Saturday, February 28, 2009

Obama says 'Bring it on'

Obama's weekly address have typically been drab. This morning was different. He brought a level of combativeness that I haven't seen since the general election. He brings it:

2/28/09: Your Weekly Address from White House on Vimeo.

Most notably:
"I realize that passing this budget won't be easy. Because it represents real and dramatic change, it also represents a threat to the status quo in Washington. I know that the insurance industry won't like the idea that they'll have to bid competitively to continue offering Medicare coverage, but that's how we'll help preserve and protect Medicare and lower health care costs for American families. I know that banks and big student lenders won't like the idea that we're ending their huge taxpayer subsidies, but that's how we'll save taxpayers nearly $50 billion and make college more affordable. I know that oil and gas companies won't like us ending nearly $30 billion in tax breaks, but that's how we'll help fund a renewable energy economy that will create new jobs and new industries. I know these steps won't sit well with the special interests and lobbyists who are invested in the old way of doing business, and I know they're gearing up for a fight as we speak. My message to them is this:

"'So am I.'

"The system we have now might work for the powerful and well-connected interests that have run Washington for far too long, but I don’t. I work for the American people. I didn’t come here to do the same thing we’ve been doing or to take small steps forward, I came to provide the sweeping change that this country demanded when it went to the polls in November."
It was shocking. He called out the lobbyist. He calls out student loan companies. He steps up tot the place and into the place of the people's representative. He's reframed the argument. He's using every bit of the mandate he earned by winning the election and the landslide it turned into. The WaPo has an interesting article today on Obama's attempts to stay connected to life outside of the White House bubble. Today's address was perfectly inline with these attempts. He's going to use all 67% to push through his agenda. Republicans have decided to put their effort into splitting up Obama and Pelosi. The New York Times, Newseek, and Politico are all being used as pawns in this game. The thing is both Pelosi and Obama believe they are doing the people's work. This bravado is a reason I first became interested in him. This should be some great political theater.
Now playing: Bel Biv DeVoe - Let Me Know Something?!

Friday, February 27, 2009

More on my Klobuchar Love

You've got to love any politician who can include Prince, Bob Dylan, Hannah Montana and First Ave. in a question. She gets much respect from me for looking at this problem and the framing of the question.

Amy Klobuchar on Morning Joe

I've been a big fan of Kloubuchar for some time. I voted her in in 2006 and I'm proud of the work she's done since then, especially on toy safety, and her op/ed in the WaPo was quite good. I hope she gets plenty of airtime in the coming years. A recent article in Politico showed another side, a more humorous, although always affable, of Klobuchar. It was exciting to see.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Puff, Puff, Pass vs. GOP

Matt Yglesias has drawn attention to the fact that legalizing marijuana is more popular than any of the current Republican leaders:

No wonder the Republicans are in so much trouble. And to think, S.C Guv Mark Sanford believes stimulus supporters are the real fringe.
"I think in this instance I would humbly suggest that the real fringe are those that are supporting the stimulus," Sanford said. "It is not at all in keeping with the principles that made this country great, not at all in keeping with economic reality, not in keeping with a stable dollar, and not in keeping with the sentiments of most of this country."
You just have to thank them for their wingnuttery.

Just a Thank You

I want to send my appreciation to Joe Klein for watching Meet the Press this week so I don't have to. David Gregory is boring and has very little personality, but I've been intrigued by Bobby Jindal, the so called GOP Obama. He seems like a reasonable man. That is until he announced he was rejected stimulus money.

Klein takes Jindal on and then some. The money quote:
In other words, Jindal--the alleged voice of the GOP future--had absolutely nothing new to say. And what he did say, about the stimulus, was purposefully misleading. I'm not sure how well the Obama stimulus, banking and budget plans will work. No one does. But I do know how the philosophy and the misleading politics that Jindal offered today has worked in the recent past.
Thanks, Joe, for saving me the time. You're a lifesaver. I have some anthropology homework to do.
Now playing: Joy Division - New dawn fades

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Quote of the Day - 02.19.09

RNC chair Michael Steele told the Washington Times that he's planning an "off the hook" public relations campaign.

