March 31, 2009

Free Al Franken

This cannot stand. Al has won the vote, won the recount, and is winning every court challenge. This is sore loserdom on a grand scale. Minnesota needs a Senator, and American needs Al Franken in a position of power.

Free Al Franken!

Credit Due

You know, for all the sound and fury of the right-wing noise machine, the American people still find the truth most of the time. Back during the Clinton Impeachment, despite an overwhelming effort from both the conservative and mainstream press, the American people never supported impeachment.

Likewise, despite a massive effort to blame the clean-up crew for the mess, polls show that blame is getting assigned where it belongs. In this WashPost poll 80% blame banks and large corporations for the current mess. 70% blame the Bush Administration. Just 26% blame the Obama Administration. The American people know what's up.

March 30, 2009

Wait, We're the Bad Guy?

Now here's something to turn the classic "aliens invasion" movie on it's head. Make humans the invaders. Yeah, that's us with the big guns, no more home planet and the desperation to try and steal a world. The buggy eyed aliens have to defend hearth and home.


I'm sure I'm not the first one to point this out this morning, but how is it that the Obama Administration can fire the head of GM as the price to pay for bail-out, but the big financial company CEO's are still in their jobs? Are banks really that different? Or is it just clout?

March 26, 2009

What Would it Take?

Do we have any economists in the house? Does anyone know what it would take to really go to a global currency? I mean it's fun to watch the half-baked conspiracy theorist go off, but I'm kind of interested in the real theory. A united world currency has to have benefits, right? No more exchanges at the airport, good for trade, lots of small, shaky countries don't have to worry about their currency going to shit. A world currency would have all kinds of benefits. One of best being 90% of the Fox News on-air staff would have their heads explode.

March 25, 2009

2/3 Cool

Stephen Colbert now has his name on a room of the international space station. Do not open up your Internet poll to write-in answers, that's just asking for trouble. Sadly, #2 choice was Serenity, which would have been great.

A Flash of The Rock Obama

My guess is that Rahm did a little dance in the back of the room after this.

There's power in anger. Just watch out for the windows.

March 24, 2009

Interests, Not Friends

We are not so much "fighting a war on terror" as we are "trying to keep Pakistan from collapsing." Which means, if Nawaz Shari gets back into power, we have got deal with him, no matter what the history. Besides, if he's a sneaky enough bastard to get back into power, maybe he can keep a lid on things. And there is no place we need to keep a lid on more than Pakistan.

Low Rent Bond Villian

Bobby Jinal's secret plan to clear the field for 2012:

Get Sarah Palin with a Volcano.

March 23, 2009

I Hate it

When it rains just enough to move the dirt on my car around, without washing it clean. Now it looks even worse than before. If I go through all the trouble of getting rained on, I want some benefit.

A Plan and the Problems

U.S. Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner presents his plan to deal with toxic assets.

Paul Krugman tells us why it will not work.

March 21, 2009


In honor of March Madness, the greatest dunk of all time. Most impressive, he didn't kill himself.

The Best Dunk Ever - Watch more

March 19, 2009

Brand Fail

Oh corporate, how you fail me:

The Sci Fi channel is going to change it's name to "Syfy"

Because SyFy is less geeky. Ha. The tv network of BattleStar Galactica, ten versions of StarGate and SS Doomtrooper is trying to be less geeky.

But the name is same. It reads the same. This is just one of those dumb alternative spellings, like extreme with an "x" or pluralizing something with a "z" That doesn't make you cool, just sad. You're a cable network that shows science fiction, fantasy and horror. Just run with that. Those genres are popular. Lot's of people love them. That's a certain kind of cool. So stop trying to be cool. Don't be embarrassed of who you are.

March 18, 2009

When All Else Fails

Print Money.

Oh sure they have a fancy economic term for it: Quantitave Easing. But it really means buying up stuff. Where does the money come from? They print it.

I know what you're thinking, you just can't print money like that. Why, that could lead to this or this. But we are in a pretty serous recession here. Inflation is not our problem. Sure, we got to watch things down the line, but at this point Ben Bernanke is more worried about about the trouble right now rather than the trouble to come.

As are we all.

Completely, Sadly True

I'm years away from any kind of education and still, my anxiety dreams are didn't study for the test dreams. It doesn't matter what I'm worried about in real life, my sub-conscious is still worried about those damn tests. I never did study enough.

