Thursday, March 31, 2011

Dispatch from Crazytown: Texas GOPer Goes over the Edge on Libya, Healthcare

Ah Texas Republicans! Home of zanies and nutcases of all stripes.

But then there's Rep. Louis Gohmert, a Texas congressman in a league of his own. Unfortunately, this is not a league you want to be in.

As evidence of Rep. Gohmert's paranoia and general baloney, we present his latest goof: that the Libya campaign is a sneaky way for Obama to institute his secret healthcare militia.

Sure. Absolutely. It makes perfect sense. Well, only if you live in Crazytown.

The link—with all of Gohmert's paranoia is here.

Tea Party Position Wrong Again; Federal Bank Bailout Actually Turns a Profit

The knee-jerk reactionaries of the Tea Party persuasion didn't predict it, but it's nonetheless true: The federal bailout of the banking system actually worked—and it has turned a profit.

The right-wing crystal ball seems to be on the fritz. 

Here's a summary of what actually happened, courtesy of our friends at Think Progress:
The portion of TARP funds “that went to banks has now turned a profit for the federal government,” the Treasury Department said yesterday. The department said “the only lost money from TARP will stem from its foreclosure prevention programs.”
Lest their be any mistake, we also think the banks were greedy and made a lot of poor lending decisions in pursuit of the Almighty Dollar. So we don't have much sympathy for their actions and the financial mess they created.

Yet because these bank failures could have swamped the entire U.S. economy, the feds were right to step in and do what had to be done.

Now we'd like to see some of those bankers held accountable.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Republicans vs. the Tea Party: It's Not Working Out

The anti-everything Tea Party gang is too extreme even for their conservative friends.

Here, for example, is how the Washington Post summed up the GOP House leadership's response to the Tea Party's slash-spending-no-matter-the-consequences position:
Having difficulty finding consensus within their own ranks, House Republican leaders have begun courting moderate Democrats on several key fiscal issues, including a deal to avoid a government shutdown at the end of next week.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Rush and the Silliness of the Right

Our fearless radio wingbag, Rush Limbaugh, aka El Rushbo, is blowing more smoke than ever these days, his panties in a twist over, well, pretty much everything of significance.

In response to the president's decision to attack Libya last week, the Great One squawked that Obama was a "man-child" with "no qualifications" for high public office.

This is a curious criticism coming from Rush, since his own record is a mirror image of the president's. Obama has been married to one woman for some number of years, has two children and appears to be a good family man. 

Is Rush a good family man? Not so much. If memory serves, there are three divorces on record for Limbaugh, hardly the makings of a traditional, family-values guy.

Then there's the "no qualifications" assertion, one undermined by Obama's college degrees, one of which is a law degree from Harvard. (Maybe you've heard of it.) Later, Obama was elected to the Illinois state legislature and the U.S. Senate. Not too shabby for a guy with "no qualifications."

Rush, by contrast, dropped out of a college in Missouri, got fired a number of radio stations, and wound up as a self-absorbed radio blowhard, laughing all the way to the bank (of course).

True, Rush isn't president, so can be a silly as he wants to be. Besides, performing as a serial exaggerator on the radio doesn't take a college degree. Hell, it doesn't even take common sense.

Friday, March 25, 2011

GOP Split: Gov. Fallin Blasts Far-right Critics as 'Uninformed'

You can't be too conservative in Oklahoma—there's always some far-right fringe types out there pushing Sooner pols further right.

That was the case yesterday in Tulsa when a handful of wingnuts turned out to protest the conservative leadership of Gov. Mary Fallin. But Fallin was having none of it, criticizing her critics as "uninformed" on health care. 

We rarely agree with the governor, but she sounds positively reasonable compared to the far-right know-nothings who protested Fallin's visit.

The Tulsa World story is on the GOP fuss is here.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Newt's Amazing Libya Flip-flop: Georgia Republican Takes Both Sides in Debate

One Year Later: Recalling the GOP Freak-Out Over Health Care Reform

On the one-year anniversary of the passage of historic health care legislation, it is notable that the sky hasn't fallen. 

That overstatement was typical of the hysteria and pure baloney put forth by Republicans and conservatives, who imagined (and predicted) every sort of horrible catastrophe that would occur as a result of the new law.

Oklahoma's own political doctor, Sen. Tom Coburn, was one of the critics. Criticism is fine, of course, but over-the-top hysteria and paranoia is not helpful, even when it comes from a physician.

Check out the full list of blowhards and wingbags here.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Would-be Candidate Tim Pawlenty's Record Reveals Major Flip-flops

He may be running for president, but his record is anything but consistent. 

