Thursday, May 21, 2009

Biggie Smalls Will Always be the Illest

I know I've already waxed nostalgia on Biggie and the disappointing biopic. But Spencer Ackerman reminds us that Christopher Wallace would have been 37-years-old today. What a shame.

Always will be Brooklyn's finest.

Photo of the Day 05/21/09


h/t and article "The Meaning of Michelle Obama" at Time Magazine

Headline of the Day 5/21/9

Twin Boys Have Different Fathers


Super Bowl Champions Pittsburgh Steeler at the White House

There's been some conflict around this, but from the video it looks like good times.

Congress Wastes More Money, Good for the LOLz

Energy and Commerce hires a speedreader.
h/t Swampland

California's Quick Tumble

John Cole is sick of California budget politics and says "Let [California] Burn." Hours later he returned to say he was right with the prescription, but wrong with the prognosis:
“The California Constitution has been amended or revised more than 500 times. It is now 157 pages. “

That just strikes me as a recipe for fail. Additionally, I learned that you all have term limits, so not only does it only take a 50+1 vote to increase spending and a 2/3 vote to raise money to pay for things, you also have special interests doing bond initiatives for anything that blows their trumpet, property tax laws that make no sense, and then to compound everything, people have no problem raising spending because when the shit hits the fan, they will have been term limited out and it is someone else’s problem. Then, the new people coming in to replace them have no experience and no authority and no way to fix it and the voters all hate them.

Pretty awesome.
You've got to respect someone who acknowledges when they're wrong and isn't afraid to do some research.

John pointed me to one of my new favorite blogs, Calitics, who takes the prognosis one step further:

The video features Assemblywoman Noreen Evans, Chair of the Budget Committee, breaking down the root of the evolving California budget crisis. It's an important watch, regardless of your party affiliation or ideology.

What's next?
As the notion of California as ungovernable grows stronger than ever, Mr. Schwarzenegger, a Republican, has expressed support for a convention to address such things as the state’s arcane budget requirements and its process for proliferate ballot initiatives, both of which necessitated Tuesday’s statewide vote on budget matters approved months ago by state lawmakers.

“There could not be more of a tipping point,” said Jim Wunderman, chief executive of the Bay Area Council, a business group that moved forward on Wednesday with plans to push for a constitutional convention. “We think the interest is going to grow by orders of magnitude now.”
The constitutional convention would be must see TV. It looks to be the best solution to this mess.

Sullivan Explores a Fundamentalist Disconnect

Amy Sullivan does great work over at Time's "Swampland" blog presenting digestible religion journalism for non-believers. Also, everyone once in a while she'll show up on BHTV. She does great work tonight demonstrating the gap between the Vatican and Bill Donohue's version of American Catholic Fundamentalism. The whole piece is included below:

First L'Osservatore Romano, the official Vatican newspaper, ran an article giving Obama's first 100 days a tentative thumbs-up. Then, as conservative Catholics in the U.S. were wringing their hands about the horror of Barack Obama's scheduled appearance at Notre Dame, the newspaper--and the Vatican in general--was conspicuously silent. Then, when the paper did report on Obama's speech, its calm, fairly positive take was in stark contrast to the furious reaction of many conservative Catholics here.

But this takes the cake. In an interview with an Italian newspaper the day after Obama's speech, Giavonni Maria Vian, editor-in-chief of L'Osservatore Romano, seemed to forcefully push back against the view that Obama is a threat to Catholic values and religious freedom. “Obama has not upset the world,” said Vian. “His speech at Notre Dame has been respectful toward every position. He tried to engage the debate stepping out from every ideological position and outside every ‘confrontational mentality.' To this extent his speech is to be appreciated.”

After reaffirming that the Vatican newspaper shares the American bishops' staunch opposition to abortion, Vian went further. "What I want to stress is that yesterday, on this precise and very delicate issue, the President said that the approval of the new law on abortion is not a priority of his administration. The fact that he said that is very reassuring to me. It also underlines my own clear belief: Obama is not a pro-abortion president."

Uh, oh. It sounds like the Vatican newspaper "doesn't understand what it means to be Catholic."

You can follow her, as well as Joe Klein over at Swampland. Together Sullivan and Klein almost make Karen Tumulty tolerable. The feed is still worth following.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Frank Black Performs With Portland School Of Rock

h/t stereogum

Republicans Piss into the Wind and the Media Hold Their...

I haven't said anything yet about the closing of Gitmo. Mostly because while I believe it should be closed sooner rather than later, I understand the politics of it are going to be a difficult, and I won't pretend have the answers. But the Republicans fear mongering and claims that Gitmo is just like Disneyland are quite amusing. Today's comments by Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK) take the cake:

I've mentioned Inhofe before here. He's in the running with Sen. Jim Demint (R-SC) and Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) for biggest wackjobs in the Senate.

