The Watering Hole: Wednesday, January 15, 2014: Hump Day: A Bridge Too Farce…

faceplant-300x222

Well, folks, the long awaited Traffic Study commissioned by Governor Chris Christie that necessitated the closure of 3 out of 4 toll boths on the busiest bridge in the world has now been released. Among its findings are:

  1. If you shut down the world’s busiest bridge, you create the world’s greatest gridlock.
  2. If you create the world’s greatest greatest gridlock, it will have a negative impact on the economy.
  3. If you cause a negative impact on the economy, people are going to ask why.
  4. If people ask why, you will have to lie.
  5. If you have to lie, an angel loses its wings.
  6. If an angel loses its wings, it falls to earth and becomes Satan.
  7. If an angel becomes Satan, gays will get married.
  8. If you want to keep gays from getting married, don’t shut down the world’s busiest bridge.

OPEN THREAD
IT’S HUMP DAY!
WOO-HOO

The Sunday Roast: October 13, 2013: Catholic Church Shuts Down

The College of Cardinals, unhappy with the liberal bent of Pope Francis, have shut down the Catholic Church.

Church bells were silenced this morning as Parish Priests around the globe sullenly posted the shut-down notices on cathedral doors. For the first time in centuries, no Mass was held this morning. Vatican City was closed to all visitors as an erie silence descended upon its streets and halls.

The shutdown notices stated:

Until His Eminance returns to the traditional values of the Catholic Church, these doors will remain closed. The College of Cardinals regrets any inconvenience this shut down has caused. Hail Mary, Hail Mary, Hail Mary.

The effects of the shutdown were not immediately felt outside of Vatican City. In the United States, parishoners simply went back home and watched football. Some stopped long enough to comment.

“Frankly, I thought going to confession was stupid. I mean, I had to do it every week. Most of the time I just made something up so the priest wouldn’t think I was hiding anything.”

“This is all Pope Francis’ fault. If he hadn’t started embracing atheists and gays we wouldn’t be shut out of our place of worship.”

“The Pope is supposed to represent God here on earth. For the past two thousand years, God hated gays and atheists and Protestants. Why change now? This is the Devil’s work. We’re at the end of times for sure.”

Economists warn this shutdown, if it lasts more than a couple of weeks, could have a direct effect on the global economy. Millions of dollars that used to flow to the Vatican every Sunday will now be spent locally. On the other hand, charity and missionary work will run out of funds before the end of the year.

Michelle Bachmann took to the morning talk show circuit this morning, praising the shutdown. “The Catholic Church is nothing more than a massive socialist government disguising itself as a religious organization that redistributes wealth from the job creators to the poor. It’s about time someone shut it down so the people will be free to practice their own religion and come to know that Jesus Christ is coming down to Earth and save all true believers. We’re living in the End Times now. Praise Jesus for this blessed shutdown!”

GIVE US THIS THREAD, OUR SUNDAY ROAST,
AND FORGIVE US OUR COMMENTS,
AS WE FORGIVE THOSE WHO COMMENT AGAINST US,
AND LEAD US NOT INTO TYPOS,
BUT DELIVER US FROM MISSPELLINGS
FOR THINE IS THE POSTING,
THE REPLYING,
AND THE INTERNET
FOREVER AND EVER
AMEN

The Watering Hole, Saturday, July 20, 2013: I Worry ‘Bout It

Time for another parody, what d’ya say? This one was inspired by a friend of mine, Frank, who said he really liked this song. Frank may actually help me record some of these things (I’m the hold-up, not him; stage fright); so this is for him. I hope you all enjoy this one about arguing with political opponents, or anyone who you think hasn’t a clue what he or she is talking about, but insists it’s right anyway. I’m sure some of us won’t agree who needs to hear it. (I know who I think needs to hear it. :))

I Worry ‘Bout It
Original Words and Music “Opus 17 (Don’t You Worry ‘Bout Me)” by Sandy Linzer and Denny Randel, 1966
Additional Lyrics by Wayne A. Schneider, 2013

Ahhhh, I can see
This ain’t no fun for me-
You’re only showing in your heart no empathy
If there’s another plan
That I don’t understand
Go on and tell me, Man
‘Cause now I worry ‘bout it

It’s so true
That you’ve been lying, too
The world all knows we only want what’s best for you
What good are facts denied
If your whole point’s implied
Go on and be decried
And hope I worry ‘bout it

Say you’re wrong
And I’ll just move along
Although you’ll think about it when you hear this song
I’ll always think that you
Intend to take the view
That somehow it’s all true
And that I worry ‘bout it

Ooooooooooh bay-ay-by.

See this guy
Before he says goodbye
Remember if they ever let him spin and lie
Don’t hide your own disdain
Don’t ever feel to blame
‘Cause he’ll do that again
That’s why I worry ‘bout it

I thought you
Know better than you do
You’ll spend your whole life saying what you want is true
And so this is goodbye
I know you’d rather lie
But don’t you tell me why
‘Cause then I’d worry ‘bout it

This is also our daily open thread. Feel free to discuss arguing with political opponents/idiots, brilliant song parodies you’ve read recently, or anything else you want to discuss..

Wake Up, Little Newsies

Our mainstream media has, once again, let us down. Our Fourth Amendment rights are being eroded while the Journalists we depend on to keep us informed sit back and ignore the story. That’s really all this is about.

Wake Up, Little Newsies
Original words and music “Wake Up, Little Susie” by Phil and Don Everly, 1957
Additional lyrics by Wayne A. Schneider, 2013
)

Wake up, Little Newsies, wake up
Wake up, Little Newsies, wake up
You’ve all been sound asleep
Wake up, Little Newsies, and weep
The story’s over, the Fourth is blocked
And we’re in trouble deep
Wake up, Little Newsies
Wake up, Little Newsies, well

Whatta you gonna tell your viewers
Whatta you gonna tell the folks
Whatta you gonna tell the nuts
When they say, “Oooh, a hoax”
Wake up, Little Newsies
Wake up, Little Newsies, well

You told your viewers that you’d have news by ten
Well, Newsie Lady, looks like you goofed again
Wake up, Little Newsies
Wake up, Little Newsies, we gotta know more

Wake up, Little Newsies, wake up
Wake up, Little Newsies, wake up
Your story wasn’t so hot
You didn’t catch much of the plot
You fell asleep, our goose is cooked
Our Constitution is shot
Wake up, Little Newsies
Wake up, Little Newsies, well

Whatta you gonna tell your viewers
Whatta you gonna tell the folks
Whatta you gonna tell the nuts
When they say, “Oooh, a hoax”
Wake up, Little Newsies
Wake up, Little Newsies
Wake up, Little Newsies

Originally posted at Pick Wayne’s Brain

The Watering Hole, Monday, November 5th, 2012: Adelson’s “Newspaper”

In my post from Saturday, November 3rd, I promised (threatened?) forthcoming info regarding the view of our Presidential Election from overseas. So here’s a few recent articles – aka “newsletters” – from the Israel HaYom free daily newspaper**, owned by Mitt Romney’s biggest sugar-daddy, Sheldon Adelson:

November 2nd Newsletter: “Will Sandy save Obama?”
November 2nd Newsletter: “A stormy road to the White House – Uncle Sam’s Identity Crisis”
Another November 2nd Newsletter: “Where will the storm take voters?”
A third – and truly offensive – Newsletter/Opinion from November 2nd: “Obama’s ‘black power’ past and present”

Fourth: In this article from yesterday, it appears that there may not be any daylight between Bibi Netanyahu and President Obama, at least on one issue:

Two days after Abbas implied in a Channel 2 interview that he would be willing to abandon the demand for a Palestinian “right of return” in exchange for peace with Israel, Netanyahu told the weekly cabinet meeting: “I saw the interview with Abbas over the weekend. I heard that he has since rescinded his remarks, but this proves how important it is to hold direct negotiations without preconditions.[Emphasis mine]

From the Fifth (and last) in the Israel HaYom’s election series: The following two (the only two) amusing excerpts from Boaz Bismuth’s “Two Days to Go”, reporting from Cambridge, Massachusetts, prefaced an article based mostly on the Obama “Messiah” myth:

“At least one thing is certain: The next American president will be a Harvard graduate. Out there, in the picturesque calm of the prestigious Ivy League institution…I watched the students passing in front of me and wondered whether any of them would choose to emulate the two famous alumni, Obama and Mitt Romney, and someday join the race to the White House.

