I don't know if I've mentioned, the Giants won the World Series. The rings were handed out yesterday. Mine has yet to arrive. Back to back walk offs this weekend have us at 4-4 thusfar; hopefully, Torres won't need to be disabled. I did more baseball lists Saturday; MLB Network did a "Top 10 Right Now" over the winter, the top 10 players at each position for 2011, but having U-Verse and not getting MLB Network until 9 minutes ago I wasn't aware of it. I don't know when they'll finish re-airing the episodes, but I knocked out my lists and will probably post them this week. My 8 class academic term started last Monday, a student inquired what my ideal job would be; I told him writing about sports on the internet. This perhaps was the wrong answer to establish my academic bonafides in our initial class session.
Here's Tendown 71.
1. I Won't Vote for Obama Again.
The government didn't shut down this weekend. Obama was pleased, he's presided over the "largest spending cut in our history." Quite a victory. Go team.
Let's put aside that the 79 billion dollars less than Obama originally proposed will do harm. Roads and bridges that won't be built. Jobs go uncreated. Needy go unassisted.
And let's put aside the slicing government spending is the polar opposite of what we should be doing right now - juicing the economy with massive spending increases.
Instead focus on the way Democrats acceptance/appropriation of conservative ideas shift discussion rightward, making yesterday's radical right wing firebomb tomorrow's bipartisan bill.
Last December, The Democrats extended the Bush tax cuts. Cost? 60 billion dollars. Or just about as much was cut from Obama's budget this week. Remember how angry you were about the Bush tax cuts? A massive giveaway of wealth to the richest Americans - remember how you said it would increase the deficit - and then literally couldn't believe the audacity of the right wing as those cuts continued even during two wars, the only time in US history those two policies weren't thought of as mutually exclusive?
And now it just is. Guantanamo? Still open. Those two wars? Now we've added a third.
A week ago, Paul Ryan proposed privatizing Medicare while simultaneously cutting the top marginal tax rate for those who make over 300 grand a year.
It was a Democratic President who said "the era of big government is over". How certain are you it won't be a Democratic President signing the bill that makes social security a voluntary contribution like a 401K?
If the Republicans are your abusive, violent stepfather the Democrats are your do-nothing mom, at best closing her eyes when he throws open your bedroom door at 2AM, and at worst kicking you out of the house if you ever stand up to him. The whole country needs a Dan Savage "It Gets Better" program, but the past three decades of evidence would suggest otherwise.
2. I Won't Vote for Obama Again
His civil liberties record approximates his predecessor's Except when it comes to going after whistleblowers. When it's worse.
3. I Won't Vote for Obama Again.
I guess we don't believe in trials anymore.
4. The Plutocracy
The best piece this week was by Joseph Stiglitz. It's becoming our weekly Tendown feature - the United States is a banana republic:
The upper 1 percent of Americans are now taking in nearly a quarter of the nation’s income every year. In terms of wealth rather than income, the top 1 percent control 40 percent. Their lot in life has improved considerably. Twenty-five years ago, the corresponding figures were 12 percent and 33 percent. One response might be to celebrate the ingenuity and drive that brought good fortune to these people, and to contend that a rising tide lifts all boats. That response would be misguided. While the top 1 percent have seen their incomes rise 18 percent over the past decade, those in the middle have actually seen their incomes fall. For men with only high-school degrees, the decline has been precipitous—12 percent in the last quarter-century alone. All the growth in recent decades—and more—has gone to those at the top. In terms of income equality, America lags behind any country in the old, ossified Europe that President George W. Bush used to deride. Among our closest counterparts are Russia with its oligarchs and Iran.
How to fix it?
Start by taxing millionaires.
5. His Remark Was Not Intended to Be a Factual Statement
My favorite part of the "negotiations" this week was the interjection of abortion into the budget debate. The plutocrats long ago realized the way to divide the rest of us was on social issues; if they can whip up their base about abortion/gays/and the desire to shove Jesus in a closet, they can just keep sucking dollars into the hands of the powerful few (powerfew?). As I've written about previously, my absolute favorite manifestation of this is the biblical capitalism discussion, where the David Bartons and Rick Santorums talk about the minimum wage and progressive income tax being fundamentally anti-Jesus.
