Friday, January 29, 2010

Obama smacks down SCOTUS activist judges in his first SOTU address

Barack Obama's first State of the Union Address was very, very good. Some say excellent. Beck and Hannity "HATED IT!" Well, here's one of the highlights. Just weeks ago, The Supreme Court of the United States struck down a decades-old law that limited what corporations could pay to support presidential campaigns. How did this happen? Well, there are 5 Republicans on the bench now, unfortch. both pilgrim99 and me spoke about this in earlier posts, just before the one. Well here's Barack's take on it, and we see (Republican) Justice Alito mouth "that's a lie" after Barack states the truth about the decision. Good times.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Dysfunction on Parade, or, the Senate

This is a pretty good summary of the asininity (yes, it's a word) that is the US Senate. I single out Joe "I need some attention so I'm gonna whine" Lieberman as a particularly odious example of a complete shithead, but at least 40 other of his colleagues could easily stand in for him to pinch hit on that lineup card. Couple that with a majority party with spines of Jell-O, and you have a full-on dysfunction worthy of comedic film....
"Minority obstructionism, of course, can be principled. But its chief attraction is that it absolves the opposition of responsibility for anything while making the majority look, well, stupid. As former British Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin once said of the press, this kind of "power without responsibility" has been "the prerogative of the harlot throughout the ages."

An Aggregation of Nincompoops | Foreign Policy

Truth be told, I'm hoping for a "Damn the torpedoes!" moment in which the 18 seat majority party goes full-on nuclear and gets rid of the filibuster. F**k the consequences down the road. Nobody would be stupid enough to undo a real healthcare reform package once it was passed....

...but then again, there are Republicans there, too....

update: added the blockquote, which I forgot at first.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

conference championship weekend predictions

Colts 27
Jets 19
...Colts are too good. Jets had a nice run though.

Saints 34
Vikings 29
...Saints have better matchups and better players. not by much, but they do.

Friday, January 22, 2010

The Foreign Takeover Will Be Televised

So here's an interesting take from The Center For Public Integrity. Say a foreign-owned corporation decides they want to influence American political processes. All they have to do is...

...write a check or three:

One prominent examples is CITGO Petroleum Company — once the American-born Cities Services Company, but purchased in 1990 by the Venezuelan government-owned PetrĂ³leos de Venezuela S.A. The Citizens United ruling could conceivably allow Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, who has sharply criticized both of the past two U.S. presidents, to spend government funds to defeat an American political candidate, just by having CITGO buy TV ads bashing his target.

How's that for protecting state sovereignty? Teabaggers, are you listening?
And it’s not just Chavez. The Saudi government owns Houston’s Saudi Refining Company and half of Motiva Enterprises. Lenovo, which bought IBM’s PC assets in 2004, is partially owned by the Chinese government’s Chinese Academy of Sciences. And Singapore’s APL Limited operates several U.S. port operations. A weakening of the limit on corporate giving could mean China, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, and any other country that owns companies that operate in the U.S. could also have significant sway in American electioneering.

Think about it, though it may be painful. Don't worry, we'll donate some ibuprofen for you. Since corporations have full personhood now, just like you or I, they will be able to advocate directly on behalf of any candidate they wish, with as much dinero as they want to spend. So if our friend Hugo (who I don't find as odious as a lot of other people do) decided to influence our electoral process, all he would have to do is direct the state-owned Citgo Corp. to make some payments for airtime, etc.

If you for even a second think that we have a more even playing field now, I have a bridge in Brooklyn I'm happy to accept bids on.

Democracy died yesterday. R.I.P.

Full article here:Will the Citizens United Ruling Let Hugo Chavez and King Abdullah Buy U.S. Elections?

This is great. Posted without comment.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

SCOTUS says we can outright buy politicians (instead of doing it secretly)

Now that the Supreme Court has decided money equals free speech, I'd like to suggest that Congresscritters, now legally purchased by corporations, adopt a new dress code. Something like these:

Now THAT'S transparency!

no room for the weak: a tough & rough day for concerned Americans...

what...a here are my thoughts on the good, the bad, and the ugly from today.

the Good: Obama and his team have instituted real regulation on banks to stop their corrupt practices of using taxpayer money to take unnecessary risks for their own profits.

This is a victory for all americans, and should go far to help ensure a collapse like we've seen during the end of Bush's term, doesn't happen again. as I understand it, some of these rules are not dissimilar to the controls put on baks after the great depression.

the Bad: SCOTUS struck down a DECADES-old ruling, which restricted corporations from spending money on political campaigns.

