Bush policies and the national debt

This chart says it all. The notion that our debt is simply a “spending problem” as claimed by Republicans is ridiculous.

The wildly successful auto industry bailout

Chrysler announced today that it is repaying $7.5 billion to the U.S. government years ahead of schedule. Meanwhile, GM has announced it will hire thousands of new workers in the U.S. after a successful IPO.

The bailout of the U.S. auto industry in 2009 by the Obama administration was very unpopular, but it will go down as one of the shrewdest decisions of President Obama. Letting GM and Chrysler go through a bankruptcy liquidation would have killed thousands of jobs and possibly turned the recession into a depression. Thousands of auto suppliers would have been insolvent immediately, thus creating even more job losses.

Most on the right, including presidential candidates Tim Pawlenty and Mitt Romney, opposed bailing out the auto companies. Mitt Romney even penned an op-ed arguing that we should let Detroit go bankrupt. They look like fools now, and the Democrats just released a preview of how this issue will be highlighted in the 2012 campaign, particularly in the Midwest.

Donald Trump won’t run for president

Businessman and possible Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks at the Greater Nashua Chamber of Commerce Expo luncheon in Nashua, New Hampshire May 11, 2011. REUTERS/Brian Snyder (UNITED STATES – Tags: POLITICS BUSINESS)

Big news!! What a shocker!!

Naturally, many people thought this was baked into the cake from the beginning. Donald Trump is a publicity whore. We all knew that. What we didn’t know was how stupid he could sound when he opened his mouth about topics other than real estate, reality TV or beauty pageants.

He completely embarrassed himself, probably doing great damage to his brand along the way. He also did some damage to the Republican Party, showing how gullible many GOP voters can be when it comes to topics like the birther issue. We saw how a carnival barker could shoot up in the polls just by running his mouth, and the rest of the field came across as very weak in the process.

Fortunately, Trump was humiliated by President Obama before he made his inevitable announcement that he wasn’t running. Even prospective GOP voters finally saw through his bullshit as his poll numbers plummeted after Obama released his long-form birth certificate and then had Osama bin Laden killed.

Good riddance . . .

Mike Huckabee, Ted Nugent and a bunch of blue-haired ladies

Musician Ted Nugent plays on the field before the start of play between the Dallas Cowboys and the Philadelphia Eagles in their NFL NFC wild card playoff football game in Arlington, Texas January 9, 2010. REUTERS/Mike Stone (UNITED STATES – Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL ENTERTAINMENT)

Mike Huckabee didn’t surprise anyone with his announcement tonight that he wasn’t going to run for president. But he tortured the few people who cared about his announcement and the political reporters who had to watch by waiting until the end of his show to make the announcement. Maybe he’s taking cues from Donald Trump.

Before the announcement, Huckabee had washed-up rocker Ted Nugent plat “Cat Scratch Fever” in front of the lamest audience I’ve ever seen. It looked like they cleared out the nearest nursing home and dragged the poor folks in the listen to old Ted. It didn’t sound that bad, and Huckabee seemed to do fine on the base, but watching Nugent play in front of this audience was just pathetic.

Jokes for Friday . . .

Enjoy the weekend:

“In the wake of the killing of Osama bin Laden President Obama’s approval rating jumped to 56 percent, his highest in two years. Which shows there is literally nothing he can do to please the other 44 percent.”
––Seth Meyers
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“Conspiracy theorists who are claiming that we didn’t really kill bin Laden must be reminded that they didn’t think he did the crime in the first place. Come on, nut jobs, keep your bullshit straight: The towers were brought down in a controlled demolition by George W. Bush to distract attention from Hawaii, where CIA operatives were planting phony birth records so that a Kenyan named Barack Obama could someday rise to power and pretend to take out the guy we pretended took out the towers. And I know that’s true because I just got it in an email from Trump.”
—Bill Maher

Liberals vs Conservatives

Here’s an interesting take on the battle between both ends of the political spectrum from a reader of Andrew Sullivan’s blog. Bottom line? Liberals are stuck in the 60s, while conservatives are stuck in the 70s.

Both sides are often saddled with their dogmas, and then the news media repeats these differences over and over again in 2 minute clips intended to offer “analysis.” It hurts the discourse in this country, and it’s boring as hell . . .

