Monday, April 30, 2012

"New from 2012 Obama Campaign: Forward" (video)

BarackObamadotcom-video (07:17), "Forward:"
The video outlines the challenges America faced as President Obama took office at the height of the worst recession in almost a century and details the progress that has been made reclaiming the security of the middle class and building an economy that's meant to last, where hard work pays and responsibility is rewarded.

"Obama Jabs At Romney, Congress, Huffington Post And Dogs At W.H. Correspondents Dinner" (with video)

MEDIAite, with video (17:48):
President Obama opened with a “hot mic” joke, mocking a self-affirming warm up speech back stage as White House Press Secretary Jay Carney panicked on stage. “Man, I could really use a cigarette right now,” said Obama. Once ushered onstage by an unheard aide, he said “God forbid we keep Chuck Todd and the cast of Glee waiting.” MORE...
H/t to Stuart Freedman.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

"Murray comes out against potential student loan rate increase" (with video) with video (02:19):
A fight over student loan interest rates came to the University of Washington on Friday, as outraged students spoke to Washington Sen. Patty Murray about a plan that could soon double their interest rates. As if rising tuition costs weren't enough to frustrate college students and their families, now the interest rates on the loans they use to pay for that education could soon drastically increase. Unless congress takes action, the rates will double on July 1. UW sophomore Kika Kaui said she'll owe $40,000 by the time she graduates. "$40,000 is crushing my peers and myself," she said. "When we add interest rates, we're not just paying for education. We have to pay for fear, anxiety for our own futures." Half of all UW students use loans to pay for tuition. MORE...

"Jimmy Kimmel Addresses Marijuana Legalization At White House Correspondents' Dinner 2012" (with video)

"Jimmy Kimmel, host of the 2012 White House Correspondents' Dinner, addressed marijuana legalization in his speech."

 HuffPo with video (00:38):
While delivering his remarks at the 2012 White House Correspondents' Dinner, comedian Jimmy Kimmel addressed the issue of marijuana legalization.
"What is with the marijuana crackdown? Seriously, what is the concern? We will deplete the nation's Funyun supply?" Kimmel said. "Pot smokers vote too. Sometimes a week after the election, but they vote."
Kimmel then posed a challenge to the crowd, which was made up of celebrities like Kim Kardashian and George Clooney.
"I would like everyone in this room to raise your hand if you've never smoked pot," Kimmel said. MORE..

Saturday, April 28, 2012

"Mayors liken pot enforcement to Prohibition"

"Vancouver 4/20 at the downtown Art Gallery was bigger than ever this year, with more bands, more buds, and more pot-ographers chronicling cannabis history." View CC's collection of photo galleries from the event.
  Joel Connelly (
The mayors of eight British Columbia cities, in a joint letter, liken marijuana enforcement to “alcohol prohibition in the United States in the 1930′s” and say that only organized crime profits from costly anti-pot measures. The growth and export of “B.C. Bud” is an estimated $7 billion a year business in the western province oft-dubbed Canada’s “lotus land: B.C. has an estimated 20,000 grow operations, although a formal count is impossible. “Widespread access to marijuana for our youth, grow-ops that provide funds for organized crime, and significant costs to taxpayers for enforcement are all compelling reasons to re-examine our failed approach to prohibition,” said Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson, one of those signing the letter. As if to emphasize his point, thousands of Lower Mainland teenagers gathered in downtown Vancouver for a public 4/20 smoke-in last Friday. 4/20 has become a north-of-the-border equivalent of Seattle’s Hempfest, but without the organization, cameo appearances by politicians, and careful cleanup. MORE...

Friday, April 27, 2012

"'Fucking', Liberal Evangelicals, & Dem Supreme Court Fail?" (The Point) (video)

townsquare, with video (50:10):
Should the unfortunately named 'Fucking' Austria change its name? Are Democrats bad at appointing Supreme Court Justices? Is there a new breed of 'progressive' evangelical voters? John Fugelsang (Sexy Liberal Comedy Tour) leads this weeks panel to discuss these issues and more with Hal Sparks (comedian), Kelly Carlin (host of The Kelly Carlin Show on Sirius XM Radio, and daughter of George Carlin), and Hermela Aregawi (Current TV producer of The Young Turks with Cenk Uygur). Special thanks to Marcia Pally (professor, New York Law School), and Dahlia Lithwick (writer, for sending in points.

"MSNBC Asks Obama Campaign To Take Down Ad Featuring Ed Schultz" (with video)

Huffington Post with video (01:04) from MSNBC-ED Schultz Show:
MSNBC is calling on the Obama campaign to remove a polticial ad featuring its anchor Ed Schultz. The ad focuses on Obama's student loan policies. It shows Romney saying he supports an extension of the policies, and then cuts to a lengthy clip of Schultz, saying that Romney's statement is at odds with previous policy positions. NBC News released a statement on Thursday, saying, "MSNBC did not grant permission and we have asked the Obama campaign to remove the video of Ed." The Washington Post talked to an MSNBC spokesperson on Friday. The spokesperson said that the campaign had not responded. Presumably, if it did, the Obama team would say that it was in compliance with fair use laws. It's the second time NBC has had to deal with a campaign using its footage. In January, it demanded that the Romney campaign take down an ad that consisted solely of a portion of an "NBC Nightly News" broadcast from 1997. The campaign refused.

"KUOW The Conversation - McKenna" (audio)

Washdems, audio (08:04):
KUOW's The Conversation with Ross Reynolds discussing Rob McKenna's outburst against Kendra Obom. Featuring Eli Sanders from The Stranger, Joni Balter from the Seattle Times and Knute Berger of Crosscut.

Papantonio: "Justice Department Has Long Way To Go In BP Investigation" (video)

golefttv, with video (08:04):
This week, the Justice Department announced the first criminal charges in the BP oil spill probe, involving a BP engineer who destroyed evidence relating to the flow rate of oil from the broken wellhead. These charges are a great start, but as Mike Papantonio points out to Ed Schultz, there is still much more work to be done by the Department of Justice.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Dylan Ratigan: "Many disillusioned by money in politics" (video)

MSNBC-Dylan Ratigan, video (10:27).  

