Tuesday, August 31, 2010

It's Over

Since America has long ago turned its attention away from our war of aggression against Iraq, which did not attack us on 9/11 no matter the lies of Dick Cheney, George Bush and their cabal, and since the Right will not give Obama credit for any of his great advances and repairs nor will the Left support him in the same organized fashion that Bush enjoyed even at his most damaging, I'm sure that Obama's achievement here will get scant acknowledgment or esteem.

I'm mainly talking to those of you out there who don't want to see the GOP take over the House or Senate and start yet another set of witchhunts, government paralysis, tax protection for the rich and gutting of both financial safeguards and the social safety net. For those of a more Conservative bent, I hope you aren't taking this opportunity to give George Bush some sort of credit for being the genius who trashed a country without provocation, created droves of refugees and sectarian warfare affecting every family in the country, and let the forces of chaos tear up the infrastructure in the days after we took Baghdad. And left Iran without a counterbalance. Dark days they were, indeed.

Yep, the neocons screwed it up. And it seems like only Rachel Maddow remembers:

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


Monday, August 30, 2010

Donward Spiral

There must be more copy available to read about the previous evening's episode of Mad Men every Monday morning than the day after any other show in television history. Not just reviews like from the leader, Alan Sepinwall, or reviews as from the advertising industry Ad Age POV or smart semi-civilian writers on Open Salon, but actual "erudite" discussions on sites for The New York Times, Slate and even The Wall Street Journal. So if your water cooler conversation at work or comment exchange under your Facebook status update isn't enough, there's plenty to read...and read...and read. It could take more time than watching the episode itself. And the back-to-back AMC Encore Presentation.

So here's the little I have to add to the talk about last night's themes, the main one of which appeared to be people not getting the credit they deserve or, often, thinking they aren't -- Peggy for Don's Clio, then Peggy not taking it for Rizzo's storyboard of her idea, Don for the job applicant's hack line, a drunken Duck Dunn for whatever he thought he deserved from working with the Clio emcee way back when and, best of all, Roger wanting to get credit for "hiring guys like him." When, in fact, memory/flashbacks reveal that Roger didn't hire Don -- Don got Roger drunk and the next morning made Roger think his memory lapsed and that he had hired Don.

In fact, just as Dick Whitman promoted himself to Don Draper, so did Don Draper hire himself into Sterling Cooper. This puts the four seasons of Don neglecting to thank Roger or give him credit for hiring him into perspective -- it makes sense when you realize Roger had a lot less to do with Don's success than just being well-positioned and pliable with booze.

Which leads to the biggest theme I can find this season: alcoholism. Specifically, Don Draper's alcoholism. We've seen this plot reflected in Fred Rumsen who came back thanks to AA and in Duck Dunn who lost his marriage to alcoholism and can't seem to stay on the wagon, ultimately making a public fool of himself in front of his own industry, hanging on by his fingernails and slipping off the ledge to oblivion. In both cases, healthy or promising careers were shattered by this very 20th Century disease, and if you add Roger as a third reflecting subplot, you've got a heart attack awaiting Don as well.

But for the first time the special threat to Don was revealed: alcohol twice caused him to forget who he is; that is to say, the character he has worked so hard all along at playing. At the Life cereal pitch we saw Don Draper slip away as the forelock fell and the studied professional became the desperate-to-please Dick Whitman. We could see how much his manner and voice matched that of the young Dick Whitman, fur salesman, in the flashbacks. And to make the potential for jeopardy even greater, at the wake-up moment during his lost weekend, when the sophisticated brunette copywriter in his bed Friday night morphed into the tawdry blonde coffeeshop waitress with 36 hours of blackout in-between, waitress Doris referred to our man as "Dick," revealing that in losing himself inside the bottle he had lost track of his adopted identity.

Who knows who else might have heard Dick Whitman reveal his true identity during an alcoholic blackout period?

I knew Don was over the edge when we learned he's stopped eating his meals and starting drinking them, from several episodes of his not being hungry, not eating dinner, giving up on the perfectly cooked steak in front of him without a bite. And there can only be one place this goes, especially when two of his family members have already been in therapy.

Don doesn't get out of this condition by drying out on his own. He has to have a crack up. He has to end up in a sanitarium for a spell. The water cure. The DTs. The heebie-jeebies. Pink elephants in the air and creepy crawlies all over his body.

