20 May 2010

That's All...For Now

Sorry, folks. Work and the commute to and from are killin' me! The blog ends here...for now. Keep an eye out. When things calm down, I'll be back in the thick of it. I hope. For the 600+ of you who checked in every day...thank you from the bottom of my heart. This blog was never going to be DailyKos or The Daily Dish; but if just 10 of you read USW, I'd have been thrilled beyond measure. That SO many of you did...well...it's been one of the sweet pleasures of my life. From the deepest depths of my heart...thank you. I promise, when life gives me back a little more time, I will return.

15 May 2010

Obama's Job Approval Still Strong

As the Daily Dish says, it's time for a "reality check."

Gallup Daily: Obama Job Approval:
Approve 51%
Disapprove 42%


The President's weekly address:

14 May 2010

Big Gay Album Alert

This single is scheduled for release next month. The album, "Aphrodite," for July 5th. Boys, bears, and otters...I present the brand new song from that venerable diva of divas...

Kylie Minogue

A Groove That Makes You Wanna Move Real Smooth

Number one this week, 34 years ago...

"Boogie Fever" by the Sylvers

The Black Jail

What the fuck is this?!?

End-of-the-Week Levity

Glenn Beck has Nazi Tourette's!

Best Lewis Black commentary EVER...

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A Methadone for Overseas Oil Addiction

Chris Matthew places are huge chunk of the blame for the oil spill fiasco in the Gulf of Mexico with Dick Cheney:

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

And Lisa Margonelli examines the Gulf oil travesty:
...we may determine that business as usual doesn't work for offshore drilling - which leaves us unable to count on the 40 percent of domestic oil production we were expecting to get from the offshore industry in the next ten years. Rereading what's been written about offshore oil drilling over the last few years, it's obvious it was thought to be the methadone for our overseas oil addiction. Now what?
An entire ocean is being destroyed at an alarming daily rate, yet there are still those who insist offshore oil drilling is the way to go, including the President of the United States. It seems it's up to congress to stop this shit. And they'll have to do it before November when the Drill Baby Drill Republican Fascists are bound to pick up seats.

Four things need to happen at this point: 1) BP needs to get out of the way and let someone who knows how to deal with this take over the task of stopping the gushing oil; 2) BP needs to pay for every last fuckin' dime of the clean up and repair (If it bankrupts them, so be it. If anything ever prompted a company to go broke, it's this fiasco.); 3) Executives from BP and their drill partners, including Haliburton, need to be charged for the criminal aspect of this and serve very long prison sentences; 4) President Obama and every last off shore drilling advocate needs to rethink their position on this. Americans of every political persuasion need to make sure off shore drilling is stopped.

12 May 2010

"Nick Clegg will be at my side."

Two political parties, representing opposite ends of the political spectrum, unite to form a coalition government in an effort to bring their country back from the precipice.

And a moment of levity from the two former rivals...

The Republican Party here in America would do well to study this coalition agreement. Of course, only time will tell if the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats can govern together. But good on them for trying, for it is the only way Great Britain will be able to dig its way out of the wreckage it finds itself buried under after two years of Labour governance under Gordon Brown.

We may never know if such a hybrid political coalition will work here in the United States. Barack Obama offered an olive branch to the Republican opposition the night of his election in 2008, making the case for an "all hands on deck" situation in order to attack the dire straits our country found itself in after eight years of reckless incompetence by George W. Bush. The Republicans, however, have taken the low road, throwing down road blocks at every turn as the President and his administration try to dig us out of the mess.

Granted, last week's British election gave the winning party only 36% of the vote in a three-way race, and none of the parties a majority in the House of Commons, thus requiring some sort of coalition. In contrast, American voters gave the Democratic ticket a solid 53% of the national vote here in 2008, and handed the party rock solid majorities in both houses of congress. Obama's overtures to the Republicans were, quite simply, a patriotic attempt to work together to keep the U.S. from financial ruin.

Alas, it wasn't to be. American conservatives are nothing like the British conservatives. In fact, the word "conservative" shouldn't be applied to the tea-baggers who make up the base of the current Republican Party. "Fascist" and "irresponsible" are the only word to describe them.

Andrew Sullivan:
Cameron should be an example here. [The U.S.] need[s] to make stiff entitlement and defense cuts - but we must also raise some taxes. The debate should not be whether but how - and I agree...that tax simplification should be the spoonful of sugar to make the medicine go down. It's time to end the supply-side craziness, the tea-party looniness and the ideological fixity of Bush-Cheney economics. Obama needs bipartisan support to do the conservative and responsible thing. Which means that the real war for this country's future must be waged within the GOP. I fear, alas, that war is already being lost in the thickets of Southern populism. So the damage that today's Republican party can still do to America's future remains as real as the wreckage it has already accomplished.
In the mean time, I'll be watching the Cameron-Clegg coalition with great interest. And hoping beyond hope that these two young leaders can rescue their beloved country from the precipice.

11 May 2010

Prime Minister David Cameron

A very dramatic turn of events in Britain on Wednesday. Gordon Brown resigned as Prime Minister after it became evident the Liberal Democratic Party was not interested in forming a coalition government with his Labour Party following last week's general election loss, an election that resulted in a hung parliament. Instead, Nick Clegg, leader of the Lib-Dems, opted to form that coalition with the Conservative Party and their leader, David Cameron. Brown presented to the Queen this evening and announced his resignation, followed in short order by a Cameron visit to the Queen, who asked Cameron and his Conservatives to form a new government.

Kiran Stacey followed events as they happened:
4.15pm: We start this live blog with the news that the Evening Standard is reporting that Gordon Brown will quit tonight after talks between Labour and the Lib Dems fell apart earlier today. There has been a growing feeling today that the talks were unlikely to go anywhere, not least because of the number of Labour MPs and former MPs coming out against them.

