Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Lunatic Fringe, I know you're out there

Wow, are they out there!
Lawmaker: Disabled kids are god's punishment

Western Prince William Del. Bob Marshall, R-13th, says disabled children are God’s punishment to women who have aborted their first pregnancy.

He made that statement last Thursday at a press conference to oppose state funding for Planned Parenthood.

“The number of children who are born subsequent to a first abortion with handicaps has increased dramatically. Why? Because when you abort the first born of any, nature takes its vengeance on the subsequent children,” said Marshall, a Republican.
According to Marshall, Planned Parenthood receives “about $500,000 a year” from the state.

But Jessica Honke, director of public policy for Planned Parenthood Advocates of Virginia, said the only state funding Planned Parenthood receives is from Medicaid reimbursements. That amount was about $35,000 in the 2009 fiscal year, according to the Department of Medical Assistance Services.

Planned Parenthood provides a wide range of gynecological and other health services, from cancer screening and HIV prevention to birth control for low-income women.
[Rev. Joe] Ellison said he was “declaring war against Planned Parenthood.”
Yep, nothing more Christain than god punishing children for their parent's actions, lying, & declaring war.
Fearing Obama Agenda, States Push to Loosen Gun Laws

When President Obama took office, gun rights advocates sounded the alarm, warning that he intended to strip them of their arms and ammunition.

And yet the opposite is happening.
Mr. Obama has been largely silent on the issue while states are engaged in a new and largely successful push for expanded gun rights, even passing measures that have been rejected in the past.

In Virginia, the General Assembly approved a bill last week that allows people to carry concealed weapons in bars and restaurants that serve alcohol, and the House of Delegates voted to repeal a 17-year-old ban on buying more than one handgun a month.
"The watchword for gun owners is stay ready," said Wayne LaPierre, chief executive of the National Rifle Association. "We have had some successes, but we know that the first chance Obama gets, he will pounce on us."
So let me get this straight, cars and alcohol=bad, guns and alcohol=good. With any luck these morons will shoot each other and raise our collective IQ. Virginia ain't for lovers anymore.
Missile Defense Agency Logo Angers Right

The Drudge Report and other conservative sites are highlighting a newly-unveiled logo for the U.S. Department of Defense's Missile Defense Agency and complaining that the new logo is reminiscent of both the Obama campaign logo and an Islamic flag.

"the new MDA shield appears ominously to reflect a morphing of the Islamic crescent and star with the Obama campaign logo," writes Big Government's Frank Gaffney. "… Team Obama is behaving in a way that -- as the new MDA logo suggests -- is all about accommodating that 'Islamic Republic' and its ever-more aggressive stance."
Jesus Christ on a toasted muffin, is there anything they can't read anything into?
Republicans Voting Against Stimulus Then Asked Obama for Money

Alabama Republicans Jo Bonner and Robert Aderholt took to the U.S. House floor in July, denouncing the Obama administration’s stimulus plan for failing to boost employment. “Where are the jobs?” each of them asked.

Over the next three months, Bonner and Aderholt tried at least five times to steer stimulus-funded transportation grants to Alabama on grounds that the projects would help create thousands of jobs.

They joined more than 100 congressional Republicans and several Democrats who, after voting against the stimulus bill, wrote Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood seeking money from $1.5 billion the plan set aside for local road, bridge, rail and transit grants. The $862 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act passed last year with no Republican votes in the House and three in the Senate.
I was trying for a pithy comment, but these people are lying, armed, hating, christofascist, paranoid, hypocrites ... and given all the fits that's news to print. What's wrong with this picture!?

Now for some brain bleach:

Cross posted at VidiotSpeak

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Kick out the jams, Martin Bosworth


When I got to the Memorial service yesterday, I opened the door to the already crowded lobby. An older gentleman wearing a yarmulke asked who I was. I told him I was a friend of Martin's. He introduced himself as Marty's father Larry, and asked if I knew Martin in real life or just cyperspace, I told him I'd hung out with Martin several times.

