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Thursday, July 21, 2011

Cruising the Web

Jay Cost has historical lessons for Republicans by looking at other confrontations between a Republican Congress and a Democratic president.

Enjoy this video
looking at what went into 19th century middle-and upper-class women's underwear. Imagine fashion designed so that a woman couldn't dress or undress herself.

What a mistake for Tim Pawlenty to wade into the Michele Bachmann-migraine story. There is a basic rule that candidates should follow in not commenting on personal stories about their opponents' health or families. The fact that he succumbed to the temptation to hint that her migraines might mean she isn't up for being president indicates how furious he must be that she is beating him in the polls. I have no idea if her migraines are too incapacitating for her to be president, but I doubt that the story would make anyone who was going to vote for her otherwise would change his or her mind based on this story. Someone who wasn't all that comfortable voting for her might latch onto the story as an excuse. She might be lucky to have this story come out early and get it out of the way during the summer doldrums.

Michael Barone contemplates the coming burst of the higher education bubble. He points to a remarkable statistic - the California State University system has more administrators than faculty.

Jeff Jacoby answers the new-Malthusians.

You knew it was coming: Sheila Jackson Lee thinks that Republicans are refusing to simply roll over and raise the debt ceiling simply because Barack Obama is black. Hmmm. What about all those Democrats like Obama, Hillary Clinton, and Joe Biden who voted against raising the debt ceiling when Bush was president?

Larry Summers gives his frank opinion of the Winklevoss twins.

Here's one way to comprehend
the amount of money that Obama would like to raise the debt ceiling buy - $2.4 trillion: "Obama wants to borrow and spend about the same amount of money to get from August 2, 2011 through November 6, 2012 as we borrowed and spent to fight the Axis powers on two fronts from December 7, 1941 to August 15, 1945."

Rick Newman at US News
notes all the opportunities Obama has had for a big debt deal and how he blew off those openings each time in order to push for more spending.

Interesting to contrast how the media responded to a hacking of a phone conversation between Newt Gingrich and other GOP leaders to how they're responding to the News of the World scandal.

Now you know our debt problems are bad - leaders in Latin American countries are making fun of us. And Latin America's economy is growing at a much higher rate than the U.S. economy. Brazil is one of our creditors.

One more reason to go to Harvard: they got to see the newest Harry Potter movie before it was open nationally. No waiting for midnight shows for them!

Eric Holder is trying to same excuse
as Rupert Murdoch - he was just ignorant.

The Minnesota Court of Appeals has upheld the right of the University of Minnesota to discipline a student because of what she wrote on her Facebook page. When will people learn that they shouldn't put anything up on the web that they wouldn't want their employer or school or family to read?


Stan said...


re: Cost and the need for GOP in Congress to prepare issues for the next Pres election in 2012

Once some kind of deal on the debt ceiling is done in principle, the smartest thing the GOP could do is insist that no final vote take place until a full week after the actual bill has been drafted and placed on the web for all in Congress and the country to review. [Agree to a week's temp borrowing to do so.]

They should make a big deal about the fact that the last minute cluster fudges of stimulus and healthcare were so bad, in part, because they were passed in a rush without anyone seeing the details. It is such an easy way for the GOP to demonstrate responsibility and fidelity to the concept of a people's democracy. And the comparison would provide a stark contrast to Obama's messes.

If Obama and the Dems won't agree, take the case to the people. It's a slam dunk winner.

mark said...

I'm curious as to how the teabag party will react to Rove and friends trying to undercut Bachman.

tfhr said...


You seem obsessed with tea-bagging. Why is that? For someone that frequently condemns harsh commentary here, don't you find your lack of civility (and decency) a tad hypocritical? Or is hypocrisy - as well as ineptitude - just your preferred operating environment?

You could have a debate on the substance of your question, albeit thin, if you could control your homoerotic tendencies just long enough to frame the question civilly, but it seems that you can't.

mark said...