This is going to be a fun political season . . .

Saturday Night Live kicks off the 2012 presidential campaign with a spoof of the GOP candidates, focusing on those that haven’t announced yet. Tina Fey returns as Sarah Palin and she knocks it out of the park is usual. Her best line: “First I want to acknowledge that this week we finally vanquished one of the world’s great villains, and I for one am thrilled to say good riddance to Katie Couric!”

Bill Hader was hilarious as a “scared and horny” Shepard Smith.

Darrell Hammond also returned to spoof Donald Trump with a spot-on imitation. Let’s hope we see more of him as well along with the rest of the confederacy of dunces.

NBC screws up and lets Erin Burnett go . . .


Erin Burnett is leaving CNBC and moving on to CNN. CNN has been a disaster for years, so maybe a talent like Burnett will start to turn things around.

Meanwhile, you have to question the “brain trust” at NBC. What were they thinking?

She is considered one of the top stars at CNBC, and has even been talked about as a potential host for the “Today” show. However, a source told the Hollywood Reporter that NBC executives were not convinced of her suitability for a broader general news show, which could be a motive for her departure.

They’re nuts . . . Burnett would have been a star on the “Today” show or any other show they picked for her. It’s a big loss for NBC.

Debating the Drug War

Many are mocking the GOP presidential debate scheduled for tonight. Sure, we won’t have many of the major candidates, but as Andrew Sullivan points out, we now have a second libertarian candidate in the race – former New Mexico governor Gary Johnson. Last week he was interviewed on HuffPo, and here’s his take on the war on drugs:

So going back to 1999, I came to the conclusion… that 90% of the drug problem is prohibition-related, not use-related. That’s not to discount the problems with use and abuse, but that ought to be the focus. So in 1999, I advocated then, I advocate it now. Legalize marijuana. Control it, regulate it, tax it. It’s never going to be legal to smoke pot, become impaired, get behind the wheel of a car, do harm to others. It’s never going to be legal for kids to smoke pot or buy pot. And under which scenario is it going to be easier for kids to smoke pot or buy pot? The situation that exists today, where it’s virtually available anywhere, and the person that sells pot also sells harder drugs? Or a situation where to purchase it, you would have to produce an ID in a controlled environment, like alcohol, to be able to buy it. I think you can make the case that it would be harder to buy it, in that controlled environment.

When it comes to all the other drugs – [marijuana] is the only drug that I’m advocating legalizing – but when it comes to all the other drugs, I think what we ought to really be concentrating on are harm reduction strategies – the things that we really care about, which is reducing death, disease, crime, corruption – in a nutshell, it is looking at the drug problem first as a health issue, rather than a criminal justice issue.

So here we have the border violence with Mexico. 28,000 deaths south of the border over the last four years. I believe that if we legalize marijuana 75% of that border violence goes away, because that’s the estimate of the drug cartel’s activities that revolve around the drug trade. The drug trade – prohibition – these are disputes that are being played out with guns, rather than the courts. Control this stuff, regulate this stuff, take the money out of drugs, and so goes the violence.

Hat tipAndrew Sullivan and Glenn Greenwald

As Greenwald points out, anything that shines a light on the stupidity of the drug war is a good thing. In many ways, the GOP debates will be a joke, particularly if the confederacy of dunces makes an appearance. But with Johnson and Ron Paul in the race, we have two credible voices who will challenge right wing orthodoxy. Remember four years ago when Ron Paul repeatedly called out Rudy Giuliani’s bullshit?

We need to have this debate on drugs. President Obama is way too distracted with other things to spend political capital in this area. Hopefully he will address it in his second term, and that will be easier the more we hear from people like Paul and Johnson.

Osama bin Laden killed by U.S. forces

Citizens of New York City gather at Ground Zero to celebrate the death of Osama Bin Laden. DP/AAD/starmxinc.com

Finally.

We can all celebrate the killing of Osama bin Laden in our own way. Many took to the streets near the White House, Ground Zero and other landmarks. College students at Ohio State jumped into Mirror Lake, an act usually reserved for Michigan weekend. Many were jubilant. Others were somber as well as this brought back the horror and pain of 9/11.

It shouldn’t have taken 10 years, but at least this murderer is finally dead.

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