Important Update: For
New Vid Adds Go
Here and Here (Widescreen!) Got tired
of looking for new videos. Note to Atrios: the kewl kids
aren't creating old fashioned MP3 lists. They're creating their own
television channels. I told you I'd have my vengeance Reginald Hudlin.
Newest version of the Anti Bet on J/Anti Tony Mowad jazz channel.
Actually, it's more than just acid jazz. There's straight ahead and a few
rock tunes thrown in for good measure. Plus toons and politics. This is
set on random play so every time you refresh the 8023035050210602100 4500 or so vids appear in a different order. You shall rue the day that you crossed me
Reginald Hudlin. And Goddamn you
Reginald Hudlin. Goddamn you and
BET on J to Hell. More legal update: This is actually
more of a search engine (me plus the tech). All of these vids are
available on the public youtubes (or have been publicly available) and such. Vids that are copyright violations are
often taken down. More Update: Fullscreen function fully enabled. ON the
bottom right corner that's the box that's furthest to the left.
ITEM: Well, I'm off to vote. To be honest, I was kinda thinking of
blowing off this election (I don't live in Pittsburgh or the mayor's race
would have drawn some of my interest other
than my endorsement of Franco Dok Harris...) but these judge's ads
made my think I need to vote against Joan Orie and the other predictably
evil republican nominees to the courts.
Jack Panella Endorsed by Planned Parenthood PA PAC
Joan Orie Melvin endorsed by the PA Pro-Life Federation PAC & LIFEPAC
Judge of the Superior Court
(vote for four)
Robert J. Colville Endorsed by Planned Parenthood PA PAC
Kevin Francis McCarthy Endorsed by Planned Parenthood PA PAC
Anne E. Lazarus Endorsed by Planned Parenthood PA PAC
Teresa Sarmina Endorsed by Planned Parenthood PA PAC
Judy Olson endorsed by the PA Pro-Life Federation PAC & LIFEPAC
Sallie Mundie endorsed by the PA Pro-Life Federation PAC & LIFEPAC
Temp Smith endorsed by the PA Pro-Life Federation PAC & LIFEPAC
Paula Ott unknown
Help Us Continue to Elect Pro-Choice
Candidates in Pennsylvania!
Judge of the Commonwealth Court
(vote for two)
Barbara Behrend Ernsberger Endorsed by Planned Parenthood PA PAC
Linda S. Judson Endorsed by Planned Parenthood PA PAC
Patricia A. McCullough endorsed by the PA Pro-Life Federation PAC &
Kevin Brobson endorsed by the PA Pro-Life Federation PAC & LIFEPAC
Pittsburgh Mayor's Race
Luke Ravenstahl endorsed by LIFEPAC
Kevin Acklin unknown
Franco “Dok” Harris Pro-choice
ITEM: Sorry for the long hiatus here. I temporarily
redirected to Mirror Universe but decided that I didn't like it. I can
still post here. I just have to skimp on the pics which I hate. Hostway
tech support hasn't contacted me in four days. I've been with them since
1997. I guess they're pushing me. Anyway, I've been posting
a lot here and in other places. We should be back up to several posts
a week here as soon as the account limits are expanded
ITEM: Here's something I posted over at my Progressive Examiner
Luke Ravenstahl is an uninspiring hack although he has managed to stay
out of jail on corruption charges, which has surprised me, he's at heart a
machine guy with no real vision for the city. Kevin Acklin, whose personal
story is interesting, just decided that he's no longer a republican and is
now an independent? That's like deciding you're no longer fighting for the
South a year before the Civil War ends. Your timing just seems suspicious.
Acklin should have just said he couldn't win as a Republican in town. I will
confess this though: Acklin would probably be a better mayor than Luke
Ravenstahl. I hate admitting that because I truly hate the Republican Party
and anybody involved with such a fascist party ("Oh, I resigned from the
American Nazi Party and all their horrible Santorum-like party candidates
I endorsed. All better now.") but Acklin is clearly better and smarter than
Luke. But then again who isn't.
Dok Harris has also produced superior television ads. Here's a really
hard hitting ad that he's produced. I don't know if he has enough money to
put them on air anyplace. This ad also showcases a rare moment of anger from
Presiden Barack Obama at the end. I guess I would like to know the context
You can catch two of the ads that I liked here. You can catch three of Dok Harris' ads above at the Acid Jazz Channel.
ITEM: We're actually winning on the public option. I don't believe it. And we
may have Harry Reid to thank for it. I can't believe that either. If this all pans out, then
we should remember this during what looks to be Harry's tough reelection
I think its because of ads like the one above. Remember: the pro public
option campaign is mostly if not entirely fueled by the Internet. How
powerful has the Internet grown?
We're beating the corporate media which didn't lobby for the public
option and the right wing corporate media which was openly hostile to it.
We're winning. I still can't believe. The best wrap ups are from
Chris Bowers and
from Open Left.
Keep in mind that if you don't have a public option, then there is
nothing in the four or five bills in congress that will keep costs down.
Nothing. No hard limit on costs anyplace I can see. But you would have to
buy it! This would doom the Democratic Party for a generation. Remember: the
IRS would be the enforcer. That means fines or at worst jail time! Think
about that. Frankly, we would need a no vote on reform without the public
option from the progressive caucus just to preserve the DNC
I'm tired of all these fundraising e-mails from the DSCC, the DNC,
and the DCCC blaming Republicans. The Republicans are
NOT the ones to blame. Democrats like these below are the ones to blame. They're the ones
that've been watering down the bill, voted against a public option,
and allowed the Baucus bill to be a mandated bailout of private
ITEM: I gots nothing on the G20. For the record, I don't
think these kinds of protests have actually changed policy though I do
think dressing in black and V for Vendetta masks is kinda cool.
September 19, 2009
ITEM: Yeah, right. France, maybe. How about total
replacement loser proles. I should have posted these labor posters I
found on labor day but I was busy or distracted or both. They're part of a
new book called "Agitate!
Educate! Organize! American Labor Posters". They have a decent
political message and they're pretty too.
And one groovy one that I think was made during the 60s:
ITEM: I really think that Joe Sestak should hire
Lee Stranahan. He's doing the best pro health care reform ads in the
country. This would create two public goods: I'm assuming that Joe Sestak
offers his employees health care and it would give Joe Sestak the best
attack ad viral video maker in the country. Here he calls out on the
President on the public option. For the record: I don't think he's going
to get a 100 dollars for his IPOD.
