We’ve had a few sunny days this week, sunny and warmish, so of course these must be paid for in blood, and today is the payback — cloudy with a chance of leaden. I started to go for a third cup of coffee and reminded myself to let the first two do their thing before I making the call on a potential stomach-sourer. But if there was ever a day for it…
Despite the sunshine, yesterday sucked the big one all around, didn’t it? The Supreme Court decision promises to be a shit tsunami; about the only good thing I can see coming out of it is the final stripping away of all that who-me?-a judicial-activist? posing by Roberts, Alito, et al.
Actually, I can see other good outcomes, too. If there’s one thing journalism has taught me, it’s this: You never know. You really don’t. Anything can happen to anyone, anytime. One or two election cycles jam-packed with corporate-sponsored lying could lead to a great populist revolt in this country. Scalia could drop dead, with Clarence Thomas throwing himself into the grave right behind him. (“Papa!”) I have faith the Obama administration is not over, not by a long shot.
For now, I’m choosing to be optimistic. It’s really the only one for a day like this.
I have to be out of the house in just a few minutes, so let’s just go to the bloggage and let you guys take it away, eh?
Farewell, Beckham. Tbogg’s dog died yesterday, too.
Via Hank, a conservative dares to speak truth to the conservative movement.
Sometimes, when your side loses, it helps to imagine the opposition in its underwear. Or in other situations where you just know they wish there hadn’t been a camera around. This picture (the festive clambake one, that is; scroll down) has been around forever, but in light of yesterday’s events, let’s make sure it lives another day, eh?
And now I’m off.
Peter said on January 22, 2010 at 10:44 am
Well, here’s your you never know outcome from yesterday – I think print media will be saved by extra ad revenue. You could argue that all of that extra $$$ will go to the web and TV, but two of the big winners yesterday were unions and chambers of commerce, and they’re old school, so I’m predicting an explosion of full page ads in the Tribune for the primary.
Yesterday’s big loser, other than the average voter, was Rod Blagojevich. Can you just imagine how much more he could have raked in without those pesky laws?
Bob (not Greene) said on January 22, 2010 at 10:46 am
Yep. The last week has been a real clunker. The death panel known as the Republican minority of the U.S. Senate can now make sure their insurance company buddies can deny all the pre-existing conditions they want and can withold health insurance from the poor and the unemployed while they cash in from the corporate overlords they serve.
Remember the good old days when the GOP wanted to kill the filibuster and get a good old-fashioned up-or-down vote? Not so much anymore.
The Supreme Court decision just makes shake my head. It’s subversive. Giving corporations the same standing as individuals with respect to free speech protection? It’s a Brave New World indeed. Enjoy the next presidential election. I’m sure it will be one we’ll all be mighty proud of.
Dexter said on January 22, 2010 at 10:53 am
Ah, weather is the topic? Time to check the local forecast on the old TV..yassss…and this is from a Huffpo puff piece…my question would be: angel dust or just plain old blotter acid?
alex said on January 22, 2010 at 11:02 am
Oh, to have been a fly on the wall at that clambake.
I hadn’t seen or heard any of this Roberts scuttlebutt before, but from all appearances, yes he certainly fits the profile of an old-school closet queen. By rights he should have to recuse himself when the Prop 8 case comes up on appeal, but you know that won’t be happening.
Sue said on January 22, 2010 at 11:21 am
Last night’s Keith Olbermann commentary on the SCOTUS decision reminded me why I’m no longer taking him seriously. The good points were completely washed away by the waves of hysteria. Even when making the point that this could affect elections all the way to local councils and boards, he was so over the top that even I could have effectively rebutted him. And in all the nonsense, not once did he point out that this is a once-removed thing. The purchased politicians won’t be seeing any actual money with this decision really, just lots and lots of free publicity.
And no one has told me what happens when a candidate decides he doesn’t want some or all of the special interest “help”.
The only hope on this is that there will be such a torrent of ads, that people will stop watching them completely. Maybe they stop making their decisions based on ad campaigns, ads that this decision has maybe taught them not to trust. One Willie Horton ad campaign can derail an opponent. What happens when that’s all you’ve got, on both sides, 24/7, for weeks before an election? When the Karl Rove model goes corporate and turns into an advertising carpet bomb?
