Archives 2012

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Not at all surprising, unfortunately. Occupy was cracked down upon illegally.

Florida's long lines on Election Day 2012 cost Obama 49,000 votes.

Thoughts on Lincoln and emancipation.

Rush Limbaugh reflexively blames liberals for gun violence. Big problem is that liberals are less violent than right-wingers.

NJ Governor Chris Christie speaks common sense. Disapproves of guns in schools for use by teachers against the occasional rogue student mass murderer.

December 21st came & went. Worst apocalypse ever.

Florida Governor Rick Scott clearly has no idea how to answer the question of how we go about preventing another mass murder via guns.
Well, well, well! How surprising [/snark] to find Walmart right in the middle of the gun debate!

Texas Governor Rick Perry recommends anti-abortion law. Leaves critically-important details (How, exactly, should one punish a woman who has had an illegal abortion?) up to the Texas Legislature.

Further thoughts on gun control by another soldier (Neither he nor the previous "thoughts" ever saw serious combat action). Also, do people really react with clear thinking and precision when faced with an unexpected assault with a gun? Truly stupid suggestion for how to handle shooters. Does Newsweek not have editors?!?!

Yeah, we should take this with plenty of salt and skepticism for what it's worth, but the KKK stands against the Westboro Baptist Church! The KKK may simply be pulling a publicity stunt, but that's still pretty bad when they're the "voice of reason!"

Thinking of gun control: Do people really need clips that hold 30 bullets?!?! Can't they get by with six-bullet clips?

The Fiscal Cliff Slope talks continue. No deal is better than a bad deal.

The state of caring for mental health patients in America is not good. A very rude and snarky, but accurate response to anti-gun control people. Hmm, should we have insurance for guns?

TSA engages in seriously overzealous protection of airplane passengers by detaining a wheelchair-bound 12-year old girl who had what were apparently  traces of explosive powder on her hands.

Horrific shooting at elementary school (Sandy Hook, CT) occurs. 28 dead, 20 of whom were children. School principal was one of first deaths. Mother (Who was teacher at the school) of the killer had several guns, an AR-15 of hers was used to kill her.

The US is apparently engaged in the war crime and grossly immoral procedure of "double-tapping" drone strikes, i.e., sending another drone to the same target to strike after emergency personnel are on the scene.

Journalists are seriously falling down on the job in reporting the (overly melodramatically named) "Fiscal Cliff" talks by failing to note the human cost of "fixing" the budget. Also, virtually all of the commentators on TV are reporters, with hardly an economist in sight.

Senator Joe Lieberman (I-CT) gives final Senate speech. No one cares, hardly anyone attends.

Wow! Lots and LOTS of insecure males out there who took extravagant offense at a woman daring to criticize video games!

Very cool! The Federal Reserve has now explcitly tied interest rates to lower unemployment!

Republican Congressmen oppose Hurricane Sandy relief moneybecause of "wasteful spending."
An explanation as to how austerity failed Europe.

Press corp's failure of the year was its refusal to recognize that the Republican Party had become an extremist, radical organization that didn't care about what the truth was. Also, how Mitt Romney got mugged by reality.

Woo-hoo! Pvt. Bradley Manning, currently speaking in his courts martial about his unconstitutional pre-trial punishment, wins the Guardian's "Person of the Year 2012" award!

Actor Ed Asner narrates a short film about how America came to the situation it's in. Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh are outraged!!!11! Outraged, I tell you!!!

Fox News commenter Sean Hannity vows to "Fight for the soul of America." Uh, didn't we just have an election over the very issues that Hannity is addressing and uh, didn't the Republican Party lose?

Woo-hoo! Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren gets Banking Committee assignment!

Very sad to see CBS employing Frank Luntz as an analyst to analyze Rep. Paul Ryan without disclosing that Luntz received $20,000 from the Ryan campaign.

Good primer on the so-called "Fiscal Cliff."

Authorities admit, many, many years after it began, that the War on Drugs was a huge waste and complete failure. Also, DARE gives up on its War on Marijuana. They just weren't accomplishing anything.

November                         back to top

Statement from 300+ economists on how to restore jobs and growth.

Very sad to see how the press keeps ignoring the huge amount of obstructionism involved in the fight over the potential Susan Rice nomination for Secretary of State.

Good! Obama Administration opens up "Fiscal cliff" (More like a curb) negotiations with a bang instead of starting with their bottom line.

Hostess Foods goes into bankruptcy, executives want to give bonuses to 19 executive! Uh, no, those executives should "take a haircut," a reduction in pay, NOT an increase!

Remember Mitt Romney's "47%" speech to supporters? Well, it'snow been determined that he won 47% of the popular vote!

Walmart downplays Black Friday strikes across the country, but small as they were, they were historic!
Shades of the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire! Fire in Bangladesh clothing factory kills 100+ workers. And yes, Walmart had clothes being made there.

Excellent news! Supporters of ALEC did very poorly during election.

"Unskewed Polls" that completely misread the polls before Election Day has a theory that PA and OH and FL were all stolen by in-person voter fraud! In reality, such fraud is about as common as being struck by lightning or winning the lottery.

Interesting, thoughtful piece by a right-winger on why the Republican Party is doing so poorly.

Senator John McCain (R-AZ) skips two-hour briefing on Benghazi in order to complain about not knowing everything about Benghazi. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says no to a Benghazi inestigation.

CIA Director David Petraeus resigns due to an affair. Background on the multiple conflicts of interests that plagued the people around him. "But the warning signs about Petraeus’ core dishonesty have been around for years."

Complete, absolute, cluster**** on the other side! Mitt Romney's crew had absolutely zero clue as to how to organize an operation to track voters and to get them to vote on election day. More on that.

Should the left make a deal on the "Fiscal Cliff"? Hell no!!!!

Very interesting piece! After the first debate, Obama was criticized by the left, who made no excuses for him. After second and third debates, Romney was not criticized by the right, which covered up his poor performance and made excuses for him. Who was better served by the two respective strategies?

President Obama wins second term! Progressive favorite
Elizabeth Warren wins! Election results. 20 Biggest Sore Losers. Very interesting! Jenifer Rubin admits she knew all along the other candidate was a dog. Mitt Romney cancels everybody's campaign credit cards before campaign workers even get home, meaning everyone has to pay for their own rides home.
Hurricane Sandy hits the New York-New Jersey coastline with devastating results. Fortunately, Occupy picks up the slack and helps out! New Jersey Occupy Sandy (Facebook link) opens up.