He then leaned toward me and asked if I would like to see Martin. I might have said no, but I sensed this man was offering me a gift that was valuable him.

So I said "Yes, of course". He took me by the hand, led me back into some corridors, into the wood-paneled room off the chapel where the casket was placed. He asked the attendant to raise the lid one last time. He did so, pulled back some of the pure white shroud around Martin, and I was looking at a friend one last time.

Martin looked beautiful, that's the only word I can use. His father said: "I'm done crying, I'm done praying, I've cried all I can."

I told Larry that Martin looked beautiful, he said "Well, you know he had 2 embolisms, so now he's with his uncle. What a talent, what a writer, what a blogger!" I could only agree.

The rest of the service was poignant, sometimes people laughed at a fun memory, sometimes they cried. Martin's step sister spoke lovingly, as did his sister Leah, who sang a'cappella one of Martin's favorite songs. Martin's mother also spoke. The memorial ended with the 23rd Psalm and The Kaddish prayer.


About 2 years ago, someone I knew only from a political activist email list posted that he was moving from DC to L.A. due to work, and asked for any list members in L.A. to get back to him, discuss neighborhoods and other issues. While he had visited L.A. many times, and his father lived in the San Fernando Valley, he wasn't really aware of the micro-regions and neighborhoods, as well as traffic patterns & commuting. In short, he was asking for help in finding a place to stay.

I, and several other local list members responded, and shortly I felt like I had a great new friend. And early on in 2009, after Martin made a harrowing drive across the US from DC to L.A., we actually met face to face at a Brave New Films meet-up for Tom Geoghegen, who was running for the IL-5 House seat. We listened to Tom, we chatted, talked about his epic trip through awful winter weather conditions, his overnight stops in towns that made Bates Motel seem cool, and really got along.

We stayed in touch, debated, argued politely, and I pointed out his one obvious flaw, that he wasn't a Mac guy. But he was a great guy.

If you've noted the use of the past tense of the verb "be", that's because Martin Bosworth did pass yesterday, suddenly. He had had health issues, had been hospitalized last year, but just Monday night we exchanged messages on Twitter, just like good friends do. About comic book characters, of all things.

His sister posted on his Facebook page:
Hello, everyone. I could only wish this was Martin posting, that this was some type of over the top joke. I am his sister Leah. He gave me all his account information and such when he first was feeling ill. I want so badly for a TARDIS to appear and take us all back to a point in time where things could play out differently.

Shouldacouldawoulda and all that. I do know that He, his life, love, and work lives on through the Internet and through the lives of all that he has touched. Please continue to post your thoughts and wishes here. He would want donations in lieu of anything else to go to the Electronic Frontier Foundation,, your local Humane Society, or whatever cause you know that he would stand for. Thank you for being his friends and allies. Martin, I love you!!!

At the end of the day, the WHY of it doesn't matter. All that counts is that Martin is gone. He left a challenge for all progressives: stand up straight for what we espouse, call BS when it's appropriate, work for a better tomorrow.

So Martin, my friend, may you eternally have a better tomorrow.

2nd update: Corrected cause of death to embolism, not aneurysm. Not that it really matters.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

And I see your true colors

No one can call Glenn Greenwald a pollyanna, at least, not usually. But this time, I think he's being too hopey-changey:
There's a major political fraud underway: the GOP is once again donning their libertarian, limited-government masks in order to re-invent itself and, more important, to co-opt the energy and passion of the Ron-Paul-faction that spawned and sustains the "tea party" movement. The Party that spat contempt at Paul during the Bush years and was diametrically opposed to most of his platform now pretends to share his views. Standard-issue Republicans and Ron Paul libertarians are as incompatible as two factions can be -- recall that the most celebrated right-wing moment of the 2008 presidential campaign was when Rudy Giuliani all but accused Paul of being an America-hating Terrorist-lover for daring to suggest that America's conduct might contribute to Islamic radicalism -- yet the Republicans, aided by the media, are pretending that this is one unified, harmonious, "small government" political movement.

