Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Rep. McDermott: "GOP Cuts To Anti-Poverty Programs Are ‘Morally Wrong’ And ‘Fiscally Stupid’ " (with video)

Pat Garofalo (Think Progress) with video (01:34):
On two levels [the cuts are] wrong. One is they’re wrong morally. We need to take care of women and children and WIC program is very important for childrens’ health and healthy babies and for healthy mothers. But on a second level it’s fiscally stupid, because if you don’t feed kids, if you don’t feed mothers and get them up to speed, they deliver a low birth-weight baby that then you spend hundreds of thousands of dollars dealing with in the premie units of hospitals. MORE...

WA: "Money needed to rescue Basic Health is out there"

John Burbank (Seattle PostGlobe, op-ed):
We are not broke, or even close. We have more money, income and wealth than 10 years ago, even more than 20 years ago, and way more than 30 years ago. So when lawmakers are making Sophie's choices about whether to cut basic health to nothing, or to cut two weeks out of the school year, or to close down programs at the University of Washington, we've got to start asking the basic question: "Where is the money?"
Mr. Allen, Mr. Ballmer and Mr. Bezos: We can't make you fund public services. But your hearts might lead you there. Why don't you simply give $100 million for Basic Health? That's about seventeen one-hundredths of your combined wealth -- small change for the health of the citizens of our state. You are not broke. And we don't need to be. MORE...
Howie P.S.: I notice the omission of Mr. Gates. On the national level this story has a certain relevance: "At NBC News, General Electric Tax Story Not Deemed Newsworthy."

Know Your Enemy---Papantonio:"The Alternative Reality of the Koch Brothers" (video), video (05:08):
When you’ve got billions of dollars and have been surrounded by “yes men” your entire life, it isn’t difficult to lose touch with reality. And as Mike Papantonio points out on The Ed Schultz Show, that is exactly what has happened to the Koch Brothers.

Howard Fineman on Obama's "Doctrine of Process" on Libya (with video)

HufPo with video from MSNBC (09:41).

Howie P.S.: Fineman calls it "a sliding scale of conscience and cost."

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The New Yorker Shows us Their Seattle Stereotype: "Get a Real Job, Seattle!" (cartoon)

From this week's New Yorker (via Seattle Weekly).

"Anti-tunnel group turns in signatures, demands vote"

Chris Grygiel (
Protect Seattle Now has "asked the Mayor, the City Council and the City Attorney to pledge by 5 p.m. today that they will place this referendum on the ballot and not silence the voice of the people of Seattle."

McGinn an City Councilmember Mike O'Brien, the lone tunnel opponent on the Council, have done so. O'Brien said the City Charter makes it clear that the City Council has no choice in the matter, once the referendum signatures have been verified.

In an e-mail to the media, McGinn said he would "pledge to uphold the City Charter and recognize the Seattle public's right to have a vote on the deep bore tunnel. They are the ones at risk for paying for all tunnel cost overruns. They should have a say."

City Council President Richard Conlin hasn't yet indicated what he will do - and it's almost certain that lawsuits from various groups on all sides of the issue will now be filed. MORE...

Bernie Sanders on Libya and Tax Fairness (with video)

Bernie Sanders, with video from MSNBC (07:56):
Bernie discussed American involvement in Libya with MSNBC's Dylan Ratigan.

"Marijuana, what does the word mean to you?"

Vivian McPeak (, op-ed):

To some Americans, the word marijuana conjures up images of blank-stare slackers anchored to a couch, staring blithely at the television, bag of Cheetos in hand.

Other folks may think of marijuana and associate it with their college years, which may or may not have a direct similarity to the above slacker association.

Some people associate marijuana with introspection, creativity, depth of perception, relaxation, or consciousness expansion. Some associate pot with better sex. MORE...

Obama: "Military action has stopped Gadhafi" (with video)

Ed Schultz with video from MSNBC (26:36):
President Barack Obama told the country that the United States intervened in Libya to prevent a slaughter of civilians that would have stained the world's conscience and "been a betrayal of who we are" as Americans. MORE...

Monday, March 28, 2011

"Wisconsin's most dangerous professor"

Andrew Leonard (Salon):
Why are Republicans desperate to see Bill Cronon's emails? Because ideas and history matter---I just bought two books by the University of Wisconsin historian William Cronon: "Changes in the Land: Indians, Colonists, and the Ecology of New England" and "Nature's Metropolis: Chicago and the Great West."

A week ago, I had never heard of Cronon. This is embarrassing, since it doesn't take much digging around to discover that he is one of the most highly regarded historians in the United States (not to mention president-elect of the American Historical Association).

But that was before Cronon's fascinating opinion piece in Monday's New York Times detailing how Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker's political agenda flies in the face of "civic traditions that for more than a century have been among the most celebrated achievements not just of their state, but of their own party as well." A devastating new broadside in the battle for Wisconsin, Cronon's Op-Ed deservedly went viral. MORE...

"How to halve the deficit by doing nothing"

Ezra Klein:
Just let the Bush tax cuts expire in 2012, as they’re currently scheduled to do:
Even better, because expiration is the legislative status quo, you wouldn’t need to break a filibuster to do it. Quite the opposite, in fact: You’d need to break a filibuster in order to keep it from happening. More ideas here.

"Papantonio: Libya and the Whiny Republicans" (video)

golefttv, with video (03:22):
The conservatives seem to be torn over whether they want a war in Libya, or whether they want a BIG war in Libya. The only thing they can agree on is that they don't want Obama handling it. Mike Papantonio and Ed Schultz fire back at the flip-flopping GOP over their ridiculous hatred of Obama and everything he does.
Howie P.S.: This one is dedicated to my GOP friend who complained that Obama "went in five days too late."

"Report: Tree canopy declining in Seattle's parks and forests"

Larry Lange (
The decline in park trees, largely unnoticed until now, might surprise some. City Councilwoman Sally Bagshaw, a self-described tree advocate who chairs the council's Parks & Seattle Center Committee., said "it was news to me."

