Sarah "Quitter" Palin Flees Book Signing, Wingnuts Yell At Inanimate Object

Via Wonkette

As usual, wingnuts waited in line, in the freezing cold, for several million hours at Sarah Palin’s most recent book-signing event in Noblesville, Indiana. Palin showed up, signed books for half an hour, and was quickly whisked back — along with special guest Mr. Trig! — to her monster Going Rogue bus, leaving ~300 unsigned books. Suddenly the wingnuts decided she is a “quitter” after all! Ha ha ha look at them booing a bus. [Rumproast]

Facts On National Debt Don’t Match The ‘Expensive Expansions Of Government’ Narrative

Via WonkRoom

There’s been a fair bit of hemming and hawing over the news that the federal debt has now surpassed $12 trillion. Sen. Judd Gregg (R-NH), widely known for his fiscal hawkishness during Democratic administrations, couldn’t resist pointing the finger, saying, “this level of fiscal recklessness and irresponsibility should be shocking to the American taxpayer, especially since it is our children and grandchildren who will be forced to grapple with the consequences of our debt.”

While this milestone is actually nothing of the sort – $12 trillion is gross federal debt, not the debt owed to the public, which is the much more important figure – you can be sure that many people will use this as another excuse to condemn what Gregg called “expensive expansions of government” and to blame all of our fiscal problems on President Obama. But here are three facts about this year’s deficit that you probably won’t hear much about:

Less than one-fifth of all the new spending in FY 09 came from Obama initiatives;

The big deficit this year was as much a product of a huge decline in tax revenues as it was an increase in spending;

– The overall cost of the decline in tax revenues was four times larger than the cost of Obama’s initiatives.


These facts don’t fit with the narrative of an Obama “spending binge.”

It’s true that there was a big increase in spending in fiscal year 2009. Total spending rose by about $600 billion, not counting payments for interest on the debt (which actually declined in 2009 because of extraordinarily low interest rates).

But fiscal year 2009 began on October 1, 2008, when George Bush was still president, and by the time President Obama took office more than 40 percent of that new spending had already been committed, in the form of TARP and the bailouts for Fannie and Freddie. Another quarter of the new spending came from growth in entitlement programs and unemployment insurance, which was certainly outside the control of a new president.

The American Recovery and Reinvestment act, on the other hand, was responsible for only 18 percent of the new spending in 2009. So, spending did rise, but only one in five of those new dollars came from Obama’s initiatives.

And spending is only half the story. The other half is that tax revenues plummeted this year to their lowest levels since 1950.

Johnny-come-lately fiscal hawks almost never talk about the tax side of the balance sheet when they rail against deficits, because it’s more politically expedient to point fingers at the Recovery Act. But the size of the decline in tax revenues was four times larger than all the Recovery Act spending this year!

This year’s deficit was eye-catching, but it didn’t just appear out of the blue on January 20th, and it isn’t just a product of new spending. If you hear some pundit or politician claiming that a huge expansion of government is responsible for our fiscal woes without mentioning President Bush and with nary a word about tax revenues, you can be pretty sure that he’s more interested in scoring political points than actually solving problems.

CafePress Is Officially Cool with Selling T-Shirts Urging People to Pray for Obama's Death

Via Gawker

Yesterday, we reported that CafePress had halted sales of T-shirts bearing the slogan, "Pray For Obama: Psalm 109:8," which in Bible-talk means pray that "his days be few; let another take his office." After some thought, they're selling them again.

Go here for the full panoply of CafePress bumper stickers, mugs, and shirts containing prayers for the president to die and for his daughters—per Psalm 109—to "continually be vagabonds, and to beg." The Psalm 109 items were indeed briefly taken off the market yesterday, a CafePress spokesman tells Gawker, after some controversy developed about the appropriateness of veiled death threats as bumper sticker material. But they thought about it, and you know what? Why the hell not! Here's CafePress' statement:

Based on current public discourse and our determination of what it is fair political commentary, Psalm 109:8 products are still featured on our site.

