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Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween

Oct 31st, 2010

Happy Halloween to all. Here is a literary classic of Gothic gloom

The Vampyre 
by Lord Byron

But first, on earth as Vampire sent,
Thy corpse shall from its tomb be rent:
Then ghastly haunt thy native place,
And suck the blood of all thy race:
There from thy daughter, sister, wife,
At midnight drain the stream of life;
Yet loathe the banquet
By which perforce
Must feed thy livid living corpse:
Thy victims, ere they yet expire,
Shall know the demon for their sire,
As cursing thee, thou cursing them,
Thy flowers are wither'd on the stem...
Wet with thine own best blood shall drip
Thy gnashing tooth and haggard lip;
Then stalking to thy sullen grave,
Go--and with Gouls and Afrits rave;
Till these in horror shrink away
From spectre more accursed than they!

Quote Of The Day

Oct 31st, 2010

Andrew Sullivan discussing yesterday's Stewart/Colbert rally - -

"There were very, very few explicitly partisan appeals or personal attacks on public figures; and if the Beck rally coalesced around vague themes of patriotism, God and motherhood, this one seemed motivated by a simple sensibility of reason, empiricism and humor."

When Did You Choose to Be Straight?

Oct 30th, 2010

One of the better examples of it's kind.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Hi, I'm a Tea-Partier

Oct 29th, 2010

This is making the rounds. It would be funnier if it weren't so true.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Mr Profitt Wants An Apology?

Oct 28th, 2010

You read that right. The curb-stomping Rand Paul supporter thinks his victim, Lauren Valle, owes him an apology. She received a concussion. Think about it. That is a brain injury. He wants an apology. In this interview he didn't want his face shown. Here it is. Spread it around. Put it on fliers in his hometown.

Bitter Tea

Oct 28th, 2010

Olbermann really slams the Tea Party.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Here's The One

Oct 26th, 2010

This man is Tim Profitt. He has admitted to being the Rand Paul supporter who stepped on MoveOn activist Lauren Valle.

My, don't they look cozy.

The Tea Party's "War Hero" Candidate

Oct 26th, 2010
by F. Grey Parker
As active as I am in liberal politics, and as often as I hear the right condemn the "lame-stream media" for it's allegedly gross bias, this came as news to me. Nope, we haven't seen this get much attention in America's papers. Outside of a blurb in McClatchey, I couldn't find any substantial coverage. In fact, this is from today's Manchester Guardian reporting under the banner headline "US Veteran Who Killed Unarmed Iraqis Wins Tea Party Support:"  

photo copyright Washington Post
"The basic facts are undisputed: on 15 April 2004 Ilario Pantano, then a second lieutenant with the US marines, stopped and detained two Iraqi men in a car near Falluja. The Iraqis were unarmed and the car found to be empty of weapons.

Pantano ordered the two men to search the car for a second time and then, with no other US soldiers in view, unloaded a magazine of his M16A4 automatic rifle into them, before reloading and blasting a second magazine at them – some 60 rounds in total.
Over the corpses, he left a placard inscribed with the marine motto: "No better friend, No worse enemy."
His fellow soldiers reported his actions and he was eventually discharged after a confused proceeding. His commanding officer said he "brought dishonor" to the service.
My, how his fortunes have improved. Ilario Pantano, a killer who desecrated the bodies of unarmed combatants, is poised to win a congressional seat. 
To be fair, I also had lost track of him after the disappointing resolution to his Article 32 hearing on the matter and it's corresponding media frenzy. 
Take a look at his campaign website. Writ large are the words "Preserving Traditional Family Values."
While most in the media are discussing either the Tea Party beat down of a young woman or are still harping on the firing of Juan Williams, a man who is essentially a war criminal in the eyes of the rest of the world is likely about to become a U. S. Representative.
As if all this weren't bad enough, racist and anti-Muslim extremist Pamela Geller seems to have helped tip the scales in his favor.

Republicans Endorsing Assault, part 4

Oct 26th, 2010

Well, I figured it wouldn't be long before El Rushbo joined the chorus of apologists. Apparently, it's no big deal and besides, she was a "professional agitator".

Feel free to listen to the whole thing:

Close Ups Of Assailant!

Oct 26th, 2010

Here are two close-ups of one of the still unidentified assailants from last night's Paul/Conway debate. This is not the neck stomper. He's the one who was holding Lauren Valle down. Note the "Don't Tread On Me" button he is wearing in the lower image. Photo source link.

