Saturday, February 28, 2009

Colbert vs. Steele: Hiphopapocalypse

This week on the Report, Stephen Colbert threw down the gauntlet and challenged RNC Chairman Michael Steele to a freestyle battle, concerning core conservative issues of course...

According to the Politico, Steele says it's on.

Here's hoping Colbert gets some pointers from the Hiphopopotamus and the Rhymenoceros.

(via WR)

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Read This Now - The Bodacious New Budget

You can take a look at the Obama Administration's new budget proposal, titled A New Era of Responsibility here. Which in and of itself is pretty cool, I don't know how one went about getting a copy of something like this in the pre-internet dark ages or even if the Bushies bothered to make such items available (given their take on transparency I'd say it's unlikely), but it is great that anybody can download and read this stuff for themselves.

Andrew Leonard has taken a look and sums it up as pretty powerful from a progressive prospective...

The size, goals, and funding strategies for the new budget ensure a political battle of monstrous proportions. And in retrospect, it clarifies the Obama administration's strategy on the stimulus package. Suppose the administration had pushed for a much bigger stimulus package, along the lines of what some progressives were arguing for. Many progressives actively wanted to provoke a Republican filibuster, as a show of strength and an opportunity to shame the GOP publicly as obstructionists. But why provoke that kind of fight in your first weeks of office, if what you've got in your back pocket is a budget proposal bigger, more expensive, and more fundamentally transformative of the United States' economy than anything proposed by a Democrat or Republican since Lyndon Johnson's Great Society?

The White House was saving its bullets for the real fight. And it is on.

Read This Now - Gail Collins Brings Some Fury

Gail Collins' piece in today's NY Times is great reading, if you're among friends I highly recommend a dramatic reading of the first six paragraphs culminating with this one...

Louisiana has gotten $130 billion in post-Katrina aid. How is it that the stars of the Republican austerity movement come from the states that suck up the most federal money? Taxpayers in New York send way more to Washington than they get back so more can go to places like Alaska and Louisiana. Which is fine, as long as we don’t have to hear their governors bragging about how the folks who elected them want to keep their tax money to themselves. Of course they do! That’s because they’re living off ours.
But seriously, go read the whole thing.

Kenneth Didn't Wait For SNL

Jack McBrayer, the actor who plays Kenneth the Paige, was on Jimmy Fallon's late night NBC show last night with a response to the response to the response.

It's amusing, and they really are alike, but it's not uproarious.

Also who knew Jimmy Fallon had a tv show?

(via TPM)

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Now Playing On A Website Near You; Bobby Jindal as Kenneth the Paige

I'd say it's pretty much the official consensus that La Governor Bobby Jindal was Kenneth the Paige from 30 Rock last night.

I didn't bother to watch Jindal's speech and I've only seen 3o Rock a handful of times (note to self start watching it more often) but everyone seems to be in agreement on this, and on the fact that Jindal was terrible (even Fox News panned his performance).

A google blog search for jindal kenneth currently returns 35,000 hits and a regular google web search is bringing in 115,000 hits.

Here is the actual speech...

Here is Jindal's entrance...

And here is Kenneth...

Maybe I'll actually stay up to watch SNL this weekend.


Maybe I need to go get a new Kindle...

Monday, February 23, 2009

The Short You Should See

You may well be able to find all of the nominated shorts from last night's Oscars online, or at least the animated ones, and some theaters ut on a package viewing in the run up to the awards show, but if all you had seen was Presto (like everyone else in America) the short that ought to have caught your eye and made me laugh out loud from the nomination clip alone was Oktapodi.

You can watch it here.

And yes the guy who said that letting Presto into this category was kind of lilke bringing a gun to a knife fight was probably right.

(via Slate)

Politics At The Oscars? Hah!

Tongue in cheek aside politics often make an appearance on Hollywood's biggest night. Sometimes things are well put and worthwhile and sentiments are often heart felt and sometimes emotions run high.

Dustin Lance Black gave an eloquent and moving acceptance last night when he won best original screenplay for Milk, incidentally it was the second Oscar of the night so the speech was made at about 9 pm to (I haven't seen any numbers) a large national TV audience.

