Saturday, January 31, 2009

Equal Fucking Pay For Equal Fucking Work, You Cocks!

Good Guys/Girls Win! Obama's first legislative act shouldn't be allowed to go without saying. Of course, we should all be shocked and horrified that it took the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act this long to come down...but we should also not be too cool to note how different life is under a grown-up, non-insane President. 2009, people.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Krugman as Dean Baker

Interesting to see the times moving the Nobel Laureate into a left-er and left-er, snarkier and sardonic-er posture a la unconditional endorsee Dean Baker.
As the Obama administration apparently prepares to launch Hankie Pankie II — buying troubled assets from banks at prices higher than they will fetch on the open market — it occurred to me that an updated version of an old Communist-era joke may be appropriate: under Bush, financial policy consisted of Wall Street types cutting sweet deals, at taxpayer expense, for Wall Street types. Under Obama, it’s precisely the reverse.

Update: Maybe I was too cryptic. The original joke was, “Capitalism is the exploitation of man by man. Socialism is the reverse.”

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Trots for Romney: Victims of their Own Success?

Chicago, IL

The (nonetheless thriving, imminent) movement for a workers' state in the US of A suffered a dramatic blow yesterday, as two prominent socialist-activists abandoned the surging, Situationist-inspired "Trots for Romney," citing the former group's "bonapartist tendencies" and a generalized anxiety about the ranks of the Romney-Trots having grown past 10 members. The dissident former members, now working under the provocative heading of 'Trots for Blago," aired their grievances yesterday in the predictable format of mimeographed theses:
As our former comrades began to deploy bourgeois forms such as speakers' lists and take-out pizza at our meetings, we knew that even a project as potentially radicalizing as our Steve Forbes for Mayor of San Francisco campaign would be reduced to so much Spartacist-ish white noise: further fruit of a Trotskyite (not Trotskyist), surrealist (not dadaist) poison tree.
The "Trots for Blago" leaders have promised to have their very own shitty newspaper up and running by next Wednesday.

Horn(ed) Pheasant
I don't like this one bit. Surprisingly or not surprisingly (depending on yr definition of 'liberal') even the liberal-leaning network MSNBC is trending against the stimulus package, betraying the much more significant pro-Wall Street bias that transcends the station's 'politics.' I am much more worried - but not that worried - about seeing congressional Dems pitching the Recovery and Reinvestment in public/on the tube than I am about the non-story of House Republicans opposing the economic solvency of our nation and voting against le stimulus.

The Little Unions That Couldn't - T. A. Frank
No, it's not my Thomas Frank. This Thomas Frank comes bearing the first considered, pro-labor argument that labor should cut "majority sign-up" from EFCA in order for it to pass. I've heard similar sentiments in the whisper-stream during some of the heavier "NJ pol" moments I've had since getting marrooned in the Garden State. This. would. be. a. mistake.

The power of Obama's hand - Andie Coller -
Okay... the next time I berate the Bolivarian Revolution for being too dependent on the Chavez personality cult, remind me of things like this. Sure, I noticed the "love touch" BHO gave Biden after his very Biden-ish remark the other day. Hell, I even read half of this article! But let's not confuse this sorta starpower-hysteria with "thinking" about "politics."

Beat the Press Archive avec Dean Baker: a snarky, Dave3544-ish look at the Economic News
The Post's front page news article on the House's approval of the stimulus package described its cost as "staggering." Usually such characterizations are reserved for the editorial pages. Perhaps the Post should find reporters with more steady footing.

Carrying through with this liberal use of adjectives, the article refers to the TARP as "massive." It also describes the TARP as an "effort to free up the credit markets." This is a questionable characterization. To date, the TARP has helped to keep many banks out of bankruptcy. Arguably, this is the main purpose of the fund, since Congress has thus far rejected proposals that would focused the money more on freeing up credit as opposed to paying dividends and executive salaries.
[Seriously, you don't need to be any kind of wonk to get this stuff. I'd recommend that even the least politically obsessive make Baker's blog their 'go-to' news site for a week. Afterwards, you'll be surprised how much corporate media senselessness makes sense.]

PETA add dubbed too sexy for Super Bowl...Alternet

What exactly is PETA's point? We all agree they are pretentious, etc. My question is, what do they think they're doing? Sometimes they're so obnoxious I wonder if I'm missing something. Mostly, I blame them for making people think vegetarianism = Hollywood elitism. In point of fact, it can also mean punk rock-ish elitism.

