This is probably my best find on YouTube. According to the title of the clip, this live from Paris in ‘74. Sweet Jane, in and of itself, is a classic, and if you’ve heard the live version from “Rock n Roll Animal” you are aware of the sweet intro that starts off sounding like something from The Hollies circa “The Air That I Breathe.” It always throws me off. This too has a sweet intro that sounds nothing like the song itself. It’s a total groove and Lou has an incredible band that is in a zone. Please take the time and listen for yourself because I’m rambling. My brain is a bit scrambled from the awesomeness of this footage!
Saturday, May 30, 2009
Ol’ Bugs is puttin’ it to Yosemite Sam again. In this episode, Sam runs everybody out of town, except for Bugs, who’s making life difficult. Enjoy!
Friday, May 29, 2009
Tonight is a special treat. Simply put, Pam Grier is a bad, bad woman. Trust me, you do not mess with her.
First up, Foxy Brown. Watch for Antonio Fargas, better know as Huggy Bear in Starsky and Hutch. He’s the one that gets shot. Remember, just tell her who you want done and she’ll do the hell out of ‘em, because she’s got a black belt in bar stools. Don't believe me? See for yourself:
Next up, Coffy. More Pam Grier going after the drug pushers. This is the one where she puts razor blades in her afro. She goes undercover as a prostitute to bust a pimp, gets in a fight with one of the other hookers who puts her hands in her hair, only to get her hands all cut up. For proof, look for the blonde who’s looking at her hands screaming. Also note the soundtrack, which was copped verbatim by Quentin Tarantino for another Pam Grier classic, and a personal favorite, Jackie Brown. Please, enjoy the trailer to Coffy:
Ok, this song is funky, and awesome. However, I almost wish I never saw what they look like. These guys have the face for the studio. I mean, who would have though that guys that looked so square could bring the funk like this? Why don’t you be the judge. Here’s Wild Cherry in “Play That Funky Music.”
As of today, the U.S. national debt is over $11 trillion dollars. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that the budget deficit will be $1.8 trillion in 2009 and $1.3 trillion in 2010. These deficit figures are added to the national debt, which means that in 2010, the national debt will be over $14 trillion. Let me repeat that, this country currently owes somebody $11 trillion and will owe somebody over $14 trillion! Who is that somebody? As of March, we owe China $767.9 billion and Japan is due $686.7 billion. According to this chart, 29% of the debt is owned by foreign creditors, 31% by the American private sector, and the rest is owned by the U.S. Government.
Debt of this magnitude cannot exist without consequences. There is concern that while our AAA credit rating is currently intact, it may be in jeopardy. At the same time, our investors are getting nervous. China, as our largest debtor, continues to voice concerns, calling for the “creation of a new currency to replace the U.S. dollar as the world's standard.” (Relax Bachmann) Talk like this is not good, not just for our nation’s economic prospects, but for the nation’s confidence in general.
There is no doubt that these are daunting figures. It’s hard to feel better about it when you consider the President’s FY 2010 budget. Disclosure, I have argued in favor of, and still believe in, the President’s budget. Health care and energy reform, as well as infrastructure upgrades are long over due. Investments in all three areas will have positive, long term effects for the strength and prosperity of this country. That said, these things don’t come cheap. Somebody has to pay for it and I for one would rather pay taxes on tangible things, like roads, schools, and health insurance, then things that vanish at the push of a button, like, for example, bombs and bullets expended in far away lands.
This is our dilemma. We, as a country, want good roads, police and fire protection, a strong military, solid education for our children, health care, social security, etc. We just don’t want to pay for it. Meanwhile, Government expenses exceed revenues, which creates a deficit and is, in turn, added to the national debt. We can argue that Government spending is out of control all we want, but the truth is, when the Government can’t meet expenses, police, fire, and teachers get fired. Solders go into battle with substandard armor. You start noticing more potholes and they don’t plow in the winter like they used to. The local park doesn’t get mowed as often. In response, we cry about it. This nation has grown accustom to expect things from the Government whether they like to admit it or not. With expenses going up, and the possibility of bigger deficits, the reality is that our current tax structure cannot raise the amount of money necessary to sustain these expectations.
One possible solution is the Value Added Tax (VAT). VAT has been billed as a national sales tax. However, unlike standard sales taxes that tax once at the register, VAT is assessed at every point in a products life. For example, a dowel rod maker is taxed on the wood he buys. The producer sells the dowel to a distributer, who is taxed. The distributer sells it to a retailer, who is taxed and the retailer sells it to the consumer, who is taxed.
This week, the Washington Post ran a story on this tax scheme:
Enter the VAT, one of the world's most popular taxes, in use in more than 130 countries. Among industrialized nations, rates range from 5 percent in Japan to 25 percent in Hungary and in parts of Scandinavia. A 21 percent VAT has permitted Ireland to attract investment by lowering its corporate tax rate.
The VAT has advantages: Because producers, wholesalers and retailers are each required to record their transactions and pay a portion of the VAT, the tax is hard to dodge. It punishes spending rather than savings, which the administration hopes to encourage. And the threat of a VAT could pull the country out of recession, some economists argue, by hurrying consumers to the mall before the tax hits.
What would it cost? (Brother of White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel and author of the 2008 book "Health Care, Guaranteed” Ezekiel) Emanuel argues in his book that a 10 percent VAT would pay for every American not entitled to Medicare or Medicaid to enroll in a health plan with no deductibles and minimal copayments. In his 2008 book, "100 Million Unnecessary Returns," Yale law professor Michael J. Graetz estimates that a VAT of 10 to 14 percent would raise enough money to exempt families earning less than $100,000 -- about 90 percent of households -- from the income tax and would lower rates for everyone else.
And in a paper published last month in the Virginia Tax Review, (co-director of the Tax Policy Center, Leonard) Burman suggests that a 25 percent VAT could do it all: Pay for health-care reform, balance the federal budget and exempt millions of families from the income tax while slashing the top rate to 25 percent. A gallon of milk would jump from $3.69 to $4.61, and a $5,000 bathroom renovation would suddenly cost $6,250, but the nation's debt would stabilize and everybody could see a doctor.
