Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Are Republicans Moving to far Right? Sure, and they're leaving.

What's interesting about this story is the growing divide between the old guard Republicans and younger, smarter college educated conservatives. It's a huge relief to have this liberals rantings confirmed by the subject of the following story from Bloggingblue:
From the files of “The Republican Party is definitely veering far, far to the right” comes the story of Lora Rae Anderson, the outgoing Chair of the Wisconsin College Republicans.

In a press release issued on April 27, Anderson outlined her discontent with the direction of the Republican Party, noting that in 2008, the Republican Party was happy to announce that they had passed their “most conservative platform ever.” Anderson went on to note:

This might be appealing to current members of the Republican Party but is not appealing to the vast majority of moderate Americans. “The Republican Party is alienating a younger, more progressive generation through its new ‘conservative platform’ which ignores issues such as gay marriage. Marriage, at least as the law would put it, is a civil right. Allowing those people who want to get married to be married is consistent with the Republican Party’s ‘government hand’s off’ platform. This is an area where most College Republicans agree, but for one reason or another, stay quiet and don’t stand up to the older members of our party” said Anderson.

There's even more great stuff HERE.

Ezra Klein on Rep. Paul Ryan's Whiny "Doc Fix" Tantrum

Finally, the best explaination yet on a problem created by the Republicans when they cut doctors pay on Medicare. It's the "doc fix." Paul Ryan has been trying to pass their horrific, short sighted problem off onto the Democrats. But that's just another phony issue. Ezra Klein:

At the fiscal summit today, Rep. Paul Ryan argued again that the Affordable Care Act is a deficit-buster because the cost of the Medicare doc fix wipes out the savings from the bill. The easiest way to show that a bill increases the deficit is to show that revenues don't equal or exceed spending. So Republicans have had to come up with a way to change the arithmetic. That gives them two options: Either delete something that's in the bill on the revenues side or add something that's not in the bill onto the spending side.

In 1997, the Republican Congress wrote and passed the Balanced Budget Act, and President Clinton signed it into law. Tucked deep in the bill was a provision setting a "sustainable growth rate" for Medicare: The provision, written by the Republican chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, mandated cuts to doctor payments if the program's spending rose above a certain level.

The provision wasn't expected to save much money or be a very big deal. But the formula was based on bad assumptions, and soon SGR was requiring massive cuts. Democratic and Republican congresses alike have been delaying the cuts ever since.

Repealing the SGR formula and thus putting a more realistic estimate of Medicare's future costs into the budget is what people mean when they talk about the "doc fix." Importantly, though, it exists independently of health-care reform. To offer just one example of the Republicans understanding this when it suits them, consider that the Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit in 2003, which was passed by a Republican Congress, included a temporary fix. They did not, however, actually fix SGR, and nor did they add its cost into their bill, which is what they're saying Democrats need to do now.

But if this was around in 2003, how can it actually be part of health-care reform, which wasn't written until 2009? The answer is that it isn't. If we'd never passed the Affordable Care Act, we'd have still needed to pass the doc fix, just like we'd still have to pay for Medicaid and fund the continuing operations of the Department of Education. The government has its commitments, which are part of the baseline, and then there are new policies, which change the baseline. The doc fix is a baseline issue. The Affordable Care Act is a new program.

And that's where the trick of this argument comes in. When we say that something saves money, we're comparing it to a budgetary baseline. That is to say, we expect to spend this much (baseline) and the Affordable Care Act will change it by that much. The "doc fix" issue is an argument over that baseline: The reason we need to repeal SGR is so our budget projections are true to our actual spending. But if you add the doc fix into the baseline, then the Affordable Care Act ... saves the same amount of money.

What some Republicans are trying to do is add the doc fix into the Affordable Care Act. That is to say, they are trying to add the repeal of a Republican policy passed in 1997 into the cost of a Democratic bill being passed in 2010. But that's a bit like adding the cost of the Iraq War onto the bill, or maybe the Bush tax cuts. It's true that those were misguided, costly policies. But they're not part of the Affordable Care Act. They're part of the baseline that the Affordable Care Act changes.
As it is, the bill cuts the deficit by a little over the first 10 years and a lot over the second 10 years. The efforts to argue otherwise require suspending all the normal rules and saying either that Congress can't credibly offset legislation that costs money, which destroys the Republican agenda as surely as the Democratic agenda, or adding policies to the Affordable Care Act's price tag that don't belong there.
By Ezra Klein

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Livingston, Wisconsin Caught in Meteor Shower of Attention

There's a meteorite rush in Livingston, Wisconsin. This looks like a great adventure for a lot of local kids, including the inner ones in some of the adults.

Pray the Woman in the video recovers from her prayer!

Thanks to Jonathan Turley for finding this graduation prayer. Holy crap. I found the casual reaction to the speakers "meltdown" amazing. I hope someone remembers not to ask this student to do a quick prayer before dinner.

Monday, April 26, 2010

What does Arizona's law Say for America's Future?

Howard Fineman broadens the Arizona citizenship requirement to every state and wonders if this is really freedom.

And by the way, where are the tea party, freedom fighting, liberty loving protesters who should be railing against this big government harassment of its people? Keith Olberman:

So what does Gov. Jan Brewer think the impact of the law will have on the states economy and tourism?

CNN: Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer on Monday deflected concerns that the state's new immigration law will hurt economic development, saying many businesses have long wanted tougher action.

"The bottom line is that when I go about meeting with businesses that come into Arizona ... they want to know that we have a safe and secure environment into which to move their businesses here," Brewer said at an Arizona Town Hall event in Tucson. "They want to know that their employees are going to have a quality of life that they've had in the places where they're moving from to move here."

"I believe it's not going to have the kind of economic impact that some people think that it might," Brewer, a Republican, said.

Good Samaritan Dies on Sidewalk an Hour and a Half after People Walk right on By!

This is one of the most horrific human tragedies you will ever find, in a civilized but detached inhumane society, like the U.S.

The chants of individualism, Ayn Randian theories and everyone out for themselves has brought us a Dickensian America. What other result could one expect?

Racist Rush Hiding it No More. Will he lose his minority loving listeners?

Rush's racism is no longer in doubt, so it shouldn't be long before his outraged listeners tune out...right?

Bill O'Reilly has also had to claw his way up the ladder, beating back those who would hold us white guys back. Poor us.

GA. State Rep. Hatfield's Racist Birther Bill

Georgia State Rep. Mark Hatfield is just plain dumb as rocks crazy. He looks adult, responsible and articulate (despite the southern accent), yet is foaming at the mouth racist.

And he says he's not a birther. Oh really?

