Wednesday, August 11, 2010

On The Internets 08.11.2010

  • I never really knew exactly how much of a depraved scumbag Newt Gingrich actually is. But I do now. In a new profile in Esquire, Newt's second wife (also the second wife to whom he delivered divorce papers after being diagnosed with a serious illness) dishes on Newt's extreme hypocrisy, serial philandering, ethical shortcomings, explosive temper, and his messianic belief in himself as the only one who can save the country (sorry I just puked a little bit). Among the most shocking revelations was the fact that the Newtster met his first wife when he was 16 and she was his high school teacher. "At first, she had no idea that the wife he was divorcing was actually his high school geometry teacher, or that he went to the hospital to present her with divorce terms while she was recovering from uterine cancer and then fought the case so hard, Jackie had to get a court order just to pay her utility bills. Gingrich told her the story a little at a time, trusting her with things that nobody else knew -- to this day, for example, the official story is that he started dating Jackie when he was eighteen and she was twenty-five. But he was really just sixteen, she says." After a while, Newt began engaging in numerous affairs, breaking his marriage vows once again. During the Clinton impeachment saga, Newt arrogantly attacked the president for infidelity at the same time he was cheating on his own wife. When confronted on his blatant hypocrisy on the issue, Newt responded, "It doesn't matter what I do," he answered. "People need to hear what I have to say. There's no one else who can say what I can say. It doesn't matter what I live." He truly is the ultimate Republican: do as I say, not as I do. Read the entire profile. It is shocking. If this doesn't derail his presidential ambitions, I'm not sure what would. Good luck with that one, GOP.
  • Wall Street just loves the Republican Party! The same folks who ushered in the greatest economic downturn in 70 years are backing the party that looked the other way while they did it. A new analysis done by the Center for Responsive Politics shows that ahead of the midterm elections, Wall Street bankers are going Republican...big time. "Wall Street executives are donating nearly 70 per cent of their political contributions to Republican candidates ahead of November’s mid-term elections...The shift coincided with the intense debate on Capitol Hill over financial services reform, legislation that was passed in July." See, banks don't like being held to any standards and being prevented from future government bailouts, so they are backing the party committed to the way things used to be, the GOP.
  • According to a new article in Newsweek, Europeans don't hate America anymore. They pity us instead. "And when you read about America in European newspapers, what you are likely to find is a tone bordering on pity. The U.S. is depicted as a fraying empire of obesity, ignorance, debt, gridlock, stagnation, and mindless war. Sure, the iPad is cool, but it is evidence of what America was, not what it will be again. The stories are not angry, accusatory, or even ideological. It’s worse: they are condescendingly elegiac."
  • There is almost no doubt among economists that the Bush tax cuts of 2001 for the wealthiest of Americans must be allowed to expire. They are the single greatest contributor to the deficit, and did not deliver even a fraction of the jobs and/or economic growth the proponents promised. Plus, in order to sneak the tax cuts past a normal Senate vote, the Republicans used reconciliation to pass them (remember the evil reconciliation?). The 10 year expiration date is a reconciliation rule, and the GOP knowingly created the law that way. So, when they expire, the wealthy will get a tax increase courtesy of the Republican Party. I'm okay with that - the rate will go from 35 to 39.6%, which is hardly an issue for billionaires. According to a new Congressional analysis, even if the cuts are not renewed, the wealthy will still be paying less in taxes than they did in 2001. "Taxpayers with income of more than $1 million for 2011 would still receive on average a tax cut of about $6,300 compared with what they would have paid under rates in effect until 2001, according to the analysis, which was prepared by the Joint Committee on Taxation at the request of the Democratic majority on the House Ways and Means Committee." So, the rich can officially stop whining.
  • How about this for a new campaign slogan for Kentucky Senate candidate Rand Paul, "I never was involved in kidnapping. I was never involved with forcibly drugging people." Sounds like a winner.
  • It is so rare that a band I like "makes it big." I accept the fact (and have for some 20 years) that most of the music I like has limited mainstream, commercial appeal. On the rare occasion that something does cross over, I think the artist should be celebrated rather than put down. So, kudos to Arcade Fire, whose new album, The Suburbs, debuts this week at #1 on the Billboard Album Chart. The album sold over 156K copies in the first week, and Arcade Fire just headlined two sold out shows at NYC's Madison Square Garden.
  • Entertainment Weekly is reporting on a rumor that NBC is narrowing down its list of people to replace Steve Carell on The Office. According to the article, the show has already "reached out" to both Danny McBride (currently the star of HBO's Eastbound & Down) and Rhys Darby (HBO's Flight of the Conchords) to gauge their interest. Both are odd choices for the show, but The Office has sucked for the last two or three seasons, so maybe odd is what is needed.
  • I am still amazed at the overwhelming attractiveness of pop singer Rihanna. She is truly one of the most beautiful people on the planet. Occasionally, however, her choice in clothes and hair style does throw me for a loop. Case in point, her new bright red 'do. I'm confused.


Snave said...

I will have to check out the Gingrich profile in Esquire. Salon elaborates on it a bit in this piece, in which it is revealed a bit as to who is behind Gingrich and funding him. When I saw a blurb a while back that said "Gingrich would like to run for president" my thought was "Of COURSE he does. He is about the most power-hungry, egomaniacal person on the planet."

