Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Bringing in Tubby Smith was a coup for a school that hasn't had a coach on his class in decades. Now ESPN reports the 2009 recruits will be a game changer.
Great news for a hockey school. Let's just hope Tim Brewster continues to improve the football program, though I'm not sure he deserved a new contract just yet, either.
Now playing: José González - Broken Arrows
Tuesday, December 30, 2008
State Controller John Chiang warned today that unless a budget solution comes to fruition shortly, the state will start issuing IOU's.
"Without immediate cash solutions or the ability to borrow billions from the strained financial markets, the state controller's office has no choice but to pursue the deferral of potentially billions of dollars in payments and/or the issuance of ... IOUs," Chiang wrote in a letter to state agencies."Whether Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and the Legislature figure it out is anyone's game.
"That night, on 9/11, Rumsfeld came over and the others, and the president finally got back, and we had a meeting. And Rumsfeld said, You know, we’ve got to do Iraq, and everyone looked at him—at least I looked at him and Powell looked at him—like, What the hell are you talking about? And he said—I’ll never forget this—There just aren’t enough targets in Afghanistan. We need to bomb something else to prove that we’re, you know, big and strong and not going to be pushed around by these kind of attacks." - Richard Clarke, chief White House counterterrorism adviser. Vanity Fair Magazine.I'm not sure why this surprises anyone, but Mika Brzezinski on MSNBC just refused to believe it. If it wasn't true, wouldn't Clarke be concerned Powell would deny it? The neocons were looking for any reason to hit Iraq. Seven years later and the World is still dealing with the consequences. That picture is just spooky. The men and woman in that room are responsible for so much destruction and have yet to face consequences themselves.
Monday, December 29, 2008
"It's unique in terms of the power of this state in modern times," said James A. Thurber, who directs the Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies at American University. To find another example of a state wielding such national influence, Thurber had to reach back to Texas in the 1950s, when Sam Rayburn was the House speaker and Lyndon B. Johnson was the Senate majority leader."Waxman pushed out Rep. John D. Dingell earlier this year to head the House Energy and Commerce Committee. This new authority will give Waxman the ability to morph federal environmental laws that had been hindered by Dingell's loyalty to the Michigan car industry.
The money quote:
"It's not a question of passing new landmark laws," Boxer said. "It's a matter of getting these agencies back in gear. We have great tools, but they have not been functioning. For the past eight years, they've been sitting idle. The Californians coming, they don't have to rewrite the laws. They just have to enforce them. It's like the EPA has been asleep for eight years. The Californians are coming to wake the sleeping beauty."Boxer's not telling the full truth. They know full well they want to enact policy change. The most likely coming in a cap and trade system that Obama ran on. It's sometimes difficult for Californians to forget the rest of the country doesn't have the same priorities as we do. But this is where Pelosi comes in. Dems still want to stay in power. It'll be entertaining watching it all unfold.
Now playing: Erykah Badu - The Healer
"Better to let the Democrats be careful what they wish for, and make sure that they get it."I think Nate's exactly right. Getting in the way of the Obama train right now would be political suicide for moderate Republican Senators, ie. Snowe, Collins, and Specter, and with Franken's win in MN (more on this later), the Dems will only need one of the three.
Patrick Ruffini at the Next Right sees this as an oppportunity.
And this morning Minority Leader Mitch McConnell attempted to flex some muscle.
All the while the RNC debates the tone deafness of "Barack the Magic Negro."
Now playing: Erykah Badu - Telephone
Jim Webb appears to be that man.
A Talking Points Memo reader has some thoughts on this.
