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The Morning Plum

* Where would unemployment be without the stimulus? Good read: Dylan Matthews marshalls charts and graphs to show that it would be much, much higher, even if unemployment isn't actually falling.

* White House keeps bashing Boehner: Obama advisers seem like they really want to make sure John Boehner's dress rehearsal as House Speaker doesn't go well. The latest: The White House weighs in with a long fact check of Boehner's "awkward dance" on the stimulus.

* Dems admit the House is in peril? Mulitiple anonymous Democratic insiders decide it's a good idea to tell Politico that the midterms are looking much worse than you thought.

* And yet: Senior Democratic strategists tell Reid Wilson that they think the GOP won't come close to taking back the House, and Wilson lays out multiple reasons why that may be so. Who to believe?

* Cowed? The White House is not going to fire Alan Simpson, the chair of Obama's fiscal commission, for saying Social Security is "a milk cow with 310 million tits," and Paul Krugman says it shows Dems are "cowed" by the right.

* Polling the "mosque": Still another poll finds a large majority believes a "mosque" near Ground Zero is not "appropriate," though a large majority also says the developers have the "right" to build it. What all these polls show is how effectively the right has framed the debate over this controversy.

* Also: Thirty nine percent have an unfavorable impression of Islam, versus only 24 percent who have a favorable one, while 37 percent don't have an opinion.

* Bad economy spawns intolerance and skapegoating? Robert Reich says the controversies over illegal immigration, the "mosque," and Obama's faith are all signs that "economic fear is the handmaiden of intolerance."

* Convoluted argument of the day: New York's governor says the stabbing of the Muslim cabbie shows we need to move Cordoba House.

Ben Smith sums up: "The argument here: The mosque must be moved because its opponents are crazed, violent bigots who need to be appeased."

* Dems face a dilemma in Florida: Dems will be forced to make a tough choice: Put all their chips on Kendrick Meek, or quietly bet on a Charlie Crist win as the only way to deny the GOP the seat.

* Regrets: Former RNC chair Ken Mehlman comes out of the closet and says he'll support gay marriage, and admits that if he'd done so sooner he might have been able to stop his party from pursuing an anti-gay agenda.

* And: Jake Tapper notes that in 2005, Mehlman said he didn't know whether homosexuality is a choice, and defended George W. Bush's push for a Constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage.

* One track mind: And don't go saying the only idea GOP Rep. Mike Pence has for improving the economy is tax cuts. He's got another idea: Tax cuts.

What else is happening?

By Greg Sargent  |  August 26, 2010; 8:31 AM ET
Categories:  2010 elections , Foreign policy and national security , House Dems , House GOPers , Morning Plum , Senate Dems , Senate Republicans  
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Next: New Reid ad: Sharron Angle is a dangerous maniac

Comments

@Greg

Why is it that we are only hearing about Alan Simpson when it comes to the cat food commission?

Is there any way you could try and get a comment from the other co-chair or lower memebers of the commission regarding Simpson's comments?

Posted by: TheBBQChickenMadness | August 26, 2010 8:54 AM | Report abuse

Mehlman is having delusions of granduer.

Posted by: Papagnello | August 26, 2010 8:54 AM | Report abuse

Just read the Broder column you linked last evening. His best work is now so far behind him that I don't think he can see it any longer. It's rather saddening.

Posted by: bernielatham | August 26, 2010 8:56 AM | Report abuse

For the love of Pete! The cabbie-stabber is a Leftist peacenik from the School of Visual Arts in Manhattan.
http://www.nydailynews.com/ny_local/2010/08/26/2010-08-26_maniac_wanted_better_for_everyone.html

"Raised in Brewster, which is in Putnam County, Enright is a senior at the School of Visual Arts and does volunteer work for Intersections International, a group that promotes peace and tolerance."

This (alleged) "hate" crime vigilantism is a drunk version of the Leftist hoax tactic called a “moby”.
http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=moby

The term is derived from the name of the liberal musician Moby, who famously suggested in February of 2004 that Left-wing activists engage in this type of subterfuge: “For example, you can go on all the pro-life chat rooms and say you’re an outraged right-wing voter and that you know that George Bush drove an ex-girlfriend to an abortion clinic and paid for her to get an abortion. Then you go to an anti-immigration Web site chat room and ask, ‘What’s all this about George Bush proposing amnesty for illegal aliens?’”

The fact that hate hoaxing (intended to smear your political opponents) is epidemic among Leftists illustrates the nature of this sheep-in-wolves clothing tactic (masquerading as “hate”).
http://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/200408/crying-wolf-fabricated-crimes

If Bloomberg honestly knows of anyone making domestic terrorist threats to attack Muslims, then Bloomberg has a duty to report those threats to the FBI under Federal “misprision of felony” statutes. But Bloomberg won’t— because this is another case of Leftist moby hoaxing.
http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/18/usc_sec_18_00000004——000-.html

Try harder not to reward this Leftist moby with political demogoguery, Bloomberg.

Posted by: KaddafiDelendaEst | August 26, 2010 9:06 AM | Report abuse

"The argument here: The mosque must be moved because its opponents are crazed, violent bigots who need to be appeased."

That sums it up quite nicely.

Posted by: nisleib | August 26, 2010 9:07 AM | Report abuse

It is, of course, both brave and honorable for Mehlman to publicly state his sexual orientation given the sexual bigotry and anti-gay hatred that is one of the key components of the new conservative movement.

But that's not the whole story.

What Mehlman also represents is the behavior so characteristic of leaders within this movement - the accumulation of great personal wealth along with the perks of access to the highest levels of power and status - all while leaving principle and honesty so far behind that they become effectively non-existent.

Posted by: bernielatham | August 26, 2010 9:07 AM | Report abuse

I love that the wingnuts are claiming that the cabbie slasher is a leftist because of where he works. If that is the best they can do they need help.

Many people work for those whose political opinion is the opposite of theirs.

We had one nut here yesterday saying the guy was a registered Democrat, but he pulled that out of his tush because he sure wasn't willing to provide a link backing that claim up.

Posted by: nisleib | August 26, 2010 9:12 AM | Report abuse

By Robert Reich - August 25, 2010, 6:00PM

Connect the dots:

Many Americans (and politicians who the polls) don't want a mosque at Manhattan's Ground Zero.

An increasing percent believe the President is a Muslim.

Most Americans approve of Arizona's new law allowing police to stop anyone who looks Hispanic and demand proof of citizenship.

Most would deny citizenship to children born in the United States to parents who are here illegally.

Where is all this coming from?

It's called fear. When people are deeply anxious about holding on to their homes, their jobs, and their savings, they look for someone to blame. And all too often they find it in "the other" - in people who look or act differently, who come from foreign lands, who have what seem to be strange religions, who cross our borders illegally.

Americans who feel economically insecure may even become paranoid, believing, say, that the President of the United States is secretly one of "them."

Economic fear is the handmaiden of intolerance. It's used by demagogues who redirect the fear and anger toward people and groups who aren't really to blame but are easy scapegoats.

It has happened before.

Economic crises animated the pre-Civil War Know-Nothings and Anti-Masonic movements, the Chinese exclusion acts, the Ku Klux Klan in the economically-ravaged South, and the anti-immigrant movements of the early decades of the 20th century.

In different places around the world, mass economic stress has had far worse results. At its most extreme it has spawned genocide.

We are far from that. But it's important to understand the roots of America's growing intolerance. And to fight the hate-mongers and cynical opportunists who are using the fears unleashed by this awful economy to advance their own sordid agendas.

http://tpmcafe.talkingpointsmemo.com/2010/08/25/the_anatomy_of_intolerance/

Posted by: nisleib | August 26, 2010 9:20 AM | Report abuse

Re Simpson and his gaffe. He needs to go!!!

I'm not too sensitive about his lack of manners in reference to a womans anatomy directed at an older woman...that's in poor taste...a simple apology would suffice there, who amongst us hasn't put their foot in their mouth at one time or another. Before anybody goes to past threads to illustrate my foot munching I acknowledge Simpson was only human with his t&t lack of sensitivity. Wrong but not a firing offense.

