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Archive for October, 2008

Simple Twist of Fate

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I wonder if this guy has a CD.

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October 31st, 2008 at 8:56 pm

Posted in Folk Music

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Studs Terkel: Thanks and Farewell

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Cross posted at Daily Kos.

Studs Terkel, a great American and more importantly, a great human, died today. He was 96, but remained active and vital almost to the end of his gargantuan life. I don’t know what Studs would have had to say about this years’ election but I suspect he was pleased with the prospect of the end of the right wing era and with the imminent election of Barack Obama.

A wiser and braver nation would have extravagantly celebrated him and his and his achievements. As it was he was beloved and admired by many, including me.

As well as an oral historian, radio personality and writer, Studs was a lover of baseball and sometime actor. IMHO he acquitted himself well in the 1988 John Sayles film, Eight Men Out, which dealt with the 1919 Black Sox scandal.

Here is a longish interview with Harry Kreisler:

Here is Studs on a Soapbox, Parts i and 2:

He is missed already and will never be forgotten.

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October 31st, 2008 at 8:19 pm

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Where Will Conservative Frustration Lead?

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Cross posted at Daily Kos.

About a month ago, at the end of the business day, I was talking with someone I work with. He was tired, leaving a couple of minutes early. I was working on some tedious but mission critical task, happy for a break. Somehow, the subject of retirement came up.

“Well, I was hoping to retire in a few years,” I said, “But now it looks like I have to work til I’m 70.”

“I hear ya,” he answered, and the floodgates opened. Not about intimate, personal stuff, but about the frustration that comes with being a middle class American in the year of the Common Era 2008.

He allowed as how the state of the economy was causing him significant heartburn. And he was pretty fed up with Bush and company, though he considers himself a Republican.

This was in the middle of the week that began with a huge drop in the Dow and the first reports of Paulson’s initial request, and my colleague’s anxieties regarding these matters were heightened, a common condition it seems fair to say. So his venting continued.

My suspicion that he has always been a habitual GOP voter was confirmed, but he’s fed up with Bush and thinks McCain is nuts. The thought of a Palin Presidency fills him with dread.

He is not, however, completely sold on Obama. The only one of the four major party candidates he is comfortable with right now is Biden. Still, there is a very good chance that he will vote Democratic, at least at the top of the ticket. I suspect he is leaning toward Obama, but won’t know how he is voting until Election Day.

And the financial crisis was bothering him a lot. The crisis and the cratering Dow left him feeling vulnerable and insecure — and angry of course. Angry about the bailout because it’s 700 billion; angry because of his delayed retirement. Mad about a lot of stuff.

Fast forward to now. We’ve had the four debates and a stock market roller coaster. As of now, the polls in the presidential race have moved Obama’s way. I haven’t talked with my colleague, but I suspect that his frustration and anger are reflected in those poll numbers.

There certainly are a lot of high profile Republicans coming out publicly in support of Obama. The latest is former South Dakota Senator Larry Pressler. Like Colin Powell, Pressler is a Vietnam veteran, adding to a long list of et tu’s for McCain to deliver someday (thanks to Talking Points Memo for making me aware of Pressler’s endorsement).

As has been amply documented in blogotopia and elsewhere, many Republicans and conservatives are not taking these developments very calmly. The more conservative and GOP endorsements Obama earns, the more ferocious grows the response from Republican die hards. There are a ton of Youtube videos out there capturing McCain and/or Palin rally goers making racist and maybe threatening statements.

And this was included in a Peoria Journal Star discussion forum last week:

For you Obama supporters my only advice is be careful for what you wish for and heaven help you if you ever remotely think about straying from the liberal plantation.

I wonder what the writer has in mind for his liberal neighbors.

But wait – there’s more. Crooks and Liars provided me with this video of the action at a pro Prop 8 demo and counter demo in California:


The Face of Proposition 8 from Theremina on Vimeo.

As Digby notes in relation to this incident and all the others:

Conservatives are starting to feel very, very freaked out. And they tend to be the type of people who believe violence is the best answer for everything.

I wouldn’t tar all conservatives with the same brush, but the atmosphere is getting tense and ugly. That’s one helluva boil this country seems to be lancing.

A question that rolls around my brain: If Obama wins, will this stuff increase or abate after the election? Or the Inauguration? I don’t mean the political and media opposition to a President Obama, reality based or not. I am referring to the violent street action. How far will they go?

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October 26th, 2008 at 9:56 pm

Whassup?

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I repeat, whassup?

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October 26th, 2008 at 10:52 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Opie’s Dream

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Somebody just slipped this under my door. Enjoy.

See more Ron Howard videos at Funny or Die

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October 23rd, 2008 at 7:04 pm

The Weakerthans: The Reasons

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And now something for the youngsters.

Ladies and gentlemen, from Winnipeg, Canada – The Weakerthans!

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October 20th, 2008 at 9:11 pm

Posted in Indy Bands

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Dear Editor:OBAMATERRISTSOSHULISTBABYKILLERAARGH!!!

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Cross posted at Daily Kos

Many newspapers in Real America are receiving letters like this one I found in my local fish wrapper:

I am writing to make an appeal to the voters of this great nation of ours. Please do not elect Sen. Barack Obama to the presidency.

