Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Peter Daou: "Not a single mention of Iraqi civilian casualties in President Obama’s Iraq speech"

Peter Daou:
George Bush and Dick Cheney invaded Iraq based on lies and deceptions. As a result, hundreds of thousands of Iraqis lost their lives. Tonight, President Obama delivered a strong speech to mark the end of combat operations. One glaring omission: not a single mention of Iraqi civilian casualties. Only a line about sacrifices made by Iraqi fighters who fought alongside coalition troops. MORE...
Howie P.S.: Iraq Body Count puts the number at "97,568 – 106,466."

"Obama needs to relearn the art of politicking"

E.J. Dionne:
President Obama's address to the nation on Iraq this week underscores the agony of his presidency and its core political problem.
Yet the challenging nature of the moment does not explain all of the president's struggles. It's true that his accomplishments will have important long-term effects, even if they have not resolved the country's central concern: the continuing sluggishness of the economy.

But Obama and his party are also in a hole because the president has chosen not to engage the nation in an extended dialogue about what holds all of his achievements together, or why his attitude toward government makes more sense than the scattershot conservative attacks on everything Washington might do to improve the nation's lot.
Obama's mistake is captured by that disdainful reference to "politicking." In a democracy, separating governing from "politicking" is impossible. "Politicking" is nothing less than the ongoing effort to convince free citizens of the merits of a set of ideas, policies and decisions. Voters feel better about politicians who put what they are doing in a compelling context. Citizens can endure setbacks as long as they believe the overall direction of the government's approach is right.
Howie P.S.: "yes, yes a thousand times yes!" Read the whole damn thing!

Monday, August 30, 2010

GuardianUK: "The backlash against Obama's blackness"

UPDATE: Krugman says "It’s Witch-Hunt Season" (again).

Hundreds of opponents of the proposed Islamic centre near the World Trade Centre site rallied in lower Manhattan last weekend. Photograph: KeystoneUSA-ZUMA/Rex Features.

Dan Kennedy (GuardianUK):

From Arizona to Ground Zero via birthers, the Republicans are riding a wave of white resentment. It's reckless and frightening---Update: Glenn Beck criticised this commentary on his Fox News programme on Wednesday evening. I have posted the relevant excerpt and a brief response here. The August madness into which America has descended is about several things. It's about the still-sputtering economy, of course, and the fear it engenders. It's about xenophobia, never far below the surface. And it's about a rightwing media-political complex that plays on the public's ignorance.But there's a unifying theme that few wish to acknowledge. What we are witnessing at the moment is the full, ugly furore of white backlash, aimed directly and indirectly at our first black president. MORE...

Sunday, August 29, 2010

"Why the 44th president is no FDR—and the economy is still in the doldrums."

Michael Hirsh (Newsweek):
Obama was clearly not pushing very hard to be FDR or even his trust-busting relative Teddy Roosevelt. Now it looks like grim growth and unemployment numbers could extend all the way into 2012. Distracting himself with health care and other issues, Obama may have politically maneuvered himself out of the only major remedy that could bring unemployment down and growth up enough to assure his re-election: another giant fiscal stimulus. Today, after engendering Tea Party and centrist Democratic resistance to more government spending by pushing his health-care plan, the question is whether he has the political capital he may well need, in the end, to save his presidency. And after a two-year fight over financial reform, one other question still lingers: has Wall Street come out the big winner yet again? MORE...

Robert Reich: "The Two Stories of This Terrible Economy, Yet Obama and the Dems Won’t Tell Theirs"

Robert Reich:
The public doesn’t understand specific policies but it does understand stories that link them together. The stories give the policies context and meaning, and thereby show where policymakers are taking a nation (and, by implication, where the opposition would take it).

Republicans lack specific policies but they have a story. Obama and the Democrats have lots of specific policies but don’t have a story. That spells even more trouble for Democrats. MORE..
Howie P.S.: "Yes! Yes! a thousand times yes!"

thebiguneasy: "Floodwall Contractor Ordered to Cut Corners" (video)

thebiguneasy, video (00:41):
Excerpt from The Big Uneasy, a documentary by Harry Shearer. In theaters August 30 - one day only! A listing of all the theaters, and more, here: http://thebiguneasy.com/
In this clip, a contractor goes to court to do build a floodwall to a standard higher than the Corps standard.

Greg Sargent: "Beck and Palin strive for historical immortality"

Greg Sargent:
In their speeches on the Mall yesterday, Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin followed a script familiar to students of American history's most storied demagogues: They played on their followers' murky fear that a sinister and Godless other is trying to transform our country into something no longer recognizable as America. MORE...
Howie P.S.: I am resisting the impulse to ignore these mean-spirited morons:
‘All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing’

GuardianUK: "Barack Obama is down, but it's far too early to count him out"

Andrew Rawnsley:
Flawless, he isn't. But all in all, Obama has largely turned out to be what he promised to be: a creative, pragmatic reformer. MORE...

Saturday, August 28, 2010

"If God Is Willing and Da Creek Don't Rise" - A Conversation w/ Spike Lee (HBO-video)

HBO, video (06:12):
Spike Lee discusses the lingering effects of Katrina in New Orleans, and the impact of recent events like the Superbowl and BP oil spill. For more information, log onto HBO.com.