So much for there not being 'activist republican judges' on the bench! This sucks for americans, and really, is just more proof of how corrupt the republican party is: we know the overwhelming majority of large corporations favor the Republican platform of tax sheltering, steering lobbies, and putting profits ahead of working americans. It's difficult to argue, w/ unfathomable precedences liek this, that we are not "a government for the corporations, of the corporations, and by the corporations."

the Ugly: The WH, Senate Dems and many other Americans were hoping to have the Senate healthcare reform bill passed by the House of Representatives within days or weeks, and get it to Obama's desk before the end of February. There were to be guarantees by President Obama, that the government would work on partnering w/ the house, immediately after signing bill into law, to satisfy some of their demands, and changes they wanted to make to the Seante's version. Why the rush? because the new GOP Senator from MA, Scott Brown, was going to vote against it, in effect killing it, due to Senate not having enough votes, by the time the House amended the Senate's version (this was a huge blunder by the Obama administration, to not put "high - priority" status on this MA senate seat, both to find a better candidate, and ensure a dem victory. No way in a thousand years does Hillary Clinton make this mistake). Pelosi announced today, ""In its present form without any changes I don't think it's possible to pass the Senate bill in the House," the speaker said. "I don't see the votes for it at this time. The members have been very clear." Moving forward, it's anyone's guess as to WHAT will happen next.

Guess what? The Senate's HCR bill sucked. I'm a Dem and deemed it week, and didn't want it to pass. Most progressives, many liberals, and hardcore Dems feel the same way. I consider this a win. Let them go back to the drawing board, and re-craft a REAL healtchare/insurance reform bill, that has a public option, no mandate, and (gasp!), perhaps even a single-payer plan! It will be better for ALL americans in the long-run!

So...what's the 'ugly' part? Do I really need to tell you? Let me (not) count the ways. In a nutshell, Republicans will use this to drub the democratic party into submission, for failing on their #1 goal, and they will win back many seats in the House and Congress this year, and almost lassuredly, the Presidency in 2012, along with more congressional seats.

This was ANOTHER mistake Obama and his team made, boren out of inexperience, to hang his entire presidency on passing HCR. NEVER, would Hillary Clinton make that same mistake. Obama, simply couldn't imagine the size and scope the battle would be, against the greed-frenzy corporations and their gigantic lobbies-monster. it time to pick up the kids from school yet?!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Martha "Choakley" shows us the way forward

Spacejace beat me to it, but I totally agree with his rant. I was all for reconciliation on the HCR bill long before that sack of excrement Lieberman began whining for attention. Speaking of whom, I imagine the new senator from Massachusetts will become Joe's new BFF, since nobody but the teabag crowd wants anything to do with him. Except maybe Harry Reid, who must have a skeleton in Lieberman's closet or something; seriously, how can one single jackass continuously demand the majority leader bend over and take it.

Oh, yeah, the filibuster. Time for that ship to sail. Undemocratic, and all that. Honestly, what does Reid have to lose? Have you seen the polls in Nevada? He's toast, so what's he got to lose, really? He could...gasp!...start leading like a Democrat, and maybe pull his base back around to supporting him again. Hell, he might even get himself reelected.
We believe that quality and affordable health care is a basic right.
So let's do it, already. Coakley's lackluster campaign and Scott Brown's (out-of-state staffed, and corporate-sponsored) "insurgency" just serves to illustrate what happens when Democrats stop acting like Democrats.

They get rolled.

We spent almost the entire last decade being told "F-you" by the Goopers. Playing nice went out the window a looooong time ago, so I'm all for a street fight.

Massachusetts has a new senator-elect, a one trick pony who's got to stand for re-election in 2012. If Democrats start acting like Democrats again, this guy will be cleaning out his office again soon.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

silver lining for Dems? my rant on the Massachusetts special election..

so there's a social networking site I frequent occasionally. here's a rant I just posted on a friend's site (misspellings, and all, you friggin' grammar-nazis!) about the special election in Massachusetts today...

