Sunday, December 11, 2011

That's Right, I'm Citing Ross Douthat

Professor Gingrich vs. Professor Obama -

“How does a Columbia-Harvard graduate, who was the editor of the law review ... supposedly the best orator in the Democratic Party,” Gingrich asked recently, “how does he look himself in the mirror and say he’s afraid to debate a West Georgia College professor?” It’s a line that evokes a kind of conservative revenge fantasy, in which the liberal elitists who sneered at George W. Bush’s malapropisms and Sarah Palin’s “you betchas” receive their richly deserved comeuppance at the hands of Newton Gingrich, Ph.D.

But a fantasy is all it is. The American Spectator’s Quin Hillyer calls it “the fallacy of the master debater” — the belief that elections turn on dramatic rhetorical confrontations, in which the smarter and better-spoken candidate exposes his rival as a tongue-tied boob.

In reality, Kerry outdebated Bush but did not outpoll him, Al Gore won the 2000 debates on points only to lose them on personality, and Abraham Lincoln lost the Illinois Senate race to Stephen Douglas.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Newt Gingrich Marches Into Political Battle, Firing Fascist Analogies And Apocalyptic Warnings

In his early days in the nation's capital, before he toppled the 40-year Democratic hegemony in the House and became speaker, Newt Gingrich would rise at dawn, put on combat boots and take brisk, military-style walks along the Mall.

Whether he did this because he actually liked to do it or because it was good for his image (I once went along with him) is a question utterly beside the point. He was being whom he wanted to become.


The Mitt Romney campaign seems about to wet its collective pants. The other contenders -- either ineffectual or incompetent or both -- don't meet the mood of an angry GOP electorate out not just to dismantle but to destroy Obama.

Newt is marching, again.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Triple Take

From a UO Journalism professor. From the comfy confines of lifetime employment, a nice office, and (one imagines) a decent home with heat and everything. (Oh, but he's liberal! Who protested in the '60s!)

But in just a few weeks, what a disappointment the Occupy movement has become — especially in Oakland.

Endless camping for fragmented goals seems at best uncomfortably vague. And, especially in recession-wracked Oakland, attempting to close the port, disrupting struggling businesses and tangling with exhausted police (not to excuse overreaction by some police) do nothing to help the 99 percent that the supposedly leaderless Occupy movement claims to speak for.

Which brings me back to Minsk. I was working in Belarus 17 years ago when a rigged election brought President Alexandr Lukashenko to power.

Local journalists told me it was dangerous for them to speak about politics, and that they expected life in Belarus to deteriorate.

It did. Today, the country continues to be a relic of its Soviet past, with Lukashenko acting as a dictator while the economy collapses.

Occupy-like protests are unheard of there. Participating in an unauthorized demonstration against government policies is a crime; police break up those few that occur, arresting participants and hauling them off to what can be long prison terms.

Hey, Dr. Laufer, fuck you.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Why Romney Should Go for the Kill in Iowa | Democratic Strategist

More generally, a long primary season is a very bad thing for the Republican Party. At this point, Barack Obama's best, and perhaps only, strategy for re-election is to make this a "two futures" choice, in which the extremism of the GOP gets as much attention as the current state of the economy. Nothing will play into this strategy quite like months of Republican candidates barnstorming through Tea Party-dominated state primaries accusing each other of being reasonable instead of right.

The "quick-kill" scenario may be the only way out of this trap, and only Mitt Romney can trigger it by hunkering down for an intense holiday-season drive through the right-to-life fundraising banquets and local-supporter potluck dinners of Iowa. We'll soon know whether he has the stomach for it.

Monday, October 31, 2011

The Stained Glass Divide - 2012 Decoded

by Ron Brownstein
Alex Lundry is the director of research at the Republican firm TargetPoint Consulting, which specializes in segmenting and targeting voters based on their consumer and social behavior. Some months ago I asked Lundry what one piece of information, apart from partisan registration, he would most want to know about someone to predict whether he or she usually votes Republican or Democratic. He didn't hesitate for more than a moment. "Whether there is a Bible present in their home," he said.

Leo W. Gerard: Sacrilege: Wall Street Worship

Great to hear our progressive leaders touting the Pope, huh? Even if the Pope's statement about restoring politics' primacy (?!?) sounds like something outta Chantal Mouffe.

This false idolatry produced a nation gripped by massive unemployment, a nation in which destructive income inequality has risen beyond robber baron levels, a nation where greed has been perverted from sin to good, a nation where politicians genuflect to money changers, not majority citizens.

Salvation for the majority is not more failed trickle-down economics or more deregulation so that Wall Street can resume committing unfettered wagering. Redemption is political and economic systems devoted to serving the common good, not the affluent few.

These concepts -- that governments should protect majorities and that the international financial collapse is an opportunity to transform the system into one supporting a more fraternal and just human family -- are contained in a report released last week by the Pope's Council for Justice and Peace. It says:

The economic and financial crisis which the world is going through calls everyone, individuals and peoples, to examine in depth the principles and the cultural and moral values at the basis of social coexistence.

Those values mandate economic and political systems that transcend "personal utility for the good of the community," the report says, then adds:

The primacy of the spiritual and of ethics needs to be restored and, with them, the primacy of politics, which is responsible for the common good - over the economy and finance.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Henwood Sees What Solid Sees

All this is to SolidCitizen's point about the weird emergence of anti-Fed sentiment amidst all the OWS dramaturgy.

On OWS and the Fed « LBO News from Doug Henwood

On the Federal Reserve

I have noticed some strange, Ron Paul-ish stuff about the Federal Reserve around Occupy Wall Street. I do want to file a complaint about those.

The Federal Reserve is admittedly manna for conspiracists. It’s a fairly opaque institution that does work for the big guys. But it’s not their puppet exactly. A friend who spent many years at the New York branch of the Fed once told me that within the institution, the thinking is that bankers are short-sighted critters who come and go but the Fed has to do the long-term thinking for the ruling class. So it has more autonomy than the popular tales allow.

The founding of the Fed is also a great subject of mythmaking—like secret meetings involving more than a few Jews. (The conspiratorial mindset often overlaps with anti-Semitic stories about rootless cosmopolitans, their greed and scheming.) There were some secret meetings, but the creation of a central bank was a major project of the U.S. elite for decades around the turn of the 19th century into the 20th. There’s a great book on that topic by James Livingston that I urge anyone interested in the topic to read. It was a long, complex campaign, and not the task of a secret train ride to a remote island.

Although the Fed does put U.S. interests first, it is internationally minded, and consults constantly with its foreign counterparts. This is also rich soil for conspiratorial thinking—that, plus, of course the Jews. (Greenspan. Bernanke. You’d almost forget that 1980s Fed chair Paul Volcker’s middle name is Adolph.) You know the story—dastardly plots involving foreign financiers (with names like Rothschild) whose victims are good patriotic Americans. As anyone who watches the Fed closely, like me, could tell you, that’s just not the case.

And it’s tempting to see this body as controlling everything—it’s complicated and messy to think about how financial markets work, and the Fed’s relationship to those markets. Much easier to think of the Fed controlling everything. But in fact the Fed sometimes reacts to the markets, sometimes leads them, and on occasion fights with them.

In the 1980s, the Federal Reserve under Paul Volcker ran a very tight ship. It deliberately provoked a deep recession in 1981-82 by driving up interest rates toward 20% to scare the pants of the working class. It was a very successful class war from above that led to a massive upward redistribution of income. More recently, the Fed handed out massive amounts of money—I’m not citing actual figures since they’re vague and mind-boggling, but they’re very big—with no strings attached to major banks. Something like this was necessary to keep everything from going down the drain, but it didn’t have to be done so secretly and with no accountability. Banks were basically given blank checks to restore the status quo ante bustum. That’s terrible. You could say the same for the TARP bailout—massive giveaways with no accountability or restrictions. This is all odious.

