Christine O'Donnell opinion edition.
Castle's defeat at the hands of Christine O'Donnell, a perennial candidate who may be the least qualified Senate nominee anywhere in the country, does indeed mark the collapse of the Republican Party not only of Nelson Rockefeller and Tom Dewey but also of Bob Dole and Howard Baker.
O'Donnell's win might turn out to be good news for Democrats, who now are seen as far more likely to hold on to Delaware's Senate seat and thus control of the Senate in November. But the continuing purge of moderates such as Castle is bad news for anyone who is not on an ideological crusade and just wants pragmatic solutions to the nation's divisive problems. Progress on those problems — particularly the trillion dollar federal budget deficit — becomes even more difficult when trying to find common ground with the other party turns into a career-ender.
Sadly, O'Donnell's Tolkienism probably does not extend into Elvish-speaking, New Zealand-touring territory, since she revealed in her lecture that she had not seen the third movie. She also admitted that the real force behind the paper was her niece, who was working as her intern at the time and exhibited a truly impressive breadth of Tolkien expertise when she supplemented O'Donnell's commentary during the lecture.
That said, it is not surprising that the stark moral landscape of Middle Earth appeals to O'Donnell, with her black-and-white views on sex and lying, or that the fantasy of an all-powerful ring resonates with a woman who has run for Senate three times.
Abby Wisse Schachter:
Yesterday I noted that only one Republican running for a Senate seat this year believed in climate change. That was Delaware's Mike Castle, who got ousted in his state's primary last night by Christine O'Donnell. And what's O'Donnell's deal? Well, she doesn't believe in the greenhouse effect. But she also doesn't believe in evolution. New York's Dan Amira dug up an old discussion (I hesitate to use the term "debate") O'Donnell had with a University of Tennessee evolutionary biologist:
CHRISTINE O'DONNELL, Concerned Women for America: Well, as the senator from Tennessee mentioned, evolution is a theory and it's exactly that. There is not enough evidence, consistent evidence to make it as fact, and I say that because for theory to become a fact, it needs to consistently have the same results after it goes through a series of tests. The tests that they put — that they use to support evolution do not have consistent results. Now too many people are blindly accepting evolution as fact. But when you get down to the hard evidence, it's merely a theory. But creation —
The Delaware ballot may say Christine O'Donnell (R) vs. Chris Coons (D) for Senate, but the real race in November will be to see who is right when it comes to electoral strategy Charles Krauthammer or Rush Limbaugh. Krauthammer vocally critiqued O'Donnell's conservative supporters
-- Sarah Palin and Jim DeMint -- saying that Republicans should vote for the most electable conservative in any race (crediting William F Buckley for this view). Rush Limbaugh spent a considerable amount of time in the days leading up to yesterday's Delaware primary arguing that the establishment Republican candidate, Mike Castle was only going to vote with Democrats if elected (specifically on cap and trade) so that Buckley's rule didn't apply. Limbaugh, even acknowledging his respect for Krauthammer said he was wrong in this case. Limbaugh's view is that conservatives should vote for the most conservative candidate, period.
Now that O'Donnell has beaten Castle in the primary, we;ll have to wait until November to find out who was right.
Krauthammer vs. Limbaugh? How about conservatives vs. themselves?
In the run-up to Delaware's Republican Senate primary, conservative media figures noticed that their colleagues are "lazy and unfair" "idiot[s]" and "mouthpieces for the Republican establishment" who engage in "ranting, not serious arguments" and whose commentary consists of "smear tactics," "mischaracterizations," "exaggerated claims," "slander," and "attributing sinister or corrupt motives to those who disagree with them."
Tuesday’s message: "Get out of our party, you disgusting RINO moderates."
Wednesday’s message: "Don’t forget to send me $2,400 on your way out the door."