Here's a few choice un-birther words about Obama's citizenship:

"I don't have enough information...cryptic statements coming out of Hawaii...I don't think anyone has seen his original long form birth least 42 percent of our population has doubts about the citizenship of our president. That's a problem!"

Republicans, this is the face of your party.

Matt Taibbi: "Randian mindset is now ingrained in the American character."

This revealing piece by Matt Taibbi says it all about Randian economics and the politicians who bought into it:

In the Randian ethos, called objectivism, the only real morality is self-interest, and society is divided into groups who are efficiently self-interested (the rich) and the ''parasites'' who wish to take their earnings through taxes. Rand believed government had virtually no natural role in society. She conceded police were necessary, but refused to accept any need for economic regulation.

Rand's fingerprints are all over the Goldman story.

There have been a lot of greedy financiers and banks in history, but what makes Goldman stand out is its truly bizarre cultist/religious belief in the rightness of what it does.

The point was driven home in England last year, when Goldman's international adviser, sounding exactly like a character in Atlas Shrugged, said ''The injunction of Jesus to love others as ourselves is an endorsement of self-interest.''

Even if he stands to make a buck at it, your average used-car salesman won't sell some working father a car with wobbly brakes, then buy life insurance policies on that customer and his kids. But this is done almost as a matter of routine in the financial services industry, where the attitude after the inevitable pileup would be that that family was dumb for getting into the car in the first place. Caveat emptor, dude!

This Randian mindset is now ingrained in the American character.

MATT TAIBBI-Rolling Stone columnist

Sunday, April 25, 2010

TV Show Leans Left, Conservatives Outraged over First Amendment Abuse.

Isn't it odd to hear Republicans whining about liberal messages and speech in movies and TV?

You'd think we didn't have a constitutional right to express ourselves.

They would also like to see the free market work it's magic, allowing the public to decide who is successful or who fails. Unfortunately there are those liberal leaning shows that portray conservatives as hypocritical failures, a clear violation of the first amendment, as they have defined it.

Despite dominating the radio airwaves, 92 percent of it, the one or two more liberal TV shows is decidedly unfair. has the story.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Health Care Reforms Cost Going Up, But is it Really?

I was a little disappointed to find out the cost estimates for Medicare and Medicaid were going to be higher than we were told. But then, that was the story we read in our local papers. The real story and costs are more complex and pretty much accurate. But that's not how the media has decided to report it (advantage of Republicans), except for Ezra Klein, the health care wonk I'd trust anywhere.

Washington Post: I long ago learned that cost estimates are health-care reform's version of a Rorschach test: They tell you more about the reader than the bill. And the early reaction to the latest estimates (pdf) out of the Center for Medicaid and Medicare Services are no different. So here's what you need to know.

First, be clear about what's being estimated. The Congressional Budget Office's estimates look at the deficit. CMS is looking at total national health expenditures. This often confuses people into thinking that there's conflict between the two sets of numbers when there isn't: CBO says that federal spending is going to go up to pay for the coverage expansion, but that savings and revenue will go up by even more, leading to a net reduction in the federal deficit.

CMS is looking only at the spending side. And here's what it finds: In 2019, implementation of the Affordable Care Act will reduce the ranks of the uninsured by 34 million people and increase nation health expenditures by 1 percent. One percent.
And that 1 percent is actually 1 percent and falling: When the legislation is fully implemented in 2016, the spending increase will be 2 percent. But cost controls kick in over those years and bring it down to 1 percent. Assuming the trend holds, the second decade will see national health expenditures fall below what spending would've been if the bill hadn't passed. So that's the bottom line of the report: We're covering 34 million people and come 2019, spending is expected to be one percentage point -- and falling -- above what it would've been if we'd done nothing.

As that suggests, the CMS study projects only to 2019. That's not very long, given that the bill is implemented in 2014. So it doesn't do much to project how cost controls like the Independent Payment Advisory Board will work in the second decade, which is when they really kick in. The report is also skeptical that some of the Medicare payment adjustments will be implemented.

So it's back to the Rorschach test: You can either say the report doesn't do enough to look at how the cost controls will fare once fully implemented or you can say that it's more evidence that the cost controls won't actually be put into place. I'm optimistic on the cost control front, but you knew that already.

I'd also add that there's reason to think CMS is conservative in its cost estimates. In 2003, the Bush administration suppressed the agency's estimate that Medicare Part D would cost $500 billion to $600 billion over 10 years. The Bush administration was wrong to suppress the projection, but the projection itself turned out to be far too high. If you want to get exact about it, the estimate was 37 percent too high, for reasons Richard Foster, CMS's chief actuary, describes here.

All in all, I think the report makes health-care reform look pretty good. A one percentage point increase in spending in return for covering 34 million people? That's a good deal, I think. But your mileage may differ.

Charter Schools are nothing but a political effort to privatized education. There, I said it.

Here's a great charter school take-down by Diane Ravitch from the Washington Post:

Education historian Diane Ravitch, a professor at New York University and author of the best-selling “Death and Life of the Great American School System.”

If charters are public schools and receive public money, why should they object to oversight hearings by a legally constituted body of the New York State Senate?

I am a historian of education, so allow me to provide a brief overview of the origin of charter schools. Charter schools were first envisioned in 1988 by two men who didn’t know one another. Albert Shanker, the president of the American Federation of Teachers, had the idea, as did Professor Ray Budde of the University of Massachusetts.

Both of them thought that public school teachers could get permission from local authorities to open a small experimental school and then focus on the neediest students. The school would recruit students who had dropped out and who were likely to drop out. It would seek new ways to motivate the most challenging students and bring whatever lessons they learned back to public schools, to make them better able to educate these youngsters.

The original vision of charter schools was that they would help strengthen public schools, not compete with them.

By 1993, Shanker turned against his own idea. He concluded that charter schools had turned into a form of privatization that was not materially different from vouchers. From then until his death in 1996, he lumped vouchers and charters together as a threat to public education and a distraction from real school reform.

Today, there are 5,000 charter schools with 1.5 million students. This is 3% of the nation’s public school enrollment of 50 million. In New York City, charters enroll 30,000 students, or about 3% of the city’s enrollment of 1.1 million.

Charters vary widely in quality.


Friday, April 23, 2010

Rep. Paul Ryan is the Independence Hall Tea Party PAC Straw Poll pick for President!

Rep. Paul Ryan's endorsement/run for president tour hit pay dirt in Philadelphia!