But more recently, Fed chair Ben Bernanke has been about the only major policymaker in the world pushing for more stimulus for the U.S. economy. He’s not a partisan of austerity, like the Republicans or much of the pundit class. For this he’s earned some criticisms on the right. The right would be happy to let things go down to prove a point. They think we need a “purgation.” I was recently on a panel with a Fed-hating libertarian who invoked the concept of “purgatory,” as if we’ve all sinned. But that would create far more misery than we know now.

There’s a video (#OWS Protester Nails It! Federal Reserve) of an Occupy Wall Street protester calling for an end to the Fed and urging a vote for Ron Paul. It, and the comments, are straight out of the right-wing critique of the Fed. I’ve seen signs calling for that around the occupation. This is bad news. Ron Paul has a coherent political philosophy. He’s a libertarian. He may hate imperial war, but he also hates Social Security and Medicare. The reason he wants to end the Fed is that he wants to get the state out of the money business and return to a 19th century gold standard. A gold standard is painfully austere. The gold supply increases by less than 2% a year. That means tremendous pressure on average incomes. It’s great if you’re a big bondholder, but hell if you’re a regular person. When we were on a gold standard in the 19th century we had frequent panics, crises, and depressions. Almost half of the last three decades of the 19th century was spent in recession or depression. It put both rural farmers and urban workers through the wringer.

We need to democratize the Fed, open it up, and subject money to more humane and less upper-class-friendly regulation. But let’s not sign on with Ron Paul, please. And let’s not join with the simple-minded right-wing critique that blames all of capitalism’s systemic problems on government institutions.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

It's a little known fact that newspapermen have been competing for centuries to see who can publish an editorial of such vacuity that the reader is left with the exact same amount of knowledge about a subject that he had when he began reading. (I will use the male pronoun throughout this article, as is the tradition in the newspaper business; women being a source of revenue, but suspect).

Of course, there are rules and traditions, controversies and feuds. All great endeavors are thus. As a college student, Thomas Jefferson once killed a man before he could publish an essay on the rhythmic nature of tides in the Williamsburg Gazette. This act established Jefferson as a "go-getter" and set him up for a life in politics.

The trick in the endeavor is not leave the reader dumber than when he began - a Goldberg as it is known today - nor to give him even one interesting tidbit to which he could say to himself "I did not know that." It is harder than it may seem, as the average reader is a font of a lack of knowledge. As easy as it may be to impress a college teacher thusly, your man on the street is much harder to not educate.

As long as the competition has gone on, day after day, editorial after editorial it is semi-surprising that the achievement has been obtained by Jack Wilson of the Register Guard, a paper printed in the bucolic burg of Eugene. While he didn't write the editorial, he had the foresight to have it published, which wins him the prize, much like a producer taking home an academy award for Best Picture. The actual author is Douglas Vaughan of the Lutheran board for higher education and ministries.

The article in question is, of course, too boring to read in it entirety. As you would expect, it makes outlandish claims and does not even begin to back them up. It posits nostrums without explanations. It hints at allegations. It ends with a sentence that does not make sense. It has nothing, which means it has it all.

The topic is accountability in the schools, or, to be precise, the lack there of.

Accountability is truly the No. 1 crisis facing public education today.

How do we know this? Well, it seems that the United States' children so not do well on test scores compared with their international cohort. It is clear that what is needed is accountability. You need further examples?
The Civic Stadium debacle is a prime example of the continuing mismanagement of public resources. Another is this year’s University of Oregon’s salary increases, in defiance of common sense.

It is a clear fact that the mismanagement of pubic resources in the form of unused stadia and raises to university educators have depressed the nation's school children preventing them from excelling in standardized testing. The inability of so-called responsible adults to sell property in a timely manner and deny educators raises is our number one problem.

Still another stumbling block for accountability is the political shell game so skillfully managed under so-called grass-root organizations such as Stand for Children and Strong for Schools. Such organizations serve merely as window dressing for collective bargaining.

Not is not possible to actually derive a point from that sentence, but it seems ominous. The reader is left to infer his own inference, which is a nifty trick, as it provides the reader with the experience of feeling like he is thinking, without actually informing him of anything. At best a reader could say to himself, "I bet I know what I think he means by that."

Of course any editorial must, by definition, offer some sort of solution to the problem it has raised, in this case accountability.
Oregon must embrace major changes, too numerous to detail here. However, some future changes need to include full support for many more charter schools, creative incentives for home-schooling and additional opportunities for parochial schooling.

The greatest change must come in our public system from top to bottom. We need term limits for school board members and state representatives, regardless of party. New laws are needed to end the cozy monopoly enjoyed by members of the school board, collective bargaining teams and politicians at the direct expense of public education.

Nothing can remain off the table — including the unsustainable mounting cost of PERS, as well as the over-the-top cost of Cadillac health insurance benefits and compensation. All these will have to be changed.

Charter schools, home-schooling, parochial schools, new laws, cutting retirement and health benefits for teachers. There are your ideas for ending the crisis of accountability.

Accountability begins with everyone when the realities of public education are seen for what they truly are — an abysmal failure of oversight.

There, aren't you exactly the same as you were before you read that? Congratulations Jack Wilson, of the Register Guard, you go-getter you.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

We've got a long way to go

“I’m still trying to figure it out,” said Pete McCarthy, a pinstripe-suited lawyer who represents a financial services firm, studying the protesters on his way to work. “What are they saying, ‘People Instead of Profits’. What does it mean?”

Saturday, October 1, 2011

The Obama Doctrine In Action | ThinkProgress

Do we or don't we except Yglesias' thesis here?
there’s a tendency, which I think is somewhat misguided, to take all of Obama’s “hawkish” actions and fold them into a narrative about continuity with Bush administration policies since Bush was also “hawkish.” There are some real continuities, but I think this business is actually an example of discontinuity.

The difference—and I think it’s a big difference—is that the Bush administration took a very ideological view of “the war on terror.” They viewed the United States as broadly in conflict with a vast-yet-hazily-defined array of Muslim Bad Guys such that Saddam Hussein and the government of Iran were somehow part of the same problem as Osama bin Laden. The conceptual alternative to this that Obama offered (and I think you see it in early coverage of Obama’s national security thinking from Spencer Ackerman and yours truly) was to think of al-Qaeda as a specific, narrow thing that ought to be obsessively targeted and destroyed. His team viewed the Iraq War as a catastrophic distraction from that task, and also repeatedly clashed with John McCain over the need to more forcefully disregard Pakistani government views about hitting targets in Pakistan. You see in the rising body count that this all wasn’t just talk. There’s been some kind of meaningful reallocation of national resources away from Bush’s geopolitical vision in favor of a much more literal global effort to identify, locate, and kill members of al-Qaeda. This whole suite of undertakings is in significant tension with the administration’s desire to pursue a rules-based global order and if Obama asked me I’d tell him he’s tilted too far against his own big picture ideas. Still, world affairs doesn’t exist on a two-dimensional hawk/dove axis and this militaristic aspect of Obamaism should be seen as a departure from Bush’s view of the terrorism problem.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Simplicity Itself

Obama is blinded by a ‘pathology’

President Obama says secretaries pay higher tax rates than the millionaires who employ them and he believes that’s unfair. OK, fine. Lower the secretary’s tax rate until it matches the millionaire’s. Problem solved, fairness achieved.

Of course, a lower tax rate for anyone would mean diminishing Obama’s ability to redistribute wealth as he sees fit. After all, that would mean less revenue for the federal government and we simply can’t have that, can we? That might force Americans to be charitable to one another, and the government to spend less.

Empowering citizens by confiscating less of their equity is not an option for a president who is blinded by liberal pathology and a hatred for vintage American culture.

Not being able to make such a choice also reveals the truth about the president’s intolerant, hate-filled abettors. Residing in the cultish tenet that it’s OK for Obama to implement a doctrine of post-modern economic justice, they seek nothing less than full control over the value of other peoples’ lives as vengeance for demographic disparity.

