31 October 2009

30 October 2009

Finally...At Long Last

Via Andrew Sullivan:
The president just announced that as of Monday, the ban on HIV-positive visitors, tourists and immigrants will formally come to an end. There are 60 days before the new rule comes into effect. But after that, people with HIV will be treated in exactly the same way as any other person with a serious illness - according to science, not politics, and following the logic of reason, not fear.
This really is a tremendous step forward.

The Bridge and the Blog

The Bay Bridge is still closed and I need to work from the office today, thus I'm holding back on blogging so that I can take the time to travel down south to the San Mateo Bridge, then back up to Alameda.


"Dozens" of House Members Under Ethics Probe

This is NOT good news for the Democrats as we head into the 2010 election cycle:
...the ethics panel publicly announced it is launching full investigation of Reps. Maxine Waters (D-CA) and Laura Richardson (D-CA). The Waters matter focuses on her alleged intervention to get bailout funds for a bank in which her husband held stock. Richardson allegedly failed to disclose real estate assets and got special treatment involving a foreclosure on her home.
If this story has legs, the bat-shit crazy populists on the right will have plenty of fodder to make the entirety of 2010 miserable for the Democrats.

What the fuck is it with these people and power!?

29 October 2009

Detroit Safer Than San Francisco?

Detroit safer than Austin, Chicago, and Columbus?

What the fuck are they smoking over at Forbes Magazine!?

"In This Fix"

A reader emails ranting and raving over this post, and insists that the economic mess is Obama's fault:
If only the U.S.A. had elected John McCain, we wouldn't be in this mess. Mr. Obama's tax and spend ways have landed us in this fix.
For the record, we "landed in this fix" in September of last year, two months before Barack Obama was elected, when the Republican administration was still in charge. As to how John McCain would have approached the economic crisis, here is what I said in my presidential endorsement last year:
By his own admission, the Republican candidate, John McCain, isn't the man the United States needs to tackle this economic crisis. His limited knowledge of American economics was on full display earlier this month when ... the Senator from Arizona "suspended" his campaign and flew to Washington in hopes of working with congressional leaders on a bail out package. There, in full view of the American public, McCain came across as erratic and unknowledgable - two traits the U.S. and world economies cannot afford as we navigate the rough seas of the next four years.

Barack Obama, on the other hand, kept a cool head, remained calm and steady, offered up solid proposals to get our financial house in order, and at the same time presented a blunt assessment of the situation that was refreshing in its honesty: The recession has only just started and is bound to get pretty painful before it gets better. Obama's cool-headedness is the perfect prescription to help keep the markets steady and America's spirits high. (Over the past month, the markets tanked every time President Bush put himself on television to discuss the crisis. Imagine what those markets would do with the bumbling and indecisive McCain in the White House!)
I stand by that argument. The election of Barack Obama and the resulting economic measures he instituted brought us back from the precipice. While I believe more should have been done, there is no denying that what he did pulled us back from the abyss. A McCain presidency more than likely would have led to higher unemployment and a depression-like stock market collapse. Every American should shudder at the thought.

Whatever, Sarah

Former half-term Alaska governor and failed 2008 vice-presidential nominee Sarah Palin, reacting to accusations by Levi Johnston, father of her teenaged daughter's baby, that she did some highly illegal and/or unethical things while in office:
Consider the source of the most recent attention-getting lies—those who would sell their body for money reflect a desperate need for attention...
Because Sarah Palin would NEVER sell her body, right?



Out of the Woods?

From the NY Times:
For the first time in a year, the United States economy grew, the Commerce Department said on Thursday.

...Gross domestic product expanded at an annual rate of 3.5 percent in the three months ending in September.

...Robust government spending, exports, consumer spending — buoyed by auto purchases Congress’s now-expired cash-for-clunkers program — and housing helped finally push the measure into positive territory. Spending on consumer durable goods like cars shot up an astounding 22.3 percent at an annual rate, compared to a decrease of 23.3 percent the previous quarter.
I don't doubt the numbers. They are what they are. However, I doubt (highly) that our economy is on the mend. We'll have some good quarters, but they'll be off-set by some bad ones. The damage of the Bush administration is too systemic for a normal recovery. My gut hunch is we'll be digging our way out of this for another two to three years (if we're lucky), and even once we are out of the woods, we're probably looking at decades worth of rather weak economic growth.

Matthew Shepard & James Byrd, Jr.

