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We Have Examples, Mr. Chait

We Have Examples, Mr. Chait

by David Atkins

The insightful David Frum piece that Digby highlighted earlier was complemented in New York Magazine by a companion piece by regular concern troll Jonathan Chait attacking the liberal/progressive base.

One shouldn't dismiss Chait out of hand. He deserves a fair hearing, and much of what he has to say is food for thought, if only because he brings some uncomfortable facts to the table that need grappling with. Unlike the usual neoliberal claptrap, Chait's essay is lengthy, packed with evidence and detail, and in some ways persuasively argued while lacking in others.

Chait examines the presidencies of every Democratic President since FDR and notes that the Left has always seen as them as too compromising, too ineffective, and too beholden to right-wing economic interests. Obama and Clinton, obviously, have been seen by many on the left as little more than affable fronts for socially liberal but economically and militarily conservative policies. History tends to look back at Carter as more progressive than he actually was as president, a point that Hacker and Pierson also note at length. LBJ was despised for the Vietnam War. Kennedy was constantly stymied by conservatives, and had a fairly aggressive foreign policy. Truman had his problems with the left.

And Chait is right that even FDR was pilloried frequently from the Left, and would have been more so today. FDR came into office railing against Hoover for allowing deficits, and in 1937 lengthened the Great Depression by making big cuts to curb deficits. He made big compromises on his social programs to secure business support and especially the support of racist Southern Dixiecrats, which meant that African-Americans were largely excluded from some of the most important programs:

An exception to this trend, but only a partial exception, is Franklin Roosevelt, the most esteemed of the historical Democratic president-saints. Roosevelt is hard to compare to anybody, because his achievements were so enormous, and his failures so large as well (court-packing, interning Japanese-Americans). But even his triumphs, gleaming monuments to liberalism when viewed from the historical distance, appear, at closer inspection, to be riddled with the same tribulations, reversals, compromises, dysfunctions, and failures as any other. Roosevelt did not run for office promising to boost deficit spending in order to stimulate the economy. He ran castigating Herbert Hoover for permitting high deficits, then immediately passed an austerity budget in his first year. Roosevelt did come around to Keynesian stimulus, but he never seemed to understand it, and in 1937 he reversed himself again by cutting spending, helping plunge the economy into a second depression eventually mitigated only by war spending.

Liberals frustrated with Obama’s failure to assail Wall Street have quoted FDR’s 1936 speech denouncing “economic royalists,” but that represented just a brief period of Roosevelt’s presidency. Mostly he tried to placate business. When he refused to empower a government panel charged with enforcing labor rights, a liberal senator complained, “The New Deal is being strangled in the house of its friends.” Roosevelt constantly feared his work-relief programs would create a permanent class of dependents, so he made them stingy. He kept the least able workers out of federal programs, and thus “placed them at the mercy of state governments, badly equipped to handle them and often indifferent to their plight,” recalled historian William Leuchtenburg. Even his greatest triumphs were shot through with compromise. Social Security offered meager benefits (which were expanded under subsequent administrations), was financed by a regressive tax, and, to placate southern Democrats, was carefully tailored to exclude domestic workers and other black-dominated professions.

Compared with other Democratic presidents, Roosevelt enjoyed relatively friendly relations with liberals, but there nonetheless existed a left opposition during his time, mostly of socialists and communists, who criticized him relentlessly. Progressive senator Burton Wheeler complained that FDR, “for all his fine talk, really preferred conservatives to progressives.” And actually, the Roosevelt era had the same pattern we see today, of liberals angry with the administration’s compromises, and the administration angry in turn at the liberals. In 1935, Roosevelt adviser Rex Tugwell groused of the liberals, “They complain incessantly that the administration is moving into the conservative camp, but do nothing to keep it from going there.”


All of this is unassailably accurate. One can only imagine what a 1930s era Glenn Greenwald would have said about FDR's multiple terms, his attempts to pack the Supreme Court, the Korematsu decision on Japanese-American internment camps, etc.