The Democrat-controlled Congress is on the fast track towards socialism. Obama does not seem to have any ties at all to groups or individuals who have love of country or a sense of duty for the common good of the United States of America.

His ties are with America haters and radicals that seek to take away our greatness. We have a chance on Nov. 4 to save our country and our Constitution. Our economic woes and stock market slides will be nothing compared to what lies ahead if Obama is elected.

Is this a letter based on GOP talking points? Dunno, but it certainly seems inspired by McCain/Palin rhetoric.

Reading this angry little screed would make me very angry, were I Colin Powell, Susan Eisenhower, Christopher Buckley or Warren Buffet. But since I am not, I can afford the luxury of laughing at the way McCain’s nasty tactics continue to blow up in his face.

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October 20th, 2008 at 9:04 pm

Oysterband: The Deserter

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It’s been a hectic week. Time to relax.

Here’s a musical treat from the U.K.’s own Oysterband.

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October 16th, 2008 at 11:23 pm

Posted in Folk Music

Tagged with

Canadian Wrap Plus McCain/Obama III

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Cross posted at Daily Kos.

First the fresh meat.

Just finished watching the last presidential debate. I was surprised at how effective Schieffer was as moderator, at least in contrast with his three predecessors. He go the two principals to engage each other, and explore issues more substantively than we’ve seen in the other debates.

Like the last time, Obama won by not losing. McCain lost by trying too hard. He finally attempted to pin Obama with the Ayers matter, but it did him no good, I am guessing. More broadly, McCain’s strategy of attacking constantly was probably a loser. Nothing wrong or unethical about critiquing your opponent, but an infinite string of attacks is not what voters want right now.

The MSNBC crew is saying that McCain made a big blunder when he ridiculed the health of the mother exception in relation to late term abortion legislation. I agree. I couldn’t believe how tone deaf McCain was at that moment.

In summary then, McCain performed well, and did his best to put Obama on the defensive. He just didn’t succeed. This was more like a real debate than the previous performances were, so give it to McCain on points, despite a string of goofy utterances and mannerisms. Acorn? Honky, please!

And yes, he is still losing. We’ll see shortly how the viewing audience scored the match.

And here is one now. An early release of the CBS poll calls it Obama 53%, McCain 22% and 24% called it a draw.

In regard to the Canadian election, while it is clear who the winners and losers were, it is a little more difficult to say why each party won or lost – and what that means for the future.

Like almost all other observers, I expected the Conservatives to win in the sense of getting the most seats. I did not expect them to get as many seats as they did, although the final Nanos poll caught a last minute uptick for Team Harper. Clearly the Tories had a steadier base than the other parties, and perhaps the stock market wild fires helped them. Maybe for a critical number of Canadians, Harper and the Conservatives are the devil they know. Harper is safe for now (PMs usually are) but he should think three times before going to the people early.

They don’t know Dion and now will never have that pleasure. Liberals expected to lose, but they will no doubt punish Dion for the magnitude of the loss. They can live with the size of the new caucus, but seem to be having a hard time believing how few votes they got. They probably believe that all they need is a new leader, someone who can speak both French and English fluently, who can continue the comeback in Quebec while making Western gains. Someone, in other words, who can turn wine into water and raise a Lazarus like party from the dead. Pick Ignatieff, and lose progressives. Pick Rae and lose the business wing and most of Ontario. Maybe a compromise candidate can be found…wait that’s how they got into this mess. Also they are broke.

The Bloc did well, but where do they go from here. Duceppe is done. Is there another leader waiting? Will they continue to claim their mission as serving the interests of Quebec, rather than promoting sovereignty? Can they work with other parties, like the NDP, to promote progressive legislation? Is the sovereignty movement dead or sleeping (I say sleeping, but for how long I don’t know).

Despite not getting the votes the pollsters all said they would, the New Democrats made some important gains and expanded their base into significant new territory. As Angus Ricker said in comments “There is a chance to make these seats NDP heartland.” The NDP has representation in all provinces except PEI and Saskatchewan (!!)and the Saskatchewan comeback is just a matter of time and redistribution.

Almost 20 years ago, I wrote something for the current NDP leader (probably shredded immediately) about how green politics were on the way, and how the Canadian left would have to deal with that in some way. I recommended keeping the environmentalists and labour in the same tent, especially in B.C. and in cities. I know, easier said than done. How does one do that, exactly. And things have gotten more complicated since then of course.

But at some point, disappointed Greens may go party shopping, and the NDP might be a friendly place for them.

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October 15th, 2008 at 9:45 pm

Live Blogging Canadian Election III

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Harper’s turn to gloat.

Results are pretty well done now. Looks like 142, 79, 37, 48 and 2 (independents, not Green).

Minor correction: Liberals win Nunavut, which is not unexpected. I don’t know why Layton went up there with just a week to go. Faked me out and me me think the NDP had a shot there.

Only a few painful losses for the NDP. Peggy Nash in Parkdale-High Park and Surrey North. Some pretty impressive victories in new territory, like St. Johns East, Welland and Edmonton Strathcona.

Tomorrow evening I will post some analytical thoughts and examine the implications for all five parties.

Then I can start looking at the American election and other stuff while keeping a close eye on Canadian life and politics.

Now I must sleep cuz I hafta work in the morning.

Thanks for dropping by.

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October 14th, 2008 at 11:02 pm