Tea Party Republicans have made it very clear: They’d rather deliver Delaware’s Senate seat to the Democrats than accept a moderate like Mike Castle as their Republican nominee. Yet they are shocked and offended that any mainstream Republican might harbor equivalent misgivings about Rand Paul, the Tea Party-backed GOP senate candidate in Kentucky.
Elizabeth Warren in her own words, the woman progressives want President Obama to pick to run the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau talks to Salon.
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Voters have a darker view of Congressional Republicans than of Democrats, with 63 percent disapproving of Democrats and 73 percent disapproving of Republicans. But with less than two months remaining until Election Day, there are few signs that Democrats have made gains persuading Americans that they should keep control of Congress.
?I really think we need to get some new blood in there,? said Kathy Beckman, 44, an optometrist from Lodi, Calif., who spoke in an interview after participating in the poll. ?Get them all out.?
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skippy: The "not insane" ticket.
The Non Sequitur: Our national discourse on "can and should."
Brilliant at Breakfast: My heretical view.
Bats Left, Throws Right: Put on you tea shades, kids, and let's mess with The Man's head.
Guest post by Batocchio. Temporarily e-mail tips to batocchio9 AT yahoo DOT com.
I've been looking into what most of the Republican congressional candidates have in common this year-- no it isn't O'Donnell's anti-masturbation mania-- and it seems to be a threat to block tax cuts for the middle class if the wealthiest 2 or 3% of Americans don't get them too. Their message is, "If the rich don't get their Bush tax breaks extended, no one else will either." Crooked Ohio used car dealer Tom Ganley is a good example. He's trying to buy a seat for himself in northeast Ohio (suburbs of Cleveland and Akron) and he isn't terribly savvy, just sort of parroting the Boehner line. His opponent, progressive Congresswoman Betty Sutton has been an indefatigable fighter for the middle class and is a champion of extending the tax breaks for middle class families. Ganley is more interested in the 3% of Americans who have benefited the most from the Bush economy: " The President just doesn?t seem to understand how dire a situation his policies have created. AND he?s now arguing a step that I believe will certainly make the problem far worse! He?s proposing the elimination of Bush tax cuts for families earning more than $250,000 a year-- in other words, a TAX INCREASE for all those folk. He says he would use that revenue to fund a temporary tax credit for business investment."
A bit to the south of Sutton's district, Congressman John Yarmuth, who represents the Louisville area and is also a firm backer of an extension of middle-class tax cuts and new incentives for small business, is up against Todd Lally, a guy widely seen as dangerously uninformed and angry to the point of becoming unhinged. And Lally, like Ganley, seems obsessed with helping "hard-pressed" millionaires.
Ganley and Lally may be stupider than your average garden variety GOP House candidates, but, essentially, it's the same message wherever you look. When asked directly by the Louisville Courier-Journal if he thought wealthy people were really the ones hurting, he replied, ?Yes, I think some of them are.? Economists have concluded that, in fact, the wealth of American millionaires increased by 16% in 2009 alone, while the income of middle-class workers remained stagnate or declined. According to the CBO, extending the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy will cost taxpayers $700 billion over ten years. When confronted with the burden this would place on the national debt, Lally scoffed, reiterated strong support for his millionaire tax plan and offered no plan to pay for it.
Now, recall that way back on September 12, Boehner, probably drunk, said on Face The Nation that he would vote to extend middle-class tax rates even if it means eliminating the reductions on household incomes exceeding $250,000 a year. He's been walking that back-- in a panic-- ever since. Fearful of the scorn of more Republicans Boehner put together a press conference and said, repeatedly, that he would support only legislation that kept in place the tax cuts for the wealthy as well as for average Americans.
"The Republicans really are put into a very difficult position," said former Republican Representative Bill Archer of Texas, who was chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, which oversees tax bills. "They are historically for tax relief. In this case, the question is can you be against tax relief if you don't get everything you want?" ... Representative Paul Ryan, a Wisconsin Republican, was among Republicans who distanced themselves from Boehner yesterday. "We're for a full, complete extension of the Bush tax cuts," Ryan said on talk-show host Sean Hannity's radio program.
