How could America not re-elect this President?
The Obama campaign ticks off a list of accomplishments that they presumably think is aimed straight for the heart, mind, and gut of the electorate. Each one rotates up on a panel, one of them every 2.5 seconds. 32 of them over 80 seconds. Here's the entire list:o 4.2 million jobs saved
o cut taxes for 160 million Americans
o Wall Street reform passed
o 18 tax cuts for small businesses
o Unfair credit card fees eliminated
o 466,000 new manufacturing jobs
o $1 Trillion in spending cuts
o Protected reproductive rights
o Stem cell research funded
o Fuel efficiency standards doubling
o U.S. oil production at 8-year high
o Natural gas production at all-time high
o Renewable energy production at 27%
o First Latina Supreme Court Justice appointed
o $100 billion invested in science and research
o Iraq War ended
o Libya liberated
o Osama bin Laden dead
o Incentives to hire unemployed Veterans
o "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" ended
o Unemployment benefits extended
o Equal Pay for women protected
o Health care reform passed
o Seniors' drug costs lowered
o College Pell Grants doubled
o Guaranteed coverage for contraception
o Medicare and Social Security protected
o Auto industry saved
Monday, April 30, 2012
Sunday, April 29, 2012
"I think sometimes you listen to the Romney campaign and they do think a lot people in this country are stupid," Gibbs told NBC's David Gregory. "Their message is: You didn't clean up our mess fast enough."
More direct swipes at Romney and the failed GOP philosophy of governance:
"The last six months of the Bush administration, we lost three and half million jobs. We know this about Mitt Romney: He's not a job creator. When he was governor of Massachusetts, they were 47th out of 50 in job creation. His experience is in downsizing, outsourcing jobs and bankrupting companies and walking away with a lot of money for himself."
Gibbs added: "His economic ideas are the failed economic ideas that we tried for eight years, tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires, and letting Wall Street going back to writing the rules all over again. That is the policies that got us into this mess."
Thomas E. Mann and Norman Ornstein of two different institutes with two different political bents have joined forces to actually tell the truth: the reason our political system is so frustratingly polarized is almost entirely the fault of the modern-day Republican Party:
We have been studying Washington politics and Congress for more than 40 years, and never have we seen them this dysfunctional. In our past writings, we have criticized both parties when we believed it was warranted. Today, however, we have no choice but to acknowledge that the core of the problem lies with the Republican Party.
The GOP has become an insurgent outlier in American politics. It is ideologically extreme; scornful of compromise; unmoved by conventional understanding of facts, evidence and science; and dismissive of the legitimacy of its political opposition.
When one party moves this far from the mainstream, it makes it nearly impossible for the political system to deal constructively with the country’s challenges.
“Both sides do it” or “There is plenty of blame to go around” are the traditional refuges for an American news media intent on proving its lack of bias, while political scientists prefer generality and neutrality when discussing partisan polarization. Many self-styled bipartisan groups, in their search for common ground, propose solutions that move both sides to the center, a strategy that is simply untenable when one side is so far out of reach.
Or, as Jimmy Kimmel put it at the White House Press Correspondents dinner on Saturday:
I have my own theory about President Lincoln's death. I think John Wilkes Booth was innocent. I don't even think it was an assassination. I believe that Abraham Lincoln had a vision about what the Republican party would become in 150 years, and he shot himself."
Let's hope America is less self-destructive in November.
Thursday, April 26, 2012
Of course, all of us should be honored to be listed on the TIME 100 alongside the two men who will be slugging it out in the fall: President Obama, and the man who would defeat him, David Koch.
Give it up everybody. David Koch.
Little known fact -- David, nice to see you again, sir.
Little known fact, David's brother Charles Koch is actually even more influential. Charles pledged $40 million to defeat President Obama, David only $20 million. That's kind of cheap, Dave.
Sure, he's all for buying the elections, but when the bill for democracy comes up, Dave's always in the men's room. I'm sorry, I must have left Wisconsin in my other coat.
I was particularly excited to meet David Koch earlier tonight because I have a Super PAC, Colbert Super PAC, and I am -- thank you, thank you -- and I am happy to announce Mr. Koch has pledged $5 million to my Super PAC. And the great thing is, thanks to federal election law, there's no way for you to ever know whether that's a joke.
By the way, if David Koch likes his waiter tonight, he will be your next congressman.
