Kentucky Republican Senate nominee Rand Paul has been lampooned in recent days for his radical anti-government views. First, he expressed opposition to parts of the Civil Rights Act and the Americans With Disabilities Act. Today, he attacked President Obama’s criticism of BP as “un-American,” and refused to say whether or not the minimum wage. MSNBC host Andrea Mitchell joked that Paul is the “gift that keeps on giving.”
But he is giving no more. He “simply does not want to answer direct questions about the proper role of the Federal government in regulating the private sector,” the Washington Post’s Greg Sargent noted. “He visibly bristles when asked to clarify his views on these matters,” Sargent added.
After his upset victory Tuesday night, Paul agreed to appear on NBC’s Meet The Press Sunday for what would surely be wide ranging interview that would delve into these issues:
But Meet The Press? executive producer Betsy Fischer revealed an hour ago that Paul was ?trying to cancel? his big interview:
The Washington Post reports that Paul has indeed canceled because “he’s had a long week.” A Paul spokesperson explained, “Rand did Good Morning America today, set the record straight, and now we are done talking about it. … No more national interviews on the topic.” Paul joins Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan and Saudi Arabia’s Prince Bandar as the only guests to cancel a Meet the Press interview in recent history.
As MSNBC host Joe Scarborough told ThinkProgress today, referring to Paul’s embarrassing interview with fellow host Rachel Maddow, “if a politician can’t handle an interview, they can’t handle the Senate.”
TONY PEYSER FOR BUZZFLASH
One basic and alarming fact?
Paul?s opposed to the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Re: Civil Rights legislation, he thinks it?s vital to
Absolutely and quickly get rid of Title II.
(Paul would like to eliminate
Making private businesses unable to discriminate.)
He has maintained that he thinks it?s best
To ban abortion even in cases of rape or incest.
Paul's been willing to announce across the nation
That he'd like to get rid of the Department of Education.
The way that he?s now currently running
Makes him seem crazier than crazy Jim Bunning.
Speakinginthismonotone, Rand Paul rarely thrills;
He?s Sarah Palin without her beauty pageant skills.
JASON LIGGIN FOR BUZZFLASH
"This is the point where GOP politicos and right-wing talkers find common ground with the Morrison sisters. They participate in an absurd charade that nobody involved believes in order to accomplish an obvious goal that everyone knows, yet denies."
I was watching the Andy Griffith show the other night when it occurred to me that the episode I was watching was a perfect explanation of how the new Arizona immigration law will be enforced. The episode in question is from season 1 of the Andy Griffith Show and it's titled "Alcohol and Old Lace." In the episode in question, Barney and Andy have been on a tear smashing up stills and battling the illegal liquor business. Much to Barney's dismay, no matter how many stills they smash, the town drunk Otis still shows up blitzed every couple of days and refusing to reveal the source of his illicit hooch. ("It's a matter of ethics - us town drunks have a code we live by").
I certainly don't want to buoy this idea that Meet the Press is somehow sacrosanct and canceling on an appearance on the show is like violating a monastery or something. And frankly, I don't know what Rand and his media handlers were thinking having him[...]
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1) From last week’s Area Votes In Congress (here)…
Clean-energy dispute. Voting 254-173, the House added a clean-energy section to a bill (HR 5116) authorizing $86 billion over five years for science and technology programs run by federal agencies, universities, and the private sector. The proposed Clean Energy Consortium would use federal and university resources and venture capitalists to develop and market technologies not being adequately addressed by the private sector. The focus would be on renewable energy from sources such as the sun, wind, oceans, earth, and agriculture.
A yes vote backed the amendment.
Voting yes: Adler, Andrews, Brady, Fattah, Holden, Murphy, Schwartz, and Sestak.
Voting no: Castle, Dent, Gerlach, LoBiondo, Pitts, and Smith.
This is the America COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2010 that the Repugs tried to stall by sticking that ridiculous anti-porn amendment into it, which, as noted here, is a typical tactic that they pull to try and gum up the workings of government (which, as The Sainted Ronnie R told us, of course, is the problem…government, that is – more on him later). And the party-line BS is totally reflected in this vote, of course.
On the Senate side, the bill to audit the Federal Reserve sponsored by Independent Bernie Sanders of Vermont passed 96-0. A Repug-sponsored amendment “requiring the government to phase out its control of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac within two years” was defeated (as far as I’m concerned, that was a “solution” to a problem that never existed in the first place…I know Fannie and Freddie have issues, but they can still be resolved in their current disposition IMHO).