“We’re not too excited by the fact that two of our alumni are running for president,” explains Sam, a business student. “Obama is a part of the ruling elite, just like Romney, and it is pretty clear that someone from the ruling elite will be sitting in the White House.”

I ask Sam to help me figure out the polls. “Look, it’s rather simple,” he says. “The people you see who are dressed up and wearing a tie, like me, will vote for Romney.”

“And what about the rest?” I ask.

“They’ll vote for Obama,” he replies.

“But I see very few ties,” I remark.

“It’s the weekend,” he explains.”

Bismuth’s next paragraph gave me a satisfying chuckle:

“Since Americans are unable to decipher the multitude of polls, Nate Silver has come to the rescue with his New York Times blog, FiveThirtyEight, named after the 538 electoral votes. Silver, 38, who accurately predicted the results in 48 states in the 2008 election, declares decisively: Obama is going to win on Tuesday. He projects that 300 electoral votes will go to Obama (30 more than he needs to win), and 50.5% of the popular vote. On the opposite side of the fence, senior Republican strategist Karl Rove predicts in the Wall Street Journal that Romney will win 279 electoral votes, making him the next president of the U.S.”

[Yeah, well we all know how Rovian Math worked out in 2008, right? It still brings me joy to remember the look on Karl's face when, in the midst of his explanation of how, via Rovian Math, McCain could still win, Brit Hume next to him announced that Obama had won Ohio, and the election was over. Priceless.]

And just for fun (or at least a brief break from our election,) here’s a couple of IsraelHayom’s ‘newsletters’ regarding Iran:

From Friday, November 2nd: “Iran is near completing its nuclear activities in Fordo”; and today’s “Iran suspending uranium enrichment in effort to halt sanctions.”

**Check the ‘About Us‘ page’s claim that “… Israel Hayom has a 31.8 percent exposure rate, maintaining its position as the most read daily newspaper in Israel for the second year in a row.” I emailed a few of the above links to a Jewish co-worker, whose daughter has visited Israel several times and has close contacts there: her daughter had never heard of ‘Israel HaYom’, and was going to ask her Israeli friend about it. Haven’t heard anything yet, but IMO, this “newspaper” could be nothing more than one of those freebies you can grab on your way out of the grocery store. :)

This is our daily open thread–try to stay strong and sane!

The Watering Hole, Thursday, November 1st, 2012: “Disgusted” Just Doesn’t Cut It

I’m so sick and disgusted by far too many of my fellow American citizens that I don’t even know what to write about.

I don’t know what’s worse, the lies of the Romney campaign and their supporters, or the stupidity of the people who believe the lies, even after they’ve been debunked. The political opportunism of the President’s opponents making shit up about the Benghazi attack before the four bodies were even cold, forwarding conspiracy theories under the guise of “some people say” and “there are rumors”, show just how despicable these die-hard “party over country” people are.

The blatant politicizing of the Hurricane Sandy disaster by Romney and Ryan, all while Romney refuses to answer questions about his stance on FEMA, should make their supporters at least take pause; instead, their supporters are nit-picking the stories of the Romney/Ryan photo-ops during the disaster.

One of the latest attacks on Obama comes from Breitbart and The Washington Times‘ Ben Shapiro:

As Hurricane Sandy rocks the east coast, the Obama campaign soldiers on via email. Tasteless email. With millions out of power, the Obama campaign sent an email this evening with the following text:

GOT A PHONE? GET HIS BACK. CALL.BARACKOBAMA.COM

If you have a phone, don’t call your loved ones to ensure they’re safe. Call up a random person and push for Barack Obama. Because when the weather gets tough, the tough stump for Obama’s re-election.

At this point, even the word “disgusted” just isn’t enough. Anyone have a better word?

This is our daily open thread–talk amongst yourselves, I’m too disgusted.

The Watering Hole, Thursday, October 25th, 2012: Mixed Bag

I realize that I’m constantly posting articles from Foreign Policy Magazine, but they do provide some interesting items. Here’s a few that you may (or may not, I admit) be interested in.

First, a “who said it” article with fifteen quotes from either President Obama or Mitt Romney. Many of the quotes make the answer pretty obvious, but considering how WillardMitt has been trying to morph into a reasonable moderate like President Obama…well, see how you do on it.

Next, “In Praise of Apathy” discusses the American non-voter, as well as the two-party system, the electoral college, and the failings of the latter two. I was afraid that this article would be similar to the ‘Voting is a waste of time’ one on which I had previously written, but I was pleasantly surprised.

Speaking of the two-party system, here’s another FP article about the Third-Party Presidential Debate that was held on Tuesday night. Some of the topics in this debate are issues that many of us are more concerned about than those covered in the three debates between President Obama and Mitt Romney: the use of drones, climate change, the war on drugs, etc.

Last, an article from “The Daily” that I found on FP’s sidebar, entitled “Unsolicited Advice: An Open Letter to Undecided Voters”, which I think you’ll all enjoy.

This is our daily open thread–let’s talk!

The Watering Hole, Monday, October 22nd, 2012: Mixed Emotions

Since I’ve been wallowing in the throes of depression – Rmoney and Obama are more-or-less tied in the polls, Republicans are doing everything possible to disenfranchise likely Democratic voters, CEOs are threatening their employees if they don’t vote for/donate to Rmoney, my Jets lost in overtime to the damned Patriots, the list goes on and on – I thought I’d throw out something to start the week on a lighter note.

Our current local State Senator, Republican Greg Ball, had some issues with women (among other things) that plagued his last campaign, but still managed to win. His 2012 challenger, Democrat Justin Wagner, has been sending out a series of mailers taking advantage of Ball’s misogynistic reputation. Here’s the front covers from the four mailers that we received – enjoy!

Not so amusing is the fact that tonight is the third and final Presidential debate between President Obama and Elder Professional Liar former Massachusetts Governor Rmoney. So here’s just one more Foreign Policy article, listing 50 questions that various and sundry people would like to see asked of both candidates during tonight’s debate.

(Note: I could not figure out how to get the “Not so” out from between the pictures, so if any of my fellow Critters can edit that and put it at the beginning of the paragraph below them, please feel free to fix it for me.)

Last, but obviously not least: HAPPY 24TH ANNIVERSARY, HONEY!

This is our daily open thread–what’s on YOUR mind today?

The Watering Hole, Thursday, October 18th, 2012: Romney’s Foreign to Foreign Policy

While we’re all still on a bit of a contact high from President Obama’s excellent performance in Tuesday night’s debate, the final Presidential Debate, supposedly covering U.S. foreign policy, looms just around the corner. As a follow-up to my post on Monday, I’m offering two pertinent articles from Foreign Policy magazine.

The first is a piece of rather hawkish advice offered to President Obama by David Rothkopf, which, in part, points out the frightening fact that:

“To get to buried Iranian facilities, such as the enrichment plant at Fordow, would require bunker-busting munitions on a scale that no Israeli plane is capable of delivering. The mission, therefore, must involve the United States, whether acting alone or in concert with the Israelis and others.”

Oy!