5.47pm: Sky is now following the Evening Standard in saying that Gordon Brown will go tonight. There had been some suggestion that he might leave it until tomorrow, but Sky is now convinced otherwise.

6.05pm: We are hearing that Gordon Brown is sitting in Downing Street waiting to resign. He’s waiting for the nod from David Cameron that he can form a government. Cameron is waiting in turn for the nod from the Lib Dems. So once more, all eyes on Nick Clegg and his party.

7.11pm: The lectern is outside Number 10. A statement is expected shortly.

7.16pm: Brown’s staff are coming out of Number 11.

7.17pm: [Announcement of resignation.] Brown is out. Says he said he would do all he could to ensure a strong stable and principled govt was formed.

7.19pm: His resignation as Labour leader takes effect immediately. He has thanked British troops, now he is thanking Sarah and his sons.

7.19pm: Brown says he loved the job not for its title and glory but for its potential to do good.

7.21pm: The four family members are holding hands as they climb into the car to take them to Buckingham Palace to let the Queen know he is stepping down.

7.42pm: Brown is now leaving the Palace. That didn’t take long.

7.48pm: Poor old Gordon got caught in the traffic as he left Buckingham Palace. No outriders to clear the roads, as he’s no longer PM.

8.04pm: David Cameron is on his way to see the Queen. We still don’t know what kind of administration he will lead, which seems like a strange way round.

8.08pm: David and Samantha Cameron have arrived at the palace and gone in to see the Queen.

8.31pm: Cameron has been in with the queen for over 20 minutes now. I wonder what they are talking about.

8.33pm: Steve Hilton, Andy Coulson and other Cameron aides are gathered outside Number 10, grinning and waiting to get in. Meanwhile Cameron has left the palace. Unlike when he arrived, and unlike when Brown left, he has a police motorcade.

8.43pm: Cameron arrived at Number 10. He is walking very slowly, soaking it all up.

8.46pm: Cameron walks very slowly into Number 10 to the applause of staff. He gave a brief speech outside, which was a curious mix up uplifting and downbeat messages. He has given no indication of what his government might look like, but did mention Nick Clegg in his speech, almost referring to him as a co-leader.

8.46pm: Cameron: “This is going to be hard and difficult work.”

9.27pm: Sky is reporting these cabinet appointments: Vincent Cable will be chief secretary to the Treasury, David Laws will be education secretary, Andrew Lansley will be health secretary and William Hague will be foreign secretary. The BBC says Nick Clegg will be deputy prime minister.

10.03pm: Prime Minister - David Cameron
Secretary of State for Defence - Liam Fox
Deputy Prime Minister - Nick Clegg
Chancellor of the Exchequer - George Osborne
Chief Secretary to the Treasury - Vince Cable
Foreign Secretary - William Hague
Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families - David Laws
Secretary of State for Work and Pensions - Philip Hammond (unconfirmed)
Secretary of State for Health - Andrew Lansley

10.38pm: Nick Clegg will be deputy PM, says Associated Press. They say they have it confirmed by the Tories. Sky reports five cabinet positions for the Lib Dems [in the Cameron cabinet].

On Kagan

It amazed me, really, how fast my fellow compatriots on the left formed their circular firing squad over President Obama's nomination yesterday of Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court. Whining and moaning that she wasn't liberal enough, they've taken to the airwaves and the internet to call her unqualified and too centrist, crying foul and accusing the President of being disloyal to his liberal base.


Once again it's obvious the left weren't paying attention during the 2008 campaign:
When I think about the kinds of judges who are needed today, it goes back to the point I was making about common sense and pragmatism as opposed to ideology. I think that Justice Souter, who was a Republican appointee, Justice Breyer, a Democratic appointee, are very sensible judges. They take a look at the facts and they try to figure out: How does the Constitution apply to these facts? They believe in fidelity to the text of the Constitution, but they also think you have to look at what is going on around you and not just ignore real life.

That, I think is the kind of justice that I’m looking for — somebody who respects the law, doesn’t think that they should be making law, but also has a sense of what’s happening in the real world and recognizes that one of the roles of the courts is to protect people who don’t have a voice.
-Barack Obama, on the campaign trail, in October 2008.

I understand how disheartening it can be when the President's aim on certain issues doesn't have a leftward tilt. I've been there myself with him on a few occasions. But I always check myself, if only slightly, when I remember that the man campaigned as a center-left moderate.

On Afghanistan, he did what he said he was going to do. On health care, he did what he said he was going to do. And on the Supreme Court, with both Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan...again...he did what he said he was going to do.

Come on, people! With an exception or two (every candidate, even far lefties, will have an exception or two), her resume looks solid:
1986 – Receives a Juris Doctor professional degree, magna cum laude, from Harvard Law School.
1987 – Serves as judicial clerk for Abner J. Mikva, U.S. Court of Appeals for D.C. Circuit.
1988 – Serves as judicial clerk for Justice Thurgood Marshall (THURGOOD MARSHALL!!) of the U.S. Supreme Court.
1995 – Begins service to President Bill Clinton as Associate White House Counsel and Deputy Assistant to the President for Domestic Policy.
1999 – Nominated to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.
2003 – Appointed first female dean of Harvard Law School.
2009 – Becomes the first woman to hold the position of Solicitor General of the U.S.
Do I think she'll vote my way on every issue that goes before the Court? Of course not. I wouldn't expect that of any nominee, left, center, or right. But this I do know: unlike Republican presidents who have put up incompetents (Clarence Thomas, Harriet Miers) and called them the best qualified, I trust Barack Obama, a constitutional lawyer, to weigh the facts, study his options, and then make the best decision he can make.

If I were president I may have chosen someone else for this seat. But I am not the president. And from everything I've read about Ms. Kagan, and based on what was said on this issue during the 2008 election campaign, I believe President Obama made a damn good choice.