Nobody watches Mad Men to watch typical TV-style therapeutic recoveries. It's a show about people not getting what they want or getting what they want and finding it's a punishment or a trap. It's also always about some sort of Don triumph in the last episode of each season, even as another part of his life slips away, at the expense of his family.

After next week, we'll be over the halfway point in this season, episode seven of thirteen.

Don hasn't hit rock bottom yet.

Sunday, August 29, 2010


Apologies to regular readers of Nettertainment, but I've been out on family vacation in Maui this past week sans PC, quite liberating. I didn't want to draw attention to my leave basically because I wanted my home to remain safe, but I do hope I haven't lost any of you with the one week gap.

That said, it's kind of a joy to have missed the foul waters of the Glenn Beck rally, the Tea Party takeover of the otherwise rudderless GOP, and more Obama-bashing and weak-sistering from those on the Left who would pout through this November's election and let the U.S Congress fall to the dogs. Let me be frank: if you aren't speaking up, if you aren't opinion-making with your own friends that the Obama Administration armed with even this particular Democratic legislation branch is the best thing to happen to America since, well, Bill Clinton, then you are just as responsible for continuing the disaster of eight years under Bush-Cheney that we will still be working to dig out of over the next two years should the Dems hold both houses.

If you have any doubt, here are the accomplishments this far and a Facebook group to join about them.

So I'm back and thinking about possible changes to the blog format, but for now, in an America being so stirred to hate that this happens, I suggest you step up and be more like this guy -- unless you'd like to give up our country to these billionaire brothers.

Friday, August 20, 2010


This is the most devastating set of comparison pictures, from April and from August. One quarter of Pakistan has flooded, and people are going to be suffering in slow motion -- lack of potable water, lack of food, crops ruined, mud everywhere. Per Daniyal Mueenuddin in the NY Times:

I found most pitiful a family gathered around a prostrate brown-and-white brindled cow. The father told me that the cow had been lost in the water for four days, and the previous night it had clambered up on another section of the levee, a mile away. The people of this area recognize their cattle as easily as you or I recognize a cousin or neighbor — they sleep with their animals around them at night, and graze them all day; their animals are born and die near them. Someone passing by told the family that their cow had been found, and the father went and got it and led it to their little encampment.

In the early morning the cow had collapsed, and I could see it would soon be dead. Its eyes were beginning to dull, as the owner squatted next to it, sprinkling water into its mouth, as if it were possible to revive it. Its legs were swollen from standing in water, and its chest and torso were covered with deep cuts and scrapes, sheets of raw flesh where branches rushing past must have hit it.

The rest of the family sat nearby on a string bed, resigned, waiting for the end. This was their wealth, but when it died they would tip it into the water and let it float away to the south. Through the past few days they had seen it all, houses collapsed, trees uprooted, grain spoiled, and this was just one more blow.

There's political fear as well:

The state has been criticized for failing to respond quickly enough, and Islamist charities -- at least one of which has alleged links to terrorism -- have been active in the flood-hit areas. There are also concerns the extent of the suffering could stoke social unrest and lead to political instability that may impact Pakistan's fight against the Taliban.

Kerry told reporters "we don't want additional jihadists, extremists coming out of a crisis."

Thanks to Virgin, a list of places to donate here.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Dump the Tea

It's time to stop pussyfooting around and start attacking the Tea Party directly, on substance and candidates. I know that there have been attacks pointing out the racist elements of the movement as well as the astroturf aspect -- that it's been created and/or fueled by Republican-based organizations like Former House Majority Leader Dick Armey's (R-TX) Freedomworks lobbying group and Fox News. Sure, there's videos showing how ill-informed or Glenn Beck-informed so many of these people are. But I'm starting to think that's missing the point. Those aren't attacks in the political realm, just in the galleries. Screw this false notion that they are somehow made up of "Independents" -- they're overwhelmingly Republican and we need the Democratic Party to come out hard against them.

The fear is that these are jus' reg'lar folks getting involved with pollyticks for the first time, so it's all democracy in action. Don't be afraid. An attempt to create a Tea Party Exchange, essentially a customer loyalty program for card-carrying Tea Partiers that local business would opt into, including a 5% kick-back on all purchases to fund rallies, is a MASSIVE FAIL. My favorite quote about it:

"I feel like I was hoodwinked," Beef O'Brady's Family Sports Club owner Bill DeFries told the Daily News. "I think [Hutchinson] was trying to make money."

