Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Digby: "Post partisan depression"

Last week the political world was all agog over Ryan Lizza's New Yorker article about the administration in which he revealed that after three long years of GOP obstruction the president resigned himself to the fact that post-partisanship wasn't going to work out. It may have shifted something fundamental --- for the first time people in the Village are questioning whether their beloved bipartisanship is the only way the government can function. MORE...
H/t to Greg Sargent.

Sam Seder: "Tim Wise on Racism, Obama & Ron Paul" (audio)

majorityfm, audio (43:55)
Anti-racist author, activist and teacher Tim Wise on racism, the history and social perception of government programs, group based failure and more.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Matt Taibbi: "How the GOP race became a showdown between a walking OCD diagnosis and a flatulent serial adulterer"

Matt Taibbi:
Both actually and metaphorically, the Paul campaign is forever being consigned to the parking lot outside the main event, despite the fact that Paul is the only Republican candidate with consistent, insoluble support across the country. Polls also show that Paul tends to fare much better against Obama than any candidate besides Romney: A recent CNN poll showed him in a dead heat with Obama in a one-on-one contest. Yet everywhere he goes, Paul is hounded by reporters asking him which of the other mannequins he's eventually going to throw his support to. The grown-ups in the party establishment and their lackeys in the press simply refuse to take Paul seriously, which is part of the reason Paul is so extraordinarily attractive to young people (in both Iowa and New Hampshire, he scored almost half of the under-30 vote).

But the Republican Party is not dominated by 22-year-old college students reading The Fountainhead for the first time and finally understanding what it is they've always hated about their ex-hippie parents. No, the party is dominated by middle-aged white suburbanites who hate Mexico, John King and the Golden Rule and are willing to flock to anyone who'll serve up the Fox News culture war in big portions and without shame or hesitation. Romney might have memorized a few I-hate-Obama sound bites, but voters simply don't believe him. Gingrich alone offers GOP voters the emotional payoff they want out of an election – an impassioned fight against the conspiracy, played out in thrillingly contrary three-hour debates on health care with the liberal Satan. Gingrich lives for confrontation: He was born for this sort of insurgent primary politics.

The only problem is, he's a bloviating, egomaniacal hog clinging to a third marriage who suffers from incurable diarrhea of the mouth and, according to polls, is one of the most intensely disliked politicians in America, making him an utterly absurd choice for the general election. If Gingrich ends up winning the nomination, Obama will essentially be running against the political version of Gilbert Gottfried or raw garlic – strong tastes that some like quite a lot, but many more can't stand to even be near. If that happens, every Democratic flack from Leon Panetta to Obama himself will have to wear restraints to keep from publicly crying out in joy.

All of which makes the goofball theater surrounding the GOP primaries seem even crazier. With a weak economy and a vulnerable president in the White House, the Republican Party had a real chance to reseize power, if it could only have grasped the gravity of the situation and put forward a plausible candidate. And a plausible candidate would have been better for everyone, not just Republicans, because the nation will suffer when Obama cruises to victory next fall on a sea of open-marriage jokes, instead of having to face a cogent argument against useless bailouts, endless wars and economic mismanagement.

But the GOP chose to snub any semblance of substance, floating one candidate after another – from Donald Trump and Michele Bachmann to Herman Cain and Rick Perry – who could not hold on to the lead for more than a few hours before tripping and falling into the machinery. It now appears that whoever winds up winning the Republican nomination will be a reform-hating friend of the one percent who will happily gobble whatever hundreds of millions of dollars Wall Street has left over to donate to the GOP, after it's finished lavishing its election-year tribute on Barack Obama. The best we can hope for, it appears, is some truly high-quality reality-show drama. The campaign is a circus like we've never seen before. We may get worse candidates, but at least we're getting a better show. MORE...

Howie P.S.: Mike Papantonio visits with ED Schultz, video (08:29) to say "Big Money Wins in Florida GOP Primary."

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Chris Hayes: "Apple jobs in the U.S. vs. jobs created by President Obama's stimulus package"


MSNBC-Chris Hayes:
After President Obama's State of the Union address earlier this week Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels gave the Republican rebuttal in which he claimed Steve Jobs created more jobs than "all those stimulus dollars the President borrowed and blew". We checked the facts on this and found otherwise.

Chris Hayes: "Billionaires could make U.S. elections resemble horse races" (with video)

Andrew Jones (RAW STORY) with video (06:01) from MSNBC:
In the aftermath of billionaire casino mogul Sheldon Adelson giving $10 million to the Super PAC supporting Newt Gingrich, MSNBC’s Chris Hayes speculated Saturday that unless campaign finance rules are changed, U.S. political elections could start resembling the Kentucky Derby. MORE...

