Saturday, December 27, 2008

I Must Not Have A Sense Of Humor

The Hill:
RNC candidate Chip Saltsman’s Christmas greeting to committee members includes a music CD with lyrics from a song called "Barack the Magic Negro," first played on Rush Limbaugh’s popular radio show.
Meanwhile, GOP house negro Ken Blackwell says that "the media is too sensitive":
"Unfortunately, there is hypersensitivity in the press regarding matters of race. This is in large measure due to President-Elect Obama being the first African-American elected president," said Blackwell, who would be the first black RNC chairman, in a statement forwarded to Politico by an aide. "I don't think any of the concerns that have been expressed in the media about any of the other candidates for RNC chairman should disqualify them. When looked at in the proper context, these concerns are minimal. All of my competitors for this leadership post are fine people."
"Fine people"?? Coming from the guy who stole Ohio for Bush in 2004, that's something that I'll take with a BIG grain of salt....say, about the size of Utah. Who says the GOP isn't full of racist old white men?

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Happy ChristmaHanuPanchaEidKwanza!

Happy Holidays to you all, whatever they be!

"Bad Senator! No Presents For You."

Norm Coleman didn't get his Christmas wish (yes yes yes, I know he's Jewish!) from the Minnesota Supreme Court today:
In a unanimous decision handed down just now, the state Supremes denied Coleman any relief in a lawsuit he was waging to deal with allegations of double-counted absentee ballots, which his campaign says have given an illegitimate edge to Al Franken. The Coleman campaign was seeking to switch 25 selected precincts back to their Election Night totals, which would undo all of Franken's recount gains in those areas and put Coleman back in the lead.

The court, however, sided with the Franken camp's lawyers in saying that a question like this should be reserved for a post-recount election contest proceeding, as the proper forum to discover evidence -- and which also has a burden of proof that heavily favors the certified winner.

Simply put, Coleman is in very big trouble right now. With Al Franken leading by 47 votes, this lawsuit was Coleman's best shot at coming from behind. And it just failed, making a Franken win nearly a foregone conclusion when this recount finishes up in early January.
Normie, no doubt, will sue--let him! As far as I'm concerned, it's all over but the shouting and the swearing-in of Senator Al Franken. Norm, be a man and just effin' concede, will ya?

Senator Franken....heh....the only thing that sounds better than that is President Barack Obama. It just might be a merry Xmas and a Happy New Year, indeed!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Somebody Remind Me To Never Buy A Book By Orson Scott Card Ever Again

Seems that science fiction author Orson Scott Card is a nominee for the 2008 Malkin Award, given by the Atlantic's Andrew Sullivan. The award, "named after blogger, Michelle Malkin - is for shrill, hyperbolic, divisive and intemperate right-wing rhetoric. Ann Coulter is ineligible - to give others a chance." Pretty awesome. Card earned his nomination with a hateful diatribe in--where else?--the Mormon Times:
Regardless of law, marriage has only one definition, and any government that attempts to change it is my mortal enemy. I will act to destroy that government and bring it down, so it can be replaced with a government that will respect and support marriage, and help me raise my children in a society where they will expect to marry in their turn. Biological imperatives trump laws. American government cannot fight against marriage and hope to endure. If the Constitution is defined in such a way as to destroy the privileged position of marriage, it is that insane Constitution, not marriage, that will die.
Dammit, I'm in the middle of a six-book series by Card! Guess I'll have to buy used copies of the remainder of the series, to keep the money out of his hands, or download them on BitTorrent. What an asshole!

Coleman: "I'll Do Something Else If I Lose"

Norm contemplates losing. He'd better contemplate defending himself on charges of corruption.

And, oh yeah: Franken's ahead by 48 votes. Go Al!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Yes We Can, Detroit-Style

The 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid gets 52 mpg from a hybrid gas-electric powerplant. No wonder Ford didn't want any bailout money!

Rick Warren?

Dump him, and replace him with Kirbyjon Caldwell (Carleton '75). Nuff said.

