Posts Tagged ‘Al Franken’
* The health care bill the president just signed into law includes a 10 percent tax on all indoor tanning sessions starting July 1st, and I say, who uses tanning? Is it dark-skinned people? I don’t think so. I would guess that most tanning sessions are from light-skinned Americans. Why would the President of the United States of America—a man who says he understands racism, a man who has been confronted with racism—why would he sign such a racist law? Why would he agree to do that? Well now I feel the pain of racism. This is a truly exemplary case of what Al Franken calls “kidding on the square.”
* Dahlia Lithwick plays “Is Health Care Reform Constitutional?” In just a few short weeks Cuccinelli has turned himself into the hero of conservative cable news shows, but he’s done it with what can be described only as acts of purely aspirational lawyering. When TV pundits or politicians argue about what the Constitution should say, it’s one thing. But when an attorney general does it, it’s another matter entirely. What Cuccinelli is doing transcends legal activism—with which I have no quarrel—and places him squarely in the world of constitutional yearning. That’s a particularly cynical enterprise for someone who preaches fidelity to the law and Constitution as they are written.
* Responses to Robert Samuelson’s morally obscene claim that “Obama’s behavior resembles a highly indebted family’s taking an expensive round-the-world trip because it claims to have found ways to pay for it. It’s self-indulgent and reckless.” The best is from Ezra Klein:
And before you think this is all about Samuelson, consider that Charles Krauthammer calls coverage “candy.” There’s an absence of empathy here that borders on a clinical disorder…We are a rich, decent society, or so we say. Extending health-care coverage to those who can’t afford it would be worth it even in the absence of cost controls. Health-care insurance is not candy, and it is not an indulgence.
And that’s before you remember that Samuelson supported the Bush tax cuts, which (unlike the Affordable Care Act) perfectly fit his description of an unwise, self-indulgent splurge…
* Perhaps the GOP should have thought its anti-Census rhetoric through: Only 27% of Texas households have returned their census forms, well under the national average.
In Texas, some of the counties with the lowest census return rates are among the state’s most Republican, including Briscoe County in the Panhandle, 8 percent; King County, near Lubbock, 5 percent; Culberson County, near El Paso, 11 percent; and Newton County, in deep East Texas, 18 percent. Most other counties near the bottom of the list are heavily Hispanic counties along the Texas-Mexico border.
Ed O’Keefe says the Census is also particularly concerned about response rates in Alaska, Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, and Mississippi.
* Greece-style debt overload (including accounting malfeasance) is happening in California, New York, and elsewhere. Even President Palin’s beloved Alaska is hard hit; when the former governor unexpectedly quit her job halfway through her first term the state’s debt-to-GDP ratio was 70%, making it the most endebted state in the union. That’s just the sort of fiscal conservatism she’ll bring to the White House.
* And it’s funny sometimes how liberal American politicians suddenly figure out how bad their policies are just as soon as they leave office—but mostly it’s just terrible.
* Building the best lede ever: A self-styled Nevada codebreaker [check] convinced the CIA [check] he could decode secret terrorist targeting information sent through Al Jazeera broadcasts [check], prompting the Bush White House [check] to raise the terror alert level to Orange (high) in December 2003, [check] with Tom Ridge warning of “near-term attacks that could either rival or exceed what we experience on September 11,” [check] according to a new report in Playboy. [and mate]
* Al Franken tries to convince the Kossacks that the health care bill is good. So does Jonathan Cohn. Jane Hamsher’s 10 Reasons to Kill the Senate Bill. Harry Reid, progressive hero? Progressive senators are still grumbling. What could still be sped up. What could still go wrong. Health care winners and losers (and don’t get caught on the wrong side of that line).
* Monster post at MyDD on our broken Senate.
* Good Christians pray for the death of Robert Byrd. Jesus wept.
* It’s only treason when Democrats do it.
* After 20 years, Sen. Whitehouse has finally figured out the Republican Party is not negotiating in good faith.