Howie P.S.: Ari Berman and Mark Meckler join Ratigan to discuss this issue.  Ratigan calls it: "Auction 2012".

"Republican attack on fair union election rule fails in Senate" (with video)

Republican attack on fair union election rule fails in Senate — Congressional Republicans on Tuesday failed in their latest attempt to roll back workers' rights. The U.S. Senate defeated (45-54) a measure (S.J. Res. 36) to kill a new National Labor Relations Board rule that makes modest changes in the procedures for workers who want to vote on whether to form a union. It also would have banned the NLRB from ever issuing any similar fair election rule.
EDITOR'S NOTE — Both Sens. Maria Cantwell and Patty Murray voted against S.J. Res. 36. Click here to watch Sen. Murray's excellent floor speech against it.

"Slow Jam The News with Barack Obama: Late Night with Jimmy Fallon" (with video)

latenight, video (05:06).

 Howie P.S.: More "Obama On Jimmy Fallon: President Discusses Student Loans, Mitt Romney, Secret Service Scandal" (HuffPo).

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Rob McKenna takes time out of his busy day to say "I'm not Scott Walker" (video)

Video (00:59) from The Rachel Maddow Show via jpeter4333.

AP: "1 in 2 new graduates are jobless or underemployed"

Hope Yen (AP):
The college class of 2012 is in for a rude welcome to the world of work. A weak labor market already has left half of young college graduates either jobless or underemployed in positions that don't fully use their skills and knowledge. Young adults with bachelor's degrees are increasingly scraping by in lower-wage jobs - waiter or waitress, bartender, retail clerk or receptionist, for example - and that's confounding their hopes a degree would pay off despite higher tuition and mounting student loans. An analysis of government data conducted for The Associated Press lays bare the highly uneven prospects for holders of bachelor's degrees. Opportunities for college graduates vary widely. MORE...

Animation: "Obama On Our Future" (Actual Audio)

Scott Bateman, video (01:03).

 H/t to Goldy.

John Nichols: "The Power of the General Strike" (with video)

videonation, with video (02:50):
The idea of a general strike might seem a little outdated for today's global economy, but general strikes nevertheless demonstrate not just the power but also the necessity of coordinated action for social and economic justice. In this video, John Nichols, who grew up in a factory town, offers a brief overview of the history of unionization and the general strike and the impact of both on workers' rights.
Howie P.S.: Nichols references the Seattle General Strike of 1919 in his comments.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Frank Rich: "Sugar Daddies-The old, white, rich men who are buying this election."

(Photo: Top row, from left, Boz Ratner/AP; Rick Maiman/Bloomberg/Getty Images; Tom Fox/Dallas Morning News/Corbis. Middle row, from left, Rob Sachs/AP; Kiyoshi Ota/Bloomberg/Getty Images; Patrick McMullan. Bottom row, from left, John Miller/AP; Melissa Phillip/Houston Chronicle/AP; Jim Spellman/WireImage/Getty Images. Photo-Illustration by Darrow.)

Frank Rich (New York):
If you want to appreciate what Barack Obama is up against in 2012, forget about the front man who is his nominal opponent and look instead at the Republican billionaires buying the ammunition for the battles ahead. A representative example is Harold Simmons, an 80-year-old Texan who dumped some $15 million into the campaign before primary season had ended. Reminiscing about 2008, when he bankrolled an ad blitz to tar the Democrats with the former radical Bill Ayers, Simmons told The Wall Street Journal, “If we had run more ads, we could have killed Obama.” It is not a mistake he intends to make a second time. The $15 million Simmons had spent by late February dwarfs the $2.8 million he allotted to the Ayers takedown and the $3 million he contributed to the Swift Boat Veterans demolition of John Kerry four years before that. Imagine the cash that will flow now that the GOP sideshows are over and the president is firmly in Simmons’s crosshairs. MORE...

Melissa Harris-Perry on "Race factors in the presidential contest" (video)

MSNBC-video (21:26).
Howie P.S.: Stay tuned after this segment for Melissa's George Zimmerman commentary, video (02:58): "Apology Not Accepted."

Friday, April 20, 2012

"4/20: Sweet smoke from Vancouver to Boulder" (with slideshow)

Joel Connelly (SeattlePI.COM) with slideshow:
– Sen. Eugene McCarthy: The Minnesota senator who challenged President Lyndon Johnson and the Vietnam War had a way of putting it on the line without raising his voice. McCarthy got away with saying he would fire FBI director J. Edgar Hoover. Asked what he would do about marijuana, he told an audience in conservative Indiana: "I’d put a warning on the package." (from the slideshow)

It’s an historic April 20th, on a number of counts. We’re marking the 75th anniversary of the federal prohibition on marijuana, which has not prevented 100 million Americans from smoking cannabis, in venues from the elite Honolulu high school attended by Barack Obama to the I-didn’t-inhale experience in England of Rhodes Scholar Bill Clinton. Our politicians seem to agree, in words from Canada’s Prime Minister Stephen Harper at the Summit of the Americas in Colombia that the criminal pursuit of pot “is not working but it is not clear what we should do.” The University of Colorado-Boulder usually features one of America’s largest smoke-ins. And this year, voters in Colorado will get to decide on proposition 64, which would tax and regulate cannabis. Initiative 502, on Washington’s ballot, would do likewise — and has garnered support from a former FBI man, the Seattle city attorney, nabobs from the bar and medicine, and a former U.S. Attorney. MORE...