Of course, not everybody is in favor of a tax like this. Daniel J. Mitchell, Ph.D. in an essay for the Heritage Foundation argues that VAT would most certainly increase Government spending, slow the economy, create higher income taxes, and create “heavy administrative costs.” He concludes:
Enacting a value-added tax would be a costly mistake for American consumers and workers. Once adopted, the VAT would prove irresistible to politicians eagerly looking for money to pay for new programs. The VAT would also undermine entitlement reform because politicians could gradually increase the tax to finance promised benefits.
The tax rate would doubtlessly climb, financing a surge of new federal spending. The result would be a stagnating economy, higher budget deficits, and fewer jobs for American workers. The value-added tax may have some attractive theoretical qualities compared to taxes on income and production, but in the real world, it would simply be another burden on an already overtaxed economy.
Mitchell also says:
The only condition that would make a VAT acceptable is complete repeal of all income taxes and a constitutional amendment that prohibits Congress from re-imposing taxes on any type of income. But this is not a realistic option, which is why the VAT should be stopped.
Obviously, there are a lot of pros and cons to a plan like this. Nobody likes to pay higher prices. But, I would be willing to pay extra if I got health care and economic stability. I also like the idea of transparency in the sense that every step of the line knows exactly what their tax rate is. Another bonus is that companies can’t open off-shore accounts to avoid paying taxes. Everybody pays their fair share. In the end, it’ll make people think before buying something. Frankly, you don’t have to pay taxes if you don’t want to.
Even though much of the world uses this tax scheme, I understand that this is a completely new and foreign idea to us. I just heard about it for the first time yesterday. We say we want change, but this country doesn’t exactly embrace it. I understand that we wouldn’t be in this situation if our Government acted responsibly in the first place. Also, an economy that is driven by spending cannot grow when people save. It would be up to the Government to spend in order to keep the economy moving. Frankly, I’m not completely sold. However, upon first analysis of this plan, with all the things this country needs to do to get it’s financial footing firmly in place, this could be an answer.
Many thanks to my friend JoeDitto, who turned me onto the Washington Post story.
Thursday, May 28, 2009
Bobby, Bobby, Bobby. This is no way to start a presidential campaign:
"Enough is enough," was a common chant hurled by protestors through the air and aimed at Governor Bobby Jindal. Members of the Concerned Citizens Coalition marched against Governor Bobby Jindal's decision and handling of Louisiana's portion of federal stimulus funds.
"It's important that we as a community unite to send a message to Governor Jindal that Louisianans are tired of being on the bottom of the totem poll in just about every indicator," said Shacara E. Lewis, State Director for Every Child Matters in Louisiana and Coalition organizer.
Remember, Gov. Jindal wanted a flexible budget that allowed for budget cuts to education and health care. He also opposed changes to the state’s unemployment laws. So what if the state got $98 million in extra stimulus funds? This is politics and Jindal, as the captain of the ship, is bound and determined to go down with it by sticking to his firmly held, and in this case, wrong, beliefs.
I say go ahead and make all the cuts you want to education and health care. When Gov. Jindal is old and frail, I implore the citizens of Louisiana to exact revenge by checking him into the best retirement home in the state. This retirement home will be underfunded and poorly staffed thanks to his health care cuts. As an added bonus, the staff will be so woefully ignorant, due to his cuts to education, that he will be left crying out due to a sore rear because a) they’re aren’t enough people to care for everybody and b) they’d rather sit in the office and watch Entertainment Tonight than care for his broken old ass. Remember, this is the best retirement home in Louisiana! Oh, and the staff will be comprised of the children of the unemployed, snubbed in 2009.
Look, I only offer the above to make a point. Cuts to education and health care mean poor care and poor help for us when we’re old. I do not wish ill towards Bobby Jindal, although, I do wish he would think about the people of his state instead of sticking to his political guns.
Do me a favor, bookmark this page and circulate it when the 2012 presidential election comes up. Who am I kidding, it’ll be Mitt Romney. He’s better looking.
Before We Get Bent About A Health Care Plan that Doesn’t Exist, Why Don’t We Use Our Energies to Debate Possibilities
President Obama has stated that health care reform must meet three principles:
First, the rising cost of health care must be brought down; second, Americans must have the freedom to keep whatever doctor and health care plan they have, or to choose a new doctor or health care plan if they want it; and third, all Americans must have quality, affordable health care.
I understand that untangling the health care mess is a difficult undertaking. However, these are not unreasonable goals. Therefore, I believe strongly that sensible reform is possible and that most people would approve of the final product.
Mind you, I said most people. Yes, there are plenty of people out there using fear of the unknown to put a stop to any kind of reform. What’s interesting to me is the fact that these people are fighting against a plan that doesn’t exist. I would think that before an organization starts spending money, they would want to target their message specifically against those parts of the plan they take issue with. I suppose waiting for the plan would defeat the purpose of helping to make peoples minds up for them before the fact. I get it.
Ok, so there are folks with money who oppose health care reform. What’s the alternative plan then? Obviously, the American people want reform, otherwise the candidates wouldn’t have mentioned it during last year’s election. Businesses want reform too as they’re being crushed under the weight of benefit costs, which, in turn, negatively affects the economy.
Well, let’s see what the opposition party has for a plan…ok, well, here’s the Luntz health care playbook. Seems there’s a lot of stuff here about what to say to combat reform, but no alternatives. And, well, um, well, I can’t seem to find anything else. Why is that Rob Portman, Ohio Senate candidate?
“We have to have an alternative. … I will tell you, I don’t think there is a Republican alternative at this point,” he said. He said he reached that conclusion after talking to Senate leaders and lawmakers about the GOP’s position. “There isn’t one,” he said. “There’s a task force, and I applaud them for that.”
Good, a task force.
The Republican plan is exactly like all of their plans as of late. That is, don’t change a thing. In fact, they want the market decide. The truth is, if the market was actually a factor, we wouldn’t be anxiously waiting for reform as the market would have taken care of it.
Instead of fear mongering, let’s find out what the plan looks like and then debate it. Sounds to me like a better use of time and resources. Again, I believe, rather strongly, that if a proposed plan meets the Presidents three principles, then most people will be just fine with it.
