September 12, 2011 archive

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Toomey’s Supply-Side Extravaganza

When the Senate notoriously voted down both the President’s budget (unanimously) and the House-passed Ryan plan in May, it also rejected a proposal by freshman Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA) by a tally of 42-55. With Toomey recently named to the so-called “Super Congress”, we chose to examine his proposal in this week’s episode.

This proposal represented the Tea Party-aligned right flank of the Senate Republican Conference, a group ostensibly led by Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC), and it aimed to improve upon perceived structural flaws in the plan of ideological ally Paul Ryan. As a result, while this budget leaves Medicare and Social Security largely intact, it contains many close similarities to the Ryan budget. Most notably, its claims of debt reduction rely heavily on draconian budget cuts (without accounting for economic fallout) and tax cuts that spur very optimistic economic growth projections over the next decade. In other words, this budget reflects the supply-side fundamentalism of Toomey and his brethren. It will be interesting to see whether Toomey will push for tax cuts on the Super Committee in order to actually raise revenue.

Also notable in the Toomey budget is its repeal of the coverage increases in the Affordable Care Act while leaving the Medicare cuts, cuts candidate Toomey actively campaigned against, in place.

Without further ado, here’s episode 20: the Toomey Budget.


8 Ball Bunny

On This Day In History September 12

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

Find the past “On This Day in History” here.

September 12 is the 255th day of the year (256th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 110 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1940, Lascaux cave paintings discovered

Lascaux is the setting of a complex of caves in southwestern France famous for its Paleolithic cave paintings. The original caves are located near the village of Montignac, in the Dordogne département. They contain some of the best-known Upper Paleolithic  art. These paintings are estimated to be 17,000 years old. They primarily consist of primitive images of large animals, most of which are known from fossil evidence to have lived in the area at the time. In 1979, Lascaux was added to the UNESCO World Heritage Sites list along with other prehistoric sites in the Vezere valley.

The cave was discovered on September 12, 1940 by four teenagers, Marcel Ravidat, Jacques Marsal, Georges Agnel, and Simon Coencas, as well as Marcel’s dog, Robot. The cave complex was opened to the public in 1948. By 1955, the carbon dioxide  produced by 1,200 visitors per day had visibly damaged the paintings. The cave was closed to the public in 1963 in order to preserve the art. After the cave was closed, the paintings were restored to their original state, and were monitored on a daily basis. Rooms in the cave include The Great Hall of the Bulls, the Lateral Passage, the Shaft of the Dead Man, the Chamber of Engravings, the Painted Gallery, and the Chamber of Felines.

Lascaux II, a replica of two of the cave halls – the Great Hall of the Bulls and the Painted Gallery – was opened in 1983, 200 meters from the original. Reproductions of other Lascaux artwork can be seen at the Centre of Prehistoric Art at Le Thot, France.

Muse in the Morning

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Muse in the Morning

Time for a break from poetry…in order to create some art.

One’s real life is often the life that one does not lead. 

–Oscar Wilde

Art Glass 54

Late Night Karaoke

Late Night Karaoke

Thank God 911 is Over

It is much like the last rock concert I attended but did not enjoy.  I did abandon the loud music of my misspent youth.  I was too young for Woodstock but old enough to avoid the draft of Vietnam.   My rejection of the bullshit, the lies, the people and personalities I once thought as great is also complete.  Now they are empty spirtless vessels, pod people perhaps immersed to varied degrees in the lies they have accepted as truth.  It is a mixed bag ranging from genuine good people to people who think they have good intentions all the way down to that 5% of the human population who are genuine sociopathic douchebags.  Of this I speak from personal and up close experience.

Pique the Geek 20110911: Cyclones, Typhoons, and Hurricanes: Oh, My!

Lots of pieces have been written about why Hurricane Irene did so much damage as a Category 1 storm as it skirted the Eastern seaboard.  The answer is deceptively simple, but does not fit in with what we have been taught about hurricanes.