PERSPECTIVE: "Obama added 2x Pvt Jobs as Reagan in first 38 mo's"

H/t to Maverick™.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

"I-502 Debate @ Seattle City Hall" (with video)
* What: I-502 Debate
* When: Friday, April 20, 2012, at 7:00 p.m.
* Where: Seattle City Hall, 600 4th Ave in Seattle
* Who: Alison Holcomb, New Approach Washington
John Toker, Sensible Washington Communications Coordinator
Councilmember Nick Licata, moderator
* Map:

April 15 -- Join us at 7 p.m. this Friday night at Seattle City Hall for a debate on Initiative 502. Speakers will be Alison Holcomb of New Approach Washington and John Toker of Sensible Washington. The event is free and open to the public.

April 16 -- Have a question for the panelists? We will take questions at the debate, but please consider sending questions in before the event to We hope to start the Q&A portion -- which will be the bulk of the evening -- with some of the more salient emailed questions.

April 17 -- City Councilmember Nick Licata has graciously agreed to moderate the 4/20 City Hall debate! Can't make it that night? Watch live streaming video at

"Obama can’t keep dodging on gay rights measure"

Greg Sargent:
The pressure on Obama and the White House to reverse their craven decision not to go foward with the executive order barring federal contractors from discrimination based on sexual orientation is about to get a good deal more intense.

You may recall that during the battle over don’t ask don’t tell, a gay rights group called GetEQUAL got lots of press coverage for its civil disobedience against the White House over the issue. Images of activists chained to the White House fence or getting taken away in handcuffs gained wide circulation.

Now the group is about to launch a similar campaign against the Obama campaign over the executive order, which has been a priority for gay advocates ever since Obama took office. MORE...

The Grey Lady on Pot Botany: "On the Road to the Cannabis Cup"

Photo: Stephanie Diani for The New York Times-"The author Mark Haskell Smith holds a bud of Jack Herer marijuana."

Steven Kurutz (NY Times):
It may not be celebrated like roses or orchids, but marijuana is a flowering plant all the same, with a community of growers dedicated to its propagation (and boosting THC content). Each November, the best of them gather in Amsterdam for the High Times Cannabis Cup, a kind of taste-off for the stoner set. MORE...

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Video from Montreal: "Printemps érable - Manifeste vidéo («Maple spring» English subtitles) "

mexicael, with video (03:19):
Described as one of the largest demonstrations in recent memory, the massive student protest against the proposed tuition fee increases was a peaceful and festive event. More info about «Maple Spring here :
H/t to Naomi Klein.

Some ideas for Seattle's Mayor Mike from Mayor Mike in Your Home Town

David R. Miller (HuffPo):
Few people viewed Mayor Bloomberg as an environmental leader when he was first elected, but he has been -- and to the highest standards. Early in his mandate, the city adopted the revolutionary PlaNYC, the city's official plan that is explicitly based on leading environmental criteria.

All decisions -- about density, transportation, and economic investments to create jobs -- are viewed through PlaNYC and its approach to sustainability. Some of his initiatives have garnered international attention (and controversy) -- for example, reclaiming road space for bicycles and pedestrians and requiring all commercial buildings to post their energy consumption. None of this would have happened without the underlying strategy.

Leadership isn't enough though -- and the truly successful cities also have engaged citizens. New York is the home of people like Majora Carter, founder of Sustainable South Bronx, which fights to overcome environmental issues in a way that creates jobs and hope. I explored some of these issues in a recent CBC Radio documentary. MORE...

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

(Updated) "'Anderson' Daytime Exclusive: Trayvon Martin's Parents Give Update" (with video)

Anderson Cooper, with videos:
Today, in a daytime exclusive, Trayvon Martin's parents and brother give an update on how their family has been coping, two months after 17-year-old Trayvon Martin was fatally shot by George Zimmerman. Martin's older brother Jahvaris, and parents, Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin, address how they’ve felt since Zimmerman’s arrest last week.

Sybrina tells Anderson that she wants Zimmerman, 28, "to be accountable for what he did to Trayvon and our family." She adds that although she dislikes Zimmerman for what he did, she doesn't hate him. "I don't hate anyone. I'm God-fearing. To hate someone would block my blessing."

Sybrina and Tracy reveal they went to the location of the shooting, and Tracy explains, "We wanted to make sense of the incident and retrace his last steps. We never got a walk-though from the police. The details were sketchy, and I couldn't figure it out. I still don't have a clear understanding of what happened."

Jahvaris, 21, describes his brother in the present tense. He tells Anderson he can't believe Trayvon is gone. "I think of him as being away."

The family also talks about growing up in Miami, with Sybrina pointing out, "Miami has all nationalities. It concerns us that someone would see him and have problems with him walking down a common area. It's so confusing to us."

When asked what can be done to prevent something like this from happening again, Jahvaris says, "I would just hope that we could change some laws and bring more awareness."

(Updated) "Run, Dennis, Run! (Just Not in the 1st, 2nd, 6th, 7th, 9th, or 10th)"

UPDATE: Politico links to the Seattle Times story that features a quote from Dwight Pelz: "Dem chief: Kucinich a 'narcissist'."
Kucinich speaks at Seattle Hempfest on Saturday, Aug. 20, 2011. (Joshua Trujillo/

One of the best hours on my old 710-KIRO radio show was the night Kucinich came into the studio and took questions from callers. He was terrific, parrying critics, graciously thanking supporters, and displaying a deep knowledge and understanding of the issues. Make fun of Kucinich all you want, but by comparison Reichert or Herrera Beutler would come off as the lightweights they truly are. They'd likely win, but they'd stumble and struggle in the process.

And who knows? Lightning may strike. But even if not, at least Kucinich would force Republicans to spend a little money in a district they'd otherwise take for granted.

So yeah: run, Dennis, run. As long as it's in a Republican district where you'd do Democrats more good than harm. MORE...

"Tavis Smiley and Cornel West discuss new book 'The Rich and the Rest of Us: A Poverty Manifesto'" (video)

MyFoxDC, with video (06:20):
Tavis Smiley and Cornel West are were in town Tuesday with their new book, The Rich and the Rest of Us: A Poverty Manifesto.

