Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Chomsky on "The Revenge Killing of Osama bin Laden"

Lighting strikes in the distance beyond the compound where Osama bin Laden was reportedly killed in Abottabad, Pakistan, May 4, 2011. (Photo: Warrick Page / The New York Times)

Noam Chomsky (truthout):
Pakistani and international law require inquiry “whenever violent death occurs from government or police action,” Robertson points out. Obama undercut that possibility with a “hasty ‘burial at sea’ without a post mortem, as the law requires.”

“It was not always thus,” Robertson usefully reminds us, ``When the time came to consider the fate of men much more steeped in wickedness than Osama bin Laden – namely the Nazi leadership – the British government wanted them hanged within six hours of capture.

“President Truman demurred, citing the conclusion of Justice Robert Jackson (chief prosecutor at the Nuremberg trial) that summary execution ‘would not sit easily on the American conscience or be remembered by our children with pride ... the only course is to determine the innocence or guilt of the accused after a hearing as dispassionate as the times will permit and upon a record that will leave our reasons and motives clear.”’ MORE...

(Updated) Seattle Times (Editorial): "Medical marijuana has been the legislative disaster of 2011."

UPDATE: "Stop the War on Medical Marijuana News Conference and Rally!": Join Roger Goodman State Representative and Congressional Candidate to send a message to the Obama Administration.

-Wednesday, June 1 · 10:30am - 11:30am
Location -Green Hope Patient Network
15021 Aurora Ave. N
Shoreline, WA

Seattle Times (Editorial):
The people of Washington, and particularly the liberal voters of King County, do not want dispensers of medicine prosecuted for felony distribution.

The people wanted medical cannabis legal. So did the Legislature. So did the governor, she said.

Prosecutorial discretion should be the order of the day, while political minds think of a way out. MORE...

Monday, May 30, 2011

Greg Sargent: "Republicans have won the political war over the debt ceiling."

Greg Sargent:
What are Dems prepared to trade away? There’s no way around it: Republicans have won the political war over the debt ceiling. The House is set to vote today on a proposal for a debt ceiling hike without any spending cuts attached. It will be rejected — the GOP is unified against it, and even some Democrats will vote No. This is the “clean” vote Dems originally sought, but it’s now clear that Dems think it’s politically impossible not to accede to the GOP demand for deep cuts in exchange for raising the debt ceiling. MORE...

Memorial Day: "Forgetting Why We Remember"

David W. Blight (NY Times, op-ed):
Most Americans know that Memorial Day is about honoring the nation’s war dead. It is also a holiday devoted to department store sales, half-marathons, picnics, baseball and auto racing. But where did it begin, who created it, and why?
...for the earliest and most remarkable Memorial Day, we must return to where the war began. By the spring of 1865, after a long siege and prolonged bombardment, the beautiful port city of Charleston, S.C., lay in ruin and occupied by Union troops. Among the first soldiers to enter and march up Meeting Street singing liberation songs was the 21st United States Colored Infantry; their commander accepted the city’s official surrender.

Whites had largely abandoned the city, but thousands of blacks, mostly former slaves, had remained, and they conducted a series of commemorations to declare their sense of the meaning of the war.

The largest of these events, forgotten until I had some extraordinary luck in an archive at Harvard, took place on May 1, 1865. During the final year of the war, the Confederates had converted the city’s Washington Race Course and Jockey Club into an outdoor prison. Union captives were kept in horrible conditions in the interior of the track; at least 257 died of disease and were hastily buried in a mass grave behind the grandstand.

After the Confederate evacuation of Charleston black workmen went to the site, reburied the Union dead properly, and built a high fence around the cemetery. They whitewashed the fence and built an archway over an entrance on which they inscribed the words, “Martyrs of the Race Course.”

The symbolic power of this Low Country planter aristocracy’s bastion was not lost on the freedpeople, who then, in cooperation with white missionaries and teachers, staged a parade of 10,000 on the track. A New York Tribune correspondent witnessed the event, describing “a procession of friends and mourners as South Carolina and the United States never saw before.”

The procession was led by 3,000 black schoolchildren carrying armloads of roses and singing the Union marching song “John Brown’s Body.” Several hundred black women followed with baskets of flowers, wreaths and crosses. Then came black men marching in cadence, followed by contingents of Union infantrymen. Within the cemetery enclosure a black children’s choir sang “We’ll Rally Around the Flag,” the “Star-Spangled Banner” and spirituals before a series of black ministers read from the Bible. MORE...
Howie P.S.: A news story from the Charleston Post and Courier also describes ""The First Memorial Day:
Former slaves began American tradition 144 years ago in Charleston.

Higher gas prices: "Cantwell says excessive speculation in oil markets is largely to blame"

Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., listens at right as Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., speaks to reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, May 26, 2011, following a meeting on oil price speculation. (AP Photo/Harry Hamburg)

U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell says Washington state drivers will spend an estimated $672 million more for gas this summer than they did last summer.

The Democrat's office conducted an analysis showing that each driver in the state can expect to pay $150 more between Memorial Day and Labor Day. She says gas prices are 93 cents higher on average since Memorial Day last year.

Cantwell says excessive speculation in oil markets is largely to blame. She's calling on the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission to rein in that speculation, and she compares what's happening now to the way Enron's market manipulation affected energy prices in the Northwest.

She notes that when people take fewer trips because of high gas prices, they buy fewer meals at restaurants and rent fewer hotel rooms, and that hurts the economy.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

"Republican Legislators Push to Tighten Voting Rules" (NY Times)

Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin supported a voter ID bill.
Photo: Michael P. King/Wisconsin State Journal, via Associated Press.

Lizette Alvarez (NY Times):
Democrats, who point to scant evidence of voter-impersonation fraud, say the unified Republican push for photo identification cards carries echoes of the Jim Crow laws — with their poll taxes and literacy tests — that inhibited black voters in the South from Reconstruction through the 1960s. Election experts say minorities, poor people and students — who tend to skew Democratic — are among those least likely to have valid driver’s licenses, the most prevalent form of identification. Older people, another group less likely to have licenses, are swing voters. MORE...
Howie P.S.: "GOP Push to Tighten Voting Rules May Disenfranchise Young, Poor" was the headline for the same article that truthout.org sent around.

