Monday, August 31, 2009

Example of How Republicans Can't Govern

The Florida government is in a deficit. The Florida Seminoles gambling compact could bring in an estimated $100 million-a-year in tax revenue. Marco Rubio has taken an anti-tax stance. The Seminoles offered to pay taxes to have slot machines and baccaret. Rubio fought the deal to appease social conservatives. Republican legislators, in their grandstanding, fail to mention that the Seminoles will get new gambling rights through the Department of the Interior.

The deadline is approaching and Republicans aren't even pretending this is about social conservatism.

Lead House negotiator Bill Galvano, R-Bradenton, warned that if Crist gives the Seminoles too sweet a deal, lawmakers may throw up their hands and bump the negotiations up to the U.S. Department of the Interior. Doing so would mean the tribe, which is considered an independent nation, would get expanded casino style gambling and the state would be left out in the cold.

At issue is "exclusivity," or how many more games the Seminoles can offer than their competition.

"It's my understanding is that has been their focus," Galvano said during a break in the negotiations.

The gambling industry has been supportive of Galvano. Republicans can not act independantly from lobbyists and contributors. The federal government will grant the Seminoles will get increased gambling rights. The state is in a bad economic downturn. Florida will lose tax dollars if no compact is reached. Galvano and other Republicans have had two years to reach an agreement with the Seminoles. Galvano and other Republican are more concerned about pleasing dog racetracks than dealing with Florida's deficit. Gov. Charlie Crist illegally went around the Florida legislature to an agreement with the Seminoles. The tribe has been a generous contributor to Crist's campaigns. The Seminole compact disaster illustrates how the current GOP refuses to place responsible governing over special interests.

Galvano's threat to the Seminoles is they will not take Seminole tax dollars and the Department of Interior will grant the Seminoles increased gambling priviledges. The Seminoles will still be allowed to run their new games. (They never stopped.) Does anyone believe this intimidates the Seminoles?

Labels: , , ,

Quote of the Day

"I'm not entirely sure that Dick Cheney's predictions on foreign policy have borne a whole lot of fruit over the last eight years in a way that has been either positive or, to the best of my recollection, very correct."

Robert Gibbs, White House Press Sec.

Labels: ,

How the Mind of Megan McArdle Doesn't Use Reason

Libertarian blogger Megan McArdle dismissed the fear of gun-wielding protesters at townhall meetings. They would never wish harm on President Barack Obama.

But the hysteria about them has been even more ludicrous. Numerous people claim to believe that this makes it likely, even certain, that someone will shoot at the president. This is very silly, because the president is not anywhere most of the gun-toting protesters, who have showed up at all sorts of events. It is, I suppose, more plausible to believe that they might take a shot at someone else. But not very plausible: the rate of crime associated with legal gun possession or carrying seems to be very low. Guns, it turn out, do not turn ordinary people into murderers. They make murderers more effective.

See how "silly" this is. It is not like guns have ever been used to murder presidents. Excluding presidents Lincoln, Garfield, McKinley and Kennedy. The murders weapon in every assasination attempt was a gun. McArdle can dismiss those she disagrees with because her self-preceived intellectual superiority makes her better.

McArdle would look at news stories of gun-toting protester Chris Broughton wishing death to befall President Obama and dismiss them as "silly."

In an interview with ABC 15 outside the storefront Faithful Word Baptist Church in Tempe, Broughton said of Anderson's controversial August 16 "Why I Hate Barack Obama" sermon: "I concur, I think we'd be better off if God would send [Obama] where he's going now instead of later. [Obama] is destroying our country."

And when a reporter followed up with, "you're not advocating violence against the president?" Broughton, who has previously said his weapons are for defense, says "I'm not going to answer that question directly."

Broughton would not give a straight forward answer to if violence should be used against Obama. This isn't "silly." We are talking about mentally unbalanced radicals bringing guns to townhall meetings because state legislatures caved in the the NRA. McArdle is a media blogger whom dismisses dangers against the President. The Atlantic Monthly will eventually fire McArdle. It is just a question of how many embarrassing posts they can stomach.

Labels: , ,

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Quote of the Day

"Nice quote: 'Never trust the bureaucracy to get it right.' From the book 'Lessons in Disaster': McGeorge Bundy - p. 96."

Mark Sharpe, Hillsborough County Commissioner.

Mr. Commissioner, did the HCC get it right when they voted to pay the legal bills of Commissioner Kevin White's sexual harassment suit. White lost the case.

Labels: , , ,

High Tea

Foreskin 500

I'm still working out the kinks in the scanning. Up is now down on the black scale, among other things, and it's taking me a while to find the right tools and use them correctly in the image manipulation, but I've already backtracked a couple of times on this post and my patience is out , so I'm just gonna put this up now and let it go....

I can't remember if I thanked Dr. Zaius for the award he gave me months ago. I remember starting to thank him, but I had alot of computer crashes at the time, and I don't recall if that post made it onto the World Wide Web. Among the primates,Dr Zaius, I rank you right up there with Magilla Gorilla, Gorilla Monsoon, and that guy in New Orleans, back in 1996, who ran around Congo Square in a gorilla suit while he played the saxophone.

Tampa Tribune Runs Tina Dupuy Column Without Payment

L.A. blogger/stand-up comedian Tina Dupuy freelanced the op-ed "'Birthers' are clinging to unreasonable doubt" to the Tampa Tribune. The Tampa Tribune/Media General ran her column without giving her payment. Dupuy has worked for many alt-weeklies and did not send her work to the Tampa Tribune as a letter to the editor. She expected payment and has taken action by posting a Youtube video.

I have written about the Tampa Tribune running Pushing Rope content without my consent. PR bloggers Alex Pickett and Litbrit have had their posts run without their permission. The Tampa blog Sticks of Fire have also experienced the same problem. This takes serious chutzpah on the part of the Tribune.

Odd fact: I'm partly the catalyst for Dupuy becoming a columnist. I wrote these words on a defunct blog. Dupuy has posted my quote on her blog.

"But her blog posts are humorous and on target. She writes better than many columnists."
-Michael Hussey

In an interview, Dupuy explained why she became a columnist.