Very thoughtful essay showing that no, Mitt Romney really truly doesn't believe that FEMA performs a valuable, worthwhile function for American citizens. Essay on just how the two political parties feel about FEMA. Storm damage in NorthEast Long Island.

Jonah Goldberg assesses the likelihood of Obama Administration malfeasance in the Benghazi tragedy where four American citizens died. He makes a very unconvincing case as yes, the CIA may be lying, but they said very straightforwardly that they were not given any orders to stand down or otherwise not assist the Benghazi personnel.

Wow! Fox News employee flatly disagrees with Bill O'Reilly that Obama and Colin Powell are demonstrating black solidarity.

October                         back to top

Yeah, Ann Romney has a definite "Marie Antoinette problem," as she reveals that she's really not very well-informed .

With an absolutely horrendous storm bearing down upon the East Coast (Facebook site), of course Paul Ryan wants to cut the budget for the weather-forecasting service that limits the loss of life caused by having too little information. Oh, and our wearher satellites are overaged and there are no replacements immediatelt available.

Yee-hah! Walmart workers are on the road to a union!

You gotta know that the "issue" of Benghazi and the four Americans killed there has passed its expiration date when Fox News person Geraldo Rivera, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and a Fox News military analyst all agree that the issue is dead and that people need to stop trying to make a scandal out of it. Update: Fox News' Shepard Smith refuses to second-guess military on same attack.
Sorry, but I have a really hard time feeling any sympathy for someone who gets "stung" by a James O'Keefe sting operation. O'Keefe has been around for too long, doing stuf that usually raises hackles and suspicions, for good reason. Update: Father apologizes for son being stupid and falling for the sting.

Hmm, so let me get this straight, "all options are on the table" for dealing with Iran over nukes, but the Obama Administration has been inconsistent towards Iran and should take a consistent, steady approach?!?!? Dude, make up your mind! And yes, the Romney campaign's constant flip-flops are a character issue.

Sorry, but drawing an equivalence between concerns over voting integrity and birtherism (the belief that Obama was born in Kenya) is completely insane!

George McGovern dies.

Whoa! Serious question as to the integrity of our voting system. Romney's son has financial stake in voting machine company in crucial swing state of Ohio!!!!

Just for the sake of argument, let's accept that abortion was illegal except for rape, incest or when the life of the mother was at stake. How exactly would having a rape exception work? The answer's more complicated than one would think.
Obama does much better in second debate with Romney! Did Romney request resumes of women candidates for appointment to State offices when he first became Massachusetts Governor?  No, he was handed a binder full of resumes when he won the election. Tucker Carlson was so angry after Romney's poor performance that he compared the  debate moderator, Candy Crowley, to John Wilkes Booth (Abraham Lincoln's assassin). Wow! Romney comes across here as seriously dickish!

Woo-hoo! VP Joe Biden mops the floor with wannabe VP Paul Ryan. Did he treat Ryan with disrespect? Yes. Do Ryan's ideas deserve disrespect? YES!
Oh, and Ryan majorly lied about his position on abortion.

Comedy Central's Jon Stewart expressed displeasure with the Obama campaign's focus on Romney's opposition to Big Bird, but there's actually a very good reason for that.

The CNN correspondent Soledad O'Brien is seriously distinguishing herself as a reporter who asks good, hard questions. Republican campaign officials are baffled as to how to deal with her. Brava Ms. O'Brien!!!

Wow! Mitt Romney never heard of family meals where everybody gets  served, they all sit down and all begin eating together? Nah, for him, it's just "put on the feedbag" time!

And the rich get richer. The top 1% ($100,000 per year and above) got 93% of all income gains while the bottom 80% lost a bit of ground.

Wow! One in seven Ohio conservatives believe that Mitt Romney was someohow, in some way, connected to the death of Osama bin Laden!

September                         back to top

Rep. Michele Bachmann is getting harder and harder to mock or parody. She now believe falafel is a "jihadi food."

Two good pieces on why progressives should ignore the earnest and sincere lefties who advocate not voting. The right-wing magazine National Review admits that the G.W. Bush years were a horrible, horrible, filthy stain upon the Republican "brand." It's a real problem for Republicans that the upcoming election is a referendum on Bush and on Bush's policies as Romney's policies simply aren't that distinct from Bush's.

CBS News appears to have trouble deciding whether frank Luntz is a former Republican consultant or a current one. There's no mystery to the question whatsoever. Luntz has received money from Republican groups in this election cycle. 

Romney later said he was making a joke, but wow! He suggested that airplains flying at 575 mph at 30,000 feet up should have windows that open!

Egypt is very concerned about the Palestinians of Gaza, but is also wary about annoying Israel.

Bill O'Reilly comments from inside the closed, hermetically sealed world of Fox News, complaining that liberals are close-minded.

Republican Representative who's been in the House since 1970 changes position on Afghanistan War.

Good heavens! The Romney campaign gave bonuses to their people?!?!?! Why?

Heh! Sorry James O'Keefe, but the taping of Romney in no way vindicates your own secret tapings.

Attorney General Eric Holder cleared of having any knowledge of "Fast and Furious" before it was revealed to the public.

Secretly taped Romey speech to contributors causes severe political damage to Romney campaign. Examination of Romney's speech compared to Obama's sort-of similar speech found wanting. Turns out Romney's just a sneering plutocrat after all.

David Leonhardt examines Republican tax cuts orthodoxy and finds it severely wanting. Major problem with Rep. Paul Ryan's justification as to why the Bush tax cuts didn't produce any results - "The economy in the Bush years, by contrast, had to cope with the popping of the technology bubble, 9/11, a couple of wars and the financial meltdown." Okay, the popping of the tech bubble, sure, I'll go with that, but 9/11 had a very limited, local effect and wars have a stimulative effect (counterpoint) and obviously, the financial meltdown started in late 2007 and the Bush recovery of 2001 to 2007 was the weakest since they began keeping records in the late 1940s .

Bwah-hah-hah!!!! Rick Santorum claims that Republicans will  "never have the elite, smart people on our side." Yup!

Yeah, Ann Romney has a serious "Marie Antoinette" problem. Mitt has absolutely no business running for president to begin with. Another major problem of Romney's is that he doesn't have a realistic, mathematically credible way to go about fixing the deficit.