Indeed. Please read the rest of the article. As usual, Glennzilla nails it, and nails the hypocrites in the Conservative & Tea Party movements to the wall.

But at the end, Glenn drops the ball a little:
There literally is no myth more transparent than the Republican Party's claim to believe in restrained government power. For that reason, it's only a matter of time before the fundamental incompatibility of the "tea party movement" and the political party cynically exploiting it is exposed.

Yes, it's only a matter of time before we have a functioning press & media, and opposition politicians with the cojones to make these points loudly and often.

And curiously, during the Bush43 regime, the only supporters of Ron Paul were Ron Paul and a small band of Libertarians. Now we have 1000's of Paulites, all united by what? Dislike of mainstream conservatives?

Maybe. But what else changed Jan. 20, 2009? Could it be the color of the President's skin?

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Poll Dancing

I'd like to point out some news today that got eclipsed by a white, upper middle class, college educated male who had a problem with the IRS and flew an airplane into a building that housed the IRS and left a manifesto behind and who matches the FBI's definition of terrorism, but wasn't a terrorist, but just happens to match a CNN poll of folks who make up the Tebaggers.

Nope, I'm not going to point that out at all. I just want to point out what CNN didn't in their article about their own poll; Teabaggers are 80% white.

Color me surprised. Not.

The teabaggers' constant claims that they cross party and racial lines has always been a cover for the facts; they didn't object to Bush trashing the Constitution, they didn't object to Bush taking a surplus and driving it into deficit due to tax cuts for the rich, they didn't object to illegal wars, they didn't object to torture, they didn't object to anything ... until the new sheriff, umm Obama, was in town

Now for some brain bleach:

Monday, February 15, 2010

Love the one you're with

It's a precious thing to be able to say "I love you with all of my heart"

I hope everyone had a happy Valentine's Day.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Misunderstanding all you see

Last Tuesday night Rachel Maddow showed a list of hypocritical Republicans who voted against the Stimulus Bill, yet climbed all over themselves to get the money & take credit for it back home. Bobby Jindal, for example, gave out Publishers' Clearing House-sized checks with his own name at the bottom, trying to take credit for what he voted against & denounced at socialism. And acknowledged that the $$ were creating jobs.

I went on the YouTubes™ that night, and it seemed no one had that clip up yet, so using the awesome magical powers of Safari, I downloaded it, and put it back up at my YouTube page.

Here it is:

I didn't blog about it that night as I was damn tired by that point, and went to bed.

By the next day, many other people had posted the same clip; I was not alone. But by this evening my YouTube has been viewed 19,662 times, and has generated 123 comments.

Some commentors get it, others, well . . . some are geniuses:
jrubin22 (5 hours ago) Show Hide

$100 REWARD to any Republican that can create a rational rebuttal to this. I can afford it, go for it!

sonygvf (5 hours ago) Show Hide

Hey jrubin22,
I'll add an additional $100, so there ya go, it's now $200.

DillonX (9 hours ago) Show Hide

We let almost anybody cross our state line here in Texas and sell health insurance policies.

Some of them sell for as little as $50-$100 per month.

But the catch is their policies are written so they seldom ever pay out even a dime...They are total scam artists.

Don't let this happen in your state.

Bolgernow (13 hours ago) Show Hide

This is excellent journalism right here. She is not making it personal, she is explaining the factual hypocrisy in these peoples actions vs. specific words.

Putting an actual face & name with facts hammers home the ideal of people running from rhetoric & facts in favor of hate

I've seen her do the same to Dems Pelosi, Dodd, & Max Baucus...

