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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Saving The Rich part 1

Nov 30th, 2010

Rachel Maddow lays out what the Republican greed monkeys are planning for our troubled economy.

Quote Of The Day

Nov 30th, 2010

"Smooth seas do not make skillful sailors." -- African Proverb

Monday, November 29, 2010

Quote Of The Day

Nov 29th, 2010

"I’m just old enough to have heard a number of Hitler’s speeches on the radio, and I have a memory of the texture and the tone of the cheering mobs, and I have the dread sense of the dark clouds of fascism gathering." -- Noam Chomsky

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Quote Of The Day

Nov 28th, 2010

"How does the United States Government store its secrets? In shoeboxes?"  -- Jeffrey Goldberg on the latest WikiLeaks revelations.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Quote Of The Day

Nov 26th, 2010

"Don't smother each other.  No one can grow in the shade." -- Leo Buscaglia

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Quantitative Easing Explained

Nov 25th, 2010
From the folks who brought us the delightful "Hi, I'm A Tea Partier" video.

Quote Of The Day

Nov 25th, 2010

"If the only prayer you said in your whole life was "thank you," that would suffice." -- Meister Eckhart

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The Simpsons Meet Fox News

Nov 24th, 2010

The Simpsons with Fox News satire in full from Hulu.
We thought it would be nice to post something fun for Thanksgiving.

Quote Of The Day

Nov 24th, 2010

"If you reveal your secrets to the wind you should not blame the wind for revealing them to the trees" -- Kahlil Gibran

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Worth A Thousand Words

Nov 23rd, 2010

Quote Of The Day

Nov 23rd, 2010

"A politician is a fellow who will lay down your life for his country" -- Texas Guinan

Monday, November 22, 2010

Kurtz On The TSA Media Frenzy

Nov 22nd, 2010

Writing for The Daily Beast, Howard Kurtz weighs in:

"From network newscasts to local TV, from newspaper front pages to a blur of Web headlines, it seems untold numbers of women are having their breasts touched and untold numbers of men are feeling the intrusive hands of government guards near their packages. Actually, that’s far from true. Despite some outrageous incidents involving idiotic conduct, with 2 million passengers screened each day, more than 99 percent are unaffected by the new policy."
I am inclined to think this is another example of the basest packaging of fear. Yes, there is some very unsettling anecdotal evidence being offered for why this is a threat. However, on the civil liberties threat-scale, I just don't think this rates.

No Independent Thought

Nov 22nd, 2010

"Ideas don’t happen on their own. Throughout history ideas need patrons." — Matt Kibbe, president of Freedom-Works

So says Dick Armey's greed monkey. Roll it over. Go ahead. Take his statement apart for serious examination. This is no mere glib deflection of the charge that Freedom Works is not grass roots activism. It boils down to a cup the fundamental anti-individualism of the modern American conservative.

He excuses his organization's tactics by arguing that whatever idea you have isn't really there at all until someone with wealth and power says it is. 

What's most depressing is the fact that he is right about the broad swath of Freedom Works' supporters and The Tea Party in particular. It's not so much that they've been duped into believing in progressive death panels, nationalized auto companies or even a Kenyan-usurper President.

They are just children who want to be read to.

Quote Of The Day 2

Nov 22nd, 2010

J.F.K.  5/29/17 to 11/22/63
"I know not, gentlemen, what you intend,
Who else must be let blood, who else is rank:
If I myself, there is no hour so fit
As Caesar's death hour, nor no instrument
Of half that worth as those your swords, made rich
With the most noble blood of all this world."

-- William Shakespeare, Julius Caesar Act III, Scene I

The First JFK Assassination Bulletin

Nov 22nd, 2010
If anything captures the moment our country left it's last era behind more succinctly than this, I don't know what it is. This was the very first broadcast cut-in 47 years ago today.

Quote Of The Day

Nov 22rd, 2010

J.F.K  5/29/17 to 11/22/63
"O judgment! thou art fled to brutish beasts,
And men have lost their reason. Bear with me;
My heart is in the coffin there with Caesar,
And I must pause till it come back to me."

-- William Shakespeare, Julius Caesar Act III Scene II

Sunday, November 21, 2010

What We Know

Nov 21st, 2010

Pew has been doing some interesting tracking polls examining how much America's citizenry is aware of those ever pesky things we call facts.

The End Of News

Nov 21st, 2010

Charen Rips Palin

Nov 21st, 2010

Although I detest Mona Charen's political philosophies, I read her work often. Her arch notions of international relations and domestic governmental responsibilities are so outdated as to be destructive. 