The Weekly The Independence Hall Tea Party PAC has announced that Congressman Paul Ryan (R-WI) has won the Presidential Straw Poll conducted at its Tri-State "Take Back Congress" Tea Party held this past weekend. "We were very surprised that Rep. Ryan finished on top,'' said Organizer, Teri Adams. "And while former Governors Sarah Palin and MittRomney did well, we were also surprised that former Senator Rick Santorum placed among the top five."

Out of nearly 500 votes cast, here's the complete breakdown:
Paul Ryan -- 76 votes, 15.2 %
Sarah Palin -- 64 votes, 12.8 %
Mitt Romney -- 55 votes, 11 %
Newt Gingrich -- 40 votes, 8 %
Rick Santorum -- 39 votes, 7.8 %
Ron Paul -- 30 votes, 6 %
Mike Huckabee -- 28 votes, 5.6 %
General David Patraeus -- 23 votes, 4.6 %
Tim Pawlenty -- 22 votes, 4.4 %
Bobby Jindal -- 21 votes, 4.2 %
Mike Pence -- 20 votes, 4 %
Mitch Daniels -- 15 votes, 3 %
Ruddy Giuliani -- 15 votes, 3 %
Smaller and smaller numbers of rogue Republicans, otherwise known as the tea party movement, showed up:
"Despite the unpleasant weather, over a thousand people attended our April 17th Tri-State Take Back Congress Tea Party," said Ms. Adams.

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer Sides with Bills Author who said: "We'll have smaller classrooms."

Get our your papers, carry them with you everywhere, and try not to look to "Mexican."

Legal but no papers? Six months in jail and a $500 fine.

Gov. Jan Brewer received a lot of criticism and protests before signing the law, but didn't appear to listen to the people. She didn't know that Americans are against this draconian law. A government that doesn't listen the people will be replaced or taken over. This is a threat to our freedoms and liberty, requiring us to answer to the big governments demands to prove we're Americans.

The above statement was written in parody of the tea party movement. But you get my meaning. Here's the story:

Wisconsin State Journal: Gov. Jan Brewer ignored criticism from President Barack Obama on Friday and signed into law a bill supporters said would take handcuffs off police in dealing with illegal immigration in Arizona. U.S. Rep. Raul Grijalva, a Democrat who opposes the measure, said he's closing his Arizona offices at noon Friday after his staff in Yuma and Tucson were flooded with calls this week, some from people threatening violent acts and shouting racial slurs. A man called the office twice today. He threatened to blow everyone away. The man also said he would be going down to the border and shoot any Mexican who came into the U.S.

The bill's Republican sponsor, state Rep. Russell Pearce of Mesa, said Obama and other critics of the bill were "against law enforcement, our citizens and the rule of law.""Illegal is illegal. We'll have less crime. We'll have lower taxes. We'll have safer neighborhoods. We'll have shorter lines in the emergency rooms. We'll have smaller classrooms." Other provisions of the bill allow lawsuits against government agencies that hinder enforcement of immigration laws,

And you thought Republicans were against frivolous lawsuits? Racism works wonders in conservative states, and I can't wait to see more of it, now that the GOP has gone rogue. It's called the great unraveling.

Governor Candidate Scott Walker to Legislature: It's time to go to bed!

I just love this top of the list issue by the guy who hopes to be governor:
Wisconsin State Journal: On a separate front, Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker said in a statement that as governor, he would sign legislation prohibiting lawmakers from voting on bills after 10 p.m. and before 9 a.m.

The statement was an apparent reference the Assembly’s late nights this spring.
Wow! We really have to rein our over worked lawmakers. Not only that, who can trust 'em past 10 p.m., when fatigue sets in and other politicians let their guard down, allowing almost anything to get a yea vote.
Some "adults" like Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett have another way of looking at Walkers government reform idea:

Barrett said he didn’t have a problem with lawmakers working late or coming in early to pass legislation. He called Walker’s plan “gimmicky.”

Hypocrisy ALERT!: According to the State Journal: Walker voted to allow late-night lawmaking when he was an Assemblyman. Walker voted with the Republican majority in Jan. 1997 to eliminate a rule that required the Assembly to finish floor sessions at 8 p.m.

GOP Blames Watching Porn for Wall Street Crash!

Oh boy, let's pass the blame.

(AP) - Republicans are stepping up their criticism of the Securities and Exchange Commission following reports that senior agency staffers spent hours surfing pornographic websites on government-issued computers while they were supposed to be policing the nation's financial system. California Rep. Darrell Issa, the top Republican on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, said it was "disturbing that high-ranking officials within the SEC were spending more time looking at porn than taking action to help stave off the events that put our nation's economy on the brink of collapse."
That's what caused the crash, watching porn. It wasn't deregulation, or not enforcing the laws on the books, allowing the "free market" to work its miracles. It was a few employees watching porn, and most of it AFTER the crash.
The SEC's inspector general conducted 33 probes of employees looking at explicit images in the past five years … the memo says 31 of those probes occurred in the 2 1/2 years since the financial system teetered and nearly crashed.
So how is the media treating the phony outrage and irresponsible Republican lawmakers comments and blame shifting? Like it really means something, what else.

The memo provides fresh ammunition for Republicans who suspect the timing of the SEC's lawsuit last week against Wall Street powerhouse Goldman Sachs Group Inc. News of the suit came as the Senate prepared to take up a sweeping overhaul of the rules governing banks and other financial companies.

Republican lawmakers also accused the SEC of being influenced by politics.

Gee, ya think? You'll notice below the free market capitalist conservative commissioners at the SEC didn't want an investigation. After all, the whole private sector thing is "self adjusting." Government should stay out of crashing global markets.
The SEC's commissioners approved the Goldman charges on a rare 3-2 vote. The two who objected were Republicans.
Big surprise! Republicans opposed charging Goldman with anything.
The definition of insane…is Republican economics.

Democrats fail to Usher in New Green Economy, While Energy Rate Increases Continue Anyway.

Green energy will raise consumer utility bills and kill jobs. That's what the Republicans are saying. To be fair, a few Kool-aid drinking Democrats have also fallen for the often times repeated "theory," thinking there must be something to it if everyone is saying it.
Jsonline: Milwaukee Mayor and gubernatorial candidate Tom Barrett took aim at lawmakers for failing to pass a bill to regulate carbon emissions and boost the use of renewable energy … said he wants assurances that any bill would not lead to sharply high electric bills and he wanted to make sure that jobs would not be imperiled. A major sticking point is a disagreement over whether using more renewable forms of power like wind and solar will create or kill jobs.
So imagine my surprise when I read the next morning, right after the green energy bill failed to pass, that MG&E had just requested an increase energy rates.

