Friday, September 30, 2011

Healthy Connection

So do you think there might be a connection between this:

The Obama administration’s pursuit of an expedited U.S. Supreme Court review of its health care law is a roll of the political dice with enormous implications for the president and the 2012 campaign.

While the signature issue of Obama’s presidency has already figured prominently in rhetoric on both sides, an expected ruling on its constitutionality by June guarantees a dramatic pre-election debate in which Obama may have the most to gain.

A victory for the Affordable Care Act in a high court dominated by conservatives could tame the most fiery criticism from the right, undermining charges popularized by the Tea Party that the administration usurped its constitutional authority.

A ruling against it, while a setback to the law itself, could serve to embolden the argument Obama has already been making that Republicans across all branches of government have become obstructionists without solutions.

And this?:

Democratic lawmakers on Thursday called for a federal investigation into Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas' failure to report hundreds of thousands of dollars on annual financial disclosure forms.

Led by House Rules Committee ranking member Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.), 20 House Democrats sent a letter to the Judicial Conference of the United States -- the entity that frames guidelines for the administration of federal courts -- requesting that the conference refer the matter of Thomas' non-compliance with the Ethics in Government Act of 1978 to the Department of Justice.

The letter outlines how, throughout his 20-year tenure on the Supreme Court, Thomas routinely checked a box titled "none" on his annual financial disclosure forms, indicating that his wife had received no income. But in reality, the letter states, she earned nearly $700,000 from the Heritage Foundation from 2003 to 2007 alone.


My theory: Obama wouldn't get into a fight unless he had a long-range plan for winning it. Especially not now that he's pivoted from acting like Neville Chamberlain to Ronald Reagan.

If nothing else, he's certainly set up a huge hurdle. And he must have known the Affordable Care Act would come down to those eleven jurists before it would be settled law. Big questions if the GOP can force Justice Elena Kagan to recuse herself for being Solicitor General during the legislation of healthcare reform. If so, this is bench-one-of-ours, bench-one-of-yours ploy.

But if they can knock out Thomas, on possible felony charges, and keep Kagan (without any of the other left-leaning Justices getting sick or worse), then those are odds Obama would like to have.

Does he feel lucky?

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Obama vs. MItt

Willard Mitt Romney, born 1947, would be a generation shift as President from Barack Hussein Obama, who was born in 1961. From Gen-Between to Baby Boomer again, 64 years old to Obama's 50. And it is increasing looking like he'll be Obama's opponent next November.

The GOP always gives it to the next guy in line, and it's Mitt. He ran last time, is less robotic this time, seasoned, has the Bush establishment behind him that's run the Party for so long. He's making his own luck -- making more ludicrous candidates who keep popping up make fools of themselves by standing his ground letting them self-destruct.

The latest is Texas Governor Rick Perry, who's been arrogant in lack of debate preparation and made some odd mistakes with the base on immigration, where I'm actually in some agreement with the candidate. Now he's in apology mode, which could be his death spiral.

And out of nowhere, last weekend's Florida Straw Poll winner, Herman "Godfather Pizza" Cain, is saying that's why he can't support Perry if he does win the nomination. Now Mitt is suddenly up over Perry in Florida Republican Primary polling. It's starting to look a whole lot like McCain's >>grumble grumble base<< march to nomination victory.

I'm wondering if Perry could become damaged goods as even a VP choice for Mitt.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Real Patriot vs. No Leadership

Gotta love this enlightened Silicon Valley millionaire:

Doing Obama's job for him.

Meanwhile, the DNC releases the greatest hits of the recent GOP debates. I'm not very happy about the ominous music -- it's out of a Rick Perry ad -- but the three points ring true:

Evidently the President was particularly pissed about the booing of an American soldier, as well he should be. The core issue: Leadership. Not one of those Republican candidates dares to stand up to their rabble.

Here's to hoping Obama keeps his tough tone going throughout the election. In the old days it was called "staunch."

Keep it up and see what happens next November.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

NYC Police Brutality

While clearly not indicative of all police even on the scene of the crackdown on the Wall Street protesters, this video shows one of their member, probably of rank due to his white shirt rather than patrolman blue, pepper spraying several unarmed female protesters in clear violation of NYC police rules:

Once again, I wonder why the ridiculous Tea Partiers aren't on the front lines protesting Wall Street but instead focus their anger on the President and Democratic Party. Just identity politics at its worst, I guess. As for these protesters:

Since Sept. 17, a few hundred protesters have occupied Zuccotti Park on Liberty Street and Broadway, seeking attention for what they say is a financial system that is unjust and flawed. They have embarked on a series of daily marches near Wall Street, but their march to Union Square on Saturday was their largest and most ambitious.