Chait also takes on the myopia of the Thomas Friedman and "Americans Elect" crew in a smart way, declaring them even more irrational than the progressive base he assails previously:

What, by contrast, are we to make of third-party activists like Thomas L. Friedman or Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz? They have a president who supports virtually everything they want—short-term stimulus, long-term deficit reduction through a mix of taxes and entitlement cuts, clean energy, education reform, and social liberalism. Yet they are agitating for a third party in order to carry out an agenda that is virtually identical to Obama’s. In a column touting the third-party Americans Elect, the closest Friedman comes to explaining why we should have a third party, rather than reelect the politician who already represents their values, is to say that such a party “would have offered a grand bargain on the deficit two years ago, not on the eve of a Treasury default.” He agrees with Obama’s plan, in other words, but proposes to form a new party because he disagrees with his legislative sequencing.

As political analysis, this is pure derangement. It’s the Judean People’s Front for the Aspen Institute crowd. But these sorts of anti-political fantasies arise whenever liberals are forced to confront the crushing ordinariness of governing. (Matthew Miller, a fervent promoter of Americans Elect, likewise pined for a third party in 1996, on the curious grounds that President Clinton wasn’t doing enough to balance the budget.) Liberal disaffection helped Republicans win elections in 2000, 1968, and very nearly in 1948. All those elections came after Democrats had held the White House for at least two terms, and liberal disgust with politics had built up to toxic levels.

There is a catchphrase, which you’ve probably seen on bumper stickers or T-shirts, that captures the reason liberals have trouble maintaining political power: “Stop bitching, start a revolution.” At first blush it sounds constructive. If you consider it for a moment, though, the line assumes that there are two modes of political behavior, bitching and revolution. Since the glorious triumph of revolution never really pans out, eventually you’ll return to the alternative, bitching. But there is a third option that lies between the two—the ceaseless grind of politics.

Chait's critique has some merit. Progressives have never been happy with Democratic presidents. But he also misses the mark in two very big ways. Both have to do with a failure to learn from example:

1) It's undeniable that while liberals have groused forever about our own presidents, the last 30 years have given us something to actually be very upset about, particularly on the economic front. The knock on FDR and Truman was that they didn't go far enough; the biggest knocks on JFK and LBJ had to do with foreign policy, rather than domestic policy.

It's with Jimmy Carter that the move to supply-side economics and asset-oriented policy truly begins, and it has continued mostly unabated ever since with little in the way of push back. Progressives have every right to be upset about that--and to be more and more upset with each succeeding Democratic president. FDR can be forgiven for his 1937 attempt to balance the budget during a Depression; he had few examples to go on. Carter could be forgiven for responding to 1970s economic shocks with then-untested conservative approaches. Clinton was less forgivable because two decades had shown the weaknesses of conservative approaches; even if he had to move considerably to the right to survive politically after 1994, co-operating with the elimination of Glass Steagall and other deregulatory moves was unnecessary.

One of the biggest problems with Obama is not so much that he is so different from his Democratic predecessors--though none of them have been so quick to compromise as he has been, and none until now have offered to put Medicare and Social Security on the bargaining table--as that the failures of conservative economics are so patently obvious at this point there is no excuse for perpetuating them or giving credence to them at all. We have at least 70 years of history to prove fairly conclusively that we're right and they're wrong.

Moreover, the devastating financial crisis of 2008 had given us a unique opportunity to make needed core changes to the economic system. The voters were ready for change. They voted for change. The biggest disappointment with President Obama isn't so much what he has done, or that there he is somehow different from his recent Democratic predecessors, than about the missed opportunities he didn't take, and the fact that he should by all rights have taken a markedly different approach than Clinton or Carter, who did not have the benefit of Obama's hindsight.

This time could and should have been different.

2) Progressives have the object examples of social democracies abroad to which we can compare the American system and find it wanting. As I have pointed out in the past, conservatives have no such examples to look to:

This is one of the reasons that conservatives are so desperate to hold onto the notion of American exceptionalism: liberals have a wide of range of models from Japan to Scandinavia to prove the efficacy of various progressive solutions to America's problems. No country is perfect, of course, and solutions that work elsewhere may not work here. But as a general rule, progressives have effective examples worldwide to prove the value of our approach, whether it be in medicine, criminal justice, labor or otherwise.