It's frustrating that the White House has allowed Republicans to control the debate. It's natural for congress feeling left high and dry to vote against funding the Gitmo closing. Dem Senators say they need a plan. After all, they're the ones who have to take this back home and the fear mongering is going to work unless the White House gets into the debate. Tomorrow is Obama's big national security speech, which Politico is already hyping as a duel with Dick Cheney's “Keeping America Safe" at the conservative American Enterprise Institute.

It's unclear how a private citizen's views on national security can compete with the President of the United States, but when you're a leaderless party Dick Cheney might be the best you've got.

Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-CA) says them to CA:

Why not? We keep the Manson Family, the Night Stalker and many other various dangerous people. We sure could use the money, after last night's ballot initiatives were trounced. All this talk of dualing almost makes me forget we had a 2+ year long presidential campaign. It's a shame Dick Cheney didn't run. Maybe then the media would ignore the guy.

h/t: ABCNews and Think Progress

DADT's Slow Crawl Toward Oblivion

Interviews like this and the Colin Powell are what separates Rachel Maddow from the others. She's not being used to her potential and it's a shame. Make sure you watch the full video if you need further proof why DADT must be revoked.

Obama sent a personal promise to repeal DADT to a soldier a couple weeks ago but the delay is ending careers now.

Mark Ambinder at the Atlantic posted what seems to be an educated hypothesis of the White House's plan:
"You can see the outline of the strategy in the administration's decision to let stand an appeals court ruling requiring the military to explain why being gay is, in itself, a reason to have fired a highly regarded lesbian Air Force major. The effect of not appealing the ruling will put the burden on the government to explain to skeptical judges why being gay is inherently incompatible with military service, something the administration (and many in the military) believe is very hard to prove, let alone justify. The hope here is that by allowing the military to make its best case -- and then seeing that case be torn apart by the courts, a critical mass of opposition to Don't Ask, Don't Tell, will build."
There's more. It's worth a read. One of Ambinder's commenters, calchala, perfectly capture my feelings on the subject.
"[I]t's a little too soon to be worried, and I'm actually a little angry at activists on this issue. We're four months in his first term and it's not ALL activists, not just gay rights ones, seem to feel that everything should be done immediately. There's still plenty of time, however, if we're coming to the fourth year of his last term and it's still not done? Then that would be pretty problematic. But right now, I don't like saying this, but chill."
h/t Huffington Post
Now playing: Etta James - At last

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Jaime Foxx Couldn't Have Done It Better

h/t Jonas Robledo on AIM

Wingnuttery Everywhere

I was pleasantly surprised with Michael Steele truth to power Republican base Mormon comments:
"[R]emember, it was the base that rejected Mitt because of his switch on pro-life, from pro-choice to pro-life. It was the base that rejected Mitt because it had issues with Mormonism. It was the base that rejected Mitch, Mitt, because they thought he was back and forth and waffling on those very economic issues you’re talking about. So, I mean, I hear what you’re saying, but before we even got to a primary vote, the base had made very clear they had issues with Mitt because if they didn’t, he would have defeated John McCain in those primaries in which he lost."
I'm not a Republican, nor am I part of either party's base, but I've been fascinated by the Evangelical movement for sometime, and Steele's comments are backed up with many conversations I had during the primaries.

Continetti doesn't mention Huntsman's Mormonism in his complaints I mentioned yesterday, but then again, Continetti is not part of the GOP base. His quest for party purity isn't based on religion affiliation. Continetti actually said something that made me a at least a little bit proud:
"The coalition that would nominate such a man (or woman!) exists, sure. In the Democratic party. Not the GOP."
That was until Oliver Willis brought this John Aravosis post to my attention:
"It doesn't matter what Huntsman now tells us. The Mormons have a tenet in their faith called "lying for the lord." It means they outright lie when asked about their church, in order to protect and promote their church. And as we've seen with their treatment of the Holocaust victims, and their absurd excuse for why they secretly baptized President Obama's mother only last year, in matters concerning their faith, they have shown that you cannot trust them at their word. Their promises come second to their faith.
If Jon Hunstman is required by God to secretly help the Mormons infiltrate China - and he is - then that is what Jon Huntsman will do as our next Ambassador to China. You can bet on it. Pity the poor Chinese. They have no idea what's about to happen to them."
These conspiratorial ideas are common place on the extremes of both parties. Aravosis is fairly mainstream in the liberal blogosphere. It's disappointing to see this from what I'd hoped would be the more tolerant edge of political discourse. Hunstman's dedication to service is tried and true. More should expected out of liberal bloggers. These are the things we'd come to expect from birthers.