Martin Luther King "I have a dream" (video)

superjsuh, video (17:28):
The full version of Martin Luther King's famous "I have a dream" speech.
H/t to Booman.

"McGinn Administration Proposes Eliminating Protections for Most Trees"

Steve Zemke:
Maybe it’s time to check if Seattle Mayor Michael McGinn is still carrying his Sierra Club Card. His Department of Planning and Development (DPD) has issued a controversial draft proposal, entitled City of Seattle Proposed Tree Regulations Dated July 14, 2010. 

Unfortunately the proposal represents a complete reversal of recent tree protection legislation passed by the Seattle City Council and signed by McGinn’s predecessor, Mayor Greg Nickels. The proposal calls for ending all protection for mature trees in Seattle. It would rescind Director’s Rules 16-2008 which protects exceptional trees in Seattle.

It would also repeal the interim tree ordinance passed last year by the City Council which among other things protected tree groves and limited the number of trees which could be cut down in any given year. DPD’s proposal runs counter to Resolution 31138, passed by the Seattle City Council last year calling for strengthening trees protections, not weakening them. And it ignores most of the problems identified by the City Auditor in 2009 entitled “Management of City’s Trees Can be Improved.” MORE...
Howie P.S.: This may sound cruel but I get the impression that Hizzoner is a phony.

"Sen. Patty Murray Asks for the Liberal Vote" (video)

strangervideo, (02:27):
Washington State Senator Patty Murray talks to The Stranger's Dominic Holden. 8/27/2010.
H/t to Darryl.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Think Progress REPORT: "Conservative Groups Gearing Up To Spend $400 Million On Midterm Election"

Think Progress
Among the outside groups that plan to spend hundreds of millions of dollars electing conservatives are some familiar faces and some new ones as well. While the NRA and the Chamber of Commerce have long supported conservative causes, the former plans to double its spending from $10 million in 2006 to $20 million now and the latter will triple its commitment to $75 million this year. Many new groups are also entering the scene in a big way, including Karl Rove’s American Crossroads group with $52 million and Norm Coleman’s American Action Network with $25 million.

Those conservative groups trying to use $400 million in outside spending to tip the midterm election include:

– Chamber of Commerce has pledged to spend $75 million
– American Crossroads has pledged to spend $52 million
– Americans for Prosperity has pledged to spend $45 million
– Republican State Leadership Committee has pledged to spend $40 million
– American Action Network has pledged to spend $25 million
– American Future Fund has pledged to spend up to $25 million
– Club for Growth has pledged to spend at least $24 million
– National Republican Trust PAC has pledged to spend at least $20 million
– An unnamed health insurance industry coalition has pledged to spend $20 million
– National Rifle Association has pledged to spend $20 million
– Faith and Freedom Coalition has pledged to spend $11 million
– FreedomWorks has pledged to spend $10 million
– Americans for Job Security has pledged to spend $10 million
– Susan B. Anthony List has pledged to spend $6 million
– Our Country Deserves Better (Tea Party Express) has already spent $5 million
– Tax Relief Coalition has already spent $4 million
– Republican Majority Campaign has pledged to spend $3 million
– Campaign for Working Families has pledged to spend $2 million
– Heritage Action for America has pledged to spend $1 million
– Financial Services Roundtable has already spent $0.5 million
– Family Research Council has raised $0.5 million
– Citizens United Political Victory Fund has pledged to spend $0.2 million
TOTAL: $399.2 million--MORE...

Seattle Displacement Coalition: "“South Park Bridge was sacrificed for Paul Allen’s Mercer Plan"

