Posts tagged politics

First off, his mother was a Kansas girl. Never lived in Kansas though, but with deep roots. You know, like Kansas bloody Kansas. John Brown the insurrectionist. Jesse James and Quantrill. Bushwhackers, Guerillas. Wizard of Oz Kansas. I think Barack has Jefferson Davis back there in his ancestry someplace. And then his father. An African intellectual. Bantu, Masai, Griot type heritage - cattle raiders, lion killers. I mean it’s just so incongruous that these two people would meet and fall in love. You kind of get past that though. And then you’re into his story. Like an odyssey except in reverse.
Trick question.

Trick question.

Six pieces of bipartisan legislation I’d like to see this year

The Kind Blunt Price Act for Marijuana Regulation
Proposed by Ron Kind (D-WI), Roy Blunt (R-MI), and Tom Price (R-GA)

The Green Honda Deal Act for Hybrid Tax Credits
Proposed by Gene Green (D-TX), Mike Honda (D-CA), and Nathan Deal (R-GA)

The Dicks Johnson Weiner Act for Cockpit Security
Proposed by Norman Dicks (D-WA), Sam Johnson (R-TX), and Anthony Weiner (D-NY)

The Berry Fudge Goodlatte Act for Caffeine Research
Proposed by Marion Berry (D-AR), Marcia Fudge (D-OH), and Bob Goodlatte (R-VA)

The Wolf Slaughter Graves Act for Alaskan Wildlife Protection
Proposed by Frank Wolf (R-VA), Louise Slaughter (D-NY), and Sam Graves (R-MO)

The Obey Bono Act for African Debt Forgiveness

Proposed by Dave Obey (D-OH) and Mary Bono (R-CA)

I like Sinatra. I like old-school. You know, Bing Crosby, Sinatra, Dean Martin. Love Dean Martin. He was one of these guys who just didn’t give an F. He just didn’t. Life was a party, and you either want to party or you don’t. But yeah, I like those. I’m a big Pack Rat. I love the Pack Rats from the 1950s—Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., Frank Sinatra, those guys.
Michael Steele loves them Pack Rats.

How much is your moral outrage worth to you?

Three of the most archaic laws still on the books come with substantial opportunity costs that can be measured in dollars:

1) Ban on Marijuana.  By keeping pot illegal, we’re wasting money keeping non-violent felons in overcrowded jails, and depriving the state of billions in tax revenue.

2) Death Penalty.  It is more expensive for the state to execute a felon than to provide a life sentence.  This is due in large part to legal costs.  Turns out, when someone is scheduled to die, they will appeal to every court possible, and each time they do, the state has to waste money on their own lawyers who have to argue why it’s better to kill than to let live.

3) Gay Marriage.  To get married you need a license, that license costs money, and to deprive gays the right to get married is to deprive the state of millions in lost license fees.  Also, more marriages lead to more families, which increases the number of adoptions and lowers the amount of state money spent caring for orphans.

Each of these are reactionary.  Someone’s sensibilities are offended, so there’s a law.  With the economy sinking, moral outrage is now an unaffordable luxury.  We now have to make a choice between jailing potheads and fixing potholes.  I vote potholes.

The President has a new DP who understands the Rule of Thirds

The President has a new DP who understands the Rule of Thirds

Advised to be more subtle in the gestures that indicate doom to a political opponent (and after being talked down from his previous choice, the Don Corleone-style kiss on the lips), Rahm Emanuel unveiled today his new “Nyeah Nyeah Nyeah Nyeah Nyeah Nyeah of Death.”
(via everyone)

Advised to be more subtle in the gestures that indicate doom to a political opponent (and after being talked down from his previous choice, the Don Corleone-style kiss on the lips), Rahm Emanuel unveiled today his new “Nyeah Nyeah Nyeah Nyeah Nyeah Nyeah of Death.”

(via everyone)

So, yeah, this is mildly inappropriate, but (i) this photo was on the front page of NYTimes.com yesterday, and (ii) nothing could possibly be more inappropriate than the abject rape of American culture that was yesterday’s inaugural celebration.  I have a hard time deciding which was worse: that Garth Brooks required a teleprompter to sing a truncated version of American Pie, or the assortment of celebrities who delivered half-assed, Cliffs Notes salutes to everyone who’s ever done something reflective of Democratic values (really? the guy from Harold and Khumar?).  It was a feel-good patriotism pu-pu platter.  It was the Twitter of propaganda.
The fact that the speakers on the Mall were jerryrigged to look like a Jim Crow lynching pales in comparison.