Also, the Senate voted to keep new rules on derivatives in place, outlawed “no doc” home mortgage loans, and defeated a GOP scheme to “sunset” the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau after four years. The Senate also voted 64-33 to regulate fees that firms such as Visa and MasterCard charge merchants for debit-card transactions (as tall as Ted Kaufman has stood on “too big to fail,” that’s how low he shrunk by opposing this amendment – Tom Carper did also, but that’s about what I would expect).
2) Also, I found the following at Fix Noise yesterday (here)…
A George Soros-funded, Marxist-founded organization calling itself Free Press has published a study advocating the development of a "world class" government-run media system in the U.S.
A newly released book, meanwhile, documents Free Press has close ties to top Obama administration officials.
"The need has never been greater for a world-class public media system in America," begins a 48-page document, "New Public Media: A Plan for Action," by the far-left Free Press organization.
"Commercial media's economic tailspin has pushed public media to the center of the debate over the future of journalism and the media, presenting the greatest opportunity yet to reinvigorate and re-envision the modern U.S. public media system," argued the Free Press document, which was reviewed by WND.
WND, by the way, stands for World Nut Daily, and if you guessed that that’s a far-right web site pretending to be a news organization, then you win a free photo of Dr. Rand Paul posing next to two drinking fountains, one labeled “White” and one labeled “Colored.”
This takes you to the About Us page of the Free Press web site. I don’t know which one, if any, of the individuals at this site has “close ties” to the Obama Administration, and I don’t know which “Marxist” founded the group (Groucho? Chico? Harpo? : -).
As noted here, though, Free Press has collaborated across the ideological spectrum with the Parents Television Council (including Brent Bozell) and the Gun Owners of America on the issue of Net Neutrality. And I think it’s more than a little ironic for a Repug-simpatico operation like Fix Noise to be complaining about a plan that emphasizes local media coverage since, as noted here, those zany teabaggers have been relying on that in part to get the word out whenever they have those charming little dress-up parties where they parade their ignorance for all the world to see.
But hey, why pass up on a chance to propagate wingnut nonsense when the truth is apparently so much harder to comprehend?
3) And I think that is an appropriate segue to this item from yesterday’s New York Times by Zev Chafets – a paean to Flush Limbore timed ever so conveniently with the release of a book by Chafets on the “hillbilly heroin” addict…
Mr. Limbaugh has played an important role in elections going back to 1994, when he commanded the air war in the Republican Congressional victory. This time, however, he is more than simply the mouthpiece of the party. He is the brains and the spirit behind its resurgence.
How did this happen? The Obama victory in 2008 left Republicans dazed, demoralized and leaderless. Less than six weeks after the inauguration, in a nationally televised keynote address to the annual Conservative Political Action Conference, Mr. Limbaugh stepped into the void with a raucous denunciation of the new president’s agenda and a strategic plan based on his belief that real conservatism wins every time. He reiterated his famous call for Mr. Obama to fail and urged the party faithful to ignore the siren song of bipartisanship and moderation and stay true to the principles of Ronald Reagan.
You mean, the “principles” of huge two tax hikes (the largest in peacetime history, as Paul Krugman tells us here), expansion of government (he expanded it 69 percent, as McClatchy tells us here) and nuclear deterrence (here)?
I’m not entirely sure why the Times decided to let itself be used so Chafets could spread such right-wing flatulence like this, but then again, I also don’t know why they decided to run with a story on Richard Blumenthal, the Dem senatorial candidate of Connecticut, and some quotes where he claimed to have served in Vietnam when he in fact served stateside during the war (I thought kos had a good response to that here, and as noted here, somehow I don’t recall a similar dustup when a Repug politician misspoke along similar lines).
Also, the paper chose to run a column by Buzz Bissinger on its Op-Ed page yesterday about LeBron James, and I have two responses. One, the place for sports commentary is the Sports section, not the Op-Ed section (Is there a shortage of editorial content out there that I don’t know about?). Two, Bissinger writes for The Philadelphia Inquirer, which routinely does this stuff with Bill Lyon – I’d really hate to see the Times now practicing this same bad habit.
It's never a good sign for a campaign when the candidate is forced to cancel scheduled interviews. But that's exactly what's happening in the Kentucky Senate race, according to "Meet the Press" producer Betsy Fischer:
BetsyMTP Friday drama here[...]