But then we have, well, these folks:

puff2111 (38 minutes ago) Show Hide

republicans, republicans, republicans, republicans, republicans, republicans. she should have said SOME republicans. site your sources maddow. don't just make blankets comments you horrible stinky c*nt. the hypocrisy goes both ways.

jane5457 (1 hour ago) Show Hide

both sides are the same, they all have the same tricks, and always i mean always the one in power will always claim to want and i say want to do better than the previous one, but alas it is the same shit just differebt party, and in media same shit just different newscasters, now its msnbc, only difference ..dont remember any of the fox people having chills down thier legs, or showing the adoration these people do.i think it embrasses even obama,but well what can he do ? but bare it sheepiisy

Nice to see the loyal opposition is staying classy, staying on point.


Little games are for little boys

Little questions for little minds:
Why would I believe a career politician who tells me "government doesn't work"? Doesn't work for whom?

Why would I believe a Climate Change denier basing their opinion on cold weather right now? That's as logical as granddaughter Isabella hiding her face behind the curtain and thinking I can't see her. She has an excuse: she's 3.

Why should I take relationship and family values advice from politicians who divorce wives who are on their sickbeds, so they can marry their mistresses?

Or from politicians who use hookers and wear diapers during sex?

Why should I believe that for-profit health insurance is best, when the guy telling me that has government-paid health care and loves it?

Why would I believe a need for war, when the person telling me is dishonest about how they dodged the draft?

Why should I bank with institutions whose management gives bonuses to executives who cause bank failure and insolvency? That's like sending a Christmas present to the guy who mugged me.

Why should I take spiritual and religious advice from a multimillionaire cleric?

Why should I respect the 1st Amendment rights of an off-shore corporation?

Why should I believe Republicans are fiscal conservatives when the national debt rose higher under Reagan, Bush 41 & Bush 43 than all other presidencies before?

Ok, that's enough for now.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Caption Contest!

Bump & Update

What does the pictograph above symbolize?

Thanks everyone for playing. It's actual meaning is "No Climbing, No Jumping" off of the pier.

But with a little Photoshop magic it could mean "No Teabagging!"

The Byrds

McGuinn and McGuire couldn't get no higher
But that's what they were aimin' at.

They so totally posed for me they were Vogueing.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

T for Texas, Tea for Tennessee ... or ... Add It Up ... and/or ... Hand Jive

Updated for Colbert Report and math fix

So 600 incoherent mouth breathers show up for a teabagging convention, (quick aside: teabagging and mouth breathing seem to be incompatible, but what do I know ;-), and it makes the news 24/7. Srsly!?

Sheesh, there were more people at the my local watering hole on a Monday songwriters' night.

Let's do some math: 600 attendees @ $550 each = $330,000. The Quitta from Wasilla, Falin' Palin, AKA Moosealini, reportedly charged $115,000. So over 1/3 of the proceeds went to an already rich person. The rest went to the for-profit company that put the event, and the participants, on (minus hall rental, advertising, &c.). Nice teabagging there Clem.

Why isn't that the news?

2 notable things about this tiny gathering:
1) Former Congressman and presidential candidate Tom Tancredo's frankly racist and xenophobic opening speech. A low light from the prepared speech (that differed from the actual speech):
because we don’t have a civics literacy test to vote, people who couldn’t even spell vote, or say it in English, put a committed socialist ideologue in the White House named Barack Hussein Obama.
I remember when 'literacy tests' were stuck down. It's a good thing for him that literacy tests aren't required to have children, otherwise 'uncle daddy' and his daughter/his sister (it's Chinatown, Jake) couldn't have spawned the minuscule crowd.

His whole speech, live not prepared, consisted of dog whistles. No wonder the 600 rode into that valley of wealth.

2) My personal favorite, Caribou Barbie had to write "budget tax cut" on her palm to remember her talking points in a PRE-SCREENED Q&A after her speech!

And no, I'm not kidding.

Wow, the apple didn't fall far from that tree!

It's kinda like seeing a 2 year old in full camo with an M16. It'd be funny ... if the switch wasn't set to full auto and the safety wasn't off.

