Question for the room.

Sorry, guys. Too many obligations collided this morning for much blogging. So until I can break free, here’s something y’all might enjoy: America’s elites have a duty to the rest of us.

Discuss. I’ll be back later.

Posted at 10:06 am in Current events |

74 responses to “Question for the room.”

  1. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on April 19, 2011 at 10:23 am

    Aside from a visceral flinch at the words “pony up,” I’m not disagreeing with much here — but that’s why I think Paul Ryan has not gotten a fair hearing on his plan to void, expunge, and eliminate all deductions and special provisions in the corporate tax code, then putting it at an eminently collectible 25%. That’s been demagogued into “cutting taxes for millionaires and billionaires,” which misses the point entirely. If they get it as expected, the federal government will get much more money from corporations with no loopholes and 25% than they do from 34% and a bazillion qualifications.

    I do think that the payroll tax limit is ridiculous, and based on a legal fiction about Social Security that is as much a dead letter as Mary Lincoln’s thank you note to the cast and crew at Ford’s Theatre. Jack that one up and means test Medicare, and we’re probably fine into the 2050s.

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  2. moe99 said on April 19, 2011 at 10:28 am

    Paul Ryan’s plan is not just that, Jeff, and it’s disingenous to cherry pick.

    That being said, I think the greater danger is the coporate lobbying and power and the Supreme Court recognition of corporations as “persons” and being given most of the rights of citizens in this country. If we’re going to do that, then they should be given a finite life. If the want to continue on in perpetuity then they have to go back to being less than.

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  3. coozledad said on April 19, 2011 at 10:33 am

    There were always a lot of vulgarians among the American rich: Christ, look at that Gothic hairball Vanderbilt coughed up in Asheville. But now they’re proud of their venality and lack of taste. This particular crop came in with the Reagan/Gucci Christian stream of bullshit that seeks to elevate cheap tribalism to a virtue.
    Petronius, painting a nasty picture of the Donald Trump of his day, Nero, says everything you need to know about your run of the mill parvenu shitsack. He didn’t even have access to the brain science that pretty much demonstrates their sub corticality.

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  4. alice said on April 19, 2011 at 10:41 am

    Old rich: Carnegie Mellon & the Guggenheim; New rich: Trump Towers & Paris Hilton.

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  5. brian stouder said on April 19, 2011 at 10:44 am

    Excellent article.

    and, psssst – I think we’re all agreeing with EJ, yes?

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  6. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on April 19, 2011 at 10:46 am

    Oh, Moe, I’m disingenuous? No, I’m just not doing extended commentary right now. I believe I mentioned Medicare in a contrary manner, too; how much do I have to analyze to be justified in making any comment at all?

    Or, I can change the subject, in a Detroitish sort of way:

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  7. Jeff Borden said on April 19, 2011 at 10:51 am

    And look what the old-line rich did, Alice. They built magnificent museums, concert halls, parks. They created endowments to keep them running. The new rich buy NBA teams and build ugly skyscrapers with their name in lights.

    I can’t take Ryan’s plan seriously when it puts such a disproportionate burden on those least able to bear it. The bottom line is his plan is a nuclear-tipped torpedo aimed at the Great Society and the New Deal. Plus, anyone who requires his staffers to read “Atlas Shrugged” as a condition of joining his staff is not someone I want talking about budget issues.

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  8. Jolene said on April 19, 2011 at 11:01 am

    I’m not enough of a historian to make the argument, but I’m a little dubious about the proposition that the rich of the past were more conscious of their duty to do good works and shape society for the good of all than are present-day richies.

    Of course, there were great philanthropists in the past, but there are great philanthropists now too. The Gates Foundation has given away billions, much of it to solve the problems of the poorest people in the world but lots for projects in the US as well. The arts community in Seattle has benefited tremendously from the riches of multiple Microsoft millionaires. Mark Zuckerberg recently gave $200 million to improve schools in Newark, NJ. Sidney Harman, who died last week, gave the Shakespeare Theater in DC a new performance Hall. Teresa Heinz and the Heinz family have given tons of money to Carnegie Mellon and other Pittsburgh institutions.

