"Joy and pleasure are as real as pain and sorrow and one must learn what they have to teach. . . ." -- Sean Russell, from Gatherer of Clouds

"If you're not having fun, you're not doing it right." -- Helyn D. Goldenberg

"I love you and I'm not afraid." -- Evanescence, "My Last Breath"

“If I hear ‘not allowed’ much oftener,” said Sam, “I’m going to get angry.” -- J.R.R. Tolkien, from Lord of the Rings

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

I See A Black Eye In Someone's Future

The DoJ is really putting their foot in it up to the knee in the trial of Lt. Dan Choi. Jane Hamsher has a fairly detailed story that -- well, read it yourself. I can't begin to describe the bullshit coming from the prosecutor in this one. Just take this as an indicator:

There was no better evidence of the government’s hostility toward the DADT protesters than George’s attitude toward Choi and Petrangelo, and her determination to prosecute the November 15 DADT protesters as vigorously as possible. Defense Attorney Norman Kent said the decision to persecute Choi and others “may go all the way to the White House.” It is clear that the government does not want an investigation into who was involved in making decisions that abuse the power of the state to punish and harass the President’s political enemies.

As John Aravosis points out, you would think the administration would want this case to go away. If by some chance they win -- and from the tenor of the judge's remarks so far, that's a long shot -- they're going to have a serious problem with the gay community. Even worse than the one they have now.

Sunday, August 28, 2011


The Republicans in Congress, especially Eric Cantor. Here's a fairly low-key commentary from Steve Benen on Cantor wanting to hold disaster relief hostage for more spending cuts.

This week, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) said the GOP approach would break from how U.S. policymakers have operated. Whereas Congress used to provide emergency funds after a disaster, without regard for budget caps or offsets, Republicans have said they will no longer accept such an approach — if Democrats want emergency assistance in the wake of a natural disaster, Republicans will insist on attaching some strings to the relief funds.

In this case, the strings are cuts elsewhere in the budget. Or as Cantor’s spokesperson put it, GOP leaders expect “additional funds for federal disaster relief” to be “offset with spending cuts.”

If anything demonstrates the moral poverty of the contemporary Republican party, this is it. This is Eric Cantor, whose district contains the epicenter for last week's earthquake. He's screwing his own constituents, as well as gods know how many people on the East Coast.

OK, so maybe Irene won't be that bad and no emergency disaster relief will be needed from the federal government. It can all be paid for by states that don't have any money to begin with.

The point is that anyone who could even consider making federal disaster relief conditional on anything is about the lowest form of life. About the only thing that comes close is Ron Paul saying FEMA is unnecessary, because it's still 1900.

Aside from specific policy issues on which I disagree with Republicans -- and needless to say, there are many -- I think what has turned me off most about the Republican party as it has degenerated over the past couple of decades is that it makes a deliberate effort to cater to the worst in people. Making disaster relief conditional on budget cuts? That's totally unAmerican.


Interesting post from Amanda Marcotte on the far right's evolving positions on sexual orientation and, consequently, gay rights. She's working off this post by Igor Volsky at Think Progress:

Republican presidential candidates from Michele Bachmann to Mitt Romney continue to make offensive and homophobic remarks in debates and on the campaign trail, despite the public’s growing acceptance of gay people. It’s unlikely that these positions will resonate with a constituency beyond the party’s social conservative base, since, as Paul Thornton notes in today’s Los Angeles Times, “the radical ideas espoused by Bachmann, Perry, Santorum and others are [already] held up not for genuine consideration but for scorn.” “Perry’s and Bachmann’s views aren’t weighed against President Obama’s ‘evolving’ stance on same-sex marriage; rather, they are simply ridiculed. It says as much about our society as it does the candidates.”

I think both Volsky and Marcotte are missing one point: Perry, Bachmann, et al. right now are playing to the base -- which in their case is the extreme right of the party -- and may not have twigged to the fact that these remarks are going to come back at them in the Republican primaries and the general election -- assuming either of them makes it that far.

Back to Marcotte:

Here's what I find fascinating about all this: the "homosexuality is like alcoholism" thing actually came about because social conservatives are trying to sound more tolerant of gays. It's actually an attempt to evade accusations of bigotry. The old line was basically that gays are molesters and perverts who only do gay stuff because they're bad people. The narrative is that gays are broken people with a disease, a compulsion---and that they need "help" to overcome it. But the public saw through that attempt at revisionism as quickly as it was concocted.