Valle Speaks After Assault

Oct 26th, 2010

Republicans Endorsing Assault, part 3

Oct 26th, 2010

Over at the reliably vicious Pagan Temple blog, there is more on the Rand Paul supporter's assault of Lauren Valle:

"if the bitch had ended up getting her ass royally kicked, frankly I couldn't care less, and say so unabashedly."

Elswhere the smearing of MS. Valle is already in full force.

Republicans Endorsing Assault, part 2

Oct 26th, 2010

Notoriously inflammatory birther, Jim Hoft has responded to the assault by Rand supporters on a lone woman liberal activist with gems like these:

He has analysis like this:
"Look for the state-run media to make her into some kind of saint by the end of the day."

Hoft believes in the positive use of fear:
"Let’s hope Code Pink was watching."

Even better, are some of the comments he has allowed considering his history of deleting angry liberal posts:

There is total apologia for violence:
"I see no other way to tell these crazies that they aren’t wanted. They aren’t reasonable so they cannot be handled reasonably. "

There's some random anti-gay hate:
"This is likely the same lesbo fascist who tackled the Pope during christmass mass"

My personal favorite:
"How do we know this isn’t an elaborate scheme?"

So. Be clear. If you disapprove of thuggishly reactionary behavior in political campaigns, you must be part of the secret-Muslim-commie-fascist scheme. Real Americans love violence against people who disagree with them.

Republicans Endorsing Assault, part 1

Oct 26th, 2010

Below is an image of the tweet from powerful consultant Rick Wilson. He just wants to know why it can't be Media Matters reps who get hurt.

Proof Of Our Decline

Oct 26th, 2010

F. Grey Parker

As they are already counting their boobys before they are hatched, the giddy Republicans must have spent the past month thinking of all the things they have planned to lead our nation in this time of crisis. Right?

Nah. I was kidding. They are admitting they have nothing. Mitch McConnell actually says so.

In an interview with Major Garrett for the National Journal, McConnell is quoted as saying:

"The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president." 

That's it. Nothing else.

Repetition Does Not Make It So

Oct 26th, 2010

by F. Grey Parker

For months, it has seemed apt for those of us grounded in the reality of our nation's debt to borrow that great Reaganism, "there you go again," when dealing with the extend-the-W-tax-cuts crowd. It's the only achievable proposal the Right has, after all. Really. What else have they got?

Repealing "Obamacare" isn't just foolish; it's undoable. Cutting spending without touching the defense budget is a non-starter when grappling with this deficit. Even the few really bright republicans who are genuinely committed to bettering the nation have come up with, at best, a patchwork of unrealistic suggestions. Think, the Paul Ryan "Roadmap."

Americans, having had their every fiscal fear exploited by each party, are desperate for something to get done. Thus, the right's message has coalesced around extending the W era "tax cuts." The thing is, the argument has not been that raising taxes in a time of economic fragility is counter productive to job creation. Proponents of the extension are actually saying the cuts will spur growth. They have not one other proposal to do so.

There is only one problem with this. It didn't work for the past nine years. In fact, long before the recession of 2008, the job creation machine broke down and has never bounced back. There is a difference between simply blaming Bush for the sorry state of the economy and actually analyzing the year to year economic facts on the ground during the period when we had these "guaranteed growth" policies in place. We have already seen their influence on the broader economy. It's all negative.

Here's proof:

"The Bush administration created about three million jobs (net) over its eight years, a fraction of the 23 million jobs created under PresidentBill Clinton’s administration and only slightly better than President George H.W. Bush did in his four years in office."

Ahem... the American economy added more than 3 times as many jobs under Carter as it did under W. And that was with a population of 80,000,000 fewer citizens.

But then, of course, there are these guys. I have taken to calling them "the Repeaters."

How Can America Not See?

Oct 22nd, 2010

by F. Grey Parker

I am trying to make a point...

"We've put in so much entitlement into our government that we really have spoiled our citizenry." -- a populist activist

"We oppose a fake democracy that treats the intelligent and the foolish, the industrious and the lazy, in the same way." -- a populist activist.

We've seen these people before. Pardon my somewhat wink-and-a-nudge comparison above. However, it is the essence of these two speaker's words that links them and not my own desire to see the democratic horse win this race.

Joe Miller - "Populist Activist"
The scenario continues to play out up north just as it is in the American southwest. Apparently, Alaska Senatorial candidate Joe Miller can count amongst his supporters one Norm Olson. Mr Olson refers to Miller as a "friend."