    But there is no doubt that the tax code has been distorted to allow people to get away with murder, and, frankly, I don’t know how we are ever going to turn it around.

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  9. LAMary said on April 19, 2011 at 11:01 am

    I’m hating on NBC for giving Trump as much interview time as they do. Fox I can understand for their own nut job reasons, but NBC is doing it to promote his hideous show on NBC. He is so thoroughly awful.

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  10. Sue said on April 19, 2011 at 11:13 am

    MMJeff, please remember that tax codes are there for our politicians to tinker with. How long do you think the “eminently collectible 25%” will be loophole-free? Politicians who are beholden to corporations and their money will be on it immediately if this goes through, working to put a few things back in, then a few more. After all, if you are a corporation that is not only not paying taxes but getting money back, why wouldn’t you buy a few politicians when an idea like “no loopholes and 25%” starts taking hold? It’s just good business. From what I understand, tax legislation cycles and in a normal world we’d be at the swing end of the pendulum. Not happening at the moment.
    I think Paul Ryan knows this, and if he doesn’t he should. Oh, and by the way, he’s getting mostly support in his own district, including being encouraged to run for president. My head hurts.

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  11. mark said on April 19, 2011 at 11:15 am

    Of course it is appropriate to cherry pick; we are talking about ideas and which might be best to solve some difficult problems. Jeff tmmo (and Ryan) are spot-on about the corporate tax rate. And the tens of thousands of lobbyists that EJ bemoans aren’t just chanting “save the Bush tax cuts” all day long. They are seeking and getting all those loopholes that keep the net corporate rate low for the “elite” businesses. All of our politicians have bought into “too big to fail” and tossing money to favored corporations to “create jobs” and further “private-public partnerships”.

    It’s a great system for those who have already made it and those who like the influence from handing out trillions in public funds. As they like to say at Goldman Sachs: “We have privatized the profits and collectivized the losses.”

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  12. prospero said on April 19, 2011 at 11:20 am

    Donald Trump won’t run for president because he does not want to reveal the facts of his financial situation, i.e., not really all that rich. Tanked most of his daddy’s money in bad investments. Dumb as a fucking post, and vulgar beyond comprehension. And what’s that nutria he wears on his head?

    Pay no attention to that man beneath the bad rug.

    The Brothers Mael, with the No 1 song in heaven.

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  13. Jeff Borden said on April 19, 2011 at 11:27 am

    Donald Trump is doing what he always does. . .attracting attention. It says more about the current state of the GOP than it does about him that he’s polling so well. He’s not going to run for president any more than SheWho. They’re both attention whores with brands to build and products to move.

    While I’ll agree with Prospero that Trump is definitely “vulgar beyond comprehension” –who but this egomaniac would remark upon the death of Princess Diana that he’d always wanted to romance her– but he’s not dumb. He has a TV show to promote and allegedly will make his decision to run or not on the final episode of “The Apprentice.” The show has been bleeding viewers and advertising dollars, so this is clearly a move to pump up interest.

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  14. moe99 said on April 19, 2011 at 11:34 am

    I don’t know about the rest of you, but the rich no longer have to pay for their stadiums (stadii?) when they buy their Seattle sports teams. They just get the populace to pay for it and if they don’t they move out (frex Seattle Sonics).

    And if we flatline the tax code at 25% for corporations, we are still going to have corporations defecting to other countries with lower tax rates. It’s all show and no real go here.