It wasn't to Mark Mead, forester for Seattle's Parks and Recreation department. MORE...
Howie P.S.: Wake up and smell the chainsaws, Sally. If you're wondering who to thank for this, call the City of Seattle, Dept. of Planning and DEVELOPMENT.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Juan Cole: "An Open Letter to the Left on Libya"

Juan Cole (informed Comment):
I would like to urge the Left to learn to chew gum and walk at the same time. It is possible to reason our way through, on a case-by-case basis, to an ethical progressive position that supports the ordinary folk in their travails in places like Libya. If we just don’t care if the people of Benghazi are subjected to murder and repression on a vast scale, we aren’t people of the Left. We should avoid making ‘foreign intervention’ an absolute taboo the way the Right makes abortion an absolute taboo if doing so makes us heartless (inflexible a priori positions often lead to heartlessness). It is now easy to forget that Winston Churchill held absolutely odious positions from a Left point of view and was an insufferable colonialist who opposed letting India go in 1947. His writings are full of racial stereotypes that are deeply offensive when read today. Some of his interventions were nevertheless noble and were almost universally supported by the Left of his day. The UN allies now rolling back Qaddafi are doing a good thing, whatever you think of some of their individual leaders. MORE...
Howie P.S.: Booman is not completely on board:
I'd be the first to admit that there are some dumb people on the left who take some really awful positions on certain issues, but most people that I know who oppose this intervention oppose it because it's stupid. Obama promised us no stupid wars, and then he gave us one.

But, you know, that's bygones. I thought it wasn't in our national interests; the president disagrees. So, now I say that we need to go get Gaddafi and not waste time trying to placate an alliance of self-doubters. Do not try to topple him using a rag-tag group of bored teenagers. We don't need to turn Libya into Somalia in order to save it.

And if anyone wants us to do regime change in some other country, my response is most likely going to be the same. It's not our job or our responsibility. If someone else wants to do it, I don't necessarily object and might even be willing to play a part. But we must stop looking to America to be the cop on the beat. John Boehner says we're broke and that we need to take away granny's pension. The Myanmar freedom fighters can call me when granny's got her money back. MORE...

Today's Helpful, Optimistic Observation about Unemployment

Mark Sumner (Daily Kos):
Earlier this year I made a trip to Australia where the minimum wage is $15/hr. Australia suffers from a staggering unemployment rate of almost 5%.
Howie P.S.: Sumner was responding to an editorial in the New York Times: "A Minimum Wage Increase."

WATCH: "250,000 turn out for anti-budget cut march in London" (with video)

Chris in Paris comments on AMERICAblog:
There's definitely something in the air this year. People all over the world have had enough of the extremist policies where only a small group of people prosper.
Howie P.S.: The above was in response to a story in GuardianUK, "Anti-cuts march draws hundreds of thousands as police battle rioters," with video (12:37). I haven't looked out my window today, but I haven't seen much stateside on this scale, except for MAYBE the action in Madison.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Bob Herbert: "Losing Our Way"

Bob Herbert (NY Times):
So here we are pouring shiploads of cash into yet another war, this time in Libya, while simultaneously demolishing school budgets, closing libraries, laying off teachers and police officers, and generally letting the bottom fall out of the quality of life here at home.

Welcome to America in the second decade of the 21st century. An army of long-term unemployed workers is spread across the land, the human fallout from the Great Recession and long years of misguided economic policies. Optimism is in short supply. The few jobs now being created too often pay a pittance, not nearly enough to pry open the doors to a middle-class standard of living.

Arthur Miller, echoing the poet Archibald MacLeish, liked to say that the essence of America was its promises. That was a long time ago. Limitless greed, unrestrained corporate power and a ferocious addiction to foreign oil have led us to an era of perpetual war and economic decline. Young people today are staring at a future in which they will be less well off than their elders, a reversal of fortune that should send a shudder through everyone.

The U.S. has not just misplaced its priorities. When the most powerful country ever to inhabit the earth finds it so easy to plunge into the horror of warfare but almost impossible to find adequate work for its people or to properly educate its young, it has lost its way entirely. MORE...

"Samantha Power: The voice behind Obama's Libya action"

Margaret Talev (McClatchy Newspapers):
Samantha Power made her reputation arguing that the United States has a moral responsibility to do more to rally the world to stop genocide and human rights violations.

President Barack Obama's decision to back a multilateral intervention in Libya suggests that her voice is being heard. The 40-year-old Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and Harvard academic is a senior adviser to Obama's national security team. She's also an Irish-born, U.S.-raised redhead with a deep voice, an abrupt manner and a love of baseball.

Power has long argued that politicians shy away from humanitarian intervention because they see too much domestic political risk with little payoff for saving foreign lives. She contends that it's up to activists and ordinary Americans to change that way of thinking. MORE...
Howie P.S.: Because the author is speculating that Power is "behind" this decision, I wonder if the headline should have had a question mark. I think this adds to the notion that Obama's decision-making process on this issue has not yet been fully explained.

WA: "The Problem Isn't Runaway Spending"

David Goldstein (The Stranger):
If there was any surprise at last week's anemic state revenue forecast, there was absolutely none at the immediate response. The Seattle Times jumped on the additional $778 million budget shortfall as an opportunity to demand "more union concessions," while Republican lawmakers, reflexively sticking to their "Thou Shalt Not Raise Taxes" commandment, issued renewed calls for Olympia to "live within its means." Even Democratic governor Chris Gregoire echoed the Republican meme, muttering something about the need to "streamline government" and "enact new efficiencies" while repeating her own "no new taxes" pledge.

The conventional wisdom was summed up by state senate GOP budget negotiator Joe Zarelli, who told the Associated Press: "The projected deficit isn't due to a lack of revenue, it's the result of an overabundance of spending commitments."

Yeah. Uh-huh. Except, um... he's wrong. MORE...
Howie P.S.: In a companion piece, Eli Sanders has "The Solution: Close Tax Loopholes." Doesn't this shit sound familiar? Are you starting to see a pattern here?