Michael Moore on The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell, -- Parts 1 and 2 (video)

MSNBC-The Last Word, with video (14:21):
"These Republicans have hated [Medicare] forever. You've played on your show the scene from my movie with Ronald Reagan back in the sixties talking about Medicare as socialism and communism. They've believed this from the beginning. And what they've done is, they've created a colossal, historical blunder." -- Michael Moore on The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell, May 24th, 2011.
Howie P.S.: Here's Part 2, video (10:57).

Friday, May 27, 2011

Eli Pariser on "The Filter Bubble: What the Internet Is Hiding from You” (with video)

Democracy Now! video (23:00):
The Internet is increasingly becoming an echo-chamber in which websites tailor information according to the preferences they detect in each viewer. When some users search the word “Egypt” they may get the latest news about the revolution, others might only see search results about Egyptian vacations. The top 50 websites collect an average of 64 bits of personal information each time we visit—and then custom-designs their sites to conform to our perceived preferences. What impact will this online filters have on the future of democracy? We speak to Eli Pariser, author of "The Filter Bubble: What the Internet Is Hiding from You.” “Take news about the war in Afghanistan. When you talk to people who run news websites, they will tell you, stories about the war in Afghanistan don’t perform very well, they don’t get a lot of clicks–people don’t flock to them. And yet, this is arguably one of the most important issues facing the country,” says Pariser. “But it will never make it through these filters. Especially on Facebook, this is a problem because the way that information is transmitted on Facebook is with the ‘Like’ button. And the ‘Like’ button has a very particular balance. It is easy to click ‘Like’ on ‘I just ran a marathon’ or ‘I baked a really awesome cake.’ It is very hard to click ‘Like’ on ‘War in Afghanistan enters its 10th year.’”

Tim Egan on Climate Change: "Twister’s Tale"

Tim Egan:
Earlier this year, Republicans in a congressional panel declared, by a majority vote, that climate change caused by humans does not exist. The majority of the House then voted to get rid of federal funding for the world’s finest scientists in the field to study the changing earth, through the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Blink, blink, just like that — our representatives wished away the future.

The twisters, floods and fires of this year have another say, and remind us that some political gestures are no more relevant than a lone pair of lips flapping in the wind. Of course, among atmospheric scientists there is ambiguity, at best, about whether global warming has anything to do with the worst tornado season in modern times.

But the consensus of fair-minded research — ignored by those who assume to know better in the Republican Congress — is that an earth warmed by an excess of man-caused carbon emissions will cause more weather extremes. Warm air holds more water vapor than cold air — that’s an axiom that a congressman with a set of talking points paid for by Exxon cannot wish away. Torrential flooding in all parts of the world could easily be part of a new phase brought on by just a few upticks in ocean temperatures. The forecast is simple: You ain’t seen nothing yet. MORE...
H/t to Naomi Klein.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

"Bill McKibben: From Storms to Droughts, Devastating Extreme Weather Linked to Human-Caused Climate Change" (with video)

Democracy Now! with video (14:12):
2011 has already become the deadliest year for tornado outbreaks in the United States since 1953, with more than 500 people killed. Extreme weather has made headlines across the world, as well, with megafloods occurring in Colombia, Vietnam, Pakistan and Australia, even as the Amazon just faced its second hundred-year drought in the past five years. News audiences are seeing the warning "severe weather" increasingly flash across TV screens, but little connection has been made to the role humans have played in driving climate change. We speak with environmentalist Bill McKibben, founder of the grassroots climate campaign, 350.org. "We’re making the earth a more dynamic and violent place," McKibben says. "That’s, in essence, what global warming is about."
Howie P.S.: Here's "A link between climate change and Joplin tornadoes? Never!" (McKibben's op-ed in the Washington Post).

"Vermont Poised to Become 1st State to Enact Single-Payer Healthcare" (video)

Democracy Now! video (17:27):
Today Vermont is set to make history by becoming the first state in the nation to offer universal, single-payer healthcare when Gov. Peter Shumlin signs its healthcare reform bill into law. The Vermont plan, called the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, will attempt to stem rising medical care prices and provide universal coverage. We speak with Dr. Deb Richter, president of Vermont Health Care for All. She moved from Buffalo, New York, to Vermont in 1999 to advocate for a universal, single-payer healthcare system in the state. Gov. Shumlin calls her the “backbone” of the grassroots effort that helped persuade the Democratic-led state legislature to pass the bill this spring. [includes rush transcript]

"299 Republicans Voted To Kill Medicare" (video)

24EvelJustin24, video (03:32).

"Cliff Mass: free at last!"

(Photo by Steven Dewall, Seattle Weekly)
(photo: Steve Scher, Facebook)

Michael Hood:
"Scher and his producer [Katy Sewall] never seemed to care or consider the listeners." Thus spake Cliff Mass, insuring that he'll never appear on KUOW again.

(Unless host Steve Scher keels over or something. Frankly, he looks pretty healthy).

Mass got all pissy in a piece in... of all places, The Stranger!

Not that we don't love The Stranger and all it stands for, it's just that airing KUOW's dirty drawers there, of all places, is a little untoward for public radio- the last place KUOW would want this all to be kicked around. MORE...

Rep. Adam Smith on trying terrorists in our courts: "We can do this."

Donna Cassata (AP):
House Republicans are insisting terrorist suspects should remain at the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, with no chance to be prosecuted in the United States, a policy that Democrats argue limits President Barack Obama's authority in time of war.
Rep. Adam Smith of Washington state, the top Democrat on the committee, said the United States had tried and convicted more than 400 international terrorists in federal courts. He offered an amendment that would allow for prosecution of terrorist suspects in the U.S.