In case you are unfamiliar with Mr. Olsen, the SPLC can bring you up to date:

Sully Does It Again

Oct 26th, 2010

Yesterday, Sully, indeed, did do it again. Using a close examination of Juan Williams previous writings on race, he calls 100% bullshit on both Juan and his apologists:

" the case of generalizing about nervousness and suspicion of thievery towardAfrican-American men, Williams is far more circumspect. He takes statistical evidence into account; he looks for aspects in a human being that, independent of their race, might make one suspicious. He rules out judgment based on their clothing or their "acting nervously". But when it comes to Muslims in traditional garb, he feels nervous because of that fact alone, and associates them immediately with a terror suspect involving Islam in general - not radical Jihadism - as at war with the West."

Joe Miller's Idea Of Freedom, Part 1

Oct 26th, 2010

In case you haven't seen it, here is the long form video that captured DropZone Security's detention of Alaskan journalist Tony Hopfinger. This is unacceptable in a free society.

Rand Paul Supporters Assault Woman

Oct 26th, 2010

Fascism usually rises from a populist movement. You know, the people?

Apparently, this group of American citizens decided that an anti-Paul activist had gotten too close or something. They threw her to the ground and one supporter is clearly seen stomping on her her head.

Does anyone really want to argue that this is happening in a vacuum? We are wondering if this post from Conservatives 4 Palin might have helped incentivize these thugs.

One Week Away, Part 1

Oct 26th, 2010

Any semi-regular reader of The Hand knows we really respect Andrew Sullivan. Here's another reason why.

When questioned yesterday by Chris Matthews, Mr. Sullivan lays out how a republican retaking of the house could be great for President Obama:
"You say he’s paid a political price, but in his ratings he’s higher than Clinton was, the great politician of his time, he’s higher than Reagan was…this is normal... I think the one thing that is killing him is that Republicans can criticize, and criticize, and criticize but because they have no power and responsibility they don’t have to say what they would do."
Although we're still fighting against it, our hat goes off to his reasoning. Watch the video below.

Friday, October 22, 2010

It WAS Loaded

Oct 22nd, 2010

This may be one of the most strangely disheartening things we've ever seen.

Our Absence...

Oct 22nd, 2010

We apologize for our absence over the past week. We are back. A lot of stories are in the pipeline. Thank you for your patience.

Also, we are looking for people to participate as correspondents at the upcoming Stewart/Colbert rally.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Quote Of The Day

Oct 17th, 2010

"Watching pornography to find out about how sex works is like watching a James Bond movie to find out how spies do their job."  ~ ~ Nina Hartley

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Can't Possibly Be True

Oct. 16th, 2010

Wow. Really?

Friday, October 15, 2010

Colbert on Iott

Oct 15th, 2010

"Just fascinated by history."

Thanks, Steven.

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Rich Iott Wears a Nazi Uniform
Colbert Report Full Episodes2010 ElectionMarch to Keep Fear Alive

A Deeply (Amusing) Personal Revelation

Oct 15th, 2010

Yes, this exchange really occurred.

Moments ago, I asked a colleague, "do you think I'm obsessed with my work?"

After a pause, they responded, "ummm... is this a trick question?"

I laughed and responded, "you could've just said 'yes'."

The Best 2036 Presidential Candidate... So Far.

Oct 15th, 2010
by F. Grey Parker

Birke Baehr
Meet Birke Baehr. The video below is a powerful introduction. To guard against possible post-post-modern cynicism clouding your viewing experience, we thought we'd immediately follow it with a little background on the young man. This is no parentally-scripted pawn in some stunt. This is a truly knowledgeable and deeply committed advocate for a better future through workable solutions. That Mr. Baehr is eleven years old is just one hell of a novelty. 

Akhila Vijayaraghavan, writing for Just Means, had a chance to speak with him after this presentation:

"In his talk he eloquently says that, "you can either pay the farmer or the hospital" - when I asked him about this, he said that GM food increases liver and kidney toxicity, other kidney problems as well [sic] cancer. He said, " that seems like a $150,000 hospital dollar bill to me rather than fifty extra dollars on your grocery bill." When I asked him why he thinks the government endorses a [sic] unhealthy food system, he replied that, "conglomerations involved with agriculture hire goodlooking men in suits that take our senators and congressmen out to very fancy dinners and practically bribe our politicians."

Quote of the Day

Oct 15th, 2010

In a rare and cooperative interview with Vanity Fair, Sean Parker, former president of Facebook speaks:

"Your childhood dreams are always tales of glory; reality is a lot messier and more dramatic.”

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Well Put

Oct 14th, 2010

Pushing back against the general tenor of republican climate change deniers, Sully had this to say:

"There is a moral dimension to real conservatism, even a spiritual one, that does not treat the planet as something to be used, but as something to be a sensible steward of."

