March 2009 Archives

Most Americans Don't Blame Obama for Economy, Poll Finds - washingtonpost.com:

"The number of Americans who believe that the nation is headed in the right direction has roughly tripled since Barack Obama's election, and the public overwhelmingly blames the excesses of the financial industry, rather than the new president, for turmoil in the economy, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll."
Poll Results

(Via The Washington Post.)

It looks like the public is still in a realistic mood. Still, Obama's plan needs to start having some effects soon or the public will turn on him.

Doe or Die

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An Ultimatum for Carmakers From Obama - NYTimes.com:

"‘And so today, I am announcing that my administration will offer G.M. and Chrysler a limited period of time to work with creditors, unions and other stakeholders to fundamentally restructure in a way that would justify an investment of additional tax dollars; a period during which they must produce plans that would give the American people confidence in their long-term prospects for success,’ Mr. Obama said."

(Via NY Times.)

If only private shareholders, particularly institutions, would be so activist, we wouldn't be in a far better position.

Why Michael Steele Must Stay

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Why Michael Steele Must Stay:

"So Michael Steele becomes the saving grace for the mainstream moderates and libertarians in the party (like me) and for those conservatives who ‘get it.’ GOP insiders like to say that Michael Steele works well for Republicans because he is a fresh conservative GOP face who ‘happens to be black.’ They have it wrong. The GOP needs Michael Steele because he is black and because he understands that he must speak for more than 30 percent of the party’s political base.

For the record, there are pro-choice Republicans.  There are Republicans who support gay marriage. There are Republicans like me who support affirmative action policies.  We are in the minority in the GOP, for sure, but if the party is going to survive and eventually thrive, it needs a leadership that acknowledges us. Republicans need Michael Steele. And, protests or not, they know it."

(Via The Root.)

I've long thought that libertarianism is the path of success for the GOP. I'm just not sure the Christian Right will let that happen. They are just not into freedom they don't define.

The UFO Phenomenon -- Seeing Is Believing - ABC News:

"But as one of the world's leading theoretical physicists says in the program, 'You simply cannot dismiss the possibility that some of these UFO sightings are actually sightings from some object created by ... a civilization perhaps millions of years ahead of us in technology.'"

(Via ABC News.)

Saw this on NatGeo instead of the original airing, but I'm convinced UFO's are real. (What they actually are is another matter) I'm not convinced all sightings are of UFO's, but there are simply too many eyewitness accounts where the seer, conscious of public ridicule, is hesitant to go all X-Files but claim emphatically that they were not witness to weather balloons, swamp gas, stars on horizon, blimps, flares, helicopters, etc. These are pilots, police officers, and of course the general public. What was a clincher for me is when a police officer responding to a call he asks is a jokes sees the same object the caller claims he's seeing. Skeptics are not given to hysteria or conspiracy.

Going Cheney on Moats

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Dallas police chief apologizes for conduct of officer who drew gun on NFL player outside hospital | News for Dallas, Texas | Dallas Morning News | Latest News:

"Kunkle said Officer Robert Powell had been placed on paid administrative leave in connection with the incident last week, in which he stopped a family rushing to visit a dying mother, keeping them for 13 minutes to write a traffic ticket. The woman died before two of the family members were able to see her."

(Via Dallas News.)

Wow. I guess thugs don't make good police officers either.

Thugs aren't Revolutionaries

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On the other hand... - Ta-Nehisi Coates:

"Beyond that, my Pops published a book a few years back looking at the legacy of the Black Panther Party. He was really proud, given that he'd been a Panther. Though largely sympathetic, and maybe slightly nostalgic, the book is not a piece of hagiography. In one of the more trenchant essays, the author points out the folly of equating thugs with revolutionaries, of essentially criminalizing the vanguard."

(Via Ta-Nehisi Coates.)

This is what you get when you do.

Conservatives For Criminal Justice Reform - Ta-Nehisi Coates:

"I'm less certain that the 'tough on crime' approach has been 'largely vindicated' by events--mostly because I think a large part of the events include the moral costs, and the real costs to communities where alarming numbers of men are under the watch of the state. One should consider the numbers here--blacks make up a third of all drug arrests, and black men are 12 times as likely to be imprisoned on a drug conviction. Four in Five of these arrests were for possession, not sale. Perhaps this is because the drug epidemic has run rampant through black communities, but probably not. The difference in illicit drug usage is slight (9.5 percent of blacks have used illicit substances, 8.2% of whites).  Those are the sort of numbers that feed an intense distrust of the justice system in many black communities. I think Ross (though I can't be sure) sees the ends justifying the means. But the means are disproportionately born by people who live far away from those 'Nixon to China' conservatives."