Friday, March 25, 2011

Papantonio on FAUX News: "Ford CEO Gets $60 Million Payday, Workers Get Pay Cut" (with video)

golefttv, with video (06:17):
Union members made some serious concessions when the American automotive industry was tanking, and in return, they expected management to do the same. It turns out that Ford's CEO Alan Mulally received a $60 million bonus this past year, as the average auto worker was making less than $20 an hour. Mike Papantonio appears on Fox Business's Follow The Money to discuss the issue.

Back to Libya: "The double life of a popular UW lecturer"

Katherine Long (Seattle Times):

A month ago, when professor Ali Tarhouni told his microeconomics class at the University of Washington that he had a death sentence on his head in his native Libya, but that he had decided to return home to help advise the rebel army on economic issues, his students were stunned by the news.
"As most of you know, I spent the better part of my life fighting to bring democracy to Libya and just about everything that I attempted failed," Tarhouni wrote in an email he circulated to friends and former students on Feb. 27. "Out of nowhere a volcano erupted. These young people who are marching only with stones in their hands facing grenades and live bullets are writing a new chapter for Libya similar to their brethren in Tunisia and Egypt."

He went on to write, "I am not sure who is alive and who is dead but I feel that I need to go back to help as much as I can."

U.S. Rep. Jim McDermott, D-Seattle, got a call from Tarhouni in Libya about a week ago; the professor asked McDermott to support the no-fly zone — he does — and to encourage the U.S. to recognize the rebels' provisional government. MORE...

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Seymour Hersh: "The “Kill Team” Photographs"

Seymour Hersh (The New Yorker):
It’s the smile. In photographs released by the German weekly Der Spiegel, an American soldier is looking directly at the camera with a wide grin. His hand is on the body of an Afghan whom he and his fellow soldiers appear to have just killed, allegedly for sport. In a sense, we’ve seen that smile before: on the faces of the American men and women who piled naked Iraqi prisoners on top of each other, eight years ago, and posed for photographs and videos at the Abu Ghraib prison outside of Baghdad.
The Der Spiegel photographs also help to explain why the American war in Afghanistan can probably never be “won,” in my view, just as we did not win in Vietnam. Terrible things happen in war, and terrible things are happening every day in Afghanistan, as Americans continue to conduct nightly assassination raids and have escalated the number of bombing sorties. There are also reports of suspected Taliban sympathizers we turn over to Afghan police and soldiers being tortured or worse. This will be a long haul; revenge in Afghan society does not have to come immediately. We could end up not knowing who hit us, or why, a decade or two from now. MORE...

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

"Howard Dean Defends US Mission In Libya: This Time Our Government Isn’t Lying To Us" (with video)

MEDIAite with video (08:58):
The discussion on Libya certainly makes for some strange bedfellows. On Morning Joe liberal columnist Joe Klein and conservative commentator Pat Buchanan agreed that American military involvement in Libya was not a good idea, while former anti-war Democratic candidate Howard Dean was all for it. MORE...

Mapping the War in Libya (with image)

Map and story from the BBC. CLICK TO ENLARGE THE IMAGE.

"Unless the president forcefully rebuts Republican's big lies, they'll soon become conventional wisdom."

Robert Reich:
What worries me almost as much as the Republican's repeated big lies about jobs is the silence of President Obama and Democratic leaders in the face of them. Obama has the bully pulpit. Republicans don't. But if he doesn't use it the Republican's big lies gain credibility.

Here are some other whoppers being repeated daily: MORE...

"No, tax hikes won’t be part of “bipartisan” talks on deficit"

Greg Sargent:
The other day I asked whether Republicans would allow even the possibility of tax hikes on the rich to be part of the “bipartisan” discussions on how to rein in the deficit. Well, according to Grover Norquist, he has been assured by the GOP Congressional leadership that they won’t allow any such thing.

Which raises a question: In what sense are these discussions even bipartisan?

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Woodward: "Sussing Out An Emerging Obama Doctrine" (audio)

"TALK OF THE NATION"-NPR, WITH transcript and audio (30:18):
President Obama has gradually reduced the U.S. military presence in Iraq, expanded that presence in Afghanistan and decided to intervene in Libya. More than halfway through his presidency, Bob Woodward, associate editor for The Washington Post, talks about the emerging Obama Doctrine. FULL TRANSCRIPT.
Howie P.S.;: Woodward tries to answer the question, "What put Obama over the line to war?"

"How can people across the nation help legalize in Washington?" (video)

Sensible Washington, video (04:04).

Howie P.S.: "Question & Answer session with Douglas Hiatt, Chairman of Sensible Washington."

"Jon Stewart Pitches US Hypocrisy in ‘Freedom Packages’ Infomercial" (with video)

MEDIAite, with video (06:52) from Comedy Central:
After a week off during which significant portions of the world suddenly became the contents of a hellbound handbasket, The Daily Show returned Monday night to launch its own satirical bombardment of US foreign policy. Jon Stewart and John Oliver staged an infomercial-style sales pitch for a variety of “Freedom Packages,” and while the bit was about as subtle as a leopard-print Snuggie®, it was well-executed and Ginsu-sharp. MORE...
Howie P.S.: Once again, in the U.S. the best political commentary comes from the comedians. If you prefer serious punditry, Glenn Greenwald points us to Eugene Robinson:
Gaddafi is crazy and evil; obviously, he wasn’t going to listen to our advice about democracy. The world would be fortunate to be rid of him. But war in Libya is justifiable only if we are going to hold compliant dictators to the same standard we set for defiant ones. If not, then please spare us all the homilies about universal rights and freedoms. We’ll know this isn’t about justice, it’s about power.

Monday, March 21, 2011

"Lawrence O’Donnell: Liberals outraged over Libya action" (with video)

Raw Story:
MSNBC host Lawrence O’Donnell cited Raw Story in a segment about liberals who don’t support President Barack Obama’s military involvement with Libya.