The second, as I mentioned on Monday, is a return to Mitt Romney’s recent foreign-policy speech at VMI (Virginia Military Institute.) While I find it disturbing for a Presidential candidate to be obviously undermining his audience’s Commander-in-Chief, even more disturbing were Romney’s comments about the recent tragic attack on our embassy in Benghazi. This line in particular jumped out at me: “These mobs hoisted the black banner of Islamic extremism over American embassies on the anniversary of 9/11.” I’m still looking, but I have not found ANY independent corroboration of this little tidbit.

The following are a few more excepts. Of course, it figures that Romney is a proponent of an Obama Administration policy with which many of us liberals take great issue.

“Drones and the modern instruments of war are important tools in our fight, but they are no substitute for a national security strategy for the Middle East.”

Anyway, Romney continues…

“It is time to change course in the Middle East. That course should be organized around these bedrock principles: America must have confidence in our cause, clarity in our purpose and resolve in our might. No friend of America will question our commitment to support them. No enemy that attacks America will question our resolve to defeat them. And no one anywhere, friend or foe, will doubt America’s capability to back up our words.”

Based on this attitude, Romney wants to pour an unnecessary and unasked-for $2 trillion-with-a-T into the Department of Defense.

“I’ll work with Israel to increase our military assistance and coordination. For the sake of peace, we must make clear to Iran through actions, not just words, that their nuclear pursuit will not be tolerated.
I’ll reaffirm our historic ties to Israel and our abiding commitment to its security. The world must never see any daylight between our two nations.

Why? The United States of America is NOT the same country, we don’t share the same culture or the same history as Israel; we are not geographical neighbors experiencing common challenges. The Constitution says nothing about our country’s ability to create a new country, nor about then being responsible for that new country forever. The President of the United States swears an oath to protect and defend our Constitution, and that oath does not mention protecting and defending Israel as well. Israel is fully capable of defending itself, having been greatly helped by our military and financial assistance. Isn’t it time to cut the cord and let the allegedly adult sovereign state of Israel be responsible for its own actions? But I digress…

“Finally, I will recommit America to the goal of a democratic, prosperous Palestinian state living side by side in peace and security with the Jewish state of Israel. On this vital issue, the President has failed, and what should be a negotiation process has devolved into a series of heated disputes at the United Nations. In this old conflict, as in every challenge we face in the Middle East, only a new President will bring the chance to begin anew.”

Now, that’s the ultimate lying hypocrisy from Romney, who, in the infamous, supposedly-private “47% speech” to big-money donors, said:

“And I look at the Palestinians not wanting to see peace anyway, for political purposes, committed to the destruction and elimination of Israel, and these thorny issues, and I say there’s just no way. And so what you do is you say you move things along the best way you can. You hope for some degree of stability, but you recognize that it’s going to remain an unsolved problem. I mean, we look at that in China and Taiwan. All right, we have a potentially volatile situation, but we sort of live with it. And we kick the ball down the field and hope that ultimately, somehow, something will happen and resolve. We don’t go to war to try and resolve it.

In other words, Romney has no plan for the Middle East. Does this mean that Romney’s believes in “hopey-changey”?

I also ran across this interesting and helpful analysis on Romney’s VMI speech, by Andrew Quinn.

This is our daily open thread–what do YOU have to say?

The Watering Hole, Monday, October 15th, 2012: Presidential Debates, Part Deux

With an eye towards tomorrow night’s Presidential Debate, here’s a transcript of the first debate, along with the Washington Post’s fact-checking of that debate.

Since the second debate, a town-hall style hosted by Candy Crowley of CNN, will focus on both domestic and foreign policy issues, take a look at the transcript of Mitt Romney’s recent foreign-policy speech at Virginia Military Institute (VMI.) (I’ll have a bit more on this in my upcoming post on Thursday, October 18th.)

Lest we forget the full content of Mitt Romney’s “47-Percent” talk with his $50,000-a-plate donors, I suggest a review of the entire transcript, which contains both domestic and foreign-policy comments.

And in the meantime, back in the real world, ThinkProgress discusses how President Obama is actually dealing with the “thorny issue” of a nuclear Iran. The President is considering an agreement with Iran (i.e., diplomacy) as suggested by a couple of Israeli security experts. This shall, no doubt, be seen as “weakness” by Romney/Ryan and all other Republicans.

This is our daily open thread–start studying, or talk about whatever’s bugging you lately.

The Watering Hole, Saturday, October 13, 2012 – Pitchin’ a Lie

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this before, but Mitt Romney is a no-good goddamn fucking liar. There, I said it and I’m glad.

Okay, it appears I have said it before. But it’s true. You can see a quick list compiled by Politifact (for what it’s worth), but he’s has told literally hundreds of lies on the campaign trail. And in the famous 47% video, he based an entire answer to a question on a lie. He claimed that all 47% of the people who did not pay any federal income taxes, for whatever reason, were not being responsible for their own lives. That includes the elderly who are retired and living on Social Security, the military who are overseas and putting their lives at risk every day, and the young people just starting out at their first jobs and, like the elderly and the military, not earning enough to owe federal income taxes. It’s not like he said that twelve years ago, it was just this past summer. And it’s not like nobody ever figured out until now why some people don’t pay federal income tax, any competent economist could have explained it in less than five minutes. But there he is lying, again. It seems that’s all Mitt Romney has for a stump speech – lies. Every day, he’s out there pitchin’ a lie.

By the way, this is also our Open Thread (a two-fer). Feel free to talk about Mitt Romney’s Lies, or any other topic you wish to bring up. And enjoy a fun little tune and a parody based on it.

Pitchin’ a Lie
Original Words and Music by Peter Callender and Mitch Murray
Additional Lyrics by Wayne A. Schneider

The dumb goes up when I go by
It’s nearly over now but here am I
Pitchin’ a lie, pitchin’ a lie
Gotta drive it home, make ‘em see the light

It’s not so fair, but why complain?
They’re nearly frownin’ from my time at Bain
Pitchin’ a lie, pitchin’ a lie
Gotta drive it home, get ‘em to my side

Lie, lie, lie, pitchin’ a lie
Lie, lie, lie, pitchin’ a lie

A distant call from far away
My money’s lonely so I’m on my way
Pitchin’ a lie, pitchin’ a lie
Gotta drive it home, keep ‘em satisfied

Lie, lie, lie, pitchin’ a lie
Lie, lie, lie, pitchin’ a lie

The dumb goes up when I go by
But don’t nobody stop and analyze
Pitchin’ a lie, pitchin’ a lie
Gonna take too long, get ‘em to my side

Lie, lie, lie, pitchin’ a lie
Lie, lie, lie, pitchin’ a lie
Lie, lie
Lie, lie
Lie, lie
Lie, lie

[Posted at Pick Wayne's Brain.]

The Watering Hole, Monday, October 1st, 2012: Pander Much, Mitt?

Romney’s Misleading Mailer (H/T Think Progress)

A thread posted at ThinkProgress on Saturday discussed how a man named Michael Farris, a “highly influential social conservative in Virginia” apparently impressed the Romney/Ryan campaign enough for them to send out the above mailer to potential Virginia voters. Mr. Farris “believes that people can contract “chronic Lyme disease” that must be treated with long-term antibiotics. The Center[sic] for Disease Control says there is no such thing as “chronic Lyme disease” and “long-term antibiotic treatment for Lyme disease has been associated with serious complications.” Farris claims that his wife and seven of his children all suffer from “chronic Lyme disease”

Whether one agrees or disagrees with Mr. Farris’s opinion – and the comments following TP’s article are quite mixed** – one has to question both the purpose and the content of the Romney/Ryan mailer.