Before we examine Irene specifically, let us look at what a hurricane really is.  A hurricane is a rather intense form of a tropical cyclone, and we shall use just the term cyclone in general for all of these kinds of storms.  There are other kinds of cyclones, but for this piece the unqualified term shall mean tropical cyclones, except at the beginning of the main text where the term cyclone itself is defined.

Before we get started, the only reference that I am going to make to the story of the day is the date in the title.  This has been covered ad naseum elsewhere, often with distortions to fit a particular political perspective.

What Comes After Obama

Crossposted from Stars Hollow Gazette

As one of my favorite (and long absent) Daily Kos commenters said recently:


can't even get people who agree with my points to focus on the long term big picture. None of this short term stuff matters. Its just infortainment. The real big picture is what comes after Obama? 

And, as usual, bruh1 is dead on. That's really the question, isn't it? WTF do we do after this guy gets done splintering the Democratic Party, destroying the middle class, and sending the poor even deeper into poverty?

It's a cinch that time spent figuring out “What's Wrong with Obama” will be time wasted. He's not going to change. Is he truly an elite corporatist neoliberal, a misguided centrist liberal, an actual weakling or fool? Who cares? It's People magazine profiles masquerading as political analysis. His deeds tell me everything I need to know. He spent close to a year carefully constructing a minimally progressive front and allowing desperate progressives to see him as their Savior (from Bush and the Republicans). He then promptly, even before the vote, sold us out on the FISA amendments he promised to filibuster. He then continued selling us out on everything, starting with the Public Option, accomplishing almost nothing actually progressive for two years, while doing his level best to undercut, repudiate or just plain anger every single Democratic core constituency, from unions to trial lawyers to GLBTs to civil libertarians to latinos. The only folks who've gotten something substantive out of their vote for Obama are gay soldiers, and then only because gays en masse threatened to turn off the GayTM. How African Americans can still support this guy out of anything but symbolism is beyond me; he's been the worst president for black people since Reagan.

Now that the 2012 campaign is in full swing, we can dismiss any new talk from him about supporting any of these core constituencies. Anything on that subject will just be the same “elect me, what other choice do you have?” stump bullshit we heard last time — you know, all that blather about ending the wars, closing Quantanamo, restoring the rule of law, and rescuing the society from the criminals currently extracting its wealth and exporting its jobs.

So what's the answer to bruh1's question, about “what comes after”? The first answer, clearly, is “More of the same, for quite some time.”  Even if he manages to fumble the re-election (which I doubt, although there are signs he could), Obama and the DLC power structure he represents will continue to be all-powerful within the national Democratic Party. They will be the strongest force opposing progressive change in this country, outside the Tea Party.

A Tea Party insurgency inside the Democratic Party could make the answer very different. But the Tea Party has millions in support from corporate donors, a weapons-grade PR machine and media echo chamber that funnel supporters to them, and a legion of lawyers and experts who fashion and coordinate legislation at the state and local level. That makes it seem pretty hopeless.

I don't think it is. I was around in 1964, when Barry Goldwater led the Republican Party to a withering defeat that might have crushed that party for all time. I had a right-wing acquaintance, Bob Consoli, who had been an active supporter of the Goldwater campaign. I made fun of the campaign's ineptness and extremism, and of Bob's faith in such a man. All Bob had to say was: “Laugh all you want. This isn't the end.” And it wasn't. In the intervening years, right wing elements within and outside the Republican Party came back from electoral defeat, organizing huge grassroots movements in support of their core issues. In less than a generation, they had us living in Ronny Raygun's Amerika. And we haven't managed to get out of it since.

I don't know what Obama's fortunes will be next year, and I mostly don't care. He has already demonstrated convincingly that his interests and mine are not connected. All I care about, and am hoping for, and will work for, is the same kind of resurgence on the left that we have seen from the right.

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