However the attitude behind the statement is what disturbs me and when you combine it with his comment about helping the "lesser people" he simply doesn't get it.
He a selfish grumpy old curmudgeon how needs to be retired right now. Then he can have time to sit on his porch and scream.."Get off my lawn you kids!"

People on S.S. are not lesser people. The fact that somebody may be less fortunate than us does not make them "lesser" people.
Simpson simply does not understand the meaning of the word compassion.
Simpson is just another in a long line of privileged, selfish, old white guys! Put him out to pasture please.

Posted by: rukidding7 | August 26, 2010 9:23 AM | Report abuse

"Where would unemployment be without the stimulus? Good read: Dylan Matthews marshalls charts and graphs to show that it would be much, much higher, even if unemployment isn't actually falling."

An admirable effort, but you can't prove a negative (it's literally not possible, but I can't prove that /snark). Thus, while it may provide succor to the members of the choir who already believe it to be true, anyway, doubters will simply "pshaw!" it.

Anybody who is judging Obama on the economy and job creation and finding him lacking (let's not get into the lack of a "robust economy" button in the Oval Office right now) is not going to be convinced by the "but it would be so much worse without us!" argument.

@nisleib: "I love that the wingnuts are claiming that the cabbie slasher is a leftist because of where he works. If that is the best they can do they need help"

I have a thought. I'm thinking that maybe the cabbie slasher was a violent, mentally unstable fellow looking for any excuse to act out his violent tendencies, and found one. If he's actually a lefty, then, whose to blame for his violent outburst? Um, he is. And if he's a rabid right wing xenophobe, whose to blame for his actions? Um, he is.

What's most likely? That he has his own conspiracy-heavy ideology that defies easy classification.

I refer you to the guy who flew his plane into an IRS building, that blamed capitalism, George W. Bush, the government, the IRS, and about a dozen things, but had no coherent ideological position--so folks on the left and right cherry-picked phrases to make it seem like (follow me here, because I apparently find this much more astounding that most people do) *flying a plane into an IRS office on a Kamikaze mission* is a natural outgrowth of conservatism/liberalism (depending on the person making the argument). But literally, that's the assertion--that suicide bombing is a natural outgrowth of the political philosophy of the side we disagree with. Like lower taxes? Or want a public option? Well, depending on who you talk to, you must be a future suicide bomber!

Or that cabbie slashing is the *natural outgrowth* of being against a Muslim community center 2 blocks from Ground Zero, or the natural outgrowth of being a Moby-listening lefty activist. Even eco-terrorists fire-bombing hummer dealerships are acting out violent fantasies, and their own mental and emotional issues, not doing something that's a natural outgrowth of really, really caring about the environment.

Sigh.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | August 26, 2010 9:28 AM | Report abuse

ruk, it looks like Simpson stays. And you're right, it's not the words he chose, it's the attitude they express. If you read the entire email, it's almost bizarre to think that someone in a position of authority on a "bi-partisan" commission could have such disdain for both the program he is supposedly trying to "save" and the people who are it's beneficiaries.

I think it may just undermine whatever recommendations they may ultimately put forward. There's already an awful lot of speculation and criticism regarding the commission and this just adds fuel to the fire.

Posted by: lmsinca | August 26, 2010 9:36 AM | Report abuse

@Kevin - If you've read Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, you'll have a good picture of the anti-Semitic literature that had been a growing cultural feature of German society through the twenties and thirties. Had this cultural feature not been present, Hitler would not have been able to do what he did.

You could take any single theft from a jewish home at that time or any beating or murder of any jew and apply your "it isn't the gun, it's the guy who pulls the trigger" application of blame. And you'd be wrong in every way that is important.

Posted by: bernielatham | August 26, 2010 9:38 AM | Report abuse

@Scott C.

From last night's thread you responded to me thusly...

"The whole reason that FICA is calculated separately from regular income tax is that it is supposed to be paying for an explicit individual benefit in the future, not for generic government expenditures."

I certainly accept your statement but you actually are making my point because of the accuracy of your sentence. The key word in your post is SUPPOSED. That is the canard that the conservatives still wish to float. I'm not talking about what it's SUPPOSED to be, I'm talking about reality. S.S. hasn't been an actuarial based program for a long long time. I'm 62 and certainly all during my adult lifetime S.S. funds have been commingled back and forth between the General Budget and the supposed "lockbox"

Conservatives wish to have it both ways.
If viewed as a separate fund SS is solvent for at last two more decades. But some conservatives wish to turn around and calculate SS expense against the deficit.

I understand Scott that folks like you and Kevin are upset that SS long ago left the realm of an actuarial based insurance program...what you pay in is what you get out with some additional to allow for gain on your investment. I respect the fact that you are upset by this. But that is a totally different debate...Kevin is trying to engage with some folks about modification...but here is what I say to both you guys...

Reality is that FICA is simply another tax to help the Government meet it's social contract. Most Americans believe it's a good thing. Do we really want millions of seniors in abject poverty? Even as the program is currently structured there is plenty of poverty to go around. Most seniors are not getting wealthy from S.S.
I don't know anyone personally who doesn't at least attempt to put money in a 401K..IRA..whatever in the hope of supplementing what they realize will be a limited source of income.

I'm just for being honest here. The "what you put in is what you get out" boat sailed long ago...before I even reached voting age...and so I'm simply suggesting we deal with reality here. Horror of horrors..S.S. is a government program to help as Simpson calls them "the lesser people"...or the less fortunate who never made enough money to stash away for retirement.

Posted by: rukidding7 | August 26, 2010 9:38 AM | Report abuse

@bernielatham: "given the sexual bigotry and anti-gay hatred that is one of the key components of the new conservative movement"

Really? Anti-gay hatred is a key component of the new conservative movement?

Like death panels were part of the healthcare bill? Like Obama is a socialist?

Or like something else? When a majority of conservatives don't object to "civil unions", and most of your beltway-level neocons don't even really object to gay marriage? At least, those not running for public office?

Even many who object to homosexuality generally as some sort of depraved lifestyle choice (an irrational position, but there it is) don't hate gay people, but consider them as having made the wrong choices, or having been led into a sexual perversion.

How any straight guy can be of the opinion that male homosexuality, at least, is a choice is beyond me. But, even so, I know pretty rabid conservatives (well, at least one) who think homosexuality is a perverted choice and love their gay friends.

But, I haven't reviewed the new conservative movement platform. Maybe I just missed the "and we hate them gays real bad" plank.

Given how many Republicans turn out to be gay, I'm not sure we hate them that much.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | August 26, 2010 9:39 AM | Report abuse

maybe the cabbie slasher listened too much to his facebook friend, Greg Ball, Tea Partier, running for NY State Senate 40th district???

the pundits and politicians really need to stop riling up the folks who have stupid phobias.

Posted by: jeeze56 | August 26, 2010 9:42 AM | Report abuse

'Ben Smith sums up: "The argument here: The mosque must be moved because its opponents are crazed, violent bigots who need to be appeased." '

Appeasement of their ideological ancestors postponed secession by a few years, and that turned out great. Let's try the same thing now!

Posted by: zimbar | August 26, 2010 9:43 AM | Report abuse

How is it "the right has framed the debate" over the NY mosque to hold the view:

1) Rauf has the right to build the mosque (as the president correctly observed), and

2) It isn't wise to exercise that right (although the president hasn't expressed his opinion)

Seems the president has framed the "debate" in those terms. Surely you jest if you consider Obama a creature of "the right".

Posted by: Jakesterman | August 26, 2010 9:43 AM | Report abuse

Kevin says, "I have a thought. I'm thinking that maybe the cabbie slasher was a violent, mentally unstable fellow looking for any excuse to act out his violent tendencies, and found one."

And what, pray tell, would that excuse be? Don't you think that rightwingers like Geller and Limbaugh pumping xenophobic hatred into the national debate might make unstable folk like the slasher more likely to "act out?"

But you are, of course, right. His politics don't really matter. I have doubts about his sanity in general, but the constant hyping of racial tension by the right is putting people like the slasher's victim in danger for no real reason.

The other day a Puerto Rican plumber was accosted in NY because the anti mosque protesters thought he was a Muslim. Why? Because he has brown skin. Going after Muslims is just about ramping up fear of "the other", it is wrong and it should stop. And if it does NOT stop those of us with a conscious should call out those who are demagoguing this issue.