Why would anyone running for the office of the Presidency take one person’s unconfirmed story and run a campaign mailer on it? A March 2012 article from realloudoun.com provides some insight, as does roanoke.com. A few excerpts from roanoke.com articles:

“I believe that anybody who’s dogmatic about any side of the kind of controversies around Lyme is speaking prematurely,” said Farris, the chancellor of Patrick Henry College in Loudoun County. “We’re in the early scientific stages of a very important disease that’s affected a lot of people, and I think we need more science.”

and,

“Appointed to lead Gov. Bob McDonnell’s Lyme Disease Task Force, Farris is challenging the state’s medical establishment to take a hard look at the way it diagnoses and treats acute Lyme and its chronic, long-term counterpart — a condition that most infectious disease experts refute outright.
Long a champion of creationism — to the point that several Patrick Henry professors left the college in 2007, claiming his views limited their academic freedoms — Farris is now traveling the state with his task force, seeking input and stirring up doctors.”

Here’s a couple of links to the Task Force’s “final report”.
(Note: A member of the panel as listed in the second link appears to have been misidentified as Michael Cameron MD of Mount Kisco, NY (a few towns south of us.) A google search found a Daniel Cameron, MD, listed as a Lyme Disease expert, with a website called lymeproject.com, which mentions an article published by Dr. Cameron called “Proof That Chronic Lyme Disease Exists.”

Okay, so Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell allowed his old pal Michael Farris, who has no background whatsoever in medicine, to appoint himself as head this “Task Force”.

Now let’s look at what the mailer actually says (of course, you have to enlarge the photo to read the damn thing):

ROMNEY AND RYAN WILL DO MORE TO FIGHT THE SPREAD OF LYME DISEASE – how? See below.

“It’s a serious problem that demands immediate attention.” – Um, Lyme Disease has been given “immediate attention” since the first case was diagnosed a few DECADES AGO.

“As President, Mitt Romney will ensure that real action is taken to get control of this epidemic that is wreaking havoc on Northern Virginia.”


IMPROVE SYNERGY Ensure that government agencies have an open line of communication and work with patients, researchers, doctors and businesses in an objective, comprehensive manner.
– Buzzwords, totally meaningless.
INCREASE AWARENESS Work with federal and state health agencies to support Lyme Disease awareness efforts to help prevent further spread of the disease. Seriously, Federal Health agencies have been supporting awareness efforts since the 1980s. Virginia seems to be lagging quite a bit behind; but then again, Virginia Republicans think that it’s a conspiracy promulgated by the CDC.

(And here’s the real kicker): SUPPORT TREATMENT Encourage increased options for the treatment of Lyme Disease and provide local physicians with protection from lawsuits to ensure they can treat the disease with the aggressive antibiotics that are required.

This is the part that Michael Farris really, really wants. Apparently the doctor who had been treating Farris’s family with long-term antibiotics, Dr. Joseph Jemsek, lost his North Carolina medical license and is now practicing in Washington, DC. Obviously, Mr. Farris couldn’t find a doctor in Virginia who would agree to treat Farris’s family with the non-standard, possibly dangerous treatment that Farris wanted.

The upshot is that Mitt Romney is more than willing to take the word of one nutjob, simply because that nutjob happens to be an influential conservative Republican and friend of Governor McDonnell. This appears to put Romney just one step above Batshit Crazy Michele Bachmann when it comes to believing a single person about a complicated medical issue. Republicans and science simply don’t mix.

This is our daily open thread — have at it!!

**Something weird happened to the thread at ThinkProgress: as of Sunday morning, there were over 100 comments; suddenly, after refreshing the page, all comments were completely gone. I don’t know what Judd did, but people were really pissed off.

The Watering Hole, Thursday, September 27th, 2012: Presidential Speed Dating Debating

Most of us liberal political junkies suffered dutifully through some or all of the 20 or so Republican Presidential candidate debates, from May of 2011 – yes, MAY OF 2011! – through February of 2012. Our months and months of exhaustive study of the Republican Presidential wannabes revealed (fairly early on, actually) that, once the true crazies made themselves obvious, the Republicans would be stuck with Willard Mitt Romney as ‘the best of a bad bunch.’ (See this Wiki page for a recap of each debate, with each one’s highlights, lowlights, weird quotes, and squabbles.) But still, we watched for hours and hours in fascinated horror. In fact, those of us who sat through most of the debates did so for a total of more than 24 hours of coverage, some of us even more. Mitt Romney attended all but one of those debates, but we still endured at least 20 hours that included a large amount of Mittspeak.

Now compare those interminable hours of coverage of the Republicans choosing their nominee, with the three 90-minute Presidential debates and the one 90-minute Vice-Presidential debate, scheduled for October.

The first Presidential debate will be on Wednesday, October 3rd, and, according to a release by CNN, will cover the following topics:

Economy – 45 minutes
Health Care – 15 minutes
Role of Government – 15 minutes
Governing – 15 minutes

(I like the fact that “The statement also acknowledged that the topics could change “because of news developments.” Heh.)

So, the first debate is going to take on the topics of ‘Health Care’, ‘Role of Government’, and ‘Governing’ for a whopping 15 minutes apiece, and those 15 minute blocks are divvied up between the two candidates – just how much are potential voters going to learn in such little time?

The second Presidential debate, scheduled for October 16th, will be a “Town meeting format including foreign and domestic policy”, where “The town meeting participants will be undecided voters selected by the Gallup Organization.”

The third debate, on October 22nd, will cover foreign policy, and “The format for the debate will be identical to the first presidential debate…” Hmmm, does that mean that, say Iran gets 45 minutes, Pakistan 15 minutes, Israel 15 minutes, and oh, how about Russia gets the last 15 minutes?

This election (as so many are) is described on both sides as “the most important election in the history of our country” – then why is so little time devoted by the major networks to helping voters make an informed decision? A total of four-and-a-half hours, to try to figure out who should be the leader of the free world for the next four years, is way too little, but hopefully not way too late.

This is our Open Thread. You may speak Up on any topic that you choose – just speak up!

The Watering Hole, Thursday, September 20th, 2012: Veterans for Romney?

So far, the one and only yard sign for Mitt Romney that I’ve seen read “Veterans for Romney.” Since I cannot imagine any reason why any veterans would support Romney, I started looking for further information.

The website vetsforromney.com only leads to more confusion: it consists of a photo of Romney with some people dressed in military garb, and a section entitled “Our Platform”; here’s a few bits of said “platform”:

A Responsive Department of Veteran Affairs (VA): As with most government agencies, the VA is growing to become a behemoth…

[sigh - Mitt, keep ignoring those eight years increase in the size of the government under George W. Bush, and keep ignoring the provable fact that President Barack Obama cut several hundred thousand government jobs.]

National Defense: The strength of this nation is built on the bedrock of a strong national defense. They call it low hanging fruit. It’s easy to target defense spending as the first area of cuts. unchecked spending threatens the sovereignty of our nation. Excessive levels of debt disrupt all financial units – whether it be a family, a business or a local, state or federal government. But, the knee jerk reaction can not be to axe away at defense spending while the current administration is unwilling to even mention, let alone seriously consider, reductions in entitlement programs. The strength of this nation is built on the bedrock of a strong national defense.

[Okay, yeah, yeah, strength, bedrock, defense, enough! Mitt, quick question: how do you reconcile this sentence with the one that immediately follows? "It’s easy to target defense spending as the first area of cuts. unchecked spending threatens the sovereignty of our nation."

However, that site led me to some interesting places. Clicking on “ISSUES” at the top brought me directly to…a page on Mitt Romney’s website. There is not one single word on this page regarding veterans, nor in the available links to a variety of “issues” (including “Human Capital”, a disgusting and degrading term.) So, Mitt, what about those veterans and military families?

Next…at the bottom of the “Issues” page is a box that says “Paid for by Romney for President, Inc.” I tried looking into “Romney for President, Inc” and found two sites: one which, oddly, lists Romney’s campaign staff along with brief bios of each; the second appears to be a business search site, simply listing the corporation, its address and a little contact info. Nothing there about veterans and their families, either.