It's a great exercise as a writer. A guy wrote on his blog that I wrote better than some columnists. You'd think I'd be flattered. Yet, I immediately thought, "Wow. I'm a loser. I should submit my work to newspapers." So I started doing that. A couple of pieces have gotten published. Which may have not happened if I wasn't obsessively writing a blog almost everyday for two years.

I still believe Dupuy is a great writer and the Tampa Tribune should pay her for her work. The Tribune's use of bloggers' material is getting ridiculously out of control. I'm sure many bloggers would allow their content to be used for the exposure. Dupuy and PR bloggers don't need the exposure. If the Tribune wants our content than pay up or stop reprinting our words.

Labels: , , , , ,

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Barack Obama's Eulogy For Sen. Ted Kennedy

President Obama: To one widow (Kennedy) wrote, "As you know the passage of time never really heals the tragic memory of such as great loss but we carry on because we have to. Because our loved ones would want us to and because there is still light to guide us in the world from the love they gave us." We carry on.

Labels: ,

Friday, August 28, 2009

Frida Cat Blogging

This video is hysterically cheesy. A woman provides instruction on giving cat massages.

It's only a matter of time before your cat starts wanting cat massage," she informs us. "Then starts demanding cat massage."

Right. I'm amazed she touched a cat's tail without getting her face scratched off.

Labels: ,

Thursday, August 27, 2009

The English Beat - Save It For Later

Save It For Later - The Beat / The English Beat (USA)

Sooner or later
Your legs give way, you hit the ground
Save it for later
Don't run away and let me down
Sooner or later
You hit the deck, you get found out
Save it for later
Don't run away and let me down
You let me down

Labels: , ,

Suzanne Kosmas Interview

Rep. Suzanne Kosmas in interviewed by an editorial board of the Orlando Sentinel. Kosmas makes it clear she does not favor a public option. Kosmas brings up tort reform to reduce health insurance. Charlie Crist and other Republicans thought the Cat fund was going to lower property and hurricane insurance. State Farm responded by raising fees by 47.1.

Kosmas is asked if she supports an individual mandate. The mandate would require everyone to buy public or private health insurance. Kosmas latches on to Kent Conrad's co-op health care plan. The problem with co-ops do not have the bargaining leverage of Medicare. That could change if a significant number of Americans are in the program. Conrad explains the co-op compromise to health care blogger Ezra Klein. Kosmas fails to explain why she favors co-op.

Kosmas keeps talking about Medicare having waste and fraud. Medicare's administrative cost is lower the private health insurance industry.

Kosmas: "All Americans have a streak of libertarian in them."

Short answer: Kosmas won't have a public townhall meeting to face the Right. The insurance industry is Kosmas leading campaign contributors. A female editor hinted to Kosmas that her spiel on "waste and cost" was intellectually lacking.

Kosmas proudly brags about being a Democrat whom wanted to health care bill slowed down. She stresses the bill must be bipartisan. Kosmas is only voting for the public option if it's in her political interest.

Labels: , ,

Bipartisanship At It's Worst

Salon editor Joan Walsh tweets this fun fact about Senate Democrats attempts at bipartisanship to Republicans.

Sen. Health Committee included 160 GOP amendments on the #hcr bill, but no Repubs, including McCain, voted on it.

Eric Alterman makes the argument President Obama is feigning bipartisanship in order to win public support. I have misgivings with Alterman's thesis. Mainly, it isn't working and Obama is still making bipartisan overtures. Public support for Obama has been eroding. What we do know is Obama negotiated a secret deal with the pharmaceutical industry. Blogger Glenn Greenwald suggested the White House only floated the public option to appease progressives.

In this context, it appears likely that the “public option” was never a serious White House commitment, but merely a bargaining chip to string along progressives, one which would be ultimately sacrificed to secure industry and Blue Dog support. Either that, or the president failed to use to his substantial institutional weapons to compel party support for his plan (note how, in the past, Rahm Emanuel was extremely aggressive, even threatening, in pressuring defiant House progressives to support legislation the White House favored).

Obama seems more interested in a political victory than true health care reform. A bill with no individual mandate, guaranteed issue, minimum package or public option would not be reform. Progressives have to be concerned about Obama signing a bill that would mandate every American buying private health insurance. The insurance industry would have less incentive to lower prices. The pharmaceutical industry is a sign Obama may go in that direction.

Labels: , , , ,

Alcee Hastings Letter to Obama

Rep. Alcee Hastings sent a letter to President Barack Obama expressing his disappointing. Hastings has been pushing the White House to repeal the military Don't Ask Don't Tell policy. Hasting refered to the policy banning gays and lesbians from openly serving as ""a ridiculous, bigoted law."

August 27, 2009

The Honorable Barack H. Obama

President of the United States

The White House

Washington, DC 20500

Dear President Obama:

On June 22, I sent you a letter signed by 77 Members of Congress urging you to take leadership in working together with Congress to repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell and to replace it with a policy of inclusion and non-discrimination. More than two months later, I have yet to receive an official response.

I am deeply disappointed that you have not responded to my letter and that we are not addressing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell at this time. With the recent addition of 17,000 American troops to Afghanistan and the possibility of another request for even more troops from General McChrystal in the coming weeks, I am sure that you will agree that we cannot afford to lose any of our dedicated, highly-qualified service members to Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.

As you know, we lose approximately two service members every day to Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. While I commend Secretary Gates and the Pentagon’s general counsel for their continued efforts to identify possible provisional measures, you can take action right now. I sincerely hope that your administration will make Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell a priority and do everything in its power to repeal this ridiculous, bigoted law once and for all.

Mr. President, I am extremely proud of the men and women who serve in our Armed Forces and truly appreciate the countless sacrifices they continue to make every single day to protect this nation and the American people. They deserve better than Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.

Please know that I will continue to monitor this situation closely and stand ready to assist you and my colleagues in Congress in repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell today.

Obama isn't going to make changes to Don't Ask Don't Tell. I detailed how President Truman's Executive Order 9981 and Defense Sec. Robert S. McNamara's Department of Defense Directive 5120.36 ended racial segregation. Afican-American men and women were allowed to serve because of two executive branch orders. Obama and Press Sec. Robert Gibbs maintain there is no legal precedent to end Don't Ask Don't Tell through the executive branch.

Q So when can we expect a durable policy on racial desegregation in the military, since that's never gone through Congress?

