Archive for August, 2011

Quote Of The Day

Michele Bachmann, from a story about how Republican Jews think she’s Jewish(!):

As a young girl from Anoka, I was shocked at the level of security in Israel. We worked on the kibbutz from 4 am to noon. We were always accompanied by soldiers with machine guns. While we were working, the soldiers were walking around looking for land mines. I really learned a lot in Israel.

Am I the only one who finds that kind of… unsettling?

August 31st, 2011 at 06:51am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Elections,Quotes,Republicans,Weirdness

Monday Media Blogging

This is why we watch Iron Chef.


August 29th, 2011 at 11:38am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Monday Media Blogging


Very good, long story in this week’s NYT Magazine about the decline of manufacturing in the US.  There’s a lot of interesting stuff in there about lithium-ion batteries and the future of the electric car business, but the biggest takeaway for me is that because “industrial policy” is a dirty word, we now have an economy structured around industries like software and finance that don’t employ nearly as many people as manufacturing, so that even if GDP does start growing, it won’t translate into nearly as many jobs as it should.

It’s kind of like basing a stimulus plan on tax cuts for the rich, in other words.  Or basing an election campaign on appealing to independent voters instead of the base.

1 comment August 29th, 2011 at 07:40am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Economy,Unemployment

Sunday Mr. Deity Blogging

A philosopher tries to help Mr. Deity figure out how to define Good.

I’m beginning to worry that Mr. Deity is using the same solution for every problem…

August 28th, 2011 at 04:21pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Monday Media Blogging,Mr. Deity,Religion

Why The 70s Were The Golden Age Of Movies

Last night I watched a maniacally grinning naked woman on a hospital bed floating in outer space, shooting computer-spirit-powered lasers and fireballs at the Devil in the form of a giant eyeball.

This was shortly after she blew up the 400-year-old reincarnated midget bodybuilder medicine man who recently clawed his way out of her back.

4 comments August 26th, 2011 at 11:28am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Coolness,Movies

HAMP For Unemployment

Looking for another way to give desperate people false hope and pretend to solve the problem while actually just benefiting corporations?  I know!  Let’s let people on unemployment work for free and call it “training”!

August 25th, 2011 at 07:52am Posted by Eli

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

No Room For Improvement

Ezra Klein explains that Obama couldn’t possibly have done a better job, what with his miniscule majorities in both houses of Congress and all.  I particularly like the part where he suggests that Obama would have been less popular and the 2010 bloodbath would have been worse if Obama had passed an effective stimulus and generally done more to live up to his campaign promises.

Because the American people just hate strong politicians who get results, especially when they don’t act like corporate tools.  That’s why FDR was only able to get elected 4 times.  Well, that and dying.

August 23rd, 2011 at 07:51am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Corruption/Cronyism,Democrats,Economy,Healthcare,Media,Obama,Politics,Wankers

Monday Media Blogging

This is really quite uncanny.  And awesome.


August 22nd, 2011 at 11:24am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Monday Media Blogging

Optimistic Jon Huntsman Is Optimistic

Apparently he thinks that Republican primary voters are looking for a sane, rational candidate.  My favorite bit:

“The minute that the Republican Party becomes the party — the anti-science party, we have a huge problem,” Huntsman said.

Umm… Jon?  That ship sailed about ten years ago, if not more.

August 22nd, 2011 at 08:03am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Elections,Politics,Republicans

Friday Quote & Puppy Blogging

This week’s quote is from Summer And Smoke with Laurence Harvey and Geraldine Page, which I have absolutely no memory of watching:

I’m more afraid of your soul than you are of my body.

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

That’s pretty much me every morning, only not as adorable.

1 comment August 19th, 2011 at 07:49am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Friday Quote & Cat Blogging

This Just In

Apparently the teabaggers are basically just rebranded Republican theocrats.  If they’re political independents, it’s only because the Republican Party isn’t sufficiently suffused with right-wing religious fanaticism.

But the joke’s on them, because now they’re even less popular than the religious right, and even atheists and Muslims.  Why, they’re even less popular than Obama’s record on the economy, and that’s saying something.

The Tea Party really is the best hope Obama and the Democrats have next year – that they nominate more unelectable crazies like Sharron Angle, Linda McMahon and Christine O’Donnell, and that voters turn against the teabaggers that they elected last year.  Lesser of two evils is pretty much all they have going for them next year, so they’re going to have to be pretty damn lesser to overcome the enthusiasm gap (who could have predicted that the party that strokes its base would get better turnout than the party that kicks theirs?).

1 comment August 18th, 2011 at 08:08am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Economy,Elections,Obama,Politics,Polls,Religion,Republicans

Are There No Workhouses?

Thomas Sowell laments that the poor just don’t know their place anymore, and that this will be the end of civilization as we know it.