So, yeah, this is mildly inappropriate, but (i) this photo was on the front page of NYTimes.com yesterday, and (ii) nothing could possibly be more inappropriate than the abject rape of American culture that was yesterday’s inaugural celebration.  I have a hard time deciding which was worse: that Garth Brooks required a teleprompter to sing a truncated version of American Pie, or the assortment of celebrities who delivered half-assed, Cliffs Notes salutes to everyone who’s ever done something reflective of Democratic values (really? the guy from Harold and Khumar?).  It was a feel-good patriotism pu-pu platter.  It was the Twitter of propaganda.

The fact that the speakers on the Mall were jerryrigged to look like a Jim Crow lynching pales in comparison.

"I prefer the old Bono, when everything he wrote was poetry, when he only got preachy on occasion, and when he did, it was about freedom for Northern Ireland.  None of this AIDS in Africa crap.  ‘Sleight of hand and twist of fate, on a bed of nails she makes me wait.’  Now that’s music.  Sure, City of Blinding Lights is catchy, I loved when it came on in The Devil Wears Prada, but I mean, the lyrics are totally phoned in.  I’d even prefer Pop to this garbage.  At least there he was experimenting as an artist.  Let me tell you, first hand — you have to take chances, otherwise destiny just passes you by.  If I governed the way that Bono writes songs nowadays, we’d all be leasing slaves at the used car lot and driving around in the General Lee.  Now get off my lawn.”
— Abraham Lincoln

"I prefer the old Bono, when everything he wrote was poetry, when he only got preachy on occasion, and when he did, it was about freedom for Northern Ireland.  None of this AIDS in Africa crap.  ‘Sleight of hand and twist of fate, on a bed of nails she makes me wait.’  Now that’s music.  Sure, City of Blinding Lights is catchy, I loved when it came on in The Devil Wears Prada, but I mean, the lyrics are totally phoned in.  I’d even prefer Pop to this garbage.  At least there he was experimenting as an artist.  Let me tell you, first hand — you have to take chances, otherwise destiny just passes you by.  If I governed the way that Bono writes songs nowadays, we’d all be leasing slaves at the used car lot and driving around in the General Lee.  Now get off my lawn.”

— Abraham Lincoln

During the 2003 Iraq invasion, Gupta was embedded with a Navy unit called Devil Docs and, while covering its mission, performed brain surgery five times, the first of which was on a 2-year-old Iraqi boy.
Obama continues his pursuit of the Most Badass Administration Ever, nominating Sanjay Gupta for Surgeon General.  Gupta once removed a man’s spleen using only some plastic coffee stirrers and a beercan.  In Ghana, he reportedly cured a small child’s shingles just by humming.  During his residency, he separated a pair of conjoined twins with a well placed karate-chop.  The twins later graduated Harvard.

Mr. and Mrs. People were children of the 60s.  For years, they tried to get their daughter to take an interest in her community.  But the young Lizzy, so severly traumatized by the ridicule of her peers while growing up, rebelled against her parents at every turn.  “Fine,” she announced one evening during the usual icy dinner conversation.  “I’m going to vote this year.  I’m going to vote McCain.”  Over the sound of her mother’s sobbing, Lizzy proceeded to give an empassioned defense of the 2008 Republican platform, with a ferocity never before witnessed by any member of her family.

So moved was her brother, Cuttlefish, that he wrote his sister in for Senator on his ballot, unintentionally sending the entire state of Minnesota into electoral hell, while simultaneously forcing Lizzy to relive the obloquy that defined her entire life.

(video via wonky)

Barack Obama channels every president ever

"The Sen. Barack Obama who showed up for the first debate with Sen. John McCain did a fine Bill Clinton imitation." (WSJ)

"What’s most striking about Obama’s approach to foreign policy is that he is less an idealist than a realist who would advance American interests by diplomacy and by using military force prudently and cautiously.  This sounds a lot like the foreign policy of George H.W. Bush." (E.J. Dionne)

"Obama emerges as a liberal Reagan who can reunite America." (Andrew Sullivan)

"The similarities between Carter and Obama are considerable." (NYO)

"The last time a loser of one of California’s presidential primaries went on to win the state in the general election was in 1976, when Gerald Ford became his party’s nominee and carried the state in the general election." (PolitickerCA)

"His rhetoric does include echoes of the 1968 Nixon campaign." (Encyclopedia Britannica Blog)

"He’s also the fulfillment of Lyndon Johnson’s dream." (Seattle PI)

"A president like my father." (Caroline Kennedy)

"Barack Obama pledged the largest new investment in roads and bridges since President Dwight D. Eisenhower built the Interstate system in the 1950’s." (Politico)

"President-elect Barack Obama and his team are modeling their domestic agenda on President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Keynesian liberalism." (Washington Times)

"How about Obama as Hoover? Now there’s a real story." (American Spectator)