Like Ballachino, DeFries found that being a part of the Exchange pissed off more customers than it impressed. He "received threats and was called a Nazi by one woman," according to the paper.

Yep, the time is ripe to turn this Tea Party thing on its head and turn any neutral or slightly positive attitudes towards this movement with its terrible philosophy and ideas into negative sentiment. There's already anecdotal evidence that they're considered evil by some. But on substance, they are just plain wrong. As Froma Harrop writes, Be glad the tea party wasn't running the government when the recession hit:

Using econometric models, Alan Blinder and Mark Zandi argue that the bailouts, the stimulus and other extraordinary actions saved America from nothing less than another Great Depression. Blinder was vice chairman of the Federal Reserve. Zandi is chief economist at Moody's Analytics and advised Republican presidential candidate John McCain.

Had Washington not taken any aggressive steps starting in 2008, the results would have been horrific, their study says. Real gross domestic product would have fallen a "stunning" 12 percent, rather than the actual decline of 4 percent. Nearly 17 million jobs would have vanished, twice as many as the real count. And the unemployment rate would have peaked at 16.5 percent.

The campaign trail is not a welcoming place for careful analysis. Tea-party favorites routinely bash their opponents (often fellow Republicans) for having supported the stimulus and various government rescues.

Giving even a modicum of power to any Tea Party candidate is an invitation to failure. They've already failed to hold their own convention, how do they expect to solve anything in government? There's an argument to be made for sane, responsible conservative voices (witness Olson and Scarborough in yesterday's post) but the Tea Party is neither. And they are terrible students of history -- making it up or misreading/miswriting it based on their own ideological dictums. Those who don't know history are doomed to repeat it, but those who lie about it have the potential to doom all of us.

Say it loud and clear: To electing any members of the Tea Party or endorsed by the Tea Party is to instantly put our nation in grave jeopardy. These people must be stopped, and we need to campaign against them, using the very name of their movement against them, ASAP. The Tea Party must be exposed, not as racist, but as dead wrong

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Credit for GOPers

Two Republicans have shown themselves to be true Americans in the best sense of the word -- tolerant, sensible, respectful of the Constitution. One is 9/11 widower and former Bush Administration Solicitor General, Ted Olson, who also recently co-led the case against the heinous Prop 8 here in California, coming out in favor of what President Obama said regarding the Cordoba House near Ground Zero:

The other, and it ain't easy for me to give credit here but it is richly deserved, is MSNBC's Former GOP Congressman Joe Scarborough, who is not only pounding on Newt Gingrich for that parasite's demagoguery on the issue, but also has Pat - yes - Buchanan chiming in with him against the current Republican Tea Party line on the site:

Bravo, gents. You've both earned kudos in my book, and I'll have to go a little easier on Joe the next time he says something I disagree with.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Balls of Clay

The whole Cordoba House debate is designed to take your mind off of actual needs of the American people. It's kind of a stupid strategy on the part of the GOP since the economy is not recovering quickly enough, and if they had a real plan besides continuing the ruinous Bush tax cuts favoring the rich at the expense of the deficit, they'd be primed for traction on that. But since they have no plan, they'd rather distract from the actions that have been taken by serious-minded Democrats (agree with them or not).

So you have moronic ex-Governor Tim Pawlenty trying to negate his wussy personality by coming down hard on the Imam of Cordoba House and the government for using him n outreach to better U.S. relations with Muslims around the world. However, that began with his lecture to the FBI under the Bush Administration, so Tim is essentially slamming his own. Not that it matters in his Fox-ruled world. (And, ironically enough, Fox is actually partly owned by a Saudi prince who's family rules by the very Sharia Law it enjoys fanning fears of coming to the U.S.)

Can we all just call it what it is, a political football?:

Richard Hanna, the Republican congressional candidate in NY-24, was the rare Republican who supported the proposed Cordoba House plans. That is, until his Democratic opponent, incumbent Rep. Michael Arcuri, announced his own opposition to the "Ground Zero mosque."

Now, Hanna says that "building a mosque near Ground Zero is insensitive."