I don’t know if they put a leash on her or if I’ve been desensitized to her, ahem, charms, but it seems to me that Michele Bachmann been quiet lately. I mean, I know she’s still out there, busting out that special brand of batshit she’s famous for. However, she hasn’t moved me like she did with the “re-education camps” or her calls for “revolution.” That said, she is still in congress, so every little thing that helps to remove her from office is just fine by me.
So imagine my joy to find that a comic book based on her every word is coming this summer!
FALSE WITNESS! THE MICHELE BACHMANN STORY is the thrilling, behind the scenes look at the seedy, hairy, loathsome underbelly of the career of of one of America's most notorious right-wing nuts and demagogues! This is that one that TELLS IT ALL--it leaves NOTHING TO THE IMAGINATION! It's all there, the global conspiracy to end American freedom, the apocalyptic last days of human kind, the lesbians in the bathroom, the threats, the vengeance, the Bush-kissing, the sordid lies, Satan, Jesus Christ, the flying imams--
Yes, that's right we said flying imams! This one holds nothing back! Coming...this summer! Bookmark this site, to breathlessly await further details!
I hereby pledge to purchase a copy and keep it wrapped in plastic to protect it from the elements.
I’m going to save everybody a lot of time and energy and say that Sonia Sotomayor is going to easily be confirmed. Don’’t believe me? Ask, Republican Senator Charles Grassley. He says, rather nonchalantly, that she’ll be confirmed. Also, a second line of attack has been debunked. Frankly, she appears to be bulletproof. So, let’s not worry about this for now and focus on say North Korea, or General Motors because surely that’s more important, right?
“Time out, Andrew T.! Big media here. Don’t you know we have multiple of news channels running 24 hours a day? Don’t you know that we need to sell papers? Don’t you know that covering North Korea would require us to actually do research? Don’t you know that General Motors isn’t sexy? You know what is sexy? Fighting! That’s right, we’re going to bring two people on with differing positions and have them fight for at least four minutes, four times an hour. And you know what they’re going to fight about? They’re going to fight about how she’s not smart enough and how she’s a racist. Don’t you understand, Andrew T.? Stupid racists are ratings and ratings is money!!! Get that through your thick skull, Mr. lowly blogger!”
“Hey, don’t forget about us special interests! Now’s the best time to stoke those traditional hot button issues like abortion and gay marriage. Some of us are for it and some of us are against it. And you know what, it doesn’t matter what “it” is. The truth is we all can agree on playing to those base fears, fears of what could possibly happen. Then, we all make a lot of money for future fights! See how that works, Andrew T.? So why don’t you shut your pie hole, amateur! We’re going to make this long and nasty because we need the ching, know what we mean?”
Yeah, well fuck all y’all! There’s nothing to see here until the hearings!
To my readers, I offer this interesting report from Marketplace, which does a nice job of analyzing this topic. They don’t make it personal, unlike what just happened above.
Good morning to all. I trust everybody is well and looking forward to a wonderful day.
This song hit my iPod on the way in today and I decided I must share it. I’ve always liked this song, but today it clicked. So much so, that my head was so tingly with goose bumps that it nearly exploded. Please attach your headphones to your ear holes and enjoy Queen with David Bowie in “Under Pressure.”
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
This morning, Sonia Sotomayor was too dumb to be on the Supreme Court. Apparently, that didn’t stick as it’s too hard to call a Summa Princeton Graduate/Yale Law Graduate stupid. No, stupid is yesterday’s news because today she’s simply a racist:
The Republican right was expected to put up a fight over President Obama's choice for the Supreme Court, but the venomous reactions of conservative pundits have exceeded expectations.
All over the 24-hour news channels and talk radio airwaves, conservatives are attacking Sotomayor, calling the federal appeals judge a "racist" and a "bigot."
As evidence, media figures like Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh and Mark Levin, have pointed to a speech Sotomayor gave at the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law in 1992. During the speech, she said, "I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn't lived that life."
Those words came as part of a discussion about the importance of judicial diversity in determining race and sex discrimination cases, but they have been widely reproduced out of context.
Media Matters offers this greatest hits:
Because he didn’t want to miss out on all the fun, Newt Gingrich got in on the “reverse racism” pile-on via Twitter:
Early on Wednesday, Gingrich put up a post on twitter rapping Sotomayor for saying that her background as a Hispanic female allowed her to understand cases in a different, better, manner than her white male contemporaries.
"Imagine a judicial nominee said "my experience as a white man makes me better than a latina woman" new racism is no better than old racism."
I don’t have to imagine about a judicial nominee saying it. I just read about a former Speaker of the House saying it and I’m appalled! Robert Gibbs, at the White House Press Briefing, shot back:
"I think it is probably important for anyone involved in this debate to be exceedingly careful with the way in which they've decided to describe different aspects of this impending confirmation," said Gibbs. "I think... when people of American and the people of the Senate get a chance to look at more than just the blog of a former lawmaker that they will come to the same conclusion as the president did... I think that when people get a chance to look at her record, I feel certain that partisan politics will take a back seat to common sense and open-minded decisions based on a full examination of the record and I think that that's what every Supreme Court and judicial nominee deserves."
Obviously, folks like Gingrich, Limbaugh, Beck, and the like don’t have to worry about re-election (Gingrich might, as there’s speculation that he’d run for President in 2012). Their fans want red meat, and they’re getting truckloads. That said, their fans don’t make a majority, and chief Republicans know this. That’s why they’re taking, to their credit, a cautious approach. However, it doesn’t help the party nationwide when 21% is having a wet dream and everybody else is disgusted by the small, loud men and women yelling racism from the right.
With that in mind and knowing that I’m a liberal Democrat, I would just like to say…
Keep it up, numbskulls! You’re doing a heckuva job!
With regards to Sonia Sotomayor, Karl Rove said, “I’m not really certain how intellectually strong she would be, she has not been very strong on the second circuit.”
Bob Cesca’s Awesome Blog is all over it. First:
The Republicans -- the party of George W. Bush and Sarah Palin -- are attacking Sonia Sotomayor's intellect.
Suddenly intellectualism is important for a party that thinks the jury is still out on, you know, science. The party that ran several candidates for president who, when asked about it in a televised debate, admitted that they don't "believe" in evolution -- essentially embracing the creationist notion that the Earth is 5,000 years old.