The WaPo had a cool rundown of some particularly memorable political moments at the Oscars on Sunday which translates as a slide show online. They rightly point out George Clooney's brilliant acceptance for best supporting actor in Syriana a few years back.

(sorry but this seems to be the only version available online and you have to watch all of the run up, didn't want to leave you hanging though.)

George Clooney at the Oscars

Whither Roland Burris

One of the stories to keep an eye on as the week opens and the government gets back to work is the fate of Roland Burris. Most observes were fairly shocked that former Governor Blagojevich would even try to appoint a new Senator amidst his impeachment over charges including his attempted sale of the position in question. But it seemed that there wasn't actually much to be done and after a modicum of protest Burris became a Senator and now, well now Burris is in a fiery tailspin reminiscent of nothing so much as his late patron Blagojevich's last days in the spotlight.

The Washington Post this morning joined the NY Times and the Chicago Tribune in calling for Burris's resignation (the Tribune beat the drums most of last week). Burris's loaner chief of staff resigned on Friday and the new Governor of Illinois, Pat Quinn, also called for him to step down. Robert Gibbs speaking from the podium in the White House didn't go quite so far but nonetheless made clear the White House wasn't happy...

If you need a quick update and what Burris has said and done, and in some cases not said, you've probably been in the outback for the past week but War Room will catch you up.

Hey even if it was a short run Burris can still carve United States Senator onto his resume.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Forget About The Beatles

The new President is huge, he may well be the most popular person ever. This is however, all based on one little poll (that was conducted online to boot) so slice it how you like and then break out the salt.

Caveats notwithstanding, the Harris Poll asked adults to name people they admired enough to consider their heroes Barack Obama topped the list, followed by Jesus Christ, and Martin Luther King (I'm guessing people technically meant Jr.).

For more information on the poll and it's history as well as the methodology used and a disclaimer about the popularity of Jesus vs Obama, read the Harris release.

(via WHW)

Who Rides The Metro?

Not the folks who make the important decisions about how it runs. The WaPo has a pretty hard charging piece in the Metro section today reporting that many of the Metro's board members don't ride the bus or the train yet are tasked with making the final call on everything from fares to scheduling.

Metro is facing yet another big budget shortfall but is also finally making moves towards the silver line to Dulles and the purple line beltway style loop, at least in MD. Greater Greater Washington stays way on top of these issues and is certainly a must read if you have a stake in the DC Metro.

If you're on the Facebook you can now become of fan of WMATA as well.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Read This Now - The Gamble Reviewed

You may not have the time to sit down and read Tom Ricks' new look at the past couple of years in Iraq, The Gamble: General Petraeus and the American Military Adventure in Iraq 2006-2008, but you do have the time to read Joan Walsh's review and more importantly you should.

There isn't an excerpt that will do the piece justice, just go read it.

Bringing The World Into Focus

Joshua Silver models a pair of the self-adjusting glasses he developed for the poor. The glasses work on the principle that the more liquid pumped into a thin sac in the plastic lenses, the stronger the correction.
(By Mary Jordan / TWP)

Not a terribly political post but I've been menaing to point out a brilliant little story in the WaPo about a month ago. It is the story of Joshua Silver, a British physicist, and his self-adjusting glasses. An ingenious invention that should help many many people see the world clearly.

Basically you put on the glasses and adjust a little dial until you can see clearly. The dial has been controling the amount of clear liquid inside the lens, the more liquid the stronger the correction. Like I said brilliant and currently $19 a pop, with a projected price of just a few dollars (thanks to economies of scale).

Another interesting factoid from the article is that 60-70% of people in the developed world wear glasses (or contacts) and that only about 5% of people in the third world do. And not because the citizens of developing nations have better eye sight.

Give the whole thing a read if you like.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Fear The Turtle In A Whole New Way - Semi NSFW

Dan Savage was on the road last week and didn't get to answer every question posed to him on cute little 3x5 cards at colleges and universities across the country, so he got to some of the choicier ones in this week's column.

This is for you MD fans, alums, and students out there...

Please assign new salacious definitions to the following terms, which are near and dear to the hearts of UM students: “Cornerstone,” “Fear the Turtle,” and “Diamondbacking.”

