Monthly Archives: March 2011

Dumbest Quote About Libya

I'm not crazy about our intervention in Libya, and I'm among those who think the action is unconstitutional (not that anyone cares anymore about the War Powers Clause — that was dead letter law decades ago).

But this criticism of Obama is just plain stupid.  It comes from Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX):

But then when you find out we're being sent to Libya to use our treasure and American lives there, maybe there's intention to so deplete the military that we're going to need that presidential reserve officer commissioned corps and non-commissioned corps that the president can call up on a moment's notice involuntarily, according to the Obamacare bill.

Video?  You betcha:


I guess what he's saying is…. that President Obama joined a coalition to intervene in Libya so he could deliberately undermine the military, creating the need for a separate, secret presidential army, which President Obama can call up thanks to language contained in the health reform law.

The private presidential army thing is a favorite of right-wing chain mails.  It's totally untrue, tinfoil hat, stuff.  Yet here is a Republican representative, spouting it as true.  Bizarre.

RELATED:  At the White House Press Correspondent's Dinner, Rand Paul (of all people) gets in a nice dig at Fox News:


"There's a big debate over there," he said. "Fox News can't decide, what do they love more, bombing the Middle East or bashing the president? It's like I was over there and there was an anchor going, they were pleading, can't we do both? Can't we bomb the Middle East and bash the president at the same time? How are we going to make this work?"

TV Recommendation

NOVA tonight… entitled Japan’s Killer Quake.  

It's only been a few weeks, and yet the events in Japan are already receding into the memory's past for those outside the ravaged country.  The NOVA special will help us remember that the whole catastrophe is far from over.

From all accounts, it is not disaster porn (although there is, of course, non-gory footage of the earthquake and tsunami's destructive power).  It is a sobering account of what happened, what is happening, and could it happen again.

And while you're watching it, remember that it is the kind of reporting that Republicans in Congress want to kill.

A preview:




Is America Waking Up?

Suddenly, the majority of Americans realize that Fox News isn't a reliable source:

In the space of one year, Fox News has lost its perch as the most trusted TV news network in the US and is now average at best, a new survey has found.

A poll gauging public trust in TV news has found that PBS is the most trusted name in news, while trust in Fox News has dropped significantly.

According to a survey from Public Policy Polling, "a year ago a plurality of Americans said they trusted Fox News. Now a plurality of them don't."

In a survey taken a year ago, PPP found that Fox was the most trusted news network, with 49 percent saying they trusted the network, and 37 percent saying they did not. In the new poll, 42 percent said they trusted the network while 46 percent disagreed.

PPP notes that trust in the network declined only marginally among conservatives, from 75 percent to 72 percent. "But moderates and liberals have both had a strong increase in their level of distrust for the network — a 12-point gain from 48 percent to 60 percent for moderates and a 16-point gain from 66 percent to 82 percent for liberals," the institute reported.

Yeah, THAT’LL Work!

Waste of money:

An advertisement for Winston-Salem will soon be in the advertising center of the U.S. — Times Square.

The billboard in the Big Apple will entice people to visit Winston-Salem for a weekend trip to experience a different kind of city.

The five-second add will run 120 times, with a potential viewing audience of more than one million people.

The ad will run from April 11 to 17.

The advertising was funded by 



Speaking of Michelle Bachmann Running For President….

… maybe it's time we review some of her craziest quotes (Source):

"And what a bizarre time we're in, when a judge will say to little children that you can't say the pledge of allegiance, but you must learn that homosexuality is normal and you should try it."

"I wish the American media would take a great look at the views of the people in Congress and find out: Are they pro-America or anti-America?

"There are hundreds and hundreds of scientists, many of them holding Nobel Prizes, who believe in intelligent design."

"I find it interesting that it was back in the 1970s that the swine flu broke out then under another Democrat president Jimmy Carter. And I'm not blaming this on President Obama, I just think it's an interesting coincidence."

"[Gay marriage] is probably the biggest issue that will impact our state and our nation in the last, at least, thirty years. I am not understating that."

"Normalization [of gayness] through desensitization. Very effective way to do this with a bunch of second graders is take a picture of 'The Lion King' for instance, and a teacher might say, 'Do you know that the music for this movie was written by a gay man?' The message is: 'I'm better at what I do, because I'm gay.'"