They say we're headed down the road to economic ruin unless we move away from an entitlements mind-set to one of fairness.

Both authors joined us to discuss the book.

"1962 Laurelhurst Elementary students predict the future" (with video)

Jack Broom (Seattle Times), with video (04:20):
In the days leading up to the opening of the 1962 Seattle World's Fair, third-graders at Seattle's Laurelhurst Elementary School made predictions about the 21st century. Now in their late 50s, members of the class look back on those predictions. MORE...

"Michelle Obama: Trayvon ‘tragedy’ should rally Americans" (with audio)

David Edwards (RAW STORY), with audio (02:13):
First Lady Michele Obama is calling on Americans to rally around the family of an unarmed African-American teen who was recently shot to death by a neighborhood watchmen in Florida.

In a telephone interview on Tuesday, the first lady told NPR’s Michel Martin that her “heart goes out to the parents” of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin.

“Because we all, as parents, understand the tragedy of that kind of loss. And I think that’s really the thing that most people connect to,” Michelle Obama said. “And it’s important for us not to lose sight of the fact that this is a family that’s grieving — and there’s been a tremendous loss. And we all have to rally around that piece of it.” MORE...

"America's deadly devotion to guns"

A family looks at a pistol at an annual meeting of the National Rifle Association, which now claims more than 4 million members. Photograph: Scott Olson/Getty Images

Gary Younge (GuardianUK):
...guns in America are no trifling matter. There are approximately 90 guns for every 100 people in the US (a rate almost 15 times higher than England and Wales). More than 85 people a day are killed with guns and more than twice that number are injured with them. Gun murders are the leading cause of death among African Americans under the age of 44. MORE...

Robert Reich: "Thoughts on Tax Day 2012" (with video)

Robert Reich, with video (02:15):
As Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., wrote in 1904, “taxes are the price we pay for a civilized society.”

But the wealthiest Americans, who haven’t raked in as much of America’s income and wealth since the 1920s, are today paying a lower tax rate than they have in over thirty years. Even though America faces a mammoth federal budget deficit. Even though public services at all levels of government continue to be slashed. Even though the median wage is still dropping, adjusted for inflation. Even though the typical American is paying more of his or her earnings in taxes – including payroll taxes, sales taxes, and property taxes – than ever before.

I’m not a class warrior. I’m a class worrier. And my worries go to why all this has happened. MORE...

Goldy on WA 2012 U.S. Congress Election: "Quarterly Fundraising Reports Hint at Remarkably Uncompetitive Congressional Election Season"

Goldy (SLOG):
Yesterday (before Slog died) I posted on the money race in the 1st CD, the most competitive congressional race in the state. Okay, the only competitive race in the state. The 1st quarter 2012 campaign finance reports are in for the other nine districts, and there are at least some interesting numbers, if not particularly surprising ones: MORE...

"Why I Occupy" – Diane Emerson

Seeking love and affection any way I could, I found myself pregnant at 15. Knowing I did not have the parenting skills necessary to raise a child, I gave her up for adoption. Then I went on a drive to prove to the world that I was a good human being. With no help from my family, I got myself through college, and, eventually, with the help of my husband, graduated with an MBA. My goal: to be vice president of a Fortune 500 company. Why? This was the ultimate measure of success for a woman in this country. I worked hard, stuffed my feelings far down into my soul, and started climbing the corporate ladder. MORE...

"The case of President Obama's missing oil tax"

“Ending unwarranted subsidies for Big Oil, which represent billions in taxpayer dollars each year that could be used more effectively, is clearly more achievable, and so it makes sense for us to put our focus there,” an administration aide said.

A second administration aide said the White House decided that it had a better chance at persuading Congress to repeal the tax subsidies than enact the tax on oil and gas company profits. MORE...

Monday, April 16, 2012

Joan Walsh: "Which way for Obama?"

Joan Walsh (Salon):
In the last few months President Obama’s approval rating has steadily climbed, while he’s maintained a reliable if small lead over Republican Mitt Romney. Notwithstanding today’s Gallup daily tracking poll; daily tracking polls are meaningless. In the CNN poll also released Monday, he leads Romney 52-43 percent.

The question no one can answer definitively is why Obama’s fortunes improved after his miserable summer. Now that the race is a one-on-one contest, the debate over that question will intensify.

I’m of the oft-stated opinion that the president’s feistier populist rhetoric has driven his improved standing in the polls (more on why I think that shortly). But along comes the New York Times’ Bill Keller, with almost no data, to tell me I’m wrong. Keller insists Obama is turning off independents by being what he calls “a plutocrat-bashing firebrand” and pushing “Robin Hood” politics like the Buffett Rule. The source for Keller’s certainty? A recent poll by Third Way, a group that exists expressly to pull the Democratic Party to the right. MORE...

"Obama’s Super PAC Tags Romney As Rich Guy" (with video)

Matt Taylor (The National Memo) with video (00:30):
The 2012 presidential campaign might not reach fever-pitch until the party conventions this summer, but Barack Obama’s Super PAC is wasting no time, going on the air this week with a television advertisement meant to define presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney as the candidate of the rich. MORE...
H/t to Leo Henton.

WA: "Democratic caucus-goers eager to start stumping for Obama"

Bryan Kesterson, center, and other Democrats gather Sunday for the 47th Legislative District precinct caucuses at the Kent Phoenix Academy. About 80 people attended.

Sandi Doughton (Seattle Times):
After watching Republicans slug it out for months, Washington's Democrats got their turn Sunday as thousands gathered for presidential caucuses across the state.

With a known candidate, there wasn't much drama. But many of those who showed up said they were eager to begin campaigning in earnest to return President Obama to the White House for a second term.

"We're just getting started," said Marlla Mhoon, of Covington. MORE...

"Secretive 'Grassroots' political group -- - spent $5.5 million here in 2010 trying to unseat U.S. Sen. Patty Murray"

Joel Connelly (
A secretive Washington, D.C.-based "social welfare organization" -- as the IRS defines it -- spent $5.5 million here in 2010 trying to unseat U.S. Sen. Patty Murray, with Washington's voters never learning where a penny of its donations came from.