Wednesday, April 25, 2012
Monday, April 23, 2012
Sunday, April 22, 2012
1. The Republican YapperFull explanations in the DailyKos piece by Georgia Logothetis herself.
I had to block one of these, now she's making a pro-birther movie.
2. The Do-Gooder Slacktivist
Like my friends who think bin Laden isn't dead/was already dead/is in a prison somewhere/corpse being warehoused for science.
3. The Low-Information "Swing" Voter Who Consistently Reminds You Of How Low-Information They Are
One friend recently responded to a video post of mine with a slew of Mitt Romney lies by saying "All politicians lie." Low-Information false equivalency.
4. The Insider
Actually have some value. The Conservative ones I have a little trouble forgiving when they should know better.
5. The Future Candidate
Don't think I know any...but happy to support them if I like 'em.
This all ring true for anyone else besides me?
Thursday, April 19, 2012
Levon Helm, singer and drummer for the Band, died on April 19th in New York of throat cancer. He was 71....Born May 26, 1940 in Arkansas, Helm was literally a witness to the birth of rock & roll; as a teenager, he saw Elvis Presley, Little Richard, Johnny Cash and Jerry Lee Lewis in concert and was inspired to play drums after seeing Lewis' drummer, Jimmy Van Eaton. (Helm went on to play mandolin and other stringed instruments as well). In 1960, Helm joined the backup band of rockabilly wildman Ronnie Hawkins – a group that would eventually include Robbie Robertson, Richard Manuel, Rick Danko and Garth Hudson, all future members of the Band.
The musicians broke from Hawkins to form their own group – their names included the Crackers and Levon and the Hawks – but it was their association with Bob Dylan that cemented their reputation. After Dylan saw the group in a club (either in Canada or New Jersey, depending on the source), he invited Helm and guitarist Robertson to join his electric band...Robertson and Helm were in Dylan's electric band for his controversial, frequently booed show at New York's Forest Hills Tennis Stadium. Afterward, various members of the Band played on Dylan's Blonde on Blonde and toured with him in 1966. (Helm left temporary in 1965, tired of the ongoing hostility from Dylan's folk fans.)
Recuperating in Woodstock after his 1966 motorcycle accident, Dylan again hooked up with the band that would soon be the Band. Before Helm rejoined them, they recorded the landmark Basement Tapes, and the Band's crackling, homespun take on American roots music began to take shape. Rechristening themselves the Band, they signed to Capitol Records and released two classic albums, Music From Big Pink (1968) and The Band (1969). Although Robertson was the Band's principal songwriter, it was Helm's beautifully gruff and ornery voice that brought the Canadian Robertson's mythic Americana songs to life. He was also one of rock's earliest singing drummers....
The Band continued for a while after Manuel's suicide by hanging in 1986, but Danko's death in 1999 of heart failure ended the Band once and for all. By then, Helm was dealing with throat cancer. After his recovery, he began holding intimate concerts in his combination barn and studio in Woodstock, called the "Midnight Ramble," in part to pay his medical bills. The low-key, woodsy performances became must-see shows and attracted a rock who's who; Elvis Costello, Natalie Merchant, the Grateful Dead's Phil Lesh and Donald Fagen were among the many who joined Helm and his band. The Ramble shows led to two acclaimed Helm solo albums – 2007's Dirt Farmer, which won a Grammy in the Best Traditional Folk category, and 2009's Electric Dirt, which resulted in a Grammy for Best Americana album. "This go-round has been a lot more fun," Helm told Rolling Stone in 2009. "Now I know I've got enough voice to do it."
Wednesday, April 18, 2012
Tuesday, April 17, 2012
Sunday, April 15, 2012
Newark Mayor Cory Booker was taken to a hospital Thursday night for treatment of smoke inhalation he suffered trying to rescue his next-door neighbors from their burning house.
"I just grabbed her and whipped her out of the bed," Booker said in recounting the fire. Booker told The Star-Ledger he also suffered second-degree burns on his hand.
The fire started in a two-story building on Hawthorne Avenue in the Upper Clinton Hill neighborhood, shortly before the mayor arrived home after a television interview with News 12 New Jersey.
Five people were taken to the hospital for treatment: the mayor, a woman from the house and three members of his security detail. The woman was listed in stable condition at Saint Barnabas Medical Center in Livingston with burns to her back and neck.
After being released from the hospital, Booker recounted his experience at the fire and said he thought he might have to jump out of a window because of the heavy flames.
"We got everybody out of the house, but their daughter’s screaming, ‘I’m upstairs!’ " he told The Star-Ledger.