MR. GIBBS: Well, I'm out of my depth as a lawyer. And I'm not exactly sure the timing of when President Truman did that, but my sense is that there were also some legal proceedings around that. Try as one may, a President can't simply whisk away standing law of the United States of America. I think that's maybe been the undercurrent of some of the conversations we've had over the past few days on Guantanamo Bay.

But if you're going to change the policy, if it is the law of the land, you have to do it through an act of Congress.

Q And so there's pending legislation? I didn't see any.

MR. GIBBS: I don't know what's been introduced in Congress.

Hastings introduced an amendment to the defense spending bill. The White House never publicly backed Hastings amendment.

Hastings explains to Rachel Maddow how the White House was against his amendment.

Labels: , , , , ,

Read the Bill Or Maybe Not

Tea Baggers have been disrupting townhall meetings with chants of "read the bill." I am not holding out hope for tea baggers and conservative bloggers will condemn Senator Jim Inhofe. The Senator publicly stated he has no interest in reading the Senate health care bill.

At a town hall meeting Wednesday Sen. Jim Inhofe told Chickasha residents he does not need to read the 1,000 page health care reform bill, he will simply vote against it.

"I don't have to read it, or know what's in it. I'm going to oppose it anyways," he said.

I feel bad for Okahoma having the double-header craziness of Inhofe and Tom Coburn as their Senate representatives.

Labels: ,

Quote of the Day

"I guess one of the questions I have about it is why would those even be in a document about end of life? Usually people don't even contemplate end of life until they're in an irreversible coma."

Chris Wallace, host of Fox News Sunday

Fox New is the gift that keeps on giving.

Labels: ,

Bernie Sanders on Public Option

Senator Bernie Sanders explains to Ron Reagan how a health care insurance public option is important to the currently uninsured. Sander stresses that the moral factor of providing health care has been undersold.

Labels: , ,

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Ron Klein Uncommitted to Public Option

Rep. Ron Klein has been ducking the health care bill question. Klein recently had a 20-minute talk that only allowed one health care question.

Wilson Saavedra, 67, complained that Klein was making himself scarce.

"It's totally unacceptable that we fight fiercely to get these people elected, and when push comes to shove, you can't find them anywhere," said the Boynton Beach resident, who held a sign outside that read, "Medicare 4 All!"

Klein held a teleconference townhall meeting. He leaned against supporting the public option.

Klein, who represents a Palm Beach-Broward district with slightly more Republicans than Democrats, said he hasn’t taken a position yet on a government-run “public option” for health insurance that is a key issue for many Democrats.

“I’m still looking at it. I haven’t committed to it,” Klein said when a caller asked for his position on the public option. Later, he told another caller he would not support a public option that relied on taxpayer subsidy.

“It has to be actuarially sound and independent,” Klein told a caller from Boynton Beach who identified himself as a Republican. “It is not to be subsidized . . . it has to be fully paid for by the premiums.”

Klein fails to understand his lack of commitment pro or con makes him a more vulnerable candidate. Voters like political courage. Klein is showing a serious lack of backbone.

Labels: ,

Why A Gitmo Prosecutor Quit

Former Army Reserve lieutenant colonel Darrel J. Vandeveld served as a prosecutor at Guantanamo Bay. Vandeveld was placed in charge of prosecuting Mohammed Jawad. Vandeveld discovered Jawad was likely tortured. Vandeveld became disillusioned and wanted to quit.

"How do I get myself out of this office?" Vandeveld asked Major David J.R. Frakt of the Air Force Reserve, who represented the young Afghan Vandeveld was prosecuting for an attack on U.S. soldiers -- despite Vandeveld's doubts about whether Mohammed Jawad would get a fair trial. Vandeveld said he was seeking a "practical way of extricating myself from this mess."

Last month, Vandeveld did just that, resigning from the Jawad case, the military commissions overall and, ultimately, active military duty. In doing so, he has become even more of a central figure in the "mess" he considers Guantanamo to be.

Vandeveld talked to Lara Logan about the Jawad case.

Labels: , , , ,

Quote of the Day

"If I hadn't been involved in this process as long as I have and to the depth as I have, you would already have national health care."

Senator Mike Enzi, a so-called bipartisan member of the Gang of Six.

Can we end the nonsense about the Republicans having any interest in being bipartisan.

Labels: ,

Randy Terry Kicked Out of Townhall Meeting

Operation Rescue founder Randall Terry was kicked out of Representative Jim Moran and Howard Dean. Moran gave Terry the chance to have a civil discussion. Terry declined.

Citizen journalists at the event reported that Congressman Moran incited the crowd further when he suggested there were some people in attendance who don't live in his district and had come only to disrupt the meeting. As Salon reports, Moran first singled out the instigator, demanding that Randall leave the town hall, "but then reconsidered, offering him the chance to ask the first question as long as he ended his protest and kept the question short enough that other people would still have their chance."

Terry declined. Instead he was escorted from the building as he continued to accuse Dean of murdering babies.

Terry and followers chanted "You Are A Baby Killer" and "We Won't Pay For Murder." House Republicans and Democrats have gone to pains to omit abortion from HR 3200. In the video, Terry tells a reporter the health care reform bill will fund abortion. Not true. From a pro-choice policy standpoint: I wish abortion was in HR 3200.

Listen to the crowd chant "Kick Them Out" to Terry's party. Terry manages to alienate liberals and conservatives. TErry will never understand being shrill will not help him win.

Labels: , , ,

Upcoming Kathy Castor Townhall Meeting

Kathy Castor will hold another townhall meeting at the Jan Platt Regional Library. Reserve a seat on the Firedoglake page.

Time: Wednesday, September 2 from 10:30 AM - 11:30 AM
Host: Firedoglake
Location: Jan Platt Regional Library (Tampa, FL)
3910 S. Manhattan Avenue
Tampa, FL 33611

Labels: ,

Joe Biden Remembers Ted Kennedy

Vice-President Joe Biden's off-the-cuff words for Ted Kennedy maybe the finest speech of his career. Biden is obviously shaken by the loss of Kennedy.

Labels: ,

Meeting Joe Klein

Aimai writes about a meeting he recently had with columnist Joe Klein at a cookout. Klein did not like having his pro-Bush columns brought up.

