Saturday, July 31, 2010

"Ed Schultz Blasts Republicans for Inaction on Jobs" (with video)

golefttv, video (06:28).
Watch as Ed Schultz of MSNBC's The Ed Show assails the do-nothing Republicans in Congress for refusing to allow unemployment benefits to be extended to the 4 million people about to be without any source of income.
H/t to Darryl.

"Andy Griffith stars in Medicare ad, promotes President Barack Obama's health care law" (with video)

OTRC, with video (00:30):
Andy Griffith promotes U.S. President Barack Obama's health care law to senior citizens in a new commercial paid for by Medicare.

"This year, like always, we'll have our guaranteed benefits and with the new health care law, more good things are coming," the 84-year-old actor says in the ad, petting a yellow labrador retriever. "I think you're going to like it." MORE...
Howie P.S.: My father and brother did some writing work for "The Andy Griffith Show" and I have always thought he was a good guy.

Why I will always love Paris (2010 Version, with video and Fitzgibbon Alert)

John Aravosis (AMERICAblog) with videos:
One of the neat things about being Paris is walking. I have to admit that I was never much of a walker until I got my puppy earlier this year. And once I dropped 7 pounds as a result of our twice a day romps around the neighborhood, little Sasha had me hooked on the value of a good stroll around the block.

But walking in Paris is something entirely different than walking in Washington, DC. To wit, my walk home last night from the Marais, an old neighborhood in the center of Paris. It was around 10pm and I was about to hit the metro, but figured, why am I heading home? I had nothing to do, but still, it's early and it's Paris. So I walked. MORE...
Howie P.S.: This made me feel like being an expat all over again, just like I did in 1974. What a perfect impression of Paris Aravosis has delivered. Reader Advisory: You won't believe this but there is an ad for Joe Fitzgibbon on the bottom of this post! I must admit, that guy is hip.

Joe Bageant: "I don't like middle class people very much" (with video)

An interview with Joe Bageant, author of "Deer Hunting with Jesus" ...

Ken Smith, with video (03:13):
Joe Bageant is featured in a documentary film now in production, titled "The Kingdom of Survival", scheduled for release in November. Others in the film are Noam Chomsky, Mark Mirabello, Ramsey Kanaan, Sasha Lilley, Mike Oehler, Bob Meisenbach, and Will "The Bull" Taylor.

Writer and filmmaker M. A. Littler describes his film as a search for visions that challenge the status quo. "This is an interdisciplanary documentary combining speculative travelogue and investigative journalism in order to trace possible links between survivalism, spirituality, art, radical politics, outlaw culture, alternative media and fringe philosophy," he said.

"Contrary to the popular approach of trying to summon arguments that legitimize a pre-conceived point of view, I sought out contrary opinions ranging from the far left to the far right of the political spectrum, from the spiritual to the strictly secular and from the profound to the profane," Littler said.

"The Kingdom of Survival" circles through themes of utopianism, globalized capitalism, anarchism, intellectual and spiritual self-defense, religion and art in an investigation of physical and psychological survival strategies practiced by groups and individuals in a conflict-ridden and confused post-modern world. The film is a production of Slowboat Films .

Friday, July 30, 2010

"Chris Matthews Retapes Sherrod Segment For 7PM Hardball Rerun After 5PM Flap" (with video)

MEDIAite, with video:
Today on MSNBC’s Hardball, Chris Matthews tried to debate Salon’s Joan Walsh and former Gov. Howard Dean that Andrew Breitbart’s version of the controversial Shirley Sherrod speech was completely unedited. Considering there were about 35 minutes missing from that tape, this was wrong for obvious reasons. But if you caught the 7PM rerun, you wouldn’t have seen that, because Hardball retaped the segment, this time with Matthews admitting the Breitbart version was incomplete. MORE..with the video in question.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

"President Obama on The View" (video)

GivePeaceAChance2009: video, Part 1 (05:47). This Week With Barack Obama has Parts 2-5.

The Stranger/Slog REALLY, REALLY Likes Joe Fitzgibbon

JOE FITZGIBBON JOE FITZGIBBON JOE FITZGIBBON: Tonight presents another opportunity to toast the dreamy 34th District challenger (he's even hotter with whiskey breath). Go see him, maybe even listen to what he's saying, but definitely see him. (Moe Bar, 925 E Pike Street, (Thursday) 6:00 to 8:00 p.m., 21+)


Spend a quiet evening at home recovering from this, IF YOU CAN:


And here's The Stranger's wonkier version:

Two words about this election: Joe Fitzgibbon.

Joe Fitzgibbon is running for 34th District Representative. So if you live in his West Seattle district, vote for him. If you don't live in his district, move there, vote for him, and join the Stranger Election Control Board (SECB) in stalking him.


AND their MOST wonkier version:
State Representative, Position 2
Joe Fitzgibbon

There is no hotter race in Seattle this summer than the race to be the next state representative from West Seattle, and there is no hotter candidate in that race than Joe Fitzgibbon. That's right, we're not ashamed to say it. Because it is, inarguably, a TRUE FACT. Just look at his action shots. (What's the difference between acne and a Catholic priest? Acne comes on a boy's face after he turns 12.)

Howie P.S.: I'm voting for Marcee Stone. Check out her endorsements on the "About Marcee" button. My pal Kirk Prindle likes Mike Heavey (cool website). Go figure. If Joe wins, The Stranger/SLOG gets another notch on their political gunbelt. Oh, and PubliCola endorsed Joe, 2.

Reich: "The Final Lesson of BP"

Robert Reich:
BP is starting over. It just named a new American president and its finances are looking up. BP’s second-quarter report showed surprisingly strong revenues of $75.9 billion, beating Wall Street’s estimates. (This includes a $32.2 billion writedown along with the $20 billion liability fund that the Obama Administration wanted.) The company has started to sell $30 billion of its assets to ensure it has all the money it needs to pay any liability claims. No wonder several Wall Street analysts are suggesting BP stock as a terrific buy.

It doesn’t seem to matter BP was responsible for the worst environmental disaster in American history. Consumers worldwide – including Americans – continue to slurp up its oil.