10 May 2010

Passing the Point of No Return?

Quote of the Day:
Our parents were “The Greatest Generation,” and they earned that title by making enormous sacrifices and investments to build us a world of abundance. My generation, “The Baby Boomers,” turned out to be what the writer Kurt Andersen called “The Grasshopper Generation.” We’ve eaten through all that abundance like hungry locusts.

...[The U.S. government will] have to figure out how to raise some taxes to increase revenues, while cutting other taxes to stimulate growth; they’ll have to cut some services to save money, while investing in new infrastructure to grow economic capacity. We have got to use every dollar wisely now. Because we’ve eaten through our reserves...
-NY Times columnist Tom Friedman, telling like it is (as always).

I am beginning to wonder if anyone on Capitol Hill will have the cajones to make the tough, necessary decisions before things move past the point of no return. And even if Congress acts, is it already too late?

Is Obama Caving?

From TPM:
[Attorney General Eric] Holder said on Meet the Press that the Administration wants to work with Congress to make the public safety exception to Miranda -- in which information from questioning before reading the Miranda warning can be admitted in court, in certain situations in which public safety is a concern - "more flexible."

As TPMmuckraker reported Friday, experts believe the Administration is already pioneering a robust use of the public safety exception to Miranda. In the case of Faisal Shahzad, the man who allegedly tried to set off a crude bomb in Times Square, FBI agents reportedly questioned him for three or four hours before reading him his rights.
The Obama administration's record on arresting, questioning and trying terrorism suspects should be commended. Their track record is stellar compared to the incompetent law-breakers of the Bush team. So this decision to make Miranda "more flexible" is quite perplexing.

Mr. President, you're a constitutional scholar. Explain to me, please, how you see such an approach holding up in a court of law?

Rolando Negrin's Shortcomings

From TPM:
Rolando Negrin, a TSA employee at Miami International Airport, was arrested for aggravated battery after he attacked a colleague, in response to coworkers poking fun at the size of his penis during a body-scanning machine training session.
Poor guy. Not only does he have a nubbin, but now the entire country knows about it.

OK, people...there's nothing to see here

I was out to dinner with friends during a long weekend away in Santa Barbara last week when the Times Square car bomb attempt went down, but we were back early enough to catch some of the White House Correspondent's dinner. None of us heard about New York until the next morning.

Frank Rich:
Here’s the time line from last Saturday. At 6:30 p.m. the abandoned Nissan Pathfinder was found smoking in Times Square. Relevant public officials marooned at the correspondents dinner in Washington quickly got word. Over the next hour and a half, several news organizations spread it as well while Times Square was evacuated. To clear the Broadway theater district at curtain time on Saturday night isn’t like emptying a high school; it’s a virtual military operation. By 8 p.m., the crossroads of the world looked like a ghost town, yet if you tuned in to a cable news network, it wasn’t news. No one seemed to know or to care. On MSNBC, which I was watching, it didn’t even merit a mention on a crawl.

Apparently little short of King Kong climbing up 30 Rock could have grabbed the network’s attention. When MSNBC did take a brief break from the dinner for news updates at 9:30, Times Square didn’t make the cut. Whether this was due to ignorance, ineptitude or an unwillingness to play party pooper is a distinction without a difference. Real-time coverage of Leno bombing (since when is that news?) mattered more than any actual bombs. Only as the dinner wound down, at 10:54, did MSNBC at last muster a “breaking news” bulletin about the Times Square story that had in fact been breaking for hours. Even then, we were told that NBC News couldn’t independently confirm the facts MSNBC was recycling from Reuters.
CNN and Faux News were just as guilty.


09 May 2010

NBC: It Will Be Kagan

NBC News is reporting tonight that President Obama will announce tomorrow that he intends to nominate Solicitor General Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court of the United States.

More tomorrow when/if the announcement is made.

For Renée

...from her son.

Enjoying Betty's Muffin


The Blue That Runs Through It

This week's playlist includes new material from Minus the Bear, Stereophonics, the New Pornographers, and James Taylor & Carole King; as well as classics from War, Saint Etienne, and Mouth & MacNeal.

Press play and enjoy...

Low Rider - War
My Time - Minus the Bear
She's Alright - Stereophonics
Sweet Talk, Sweet Talk - The New Pornographers
The High Road - Broken Bells
On a High - Duncan Sheik
Lose That Girl - Saint Etienne
Rome Wasn't Built In a Day - Morcheeba
Welcome to the World of the Plastic Beach - Gorillaz w/Snoop Dog
Mmm Hmm - Flying Lotus, feat. Thundercat
Candy - Paolo Nutini
Smakewater Jack (Live) - James Taylor & Carole King
Somewhere Only We Know - Keane
How Do You Do? - Mouth and MacNeal

All Right Wing Homophobes Are Homos

Another one sucks the cock bites the dust...

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08 May 2010

27 April 2010

Scarborough: AZ Immigration Law "Un-American"

If the Republicans really want to put up a strong challenge to President Obama's re-election bid in 2012, they would nominate this guy.

Alas, he's too moderate for today's Fascist Republicans.

26 April 2010

At 16 Months

Mark Halperin, on the presidency of Barack Obama at the sixteen month mark:
Obama acted decisively to stop the world from going into economic depression, after inheriting a mess from his predecessor. Quibble all you wish about the dimensions of the stimulus law or the administration of the TARP or the Detroit bailout, but the actions taken were professionally handled, apparently necessary, and, so far, constructive. Strikingly underrated by the Washington press corps are Obama's gains on education policy, including a willingness to confront the education establishment on standards for both teachers and students. Overseas, Obama has snagged an arms reduction deal with Russia, managed the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq exactly as he promised, eliminated numerous terrorist leaders through an aggressive targeting operation, and laid the groundwork for dealing with Iran and, perhaps, North Korea.