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  15. Suzanne said on April 19, 2011 at 11:35 am

    Great editorial. Back in the Reagan years I was a firm believer in the whole trickle down idea. Now I know why Bush called it VooDoo economics. It only works if the Scrooge’s open their fists and let some of that money trickle on down. They aren’t. In the long term though, the elites need to remember that people who end up with nothing also have nothing to lose…

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  16. Sue said on April 19, 2011 at 11:51 am

    Off topic, but it’s snowing like crazy here. Looks quite Christmas-y, on April 19.
    All the seedlings in our windows are looking a little washed-out. Sunshine has been rare lately. And, this being a house of cats, one of the trays (my husband’s cherished hot peppers), now has a cat-butt-shaped indentation in the middle of it, complete with tragically flattened seedlings. Because I am such a generous wife, giving my husband the best, warmest and most sunny (relatively speaking) window spot for his darlings, my seedlings remain un-squashed although occasionally tipped over.

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  17. prospero said on April 19, 2011 at 11:56 am

    Trickle down is rich people pissing off a bridge on the Jean Valjeans living under the bridge.

    GOP budget stupidity knows no bounds. And doesn’t Hillary look very good in vivid red? Kneejerk stupidity.

    Moe, I think it’s stadia. Fourth declension, neuter noun, first person plural.

    Paul Ryan has apparently never heard of Lee Atwater and Kommissar Karl Rove.

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  18. brian stouder said on April 19, 2011 at 11:59 am

    Suzanne – I was with you 100%, back in the days when our proprietress was an ink-stained wretch (instead of an electron-encircled nucleus), and Jeane Kirkpatrick struck me as somewhat hot!

    And indeed, the Laffer curve had (and retains) a certain solipsistic truth. At 0% taxation, you collect nothing; at 100% taxation, you (ultimately) collect nothing; so there is some particular tax rate that is optimal, yes?

    Well, no.

    But for awhile there, I’d have argued that with lots of passion and righteousness!

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  19. prospero said on April 19, 2011 at 12:07 pm

    President Trump on foreign policy. Hell, yeah, that’ll work. Sorry, he’s a bimbo. With a hilariously bad badger rug on his pointy leetle haid.

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  20. ROgirl said on April 19, 2011 at 12:11 pm

    I’d LOVE to see Trump run. I think he’ll play chicken with the media and run the car up to the edge of the cliff, but in the end he’ll slam on the brakes and turn the wheel while his multi-layered comb-over swirls around in a vortex of hot, gaseous air.

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  21. prospero said on April 19, 2011 at 12:20 pm

    Brian, according to Elliot Laffer, in logical extremis, zero taxation produces maximum revenue. The guy was not serious, he was a joke. And even Stockman says so these days. But, it’s not cool being intelligent with GOPers. Intelligence is elitist. Laffer curve is like red shift. The universe is expanding outward at increasing velocity. If Energy=Mass times speed of light squared, at some point, at the edge of creation, mustn’t mass become energy?

    Actually, Laffer curve relies on the idiotic idea that taxes are a disincentive to seeking income. Since rich people in general have income without effort, just collect and spend, this is a ridiculous idea. Maybe, if it involved labor, indignation might kick in, but it does no such thing.

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  22. nancy said on April 19, 2011 at 12:21 pm

    When I want to know what people I hardly ever rub elbows with are thinking, I consult the Facebook wall of my ex-congressman, who now runs a little salon of his rural fan club in that venue. Note this comment from one of his pals, a young man, on Trump:

    The status quo that has been maintained by both sides for the past several decades has got to change. Regardless of which side of the isle one sits, I have little reason to believe that my best interests are being represented. While not attempting to make stats up on the fly, I would imagine an alarming amount of citizens feel the same way and have for some time now. I am interested in Trump simply for the fact that he is not the status quo. His ideas seem to speak volumes about the America that we read about in history books but have not had the pleasure of experiencing ourselves. I for one would like to have reason to believe in the American political system again! If Trump’s not the guy he will at least shake things up and open the eyes of those that manage to get elected.

    In other words, another populist, stirrin’ up the hoi polloi. “The America we read about in history books?” Which one would that be?