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Sarah Palin Uses a Hand-O-Prompter
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical HumorEconomy

Now for the title songs:

Cross posted at VidiotSpeak

Monday, February 08, 2010

You've Really Got a Hold On Me

Now see, this is why we can't have nice things:
Shelby Blocks All Obama Nominations In The Senate Over AL Earmarks

Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL) has put an extraordinary "blanket hold" on at least 70 nominations President Obama has sent to the Senate, according to multiple reports this evening. The hold means no nominations can move forward unless Senate Democrats can secure a 60-member cloture vote to break it, or until Shelby lifts the hold.
So one retard (IOKIYAR) from Alabama can hold the nation hostage!? What's wrong with this picture!?

Now for some brain bleach:

Cross posted at VidiotSpeak

Rocket Man men & women

I know it's a crappy pic, but it is mine own. The above pic is STS 130 carrying the folks below into space:

Image above: (From left) Mission Specialist Nicholas Patrick, Pilot Terry Virts, Mission Specialists Robert Behnken and Kathryn Hire, Commander George Zamka and Mission Specialist Stephen Robinson. Image credit: NASA

It was awesome to experience.

And as I wonder where you are I'm so lonesome I could cry

Live performance. The song is wonderful, performance is pure, steel guitar is sublime.

Hear that lonesome whippoorwill
He sounds too blue to fly
The midnight train is whining low
I'm so lonesome I could cry

I've never seen a night so long
When time goes crawling by
The moon just went behind a cloud
To hide its face and cry

Did you ever see a robin weep
When leaves began to die?
That means he's lost the will to live
I'm so lonesome I could cry

The silence of a falling star
Lights up a purple sky
And as I wonder where you are
I'm so lonesome I could cry
American poetry at its best.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

The Who Sell Out

'nuff said.

Your halftime entertainment

Put me in, coach!

The first Super Bowl halftime show featured trumpeter Al Hirt, joined by the marching bands from the University of Arizona and Grambling University, along with some high school marching band members to fill up the field. Like the game itself, Super Bowl halftime shows became more and more extravagant with the passing years, reaching their apex with Janet Jackson's infamous "wardrobe malfunction" during Super Bowl XXXVIII. That brief glimpse of Jackson's bare boob scared the hell out of the TV networks, leading to a virtual ban on halftime entertainers not eligible to draw Social Security.

This brings us to The Who, the latest geezer rockers to grace the NFL's premier spectacle. They're not really The Who anymore, as Keith Moon and John Entwistle have passed on to The Great Gig In The Sky, but Peter Townshend and Roger Daltrey (who begins a tour with Eric Clapton following the game) carry on, even if they are no longer capable of releasing the raw torrents of sound they regularly unleashed in their heyday.

In their younger years, they were truly something for the eyes and ears to behold. Their fierce sound literally assaulted the ears - the Guinness Book Of World Records lists them as the loudest band in history, although the metal act Manowar claims to have broken The Who's long-standing mark for most decibels achieved in concert. They were every bit as aggressive-looking on stage as they sounded. Daltrey's voice roared as his lion's mane of hair flew; when not singing, he slung his microphone through the air like a lariat. Townshend windmilled his right arm high above his head, bringing it down to strike jagged chords on his guitar. Moon flailed his arms wildly about, creating chaotic drum patterns as he seemingly struck his skins at random, while Entwistle stood rock-solid still, anchoring his bandmates with mountains of booming bass. Each show climaxed with Townshend smashing his guitar into the amp as Moon knocked his drumkit over and smashed it to bits, bringing the house down with an avalanche of feedback and raw noise.

Sunday's performance will almost certainly pale in comparison to the glory days, but The Who have long since earned their right to stand on the world's great stages. Since it will apparently be many years until The Album Project reaches their end of the alphabet, I hereby present my quick 'n' dirty guide to the band's recordings, including five-star ratings a la Rolling Stone.

My Generation (*****): One of the rawest, most powerful debuts ever. Arguably the precursor to punk rock, The MC5, The Stooges, The Ramones, and The Sex Pistols would be inconceivable without this release. The British version features one of the greatest album covers ever. The US version, The Who Sing My Generation, has a slightly different track listing.