Cornerstone: When you get high in order to break through a sexual inhibition—like when pot helps you “turn a corner” sexually. “Sue wanted to peg her boyfriend Drew, but he just couldn’t do it until he got cornerstoned.”

Fear the Turtle: What a woman experiences when she realizes halfway through vaginal intercourse that her bowels are full and her enjoyment of the sex has been superseded by her fear of crapping the bed. “Sue had to ask Drew to stop fucking her because she feared the turtle. She got on the can for a minute, then hopped back in bed, and no longer feared the turtle.”

Diamondbacking: Consenting to anal sex in the hopes that doing so will inspire a boyfriend to propose. “Sue knew that Drew was totally into anal sex, so she let him diamondback her. Now they’re engaged.”

The whole column is a winner.

The Consequences Of Your Actions

We all know the old adage that elections have consequences and now it seems that Representatives votes in Congress may as well.

According to BayouBuzz (an online Louisiana news outlet) several local ministers have launched a recall drive in newly elected Republican Representative Anh "Joesph" Cao's 2nd District. The recall's organizers claim to have already collected more than 12,ooo signatures in the first week. While off to a fast start they'll need a lot more support as Louisiana requires one third of registered voters in the District to launch a recall (again, according to BayouBuzz).

The ministers and constituents are angry over Cao's two votes against the stimulus package:

Wallace, Chairman of Recall Committee, argues that his and Young’s effort will succeed because of the anger against the newly elected Republican in the very pro-Obama, Democratic-leaning seat. “Representative Anh Cao's has already cast two votes in opposition to President Obama's Economic Stimulus Bill. This Economic Stimulus Bill will mean billons of dollars for Louisiana 's citizens in the form of assistance for education, extended benefits for unemployed citizens, and much, much more. However, Anh Cao has chosen to represent his Party over the interests of the citizens of this District and this State.”
Certainly a story to keep an eye on...

(via TP)

Why Did The Tourist Cross The Road?

Because the Beatles did, silly.

It's pretty fun watching the people decide just how badly they want to cross Abbey Road looking like one of the fab four. It's also really interesting watching the traffic, quite calmly, avoid everyone even the people standing in the middle of a busy intersection paying no attention to anything other than taking a picture of their friends.

It does make me wonder if this is a typical day or if folks could see the camera that was filming and hammed it up an extra bit.

I also quite enjoyed the band that made the video, it is technically a promo for their new album.

(via kottke)

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The Afghan War From Ground Level

I've been reading Tom Ricks' new blog and as a result have been getting a lot of info on what the situation in Afghanistan looks like, bottom line not so hot. In no small part because Afghanistan is just so different from anywhere else and can't be treated in the same way much less solved in the same way as other places and conflicts.

But I digress, I want to point out a couple of great blogs (milblogs if I've got the lingo right) written by soldiers about the current wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

I came to these blogs via Tom Ricks and Doonesbury's Sandbox, if you are interested in whats actually going on on the ground over there it would be hard to find something better to read...

Afghanistan Shrugged

Army of Dude

Standard Cellphone Charger Looms

This is the best news I've heard all day.

You know that terrible feeling you get when you arrive at a travel destination only to discover that you've left behind your cellphone charger. You also know that great elation that follows if you manage to find someone with the same phone who is willing to let you use their charger.

Both of those feelings will one day be a thing of the past, unless you have an IPhone, according to a report from Wired's Gadget Lab.

17 major cellphone manufacturers, but not Apple, announced that they would all move to a standard mini-usb charger by the start of 2012. Very cool for a variety of reasons, including environmental ones as well as the forgotten charger drama previously mentioned.

Visit Gadget Lab for the details, and a few digs at Apple.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

MoneyBall On The Court

Micheal Lewis, of MoneyBall fame, took a look at the NBA and one of it's unheralded, silent superstars, Shane Battier in a piece for the NYT Magazine last Sunday.

If you like Lewis and are intellectually interested in sports (ie you follow stats and play in a fantasy league) you'll enjoy the read. Even if you just like interesting things or just like sports you'll be happy to have read it...