"Tea Party" evokes a heroic image that the present day group does not deserve. The majority of them are ignorant, selfish, hypocrites who have labeled millions of fellow Americans as "undeserving" and "freeloaders". Their stance on opposing even common sense loopholes (corporate jets, oil subsidies, etc.) shows they are unpaid puppets for Grover Norquist and the Koch brothers.
They (you) have been used by Rove and others to stir up anger, and now he is undercutting their candidate.
I realize the terms "teabagger" and "teabagging" have another meaning (I no longer use those terms, and they are not exclusive to the gay community). If the word "teabag" evokes homoerotic images in your mind, that's on you.

equitus said...

So tell us, mark, about your first- hand experiences at a tea party rally and the conversations you had with the people in attendance.

Your description bears very little resemblance to the folks I met. Perhaps you are relying on second or third hand accounts of rabid partisans and hacks?

tfhr said...


This is libel: "The majority of them are ignorant, selfish, hypocrites who have labeled millions of fellow Americans as 'undeserving' and 'freeloaders'." Those are your words and you offer nothing to substantiate your baseless claim.

What is it about you that requires you to insult anyone that disagrees with you in the most stark and sweeping example you can summon while you alternately carp and complain that nobody wants to work out a compromise with Dems on the budget and the deficit?

Who do you know that says that they are aligned with the Tea Party? My guess is that you know absolutely nobody and must rely on your prejudices and talking points, just like you do with the military. You're pathetic.

mark said...

I not going to get into the definition game with you again. I would suggest you research the meaning of "libel" and you'll find your statement is silly.

tfhr said...


If you had spoken the words they would be slanderous. Take your pick but you are incapable of viewing people that don't hold lockstep to your political beliefs as anything other than the awful words you clattered out in your previous comment. What is wrong with you?

Pat Patterson said...

Actually thfr's use of the word is proper as the statement mark made is obviously without foundation and intended to malign and ridicule the Tea Party people.

mark said...

Nope, I don't know any members of the Tea Bag Party (that I know of).

But look no further than Michele Bachmann.

She has shown her ignorance regarding our founding fathers. Her followers, instead of being slightly embarrassed for her, whine about her being attacked by the media and go to wikipedia to re-write the history.
Not only has her family farm taken subsidies, but her sham clinic took grant money for training her employees. She then lied and said she didn't personally benefit.
Despite sucking up taxpayer money, she is for budget cuts that will hurt the poor, children and disabled. Among those poor and disabled are veterans. At the same time, she is against any closing of tax breaks and loopholes, such as the one for infamous corporate jets. That is disgraceful and immoral, no matter what your political leanings.
I will acknowledge that the Tea Bag Party has cleaned themselves up nicely from the earlier days of swastikas and pictures of Obama with a bone through his nose.
They were also right to blast McConnell for caving in to Obama on the debt ceiling. I'm still puzzled that he wasn't excoriated here.

Pat Patterson said...

Everyone of those pictures, something similar to those hoisted by Code Pink and ANSWER were the work of the Lyndon LaRouche followers who are all registered Democrats.

Now to Bachmann, her husband's clinic took on an average of $7,500 a year for the years they treated some Medicaid patients who, BTW, sought out the clinic for treatment and paid via state money. She is a member of a family trust and has to show any pre-tax profit in her own filings but these profits are not disbursed and usually are non-existent in the final paperwork. And if there were actual what? Her family was legally entitled to them just as mark's trodden on salt of the earth are taking their SNAP benefits and any tax breaks they are eligible for.

When mark simply repeats these stories it just shows a lack of imagination and scholarship in never checking their bona fides.

mark said...

Every one of those pictures, Pat? How can you possibly make that claim?

I was not addressing medicare, but rather the training grants she and her husband received. Why aren't they paying for the training costs for their employees? If the training provided any certification or useful skills, then the Bachmanns certainly did benefit. Your dodge of the issue indicates you can't defend it, but please go ahead and try.

And please don't forget the evidence that EVERY ONE of those pictures were the work of LaRouche followers.

Pat Patterson said...

Since Minnesota and the US investigated this claim of training money they found no violations and it is noteworthy that clinics that do take Medicaid patients are required to certify that the counselors have received the training. Plus we are talking about $8,000 a year for three years.