Anti-presidential gear has been a mainstay at CafePress since we were founded in 1999 and has become a key component of political discourse. Our site has become a cultural barometer of public opinion and as such designs often come into question. In managing our content we are trying to protect self-expression, while making sure we are not advocating violence.

They have a point: If "current public discourse" as defined by folks at Fox News won't banish people openly calling for the death of the President, why should an online tchotchke outlet say different? And besides, maybe all those supplicants are praying for Barack Obama to die non-violently, through a heart attack or AIDS or something.

In the end it doesn't matter, because it turns out that the Biblical joke is on those people praying on Psalm 109: We're the last person to come to for Biblical exegesis, but a tipster pointed out that the psalm's "Cry For Vengeance" is attributed to King David, who was beset by faithless and lying critics seeking to undermine him: "Let this be the reward of mine adversaries from the LORD, and of them that speak evil against my soul." In other words, the guy praying in Psalm 109:8 for his enemy's days to be numbered is an embattled leader facing down a gang of hectoring usurpers. And the guy whose days he wants God to number is Glenn Beck. Keep praying, kids!

Gallup: Limbaugh’s Claim That We’re Deliberately Oversampling Blacks Is “Complete Fabrication”

Via PlumLine

The Gallup organization is pushing back hard on an ugly new attack from Rush Limbaugh, who said today that Gallup is oversampling blacks in a deliberate effort to keep Obama’s daily tracking approval from dropping below 50%.

“It is a complete fabrication,” Gallup spokesman Eric Nielsen emails me.

On the air today, Rush questioned why other polls have shown Obama dropping below 50%, while Gallup’s daily tracking poll has him flatlining at exactly that number.

“Gallup has it just teetering there,” Rush said. “And they’re doing everything they can — they’re upping the sample of black Americans to keep him up at 50%.”

A look at the methodology of Gallup’s tracking poll, though, shows how unlikely this really is. Gallup interviews 1,000 randomly selected adults daily, then weighs the data each day to match “targets from the U.S. Census Bureau by age, sex, region, gender, education, ethnicity, and race.”

So for Rush’s charge to be true, Gallup officials would have to be actively stacking the sample, along racial lines, for no other reason than to prevent Obama from dropping below 50%. “This has been our methodology since Jan 2008 and it has not changed,” Nielsen adds.

Of course, it’s always possible that Gallup has been infiltrated by an army of ACORN workers who are holding Gallup officials hostage in a last ditch effort to game Obama’s numbers in this one poll to prevent his presidency from going under.

This blog doesn’t make a habit of flagging Rush’s every lurid utterance. But even by Rush’s standards, this one is such a casually reckless smear, so nonchalant in its play on racially-charged paranoia about this president, that it really deserves to be flagged as a reminder of where we are today.

Virginia Foxx: Republicans ‘Passed Civil Rights Bills In The 60s Without Very Much Help’ From Democrats

Via ThinkProgress

During a debate on the House floor today over designating 21 miles of the Molalla River as “wild and scenic,” Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC), who opposes the legislation, tried to claim a progressive environmental record for her party. “Actually, the GOP has been the leader in starting good environmental programs in this country,” said Foxx.

Foxx then extended her claims of the GOP’s progressive history to the issue of civil rights. “Just as we were the people who passed the civil rights bills back in the ’60s without very much help from our colleagues across the aisle,” said Fox. “They love to engage in revisionist history.” When Foxx finally yielded her time on the floor, Rep. Dennis Cardoza (D-CA) passionately rebuked her:

CARDOZA: Today, what I’m hearing on the floor really takes the cake. The gentlelady from North Carolina, in her statement just now, indicated that the Republican GOP had passed the Civil Rights Act legislation with almost no help from the Democrats. I can’t believe my ears. It was the Kennedy and Johnson administration where we passed that Great Society legislation. It was over the objections of people like Jesse Helms from the gentlewoman’s state that we passed that civil rights legislation. John Lewis…

FOXX: Would, would the gentleman yield?