Do The Math

Where did that $350 billion of the TARP go? The Associated Press reported over the weekend that none of the banks that received the TARP funds could give a reasonable answer as to where it went. Some even wouldn't say what they did with it at all. And no one is willing to step up and ask them "Where did it go?! What did you spend it on? More bonuses, more corporate jets, more lavish 'workshops' at plush resorts? Why did GM and Chrysler have to have the dirt under their fingernails checked, but Citigroup just had to fill out a two-page form? WHAT THE FUCK DID YOU DO WITH THE MONEY, YOU ASSHOLES?!?!"

Jim Cramer is willing to ask, and he really wants to know. Especially check him out starting at 4:19, he's on fire:

I've said it before: no one in Congress was willing to ask the banks and the insurance companies how they fucked up the money, because no one in Congress really understands how the financial markets work, and they didn't want to be made to look like fools in front of the tv cameras and the "Wall Street titans." Let me tell you, I worked for ten years in the financial markets, and I'm not surprised that the banks, after begging for the dough, now aren't willing to say where all that money went. They don't think that they have to; they think that they're still Masters of the Universe...even though they're the same idiots who got us into this mess in the first place.

The guys that run Citi, and Morgan, and Bank of America, the hedge fund managers who make half-a-billion-with-a-B dollars a year, they don't think that they're subject to the same rules as the rest of us, plain and simple. They went crazy, made up insane financial instruments, synthetic derivatives based on air--polluted air, at that!--that screwed up the worldwide financial system, then ran to Uncle Sam for the money to clean up their fuckups. But, having been asked, do you think that anyone in Congress would then inquire of the banks to kindly enlighten us as to some idea of how they're going to use the money?--Seeing as how the last set of ideas these geniuses had got us into this mess in the first place. No, because these bankers knew how to con them. "Don't ask, you wouldn't understand the answer anyway," they said, away from the tv cameras. "Don't ask," said Hank Paulson, "this is far too complex to explain to the likes of you, and this is an urgent matter!" So Congress bent over, and gave up the cash. Or rather, they bent us over, and picked our pockets.

So no one asked the lords of the financial markets what they were going to do with the money. But making cars, heyyy, now that's something that the average congresscritter, especially the southern Republican ones, think they know something about. "You just stand in place and do the same thing every day, right? And you think that's worth $70 an hour?" (Which itself is utter bullshit. Additionally: salary for a member of the U.S. Senate = $169,300, or roughly $81 an hour.) "Why, that's almost as much as we make! And all we do is stand in the same place every day and do the same.....waitaminute, what are you going to do with all this money??" Notwithstanding the fact that the CEO of Merrill Lynch made more money in 2007 than a whole local of the UAW does in a decade. Notwithstanding the fact that part of the reason the automakers are in such dire straits is that there's no credit available for people to use to buy their products in the first place, thanks to the aforementioned financial wizards. Nowithstanding the fact that the lords of Wall Street didn't have a single condition attached to the $350 billion that they've been given.

So General Motors and Chrysler had to account for damn near every penny, promise to sell their jets, come up with a new business plan, and do it all in three months, or else! Yeah, do just that, and build us some flying pigs too, and then we'll give you the money. That's what Congress asked the auto manufacturers to do before they got a loan. But the banks were given their billions, no questions asked, and they got away scot-free, the way that skilled professional thieves always get away.

We need to ask some hard questions, and demand answers. We need to follow the money, as Jim Cramer suggested, and find out what did they do with it, where did it go, and when did they do it. And we need to bring some serious regulation back to Wall Street, to make it somewhat less of a least, for the next ten or twenty years or so.

Because the professional thieves will always find a new way to steal. But for a little while, maybe we can make things a little fairer for the rest of us.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Return Of The Lizard People

The infamous "Lizard People" ballot returns, courtesy of a reader:

Al's Down By 2!

The Minnesota Supreme Court does Al a solid. Can you say "Senator Franken"?