h/t Oliver Willis
Now playing: Louderbach - autumn

Quote of the Day - 05.19.09

"To call [Christopher Hitchens] statements racist, or homophobic, demeans racist and homophobes. Indeed Hitchens displays something more than that--weakness. Weakness is the root of these sorts of slurs--an unwillingness to do the hard work of taking your opponents at their merits. So you name call and strawman. You mock what you don't understand, what you fear." - Ta-Nehisi Coates, Atlantic Monthly
Now playing: Wilco - Wilco the Song

Monday, May 18, 2009

Continetti Disappointing Op/ed and GOP's Diminishing Numbers

I typically like Matthew Continetti on BHTV. I've debated Continetti merits with Brendan in the comments section a couple times, but his new article in the Weekly Standard is garbage - minus one nugget of truth:
"Because an Obama-friendly moderate stands absolutely no chance of winning a Republican presidential nomination anytime soon. The coalition that would nominate such a man (or woman!) exists, sure. In the Democratic party. Not the GOP."
The Republican Party has no interest in ever moderating itself - 2016 or any time in the future. It will take several presidential elections before it even considers something o drastic. We're talking 16-years minimum.

Today TPM and WaPo both dissect a new Gallup on the ever shrinking GOP. Other than church-going Caucasians, every other demographic has left them.

By 2042 the United States will be "majority-minority," when ethnic/racial minorities will make up the majority of the population. Currently 10% of American counties are "majority-minority" and another 7% are reaching that point.

Good luck in your purification attempts, GOP. You'll be joining the Whigs soon enough.

h/t Ben Smith

A Day Late, But Still Important: Obama at Notre Dame

I just love the way he confronts these controversial topics. As Amy Sullivan at Time said, Obama deserves a certain amount of respect simply for showing up. Pro-choice politicians have been running scared from moral questions on the topic. It's nice to hear Obama take those on head-on.
h/t Balloon Juice

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Political Art at Its Finest

A fascinating collection of photo montages created in the 30s by a German ex-pat John Heartfield living in Great Britain.

h/t Andrew Sullivan

Hollywood Wants into Politics

The Terminator has hardly been a successful governor, so I'd appreciate it if the media didn't use him as a positive example of Hollywood gone politico.

Just say no to Ice Man Val Kilmer for New Mexico governor!

Sweet! White House Poetry Jam

Tonight is the White House Poetry Jam and it will be streaming at 7:45 EST despite what the White House link says. Go o click it. You'll see.

Performing will be students from American, Galludet, Georgetown, and Howard Universities.

Also performing, actor James Earl Jones and husband and wife duo, Michael Chabon, a Pulitzer-Prize winning novelist, and Ayelet Waldman.

About Damned Time

Sen. David Vitter still a shmuck, finally lifts his hold placed on the FEMA head confirmation.

I, for one, am excited about porn adult film star Stormy Daniels challenging Vitter in the LA Republican primary.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

R.I.P Chuck Daly

Rest in peace, Chuck Daly. You were the first professional coach I despised. Your "Bad Boy" Piston teams won back-to-back championships by beating down and abusing your opponents. You showed you didn't need the best athletes or players in the league to play at the highest level. I loved the Bulls and I know had it not been for your coaching and style of play the Bulls and Michael Jordan never would have excelled later.

You "coached" the first 'Dream Team' to the dominating Olympic gold, but it wasn't so much what you did in the Olympics that brought you to the pinnacle. It was your commitment to winning by any means necessary. In that sense, you were the Malcolm X of NBA coaches.

While it's true I despised you, I always respected you and your teams. Rest in peace, Coach.

Friday, May 8, 2009

White House to Honor Stonewall Rebellion

Word is that the White House is going to release a proclamation recognizing the 40th anniversary of the Stonewall Rebellion for Gay Pride month. San Francisco-based blogger Michael Petralis says:
A draft is being prepared as we speak in preparation for June. First one since 2000!

Interesting that Bill Clinton issued a presidential proclamation honoring LGBT pride month in June 2000, his last year in the Oval Office, and Obama is getting ready to put forward a similar proclamation in his first year as president.

Nice bit of progress!

I can't wait to read the Stonewall 40 proclamation from Obama in a few short weeks. And to also say, "Thanks, Mr. President."
h/t Carla Marinucci

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Rachel Maddow w/ Rep. Joe Sestak and Lt. Dan Choi

I've really enjoyed watching Sestak performance since Sen. Arlen Specter's move to the D's.

Monday, May 4, 2009

PA Senatorial Politics

A media question, so it's pretty funny watching the media ask questions about a Arlen Specter vs. Tom Ridge match up. But why would we think Ridge can get past Toomey? where are these Ridge vs. Toomey polls? Ridge is pro-choice. This just won't fly with what's left of the PA GOP. It's pretty clear the Specter vs. Ridge match up would be close, but they are basically the same candidate. Big name candidates are one thing, but this is beltway talk. Where are the reality based memes?