A Flea in the Fur of the Beast

“Death, fire, and burglary make all men equals.” —Dickens

A Maverick Atones

by evanmcmurry

Every once in a while, John McCain likes to remind us what kind of politician he could have been had he not found himself the head of a party of vipers, who bit him one early summer  four years ago, over and over and over again, until the venom soured his blood and he couldn’t be friends with Joe Lieberman or Jon Stewart anymore.

McCain took to the Senate floor during Wednesday’s Senate nappy time to defend Huma Abedin from Michelle Bachmann et al’s guilt-by-association letter that she was kinda Arab seeming therefore Muslim Brotherhood. Ordinarily I’d say deflating Michelle Bachmann’s crazy bubble is easy pickins, but the Distinguished Senator From Arizona is the one who gave us Sarah Palin, Queen of the False Syllogism, so instead I’m gonna peg this as the opening soliloquy to A Maverick Atones. McCain probably would have made a lousy president, but he still is much, much better than the Republicans who kept him from it.

Video at the link via Buzzfeed.

Making the Fiscal Cliff the Fix-all Cliff

by pdxblake

Robert Greenstein at the Center on Budget & Policy Priorities describes extremely succinctly (in less than 2 minutes) why the Democrats have to stand their ground on allowing sequestration (the defense cuts) and the full expiration of the Bush tax cuts at the beginning of 2012, making the point that only then, will the Republicans allow for a debate that includes both revenue and spending cuts, which this blog (and Obama) have argued is necessary for long-term deficit reduction (with the caveat that nothing except perhaps high-end Bush tax cuts being allowed to expire) until the economy has recovered.

Also, as Jared Bernstein has maintained for quite a while, it is not so much a fiscal cliff as it is a fiscal slide.  The economy will not tank on Day 1, but over the first half of 2013 will be slowed by the fiscal tightening.


by evanmcmurry


Atwood’s pilgrimage into the forests of social media actually makes me quite happy. I saw her read at Barnes & Noble in north Austin in 2003, and she talked about how she had to spend time with her grandchildren to learn how people cussed as research for a profane character in one of her novels. So I’m happy she’s well past that.

And really, if there’s a site on the internet that’s as cranky as your average novelist, it’s Reddit.

The Aurora Shooting Already Has Multiple Existences On The Internet

by evanmcmurry

The single event of the DKR shooting in Aurora, CO, has already been run through the multitudinous nervous system of the internet, where it will ultimately live as a million different shocks. What I’ve found so far:

  • A live-blog of the incident on Reddit: “Reddit, I’ve been compiling a timeline for a while.”
  • A victim who posted photos of his wounds on Reddit, and who is probably rethinking his Reddit avatar, “themurderator.”

Then things get uglier:

  • Message boards that like to put up fake photos insinuating responsibility for mass shootings, basically as a prank, are spreading false gifs of the shooter warning of his attack. Apparently, message boards of this type have done this before, and this time they’re already fooling people on the Colorado shooting.
  • This morning’s NRA tweet, now deleted, but first retweeted, many, many times: “Good morning, shooters! Happy Friday. Weekend plans?”
  • Another poor NRA tweet in context: “Gun mistakes in movies are flagrant and often. Here are some of the worst! What mistake bothers you the most?” Check out the comment below the tweet for a brief balm of catharsis.

And the inherent problem with any event occurring in an election season:

  • “Rep. Louie Gohmert, a Texas Republican, said Friday that the Aurora shooting was a result of ‘ongoing attacks on Judeo-Christian beliefs’ and questioned why no one else in the theater was armed and ready to take the shooter out.”

By the by, if the fanboys who sent death threats to the critic who gave DKR its first bad review didn’t already feel bad about that, they definitely should now.

Voter Suppression Is Fine So Long As It Works

by evanmcmurry

Near as I can tell, this article makes the case that voter suppression as a result of Voter ID law is fine, because a) it doesn’t happen that much, and b) Obama draws African Americans to the polls in numbers that subsume the effects of voter suppression. But a) in swing states especially, the election is decided by small margins, making slivers of turnout disproportionately important, and moreover b) isn’t the fact that Democrats have to work 4x as hard to get people to the polls is exactly the point of Republican-led Voter ID efforts?

I’ve simplified this, but not too much.

The pain in Spain

by pdxblake

The European debt crisis appears to be coming back into focus, never having been solved the last 2-1/2 times it flared up.  And, the same “solution” has been imposed.  Limited bailout (with debt that instead of being shared across the Eurozone will be added to Spain’s total debt levels in practice) and more austerity.