Returning to the financial district from Union Square, many protesters used University Place, and the demonstration spilled into the street with protesters walking against traffic. The police put up mesh nets to prevent them from going any farther down University Place, and many of the demonstrators ended up on East 12th Street.

Well, it's not the first time the NYC cops have started some trouble. They did created the Tompkins Square Park Riot of 1988.

And 1874.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Two Gay Soldiers

This video's a YouTube hit, a moving real-life moment that feels like America at its best:

And then there's this milestone in Presidential debate history, the first time a U.S. soldier was booed by the audience:

A Republican Presidential debate milestone.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011


Candidate for Massachusetts Democratic Senatorial nomination, Elizabeth Warren:

I like how Obama and Warren are attacking the GOP "class warfare" smear head-on.

And lest we forget, she spoke so intelligently on the financial crisis and need for reform, she made Jon Stewart horny.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Of Course We Do

The poll says:

Americans generally favor raising taxes on higher-income Americans and eliminating tax deductions for some corporations as ways of paying for President Obama's proposed jobs plan. Please tell me whether you favor or oppose each of the following proposals President Obama has made to pay for the cost of the jobs bill. September 2011

Two more interesting parts of the poll. When people are described the elements of the jobs plan, a plurity is for it:
By 45% to 32%, more Americans want their member of Congress to vote for rather than against a jobs bill similar to the one President Obama proposed last week, with the rest having no opinion. From what you know or have read about it, would you want your member of Congress to vote for or against a jobs bill similar to the one President Obama has proposed? September 2011 results
Even more telling, those who are actually pay attention - heavily for it:

While fewer than half of all Americans favor passage of a jobs bill similar to Obama's, a solid majority of Americans who are following news of the bill very closely, 57%, want to see it passed.

Would you want your member of Congress to vote for or against a jobs bill similar to the one President Obama has proposed? By attention paid to news about President Obama's jobs bill, September 2011 results

If we can assume that includes the % of Americans who are being attentive to what's being said about the bill on Fox News, that's an even more impressive statistic.

Now it's all about the fight. No showdown yet on the horizon, but we're hankering for one.

Poster Boy

Meet Rep. John Fleming (R-LA), who can't live on $600k/yr and who's shown up right on time for his Party's math lesson.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Gobama Now

Loving this:

President Obama will announce a proposal on Monday to tame the nation’s rocketing federal debt, calling for $1.5 trillion in new revenue as part of a plan to find more than $3 trillion in budget savings over a decade, senior administration officials said.

The proposal draws a sharp contrast with Republicans and amounts more to an opening play in the fall debate over the economy than another attempt to find common ground with the opposing party.

Combined with his call this month for $450 billion in new stimulus, the proposal represents a more populist approach to confronting the nation’s economic travails than the compromises he advocated earlier this summer.

Obama will propose new taxes on the wealthy, a special new tax for millionaires, and eliminating or scaling back a variety of loopholes and deductions, officials say. About half of the tax savings would come from the expiration next year of the George W. Bush administration tax cuts for the wealthy.

But the president won’t call for any changes in Social Security, officials say, and is seeking less-aggressive changes to Medicare and Medicaid than previously considered. He will propose $320 billion in health-care savings but will not include raising the Medicare eligibility age from 65 to 67, officials said.


Obama will pledge to veto any cut in entitlements that does not also include increases in tax revenue.

If he doesn't start folding then this is perfect timing -- no one can say he hasn't tried to be bipartisan even when his own supporters recoiled from the deals he has made with the intransigent other Party -- and (again, if he sticks to it) about time.

To echo Chris Matthews, "Give 'em hell, Barry."

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Stupid or Venal?

I would make this my ongoing series, but since I usually come down on the side of venal, or perhaps venal stupidity that somehow feeds a huge part of the American psyche and all of the #1 cable news channel, thus shoving a crowbar in the gears of evolution.

For example, there's House Republicans criticizing a new regulation that restricts importing deadly snakes, including the Burmese Python, saying it's going to cost jobs and choke the economy in red tape. So why the regulation?

Politico reports that Florida officials, led by Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL), are pushing for the new rules because the Everglades are under attack by 100,000 gigantic Burmese pythons who have been accidentally introduced by negligent pet owners. The outside invaders have been on a rampage, devouring native birds and other creatures. One python grew so big that it managed to devour a six-foot alligator before exploding. No really. This actually happened. There's a photo.

Then there's this weird sick freak GOP puppethead with a diabolical look, Matthew Vadum:

"Section 261 of the bill provides $15 billion for 'Project Rebuild.' Grants would be given to 'qualified nonprofit organizations, businesses or consortia of eligible entities for the redevelopment of abandoned and foreclosed-upon properties and for the stabilization of affected neighborhoods,'" Vadum writes.