We're talking about former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, who is considering a bid for the Republican nomination for president.

Before he gets to the White House, Pawlenty will have some explaining to do. As it happens, Pawlenty's record is hardly as consistent as he and his handlers would have the voters believe. In fact, it's a record of flip-flops, ones that may drive off some potential voters.

Our friends at Think Progress have the Pawlenty story. Read about it here.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Tulsa Bickering Prompts Citizen Backlash

The long-running battle between Mayor Dewey Bartlett and the Tulsa City Council continues unabated amid increasing signs that Tulsans are fed up.

Today's Tulsa World, for instance, includes two letters to the editor that slam the political hijinks being played out at City Hall.

Tulsa Lenice Stanford says it plainly: "I am tired of the bickering and wasting taxpayers' money for a 'fault-finding' venture that is sheer pettiness on steroids."

Another writer, L. D. Coats, names names: Councilors Jack Henderson, Roscoe Turner, Rick Westcott and John Eagleton. "Let's face it," Coats continues, "after 20 years the council has become addicted to its own power and wants more."

Coats also delivers a warning: "We can vote these pompous publicity hounds and political wannabes out of office this November."

We have no idea what Tulsa voters are likely to do in November, but we're quite sure we wouldn't want to face the voters with such a decidedly checkered record. 

There's plenty of blame to go around, of course, and this includes Mayor Bartlett and his staff. Meanwhile, Tulsa voters face the prospect of more bickering, none of it good for the city.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

See It Here: Donald Trump Reveals He's a Birther

March Madness is breaking out everywhere.

No, not NCAA basketball. We're talking about a more enduring bit of political nonsense—the myth of President Obama's birth.

Republicans love this idea, since it is a way to explain the president's supposed anti-American ideas. Since he was born in Kenya and schooled in all manner of radical foreign ideas, that explains why he's so, well, so anti-American. Why Obama's been fervently anti-colonialist and that's just horrible. (Oh wait, anti-colonialism is good.)

Now the irrepressible Donald ("The Hair") Trump has joined the birther club, showing that even he doesn't mind pandering to the wingnuts and conspiracy theorists.

The would-be presidential candidate is unlikely to make it through the GOP nomination process, but he has high name recognition and deep pockets—maybe. But Trump should know better than to play the birther card, which lowers his standing among actual thinking citizens in both parties.

Check the Trump video here.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Department of Good Timing: New University Press Book Called 'Catastrophes!'

University Press books are notoriously obscure, at least for the general reader. These presses, which specialize in academic research on specialized topics, are not what you'd call timely.

But The John Hopkins University Press has hit the jackpot, at least when it comes to good timing. We spotted a recent ad (in the NY Review of Books) for this title, Donald R. Prothero's new book Catastrophes! Prothero's subtitle is even more on target: Earthquakes, Tsunamis, Tornadoes, and Other Earth-Shaking Disasters.

We don't know Prothero or his work, but we suspect that he has some important things to say on this topic. He is described in the ad as a paleontologist and geologist who "tells the harrowing stories behind these catastrophic events."

After recent events in Japan, we think Prothero may also be have a pretty good crystal ball.

Monday, March 14, 2011

New Hampshire GOP House Member Resigns after Mental Illness Remarks

Those ever-so-enlightened members of the Republican Party have done it again.

This time it's a Republican member of the New Hampshire legislature, who—believe it or not—praised Hitler's wonderfully sympathetic (Ha!) ideas about the mentally ill. The legislator has resigned.

Oops! Call it Foot-in-Mouth Disease. The link is here: GOP House member resigns.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Fact-checking Rep. Peter King: Misremembering His Own Words

The GOP alarmists and witch hunters are out there—looking for terrorists or, more correctly, anyone who they think looks like one.

We have no beef with finding actual terrorists, of course, since terrorists are, by definition, our enemies. They wish to do us harm and we should stop them before they do.

But we shouldn't conduct a witch hunt, nor should we demonize everyone who looks somehow suspicious. Rep. Peter King, a New York congressman, is holding hearings this week that, if not well handled, could turn into a search for scapegoats, implicating the innocent, not just the guilty.

We hope that doesn't happen. So far, from what we have read, the hearings have been civil and responsible.

Meanwhile, Rep. King is revising his previous statements, including one that attacked (surprise!) our Islamic friends and neighbors, claiming that there are too many mosques in the U.S.

Now King says he never said that. But he did. The full story is here.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

The 'Real' Democrats: Car-Marrying Perverts and Devil Worshippers

Americans today expect a certain amount of nonsense in political discourse. Yet there's a difference between political hyperbole and old-fashioned craziness.