Now playing: Doomtree - Knives On Fire
"It all started on New Year's Eve in 2005. President Bush asked what my New Year's resolutions were. I told him that as a regular reader who'd gotten out of the habit, my goal was to read a book a week in 2006. Three days later, we were in the Oval Office when he fixed me in his sights and said, "I'm on my second. Where are you?" Mr. Bush had turned my resolution into a contest.I mean, seriously? Bush has time to read 95 books in a year. For some reason this makes complete sense with where the Iraq War was in 2005 and the beginnings of the economic trembles. But Rove reminds me of Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward's comments on the Chris Matthews Show [h/t Think Progress]:
By coincidence, we were both reading Doris Kearns Goodwin's "Team of Rivals." The president jumped to a slim early lead and remained ahead until March, when I moved decisively in front. The competition soon spun out of control. We kept track not just of books read, but also the number of pages and later the combined size of each book's pages -- its "Total Lateral Area."
We recommended volumes to each other (for example, he encouraged me to read a Mao biography; I suggested a book on Reconstruction's unhappy end). We discussed the books and wrote thank-you notes to some authors.
At year's end, I defeated the president, 110 books to 95. My trophy looks suspiciously like those given out at junior bowling finals. The president lamely insisted he'd lost because he'd been busy as Leader of the Free World."
MATTHEWS: Bob, he obviously relies a lot on instinct and is proud of that fact. Is that why he shows little intellectual curiosity about other people’s thinking?Between the two items, you can see exactly how we got to where we are today. Bush has been too busy reading fluff to put any effort into doing his homework.
WOODWARD: I think he’s impatient. I think, my summation: He doesn’t like homework. And homework means reading or getting briefed or having a debate. And part of the presidency, part of governing, particularly in this area, is homework, homework, homework.
MATTHEWS: And Obama?
WOODWARD: Obama is the opposite. He mainlines homework. He does, you know, where is extra credit.
Now playing: Joy Division - Transmission
Krugman does raise several important questions:
These questions should be the focus of his article. Rewriting state constitutions to allow for balanced budgets to be put off in rough economic times. The exceptions should be spelled out, ie, recessions, but this change would allow for fewer provincial Herbert Hoovers.
"And once the crisis is behind us, we should rethink the way we pay for key public services.
As a nation, we don’t believe that our fellow citizens should go without essential health care. Why, then, does a large share of funding for Medicaid come from state governments, which are forced to cut the program precisely when it’s needed most?
An educated population is a national resource. Why, then, is basic education mainly paid for by local governments, which are forced to neglect the next generation every time the economy hits a rough patch?And why should investments in infrastructure, which will serve the nation for decades, be at the mercy of short-run fluctuations in local budgets?"
Now playing: Jay-Z - Change Clothes
Now playing: Arcade Fire - Keep The Car Running
Sunday, December 28, 2008
Obama never had surrogates at well-honed as Clinton did. This was the dreaded "Clinton Machine" most people feared. The NY Times has a great obituary in this weeks magazine. Her death prior the DNC convention was a shock. I'd been looking forward to her steadfast support of Obama in the coming months. It's a shame America didn't get to see her work her magic.
Now playing: Broken Social Scene - Stomach Song
Bay Area residents have grown to take for granted Pelosi. If anything, many continue to be frustrated with her for not at least attempting to impeach Bush. Comment sections on most political articles usually end up with anti-Pelosi tirades. Whatever the reason for her exclusion from the article, nothing on President-elect docket will get through Congress without the help of Speaker Pelosi.
Now playing: Amanda Palmer - Guitar Hero
The Apple mash up didn't introduce me to Obama. It did, however, open me up to him as a candidate. The Washington Post has an interesting piece by their Internet/political reporter in today's paper.
"That video was viewed about 400,000 times before it made it onto CNN and became an even bigger viral hit. Last spring, at [Phil] de Vellis's Columbia Heights apartment, where he spent a few hours on a lazy Sunday afternoon editing the mash-up, de Vellis told me: "As an Obama supporter, I just wanted to put something out there. Look, most if not all of the talking heads on cable news didn't think Obama had a chance early on. It was all about Clinton -- how strong her machine was, how inevitable her nomination was. But online, you saw that more people were gravitating toward Obama."'While this is very true, I think the reporter only glosses over the generational reasons behind the change. Many millennials were sending our parents youtube clips. Both the WaPo and the NY Times had earlier pieces here and here on millennial involvement in the Obama campaign. This participatory democracy allowed in the Internet age is being harnessed by millennials.
