Video of the day

Oh man I loved this.  Of course, I was such a bad marcher in the marching band that the band director pulled me off marching and had me play bells while standing still.



Photo of the day

From the In Focus gallery on the Syrian civil war.  I knew Ipads could do a lot of stuff, but this takes the cake:

A member of the ‘Ansar Dimachk’ Brigade, part of the Asood Allah Brigade which operates under the Free Syrian Army, uses an iPad during preparations to fire a homemade mortar at one of the battlefronts in Joubar, a suburb of Damascus, Syria, on September 15, 2013.(Reuters/Mohamed Abdullah)

The Democrats already  compromised

This graph via Wonkblog is perfect:


Quote of the day

Damn, that Elizabeth Warren sure is quotable when she gets going.  Love this:

In a democracy, hostage tactics are the last resort for those who can’t otherwise win their fights through elections, can’t win their fights in Congress, can’t win their fights for the Presidency, and can’t win their fights in Courts,” Warren said. “For this right-wing minority, hostage-taking is all they have left – a last gasp of those who cannot cope with the realities of our democracy.

He said, she said, and journalists as boiling frogs

Great, great post from Joshua Holland on how horrible media coverage has contributed to our present sorry situation:

Beltway reporters who see their professed neutrality as a higher ground bear an enormous amount of responsibility for encouraging this perversion of democratic governance. With a few notable exceptions, the media have framed what Jonathan Chait called “a kind of quasi-impeachment” in typical he said-she said fashion, obscuring the fact that the basic norms that govern Congress have been thrown out the window by a small cabal of tea party-endorsed legislators from overwhelmingly Republican districts. The media treat unprecedented legislative extortion as typical partisan negotiations, and in doing so they normalize it.  [emphasis mine]

But it’s not normal. Republicans are demanding that Democrats unwind their signature achievement – a piece of legislation that took 18 months to pass, survived a Supreme Court challenge and a presidential election – in exchange for a stopgap budget resolution. On Saturday, they tacked on a provision that would limit access to contraceptives…

The difference is that, with a demographic tide going against them, Republicans have gradually jettisoned the norms that make democratic governance possible. First they filibustered virtually everything. Then they started creating these annual budget showdowns to fight for cuts in taxes and spending. Now they’re using the budget battle to advance the entire legislative agenda of the hard right. In essence, they have made crisis governance the new normal — but they did so incrementally.

Like frogs in the proverbial pot, many journalists have slowly acclimated to these extreme, democracy-suffocating circumstances and now seem incapable of describing what’s they’re seeing. [emphasis mine]  Framing everything as a standard-issue partisan fight is almost a professional imperative for many journalists. But there are three reasons this is wrong…

The reason all of this is important is simple: A faction within one of our parties has rejected the basic structure of our democratic system – the separation of powers. The only thing that will break the fever that grips them – the only thing that can break the fever – is intense public backlash, and not just from Democratic partisans, but also from the majority of Republicans who don’t identify with the tea party movement and oppose these antics. By muddying the waters of what’s really going on here with their perpetual false equivalence, the Beltway media is making that reckoning unlikely to occur.

And finally, he reproduces this awesome Steve Benen chart:

And more on the shutdown and Republican craziness

You know how really bad movies often lead to the most entertaining movie reviews?  I feel like that’s what we’re seeing from liberal bloggers on the utter insanity that is today’s Republican Party.  For example, here’s Paul Waldman:

But the reason for my despair isn’t about this week or this month. It’s the fact that this period in our political history—the period of lurching from absurd crisis to absurd crisis, with no possibility of passing a budget let alone legislation to address any serious problems we face, with a cowardly Republican leadership held hostage by a group of insane political terrorists who think it’s a tragedy if a poor person gets health insurance and it’s a great day when you kick a kid off food stamps [emphasis mine], a period where this collection of extremists and fools, these people who think the likes of Michele Bachmann and Steve King are noble and wise leaders—this awful, horrific period in our history, when these are the people who control the country’s fate, looks like it will never end….

In June of last year, Obama expressed the belief that if he was re-elected, “the fever may break, because there’s a tradition in the Republican Party of more common sense than that.” … But it was never going to happen. That’s not only because of their white-hot hatred of him, but also because, generally speaking, the crazier a Republican member of Congress is, the less they have to worry about political consequences from their craziness. The most radical members come from the most conservative districts, where the only question determining who gets elected is which candidate in a Republican primary is the most extreme, hates Barack Obama the most, and can talk with the most contempt about liberals and government and all the “thems” his constituents despise so much.

And even if the shutdown turns out to be a disaster for the GOP as a whole, those Tea Party members are going to be 100 percent sure that the only problem was that Republicans didn’t fight hard enough. They’ll come out of it more convinced than ever that government is evil and Democrats are the enemies of all that is right and good, and the good Lord himself put them in Congress to fight liberals and obstruct Obama and undermine government and scratch and bite and kick and scream. And that’s what they’re going to continue to do as long as they are privileged to serve.

Their fever will never break. Never.

Depressing.  But seemingly true.  Ugh.

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