Archive for February, 2011

Monday Media Blogging

The trailer for an Archie movie that really needs to be made.

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(h/t Comics Curmudgeon, who you should all read BTW)

1 comment February 28th, 2011 at 06:59pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Monday Media Blogging

Al Qaeda, Nonviolence, And The Dictator’s Dilemma

Interesting story in today’s NYT about how al Qaeda has been marginalized by the mostly nonviolent wave of democracy sweeping the Middle East, demonstrating decisively that dictatorships can be toppled without the use of violence and terror – and also, I think, that most Muslims are more hungry for democracy and freedom than in swapping secular oppression for religious oppression.

I believe that one of the reasons nonviolence has been so successful is that it heightens what I call The Dictator’s Dilemma – that is, how do you crack down on an incipient revolution with sufficient force to disperse it without turning your own military and government against you?  If the revolution is a screaming angry mob hurling stones and insults at the troops, they will find it a lot easier to use force – in self-defense, if nothing else.

But if the revolutionaries are singing songs and welcoming the troops as brothers, the line of acceptable brutality moves considerably.  Depending on how strong the military’s loyalty to the dictator is, it may be impossible to goad them to sufficient violence to break up the resistance.  This is what happened in Egypt, and is partially happening in Libya, although Qaddafi has dampened it a bit with his use of mercenaries.

In any case, I’d like to think that this means that al Qaeda’s moment is past, but I fear it will simply spur them to focus more on the United States, Israel and Europe.  Although the fewer US-backed brutal dictators there are in the Middle East, the smaller the terrorist recruiting pool will be.  Something our government really should consider but won’t.

February 28th, 2011 at 08:15am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Foreign Policy,Terrorism

Well, At Least They’re Consistent

Apparently it’s not just suspiciously Latino-looking characters that AZ lawmakers want to force into producing their papers:

Arizona may become the first state to require lenders to prove they have the right to foreclose by providing a complete list of any previous owners of the mortgage, under a bill passed yesterday by its Senate.

The legislation, which is headed to the House after being approved 28-2 in the Republican-dominated Senate, would allow foreclosure sales to be voided if lenders that didn’t originate the loan can’t produce the full chain of title. Arizona permits nonjudicial foreclosures, meaning property can be seized from the homeowner without a court order.

(…)

The bill would require lenders to provide a document attached to the notice of foreclosure sale with the name and address of every beneficial owner of the deed of trust in chronological order, along with the date, recordation number and a description of the instrument that “conveyed the interest of each beneficiary.”

Excellent.  I suppose it helps that one of the bill’s sponsors is currently doing battle with her own mortgage servicer over this very issue…

(Cross-posted at MyFDL)

February 26th, 2011 at 10:41am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Corruption/Cronyism,Economy,Immigration

What Exactly Are The WI State Troopers Doing?

I sure would like to hear a little more about this tidbit that Dana Milbank mentions in passing:

I reached the unacceptably reasonable and pragmatic Cullen by phone in Illinois, where he is hiding out from Wisconsin state troopers who, dispatched by state Republicans, had been at his home each of the past two nights to try to force him back to the capitol.

The AP reports that the troopers went to the Democratic state senators’ homes and “knocked on the doors and looked around” and that they had supposedly heard reports that some of the senators had come back to Wisconsin.

So am I picturing this right?  State troopers are showing up every night at the homes of state senators that everyone knows are not there, banging on the doors and snooping around (you know, in case maybe the senator snuck home despite all reporting to the contrary), and maybe telling their families that they need to come back right away?

Is Scott Walker using government employees to harass and intimidate the families of state senators who are trying to protect the collective bargaining rights of other government employees?

(Cross-posted at MyFDL)

February 26th, 2011 at 10:11am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Labor,Republicans,Wankers

Start Walkin’

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We’re waiting…

In the “flashback quote of the day” at Taegan Goddard’s Political Wire, he highlights words from candidate Barack Obama, made in a 2007 speech (and referenced in Slate). That quote is as follows (spoken word differs slightly from the prepared text quoted by others, what follows is transcribed from the video):

And understand this: If American workers are being denied their right to organize and collectively bargain when I’m in the White House, I will put on a comfortable pair of shoes myself, I will walk on that picket line with you as President of the United States of America. Because workers deserve to know that somebody is standing in their corner.

