I believe the Jivester will be posting one of his always fantastic columns later today. Thanks Jivester.
I'm still setting up the new computer. Thanks to all of you who helped. I really appreciate it. You are incredible.
But as I'm loading programs and trying to remember passwords, it occurred to me that I shouldn't miss celebrating 911 Day the same way I do every year, by posting Ani Difranco's "Self Evident." It's still the best commentary on 911 and its aftermath my inner Frenchman's heard.
Here's an mp3 recording.
And a sampling of the verse (but listen to the mp3, it's incredible):
us people are just poems
we're 90% metaphor
with a leanness of meaning
and once upon a time
we were moonshine
rushing down the throat of a giraffe
yes, rushing down the long hallway
despite what the p.a. announcement says
yes, rushing down the long stairs
with the whiskey of eternity
fermented and distilled
to eighteen minutes
burning down our throats
down the hall
down the stairs
in a building so tall
that it will always be there
yes, it's part of a pair
there on the bow of noah's ark
the most prestigious couple
just kickin back parked
against a perfectly blue sky
on a morning beatific
in its indian summer breeze
on the day that america
fell to its knees
after strutting around for a century
without saying thank you
and the shock was subsonic
and the smoke was deafening
between the setup and the punch line
cuz we were all on time for work that day
we all boarded that plane for to fly
and then while the fires were raging
we all climbed up on the windowsill
and then we all held hands
and jumped into the sky
and every borough looked up when it heard the first blast
and then every dumb action movie was summarily surpassed
and the exodus uptown by foot and motorcar
looked more like war than anything i've seen so far
so fierce and ingenious
a poetic specter so far gone
that every jackass newscaster was struck dumb and stumbling
over 'oh my god' and 'this is unbelievable' and on and on
and i'll tell you what, while we're at it
you can keep the pentagon
keep the propaganda
keep each and every tv
that's been trying to convince me
in some prep school punk's plan to perpetuate retribution
even as the blue toxic smoke of our lesson in retribution
is still hanging in the air
and there's ash on our shoes
and there's ash in our hair
and there's a fine silt on every mantle
from hell's kitchen to brooklyn
and the streets are full of stories
sudden twists and near misses
and soon every open bar is crammed to the rafters
with tales of narrowly averted disasters
and the whiskey is flowin
like never before
as all over the country
folks just shake their heads
so here's a toast to all the folks who live in palestine
here's a toast to the folks living on the pine ridge reservation
under the stone cold gaze of mt. rushmore
here's a toast to all those nurses and doctors
who daily provide women with a choice
who stand down a threat the size of oklahoma city
just to listen to a young woman's voice
here's a toast to all the folks on death row right now
awaiting the executioner's guillotine
who are shackled there with dread and can only escape into their heads
to find peace in the form of a dream
cuz take away our playstations
and we are a third world nation
under the thumb of some blue blood royal son
who stole the oval office and that phony election
it don't take a weatherman
to look around and see the weather
jeb said he'd deliver florida, folks
and boy did he ever
and we hold these truths to be self evident:
#1 george w. bush is not president
#2 america is not a true democracy
#3 the media is not fooling me
cuz i am a poem heeding hyper-distillation
i've got no room for a lie so verbose
i'm looking out over my whole human family
and i'm raising my glass in a toast
here's to our last drink of fossil fuels
let us vow to get off of this sauce
shoo away the swarms of commuter planes
and find that train ticket we lost
cuz once upon a time the line followed the river
and peeked into all the backyards
and the laundry was waving
the graffiti was teasing us
from brick walls and bridges
we were rolling over ridges
i dream of touring like duke ellington
in my own railroad car
i dream of waiting on the tall blonde wooden benches
in a grand station aglow with grace
and then standing out on the platform
and feeling the air on my face
give back the night its distant whistle
give the darkness back its soul
give the big oil companies the finger finally
and relearn how to rock-n-roll
yes, the lessons are all around us and a change is waiting there
so it's time to pick through the rubble, clean the streets
and clear the air
get our government to pull its big dick out of the sand
of someone else's desert
put it back in its pants
and quit the hypocritical chants of
cuz when one lone phone rang
in two thousand and one
at ten after nine
on nine one one
which is the number we all called
when that lone phone rang right off the wall
right off our desk and down the long hall
down the long stairs
in a building so tall
that the whole world turned
just to watch it fall
and while we're at it
remember the first time around?
