Monday, December 21, 2009

Sumoftha Books (NonFic) I Read in 2009

Listen - I dunno how much time you want me to spend on explaining how this year's reading list was overdetermined by external events, my dissertation, etc., so just lemme say this: I did a lot less actual book-reading this year than I have in the four, five, six years previous. If anything, I hope this underwhelming list (of neither "high" nor "low" lights) will inspire some of our distinguished bloggers, commenters, etc., so that they'll use the occasion to reminisce on books they read and liked this year. It's a good excuse for looking back on shit - even non-book shit - you know?

Invisible Hands: The Businessman's Crusade Against the New Deal
by Kim Phillips-Fein
A major motif of my academic-ish readings in 2009 was a dip out of academic social and political theory, into a) more "applied" political science writing and b) the necessarily more "empirical"/"historicist" realm of the history of conservatism (both Perlstein's Nixonland and Wilentz The Age of Reagan deserve mention, too.) Check out Phillips'-Fein's Nation Review Article posing the question, what can the histories of conservatism tell us about the current configuration feat. Tea Parties and various fledgling populisms.

From Marxism to Post-Marxism
by Goran Therborn
I will revisit this work, no doubt, in making the argument that my dissertation "methodology" is """ marxism, """ but in the longer run, I fear I find it a little middling, and appropriate only for a grad-level Marxism seminar I'm increasingly less likely to ever one day teach.

Fat Man in a Middle Seat
by Jack Germond
You remember Germond [pic. below, Right] as the "fat man" from the McLaughlin Group, and his memoir is a weird, newsy, drunk, dry, drab denunciation of the (Clinton-era) political culture. I blame my unfortunate dependence on cable news for situating me such that this kind of well-meaning, liberalist batinage tastes like a grilled cheese sandwich to me after a long day "working."
The Eliminationists
by David Weinert
Domestic terror was on the brain, for obvious reasons. Which side is allowed to call the other one "fascist," again?

Plunder and Blunder
by Dean Baker
Have I ever mentioned this guy before? I am thinking about forcing this, if not The United States Since 1980 on some anthropology undergraduates this Summer who are doubtlessly expecting something about female genital cutting instead. It is the best explanation of the "current crisis" that I've read.

The Family
by Jeff Sharlet (who has a blog, I am thrilled to know.)
“Un-American theocrats can only fool patriotic American democrats when there aren’t critics like Jeff Sharlet around -- careful scholars and soulful writers who understand both the majesty of faith and the evil of its abuses. A remarkable accomplishment in the annals of writing about religion.”
--Rick Perlstein, author of Nixonland: The Rise of a President and the Fracturing of America
Now, what the crap non-fiction did you read?

Chasepack Where Are They Now: Crying for Rudy edition

Report: Rudy out

The Daily News, which recently suggested Rudy Giuliani was on the verge of a Senate bid, reports that he'll declare tomorrow he's not running.

The lede: "So long, Rudy."

Senate Late Night Postarama (or more likely snoozefest)

Not sure what I can add...anybody going to watch???
Why do Nelson(d-hahA) and Lieber (I-diot) get to have their demands met but not Sanders(S-ocialist) or Brown(D-oh)???

I say pass whatever you can in the senate, then nudge the thing left in conference...(if there is one...I have no knowledge of any precedent for forgoing conf. but have heard talk that they might "waive it")

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Sissy's Song

Greatest song ever?

Friday, December 18, 2009

For Dave3544 - former OG blogger

Via right here.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

"Used in a Cynical Way" by the BHO admin

Inspired by a day spent stewing on EZ's previous query:
  1. From a trade unionist point of view, was it worth tabling EFCA for the Senate version of health care reform?
  2. Or, knowing what we know about the White House after this debacle, were we insane to thing we'd get any real "support" on EFCA in the first place?
  3. Would EFCA help more people, at this point, than the existing Senate health care bill?
Extra Credit: Is it disingenuous to talk about the "Senate bill" at this point, given that we've still got a lotta empirical questions about what, exactly, is in the Senate bill.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Will labor be the wrench?

Anybody heard about this?
Two of the country's largest labor groups, the SEIU and the AFL-CIO, are each holding emergency executive meetings today to discuss whether they should support the latest round of health care compromises made by Senate Democrats.

Though there's no official word yet, early indications based on talks with various officials are that the groups will either formally oppose the legislation or, less dramatically, just not fight very hard to ensure its passage.

I would like them to push against the "watered down" bill...

I wish we had gone the 51-vote route, but I am notoriously confrontational for no reason...

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

2009 Dec 7 - Maddow: I Guess I'm a Racist

I know! You loved the "I Guess I'm a Racist" spot, and now you want the "I Guess I'm a Racist" platter, featuring an entertaining overview of the spot's antecedents, and some intelligent attempts to make sense of a) who it's interpellating, b) and how/why it could possibly be effective at so doing.

Well, you're in luck. This is worth all 480+ seconds of your time.

Monday, December 7, 2009

"I Guess I'm a Racist"

Emergent Senate compromise etc.,/etc., on heath care reform has les Rightists indulging in one of their favorite topics: how racist they AREN'T.

I dunno what to say, folks.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

War Speech

Let's end the threat of people having different religious and political views than we in the United States do for all time, motherfuckers.

And just for the record, we now live in a country headed by a supposed liberal man that you and I helped to get elected where the thought that we might spend one trillion over ten years on health care is too, too much. That Obama is about to announce that we will easily spend a trillion to intercede in a political squabble in the Pakistan/Afghanistan border region is seen as the minimum we can do.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Senate HCR Debate Open Thread

Oh, 2008. What was it all for, anywho? Maybe it was so everybody could be forced/entitled to pay private insurance companies a buncha money. Either way, I'm rooting for this piece of shit/historic legislation to pass.

Discuss. I will keep throwing thoughts down here for the rest of the debate. Muuuuuuuurrrrrry Christmas.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

For All Y'all

(But especially Wobs.)

Thursday, November 19, 2009

To Sweet Beginnings, Everyone!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Why We Probably Best Be Getting Psyched About The Partially Shitty Health Bill

It's 2010, stupid:
Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) said Clinton suggested Obama wants to move health care off the table so he can turn his entire focus to the economy by January — in time for 2010 elections.

“What he focused on was how important it is to move this year. And I think there is a general sense is the clock is ticking," Wyden said. "That certainly in terms of the president being able to focus on the economy next year at the State of the Union that getting it done this year will in effect clear the tables and allow the focus to be on jobs and education and infrastructure.”
I dunno how the President helps the jobs picture without an aggressive and politically suicidal govt jobs program, but, shucks, he's surprised me before.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Hizzy gets Bizzy on HCR...a (just barely a)live blog event

The house has begun the votes on HC reform, and they are currently voting on the procedural rules for the debate.