Instead of joining President Obama in his call to extend the middle class tax cuts to working families, to the people who need it most, McConnell and Boehner?s focus appears to be on millionaires and billionaires who aren?t asking for a tax cut. During these challenging economic times, we simply can?t afford to borrow another $700 billion over the next decade to give an average tax cut of $100,000 to Americans making over $1 million per year.
What?s clear is that Senator McConnell?s and Congressman Boehner?s plan would do absolutely nothing to grow our economy, put people back to work and strengthen America?s middle class. Instead, it would take us back to the same exact failed economic policies that created the mess we?re in: cut taxes for millionaires and billionaires; cut rules for the special interests and big corporations and cut the middle class loose to fend for itself.
...The Congressional Republicans have tried very hard over the past 19 months to convince the American people that they were the only ones who could be trusted with getting spending under control and reducing the deficit. This argument was always laughable, considering these are the same people that took a budget surplus at the end of the Clinton administration and turned it into a $1.3 trillion deficit. Now we have further evidence that, despite all of their bluster about deficits and out of control spending, it?s clear that the Congressional Republicans have no plans to fix these problems and is unprepared to govern responsibly.
This will be a tough election, but fortunately, the unfolding tax issue can work strongly to help Democrats and define the choice in the election. This is a case where Democrats are strongly aligned with public thinking and priorities. Only 38 percent favor extending the Bush tax cuts for those over $250,000-- the official position of Republican leaders and candidates. Clearly messaging around this choice-- with Democrats voting for middle class tax cuts, while starting to address the deficit and protecting Social Security, contrasted with Republican candidates who still believe trickle-down economics and worsening the deficit-- works for progressives.
With Democrats down by 7 points in the congressional test ballot, they have reason to welcome this potential shift in the dynamic. Democrats hold the high ground on these issues-- and this one noticeably moves the congressional vote to the Democrats after a debate. Democrats should embrace a tax debate. Frankly, they do not have many issues where:
* There is a 17-point margin in favor of the Democratic position, 55 to 38 percent.
* The strong messages gives a disproportionate lift to the Democratic candidates-- scored 13 points better than named Democratic candidates while Republican messages performed half as well.
* There is an opportunity to show seriousness on the deficit, while undermining Republicans on the issue.
* The choice re-enforces Democrats? core values and strongest framework for the election (for the middle class versus Wall Street).
The payoff from this debate comes in a 2-point narrowing of the Republican lead in the congressional vote after hearing the debate. And for the most powerful Democratic messages, it narrows the vote by 5 points, to 45 to 47 percent.
This latest poll of likely voters by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner for Democracy Corps finds majority support for a variety of tax cut measures to protect the middle class. Some of the key findings include:? Over half-- 55 percent-- support increasing taxes by letting some or all of the Bush-era tax cuts expire. Specifically, 42 percent say the cuts should remain in place for the middle class, but expire for those making more than $250,000. Just 38 percent say all the tax cuts should remain in place. This is not a purely base issue-- by a 17-point margin, independents favor raising taxes on the wealthy.
? This message is even more popular when it is contextualized by broader economic messages. By a 10-point margin, voters are persuaded and reassured by the idea of raising taxes on the wealthiest so that revenue can be used for deficit reduction and investment in jobs.
? Majorities clearly side with extending the cuts for the middle class, at least for some time. Voters favor extending the tax cuts for the middle class for two years, as some have proposed, while a similar majority favors extending these cuts permanently. The proposals receive intense popular support from Democrats, with all proposals advocating expiration of tax cuts getting more than six-in-ten support.
Extending these tax cuts is right. It is just. It will help our economy because middle-class folks are the folks who are most likely to actually spend this tax relief-- for a new computer for the kids or for maybe some home improvement.