And since you were the one that brought up the Hitler comparison then the onus is on you to provide that evidence. And I was referring to the Hitler and the bone in the nose posters. And the ones showing Bush don't count.

equitus said...

mark shifts his bile from the tea parties (but maintains his sexual obsession with them). His next post targets an individual who happens to be the MSM target de jour. What a troll. What a shameless, self-righteous troll.

Oops! Did I just libel or slander? Sorry!

mark said...

You failed to provide evidence to back up your claim, and now the "onus is on (me) to provide that evidence." Of what? What a twisted bit of logic you offer when caught in a lie.
You folks just make up anything and assume nobody will bother to call you on it: All the racist Obama signs were made by LaRouche supporters, Obama is a secret Marxist, OBL is dead in a cave.
No worries about charges of libel or slander from me. I just consider the source.

Pat Patterson said...

"I will acknowledge that the Tea Bag Party has cleaned themselves up nicely from the earlier days of swastikas and pictures of Obama with a bone through his nose." Or did someone else post that using your name.

mark said...

The point isn't that the grants were legal (obviously they were), but that bashing govt. spending while looking for a handout is hypocritical. And the fact that she lied and said she didn't benefit indicates that she knows it.
You lost any hope of winning this argument when you mentioned how much money was involved. Why does that matter? If it's wrong, it's wrong, whether the amount is $8000 or $800,000.
Strange that people here are now using the amount of money involved to defend govt. spending and tax breaks (like the corporate jet tax breaks). How elitist!

tfhr said...


OBL is dead. He's fish food. Of course "torture" was used to make that possible. Aren't you ashamed?

I'm glad we can confirm bin Laden's demise and I'm glad Obama didn't back away from an opportunity to capture or kill that animal simply because his whereabouts were determined through the use of information gleaned and intelligence formed from interrogations using methods our current President once condemned his predecessor for using. Sure it's hypocritical - and you probably like that aspect - but I find it pleasantly ironic and delight in the fact that you have to eat crow every time you crow about bin Laden's death.

tfhr said...


Why are you so upset by those corporate jet tax breaks? Obama put them in his stimulus plan. ( I don't think they're necessary but I don't see them to be the biggest problem we face - they just seem to get Obama's greatest attention when he launched on that harang a few weeks ago and mentioned them six times more than any other point ) You need a better strategy than class warfare. Sure, envy plays with the lowest common denominator but in a country where people can aspire to their dreams and actually achieve them, beating down on success is counter-productive.

mark said...

Your last post has nothing to do with your claim that LaRouche supporters were responsible for all the racists signs. Are you still working on the evidence, or have you given up and ready to admit you made it up?

It's not just that you were wrong about OBL being dead. It's not even that you claim to work in military intelligence and insinuate that you know more than us mere citizens, and still you were wrong about OBL. It's that you simply made it up because you couldn't defend Bush's pathetic capitulation to OBL. I asked several times what you based your opinion on, and you refused to give evidence. But I suppose it's not too late: How did you arrive at the conclusion that OBL was dead?
But of course, that's your MO; you exploited the service of our troups to defend criticism of Bush, Rumsfeld, war-profiteering, etc. with your "spitting on the troops" disgrace.
Now you defend tax breaks for corporate jets by calling me a "commie".
As I've said, you're a sad, pathetic fraud. But at least you still have Dr. Weevil. Good luck with that.

Pat Patterson said...

The amount of money is important as that would indicate whether the payments were incidental to their work or a major profit goal. And as I said they were required by Minnesota and the US to certify that they had some of the staff certificated and as a way to encourage more Medicaid patients to seek counseling the state and the feds provided grants to get this training.

As to the profit of the farm, it was entirely on paper, and required of all the members of the family trust to declare it and most often it was elminated when the actual losses were added to the mix. She did not receive a dime but still had to declare then write off. And again when it comes to subsidies so what? If I spend my entire life paying into SS, but have real problems with it intellectually, I am now supposed to say no thank you? People hate banks but that certainly doesn't stop them from spending the interest on their savings.

mark said...

I assume you're being intentionally obtuse. One of the "core-values" of the TBP is to eliminate non-essential govt. spending. How do those grants fit that criteria? If the training was necessary to "certificate" their employees, the Bachmanns should have paid for it themselves. Pretty weak to compare applying for grants to train you staff to accepting SS when you've been paying into the system.
BTW: Where are you pulling this information about the requirements for their counseling firm and the finances of their farm? Is it the same source as your excuse for the racist TBP posters?
Please cite your sources.

