Monday, November 28, 2011

Blue Monday, Rev. Gary Davis edition

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Fear and self-loathing

Progressives probably won't be giving thanks to the most successful Democratic administration in a decade, one that led the passage of universal health care, the Dodd-Frank reform of Wall St. (not totally toothless, despite the best effort of Republicans and a Blue Dog or two), the Lily Ledbetter act, and on and on. All of this against a tidal wave of Republican opposition.

Jon Chait explains why liberal dissatisfaction with their very own is nothing new.

Why are liberals so desperately unhappy with the Obama presidency?

There are any number of arguments about things Obama did wrong. Some of them are completely misplaced, like blaming Obama for compromises that senators forced him to make. Many of them demand Obama do something he can’t do, like Maddow’s urging the administration to pass an energy bill through a special process called budget reconciliation—a great-sounding idea except for the fact that it’s against the rules of the Senate. Others castigate Obama for doing something he did not actually do at all (i.e., Drew Westen’s attention-grabbing, anguished New York Times essay assailing Obama for signing a budget deal with cuts to Medicare, Social Security, and Medicaid that were not actually in the budget in question).

I spend a lot of time rebutting these arguments, and their proponents spend a lot of time calling me an Obama apologist.

Some of the complaints are right, and despite being an Obama apologist, I’ve made quite a few of them myself. (The debt-ceiling hostage negotiations drove me to distraction.) But I don’t think any of the complaints—right, wrong, or ­otherwise—really explain why liberals are so depressed.

Here is my explanation: Liberals are dissatisfied with Obama because liberals, on the whole, are incapable of feeling satisfied with a Democratic president. They can be happy with the idea of a Democratic president—indeed, dancing-in-the-streets delirious—but not with the real thing. The various theories of disconsolate liberals all suffer from a failure to compare Obama with any plausible baseline. Instead they compare Obama with an imaginary president—either an imaginary Obama or a fantasy version of a past president.

So, what if we compare Obama with a real alternative? Not to Republicans—that’s too easy—but to Democratic presidents as they lived and breathed?

Read the whole...ahem...thing.

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Something to be thankful for

People like Seanna Sharpe and Savage Skinner!

Aerialist Seanna Sharpe 285 Feet Over The Williamsburg Bridge from Ronen V on Vimeo.

This is an example of how the Beautiful can evoke an unbelievably emotional response, at least for me. Doesn't happen very often.

Via TNC.

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Tuesday, November 22, 2011

"Thank God for the rain to wash the trash off the sidewalk.."

Friday, November 18, 2011

Oye Como Va


Lose, Lions, lose

They can get away with a lot, but making fun of their own team just won't do.

According to Michael Samuels, a Stanford senior who plays the tree in that school’s infamous band, the song ridiculing the team was a breach of band etiquette. “I’m glad Columbia’s band found a way to make going to football games more enjoyable for themselves — I sure know I wouldn’t want to go watch my team give up 62 points to Cornell — but have some pride in your school and respect for your players,” Samuels said in an e-mail.

“Also, if you are going to be ‘irreverent,’ at least be funny. Our band would never come up with such profoundly obvious and uninspired lyrics like ‘We always lose, lose, lose; by a lot, and sometimes by a little.’ ”

Ooh, snap.


Saturday, November 05, 2011

Negotiating with ourselves

From the annals of "Who could have ever predicted?"

WASHINGTON — As pessimism mounted this week over the ability of a bipartisan Congressional committee to agree on a deficit-reduction plan, lawmakers began taking steps to head off the large cuts in Pentagon spending that would automatically result from the panel’s failure.

Members of both parties and both chambers said they increasingly feared that the 12-member committee would be unable to bridge deep partisan divisions and find $1.2 trillion in deficit reduction as required under the law that raised the debt ceiling and created the committee in the summer.

As talks sputtered, one panel member publicly lamented that the process was not working, and the group was chastised by a bipartisan group of budget experts at a public hearing for failing to show progress. Several members of Congress, especially Republicans on the House and Senate Armed Services Committees, are readying legislation that would undo the automatic across-the-board cuts totaling nearly $500 billion for military programs, or exchange them for cuts in other areas of the federal budget.

Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina, has drafted a bill that would replace the military reductions that would occur under a process known in Congress as sequestration with 5 percent cuts to other, unspecified parts of the federal budget, and a 10 percent decrease in pay for members of Congress. In the House, similar measures are being assembled.

“If the joint select committee does not do what it needs to do,” said Representative K. Michael Conaway, a Texas Republican on the House Armed Services Committee, “most of us will move heaven and earth to find an alternative that prevents a sequester from happening.”

After listening to dire predictions by the Joint Chiefs of Staff about the effects of automatic cuts, Representative John Garamendi, Democrat of California, was even more blunt. “The sequester will never take place,” he said. “It’s not going to happen.”

The richest Americans and the Pentagon brass need not worry. Nothing can be asked of them. In fact, should a Republican win the election, they will be showered with even more largesse.

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Friday, November 04, 2011

Beryl Davis, 1924-2011

When the German air force began its blitz in 1940, Ms. Davis’s clear, pure singing style at the front of a jazz group that included the pianist George Shearing and the violinist Stéphane Grappelli, was already familiar to BBC listeners, and to London clubgoers.

She later said leaving the city had never occurred to her. “We just learned to handle the pressure,” she told Richard Grudens for “Jukebox Saturday Night,” his 1999 book about the big-band era. “I would have to be down at the BBC, who had me under contract, at odd hours of the night. Bombs would be dropping, and you just did your best to dodge them.”

She added, “If you didn’t dodge them, well, that was that, you know.”

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Wednesday, November 02, 2011

7 years of lean

Um, oh shit. PIMCO co-founder Bill Gross goes all Biblical on us.

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Herman Cains economic plan covers everything!

Madame Cura tells me that when asked if allegations of "inappropriate conduct" were true, he replied,

"Nein, nein, nein!"

All that said, the fact that Cain's "travails" have resurrected Ann Man Coulter from whatever mouldering grave she's been lying in for the past few years is just too damn cool.

Charles Pearce understands why Coulter may consider certain "blacks" to be "hers."

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