Weather here is seasonal, but we expect warmer weather this weekend with a lot of wind and buckets of rain. What’s going on in California, people? Maybe that’s why we haven’t heard from Danny; I hear San Diego is floating away.
Jeff Borden said on January 22, 2010 at 11:29 am
I really wonder if the nation isn’t becoming ungovernable.
It’s not just the torrents of cash directed at our elected officials, particularly at the national level, a torrent that will only get bigger with the abominable decision by the Supreme Court. (And, God help us, the conservative core of that court is relatively young and will be voting in favor of big business and special interests for decades to come. Thanks, W!)
Worse is the lack of any real vision about where we are as a nation, where we ought to be, and how best we get there. My hopes that Obama would be a galvanizing figure capable of rallying the country are fading, though it’s been only one year in office. But it takes two to tango and when you have an opposition party interested only in saying no –even when it means condemning millions of Americans to a lack of basic health care services– there’s not much that can get done, especially when the majority party is led by a bunch of jellyfish.
For those of the GOP persuasion who will leap to say the Dems did the same thing during the last administration, I would say a polite hogwash. Dems fell all over themselves to vote with Bush and the Reps on Iraq. They also signed their names to the massive tax rollbacks, the extension of unfunded Medicaid prescription benefits and the No Child Left Behind legislation.
Nance, I hope you are right about this Supreme Court ruling possibly having unintended consequences, but from where I sit, it seems unlikely. This is a terrible decision by a terrible court with lifetime tenure.
LAMary said on January 22, 2010 at 11:37 am
We’re almost floating away here. More like being overwhelmed by waves of mud from the burnt hillsides. Five solid days of heavy rain can do that. On Wednesday it was raining harder than I’ve ever seen. It was like having a hose turned on from above. And we have little tornadoes as well just to add to the excitement. There is no “medium” setting in California. It’s over the top or nada.
coozledad said on January 22, 2010 at 11:38 am
Another rising star in the Republican party. Once he gets out of jail:
susan said on January 22, 2010 at 11:51 am
Dexter @3, I’ll raise you http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TT4XO3Hjp7M
brian stouder said on January 22, 2010 at 12:02 pm
Sue – Re: Olbermann: Amen!
Jeff Borden said on January 22, 2010 at 12:27 pm
I agree with your assessment of K.O. I cannot stand him.
Hopefully, this does not come off the wrong way, but we need to face facts. Lots of people who vote are not that bright. I don’t see how we can expect to see them sift through all the garbage the Supreme Court ruling will unleash and find the truth. Instead, they are likely to follow their emotions, which are easily inflamed by effective messaging. For God’s sake, you see these boobs at Tea Party rallies proclaiming themselves as patriots and freedom-lovers while they unwittingly ensure huge insurance conglomerates will continue to generate immense profits.
This decision cannot be seen as anything other than a tremendous victory for the demagogues.
MichaelG said on January 22, 2010 at 12:58 pm
Sacramento is located in an enormous valley. It’s flat here and the elevation is just a few feet above sea level. The mountains start just to the east and in two hours or so you can be at 7000 feet, though it will take much longer than two hours on a snowy January Friday when the roads are packed with skiers. It doesn’t rain here from roughly mid April until around Halloween so the winter rains and snow have to last us all year. We had a lot of rain here this past week with a little street flooding but nothing like SoCal. On the other hand, the high country got a huge amount of snow which is great because the snowpack is what we drink. The ski resorts are ecstatic. Also depleted reservoirs have been filling up so we’re hoping to see the end of the drought. Today will be a rainy one but Sat and Sun will be dry. It’s been chilly (for us) with highs in the 40’s when the avg high is in the mid to upper 50’s. Rain is scheduled to resume on Mon and Tues. I think SoCal’s weather will be similar.
Here’s one of the greatest radar maps going. You can see the whole country:
I’m so disheartened by the venal and incompetent politicians and the willfully stupid voters that I don’t even want to think about the SCOTUS decision or health care.