Ancestry Is No Guarantee Of Excellence

I was listening to MSNBC's Nora McDonald this morning, as she tried to provoke a fight between the Republican talking head and the Democratic talking head over why Caroline Kennedy was being questioned about her qualification to replace Hillary Clinton in the Senate. The Republican talking head said it was sexism that was provoking all the questioning, and the Democratic talking head actually agreed. They both cited the questioning of Sarah Palin as another example of men doubting that women can handle the responsibilities of public office. I think both of them were talking out of their asses.

I'm already on record as opposing Kennedy's appointment to the seat, but it's got nothing to do with sexism. Caroline Kennedy is an intelligent, well-educated woman, but she has never held elective office. I don't think that just because she's a Kennedy, she's automatically both the most-qualified and the natural first choice for the appointment. As Rachel Maddow said last night, why don't we just go ahead and make the Senate into the House of Lords?--because we have far too many legacy elections and/or appointments in government already, from the disastrous election of George W. Bush, to the first election of Hillary (Mrs. President Bill) Clinton as the Senator from New York, and the assumption that Joe Biden's son Beau will take his Senate seat as soon as he returns from Iraq, just to name a few. Being born into a political family does give one a leg up, just as being born into a family of doctors or a family of CPAs will help a child if they choose to go into that profession. But it doesn't guarantee excellence in that particular field, no matter the pedigree. We need look no further than GWB to see the truth of that assertion.

On the other hand, being elected to public office is no guarantee of excellence, either. Sarah Palin is the governor of Alaska, previously was the mayor of Wasilla, AK, and she's a dumb as a post. Palin was questioned about her qualifications because her selection as the Republican vice presidential candidate was made with no regard as to her intelligence, her general and political knowledge, her understanding of current national and international issues, her knowledge and understanding of the U.S. Constitution, Federal law, the legislative process, and an awareness of the responsibilities of the office--all of which she most abjectly lacked. Palin was questioned because she demonstrated, over and over again, that she was a clueless idiot and a disaster-in-waiting as the potential VP of a presidential candidate who was seventy-two years old. It was entirely appropriate to question Sarah Palin's qualifications because, like Caroline Kennedy, she was not vetted by the voters before assuming such a potentially important office. Palin was appointed as a candidate without experience in a national office and exposure on the national stage, and her lack of qualifications for the office soon became glaringly obvious.

Caroline Kennedy is now being put forward as a candidate, although she has a different though similar lack of experience and exposure. Kennedy has been a very private person up to now, preferring to work on the sidelines rather than being on the front lines as an elected official. And though she's a lawyer, an advocate for education and children's issues in New York state, and the daughter of one President and the niece of two U.S. senators (among her many family connections in politics), she has never run for or held elective office before. And while I don't think that having previously held office is a mandatory requirement for membership in the Senate (see my support for Al Franken's senate bid), I do think that one's pedigree doesn't automatically grant that person the experience and exposure necessary to be an effective senator. I'm sure that Caroline Kennedy is an intelligent, thoughtful, progressive woman, but so are a lot of other New York women, and some of them are already elected officials. Why not one of them, instead?

Being governor of a state with a population of 680,000 and having no knowledge or prior interest in the government, laws, and issues facing this country, does not prepare someone to be Vice President or President of the United States. And being a Kennedy does not prepare someone to represent New York in the United States Senate. It's not sexist, it's reasonable and necessary questioning.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

"Throwing The Shoe At Him"?

Ever since Iraqi journalist Muntadhar al-Zeidi threw his shoes at Bush during a press conference in Iraq, the act of "throwing a shoe" at a person in disfavor as the ultimate insult seems to be catching on. Keith Olbermann tonight had several examples of this phenomenon, and said "Flying footwear... officially the new political equivalent of flipping the bird." The New York Times ran a story about an irate subway rider who attempted to throw a shoe at the M.T.A.'s chief executive. called it "the shoes...felt round the world."

I wonder if this will catch on. Personally, I don't care, but I'm not tossing my boots at some asshole--they cost a lot of money! But if people really want to do this, I say have at it. And I can't promise that if I were ever to confront Bush, I wouldn't give him the American verbal equivalent of throwing my shoes at him, either.

As far as al-Zeidi is concerned, I think he should be tried by an Iraqi court, found guilty, and charged the Iraqi equivalent of $5.00. Frankly, I'd like to shake his hand.