Wisconsin State Journal: Madison Gas & Electric is asking state regulators for permission to raise its rates in 2011 … electric rates would increase 9.4 percent … In January, the Madison utility company raised electric rates an average of $2.25 a month, or 3.5 percent … the additional money will help pay startup costs for the new coal-fired Oak Creek power plant.
That would be a double digit increase in rates since January, if the increase is approved. Instead of green renewable energy, consumers will be paying extra to bring a COAL plant online.

And as I have previously documented, the GOP obsession with nuke power plants will also see dramatic increases in utility bills for consumers, meaning bills are going to up no matter what.

So why not go green, make our own energy, and sell any surpluses to out of state customers? Ask the Republicans and business lobby why they want to put us at a major disadvantage in the early race to usher in the new green economy. And if anyone dares challenge their doom and gloom scenarios with actual research, they are quick to hire special interests to offer up a counter study saying just the opposite.
A new study by the Public Service Commission said the legislation would reduce energy costs in Wisconsin by $1.4 billion over 15 years. Supporters of the legislation also argue that greater use of renewable electricity would keep dollars in the state.

Manufacturing groups and Assembly Republicans have projected the cost of the legislation to be $15 billion.
That's that. Spokesperson and incompetent gubernatorial candidate Scott Walker issued the following statement:
“Mayor Barrett talks an awful lot about jobs, but his continued support for radical ideas about environmental policy will kill jobs. The global warming policies … will lead to double digit increases in utility bills and worse yet, the loss of thousands of jobs for Wisconsin families.”

It must be so then. Go coal.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

May I See your Papers? This is the Conservative Idea of "Freedom."

When you left for work, job hunting or shopping today, did you remember to bring your citizenship papers? If we were to apply the law equally, an Arizona law that target Mexican residents, then we would need to carry that proof in our pockets at all the times.

Is this a tea party protesters idea of "freedom?" Is this a conservatives idea of downsizing government? How will the tea party groups protest this new Arizona law if it's determined not to expand out liberties? Right now, they are strangely silent.

Rachel Maddow explains:

The High Cost of Building Nuke Plants Okay, High Cost of Green Energy- not Okay.

It's driving me crazy! Wisconsin is about to forgo the Clean Energy Jobs Act while still controlling the legislature and governors office. Many Democrats are buying into the Republican argument that energy prices will skyrocket to consumers and businesses if the state invests in the next generation of green energy standards. A "jobs killer."

Wouldn't it be much easy to build nuke plants instead?
Jsonline: Assembly Democrats acknowledge they're reluctant to take a difficult vote on the Clean Energy Jobs bill - Supporters say it would reduce energy costs by $1.4 billion over 15 years and spark the creation of green jobs; opponents say it would add $15 billion or more in new costs. Although many business groups are opposed to the bill, clean-energy businesses such as Johnson Controls and wind power developers and utilities continued to urge support for the bill.

Milwaukee-based We Energies said it supported the bill after Rep. Spencer Black agreed to introduce an amendment incorporating the utility's proposed changes … language in earlier versions of the bill that would have stalled efforts to open the door to construction of new nuclear reactors in the state.
Why spend so much money on wind and solar, when all we have to do is build nuke plants? As we all know, nuke plants are cheap to build, right? Rate payers will thank the GOP for saving them from huge rate hikes.

Not so fast. From a previous post:

AP - "During these difficult times, the American people don't want a national energy tax out of Washington, D.C.," said Indiana Rep. Mike Pence. Republicans on Saturday slammed a Democratic bill before the House that seeks to address climate change, arguing that it amounts to an energy tax on consumers. AP May 3, 2009- A wave of new reactors now in the works is intended to solve at least part of the nation’s energy problems … But cost is likely to plague every upcoming nuclear project.

In Missouri, the first of the next generation of reactors recently was put on hold because of the $6 billion price tag. Some states have altered laws so consumers begin footing the bill now, even before construction begins.

Construction will undoubtedly play out on your utility bill. Residential electricity rates would have risen (in Missouri) 1 to 3 percent annually for customers, up to 12.5 percent during construction.
Sounds like an energy tax to me. A really, really big one. Are Republicans unaware of the rate payer costs? Yes. Are they opposed to government intervention? NO.

Republicans … want more government funding for nuclear power. In a weekly radio address, Sen. Lamar Alexander said the U.S. should build 100 more nuclear plants rather than spend “billions in subsidies” for renewable energy.”
Alexander wants U.S. taxpayers to pay for nuke plants, but not green energy? Never mind the cost to taxpayers of insuring every nuke plant, since private insurers won’t touch them.

When will the public learn that the Republicans are still barreling down the road of fiscal mismanagement?

Sen. Glenn Grothman proposes "Jobs for White Guys only" amendment to the state constitution. Won't Tolerate "a few angry feminists."

In a bid to energize the staunch racist, bigoted base of the Republican Party in Wisconsin: Republicans Senator Glenn Grothman and Representative Gary Tauchen announced they are reintroducing a constitutional amendment to ban preferential treatment on the basis of race, sex, and national origin.
The "Jobs for White Guys Only" amendment is in response to the Democrats...
"resurrect(ing) the Minority Business Grants and Loans Program on a straight party-line vote. The divisive program provides grants and loans to people based on their ancestry…(and) the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority to distribute federal tax credits based on minority and gender status.
Grothman's thoughtful "Archiebunkerisms" include:

“These bills tear at the very fabric of our culture … the Democrats will turn America into a country like Iraq, India, or Africa where elections are contests between ethnic groups."
Grothman's tireless representation of oppressed white guys is only one part of this intriguing multi-faceted illiberal. Not only does Grothman not see ethnic color in this post racial society, but his 60's battle with feminism is still raging:

The pandering to radical women’s groups is even worse,” said Grothman. “Even women are getting mad that their husbands and sons are being discriminated against because of a few angry feminists.”
Remember the good old days when women were shut out of the jobs market, or paid really low wages, so they couldn't compete with men in the work place? And if after all this you're still unclear about Grothman's Aryan advocacy, his co-sponsor of the amendment to the state constitution might just clear that up for you:

“Affirmative Action must be reversed for Wisconsin to stay competitive in the global marketplace,” said Tauchen. “Businesses need the best person available for the job regardless of the color of their skin, ancestry, or sex.”
Give 'em a break. Can they help it there are so many more white guys out there?

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The Un-Tea Party asks to Save our State, Save our Government from Downsizing Americans Right out of their Country.

The "Un-Tea Party" movement sounds good to me. It's right in line with the unbirthday.