"Radical groups like ACORN won't get the whole $15 billion, though, because they will have to compete with state and local governments for the money," he continues.

This is all, of course, contingent upon the fact that ACORN exists. Which it doesn't.

Worst of all, the Super Congress contains an either very stupid or very venal, GOP Representative, Dave Camp (R-MI):

So did CBO Director Doug Elmendorf make any headway convincing Super Committee Republicans that a). the economy needs a short term boost of near term spending and tax cuts, and b). that the country shouldn't dive headlong, and unnecessarily, into austerity?

If Dave Camp is any indication, the answer is no.


Camp's back of the envelope math during Tuesday's hearing was based on the notion that the Super Committee will reduce deficits by one percent of this year's GDP every year for 10 years.

However, as noted here, IMF economists recently warned that an austerity package of precisely that size will significantly increase unemployment and reduce wages. That's why Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) is starting a drumroll to require the panel to ask CBO to estimate the jobs impact of any of their proposals.

The idea there is to make it difficult to pass deficit reduction legislation without pairing it with some near-term pro-growth spending and tax cuts. But that would mean an even larger medium term consolidation plan. And Camp says that's not looking very likely.

Of course it isn't. Dave's not here.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

More from the Death Eaters

It's like the evil characters in Harry Potter that work for Valdomort: they cheer death:

This was the CNN/Tea Party Debate. I guess I shouldn't be surprised that the teabaggers are the most bloodthirsty Republicans of all (is that possible?) but they do worship their own self-righteous anger.

A vote for a Republican is a vote to dismantle the Federal government's ability to help we the people. The only winners will be the mega corps, the mega churches and mega defense. It's a vote for more and earlier death for our aged and infirm, our sickened no matter how suddenly, our children through the environment and educational neglect.

And CNN decides to partner up with this staunch political group. The John Birch Society, mainstreamed by our media.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

The Silence of 9/11

Best tribute I've found yet, a New York City man filling that amazing monument and tying us together again in honest grief, with a song nearly 50 years old:

Unifying, as America was on that day and the first few weeks, months that followed. And then this.

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Pass. This. Bill.

He said is something like 22 times either verbatim or in related, close form. He's proven he's committed to bipartisanship and hasn't given up, but he's taken it hard to the other side to let them know where he stands now, after all the do-nothing and debt ceiling shenanigans. He's working on being the sheriff again.

Here he is, pts 1 and 2. My favorite section in this starts 5:55 and goes through 7:20. Notice the GOP side of Congress doesn't stand up and applaud improving public education to keep us competitive against China and the rest of the globe, and save the Republic:

The GOP sheep finally stand, dutifully, at 10:20 when Obama talks about the veterans. Because they have to pretend to appreciate the working military as well.

In this one I love him at 11:20 -- "We shouldn't be in a race to the bottom, we should be in a race to the top...":

From 12:30 to the end he gives the full-throated case for the common good through good government supporting the building and advancement of America, and not just be shirking responsibilities and leaving it all up to the Libertarians. Then he calls on Congress and himself to not shirk their responsibilities.

Towards the ending -- the shaming of the GOP Congress:

Every proposal I’ve laid out tonight is the kind that’s been supported by Democrats and Republicans in the past. Every proposal I’ve laid out tonight will be paid for. And every proposal is designed to meet the urgent needs of our people and our communities.

Now, I know there’s been a lot of skepticism about whether the politics of the moment will allow us to pass this jobs plan -- or any jobs plan. Already, we’re seeing the same old press releases and tweets flying back and forth. Already, the media has proclaimed that it’s impossible to bridge our differences. And maybe some of you have decided that those differences are so great that we can only resolve them at the ballot box.

But know this: The next election is 14 months away. And the people who sent us here -- the people who hired us to work for them -- they don’t have the luxury of waiting 14 months. (Applause.) Some of them are living week to week, paycheck to paycheck, even day to day. They need help, and they need it now.

They need it now.

Pass it, bitches.

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Death Party

The don't trust the government system to help them get the best possible health insurance, but they trust the system to kill 234 people:

They are the death party -- death & taxes, as it were, or maybe better said, death = taxes. They are the party that demonizes the poor and struggling classes for being poor and working class, with a sheen to religious capitalism in service to the corporate overlords.