ITEM: You can't really stop Slinkerwink. You can only
contain her. I'm
going to repeat what I said over at my Progressive Examiner column
about her and Jane Hamsher: One more thing: if through some
miracle we get decent health care reform despite the millions being spent
by the insurance lobby, then you need to thank Jane Hamsher and
Slinkerwink. They did the hard fighting, the hard organizing and the
public whip counts. Don't thank your dead tree newspapers, afterall, they
were "objective". They would be equally "objective" on the issue of Nazi
death camps and the Civil War (Slavery: Good or Bad? We just don't know
and we can't make a call. It would upset too many of our advertisers...)
Anywayz, it looks like Slinkerwink is mirroring the
MoveOn campaign of some weeks ago but it has much better specificity about
refusing a triggerless public option. Its just as moving and they name the
names of the evil insurers. And many are mentioned let me tell you.
You can watch all of them here. Here's several more:
Here's one that mentions an evil insurer by name: AETNA.
I mean, when President Obama mentioned that these guys were just trying to
make a buck...I really wish he could make note of the fact that when your
business practices murder people that this should be an unacceptable
form of capitalism...Shouldn't it?
And here's another person that the teabaggers would boo
at a public forum.
And I like justifiably angry psychotic dude. I can
Yes I've been a lazy blogger, even though I comment on other websites and
still churn away over at my Progressive Examiner gig. To make up for it,
here's me liveblogging the president's speech tonight. One word for the
president as one of his punching bag "progressive" critics: The only
replacement I would accept for the public option would be medicare for all
because that would actually bring down costs.
Before the speech, a number of
falsehoods by the Corporate Press on CBS.
One, we have the votes to pass the
bill with reconciliation. Two, deficit spending shouldn't be an issue. We
always find the money to kill people. We can find money to help people.
Three, Katie doesn't acknowledge that the summer recess was fueled by
insurance industry antics and propaganda. The Death Panels are nonsense.
However, the mandatory payment and subsequent fines if you don't buy in do
have fascist elements to them.
Oh well. Let's hear the speech. Wait,
still hasn't started...more corporate media slant: reconciliation isn't
the nuclear option, getting rid of the filibuster is the nuclear
option...still waiting. I hope they're right that Nancy Pelosi stands
tall. Not a lot of people have faith in a strong progressive block.
Okay its 8:11 and speechifying time.
Wait...just the president talking and gladhanding. Looks like Bob S. is
describing "The Reality of Things". Katie not adding much analysis. Still
no speechifying...Time 8:15 and the Prez has taken the podium...
Starts out with the heavy burden he's
had to bear when his administration started..."won't let up until
Americans who seek jobs can find them". Uproarius standing applause. He'll
need a second stimulus for that. We'll see...
Says he's pulled the economy back from
brink, not according to Atrios...he needs a second stimulus. Really he
Okay, now he's talking about health
care. Says he's determined to be the last president to take up the cause
of healthcare. Hope that's a good thing. Goes into history of health care
reform. Alerts us to nepotism within the Dingell political dynasty...okay,
he's making good arguments. Stressing middle class people, not those scary
poor black folks. That's good politically let's be honest...."only
democracy on earth, only wealthy nation, that allows such hardship for its
people". All good points, especially the part about how it can happen to
anyone. Makes sense to me....more insurance company nightmare stuff at 22
minutes in. Jesse Jackson Jr. looks credibly concerned...
He's hitting the cost issue now.
Everybody knows these things...his solutions? Still waiting...."our
healthcare problem is our deficit problem". Well, you could cut defense
spending or fed bailouts...no? "Those on the left" uh oh that's a bad
sign. Oh good, he's using single payer as the far left crazy time
argument. Thanks.Makes the argument of building on what works while
keeping those evil insurance industry death panel goons in the game. Not
convincing. Says we're close to a possible solution. I can feel the
tension building. Bad move when he talks about big pharma is eager to
change without mentioning those close door meetings...Now he's criticizing
the FUD fear uncertainty and doubt..."Now is the season for change". We'll
His plan will meet three basic goals:
more security for those who have it, coverage for those who don't and slow
down costs. A plan that asks everybody to take responsibility...that
translates into fines and mandatory buy in. He's repeating talking points
about his plan. Hope he's right. Talks about getting rid of losing
coverage without a preexisting condition...but in exchange for what?
Mandatory buy in that I can't afford? "No one should go broke because they
get sick". Amen. Routine check ups should be covered. We'll see. If you
don't have health insurance...okay, he's explaining the new insurance
exchange. Okay, he's not saying the public option by name but he is
shaming congress about their incredible health care plan...just the
exchange, will take effect in four years? Immediately offer help for
catastrophic care? Still no mention of the public option uh oh, looks like
he's about to make the arguments for mandatory buy ins at 8:35. Jesus.
This still sends a chill down my spine.Small businesses would be exempt.
Oh that's nice.
At 8:37 he addresses "bogus claims"
such as death panels. He calls it a lie. But the mandatory buy
ins...that's what's scary.
Oh jesus. No federal money would fund
abortion...that could kill the bill. You would be intermingling federal
funds with private dollars. You could kill choice that way...good lord.
Actually, insurance companies do it
because they are bad people! People who kill you for profit are bad
people. Really they are. He doesn't want to kill the insurance industry,
he just wants to make them accountable.
Finally, at 8:41 he mentions the
public option! But he also describes the shortcomings. You won't be able
to get out of your crappy private insurance plan....and you'll have to pay
for it! How much? Who knows. He's reminding progressives of stuff. I don't
need the reminders. The pubic option as you've designed it is way too
weak. "We will provide you with a choice". You know, I would accept
Medicare for all as a replacement for the public option.
Blames the republicans on the deficit.
That's true. No limits on money to kill people...now he's speaking
directly to seniors.Seniors have nothing to fear afterall they
vote....momentarily distracted by Oudin US Open match...she lost the first
set again...back to speechifying...
