Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Mid-Week End of the Earth Song


Lord Huron is an indie folk band based in Los Angeles.  Their 2012 song "End of the Earth" is ethereal and lovely.  Enjoy your Wednesday.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Picture of the Week



Holiday decorations hang over a street in Ferguson, MO last night, before the announcement that police officer Darren Wilson would not face charges over the shooting death of Michael Brown last August.

The grand jury indicated that they could not find probable cause to indict Wilson on a range of charges from first degree murder to involuntary manslaughter, second degree.  It was a curiously drawn out announcement, which had the effect of causing tensions to build over the weekend and into Monday night, which then erupted in violence and arson.  What was more curious is that the biracial jury didn't think firing 12 shots at or into Brown constituted "reckless" action resulting in death, the basic criteria for involuntary manslaughter at a minimum.

The anger and disappointment of the residents at the grand jury's decision was widespread, prompting demonstrations across the country.  Police departments nationwide will be under intense scrutiny for their actions, and under pressure to better engage the community they police and to equip police with body cameras.

(photo:  Reuters)

Monday, November 24, 2014

President Obama's Executive Action On Immigration: Si, Se Puede!


So, is President Obama's executive action on immigration being supported by Latinos?  Puede decir el 90 por ciento?

(click to enlarge)


(Latino Decisions National Poll, Nov. 20-22))

Said Latino Decisions co-founder Matt Barreto, “This is the most unified we have seen Latino public opinion on any issue.”  The poll also found a strong majority wants the Republican/ New Confederate/ Stupid/ White Man Party to stop trying to block the President's initiative.  Or, as the President says, "Pass a bill!"

Morning Read - Power Struggle


If you read this post,  Charles Blow's observation won't come as a surprise:
Don’t let yourself get lost in the weeds. Don’t allow yourself to believe that opposition to President Obama’s executive actions on immigration is only about that issue, the president’s tactics, or his lack of obsequiousness to his detractors. 
This hostility and animosity toward this president is, in fact, larger than this president. This is about systems of power and the power of symbols. Particularly, it is about preserving traditional power and destroying emerging symbols that threaten that power. This president is simply the embodiment of the threat, as far as his detractors are concerned, whether they are willing or able to articulate it as such.  [snip]
Make no mistake: This debate is not just about this president, this executive order or immigration. This is about the fear that makes the face flush when people stare into a future in which traditional power — their power — is eroded, and about their desperate, by-any-means determination to deny that future. 
This applies not only to the extremist Republican/ New Confederate/ Stupid/ White Man Party, but to their enablers in corporate media =cough= once great Washington Post =cough=.   That's why we continue to say to President Obama and Democrats:  ignore the frightened, vicious chatter and do the right thing.  They're going to hate you and fight you whatever you do anyway.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

The Amnesty President


Whenever Republicans yell (falsely) about President Obama's immigration reform measures being equivalent to "amnesty," every network and cable source should run this clip of Rethug icon St. Ronnie of Hollywood expounding on "amnesty" in 1984.  But the Rethugs won't stop yelling, and the networks won't cross them by exposing their hypocrisy.

Sunday Funnies, Immigration Edition

(click to enlarge)


The corporate tail that wags the Rethuglican dog (e.g., the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, etc.) wants some reform, albeit in order to keep cheap labor available.  The Rethuglican id, however, fears immigrants and the inevitable demographic consequences to their social order (see posting below).  Above all, they are, again, on the wrong side of history.

(cartoon: Signe Wilkinson, via Gocomics.com)

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Saturday Read - Today's Confederate Party



Doug Muder at The Weekly Sift has an interesting article that draws the connection between the un-reconstructed Confederates of the 19th Century and today's tea bagger Republican Party (h/t Nancy LeTourneau at Washington Monthly). Great read. Here's a small sample:
... [T]he enduring Confederate influence on American politics goes far beyond a few rhetorical tropes. The essence of the Confederate worldview is that the democratic process cannot legitimately change the established social order, and so all forms of legal and illegal resistance are justified when it tries. 
That worldview is alive and well. During last fall’s government shutdown and threatened debt-ceiling crisis, historian Garry Wills wrote about our present-day Tea Partiers: “The presiding spirit of this neo-secessionism is a resistance to majority rule.” 
The Confederate sees a divinely ordained way things are supposed to be, and defends it at all costs. No process, no matter how orderly or democratic, can justify fundamental change. 
When in the majority, Confederates protect the established order through democracy. If they are not in the majority, but have power, they protect it through the authority of law. If the law is against them, but they have social standing, they create shams of law, which are kept in place through the power of social disapproval. If disapproval is not enough, they keep the wrong people from claiming their legal rights by the threat of ostracism and economic retribution. If that is not intimidating enough, there are physical threats, then beatings and fires, and, if that fails, murder.
This is the same dangerous slice of the American demographic that existed before, during and after the Civil War.  They call themselves constitutionalists, conservatives, tea partiers, Republicans.  But what they really are, based on their worldview DNA, is  Confederates.  Violent, traitorous, nullifying, un-democratic, un-American Confederates.