He then offers some pretty funny clips with Republican Intelligence on display. I highly recommend the first two as well as Hannity calling Halloween liberal because it teaches kids to ask for handouts. Ugh.
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
They wouldn’t admit it, of course, but conservatives are having a bad day with the Sotomayor announcement. First, their number one line of attack, her “the court of appeals is where policy is made” statement made in 2005 at Duke Law has been debunked:
…for legal experts, there is nothing actually controversial to what Sotomayor said. Her political crime, if there were one in this case, was speaking the truth.
"She's not wrong," said Jeffrey Segal, a professor of law at Stony Brook University. "Of course they make policy... You can, on one hand, say Congress makes the law and the court interprets it. But on the other hand the law is not always clear. And in clarifying those laws, the courts make policy."
Second, the man who wrote the article that started the “too temperamental—and not intelligent enough” line of attack, Jeffrey Rosen, came out in favor of her. Somebody should have told Republican strategist Chris Wilson about that before he walked into the David Shuster buzz saw today on MSNBC:
I guess Rosen’s endorsement really doesn’t matter, in this case, as they were arguing about the sources mentioned in the original article. And Shuster is right, it’s a weak argument. Anonymous law clerks, who are usually law students and could have an axe to grind, don’t really qualify as good sources. While Wilson makes a valiant attempt at running the leaked RNC talking point playbook, he failed to account for that tough Shuster defense. I normally don’t enjoy talking heads talking over one another. I do, however, enjoy David Shuster fighting for the truth and calling people on their BS.
One unfortunate fact of all this nonsense is that it’s a good opportunity for them to raise cash. You know, because fighting evil, activist liberals is expensive.
In the end, it’s not been a good first day for the opposition.
President Obama has nominated Circuit Court Judge Sonia Sotomayor as his Supreme Court nominee to replace retiring Justice David Souter. If confirmed, she will be the first Hispanic justice and the third woman to serve on our nation’s highest court.
It will be interesting watching the Grand Obstructionist Party go after her. The liberal, activist judge meme is predictable. What’s not as predictable has been this early attack that she’s not smart enough, calling her “Obama’s Harriet Meyers,” when in fact:
Coming from a housing project in the Bronx, Sotomayor ended up graduating summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Princeton. She also was a co-recipient of the M. Taylor Pyne Prize, the highest honor Princeton awards to an undergraduate. Sotomayor then went to Yale Law School, where she served as an editor of the Yale Law Journal and managing editor of the Yale Studies in World Public Order. Rep. Jose Serrano (D-NY) said on Fox News this morning that of all the nominees, Sotomayor “brings the most in terms of judicial experience — in terms of serving on a federal court — in 100 years.”
My prediction that there will be a lot of noise coming from Fox News and the right blogosphere, but when it comes down to it, most Republican Senators will not vote against a Hispanic woman. Unless, of course, they don’t mind alienating those voting blocks. No, in the end, there will be a lot of hot air followed by an easy confirmation.
First Read gives us the Republican voting numbers when Sotomayor was confirmed the 2nd Circuit in 1998:
When the Senate confirmed Sonia Sotomayor to sit on the 2nd Circuit back in 1998, 29 Republicans voted AGAINST her -- including current Sens. Grassley, Hutchison, Kyl, McCain, McConnell, and Sessions (the latter of whom is the ranking member of the Judiciary Committee).
But 23 Republicans also voted FOR her -- including current Sens. Collins, Gregg, Hatch, Lugar, Snowe, and Specter (the latter of whom is now a Democrat).
Why do I suspect that it will be almost the same this time around?
Brave Montana Town Says They’ll Take Gitmo Prisoners – Gutless Montana Representatives Say Not So Fast
Hardin, Montana, population 3,400, needs jobs. Two years ago, Hardin borrowed $27 million in bonds to build the state of the art Two Rivers Regional Correctional Facility, which has yet to house a single inmate. Meanwhile, President Obama says he is going to close the detention center at Guantanamo Bay. That means a whole bunch of alleged terrorists need detaining. Hardin, knowing they have a brand new prison just waiting to be populated says, “we’ll take ‘em!”
It couldn’t be a better arrangement, right? A poor, small town builds a prison with the hopes of creating jobs and stimulating the local economy. A whole bunch of prisoners need a place to live and here’s a brand new, 464 bed lock-up with nobody in it. What’s the problem?
The state's congressional leaders have lined up against the plan. "Housing potential terrorists in Montana is not good for our state," Max Baucus, the state's senior Democratic senator, wrote to (Hardin's economic development director Greg) Smith. "These people stop at nothing. Their primary goal in life, and death, is to destroy America."
Adds Sen. Jon Tester, "I just don't think it's appropriate, that's all. I don't think they know what they're asking for."
Don’t know what they’re asking for? Really? They built a prison! I think they fully knew what they were asking for! They were asking for prisoners to come and live in prison they just built! Prisoners are dangerous people, period. Prisoners have wronged society, cannot be allowed to live in society, so we, as a society LOCK THEM UP!!!
As an American, I am completely embarrassed. This chicken shit mentality has got to stop! There is absolutely no reason to fear these men. The whole reason of putting them in jail is so they don’t do anybody any harm ever again. If we can’t control them in jail, then we have much bigger problems. That said, this nation handles hundreds of thousands of prisoners daily, with no incident. I’m confident we can handle the inmates at Gitmo.
If I need to start practicing my “drop to fetal position and play dead” maneuvers, then please let me know. Until then, let’s be American’s about this and toughen up.
Welcome back, ya’ll! I trust everybody had a restful long weekend. I hope that you all have an enjoyable short week. To start you off right, I offer a little blast from the past. A little show from the 70’s that gave Vincent Vega his start:
A little side note about “Welcome Back Kotter.” I was talking to an individual who was about 17 years younger than me. He had just returned from Ireland after living there for five months and I said something to the effect of, “Hey, welcome back, Mr. Kotter!” Unfortunately for my old ass, he didn’t know what I was talking about, which crushed me. I mean, here’s this kid looking at me like I’m the squarest square he’s ever met. I like to think that I’m a pretty with it kind of guy, you know?