Maybe the most shameful such political tool since 9/11 was used by Bush/Cheney to sell the Iraq War to America? Even a politician not taking a side manages to use it for political points:

Politico reports that (New Jersey Gov. Chris) Christie (R) was speaking at a bill-singing in Trenton, and said "I understand acutely the pain and sorrow and upset of the family members who lost loved ones that day at the hands of radical Muslim extremists," but "it would be wrong to so overreact to that, that we paint Islam with a brush of radical Muslim extremists that just want to kill Americans because we are Americans."

He added that "what offends me the most about all this, is that it's being used as a political football by both parties."

"I don't believe that it would be responsible of me to get involved and comment on this any further because it just put me in the same political arena as all of them," Christie said.

But I reserve special contempt for the ex-President who has revealed his balls of clay today in the simplest terms possible (via TPM):

As the "mosque" debate boiled over this weekend the big question was whether George W. Bush was going to weigh in.

TPM asked, and the response from his spokesman today was simple:

"President Bush has no comment."

In addition:
Assistants for Karen Hughes and Condoleezza Rice declined to comment.
There you have it.


Monday, August 16, 2010


It' a grinding bummer to have to deal with news of the stupid and venal every day, like Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (R-NV) feeling compelled to come out against the Cordoba Islamic Center in NYC to somehow help his campaign all the way out in Nevada, or that CNN somehow has to discuss First Lady Michelle Obama being called Marie Antoinette by the evil wingnuts and their Fox-fueled noise chamber. It's times like these that, well, you just want to see something blow up. Or maybe a lot of things blow up.

Enter The Expendables.

Usually I wait a day until writing about a movie, to let it marinate, to come up with a worthy analysis more than an off-the-cuff critique. In this case, I'll make an exception. Sly Stallone has made a Dirty Dozen style adventure film that may not match memories of that epic, but maybe it wasn't all that genius when you first saw it. What Stallone has done is sort of a marriage of that type of action-adventure boy film with a late-period Howard Hawks "hang-out" film where John Wayne and a number of familiar, welcome supporting stars would sort of act out a forgettable plot but audiences loved the company anyway.Check Spelling

The plot is serviceable, the dialogue not as clever as it might think, but the cast is a blast -- the spectacle of generally older, buff dudes who have paid their dues starting three decades ago, sweating in muscular hand-to-hand combat, firing gun after gun after reload after reload (Terry Crews has the most cathartic weapon of all), and blowing up so much stuff that to even tell you would be to give away the plot.

Yep, it's not Shakespeare (although The Bard is referenced by Eric Roberts) and no one's going to be nominated for an Oscar, but when Jason Statham takes control of the machine guns on the airplane or Randy Couture and Steve Austin square off or Stallone continues to reload without moving his automatic, it's a welcome relief from not just the news but the work week. Maybe not for a female audience -- the movie celebrates male camaraderie with lip service towards female companionship.

Along the way Sly makes clear that waterboarding is torture, brings up the value of psychotherapy and handcrafted art, and gets the best laugh of the dialogue part of the story with a good-natured meta-jab at the Governator. It's nice to see David Zayas of Oz working again, and Mickey Rourke provides some actual acting, particularly a monologue that recalls (yes, crazy as it sounds) one by the Walter Bernstein character in Citizen Kane. He may look crazy, but Rourke can do so much just with his voice...impressive.

Some of the action scenes are shot too close-up and cutty for my tastes, as I couldn't always tell where who was doing what to what, but it's a step above the terrible graphic jumpiness of the last Bond movie. There's a few ultra-long shots of firey devastation that are just gorgeous and satisfying. And there's one Stallone stunt trying to get into a moving airplane that's one of the more original and gripping moments.

Maybe the most interesting aspect of the experience was the audience. It was a mix of young guys, older guys, a number of dates, and some older intellectual-looking guys going together. Sure, it's just a variation on a formula, but there's something gratifying about explosions and squibs that don't seem like CGI, that aren't geared just for geeks who've read the right graphic novels, that isn't pretending to be more than it is.

What the movie is, is a break.