Back Again

I've been teaching myself how to use Ubuntu Linux this last week, hence the scarcity of posts. I've been interesting in learning how to use Linux for a while, and after discovering Ubuntu's Wubi installer, I finally found a way to install Linux on my main box in peaceful coexistence with the Windows XP installation already there. It's not as easy to learn as the Linux fanboys claim, but I'm getting there. As anyone who knows me is aware, I hate Micro$oft's hegemony on personal computing, their medieval ideas about security, and their support for so-called "digital rights management", AKA claiming innocence while aiding and abetting the biggest thieves around. I'm looking forward to achieving my goal of being totally Micro$oft-free in 2009!

Also on the geek front recently, the existence of dark energy has been confirmed, the Cleveland Clinic has successfully completed the first face transplant procedure attempted in America, and President-Elect Obama has selected a Nobel Prize-winning physicist for his Secretary of Energy.

I intend in the next few days to discuss how tech firms seem to be opposed to the card-check bill coming up next year in Congress, Norm Coleman's legal troubles, and the emergence of CNBC as the voice of the opposition; plus Blago, the economic stimulus package, Madoff, and more--stay tuned!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

"The Party of Herbert Hoover"

Republicans were warned Thursday by none other than Dick Cheney that failure to bailout the American automobile industry will label them "the party of Herbert Hoover forever":
Bush personally lobbied recalcitrant Senate Republicans after Vice President Dick Cheney failed to round up support Wednesday during a contentious two-hour meeting.

"If we don't do this, we will be known as the party of Herbert Hoover forever," Cheney told them, according to a Senate Republican aide, evoking the president whose inaction is widely blamed for helping trigger the Great Depression in the early 1930s.
Gee, the truth hurts, doesn't it? John Judis also noted:
If you look at the history of the Great Depression, what tipped that event from a global recession to depression was precisely a series of dumb, craven--or in Keynes’ word, “feather-brained”--moves by politicians blinded by ideology or by narrow self-interest. An interest rate hike here, a balanced budget there, a spending reduction or two, and we went from ten to twenty percent unemployment. Don’t imagine for a moment that the failure to bailout the auto companies isn’t one of those feather-brained moves.

Put it this way. What we have learned from the economics of the Great Depression is that in order to end the spiral of unemployment, government has to throw money at companies and consumers. It should be trying to raise wages, not lower them. The Wall Street bailout was a fiasco, but it was probably better than nothing. And the auto bailout was considerably better thought-out. Now there is a good prospect that two of the Big Three will fail, jeopardizing, perhaps, as many as a million jobs. That’s exactly the kind of thing that Americans should not be doing. But don’t tell that to those great patriots Corker, DeMint, or Shelby. They know better.

Ohhh, yeah, they know better, alright! Economic geniuses, every one of 'em....turning America into a third world country, and getting paid every step of the way.

Friday, December 12, 2008

GOP Senators to Big 3: Drop Dead

Yesterday Senate Republicans defeated a bill to bailout Detroit carmakers, then blamed it on the United Auto Workers. In a transparent attempt to destroy the union, Republicans blamed the U.A.W. for their own intransigence, risking the collapse of General Motors and Chrysler to further their narrow-minded parochialism and ideological extremism:

Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) then outlined what he said was a simpler alternative to the White House-brokered bill, which he called "a very poor product." He proposed giving General Motors and Chrysler the loans they want in return for three covenants, the first of which would require the companies by March 15 to either reduce their debt by two-thirds or file for bankruptcy. The other two covenants would require concessions from the United Auto Workers union and the companies' bondholders.


"Instead of the car czar, this ought to be titled the president's puppet," complained Corker, echoing the concerns of many of his GOP colleagues. Corker yesterday unveiled an alternate proposal that would force bondholders in the car companies to accept equity as partial payment; force the UAW to immediately reduce worker pay packages to match Nissan, Toyota and Honda; and ban compensation to idled workers, among other provisions.

"If we don't have the forced restructuring plans in place, many of us don't believe that American car companies will come out of this in a competitive position and the taxpayers' money will be wasted," said Sen. John Ensign (R-Nev.).