But wait a minute. If BP emerges from this debacle fatter and happier than anyone imagined a few months ago, whatever happened to the idea of corporate accountability? Does this mean any giant corporation can wreak havoc and then get back to business as usual? MORE...
Howie P.S.: If Nate Silver is right, it might become even more difficult for Congress to pass laws that get "corporations to act differently."

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

"Howard Dean Fires Back At Fox News’ Response To Racism Accusation" (with audio)

MEDIAite with audio from The Young Turks (04:46):
Former Governor Howard Dean drew a characteristic rebuke from Fox News’ Michael Clemente when he accused the network of “absolutely racist” coverage of the Shirley Sherrod story. Clemente called Dean a “failed candidate” who “blame(s) Fox for almost anything.”

Speaking to Dylan Ratigan fill-in and Young Turks host Cenk Uygur, Dean stood by his comments, and dismissed Clemente’s criticism, while Cenk noted the long roster of “failed candidates” who populate Fox’s air. (h/t Aaron Wysocki)

I also thought it was interesting that a network with Sarah Palin as a contributor would describe an opponent as a “failed candidate,” especially when you consider that Dean was the architect of the 50 state strategy that helped to defeat Palin’s vice-presidential bid. Also, Dean did finish his full term as governor. Actually, he finished five full terms.

I don’t think the fact that Shirley Sherrod resigned before Fox News ever aired the story factors into Dean’s criticism, which was of the way Fox personalities like Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity covered the story. As Steve Krakauer pointed out, CNN reported on the edited tape Monday night, too, but none with the gusto of Fox’s opinion shows.

Dean’s argument doesn’t rest on the Shirley Sherrod story alone, either. Whether or not you agree with Dean that there’s a pattern of racism, it is upon this foundation that Dean’s argument rests, and not simply whether Fox had a hand in Sherrod’s resignation.

"Rep. McDermott Statement on Voting Against Supplemental Appropriations Bill"

Jim McDermott:
Today, Rep. Jim McDermott issued the following statement outlining his reasons for voting against the supplemental appropriations bill:

“It doesn’t matter if we commit 30,000 or 300,000 additional troops, I do not believe the U.S. military alone can bring about the change necessary to stabilize Afghanistan. American troops have now been in Afghanistan for nearly a decade and have been doing a magnificent job of what’s being asked of them. But U.S. and NATO forces are not equipped to solve the kinds of problems facing the nation. I believe that if we really want to help the Afghan people form a functioning government that serves its people and respects human rights, we must do it with additional aid and support—not with more troops.

“After spending nearly $350 billion on this war, I have not seen nearly enough progress and will not support simply intensifying an approach that has produced few results. The responsibility for building a stable Afghanistan ultimately lies with the Afghan people, and we must pursue a much broader and more comprehensive strategy to support them. While this appropriations bill contained funding for several programs that I steadfastly support, I cannot in good conscience vote to send soldier after soldier into a battle I do not believe we can ever win.”

WikiLeaks Founder Julian Assange: "Transparent Government Tends to Produce Just Government" (with audio/video)

Democracy Now! with audio/video:
We spend the hour with Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, talking about the biggest leak in U.S. history: the release of more than 91,000 classified military records on the war in Afghanistan. As the Pentagon announces it is launching a criminal probe into who leaked the documents, Assange asks what about investigating the "war crimes" revealed in the leaked military records? He also talks about the media, why he isn’t coming to the U.S. anytime soon and what gives him hope. "What keeps us going is our sources. These are the people, presumably, who are inside these organizations, who want change," Assange says. "They are both heroic figures taking much greater risks than I ever do, and they are pushing and showing that they want change in, in fact, an extremely effective way."

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Meet Elizabeth Warren (with video)

The New Yorker, with video (18:13):
James Surowiecki spoke with Elizabeth Warren, a professor at Harvard Law School and the chair of the Congressional Oversight Panel for the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), about the importance of transparency in consumer financing, the future of the regulatory system, and what’s good about capitalism. They met in Washington, D.C., on November 5th, (2009).

"The War Funding Vote: A Credit Card for War, But No Cash for Teachers"

Raul Grijalva's Diary on Kos:
Once again, war is being paid for with a credit card while investments in our children’s future are tossed aside. These investments – $10 billion for teacher jobs, $1 billion for summer youth employment, $5 billion for Pell grants, $701 million for border security – were cut from the war funding bill coming to the House floor despite being fully paid for and not adding to the budget deficit. They have been jettisoned in favor of further borrowed war spending. Today’s bill doesn’t include anything to maintain first responder, police or firefighter positions despite the dramatic need for those jobs in every community in America. We believe this is fiscal insanity and a moral tragedy. MORE...
Howie P.S.: Here's more bad news:
Only 102 Democrats joined a dozen Republicans and the war money passed, 308-114.

"Pete Seeger Debuts New BP Protest Song" (with video)

RollingStone, with video with video (06:28):
Pete Seeger may be 91 years old, but the iconic folk singer still has plenty to protest. On Friday night at New York's City Winery, Seeger debuted a new song he wrote about the disastrous BP oil spill as part of a fundraising concert for the Gulf Restoration Network and Global Green USA . "It's a strange, strange song," said Seeger about the new tune, which featured a simple finger-picked chord progression and gravelly ominous lyrics like, "When the drill baby drill turns to spill baby spill/God's counting on me/God's counting on you." Check out video of "God's Counting on Me, God's Counting on You" above. MORE...
Howie P.S.: H/t to Linda Lax Jacobs. Before the blogosphere, there was the folk music protest "movement" and Pete Seeger was its Godfather.

Schumer on DISCLOSE failure: "We're going to keep at it, keep at it, and keep at it, and I believe we will win."

