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Old 02-11-2011, 08:16 AM   #741
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Congress just extended the Patriot Act. Thanks a lot, assholes, and that includes you, Obams.
Actually, they haven't passed it (yet). They apparently passed "a new rule which sets the parameters for debate on the bill." (this I got from GOP postpones Patriot vote - Jake Sherman - POLITICO.com ).
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Old 02-11-2011, 09:54 AM   #742
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That she's an effective attack dog, "a direct counterpoint to the liberal feminist agenda for America," as McCain gloated on FOX. That's her real attraction, not her uterus. A culture warrior's attack dog. She's used by them and she also uses them. Grrrly-grrrl power, it's why Paglia slobbers all over her.
but it's her uterus that gives her the credibility to make these attacks -- or at least credibility in the eyes of the Republican base. her #1 qualification was that she had a DS baby -- who she trots out and waves around at book signings, and it's incredibly offensive to me -- and thusly became the living, breathing embodiment of the pro-life movement, which was McCain's biggest concern, that the social and cultural conservatives didn't trust him and would stay home in 2008. i believe somewhere close to 90% of DS pregnancies discovered after an amnio are terminated (i could be wrong, but i do know it's a very high number), and i have a friend from high school who just gave birth to a DS baby who said that had they known they, too, would have terminated the pregnancy. Palin chose to keep the baby, and i think that's loving and compassionate and good for her and i personally wish there were no abortions on the basis of DS for a wide variety of reasons (not least because one has to wonder what the termination rate would be if we could genetically determine if, say, your baby would be gay). but, getting back to Palin, this was the jewel in her crown. sure, she could say cute things like she sold the governor's jet on eBay, or that she's quite a looker, or that she has a big beautiful family who, despite their lack of college degrees, has produced at least one vet and all seem very comfortably situated in their gender roles. as does their mother.

in many ways, Palin was a bit of a stroke of genius on his part -- remember our threads in here by some of our more excitable posters about how McCain would win if he picked Palin? -- and the problem turned out to be not just her total lack of preparation, but her lack of interest in becoming any more prepared than she had to be in order to survive a debate with (O')Biden.

i agree that since 2008 she's become a pitbull (aka, "hockey mom"), and an effective one at that. though i think she may have jumped the shark after Tucson where, as TPM so aptly put it: "Today was a day set aside to remember the victims of the Arizona shooting. Apparently, Sarah Palin has decided she's one of them.



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OK, now this helps clarify where you're coming from for me. But maybe we'll have to agree to disagree here, because I'm still not seeing the uniqueness of it. Many if not most of my black friends absolutely do keep track of every snide insinuation, disproportional criticism and looneytunes conspiracy theory directed at Obama(s), and yes they are vocally protective towards him and broadly speaking more insistent than I am on fingering the probable racism bound up in many of those attacks. Which I completely understand, and I'd be the same way with a female or Jewish president.

i think being protective of a candidate on the basis of race, gender, religion, etc., is perfectly understandable, and while it's not like i have many to choose from perhaps i do find Barney Frank funnier and more endearingly acerbic than he actually is because of our shared sexual orientation. and i think it's impossible not to feel as if you are somehow under attack whenever anyone attacks your candidate.

the difference, for me, is that with female candidates the defense often appears to be the reinforcement of hackneyed, mildly offensive sex-role stereotypes rather than seeking to overcome them in the way that Obama, for example, had to overcome the knee-jerk reaction that many white people had when exposed to the rhetorical flourishes of the black church.