Last night I heard that they were whipping the last votes and were around 10 short. Thanks to NY, Rep. Owens brings the House to 258 Democrats and 177 Republicans.

It looks like it will be 4 hours of debate, and there should be lots of Highlarity...

Chime in if you get a chance...

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

A Rare Thing

It's rare that a little, teeny, petite blogpost about a blogpost (Klein, "Krugman on Krugman") can be so accurate a summation of (what Doug Henwood calls) what the people at The New Left Review call "the current conjuncture."
We began with an economic crisis that looked a lot like the Great Depression. But due in large part to the massive efforts of the Federal Reserve and the government, we pulled out of it, or seem to have pulled out of it.
Of course, I think people do understate the political work done by this administration simply to keep a Depression-ish financial collapse from sucking our entire society into a squalid crater. But the question for the people who govern us is: now that we have (maybe) "hit bottom," how, then, will we re-emerge? How long will it take to begin gaining ground again? And will we be a fairer society when we emerge, better-hedged against the asset bubbles and demand-side shortfalls that occasion these recurrent crises?

If the answer to that last question is "yes," I want to know how demand can be stimulated without rising wages, increased government investment in human welfare (i.e., government entitlements and government jobs) and, by extension, increased taxation of the wealthy? Will Democrats come to see that it is in their political self-interest to open themselves up further to charges of socialism, big-government, blah-blah-blah, if said charges arise while they are delivering actual benefits to voters?

Chris Matthews and Foucualt are both always right when they say that the burden of governing is heaviest on the 20th/21st century Left. If Ds win on the discourses of "health care" and "jobs," they can afford to lose on "socialism," because at that point, socialism'll be* just another (bleeping) tree falling in the (bleeping) woods.

*Actually, socialism already is a (bleeping) tree falling in the (bleeping) woods: at least in the northwest hemisphere. Go ahead and blame it on the whole previous century, or Stalin, or Mitterand, if that makes you feel better.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Who Does This Guy Think He Is?

Heard a story on the radio this morning about Obama meeting military families at Dover to console them when the bodies of their relatives killed in Afghanistan arrive. I couldn't help but wonder if this guy is really so full of himself that he thinks his mere presence provides some sort of comfort to these poor people. I wouldn't be surprised if more than a few of these families are thinking that maybe if His Highness wasn't dithering about sending more troops, their loved one might still be alive. And if someone did confront him, you know the MSM is never going to report it.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Hey Solid--Dig That NY-23 Gestalt!

Doug Hoffman NY-23 ad feat. Fred Thompson!

(Thompson, the legendary 2008 prez chasepacker, was also in Die Hard 2: Die Harder, which I still kinda like.)

Ezra Klein re: Public Option, as such, not meaning so much

Voila. See also Ezra's earlier, very good point about what's good and what's not-so-good about the "public option" not being quite the same frame as "Medicare:"
A Medicare option would also probably have been a nonstarter in Congress, much as the public option attached to Medicare rates stands little chance of passage. But the advantage would have been that the ensuing debate would have been explicitly tied to the thing that makes a government option so effective: the power to negotiate on behalf of a huge customer base, as other countries do and as Medicare does. Instead, the debate has centered around the principle of an insurer run by the public, which is, at this point, going to have a lot less impact on premiums than most of its supporters expect. As a political move, that probably made sense, and allowed politicians to get to a place where they might just have a compromise that supporters like and skeptics don't hate. But the cost is that the compromise won't do what supporters wanted, and skeptics feared.

I simply cannot, I simply do not, I simply will not understand.

Via Ben Smith:

Joe Biden's numbers, defying historical precedent, aren't very good, Gallup reports.

Cheney and Gore, by contrast, were about as popular as their bosses.

Meanwhile, in the National Culture

Hulk Hogan, Eric Bischoff sign with TNA -

I'm completely comfortable saying this is the biggest Pro Wrestling news since....I dunno. Please, please tell me that Mr. Hulkster will be reprising his "Hollywood Hogan"/heel persona?!?

I presumed myself to be "too old" to watch pro wrestling years back, when I found myself on the business end of family life, but these days, shit -- maybe we should all start watching professional wrestling? Is it really as scary as Bridezillas or that wedding reception show from NJ, or Sons of Anarchy*?

Ah, mebbe. Ah, mebbe not. I personally cannot imagine watching wrestling again because the sex-semiotics of the lady valets (and of the sexuality en general, and of the nationalist tropes, jeebus! ) make me feel implicated/interpellated into a very bad subject-position and a very worse politics of representation.

But rest assured there're no "value judgments" going on here (mebbe there should be?) If I'm doing the right thing by not-watching or by watching, it's doubtless for neutral (and/or "wrong") reasons.

Right About Now Let's Ketchup Horn

I'm in a baaaaaaad mood this morning, and thinking I'll take it out on the political news over my cereal bowl and my goddamned motherfucking coffee cup. That's right, I'm breakfasting at 11:40! Let's go round l'horn:

The Public Option Lives. Wow. | The New Republic
People Power Matters: The Public Option Lives! - CEPR
Ezra Klein - An interview with Sen. Sherrod Brown: 'Reid listened to his senators'
Well, shit. Look at this! For once, popular opinion seems to've trumped Senate slowdown rules, and progressives have leveraged the fraid-y cats and conservatives in their Dem-caucus!

[Of course there's still a long way to go, blah-blah-blah etc. Of course this isn't a single payer plan, blah-blah-blah etc.] Myself, I still take solace in the actual people having actual access to care, and, shit, the evidence that the ostensibly pro-government party is demonstrating that it actually can govern. That's enough to please Foucault and Chris Matthews, people. How about you?

NY-23 race first test of tea party power - Alex Isenstadt -
I am fizzassinated by this most truly overdetermined congressional election facing voters in NY, the home of fusion voting. So far, Palin, Pawlenty, Fred Thompson and others have endorsed a 3rd Party, Tea Party-induced conservative against the incumbent Republican Dede Scozzafava. Noted moderate Republican (and presumed 2012 chasepack-er) Newt Gingrich has thrown his "reasonable man" weight behind Scozzafava, saying "“If you seek to be a perfect minority, you’ll remain a minority.” I will be watching, and watching close, as these conservatives eat each other's young -- mebbe, just mebbe, allowing the Dem challenger to win the seat for the first time since 1850! Boom!