the ryder truck?
the parking garage?
the princess that didn't even feel the pea?
remember joking around in our apartment on avenue D?
can you imagine how many paper coffee cups would have to change their design
following a fantastical reversal of the new york skyline?!
it was a joke, of course
it was a joke
at the time
and that was just a few years ago
so let the record show
that the FBI was all over that case
that the plot was obvious and in everybody's face
and scoping that scene
or is it KGB?
committing countless crimes against humanity
with this kind of eventuality
as its excuse
for abuse after expensive abuse
and it didn't have a clue
look, another window to see through
way up here
on the 104th floor
3000 some poems disguised as people
on an almost too perfect day
should be more than pawns
in some asshole's passion play
so now it's your job
and it's my job
to make it that way
to make sure they didn't die in vain
hear the train?
Amodei currently works for the Retail Association of Nevada (RAN), a trade group representing big box retailers like Wal-Mart as well as companies like Family Care Home Health & Hospice. On behalf of their business members, the RAN has lobbied to push a number of radical bills in Carson City:
– Amodei’s RAN supports eliminating the state minimum wage. According to the RAN’s legislative website, the lobby group has supported a bill by Assemblyman Joe Hardy (R) that would “amend the Nevada Constitution to repeal the constitutional provision requiring the payment of a minimum wage.” The bill did not pass this session. The bill would have moved Nevada back from paying a $8.25 minimum wage to the federal minimum of $7.25.
– Amodei’s RAN opposes a bill to require a prescription for some cold medicines, an effort to curb meth use in the state. According to RAN’s legislative website, the lobby group opposed a bill by State Senator Sheila Leslie (D) that “revises provisions relating to the classification and dispensing of certain precursors to methamphetamine.” RAN is supported by drug store companies, and fought the bill, which died in the legislature.
According to disclosures reviewed by ThinkProgress, Amodei currently receives a $96,000 retainer from the RAN lobby group. Surprisingly, Amodei makes no mention of his RAN job on his campaign website.
Turn on the TV today and you will see many reminders of the tenth anniversary of the September 11th attacks. The images and stories are all present, while the MSM are all very compliant with selling the fear.Politicians will pose for the cameras with[...]
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Bernanke can't understand why consumers aren't acting in accordance with his understanding of rationality. Mary Schapiro and Robert Khuzami of the SEC don't punish people for securities fraud. They all should look to the past for help understanding how[...]
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President Barack Obama addresses a joint session of Congress
What is the White House's political strategy for the 2012 election and what does the president's speech tell us about it? Prior to the speech, Ezra Klein wrote:
The White House believes two things about the next 14 months in American politics: With more than a year to go before the election, they can?t simply stop governing and start campaigning. That means that whatever they propose needs to attract bipartisan support. But with barely more than a year to go before the election, they can?t pretend the campaign doesn?t matter. That means whatever they propose needs to help win over the independents who will decide the election.
This sounds like gobbledygook to me. What does the White House mean by ?governing?? A Republican House essentially guarantees that meaningful ?governance? will not happen through the legislative process. Sure, some smaller measures might garner support (and hopefully some important measures, such as extension of unemployment benefits). Some consider extension of payroll tax cuts a significant measure. I?m not one of those people. I don?t believe that measure spurs job creation?which is dependent on demand, not tax breaks. I think former Treasury Secretary Paul O?Neill put it best:
[I]t seems patently unrealistic to me to urge people to spend money unless there's a demand that they're not able to satisfy with their existing resources. [. . .] Why would you? I mean, it's crazy. It's not a charitable function if you're running a business to say oh, my goodness, we have so many millions of people unemployed, I should rush out and spend my cash and hire more people if there's no demand for the goods. It's crazy to me.