We came up with the Internet and AOL in our homes and the outreach by the Obama campaign tapped into a need for "WE Politics" and not "I Politics." Online social networking was not a foreign concept and provided fertile fround for viral politics.
Now playing: Death From Above 1979 - Romantic Rights (The Phone Lovers Remix)
Ken Rosenthal at Fox Sports has an interesting note in his recent column [ht:SFGate]:
"The A's rarely are major players in free agency, but the agent said that the poor working conditions and occasionally unruly crowd behavior at McAfee Coliseum are turnoffs for his clients.
"Many players are uncertain about the atmosphere," the agent said. "They're not as comfortable going to work there or having their families attend games there on a regular basis."
In 2012, the A's are scheduled to move into Cisco Field, which will be located approximately 20 miles south of McAfee in Fremont, Calif.
"That will help them recruit players," the agent said. "Billy and David are as good as anyone in the business. The new park will level the playing field for them and allow them to excel."'
I'm not so sure the stadium will be ready for 2012, as chronicled here. But I also don't think it's fair to link A's fans to notoriously rowdy Raider fans. There have been few incidences at A's games over the years, and while attendance has been low, the fans are getting a bum rap. AT&T Park has spoiled Bay Area sports fans. Hopefully A's fans will get the stadium they deserve. It's a shame it can't be in Oakland.
Now playing: Aesop Rock - Super Fluke
Saturday, December 27, 2008
Cal still barely won, 24-17, over a team with five starters suspended. Senior LB Zack Follett saved the day and the dominating rushing of Javid Best kept Miami at bay throughout.
But what was going on with Tedford's decision to keep Longshore in the game? Was sophomore Kevin Riley hurt? Is Riley really transfrring as is rumored? I'm not sure, but this win sure was embarrassing.
Now playing: Iron & Wine - Lovesong of the Buzzard
Greenwald is right; Politico's media reporter Michael Calderone's article, Top 10 political scoops of 2008, is an example of what's wrong with journalism. But Politico is a low hanging fruit. I mean, come on. Greenwald might as well be taking Huffington Post to task for hosting the link and himself for the same.
Politico's articles are written to be linked to by the Drudge Report, Mark Halperin's The Page, and other blogs. If you're going to take someone in the traditional media to task, why not go after Time Magazine for giving Mark Halperin and his asine reporting a place on the Web?
Now playing: Justice - Phantom Part 2
"Will congressional Republicans again sacrifice their political interest to satisfy their Southern-baked ideological imperatives?"The thing is, Southern Republicans are choosing ideolgy over country. They're hellbent on breaking the unions and the Big Three, while ignoring the fact the foreign owned auto industry in their districts continues to receive subsidies to remain profitable and stay in TN and KY. The economy is in a horrible place and if they don't join the group trying to fix it, they are going to get run over on their continued trip to irrelevance.
With Franken winning in MN, Arlen Specter up for reelection in PA, a moderate Olympia Snowe in ME, Senate Dems won't need anyone for cloture and the Southern Caucus will put itself in the history books with Herbert Hoover. You know you've got a problem when Dick Cheney is warning Senate Republicans it's "Herbert Hoover time."
Friday, December 26, 2008
"And surely I wasn’t the only person who winced at reports about the luxurious beach house the Obamas have rented, not because there’s anything wrong with the first family-elect having a nice vacation, but because symbolism matters, and these weren’t the images we should be seeing when millions of Americans are terrified about their finances." - Paul Krugman, NY Times, 12/25/2008Statements by progressive commentators like these drive me crazy. Obama grew up in Hawaii and Indonesia. He's lived an exotic life and despite this, he was elected to be the 44th President of the United States. On some level, Hawaii needs to be demystified. And despite attempts by Townhall's Matt Lewis to claim otherwise, Hawaii has been a state since 1959. Obama's annual Christmas vacation should not be questioned. In fact, from what I've gathered, it's been a very personal experience.