Should progressive voters vote for Democrats or are there better alternatives?

Unfortunately, Solyndra, the clean-energy company that went bankrupt a year ago, appears to be the public face of clean energy. This has very little to do with the facts of the case and has much more to do with public relations and Fox News and how the traditional media has treated the subject.

Paul Ryan comes up with cute, after-the-fact justifications for lying at convention.

Republican ad allegedly demonstrates deep, widespread disillusionment with Obama. Slight problem, they had to use a highly-placed Republican campaign official to illustrate their point. One of the real "tells" is that she's allegedly deeply concerned about overspending. How many real progressives are concerned about that and how many oppose Obama for entirely different reasons?

Dick Morris goes completely off the deep end with wild, hysterical claims.

Sandra Fluke (No longer a law student, she's now an attorney) makes excellent points at Democratic convention. Jon Stewart observes that Democratic Convention is significantly different from Republican Convention in that their "Big Dog," Bill Clinton, uses actual math in his speech as opposed to fuzzy generalities. And as Jared Bernstein points out "Ryan’s reputation for true wonkishness seems to be vastly overstated" and in fact, he has a lot more in common with Sarah Palin than with any true wonk.

Paul Ryan claimed to have run marathons (plural) in under three hours. Oops! He only ran one and it was a bit over four hours! Now, just plain finishing a marathon is pretty darned impressive all by itself and four hours is a decent time, but this shows that Ryan has a very serious problem with telling people the truth. 

My review of the Reublican Convention.

August                         back to top

Ooh! Ow! Clint Eastwood at Republican Convention! Very painful to watch.

Governor Nikki Haley (R-SC), representing women to the Romney campaign, has no clue about how any of them feel about birth control.

Wow! This is the sort of business experience Romney looks for?!?!?! He actually approves of experience like this?!?!?!

Good plan for reviving the economy

Roman Cathoic Bishops need to support “Nuns on the Bus,” not Paul Ryan.

Very sad, amateurish puff piece in Parade Magazine. The Romneys are asked about their reaction to political criticism without any specifics as to what the criticism is or how justified the particular critcism may be.

Newsweek publishes a cover story that's highly critical of President Obama. Factcheck? Why would we factcheck? Aren't we simply supposed to trust our source to be accurate? The author of the piece complains that people are not discussing the central point of his piece. Okay, but if his piece fails a basic factcheck, why would anyone then get to his central thesis?  And so "Village" media slips another notch in credibility. 
There's actually a very good reason that the Family Research Council is designated a hate group by the SPLC. The WaPo is wrong to simply dismiss the criticism they've received for backing the FRC.

So just how would Rep. Ryan run the country if he were in charge? A look at his district and at his apparen satisfaction with the situation there indicates that his district would be a template.

Rep. Todd Akin (R-MO), a hardcore anti-abortionist, presents a rather, uh, interesting theory that posits that women don't really get pregnant when they're raped (Something about "secretions"). Actually, the number of pregnancies begun by rape yearly is in the tens of thousands. CNN's Dana Loesch defends Akins.
Update: Did Akins take back his remark? No, he expressed sympathy with rape victimes, but didn't take back his "secretions" theory.
A second CNN contributor, Erik Erikson, defends Akins' remark. Oh, okay. Now, Akins agees that rape can result in prenancy. The "secretions" theory is very popular among the anti-abortion crowd.

Very serious problems with reporter Jake Tapper and economic issues.

Interesting and not-at-all surprising look at the failed attempt to rebuild Iraq. As I concluded in Decembr 2002, the US had no real interest in rebuilding Afghanistan and so was highly unlikely to succeed in rebuilding anywhere else. And yes, I was completely unimpressed with the tales of the rebuilding of Japan and Germany as those were simply a matter of reconstructing societies that were already industrialized.

Ann "Lady Antoinette" Romney insists that we regular people are just going to have to be satisfied with the tax returns that Mitt has released. It's annoying to hear that "We've fulfilled legal requirements" because releasing tax returns is not a legal requirement to begin with, it's a sign of good faith and a demonstration that one has nothing to hide.
How much of a bump did the Ryan vice-presidential nomination provide? Not much, a barely discernable 1%. Also, the undecided, middle-of-the-road, uninformed moderate is now even less important than before.

Woo-hoo! Soledad O'Brien schools former Governor John Sununu, who keeps insisting that Romney has laid out his own budget plan as opposed to just copying Ryans'. Slight problem with that - his "plan" is all dessert and no broccolli.

Ryan is considered a budget hawk. Is he? Ha, ha, ha!!!! Not hardly! Good, lengthy piece on William Saletan and Ryan. The claim made by Saletan is that Ryan has: “He has actually crunched the numbers and laid out long-term budget proposals.”
But as our blogger points out: "Except that he hasn’t. This details-oriented, number-crunching fiscal conservative has neither laid out the details nor crunched the numbers… as Saletan himself admits.".

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) is Romney's choice for Vice President. Interestingly, both right-winges and left-wingers are pleased as both feel this choice will bring ideological substance into the race. Obama is pleased.

Romney's tax plan is completely unworkable. The numbers just don't add up. Also, I took a look at his energy plan. Not sure how it would help the economy as it's just Sarah Palin's "Drill, baby, drill" plan from 2008.

Bwah-hah-hah!!! Republicans are worried that their buddies will fail to behave themselves in Tampa, FL during their convention there. Strippers and hookers are heading to Tampa for a profitable few days.

July                         back to top

Pennsylvania's voter ID law a clear case of using a cannon in a crowded apartmet building to try and kill a mouse.

Iraqis returning to their country from exile in Syria. Not a happy story at all. And gee, wow! Surprise, surprise! Who ever would have thought such a thing?!?!? Author discusses how "oil was a central part of the strategic thinking behind the [Iraq] war, and consistently shaped the conduct of the occupation."
Not feeling very good about poosiblity of Romney getting into office with his attitude towards Iran. Romney's very likely to start up a war with Iran very quickly.

Obama's taking some grief for his attacks on Mitt Romney's old company, Bain Capital, but there are indications the attacks are working just fine. And yup! It's now confirmed by the Romney campaign's pivot from talking about his business experience to talking about his as governor of Massachusetts, showing us that Bain has now become toxic!

Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-WI) conducting wild, hysterical witch-hunt against aide to Secretary of State Clinton amd fellow Congressperson.

Presidential campaigns blow past $1 billion!!!! they're expected to spend up to $3 billion on campaign. Oh, and a report states that big banks and large financial institutions are together holding $3.3 trillion in cash. Sure would be nice if they could find a way to spend all that.

Horrible! Absolutely horrible! Gunman shoots 71 people in dark theater, kills 12 in Aurora, CO.  1970s rock'n'roller Ted Nugent weighs in with incredibly stupid views. Further thoughts on Nugent.

Yeesh! And Ann Romney wonders why people consider her a modern-day Marie Antoinette? When asked about Mitt's tax returns, she explained that they had “given all you people need to know.”
Mitt Romney, criticizing the HHS birth control requirement, said: “I know we are not all Catholic in this room, but I feel like we are all Catholic today” in our effort to preserve religious liberty.

No, we are not "all Catholics" in any way, shape or form. Many of us do not agree that "religious liberty" includes the right to oppress our
fellow men and women.

No, sorry, but "line-crossing" is NOT always "in the eye of the beholder," the Swift Boat Veterans of 2004 do NOT compare with Obama's rough treatment of Romney today. And please remember "It's not 'swift-boating' if it's TRUE!!!"

Abington Hopistal considered merging with Holy Redeemer, but when it became clear that Abington would therefore stop doing abortions as a result, the public erupted and forced them to call of the merger. Local website.

Excellent piece on Bain Capital and why outsourcing is so difficult for Romney to defend.

Rush Limbaugh is convinced, convinced, I tell you!!, that the newest Batman movie was deliberately written to make Romney look bad. The villain is "Bane," which sounds like
Bain Capital (Bane was introduced in 1993). Limbaugh  later walks that back a bit.

Absoluely classic political attack ad!!! Destined to go down as one of the great ones!

WaPo fact-checker needs to be less openly partisan and needs to start checking actual facts.
Update: WaPo fact-checker does good by slamming Romney for incoherent , unproven accusation.

June                         back to top

Woo-hoo! The Affordable Care Act survives Supreme Court scrutiny! The basic package is preserved and Chief Justice Roberts was the deciding vote. Roman Catholic bishops are, of course, very sad because that means the ladies will get better health outcomes.
Many Iraq veterans now seeing that war as morally wrong and that realizations  leads to a certain type of PTSD.

Update on WaPo's look at Romney, Bain Capital and outsourcing. Kessler objects to Robert Parry's report and Parry shows that his report was correct. Jennifer Rubin reports that Romney's people went to the WaPo office to complain and got shot down and then put out a report that allegedly shows they're right.

Muhamed Morsi, the candidate of the Muslim Brotherhood is now Egypt’s new president with 51.73% of the vote. Will Egypt become the next Iran? Will it be a strongly religious state? Nah, Morsi will have to deal with a pluralist culture.

Sad and disturbing piece on the deterioration of SEPTA. The Republican Governor's anti-spending convictions butts heads with reality of crumbling transportation infrastructure.

WaPo does good by putting out piece on Bain Capital and it's "Heads I win, tails you lose" strategy with acquired companies. "Bain Capital in many ways invented the cottage industry of shipping US jobs overseas." Unfortunately, WaPo also put out fact-checking piece saying Bain didn't do that. Problem is, the factcheckers restricted their view on the problem, and so very badly distorted it. "Kessler relied on his own narrow interpretation of 'corporate raider' and then airily dismissed the findings of an investigative article by veteran journalist Tom Hamburger about Romney's role in job outsourcing..."
"Nuns on the Bus" who were formed to dispute Rep. Paul Ryan's budget-slashing plans, stop by Ryan's office.

Two old, two really, really bad ideas that should have died a long time ago. Missile Defense and NAFTA's interference with national sovereignty. Further details on how the new Trans-Pacific Partnership violates national sovereignty. And yeah, Bowles-Simpson is another terrible idea that should also be dead, but is still up and shambling around.

Home-care workers were considered to be just very part-time teenage babysitters, people who would care fror the kids until mom got home from work. Nowdays, home-care workers do a great deal more and work much longer hours, so President Obama wants to update the law and see to it that home-care workers are paid minimum wage. Senate Republicans are opposed to that.

Interesting pair of articles by David Brooks and Paul Krugman. Brooks talks up the economic problems in Europe and the trials of the welfare state in the US, but suggests that these are just sort of, uh, happening without any obvious agency, as though the welfare state were collapsing on its own. Krugman corrects that notion, showing that if the welfare state is collapsing, that's because Republicans are actively causing that collapse. Krugman also shows that the three states, Spain, Greece and Ireland, that are having the hardest time economically are also the most tightfisted with their social expenditures. Sweden, Germany and Italy spend lots and lots on social welfare and are doing fine.

Mitt Romney makes an absurd charge against Obama:

He says we need more firemen, more policemen, more teachers. Did he not get the message of Wisconsin?

Uh, people oppose a vaguely-defined "big government," but no one has ever come out against firemen, policemen and teachers. Romney sorta, kinda walks back his remark, but condemns a plan that most certainly did work the first time. It was supposed to keep hundreds of thousands of people  on the job, feeding their families and paying taxes, and accomplished precisely that.

Deeply questionable study makes unsupportable claims. When children have gay or lesbian parents, it's frequently because the parent was married to an opposite-sex person, got divorced and is now with a same-sex partner. Broken homes produce mental problems, so this should have been accounted for, but wasn't.
An alleged liberal makes a seriously unsatifactory proposal for dealing with right-wingers.

%$@&#!!!! Scott Walker crushes progressive opponent 53% to 46%. Republicans outspent Democrats seven to one, for a total of $125 million

Yee-hah!!! Justice Department demands end to Florida vote purge!!!! But as I was discussing this issue a few days ago, it baffled me. How does one conduct an online debate when right-wingers won't credit left-wing sources but the traditional media won't cover the story? Makes for a frustrating Catch-22. And yes, the problem of Republican governors discriminating against minority (Read: "Likely to vote Democratic") voters is a very real and serious one.

Ga-a-ah!!! The guys who were pushing Simpson-Bowles are back even as Paul Krugman shows that "the austerians" are completely and utterly wrong about their theory. Not very helpful is that the econom isn't doing very well right now.

