Monthly Archives: October 2010

Follow the brite blue (?) link

Can’t embed video or find transcript – but here’s Stewart’s monologue. It’s very good.

http://www.mediaite.com/tv/jon-stewart-explains-the-purpose-of-the-rally-to-restore-sanity/

UPDATE: Blogfriend mac has the transcript up here. And here’s the vid (I’m leaving the link up above, in case Comedy Central blacks out this video at youtube.)

I watched it. Most of it.

Jon Stewart chose to do his monologue at the close of The Rally to Restore Sanity, rather than at the beginning.

Great move because he sent people away with a pitch-perfect closing. Sane, serious, non partisan, terrific monologue. I hope Comedy Central posts a transcript – I imagine video will be available, but I’d love to have a transcript. If anyone comes across one, please let me know. (He took exquisite aim at cable news, a favorite target of his.)

(One note: I wish he’d used the Daily Show ‘correspondants’ more. I’d love to have seen them all onstage doing maybe a tongue-in-cheek musical number a la the Capitol Steps. That would have been fun.)

Gosh I hope Rush watched.

Friday oldie – live from Vegas

The early days of big names in Vegas – Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr, Frank Sinatra and catch that guy on the right! Heeere’s Johnny.

Try to imagine  four top entertainers ‘working a room’ like that today. (Instead of a stadium.)

Media FAIL (yet again)

Bloomberg today:

“The Obama administration cut taxes for middle-class Americans, expects to make a profit on the hundreds of billions of dollars spent to rescue Wall Street banks and has overseen an economy that has grown for the past five quarters.

Most voters don’t believe it.

A Bloomberg National Poll conducted Oct. 24-26 finds that by a two-to-one margin, likely voters in the Nov. 2 midterm elections think taxes have gone up, the economy has shrunk, and the billions lent to banks as part of the Troubled Asset Relief Program won’t be recovered.”

I suppose facts are stupid things, but . . .

A post at The Center Square with a nice summary of something I (and he) have posted about often – perception v reality and the fact that Dems are demonstrably more fiscally responsible than Republicans. Chart after chart, graph after graph (I can  dig up links for those who won’t believe it, but I’ve done that before, so it’s really not worth it) show this to be the truth.

Here are some simple facts – once again.

  • Ronald Reagan: Federal spending in 1981 (the oldest year I have comparable data for) = $697.8 billion. Federal spending in 1988 = $1,066.9 billion. Average annual increase: 6.3%.
  • George HW Bush: Federal spending in 1988 = $1,066.9 billion. Federal spending in 1992 = $1,427.8 billion. Average annual increase: 7.6%.
  • Bill Clinton (pre-Gingrich with Democrats in control of the House): Federal spending in 1992 = $1,427.8 billion. Federal spending in 1994 = $1,463.0 billion. Average annual increase: 1.2%.
  • Bill Clinton (with Gingrich & Republicans in control of the House): Federal spending in 1994 = $1,463.0 billion. Federal spending in 2000 = $1,788.6 billion. Average annual increase: 3.4%.
  • George W Bush (with Republican control of Congress): Federal spending in 2000 = $1,788.6 billion. Federal spending in 2006 = $2,659.2 billion. Average annual increase: 6.8%.
  • George W Bush (with Democratic control of Congress): Federal spending in 2006 = $2,659.2 billion. Federal spending in 2008 = $3,145.3 billion. Average annual increase: 8.8%.
  • Barack Obama First Year: Federal spending in 2008 = $3,145.3 billion. Federal spending in 2009 = $3,516.1 billion. Average annual increase: 11.8%.
  • Barack Obama Second Year (annualized): Federal spending in 2009 = $3,516.1 billion. Federal spending in 2010 = $3,445.6 billion (annualized using data through September). Average annual decrease: 2.0%.

Remember little Ralph Reed?

After his buddy Jack Abramoff went to the slammer and little Ralph escaped just by the hair on his chinny-chin-chin, I kind of hoped we’d heard the last of him. But God has called him back to the world stage to foul the airwaves in Nevada with this little piece of opportunistic trash.

What the Bush tax cuts were really about

For my commenter-friend Alan who argues that all Bush (GW) wanted to do wtih Social Security was allow 4-5% of withholding to go to private accounts. Right, and that was for starters. (from 2001)

Reprise: Infrastructure? We don’t need no stinkin’ infrastructure.