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  23. brian stouder said on April 19, 2011 at 12:24 pm

    Which one would that be?

    The one on the other side of the “isle”, no doubt!

    (I bet the fellow watches “Survivor”, and takes it too seriously)

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  24. beb said on April 19, 2011 at 12:24 pm

    Prospero @17: We speak English here, bub. So that makes it Stadiums, octopuses and grasses! Don’t give me no fake Latin declensions those things are as dead as the Holy Roman Empire!

    I’ve been reading Howard Zinn’s “A People’s History of the United States” but had to put it down at the start of the chapter on the Robber Barons. It was just too fricking depressing. But the impression given in the earlier chapter was that the rich at no time ever considered they had any duty towards the poor. Most of the great donations to public culture came about because such charitable donations were tax deductible. They could save more money funding a museum than by paying taxes on the money.
    Nancy @22: in his series of American History novels Gore Vidal always argued that there is only one party in congress — the Incumbent party! And that the only principles they stand for are the ones that get them re-elected. I thought he was being outrageous cynical at the time. But time has proved him right.

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  25. nancy said on April 19, 2011 at 12:32 pm

    For those who didn’t know, the Shiba Inu puppycam is back. Third litter, all with C-starting names. According to Time’s website: Chozen, aka “Zen”; Chame; Chisaki, aka “Saki”; Charlotte; Chiyoko, aka “Yo-Yo”; and Chikara.

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  26. Bitter Scribe said on April 19, 2011 at 12:37 pm

    I think the Dionne article is an exercise in false nostalgia. I don’t believe that the rich, as a class and in general, have ever had anything but money as their No. 1 priority. That’s how they get and stay rich.

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  27. prospero said on April 19, 2011 at 12:38 pm

    Trump-Bachmann. Bring it on, you idiots. The bullshit and the semi-beautiful, unless you are Rich Lowery. Full goose looney. This is reducing America to utter nitwittism. I’m with Cosby on the subject of this ahole.

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  28. prospero said on April 19, 2011 at 12:58 pm

    Andrew Carnegie would actually think up some sort of endeavour that would put people to work that didn’t have jobs. Cut defense by half. No shit? What’s the point. Employing chickenhawk lobbyists? I see no evidence that Paul Ryan isn’t brain dead. Republican tax ideas amout to Diment and national sales tax. As retrogressive as some Republican dildo could imagine.

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  29. prospero said on April 19, 2011 at 1:08 pm

    Everybody’s Stupid.. There are people that would actually vote for Trump for President. America could not be more depressing. Beyond comprehension stupid.

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  30. Mark P. said on April 19, 2011 at 1:17 pm

    There are a couple of examples of the wealthy class entering politics and doing great good, and both are named Roosevelt. One was a Republican (isn’t that amazing) and one was a Democrat, but both had the country’s best interests in mind as they pursued their presidencies.

    Reducing the tax rate (when the total tax burden in the US is near the lowest of all industrialized nations already) is a lot easier than eliminating loopholes. My guess is that if the nation followed Ryan’s plan, the tax cuts would be passed but the loopholes would remain. Medicare would be destroyed and Social Security would not be far behind.

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  31. Dorothy said on April 19, 2011 at 1:17 pm

    Last week I recorded Letterman on his birthday and in his opening monologue he made this joke: It’s springtime in New York! And you know how we can tell? That thing on Donald Trump’s head is in heat!! Prospero’s #12 comment reminded me.

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  32. Julie Robinson said on April 19, 2011 at 1:22 pm

    Which history books is Souder’s fan reading? The ones where women and blacks can’t vote? The ones where children of eight could be forced to work in a factory for 12 hours a day? The ones where food and drugs could be sold without any regard to their safety?

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  33. prospero said on April 19, 2011 at 1:33 pm

    MarkP. you are just wrong. Bobby was what the country needed and rich fucks had him murdered.