The Republican party needs "to reach beyond our comfort" zones, he said, saying the GOP needs messengers to pursue voters -- "young, Hispanic, black, a cross section ... Where we have fallen down in delivering a message is in having something to say, particularly to young people and moms of all shapes -- soccer moms, hockey moms."

Steele said the GOP is "the conservative party that stands on principles. But we want to apply them to urban-surburban hip-hop settings."

"We need to uptick our image with everyone, including one-armed midgets," he said.

As for those "people who said I can't make the trains run on time ... I say to them, 'Stuff it.'"
h/t ABC News

President, Please!

h/t Gothamist

6,000 Separate Paintings

Khoda from Reza Dolatabadi on Vimeo.
one five minute animated video. It took a student artist two years to paint them all and produce this. Pause the movie at any moment and you have an individual work of art.
h/t Andrew Sullivan

Monday, February 16, 2009

Quote of the Day: 02.16.09

"A Republican governor, you might say, is sort of like a Republican congressman—except with actual responsibilities." - Hendrik Hertzberg, New Yorker, on the "bipartisan" stimulus debate. (Remember Sarah Palin's comments)
Now playing: Josh Wink - RA.142 Josh Wink - 2009.02.16

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Ouch, Speak to the Back of the Hand

I love when Nate Silver decides to lay an Internet slap down. More people need to respond to David Sirota. I choose to ignore him. Maybe it's not the best response. But I'm glad Nate decided to respond from a progressive perspective.
Now playing: Bobby Hughes Combination - Mc Arthurs Break

Another Country Heard From...

"Words cannot begin to express how sorry and saddened I am over what transpired," the statement from the 19-year-old R&B star read. "I am seeking the counseling of my pastor, my mother and other loved ones and I am committed, with God's help, to emerging a better person. Much of what has been speculated or reported on blogs and/or reported in the media is wrong. While I would like to be able to talk about this more, until the legal issues are resolved, this is all I can say except that I have not written any messages or made any posts to Facebook, on blogs or any place else. Those posts or writings under my name are frauds." - Chris Brown's first statement on the Rhianna domestic abuse situation.
As Jay Smooth just put it, "wait.. "counseling from family and friends" that doesn't count as counseling. That's like "i'm checking into rehab.. at my cousin's house."

SNL Perfectly Captures the Current GOP

You know it's bad when SNL catches on. I bet it was Dan Akroyd that brought it to their attention.

The 'Liberal Lion'

I was raised to respect the Kennedy's. I can remember my mother telling me her version of JFK's passing and her following of John John and Caroline from a distance. I wasn't aware of Teddy's prowess in the Senate until high school. I'd read JFK's Profile in Courage in middle school.

Reading over this morning part one of a seven part series on Teddy you begin to see just how much work Joe and Rose Kennedy put into fulfilling the dynasty that it often taken for granted or mocked today.

A few money quotes:
Something worthwhile. That was one of the many mantras the Kennedy parents imposed upon their children. Do something with your lives. Make something of yourselves. Give something back to others. Joe Kennedy Sr. set up million-dollar trust funds and told his children they'd never have to earn money; they should devote their lives to public service.

...Second place was never good enough for their father, whose parenting slogans included, "I don't want any losers in this family," and "No sour pusses." There would be no "rich, idle bums," either.

... With nine children, Rose had to run a tight ship, and she set household rules that few dared break for fear of a whack from her infamous wooden coat hanger. Child-rearing was a strict endeavor in that era and Rose, a perfectionist, followed the books to the letter. The children were to get up at the same time every day and go to bed at the same time. Dinner was always at 7:30, and Rose would lead the way into the dining room. At the end of the meal, she would lead the way out.

...In 1975, when Ted was a third-term senator and Rose was 85, she wrote him: "I watched you speak about drugs last Friday night . . . Please say, 'If I were President,' not 'If I was president.' The reason is the old what used to be known in Latin as condition contrary to fact. For instance, 'if I were he,' etc."

...Perhaps the toughest parental scolding was that which compared the siblings with one another. In a letter that reveals much about the family dynamic, Joe wrote the 11-year-old Teddy: "You didn't pass in English or Geography and you only got 60 in Spelling and History. That is terrible. . . . You wouldn't want to have people say that Joe and Jack Kennedy's brother was such a bad student, so get on your toes."