Looks like the tea party movement has picked a cause their own members don't really believe in, except for that "liberty," "freedom" and "constitution" thing that doesn't really solve any of today's problems and has been debated since the writing of our founding document. Rachel Maddow points out the inconsistencies and hypocrisies.

The Republicans Repeal and Replace "Poultry for Physicians" Health Care Reform the Next Big Congressional Fight?

We should have gotten a clue when Republicans were advocating cancer patients go to churches or hold car washes to help pay their bills.

Candidate and race leader against Sen. Harry Reid is completely serious about trading services and animals for medical treatment. This strikes to the heart of their clueless plan for repeal and replace. How does that "repealy, replacy thing the sound to ya now?"

I'm also curious about the reaction from doctors and hospitals.

Curious note Update: The shocking truth is, conservative pundits, blog comments and radio show callers are showing firm support of the barter system of doctor compensation. Again, where do the conservative doctors stand on their fellow patients issue?

Please run for office on this reform plan! Please!

John Stossel & Michael Medved Deny Income Gap. Stossel says "It's true in their world...not true in business."

American's are losing the income battle, earning less than they made 30 years ago, and watching the wealthy elite get million dollar bonuses at taxpayer bailed out companies.

So what's so difficult to understand ? If your John Stossel, there's another explanation:

"I know that's a myth now. So I was glad to see the publication of 'The 5 Big Lies About American Business' by Michael Medved ... Medved's second myth is that when the rich get richer, the poor get poorer. This is the old zero-sum fallacy, which ignores that when two people engage in free exchange, both gain -- or they wouldn't have traded. It's what I call the double thank-you phenomenon. I understand why politicians and lawyers believe it: It's true in their world. But it's not true in business.
It's the two worlds argument again, introduced during the Bush administration. The fact base reality, and the reality created by conservatives. Medved explains:

"If you believe that when the rich get richer, the poor get poorer, then you believe that creating wealth causes poverty, and you're an idiot," said Medved. "One of the things that I hate is this term 'obscene profits.' There are no obscene profits ... . (The current economic downturn shows) "that when the rich get poorer ... everybody gets poorer."
Of course, nothing could be further from the truth. Instead of ideologically based opinions passing for fact, why not use the available research? This article just appeared in last Sundays Parade Magazine:

Income Gap Grows During Recession

Even as the economy shrank last year, the income gap—the divide between the country’s richest and poorest citizens—kept growing. In 1978, CEOs at the largest U.S. companies earned 35 times as much as the average worker. Today, that figure is more than 300:1, according to the Harvard Business Review.

Research by Kevin Hallock, a professor at Cornell University, indicates that the trend persists: “From 1979 to 2009, after adjusting for inflation, the highest earners in the U.S. saw dramatic growth in their earnings while the lowest earners now make less than they did 30 years ago.” Countries with greater income inequality have higher rates of teen pregnancy, infant mortality, obesity, mental illness, drug use, imprisonment, and homicide than countries where wealth is more evenly distributed, according to research by epidemiologists Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett.

In the U.S., measures like the progressive income tax, Medicaid, and welfare are used to address income inequality, but some economists and advocates say that we should go further. Nations like Austria, Belgium, and the Netherlands spend 7% to 8% of national income on social services for working-age people, compared to 2% in the U.S.

That figure is unlikely to change, however, as polls show that Americans believe people get ahead in life by virtue of their own efforts. “If you think the process is just, you might think the outcome is just, even though some people are homeless and others are very comfortable,” says Gary Burtless of the Brookings Institution.

Rep. Paul Broun to Protesters: "...down Independence Ave. in the White House, it belongs to us!"

Rachel Maddow shines a bright light on the obvious radicalization of the Republican Party. Rep. Paul Broun should be kicked out of congress immediately for his speech at the unarmed gun rally. If you think I'm being partisan suggesting his immediate removal, you would be wrong.

Broun: "Fellow patriots, we have a lot of domestic enemies of the constitution, and there right right down the mall, in the congress of the United States.

And right down Independence Avenue in the White House, it belongs to us. It's not about my ability to hunt...but it's about, it's all about us protecting ourselves from a tyranical government of the United States."

No really, he said that without getting ousted out of congress the next day. Watch it about 2 minutes in to the clip:

But still, saner heads prevailed when only a few crazy gun toting loons got together for their 2nd amendment protest near the capital. What's not so sane are the right wing deniers. Conservatives appears to have a problem taking criticism for the town hall disruptions, threats against elected lawmakers and racist speech and signage. What was once unpatriotic during the Bush years, is now ultra patriotic with an undocumented black socialist, terrorist appeasing president.

From Hannity to Rush to the gun crazy protesters, McVeigh's terrorist attack is now justifiable because of previous government action near Waco. Never mind that we were attacked on 9/11 because of previous actions in the Middle East, a reason Republicans soundly rejected, it only counts if the government intervenes trying to arrest a known psychopath like David Koresh.

Larry Pratt, of Gun Owners of America, should demonstrate just how deranged the tea party movement is as they try to sell their counterfeit constitution.

Election Favorite Gov. Rick Perry: "I think George W. Bush will go down as a very, very good president."

Rick Perry, he's not our governor, thank god.

This guy is brain dead. Ed Schultz comes up with a nice line at that end of the clip below, tying the Texas Board of Education to Bush's place in history as a great president.

You're probably already making the connection. If you can just pretend September 11th didn't happen and Bush didn't leave $1.2 trillion in deficits for Obama than there's something seriously wrong with you.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Justice Roberts still trying to figure out his "pager." Scalia stumped on texting.

Dylan Ratigan noticed how horrifically out of touch our supreme court justices were when it came to the tech age. This is extremely bad news for those expecting our justices to navigate the anticipated advances in technology and how that will affect future law .

Justice Roberts asked what the difference was between an email and a pager. Oh my god...pager?

GM Expecting to Pay Off Government Loan. Still a Bad Idea Republicans?

Ed Schultz takes a bow touting the GM loan payoff. After all, if the Republicans had their tough love way, GM and Chrysler would be gone. 240,000 workers kept their jobs. Of course, we could have had just Toyota and Honda building cars in the deep south with all the profits going out of the country.

Oh well, "government motors" is back on its feet employing Americans. Only the GOP could see something wrong with that.

Rep. Blackburn Receives Hail of Criticism For Lying on Meet the Press

Rep. Marsha Blackburn tries like hell to get away with lying on Meet the Press, but even David Gregory had to jump in to correct her. Reporter Ron Brownstein discredited everything Marsha tried to push.

If the media had been this attentive during health care reform, we wouldn't have had to even think about "death panels" past the first day of Palin's idiotic declaration.

I'm Tired of the Republicans Telling ME What the People Want. Stop it! Stop it NOW!