And if the other party continues to hold these tax cuts hostage, these are the same families who will suffer the most when their taxes go up next year. And if we can?t get an agreement with Republicans, that's what will happen.
So we don't have time for any more games. I understand there?s an election coming up. But the American people didn't send us here to just think about our jobs; they sent us here to think about theirs. They sent us here to think about their lives and their children?s lives, and to be responsible, and to be serious about the challenges we face as a nation.
Thanks for the Senate seate, Teabaggers![...]
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More political doppelgangers come to the forefront:
SEPARATED at BIRTH - two embattled activists: WikiLeaks Editor Julian Assange and TV host Bill Maher.
Well, before Christine O'Donnell takes away the punchbowl (in a manner of speaking) - why not stop in for a look at news items outside the headlines, in the arts and sciences; foreign news that generates little notice in the US media and ....well, just plain whimsy.....
ART NOTES - an exhibit of color Woodcuts by Mabel Hewit are at the Cleveland, Ohio Museum of Art through October 24th.
A RECENT CARTOON by Tom Tomorrow wonders how conservatives would treat Martin Luther King if he were still alive.
DRAMA NOTES - the English actor Derek Jacobi returns to the BBC series I, Claudius thirty-four years later: this time on the radio and portraying Emperor Augustus.
While watching the original years ago: so many cast members were being stabbed, I wondered if anybody'd be still alive at the end.
CHEERS to the international Catholic peace movement Pax Christi - which supports the construction of further mosques (with minarets, even) in Austria.
OPERA NOTES - while opera buffs may not understand the libretto: the world's first full-length Klingon opera was performed in The Netherlands this past weekend.
POLITICAL NOTES - if you haven't read them already, check-out these two (lengthy) articles from Vanity Fair magazine: one on Sarah Palin in which the McCain people reveal that she hadn't heard of Margaret Thatcher years ago ....
... and one on the Greek debt crisis that will have you shaking your head ... and not just once.
ART NOTES - works by French realist Jean-Fran?ois Millet are at the museum of Fine Arts in Boston, Massachusetts through May 30th, 2011.
CHEERS to the U.S. Marines that helped free the German ship Magellan Star from a group of pirates off the coast of Somalia.
SIGN of the APOCALYPSE #1 - as a candidate in this past week's Democratic primary (for New York State attorney general) Sean Coffey used a recorded phone endorsement from
Batman Adam West - "I know a thing or two about keeping Gotham City safe, and it's easy to say that Sean Coffey is the best crime fighter running for attorney general." Alas, it wasn't enough to help Coffey get the nomination.
TUESDAY's CHILD is an English kitteh who approves of an intelligent cat flap - which uses a pet's microchip to ensure only a verified animal enters/leaves a home.
TV NOTES - a treasure trove of long-lost tapes from classic British TV shows has been unearthed at the
BBC, British Museum ....... US Library of Congress.
SIGN of the APOCALYPSE #2 - first I received mailings from Michelle Bachmann, then Sharron Angle ... now, I done hit the jackpot in my mail:
TRAVEL NOTES - an international panel has been set up to examine ways of conserving the Sistine Chapel without restricting visits by guests.
POLITICAL NOTES - Australia's prime minister Julia Gillard - now that she has (barely) been returned to office - may have to give up staying in her bungalow in a Melbourne suburb because of security concerns.
SEPARATED at BIRTH - Academy Award winning actor Chris Cooper and Academy Award nominee Liam Neeson.
BUSINESS NOTES - the German engineering firm Siemens has worked hard to overcome a bribery scandal in the past decade.
BEVERAGE NOTES - growing popularity for real ale - particularly among women and younger drinkers - has led to its first UK sales increase in 50 years.
ART NOTES - works by the Italian-born artist Alberto Burri are at the Santa Monica, California Museum of Art through December 18th.
CHEERS to Crina Coco Popescu of Romania: she has finished climbing the highest volcano in North America - and thus four of the Seven Summits on each of the world's continents - at the age of fifteen.