Greg Sargent:

U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer (D-NY) released the following statement Tuesday after Senate Republicans mounted a filibuster against the DISCLOSE Act, which would blunt the worst impacts from the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision earlier this year:

"The vote was disappointing but not unexpected. There was huge pressure on every Republican to vote the other way. I think a good number of them, in their hearts, knew we were right. The message we have is, this is the first battle, but not the end of the war. This issue is so important and the public is so strongly on our side that we dare not give up. We will keep fighting and fighting and fighting until this passes - until we get that one courageous Republican to say, 'I am going to put what's good for the nation first,' and not play politics.

"The elections this fall, if this doesn't change, will be so different than elections we've had in the past. We feel there is almost a moral imperative to pass this legislation. It is constitutional and it is within the ambit of what the Court not only allowed, but endorsed. We can't delay a day. I fear for the future of our democracy because if this decision is allowed to continue, the average citizen will feel more and more removed from government. We're going to keep at it, keep at it, and keep at it, and I believe we will win."

Obama will visit Washington state to stump for Patty Murray

Barack Obama supporters, from left, Antjelina Newman, 17, Yuku Huang, 19, and Jessica Peterson show support with chalk while in line outside of Key Arena to see the Democratic candidate speak in Seattle on Friday (February 8, 2008).
Joel Connelly (
President Obama will visit the Puget Sound area next month to talk about the economy and headline a fundraiser for Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., an administration ally locked in what she describes as a close reelection race.

A White House spokesman would not give a date, but Murray campaign spokeswoman Julie Edwards indicated the visit will be August 17. MORE...

3 Dems, 1 Seat in West Seattle: "The Race For District 34" (audio)

KUOW with audio:
Three candidates are vying for the 34th District State House seat, which includes West Seattle, White Center and Burien. We'll meet the candidates.


Marcee Stone is a legal secretary and campaign finance activist.

Joe Fitzgibbon is chair of the Burien Planning Commission.

Mike Heavey is an aide to King County Councilmember Jan Drago.

BREAKING..."AFL-CIO Officially Opposing Senate's DISCLOSE Act"

Sam Stein (HuffPo):
One of the country's largest and most powerful union groups is formally opposing new campaign finance laws being pushed in the Senate, calling the bill noble in spirit but "onerous" and overbearing in its requirements. MORE...

"Sen. Franken to the Netroots: Only You Can Stop the Corporate Takeover of Free Speech" (with video)

Timothy Karr (Daily Kos) with video (10:58):
Over the weekend, Sen. Al Franken (D.-Minn.) made the corporate takeover of our media, and the government's acquiescence to these corporations, frighteningly clear.

Franken told more than 2,000 bloggers and organizers attending the Netroots Nation conference in Las Vegas that our media system is at risk everywhere we turn - from our free speech online to the growing power of companies who own a massive number of media outlets. MORE...

Howie P.S.: More video of Franken's remarks here (scroll down) @ Crooks and Liars from MOXNEWS. Lawrence Lewis pulls the camera back for The Big Picture:
Your government is owned, and unless you're a wealthy corporate person, it's not owned by you.

Monday, July 26, 2010

"Afghanistan war logs: How US marines sanitised record of bloodbath"

The site of a suicide bomb which was followed by civilian deaths as US marines escaped. Photograph: Noorullah/EPA

Brevity is the hallmark of military reporting, but even by those standards the description of one disastrous event is remarkably short: "The patrol returned to base."

It started with a suicide bomb. On 4 March 2007 a convoy of US marines, who arrived in Afghanistan three weeks earlier, were hit by an explosives-rigged minivan outside the city of Jalalabad.

The marines made a frenzied escape, opening fire with automatic weapons as they tore down a six-mile stretch of highway, hitting almost anyone in their way – teenage girls in fields, motorists in their cars, old men as they walked along the road. Nineteen unarmed civilians were killed and 50 wounded. MORE...

Howie P.S.: H/t to Glenn Greenwald who comments:
These are the kinds of stories the WikiLeaks documents enable - decide for yourself if they're worthwhile.

"Top 5 Tweets Netroots Nation July 23, 2010" (video)

NetrootsNationVideo, video (02:00):
The top five tweeted quotes from the first day of Netroots Nation 2010 - Mathew Hoh, Van Jones, Pam Karlan, Tim Wise.

Democracy Now! Covers the Afghan WikiLeaks Data Dump (with audio/video)

Democracy Now! with audio/video:
It’s one of the biggest leaks in US military history. More than 90,000 internal records of US military actions in Afghanistan over the past six years have been published by the whistleblower website WikiLeaks. The documents provide a devastating portrait of the war in Afghanistan, revealing how coalition forces have killed hundreds of civilians in unreported incidents, how a secret black ops special forces unit hunts down targets for assassination or detention without trial, how Taliban attacks have soared and how Pakistan is fueling the insurgency. We host a roundtable discussion with independent British journalist Stephen Grey, Pentagon Papers whistleblower, Daniel Ellsberg, former State Department official in Afghanistan, Matthew Hoh, independent journalist Rick Rowley and investigative historian Gareth Porter.

Yglesias: "political activists do not live on policy accomplishments alone"

Matthew Yglesias:

The annual Netroots Network summit of progressives should be an occasion for celebrating Obama’s achievements. Matthew Yglesias on why the left is slumping—and how to lift its spirits.

"'Netroots' disappointed in Obama, but want him to succeed"

David Lightman (McClatchy):
The netroots, the liberal Democrats who've been instrumental in making the Internet an important political tool, are disappointed in President Barack Obama.

While the left is hardly abandoning a man they helped elect, the 2,000 Democratic bloggers, activists and organizers who wrapped up four days of Netroots Nation meetings at the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino Sunday are sending him a message: It could be harder to generate the kind of passion in this November’s congressional elections that was so crucial to his 2008 victory.

"A lot of people woke up every day in 2008 and asked, 'What can I do to get Obama elected?' " said Adam Green, a co-founder of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee. "We want him to succeed, but unfortunately what we've seen so far is an unwillingness to truly fight the powerful interests. MORE...

Sunday, July 25, 2010

David Horsey: "Beltway Chicken Littles"

David Horsey (

Dowd: "You’ll Never Believe What This White House Is Missing"

Maureen Dowd (NY Times-op-ed):
The Obama White House is too white.