If you don’t agree that lowering the tax rate for secretaries is fair and still believe Obama has a bleeding heart for them, answer this: Why does Obama refuse to provide incentives through tax code modifications so millionaire employers will pay their secretaries more?

Pat Du Gard


Friday, September 23, 2011

It's Simple, Really

I think that what Ezra fails to understand is that it is Harry Reid that is practically forcing Boehner to play "My way or the highway" politics by not passing the House bill.

If Democrats would just do what they are told, then Republicans would not have to resort to these tactics.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Not Enough, but Not UnBallsy

The Fed’s four announcements - The Washington Post
But there was much that the Fed didn’t do. It didn’t release a statement saying it would swing its policy toward lowering the unemployment rate. It didn’t say it would strive for a period of catch-up inflation, nor that it would stop paying interest on bank reserves. It didn’t, in other words, really try anything it wasn’t already trying, and as such, there’s no reason to think the effect will be anything but modest.
Clearly, Ben's our kind of Republican.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Jams, Kicked Out

Thursday, September 15, 2011

He's Right, You Know

From the RG mailbag:

Postal worker concessions unlikely

I would bet all the stamps in my stamp drawer that if the U.S. Postal Service defaults — or more likely, eventually goes to three- or four-days-a-week delivery — because it owes $10 billion it doesn’t have, two things will happen.

I will take this bet. What are we talking, $10 worth of stamps? Are they forever stamps?
First, mailing a letter from Eugene to Boise will take 10 days because the federal government will prove, once again, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that it cannot run anything efficiently.
Ok, I will mail a letter to my father in Boise after the US Postal Service goes to three or four days. If the letter takes less than 10 days, I get those delicious stamps. If the letter takes 10 days or more, we move on to step two.

Before we move on, though, a question. How would the failure to deliver an envelope to Boise in less than 10 days prove anything about the efficiency of government? Is there some private entity out there that will come to my house, pick up the letter, and deliver it to my dad's house in Boise in less than 10 days for 44 cents?

[I'm also ignoring the fact that sentence was worded so that you have the government failing to make in 10 days so as to prove that they are inefficient, not because they are inefficient. This seems like a strange thing for the government to want to prove.]
Secondly, all the Postal Service’s union members still will receive full benefits, and sooner or later will strike for more. God forbid a federal employee should pay more for health insurance or not get a pay raise or take a pay cut.
The "sooner or later" would normally put a crimp in our bet-related plans, but since US postal workers are legally barred from striking, I'm confident that one day I will be collecting those delicious stamps. Maybe you could just concede this point?

The real heart of the letter, of course, is your demand that postal workers make concessions in their pay and benefits. never pass up an opportunity to call for someone else to take a pay cut, even if it means that it might lengthen the life of a quasi-socialist, inefficient, government program you obviously hate.

I wonder what kind of cuts postal workers would need to make to make up that $10 billion. There are 574,000 postal workers in the US, so that's a mere $17,421 each. Jerks. Of course, most of the $10 billion is for a payment to their retirement fund, so they will get it back. Hopefully no such future concession will be necessary.
What’s their silver bullet for every problem? We can be certain that higher taxes are the only solution, now and forever. I am, sadly, utterly convinced that a majority of government union workers would bite and then devour the hand that feeds them.
Well, the U.S. Postal Service does not get a regular subsidy from Congress, so the demand for higher taxes would be odd, but the point holds. Government workers should love pay cuts and less health care because the wealthiest 1% needs their tax cuts. They are, after all, the job creators. Not in this particular case, because we're talking about government jobs, but, you know, in general.

Brian Palmer


Let me know in the comments where I can pick up those stamps.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

This Made Me Cry

Long-haired preachers come out every night,
Try to tell you what's wrong and what's right;
But when asked how 'bout something to eat
They will answer in voices so sweet
You will eat, bye and bye,
In that glorious land above the sky;
Work and pray, live on hay,
You'll get pie in the sky when you die
And the Starvation Army, they play,
And they sing and they clap and they pray,
Till they get all your coin on the drum,
Then they tell you when you're on the bum
Holy Rollers and Jumpers come out
And they holler, they jump and they shout
Give your money to Jesus, they say,
He will cure all diseases today
If you fight hard for children and wife-
Try to get something good in this life-
You're a sinner and bad man, they tell,
When you die you will sure go to hell.
Workingmen of all countries, unite
Side by side we for freedom will fight
When the world and its wealth we have gained
To the grafters we'll sing this refrain

This Made Me Laugh

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Didn't Even Mention Abortion

After having watched 1.1 GOP debates [just. couldn't. do. it.], I have come to the conclusion that there are some issues on which all the candidates [except Ron Paul, he doesn't count] can agree. Which ever candidate gets the GOP nomination, rest assured he or [extremely unlikely to happen] she will agree with these five things:

1. The poor need to pay more taxes.
Did you know that it is a literal fact that 50% of working Americans do not pay taxes? [Here "taxes" is defined as federal income taxes. Almost all working Americans pay payroll taxes, gas taxes, sales taxes, fees, etc. but let's not let facts get in the way of a perfectly reasonable justification for raising taxes on the poor. Of course, if the National Parks Service puts out so much as a donations box at a national monument, you'll never hear the end of "Another Obama tax hike!" from the GOP.]

Right now, the poor have no "skin in the game" [so far my favorite phrase of the debating season. Nothing like watching some old men talk about getting some skin in the game], so they love them some big government - everything from missile defense shields to subsidized school lunches. If we could skin the poor, they'd realize that those programs aren't free, but are paid for by taxes. Then the poor would love them some missile defense [take that Gorby!], but realize that subsidized school lunches are stealing.

2. The wealthy pay too much in taxes.
It is a simple fact that for every tax dollar the federal government collects, that is one more dollar a man with a dream cannot use to start a new business. Or an already wealthy person cannot use to give to a man with a dream to start a new business. You want to solve the unemployment problem? Cut taxes on men with dreams the wealthy.

It's worse than that, though. Why should a man with a dream [and isn't that what America is all about?] work hard to fulfill his dream if he knows that the government is going to come along and take all his dream money? He won't. He just won't. As Shakespeare said, 'tis better to be a poor man with an unfulfilled dream than a successful man who has to pay a slightly higher tax rate.

3. Corporations should pay no taxes at all.
The fact of the matter is that the US economy loses $1.2 trillion dollars a year because our corporate tax rate is too high. Corporations are forced to move their headquarters overseas, just to avoid paying the unconscionable tax rate. [Nothing is more patriotic than avoiding taxes]. If the US tax rate was 0%, then US corporations would bring their money home boosting the economy. As Americans, US corporations have a duty to strangle our economy until we let them pay zero taxes. The shareholders demand it.

4. We need to drill for oil, harvest the clean coal, frack the shale, pipe the line and achieve energy independence.
It is the stupidest thing in the world that the US is going through a recession while we sit on the universe's richest energy reserves outside of the sun. If we could just unlock this vast potential and get the US off of the world commodities market, this recession would be over [in 7 to 10 years] and we'd never have to look at an Arab without spitting on him again.

5. Ron Paul is an idiot.
Ron Paul takes conservative positions to their logical conclusions and says idiotic things. He's not a serious candidate and should not even be on the same stage as the likes of Jon Huntsman [he was the governor of Utah!], Rick Santorum [the poor's favorite Republican!] and Herman Cain [9-9-9!].