The Nasty Battle Between Chris Christie and Jon Corzine in the New Jersey Governor's Race -- New York Magazine
Alright listen, if you know me, and if you're going to know me over the next coupla days, you could do worse than to check this well-written survey of the filth-swamp that is NJ politics, and the particularly nasty terrain this election seem's to have staked out for a staging area.

"We" must root for Corzine, without ever really identifying with him - that's politics, chaps and ladies! The incumbent Dem gov KNOWS his own vote has topped out at btw 42-44%, and, thus, that he'll need to a) continue nasty, gnarly, often petty attacks against his GOP adversary Chris Christie, and b) boost the third-party candidacy of one Chris Daggett.

New Jersey is all about this sorta "better to win ugly than lose pretty" ethos, and its Democratic organization is as good at winning as it is, well, very fugging ugly. Corzine is inside of 10% down with a week to go. Can he make it happen?

Tax measure vote deserves civil debate | | Statesman Journal
Welcome to my personal apocalypse, the subject of my dissertation and the symbol of my discontent. This soft editorial summarizes the two sides battlings over Measures 66&67, so you can jump in and join a fella!

News: Organized Against Labor - Inside Higher Ed
Teachers' unions uneasy with President Barack Obama - Nia-Malika Henderson -
Fed up with McEntee - Ben Smith -
Meanwhile, executives of the bourgeoisie continue to hate them unions!

Mark Sanford on Ayn Rand | Newsweek Books

Monday, October 19, 2009

For the Conservative Populist Monetarist Xenophobe Set & Glenn Beck

[pilfered from Doug Henwood's 10/9 Radio Commentary. Henwood begins every episode of Behind the News with 5-7 minute blurbs of economic notes that are a) required listening, and b) now compiled in print form over here.]
As Ken Rogoff, the IMF’s former chief economist who’s back teaching at Harvard, told the Financial Times, “The financial crisis probably has brought forward the day when the dollar is no longer dominant—but maybe from 75 years to 40 years.”

US Senate Primary: PA 'D' Edition

I dunno about you, but if I were Rep. Joe Sestak [D-PA], I might not flaunt the Ned Lamont endorsement so loudly and proudly.

Then again, Arlen Specter [D-PA] is (rumored to be) rolling out endorsements from (Jeebus, Rod Stewart, Tristan Tzara, Sting [the wrestler] and Sting [punk tango guy]) Bill Clinton, the POTUS, the VPOTUS, etc.

I hope we at least get a good coupla televised debates outta this fight, feat. HOT EFCA TALK.

[As I type, Chris Matthews is just giving a very unabashed explanation of how/why Sestak cannot win to Sestak/Lamont's face, but I'm feeling like a shill for MSNBC lately, and'm thus exercising restraint and NOT doing any vid-posting. Congratulations to us both!]

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Lex Dexter Thinks the Teevee's Funny Horn

Just cuz you don't understand what I'm saying, 'doesn't mean I'm cool, okay? For example, I'm right now wearing a button-down blue oxford shirt - symbol of everything unholy to me throughout my entire life - and laughing, enjoying the sight of my uncool, workaday dork-self (note: not enjoying face, teeth, bag-of-baloons torso.) To further this thesis of mine - Lex as big old dork - I would like to riff semi-endlessly and nerdily about the television, which all you mountain biking Ben Harper fans know to be the least cool medium in the world. I watch television every day.
  1. Last night was "put up or shut up" time for Bored to Death AND the Cleveland Show. BTD is just a little bit too "2008" for me to handle, notwithstanding the always soothing presence of Zack Galifianakis....It's cool that they've got Ted Danson/"Sam Malone" experimenting with male prostitutes, and it's cool that Zack G's tummy is broader and denser than mine, but I'm not sure I care enough to regularly turn off Sunday nite Tortoise records in order to watch this thing seriously. Also, the show suffers from its lack of significant female characters. (No -- I'm not filthily calling for landscapes of ironically-lingerie-d Chloe Sevignys: I'm dead serious here.) Also, I should acknowledge a latent bias against Jason Schwartzman, who instantly reminds me of Rushmore and Wes Anderson. (Let me speak for the culture-at-large when I say, we've all had enough of Rushmore and Wes Anderson: it's "too much of a good thing," just like Portland and Brooklyn seem sometimes. See what I mean when I say "2008"? Here we are in Brooklyn, with Schwartzman as a witty, white wine-drinking, pomo private eye.)
  2. Like Family Guy, The Cleveland Show foists all sorts of non sequitur side-bits onto hollow plot points, but has a very high slugging average when it comes to taking half-verboten topics or unexamined media worship and "hitting 'em outta the park." If I see the reruns on the Cartoon Network some night, or if I never see these Cleveland episodes ever at all....well, that's fine. Again, my Sunday nights are trending in the "listen to records" direction. And that's, well, fine.
  3. Cult Month on MSNBC Did I ever tell y'all how I took a class on the Millennium in the Fall of 1999? It was a blast, and the place I learned about cargo cults, Derrida, eschatology, etc., for the first time. Last night I tuned in to Witness to Waco mostly because it reminded me of hanging out with my girlfriend the previous weekend with the tv in the background. But, as was the case last week with Witness to Jonestown, I was impressed by the reporting and filmmaking going on. (When I say "impressed," I am talking about impressions relative to lowered expectations we all no doubt bring to cable broadcasts.) Despite MSNBC's predilection for "true crime" blah-blah-blah, "Cult Month" has so far featured both specific authors and more generally academic documentary viewpoints than I first encountered in that Millennium class from oh-so-many knife hits and milkshakes ago.
  4. Vincent D'Onofrio exiting 'Criminal Intent' Law and Order: CI is my favorite of the Law and Order franchise and, since we lost the superior (in every way) Wire, my favorite police-ish thing on tv. At this point, D'Onofrio has employed every affect possible to make his reoccurring Sherlock Holmes qua Joe Friday character interesting, and for the last coupla seasons has been wandering around in a late-period-Orson-Welles kinda stupor. Thus his leaving is probably for the best, although the departures of the show's two supporting actresses, Kathryn Erbe and Julianne Nicholson, is more disappointing, because they both could have enjoyed the foregrounding that coulda/shoulda come after D'Onofrio's exit. [And alas, we're losing Eric Bogosian, too?!? I appreciated having one person on the cast with whom we could play "6 degrees of Sonic Youth."] Only now does the Jeff Goldblum era begin in full swing, I suppose.
  5. Over the course of a very transgressive Thursday nite, 30 Rock and Parks and Recreation treated us to two timely, topical, satirical episodes involving labor unrest on one hand, and Chavez/Venezuela on the other. I am a sucker for Parks and Recreation -- not just because it's funny, not just because it has Aziz Ansari from the funny/not funny Funny People, and not just because it involves at least a coupla public employee gags per episode. I'm also a sucker because I am biased towards Amy Poehler and the Upright Citizens Brigade crowd as I am biased away from Wes Anderson.
  6. 30 Rock Review: "Season 4" (Episode 4.1) :In what way is Tina Fey not an icon for our times? Everybody watches this show, right?
  7. As I've mentioned so often on le twtr, Sons of Anarchy is probably the worst program that I find it in my heart to watch on a weekly basis. It is professional wrestling-style dude-writing with Hamlet pretensions, and features regular gun battles, and now, this season, white supremacists. Season 2 got off to a "why the fuck am I watching this?" start when Katey Segal/"Peg Bundy"/"Gertrude" was raped by Henry Rollins, who wore a Micheal Meyers mask. Thank you, FX network, for helping me remind myself that in addition to being an uncool dork, I still appreciate "hard R" renditions of Die Hard 2 played out with motorbikes and leather. Help me!
  8. I also watch political news programming on cable. Have I mentioned that before?
  9. I also watch television programmes on digital video disc. Most recently, I have been speeding through the first two seasons of Weeds, which remind me a lot of what it's like to be a solipsistic but well-meaning young grownup beset by the slings and arrows of family life. (The show is about marijuana sometimes, blah-blah-blah.) Way more than the shitty-shitty-shitty American Beauty, Weeds talks about exurban anomie in a non-judgmental way that is comic but not unserious. I am a Mary-Louise Parker fan since seeing her in Proof on Broadway, and her unassumingly great performance here underscores her being not just a great actress but most likely a cool dorky person to know.
  10. Of course, the only reason I need fill myself with all of this other television programming is because the DVD gods have yet to release Dynasty Season 5 for my home library. It is the pinnacle of something, who cares what.
  11. What kind of television do you watch on tv?