This week - it was Planned Parenthood. We can't get a budget deal to avoid a government shutdown because the Republicans are against abortion, after all.
Here's the thing - federal dollars already don't go to fund abortion, that's already part of the law.
But that didn't stop John Kyl from saying abortion is "well over 90% of what Planned Parenthood does"
Well, that's a thing - right? Republican US Senator John Kyl says we cant provide funds to Planned Parenthood - as 90%, well over 90% of what it does is abortion. Planned Parenthood=abortion. Federal money can't go to Planned Parenthood. The Republicans are taking a moral stand against abortion!
Seems like a pretty significant error.
Here was the response from the Senator's office when confronted with that error. It's my second favorite thing anyone said this week
His remark was not intended to be a factual statement.
I get it now. That's the mistake I've been making.
When Ryan's budget proposal was announced, one of its underpinnings was from the Heritage Foundation, that by 2021 unemployment would be at 2.8%, which as Krugman notes, hasn't happened since the Korean War. So they just changed it. None of the rest of the budget proposal changed. It's still massive cuts to pay for massive tax decreases for the very wealthiest Americans and our corporate daddies, but had Ryan just added the coda "the projections in this proposal are not intended to be factual statements, or to correspond with any reality, either knowable or unknowable, either dead or undead" then it would have saved some embarrassment.
His remark was not intended to be a factual statement.
That's all it takes. Someone should have told Barry Bonds about this before closing arguments, as that's clearly with what his lawyers should have led off.
6. My Favorite Thing Anyone Said Last Week
On this morning's Quick Pitch, the MLB Network's daily highlight show, the clip of yesterday's Carlos Ruiz grand slam was shown, and the voiceover from one assumes the Phillies broadcast was:
Pinch Hit salami for Chooch!
Which I've been saying all day. As I've written this entire piece, it's been constantly running through my head.
7. The Best Thing Anyone Saw Last Week
You should watch The Killing. You already didn't watch Lights Out, and it ended this past week. So watch The Killing; I'm about to lose Friday Night Lights
So hop onto The Killing with me as its leaving the station.
I got two 4 star wrestling matches this week; HHH v. Taker from WM27 and a better match, a 4 1/2 star Daniels v. Edwards from the ROH 9th Anniversary show in February. I've updated both my post listing every WWF/E 4 star match ever and my 2011 Wrestling Matches of the Year post. Neither of which I feel like linking to right now.
8. 3 And a Half Brits
Helen Mirren hosted SNL last night. Elton John last week. Earlier this season was Russell Brand. And Gwyneth, who I'm deciding for purposes of the thought is half British.
But even putting her aside - is that the record? 3 Brits in the same SNL season (including two in consecutive weeks). Is this the most British season of SNL ever?
Here's my other Helen Mirren question; she's John Gielgud in the Arthur remake. Is the original Arthur good or not good?
Now, I've seen Arthur, but not for 30 years; in my head it's good, I guess, I haven't really considered its artistic quality, maybe ever. Has anyone seen Arthur in the past..say ten years? Did they destroy the print? Was Dudley Moore a figment of our collective imagination like Robert Palmer or Helen Hunt?
9. Right Wing Graft
In 2009, Bristol Palin's abstinence non-profit spent 35 grand in trying to prevent teen pregnancy. Bristol, however, received a salary of over a quarter million dollars.
Union busting governor Scott Walker, who says Wisconsin can't afford to allow teachers to bargain collectively, gave an $81,000/yr job to a donor's son who doesn't have a college degree (unlike those pesky teachers) but who does have two DUI convictions.
Would you like to see how much Richard Shelby costs you every day?
10. Finally, a Flag Salute I Can Get Behind
That's all for this time. I'll be back next time....if there is a next time...