Friday, February 27, 2009

Racist of the Day

Mayor Dean Grose was forced to apologize after it was reported he sent an e-mail out to colleagues and business people--including a black woman who serves on a committee with the mayor--that depicts the White House lawn planted with watermelons.

Grose claims he was "unaware of the stereotype that black people like watermelon," and didn't mean to "offend" African Americans.


Other people's lives

I like it when people tell me that losing their wallet and having to replace their i.d. and credit cards is the "biggest ordeal I've dealt with in my life." It confirms my faith in cosmic balance.

Also, I was walking home the other day and there was a young woman walking behind me talking on the phone with a friend. I deduced that they were talking about what the friend might give up for Lent. The woman walking behind me suggested a couple of things and then she said "Oh! I know, you could give up pickles," slight pause, then "Well, it's supposed to be hard."

No, I Will Not Perish (yet) Horn

Ben Smith's Blog: Anuzis joins campaign against EFCA -
SEIU head fights to merge labor unions - Ben Smith -
Indeed, the anti-EFCA campaign is turning into something close to a full employment project for Republicans in exile. They were also giving away a Wii at CPAC yesterday.
Punditry: re the labor movement paints us as intrinsically tied to the electoral/legislative process and thus "special interest"-y...Maybe that's appropriate? We should ask Dave "I was born a Democrat and I'll die a Democrat" 3544 about this some time.

Slowcore Week: Slint and Codeine - a shared musical language? / In Depth // Drowned In Sound Pukekos: Codeine

Okay, in its matter-of-fact way, this is some of the best writing about Slint that I've read. Indeed, some of the speculation about possible Slint influences even kinda makes sense: Ubu, late Birthday Party, King Crimson, s/t-era Sabbath. Read this, even if you don't know who Slint are, because you need to know who Slint are. (Also, of course, Codeine are the original, glacial rock formation. But we've spoken of Codeine before, much more than Slint, who made what is probably, if I'm honest, my favorite record of all time with Spiderland. Check out the complete Codeine 7" discography on the Pukekos link above, btw.)

Economist's View: The Employee Free Choice Act
Bloggers and Unions Join Forces to Push Democrats -

Anyway, back to Big Labor. 'Seems we've even got our own squadron of Post-Keynesians, these days, telling people, shucks, maybe doing something to stimulate growth in real wages'd be interesting, and maybe it'd be even more stimulative than, say, lowering interest rates and/or maintaining a strong dollar policy? I wonder to what extent the MoveOn, kos-ish "progressive" crowd can be said to be on board with the Economic Policy Institure, CEPR milieu? Or are they more of a Center for American Progress Crowd? Do they have their own research institutes? Increasingly, I dwell upon the in-politics of those privileged wonks who're allowed to "shape" policy "debates."

Michael D. Yates, "Michael Steele Is a Nitwit and Wolf Blitzer Is a Jackass"
Ben Smith's Blog: Coming back to Romney -

And then there's the old Republican Party and the old conservative movement. Notice that I don't put "movement" in scare quotes: their thing is as real as any cargo cult or drum circle, to me. Conservatism is a social fact.

Letter from Washington: The Gatekeeper: Reporting & Essays: The New Yorker
Twitter / clairecmc

As I mentioned before, I do love my glimpses into the inner workings of staff meetings, staffers and staffers' bosses. "The Gatekeeper" is a long, fascinating portrait of Rahm, probably my most guiltiest pleasure of a good time in recent days. Claire McCaskill is easily one of our coolest senators and also one of our least snobbish.

Open Left:: Nate Silver to Progressives: STFU and Defer to the Serious Experts and Czars
Digby populism tango

What does it say about me, that I cannot quite bring myself to "care" about rival tendencies and rival formations within the Netroots? I dunno.
But I do know this: remember our legendary (and worth-revisiting) "let's eliminate these adjectives" thread from the Prisonship? I have a less elitist, more parochial, but nonetheless similar directive in mind for mainstream political discourse: nobody should be allowed to use the term 'populism' until having read Ernesto Laclau's On Populist Reason. Surely I have no authority, and only a scoffing, sardonic-at-best relationship with the kinda at-large political philosophy that informs whatever kinda dumbed-down 'realist' orthodoxy permeates pundits' collective consciousness. But in my ideal world, let's say, 'populism''d have a stable referent. And activists, at least, could drag it out of the gutter of commentator-speak and the graveyard of flippant, loose snob-lips.

Stephen Malkmus | Pitchfork

Do you know what? Malkmus never seemed that likable to me in interviews, until now! Dig his really interesting, sober appraisals of what was going on during the short life of "indie rock" (1989-1994).

Language and Obama’s Budget - The Caucus Blog -

Who else has budget mania? Don't stop until you get enough.

The GOP comeback starts here

Holy fucking crap. If I told you that the Republican chair of the House Policy Committee was writing really, really bad "literature" critique on a right-wing website would you believe me?

I kid you not

He writes to tell us that Gran Torino is a conservative movie and Clint Eastwood's character is a true conservative. This assertion has been disputed elsewhere and I am not sure Representative McCotter is writing in some sort of response or not. You'd think, but then the only way he can come up with that Eastwood is a true conservative is that he brings order out of chaos in his neighborhood just like Reagan did with the nation (don't ask me). And he hates his "Yuppie" kids. This is, apparently, all it takes to be a conservative, because McCotter rejects the character's racism, acknowledges he probably votes Dem, and is a unionist.