Bobby Womack - Lookin' For A Love - S T 1974

I know, it's been almost 10 days or whatever. There is more coming, as I settle into a much more desktop-based living experience for the next month or two.

In the meantime, don't forget to glom new content on le Pship, and I'll see you back here bright and early, no later than tomorrow AM.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Not Crap: Dick Durbin says what goes without saying about ACORN

Final installment, for now, of the anti-anti-ACORN series: it's a triptych, I guess.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Crap/Not Crap: CBO qua Scoreboard

If it's true that the country is paying unusually close attention to the sausage-making vagaries of health care legislation, is it any wonder that CBO "scoring" has become a focal discourse throughout the health care debate, and an effective bludgeoning tool of the deficit hawks? It's, like, the closest thing to a "scoreboard" available to political news consumers, right?

Friday, October 2, 2009


For Lex and Wobs and all you crazy cats.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

With Dean Baker, against all economic "common sense"

Quoth the Lex Dexter Chair of Telling it Like It Isn't Not:
The basic story on the budget deficit is very simple: we badly need large budget deficits in the short-term. They are the only force that can sustain demand in the economy after the collapse of housing construction and the loss of the consumption that had been supported by $8 trillion in illusory housing bubble wealth.

In the longer term we will need to reduce our trade deficit to replace this demand, but this can only be brought about by a reduction in the value of the dollar against the currencies of our trading partners. If our budget experts had been capable of independent thinking before the crash, they would have pointed out the over-valued dollar as a main cause of imbalances in the U.S. economy. Unfortunately, most of them are still incapable of recognizing the obvious.

The other big oversight that the budget experts commit is the failure to recognize the positive role that moderate rates of inflation can play in our economic recovery.
What was I saying to Gabba about my penchant for uphill politico-ideological projects? Throw in a "fuck AIPAC, fuck small business" platform, and you're getting a sense of the entirely improbable path I'd like to see the Dems' socialist wing travel.

Rachel Maddow on ACORN: pt. 2 of 2, Essential Viewing

There's a bit of grandiosity in imagining one's political identity of choice as being the object of an intensifying, highly-targeted liquidationist strategy. But there's also a real sense that after ACORN, right-wing attacks will move right along to the SEIU, and then the labor movement in general. Wobs and I, at least, have been talking about it for weeks -- and Nostradamus we're not.

Please watch this. Especially if you don't know from ACORN or the labor movement except from hatefuck you pick up on the airwaves and the occasional opaque cries of your blogger-chums. This is what "all this" means.

PS - As was inevitable, the (nonetheless estimable) Peter Dreier has gone ahead and said what goes without saying, having grafted the ACORN saga onto the "first they came for..." rubric.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Pat McCormick on Neil Cavuto Sep2009

Ballot Initiative emo, as promised!!!

OR tax warfare has made the news...FOX NEWS.

Rachel Maddow on ACORN: pt. 1 of 2

We at the OG are longtime critics of ACORN's critics (Dave3544 RIP), who never fail to betray their class agenda with weird, 2009-specific proportions of McCarthyite and Goldwaterist anti-anti-capitalist moralism (and jokes).

We at the OG know all this, but have neither the vocal cords, nor the GE sponsorship, nor the horse-sense of Rachel Maddow. I invite everybody -from the OGs to the aesthetes who read this blog- to consider Rachel's very unsung hero-ish, very sticking-neck-out-ish oppo research into the money-stakes and culture-frames underpinning the discourse known as ACORN. In this installment, we learn about the Rove/Justice Dept. -related tributaries from David Iglesias, a former US Attorney fired by DOJ in 2006 who has been outspoken early and often about the hatefuck/GOP tactic of marginalizing/indicting ACORN and stymieing their successes with voter registration/living wage campaigns.

Essential viewing, this anti-anti-Acorn stuff. Stick around for installment #2! It's coming as soon as GE gets it up on the interweb....

What's that, you ask? "Whither l'OG?!?!?!" Well, if my distinguished co-contributors don't get around to (distinctively) contributing, you can count on nothing more (/less) than ballot initiative emo, health care discussion pilfered from Ezra Klein, and sycophantic MSNBC plugs. ('Arts & [sic] culture' programming continues on pslllffpt.)

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Jesus, Chuck Grassley [R-IA], etc.

As always, this bit of straight dope re: healthcare is pilfered from E. Klein, this time from a piece entitled "Why We Can't Have Bipartisanship in Two Easy Quotes..."

Quote one:

As recently as a month ago, Chuck Grassley ... announced that the way to get universal coverage is "through an individual mandate." He told Nightly Business report, "That's individual responsibility, and even Republicans believe in individual responsibility." Earlier this year, Grassley told Fox News that there wasn't "anything wrong" with mandates, even if some may view them "as an infringement upon individual freedom."