"But we also know that the very founders that wrote those documents worked tirelessly until slavery was no more in the United States."

"It is a brand new, billion-dollar high speed train that is going to go from Disneyland up to Las Vegas…Harry Reid, the Senator from Nevada, was behind this measure, and it makes us wonder, is he more interested in making sure kids start gambling at younger ages?"

"The President of the United States will be taking a trip over to India that is expected to cost the taxpayers $200 million a day."


100 Years Ago Today

Triangle Shirtwaist Company fire, March 25, 1911, New York, New York.

Good source material at Cornell's site.



Important because it changed the way New York, and then the rest of the country, viewed labor.  Ushered in a whole slew of laws relating to fire safety measures and conditions in factories.

146 died:

  • Adler, Lizzie, 24
  • Altman, Anna, 16
  • Ardito, Annina, 25
  • Bassino, Rose, 31
  • Benanti, Vincenza, 22
  • Berger, Yetta, 18
  • Bernstein, Essie, 19
  • Bernstein, Jacob, 38
  • Bernstein, Morris, 19
  • Bierman, Gussie, 22
  • Billota, Vincenza, 16
  • Binowitz, Abraham, 30
  • Brenman, Rosie, 23
  • Brenman, Sarah, 17
  • Brodsky, Ida, 15
  • Brodsky, Sarah, 21
  • Brooks, Ada, 18
  • Brunetti, Laura, 17
  • Cammarata, Josephine, 17
  • Caputo, Francesca, 17
  • Carlisi, Josephine, 31
  • Caruso, Albina, 20
  • Ciminello, Annie, 36
  • Cirrito, Rosina, 18
  • Cohen, Anna, 25
  • Colletti, Annie, 30
  • Cooper, Sarah, 16
  • Cordiano , Michelina, 25
  • Dashefsky, Bessie, 25
  • Del Castillo, Josie, 21
  • Dockman, Clara, 19
  • Donick, Kalman, 24
  • Eisenberg, Celia, 17
  • Evans, Dora, 18
  • Feibisch, Rebecca, 20
  • Fichtenholtz, Yetta, 18
  • Fitze, Daisy Lopez, 26
  • Floresta, Mary, 26
  • Florin, Max, 23
  • Franco, Jenne, 16
  • Friedman, Rose, 18
  • Gerjuoy, Diana, 18
  • Gerstein, Molly, 17
  • Giannattasio, Catherine, 22
  • Gitlin, Celia, 17
  • Goldstein, Esther, 20
  • Goldstein, Lena, 22
  • Goldstein, Mary, 18
  • Goldstein, Yetta, 20
  • Grasso, Rosie, 16
  • Greb, Bertha, 25
  • Grossman, Rachel, 18
  • Herman, Mary, 40
  • Hochfeld, Esther, 21
  • Hollander, Fannie, 18
  • Horowitz, Pauline, 19
  • Jukofsky, Ida, 19
  • Kanowitz, Ida, 18
  • Kaplan, Tessie, 18
  • Kessler, Beckie, 19
  • Klein, Jacob, 23
  • Koppelman, Beckie, 16
  • Kula, Bertha, 19
  • Kupferschmidt, Tillie, 16
  • Kurtz, Benjamin, 19
  • L’Abbate, Annie, 16
  • Lansner, Fannie, 21
  • Lauletti, Maria Giuseppa, 33
  • Lederman, Jennie, 21
  • Lehrer, Max, 18
  • Lehrer, Sam, 19
  • Leone, Kate, 14
  • Leventhal, Mary, 22
  • Levin, Jennie, 19
  • Levine, Pauline, 19
  • Liebowitz, Nettie, 23
  • Liermark, Rose, 19
  • Maiale, Bettina, 18
  • Maiale, Frances, 21
  • Maltese, Catherine, 39
  • Maltese, Lucia, 20
  • Maltese, Rosaria, 14
  • Manaria, Maria, 27
  • Mankofsky, Rose, 22
  • Mehl, Rose, 15
  • Meyers, Yetta, 19
  • Midolo, Gaetana, 16
  • Miller, Annie, 16
  • Neubauer, Beckie, 19
  • Nicholas, Annie, 18
  • Nicolosi, Michelina, 21
  • Nussbaum, Sadie, 18
  • Oberstein, Julia, 19
  • Oringer, Rose, 19
  • Ostrovsky , Beckie, 20
  • Pack, Annie, 18
  • Panno, Provindenza, 43
  • Pasqualicchio, Antonietta, 16
  • Pearl, Ida, 20
  • Pildescu, Jennie, 18
  • Pinelli, Vincenza, 30
  • Prato, Emilia, 21
  • Prestifilippo, Concetta, 22
  • Reines, Beckie, 18
  • Rosen (Loeb), Louis, 33
  • Rosen, Fannie, 21
  • Rosen, Israel, 17
  • Rosen, Julia, 35
  • Rosenbaum, Yetta, 22
  • Rosenberg, Jennie, 21
  • Rosenfeld, Gussie, 22
  • Rosenthal, Nettie, 21
  • Rothstein, Emma, 22
  • Rotner, Theodore, 22
  • Sabasowitz, Sarah, 17
  • Salemi, Santina, 24
  • Saracino, Sarafina, 25
  • Saracino, Teresina, 20
  • Schiffman, Gussie, 18
  • Schmidt, Theresa, 32
  • Schneider, Ethel, 20
  • Schochet, Violet, 21
  • Schpunt, Golda, 19
  • Schwartz, Margaret, 24
  • Seltzer, Jacob, 33
  • Shapiro, Rosie, 17
  • Sklover, Ben, 25
  • Sorkin, Rose, 18
  • Starr, Annie, 30
  • Stein, Jennie, 18
  • Stellino, Jennie, 16
  • Stiglitz, Jennie, 22
  • Taback, Sam, 20
  • Terranova, Clotilde, 22
  • Tortorelli, Isabella, 17
  • Utal, Meyer, 23
  • Uzzo, Catherine, 22
  • Velakofsky, Frieda, 20
  • Viviano, Bessie, 15
  • Weiner, Rosie, 20
  • Weintraub, Sarah, 17
  • Weisner, Tessie, 21
  • Welfowitz, Dora, 21
  • Wendorff, Bertha, 18
  • Wilson, Joseph, 22
  • Wisotsky, Sonia, 17
  • The Best News Evah In The History of Everything