Seattle Displacement Coalition (email):
"Sen. Murray shares responsibility along with our past and current Mayor and most of our City Council”---They still need $100 million for Mercer West Phase II – what other critical needs in our city will be sacrificed to cover that cost?
Patty Murray, Mayor McGinn, and other local elected officials will be on hand tomorrow 10:30AM at the site for the official groundbreaking of the Mercer Corridor Project in South Lake Union. They will be there to pat themselves on the back for finding the funds needed to complete the $199 million first phase of that project now estimated in total to cost over $300 million for both phases.
What these elected officials won’t be telling you and hoping you will conveniently forget is that in order secure federal stimulus funds needed to complete phase I of Mercer, these same elected leaders had to turn their back on the residents of South Park and allow closure of the South Park Bridge. The roughly 40 million dollars in federal stimulus funding dedicated in 2009 for Mercer (including 10 million funneled through the regional council), came at the direct expense of the necessary federal funding needed to repair and keep the South Park Bridge open.
In the fall of 2009, when the City submitted its application for stimulus funding, the County also submitted an application for the South Park Bridge. Patty Murray, the King County Council, the Mayor (Nickels and then McGinn) and Seattle City Council all knew that only one stimulus grant application from this region was likely to get funded. While Patty Murray was moving mountains for the Mercer Project, and members of the City Council were all cheerleading for Mercer especially Jan Drago (now ironically representing residents of S. Park), and two Mayor’s and even some county councilmembers there was dead silence from all these officials (other than a pro forma letter from some of them) on behalf of the S. Park application.)
After the 2009 State Legislature killed use of federal stimulus funds for Mercer, Mayor Nickels, Jan Drago, other city officials came right back in Sept of 2009 and reapplied for $60 million of these dollars for Mercer in a second round funding – 10 million of which was applied for thru the Puget Sound Regional Council. With only about $1.5 billion available nationally in that second round – enough to cover only a tiny fraction of the hundreds of applications it received nation-wide - it was a forgone conclusion that at most one local project would be approved for use of these precious funds.
Patty Murray, Mayor Nickels, Jan Drago and the rest of the Seattle City Council knew then that when they pushed for use of these limited federal dollars for Mercer it would result directly in denial of funding needed to repair and keep the South Park Bridge open. (McGinn during the election was also a big fan of Mercer and once elected backed the application for stimulus dollars for Mercer).
Neither Patty Murray or any of these electeds have ever acknowledged their responsibility in this regard. Without Murray’s towing the line for the Mercer project, without a doubt it would not have been considered. Had she and the bulk of the area’s local and county electeds backed instead stimulus funding in the Fall of 2009 for the South Park Bridge, it would not be closed today. The residents would still have their bridge and a route into their own city. There would have been no need for costly demolition and replacement at nearly 100 million dollars above repair cost estimates.
We obviously are glad to see that these same officials now are seeking funding for a new South Park bridge. But we cannot help but cringe seeing all them back out at Mercer while at the same time now, after the fact, working so hard to curry favor with S. Park and make headlines demonstrating their support for that project – all after the fact And it is interesting how fast they have found most of the needed funds, now that Mercer is out of the way. But it begs the larger question – how many millions in limited transportation dollars are being wasted first on Mercer and then secondly on building a new South Park Bridge (when repairs could have saved the old one).
Murray and these other electeds should acknowledge this and be held accountable by voters. At least three studies by the City have all said the Mercer Corridor project when completed will do nothing to relieve traffic congestion through South Lake Union and in some parts of the neighborhood actually make traffic worse. Project costs in 2004 were estimated at 75 million for both phases. They’ve climbed to over 300 million. The 199 million pricetag for phase I required a redirection not only of stimulus dollars needed for the South Park Bridge, it drained another 70 million in limited city “Bridging the Gap” funding that was supposed to go out to our neighborhoods to address a half billion dollar backlog of ailing city-wide transportation needs. All these resources are being sacrificed for what is essentially a beautification project and an effort designed to move traffic off Valley street which fronts Paul Allen’s properties facing the lake (properties acquired through a slick deal with the City back in 2000 arranged by a former city official who now works for Paul Allen)
City officials are also pushing ahead with the second phase of mercer now estimated at about 100 million dollars. No funding has yet been found for that phase but some of the costs they are seeking to conceal/bury in the 3 billion downtown tunnel budget……. More of our city’s limited transportation dollars will be wasted in this phase and this is before likely costly overruns drive the budget still higher. All for a project that when finished will do nothing to relieve congestion in that area.
For more information contact 206-632-0668.
Howie P.S.: I am posting the email in its entirety because this statement is not online. BTW, I will vote for Patty Murray this November, for obvious reasons. My friend and South Park resident Bill Pease comments on this issue:
The Mayor's office did do some pretty underhanded stuff to beat us out for the TIGER I grant. What's not correct is that the bridge could have been repaired for much less money. All our efforts for the past 7 years have been on finding funding for the replacement.

Greenwald: "Racial and ethnic exploitation of economic insecurity"

Glenn Greenwald:
That crisis presented a huge opportunity for Obama and the Democrats to bring about real change in Washington -- the central promise of his campaign -- by capitalizing on (and becoming the voice of) populist anger and using it to wrestle away control from Wall Street and other financial and corporate elites who control Washington. Had they done so, they would have been champions of populist rage rather than its prime targets. But, as John Judis argues in his excellent New Republic piece, they completely squandered that opportunity. Rather than emphatically stand up to the bankers and other oligarchical thieves, they coddled and served them, and thus became the face of the elite interests oppressing ordinary Americans rather than their foes. How can an administration represented by Tim Geithner and Larry Summers -- and which specializes in an endless stream of secret deals with corporate lobbyists and sustains itself with Wall Street funding -- possibly maintain any pretense of populist support or changing how Washington works? It can't. MORE...

Peter Daou: "The fierce urgency of defending Obama — against the left"

As a lifelong Democrat and progressive activist, I’ve spent years going after Republicans and conservatives. I worked for John Kerry and went head to head with my counterparts on the Bush team. I marched in countless anti-war protests and incurred the wrath of the 101st Fighting Keyboarders. I’ve canvassed door to door for environmental groups and had doors slammed in my treehugging face. I’ve engaged in flame wars in conservative forums. I’ve blogged since the beginning of blogs, attacking Hannity, Coulter, Limbaugh, Savage, O’Reilly.

But never have I seen a more fierce reaction than from fellow Democrats when I criticize President Obama. It is a visceral anger, deeply personal, and sadly, it is directed at progressives who set party aside and critique the White House on principle. MORE...
Howie P.S.: Robert Scheer has not been shy about pushing back against Obama, when necessary: "They Go or Obama Goes."