Monday, September 12, 2011

Punk Rock Mondays

Wilson & Nolan, God Bless

Like the rest of America, I thank the writers of Rex Morgan, M.D. for not thinking that only one week of Spider trying to talk Kelly into going to a party "tomorrow" night would be enough. I need two full weeks of that hot action.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

My Fridays

Don Kahle* writes a Friday column for the Register Guard. It's on the political page and he writes about politics, but from one of those "everyman, if I've offended everybody, I must be doing something right" perspectives that is not quite liberal and not conservative, but rather unhinged from reality. Anyway, he says some crazy shit, which is fine, we all say crazy shit. Some people have said that the Stones are better than the Beatles. Generally, his craziness is just kind of random, WTF? kind of stuff. Let me give you an example:

Everyone would like a solution that celebrates our strengths and distributes our burden. The president of the United States can claim a decade, can announce a moon shot. But not if Americans think he’s “mailing it in.”

“Mailing it in” has stopped working, literally. Technology has replaced “snail mail,” and the United States Postal Service response has been slow. Without a bailout or significant structural changes, mail delivery could cease this winter.

Thanks to some questionable punctuation, that's six sentences that have little to nothing to do with each other. They had nothing to do with the rest of the column, either, sort of. Not sure any of them are accurate.

So, with Kahle, you sort of expect column inches of random statements that give your brain plenty of leeway to wonder how he got this column and you, too, could get a regular gig at the RG.

Yesterday, however, he wrote something crazy enough that it has stuck with me. His column was, ostensibly, about how Barry Hussien needs too be more of a leader, rather than a legislator, in order to fix the economy. (Kahle's suggestion? 32 hour work week. Boom, economy fixed. Also, BHO needs to go around the Republican leadership and get the support of the rank-and-file GOP Congressmen.)

Here's what he wrote that had me re-reading for signs of irony:

The cataclysms that collectively are known as the Great Recession have replaced our hierarchal systems of job security with a meritocracy. We reward those who get better, not those who stay longer.

Unemployment has risen, but American worker productivity has risen faster.

Welcome to the new America, it's a meritocracy. If you're unemployed, you kind of deserve to be. Slacker.

He continues:

While construction industries have declined precipitously, a few home builders in each market are busier than they’ve ever been. Office workers are being replaced with technology, except those who have mastered those technologies are getting raises and promotions. The University of Oregon and PeaceHealth each made headline [sic] recently by giving raises to their most prized employees.
If you're guessing that the raises at the UO and PeaceHealth went to the administrators, give yourself a raise, you meritorious son-of-a-bitch.

He finishes this line of thought with this mind bender:
In this “new economy,” those at the top — in skill as well as income — are rising faster. President Obama represents the pinnacle of that meritocracy.
There you have it, a very unique take on the modern world where America is now a meritocracy and those with the skills and income are (finally!) allowed to flourish, led by the fastest riser of them all, Barack Obama!

Again, how do I get a regular gig at the RG?

*Some of you may remember Kahle as the editor and publisher of the Comic News. It's the same sort of thing, you read it and say to yourself, "Wait, is this supposed to be funny?"

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

The argument on the left - Ben Smith -

The argument on the left - Ben Smith -
I asked a senior Democrat who's long defended Obama on this point about it, and he emails the condensed case for Obama:

We didn't lose this fight. Barack Obama was in law school when this fight was lost.

The role of Democrats should not be to convince people that government is great; it should be to help people reach their potential -- and government is a tool to do that. There has been a strain of skepticism about the government in the American character since the founding. Only the New Deal changed that significantly, but we have been returning to the norm ever since then.

This is the core of the left's critique -- the country doesn't agree with us, so take what political capital you have and use it to convince people to agree with us. But the presidency is not a Brookings lecture series; it's about governing the country and making a difference.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Blair Digs Leon


Blair puts
The Prophet trilogy by Isaac Deutscher on his list of 'Desert Island Books'
While George W. Bush may be a touch disappointed to find his Decision Points omitted, we're sure Isaac Deutscher would have been more than a bit alarmed to find his sympathetic three-volume biography of Trotsky listed among Tony Blair's 'Desert Island Books.'

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Mitt Romney the Throwback | Democratic Strategist

Mitt Romney the Throwback | Democratic Strategist
It's one thing for a presidential candidate to be forced to reshape his or her record to fit a new environment or a national as opposed to a local or regional context. That happens all the time. But it's another thing altogether to be forced to deny the very accomplishments that made the candidate noteworthy in the first place. And that's Mitt Romney's main problem today.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Trumka Wants “Independent” Labor Movement, Divorced from Party | FDL News Desk

It’s practically a rite of passage for a labor leader to stress their independence from the Democratic Party. In the end, the alarm bells almost always go off, and labor runs back into the waiting arms of the Democrats. Not to mention that labor is intimately intertwined with the Democratic Party. They have seats on the DNC, fercryinoutloud. So will this time be any different? [cont'd.]

One change from previous years is that labor faces an existential crisis in the states. To the extent that they won’t focus their work on national Democrats, it’s because they’re trying to save themselves in Wisconsin and Ohio and Florida and New Hampshire and across the country. They don’t have much of a choice.

The second thing is that it’s been pretty plain to see that labor got almost nothing for their efforts for national Democrats over the past few years. A progressive member of Congress told me this week that he would understand labor not making the same investment in the Democratic Party, because the return on that investment has been so nonexistent. This candid recognition at the highest levels signals that labor has made their position known. In addition, nobody is better positioned than labor to make the argument that the working class has lost all its traction and faces an assault from inequality, wage stagnation and an economy that only works for the rich. Democrats have abandoned that ideological battle, so labor must pick up the slack.

Macho Man, RIP!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The Problem of Covering Colorful but Doomed Campaigns - James Fallows - Politics - The Atlantic

The Problem of Covering Colorful but Doomed Campaigns - James Fallows - Politics - The Atlantic
So the press faces a chance to learn from the lessons of the Trump bubble. Each of these men, Gingrich and Trump, is a familiar national figure; neither of them will be the Republican nominee. Because of celebrity and personal pizzazz, they naturally are more tempting to cover than other longshots who are also not going to win the nomination. But if Gingrich coverage turns into Carnival Barkers Part Deux, we'll end up giving headline attention to disputes that have more to do with reality-show celebrity than with how Republicans will choose their issues and their candidate. The trick of balance, therefore, is to be fair to Gingrich and his arguments as long as he is in the race, much as should be the case with Rick Santorum, Herman Cain, and others, while not letting what happened with Trump happen again.
Keep the focus on Mitt, cuz the rest is balderdash.

Head Slapper

Who can spot the error here?
Dave --

I’m Kurt Fritts, and as DLCC Regional Strategist, I’m responsible for tracking policy and campaign developments in Oregon and several other states.

So take it from me – the GOP proposals to reduce access to the voting booths are extreme, they’re designed solely to help elect Republicans, and they’re happening nation-wide, including in Oregon.

The Republican bills in Oregon and 34 other states are nothing more than thinly-veiled attacks on the rights of seniors, students, and minorities to cast ballots. They open the door to mass-challenges and harassment of eligible voters, with little recourse for those wrongly targeted.

Other GOP proposals in Oregon and 25 other states would severely restrict people’s options for registering to vote or voting early or absentee.

We need your help to stop this assault on democracy and overcome GOP voter-suppression tactics. Can you help Democratic legislators across the country by contributing $10 or more to the DLCC?

The audacity of this nation-wide power-grab is unprecedented.

But the bottom-line is this: When Republicans tell us they don’t want us to vote, that’s when it’s most critical that we do.

Republicans may think voter-suppression is their ticket to victory this cycle, but it won’t be if Democrats fight back with everything we have.

Thank you for your support.


Kurt Fritts
Regional Strategist
The Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

AFL-CIO Still Vigorously Opposes Colombia Trade Deal | AFL-CIO NOW BLOG

AFL-CIO Still Vigorously Opposes Colombia Trade Deal | AFL-CIO NOW BLOG
Anti-union violence still remains at alarming levels, he said. In 2010, 52 trade unionists were murdered and 21 were the objects of unsuccessful attempts on their lives. In 2011, another seven trade unionists have been killed.

Watch Out, Chasepack. Newt Approacheth.