One of the other tabs on the Romney site was labeled “COMMUNITIES”, which was where I found “Veterans and Military Families for Romney.” Aha! I thought: now I’ll find something about why veterans would support Mitt Romney. However, the page does not seem to have any actual Veterans and/or Military Families writing or speaking in support of Mitt Romney. Aside the usual requests for donations, and offers to purchase “Veterans for Romney” merchandise, the only mention of the military is a story about “National Military Voter Readiness Day”, which apparently occurred this past Saturday, September 15th.

The “NEWS/BLOG”, linked from the ‘Veterans for Romney’ website, appears to be a work that’s not in progress. Underneath its amateurish appearance, it at least gives a sort of time-capsule, there are some gems of information about Romney’s reign in Massachusetts, such as a 2007 report by the Gun Owners’ Action League (GOAL). Here’s an excerpt:

General Comments:
In the first months of the Romney administration the Governor isolated himself to all but a handful of close advisors most of whom came from the business community. This caused the Governor to make some rather serious political missteps that could have been avoided through better communications. However, relations dramatically improved and in the end, GOAL had more access to this administration than any other since the days of Governor Ed King in 1979.

Okay, STILL no mention of veterans and their families, jobs, the V.A., etc.

Either Mitt Romney doesn’t have a plan for America’s veterans and military families, or it is extremely well hidden.

I want someone to ask Mitt Romney to tell America’s veterans whether he approves of the Senate Republicans’ filibuster of the bipartisan Veterans Jobs Corps Bill killing it until next year. I want someone to ask Mitt Romney why he refuses to cut a dime from the bloated Defense budget, yet will be happy to cut “entitlements” and the “behemoth” V.A., which benefit veterans and active military personnel.

Again I ask, why “Veterans for Romney”?

This is our Open Thread. Speak Up on any topic that you choose.

The Watering Hole, Thursday, September 13th, 2012: From Pipeline News to Politics in the Pews

Back in August of 2011, I wrote a piece here about the controversial proposed Keystone XL pipeline, and its possible deleterious effect on various ecosystems and landowners in its path.

Yesterday’s Washington Post contains several updates and stories of what has been going on more recently regarding the pipeline, both good and bad, under the overall title “Keystone: Down The Line.” The WaPo article includes several separate pieces (all of the individual stories can be accessed from the main WaPo link), including: the most recent re-routing of the Nebraska section of the pipeline–which will STILL cross the Ogallala aquifer; an ‘eminent domain’ ruling in Texas; protesters in Livingston, Texas; various stories about local residents who would be affected by the Pipeline; and Mitt Romney’s support of the Pipeline. The Romney article clearly demonstrates Mitt’s ignorance about how the oil market works, and the blatant misinformation with which he would try to ‘sell’ it to American voters.

In other news, Catholics United (a ‘liberal’ group of Catholics who seem to be much closer to ‘true Christians’ than the Teavangelists and other faux-Christians), in conjunction with another group called “Faithful Americans”, is circulating a petition which you may be interested in signing. Apparently, “A parish priest in the Archdiocese of New York publicly endorsed Mitt Romney for President by including pro-Romney partisan literature in his Sunday bulletin.” Part of this literature included the line, “”We urge our fellow Catholics, and indeed all people of good will, to join with us in this full-hearted effort to elect Governor Mitt Romney as the next President of the United States.” The petition is to be delivered to New York’s Cardinal Timothy Dolan, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. While Cardinal Dolan “delivered the benediction at the Democratic and Republican conventions, he told reporters that he was there only to pray, not to endorse a candidate.” Cardinal Dolan needs to remind his parish priests that they are not allowed to endorse a candidate, and they are certainly not allowed to coerce their parishioners into voting for a particular candidate. The Separation of Church and State goes both ways: keep politics out of religion, and keep religion out of politics.

This is our open thread — what do you have to say for yourselves?

The Watering Hole, Monday, September 10th, 2012: Romney’s Ramblings

I’ve been reading through the transcripts of Mitt Romney’s campaign speeches, and I’ve noticed that he has several recurring themes and lies about President Obama:

- “President Obama sees a different America and has taken us in a different direction.”

- “A few months into office, he travelled around the globe to apologize for America.”

- “Ronald Reagan rallied America with “Peace Through Strength.””

- “We must pass a torch to the next generation…”

- “It’s really an election about the soul of America.”

- “Three years ago, Candidate Obama promised to address the problems of illegal immigration in America. He failed. The truth is, he didn’t even try.”

- “American strength rises from a strong economy, a strong defense, and the enduring strength of our values. Unfortunately, under this President, all three of those elements have been weakened.”

- “This President’s first answer to every problem is to take power from you, your local government and your state so that so-called “experts” in Washington can make those choices for you. And with each of these decisions, we lose more of our freedom.”

This particular speech from January, 2012, in New Hampshire, probably has the most out-and-out lies of all the speeches I’ve read so far (read for yourself.)

Here’s the most hypocritical lie (and one that he reiterated at the RNC):

- “At the time, we didn’t know what sort of a President he would make. It was a moment of crisis for our economy, and when Barack Obama came to office, we wished him well and hoped for the best…”

I’ve also run across various and sundry WTF? lines:

- “As President, on Day One, I will focus on rebuilding America’s economy. I will reverse President Obama’s massive defense cuts. Time and again, we have seen that attempts to balance the budget by weakening our military only lead to a far higher price, not only in treasure, but in blood.”

- “Barack Obama has failed America. It breaks my heart to see what’s happening in this country. These failing hopes make up President Obama’s own misery index. It’s never been higher. And what’s his answer? He says this: “I’m just getting started.”

- “If a couple has a baby, the government will actually give them more support—in the form of food stamps, welfare, or other benefits—if they do not marry than if they do. Our safety-net programs penalize the decision to marry, instead of rewarding it. That’s just wrong. And that’s why I will eliminate these marriage penalties.”

- “God did not create this country to be a nation of followers.”

Romney’s campaign speeches also contain myriad Republican-hot-button-buzzwords, repeated ad nauseum, such as “freedom”, “opportunity”, “exceptionalism”, “entitlements”, “failure”, etc. In addition, Romney makes plenty of promises to uphold or strengthen various rights: States’ rights; corporations’ rights to conduct their businesses unfettered by Federal regulations; and, of course, the overarching rights of a collection of zygotes.

However, thus far in my research (ten speeches), one very important topic stands out which Mitt Romney completely ignores: Women’s issues and rights. Romney’s only mention of women:

- “We live in the most powerful nation that ever existed. And it all goes back to a few men and women who had the courage to stand – and even die – for their belief in liberty and equality.”

and

- “…I will hold fathers financially responsible for their child, whether or not they have married the mother.”

As I mentioned, I’m only ten speeches into a collection of about forty-five, so there’s a possibility that Romney may have discussed support for women’s rights in a later speech. But I’ve got the feeling that that possibility is slim-to-none.

This is our daily open thread — What would YOU like to ramble about?

On the Campaign Trail with Invisible Obama

The Obamas at the DNC.
From left to right: Malia, Michelle, President Obama, Sasha and Invisible Obama.


Tweeter caught up with Invisible Obama at the Democratic National Convention this past week. Although the transparent candidate was denied a speaking spot at the convention, he was allowed to share the stage with the First Family.

Later, Invisible Obama and President Obama met behind closed doors to discuss campaign strategy. Tweeter flew right past the Secret Service agents to gain this unique oportunity to listen in on the two candidates.

President Obama listens intently as Invisible Obama outlines his strategies.