And yet, it does not pay to ignore those with whom we disagree. To do so would be to risk missing gems like this one. She has added her name to the growing list of serious conservatives who are utterly appalled at the prospect of a Palin ticket in 2012:

"After the 2008 campaign revealed her weaknesses on substance, Palin was advised by those who admire her natural gifts to bone up on policy and devote herself to governing Alaska successfully. Instead, she quit her job as governor after two and a half years, published a book (another is due next week), and seemed to chase money and empty celebrity. Now, rather than being able to highlight the accomplishments of Sarah Palin's Alaska, we get "Sarah Palin's Alaska," another cheesy entrant in the reality show genre. She'd so much rather be out dog sledding than in some "dull political office," she tells the audience. File that."

Holding Back History

Nov 21st, 2010

It makes perfect sense that Joe Miller is trying to do everything in his power to postpone the inevitable:

"Miller sued in federal court in a bid to stop the state from using discretion in determining voter intent on write-in ballots cast for his election rival, Sen. Lisa Murkowski, who declared victory in the race Wednesday. She mounted the write-in campaign after losing to Miller in the GOP primary."

In pressing for legal delays in the certification of Lisa Murkowski's write in victory, he is struggling to dilute the humiliation of becoming the the first U.S. Senatorial candidate to lose to a write-in challenger in 62 years. And the only the second in our history. 

Quote Of The Day

Nov 21st, 2010

"Fascism is not defined by the number of it's victims, but by the way it kills them." -- Jean Paul Sartre

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Barbara Bush Nails Palin

Nov 20th, 2010

"I sat next to her once and I thought she was beautiful. I think she's very happy in Alaska... and I hope she stays there." Barbara Bush responding to a question from Larry King about Sarah Palin.

From Me To Gov. Jan Brewer

Nov 20th, 2010
From F. Grey Parker, administrator of The Hand. This post is mine and mine alone. It should not reflect on either our mission or that of any of our contributors.

Yeah. I said it. You bet I did.
In the wake of the Arizona Death Panel revelations, I would like to take a moment to simply cry out, "fuck you, Jan Brewer. Fuck you running."

I cannot think of anything else that I have found to be this appalling in the past year. As an informed American, that is saying something. The ethical lapse on the part of your Government is so arch as to be almost incomprehensible.

To tell someone they are going to get their life-saving organ transplant and then deny the procedure after that fact is as close to pure evil as anything I have ever seen.

Quote Of The Day

Nov 20th, 2010

"The first step in the evolution of ethics is a sense of solidarity with other human beings." -- Albert Schweitzer

Jan Brewer's Death Panel

Nov 20th, 2010

by F. Grey Parker

We never had the real conversation. We had months of extreme right wing propaganda and a concerted effort to obscure the dubious complexity of decisions that are already made by insurance corporations every day. Thus, we failed to have any of the legitimate national debates we needed preceding the passage of Health Care Reform. We heard a great deal about "liberal death panels" and "Democratic death panels" and "Progressive death panels." In fact, the right was so busily and effectively lying about it that the left was fully occupied rebutting those lies. The Democratic Party's failure of politics in this fight is nearly as unforgivable as it is mystifying, but that is another conversation. The point is that the truth was always on our side. 

Fast forward to now. As a consequence of the 2010 election and the corresponding rise of neo-Bircherism, the real face of the Republican party is being unsurprisingly revealed.

KY Tea Party: No On Rate Hikes! Yes On... Cancer?!?

Nov 20th, 2010

The Northern Kentucky Water District needs to raise it's rates 25% in order to comply with EPA regulations designed to combat bladder, colon and stomach cancers. Leftover by-products from their current water reclamation systems are directly linked to such illnesses. This request for a rate hike has come under heavy fire from The NKYTea Party. Always a target of the American Right and the conservative NIMBY crowds, the EPA is increasingly demonized by the TPers.

From the NKYTP website:
"Remember: the EPA reports to no one and can do as they please. To try and stop their mandates, Geoff Davis and Jim DeMint have submitted a bill, called the "Reins Act" if it is passed it would require "Congressional Approval" for all its regulatory actions."

Their position on the proposed rate increase has been to recommend that the Federal Regulations simply be ignored. This adds to the argument that what the Tea Party really represents is the romanticization of lawlessness.

"Yes, Virginia. There Really Are Death Panels."