(Via Ta-Nehisi Coates.)

Which is why many of us merely call it The System. I hope our white brothers and sisters see this too and understand our burden. I hope that once the economic crisis dies down, this will happen sooner rather than later. We can all start to move forward on how drugs is killing us, esp. black people, on all sides.

Something Called Government Duty

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TPMMuckraker | Talking Points Memo | Jindal's Mockery Of Volcano Monitoring Money Only Looking Dumber After Redoubt Blows:

"At the risk of stating the obvious, using advanced technology to predict when a volcano might erupt, at the most basic level, allows local officials to, um, save people's lives by evacuating them. It's hard to think of a better use of government money.

Why is Jindal's line looking even worse now? Because, as you've likely heard, Alaska's Mount Redoubt, 100 miles southwest of Anchorage, erupted last night. And a USGS geologist confirmed to TPMmuckraker that a portion of the stimulus spending for volcano monitoring that Jindal lampooned has been slated to go to USGS monitoring Redoubt."

(Via Talking Points Memo.)

This from a man who speaks of the government role in properly handling natural disasters. It looks like the GOP is stuck on stupid, to coin a phrase. First Palin. Now Jindal. When will the GOP this figure out?

UPDATE: I realize there is a double irony here that this eruption occurred in Alaska, Palin's state. I wonder if she rejected the volcano monitoring money too.

After Voting No, Republicans Tout Funds - WSJ.com:

"WASHINGTON -- Republicans railed against the Democrats' massive economic-stimulus and spending bills as fiscally irresponsible, but some GOP lawmakers are taking credit for projects in their own districts funded by the measures.

'Washington needs to stop spending money that it doesn't have,' Michigan Republican Rep. Pete Hoekstra said in attacking the $410 billion omnibus-spending bill, which funds the government through September. But once it passed, he touted its benefits for his district, which stretches along Lake Michigan.

...

In an interview, Mr. Diaz-Balart said, 'The omnibus was too much money, too much spending, too much borrowing, too much debt, and no accountability. Now, I have stuff in that bill, but I still voted against it. But what I have in there, I am very proud of.[emphasis mine]'

Rep. Howard Coble (R., N.C.) issued a news release on March 11 boasting that 'six Coble earmarks' were in the omnibus bill, including $855,000 to extend an airport runway."

(Via The Wall Street Journal.)

If this story doesn't belong in the dictionary under "hypocrite" for oh so many reasons, I don't know what does. Wow.

Team Comparison

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Why Do Black Immigrants Do Better Than Native Blacks? - Ta-Nehisi Coates:

"This argument pops up from time to time, but it's been coming up a lot lately. It always seemed to me that the question answers itself--an immigrant is someone who's specifically come to this country to capitalize and exploit opportunity. Comparing any immigrant group to virtually any native-born group is like comparing the most ambitious members of one team with the entirety of another team. "

(Via Ta-Nehisi Coates.)

Great piece on this trope of an argument.

Interview with a Vampire

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The Daily Show With Jon StewartM - Th 11p / 10c
Interview With a Vampire
comedycentral.com
Daily Show Full EpisodesImportant Things w/ Demetri MartinPolitical Humor

My patience with Cheney is at an end. Jon Stewart once again caps the sentiment nicely.

Don't know why children aren't allowed to visit sick adults. It bothers me that a dear aunt couldn't see and touch her greatnephew. What's the health risk to a 11 month old or to her?


Mobile Blogging from here.

Testing Blog IT

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You should see this on Facebook and Twitter and my blog.

My Pastor with the Mayor

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Father Walsh with the Mayor

Left to right, Msgr. John McIntryre, Mayor Michael Nutter, Father Chris Walsh, Father Kevin Gallagher, Msgr. Thomas Flanigan and Auxiliary Bishop Joseph P. McFadden enjoy the parade

(Via The Catholic Standard and Times.)

My pastor, Fr. Walsh, getting his Irish on with the cap and sash!

The Death Penalty - Ta-Nehisi Coates

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The Death Penalty - Ta-Nehisi Coates:

" This is all a long way of saying that some conservatives don't hate big government, they simply want big government to work strictly for them."

(Via Ta-Nehisi Coates.)

A better way to say it might be, "Big Government to conservatives is any part of government that doesn't work strictly for them." How else do you justify a yearly, as in ongoing, DoD budget of $800B while decrying a temporary stimulus package of the same size? Utter discredit.

iLojack

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iPhone 3.0 to offer MobileMe users “Find My iPhone” feature — RoughlyDrafted Magazine:

"When activated, the phone opens an alert that says, ‘this enables the ’Find my iPhone‘ service on your MobileMe account at me.com.’ It would appear that the service obtains the iPhone’s location and makes it available to the MobileMe user on request if the unit is lost or stolen."