Speaking of health, anybody know how Whitebeard’s doing?
beb said on January 22, 2010 at 1:22 pm
For those of you who are sick of Olberman, you might want to check out last nights “The Daily Show” where Jon Stewart really did a number on Keith. I’m still a big fan of Keith, though I prefer him discussing issues and not ranting about them. But really, Rep. Gaylord (D-FL) has come out of nowhere to national prominence by ranting. IE, saying that the Republicans plan for Health Care Reform is to tell sick people to die quickly. Republicians have mastered The Big Lie and it is necessary to Democrats to start pushng back by being outraged when Republicans says outragous things. Things like being for the little people when they only care about Big Business.
Dougherty’s rant was fun but the real break up in the conservative front hapened a few months ago when Charles Johnson of Little Green Footballs fell off the reservation. He’s the guy who lead the assault on Dan Rather and Bush’s National Guard mystery. He appeared to be hardest of the hard-core. Then around the birther nonsense he started objecting to all the crazy. He hasn’t stopped being conservative but he’s now a pariah in his our country.
To the extent that politicans spend all their time when not ducking votes trying to raise money for their re-election, the supreme courts’ ruling lifting the ban on corporate donations means politicians don’t have to work as hard to raise as much money as before. And since Campaign funds seem to be an unofficial slush fund for politicians, the more money poured into the campaigns the more money their can siphon away for their own personal gain. It’s going to be bad.
Dorothy said on January 22, 2010 at 1:32 pm
Mary find something (dry) to hold onto and be safe, please.
Whitebeard, moe, Jolene (did I miss anyone??) – wishing you all good health very soon. Happy Friday everyone.
LAMary said on January 22, 2010 at 1:51 pm
I’m fine, Dorothy. The street in back of my house looked like you could do whitewater rafting on it yesterday, but we’re dry. My dogs fed up with the rain, that’s for sure.
Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on January 22, 2010 at 2:01 pm
Back stopping at the house, CNN on, and personally, delighted to hear Obama in Elyria, Ohio, sounding like he did at his best. I strongly recommend more travel and getting out of the [cliche alert!] Beltway Bubble . . . is it a cliche if it’s painfully true? He sounds articulate, reasonable, passionate, but still reflective. Stick with that, Chief.
As for the Supreme Court decision that has folks thinking the sky is coming down and the earth opening up, may I quote from the dang decision itself? I’m not finding much to worry about, just motivation to push for a new set of limits to be imposed the right way (I’m just not sure what that is, but I’m certainly for limits on economic-interest-group spending in elections):
Justice Kennedy’s majority opinion says, in part —
“The law before us is an outright ban, backed by criminal sanctions. Section 441b makes it a felony for all corporations—including nonprofit advocacy corporations—either to expressly advocate the election or defeat of candidates or to broadcast electioneering communications within 30 days of a primary election and 60 days of a general election. Thus, the following acts would all be felonies under §441b: The Sierra Club runs an ad, within the crucial phase of 60 days before the general election, that exhorts the public to disapprove of a Congressman who favors logging in national forests; the National Rifle Association publishes a book urging the public to vote for the challenger because the incumbent U. S. Senator supports a handgun ban; and the American Civil Liberties Union creates a Web site telling the public to vote for a Presidential candidate in light of that candidate’s defense of free speech. These prohibitions are classic examples of censorship.…
When word concerning the plot of the movie “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington” reached the circles of Government, some officials sought, by persuasion, to discourage its distribution. Under Austin, though, officials could have done more than discourage its distribution—they could have banned the film. After all, it, like Hillary, was speech funded by a corporation that was critical of Members of Congress. “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington” may be fiction and caricature; but fiction and caricature can be a powerful force.