"Chris Hedges-Occupy the Courts NY Jan 20 2012 w/ Lawrence Lessig Occupy Wall St" (with video)

NewYorkRawVideos, with video (28:23):
Filmed January 20, 2012. Chris Hedges, Lawrence Lessig, Virginia Rasmussen on the eve of the 2nd Anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court decision "Citizens United v. F.E.C.". The video begins with a march from Liberty Plaza a/k/a Zuccotti Park to the rally point at Foley Square across the street from Thurgood Marshall U.S. Courthouse at 40 Centre St. The Rude Mechanical Orchestra plays their "Smash a Bank Polka" followed by Chris Hedges giving an update to his lawsuit against Barack Obama and Leon Panetta. Virginia Rasmussen offers a historic perspective on the Citizens United decision. Laurence Lessig gives an inspirational speech on restoring democracy. Other speakers: Alexis from Occupy Wall Street, Camille Rivera, and Amy Muldoon. The video ends with the Rude Mechanical Orchestra finishing of their song.
Howie P.S.: Hedges writes about this event and his experience earlier in the day "sitting on a wooden bench in a fourth-floor courtroom in the New York Criminal Court in Manhattan."

Matt Taibbi: "A Victory for the Public on Foreclosures?" (with video)

Matt Taibbi with video (04:08)from "Countdown":
So there was big news yesterday on the foreclosure settlement front. We still have to wait and see what the final deal looks like, but there are reports out that the long-awaited settlement is a far, far better deal for the public than expected. If these reports are true, it looks like New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and California AG Kamala Harris have scored an enormous victory in narrowing the scope of the settlement to the point where it really only covers robosigning abuses. MORE...

Barack Obama Watches Newt and Mitt Play Football (cartoon)


The New Yorker (cover illustration).

H/t to Ben Smith, who says "Fantastic New Yorker cover, h/t ."

Saturday, January 28, 2012

"President Obama calls for an end to 'gridlock and games'" (with video)

Barbara Morrill (Daily Kos) with transcript and video (03:26):
President Obama used today's weekly address to revisit his recent State of the Union Address, where he:

... laid out a blueprint for an economy built to last – an economy built on American manufacturing, American energy, skills for American workers, and a renewal of American values.

... while acknowledging that many Americans are rightfully skeptical that anything will be accomplished in Washington this year. MORE...

H/t to Ari Melber.

"President Obama: I Want Second Term 'Badly'" (with video)

video platformvideo managementvideo solutionsvideo player

ABC News with video (05:56):
President Barack Obama today signaled an aggressive tact for his early re-election campaign, critiquing his Republican opponents by name and insisting he's ready to "fight with every fiber of my being" for a second term.

"How much do you want it?" ABC News' Diane Sawyer asked Obama during an exclusive interview in Las Vegas.

"Badly," the president said, "because I think the country needs it." MORE...

Friday, January 27, 2012

Ryan Lizza on "The Obama Memos"

"Hundreds of pages of internal White House memos show Obama grappling with the unpleasant choices of government."

Ryan Lizza:
He is frustrated with the irrational side of Washington, but he also leans on the wisdom of his political advisers when they make a strong case that a good policy is bad politics. The private Obama is close to what many people suspect: a President trying to pass his agenda while remaining popular enough to win reƫlection.

Obama didn’t remake Washington. But his first two years stand as one of the most successful legislative periods in modern history. Among other achievements, he has saved the economy from depression, passed universal health care, and reformed Wall Street. Along the way, Obama may have changed his mind about his 2008 critique of Hillary Clinton. “Working the system, not changing it” and being “consumed with beating” Republicans “rather than unifying the country and building consensus to get things done” do not seem like such bad strategies for success after all. MORE...
Howie P.S.: Some may find this analysis to be a rationale and apology for Obama's performance.

Darcy Burner sends a Direct Message to Eric Holder (video)

Darcy Burner, with video (00:26)-"Prosecute the bankers who illegally foreclosed on military households":
Darcy's response to the news that major banks illegally foreclosed on 5,000 homes of members of our military serving overseas.

Matt Taibbi: "Is Obama's 'Economic Populism' for Real?"

"President Barack Obama delivers his State of the Union speech."

Matt Taibbi:
I think it’s impossible to know what any of this means yet. There is a lot to sort out and a lot that will bear watching in the near future.

ED Show: "Obama goes after his critics on 'class warfare'" (video)

MSNBC-ED Show, video (04:22).

Howie P.S.: Ari Melber and Caroline Heldman discuss the issue with ED.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Off-line Thursday, 1-25-12

I am going to California for a funeral for a close family member on Thursday and will be off-line until my return.

Goldy on Rep. McDermott on Obama's SOTU: "Obama Was a Monster Tonight"

Goldy (David Goldstein):
Squeezed into a loud bar, feebly attempting to out-duel Cienna with live-Slog witticisms, it was hard to get a good feel for President Obama's State of the Union speech last night. But US Representative Jim McDermott (D-The Part of Seattle I Don't Live In), sitting (and often standing) in the House chamber, got a firsthand look at the president in battle mode, and he came away quite impressed.

"Obama was a monster tonight," McDermott told me by phone about an hour after the speech. "By far and away, this was the best speech I've ever heard him give." Really.

No doubt McDermott is as partisan as they come, and he can be prone to fits of enthusiasm, but this was about as bubbly and effusive as I've ever heard him. Throughout the interview, McDermott literally giggled with delight at the thought of taking on Mitt Romney as the nominee, let alone his old foe Newt Gingrich. "They're trying not look scared," McDermott said of his Republican colleagues, "but they're looking at an unmitigated disaster." MORE...