In the months ahead, the President will likely pass a financial regulation overhaul (despite this weekend's snags); manage the confirmation of a second Supreme Court nominee with relatively little commotion; announce the reduction of the American troop level in Iraq; showcase the under-covered gains on education reform; take advantage of the improving economy to tout his stimulus efforts; and sharpen his "Obama-Biden future versus Bush-Cheney past" argument to help stave off massive Democratic losses in November.
Even I get a bit restless with the President every now and then. But then I realize that my frustration really isn't with him, but rather with the Senate Majority Leader for being so hapless, or with myself for forgetting that Obama ran as a centrist Democrat during the campaign.

There is still a long way to go between now and November's mid-term elections, and an eternity before the 2012 presidential election. But right now, barring any massive screw up or unforeseen event that could cripple him, and whether or not he wins a second term, Barack Obama is on track to become one of the better presidents of the last 60 years.

"A hand job will clean your garage"

Bill Maher calls out the tea-bagging fascists for the hypocritical fuck-wads that they are...

25 April 2010

Beth Rocks

My dear friend Beth is running to help cure Kennedy's Disease. I know this recession is reeking havoc on everyone's finances, but if you can find a few bucks to throw her way, please do. She's a stellar friend, and Brent and I are extremely proud of her. She is THISCLOSE to reaching her goal of $3,800.00. Anything you can spare (five bucks, ten, fitty) will help her get there.

Her blog and donation page are here.

Santa Monica Dream

It's another gorgeous day here in California. These seventeen songs provide the perfect soundtrack to help you enjoy it. Set includes tracks from Idina Menzel, Phantom Planet, Raul Midon, the Avett Brothers, Blue Öyster Cult, Phil Putnam, and a collaboration between David Byrne, Fatboy Slim, and Sharon Jones.

Press play and enjoy...

California - Phantom Planet
Picnic in the Summertime - Deee Lite
Pick Somebody Up - Raul Midon
Electric Feel - MGMT
Vogue - Madonna
Dancing Together - David Byrne & Fatboy Slim (feat. Sharon Jones)
Valleys of Neptune - Jimi Hendrix
Fly Like an Eagle - Steve Miller Band
Santa Monica Dream - Angus & Julia Stone
No Day But Today (Live from Soundstage) - Idina Menzel
The Perfect Space - The Avett Brothers
Antarctica - The Weepies
I'm No Prize - Phil Putnam
Hot Fun in the Summertime - Sly and the Family Stone
(Don't Fear) The Reaper - Blue Öyster Cult
Drunk Girls - LCD Soundsystem
Man Machine - Robbie Williams

23 April 2010

Cue the Weekend

Meet Kevin Keller

Archie enters the 21st century.

On Financial Reform

Eugene Robinson:
After the meltdown and the bailout, many Americans -- perhaps most Americans -- are inclined to see Wall Street as predatory and all-devouring. Striding into the lion's den and calling the beast to heel, as President Obama did Thursday, was a move without a downside.

Obama's tone was not that of a sword-wielding avenger - he doesn't do fire and brimstone - but of a stern parent explaining to party-hearty teenagers why their driving privileges are being curtailed.
Paul Krugman:
Remember the 1987 movie “Wall Street,” in which Gordon Gekko declared: Greed is good? By today’s standards, Gekko was a piker. In the years leading up to the 2008 crisis, the financial industry accounted for a third of total domestic profits — about twice its share two decades earlier.

These profits were justified, we were told, because the industry was doing great things for the economy. It was channeling capital to productive uses; it was spreading risk; it was enhancing financial stability. None of those were true. Capital was channeled not to job-creating innovators, but into an unsustainable housing bubble; and when the housing bubble burst, the supposedly stable financial system imploded, with the worst global slump since the Great Depression as collateral damage.

So what should be done? As I said, I support the reform proposals of the Obama administration and its Congressional allies. Among other things, it would be a shame to see the antireform campaign by Republican leaders — a campaign marked by breathtaking dishonesty and hypocrisy — succeed.

But these reforms should be only the first step. We also need to cut finance down to size. An intriguing proposal is about to be unveiled from, of all places, the International Monetary Fund. In a leaked paper prepared for a meeting this weekend, the fund calls for a Financial Activity Tax — yes, FAT — levied on financial-industry profits and remuneration.

Such a tax, the fund argues, could “mitigate excessive risk-taking.” It could also “tend to reduce the size of the financial sector,” which the fund presents as a good thing.
The liberal in me wants the government to go further. The big banks should have been broken up at the beginning of the crisis, and derivative trading should be banned all together. But I'm not an economist. In fact, give me a dollar to invest and I'll more than likely get a return of about negative fifty cents.

22 April 2010

"Go Fuck Yourselves"

The Fascists at Fox try to take on Jon Stewart...and fail miserably.

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Give any one of these fascist imbeciles an 8th grade Constitution exam and they would fail.

Let's call a spade a spade, shall we? These people are psychotic. They refuse to accept the reality that their taxes are lower than they have ever been, that the economy is on the road to recovery thanks in large part to the stimulus bill of 2009, and that our global reputation is in repair. Let's call a spade a spade. These people are apoplectic over the fact that a Democrat is president. And the fact that he is black has put them all in the proverbial straight jacket.

21 April 2010

Hump Day Humor

This is f*ckin' CLASSIC...

Disgusting and Beyond Vile

I never thought I'd see the day where I would be in agreement with Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito, but yesterday was that day. In an 8 to 1 decision (Really, Justices Ginsburg, Breyer, and Stevens!?), the court struck down a federal law banning photos, videos and other depictions of animal cruelty, saying it violated the First Amendment right of free speech.

The videos in question included women in spiked heels crushing chicks and kittens with those heels, as well as dog fighting videos, among other "speech."