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  34. prospero said on April 19, 2011 at 1:35 pm

    The toupe is a nutria. Not a beaver.

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  35. Jeff Borden said on April 19, 2011 at 1:36 pm


    There is no such thing as the good old days. Time tends to erase bad memories more than good ones, but Christ, every era, every decade had something dark, ugly and evil within it. This is especially true if you happen to be anything but a white male.

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  36. Catherine said on April 19, 2011 at 1:37 pm

    Wow, I agree with Prospero on two things: Hillary does look great in red (and I wish I had her cosmetic dermatologist’s address), and the plural is stadia.

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  37. nancy said on April 19, 2011 at 1:39 pm

    But the plural of Winklevoss will always, forever after, be Winklevii. If I forget every other frame of “The Social Network,” that little detail will stay with me.

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  38. prospero said on April 19, 2011 at 1:41 pm

    Both rodents I believe.

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  39. Peter said on April 19, 2011 at 1:43 pm

    Dorothy, I thought the same thing. And Prospero, sometimes your writing is off the deep end, but your description of The Donald in 100 words or less is 100% accurate.

    The NY Times had a lengthy article on Trump once, and the reporter was shocked that she got through to Donald’s office on the first try, and he answered the phone on the first ring. What took her a while to realize is that Donald’s true career is promoting Donald, so fielding a phone call from a reporter is the same to him as working the drive up lane at McD’s.

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  40. prospero said on April 19, 2011 at 1:43 pm

    Who in the world thinks those Sinies aren’t a joke?

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  41. prospero said on April 19, 2011 at 1:52 pm

    The upstairs downstairs brave Indian guy, Screw You. Poor whatever, you morons.

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  42. prospero said on April 19, 2011 at 1:54 pm

    The Donald. That is an idiot. Mobody can be that fucking stupid.

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  43. Rana said on April 19, 2011 at 2:28 pm

    Trump is “not the status quo”? Really.

    What a bizarre, and ignorant, thing to say.

    You want a real challenge to the status quo? Have a poor brown woman run for president as a progressive, and see how far she gets. That’s what a real outsider would look like.

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  44. John C said on April 19, 2011 at 2:35 pm

    One thing that’s changed, I think, is that there is now a whole class of people who’ve gotten rich beyond their wildest dreams without incurring risk. I’m talking about the Wall Street folks and the extremely high-level corporate people. In the old days the latter were merely very rich. The big money guns were people who actually built companies (and their heirs). Not to say by any means that this made these people better. Some were clearly bastards (bastardi?). But I think it created a greater likelihood that they felt connected to a larger economy, hence a potential desire to spread things around a bit to keep that economy filling their coffers. This is different from the feeling one gets after, say, a nice run at the craps table. Just a thought, and a very half-baked one at that.

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  45. Jeff Borden said on April 19, 2011 at 2:47 pm

    I spoke with Donald Trump a couple of times, when he was bringing his casino boat to Gary, Indiana. He is absolutely accessible, though in both cases he promised me 15 minutes on the phone and gave me maybe six or seven.

    He speaks in hyperbole at all times. One statement I specifically recall was his contention that his casino boat was the largest and most expensive ever built, which was not true. It took all of two phone calls to uncover that factoid.

    I will continue to challenge Prospero on the notion he is dumb. He has had his ups and downs, particularly in Atlantic City, and let’s all remember he had the benefit of daddy’s money to play with all along. But he’s not dumb. Why he is slumming among the teabaggers and engaging in casual racism (“I get along with ‘the blacks’ “)? Because it generates headlines and that’s what he’s all about. And, as noted earlier, the national GOP is so far into the ditch that he’s actually getting some notice, but he won’t ever run for president or anything else.