Oh great at 8:52 he embraces medical
malpractice malarkey. He wants to move forward on, what, letting doctors
kill me without legal consequences...? Thank gawd for trial lawyers I sez...Okay,
here's his plan again at 8:54, says he's open to real ideas. "Won't waste
time with people who thinks its better to kill this bill for political
reasons." "Won't accept status quo. Not now." That mandatory buy in is
worse than the status quo....I don't like mandatory auto insurance. I'm
alone in the world on this but that's how I feel.
Finishes with late Ted Kennedy's
letter. Oh this is good. He's using Ted Kennedy to shame republlican
senators McCain, Hatch and Grassley. I'm still stuck on this mandatory buy
in. It just can't go beyond three percent of gross income for people under
30 or the dems will lose people under 30 like, forever....
Ok. He left on a strong note.
Inspirational. He gives great speeches. We'll see.
Okay corporate spin: We can't get the
public option says Bob. Here's our position if you can't get the public
option you can't solve the problem of high insurance costs. Nothing else
works, except medicare for all. That's it.
Republican response? Who cares. Well,
let's hear it. Oh he's concerned about deficit spending and the jobless
recovery...did he vote for the stimulus that would have provided jobs?
Gawd I hate the republicans. Lies about evil big guvmint
healthcare....hate these guys. Now you're concerned about deficits and
medicare costs? Kill me now...spout on corporate lackey....Oh, the doctor
blames poor lifestyle choices. Frak you man. Frak you. Junk lawsuits...you
mean where you can kill me with impunity...? Thanks doctor pal. The
republican spokesman is a doctor...what ker razy Tom Coburn wasn't
available....and its over. Not very convincing. No one should buy this
deficit double think stuff.
ITEM: I've been listening to
NPR for the last several hours and I had no idea how many important laws
that Sen. Ted Kennedy had passed. In fact, I just learned that he was the
one that created damages for victims of employment discrimination. Of
course, I'm beginning to think that employment discrimination should carry
criminal penalties but I appreciate the possibility of a significant money
settlement as well. Thank you Ted. I also hope the Senate uses this sad
event to pass meaningful healthcare reform. That would be healthcare
reform with a strong public option that limited payroll deductions to 5 to
7 percent (for anyone under 30 certainly...we want to keep the youth vote,
right?"), as opposed to making you pay upwards of 18 percent of your
salary for a kind of junk 20000 dollar deductible insurance plan. Let's
not do the latter.
Here's Sen. Kennedy on health care
reform several years ago. Ha. "Everyone in Pennsylvania." Go get 'em
There will be a lot of
hateful glee expressed on the right wing blogs today regarding Ted
Kennedy's death. If not from the owners and front page writers on
those blogs, than from most of those who post their vile comments
there about the news that Ted Kennedy has died. They will make much of
the scandals that dogged his life, and how his brand of liberalism was
outdated and dangerous, and that while never wishing anyone ill (no,
they would never do that, would they) the country is better off now
that he is dead. A very few, like
Nancy Reagan, who worked with Senator Kennedy in the fight for
stem cell research, will be gracious and generous, but they will be in
This is hardly unexpected. Ted Kennedy became a polarizing
figure, and a particular bogeyman among the right. If not for his
brothers' horrific assassinations, I doubt he would have felt
compelled to expend the energy to remain in the Senate all these
years. He was a deeply flawed individual, like most of us, and, in
truth, he was likely not prepared to assume the mantle of a powerful
political faction when his brother Robert was gunned down in 1968
while running for President. We will never truly know what those two
ghastly events did to change him both for better and worse, throughout
his life. But I would not have wished such a fate on anyone.
In response to what is likely to be a raucous litany by the
hatemongers that make up the right wing media circus of all his many
sins, let me leave you with
these words by Robert Reich, former Secretary of Labor under Bill
Clinton, and a man who knew Ted Kennedy far better than most of us who
are not members of his immediate family, regarding Ted Kennedy's
legacy of service to his country:
Most Americans will never know how many things Ted Kennedy did
to make their lives better, how many things he prevented that would
have hurt them, and how tenaciously he fought on their behalf. In
1969, for example, he introduced a bill in the Senate calling for
universal health insurance, and then, for the next forty years,
pushed and prodded colleagues and presidents to get on with it. If
and when we ever achieve that goal it will be in no small measure
due to the dedication and perseverance of this one remarkable man.
We owe it to him and his memory to do it soon and do it well.
Imagine, forty years of fighting for universal health care
coverage for all. Coverage for everyone regardless of whether they
were white or black, poor or rich, blue collar or white collar, young
or old, healthy (at the moment) or desperately ill. Forty years of
perseverance in the face of constant defeats and disappointments. Let
us make his final achievement the accomplishment of this worthy goal
he set for America some forty years ago.
MoveOn Starts A Brilliant
Campaign on Behalf of Healthcare Reform
ITEM: This is simply a brilliant photo campaign started
by MoveOn. Here's the letter I received:
Dear MoveOn member,
Every day we hear new arguments that America should just put offhealth
But millions of Americans can't afford to wait.Like
Joe B., a MoveOn member whose family is facing over $20,000 in costs for
their autistic son's treatment because hisinsurance
what the doctor prescribed. And Nicole T.'s mother, who lost herinsurance
diagnosed with cancer.
With just 14 days until Congress heads back to D.C. to vote on health
care, we need to bring thehealth
care debateback to
To do that, we're launching"We
Can't Afford to Wait,"a
photo petition to remind Congress of the real lives at stake.Will
you join the photo petition today by submitting a picture of yourself
holding up a sign showing why you or someone you love can't afford to
Submitting a photo is really easy, and we provide step-by-step
We'll share the photo petition—pictures of thousands of MoveOn members
holding up signs saying why they or a loved one can't afford to wait forreal
Congress and the media.
Through our "We can't afford to wait: Public Option NOW!" vigils next
week, by delivering photo albums to eachmember
of Congress, and by making sure your stories are heard in the
news media, we'll help bring the debate back to what really matters.
It's too easy for Congress to get mired in the politics of health care,
and forget the substance. By reminding them about the true cost of
inaction in a visible and visceral way, we can make sure the needs of
real Americans are front and center when our senators and
representatives head back to Washington to vote on health care reform.
Can you submit a photo today and remind Congress why America can't
afford to wait for real reform?
One very important point: You will get health care.