"Sen. Sanders Reacts to Pres. Obama's State of the Union Address" (video)

SenatorSanders, video (04:21).

Joel Connelly: 'No Drama Obama' puts his presidency on the line

Joel Connelly:
The president labeled "No Drama Obama," often in frustration by supporters, laid it on the line Tuesday in an election year State of the Union speech that left friends and foes in no doubt about the message.

By his own definition a skilled wordsmith, Obama mixed conciliation and optimism -- "America is back" -- with confrontation -- "With or without this Congress, I will keep taking actions that help our economy grow". MORE...

SOTU Roundup (with video)

SOTU Highlights, HuffPo,video (07:37).

The White House Blog has the full video, the text and "Enhanced Slides."

President Obama just did exactly what hundreds of thousands of us been calling on him to do—he announced an investigation into Wall Street. This is a very big victory and it shows what we can do together.
"5 things not in the State of the Union."(Josh Gerstein-(Politico).
John Nichols (The Nation):
Speaking on the very day that the Bain Capitaliist released tax returns that showed he paid taxes at a dramatically lower rate than most Americans—under 14 percent, as compared with 35 percent rate paid by many working Americans —Obama focused on the need to reform tax policy in order to extract a fairer fraction from the rich.

“You can call this class warfare all you want,” Obama declared, in the night's takeaway line. “But asking a billionaire to pay at least as much as his secretary in taxes? Most Americans would call that common sense.” MORE...
Michael Moore (on Twitter):
Let's give him an A- on this one. He lost points for saying that the IraqWar has made us "safer" & "more respected" around the world. Um, no. AND
A great, great close! Outta the park! Please now, President Obama, go do it! Dammit, just do it.
Chris Hayes (on Twitter):
More than a little disturbed by the notion that the US military should be institutional model for the rest of society.
Democracy Now!-video (14:10):
"He Says One Thing And Does Another"-Ralph Nader Reviews Obama's State of the Union Speech.
"Statement on State of the Union" (Bernie Sanders).

"In speech, Obama sets reelection narrative" (Greg Sargent).

"State of the Union poll: Most Republican voters approve of Obama agenda" (Stephen Webster-Raw Story).

"Obama’s State of the Union speech: Confrontation wrapped in Kumbaya" (John Aravosis-AMERICAblog).

Greg Sargent: "Obama’s SOTU speech reveals his reelection challenge."
Who will swing voters ultimately blame for Obama’s failure to triumph over determined GOP obstructionism? Respected Dem pollster Stan Greenberg convened a dial session during last night’s speech with some 50 Colorado swing voters, and their responses captured Obama’s reelection challenge in a nutshell. MORE...
Obama: "People Making Over $1 Million Should Pay At Least 30% In Taxes" (Sahil Kapur-TPM).

"Obama's State Of The Union Address: Everybody Must Play By The Same Rules" (Jennifer Bendery-HuffPo):
President Barack Obama used Tuesday's State of the Union address to lay out a vision of America in which everybody gets a fair shot at economic success and everybody -- including the wealthy -- plays by the same rules as the average citizen. MORE...

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Zerlina Maxwell Reviews "The Obamas"

Zerlina Maxwell:
Many Black folks struggle with needing to be just a little bit better than White counterparts to simply be treated as equals, something that seems to be completely lost on Kantor. As she can't adequately speak to what it means to be the first two people on the planet to do what Barack and Michelle have done, her attempts to get to the heart of this couple simply misses the mark.

Overall, The Obamas isn't a slanderous account of the First Couple; however, the heavy reliance on editorial license and lack of recognition for certain core Obama values render it a less-than-essential look at history that is still in the making. MORE...

"David Stockman on Mitt, Newt and Crony Capitalism" (with video)

Dylan Ratigan with video (10:13):
Former Ronald Reagan OMB director David Stockman joined us on The Dylan Ratigan Show today to explain explicitly why both Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich are incredible offenders and beneficiaries of corporate communism or, as he likes to call it, “crony capitalism.” MORE...

Chris Hedges: "Turn off your televisions. Ignore the Newt-Mitt-Rick-Barack reality show."

A protester with the Occupy Wall Street movement waves to Auubi, a 17-month-old boy whose father was also demonstrating, on the grounds of the Capitol in Washington, on January 17, 2012. Protesters plan events in Washington throughout the week. (Photo: Doug Mills / The New York Times)

Chris Hedges:
The real debate, the debate raised by the Occupy movement about inequality, corporate malfeasance, the destruction of the ecosystem, and the security and surveillance state, is the only debate that matters. You won’t hear it on the corporate-owned airwaves and cable networks, including MSNBC, which has become to the Democratic Party what Fox News is to the lunatic fringe of the Republican Party. You won’t hear it on NPR or PBS. You won’t read about it in our major newspapers. The issues that matter are being debated, however, on “Democracy Now!,” Link TV, The Real News, Occupy websites and Revolution Truth. They are being raised by journalists such as Glenn Greenwald and Matt Taibbi. You can find genuine ideas in corners of the Internet or in books by political philosophers such as Sheldon Wolin. But you have to go looking for them.