Companies aren?t avoiding hiring because of tax burdens. They are not hiring because of a lack of demand. Cutting payroll taxes for employees may have a small stimulative effect, but at what cost? As opposed to unemployment benefits, extension of the payroll tax cut should be viewed as a political proposal, not a policy proposal. The question is, does it provide a political benefit? I?m unsure and wary that spending cuts will be demanded in exchange?which would be a bad policy tradeoff.
Other aspects of ?governing? that do not require legislative action can be beneficial both as a matter of policy and politics. The president touched on one of these in his speech:
My administration can and will take some steps to improve our competitiveness on our own. For example, if you're a small business owner who has a contract with the federal government, we're going to make sure you get paid a lot faster than you do now. We're also planning to cut away the red tape that prevents too many rapidly-growing start-up companies from raising capital and going public. And to help responsible homeowners, we're going to work with Federal housing agencies to help more people refinance their mortgages at interest rates that are now near 4 percent. I know you guys must be for this because that's a step that can put more than $2,000 a year in a family's pocket, and give a lift to an economy still burdened by the drop in housing prices. [Emphasis supplied]
Some of this is good policy and good politics. And it may tell us some good things about the White House?s actual political strategy for the 2012 election, as opposed to what they may seek people to "report" about the White House's political strategy. Let?s discuss this on the flip.
Hackers launched a distributed denial of service (DDOS) attack on TPM on Friday, knocking the site off-line. TPM had posted mugshots of 14 individuals the FBI said are connected to the 'hactivist' group Anonymous earlier in the day.
While there was no direct evidence that tied Anonymous to the attack, the group has launched similar attacks against media websites and law enforcement agencies in the past.
The photos were received from federal officials on Thursday evening and posted in a slideshow and accompanying story on talkingpointsmemo.com on Friday morning. The website first went down around 4:43PM eastern time, but was back up at 5:19PM. By 5:23PM it was back down, and at time of writing has remained down since. [Update: the site was restored early Saturday morning]
TPM obtained the photos, taken by the U.S. Marshals Service after 16 alleged hackers were arrested in July, through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request. Due to differing federal appeals court decisions on whether mugshots are subject to FOIA, the photos were requested by an individual residing in the Sixth Circuit (covering Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee) on TPM's behalf. Individuals who live or work in the Sixth Circuit are able to request mugshots taken in any part of the country.
TPM has used FOIA requests to obtain mugshots of individuals arrested for federal crimes in the past, including photos of those arrested in the FBI's massive mob bust earlier this year, and those arrested in a corruption sting in Prince George's County, Md. We've posted mugshots of numerous other individuals arrested for various crimes from threatening President Barack Obama to biting an FBI agent to working with Jack Abramoff to bribe public officials.
[Disclosure: The author of this post, Ryan J. Reilly, submitted the FOIA request in question.]
Obama's "jobs" speech last week may only have scratched the surface of solving the country's economic crisis but there are absolutely some good proposals mixed in with all the tax cuts and the hodgepodge of failed conservative proposals. And predictably, the Republicans want to cut those good parts out and pass all the bad parts. Who couldn't have seen that coming a mile away?
House Republicans responded by signaling an openness to passing parts of Obama?s new jobs bill, while signaling disapproval of Obama?s vow to barnstorm the country to get the American Jobs Act passed in its current form.
?The message was: either accept my package as it is, or I will take it to the American people,? Eric Cantor said. ?I would say that that?s the wrong approach.?
Today, the White House offered its answer: Sorry, we want the whole bill passed. Nothing less.
With the spin war over the speech now shifting to a phase where Republicans are telegraphing a desire to compromise, even as Obama hits the road to sell his whole plan to the American people, this exchange on MSNBC this morning between Chuck Todd and White House communications director Dan Pfeiffer struck me as important:
TODD: The bill gets sent to Congress next week. Are you guys assuming that it gets sort of piecemealed, that at the end of the day you?re going to get some of what you want but not all of what you want?