    Michelle Bachmann is putting together an exploratory committee to decide if she should run for president in 2012.

    Which usually means, she's running for president in 2012.

    Politics might actaully become funny again.

    Steve Benen's more serious take:

    It's probably fair to say that most reasonable political observers, regardless of party or ideology, would agree that Michele Bachmann is stark raving mad. I don't mean this is a name-calling sense, I mean it objectively — her record of truly insane rants and conspiracy theories makes Bachmann an embarrassment to herself and the institution she serves. There's just something deeply wrong with this person.

    Bachmann's odds of becoming leader of the free world next year are about as good as mine. But that doesn't mean her candidacy, if it exists, won't matter.

    For one thing, Bachmann is so boldly ridiculous, she's bound to generate quite a bit of attention for herself, which could have a real impact on the race. There's only so much media oxygen available for a sizable presidential field, and if Bachmann's clownish antics capture catch reporters' attention, lesser-known candidates like Pawlenty and Daniels may find themselves struggling to stay in the spotlight.

    For another, Bachmann could prove competitive in Iowa, where radically-conservative activists tend to dominate. (Remember, in 1988, radical televangelist Pat Robertson came in second place in the Iowa caucuses, well ahead of the eventual president, George H.W. Bush.)


    Quote Of The Day

    The apparent frivolity of "Friday" is only its most cunning aspect, a bubble-gum Trojan horse containing a radical text throwing itself against the gears of a death-bound society. And in Ms. Black’s voice we hear the full cry of a revolutionary age, Benghazi echoing across Orange County, the ancient wail of all who have ever wanted more.

    — blogger Dana Vachon

    Actually the whole post is brilliant, and I only understood about 25% of it.

    The Death Of TV As We Know It

    You have to ask yourself: since Netflix streams primetime television shows direct to the consumer, why can't original series be distributed that way?