Better said by E.D. Kain:

It was enough to remind me that the Republican Party boils down to three things: tax cuts, “What Would Reagan Do?” and violence. For every problem there is a tax cut that will fix it. For every dodged question, the ghost of Reagan looms like a smiling, beneficent prophet. All you need to do is rub his tummy and Republican boilerplate comes dribbling out to fill in whatever gaping crevice is left unfilled by any actual ideas. And when Perry is asked about the two-hundred and thirty some people he’s executed on death row during his governorship, the audience bursts into applause. Torture, war, and death, and this is the “pro-life” party.

I submit to you that this moment is perhaps the most telling since George W. Bush left office; that the modern Republican party is not only intellectually bankrupt, but morally bankrupt as well. The conservative movement and the Fox News and talk radio media empire it has built up around itself is not only ethically decrepit but morally atrophid. As Andrew Sullivan noted, “any crowd that instantly cheers the execution of 234 individuals is a crowd I want to flee, not join. This is the crowd that believes in torture and executions.”

Everything Rick Perry says in the above clip is gainsaid by the state murder of Cameron Todd Willingham. Yes, the baddest of the bad guys need to be punished the worst, but you can't solve the injustice of an execution by releasing a prisoner. If the system is flawed, as all human systems must be, it's not cool to cheer it for its slaughter.

A non-bloodlust Republican Party might sit in reverent silence or even stirred a noticeable murmur in respect of human life they seem so hellbent on protecting prior to viability. But cheering? As at a pep rally?

The evil party.

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

The $300 Billion Dollar Man

How fast before the GOP long knives come out against this expected plan to actually help unemployed Americans?

Monday, September 05, 2011

Arm Yourself

If you read no other political post this month, let it be this revelatory GOP insider piece, Goodbye to All That: Reflections of a GOP Operative Who Left the Cult. It's everything you may have ever suspected about today's nightmarish Republican Party, not just anti-Democratic but anti-democracy, instead pro-oligarchy, pro-authoritarian and theocratic:

It is this broad and ever-widening gulf between the traditional Republicanism of an Eisenhower and the quasi-totalitarian cult of a Michele Bachmann that impelled my departure from Capitol Hill...

I left because I was appalled at the headlong rush of Republicans, like Gadarene swine, to embrace policies that are deeply damaging to this country's future; and contemptuous of the feckless, craven incompetence of Democrats in their half-hearted attempts to stop them...

If you think Paul Ryan and his Ayn Rand-worshipping colleagues aren't after your Social Security and Medicare, I am here to disabuse you of your naiveté...

During the week that this piece was written, the debt ceiling fiasco reached its conclusion. The economy was already weak, but the GOP's disgraceful game of chicken roiled the markets even further. Foreigners could hardly believe it: Americans' own crazy political actions were destabilizing the safe-haven status of the dollar. Accordingly, during that same week, over one trillion dollars worth of assets evaporated on financial markets. Russia and China have stepped up their advocating that the dollar be replaced as the global reserve currency - a move as consequential and disastrous for US interests as any that can be imagined.

If Republicans have perfected a new form of politics that is successful electorally at the same time that it unleashes major policy disasters, it means twilight both for the democratic process and America's status as the world's leading power.

So is Obama up for the task of calling out these crazies or can he get anything done without compromise? Will the people stop voting for the destruction of America, or are we lost as so many empires past?

Is this first salvo of a wised-up post-deficit crisis Obama, or yet another brick in the road to a GOP-driven American sunset?

Thursday, September 01, 2011


No doubt American Idol graduated this year, with a hard-rocking barnstorming U.S. tour (then to the Philippines, I believe) and at least five record deals. The 9th place finisher, Pia Toscano, has a hit single already, f'goss sakes. And, of course, the incomparable Haley Reinhart, the jazz improviser with a rock & roll heart, no two performances exactly alike.

One of the best new twists is the proliferation of user videos from the live shows, which tell a narrative tail of 13 kids going from fire-tested amateurs to confident pros in dozens of cities, now second nature playing in front of huge, filled arenas.

The Manchester, NH performance last night benefitted from the best (a.k.a. closest) UGC video I've seen yet. Check out how Haley and Casey have grown, bringing Art Blakey to all-age audiences all across America:

Hard to believe that earlier this year when they performed it together, on national television, for the first time, they were just kids.

But by far my favorite clip, from every show where there's a UGC version to be had, is when four of the women - Pia, Haley, Naima and Thea, do their house-shaking collaboration on Janelle Monae's already classic Tightrope. You can't get too high; you can't get too low:

I love how 16-year-old Thea gets nicely featured in starting the verses, love how Naima takes over when they start moving, it's noce to hear Pia harmonizing with the women since she left the show so long before they female duets as the cast got whittled down.

And then there's Haley, go-go chick playing her part so happily throughout, then taking it all home in the end.

I believe there will be a lot of people looking forward to her first album, hoping it's really good.