At this point, I think it’s safe to say that quotes like this from President Fierce Advocate almost always mean the exact opposite.  Or maybe he’s just waiting until after Wisconsin’s public employees have their collective bargaining rights taken away.

Come to think of it, Obama promising to make some kind of symbolic gesture after the damage has already been done doesn’t really sound so far-fetched after all…

February 25th, 2011 at 11:29am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Labor,Obama,Politics,Wankers

Fungibility Fun

So David Waldman points out Scott Walker’s bizarre fungibility argument against public unions:

Public sector unions, Walker’s theory goes, must be smashed because they “lobby” the government to pay their members more, and then their members use their pay to kick in dues, which are used to “lobby” for even more money. That’s precisely the argument Republicans used against liberal-leaning interest groups in the 1990s. Almost verbatim. But what makes the theory so dangerous is that following its logic, every dollar a public sector employee is paid is and always remains “taxpayer money.” Just as in H.R. 3, where tax deductions granted to offsetting the cost of buying insurance coverage become “fungible” and therefore turn every dollar in your wallet forever into “taxpayer money,” so that Republicans can forbid you from using even money every normal American thought of as your own to pay for insurance plans that cover abortion.

Funny that the Republicans have absolutely no problem at all with the idea that the taxpayer money that the government forgoes in tax cuts to rich people and corporations is then used by those rich people and corporations to lobby the government for even more tax cuts.  A lot more successfully than any lobbying by public unions ever, I might add.

February 25th, 2011 at 06:56am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Corruption/Cronyism,Labor,Politics,Republicans,Taxes,Wankers

NOW Can We Stop The Austerity Talk???

Okay, I know no one pays attention to us crazy leftist hippies, but what if someone else said that budget cuts were maybe not the greatest idea for a fragile economy?

The Republican plan to slash government spending by $61bn in 2011 could reduce US economic growth by 1.5 to 2 percentage points in the second and third quarters of the year, a Goldman Sachs economist has warned.

This will probably be the first and only time in recorded history that Republicans don’t listen to Goldman Sachs.

February 24th, 2011 at 11:31am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Economy,Politics,Republicans,Wankers

Is Labor The New Latinos?

The HuffPost Hill raises an interesting question:

According to 2008 exit polls, John McCain won 37% of union members nationally, while picking up 35% in Wisconsin and 41% in Ohio. Now, if you’re a union member, it’s long been fine to vote Republican for the guns and the other stuff, knowing that the GOP isn’t the workingman’s best friend, but he’s not gonna be that much worse than the Democrat. That’s the calculation that created the Reagan Democrat and has kept the GOP competitive for several generations. But what happens to that calculation when Republicans make a real attempt to ELIMINATE YOUR UNION? If that union number drops from 37 to, say, 25, how does the GOP get to an electoral majority?

I think this is a lot like immigration – a golden opportunity that the Democrats are squandering by trying to out-Republican the Republicans.  Just as Obama is kicking Dubya’s ass on the number of deportations, we also see him and other Democrats like Andrew Cuomo and Rahm Emanuel embracing the GOP gospel of scapegoating public unions for budget shortfalls and trying to freeze or cut their pay.

So once again, instead of seizing the opportunity and locking up a key constituency, Obama and the Democrats are desperately trying to hand them back to the Republicans.  Brilliant.

February 24th, 2011 at 08:00am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Democrats,Immigration,Labor,Politics,Polls,Republicans,Wankers

With Dems Like These, Andrew Cuomo Edition

First Andrew Cuomo wanted to cut the pay of government workers to cut New York’s deficit, and now it looks like he’s following Rick Scott’s lead on deficit reduction:

As many New Yorkers struggle to make ends meet and state and city budget deficits skyrocket, our rookie governor has a new, astonishing trick for his recovery plan – tax cuts for the wealthy.

That’s right, Gov. Cuomo, the Democrat, wants to join all those Republicans in Albany and slash an income tax surcharge for every New Yorker making more than $200,000 a year – a mere 5% of the population.

Awesome.  Just like any other Republican, Cuomo doesn’t care about deficit reduction or fiscal responsibility, just in making the middle class and working class pay for giveaways to the rich.