there IS a silver lining or two for us Dems: 1) we get the disillusion of the 60-seat 'majority' actually mattering, at least w/ this congress, out of the way early (instead of this November), and can use the slap in the face to remember that legislating the party platform is of paramount importance, and get to it sooner; and to do it, we SURELY don't need to meet republicans anywhere near the middle, since each one will vote against any real change, anyway (along w/ some weak-ass dems in the senate), and 2) relative to that, this sorry-excuse-for-a-healthcare-reform bill the Senate watered down from the House's version might actually not pass now, and we can start over w/ a real one, that has a true public option, no mandate, and 'gasp!,' perhaps even a single-payer option, and use reconciliation, or other maneuvers - including a couple more years of educating the masses who STILL don't have any clue why their healthcare premiums have gone up 'crazy-like' the last couple of years - and legislate some real change in this country. It was only a year or two ago, healthcare insurance companies laughed at accepting people w/ pre-existing conditions (Dems knocked down that obstacle), and a mere decade ago when the entire GOP and healthcare insurance companies laughed at the thought of healthcare for everyone (today, you won't hear a single one say they're against it). Baby steps, baby. Knowledge is power. If the mainstream media, comprised of Hannity, Rush, Bill-O, Fox and others, actually gave a crap about America, they might actually be able to educate their lobotomized followers about how the many industries the GOP fights for, and unregulated corporate, grand-scale book-cooking and scheming, is crushing their middle-class american hopes and dreams. Saw a great bumper sticker the other day: "of course it hurts: you're getting screwed by an elephant!"

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Top 10 Reasons to Kill the Senate Healthcare Bill

Firedoglake is a leading progressive blog and consistently represents some of the best, most honest, investigative and thoroughly-researched reporting, writing, analysis and opinions on leading issues of the day, the internet has to offer. For real, for real. I discovered them during the Patrick Fitzgerald/Valerie Plame/Scooter Libby Trial, when one of their reporters/writers ("emptywheel" perhaps?) live blogged daily, direct from the courtroom (no audio or video devices were allowed in courtroom or to be used for reporting). It. Was. Awesome. Never mind, "Survivor" and "Grey's Anatamoy," THAT trial, was ridiculously-high drama! Recently, FDL has outpaced everyone else out there, with their analysis, research and reporting on "all-things" Healthcare/Insurance Reform. Between the staff at FDL and one of my all-time favorite writers/reporters David Sirota, it's become crystal clear to me, this HCR Bill is complete bullshit, and should be struck down, in it's current form. Obama and the Senate Dems should be ashamed of themselves for trying to pass this off on the American people. I will be posting more factual, 'must-read' pieces from FDL in the future. Here is one from a few weeks ago, and if you click on original article (on HuffPo; I couldn't relocate it on FDL's site), you can view th entire story/background for EACH of the folowing 10 points. Get clued in Y'all - knowledge truly is power!-sj

Jane Hamsher
Founder, FireDogLake
Posted: Dec 21, 2009

At we've been covering the health care debate extensively for months now and have put together an incredibly knowledgeable team. So I asked our expert-in-residence Jon Walker, our health care reporter Dave Dayen, analyst Marcy Wheeler and the rest of our team to help make it simple: how do we let people know what's going to happen to them if the Senate bill passes?

Everyone put their heads together and came up with a list:

Top 10 Reasons to Kill Senate Health Care Bill

1. Forces you to pay up to 8% of your income to private insurance corporations -- whether you want to or not.

2. If you refuse to buy the insurance, you'll have to pay penalties of up to 2% of your annual income to the IRS.

3. Many will be forced to buy poor-quality insurance they can't afford to use, with $11,900 in annual out-of-pocket expenses over and above their annual premiums.

4. Massive restriction on a woman's right to choose, designed to trigger a challenge to Roe v. Wade in the Supreme Court.

5. Paid for by taxes on the middle class insurance plan you have right now through your employer, causing them to cut back benefits and increase co-pays.

6. Many of the taxes to pay for the bill start now, but most Americans won't see any benefits -- like an end to discrimination against those with preexisting conditions -- until 2014 when the program begins.

7. Allows insurance companies to charge people who are older 300% more than others.

8. Grants monopolies to drug companies that will keep generic versions of expensive biotech drugs from ever coming to market.

9. No re-importation of prescription drugs, which would save consumers $100 billion over 10 years.

10. The cost of medical care will continue to rise, and insurance premiums for a family of four will rise an average of $1,000 a year -- meaning in 10 years, your family's insurance premium will be $10,000 more annually than it is right now.

Background information on each point:

1. Hardship Waiver And Restrictions On Immigrants Buying Insurance Undercut Arguments For An Individual Mandate, by Jon Walker

2. What's in the Manager's Amendment by David Dayen

click HERE to read/view all 10 of these articles for each point, as 'click-able' links (which are not displayed as links here), and also sign the very user-friendly petition (!) to kill this Seante bull., I mean bill. And here is the outro...

The Senate bill isn't a "starter home," it's a sink hole. It needs to die so something else can take its place. It doesn't matter whether people are on the right or the left -- once they understand the con job that's about to be foisted on them, they agree. That's why Harry Reid and President Obama are trying to jam it through as fast as they can, before people get wise. So email the list to your friends and family, tweet it and spread the word.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

NFL wild card playoff predictions...