...Just as important was a note he got from Joe, who couldn't resist a family comparison: "You did a great job winning that event. Scholastically, it certainly fits with anything anybody has ever done before — including your father!"
The simple fact the Globe started the series is a symbol that Teddy won't be around much longer. From what I've read, the push for health care reform the first year of the Obama administration is a thank you for Teddy. It's appropriate to end this with Teddy's "The Dream Will Never Die" speech (part 2).

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Ms. Wallace is Stuck in Bubble About to Burst

Republican operatives lose presidential campaigns should have a moratorium before they can begin commenting on presidential politics. Nicole Wallace, the woman responsible for the bungling of the Sarah Palin, is now writing the for The Daily Beast. I'm not sure what The Daily Beast's hiring practices are, but they must be low. After all, they have Tucker Carlson and Ana Marie Cox write for them.

Wallace's piece this week is hilarious and it just confirms how much of her worldview is defined by the Washington bubble.
Since then, Obama has continued to campaign for the stimulus bill—even after its passage in both houses of Congress—because the White House sees the drooping poll numbers for the package. Growing numbers of Americans are questioning the bill’s size and impact on the deficits, its ability to create jobs in a meaningful and lasting way, and the items that sound a more like pork than job makers.

.... Republicans are at risk of being painted by Obama as being for “inaction,” which is far from the truth. Republicans like John McCain describe the stimulus bill as “generational theft,” and many people share that view. Senate Republicans offered their own package and included triggers that would shut off spending when the economy improved. These are sound ideas, but many of them never received much attention outside Washington.
She writes as if Republicans were not in power for the last eight years. Wallace seems confused. The party of inaction defined itself while they controlled all three branches (yes, they control the judicial branch.) The only plan put forth by Republican senators consisted entirely of tax breaks. Yes, no spending. So I'm not sure what plans she is referring to.

Also, what polls is she reading? I know that every poll, minus the GOP produced Rasmussen, shows the support has only dipped slightly then increased again.

The comments on Wallace's piece are also hilarious. The GOP has been defined by their actions and inaction as families struggle to make ends meet. Just as GOP House member after house member parked themselves in front of the camera over the last two weeks to "just say no" to Obama's stimulus.

I can't believe anyone still pays Wallace for her opinion. At least Steve Schmidt has the good sense to stay out of the limelight at this point. Too bad, Ms. Wallace hasn't followed suit.
Now playing: Bonnie 'Prince' Billy - A Minor Place

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Question of the Day: 02.12.09

“First off, President Bush does know how to read. He is very well-read,” Card said. “And he received information from a lot of people, not just Dick Cheney.” - Andy Card, Bush 43's former chief of staff and forever apologist.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Honkey, Please!

It's rare that I call out something stupid someone says by highlighting their race. But today is a special day. Only a sheltered white person would say something so stupid. Susannah Breslin at Slate highlighted the many times covered Obama audio from Dreams From My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance. But that wasn't yet the head shaking, embarrassing comment. She asks:
"Amid the motherfuckers and the shits, though, there's another provocative line: "You ain't my bitch, nigga! Buy your own damn fries!" So, I'm wondering: Is it OK if this POTUS uses the N word?"
So this is where I come in. First off, he was not the POTUS when he said it. The book and the audio book came out long before he ran for the high office, and even if he was POTUS when he said it, it's really not your place to question. Obama was telling a story of his adolescence, a time and experience you obviously don't understand with your silly question. I'm curious if she's even read the book or has any idea what the coming of age, struggle with racial identity and eventual coming to peace in the heartland of black culture, Chicago.

Entries and articles like Breslin's just make me shake my head. You have to wonder if she's ever been outside of her bubble. Her myopic worldview is only highlighted by silly entries like this.

ESPN, The Sports Enabler

The SF Chronicle is running an AP story that says former baseball star and eventual member of Baseball's Hall of Fame Roberto Alomar has A.I.D.S and is being sued by her ex-girlfriend. has nothing on the story. Not on their front page breaking news or on the baseball page. Whether Alomar the lawsuit is frivolous or not is besides the point. The AP is running a story on it. How can ignore the story? I don't have cable television so I can't look on TV, but I'm curious if they too are ignoring it.