February 23rd, 2011 at 07:52am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Democrats,Labor,Politics,Taxes,Wankers

Mostly B&W MOMA Photoblogging

The Museum Of Modern Art is also photographically agreeable.

MOMA 1

MOMA 3

MOMA 4

February 22nd, 2011 at 11:33am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: NJ/NYC,Photoblogging

Great Moments In Republican Branding

Apparently the GOP thinks our children are too safe.  Or not tough enough.  Or something.

Republicans: Pro-fetus, anti-child.

February 22nd, 2011 at 08:05am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Corruption/Cronyism,Politics,Republicans,Wankers

LIES

I am quite certain that I have never looked like this.

Young Me 2

3 comments February 21st, 2011 at 02:07pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Uncategorized

Monday Media Blogging

A forgotten videogame classic:

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Exciting!!!

February 21st, 2011 at 11:43am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Monday Media Blogging

Wisconsin Question

I haven’t seen anything about the National Guard showing up in Wisconsin yet like Governor Walker was threatening.  Did he realize that it would be a terrible idea, or did Obama suddenly remember that he’s Commander-In-Chief and order the National Guard not to engage in any strike-breaking?

1 comment February 19th, 2011 at 01:29pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Labor,Obama

Great Moments In Conservative Journalism

This is awesome: Conservative talk radio host Vicki McKenna cites her own Facebook comment as proof that liberals are threatening the life of Wisconsin’s horrible thuggish Republican governor (kinda like the Bush administration planting Iraq WMD stories in the NYT and then using them as proof that Iraq had WMDs), then questions The Awl’s journalistic standards when they ask her about it:

After several tries, we finally reached McKenna. She responded to our questions about the source, writing only that “it was a post from a friend” and that “no, i don;t have a link.” McKenna added: “as a former reporter, i am interested to know how you conceive this as a news story, though?”

I guess it’s not a proper news story unless your sole source is yourself.

(h/t Phoenix Woman)

2 comments February 18th, 2011 at 11:19am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Media,Politics,Republicans,Wankers

Everything You Do Is Wrong

Michele Bachmann seriously needs a hobby or something…

Michele Bachmann wants Michelle Obama to quit meddling with American moms – especially their breastfeeding habits.

The Tea Party darling and Minnesota congresswoman slammed the First Lady for supporting a tax break on breast pumps, accusing her of trying to lead a “nanny state.”

“I’ve given birth to five babies and I breastfed every single one of these babies,” said Bachmann earlier this week on Laura Ingraham’s radio show. “To think that government has to go out and buy my breast pump for my babies. You wanna talk about the nanny state? I think we just got the new definition of a nanny.”

Breastfeeding = Liberty!  Breast Pumps = Socialist Government Takeover!

This is even dumber than the ongoing conservative freakout over Michelle Obama’s attempts to educate parents on the value of healthy food and exercise for their kids (and you can’t tell me that they wouldn’t have been beside themselves with admiration if Laura Bush had done the exact same thing).  They’re just reflexively opposing and attacking everything coming out of the White House, no matter how benign or innocuous it might be.

February 18th, 2011 at 07:19am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Obama,Politics,Republicans,Wankers

Wait… What?

Republican budget guru Paul Ryan explaining where our biggest future debt problems lie:

Social Security is a big part of the problem of future debt. Now, as people know — now, Social Security is not a contributor to our deficit of any material right now. Social Security is not a big driver of our debt problems. Medicare and Medicaid are the biggest drivers of our future debt problems.

So, um, which is it?

February 17th, 2011 at 07:59am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Politics,Republicans,Social Security

What Are They, 12?

Seriously?  This is just infantile:

Members of Congress are coming up with all sorts of ideas to cut the budget — some of them which would have an actual impact on cutting spending. And then there are others that seem more about grabbing headlines. Rep. Steve Womack (R-AR) — who proposed an amendment to eliminate funding for President Barack Obama’s teleprompter — falls into the latter category.

In the course of the debate over how to reducing spending by $100 billion over the rest of the 2011 budget year, members of Congress have offered their ideas in the form of more than 400 amendments. Womack’s was one of them — but he pulled it because he couldn’t get an estimate on how much it would save, he told Fox News.