Or maybe they do. Yes, I guess they do. I was standing at the cookout minding my own business when Klein started pontificating for the rubes on how “surprising” and “shocking” it was that Grassley, of all people, should have come out and endorsed the “death panels” lie. I walked up and said “why are you surprised?” [edited to remove typo] to which he, in best pundit debater fashion (never allow yourself to admit you were just posing!), shot back “who says I'm surprised?” I said “well, you did. You just started your lecture saying “Its surprising.”” Its not surprising, the republicans have nothing left to lose and nothing left to gain at this point outside of pleasing the crazy base and attacking Obama and the dems.”

We were off and running. He then said that its true the fringe republicans were “crazy” but perhaps no crazier than the “crazy left” under Bush. I thought he meant the “truthers” so I said “name me one person in congress or the Senate who was as crazy on any topic as these Republican senators and Congressmen who sign on to the birther and deather stuff are now?” Evading this question he said “well, Glenn Greenwald is crazy—he's a civil liberties absolutist.” Now, me, I come from a long line of civil liberties absolutists so I said “I admire Glenn Greenwald's work immensley but it must be very embarrassing for you, of course, because he's been eating your lunch for years.” (!) I think this must be something of a sore point for him. He began shrieking “Glenn Greenwald is EVIL! EVILl! you know what he did? He “sicced” his blog readers on my EDITOR and she was going through a DIVORCE at the time.” Really? I said, politely, that was very wrong, if it happened.

Actually, Jane Hamsher published the contact information of Klein's editor Priscilla Painton. Like a bad journalist, Klein can't even get his facts straight about who sent her readers after his editor.

Greenwald took Klein to task for repeating Republican talking points. Klein's sources fed him the garbage Democrats wanted FISA court approval for foreign surveillance targets. Democrats never had that in the bill. Time was forced to put a correction at the beginning and end of the article. This is why Klein thinks Greenwald is evil.

The Democratic strategy on the FISA legislation in the House is equally foolish. There is broad, bipartisan agreement on how to legalize the surveillance of phone calls and emails of foreign intelligence targets. The basic principle is this: if a suspicious pattern of calls from a terrorist suspect to a U.S. citizen is found, a FISA court warrant is necessary to monitor those communications. But to safeguard against civil-liberty abuses, all records of clearly nontargeted Americans who receive emails or phone calls from foreign suspects would be, in effect, erased. Unfortunately, Speaker Nancy Pelosi quashed the House Intelligence Committee's bipartisan effort and supported a Democratic bill that — Limbaugh is salivating — House Republicans believe would require the surveillance of every foreign-terrorist target's calls to be approved by the FISA court, an institution founded to protect the rights of U.S. citizens only. (Democrats dispute this interpretation.) In the lethal shorthand of political advertising, it would give terrorists the same legal protections as Americans. That is well beyond stupid.

Reprint the spin without actually vetting the source. Klein actually believed House Republicans wouldn't falsely slime their Democratic counterparts. How does someone this naive become a star columnist.

Labels: , , , ,

Facebook Gone Wrong

Note to Facebook users: if you post about getting laid someone will capture an image of your profile. The do admit "the love-cave-between-my-legs" would make a catchy name for an indie rock band.

Hat tip to Tina Dupuy.

Labels: ,

Jim Davis Endorses Dan Gelber

Florida Attorney General candidate Dan Gelber has been endorsed by Jim Davis. You may remember Davis as managing to alienate grassroots activists and black voters. The Davis endorsement will carry zero weight.

My take is Tampa Mayor Pam Iorio got Gelber the Davis endorsement. Iorio endorsed Gelber. Iorio is a friend of Davis and has publicly suggested the former Congressman as Tampa's next Mayor.

Endorses are nice but by themselves don't mean much. What Gelber needs is Iorio's and Davis's political resources. It wouldn't hurt if Iorio stumped for Gelber.

Labels: , ,

Remembering Ted Kennedy

Legendary Senator Ted Kennedy finally succumbed in his battle against a brain tumor. His death was announced this morning. Republicans and DEmocrats are mourning the loss of the political giant.

President Barack Obama

"His ideas and ideals are stamped on scores of laws and reflected on millions of lives ... in all who can pursue their dreams in an America that is more equal and more just, including myself," Obama said of the senator, who was a crucial supporter of his presidential campaign.

Vice-President Joe Biden

And, you know, he was never defeatist. He never was petty. Never was petty. He was never small. And in the process of his doing, he made everybody he worked with bigger; both his adversaries as well as his allies. Don't you find it remarkable that one of the most partisan, liberal men in the last century serving in the Senate had so many of his -- so many of his foes embrace him because they know he made them bigger? He made them more graceful by the way in which he conducted himself.

John McCain

"Ted Kennedy had this unique way of doing hand-to-hand combat on the floor of the Senate," McCain said on CNN. "And as soon as we stopped our speechmaking, he'd come over and put his arm around you and make everybody appreciate that we had our differences, politically, but personally we could be friends and work together as colleagues and friends for the good of the country."

"Probably the most overrated aspect of the United States Senate is that people keep their word," added McCain, who worked with Kennedy on immigration overhaul, education, and other issues. "Ted Kennedy always kept his word. He would keep his word to the point where he would vote against his positions in order to preserve a carefully crafted compromise."

Robert Byrd

In his honor and as a tribute to his commitment to his ideals, let us stop the shouting and name calling and have a civilized debate on health care reform which I hope, when legislation has been signed into law, will bear his name for his commitment to insuring the health of every American.

Orrin Hatch

"Today America lost a great elder statesman, a committed public servant, and leader of the Senate. And today I lost a treasured friend."

A humorous Joe Klein story involving Hunter Thompson.

A few months later, I was back at Ethel Kennedy's house — living there as the deputy to Richard Goodwin, the J.F.K. speechwriter who had been tapped as the Rolling Stone Washington bureau chief. On July 4 weekend, Hunter Thompson showed up, and I don't remember much else after that, except that a fair number of Ethel's children were involved. Word spread quickly, as word will do in Washington. That Monday, by coincidence, I had an appointment with Kennedy to talk about a story I was working on, and he said, "Joe, before we get started, can I ask you something off the record?" I said sure, and he continued. "What on earth is happening at that house?"

"Why nothing, Senator," I said, summoning all the false gravity in my tiny arsenal. He smiled, raised an eyebrow. "O.K., O.K.," he said. "I asked."

