Mark Begich overcame his 3,200 vote deficit yesterday when Alaska tallied some 60,000 absentee, early and questioned ballots. The full count is up to over 260,000. There are still 35,000 additional ballots yet to be counted. By my count, this means Stevens needs to win more than 51% of remaining ballots, but this seems unlikely because many of the uncounted ballots are from left-leaning Anchorage. Fivethirtyeight did the math a few days ago and said this might happen. I’m not sure I agree, but this morning, they say, “Mark Begich is now an overwhelming favorite to win the Alaska Senate seat.”
Dear DC jackholes, you can see SoSB open for M83 tomorrow night at the Black Cat. That is, if you’re not exhausted after seeing Abe Vigoda, No Age, and Diplo tonight. Motherfuckers.
M83 is an OK touchstone for School of Seven Bells. They remind me a bit of some of the German laptop pop like Lali Puna or Ulrich Schnauss. I suppose The Notwist or Postal Service are in that bunch, though SSoB never really rocks out and they float off on the river of easy listening more times than not. Jazzy sections of electronic ambient fluff will give way to a skittering dancey percussion loop, but it never gets rough. The edges never fray. More tuneage on TheirSpace.
“In the CNN/Opinion Research Corp. survey released Tuesday, 59 percent of those questioned said Democratic control of both the executive and legislative branches will be good for the country, compared with 38 percent saying such one-party control will be bad.”—CNN :: So if 60% of Americans welcome one-party Democratic rule, and 40% of the federal budget is comprised of very popular liberal entitelement programs initiated by FDR and LBJ (Social security, Medicare/Medicaid), how exactly are we a “center-right” country?
“We can’t be lulled into complacency. You have to remember that Adolf Hitler was elected in a democratic Germany. I’m not comparing [Barack Obama] to Adolf Hitler. What I’m saying is there is the potential of going down that road.”—Rep. Paul Broun (R-GA), in the throes of what Jake Tapper refers to as Obama Derangement Syndrome. This is but one of many mind-bending quotes from Broun in the AP article. Wowsas!
Apparently, Joe dropped an f-bomb during his show yesterday while discussing Rahmbo. Kind of funny until you remember this is the jackass who has been bloviating about indecency on television for years.
Cool graphic, too big to post here, of when past Presidents have named their Cabinet and key personell. Obama’s announcement of his chief of staff is the earliest in the chart, which goes back to 1972.
“You know, if you were a slave in the old South, what did you get as a slave? You got free room and board, you got free money, and you got rewarded for having children because that was just, you know, tomorrow’s slave. … Can I ask a question? How’s that different from welfare? You get a free house, you get free food, and you get rewarded for having children. Oh, wait a minute, hold on a second. There is a difference: The slave had to work for it.”—Jim Quinn, Republican Asshat
Ezra: “Lieberman wants to keep his committee as a hedge against retribution. So long as he controls Governmental Affairs, he’s not the sort of guy Democrats want on a warpath against them. Elsewhere, they can take him seriously, or screw him over, largely as they please, which most would probably find a preferable alternative. But I basically side with the “kick him out” folks. Unlike Arlen Specter, whose minor heterodoxies ended with a pathetic show of groveling and a solemn promise to never, ever, in a million years, ever say an unkind word about one of Bush’s judicial nominees, Lieberman’s major betrayal of the Democratic Party has been accompanied by a promise to bolt to the Republicans Party if he’s not sufficiently stroked. That’s not the sort of guy you want in a position of oversight.”
Wow. A touching article about Eugene Allen, an 89 year old black man who served in the White House through eight presidencies, from 1952 until 1986. His wife of sixty five years died Monday, the day before they were to vote for Barack Obama.
You have got to be kidding me. Joe the Plumber was on welfare, twice, and credits the program with helping his family become middle class. Yet Obama is disloyal to democracy and the United States and is a socialist because he wants to take his money and give it to the poor. Why this wingnut is still on television is a mystery.
This book might have just become required reading. I knew Rahm was the model for Brad Whitford in the West Wing, and I knew he played a role in the 2006 Congressional gains, but I never realized the extent of it.
The more I learn, the more I like. Obama is willing to take short term flack for appointing an aggressive and possibly divisive guy for the long term goal of seeing his agenda is done.
“If [Hillary Clinton] gets a race against John Edwards and Barack Obama, she’s going to be the nominee. Gore is the only threat to her … Barack Obama is not going to beat Hillary Clinton in a single democratic primary. I’ll predict that right now”—Bill Kristol, December 17, 2006
Suspicious Resignations: Bush's Immigration Chief Announces Sudden Departure A Week After ICE Illegally Leaked Obama's Aunt's Immigration Status
So I just I saw the day-old news, via Washington Post’s The Trail, that Julie Myers is leaving as head of Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
My first reaction was, “Way to bail out on your President with two and a half months remaining.”
My second reaction was, “Wait a second…”
It doesn’t say anything about it in the WaPo piece, but Myers was recently suspected of being the leak behind this AP story on Saturday, in which it was revealed that Obama’s aunt was living illegally in the US. As Politico reported, it’s illegal for ICE to comment on any individual’s status, and there was some concern that this was an intentional and politically motivated leak in the last 72 hours of the election.
A few days ago, Tim Dickenson at Rolling Stone suggested the leak might be Myers for a few circumstantial reasons: first, she was one of four individuals at ICE to go on the record in prior stories with the AP writers; second, she’s “a loyal Bushie whose appointment was a clear case of nepotism” - she is the niece of Gen. Richard Myers, former Chair of the Joint Chiefs, and is married to John F. Wood, the chief of staff for Michael Chertoff, the Secretary of DHS; and third, her nemesis in the appointment process was Claire McCaskill, who tried to put a “hold" on her appointment, and who was co-chair of Obama’s campaign.