"There's no question we can do this. No question that we can do it safely," said Smith, who argued that Congress should not pre-empt the Obama administration's ability "to determine where and when to prosecute detainees." MORE...

WA: "Medical Marijuana Bill Dies"

Lee (horsesasss.org):
As you’ve probably seen by now, it’s officially over:

A yearlong attempt to clarify Washington’s medical marijuana laws collapsed Tuesday, leaving state dispensaries without legal recognition and more vulnerable to prosecution.

Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles, D-Seattle, had pursued a series of proposals to regulate the dispensaries, managing to usher one plan all the way to the governor’s desk. But Gov. Chris Gregoire struck down key parts of it with a veto last month, and a scramble to pass two other plans before the end of the legislative session failed to get enough support in committee.

“By far, this represents the greatest disappointment of my legislative career,” Kohl-Welles said. MORE...

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

'Letter from the West' on Gidget: "America’s Mermaid"

Deanne Stillman (truthdig):
There is a person who has a certain visceral reaction whenever she comes across another person or product carrying this name, whenever she hears or reads about its use. Sometimes she finds it funny and laughs out loud. Sometimes it breaks her heart but she doesn’t show it. Sometimes she’d like to file a lawsuit, but decides not to, because who wants to deal with lawyers? And sometimes she just gets tired, and doesn’t talk to anyone for a while. The person is Gidget—not any of the seven actresses who have played the perky beach bunny who occasionally surfed but more often ran after boys, but the real Gidget, from whose life all things Gidget have sprung. MORE...
Howie P.S.: In 1959, when the Gidget movie came out, I was a teenager in New York. By 1960 I was a high school senior in Los Angeles, heading to the beach often and every weekend. Oh, and the real Gidget is Jewish.

Jobs v. Wall Street: When 'Bad News Is Good News' (with video)

CNBC with video (10:45):
CNBC's Jim Cramer provides insight into the counterintuitive link between a rotten economy and soaring asset prices: "We are and have been in the longest 'bad news is good news' moment that I have ever come across in my 31 years of trading. That means the bad news keeps producing the low interest rates that make stocks, particularly stocks with decent dividend protection, more attractive than their fixed income alternatives." In other words, the longer Ben Bernanke's policies fail to lower unemployment, the longer Wall Street enjoys a free ride. MORE...

ED Show: "McDermott on Republicans' Medicare Plans" (video)

RepJimMcDermott, video (03:30).

Politico: "Webb asks for smarter use of military force" (video)

Politico, video (05:04).

Sunday, May 22, 2011

"Former (Seattle) P-I reporter Dorothy Parvaz was handcuffed, heard beatings " (with video)

seattlepi.com with video (05:23):
Dorothy Parvaz, a former Seattle Post-Intelligencer reporter freed Tuesday after being detained in Syria and Iran for weeks, said she was handcuffed and blindfolded in Syria, where she heard the sounds of "savage beatings."

"I was handcuffed repeatedly, blindfolded, taken to a courtyard and just left to hear these men being beaten," Parvaz told Al Jazeera, her current employer. MORE...

(Updated) Taibbi: 'U.S. politics - reality show sponsored by Wall Street' (video)

UPDATE: RT America is part of the RT Network:
"...previously known as Russia Today, is a global multilingual television news network based in Russia and funded by the Russian government. RT was the first all-digital Russian TV network.[1] The service is aimed at the overseas market, similar to CCTV-4, DW-TV, France 24 and NHK World, and broadcast through satellite and cable operators throughout the world." MORE...

RTAmerica. video (12:52):
RT's Anastasia Churkina sits down with Matt Taibbi - journalist, author and contributing editor to Rolling Stone magazine.

"Wonder where the money went?" (chart)

Dave Johnson:
In 2001 Defense Sec Rumsfeld launched a campaign to shift Defense Dept, government functions to private contractors, because the private sector is more efficient.

Here is a chart of US spending on "defense."

H/t to Shaun, where Terry Parkhurst comments
The money's gone to just about any place you can imagine. The United States has more aircraft carriers than any nation on earth - with China in hot pursuit.

While it's unlikely there'll ever be another battle like Midway again, the United States is now charged with keeping the sea lanes open for everyone - including, of course, China - as well as trying to ensure rapid response for whatever is deemed necessary by the president, with or without the approval of Congress.

It might only stop with a complete economic collapse of the United States government, as both the Republicans and Democrats don't want to cut the Defense budget, in part because both parties have constituents who benefit economically; and just as once no politician wanted to look "soft on communism," now none want to look "soft on terrorism."

The weaponry may change with wars, but the illusions remain the same.

24EvelJustin24: "Banning Sharia Law" (video)

24EvelJustin24, video (03:14).

Howie P.S.: A righteous rant in the spirit of Hunter S. Thompson.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Pelz on Kucinich: "He is not an attractive candidate for Congress in Washington state."

Mike Baker (AP):
That doesn't mean Kucinich will get a warm welcome if he tries to make the move. Dwight Pelz, chairman of the Washington state Democratic Party, said Kucinich called this week and indicated that he was looking at running in the state next year.

Kucinich spokesman Nathan White said Pelz may have misinterpreted the conversation and that the congressman simply made contact to be polite due to rumors about his future.

Either way, Pelz told Kucinich that he didn't support the idea.

"He is not an attractive candidate for Congress in Washington state," Pelz said in an interview. "We could lose if he was our candidate." MORE...

"George Takei vs. Tennessee's "Don't Say Gay" Bill" (video)

allegiancebway, with video (01:45):
George Takei takes on the Tennessee Legislature and its "Don't Say Gay" bill, in the way only George Takei can!

A bill now pending in Tennessee would prohibit teachers in that state from discussing homosexuality in the classroom. The so-called "don't say gay" law is premised on the misguided belief that, by not talking about gay people, they can simply make us disappear.

George is here to tell Tennessee, and all the LGBT youth and teachers who would be affected by this law, that he is here for you. In fact, he is lending his name to the cause. Any time you need to say the word "gay," you can simply say "Takei."

