BP Cares About Midgets!

I was so glad to know that British Petroleum, the international conglomerate that has poked a big, ostensibly irreparable hole into Mother Earth, now seems to care a whole lot about midgets.

We care about the small people. I hear comments sometimes that large oil companies or greedy companies that don’t care, but that is not the case at BP. We care about the small people.

Said Carl-Henric Svanberg yesterday. I figure he just figures we “normal” sized people can stand in the oil just fine with problem. But the small people, man, he’s worried that they’re gonna drown.

Oh, What You Said!

The President of the United States, speaking yesterday at Carnegie-Mellon, the school what matriculated my very own Grannie G.

In a global economy, we can’t pursue this agenda in a vacuum. At the height of the financial crisis, the coordinated action we took with the nations of the G20 prevented a global depression and helped restore worldwide growth. And as we’ve recently witnessed in Europe, economic difficulties in one part of the world can affect everybody else. And that’s why we have to keep on working with the nations of the G20 to pursue more balanced growth. That’s why we need to coordinate financial reform with other nations so that we avoid a global race to the bottom. It’s why we need to open new markets and meet the goal of my National Export Initiative: to double our exports over the next five years. And it’s why we need to ensure that our competitors play fair and our agreements are enforced. This, too, is part of building a new foundation.

Now, some of you may have noticed that we have been building this foundation without much help from our friends in the other party. From our efforts to rescue the economy, to health insurance reform, to financial reform, most have sat on the sidelines and shouted from the bleachers. They said no to tax cuts for small businesses; no to tax credits for college tuition; no to investments in clean energy. They said no to protecting patients from insurance companies and consumers from big banks.

And some of this, of course, is just politics. Before I was even inaugurated, the congressional leaders of the other party got together and made a calculation that if I failed, they’d win. So when I went to meet with them about the need for a Recovery Act, in the midst of crisis, they announced they were against it before I even arrived at the meeting. Before we even had a health care bill, a Republican senator actually said, “If we’re able to stop Obama on this, it will be his Waterloo. It will break him.” So those weren’t very hopeful signs.

But to be fair, a good deal of the other party’s opposition to our agenda has also been rooted in their sincere and fundamental belief about the role of government. It’s a belief that government has little or no role to play in helping this nation meet our collective challenges. It’s an agenda that basically offers two answers to every problem we face: more tax breaks for the wealthy and fewer rules for corporations.

The last administration called this recycled idea “the Ownership Society.” But what it essentially means is that everyone is on their own. No matter how hard you work, if your paycheck isn’t enough to pay for college or health care or childcare, well, you’re on your own. If misfortune causes you to lose your job or your home, you’re on your own. And if you’re a Wall Street bank or an insurance company or an oil company, you pretty much get to play by your own rules, regardless of the consequences for everybody else.

Now, I’ve never believed that government has all the answers. Government cannot and should not replace businesses as the true engine of growth and job creation. Government can’t instill good values and a sense of responsibility in our children. That’s a parent’s job. Too much government can deprive us of choice and burden us with debt. Poorly designed regulations can choke off competition and the capital that businesses need to thrive.

I understand these arguments. And it’s reflected in my policies. After all, one-third of the Recovery Act we designed was made up of tax cuts for families and small businesses. And when you think back to the health care debate, despite calls for a single-payer, government-run health care plan, we passed reform that maintains our system of private health insurance.

But I also understand that throughout our nation’s history, we have balanced the threat of overreaching government against the dangers of an unfettered market. We’ve provided a basic safety net, because any one of us might experience hardship at some time in our lives and may need some help getting back on our feet. And we’ve recognized that there have been times when only government has been able to do what individuals couldn’t do and corporations wouldn’t do.

That’s how we have railroads and highways, public schools and police forces. That’s how we’ve made possible scientific research that has led to medical breakthroughs like the vaccine for Hepatitis B, and technological wonders like GPS. That’s how we have Social Security and a minimum wage, and laws to protect the food we eat and the water we drink and the air that we breathe. That’s how we have rules to ensure that mines are safe and, yes, that oil companies pay for the spills that they cause.

Now, there have always been those who’ve said no to such protections; no to such investments. There were accusations that Social Security would lead to socialism, and that Medicare was a government takeover. There were bankers who claimed the creation of federal deposit insurance would destroy the industry. And there were automakers who argued that installing seatbelts was unnecessary and unaffordable. There were skeptics who thought that cleaning our water and our air would bankrupt our entire economy. And all of these claims proved false. All of these reforms led to greater security and greater prosperity for our people and our economy.

So what was true then is true today. As November approaches, leaders in the other party will campaign furiously on the same economic arguments they’ve been making for decades. Fortunately, we don’t have to look back too many years to see how their agenda turns out. For much of the last 10 years we’ve tried it their way. They gave us tax cuts that weren’t paid for to millionaires who didn’t need them. They gutted regulations and put industry insiders in charge of industry oversight. They shortchanged investments in clean energy and education, in research and technology. And despite all their current moralizing about the need to curb spending, this is the same crowd who took the record $237 billion surplus that President Clinton left them and turned it into a record $1.3 trillion deficit.