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Apologies if I lost the plot...I'm not trying to stage an inquisition or anything here, it's just I've never quite understood what reads to me as your intensity of contempt for Hillary and (somewhat more understandably for me) Palin, and was puzzled by it.

i think you've misread my contempt for Hillary. i never thought i was contemptuous of her, and while she was not my first choice candidate, i would have happily voted for her. and my issues with her were more related to her being mired in broader 1960s cultural battles manifested in 1990s scandals and my fear that another Clinton in the White House combined with what i thought was some kind of crazy psychosexual castration anxiety on the Right (as evidenced by Diamond and his numerous Hillary-as-Witch photos) that would have created an unbearably toxic government. i thought/hoped/wished that Obama would have gotten us beyond all that precisely because he was the transcendental "One" born after the Baby Boom and that he'd likewise lead us out of these cultural battles and into a new era of pragmatism. perhaps i drank the Kool Aid, perhaps i read the Atlantic Monthly article "Goodbye To All That" (link here) too many times. clearly, this hasn't happened. it seems that there's no racial resentment, cultural panic, or paranoia of decline that an economic crisis can't whip up.

and trust me, if we had a President Hillary and she were beset by Tea Partiers waving signs that said "Iron My Shirt!" rather than some Kenyan nonsense, i'd be every bit as up in arms.

on a final note, sex role stereotyping, and also falling into step with said sex roles, really bothers me. always has. i was never a "boys will be boys" kind of boy, obviously, and perhaps i am more sensitive to this because of my lifelong discomfort with notions of "boys do this, girls do that" as well as how this is used as justification for degrading me as a human being. i'm equally as irritated with commercials and situation comedies that depict heterosexual married men as just another child a woman must take care of, what with his man caves and obsession with beer and football and boobies. i also find myself sometimes irrationally irritated when my female friends, once so ambitious, begin to drift from their careers and simply tread water until they can get pregnant and quit their jobs or go part time so they can spend their mornings at Starbucks with the other new moms. i see this and i'm always like, "really? really? so was all that talk 10 years ago in college just fashion?" men, on the other hand, really don't have these choices. well, sure, they do. we can all come up with examples of stay-at-home dads (heck, if we were to have children i'd be the stay-at-home parent in the beginning because my job is writing-based and i can do that from anywhere), or of equally hard working couples who easily share child-rearing duties. but, truth be told, i can think of very, very few of my hetero male friends -- lawyers, doctors, lobbyists -- who wouldn't feel that as some sort of emasculation. perhaps it's my issue -- how watching people entering their early 30s quickly and easy fall into the same roles their parents had and replicate the exact same life they once so deconstructed with undergraduate earnestness. and also how reassuring and comforting they find these roles. i don't have that. i have a freedom that perhaps none of them have. or, perhaps i envy it to a degree? either way, what the LGBT community, as well as women, all share is a common oppressor -- notions of the essential nature of gender and that deviations/perversions of that are indications of dysfunction. you're not really a woman, you're a "bitch." you're not really gay, you're a confused heterosexual. we were all supposed to resist this, and now many of us have decided it's much easier to accept society's role for you and learn to love those limitations.

i guess i'm just disappointed in the broad sense.

after all, would Hillary have risen on her own merits or did she need Bill's coattails?

to Palin's credit, she didn't run on Todd's coattails.
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Old 02-13-2011, 12:13 AM   #743
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in many ways, Palin was a bit of a stroke of genius on his part -- remember our threads in here by some of our more excitable posters about how McCain would win if he picked Palin? --
Oh yes. And also about how bulldyke bullheaded white harpies women might emasculate ruin the race, a less titillating prospect than social oppression at Yukon Barbie’s well-manicured hands. Anyway, I guess I’m not really comfortable with all this emphasis on wombs/uteri—it’s not her fertility that’s attractive/repulsive, it’s all the disingenuous paeans to maternal duty über alles. Not that she ever actually made that the center of her life or was even expected to, of course, but she sure made a reassuring rhetorical show of knowing her place. Or as a (firmly apolitical, nonvoting) neighbor of mine bemusedly observed on a related front, "Palin seems like the kinda girl where if you walked up to her in a bar and smacked her on the ass, she'd just giggle. Hillary seems like she'd deck you."
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the difference, for me, is that with female candidates the defense often appears to be the reinforcement of hackneyed, mildly offensive sex-role stereotypes rather than seeking to overcome them in the way that Obama, for example, had to overcome the knee-jerk reaction that many white people had when exposed to the rhetorical flourishes of the black church.
But “overcoming” (as opposed to simply ignoring, which both Obama and Hillary did lots of) is a rhetorical strategy, and requires a challenge with enough moral gravitas to be eloquently “overcome.” No one’s going to hand a female candidate anything as direct as “You don’t like white people” or even (per the Barney Frank example) “You don’t respect families” to wax transcendent in response to. Just a steadily belittling drip-drip-drip of ‘subtly’ gender-based allusions to psychopathic jilted mistresses, scolding refrigerator mothers, fingernails scratching on blackboards, and she-demons. And that’s just the stuff coming from major news network personalities, people who’re supposedly in your own political camp. Anyhow, I thought we were talking about how the supporters respond? ...which is something different.
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after all, would Hillary have risen on her own merits or did she need Bill's coattails?