You can buy T-shirts and other items that say "It's OK to be Takei", to wear and display with pride and to show Tennessee and the world that you're against censorship and bigotry....

All the proceeds from the sales of these items will be donated to charity. Have a TAKEI old time! Support George! Fight back here.
H/t to Darryl.

"An Update to that Deficit Chart"

James Fallows (The Atlantic):
DeficitChartthmb.jpgLast week I mentioned the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities Chart that analyzed the sources of the federal budget deficit. For old time's sake, a thumbnail of that chart is at right. The original explanation and source notes are on the CBPP's site. In brief: the parts in shades of blue are stimulus-related outlays and depressed revenues for economic slowdown. The big dark-golden colored central swath is the revenue forgone by extending the Bush-era tax cuts.*

The CBPP has now applied its analysis not to the annual deficit but to the accumulated public debt -- the growth of which, of course, has been the source of so much political rhetoric and anxiety over the past year. The color coding is basically the same; the fine print and analysis are here; and the upshot is, as Chad Stone of the CBPP puts it,
"simply letting the Bush tax cuts expire on schedule (or paying for any portions that policymakers decide to extend) would stabilize the debt-to-GDP ratio for the next decade. While we'd have to do much more to keep the debt stable over the longer run, that would be a huge accomplishment."

Friday, May 20, 2011

Psych 101: "Do Psychopaths Misrule Our World?"

Greg Kuma (Maverick Media);
In recent days the political news has been like an episode of some TV drama about high-level corruption – call it Criminal Minds meets The West Wing. The head of the International Monetary Fund – the global financial organization that sets terms for development aid -- was jailed in New York for allegedly assaulting a housemaid sexually at his hotel. Meanwhile, in California news broke that the state’s movie-star governor – known as both the Terminator and the Gropinator – fathered a love-child almost a decade ago and it didn’t come out until he was about to leave office. MORE...
Howie P.S.: In a former life, I was a psychology professor at a state college in California. I majored in political science and studied social work in grad school. And yes, they do (pretty much) "misrule our world." That's what makes things so difficult for the rest of us. Guma takes a look at Barack Obama ("Obama: Myths & Realities") and it aint' pretty:
As it is working out, the end of that catchy campaign slogan, “Yes we can,” may be something like “…make some small changes without rocking the boat.” MORE...
Howie P.P.S.: But Kuma refrains from using the p-word on Obama and says:
To be fair, the administration has made some constructive moves and a number of promises have been kept.

Memo to Seattle from Cliff Mass: "No More Weather on KUOW Weekday"

Cliff Mass:
For over 15 years, I have talked about Northwest weather, the weekend forecast, and education-related topics on KUOW during Friday's morning's Weekday program.

I have done so as my attempt at educational outreach, to go beyond the basic forecasts given on other media, providing the why behind the weather and to allow local residents a chance to appreciate the grand complexity of the weather of this beautiful area of the world. And occasionally to talk about related educational issues.

Starting tomorrow, I will not have the opportunity to do so anymore on KUOW. On Monday I received an email from Weekday host Steve Scher informing me that the regular weather segments on Weekday will be discontinued. MORE...

"Papantonio: Blue Dog Democrat Losers" (with video)

golefttv, with video (08:46):
Mike Papantonio and Ed Schultz rip the Democrat turncoats who are pushing for more oil drilling and more big oil subsidies, in spite of the fact that the general public is against giving these behemoths any more money.
Howie P.S.: Not to be a jerk, but what would things be like in the U.S. Senate right now without those Blue Dog votes?

Thursday, May 19, 2011

In Case You Forgot: "Who Increased the Debt?" (chart)

H/t to Shaun.

24EvelJustin24: "Patriot Act Extended For 4 Years" (with video)

24EvelJustin24, video (01:54). Here's the story from CNN:
Top congressional lawmakers reached a deal Thursday to extend the Patriot Act for another four years.

Key parts of the anti-terrorism legislation were set to expire next week.

The deal will extend provisions that allow the government to compel businesses to release records, issue roving wiretaps and monitor terror suspects.

A full vote must take place in Congress before May 27 for the deal to stand.

"The face of America is changing." (with video)

Policy Link with video (00:18):
By 2042, the nation will be a majority people of color.

This decade, the majority of young people will be people of color.

From Southern California to rural Iowa, every corner of America is seeing these changes.

What does this map say about the future of America?

Jared Bernstein: "Why I left the White House economic team"

Jared Bernstein:
I recently left a great job at the White House, serving President Obama and Vice President Biden and working with an inspiring team of smart, dedicated economists.

Our office played an integral role in implementing the Recovery Act—I was the Vice President’s chief economist, I worked with a brilliant staff, and “Sheriff Joe” was the implementer-in-chief. For a Keynesian economist, this was an exciting and challenging assignment, and under the guidance of the VP, that intervention broke the back of the great recession and significantly pulled forward the recovery that’s now underway.

I got to weigh in on the most important economic policies of the day, often with the President himself, whose economic vision I still very much believe in and support. I had a really cool office, a decent parking space, and I even met George Clooney once in the White House (not to mention Bo!).

How could you leave a job like that? MORE...
H/t to Joan Walsh.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

On Obama, Cornel West and Melissa Harris-Perry (with video)

HuffPo with video (09:02)from MSNBC-ED Schultz:
Ed Schultz sparred with Prof. Cornel West about President Obama after a day after the high-profile scholar and leading black intellectual gave a scathing interview condemning Obama's term in office.

On Monday, an interview with West appeared on the website Truthdig. In it, West called Obama "a black mascot of Wall Street oligarchs and a black puppet of corporate plutocrats. And now he has become head of the American killing machine and is proud of it." MORE...
Howie P.S.: Melissa Harris-Perry has her own disagreements with West:
Professor Cornel West is President Obama’s silenced, disregarded, disrespected moral conscience, according to Chris Hedges’s recent column, “The Obama Deception: Why Cornel West went Ballistic.” In a self-aggrandizing, victimology sermon deceptively wrapped in the discourse of prophetic witness, Professor West offers thin criticism of President Obama and stunning insight into the delicate ego of the self-appointed black leadership class that has been largely supplanted in recent years. MORE...

