Open thread below.
Open thread below.
Speaking in the most complimentary tone, I consider this the best Lou Reed song that ironically, was not written, sung, nor recorded by Lou Reed.
From Cake's Motorcade of Generosity album.
And if you're in the mood for some lovely classical, our sister site Newstalgia has on board Bach and Mendelssohn as performed in concert by the North German Radio Symphony, conducted by Christoph Eschenbach and featuring Elisabeth Leonskaja, piano.
Music thread below...what are you listening to this evening?
From the March 30th edition of The Daily Show:
Jason Jones, Wyatt Cenac and John Oliver discuss faux lesbian bondage-themed strip clubs while sitting on top of each other.
As Hotline, the Washington Post and others are reporting, Texas Republican Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison will not step down and will instead serve out her term through 2012. Citing "President Obama's victory on health care legislation" and not her thumping at the hands of Rick Perry in the Texas GOP gubernatorial primary, Hutchison has reversed course on her pledge last fall to resign. If that broken vow to leave the Senate sounds familiar, it should. Kay Bailey Hutchison is just one the many Republican revolutionaries of 1994 who ignored their promise on term limits.
On Wednesday, Hutchison portrayed her political opportunism as the defense of political principle:
"It is clear to me that the stakes in our nation's capitol have never been higher," said Hutchison at a press conference announcing her decision. "President Obama's victory on health care legislation has emboldened those who want an even bigger and more intrusive federal government."
Of course, the three-term Senator long ago broke her two-term pledge.
Hutchison is just one of the GOP class of 1994 who is in breach of their Contract with America. In the summer of 2005, Hutchison announced she would run for a third Senate term rather than challenge Republican incumbent Rick Perry in the race for Governor. But on election night in 1994, Hutchison made a commitment to term limits:
"I've always said that I would serve no more than two full terms. This may be my last term, or I could run for one more. But no more after that. I firmly believe in term limitations and I plan to adhere to that."
As it turns out, not so much.
A federal judge ruled Wednesday that government investigators illegally wiretapped the phone conversations of an Islamic charity and two American lawyers without a search warrant.
U.S. District Court Judge Vaughn Walker said the plaintiffs have provided enough evidence to show "they were subjected to warrantless electronic surveillance."
The judge ordered more legal arguments before deciding damages. Lawyers were seeking $1 million for each plaintiff plus attorney fees. The ruling also stands as repudiation of the now-defunct Bush administration's Terrorist Surveillance Program.
At issue was a 2006 lawsuit filed by the Ashland, Ore., branch of the Saudi-based Al-Haramain Islamic Foundation and two American lawyers Wendell Belew and Asim Ghafoor.
Belew and Ghafoor claimed their 2004 phone conversations with foundation official Soliman al-Buthi were wiretapped without warrants soon after the Treasury Department had declared the Oregon branch a supporter of terrorism. They argued that wiretaps installed without a judge's authorization are illegal.
Jon Eisenberg, lead lawyer for the plaintiffs, said the complicated 45-page ruling holds the Bush administration program was unconstitutional.
mcjoan has a little more.
(Elizabeth Leonskaja plays Bach - Christoph helps out too)
This week we're doing Bach and Mendelssohn as performed in concert by the North German Radio Symphony, conducted by Christoph Eschenbach and featuring Elisabeth Leonskaja, piano.
Concert donné le 3 mai 2009 à la Laeiszhalle Musikhalle, Hamburg.
Jean-Sébastien Bach (1685-1750)
Concerto pour deux claviers, cordes et basse continue en do mineur Bwv.1060
Félix Mendelssohn (1809-1847)
Symphonie N°5 en ré majeur Op.107, Réformé
Jean-Sébastien Bach (1685-1750)
Concerto pour deux claviers, cordes et basse continue en do majeur Bwv.1061
Félix Mendelssohn (1809-1847)
Symphonie N°4 en la majeur Op.90, Italienne
Elisabeth Leonskaja, Piano
Orchestre symphonique de la NDR
Christoph Eschenbach, Direction & piano
The concert is 90 minutes long and neatly breaks in half, with one Bach concerto and one Mendelssohn symphony in the first part (above) and one Bach concerto and one Mendelssohn symphony in the second part (below).
A nice way to end March.
Last night Bill O'Reilly announced he was doing an admirable thing -- covering the legal expenses of Fred Phelps victim Albert Snyder -- and in doing so, seemed to express an admirable sentiment: hate talk is a bad thing, and all sides should eschew it.
Except, of course, by Bill's lights, the flow of hate is equal on both sides:
There is far too much hatred in America. That's obvious. It comes from both sides. The Michigan militia and the Westboro Baptist Church are far-right nuts, but there are just as many far-left idiots doing vile things.