And we could all use one.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

And Again

They're at it again, GOoPers trying to undermine Social Security, as they have since it was created in 1935:

Congressman John Taber, a Republican from New York, proclaimed that "Never in the history of the world has any measure been brought here so insidiously designed as to prevent business recovery, to enslave workers and to prevent any possibility of the employers providing work for the people." His New York colleague, GOP Congressman Daniel Reed, warned that if it passed "the lash of the dictator will be felt." The American Medical Association denounced it as a "compulsory socialistic tax." Silas Strawn, former president of both the American Bar Association and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, described it as "economically preposterous and legally indefensible." It was, he said, part of President Franklin D. Roosevelt's attempt to "Sovietize the country."

What was this threat to American prosperity, freedom, and democracy they were all decrying? It was Social Security, which President Roosevelt signed into law on August 14, 1935 -- 75 years ago.

At the time, the opponents of Social Security were not right-wing lunatics (the Depression-era cousins of today's Tea Party), but rather the business establishment and the mainstream of the Republican Party.

So now that it's been proven to keep elderly Americans out of poverty -- more than 50% of America's elderly lived in poverty before it was passed and it now keeps more than 20 million Americans out of poverty -- the only reason for the current crop of opportunistic dimwits to attack it is political gain. Yep, this is, per many economists including Paul Krugman, yet another fake Republican crisis:

About that math: Legally, Social Security has its own, dedicated funding, via the payroll tax (“FICA” on your pay statement). But it’s also part of the broader federal budget. This dual accounting means that there are two ways Social Security could face financial problems. First, that dedicated funding could prove inadequate, forcing the program either to cut benefits or to turn to Congress for aid. Second, Social Security costs could prove unsupportable for the federal budget as a whole.

But neither of these potential problems is a clear and present danger. Social Security has been running surpluses for the last quarter-century, banking those surpluses in a special account, the so-called trust fund. The program won’t have to turn to Congress for help or cut benefits until or unless the trust fund is exhausted, which the program’s actuaries don’t expect to happen until 2037 — and there’s a significant chance, according to their estimates, that that day will never come.

Meanwhile, an aging population will eventually (over the course of the next 20 years) cause the cost of paying Social Security benefits to rise from its current 4.8 percent of G.D.P. to about 6 percent of G.D.P. To give you some perspective, that’s a significantly smaller increase than the rise in defense spending since 2001, which Washington certainly didn’t consider a crisis, or even a reason to rethink some of the Bush tax cuts.

So where do claims of crisis come from? To a large extent they rely on bad-faith accounting. In particular, they rely on an exercise in three-card monte in which the surpluses Social Security has been running for a quarter-century don’t count — because hey, the program doesn’t have any independent existence; it’s just part of the general federal budget — while future Social Security deficits are unacceptable — because hey, the program has to stand on its own.

This week is the 75th Anniversary of the most successful social program in the history of America. Here's President Obama commemorating it:

Welcome to the 2010 election, with Republicans once again running on a crypto-promise to gut it:
One high-profile House Republican recently called for the government to "wean everybody" off Social Security. A day later, another House Republican endorsed Social Security privatization. Two days later, yet another House Republican endorsed Social Security privatization.

Keep it straight: privatization means massive fees for Wall Street, with the huge burden on risk once again on American citizens themselves. The market tanks? Tough luck.

It won't even disturb John Boehner's golf game...at at least $82,998/year.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Good vs. Evil

On one side, President Obama comes out for the Constitutional right of Freedom of Religion in the U.S.:
Recently, attention has been focused on the construction of mosques in certain communities - particularly in New York. Now, we must all recognize and respect the sensitivities surrounding the development of lower Manhattan. The 9/11 attacks were a deeply traumatic event for our country. The pain and suffering experienced by those who lost loved ones is unimaginable. So I understand the emotions that this issue engenders. Ground Zero is, indeed, hallowed ground.

But let me be clear: as a citizen, and as President, I believe that Muslims have the same right to practice their religion as anyone else in this country. That includes the right to build a place of worship and a community center on private property in lower Manhattan, in accordance with local laws and ordinances. This is America, and our commitment to religious freedom must be unshakeable. The principle that people of all faiths are welcome in this country, and will not be treated differently by their government, is essential to who we are. The writ of our Founders must endure.

On the other side, the fear-mongering, Anti-Constitutional, opportunistic scum:

New York's Conservative Party is planning a television ad campaign to pressure a New York City utility to use its power to block a proposed mosque near ground zero that the ad says is planned by an "un-American" Muslim leader.