Two things: 1. Such animal cruelty is against the law in most places. How can the court reasonably assert that videotaping such criminal acts is protected by the First Amendment to the Constitution? 2. What next? Constitutional protections for snuff videos that show human beings killing each other?

This overwhelming decision by the court will forever confound me.

And credit where it is due. From Alito's dissent:
The animals used in crush videos are living creatures that experience excruciating pain. Our society has long banned such cruelty, which is illegal throughout the country.
Good on ya, Justice Alito!

19 April 2010

Nail Biter in the U.K.

Note: This post lists polling results from Monday. Apparently the graphic above changes automatically with each new set of figures.

The coming British election is turning into a real nail biter, with the three major political parties within four points of each other: Conservatives at 31%, the Liberal-Democrats at 29%, and the ruling Labour Party at 27%. Translating that to seats in Parliament, Conservatives would come out on top with about 310 seats, Labour 251, and the Lib-Dems at 59 (smaller third parties would win about 30). A majority being 326 seats, that would mean an election resulting in a hung parliament.

In order for a government to be seated, a coalition would need to be formed in which several parties join together and chose a prime minister. If the final election results reflect current polling, Labour would probably retain control by forming a coalition government with the Liberal-Democrats.

It wouldn't be the best place from which to govern, but they would control the government until another election is called. (If the May 6 election results in a hung parliament, my guess would be another election in a year or so.)

I don't know that much about politics in the U.K., but my hope from ten time zones away is that David Cameron and his Conservative Party pull this out. Unlike the Republicans here in the U.S., the British Conservatives don't give in to Fascist tendencies. While their monetary policy leaves much to be desired, they are pro-gay, pro-green (Cameron rides a bike to work on most days), and pro-health care. And word has it that Cameron has the potential to be Britain's version of Barack Obama: A young leader of the opposition who is ready to change the political paradigm following 13 years of rule by the majority party.

Election night there will be mighty interesting.

18 April 2010

Spring Has Sprung

Twelve perfect tracks for this gorgeous spring Sunday. Set includes Ladyhawke, Saint Etienne, Sister Sledge, Groove Armada, and Club 8.

Press play and enjoy...

Cat & Mouse - Nikki & Rich
Another Runaway - Ladyhawke
Crazy (2005 Remix) - Seal
Lose That Girl - Saint Etienne
Maybe So, Maybe No - Mayer Hawthorne
Thinking of You - Sister Sledge
Shameless - Groove Armada (feat. Bryan Ferry)
Spring Came, Rain Fell - Club 8
Rich Girl - Daryl Hall and John Oates
I Can't Go For That - The Bird and the Bee
Georgy Porgy - Toto
The World Is a Beat - N'dambi

16 April 2010

The Lying Tea-Bagger Party

Rachel Maddow calls them out on their lies...

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

...and on the terrorists in their ranks...

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14 April 2010

Ronald Reagan Day?

Uhhh...hell no!

Look, I know his sunny optimism healed a wounded country torn apart by Vietnam and quite unhappy with the hapless leadership of his predecessor. But when all is said and done, Reagan rates in the mid to upper-mid tier of U.S. presidents. Yes, he made Americans feel patriotic again; yes, he realigned American politics for a generation; yes, he restored our global image, much tattered following Vietnam and Iran; but he also put in place fiscal policies that eventually led us to the abyss we staring into just last year.

And for that alone, President Reagan should be denied his own "day" in California.

From DailyKos:
A whole day dedicated to commemorating Reagan's accomplishments? Like ruining California schools? Turning ketchup into a vegetable? Skyrocketing the national debt? Inspiring god-awful Tom Clancy novels?

13 April 2010

Federal Budget Deficit Down

First there was the news that the economy created 180,000 net jobs last month, and now this:
The federal deficit is running significantly lower than it did last year, with the budget gap for the first half of fiscal 2010 down 8 percent. Officials attributed the results to higher tax revenue from increased employment, and to lower spending than projected on bailing out the financial system. If the trend continues for the rest of the year the 2010 deficit will be about $300 billion less than the administration's projection two months ago.
If you think these job creation and federal deficit numbers would have been the reality under a Republican administration, well, then I have a patch of Russian land off the coast of Alaska I'd like to sell you.

The Best President Since FDR ?

On foreign policy, President Obama's stewardship is beyond reproach. Keith Olbermann discusses this week's nuclear summit with Steve Clemons...

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

And the politics of the summit's achievements with presidential historian Michael Beschloss...

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

The Un-Bush

Quote of the Day:
The most important thing that distinguishes him from many other people (I won't name anyone by name) is that he's a thinker. He thinks when he speaks.
-Russian President Dmitri Medvedev, not so subtly comparing US President Barack Obama to former president George W. Bush, at yesterday's nuclear summit in Washington, DC.

The Un-Cheney

This is why Barack Obama chose Joe Biden as his running mate. It truly is one of the president's best decisions.

12 April 2010

Little Miss Chloe

Wishing you all a good Monday morning...

Another Stewart Slap-Down

Yet again, he takes on the lying fascists over at Fox.

"He Did It"

From Frank Rich's column in Sunday's NY Times:
"I was right 70 percent of the time, but I was wrong 30 percent of the time," said Alan Greenspan as he testified last week on Capitol Hill. Greenspan — a k a the Oracle during his 18-year-plus tenure as Fed chairman — could not have more vividly illustrated how and why geniuses of his stature were out to lunch while Wall Street imploded. No doubt he applied his full brain power to that 70-30 calculation. But the big picture eludes him. If the captain of the Titanic followed the Greenspan model, he could claim he was on course at least 70 percent of the time too.
The entire 27 year period from 1981 to 2008 was an illusion built on a shaky philosophy of massive debt and balance sheet trickery. Even I, a complete imbecile on matters of economics, thought our government's economic experts (in both parties) were steering us toward the path of complete ruin.