May                         back to top

Ugh! "The Rules" are back, that method of getting guys that's based on dishonesty and fraudulence. Two separate women tried them on me, once in 1992 and the other in 2002. The first time, I had no idea what the woman was up to, in the second, I suspected, but was too late to ask her anything as she had already gone into her "ignore the guy" phase. Please assure all the single women you know that The Rules are a complete and utter waste of time.

Tom Friedman tries to make it sound as though reducing the budget deficit and putting Americans back to work are plans that are somehow compatible or that they can be pursued simultaneously or that they're both equally worth pursuing. They're not, they never were and they never will be. Also, it's just amazing how someone can say that we need to "restore our bond rating" when bonds are going for a 1.7% interest rate. Taking inflation into account, the bond markets are giving us money for free!
And yet, such a person is taken seriously!
And no, there's no evidence that the Governor of New Jersey, Chris Christie, is any less of a completely fake "fiscal hawk" than are Rep. Paul Ryan or the guy who backs his insane "Roadmap," Mitt Romney.

I write a piece on how a homophobe got treated by a reporter. Pleasantly surprised to see the reporter do a good job.  Very amusing to see a website started by the late Andrew Breitbart absolutely trashing the report.

The examption on hedging in the Volcker Rule must be closed. Immediately. Right now. No ifs, ands or buts.

Chicago anti-NATO actions - good summary at Truthout, OccupyPhillyMedia has a piece, Chicago Indymedia has lots of coverage, FireDogLake has a piece and Occupied Stories has many feature stories.
Campbell Browm, who has a CNN show called "No Bias, No Bull," and is also the wife of a top Romney campign aide (I don't mind people being biased, but I strongly prefer they be upfront about their biases), thinks Obama is condescending to women. Angry Black Lady says: "Oh, do shut up, lady!"
Oh, good heavens! G.W. Bush puts out a book that has, get this, advice on how to get the American economy moving! Erm, if you knew how to do that, why didn't you do it when you were in office?!?

The Village press corps and Americans Elect (The successor to Unity08 and No Labels).

It's becoming clear that JP Morgan made a bet that's only legal because the president of JP Morgan lobbied against precisely the rule that would have prevented that disastrous loss. Massachusetts Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren says: Restore Glass-Steagal!!!! (The Depression-era rule that banks that take consumer deposits aren't permitted to play finncial games with that money) Warren makes the case for "boring" banking policies. Yee-hah to that!!!!

The claim is that Mitt Romney can run the US economy because he was such a great businessman. But as an Obama campaign ad points out: "...even when companies collapsed, Bain made money—and they often made it at the expense of employees and taxpayers."
Very happy to see that the ACLU is challenging the "No-Fly List," which always struck me as a tyrannical overreach.

Kind of amusing that after making a major stink about Obama "not being vetted," right-wingers are complaining that the "liberal media" is vetting Romney. Mitt Romney, seen here forcibly cutting the hair of a classmate.

In a video that was shot a month before Republican Govenor  of Wisconsin Scott Walker said he had to eliminate collective bargaining because the fiscal state of the state demanded it, he explicitly declared that he was against collective bargaining, period. Walker says he doesn't want to pursue an anti-union "Right to Work" law, but he was very clearly dishonest by refusing to reveal that he was going after public-sector unions to begin with.
Oh, good grief! Now Roman Catholic bishops are opposed to the Girl Scouts!!

Some blithering idiot who has been pulling in $100 million a year made a stupid trade and lost $2 billion for his company. Big problem is that the FDIC might have been on the hook to cover that loss. Did J.P. Morgan Chase break the rules? Their president isn't sure. Shouldn't the rules be much tighter?

President Obama comes out in favor of marriage equality between gays and straights! What are Obama's motives? Who cares? He did the right thing, leave it at that.
Update: Moving tribute as to what Obama's declaration meant to a lesbian.

Senator Dick Lugar (R-IN) is now history as he lost his state's Republican primary. Good riddance to an old Confederate and why is bipartisanship such a big deal anyway? What we need less of is bipartisan compromise, what we need more of are sound, reasonable positions that are adopted out of principled self-interest.

93-year old PA woman gets purse stolen, thereby losing her photo ID. She therefore can't vote in next election. She's the lead plaintiff in lawsuit against state.

Good Obama campaign ad. Demonstrates that government plays a needed and legitimate role in economy.

Sorry, but I have absolutely zero sympathy for Colin Powell and his UN speech about having "irrefutable" evidence that Iraq had WMD. He has no excuse for not having known better.

I'm sure we've all seen the map of military bases surrounding Iran, RT adds some narrative detail to the map.

Mitt Romney - FAIL!!! Romney tries to make it sound as though he wanted the openly gay Richard Grenell to remain on Romney's campaign staff, but that Grenell wanted to leave. Yes, Grenell resigned, but that was because Romney failed to stand by his hired staff member, meaning Romney won't stand up to far-right wing people for anyone or anything.
Update: Gay Bush ambassador piles on!

President Obama makes surprise visit to troops and says US will be in Afghanistan two more years.

United Methodist Conference (Happens once every four years) concludes that Israel is wrong to occupy Palestine as it does, but won't take any real action to stop the occupation.

Truly pathetic. Americans Elect, the centrist group that's trying to find a conservative Democrat or liberal Republican to run against both parties, is facing massive indifference. Somehow, amazingly enough, they managed to spend $9 million on a website.
Bwah-hah-hah!!! Mitt Romney FAIL! Romney appoints an openly gay fellow to advise him on foreign policy and national security, but completely blows opportunity to demonstrate that he's tough enough to stick by the guy.

The Two Pauls - Krugman vs. Ron Paul.

Major May Day actions around the country by Occupy movement.

April                         back to top

Mitt Romney slams stimulus, but doesn't appear to have a firm grasp on just what it is that he doesn't like about it. Romney claims that he played a decisive role in the successful auto bailout. Erm, not so much, actually.

Excellent piece on how Afghan rebels are in 2012 while US Army is in Vietnam circa 1967.

The Republican Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) desperately defends himself against the charge that his budget is immoral as per Roman Catholic clergy.

Europe begins to wonder: "Is austerity really what we should be doing?!?!?!" Answer, of course, is "No!"

Beginning of presidential campaign ends as Romney finishes up primary campaign, establishes firm status as the Republican nominee and enters general election campaign. Not at all clear what he stands for, though.