It has Barack Obama, raised in the Hawaiian hood and Indonesia, and Valerie Jarrett, who spent her early years in Iran.

But unlike Bill Clinton, who never needed help fathoming Southern black culture, Obama lacks advisers who are descended from the central African-American experience, ones who understand “the slave thing,” as a top black Democrat dryly puts it.

The first black president should expand beyond his campaign security blanket, the smug cordon of overprotective white guys surrounding him — a long political tradition underscored by Geraldine Ferraro in 1984 when she complained about the “smart-ass white boys” from Walter Mondale’s campaign who tried to boss her around. MORE...
Howie P.S.: As I have written elsewhere (more politely) Rahm (for example) is the ultimate cocky white-guy. In almost six years of posting on this site, I have never linked to Ms. Dowd before.

Greenwald: "The WikiLeaks Afghanistan leak"

Glenn Greenwald:
The most consequential news item of the week will obviously be -- or at least should be -- the massive new leak by WikiLeaks of 90,000 pages of classified material chronicling the truth about the war in Afghanistan from 2004 through 2009. Those documents provide what The New York Times calls "an unvarnished, ground-level picture of the war in Afghanistan that is in many respects more grim than the official portrayal." The Guardian describes the documents as "a devastating portrait of the failing war in Afghanistan, revealing how coalition forces have killed hundreds of civilians in unreported incidents, Taliban attacks have soared and Nato commanders fear neighbouring Pakistan and Iran are fueling the insurgency." MORE...

"Reclaiming the Democratic Majority–Progressive Activists Organize to Change Democrats in Congress" (video)

Democracy Now! with video:
Many progressives helped to elect Democratic majorities in Congress in 2006 and 2008 and helped Obama win the presidency. But with the Democrats in power, the feeling now among many grassroots activists is that most Democratic lawmakers have not acted on behalf of their progressive constituencies. We speak with two progressive activists: Ilyse Hogue of MoveOn.Org, and Adam Green, co-founder of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee. [includes rush transcript]

Updated with video: "Howard Dean Calls Fox News 'Absolutely Racist' For Handling Of Shirley Sherrod Controversy"

UPDATE: As promised, scroll down for video (07:19).

Former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean took direct aim at Fox News for it's involvement in the Shirley Sherrod racism flap, calling their coverage "absolutely racist."

Dean, the former Democratic National Committee chairman, offered his candid assessment in an appearance on "Fox News Sunday" in which he criticized the cable network for being complicit in the controversy.

"Fox News did something that was absolutely racist," Dean said. "They had an obligation to find out what was really in the clip. They had been pushing a theme of black racism with this phony Black Panther crap and this business and this Sotomayor and all this other stuff." MORE...
Howie P.S.: Certainly not a startling revelation, but I can't help having admiration for Howard's "direct aim." Rest assured that if I ever locate this video, it will appear here.

Scientific American: "By 2050 solar power could end U.S. dependence on foreign oil and slash greenhouse gas emissions"

Scientific American:
A massive switch from coal, oil, natural gas and nuclear power plants to solar power plants could supply 69 percent of the U.S.’s electricity and 35 percent of its total energy by 2050.
  • A vast area of photovoltaic cells would have to be erected in the Southwest. Excess daytime energy would be stored as compressed air in underground caverns to be tapped during nighttime hours.
  • Large solar concentrator power plants would be built as well.
  • A new direct-current power transmission backbone would deliver solar electricity across the country.
  • But $420 billion in subsidies from 2011 to 2050 would be required to fund the infrastructure and make it cost-competitive.

—The Editors

Howie P.S.: Would you be surprised to learn that this article appeared on December 16, 2007? The cost estimate above is well below our expenditures in Iraq and Afghanistan. We'll have to wait and see if that Return On Investment pencils out, but I have already reached my own conclusion.

Our US Tax Dollars @Work: "War crimes in Iraq"

Scene of the crime: A neighbour returns to the house where he found the still-smoking body of 14-year-old Abeer, along with those of her parents and younger sister. Photograph: AP Photo/Ali al-Mahmouri

In March 2006, four US soldiers, strung out after months in the deadly battleground south of Baghdad, hatched a plan: to carry out one of the worst war crimes ever committed in Iraq. MORE...
Howie P.S.: According to the Google, a search of the soldiers' names mentioned in this story reveals not that one word of this particular incident has seen the light of day in the USA, to date.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Amy Goodman and Ari Melber From NN10 (with video)

"Amy Goodman on CNN from Las Vegas, Nevada," video (06:23).

Ari Melber--"Discharged Gay Veteran Confronts Reid at Blogger Summit":
“I wish things were as bad for progressives as progressives think they are.”

That was one epiphany for Phillip Klein, a conservative writer for the American Spectator, after palling around with liberal bloggers for several days at the fifth annual Netroots Nation in Las Vegas this weekend. Klein was marveling at the melancholy suffusing the conference, given the Obama administration’s undeniable legislative accomplishments to date. The health care bill “alone,” he said, “is more than any liberal has passed since LBJ.”

Now Klein could just be, in web parlance, concern-trolling for his political opponents. But his view coincides neatly with several of the political heavyweights who spoke at keynote sessions of the conference, when most of the 2,100 attendees gathered in a cavernous Vegas ballroom flanked by dark curtains studded with glow-in-the-dark stars. The flashy digs hosted Democratic Congressional leaders Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi, and liberal heavyweights like Elizabeth Warren, Al Franken, Van Jones, Richard Trumka, Majora Carter and Markos Moulitsas, who founded the blog that first spawned the conference. MORE...

AP Covers NN10: "Democrats wary of motivation problem with liberals"

David Fox, an Army veteran, at home in Montana. He uses medical marijuana to help quiet the pain from neuropathy
Michael R. Blood (AP):
The Democratic Party has a motivation problem.

Party officials acknowledged low morale within their left wing and urged liberal bloggers and activists Friday to keep faith with President Barack Obama in an election year as Democrats brace for losses in Congress.