And here we are.

And there they are. Still.

Mr. President, it's time to shake things up.

11 April 2010

Dimanche Pluvieux

Twelve tracks for this rainy San Francisco Sunday. Set includes new material from the Bamboos, Gotan Project, and Peter Wolf with Neko Case; and classics from Ike & Tina Turner, Texas, and Francis Cabrel.

Press play and enjoy...

Keep Me In Mind - The Bamboos
Nobody Jones - N'dambi
When I'm With You - M.E.G.
The Green Fields of Summer - Peter Wolf & Neko Case
Saint - Texas
La Gloria - Gotan Project
Give It Back - Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings
California - Phantom Planet
Sexy Ida - Ike & Tina Turner
Midnight Train to Georgia - Gladys Knight & the Pips
L'edition Spéciale - Francis Cabrel
Clair de Lune - Julian Bream

Dixie Carter, 1939 - 2010

The legendary actress passed away Saturday morning. She was 70.

There are few shows in the history of television that provided me with more joy than the first few seasons of "Designing Women." This is probably the most remembered Carter clip, among many...

Another classic in which Carter's Julia Sugarbaker slams the Sarah Palins of the day...

10 April 2010

Ain't Nothin' But a Party (Disco, Damn It! Vol. 4)

I'll post the regular Sunday playlist tomorrow, but here is a special spring bonus edition of "Disco, Damn It!" Celebrating the notorious Fire Island tea dances of the 1970s, the set includes dance classics from the Ritchie Family, France Joli, the Temptations, and Gloria Gaynor.

Press play and enjoy...

It's Good for the Soul - Salsoul Orchestra
Life Is Music - The Ritchie Family
Law of the Land - The Temptations
Superman - Herbie Mann
Disco Village - J. Elliott Group
Ain't Nothin' But a Party - The Sylvers
Got to Give It Up - Marvin Gaye
The Joy of You - Paul Mauriat Plus
Honeybee - Gloria Gaynor
Walking On Music - The Peter Jacques Band
Perfect Love Affair - Constellation Orchestra
Rumor Has It - Donna Summer
Don't Stop Dancing - France Joli
Harmony - Suzi Lane

On Justice Stevens

John Paul Stevens, one of the more intelligent Supreme Court justices, will be sorely missed. Among his key opinions is this one:
In Bush v. Gore, the 2000 decision that handed the presidency to George W. Bush: “Although we may never know with complete certainty the identity of the winner of this year’s presidential election, the identity of the loser is perfectly clear. It is the nation’s confidence in the judge as an impartial guardian of the rule of law.”
The President will nominate Stevens' replacement sometime in the next few weeks. Seeing that his party will likely lose Senate seats this November, Mr. Obama should use this opportunity to nominate a jurist of Stevens' liberal philosophy. Pushing a centrist consensus nominee through wouldn't be wise, as the court needs a solid leftist to take on the radical right wing fascists currently on the court.

There is a 60% to 70% chance that Obama will have one more vacancy to fill before the end of his first term, as I believe Ruth Bader Ginsburg may be the next to retire. He'll need a centrist consensus candidate at that point, so why not shoot for the stars this time out?

The Bitchiest Bitch Whore of Them All

The half-wit former half-term governor of Alaska really just needs to go away.

Polish President Dies In Plane Crash

Devastating news out of Russia:
A plane carrying the Polish president, Lech Kaczynski, his wife, their political advisers, leaders of all four branches of the military and the head of the central bank crashed in a heavy fog in western Russia on Saturday morning, killing everyone aboard.
A tragedy of monumental proportions in Eastern Europe. Thoughts with the citizens of Poland and the families of those who perished.

09 April 2010

Bitch Slap

Let's face it, if the Fascist-Republican tea-baggers have their way, Sarah Palin will be their nominee for president in 2012. Should that be the case, the current president gives a preview of that campaign...

Friday Brain Break

I mean, really, how can you not like the guy?

08 April 2010

Beyond Bush/Cheney?

Unless there is something I am missing, this goes against everything President Obama stands for. A former Constitutional professor, he has to know in his heart of hearts that this is beyond unlawful. And it's enough for me, a staunch Obama defender (even when I disagree with him), to contemplate withdrawing support.

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Make no mistake: If the President goes down this path then he is no better than the Bush team on matters of terrorism; and if this shit continues, if the administration really is ordering the killing of American citizens, then I might have serious reservations about an Obama vote in 2012. Unlike health care or budgetary matters, this is not an issue you can on which you can compromise, and the President knows it. I don't care what his national security team is telling him, I don't care what intelligence he is seeing as president that he didn't see as a candidate...this flies in the face of our Constitution. And if THIS president sees fit to soil that document as the Bush team did, then America as we know it is truly done.

Repairing Our Global Image

One healthy step at a time.


Jon Stewart brilliantly skewers John McCain.

06 April 2010

Was Anyone Listening in 2008?

From Frank Rich's Sunday column in the New York Times:
...the Obama we see now is generally consistent with the one he presented in the 2008 campaign. Many, if not all, of the positions that have angered liberals since he entered the White House line up with his positions then, including his stubborn and futile faith in the prospect of bipartisanship in Washington.

When the 2008 Obama called Afghanistan an essential war and vowed to take out terrorist havens in Pakistan, he wasn’t just posturing to prove he was as hawkish as Hillary Clinton — which is what some chose to hear. Though he nominally supported a public option as a plank of health care reform, it was not a high priority and he rarely mentioned it, according to a review of his campaign speeches, interviews and debates by Sam Stein of The Huffington Post. Obama never said anything to suggest that he was interested in economic interventionism as bold as, say, the potential nationalization of failing banks. He was unambiguous in his professed opposition to same-sex marriage and largely silent on gun control. And as Jake Tapper of ABC News chronicled last week, Obama had even opened the door to offshore oil drilling in the weeks before Election Day.
Count me among those who can become a bit discombobulated when the President doesn't go the distance on issues I feel need solid liberal leadership. But, unlike progressives to my left (and I count myself among the more liberal progressives), I know that my problems with Mr. Obama on such issues are just that...MY problems.