Modern day movies, television comedies, or skits on Youtube.com might portray public officials or public policies in unflattering ways. Yet if a covered transmission during the blackout period creates the background for candidate endorsement or opposition, a felony occurs solely because a corporation, other than an exempt media corporation, has made the “purchase, payment, distribution, loan, advance, deposit, or gift of money or anything of value” in order to engage in political speech. Speech would be suppressed in the realm where its necessity is most evident: in the public dialogue preceding a real election. Governments are often hostile to speech, but under our law and our tradition it seems stranger than fiction for our Government to make this political speech a crime. Yet this is the statute’s purpose and design.”
Rana said on January 22, 2010 at 3:56 pm
Do you have a link to the rest of the opinion, Jeff (tmmo)?
I ask, because it’s interesting that the three examples Kennedy offers are all nonprofits (at least, I remember that the NRA is one – I’m not sure of its current status) rather than for-profit corporations like Apple or British Petroleum or General Motors or AIG…
It’s one thing when a corporation is speaking on behalf of its members (in which case it’s acting rather like a lobbying group) and another when it’s looking to enhance its profits at the expense of citizens.
Personally, I’d rather have much clearer, brighter lines about what isn’t allowed (I’m still very upset about the Mormon Church’s interference in California politics) than heading in the direction of anything goes. The thought of large hospitals and insurance companies, for example, paying the way of a candidate who will support their interests at the expense of ordinary people, troubles me deeply.
Jeff Borden said on January 22, 2010 at 4:10 pm
What Rana said. Amen.
Michael said on January 22, 2010 at 4:44 pm
Ok, been out of media range lately, but I was named to be deposed in the original McConnell v FEC case, so may (or at least they thought I) have a working knowledge of the facts.
My problem with the hysteria being spun by the Olbermann crowd(and thanks for all of you saying what I have thought for a long time, love ya Keith, but tone it down a notch and increase your credibility) is that the SCOTUS ruling just takes us back to the law, as it was prior to McCain-Feingold (9 years ago?) and though the status-quo then led our leaders (bi-partisan though they may have been)to institute this ban, this was not nearly the center piece of the legislation, which unleashed the torrent of obnoxious, and often misleading 527 ads as another odious byproduct.
Taking a time out, and considering the proper way to clean this up might actually be a good thing. Of course, my solution, of outlawing corporations entirely probably won’t get to the short list of solutions.
Bob (not Greene) said on January 22, 2010 at 4:55 pm
I get the theory. I just believe the theory will not work in practice, and that’s why I can’t believe that the precedents were swept away so casually. At the dawn of the 20th century, the Congress saw the incredible wealth and power of corporations and sought a way to control them from absolutely dominating the political landscape of the country.
This wasn’t constructionist, this was radical. I have no idea how this is going to play out and maybe Keith Olbermann is just throwing red meat to his core viewership. But to think that this is going to improve political discourse or finally give voice to the poor disenfranchised corporation is naive at best.
Kirk said on January 22, 2010 at 5:36 pm
As the nation crumbles around our ears, the Shiba Inu whose puppies were the stars of a famous live puppycam a year ago has given birth to another litter.
Sue said on January 22, 2010 at 5:39 pm
Let’s take this down to its most basic level. Maybe the best way to fix this is to define a “citizen” as anyone who can attend, or ever has attended, a Memorial Day remembrance service. If the phrase “If you value your freedom(s), thank a vet” doesn’t really apply to you because you are AIG or BP (British Petroleum) and don’t actually exist as a physical being, maybe United States military personnel shouldn’t be fighting and dying for your right to influence an election outcome using buckets of money – oh, sorry, I mean your right to free speech.
Sorry, long day. Long week.
nancy said on January 22, 2010 at 5:41 pm
Yay, puppies! I see we have two blondes this time, too.
Joe Kobiela said on January 22, 2010 at 7:03 pm
PUPPY’S, Always make me smile.
This has been a wierd week flying, usually this time of year you can get above the cloud deck but this week I have been slugging it out through this stuff. Hear about thr rj that ran off the runway in Charlston WV? I took the Mechanics down Tuesday night to help get it out of the over run, then went to Dayton to get another Mechanic and had to go to Charlotte for parts then to Huntsville Al,Came home Wed afternoon and never saw the ground or the sun. but last night I went to Little Rock Ark and came home today flying ontop of a overcast with a brillent blue sky and blazing sun. It just refreshed me to sit in the sun for 3hrs.