Yeah, I’m sure it’s costing us millions of dollars to run Obama’s teleprompter, which he is totally the first president in history to ever use.  This childish “Ha ha, Obama uses a teleprompter!” bullshit is something I’d expect from one of those teabagger idiots marching around with a GO BACK TOO KENIA sign, but members of Congress should know better, even Republican ones.

February 16th, 2011 at 07:10pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Obama,Politics,Republicans,Wankers

Tales From A Parallel Universe

Thomas Sowell laments that Republicans aren’t doing… exactly what they’re doing:

With most of the media heavily tilted toward the Democrats, Republicans are going to get hit far more often than they are going to get in their own punches.

(…)

Knowing that they are going to get hit more often in the media, you might think that Republicans would put extra time and effort into developing a knockout message. In reality, however, Republicans seem to invest much less time and thought into getting their political message across than is done by the Democrats.

First of all, Democrats develop words and phrases that they all use, so that the public hears those same words and phrases over and over again, until they sink in. Republicans have nothing to match the Democrats’ catch phrases like “social justice” or “tax cuts for the rich.”

Back when George W. Bush first emerged on the national political scene in 2000, Democrats said that he lacked “gravitas.” The media kept repeating it. People who had never used the word “gravitas” in years were suddenly saying “gravitas” 24/7 on news programs, interview shows and in the newspapers and magazines.

When have you ever known the Republicans to be that coordinated?

Um, pretty much ALL THE TIME?

It’s funny, I don’t remember the 2000 election being about Dubya’s lack of “gravitas” at all – I remember it being about Al Gore being a big fat liar for minor errors and things he never actually said.

The only way to make any sense of this piece is to swap “Republican” and “Democrat” – then it becomes merely obvious and unremarkable instead of delusional and insane.

February 16th, 2011 at 11:35am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Media,Politics,Republicans,Wankers

Legalizing Pot Is For Wimps

The Culture Of Life, Law & Order Party’s latest innovation: Legalized murder.

A law under consideration in South Dakota would expand the definition of “justifiable homicide” to include killings that are intended to prevent harm to a fetus—a move that could make it legal to kill doctors who perform abortions. The Republican-backed legislation, House Bill 1171, has passed out of committee on a nine-to-three party-line vote, and is expected to face a floor vote in the state’s GOP-dominated House of Representatives soon.

The bill, sponsored by state Rep. Phil Jensen, a committed foe of abortion rights, alters the state’s legal definition of justifiable homicide by adding language stating that a homicide is permissible if committed by a person “while resisting an attempt to harm” that person’s unborn child or the unborn child of that person’s spouse, partner, parent, or child. If the bill passes, it could in theory allow a woman’s father, mother, son, daughter, or husband to kill anyone who tried to provide that woman an abortion—even if she wanted one.

The godless anti-life hippies of the left want to legalize pot, the pro-life authoritarians of the right want to legalize potshots.

I wouldn’t worry about it, though – it’s not like conservatives ever actually advocate or threaten violence against anyone they disapprove of, right?

1 comment February 16th, 2011 at 07:04am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Choice,Politics,Republicans,Wankers

B&W Metropolitan Museum Of Art Photoblogging

I really like photographing art museums for some reason.  Not the art so much, just the museums.

NYC Met 1

NYC Met 3

NYC Met 6

NYC Met 7

1 comment February 15th, 2011 at 11:40am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: NJ/NYC,Photoblogging

Gun Nuts Draw The Line

Apparently conservatives’ heartfelt belief that more guns = more safety doesn’t apply to their own immediate vicinity.

Either that, or they think their own fans are more dangerous and crazy than the population at large.

February 15th, 2011 at 07:12am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Republicans,Wankers

New York Rooftop Photoblogging

The view from the hotel window.

NYC Rooftop 2

NYC Rooftop 3

February 14th, 2011 at 11:48am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: NJ/NYC,Photoblogging

Monday Media Blogging

The shadowy and mysterious Codename V. informs me that Call Of Duty is exactly like this.

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Awesome.

February 14th, 2011 at 07:44am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Monday Media Blogging

Friday Quote & Chinchilla Blogging

This week’s quote is from the police corruption drama Night Falls On Manhattan, which I barely remember:

My son could win this case, and he’s just out of high school. And he’s stupid!