The question is what kind. Do you want to be forced to pay, and without
the public option there will no limits on what the insurance companies
can charge, upwards of 15 to 25 percent of your salary to buy what would
arguably be the worst kind of health care. Think of it as liability only
insurance for health care but you'll have to buy it. And if you don't
buy it? You'll get civil or criminal penalties. You might go to jail if
you choose not to pay 18 percent (or more)of your salary toward health
care. You can actually end up in jail for missing a court date in order
to talk about as little as a 300 dollar debt. Yes, that's a personal
story. I'm not in jail yet but its the kind of "law" that seems to be
targeted more and more at poor people.
One more point: we want the public option in order to save the Obama
presidency. Because right now, the only question that the current
administration is answering is "How do you elect a black republican to
the highest office in the land?" Answer: "You run him as a Democrat".
It's actually very simple: He hasn't delivered on any of our issues
and has shown the annoying tendency to move right whenever he's being
pressured by the usual big money suspects. The Big Four for progressives,
just as a reminder, are health care reform, the prosecution of bush
administration war criminals, EFCA and a meaningful climate change bill.
We want these things not just because we would like them but because
they're essential for another Obama presidential run. I suppose if we
didn't want them or care about these issues we would have voted Republican
and gotten exactly what we asked for, plus tax cuts. So imagine our
surprise as we look upon the landscape and notice that we might be going 0
A number of progressive writers have spoken about this over the last
several days or so. First up is Paul Krugman
ITEM: Actually, there are two videos like this out there. One features
an elderly Israeli men being told "Heil Hitler" by some Ker Razy anti
health care activist. I thought he was going to slug her. And, frankly, I
think that would have been appropriate. The NAZI argument by the anti
public option crowd is pretty bad...Yes, I used to compare the Bush regime
to fascists, not necessarily Hitler, because, like Hitler, the Bush regime
seemed to like to kill lots and lots of people for money and power.
Wolf even wrote a book about it. Just to repeat, Barack Obama is
working to help insure 100 million uninsured and underinsured people.
Swastikas don't immediately come to mind here. Check out that video
here. The second video features Barney Frank in fine form telling this
woman she's silly in so many words. That's because she's silly. You can
check out the
second video here.
I've received word from Jane and
others at Firedoglake that we now have over 60 progressives in the House of
Representatives who are absolutely furious with the White House's
backtracking on the public option, and diminishing it as an essential cost
containment for affordability of insurance premiums.
Let me be clear again today as I was
You'll have health insurance, but it
won't be affordable. Because if we allow the White House and the Senate
moderates to give away the store to the insurance companies on the public
option, you know what's going to happen next? Subsidies would be pared back
as the next starting point for conservatives. And after the Democrats give
in on subsidies to get "bipartisan" votes, the next starting point might be
the community rating where the 2:1 requires that you as an adult, doesn't
pay more than twice the premiums of a young adult.
You know what's in the Baucus "Fauc-Us"
bill draft language from two months ago? A community rating of 7:1. That
makes health insurance near unaffordable for most adults.
You know I voted for Obama but I did not come away
that impressed with what I saw this
Saturday morning from longtime aide, friend and confidante Valerie
Jarrett. Ms. Jarrett spoke for about an hour and a half during the last
day of Netroots Nation, the annual get together of Kossacks and fellow
travelers who schoomze and network and can afford to pay about several
hundred dollars to do so. Hey, if I wasn't reporting this I couldn't
afford to go. I got a press pass worth 200 bucks.
The format was that Baratunde Thurston was to lob her
questions, mostly softballs apparently, and she was to hit away but I felt
that I didn't really learn very much other than "give us time" and "I
trust Obama". Those are beginning to not be very satisfying answers when
you're continuing a lot of shockingly bad Bush policies.
Here's a sample of what Valerie gave us. So, Baratunde
reads a question that asks what blogs, specifically the president reads,
and whether he reads them on a Mac or a PC. She answers back that the
president reads lots of blogs but couldn't or didn't know (more likely)
which ones he read and that she can't tell you whether he uses a Mac or a
PC. Do you feel more informed, about anything?
Or here's another one: Baratunde reads another question off
his computer and this time it's about Tom Daschle. And she goes on about
what a cool and swell and great guy Tom is. I'm trying to get what world
she's coming from. Actually, its clear now that Daschle would have been a
horrible addition. First,
he rejoined some awful insurance lobbying firm that pays more money than
God to promote evil policies. Second, even though he says he likes the
public option, he came out against it in his role as insurance company
hack. Here's the thing: would he have ever left the insurance industry
even if he had joined the administration? And does Kent Conrad want a
cushy job as an insurance hack lobbyist as well? Must be.
Or, and here's another one, she actually had the nerve to
talk about how the Obama administration has limited the influence of
lobbyists in his White House. She must not have
read all those stories about how he cut
backroom deals with Big Pharma that would have undercut House and
Senate efforts to regulate these industries. I think this story was broken
by the Huffington Post by the way, thus forcing an Obama ally into some
Did I mention that there was slight hissing and even some
boos? Well, its not Valerie. Its the record of the administration.
Valerie is a professional and has to back the boss. But if you really
wanted a concise picture of the administration so far,
I really think this Ian Walsh post hits it on the head.
Miscellania: Healthcare, Unemployment, Resistance and Obama by: Ian Welsh
Sat Aug 08, 2009 at 22:00
After visiting Victoria for a week, let's do a quick roundup post
Healthcare: I remain convinced that nothing that will come out of this
Congress won't be pretty awful. My current belief is that what will be
passed will mandate everyone buy insurance but because of inadequate cost
controls and subsidies will leave ordinary people forced to buy insurance
which will increase in price faster than wages. The optimistic view would
be that once everyone is in the system, pressure will build to make the
system actually work. We'll see, even if true, there'll be a lot of pain
Unemployment: According to the BLS, the economy lost 274,000 jobs, but the
unemployment rate dropped from 9.5% to 9.4%. Welcome to the world of
statistics that don't mean what you think they do. People who want jobs,
but who are convinced they can't get one and so aren't looking actively
don't count as unemployed. So the number of employed people can go down
and the unemployment rate can go down. In other words, we're a long way
from things getting better, they're just getting worse more slowly.
