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Liberal Outrage

Good luck with that

Yglesias tries to remind the Obama administration how negotiation works. This will be a good test of the new & feistier Obama that debuted in the SOTU address.

By fnord12 | January 31, 2014, 10:34 AM | Liberal Outrage | Link

Executive Marauder

The news that Obama is going to try to do more by executive action sparked predictable outrage, but both TPM and Yglesias look at the pushback so far and declare it particularly lame. First of all, Obama has some catching up to do if he even wants to match George W. Bush's number of executive orders. Second, the guy both TPM and Yglesias look at compares Obama unfavorably to Lincoln and FDR, who only used their executive powers for such minor things as freeing the slaves and taking us off the gold standard. I have to admit that raising the minimum wage for Federal contractors to $10 does look pretty tyrannical in comparison.

Update: Ok, the guy TPM and Yglesias were focusing on has admitted he goofed.

By fnord12 | January 30, 2014, 1:27 PM | Liberal Outrage | Link

Don't blame liberals for anti-vaccination sentiment

About a year ago i panned Scientific American for trying to say that liberals were just as anti-science (or moreso) than conservatives by citing anti-vaccination and anti-GMO sentiment. Kevin Drum links to an American Prospect report showing a study that anti-vaccination sentiment, at least, is not really concentrated amongst liberals and is actually slightly higher amongst conservatives (and especially Michele Bachmann!).

As Kevin Drum says, that just leaves GMO, and some of that sentiment is less anti-science per se and more distrust of corporations, and especially their business practices (e.g. contamination of non-GMO farmers' fields, suing farmers for using their seed "technology"), and a desire for more testing and regulation. Maybe you think that's a distinction without a difference. But as i mentioned in my post from a year ago, the scale of the resistance is something else entirely; it's not lot like you have Democrats in Congress opposing GMOs the way you have Republicans opposing measures to combat global warming.

By fnord12 | January 29, 2014, 1:34 PM | Liberal Outrage & Science | Link

After all, the song isn't "Take this job and love it"

Interesting insight from Maggie Gallagher at the right wing National Review:

Memo to GOP: The job-creators meme is a loser. We say "job creator," voters hear "my boss." And voters hate their bosses.

Reading the comments there is a whole different experience. In just one exchange you have the full gambit of opinion on this subject on the right, from the near-worshipful...

Why would reasonably intelligent voters hate the people who put food on their tables and roofs over their heads, provide them with health insurance and pensions, and help send their kids to college?

...to the very libertarian:

My boss is a person I contract with. He doesn't provide things for me, he trades them to me. I went on a market, and picked my boss among those potential bosses who picked me. I don't need to be thankful and I don't need to like him.

I quote the above for the perspectives, not to mock.

By fnord12 | January 29, 2014, 1:24 PM | Liberal Outrage | Link

It turns out presidents can actually do stuff

A welcome and long overdue change of strategy is being kicked off today for the Obama administration, beginning with an executive order raising the minimum wage of Federal contractors. Among the points raised in that article:

Last year began with the fresh-start ambitions of his second inauguration but ended in a long trail of mistakes, international embarrassments and missed legislative opportunities that sapped Obama's credibility with the public.

Senior adviser Dan Pfeiffer outlined the lessons learned in a three-page memo that Obama discussed with his Cabinet in recent weeks, according to several administration officials who have read the document.

Among its conclusions is that Obama, a former state legislator and U.S. senator, too often governed more like a prime minister than a president. In a parliamentary system, a prime minister is elected by lawmakers and thus beholden to them in ways a president is not.

According to the above article, it seems thinking about Obama's legacy is also partly what prompted this.

Here's Greg Sargent's take:

Resorting to executive authority is also about resetting the prism through which the American people evaluate the president's performance and his engagement with them -- by conveying a sense that he has a plan to move the country forward, and he's acting on it.

Sargent follows up with poll numbers showing support for Obama using more executive authority. The truth is most people think the president is a lot more powerful than he really is, but weirdly the message from the Obama administration up until now is that he's actually a lot less powerful than he really is, as you can infer from my final quote, this time from Digby:

Wait. The last I heard from all the analysts was that the presidency was little more than a ceremonial position, sort of like the Queen of England, and there's no point in expecting anything at all from it. Indeed, I had been given to understand that it's foolhardy to even think about what a president could accomplish with his one branch of government that oversees all federal agencies, the military and the entire regulatory state as long as a rump faction of the GOP held sway in the House of Representatives. Who knew he could actually do things and say things that might make a difference?