"We need to find a way to get our voters really engaged in this election," Democratic National Committee executive director Jennifer O'Malley Dillon said at the annual Netroots Nation convention. "It's more important, every single day, to know what's at stake

Jon Vogel, executive director of the Democratic House campaign organization, predicted Democratic voters would get energized when they focus on what Republican gains would mean for the Democratic agenda.

"You start to educate folks as to differences in candidates, the enthusiasm gap certainly will close," Vogel said.

Liberals who helped put Obama in the White House in 2008 are disillusioned over the ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, slow movement on gay rights and the failure to create a government-run insurance option in the health care overhaul.

The racially tinged furor surrounding the ouster of Agriculture Department official Shirley Sherrod, who was forced to resign but later received a personal apology and job offer from Obama, left many feeling the White House was manipulated by the conservative media.

"People are in a down mood," said Michael Lux, who heads Progressive Strategies, a Washington-based consulting firm. MORE...
Howie P.S.: Meanwhile, a dash of good news from the NY Times: "V.A. Easing Rules for Users of Medical Marijuana." (see photo above)

Maddow on FAUX on Sherrod: "Omission Accomplished" (with video)

aafagh, with video from MSNBC-Rachel Maddow, (07:35).

Howie P.S.: H/t to the amazing Darryl. For historians present and future, MediaMatters has the "Timeline of Breitbart's Sherrod smear."

Friday, July 23, 2010

"Van Jones To Netroots: Quit Beating Up On Obama" (with video)

TPM, with video (63:36):
Las Vegas -- Former White House green jobs "czar" Van Jones told progressive activists and bloggers today that, rather than bash President Obama for not changing the country as fast as they'd thought, they should maintain hope and help him with his agenda.

"I can't stand it. President Obama volunteered to be the captain of the Titanic after it hit the iceberg," Jones said at Netroots Nation while being interviewed by journalist Ari Melber of The Nation. (Follow our live coverage here.) MORE...

Ed Schultz: "The White House Just Can't Stand Up To Fox News, Can They?" (video)

MSNBC-Ed Schultz, video (13:07).

Howie P.S.: Here's a shorter version that ED delivered last night @ NN10, video (02:03), and the story from TPM, "Ed Schultz Slams White House As Afraid Of Fox News."
Obama was interviewed on ABC: "Obama Reflects On Race After Shirley Sherrod Flap: 'We All Have Our Own Biases' (VIDEO)." The Daily Beast has "Sherrod's Brilliant Media Play:"
How an unknown government official regained control of a runaway narrative, and forced apologies from Bill O’Reilly and Barack Obama, by telling the truth.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Ari Melber: "White and Black Liberals Have "The Talk" at Netroots Conference"

Ari Melber:
The fifth annual Netroots Nation kicked off in Las Vegas on Thursday, as liberal bloggers and activists gathered to organize and assess an Obama administration that continues to disappoint key planks of the Left. One of the first panels, scheduled months ago, could have been ripped from today’s headlines about Shirley Sherrod: “Fighting the Right Wing with Racial Justice.”

James Rucker, the cofounder of a netroots civil rights organization, told attendees that media personalities like Glenn Beck had to be “undressed” and combated in a platform that they don’t actually control. Rucker lamented that racial provocateurs like Andrew Breitbart, who does submit to interviews with traditional journalists, manage to get free press while escaping factual accountability.

An early, unscientific sampling of liberal conference attendees suggested a sour mood for the politics of the day. Across the hallways of The Rio, a bright, off-strip hotel that is budget but clean, people seemed pretty fed up with the entire Sherrod imbroglio. While the administration’s mistreatment of Sherrod does not meet the scale of foreign policy or financial reform, of course, the rushed, reflexive capitulation to disingenuous opponents dovetails with a caricature of Obama’s governing playbook, at least among some progressives.

Back in the racial justice panel, several speakers cast the Sherrod attack as politics as usual in the Obama age.

Rich Benjamin, who traveled through some of the most concentrated Caucasian neighborhoods in America for his book “Whitopia,” proposed that racial tension lurked behind many of the domestic policy debates of the Obama era. “The health care debate was explicitly about race,” he said, stressing how Joe Willson’s “You Lie” outburst focused on tapping anger towards the false fear that the government would fund health care for minority immigrants. (Benjamin is a friend of mine, by the way.)

And all the panelists agreed that there is scant space for a genuine “national conversation” on race right now.

“White liberals are afraid to death,” Rucker contended, to have frank conversations about resilient racial divisions in America.

Another panelist echoed Eric Holder’s supposedly controversial observation that America shies away from racial dialogue. Tammy Johnson, a community organizer with the Applied Research Center, declared that today’s leaders, and Obama by implication, do not have the guts to address race head-on.

One conference attendee pushed back on those sentiments, however, during the question and answer session.

Davey D, a disc jockey for Hard Knock Radio, stressed that many people and potential leaders talk about race in substantive ways -- they simply do not garner mainstream media coverage. And the whole point of building a new media structure, he reminded fellow activists, was to cover and amplify new voices, not to lament the status quo.

If everyone had already forgotten that, he stressed, then “it’s time to have a conversation with yourself.”

NN10: "Follow along at home!"

Netroots Nation:
If you can't make it to Netroots Nation this year, there are a number of ways you can follow along at home.

Each year Netroots Nation has a strong presence on Twitter. Last year the #NN09 hashtag was a trending topic for three days. Many sessions are taking live feedback from the Twitter stream; speakers often post presentations and video there; and you can generally stay up to date on all the action. Follow Netroots Nation on Twitter and check out the #NN10 hashtag.

You can also gain some great insights on the event and get behind-the-scenes information from Netroots Nation staff. Follow @ravenb @nolan @merickles @etinkc @navi_ganancial @karenkolber and staff photographers @macaby @sterno.

We're streaming all of our keynote sessions and six of our panel rooms live each day of the convention. You'll find these streams on both Daily Kos and The Huffington Post. You can also watch on directly or get the embed codes and host the streams on your own blog.

