Archive for October, 2010

Some travelin’ music all the way from the Big Apple

Remember that old Pace Picante commercial?

“This stuff’s made in New York City?”

That’s how I think of the Felice Brothers. “They’re from New York City? Really? Because they sure don’t sound or play like New York City.”

I’ve never had the chance to see them in person, but they’re playing next Saturday at the Earl in East Atlanta.

If you like what you hear, you might want to stop on by. And if you don’t, well, don’t. Because I sure don’t want to make things complicated on a beautiful Friday afternoon like this….

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‘They’re smokin’ weed over there!’

A World Series between Texas and San Francisco promises to produce a culture clash or two, and it hasn’t disappointed, as this segment by a Dallas-Fort Worth TV reporter demonstrates:

In response to the anchor’s question, no, it’s not legal out there. But it might be after Tuesday. California’s Proposition 19 on this year’s ballot would legalize possession of up to an ounce of marijuana and allow cities and counties to legalize and tax retail sale.

Polls report that the proposition is likely to be defeated, but it’s hard to say for sure. According to Ruth Bernstein, a pollster on the pro-legalization campaign, polls get one kind of answer when the question is posed by a human being, and another when it’s posed by a machine.

From the San Francisco Chronicle:

“Bernstein was so curious that on Oct. 13-14, the campaign ran side-by-side polls – one using live questioners, the other using automated voices. When a live person asked, 41 percent of the respondents favored legalizing …

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Can we still afford to be world’s policeman?

When the Founding Fathers commissioned the federal government “to provide for the common defense,” I’m not sure they envisioned “common” in terms of the entire planet. But that’s clearly how things have evolved.

Today, the United States spends as much or more on “defense” as the rest of the world combined, and a lot of that money — maybe even a majority of it — is spent defending areas that are well outside our national borders. (At last count, we maintain more than 800 military bases in other countries.)

We have become the world’s policeman, and it is increasingly a solo act. Our military allies in Europe, for example, are collectively just as rich as we are, but they spend relatively little of their wealth defending themselves because we have been so eager to handle the job for them. The notable exception to that rule has been Great Britain, which still fields a credible military and is the only ally to commit troops in any real number in support of U.S. efforts in …

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In Gwinnett, grand jury exposes ugly truth

In Gwinnett County, developers and county commissioners have a tradition of entanglement that goes back decades.

That’s true to a degree in almost every county, of course. Developers need rezonings and other favors; commissioners need campaign funds and votes. But as documented in a new grand jury report, the symbiotic, often corrupt relationship between developers and politicians is particularly strong in Gwinnett County.

The biggest news out of the grand jury was its decision to indict Commissioner Kevin Kenerly on charges involving $1 million in alleged bribes. While its public report is largely silent about the evidence that led to Kenerly’s indictment, the report nonetheless documents case after case of “decisions involving millions of dollars made with little or no information or for the most venal reasons.”

Take, for example, the purchase of 8.3 acres from a financially troubled but well-connected developer. Gwinnett paid $1.2 million for the property, almost four times …

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Obama odds in 2012 look better and better

U.S. Rep. John Boehner

U.S. Rep. John Boehner

John Boehner, who is likely to become the next speaker of the House, went on Sean Hannity’s radio show Wednesday to offer a preview of what to expect:

“This is not a time for compromise, and I can tell you that we will not compromise on our principles,” Boehner said….

As for Obama’s own agenda, Boehner promised, “We’re going to do everything – and I mean everything we can do – to kill it, stop it, slow it down, whatever we can.”

Meanwhile, according to a newly released Bloomberg poll:

bloomberg

Four out of five Americans want compromise. The Republicans don’t dare even entertain compromise. This is playing right to Obama’s strength. He will come across as calm, rational and reasonable. The Republicans will either come across as angry and aggressive, or they will deeply disappoint their own base.

Obama will also have history on his side. As National Journal points out, presidents who lose control of Congress in their first midterms tend to gain a political …

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Political bloodlust a burden for post-election GOP

With power comes responsibility, and also danger. Eager as they are to reclaim control of the House and possibly the Senate, Republicans in Washington are also quite aware that they face a problem:

How do they appease the political bloodlust they’ve created and fed upon within the GOP base without alienating the more moderate center in the process? And if forced to choose between the two, which way will they turn?

To some degree, this is a uniquely modern problem. In the old days, politicians could feed red meat to the campaign crowds back home, while quietly finding ways to compromise in Washington. But with the rise of ideological enforcers in the media and blogosphere, that has become a much more difficult trick to pull off.

Just ask U.S. Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif.

Last week, in a Wall Street Journal story headlined “GOP House leaders seek to avoid past mistakes,” Issa was quoted to the effect that the House ought to at least try to find areas of agreement with the Obama …

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Voter-fraud claims a case of mass, self-induced hysteria

The charge that liberal groups are trying to steal elections through massive voter fraud has become an integral part of the conservative belief system. I used to think it was just a claim they used in a cynical effort to gain political advantage, and maybe that’s all it was in the beginning. But at this point, the charge is fully and sincerely believed by millions, and they are acting on that sincere belief.

Yet, there is no factual evidence whatsoever to sustain that claim. For eight years, the Bush Department of Justice tried very, very hard to come up with evidence of such a conspiracy. They even pushed good, conservative, effective federal prosecutors out of their jobs because those prosecutors were allegedly lax in pursuing such cases.

But eight years of effort and investigation produced nothing. In the end, they found no proof whatsoever of any conspiracy to commit large-scale voting fraud. Zero, nada, zilch.

Yeah, I know:

“ACORN.”

At this point in the debate, …

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Stomper agrees an apology is required

Tim Profitt, the genius and former Rand Paul volunteer who stomped on the head and neck of a liberal activist, agrees that an apology is in order:

“I would like for her to apologize to me to be honest with you,” Profitt said.

The police are also to blame.

“Well I’ll just say it, if the police had done what they were supposed to do, it would have never happened,” Profitt said.

The media is also to blame, because as Profitt says, the camera angle made it look worse than it was.

His bad back is also to blame, because you see, “I actually put my foot on her to — I couldn’t bend over because I have issues with my back.”

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Peering inside the right-wing apparatus

Operationally, you have to be impressed by the conservative movement’s message discipline and ideological control. Here’s one interesting way that’s achieved.

With a Republican takeover of the House quite likely, new conservative politicians will be coming to Washington looking to hire staff. So the House Republican Study Committee, headed by U.S. Rep. Tom Price of Georgia, recently sent out an email advising job hopefuls how to proceed. According to Roll Call, the email strongly encourages applicants for House jobs “to submit your résumé and complete the ideological questionnaires at the following two websites.”

The two sites listed are a job bank for conservatives run by the private Heritage Foundation, and a similar operation at conservativejobs.com. Both sites appear to serve as clearinghouses for conservatives seeking employment within the right-wing establishment.

At the Heritage site, applicants are asked where in the movement they seek to be placed: In academia? On …

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GOP pushing Latinos into Democratic arms

Ten or 15 years from now, when Latino-Americans are voting in greater numbers and voting consistently Democratic, Republicans will be wringing their hands at their inability to attract support from a community that in many ways might have been sympathetic to conservative causes.

The explanation will be the imagery in ads such as this one.

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