply fuels laziness and dependence. U.S. Rep. John Linder, (R-Ga.), gave voice to the old canard during a committee hearing last week.

“And even when businesses are willing to hire, nearly two years of unemployment benefits are too much of an allure for some. The evidence is mounting that so-called stimulus policies rammed through Congress are doing more harm than good,” he said.

Congressman Linder, I’d like to introduce you to Jack Shaft, who has been unemployed since December 2008. Shaft was a salesman for a …

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Obama squandered his Oval Office moment

Obama could have called for a “moon shot” tonight to make a transition from fossil fuels to cleaner energy, and he failed to do that. He made his first-ever speech in the Oval Office, and he had all three networks at the 8 p.m. slot, and he didn’t make good use of it.

The speech was flat and uninspiring. He recited a litany of the things the administration has done to try to bring the spill under control, but it was a rehash of things the public has already heard. Yes, he’s going to make BP pay. That’s good — as far as it goes. But he didn’t use the moment to assert a resolute sense of command.

Nor did he use it to call on Americans to make the sacrifices that will be necessary to make the transition from petroleum to cleaner fuels. Yes, he said a little about it. But he didn’t even endorse the energy bill currently languishing in the Senate.

The president has wasted a crisis.

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Glenn Beck, racism and a mirror

READERS: Sorry to do this given the fun we’re having, but I’m ending comments on this post.

If you spend any time watching Glenn Beck, with his pseudo-intellectualism and chalkboards and references to history, you know that he would make great material for a small army of psychology students working on their doctoral dissertations. But one facet of Beck’s personality doesn’t require any deep analysis: his penchant for projecting — blaming someone else for the very traits that are so obvious in him.

Consider yesterday’s show, where he  insisted that President Obama hasn’t yet met with BP executives because — wait for it — the president is racist (h/t Think Progress):

BECK: What is it that Barack Obama knows that he won’t even bother to meet with the guy to hear him out? Well, until, you know, he changed his mind a couple of days later.

What is it that the dictator of Iran, the crazy guy in Iran has in the credibility department that the CEO of BP doesn’t have? What …

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BP’s disastrous shortcuts teach a lesson: Gas isn’t cheap

As President Obama prepares to address the nation tonight on his plans to mitigate the oil spill aftermath, Congressional investigators looking into the Deepwater Horizon disaster have come to a conclusion that should surprise no one: BP took safety risks on the ill-fated rig in order to save money. There is little doubt that decisions BP managers made in the days and hours before the April 20 disaster led directly to the tragic explosion and the failures of multiple systems meant to contain the damage.

U.S. Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), head of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and his colleague, released a letter sent to BP outlining those foolish and dangerous shortcuts. From the WaPo:

One decision that looks questionable was the one to use only six devices for centering the drill pipe in the well hole instead of 21, as initially planned and recommended by Halliburton, the service company hired to put cement between the pipe and wall of the hole.

Halliburton warned …

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“Christian” school teacher gets fired for fornication — with her fiance

This morning, NBC’s Ann Curry interviewed a Florida woman, Jeretta Hamilton, who was fired from a private school for having sex with her fiance before marriage. The principal found out when she applied for maternity leave and he did the math — like folks used to do back in the 1950s. The termination letter told her to  ”consider the testimony of the Lord.”

Hamilton may have a good case in federal court, but could she actually be surprised that a Christianist school gets in a snit over fornication? Isn’t that in its rule book (figuratively, if not literally?)

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From NBC:

Jarretta Hamilton and her husband of 16 months, Samuel Treftz, told TODAY’s Ann Curry Monday that the termination violated federal anti-discrimination laws. In addition, they allege in a pending lawsuit, the school’s principal, Jon Ennis, invaded Hamilton’s privacy by telling other teachers and the parents of her students the …

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Is the tea party over?

Is the tea party movement already weak tea? Has the anti-government, anti-Obama movement already peaked?

A new ABC-Washington Post poll shows that half of Americans now view the tea party unfavorably. Besides that, its political endorsements have not turned out as well as many had hoped.

In Nevada, tea party members are fussing and finger-pointing over the election of Sharron Angle as the GOP nominee to face Harry Reid. Some are pointing out the obvious: Angle, a former state legislator with fringe views, isn’t the strongest candidate against Reid.

In Virginia, tea partiers put forward so many candidates for congressional seats that establishment-backed candidates won the nomination. It turns out that anger, which primarily motivates tea party supporters, is no substitute for organization. From the WaPo:

“No one owns the tea party brand, and that’s kind of the problem,” said Brendan Steinhauser, grass-roots director for FreedomWorks, which organizes tea party groups. “In …

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Democrats should ignore GOP’s new-found religion on the deficit and create more jobs

WASHINGTON — With unemployment still hovering around ten percent and economic anxieties fueling the “wrong track” sentiment in opinion polls, you’d think President Obama would be burning through his remaining political capital to get a major jobs bill through Congress.

Instead, Democrats have been captured by the newest conventional wisdom: voters are anxious about the deficit. So, instead of a strong push to save teachers, firefighters and police officers who are losing their jobs to state and local budget cuts, the White House seems to be settling for a minor jobs bill that won’t amount to a bucket of water in a forbidding desert of joblessness.

It’s no great surprise that Republicans — whose only economic strategy involves tax cuts — have lined up against the use of additional federal spending to counteract a staggering economic downturn. It’s less clear how the Democrats were taken hostage by an idea that not only defies basic Keynesian economics but also …

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Like Gwinnett Co, the entire nation is becoming browner, a transformative demographic change

READERS: I’m shutting down commenting on this post.

For decades, Gwinnett County was the stereotypical “white flight” area, a formerly rural area turned suburban when white residents of Atlanta started to leave the city in the 1970s. Now, according to AJC reporter Jeffry Scott, Gwinnett County is “majority-minority” — a harbinger of the demographic change occurring throughout the nation:

The U.S. Bureau of the Census said on Thursday that Gwinnett County is now minority majority, an oxymoron that translates into 50.8 percent of the population as non-white and 49.2 percent as white.

The numbers, based on 2009 census estimates, were a long time coming, said demographers who have been watching as the county, with a population of more than 800,000, has become one of the most diverse in the nation.

In 2000, Gwinnett’s population was 67.3 percent white and 32.7 percent minority. Since then, the black and Hispanic populations of the county have more than doubled.

As Gwinnett …

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