One of his security officers, Detective Alex Rodriguez, tried to stop him from going back in...."Now we actually get into a fight because his job is to protect me," Booker said of Rodriguez. Booker said when he reached the second floor, he was engulfed in flames and smoke.
"I suddenly had the realization that I can’t find this woman." Booker said. "I look behind me and see the flames and I think "I’m not going to get out of here. Suddenly I was at peace with the fact that I was going to jump out the window."
Then he heard her cries in a back bedroom.
"I just grabbed her and whipped her out of the bed," Booker said. The two made their way downstairs, where they both collapsed, Booker said.
Rodriguez, who had helped others out of the house said when he saw the mayor go in, he thought his career in protection was over.
"Once he went in, I said, 'Oh my goodness, this is it.' " Rodriguez, 39, said.
"Thanks 2 all who are concerned. Just suffering smoke inhalation," Booker tweeted. "We got the woman out of the house. We are both off to hospital. I will b ok."
Shortly after midnight, Booker tweeted an update, lauding the heroics of one of his security officers: "Thanks everyone, my injuries were relatively minor. Thanks to Det. Alex Rodriguez who helped get all of the people out of the house."
Thursday, April 12, 2012
North Korea defied international warnings of censure and further isolation on Friday, launching a rocket that the United States and its allies called a provocative pretext for developing an intercontinental ballistic missile that might one day carry a nuclear warhead.Maybe if you didn't starve your people with famines they'd have the energy to actually make your rockets work.
But in what was a major embarrassment to the North and its young new leader, the rocket disintegrated moments after the launching, and American and Japanese officials said its remnants fell harmlessly into the sea.
Give Obama another term, that regime goes down.
Mark my words.
Wednesday, April 11, 2012
So do you think Willard's dismal numbers against Barack will improve...or erode even further by the time we reach Election Day in November?
Tuesday, April 10, 2012
Monday, April 09, 2012
Sunday, April 08, 2012
No matter what it is, I found Titanic to be a revelation in re-release when viewing it yesterday.
It's long and towards the end it may seem to drag a little, but the movie is the full meal, something so rare these days. It has touches of David Lean in scale, John Ford in Irish spirit and Stanley Kubrick in technical audacity. It not only holds up very, very well, but it puts current movies to shame. When you look at Academy Award Best Picture winners of the past several years -- The Artist, The King's Speech, The Hurt Locker -- good as they may be, none is in the same category of majesty. Cameron may have made the last great Hollywood epic the way they used to make 'em. Except bigger.
Here's the joys:
- The Actors: Not only are Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio completely believable together in the movie, but both have used their fame wisely since, moving on to artistically significant careers. DiCaprio has become Martin Scorsese's first new muse since Robert De Niro, and Kate Winslet has won an Oscar and an Emmy, notably for her fine turn as Mildred Pierce.
- The Historical Detail: Cameron did a fine job of weaving history and fiction, from the knowing touches regarding John Jacob Astor to a simple scene with a young boy playing with an old-fashioned wooden top on the deck. Like the best historical fiction, fidelity to these real-like details make the made-up story palatable, and Cameron was no slouch, particularly with regard to how each of the two men responsible for building the ship made different choices when their masterpiece was going down.
- The Shooting Style: My greatest pet peeve is the over-cut movie (i.e. Michael Bay), made more egregious when combined with handheld camerawork (from what I have heard, The Hunger Games). Both are generally for the lazy director who can't visualize in advance, just wants endless "choices" in the cutting room and hence shoots coverage rather than masterful shots, or tries to create energy from shaking the camera like an episode of NYPD Blue. Sometimes this is justified as "documentary style." But if I want to see a documentary, I'll see one; when I go to see a big budget feature, I expect artfulness.
- The Present-Day Wraparound Story: By this is should say, The Sense of Time's Passage. While the teenage girls who enjoyed repeat viewings may have pined most for Rose and Jack in the past, it's the moment when the aged Rose, played so well by Gloria Stuart, sees the drawing of herself on television and ignites the plot that choked me up. Maybe it's being a decade and a half older than when I first saw the picture, but it is rather glorious in how it captures the painful shades of history as we each live it, the massive tragic scope of human existence, defined for every one of us by birth and death, and for those of us who live long enough to experience it, those lost times gone by. And how about that footage of the real-life decayed Titanic itself? Amazing.