President Obama signed the Matthew Shepard & James Byrd, Jr. Hates Crimes Prevention Bill into law yesterday. While I am thrilled that it is now - finally - the law of the land, it really stretches the brain to wonder why it had to be placed as an "amendment" to a completely unrelated bill.

Shepard/Byrd was part of the annual bill authorizing funding for the Defense Department.

This is the sort of slimy trickery that turns the collective stomach of the American people. I'll never understand why the process works this way.

That said, I'll take it. As this is, indeed, truly a special day. Shepard/Byrd is the first ever (EVER) federal LGBT civil rights legislation.

Next Week's Off Year Elections

Two major political races take place next week. Here is what current polling looks like:
Governor of Virginia:
Bob McDonnell (R) 54%
Creigh Deeds (D) 36%

Governor of New Jersey:
Jon Corzine (D) 41%
Christopher Christie (R) 39%
Chris Dagget (I) 13%
The NJ race is too close to call. Corzine is extremely unpopular and Christie is your typical Republican bottom-feeder with matching low positive ratings. Corzine might pull this out, but whoever wins will have a hell of a time governing once the new term begins. If I had to guess, I'd say Christie pulls this out.

In Virginia, the Democratic candidate has run an extremely lackluster campaign, and it shows in his polling numbers. The commonwealth has a reputation for going back and forth between Democratic and Republican administrations, and after two Democratic terms they are on track to make the usual change.

Some GOP blowhards will try to hang the coming landslide around President Obama's neck, saying the Democratic defeat should be considered a referendum on his presidential performance.

That is bull shit.

In November 2001, President George W. Bush enjoyed 80% and 90% approval ratings in the aftermath of 9/11 and the start up of the Afghanistan War, yet the Democratic candidate for governor in Virginia won a comfortable victory.

No one, not even me, would say that result was a referendum on Mr. Bush.

Question 1 In Maine

An excerpt from last night's debate...

Please...if you have a few bucks to spare, help our brothers and sisters in the pine tree state out and give to No on 1.

28 October 2009

The Night the Bridge Fell Down

The drive through the toll plaza and up the initial incline of the Bay Bridge was rather easy yesterday, I noticed. Over the last couple of months, getting home in an hour-and-a-half had become common. Aggravating, but common. So when I experienced no delays at the toll plaza and a rather easy drive up the incline, I was stoked that I might make it home inside an hour. But as I approached the cantilever section of the bridge just east of Treasure Island yesterday, traffic was slowing down rather quickly, with cars in the left two lanes merging into the three lanes on the right. Obviously an accident had just occurred. While hoping it wasn't serious, I also found myself relieved that I didn't get stuck further back, as traffic was bound to become a huge mess within minutes.

As I approached the scene, it didn't look like anyone was hurt, but what I found was a whole different kind of fucked-up.

A piece of the bridge had come loose and landed smack-dab in the middle of traffic.

The piece hit three cars, damaging one pretty bad. I didn't see any injuries and news reports later confirmed that no one was hurt. None the less, I knew this was going to be a huge deal; and sure enough CalTrans announced a couple of hours later that the Bay Bridge would be closed indefinitely while they assess the situation and make repairs.

But this raises several questions:
Why is the fucking bridge falling down?

Even after repairs are complete, is the bridge really safe enough to handle the 270,000 cars that travel across it daily?

If the wind was the cause of this accident, what the hell can we expect if there is a substantial earthquake? Will the entire superstructure collapse into the San Francisco Bay?

And the biggest question of all, why in hell is it taking so long to finish the new eastern span of the bridge? I mean, really! 20 years planning, 7 years building it (so far), with 3 to 4 more years of construction expected before it opens?? BOTH spans of the original bridge took 3 years to build in the 1930s!.
Enough! The Governor, the state legislature, CalTrans officials, as well as every San Francisco Bay area driver need to demand, in no uncertain terms, that workers pull their thumbs from their collective asses and get to work on the new bridge. Double or triple the work force, work day and night and weekends and holidays, and get this thing finished by the end of next year.

The state was lucky. No one was hurt last night. But until the new span is complete and open to traffic, the risk of total bridge collapse (and the countless deaths that would result) increases with each passing day.

27 October 2009

Bay Bridge Closed Until Further Notice

A chunk of the Bay Bridge fell into upper deck traffic during the evening rush earlier tonight. CalTrans and CHP have announced the the bridge is closed until further notice while the assess they situation and make repairs.