to Palin's credit, she didn't run on Todd's coattails.
Yes, this was a big part of why I never favored Hillary--the dynastic aspect in general (been there, done that, no thanks), the especially extreme intimacy of the dynastic tie in this case (as you said, even more years of Clinton baggage in the White House), and the fact that while she’s surely got the requisite drive and intellect, she lacks on her own the strong accessibility and compelling presence that for better and for worse you need to become president in this country. I do suspect merely being female is part of that--again, what would a compelling female presence in presidential terms even look like? can we as a culture really even articulate that yet?--but, it's surely not all of it; there's no getting around that Hillary's no born communicator, by anyone's standards.

But, I think a case could be made that Palin did ride McCain's coattails--that she almost had to start out playing sexy/earthy character accessory to an unexciting yet bona fide Real Man in order to break in at all, because she's simply too damn goofy on her own.
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on a final note, sex role stereotyping, and also falling into step with said sex roles, really bothers me. always has. i was never a "boys will be boys" kind of boy, obviously, and perhaps i am more sensitive to this because of my lifelong discomfort with notions of "boys do this, girls do that" as well as how this is used as justification for degrading me as a human being. i'm equally as irritated with commercials and situation comedies that depict heterosexual married men as just another child a woman must take care of, what with his man caves and obsession with beer and football and boobies. i also find myself sometimes irrationally irritated when my female friends, once so ambitious, begin to drift from their careers and simply tread water until they can get pregnant and quit their jobs or go part time so they can spend their mornings at Starbucks with the other new moms. i see this and i'm always like, "really? really? so was all that talk 10 years ago in college just fashion?" men, on the other hand, really don't have these choices. well, sure, they do. we can all come up with examples of stay-at-home dads (heck, if we were to have children i'd be the stay-at-home parent in the beginning because my job is writing-based and i can do that from anywhere), or of equally hard working couples who easily share child-rearing duties. but, truth be told, i can think of very, very few of my hetero male friends -- lawyers, doctors, lobbyists -- who wouldn't feel that as some sort of emasculation. perhaps it's my issue -- how watching people entering their early 30s quickly and easy fall into the same roles their parents had and replicate the exact same life they once so deconstructed with undergraduate earnestness. and also how reassuring and comforting they find these roles. i don't have that. i have a freedom that perhaps none of them have. or, perhaps i envy it to a degree? either way, what the LGBT community, as well as women, all share is a common oppressor -- notions of the essential nature of gender and that deviations/perversions of that are indications of dysfunction. you're not really a woman, you're a "bitch." you're not really gay, you're a confused heterosexual. we were all supposed to resist this, and now many of us have decided it's much easier to accept society's role for you and learn to love those limitations.

i guess i'm just disappointed in the broad sense.
Thank you for taking the time to explain. I more or less inferred something like this was behind what was puzzling me, but I couldn't quite lay my finger on it.