Nov 20th, 2010

Here is the gripping Countdown segment from last night exposing the literal death panel of Republican Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer. There are those who have been brought to tears by this. I, myself, cannot watch it again. But every thinking, compassionate American should watch it once. Then fight back, dammit! Appropriate links and information to do so are below the post.

Contact Gov. Jan Brewer HERE.

Or call her directly -- (602) 542-4331
Donate to NTAF HERE -- transplant fundraising assistance and advocacy group.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Olbermann "Told Ya So"

Nov 19th, 2010

We are pleased to see the return of Olbermann's (not really) Worst Persons.

Grover Norquist Endorses What?

Nov 19th, 2010

In an interview with Politico, Grover Norquist, the head of Americans For Tax Reform, states that the Republican victories in the 2010 election were essentially a mandate for a 1995 style government shutdown.

I don't think that this is what Reagan had in mind when he tapped Norquist to head the group back in 1985. It's mission to "oppose all tax increases on principle" has become so outdated as to be anachronistic and so destructive as to hearken back to the robber-baron culture of a century ago.

"It's up to Obama," He says, to stop "the spendathon."

No, it's not. Obama has chosen to govern. When one considers the total disaster that the previous shutdown was, not just for Republicans but for the country, one has to ask if this man has any contact whatsoever with ordinary Americans who do not sit amongst the top 2% in terms of personal wealth or, for that matter, those who do not sit on the boards of right wing advocacy groups.

It must be noted, one more time, that Mr. Norquist is extreme by even contemporary Libertarian standards. He does not want to make government more efficient. In his own words, he has so much as called for the elimination of government completely (see the photo to the upper left).

Quote Of The Day

Nov 19th, 2010

"In America, the President reigns for four years, and journalism governs for ever and ever." -- Oscar Wilde

A Real Conservative Defends TARP... No, Really

Nov 19th, 2010

Writing in today's Frum Forum, there is, dare I say it, an important piece by Brad Schaeffer. Mr. Schaeffer is the kind of businessman I would have called a "hypercapitalist" twenty years ago. A devotee of traditionalist "free-market" principles, he has railed against any number of my own causes in the Age of Obama. 

In particular, he has trotted out the hand-ringing argument that we simply must double down on the disastrous "W" tax policies to lessen "uncertainty."

However, he has also demonstrated an increasingly uncommon characteristic amongst his contemporaries. He does not play to his own biases; he reacts to the situation on the ground. As such, he bluntly and soberly defends the bogeyman of the current Republican Party... TARP.

"Why would I defend such a policy even though it goes against every capitalistic inclination I have?  The simple reason is that, like it or not, it worked. Not perfectly, but it got the job done. One can argue the merits of letting the banks and AIG fail as a form of cleaning house and punishing bad behavior.  But to speculate about what would have been had we allowed free market forces to decimate the entire banking, insurance and auto industry, and the unquestionable pain it would have inflicted on the entire country in the following months and even years is moot."

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Sarah Blue

Nov 18th, 2010

It occurred to me today that there is a certain similarity between Mrs. Palin and the empty, heartless namesake of this forgotten gem by the Ozark Mountain Daredevils

"You like your life in a free form style
You'll take an inch but you'd love a mile
There never seems to be quite enough
Loving around us when your loving comes"


Nov 18th, 2010

It keeps getting better. This one made us laugh so hard our sides hurt. From today's Glenn Beck program:

"The tea party are "the actual defenders of the republic" against big "progressive democracy"
He just never disappoints. Read it again.
He literally applauds the Tea Party movement for protecting us from "democracy." 
Hear it for yourself. We hope you are sitting down.

NPR Defunding Effort Fails

Nov 18th, 2010

Below, you will find the C-Span coverage of this misguided effort in all it's smarm. Apparently, Eric Cantor thinks NPR's firing of Juan Williams is a greater threat to the free exchange of ideas than The Murdoch Device's consistent violation of the very concept of truth. Good times.

Dear Mr Boehner

Nov 18th, 2010
The Hand is pleased to welcome a new contributor.

by Nicole Zimmerer
So, Mr. John Boehner, you and your comrades are going to convene a special investigation in order to debunk global warming.

There are millions of people without basic life sustaining items like food and shelter, who are dying because they are without health care, who are unable to get a good job because they haven't been properly educated, who are elderly and have to choose between paying for food or their medication and yet 

you are going to waste my tax dollars on proving global warming wrong? 

Deficits As Investment

Nov 18th, 2010

by James Hayford

I cringe every time the I hear that the government should learn to live within it's means, "like households all over the country". So I was very happy to see Robert Reich take on this pervasive idea; that deficit spending is always bad. It has become an article of faith that even Obama seems to repeat in order to seem serious about the deficit. 