Race, Partisan Politics, Shirley Sherrod and Barack Obama (with video)

Greg Sargent:
* Is "race" the problem? The emerging media consensus this morning on the Shirley Sherrod mess is that it proves race remains a "stumbling block" for Obama. Few, however, seem willing to explain why this is the case, or who it is that's trying to ensure that race continues to trip up the president.

But Eugene Robinson cuts through the B.S. and spells out what's really going on here, arguing that the Sherrod tale "has fully exposed the right-wing campaign to use racial fear to destroy Obama's presidency."

"A cynical right-wing propaganda machine is peddling the poisonous fiction that when African Americans or other minorities reach positions of power, they seek some kind of revenge against whites," Robinson writes.


* Is "partisan media" the problem? Also: You'll be hearing a lot of people blaming "partisan" media on both sides for the current state of affairs. Here, for instance, is Politico's Jim VandeHei:

"It speaks to a much broader problem in the media-activist industrial complex, if you will, and I think it's a problem that's going to get worse: There's been this proliferation of partisan media -- whether it's MSNBC and Fox at night, or it's Breitbart on the right or Huffington Post on the left -- there's just a huge incentive for people to engage in real tough combat, and to overreact."

This strikes me as a false equivalence. I think it's fair to ask folks wringing their hands about "partisan media" to take a stand on whether MSNBC and HuffPo are even remotely comparable to Breitbart and Fox in their willingness to cook the facts and engage in full blown political crusades. The problem is not "partisan media." It's Breitbart and Fox. Period. MORE...

Shirley Sherrod: 'I Can't Say That the President Is Fully Behind Me' (George Stephanopoulos):
In my interview coming up on "GMA," Shirley Sherrod says that she’s not ready to accept Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack’s job offer. She wants to hear more from the Secretary and his boss – President Obama.

“I can’t say that the President is fully behind me,” Sherrod told me. “I would hope that he is…I would love to talk to him.”

Sherrod wants to be convinced that the President and his whole team are fully committed to fighting discrimination against African American farmers.
"Scaring white people for fun and profit" (MaddowBlog, with video-12:15):
Fox News has run with a few different stories this year that they really pushed all on their own. They weren't mainstream news stories -- they weren't even news, really. They were Fox agenda items, all following a very, very similar narrative. There was the Van Jones controversy, with Fox morphing the president's renewable-energy policy expert into an ex-con who served time after the Rodney King race riots -- not true. The other great Fox News crusade of the past year was against ACORN, an almost all-minority community organizing group which Fox characterized as stealing taxpayer money and an election. More recently, Fox News has crusaded against the New Black Panther Party, after video surfaced of two wackjob blacks at a polling station during the 2008 election. The Bush Justice Department investigated and found that the wackjobs hadn't intimidated voters that day, and Fox News has continued running the same footage over and over and over again.

The message? They're coming for you, white people. They're coming for you. Black people are coming for you, to take what's yours. MORE...

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Politico: "Obama, cable chatter & liberal fury"

Jonathan Martin (Politico):
“It's always been a bit of a conundrum reconciling Obama the campaigner and Obama the president,” said liberal blogger John Aravosis. “The former was a maverick, the latter tries far too hard not to rock the boat.”

“The administration has enabled the Republicans, and all their political opponents, including conservative Democrats. far too often. They didn't pass a big enough stimulus because the Republicans objected. They didn't push for the public option because the Republicans, and conservative Democrats, objected. They didn't go for a full repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell because Republican appointee Secretary [Robert] Gates objected.”

Added Aravosis: “In politics, yes, sometimes you have to cut your losses and dismiss employees who get involved in too-high-profile a scandal, regardless of the merits. But far too often, President Obama seems to cut his losses, on personnel and policy, whenever the Republicans say boo. I have no idea why he doesn't show more backbone, but a lot of Obama supporters, myself included, wish he would.” MORE...
Howie P.S.: JMart has now updated this posting with quotes from Ari Melber, Markos and Peter Daou

Maddow on Sherrod: "Fox News fabrication works again" (video)

MSNBC-Rachel Maddow, video (13:45).

Howie P.S.: Even Glenn Beck says,"Give Her Job Back" (with video).

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Jim McDermott on Hardball on the Unemployment Insurance Bill (video)

MSNBC=Hardball, video (05:07).

NAACP on Sherrod: We were "snookered" (with video)

Greg Sargent:
Just amazing. The NAACP, in its statement just now, says it has reviewed the full tape and admits that they were "snookered" by Breitbart and Fox News into believing that Sherrod had withheld help from the white farmer for racial reasons. MORE...
Howie P.S.: Full video and commentary from TPMMuckraker of Sherrod talking to the Coffee County NAACP here.

Sensible Washington: "State-wide volunteer meeting Saturday July 17" (video)

Sensible Washington, with video, (09:10) from sensiblewhatcom.

Howie P.S.: Don Skakie speaks about reorganization to the 50 volunteers who participated. More video here.

Greenwald: "Who knew?---Cause and effect in the War on Terror"

Glenn Greenwald:
Britain, unlike the U.S., is currently in the process of Looking Backward, Not Forward, as they investigate both the events that led them to the attack on Iraq as well as their involvement in America's torture regime.
British Muslims became "radicalized" and "swamped" that country with Terrorist plots only after watching the Government attack two separate Muslim nations. Add to that things like lawless detentions, Guantanamo, a torture regime, attacks in places like Somalia, Pakistan, Yemen and others -- all on top of two occupations in the Muslim world that will extend for a full decade at least -- and only the densest among us (or those who actively desire high levels of Terrorism threats for their own interests) will fail to see how the very policies justified in the name of fighting Terrorism are the ones most exacerbating that problem. MORE...