Rush Limbaugh's latest attack on Sandra Fluke so ridiculous, even a Fox News panel laughs at him.

Anti-feminist Katie Roiphe contributes weird essay and Newsweek contributes cover photo to allegedly, supposedly, tell us what women and/or feminists really want. Is that to have "physical safety, economic security, political representation, and personal autonomy"? Ha, ha, ha! Of course not. Newsweek deserves to cease to exist for putting out crap like this.

Hmm, lot's of people getting into trouble with relgious authorities. Rep. Paul Ryan shrugs off the Roman Catholic Bishops who criticized his budget proposals as being un-Christian (Catholic Bishops then dishonored themselves by suppressing group of nuns who dared take issue with Church teachings) and Roger Ailes, who runs Fox News, gets criticized by Jewish justice organization.

Woo-hoo! Thomas Friedman wins the coveted "Wanker of the Decade" award! (I kid, of course. "Wanker" is an insult). 

Does Ann Romney "work" by raising children? Wel-l-l-, that depends on who's doing the work. If you're a wealthy, married housewife, you're working. If you're doing it for someone else for a salary, you're merely a minimum-wage worker. If you're monetarily poor and/or unmarried, you're a burden on society, a welfare cheat.

A round-up with a focus on Hillary Rosen's statement on Ann Romney.

NROs John Derbyshire contributes a screed so blatantly racist that even his NRO colleagues feel obliged to weigh in on how nakedly racist it is. Angry Black Lady provides an annotated version so that we know what he's really thinking when he says stuff like this. 

Gotta say, this is very, very good news about ALEC, the right-wing, pro-corporate  group that's been writing legislative templates for right-wing politicians to use around the country and that has been linked to the death of Trayvon Martin. Also, supporters of ALEC take hits over ALEC's support of Voter ID laws that act far more to suppress legitimate votes than anything else.

Now that Mitt Romney has the Republican nomination for President pretty much in the bag, it's time to look at potential Republican Vice Presidents. Not looking good. G.W. Bush's former budget director seems to be about the best of a very sorry lot.
Yowza! And we thought American conservatives hated their government! Russian wants to send Moscow to Siberia!

President Obama gives a great speech. He finally seems to have realized that there's simply no percentage in trying to compromise with the other side. Of course, Rep. Paul Ryan, the guy in charge of the Republican budget, doesn't like Obama's speech at all.

Gotta love that whole "pro-life killer" shtick.

The "War on Women" is taking a toll on the front-running Republican candidate. Romney responds by promoting wife to "rock star" status. Romney claims wife can defend Republicans better than he can.

The original Black Panther Party wishes to make it clear that the New Black Panther Party is an unauthorized pretender that has absolutely zero claim to having anything whatsoever to do with the original BPP.

Any deficit plan of the future is going to resemble the Bowles-Simpson (B-S plan) plan because there just aren't that many choices. The B-S plan is still an awful, crappy plan that no one should support.

Generally good timeline of the Trayvon Martin case, but it makes assertions about George Zimmerman being wounded on February 26th that are shown by April 2nd to be completely false. Much better summary here. Major problem with the case is that Zimmerman has not been taken into custody, apparently because of Florida's "Stand Your Ground" law, which at least Zimmerman believed, protected him from any legal liability for the cold-blooded, shooting murder of an unarmed teenager.  Of course, racism plays a huge role in the case.

March                         back to top

Jonah Goldberg has put out a new book(Goldberg's previous big work was Liberal Fascism). Problem: Goldberg confuses progressives with centrists and Villagers and the Obama Administration. Hint: These things are not the same. American politics is not split into just two, binary pieces. There are numerous, distinct, political groupings.

Paul Krugman's comments on ALEC. Man, these guys are behind just about every questionable legal movement that's occurred during the Obama Presidency.

And no, as expected, Rep. Paul Ryan's (R-WI) latest "budget plan" is nothing of the kind. Essentially, it's a campaign document, nothing that's meant to be taken seriously. Further commentary.

Whuuh? Nine years after the US invasion of Iraq and things are worse than ever?!?!? Wow! What a surprise! [/snark] 
In aftermath of a US soldiers' slaughter of Afghan civilians, our "embedded media" is anxious to "disappear" a warning from the US Army's top commander in Afghanistan, General John Allen, that makes the massacre entirely explicable and not "deranged" at all. Afghan President Hamid Karzai plays a double game, denouncing US troops as "demons," but offering permanent bases. Very importantly though, the demand for an end to night raids appears to be a non-negotiable demand that could spell the end of US involvement in Afghanistan.

Democrats robustly defend Medicare from Republican (And one Democrat) attack.

Rick Santorum decides upon a jihad/crusade against porno. Slight problem:  The consumption of porno grew at the same time that the incidence of rape/sexual assault shrank.

Police very violently toss Occupiers out of Zuccotti Park. Bloggers give further thoughts on future of movement.
Ever since the death of Andrew Breitbart, the right-wing media has been trying, unsuccessfully, to create some sort of scandal out of Breitbart's plans to "vet" Obama (Yes, "vetting" is normally done before someone takes office).
BTW, the traditional media reporter Soledad O'Brien did some really good pushback to a Breitbart minion, only to get trashed by right-wing pundits.
The catch-22 concerning Missile Defense and relations with Russia is that the US says MD is not aimed at Russia, but at the same time, the US will not share information on MD that would allow Russia to defeat MD. It's kinda hard to take US assurances seriously.

Heh! It's pretty difficult to maintain the talking point about the "Obama bear market" when the market refuses to reman bearish.

Rick Santorum dishonestly and dishonorably describes his professors at Penn State. And yup, really, truly, Santorum is "The finest mind of the 13th Century."

It's long past time to simply leave Afghanistan. Not really sure exactly what's being accomplished there to begin with.

Rush Limbaugh's advertising exodus becomes a flood as Limbaugh is left with drips and dregs of advertisers. Is Bill Maher even remotely comparable to Limbaugh in this respect? Not in terms of the length of his attack (Limbaugh launched 46 personal attacks on Sandra Fluke oer three days), Maher's insults were one-times, nor is Maher anywhere near as prominent on the Demcratic side of the aisle as Limbaugh is on the Republican side. BTW, the advertising exodus isn't only from Limbaugh's show. Advertisers are reconsidering right-wing hate talkers in general.