In the statistically insignificant sample of professional athletes I’ve come to know a bit, two patterns have emerged. The first is, they tell you meaningful things only when you talk to them in places other than where they have been trained to answer questions. It’s pointless, for instance, to ask a basketball player about himself inside his locker room. For a start, he is naked; for another, he’s surrounded by the people he has learned to mistrust, his own teammates. The second pattern is the fact that seemingly trivial events in their childhoods have had huge influence on their careers. A cleanup hitter lives and dies by a swing he perfected when he was 7; a quarterback has a hitch in his throwing motion because he imitated his father. Here, in the Detroit Country Day School library, a few yards from the gym, Battier was back where he became a basketball player. And he was far less interested in what happened between him and Kobe Bryant four months ago than what happened when he was 12.

Meet A Democrat Who Voted Against The Stimulus

Congressman Pete DeFazio (D-OR) was interviewed by Steve Inskeep this morning on NPR (yes there is some news interspersed around the funding drive) about his decision to vote against the final compromise version of the stimulus bill.

DeFazio is cool calm and collected and does a fantastic job explaining how he couldn't vote for a bill that borrowed so much money and then turned around and used it on tax cuts. He stressed the many benefits of infrasturcture investment in the forms of schools, resivoirs, etc that we still use and enjoy today decades after their construction via stimulus spending. Long term returns on investments that do not exist when the borrowed money is frittered away through tax cuts and rebates.

Have a listen.

Facebook: Fear and Fun

I've recently joined the great internet boondoggle that is Facebook, and for the most part I'm quite happy with my experience. But do I own the information about myself that I've uploaded or does Facebook? And if Facebook owns it what can they do with it?

It is not a particularly nice question and apparently the answer is murky at best and fairly scary at worst. According a NY Times article today, Facebook appears to claim ownership of all information, including your likeness, that appears on the site. Perhaps most sketchy is that they quietly made changes to the terms of service agreement (which almost no one actually bothers to read). For the details check out the article.

Scary, certainly a little bit. But anytime you put info up on the internet you should do so with the expectation that it is out there and that you won't be able to fully control it. I guess it is part of the trade off for using an interesting, cool, useful service such as Facebook without paying for it.

On a more fun note Slate did some research on the recent 25 things chain post that tore through Facebook. It seems that 25 things spread just like an infectious disease epidemic does, very neat.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Read This Now - Catching Up

Just got to the google reader for the first time in a couple of days.

Ezra Klein has been on fire, about two thirds of what he's posted over the past 24 hours is highly recommendable, so I'm just gonna say head over there for a quick primer on health care, the economy, how they are both tied in to politics and how the change in progressive voices in the media marketplace over the past ten years has effected all of that.

Thursday, February 12, 2009


Hell yeah they go to eleven.

The store is in Southampton, England. The shot was taken by hey mr glen.

(via GL)

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Stormy Daniels - Screwing People Honestly

Depending on where you get your news you may have heard by now about the effort to get adult entertainment writer, director, producer, and star Stormy Daniels to run against Republican LA Senator David Vitter.

As outlandish as it all seems I'd like you to not laugh too hard until you've checked out the very professional Draft Stormy website and watched this interview with her.

While Daniels doesn't take herself too seriously she is well spoken and composed as well as at least nominally informed (which is more than can be said for many voters, let alone candidates).

Looking forward to that debate.

After exploring the Draft Stormy site a bit further there are several more interviews and numerous other news story links that are worth checking out.

Pick Me Up

The preceding post was so bleak, it seemed as though a pick me up was in order.

Last night's moment of zen ought to do the trick...

Especially when you throw in some new polling data with Lieberman against probable candidate Richard Blumenthal; they come in at 58-30 for Blumenthal.

Recession And Job Loss In Charts

These bright and colorful charts are full of dire predictions and disheartening info, and they've been making the rounds online of late.

First, this chart gives the job losses from the most recent peak for the past three recessions. Very scary, though Ezra Klein is right to point out that it's a bit unfair since the economy was larger to begin with this time around and therefore had more jobs to begin with and more jobs to lose.

Klein then pointed to this chart:

Which shows job loss as a percentage for the past six recessions. Klein is scared that we're already pretty much as far down as the worst of these and have no idea how much further things will fall this time around.