Voting will not alter the corporate systems of power. Voting is an act of political theater. Voting in the United States is as futile and sterile as in the elections I covered as a reporter in dictatorships like Syria, Iran and Iraq. There were always opposition candidates offered up by these dictatorships. Give the people the illusion of choice. Throw up the pretense of debate. Let the power elite hold public celebrations to exalt the triumph of popular will. We can vote for Romney or Obama, but Goldman Sachs and ExxonMobil and Bank of America and the defense contractors always win. There is little difference between our electoral charade and the ones endured by the Syrians and Iranians. Do we really believe that Obama has, or ever had, any intention to change the culture in Washington? MORE...

Monday, January 23, 2012

"How do you make the case that things could have been far worse — even if that’s totally true — when people are still suffering?"

Scott Wilson (WaPo):
The setting: An election-year State of the Union address before a hostile Congress. Since the last one, the world has changed fundamentally, a war with Iraq has ended, and the nation’s economy is fragile and worrying to a majority of Americans.

“Now to our troubles at home, they are not all economic, but the primary problem is our economy,” the president tells a prime-time audience. “There are certain things a president can do without Congress, and I am going to do them.”

President Obama? No. George H.W. Bush in his 1992 State of the Union address, delivered 10 months before voters made him a one-term president. No other president has been able to claim that dubious, single-term distinction in the last three decades. MORE...
H/t to Greg Sargent for the headline and the link.

"It could be worse."

Field Negro:
I honestly don't know what folks like Bruce expected from Obama. Those of you who know me and read my writings know that I have said all along that there would be nothing spectacular in terms of progressive changes with an Obama presidency. I have said all along that he is a Democratic politician who is a product of the Chicago political machine, and that he is first and foremost a political moderate when it comes to governing.

His election was historic only for its imagery and the possibilities it represents; not because it was going to bring any fundamental changes in the American political landscape for poor people and people of color. MORE...

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Newt's "Family Values" (poster)

"What does a newt look like?" (with video)

animalstown.com with video (01:35):
The newt is found naturally in North America, Europe and Asia and the newt is thought to be a subspecies of the salamander. There are thought to be around 15 different species of newt found throughout the Northern Hemisphere, and many of these newt species contain toxins in their skin which helps the newt to defend itself from predators. Certain species of the Pacific newt, found in North America are particularly toxic, with some of these newts containing enough toxin in their skin to kill an adult human. MORE...
Howie P.S.: The word "slimy" comes to mind. BTW-What parent would give their offspring this name, given the description above?

Howie P.S.: Further research reveals Gingrich's "real" name is 'Newton.'

"Get Money Out of Politics-Two days of action in Seattle"

Howie P.S.: Dina Johnson sent this over to me. She promises an appearance by Jim McDermott today @ Westlake Center (2pm) and videos and photos later.

Today's Positive, Uplifting Thought

Field Negro:
If John King had half of a brain he would have framed the question a different way. It shouldn't have been about your ex giving a sit down interview and telling the world what a bad husband you were. It should have been about you being a first class hypocrite and liar. MORE...
Howie P.S.: As an observer of American politics, I have developed quite a high tolerance for "crap," but Newt's poutrage is just too much.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Ari Melber and MSNBC panel on the "Politics of the Personal" (video)

MSNBC, video (06:01).

Howie P.S.: Let the record show I have been married for over 23 years (to the same woman).

"D.L. Hughley Tears Into Gingrich: Having Left A Sick Wife, He’s Forfeited Right To Use The Word ‘Despicable’ (with video)

Alex Alavarez (MEDIAite), with video from MSNBC (03:57):
"Newt Gingrich is the kind of man,” said Hughley, “who will lie when the truth will do.” He then circled back to Gingrich’s characterization of questions about his affair and marriage as “despicable:” MORE...
Howie P.S.: VIDEO BONUS-Lawrence breaks in at the end of the segment to share video of Obama crooning an Al Green tune at the Apollo.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

John Burbank on WA gov't.: On providing quality public services, ‘we have met the enemy and he is us’

John Burbank (The Stand):

Back in the 1960s, there was a comic strip named Pogo. One of the most insightful strips was a distilled discussion of human foibles, in which Pogo announced, “We have met the enemy and he is us!”

When it comes to the national debate over the 99% vs. 1%, we may not like the growing chasm between corporate elites and the rest of us — but we’ve sure made it easy for them to keep it that way.

Take our own state. Our state will become $25 billion wealthier over the next two years (that’s how much our economy will grow). And yet for some reason, we can’t seem to find enough funding to keep up with public priorities. So we will likely see tuition at Everett Community College break the $4,000 mark, and the University of Washington will probably charge over $12,000. Class sizes in elementary school will top 30 kids or more. More people will be kicked off of Basic Health, right at the time when even more low-wage working people need health insurance. MORE...

"Markos Moulitsas on SOPA, PIPA and the battle for control of the Internet" (with video)

CURRENT with video (02:50):
“Countdown” contributor and Daily Kos founder Markos Moulitsas reveals why the Daily Kos joined the roster of sites protesting the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) in the House and its Senate companion, the Protect IP Act (PIPA). Moulitsas salutes Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) for being “the first person in Congress basically to stand up against this and fight [PIPA and SOPA] the way he has” and explains how the bills would threaten the future of the Internet should they be enacted in their present form.