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  46. Suzanne said on April 19, 2011 at 2:54 pm

    John C. #44
    Amen. There is, I believe, a tipping point at which corporate CEOs, celebrities, etc. make so freaking much money, they no longer have a stake in keeping whatever is supplying that money alive. Once you have enough to live quite well for the rest of your life, you don’t care if the poor saps that got you there crawl in a hole a die off. In fact, makes it easier if they do so they aren’t scratching at your windows begging for bread.

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  47. nancy said on April 19, 2011 at 3:29 pm

    Borden, when you interviewed Trump, did he hang up on you? I read that somewhere in a profile of him — that when he’s done with you, he doesn’t say goodbye or gotta go or whatever. He just hangs up.

    What an ass.

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  48. beb said on April 19, 2011 at 3:29 pm

    I think the reason Trump is getting so much attention now is the sheer lack of an A team for the R’s. Romney and Huckabee are damaged goods. They ran last time and got kicked to the curb early in the game. Palin and newt would have to give up to many profitable activities to run. Gulliani I think has already given up on the idea. Pawlenty’s a nobody. So whart do they have left? Just the life-long media whore: Trump. If the R’s come up with someone more substantial than him, Trump will be history as fast as last weeks winner of Dancing With the Stars.

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  49. nancy said on April 19, 2011 at 3:35 pm

    Don’t forget Mr. Excitement, aka Mitch Daniels.

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  50. Jeff Borden said on April 19, 2011 at 3:47 pm

    I don’t recall him hanging up on me, but this was a long time ago. He was brusque, blustery, etc. but not particularly rude compared to many of the folks I interviewed over more than three decades. He was a typical New York exec.

    I wonder if anyone else has read David Brooks on Trump. He’s suggesting that for all his wealth, the Trumpster is just a guy from Queens who likes to get down with the proles.

    Uhhh, right, David.

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  51. alex said on April 19, 2011 at 3:56 pm

    Speaking of Mr. Excitement, here’s some exciting news sure to make right-wing Christians like him even less than they do now. Surely the people who don’t want a truce on abortion and gay-bashing aren’t going to stand for a truce on Arab-bashing either.

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  52. prospero said on April 19, 2011 at 4:17 pm

    How the hell does Ryan get a remotely hearing after the death panels crap? I’m willing to go, This character is a lying sack of shit. He’a full of shit. and it is fear mongering.

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  53. prospero said on April 19, 2011 at 4:20 pm

    Aeriously, who the hell cares? Paul Ryan is a major league liar. Could somebody try to claim that is not true? Pants on Fire.

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  54. prospero said on April 19, 2011 at 4:21 pm

    Shithead just made that up.

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  55. prospero said on April 19, 2011 at 4:35 pm

    Lying sack of shit’ . Major eague asshole.

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  56. prospero said on April 19, 2011 at 4:40 pm

    Lying like it is going out of style. Aeriously, you dumbass. You are a lying sack of shit.

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  57. Suzanne said on April 19, 2011 at 5:25 pm

    Alex @51
    I heard about Mitch’s Arab connection this morning and wondered if that’s the end of him, although since he’s a conservative budget slasher, I doubt anyone will be looking under the rug for any Muslim tendencies or asking to see his birth certificate.

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  58. Linda said on April 19, 2011 at 5:46 pm

    “I think the reason Trump is getting so much attention now is the sheer lack of an A team for the R’s.”

    Aaaaaand, we have a winner! More evidence that despite doubts about the left agenda due to the weak economy, and reflexive cowardice from the media to call crazy people crazy, the right is running out of steam. They can only push outdated scare tropes like “tax and spend,” and run stealth campaigns for ideas that the public hates, like medicare vouchers and tax breaks for rich people. Those ideas will scatter like cockroaches in the bright light of a presidential campaign, and it will be the 80s in reverse, with Obama running against seven or so dwarfs.

    As for Trump? He may not be that dumb, but he may be that delusional, and when you are surrounded by kissups, it’s an easy trap to fall into.