Nate Silver made an equally (and potentially more) important observation when he pointed out that over the past six recessions on this chart each one has taken progressively longer to recover the jobs lost. Which would mean that we should expect a long lasting recession. Also very scary, probably scarier since this is better data.

And to top it all off Dean Baker explains with this chart that job loss reports are often too low initially (Floyd Norris reports on just such a revision from last week) and that we should assume that the latest report of 580,000 jobs lost in January is low as well...

That may be hard to believe, but the economy almost certainly lost more jobs in January than the 597,000 job loss reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The reason is that BLS imputes jobs for new firms that are not included in its sample.

The formula used for calculating this imputation is backward looking, meaning that it depends on growth in prior quarters. When the economy takes a sharp turn in either direction, as it did last fall, the imputation is likely to be too high or too low, depending on the direction of change.

The chart below compares the imputed job gain/loss in new firms in last four months with the imputation for the corresponding month one year earlier. (These data are not seasonally adjusted.) It is simply not plausible that more jobs have been generated in new firms in the last four months than in the same months of last year. The true rate of job growth is likely 40,000 to 60,000 less per month than current data indicate.

Senate vs. House

Well it looks like we'll have a bit of a show down as the House and Senate negotiate the final stimulus package to send to the President.

The Senate version of the bill is certainly less stimulative. The Center for American Progress crunched the numbers and report that not only will the Senate version save or create 12-15% fewer jobs, it will also end up costing more.

Here's hoping that the final product is closer to the house side and that at least some of the education and health stimulus (which Obama mentioned last night) get put back in.

So-called centrists are threatening to take their ball and go home if the final bill is different than the one they came up with.

Protecting Parkland Works

Just take a look at this mind blowing satellite image:Sidi Toui National Park, in the southern half of Tunisia, close to the Libyan border, viewed by the Enhanced Thematic Mapper Plus (ETM+) instrument on NASA's Landsat 7 satellite on December 13, 1999. Native vegetation can be seen returning inside the borders of this protected park (approx. 7 kilometers wide), established in 1993 to protect the region against desertification. The effects of continued agriculture, overgrazing and drought can be seen on the surrounding arid landscape. (NASA/Jesse Allen/Landsat,USGS)

The image is part of another great series at The Big Picture on the Earth as seen from above.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Rachel Maddow Is Smart; Ben Nelson, Not So Much.

Rachel Maddow just interviewed Senator Ben Nelson (D-NE) about his role in the stimulus compromise now working its way through the Senate.

Short version: Ben Nelson is a bloviator who seemed to genuinely not understand that removing $15 billion in education spending aid for the states meant that there would be $15 bilion fewer dollars used to build schools (creating jobs) and hire teachers (again jobs). Maddow ended up having to talk to him like a five year old. Telling him before you got involved there was more money in the stimulus package that would have created more jobs and now with less spending there will be fewer jobs created. The problem was Nelson didn't seem to understand that at all.

Here we go...

The Nelson interview begins around 5:30 but the whole thing is worth watching.


Nelson got around today or at least around MSNBC (wonder if the chance to be on the TV had anything to do with his wanting to be in on the comprimising). He was on MSNBC earlier in the day responding to Paul Krugman and Ezra Klein had plenty to say...
And thus life imitates snark: Ben Nelson's economic theory is based on a survey that Nelson has not conducted on Nebraskan attitudes towards education funding. Meanwhile, this is, as you'll note, utterly non-responsive to the question at hand. Ben Nelson believes Nebraskans would think $100 billion a "pretty big commitment to education." And maybe they would. He does not, however, say that they would think $150 billion an excessively big commitment to education. Nor, for that matter, does he suggest that they would think $80 billion an insufficient commitment to education. Confronted with Krugman's argument that Nelson's cuts did not display "any coherent economic argument," Nelson offered no coherent argument -- economic or otherwise -- in response. And this is the guy deciding the size of the stimulus package. He's cutting 500,000 jobs from the stimulus based on some fake poll he mentally conducted of Nebraskan preferences. He doesn't even bother to justify his actions on the merits. It's appalling.
(For the details and set up make sure to check out Klein's original post)

Here is the video:

Friday, February 6, 2009

Now That's A Good Burn

Not live, but Ezra Klein just handed it down to John McCain...