I've been waiting to put together a good video clip to demonstrate this tired one liner from the GOP, "the people don't want this," but haven't come up with a compilation yet. Too much work in the edit room.

Suffice it to say, these authoritarians dictators would love to tell us what the American people "want" and "don't want," but they can't speak for everyone.

So please stop it. It's driving me mad.

HUNDREDS Showed up at Gun Rallies near Capital! The Failure to Attrack More Gun Nuts Ignored.

So what if they held a protest and no one came? That was a question from the 60's that came to mind after I read this ABC News story:
Carrying loaded pistols and unloaded rifles, DOZENS of gun-rights activists got as close as they could Monday to the nation's capital while still bearing arms and delivered what they said was a simple message: Don't tread on me. HUNDREDS of like-minded but unarmed counterparts carried out a separate rally in the nation's capital. Daniel Almond ... organized the "Restore the Constitution" rally in Virginia."
After watching the extensive media coverage of the approaching gun rallies, only a few hundred showed up? It should make the ones who did attend think a little bit harder about how crazy they really look to Americans.
Departing planes frequently drowned out speakers, and reporters nearly outnumbered rally participants. Wes Wdzieczny of Essex, Md., said people are unduly alarmed if they see rallies like these as promoting violence.
I don't know about you, but when I extrapolate out what our country might look like in 10 or 20 years, I can't help but think of third world countries where armed civilians walk around with rifles hanging over their shoulders and guns dangling from their hips. But gun toting advocates always point to the Swiss open carry laws, but is that really such a great example? Police are hunting for a gang of 10 machine-gun and pistol-toting thieves who made off with hundreds of thousands of dollars from a Swiss casino.
Washington Post: A gunman stalked through three villages in southern Switzerland, shooting residents as they answered their doorbells and killing six people in one of the worst mass murders in the country's history.
Of course once you limit the second amendment rights of citizens to bear arms, who knows where that will lead us:
National Review: In the Nineties, Britain banned guns - and found … instead of shooting each other, Britons started stabbing each other - to the point where makers of school uniforms now offer them in Kevlar. So naturally the government began cracking down on knives.
What gun story is complete without mentioning the poster guy himself, Mike Vanderboegh:
Among the speakers in Virginia was former Alabama Minuteman leader Mike Vanderboegh, who has been denounced in recent weeks after calling for citizens to throw bricks through the windows of local Democratic party headquarters across the country. "We are done backing up. Not one more inch," Vanderboegh said to cheers … Vanderboegh said he considers armed resistance justified only "when they send people to our doors and kill us" … an arrest at the hand of federal government is tantamount to a death sentence and that he would fight back in such a case … he outlined a scenario in which people who refuse to buy health insurance under the new health reform law would be subject to arrest and that such confrontations could turn violent.
To get a better idea of how armed a few gun nuts want us to be, and their complete contempt for Americans who are naturally afraid of people with guns and don't want us to look like a third world dictatorial "regime," Chris Matthews went to the craziest; Larry Pratt of Gun Owners of America, and "Skip" Coryell, the founder of the Second Amendment March. Did you know we should all be able to buy machine guns? See for yourself:

Google Ignores Their Popular Blogger Site like an Absentee Landlord. Exodus Starts...

While Googles "" experiences more technical problems brought on by recent updates to it functionality, bloggers who have their own tech problems cannot easily report those problems and are instead sent to forums to basically talk amongst themselves.

For example, a problem I've had since mid-January involves video uploads that no longer feature a thumbnail picture in the frame to create visual interest. Instead, the reader is presented with a black box. Is it on Googles radar to fix?


Like so many others who have appreciated the ease of creating blogs and the free space to do our thing, many are reluctant to say anything. Myself included. But the time for blog sites to appear dotted with big black holes is long past.

Some of us who are professionals want our blogs to reflect that. Like one forum user wrote recently:
My blog is fairly new and I find their lack of response to this issue massively irritating. I've already got a lot of time and energy invested in my blog, and I've done a lot to promote it. But using another blogservice sooner, rather than later, will really minimize the damage. What a drag! Good luck to all of you, whether you decide to move your blog or keep putting up with this.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Gun Madness! Armed Americans United, say NRA not "battling hard enough for their rights."

Just how crazy dangerous have the anti-Obama protesters got in the last year and a half? Check out the anger level among gun owners and open carry advocates now that we have a black liberal president. For them, the NRA isn't trying hard enough against the forces of socialism!

WSJ: Some gun owners, saying that the National Rifle Association isn't battling hard enough for their rights, are taking the fight into their own hands. "More and more the gun-rights movement is moving toward a stand-up-and-shout approach," said Jeff Knox, director of the Firearms Coalition, a for-profit, loose-knit coalition of activists. "There's a lot of general frustration with NRA not taking a hard enough line."

Gary Marbut, a life member of the NRA and president of the Montana Shooting Sports Association, an NRA affiliate (said) "The NRA is running the risk of becoming insignificant, of fading into the background."
What did the NRA do that made them so irrelevant?

Dudley Brown, executive director of the National Association for Gun Rights, said … the NRA had been too quick to compromise with gun-control advocates. He pointed to the association's endorsement of a law to check mental-health records in background checks for gun purchases following the killing of 32 people in 2007 by a suicidal gunman at Virginia Tech.
Even the "timid" NRA is taking a wait and see attitude with the angry mod like open carry protest in D.C.

The NRA hasn't endorsed the campaign, which it fears may divert attention from its goal of expanding rights to carry concealed weapons for self-defense, or trigger a backlash against guns.
In a not too distant future, a simple heated political discussion will be a thing of the past. Think about it; Who's going to want to go for the win against a pissed off guy carrying a gun. Let's face it, the country is unwinding around the second amendment and a flimsy interpretation of the tenth.

I believe the Daily Show took an indepth look at this issue:

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Open Carrier Discrimination
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical HumorTea Party

Republicans Complain Democrats are Traitors for taking Goldman Sachs Campaign Contributions, then Filing Fraud Charges? Are you Kidding?

Imagine my double take when I read this headline: "Republicans Question Timing, Target of SEC Case Against Goldman."

Beyond surreal, Republicans appear to be doing the impossible, accusing the Democrats of not doing Goldman's bidding after receiving huge campaign contributions. No really!