The non-profit, Crossroads Grassroots Political Strategies, is a vehicle by which America's super-rich can carpet-bomb campaigns with money while leaving no footprints. The "Grassroots" are grown out of the greens and lawns of some of the nation's most exclusive country clubs.

Crossroads GPS will release its tax filings last week, but gave The Washington Post an advance peek on Friday. MORE...

"ABC Plays Distraction Politics While Ignoring the Real Issues of the Day" (with video)

karoli (CROOKSANDLIARS) with video (03:46):
Thank heavens for Katrina Vanden Heuvel and her level-headed, polite response. It was much nicer than I would have been.

VANDEN HEUVEL: But to pick up on what Cokie says, I think these discussions about Bill Maher and the Hilary Rosen, Ann Romney, much of that plays into a view that our politics are failing to deal with the massive deep-seeded problems this country has, whether it's, how do you send your kid to college or how do you not get evicted from your home? Or why do have inequality akin to Egypt's?

I think that's -- people talk about the elites. There are people in this country who are looking perhaps at us right now on this roundtable and saying, you're not connecting to my problems or my life. Let's get with it. Forget Bill Maher.

STEPHANOPOULOS: So just ignore it completely...

Yes, George. The media has become quite adept at playing through the politics of distraction with these ridiculous non-issues. Who cares what Bill Maher says, really? If you don't like what he says, don't listen to him. That's what I do, because I'm not a fan of Maher or anyone who just says outrageous nonsense to get some attention. If you like that, fine. If you don't, fine. But as long as he has no influence he's not relevant to the reality of daily life, which is what VandenHeuvel pointed out so perfectly. MORE...

Sunday, April 15, 2012

"Jay Rosen on our Media Malaise: Who Will Tell the People?" (audio)

Jay Rosen – NYU journalism professor, social-media rock star and most thoughtful of press watchers – thinks the critical news stories of our time have grown “Too Big to Tell.” MORE...
Howie P.S.: Shorter Rosen (my words): Cynicism is the result of our lack of a "reality based" media.

WA: "Attending Your Precinct Caucus - Detailed" (video)

WashDems, video (52:04).

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Washington state Democrats: "Here's why you should caucus"

Washington State Democrats:
To show support for President Obama and help kick off the 2012 campaign
To meet and discuss politics with your neighbors
To become a delegate and start down the road to the National Convention in Charlotte
To shape the Party Platform
Howie P.S: For information about the 2012 Caucuses and Conventions, refer to the table and infographic here.

Friday, April 13, 2012

"The Morning Plum: Seeing through GOP spin on Hilary Rosen `controversy’"

Greg Sargent:
Questionable media coverage of Rosengate: By contrast, the New York Times’s big story on yesterday’s battle tells you in the second paragraph that Rosen has “ties” to Obama, whatever that means, and doesn’t tell you until the 22nd paragraph that Dems pointed out that Rosen doesn’t have any role with the campaign. And even then it’s presented as he-said-she-said. MORE...

Thursday, April 12, 2012

"White House responds to Rosen comments" (video)

Politico, video (06:48):
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney responds to comments made by Democratic strategist Hilary Rosen about Ann Romney 'not working a day in her life'.

2012 Youth Town Hall 4/7/2012 (video)

Seattle Channel, video (87:49):
Mayor Mike McGinn and Councilmembers Sally Clark, Sally Bagshaw, Tim Burgess, Nick Licata, and Tom Rasmussen are guests of the Seattle Youth Commission`s annual Youth Town Hall meeting.

"What Do We See in Obama?"

Gary Younge (The Nation):
Obama is no mere passive recipient in this process. While he does not control it, he has at times tried to leverage and game it. Rhetorically, at least, he projected a far more dynamic, idealistic and populist campaign than the one he was really running. But when it came to matters of substance, far from raising expectations too high, he set them quite low. Some of his first actions in office at a time of war and economic crisis were to keep Bush’s defense secretary, reinstate Bill Clinton’s economic team and put in a banker at the Treasury.

The man is not a radical. He never was. Nor did he say he was, though he was happy for some to think he might be. If he had been, he would never have won. A winner-take-all voting system where both parties are corporately financed, Congressional districts are openly gerrymandered and 40 percent of the upper chamber can block anything is no vehicle for radical reform. Nor is the presidency.

This doesn’t mean there’s no difference between Obama and his Republican opponents. It means we should not make excuses for him. He’s the best that could be elected last time, and this time. And that’s the problem. MORE...

Jobs: "Who's to blame for early 2009?" (with chart)


Steve Benen via The Maddow Blog:
By carefully manipulating statistics, Mitt Romney and his campaign are pushing a wildly misleading claim this week about job creation in the Obama era. But there's a larger analytical point that shouldn't get lost in the shuffle: who deserves the blame for the job losses in early 2009?

Greg Sargent noted yesterday that Romney, as part of his new con, "relies on a net overall job loss calculation that uses January 2009 as a starting point." Since President Obama didn't take office until Jan. 20, 2009, and hadn't implemented any economic policies in his first 11 days, blaming Obama for the month's job losses seems ridiculous by any fair standard.

Greg added, "But here's the thing about this. Romney's use of the basic fallacy on display here goes well beyond this one claim about women. It's central to virtually his entire case against Obama's economic record."

Quite right -- when we start the clock makes all the difference. Romney argued two weeks ago, for example, "Since Barack Obama became president, over 800,000 Americans have lost their jobs." The presumptive Republican nominee called it a "basic fact" -- take all the jobs lost, measure against all the jobs gained, and Obama is still hundreds of thousands of jobs in the hole.

Or is he? Consider this new chart I put together (see chart above).

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Robert Reich: "BEYOND OUTRAGE: THE GENERAL ELECTION OF 2012 STARTS TODAY" (with video) with video (01:47):
The general election of 2012 starts today.