"Skiing Seattle - Mountain to Sound" (video)

amnesiakdotcom, video (04:23):
On January 18th, 2012, West Seattle got 4-5 inches of snow, enough to go from Seattle's highest point (520' Gatewood Hill) to it's low point (Puget Sound at Lowman Beach). I call it 'Urban Backcountry.'
H/t to West Seattle Blog

Howie P.S.: If you're not in Seattle: be advised that today we are enjoying an "ice storm." Here's all the proof you need of that assertion: Video (01:08).

Tuesday, January 17, 2012



George Packer: "Running on Inequality"

George Packer (The New Yorker):
This is what I’ll be watching in 2012: whether Obama can overcome the great skepticism that the middle sixty percent feel toward him and his program. Whether he can hold on to the ground he staked in Osawatomie, and put the burden of defending unequal opportunity and an unfair economic system on the other side. Judging from Monday night’s debate in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, the Republicans are going to do their best to help him. MORE...

"'early Wednesday morning' for snow, sez National Wx Service infographic"


National Weather Service:
A very significant winter storm will move into Western Washington early Wednesday morning, bringing as much as 6-14 inches of snow to the Southwest Interior and Central Washington Coast, and 5-10 inches to the metro areas of the Central Puget Sound region. Lowland snowfall will be somewhat less for the northern portions of Western Washington. Western Whatcom county will see strong winds, 20 to 30 mph with gusts as high as 50 mph. In addition to heavy lowland snow, this storm will produce heavy mountain snow and increasing avalanche danger over the Olympic and Cascade mountains.
H/t to West Seattle Blog.

"Barack Obama is Not That Hard to Understand"

Kevin Drum (Mother Jones):
For the most part, Obama's actions can be explained without resort to mysterious and ulterior motives. He's done what he's done sometimes out of native temperament, sometimes out of straightforward political calculation, sometimes out of plain misjudgment, and sometimes because he genuinely has more centrist views than his critics want to believe. More than with most presidents, I think that with Obama, what you see is what you get. He's just not that hard a guy to explain. MORE...

"Our $14.3 Trillion National Debt" (with chart)


Bruins for Change:
"...if anyone who says "President Obama spent us into our current debt" doesn't know anything about the Obama presidency, or our current debt."

"Wikipedia Blackout: Websites Wikipedia, Reddit, Others Go Dark Wednesday to Protest SOPA, PIPA"

"Wikipedia will go dark all day Jan. 18, 2012, along with Reddit and Boing Boing as a protest to the SOPA and PIPA bills in Congress."

Ned Potter (ABC News):
Do not try to look up "Internet Censorship" or "SOPA" or "PIPA" on Wikipedia, the giant online encyclopedia, on Wednesday. SOPA and PIPA are two bills in Congress meant to stop the illegal copying and sharing of movies and music on the Internet, but major Internet companies say the bills would put them in the impossible position of policing the online world.

Wikipedia's founder, Jimmy Wales, says his site will go dark for the day on Wednesday, joining a budding movement to protest the two bills. MORE...
Howie P.S.: I will go dark on Wednesday, as well. I'm sure this will be harder on me than on you.

Monday, January 16, 2012

If you're homeless in Seattle on MLK Day....(with photo)

Photo of "Nickelsville" from West Seattle Blog :
The current camp population includes children and teens, we are told...You can join the discussion about donating warm clothing and blankets, if interested in helping – here’s the Forums topic.
Howie P.S.: This could be a way to honor Martin Luther King, Jr. today.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

"The Martin Luther King You Don't See on TV"

Jeff Cohen and Norman Solomon (FAIR):
It's become a TV ritual: Every year in mid-January, around the time of Martin Luther King's birthday, we get perfunctory network news reports about "the slain civil rights leader."

The remarkable thing about this annual review of King's life is that several years — his last years — are totally missing, as if flushed down a memory hole.

What TV viewers see is a closed loop of familiar file footage: King battling desegregation in Birmingham (1963); reciting his dream of racial harmony at the rally in Washington (1963); marching for voting rights in Selma, Alabama (1965); and finally, lying dead on the motel balcony in Memphis (1968).

An alert viewer might notice that the chronology jumps from 1965 to 1968. Yet King didn't take a sabbatical near the end of his life. In fact, he was speaking and organizing as diligently as ever.

Almost all of those speeches were filmed or taped. But they're not shown today on TV.


It's because national news media have never come to terms with what Martin Luther King Jr. stood for during his final years. MORE...

Atrios: "Sunday Bobbleheads - MLK Day Weekend Edition"

This Week has Colbert and Ricky Perry.

Meet the Press has Gingrich, Lindsey Graham, Harry Reid, and Tim Scott.

Face the Nation has Stephen Colbert, Santorum and DeMint.

Stay in bed.