The Obama administration is biting the hand that fed it for political gain, Republicans say, accusing the White House of going after Goldman Sachs and then using the fraud charges filed against the Wall Street heavyweight to build the case for financial regulatory overhaul. Goldman Sachs was President Obama's top Wall Street contributor during the 2008 campaign, with employees donating nearly $1 million, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.
Considering the source of this story, Fox News, I guess I shouldn't be to surprised at its down the rabbit hole logic. They must be messin' with our heads on purpose:

"Just whose side is President Obama on?" House Republican Leader John Boehner said in a statement drawing attention to the donations and questioning the announcement from the Securities and Exchange Commission that it's going after the banking behemoth.
You can't make this stuff up. There's more head scratching ponderings by Republicans who can't figure out why Democrats don't give in to Goldman's electoral payoff:

Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., ranking Republican on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, accused the administration of using "theatrics and tactics." "It must be nice for the Democrats that the SEC's filing against Goldman Sachs so conveniently fits into their political agenda," Issa said in a written statement.
So the government shouldn't go after Goldman Sachs?

The SEC is accusing Goldman Sachs of defrauding investors by failing to inform them that certain mortgage investments were devised with help from someone who was betting on their failure. "We want banks to be banks, we don't want them to be casinos. And I'm glad the SEC is doing their job," Sen. Scott Brown, R-Mass., said on CBS' "Face the Nation" Sunday. "And they should bring those charges because it's wrong and we should do something about it."
It should be noted that Scott Brown opposes reform. Another words, deregulate Wall Street and let them fail with no public bailouts, that'll teach them. Of course if any huge bank fails, they'll take down every other one around them, globally as well, ushering in a 2nd great depression.

And that, my friends, is the GOP solution based on free market principles and no new regulation.

Tea Party Protesters get Tax Cut, but Didn't Conveniently Notice.

It should be noted right off the bat that the tea party movement grew out of town hall meetings where citizens shouted down politicians over completely fabricated health care reform lies. Had it not been for the Republican campaign of reform myths, we wouldn't have seen the fearful knee jerk public reaction to saving lives and preventing health care bankruptcies.

The same can be said for the recent tax day protests across the country, where tea party protesters demonstrated their outrage over rising taxes, even though they most likely saw a dramatic downsizing in their federal taxes paid in. The facts be damned when it comes to anti-government rhetoric. Rachel Maddow sums it up well here tea party Dodo's:

Friday, April 16, 2010

McCain's J.D. Hayworth Ad Skewers Republican Party too.

As much as I dislike John McCain, his ad against whack job J.D. Hayworth is a classic,. Having been in the advertising business, I think this is slick and effective. Man horse marriage wouldn't normally be an election issue.

Thank God Judicial Crisis Network Holding Obama in Check over Supreme Court Nomination.

It's amazing how conservative judicial activism goes so unnoticed by Republicans. If any other court had decided so many major issues geared toward a specific ideology, you wouldn't hear the end of it. But as we all know, the founding fathers are channeled spiritually through conservatives, who's philosophy supersedes all others.

So what's so wrong with replacing Justice Stevens with a conservative? Carrie Severino, of the Judicial Crisis Network, doesn't want an Obama rubber stamp on the court, spreading their liberal activism all over the place.

The Siren Song of Victoria Jackson and the Tea Party Movements New Voice of Reason.

Is Victoria Jackson the new face of the tea party movement?

David Cay Johnston on Poor Paying No Federal Tax: "I would think the tax cuts promoted by Pres. Obama Would be Popular for her (Palin)."

In the video below, Lawrence O'Donnell clearly defines the tea party movement from the recent NY Times poll results. Journalist and author of "Free Lunch," David Cay Johnston, offers up a bunch of tea party criticisms, including the following:
"They (tea partiers) think they're pursuing their own interests...The reality is they would be much better off under a system that is truly progressive. They would see that they would have a lower burden, they would have fewer risks, and their families and their children would be better off and they could save more money to do what they wanted to do with their lives. Those are fundamental issues that are being ignored here, but you've got to remember, the news media has done a lousy job of explaining anything."
I received this reminder in an email from Mr. Johnston about the poor's actual tax burden:
"Subtle but important point -- the poor do not pay federal income tax, but they do pay plenty of federal taxes if they work. About 3/4ths of Americans pay mors in payroll taxes than income taxes."

Tony Blankley on Tea Party Protesters Spitting and Using the N Word on Black Congressmen: "Nonproven event."

So did one black congressional lawmakers get spit on and another called the n word? Can we believe black congressmen? Is it so hard to imagine them lying to us to make us think racism fuels the tea party movement?

Tony Blankley doesn't know, because to him, it's not at all clear.

Blankley: "But we understand what this drill is, this is a drill, the conversation, the repeating of the nonproven event, is an effort to increase the energy on the left side of the equation because that was the problem in the election coming up that conservatives are more energized than the left, so these kinds of messages, these claims..."

It's a formula that has worked many times before. It's also a form of "projection," a "defensive mechanism by which their own traits and emotions are attributed to someone else."

If conservatives can muddy the waters enough to diffuse the issue, they can get racist tea party members off the hook for their actions, while vilifying a few lying black lawmakers. Joan Walsh is on point and exposes the ploy on the Ed Show.

Does Fox News' Bill O'Reilly Lie? Without a Question!

I know I'm posting this a little late, but it's too good not give some added blog space to this outright gotcha.

Bill O'Reilly flatly lies about his network never suggesting that people would be hauled off to jail if they don't buy health insurance or pay the tax. Despite the video proof, days later O'Reilly continued to make the claim. How do you debate or take seriously a party that ignores reality?

Oddly, that's why they're winning the message war.

Racism at Tea Party Rallies? Kevin Jackson at says "It flatly doesn't occur." Roll the tape..

This is unintentionally funny stuff. While Kevin Jackson, of, went on and on about having never seen any signs of racism at tea party rallies, the video footage running beside him was anything but.

Kevin Jackson: "It just flatly doesn't occur. You know all the racism that supposedly occurs, I would love to see it. I've been chasing the tea party races for quite a few months now, and I've yet to find anybody from the right that I would declare as a racist."

MSNBC host: "We're looking at some pictures, obviously these are the fringe elements which we refer...but there's Obama being painted a mustache on to look like Hitler there..."

National Day of Prayer? "Get that socialized prayer out of my government!"

Do we need a government designated "day of prayer?" Why does this feel good declaration by the government work for tea party patriots? This over reach by the government into religion is okay for them. Are they cafeteria constitutionalists? Does the constitution say anything about "a day of prayer?"

CNN: A federal judge on Thursday struck down the federal statute that established the National Day of Prayer, ruling that it violates the constitutional ban on government-backed religion. "[I]ts sole purpose is to encourage all citizens to engage in prayer, an inherently religious exercise that serves no secular function. In this instance, the government has taken sides on a matter that must be left to individual conscience," wrote the judge, Barbara B. Crabb.