The coziness between professional athletics and ESPN is downright scary. ESPN is supposed to be in the profession of journalism. I guess that went out the window years ago.

At lease CNN/Sports Illustrated is running the story on Fox Sports has it up. Looks like ESPN is the only publication that's failed to recognize it.

Black Star Reunites in L.A

Black Star @ the House of Blues 2/09 from gregthedude on Vimeo.
h/t jsmooth @ hiphopmusic

Before they went to D.C

A self proclaimed bear, Andrew's got a thing for bears, so he's hot on the Cheney pict.

I still think Nancy Pelosi's got it going on, but I have a thing for brunettes, and Palin was never really all that cute.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Old Medias Obession With Itself

Kathleen Parker became hero of mine for her take down of Sarah Palin during the presidential campaign. But I always understood that her establishmentarism was at the root of her spite for Palin. This is why I wasn't surprised by her op/ed today in the WaPo. The money quote:
Nine minutes into the first answer to the first question, I began missing Bush's customary dispatch. Bush's contempt for the media meant he never stayed long enough to bore us.
You see, she's under the impression the goal of the press conference was to change the opinion of the doubters in the press. While it's obvious Obama cares about his portrayal in the media, Parker doesn't realize she's being used by Obama to speak directly to the people. He's fully aware his power is in his approval ratings and his ability to connect with and convince the people his plan is the best, most thought out available.

The use of the Internet to organize and communicate during the primaries separated him from from the rest of his Dem rivals. Large rallies, where he delivered speeches that were best described by commentators as "talking to the crowd as adults," were more intimate than you'd expect. He was Professor Obama once again. The classroom was larger, a world stage, but he never really changed and the audience appreciated it.

The media fawned over his "race speech" because they felt it was more directed at them than it was the voters. Again, the media was duped. It's been viewed close to ten million times in various forms on YouTube. The Obama in Philadelphia was the same Obama that was at his press-conference last night.

Parker missed Bush's stuttering, sputtering and obvious contempt for the media. Obama doesn't hold that same contempt - yet. But he has something Bush never had and it's something Slate's John Dickerson recognized:
He's orderly. This is in great contrast to his predecessor, who sometimes spoke in small colloquial bursts. Those who found that to be George W. Bush's most irritating quality have probably already watched Obama again on TiVo for the delight of hearing a string of complete sentences. There may also be another group of people who tuned in or will see the sound bites from the press conference on Tuesday and will be reminded that they like Obama's moderate, careful tone and find that reason enough to give him more support for his big new program.
Obama is the anti-Bush and that's who the people elected. Parker may miss Bush and write off Obama as "amateurish," but she wasn't and hasn't been the target of any of the decisions or actions. Gallup's recent poll show 67% of Americans support how Obama has handled the stimulus package.

Now just imagine if the DNC and Obama for America really get going the support he'll have to enact the rest of his policies and platform.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Politics of Faux Christianity

Michael Gerson and the rest of the Bush lackeys have no business still passing judgment on anyone - especially other, so called, Christians. He chastises Christians for standing by during the Rwanda genocide and the Holocaust. I agree, anyone who stood by while thousands and thousands of people are killed should be condemned.

But when are those Christians in the Bush admin going to step up and praise Obama for ending the torture by Americans? Where were these pundits when the Bush and Cheney said we pushing us into an unprovoked war? Where was the moral outrage then? What is Gerson's response to Cheney's outrageous comments to Politico? I'm so sick of these partisans hiding as Christians.

They have no issue passing judgment on people from a distance, but when it comes to speaking truth to power, Mr. Gerson and his like clam up.

Officially, GTFO!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

File-sharing blogs being hit next

Blogspot's turned into the popular "music blog" site. One of my favorites is hosted on Blogspot, which I won't link to. Blogspot is of course hosted by Google. Today Vibe warned that many Google is deleting many "music blogs" and Google responded as you'd expect:
"When we are notified of content that may violate our terms of service, including clear notices of alleged copyright infringement, we act quickly to review it, and our response may include removing allegedly infringing material.”
This all comes down to the RIAA's on going battle with file sharing. But more importantly it comes down the dated music industry (more on this is an entry to follow soon) and their inability to control the profit on their artists. The Electronic Frontier Foundation continues to battle for the rights of the file-sharers. But when you use a free blog hosting service you've got to expect things like this.