Conservative approaches by contrast are a failure wherever and whenever they are tried. Theocracy inevitably leads to tyranny and despotism, whether it be the Christian theocracies of the Middle Ages or the modern theocracies of the Islamic world. Weapons-happy libertarianism ultimately ends in the sort of anarchic despotism we see in Somalia. Conservative approaches to finance, taxation and regulation lead inevitably to economic collapse, as seen in the history of basically every single country that ever even temporarily earned the "tiger" moniker from Austrian economists seeking to validate their theories.


So if progressives are upset that Obama's Affordable Care Act doesn't go far enough, it's not our grousing opinion. It's because we know it doesn't--and all we have to do is look north of the border at Canada, or to most any country in Europe, or to the social democracies of Asia to prove it. If progressives are upset that campaign finance laws are woefully ineffective, it's because we have examples overseas of less corrupt electoral processes to prove it. Europe's financial system has also been remarkably stable for decades until the Anglo-American-caused economic crash combined with the misguided adoption of the Euro. We know that our transportation and broadband infrastructure are inadequate: all it takes is a trip to Seoul or Munich to prove it. We have examples of what actually works all around us, which makes our lack of progress infuriating to those who actually travel outside the borders of the U.S.

Conservatives, despite their moniker, have few examples to look toward for policy prescriptions short of the pre-1930s Gilded Age. They're engaged in a utopian hyperlibertarian agenda, and every piece of "progress" they make toward that agenda is just gravy. Liberals in the United States are constantly frustrated by the fact that we can look at examples from history, as well as contemporary examples just to the north or just across either ocean, to demonstrate the worthiness of our ideas. And yet little is done in the realm to public policy to acknowledge the difference between liberal fact-based arguments, and plainly wrong-headed conservative utopian speculation.

So yes, Mr Chait. Liberals are always--and increasingly of late--frustrated with our Presidents. That's because we have every reason to be.

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Sunday Morning Comin’ Down


"Leftovers again?" edition.

This weekend at the Mouse Circus, elite political flapdoodle was ably defended along every front.

It is an odd thing, our national Sunday political rituals: everyone who pays attention and knows the facts knows it's a fraud, while everyone who does their citizenship fastfastfast at the political drive-thru window, grabbing whatever is on-offer by white guys in suits, takes these frauds seriously.

And so we find John Meacham on "Meet the Press" living up to the scurrilous rumor that every day he sends his valet back to the closet in search of something even more gray. The bland, gray Meacham predictably divides the the fault for the failure of our political system equally between the GOP -- for their implacable opposition to anything and everything -- and Barack Obama -- for failubg to "establish and emotional connection" to the Murrican people.

Across the table, aging historians alternately rhapsodized about their favorite dead presidents (Teddy Roosevelt would never have put up with this shit!) and played the irrelevant historical comparison game (You know, Franklin Pierce had unusually large feet too!)

Michael Eric Dyson picked up an easy nickle as MTP's "designated Leftie" and dared to use the word "racism" in the same sentence as a critique of the Shining Path Conservatives...

...while Rich Lowry (his oozing poison sacs lightly corked for grownup teevee and his soda-straw lizard tongue and nictitating membranes flicking and twitching in what could only be described as a very lonely little boy's imitation of St. William Buckley as secretly practiced a thousand times in front of Mom's makeup mirror) nodded like a Drinking Bird in a barbershop window and argued for the millionth time that the "Tea Party" is some brand-new political entity which arose in spontaneous and righteous reaction to the horrors of the Kenyan Usurper (and to some unspecified excesses of the Bad, Old Republicans that we somehow never heard a fucking word about back when those Bad, Old Republicans were in power) and that the mere existence of Herman Cain is an invincible Patronus spell against all charges that even a single drop of racism exists within the sanctified body of the Church of Reagan.

Dyson's incoherent. non sequitur "rebuttal" -- something about Obama, Rodney King and the "the politics of chill" bundled up in his hobo-tired blank-verse Jesse Jackson-lite singsong cadence and hobo-tired Benihana-chef-cutting-up-veggies-at-your-table gestures -- was distinctly unhelpful to the cause.