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Taibbi: "Tea Party Rocks Primaries"

Matt Taibbi (Rolling Stone):
Some shocking electoral results this week are providing new proof that the loony Tea Party movement has surged to levels of influence far beyond anything most of us could ever have imagined possible, with the key results coming in Arizona and Alaska. MORE...

Jane Mayer: "The billionaire brothers who are waging a war against Obama."

Jane Mayer (The New Yorker):
But Charles Lewis, the founder of the Center for Public Integrity, a nonpartisan watchdog group, said, “The Kochs are on a whole different level. There’s no one else who has spent this much money. The sheer dimension of it is what sets them apart. They have a pattern of lawbreaking, political manipulation, and obfuscation. I’ve been in Washington since Watergate, and I’ve never seen anything like it. They are the Standard Oil of our times.” MORE...

Tim Egan: "The Democrats may deserve to lose in November."

Tim Egan:
The Democrats may deserve to lose in November. They have been terrible at trying to explain who they stand for and the larger goal of their governance. But if they lose, it should be because their policies are unpopular or ill-conceived — not because millions of people believe a lie. MORE...
Howie P.S.:I have been searching for video of some commentary by Ed Schultz last night who begged the Dems to tell us "what they are for."

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Monday, August 23, 2010

"Obama's Silent Jewish Majority"

Eric Alterman:
Pundits claim Jews are abandoning the president. But the truth is, he remains more popular with Jewish voters than any other ethnic group, save blacks. Eric Alterman on the perpetual myth of the Jewish rightward shift. MORE...

Dean: Obama's staff "misjudged" progressives

Former Democratic national chairman Howard Dean says President Barack Obama's staff has "misjudged" American progressives.

White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said earlier this month that the "professional left" is too critical of the president. On Sunday, Dean said on CNN's "State of the Union" that he doesn't know what Gibbs meant by that phrase.

"I think that the people around the president have really misjudged what goes on elsewhere in the country, other than Washington," Dean said.

"I don't think this is true of the president, but I do think his people, his political people, have got to go out and spend some time outside Washington for a while. The average Democrat is a progressive," he said, adding that the administration had made "upsetting" deals on health care to get the bill passed.

But he said Democrats should put infighting behind them and focus on maintaining majorities in the House and Senate in November.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Howard Dean: NYC Mosque a "Real Affront" (audio)

CBS News, audio (01:59).

Howie P.S.: My initial reaction was that Howard was "caving," but I am coming around to his point of view. Glenn Greenwald had a "video discussion" with Dean and his two part video is here.



Wednesday, August 18, 2010

"Obama speaks at the Westin Hotel" (video)

Seattle Times---video from NorthWestCableNews (16:21):
President Obama spoke at the Westin Hotel in downtown Seattle during a fundraising event on Tuesday, August 17, 2010.

(Updated) "Obama on the campaign trail for Democrats"

Members of the Raging Grannies protest group are told by Seattle Police Sgt. Bryan Clenna, right, to move off the sidewalk before a visit by President Barack Obama. (Elaine Thompson / Associated Press)

UPDATE: From this article:
At a luncheon fundraiser for Murray at a downtown Seattle hotel, Obama rolled out crisp versions of several attack lines, all designed to link Republicans to the economic policies of former President George W. Bush.

"Their basic philosophy goes something like this: We're going to cut taxes for millionaires and billionaires, folks who don't need it, weren't even asking for it. And we're going to cut rules for special interests, gut regulations that protect clean air and clean water and things that most of us value. And then you're going to cut working folks loose to fend for themselves," Obama said.

Later, he said, "What this campaign is coming down to is that between now and November, they're betting that you will all come down with a case of amnesia."
LA Times:
Reporting from Seattle —

President Obama on Tuesday continued his hopscotch tour of blue states, honing attack lines for election season as he regaled partisan Democratic crowds with dire warnings of the economic consequences if Republicans gained control of Congress this fall.
In Washington state on Tuesday, Obama raised money and support for Sen. Patty Murray, a member of the Democratic leadership team who is facing a strong challenge from Republican Dino Rossi.

Obama derisively said Rossi "earned the distinction of being the first candidate in the country to call for repeal of Wall Street reform.… Don't you think that's strange?"

Howie P.S.: The article nevers informs its readers what exactly the "protest group" was protesting.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

(UPDATED) Tonight's "Election results"--King County

UPDATE: According to the "Results schedule," the next report will be Wednesday, Aug. 18, 4:30 p.m.

King County Elections.

Howie P.S.:
Go to the link above for results that are continuously updated.

Barack's Hooptie (with video)

CHS Capitol Hill Seattle:
Despite a set of loud booms that rattled Puget Sound just after 1:30 PM, President Barack Obama's motorcade ventured on and delivered the president to the shores of Lake Washington Tuesday afternoon. With no official announcement of the motorcade route, we ventured off Hill to the intersection of McGilvra and Lake Washington Blvd that was most likely to afford a view of the presidential entourage as it arrived in Madrona for an exclusive luncheon. MORE...
Howie P.S.: Here's a video (05:46) of another celebrity's preferred ride on the streets of Seattle.