And of course Wall Street will back the Republicans... the GOP has helped those who make their livings there preserve their way of life and of doing business. The heck with the rest of the country! LOL

That leads nicely into the section about the rich and about taxes. Newsweek has a good little item about the intellectual dishonesty of the GOP argument for preserving the "tax cuts":

Don't you just love it when kooky "tea party" candidates like Ron Paul and Sharron Angle just get kookier and kookier and kookier? Here is another fun one to check out... I love this one:

I am not ashamed to be an American, but it hurts to read that other nations (the rest of the world) has the perception of us that they do. I think their perceptions are pretty correct in a number of ways, though. Sigh...

Agreed re. Arcade Fire... To those who have been in on them from the get-go and consider themselves members of some kind of secret fan club, it has to be devastating to believe their heroes are going "mainstream". I got in on them with "Funeral", I liked "Neon Bible" better, and I like "The Suburbs" the best. If they are now so more accessible to more people, then more people will hear this band... and I believe they need to be heard! Expand that audience! People who like the new one but haven't heard the band's other releases can now go back and check those out, and all that great stuff reaches a wider audience too!

LOVE "The Suburbs"... "City With No Children" and "Sprawl 2" have been playing inside my head now for days! My musical tastes also tend to range outside the mainstream, and when something like this happens ("The Suburbs" is #1!), in a sense I feel vindicated. I harbor no illusions that Guided By Voices/Robert Pollard/Boston Spaceships (one of my personal favorites) would ever become mainstream, but I think Arcade Fire is like the next U2.

T. Paine said...

Frankly, I think it is too bad that Newt has so much personal baggage, although if he were a Democrat that would probably be a resume' enhancer for him.

He has some great ideas on how to fix the nation and is truly brilliant but he is also unelectable.

As for Wall Street, until Obama and the Democrats decided to destroy capitalism and job creation, they were huge contributors in the last election cyle to the Dems; far more so than they gave to the GOP.

It is the socialist policies of the Democrats that have made Wall Street turn back to supporting the Republicans. They can see the writing on the wall too and know that the Dems will not be remaining in power much longer. Far better to make nice with the team that will be in power.

I am always amused how much the left puts stock in what Europe thinks about America. They are so enlightened! And yet on the whole the continent has contributed a small fraction to the world GDP and fighting for human rights and against despotic tyrants over the last two hundred years as compared to our "pitiful" nation.

Who care what a bunch of cheese-eating surrender monkeys think?

Dave Splash said...

Considering there is more to a nation that its GDP, I am confused why the right is so happy to attack and belittle our European allies.

Now it seems the right wants the US to be more like Saudi Arabia. Or at least Newt Gingrich does. When he attacks Muslims and says that we can build a mosque two blocks from ground zero when there are churches in Mecca, he appears to be implying that we should follow our laws and tradition of tolerance only if others do (I didn't catch that part of the constitution - citation please!). Is that not saying we should do as the Saudis do?

Wall Street is backing the GOP because it is promising to go back to the policies that created the economic collapse in the first place.

As you say often, facts are stubborn things. It was Republican policies that caused the collapse, it was a Republican administration that enacted the bailouts, and it is the Republican Party that opposed Wall St reform. That is, obviously, why the GOP gets the support of the bankers they refused to discipline before. It's called looking out for their interests, which does not coincide with the American people's interests.

Dave Splash said...

RE Gingrich's personal problems: Democrats will tolerate people who make mistakes as long as they apologize and it does not affect the job performance of the position they were elected to do. What we don't like is hypocrisy. Gingrich is a hypocrite, and to me, that says much more about him than the fact that he cheated on two different wives.

T. Paine said...

Dave, you are right that Gingrich is a hypocrite with his personal life. No argument there, sir.

Further, the GOP has TONS of areas where it can be faulted but the economic collapse we are currently in was primarily due to the reckless administration and lack of oversight of 90% of the housing loans in America via Fannie and Freddie and under the un-watchful stewardship of the corrupt Barney Frank and Chris Dodd.

You are correct that is was a Republican that signed TARP, which a Democratic congress presented him. That doesn't excuse that same Democratic congress and Obama for doubling down with the stimulus package and hundreds of billions in other give-aways in spending that has not only NOT solved our economic problems but has actually made them worse... particularly in the long run!

As for Wall Street Reform, such was greatly needed to stem corrupution and provide real oversight. What we got instead was enormous expansion of executive power in the presidency.

Just like Obamacare exacerbates our health care problems instead of fixing them, so too does this financial reform act.

Dave Splash said...

First of all, explain to me why Barney Frank and Chris Dodd are so responsible, and the chairmen of the committees (the Republicans since they had the majority) are not. Seems to be a flaw in logic to blame those who were not the chairmen, only the ranking members.

The housing issue is not solely the fault of Fannie and Freddie. Maybe you've heard of derivatives trading and the trillions lost by Wall St gambling with other's money?

The TARP program was passed by a Democratic congress, but it was drafted by a Republican Treasury Secretary. Remember his infamous 3 page outline?

The stimulus has definitely helped the economy. We are no longer losing 750,000 jobs a month as we were under Bush, and millions of layoffs were averted. Frankly, it should have been twice as large, but as usual, the president compromised in order to get Republican votes (a disturbing trait that I pray he stops doing).

Government spending to stimulate the economy has a proven track record of success. Look at FDR after the Hoover depression. The recovery was going along great until the midterm elections in 1936 gave the GOP more seats. They cut spending during the recovery, and we had a second dip. The parallels are obvious. To slash spending and cut taxes at the same time (during either a recession or the beginnings of a recovery) is a recipe for disaster. But the Republicans don't care, they will do anything (even damage the economy) to hurt President Obama and gain power for themselves.