We need to do everything we can to make sure Barack Obama is reelected president. But we also need to mobilize for the long haul — beyond Election Day. We need to fuel a movement to take back our economy and our democracy. MORE...

Papantonio: "Maybe Justice Works In Florida" (video)

MSNBC-ED Show, video (07:21).

Howie P.S.: Stay on the video link and you'll see Papantonio: "Self-Centered Hannity Making Trayvon Murder All About Hannity" video, (11:28). The next segment is "Zimmerman's Lawyers Are Destroying His Defense Pt. 1/2 video (07:16).

OrganizingForAmerica: "OFA Washington - Caucus" (video)

Washdems, video (04:19).

"Salon editor-at-large Joan Walsh joins Ed Schultz to discuss the president's prospects in November" (with video)

MSNBC-ED Show, with video (07:06):
Tuesday evening, Joan Walsh talked to Ed Shultz about the voter-recruitment tactics President Obama and Mitt Romney will likely adopt in the upcoming race. While Obama appeals to the middle class, she argued, the GOP candidate has a different audience: “Mitt Romney is the poster boy for the top 1 percent.”

"Wash. Legislature passes budget proposal"

Rachel LaCorte (AP):
Sen. Ed Murray, Senate Democrats' lead budget writer, lauded the fact that lawmakers didn't make cuts to K-12 or higher education, as they have in past budgets.

"That's key," he said following the vote.MORE...

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Papantonio: "Zimmerman's Lawyers Are Destroying His Defense" (video)

golefttv, with video (07:16):
Mike Papantonio appears on MSNBC's The Ed Show to discuss the latest breaking developments in the Trayvon Martin murder, including the defense lawyers from George Zimmerman quitting, and the prosecutor in the case announcing that she'll have a big announcement in the coming days.
Howie P.S.: Part 2 is here.

"Obama JOBS Act Leaves Labor Fuming In Democratic Feud"

President Barack Obama will sign the JOBS Act into law Thursday, clinching a rare and hard-fought bipartisan victory for his presidency. But to secure the legislative win, he had to pick sides in a simmering feud between interest groups aligned with the Democratic Party. One side of the fight -- the tech industry and venture capital allies -- is all smiles. But the other side -- organized labor -- is seething. MORE...

"President Obama eyes super PAC showdown"

National Democrats are banking on a long-shot strategy to shield President Barack Obama from an expected onslaught of outside GOP spending in the 2012 election: nuking the messengers.
Democrats acknowledge that matching those groups dollar for dollar will be a difficult challenge — Crossroads alone may spend up to $300 million on all 2012 federal races, including the presidential contest. Instead, the president’s campaign and the Obama-sanctioned super PAC Priorities USA Action are attempting to undercut the spending by tainting it in the minds of voters, linking it to oil magnates and other unpopular corporate interests.

“We had always prepared for special interests to spend a half-billion dollars in an attempt to defeat the president,” Obama press secretary Ben LaBolt said. “We’re asking our supporters to invest now to allow us to build the largest grass-roots campaign in history. And we’ve made clear that we will not unilaterally disarm.”

The fight between Obama and Republican outside groups has, for now, overshadowed the more traditional contest between the parties’ official nominees: in this case Obama and the likely GOP candidate, Mitt Romney. That has presented a problem for Obama and his allies, both in defining their enemy (or enemies) and raising money to fight them. MORE...

Monday, April 09, 2012

KIRO-TV: "Good news/bad news: Washington unemployment down, but benefits ending for those who still need them"

Kevin McCarty, KIRO 7 Eyewitness News:
It’s supposed to be good news – the unemployment rate in our state is falling – but for some long-term jobless residents in Washington, it means they’re about to lose their unemployment benefits.

Some could lose their unemployment checks within about two weeks, and for some, it’s their only source of income. It’s frightening news for people trying to get back into a tough job market.

“Now, you put out a resume and just – no one is calling you,” Dawn Duran said. MORE...

"Two Sets of Rules: The New Jim Crow and Our Disturbing “Prison Problem” (with video)

MSNBC-Dylan Ratigan, with video (08:03):
Here at the Dylan Ratigan Show, we’ve been thinking a lot about the wide-ranging issue of “two sets of rules” in America — rules that are inherently beneficial to one part of the populace over another, picking “winners” and “losers” before the rest of us even get a chance to get on the field.

You already know how preferential treatment works in our tax system, our banking system, and our healthcare system. But perhaps the most troubling example of “two sets of rules” exists in the U.S. prison system with our systemic incarceration of young, black males — not to mention the devastating effects these statistics have on real lives and families in black communities around the country. MORE...

Howie P.S.: Also at the link above, scroll down: "Toure discussed “The New Jim Crow” in his Daily Rant," video,(03:50).

NY Times Editorial: "Activism and the Roberts Court"

NY Times (editorial):
The ideological nature of the health care case was obvious on the last day of oral argument. By the time the proceedings were over, much of what the conservative justices said in court seemed like part of a politically driven exercise — especially because the issues addressed on Wednesday were not largely constitutional in nature. In fact, they were the kinds of policy questions that are properly left to Congress and state governments to answer, not the Supreme Court.

On Wednesday morning, the court heard arguments on the issue of “severability” — the question of what should happen with the rest of the 2,700-page statute if the requirement that most Americans obtain health insurance is struck down. The insurance mandate was effectively reduced to a bumper sticker by the opponents in their constitutional challenge, and the entire law reduced to little more than an appendage to the mandate. MORE...