PFEIFFER: No, we?re not assuming that. The president said it 16 times, I?ll say it a 17th time today. He wants them to pass the American Jobs Act. That?s the piece of legislation he?s sending up. It?s a simple thing. Puts the Americans back to work and puts more money into the pockets of working families. Our belief is that everything in this bill is reasonable. Everything in the bill has bipartisan support. Everything will have an effect right now. And so we want them to pass it.
Washington has spent plenty of time lately on other issues, from genuine crises like Libya to political distractions like the debt-ceiling debate and efforts to end Medicare. But we cannot afford to go another month without real solutions for getting more Americans back to work.
I may sound like a broken record-- for the past two years, whenever I have been asked about the top three issues facing our country, my reply has been ?Jobs, Jobs, and Jobs.? But the truth is, this Congress has done next to nothing to promote an economic recovery and get Americans back to work.
How do we do it? Education is how we grew an economy this strong in the first place, and it is where we have to start again. Innovation has been a powerful competitive advantage for America, and we can?t afford to lose our edge. And Rejuvenation-- of our bridges & roads, cities & towns, and economic networks (highways and broadband communications)-- that's the key to a country that is built to win the future.
?After spending his whole vacation insisting that he was so bipartisan now that he was friends with Barney Frank, it did not take our current Congressman, Frank Guinta, a New York minute to condemn President Obama's Jobs Program. One of the top Republican leaders, Rep Eric Cantor, said, 'But there are some things that we can do if we transcend those differences and stick to what the mission here is,' but Frank [Guinta] simply refused to be bipartisan at all, flatly stating, 'they got more failed policy and empty eloquence'."
From this Thursday's Thom Hartmann show, Hartmann debates Matthew Vandum who apparently thinks the only people who should be allowed to vote to promote their own interests are the rich. Here's more on Vandum from TPM:
Conservative columnist Matthew Vadum is just going to come right out and say it: registering the poor to vote is un-American and "like handing out burglary tools to criminals."
"It is profoundly antisocial and un-American to empower the nonproductive segments of the population to destroy the country -- which is precisely why Barack Obama zealously supports registering welfare recipients to vote," Vadum, the author of a book published by World Net Daily that attacks the now-defunct community organizing group ACORN, writes in a column for the American Thinker.
"Encouraging those who burden society to participate in elections isn't about helping the poor," Vadum writes. "It's about helping the poor to help themselves to others' money. It's about raw so-called social justice. It's about moving America ever farther away from the small-government ideals of the Founding Fathers."
Most conservative criticism of voter registration drives aimed at poor and minority communities has been under the guise of worries about voter fraud. Vadum's column is notable because he isn't just pretending to be worried about the nearly non-existent threat of in-person voter fraud -- he just doesn't think poor people should be voting.
And for a little blast from the past, here's more from The Daily Show when John Oliver interviewed this same guy back in 2008 below the fold.
The morning after the GOP debate, the nation and the world woke up to the reality that an unabashed climate science denier could be the next president of the United States. The UK’s Guardian warns its readers of Rick Perry:
A year or so ago, the very idea that the most powerful person on the planet could, within just a couple of years, be someone who refuses to accept the science that underpins our knowledge of anthropogenic climate change was almost laughable.
They discuss Gov. Rick Perry’s debate performance and conclude:
Sadly, it now appears that Obama’s brief window for action is over and he is unlikely to ever regain the political capital he needs to implement any serious climate policies. But, most alarming of all, the whole world ? not just the US ? needs to start seriously preparing for the very real possibility that a staunch climate sceptic could, within 16 months, have his cowboy boots under the desk in the Oval Office.
Perry is indeed a hard-core climate science denier and a Tea Party extremist. It is hard to know how bad the Texas climate would have to get before he would concede that climate scientists were right:
This year’s scorching Texas summer heat, in a dubious honor, broke a national record once held by Oklahoma that had stood since the Dust Bowl changed the face of the country in the 1930s.
The Texas months of June through August were the hottest three months ever recorded in the history of the United States…..