"Chevy Chase/Billy Joel" | TV | A.V. Club
The petty, elitist, Northeastern vegetarian "hipster" (fuck that word) in me would love to be the person to figure out a justifiable reason for talking shit about the Onion. But the troof is, projects like this SNL archive that would've been unfathomable before l'Onion's ascendancy, and the A.V. has really distinguished itself by attracting the best rock/'culture' (pfft!) writers. Why would I be all "contra" about this? It's like when I run into friends who "don't have a tv" or whatever. That's fine, I say, because I'd never begrudge people's urges for stripped-down living or a life without Flomax commercials. But do you realize that 'we' run tv now? It's different.

And it really is different, the television set these days. Or, maybe I'm the one who has changed. But that's not what they tell me at the nail salon.

PShip Lowest-Common-Denominator Talk « for Adults Only!
As the Prisonship gets tied up in a very specific project, and as I strive to bring back stolid "arts and entertainment" to l'OG, I feel it necessary to direct you ladies and germs to this wildly important thread, which rocked my yesterday, and features some half-filthy 'bestuv' writing from some of yr fave OG celebs.

No Team of Rivals on Economics: Bob Rubin Acolytes and Goldman Sachs Alums Dominate Obama Team and Have Blocked Alternative Views from Entering White House Ranks - The Washington Note
You know this critique by now, but Clemons actually reports in addition to editorializing:
Interestingly, I learned recently -- and this is a bit of a counterpoint to my argument -- that Lawrence Summers called Stiglitz privately to get some counsel on what was going on. Summers apparently made clear that he didn't want to be making the call to Stiglitz -- but had to. In other words, there is someone above Summers who wants diverse inputs into his economic policy thinking. The problem is that this interest in diversity is completely missing on his actual team.
Spike Lee's James Brown biopic to feature original music :: Film & TV News :: Articles :: Paste
Lemme be the first to say, I don't think Spike has it in 'em to pull this off. Anybody else agree that 25th Hour is his best movie in the last decade-plus?

Monday, January 26, 2009

White House Briefing Live-Blogo Open Thread

Let's see what gives with the Gibbs era, chaps and lady-chaps. Here comes the two minute warning. I can hear Chris Cillizza hooting from here.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Inaugural Jams

I wasn't there, but there were some significant musical moments during the inauguration.

Before the big day there was this gem at the Lincoln Memorial:

and this sweet moment:

and then "the dead" crapped it up at a post-inaugural ball, the mid atlantic ball. They sounded pretty "loose." Let's hope they figure it out before the spring tour. Here is the "best" snippet I have found from their show...typical dead not playing well at the "big" gigs....they look Highlarious in the tuxedos...

any that I have missed? (I know Bon Jovi was there, no comment)

Evo on the verge

Sure, Evo Morales' overwhelming recall victory and the subsequent fragmentation of Bolivia's 'opposition' are real, inspiring signs of the growing hegemony of indigenous democratic socialism in that country. But it's almost even crazier to read the Washington Post reporting the situation as such on the verge of a potentially page-turning referendum win for Morales' Movement Toward Socialism party. What can this possibly portend?

And then there's asides like this coming out of Evo: "Brothers and sisters, we have to guarantee this democratic revolution with Evo Morales or without Evo Morales.” Without slipping into anti-Chavez talking points, it's very hard to keep from contrasting Evo's call for "democratic revolution" with Chavez' relative inability to move "his" revolution past his own personality cult. Being who I am, I'm more prone to sociological/political explanation than moral/psychologial ones - even if I start sentences with essentialist statements like "being who I am" - but whether Chavez cannot or will not mobilize his socialist project beyond his own iconography, it does seem like he could take a lesson or two from the Evo/Alvaro-led MAS. [In my wildest dreams, David Plouffe would be watching these developments, aussi.]

[update, 1/26/2009: good guys win!]

is my morale improving if i'm studying the Right again?

Limbaugh Responds to Obama - Byron York - The Corner on National Review Online
it's hard to find a single representative quotation from this one, so I won't try. but rest assured that it's short, and features:
  1. obama off-handedly calling out Rush
  2. rush firing back at charges of demagoguery with messianic flourishes
  3. saul alinsky references
  4. rush calling for more tax cuts for the wealthy while simultaneously arguing that the expansion of social services and middle-class tax relief is BHO/Dems "buying votes"
Oh kids, the coming recovery fight is going to be off the chain! And I think we're going to win!