Labels: , , , , ,

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The Velvet Underground Music Goodies

What Goes On - Velvet Underground

The Velvet Underground - Venus In Furs
Found at

The Velvet Underground - Sweet Jane
Found at

The Velvet Underground - Friends
Found at

The Velvet Underground - Oh! Sweet Nuthin'
Found at

Lou Reed's Velvet era songwriting is up there with the 60's output of Bob Dylan, John Lennon and Brian Wilson.

Labels: , ,

Why Crist Pushed Seminole Gambling

There is a nugget in a Miami Herald blog post about Charlie Crist supporter and political consultant George LeMieux that is fascinating. Crist and Lemieux worked on expanding Seminole gambling rights. Former House Speaker Marco Rubio fought against the expansion of Seminole casino gambling. The Florida Supreme Court ruled Crist made the Seminole deal without legislative approval. The Seminoles continued the blackjack and baccarat tables and the legislature, Crist and Seminoles have not been able to work out an agreement.

Crist and Lemieux talked about how the increased gambling revenue would help the state. There is another factor at work.

The Seminoles seem really happy with Crist and RPOF. The Seminole Tribe (since 1996) has donated nearly $912,000 to the state party, with 71 percent of that money coming in since Crist took over state party fundraising once he won the 2006 Republican primary.

Yes, I am cynical enough to believe Crist's main motivation was the Seminoles lobbying money. Why else would Crist go against the anti-gambling social conservatives?

Labels: , , , ,

Holy Child Abuse Batman!

It is amazing no one ever called Social Services on Batman. He smacks Robin around, forces the teenager to battle murderous criminals and (to add insult to injury) wax his legs. This is just wrong.

Labels: ,

Joe Scarborough Praises Howard Dean

An interesting tweet from Joe Scarborough.

I don't agree with Howard Dean's approach to HCR but I think he is a GREAT spokesman for Democrats. He's fearless.

The neoliberal Obama administration would never allow the progressive Dean to be a health care spokesman. The Obama health care message is mush. Dean's voice is clear, concise and strong. Scarborough is a die hard Republican but respects a good politician giving straight talk. The Obama people thought (get ready to laugh) Tom Daschle was going to be their neoliberal Dean. Nevermind, Daschle works for the anti-health care reform UnitedHealth Group.

Sommer has retained such influential outsiders as Tom Daschle, the former Democratic Senate Leader who now works for the large law and lobbying firm Alston & Bird. Daschle, a liberal from South Dakota, dropped out of the running to be Obama's Secretary of Health & Human Services after disclosures that he failed to pay taxes on perks given to him by a private client. He advised UnitedHealth in 2007 and 2008 and resumed that role this year. Daschle personally advocates a government-run competitor to private insurers. But he sells his expertise to UnitedHealth, which opposes any such public insurance plan. Among the services Daschle offers are tips on the personalities and policy proclivities of members of Congress he has known for decades.

Conceding that he doesn't always agree with his client, Daschle says: "They just want a description of the lay of the land, an assessment of circumstances as they appear to be as health reform unfolds." He says he leaves direct contacts with members of Congress to others at his firm.

I find at hard to believe Obama wanted to appoint Daschle to create real change.

Update: Keith Olbermann reports on Obama meeting with UnitedHealth Group CEO Stephen Hemsley twice to discuss health care reform. Why is Obama meeting with a CEO of a company sued for Racketeering. UnitedHealth have settled many cases out of court.

Labels: , , , ,

Rush Limbaugh v. Jay-Z

Rush Limbaugh gets weirder and weirder. Limbaugh has gotten himself into a feud with Jay-Z and makes the bizarre claim that President Barack Obama is literally after the penises of American males.

I would remind the rapper Jay Z; Mr. Z, it is President Obama who wants mandated circumcision. We had that yesterday. That means if we need to save our penises from anybody, it's Obama. I did not know I was on anybody's balls.

Conservatives have become obsessed with Obama and penises. Free Republic members want to know if Obama was circumcised. The Freepers believe Obama's penis is the key to finding out if the President was born in America.

The only other thing that hit me was that Sinclair said BO was not circumcised. When my son was born in a hospital that was done as a matter of routine without even consulting us. Would the same be for Hawaii? OTOH People born at home or in some other cultures are not circumcised.

A relative of mine was born (in a hospital) a couple of years after BO's alleged birth date. He was circumcised also (as a matter of routine, not according to any family request).

My son was born in June of 1961 in a hospital in CA, and the nurses released us because of miscommunication in a day and a half before the circumcision was done. We had to go back to the doctor’s office to have it done a week later, and the doctor was NOT HAPPY. My second son was born in the same hospital 4 years later. I don’t remember them asking me about it. Routine procedure for little boys.

Wish we had someone to make a phone call to the hospitols in HI and ask if they routinely do circumcism and when that practice started.

You might want to make that call to a Canadian hospital ...

MHGinTN: would have been in Kenya....not Canada.

Natural Born 54
I am having a vision of a court room scene. The judge turns to O sitting in the witness chair to his left and says “I am sorry, Mr. President, but I am going to have to ask you to stand and drop trou .....”

More than likely an exam from a court appointed DR. :~)
Humiliating either way....caught by his own private something like that.

The homophobic and racist posters at Free Republic are obsessing about a black man's penis. This is too funny.

Labels: , , , , ,

Reagan's Medicare Scare

Listen to Ronald Reagan describe efforts to pass Medicare ans Social Security as Socialism. The times change. The Republican talking points stay the same. Republicans that wish to stay in office don't dare attack Medicare or Social Security.

Labels: , ,

The Magic of Coincidence

Alex Pickett reported earlier today Creative Loafing has been bought out by Atalaya. People will be shocked (shocked, I say) to learn CL political editor Wayne Garcia is leaving to teach at the University of Florida’s College of Journalism and Communications.

I want to say thanks to everyone who read The Political Whore, and the journalists who chose the blog the Best Media Blog in this year’s Sunshine State Awards. Thanks to everyone who read the print edition for all these years, and — I hope — for many more to come. Thanks to all the staff and friends at CL, who have worked through some good times and bad times.

We like to thank Wayne for help bestowing Best of the Bay awards to Pushing Rope and Litbrit. Wayne has certainly helped expand the audience of the Pushing Rope community.