 Reich uses the example of households taking out loans to send their kids to college, to point out that sometimes going into debt in the short term, is the best way to get ahead in the long term. 

 I like that example, but I think that governments are more like businesses than like families. Many businesses use short term debt. And as we all know from the effects of the credit crisis, businesses that can't get credit must shrink or even go under. 
Reich goes on to say that the way out of debt is through growth. 

He worries that "budget-deficit mania will slow future growth if it forces government to cut the things that fuel growth – education, basic R&D, child health, improved infrastructure."

 Well put.

YOU Balance The Budget

Nov 18th, 2010

Last week, the New York Times published a very interesting interactive page and a corresponding challenge. Providing a user interface with a series of choices drawn from the dominant proposals to balance the budget and reduce the deficit, it allowed the regular citizen to try their hand at what has become the BIG issue of the day.

What is notable is that we tried an experiment here. 10 users, myself included, tried 10 times to reach that magic solvency target. Out of 100 attempts, not one of us was successful without increasing taxes. It is simply not realistically possible. Try it yourself. 

For what it's worth, my preferred model is 72% tax increases and 28% spending cuts. Yes, I would have taxes raised on myself. That is because it is the only just approach.

Quote Of The Day

Nov 18th, 2010

"Sometimes dictators have good ideas." -- defeated Tea Party darling and Senatorial candidate Sharron Angle speaking just before the recent election.

The Quote of the Day is not necessarily always reflective of great thinking.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Quote Of The Day

Nov 17th, 2010

"This is quite simply the biggest mass delusion I've witnessed in the quarter of a century I've lived in America." -- Andrew Sullivan on the Murdoch Device's continued fiscal propaganda.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Rank Hubris

Nov 16th, 2010

In one of the more unbelievable marriages of both Republican disconnect and pure hubris, an interesting thing happened during the orientation process for incoming GOP congressmen. Meet Andy Harris, new Representative from Maryland. Mr. Harris is a physician who railed against Obamacare and, like so many others, made it's repeal a core talking point in his campaign. He often appeared in interviews wearing his traditional white doctor's robe. It occurs to me that pancake makeup for the cameras is not strictly consistent with medical sterility, but I digress.

His first concern in the meeting was how soon he can get his new government administered and taxpayer funded health care.

From TPM:

"According to Glenn Thrush of Politico, Harris created a stir at the orientation meeting by demanding to know why he had to wait a month after he was sworn in in January for his government-subsidized health care to kick in. After responding in a huff, he even asked if there was some way he could buy into the government care in advance, seemingly thinking there might be a government program similar to the so-called 'public option' championed by progressive Democrats in 2009."
You can contact Mr. Harris here. We recommend that everyone does so.

Real Redistribution

Nov 16th, 2010

If there has been one truly spurious charge leveled against President Obama, it is the repeated assertion that his policies are a threat to middle class net worth through socialist redistribution. The fact that Reaganomics essentially entrenched a system that has redistributed wealth upward without pause for thirty years was lost on the electorate. Also lost is that this version of a "free market," so slavishly supported by many Americans, is their real enemy. Matt Taibbi has noted an interesting figure in his book, Griftopia.

"The top 1 percent has seen its share of the nation’s overall wealth jump from 34.6 percent before the crisis, in 2007, to over 37.1 percent in 2009.   Moreover, the standard of living for the  average American has plummeted during the crisis -- the median American household net worth was $102,500 in 2007, and went down to $65,400 in 2009"

Quote Of The Day

Nov 16th, 2010

"If ye love wealth greater than liberty, the tranquility of servitude greater than the animating contest for freedom, go home from us in peace. We seek not your counsel, nor your arms. Crouch down and lick the hand that feeds you; and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen." -- Samuel Adams

Monday, November 15, 2010

Quote Of The Day

Nov 15th, 2010
"As long as this deliberate refusal to understand things from above, even where such understanding is possible, continues, it is idle to talk of any final victory over materialism." -- C. S. Lewis

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Tiananmen on the Hudson

Nov 14th, 2010

This cartoon ran in the New York Times today with an article headlined "Who Will Stand Up To The Super Rich." It's worth reading, but you know what they say about a picture's worth.

