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.

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Bernie Goldberg Fires Back
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical HumorTea Party


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...

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...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...

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

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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.

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

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.