Posted by: nisleib | August 26, 2010 9:45 AM | Report abuse

[nisleib sputtered: "claiming that the cabbie slasher is a leftist because of where he works. If that is the best they can do they need help."]

The Leftist moby "art student" will get what those who commit attempted murder in NY state deserve. What I find intriguing is that when Nidal Hasan shouted “Allahu Akbar!” and proceeded to mow down 13 people at FT Hood-- or when Taheri-azar drove an SUV through UNC students (or name any number of sudden jihad syndrome attacks)-- our elite opinionmakers could not bring themselves to ascribe any clear motive to those actions.

However it took no time for Bloomberg (and his Obamedia toadies) to sort out what this cabbie-stabber did and why.

Draw your own conclusions. Then own them.

Posted by: KaddafiDelendaEst | August 26, 2010 9:48 AM | Report abuse

Well, of course. NRO takes up the Koch cause... http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/244720/koch-line-fire-nro-staff

Posted by: bernielatham | August 26, 2010 9:51 AM | Report abuse

"Dems face a dilemma in Florida: Dems will be forced to make a tough choice: Put all their chips on Kendrick Meek, or quietly bet on a Charlie Crist win as the only way to deny the GOP the seat."


The last time Lieberman ran for reelection Rove made that choice for the GOP and backed Lieberman at the expense of the GOP candidate.

Posted by: akaoddjob | August 26, 2010 9:52 AM | Report abuse

"and admits that if he'd done so sooner he might have been able to stop his party from pursuing an anti-gay agenda"

I think it's more likely that if he'd come out sooner he'd have been out of his job sooner.

Posted by: akaoddjob | August 26, 2010 9:53 AM | Report abuse

@rukidding: "Conservatives wish to have it both ways."

Not only can you read minds, you can read minds of entire class of people, all at the same time! That is impressive, my friend.

"If viewed as a separate fund SS is solvent for at last two more decades. But some conservatives wish to turn around and calculate SS expense against the deficit."

BTW, while calculate the cost of SS against the deficit is a good mental and informational exercise, I have no trouble with stating that SS, by itself, is solvent, and can remain so, even with minor tweaks. And I would love for it to be set up so that funds are no long co-mingled. If I can't have my full SS reform, I'll take that.

I don't want to have it both ways, or to overstate the "dire" circumstances of Social Security.

" Do we really want millions of seniors in abject poverty? "

Is that a question or a statement? I thought we just took it for granted that that's what Republicans wanted. ;)

"I respect the fact that you are upset by this"

BTW, I'm not upset by Social Security. I am irked by the mischaracterization of proposed reforms, and I believe some of them would represent improvements, but it's not because I think Social Security is teetering on the brink, features death panels, or is morally bad. I think it's certainly better than nothing.

I would prefer Social Security was lock-boxed (this could be done, and funds could be appropriated from the general fund if there was ever a shortfall), but, generally, I like SS. BTW, while I think FDR was way off on a lot of things (guarantee a job for everybody, in perpetuity? slaughtering livestock and burning crops to prop up food prices? while people were starving?) I'm a big fan of the general concept of SS and a huge fan of the WPA (wish Obama had brought it back; what's the point of electing even quasi-liberals if they don't bring back some of their three good ideas /snark).

What happened to the days of the WPA and The Eisenhower Interstate System? Or the Race to the Moon? Politicians now are so *boring*. At least Bush wanted to take us back to the moon, and give us a manned mission to Mars.

Ah, well.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | August 26, 2010 9:56 AM | Report abuse

@lmsinca I appreciate all your efforts to protect S.S.

Do you find it a bit ironic that the R's are saying we need to save SS for your grandchildren..by ....cutting the benefits to your grandchildren. We are going to take care of your grandchildren....by...making sure they get less than you.

And please...don't anybody start with the solvency canard...there are way too many EASY fixes. First the program does not face immediate unsolvency...we are talking decades out...lmsinca is better informed than me and can tell us just how far out..

But secondly and perhaps more importantly..there are too many easy fixes....
#1.) Stop shoveling pallets of $100 bills at our defense budget. It's getting obscene. We spend more than the next 15 nations combined and the defense budget doesn't even account for the true cost of these stupid, NON PRODUCTIVE, wars. Does the VA fall under the military budget. Because obviously providing all the prosthetics, training, and hospital care
for our wounded Vets should be charged to our defense budget

2.) Eliminate the cap on FICA. We are the lowest taxed people in the civilized world...trust me the rich people are not hurting and as Warren Buffet has pointed out..back when the top marginal rate was 70% he and his fellow investors didn't stop investing...they worked harder to make up the difference. Do we suppose Warren Buffet is some lefty socialist?
Adding 7.65% to the wealthiest people amongst us is not even going to change their lifestyle a bit. Giving a senior citizen a decent retirement wage is a dramatic change in their life.

Posted by: rukidding7 | August 26, 2010 9:56 AM | Report abuse

Rubio can be corrupt from DC while Scott can do it from the Governors mansion.

Republicans have chosen for their nominee for Governor a very corrupt individual. The previous Republican state party chairman is under investigation for corruption. Lets not make the same mistake and send another corrupt Republican to the Senate. Floridians have had it up to hear with corruption.

Posted by: mikefromArlington | August 26, 2010 9:59 AM | Report abuse

Does anyone know what happened to Rubio's IRS investigation?

Then you got Rubio heading the State House of Reps while his appropriations committee chairman had to step down because of third degree felony conspiracy charges.

Posted by: mikefromArlington | August 26, 2010 10:05 AM | Report abuse

Kevin said: "Really? Anti-gay hatred is a key component of the new conservative movement?"

On a personal level, Norquist, for example, has no beef with sexual orientation nor with gay marriage. But as a movement organizer, he doesn't talk about this much (I've run across a single piece on it) because he cannot forward such a notion and remain as effective in organizing the movement because of precisely what I've said above. At NRO and WS or Commentary, you don't tend to see the rabid anti-gay sentiment expressed so broadly across the Evangelical community but you see every effort possible to affiliate with evangelicals (including on this issue - lots from K Lo, for example) so as to forward the movement's electoral chances.

As a consequence, the movement is anti-gay and expressions of disgust/hatred are not only extremely common from numerous movement opinion leaders, they have been purposefully made a key feature of the movement's ideology as a wedge issue.

It's unserious to argue that something else is going on or that the manifestations of anti-gay sentiment in the US would be far, far less pronounced if the modern conservative movement had a different set of notions and a different set of principles re how to gain power.

Posted by: bernielatham | August 26, 2010 10:09 AM | Report abuse

"White House keeps bashing Boehner: Obama advisers seem like they really want to make sure John Boehner's dress rehearsal as House Speaker doesn't go well. The latest: The White House weighs in with a long fact check of Boehner's "awkward dance" on the stimulus.
---------------------------------------------

Every time I find myself tempted to think that Hillary Clinton would have come into office with a lot fewer illusions about the people she'd be up against on the right and without the weight of a lot campaign kumbaya campaign promises to try and make nice with them, I have to remind me that she also wouldn't have Obama's political shop behind her. They are very good at this stuff.

Posted by: CalD | August 26, 2010 10:11 AM | Report abuse

@rukidding: "Stop shoveling pallets of $100 bills at our defense budget."

The DOD pays for a lot of science and technology research, including research in cancer, contagious diseases, immunology, longevity. They also do a lot of technology research (and always have--ladies and gentlemen, I give you ARPANet, which eventually became a conduit between colleges across the country, and is now affectionately known as the Internet). I realize it's tempting to think of our Defense budget paying for weapons, bullets, and soldiers, but it does pay for a lot more. TCP/IP was developed, in part, so that government defense centers could be networked, and the the network would remain intact even if different centers went down.

I doubt the next 15 nations combined are paying to develop cancer treatments or the next Internet in their defense budgets. Or a Global Positioning Satellite system. Our Defense budget covers a lot of stuff. Slashing our defense budget might turn out to be a case of needing to be careful what you wish for.