Resistance: The American right has decided on a policy of resistance to
Obama which can be summed up as "thuggery". People are being trained and
financed to go out and shout down Democrats or intimidate them. There has
already been some violence, there will be more. The Obama administration
thought they could avoid the rise of the refusnik right by refusing to act
on most social issues, which is why they abandoned their promises to gays
and have generally been unwilling to move on other social issues. They
took the lesson of the Clinton administration to be "don't inflame the
fanatics on the right-avoid social issues, and don't slash the military".
They were, of course, wrong: the radical right (and there is hardly a
non-radical right left) will oppose Obama no matter what he does and if
Obama is unwilling to use to the full might of the administrative
apparatus against them, they will simply take advantage of his weakness to
escalate. Tactics which are seen to work, will not be abandoned, to the
contrary, they will be used more and more.
Obama: Obama's active period is about over. Health care "reform", if he
gets it through, will probably be the last major policy. While there are
rises and falls, his overall popularity is trending down and that will
probably continue. The "honeymoon" is over, and it was used primarily to
shove through a lousy stimulus that won't lead to enough of a recovery,
and with luck (for him) a bad global warming bill and health reform that
isn't. Fortunately, banks and financial firms have been bailed out and are
making lots of money, and should be in a position to reward Obama with
significant funding in future elections.
Unless they decide that the Republicans will give them everything they
Add to that Republican weakness, and Obama's inner circle may think
they're still cruising for reelection. I'm not so sure. Counting on your
enemy's weakness is a dangerous tactic, especially when you are doing
little to ensure that they remain weak or that you remain strong.
I really think that's the truth of the last six months of
the Obama administration. I will forgive him for everything if he manages
to pass a strong public option and I'm in a positiion to buy affordable
healthcare. If not, that smattering of hisses and boos will turn into a
chorus, and hit a depressingly high note right around the 2010 and 2012
the annual gathering of Kossacks (derived from the Daily Kos,
a political must read
by the way) and fellow travelers, ends today In Pittsburgh and I hope to do
some reporting on Saturday's events..
I did attend Thursday evening's events at this year's Netroots nation and
I ran into people who, and I'm probably incorrect about this, I felt that I
had known fairly well because I had read so much of their work and seen so
many of their youtube vids.
One of those persons that I met in the flesh was Jack Cole, one of the
elder retired spokesman for a really sane group called Law Enforcement
Against Prohibition. Every police officer involved in LEAP has done their
share of drug arrests which, according to Jack at least, they feel a certain
amount of shame about. I think Jack described the work he was doing with
LEAP as a kind of penance.
This is a person and a group that I discovered entirely through Youtube
and I believe they held a session on decriminalization on Friday which
unfortunately I couldn't attend. But here are some of the Youtube vids I
first discovered and I immediately put them on rotation at the
Acid Jazz Channel. (One note: Jack Cole appears second in this vid and
is not Norm Stamper. Repeat: Jack Cole is not Norm Stamper.)
And here's Norm Stamper's interview with Reason magazine:
I did ask Jack one question that I was kind of curious about: I had
noticed that most of the cops in LEAP were retired and I asked him if there
were any active duty policemen who were members of the organization and was
that dangerous? He told me there were 5 to 7 active duty police officers who
were members of LEAP, although one of them had been fired but he won a big
lawsuit worth over 800000 dollars. Apparently, he can't actually do
any police work anymore but they can't fire him either. So, there might be a
bit of a risk there for active duty police officers to get involved in LEAP.
Or a big payday.
Now, Atrios is
a guy I've been reading about and watching for the last several years now.
One of the things that I thought really revealed the Real Him was this video
segment on Philly bloggers where I swear he was trying to hide. He just
didn't look comfortable as a public figure. And sure enough when I spoke to
him he was quite reserved and circumspect. I suppose if you were the kind of
person who described people you met as to how well they conform to Star Trek
stereotypes then Atrios would be a Vulcan. I thought that at any moment he
was going to urge me to always look toward logic and to harness my human
half. Or something. I made sure to ask him what he thought of our urban
hellhole of a city and how he enjoyed our public transit system. I just had
One specific question, as opposed to meandering, that I did toss his way
is if he trusted the Obama economic team or the Hellish ilk known as Rubin,
Geithner and Summers, with just a dash of Rahm. I sort of got the impression
that he didn't from his "the recession isn't over" talk but I wasn't sure.
His answer: a fairly unambigous "no". We chatted a bit more and then he was
Related: I noticed that he wrote about
Dwelling House Savings and Loan getting "EATED". But its not qute the
same kind of "EATED" that he usually talks about. Dwelling House is, or was
I guess, a black owned bank that didn't collapse because of the bubble. They
were robbed, apparently by hackers who weren't black nationalists. Truly a
very sad story. Its being taken over by PNC but here's the thing: the reason
you had a black owned bank is that the PNCs of the world weren't loaning to
poor and working class black folk. How does this help exactly? Will the
bank's mission be retained? i have my doubts.
More Related: One thing I forgot to thank him for, as an
African American, are his many angry rants against
the Bell Curve crowd. ("Did you know black people were inferior...oh its
not racism. Its just science!
Feel better now?...not at all like eugenics...") I was always glad to read
that but I never understood why he was passionate about this issue. Until I
found out that his wife is African American. I guess that would explain it,
that and wanting to have kids who aren't marked at birth as being inferior
by way of Hue.
Anyway, thanks for doing that. Some of us appreciate that more than
What Should Have Been
Published August 14
I have been wearing myProgressive Examiner hat this week and I've been sneaking around
Netroots Nation for as long as I can. I can't swear over there (Well, I
can frakkin' swear...they haven't banned that yet but they have banned WTF...WTF?)
but at least they have accessible permalinks.
What Should Have Been
Published August 11
ITEM: You know, even if we lose, and by "we" I mean the 100 million
Americans like myself who either don't have healthcare or are
underinsured, I'm beginning to respect the president's efforts on my
behalf. With this kind of effort Malia and Sasha might get to attend that
fancy private school as opposed to that scary Hell school in the Wire.
First, here's a snippet of the Obama's townhall today where he demolishes
much of the silliness behind crazy gun carrying right wing yelling points,
such as the death panels:
Then there's a pretty good ad that spells out some of the advantages of
the President's plan. Bad news: not clear how this will be done if no public
And here: back to today's town hall, he explains in depth about how the
White House reform plans will help the average person. Again, I really
really appreciate this as someone who's uninsured.