Health Care For All*

Here is Rachel Maddow's excellent take on yesterday's announcement that the Senate health care bill will include a public option, with an opt-out clause for states that choose not to participate in the program.

I understand fully that this isn't the most ideal bill. In a perfect world we would get a single-payer system. But in the current political climate, that's not going to happen. This is a step in the right direction. To be sure, it's a small step. But after decades of going in the wrong direction, or simply standing around doing nothing, this small step is actually a big step.

Now, let's get this sucker passed.

"I Don't Know"

Quote of the Day:
Your honor, my answer is: I don’t know.

I don’t know.
-Charles J. Cooper, a prominent lawyer arguing against same-sex marriage, when asked by a San Francisco judge last week, "What would be the harm of permitting gay men and lesbians to marry?"

The Morning News

- From the BBC:
Iran will accept a U.N. deal on its nuclear programme, but only if "very important changes" are made, Iranian state media have reported.

...Under the draft proposal, Iran would send its enriched uranium to Russia and France to be turned into fuel.

All the other parties have confirmed their support for the deal, which is seen as a way for Tehran to get the fuel it needs for an existing reactor, while giving guarantees to the West that its enriched uranium will not be used for nuclear weapons.
- The Wall Street Journal reports that later today President Obama will name 100 utility projects that will share $3.4 billion in federal stimulus funding to speed deployment of advanced technology designed to cut energy use and make the electric-power grid more robust.

- Why did Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid finally come down on the side of putting a public option in his chamber's health care bill? Essentially, he had to.

- Following complaints from two women that they were manipulated into paying thousands of euros to the church in the 1990s, a French court has convicted the Church of Scientology of fraud.

26 October 2009

On Track

Quote of the Day:
This thing is going to work.
-NY Times columnist Paul Krugman, the 2008 winner of the Nobel Prize for Economics, expressing confidence in the coming health care legislation currently working its way through congress.

Detroit, In the Last Throes

Kevin Krolicki at Reuters reports that despite a minimum bid of $500, less than 2,000 of the 9,000 homes and abandoned lots put up for sale in the city of Detroit were sold during a recent four day auction.

According to Krolicki:
Taken together, the properties seized by tax collectors...and put up for sale last week represented an area the size of New York's Central Park. Total vacant land in Detroit now occupies an area almost the size of Boston, according to a Detroit Free Press estimate.
I was born in Detroit and lived there until 1978. My entire immediate family were gone by 1982 because even then the writing was on the wall. I still have a lot of extended family up in the Flint area. It's sad, really, to see how far down the drain this once thriving city has gone. Everyone is to blame, as I see it: The local government (Coleman Young was the worst mayor of any city ever), the federal government (Reagan and Clinton, especially), and the auto industry (corporate for making shitty products for so long, and the unions for making demands they didn't deserve).

9/11 was our clarion call to do something about the auto industry and, by extension, Detroit. Alas, we didn't answer the call. Had George W. Bush been more like FDR than the Hoover-Carter hybrid he turned out to be, then Detroit might just be thriving right now - producing high gas mileage cars and trucks, perhaps using other older non-functioning auto facilities to make wind turbines for alternative power grids, etc. Our government should have made it a top priority to ween off us off Middle East oil by making it extremely easy for our auto industry to turn away from the gas guzzlers they had been making. But Bush didn't go there.

If he had, then Detroit might be on her way back today.

For their part, the auto companies should have stepped up to the plate on their own. If they were able to make the switch from car production to plane and boat production within months during World War II, then there is no reason they couldn't have done the same for this cold war-like struggle against the terrorists.

If they had, then the story of Detroit in 2009 wouldn't be so damn tragic.


I could go on and on. But you get the gist of my point.

[Shout out: David Lang]

1984, Redux?

From TPM:
Michael Smerconish, the Philly-based radio talk show host, has a column in the Inquirer today arguing that the GOP needs to seriously restructure its primary system in order to have any hope of nominating a potentially winning candidate in 2012 as opposed to one that will appeal to the party's base and ideological purists. His suggestions include regional primaries, moving up the dates of some high-population swing states, giving more of a stay to New England or key Western states, even giving more power to party bosses who have an institutional/professional interest in winning in addition to ideological aspirations.