Headline of the Day 02.05.09

You've got to love small towns. I grew up in Pacific Grove, and reading this doesn't surprise me one bit.
"P.G. says miniature horse OK"
Pacific Grove is still referred to as "The Last Hometown." Check out our Wikipedia. It's an interesting read. And if you're ever vacationing in California, Pacific Grove is worth a day of your time.

Second Quotes of the Day - 02.05.09

"I'd like to make this as short as Bill Richardson's tenure as commerce secretary," she opened. "I raised $17,000 from ex-boyfriends — true story! I know that is the record in the Senate, but in the House it's held by Barney Frank."

"Typically a Republican and a Democrat speak at this -- you could have saved a lot of money by asking Joe Lieberman." - Amy Klobuchar (MN-D) at Washington Press Club Foundation's dinner .

Politics is Hollywood For Ugly People

As mentioned by Tiffani in an earlier comment, I'm curious how the media and conservatives would respond if a Democrat ever said what Rep. Pete Sessions (TX-R) said:
"Insurgency, we understand perhaps a little bit more because of the Taliban," Sessions said. "And that is that they went about systematically understanding how to disrupt and change a person's entire processes. And these Taliban -- I'm not trying to say the Republican Party is the Taliban. No, that's not what we're saying. I'm saying an example of how you go about [sic] is to change a person from their messaging to their operations to their frontline message. And we need to understand that insurgency may be required when the other side, the House leadership, does not follow the same commands, which we entered the game with."
Obama and Democrats in general just aren't very good at theater politics. Well- that's not true. Bill and Hillary are great at playing the game. Remember her throwing back shots of Crown Royal? You can see that in the last two weeks of media coverage over the stimulus package Republicans have dominated the airwaves. There are plenty of Dem pols in D.C that could be making the case for the package. It shouldn't have had to come down to Obama to finally step up. We have media types arguing about whose tax-cuts are better, when we spent the entire presidential campaign doing the same thing.

Tiffani is right. Comments like this from a Democrat would ring calls of treason from the right.

Question of the Day: 02.05.09

Why does anyone care what either Ana Marie Cox or Tucker Carlson think anymore?

We all watched Ana's little girl crush on McCain during the presidential campaign, and Jon Stewart didn't do enough to hamper Tucker's career.

And if this Twitter doesn't tell you everything by Ana:
Tucker Carlson and I about to pretend to disagree with each other. Please join!

Quote of the Day - 02.05.09

"I really don’t understand how bipartisanship is ever going to work when one of the parties is insane." -- John Cole at Balloon Juice

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Murder in Urban America

Living in urban America is both exhausting and exhilarating. Before Friday night I'd never quite felt the full force of its dark side. My car has been broken into - twice. I've been robbed at gunpoint - in my living room. I've been hit from behind and fought off the attacker at a party. But I've never seen anyone die. I've never seen anyone here one moment and gone the next.

Oscar Montes-Ramirez was the first. He left behind two daughters and a wife. It truly is a shame that a human being feels the need to take another human being's life. Mr. Montes-Ramirez was just getting off work, after a long day on the job, when another man decided Mr. Montes-Ramirez's life wasn't worth living.

I beg to differ.

Today I met Mr. Montes-Ramirez's family. The human element was always present, but watching his family pray over a makeshift memorial was especially heartening. It's a shame he'll never see his daughters mature, go to prom, move out and marry. His wife is now left, not alone from the looks of his memorial, but without her partner, lover, husband.

It's been a head trip of a weekend. I've had difficulty concentrating, but at least I'm alive. Even with all of the trials and tribulations I've been going through, I'm still grateful to be alive.
Now playing: Sam Cooke - Chain Gang

Headline of the Day

Phelps: Photo with marijuana pipe real

G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra Trailer

Hmmm... OK, speak amongst yourselves.
h/t Oliver Willis