The orange skin and the alligator tears and his answer to an earlier question with “If ands and buts were candy and nuts, every day would be Christmas” were strange enough, but John Boehner took creepiness to a whole new level with this:

Watch The Daily Show’s coverage of the total failure of the House of Representatives here. The Boehner weirdness begins around the five-minute mark.

Theodor Seuss Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss, was born on March 2, 1904. He died on September 24, 1991 at the age of 87. Visit a cartoon rendition of his office and read a short biography here.

Dr. Seuss was best known as the author and illustrator of many children’s books including The Cat in the Hat, Horton Hears a Who!, and How the Grinch Stole Christmas!. But he had another career as a political cartoonist for a liberal New York City daily paper, PM during World War II. He drew more than 400 editorial cartoons for the paper from April 1941 through January 1943. He was highly critical of isolationists like Lindbergh; he also loathed racists, and he didn’t really care much at all for Congress, especially the Republicans and some conservative Democrats who organized the Conservative Coalition with the purpose of dismantling Roosevelt’s New Deal. Here’s one Seuss did for the May 18, 1942 edition of the paper. (via brainpickings.org)

Suess Congressional Wrecking Crew 5-18-42 crop reduce

Seventy-three years have gone by, and Conservatives are still trying to destroy America’s social safety net. All it would take to update this cartoon would be to replace “F.D.R.” with “Obama”.

Some things never change. Probably never will.

Last week Rudy Giuliani was all over the news and late night shows because he said he didn’t believe that President Obama loved America. Then he made it worse with his attempts to back peddle out of it. I was going to put up a post about it, but I didn’t because I didn’t have the time and the site was down and anyway a whole lot of people covered it better than I would have. (The Daily Show and The Nightly Show)

But today I read a post by Jonathan Capehart post for the Post Partisan blog. The post starts with Governor Scott Walker’s response to a question about whether he believed Obama was a Christian or not. He replied with “I’ve never asked him that…You’ve asked me to make statements about people that I haven’t had a conversation with about that.” But there’s plenty of video evidence out there showing Obama saying he is a Christian. The question is really, do you believe what he’s telling you and, if not, then why? Walker avoided the question.

Capehart then cites polls showing 70% of Republicans don’t think or don’t know that Obama is a Christian, he then quotes a few other people who’ve said incredibly hateful things about the president that have absolutely no basis in reality. Read the ignorant, racist remarks by Larry Klayman and David Jackson said, and then answer me this:

Why do so many Republicans hate Obama so much? Do they really believe all the lies about him? Can they not believe what they actually hear him say and see him do on television? Their own lying eyes? Amazing to me… frightening that the Republican party can pander to these people for votes and get away with it.

It depends on your point of view.

Production vs Comp graph

If you are one of those owners of capital at the top, well it’s been GREAT! But if you are a regular working Joe, not good at all.

From the graph you can see that everyone’s income went up along with productivity until around 1973. A divergence started and stayed fairly close until around 1980. Then in 1984, we heard this in and ad for President Reagan:

It’s morning again in America. Today more men and women will go to work than ever before in our country’s history. With interest rates at about half the record highs of 1980, nearly 2,000 families today will buy new homes, more than at any time in the past four years. This afternoon 6,500 young men and women will be married, and with inflation at less than half of what it was just four years ago, they can look forward with confidence to the future. It’s morning again in America, and under the leadership of President Reagan, our country is prouder and stronger and better. Why would we ever want to return to where we were less than four short years ago?

Well, maybe because even though the economy was in the doldrums for a few years preceding 1980, at least the wealth was kinda sorta still being shared. But after that, not at all.

And after Reagan we had George H. W. Bush, then Clinton, then W, and now Obama. And not one of them have been able to change the rules in our country that allow the richest of the rich to get richer and richer as the bottom 99% fall behind.

The rules of the game are rigged in favor of those who already have great wealth. If you read the article in The Atlantic where I found the graph, you’ll learn more about how and why the divergence started and continues to expand, and you’ll find out what might happen if we don’t do anything about it (it’s not good), and what we could do to start to close the gap. (Hint: spend money to improve the education of our population and improve our failing infrastructure).