AGRICULTURE NOTES - the recent pan-African Green Revolution Forum focused on increasing agricultural productivity for African farmers - while in an environmentally sustainable way.
WEDNESDAY's CHILD is Jelly the Cat - who (along with her kitten Scampi) were dumped in a basket on a doorstep in Norwich, England (both are doing fine).
MEDICAL NOTES - scientists at Trinity College in Ireland have made a discovery which could lead to new treatments to prevent the onset of Type 2 Diabetes.
TRAVEL NOTES - growing demand for treehouse hotels world-wide brings visitors back to their childhood in a visceral way.
ART NOTES - an exhibition of eighteenth-century Venetian Art is at the Oklahoma City Museum of Art through January 2, 2011.
HAIL and FAREWELL to the veteran NBC newsman and author Edwin Newman who has died at the age of 91.
In his 1974 book Strictly Speaking - he wrote that when TV executives spoke to him with "Ya know" said numerous times, his response was "If I know, then why are you telling me?" But after having to "eat lunch alone frequently, I dropped that practice". An example of the type of newsman we no longer have.
THURSDAY's CHILDREN are two Jersey City, NJ kittehs up for adoption.
ART NOTES #2 - the British artist Damien Hirst has seen prices for his multi-market works fluctuate wildly, but are expected to hold their value in the future.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY to two veteran jazz pianists: Ahmad Jamal (age 80) ....
... and Ramsey Lewis (age 75) who celebrated those mileposts at the Chicago Jazz Festival.
CHEERS to the spice company Penzeys - offering a new salt-free blended spice called "Arizona Dreaming" - intended as a response to the anti-immigrant law in that state.
SEPARATED at BIRTH - two deceased artists: current best-selling Swedish author Stieg Larsson and director John Hughes ("Home Alone", "Pretty in Pink").
WILDLIFE NOTES - the government of India has a dilemma in its protection of elephants where its citizens are split on the "heritage or threat?" issue.
FRIDAY's CHILD is Kipper the Cat - a Montana pootie up for adoption.
......and finally, for a song of the week ............... over the past twenty years, no female jazz performer has sold more records than the Canadian singer/pianist Diana Krall - and although it took awhile for her to become a household name in the United States - her Great American Songbook stylings in a contralto voice can stand on their own. Indeed, it was hearing them absent-mindedly on the radio that first brought her to my attention.
She grew up in the British Columbia town of Nanaimo - across the bay from Vancouver - in a musical family: her mother sang in a community choir and her father was a pianist who 'had every record Fats Waller ever made,' she said.
She had enough talent to attend the Berklee College of Music in Boston on a scholarship, which helps make her part of a trivia question.
While relatively unknown to the general public, there is another blonde, female resident of Nanaimo who also attended Berklee and achieved success in the jazz world: the trumpeter Ingrid Jensen (who also teaches at the University of Michigan).
Diana Krall spent a few years after graduation in Los Angeles, before making the move to New York and performing locally. Eventually she released her first album (as a piano trio) in Canada at age 29 in 1993 with Stepping Out ...
... and while it sold little, it did catch the eye of veteran producer Tommy LiPuma who obtained for her a deal at GRP/Impulse Records.
Her second album for that label - a tribute album to Nat King Cole - earned her a Grammy nomination and it spent 70 weeks in the jazz charts. Subsequent recordings led to the formation of a different sort of piano trio (without a drummer) - with a bassist and stylish guitarist Russell Malone. This created a quieter, more contemplative sound that plays well on the radio.
Her breakout album was 1998's When I Look in Your Eyes that featured strings and romantic songs by the likes of Irving Berlin, Harold Arlen, George Gershwin and Cole Porter. It not only led to her first Grammy Award (for jazz album) but was also the first jazz album to be a Grammy nominee for Album of the Year in twenty-five years: leading to her becoming someone known outside jazz circles.