* Grist considers whether or not climate debt is a workable frame for ecological politics.
* Laredo, Texas, is now the country’s largest book desert.
* Sumerians Look On In Confusion As God Creates World. Via the Onion‘s top ten stories of the last 4.5 billion years, which I think I already linked to once with the dinosaurs story.
Ridiculous, petty, and meaningless as it is, Matt seems to be right that Al Franken’s snub to Joe Lieberman on the Senate floor today is rapidly healing all the blogosphere’s wounds. Dave Weigel has your added dose of minor irony. I’d rather have the Medicare buy-in.
* UNCG (Go Spartans) has opened an important digital archive on American slavery.
* A visibly distraught Senator Alesi casts his “no” vote on marriage equality yesterday in Albany.
* Detroit, Dubai, Dresden, more: cities before and after radical changes.
* Comcast, a company about which I have never heard a single good thing, will buy NBC. Only 30 Rock fans will benefit.
* NPR has a Logicomix preview. I enjoyed the entire novel; check it out.
* Barbara Boxer: Climategate is a criminal matter. Communist!
* The rest of the senators I can mostly do without.
* And Toothpaste for Dinner zeroes in on my particular pathology.
Al Franken’s opening statement from yesterday’s Supreme Court confirmation hearing. About midway through Franken makes our terms clear when he calls out the real judicial activists. Franken oh-twelve?
* And allow me to offer my heartiest gerrycanavan.blogspot.com welcome to North Carolina’s newest resident.
* Return of a meme I haven’t seen since the 1990s: the end of science.
* Krugman spills the beans on Al Franken’s secret wonkitude. A reader of his books and an infrequent listener to his radio show, I can confirm this is true: he has a much sharper and more wide-ranging intellect than the press gives him credit for.
* The Nation gets excited about the rediscovery of Secular America.
Obama agreed and remained true to his word. And then came the moment approximately 50 million Americans– who identify themselves with terms like agnostic, atheist, materialist, humanist, nontheist, skeptic, bright, freethinker, agnostic, naturalist, or non-believer — will never forget. In his inauguration speech, Obama said, “…Our patchwork heritage is a strength, not a weakness. We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus, and non-believers.”
Like 50 million other Americans I tell my nonexistent children about the Great Inclusion every night. And then, together as one all across the nation, we weep from joy.
* Lev Milman, a Duke undergrad, has been named a chess grandmaster.
* Grant Morrison is apparently working on a comic that will highlight the undisguised bondage imagery that makes up to the Wonder Woman mythos. (More here and here.)
“Tell me anybody’s preference in story strips and I’ll tell you his subconscious desires… Superman and the army of male comics characters who resemble him satisfy the simple desire to be stronger and more powerful than anybody else. Wonder Woman satisfies the subconscious, elaborately disguised desire of males to be mastered by a woman who loves them.”
—Dr. William Moulton Marston, creator of Wonder Woman
And why not another?
But Marston was intent on more than merely fulfilling the fantasies of his male readers. In a letter to comics historian Coulton Waugh, he wrote, “Frankly, Wonder Woman is psychological propaganda for the new type of woman who should, I believe, rule the world.” Marston believed that submission to “loving authority” was the key to overcoming mankind’s violent urges, and that strong, self-realized women were the hope for a better future. Wonder Woman was very consciously Marston’s means of spreading these notions to impressionable young minds. As he said to Olive Richard, “I tell you, my inquiring friend, there’s great hope for this world. Women will win!” He then goes on, “When women rule, there won’t be any more [war] because the girls won’t want to waste time killing men…I regard that as the greatest – no, even more – as the only hope for permanent peace.”
* The Mark Sanford story grows stranger by the day, with 19 South Carolina politicians now on the record calling for his resignation. (TPM reports that Senators DeMint and Graham have gone to Sanford to prevail on him to resign.) Today he backed off a pledge to release his travel records, which suggests more trouble may be brewing for him.