Newt in His Own Words: 33 Years of Bomb-Throwing | Mother Jones
1994 A South Carolina woman, Susan Smith, murders her two sons. Gingrich draws the only logical conclusion: "I think that the mother killing the two children in South Carolina vividly reminds every American how sick the society is getting and how much we need to change things. The only way you get change is to vote Republican."

Wednesday, May 4, 2011


New labor plan: Nationwide protests - Ben Smith -

The plan comes at a moment of organizational weakness for the grass-roots left, after the community organizing group ACORN filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection last year under intense conservative pressure. SEIU says they don’t plan to build a new organization on the ACORN model, but they are likely to attempt to mobilize some of the urban poor toward national politics as ACORN did, while the local remnants of ACORN continue to focus largely on local political issues.

The year “2010 came and the Democrats had no ground game! Who was registering folks to vote last year?” asked former ACORN President Bertha Lewis. “Anything that unions do that goes outside of the workplace, that’s excellent.”

The SEIU plan makes no mention of voter registration, which ACORN had conducted on a large (and — critics on both sides said, sloppy) scale for the Democratic Party.

Henry said the effort would also aim, by 2013, to focus on more traditional union organizing for SEIU, and to win rule changes that would allow for quicker union elections.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Finally, Someone Stands Up for the White Guys

More mailbag from the R-G:

Councilor Ralston stands tall

I don’t know about the rest of the folks around the Eugene-Springfield area, but I find it very refreshing that a city councilor can speak his mind and stand by his words even as criticism comes from all sides. Generally, when a story of this nature is reported (Register-Guard, April 23), the first thing a public official will do is to grovel and go on a apology tour.

I support David Ralston, and my respect for him and his position grows the more I see the attacks coming from those who disagree with his stand on illegal aliens. It is nice to see a man willing to stand tall for his principles even as the opposition grows. I will stand proudly with Dave Ralston.

D.W. Northey


Those of you not blessed to live in the 541 any longer might be wondering what brave stand [Springfield City] Councilor Ralston took that engenders such admiration and man-love from recent Oregon immigrant D.W. Northey. Well, Ralston came out against government funding for Centro Latino Americano, an organization that helps people who speak primarily Spanish access services, because they only cater to "100% illegal immigrants."

You can probably imagine the rest of Ralston's arguments about "invasion," "assimilation," and "dumping their kids in our schools." You can watch here if you'd like, because this asshole is proud enough of himself that he's perfectly happy to be filmed saying stupid shit.

My favorite bit - hell, everybody's favorite bit - is the part where he asserts that he knows that anyone who speaks Spanish is an illegal immigrant because the government would never let someone legally immigrate to the US unless they spoke English.

But D.W. Northey is right. It is surely brave of a white government official to justify voting to cut services to poor brown people on racist grounds. You just don't see it much any more.

Now, if only someone would stand up to the fucking Californians who move here without understanding our culture or values, drive up our housing costs, dump their kids in our schools, and clog up our prisons, that would be truly brave.

We Got 'Em, Too

From the R-G letters:

Ultimate liberal would vote no

In the movie “Batman Begins” (2005), Batman fights against a shadowy group bent on destroying the entire Gotham City. This movie was hugely popular across the American demographic landscape. Why?

In my opinion Batman is a long-time icon of goodness, strength and overcoming adversity in many forms, and there are probably more reasons that you may have for liking Batman for all these years.

Let me give you a look at what “Batman Begins” does for me. He is the ultimate liberal! As soon as he realizes that the shadowy group is going to destroy Gotham City and all its residents, he fights against the group that saved him.

I read this as a parable of the Vietnam era policy of destroying the village to save it. We know where re-igniting this policy has gotten us (into not one but two more land wars in Asia).

I want to revisit this film’s themes because it’s 2011 now and the right wants to cut services to the neediest at a terrible time of uncertainty.

The right acts like the neediest of us need to be destroyed to save the village. The budget that Rep. Paul Ryan and his cronies propose will push us toward a society not unlike Gotham City. Is this where they want the United States to go? Conspiracy theorists may well say yes.

I know it’s a movie. And yet everyone knows that art (movies, books, TV, etc.) reflects culture and society. So, people, would Batman support this budget?


Arthur Hering


Thursday, April 28, 2011

Sweden, You're Fucked

Rick Santorum is running for president of these United States and, by all accounts, he, like Judge Roy Moore, is in it to win it.

A strong candidate needs a strong foreign policy stand and if taking on the godless hordes of the frozen north is what he has to do to win the ultimate prize, then that's just what he's going to do.
Santorum says the United States has a moral authority to fight "godless socialism."
He nattered on about China and Venezuela, but as China is communist and Venezuela is pretty fucking Catholic, we know who he was really aiming his remarks at and why.

Look out Norsemen, Rick has you in his sights.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Haley, We Hardly Knew Ya

A plain blog about politics: Winnowing

I can only repeat what I've been saying: it's not that the field is small; it's that the winnowing has begun early.


But, look, we call this period the "invisible primary" for a reason: just like in the state-by-state primaries to come next year, the current contest has winners and losers, and the losers tend to drop out. Now, some potential candidates really haven't contested the invisible primary...I haven't read anything, for example, about Jeb Bush. So I'll chalk him up as a "did not run." But those who hired staff, sought endorsements, traveled to Iowa and New Hampshire and South Carolina -- they contested the invisible primary. They were candidates for 2012. Even if they didn't quite make it all the way to 2012.

NLRB plans to sue two states in attack on secret ballot | Philip Klein | Beltway Confidential | Washington Examiner

NLRB plans to sue two states in attack on secret ballot | Philip Klein | Beltway Confidential | Washington Examiner

Majority signup lives!

The National Labor Relations Board, which under Obama has launched an assualt on workers and businesses at the behest of unions, is planning to sue two states that have constitutional amendments protecting workers' rights to a secret ballot in union elections, the New York Times reports.

According to the Times, the NLRB put Arizona and South Dakota on notice in a letter sent Friday, warning that it planned to sue the states because they passed amendments prohibiting unionization through "card check." The "card check" procedure allows a site to become unionized if labor leaders can collect signed cards from 50 percent of the employees, plus one. It denies workers access to a secret ballot, enabling for rapid unionization at the federal level.

With the Obama administration unable to enact a federal law on card check, it's seeking to undermine secret ballot elections through the regulatory route.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Prabhat Patnaik, "Lenin and Keynes"

Prabhat Patnaik, "Lenin and Keynes"
But, again by an irony that unites both these thinkers, the historical experiments unleashed by them, despite remarkable early promise, could not reach successful fruition. The process of globalization of finance made the nation state that was supposed to override the whims and caprices of finance, subservient precisely to these very whims and caprices for fear of capital flight; as a result we have the current bizarre spectacle of capitalist countries enacting one after another 'austerity measures' in the midst of a recession, which will only accentuate the recession. Keynes would be turning in his grave at this absurd course of events. Likewise, the Soviet Union founded under Lenin's leadership no longer exists; communist parties, barring a few, have dwindled into insignificance; the socialist credentials of China and Vietnam are barely visible and have to be established by the committed few through elaborate theoretical and statistical exercises; and a question mark hovers over the fate of Cuba, buffeted by imperialism. Those who invoke either Keynes or Lenin today are few and far between.
So it is, so it is. This article is the unknowing prequel to my forthcoming ballade, "Trotsky and (George) Romney."