The ad states "patriotic Americans" want "real answers" about the cultural center proposed for lower Manhattan in a building partly owned by Consolidated Edison. Plans call for the Muslim center to include a mosque in the building about two blocks from the Sept. 11, 2001, attack.

The ad asks viewers to contact the utility, which has more than 3 million customers, at a phone number provided on screen and is the first effort to try to get customers to target the company.

The Conservative Party's statewide ad to begin running next week says Republican candidate for governor Rick Lazio, the Conservative nominee, is asking the right questions about the effort and who or what groups will fund it.

Yep. Any chance to create a fake issue, run it through their rightwing noise machine cycles, try to stir up hatred and division, appeal to the lowest impulses of human nature, and create more misery than they already have with their economic policies.

All this drummed up, sanctimonious, hypocritical outrage is tiresome already to me. Might it be that for rest of our nation as well?

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


From the low-grade buffoonish evil that was Vice President Dan Quayle (why do these supposedly "gravitas" GOP Presidential candidates nominate such air-headed, entitled, matinee ideologues?) and mother Marilyn comes the Satan spawn:

There, he said it. So it must be true. With his already corrupt conviction and his shifty eye cuts. The spokesman for a new unhistorical, fascist generation. His first two sentences are out and out lies. He states his opinion about Obama as fact, then his first supporting point doesn't -- it's all about the George Bush/Dick Cheney damage. But, as with Word Salad Sarah, it doesn't matter. It's all dogwhistle, semiotics stripped to the bone.

The Southern Strategy for the next generation.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Atlas Toked

So it turns out that Kentucky GOP Senate candidate Rand Paul was a stoned-out kidnapper in college:
The strangest episode of Paul's time at Baylor occurred one afternoon in 1983 (although memories about all of these events are understandably a bit hazy, so the date might be slightly off), when he and a NoZe brother paid a visit to a female student who was one of Paul's teammates on the Baylor swim team. According to this woman, who requested anonymity because of her current job as a clinical psychologist, "He and Randy came to my house, they knocked on my door, and then they blindfolded me, tied me up, and put me in their car. They took me to their apartment and tried to force me to take bong hits. They'd been smoking pot." After the woman refused to smoke with them, Paul and his friend put her back in their car and drove to the countryside outside of Waco, where they stopped near a creek. "They told me their god was 'Aqua Buddha' and that I needed to bow down and worship him," the woman recalls. "They blindfolded me and made me bow down to 'Aqua Buddha' in the creek. I had to say, 'I worship you Aqua Buddha, I worship you.' At Baylor, there were people actively going around trying to save you and we had to go to chapel, so worshiping idols was a big no-no."
Not surprisingly, Rand's memory is foggy on this event. However, he's still able to whine about being treated unfairly by the media, as all modern rightwing nutjobs do when being challenged by anyone other than their Fox News support system:

If Atlas is looking at Rand Paul right now, he's certainly shrugging.

Don't bogart, Rand!

Monday, August 09, 2010


She really is a reptile, isn't she?

Yep, she rolls her eyes when she finds out this woman who is challenging her crass moneygrubbing opportunism is by profession a teacher. A teacher, for heaven's sake, but for Palin and her smug Fox identity legion, there's always a reason to roll one's eyes at someone who challenges the sacred tenets or icons, especially if they're educated. See Palin look for it, find it and in her smug way she's struck her goldmine, such is her bigotry and condescension.

Is there a lower form of life on earth than Sarah Palin? More greedy or egocentric, more cult of self, more opportunistically anti-intellectual? Her very response to this woman, that she's doing greater work for America, sounding so shopworn so instantly, defending with her patented Word Salad, which doesn't make sense, not to her, not to her followers, it's all just pure semiotics.

Yep, she's gone well beyond Reagan, who's words actually made sense strung together and spoken, referring to an American past in an attempt to fuel his contemporary policies, agree or disagree. With Word Salad Sarah, it's meaningless, just the movement of her mouth (indicating to her supporters that she is alive to lead them) and the mindless catchphrases, what she understands merely needs to be her bag of tricks, moored to no morality save that of self responsible to exactly no one, and certainly not even to her customers; that is to say, core constituency.