“It has been scary hot from one end of Texas to the other,” [state climatologist John] Nielson-Gammon said, adding that Texas has been so hot essentially because it has been so dry.
“The dryer it is, the hotter the ground gets during the summer, and it becomes a cycle that feeds on itself,” he said. “It gets dryer, and it gets hotter.”
The 12 months ending on August 31 were the driest 12 months in Texas history.
Heck, it’s hard to know how bad the climate would have to get before Perry would even take even the most basic adaptation measures, like, say, adequately funding firefighters, rather than praying for rain.
Climate Progress has noted that the Texas Drought Now Far, Far Worse Than When Gov. Rick Perry Issued his April Proclamation Calling on All Texans to Pray for Rain. And the month after adopting that futile adaptation strategy, Perry signed a budget that devastated the state’s ability to fight fires:
The Texas Forest Service’s funding was sliced from $117.7 million to $83 million. More devastating cuts hit the assistance grants to volunteer fire departments around the state. Those grants were slashed 55 percent from $30 million per year in 2010 and 2011 to $13.5 million per year in 2012 and 2013. Those cuts are effective now.
We previously reported that the fires have now destroyed an area the size of Connecticut, and the Texas Forest Service put out statement saying, ?This is unprecedented fire behavior. No one on the face of this Earth has ever fought fires in these extreme conditions?
Here is a stunning video of just how fast the fire spread during the latest historic blaze “on the north edge of Bastrop State Park near Austin”:
Now that the budget cuts have taken effect, HuffPost reports:
… firefighters have had to pay out of pocket for basic necessities like proper protective gear and fuel to get them to the scene. One fire department that battled the blazes in Bastrop County had to pay for a hose, recalled Bastrop City Fire Chief Henry Perry….
Here?s the grim wildfire projection for mid-century from a presentation made by the President?s science adviser Dr. John Holdren in Oslo last year:
The hard-core deniers oppose all action to deal with global warming – mitigation and adaptation (see “The GOP War Against Climate Adaptation“).
The climate, however, is impervious to denial. The more heat trapping gases we poured the atmosphere, the more it will just keep changing, and more extreme the weather will become. As Texas Climatologist Katherine Hayhoe writes Climate Progress:
We often try to pigeonhole an event, such as a drought, storm, or heatwave into one category: either human or natural, but not both. What we have to realise is that our natural variability is now occurring on top of, and interacting with, background conditions that have already been altered by long-term climate change.
As our atmosphere becomes warmer, it can hold more water vapor. Atmospheric circulation patterns shift, bringing more rain to some places and less to others. For example, when a storm comes, in many cases there is more water available in the atmosphere and rainfall is heavier. When a drought comes, often temperatures are already higher than they would have been 50 years ago and so the effects of the drought are magnified by higher evaporation rates.
So the forecast from Time magazine’s Bryan Walsh is dead on:
But we’re headed towards a climate where summers like the one we’re experiencing in 2011 will be the norm, not the exception….
Forecast: unpleasant, unhealthy and unbearable.
The incendiary flierwas sent out on behalf of Republican businessman Bob Turner who is seeking to take former Rep. Anthony Weiner’s (D) seat. As seen below, the front of the flier features a gold-domed mosque rising out of the ruins of the World Trade Center site with a quote from Weprin stating “I support the right of the mosque to build.” The other side places Weprin next to Obama and reads “Weprin stands with Obama — and they stand together in support of the mosque at Ground Zero”:
Registered voters in New York congressional district 9 received the mailer “in the past week, landing in the days leading up to the 10th anniversary” of the attacks. It was intended as a “chaser” piece to Turner’s TV ad that blasts Weprin for his support of Park51. Calling it “a purposeful and confrontational act of provocation,” the TV narrator says, “It’s been 10 short years. Everyone remembers. Some, though, want to commemorate the tragedy by building a mosque on Ground Zero.”
It is important to note that several Republicans like Gen. Colin Powell, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT), and Ted Olson — whose wife died in the attacks — support the construction of the Islamic Center. They join most religious leaders, Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans, and families of the 9/11 victims in support.