IO: I think you should campaign on your record, and let me campaign on mine. You’ve got a solid record of accomplishments, from the Lilly Ledbetter equal pay act, to saving the country from another great depression to the first reform of health care in modern times. Me? I could only hope to achieve some of the things the Republicans are giving me credit for.

PO: Like what?

IO: Like totally socialist health care. They say I socialized health care in this country, but I didn’t even come close. No Universal health care, no single payer, no MediCare for all. But, hey, if I’m out there getting all the blame, you’re free to campaign on your own merits.

PO: But what are you going to campaign on?

IO: Repbulican successes!

PO: Are you crazy?!?

IO: Hear me out…I want to point out, day and night, each and everything Republicans should proudly take credit for. Things like blocking the American Jobs Act for what, over a year now? They have done more in that one act to increase people’s dependency on government handouts than the Democrats have done in the past decade.
And how about repeatedly stonewalling the budget, unemployment benefits – you name it – to the point of actually damaging the credit rating of this country – just to keep massive tax breaks for multi-millionaires? That’s quite an accomplishment.
They passed a law allowing a stranger to shove something up a woman’s Continue reading

The Watering Hole: Wednesday, September 5, 2012: Searching for a Grain of Truth

“Walker”, The Zoo’s underground reporter.


Dateline: September 1, 2012.

Following the RNC’s Convention, “Walker” (not his real name) Mole went underground in search for a grain of truth.

“I got nuthin’.” Walker reported. “I started out in Tampa, figuring that where the convention was held would be the closest to the truth. I was wrong. Oh, sure, down there amongst all the sand, half-truths abounded. But I couldn’t find one single grain of truth there. I knew I had to dig deeper, and so I did.”

The Mole wasn’t heard from for several days. Suddenly, he emerged in China, of all places.

“Thankfully, I had my Chinese-Mole dictionary with me. It turns out that after digging straight through the earth, I found a grain of truth. The Chinese figure that with Romney as President, they’ll be able to buy the country. They looked at his record at Bain Capital, and figured it wouldn’t take long before Romney began shedding parts of the Federal Government in order to maximize short-term gains. They’re looking at buying the Department of Interior and the Department of Transportation. They realize they’ll be in a bidding war with Saudi Arabia for the Department of Energy.”

The Mole then expanded his search for a grain of truth, and found himself in Germany. “The Germans, it seems, have their eye on the Department of Education. But they’re afraid Romney will just scrap that Department and farm it out to the 50 States. So they’re naturally leery about trying to pick it up piecemeal. But if they can buy the whole thing at one shot, they figure they’ll come out ahead in the long run.”

“By the time this report airs, I’ll be in North Carolina.” Walker Mole continued, “looking for a grain of truth to fall from the Democratic Convention.”


THIS IS OUR OPEN THREAD. TRUTHINESS, ANYONE?

The Watering Hole, Monday, September 3rd, 2012: Mitt, Mitt, and More Mitt – PLUS a Shout-at from Gramps McCain

Romney Channels GW Bush

We all know what a tactless, undiplomatic person Mitt Romney is, whether on the campaign trail (“You didn’t bake those cookies”) to his London Olympic visit and his fundraising trips to Israel and Poland. For today’s thread, I’m focusing on the viewpoints of other countries on Mitt’s abysmal diplomatic skills. Presenting a trio of recent pieces from Foreign Policy magazine regarding Mitt Romney’s “foreign policy”, or lack thereof.

First, an article by Josh Rogin which discusses Romney’s labeling of Russia as America’s “No. 1 geopolitical foe.” An excerpt:

“Russia is a significant geopolitical foe. Governor Romney recognizes that,” Romney advisor Rich Williamson said at a Tuesday afternoon event hosted by the Foreign Policy Initiative. “They are our foe. They have chosen a path of confrontation, not cooperation, and I think the governor was correct in that even though there are some voices in Washington that find that uncomfortable…” “Russia is calling itself a democracy but it is not behaving like a democracy,” he [Williamson] said. “When is the last time we have seen Russia on the side of peace? When is the last time we have seen Russia on the side of humanity?”

Hmmm, I could ask the same about the U.S.

Next, from “A Dangerous Mind” by Bruce W. Jentleson and Charles A. Kupchan, a couple of insights:

“Whereas President Barack Obama has claimed the middle ground and crafted a strategy based on principled pragmatism, Romney is following in the footsteps of George W. Bush, relying more on bluster than strategy and veering to ideological extremes….Romney’s view of the changing global landscape rests not on a sober assessment of the world that is emerging, but on the same neoconservative myths that led George W. Bush astray. Like Bush, Romney seems to fixate on the wrong threats — and dangerously inflate them.”

“It is worrying that Romney pledges to reinstate a foreign policy of reflexive toughness just four years after Bush’s assertive unilateralism left the United States mired in Iraq and estranged from much of the world… The Republicans would do better to heed the wisdom of their own Robert Gates, the former defense secretary, who has warned that a president who wants to take the nation into another major war that is not absolutely necessary should “have his head examined.””

Of course, Republicans would argue that it is “absolutely necessary” to attack Iran on behalf of the U.S.’s BFF, Israel.

Last (for this post, anyway), here’s a few quotes from Uri Friedman’s “Russian Press Rips Romney and His Promise of Republican Hell“:

From Pravda:

“They [the Republicans] refer to Russia as a traditional rival of the United States along with North Korea, Iran and China…. To crown it all, Mitt Romney expressed his willingness to be the godfather of the Russian opposition and organize the training for opposition activists at American educational centers.”

From Voice of Russia‘s John Robles:

“Cold war thinkers have drawn up Mitt Romney’s foreign policy stance and it does not look good neither for the U.S., nor for Russia or the free world. Continuing the rhetoric that Russia is geo-political enemy number one and promising to confront and make Russia cow to U.S. interests the Republicans have once again proven their complete disregard for diplomacy.

and

“Whether or not the Republicans are just playing for their base or are seriously proposing such policies, they have proven that they will be force for more instability and conflict in the world.”

and

“To say that Romney and his Republican brethren are a danger to world peace would be an understatement. Their “ultra-conservative” views and stances on a number of issues will bring about another era of neo-conservative subjugation for the American people and the world and their backward thinking and confrontational posturing will destroy much of the delicate compromise that has kept the world stable for the last four years.”

Consider that, according to boston.com, “Almost all of Romney’s 22 special advisers held senior Bush administration positions in diplomacy, defense or intelligence. Two former Republican senators are included as well as Bush-era CIA chief Michael Hayden and former Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff.” (The article doesn’t even mention John Bolton, aka ‘Worst…Ambassador…Ever.) If Romney somehow manages to win this election, get ready for four more years of Dubya.

This is our Open Thread. Nostrovia!


O/T:
Don’t remember if anyone else posted this, but another old man has been rambling on at an imaginary President Obama. It’s long, and painful/aggravating to read, but…

The Watering Hole, Thursday, August 30th, 2012: GOP Elephant Lies

On Tuesday night, Fudgie the Whale New Jersey Governor Chris Christie heaved himself onto the stage at the Republican National Convention, and proceeded to spew more lies than I could count. I don’t have the time to go through all of them, so I’m providing the transcript here, while focusing on the lines and lies that truly pissed me off. I’ll keep my own comments brief:

“Dad grew up in poverty. After returning from Army service, he worked at the Breyers Ice Cream plant in the 1950s. With that job and the G.I. bill he put himself through Rutgers University at night to become the first in his family to earn a college degree.”
Really? The G.I. Bill, a highly-successful Government program?

“The greatest lesson Mom ever taught me, though, was this one: she told me there would be times in your life when you have to choose between being loved and being respected. She said to always pick being respected…”
Sure, dictators, tyrants and bullies can be respected (read “feared”) without being loved.

