Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Justice Ginsburg will be 79 years young

Another example of how vast the "dime's worth of difference" is in this election -- Dahlia Lithwick points out how crucial this election is.  If a Republican wins, he will have the opportunity to turn a right-leaning Supreme Court into the most solidly conservative one in a hundred years.  If you don't like corporations being equated with "people," if you think money is not the same thing as "speech," then this election should matter very much to you.

For anyone considering the 2012 election’s importance to the future of the American judiciary, one fact stands out: next November, Ruth Bader Ginsburg will be seventy-nine years old. If a Republican wins the presidential election, he or she may have an opportunity to seat Ginsburg’s successor, replacing the Supreme Court’s most reliably liberal jurist with a conservative. That would mean that the Court—currently balanced almost elegantly between four liberals, four conservatives, and the moderate conservative Anthony Kennedy—would finally tilt decisively to the right, thereby fulfilling Edwin Meese’s dream, laid out in his famous 1985 speech before the American Bar Association, of reshaping the Court around one coherent “jurisprudence of original intention.” Meese, who was then Ronald Reagan’s attorney general, wanted nine conservative constitutional originalists on the Court. He may soon get his wish. A 2008 study by Richard Posner, a federal appeals court judge, and William Landes, a law professor at the University of Chicago, examined the voting records of seventy years of Supreme Court justices in order to rank the forty-three justices who have served on the Court since 1937. They concluded that four of the five most conservative justices to serve on the Supreme Court since 1937 sit on the Supreme Court today. Justice Clarence Thomas ranked first.
Read, ya know, the whole thing.  If there is one thing both Bill Clinton and Barack Obama have failed to do in their administrations, it is matching the focus on the courts -- both the Supreme and the Appellate courts -- that Reagan and the two Bushes exhibited.  And we are a poorer, less equal, and less free as a result.

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He'll drink Mitt's milkshake, or something

Monday, January 30, 2012

Blue Monday, Sonny Boy Williamson edition

Sunday, January 29, 2012

In today's Bad Dirty Harry Sequel news...

This is just very weird.

The officer was manning a DUI checkpoint when the shooting occurred shortly after 1 a.m. He was declared dead after emergency surgery at Marian Medical Center, Santa Maria police Chief Danny Macagni said in a statement.
The officer, a four-year Santa Maria department veteran, had just learned of the internal investigation of an alleged sexual relationship with a 17-year-old girl, and it became necessary to arrest him immediately, Macagni said.

"We had no choice," Macagni said in video of an afternoon news conference posted by KCOY-TV. He said investigators had evidence "that demanded that we go out and take this officer off the street immediately."
Supervising officers were sent to make a felony arrest, but he struggled with them when they arrived, first putting up a physical fight, then firing his gun but hitting no one, Macagni said.
"He chose to resist, he drew his weapon, a fight ensued, he fired his weapon," the chief said.

Several officers came to help the police making the arrest, and one of them shot the suspected officer in the chest once, Macagni said.
Detectives had begun investigating the alleged relationship on Thursday night, and minutes before the shooting had confirmed that an "inappropriate" and "very explicit" relationship had been going on, Macagni said.
He said he could not give details because of the sensitivity of the investigation, but "there was some witness intimidation involved" and the arrest couldn't wait for a more proper time or place.
"The information that we had in hand demanded that we not let him leave that scene, get in a car, drive somewhere, it would put the public at risk," Macagni said at the news conference. "We just did not know what was going to happen, we did not expect him to react the way that he did."

Friday, January 27, 2012

The sand and the sea is the life for me


Tuesday, January 24, 2012

It was a great, great run

Me can has sad.

You wonder, watching that video, what Derek is thinking as even he must be contemplating his own speech.  Somehow, I think Mariano Rivera, The Greatest Closer of All Time™, also in the audience, is probably more at peace with that inevitable future.

Jorge's career line: .273/.374/.474

More than anything, he can and should be mentioned among the legendary Yankee catchers: Berra, Dickie, and most of all, the late Thurmon Munson.

Don't be a stranger, Jorge.

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Monday, January 23, 2012

Blue Monday, Joe Cocker edition

Not very bluesy, but...whatever.  Everything I know about dancing, I learned from Joe Cocker.

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And Jesus walked with dinosaurs

Seems Tennessee teahadists want to clean up our messy history.