March 17, 2009


Going to go be Irish for a while. Don't wait up.

The Whole Point

My guess is that Republicans will regret cutting lose on the AIG bonuses. Sure it feels good right now to declare that corrupt corporate executives should be boiled in oil or should kill themselves. Heck, I've indulged in such attacks just a couple of posts ago. But the modern Republican Party exists to serve the interests of the moneyed class. Tax cuts for the wealthy is pretty much the last thing the GOP stands for. So once GOP Senators start to attack the rich, they really have no other reason for being.

March 16, 2009

In But Not Of

The best White House memoir I've every read wasn't by a President or a Chief of Staff or a senior aid but the one written by the joke guy. Mark Katz spent the Clinton years writing the President's humor speeches and wrote an absolutely great book about it. Not only was it a great read, Clinton and Me gives great insight into the Washington Humor circuit and the President's role in it.

So it is with great interest to read about President Obama's decision to skip this year's Gridiron Club dinner. Of the four major humor speeches on each year's agenda, the Gridiron is by far the most insider. It's not televised like the White House correspondence dinner. The attendees wear ridiculous white tie and tail get-ups. When Digby rips the insider Establishment of the Washington "Village" things like the Gridiron Club are what she's talking about. The Gridiron is secret, elitist in the worse sense, and conservative in the "don't change anything" way that tries to kill every Presidential agenda. So when Obama skips this dinner, he's sending a message. He's shaking up the institutions that need shaking up. He's in Washington, but he's not of Washington. He works there, but he lives out here. This President has twenty four hours in a day, but faces a host of problems, every one of which make my teeth hurt just to think about. He can't wast a moment, even when he's telling jokes. Or in this case, not telling jokes.

Fire Everyone

Let's not nibble around the edges.

March 15, 2009

Powerless Evil

While it's important to note that Dick Cheney remains evil as always, the truly important thing is that he has no power anymore. I'm not even sure why we are talking to him anymore.

March 11, 2009

Congress Getting More Popular

Up 20 points in the last two months. What have they been doing for the last couple months? Implementing the Obama agenda! The stimulus package, fair pay act and so on. They are doing what the people want! Forget all this talk about doing too much. Do more. This is a popular agenda. People will like you if you do it, and maybe even vote for you again.

March 10, 2009

This is Rational

Let me get this straight. A huge bank, which has made a series of highly leveraged bets that lost so much money that the very existence of the company is imperiled, the result of which the bank must receive massive tax payer subsidy just to remain in existence. This banks makes some money for a couple of months, in no way alters the underlying insolvency issue or the need for government backing and the entire stock market makes huge gains. Tomorrow everyone will remember that Citigroup is insolvent, that we are in the middle of a recession and the market will fall. What's so rational about all of this? Everyone has been lecturing me since grade school on the rationality of markets. So somebody tell me, what is so damn rational about this market?

Everybody Beefing

Rush Limbaugh is now getting into it with Newt Gingrich. Not sure who to cheer for in this particular confrontation. But I do like Limbaugh on rampage. There won't be a Republican leader left, after he's finish this ideological thrill-kill spree.

More interesting Meghan McCain, who I've admitted to have some weakness for in the past, launched a full broadside against Ann Coulter. Coulter being evil in high heels, picking a side in this fight comes rather easily.

This is healthy. The GOP is in terrible shape right now. We really do need two real parties, each capable of governing the Country, to make democracy work. The GOP has to work out it's issues if it even wants to get back in power. And that means fights. Lot's of fights. Which have the added bonus of amusing me, so great.

March 9, 2009

Ideology of Spoiled Children

I think the fact that a 14-year old boy can make a career hacking up conservative talking points says a lot more about conservatism than the boy.

