Fox & Fiends

Generally reviled former Vice-President Dick Cheney hit the “curvy couch” of Fox’s most unctuous right-wing sycophants this morning to promote his new book, In My Imagination

Unsurprisingly, Cheney believes it imperative for the U.S. government to continue wasting a TRILLION dollars per year on the military, preferring instead to tackle the country’s troubling deficit problems by slashing entitlement programs such as Social Security and Medicare. This from a man who when in office, cavalierly told former Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill, that “deficits don’t matter.”

Enough of 9/11 Already!

Arrrrgh. Another maudlin 9/11 commemorative is drawing closer – this time with even more dramatic intensity, being the 10th anniversary of the completely avoidable attacks on the American “homeland” that supposedly “changed everything” (i.e., provided a convenient excuse for the previous U.S. administration to launch two ruinous conflicts on the other side of the world in addition to a ridiculously absurd and heinously expensive “global war on terrorism”).

Surely, I’m not alone in being absolutely fed up with hearing about 9/11… whether it be the endless conspiracy theories concerning the event, the revisionist historical recollections of war criminals like Bush and Cheney, or the fake sentimentality of cynical political hacks like Guiliani (that have profited immensely from the tragedy, btw) trotted out for the occasion, it’s just all become soooo incredibly tiresome.

Update: Speaking of Rudy Guiliani, Lawrence O’Donnell rips “America’s Mayor” a new one in his “Rewrite” segment.

God’s Stimulus?

Contrary to Michele Bachmman’s belief that last week’s “Hurriquake” was a sign from God to curb federal government spending, it would seem that tens of billions of dollars will now be required to fix the widespread damage to infrastructure along the eastern seaboard caused by storm surges and flooding.

Who knows, perhaps this is the Almighty’s way of signalling that a job-creating stimulus program is required, as opposed to counterproductive “austerity” measures…

Liberal AV Club’s Amateur Hour (Part Deux)

Political wonks may recall Stéphane Dion’s cringe-inducing “address to the nation” back in 2008 during the constitutional crisis over a putative coalition government… If not, Adam Radwanski described this way:

At a time when he needed to look reassuring, to look prime ministerial, [Dion] looked exactly the way the Conservatives have been trying to portray him – like the leader of some sort of third-rate coup, being filmed in his hideout with one of his accomplices sticking a cheap video camera in his face.

Fast-forward three years and it seems that the same blundering crew of AV boneheads are resolutely determined as ever to make the Liberals look as cheap and inept as possible…

Patient viewers will note that there’s a seemingly interminable 5 minutes of video consisting of nothing but sound checks preceding the “action” to come. When a speaker does finally appear at the podium after this inexplicable waste of time… Surprise! There’s no audio whatsoever. For an entire minute the speaker is without sound. When the audio does eventually cut in, it’s of the worst possible quality – crackling and breaking on every high note. Subsequently, the AV team seems to get that problem under control, but then the volume is HIGH… then low… then HIGH again… Only in the last 15 minutes or so do they manage to get things right.

Yes, I know… it probably seems like a trivial gripe, and this could just be regarded as “raw video” and therefore held to a lesser standard, but I believe that presentation matters. Good grief, what sane person with better things to do would even bother sitting through that first five minutes of pointless faffing around?

Rachel Maddow on Letterman

Towards the end of the interview, after expressing utter dismay at the relentless barrage of criticism that’s levelled against Barack Obama, Dave asks: “I would like to know, how would we be better off, how would our lives be now if John McCain had won and he was the President? How would it be better?”

Unless you’re a hardened cynic who believes (not altogether unjustifiably, it has to be said) that, for various reasons, the occupant of the White House is largely an irrelevance these days, then Dave’s hypothetical is an interesting one to ponder…

Side Note: I just want to take a moment to thank Youtuber “MiniRtist” who posted this clip and who has been doing just yeoman work in recent months posting full-length excerpts from Keith Olbermann’s new iteration of “Countdown” on Current TV.

God’s a-Comin’!

Just for fun, here’s an absolutely hilarious reaction from a local resident of Washington, D.C. to the modest earthquake that rocked the city and parts of the eastern seaboard this afternoon.

But hey… who knows? This hysterical woman may be onto something. After all, the National Cathedral did suffer quite exceptional damage to its pinnacles (or as witless NBC correspondent Luke Russert ineptly described them, “pentacles”).

Update: More amusement about the earthquake panic courtesy of Countdown…

No chance of Tsunamis!

Rex Murphy on Jack Layton

Rex Murphy shares his reflections about Jack Layton’s exceptional performance in the last election campaign: “He was a cane-wielding, one-man wonder of grace and cheerfulness.”

Such a cruel irony…

Analyzing the Tea Party

A new study by professors David Campbell and Robert Putnam tracking the origins of the so-called Tea Party movement in America made a bit of a splash recently, after highlights of their findings were published in the New York Times.  Yes, imagine our complete and utter shock to discover that, contrary to their disingenuous mythology of being a spontaneous grassroots uprising, it was discovered that most Teabaggers were (and are) in fact predominantly long-time Republican activists and extreme right-wing social conservatives; or, as Jon Stewart neatly put it: “The moral majority in a tri-cornered hat.”

That characterization is perhaps a vast oversimplification of the movement, but one that may not be entirely unjustified according to the research looking into the subject. To more fully understand the dynamic involved, the following panel discussions from UC Berkeley conducted just prior to the 2010 elections cast a more in-depth range of insight concerning the origins and motivations of the Tea Party movement.

Obviously, the Tea Party movement cannot be labelled in a wholly straightforward manner owing to its disparate organizational structure (i.e., many different factions driven by various motivations) and the inchoate nature of its grievances, but what seems clear from these discussions is the recurring notion that whatever vaguely libertarian and fiscally conservative elements (e.g., people legitimately outraged at the bank bailouts and corrupt Wall Street shenanigans) that existed within the movement at its inception and powered much of its furious populist outrage at the outset, have since been overwhelmed by forces of the religious right to the point where the Tea Party has now been transformed into another vehicle for the advancement of a fundamentalist Christian cultural agenda.