On its face, it all makes a decent amount of sense if your angle is getting more electable Republicans. What struck me more though is how the arguments could have been lifted almost verbatim from the same conversation going on among Democrats through the 1970s and 1980s. Almost word for word, with the exception of the West and Northeast possibly playing the role of the South for the Dems in decades past. That strikes me as the most revealing thing about it.
It has been my contention since the 2006 elections that the Republicans find themselves in the same place politically as the Democrats found themselves during the early and mid 1980s - overwhelmingly rejected by voters and relegated to the deep political wilderness.

Like the Democrats in 1982 (when the country was pulling herself out of a major recession), the GOP may gain House and Senate seats in congressional elections in 2010, but not enough to take over either chamber. Then, with a slight political wind at their back, they will fall back into their old, fascist, divisive ways. And 2012, like 1984 for the Democrats, will be their worst nightmare.

Morning Willy

Let's put a smile on our faces this Monday morning, shall we?

The Morning News

- Three separate helicopter crashes in Afghanistan have killed 11 American soldiers and three civilian contractors. NATO and American officials say two copters collided in midair in the southern part of the country, killing four; and a the third, killing seven, went down during a firefight in western Afghanistan.

- Meanwhile, the death toll in Baghdad from two suicide bomber attacks yesterday has reached 155, with more than 500 suffering injuries. President Obama called the bombings "outrageous attacks" that "reveal the hateful and destructive agenda of those who would deny the Iraqi people the future that they deserve."

- Former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic failed to appear at his trial on 11 international charges of genocide and war crimes. A legal adviser for Mr. Karadzic told the BBC he would not appear as he still needed at least nine months to prepare his defense.

- The Eiffel Tower began her 120th birthday celebration this past weekend.

- A federal judge has ordered the proponents of last year's Prop 8 initiative in California to hand over campaign documents to gay-rights groups who are looking for evidence of anti-gay bias as they try to overturn the measure.

24 October 2009

It's Time For Some Disco, Damn It! (Volume 2)

Fifteen classic disco tracks for your weekend.

The Boss - Diana Ross
No More Tears (Enough Is Enough) - Donna Summer / Barbara Streisand
Midnight Love Affair - Carol Douglas
Mahogany (Do You Know) - The Sylvers
Stomp - The Brothers Johnson
Do It Good - A Taste of Honey
Music, Harmony, and Rhythm - Brooklyn Dreams
Don't Let Go - Isaac Hayes
Mandolay - La Flavour
Perfect Love Affair - Constellation Orchestra
Anybody Wanna Party? - Gloria Gaynor
Lost In Music - Sister Sledge
In the Bush - Musique
Fire Night Dance - Peter Jacques Band
One of a Kind / Heaven Knows / MacArthur Park - Donna Summer
"Disco, Damn It, Volume 1" can be found here.

Helping Small Business

The President's weekly address...

23 October 2009


Legitimate news organization?

Media Matters reports, you decide.

End-of-the-Week Levity

How can you NOT smile at this classic?

Dubya's Legacy

He really is the GOP's Jimmy Carter.

A new poll from DailyKos/Research 2000 shows Americans view of the Republican Party at its lowest level in decades. 67% of Americans view the GOP negatively, while a new CNN poll shows 53% view the Democratic Party favorably.

Yet, many Republican operatives are predicting a 1994-style takeover of congress in next year's mid-term elections. While it is very likely that the GOP will pick up seats in both the House and the Senate, especially if unemployment is still above 8%, I highly doubt that an out and out take over by the Republicans will take place - not with the bat-shit crazies in charge of their party and the resulting anemic approval ratings. In fact, if their approval numbers and reputation don't improve by next year, they may find themselves losing a third straight election.

Forced to predict a year out, I'd say 2010 will resemble 1998 more than 1994. During the mid-term election of President Clinton's second term, the Republicans overreached on the Monica Lewinsky matter, impeaching Mr. Clinton when most Americans clearly didn't want to go that route. The rabid, wing-nut Republicans clearly hurt their party, who unexpectedly (but deservedly) lost five seats in the House in that election, and made no pick ups in the Senate.

Then again, in October 2007 Hillary Clinton was on her way to the White House. So who knows what things will look like next November.

Terrorist Tries to Detonate Pakistan's Nukes

Holy fucking hell:
A suicide bomber attacked a suspected nuclear-weapons site Friday in Pakistan, raising fears about the security of the nuclear arsenal...

22 October 2009

'atta Boy!

Released on this date...

...45 years ago...

Is Pelosi Overplaying Her Hand?