Update: The blog Political Whore is dead.

Labels: , ,

Another Jeb Era Blunder

The Jeb Bush legacy of screwed up policies continues. The Bush administration illegal approved selling personal information from driver licences. The U.S. Justice Department sued in January and won a settlement of $2.5 million. The Justice Department and Florida reached a settlement of $1.5 million.

The Justice Department suit alleged that the DHSMV disclosed the records to companies between May 13, 2003 and at least Oct. 1, 2004. The federal government can impose daily fines of as much as $5,000 a day for such violations.

Four South Florida drivers in early 2009 filed a class-action suit against the state for releasing their information. The settlement terms gave all Florida drivers a $1 credit in their registration or renewal as long as they had a license, car registration or state-issued ID between June 1, 2000 and September 30, 2004.

The question is why did Bush and the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles sell this information?

Labels: , ,

45 Senators Support Public Option

Open Left has kept track of members of the U.S. Senate in favor of the health care insurance public option. The current total is 45.

For Public Option

CA - Boxer (D)
CA - Feinstein (D)
CO - Bennet (D)
CO - Udall (D)
CT- Dodd (D)
DE - Kaufman (D)
HI - Akaka (D)
HI - Inouye (D)
IA - Harkin (D)
IL - Burris (D)
IL - Durbin (D)
MA - Kerry (D)
MA - Kennedy (D)
MD - Cardin (D)
MD - Mikulski (D)
MI - Levin (D)
MI - Stabenow (D)
MN - Franken (D)
MN - Klobuchar (D)
MO - McCaskill (D)
NC - Hagan (D)
ND - Dorgan (D)
NH - Shaheen (D)
NJ - Lautenberg
NJ - Menendez (D)
NM - Bingaman (D)
NM - Udall (D)
NV - Reid (D)
NY - Gillibrand (D)
NY - Schumer (D)
OH - Brown (D)
OR - Merkley (D)
PA - Casey (D)
PA - Specter (D)
RI - Reed (D)
RI - Whitehouse (D)
SD - Johnson (D)
VA - Webb (D)
VT - Leahy (D)
VT - Sanders (I)
WA - Cantwell (D)
WA - Murray (D)
WI - Feingold (D)
WI - Kohl (D)
WV - Rockefeller (D)

The Fence Sitters

AK - Begich (D)
AR - Lincoln (D)
AR - Pryor (D)
DE - Carper (D)
FL - Bill Nelson (D)
IN - Bayh (D)
LA - Landrieu (D)
MT - Baucus (D)
MT - Tester (D)
ND - Conrad (D)
NE - Ben Nelson (D)
OR - Wyden (D)
VA - Warner (D)

I am not going to even count the Republican maybe votes on Open Left's list. There is no way the GOP is going to let Republicans vote for the public option. Obama keeps hunting for Republican votes. The logic of putting no presuure on Evan Bayh and Max Baucas while searching for nonexistant Republican votes continues to amaze me.

Robert Byrd and Ted Kennedy are too physically ill to vote. Joe Lieberman is a firmly committed no vote. 15 votes are needed to break a filibuster. The votes are not there.

Labels: ,

Creative Loafing Under New Management

Eleven months after Creative Loafing filed for bankruptcy, CEO Ben Eason has lost the business his family owned for over three decades. Just before noon, Judge Caryl E. Delano selected Atalaya -- a New York hedge fund and Creative Loafing's largest creditor -- as the "highest and best bid" in an equity auction that decided who would take control of the country's second largest alt-weekly chain.

After the judge's decision, Eason's entire family sat in the front row, looking straight ahead. They were joined by publishers of all six papers and some employees from the Tampa Creative Loafing. When the judge ended the hearing, Eason approached reporters smiling and joking.

"We thought it would play out this way," he said. "We were hoping the ruling could cut a new path for newspapers."

He also teased that he might start another publication.

"I've started three publications in my time," he said. "I'll start a fourth."

New owner Michael Bogdan of Atalaya said he planned to meet with all newspaper publishers -- possibly this week -- and bounce around ideas for the papers. "We're here for the long haul," he said.

So what does this mean for local Creative Loafing employees and readers?

First, Atalaya will move Tampa's office to another yet-to-be-named location (Ben Eason owns the newspaper's current building and will not renew the lease). The new owners also say there are no planned layoffs.

In addition to Bogdan, Creative Loafing's new board will consist of Jim O'Shea, a former L.A. Times editor who was fired in 2008 after criticizing the paper's publisher for cuts in the editorial room, and Michele Laven, director of integrated marketing for Clear Channel and former president and COO of New Times (now Village Voice Media). Richard Gilbert, former president of the Des Moines Register will be the new CEO.

All names seem to imply Atalaya is serious about reinvesting in the quality of Creative Loafing's newspapers and websites. And that is good news for Tampa Bay.

Full Disclosure: I worked at Creative Loafing Tampa from 2006-2009.
"I checked out Atalaya," he told me. "They seem like people serious about reinvesting in journalism. They know there's no value in this company cutting back — that's already happened. From my perspective they're looking at this very intelligently — they believe in investing in the industry. You can't keep taking things away from your readers and expect them to keep reading."

Labels: , ,

Quote of the Day

"And if you want an example of bad public policy, just look at the situation with our veterans, when you have a manual out there telling our veterans stuff like, 'are you really of value to your community,' you know, encouraging them to commit suicide. I mean, this is crazy coming from the government, and this is exactly what concerns people and puts them in fear of what the government control of health care will look like."

RNC Chairman Michael Steele

Steele is refering to the VHA meterial “Your Life, Your Choices. ”The VHA Handbook in is online. Chris Matthews of Fox News ran a graph designed to lead viewers into believing the “Your Life, Your Choices” Handbook was the only material Veterans Administration patients were refered to.

The VHA Handbook clearly states "other published resources" can be given to patients.

a. Content. Designated practitioners need to ensure that the patient understands the meaning of advance care planning and advance directives, including the information listed in subparagraphs 8b to 8f. For patients who already have an advance directive, practitioners also need to cover points in paragraph 8g and 8h. Possible clinical scenarios and treatment options need to be discussed with attention and sensitivity to the patient’s individual circumstances, needs, and culture. Patients may be directed to the exercises in “Your Life, Your Choices” (available on My HealtheVet at the web site, or other published resources.