Quote two:

Iowa Sen. Charles Grassley, the Finance Committee's senior Republican, said the mandate is among the reasons that he couldn't support the bill despite months of negotiations with Mr. Baucus. "Individuals should maintain their freedom to chose health-care coverage, or not," he said.

Jeebus effing cripes, cats. We enabled this Iowan-ese craphouse!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Rocks Off! Chasepack GOP PACs

Do I have reason to believe I might get a chance to dig Eric Cantor [R-VA] vibes in a few early primary debates circa 2012? Might I glom some Huckabee-on-Santorum values-athons?

from Marc Ambinder
Here's a list of other possible 2012 hopefuls, their PACs, listed by the amount of money raised + given so far this year. (Bobby Jindal is not included in the list; I couldn't get an official answer on whether he has a PAC, but signs of one are non-existent, and a Louisiana political operative I talked to hadn't heard of one.)

Mitt Romney, Free and Strong America PAC:
$2,318,789 raised, $1,845,423 given

Eric Cantor:
$1,004,593 raised, $983,451 given

Rick Santorum, America's Foundation:
$494,547 raised, $556,905 given

Sarah Palin, SarahPAC:
$732,867 raised, $276,200 given

Mike Huckabee, Huck PAC:
$304,673 raised, $336,589 given

Mike Pence, Pen PAC:
$115,588 raised, $111,593 given

Haley Barbour
, Haley's PAC:
$14,050 raised, $14,560 given

Ron Paul, Liberty PAC:
$1,221 raised, $24,871 given

Join Me In Throwing Up, Just a Little, Into the Back of My Mouth

Monday, September 21, 2009

Dean Baker Should Pay Rent in my Skull

These thoughts are as intimately built into my daily to-and-fro-ing as the records, medicine ball and vertical blinds pictured above:
The size and energy at the anti-health care reform protests last weekend were impressive. While some of the leaders are clearly racist nutballs who can’t accept that an African American is in the White House, many of the tens of thousands who showed up in Washington and elsewhere came out in response to their perception of a government that does not respond to ordinary people.

They have a basis for this complaint. It is hardly a secret that President Obama cut deals with the health insurance industry, the pharmaceutical industry, and other powerful interest groups. This may have been necessary for him to get a health package through Congress, but it’s hard to blame people for being suspicious.

Many of the protestors were not against the government playing a role in health care. In fact, one of the mostly widely expressed concerns was that the President Obama’s health care plan would worsen the quality of Medicare.

Supporters of reform believe that this reform will be a step forward in providing quality health care for everyone, but how confident can anyone be in this view? If there is no public insurance option, as is likely to be the case, how confident can we be that regulators will prevent the sort of abuses that are currently widespread in the insurance industry?


What do we get if the federal government requires people to buy insurance, which quite possibly would be bad insurance, and provides subsidies to do so? By definition this would mean more people have insurance, but it doesn’t mean that people will have good health care. And, in the process, we will have made the insurance industry, the pharmaceutical industry, and the hospital industry considerably more profitable.

This is an example of what was known in last fall’s presidential campaign as “spreading the wealth around,” but as is generally the case in this country, the direction of redistribution is upward. The government would be taxing ordinary people and/or requiring them to make direct payments to insurers, in order to enrich major corporations and their top executives. Certainly the townhallers have every right to be upset about being forced to give their money to the multi-millionaires running United Health, Cigna, and the rest.


It is clear that most of the health care reform protestors don’t have a clear conception of the policy issues. But they do have a real basis for concern that they are about to be ripped off for the benefit of the rich and powerful. It would be nice if those of us who support reform could honestly assure them that this is not the case.
Maybe this call for Dems to "honestly assure" us about upward redistribution is my version of wanting the movement for reform to "keep it simple"? I dunno, but this is the article of the week, so far.

"Is [Obama] On the Wrong Channel?"

Consider this a video supplement to my question from yesterday. I actually find the "sweat equity" argument about the "full Ginsberg" strategy to be pretty compelling in a parlor-room sense. Also, I appreciate Chris Matthews' particularly crabby attitude, here.

Not That You'd Notice From Democrats' Rhetoric, but...

Poverty Rose, Median Income Declined, and Job-Based Health Insurance Continued to Weaken in 2008 — Center on Budget and Policy Priorities

News like this galls me more than 1,000 Tea Parties, to tell you the truth:
The figures reflect the initial effects of the recession. Median household income declined 3.6 percent in 2008 after adjusting for inflation, the largest single-year decline on record, and reached its lowest point since 1997. The poverty rate rose to 13.2 percent, its highest level since 1997. The number of people in poverty hit 39.8 million, the highest level since 1960.

These data include only the early months of the recession. The figures for 2009, a year in which the economy has weakened further and unemployment has climbed substantially, will look considerably worse, and the figures will likely worsen again in 2010 if, as many economic forecasters expect, unemployment continues to rise in that year. (In the last two recessions, the unemployment rate continued rising for 15 to 19 months after the recession officially ended.)

The society is becoming more unequal by the day: read for yourself, check the charts, etc. Now, who here has faith that the sitting administration can/will tinker with the political economy in a serious enough way to alleviate these most acute consequences of Reaganism's 30-year advance, let alone push back against the strucutures-in-dominance which produce them?

At Long Last: Le Trigger D'Olympia Snowe [R-ME]

Ezra reporteth - and it smells like "we're fucked!"
What this says, basically, is that the public option triggers into existence in a particular state if there aren't two or more health insurance plans that cost less than 13 percent of a family's income (or a bit less below 300 percent of the poverty line).

Color me unimpressed. I could imagine a stringent trigger that becomes more aggressive with each passing year: Start at 13 percent of income, say, but by 2019, it needs to be 11 percent of income, as the idea is that insurers need to be competing to bring down costs. But this isn't that trigger. It's also hard to see a public plan in a couple of states wielding much power. It would be better if, say, five states failing to meet the affordability threshold triggered a national public option. But, again, this isn't that trigger.

The "bright" side -- if you want to call it that -- is that health-care costs are going to continue to rise faster than incomes. Within a decade or so, it'll be likely that very few states will have comprehensive policies costing less than 13 percent of income. In that scenario, the trigger does produce a bunch of public plans, at least over the long run.

But in that scenario, the plan is in all sorts of trouble, as the individual mandate is too stringent, and the subsidies are ineffective, so it's a bit hard to say what changes get made. My sense is that Olympia Snowe does not, in fact, want 50 public plans, but that does look like the long-term outcome of the trigger. The question, I guess, is how ingenious insurers will be at creating crappy plans that don't cover much but provide two "affordable choices" to delay the trigger. That doesn't seem like a good incentive for the system, but it's definitely there.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Cigars and Shinobi

Having just bragged of the Obama-era-new-liberal-consensus that I think is in the offing, lemme now share this grotesque, John-Edwards-b/w-Dave-Matthews-level microcosm of why said New Era might be abhorrent in its own "green neoliberal" way:
After his big five television interviews on Sunday, President Obama carved out an even larger slice of time for one print journalist, hitting the links for 18 holes of golf with New York Times columnist Tom Friedman.