The story kicker:

“Barack Obama is the most left-wing president in my lifetime,”

March 8, 2009

Fight Night

So, I went to my first real, live Mixed Martial Arts fight night this weekend. Very enjoyable, in a back-to-basics, go-hunt-meat-with-a-stick kind of way. This was not big-time Ultimate Fighting Championship Pay-Per-View with big-time fighters that you know. This is the struggle. The only way you know these fighters is if you went to school with them, or work with their dad. You see that guy who’s 18-2 and fighting on pay-per-view? Well, his first five wins came at small regional promotions like this.
The whole set-up is very tribal. I would love to unleash an anthropologist on this scene. The fighters come in to music, all tattooed up and with 0 percent body fat. They each have an entourage of least a couple, and sometimes more than 10, guys. I want to be the No. 4 guy in the entourage. The first three guys have real jobs – cut man, water and coach in some combination. But dudes No. 4 and higher just need to wear the matching T-shirt and walk in like a badass. Maybe carry the belt if your man is a champion. Every fighter had their cheering section, but size of crowd did not equal a better fighter and plenty of people went away disappointed. The whole setup is a very elaborate dance. The refs, the ring card girls, camera-folk, the corner guys come in and out the cage at their appointed times. From pre-fight inspection to post-fight photos, the entire thing is well scripted. The only bit of true chaos in all this is the fight itself. You’ve got no idea how the fight is going to turn out. Is the guy in the green trunks really intense or just really nervous? Do all the muscles on that guy mean he’s powerful, or so muscle-bound he can’t defend himself? That’s why we ring the bell, and that’s why we watch.

March 7, 2009

Spread the Word

I was talking about The Wire and how word of it spreads. You hear the show recommended from a couple of different people, hear good things, then you get that first DVD worth, then you're hooked. I want to do my part to spread the word. So here's the best scene from the first season:

March 6, 2009


Newt is teasing me again. I'm not sure if I want to be put though the emotional ringer again. I have such a hard time letting go.

Second Time as Farce

Doing McCarthy the second time around is just farce.

Check out Glen Beck talking to an actual Communist - Sam Webb of the Communist Party USA, trying to link Obama to Communism, and failing miserably.

Because Glen Beck is a lunatic. He doesn't know what Communism actually is, as if that mattered. A guy six beers deep at the end of the bar is a better judge of politics.

Plus, he's doing McCarthy all wrong. You can't just ask an actual communist. You have to be mysterious, say something like "I have in my hand an official list of communists and Obama is on it!" then not show anyone the list or tell how you got it. Refer to secret sources you can't reveal. An actual public interview with an actual Red just falls on its face.

March 4, 2009

Now Those were some Taxes

Via Balloon Juice, here's a chart of the tax rate on the top bracket over the years. The first thing that jumps out at you is that we taxed the ever-living crap out of the rich back in the day. The top tax rate was an astounding 90% up until 1964. Think about that. That prosperous, leave-it-to beaver world of the 1950's was built on taking all the money from the rich folks.

I'm done hearing about conservative whining about going back to the 1990's top tax rate of just under 40%. Shut up, or we will go Dwight D. Eisenhower on your ass.

Worse Mistake

I talk politics with a lot of people, and when the conversation turns to taxes, the most worse mistake I run across is this one:

The premise of the report is this: Barack Obama plans to raise taxes on people who make more than $250,000, so the reporter has gone and found people who earn a little more than that sum who plan to decrease their income so that they come in underneath the magic line.

Now, the obvious objection here is that the tax code doesn't work that way. A tax increase affects the marginal dollar that a person gains. That's means only every dollar over $250,000 is taxed at a higher rate. Obama is not proposing a tax system whereby somebody who goes from $249,999 to $250,000 suddenly becomes poorer. Nobody has ever enacted a tax hike like that in the history of the United States.

A lot of people, smart, informed people I've talked to don't understand this. They think if they make less money, they will take home more money after taxes. They think the current tax code discourages you from earning money. Some even earn less money based on this mistake. I wonder how many people out there make believe this. We need a poll. My guess is that millions of dollars and thousands of potential Democratic votes are going to waste because people don't understand the basics of marginal tax rates.

The Party of Anger

John McCain is pissed off. A lot of liberals fondly remember the John McCain of the 2001 to 2004 era, where he broke with Bush and conservatives on a whole host of issues, such as taxes, global warming and campaign finance reform. This wasn't born so much out of ideological conviction, but rather anger at getting beat by Bush in the 2000 primary. Eventually, McCain's need to be President won out, he forgave Bush, and became the pretty conventional conservative that got beat in 2008. And guess what? Getting beat in 2008 made John McCain pretty angry. So today McCain is going to go right, to attack the man who beat him, just like he went left to attack the man who beat him in 2000. The isn't a political leader. He's more like a bull, charge where ever the red flag leads him.