Labels: , , , ,

Myths about Health Care

T.R. Reid gives an excellent breakdown about the myths of health care. Reid details how many foreign health care systems are more cost efficient and can work with the private sector. This is a must read article.

Labels: ,

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Classic Rush Limbaugh

A Rush Limbaugh greatest hit form 2008.

Limbaugh says the Democratic Party hurt itself by using affirmative action to nominate Barack Obama. I thought Obama won the nomination beacuse he got more votes. Apparently, Limbaugh is an expert on the Democratic Party nominating process.

Limbaugh never gets me mad. I find him hysterical. Limbaugh is the original Stephen Colbert. The frightening part is people actually take the guy seriously.

Labels: , ,

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Public Option is Dead

Progressive bloggers can quit writing about the public option. Health & HS Sec. Kathleen Sebelius and Press Sec. Robert Gibbs went on the Sunday talk shows and made it clear the public health insurance option was dead.


"I think what's important is choice and competition and I'm convinced at the end of the day, the plan will have both of those. But [a public option] is not the essential element," said Sebelius.


"What I am saying is the bottom line for this for the president is, what we have to have is choice and competition in the insurance market. Again, if you are in a place in this country where you only get one choice, how in the world are you going to be able to convince anybody that you are driving down costs when you don't have to compete against anything."

Notice Gibbs talked about the private market and made no mention of the public option. Today, Obama reached out to Senators Charles Grassley, Olympia Snowe and Mike Enzi. The President dumped the public option and Republicans still won't vote a weakened version of health care reform. Any astute policial observer knew this was going to happen. Now the White House is pretending they didn't give up on the public option.

Health care dominated the morning briefing with White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs, who denied reports that the White House and Democrats are giving up on a bipartisan reform bill.

“Absolutely not,” Gibbs said. “We continue to be hopeful that we can get bipartisan support and will continue to work with those that are interested in doing that.”

“Our goal is to get this done in a bipartisan way,” he said. “There are several more weeks to go in potential negotiations between Republicans and Democrats. I don’t know why we would short circuit any of that now.”

Why does a President with supermajorities in the House and Senate need Republican votes? Obama's attempts at bipartisanship have given the Republicans operating room to attack. To make matters worst for Obama: a Rasmussen poll found only 34 percent of voters support health care reform without a public option. Only 9 percent of voters "strongly" support reform without the public option. Obama needed the public option when he started pushing for reform. Obama needs it more now.

Obama's political strategy was to appeal to Republicans and hold a townhall meeting that let tea baggers rip into him. Obama did not care about progressive supoorter or the Congressional Democrats that had to face hostile townhall meetings. Obama operates under the delusion America is the New Republic and Democratic Leadership Council. Both TNR and DLC have advocated bashing the Left and appeasing the Right as the best way for a Democrat to govern. Obama has put that theory to the test. It turned out to be a massive failure.

The American people elected supermajorities in Congress. Obama opted to appease Republicans and put no pressure on corporate-friendly Democrats. Obama never voiced complaint about Max Baucus shutting Democrats out of writing the health care bill. Rahm Emanuel was allowed to speak out against the public option. If this is change then I don't want to believe.

Labels: , , ,

Troll Hall of Fame: Henry Young

It is time for a new inductee of the Troll Hall of Fame. Henry Young provided the most hysterical nonsense about ... I'm not even sure. Henry is worked up about something. I am just not sure what he is trying to say. I feel like I got trolled by Snuffy Smith.

Why can't just those why pay taxes get health b'out that Obama and the rest of the health care reform starters??? NO seriously, this I could be in favor of, but not just letting any old person that comes to America, even the illegal’s to get health care and our taxes go up the roof???? No, sure, I will cont. to fight this...

I don't speak Snuffy Smith trollism. Could someone provide me with a translation?

Labels: , ,

The Differences In How Obama & Frank Deal With the Right

Evidence that Barack Obama still doesn't get it. White House Press Sec. Robert Gibbs said the President believes Charles Grassley, Olympia Snowe and Mike Enzi are working "in good faith" on health care reform. The last time Obama praised Grassley, The Senator said Democrats were advocating euthanasia.

“You have every right to fear. You shouldn’t have counseling at the end of life, you should have done that 20 years before. Should not have a government run plan to decide when to pull the plug on grandma.”

Enzi wrote an op-ed in USA Today against Obama's plan.

According to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office, a government-run component would actually increase health care spending, cause millions of people to lose the care they like and have, and add trillions to the national debt.

For millions of Americans, the government-run plan would turn into a bureaucratic nightmare, with the efficiency and customer service of the Department of Motor Vehicles or the IRS. Washington bureaucrats would literally decide whether patients would live or die by rationing newer, more expensive therapies.

A CBO report found only 9 million would switch to the pubnlic option. One of the cost savings not calculatyed by CBO is hospitals spent $35 billion in uninsured care. Hospitals paston this cost is passed on to the insured. Preventive and more insured care will lower costs.

Snowe argued in favor of Americans continuing to pay for overpriced insurance.

"If you establish a public option at the forefront that goes head-to-head and competes with the private health insurance market ... the public option will have significant price advantages," Snowe said. But this was her argument against making the public option available as soon as the bill becomes law.

Grassley, Enzi and Snowe will never back a public option. Democrats know this. Obama continues to court the right out some bizarre need for their personal approval. It is disturbing.

Rep. Barney Frank has the correct idea. A female tea bagger referred to health care reform as a "Nazi policy" and held a photoshop picture of Obama as Hitler. Frank asked, "What planet do you spend most of your time."

That is the way to deal with the nutcases. Obama wants to win their approval and feels the progressive base is not important. The result is Senate Democrats abandoning health care reform. Great strategy, Mr. President.

Labels: , , , , , , ,

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Scarecrows don't scare crackheads

I like Ross Pavio. I don't know him personally, but dude has a great mustache. And he likes plants. I like plants. I have some basil, tomatoes and some random bean-looking plant in planters on my back porch. Ross has some hibiscus, bromeliad, Mexican sunflowers and other plants turning yellow and brown in his yard.

But Ross isn't a bad gardener. He's just not very neighborly.