Myers is already on the liberal shit list for one too many embarassments. Last fall, during her confirmation hearing, photosemerged of Myers giving the “most original costume” award on Halloween to a white guy who put on blackface, a dreadlock wig, and prison garb. Also, during her watch, ICE also ran into trouble for administering drugs to deportees without their consent and for refusing medical treatment to a detainee, resulting in his death.
Obviously, it’s jumping the gun to assume her guilt, but this whole thing is awfully suspicious. Sooner or later, Michael Chertoff is going to have to answer whether she was fired because she was the leak, because she let the leak happen, or because she made another foolish Halloween costume award decision this year…
"Evidence is mounting that senior adviser Randy Scheunemann wasn’t fired, as several internal sources had suggested, but the target of a deliberate whispering campaign.
Top McCain adviser Mark Salter told CNN Thursday that Scheunemann, the campaign’s senior foreign policy adviser, was not fired.
Michael Goldfarb, a McCain press aide and Scheunemann ally, said that senior McCain aides were mad at Scheunemann — and wanted to fire him — but he insisted they stopped short of that, and instead simply turned off his campaign communication.”
Aren’t you sad that these guys aren’t getting ready to run the national government of the most powerful country on earth?
I have been thinking a lot about “small government” lately, especially since Tuesday, when the fence-sitter I was trying to persuade to vote for Obama said he didn’t believe in large government. Liberals, he said, want a huge government.
"That’s over," I told him, "it’s not the seventies anymore. I certainly don’t believe in large government. Nobody believes in having a big government." I continued, "We want a functioning and effective government, not a bloated joke of a government." I went on about George W. Bush’s growth of government and how the Democrats are really now the party of fiscal responsibility. I talked about how Reagan and both Bushes threw the idea of a balanced budget out the window, and how it took Bill Clinton to bring it back.
The “small government” argument has been on my mind a lot this election, especially as John McCain ratcheted up his talk of “spreading the wealth” and socialism. Clearly, the small government argument gets folks on the right riled up, worked into frothing frenzies about their wasted tax dollars.
But 70% of the federal budget is composed of defense spending, Social Security, Medicare/Medicaid, and interest on borrowed money. Are conservatives in favor of eliminating the 40% of the budget that goes to entitlements? The old lumbering Mediasaurus (RIP Michael Crichton) repeatedly says that we are a “center-right” country, and yet two-fifths of the federal government is composed of incredibly popular liberal programs instituted under FDR and JBJ.
If you wholly eliminated the Department of Education, the Department of the Interior (national parks), the Department of Health and Human Services (FDA, CDC, NIH), the Department of Agriculture (including all farm subsidies), the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Labor, the Department of Energy, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Department of Transportation, and NASA, you would only draw down the federal budget by less than 9%.
If conservatives truly believed in smaller government, or believed that the American people were opposed to government, they would be talking about eliminating or gutting these programs. They don’t. They don’t dare. They tinker on the margins and act like they’re being bold.
Look at earmarks, which were the centerpiece of John McCain’s fiscal argument. Although annual earmarks add up to a large dollar figure that is greater than the budget for USDA or most of the other Departments mentioned above, it still only adds up to 1-2% of the federal budget. So when McCain claimed he was for “small government,” all he really meant was a government that is 98% the same size as today’s government. He certainly didn’t talk about cutting any other programs.
Beyond the rhetoric, McCain was really favoring a more efficient government, and one that was less wasteful. This is fine and good, but it is NOT small government.
But it gets worse for Republicans, because so few of them can even commit to this level of trimming government spending. Mitch McConnell, for example, the recently re-elected Minority Leader in the Senate is unrepentant and unwavering in his support of earmarks. The worst state, in dollars per citizen, in earmarks is Alaska, where Republicans like Ted Stevens, Don Young, and Sarah Palin have been in charge.
Most Americans are opposed to earmarks on the whole, yet like their Congressional representatives in the House and Senate, they like seeing pork in their backyards. Localities are pretty happy, generally, when their representatives bring back the bacon.
John McCain’s opponent, who just won, by the way, was tagged as a “tax and spend liberal” and a socialist and all the rest of it. While the rhetoric was over the top, Barack Obama did make a lot of promises of increased government spending. Spending on health care, spending on education, spending on building a green energy economy, spending on infrastructure. And on and on. Yet he largely won on his approach to using government to help the economy and is the first Democrat to win the Presidency with more than 53% of the popular vote since 1964. His 7.5 million popular vote margin is the largest for a first-term President since 1980. It wasn’t even close.
If you ask most Americans if they believed in “big government,” very few would answer in the affirmative. If you ask most Americans, however, if they believe in eliminating the Department of Education (a longstanding Republican position prior to G.W. Bush’s first term), you’d get a minority. If you ask people whether there should be an EPA or NASA or an FDA, most people will say yes. If you ask people if there should be such things as Social Security, unemployment benefits, Medicare, and Medicaid, most people will say yes.
The lesson here is the difference between slogan and ideology. Right now, the Republicans have a slogan, “Small Government! Small Government!,” that rallies people to their cause. But it is little else. Republicans do not govern this way and if they even really believe it deep down, they never propose to cut popular programs, at least not beyond closed door sessions.
Republicans are beholden to a public that likes the idea of small government, but likes the idea of government programs even more. Despite the claims, we do not live in a center-right world, but a center-left world. People just don’t know it yet.