Wait, it’s not me, it’s him! Yeah! That’s it! I’m not old, he’s not hip! He’s the square!!!
Awesome! I feel better about it already! Have a great day everybody!
Friday, May 22, 2009
In honor of this weekend’s Indy 500, I offer this drive-in favorite produced by Roger Corman.
It’s the year 2000 and Death Race is the nation’s favorite pastime. It’s a cross country race, a la Cannonball Run, except the racers can score points by hitting pedestrians. Rules and scoring are explained around the six minute mark.
Enjoy this clip and stick around for geriatrics day at the old folks home at the end. It’s all pretty silly.
Chicago Shock Jock Mancow agreed to be waterboarded with the intent of showing the world that it was no big deal. He lasted 6 seconds.
"I wanted to prove it wasn't torture," Mancow said. "They cut off our heads, we put water on their face...I got voted to do this but I really thought 'I'm going to laugh this off.' "
The upshot? "It is way worse than I thought it would be, and that's no joke," Mancow told listeners. "It is such an odd feeling to have water poured down your nose with your head back...It was instantaneous...and I don't want to say this: absolutely torture."
In remarkable research, the sociologist Rebecca Warner and the economist Ebonya Washington have shown that the gender of a person's children seems to influence the attitudes and actions of the parent.
Warner (1991) and Warner and Steel (1999) study American and Canadian mothers and fathers. The authors' key finding is that support for policies designed to address gender equity is greater among parents with daughters. This result emerges particularly strongly for fathers. Because parents invest a significant amount of themselves in their children, the authors argue, the anticipated and actual struggles that offspring face, and the public policies that tackle those, matter to those parents. . . The authors demonstrate that people who parent only daughters are more likely to hold feminist views (for example, to favor affirmative action).
I have a daughter who is five months old tomorrow. I’ve always been a liberal, but I didn’t start talking about it until she was born. I don’t know if it has anything to do with this or not. Regardless, it’s interesting, no?
For a couple of weeks now, members of congress have been freaking out about closing the prison at Guantanamo Bay. To prove my point, check out this RNC ad that came out today:
Ooooo! Scary! (Note: Jason Linkins says that the Gibbs part is taken completely out of context: “Actually, Gibbs was referring to the poor decision-making of the previous administration.”)
Just this week, congress pulled funding that would find these alleged terrorists new homes because there’s no plan as to what to do with the prisoners once the prison is closed. But there is absolutely no good reason not to bring them to prisons here in the United States. To suggest otherwise is an insult to American prison guards everywhere.
Wait, this just in…
The Washington Post reports the terrorists are already here:
Thirty-three international terrorists, many with ties to al-Qaeda, reside in a single federal prison in Florence, Colo., with little public notice.
Detained in the supermax facility in Colorado are Ramzi Yousef, who headed the group that carried out the first bombing of the World Trade Center in February 1993; Zacarias Moussaoui, convicted of conspiring in the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001; Ahmed Ressam, of the Dec. 31, 1999, Los Angeles airport millennium attack plots; Ahmed Omar Abu Ali, conspirator in several plots, including one to assassinate President George W. Bush; and Wadih el-Hage, convicted of the 1998 bombing of the U.S. Embassy in Kenya.
So we can handle terrorists after all!
I’m so offended by the fact that our representatives believe, and sell the idea, that our country is so inept that we can’t possibly handle these men. It’s like the “home of the brave” part died with the twin towers.
Stop insulting us and our intelligence! Close the embarrassment that is Guantanamo!
I am 37 years old today. This is the first birthday where I’m, for lack of a better word, indifferent. In the past, I was always excited about it. I was even cool with turning 30. I felt like I had a certain level of wisdom and experience that I didn’t have in my 20’s. I know that sounds silly because we’re always learning and hopefully changing for the better. This year, however, feels different. Maybe it’s because I’m a new father and, for the first time, I feel like a full blown adult. Getting older just isn’t as exciting as it once was. I remember as a kid, there was always an age to look forward to…16 drive, 18 graduate, 21 drink, 25 reduced auto insurance rates (what? lame!). Now, I suppose I subconsciously transfer those anticipations onto my daughter, seeing as I’m out of age milestones and she’s full of them.
Anyway, I don’t want to get too philosophical about it. I feel like if I get going, I’ll spend all day writing about age and wisdom. Mostly, I just wanted to post this cult classic from the ‘80s bargain bin. Here’s Altered Images in “Happy Birthday”!
Thursday, May 21, 2009
It’s true, they got blunted before they left to plant the worthless, FBI made bombs:
The ringleader of the four-man homegrown terror cell accused of plotting to blow up synagogues in the Bronx and military planes in Newburgh admitted to a judge today that he had smoked pot before his bust last night.
When U.S. Magistrate Judge Lisa M. Smith asked James Cromitie if his judgment was impaired during his appearance in federal court in White Plains, the 55-year-old confessed: “No. I smoke it regularly…I understand everything you are saying.”
The stunning revelation came as three of the four accused plotters made their first court appearances following their dramatic arrest by the NYPD and FBI last night as they drove in an SUV that they believed was laden with plastic explosives. The men did not enter a plea and no bail request was made, but federal prosecutors warned that these were deadly men with murder on their minds.
Murder or Cheetos? Destruction or Cypress Hill? Terrorism or Pineapple Express? As TPM muses:
Sources tell TPMmuckraker that it is indeed possible to understand straightforward questions after having smoked pot. Still, having a stoner for a ringleader doesn't exactly go along with the image of a dangerous, well-coordinated terrorist ring that the FBI and NYPD have tried to present.
After all, Muhammad Atta may have been unable to resist a few drinks and a trip to a Floida strip club just before 9/11, but, after years of intense planning, it's hard to imagine him showing up stoned on the big day.
Frankly, the more we learn about this "plot", the more sketchy and pathetic it seems.
Maybe that’s why the President didn’t say anything about it during his speech…
"The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness."
Finally, some common sense from Republicans. Per Talking Points Memo:
The RNC has officially scrapped the much-ridiculed proposal to call for the Democratic Party to change its name to the "Democrat Socialist Party," which was originally set for a vote today.