Of course, there’s absolutely no possibility that they might have legitimate grievances, or that most of “the top” that they’re so “focused on tearing down” has been motivated by nothing more than selfishness and greed, and has been buying politicians for years to avoid participating in any of the “shared sacrifice” being heaped on the poor, the working class, the sick, and the old.

August 17th, 2011 at 08:11am Posted by Eli

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

Monday Media Blogging

Apparently someone thought this was a good idea…

(h/t :matthew)

August 15th, 2011 at 11:32am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Monday Media Blogging

“No Apparent Esthetic Value”

Note To Self: Stay out of Long Beach.

Police Chief Jim McDonnell has confirmed that detaining photographers for taking pictures “with no apparent esthetic value” is within Long Beach Police Department  policy.

McDonnell spoke for a follow-up story on a June 30 incident in which Sander Roscoe Wolff, a Long Beach resident and regular contributor to Long Beach Post, was detained by Officer Asif Kahn for taking pictures of a North Long Beach refinery.

“If an officer sees someone taking pictures of something like a refinery,” says McDonnell, “it is incumbent upon the officer to make contact with the individual.” McDonnell went on to say that whether said contact becomes detainment depends on the circumstances the officer encounters.

McDonnell says that while there is no police training specific to determining whether a photographer’s subject has “apparent esthetic value,” officers make such judgments “based on their overall training and experience” and will generally approach photographers not engaging in “regular tourist behavior.”

Wow.  I have been run off by cops and security guards before, and even told that I was not allowed to take photos of the PPG buildings above eye level(!), but detainment?  For taking pictures with no “apparent esthetic value”?  That describes roughly 90% of every picture I’ve ever taken.  In fact, the photo that got Wolff detained looks uncannily like it could be one of mine.

Remember, when they outlaw cameras, only outlaws will have cameras.  Or something.

1 comment August 15th, 2011 at 08:01am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Art/Architecture,Terrorism,Wankers

It All Depends On What The Meaning Of The Word “Good” Is…

The NYT recently revived Obama’s old quote from early in his presidency that he would rather be a good one-term president than a mediocre two-term president, in the context of talking about what he has to do to turn his presidency around before he’s up for re-election.  But really, that only makes sense if you buy the premise that he hasn’t been a good president, which can only be properly evaluated if you know what his goals are.

That is the question.  There has been a spate of Obama-evaluating articles and blog posts lately, with the likes of Robert Reich, Drew Westen, Der Spiegel, LAT, and the Wall Street Journal attributing his disappointing presidency to weakness and/or cluelessness, while Matt Stoller, David Sirota, Jamie Galbraith, and, well, me, argue that Obama has been enacting exactly the policies he wants to enact.

There is room for agreement between the two views, however: Regardless of whether Obama is a successful Republican or an unsuccessful Democrat, he has been an absolutely miserable politician who has demoralized his own base, alienated independents, and done nothing to win over Republicans. (Well, actually, he’s done quite a lot to win over Republicans, but none of it has worked.)  And the economy and employment situation is still terrible, although I suppose that could also be considered a matter of perspective – the wealthy are still doing fine, if not better, but the overwhelming majority of the electorate are not feeling very secure.

So is Obama a good president or a mediocre one?  I think the answer mainly depends on how much money you have.  Is he a one-term president or a two-term one?  I think the answer mainly depends on how crazy the Republican nominee is.

1 comment August 11th, 2011 at 07:42am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Corruption/Cronyism,Elections,Media,Obama,Politics,Wankers

Obama’s Secret Weapon Against Mitt Romney: Irony

Yes, Obama’s plan is actually to paint Romney as a phony insincere corporate shill who reverses his position on every issue.

His team really has been studying Karl Rove’s gameplan of attacking opponents with your candidate’s own weaknesses…

August 10th, 2011 at 07:25am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Elections,Obama,Politics,Romney,Wankers

Monday Media Blogging

The Crazy Taiwanese CGI people give you… The Dark Knight Rises:

I just saved you all $9.  You’re welcome.

August 8th, 2011 at 11:50am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Monday Media Blogging

S&P Report To Be Posted On Bulletin Board Outside SuperCongress’s Locker Room

The congressional reactions sound an awful lot like that of a sports team that’s been dissed and is using it as motivation:

Representative Joe Courtney, Democrat of Connecticut, said he had “read and reread the S. & P. report” several times since it was issued Friday night, and he said it could spur action by Congress. If the 12 members of the committee, to be appointed by Aug. 16 by Congressional leaders of the two parties, could agree on a deficit-reduction package, and if Congress approved it, Mr. Courtney said, “that would surprise a lot of skeptics” and could disprove the company’s criticism of the United States political system.

Representative Blake Farenthold, a freshman Republican from Texas, said the S.&P. report could have a beneficial effect. “Anything that encourages the new committee to get the job done and get us back on a rational fiscal path is a good thing,” Mr. Farenthold said.