Christie: Take yer tunnel and _____ it!

Without comment (from Crooks & Liars via Memeorandum)

On Tuesday, the residents of New Jersey saw the future – in China. On the same day that Governor Chris Christie killed funding for the badly needed second Hudson River rail tunnel, Beijing rolled out its fastest bullet train yet. As it turns out, Christie’s budget ax is just the latest symptom of a growing epidemic. Across the country, the United States is walking away from its crumbling infrastructure even as America’s competitors commit the resources to win in the 21st century global economy.

To be sure, China is making those investments. America’s largest creditor not only dominates the U.S. in launching cleaner coal-fired power plants, but by January leapfrogged the West to become the world’s largest producer of wind turbines and solar panels. Just last week, an Australian study found that the China, the globe’s biggest polluter, is now the clear leader in clean energy efforts.

Are there no workhouses?

“We as a nation have been walking away from our constitutional freedom and relying on government instead to take care of the widow and the orphan,” Angle said during the Oct. 10 appearance in the northern Nevada town of Gardnerville.

So sayeth the woman who may be the next Senator from Nevada. Well.

h/t Steve Benen

A new voice – to me at least

John Avlon. Apparently a well known columnist and author. Saw him on CSpan this a.m. What a refreshing guy. His beat seems to be wingnuttia – on both sides (acknowledging that this year it tilts mostly one way).

From his Amazon page for the book “Wingnuts: How the Lunatic Fringe is Hijacking America”:

The book compares current merchants of political paranoia with past fear-mongers and finds that divisive demagogues have sold this snake oil before. But the two parties’ increased polarization and the echo-chamber of the internet are helping the fringe blur with the base, making the Wingnuts more powerful than ever before. (There are three faces on the book jacket: Palin, Beck and Olbermann.)   

This morning he was mourning the loss of the middle, the dangers of moderation and what it means for all of us.

interestingly, Avlon was an intern for Bill Clinton (with Monica!) and a speech writer for Gulianni (as mayor). Interesting guy.

Annoying, at the least

The weather. It is teh suck. After a really lovely early onset Fall here summer returned with a vengeance about four days ago. Perhaps this is the Florida version of what in Connecticut we called “Indian Summer”. But I’ve never experienced it here before.

Now, following a brief period of resistance I switched the AC back on Tuesday night accepting that a second sleepless night – when a remedy was at hand – would serve me ill. And it’s still on today.

An almost fearful glance at the weather forecast just now reassures me that my world returns to its proper place by Saturday.

Thank you elvis.

And I hear it’s snowing in the Dakotas. So it’s proper that summer just be over!

UPDATE: I am aware that – annoyed or not – I, like you dear reader, are fortunate indeed. We can shelter from whatever Mama don’t-mess-with-me throws at us. And we haven’t had any volcanoes or earthquakes here, so . . .

How’s that abstinence tour going?

An hour after accusing all of us of devolving while entertainingourselves with gossip, let me show you I accept my share of the guilt by myself engaging in gossip – here and now. Because I love a cheap thrill and can’t help myself.

So — too many Smoothies or a baby bump? I report. You decide.

S’okay cuz we can work at McDonald’s dude!

An editorial in The  New York Times today.

48th Is Not A Good Place

The National Academies, the country’s leading advisory group on science and technology, warned in 2005 that unless the United States improved the quality of math and science education, at all levels, it would continue to lose economic ground to foreign competitors.

The situation remains grim. According to a follow-up report published last month, the academies found that the United States ranks 27th out of 29 wealthy countries in the proportion of college students with degrees in science or engineering, while the World Economic Forum ranked this country 48th out of 133 developed and developing nations in quality of math and science instruction.

Foreign students who attend graduate school here used to stay and work here. Now they go home. More of getting what we asked for.

I am sure there are people who beleive these rankings are because someone somewhere hates America.

You know the line: “Move along, nothing to see here”

While America-the-people wallows in mid-term election grizzlies and gossip, America-the-country is dissolving around us. I heard the top dog of Tea Party Express on CSpan this morning say that the movement (as usual) is about stopping any new taxes and reducing the deficit. It’s nonsense: contradictory goals – a waste of his breath and the airtime. But sadly people believe it’s possible.