This video, (08:91), is from MSNBC’s The Last Word, broadcast March 21, 2011.

Webb: 'This isn't the way our system is supposed to work" (with video)

First Read, with video from MSNBC (04:48):
“We have not put this issue in front of the American people in any meaningful way,” said the Virginia Democrat, a former Navy Secretary who serves on the Armed Services Committee. “The president is in Rio, the Congress is out of session.”

“This isn’t the way that our system is supposed to work,” he added.

Webb said that the administration has also lacked coherence about the end goal of the military mission in Libya.

“We have a military operation that’s been put into place, but we do not have a clear diplomatic policy or a clear statement of foreign policy that is accompanying this military operation,” Webb said.

Papantonio: "What Happened to the Wall Street Prosecutions?" (video)

golefttv, with video (09:10):
The crook Bernie Madoff has been back in the news recently, and he isn't shy about pointing fingers at the banks for their compliance in his massive Ponzi scheme that bilked investors out of billions of dollars. According to Madoff, these banks HAD to have known that he what he was doing was illegal. If he's correct, this could have serious implications on the financial industry, and that's why Mike Papantonio spoke with attorney Peter Mougey who has taken on some of the biggest financial institutions in America -- companies that have lied, cheated, and stolen from honest Americans, and helped create the financial meltdown in the United States.

Looking Death in the Face: "Body Bagger in Iraq"

AP / Cpl. Daniel J. Redding--An ambulance loaded with injured soldiers. The less fortunate troops, those who die, end up in the care of fellow servicemen and women who have to carry out gruesome work while struggling to hold on to their own sanity.

Chris Hedges (Truthdig):
Jess Goodell enlisted in the Marines immediately after she graduated from high school in 2001. She volunteered three years later to serve in the Marine Corps’ first officially declared Mortuary Affairs unit, at Camp Al Taqaddum in Iraq. Her job, for eight months, was to collect and catalog the bodies and personal effects of dead Marines. She put the remains of young Marines in body bags and placed the bags in metal boxes. Before being shipped to Dover Air Force Base, the boxes were stored, often for days, in a refrigerated unit known as a “reefer.”The work she did was called “processing.” MORE...

Sam Seder: "Wired’s Spencer Ackerman Discusses America’s Shiny New War in Libya" (audio)

H/t to, audio (16:25).

"80% of Americans share only 7% of ALL IN THE MONEY IN AMERICA"

H/t to Shaun.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

"The Most Aggressive Defense Of Teachers You'll Hear This Year" (video)

moveon, video (03:08):
The guy who asked teacher Taylor Mali, “What do you make?” at a dinner party certainly never thought he’d get this answer.

The Nation (The Editors): "Libya and the Dilemma of Intervention"

The Nation (The Editors):
The democratic awakening in the Arab world presents the United States with an opportunity to put that past behind us. It offers us a chance to align our interests with democratic change and economic progress. It would be a tragedy if we allowed the intervention in Libya to distract us from these difficult and important challenges. We need to deal with longstanding allies like Jordan, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia—which continue to resist democratic reforms—and to help the Egyptian people consolidate democracy and create jobs and economic opportunity. The most productive role for America in the Middle East today is diplomatic and economic, not military. MORE...

Seattle Times: "The serious business of marijuana legalization"

The Seattle Times editorial board:
THE marijuana legalization bill, House Bill 1550, may be stopped for this session of the Legislature. But this issue has been moving as never before, and it needs to keep moving.

This page has been part of it. On Feb. 20 we came out for regulation and taxation of cannabis for adult use, which HB 1550 would do through the state liquor stores. That The Seattle Times would say this lowers the risk for public officials to say it. At the hearing Wednesday at the House Ways and Means Committee, chaired by Rep. Ross Hunter, D-Medina, you could feel the change.

There were no Cheech and Chong jokes. This was serious business.

The first three presenters were Seattle City Attorney Peter Holmes, Seattle City Councilman Tim Burgess and Professor John McKay of Seattle University School of Law. All favored an end to prohibition. MORE...

Daniel Ellsberg on Why He Demonstrated Saturday on Behalf of Bradley Manning @ the White House (with video)

Jane Hamsher (FDL) with video (10:02):
I’m on chauffeur duty again this weekend, driving Dan Ellsberg to the White House for a rally today at 12 noon. Dan, Kevin Zeese and Retired Col. Ann Wright are board members of the Bradley Manning Advocacy Fund, and they will be calling on President Obama to end Manning’s abusive conditions at Quantico.

Other speakers include Elliott Adams, Chantelle Bateman, Brian Becker, Medea Benjamin, Zachary Choate, Ryan Endicott, Ayesha Fleary, Chris Hedges, Kathy Kelly, Mike Malloy, Michael McPhearson, Caneisha Mills, Ralph Nader and Debra Sweet. I’m really looking forward to it, and if you’re in the area I hope you’ll come down and join us.

I’ll be live tweeting the event. You can follow me here.

Tomorrow we’ll be at Quantico for the demonstration, and FDL will be live streaming the event. You can find details about everything that is going on this weekend at Stop These, and sign up for tomorrow’s Quantico rally here.

Howie P.S.: This talk by Ellsberg is not an easy sound bite, but well worth your time. Here's the video of Ellsberg getting arrested later @ the White House.

"Cab Calloway-"Smoking Reefers" unreleased (banned)? " (video)

heavymetalprophecy, with video (03:56):
Date unknown. If you have any information about this recording, please share in the comments section. Enjoy!
Howie P.S.: This was sent to me by a kind reader, Jackie Minchew! In the comments about this video there are questions about whether this is really Calloway. My Dad would have known, but he's not around to answer my question (he passed away in 1961).

Saturday, March 19, 2011

NPR: "Obama Arrives In Brazil, Begins Latin America Tour"

President Barack Obama arrived in Brazil on Saturday for the start of a three-country, five-day tour of Latin America to promote greater economic ties and improved regional security. The trip came against the backdrop of urgent issues elsewhere in the world, including the possibility of U.S. military action against the regime of Libya's Moammar Gadhafi.