CARDOZA: No, I will not yield. John Lewis, a member of this House, was beaten on the Edmund Pettus bridge to get that civil rights legislation passed. Tell John Lewis that he wasn’t part of getting that legislation passed.

When she was given a chance to respond, Foxx could only say that Jesse Helms wasn’t elected to the Senate until 1972. Watch it:

Foxx’s claim that Republicans were the real engine behind the Civil Rights Act of 1964 is a common notion among conservatives. But as Cardoza points out, it was President Lyndon Johnson who “choreographed passage of this historic measure in 1964.” In fact, the Republican presidential candidate in 1964, Sen. Barry Goldwater (R-AZ), voted against the legislation.

To support the claim that Republicans were actually the architects of civil rights, conservatives often point out that a “higher percentage of Republicans than Democrats supported the civil-rights bill.” But this ignores the “distinct split between Northern and Southern politicians” on the issue. When this is taken into account, the facts show that “in both the North and the South, Democrats supported the 1964 Civil Rights Act at a higher rate than the Republicans.”

Virginia Foxx Passed Civil Rights All By Herself, Essentially, In The ’60s [Wonkette]

Latest In Thinly-Veiled Evangelical Christian Obama Death Threats

Apparently, the latest thing in "Debasing The Institutions You Pretend To Hold Dear In Order To Suggest That President Barack Obama Should Be Murdered Without Actually Coming Right Out And Saying So" goes by a shorter name: Psalm 109:8.

And Psalm 109:8 is just straight up memetastic, appearing on bumper stickers and T-shirts, all of which carry the benign sounding message, "Pray For Obama." But, as Gawker's John Cook points out, this is just one more in a "long line of cheekily coded Obama death threats." The verse in question reads: "May his days be few; may another take his place of leadership." That leads fairly naturally into the Psalm 109:9, "May his children be fatherless, and his wife a widow." You know, in case you miss the point.

Rachel Maddow took up this issue last night, inviting Patience With God author and Huffington Post blogger Frank Schaeffer to explain whether or not the citation of this Biblical text "means something less threatening to people hearing this in a Biblical context."

SCHAEFFER: No. Actually, it means something more threatening. I think that the situation that I find genuinely frightening right now is that you have a ramping up of Biblical language, language from the anti-abortion movement for instance, death panels and this sort of thing, and what it's coalescing into is branding Obama as Hitler, as they have already called him. And something foreign to our shores, we're reminded of that, he's born in Kenya. As brown, as black, above all, as not us. He is Sarah Palin's "not a real American." But now, it turns out, he joins the ranks of the unjust kings of ancient Israel, unjust rulers to which all these Biblical allusions are directed who should be slaughtered, if not by God, then by just men. So there's a parallel here with Timothy McVeigh's t-shirt on the day of the Oklahoma City bombing. He said the tree of liberty had to be watered by the blood of tyrants. That quote, we saw at a meeting where Obama was present carried on a placard by someone with a loaded weapon.

What we're looking at right now is two things going on. We see the evangelical groups I talked about in my new book, Patience With God, enthralled by an apocalyptic vision that I go into in some detail there. They represent the millions of people who have turned the Left Behind series into best sellers. Most of them are not crazy, they're just deluded. But there is a crazy fringe to whom all these little messages that have been pouring out of Fox News, now on a bumper sticker, talking about doing away with Obama, asking God to kill him. Really, this is trolling for assassins. This is serious business.

It's un-American. It's unpatriotic. And it goes to show that the religious right, the Republican far right have coalesced into a group who truly want American revolution. If it turns out to be blood in the streets and death, so be it. It's not funny stuff anymore. They cannot be dismissed as just crazies on the fringe. It only takes one. You know, look at the Boston Globe article from a few weeks ago that says the threat level faced by the Secret Service has gone up 400%, higher than any other time in 52 years, for any president, Democrat or Republican. These are no jokes.

Schaeffer added, "Look, this is the American version of the Taliban... this is the Old Testament Biblical equivalent of calling for holy war."

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Talking Heads - Slippery People