Friday, January 13, 2012

"The FLOTUS and the Twitterverse"

Marcia Alesan Dawkins (truthdig):
I think that the first lady will be using her Twitter account to present a counterbalancing image to the “angry black woman” stereotype. And that these messages might make us think differently about what race and gender really look and sound like, by emphasizing her own brand of patriotism and adding new dimensions to what it means to be an ‘‘American.’’ More than that, I think she’ll be sending an important message to the press: Do report that racial and gender stereotyping exist. Do report that stereotyping frustrates those it affects most. And do remember that journalists are not immune to enhancing those stereotypes, a fact that can make the task of exposing them particularly challenging. MORE...

Early Birthday Shoutout to George Washington!

George Washington's Birthday is celebrated as a federal holiday on the third Monday in February. It is one of eleven permanent holidays established by Congress.

Federal holidays apply only to the federal government and the District of Columbia; Congress has never declared a national holiday binding in all states and each state decides its own legal holidays.

George Washington was born in Virginia on February 11, 1731, according to the then-used Julian calendar. In 1752, however, Britain and all its colonies adopted the Gregorian calendar, which placed Washington's birth on February 22, 1732. MORE...
Howie P.S.: The first President of the United States was also a hemp farmer, though his personal use of the plant is the subject of some debate. Gotta love the hairdo, though. With this advance notice, we can commence to plan some appropriate celebration. First a birthdate must be agreed upon... or both 2/11 and 2/22 could be chosen for "thanks and praises."

"Reproductive Parity Act: Washington Considers Groundbreaking Abortion Rights Law"

Laura Bassett (HuffPo):
"This bill is about ensuring that all Washington women have health insurance coverage that includes the full range of reproductive health care options, including abortion," said Rep. Eileen Cody (D), who sponsored the bill. "As we implement the federal health care reform law, we need to ensure that we have no erosion of our existing laws in Washington that protect women's reproductive rights."
Abortion is already becoming a wedge issue in Washington's highly competitive gubernatorial race. Rep. Jay Inslee (D-Wash.), who is running for governor and has a strong pro-choice record in Congress, immediately pledged his support for the bill. Republican candidate Rob McKenna, who currently serves as the state's Attorney General, has avoided taking a stance on the issue.

"Regarding the proposed parity act, I look forward to reading the bill when it becomes available," he said Wednesday during a Facebook Q&A.

A Washington blogger points out that the text of the bill was already available for McKenna to read. MORE...

Howie P.S.: If you click on the 'Facebook Q&A' link (above) you will learn the identity of the "Washington blogger."

'Chance' Cards from “Monopoly: "The Mitt Romney Edition”

There’s a new version of Monopoly based on Mitt Romney’s run for the Presidency. Here’s an exclusive look at some of the cards from the game.

Look for more “Mitt Romney Monopoly” cards in MAD #514, on sale February 21!

H/t to Heidi.

"On Eve of MLK Day, Michelle Alexander & Randall Robinson on the Mass Incarceration of Black America" (with video)

Democracy Now! with video:
On this eve of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s birthday, we host a wide-ranging discussion with TransAfrica founder Randall Robinson and author Michelle Alexander about the mass incarceration of African Americans that has rolled back many achievements of the civil rights movement. Today there are more African Americans under correctional control, whether in prison or jail, on probation or on parole, than there were enslaved in 1850. And more African-American men are disenfranchised now because of felon disenfranchisement laws than in 1870. Alexander, whose book "The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness" is newly released in paperback, argues that "[n]othing less than a major social movement has any hope of ending mass incarceration in America or inspiring a recommitment to [Martin Luther] King's dream... My view is that this has got to be a human rights movement. It’s got to be a movement for education, not incarceration; for jobs, not jails; a movement that acknowledges the basic humanity and dignity of all people, no matter who you are or what you have done." [includes rush transcript]

Robert Reich: "The Bain of Capitalism"

Robert Reich:
I’m all in favor of reforming capitalism, but you’ll permit me some skepticism when it comes to criticisms of Bain Capital coming from Romney’s Republican opponents. None of these Republican candidates has exactly distinguished himself with new ideas for giving Americans more economic security. To the contrary — until the assault on Romney and Bain Capital — every one of them has been a cheerleader for financial capitalism of the most brutal sort.

The party that has repeatedly saved capitalism from its own excesses and thereby preserved capitalism is the Democratic Party. So the only serious question here is what kind of serious reforms Obama will propose when, assuming Romney becomes the Republican nominee, Obama also criticizes Bain Capitalism. MORE...

Freeway Blogger: "Signposting In Seattle" (with photos)

Freeway Blogger:
These signs were posted next to freeways in Seattle on January 11th and 12th. If you want to express yourself to a whole lot of people cheaply and easily, it's hard to beat signposting on freeways. MORE...

Joan Walsh on "Obama family values" (with video)

Joan Walsh (Salon):
In the end, though, the book made me an angry white woman. Reading about the many ways the Obamas strive to be good parents and partners, as well as president and First Lady, I found it even more disturbing that they’re treated so poorly, and depicted as so terribly “other,” by so many on the right. They are everything the right purports to believe in: The products of families who struggled to do right by them; people who studied and worked hard and played by the rules; good citizens and seemingly great parents. Even Michelle Obama’s own First Lady project, childhood obesity, focuses less on government than on how children and families can take responsibility and improve their own health. It’s what Republicans preach.