Tennessee teabaggers are growing tired of being corrected by their fifth-grade relatives every darn time they get a notion to holler some about how Thomas Jefferson was human history’s inventor of freedom — maybe it’s time to LEVEL THE PLAYING FIELD, HMMM KIDS? The state’s tea party leadership made an indignant request to the state legislature demanding schools quit teaching children that the Founding Fathers owned slaves or killed Indians or made any mistakes whatsoever at any time, which they expressed with a statement notable firstly for its losing battle with grammar and syntax: “We seek to compel the teaching of students in Tennessee the truth regarding the history of our nation and the nature of its government.” It has sort of a drunk Yoda ring to it, no? “Compel to teach the truth the students we will!” And then it’s pretty much downhill from there.

From the Commercial Appeal:

Fayette County attorney Hal Rounds, the group’s lead spokesman during the news conference, said the group wants to address “an awful lot of made-up criticism about, for instance, the founders intruding on the Indians or having slaves or being hypocrites in one way or another.

“The thing we need to focus on about the founders is that, given the social structure of their time, they were revolutionaries who brought liberty into a world where it hadn’t existed, to everybody — not all equally instantly — and it was their progress that we need to look at,” said Rounds, whose website identifies him as a Vietnam War veteran of the Air Force and FedEx retiree who became a lawyer in 1995.

"Intruding on the Indians?" "Not all equally instantly?"  It's a process, man, it's a process.

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Sunday, January 22, 2012

McCarthy's proud descendant

I think Barney Frank gets it about right.

You recently said about Newt Gingrich: “He’s just one of the worst people I know of who didn’t commit violence on somebody.” Did he kill your dog?
He transformed American politics from one in which people presume the good will of their opponents, even as they disagreed, into one in which people treated the people with whom they disagreed as bad and immoral. He was a kind of McCarthy-ite who succeeded. 


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Friday, January 20, 2012

Pretty sure Mittens can't do this

Etta James

It's a blue Friday. This should help you feel alright.

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Thursday, January 19, 2012

Yes, Virginia, there are racists

Newt Gingrich is not employing a dog whistle, he's using an air raid siren.

Ta-Nehisi Coates provides the appropriate response.

When a professor of history calls Barack Obama a "Food Stamp President," it isn't a mistake to be remedied through clarification; it is a statement of aggresion [sic]. And when a crowd of his admirers cheer him on, they are neither deluded, nor in need of forgiveness, nor absolution, nor acting against their interest. Racism is their interest. They are not your misguided friends. They are your fully intelligent adversaries, sporting the broad range of virtue and vice we see in humankind. If you are a praying person, you should pray for their electoral destruction in November. Surely they are praying for yours:

Let his days be few; and let another take his office 
May his children be fatherless and his wife a widow. 
May his children be wandering beggars; may they be driven from their ruined homes. 
May a creditor seize all he has; may strangers plunder the fruits of his labor. 
May no one extend kindness to him or take pity on his fatherless children.

Newt Gingrich coined "The Moment" on Martin Luther King's birthday.  Real racists do real things.

These people are scumThey have been for decades.  It doesn't matter if it's Joe Wilson's "you lie" howl at the State of the Union address, Romney's waxing poetic for an era before women and brown people had rights, or Newt's sneering "food stamp president."*  And if we are truly honest with ourselves, we will see that so too are the people to whom they pander, whether the panderer is George Wallace, Ronald Reagan, or Newt Leroy Gingrich.  If that doesn't matter to you, then believe that Ron Paul is a greater believer in civil liberties than is Barack Obama or that a dime's difference between the two parties is a reason not to register and vote.

* With the trifecta of attacking the working poor, African Americans, and the current POTUS, all in one "intellectual" phrase.  If he could have beaten up made fun of a gay veteran on stage, he'd be the GOP nominee already.

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Monday, January 16, 2012

Blue Monday, Papa Staples edition

Friday, January 13, 2012

Grand Ol' Wingnuttery

Think the venom Obama has to deal with is new?  Think again.

So Crow was insane. But he was also by no means atypical of the venom spewing Republicans of the 1940s. We think of Obama facing some uniquely crazy Republican opposition but it’s not so original. This kind of hackery goes back a long ways. Of course, the Republican Party of the 1940s had more than just crazies, and that’s why Crow hated Morse so much. But add a little geographical realignment to the mix and it’s not hard to see how complete wingnuttery would come to take over the entire Republican Party. 

The Republican party of the 1940s had been completely out of power for more than a decade, feeding the frenzy of their impotent hatred.  But that rising bile would eventually weaken the Democratic party in ways we're still feeling today.  It started with Yalta where FDR "lost Europe" to Stalin, and reached it's apotheosis when Truman and the "China hands lost China," when China was not ours to lose.  There was a direct line from there to Joe McCarthy and disastrous foreign policy decisions in Asia by administrations terrified of "losing" first Korea than Vietnam.