Pat Patterson said...

Same as what tfhr said!

tfhr said...


As I've said many times before, I did believe that bin Laden was dead. My suspicion was based on his drop-off in public communiques. It would seem that his keepers in Pakistan may have made his security arrangement contingent on UBL keeping a much lower communication profile than he had in the past.

You seem to think I came to my conclusion as a matter of politics but you are very wrong about that. As for President Bush's "capitulation", you are simply insane if you really believe that. Are you insane?

Bush destroyed al Qaida on the battlefield in Iraq. I know because I was there for some of that and I saw it happening while you were back here crying over laundry and evil contractors. That you've silenced yourself - or stopped looking at the ongoing issues of contractor support to troops in the field - suggests that you think support is now completely flawless under Obama or that you simply choose not to look. You also don't seem to complain that Eric Holder or Obama have done nothing to follow up on your hysterical accusations of Darth Cheney and his evil doers in Iraq and Afghanistan, not to mention a dozen other places in the region where contractors provided and continue to provide good food, clean water, and basic sanitation. As someone that used those services during the time in question and who is in regular contact with people that depend on them today, I know from first hand as well as second hand experience, what you know nothing of.

I work with satellite and UAV imagery. It's what I do for a living. You can either believe it or not but your decision makes absolutely no difference to me. But if you like, you can put it all in a tea bag and gargle it to your heart's delight.

mark said...

Of course. A "drop-off in public communiques", a "much lower communication profile". Who wouldn't have taken that as evidence that OBL must be dead?

tfhr said...

I remember your certitude ( borrowed that word from Anthony Weiner ) about bin Laden's location and longevity. Had the rest of the Intelligence Community known what you kept to yourself, we could have got him a long time ago. I'll give you credit - you sure can keep a secret - but you should've given us the grid for him years ago.

Now that bin Laden is dead, why are we still fighting in Afghanistan? Do you suppose it's because there are still threats posed by Islamic radicals? Given your sarcastic attacks on President Bush's decision to keep fighting those threats and Obama's continuation of the Bush strategy - including a "surge" of his own (which, sadly, he now seems to have lost the will to maintain for fear of losing his crackpot leftist base), I am waiting for you to start attacking our current President for using information gathered through "torture".

mark said...

But of course I never claimed to know OBL was alive or where he was. When I asked for your evidence, I actually thought you might produce something slightly credible. But no, you based your evidence on a drop-off in communication????
Fortunately, the Intelligence community didn't follow your lead of saying OBL was already dead. Had they done so, the Navy Seals and President Obama would not have gone after him. Now he is dead, and we have a trove of information to help us fight the war on terror.
I have confidence that we have competent people working in the intelligence community, performing the extemely difficult job of keeping our country safe. It should concern everyone if someone like you is part of that community.
I've heard people say that torture was helpful in getting OBL, others say it played no role, and still others who say torture produced false information that actually impeded the search for OBL. I don't claim to know who is right. But given your record, your word carries no weight. You've been wrong on so many things, why would anyone take you seriously?

equitus said...

What is a TBP?

tfhr said...


You're so petty. And everything has to be personal for you - it's kind of sad.

Case in point: Your very first comment on this thread started with another nasty reference about people you don't know - Tea Party types. You've admitted that you don't know a single one and yet you launch a shotgun condemnation and insult to start. Do you enter a room farting and vomiting as you go or do you knock first and give a warning?

Because we cannot agree on political issues you think you can question how well I do my job. Do you insist on a political litmus test for every medical professional that treats you? Good luck with that.

I'm not clairvoyant and any intelligence officer that claims to be right all the time is living a fantasy. I've never said that I was certain that UBL was dead though I believed his reversal from regular public commentary was a significant indicator.

Here's how it works when you are asked to provide an intelligence estimate. You provide what you know and what you don't know. You may often be asked what you think may be the most likely course of action, the least likely and the most dangerous. You try to fill in as many gaps as you can for decision makers given the access you have to as many forms of intelligence as possible.