RNC Chairman Michael Steele had opposed this cartoonish proposal from the start -- and in a sign that he is now exercising genuine leadership at the GOP, he has negotiated a much tamer change in language that simply calls on Americans to reject the Democrats' "socialist" agenda.
What’s funny is that the folks that were pushing for this name change said they won by getting people to talk about it in the first place. In fact, the whole goal of the proposal was to raise awareness so “people can be ‘properly fearful.’”
Ah, yes, GOP & fear. Like peanut butter & jelly. Mike & Ike. Sam & Dave. rama lama lama & ke ding a de dinga a dong.
The more things change, the more they stay the same.
First Read weighs in on the issue. They point to one sentence in the resolution that, with the exception to cars, would apply to the G. Dubs’ administration as well… “The Republican Party strongly believes that a government which spends without restraint, incurs record amounts of debt, owns banks and makes cars is not the right kind of 'change' America needs.”
Sweet WTF on last night’s Countdown. Limbaugh challenges MSNBC to go 30 days without mentioning him claiming that the network depends on his shenanigans for ratings. Sure they do. Personally, I watch MSNBC because I tend to trust them more than other purveyors of cable news. Plus, I enjoy Olbermann and Maddow. This is neither here nor there. I think Rushie Rush doesn’t like being called out for his BS on a daily basis.
Please, enjoy Keith Olbermann as he tears down Little Limbaugh’s fantasy:
Just a quick note of thanks to all the people migrating from Digg who sought me out on Twitter. I found a wonderful community of forward thinking, supportive individuals on Digg who shared a lot of good, interesting information. It’s good to see you all on Twitter. I look forward to sharing more in the future. More importantly, thanks for finding me!
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
One of the arguments against closing the prison at Guantanamo Bay is that this country couldn’t possibly hold the alleged terrorists that live there. This is a completely false argument due to the fact that we have housed home grown terrorists (McVeigh), serial killers (pick ‘em), and generally mean, nasty criminals centuries. Frankly, I say bring them all here. I’ve seen Oz. I think I know how things work on the inside. All they need to do is spread a rumor that the terrorists are coming and the inmates will exact their own brand of justice. Just because they’re prisoners doesn’t mean they’re not patriots! All kidding aside, I’m confident our prison system can handle the Gitmo inmates.
That’s why Dick Durbin’s statement on the senate floor is so refreshing. Per Think Progress:
On the Senate floor last night, Sen. Robert Bennett (R-UT) said that American prison guards would “have no idea what they’re getting into” if Guantanamo detainees were transferred to U.S. prisons. Speaking today, Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) slammed the GOP, saying his Republican colleagues should have “a little more respect” for the professionalism of American prison guards:
DURBIN: Some of my Republican colleagues argue that Guantanamo is the only appropriate place to hold the detainees and they said, and I quote, “We don’t have a facility that could handle this in the United States,” end of quote. And American prison guards, they went on to say, quote, “have no idea what they’re getting into,” close quote. Well, I would just say to my colleagues who made those statements, you ought to take a look at some of our security facilities in the United States, and you ought to have a little more respect for the men and women who are corrections officers and put their lives on the line every single day to keep us safe and to make sure that those who are dangerous are detained and incarcerated. The reality is that we’re holding some of the most dangerous terrorists in the world right now in our federal prisons, including the mastermind of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, the shoe bomber, the Unibomber, and many others.
Boom suckas! Start supporting our prison guards, the best prison guards in the world!
There was a time where almost half of the country smoked cigarettes. It was a cheap habit and socially acceptable. Smokers could light up anywhere. Favorite radio and TV shows were sponsored by Chesterfield and Lucky Strike and everybody in the movies had a cigarette dangling from their mouth. Smoking became a way of life for millions of addicted Americans who couldn’t face the day without.
It’s much different today. How did something that was once so cool become so isolating? I say it was education. Once people understood that they were slowing killing themselves, that they had a higher risk of heart disease and cancer, then the only difficulty was to break the addiction. The more people quit, the more they decided that they didn’t want to be around smokers in general, and the rest is history.
Today, this country has a new addiction. Easy credit. It’s one of the reasons the economy is in the shape that it is. We all know the drill:
Hello, I’m Credit Card Company X with an exciting offer. I want to give you a card that is worth $7,500. You can use it everywhere to buy anything you want. The best part is that you don’t have to pay us back right away. Please, by all means, pay the minimum balance. To sweeten the deal, we will give you 0% interest on the first year! Don’t worry about what your interest rate will be after that year (we challenge you to find it). More importantly, spend to your hearts content!
Well, we did. We spent and spent and then the bill came due. All of the sudden, that minimum payment was as much as the rent. People had to decide if they were going to eat or pay the credit card bill. Unfortunately, they’d pay the credit card bill and go buy groceries using the credit card. What was once used on luxuries is now being used on necessities. I know you’ve heard this horror story before. It may not have happened to you specifically, but you might know somebody that fits this description. Like cigarettes back in the day, almost everybody is doing it.
Enter the United States Senate, who passed a bill that will stop credit card companies from taking advantage of their customers. Gone are the days of exorbitant fees and unreadable fine print. Finally, some fairness for the common man, right? Not exactly. First, the one part of this bill that would have given it teeth, an interest rate cap, was voted down. Second, there is talk that the card companies will make up for lost revenues by charging annual fees as well as starting the interest meter at the moment of purchase. Therefore, look for a colorful, easy to read letter from your credit card company explaining an interest rate hike, new terms for calculating interest, and a brand new annual fee.
There were a lot of good reasons to quit smoking. It was just a matter of educating the public and changing the perception. In the end, it was about our health. In that sense, the credit card problem is exactly the same thing. Credit cards can be an extremely useful tool, if used wisely. Sadly, most of us don’t use them wisely, and the legal loan sharks take advantage. Until we change our ways, they will continue taking advantage. As long as they get rich on our interest, they will have the money and influence to get what they want out of Congress. Congress would have you believe they passed sweeping reform, coming to the aid of the consumer. Don’t you believe it.
In the meantime, let’s all get our financial health in order. Smokers were slaves to cigarettes and they quit. Let’s stop being slaves to the credit card companies and kick the habit.