Given the increasingly bad repute of "ex-gay" organizations and "reparative therapy" in general, how long does anyone think this stance is going to last? As more people realize that they know, not just gay people, but normal, well-adjusted, happy gay people, that's just not going to hold water.

Of course, you've still got those such as Linda Harvey, whose new tack is that there is no such thing as a gay person. That, of course, is the ideal condition for the anti-gay right: just deny that we exist. Harvey is on the fringe even in that fringe group -- and it more and more is becoming a fringe group. You can tell by the increasing shrillness in their public statements.

Marcotte's right on one point: those positions are increasingly subject to ridicule. It's a progression, if you will. (Given the laughability of "evolution" in this regard, particularly as concerns same-sex marriage, I don't want to cast it in those terms. I don't think anyone really believes the president is "evolving" -- I think they believe he's a politician working toward the next election.)

It's sort of fun to watch a movement that exists to marginalize people becoming marginalized itself. I think the term is "schadenfreude."


Joe Solmonese, the public face of HRC, is leaving. Here's Pam Spaulding's initial story breaking the news. Here's HRC official release.

There's been a fair amount of speculation in the gay blogosphere as to whether Solmonese's departure will signal a change of direction at HRC. If you look at Spaulding's original post, you'll note several bullet points marking possible changes. I think that's a pipe dream. Yes, there is a chance for HRC to make itself relevant to the gay civil rights movement again, but that requires leadership and vision, both of which seem to have been lacking on the HRC board for some time now. If HR really wants to change -- which I doubt, because I don't think they understand just how irrelevant they are -- the board should resign -- or at least open up a few slots for the likes of, maybe, Dan Choi and Robin McGehee. Or Dan Savage. You know -- people who are making waves rather than sitting tight and not rocking the boat.

There is certainly room for an organization that is conversant with the corridors of power and knows how to use them, but there's one element that HRC seems to have lost sight of: no one is afraid of HRC. It should take a good hard look at the NRA if it wants to see how an effective advocacy organization works.

Then maybe we can expect some changes.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

This Will Get Marijuana Legalized

Drugs derived from marijuana may cure cancer. And guess who's interested?

But it’s not just Dr. Nagarkatti who sees the medical value of marijuana: it’s the whole pharmaceutical industry. And that’s another point the documentary makes, examining the patents various companies have filed, and what they claim marijuana-based drugs could one day be used to treat.

Legalization within five years at the federal level. Ya think?

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

An Observation

We still have two political parties: the corporate party, which controls all branches of government, and everyone else.

We Should Have Seen This Coming (Updated)

A blistering article by Yves Smith at Naked Capitalism on the Obama administration's attempts to pressure NY AG Eric Schneiderman to let Bank of America and the other biggies off the hook on the fraud and manipulation of mortgages and mortgage-backed securities. Read the whole thing, but this struck me, in particular:

Obama’s incentives are to come up with “solutions” that paper over problems, avoid meaningful conflict with the industry, minimize complaints, and restore the old practice of using leverage and investment gains to cover up stagnation in worker incomes. Potemkin reforms dovetail with the financial service industry’s goal of forestalling any measures that would interfere with its looting. So the only problem with this picture was how to fool the now-impoverished public into thinking a program of Mussolini-style corporatism represented progress.

I am suddenly reminded of Obama's refusal to pursue any sort of investigation or inquiry into the abuses of the Bush administration, amid widespread and well documented charges of war crimes (not to mention what the Bushies have done to the Constitution). Obama's response, if you'll remember, was "Let's more forward." I did warn before the election that anyone who expected Obama to roll back Bush's enlargement of executive power was dreaming; instead, he's pushed it a notch or two, particularly with his Congress-free commencement of action in Libya, while claiming that Congress has his hands tied on anything that's going to actually help the citizens of this country. (At least, those citizens who make less than $1 million a year.)

Given that, is this any surprise?

Unfortunately, it's not just Obama. The whole edifice is rotting, from the halls of the Corporate Congress to the chambers of the Corporate Supreme Court. To those who wail that we are heading toward a banana republic, I have news for you: we're there.


How deep into saving the banks is the administration? How deep is the Marianas Trench? Take a look at this article from Emptywheel. Melissa McEwen has a good take on the proposal:

Anyone else got a problem with the Obama administration proposing profit-making opportunities for corporate owners on foreclosed homes while this sort of dodgy land-grabbing by financial institutions is ousting people from their homes?

I sure as shit do.