"It Get's Worse"

Oct 14th, 2010

A parody that borders on the profound.

Uploaded by FirstLastName. - Discover more webcam videos and video blogs.

Photo Of The Day

Oct 14th, 2010

The Post's New Low

Oct 14th, 2010
by F. Grey Parker

Tony Perkins - Anti-Gay Activist
One has to wonder what the editorial staff at the Washington Post has been thinking over the last year or so. They've given a regular forum to torture advocate Marc Thiessen. Recently, Dinesh D'Souza was granted space to regurgitate his lunacy about our country being "ruled" by some African-rooted revenge fantasy. Now, in the wake of a rash of suicides amongst young gay Americans, they've made sure to give equal time to radical anti-gay activist Tony Perkins.

Jarret Barrios fires back in the WaPo's "On faith" section:

"We called the Post out for their decision to let Perkins do this. The Post told us, via Twitter: "we're working to cover both sides. Earlier, we hosted Dan Savage of It Gets Better in a live chat."
Yes, you read that right. "Both sides."
The Washington Post - one of the most respected news sources in our country's history - is telling a nation full of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender children, that their lives are up for debate."
Frankly, Barrios is too easy on them. Giving Perkins a forum in this discussion is like giving an Op-Ed to the Klan during a debate over interracial marriage.
Perkins wrote:
"Some homosexuals may recognize intuitively that their same-sex attractions are abnormal--yet they have been told by the homosexual movement, and their allies in the media and the educational establishment, that they are "born gay" and can never change. This--and not society's disapproval--may create a sense of despair that can lead to suicide."
This kind of thinking should stay in the hate-pamphlets where it belongs. What is the Post trying to achieve? Are they seeking the same divide between reality and fantasy that we see within the Wall Street Journal's reportage and editorial divisions, respectively? Is it that they really don't care how outlandish a piece is that appears under their masthead as long as it get's "hits?"
Barrios sums it up:
"Technically, the Post is correct when it says it is covering "both sides" of the scourge of anti-gay bullying.
But one of those sides belongs to the bully himself."

The View From Abroad

Oct 14th, 2010

There is interesting coverage of The Christine O'Donnell-Chris Coons senatorial debate from the BBC:

"She successfully touched on the talking points that have proved to resonate so powerfully with conservatives - repeatedly referring to the constitution, railing against "Obamacare" and accusing Mr Coons of being a Marxist.

Some call this "dog-whistle politics" - these kind of references hit a pitch, and speak a language that supporters hear differently, and respond to more strongly, than other constituencies. Ms O'Donnell appears to have mastered the technique."
That she understands none of the three bases for her talking points gets a pass.


Oct 14th, 2010

Addressing the collapse of American job creation, one reader wrote:

"There are now 60 million undereducated... people in this country whose jobs have vanished overseas in the last generation, and we have not made any arrangements to train them for something any company wants to pay for. So it is Wal-Mart or Meth production."

If the argument for community and adult education reinvestment can be made any plainer, I haven't seen it. 

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

"Progressive Hunter"

Oct 13th, 2010

One of Glenn Beck's favorite phrases is "don't listen to me." Yeah. Right. This is your contribution to our great nation, Glenn. You take no responsibility. You are worse than a fraud. You are a demagogue.

Jocks and Nerds

Oct 13th, 2010

In a fairly interesting article by Bob Beale discussing "personality" in animals and a comparison of such traits to their human counterparts, we got a chuckle from this passage:

"Likewise, scientists now recognise that many animals have 'personality', in that they display consistent differences in behaviours. Dr Biro believes it is significant that those behaviours often relate to the rates at which they acquire and expend energy through feeding or activity.

"Some of us are couch potatoes while others are drawn to sport and exercise," notes Dr Biro. "We often associate the athletic 'jock' type or person with being aggressive and social, whereas the more sedentary 'nerd' often is seen as more socially awkward and submissive."

Too Little, Too Late

Oct 13th, 2010
We would like to welcome a new contributor, Connie Prince, to The Hand.
by Connie Prince

As a 34-year member of the American Federation of Teachers, I get occasional emails from our parent, the AFL-CIO. One recently crowed about its online "Job Tracker," which tells how many jobs my local companies have outsourced from my area. Why? To shine a light on outsourcing, safety, health and labor law violations in order to force corporations to stop.