Well...it's a huge topic, and well beyond this thread. The degradation of gay men in our culture is more harsh and drastic than that of women; no one goes around thinking, “There’s no human category ‘women,’ only pathetic failed men” or “She comes across like a woman, and that’s disgusting!” Whereas the degradation of women is more insidious and pervasive; certain dynamics follow you every minute of every day, and no social situation exists where “passing” is an option. You needn’t at all be a notably dominant (or forceful, or stubborn, or competitive etc.) woman to be affected by this and to feel it keenly; gentle-natured ‘team player’ women bristle regularly at being condescended to, girlie-ized and ignored, too. And there’s no default ‘safe space’ you can retreat to--leaving full-time work to raise your kids isn’t akin to going back ‘into the closet,’ if that's the analogy; you’re still a woman, and the world-at-large is still going to react to you accordingly. (Do you want to be a cold, shrill, selfish careerist, or a mush-headed, bovine-natured cookie baker? Take your pick…)

I know exactly what you mean about the melancholy of watching friends' youthful dream-up-the-world ambitions seemingly erode away, especially female friends, and that too is a huge topic, and not one where anyone can speak conclusively for anyone else. I do think that overall the transition from world-is-my-oyster/student mode to commitments-bound working adult mode tends to be more disillusioning for women than for men, both because certain obstacles loom larger there (in others' attitudes and unexamined social habits, as well as your own insecurities), and also because your social preparation for those obstacles wasn't perhaps as well-rounded as you'd once assumed (how much were you really pushed to always challenge others, and to invite them to challenge you back? to effect confidence and push on when you've fallen flat and aren't quite sure what you're doing?). Then, too, there’s the matter of what you’ve been raised to measure your success in life by (Yes, yes, but how likeable are you, Hillary? Does anyone love you, really?). In general, I think young women often enter adulthood too focused on trying to prove what they’re not rather than exploring who they really are and could be.

And yes, having children does change you, no matter which sex you are or how you choose to balance family and career in a divvy-up-the-hours sense. We always knew we wanted our children to have the experience of a stay-at-home *parent* while they were young, but at the end of the day, that decision was based on who currently had the best prospects for a family-supporting income (me), not on who’d 'always dreamed' of being a homemaker (neither of us). So that shared vision of family does come first, but acceptance of divided responsibilities follows immediately from that, and must be committed to wholeheartedly and for the good of the goal. None of which means any particular arrangement need be "fallen" into, just that you need shared conviction in arriving at one then jointly following through. You don’t need “boys do this, girls do that” to have a close-knit family and a vibrant home life.

As for stay-at-home-dad households, speaking from experience, even when Dad doesn't feel emasculated by it, you can take for granted that certain "friends" and perhaps relatives will make it obvious that they see it as precisely that. But here’s the real kicker, at least for me: rather than 'elevating' me to Domineering, Castrating Bitch status in said folks’ eyes--which would at least be hysterically amusing in its inapplicability--it’s more like, Poor, forlorn, unappreciated dear, she works like a slave to keep food on the table (apparently I’m touchingly vulnerable and overburdened, an assumption I notice they don’t make of women in two-income families) because her husband doesn’t have any “drive” (as shown by the fact that he just does silly, mush-headed women’s work all day long--oops, did we say that?!?). It doesn’t make me disappointed with women who do choose to stay at home with their children, though; just with a society that sometimes can’t seem to make up its mind whether it’s a sign of their saintliness or their insignificance when they do so. As if it has to be either.
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Old 02-14-2011, 09:26 AM   #744
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Huffington Post


Obama Budget Proposal: Cuts To Target Working Poor, Middle Class & Students

WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama, less than two months after signing tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans into law, is proposing a budget to congress that attacks programs that assist the working poor, help the needy heat their homes, expand access to graduate-level education and undermine that type of community-based organizations that gave the president his start in Chicago.