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Thursday, January 12, 2012

For Mittens

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A room of one's own

Ssssshhh.  Quiet, please.

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Monday, January 09, 2012

Blue Monday, Death of Sonny Boy Williamson edition

Friday, January 06, 2012

Whiskey Bar


A dime's worth of difference

I don't subscribe to the notion, but if you believe in the Nadarite (or, perhaps, Paulite) view of the two parties, then this is an absolutely must-read post from Digby.  In it, that partisan apologist for the Democratic party, Noam Chomsky, explains that even a small difference between the two parties makes a huge difference -- for civil rights, for the environment, for a modicum of economic justice -- over time.

About that dime?  Well, as Einstein was said to have replied when asked to name the greatest invention of mankind, "compound interest."

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Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Amber waves of greed

Irony is dead.  We know that, don't we, Dear Reader?  So it will be no surprise that Romney is using "America the Beautiful" as his latest campaign prop.

Lynn Sherr, the ABC News correspondent and the author of a book about the song, wrote that Bates “wanted to purify America’s great wealth, to channel what she had originally called ‘selfish gain’ into more noble causes.” Bates later rewrote the stanza into its current version, unrecited by Mr. Romney today:
America! America!
May God thy gold refine
Till all success be nobleness
And every gain divine!
Bates’ revulsion at the inequality and corruption she saw around her was shared by many others who became the core of the Progressive Movement. President Obama has lately begun to channel that movement, invoking the spirit of its greatest champion, Theodore Roosevelt. Given his positions, he has a better claim to the spirit of the song than does Mr. Romney, who appears to have no problem with inequality.

Ya think?

Who could've predicted the reaction to the nation's first brown president?

As Charles Piarce would say, "This is your democracy.  Cherish it."

Monday, January 02, 2012

Reality bites

Watching Eric Cantor ooze unctuousness on "60 Minutes" last night was hard to take, but this exchange was fascinating:

Stahl: But you know, your idol, as I’ve read anyway, was Ronald Reagan. And he compromised.
Cantor: He never compromised his principles.
Stahl: Well, he raised taxes and it was one of his principles not to raise taxes.
Cantor: Well, he — he also cut taxes.
Stahl: But he did compromise —
Cantor: Well I —
Steve Benen explains what happens next.

At that point, Cantor’s press secretary, off camera, interrupted the interview, yelling that Stahl was lying when she said Reagan raised taxes. As Stahl told “60 Minutes” viewers, “There seemed to be some difficulty accepting the fact that even though Ronald Reagan cut taxes, he also pushed through several tax increases, including one in 1982 during a recession.”

Let’s call “some difficulty” a dramatic understatement.

Unfortunately for Cantor and his press secretary, reality is stubborn. The facts are indisputable: in Ronald Reagan’s first term, he signed off on a series of tax increases — even when unemployment was nearing 11% — and proceeded to raise taxes seven out of the eight years he was in office. The truth is, “no peacetime president has raised taxes so much on so many people” as Reagan.

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SOPA what?

David Carr explains SOPA legislation, why it matters, and why legislators shouldn't legislate things of which they're proud of their ignorance.

The debate has highlighted how little Congress knows about the Internet they are proposing to re-tool. In a piece often cited on the Web, the computer culture journalist Joshua Kopstein watched the debate in Congress in which members bragged about their online ignorance, and he wrote an open letter on the technology Web site Motherboard titled, “Dear Congress, It’s No Longer O.K. to Not Know How the Internet Works.”
Whether they know what they are doing or not, lawmakers seem intent on moving forward.
Congressional supporters of piracy legislation have been in a big hurry because the Web is starting to come alive with opposition — nearly 90,000 Tumblr users have phoned members of Congress and more than a million people have signed an online petition protesting the legislation.
Last week, in a much talked about blog post, Declan McCullagh of CNet speculated that even though big Web companies like Google, Amazon and Facebook are outgunned in terms of political connections, they have the capability to turn their sites into billboards denouncing SOPA and utilizing their close, constant relationship with consumers.
I like my movies (and music and television) as much as the next couch potato, probably more. And I wouldn’t steal content for any reason, in part because I make a living generating a fair amount of it. But it’s worth remembering that the film industry initially opposed the video cassette recorder and the introduction of DVDs, platforms that became very lucrative businesses for them and remarkable conveniences for the rest of us. 
 It's worth a read.


Blue Monday, Bob Dylan and Johnny Cash edition

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