This weekend, I watched
Inside Job, Charles Ferguson's film, which deservedly won the Oscar for Best Documentary last year, about the causes of the economic crisis. I highly recommend it. The control over the US (and, by extension, global) economy, and the control over people's lives, with which corporations have been empowered is breathtaking.

And the abdication of responsibility of the US government to protect its citizens, in favor of subsidizing the profiteering of international conglomerates which have absolutely no patriotism, no loyalty to this country, no affinity for its people, no allegiance of any sort to anything but for-profit exploitation, is amazing and terrible to see in all its naked grotesquery.

McEwen's post takes off from this story from Tampa. Read both.

What astonishes me is that these jokers are making these proposals with a straight face.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

You Have to Wonder

Ran across this story this morning, and there are one or two comments here that are real jaw-drop material.

It seems Sen. Bernie Sanders, bless his heart, leaked some "confidential" information to the press. The information revealed the positions taken by traders in the speculation-driven rise in oil prices in 2008. Now, we know what happens when traders have an interest in prices of the commodities they're trading, don't we? Well, it seems that the Commodity Futures Trading Commission has been sitting on this. But here's the first jaw-drop item:

The leaked information has sparked concern at the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, which is legally prohibited from releasing confidential information that identifies trader positions and identities.

Got that? The CFTC is not allowed to reveal information that might indicate conflicts of interest on the part of traders. It's against the law for them to do that. Any guesses on who wrote that choice bit of legislation? Here's a hint:

Republicans have already raised concerns in recent hearings about the Treasury's new Office of Financial Research created by Dodd-Frank, and whether its collection of data from hedge funds and banks may constitute a regulatory overreach.

"Regulatory overreach" is Republican-speak for "regulation of any sort."

Here's the second jaw-drop goody:

"This type of incident will have a chilling effect on derivatives trading in the U.S. because market participants will be reluctant to take the risk that their positions will be exposed to the public-and their competitors," John Damgard, president of the Futures Industry Association, said in a statement sent to Reuters.

This is really instructive. First, do you suppose this guy was actually listening to what he was saying? If "market participants" run the risk of people finding out what they're up to, maybe they won't be so eager to do it. Damgard seems to think this is terrible. Any sane person would be thinking "Isn't this what we want?" And second, notice how the "competitors" bit is an add-on. What he's really worried about is the public finding out what's going on -- and maybe forcing the regulators to do their jobs.

Now, do we think anything will happen because of this? Not anything we want to happen, that's for damned sure.

The Crap That Passes for Reporting

This AP story on the Social Security disability program. This paragraph says it all:

New congressional estimates say the trust fund that supports Social Security disability will run out of money by 2017, leaving the program unable to pay full benefits, unless Congress acts. About two decades later, Social Security's much larger retirement fund is projected to run dry as well.

Point 1: If if it runs out of money by 2017, that means it can't pay any benefits. If it's paying partial benefits, that means there's still money.

POint 2: No, the retirement fund is not projected to run dry -- there will be shortfalls in 25 years is Congress doesn't do something to fix it. With this Congress, of course, that means handing Social Security's assets over to Wall Street. We've seen how well Wall Street does with other people's money.

Of course, the other thing that Congress could do is to jump-start the economy, like by creating jobs. Don't hold your breath. (I know, the president has shifted his rhetoric to job creation. Any odds on whether he decides that jobs in India and China count?)

The appalling thing is that people read crap like this and just accept it as though it were fact. It's not fact -- it's spin.

Has anyone else noticed that AP has developed a distinct corporatist slant to its "reporting"?

Friday, August 19, 2011

Compare and Contrast (Updated)

First, the latest fundraising letter from one of the most disgusting people in the world, Tony Perkins of the anti-gay hate group Family Research Council. I'm not going to quote the letter because it's too disgusting, but it's short -- you can read it at the link. What it boils down to is that Perkins and his pet hate group would prefer that gay kids kill themselves, and support bullying as a way to weed out all the non-believers. (I.e., everyone who's not just like them -- as if anyone would want to be.)

Compare this to these two posts from what has to be one of the world's greatest moms. (The first post is at the bottom.)

Which one would you like to share a planet with?


Here's another update from the mom. It's sobering:

But here are all these people online talking about how great I am. And what did I do? I said I unconditionally love my kid. Is that so rare people need to go out of their way to talk about how cool it is? I didn't think so, but now I am beginning to wonder.