I was actually listening during the 2008 campaign. And, as Rich notes above, President Obama is governing as the left-leaning centrist he ran as. So, even on those days when I bitch and moan about half-measures and bone-headed decisions, I do not instantly hold back my support. As I have said before, no president is going to make any American happy with their leadership 100% of the time.

So, unless they want to see "President Romney" or "President Gingrich" three years down the road, my fellow progressives will need to come around. You don't have to follow Obama blindly; indeed he insists that you criticize him when you feel it is warranted. But to hold back your support when the alternative is an uber-fascist government led by Fox News would be a bit much, don't you think?

Elections Called In Britain

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown met with Queen Elizabeth II earlier today to request the dissolution of Parliament and then promptly called for a national election to take place on May 6.

Brown's Labour Party, in power since 1997, are behind in recent polling, which shows the Conservative Party, led by David Cameron, ready to take power should they win a majority of the seats in the House of Commons next month. However, British law dictates a general election no more than five years from the previous contest, and voters last went to the polls in May of 2005.

Side note: The U.S. would do well to study this election model. One month to campaign vs. the tiresome two-year, reality-TV-esque campaign we go through lately? Americans of all political stripes would love it.

04 April 2010

The Unofficial Sunday Brunch Mix

Fourteen tracks for your Easter Sunday...

Catalina Kiss - Acoustic Alchemy
Lowdown - Boz Scaggs
Chicago Song - David Sanborn
Who Needs Forever? (Thievery Corporation Remix) - Astrud Gilberto
Music & Wine - Blue Six
Undress Me Now - Morcheeba
What It Feels Like For a Girl - Madonna
The Sound of Water - Brad Mehldau & Pat Metheny
Savoir Faire - Chic
Postales - Federico Aubele
Golden Girl - Al Jarreau
Ain't Nobody - Rufus, feat. Chaka Khan
Heard It On the Radio - The Bird and the Bee
Southern California - Brian Wilson

03 April 2010

The Jobs Report

Another encouraging sign that we are pulling out of the Great Recession: 165,000 jobs were created last month. While that is a nice step in the right direction, the unemployment rate remains stuck at 9.7%. With 8 million jobs lost since late 2007, job creation will need to double or triple last month's number in order to bring that percentage down.

That said, it looks like the Obama team can get it done. The graph below shows job creation under Bush in red vs. Obama in blue. I'd say the American people made the right decision in 2008, wouldn't you?

01 April 2010

I See Stupid People

More tea-bagger foto fun here.

Busier Than a One-Legged Man...

...in a butt kickin' contest. I've been in Seattle this week and working horribly long days. Thus the reason for my lack of posts. Back in full force after the weekend.

31 March 2010

Obama OKs Off-Shore Drilling

I am really pressed for time this morning, so the only comment I have time for is...

Are you fucking kidding me!!??

The disappointment weighs heavy, Mr. President.

Mid-Week Brain Break

This one will make you grin from ear to ear and put a pep in your step...

30 March 2010

A Republican For Bikes & Against Cars

Who could have predicted that it would be one of President Obama's Republican cabinet members, Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood, that would become one its more progressive officers?
Two weeks ago, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood climbed on a table and told a group of bike advocates that federal transportation planners were finished raising the almighty auto above cyclists and walkers.

"I’ve been all over America, and where I’ve been in America I’ve been very proud to talk about the fact that people do want alternatives," he said. "They want out of their cars, they want out of congestion, they want to live in livable neighborhoods and livable communities ... You've got a partner in Ray LaHood."

He followed up on his blog: "Today, I want to announce a sea change. People across America who value bicycling should have a voice when it comes to transportation planning. This is the end of favoring motorized transportation at the expense of non-motorized."
'atta boy!

29 March 2010

The President: Last Week vs This Week

What the President of the United States achieved last week:
- Signed health care legislation that covers 30 million more Americans;
- Put a solid student loans reform package in place, thus allowing millions of additional Americans to get a college education;
- Worked with Russia to reduce the number of nuclear warheads in the world;
- Made some recess appointments to key government posts for positions that were being blocked by Republican senators for no other reason than to block them;
- Flew to Afghanistan to meet with U.S. troops and the Afghan president.
Yet, since last week the President's approval rating has dropped from 51% to 46%. While I believe a large majority of Americans will eventually appreciate and approve of the health care bill passed last week, they are wondering when congress and the White House will focus, at least publicly, on the unemployment crisis with the same full-on gusto.

As I said last week, the only way the President can use his new found momentum to his advantage would be to focus on jobs, jobs, and jobs. Climate change, education, and the other important issues of our day should be tackled behind the scenes by the appropriate cabinet officials. But if he is to spare his party a devestating mid-term election result this November, the President, in using his bully pulpit, needs focus solely on the jobs situation. He needs to showcase for the American voting public that his only focus right now is their lot in life.

Such focus could be a win-win for the Democrats: Americans would appreciate that the administration and congress are at least trying everything they can to rectify the stubbornly high unemployment rate; and voters would see Republicans for the obstructionists they are, as the fascists among the GOP ranks would more than likely block every jobs initiative the Democrats put forward.

Barring a miraculous economic turn around between now and November, the Democrats are still likely to lose seats in congress. That's just the nature of the beast (Republicans lost 25 House seats in Reagan's first mid-term election). But I sincerely believe if President Obama and the current congress put all of their efforts into job creation, even if only a few jobs are generated, it could mean the difference between a 40+ seat loss in the House (if they do nothing) and a 10 to 20 seat loss (if they spend every minute between now and November tackling unemployment).