Sunday, April 3, 2011

We Work Hard, but Who’s Complaining? -

We Work Hard, but Who’s Complaining? -
So, when those firemen took the steps of the Madison Capitol a few weeks ago, I was among those heartened and stirred. I could not resist, though, feeling more than a twinge of disappointment. I fear if it had been just some state home care workers or public school kindergarten teachers up there on the steps, it would not have ignited the same public sympathy and this fight would not be taken as seriously as it is.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Another Late-Night Attack on State Workers

Another Late-Night Attack on State Workers
Late last night, long after normal business hours, the New Hampshire House became the latest state government to pass legislation balancing the budget on the backs of the poor and vulnerable. The most contentious part of the legislation gets rid of negotiation rights for the state’s 70,000 public employees if their contracts expire before a new agreement has been reached.
Unreal. It just keeps going.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Chasepack Screed of the Moment is by Joe Klein

American Embarrassment - Swampland -
This is my 10th presidential campaign, Lord help me. I have never before seen such a bunch of vile, desperate-to-please, shameless, embarrassing losers coagulated under a single party's banner. They are the most compelling argument I've seen against American exceptionalism. Even Tim Pawlenty, a decent governor, can't let a day go by without some bilious nonsense escaping his lizard brain. And, as Greg Sargent makes clear, Mitt Romney has wandered a long way from courage. There are those who say, cynically, if this is the dim-witted freak show the Republicans want to present in 2012, so be it. I disagree. One of them could get elected. You never know. Mick Huckabee, the front-runner if you can believe it, might have to negotiate a trade agreement, or a defense treaty, with the Indonesian President some day. Newt might have to discuss very delicate matters of national security with the President of Pakistan. And so I plead, as an unflinching American patriot--please Mitch Daniels, please Jeb Bush, please run. I may not agree with you on most things, but I respect you. And you seem to respect yourselves enough not to behave like public clowns.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011


Don't Call Me Pale Ale
6# LME
.75# Crystal 40L
.25# Honey Malt 25L
2 oz Goldings
Wyeast London Ale

Standard boil on the grains and extract, added 1 oz of the hops at 60 mins, .5 oz at 22 minutes, and .5 oz while the wort chilled.

I also made this:

The candle holder, not the table or everything else. Now, if it would quit raining, I could make more candle holders and use them!

Weigel : Creeping FOIAzation in Michigan, and Defunding the Left

Weigel : Creeping FOIAzation in Michigan, and Defunding the Left

This is the next stage, really, in the evolution of the conservative and libertarian think tanks that were created to combat the influence of state-funded public universities -- making it tougher for the public universities to host political operations.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

The union mentality: We can do well without it -

The union mentality: We can do well without it -
But are we witnessing the spirit of Joe Hill on Capitol Hill? I doubt it. If his ghost walks the earth, it is in the third-world where it might still find seriously unsafe and unhealthy working conditions, 12-hour work days, six-day work weeks, child labor, and company stores keeping workers trapped in debt -- that is, actually exploited workers
...In a word, the union mentality is unbecoming. Why not face the world as an individual? Offer your knowledge and skills in trade with others. Rise or fall on your own merits. Find job security in being valuable to your employers. Make your employer’s goals and objectives your own. Make your bosses worry that they might lose you. Or start your own business. At least have enough self-respect to realize that if you need asinine work rules to keep your job, you don’t deserve your job.
Really, read the whole thing. We do "anti-union nutjob fuck" in MI just as well as they do in OR. Mebbe even better.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

A plain blog about politics: Palin and Playing By the Rules

A plain blog about politics: Palin and Playing By the Rules
Again, this is how nomination politics works. For all one hears about efforts to market candidates to mass electorates (that's what things like the "authenticity" debate are all about), the bulk of nomination politics is retail, not wholesale -- and the customers candidates are trying to reach are a relatively small group of party elites. It is not, to be sure, only party's a fairly large and usually evolving group; it includes not just formal party officials, but also leaders of party-affiliated groups, campaigning and governing professionals, activists, and politicians. That's more like thousands, not hundreds, of people; it's only the dreaded "establishment" if the term is used very loosely to mean anyone with a long-term commitment to party politics, and even then both parties are at least somewhat permeable to new people and groups.
Trots for Romney everywhere semi-agree that these same realities, when brought to bear on Governor Tim Pawlenty, will cause his ultimate defeat. Religious folk shall march with Huckabee, and party chairs will cluck for Mittens. TPAW must pass between the Scylla of Jesus maniacs and the Charibdis of organized banking in order to clear a path, and to build a tent, pour le victoire. The odds, one must admit, are long.

The Minnesota Boy Knows His Southern Strategy

TPAW is in. First, last, always - TPAW.

Pawlenty comes out strong.

Did Tim Pawlenty come from humble beginning he had to struggle to overcome, a stuggle that has infused him with a value of hard work and an unsullied optimism?
At a young age, I saw up close the face of challenge, the face of hardship and the face of job loss. Over the last year I've traveled to nearly every state in the country and I know many Americans are feeling that way today. I know that feeling. I lived it.

But there is a brighter future for America.


Does Tim Pawlenty have political heroes we can all admire?
Ronald Reagan personified [America]. And Lincoln stood courageously to protect it. That's why today, I'm announcing the formation of an exploratory committee to run for president of the United States. Join the team and together we'll restore America.

Most importantly, can he talk about the truly important issues without sounding too, you know, racist?
We, the people of the United States, will take back our government. This is our country. Our founding fathers created it.

Who's founding fathers? Our founding fathers!
Who's country? Our country!
Who's government? Our government!

Finally, a candidate who is willing to plainly say what we are all thinking. The "government" is currently controlled by people who are not "We, the people of the United States."

We the People, forming a more perfect union:

Men and women of good faith know what I mean.

America, prepare to be TPWND!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Nerds of the World, Unite!

I thought this post about the time we spent in the basement was nice.

Friday, March 18, 2011

A Koan

If everybody in the running for GOP nomination in 2012 is in the chase pack, couldn't we say that no one is the chase pack? Or if there is, even, a chase pack?

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Giving Glenn Beck Talking Points Since 2003








2:00 – 3:30 PM (EST), National Teach-in Live Streamed from New York City

3:30 – 5:00 PM (EST), Local Teach-in and Strategy Discussions on Your Campus

Participate in the National Teach-in by organizing a teach-in on your local campus (see the next page for an organizing guide).

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Democracy is Nothing Short of Tyranny

Opening my paper this morning was no simple task, as I am still recovering from saluting Lex and killing my liver in solidarity with my brothers and sisters in Wisconsin. Fortunately, the Register Guard apparently has a policy whereby anyone who can string 1000 words together gets to be published in the paper. Nothing helps this cynic's headache like a batshit editorial in the local paper.

Thank Jeebus for Laura Cooper.

Eugene income tax for schools is both unfair and unwise
It starts out promising:
It’s a lesson we all supposedly learned as children: The end can’t justify the means.
I'm not sure if this something we all supposedly learned as children. Don't eat the paste. Play nice with others. Always put your name at the top of the paper because your teacher can't know who wrote it if there's no name at the top of the page. These are the things I learned as a child. I'm not sure if I missed the day my class tackled complex philosophical arguments and came to definite conclusions on them, but then I was sick a lot, so it's completely possible.

But accepting the premise, what does this have to do with anything?
School funding is a noble and necessary end; however, the means chosen for this mission by the Eugene City Council in its income tax proposal are nothing short of tyranny as our forefathers understood, and for that reason the proposal must be defeated.
Tyranny! Nothing short of tyranny!! The kind of tyranny our forefathers faced!!! Do you think she wanted to go with Founding Fathers, but backed off because she realized that no, nothing she is about to write about has anything to do with the founding of this country? I don't know, but "forefathers" it is.