Obama had his whole family in tow as he emerged from Air Force One into a mix of sunshine and raindrops in the highland capital of Brasilia early Saturday. First lady Michelle Obama, daughters Malia and Sasha and the girls' grandmother and godmother accompanied the president on the nearly 9-hour flight from Washington, and through a receiving line of Brazilian and U.S. officials. Later in the morning the president and first lady were to participate in an official arrival ceremony at the presidential palace. MORE...
Howie P.S.: Slim to none press coverage so far of this trip in the Seattle (or national) press. I happened to be watching Al Jazeera and caught their story.

"Cab Calloway - Reefer Man" (video)

janek303, video (02:17).

H/t to AMERICAblog.

Howie P.S.: Hmmm. Maybe that's why my dad hung out in Harlem during his college days in the 1930s.

Friday, March 18, 2011

"California's Fukushima in Waiting?"

Tim Dickinson (Rolling Stone):
A cascading nuclear disaster is underway in Japan. Could it happen here? You bet.

Consider Diablo Canyon, California's most earthquake-prone nuclear power plant. It was built — on the central coast near San Luis Obispo, half way between San Francisco and LA — to withstand a magnitude 7.5 earthquake. Which sounds reassuring — until you realize that Japan's Fukushima nuclear plant, now in partial meltdown, was engineered to stand up to a 7.9, only to be hit by a 8.9 quake. MORE...
Howie P.S.: I was arrested @ Diablo Canyon in 1976 as part of a Greenpeace protest that brought thousands there.

"Democrats argue party failing to humanize cuts, losing message war"

Mike Lillis (The Hill):
Bob Beckel, a Democratic analyst for Fox News, agreed.

“When it comes to budgets and numbers, Republicans own that issue, they have for a long time,” he said. “We’re not going to win the fight on numbers. We’re going to win it on what government means, and what it means to people, and how Republicans don’t care what it means.

“If you expose what [Republicans] have done, as opposed to numbers, then you expose what this whole thing’s about, which is a bunch of fringe right-wingers,” said Beckel, a longtime veteran of Democratic campaigns. “That’s what’s missing in this debate, and that’s where Obama needs to pick up the slack. MORE...

WA I-1149: "Where to pick up your petitions" (King County)

Sensible Washington:
Friday, March 18

1:00-5:45 PM – Rainier Beach | Rainier Beach Library (9125 Rainier Ave S). Note: By law, you must wait until 5 PM to gather signatures.

Saturday, March 19

2:00-5:45 PM – Magnolia | Magnolia Library (2801 34th Ave)

4:00-5:00 PM – Federal Way | Federal Way 320th Library (848 S 320th St)

Saturday, March 19

3:00-5:00 PM – Covington | Covington Library (27100 164th Ave SW)

Sunday, March 20

2:00-4:00 PM – Burien | Burien Library (400 SW 152nd St)

Monday, March 21

1:00-5:00 PM – Capitol Hill | Capitol Hill Library (425 Harvard Ave E)

6:00-8:00 PM – Auburn | Auburn Library (1102 Auburn Way S)

Tuesday, March 22

1:00-7:45 PM – Fremont | Fremont Library (731 N. 35th St)

6:00-7:30 PM – SeaTac | Valley View Library (17850 Military Rd S)

Wednesday March 23

11:00-5:45 PM – University District | University Branch Library (5009 Roosevelt Way NE)

Thursday March 24

11:00 AM-5:45 PM – West Seattle | West Seattle Library (2306 42nd Ave SW)

4:45-6:15 PM – Bellevue | Bellevue Library (1111 110th Ave NW)

Friday, March 25

12:30-5:45 PM Greenwood | Greenwood Library (8016 Greenwood Ave N)

"House Progressives reflect on being in the minority"

Rep. Jim Mcdermott at the open house.

Chris Bowers (Daily Kos):
Weiner talked about the need for House Democrats to inject a clearer, values-based vision of what the party stands for into the national political conversation. While Republicans presented a focused set of values based on smaller government, "on our side, there is this weird, squishy sense" that some government is good, but it's not entirely clear which parts or why. "You can't overstate the degree to which we rely on the President to set the conversation," Weiner admitted. However, "the President isn't a values guy--he wants to get the best deal for the American people." As such, House Democrats have "spent a lot of time waiting for Godot when it comes to the White House. We have to start setting the agenda ourselves." MORE...

Thursday, March 17, 2011

"GRITtv: Mike Papantonio: (Not) Learning from Japan's Nuclear Crisis" (video)

GRITtv, video (10:08):
"Even knowing what's happening in Japan, we have Republicans saying we have to cut regulatory spending on places like nuclear energy," says Mike Papantonio, who notes the similarities between the refusal to learn from BP and the refusal to learn, now, from a deepening disaster in Japan. From the shift of the risk of dangerous fuels onto the taxpayers to the glib "every energy type has its dangers" dismissals, Mike breaks down the problems with the ways we talk about disasters, energy policy, and why we don't seem to want to invest in clean, safe fuels like solar and wind.

"The China Syndrome" (unoffical trailer-video)

ediscar, video (03:43):
"Copyright Disclaimer Under Section 107 of the Copyright Act 1976, allowance is made for "fair use" for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. Fair use is a use permitted by copyright statute that might otherwise be infringing. Non-profit, educational or personal use tips the balance in favor of fair use."

This is a trailer I made for one of my all-time favorite movies, 'The China Syndrome.' The clips at the beginning were taken from 'The American Experience: Meltdown at Three Mile Island' and the music is 'My Name is Lincoln' from the movie 'The Island.' As per usual, putting a video on YouTube tends to screw up timing- please forgive any mistakes as far as that goes.

No money is made off of this. I am just doing this as a tribute to 'The China Syndrome' and I hope everyone who watches this trailer will consider going out and renting or buying the film. MORE...