Ross complained to the St. Petersburg Times last week because he feels some hoodlums are targeting his plants and home. Why would they mess with a guy sporting a mustache like Ross?

At a house across the street from where Ross Pavio lives, a sign pinned to a scarecrow says, "No hookers or crack heads, please!"

Pavio, 56, said that's the message he has been trying to get across in his North Kenwood neighborhood since moving in four years ago, but his efforts backfired.

In the past few months, Pavio said, a fire has been set in his back yard, a video camera above his garage tampered with, and his beloved plants and lawn ruined with chemicals. Last week, he called St. Petersburg police to his home on two consecutive days to investigate the vandalism.

Uh, yeah ... Ross, let's learn some Neighbor 101 up in here. Mr. Rogers never put up a scarecrow insulting the hookers and crackheads in the neighborhood. Not even in the Neighborhood of Make-Believe. Good reason, too: Hookers and crackheads don't like being heckled.

Be clear: I'm not necessarily blaming Ross for some fucked up individuals trespassing into his yard. And really, his plants never insulted anybody. But Ross, you totally didn't have to goad your neighborhood drug dealers. A nice call to the cops would have been sufficient.

But, Ross argues, he was really, really hoping this would turn out to be a good neighborhood:
Pavio, who said he doesn't blame the police for his troubles, isn't interested in joining any groups. After spending about $55,000 to renovate his two-bedroom, two-bath house and cultivate its barren yard, he has had enough.

"I came here with this wonderful idea that I was going to be coming into this up-and-coming neighborhood,'' he said.

"I had great hope. I was not even worried about investing the money. I thought it was worth it.''

Finally, Ross (and similar residents) I have another St. Pete lesson for you: Don't go into a neighborhood, looking to invest and thinking a scarecrow will make the 'hood safer for you. As many longtime St. Pete residents have figured out, it takes a lot more hard work than that. Like, uh, joining "associations."

Ross, this is for you:

Monday, August 17, 2009

Cowboy Junkies - Sweet Jane

This is Lou Reed's favorite Velvet Underground cover.

Labels: , ,

Hillary Clinton on Afghanistan Elections

Hillary Clinton issued a statement on the upcoming Afghanistan elections. Most Afghan citizens are illiterate. Many Afghans live away from polling stations. The President Hamid Karzai government has attempted to bride the Taliban into not staging attacks during the election. The difficulties of holding elections is extreme. The votes will take weeks to count.

We need to destroy al-Qaeda and get the hell out of Afghanistan.

"In three days’ time, the Afghan people will go to the polls to elect a President and new Provincial Councils. This election day will not be without its challenges, but the Afghan people have seen unparalleled campaigning, debate and dialogue in their country. Presidential candidates have debated each other in public and travelled throughout the country to talk to voters. The Afghan media and Afghan leaders have made politics accessible to Afghans in new ways. The Afghan people should be commended for their courage in conducting this election despite the stresses of wartime, and we and the international community are proud to support them.

The United States of America remains impartial in this election. We do not support or oppose any particular candidate. Like the Afghan people we want to see credible, secure and inclusive elections that all will judge legitimate. We hope that, from top to bottom, every effort will be taken to make election day secure, to eliminate fraud, and to address any complaints fairly and quickly.

It will be several days before we have preliminary results and we hope initial reports will refrain from speculation until results are announced. Final results could take several weeks. We call on candidates and their supporters to behave responsibly before and after the elections.

Finally, we look forward to working with whomever the Afghan people select as their leaders for the next five years. We trust that the next President, as well as provincial council members also being elected at this time, will work for the interests of all the people of Afghanistan," Clinton said.

Labels: , ,

Kendrick Meek Explains the Astroturfing Movement Against Health Care Reform

Kendrick Meek should be applauded for explaining how the insurance industry uses talk radio, cable news and campaign contributions to keep health care reform from happening. Meek is direct and concise. I had questions about him. He is really starting to hit his stride.

Labels: , ,

Dick Armey & Big Phama

Lindsay Beyerstein has an exclusive story on Dick Armey's involvement with Freedom Works and his lobbying activities.

One wonders whether Armey had much time left over for his lobbying clients at DLA Piper that year, which included pharma giant Sanofi-Aventis and the Medicines Co.. (Armey represented Sanofi again in 2008 and continued to represent the Medicines Co. through 2009.)

Freedom Works is one of the major astroturfing groups behind the tea party movement. Armey resigned from DLA Piper law firm. He told Politico the phama companies he was representing would face too much media scrutiny.

Lindsay brings up the points that these kind of lobbying and political connections should be brought out into the open. Her second point is big phama companies don't want the negative stink of the Freedom Works and angry townhall meetings. Her article is worth reading.

Labels: , ,

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Wingnut of the Day: Tom Coburn

On Meet the Press, David Gregory asked Sen. Tom Coburn about tea bagger protesters bringing guns and comparing President Obama a Nazi. Gregory made a reference to Timothy McVeigh and the threats of violence against Democrats.

"Well, I’m, I’m troubled anytime when we, we stop having confidence in, in our government," Coburn said. "But we’ve earned it."

Coburn was asked about possible threats to Democrats. Coburn said the tea baggers "earned" their anger. Gregory had to stop Coburn.

"I am talking about violence against the government." Gregory said. "That’s what this is synonymous with."

Coburn justified the behavior of tea baggers.

"What, what is the genesis behind people going to such extreme statements?" asked Coburn. "We, we have lost the confidence."

Coburn panders and plays to the fears of the tea baggers. It is despicable.

Fortunately, Rachel Maddow was on the panel.

MS. MADDOW: Whether or not, whether or not the government has acted in a way that you feel is defensible, I don’t think the government has done anything to earn, in your words, the, the, the threat of—that the blood of tyrants must run in the streets, which is what the literal threat was from that man with the gun strapped to, strapped to his leg in New Hampshire. I also don’t think that, that there is an equivalence between what has done and with the comparisons of the president to Hitler that we’ve seen so often in this debate. I mean, some of the major organizations who are organizing these events, like Americans for Prosperity, a group that has some similarities to FreedomWorks but definitely a different group, they’ve had speakers going around the country not only comparing healthcare reform to Hitler, but comparing them to Pol Pot and Stalin, saying “Put the fear of God into your members of Congress.” I don’t think the government has done anything to earn that.

Labels: , , ,