What tyranny do we Eugeneians face Laura Cooper?
As is predictable, proponents provide nothing beyond the same old arguments about taxes “boosting” the local economy without bothering to evaluate the very real impact of additional taxes on an already struggling economy — completely discounting or ignoring the impact on already overburdened local taxpayers.
Okay, but what about the tyranny? You promised me tyranny, dammit.
Nobody disputes the value of a high-quality education. The problem is that few supporters of this proposal can argue much past “it’s for the children” and focus on the horrendous details of the actual proposal.
Ok, horrendous details. Let's have 'em. And I'm still waiting on that tyranny.
Nothing in the proponents’ arguments addresses the prospect of an offset of collected taxes against equalization revenues from the state, addresses the authority of one government jurisdiction to levy taxes for another, or explains how this could possibly be a “temporary” measure when the structural problem that has caused it to occur remains unsolved.
No details. No tyranny.
In Oregon, schools are funded locally through property taxes, but Measure 5, approved by the voters in 1990, placed strict limits on those taxes. Instead, this proposal is a blatant attempt by the city of Eugene to evade Measure 5 and constitutes double taxation on Eugene residents who have already funded schools through their state income taxes.
Double taxation! Heavens. But wait. I fund schools through my local property tax and through my state income taxes?! Holy fuck, I'm already being double taxed. This would be triple taxation! Or quadruple, if you want to throw the feds in the mix. And I do!
Under Oregon’s Constitution, the state Legislature is tasked with funding schools using state taxes. Why not hold our Legislature accountable? Instead, the city simply wants Eugene voters to pay twice — even though the funds raised could well be deducted by the state Legislature in its own equalization distributions (resulting in no net benefit at all).

Given that Measures 66 and 67 were proposed last year as the solution to the very same underfunding problem, what assurances can voters be given that the current proposal will in fact be the real and final solution? Unfortunately, none — precisely because this “solution” is not even within the jurisdiction of its proponents.
This doesn't make a lot of sense. And by that I mean it's not very well written. I get that Cooper doesn't like the tax, but by this point I feel a bit Milhouse over here. When are they going to get to the fireworks factory?

Oh wait, here we go.
Nor is that simply a technical problem. Instead, the jurisdictional issue strikes at the very heart of fairness and accountability, and demonstrates that the proposal is blatantly unconstitutional and irresponsible. This proposal is a fundamental mismatch between taxing authority and spending goals, and the consequence is a basic lack of both due process and equal protection.
I should mention here that Laura Cooper is an attorney, so when she says something is "blatantly unconstitutional" I have every reason to believe that she knows what she's talking about. And while blatantly unconstitutional is not exactly tyranny, I've perked back up. Due process, equal protection. Those are concepts I know. Let's do this thing.
Here’s why: The jurisdiction of the city of Eugene extends only to the contiguous city limits, and thus the tax would affect all people who reside within those city limits and file state tax returns. By contrast, school district boundaries extend well beyond those city limits. What that means is that families that reside within the boundaries of the school district but outside the city limits would be exempted from paying the proposed tax because the city cannot exercise its jurisdiction over them. that really what "due process" and "equal protection" mean? Some people wouldn't have to pay taxes that they don't get to vote on, but they get the benefits? I'm not sure those words mean what she thinks they mean.

Thus, River Road-area neighbors who live on either side of city boundaries and send children to the very same schools will be treated completely differently with respect to this tax, simply by virtue of their residences being on opposite sides of the city limits.

The class of persons paying the tax bears no rational relationship to the class of persons benefiting from it.

In addition to being blatantly unfair, the proposal is also unwise.

We've walked back "nothing short of tyranny" and "blatantly unconstitutional" to "unfair" and "unwise." Yes, Johnny, there are times when I feel as if I have been cheated. This happens to be one of them.

Laura gives us some more nattering, but to be honest, I've lost interest now that I've realized that there will be no tyranny forthcoming. Read if you must, I only post it to be fair.

School district governing bodies are neither accountable to nor legally subordinated in any way to the city of Eugene, or vice versa. The city cannot dictate to the schools, or vice versa, and thus there is no procedure whereby the city can adequately oversee or monitor accountability for the funds it raises for the schools: it lacks basic authority to acquire information to enable it to determine the appropriate level or use of the taxes it seeks to impose.

As a practical matter, then, the Eugene City Council can provide no assurances that this new funding stream will correct or even address any of the underlying problems for which it is being proposed. In short, it cannot enforceably condition the funds on anything. For example, it cannot address the systemic problems creating the shortfall: It cannot require the school district to cut administrative overhead or renegotiate pension deals with the dollars that it directs toward the schools. Funding with no accountability is a direct ticket to waste, fraud and abuse.

She does finish nice though.
Means matter. What’s next? If the city’s power to levy taxes can be used to fund anything the City Council desires, what is to stop it from collecting taxes for world peace? This proposal must be defeated.
Exactly. If the City Council can propose a 1% income tax with the funds directed to schools, put it on the ballot, and have a majority of citizens vote to pay higher taxes, then where does the madness end?

It ends in tyranny, that's where it ends.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Crap/Not Crap?

The logo for the Democratic Party:

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

LBO News from Doug Henwood

Doug Henwood on labor in l'USA
Unions spend scores of millions in every election cycle, and send their members out to campaign and round up voters on election day, and get little or nothing in return for all their efforts. This is one of the tragedies of American politics: organized labor has to choose between a party that tolerates their presence but basically ignores their interests, and one that wants to destroy them. Some choice, eh?
There can never be any better politics in this country until there’s a rebirth of the labor movement.

Never Too Soon

What does the futures market on the 2012 GOP nominees look like?

Let's find out.

I'm an early Pawlenty man, btw, for many of the reasons discussed here.

Monday, March 7, 2011

A New Image for Unions?

A New Image for Unions?
I wouldn't argue that the events in Wisconsin presage a grand revival of the labor movement or anything. But they may mean that when people hear "union workers" in the near future, they'll be more likely to think of teachers, nurses, and firefighters. Which can't be bad.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Because It Needs to Be Said, After All These Years

Was going to post this on it's own, but will say "sorry for my absence." Good Lord, this guy longs for the day when life is not pounding him flatter than hammered dog shit. It's been said by better monkeys than me, but pray for mojo.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Are we Hearing the Death Knell for Unions? « Wade Rathke: Chief Organizer Blog

Are we Hearing the Death Knell for Unions? « Wade Rathke, former ACORN dude
In the Wall Street Journal a couple of weeks ago a breathless story about a possible $100,000,000 organizing campaign being launched by SEIU in more than a dozen cities around the country was attributed to an anonymous SEIU board member and other sources. Whatever the merits and truth of those reports, SEIU and every other union need to pull all of their last dollars together and figure out how to survive and turn the tide and do it now, make it real, and make it very, very different, because the bell has rung on the old school and the old ideas, as Stern acknowledges, and we are running out of time and money with the tide coming in hard against us.

Wisconsin as a Good Thing | Democratic Strategist

Wisconsin as a Good Thing | Democratic Strategist

But the trade union movement's weak public relations outreach is puzzling. In this age of streaming video, where is Labor's television station, or even nation-wide radio programs? Where are the academy-award nominated documentaries about labor's pivotal contributions to American society? How about some public service ads educating people about union contributions to social and economic progress in America?

It's no longer enough have labor leaders do guest spots on news programs and talk shows. a much more aggressively pro-active p.r. and educational effort is needed. That commitment, coupled with an effort to modernize union recruitment and membership could help insure that sleazy politicians like Walker never get the chance to do their worst.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

How Chris Christie Did His Homework -

How Chris Christie Did His Homework -
What makes Christie compelling to so many people isn’t simply plain talk or swagger, but also the fact that he has found the ideal adversary for this moment of economic vertigo. Ronald Reagan had his “welfare queens,” Rudy Giuliani had his criminals and “squeegee men,” and now Chris Christie has his sprawling and powerful public-sector unions — teachers, cops and firefighters who Christie says are driving up local taxes beyond what the citizenry can afford, while also demanding the kind of lifetime security that most private-sector workers have already lost. It may just be that Christie has stumbled onto the public-policy issue of our time,which is how to bring the exploding costs of the public workforce in line with reality.
Get hyperbolic much, NYT?