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

"2007: Barack Obama promised to "walk on that picket line" if workers are denied the right to bargain" (video)

Firegodlaketv, video (00:37):
Barack Obama in Spartanburg, SC. Nov. 3rd, 2007.

"And understand this: If American workers are being denied their right to organize and collectively bargain when I'm in the White House, I'll put on a comfortable pair of shoes myself, I'll will walk on that picket line with you as President of the United States of America. Because workers deserve to know that somebody is standing in their corner."
Howie P.S.: Still waiting...

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

"As president throws bones to political base, liberal anger wanes"

Shane D’Aprile and Sam Youngman (The Hill):
President Obama has appeased elements of his liberal base in recent months by repealing the Pentagon’s “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, reversing course on the Defense of Marriage Act and pursuing new gun-control measures.

Since enduring a near-mutiny among his political base during the debate on the extension of the George W. Bush-era tax cuts late last year, the outrage from the left expressed in the last Congress has noticeably subsided. And it’s no accident.
“It’s a little unclear to me what the strategy of the White House is,” said Rep. Jim McDermott (D-Wash.), who was one of the leading Democratic critics of the tax-cut deal late last year. “Everything is obviously aimed at the election in 2012, and every once in a while I have some questions about that.

“One of the things I think is problematic is turnout,” he said. “We got clobbered in 2010, and look who turned out. There’s a message somewhere in there.” MORE...

"Papantonio: Dissecting the Koch's Media Machine" (video)

golefttv,video (13:17):
Mike Papantonio and Ed Schultz discuss the far-reaching tentacles of the "Kochtopus" and the US Chamber of Commerce and how they are controlling Republican politicians from the local to federal level.

NHK World (live streaming coverage from Japan)

Video streaming by UstreamNHK World (live streaming coverage from Japan).

"Initiative 1149 seeks to end marijuana prohibition in Washington State"
Sensible Washington is pleased to announce a petition drive to put Initiative 1149 before the voters this November in order to end adult marijuana prohibition in Washington State. I-1149 seeks to eliminate state penalties for responsible adult use of cannabis by removing “marijuana” from the list of controlled substances.

A previous filing was withdrawn after receiving an unfavorable interpretation by the Washington State Office of the Attorney General. Rather than engage in a lengthy court battle, Sensible Washington refiled two initiatives. I-1149 emerged as the clear favorite because it achieved the intended goal of leaving existing penalties for minors intact.

Here’s how it works: After removing marijuana from the list of controlled substances, I-1149 explicitly recreates the penalties for minors one by one. I-1149 then directs the Legislature to “adopt rules and if appropriate, tax provisions, to carry out the provisions of this act by final adjournment of the 2012 legislative session.”

By law, the signature gathering phase of the campaign can begin late Friday afternoon, March 18.

Ballot Title: Initiative Measure No. 1149 concerns marijuana.

This measure would remove existing state civil and criminal penalties regarding marijuana. It would create new criminal penalties regarding marijuana for persons under eighteen years and for adults who distribute marijuana to them.

Should this measure be enacted into law? Yes [ ] No [ ]

Ballot Measure Summary
This measure would remove state civil and criminal penalties for the cultivation, possession, transportation, sale, or use of marijuana. It would create new criminal penalties for manufacture, delivery, sale or possession of marijuana by persons younger than eighteen years old, and for adults who distribute marijuana to them. Persons under eighteen would be permitted to possess marijuana obtained pursuant to a valid prescription. Certain penalties relating to drug paraphernalia would not apply to marijuana-related offenses.

View Complete Text

Beltway Blues: Spending, Guns, Jobs and Popcorn

"Popcorn and 3D glasses have supplanted cocktails at get-togethers at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave." | Official White House Photo by Pete Souza

"How House GOP spending cuts would add up to more spending later"(Ezra Klein-WaPo):
As the Associated Press reported, “every dollar the Internal Revenue Service spends for audits, liens and seizing property from tax cheats brings in more than $10, a rate of return so good the Obama administration wants to boost the agency’s budget.” It’s an easy way to reduce the deficit: You don’t have to cut heating oil for the poor or Pell grants for students. You just have to make people pay what they owe.

But deficit reduction is not the GOP’s top priority. It’s a bit lower on the list, somewhere between “get Styrofoam cups back into Congress” — an actual push the Republicans took up to thumb their nose at Nancy Pelosi’s environmental policies — and make “Sesame Street” beg for money. In fact, if you listen to Speaker John Boehner, he’ll tell you himself. “The American people want us to focus on creating jobs and cutting spending,” he has said. And that comment wasn’t a one-off: “Our goal is to cut spending,” he said in another speech. MORE....
"Obama Steers Clear Of Action On Guns" (AP):
Barack Obama once said it was a "scandal" that then-President George W. Bush didn't force renewal of a federal assault weapons ban. Now it's Obama himself who's steering clear of that and other politically sensitive gun-control measures, even while calling for a new discussion on weapons and "how we can keep America safe for all our people."

The president asked for the new conversation on gun safety in an opinion column in Rep. Gabrielle Giffords' hometown paper, the Arizona Daily Star, over the weekend. He proposed strengthening and enforcing existing laws requiring gun sellers to perform background checks.

But to the disappointment of gun-control advocates, the president didn't mention the assault weapons ban that expired in 2004 — when Congress failed to renew it — even though it barred sales of high-capacity magazines like the one used by Giffords' shooter, and even though Obama was once an outspoken supporter of the ban. MORE...
"Obama’s Heartland Strategy Takes Friendly Fire" (Carol E. Lee-Wall Street Journal):
A senior Michigan Democrat is taking President Barack Obama to task for not doing enough to promote jobs, just as the president’s political aides are gearing up to make the case for Mr. Obama’s re-election to industrial state voters.