So it is with some trepidation that we republish some hate mail sent to the Daily Kos, a well-known liberal website. Not everyone agrees with the views expressed at Kos, of course, which is fine. In an open society, we are supposed to disagree, to argue, to freely express our differences of opinion.

Then there's this sort of unglued hysteria, political babbling that appears to warrant a visit to the mental ward. Here, with typos and misspellings included, is some classic whacked-out hate mail:
Please tell me why your "president"  is refusing to defend traditional marrage and the laws that protect it? no need to anwser. We alredy know that you CRIMINAL obamarxists take your marching orders from the faggot/pedofile lobby! The democrat goal is always more PERVERTS PERVERTS PERVERTS!! First homo marriage then animal marrriage and finally you can marry your car! The democrat fantasy! This is easy because there are no chiristian democrats, half of them are devil worshipers and half are atheists/insane! I think its time to declare liberalism as a mental illness! Sick liberal perverts want to ignore AMERICAN LAWS and the BIBLE! After the nex election the obama "presidency" will be called EXIBIT A! Out of the White house and into prison!

The Right's Fiscal Flip-Flop: Jon Stewart Highlights the Hypocrisy (Clue: Fox News)

Friday, March 4, 2011

History Is Hard: Mike Huckabee's Very, Very Bad Week

Don't go on the radio and spout off when you don't know what you are talking about. 

That's AltTulsa's helpful advice for former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who embarrassed himself this week making up "facts" about President Obama.

Did you know that Obama grew up in Kenya? It's not true, but that didn't deter Huckabee, who made that claim the other day in support of his "theory" that the president is a secret anti-colonialist who really hates America (and those evil British colonialists).

That also explains why Obama had a bust of Winston Churchill removed from the White House and sent back to Britain (or somewhere). Except, of course, this story is wrong too.

Huckabee would love to be president. But if his command of history and current events is as faulty as it appears to be, the man is not ready for prime time. Read all about Huckabee's very bad week here.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Another Barbour Fail: Mississippi Republican Remembers Events that Didn't Happen

Good ole boy Haley Barbour of Mississippi—once the head of the Republican National Committee—has once again misremembered the civil rights era in his home state.

Barbour, who would love to be president and who campaigned in Oklahoma last year for Gov. Mary Fallin, claims to have attended a speech by Martin Luther King Jr., but it's a mystery speech.

Civil Rights historians who keep up with such things have cast doubt on Barbour's memory, pointing out that King did not give a speech at the time and place that Barbour (mis)remembers.

The mystery speech is one more revisionist detail in Barbour's personal history, a history that looks a lot better in his memory than in actual fact. The damning details are here.

Busted: Colbert Chides Fox for Fake Wisconsin Footage

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Guns on Campus: More Bad Ideas from Oklahoma's Republican Legislators

The GOP is sitting in the catbird seat in Oklahoma politics. The Republicans control the executive branch (our very own Gov. Mary Fallin) as well as both houses of the state legislature.

Too bad the Republicans are prisoners of bad ideas—a whole passel of really, really bonehead notions.

For example, there's the wacky guns on campus idea, an idea vigorously opposed by OU and OSU officials, as well as the student governments at both of those schools. It has occurred to those people that drunk frat boys with guns is a really, really bad idea. 

Sadly, facts and common sense are not part of the GOP thought process. Rep. Randy Terrill (of course) is one of the gun pushers, along with Sens. Steve Russell and Ralph Shortey.

Nice work, guys. After all, youth, testosterone, alcohol, and guns are a winning combination—especially if you want shoot-outs on campus. As we said, common sense is apparently not a Republican value. But fear certainly is.

Irony Alert: Newt Gingrich and the Religious Right

AltTulsa's nomination for the ironic headline of the day, courtesy of the Los Angeles Times:
Gingrich woes evangelicals as he eyes presidential bid 
For those of you keeping score at home, Gingrich is hardly a model of Christian rectitude. His record as a husband, for example, is scandalous. In fact, Newt appears to be all about—surprise!—Newt.

As for the evangelicals, surely they can find a better example of moral living than the former Georgia legislator, whose character flaws and sins are outrageous and numerous.

'Stability' Problem: Sen. Coburn Won't Back Gingrich for President

Newt Gingrich, once the powerful speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, is thinking about running for president. The Georgia Republican is nothing if not ambitious, after all.

Ig Gingrich runs, he won't have the support of Oklahoma's junior senator, Dr. Tom Coburn. Coburn went on camera this week and criticized Gingrich for his numerous, ah, problems. Some of these problem involve issues of stability.

With friends like these, Gingrich is unlikely to make it to the White House. The full story, including video, here.