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
Compared to 2001, when George W. Bush first took office as president, GOP self-identification has fallen by ten points among college graduates, nine points among those 18-29 years of age, nine points in the Midwest, six in the East, five in the West, and even four points in the South. Married people identifying as Republicans have decreased by five points, and the difference is eight points among the unmarried. The list goes on and on.
In 2001, voters were 33% Democratic, 32% Republican, and 34% independent, with a Republican edge of 47%-46% after leaners were pushed. But now, it's 36% Democrats, 27% Republicans and 37% independents, with a huge Democratic advantage of 52%-37% with leaners.
The only bright spots for the GOP are three base groups: Frequent churchgoers, with no decrease at all; conservatives, with only a one-point decrease; and voters 65 years of age or older, with a one-point decrease. It should also be noted that they've only gone down one point among non-whites -- but this is because they didn't have much party identification there to begin with.
Despite these numbers, Michael Steele, chairman of the RNC, would have you believe that they’re back, they’re stronger than ever, and they’re looking forward with loads of new ideas! As Journey once said, “Don’t Stop Believin’!”
Credit Card Reform Bill-If People Lived Within Their Means, Then Congress Wouldn’t Have to Pass Reform In the First Place
The Senate voted overwhelmingly on Tuesday to put new restrictions on the credit card industry, passing a bill whose backers say will make card-issuers spell out their terms in fewer words, using plain English, and treat customers more fairly.
The 90-5 vote, following a 357-to-70 vote in the House on April 30, made it likely that President Obama will have a measure on his desk before the Memorial Day recess. The differences between the House and Senate versions will have to be worked out, but given the political atmosphere it seems likely that the House-Senate negotiations will move quickly.
“This bill cleans up the fine print so consumers can’t get blind-sided by their credit card companies,” Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, the Democratic majority leader, said recently in urging passage. “This bill will not only level the playing field and keep the rules consistent from beginning to end, and it can also save families thousands of dollars a year.”
Among other things, the Senate measure would prohibit companies from raising interest rates on existing balances unless a card holder was 60 days behind, and then it would require the rate to be restored to its previous level if payments were on time for six months. Consumers would have to be notified of rate increases 45 days in advance. And companies could not charge a late fee if they were late processing a payment.
Statements would have to be mailed 21 days before a payment was due. It would be harder for companies to issue cards to people under age 21. Rates could not be increased within the first year, and promotional rates would be in force for at least six months.
While this is all fine and good, I believe the more meaningful measure was the cap on interest rates that they voted down last week. Yes, there are more rules for them to follow, but there’s nothing stopping the card companies from charging 50% interest rates. Also, there was a report this morning that said the card companies, in an effort to make up for lost revenue due to the rules passed today, were going to start going after those people who pay off their balances every month. Those folks with “sterling credit” should expect annual fees and interest charges to apply immediately after a purchase. Nice.
I have a very simple solution for the individual to keep these loan sharks at bay. Don’t use your cards. If you have a balance, pay it off. They can’t make money if people didn’t owe them anything. Believe me, I understand first hand and know that it’s easier said than done. I have taken the time to figure how much extra money I would have if I didn’t have to pay a credit card bill and it’s a disappointing amount. If we all made the necessary sacrifices and lived within our means, then the Government wouldn’t have to create legislation to make these companies to play fair. The companies would have to play fair because it would make good business sense to do so. Instead, they are fully aware that they have a situation in which people need their product to survive. As a result, they do whatever they they want because they can. Meanwhile, the poor consumer needs their product to survive as they have put themselves in a position where most of their money goes to pay off previous credit card debt. It’s a vicious cycle.
Listen, I’m not ignorant of the realities of this economy and I know that a lot of people have no choice but to use their cards. That said, we made the credit card companies powerful by running up enormous debt. Now the banks and their lobbies run congress. That’s why the interest cap was voted down, as was cramdown. If we want to get control of our Government again, then we need to weaken the forces that work against us. In this case, we the people need to be responsible consumers, take care of our finances, and live within our means.
Check out what the Huffington Post has for us today! If you listen to the talking heads on the right, Dick Cheney, and Newt Gingrich, it would be pretty safe to assume that we were all doomed, right? This new poll says the people disagree:
The findings, which show Obama's approval rating on national security affairs at 64 percent among likely voters, should deal a blow to the assertions of his critics -- notably former Vice President Dick Cheney -- who contend that the president's policies have made the country less safe.
According to the Democracy Corps, which was founded by former Clinton administration officials James Carville and Stan Greenberg, Obama now has higher ratings on national security than he does in his overall job approval, which stands at 58 percent. Democrats, for the first time in the firm's research, are at "full parity on perceptions of which party would best manage national security."
Among many interesting data points include these:
- 61 percent of respondents approve of the job Obama is doing fighting terrorism.
- 67 percent approve of how he is handling Iraq.
- 68 percent approve of his policies for Afghanistan, and the same number says the president is improving Americans stand in the word.
"The public flatly rejects the claims from former Vice President Cheney and other Republicans that Obama's policies put Americans at risk," the authors conclude. "A strong majority says Obama's policies are increasing US security -- compared to the majority who now say President George W. Bush's policies undermined America's security."
I feel better already!
The big headline on this morning’s Huffington Post read, “Banks Angling to Undo TARP Deal that Pays Back Taxpayers.” This linked to a story from the New York Times that explains that banks are trying to pay back their TARP obligations. On the surface, this would seem like a good thing. However, they are trying to do this as “quickly – and cheaply – as possible.” I know, that’s good business. Unfortunately, it’s the taxpayer that helped bail out these banks that will take the hit.
Remember how TARP was sold to us? Taxpayers would help bail out the banks by buying “warrants.” In turn, the banks would recover, and the taxpayer would make a profit because these warrants would be valued higher than when they were purchased. Remember that?
Look, I understand why banks would want to get out from under the thumb of the Government. All those rules and oversight really make for a square party, you know? That said, we, the taxpayers of this country, came to their rescue and deserve to reap the rewards of a healthy, profitable bank.
My optimistic side hopes that the Treasury Department plays hardball and sells these assets when the country can make something on the deal. At the very least, break even.
My cynical side already knows how this is going to turn out.