I’m not sure this is what she intended either, but Kantor’s book makes many of the president’s opponents seem like racist hypocrites. MORE...
Howie P.S.: Want more on this? Here's "Soledad O’Brien Hammers Jodi Kantor Over Her Controversial Book On The Obamas" with videos from CNN.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

LIVE VIDEO: "Tavis Smiley Hosts Symposium on Poverty in America"

C-SPAN, live streaming video:
Panelists will discuss a recent report from Indiana University on how poverty is changing in America. Participants include Princeton professor Cornel West, TV host Suze Orman, filmmaker Michael Moore, and author Barbara Ehrenreich. Tavis Smiley will moderate the discussion.
Howie P.S.: Michael Moore is kickin' ass here right now.

Michelle Obama asks "MLK Day of Service. Will you join me to serve your community on Monday?"

Michelle Obama:
Here's something dear to my heart.

Ari Melber on "President Obama's Reelection Campaign Strategy (video)

C-SPAN, with video (42:18):

Ari Melber talked about President Obama's 2012 presidential campaign, and he responded to telephone calls and electronic communications. Topics included the departure of William Daley as the president's chief of staff and his replacement Jack Lew, and the new book about the Obama White House, The Obamas by New York Times correspondent Jodi Kantor.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Michelle Obama: People Have Tried To Paint Me As 'Some Angry Black Woman' (with video)

AP via HuffPo with video from CBS (00:55):
First lady Michelle Obama challenged assertions she's forcefully imposed her will on White House aides, saying she's tired of people portraying her as "some kind of angry black woman."

"I guess it's more interesting to imagine this conflicted situation here and a strong woman and--you know? But that's been an image that people have tried to paint of me since the day Barack announced, that I'm some angry black woman," she said to CBS' Gayle King. MORE...

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Meanwhile, in San Francisco: "Lee appoints Christina Olague as new S.F. District 5 supervisor"

Christina Olague was appointed to the District 5 seat on the Board of Supervisors at City Hall on Monday, January 9, 2011.

Rachel Gordon (S.F. Chronicle):
A bisexual Latina who grew up in the San Joaquin Valley, Olague first made her mark in San Francisco's political circles as an organizer with the Mission Anti-Displacement Coalition, working on behalf of low-income residents. She most recently worked for the Senior Action Network on housing issues. MORE...
Howie P.S.: My wife and daughter just returned from San Francisco and this was the big front page headline in their daily newspaper.

"New Hampshire Results: Everything You Know is Wrong, Romney Strong and Paul Goes Long" (with video)

Ari Melber (The Nation):
You know who won, so here are my takeways from what might be the beginning of the end:

1. Romney Actually Won Big
There is a rumor going around that Romney did not win convincingly. "Five Years Campaigning, Less Than 40%?," blared Huffington Post's quizzical election headline. Here's a better question: Who breaks 40% while winning New Hampshire? John McCain didn't -- he won with 37% last cycle. Neither did Granite State winners Hillary Clinton (39%) or John Kerry (38%). Romney's 39% stacks up well, and he is competing in a pretty wide field. Thus while Romney's total is close to those previous winners, his margin of victory is actually significantly larger, as Karl Rove noted on Tuesday night. A decisive Romney victory doesn't fit the narrative of an "anti-Romney" narrative, however, so these numbers have been underplayed.

In another sign of strength, Romney led among all voters when they were asked who would be a satisfactory nominee. Regardless of who they backed, 61% of New Hampshire voters found him satisfactory -- in other words, some 20% of the people who voted for other candidates have already accepted the idea of Romney in the general election.

2. There's This Guy in Second Place Named Ron Paul
While Romney is the first non-incumbent Republican to dominate the first two contests in the modern era, Ron Paul is the only candidate besides Romney to finish strong in both states. He trailed Romney by 3 points in Iowa, and came in a very solid second last night. Paul had more votes in New Hampshire than Santorum, Gingrich and Perry combined. Just as he showed breadth in appealing to evangelicals in Iowa, Paul's constituency was wide in New Hampshire: He led among voters making under $50,000 (about a quarter of the electorate) and was second to Romney among people who had a favorable view of the last GOP nominee, John McCain (a majority of the electorate). But the wider primary electorate would not accept Paul, right? You'd have to ask them to be sure. The exit pollsters did, and overall, regardless of their personal preference, more voters said they would be "satisfied" with a Paul nomination than Gingrich or Santorum. Now, that could reflect some ignorance about Paul's record and ideas, but if the press is going to cover the strength of Paul's campaign on earth, and not its hypothetical vulnerabilities, then it's time to report the reality of his appeal in this race.

A voter tuning into the conservative coverage at Fox News on Tuesday, however, would have no idea that Paul is currently in second place. Many other outlets have not been much better -- the press would love to have a two-man race, but not enough to overcome it's Paul problem. Like Mike Huckabee or Jesse Jackson before him, Ron Paul is learning that if you are deemed "unserious," even the voters can't save you.