A Quick One (***): Known as Happy Jack in the US. The band knew they couldn't survive on raw power forever, and they began transitioning towards more complexity. "A Quick One While He's Away" is Townshend's first attempt at extended story-telling.

The Who Sell Out (****): The band mimics a pirate radio station, complete with jingles and diverse musical styles; the result is a magical artifact of psychedelia. The magnificent "I Can See For Miles" features the greatest one-note guitar solo ever.

Tommy (****): Townshend's pioneering rock opera is today celebrated as much for its cultural impact as for its songs. The storyline hangs by a thread, but classic tracks like "Pinball Wizard" and "We're Not Gonna Take It" insure Tommy's place in rock history.

Live At Leeds (****): The live act captured in all its thundering glory. The expanded CD version is essential. Highlights include an extended version of "My Generation" featuring segments from Tommy.

Who's Next (*****): This may well be the greatest rock album ever. You know all these tracks from being played on the radio repeatedly over the last four decades; if not, get yourself to a record store or download immediately, for you cannot truly know rock 'n' roll without knowing Who's Next.

Quadrophenia (***1/2): The story is better-developed than on Tommy, and the dense sound, particularly on tracks like "5:15" and "Love Reign O'er Me", is revelatory. Yet there are also times where Quadrophenia sounds almost too cold, too cerebral, and it's one that I've never been able to warm up to completely.

Odds & Sods (***1/2): Self-explanatory; it consists of various outtakes and forgotten tracks that piled up over the band's first decade. "Naked Eye" and "Long Live Rock" elevate Odds & Sods over the run-of-the-mill outtakes compilation.

The Who By Numbers: (****1/2): Realizing he wouldn't die before he got old, Townshend comes up with a winning reflection on aging. Although I wasn't so sure of this album when it was released, it continues to grow on me as the years pass, which is as it should be.

Who Are You (****): A well-crafted, powerful set that suggests that The Who had found a way to age gracefully. Sadly, Keith Moon died three weeks after the LP was released, and things would never be the same.

The Kids Are Alright: (***): More outtakes, alternate versions and rare tracks. The accompanying movie of the same name was a fine overview of the band's career.

Face Dances: (**1/2): Bravely carrying on with new drummer Kenney Jones, Moon's death and the 1979 Cincinnati concert tragedy seemed to sap the band's strength. "You Better You Bet", "Another Tricky Day" and Entwistle's "The Quiet One" stand out.

It's Hard: (**): This half-hearted effort marks The Who's logical end. Funk wasn't exactly their thing, but "Eminence Front" is just about the best thing here.

I haven't bothered with Who releases since 1982; as noted, I consider It's Hard to mark a logical endpoint. Nor have I listed compilations; Meaty Beaty Big And Bouncy is still the most direct, while those wanting to complete their Who collection should check into 30 Years Of Maximum R&B, which compiles many of their tracks unreleased on their regular LP's along with many rarities.

(Crossposted at Pole Hill Sanitarium.)

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Musick hath Charms to sooth a savage Breast

People who know me know that after 20 years in the music industry as a live and recording engineer I was pretty fed up with the bidnez. Going out to see live music is a busman's holiday for me. If I go out it's to see friends play, and it's more about the social aspect than about the music. But I caught an act the other night that reminded me of why I've always loved music.

When I worked at the China Club I had an unofficial deal with a label as an A&R scout on spec. If I saw a band I thought they should sign, and they signed them, I'd get points on the album. In 2 years I recommended 3 bands. They didn't sign them, I didn't get the points. I think these guys would have made the cut.

I was trying to think of a description of this band, sorta like ... no, that's not quite right, they're more like ... umm, no, they sound kinda like ... I've got it, they sound like the Jenn Cristy Band!

She's a powerful singer and pianist with great stage presence. The 22 yr old guitar player has subtlety and a pedal board out of the 80's and knows how and when to use it. The bass player is so freaking solid and appropriate you take for granted he's there because the foundation is so tight. In some ways the drummer makes the band, not flashy, but great work on the high hat, side stick and toms, and a solid kick sound that, even before it's miked, thumps your chest.