Michigan Rep. John Conyers says Mr. Obama’s economic policies are not doing enough to help his state, despite the administration’s support for the federal bailouts of General Motors Co. and Chrysler Group LLC, and federal loans for advanced battery manufacturing and other ventures in the state. MORE...
"Obama's New Schmooze" (Amie Parnes-Politico):
“We live in times when politics are strained, so when you can get people together in a social setting, it’s always a good idea,” said Andrew Wilson, a spokesman for Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-Ill.), who also attended the basketball party. Socializing outside the office “does carry into the day-to-day politics of legislating and governing,” Wilson said. MORE...

Monday, March 14, 2011

Seattle: "Legally Stoned-Medical marijuana in school and the workplace"

Andy Boelter (The Garfield Messenger):
Interestingly enough, Seattle Public Schools does not have an official policy for dealing with users of medical marijuana. When it comes to the issue of use at school, Garfield Teen Health Center nurse Chris Cordell says, “There is no policy in place, but I would work with the student and his or her family to create a care plan.”

But in Chase’s case, his parents don’t know that he uses marijuana medically..Once one turns eighteen, he or she can legally get a card without his or her parents knowing. “If you have a real problem,” Chase says, “It is extremely easy to get a card. If you don’t, it is still probably likely.” He is not the only student at Garfield with a medical card.

Nurse Cordell has mixed feelings about teens in school using medical marijuana.

“When marijuana is used appropriately, there are times when it is very helpful,” she says, measuring her words carefully. “However it is really not a safe drug. Teenagers brains are still developing and you really want to minimize exposure to it.”

The debate over the legality of marijuana rages on. Sometimes it is legal, and other times it is illegal. Marijuana users beware, there is always a risk under federal law. But many times these laws can be bypassed. MORE...

"Seattle tells Leg. to pass medical pot bill, let cities decide where shops go"

Chris Grygiel (
Cities should be able to decide for themselves how and where medical marijuana shops operate within their boundaries, Seattle's mayor, City Council and City Attorney say in a letter to state lawmakers in which they urge the Legislature to pass a medical cannabis bill now being considered.

Senate Bill 5073 is being heard by the House Health Care committee Monday afternoon. The legislation establishes a regulatory system for the medical marijuana business and seeks to establish criminal liability protection for patients, doctors and providers. Washington is one of 15 states where pot use for medical purposes is legal; Voters here overwhelmingly approved an initiative in 1998. MORE...

Horsey: "The fiscally responsible Republican family" (cartoon)

Cartoon by David Horsey

SFGate, David Horsey (cartoon).

"What do Walmart, FOX News, and Koch Brothers have in common?" (with video)

bravenewfoundation, with video (02:09):
This important eight part video series exposes the Koch Brothers' control over your job, your life, and your well-being. Be listed as a Producer for the Koch Brothers Exposed video series and get a t-shirt featuring an exclusive Shepard Fairey design of the 'Koch-topus'. We've dedicated 4 months of hard work and we MUST get these finished and out to the world to educate the public. It's $40 billion of Koch money vs us! Please donate to become a Producer on this project with us:

Welcome to the future?---"liberal, anxious and don't trust politicians"

UPDATE: "The American Dream Is Dead!" Suze Orman, video (12:06).

Julian Glover (Guardian UK):
Guardian/ICM survey in five EU countries shows people see a bleak economic future and don't think their leaders will deliver---Europe's hope of a better future is faltering, as the financial crisis and spending cuts bite, according to a Guardian/ICM poll of five leading EU countries. It finds trust in government at rock bottom and widespread fear of further economic decline. Few people are convinced that the present signs of recovery can be sustained. MORE...
Howie P.S.: Go to the link for a stunning graphic of the poll results (click to enlarge).

Sunday, March 13, 2011

"Pay Teachers More" (and bankers less)

Nicholas D. Kristof (NY Times op-ed):
Starting teacher pay, which now averages $39,000, would have to rise to $65,000 to fill most new teaching positions in high-needs schools with graduates from the top third of their classes, the McKinsey study found. That would be a bargain.

Indeed, it makes sense to cut corners elsewhere to boost teacher salaries. Research suggests that students would benefit from a tradeoff of better teachers but worse teacher-student ratios. Thus there are growing calls for a Japanese model of larger classes, but with outstanding, respected, well-paid teachers.

Teaching is unusual among the professions in that it pays poorly but has strong union protections and lockstep wage increases. It’s a factory model of compensation, and critics are right to fault it. But the bottom line is that we should pay teachers more, not less — and that politicians who falsely lambaste teachers as greedy are simply making it more difficult to attract the kind of above-average teachers our above-average children deserve. MORE...
Howie P.S.: The "bankers" in the headline is my own contribution to the argument.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Seattle: "Every Elected City Official Now Wants to Legalize Pot"

Photo: Tim Burgess

Dominic Holden (The Stranger):
It's official. Every officeholder at City Hall—from the mayor and city attorney to each and every member of the Seattle City Council—is now on the record supporting legal pot. I asked them all the same question: "Are you in favor of legalizing, taxing, and regulating marijuana?" And they all said yes—eventually.

The last holdouts were Council Members Tim Burgess and Bruce Harrell. Burgess—a former Seattle cop and barometer of relative conservatism on law-enforcement politics in Seattle—had never spoken out on this issue before. But now he says pot should be legalized. Harrell, for his part, says: "It is clear that our existing strategy of criminalizing marijuana use is a failed strategy."

These city officials are in popular company: Seattle was the first major US city to make marijuana the lowest law-enforcement priority, the conservative Seattle Times now supports legalizing marijuana, and Seattle Hempfest is the biggest legalization event in the United States.

So what next? The city can't overturn state prohibition, but Seattle lawmakers can pass a resolution that asks the state to tax and regulate pot. Then they need to lobby the state to do it.

State representative Mary Lou Dickerson (who represents Queen Anne, Magnolia, and Ballard) has a bill in the state legislature that would tax and regulate marijuana. It's probably dead in the water this year, but Dickerson will need Seattle's help—and the backing of everyone at City Hall—to push a similar bill next year.
Howie P.S.: At the same time, there are "eight pro-tunnel members of the city council."