Benghazi: Yes, It Was All A Fake Scandal


After all the hysteria, tinfoil hat conspiracy theories, faux outrage, and vicious Obama/ Clinton/ Rice bashing, there's this (via the AP):
A two-year investigation by the Republican-controlled House Intelligence Committee has found that the CIA and the military acted properly in responding to the 2012 attack on a U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, and asserted no wrongdoing by Obama administration appointees. 
Debunking a series of persistent allegations hinting at dark conspiracies, the investigation of the politically charged incident determined that there was no intelligence failure, no delay in sending a CIA rescue team, no missed opportunity for a military rescue, and no evidence the CIA was covertly shipping arms from Libya to Syria.
That's no, no, no, and no.  And your "mainstream media" that was all over Benghazi!!! when the right-wingers were flogging it will report this...how? Have you seen anything beyond maybe a passing reference to this in the media?  =crickets=

Will Benghazi!!! recede as an issue going forward?  Anyone who believes it will is not familiar with the crackpot right and their anger-generators, Fox "News," hate radio and basement bloggers.  It will continue to be a dead horse these lunatics will beat on as long as there's a Clinton or an Obama in office or running for one.

BONUS:  Here's Martin Longman's (a.k.a., the Booman) take on the media's culpability and need for redemption. Also, Steve M. at No More Mister Nice Blog is equally skeptical of Republicans letting this go.

BONUS II: As any normally functioning human would have guessed,  Fox "News" gives the report 30 seconds, and not 30 accurate seconds, either.

BONUS III:  Republican Sen. Lindsey "My Stars and Garters" Graham (R-SeCessionland), pictured in the gif above, keeps whacking away.

BONUS IV:  Nope, they're not giving up -  Weeper of the House John "Mr. Tangerine Man" Boehner (R-Eunuch) is still on a mission.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Quote Of The Week


My fellow Americans, we are and always will be a nation of immigrants. We were strangers once, too. And whether our forebears were strangers who crossed the Atlantic, or the Pacific, or the Rio Grande, we are here only because this country welcomed them in, and taught them that to be an American is about something more than what we look like, or what our last names are, or how we worship. What makes us Americans is our shared commitment to an ideal -– that all of us are created equal, and all of us have the chance to make of our lives what we will. -- President Obama last night in his address to the nation on actions he's taking to reform the immigration system.  If you didn't see the address, here's the link to the White House transcript.

Weekend Hammer and Bell Song


Last night, President Obama used his executive hammer to ring the bell of freedom for millions of people in this country, giving them freedom from fear of deportation and broken families.  We're in a new era of struggle for civil rights in this country - from immigration reform, to equal pay for equal work, voting rights, to marriage equality - but we progressives believe that the arc of history truly does bend toward justice.

Let's remember this anthem of an earlier civil rights era, with the ringing voice of Mary Travers, as we continue the struggle against those who would deny people their rights because of their own petty and vindictive smallness.



Obama Acts On Immigration Reforms



Addressing the nation last night, President Obama outlined steps he is taking to improve the immigration system, including:
1. protection of parents of naturalized children who have been here for over 5 years;

2. allowing more children of undocumented parents to be shielded from deportation;

3. the overhaul of rules governing "highly skilled workers and entrepreneurs" to allow them to extend their stay; and

4. enhanced border security and prioritization for deporting criminals.
The move affects nearly 5 million undocumented immigrants.  Obama made it clear that he was acting after being rebuffed by the Rethuglican-controlled, teabagger dominated House of Representatives, who have refused to vote on a bipartisan Senate bill that passed easily last year with 68 votes.  The President placed the ball in the new Rethuglican Congress' court, challenging them to pass comprehensive immigration reform, which they see as opening the door to new Hispanic (i.e. Democratic) voters.