Obama's new budget puts forward a plan to achieve $1.1 trillion in deficit reductions over the next decade, according to an administration official who spoke to the Associated Press on condition of anonymity in advance of the formal release of the budget.

Those reductions -- averaging just over $100 billion each year -- are achieved mainly by squeezing social programs. A deal struck to extend the Bush tax cuts for just two years, meanwhile, increased the deficit by $858 billion dollars. More than $500 billion of that bargain constituted tax cuts, with billions more funding business tax breaks and a reduction in the estate tax. Roughly $56 billion went to reauthorize emergency unemployment benefits.

The president's budget was expected to mostly target "non-defense discretionary spending," which makes up less than one-quarter of the overall budget, making balancing the budget with such cuts mathematically impossible.

Indeed, the driver of the deficit is tax cuts. The Wall Street Journal is reporting that as a result of the tax cut deal, the projected deficit in Obama's budget will reach a "record" level of $1.6 trillion this year, though that figure, relative to the size of the American economy, is far lower than many other governments around the world, according to data compiled by the Central Intelligence Agency. And the relative deficit is well below the levels of the 1940s, a time of economic prosperity. "President Barack Obama's 2012 budget proposal projects this year's deficit will reach $1.6 trillion, the largest on record, as December's tax-cut deal begins to reduce federal revenues, a senior Democrat said Sunday," the Journal reported Sunday evening. (The deficit is only a record if it is neither adjusted for inflation nor considered relative to the size of GDP.)

A closer look at surveys suggests that when people say they are concerned about the deficit, they are actually worried about the economy.
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Old 02-14-2011, 09:42 AM   #745
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He's still clearly a radical leftist...
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Old 02-14-2011, 11:32 AM   #746
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Those reductions -- averaging just over $100 billion each year -- are achieved mainly by squeezing social programs. A deal struck to extend the Bush tax cuts for just two years, meanwhile, increased the deficit by $858 billion dollars.
Arrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrgh....

I'd really, REALLY like to see somebody try and justify this warped logic. Seriously.

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A closer look at surveys suggests that when people say they are concerned about the deficit, they are actually worried about the economy.
Ta-da! About time somebody said this.

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Old 02-14-2011, 12:06 PM   #747
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Fucking awful. He's more and more right wing every day.
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Old 02-14-2011, 07:36 PM   #748
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Those berating Obama and pointing to the extension of the Bush tax cuts quickly forget that it was a concession to get critical unemployment benefits extended for a very needy group of Americans.

As far as the proposed budget, it doesn't even matter which party is doing the cutting anymore. They're going after small, chicken-shit stuff and aren't addressing the elephants in the room (Social Security + entitlement programs), and defence spending.

The politicians have kindly acknowledged the recent fiscal commission report and then failed to make any real deep cuts based on it. U.S. Government is so fucked financially.
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Old 02-14-2011, 07:44 PM   #749
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Those berating Obama and pointing to the extension of the Bush tax cuts quickly forget that it was a concession to get critical unemployment benefits extended for a very needy group of Americans.
I fully agree with and understand this. I just think it sucks that that sort of deal had to be struck at all, that the Democrats couldn't just go ahead and extend the unemployment benefits all the while telling the Republicans to shove off about the tax cuts.

But again, ideal world, yada, yada, yada. It's just frustrating to know that rich people will continue to get richer while important social services get cut (and which will thus lead to people relying more on things like unemployment benefits and other federal aid that is still left, and on and on the vicious cycle goes. Funny how the Republicans' actions inadvertently wind up causing the very things they rail against to keep going).

All that being said...

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As far as the proposed budget, it doesn't even matter which party is doing the cutting anymore. They're going after small, chicken-shit stuff and aren't addressing the elephants in the room (Social Security + entitlement programs), and defence spending.

The politicians have kindly acknowledged the recent fiscal commission report and then failed to make any real deep cuts based on it. U.S. Government is so fucked financially.
...this is most certainly true. Unless someone has the massive you-know-whats to budge from the pack, again, a vicious cycle.