Because the part that really breaks my heart are those messages in my inbox. The ones from kids whose parents have evidently failed at the most important part of parenting: Actually loving their kid. The notes are simple and devastating, and almost always end the same way: thanking me for loving my own child. . . .

But unfortunately, the notes that make me smile and laugh are the minority. Most of them are like the one I am staring at right now. A heart broken kid who just desperately wishes his mom would just stop saying awful things to him. A kid who wishes his mom still loved him.

If you're looking for some root causes, take a look at this comment from Jeremy Hooper:

Considering president Tony Perkins went on NPR and said that gay kids commit suicide because they know they are "abnormal," the following document probably shouldn't come as any surprise. But when you consider that this condemnation of the "It Gets Better" project and LGBT youth in general was used to RAISE. FUNDS. for the Family Research Council and its work supporting the GOP, the attack takes on a whole new weight.

It appears that as long as your whole moral foundation is centered on what other people do with their genitals, there are no other limits. Is Tony Perkins disgusting? Certainly. Is he alone? Sadly, there are too many like him, and they are way too influential.

I hope the GLSEN action pulls some of his teeth.

How the Mighty Have Fallen

This story was nice to run across this morning:

Judge John Schmidt ruled that the state did not violate the rights of charities in in Peoria, Belleville, Springfield and Joliet when The Department of Children and Family Services ( DCFS ) denied the charities foster care contracts. The state denied the contracts because the charities had refused to place children with unmarried and civil union couples.

Schmidt issued the judgment just a day after the two sides faced off in crowded Sangamon County courtroom Aug. 17.

"The fact that the Plaintiffs have contracted with the State to provide foster care and adoption services for over forty years does not vest the Plaintiffs with a protected property interest," Schmidt wrote in the judgment. "The State may refuse to renew the Plaintfiffs' contracts."

The idea that Catholic Charities can even advance the "property interest" argument demonstrates the degree to which religious organizations feel a sense of entitlement in this country: whatever they want to do is OK because they're churches. The arrogance of the Catholic Church, in particular, seems to have no limits.

Downstream, of course, it translates into anyone having the "right" to discriminate in any area because it's their "religion." My recommendation to any jurisdiction that has pharmacists refusing to dispense any legal medication, or town clerks refusing to sign marriage certificates on "religious" grounds -- yank their licenses.

And I am very happy with the Governor, the Attorney General, and the Department of Family Services for not caving on this one.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

I'm Encouraged

GLSEN has issued a cease and desist letter to anti-gay hate groups Family Research Council and MassResistance over their slanders about "The Little Black Book":

The cease-and-desist letter has to do with the video below in which Tony Perkins, head of FRC, and Brian Camenker, head of the Massachusetts anti-gay group Mass Resistance claimed that GLSEN and the Massachusetts Public Schools distributed an explicit safe-sex guide called The Little Black Book to fifth to ninth graders at a conference in 2005.

(I'm not going to post the video here -- I have standards, after all. You can see it at the PHB post linked above.) As one might guess, that's a lie. Media Matters thoroughly debunked it some while ago, but hey! FRC is not one to let a good slander go to waste.

My understanding is that a cease-and-desist letter is something that an aggrieved party issues as a preliminary to legal action, to demonstrate that they have attempted to resolve the matter without going to the courts. My guess is that FRC and MassResistance will claim that they are being attacked as part of their next fundraising appeal and otherwise try to ignore the whole thing. My hope is that GLSEN will have their asses in court suing for major damages and a public retraction.

(If you follow the Media Matters link, you'll see that the original controversy was directed at Kevin Jennings when he was appointed to head the Safe Schools Office in the Department of Education -- it was directed at Obama as much as GLSEN, but I guess Perkins and his henchmen have run out of new material.)

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Yes, I'm Alive

even though it hasn't seemed like it lately. It's been kind of hit or miss, and I think I'm a little burned out. Here's a round-up of things I've been skating over recently that I decided to call attention to.

Melissa McEwen says all that needs to be said about Rick Santorum and his "pro-life" philosophy. I think this comment pretty much sums it up:

And he's worried about the double victimization of a fucking blastocyst.

It's probably a good thing for Rand Paul that Santorum is no longer in the Senate, otherwise he'd have real competition for "Stupidest Sitting Senator." I doubt that Santorum could even manage to fake it for any length of time.

Michele Bachmann won the Iowa Straw Poll.

And your point is? (Even Joe Scarborough has that figured out.)

Here is another one of those ponderous, self-absorbed, New Left "my agenda is the only one that counts" posts at Bilerico. I was going to leave a comment, but when I reread it I realized that there is so much wrong on so many levels there that I didn't even know where to start, except maybe with "Take your head out of your butt and look around you."