It’s not. And 30 years of deregulation and insufficient taxation – and a growing belief that in fact raising taxes is to practically trample on the Constitution and side with the terrorists – have brought us to a sorry state of affairs. While we subsidize everything that ends up costing us in the long run – sugar, gasoline, corn syrup, highways etc., our infrastructure and our educational credentials (see next post) are falling apart.

It’s as though we’re trying to devolve.

Bob Herbert today (my new favorite columnist) talks about water systems.

” . . the truth is that the nation’s water systems are in sorry shape — deteriorating even as the population grows and demand increases. Aging and corroded pipes are bursting somewhere every couple of minutes. Dilapidated sewer systems are contaminating waterways and drinking water. Many local systems are so old and inadequate — in some cases, so utterly rotten — that they are overwhelmed by heavy rain. “

“If this were a first-class society we would rebuild our water systems to the point where they would be the envy of the world, and that would bolster the economy in the bargain. But that would take maturity and vision and effort and sacrifice, all of which are in dismayingly short supply right now.”

“Improving water systems — and infrastructure generally, if properly done — would go a long way toward improving the nation’s dismal economic outlook . . . . every dollar invested in water and sewer improvements has the potential to increase the long-term gross domestic product by more than six dollars. Hundreds of thousands of jobs would be created . . .

“The nation’s network of water systems was right at the bottom of the latest infrastructure grades handed out by the American Society of Civil Engineers, receiving a D-minus. Jeffrey Griffiths, a member of the federal government’s National Drinking Water Advisory Council, told The Times: “We’re relying on water systems built by our great-grandparents, and no one wants to pay for the decades we’ve spent ignoring them. There’s a lot of evidence that people are getting sick. But because everything is out of sight, no one really understands how bad things have become.”

But the gays and the terrorists are out to get us. So there’s really no time for this stuff.

This is a massive failure of government at every level, a failure of both parties. Ultimately however, it’s our own failure.

You get what you ask for. (Of course we’ve managed to convince people to pay for their water in bottles, so maybe it’s okay!)

All we need is gold, dum da dum de dum, all we need is gold, gold is all we need . . .

I don't need no General Mills or Bud Lite either!

Media Matters keeps track of Glenn Beck’s advertisers on FOX News  – this began I expect back when Beck said Obama had a ‘deep seated hatred of white people, the white culture’. Pretty much the same day, national advertisers started dropping his program.

So, per Media Matters, here’s who sponsored Beck’s program today:

  • Tax Masters
  • Goldline
  • Visiting Angels
  • Sokolove Law
  • Fox News (News Corp.)
  • Merit Financial
  • Ortho
  • Mylife.com
  • Lifestyle Lift
  • Debt OK
  • Medical directclub
  • Sustenex
  • Fox News (News Corp.)
  • Legalzoom.com
  • Mysolarbackup.com
  • AmMed Direct/Better Care
  • EasyWater
  • Sokolove Law
  • Smith and Nephew
  • Foundation for a Better Life
  • Lifestyle Lift
  • Values.com
  • IRStaxagreements.com
  • Rosland Capital
  • Wall Street Journal (News Corp.)
  • Lifestyle Lift
  • CreditAnswers.com

Wow. Guess Cheerios and Chevrolet have gone elsewhere.

Cutting NPR should take care of this

From David Michael Green at the Smirking Chimp today via Political Irony: The Seven Ironies of the Tea Party. Here’s one:

“What would it look like if Obama didn’t have to pay for Bush’s wars . . .didn’t have to pay for Bush’s prescription drug plan, didn’t have to pay for Bush’s tax cuts, didn’t have to pay for stimulus funds to rescue the country from Bush’s Great Recession, and didn’t have to pay interest (one of the biggest items in the federal budget) on the money that Bush and Reagan borrowed previously? Most likely, it would look like it did on January 20, 2001, the day that Bush came to office, and the United States was running the greatest surplus ever in its history.”

Most distressing to us should be that of those interest payments, 50% go to China. In earliler years that money stayed in the country with American citizens holding the debt in the form of bonds.

Fight our wars with citizen soldiers!

Today, The New York Times is all over the latest Wikileaks document dump. I’m pretty agnostic about the issue, but am of course interested in the contents. One story (they have many today looking at it from all aspects) in particular grabbed my attention – about our use of contractors in war since 2001.

From the story:

Blackwater in Baghdad

“Contractors were necessary at the start of the Iraq war because there simply were not enough soldiers to do the job. In 2004, their presence became the symbol for Iraq’s descent into chaos . . .