BTW, the Department of Veterans Affairs is the second largest department in the government, after the Department of Defense. If you do not see the VA broken out in a budget pie chart, then, yes, VA is bundled under "Defense".

@ruk: "Adding 7.65% to the wealthiest people amongst us is not even going to change their lifestyle a bit"

It's also probably not going to happen. Making the tax reductive past the current cap would be an easier sale, and still accomplish the same goals. Go from 7.65 to 5 to 4 to 3 to 2 to 1. Social Security solvency would be solved, permanently, just by doing that. And it doesn't require that the wealthy be taxed at 7.65%, for one program, ad infinitum. You actually don't want SS to be *too* solvent, or it becomes a slush fund for other programs, earmarks and pork, which will have Social Security paying for bridges and libraries and statues to the best pork-processing senators. ;)

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | August 26, 2010 10:12 AM | Report abuse

Kevin...my snarky friend :-)

" Do we really want millions of seniors in abject poverty? "

Is that a question or a statement? I thought we just took it for granted that that's what Republicans wanted. ;)"

I don't believe all R's want that..in fact I'll go so far as to say I don't believe ANYONE wants that..but I do believe that many like Alan Simpson don't give a rat's arse...or perhaps more charitably are simply guilty of gross insensitivity and compassion. I believe other more enlightened conservatives like you are not talking about gutting S.S. or diminishing the benefits significantly.

Under the current system we still have plenty of poverty among our seniors. Call me crazy but I view Democracy as a covenant among citizens to cooperate for the good of their society. Generally where we disagree is how much cooperation is good. Do we stop with simply funding security apparatus..police..armies etc.
Do we also educate our citizens? Do we care about our neighbors health? Do we find society brutish and coarse if our old folks are left to beg for alms like Elizabethan England?

Discussing this with folks like you and Scott and the new conservative JeffD is fine because you all are still rational and have brains. Try that with Sister Sarah..or Jim Demented.

Kevin I think you and I have much in common. The current version of the R party really does a horrid job of representing your core values...they have deserted fiscal responsibility and they have now been reduced to a bunch of demagogues...very few exceptions...perhaps Pence and Ryan and a few others...certainly I respect Ron Paul as a consistent conservative. (that phrase has almost become an oxymoron lol)

And I'm in no better shape than you. As a progressive the Dems no longer represent me either...the P.O. should have been a slam dunk..pubic opinion was behind it..at least at the start of the debate..and it made perfect sense from the standpoint of actually getting a handle on costs and demonstrating fiscal responsibility.
And instead of pulling out of Afghanistan we actually upped the ante...hardly a progressive position.

Posted by: rukidding7 | August 26, 2010 10:13 AM | Report abuse

ROTFLMAO! The cabbie-stabber was part of a pro-mosque group!
http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2010/08/antimuslim_attacker_works_for.html

I KNEW it!... he's one of yours pulling a MOBY!

Don't incite Leftists to moby violence your whole life, Bloomberg, Greg, Quislings, et.al.

Own it.

Posted by: KaddafiDelendaEst | August 26, 2010 10:18 AM | Report abuse

"I would prefer Social Security was lock-boxed (this could be done, and funds could be appropriated from the general fund if there was ever a shortfall"

I can't help but smile at this coming from a conservative. And that's not meant in a mean way, Kevin. It's just remembering how much ridicule Al Gore took from your side ten years ago over the SS lockbox that he advocated.

Posted by: suekzoo1 | August 26, 2010 10:19 AM | Report abuse

@Kevin..

"It's also probably not going to happen. Making the tax reductive past the current cap would be an easier sale, and still accomplish the same goals. Go from 7.65 to 5 to 4 to 3 to 2 to 1. Social Security solvency would be solved, permanently, just by doing that. And it doesn't require that the wealthy be taxed at 7.65%, for one program, ad infinitum. You actually don't want SS to be *too* solvent, or it becomes a slush fund for other programs, earmarks and pork, which will have Social Security paying for bridges and libraries and statues to the best pork-processing senators. ;)

Point taken and agreed upon.

Posted by: rukidding7 | August 26, 2010 10:19 AM | Report abuse

I would not ascribe collective blame, for an attack by a drunken 21 year old guy.

As for moving the Muslim Center.

I think I have found a way to resolve the situation.

Cut Taxes again. That should resolve the dispute.

Posted by: Liam-still | August 26, 2010 10:20 AM | Report abuse

All the Quislings here should apologize to the secular Muslim NY Cabbie and his family for inciting this pro-jihad mosque vigilantee to moby violence.

It's time to take a little ownership for your orchestrated Islamo-supremacist advocacy campaign.

/chickens... roost!

Posted by: KaddafiDelendaEst | August 26, 2010 10:23 AM | Report abuse

@bernie: "they have been purposefully made a key feature of the movement's ideology as a wedge issue."

I'm not sure being opposed to gay marriage, and anti-gay hatred, are exactly the same thing, however.

"It's unserious to argue that something else is going on"

Well, if you say it's so, then no doubt it must be.

"or that the manifestations of anti-gay sentiment in the US would be far, far less pronounced if the modern conservative movement had a different set of notions and a different set of principles re how to gain power."

I think that sort of goes without saying. It's also true that if a significant portion of the population (including card carrying Democrats) weren't opposed to gay marriage, we'd have gay marriage and it wouldn't be an issue.

However, while supporting a "one man, one woman" ideal of marriage may seem to be fetishizing semantics, interpreting that as anti-gay hatred (and then proceeding as if this is an articulated principle of that political class that, thank goodness, you're too morally pure to be a member of) seems like advancing the other sides argument or issues to their most absurd and illogical extreme, rather than objectively addressing their actual positions.

The wedge issue would seem to me to be that heterosexual marriage is a unique and special institution (in most cases, one with religious significance), and one that will be negatively transfigured if that definition is changed to include new definitions. This may not be the case, but it is also not "anti-gay hatred".

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | August 26, 2010 10:25 AM | Report abuse

The biggest problem with Simpson's rant is his apparent lack of understanding of what Social Security IS. It's not "welfare"; it's a program we PAY for with withholding from our wages. So if it's a "milk cow with 310 million teats," then one of those teats has MY name on it, because I PAID for it.

I resent like hell having some old codger who's already got his pretending like MY share is a "handout" - particularly when funding for the program has been compromised over and over again by his party - and he himself - siphoning off funds for defense contractor largesse and other things deemed more important than keeping me from living in a box in an alley in my old age.

He should be fired for the simple reason that he obviously doesn't even understand the program he's being asked to help fix (after he helped to break it).

I have to say I'm getting really sick of this "you poor people need to adjust your expectations down even further because we gave your money to rich people" BS. Social Security and Medicare for most of us is like the equivalent of a home mortgage - it's a long-term investment, one we pay for every month of our working lives. Tax cuts for rich folks are, by contrast, the stupid new boat in the driveway, which is straining our finances. These Republicans have succeeded in convincing the moron Teabaggers that the BOAT is the important thing rather than the HOUSE, but that's no reason the rest of us should ignore the smoke they're blowing up our a**es just because they keep pointing out what a pretty shade of purple it is.

Posted by: JennOfArk | August 26, 2010 10:25 AM | Report abuse

@Kevin_Willis

"At least Bush wanted to take us back to the moon, and give us a manned mission to Mars."

As someone who works in the US Space Program, and has been an avid space advocate for years and years...I can tell you with 100% certainty that Bush's plan was a load of (blank), meant more to give him b-role of a "JFK-moment" than it ever meant moving our space program forward. Not only was the plan always on shakey ground, but then Bush underfunding the (blank) out of it, causing it to ciphon off money from every other NASA department for years.

Seriously. Bush totally and completely (blanked) our nation's ability to go to space. Now Obama is left with the aftermath of it - the choice between a new launch system 6 years away and billions over budget, commerical launchers that are untested and still 3-5 years away, or no-one-wins-somehwere-in-between - but of course he will get blamed for the next 4-6 years of NASA on life-support...caused by Bush.

Please, take it from someone who knows, please stop thinking/saying that Bush had any sort of plan or even interest in this nation's space program. He didn't.