Sunday, April 08, 2012

GuardianUK: "The Trayvon Martin case reveals a vigilante spirit in the US justice system"

"Trayvon Martin's father, Tracy Martin, attends a rally in his son's honour in Florida last week." Photograph: Angel Valentin/Getty Images

David A Love (GuardianUK):
Prosecutorial misconduct, foot-dragging and corruption by local police, and toxic "stand your ground" laws are part of an epidemic of a vigilante spirit within the US justice system. Whether a lynch mob acts from within or without the courts, the outcome is equally disturbing. And when individuals are allowed to take matters into their own hands – determining the outcome of their own choosing in a case, unaccountable and with impunity – that vigilante spirit, in turn, betrays the justice system's association with lynching. US courts became window dressing for a racist mob mentality, and the death penalty a "legal replacement" for the lynchings of a bygone era. MORE...

"The Forces Swirling Around Our Strange Job Numbers" (with chart)

Charles Pierce (Esquire):
Today's jobs numbers continue to convince me that Americans are completely baffled at the depth of the ditch into which the Avignon Presidency drove the economy between 2001 and 2008, and that economists largely just make stuff up. It's good that we're still adding jobs, but it's bad that we didn't add as many since the last report as people predicted we would. On the other hand, unemployment ticked downward by a percentage point, although it's still clearing eight percent with daylight to spare, which is a spooky number if you're planning the campaign of a president running for re-election. And the retail numbers are just weird. Retail sales up, but retail employment down? Was there an outbreak of shoplifting around the country over the past couple of months? This morning, appearing with my man Chuck Todd, Mark Zandi from Moody's stated flatly that he simply didn't believe the retail numbers, which seems to be a realistic appraisal, actually. MORE...


SECRETMOVIES, video (08:34).

H/t to Jeff Greenfield for the suggestion to go to YouTube for this vintage video. The plug for the word game "Jotto" at the end is a quirky reminder of the days of early local television as is Wallace's reference to that day's Brooklyn Dodger game, followed by another plug, for a mattress.

Howie P.S.: The New York Times reports:
Mike Wallace, a pioneer of American broadcasting who confronted leaders and liars for the newsmagazine “60 Minutes” for four decades, has died, CBS News said Sunday morning. He was 93. MORE...

"Young, old gather in Seattle to urge an end to violence"

A group marches in Seattle on Saturday to protest the killing of Trayvon Martin, the unarmed teen shot in Florida. Martin's second cousin, Cedric President-Turner, 18, of Tacoma, leads the group. KEN LAMBERT / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Carol M. Ostrom (Seattle Times):
A march and rally, sponsored by a coalition of youth-violence-prevention organizations, drew students from public and private schools around the South Seattle area.---As a crowd of young people, parents, grandparents, teachers and pastors marched down Rainier Avenue South on Saturday, trying to rally their community against violence, the names of the dead were with them.

There was Desmond Jackson, 22, shot in February outside a Seattle nightclub; there was Diaquan Jones, 16, shot in late 2008 at a mall; and Alajawan Brown, 12, gunned down in the spring of 2010 as he was returning home from buying a pair of football cleats.

In a pink fuzzy hat and a butter-yellow jacket, Gracie Williams, 70, a great-aunt of Jackson, marched with the crowd.

"I'm marching against murder," she said. "I don't see just my pain any more. It's not just about Desmond," who was beloved by his extended family, she said. "There's something going on about murder and violence."

The march and rally, sponsored by a coalition of youth-violence-prevention organizations, drew students from public and private schools around the South Seattle area, including Rainier Beach, Franklin and Seattle Urban Academy.

Many wore T-shirts distributed by Paul Patu and his Urban Family Center. "Who's Next?" the shirts proclaimed, an apparent reference to Trayvon Martin, a 17-year-old Florida youth killed in February.

But Patu, the son of Seattle School Board member Betty Patu, who helped organize the march and rally, said his work came long before that killing.

"The truth of the matter is that youth violence has been in our community for a while," Patu said.

Also on Saturday, a separate group marched from Mount Zion Baptist Church to downtown, in protest of Martin's death. Martin was shot and killed by George Zimmerman, a self-appointed neighborhood watch volunteer who told police he fired in self-defense. Martin, who was walking home from a convenience store after buying Skittles and iced tea, was unarmed.

Cedric President-Turner, an 18-year-old Tacoma high-school student who is a second cousin of Martin's, told more than a hundred people gathered in Westlake Park: "We are not going to stop. We are going to keep fighting until justice is served for everyone." MORE...

Saturday, April 07, 2012

"Republicans have had enough Trayvon, thanks" (with video)

Jamil Smith (Melissa Harris-Perry Blog) with video (03:53):
The sooner the rest of us are convinced not to care about shooting victims like Trayvon and too many others -- the sooner we can all move on to discuss Things That Really Matter™. The sooner we can ignore the righteous anger built up over so many years. The sooner we can ignore the NRA and ALEC ties to "castle doctrine" and "Stand Your Ground" laws. The sooner we can ignore this pesky anti-black racism, and focus on the "real victims" in all of this. MORE...

Friday, April 06, 2012

Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP) 2012 Conference Highlight Video

SSDP, video (02:15).

Hey Seattle, WE'RE #1: "America's Best Cities for Hipsters"

1117 12th AVENUE SEATTLE, WA 98122 • TEL:206.709.7674"

They sport vintage bowling shoes and the latest tech gear—but they also know all the best places to eat and drink. Here are America’s cities with the biggest hipster scenes.---There’s a quirky new microbrew in Seattle: Churchkey Can Company produces a pilsner in a flat-top can, which requires an old-fashioned “church-key” opener to drink it. A beer blog promptly declared it the “most hipster beer in the world”—which may or may not be a compliment.

It’s no wonder that pilsner originated in Seattle, where a local taste for the retro, artsy, and wee-bit ironic boosted it to the top of America’s best cities for hipsters, according to Travel + Leisure readers who voted in the annual America’s Favorite Cities survey. They ranked 35 metropolitan areas on culturally relevant features like live music, coffee bars, and independent boutiques. To zero in on the biggest hipster crowds, we also factored in the results for the best microbrews and the most offbeat and tech-savvy locals. MORE...