The only other players, according to a pool report, were Ray Lahood, the Transportation Secretary, and Marvin Nicholson, a White House aide who previously worked on the Obama and Kerry campaigns.

Friedman joins a small, elite list of opinion journalists from traditional outlets who have been granted private -- and largely off the record -- audiences with The President. Back in January, Obama spent about 75 minutes with Friedman's Times colleagues Maureen Dowd and Frank Rich, along with National Journal's Ron Brownstein, Atlantic blogger Andrew Sullivan, MSNBC's Rachel Maddow and The Washington Post's E.J. Dionne and Eugene Robinson. That meeting balanced out a longer dinner for conservative opinion journalists from traditional outlets like The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post, such as George Will, Bill Kristol, David Brooks, Charles Krauthammer, Peggy Noonan and Paul Gigot.
Next up is "cigars and Shinobi" with Jim Rome?


NWRepublican has long been a consistent, theoretically agile voice of the Northwestern libertarian blogo-tendency, and blogger ZEO12 inaugurates a new era of white, male hero narrative in his recent post about the end of 'racism' discourse as a rhetorical weapon of the Left. ZEO12 provides a great deal of food for thought, discussing how conservatives like Joe Wilson represent a transcendence of PC-inspired white guilt, and a new, redemptive willingness on the part of patriots to endure inconvenient, once-paralyzing charges of 'racism' from what he (and Pat Moynihan) call the "liberal left."

[T]oday a curious thing is happening. The charge of “racism” appears to be losing its power to intimidate. In the past, a charge of racism, no matter how baseless, made opponents give up a fight and shrink back into a corner. However, today average Americans who have lived through the decades of racial ultra-sensitivity, are finally waking up to the fact that no matter what they do, no matter how hard they try to prove that they are not racist, it will never be enough to stop the liberal left from using the charge of “racism” against them. So, they are giving up trying. They are becoming unconcerned if they are called "racist." Since they know the charge will be thrown at them no matter what they do, it doesn’t matter any more. And with that, the charge of “racism” has lost its power to intimidate.
I congratulate ZEO12, and like-minded readers, on this new-found confidence and sense of direction, for it restores my confidence that Obama's (more "multicultural") neoliberalism will remain hegemonic until conservatives abandon these market-friendly Rand-spasms, throwback-y white-identity-politics, and gun-related theatrics, in order to hatch a worldview that endeavors to resemble the world of USA, 2009. There can be no better evidence that the Tea Party movement, however spectacular and provocative, is in some ways a non-economic, pyrrhic cultural campaign to restore a definitively-vanquished (WASP-y) America, than this class of assertion. It is an assertion, not-so-coincidentally, built upon this genre of flag-covered-clothing-wearing, "greatest country in the goddamn world"-intoning, self-congratulation:

And, the truth of the matter is that America today is, by any objective measure, the most racially tolerant and diverse culture on the planet today and undoubtedly in history. Americans, far, far more than any other people, nation, or culture, have gone to great lengths to demonstrate that they are not racist and that their nation is no longer racist.

Despite theoretically dwelling in the same region of the same country on the same planet, the assertions above speak to an equally "objectively measurable" fact: ZEO12 and I live on entirely different rocks. This allows me to enjoy his writing, admire his satirical wiles, and wish him good luck on his home planet: that, after all, is what agreeing to disagree should be all about.

Horn of Chasepack(s) -- Then and Now

Romney Praises Tea Partiers At Values Voter Summit - Hotline On Call
Huck's win - Ben Smith -
Ah, these two little-bitty anecdotes are nice gestures in the direction of the inevitable. Be it sooner, later, or whenever: the blithely anti-government, anti-politics, anti-politician Tea Party movement is going to be pressured back into a) electoral politics, b) candidate-based activism and, c) the (impossible) necessity of sullying themselves with the businesses of governing and government.

The WWE wing of the GOP? - Ben Smith -
Linda McMahon Has Some Talent Working For Her - The Atlantic Politics Channel
No, seriously, Linda McMahon -- WWE co-founder, spouse of the ever-annoying Vince McMahon -- is entering the Republican primary to dance with (ultimate chasepack legend) Chris Dodd. See below for a true, true, too-true summation of McMahon's prospects that amounts ever-so-pleasantly to a textbook example of damning-with-faint-praise:

"At some level it's not a surprise that someone with a lot of money who is bored in her job would run," said Roy Occhiogrosso, a veteran Democratic strategist and Dodd supporter. "It certainly lends itself to all kinds of interesting metaphors."

A Question?

Is "health insurance reform" failing because the plan "is too complex" or "doesn't make sense"?!

According to Robert Reich, FDR once summed up his unwilligness to pursue national healthcare as part of the New Deal by saying, "I just cannot explain it." Reich believes that (some of) the problems Dems have faced arise as the consequence of the existing plan lacking simple, self-evident entitlements and reforms as well as effective moral/psychological frames for these entitlements and reforms.

My question is, what does this insight actually illuminate? Aren't the institutional (but also individual, emotional) responses against health insurance reform - let alone the tinkering with the foundational architecture of the public/private division of labor in our political economy - pretty much inevitable in our liberal (-capitalist) democracy?

Isn't it a truism of US democracy that the politics of public/private are rife in all of our great debates, but that these politics always end up weirdly refracted through, translated by and spoken in caricature-ish, moralistic terms of nation, race, identity and catastrophe? Wouldn't that happen regardless of whether or not the President's health insurance plan was less than 140 characters?

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

ALL THIS (and more) Happened Horn

Works Cited:
Rick Perlstein -- Birthers, Health Care Hecklers and the Rise of Right-Wing Rage -

Sam Tanenhaus on the Death of Conservatism | Newsweek National News |

UNCUT: Obama's Speech At AFL-CIO Convention In Pittsburgh

For the record. I'm watching now.

Corporate Executive speaks out against the Employee Free Choice Act

Ahem...Paul F. Tompkins on the Employee Free Choice Act.

It goes without saying that I am obsessive about the interface of politics and culture -- so much so that I have learned not to expect such a happy coming-together of one of my personal heroes (comedian Paul F. Tompkins) with the union movement's struggle for workplace democracy.

Now can the US government please offer Van Jones' old job to Tom Scharpling, and might the surviving members of Big Star please be rewarded with equally-Big Medals?