She plans to present a new public-option plan called Medicare, Part E (for "everyone"), which would be a much larger public health insurance plan than the ones currently making their way around Capitol Hill. Under this proposed plan, Americans could buy into Medicare if they decide their employer-based insurance plan isn't worth the premiums they're paying.

Although I am all for it, I'm not sure such a proposal would make it through the Senate at this point - even if the Congressional Budget Office calls it the most fiscally responsible of the plans being floated. Hell, I'm not even sure she would get all of the Democrats in the House on board.

Or, can she?

The Morning News

- From the BBC:
Senior Israeli and Iranian officials have met face-to-face and discussed the threat of nuclear arms.
If this really happened, then it's a huge step in the right direction.

- Jobless claims jumped 531,000 last week. Up 11,000 from previous forecasts.

- Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan aren't enough? Do we really need to be fucking around with Japan right now?

- This is why America needs to seriously reconsider her priorities in education, infrastructure, and green investment.

- The latest diet fad? Six pre-packaged cookies, and one meal of skinless chicken breast and steamed veggies. Excuse me, would you? I am going to go un-swallow.

21 October 2009

What the Fuck?

You get up in the morning, walk into the kitchen and turn on your coffee. The next thing you know, the police are at your door and you are being arrested and charged with a sex crime.


Because you were naked in your own house.

What the FUCK is this country coming to? Shouldn't the person being charged with a crime be the individual who was peeping through this poor man's window?! Trespassing and peeping-tom laws have been broken. This guy, however, did nothing wrong.

Why We Need a Public Option

Because of cases like this one:
The parents of a two-year-old girl in Colorado are unable to obtain health insurance for their daughter because the insurer, United Healthcare Golden Rule, claims she is too small. In a letter sent to the family of the child, Aislin Bates, United Healthcare Golden Rule writes, "we are unable to provide coverage for Aislin because her height and weight do not meet our company standards." According to a Colorado news station, Aislin weighed six pounds, six ounces at birth, and now weighs 22 pounds.
Personally, I'm for either single-payer (get rid of the insurance companies all together) or a Medicare-for-all option (where Americans can opt to buy into Medicare or continue with their employer-based coverage). Alas, neither of those are an option at the moment.

Yet, we can't let the insurance companies continue treating people the way they treat the Bates family. So, in addition to making it illegal to deny coverage, any bill that is sent to the President's desk MUST have a public option.


Ummm...what!? The only subject he could possibly have the authority to speak about would be...well...let's see...."How a "C" Student Can Really Fuck America Up."

The Morning News

- As he prepares for next month's run-off election, Abdullah Abdullah, the chief rival to Afghan President Hamid Karzai, is hinting that he might join a coalition government with Mr. Karzai. Such a move would remove the need for a run-off.

- International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) director Mohamed ElBaradei has confirmed that a proposal on Iran's uranium enrichment has been put forward, which he hopes will be approved by Iran and three world powers by Friday. Details from the BBC here.

- From the NY Times:
The Supreme Court on Tuesday agreed to decide whether federal courts have the power to order prisoners held at Guantánamo Bay to be released into the United States.

The court’s decision to hear the case adds a further complication to the Obama administration’s efforts to close the prison at the naval base in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. A measure in Congress that would allow detainees to be admitted to the United States just to face trial had to overcome strong resistance before winning final passage on Tuesday.

Mid-Week Brain Break

Don's suit! The group's costumes!! It's time for some love, peace, aaannnd SOOUUUL!!

20 October 2009

KBOO-FM, Portland

A long, lost high school chum of mine is hosting the 5:30am to 7am block tomorrow on Portland's KBOO-FM. If you're up at the crack of dawn, as I tend to be, make sure to tune in.

A Federalist Public Option?

I'd be all for it:
If a public plan were run by the states and available only to those who lack affordable private options, support for it jumps to 76 percent. Under those circumstances, even a majority of Republicans, 56 percent, would be in favor of it, about double their level of support without such a limitation.
And if it turns out to be the more fiscally responsible plan, then even better.

Secret Service Overwhelmed

From TPM:
A new internal Congressional Research Service report and government sources say there are an unprecedented number of death threats against President Obama - and that the Secret Service is insufficiently funded and staffed to deal with them.
According to the report, the number of threats made against President Obama has increased 400% compared to the threats made against President George W. Bush at this point last year.

Say it with me: Bat. Shit. Crazy.

Biden Pushes Solar Panel Financing

This will cause major head explosions among the bat-shit class:
The solar financing plan that originated in Berkeley [California] in 2007 will become a national model, Vice President Joe Biden said Monday.