3. New Hampshire is Not The GOP Base, But The Base is Not What You Think
Complaints about the unrepresentative nature of Iowa and New Hampshire come along like the Olympics, or like a presidential campaign. They happen every four years, is what I'm trying to say. And the complaints are true but a little misleading. Last night, for example, Romney didn't just win an open primary. He also did better than every other candidate among people who describe themselves as "very conservative" - about one out of five voters. Remember the Tea Party? Romney did best among Tea Party supporters, doubling the take of their next favorite candidate. (It was Ron Paul, but shhh -- this is not a two-man race!) Romney did best among registered Republicans, which was again more than double the support for the next most popular candidate. (You get one guess on who that was.) And in the sub-slice of the electorate that most concretely reflects Base Participation, Republicans who voted in previous GOP primaries, Romney dominated with a strong 43%. The candidate who came in second among those experienced Republican voters? Ron Paul, at 20%.

Howie P.S.: Video (02:45): ED asks, "Who becomes the anti-Romney candidate?"

Ari Melber and Joy Ann Reid on The ED Show: "GOP candidates play the race card" (video)

MSNBC-ED Show, video (05:46).

Monday, January 09, 2012

"Inside Job" (2010) (full video)

Films For Action, video (01:48:27):

2010 Oscar Winner for Best Documentary, 'Inside Job' provides a comprehensive analysis of the global financial crisis of 2008, which at a cost over $20 trillion, caused millions of people to lose their jobs and homes in the worst recession since the Great Depression, and nearly resulted in a global financial collapse. Through exhaustive research and extensive interviews with key financial insiders, politicians, journalists, and academics, the film traces the rise of a rogue industry which has corrupted politics, regulation, and academia. It was made on location in the United States, Iceland, England, France, Singapore, and China.

Watch the trailer

Saturday, January 07, 2012

Mort Sahl on Barack, Michelle and Rahm

Mort Sahl:
Barack Obama brought Rahm Emanuel into the government and it took Michelle Obama to get him out.

Re: Michelle Obama-"Is it Just Me"

John Cole:

Or am I the only one who read this Jodi Kantor piece about Michelle Obama and thought “Wow, she’s even cooler than I thought.” I thought she came out of it looking great. If people think that is a hit piece, I say bring it on.

Howie P.S.: As I commented online
I am a local blogger/nobody who has spent several hours in the company of both Rahm and Michelle Obama, on separate occasions. If you believe in heaven and hell, this was it.

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

"1/04 Matt Taibbi, GOP primaries meaningless sideshow?" (audio)

majorityfm, audio(45:34):
Matt Taibbi on Iowa caucus results, GOP primaries as a meaningless sideshow and why Ron Paul resonates with voters. Plus, Obama’s recess appointment of Richard Cordray, fracking earthquakes. And in the better half, capital gains as income inequality driver, God reveals results of 2012 election to Pat Robertson, your calls & IMs.

"Rick Santorum Compares Medicaid, Food Stamps, Other Social Welfare Programs To Fascism" (with video)

HuffPo with video (02:26):
Riding high off his strong showing in the Iowa caucus, GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum took some time in his closing speech to compare social welfare programs to fascism.

The former Pennsylvania senator drew upon his grandfather's experience during Benito Mussolini's tenure in Italy (video starts at the 50-second mark) and linked Medicaid, food stamps and other U.S. initiatives to the authoritarianism experienced by his relative back in the 1920s. MORE...

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Ari Melber and Wendell Potter on Mitt and 'Mandates' (video)

MSNBC-ED Show, video (06:30).

Iowa: "The Meaningless Sideshow Begins"

Matt Taibbi:
This widespread and growing movement against the twin corrupting influences of money on our politics and state patronage on big business is going on everywhere – on the streets, in these courthouses, in the homes of people refusing to move after foreclosure, even in the antitax movements and the campaigns against state pensions.

The only place we can be absolutely sure this battle will not be found is in any national presidential race between Barack Obama and someone like Mitt Romney. MORE...

Santorum in Iowa: "Rick's Roll" (video)

MSNBC-ED Show, video (09:21).

"In Depth with Author and Journalist Chris Hedges" (video)

C-SPAN, video,(02:59:45):
On Book TV’s In Depth, author and journalist, Chris Hedges. The Pulitzer Prize winning foreign correspondent spends three hours taking viewers’ calls, emails and tweets on topics such as terrorism, religion and politics.

The National Book Critics Circle Award nominee has a Masters degree in Divinity and is the author of nine books. His works include, “War is a Force That Gives Us Meaning,” “Empire of Illusion,” and his latest release “The World As It Is.”
Howie P.S.: My father wrote his master's thesis in 1932 on James Joyce's "Ulysses" which Hedges puts on his favorite books list. I have yet to read or understand it. To give you the flavor and tone of this interview here's a quote from Hedges
Wall Street is a criminal enterprise.

Monday, January 02, 2012

"Protesters Occupy The Rose Parade" (with PHOTOS)

HuffPo with slideshow (scroll down):
Perhaps the most anticipated float of the 2012 Rose Parade is an unofficial entrant: a giant "Occupy Octopus" made out of plastic bags. Occupy The Rose Parade protesters plan to march the 70-by-40-feet "float," along with a giant blown-up version of the United State Constitution, at the end of the Rose Parade.

Occupy's "People's Parade" will be marching against corporate personhood and the foreclosure crisis, according to the organizers' site, as well as protesting the influence of corporate money in politics. MORE...