Posted by: TheBBQChickenMadness | August 26, 2010 10:30 AM | Report abuse

All, check out Harry Reid's latest ad painting Sharron Angle as a dangerous psycho:

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/plum-line/2010/08/new_reid_ad_sharron_angle_is_a.html

Posted by: Greg Sargent | August 26, 2010 10:31 AM | Report abuse

My problem with the deficit commission is that we don't actually know what proposals regarding Social Security they are discussing. Unnamed sources throw out little trial balloons to judge receptiveness and then back away from that or not. We will not know anything definitive until after the election so we cannot vote according to the position our candidates have on any changes to Social Security.

We know that during the Bush years his "privatization" plan was not well received and in the essential elements Ryan's plan is not much different. There are both tax and taxpayer bailout issues associated with "privatization/personal accounts" that people glorifying the scheme overlook, as well as cuts in benefits.


It's beginning to feel as though we're being led to believe we may have to accept cuts or face privatization, as if those are the only choices.

Most of us who are fighting to keep SS as the same successful program it has been for 75 years don't know exactly what we're up against but are simply replying to these little trial balloons as they arise in the hopes of keeping attention focused on the issue for now.

There has been a lot of mis-information floating around SS for at least the last two decades and the better informed we are about the actual stability and sustainability of the program, the better we will all understand the ramifications of any changes.

Posted by: lmsinca | August 26, 2010 10:33 AM | Report abuse

[Greg: "All, check out"]

Yes. Pay no attention to Greg's serial incitement to violence. Look over here... it's Sharon Angle!

*ahem* When can the Muslim cabbie expect an apology from the Islamo-supremism advocates?

*crickets chirp*

Posted by: KaddafiDelendaEst | August 26, 2010 10:34 AM | Report abuse

That is just Alan Simpson being Alan Simpson. That is how he has always expressed himself.

I am a staunch liberal, and disagree with Alan Simpson on most political issues, but I have always liked former Senator Simpson.

Let the man speak for, for cripes sake. " A Cow With More Than 300 Tits" is poetry"

George Carlin would probably have defended Senator Simpson's right to speak in his own colorful way.

I do defend Senator Simpson's right to say those words. In fact I enjoyed reading them.

Posted by: Liam-still | August 26, 2010 10:35 AM | Report abuse

@JennOfArk: Not only do we pay for it, most people get less return on what they pay into it than if they put the same money in a regular savings account. So, someone's keeping that extra interest. Must be the politicians.

So whose actually swilling off the federal teat in that scenario?

"Tax cuts for rich folks are, by contrast, the stupid new boat in the driveway, "

We were getting along so well. But then you had to insult my boat. ;)

"other things deemed more important than keeping me from living in a box in an alley in my old age"

Lets be honest here. There was a time (most of human history) that we didn't have Social Security. The reality is, without SS (and failing some retirement funds of your own), you'd end up living in a small room in a relative's house, or with your children, inconveniencing them, to the point where they despised you.

"just because they keep pointing out what a pretty shade of purple it is"

And now you're dissing my favorite color. And to think, we could have been friends. ;)

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | August 26, 2010 10:36 AM | Report abuse

Greg couple of thoughts:

1. Democrats need to stop the hand wringing and instead do stuff to FIRE UP THEIR BASE to get them to the polls. Instead of bedwetting, what they should be doing is nominate Elizabeth Warren (Obama needs to do that), fight for the small business bill in the Senate, fight for an Energy bill in the Senate minus the oil stuff and put in RES instead, propose a MAKE IT IN AMERICA bill of rights and campaign on it (this needs to include a National Infrastructure bank, etc).

2. I personally don't give a crap about Alan Simpson. Besides keeping him there may be the excuse the Democrats in the Congress needs to stay away from tackling Social Security which is NOT the main problem in the deficit. Instead what really needs to be tackled is Bush tax cuts, Defense spending, and the biggest thing of all MEDICARE. I say leave him there for it will encourage Democrats to buck Obama and say we are NOT going to tackle Social security but the things that really affect the deficit.

3. I truly believe that the Democrats must get behind Charlie Christ rather than Meeks because Meeks is NOT going to win.

4. To call the Republicans on their bluff about tax cuts, Democrats should recommend Reich's "People's tax cut" for 2 years in order to increase demand. This tax cut is for the first $20,000 of payroll taxes. This will put money in people's pockets to spend as well as in small businesses. This is a tax cut that Democrats can rally around, the middle tax will appreciate, and will help the economy.

Posted by: maritza1 | August 26, 2010 10:36 AM | Report abuse

A typically smart and thoughtful piece from Tomasky... http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/michaeltomasky/2010/aug/25/usa-religion-liberals-and-values

"...Let me say here, and I've been thinking it's worth saying in light of the mosque business, that I very firmly believe Western Enlightenment values are superior to all others that have so far occurred to human beings the world over. I argued this back in the 90s, during the real heyday of p.c. identity politics, and got called a racist and various other things because of it. There was a guy, William Henry, who wrote this book then called In Defense of Elitism, and thought it was kind of reactionary in some ways (some over-the-top language designed to provoke and traduce), I thought it was pretty bracing and mostly correct."

The "politically correct" cliche really gained it's power through DeSouza's book and then the forwarding of its arguments via talk radio particularly. For more than a decade, it has been used mostly as an unthoughtful attack against liberalism (of course, it makes equal sense to use the term to describe reactions from the right re criticism of American foreign policy or of aspects of Christianity as the mirror-image violations of their political correctness).

But what Tomasky is speaking to here is what Bloom broached in The Closing of The American Mind when he spoke of students who refused to make value judgements re other cultures or faiths. Typical example Bloom gave was asking students whether the Brits ought to have stepped into domestic cultures and laws where they (as a consequence of mercantile expansion and empire) were now in control and, say, outlawed stoning where a woman's dowry was too small. A common response to this moral dilemma - "The Brits shouldn't have been there." Which is, of course, simply an avoidance of the dilemma.

Which is, I suppose, just one more bit of evidence that the questions we shy away from most commonly are moral questions. Because they are often so frigging difficult.

Posted by: bernielatham | August 26, 2010 10:41 AM | Report abuse

@Liam-still: "I think I have found a way to resolve the situation. Cut Taxes again. That should resolve the dispute."

Liam, you know, you're beginning to make a lot of sense. :)

Re: Alan Simpson: "Let the man speak for, for cripes sake."

Absolutely, and I don't think anybody is arguing against that. However, characterizing programs citizens pay into as handouts (the closest SS comes, generally, is the built in disability insurance, and even that is set to a level defined by how much the recipient paid in before becoming disabled, although they will usually collect much more than they paid in, over their lifetime) seems broadly inaccurate, and given his position, maybe he isn't the best guy to be trying to come up with solutions.

But part of this may have something to do with the direction he feels the committee going, or if he feels he's being generally ignored by others or the administration, which may well be the case. Still, I'm not sure he's the best guy for that post, given his public pronouncements.

But, he serves at the pleasure of the president, not me. I'm just a blog-reading goofball. ;)

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | August 26, 2010 10:42 AM | Report abuse

@BBQ: "Please, take it from someone who knows, please stop thinking/saying that Bush had any sort of plan or even interest in this nation's space program. He didn't."

I will take that into consideration (though it pains me!), although with a grain of salt, given the source (no offense).

It's unfortunate that said plans were underfunded. Should not have been, in my opinion.

However, I have a hard time believing that Obama's treatment of the space program has been the only possible option available to anybody, no matter what he "inherited" from Bush (an excuse, true as it might be, that gets exceedingly old), so he's going to get held accountable for what he's done in regards to NASA thus far, and he should. It's actually my single biggest beef with Obama (something that wouldn't make the top ten with most conservatives). He could have done, and can still do, much better by our nation's space program, no matter what he inherited, and no matter how obstructionist the GOP is.

While I'm just one vote, of Obama advanced the most awesome space program ever, the GOP obstructed that, Obama would sure win me over. If anything would get me to vote against the Republicans, filibustering awesome space exploration goodness would do it.

And I believe a manned mission to Mars is probably premature. But we can do better than renting rockets from Russia.