Tim Egan on Ryan's Plan: "The Need for Greed"

Tim Egan:
The bet was audacious from the beginning, and given the miserable, low-down tenor of contemporary politics, not unfathomable: Could you divide the country between greedy geezers and everyone else as a way to radically alter the social contract?

But in order for the Republican plan to turn Medicare, one of most popular government programs in history, into a much-diminished voucher system, the greed card had to work.

The plan’s architect, Representative Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, drew a line in the actuarial sand: Anyone born before 1957 would not be affected. They could enjoy the single-payer, socialized medical care program that has allowed millions of people to live extended lives of dignity and decent health care.

And their kids and grandkids? Sorry, they would have to take their little voucher and pay some private insurer nearly twice as much as a senior pays for basic government coverage today. In essence, Republicans would break up the population between an I’ve Got Mine segment and The Left Behinds. MORE...

"In honor of Bob Marley Week, Jakob Dylan sings 'I Shot The Sheriff" (video)

UPDATE: Blogger has now restored this "lost" posting from May 12, 2011.

"Late Night with Jimmy Fallon," video (04:55).

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

(Updated) "After White House Invite, Conservatives Get Tough on Soft Rapper" (with video)

UPDATE: Blogger has now restored this "lost" posting from May 12, 2011.

UPDATE:"Common Performs Poetry at the White House," video (01:43).

Ari Melber (The Nation) with video (03:30):
White House poetry night is one of those ceremonial events that you never hear about unless there's a controversy. Or a fake controversy. But today's conservative kerfuffle over a White House invitation for Common—a socially conscious, mainstream hip hop artist and sometime actor (most recently in Tina Fey's "Date Night")—is interesting, since the faux outrage targets an artist who actually embodies many values of his critics. MORE...
Howie P.S.: Ari Melber displays his pop chops.

"Ziggy Marley | Jammin' in the Rain | Bob Marley Cover" (with video)

UPDATE: Blogger has now restored this "lost" posting from May 12, 2011.

Ziggy Marley, with video (07:22):
Hail family, this version of Bob Marley's "Jammin'" ( in case someone doesn't know :) was recorded in Sao Paulo, Brazil during our tour with Shakira.

I remember this song and this show specifically because the rain was gently falling on my head and it gave me a really good vibe.

I called "Jammin'" instinctively as we were about to start "Black Cat", it wasn't planned, it wasn't on the set list, it was just a feeling. I always try and follow the truth inside of me.

I wanted to share that vibe with you. It's called "Jammin' in the rain".

Enjoy and we will talk soon.

I will never forget thirty years ago.

luv powah.
Howie P.S.: Bob Marley left this earth 30 years ago.

Norm Stamper: ...marijuana prohibition is "the worst social policy since slavery." (with video)

SaferChoice, video (05:11).
Howie P.S.: Norm says marijuana prohibition is "the worst social policy since slavery." Stamper was interviewed on "Experience Northwest" with Deb Slater on KVOS (Bellingham, WA) in September, 2009.

"Why Obama Negotiates"

Kevin Drum, quoting Greg Sargent (Mother Jones):
Signaling openness to compromise at the outset while articulating general principles as opposed to bottom lines — whatever it does for the Dems’ negotiating position — is central to Obama’s political identity and is the best way to recapture the aura that propelled him into the White House in the first place. It might be called “Beer Summit-ism.” MORE...

"Did Obama Really Say He'd Respect State Medical Marijuana Laws? Yes."

Scott Morgan, (stopthedrugwar.com):
So apparently, I misread statements like "I will not be using justice department resources to try to circumvent state laws on this issue," to mean that the President was saying he would not be using justice department resources to circumvent…well you get the point.

If Obama and Holder never intended for anyone to think they would respect state medical marijuana laws, then they said a series of really stupid things to the media. Yes, I'm as aware as anyone else of the vague language in the Holder Memo and the fact that many raids occurred prior to the recent escalation, but for reasons I would have thought obvious, those facts should hardly be held to immunize the President from the accusation that he broke a campaign promise.

This administration went to great lengths to convince the American public that interference with state medical marijuana laws would no longer be a priority at the Dept. of Justice. That is the standard by which they must will be judged. MORE...

24EvelJustin24: "There is no deficit crisis" (video)

24eveljustin24 with video (07:26):
This issue is made up by Republicans who want to scare you. Their ultimate goal is to eliminate America's social safety structure and funnel all that money to the top 2%. Please research this.
Howie P.S.: Mike Papantonio brought this young man, Justin Jones, to our attention.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Ari Melber on Gingrich: "The Most Serious Joke in the GOP Presidential Race" (with video)

Ari Melber with video (04:32)from MSNBC-Lawrence O'Donnell:
By entering the presidential race on Wednesday, Newt Gingrich assumes the role of the most serious joke in the Republican Party.

If you look at the historical precedents for reaching the presidency, Gingrich is simply not positioned to be a serious candidate. He resigned from the last elected office he held, in the House 13 years ago. He has never won statewide office, held a cabinet position, or served in the military.

By contrast, every president elected in the 20th Century had previously served in the military, or held national or statewide office. Gingrich’s presidential path is not just unlikely—it is unheard of in the modern era.

Gingrich is a serious joke, however, because of the silly company he joins. The speculative GOP field is packed with green room performers (Trump, Bachmann), entertaining interlopers (Paul, Cain) and thin sequels (Romney, Santorum). Almost anything looks sober by comparison. MORE...
Howie P.S.: In other news about joke candidates
Like he did with his net worth, Trump overestimated his political assets.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

"Papantonio: Energizing a New Generation of Political Activists" (with video)

golefttv, with video (08:28):
For years we've talked about how easy it is to get involved in the political process, if you care enough to make the effort. And that's exactly what our next guest has done. Justin Jones has created his own media machine by way of the internet and YouTube that he's using to help beat back the voices on the right. And he's done all of this at the age of 17, and he spoke with Ring of Fire's Mike Papantonio recently about what inspired him to get involved in politics, even before he could vote.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

"Obama Apologist Bingo" (game board)


Howie P.S.: If you are looking for excuses. H/t to Lavender Liberal.