Dallas 25
Eagles 23...this score is very close to my score prediction a week ago, I realize. But for today's game I am much more confident this game will be much closer, perhaps a nail-biter. Last weekend I spoke about how neither team had superior match-ups or players than the other, and how coaching wasn't better one way or the other. The difference in predicting a Dallas win last weekend I discussed, was desire, confidence, revenge, cohesion, and those sort of things. And as you saw, that was the difference-maker (although they surely looked like they had better players and coaches on the field!): there was no way Dallas was losing last weekend. They took it to the Birds in every aspect, and won the game in the first quarter. They were on fire. Birds were, "eh."

I do not expect that this weekend. I expect the Eagles to come out tonight and come close - if not equalling - in matching the cowpatties in heart, motiviation and fire. That alone will make the game closer. What I don't expect, however, is for Eagles to do everything they need to do win. I fully expect Reid to not commit to the run enough, which we all know by now is a 'must' to truly put this team's players in the best postition to succeed. And it's difficult to expect that both the offense, defense, and individual players (McNabb, DeSean Jackson, etc) will all play great. Because Dallas is playing very well now, and the game/refs are in Dallas, I do think the Eagles need to have a perfect game to win. That's asking a lot, which is why I think Dallas wins. If Eagles can put together a perfect game, or the defense can figure out everything they did wrong last weekend (which was the main reason we lost) and get 2 or 3 turnovers, then we can win w/out being perfect. But one thing I KNOW we have to do to stand a chance, is double-team Austin Miles. He commands it, and he must be taken out of the game w/ Asante Samuel and either one of our safeties or a thirs CB. Secondly, we need to blitz and get crazy pressure on Romo - in a timely fashion. I don't know if Sean McDermott (D. Coord) and our front 7 are capable of this but they have to try this weekend. They surely didn't last weekend. An Eagles win today, however, would be GI-GANTIC, and even the possibility of a win, has already made my day.

Other games:
Packers beat Arizona in a barnburner. No A. Boldin seals the deal for me on this one.
Bengals beat Jets, because let's face it: the Jets aren't that good.
Patriots beat the Ravens because of better coaching and Tom Brady.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

a brief review of 2009 Eagles predictions made back in Sept 08

To view the original blogpost with all predictions/thoughts I made back in Sept. click here

Prediction: Birds would be 10 & 6, based on their light schedule, and that "they may squeak in as a wild card (like they did in the 2007 season), but will exit playoffs in first or second round."
Reality: they went 11 & 5, winning one more game than I thought they would, and have in fact made it to the post-season as the 6th and final seed.

Prediction: they'd go 3 & 3 in division.
Reality: they went 4 & 2, sweeping 'skind and giants, losing both games to Dallas. Again, slightly better than I thought they'd do.

Prediction: They'd lose the first two games, and win the next four, settling in at 4 & 2 after their first 6 games.
Reality: They went 1 & 1, then 3 & 1; they were 4 & 2 after 6, just not exactly like I thought.

Prediction: I called it even money, as to whether Reid would employ Vick properly. I didn't know what he was thinking, but surely didn't think it likely for him Vick like other top coaches around the league would have see orig post for more on this).
Reality: only flashes of him using Vick properly; Reid most def failed in this regard.

Prediction: "Reid will continue to undervalue the running game and not run as much as he should, like he has his previous 10 years here."
Reality: Sure, he undervalued the running game, did not run enough, and failed miserably at committing to running (and he has the losses to prove it), HOWEVER, during the 6-winning streak (winter stretch), he DID actually preside over the longest, consecutive game stretch, with a balanced offensive attack in his 11-years here! TOTAL SHOCK! His previous record before reverting back to his unbalanced, cumbersome, not-ideal, "pass early, often, always," offensive scheme, was two games; he TRIPLED that during the 6-game win streak! Why? THAT is the question no writers, or media personnel have asked Reid yet; and seemingly never will. Perhaps I'll go knock on his door one of these days and ask him!

I do beleive Eagles will lose for the third time versus Dallas this weekend, and exit in the first round, but more on this prediction later in week, perhaps.

Question: has anyone heard about the date/time for the Parade we get for being the "Gold Standard" in the league (for which all other NFL teams shall be measured by), as per Owner Jeff Lurie's assessment a couple of years ago?