The Obama administration said Obama intends to recognize this year's National Day of Prayer, which is May 6.

The lawsuit, brought by the Freedom From Religion Foundation, says the president
will designate one day "on which the people of the United States may turn to God in prayer and meditation at churches, in groups and as individuals."

Simply put, "day of prayer" boosters want everyone else to be a part of their life style choice. It reassures them that they have the governments endorsement, an "establishment" of prayer, that legitimizes their faith against those who have chosen a different path.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Conservative v. Liberal Justices from the Huffington Post

Piercing the Myths:
For 30 years, conservative commentators have persuaded the public that conservative judges apply the law, whereas liberal judges make up the law. According to Chief Justice John Roberts, his job is just to "call balls and strikes." According to Justice Antonin Scalia, conservative jurists merely carry out the "original meaning" of the framers. These are appealing but wholly disingenuous descriptions of what judges -- liberal or conservative -- actually do.

To see why this is so, we need only look to the text of the Constitution. It defines our most fundamental rights and protections in open-ended terms: "freedom of speech," for example, and "equal protection of the laws," "due process of law," "unreasonable searches and seizures," "free exercise" of religion, and "cruel and unusual punishment." These terms are not self-defining; they did not have clear meanings even to the people who drafted them. The framers fully understood that they were leaving it to future generations to use their intelligence, judgment and experience to give concrete meaning to the expressed aspirations.

Click on the link above for the rest of this really good article. Oh, and don't forget to send to a conservative friend.

Business Lobby Whines About Losing Manufacturing, Jobs and Low Wages, After Pushing Free Trade and Deregulation!

Starting with Reagan, government was trimmed back and vilified, free trade agreements off shored jobs and manufacturing and the rules running Wall Street were done away with and relaxed. We started seeing higher unemployment and lower wages. So knowing that, the tea party protesters and Republicans are pushing for greater deregulation and faith in the free market system, under the ill conceived rantings of freedom and liberty.

It doesn't make any sense. Mike Ivey wrote as much in this Capital Times piece, using the argument I just made above in the words of the conservative business lobby, Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce. How ironic is that?:

"Unemployment is high. We lost 120,000 jobs in 2009 alone, which wiped out 15 years of employment growth. We have fewer people employed today than at any time since 1995. Personal income declined by 2 percent in 2009, the first such decline since 1949. "We have experienced a 4.3 percent decline in the number of private business establishments since 2006, a loss that surpasses those of all neighboring states and the nation. And we have lost so many manufacturing jobs that for the first time in state history more people are employed by government than the manufacturing sector."

Hard to argue with those numbers. But hasn't the free market, no regulation, no tax crowd pretty much had its way the last 30 years? I'd argue that trickle-down economics has been an utter failure, widening the gap between rich and poor while rewarding excessive greed and risk taking.

My favorite recent factoid is that the amount of money paid to the top 25 hedge fund managers last year was enough to hire 658,000 new teachers. You tell me whose priorities are skewed.

Tea party complainers in the video below, about 4500 of them, have no real solutions, just liberty and freedom.

The Poll number below proves tea partiers oppose a health care plan they don't understand, simply because they thinks its "big government."

A new Associated Press-GfK poll finds Americans oppose the health care remake 50 percent to 39 percent. Only 28 percent said they understand the overhaul extremely or very well … And a big chunk of those who don't understand it remain neutral.

Jim Fall, 73, a retired computer consultant: "I don't like the idea of the government dictating what health care should be like. Nor do I like them taking money out of Medicare."

Oddly, government Medicare dictates health care to seniors and uses the private sector for care.

New NYT/CBS Poll Profiles Tea Party Activists.

NY Times: Tea Party supporters are wealthier and more well-educated than the general public, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News poll.

The 18 percent of Americans who identify themselves as Tea Party supporters tend to be Republican, white, male, married and older than 45. Tea Party supporters are more likely to classify themselves as “angry.”

The Tea Party movement burst onto the scene a year ago in protest of the economic stimulus package, and to block the Democratic agenda on the economy, the environment and health care.

Most describe the amount they paid in taxes this year as “fair.” Most send their children to public schools. A plurality do not think Sarah Palin is qualified to be president, and, despite their push for smaller government, they think that Social Security and Medicare are worth the cost to taxpayers.

Tea Party supporters’ fierce animosity toward Washington, and the president in particular, (and) policies of the Obama administration are disproportionately directed at helping the poor rather than the middle class or the rich. The overwhelming majority of supporters say Obama does not share the values most Americans live by … 25 percent think that the administration favors blacks over whites — compared with 11 percent of the general public. They are more likely than the general public, and Republicans, to say that too much has been made of the problems facing black people.

Asked what they are angry about, Tea Party supporters offered three main concerns: the recent health care overhaul, government spending and a feeling that their opinions are not represented in Washington.

Elwin Thrasher, a 66-year-old semiretired lawyer in Florida, said in an interview “I’m sick and tired of them wasting money and doing what our founders never intended to be done with the federal government.”

Ninety-two percent believe Mr. Obama is moving the country toward socialism, an opinion shared by more than half of the general public.

“I just feel he’s getting away from what America is,” said Kathy Mayhugh, 67, a retired medical transcriber in Jacksonville. “He’s a socialist. And to tell you the truth, I think he’s a Muslim and trying to head us in that direction, I don’t care what he says. He’s been in office over a year and can’t find a church to go to. That doesn’t say much for him.”

Tea Party supporters … say their personal financial situation is fairly good or very good … while most Americans blame the Bush administration or Wall Street for the current economy, the greatest number of Tea Party supporters blame Congress. The percentage holding a favorable opinion of former President George W. Bush, at 57 percent, almost exactly matches the percentage in the general public that holds an unfavorable view of him.

Dee Close, a 47-year-old homemaker in Memphis, said she was worried about a “drift” in the country. “Over the last three or four years, I’ve realized how immense that drift has been away from what made this country great,” Ms. Close said.

And nearly three-quarters of those who favor smaller government said they would prefer it even if it meant spending on domestic programs would be cut.

But in follow-up interviews, Tea Party supporters said they did not want to cut Medicare or Social Security … Some defended being on Social Security while fighting big government by saying that since they had paid into the system, they deserved the benefits. Others could not explain the contradiction.

“That’s a conundrum, isn’t it?” asked Jodine White, 62, of Rocklin, Calif. “I don’t know what to say. Maybe I don’t want smaller government. I guess I want smaller government and my Social Security.” She added, “I didn’t look at it from the perspective of losing things I need. I think I’ve changed my mind.”