* Who could have imagined that Exxon-Mobil would lie about its continued support for climate-change “skepticism” advocacy groups?
* Democrats can now “hijack elections at their whim”: just another responsible, measured, and most of all empirically provable claim from RNC chairman Michael Steele, truly our country’s finest elder statesman.
* But it’s not all craziness: Michele Bachmann is facing criticism from the GOP for her weird lies about the Census.
* What caused the financial crisis? Matt Taibbi in Rolling Stone (via MeFi) points to bubble economies nutured and created by giant investment firms, pointing the finger especially at Goldman Sachs. An Oklahoma lawmaker says it was “abortion, pornography, same sex marriage, sex trafficking, divorce, illegitimate births, child abuse, and many other forms of debauchery.” I report, you decide.
* Malthusianism and world history: a chart from Conor Clarke.
It’s clear these growth trends can continue forever.
* Ezra Klein has a new Washington Post column on the politics of food.
* Ben Smith at Politco dreams the dream: Franken ’16?
* More good news: God’s told Joe the Plumber not to run for office.
* But bad news: Glenn Beck guest Michael Scheuer says America’s only hope is a massive terrorist attack. Don’t miss Beck nodding sagely towards the end. Adam Serwer says it well:
But understand, this is not unpatriotic. You can wish all manner of horrors on this country, but as long as these horrors might serve a specific political agenda, you’re not being unpatriotic. Unpatriotic is a public health-care plan. Unpatriotic is a judge modifying sub-prime mortgage loans to keep a roof over someone’s head. Unpatriotic is phosphate-free detergent. Patriotic is wishing for a terrorist attack on the United States.
Patriotism is dead, long live patriotism.
* TPM and Washington Monthly tackle the EPA SUPPRESSION!!!!! “scandal” that’s been making the rounds; turns out a hobbyist working on non-climate matters for the agency decided a memo no one asked him to write prepared in his spare time should be published alongside recommendations produced by actual experts in the field. Fox News, naturally, agrees. Inhofe (R-Jupiter) has gone further, demanding Monday a criminal investigation.
* Also in climate news: Thomas Friedman says Waxman-Markey is very, very bad and we should support it. For what it’s worth Kevin Drum agrees.
What can we expect from the Democrats now that Al Franken is their 60th Senator? Ezra Klein points out that 60 is a big number, one not achieved by either party since 1974. Open Left thinks this is a boost to the public option in health care. Grist looks ahead to climate change and the Senate version of ACES. The Nation talks filibusters.
It falls to Donkeylicious to remind us that there are still a lot of bad Democrats, including two who have thus far disappointed me, Kay Hagan and Claire McCaskill.
Why not him? The Minnesota Supreme Court has unanimously declared Al Franken the winner of the state’s Senate race after eight months of litigation.
UPDATE: At his press conference, Coleman announced he concedes.
Even more Sunday night links.
* Ev psych on the ropes? We can only dare to hope.
* MetaFilter remembers the Stonewall protests.
* Pawlenty says he’ll finally let Franken be seated once the state Supreme Court issues its ruling. Aren’t we moving a little fast, Tim? It’s only been eight months.
* Katrina vanden Heuvel with Steve Benen against bipartisanship.
* And Ze Frank plays “That Makes Me Think Of” again at Time, this week about thigns that are and aren’t black and white. Can’t we get The Show back already? We keep getting closer and closer.
Coleman loses …a lot of money: he’s been ordered to pay $94,000 in Al Franken’s court costs, hardly anything compared to what either candidate has actually spent on the recount. Should there be punitive damages when a case is as frivolous as Coleman’s? Much of election challenge law rests on an unspoken presumption that bitter candidates won’t intentionally seek to delay the seating of their opponents out of spite; with that assumption apparently out the window, it’s hard for me to say offhand how the rules should be rewritten. But they should.