I can certainly see why the administration was getting a teensy bit uncomfortable with all that talk of presidential impotence. It's not exactly an inspiring image. Still, you can't help but wonder just what the hell took them so long to realize that all their supporters relentlessly flogging the idea that the poor president is little more than a figurehead might just not reflect well on legacy of the man the nation elected to be its national leader.

By fnord12 | January 28, 2014, 1:19 PM | Liberal Outrage | Link


So the Republican National Committee has come out and denounced the NSA spying. Call it opportunism, but hell, i'd take it. Here's how the MSNBC article characterizes the shift:

The RNC's tidal shift reflects the reality that mass surveillance looks a lot more benign when your own party's leader is in charge of the operation. But the resolution also is a sign of the increasing influence of the libertarian wing of the party, especially supporters of Ron Paul and his son, Rand Paul, who have made government overreach in pursuit of terrorists a top issue.

The problem is that first part. Let's just say i was so singlemindedly opposed to the spying regardless of other issues that, using the massive influence of this blog, i ensured that Republicans had a major sweep in 2016. As soon as Republicans got back in power, they'd no longer be worried about Democrats controlling the NSA, and aside from their (fringe) libertarian wing, they'd go back to supporting it. But probably the Democrats would then go back to opposing it, as they did when the Bush administration was running it. So i can only get support from a political party while they are in the opposition.

I guess when i put it that way, this is actually a no-brainer. The Republicans are much better as an opposition party than the Democrats were under Bush. So i guess i should just be happy with the RNC's change and wait for them to start shutting down the government or whatever until they get their way on this.

By fnord12 | January 27, 2014, 1:11 PM | Liberal Outrage | Link

Or Current Business

Friend Bob won't release his similar, but not personally tragic, story, but at least we have this.

(I want the world to know that i am linking to the Keven Drum re-blogging of this instead the original article because the original article automatically starts playing a video, because people that run news websites are morons.)

By fnord12 | January 21, 2014, 12:27 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (2)| Link

Martin Luther King did more than that one speech

FAIR used to republish their 1995 The Martin Luther King You Don't See on TV every year. I don't think they republished it this year but it's still relevant and available. There is also this blog post, which includes this very clear quote: "A society that has done something special against the Negro for hundreds of years must now do something special for him, in order to equip him to compete on a just and equal basis."

I bring this up only because of Sarah Palin quoting the "content of their character" line and then telling Obama to not play the race card this Martin Luther King Day. Sarah Palin is of course an idiot, but the basic sentiment that racism is basically over and King wouldn't have wanted us to still be talking about race or having policies based on race is more widespread than her, and i agree with FAIR that it's in part due to the fact that King's message has been significantly watered down. Put it in the same category as people being shocked, shocked to learn that Nelson Mandela associated with Socialists while he was fighting apartheid. We haven't reached the end of racism, people are still trying to prevent blacks from voting, there is racial inequality in this country that can't just be explained by class problems, etc.. Today of all days (and really, i'm ok with all days), it's ok for Obama to "play the race card".

(This is all regardless of the fact that our very cautious president is unlikey to actually do so.)

By fnord12 | January 20, 2014, 4:11 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (2)| Link

More Digby

David Atkins at Digby's site, quoting the Economist, is on my beat about how the workers should share in productivity gains.

By fnord12 | January 17, 2014, 1:17 PM | Liberal Outrage | Link

Ironies of life

Yahoo news (via Digby) notes that Obama's big speech today defending NSA spying happens to be on the anniversary of Dwight Eisenhower's warning about the military-industrial complex.

By fnord12 | January 17, 2014, 1:15 PM | Liberal Outrage | Link

David Brook's shell game

If you want to see the economic takedown of David Brook's latest article blaming teenage moms and pot smokers for economic inequality, see Dean Baker and Paul Krugman and also the "Top Picks" on the comments section of Brook's column.

But on top of all the factual inaccuracies, there's also the strategic distraction that comes out of this kind of "reasonable conservative" schtick. Brooks writes:

[T]he income inequality frame needlessly polarizes the debate. There is a growing consensus that government should be doing more to help increase social mobility for the less affluent. Even conservative Republicans are signing on to this. The income inequality language introduces a class conflict element to this discussion.