The Stranger Goes Negative (again): "A Heavey Hit"

Eli Sanders (The Stranger):
Accusations of political carpetbagging are as common as elections, but it's rare that a candidate gets called a carpetbagger for simply moving from one neighborhood to another within the same city. Welcome to the contentious race to be the next state representative from West Seattle's 34th District, in which candidate Mike Heavey is now being called a carpetbagger for moving from Madison Valley to West Seattle just before his current run for the state house. MORE...
Howie P.S.: After poo-pooing this attack, Sanders then proceeds to air it all out pretty widely, complete with Heavey's response and a response from Marcee Stone, who says she's "not concerned." Then the tone changes. Sanders quotes "Heavey's other major challenger Joe Fitzgibbon" (is Marcee Stone just chopped liver?) who Sanders allows "to twist the knife." At this point the ongoing Stranger Mancrush for Joe Fitgibbon becomes even more obvious as Sanders quotes him at length on this "issue." A Heavey hit, wrapped inside a campaign update, complete with a comparison of the candidates' voting records. In a few hours we may get an answer the question: Will it work (again)?

"Remarks by the President at Luncheon for Senator Patty Murray"

The White House:
I am here to say thank you not only for my own election but for having the wisdom to send Patty Murray to Washington. (Applause.) And when this state sent Patty to the Senate, she wasn’t one of these lifelong politicians who wanted the job or the position for a fancy title or a nice office. She was a self-described mom in tennis shoes who was just looking to help a few people solve a few problems. And all these years later, Patty is that same person -– except she’s helped a whole lot of people solve a whole lot of big problems.

When I was in the Senate, I sat next to Patty on the Veterans Affairs Committee. And I can tell you there is no fiercer advocate for our veterans than Patty Murray. Nobody. (Applause.) Whether it was keeping three VA hospitals open here in Washington, or helping a World War II veteran break through the bureaucracy so he could receive his Purple Heart, no problem is too big, no problem is too small for Patty to fight for you.

And the same is true when it comes to fighting for jobs and opportunity for the people of this state. You’ve seen her go to bat to keep Boeing jobs and aerospace jobs right here in Washington. You’ve seen her fight for clean energy jobs and new infrastructure jobs right here in Washington. She’s a senator who still flies across the country every weekend to come home, to listen -- to listen to you, the cares and concerns of her constituents. So this is -- this is the kind of person you want representing you. Especially in a time like this, this is the kind of leader you need. The country needs Patty. MORE...

"Musical protest inside West Seattle Target store" (video)

West Seattle Blog with video (04:42):
That video is getting West Seattle a bit of national attention tonight in the ongoing controversy over Target’s donation to a group backing a Minnesota candidate with a history of opposing gay rights (folding in the “corporate personhood” controversy too). The musical protest took place in the Westwood Village Target store on Saturday, apparently around 11 am; we didn’t hear about it till afterward, and weren’t able at the time to confirm it, but you can tell by watching even just a few seconds of that video that it was shot inside the local store. MORE...
Howie P.S.: 51,061 views, and counting. H/t to Kirk Prindle.

34th District Primary Candidates Do Last Minute Visibility

Joe McDermott, Mike Heavey and Marcee Stone (with her daughter) work the West Seattle Bridge onramp.

Obama Grips and Grins @Seattle's Boeing Field

Photo from The Seattle Times.

Howie P.S.: See if you can recognize Andrew of the NPI Advocate.

(UPDATED) "Obama speaks in (Seattle's) Pioneer Square" (video)

UPDATE:"President jets to Jet City; Obama arrives for Seattle fundraiser" Chris Grygiel (seattlepi.com).

Seattle Times, video (07:02):
Standing in front on the Grand Central Bakery in Pioneer Square, President Obama spoke about proposed legislation that would cut taxes and make available more loans for small businesses. Video courtesy of KING 5.

1962 Flashback: "Dave Brubeck Quartet Blue Rondo à la Turk" (video)

HAatUPacific, video (04:20):
"The Lively Ones" television show first broadcast July 25, 1962. The Quartet is shown riding a magic carpet over a freeway in Los Angeles.
Howie P.S.: This one is dedicated to Kirk Prindle.

Joe Bageant: "Understanding America's Class System--Honk if you love caviar"

Joe Bageant:
How about them political elites, huh? Five million bucks for Chelsea Clinton's wedding, 15K just to rent the air-conditioned shitters -- huge chrome and glass babies with hot water and everything. No gas masks and waxy little squares of toilet paper for those guys.

Yes, it looks big time from the cheap seats. But the truth is that when we are looking at the political elite, we are looking at the dancing monkey, not the organ grinder who calls the tune. Washington's political class is about as upwardly removed from ordinary citizens as the ruling class is from the political class. For instance, they do not work for a living in the normal sense of a job, but rather obtain their income from abstractions such as investment and law, neither of which ever gave anybody a hernia or carpal tunnel. By comparison, the ruling class does not work at all.

Moneywise, Washington's political class is richer than the working class by the same orders of magnitude as the ruling class is richer than the political class. This gives the political class something to aim for. To that end, they have adopted the ruling elite's behaviors, tastes and lifestyles, with an eye on becoming members. Moreover, it is a molting process that begins with the right university and connections, and culminates in flying off to Washington with the rest of your generation's most privileged and ambitious young moths.

They make enough dough to at least fake it until they make it. MORE...