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Old 02-14-2011, 07:45 PM   #750
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^My thoughts exactly. (referring to Canadien's post)

Nobody has the cajones to do what really needs to be done to reduce the deficit.

And you know why? Because, we the American people, would throw a hissy fit. Start fiddling with the big stuff--social security, medicare etc--and as a politician, you're out of a job.

The public is at fault here, at least as much as the politicians.
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Old 02-14-2011, 08:42 PM   #751
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I just think it sucks that that sort of deal had to be struck at all, that the Democrats couldn't just go ahead and extend the unemployment benefits all the while telling the Republicans to shove off about the tax cuts.

But again, ideal world, yada, yada, yada. It's just frustrating to know that rich people will continue to get richer while important social services get cut (and which will thus lead to people relying more on things like unemployment benefits and other federal aid that is still left, and on and on the vicious cycle goes. Funny how the Republicans' actions inadvertently wind up causing the very things they rail against to keep going).Angela
I'm getting frustrated myself. If this keeps up, the Republicans won't have to run or worry about taking back the White House. They can just sit back and let Obama give in to their every request.

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The public is at fault here, at least as much as the politicians.
This ^ is also a good point.
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Old 02-14-2011, 09:15 PM   #752
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what about defense?

let's cut some of that.
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Old 02-14-2011, 10:35 PM   #753
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If anyone is curious as to where federal spending goes, here are the Wikipedia figures sourced from the Congressional Budget Office:



There's about 100-150 Billion $ under 'discretionary spending' (instead of defence) that helps fund Homeland Security so your grandmother can be molested at the airport by someone serving parole.

Just to give you a sense of scale, the Republicans currently settling into congress were coming up with a plan to cut a laughably small $100 billion from that entire budget
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Old 02-14-2011, 10:56 PM   #754
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this whole thing sucks.
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Old 02-14-2011, 11:09 PM   #755
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Well, it's just a proposal. It's pretty normal for an Administration to play its cards close to its chest and leave the politically toxic stuff for Congress to slug out in closed sessions. I was a little surprised not to see more of the Bowles-Simpson recommendations in there, but that obviously doesn't mean they're off the table.
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Old 02-14-2011, 11:11 PM   #756
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Depressing deficit is depressing
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Old 02-15-2011, 08:41 AM   #757
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Apparently Rush Limbaugh calls her "Michelle my butt" when he talks about this issue. Nice.




Michelle Obama is depicted as overweight and binging on hamburgers in a cartoon on Andrew Breitbart's Big Government website.

The cartoon, which also appeared on Breitbart's Big Journalism site over the weekend, references Obama's campaign to encourage healthy eating and fight obesity. In it, she is drawn with a double chin and plump cheeks. She is drawn saying, "I've stepped up my efforts to control America's eating habits by telling restaurants to lower portion sizes and fat content." While she says this, she is eating one of a plateful of hamburgers.

President Obama is shown next to her, with huge ears but no excess fat, eating one of a tiny number of vegetables.

"Michelle, I want to get re-elected," he says. "What you're doing is only going to annoy a lot of people."

"Shut up and pass the bacon!" she replies.

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Old 02-15-2011, 10:09 AM   #758
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but that's so weird. she's so fit -- after the first SOTU address all anyone could talk about were her sleek, toned arms.

turning her into emotional-eating-Oprah isn't even based in anything ... make her a macrobiotic shrew who tortures her poor children by denying them sugar, wheat, and dairy, like Gwyneth Paltrow or Madonna if you're trying to make a point.

but i guess, for the Breitbart audience, racist depictions of fat black women are more easily understood.
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Old 02-15-2011, 10:11 AM   #759
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but i guess, for the Breitbart audience, racist depictions of fat black women are more easily understood.
Yes, big pictures and small words.
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Old 02-15-2011, 10:12 AM   #760
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That doesn't even make any sense.
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