And, in the end, I am going to give Bush credit. He at least said the right things. He may not have done the right things (or his administration might not have) in terms of funding NASA, but he was setting the right sorts of goals (even if underfunding them). In the case of Obama and space exploration, he's not only not doing the right things, he's not saying them, either. Unless there's some secret awesomeness that you know about that I don't.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | August 26, 2010 10:51 AM | Report abuse

KaddafiDelendaEst - The guy is a tea partier and a fan of Greg Ball.

Many people don't share the same politics as their employer; you'd probably know that if you had ever had a job.

Posted by: nisleib | August 26, 2010 10:52 AM | Report abuse

@Kevin

It was in 1967 when the last state removed laws banning interracial marriage from the books.

Shall we proceed from the assumption that those laws and the sentiments that put them in place were really driven by a concern to maintain the definition and dignity of the marriage ceremony/institution? That hatred was not a central feature in this?

You shy away from the term 'hate' so pick some other synonym if you'd like. But if you are going to argue or pretend that a species of serious and consequential bigotry is not central here (or that this bigotry has not been marshaled for electoral gain by the modern conservative movement strategists) then we don't have a lot to talk about on these matters.

Posted by: bernielatham | August 26, 2010 10:54 AM | Report abuse

nisleib! please don't feed the trolls!! :o)

Posted by: suekzoo1 | August 26, 2010 10:56 AM | Report abuse

suekzoo1 - I know, I know, but the stupid, it burns!

Posted by: nisleib | August 26, 2010 11:00 AM | Report abuse

Sometimes you can get an interesting perspective by listening to the views of an outsider...someone is not on the inside..battling the partisan fights etc.

I once took an International Real Estate course that was taught by a German fellow.
By German standards this fellow would be called conservative...perhaps from our far right he would be called a liberal...call him what you will he had an interesting take on our two parties.

He said, "In Germany we view the Republican and Democratic parties as pretty much the same thing with just one distinction. The Democrats always want to tax and spend...The Republicans always want to spend and borrow."

Think about that for a moment and ask yourself...how Reagan who tripled the deficit..and G.W. Bush who created the largest deficit in our history be called fiscal conservatives while Clinton who raised taxes..balanced the budget and created a surplus is called a liberal.

Ahhh these are the times we in which we live.

Posted by: rukidding7 | August 26, 2010 11:02 AM | Report abuse

[nisleib "The guy is a tea partier and a fan of Greg Ball."]

I'd like to see your evidence. Don't be a smear artist your whole life.

The cabbie-stabber is a Leftist moby who worked for a pro-Cordoba House outfit.
http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2010/08/antimuslim_attacker_works_for.html

He's all yours, Quislings for Islamo-supremacism. Own him.

Posted by: KaddafiDelendaEst | August 26, 2010 11:04 AM | Report abuse

@nisleib....Sue advises all well when it comes to a troll as far out as MuammarK.

I used to get exercised by these folks as well..but you posted something yesterday that I completely agree with.

When you think about how awful it must be to inhabit his head...seriously..I know you to be compassionate...you just have to forgive his vacuous rantings.

True story...My sister in law is a paranoid schizophrenic. She is 67 and imagines that the daughter of an alleged assignation by her 69 year old husband that occurred years ago(never actually happened there is no such love child) is out to get her. She carries flour and coffee around in her purse so she doesn't get poisoned. She imagines this "Elizabeth" is cooking crystal meth in our Lake Superior summer cottage...the list could go on...but here is the point..

One day my wife and I were consoling our brother in law saying, "You must be a saint to put up with all of this"
His response..."Yeahhh but just imagine what it's like to be her...to actually believe these things."

I enjoy tin foil hat jokes as much as anyone I guess...but like you nisleib I'm beginning to question my own values...I obviously do not even bother to read K's posts any longer...but I don't wish to trash him...imagine what it feels like to be in his head.

Posted by: rukidding7 | August 26, 2010 11:16 AM | Report abuse

KaddafiDelendaEst - The slashers facebook page had Greg Ball, Tea Party Nut, as his friend.

I don't know if you are aware of how facebook works (or even if you know how to use indoor plumbing) but you have to ask to be somebody's friend.

There aren't a lot of lefties who ask to befriend anti immigration Tea Party nutsacks.

Posted by: nisleib | August 26, 2010 11:17 AM | Report abuse

rukidding7 - Good point. I'm better than this, I shouldn't come down on K-troll. Nothing I can say about someone like that is as bad as BEING someone like that.

Still, it isn't easy sitting idly by while the know-nothings preach their skewed views.

Posted by: nisleib | August 26, 2010 11:23 AM | Report abuse

[nisleib: "There aren't a lot of lefties who ask to befriend anti immigration Tea Party nutsacks."]

That behavior is merely evidence of his Moby animus. Obviously, the Leftist fakes "friendship" in an attempt at subterfuge.

He also faked "friendship" with the cabbie before the assault. Salon has lots more on the Moby Leftist cabbie-stabber @
http://www.salon.com/news/crime/index.html?story=/politics/war_room/2010/08/25/cab_stabbing_update

Own him, Quislings for Islamo-supremacism. He's all yours.

Posted by: KaddafiDelendaEst | August 26, 2010 11:24 AM | Report abuse

I think you are being very persuasive. I pretty sure that you will soon win him over, and he will start supporting the location of the Muslim Center, and start calling out Old Geller for her Hate Mongering.

Keep working on him. You are very close to making a convert of him.

Posted by: Liam-still | August 26, 2010 11:24 AM | Report abuse

@Kevin

"He could have done, and can still do, much better by our nation's space program, no matter what he inherited, and no matter how obstructionist the GOP is."

As much as conservatives love to say that blaming Bush is now off limits, the truth of the matter is that space, maybe second only to basic infrustructure, is an issue that takes years to move in any legimate way. To say that Obama should take blame for the current state of the space program would be like blaming him for the state of our highway system.

That said, I'm fine saying it's not ALL Bush's fault. NASA should have been better funded starting in the 90's, especially during the tech boom. So Clinton certainly shares a bit of the blame when it comes to not having the best research available to work with during the Bush years.

The Shuttle program was killed in 2004 by President Bush. Ever since that time, money has been slowly removed from Shuttle in anticipation of it's retiring. Lockheed Martin had shut down and started dismantling the plant required to build the custom External Tank. Obama couldn't start it back up (to keep flying shuttle) without footing a massive bill. Other parts manufacturers have been doing the same over the past 5 years.

So Shuttle can't keep going without a massive boost in funding. Bush's proposed system is still 6 years away even with an increase in funding (without it's more like 8 years out), and commerically developed man-rated launchers are at least 3 years away (as in they don't exist yet), and designing a new system from scratch will obviously take time (an estimated 5-8 years+ with an increase in funding).

That's what he faced when he walked in. There really were no good options without a MASSIVE increase in funding. Currently NASA is only 0.52% of the federal budget. It simply needs more money - and that's Congress. Unfortunately.

Really, this is non-partisan. Obama picked a "decent" (as in: bad, but not terrible) path forward, one that would shorten the gap we depend on the Russians...but both Dems and GOPers in Congress freaked out and killed it. From the C-Span hearings I watched, members from both sides just didn't understand.

It comes down to funding. If NASA could get up to about 0.9% (~$35b) of the federal budget, we could push Commerical to get flying in 3-4 years, get a NASA designed Heavy-Lift for deep space exploration in 8-10 yrs, and start building a true "infrastructure" in space. If this happened...Moon, LeGrange Points, Astroids, and yes Mars would all likey be man-accessable by 2030.

But NASA has been d*cked by both GOP and Dem run Congress' for decades, and there was no way Obama could get that sort of increase. So he picked what he could...which got changed anyways. What we have now isn't the "worst" option, I guess. But when it comes to blame, the thing to remember is: There were no "good" options without massive increases in funding which he was never going to get.

Posted by: TheBBQChickenMadness | August 26, 2010 11:27 AM | Report abuse

Liam-still - LOL! Yeah, you are right. My bad.

Posted by: nisleib | August 26, 2010 11:29 AM | Report abuse

@BBQ

Wow! Thanks for the excellent information about our our space program. It was truly informative. Another day on the PL and another day where I learn something new.
Hurray!!!