And, of course, there’ll be other people’s chinchillas…

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Awww.

February 11th, 2011 at 11:42am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Friday Quote & Cat Blogging

AAAAAHHH The Deficit Will Destroy Us All!!!!

Obama’s CIA director gets into the act:

CIA chief Panetta tells Congress US debt, deficits are a threat to national security – Reuters

The people who tell us that the deficit is a deadly existential threat that nonetheless does not require their taxes to be raised remind me a lot of the people who told us that extremists in Iraq were a deadly existential threat that nonetheless did not require them or their children to volunteer for military services.

In other words, deadly existential threats that require the little people to sacrifice.

February 11th, 2011 at 07:31am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Economy,Obama,Politics,Taxes,Wankers

New York Airport Photoblogging

Yes, I actually do like taking pictures of airports.  Charlotte is probably the best photographically, and San Diego’s not bad either.  La Guardia not so much, but still worth a try.

NYC Airport 1

NYC Airport 2

February 9th, 2011 at 11:34am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: NJ/NYC,Photoblogging

Wednesday Why-I-Love-The-Weekly-World-News Blogging

Weekly World News has the skinny on McDonald’s latest expansion into virgin new territory:

The McDonald’s Corporation announced its plans to expand the franchise into unchartered territory. They’re building a Mickey D’s on the moon!

James A. Skinner, the Chairman and CEO of McDonald’s said the lunar restaurant is scheduled to open in January, 2015. The company set aside a budget of $12.5 billion to complete the project. That’s nearly 6000 times what it costs to open a McDonald’s restaurant on Earth.

When asked about the restaurant’s moon clientele, Skinner said the burger joint will cater to all kinds of space travelers, human and non-human.

“We expect a few astronauts to stop by every now and then,” said Skinner, “but we think the majority of the customers will be aliens. There’s just something about our golden brown fries that aliens can’t resist.”

In order to better serve their alien clientele, the McDonald’s Corporation plans to release a new, “moon-only” dollar menu, which includes foods like Astro-Fries, Martian Nuggets, and a new sandwich, the Big Uranus.

Skinner said he wanted to open a restaurant on the moon because the company had “run out of space” on Earth.

“We already have too many McDonald’s on this planet,” said Skinner. “There’s one in every country and on every continent on the globe. It’s only right that we expand our franchise into outer space. It’s the last available real estate at this point.”

So far, extra-terrestrial reactions to the lunar Mickey D’s have been mixed. Some aliens can’t wait to wrap their tentacles around a hot and juicy Quarter Pounder with Cheese.

“I’ve been craving McDonalds ever since I left Roswell in 1951,” said Splivzack, an alien from the planet Zeeba. “My buddies and I used to dress up as humans and chow down on some Chicken McNuggets after every alien attack. Man, those were the days.”

Others say the restaurant would be an unwelcome commodity in outer space.

“Just because I’m an alien doesn’t mean I have to eat like junk,” said Bjor, a cave-dwelling Martian. “There’s enough transfat in one of those burgers to kill six Plutonians!”

Still, the McDonalds Corporation shows no signs of foregoing their plans to open the first restaurant on the moon.

“We’re going through with this no matter what,” said Skinner.

Best of all, no matter how much fat and junk you eat, you still lose weight!  Until you get back to Earth, that is.

1 comment February 9th, 2011 at 07:31am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Weekly World News

The Great Decoupling

Very long, very important essay by Harold Meyerson in The American Prospect.  In essence, he argues that our big, powerful corporations no longer need the American economy to be healthy, because their sales and labor bases are now overseas.

So much for trickle-down.  And trickle-up, for that matter.

February 8th, 2011 at 11:27am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Corruption/Cronyism,Economy,Politics,Unemployment,Wankers

That’ll Do, Pigs. That’ll Do.

So the DLC is finally dead.  In much the same way the facehugger “died” in Alien – it completed its mission of implanting corporate conservatism deep inside the body of the Democratic Party.  The DLC is no longer “needed” to pull the Democratic Party to the right, because that’s now exactly where they are.

February 8th, 2011 at 07:53am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Clinton,Corruption/Cronyism,Democrats,Obama,Politics,Wankers

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