OG Loves Joe B, cont.

Best Biden profile yet, courtesy de la Politico.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Anderson Cooper, Carville, Gergen + "Tea Party" Leader Mark Williams

Just happened to see this bit on CNN last night, when here I was trying to put some distance between me and my LAST Tea Party EVER!

This clip - not the whole intvw, which I wish I could find - is presented as a full-on route by Anderson, but I don't think that Tea Party fans will agree. Tea Party Mark keeps his composure all the way throughout, whereas James Carville is beside himself and Gergen just seems embarrassed.

More on my DC experience to come, but for now just note the Tea Party's leader's unapologetic, "class"-based idea of the movement.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Will Harkin HELP EFCA?

"Hear the lark and Harkin (D-IA) to the barking of the dog-fox gone to ground" PF

at mydd runs down the scoop on EFCA under Harkin:
Harkin has been the lead Senate negotiator on EFCA and is replacing the late Senator Ted Kennedy as chairman of the Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions. Speaking to the American Rights at Work group yesterday, Harkin said he had 60 votes lined up behind a compromise this summer:

"As of July, I can tell you this openly and I know the press is all here but we had worked out a pretty good agreement. [...]"

Harkin said prominent labor leaders were on board with the deal, including AFL-CIO President John Sweeney and Andy Stern, president of the Service Employees International Union.

"That's when we needed 60 votes and that's when I called to get Sen. Kennedy down because we needed him for three days. That's when Dr. [Lawrence] Horowitz told me that he couldn't make it," Harkin said.

The Hill's Kevin Bogardus reported that Harkin refused to specify the terms of the compromise deal:

"I will not say because it was closely held, it never leaked out and it still hasn't," Harkin said. "I took it off the front-burner and put it on the back-burner so it is still on warm, OK?"

In May Harkin suggested that the "card check" provision might be dropped from the bill in favor of other changes to labor election procedures. He did not say anything about binding arbitration, which is also an important part of the EFCA.

Freakin fate is playin' with this bill...first the Franken recount held it up...then Kennedy's illness and death...what's next...hopefully nothing serious (seriously)

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Vocal Adrenaline

You know, the GOP thinking that the Townhallers actually represent a broad spectrum of bipartisan outrage about Obamacare is kind of like the AFL-CIO thinking that 1000 people at an EFCA rally in DC means that the vast majority of American workers are dying to join unions.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Pre-Speech Waiting Area AND Open Thread

One thing we've learned since 2007 is that the President doesn't feel just-completely-satisfied with any plot points that don't involve him giving some kinda ur-transcendental speech that "resets," "pivots," "reconnects the American people with their core values," etc.

So what do we expect from him tonight? A "pragmatic" appeal to the independent, moderate co-pragmatists of America? A "grown-up" refutation of disappointed liberals' disappointment? A "bipartisan" concession to deficit-hawk lies, insurance company lies, and other hatefuck fantasies? A "good speech" that brings us closer to a vote, gives Blue Dogs and Olympia Snowe cover for said votes, and gets the country moving away from the direction of capital-administered, neglect-based health care?

I'm hoping for the latter, if only because, shucks, like my Tea Party friends, I'm ready to transfer all this animus and mawkishness into the emergent bloodbath over that other disappointing disappointment, cap and trade.

Topical, Advanced-Novice Political Science Question for EZ

Dear EZ,

Why is there so much more support for the public option in the House than there is in the Senate? Does it have to do with demography, geography, etc.?

School me. I'm kinda slow. Got any charts?

9/7/2009, Portland Tax Referral Tea Party

Tuesday, September 8, 2009


h/t: Monodromy

Labor Day, 2009 WrapUp;

or, Scavenger Guy 2

You recall the subject of this previous citation sur l'OG? Luckily for us, MaxRedline took the occasion of Labor Day to reflect upon the state of the unions (ahem!) in 2009.

Even the most avowed of laborite, liberal firebrands would do well to consider this reasoned, incisive, intellectually responsible work of social-political cartography. Jeepers creepers, it is 2009.
Obama: All Owe A Debt To Unions

He should have stopped after the first three words. We all owe a huge debt - not to unions, but to the policies that Obama and his fellow Democrats (heavily supported by unions) have managed to ramrod through.

Unions had a place in American history, but their time has come and gone. The most productive states in the USA are all "right to work" states, and the unions have "prgressively" infiltrated the public sector, where they inflict far more damage than good.

Where union membership is entirely voluntary, it may well serve a good purpose: when people come together voluntarily in support of common objectives, they constitute a powerful force. But unions gave up on that approach long ago; thus their heavy push toward making "card check" national policy. Secret ballots are anathema to today's union leadership. They want to force people to "join" so that they can collect ever more "dues".

This is something that they view as "free money", to be used however leadership chooses. Today's unions are all about "organizing" - by force if need be - but not at all about representation, which was the common bond that brought unions into being.

Our armed forces don't rely upon forced conscription, because it was recognized years ago that the best and brightest come from those who choose to serve. Unions, once based upon this principle, have abandoned it in favor of conscription.

Given that it was Democrats who supported slavery, it is hardly surprising to see that their main base of support comes from union bosses today.

Jeepers creepers. We can laugh, but mainstream political "common sense" laughs back at us. On days like today, I fear that Max Redline's worldview resonates more deeply with the popular imaginary - if not the polis itself - then our own political understandings do*.

*(And yes, I realize how unduly overindulged that last bit of "syntax" was, and how microcosm-ish this zero degree 'academic emo' prosody is. And no, I won't write off that falling-short-in-writing as merely sloppy "irony.")

Monday, September 7, 2009

Happy Labor Day! Get fired up!

Happy Labor day! (could not let it pass without a post)

I watched with glee the Obama speech to the AFL/CIO today, and well it got me fired up!
(it is on c-span, and on huffpo)
I hope he continues the rhetoric on Wednesday's big Hcare speech.

Wobs-->What do you know about the charge from Jane Hamsher that liberal groups are being corralled in a "veal pen"? How many of these calls have you sat in on?
Soon after the election, the Administration began corralling the big liberal DC interest groups into a variety of organizations and communication networks through which they telegraphed their wishes -- into a virtual veal pen. The 8:45 am morning call co-hosted by the "liberal" Center for American Progress, Unity 09, and Common Purpose are just a few of the overt ways that the White House controls its left flank and maintains discipline.

My own experience with the Veal Pen came indirectly, when some of them had the temerity to launch a campaign against Blue Dogs. They were rebuked and humiliated in front of their peers as a lesson to them all at a Common Purpose meeting, which is run by lobbyist Erik Smith. White House communications director Ellen Moran attends. It isn't an arms-length relationship between these groups and the administration.