Sunday, January 3, 2010

"Stakes is High" - Birds thoughts & prediction on today's BIG Eagles-Cowpatties game

NFL games in the regular season don't get any bigger than this. The winner of today's Eagles/Cowboys game (in Dallas, 4:15PM) will win the NFC East and host their first playoff game. If the Eagles win, they get a first round bye. I think some other things have to happen for Cowboys to get a first round bye (if they can at all); not sure. While still in holidaze-recovery mode, I haven't been able to stay up on every detail.

Additional stakes? Momentum, "peaking at the right time," confidence, and more. Both teams are playing well. Eagles have won six straight games, and Dallas, after having lost 3 straight thru mid-Dec, have won their last two games, both on the road, including the upset of the year in beating the Saints (and ending their undefeated season), and last weekend shutting out Redskins.

In the Eagles 6-game stretch (and it must be stated, all these games were against average or below average teams, none, I think are going to the post-season), something unprecedented has taken place: after 11 years as Head Coach/King of the Empire, Andy Reid (or is it really someone else?) has engineered the most balanced offense this Eagles team has ever executed. 53% passing, 47% running (see more on these details and Hall-of-Fame writer Ray Didinger's analysis here). And our offense has NEVER looked so good, and run so smoothly. Now for those friends of mine, and followers of this blog who have paid attention, you know, this has ALWAYS been Reid's biggest weakness, and my biggest frustration with him: he outright fails to see what is working and what isn't as a head coach. That's precisely why I've wanted him fired for years now. The most he has ever committed to the run and this type of balanced attack, until this point, in his decade(+) as Head Coach here has been two games. Two.

For whatever reason, we're going on 6 straight games now. The reason it's so tough to predict Eagles games and Eagles seasons, is not because of the teams we're scheduled to play, or match-ups and everything else, it's because you never know when Reid is going to pay the fuck attention and do what he always talks about doing but almost never does: putting his players in the best position to succeed. There is absolutely no method to his madness at all. It's what frustrates Eagles fans so much.

Eagles fans/amateur football analysts: don't chalk this "run-heavy" offense up to having the lead, and killing the clock. For one, Reid kills the clock with PASSING. Seriously. Last weekend's Denver game is the most recent example of this. He almost never runs to kill the clock. Secondly If you've ever watched an Eagles game where Reid actually does commit and stay w/ running, even when it's not highly effective, it's WAY obvious to see him doing it. It happens from the get-go, early in the game and the offensive linemen are smiling. You are seeing things he almost never does in this case: calling two running plays in a row; running on 2nd and short and (gasp!) 3rd and short; handing the ball off to the full back (gasp again!), and sometimes, when the planets are aligned, he decides to run THREE TIMES IN A ROW!

I could go on about Reid's highly-dysfunctional, moderately successful, and yet, quite honestly, still underachieving career here (1 win, 4 losses in conference-championship games), but there's only so much I can take during the holiday season. I WANT Reid to prove me wrong. I WANT Reid to prove to me he has what it takes to get a team to the SuperBowl and win. So far he hasn't, and his own deficiencies are the reason. He's a really good coach. And he's responsible for all the success this team has had in his 11 years here. He's also responsible for all of the team's shortcomings.

Prediction on today's game:

I wouldn't bet on this game if you gave me money. It should be very close and no team winning it is a big surprise, although I'd be more surprised if Eagles won. On paper, all the match-ups are even enough, to discard them. Players on both sides of the ball, for both teams, have roughly the same amount of strengths and weaknesses. Game-day coaching is even (really, though, does anyone think Andy Reid could've gone down to New Orleans two weeks again and engineer a win like Wade Phillips mustered?). Look, If Reid can continue the balanced offense, and "run-committing" that he has the last 6 weeks, I think we will win. 26 called rushing attempts or more, I would say. I think today is the day he moves on from this winning philosophy. We'll see.

The" intangibles" are what stick out to me a little more in this game, and will make the difference I think. Dallas already beat us this year, here in Philly. Today, they're playing at home. I DEF consider this an advantage for them, and you can count on seeing at least one BIG call going their way (undeservedly) from the Refs today. Revenge: last year, we beat them 44-6 in Philly, if memory serves (also the last regular season game), and knocked them out of the playoffs. I am confident this will translate to them being more aggressive on both sides of the ball than us, and give them a little more explosiveness/incentive. Their confidence is high. When you beat the Saints like they did, followed by a shutout last week - as putrid as the Redskins are - you are confident you can do anything. This will no doubt be the toughest team the Eagles played in almost two months.

I think Dallas wins today. But like I often say, "I hope I'm wrong." I hope Eagles CRUSH them by 30 points. Or even beat them by one point. I just don't see it happening today.

Dallas 27, Eagles 25.