Thirty-eight-year-old Norman Leboon has been charged with threatening to kill Republican Congressman Eric Cantor. Apparently Leboon wants to kill Cantor and his family and is now being held without bail. It looks like this guy is simply nuts. Ideology might not be in play.
However, a brick was thrown through the window of the Michigan Republican Party headquarters on Monday. Obviously that's political.
The point is that the situation in America is reaching critical mass. There is far too much hatred in the air.
The press is obviously pumping up inappropriate things that happen on the right and pretty much ignoring hateful things on the left. Bernie Goldberg and I established that on Monday.
But every member of the media should condemn all hate speech and violent activity. It is simply un-American.
Then O'Reilly had Laura Ingraham come on to point out that yeah, those left-wingers can be every bit as nasty as the right-wingers.
Tell you what, Bill and Laura. Come and talk to us again about how nasty and wrong hateful talk from the left is when:
-- A liberal walks into a church and opens fire on the congregation because they're all a bunch of conservatives and he wants to kill as many right-wingers as he can.
-- A liberal walks into another church and shoots a doctor in the head.
-- A liberal shoots three police officers who come to his door because he fears the president is going to take his guns away.
-- A liberal walks into the Holocaust Museum and shoots a guard because he hates Jews and believes it's time to start a race war.
-- A liberal walks into the Pentagon and opens fire because he believes the government is plotting against its citizens.
-- A pack of gun-loving liberals forms a plot to kill law-enforcement officers and start a revolution.
See, that isn't happening. But it is happening with characters from the right, opening fire on various perceived "liberal" targets, law enforcement officers, and government employees. (In order, they've happened in Knoxville, in Wichita, in Pittsburgh, in Washington, twice, and this past weekend in the Midwest.)
No doubt there are some liberals who use ugly and sometimes even violent rhetoric. But there's a big difference between what's actually happening on the ground in terms of the behavior of right-wingers and left-wingers when it comes to acting on the rhetoric: The fanatics on the right are decidedly more violent, and act out violently with much greater frequency.
Why is that? Well, there are two big differences between left-wing and right-wing hate talk, one qualitative, the other quantitative:
-- Right-wing talk is decidedly more violent and openly eliminationist -- which is to say, it speaks more openly about eliminating entire blocs of their fellow Americans, and it does so by harkening to violent themes with much greater frequency.
-- The sheer volume of right-wing hate talk is so much greater. Not only are there more examples, by an exponential factor, of right-wing hatefulness, but the talk is emanating from the upper reaches of the right-wing hierarchy: on TV and radio talk shows with hosts who spew eliminationist hatred daily to audiences of millions daily, and among politicians who represent the supposed mainstream of officialdom, and thus lend their imprimatur to such behavior.
The talk shows, in particular, are a real problem. Especially when you have hosts who repeatedly call someone a "baby killer" day in and day out.
Now that's hate talk. But of course, Bill O'Reilly will never admit to that.
Leave it to Greta Van Susteren to give Sean a little air time to pimp his new book coming out and his charity which is under fire from CREW and VoteVets. For more on that go back and read my post from Ed Schultz's show where he talked to Melanie Sloan and Jon Soltz talking about their FTC complaint against Hannity and his charity.
Greta asks Hannity about where the proceeds from his new book are going to go and here's his answer.
Hannity: All the net proceeds, I do have some expenses, I had to hire a researcher and I had to hire an editor, but short of that after, every penny I would make is going to go to my charity, Freedom Alliance.
Van Susteren: And, that is?
Hannity: This is a charity that has been set up for the children, especially of recent military conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan and we have about $15 million in the fund that's waiting for those young kids when they become of age so they can go to college.
Here's the problem with Hannity's argument.
My first reaction to Obama's new proposal is: huh?
The Obama administration is proposing to open vast expanses of water along the Atlantic coastline, the eastern Gulf of Mexico and the north coast of Alaska to oil and natural gas drilling, much of it for the first time, officials said Tuesday.
The proposal — a compromise that will please oil companies and domestic drilling advocates but anger some residents of affected states and many environmental organizations — would end a longstanding moratorium on oil exploration along the East Coast from the northern tip of Delaware to the central coast of Florida, covering 167 million acres of ocean.
Under the plan, the coastline from New Jersey northward would remain closed to all oil and gas activity. So would the Pacific Coast, from Mexico to the Canadian border.
The environmentally sensitive Bristol Bay in southwestern Alaska would be protected and no drilling would be allowed under the plan, officials said. But large tracts in the Chukchi Sea and Beaufort Sea in the Arctic Ocean north of Alaska — nearly 130 million acres — would be eligible for exploration and drilling after extensive studies.