Posted by: rukidding7 | August 26, 2010 11:37 AM | Report abuse

You Quisling idiotarians do realize the Muslim NY cabbie was AGAINST the mosque?
http://www.nypost.com/p/news/local/manhattan/bigot_slashes_muslim_cabby_TytIBS5mBIh4PZoC8r4KuK

The pro-Cordoba bigot is all yours. Own him.

*AHEM* When can the Muslim cabbie expect an apology from the Islamo-supremism advocates here for inciting violence?

*crickets chirp*

Posted by: KaddafiDelendaEst | August 26, 2010 11:43 AM | Report abuse

@ruk: "Think about that for a moment and ask yourself...how Reagan who tripled the deficit..."

And started with a lagging economy and ended with a reasonably robust one. Or, at least, with many jobs either created or saved. Reagan's deficit-tripling might be called, in the age of Obama, "economic stimulus". Of course, that works in reverse, too.

"and G.W. Bush who created the largest deficit in our history be called fiscal conservatives"

I don't call Bush a fiscal conservative, at least in terms of spending. George W. Bush was a big spender. I wrote a blog post about that in, like, 2004. As I may have mentioned to those thinking the GOP fetishized small government: show me a time with the government has shrunk under Republicans. Bush's economic conservatism largely began and ended with tax cuts.

"while Clinton who raised taxes..balanced the budget and created a surplus is called a liberal."

He also shrank the government, if only a little. Something Reagan, neither Bush, or Obama has managed to do. I don't think Clinton was a bad president. I think the ClintonCare approach was, like, 100% wrong--and it failed, and thank goodness. Wasn't a big fan of the tax hike. But his administration weren't big spenders. I think he got a raw deal, and while I think W. and Reagan and others were mischaracterized and tarred-and-feathered unfairly on many things, I think the same about Clinton and now Obama, who is, functionally, fairly centrist. Folks may complain that he is too conciliatory and apologetic to conservative and almost-radical Islam, but there his drone-based exploding actions speak more loudly than words. He was willing to compromise on healthcare legislation (and it could have reflected a more conservative agenda, if Republicans hadn't been bent on making it his Waterloo), was, I think, sincere and trying to be productive on FinReg--I actually think Obama is a pretty good president. Of course, most of the things I like about Obama don't sit well with his base, so . . .

Those are indeed the times in which we live. ;)

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | August 26, 2010 11:49 AM | Report abuse

All the Quislings here should apologize to the secular Muslim NY Cabbie and his family for inciting this pro-jihad mosque vigilantee to moby violence.

It's time to take a little ownership for your orchestrated Islamo-supremacist advocacy campaign.

/chickens... roost!

Posted by: KaddafiDelendaEst | August 26, 2010 11:49 AM | Report abuse

@Kevin

"And, in the end, I am going to give Bush credit. He at least said the right things. He may not have done the right things (or his administration might not have) in terms of funding NASA, but he was setting the right sorts of goals (even if underfunding them). In the case of Obama and space exploration, he's not only not doing the right things, he's not saying them, either. Unless there's some secret awesomeness that you know about that I don't."

Bush laid out a grand vision in a photo-op, then actively did things that killed that very vision...but you're going to give him credit for the vision? How does that make sense? Would you also give Bush credit for saying the Iraq war was "mission accomplished" despite it obviously not being true?

Pres. Obama took office on Jan. 20th, 2009. On that day, the US was already already going to have a manned-spaceflight gap from 2010 to 2015 - as a "best case".

He's likely to extend the shuttle program into 2011, and tried to help commerical to get them up and running by 2014 - trying to shorten the gap from 5+ years to 3, with as little increase in funding as possible.

His wasn't the BEST plan, it was riskier than the others, but it was the best plan for the money.

I agree that he hasn't said enough or laid out a great vision for the US Space Program. But let's face facts...Obama would look like an idiot if he gave a grand speech on the future of space exploration with the openning line being "So after the gap of no manned flights for at least 4 years..."

He can't lay out a vision, since 3/4 of his first term were going to be without manned access to space - something that was decided for him before he ever took office. The best he could have done, the BEST, would have been boosting NASA's budget by several more billion dollars to rebuild the shuttle manufacturing facilities. Even in that case, it would have probably taken until the end of his first term before we could get back to flying shuttles.

Posted by: TheBBQChickenMadness | August 26, 2010 11:51 AM | Report abuse

@BBQ: "To say that Obama should take blame for the current state of the space program would be like blaming him for the state of our highway system."

Oh, absolutely! What I blame Obama for is his public pronouncements and his apparent direction and apparent lack of interest in the space program. I haven't read all your post yet, so I'm hoping you're about to take me to school on that.

"It comes down to funding. If NASA could get up to about 0.9% (~$35b) of the federal budget, we could push Commerical to get flying in 3-4 years, get a NASA designed Heavy-Lift for deep space exploration in 8-10 yrs, and start building a true "infrastructure" in space. If this happened...Moon, LeGrange Points, Astroids, and yes Mars would all likey be man-accessable by 2030."

Sigh. As much as I'd like all that, I know better than to think that's going to happen. But . . . I certainly do support it.

That being said, I realize Obama wasn't going to make space exploration the do-or-die of his administration, but still . . . I think a little more explanation of what the problems were, and little more emphasis on the importance and value of space exploration, would have made me a lot happier.

For example, he could have said much of what you just said, BBQ. That would have been a lot better. ;)

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | August 26, 2010 11:57 AM | Report abuse

I take a completely different view than most, on how much should be spend on deep space exploration. I come down on the side of spending almost nothing on it, and instead relying on unmanned craft, and Hubble like devices, for the next thousand years or so.

The reason why I take that approach is because, I see nothing in our own Solar system worth trying to land on and develop. Science facts should never be driven by Science Fiction.

It would be easier, and far less expensive to convert our own desert spaces, and make them habitable, than it would be to make Mars a place where we could accomplish the same thing. For one thing, we do have an atmosphere in our own deserts, and also would have less trouble delivering water, and other supplies to our own deserts, than we would have trying to Terra Form a place like Mars, and then of course, there is always that little nagging thing, about the difference in gravity, compared to what we evolved to exist with.

As for going beyond our own solar system; we do not have any propulsion systems, that could get us to even the nearest planet, outside our own solar system. So, why not keep doing basic research, on such systems, and perhaps, in a thousand years or so, we might start to figure out how to propel ourselves safely across the Milky Way, at close to the speed of light. Of course, the odds are that we will become extinct long before we ever find a way to dash across the universe.

There is no need to piss away money, on a pointless manned mission to Mars. Patience, my little species, patience. We are very new to the technological research and development game.

Posted by: Liam-still | August 26, 2010 12:23 PM | Report abuse

What gets lost in all Greg's demogoguery is that the Muslim cabbie is himself a hateful hater, bigot, inauthentic, xenophobic, neanderthal-- at least, if you go by the criterion set out by Greg and his Quisling toadies here: Opposing the mosque is Islamophobia-- period.

As an anti-jihadist, however, I’m inclined to observe that he’s pretty much consonant in his opinion of the mosque with a super majority (70%) of his fellow Americans.

That Bloomberg's proteges will be disappointed to discover this cabbie apostasy tells you all you need to know about the two "sides" of this debate.

Posted by: KaddafiDelendaEst | August 26, 2010 12:26 PM | Report abuse

@BBQ: "Obama would look like an idiot if he gave a grand speech on the future of space exploration with the openning line being 'So after the gap of no manned flights for at least 4 years...'"

Maybe. I'm not so sure. I would have liked it. But I remain hopeful, so I'm hoping he does have the right vision for the future of space exploration, and it's being advanced.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | August 26, 2010 12:35 PM | Report abuse

@Kevin

"What I blame Obama for is his public pronouncements and his apparent direction and apparent lack of interest in the space program."

His public pronouncements haven't been very grand, I grant you. But again I believe this is more about the fact that the next few years are going to be rough no matter what he does.

As for interest, he actually has shown both interest and knowledge on the subject. He's had several video conferences with astronauts on the space station with school children since taking office, which are really important. Also, he has actually increased funding for NASA, the first time we've see that in years (though, obviously I believe it's not enough of an increase).