"The Bermuda Triangle of Productivity" (map)

H/t to Shaun.

Howie P.S.: My position on this is
Hey, it's better than sitting in a smelly tavern, casino or mean-spirited religious meeting.

Friday, May 13, 2011

AP: "Black Lawmakers Press Obama On Jobs In Urban Areas"

Erica Werner (AP):
"Obama's consistent response to questions about whether he should be doing more for blacks or other individual groups is that the best way to help any community is by growing the overall economy.

Cleaver said that lawmakers offered ideas including targeting census tracts where poverty is persistent and seeing whether federal emergency declarations for flood-hit areas or elsewhere can be used to generate jobs in those areas." MORE...

Connelly: "Stay home, Dennis Kucinich"

Joel Connelly (seattlepi.com):
"My Next Move?" was the headline on a Wednesday fundraising letter, in which Kucinich boasted: "I've been approached by supporters across the country -- from Washington to Maine -- to explore options outside Ohio should redistricting force me out of my current district."

It's Kucinich's choice where to run, but ultimately Washington voters' decision on whether to have him.

If he must come here, how 'bout working out a trade: We send Mayor McGinn to Cleveland. MORE...
Howie P.S.: I have to admit that is a very tempting trade.


Blogger is having issues and all of yesterday's posts here are "unavailable" right now.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

"Ziggy Marley | Jammin' in the Rain | Bob Marley Cover" (with video)

Ziggy Marley, with video (07:22):
Hail family, this version of Bob Marley's "Jammin'" ( in case someone doesn't know :) was recorded in Sao Paulo, Brazil during our tour with Shakira.

I remember this song and this show specifically because the rain was gently falling on my head and it gave me a really good vibe.

I called "Jammin'" instinctively as we were about to start "Black Cat", it wasn't planned, it wasn't on the set list, it was just a feeling. I always try and follow the truth inside of me.

I wanted to share that vibe with you. It's called "Jammin' in the rain".

Enjoy and we will talk soon.

I will never forget thirty years ago.

luv powah.

WA: "Medical Marijuana Bill Updates"

Lee (horsesass.org):
This talking point about state employees being arrested first came up back in February out of the mouth of Christopher Hurst, whose mouth is permanently loaned out to the police and prosecutors of this state. This bullshit about state employees being at risk appears to have been the plan for police and prosecutors to scuttle this thing all along. And sadly, we have a governor who just so happens to be stupid enough to fall for it. MORE...

Chris Cornell on Late Night: Redemption Song (5/10/11) (video)

Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, video (03:30):
As part of Bob Marley week, Chris Cornell performs the classic song, 'Redemption Song.'

Tim Egan: "Turns out, having a community organizer in the White House Situation Room was not a bad thing."

Timothy Egan:
You must remember this: “He worked as a community organizer.”

Rudolph Giuliani paused to choke on the words in his speech at the 2008 Republican convention, followed by a gasp, waves of laughter and more ridicule.

It became a punch line, the part of Barack Obama’s résumé that had him working with Roman Catholic parishes on Chicago’s South Side to help the unemployed. The kicker was delivered by Sarah Palin when she touted her own credentials. “I guess a small-town mayor is sort of like a community organizer except that you have actual responsibilities.” MORE...

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

"Teapot Party Backs Roger Goodman for Congress in 2012"

The Teapot Party's latest endorsement is in behalf of Washington State Rep. Roger Goodman, who's running for the 8th Congressional District seat currently occupied by two-term Republican incumbent Dave Reichert.

State Rep. Roger GoodmanGoodman has been in office (45th District in Kirkland) since 2006, during which time he co-sponsored HB 1550, It would allow the Liquor Control Board to regulate the production, distribution and sale of marijuana, and calls for a 15% tax per gram. Unfortunately, the bill recently didn't make it out of committee.

"Thanks so much Willie Nelson and the Teapot Party for your thoughtful endorsement of my run for Congress," Goodman states. "You and I both know that marijuana prohibition has been one of the most corrosive public policies in America for generations and we can wait no longer for repeal. I've been working aggressively for over a decade as a reformer to promote a responsible exit strategy for the failed War on Drugs. In the state legislature, I've been proud to spur further reform as the principal co-author of the marijuana legalization bills for the last two sessions. I know we are making progress, but we have a long way to go. Now is the time for us to step it up to the highest level where I will work just as aggressively to remove federal barriers to rational marijuana reform across the states. Thanks again or your support. We're all in this fight together!"

Goodman hopes to win the Democratic primary on Nov. 8. The Congressional election is in 2012. Visit Roger Goodman for Congress here. Goodman is the sixth candidate endorsed by the TPP. The others are Kris Bailey (for Austin City Council), Gatewood Galbraith (governor of Kentucky), Bill Levin (Indianapolis City Council), Doug Linkhart (mayor of Denver) and Dana Larsen (leader of British Columbia's New Democratic Party).
Howie P.S.: I'm not sure about that "Democratic primary on Nov. 8" date. Can anybody confirm for us?

"Why John Boehner gets away with it"

Greg Sargent:
It’s a matter of tone. Cutting things (spending, entitlements) sounds hawkish, stern, and serious. Raising things (taxes, revenues) to cover costs somehow smacks of a failure to control those costs — it sounds lax and undisciplined. Dems in some ways reinforce this dynamic by continually acceeding to the right’s austerity/cut-cut-cut frame. The result is a debate that’s shifted so far to the right that the GOP approach — trillions in cuts, no new taxes — doesn’t sound extreme or lopsided. If anything, it sounds like an overdose of sternness and austerity. That’s a position Republicans are happy to be associated with, and they get rewarded by commentators for it. MORE...

