The Herd Mentality of “Experts”

All these effing geniuses: Ezra Klein, expert-driven journalism, and the phony Washington consensus via @Salon

A really interesting article that I think has a lot of truth to it. 

David Vitter: The Life of a Douchebag

David Vitter: Cancer prevention, wildlife nonprofits are “bogus propaganda disguised as science” via @Salon

Other than my title what more is there to say?  The above article is about how Vitter is trying to destroy environmental regulations while he has a spot on the Environment and Public Works Committee. 

High Speed-Rail


This is an article about why we have failed to implement more high-speed rail in our country during the Obama years.  There is plenty of blame to go around as the administration, Republicans, and local governments have either made mistakes or directly opposed progress on this issue.

When I was in Japan last year I was blown away by how great the public transportation was.  In seeing the traffic around most U.S. cities, I will never understand why there isn’t a greater public push for more public transportation.

Sullivan on Torture



A pretty powerful post by Andrew Sullivan about the torture.  Although he views Bush and his gang as war criminals, he also finds Obama’s unwillingness to address the issue in any kind of meaningful way deeply unsettling.  

F@$% Fairness

How come rich Republicans are all about people pulling themselves up by their own bootstraps unless it is their own kids?  I was thinking more about the estate or “death” tax today after watching the John Oliver piece that I posted earlier.  If they think that people should be largely responsible for their own lot in life wouldn’t it make sense that their kids should start out at ground zero as well to see what they are made out of?

They seem to think that it is ok for a poor person to succeed or fail based on their work ethic, but that their kids should be able to start out on third base.  That is an inconsistency in reasoning.  If we are going to talk about fairness then we should say that everyone starts out with nothing and has to work their way up, or everyone should start out with something.  The whole pull yourself up by the bootstraps only seems logical to me if it is consistent across the board, and even then personally, I find it extremely absurd, because people are born under different circumstances regardless.

It would seem much better to me that everybody start out with a little something to give them the best chance of having a life worth living.  By a little something I just mean a roof over their head, food, and a good education.  See conservatives will twist and turn talking about how unfair wealth redistribution is, but isn’t it unfair that some kid starts with nothing while another one starts with everything?

Lets use sporting analogy.  The way conservatives would have it some kids would start on third base  while some would start out batting at home plate with a broken bat.  All we liberals really want is that the kids who aren’t on third base at least be given a t-ball tee so that they have a good chance of getting on base.  If the rich kid has to start on second bases a result, then so be it, they still have a much better chance of scoring than most.

But the thing is, rich Republicans don’t want to even out the odds even a little bit.  They want the game stacked in their favor as much as possible, indefinitely, with a blind ref.  When they tell a poor person to pull themselves up by their own bootstraps, while their trust fund kid goes to an ivy league school as a legacy, they are basically saying, “fuck fairness.”

Goodbye is Too Good a Word: Eric Cantor Loses

The above link is to Andrew Sullivan’s blog The Dish.  It is in itself a summary of different reactions by bloggers to Eric Cantor’s loss in the republican primary and what this may mean for our political future.  He lost to Tea Party candidate Dave Brat.  Eric Cantor was a total douche bag, but the fact that he was beat by even someone more insanely right wing is disconcerting, especially because Cantor already was already a puppet for far right interests.   However, that is something we can worry about in the future.  For now it is time to laugh at his fall.  Goodbye to the nothing man.  The following link is to an article at Vice that gives reasons why we should all be glad that Eric Cantor lost:

As the article begins:

For those of you who don’t know, Representative Eric Cantor, majority leader and second-most powerful Republican in the House, has just fucked off into that good night at the behest of Virginia voters. If you feel like you hardly got a chance to know Cantor in the first place, that’s because there’s really nothing to know about him as a person. He’s a politician who “reportedly has no hobbies, but enjoys James Bond movies.” 

Bergdahl: The End

This is my last post about the Bergdahl scandal, unless something crazy comes out, because I believe that this scandal is merely a ridiculous distraction.  In reading some internet comments, good lord I am stupid for doing so, I read somebody say that if President Bush did this we on the left would have wanted him impeached.  That is completely idiotic.  Why am I taking the time to respond to one random idiotic internet comment?  It’s because I believe that is what some of the hoopleheads on the right actually believe in theory.  That we simply hated Bush, and everything he did, because he was President Bush. 

When Bush came to power I was hoping for the best.  I remember thinking he had a reputation as a moderate.  It wasn’t until he sent thousands unnecessarily to their deaths in Iraq that I hated him.  He took a country that had the entire world’s sympathy after 911 and threw that all away.  I traveled a great deal during his presidency and even in allied countries like Britain they were appalled by U.S. actions.  Then came even further deregulations which eventually led up to our financial crisis.  (And yes I am well aware that President Clinton played a large part in setting the stage for them as well.)  Then there was his disgraceful handling of Hurricane Katrina.  And all of these things went down while there was sort of a shallow patriotism being thrown around where the only thing you had to do to be a patriot was to keep shopping.  Those were just some of the many things that Bush did that I didn’t like.  But that is my point; that Bush did actual things that I didn’t like and that I didn’t just dislike him because he had an R in front of his name. 

But when Bush did something good, and honestly I can’t remember much that he did that was good other than giving aid to Africa, I was honest enough with myself to admit that it was good.  It’s kind of like the pope.  I am not a religious person and most of my life I felt The Pope to have been a hindrance to progress around the world.  Pope Ratzinger was never well liked in these parts.  However, and I admit to not knowing enough to make a final decision, Pope Francis has said a lot of things that I believe might lead the world to possibly being a better more progressive place.  I understand the traditionally conservative nature of his position and that he can’t do everything at once, and that he may even be more conservative than I realize.  However, I don’t like or dislike a pope because they are the pope, but because of what they do.  I don’t like or dislike someone because they are a Republican politician, but because of what they are actually doing or not doing. 

Also The President, any President, makes decisions that can affect millions of lives.  No one in that position can do a perfect job.  This decision is not one of the bigger ones he has made.  If you want to get angry with Obama, as I said last night, get angry at him for our drone policy or the fact that his Justice Department has not done a good job of policing our markets.  But in this case one human is alive that may not have been if he hadn’t made the decision that he did, and that is a good thing, no matter who that human is.