Before you read what follows, remind yourself that this guy is a leader of the Republican party. Read it and smile:
Like Walt Kowalski’s kids who would blithely stow their “old man” in a human warehouse, most American’s believe they are “post-Detroit.”

They are wrong, because right now no one is post-disorder. If the rest of the nation facilitates the decimation of Detroit through malign neglect, deeper social, economic and political chaos will accelerate and spread from the Motor City to the rest of America. The “limo libs,” the globalist Gucci “conservatives,” and all arm chair ideologues will pale before the deluge and drown in their streams of intellectual adolescence. [!] All the while as the waters rise, an anxious citizenry will call out for intelligent, mature leaders - flesh and blood, heart and soul Gran Torino Conservatives - devoted to creatively achieving constructive change amidst Globalization’s chaos

Until these Gran Torino conservatives arrive to restore order, justice and freedom to our American home, “Fasten your seat belts. It’s going to be a bumpy night.”

Thursday, February 26, 2009

How are you an asshole? Let me count the ways

1. You seem to enjoy making your kids cry
2. Not only do you seem to enjoy making them cry, you enjoy filming them and then displaying them on the internet to score points
3. Not only do you make your kids cry to score points on the internet, you're lying to them in order to make them cry
4. Of the $800 billion to which you refer - the stimulus package - roughly $400 billion of that comes in the form of tax cuts. A quick search of your videos shows me you did not try to make them cry the last time someone proposed tax cuts. What changed?
5. You also didn't try to get them to cry over the roughly $1 trillion of their money squandered over the last 6 years killing brown people in the Middle East
6. You probably will also try to make them cry about the health care reform which will pay for the therapy they'll need in about twenty years

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Fuck Ted Kulongoski

The time has come to damn Oregon Governor Ted Kulongoski. He is an enemy of labor.

When we public employees first elected him, we were rewarded with a two-year wage freeze. Oregon had a budget crisis and Ted needed to show Bill and Sally middle class that he would stand up to those big bad labor public employee unions. And for the mot part we took it. Like idiots, we surrendered our hard-won collective bargaining rights because one prick in Salem issued a non-binding Executive order.

Here we are six years later and Oregon faces a budget crisis (surprise!) and short dick over here decides that we must all sacrifice in the interests of saving the state economy. He, personally, is going to take a five percent pay cut. He's going to sacrifice $4680 of his $93,600 salary. Ah, that's might generous of him. Of course, he's 69 years old, has worked as an attorney and politician most his life, one assumes he has at least one house paid for, and has no kids in school. How the hell is this man going to get by on just $88,920 this year?

Unfortunately, Ted's noble sacrifice is not going to be enough to save the state this year. Nope, that can only be done is you and me take a 5% pay cut in the form of unpaid furlough days. Twenty-six of them over the next two years. Apparently, Ted thinks it is the least we can do. I know, I know, I am a greedy asshole who doesn't want to do his share. Unfortunately, my creditors are greedy assholes as well and they'd like me to continue paying off my car (only 12 payments to go! And then I have no warranty!) The bank likes it when I make my house payment regular like. I have no kids in school, but I got vet bills out the ass. Sorry, boys, Ted thinks we need to sacrifice so once a month, so we'll eat air on those days; even those with claws, must take a pause.

Of course, I also have a rotten tree in my front yard that needs to be taken down. That only costs $1000 or so, which I will either come up with or my insurance company can pay for it. I'm sure Ted is faced with these same thoughts every day. I am sure that he is forced to make financial decisions where he actually hopes a tree comes crashing through is roof because his deductible is lower than the cost of prevention. Wait, of course he doesn't. He's fucking Governor and he can shove is $4680 sacrifice. He wants to sacrifice, why doesn't he try living on the average wage of a public employee in this state.

And while I am here, might I say "screw you" to the fine folks at SEIU who opened negotiations this year with an offer to take eight furlough days and a zero percent COLA increase. What it got them was a counter that asked for twenty-six furlough days, a zero percent COLA and zero percent step increases for the next two years. When is labor going to realize that it is our job to ask for what the workers need, and management's job to offer to figure out what they can afford and give as little of it as possible. When we go into negotiations worried about management's budget, we're doing their job for them. No one cuts you any slack for this, it only shows you're weak and they go for the twenty-six day kill. Oh, I know it fits right in with the standard union victimology stance, the bully boss, the downtrodden worker schtick, but for fuck sake it's not getting us anywhere. How about we point out that the states economy will recover when people on the streets have some green to spend and the way to make that happen is to not cut the wages of 23,000 workers in this state.

But in the end, let's remember who is driving this. Oregon Governor, Democrat, and Enemy of Labor, Ted Kulongoski.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Tucker Carlson to Cato - BOOM!

Hot on the heels of that hot Nat Hentoff signing, it'd seem the Cato Institute is looking to supplement their "jazzbo libertarian" quotient by dipping into the "aggrieved libertarian with deadhead leanings" pool.

Trots for Sanford?

(h/t: le Ben Smith)

Wait, a Republican governor is refusing stimulus for his state, likening said stimulus to Weimar/Stalin, and stirring up a stim-based bash with Dem. Whip James Clyburn?

What could this possibly portend, a 'Trots for Sanford' faction? Or maybe something a little more 2012-ish?