As Bill from Calculated Risk reminds, “The beatings will continue” (until morale improves).

The Dark Knight Rises, Seriously

by evanmcmurry

Chris Nolan on Chris Nolan:

Prior to the film’s release when test audiences reported difficulty understanding the character, Nolan loftily informed the studio that he would only consider changing the audio slightly because, as one executive said, “Chris wants the audience to catch up and participate rather than push everything at them. He doesn’t dumb things down. You’ve got to pedal faster to keep up.” (Via)

The same words in reference to a book would be considered an advanced case of elitism. We’ve come to the point now that movies can be simultaneously more portentous and more self-serious than anything else while still functioning as our primary populist entertainment form. This would be an impressive feat, if the movies themselves were better.

Republicans Are Less Likely To Support Obamacare After SCOTUS Ruling, Which Makes Sense Until You Think About It

by evanmcmurry

Dave Brockington at LGM with a good find from yesterday’s NPR poll:

Perhaps the most interesting finding from this survey, at least most likely to induce a chuckle, is the response to this question (page 9):

Does the fact that the Supreme Court said the health care law is constitutional make you more likely to support the law, less likely to support the law, or does the Supreme Court decision have no effect on your support for the law?

Overall, 21% are more likely to support the ACA, 16% less likely, and it makes no difference to 58% (again, supporting the hypothesis that it’s all about pre-existing partisanship).  [Battleground] voters are a near exact replication of the overall sample (21/17/58). However, when limited to Republican respondents, the numbers are 8/30/56.

30% of Republican respondents are less likely to support the ACA because the Republican led Supreme Court ruled it constitutional.  One might excuse the 6% of Democrats believing this, but Republicans?

This is clearly a wording issue. The question was “are you more or less likely to support the ACA since SCOTUS upheld it?” and what 30% of Republican respondents heard was “are you more or less pissed off that SCOTUS upheld the ACA?” But still, an open-ended follow-up would have been fascinating in this case: “What specifically about John Roberts’s decision made you less likely to support health care reform? Use additional sheets if necessary.”

Attention, Workers: Your Paycheck Is Now A Handout

by evanmcmurry

Michelle Malkin on Charlie Rose:

MORRIS: Right, I mean, let’s be honest. Whether you’re running Walmart, Coca-Cola, Nike, your job is to make money. A byproduct is often creating jobs. My question as a follow up would be, does working in the public sector for your entire career, does that qualify you to run the economy?

MALKIN: Well, bingo. I think that the question answers itself and you know, there’s a very popular contrast and description of the difference between Romney and his supporters and Barack Obama and his supporters. And that is that the Romney types, of course, are the ones who sign the front of the paycheck, and the Obama types are the ones who’ve spent their entire lives signing the back of them. (Via)

1) Huh. I thought they were “job creators.” Apparently, they’re profit creators, and jobs are incidental. Isn’t that what the Democrats have been saying this whole time?

2) Pierce, on those who sign “the back of the paycheck“: “If you can treat someone’s salary like a welfare check, and then sell that nonsense to the American people, then we’re well on our way back to having to poach our meals from the forests of the Duke.” The Republican animosity toward anyone who’s not wealthy now extends to those who actually work for a living; I guess, since you’re technically reaching your hand out when given your hard-earned paycheck, it’s a handout. Which means, as Crooks & Liars points out, Michelle Malkin sure has been getting a lot of handouts from Fox News over the years.

Swinging With Both Fists

by evanmcmurry

Obama’s a socialist:

But the Romney campaign has located sad-eyed businessmen who think Obama literally does not think they build anything. A viral column by John Kass (10,000+ Facebook shares), describes an Obama who “stands there at the front of the mob, in his shirt sleeves, swinging that government hammer, exhorting the crowd to use its votes and take what it wants.” Like Lenin, like Marx, like Big Brother, he wants to raise the marginal tax rate on income over $250,000.

Obama’s a crony capitalist*:

“I am ashamed to say that we’re seeing our president hand out money to the businesses of campaign contributors, when he gave money, $500 million in loans to a company called Fisker that makes high end electric cars, and they make the cars now in Finland. That is wrong and it’s got to stop. That kind of crony capitalism does not create jobs and it does not create jobs here.”

The two claims were made within 24 hours of each other. Again, they’re not mutually exclusive—I could, if I had to, come up with a way in which a president could simultaneously nationalize the economy while propping up select corporations. But it’s not my argument. Will Romney attempt, at some point, to connect these accusations, or are we in the throwing-shit-at-the-wall stage of things?

*It’s behind a paywall, leeches, so pony up.