BONUS:  Mock Paper Scissors has a preview -- in misspelled signs -- of the wingnut reaction.

(photo: Reuters/Jim Bourg)

Thursday, November 20, 2014

President Addressing Nation Tonight On Immigration Plans


Well, at least he's addressing the part of the nation that watches Univision and Telemundo (to be fair, CNN, MSNBC, PBS and Fox "News" are also expected to broadcast the speech).  The main broadcast networks declined to broadcast the President's speech in prime time tonight (November is sweeps months, and we all know what'$ important to tho$e network dolt$).  But if we had to choose between Univision and Telemundo audiences tuning in and those of the old networks, we'll take the former.

Meanwhile, when you hear Republican vandals and their Very Serious enablers in the media yap about the President's action "poisoning the well," American Bridge has a helpful rundown of all the other times over the years Republicans declared "the well" was poisoned before by an Obama action.  Here's a summary of American Bridge's piece we copped from Daily Kos:
Sen. Jeff Flake: If Obama Took Partial Credit For A Deal On Immigration Principles Reached By Eight Senators, It Would “Poison The Well” With Republicans. [...] 
Marco Rubio: Obama’s 2012 Executive Orders On Immigration “Poisoned The Well.” [...] 
Lindsey Graham: Obama’s Strategy On Gun Control “Poisoned The Well.” [...] 
U.S. Chamber Of Commerce Spokesman Bruce Josten: Obama National Labor Relations Board Appointments “Further Poison The Well.” [...] 
Rep. Paul Ryan: Obama’s Criticism Of Ryan Budget “Poisoned The Well” In The Budget Debate. [...] 
Senator Lindsey Graham: If Democrats Use Reconciliation To Pass Affordable Care Act, It’s “Going To Poison The Well For Anything Else They Would Like To Achieve For This Year Or Thereafter.”  [...] 
Sen. Bob Corker: Democratic Efforts To Repeal Don’t Ask Don’t Tell “Poisons The Well” On The START Treaty With Russia.
In case anyone hasn't noticed, that well's been poisoned since the day a black Democrat took the Presidential oath of office in January 2009.  That's why you have to ignore the crap they're shoveling and do what's right.

Mike Nichols, 1931 - 2014



Legendary director of stage and screen Mike Nichols has died at the age of 83.  Nichols' career spanned six decades from when he was half of the comedy team of Nichols and May, with Elaine May, to an honored director who has won the "big four" entertainment awards: the Oscar, Emmy, Tony, and Grammy.  He was honored in 1999 at the Lincoln Center for his lifetime of achievement.  He is known for directing "Who's Afraid of Virginia Wolfe?" and "The Graduate" in the 1960s, as well as numerous plays on Broadway, including "The Odd Couple" and "Barefoot in the Park" by Neil Simon.  Nichols is survived by his wife, former ABC News anchor Diane Sawyer and three children.

BONUS:  Here are some memorable scenes from some of Mike Nichols' films.

Toxic Job Creation

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The short-term job gains from the construction of the pipeline are outweighed by the potential for severe environmental damage if the tar sand oil leaks from the pipeline.  With oil prices down, there's also a reduced economic incentive of providing Canada with a pipeline to move their dirtiest form of oil across the Great Plains, over the Ogallala aquifer, and across the Yellowstone, Missouri, Platte, Arkansas, and Red Rivers to refineries in Texas, and then out to the world market.

And the number of permanent jobs created?  A whopping 35.

(cartoon: Rob Rogers, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, via Gocomics.com)

Quote of the Day


"The Republicans have a pretty simple philosophy: they say if those at the top have more — more power for Wall Street players to do whatever they want and more money for tax cuts than somehow they can be counted on to build the economy for everyone else.  Well, we tried it for 30 years and it didn’t work. In fact the consequences were nearly catastrophic." -- Sen. Elizabeth Warren, at yesterday's Center for American Progress convention.

How true, but we heard one pundit say this morning, this is the United States of Amnesia.  When Republican politicians talk about job creation and the economy, recall that in the final month of the last Republican President, the U.S. lost more than 750,000 jobs, home foreclosures were at record levels, and people lost their investment and retirement funds when the stock market crashed.