(Via RoughlyDrafted Magazine.)

Awesome sauce.

King Asiatic Nobody's Equal.

The Crisis of Credit Visualized

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The Crisis of Credit Visualized on Vimeo:


The Crisis of Credit Visualized from Jonathan Jarvis on Vimeo.

The Short and Simple Story of the Credit Crisis.

Crisisofcredit.com

The goal of giving form to a complex situation like the credit crisis is to quickly supply the essence of the situation to those unfamiliar and uninitiated. This project was completed as part of my thesis work in the Media Design Program, a graduate studio at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California.

For more on my broader thesis work exploring the use of new media to make sense of a increasingly complex world, visit jonathanjarvis.com.

Support the project and buy a T-Shirt! cafepress.com/crisisofcredit

© Copyright 2009 Jonathan Jarvis

(Via Vimeo.)

Credit crisis in short animated film. Lays it all out quite nicely.

The Forgetful Man

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Wasting Away in Hooverville:

"Shlaes's actual critique of the New Deal [in The Forgotten Man] is not easy to pin down. Defining what she believes depends on whether you are reading the book itself or her incessant stream of spin-off journalism. In one article she adopted the classic right-wing line taken up by Andrew Mellon, Hoover's treasury secretary: 'Mellon--unlike the Roosevelt administration--understood that American growth would return if you left the economy alone to right itself.' This is the conclusion that most excites Shlaes's conservative admirers. And in keeping with this argument, Shlaes, a committed supply-sider, scolds Roosevelt for raising taxes on the rich, which discouraged them from taking risks. She fails to explain how the economy managed to recover after the outbreak of World War II, which saw even higher taxes on the rich, or in the postwar period, when they remained high. [emphasis mine]

Moreover, the classic right-wing critique fails to explain how the economy recovered at all. In one of his columns touting Shlaes, George Will observed that 'the war, not the New Deal, defeated the Depression.' Why, though, did the war defeat the Depression? Because it entailed a massive expansion of government spending. The Republicans who have been endlessly making the anti-stimulus case seem not to realize that, if you believe that the war ended the Depression, then you are a Keynesian.

(Via The New Republic.)

Once again conservative ideology reveals it's soft-think. It can't handle even simple facts. If facts are about reality, I'd be all too happy to forget conservatism.

Road to the Riches

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Highway robbery? Texas police seize black motorists' cash, cars -- chicagotribune.com:

"TENAHA, Texas— You can drive into this dusty fleck of a town near the Texas-Louisiana border if you're African-American, but you might not be able to drive out of it—at least not with your car, your cash, your jewelry or other valuables. That's because the police here allegedly have found a way to strip motorists, many of them black, of their property without ever charging them with a crime. Instead they offer out-of-towners a grim choice: voluntarily sign over your belongings to the town, or face felony charges of money laundering or other serious crimes."

(Via Chicago Tribure.)

Institutional racism at it's startingly most blatant. This in the age of Obama is a good cautionary tale. You are responsible for Change, for Hope, not the President.

Black People, Culture And Poverty - Ta-Nehisi Coates:

"Culture attracts such protest from many blacks not because we think that the culture of poverty is a myth, but because the mass of us who, in the space of about 40 years, have made more progress than any group of blacks before us, don't deserve to be told that our culture is making people poor. Seriously. Fried catfish and Outkast ain't never disenfranchised nobody."

(Via Ta-Nehisi Coates.)

True dat.

Corporate Shylockism

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How to Blow Your Credit Limit -- Without Spending:

"Paul Pensabene of Saratoga Springs, N.Y., received a statement from HSBC on Dec. 8 that said he had a $359.99 balance and remaining available credit of $8,640. But when he went online to pay the bill several days later, his online account showed that same balance put him over his newly-reduced credit line of $300. [emphasis mine] And that didn't include the $35 over-limit fee. Pensabene grappled with customer service until they agreed to remove the fee, and then paid the balance in full. 'All I could think was, 'Good lord, what if this is happening to someone that couldn't pay their balance off in one shot?'' he says. 'They'd end up in default with these fees piling up.'"

(Via Yahoo! Finance.)

While it's certainly fair and proper for the credit card companies to clean up their financial houses, this is ridiculous. It demonstrates the level of contempt credit companies have for their customers.

Pulling Your Card

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Stewart seen as winner in showdown with Cramer - CNN.com:

"'People want to see a lot of the financial gurus on a shish kabob, being skewered,' Seaman said. 'It's really important to hold people accountable, and as we saw last night, Jon Stewart is a bit of a wild card, so if you aren't living up to expectations, he may call you out.'"