Even now — with many contractors discredited for unjustified shootings and a lack of accountability amply described in the documents — the military cannot do without them. There are more contractors over all than actual members of the military serving in the worsening war in Afghanistan.

This practice, combined with the emerging military culture that lives in a different place than the rest of us, is I think dangerous. At the least, I think it’s immoral. If we finance wars, it should be us doing the fighting – and not just those who volunteer. If we inflict pain, let us feel pain. Otherwise what are we?

It’s wrong.

Let me add: Today is the 18th day of the tenth year of the War in Afghanistan.

Only The Onion

This made me laugh out loud.  Reminded me of an old Bob and Ray radio routine – “and now it’s time for our special guest, The Man Who Looks Like Ralph Bellamy! Welcome Mr. Shockley!”

An oldie request, and I’m a DJ at last!

Back in an oldie thread in September, Alan Johnson asked for this song – a version in which John Phillips ‘had his hat on’. Well, John has his hat on in most of this (there is one Live at Monterey in which the hat is on throughout, but the sound isn’t as good). So here you go Alan:

Friday Oldie

Until  I came across this, I’d never have considered Dean Martin as part of my ‘oldies’ mix. But listening to it, I realize in fact that it is as firmly in my memory as many of the songs I’ve posted previously.

So what the hey! Dean Martin.

Have we no eyes to see?

JOBS LOST (Bureau of Labor Statistics)

A letter to the editor in my local paper this morning gave a very concise rundown on one of my favorite subjects, one I’ve blogged about often: the difference between perception and reality in how Democrats do with the economy and overall financial health of the country. The fact is that Dems do very well, much better than Republicans, and yet the perception is the opposite.

Part of that is a lazy media of course (another favorite target of mine), but I blame most of it on ourselves and our inability to create a narrative that resonates and takes hold.

It’s really time for Democrats to bite the bullet and start talking in soundbites and bumper stickers. It’s worked phenomenally well for conservatives. And it’s time for Democrats to ask themselves why most Americans can easily articulate the conservative message but not the liberal one.

Anyway, to that letter:

From an independent voter’s perspective, I find the following findings about this election’s hot-button issues to be thought-provoking and worth sharing:

Jobs: 8.5 million jobs have been lost since January 2008. Of this, 3.6 million jobs were lost by December 2008 and 7.5 million jobs were lost by June 2009, before the stimulus bill took effect. More than 860,000 private-sector jobs were created in 2010 — exceeding the total created in eight years under Bush II. By contrast, 22 million jobs were created under Clinton. (Source: U.S. Dept. of Labor)

Government Spending: Federal government spending grew by 100 percent from $500 billion to $1 trillion under Reagan, by 22 percent under Clinton, and by 76 percent from $1.7 trillion to $3 trillion under Bush II. It is estimated to grow 25 percent by 2012. (Source: usgovernmentspending.com)

National Debt: Since World War II, Republican presidents have increased the national debt by an average of 9.2 percent per year, compared with 3.2 percent for the Democratic presidents. National debt as a percentage of GDP went up from 33 percent to 65 percent under Reagan-Bush I, down to 58 percent under Clinton and back up to 65 percent by 2006 under Bush II and a Republican Congress. More than $9 trillion was added to the debt during the Reagan and Bush I and II presidencies — a bulk of the current total of about $13 trillion. By January 2009, the debt was already at $11 trillion. (Source: Wikipedia)

Let’s make Fagin the Attorney General

It’s looking uglier out there. A lot of the housing financing mess is beyond my ken, but I get this part – I’ll let Atrios (aka Dr. Black, a real economist) sum it up:

“Once we came to a point where servicers could make more money by foreclosing than not foreclosing, the game was over.”

It is apparently no longer necessary to even try to hide one’s crimes. After all, money must be made.

The United Citizens of da’ money

Ooohhh, Tom Toles is very very good.

More here.

Juan Williams: outrage machine cranking up! (and it should)

Juan Williams wasn’t fired from NPR for saying what he said. He was fired from NPR for saying what he said while being a journalist.

He spent too much time at FOX and it caused him to forget that it’s not about him.

(Just like Rick Sanchez wasn’t fired from CNN for insulting Jon Stewart. He was fired from CNN for saying Jews control the media and CNN. This stuff shouldn’t be hard.)

I bet Rush’s blood pressure is through the roof!