Ensign added that he fears a car czar would not have the expertise to deal with the auto companies. "When GM, Ford, Chrysler, their management teams have not been able to run their companies, obviously, very well, how does anybody expect some car czar or some politician to be able to make the decisions that are right from a business standpoint?"

Democrats have resisted forced restructuring, arguing that, under the Bush administration it could amount to open season on the UAW. They also sympathize with the automakers' argument that bankruptcy proceedings would scare off potential buyers.

As DHinMi at Daily Kos relates, it's all a crock:
The job bank provision is a canard, because the UAW and the Big Three are already eliminating it. So what this really is about is playing chicken with the economy and the livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of workers. A majority of GOP senators are either stupid and convinced that the problem with the Big Three is labor costs. In fact, many of the problems facing the Big Three aren't specific to them. The worldwide auto industry is a mess, due to the freeze on credit; worldwide trade is expected to decline for the first time since 1982.
I've had it with Republican shortsightedness, union-busting, and corruption. They would rather see General Motors and Chrysler go into bankruptcy and see over 5 million jobs disappear, than help these companies, whose workers and their unions helped defeat their party in this year's election. These traitorous Repugs don't care if the American manufacturing base destroyed, as long as unions are destroyed, and foreign companies continue to build non-union auto plants in their states. They don't care if their actions deepen and legthen the recession or bring on a full-scale depression.

Jeff at The TC Daily Liberal was never so right as when he described the Republican Party as
the party of obstruction and pettiness. They don’t stand for anything, yet they’re always willing to pick a fight...The Republicans have put their war against the unions ahead of the health of our economy.

The irony, of course, is that their vote is going to be meaningless anyway. The Bush administration will probably use TARP money to give automakers the $14 million anyway. All the Republicans did was show that they’re still not willing to compromise. No matter how grave the circumstances, nothing will make them turn away from their petty attacks and act in our economy’s best interest.
Exactly so. Make no mistake, this is about union-busting, pure and simple. This is about trying to finish, in their final weeks with some power, the job that Reagan started when he destroyed PATCO.

Again from Daily Kos, Senaca Doane writes:
I am sympathetic to those who don't want public money spend on private enterprise, or who don't trust the management of the Big 3, or who think that the Big 3 are doomed anyway, or who think that the bureaucracy of the UAW is top-heavy and wasteful. To various degrees and with varied levels of enthusiasm, I accept all of these critiques.

And yet, our decision now is not to get rid of the Big 3 or their leadership. They will head to bankruptcy, under current management, if no bailout is forthcoming.

It is not about whether to save public money (more of which will go into cleaning up the consequences of an auto industry failure than would be spent now.)

It is about one concern only: the destruction of the UAW and as much of the American labor movement as the Republicans can manage in these last few weeks before their power is sapped.


Unionism is seen by conservatives as unnecessary, socialistic, out of touch, out of date -- everything that has been said about unions since they first ever came into being. These arguments are part and parcel with non-enforcement of working conditions laws and elimination of the minimum wage: they think that America would be better off if our workers were as desperate and meek as those of China.

...Put aside for now the significant benefits that the union movement (for all its troubles) has conferred on both unionized and non-unionized workers in the past century or so -- and don't think for a moment that those non-unionized auto workers in the South would have, or will have, relatively decent pay and good working conditions were it not for the need to compete with the packages negotiated up north by the UAW. Consider instead the tremendous benefits that movement has conferred upon the Democratic Party.

For much of the 20th century, it was union-provided labor that allowed Democrats to stay competitive with Republican financial advantages.

Still, when Democrats meet, we often as not meet in union halls. When we phone bank, it is often in union halls, with union workers joining other activists on the phones.

If you want to know whether a white working or middle class voter will vote Democratic, one of the best predictors has long been: "do they have a union job?"