This earned her a spot on the inaugural 1998 Lilith Fair tour ....
... where - along with fellow Canadian Holly Cole - they may have been the only jazz performers.
And then she became a household name with her 2003 marriage to Elvis Costello at Elton John's castle outside of London.
All of a sudden, you saw a jazz performer in places not normally seen: such as Sesame Street in 2005 ...
... in a 2007 Lexus ad campaign ...
... and as as a singer in several movies: one of which was 2004's De-Lovely - the Cole Porter biopic ....
...singing Just one of Those Things along with several other singers.
She gave birth to twin boys in late 2006, a first-time mother at age 42.
And while her career has (understandably) slowed since then, she still records and tours intermittently: most often with her own group, but she has performed with Elvis Costello at times. Her 2004 album The Girl in the Other Room - for the first time - saw her veer away from recording standards to songs by Mose Allison, Bonnie Raitt and Joni Mitchell .... as well as some co-compositions with her husband.
Her more recent recordings saw a return to standards, including a 2005 Christmas album ...
... and her most recent recording: 2008's Quiet Nights which includes bossa nova classics and a late-night sound reminiscent of her earlier work.
And she recently produced the first jazz album by Barbra Streisand in decades, bringing another facet to her career.
Oh, and yes: she is quite easy on the eyes. As noted, I kept hearing her tunes played on Vermont Public Radio in the late 1990's while multi-tasking and saying "Hmmm, that's a nice voice - now what's this woman's name again, Diana Kohl(?)" .... yet it wasn't until I saw a CD in a music shop that I first saw her photo. And I realized that history had repeated itself: as a 12 year-old I kept marveling at a powerful woman's voice on two hit singles over the radio, with a weird band name I couldn't recall - before I finally located the Jefferson Airplane album with a cover photo of Grace Slick that contained those two songs ... and which made her my boyhood crush. Now, Grace Slick became an even bigger crush when I read of all the outrageous things she did; can't imagine Diana Krall going anywhere near that. But when Grace retired from music to become a painter, I needed a (middle-aged) replacement heartthrob ... well, who knows what future voice-on-the-radio will beguile yours truly.
Diana Krall was inducted into Canada's Walk of fame in 2004 ...
... plus the Order of Canada in 2005, and has won three Grammy Awards (among eight nominations) including "Quiet Nights".
And she has never forgotten her roots: winning an award for her work with the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation (which took the life of her mother Adella in 2002).
And she took the time to attend a memorial service in Nanaimo for former NHL referee Lloyd Gilmour - who owned a restaurant in his retirement and gave a 15 year-old ..... Diana Krall her first paid gig.
Diana Krall turns age 46 this coming November, is on a current tour of South America with a European tour to follow. If you're up for the Great American songbook with some torch songs thrown in - her concerts would be an excellent choice.
Selecting a song from the Great American Songbook is always difficult, and her repertoire of it is vast. So I'll just choose her rendition of 1937's Too Marvelous for Words ...
... with music by Richard Whiting and lyrics by Johnny Mercer which has seen numerous recordings of over the years.
And at this link you can listen to it.
I search for phrases to sing your praises
But there aren't any magic adjectives
To tell you all you are
You're much, too much
and just too very, very
To ever be in Webster's dictionary
and so I'm borrowing
a love song from the birds
To tell you that you're marvelous
Too marvelous for words
Thursday's Headlines: Ahmadinejad: Iran justified in barring nuclear inspectors Pope Benedict XVI set to begin controversial state visit to Britain USA Poll Suggests Opportunities for Both Parties in Midterms An American innovation in light bulbs,[...]
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Seeing a chink in the armor of Republican Nathan Deal after an Atlanta Journal-Constitution report that he's teetering near bankruptcy, the Democratic Governors Association (DGA) sought to exploit the weakness by raising questions on his ability to[...]
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Interesting paper from the IMF. They have found a link between employment and mortality.From the[...]
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