Krugman is right: images matter, but so does context and without context or nuance we'll continue to be stuck in the mentality of the last eight years.
Now playing: Iron & Wine - Freedom Hangs Like Heaven
ESPN.com is reporting that Johnson has signed a one year contract to come "home" to the Bay Area. Johnson was a two-sport star, basketball and baseball, at Walnut Creek High. He's sitting at 295 wins, so it's hard to imagine him missing out on 300, not that he needed it to be considered an all-time great. I hope the final contract at least includes a mutual option for a second year.
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
"Unable to reach new licensing terms, the Warner Music Group has demanded that thousands of its videos be removed from YouTube, which is owned by Google. Warner Music’s videos, the source of a billion views on YouTube, gradually began disappearing from the site on Saturday, although many remained online Sunday evening."This announcement set Amanda off:
"in other words, roadrunner is a subsidiary of warner and i’m stuck in hell with madonna and the other poor bastards, because warner wants more money. even worse, warner has almost no bargaining power…they’re not even in the top ten of labels who have huge artists with material streaming on youtube. they’re just starving for cash right now and they’re doing anything they can think of to come up with cash. it’s abSURD. they are looking for money in a totally backwards way.The MOST thing about this is that the music industry is stuck in the 20th century. Even before Warner Bros. yanked the videos they blocked the videos from being embedded. Music industry executives have no clue how to navigate web 2.0 and instead of adapting heavy handed responses such as this draw anger from their artists and push customers farther away.
money that, i should point out, i would NEVER see as an artist. if they got their way and youtube decided to give them a larger revenue share of the videos, it;s very unlikely it would ever make it’s way into the artists’ bank accounts.
damn, man. this shit is fucked UP."
"While MTV pioneered reality series with 1992's "The Real World," that genre has become ubiquitous, so the network is offering a slate that avoids the backbiting and bitchery of most nonfiction fare.
"Our new shows will feature themes of affirmation and accomplishment," says Brian Graden, prez of entertainment at MTV Networks music channels and president of Logo. "Our shows are going to focus less on loud and silly hooks and more on young people proving themselves. These are themes that are consistent with the Obama generation."'
Obama hasn't even taken office yet and TV executives have already decided the next niche is a positive, forward looking perspective on programming. I wonder how long this will last.
MTV's hardly a bastion for high-brow discussions.
If you hadn't guessed which one the Chronicle chose to cover. You can read the AP Sharks article here and Warrior beat reporter Janny Hu here.
I bet you can't guess who won?
It's worth a read just to know redemption is possible and even grown men can turn their lives around.
Yesterday the Huffington Post headlined the front page "CA Bankrupt." The AP article that followed had a tamer headline "CALIFORNIA BROKE? State Could Run Out Of Money In Two Months, Says Official." While alarmist that doesn't make it untrue. The AP has been busy concern trolling recently so it's hard to take much of what they do seriously.
The Huff Post article gives a run down of the soap opera unfolding in Sacramento. Revenue needs to be increased, Republicans refuse ot raise taxes, Dems want to find a tricky work around that at may or may not be legal and Republicans refuse to meet to work it out.
The money quote:
The Washington Post takes a more even keel and less brash look at the same issue by exploring the structural issues at hand and the reason for repeated drama in Sacramento.
"I prefer having my Republican friends at the table, and I prefer to get a two-thirds vote. But we do need revenue increases," he said. "To save California, I'm forced to negotiate just with the Democrats. This is the situation I am forced in because of lack of participation by the Republicans."
Again with the money quote:
Much could be done if all parties would get involved. But then again, this is California and we're bound to repeat ourselves over and over again.
Yet students of California politics say both sides are prisoners of a system that constrains decision-makers while encouraging short-term conflict. Every state is required to balance its budget, but California is one of three that require a two-thirds majority for any tax increase.
If the parties got along, this would not be an insurmountable challenge. But state law encourages political polarization by allowing lawmakers to draw their own districts, which results in few competitive races except in primaries, in which strict adherence to partisan ideology is most likely to be rewarded. In the budget negotiations, for instance, GOP lawmakers are sidelined by their vow as a group never to raise taxes.