Monday, July 19, 2010

Jim McDermott Ranked 10th "most progressive" Member of The House

Here are the ten most progressive members of the House of Representatives (as measured by lifetime Progressive Punch scores on crucial votes):

    1. Grijalva, Raul D AZ-7
    2. Schakowsky, Jan D IL-9
    3. Baldwin, Tammy D WI-2
    4. Edwards, Donna D MD-4
    5. Sánchez, Linda D CA-39
    6. Olver, John D MA-1
    7. Conyers, John D MI-14
    8. Lee, Barbara D CA-9
    9. Payne, Donald D NJ-10
    10. McDermott, Jim D WA-7

"Social Security Under Attack: Cuts Proposed, Higher Retirement Age Suggested" (with audio/video)

Democracy Now! with audio/video. (14:40):
The attacks on Social Security have steadily intensified in the past few months. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer recently called for a higher retirement age and House Minority leader John Boehner suggested raising the retirement age to 70. Meanwhile, President Obama’s bipartisan 18-member commission dealing with the nation’s public debt is due to come out with a report in November that is expected to recommend cuts to Social Security. We speak with Dean Baker of the Center for Economic and Policy Research.

Updated--"BP valve probably causing leakage"

UPDATE: "Feds let BP keep Gulf oil cap closed despite seep." (AP).

Chris in Paris (AMERICAblog):
The concern with the latest BP attempt to stop the massive leak has been that the pressure of shutting well down could force the sea floor to rupture and create an even larger problem. Observers had been closely following the valve pressure which would indicate whether or not there was a leak elsewhere. It now sounds as though US officials were not seeing enough pressure in the valve which suggests a leak somewhere else. If the well starts leaking elsewhere that could become a substantial problem. Opening new leaks beyond the well will be difficult to shut down. After the painful start to this disaster by the US government, it is good to see them paying more attention and finally, giving orders. BBC:
BP had hoped the cap could stay in place until relief wells stop the leak for good.

But with pressure readings from within the well lower than expected, scientists had raised concerns that oil could leaking into the surrounding undersea bedrock.

And in a letter to BP chief managing director Bob Dudley, Admiral Allen said: "Given the current observations... including the detected seep a distance from the well and undetermined anomalies at the well head, monitoring of the seabed is of paramount importance...

"I direct you to provide me a written procedure for opening the choke valve as quickly as possible without damaging the well should hydrocarbon seepage near the well head be confirmed."

"The Real Reason Geithner Is Afraid of Elizabeth Warren"

John R. Talbott:
As reported on HuffPost last week, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner has expressed opposition to the possible nomination of Elizabeth Warren to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, according to a source with knowledge of Geithner's views.

One can assume that Geithner, being very close to the nation's biggest banks, is concerned that Warren, if chosen, will exercise her new policing and enforcement powers to restrict those abusive practices at our commercial banks that have been harmful to consumers and depositors.

But this is not the only reason that Geithner is opposed to Warren's nomination. I believe Geithner sees the appointment of Elizabeth Warren as a threat to the very scheme he has utilized to date to hide bank losses, thus keeping the banks solvent and out of bankruptcy court and their existing management teams employed and well-paid. MORE...

Howie P.S.: Who is John R. Talbott?

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Robert Reich: "The New Finance Bill: A Mountain of Legislative Paper, a Molehill of Reform"

Robert Reich:
Congress has labored mightily to produce a mountain of legislation that can be called financial reform, but it has produced a molehill relative to the wreckage Wall Street wreaked upon the nation.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Maddow: "The hard choice in Afghanistan" (with video)

Rachel Maddow with video from MSNBC (09:27)
The consequences of there not being a real Afghan government are probably dire. Our desire for there to be a real Afghan government is strong and rational. But us just wanting it to be so does not mean that we are capable of making it so. To me, it seems likely that nothing we can do -- nothing within our power as the United States of America -- will result in there being a real Afghan government. Our presence there may in fact make that outcome less likely.

What government can grow to full strength and legitimacy with a foreign military on its soil?

What hope is there for the government to supersede the warlords and drug lords and powerbrokers it competes with if the billions of dollars a month our military presence drags behind it like cans off newlyweds' car bumpers get funneled to those same thugs the government's competing with?

What better way for us to recruit for and romanticize the Taliban cause than to give them 10 years of armor-clad infidel foreigners on their land, to inveigh against and to attack? A real Afghan government is the outcome we want for us and for the Afghan people. It is practically inarguable as a desired outcome. But whether or not that outcome is achieved is not really up to us. MORE...
Howie P.S.: Our Congressman appears to agree: "McDermott Breaks with Dems, Obama on War. Again" (Publicola).

Friday, July 16, 2010

"Rebecca Traister & Hendrik Hertzberg: Pain & Politics" (GRITtv-video)

GRITtv, video:
Every day, the story changes. Sarah Palin's the leader of the Republican party--except that she can't raise money. Eliot Spitzer is a disgrace (but has a TV show), and David Vitter can run for reelection on a "family values" platform. The NAACP wants the Tea Party movement to declare itself not racist, and suddenly the NAACP is racist. And we can't even get started on the BP disaster--mostly because BP won't let reporters near the scene of the crime.

Who can make any sense out of all this? Thankfully, we have expert political observers Rebecca Traister of and Hendrik Hertzberg of The New Yorker join us in studio to try.
Howie P.S.: Here's Hertzberg's latest New Yorker oeuvre: "Tea Party Poop." Hertzberg and I hung out a little bit, on and off, back in the 20th Century.

Matt Taibbi on the Goldman Sachs Settlement (video)

Democracy Now! with video:
Goldman Sachs has agreed to pay $550 million to resolve a civil fraud lawsuit over selling a mortgage investment that was established to fail. While the SEC hailed the $550 million settlement as the largest in Wall Street history, many outside analysts questioned why the government didn’t demand more. Investors responded favorably as Goldman Sachs shares jumped by 5 percent in late trading, adding far more to the firm’s market value than the amount it will have to pay in the settlement. We speak to Matt Taibbi of Rolling Stone.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Digby Reax to Politico on Obama

Digby (Hullabaloo):
Which brings us to the real problem for Obama among all Americans, not just his base, which is his neo-liberal economic policy and the often dry New Democrat political rhetoric that enables it. It does not surprise me much because he signaled early on in the campaign that he was going to govern like a cautious centrist and immediately upon taking office started chattering about "Grand Bargains" on social security and medicare. I took a lot of criticism for pointing that out at the time, from people who felt I wasn't giving him a chance (and who oddly believed the right had been completely vanquished...) But I don't think there was ever much of a mystery about whether or not he was a technocratic "pragmatist" who believed that this recession was simply a market correction that would turn itself around with a few tweaks here and there to make it more "efficient." Everything the administration did signaled they believed they were forced to intervene by political rather than economic necessity. Their eyes were on an "Obama Goes to China" legacy on so-called entitlement reform. The tepid stimulus and continued insistence on coddling Republicans all flowed from that.
--- creating a Goldilocks meme among the media that says because Obama is criticized by both the immature bloggers and the radical tea party, he must be juuust riiiight. That won't do the Democrats any good in the short run, but it sounds like a 2012 strategy in the making.MORE...
Howie P.S.: H/t to Glenn Greenwald.