Biden's program, known as Recovery Through Retrofit, creates a framework for cities, counties and states to set up tax districts that allow residential and business property owners to install solar panels and make other energy improvements, repaying the investment over a 20-year property tax assessment.
Of course, if it had been George W. Bush proposing such a plan in, say, Braddock, Texas, the plan would be well received among the fascist right.

But by Vice-President Biden!? In Berkeley !!!??

Little Miss Chloe

Pooped out, this past Saturday afternoon...

The Morning News

- Another step toward sanity: The Justice Department issued a directive yesterday, instructing U.S. attorneys not to prosecute people who use or distribute marijuana for medical purposes.

- Two suicide bombers attacked an Islamic university in Pakistan today, killing at least four.

- European scientists have discovered 32 new planets outside or solar system.

- Jupiter's moon, Europa, could be rich with oxygen, say researchers at the University of Arizona.

19 October 2009

Kite Hill

The San Francisco edition of the New York Times began publishing a "Bay Area" section in their Sunday paper this week, and on the front page of yesterday's inaugural edition was this piece on Kite Hill, a little park stuck up on the hillside where the Castro meets Noe Valley and Twin Peaks.

The park is just down the street from our place, right where Grand View catches up with Market Street.

The photo above is the one taken by Jim Wilson for the NY Times piece. The two below were taken by yours truly earlier this year.

A similar shot of the bench and downtown San Francisco...

And, looking the other way, up toward Twin Peaks...

Yeah...but no

Quote of the Day:
Californians are convinced that the state is on the wrong track, and they're mad as hell at the dysfunction in Sacramento. But they're not willing to do much about it.

...A solid majority of Californians say they favor "fundamental change" to the [state] Constitution. Yet on point after point, when asked about a specific constitutional change, Californians say "no way."
-John Diaz, in Sunday's San Francisco Chronicle.

Even now, nine-and-a-half years after moving to California, I am stunned at how much legislation is put in front of the voters at each election. (Last year's election ballot contained about FORTY state and local initiatives!) Decades worth of initiatives and amendments to the state constitution have created a tangled mess from which it is impossible to govern (our state's constitution has 500+ amendments!!). And until there is a constitutional convention that streamlines the process and keeps most decisions out of the hands of the voters (who cast their ballots without any understanding of what it is they're voting on), the state of California will find herself plunging into the abyss.

Getting My Groove Back

I'm still trying to get back in the blogging groove, so forgive me if posts are a bit intermittent and disheveled.

17 October 2009

"You Know the Fella's Good for the Moolah"

A rather eclectic mix of fourteen songs for your mid-October weekend. Press play and enjoy...

Magic - Ladyhawke
Love You Inside Out (Cole Medina Remix) - Bee Gees
If Everybody Looked the Same - Groove Armada
Space Cowboy - Jamiroquai
Bongolia - Incredible Bongo Band
You Know I'm No Good - Amy Winehouse
Nobody Jones - N'Dambi
On the Street Where You Live - Vic Damone
Something Big - The Mick Fleetwood Band
Happy Ending - Joe Jackson / Elaine Caswell
Who Says - John Mayer
My Love - The Bird and the Bee
Who Needs Forever - Astrud Gilberto
Candy - Paolo Nutini

America's "Great Test"

The President's weekly address...

16 October 2009

End-of-the-Week Levity

Kathleen Turner and Mink Stole, in a classic scene from "Serial Mom."

(Warning: VERY nasty language)

Maddow 2016

This woman has CANJONES. Once the video loads, fast forward to the 2:48 mark and watch her make mince meat out of this Republican hack...

All Holy Hell

From the NY Times: A wave of recent attacks shows that the Taliban, al-Qaeda and militant groups are tightening an alliance aimed at bringing down the Pakistani state.

This is why I get so irked when I see Americans not balancing their mind-numbing reality TV with some hard, solid news. You see, Pakistan has nuclear weapons (a fact, I would bet, that a large majority of Americans don't know). If the Taliban and al-Qaeda are successful in taking over Pakistan...well...I think you get the picture.

The Cajun Time Travel Machine

Traveling back to 1962 at lightening speed.

From the Huffington Post:
A Louisiana justice of the peace said he refused to issue a marriage license to an interracial couple out of concern for any children the couple might have.

Keith Bardwell, justice of the peace in Tangipahoa Parish, says it is his experience that most interracial marriages do not last long.