"Five past presidents, [including] Warren Harding and Calvin Coolidge — had black ancestors, which would make Obama the sixth of his kind." (MSNBC)

"In its amazing, quasi-messianic confidence in rousing and inspirational effects that an Obama presidency would have on the entire world, [Obama’s speech] instead arouses memories of a liberal Democratic president whom conservatives remember all too well — Woodrow Wilson." (Human Events)

"One of Obama’s first decisions on entering the Oval Office in January will be choosing his rug. President William Howard Taft, the first to occupy the office in 1909, found the wood floor too cold, commissioned an olive-green shag pile and 17 successive Presidents have followed suit." (Telegraph

"Given Obama’s aspiration to practice a transformative politics in this season of discontent, Kennedy may not be the senator’s best role model. The man he really wants to be is Theodore Roosevelt." (Washington Independent)

"Grover Cleveland was 47 when he took the oath of office for president.  Obama will be 47 when he takes the oath of office for president."  (Daily Kos)

"Chester Arthur went to great lengths to lie, to hide facts, to make sure that his dual citizenship did not stop his quest for the White House. Now, Barack Obama is trying to circumvent the Constitution by hiding his birth certificate." (crazy person’s blog)

"If Barack Obama is elected President, he will be the first Harvard law school graduate to become President since Rutherford B. Hayes." (Volokh Conspiracy)

"Barack Obama spoke at a rally in Ulysses S. Grant Park in Chicago, Illinois, after winning the race for the White House Tuesday night."  (CNN) (a stretch? perhaps.)

"Johnnie Maier, chairman of the Democratic Party in Ohio’s economically depressed Stark County, said Mr. Obama probably faces the greatest challenges since Andrew Johnson."  (Globe and Mail)

"When Abraham Lincoln appointed his secretary of state, he picked his greatest opponent in the battle for the presidency, who just happened to be an able and popular senator from New York." (Independent)  “Some are comparing this plan to Abraham Lincoln’s so-called ‘Team of Rivals.’” (NPR)  “It is the season to compare Barack Obama to Abraham Lincoln.” (Newsweek)

53 plays

Earlier today I called The Daily Mail and Matt Drudge racist.  A few of my friends didn’t see where I was coming from.  I will elaborate.

The Daily Mail article uses a racial stereotype as a vehicle to claim that Barack Obama is indifferent to the world’s financial crisis.  The stereotype is the notion of “ghetto fabulous”; that any black man with power and money will waste it on expensive objects for the sole reason that those objects are expensive.  Diddy’s Benzes, Biggie’s Cristal, now Obama’s rhodium.  The subtext of the Drudge headline is, Michelle Obama gets her bling while the people lose their jobs.

I believe the story is a fabrication, for two reasons.  First, no reputable publication picked it up, not even right-wing voices like Fox News, The Washington Times, or RedState.  As one friend pointed out, the press release cited in the Daily Mail article looked suspect, and no one with any sense of journalistic integrity took the bait.  By comparison, nobody hesitated to report on the auto company CEOs taking private jets to ask for bailout money.

Second, a $30,000 diamond ring?  That’s very much out of character for Barack and Michelle Obama.  With their level of education, their taste and their style, and their commitment to their mission, would Barack buy and Michelle accept a gaudy piece of jewelry encrusted with objects that have brought death and disfigurement to thousands in Africa?  Let’s assume for the moment that Barack did buy Michelle a thank you gift that cost thousands of dollars.  Wouldn’t you expect it to be, say, a first edition of The Souls of Black Folk by W.E.B. DuBois?  Perhaps a broken chain from The Amistad?  Something that really says, “look how far we’ve come, and we did this together.”  And wouldn’t you also expect that we wouldn’t hear about it for years?

Now if you believe, like I do, that the Daily Mail story is a lie, you have to ask, why did the paper choose a diamond and rhodium ring as its centerpiece?  They chose it because it’s easy to believe that black man with power would bling out his wife to demonstrate his power.  They did it because it cheapens the President-Elect of the United States and recasts him as a street thug who wastes money on trifles.  It’s the same subtle racism that inspired the McCain campaign to put Obama in an ad alongside Paris Hilton and Britney Spears, as opposed to the dozens of other possible celebrities, because it stirs up old fears about what a black man would do with young blond white women.  It allows that reptilian part of the brain to leap to judgment, because, of course, it seems like something a black man would do.

And Matt Drudge made this story an above-the-title headline link.  He called as much attention to it as he could.  At best, that’s reckless.

Every great leap forward in racial equality pushes racism into more subtle manifestations.  Slavery is gone?  Bring on Jim Crow.  Jim Crow is gone?  Bring on racial profiling.  The fact that it’s more subtle doesn’t make it less potent.

I mean, rhodium? Really?

(Nas, Street Dreams)