Celebrate the Season and Seattle History: "Forest Restoration event at Kubota Garden Natural Area‏"

Michael Oxman (email):
This Saturday is the regularly scheduled work party (10am-2pm) at Kubota Garden Natural Area. Wear your boots that can get muddy and bring your gloves and water bottle to this fun and educational event. This is your chance to pitch in and help clean up your city park.
Here's the map and particulars:
See you there!
Michael Oxman
Howie P.S.: Here is some information about Fujitaro Kubota and the Garden he created:
A stunning twenty acres of hills and valleys, the Kubota Garden features streams, waterfalls, ponds, rock outcroppings and an exceptionally rich and mature collection of plant material. This unique urban refuge displays over sixty years of vision, effort and commitment by the Kubota family.
In 1927 Fujitaro Kubota bought five acres of logged-off swampland in the Rainier Beach neighborhood of Seattle and began his garden. A 1907 emigrant from the Japanese Island of Shikoku, he established the Kubota Gardening Company in 1923. Fujitaro was a man with a dream. Entirely self-taught as a gardener, he wanted to display the beauty of the Northwest in a Japanese manner and was soon designing and installing gardens throughout the Seattle area. The gardens on the Seattle University campus and the Japanese Garden at the Bloedel Reserve on Bainbridge Island are public examples of his work. MORE...

"Obama Describes Difficulties First Lady Faced In Balancing Family And Career" (video)

tpmtv, video (01:32)from CNN.

"What Does Elizabeth Warren's Massachusetts Look Like?" (with video)

Francis Reynolds and Emily Douglas (The Nation) with video (05:54):
Will Elizabeth Warren—the dedicated consumer protection advocate-turned politician—be too progressive for Massachusetts voters? That's the fear as she ramps up her campaign to take on Scott Brown for the state's US Senate seat. In this video, E.J. Graff explains the hurdles Warren will have to overcome if she is to win over Massachusetts Democrats and undecideds by November.

For more on Elizabeth Warren's senate run, read Graff's article in this week's issue of The Nation.

Thursday, April 05, 2012

"Getting out of Gitmo" (video)

MSNBC-NOW with Alex Wagner, video (08:20).

Howie P.S.: Ari Melber and the panel discuss the issue.

"Your tax dollars at work: Feds play rough in medical marijuana raid" (video)

In the wake of recent attacks on medical marijuana providers and patients by multiple branches of the federal government, including Monday's raids on Oaksterdam University in Oakland, CA, a coalition of six national drug policy reform organizations is appealing to President Obama and his administration to follow its own previously stated policies respecting state medical marijuana laws. In the letter, posted in full below, the organizations call on the Obama administration to bring an end to the federal government's ongoing campaign to undermine state efforts to regulate safe and legal access to medical marijuana for those patients who rely on it. Read more:

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Matt Taibbi: "Mike Bloomberg's New York: Cops in Your Hallways"

Matt Taibbi:
An amazing lawsuit was filed in New York last week. It seems Mike Bloomberg’s notorious "stop-and-frisk" policy – known colloquially in these parts by silently-cheering white voters as the "Let’s have cops feel up any nonwhite person caught walking in the wrong neighborhood” policy – isn’t even the most repressive search policy in the NYPD arsenal.

Bloomberg, that great crossover Republican, has long been celebrated by the Upper West Side bourgeoisie for his enlightened views on gay rights and the environment, but also targeted for criticism by civil rights activists because of stop-and-frisk, a program that led to a record 684,330 street searches just last year.

Now he’s under fire for a program he inherited, which goes by the darkly Bushian name of the "Clean Halls program." In effect since 1991, it allows police to execute so-called "vertical patrols" by going up into private buildings and conducting stop-and-frisk searches in hallways – with the landlord’s permission.

According to the NYCLU, which filed the suit, "virtually every private apartment building [in the Bronx] is enrolled in the program," and "in Manhattan alone, there are at least 3,895 Clean Halls Buildings." Referring to the NYPD’s own data, the complaint says police conducted 240,000 "vertical patrols" in the year 2003 alone.

If you live in a Clean Halls building, you can’t even go out to take out the trash without carrying an ID – and even that might not be enough. If you go out for any reason, there may be police in the hallways, demanding that you explain yourself, and insisting, in brazenly illegal and unconstitutional fashion, on searches of your person.

The easiest way to convey the full insanity of this program is to simply read stories from the complaint. MORE...

"Maddow relays censored memo on CIA ‘war crimes’ during Bush Administration" (with video)

RAW STORY with video (08:44) from MSNBC-Rachel Maddow:
MSNBC host Rachel Maddow on Wednesday night explained a legal memo that advised the Bush Administration that so-called enhanced interrogation techniques were torture and therefore illegal.

Wired reporter Spencer Ackerman obtained the memo, written by State Department counselor Philip Zelikow, through a Freedom on Information Act request.

Bush told NBC’s Matt Lauer in 2010 that he authorized the use of enhanced interrogation techniques like waterboarding because his “lawyer said it was legal, said it did not fall within the Anti-Torture Act.” But Zelikow’s memo warned the Bush Administration in 2006 that the interrogation techniques used on terror suspects by the CIA were “a felony war crime.”

“As a top lawyer at the Bush State Department, Philip Zelikow circulated the memo within the Administration that said, essentially, that the Administration was kidding itself in trying to say that there was some way around the law,” Maddow explained. “They were trying to give a legal green light to CIA interrogator to torture people, but that green light, he said, was a sham.”

In 2009, Zelikow said that the Bush Administration attempted to collect and destroy all copies of the memo.

“If the Republican Party were the still the party of John McCain, this would open up a whole new can of political worms,” Maddow said, “because the Obama Administration, remember, looked into Bush Administration ordered torture and they decided not to prosecute any of it.”

Upon taking office in 2009, President Barack Obama abolished CIA secret prisons, banned the use of torture and promised to close the detention center at Guantanamo Bay. In doing so, he vowed not to prosecute former Bush Administration officials, saying it was a “time for reflection, not retribution.”