"I'm not a racist. I just don't believe in mixing the races that way," Bardwell told the Associated Press on Thursday. "I have piles and piles of black friends. They come to my home, I marry them, they use my bathroom. I treat them just like everyone else."
Bardwell said he asks everyone who calls about marriage if they are a mixed race couple. If they are, he does not marry them.

"There is a problem with both groups accepting a child from such a marriage," Bardwell said. "I think those children suffer and I won't help put them through it."

If he did an interracial marriage for one couple, he must do the same for all, he said. "I try to treat everyone equally," he said.

The Morning News

- Bank of America posted a $2.2 billion loss in the third quarter. Perhaps the talking heads are a bit premature in their assessment that the Great Recession is over.

- Bush, redux: The British intelligence chief issued a passionate defense of his country's cooperation with the Bush administration in torturing terrorist suspects in the aftermath of 9/11.

- Washington Post:
President Obama has not made significant progress in his plan to infuse federal courts with a new cadre of judges, and liberal activists are beginning to blame his administration for moving too tentatively on what they consider a key priority.
Eight years of hard-lined conservative activists were put on the bench under George W. Bush. Mr. Obama needs to get moving in order to put some balance back in the judiciary.

15 October 2009


A great new ad from the folks fighting the good fight in Maine...

Eating Their Own

When you can fall no further, when you wish you could go back to the days of simply being decimated, it comes to this...

The Morning News

- Over 30 people are reported dead following coordinated attacks on three law enforcement agencies in Lahore, Pakistan this morning.

- Summer in the Arctic could be ice-free within ten years, according to global warming experts.

- While most of the globe is a decade into the 21st century, the Saudis are a step closer to joining the 20th: A new eco-friendly graduate school opened in Saudi Arabia that will allow male and female students to study side-by-side.

- The dumbing down of America continues:
The latest results on the most important nationwide math test show that student achievement grew faster during the years before the Bush-era No Child Left Behind law, when states were dominant in education policy, than over the years since...

On the most recent test, 39 percent of fourth graders and 34 percent of eighth graders scored at or above the proficient level.

The "S" Curve

It snarled traffic around the Bay area well into the early evening. In fact it took me two-and-a-half hours to get home last night via an alternate route.

Such is life when you live in San Francisco and work in the suburbs (or vice-versa).

At about 2:30pm yesterday, a Safeway truck loaded with food flipped over on its side, blocking the four right lanes of the Bay Bridge right at the new temporary "S" curve near the tunnel at Treasure Island.

The impact on traffic was swift and immediate. The Bridge backed up all the way past the metering lights and toll plaza, back through the connecting highways of "the maze" and beyond. Drivers were blanketed with messages from radio and cell phone to take alternate routes into the city.

I had stopped at Trader Joe's near work on my way home to pick up a few odds and ends. I put my groceries in the back seat and got into my car around 4:55pm, just in time to hear the 4:58pm traffic report on KGO-AM, where I heard of the accident, and how the Bridge and surrounding highways were at a stand still. The radio news reporters talked with an anchor from KGO-Channel 7 (ABC) who said he had been on the Bridge for two-and-a-half hours at that point, had stopped moving, and that people had turned off their cars and were standing outside chatting with each other.

As I approached the Nimitz (I-880), I decided I would take the freeway south toward the San Mateo Bridge, get across that span, and then take the 101 north into the city. It's a round about way, but on a good day the commute would take me about an hour.

At that point, however, the Nimitz was a slow moving parking lot. I never went over 20 mph, and it took me an hour and ten minutes to get to the San Mateo Bridge (just under half the trip). Two-and-a-half hours after leaving Trader Joe's, at about 7:30pm, I walked in the front door.

14 October 2009

Sexy Otters, "Glee," and Dionne Warwick

What happens when you mix the three?

Mid-Week Brain Break

A rottweiler and his new best bud...

It's all fun & games...

...until she gets into an accident.

This is the second time California's illustrious first lady has been photographed breaking the cell phone law signed by her husband last year.

13 October 2009

Ruined Lives

Lt. Colonel Victor Fehrenbach has appeared on Rachel Maddow's show before, but last night's appearance was different. He was beside himself with stress, anger, and fear, because, despite 18 solid years of grade-A service to his country, Lt. Col. Fehrenbach is about to be fired from the armed forces because he is gay.