(Full disclosure: I wouldn’t have fired Williams. I think it was overreaction. I would however have fired Sanchez. He broke all the rules.)

UPDATE: Apparently Williams was fired based on violating Section 5, Subsection 10 of the NPR Ethics Code. Here it is. Seems to me one could point to many NPR journos who’ve violated this thing.

10. In appearing on TV or other media including electronic Web-based forums, NPR journalists should not express views they would not air in their role as an NPR journalist. They should not participate in shows electronic forums, or blogs that encourage punditry and speculation rather than fact-based analysis.

Jon Stewart does not heart CNN

On his show, Jon Stewart has been eviscerating CNN for years (Rick Sanchez was a favorite target, Wolf Blitzer too). Last night on Larry King, Stewart went after the nonsense of CNN’s version of election night coverage with their panel of a dozen people. Were the King show not live (it is, isn’t it?), I’m sure there would have been a bit of snippy-snippy by CNN management.

It’s also interesting that King kept prodding Stewart to say outrageous things about politics and the Tea Party and Stewart resisted – up to a point.

UPDATE: Brian in NYC  tells me embedding is disabled for this video. So here’s the link – hope you can still see it at youtube.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1M2wp-ZYwDk

MSNBC did a bad

Just saw one of those ads MSNBC has been running. By and large I’ve found them appealing – no idea if they help with building business; I guess they do help brand the network I guess.

But just now I saw one that is a shocking and blatant rip off of the AMC show Rubicon. I think any fan of that show will spot it right away. Naughty, naughty.

Okay: back up there, back up

It’s another catchup day here in the Moe household. Delayed and deferred paperwork is the main thing on the menu.

I also plan to arrange online back up for my hard drive. I’ve been living dangerously for too long. I think I signed up for Mozy some time ago but abandoned it – and uninstalled it – because I wanted to use the free version and there wasn’t enough storage. Or it was a pain to pick and choose what to back up. It was my intention at that time to go back and sign up for one of the paid services, but I didn’t get around to it.

So that’s on my agenda today. Any thoughts? (Ed will say get an external drive, but I’ve decided I really really want back up some place far away.)

We lack the words

In thread comments elsewhere, I’ve been refrencing a book – maybe as important a book as I’ve read in our recent tumultuous partisan years. The book is Ill Fares the Land by the late Tony Judt. The cover blurb says “Something is profoundly wrong with the way we think about how we should live today.” He disdains the nihilistic individualism celebrated by the Far Right. He asks all the questions many of us think but lack the language to articulate. It’s a serious, thoughtful and terrific book.

This stood out for me – about language and how both the media and the left lack it. We all hear the tired anthem of how our ‘freedoms are under attack’, apparently from  liberals,  Democrats, those who would dare to share. Judt reminds us just what freedom actually means:

Freedom consists in retaining our right to disagree with the state’s purposes and express our own objections and goals without fear of retribution.

So simple. And the left has not even bothered to frame a response.

I broke the drought. Me!

Yesterday I took my car to the Jiffy Clean. First time in ages; a bit of a treat. I chose yesterday because the weatherman told me  ‘no rain in sight this week’. And because I believed him.

Usually my car lives in a carport; at present however, the carport is being used as the staging area for the reorganization going on inside the house. But that’s fine because the weatherman told me  ‘no rain in sight this week’ and I believed him.

So naturally it’s raining this morning. Not a strong steady rain which would be fine; instead it’s that weak sister that’s barely a drizzle. The kind with big slow drops that you can almost hear as they individually land on the car, there to sit till they evaporate. And the car will dry with spots all over it. And this happened because the weatherman told me  ‘no rain in sight this week’. And because I believed him.

The convergence of these events do have an upside. I guess my life is headed back to normal.

The house comes together

There is light at the end of the very long tunnel that’s surrounded me for too many weeks. Movers were engaged last week and brought down the few pieces of furniture I wanted from my parents’ home and places have been found for them.

The combination of multiple trips to Goodwill and the addition of seven new [to me] substantial drawers has freed spaces that previously were jammed – I now have a closet for office supplies and another actually shows some floor space:

We all know how nice closets look when first set up; I’ll enjoy the order while it lasts. A few pieces of furniture and a favorite lamp came to live here as well:

It’s strange to see these things in my house. I will of course get used to them. But for now, it’s an event which I am recording here. For no particular other reason.