If the rich want to avoid a revolution, they better start looking out for the health and welfare of the communities that supply them with workers; first by sharing the wealth that comes from increased productivity with their workers, and second by encouraging local governments to increase spending to repair our decaying infrastructure systems.

Paul Krugman is a rock star.

First things first: I am a big Arcade Fire fan, but I had nothing to do with Will Butler’s new song about the Greek debt crisis. I will, however, be on a panel at SXSW with the Butler brothers among others. And I’m having an economist’s version of fun by looking at some not entirely random aspects of the economics of music.

So if you are going to SXSW this year, take some time out from going to music shows, drinking beer, and eating meat with your meat to go see Paul Krugman live on stage with other rock stars and music biz people. Details here where you’ll find that you do need stinking badges to see the show. Music or Platinum badges will get you in. Or maybe you can just copy someone’s badge and get in for free! That’s how the kids do it these days. Everything is FREE! And I am sure that will be a part of the discussion. I’ll miss it, so someone who is going should volunteer as a special correspondent, for FREE!

You few regular visitors out there must have noticed that the site has been down for extended periods during the past few weeks. Well it’s up now, so I am putting up a couple of photos from their show at The Sunset Tavern.

Here’s one of Martin setting up his array of switches and peddles that he uses to great effect during the shows.

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And here’s one of all three of them (mostly Martin).

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And this is how the show ends in a blaze of distorted harmonic feedback loops.

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The Sunset has one of the darkest stages in the city, so it’s difficult (for me anyway) to get shots in focus, so I did resort to using a flash for quite a few photos, but most of those didn’t turn out because of all the backs of heads in front of me that turned bright white when the flash fired. Oh well… There are better photos out there. Capsula posted some on their Facebook page taken by Sandra Cox that are worthy.

And they were selling their new live album, Dead or Alive, at the show for $10. For more about the importance of it and why you should buy it,  as usual I direct you to Tulip Frenzy.

Something good has to happen to you this Friday the 13th, right? You can make good happen by going to the Sunset Tavern to see the best Rock n’ Roll band in the world perform in a very intimate setting.

I got hooked on Capsula the first time I heard KEXP play a track off their 2009 album, Rising Mountains. Since then I’ve seen them play during CityArts Fest at The Comet, a free KEXP summer show at the Mural Amphitheater, The Triple Door, and at El Corazon (perhaps my least favorite venue in Seattle), so I am very glad to see them play a show in a great club in my own neighborhood this Friday. You should be too. Buy a ticket, take the ride. If you don’t, bad things might happen to you.

For those of you reading who don’t know about this band, here’s a video of them singing “Mejor No Hablar de Ciertas Cosas” (it translates to The Porcelain Horse) at a venue in what is now their home town; Bilbao, Spain.

That’s one they do in Spanish. Almost all the songs they do in the states are in English, so don’t let that get to you. It’s a great rock n’ roll song!

Anyway, if you want to know more about their sound, read about them on Tulip Frenzy.

I would have run it with Lynch

That is of course a spoof on the worst commercial during yesterday’s Super Bowl. I don’t know if it’s the worst commercial ever, but it’s got to be in the running.

So I would have run Lynch too, but now that I’ve had a day to think about it and read what other more knowledgeable people are saying, I at least understand the Why of it. Here’s an excerpt from an article on Vox that explains it pretty well:

An incomplete pass stops the game clock. An unsuccessful run does not. A timeout also stops the clock, and Seattle only had one timeout left. So if the Seahawks had run on second down and failed to get a touchdown, they would have had to call timeout.

Now, it’s third down, and they have no timeouts left. So if they run on third and fail, the game is over. But if they pass on third and fail, the clock will stop, and they can run another play. So they basically have to pass on third, and the New England defense knows they have to pass.

By contrast, if you throw on second down and fail, the clock stops. Now it’s third down, and you still have your time out. That means you could run on third, fail, and use the timeout to stop the clock and run another play on fourth down. That means New England has to defend against both the pass and the run, which puts Seattle in a more advantageous strategic position than they would be had they run and failed.