"Former Bush Staffers Outnumbered Democrats On Sunday Morning Shows Three to One" (with video)

MEDIAite, with video (01:30):
The capture and killing of Osama bin Laden is unarguably the biggest foreign policy news to occur during the Obama Administration, and arguably the biggest foreign policy development of the last ten years. So how did the Sunday morning talk shows treat this huge news? By booking a bunch of former officials from the Bush administration. Or as Rachel Maddow asked last night, “Is the biggest story in American politics right now ‘retiree’s from the Bush administration and how they feel about stuff?’”

Maddow correctly points out that the Sunday morning political talk shows are considered by many to be the “apex” of political discourse in this country, likening an invitation to appear on any number of these shows to getting a “seat at the grownups table.” So one can reasonably wonder what the bookers for these shows were thinking when the invited guests from the right outnumbered those from the left at a ratio of three to one. MORE...

Jimmy Fallon hosts: "Ziggy Marley: Get Up, Stand Up" (video)

Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, video (03:39).

Howie P.S.: Ziggy and Jimmy talk, video (02:33):
Jimmy asks Ziggy about his father, his name and his new animated book, "Marijuanaman."
It's Bob Marley Week on Fallon and I am told Chris Cornell is on tonight (Tuesday), Keith Richards and Jakob Dylan will appear on Wednesday, and Lauryn Hill is up on Thursday.

Politico: "Kucinich might move left -- to Wash."

UPDATE: Shaun breaks the news:
Make of it what you will…

…but my guess is that Rep. Kucinich's appearance at a fundraiser for my LD Democratic organization has very little to do with speculation about his possible interest in the 1st District Congressional seat and a lot to do with his relationship with our State Senator, Maralyn Chase, one of the most prominent local supporters of his presidential campaigns. MORE...

David Catanese(Politico):
“This is the guy you all see at the State of the Union addresses. He’s always at the same spot, waiting for the president. Dennis Kucinich has a big ego, and he likes the spotlight. He’s been in the state twice and now he’s looking for a place to run for Congress? I would say it’s tremendously unusual,” Pelz said.

This past weekend, Kucinich held a fundraiser in Tacoma, made a stop in Bainbridge Island and led an immigration rally in Seattle, fueling reports he could be testing his appeal.
Washington Rep. Jim McDermott, a liberal congressman from the Seattle area, gave Kucinich his blessing to run in Washington – and noted that he is not a native Washingtonian, either.

“I came from Chicago and now represent Seattle. If Dennis decides to run in Washington, I think it’s fine,” McDermott said. MORE...
Howie P.S.: Congressman Jim, as some may recall, represented Seattle in the Washington State Senate for several terms before he ran for Congress.

Monday, May 09, 2011

Rosie O’Donnell: "Without Due Process For Bin Laden, We May Be ‘Monsters’" (with audio)

MEDIAite with audio (01:31):
Rosie O’Donnell is making some waves suggesting America may have become the type of “monsters” we loathe with our targeted killing of Osama bin Laden. Uncomfortable with the wild celebrations last week of “drunken fraternity boys” celebrating Bin Laden’s death in New York and Washington, Rosie also reveals that she expects America to be an example for how we want other countries to act and was disappointed we were not the leader of morality and fairness here. MORE...

"Osama bin Laden’s medieval aims and high-tech means"

Steve Coll (The New Yorker):
When he died last week, at the age of fifty-three, he was hunkered down and cut off from Muslim societies. The standard caricature of bin Laden places him in a cave, stroking his untrimmed beard, plotting to drag the world backward in time. But a better way to understand his significance might be as a singular and peculiar talent in asymmetric communication and marketing strategies. His career as a terrorist signalled changes in the structure of dissent, violent and otherwise, in the Arab and Muslim worlds, particularly involving the role of transnational media. He grasped the disruptive potential of border-hopping technologies even before many Western media executives and Arab dictators did. MORE...

(Updated) Howard Dean on the death of Osama bin Laden, the debt ceiling, DOMA, etc.

UPDATE: "Howard Dean's Democracy For America Group Launches First Afghanistan Withdrawal Campaign" (Amanda Terkel, HuffPo):
The grassroots progressive group Democracy for America (DFA) is launching its first Afghanistan withdrawal campaign on Monday. The move comes just a few weeks after its founder, former Gov. Howard Dean (D-Vt.), announced that he was changing his position and backing the pullout of troops. MORE...
Sarah Kuta (daily camera-CO:
"Osama bin Laden is important for his symbolism, his leadership in terrorism and as an enemy of the United States. This basically sent a very strong message about our ability to find and catch horrible people. But I don't think the death of Osama bin Laden does a lot more than that. Al Qaida will continue. We will continue to have to defend ourselves aggressively, but it's nice to have a win, right?" MORE...

Saturday, May 07, 2011

(Updated) Wanda Sykes on The Donald, birthers, network tv and Karma (with video)

UPDATED: Here's the FULL VIDEO (09:21) I intended to post! And there's more Wanda in Seattle, here and here and here and here and here and here and finally, here. Like I said below, I just love Wanda.

Peter Birnie (Vancouver Sun) with video (01:32) from Wanda's show in Seattle in March, 2010.
First to the birthers, that gaggle of gap-toothed morons led by Donald Trump who refuse to believe Barack Obama was born in the U.S.

“I feel sorry for ’em, they’re just sad,” says Wanda Sykes. “I love that they’re hangin’ it on ‘Well, he’s not from this country’ when they should just face it: You’re havin’ issues because a black man is president. That’s what it is, and you need to deal with that, to work with that.”

And as for The Donald, as we once dubbed Trump, what does Sykes think of his anti-Obama grandstanding atop the birther bandwagon?

“He’s not happy unless he’s relevant in some way,” she says. “He wants people to be talkin’ about him. I thought he would be happy enough to finally have a decent season of Celebrity Apprentice but, you know, he had to make a little bit more noise than that, I guess.” MORE...
Howie P.S.: I can't help it, I just love Wanda.