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I've been mulling some sort of Chopin "project" to go with the anniversary year (March 1 was our Frédéric's 200th birthday), and one obvious possibility might be to work out work through the 24 preludes, the one group of his piano compositions that actually were conceived, and intended to be played as, a set. (Difficult as it may be to believe, he really didn't expect us to sit down and listen to 53 mazurkas -- or, even more fatiguing, 19 nocturnes -- all in a row.)
So I thought we'd give it a test run tonight. The Chopin preludes are all short works, of course (No. 1 ranges from 0:31 to 0:52 in the performances we're hearing; No. 2, from 1:52 to 2:09; you'll notice that Pianist A gives both the shortest performance of No. 1 and the longest performance of No. 2), so I though pairing them might be the way to go, even apart from the structural logic -- the same as the preludes and fugues in the two books of Bach's Well-Tempered Clavier, encompassing all 24 major and minor keys by going through the "circle of fifths," starting in C major and its "relative minor" key, A minor (the keys with no sharps or flats), and going up a fifth each time, so that the next preludes are in G major and E minor, respectively. How strong the musical connections are between the nominal "pairs" is something you can decide for yourself.
It seems to me more that Chopin was most concerned with imagining a "good piece" for each of the 24 keys, with great concern for variety (or perhaps that came automatically?) and not so much regard to the major-minor pairings, but one of the glories of music of this precision, concentration, and depth is that it's meant to last the listener a lifetime. In the Prelude No. 1, for example, you're going to hear four very different ideas of what the basic rhythm of the piece is, and by extension the basic mood. Prelude No. 1 also demonstrates the fanatical concision of which Chopin was capable, ending almost before we've had a chance to get to know it. Which again is what makes this music to live with. On this rehearing, a couple of these performances within seconds brought tears to my eyes.
The four pianists we're hearing have two things in common: They're all seriously important artists, and I happen to have their recordings of the Chopin Preludes on CD. The age range, by my calculation, is from 25 to 73, which makes me wonder whether we shouldn't also be trying to see if we can hear the relative ages of our four pianists.
Our contenders are all on this list:
(You'll notice the mix of nationalities here -- Brazilian, Russian, Czech, Italian, Polish, and German -- which ensures that the four pianists we're actually hearing are similarly diverse.)
A SUGGESTED LISTENING TRICK
A trick I might propose, especially with such a wonderfully diverse group of performers, is to listen to all four performances of one prelude and then go back and rehear at least the first one you heard, to see whether, and how, it sounds any different.
Translation: "But because you're white college grads and one of you is fortunate enough to the offspring of a U.S. Attorney, we'll just slap you on the wrists, send you to nuisance court and call it a day. Since I called this an 'extremely serious crime' and made an Extremely Serious Face, no one can accuse me of favorable treatment."
Doesn't seem quite enough, considering what we've seen from James O'Keefe to date:
NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- A federal judge had strong words for four conservative activists who initially were accused of trying to tamper with the phones in Sen. Mary Landrieu's New Orleans office, but ruled the misdemeanor charges against them can be resolved before a magistrate instead of a judge.
U.S. District Judge Stanwood Duval Jr. said Wednesday he isn't exercising his right to hear the case even though the four defendants are charged with an "extremely serious" crime involving a security breach at a federal building.
"Deception is alleged to have been used by the defendants to achieve their purposes which in and of itself is unconscionable," Duval wrote. "Perceived righteousness of a cause does not justify nefarious and potentially dangerous actions."
James O'Keefe, Stan Dai, Joseph Basel and Robert Flanagan are scheduled to appear before Magistrate Daniel Knowles III on May 26 for arraignments on misdemeanor charges of entering a federal building under false pretenses. Duval said he has reviewed their plea agreements.
Earlier this week, Secretary of Interior Ken Salazar announced a reorganization of the Minerals Management Service (MMS), which has been rife with corruption and incompetence. MMS would be split into three different offices. Shortly after Salazar?s announcement, John Goll, the head of the Alaska MMS office, called an ?all hands? staff meeting to eat a cake decorated with the words, ?Drill, Baby, Drill.? Goll is now expressing regret for the incident:
In an e-mail Thursday to agency employees nationwide, Regional Director John Goll says it was wrong and expressed regret that he let that happen in his office.
The Center for Biological Diversity is calling for Goll to be fired.