Democrats often see low wages as both a human capital problem and a problem caused by unequal economic power. Republicans are more likely to see them just as a human capital problem. If we're going to pass bipartisan legislation, we're going to have to start with the human capital piece, where there is some agreement, not the class conflict piece, where there is none.

...If we're going to mobilize a policy revolution, we should focus on the real concrete issues: bad schools, no jobs for young men, broken families, neighborhoods without mediating institutions. We should not be focusing on a secondary issue and a statistical byproduct.

Sure, ok, i'm on board with that for starters. Please name 40 Republican Senators and 118 Republican Congressman that will vote for a bill that funds schools, infrastructure spending, and social workers to address "bad schools, no jobs for young men, and broken families and neighborhoods without mediating institutions". But of course that's not possible. Republicans wouldn't even agree that those are the solutions to those problems, and addressing those issues aren't Republican priorities in any event. So suggesting that Democrats try to find some sort of bipartisan compromise is nothing more than a stalling tactic. So we'll keep pushing for a minimum wage increase and other measures to reduce income inequality. Thanks for the concern trolling.

Update: Yglesias covers my concern.

By fnord12 | January 17, 2014, 11:34 AM | Liberal Outrage | Link

All you @?#!ers quit lying!

A report that we sleep more than we say we do, which follows up on a report that says we work less than we say we do.

As Catherine Rampell says, there may be discrepancies between the reports that measure this stuff. I mean, i may surf the internet or stare into space and pray that a meteor will land on me, but i still consider that "working" in the sense that i am chained to my desk. But those of you who are inflating your industriousness, quit it! You're just setting new standards that the rest of us now have to lie to match, and then next year you'll have to inflate it further. You're not doing anyone any favors, including yourself.

By fnord12 | January 16, 2014, 4:01 PM | Liberal Outrage & My stupid life & Science | Link

Some tubes are bigger than others

Kevin Drum:

Net neutrality was the de facto status quo until several years ago, when the Bush-era FCC decided to classify internet provision as an information service (IS) rather than a telecom service (TS)... The Obama FCC went on to impose tighter net neutrality rules, but left alone the classification of internet services as IS. Today, a federal judge decided that the FCC's rules exceeded its authority because it had failed to classify broadband Internet as a common-carrier service... The next step might be an appeal to the Supreme Court or it might be an FCC decision to reclassify the internet as a common carrier. But that's what it's come down to. If the Supreme Court upholds this decision (or refuses to hear an appeal), net neutrality is dead unless the FCC or Congress decide to reclassify broadband internet as a telecom service regulated as a common carrier.

See Drum's post for the non-ellipsed version and a link to an article covering the court decision. The new Obama era FCC chairman is opposed to "regulating the internet" which isn't good news. As if changing the classification in the first place and then putting in the half-assed neutrality rules wasn't already regulation.

By fnord12 | January 14, 2014, 12:49 PM | Liberal Outrage | Link

Hordes of unemployed young men

Yglesias takes Catherine Rampell's observation that all of December's job gains went to women (and notably, not in high paying positions) and further breaks down the recent "recovery" to show that young men especially are not getting their jobs back. In the days of the Roman empire or something this might have been a good time to implement a draft and go invade some other country, but what are we going to do about it?

By fnord12 | January 13, 2014, 3:35 PM | Liberal Outrage | Link

Not sure you're helping, Rudy


Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani on Thursday defended his pal New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) against the "bully" stereotype, saying the scandal surrounding the George Washington Bridge was just a "stupid political prank that backfired."

By fnord12 | January 10, 2014, 9:41 AM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (1)| Link

Like People in Arizona Didn't Have Enough Problems

Oy. Link

Action-movie star Steven Seagal says he is considering a run for Arizona governor. The actor, star of martial arts and action films including Marked for Death, Hard to Kill and Under Siege, told KNXV-TV that he is considering a shot at the state's highest office and has had a talk about the bid with the self-proclaimed toughest sheriff in America.

The 61-year-old made the comments while talking about his newly released reality series, Steven Seagal - Lawman: Maricopa County. Seagal teamed up with Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio for the show, which was shot in Arizona and airs on cable TV's Reelz Channel.

By min | January 5, 2014, 10:46 AM | Liberal Outrage | Link

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