- The Class Consciousness: Like the best novels and, yes, movies, Titanic, shows all walks of life, from First Class to Steerage, and is clearly conscious in depicting the caging of the lower class by those working for the upper class as the lower decks fill with water and the lifeboats fill with the wealthy. The sense of class is felt in the engine rooms as well, where strong men toil in the furnace-like heat -- and are the first to drown after the iceberg is hit.
- The Sinking: It's spectacular. I can't think of another movie that has done such a great job devoting such massive resources to recreating a true-life, real-time disaster. In a sense, the sinking of the Titanic was made for the cinema. With the brilliant juxtaposition of the tender lover story comes the almost unbearably ominous and terrifying sinking of the luxury liner. I had forgotten how intense it is -- my nine-year-old had to leave the theater for a few minutes. What freaked him out the most was when Jack was handcuffed to the pipe as the lower deck around him vacated and the water rose. My favorite shots are when the stern goes perpendicular to the ocean and people start to fall, but what's so striking now after 9/11 is watching some passengers choose to jump from the insane heights, so many dropping to their deaths, one we see hitting the water and not coming up.
- The 3D: I've seen less than half-a-dozen movies in 3D that were at all memorable for that reason, including Kiss Me Kate, Avatar and, best to date, Hugo. Creating 3D effects after a movie is shot with 2D cameras is a much maligned process, by Cameron himself, usually creating a "cut-out" effect that doesn't happen when you shoot with 3D cameras. Well, Cameron must have supervised every frame, because this 3D transformation is gorgeous. It's not overdone but draws you it, less clearly important in the action scenes than in the dramatic ones, and (in our screening) without any obvious loss of luminosity. The worst thing about 3D is how it darkens the image, but this one seemed just as bright and vibrant as you'd want from a movie. Maybe the IMAX projection helps. It just feels very justified, and gives a good reason to return to the theater to see the movie.
Ultimately, it's a successful marrying of scale and human story, for all the reasons listed above. The spectacle never overwhelms the actors. In fact, like the best old Hollywood movies, each of the two leads gets a brilliant reveal for their entrance -- Winslet under her grand chapeau, DiCaprio from the back in his fateful poker game, both with the camera moving just so to give them power within the frame. And when they look into each others eyes, when they talk to each other, unlike so many failed big-budget pairings, they seem to actually be listening and reacting to each other.
I'm sure in a more picky mood I'd find the flaws. But to me the scene that will always endear me to the movie is when DiCaprio, having saved Winslet's life when they met, is invited to dine with her party in First Class, handles the dinner with aplomb. As I always tell me kids, learn your manners and you can dine with kings and queens. My favorite line maybe sums up how I feel about life at it's best: "Just the other night I was sleeping under a bridge and now here I am on the grandest ship in the world having champagne with you fine people."
Consider Titanic raised by this 3D release and, for some of us, rehabilitated.
Thursday, April 05, 2012
Wednesday, April 04, 2012
But if you listen to Joe Scarborough, Republicans have basically given up on winning in November. He's not the first person to say it (George Will suggested a month ago that the time to give up on the presidential race was coming), but we haven't heard anyone of his prominence say so vociferously that Republicans are all thinking this one's over, as Scarborough did on today's "Morning Joe":
"Nobody thinks Romney's going to win. Let's just be honest. Can we just say this for everybody at home? Let me just say this for everybody at home. The Republican establishment -- I've yet to meet a single person in the Republican establishment that thinks Mitt Romney is going to win the general election this year. They won't say it on TV because they've got to go on TV and they don't want people writing them nasty emails. I obviously don't care. But I have yet to meet anybody in the Republican establishment that worked for George W. Bush, that works in the Republican congress, that worked for Ronald Reagan that thinks Mitt Romney is going to win the general election."
Romney: huge bummer for all.
Tuesday, April 03, 2012
Chiding Republicans for not learning anything from the failure of trickle-down policies that defined the last decades, Obama attacked the GOP budget head-on. “They have proposed a budget so far to the right it makes the Contract for America look like the New Deal,” he said. “In fact, that renowned liberal, Newt Gingrich, first called the original version of the budget radical. He said it would contribute to right-wing social engineering. … This is now the party’s governing platform. This is what they are running on. One of my potential opponents, Gov. Romney, has said he hopes a similar version of this plan from last year would be introduced as a bill on Day One of his presidency.”
“There’s oftentimes the impulse to suggest that, if the two parties are disagreeing, they’re equally at fault and the truth lies somewhere in the middle,” Obama cautioned the room full of reporters. “And an equivalence is presented, which reinforces people’s cynicism about Washington in general. This is not one of those situations where there is an equivalence.”