The Inky is running the Doonesbury strip this week that concerns a woman trying to overcome numerous obstacles in order to get an abortion. Numerous papers aren't.

HBO is running Game Change, about McCain's choice of Palin as his Vice-President. It's getting good reviews. Heh! John McCain gives his side of it.
"I thought she was the best qualified person," McCain insisted.

Rush Limbaugh apologizes to Sandra Fluke... sorta, kinda, ehh, not really. Notable statement:

I think it is absolutely absurd that during these very serious political times, we are discussing personal sexual recreational activities before members of Congress. [emphasis added]

No, nobody except Limbaugh discussed "sexual recreational activities." That was his personal contribution to the discussion.

Sandra Fluke's testimony very specifically pointed to other uses for it, including treatment of PCOS...

And his excuse, that he's an entertainer, might have some validity if his "jokes" were, y'know, funny.  They're not, they're mean and cruel. And does Limbaugh really object to bringing up sex before Congress? Not so much, actually.
Senator Olympia Snowe (R-ME) used her influence badly and will not be missed. She proved that moderation without principles is worthless.

"Do not speak ill of the recently departed" would be a nice policy to uphold. Of course, Andrew Breitbart did no such thing.
The refusal of traditional media to take any sort of stand on what he meant is becoming less and less of a safe stand.
Update: Matt Taibbi has no respect for Breitbart and says so, gets his wiki hacked and receives prank phone calls in response by Breitbart fans.

Sandra Fluke responds to the disgusting ad hominem attacks against her launched by Rush Limbaugh. "Slut-shaming" seems to be becoming official Republican policy. Speaker Boehner is asked to denounce Limbaugh's statements and well, he sorta, kinda does. Good to see Carly Fiorina, who ran on the Republican ticket, break ranks with Republicans to denounce Limbaugh.
Andrew Breitmart dies. Condolence to his family.

February                         back to top

Dang! The One Million Moms just can't get any respect! First, they condemn J.C. Penney for advertising with Ellen DeGeneres. Her speech was basically an "eff you" and her fans placed +80,000 "likes" onto their Facebook page,  overwhelming the 40,000 that the "Million Moms" had on theirs. Then the OMM condemned Archie Comics and Toy 'R Us for carrying the comic that featured a gay character and again, the response is basically "eff you." They "just can't get no respect" I guess.

What's next for the Occupy movement as Spring arrives.

Post-mortem on Operation Hilarity. It cost Romney $4.3 million, actually, and prevented his victory from being by double-digits. Santorum only lost by 41-38 instead of by 12 points.
Double bonus: Santorum is being condemned for accepting liberal aid and assistance!

The book Three Cups of Tea was recommended to me by a fellow Democrat at a local Democratic meeting. It's about a fellow who raises funds from the US and builds schools in Afghanistan. He also made it clear that this couldn't be done without the protection of US troops. As I've often said, the only way to establish a presence that the Afghan people will tolerate is by having people in the field and on the ground, doing things that benefits Afghans directly. Our "Colonial Corps" can't all just be sitting in offices in Kabul.
Update: a blog post summarizing and adding to the above as well as a local candidate for office.

Ahh, fooey! Mitt Romney defeats Rick Santorum in Michigan 41% to 38%. But hey, it cost Romney $3 million to lock down his home state.

An unfortunately typical right-wing, neo-conservative piece on Afghanistan. No real analysis on how peaceful or economically stable the country is, how much real and serious progress was made on the nation-building front, no word on how faithful Afghans are to their American "protectors," just dire and ominous warnings about how terrible it would be to pull out of there.

Got a letter printed in our local paper. I then respond to critics.

Good case for defeating Mitt Romney in November. Romney represents Neo-liberalism. We defeat him, we defeat that. Rick Santorum has absolutely no clue about Kennedy's 1960 speech regarding separation of church and state.

Quite sad that Al Jazeera has an excellent report up on America and the Citizens United decision. Far better than what you'll see anywhere in the American traditional media. The 2000 election for all offices cost $3 billion. The 2008 election was $5 billion. The 2012 election is projected to cost $7 billion.
Newt Gingrich complains about US apologizing for burning Koran. *Sigh*, why is the US still in Afghanistan?

Stadium FAIL! Mitt Romney rents stadium for embarrassingly small audience to see substance- free speech. And yes, President Obama filled that same stadium.

Darrell Issa conducts hearings about
contraception and health insurance. Doesn't include any women, nor even any pro- contraception witnesses.

So if peaceniks are anti-war, why do they want to see women in the military?

It just absolutely amazes me how people who served as economic advisers during the G.W. Bush Administration are considered to be "Very Serious People" today.

Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum are competing fiercely to win in Michigan. Romney was willing to take an ax to Title X even before the Komem fiasco and Santorum suggests that Obama isn't really a Christian because the two of them have some theological differences. Obama's campaign takes exception to that remark.

Heh! Poor House Majority Leader Eric Cantor can't seem to explain why Republicans want to cut Medicare at the same time that 80% of all voters strongly oppose cutting Medicare.

Mitt Romney tries to tie Rick Santorum to organized labor. Slight problem with that, the AFL-CIO gives Santorum a voting score of 13%. Santorum also selectively complies withs Roman Catholic theology, I think that's called being a "Cafeteria Catholic." Foster Friess, the billionaire backer of Rick Santorum, said “Back in my day, they used Bayer aspirin for contraceptives." Santorum claims Friess was joking, but it's far from clear that he was. [Update] Santorum also said:

[Contraception is] not OK because it’s a license to do things in a sexual realm that is counter to how things are supposed to be.

Virginia requires that women who want abortions have a penis-shaped piece of plastic inserted into their vaginas. Yeah, it's essentially rape.

One of the problems with our voting system is that it, uniquely among advanced democracies, relies on the individual voter rather than being a government function.
Poor Fox News! Unemployment goes down and the President's approval rating goes up. What are they to do? Basic approach seems to be a combination of suggesting that good news must be fabricated and just plain denial.

NBC News reports that the US is supplying and enabling MEK, the anti-Iranian terrorist group. And yes, BTW, it's a felony to do so. It's not just Republican Rudy Giuliani that's spoken out in favor of MEK, Demcrat Howard Dean has done so, as well.

Round-up of reaction to foreclosure fraud settlement.