“The American people are figuring it out,” Mr. McCain said. “This is not a stimulus bill; it is a spending bill.”

Similarly, this is not a restaurant; it's a place that sells food in exchange for money. And this is not library; it's a facility that lends books. And this is not my mother; it's the woman who gave birth to me and later provided me with sandwiches. And this is not a guy who should be president; it's some grandstanding senator with a very poor grasp of economics!

Oh, wait.

Kelso, if you would...

Bring It Some More


This is what I'm talking about...

(via PL)

ed. note - I'll add some more links and depth to this post soon, just wanted to get this video out asap.

Here is video of Obama's speech at the Energy Department earlier yesterday. Some of it is on energy but the substantial bits hit the Republicans hard, if namelessly.

Dick Cheney vs. Jon Stewart

I haven't been staying up to watch the Daily Show of late, and I only occasionally remember to catch a rerun or watch it online.

But pretty much every night there's something in the opening news segment that you should see, because Jon Stewart is always willing to call people out for hypocrisy and lies. Last night he took down Dick Cheney...

Does Farva Work In Virginia These Days?

It is possible, check it out...

And from today's WaPo...

Christy Gates, left, and Don Ferguson smoke at Shenanigan's Pub in Leesburg, Va.
(Tracy A. Woodward - The Washington Post)

Coincidence? I think not.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Read This Now - That Didn't Go So Well

President Obama has finally come to his senses and begun to hit back in support of his stimulus bill. Lots of folks are weighing in on what he should be saying or why things have gotten so bogged down.

I think the bottom line is that the Obama folks were unprepared for the Congressional Republicans to maintain party fealty and ignore what the administration saw as the voice of the voters for change. As such Obama let things go by and completely lost control of not only the debate but the entire conversation.

Bipartisanship is all well and good, as is changing the way we do business in Washington. But if that means you hide behind a claim of bipartisanship and remain on the sidelines while the other side attacks with a vengeance and you attempt to do things differently and less confrontationally while they come back with the same old tactics and claims (no matter how idiotic) and beat you up with them it won't do you or the country any good at all.

Instead of linking to a whole bunch of different people with different thoughts and insights I'm going to suggest that you (once again) read what Joan Walsh has to say. As is often the case, she is all over this one...

Obama is the most remarkable Democratic communicator of my lifetime, I think, and even he's not rising to the task, yet. He needs to lay out his priorities, clearly; he needs to simplify his pitch, yet he also needs to add some depth to his and our understanding of how we got here. This economic crisis is not just about bad mortgages and/or the housing bubble bursting, and it won't be solved by reinflating that bubble, the Republicans' latest dumb idea. These problems have been building since at least the 1970s...

Democrats know the Republicans are wrong. Little children know they're wrong. Cats and dogs know they're wrong. But somehow this week, unbelievably, Obama and the Democrats seem to be losing the spin war. There are the worrying poll numbers. And there is the Washington Post report that Senate Democrats don't have the votes to pass a stimulus bill yet, at least not with the 60 votes that would rule out a filibuster. In this economic crisis, with 2.6 million jobs lost last year and thousands more lost in every news cycle, what does it take to create the urgency and responsibility to get this done?

Listen - A Travesty Of Justice

If you don't know Timothy Cole's story, you should.

It is a sobering tale of the all too common miscarriage of justice in America, particularly in Texas, and of the unwillingness of so many to admit mistakes or even to attempt to right wrongs.

This morning on NPR Wade Goodwyn has the whole story complete with interviews with the actual criminal and the victim. The prosecutor and law enforcement involved declined to be interviewed.

You can read this story, but if you can you should listen.

Hell Of A Shot

Wednesday is the best newspaper day of the week. While the color funnies and the crossword in the Sunday paper are pretty hard to beat, on Wednesday both of the papers that I get (NYT & WaPo) run a food section.

These sections can be hit and miss, which is to say that they aren't always all that they could be. But more often than not the food sections are the best part of the paper (news reporting notwithstanding).

The NYT had this great photo of three top flight New York restaurateurs on the cover of this week's Dining section. Editor Pete Wells took to the internet to describe how they managed to pull the shot off.