(UPDATED) Obama's Schedule Today in Seattle (with video)

UPDATE: "President Obama to meet with local small biz owners" Chris Grygiel (seattlepi.com).

"Today with President Barack Obama" with video (05:56) from his campaign speech Monday in Wisconsin :
All times are eastern. Look for a live stream of Obama's remarks here.

12:00 PM
The President departs Los Angeles, California en route King County International Airport
Local Event Time:
9:00 AM PDT
Los Angeles International Airport
Open Press
2:15 PM
The President arrives Seattle, Washington
Local Event Time:
11:15 PM PDT
Seattle King County International Airport
Open Press
2:40 PM
The President holds a round table discussion with small business owners
Local Event Time:
11:40 AM PDT
Pool Spray at the Top
3:20 PM
The President delivers a statement to press
Local Event Time:
12:20 PM PDT
Travel Pool Coverage
3:45 PM
The President delivers remarks at a finance event
Local Event Time:
12:45 PM PDT
Westin Seattle
Travel Pool Coverage
5:35 PM
The President delivers remarks at a finance event
Local Event Time:
2:25 PM PDT
Travel Pool Coverage
6:35 PM
The President departs Seattle, Washington en route Columbus, OH
Local Event Time:
3:35 PM PDT
Seattle King County International Airport
Open Press

Howie P.S.: "Obama heads to Seattle for campaigning, fundraising" (McClatchy):
Today's Election Day visit from President Barack Obama will be a good reminder to procrastinating Washington state voters to mail in their ballots or stop by the polls.

Mainly, though, Obama is in Seattle to headline a pair of fundraisers expected to add hundreds of thousands of dollars to U.S. Sen. Patty Murray's already sizable campaign war chest.

The presidential appearance underlines the national implications of today's results. MORE...

Monday, August 16, 2010

SacBee: "As California weighs legalization, pot already part of everyday life"

Sacramento Bee (CA):
John Wade, 43, a San Francisco commercial lighting specialist, takes a quick hit from a marijuana cigarette on the golf course to steady himself before putting.

Sarika Simmons, 35, of San Diego County, sometimes unwinds after the kids are asleep with tokes from a fruit-flavored cigar filled with pot.

And retiree Robert Girvetz, 78, of San Juan Capistrano, recently started anew - replacing his occasional martini with marijuana.

"It's a little different than I remember," he says. "A couple of hits - and wooooo ... "

As California voters prepare to decide in November whether to become the first state to legalize marijuana for recreational use, a Field Poll conducted for The Sacramento Bee reveals that weed already is deeply woven into society. MORE...
Howie P.S.: This story was reprinted in today's Seattle Times on the front page.

Krugman: "Attacking Social Security"

Paul Krugman:
Social Security’s attackers claim that they’re concerned about the program’s financial future. But their math doesn’t add up, and their hostility isn’t really about dollars and cents. Instead, it’s about ideology and posturing. And underneath it all is ignorance of or indifference to the realities of life for many Americans. MORE...
Howie P.S.: I am now, as a conservative friend told me, "on the dole."

Jane Hamsher on the Gibbs attack: "We are echoing the complaints that the American people have." (video)

firedoglake, video (10:27):
FireDogLake founder Jane Hamsher visits CNN's Reliable Sources - full segment Visit: http://firedoglake.com
Howie P.S.: There's enough "cable chatter" in this clip to induce a mild case of STFU.

Fineman: "A Season of Fear---The GOP’s shortsighted immigration play"

Howard Fineman (Newsweek):
If we had any sense, the fall elections would be about just one thing: the economy. But we do not have any sense. We are facing what Wall Street would call the “triple witching hour.” Republicans have their finger on three social-demographic hot buttons. The first is illegal immigration (in proposing a review of the 14th Amendment), and the second is Islam in America (in objecting to the mosque at ground zero). They won’t be able to avoid pushing the third, race, even if they wanted to, given that the two leading congressional Democrats facing ethics charges are African-American. The Democrats, in response, label the GOP xenophobic and intolerant—and those are the nice words. If Barack Obama’s inauguration—could it have been only 19 months ago?—was a moment of proud, blessed calm, we are now looking at a nasty, community-shredding season of fear. MORE...

Sunday, August 15, 2010

(UPDATED with video) WA Primary Election: "In the 34th District, a lively race divides the party"

UPDATE: "U.S. Rep. McDermott says "Most important election" of his lifetime," video (03:31).
West Seattle Blog video of Congressmember Jim McDermott visiting the 34th District Democrats and telling them this year's election may be the most important one in his lifetime.

Vashon Maury Island Beachcomber:
At issue is the fact that the 34th District Democrats — a politically influential organization in what is largely considered a single-party stronghold — changed its rules recently in order to ensure it could make sole endorsements.

In the past, several Democratic candidates would sometimes win the coveted local party endorsement. But at a time when a new primary system is said to have weakened political parties, the 34th District — by a vote of its membership — recently decided to issue only sole endorsements.

And earlier this year, it threw its collective voice behind Stone, a 57-year-old community organizer who has been a stalwart in the local Democratic party and who has made a name for herself in campaign finance reform circles.

“She’s been a volunteer and leader in the party for many years,” said Tim Nuse, who chairs the 34th District Democrats. Noting her upbringing in White Center and her years of political activism in West Seattle, he added, “She has a breadth of knowledge and experience throughout the district.”