So, again Mr. President, the only three words out of your mouth for the next several months should be "jobs," "jobs," and "jobs."

27 March 2010

Poseidon Has His Day

This week's playlist begins with a brand new track from the Bird and the Bee's latest CD, "Interpreting the Masters, Volume 1 (A Tribute to Daryl Hall & John Oates)" - their take on "I Can't Go For That" is simply sublime. A 1979 single from the "masters" themselves follows. Also included this week: the Ramones, Wilco, the Runaways, Material Issue, Johnny Cash, Bob Mould, Luna, and the Indigo Girls.

Press PLAY and enjoy...

I Can't Go For That - The Bird and the Bee
Wait For Me - Daryl Hall & John Oates
Care of Cell 44 - The Zombies
You Never Know - Wilco
I Just Want to Have Something to Do - The Ramones
Cherry Bomb - The Runaways
Memphis Blues Again - Bob Dylan
Valerie Loves Me - Material Issue
Hungry Heart - Bruce Springsteen
Unjustified - Simon Webbe
California - Luna
The Man Comes Around - Johnny Cash
Help! - The Beatles
Heels of the Wind - Elton John
Rabbit Heart (Raise It Up) - Florence + the Machine
Life and Times - Bob Mould
Fleet of Hope (Poseidon Has His Day) - Indigo Girls
Poseidon, God of the Sea - Klaus Badelt

26 March 2010

Honoring the Great Liberal Lion

As they prepared to pass the final fixes to last week's health reform bill, the United States Senate honored the late great liberal lion, Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts, for his tireless work on the issue with a moment of silence. This will put a lump in your throat; you could hear a pin drop in that chamber.

It starts at the 1:52 mark...

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25 March 2010

The Truth Comes Out

So, has this been the issue the entire time?

Slowly Making 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' Obsolete

Defense Secretary Robert Gates will announce Thursday that the Defense Department will relax enforcement of the "don't ask, don't tell" rules that prevent gay men and lesbians from serving openly in the military, a decision that officials described as a temporary measure until Congress can take permanent action.

The military will no longer investigate the sexual orientation of service members based on anonymous complaints, will restrict testimony from third parties and will require high-ranking officers to review all cases, sources familiar with the changes said.

The Atlantic's Marc Ambinder discusses the move here.

California's #1 Cash Crop

In November, California voters will decide whether to legalize recreational use of marijuana:
Secretary of State Debra Bowen certified that the petitions seeking to place the question on the ballot had more than...the minimum number needed to qualify.

If approved, the initiative would allow those 21 years and older to possess up to one ounce of marijuana, enough to roll several marijuana cigarettes. Residents also could cultivate the plant in limited quantities.
Marijuana is California's #1 cash crop, it's WAY safer than alcohol, yet it remains illegal.

I'll be very interested to see how this initiative polls. In the mean time, those advocating legalization can count on my YES vote!

Disgusting and Beyond Vile

From TPM:
The right-wing protest movement that amped up during the final debate over the health care reform bill in the House has stepped up another notch.

Rep. Bart Stupak (Democrat-MI) received a drawing of a noose faxed to his congressional office; and House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (Democrat-SC) told CNN that his office had received a fax that depicted a noose.
Another Democratic member of congress had their office window smashed; yet another had the gas line at their home slashed.

This is beyond vile, and carries shades of the hate and threats spewed at McCain/Palin rallies during the 2008 presidential campaign.

If any Democratic member of congress is attacked and injured or killed, the Republican Party and their fascist tea-bagging base will be entirely to blame.

24 March 2010

What the President Needs to Do

Since taking office on January 20, 2009, President Obama has yet to address the nation from the Oval Office. By contrast, President Reagan spoke from there at least three or four times during his first 15 months as president, mainly in an effort to get Americans behind his economic program. Oh, Mr. Obama has addressed the nation by way of press conferences and weekly radio/internet speeches, but the majesty of the Oval Office carries a certain weight that the President would do well to flaunt right about now.

With the wind at his back following the passage of health insurance reform, Obama has regained enough political capital to make the case for two of the most important issues to Americans today: Banking reform and jobs.

Now that health care is a done deal (save the fixes that are making their way through the Senate), President Obama and both houses of congress should focus on those two issues every day, all day, seven days a week. Americans want to know that their government officials are doing everything they can to put our nation's job market back on steady footing, and that the banks that hold their money will never again be allowed to play the games they played from 1981 to 2008.

And the best way to put these issues front and center would be for the President of the United States to lay out his plans on those two issues in a speech from the Oval Office.

Now, if he does it he needs to go all in. On these issues half measures won't do. He needs to ignore the Republicans and offer up a rock solid jobs bill worth about $50 billion (if not more), as well as a major finanical bill that seriously regulates how the banks handle the hard-earned money we Americans keep there. He needs to explain, in basic terms, that while the Great Recession may be over officially, the jobs market seems to be stuck in a rut, and that a giant infusion of cash for highway and other infrastructure jobs could be the spark that gets things moving again. As for banking reform, I doubt most Americans would disagree that the banks need some serious slapping around.

So, Mr. President...I know there is still alot on your plate, and that education reform and climate change are issues very near and dear to your heart. But with mid-terms right around the corner and Americans keeping an eye on that unemployment rate, YOUR focus for the next several months needs to be on these two issues - at least publicly. Let the appropriate cabinet officers do the heavy lifting on the other domestic issues until after the elections.

For now, the first two words out of your mouth when you get up in the morning and the last two words out of your mouth when you go to bed at night should be "jobs" and "banking."

And you should say those words several times during a major prime time speech from the Oval Office.