A few weeks ago, Rahm Emanuel showed up at a Common Purpose meeting and called these liberal groups "fucking stupid" for going after Blue Dogs on health care and ordered them not to do so any more. Since that time, to the best of my knowledge, none of them have.

These organizations may kid themselves that they're doing no harm, but that's not true. They are the institutional liberal validators who telegraph to liberals that there are problems, that things are happening that are not good for them. They are trusted to decode the byzantine rituals of government and let the public know when their interests are not being served, that it's time to pay attention and start making a racket. When they fail to perform that task, the public is left with a vague feeling of anxiety, intuitively understanding that something is wrong but not knowing who or what to blame.

I think the calls are a great way to coordinate message, and I think it is a long over due response to the previous admin and Rep party's incessant talking points. BUT, left advocacy groups will be toast if they use the "access" to merely "get in line" rather than "line up their interests"
It boggles my mind that Obama is pushing the left to tow the line, when it is the f'in blue frogs that suck, and most need some kind of reform to improve their election prospects...

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Banks, insurance companies, and the GOP can die in a fucking fire

One day, earlier this year, our neighbors across the street - an older woman and her daughter who had a developmental disability - suddenly moved away. When we got back from our vacation this week, we saw that the house was for sale as a foreclosure. Tonight, we learned why.

The woman had lived in the house for over 30 years. She raised 4 children in her home. One of her daughters apparently developed a drug problem, and the woman took out a loan on the house to help pay for her rehabilitation. She took out another loan to pay for another child's heart surgery. The woman, who was retired, saw her retirement investments go south when the economy tanked last fall.

This woman did everything right by her family, but the banks wouldn't even think about cutting her a break. No insurance company would cover her daughters' medical needs. And the GOP would never think about helping her out of a bad situation with loan restructuring or providing adequate access to health care.

And people wonder why I hate - hate - these fuckers.

Defending against wacko claims...

I don't know about you, but I have been spending a lot of time "arguing" with various folks over _________ (health care, cash for clunkers, obama the socialist, EFCA, etc) and it is getting tiresome....(probably the intent...) Very little of this time is actually spent discussing policy or details, it is mostly swatting down assorted bullcrap...

an example:
I was forwarded this piece of crap by a collegue:

> No more StarKist Tuna for me .....
> Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi's home district includes San Francisco .
> StarKist Tuna's headquarters are in San Francisco , Pelosi's home district.
> StarKist is owned by Del Monte Foods and is a major contributor to Pelosi.
> StarKist is the major employer in American Samoa employing 75% of the Samoan
> work force.
> Paul Pelosi, Nancy 's husband, owns $17 million dollars of StarKist st oc k.
> In January, 2007 when the minimum wage was increased from $5.15 to $7.25,
> Pelosi had
> American Samoa exempted from the increase so Del Monte would not have to pay
> the higher wage. This would make Del Monte products less expensive than that
> of its competitors.
> Last week when the huge bailout bill was passed, Pelosi added an earmark to
> the final bill adding $33 million dollars for an "economic development
> credit in American Samoa "
> Pelosi has called the Bush Administration "CORRUPT" and many other things
> !!!
> How do you spell "HYPOCRISY" ? SHE'S SHAMELESS....

So I sent back a pretty basic reply, put together in minutes, that debunked the email:
>re: Slamming Nancy with unsubstantiated emails. This one started popping up sometime last year. I don't believe it.
>It's true that StarKist Tuna's former parent company, Del Monte Foods, is headquartered in California's 8th Congressional District, which Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi represents.
>It's also true that an early version of the Democrat-sponsored Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2007 exempted employers in American Samoa, where StarKist owns a large cannery, from mandated minimum wage increases.
>Lastly, it's true that the financial bailout bill passed by Congress in late 2008 included a two-year extension of the economic development credit originally granted to American Samoa in 2006.
>The remainder of the above message consists of uncorroborated claims and/or outright falsehoods. To wit:
> * Was Del Monte Foods a major contributor to Nancy Pelosi's campaign chest?
> Not according to public records listing Pelosi's largest campaign contributors.
> * Does her husband, Paul Pelosi, own $17 million worth of StarKist stock?
> Not according to Nancy Pelosi's financial disclosure statements for the past three years. Nor does he own stock in Del Monte Foods or H. J. Heinz Co. (a major Del Monte Foods shareholder), according to publicly available sources.
> * Was Pelosi personally responsible for the provision exempting StarKist from minimum wage increases?
> Unknown. There's no evidence that she was.
> * Was Pelosi personally responsible for the "earmark" extending American Samoa's economic development credit for two more years?
> Unknown. There's no evidence that she was.

I got this response:
Your friend mentions an "early version" of legislation that exempted American Somoa from the minimum wage increases. Does he mean that the enacted version does not? I'd be grateful if you can learn what he means and let me know, and also if you could ask him and let me know whether Pelosi voted for or against denying American Somoans the minimum wage hikes.

So I am forced to retort:
A 5 second check of the internet turns up the Dept of Labor website:

which confirms that the new law includes a provision for the minimum wage to be gradually raised in the Am. Samoan Islands until it reaches the US standard. Thus making the min wage applicable to the Am. Samoas. What is interesting is that the previous admin. And congress had been the ones to exempt the islands in the first place, The previous regulation was that the min. wage was set by an appointed “council of industry.” No requirement was made for any base wage…

It really burns me that this “friend” is soooo concerned about the poor am. Samoan worker. Has he ever taken a stand for any other worker right issue? Does he boycott Shell for their hand in the murder of Ken Saro Wiwa? Does he wear Nike? Probably shouldn’t if he cares about labor conditions and fair pay…Does he boycott Starbucks, Dell, Victoria’s Secret and other companies for using prison labor? ( )What about products from Brazil, China or India, where there are more people living as slaves (and forced slave labor) today than in any time in history?

I don’t know if she voted for the final bill, but she probably did (which included min wage req)…and an earlier version did contain an exemption (which was a continuation of the policy put in by Bush and the Repubs when they had control, and also was tied up with Jack Abramoff, who lobbied extensively for the original exemption) but it was removed and a definitive path toward wage parity has been set. Does your “friend” realize that the opposition is the party that has most strenuously opposed this and would repeal it if they regain power? To claim that the Dems are against workers making minimum wage is rich, considering the other party’s pathetic track record on human and worker’s rights.

I personally think this line of baseless criticism is disingenuous.

What do you think fine readers of the OG? How did you spend your summer? Do you remember left wing wackos being able to hog the conversation when the other party was in office?