The president noted that a similar theme has played out on other key issues, including cap-and-trade and Obama’s own health care law, both of which were first proposed as conservative alternatives to liberal approaches to environmental and health care reforms.
“Suddenly, this is some socialist overreach,” Obama joked.
“It is important to remember that the positions I’m taking on the budget and a host of other issues, if we had been having this discussion 20 years ago, or even 15 years ago, it would have been considered squarely centrist positions,” Obama said. “What has changed is the center of the Republican Party.”
Amen, brother. Greg Sargent does a nice job delineating the three main political objectives of the speech:
1) Obama cast the Romney-Ryan-GOP approach as not only radical and extreme, but as a proven failure.
2) Obama defended government activism as not just morally right, but as a way to facilitate economic growth.
3) Obama framed the choice as one over who sacrifices to fix the deficit.
Full explanations via the link above. One can only hope President Obama is reelected in November, if for no other reason than to defeat the most ideological, partisan, unrealistic budget proposal by a major political party in my lifetime. Per the facts.
Here's the speech:
Don't blow it, America.
Monday, April 02, 2012
A local Planned Parenthood clinic was targeted Sunday night in Grand Chute, Wis. No motive was immediately known, and though Wisconsin hasn’t played a central role in the debate over women’s access to contraception, the approaching GOP primary and the heated recall fight in the state have elevated tensions there.
State Rep. Michelle Litjens (R), who represents Grand Chute in the state legislature, is a member of Wisconsin Right To Life and a strong critic of Planned Parenthood. She cautioned against associating the bombing with her fellow anti-abortion advocates and complained that the bomber, whatever his or her motivation, may tar the opposition to Planned Parenthood with the crime.
Abortion opponents have a long history of using violent rhetoric to attempt to justify their crimes and incite others to violence. They regularly refer to abortion providers as “murderers” in interviews and articles and utilize imagery associated with murder such as “wanted” posters and “hit lists” in their campaigns to end legal abortion. Unfortunately, instead of marginalizing these extremists, other opponents of abortion have picked up on this dangerous rhetoric to advance their political agenda.
The devastation this rhetoric can cause has been keenly experienced by the abortion provider community. In late 1992, Michael Griffin, who had no history in the anti-abortion movement, became involved with a local anti-abortion leader who took him under his wing and mentored him by showing him graphic anti-abortion videos and involving him in efforts to target a local clinic where Dr. David Gunn worked. Earlier that year abortion opponents had distributed western-style "wanted" posters featuring a picture of Dr. Gunn, his home phone number, and other identifying information. In 1993, Dr. Gunn became the first abortion provider to be murdered; shot to death by Griffin in Pensacola, Florida.
Following the murder of Dr. Gunn, anti-abortion extremists publicly advanced the idea that the murder of abortion providers was “justifiable.” Paul Hill appeared in media outlets, including the nationally televised Donahue show, calling for the execution of abortion providers. In fact, he was so well-known for making such inflammatory statements that reporters often asked him, “If you believe so strongly in killing doctors, why don’t you do it yourself?” One year later, Hill acted on the violent words he had been preaching when he shot and killed Dr. John Bayard Britton and volunteer escort Lt. Col. James Barrett, and injured June Barrett, in the driveway of a Pensacola, Florida, abortion clinic. Hill’s ideas were carried forward by others including James Kopp, who unsuccessfully attempted to use a “justifiable homicide” defense during his trial for the 1998 murder of Dr. Barnett Slepian in Buffalo, New York.
Scott Roeder, convicted last year for the murder of Dr. Tiller, also testified in court that his actions were justified and made repeated unsuccessful attempts to use a so-called “necessity defense.” Prior to murdering Dr. Tiller, Roeder had been in contact with others who advocated using violence against abortion providers, and was influenced by the media and what he watched on TV. He testified in court that he converted to Christianity as an adult after watching conservative programs like “The 700 Club.” Roeder stated that he believed Dr. Tiller was a murderer, a belief advanced by Bill O’Reilly, who repeatedly referred to Dr. Tiller on national TV as “Tiller the Killer.”
Sunday, April 01, 2012
In fact, I'm not sure if I'd be adrift in this new episode without having read the books in the interim -- and would love to know if anybody who reads this was -- but HBO has done a service by providing the following introduction to the new characters, some of whom we've met tonight:
The show is huge and the story even more vicious than the first season. And much more viciousness to come...