“Our leaders today have decided it is more important to be popular, to do what is easy and say “yes,” rather than to say no when “no” is what’s required…It’s been easy for our leaders to say not us, and not now, in taking on the tough issues. And we’ve stood silently by and let them get away with it.” Which ‘leaders’ is Christie blathering about? And who has “stood silently by and let” who “get away with” what? Republicans have certainly been vocal enough against President Obama since before Day 1, as well as being extremely vocal when saying “no”, because “no” is all that the Republicans require to “make President Obama a one-term President.”

“But tonight, I say enough.”
Okay, Christie’s emphasis was on “enough”, but I felt that he had already said more than enough. And at this point in his spewch, I was ready to “say enough”, too.

“I say, together, let’s make a much different choice. Tonight, we are speaking up for ourselves and stepping up.” Speaking up for yourselves, instead of simply calling President Obama every dog-whistle name and label you could think of?

“We are beginning to do what is right and what is necessary to make our country great again.” So, you admit that never really did “what is right” before now?

“We are demanding that our leaders stop tearing each other down, and work together to take action on the big things facing America.” I can’t wait to see Christie call Mitch McConnell, John Boehner, the Tea Party contingent, the Republican Governors, Paul Ryan, and Mitt Rmoney on the carpet…oh…d’oh!

“Tonight, we choose respect over love.” I think “love” already rejected you, and one doesn’t “choose” respect, one earns it.

“We are not afraid. We are taking our country back.” Damn, after years of telling us to “be afraid”, now the Republicans aren’t afraid anymore?! And, for the umpteenth time, FROM WHOM OR WHAT ARE YOU TAKING OUR COUNTRY BACK?

“I know this simple truth and I’m not afraid to say it: our ideas are right for America and their ideas have failed America.” Simple-minded, maybe, at least simple enough not to remember that their “ideas” are pretty much the same as BushCo’s “ideas”, which, in the real world, failed America: cut taxes, eliminate regulations on big corporations, drill anywhere and everywhere, and start another war.

Now for the really big lies. My comments would be superfluous:

“Let’s be clear with the American people tonight. Here’s what we believe as Republicans and what they believe as Democrats:

They believe that the American people don’t want to hear the truth about the extent of our fiscal difficulties and need to be coddled by big government.”

They believe the American people are content to live the lie with them.”

They believe seniors will always put themselves ahead of their grandchildren. So they prey on their vulnerabilities and scare them with misinformation for the cynical purpose of winning the next election.”

Their plan: whistle a happy tune while driving us off the fiscal cliff, as long as they are behind the wheel of power.”

“We believe that we should honor and reward the good ones while doing what’s best for our nation’s future – demanding accountability, higher standards and the best teacher in every classroom.”

They believe the educational establishment will always put themselves ahead of children. That self-interest trumps common sense.”

They believe in pitting unions against teachers, educators against parents, and lobbyists against children.”

They believe in teacher’s unions. We believe in teachers.

“We believe that if we tell the people the truth they will act bigger than the pettiness of Washington, D.C.”

“We believe it’s possible to forge bipartisan compromise and stand up for conservative principles.”

“It’s the power of our ideas, not of our rhetoric, that attracts people to our Party.”

“We win when we make it about what needs to be done; we lose when we play along with their game of scaring and dividing.”

“For make no mistake, the problems are too big to let the American people lose – the slowest economic recovery in decades, a spiraling out of control deficit, an education system that’s failing to compete in the world.”

“It doesn’t matter how we got here. There is enough blame to go around”

“Mitt Romney will tell us the hard truths we need to hear to end the debacle of putting the world’s greatest health care system in the hands of federal bureaucrats and putting those bureaucrats between an American citizen and her doctor.”

“It’s time to end this era of absentee leadership in the Oval Office and send real leaders to the White House.”

“There is doubt and fear for our future in every corner of our country. These feelings are real.”

“There’s only one thing missing now. Leadership. It takes leadership that you don’t get from reading a poll. You see, Mr. President – real leaders don’t follow polls. Real leaders change polls. That’s what we need to do now.”

“A second American Century where our military is strong, our values are sure, our work ethic is unmatched and our Constitution remains a model for anyone in the world struggling for liberty.”

Damn Republicans ruined my Acme(TM) Mass-Projection Particle Meter! Of course, my Acme(TM) Wireless Lie-Detector blew up at the sound of Governor Ultrasound’s voice Monday night. :(

This is our Open Thread. Have at it!

The Watering Hole: Hump Day: Wednesday, August 15, 2012: Breaking Gnus: Romney’s VP Choice

“Tweeter tweets.”

Once again, Tweeter, The Zoo’s premier investivative journalist, is first on the scene and first with the news of Presumptive Presidential Candidate of the Republican Party, Mitt “Corporations are People” Romney’s Vice Presidential Pick.

Sources closest to the candidate revealed Halliburton was going to get the nod. It was a tough call, as the choice of potential running mates eventually narrowed down to just three: Academi, formerly Xe, formerly Blackwater; Bain Capital; and Halliburton.

Academi, a favorite with the gun crowd and evangelical christians, was felt to be a little too militaristic. Romney’s fears they might pull of a coup finally scratched the paramilitary force. It was also thought that with its frequent name-changes, it has lost its once-famous brand recognition. “People know and love Blackwater. But the meme at least since the days of Reagan have been to distrust Academia.” one source commented. In the end, it was decided to keep Academi on the side, perhaps reserving a cabinet post for the Corporation.

Bain Capital was Romney’s favorite going into the selection process. But backgrond checks revealed Corporate plans to leverage a buyout of the Executive Branch. Negotiations ensued regarding Romney’s golden parachute from the buyout, and whether he could enjoy his term to completion, then retroactively give up the Presidency to Bain Capital. Negotiations broke down, however, when Romney insisted he be given Rhode Island as part of his severance.

That left Halliburton. It is well-connected, has loads of foreign policy experience, and has an added plus of the backing of former VP Dick Cheney. The fact that it is now headquartered on foreign soil didn’t seem to bother the Presumptive Presidential Pick. “Lot’s of Americans live overseas. I don’t see why we should treat Halliburton any different than any other red-blooded American Patriot.” Romney was reported to say.

Unfortunately, just minutes before Romney was to make his historic announcement, Halliburton called and declined. “I took a long, hard look at the balance sheet, and untimately concluded that it wouldn’t be profitable, on a cost-benefit analysis, to be tied up for 4-8 years as VP.” Halliburton reportedly told Romney in a call to his cell phone just before he stepped on the stage to announce his pick. “I’m hoping to be named Secretary of Commerce.” Halliburton told reporters later.

Shaken by this last-minute turn of events, Romney approached the podium where he promptly introduced Paul Ryan as the next President of the United States. And, with that slip of the tongue, Paul Ryan became Mitt Romney’s VP Pick.

THIS IS OUR OTOTD. (OPEN THREAD OF THE DAY)
ENJOY

The Watering Hole: Wednesday, August 8, 2012: Hump Day! Now What!

This post is being written as NASA gives its first press conference following the successful landing of Curiosity on Mars.

At this point, this author will look into his crystal ball and report the following stories now, ahead of them happening in real time, to be revealed later, when they have already occured.

Republicans were quick to give George Bush full credit for the Curiosity landing. This program began 8 years ago, when Bush was President, therefore He gets full credit for its success.

Republicans were also quick to blame Obama for Curiosity’s failure. Two days have gone by, and Curiosity failed to find proof of life on Mars. Christian leaders across the evangelical spectrum blamed Obama for seeking out new life forms, when God only created life on Earth. “Life on Mars goes against the Bible.” one editorial proclaimed.

But this Mars landing has created a bit of a rift within the extremes of the Right Wing. On the one hand, many consider this to be part of a plot to bring Communism to the United States. Mars is the Red Planet, and by going to Mars, Obama has aligned himself with the Red Menace, i.e. communism.