How is this going to be helpful when negotiating with republicans (like they ever will) over a new energy policy? When Pat Buchanan says this is a wonderful idea and republicans should embrace it I spit out my morning coffee.
Marc Ambinder writes:
By announcing this BEFORE the Senate moves forward with its climate change legislation, which may or may not include cap-and-trade (probably not), the White House is betting that they'll force Republicans into a corner before the public debate begins, they'll give some cover to moderate Democratic members of Congress (who love it when Obama picks a fight with his own base), and they'll get some public cred with Americans who want to see the president moving quickly to find opportunities to create jobs. This isn't about votes in Congress per se, it's about perception, cover and framing the debate. It's also a move that tries to get ahead of rising gas prices.
President Obama sure likes to fire up his base in the wrong direction.
Josh Nelson has a round up of opinions and quotes from bloggers, jurnos and enviro groups like the Sierra Club.
I don’t understand this at all. Increased coastal drilling would be a small price to pay in exchange for actual congressional votes for an overall energy package that shifts us to a low-carbon economy over time. But any price is too high a price to pay in exchange for nothing at all. This isn’t the greatest environmental crime in human history, but it sure does seem like poor legislative strategy.
Who’d we elect again?
How’s that hopey changey stuff working out? I don’t know about for me, but I think there are going to be some drill happy Alaskans who feel better about it.
Just about every news org, reporting on the news that Obama will approve significant offshore drilling, used the headline: “Drill, baby drill.” Time to check you-know-who’s Facebook page…
Obama has already effectively given Republicans what they wanted on energy. What is he getting in return?
When it comes to energy, conservatives are crazy about two things: nuclear power and offshore drilling. Now Obama has agreed to both. But does he seriously think this will “help win political support for comprehensive energy and climate legislation”? Wouldn’t he be better off holding this stuff in reserve and negotiating it away in return for actual support, not just hoped-for support? What am I missing here?
Blue America's Senator Jeff Markley writes:
Dem Senator Jeff Merkley of Oregon, a respected voice in the Senate on green issues, sends over a statement hitting Obama’s decision to green-light offshore drilling, pronouncing himself “deeply concerned.”
“Today’s announcement doesn’t amount to a comprehensive strategy for dramatically reducing our dependence on foreign oil with transformative steps to lower our oil consumption,” Merkley says bluntly, adding:
While I’m glad that the Administration has decided not to open up the Oregon Coast to drilling, I am deeply concerned that opening up the Atlantic to offshore drilling will threaten coastal economies and does not represent a long-term solution to transform our energy economy.
It also doesn’t deal with the thousands of leases that oil companies already have, but aren’t drilling on. A “use it or lose it” policy should be the starting point for looking at increased domestic production.
Teabaggers must really believe they are the majority in America and John McCain won the election, but Obama is just keeping the Oval office warm because McCain has to win his Senate race against JD Hayworth first before he can be sworn in. It's just a formality. That's teabagger logic.
Digby is amused/disgusted at conservatives who simply will not accept that having a majority in both houses of Congress and having the Presidency means that Democrats get to pass legislation.
Well, it’s simple, really. They assume, if they don’t state it outright, that large numbers of American voters shouldn’t have the right to vote. That’s the implicit argument when Sarah Palin praises white rural voters as “Real Americans”, when Birthers obsess over the idea that the first black President simply can’t be eligible for office, when tea baggers yell racist and homophobic slurs at politicians, and when they insist that you eliminate black voters from the count if you want to find out how popular a politician “really” is. When Bart Stupak laughed out loud at the very idea that nuns have opinions worth listening to---and listed a bunch of men whose opinions were the ones that counted---you had a similar sentiment being expressed. Universal suffrage seems like a fundamental part of democracy to liberals, but it appears that conservatives think it de-legitimizes the results of elections. And that if you do something without Republicans on board, you’re eliminating those who represent the only people who count.
The irony here is that Republicans are already way overrepresented in Congress. Because of the constitutional rules that give every state two Senators, no matter how underpopulated the state, you see rural, white-dominated areas having way more representation than they deserve. For instance, South Dakota has a little over 800,000 residents, but New York has almost 20 million. New York City has over 8 million people alone, which means that if the Senate had a representational system like the House, just the city of New York would be owed 20 Senators to compete with South Dakota’s two. Think about how irrelevant the Republican party would be---at least the current wingnutty Republican party, since it’s obvious New York can elect Republicans---if representation was actually fair...read on
I've been meaning to post this for a few days.