In a country that is fighting two wars (and has been for eight years, causing multiple deployments for most troops), in a country that needs as many Arabic-speaking linguists as possible to fight those wars, that the Pentagon is still discharging men and women who are serving honorably is wrong beyond measure. (An aside: We would do well to remind the Commander-in-Chief that the very first casualty in the Iraq War was Staff Sergeant Eric Alva, a gay man who lost his leg after stepping on a land mine on March 21, 2003.)

That the President and the congress have taken so long to move to repeal Don't Ask, Don't Tell is unfathomable. Lives are being ruined here, folks! I understand there are many important things on Mr. Obama's plate at the moment, that the pile of shit left behind by the Bush administration is mountainous. But the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are two major piles in that mess, and removing troops from service simply because they are gay isn't just morally wrong...it's unpatriotic.

The President and congress need to act on this soon. The politics in D.C. will more than likely change a bit next year, and the likelihood of overturning DADT will diminish greatly.

Fact-Checking the Fact-Checkers

Jon Stewart absolutely destroys CNN...

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
CNN Leaves It There
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political HumorRon Paul Interview

12 October 2009

Little Miss Chloe

Last week, during a walk at Fort Funston...

The Obama Peace Prize

The fascists of the right wing echo chamber still don't get it. For just about the entirety of the 20th century, the United States enjoyed high favorable ratings around the globe. Our great nation was looked to as the bright beacon of liberty and freedom to a world continually torn apart by failed leadership, war, and famine. Then, in early 2003, the administration of George W. Bush ordered the invasion of Iraq. It was, they explained, a necessary war in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

Only, it wasn't. It was a war of choice, sold to the American people and the entire world on the basis of false and fabricated intelligence; thousands of American soldiers sent to their graves on the wings of a lie. The administration broke international law, condoned torture, and essentially told the rest of the world to fuck off, insisting that the U.S. had the right to do what it pleased, when it pleased. By the end of 2008, the result of such iron-fisted governance was a world at the abyss, with America's reputation in tatters.

With last year's election of Barack Obama, the American people said, "Enough!" Having got the choice wrong in 2004, voters turned the page and closed out a very sad chapter in our history. Since taking office in January, President Obama has worked slowly and methodically to restore American values and leadership in an effort to sooth global nerves, assuring allies and enemies alike that we really aren't the belligerent bully the minions of the Bush administration made us out to be; that we can truly abide by international law, and live up to promises made in long standing treaties.

Last week's Nobel Peace Prize was recognition of that effort.

(Photo: Matthew Cavanaugh, European Pressphoto Agency)


The conventional wisdom was that he would veto the bills, however last night Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (Republican-CA) signed legislation that would grant same sex couples married in other states the same level of civil union protections granted to similar couples here in California, as well as legislation making Harvey Milk Day a statewide holiday.

Uhhh...Mr. President...the Governor would like to have a word with you.

America Hearts Barack

Despite efforts by the Glenn Beck/Rush Limbaugh wing of the Republican Party to destroy the presidency of Barack Obama, new polling shows the American people approving rather strongly of the President's job performance:
Approve 56%
Disapprove 36%
For reference, George W. Bush's approval rating when he left office was 34%. His disapproval was a whopping 61%.

I'm Back

I couldn't stay away long, however my return to the blogosphere will be a tad bit different. I may not post everyday, and my posts will probably be limited in number. Probably one or two main posts every day or every other day, with occasional "fluff" and personal anecdotes, and, of course, the Saturday music playlists.

It's good to be back. Thanks for being so patient while I was away.

10 October 2009

Autumn Weekend In SF

It's a crisp, cool autumn day here in San Francisco's Noe Valley. These tracks provide the perfect soundtrack. Press play and enjoy...

The Breach - Bob Mould
17 Again - Eurythmics
L.I.E. - N'dambi
Maybe Tomorrow - Stereophonics
Eden Is Burning - John Mellencamp
Heavy Cross - The Gossip
When I'm With You - M.E.G.
Ball & Chain - Elton John
Sugar Tongue - Indigo Girls
Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey - Wings
Back Stabbers - The O'Jays
Goodbye Baby - Fleetwood Mac

Back on Monday

Decision made: I'll bring the blog back on Monday. Thanks to everyone who weighed in. I appreciate your thoughts on the matter.

08 October 2009

What Say You?

So, I'm thinking about returning to the blogosphere. I'd keep the same basic template: politics, music, light-hearted fare, probably a slight increase in personal posts...but probably done at slower pace than I was doing originally.

What do you think?