August 7 PDT
ITEM: Sorry for the lack of
posts. As per usual I've had other concerns in my life, nothing earth
shattering but time consuming.
ITEM: I wrote my initial
reactions to the Sodini shootings over at my Pittsburgh Progressive
Examiner niche. I'll just repeat what I wrote because I'm lazy.
I've provided yet another mirrored copy and an explanation as to why
its important and why that's news.
I wanted to comment more about this
in my next column and I wanted to make sure you could access it. I do
think this is news and its an interesting peek into a psychopath. But I
have to admit: I really think if someone had reached out to him or if he
had manned up and reached out to the proper psychiatric authorities I
don't think the shootings would have happened.
By the way, your corporate media
masters have called this a "blog". Even though he's a computer expert
Sodini didn't use any major blogging software. Looks like he set up a
webpage with just the most minimal of HTML and went at it. People wonder
why people reading this weren't inspired to call their local law
enforcement agency. One: it might not have been published until just
before the shootings. Two, if you make no attempt to promote yourself
or your blog trust me you can pretty much post anything on the Internet
and it will remain virtually anonymous. I know whereof I speak as a guy
who actively promotes his own work. Its not easy. One more point: I kept
the names in but I removed the personal addresses. Not exactly a love
letter to various relatives.
I'll probably write more about this
later, but I didn't find this guy's complaints all that unusual or, dare I
say it, far off the mark. People keep saying "Well, he had that good
job...!" but if you read the diary its clear he was never secure in that
job and thought he was going to be laid off any minute. That's the
American condition by the way. In a lot of ways, the United States is kind
of a fucked up place to live. Its a pressure cooker where you have ready
access to high powered firearms. Not a good combination probably. When you
don't have health care your country is telling you in very clear terms
that it doesn't give a fuck about you. Really, it is. More on this later
where I take a look at the local blogosphere reaction and where I try to
answer Maria's question of "What can be done..."
ITEM: Speaking of the
health care I'm not getting...Yesterday I thought it was 50/50 that a
strong public option could be passed until I heard about that sweetheart
deal Obama and Rahm (I blame everything on Rahm...) tried
to arrange with
Big Pharma. Horrible really. Now it looks like its 30/70 against. I swear
if Obama negotiated for his two kids the way he negotiates for the public
interest they wouldn't be attending Sidwell Friends. They would be the
newest enrollees in that
scary training for prison school that was
featured in The Wire. What's worse, Obama would be calling it a "great
victory for consumers" because no one managed to have consensual threeway
sex with Malia this year or that Sasha didn't get the White House burnt
down cause she snitched....See, that's the "bipartisanship" that Grassley
and Baucus wanted for his kids so he got a deal done and its all good now.
Great ads keep coming from the pro
public option side, though. Here's one from MoveOn equating
insurance companies to sharks which is insulting to sharks because they
don't kill as many people.
Big news on the healthcare front. First, Jane Hamsher:
It's working. Your phone
calls are making the difference.
The progressive caucus is finally realizing it can stand up for a real
public option. Yesterday progressive members actually blocked the Blue
Dogs from watering down health care reform - for the time being.
What does it mean? We need to push harder than ever to get members to
take the pledge to protect a real public option. Call, call, call. Click here to get the phone numbers of progressive
members of Congress and start calling. We need to flood progressive members' offices with calls.
When you call, ask if the member will Take the Pledge to vote against
any health care bill that doesn't have a public plan which is:
Could this be the beginning of something new
in the Congressional Progressive Caucus? The progressives in Congress threw a
revolt over the compromises to the Blue Dog Democrats, and
delayed the mark-up of the House Tri-Committee health care bill
from yesterday to today at 10 am.
forced the Democratic leadership to meet with them to hear
out their concerns about the watering down of the public option
in the Tri-Committee bill.
However, the White House and the Democratic
leadership got worried, and started making phone calls to twist
some arms to make sure the progressives stay in line to swallow
any crap. This is where you come in. We NEED
you to call the progressives on our target list
below to make sure they continue to STAND UP
for us on health care reform!
It's working. Your relentless phone calls are
making the difference. The progressive caucus is finally realizing
it can stand up for a real public option.
What does it mean? We need to push
harder than ever to get members to take the pledge.
Flood progressive members offices with calls and ask them to
Pledge to vote against any health care bill that doesn't have a
strong public option.
Also, since the mark-up on the Energy and
Commerce Committee is today at 10 a.m., we NEED
you to call the progressives on the committee since some of them may
be wavering into accepting the Blue Dog compromise. Tell them to
offer amendments to restore the public option!
Some supporters of the public plan on the
committee said they could live with the changes. Rep. Lois Capps
(D-Calif.) said the briefing of committee Democrats made her "more
inclined to support" the Blue Dog amendments.
Rep. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.), who serves on
the committee, said the compromise "eviscerates" the public plan.
And he's frustrated that the
agreement was presented to committee members as "take it or leave
But he still may vote for it, because
he's concerned that if the bill stalls in committee, House leaders
will simply bypass the committee.
Engel said he's undecided.
Please TELL Rep. Eliot
Engel NOT TO support the compromises by the
Blue Dog Democrats that weaken the public option, and ask him how he
can support the paring back of the subsidies for the middle class,
the establishment of fake state-based co-operatives which will do
NOTHING to reduce costs, and the weakening
of the public option.
Here's Rep. Eliot Engel's phone number for you
Rep. Eliot Engel at
And we have another target--Rep. Jan
Schakowsky. She's the one that ALWAYS leads
the fold-in of the progressives into accepting whatever shit
sandwich comes out of the House, like the weakened ACES bill, the
war supplemental vote, and other legislation that progressives
were forced to accept.
It's why the White House called her to twist
her arms into accepting the compromise from the Blue Dogs and
convince her to pressure the other progressives into accepting the
same. Did you know that Rep. Jan Schakowsky's in the
charge of health policy for the Congressional Progressive Caucus?
It's why she's our big target.
Please TELL Rep. Jan
Schakowsky NOT TO support the compromises by
the Blue Dog Democrats that weaken the public option, and ask her
HOW she can support the paring back of the
subsidies for the middle class, the establishment of fake
state-based cooperatives which will do NOTHING
to reduce costs, and the weakening of the public option.