In comparison, certainly, Barack Obama is a humble man. I don't think I've ever seen him rolls his eyes at anyone -- on Fox? He engages them, even on Fox, particularly O'Reilly.

Can you even imagine him rolling his eyes at a teacher? Of course, he wouldn't.

Even at her.

Sunday, August 08, 2010

They're Back

Is there something wrong with me, that the only movie I'm really looking forward to is this?:

Can it possibly be as funny, dare I pray funnier, than the last one?

Friday, August 06, 2010


Robert Creamer of The Democratic Strategist lays down the "Nine Keys To Democratic Success in the Midterms." Click here to read the deets, but here's the headlines:

  1. The election narrative -- the election must be framed as part of a struggle between everyday Americans and corporate special interests.

  2. The antagonist in our narrative should be defined as the corporate special interests - Wall Street, insurance companies, Big Oil - and their Republican enablers.

  3. Remind the voters that when the Republicans were in charge, they wrecked the economy and created zero private sector jobs.

  4. It's all about turnout.

  5. The Arizona Immigration Law, persuasion and turnout among Hispanics.

  6. Seniors.

  7. Wall Street Banks.

  8. Staying on Offense

  9. Defining our candidates as outsiders.

He closes with an emphasis on this final note:

To win in this environment, our candidates need to portray themselves as populist outsiders, not elite insiders. In the end, whoever wins that battle will prevail on November 2nd.

Word to the man.

#3 Now out of 4 Total

Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan has been confirmed by the Senate to join Justices Ruth Ginsberg and Sonia Sotomayor on the highest court in this United States. The percentage of women on the court just went from 22.2% to 33.3%, the highest in over three and one-quarter centuries of U.S. history.


Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Proud to Be a Californian

There's marriage equality in Iowa, so we're not exactly the first, and there's a stay, and it's going to all somehow end up in Chief Justice John Roberts' lap, but the vile Prop 8 forbidding same sex marriage was voided in court.

Judge Vaughan R. Walker, originally a Republican appointee, presided over a lopsided trial, per reports at the time, and his opinion is just this side of lacerating, particularly with regards to the defense's key "expert" -- whom His Honorable reclassified as a pundit:
Walker, in his decision, writes that "Proposition 8 fails to advance any rational basis in singling out gays and lesbians for denial of a marriage license." He evaluates as credible witnesses the panel of experts who testified against Proposition 8, and finds fault with the credentials of several witnesses who testified against same-sex marriage, including David Blankenhorn, President of the Institute for American Values:

Blankenhorn's testimony constitutes inadmissible opinion testimony that should be given essentially no weight," Walker writes. "Blankenhorn gave absolutely no explanation why
manifestations of the deinstitutionalization of marriage would be exacerbated (and not, for example, ameliorated) by the presence of marriage for same-sex couples. His opinion lacks reliability, as there is simply too great an analytical gap between the data and the opinion Blankenhorn proffered.
Marc Ambinder has this brilliant list of all the facts Walker is basing his opinion on -- 13 of them, including my personal fave:
11. "Marrying a person of the opposite sex is an unrealistic option for gay and lesbian individuals."
The battle's not over, and I'm sure there are hateful, bigoted pockets of individuals ready to do violence over the ultimate nationalization of this decision, but this is now about facts found in a court of law by a very smart and fair judge who has made the ruling very difficult to win an appeal against. Every single one of these facts would have to be struck down. By, like, Clarence Thomas.

And the original victims of violence who suffered or showed extraordinary courage to pave the way for this emerging civil freedom have actually won this day by providing, over several decades now, that gay marriage is not any of these threats, these fears that have developed over centuries.

Bravo, CA. It makes the fires, earthquakes and life-shortening mortgages worth it.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Bloomberg for Freedom

Big credit to NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg for his stirring defense of the Muslim community center to be built near ground zero, and for leading a multi-faith address on the subject today. Clearly super-hacks Palin, Gingrich, Lieberman, etc are just working on fear and anger, typical demagoguery. From a simple Federalist viewpoint, supposedly the philosophy these desperate hacks follow, shouldn't the decision be up to the New Yorkers who are overwhelmingly in favor of it?

From Bloomberg's emotional speech:

“Whatever you may think of the proposed mosque and community center, lost in the heat of the debate has been a basic question: Should government attempt to deny private citizens the right to build a house of worship on private property based on their particular religion? That may happen in other countries, but we should never allow it to happen here.