Photo Illustration by Tony Cenicola/The New York Times

HUNGRY MEN From left: Mario Batali of Del Posto, Sirio Maccioni of Le Cirque and Jean-Georges Vongerichten of Perry St., Nougatine and Matsugen really really want you to visit.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

How The Republicans Operate, or Why I Hate Harry Reid

Ezra Klein has this take on Republican obstructionism in the Senate up on his blog and I must say he has hit the nail on the head.

The real question here is why 58 Democrats can't pass the president's top priority. We're learning that the minority still controls the Senate. So long as Republicans fundamentally don't want a bill to pass, they can make virtually limitless demands. The worst that happens is that Democrats simply give up and admit failure to the American people. Put another way: The worst that happens is overwhelming success. The trick is making sure the demands seem reasonable rather than obstructionist. But that's not too hard. Republicans know full well that they won't actually be forced to publicly filibuster the bill and defend their obstructionism while Democrats fan out across the news shows to warn of the economic dangers. Instead, Harry Reid will ask how the bill can be made smaller and leaner and more Republican. And maybe, for this, he'll get the crucial two votes assuring passage of an insufficient measure, the failure of which Republicans will run against in 2010.
I have long been pissed off over Reid's ,and Senate Democrats' in general, willingness to just let the Republican's push them around with the threat of a filibuster.


That would mean that the Republicans would have to get up and talk and talk and talk about why they don't like the stimulus bill while, as Klein points out, Democrats can in turn hit the airwaves and point out that the Republicans want the economy to fail etc etc.

Also, while I am very excited that Obama is our President, Reid and Pelosi have fundamentally failed to deal with Republican obstructionism and I am worried that Obama's dedication to bipartisanship etc has and will leave him and his administration unprepared to fight back against Congressional Republicans either.


The Audacity of Idiocy

Just when you thought Rob Blagojevich was done with interviews he managed to get on Letterman.

You can imagine how well that worked out for him...

(via WR)

How Are Those Slots Working Out For You Governor?

Not so well according to recent news reports. Looks like things aren't really going according to plan and the slots won't be generating the promised revenue.

This kind of mess is one of the reasons many people opposed bringing slots to Maryland.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Would Judd Gregg Really Be The Third Republican?

New Hampshire Senator Judd Gregg is expected to be announced later today as President Obama's nominee for Commerce Secretary and nearly every media outlet running a story on this development has touted Gregg as the third Republican in Obama's Cabinet.

Gregg is certainly a Republican as is Ray LaHood, the Transportation Secretary and former Republican Congressman from Illinois, but I'm going to take exception to the designation of Defense Secretary Robert Gates as a Republican.

Yes, Gates was appointed by W Bush and previously served in other Republican administrations, but that distinction does not in and of itself make him a Republican. Especially not in a technical sense as Gates remains (and apparently always has been) a registered Independent.

Is this nit-picking? Yeah probably, but it is also lazy journalism at best on the part of pretty much every media outlet there is, so I'm gonna pick it.

The White House is making reference to Gregg as the third Republican as well.

Read This Now - Martha Washington Was Hot

Most of the time if I post a Read This Now it is wonkier than I am able to get, the article is full of stuff you should know (hence the title) but it is often fairly heavy. This post is different.

Yes I think you should read this now, because it will make you smile and we all need that kind of reading these days given everything else that's going on.

So check out Brigid Schulte's piece from yesterday's WaPo (front page no less) on our first First Lady who, well, had it going on...

Monday, February 2, 2009

You Tube Spot The Difference Game

If you've ever been to a bar that has the little arcade game console with the spot the difference game on it you know two things. 1) I really like that game, and 2) that game is awesome.

For both of those reasons I was psyched to see this new you tube version of the game for the Oscar nominees highlighted on Bloggasm.

Mostly I just enjoyed playing the game, but it is also an interesting adaptation and evolution in the uses of you tube. It has been very cool in my lifetime to watch the internet grow and change and this looks like yet another little piece of all that.

I had to retry the Frost / Nixon one and finally crapped out on level 21 - Vicky Christina Barcelona. How far can you get?

Have fun...