Da-yum! Former PA Senator Rick Sanorum's doing pretty well against Romney in polls of Republican Party voters! His long-term prospects are poor, but it's telling how unpopular Romney is. Public Policy Polling  explained back in November: "the more GOP primary voters across the country have been exposed to him, the less they've liked him." Despite all that, Romney remains the choice of Republican strategists. 
An award of dishonor that no one should want,
Sharyl Atkisson of CBS News has won an award from Accuracy In Media, called a "cesspool of hate" by MMFA. Her reporting has come under fire for being quite shoddy and sloppy and biased. Sounds like a good match. CBS should hang its head in shame.
Update: CBS decides at the last minute to state that Atkisson was unable to accept the award. Announcement of award was on the 7th, cancellation was on the 9th.
How big a problem is voter fraud, where a voter illegally casts a vote under false pretenses? The only two people convicted of it are Republicans.
James O'Keefe and Indiana Secretary of State Charlie White, y'know, the guy in charge of overseeing voting in Indiana. He claimed to be living at one address, but was using another address for employment documents. Naturally, the Governor wants to reinstate him ASAP!
Yay! After much durm und strang, Komen reverses itself and promises to renew funding to Planned Parenthood, or does it? There are strong reasons to consider their reversal to be more kabuki than substantive.
Update: Karen Handel, long since identified as the primary instigator of the Planned Parenthood fiasco, resigns.

The Move Your Money campaign appears to be very successful! In the last three months, 5.6 million people have moved their out of the big banks, with 610,000 specifically citing the movement as a reason for doing so.

Mitt Romney comments on the safety net being strong. True, it is, but that's no thanks to him or to the Republican Party in general as both have been energetically shredding that same safety net. Kinda like, yeah, Romney carefully follows the tax code, but he also helps to shape that same code. Oh, and BTW, fiddling with the capital gains tax rate does nothing to help the economy.

The Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation has been assisting Planned Parenthood. Komen has now decided to sever that relationship as their new vice-president is an anti- abortionist.

January                         back to top

So much going on, I did a round-up piece.

In a dial-poll (People twist their dials as they approve or disapprove of parts of a speech while listening to it), Republicans, Democrats and Independents all very strongly approve of the part of the SOTU where President Obama speaks of wealthy people like himself and others paying "our fair share of taxes." Take a bow, OWS!!!

Did the House of Representatives pass 30 jobs bills? Uh, no, actually, they did nothing of the kind.

Politifact becomes ever more irrelevant by calling a completely true statement in the SOTU "Mostly True." Is a president justified in taking credit for economic recovery? Yes, governors and mayors play a role, but from a lengthy tradition on the part of both Republican and Democratic presidents doing just that, I'd say yes.

After the State of the Union speech, former G.W. Bush Budget Director Mitch Daniels gives the Republican rebuttal, proving that he has no better grasp of economics than he did in his former job (Rachel Maddow looks at his career as Governor of Indiana and no, there's no sign that he's improved there, either). Fox News, of course, loved Daniels' speech.

And yes, the Tea Party is completely irrelevant as a political force.

Presidential candidate Mitt Romney's popularity craters as Newt Gingrich's rises strongly. Romney just doesn't wear well with voters.  Gingrich, OTOH, knows how to throw that red meat with great skill.

Bwah-hah-hah!!! Wisconsinites get a million signatures in just two months to initiate a recall of Governor Scott Walker! What did they need to get up to in order to initiate a recall? 540,208 or a little over half of what they actually got. Sounds to me like his opponent might as well start picking out new drapes for the Governor's office.

Uh, Mah, Gawd! Texas Governor Rick Perry claims Turkey's government is a group of terrorists! Turkey is less than amused.

Gotta say, I'm completely baffled by the idea of replacing Joe Biden with Hillary Clinton. I just have a really hard time imagining that that will win Obama as much as a single extra vote.

The ol' "dead voter" myth just won't die. Problem is that spectacular, salacious accusations usually turn out to have boring, pedestrian realities that conflict with those accusations.

Rick Santorum wonders why he isn't doing better in the polls. It just might be because of answers like this.
Nevertheless, over 150 social conservatives decided to endorse Santorum anyway.

Hoo boy! The New York Times Public Editor seriously steps in it! He actually has to wonder whether reporters should call out a candidate for teling lies. His primary example is nowhere near as problematic as he makes it out to be. The case of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas is an open-and-shut case. Thomas is guity and should be tossed off the court.

Amazingly, the records of the meetings of the Federal Reserve Board shows people that, in 2006, were apparently unaware that America had an $8 trillion housing bubble. Many of these people are still at the Board!!! Fire 'em all!

The heat on Mitt Romney for being a carbon copy of Wall Street's Gordon Gekko gets hotter and hotter! BTW, whatever happened to the Tea Party? The 2012 presidential line-up is almost an exact doppelganger of 2008s.

So, former Pennsylvania Republican Senator Rick Santorum is now considered a credible candidate to displace Mitt Romney. Santorum does not believe that there is any right to birth control, feels that in the case of a handicapped child, that "family, friends, neighbors and the church could help, and that caring for someone would knit them closer." Um, yeah, except that American society is nowhere near that closely-knit and he himself has a fortune and that taking care of someone with health problems isn't a problem for him. Oh, and the Vatican likes him (Which to me, of course, is a major reason not to like him).

Oh, man-n-n-n, I sure hope this isn't what it appears to be. This isn't looking too good, either. I really, really hate the thought that the US might go to war with Iran!
The Daily Kos blogger considers the Republican debate so boring, he starts citing sports scores.

Did Mitt Romney, as head of Bain Capital, create a net of 100,000 jobs (That is, jobs added minus jobs deleted)? This is far from an academic question, as Romney's whole campaign is premised on the idea that he, as a businessman, is more qualified to revive the US economy than Obama is. Problem is, the proof he offers is very dodgy, iffy and questionable. Romney appears to be more like Gordon Gekko of the 1987 movie Wall Street, who buys up companies only to then break them up and sell off the pieces.

Santorum won more points than expected in Iowa, so he's now the frontrunner as far as Bill Kristol is concerned.

Greatest moments of "Occupy Philly" video.

Former PA Senator Rick Santorum casually singles out African-Americans as receiving "somebody else's money" when receiving government assistance. In an item that may or may not be  related, FAMiLY endorses Santorum as Romney is just not extreme enough for them.