I’ve watched the play a few times (actually way too many times) and I think Russell Wilson could have thrown the ball lower into a spot where Ricardo Lockette got it or no one did. Instead the ball was up high enough for Malcolm Butler, who made an incredibly quick read, to plunge himself into the path of the ball and catch it. It really was great play by him.

Oh, and Pete is owning the call. He asked for a pass, and that was the play Bevell had for that goal-line sequence. It probably worked great in practice. It just didn’t during the game.

Still… I would have given it to Lynch.

Big game for Seattle fans today. A chance to repeat as Super Bowl Champions. You can read the expert opinions here and here about why the Patriots will win or why the Seahawks will win. You’ll find the experts are pretty evenly divided, and their score predictions are all pretty close. I’m no expert, but I say Seahawks win because they’re good enough and smart enough, and gosh darn it, people like them! And it’s not just people in these parts that do.

ESPN Super Bowl Winner Map

So my prediction is Russell Wilson won’t have a bad day like he had during the first 55 minute’s of the NFC Championship game. Instead he will make good decisions during all 60 minutes, and a lot of those decisions will result in Marshawn Lynch getting the ball and going all Beast Mode on New England’s defense. Seattle’s “pedestrian” receivers will block down field very well like they always do for Marshwan, and they’ll catch some balls too. Look for Baldwin to have a huge day.

Our defense will be too much for Brady to handle. They are big, fast, and tackle better than any other team. Gronkowski is supposed to be the Patriot to give them problems. Chancellor and Wagner can handle him with a little help from Irvin and Wright.

That said, my prediction is Seahawks win 23-19.

Go ‘Hawks!

UPDATE: Well the game didn’t turn out like I thought it would. Tom Brady brought the Patriots back from a 10-point deficit in the fourth quarter against a Seattle defense that rarely gives up any points in the fourth quarter. Seattle got the ball with a little over two minutes to go, and after a long throw to Marshawn down the left sideline for 31 yards, then a quick pass to Ricardo Lockette for 11, and then an amazing catch by Jermaine Kearse for 33, the Seahawks were on the five-yard line of New England. Beast Mode carried the ball to the one, and then… the worst play call ever. On second down with 26 seconds to go and one time out left the game was Seattle’s to win. But instead of handing the ball to Beast Mode, who was on a roll, Darrell Bevell called a slant pass. The pass probably looked good to Wilson right when the ball left his hand on the way to Lockette, but a split second later, Malcom Butler crashed in front of the ball and picked it to seal the 28-24 Patriots win.

The best running team in the league with the best running back and best running quarterback, and they pass it? Worst call ever.

The album I listened to the most this year is the number one album of 2014: Angel OlsenBurn Your Fire for No Witness. The song that first caught my attention was “Hi Five”. After hearing it I immediately went out and bought the album. It has several great songs in styles ranging from pop rock to the very quiet, beautifully sung, intimate rumination, “Windows”, a song Pitchfork wrote off as an “indistinct closer”. I like it, so here’s the video.

The second best album of 2014 is Lydia Loveless – Somewhere Else. I didn’t know about Lydia when her album Indestructible Machine came out in 2011, otherwise it would have been on my 2011 list. Anyway, here’s a live recording of the title track to this year’s album.

Number three is Sharon Van Etten – Are We There. Sharon has one of the most powerful voices in music, and she shows it off quite well in this song.

Number four is the third in a series of The Jeffrey Lee Pierce Sessions Project titled Axels & Sockets. It’s a collective of many of my favorite musicians including Nick Cave, Debbie Harry, Mark Lanegan, Lydia Lunch, Warren Ellis, Mick Harvey, Kid Congo Powers, Iggy Pop, Mark Stewart, Thurston Moore, Jim Sclavunos, Primal Scream, Cyprus Grove, Ruby Throat, and Andrew Weatherall. They all work together to interpret the songs of the late Jeffrey Lee Pierce. I find myself listening to it all the time. Here’s a video for “Constant Limbo”.

Number Five is Thurston Moore – The Best Day. It’s like a really great Sonic Youth album, except there’s no Kim Gordon. Here’s the title track recorded live at KEXP.

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