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  59. brian stouder said on April 19, 2011 at 5:52 pm

    At the risk of showing my age, I can’t decide if Mr Excitement, Mitch Daniels, reminds me more of Henry Block (from the H&R Block commericals), or John Cameron Swayze (from the Timex commericals).

    If My Man Mitch gets the R nomination, one up-side is that when his supporters make fun of the president’s name, we can could call Daniels My Man Mustafah

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  60. Jeff Borden said on April 19, 2011 at 6:13 pm

    There’s some real truth to Linda’s observations. I read a story at Talking Points Memo about the enormous drop in attendance at the teabaggers’ annual tax protest. Here in Chicago, with a metro population of some 8.5 million people, the crowd was generously described as being in the hundreds, but in a super red town like Tulsa, only 30 baggers turned out.

    Meanwhile, SheWho attracts no more than 500 attendees in Madison, Wis., many of them bused in by the Koch boys’ Americans For Prosperity. The pro-union crowd numbered about 5,000.

    The sluggish economy continues to worry me as Americans tend to vote with their wallets, but when you slice through all the right-wing rhetoric, it is clear that most of our fellow citizens are quite fond of Medicare and Social Security. And they support increasing taxes on the wealthy by a substantial margin. When the Dems start pointing out next year which party wants to take those things away from gramps and grandma, the independents are going to flee the GOP like common sense from Michele Bachmann.

    BTW, our newly elected GOP House still hasn’t passed a single program to create more jobs, but they have decided to hire a private attorney who charges $520 per hour to represent them in arguments against Obama’s DOJ because they want to see the Justice Dept. enforce DOMA.

    Fuckers can’t help themselves. They are just driven to screw around with teh gays, teh wimmin, etc.

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  61. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on April 19, 2011 at 6:44 pm

    Speaking of the rich who do their duty (non-ironically stated), a fun historical bit of trivia: what did FDR put on his tax forms for occupation? Hint: I used this every year when I swore in our new AmeriCorps members.

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  62. LAMary said on April 19, 2011 at 8:34 pm

    Eleanor’s love slave?

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  63. Rana said on April 19, 2011 at 9:35 pm

    When the Dems start pointing out next year which party wants to take those things away

    See, I’m not so sanguine that they’ll succeed in doing this. One, they haven’t shown much effort to do so to date, and two, if they do, good luck in getting the media to give them the necessary airtime to counter the Republicans on the other side who will be blaming immigrants, gays, people on welfare, liberals, and “big government” for people’s hardships.

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  64. moe99 said on April 19, 2011 at 9:43 pm


    Damn straight

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  65. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on April 19, 2011 at 9:59 pm

    I was impressed that he came back to help the intern pick up the sheets off the floor of the well.

    Anyhow, Mary was soooo close with FDR’s entry on his annual tax return for “occupation.”

    Roosevelt always listed “tree farmer.” That’s part of why he was so passionate about the CCC during the New Deal; reforestation and park building was almost more important to him than it was to Cousin Teddy, but Franklin had the local picture more in focus than the grand sweep of vast western expanses. Every year, before and all through his presidency: tree farmer.

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  66. alex said on April 19, 2011 at 10:01 pm

    My Man Mustafah

    I want one o’ them stickers, Helvetica reverse on kelly green. I wanna make ’em.

    And I’d like to make guerilla stickers to slap onto those God-awful In God We Trust license plates—No “We” Don’t, Cousinfucker.

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  67. nancy said on April 19, 2011 at 10:08 pm

    As amusing as such a sticker would be, I must remind you all that there are many, many Arab Christians who made their way to this country, even Syrians. Many of them live around here.

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  68. prospero said on April 19, 2011 at 10:12 pm

    Casual racism? No such thing? You are or you aren’t. Trump is, and there is no scum lower than a racist. Racism is subhuman, and it’s inherently and exceptionally stupid. You can put a long=haired rat on your head, but you are still a bald asshole. Trump may not be Huckabee fucking stupid, but guttdom he is thick as a brick. And the Congressional GOP? Like lasers, I tell you. Lasers, on jobs. Dumbass pieces of lying sacks of shit.