You might want to check out the link yourself: 

Yes, jobs are a top priority to tens of millions of people. No, I've got nothing against compiling information. But there are other larger issues at stake, so, to Manny Herrmann, the Online Mobilization Coordinator, I replied, 
Oh no, shocked, are you? Are you really going to wrap unionists in the flag here?

You "Job Trackers" are making an effort you should have started twenty years ago. You, I and anyone else with two brain cells to rub together knew in the mid and late eighties that companies were moving overseas. You also had the media capability to spread the information back then, even if the Internet wasn't in wide use until the mid-Nineties. The real bottom line is that you were just too lazy to think through the future consequences of such corporate treachery. You were also too lazy to lobby for strengthening labor contract rights at a national level. You forgot about solidarity when corporations were pushing labor markets around all over this country. You should have used your budget priorities to change corporate charter law back then.

Now you want to fight? In the era of Western Globalization, do you think you can shame a corporate "legal person" into nationalism? Pro-labor rights? You think you can take that legal person to a regulatory agency that isn't staffed with pro-corporate people? You think you can take that legal person to a court -- and win? The public is exhausted with anger and indignation over corporate removals of American liquidity and over the corporate capture of this government -- the public knew for years what your organization would do nothing about. 

Once you shed a "shining light," what then? And what will you do with the truth, once you map it out completely, hm? If you're in solidarity with me, you'll think on this and get back to fellow unionists with legal strategies. All you can really do is ban corporate charters from their country of origin if they don't follow federal law or trade treaties. Big deal. Now that they've got their own private security forces, there's no "forcing" them to come back and hire labor in their country of corporate charter origin. Expanding the "traitor map" strikes thinking unionists as a bit silly, at this point.

The W Tax Cuts, ctd...

Oct 13th, 2010
We would like to welcome a new contributor, James Hayford, to The Hand.
by James Hayford

N. Gregory Mankiw
N. Gregory Mankiw writes in the New York Times that though he can afford to pay more taxes we should consider how they may affect his incentives to work. His basic argument is that he has enough money for himself, but he would like to leave some money to his children. He takes us though some math to reach the conclusion that the combined effects of higher income taxes, and the estate tax end up making the $1000 he would earn for writing an article so small it's no longer worth it. 

Leaving aside the fact that the estate tax only kicks in on amounts over one million dollars, so he already has a considerable nest egg set aside for his kids, he thinks the real suffering will come from the hole left in our culture by him and all the people like him who don't produce articles, movies, or books, perform concerts, or even put braces on our kids teeth. 

My take? Perhaps it would be a good thing if Dr Mankiw, and others like him, refused the work and gave an opportunity to the other 98% of us who are more intellectually, creatively, and literally hungry. 

An Interesting Spat

Oct 13th, 2010

Anyone concerned with the dreary wave of anti-intellectualism from the right over the last year should read Anne Applebaum's piece in yesterday's Washington Post. Her perspective:

"These modern meritocrats are clearly not admired, or at least not for their upward mobility, by many Americans. On the contrary"... "they are resented as "elitist." Which is at some level strange: To study hard, to do well, to improve yourself -- isn't that the American dream? The backlash against graduates of "elite" universities seems particularly odd given that the most elite American universities have in the past two decades made the greatest effort to broaden their student bodies."

Seems straightforward enough. Apparently, Jonah Goldberg wasn't going to take this sitting down. He has picked a fight with Applebaum and launched a defense of the new-stupid. His piece is an exemplar of the situational ethics that have come to define his work.

"Applebaum doesn’t seem to comprehend that it is not status-class anxiety that is driving the main critique of the elite. It is that this particular elite is hellbent on bossing the country around that will make America less meritocratic." Italics his.

Goldberg is stipulating that this most recent wave of disrespect for the intellectual class is okay because it is being directed at his ideological enemies. At least he is consistent. This sort of argument makes perfect sense coming from a committed torture apologist

Applebaum fires back:

"Goldberg seems to think the anti-elitist rhetoric which is in wide use at the moment (the subject of my column) is acceptable because it is aimed at a particular elite: the liberals, the Obamas, “a very specific and self-styled elite.” He should listen harder, because in fact the rhetoric is far more sweeping than that, encompassing not only liberals but anyone with higher education.  Sarah Palin told O’Reilly that Americans are seeking to rid themselves of “spineless” people with an “Ivy League Education.”  Glenn Beck has mocked “the Ivy League” and people with degrees at great length. Christine O’Donnell’s political ad (the one which begins “I didn’t go to Yale…”) doesn’t attack “liberals who went to Yale.”  It attacks anyone who went to Yale."

Jonah hasn't responded to the response yet. We eagerly await watching him dig his hole deeper.