(Via CNN.)

Which is exactly why I watch the show. I need that "powerful tool of illumination."

And You're Done

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While I think Jim Cramer shouldn't be the only face of the problem, I do think this total roasting is completely on the money. I'm reminded of the Crossfire roasting he did years ago. When will they learn? Here it is in unedited glory.

Total Sideshow

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Big Government

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Death and Taxes 2009 Site

Great site on the Federal Budget in visuals. The DoD defense budget just for this year came to almost $800B. I don't hear a peep about this from the "Strong Defense"/"Big Government Bad" conservative crowd.

Playing the Fool

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White House Watermelon Email From California Mayor Dean Grose Inspires Outrage:

"The mayor of Los Alamitos is coming under fire for an e-mail he sent out that depicts the White House lawn planted with watermelons, under the title 'No Easter egg hunt this year.'... Grose confirmed to the AP that he sent the e-mail to [local businesswoman and city volunteer Keyanus] Price and said he didn't mean to offend her. He said he was unaware of the racial stereotype that black people like watermelons." Watermelons on the White House Lawn

(Via The Huffington Post.)

If Grose expects anyone to believe him, he's even dumber than his joke. What exactly would have been the point if not for the stereotype?

Truly Bankrupt

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William Kristol - Republicans' Day of Reckoning - washingtonpost.com:

"Conservatives and Republicans will disapprove of this effort. They will oppose it. Can they do so effectively? Perhaps -- if they can find reasons to obstruct and delay. They should do their best not to permit Obama to rush his agenda through this year. They can't allow Obama to make of 2009 what Franklin Roosevelt made of 1933 or Johnson of 1965."

(Via The Washington Post.)

How about offering alternative solutions? Oh yeah, you don't have any that haven't been offered! That's when you know the GOP is completely bankrupt of any ideas. People are hip to the tax cut mantra since it did less than nothing to stop our current economic woes. (Quick note: Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act in 1965.)

The Black Tax

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The Source Of The Beef - Ta-Nehisi Coates:

"One last note. I've noticed something interesting about this blog--the complaints I hear from whites ('Don't lump as all together!' We're not a monolith!') have an eerie familiarity. I don't think it's cool to simplify anyone, ever. But I would ask that we all take a moment and think about how it feels for this to be the conflict of your life, to constantly labor under the weight of idiots who you've never met. What if very few people ever cared to sort you out? What if the generalizations which raised your hackles in Henderson's article weren't a one-off--they were the media and really the world--as you'd always known it?"

(Via Ta-Nehisi Coates.)

Exactly. (Twice in one day. That's why I love his blog.)

Some Off The Cuff Analysis - Ta-Nehisi Coates:

"I keep thinking about the big things that have always kept me from being a conservative--the knee-jerk worship of a past that branded me half a man, the elevation of the loud imbeciles who think science teachers should be using the Bible, the toleration and baiting of bigots who cloaked themselves in the garb of 'States Rights,' and now run under the garb of 'protecting marriage.' The common demonator here is an unreflective veneration of what was, a belief that tradition, no matter how backwards, can heal all."

(Via Ta-Nehisi Coates.)

Exactly.

Steele trap?

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Steele trap? GOP fears grow - Mike Allen and Andy Barr - POLITICO.com:

"Steadily becoming a dependable punch line, Steele has brushed back Rush Limbaugh, threatened moderate Republican senators, offered the ‘friggin’ awesome’ Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal some ‘slum love,’ called civil unions ‘crazy’ and promised more outreach to ‘urban-suburban hip-hop settings’ via an ‘off the hook’ public relations campaign. He even threw a shout-out to ‘one-armed midgets.’ That’s in just 30 days on the job — and that’s just the PR part. "

(Via Politico.)

I've met the brother. I'm embarrassed for him. I'm not laughing as many of my friend are.

Signify Brother

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Blacks, whites hear Obama differently - Nia-Malika Henderson - POLITICO.com:

On his pre-inaugural visit to Ben’s Chili Bowl, a landmark for Washington’s African-American community, President Barack Obama was asked by a cashier if he wanted his change back. “Nah, we straight,” Obama replied. The phrase was so subtle some listeners missed it. The reporter on pool duty quoted Obama as saying, “No, we’re straight.” But many other listeners did not miss it. A video of the exchange became an Internet hit, and there was a clear moment of recognition among many blacks, who got a kick out of their Harvard-educated president sounding, as one commenter wrote on a hip-hop site, “mad cool.”

(Via Politico.)

For real. For real.