Rep. Jan Schakowsky at
We'll also NEED you to
CALL the other Democrats on the Energy and
Commerce Committee below to ask them NOT TO
support the compromises by the Blue Dog Democrats that weaken the
public option, the paring back of subsidies for the middle class,
and the establishment of state-based cooperatives that do nothing to
And here's an e-mail from the Congressional
Progressive Caucus asking for more attendees to come to their press
conference at 2:30PM today. If you know anyone in the DC/MD/VA area,
PLEASE GO to the press conference!
Today, the Energy and Commerce committee
accepted a compromise with the Blue Dogs which would have the
effect of crippling the public option. (As reported, it
specifically makes it so that the public option no longer pays
Medicare+5%, but instead has to individually negotiate rates with
providers. In addition to dramatically increasing the overall cost
of reform, this has a big negative impact on the public option’s
ability to jumpstart operations.)
This compromise is in direct conflict with
one of the core tenets of the Congressional Progressive Caucus’s
criteria for a robust public option. The belief appears to be that
the progressives will once again just roll over.
Not this time. Not this fight.
Tomorrow afternoon, the CPC will be holding a
press conference in conjunction with their allied caucuses the CBC,
CHC, and CAPAC. They are going to draw a very clear line in the
sand – unambiguously and so brightly it’ll be seen all the way at
the White House. We need the largest crowd we can get at the press
Thursday July 30, 2009
At the triangle on the southeast side of the Capitol
This is the first real moment in which the
progressives inside of Congress are being tested for their resolve
on healthcare. And this is the most significant ask they’ve made
of progressives outside of Congress in the day-to-day fight.
Can you also please help nyceve, Jane Hamsher,
me, and others in this fight for health reform by
donating to our fight?
PLEASE RECOMMEND THIS DIARY so others
can see the phone numbers and call today!
Want to fight back against the crappy "Fauc-us" so-called health reform
bill by Senator Baucus? We NEED you guys to put even
more pressure on the House today with your phone calls! We're
going to need the progressives, the Democratic leadership, and the
chairs of the Tri-Caucus to push back against any CRAPPY legislation
that doesn't involve a public option!
We need you to tell the
Democratic leadership, the White House, the Congressional Progressive
Caucus, and the Tri-Caucus to STAND UP TO THE BLUE DOGS and to
the Baucus "Fauc-us" health bill!
It's why we have to keep up with the phone calls today! Please CALL Speaker Pelosi, Hoyer, Clyburn, and the White
House with these talking points below! Remember, first thank them for
supporting the House Tri-Committee health care plan, and then tell them
why they can't go on vacation before dealing with health care reform,
and NOT to support the crappy Senate Finance legislation:
I'm calling to thank [Name of Member] for supporting the House
health care plan, and for supporting the public option and the
national insurance exchange. I don't want Congress to go
on vacation before they deal with the passage of health care reform!
As an American who's faced denials of claims and has been facing
higher insurance premiums, the public option and the national
insurance exchange is NECESSARY to hold down
the costs of private insurance and give us the kind of care we need.
Please DO NOT delay the passage of health care
reform in the House. We need you guys to stay in and work
for us.Also, I've been hearing that the Blue
Dog Democrats want to cut back subsidies for my family, that they want
a fake state-based co-op plan, and have a trigger on the national
insurance exchange by having it as state-based insurance exchanges at
first.What they want is unacceptable for me
and my family. Don't give into their demands. I'm an
American who needs the choice of the national insurance exchange and
the public option.
CALL Speaker Nancy Pelosi at
and try her local office at
if you can't get through.
CALL House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer at
CALL House Majority Whip James Clyburn at
July 23 PST
been writing more over at my
new post of Pittsburgh Progressive Examiner because I have to submit
three to five posts a week. I'm still not as productive as Atrios. But I
tend to get better with time. We'll see.
Here's one recent headline.
Keep in mind that while you can't participate in Thursday's noon rally you
can still tweet and/or facebook our very legitimate Democratic Party
Senator Arlen Specter and urge him to stop the gutting of the Clean
I had no idea that the Clean Air
Act actually needed saving but apparently its in some trouble. It looks
like that underwhelming climate change bill would actually weaken Clean
Air Act protections. Tell me again, as a lifelong and loyal democratic
party member, how the dems in charge will make things better?
First, from the Huffington Post.
Here's the title:
MoveOn.org, which drove support for the bill in its early
stages, has now shifted its focus. Rather than using its weight to
propel it through the House, the group is hammering the bill for gutting
the Clean Air Act. Log onto its homepage and
the first message sent your way is a warning that the "current version
of the energy bill would repeal a key part of the Clean Air Act --
revoking Obama's authority to crack down on global warming pollution
from dirty coal plants."
The language causing the heat comes in section 311 of the bill: "No
standard of performance shall be established under section 111" -- the
section of the Clean Air Act that regulates coal-fired plants -- "for
capped greenhouse gas emissions from a capped source unless the
Administrator determines that such standards are appropriate because of
effects that do not include climate change effects."
other words, no carbon regulation.
"We need that authority to go back and clean up
these old coal plants and the current bill would repeal, in large
measure, that authority," said Josh Dorner, a Sierra Club spokesman.
Democracy for American thinks you
should tell Attorney General Eric holder to prosecute Bush administrations
Recently, Newsweek broke big news. U.S. Attorney General Eric
Holder may be on the verge of appointing a special prosecutor to
investigate cases of torture from the Bush era.
This is a major step in the right direction. If we hope to ever
hold Bush or Cheney or Karl Rove accountable for their reckless disregard
of the Constitution, we need the Attorney General to get the process
The problem is there's enormous political pressure to sweep the
past under the rug. The fact Attorney General Holder is sending signals
that he may move forward despite this pressure shows real courage. But
courage alone is not enough. We need action. Attorney General Holder needs
to hear from you.
I also like the fact that he's running this ad below in
Pittsburgh and other key blue dog spots throughout the country.