    Seems Netflix had the same thought – Netflix To Enter Original Programming With Mega Deal For David Fincher-Kevin Spacey Series.

    Video streaming juggernaut Netflix is becoming an original programming player. In what is probably the biggest gamble in its 14-year history, I hear Netflix has outbid several major cable networks, including HBO and AMC, for  Media Rights Capital's drama series House of Cards, executive produced and directed by David Fincher and exec produced by and starring Kevin Spacey.

    Negotiations are still going on, but I hear Netflix landed the drama project by offering a staggering commitment of two seasons, or 26 episodes. Given that the price tag for a high-end drama is in the $4 million-$6 million an episode range and that a launch of a big original series commands tens of millions of dollars for promotion, the deal is believed to be worth more than $100 million and could change the way people consume TV shows.

    If the Spacey show is a success, watch for this to happen more often.  Pretty soon, there won't be a prime time TV schedule.  Just release dates…..

    Even Republicans Sick Of Palin

    TPM reports:

    It’s the first time the survey has shown Palin drastically losing support within her own party.

    Just 58% of self-identified Republicans said they view Palin favorably, down 12 points since last October. At the same time, the percentage of Republicans who have an unfavorable opinion of her leapt from 21% in October to 37% now.

    37% unfavorable within your own party is tantamount to political death.

    This is bad news for Democrats who hoped Palin might win the 2012 nomination and then die.

    Not to worry — there's always Michelle.

    The Godzilla Tsunami Video

    This is terrifying.

    The video starts calmly enough.  Some water moving down the street.  Then, within minutes, it is tearing up cars and houses.  This guy was dangerously close, but safe.

    If you want to see what it looked like before the video, check out Google Maps

    Then watch this:


    More Japan Earthquake Facepalm

    Reportedly, this weekend at a Watauga County Republican Party convention, our own Senator Virginia Foxx had this to say about the Japan earthquake and tsunami:

    It is a sign that God is still in charge.

    Yeah.  Right.

    It has nothing to do with fault lines and shifting tectonic plates.

    It was God.  He looked down at us and thought to Himself, "Hmmmm.  I think I'll make my presence known.  Because they all look so complacent down there.  Gotta exert my authorit-tay.  Gotta show 'em who's the boss.  I suppose I could miraculously cure some disease overnight…. Nah!  I think I'll smite Japan with a devestating earthquake.  Yeah.  That'll show 'em!!"

    Really, HuffPo? Really?!?

    Of the MANY things to write about relating to what's going on in Japan (e.g., the earthquake, the tsunami, the horrific loss of life, the possible nuclear meltdown, the effects on wordwide finance and industry, the meaning for the future of the nuclear industry, etc.), I can think of nothing more irrelevant and wasteful than to report on 50 Cent's tweets about Japan.

    The Mess in WI (That’s “Wisconsin”, Not “Wii” The Gaming Platform)

    Well, they did it — probably unconstitutionally, certainly amorally, but the Wisconsin state senate Republicans crammed through their union-crushing bill last night.  The Republicans took the pieces of Walker’s legislation that affect unions—including eliminating bargaining rights for most public-sector unions—and made them into a separate bill which they claimed they could pass without Democrats being present.

    Which they did.  And the response wasn’t very happy from the union workers and protesters and plain decent people of Wisconsin (and beyond) gathered for so long in Madison.

    Gonna get uglier before it gets prettier.

     Walker’s statement

    “The Senate Democrats have had three weeks to debate this bill and were offered repeated opportunities to come home, which they refused. In order to move the state forward, I applaud the Legislature’s action today to stand up to the status quo and take a step in the right direction to balance the budget and reform government. The action today will help ensure Wisconsin has a business climate that allows the private sector to create 250,000 new jobs.”

    Walker is a liar.  As I said before, this isn't about saving the budget in Wisconsin.  It's about union-busting.  Because if you bust the unions, you hurt Democrats.  This guy (Walker's closest ally) even admits it:

    FITZGERALD: Well if they flip the state senate, which is obviously their goal with eight recalls going on right now, they can take control of the labor unions. If we win this battle, and the money is not there under the auspices of the unions, certainly what you’re going to find is President Obama is going to have a much difficult, much more difficult time getting elected and winning the state of Wisconsin.