Monday, December 22, 2008
On the 19th, Yglesias posted this entry:
I’m getting sort of tired of the endless discussion of whether Barack Obama is a wholesome liberal or an evil centrist, but I have to say something about one aspect of this story:
“Barack Obama has never made any bones about it: He is a moderate,” said Matt Bennett, co-founder of Third Way, a moderate public policy think tank. “People who ignored that did so at their peril.”
Third Way is a neat organization — I used to work across the hall from them. And they do a lot of clever messaging stuff that a lot of candidates find very useful. But their domestic policy agenda is hyper-timid incrementalist bullshit. There are a variety of issues that they have nothing whatsoever to say on, and what policy ideas they do have are laughable in comparison to the scale of the problems they allegedly address. Which is fine, because Third Way isn’t really a “public policy think tank” at all, it’s a messaging and political tactics outfit. But Barack Obama’s policy proposals aren’t like that. At all. Nor do personnel on his policy teams — including the more ideologically moderate members — stand for anything that’s remotely as weak a brew as the stuff Third Way puts out. And yet, Third Way loves Barack Obama and says he’s a moderate just like them. Which is great. But everyone needs to see that these things are moving in two directions simultaneously. At the very same time Obama is disappointing progressive supporters on a number of fronts, he’s also bringing moderates on board for things that are way more ambitious than anything they were endorsing two or three years ago.
The entry was forgetable to most. I mean, it wasn't even as snarky as Yglesias could be, and then this evening, Jennifer Palmieri hijacked Yglesias blog and posted this entry:
Most readers know that the views expressed on Matt’s blog are his own and don’t always reflect the views of the Center for American Progress Action Fund. Such is the case with regard to Matt’s comments about Third Way. Our institution has partnered with Third Way on a number of important projects - including a homeland security transition project - and have a great deal of respect for their critical thinking and excellent work product. They are key leaders in the progressive movement and we look forward to working with them in the future.
What's interesting here is now that the Dems are in power there is a power struggle for control of the party. Will Clinton's triangulated poll driven Dem policies win out or will a pragmatic formation of a new center be allowed to form? Yglesias was obviously given a spanking to, but it's unclear what steps led to Palmieri's entry. Check out the comments to her entry for more on this battle.
Friday, December 19, 2008
Geeky, yes, but impossible without the impact of "Deep Throat." Had he not worked to undermine the Nixon administration, my interest in politics and journalism may have never blossomed, and if it had it would have developed much differently.
R.I.P W. Mark Felt.
The minutiae of running the mayors office was just too small time for them. They both are visionaries, of their own right, and see big picture issues. Dealing the day-to-day responsibilities, along with their own over sized egos, was never going to be easy for either men.
This became even more evident with today's news that Brown asked the CA Supreme Court to over turn Prop 8. Brown understands that it was never the intention of the state constitution's author to allow right to be taken away from the minority group by a simple majority vote.
Money quotes below from SFgate:
"'We have a conflict between the amendment power (through voter initiatives) and the duty of the Supreme Court to protect minorities and safeguard liberty," Brown said...
Fundamental rights in the state Constitution, including the right to marry that the state's high court has recognized, "become a dead letter if they can just be amended" by popular vote, Brown said."
And for those that remember Kenneth Starr of Whitewater and Lewinsky fame, he's heading the yes on Prop 8 legal team. Would this guy please just go away?
Thursday, December 18, 2008
However, Equality California Executive Director Geoffrey Kors decision to boycott the inauguration is disappointing. The decision to invite Rev. Rick Warren to give the invocation has drawn understandable anger by gay rights group. Warren is a bigot. I get that. But everything Obama has said over the last two years has pointed towards the invitation.
Kors decision is childish. Kors won't be Obama's friend as long as Obama is friends with Warren. Obama is the most pro-gay rights president EVER elected. The overreaction by gay rights activist only helps Obama demonstrate his inclusiveness and further showcases the pettiness of the activists.