Howie P.S.:"Susan Sarandon Speaks to Young People At Madison," video (02:17):
Susan Sarandon showed up to the protests in Madison and then went to Ian's Pizza for a bite. She very nicely agreed to answer a few questions for the youth of America.

"ALL ROADS LEAD TO WISCONSIN!" (with live streaming video) with live streaming video:
Load up the kids, get in the car, and go!

Farmer-Labor Tractorcade Starts at 10:00 AM!

We'll be live streaming the rally on my website If u can't be there, wear some badger red!

Reich: "Why Obama Isn’t Fighting the Budget Battle"

Robert Reich:
Worried congressional Democrats say the President needs to use his bully pulpit to counter defections in Democratic ranks, such as the ten Democrats and one allied Independent who on Wednesday voted against a Senate leadership plan to cut $6.2 billion from the federal budget over the rest of fiscal year 2011. They want Obama to grab the initiative and push a plan to eliminate tax breaks for oil companies and for companies that move manufacturing facilities out of the country, and a proposal for a surtax on millionaires.

Most importantly, they’re worried the President’s absence from the debate will result in Republicans winning large budget cuts for the remainder of the fiscal year – large enough to imperil the fragile recovery.

But Obama won’t actively fight the budget battle if the current White House view of how he wins in 2012 continues to prevail.

Shortly after the Democrats’ “shellacking” last November, I phoned a friend in the White House who had served in the Clinton administration. “It’s 1994 all over again,” he said. “Now we move to the center.”

The supposed parallel between 2010 and 1994 is something of an article of faith in the Obama White House. That’s partly because so many of President Barack Obama’s current aides worked for Bill Clinton and vividly recall Clinton’s own shellacking in 1994. It’s also because the Clinton story had a happy ending, at least electorally. The fact that Bill Clinton went on to win re-election is a source of comfort to the current White House as it looks ahead to 2012.

From this, many in the Obama White House have concluded that the president should follow Clinton’s campaign script — distancing himself from congressional Democrats, embracing further deficit reduction, and seeking guidance from big business. If it worked for Clinton, it must work for Obama — or so it’s supposed.

The superficial logic that so often passes for thought in Washington typically sees causation where there’s only correlation. In fact, there’s no reason to believe that Clinton’s lurch rightward at the start of 1995 is what won him re-election the following November. He was re-elected because of the strength of the economic recovery. MORE...

"Prosecutor: No grand jury in John T. Williams case" (with video)

Casey McNerthney (, with video (17:33):
A citizen grand jury will not be convened to consider criminal charges against the former police officer who killed John T. Williams, King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg announced Friday.

Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes also did not request Satterberg take action despite a letter from attorneys representing Williams' family.

However, Holmes said he's concerned about the breadth and vagueness of the lawful use of the state's deadly-force statute and wants further public debate before the next legislative session.

"I believe that the statute should be amended, for example, to add a 'reasonable belief' requirement or perhaps to remove the 'malice' element altogether -- keeping in mind that a prosecutor would still have to prove the objective unreasonable of a police officer's actions beyond a reasonable doubt in any manslaughter case." MORE...
Howie P.S.: Eerie soundtrack to the video: the officer was listening to sports talk radio in his patrol car.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Ed Schultz: "Wisconsin defeat could help launch counterattack on GOP"

The Ed Schultz Show:
Labor union leaders plan to use the legislative defeat in Wisconsin to fire up their members nationwide.

They plan to mount a major counterattack against Republicans at the ballot box in 2012.

Wisconsin's measure stripped public employees of most bargaining rights.

Richard Trumka Comments
AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said, "Gov. Walker's overreaching has brought us to this moment to be able to talk about jobs, to be able to talk about the right to collective bargaining."

Trumka said, "This is the debate we've wanted to have for 25 years. Well, guess what? Suddenly the debate came to us."

Fire Fighters Comments
Harold Schaitberger, President of the International Association of Fire Fighters, said, "This is a fight for workers, this is a fight for the middle class, this is a fight to try to stave off the shift in power and wealth that is starting to become gross."

Democratic Fundraising Up
Democrats said their counterattack efforts were already beginning to bear fruit in the form of fundraising.

The Wisconsin Democratic Party said it raised $300,000 overnight and collected $800,000 from 32,000 donors in just five days.

Party chairman Mike Tate said Senate Democrats have raised $750,000 over the past month alone.

Read the AP story

Read: Unions frame bargaining as civil rights issue

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Can you say "Governor Russ Feingold"?

Steve Kornacki (Salon):
The question isn't really if Scott Walker and his fellow Wisconsin Republicans will suffer fallout from their surprise maneuver Wednesday night. It's how severe the fallout will be.

Walker and the state's Republican senators, as you've surely heard by now, decoupled their proposal to strip public workers of their collective bargaining rights from a budget bill, allowing them to push it through the upper chamber with the entire Democratic caucus still holed up across state lines in Illinois. The GOP-controlled Assembly will presumably pass the bill today and Walker will then sign it.

Politically, this represents a wholly reckless move. Wisconsin's state government has been paralyzed for weeks because of the collective bargaining impasse, and in that time public opinion swung sharply against Walker and his plan. All of the noise generated by the Democrats' resistance seemed to have convinced a majority that Walker's plan is out of the mainstream. That these same voters will now hear that Walker and the GOP resorted to an extraordinary measure to jam it through will only harden this assessment -- and, potentially, make GOP legislators and the governor himself vulnerable to recall efforts.

The recall campaign will first target the handful of Republican senators who have already been in office for a year and are therefore eligible to be recalled. Petitions are already circulating in their districts. Walker himself is insulated through next January, when his first full year in office will be complete. Only then will his opponents be able to take out petitions to recall him. But that hasn't stopped more than a few Democrats from promoting their dream recall candidate: Russ Feingold, the former three-term senator who was flushed from office in last fall's anti-Democratic tide. MORE...