But Ivan Weiss, an Islander and the former chair of the 34th District Democrats, supports Fitzgibbon, a 23-year-old former aide to Sharon Nelson and a young man he calls a “legislative prodigy.” He’s also harshly and openly critical of the local party’s decision to endorse Stone.
Heavey, 30, whose father, by the same name, is a well-known judge and former state senator, sounds a slightly more conservative note. Heavey, an aide to King Councilwoman Jan Drago, calls for “performance-based government” and zero-base budgeting — a system of governance that requires every line item to be reviewed rather than built on existing budgets.

More taxes, he said, are not the answer, in large part because voters won’t tolerate them. “The message from the voters (during this election) will be clear — that we need to do more with less,” said Heavey, who was endorsed last week by The Seattle Times. MORE...
Howie P.S.: Publicola covers the money side of this race here and here. The West Seattle Blog has interviews with Marcee Stone, Joe Fitzgibbon, Mike Heavey and Mac McElroy. It should be noted that McElroy is not a member of any "party"---but he's in the picture anyway.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

"Meet The Inslees" (video)

InsleeForCongress, video (02:57).

Howie P.S.: Chris Gregoire won't be governor forever! H/t to Darryl.

"Obama on (Seattle's) Capitol Hill Tuesday?"

CHS Capitol Hill Seattle:
When the mural at 12th and John's recent transformation began, we speculated about President Obama's scheduled trip to Seattle this week that will bring him to our city for one day on primary election day, Tuesday, August 17th. CHS has learned that Obama will, indeed, be making an appearance somewhere within the Seattle Police Department's East Precinct on Tuesday, according to a person familiar with planning around the president's visit to Seattle.

We have not yet confirmed the location of his appearance. While he might stop by the Patty Murray campaign offices across I-5 on Mercer Street, that building falls outside the East Precinct's bounds (marked by the red box in the attached map).

Earlier this week, the president announced a last minute change for his itinerary for his Seattle visit. He'll skip a downtown meeting of insurance industry bigwigs and, instead, will attend an event where White House staffers say he will "talk about strengthening the economy and creating jobs for the families and businesses of Washington State" at an appearance with Senator Murray as the August primary votes are readied for tally for her run for re-election.

There is also the promise of a lunch with Obama so maybe include Oddfellows Cafe or Rancho Bravo in the president's stop list for the day.

Another possible -- but unlikely -- stop could be 13th Ave. Obama briefly lived on Capitol Hill as an infant in 1961 while his mother attended classes at the University of Washington. Some of the "birther" conspiracy theorists say that period of Obama's life is a fiction, by the way. But we've met a woman who can prove she was there in '61 and says she was baby Barack's babysitter. We'll take her word for it.

More likely is a public building like Garfield High's Quincy Jones Auditorium or a large institution like Seattle University.

H/t to Susanna Williams.

"RSA Animate - Crises of Capitalism" (video)

theRSAorg, video (11:10):
In this RSA Animate, renowned academic David Harvey asks if it is time to look beyond capitalism towards a new social order that would allow us to live within a system that really could be responsible, just, and humane?
H/to Karen Snider.

Friday, August 13, 2010

(UPDATED) President Obama: "Muslims have the right to practice their religion as anyone else" (video)

UPDATE: Greg Sargent raves,"One of the finest moments of Obama's presidency."

NBC News, video (09:38).

Dino Rossi Pops Up on the HuffPo Front Page Leading GOP Parade Opposing Wall Street Reform

Lucia Graves (HuffPo):
Last month Dino Rossi became the first Senate candidate in the country to call for the repeal of Wall Street reform. Now it's clear he has plenty of conservative company on Capitol Hill.

With Washington state's primary Tuesday just a few days away, HuffPost asked around at the Capitol to see how Rossi, the Republican challenger expected to face Democratic incumbent Patty Murray in the general election, stacks up with sitting Republican Senators on financial reform.

The verdict? When it comes to Wall Street reform, Rossi's views fall in line with many top GOP leaders, though his views notably put him to the right of Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.). MORE...

Liberal Criticism of FDR and Obama Compared

puakev's diary on Daily Kos:
On this site over the past year and a half, a split has arisen between those more inclined to defend the president and those more inclined to criticize the president. Invariably during these skirmishes someone will refer to Franklin Roosevelt and how President Obama measures up.

The president's defenders often wonder whether Roosevelt faced such withering criticism from those presumably on his side, and the president's critics often criticize President Obama for not being more like FDR, who in their eyes is, understandably, the archetype and the standard to which Democratic presidents and politicians are held.

In my examination of the historical record, it is clear that Roosevelt endured vicious, unrelenting attacks from his left that often exceeded the level of vitriol directed at President Obama, and correspondingly, Roosevelt was not viewed by liberals of his day with the adulation and reverence liberals view him today. MORE... H/t to Booman.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

"Keep holding me accountable" (with video)

Laurence Lewis (Daily Kos) with video (03:49):
Whatever Robert Gibbs said, about whomever he meant it, and why he ended up walking it back, it's best to remember the words of President Obama himself. To Netroots Nation. Last Month.