The 4 of them have big, big sound. If the world was right they might be giants.

Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome the Jenn Cristy Band!

More here. Even more here.

Cross posted at VidiotSpeak

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Don't think twice, it's alright

(Picture by Dancin' Dave)

Many on the left, especially in the bloggersphere, have been Pres. Obama's harshest critics. The right has complained too, but their criticisms have been largely insane (Kenya, birth certificate, black Hitler, etc).

I've been disappointed on certain things as well: Extending the Afghan War, slow pullout of Iraq, weak shepherding of Health Care reform, no Bush/Cheney impeachment yet . . . OK, I just threw that in to see if you were paying attention. I even understand his position on DADT; he doesn't want an easily-overturned Presidential decree, he wants Congress to do its freakin' job!

Anyway, I felt early on that Obama was the stronger of the 2 main candidates for 2 reasons:

  1. He spoke well

  2. He wasn't Hilary Clinton
And I'm not hating on Hilary, so don't take umbrage at that statement, Lambert. I just mean that the far-right was so mobilized against her, that he, even being black, would have the easier time. Yes, she would have been a fine President, but in '08, wasn't gonna happen.

Last Friday he stepped up to the plate and delivered a home run against the supposed roughest team in DC:

Today the President did something unusual in American politics – initiated an open dialogue with members of the opposite party. Visiting the House Republican retreat, he took questions on anything they wanted to talk about. He heard them out, acknowledged where they were right, and gave a genuine explanation where he felt they were wrong.

Mike Madden at Salon offers an analysis from a liberal (my favorite) perspective:

When Rep. Mike Pence tried to push him to commit to "across the board tax cuts," Obama pointed out that the stimulus plan did cut taxes for millions of Americans -- but he couldn't resist twisting the knife a bit. "What you may consider across-the-board tax cuts could be, for example, greater tax cuts for people who are making a billion dollars," he said, tying his answer into the Democratic effort to paint Republicans as friends of the rich without blinking. "I may not agree to a tax cut for Warren Buffett. You may be calling for an across-the-board tax cut for the banking industry right now. I may not agree to that." He mocked the GOP for voting in lockstep against the stimulus bill, then trying to take credit for projects it funded: "A lot of you have gone to appear at ribbon cuttings for the same projects that you voted against." Sixty-eight of them, to be exact, according to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.


The whole thing basically went like that: Republican asks obnoxious question rooted in Glenn Beck-ian talking points; Obama swats it away, makes the questioner look silly, and then smiles at the end. It got so bad, in fact, that Fox News cut away from the event before it was over. Democratic operatives around Washington watching it had pretty much the same reaction: "Where the hell has this guy been?" One source said GOP aides probably wished they'd spoken to John McCain "about what happened to him in the presidential debates" before they broadcast the event. "It's quite a show," a White House official said, apparently going for the same deadpan tone the president was.

I enjoy a good debate about issues, as long as both sides are honest. And that has become the Republicans' problem more and more over the last few election cycles. Hell, that's not true. Dishonesty and propaganda have been arrows in the Republican quiver since the Nixon/Gahagan-Douglas campaign in 1950:

In 1950, Gahagan Douglas ran for the United States Senate even though the incumbent Democrat Sheridan H. Downey was seeking a third term. William Malone, the Democratic state chairman in California, had advised Douglas to wait until 1952 to run for the Senate, rather than split the party in a fight with Downey. Gahagan Douglas, however, told Malone that Downey had neglected veterans and small growers and must be unseated. Downey withdrew from the race in the primary campaign and supported a third candidate, Manchester Boddy, the owner and publisher of the Los Angeles Daily News. When Gahagan Douglas defeated Boddy for the nomination, Downey endorsed the Republican U.S. Representative Richard M. Nixon.[1]