Labor Secretary Solis: "Elections do matter" – The 1600 Report - Blogs

Labor Secretary Solis: "Elections do matter" – The 1600 Report - Blogs

The political rallying cry came as some liberals and labor activists had questioned why President Obama hadn't visited protesters in Wisconsin, especially in light of a 2007 campaign line. Then-candidate Obama told a crowd in South Carolina "understand this, if American workers are being denied their right to organize and collectively bargain, when I'm in the White House, I'll put on a comfortable pair of shoes myself, I'll walk on that picket line with you as president of the United States of America."

On Thursday White House spokesman Jay Carney, asked about why he wasn't making such a trip, said, the President has "an ability to be heard when he speaks, and he spoke to the situation in Wisconsin and his views on it last week. And I'll leave it at that."

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Because Bad Ideas Never Die: Gangster Polticians Edition

Oh, hey! TABOR is back!

The Dems at the statehouse want to do something about this budget crisis we're having in Oregon. Well, not so much the current crisis, but future ones. To do this, they want to end the "kicker" and direct those dollars to a Rainy Day Fund, which is eminently sensible. There's a certain logic to saying "Maybe when we have billions in deficits, we shouldn't be sending tax rebates to people because three guys missed their guess on how much revenue we'd have."

This being Oregon, nothing sensible is allowed to happen. Not only do we have plenty of Republicans who still can't give up the "it's the people's money!They know best what to do with it" bullshit that drives so much of the debate, but we've also managed to pass a law that requires 2/3 of the Legislature to change tax law.

So, in order to enact sensible tax reform, the Dems have to give the Republicans something. What could that something be? Oh, how 'bout that little Measure that we all worked our asses off to kill a few years back?

But in an attempt to build political consensus, the proposed constitutional revision, which would have to go before voters, would offer more.

GOP lawmakers and business interests showed a liking for [the idea] because it proposes to place a threshold on government spending by tying spending increases to population growth and inflation, thereby seeking to prevent state government spending from mushrooming in times of economic boom.

Steve Buckstein of the libertarian Cascade Policy Institute said the spending cap intrigued him because “taxpayers have very few ways of regulating the growth of government.”

Now, I seem to recall being assured that if Measure 48 passed, that would be the end of Oregon as we know it. I guess not. Or maybe so.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Labor makeover?

Labor faces a moment of truth - Ben Smith and Maggie Haberman -
Many strategists and even some labor officials argue that the genuine passion and emotion being felt and displayed on the ground in Wisconsin is obscuring a central problem: Unions still haven’t figured out even a semblance of an effective PR strategy.
True enuff, as far as it goes -- but how far does it go? To what extent is the problem just the frame, unionistas? There's also the structural problem of state fiscal crises, and the political-cultural problem of ubiquitous deficit hawkery, right?

“Whatever happened to the vague sense 10 years ago of the need to develop a community unionism?” asked another official, who suggested labor leaders on the ground in Wisconsin shouldn’t have been surprised by the Walker attack, yet were clearly caught off guard. “They’ve been talking only to themselves for too long.”

Saturday, February 19, 2011

'Cause, Why Not?

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

What, Was I Born Yesterday?

For some reason that the reaction among right-wingers to the sexual assault of Lara Logan is "what did she expect?/serves her right" surprises me. You'd think I'd have learned by now, but no, I sit here genuinely appalled at the behavior of my fellow human beings.

As long as my cred as a cynic is being thrown out the window, I might as well say, "Fucking really? Do you fucking people wake up in the morning and ask yourselves 'What would be the worst thing I could say or do today?' and go from fucking there? Fuck me you're pieces of shit."

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Revolutionary Red

A NW red ale...

6# Light LME
.5# Organic Caramunich II
.5# Caramel Munich
.25# Organic Roasted Barley
.25# Cara Red
.25# Flaked Red Wheat
1 oz Amarillo (60 min)
.5 oz Willamette (15 min)
.5 oz Cascade (5 min)
1 oz Cascade (dry hop in secondary)
Wyeast Irish Ale

OG - 1.61

Sunday, February 13, 2011

After NJEA, Christie's next fight is with state workers as contracts come up for renewal |

After NJEA, Christie's next fight is with state workers as contracts come up for renewal |
"This whole idea that I don’t care about the collective bargaining process is absolutely false," Christie said. "I think they’re going to enjoy working with me."

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

A Message for My Union Brothers and Sisters

An Econ prof begs me, literally begs me, to get this word out to my union contacts:
You are killing yourselves and this country by protecting weak employees who have no business being in their jobs. You bankrupted the auto industry (just look at it! look at it! do you need further proof?) and you are harming our children. Please, please, just think about what you are doing.
Consider yourselves pled with.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Of Course, the Dean!

RPT Timetable for Tenure-Track and Tenured Faculty. The Provost has the authority to set the specific schedule for RPT decisions for each academic year, except for decisions pertaining to tenure-track Assistant Professors in the second year of their first (three-year) appointment, in which case the authority to set the schedule rests with the dean.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Prisonship-ish, imp-ish inventory.

  1. SodaStream fizzy water maker.
  2. Crime novels by Jonathan Valin, Stephen Greenleaf, John D. Macdonald.
  3. Tyvek, Nothing Fits.
  4. Nobuhiko Obayashi’s House

Many viewers here—even cinephiles—will not have heard of director Nobuhiko Obayashi. Is he well-known in Japan?

Obayashi was already famous in Japan as a director of commercials before House, and its trailer even uses this as a selling point. And check out this Mandom ad—one of his nuttiest. Hes since directed almost forty films in many different genres, and is also a well-known television personality.

House is basically indescribable. But if you had to, how would you describe it?

An exhilarating grab bag of visual tricks, a disturbing satire that turns the giddy sheen of pop culture against itself, and an oddly moving coming-of-age allegory. I think its easy to praise the film as surreal, weird, etc., and leave it at that, but its a very carefully crafted work, and reveals a new layer with each viewing.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Friday, January 28, 2011

Why Am I on the Internet Right Now, It Can't End Well

Read the comments section at Town Hall about the Tracy Morgan thing. Conflicting thoughts. These people are in the political ascendancy in this country; their thoughts are more stream than ours. But they lash out because they are small and afraid all the time.

I'd rather be in the political minority, I think.

A Conservative's Guide to What's Happening Egypt

It's pretty simple, really:

1. The unrest in Egypt and Tunisia are the result of our invasion of Iraq, validating the Bush Doctrine and vindicating Cheney; unless

2. You'd like to point out that Iraq is now peaceful because of the war and installation of democracy, thereby validating the invasion of Iraq and disproving the liberal thesis that you can't create a democratic society through invasion; unless

3. You'd like to worry that the uprising in Egypt is being led by the Muslim Brotherhood and radical Islam may take control, something Iraq avoided, thereby validating the invasion of Iraq; unless

4. You'd like to argue that the uprising is a genuine democratic revolt that could be co-opted by the Muslim Brotherhood unless Obama sends messages of support to the democratic resistance as he failed to do with the Green Revolution in Iran.

Any way, you win and the liberal islamofascists lose!

Don't Text the Subtext

So, Tracy Morgan is asked by Kenny Smith and Charles Barkley "Tina Fey or Sarah Palin?" This is to help settle an ongoing argument. Everyone acknowledges that they are fine looking dames, the both. Morgan tells them that he thinks Sarah Palin makes fine masturbation material. Everyone gets uncomfortable and TNT apologizes for Morgan's behavior.

Dear TNT:

Mayhaps you might consider apologizing for having your co-hosts ask a guest which of two national prominent women he'd most like to fuck. That is what they asked him, even if they didn't use any naughty words. You see, I know you're concerned that some thirteen-year old boy was just robbed of his innocence by hearing the word "masturbation," but the real damage was done before that when he realized that the only place for women in this conversation was as a sex object. Even if he couldn't figure out what the initial question meant (unlikely) he would be hard pressed to miss the follow-up conversation about how fine looking they are.

So your apology only reinforces that at TNT sexism is perfectly acceptable, as long as no one uses any naughty words. So, fuck you and your apology.

Oh, and Kobe Bryant is a rapist.