I do not give one jolly quivering monkey hump whether you like the union movement or whether you see problems with the union movement (as in some ways I do) or whether you have substantial disagreements on policy with the union movement (as I do.) The vote taking place this week in the Senate is about Republican attempts to dismantle the Democratic coalition.
This is the hidden core of Republican opposition to a bailout. We can't let them get away with this. Right or wrong, the Big 3 have to be saved.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

What Does Norm Coleman Have Against Democracy?

Honestly, I can't see why Coleman doesn't to see all the votes counted...unless Normie doesn't want the votes against him counted:

Do The Right Thing?

I caught Mike Huckabee promoting his new book on The Daily Show the other night. The worst thing I find about Huckabee is that he spouts arrant nonsense and divisive bullshit while sounding like an easygoing and wise elder statesman. His views are totally at odds with a rational, just and pluralistic society, yet he couches his wingnut beliefs in reasonable-sounding statements.

Huck asserted that "for 5,000 years marriage has been defined as being between a man and a woman." Really? In ALL human societies? Not at all! Yet the average person, without a grounding in history and anthropology, would buy his argument. That the average person would listen to bullshit like this without their biblical knowledge, general education, and critical thought coming into play is a topic for another post, but still I'm concerned that rightwingers like Huckabee are listened to by educated people without the laughter and ridicule their statements deserve.

Frankly, I get sick of religious rightwingers picking and choosing Biblical laws and verses to fit their prejudices and political stances. I hear crap like Huckabee's assertions, and I wonder if the speaker eats shellfish, or keeps his wife and daughters separated from the family during their periods. The hypocrisy of these Christian Taliban astounds me. I keep waiting for more moderate Christians to denounce them (and thankfully, some are starting to do so).

John Stewart gave back to Huck as good as he got, and I'm glad of it--but we need more people like him to stand up and call statements like Huckabee's for what they are, namely, bullshit. That would truly be "doing the right thing."

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Norm Coleman Is Another One

The Pioneer Press reports that Normie is under investigation by the FBI. Sounds like another item in the news right now? Ask the Minnesota Independent:
Because the charges against Blagojevich are criminal and made by the U.S. Department of Justice, they are (so far) on a wholly different order from allegations about the Colemans that were made by private plaintiffs in a pair of Texas civil suits from October.

The dissimilarity, however, ends approximately there. In both cases, the charges are that illegal payoffs to the elected official would be masked as payment of work performed by the wife. The monetary amounts are in the same ballpark: Laurie Coleman’s company received $75,000 and was to be paid $25,000, while the salary proposed for Patricia Blagojevich ran as high as $150,000.

One difference: In the Colemans’ case, payments — which haven’t been shown to be illegal, and whose propriety Sen. Coleman has insisted on — were actually made, not just talked about during wiretapped conversations.

Gee, at this rate, we might need a special "Republicans Only" federal prison.

Ill. Gov. Blagojevich Arrested

What an asshole!

Meanwhile, Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. says "I'm not Candidate 5."

Can we just have another special election, this time in Illinois? Because I'm pretty sure that by now the entire process has been poisoned.

Republicans Hate Unions

Listening to Mitch McConnell and Richard Shelby, I realized that the GOP hates unions. No big surprise there, but the extent of their hatred for unions, and consequently, the Big 3, astounds me. Are they so opposed to unionization that they're willing to see 3 million jobs go down the shitter? Apparently so.

Funny also how Shelby's home state of Alabama has non-union automobile factories owned by Honda, Toyota, Hyundai, and Mercedes-Benz. Alabama has given hundreds of millions of dollars in "incentives" to these manufacturers to persuade them to build their factories in the state. Do you think that McConnell and Shelby might have interests that are more parochial than national at heart?

Monday, December 8, 2008

Idiocy Averted

The Supreme Court has turned down an emergency appeal from a New Jersey man who says President-elect Barack Obama is ineligible to be president because he was a British subject at birth.

The court did not comment on its order Monday rejecting the call by Leo Donofrio of East Brunswick, N.J., to intervene in the presidential election. Donofrio says that since Obama had dual nationality at birth _ his mother was American and his Kenyan father at the time was a British subject _ he cannot possibly be a "natural born citizen," one of the requirements the Constitution lists for eligibility to be president.