In the race against Nixon, Gahagan Douglas was considered by many liberals to have been the prototypical victim of a smear campaign. Alluding to her alleged Communist (or "Red") sympathies, Nixon hinted that she was a fellow traveler, citing as evidence her supposed Communist-leaning votes in Congress. Boddy had referred to her as "the Pink Lady" and said that she was "pink right down to her underwear." Nixon reprised this line of attack during the general election. His campaign manager, Murray Chotiner, even had flyers printed up on sheets of pink paper, to underline the point. However, it is not widely known that the personal and political attacks between the opponents began when Douglas professed that Nixon was a fascist [2]

Gahagan Douglas, in return, popularized a nickname for Nixon which became one of the most enduring nicknames in American politics: "Tricky Dick". Nonetheless, Nixon won the election, with over 59 percent of the vote. Gahagan Douglas' political career hence came to an end. The conservative Democrat Samuel W. Yorty (later a Republican convert) succeeded her in Congress.

Back to Madden in Salon:

Republican aides tried to argue that Obama was struggling to get past his initial talking points, but that was a pretty desultory attempt at spin. By the time Obama was done, and had stayed about 30 minutes past when he was scheduled to leave, Republican leadership was ready to get him out of the room. One GOP lawmaker asked for one more question, and as Obama started to say he was out of time, Pence jumped in, too: "He's gone way over." And with that, Obama took his booklet of GOP policy proposals and left the room -- in much better political shape, possibly, than he was when he walked in.

Indeed. Look, I know this doesn't erase several missteps by the White House in the first year, but for most of us, this was a nice reminder of why we voted for the guy in November '08: He's smart, not a rigid ideologue, doesn't make knee-jerk decisions, and has actually got some stuff done we like:

In the weeks approaching President Obama's first State of the Union address, some in the media have claimed that Obama has lacked accomplishments in his first year as president and thus, in the words of Washington Times editor emeritus Wesley Pruden, Obama has "little to show for '09." In fact, Obama's first year in office has been marked by a series of significant achievements, including creating jobs as a result of the economic stimulus, eliminating wasteful spending, increasing government transparency, and expanding federal health insurance programs to cover millions more children.

During the campaign there was a wry Lolcat-style graphic making the rounds, kinda sorta covers this issue:

I'm disappointed that we all don't have ponies yet, but at least we don't have the shit sandwiches we'd be eating if McCain/Palin had won. I imagine Sarah would have already bolted, leaving us with VPOTUS Cheney again, as poor McCain had to scramble to fill the opening.

In other words, it could be way the Hell worse.

Many songwriters are not the best interpreters of their songs, Leonard Cohen for example. And one can make the same argument for Bob Dylan. Here's a wonderful version of his "Don't Think Twice It's Alright" by PP&M:

Monday, February 01, 2010

Clowns on the Left of Me, Jokers to the Right

An open letter to our corporate sponsored 'elected' offals (sic):

Dear President Obama,

No matter what you do,
They will never be for you,
No matter where you go,
No matter what you are.
Knock down the old grey wall
Be a part of it all
Nothing to say, nothing to see
Nothing to lose.*
I've always thought in lyrics because others have said it shorter and smarter than I can. Even if the point and subject were not what they intended.

In my own words:
Dear Mr. President,

Stop trying to placate people who literally want you dead. The teabaggers and many elected republicans have said so, check the tape. Stop trying to play nice with Dems who only care about re-election.

We need jobs in this country, we need health care for everyone in this country. The lack of health care is costing lives AND jobs. You've said great things over the last few weeks, now start doing them. This isn't a damn popularity contest, you've already won that, this is your job and millions of people's lives are at stake.

Stand up & fight for what you believe in, and be a one term president if that's what it takes. Of course you'll be portrayed as combative or irrational, but how can that possibly be worse that how you're currently portrayed?

If you do that you'll get a second term and can carry thru with the policies the country needs and you were elected on.

Best regards,

The Sailor

* Apologies to Bad Finger for the adaptation. I hope this makes it up to them:

Cross posted at VidiotSpeak