So we know where those ideas lead us. And now we have a choice as a nation. We can return to the failed economic policies of the past, or we can keep building a stronger future. We can go backward, or we can keep moving forward. And I don’t know about you, but I want to move forward. I think America wants to move forward.

What’s been missing in the debate over the issue of the day has been swats at the larger issue. He’s getting warmer. But it’s more like 30 years. And it’s far more pervasive and sinister than he’s able to acknowledge. The fact of the matter is that government isn’t yet drowning in that bathtub, a visual that only a conservative like Grover Norquist would be twisted enough to even put into thought let alone words, but it’s certainly treading water. To the point that when Obama made a point of saying that the federal government was actually in charge of BP’s attempts to quell the oil geyser, I didn’t believe him and still don’t. The reason there is an oil geyser to begin with is that the government isn’t in charge of anything. I can hope that the President will continue to espouse the long view of things and that he will go even longer. But I suspect that his remarks of yesterday were as broad as he can go.

FDR. There’s a guy who knew how to take the long view:

For nearly four years you have had an Administration which instead of twirling its thumbs has rolled up its sleeves. We will keep our sleeves rolled up.

We had to struggle with the old enemies of peace: business and financial monopoly, speculation, reckless banking, class antagonism, sectionalism, war profiteering.

They had begun to consider the Government of the United States as a mere appendage to their own affairs. We know now that Government by organized money is just as dangerous as Government by organized mob.

Never before in all our history have these forces been so united against one candidate as they stand today. They are unanimous in their hate for me – and I welcome their hatred.

I was thinking last night as I took my evening constitutional: There is a part of the FDR Memorial here in Washington that memorializes soup kitchens. Seriously. It looks like this:

It memorializes soup kitchens and/or bread lines. As if to say, that was something that happened, you know, “back then.” And it won’t ever happen again.

I dunno about that. Not when you’ve got people who are apparently willing and able to sit in the hot sun and hold up signs that depict the President of these Untied States as Hitler who are begging for the country to become an all-out plutocracy, unable to understand somehow that doing so simply renders them as supplicants and serfs.

No, methinks a lot more people will be standing in those lines soon. They’re just begging for it.

No, Rand Paul Is Not Insane

Am just listening to Stephanie Miller read an e-mail that indicates in many creative ways that newly-minted Kentucky senatorial candidate Rand Paul is insane, following his interview on The Rachel Maddow Show last evening. That’s the scary thing, though. He’s not insane.

The interview was just aggravating. Paul knows he can’t come out and say that he thinks that private businesses ought to have the right to refuse service. So he goes all Fred Astaire on our dear Rachel. And, although listening to it causes the average American to present with a splitting headache, he is exceptional at it.

Let me say this. I believe Rand Paul when he says he abhors discrimination. I don’t think he’s a racist. If only. What Rand is, is clearly a product of the extreme Bizarro-Utopian Anarchist thinking that has gripped this country (and for which he may be named for).

Rand Paul is so blinded by his belief that ownership is morality that he can’t fathom that sometimes, the federal government has to be able to tell people and institutions, including privately owned businesses, where to step the hell off. And he’s so clouded up with “objectivism” that he can’t see the difference between denying service to People of Grander Melanin and denying service to people who are packing heat, and to top it off he somehow thinks that’s a great way to argue with Known Liberal Rachel Anne Maddow.

No, I don’t think Rand Paul is insane, not in the conventional sense. I just think he’s taken the suppository*.

*“…the jagged, horrid, rusty, poisonous suppository that is used to corrupt Republigoats, that travels from their ass through their entire bloodstream, leaving behind shards of poison and bad ideas, and ending up in the brain, where it severs the corpus collosum and implants the text of ‘Atlas Shrugged,’ poop, and the hallucination that Ann Coulter is hot.”

William Gheen Is An Ignorant Redneck

There are, frankly, so many kinds of stupid in the news today that it is really, really difficult to know where one should begin. I reckon I could begin with William Gheen, who is an ignorant redneck.

Gheen represents an organization called “Americans for Legal Immigration,” a political action committee which in part states as its mission the following:

We are dedicated to fighting against illegal immigration and amnesty for illegal aliens and seek a peaceful solution to the crisis that involves Americans of every race, Party, and denomination working together.

Here is Gheen, doing something that he calls “outing” U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina. Go on. Play it. You’ve got to see it to believe it.

Now. As Thom Hartmann explained to William Gheen today, it’s not “outing” unless you have some evidence. Otherwise, it’s just a reckless charge. And, as this writer knows from personal experience, just because a fellow is middle-aged and never married, that isn’t evidence that said fellow is teh ghey. And I fail miserably to see how making said information public true or not somehow convinces Graham to change his thinking regarding immigration reform.