Compartmentalization is needed to protect sources and methods and few, if any analyst will be given access to all the possible finished intelligence or raw information available.

Based on open source reporting my conclusion was not an option that anyone could exclude. If you know of anyone that could say with certainty that they were sure bin Laden was alive at the time when I expressed my doubts - you just let me know who that was mark. And don't forget to tell us why they were certain.

Now let's talk about your deep denial that interrogation of KSM and at least one other AQ leader, Abu Faraj al-Libi, lead to the critical break regarding UBL's couriers. We've provided this link to you before. It's from the Dem national newsletter, AKA, the WaPo. I suggest you read it this time.

Here's a good place to start:

The debate over the effectiveness of subjecting detainees to psychological and physical pressure is in some ways irresolvable, because it is impossible to know whether less coercive methods would have achieved the same result. But for defenders of waterboarding, the evidence is clear: Mohammed cooperated, and to an extraordinary extent, only when his spirit was broken in the month after his capture March 1, 2003, as the inspector general's report and other documents released this week indicate.

More open source from another WaPo article:

According to a senior administration official, “detainees in the post-9/11 period flagged for us individuals who may have been providing direct support to bin Laden and his deputy, [Ayman al-] Zawahiri, after their escape from Afghanistan. One courier in particular had our constant attention. Detainees gave us . . . his nickname and identified him as . . . a protege of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.” The nickname was Abu Ahmed al-Kuwaiti. KSM was taken into CIA custody in 2003 and refused to talk. Only after undergoing enhanced interrogation techniques did he confirm knowing al-Kuwaiti.

You can dismiss these articles but you should at least admit to yourself that you would be doing it of political necessity and for no other reason.

mark said...

You're really whining about personal attacks, tfhr? You? Seriously?
Let's talk about some of your "opinions":
You said that the August PDB which stated that bin Laden was determined to attack was "unactionable" intelligence (You later implied that the only option to inaction was detaining all Muslims). You said that there was no reason for Bush to take any action, or be in any adult conversation while our country was under attack. Now you say that your "evidence" that OBL was dead is that there was a "drop-off in communiques." So a decrease in recordings and other communciations meant he was dead? WTF? (We haven't heard much from Khadafi. Does this mean he's dead, too?
Why does your position always seem to be inaction? We have to be aggresive and bold in the War on Terrorism. If you were just another dope like me throwing in their two cents, it would be one thing. If you actually do work for an intelligence community, God help us. You are one incompetent fool.

tfhr said...


Couldn't resist another personal attack could you? I've come to expect that when you're frustrated and you've already run through your talking points.

What was the actionable intelligence, mark? What actions, based on the PDB, could Bush have taken? You tell us because I really want to know.

Would you have stood for something along the lines of the Patriot Act? You complained about that incessantly until Obama extended it, you hypocrite!

What should the Bush administration have done? Seriously, mark. If you had any idea how many threats like that appear in intelligence reporting on DAILY basis, your pointy little head would spin. Even today, not a week goes by when there isn't yet another report of some walk-in at an embassy claiming that a "suitcase" nuke is on the way. Really, mark, they come up all the time. Do you want to ban suitcases or embassies. You make the call. We're here to second guess your omniscience.

Khaddafi seems to be rather the regular on TV. I see him almost daily on al Jazeera and on France 24. I suspect you don't see or hear much about him over at MSNBC because it seems that Obama's ridiculously inept effort to remove him has become a global embarrassment. I'm fine with removing the Libyan terrorist and dictator from office - so do it. Sending ISR assets there to guide French, British and other NATO assets that have proven incapable of doing the job - has been a waste of time.

Meanwhile Assad is running mad in Syria. He supplies terrorists to sew murder and mayhem in Lebanon and Iraq. Assad is a crony of convenience to Iran. He is killing Syrians protesting his regime every day but somehow the reasons stated by Obama for our involvement in Libya don't apply to Syria? Amazing!

If nothing, Obama's inconsistency is the one thing we can count on - that and an inept foreign policy that has done nothing to improve our stature in the Middle East. I thought you progressives said that Obama was going to fix all that!