Note that his own video used professional leftist Rachel Maddow to emphasize the good that he has done. But also note that Obama himself insisted that we all continue to hold him accountable. He knows very well that holding him accountable will, at times, include strong criticism, from both professional and amateur leftists, from the bloggers he was addressing both at Netroots Nation and throughout the left blogosphere.

Not only does President Obama have no problem with being held accountable, he welcomes it. He invites it. We all should remember that. It speaks well of his character. We all should remember that, too.

Encore from 2008---Ari Melber on "White Male Pundit Power"

Ari Melber (The Nation):
It's still all about the white men. Hillary Clinton's loss has renewed critiques that American political media is slanted, sexist and dominated by men. While Clinton and Obama broke barriers in the Democratic primary, swiftly dispatching white male Senators with more government experience, the race was still refereed, scored and narrated by white male commentators, an influential constituency in presidential politics. Pundits talked a lot about gender and racial progress during the campaign, of course, but the elite opinion media continues to employ, groom and promote a commentators corps that is disproportionately white and male. MORE...
H/t to Lizzie Wurtzel.

"Comparing Democratic and Republican tax plans" (with graphic)


WaPo, with graphic:
A Republican plan to extend tax cuts for the rich would add more than $36 billion to the federal deficit next year -- and transfer the bulk of that cash into the pockets of the nation's millionaires, according to a congressional analysis released Wednesday.
H/t to Greg Sargent.

Maddow to Obama: "Do the right thing" (video)

MSNBC-Rachel Maddow, video (04:15).

Howie P.S.: Rachel interviews Captain Jonathan Hopkins, video (07:36) who appeared on the air from Seattle. The segment title: "Fired from the Army for being gay."

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

WA "Study: Privatized booze sales could cost state $500 mil"

Chris Grygiel (seattlepi.com):
Two measures that would privatize liquor sales in Washington would leave state and local governments with a huge fiscal hangover, according to revenue estimates released Wednesday.

Initiative 1105, which is being pushed by beverage distributors, could decrease state tax revenues up to $520 million over five years and take up to a $210 million bite from local coffers over the same time period, according to the Office of Financial Management.

Meanwhile Initiative 1100, the booze privatization bill backed by Costco, would decrease state revenues up to $85 million through 2015 and cut into local tax sources up to $192 million, OFM says. MORE...

The Scent of Rhambo---Obama and the "professional left"

Mike Lux:
Here's the thing that drives me most crazy, though: the only thing making the Obama White House take the huge gamble of not reaching out to the professional left is their own arrogance. Engaging the "professional left" would be easy to do if they cared about it at all, and had a strategy to do it. In the Clinton White House, that presidency of NAFTA, failed health care, the 1994 election fiasco, and "triangulation", the progressive community- the professional left as well as progressive voters- progressives never deserted Clinton. Through his two elections, special prosecutors, the Lewinsky mess and impeachment, the Democratic base stayed loyal to and enthusiastic about Bill Clinton (even when he didn't always deserve it). Why? Because Bill Clinton cared about having a good relationship with progressives, and because we had a strategy for working effectively with them. President Clinton frequently asked me about who was happy with us and who was disgruntled in the progressive world, and we made sure to bring in everyone in the latter category for meetings and social events at the White House. At the height of the NAFTA fight, we organized a dinner for labor leaders where the President hung out with them for a long, social evening, telling them in his remarks "I know we are in a fight right now, but I want you to know that my White House will always be your house too, that we always will be friends." We made sure progressives always had chances to have serious input into policy development. Whenever we had bad news to deliver to progressive groups on any issue big or small, we reached out to them before the announcement, talked about how to make the damage hurt less, and talked about what we could do to help them on other issues. And whenever there was good news, we made sure the folks who cared about it were part of the celebration.

Here's the other thing: other Democratic politicians in 2010 get the need to work effectively with progressives. I have had my share of disagreements with Speaker Pelosi and Majority Leader Reid, but they and their staff have never failed to work constructively and conscientiously with me and other progressives I know. This is politics 101 as far as I am concerned, but to my knowledge, this White House isn't engaging in much of it. I am on the board of many different progressives groups, and know a wide assortment of folks in the blogosphere, in organizations, in the progressive donor world, on Capitol Hill, and I rarely hear about any kind of high-level outreach of this sort going on. One other important point on all this: what worries me the most is that I am as insider-y as a person can get. I have known Rahm for 30 years, Axelrod and Plouffe for over 20. I have been a client of Jim Margolis, Anita Dunn, and Axelrod's firms. I was a co-founder of Strategy Group, the Chicago based firm that was one of the closest inner circle firms in the Obama Presidential campaign. I have worked in the White House, and I even worked on the Obama transition. I am one of the professional left (not at all the only one, by the way) who, in spite of my disappointments with some of the compromises made, ended up supporting, enthusiastically working for, and praising Obama on all those initiatives mentioned above. Now I know that some folks in the White House are mad at me and have shut me out because I have been critical at times of this White House, but I still have to think: if the relationship with the "professional left" is as shaky as it is, and someone like me is not being reached out to much or asked to help, what about all those bloggers and progressive media people and organizations who don't have much in the way of inside connections? It worries the hell out of me, and it ought to be worrying the White House. MORE...