    Anyway, last night's gambit only served to make the air significantly more toxic, enraging working families and their Democratic allies. Indeed, if the GOP were sweating over Democratic recall efforts before, Republicans have to realize they just put their majority in serious jeopardy.

    If pushing the union-busting bill was the equivalent of poking the hornets' nest, ramming it through this way was the equivalent of beating the hornets' nest with a tire-iron and then daring the hornets to do something about it.

    Walker and the GOP had a chance to accept a very favorable compromise. If the recall efforts are successful, they may soon wonder why they rejected a good deal.

    Taymor Is Out

    It's official:

    The Daily News reports that The Tony Award-winning director "walked away" from "Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark" before the show shuts down for two to three weeks for major retooling.

    "Taymor is out. She's left the building," a source told the Daily News.

    There were reports yesterday that Taymor could be leaving the production if she did not want to hire more directorial help.

    From the News:

    Plans being worked out Tuesday also call for the show's official opening night at the Foxwoods Theatre, scheduled for Tuesday, to be postponed for three months, according to the sources. 

    The opening night for the musical, which puts on its 100th preview on Wednesday night, has already been delayed five times.

    A spokesperson for the production insisted opening night was still scheduled for March 15, but theNew York Times reports it's more likely that the show will premiere in June. And NY1 notes that this delay means the production won't even be eligible for any Tony's this year.

    Had I ever gotten to writing my review of the show, it would have been clear: Julie Taymor was the problem with the show.  So maybe it has a chance after all.

    The War Against Voting

    There are two ways, I suppose, for a political party to do well at the polls.

    The first way is to find good candidates and run them, persuading the electorate that they have the better solutions to the issues of the day.

    The second way is to cheat.

    Looks like the GOP is really into number two.  The latest?  Cutting off voting for college kids (because they're liberal).

    It's happening in New Hampshire:

    At a January 9/12 event with local tea partiers, the Republican House Speaker in New Hampshire, Bill O'Brien explained his problem with young voters.

    "They go into these general elections, they'll have 900 same day registrations, which are the kids coming out of the schools and basically doing what I did when I was a kid, which is [vote liberal]," he said. "They don't have life experience and they don't have life experience and they just vote their feelings and they're taking away the town's ability to govern themselves, it's not fair."

    The remarks were caught on tape by a tracker with the New Hampshire Democratic party, but up until today they haven't caused O'Brien much embarrassment.

    Now, though, the New Hampshire House is trying to put those words into law, with two bills designed to disenfranchise young voters — one to disallow them from voting if they or their parents haven't established residency in that district, the other to disallow same-day voter registration altogether.


    Angry Birds — Letters From The Front Lines

    Dearest Martha,

    It has been some time since I've had the opportunity to write you, perhaps seven or eight levels. The green pigs have fortified their defenses and there seems to be no end to this madness. They are an industrious lot who have remarkable construction skills in spite of their lack of arms or legs. They're a formidable enemy but I still envision the day we can bring our eggs home safely.

    Keep the nest warm for me,
    Yellow Bird

    – –

    My Dear Amanda,

    I hope this letter finds you in good health. We have sustained significant casualties in levels 3-17 and 3-18. Those loathsome green pigs are starting to build their fortresses with stones now. Sergeant has ordered backup from those black birds that explode. I pray they arrive in time. I've seen too many of my brother red birds thrown against stone walls to no avail. I'm having trouble making sense of all this, Amanda. They tell me I can come home after we get three stars on 3-18. I would like to believe it's possible, but my heart is heavy with doubt.

    Yours always,
    Red Bird

    – –

    My Sweet Adeline,

    Our fortunes have taken a turn for the worse this week. The enemy has now taken to placing boxes of TNT inside their own camps. Every night, I am haunted by visions of innocent green pigs senselessly killed by these horrific explosions. They're using their own people as human shields, Adeline. What kind of god would allow such beastly, immoral acts? Sometimes I can't help but think that hurling ourselves at the enemy camps is senseless, possibly even insane. But I am just a simple soldier, one of many birds that do certain things when tapped. I'm just following orders.

    I will be with you soon,
    Blue Bird