Master of Spys

Watched Body of Lies recently. Very serviceable modern espionage movie, very informed, very slick. I never get tired of Ridley Scott's style, no matter how many visual tricks he pulls out. Good work from the stars - Leo as the hero, of course. And Russell Crowe makes a great moral cesspool as his CIA boss. Do you guys like Crowe better in his made of iron body or his spare tire body? I think his acting is better when he carries a spare.

But the guy who steals the movie is Mark Strong as Hani Salaam, Director of Jordanian Intelligence. Salaam is cultured, sophisticated and polite. He is a certain ally in the shifting, uncertain world of espionage. And he will burn your ass to the ground with supreme ruthlessness if you cross him.

Which got me to thinking about spymasters, a type of character who've I've always found fascinating as part of my larger infatuation with all things spycraft. So I present to you The Craig's top five spymasters of all time:

5. Peter Firth as Harry Pearce in Spooks. My new ideal. Alternatively ruthless and compassionate. A morally compromised moral center. The spymaster as a human being.

4. Mark Strong as Hani Salaam in Body of Lies. See above. Do not lie to him.

3. Alec Guinness as George Smiley in Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy. Mr Smiley is a different kind of creature. The spymaster as shlub. Yeah he's over the hill, on the outs with his bosses, and his wife left him. But he's going to find that mole, damn the consequences.

2. "Wild Bill" Donovan as himself. Founded the OSS, which became the CIA. Played the game during WW2 and won. For real, unlike the rest of these fictional losers.

1. Judi Dench as M in Casino Royale. Sure, there were other M's and they all disapproved of James Bond's antics. But when Dame Dench disapproves of Bond, I sit up straighter in my theater seat.

March 3, 2009

Everthing is Socialism

Good story on how socialism is getting thrown out as an insult. In fact, everything Obama does is socialism. Raise taxes on the wealthy: Socialism! Cut taxes for everyone else: Socialism! Action on health care: Socialism! Any action on health care, from better record keeping to national single-payer: Socialism!

Everything Obama does is socialism. They love to smear, socialism is their current smear of choice, and so everything is socialism. It doesn't matter how mild or how carefully balanced. Its all going to get labeled socialism.

March 2, 2009

Crack Up

You know, I was just thinking, I'm running out of thing to gloat about, poltically speaking. Having lost every last bit of power in Washington, there are just not many misfortunes left to fall on the GOP at this time.

Why the only thing that could make this worse would be for the conservative movement to wreck itself with infighting.

Well look at that. Rush Limbaugh is getting into a pissing match with the new head Republican.

Guess I got a little gloating left in me after all.

UPDATE: Michael Steele goes groveling to Rush. Holy Cats, maybe Rush really is in charge.

Paul Harvey...Good Day!

Back in the day, before I knew that other radio stations existed my parents would always listen to KNGT - Home Town Radio. One of their features was always Paul Harvey. Silky smooth voice, breaking down the news, pitching products. He had the news of the day, funny dumb criminal stories, couples that had made it to their 60th (!) wedding anniversary, the ironic twists from history in his "The Rest of the Story" bits. He was the most amazing salesman. To this day I remain convinced the Boise Radio is the best ever made, and I've never actually heard one. Eventually I discovered the dial on the side of the radio, and moved to stations that played cooler music and didn't tell you a bit of news. Now that I know where I stand, I can safely say that the "Comment" part of Paul Harvey, News and Comment is all wet.

But Paul Harvey was the one that taught me that news could be fun, was worth paying attention to. That the world was worth listening to. So thank you for that Mr. Harvey.

Master of Loses

Is it strange that knowing that even super-master-grand-supreme investor Warren Buffet has a disastrous 2008 is a great comfort to me? First of all, it means we know he's not cheating, which puts him up on some. Plus, it means I don't suck so bad. My few grand and my semi-well though out investment stratagy did just as bad as the guy who get billions of dollars to invest.

We hear a lot about personal achievement in this Country. Work hard, be smart and riches, or at least comfort will be yours. If you end up poor, well that's just cause your lazy, or dumb, or too dependent on the government.

But if we are all at the mercy at the market, if none of us, even Warren-fricken-Buffet can play this game and come out ahead, maybe its not all about hard work. Maybe it not personal achievement alone. Maybe we need a better system. We need regulation to stop the fraud and crazed bets, and help for the least off, and more powerful unions so workers, not management get a bigger share of the pie.

We need a system where we all don't end up losing.