Reich: "Why Washington Should Pay Attention to the Economy Here and Now"

Robert Reich:
After a week of non-stop Osama Bin Laden, Washington is now returning to the battle of the budget deficit and debt ceiling.

All over Capitol Hill Republicans and Democrats are debating spending caps and automatic triggers, and whether to begin them before or after Election Day.

But if you don’t mind my asking, what about the economy? I’m not talking about the economy five or ten years from now, when projections show the federal budget wildly out of control or when foreigners might start dumping dollars.

I’m talking about the here and now economy – the one Americans are living in day to day. MORE...

Friday, May 06, 2011

Krugman On "Fears and Failure" and "phantom menaces."

Paul Krugman:
So we’re paying a heavy price for Washington’s obsession with phantom menaces. By looking for trouble in all the wrong places, our political class is preventing us from dealing with the real crisis: the millions of American men and women who can’t find work. MORE...

Thursday, May 05, 2011

"Sensible Washington’s Initiative 1149 Is the Best Foot Forward for Sensible Marijuana Policies"

Sensible Washington:
Last week, Governor Gregoire dealt a huge blow to tens of thousands of Washington’s most vulnerable citizens. By partially vetoing the proposed medical marijuana bill, the governor shut down a slowly emerging industry that was providing safe access to medicine for cancer and AIDS patients, multiple sclerosis sufferers, and those dealing with severe pain. As a result, criminal gangs are now poised to reclaim the market, bringing more violence to our streets, greater dangers to our children, and making it unnecessarily difficult for the sick and terminally ill to get the medicine that their doctors authorize. The governor’s stated reason for leaving us in this mess was that she feared the federal government’s response. MORE...

Obama on 60 Minutes: "you will not see bin Laden walking on this Earth again.” (with video)

MEDIAite with video from CBS News (01:00):
President Obama taped an interview yesterday to air on 60 Minutes Sunday, but a preview of his exchange with Steve Kroft demonstrates a confident President who is certain about his decision not to release the photos of Osama bin Laden’s dead body. MORE...

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Dylan Ratigan: "Rethinking the US presence in Afghanistan" (video)

MSNBC-Dylan Ratigan Show with video (06:17):
Cpl. Jake Diliberto and panel debate whether the U.S. should consider accelerating troop withdrawal from Afghanistan.

CNBC: "Marijuana USA" [1/4] (video)

potumentary with video from CNBC (1/4) (14:59):
More states are permitting the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes and the Obama administration has signaled relaxed enforcement of the industry in those states. Now, a new generation of marijuana entrepreneurs has emerged across America. They come from the unlikely fields of finance, politics, medicine and law, and they want to claim a stake in this modern day gold rush.

CNBC's "Marijuana USA" goes inside a flourishing medical pot industry. In Colorado, the demon weed is rebranded as a natural herbal remedy with healing powers that even respectable citizens can enjoy. We meet two restaurant owners who are about to launch a new line of cannabis-infused edibles. And, we'll go inside a clinic where marijuana is almost always the doctor's order.

In this bold new era of greater marijuana acceptance, the business still remains in violation of federal laws. But, the entrepreneurs have asked to be regulated, licensed and taxed -- just like any other trade. After more than seventy years as an illegal drug, is it possible that marijuana's moment has arrived?

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Ezra Klein: "Osama bin Laden didn’t win, but he was ‘enormously successful’"

Ezra Klein (WaPo):
Osama bin Laden "...had a strategy that we never bothered to understand, and thus that we never bothered to defend against. What he really wanted to do — and, more to the point, what he thought he could do — was bankrupt the United States of America. After all, he’d done the bankrupt-a-superpower thing before. And though it didn’t quite work out this time, it worked a lot better than most of us, in this exultant moment, are willing to admit. MORE...

WA: "Getting a Second Opinion" on Gregoire and Medical Marijuana (with video)

Lee (HorsesAss.org) with video (15:00):
Fifteen State House Representatives, led by Roger Goodman, have sent Attorney General Rob McKenna a letter asking him to weigh in with his opinion on the recent furor over Governor Gregoire’s partial veto of the medical marijuana bill. The legislators would like to know McKenna’s official opinion on the following three things: MORE...

Howard Dean on Obama, the current political scene and the 2012 election (video)

CNBC, video (08:50).

"Hemp History Week - Did You Know?"

Hemp History Week:
Hemp is one of Earth's most sustainable, versatile and profitable crops. It is among the oldest industries on the planet, going back more than 10,000 years to the beginnings of pottery. The Columbia History of the World states that the oldest relic of human industry is a bit of hemp fabric dating back to approximately 8,000 BC. MORE...
H/t to Ziggy.

Katrina vanden Heuvel: "With Osama bin Laden Dead, It's Time to End the 'War on Terror'

Katrina vanden Heuvel (The Nation):
The “war” metaphor—as retired American Ambassador Ronald Spiers wrote in a provocative piece in March 2004 in Vermont’s Rutland Herald, “is neither accurate nor innocuous, implying as it does that there is an end point of either victory or defeat.... A ‘war on terrorism’ is a war without an end in sight, without an exit strategy, with enemies specified not by their aims but by their tactics.... The President has found this ‘war’ useful as an all-purpose justification for almost anything he wants or doesn’t want to do; fuzziness serves the administration politically. It brings to mind Big Brother’s vague and never-ending war in Orwell’s 1984. A war on terrorism is a permanent engagement against an always-available tool.” MORE...

Monday, May 02, 2011

Chris Hedges: "it’s about forgetting that terrorism is a tactic."

Chris Hedges:
And it’s about forgetting that terrorism is a tactic. You can’t make war on terror. Terrorism has been with us since Sallust wrote about it in the Jugurthine Wars. And the only way to successfully fight terrorist groups is to isolate themselves, isolate those groups, within their own societies. And I was in the immediate days after 9/11 assigned to go out to Jersey City and the places where the hijackers had lived and begin to piece together their lives. MORE...