His plan was also the "boldest" choice he had. He chose to invest heavily in commerical manned launchers and space-infrastructure research. This had the possible rewards of getting back to space the fastest (by ~2014) while also developing the tech needed for the future - such as fuel depots, new/better propulsion systems, sustainability tech for deep space missions, more robotic missions, and a new Heavy Lift launcher (by 2020-2025). If it worked out, by 2030 we'd be truly "space faring" in that the Moon would routine, Mars would be tough but doable, and we'd have stuff everywhere in between.

This also presented the biggest risks. Purely-commerical produced launchers don't exist yet (though all launchers so far have been made by private companies) - so there was a risk of them not being able to deliver. It wasn't as big a risk as some make it out to be...but it was a risk in which the consequences would be several years of lost time for NASA. Ouch. Also, there are no gaurentees when it comes to research. Maybe in 2 years we find a new amazing propulsion system that makes a moon trip a piece of cake...maybe we spend 5 years working and get no where.

In the end, he took the bold choice - which I admire. High risk, high reward...it's go-big or go-home time, and he stepped up.

Naturally, Congress killed it.

The House passed a bill that leaves it the same as it was - ie: terrible. No NASA launcher at all until 2017+, and that one is a small one that can only take a few people to the space station. The Heavy Lift wouldn't be ready until the late 2020's! I think there is a little money for commerical...but basically they are on their own.

The Senate passed a bill that would scrap the tiny launcher, remove all the extra funding for R&D, and instead of investing in that or commerical at all...it would put everything into a (current-tech) new Heavy Lift. Goal to be ready in 2016...so probably 2017-2018. Same timeline as the House version, but likely a much bigger and better vehicle.

I like the Senate plan more than the House. If they could get an extra $10 billion in there...

It just needs more funding. It's amazing how much NASA does on the scraps it gets...and how people still wrongly think it's SO expensive

Posted by: TheBBQChickenMadness | August 26, 2010 1:26 PM | Report abuse

"Dems admit the House is in peril? Mulitiple anonymous Democratic insiders decide it's a good idea to tell Politico that the midterms are looking much worse than you thought."
--------------------------------------------

I just managed to unearth the Times article that had my favorite David Plouffe quote ever:

"Staff members were encouraged to ignore new Web sites like The Page, written by Time’s Mark Halperin, and Politico, both of which had gained instant cachet among the Washington smarty-pants set. “If Politico and Halperin say we’re winning, we’re losing,” Obama’s campaign manager, David Plouffe, would repeat mantralike around headquarters. He said his least favorite words in the English language were, “I saw someone on cable say this. . . .”

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/21/magazine/21Gibbs-t.html

(My own mantra of course, is that if you're reading the Politico it's no one's fault but your own.)

Posted by: CalD | August 26, 2010 1:44 PM | Report abuse

@BBQ: Good info. Thanks for all the stuff on NASA. Leaves me remaining disappointed, but hopeful. It certainly sounds like Obama put the wrong public foot forward (I still don't agree that was the only possible approach), but it sounds like, behind the things, he's trying to advance the cause of space exploration. Which is a mega-positive thing, in my mind.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | August 26, 2010 1:48 PM | Report abuse

Bernie:

"Shall we proceed from the assumption that those laws and the sentiments that put them in place were really driven by a concern to maintain the definition and dignity of the marriage ceremony/institution? That hatred was not a central feature in this?"

Of course not. However...

It is 2010 and we still have laws on the books prohibiting marriage between brothers and sisters. Should we proceed from the assumption that those laws and the sentiments that put them in place were really driven by bigotry against siblings? That hatred is a central feature in this?

Or is it at all possible that similar laws and/or opposition to them can be driven by different things at different times and places among different people?

"You shy away from the term 'hate'..."

Kevin can speak for himself, but it seems to me that he is shying away from the concept of hate, not the mere word, so instructing him to find another synonym rather misses the point.

"...then we don't have a lot to talk about on these matters."

Ah, the ever open- and fair-minded Bernie. Even with the preternaturally uncombative and accomodating Kevin he can't help himself. "Agree with me or you're not worth my time!"

Posted by: ScottC3 | August 26, 2010 1:58 PM | Report abuse

"Brothers and Sisters marrying"? Really. I had not realized that there was such a big demand for that, so that laws are being vigorously enforced, to prevent it from happening.

It does not appear to have been happing, in even the most primitive of cultures, without any laws having been passed to prohibit it.

Of course there is one famous case, that is to found in the Palin History of The World.

Adam and Eve's sons and daughters must have married each other, and that was all good, according to Bible Thumpers.

Of course Adam and Eve may have also had some Gay Sons, who married each other, and some Lesbian daughters, who married each other.

More research is called for at the Creationist Museum, to see if their archives have recorded some such couplings, on the outskirts of The Garden of Eden.

Posted by: Liam-still | August 26, 2010 2:14 PM | Report abuse

@bernie: "You shy away from the term 'hate' so pick some other synonym if you'd like. But if you are going to argue or pretend that a species of serious and consequential bigotry is not central here (or that this bigotry has not been marshaled for electoral gain by the modern conservative movement strategists) then we don't have a lot to talk about on these matters."

Fair enough, and I'm not saying I 100% disagree, just that I think saying that "anti-gay hatred" (or synonym) is not a core tenet of the modern conservative movement. What certain politicians do to get votes, that is another issue.

I happen to like the Log Cabin Republicans quite a bit. ;)

And I think that Ann Coulter is headlining Homocon is totally awesome. Gay conservatives, as a general rule, rock.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | August 26, 2010 3:44 PM | Report abuse

Re: Alan Simpson

Alan Simpson is without question one of the most honest people to ever serve in Congress.
He has always been straightforward and said what he thought; he does not play games, i.e. politics according to polls, for votes, etc.

In contrast to Max Baccus who admitted he has NOT READ the health care bill -- he hires people to do that -- Simpson would have read it - and been outraged that it was written in a way to hide the numerous mandates and government controlled issues--and would have said, if we haven't read it or can't read it, we won't pass it. That is the kind of legislator he has been in the past.
Because he used "plain language" that is "inappropriate" to our highly sensitive, "politically correct" overboard society, he is being raked over the coals..(that's plain language for treated unfairly to the extreme).
He is not sexist, etc...he simply isn't bowing down to those who want to have "cover" commissions that are for show only.
He wanted to examine every possible avenue, social security, medicare, medicaid, etc. to be sure the "bases were covered" (plain language for the job is being done in a thorough manner).

For being correct in his assessment, but using, oh my goodness, language that communicates and is not double-speak, the people who would cheat us out of our last dimes while taking their perks, yell at the top of their lungs to condemn him.
Pathetic, ludicrous, and a sign of our times.

Simpson's language is colorful without being obscene. The same people yelling are fans of Bill Mahr -- the best friend of Chris Matthews, Larry King, et al......

Posted by: pjcafe | August 27, 2010 5:15 PM | Report abuse

Re: Alan Simpson

Alan Simpson is without question one of the most honest people to ever serve in Congress.
He has always been straightforward and said what he thought; he does not play games, i.e. politics according to polls, for votes, etc.

In contrast to Max Baccus who admitted he has NOT READ the health care bill -- he hires people to do that -- Simpson would have read it - and been outraged that it was written in a way to hide the numerous mandates and government controlled issues--and would have said, if we haven't read it or can't read it, we won't pass it. That is the kind of legislator he has been in the past.
Because he used "plain language" that is "inappropriate" to our highly sensitive, "politically correct" overboard society, he is being raked over the coals..(that's plain language for treated unfairly to the extreme).
He is not sexist, etc...he simply isn't bowing down to those who want to have "cover" commissions that are for show only.
He wanted to examine every possible avenue, social security, medicare, medicaid, etc. to be sure the "bases were covered" (plain language for the job is being done in a thorough manner).

For being correct in his assessment, but using, oh my goodness, language that communicates and is not double-speak, the people who would cheat us out of our last dimes while taking their perks, yell at the top of their lungs to condemn him.
Pathetic, ludicrous, and a sign of our times.

Simpson's language is colorful without being obscene. The same people yelling are fans of Bill Mahr -- the best friend of Chris Matthews, Larry King, et al......

Posted by: pjcafe | August 27, 2010 5:15 PM | Report abuse

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