The Iowa Values Voters Bus Tour is a huge flop. This is the brain-child of a coalition of far-right Christianist groups who obviously didn't get the message from the abject failure of NOM's marriage bus tour last year. What is that line about trying the same thing over and over and expecting a different result?

Mitt Romney wants to privatize unemployment insurance. Really. Truly. I thought this bit was choice -- from the right-wing Mercatus Center on Unemployment Insurance Savings Accounts:

UISA eliminates the perverse incentives of publicly provided benefits. Workers must finance their own unemployment, providing an incentive to avoid job loss and increase the job search effort during unemployment.

"An incentive to avoid job loss" -- do you suppose someone actually got paid for coming up with that nonsense?

And inevitably, we have a gaggle of New York town clerks whose religious beliefs forbid them from performing their duties. Timothy Kincaid has an excellent commentary. (And have you ever noticed how all of a sudden, oaths of office don't count?)

That's all the crazy I can deal with this morning.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Rolling in the Deep

The Army cover. I've been sliding past this one for a few days. It is totally awesome.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

I Keep Seeing This Headline

Cameron: No culture of fear on UK's streets

And then comes the news story:

Cameron told lawmakers there would be no "culture of fear" on Britain's streets, as police raided houses to round up more suspects from four days of rioting and looting in London and other English cities.

In other words, the only "culture of fear" that's allowable is the one imposed by the government.

Sounds pretty familiar to Americans at this point -- we used to have civil rights, too.

Saturday, August 06, 2011

S&P Kabuki (Update, Update II)

Because Standard & Poor's downgrade of the US bond rating is part of the kabuki. This note from Steven Benen is instructive:

There are widespread reports this afternoon that Standard & Poor’s, the bond rating agency, will downgrade the United States, despite this week’s debt-reduction agreement. S&P will reportedly cite Republican intransigence on revenue as part of the rationale, drawing a direct connection between GOP policies and a step that will further weaken the economy.

Translation: Wall Street is not happy and the Republican leadership just got its orders: muzzle the teabaggers.

Benen also has a nice post underlining that this is a political action, not an economic decision.

A Treasury staff member noticed the $2 trillion mistake within the hour, according to a department official. The Treasury called the company and explained the problem. About an hour later, the company conceded the problem but did not indicate how it planned to proceed, the official said. Hours later, S.& P. issued a revised release with new numbers but the same conclusion.

Got that? S&P prepared an analysis to justify a specific conclusion. The analysis was off by $2 trillion. Treasury explained to S&P that the analysis wasn’t even close to being accurate, which led the ratings agency to concede they’d made a mistake.

And a few hours later, S&P decided to reach the same conclusion anyway. The agency wanted to proceed with a downgrade; whether its numbers added up was irrelevant.

As far as S&P's credibility, note that Moody's and Fitch have not downgraded US debt, and -- well, there's that little matter of the mortgage-backed securities a while back:

The credit rating agencies have been trying to restore their credibility after missteps leading to the financial crisis. A Congressional panel called them “essential cogs in the wheel of financial destruction” after their wildly optimistic models led them to give top-flight reviews to complex mortgage securities that later collapsed.

The point being, they knew those securities were junk. Joe Klein had a note back in April, when S&P first started making downgrade noises, that Benen uses to good effect, but there's another part of it that caught my attention:

S&P is not only a de facto subsidiary of the big banks, it also reflects their politics. Big bankers don’t want to be taxed or regulated. President Obama said last week that they will be taxed, at the moral equivalent of the Clinton rates, in any given budget deal; he has also proposed stiffer financial regulations, and the banks are having spend a lot in campaign contributions to wriggle free of that, which is a tax of a different sort. By issuing this warning, S&P seems to be trying to curry favor with its key constituents while overplaying a real, but long-term problem–the need to make structural changes to the way we take in and spend public revenues.

I'm not sure how much oomph to give this one, particularly since S&P specifically cited Republicans' intransigence on revenue increases as a reason for its conclusions. Maybe the plutocracy is realizing that banana republics aren't free. And maybe they're realizing that if they trash everyone's economy, they won't have anything left to play with.

Paul Krugman has a brief little post on this aspect that I'm not going to quote -- go read it. I will say, though, that what we're seeing now is the aftermath of our "businessman" president.