Quote Of The Day

Nov 14th, 2010

"Every form of addiction is bad, no matter whether the narcotic be alcohol or morphine or idealism." -- Carl Jung 

Cantor's Candor

Nov 14th, 2010

Republican Eric Cantor has joined the ranks of John McCain and Joe Lieberman by publicly declaring to a foreign government that he will work to undermine the President of the United States in favor of that government's goals. 

The government in question is Israel. 

What makes Cantor's dubious behavior more interesting than that of others is the fact that he has previously described such activity as a felony violation of The Logan Act. 

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Quote Of The Day

Nov 13th, 2010

"We spend my child's whole life telling him that only mom, dad and a doctor can touch you in your private area, and now we have to add TSA agent and that's just wrong. At some point the terrorists have won." 

-- an unidentified American father discussing his child's recent traumatic experience under new TSA guidelines.


Friday, November 12, 2010

Feel-Good Fascists

Nov 12th, 2010

30 Rock Vs. The Tea Party

Nov 12th, 2010

This pretty much speaks for itself.

Not A Mandate

Nov 12th, 2010

Before they get too far ahead of themselves, it would be wise for the Republican's to familiarize themselves with the facts.

One Big Phony

Nov 12th, 2010

There's nothing inherently harmful about a phony. Jim DeMint, on the other hand, is of the dangerous variety. His vow to prevent the raising of the debt ceiling unless he gets some wholly ineffectual and purely symbolic something is deeply irresponsible. Watch this video. Then, go to the bottom of the page. There, you will find his home and D.C. official contact information. USE IT.

340 Russell
United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510
Phone: 202-224-6121
Fax: 202-228-5143

112 Custom House
200 East Bay St
Charleston, SC 29401
Phone: 843-727-4525
Fax: 843-722-4923

Illegal Immigrants Called "Rats"

Nov 12th, 2010

In the debate over illegal immigration, the tone and tenor of debate continues to deteriorate. From the Huffington Post:

"Tennessee State Rep. Curry Todd took his dissatisfaction with the birthright citizenship clause in the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution to a strange level this week, when he suggested that pregnant immigrants will "multiply" like "rats" if they are not asked about their citizenship status."

Sullivan On Bush On Rush

Nov 12th, 2010

Andrew Sullivan critiques the Limbaugh interview with former President George W. Bush. 

"The interview encapsulates the conservative incoherence of the past ten years. Their partisanship made them - for the most part - blind to Bush's attack on real conservatism in his presidency. The fiscal catastrophe, the "deficits-don't-matter" lunacy, the off-budget nation-building endless wars, the budget-busting Medicare entitlement, the executive power supremacy, the descent into war crimes: all of this violated core conservative principles, and, even now, the alleged guardian of such principles, Rush Limbaugh, slobbers pathetically in front of a president he should have been debunking from the get-go."

Quote Of The Day

Nov 12th, 2010

"A politician needs the ability to foretell what is going to happen tomorrow, next week, next month, and next year. And to have the ability afterwards to explain why it didn't happen." -- Winston Churchill

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Rick Perry's Offensive Charm

Nov 10th, 2010
Please check out other stories here at The Hand.

by James Hayford

This past Monday night, Texas Gov Rick Perry (R) appeared on Jon Stewart's The Daily Show.
Apparently, he is on a national media tour after once again winning the governor’s seat. He looked like he’s feeling pretty good right about now, smiling and hamming it up while pushing the conservative message of less government and more freedom. It also is probably in his mind, looking toward 2012, that he is a popular governor of a state with 34 Electoral College votes. 
I think it helps his 2012 prospects that he can come on The Daily Show and have a debate with Jon Stewart and charmingly pass off trite talking points as if they were substantive, and without seeming combative or moronic in an obvious way. Hard to imagine Sarah Palin ever making a Daily Show appearance…

I thought it worthwhile to remind everyone, in light of this charm offensive, what the “freedom” the Texas governor and the GOP really means:

It means
freedom for polluters to continue polluting.

But no freedom for gays and lesbians to marry, or even have sex in the privacy of their own home.
It means extremely harsh criminal code and incarceration policies (with plenty of freedom for privately owned prison corporations to make profits). 

The over zealous nature criminal justice system of Texas culminates in it’s love of the death penalty. The fact that the GOP, who claim to stand up for “freedom” and “limited government”, should support the State’s right to take a life, when the justice system has so many documented faults is scary enough.

But  scariest of all, is the fact that Rick Perry’s office and the Texas Board of Paroles and Pardons, ignored scientific analysis of the case of Cameron Todd Willingham. Scientific analysis that invalidated all the physical evidence against him, allowing the State to execute an innocent man.