Saturday, May 16, 2009
According to the video title, this is from the Cincinnati Pop Festival. First, it’s an amazing video of an amazing band. But what puts this video over the top is the local color commentary from what I’m guessing is the 5 o’clock news anchor. At any rate, the people in this crowd were treated!
Friday, May 15, 2009
I don’t know if you’ll recognize this guy. Believe it or not, this is what Michael Jackson used to look like. This is way before he became Joan Rivers’ inspiration. This is a wonderful song off of a wonderful album. Off the Wall is so full of fun and joy. Yes, Thriller was a monster, but, cut for cut, I don’t think it’s as good. Feel free to tell me otherwise.
Per Think Progress:
Today, RNC Chairman Michael Steele spoke at the National Rifle Association’s (NRA) “Celebration of American Values” Leadership Forum.
Steele…played to his NRA audience by fear-mongering that Democrats may take away Americans’ guns. He claimed that those guns are more necessary than ever since Guantanamo detainees may soon be in the United States and the public will have to defend itself:
It is ironic, to say the least, that at the same time Democrats in Congress are threatening to deny Americans their second amendment right to own a firearm and defend their families and homes, they are considering bringing terrorists like 9-11 mastermind Khalid Sheik Mohammed and other Al Qaeda detainees to our communities once the President follows through on his campaign promise to close Guantanamo Bay.
There you go, genius. Whip the faithful into a fear frenzy! First, there is no threat of any kind to deny anybody their second amendment rights! Second, closing Guantanamo Bay will not bring the inmates of that facility into “our communities.” This notion that all the sudden KSM is going to be a neighbor just because they closed GITMO is so unbelievably ridiculous. I’m more afraid of a pederast moving into my neighborhood because that’s more likely to happen than what’s being described here.
Have comfort in the fact that Steele has been caught in his very own flip-flop:
Just two years ago, Steele came out forcefully against assault weapons, saying that they were “overkill.” “If you want to talk about gun control, that’s where you need to start,” said Steele. “We’ve got 300 gun laws on the books right now. At the end of the day, it’s about how we enforce the law.” However, a few months ago he changed his mind and said that a ban on assault weapons was just the first step in the Obama administration’s plan “repeal the 2nd Amendment.”
The University of Notre Dame Confers the degree of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa, on the 44th president of the United States, whose historic election opened a new era of hope in a country long divided by its history of slavery and racism. A community organizer who honed his advocacy for the poor, the marginalized and the worker in the streets of Chicago, he now organizes a larger community, bringing to the world stage a renewed American dedication to diplomacy and dialogue with all nations and religions committed to human rights and the global common good. Through his willingness to engage with those who disagree with him and encourage people of faith to bring their beliefs to the public debate, he is inspiring this nation to heal its divisions of religion, culture, race and politics in the audacious hope for a brighter tomorrow.
On Barack H. Obama, Washington, District of Columbia"
- Official text of President Obama’s Honorary Degree to be presented by the University of Notre Dame
Let a wave of intolerance wash over you. I want you to let a wave of hatred wash over you. Yes, hate is good.... If a Christian voted for Clinton, he sinned against God. It's that simple.... Our goal is a Christian Nation... we have a biblical duty, we are called by God to conquer this country. We don't want equal time. We don't want Pluralism. We want theocracy. Theocracy means God rules. I've got a hot flash. God rules."
- Randall Terry, Head of Operation Rescue, from The News Sentinel, Fort Wayne, Indiana, Aug 15, 1993
Ever since the White House announced that President Obama would give the Commencement speech at the University of Notre Dame, the city of South Bend, Indiana has been under siege. Randall Terry, Alan Keyes, and an army of pro-life activists have descended on this Midwestern town. Large trucks with pictures of aborted fetuses have been navigating the streets. An airplane pulling a banner with a picture of a “Ten Week Abortion” had been circling the campus for the last couple of weeks.
I have mentioned Alan Keyes before and he’s always good for some right wing nonsense. Most people don’t know that Keyes ran for Senate against Obama in 2004. Keyes also ran for President in 1996 and again in 2000. Keyes, at one time, had a respectable resume, including many years with the Reagan Administration. Now, he’s an anti-abortion activist, getting arrested for trespassing on the Notre Dame campus, twice.
Then there’s Randall Terry. The ex-rocker, ex-weed smoker, dropped out of high school to find fame and fortune, only to find God in Texas. He started Operation Rescue in 1986, organized, and began to terrorize abortion clinics in 1988. In 1992, he managed to get a dead fetus to Bill Clinton. In 2003, Terry was the spokesman for Terri Schaivo’s parents. Now, he’s camped outside Notre Dame, pushing dolls, swimming in fake blood, in strollers and, subsequently, getting arrested.
These two, and their minions, have been forcing their views on the good people of South Bend. Their tactics amount to terrorism. Not the bomb and mass death kind of terrorism that we are accustomed to. Theirs is a terrorism of the mind. They think that they can sway people by forcing them to look at the end result of an abortion. All it does is disgust and is so very obnoxious. Of course, if you don’t see it like they do, well then, get a fire proof suit because you’re going straight to hell. They won’t stop until the world is as how they say it should be and they are going to ram their views down everybody’s throat until it is so. Kind of like the Taliban.
And for what? Because the President of the United States is going to be honored at Notre Dame’s Commencement. God forbid! They’ll say, “To honor that baby killer is a smack in the face of Catholics everywhere! It’s a scandal!” What they are doing is politicizing an event that is not political. Obama is going to go into that arena and tell those graduates to go into the world and be selfless, caring citizens with the goal of making this world a better place to live. There is absolutely nothing political about taking care of the community you live in. If you’ve ever heard Obama speak on public service, you know it’s a good thing. If you haven’t, I’m going to guess that either you don’t care either way or you can’t get past the fact that he’s a Democrat.
I applaud and admire Notre Dame for having the courage and conviction to see this through. I know for a fact that the majority of the graduates are excited to hear from the President. What is unfortunate is the fact that these protesters, while they think they are fighting for the graduates, are in fact ruining their day. The good news is, after all the degrees are passed out, everybody can go home.
And take your sick ass trucks with you!
Former Archbishop of San Francisco John R. Quinn writes Obama to offer his support.