It targets both Jason Altmire, who has not come
out in favor of
an immediate public option probably because his former job title was
that of "insurance lobbyist" and
John Murtha who signed that horrible dems pro life petition against
health care reform. (See...You have a bill that would, according to the
Senate HELP committee, insure up to 97.3 percent of Americans, save and insure perhaps
one third of the nation or over 100 million people who are uninsured or
underinsured, not to mention ease suffering and misery and hardship
throughout the nation so you oppose it because you're...Pro Life? I mean,
can I have a WTF from the audience please...?) (Note all
the Pennsylvania dems and
Marcy Marcy Marcy Kaptur...how could you have signed that?)
More of this "Battlin' Barrack", please. ("He's Battlin'...!")
ITEM: I keep forgetting to post this but the
Regional Monitoring Equity Project, an outlet of BPEP that's actually
watching and wondering where all that stimulus money is going and if it
actually benefits disadvantaged communities, has a meeting Wednesday night
at the Hill House. If you want to keep up to date on what they've been
doing check out the
website here. I have caught the last two Jake Wheatley meetings at the
state level about where the stimulus dollars are going and judging from
those hearings it looks as if the stimulus monies will reach, possibly,
hundreds of black hands, which isn't nearly enough to make a dent in
unemployment or joblessness rates. More black people probably benefit from
the lottery. But I could have read those meetings wrong. I'm going to
email Jake and ask him to forward me his final report.
ITEM: I think the E Rocket
bike is a winner though expensive. Like the British announcer said "Was
keen on it until I heard the price." But the $40000 price would come down
once it was mass produced. It looks like there's less there than in
motorcycles or mopeds. It would end up costing in the 2000 dollar range.
It looks like a fantastic ride. It apparently amplifies your pedaling
power by a factor of 50. Wow. How does it do that? I guess this is the
kind of product that I wish was being built in the U S of A.
July 10th PST
ITEM: Sorry for the long breaks
between formal posts, although I am posting at other places oddly enough.
I'm just not always posting here. I also have a space problem which I'm
trying to figure out. Even though my provider gives me 12 gigs I'm limited
to 200 megabytes with this old server they have me on. I can switch to a
better server but the last time I did that with Majic 12 the site was down
for about a week and I'm not sure if redirects would even work. So I'm
trying to figure out my next move. I should decide within the next week or
ITEM: I think I've used this before as a holiday item. That's because
ITEM: New youtube hero puts July 4th and the healthcare battle in
ITEM: I should get
one of these bracelets. Two stunning
pro public option ads came to my attention the other day. One is by MoveOn
which is raising money to put this on the airwaves. Out here on the
Internets, of course, we can provide your artificial progressive
consensual reality free and easy.
And this guy Lee Stranahan, an uninsured guy who's
taking on the insurance industry, does fantastic progressive ads. Check
out his whole page.
June 26 PST
I've looked deep into my soul and I have
nothing pertinent or interesting to say about the deaths of Michael
Jackson or Farrah Fawcett. She was never my favorite angel anyway. I liked
the smart one. I am guessing that if you look elsewhere you may find some
news about those people.
June 24 PST
Tuesday April 15, 2008
Bloom County character Oliver Wendell Jones and
NPR Senior Producer Walter Ray Watson: Separated at birth? Actually, it
was a closer resemblance before Walt got the dreds...
was right. We
hate it when our friends become successful. My former New Pittsburgh
Courier colleague Walter Ray Watson
recipient of a Nieman Fellowship. I think that means he gets to teach
and write for a year or a summer and he still gets to go back to his job
at NPR when he's done. One of the great crimes of this world would be if
Walter was unable to finish a book--I mean, any book--before he leaves
this plane. One of the most gifted natural stylists I've ever seen, let
alone worked with. Congrats. I should note that this gives me another
opportunity to take a shot at my old union busting Courier boss Rod Doss.
Keep in mind that not only did Rod not hire Tony Norman,
arguably the most interesting essayist in the local corporate media, he
wouldn't give Walter a recommendation. True, that's because he sort of
supported the union I organized down there. I guess that's the kind of
thing that angers a pro life republican. But, and I do so hate giving Rod
any credit at all, perhaps its best to have had a bad father than no
father at all. Rod at least hired you when the white papers in this town
wouldn't. I have to also confess I'm also interested in the topic
he's studying which is: "will
study how the new media will affect communities that lack access to the
changing way news and information are delivered." Welp, as Walt used to
write, I think the answer is that the new media will probably supplant and
replace most of what now constitutes the mainstream media or at least
that's my sincere hope. I do hope that NPR is the last to fall, however,
in that they do represent excellence. One snarky point: shouldn't someone
who's writing about the New Media actually have a blog or two? Then again,
I suppose you could talk about my Morrissey impression among other
embarrassing hijinks that we had at the Courier, which we once joked about
turning into a sitcom proposal...
I wish I could say that I
was watching Sicko as a completely disinterested party. Unfortunately, I'm
one of those 50 million Americans who doesn't have health insurance--
--quick aside: I indirectly work part time for UPMC. I
even have an UPMC identification card. But part timers don't get health
care benefits for the smaller company that I work for and apparently UPMC,
with only 400 million in profits last time I checked, can't afford to
cover me as well. Quick note to all you folks who spout AMA propaganda
about the "long waits" whenever single payer comes up: I would prefer long
waits to never seeing a doctor at all--
--True, I'm in good health (I think. Nothing has fallen
off, so far....) and I walk a lot but it would be nice to talk to a doctor
other than in an emergency room. The main thing I took away from the movie
is that other people in other countries live much better than we do,
period. They get better health care, better education, and probably better
lives. And yes there are other reasons why they want us to hate France as
Mike Moore makes
clear in this clip. I guess this is why your usual corporate media
outlets don't do more journalism about How People Live abroad. One: They
rather you didn't know and two: you might notice that where people have
the six week vacations and unemployment insurance that pays better than
our minimum wage they tend to have real opposition/labor parties, as
opposed to pretend ones that think NAFTA is going great. I guess, and this
could be the theme of all of Mike Moore's movies: I live in a country that
really doesn't give a fuck about me. Hail America and so forth....
I believe that the Doctrine of Fair Use Covers the use of unoriginal
If not, I'm sure I'll hear from your lawyers. Our policy, by the way,
is that if you want us to remove something we will. We make the rash
assumption that artists like the promotion of their work. We could be
wrong...(so far, in six years of posting, I've just had one
complaint/request like that.)