Greg Sargent on Harris/VandeHei on Obama " (Updated)

UPDATE: Sargent also writes, "Dems are winning the larger argument (very, very slowly):"
Public skepticism about government's efficacy in the face of our economic doldrums has made the public receptive to the Republican case that Dems are overreaching and overspending, with nothing to show for it. Dems may sustain large losses in the midterms, and perhaps their travails will continue beyond then.

But more broadly, it's fair to imagine that that the more accomplishments Dems rack up -- energy reform is next, though its prospects are in doubt -- the easier it will be for them to tell the larger story they're trying to tell. The picture of Dems succeeding at what they've set out to do will make it easier for Dems to argue: We're getting things done, and none of the worst case scenarios foreseen by critics are coming to pass.
Greg Sargent:
I'm no blog triumphalist, and some of the debate about Weigel was overblown, but the claim about blogospheric indifference to the midterms is just laughably false. The liberal blogs I read have spent months now engaged in deep debate about the midterm elections, the best ways to limit losses, and what the consequence for the progressive agenda will be if Dems don't figure out how to pull themselves out of their doldrums.

Indeed, amusingly enough, the very argument VandeHarris are criticizing liberal blogs for making -- that the White House has remained captive to a Beltway culture that fetishizes bipartisanship and has failed to seize this historical moment's potential to dramatically expand the boundaries of what's politically possible -- has been central to the liberal bloggers' debate about this fall's elections. MORE...

"Should the viaduct trees be saved?"

The Alaskan Way Viaduct is buffered by trees in this photo taken Tuesday. An effort is under way to preserve the trees when the structure is torn down and replaced by a tunnel.

Larry Lange (

If the Alaskan Way Viaduct is torn down and replaced by a tunnel, at least one public official thinks the trees alongside the viaduct ought to be left standing near the central waterfront.

The city has a policy of trying to preserve its steadily disappearing canopy of trees and City Councilman Nick Licata thinks the viaduct trees shouldn't be any exception, even if they're around construction work. He's exploring the possibility with the city's forestry commission, a recent entity created to consider how to preserve the city's disappearing tree canopy.

"I don't see why not," he said of his idea. "If you put in a new viaduct you probably couldn't save them but if you're tearing one down (as planned), I don't see a problem," Licata said. MORE...

"Pot Politics in 2010"

Lee (HorsesAss):
Younger people today are voting overwhelmingly for Democrats, so if you have an initiative that motivates more young people to vote, Democrats on the ballot will get a boost. But in California, where Proposition 19 will be voted on this fall, the picture may not be so clear. MORE...

Politico: "Why Obama loses by winning"

John F. Harris and Jim VandeHei (Politico):
The imminent passage of financial reform, just a couple months after the passage of comprehensive health care, should decisively end the narrative that President Obama represents a Jimmy Carter-style case of naïve hope crushed by the inability to master Washington.

Yet the mystery remains: Having moved swiftly toward achieving the very policy objectives he promised voters as a candidate, Obama is still widely perceived as flirting with a failed presidency.

Eric Alterman, in a column that drew wide notice, wrote in The Nation that most liberals think the president is a “big disappointment.” House Democrats are in near-insurrection after White House press secretary Robert Gibbs stated the obvious — that the party has a chance of losing the House under Obama’s watch. And independent voters have turned decisively against the man they helped elect 21 months ago — a trend unlikely to be reversed before November.

This is an odd reversal of expectations. When he came into office, the assumption even among some Democrats was that he was a dazzling politician and communicator who might prove too unseasoned at governance to win substantive achievements.

The reality is the opposite. You can argue over whether Obama’s achievements are good or bad on the merits. But especially after Thursday’s vote you can’t argue that Obama is not getting things done. To the contrary, he has, as promised, covered the uninsured, tightened regulations, started to wind down the war in Iraq and shifted focus and resources to Afghanistan, injected more competition into the education system and edged closer to a big energy bill.

The problem is that he and his West Wing turn out to be not especially good at politics, or communications — in other words, largely ineffective at the very things on which their campaign reputation was built. And the promises he made in two years of campaigning turn out to be much less appealing as actual policies. MORE...
Howie P.S.: The poster image (above) represents the radical right critique of Obama.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

"Our agenda for NN10 is online!"

Netroots Nation:
Back in January, we asked you to submit ideas for sessions that you wanted to see at this year's Netroots Nation. After receiving more than 400 ideas, we wanted to share those that made the cut with you.

Because they were developed and organized by you, our agenda truly reflects the issues that are most important to our community -- issues like financial reform, immigration and climate change, plus the 2010 elections, filibuster reform and so much more.

Click here to read about the panels we'll host at Netroots Nation 2010 in Las Vegas.

Netroots Nation isn’t just a typical conference -- it's a place to organize, build coalitions and ignite the change that will help us achieve our shared goals and values. Here's just a sampling of our agenda:

  • The 2010 Elections: Channeling the Power of Jobs, Populism and the Angry Voter
  • The Filibuster and Senate Reform
  • Afghanistan: Where Do We Go From Here?
  • Deepwater Disaster: Response and Recovery on the Gulf Coast
  • How Immigration Reform Sustains a Progressive Majority

Click here to see the rest of our 70 panels. We're working finishing up confirmations for all speakers and assigning time slots and that information should be posted soon. MORE...