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  69. brian stouder said on April 19, 2011 at 10:35 pm

    The God plate never appealed to me; but Pam surprised me and got no-extra-charge sequential Lincoln Boyhood Home plates, for the mini-van and car.

    The Journal-Gazette ran a long and interesting Sunday article about one of our local charter schools, and the money shuffle they do.

    Here’s a key sidebar:

    For the 2010-11 school year, Indiana taxpayers will pay rent and facility operating costs totaling $4.3 million for four Imagine charter schools. Of that amount, almost $3 million goes to investors in a Missouri-based real estate investment trust:
    •Imagine MASTer Academy, Fort Wayne: $790,704 in rent, $366,200 in operating costs; 16.6 percent of total budget
    •Imagine on Broadway, Fort Wayne: $490,432 in rent, $121,500 in operating costs; 18.4 percent of total budget
    •Imagine Life Sciences Academy East, Indianapolis: $1,053,668 in rent, $401,800 in operating costs; 21.8 percent of total budget
    •Imagine Life Sciences Academy West, Indianapolis: $870,417 in rent, $214,700 in operating costs; 22.4 percent of total budget

    Friend-of-nn.c Mark the Shark GiaQuinta mentioned this at a recent school board meeting, and succinctly concluded that this looked a lot like fraud.

    The temptation is to rant and rave about this, but I’ll resist that temptation and simply point out that this, in a nutshell, is why I will always , always (always) be a rock-solid supporter of public education, and an implaccable foe of public “vouchers” for private, for-profit schools.

    This ridiculous charade*, it seems to me, encapsulates today’s discussion about money and wealth and power; and the ageless divide between public-minded civic responsibility on the one hand, and flat-out pig-faced shameless greed and avarice and hypocrisy and – yes – oughta-be-a-damned-crime money grabs.

    (well, that was almost a rant, so we’ll stop now!)

    *those astronomical rents that they pay exceed the purchase value of the facilities after 4 years!

    edit: I must remind you all that there are many, many Arab Christians who made their way to this country

    As the Donald might say, I’ve always had a great relationship the Arab Christians; some of them are my best friends!

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  70. holly said on April 19, 2011 at 10:43 pm

    Explain this to me someone. These nuts keep getting voted in. Why?

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  71. Kim said on April 19, 2011 at 11:06 pm

    Because, Holly, in places like where I live just 44% of the registered voters turn out to choose their U.S. representative. That’s registered, not eligible. So that 50-50 split of America that we keep reading and hearing about is really a 50-50 of far less than half of all Americans. It’s disgraceful. But that is how a minority voice gets louder, at least for a time.

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  72. Dexter said on April 20, 2011 at 12:44 am

    Anyone see the Trump interview last night conducted by Michael Isikoff? Trump kept saying EXCUSE ME to every question Isikoff came at him with. Trump was CEO and took a $2 mil salary from one enterprise but said ” EXCUSE ME , I was paid for my genius and I had nothing to do with running the company!”

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  73. moe99 said on April 20, 2011 at 1:20 am

    This is the other part of the Ryan proposal that was ignored, Jeff tmm.

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  74. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on April 20, 2011 at 7:00 am

    Ummm, I said “I do think that the payroll tax limit is ridiculous, and based on a legal fiction about Social Security that is as much a dead letter as Mary Lincoln’s thank you note to the cast and crew at Ford’s Theatre. Jack that one up and means test Medicare, and we’re probably fine into the 2050s.”

    Do I have to use a string of scatalogical imprecations about Ryan in order to indicate my disagreement with him on the Medicare fix? I’d rather not. When folks go there rhetorically I just skim on to the next comment. I doubt I’m alone in this.

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