Another freshman Republican, Representative Steve Southerland II of Florida, said the credit report created “a sense of urgency for the two parties to come together.” The possibility of a further downgrade “scares me,” Mr. Southerland said.

Go team! Let’s show S&P who’s boss!  By doing everything they tell us to!

August 8th, 2011 at 07:50am Posted by Eli

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

Sunday Mr. Deity Blogging

This is where it all went wrong.

August 7th, 2011 at 02:38pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Monday Media Blogging,Mr. Deity,Religion

There’s No One Left To Vote For

Shorter American electorate: WE HATE EVERYBODY.

And really, who can blame them?  Both parties got their shot at running the government, and both parties failed miserably because they cared more about their corporate and wealthy donors than the people they were elected to serve.

There is definitely room for a third party (although it would really be more like a second party at this point), but not if it’s just a corporate “centrist” party positioned between the other two corporate parties.  The only kind of third party that’s going to gain any traction would be a populist one that promises to represent ordinary people instead of corporations and the wealthy.

1 comment August 6th, 2011 at 01:47pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Corruption/Cronyism,Democrats,Elections,Obama,Politics,Polls,Republicans,Wankers

The Problem

I agree with a lot of this Peter Daou post, especially about how the right has effectively stepped into and taken advantage of this country’s information and education vacuum, and how the left is hobbled by the lack of any kind of common cause between the progressive movement and the Democratic Party.  But I’m not so sure I buy his diagnosis of the root cause:

On the other side you have the Democratic establishment, political leaders, pollsters and strategists who, by and large, are poll addicts, chronically incapable of taking principled stands, obsessed with appealing to independent voters, hostile to progressive advocates, often just as captive to moneyed interests as their Republican counterparts. Mind-bogglingly, it was the White House and Democratic leadership that worked with BP to ‘disappear’ the Gulf spill, for fear it would harm them in the 2010 midterms. Craven doesn’t begin to describe it.


As I said previously, faced with a public that holds opposing views, politicians can either change their positions to match the public’s views or change the public’s views to match their positions. Only when Democrats decide to do the latter will America’s rightward shift be halted or reversed.

I believe that Obama and most of the Democrats are actually Republicans masquerading as weak Democrats, and all the poll-driven, center-chasing wimpiness is camouflage to make their pro-corporate policies look like some kind of pragmatic (albeit misguided) centrism rather than the corrupt sellout that they actually are.

On a related note, I think it’s hilarious that the White House keeps complaining that progressives aren’t doing a good enough job of selling the American people on the Satan sandwiches they keep offering up, when the real problem is that we can’t convince the White House to stop making them.

3 comments August 4th, 2011 at 07:53am Posted by Eli

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

Monday Media Blogging

This is pretty awesome, in a rave-y, Venezuelan yogurt commercial kind of way:


August 1st, 2011 at 06:03pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Monday Media Blogging

This Is What Happens When You’re Not Paying Attention

You say clueless, ridiculous things like this:

Republicans will still be able to refuse to raise taxes. But if they do, it won’t matter. The only way they can succeed in keeping taxes from rising is if the Obama administration and the Democrats stand shoulder-to-shoulder with them to extend the Bush tax cuts.

Srsly?  Did you not see what happened last December???

August 1st, 2011 at 11:27am Posted by Eli

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

The Only Winners And Losers Who Really Matter

If you want to understand how Washington thinks and why our government and media are so worthless, just read this repellent column by the WaPo’s Chris Cillizza, toting up “The debt-ceiling deal… winners and losers.”

In the winning column, he lists Mitch McConnell, the Tea Party, Obama, the Congressional Budget Office, Grover Norquist, and – I’m not kidding – David Wu.

In the losing column, he lists Congress, the Gang Of Six, commissions, and liberals.

Missing from either list: The economy or the American people.  Just like they were missing from all the political calculations and posturing by Obama and the Tea Party, who collaborated to produce a terrible deal that will make the country weaker and maybe even increase the debt it was supposed to reduce.

You also have to love this little snippet of DLC-style conventional wisdom:

But remember that Obama’s target constituency in 2012 is not his base but rather independent and moderate voters. And those fence-sitters love compromise in almost any form.

Yep, there’s nothing independents and moderates love more than politicians with no convictions at all (I personally believe Obama is a strong Republican masquerading as a weak Democrat, but the appearance is the same).  And of course they always turn out in droves, not like a motivated Democratic base would.

I understand that most politicians – and much of the media who cover them – are corrupt, shallow, self-centered creatures, and it’s folly to expect them to always put the good of the country first.  But couldn’t they at least think about it a little bit?

August 1st, 2011 at 07:49am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Democrats,Economy,Media,Obama,Politics,Republicans,Wankers

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