“This nation was founded on the principle that the government must never choose between religions or favor one over another. The World Trade Center site will forever hold a special place in our city, in our hearts. But we would be untrue to the best part of ourselves and who we are as New Yorkers and Americans if we said no to a mosque in lower Manhattan.

“Let us not forget that Muslims were among those murdered on 9/11, and that our Muslim neighbors grieved with us as New Yorkers and as Americans. We would betray our values and play into our enemies' hands if we were to treat Muslims differently than anyone else. In fact, to cave to popular sentiment would be to hand a victory to the terrorists, and we should not stand for that.

"For that reason, I believe that this is an important test of the separation of church and state as we may see in our lifetimes, as important a test. And it is critically important that we get it right."

The Cordoba Initiative, the group building the mosque, is in fact an enemy of Bin Laden. That may not help an earlier argument I wanted to make about a mosque making it less likely that the site would be attacked again, but instead it speaks volumes about the reductive hatefulness of the GOP political attacks on the mosque.

As the Mayor says, NYC is the most free city in the free world. (Although I'd argue that Amsterdam could make a good case!) Death to tyrants, both overseas and in our midst.

Here's the whole event, which included three Jewish leaders as well:

May God have mercy on the souls of the hacks.

Monday, August 02, 2010

Vs. The Party of No New Ideas

The President is laying it in:
President Barack Obama says Republican leaders haven't come up with "a single, solitary new idea" to help the American people recover from the economic recession.

Speaking at a Democratic fundraiser, Obama said Republicans are simply hoping the public will forget that their policies are the same ones that led the country into the recession. Obama says voters have a choice in the November midterm elections between what he calls the failed policies of the past, or his administration's agenda, which Obama says has pulled the country back from the brink of a depression.
We're at the three month mark. Which way do you think the voters will go?

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Honest GOoPers

It turns out that even Republican economists, two men heavily responsible for the current U.S. fiscal situation, believe it is time to let the deficit-creating Bush tax cuts, a non-progressive cut favoring the wealthy, expire. Former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan, who drove the go-go aughts by not putting on the breaks with sub-prime lending, offered his late-to-the-party wisdom on Meet the Press:

Greenspan expressed his disagreement with the conservative argument that tax cuts essentially pay for themselves by generating revenue and productivity among recipients.

"They do not," said Greenspan.

"I'm very much in favor of tax cuts but not with borrowed money and the problem that we have gotten into in recent years is spending programs with borrowed money, tax cuts with borrowed money," he said. "And at the end of the day that proves disastrous. My view is I don't think we can play subtle policy here."

Ditto for David Stockman, director of the Office of Management and Budget under President Ronald Reagan, who wrote in a New York Times op-ed:

If there were such a thing as Chapter 11 for politicians, the Republican push to extend the unaffordable Bush tax cuts would amount to a bankruptcy filing. The nation’s public debt — if honestly reckoned to include municipal bonds and the $7 trillion of new deficits baked into the cake through 2015 — will soon reach $18 trillion. That’s a Greece-scale 120 percent of gross domestic product, and fairly screams out for austerity and sacrifice. It is therefore unseemly for the Senate minority leader, Mitch McConnell, to insist that the nation’s wealthiest taxpayers be spared even a three-percentage-point rate increase.

More fundamentally, Mr. McConnell’s stand puts the lie to the Republican pretense that its new monetarist and supply-side doctrines are rooted in its traditional financial philosophy. Republicans used to believe that prosperity depended upon the regular balancing of accounts — in government, in international trade, on the ledgers of central banks and in the financial affairs of private households and businesses, too. But the new catechism, as practiced by Republican policymakers for decades now, has amounted to little more than money printing and deficit finance — vulgar Keynesianism robed in the ideological vestments of the prosperous classes.

This approach has not simply made a mockery of traditional party ideals. It has also led to the serial financial bubbles and Wall Street depredations that have crippled our economy. More specifically, the new policy doctrines have caused four great deformations of the national economy, and modern Republicans have turned a blind eye to each one.

With Obama promising to keep the cuts for taxpayers earning $200k/yr or less -- and families earning $250k/yr or less, it's hardly a strike against most Americans.

But then again, maybe the GOP plan for winning is continual fiscal collapse?