Have a great weekend friends the sun is up there.
DennisP said on January 22, 2010 at 7:35 pm
Came here from a link over at TBogg’s place. It’s nice to hear from people who don’t have their hair on fire over one aspect or another of the current political scene.
At first I was appalled by the predictable (From this Supreme Court anyway) decision. It is probably the worst misinterpretation of the law since Dred Scott. That said, there are going to be unintended consequences and some of them are bound to be doozys. I have a suspicion that before it’s all over the corporations are going to be a lot less grateful to those five justices than they are now.
Judith said on January 22, 2010 at 7:44 pm
Will corporations be liable for misinformation and defamation of character? If they are liable for the products they produce, it seems they should be financially liable for lies and misrepresentations in campaign productions.
LAMary said on January 22, 2010 at 8:01 pm
That mama dog is so pretty.
Dave K. said on January 22, 2010 at 8:08 pm
“Scalia could drop dead, with Clarence Thomas throwing himself into the grave right behind him (“Papa!”)”
Thank you, Nancy, I can’t help but chuckle each time I read that line. I don’t wish for anyone to perish, but the image is just so vivid.
Equally vivid and appreciated, Pilot Joe reminding us that the sun is still shining up there….somewhere. Thanks, Joe!
Deborah said on January 22, 2010 at 8:28 pm
Nice to come here today and get a little happiness learning about the new puppy cam brood. I was still at work when I read the comment with the link to it. I had the puppies on my screen and instantly drew a circle of co-workers around me. Puppies are such crowd pleasers.
Rana said on January 22, 2010 at 9:53 pm
joodyb said on January 22, 2010 at 10:37 pm
Re that ‘ungovernable’ observation, even the Supremes must throw up their hands when they realize long before such a ruling’s announcement that no one actually reads it. When you can’t rely on readers to read past a headline (which they often misconstrue), the mind boggles at the chasm between legal complexities and creeping idiocracy.
Shiba inus are not everyone’s cup of tea, but they make great puppycam stars. They are the highlight of MY week.
Denice B. said on January 23, 2010 at 12:24 am
You know what cheers me up? Real puppies dressed like kittens. Thanks for the lasting image, Conan!
alex said on January 23, 2010 at 10:10 am
One of the things I learned in a college political science class that really stuck with me:
Both parties have a vested interest in creating voter malaise, and negative campaigning is a very effective tool in this regard. It turns off moderates and independents and depresses their turnout at the polls. At the same time it energizes the parties’ respective tinfoil hat constituencies, which are much easier to manipulate. The net effect is that our leaders are largely determined by those who are the most misinformed, and that’s exactly how our leaders want it.
I don’t see anything good coming from this Supreme Court decision. Freedom of speech was written into the constitution to protect individual citizens’ right to dissent and debate. There cannot be meaningful dissent and debate in an atmosphere flooded with misinformation. The antics surrounding the health care issue over the last two decades is a case in point.
I think the U.S. should follow the example of some of our western European allies with regard to campaign finance. Candidates campaign only for a short time leading up to elections, they can’t advertise and they’re forced to appear in public and make their case directly to the people.
Couldn’t the court’s First Amendment argument be applied to tobacco and hard liquor advertisers? Both have been banned from the airwaves since 1970. By the court’s reasoning, don’t they have a First Amendment right to go on the air and tell us that doctors recommend smoking Camels and drinking Jim Beam for a healthy lifestyle? There are good public policy reasons—and laws in place—for limiting “free speech” by corporations.
Scalia goes hunting with Dick Cheney, it has been reported. I didn’t approve of it at first, but these days I’d be willing to look past the unseemliness of it. In fact, I might even become a praying man.
Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on January 23, 2010 at 11:52 am
moe99 said on January 23, 2010 at 12:06 pm
If any of you have a good response to this fellow as to why you can’t support the Senate bill, I’d like to see it. I’m in the same boat eventually.
and here’s a good article about how Americans have historically viewed corporations:
The money quote for me: “I would add that yesterday’s Court decision sheds light on one other important matter. The conservative forces on this Court are not about preserving the intent of The Constitution despite their pretense that this is their mission. We saw it last week when they stepped in to tell a local District Judge that he could not broadcast the Prop. 8 trial in California challenging the California constitutional amendment prohibiting same sex marriage. For the first time in history, the Court issued such an order interfering with the procedural and administrative process of a local court. Now, despite clear and convincing evidence that the Framers of the Constitution would have strongly disapproved of their actions, the Court has greatly expanded corporate rights in the nation’s elections.
This is a Court with a mission of activist change – not Constitutional preservation. While that may please the more conservative elements of our society who think it is time to pursue a more conservative court agenda, none of us should pretend that these are people who desire a strict enforcement of the our founding principals and documents. They don’t. They have something entirely different on their minds.”
beb said on January 23, 2010 at 12:14 pm
“Freebird.” I’m sorry, Jeff, but that’s ten years of my life I won’t get back! Now Neil Young’s “Long May You Run,” that was a great salute.
brian stouder said on January 23, 2010 at 3:16 pm
1. moe – that letter you linked should make an excellent prick for the consciences of any legislator (let alone the Democratic members of the House and Senate), if they’re anything other than cowardly pricks.
When a young woman or man goes into the military service of the United States, they accept that they may, while performing their duties for their nation, risk injury or death; and while we laud their dedication to duty, and honor their willingness to shoulder it – we also take it for granted. Members of the United States military services are expected to accept risking their very lives, in service to the United States.
So why should we accept wiggles and cowardice and self-preservation from the people who successfully sought and attained positions at the highest levels of the United States government?
edit: moe, check out http://www.fivethirtyeight.com/
Nate goes after the things that people “know” about the Healthcare bill that just are not true.
2. Twenty years ago I was telling a rabidly pro-Neil Young friend of mine about how wonderful I thought this new group called Pearl Jam was; and then 15 years ago Pearl Jam and Young teamed up, and I became a bit of a Young fan, too. (the term “old soul” began to make sense to me)
3. And finally – here’s a non-sequitur(!); a news story so outrageously stupid that I suspect there’s collusion going on here. I betcha the cop is in cahoots with at least one of the parents, to get a share of whatever truckload of cash they get, when the lawsuits are over.
A police officer is on leave, students are puzzled and parents are outraged as the fallout from a Taser demonstration gone awry rippled through the halls of Kankakee Junior High School on Wednesday.
[possibly “Taser Demonstration Gone Awry” would make an interesting shock-rock (so to speak) band name, although it’s a bit wordy]
Kankakee police said an officer assigned to the school zapped three male students who had volunteered to be part of an unsanctioned, classroom demonstration on Tuesday. Police said the Taser was used on the students for about a second, but long enough to send at least one briefly to a hospital.The officer has been placed on administrative leave while the Police Department and school district investigate. The mother of one of the students said the officer entered the classroom yelling, “Who wants a Taser?”
There’s more to this one
moe99 said on January 23, 2010 at 5:44 pm
the address on the TPM post changed–here is the updated address:
Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on January 24, 2010 at 10:25 pm
Amazing to learn that eight rooms of a school cum clinic in a Haitian village can be repaired from roof-collapsed, wobbly-walled ruin for about $3,000 with enough left over to buy a school’s worth of vitamins for a year.
Dexter said on January 24, 2010 at 11:53 pm
New Orleans gets a Superbowl and all is well with the world tonight.
Dexter said on January 25, 2010 at 12:47 am
It turns out I was really careless with Facebook, and I took these measures to be a bit more safe:
Pop and Ice said on January 25, 2010 at 2:15 am
In Twitter-Land, Democrats were declaring their suicidal tendencies by the end of this week. It was the week in which too much happened. People ready to give up blogging or tweeting. But isn’t that just giving up? I can see stepping back and evaluating, but walking away? Uh uh. Not happening. And I’m not even a political blogger. I’m fabulous at retweets, though. My way of annoying my followers until they drop off from sheer boredom of “Another retweet about healthcare?!!!”