Update: Paul Krugman has a good column on what the real problem is, and what the real reactions should be. Don't expect anyone in Washington to pay attention -- I mean, Krugman's only been consistently right about all this.

Update II:

Here's a piece from Dean Baker with some good perspective on the whole S&P sideshow.

Friday, August 05, 2011

Thanks to the Roberts Court

we can probably expect a lot more of this:

A murky $1 million donation to a pro-Republican committee has reignited a debate over transparency in politics, underscoring the expanded role that wealthy donors are likely to play in the 2012 elections.

The focus of the debate is a now-extinct corporation called W Spann LLC, which gave $1 million in April to Restore Our Future, a “super PAC” created to help Mitt Romney’s presidential run, according to Federal Election Commission records.

The firm was formed in March and then dissolved in July, with no record of any shareholders, executives or business activities in between, according to MSNBC, which first reported on the company’s hazy background. The entire arrangement was handled by a Boston lawyer who specializes in managing wealthy estates.

The episode marks a new twist in efforts by wealthy donors and corporations to cloak their political expenditures, which have accelerated in the wake of court rulings allowing corporations to spend unlimited amounts of money on elections.

After all, we can't have anyone poking around in the business of our betters, now can we?

Remind you of anyone -- like Maggie Gallagher, maybe?

Monday, August 01, 2011

Yeah, So They've Made a Deal

Why does that make me want to run for cover? Here's a story on the kabuki from NYT. It's probably no surprise that I'd be a lot happier if it weren't all about posturing, but that's the government we've got right now. This sucks:

The tentative agreement calls for at least $2.4 trillion in spending cuts over 10 years, a new Congressional committee to recommend a deficit-reduction proposal by Thanksgiving, and a two-step increase in the debt ceiling.

We're pretty much back to square one, from the sound of this. And they still haven't figured out that cutting back on government spending during a recession is a sure way to make it worse. More NYT:

The emerging outlines of a deal to cut spending by at least $2.4 trillion over 10 years, with a multibillion-dollar down payment later this year, would complete an about-face in the federal government’s role from outsize spending in the immediate aftermath of the recession to outsize cuts in the future.

Last week brought the disconcerting news that the economy grew no faster than the population during the first six months of the year, in part because of spending cuts by state and local governments. Now the federal government is cutting, too.

“Unemployment will be higher than it would have been otherwise,” Mohamed El-Erian, chief executive of the bond investment firm Pimco, said Sunday on ABC. “Growth will be lower than it would be otherwise. And inequality will be worse than it would be otherwise.”

He added, “We have a very weak economy, so withdrawing more spending at this stage will make it even weaker.”

Way to go, fellas.

And how is this going to help?

The Republican authors of the debt ceiling deal say that cutting the size of government will increase economic growth down the road because federal borrowing soaks up money otherwise available to private businesses and federal spending distributes that money inefficiently.

Some conservative economists argue that even the immediate impact of a deal could be positive. Classic economic theory holds that people respond to the growth of government by spending less of their own money, because they assume that taxes will increase. A reduction in the federal debt therefore should encourage people to spend more of their money.

Unfortunately, reality doesn't really support that view:

“When you look at the history of these things, the finding is that we shouldn’t be kidding ourselves,” said Paolo Mauro, chief of the fiscal affairs department at the International Monetary Fund and the editor of a book of case studies, “Chipping Away at Public Debt.” “When you do fiscal adjustment in the near term, it does have an adverse impact on economic growth.”

This is pretty much in line with what Krugman, Stiglitz, et al. (that is, people who actually know what they're talking about) have been saying all along. And here's Krugman on the deal.

Start with the economics. We currently have a deeply depressed economy. We will almost certainly continue to have a depressed economy all through next year. And we will probably have a depressed economy through 2013 as well, if not beyond.

The worst thing you can do in these circumstances is slash government spending, since that will depress the economy even further. Pay no attention to those who invoke the confidence fairy, claiming that tough action on the budget will reassure businesses and consumers, leading them to spend more. It doesn’t work that way, a fact confirmed by many studies of the historical record.

Once again, reality and the Congress are in direct opposition, and the president is showing the leadership we've come to expect, unfortunately. He seems to have developed a real taste for red herrings -- he'll follow them anywhere.

Update: Here's the White House fact sheet on the "compromise." Notice the repeated use of the word "bipartisan." Now we know why Obama accepted it.

Update II.

Matthew Cameron has a nice graphic at Think Progress on where growth is happening -- and where it's not. And in the places that might actually help to revive the economy, it's not.