Believe me, I’m no Lindsey Graham fan. This is a guy who held a press event to show people what the menu was like at Gitmo to prove that holding people there without access to a barrister was really just fine actually because mmmmmm…salmon. However, I don’t think it’s fair to ambush a guy from the closet if he’s perfectly comfortable there, and doing so in the pursuit of public policy interests is just a soft form of terrorism. Moreover, I hope I hope I hope I hope I hope that one day we’ll live in a country where whether or not a guy likes guys or gals just won’t matter anymore. It shouldn’t matter. After all, Gorge Dubya Boosh was straight as an arrow, and lookit.

Second stupid, filed under “by the time I get to Arizona…” Attention, white people in Arizona: If you choose to relinquish your rights under the Fourth Amendment, that applies to ALL OF YOU, not just to the brown-skinned people. Morons. Don’t come crying to me when Deputy Sheriff Baker decides he doesn’t like your bumpersticker and decides to have a little fun with you and you’ve allowed your governor to withdraw any recourse you might have. Duh.

Third stupid, and this is just the kind of stupid that you just want to HUG, it’s so stupid, and I’m just going to copy and paste directly from Talking Points Memo if you don’t mind:

Sue Lowden, the front-running Republican challenger to Sen. Harry Reid, yesterday doubled down on her idea that health care could be paid for using the barter system.

Last week, when Lowden suggested “that bartering is really good,” it seemed that she may have been talking about haggling prices and just had her vocab mixed up. It happens to everyone.

But yesterday, on a local news program, Lowden seemed to double down on the idea. Asked whether the statement made her seem disconnected, she shot back that it’s Reid who’s disconnected for not knowing “that this is already happening in our state.”

“Let’s change the system and talk about what the possibilities are. I’m telling you that this works. You know, before we all started having health care, in the olden days, our grandparents, they would bring a chicken to the doctor. They would say I’ll paint your house,” she said. “[That’s] what people would do to get health care with their doctors. Doctors are very sympathetic people.”

“I’m not backing down from that system,” she added.

Wow. Wow. Wow wow wow wow wow wow wow. And this woman is leading in the polls over Hairy Reed. Holy shit. We are in serious, serious trouble people.

Hmmmm…the Sequel

By the way. As it turns out, Eric Cantor was LYING.

…an investigation found that the bullet was probably a random shot, fired from as far as a half-mile away, police said today. It appears it wasn’t fired at Cantor’s office, which is minimally marked and in a city with serious gun violence problems.


As TPM put it: It wasn’t quite as bad as showing up this morning with a backwards B scraped on his cheek.

Or, as Cody put it: Cantor’s “Backwards B” Moment.

How big a moron does Eric Cantor think you are? Salon says it is improbable anyone was targeting him specifically because you can’t even identify his office from outside.



Isn’t Eric Cantor’s protestation that his office was shot at, too, kind of like saying that you have lots of black friends when someone accuses you of racism?

(On second thought, yes, it’s especially like that, but only after you’re caught wearing the hood and cape and standing before the kerosene-soaked wooden cross with a torch.)


I may have stumbled upon a good way to counter conservative hysteria over the passage yesterday of health care reform.

An old pal of mine with whom I now keep up via Facedbook had posted something about waking up this morning in a “socialist republic.”

I try to be demure about political discussions on Facedbook, though sometimes it’s like Odysseus at Scylla. With this one, the damned ropes snapped. The response just rang in my head and my fingers were typing and there it was. “You’re a cool guy and all. But that is nonsense.”

Calling out the nonsense for what it is? Is that perhaps a better response than pointing out the facts that the bill what passed has no way and no how anything to do with involving the federal government in the health care sector, aside from a little bit of regulatin’?

Is it better to just label it for what it is than to explain?



Received today in the GMail, emphasis theirs:

Mark Warner is only a freshman Senator, but according to a prominent Capitol Hill publication, he’s already becoming known as “a powerful player in Congress.” This morning, the Hill highlighted some of things Senator Warner has accomplished in his first term, and I wanted to make sure you had a chance to read the article.

Among other things, the Hill noted that Senator Warner scored “a rare and significant bipartisan victory” when he led a group a freshmen in securing the adoption of “a package of amendments to contain costs, encourage innovation and promote accountability across the healthcare system.”

Senator Warner has also “won rave reviews from business leaders” – and even Republicans. Senator Bob Corker (R-TN), who has worked closely with Warner on Wall Street reform, called him “the best partner anybody could possibly imagine.”

Why do Democrats think that approval from Republigoats is a good thing? Why do they consider it enough of a benefit to put it in a fund raising e-mail soliciting Democrats for munny? Did they think I would go “Cool! Republigoats like him! Where’s my checkbook?”

Can you imagine the Republigoat e-mail that says “Even Democrats love Mitch McConnell!” In a million years, can ya?

Sorry ForwardTogetherPAC. I’ll pass. Ya’ll still don’t get it.