Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 24, 2010

I love this time of year. I love the look in my kids' faces as they open the unexpected packages and get things they only dreamed of.

My family, like many of yours is amazingly fortunate to be able to celebrate Christmas the way we do. People like MIT celebrate it the way we ought giving to those with nothing at all.

Whatever your persuasion, whatever your circumstance, whatever your belief, please find peace and joy these next few days, and may it be enough to last until this same time next year.

Merry Christmas!



Monday, December 20, 2010

This op-ed from Frank Rich in Saturday's NYT pretty much sums-up what I think about "bipartisanship," couched under this new, silly No Labels Party.

A few gems:

Presumably No Labels ditched “lean” because it’s too muscular a verb for a group whose stated goals include better schools, affordable health care and more jobs — as long as they can be achieved “in a fiscally prudent way.” To proselytize for such unimpeachable verities, no leaning is required — you can do it frozen in place, and just possibly in your sleep.

The notion that civility and nominal bipartisanship would accomplish any of the heavy lifting required to rebuild America is childish magical thinking, and, worse, a mindless distraction from the real work before the nation. Sure, it would be swell if rhetorical peace broke out in Washington — or on cable news networks — but given that American politics have been rancorous since Boston’s original Tea Party, wishing will not make it so.


WHAT America needs is not another political organization with a toothless agenda and less-than-transparent finances. The country will not rest easy until there are brave leaders in both parties willing to reform the system that let perpetrators of the Great Recession escape while the rest of us got stuck with the wreckage [emphasis added]...“Nobody from Lehman, Merrill Lynch or Citigroup has been charged criminally with anything. No top executives at Bear Stearns have been indicted. All former American International Group executives are running free.” For No Labels to battle this status quo would require actual political courage — true bipartisan courage, in fact.
The entire article is worth a read and takes a few minutes. It provides several examples of Congressional officials on "bipartisan" commissions who then vote-down their very own commission's recommendations to appease whatever political beast they owe their careers to.

There are gobs of examples of bipartisanship that falls apart in the face of actual partisan votes, because at the end of the day, elected officials dance with who brung 'em. Compromise under the mealy-mouthed bipartisanship that DC has given us so far tends to screw lefty views. When the left doesn't compromise (DADT, for example), they get what they want and what they were sent to Washington for. When they don't, the right "wins." For their part, the right functions the same way: to get what you want, you can't compromise. It gets worse when we look at financial matters. John Q Public is getting fucked by our corporate masters. But all bipartisan attempts to regulate them break down to the point where bipartisan recommendations fail, and the regulations one side wants are watered-down so much due to their own sad allegiance with Wall Street that ultimately, the other side of the argument wins yet again: laissez faire business regulation. Shit, Congress caught the big financial corporations with their pants down, rescued them, then acquiesced when those rescued corporations had the gall to bitch about the regs!! Bipartisanship of the garden DC variety ain't gonna solve that. That'll take a real bipartisan effort to change the way politicians deal with influence.

It will take massive institutional change to make the system actually change for the better. And right now, our ruling oligarchs certainly won't let that happen.


No Shame In Their Game

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Great 8 minutes. The last minute and a half should be next election's attack ad.

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Lame-as-F@#k Congress
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical Humor & Satire BlogThe Daily Show on Facebook


The War On Christmas!

Monday, December 13, 2010

It's on, people. The War On Christmas is officially here.

Our friendly, loving, and accepting neighbors over at the American Family Association (the same folks who believe that there should be legal sanctions against homosexual behavior) have provided us with a list of companies who are either strictly against Christmas, completely for Christmas, or all Switzerland-y in regards to Christmas.

For the sake of keeping you lazy bastards from clicking too many links, the list of Anti-Christmas Agressors includes:
--Banana Republic (NEW!)
--Barnes & Noble
--CVS Pharmacy
--Foot Locker
--Gap Stores (NEW!)
--Hancock Fabrics
--L.L. Bean (NEW!)
--Office Depot
--Radio Shack
--Victoria's Secret

Some of these I can see. Banana Republic is an affront to common-sense fashion if ever there was, and Barnes & Noble encourages us to read books other than The Bible. But Victoria's Secret?? The gifts purchased there certainly encourage straight, monogamous, traditional scrumping. What gives?? And NASCAR? What am I supposed to watch on tv??

But at least we have Best Buy and Wal Mart there right by our side in defense of Christmas. I feel encouraged that if I can't get high-quality-but-certainly-atheist Victoria Secrets lingerie to spur my Christmas Eve monkey sex fest, I can get a less expensive knock-off from Wal Mart and have enough money to maybe buy a cheap video camera from Best Buy. And then, I can create more troops to fight this War On Christmas.


Cutting a Deal

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

I don't much like the deal President Obama cut with House and Senate Republicans to extend tax cuts for the wealthiest and unemployment benefits. There is no evidence that tax cuts make a significant impact to economic growth, but I believe extending unemployment benefits will.  I worry about the impact the entire package will have on the deficit.  Half of me wants it to pass, half of me wants it to fail.

Legislators are saying Obama caved, or he compromised, or he gave in to blackmail. In his press conference, Obama seemed to admit it was blackmail.  The New York Times has another take

Each description may be true, but isn't it hypocritical for Democratic legislators to complain considering they cannot get anything better through the legislature, even though they hold majorities in both chambers? Isn't it their job to elect effective leaders who will get something better through Congress?

If they don’t like it, pass something better. Obama will sign it.


Someone Else Do It

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Starting in about 45 minutes (it's 9:45 a.m. in Michigan right now), the legislature will go into session.  I expect them to go straight into tomorrow, well-past midnight.

Someone else blog something.  I'm out.



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