But others take a different view. Mars is Red, just as Conservative States are Red. Bush, in sending this Rover to Mars has staked out a new frontier for conservatives in our solar system. These forward-looking conservatives look to the day when Mars’ electoral votes secure a permanent conservative majority in the solar system forever. However, it did not escape their notice that all of the NASA scientists were wearing blue…

Meanwhile, Republicans in the House and Senate have introduced bills to eliminate funding for the Curiosity program. We need jobs here in the United States, not on Mars. People working in goverment jobs such as NASA aren’t working in real jobs. One alternative bill seeks to privatize NASA, with Halliburton purportedly backing the effort.

THIS IS OUR OPEN THREAD, WE GO BOLDLY WHERE NO BLOG HAS GONE BEFORE, TO REPORT THE NEWS BEFORE IT HAPPENS, AFTER IT HAPPENS

The Watering Hole, Thursday, 8/2/2012: AMORALITY

I couldn’t quite decide which characteristic (for lack of a better word, as it implies “character”) of Mitt Romney’s is the most offensive; but taken together, I finally realized that they all add up to (or boil down to) one word:

AMORAL

When the word ‘amoral’ came to me, I turned to bing(TM) and asked for ‘signs of amoral behavior’ – most of the sites that came up referred to “Antisocial Personality Disorder.” Wiki provided the outline of behavior traits which point to a diagnosis of Antisocial Personality Disorder:

“Antisocial personality disorder (ASPD) is described by the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, fourth edition (DSM-IV-TR), as an Axis II personality disorder characterized by “…a pervasive pattern of disregard for, and violation of, the rights of others that begins in childhood or early adolescence and continues into adulthood.”

It is characterized by at least 3 of the following:
– Callous unconcern for the feelings of others.
– Gross and persistent attitude of irresponsibility and disregard for social norms, rules, and obligations.
– Incapacity to maintain enduring relationships, though having no difficulty in establishing them.
– Very low tolerance to frustration and a low threshold for discharge of aggression, including violence.
– Incapacity to experience guilt or to profit from experience, particularly punishment.
– Markedly prone to blame others or to offer plausible rationalizations for the behavior that has brought the person into conflict with society.”

I think that we can safely and honestly say that “at least 3″ of those traits are displayed by Mitt Romney. Next…

“The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, fourth edition (DSM IV-TR), defines antisocial personality disorder (in Axis II Cluster B) as:
A) There is a pervasive pattern of disregard for and violation of the rights of others occurring since age 15 years, as indicated by three or more of the following:
– failure to conform to social norms with respect to lawful behaviors as indicated by repeatedly performing acts
that are grounds for arrest;
– deception, as indicated by repeatedly lying, use of aliases, or conning others for personal profit or pleasure;
– impulsiveness or failure to plan ahead;
– irritability and aggressiveness, as indicated by repeated physical fights or assaults;
– reckless disregard for safety of self or others;
– consistent irresponsibility, as indicated by repeated failure to sustain consistent work behavior or honor financial obligations;
– lack of remorse, as indicated by being indifferent to or rationalizing having hurt, mistreated, or stolen from another”

Okay, I’m pretty sure that ‘three or more’ on this list are applicable; with probably some ‘partials’ among the others.

Now, I had already been speculating that a person who exhibited these traits, who did not have the kind of background and wealth of a Mitt Romney, would likely turn to a life of crime. The next bit confirms this indirectly:

“Psychopathy and sociopathy:
“Although there are behavioral similarities, ASPD and psychopathy are not synonymous. A diagnosis of ASPD using the DSM criteria is based on behavioral patterns, whereas psychopathy measurements also include more indirect personality characteristics. The diagnosis of antisocial personality disorder covers two to three times as many prisoners as are rated as psychopaths.

That’s right, PRISONERS.

One final thought: Try reviewing the above, substituting George W. Bush instead for Mitt Romney. It’s pretty obvious that, despite his slick exterior and veneer of sophistication, Mitt Romney is essentially George W. Bush without the accent.

This is our daily open thread — talk amongst yourselves!

The WHATering Hole: Wednesday, July 18, 2012: Ding, Dang, Dung

I didn’t quit when I said I quit, but after I quit I decided I quit, so I quit, effective the day I said I quit but didn’t really quit until I quit later.

Bain.
Mitt’s gain,
Our pain,
again and again.

Bain.
Mitt’s bane.
Mitt quit Bain,
again and again.

Mitt didn’t quit
So he’s havin’ a fit,
of the truth there’s not a grain
when he talks about Bain,
What a pain,
What a drain
On the brain,
This Bain.
Mitt’s bane.

So Mitt,
just quit
with your lies
to disguise
‘cuz we realize
you despise
anyone who’s not like you,
not white,
not rich,
not a man.

Bain.
Mitt’s bane;
tried to reign,
Time to drain
Mitt’s campaign.

OPEN THREAD.
RAP ON.

The Watering Hole, Monday, June 25th, 2012: Two Images

Bainglorious (Image credit: Bain Capital/The Boston Globe

After seeing the above Mitt Romney photo for about the 100th time (this time accompanying a thread at TP), I decided to refresh my memory as to the origin of the photo. Checking a couple of search results, I noticed this, from the National Journal:

“Asked on Fox News Sunday about a whimsical ["whimsical"?] black-and-white photo of Romney and his colleagues at a private equity firm smiling and posing with money in their pockets, hands and teeth, Romney explained that the image was taken after they won their first round of investment, which he said was roughly $37 million.

“We posed for a picture to celebrate the fact that we raised a lot of money,” he said, adding that he anticipated the photo will surface repeatedly in the election if he becomes the Republican nominee. “I know there will be every effort to put free enterprise on trial,” he said.

Asked whether President Obama might try to paint him as Gordon Gekko, the famous corporate raider from the 1980s movie Wall Street, during a general election matchup, Romney said he anticipated just such a move.

“Of course he will,” Romney said, “in part because he has been the great divider.””

Romney’s official Massachusetts State Governor’s portrait

In my search, I also ran across an ad in the Boston Globefor a book about Mitt Romney, written by two of the Globe’s writers. Here’s a couple of teases from the ad:

THE REAL ROMNEY
By Michael Kranish and Scott Helman of The Boston Globe

Chapter 9: The CEO governor: “his campaign produced television ads designed to preemptively beat back any Democratic attacks. It was a lesson learned from the Kennedy onslaught eight years earlier, which had typecast him as a heartless corporate raider. This time Romney would define himself, instead of letting his opponent do it for him.”

Chapter 10: Health care revolutionary
It was a sunny October afternoon in 2008, and Mitt and Ann Romney were making a return visit to the Massachusetts State House to meet with the portrait artist Richard Whitney. Together they walked to the third-¬floor office Romney had once occupied, its broad windows offering expansive views of the Boston Common and bustling downtown. Whitney needed photos to paint Romney’s official portrait. Romney had been clear about the image he wanted to convey for posterity. Wearing a blue suit, white shirt, and striped tie—the dress uniform of a businessman—he would be sitting on his desk in front of an American flag, next to symbols of two things he held dear. The first was a photo of his wife, the center of his personal universe. The second was the Massachusetts health care law. “He wanted to be remembered for that,” Whitney said.

Apparently RMoney only wanted to be remembered for his historic health care law for as long as it was politically expedient, i.e., until President Barack Obama touted “Romneycare” as a basis for the Affordable Care Act, aka “Obamacare.” Now, of course, RMoney says that repealing “Obamacare” is on his Day-One “To-Do” list upon his inauguration.

Meanwhile…an article in yesterday’s Boston Globe describes RMoney’s relationship with Michael Milken, the junk bond king – a relationship that continued even while Milken was being investigated for insider trading.

So, which image of Mitt RMoney do you think with be remembered by posterity?

This is our daily open thread — have at it!