I predict an appearance on Faux News in the near future for Donofrio.

Sen. Caroline Kennedy?--Thanks, but no thanks!

I have to say that I agree with Kos, Atrios, and Jane about the appointment of Caroline Kennedy to Hillary Clinton's soon-to-be-vacated seat in the Senate:
It's one thing when the children of politicians use their name and network advantages to make political careers for themselves - regrettable but inevitable in our very imperfect meritocracy - but quite another when it's just bestowed on them.
I revere the memory of her father and uncle, I met her as a teenager and I'm sure she's still a nice person, and she's got a J.D. from Columbia, but Kos is right:
Caroline has done nothing to help beat back the right-wing machine. But now, she's supposed to be handed by fiat what others fight their whole lives to attain?
If she wants to help--now that the struggle is over and the real fighting is about to begin--can't Obama just give her an ambassadorship to someplace nice and warm, like Belize or Costa Rica, instead?

Sunday, December 7, 2008

He's Cool

On a related note, SNL still hasn't hired a new black comic for Obama impressions. Is this being post-racial, or stupid? I'm still not sure.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Al Picks Up 37 Votes!

Eric Kleefeld @ Talking Points Memo:
Ramsey County elections manager Joe Mansky just confirmed to us by phone that Franken picked up a net 37 votes over Norm Coleman from these ballots. The ballots were just discovered this morning, after an apparent machine breakdown on Election Night prevented them from being counted the first time around -- but the hand count had no similar problems picking them out.
Thirty-seven more votes for Franken, after 171 were found in a voting machine in Maplewood. Of course, the Coleman campaign will contest this, as they have every other ballot that's not been clearly, fully, and completely marked. I swear, these people must proctor SAT exams in their other lives. And I expect the wingnuts to lose their minds about this; or, as Jeff at the Twin Cities Daily Liberal puts it, "conservative freakout in 3…2…1…"

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

The Detroit Bailout

E.J. Dionne:
There is a paradox at the heart of the proposed bailout of the auto industry. The rescue would have no chance of passing without the muscle of the Big Three’s unionized work force. Yet you can’t turn around without hearing someone trash autoworkers for the terrible crime of trying to earn a decent living.

I really don't understand how Obama's wanting to "spread the wealth around" was so terrible, yet this kind of attitude is never called out for what it is: class warfare, in its purest form. And please don't give me that "they make $70 an hour!" bullshit.

Monday, December 1, 2008

In Memoriam: Gil Heron and Everett Strong

Gil Heron, the father of poet and musician Gil Scott-Heron, passed away on November 27th at the age of eighty-seven. Called "The Black Arrow," Heron was the first black player in British professional soccer.

As anyone who knows me knows, his son Gil Scott-Heron has been a major influence in my life. His music has been part of my life for over thirty-five years, a large part of the musical score of my life and times. GSH's music has been a source of inspiration, hope, and catharsis for me. His title of "Godfather of Rap" bears witness to his influence over modern rap and hip-hop. Although his later years have been scarred by addiction and incarceration, his political acumen, wit, and sense of history are as relevant today as when he recorded The Revolution Will Not Be Televised in 1971.

Yesterday was also the anniversary of the passing of Everett Strong, my father. He died twenty-eight years ago, when I was a young and angry man of twenty-five, just when I was getting to know him, and getting to know myself. Although he wasn't a highly educated man--my dad left school after the eighth grade to help support his family--my father read three newspapers a day, supported my efforts at higher education, and left me with lessons of love and support for those near and dear to me.

I'm not the man my father was, but I am my own man, and I try every day to be someone he would have been proud to know. I was raised in a loving home, with a mother and father who were home together every day of my life, for the love of each other as well as for me. Gil Scott-Heron, on the other hand, was abandoned by his father at an early age, and raised by his grandmother. I've often wondered, after hearing these words from his song Hello Sunday! Hello Road!, what Gil's life might have been like, if things had happened differently for him:

And it was on a Sunday I met my old man,

I was twenty-six years old.

Naw, but it was much too late to speculate

I was luckier, much luckier.

Thanks, Dad...and Gil, my condolences.