But he was on teevee and you weren't and that is all that matters.

Elsewhere, Chris Matthews mentioned that Rush Limbaugh is a racist who is very successful because he does his little, goosestep fan dance for a large, angry racist audience and Andrew Sullivan thinks the GOP's hatred of women, gays, Latinos and blacks will doom them.

Which would be sorta edgy...if this were 1986.

On "This Week...", Colin Powell played it 100% safe by moaning how our politics is now hostage to the "extremes" of both the Left and the Right. Christiane Amanpour actually pointed out that it was, in fact, one group -- the Teabaggers -- inside of one political party -- the GOP -- who had turned compromise a political death-sentence. Former Secretary of State Powell -- looking like he was trying unsuccessfully to poop out a medium-sized cactus -- allowed as how that sentiment ain't how you win Presidential elections.

(For the benefit of future historians, the whole idea that in 2011 everyone was still playing the "Winning Presidential election" game was a strange, antebellum fantasy which our Elite Overlords could not admit -- even as one GOP crackpot-candidate-of-the-week rose and vanished before their eyes like Dengue fever dreams -- had been stomped to bits by a mob of bigots, carnival barkers and oligarchs who were not remotely interested in the tedious business of governance.)

All of which proved once again that "[Getting] Up with Chris Hayes [before the farm reports]" -- in the grand tradition of best of the Liberal blogosphere -- is still plying his trade on an entirely plane of existence and setting a bar for funny, intelligent Sunday political salon so far above everything else that no one at the Mouse Circus even bothers to acknowledge it.

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38 Brilliant Logo Designs Of 2011 For Your Inspiration

Logos are one of the most important components of a successful brand. They embody a company’s message and display its personality. A logo should be as creative and professional as possible since it becomes the company’s identity and what consumers remember.

This year, the design world has seen some amazing logos and we wanted to display some of the best for you as a source of inspiration. They show some great creativity with the use of negative space and what you can do with type to make a real impact.

Here are 38 of the most inspiring logo designs of 2011:

This first set comes from actual web and print campaigns:

1. Nine Naturals

Effective use of the number 9 as the leaf of the plant.

Nine-Naturals-Most-Inspiring-Logo-Designs-2011

2. Missile Energy Drink

A successful brand identity campaign for Missile Energy Drink.

Missile-Most-Inspiring-Logo-Designs-2011

3. Mattis Landscaping

Mattis_Landscaping-Most-Inspiring-Logo-Designs-2011

4. 2Fit

Creative use of the “f” and “t” for this new fitness startup.

2fit-Most-Inspiring-Logo-Designs-2011

5. Star Moose

Great, simple logo for this media company.

Starmoose-Most-Inspiring-Logo-Designs-2011

6. Camel Punch

Inventive use of the punching glove for this Brighton-based web development company

CamelPunch-Most-Inspiring-Logo-Designs-2011

7. Seeds Ministries

SeedsMinistries-Most-Inspiring-Logo-Designs-2011

8. Toy Gun Films

ToyGunFilms-Most-Inspiring-Logo-Designs-2011

9. Dresserie

Online boutique creatively using one side of the hanger in this design

Dresserie-Most-Inspiring-Logo-Designs-2011

10. Preston Park Dental

The dental practice uses a different color on its website, but same creative design.

PrestonParkDental-Most-Inspiring-Logo-Designs-2011

11. Meat & Bread

Logo creatively suggests a sandwich which is perfect for this deli/cafe.

Meat&Bread-Most-Inspiring-Logo-Designs-2011

12. Bloom

Check out the website to see how Bloom hosting uses this logo.

Bloom-Most-Inspiring-Logo-Designs-2011

13. The Corner Deli

TheCornerDeli-Most-Inspiring-Logo-Designs-2011

14. SHL

Great use of whitespace for this company’s logo

SHL-Most-Inspiring-Logo-Designs-2011

15. Mash Radio

The logo displays the effect of sound waves moving through the word.

Radio-Most-Inspiring-Logo-Designs-2011

16. Compact Impact

Great logo to represent this online retail store that sells compact products.

CompactImpact-Most-Inspiring-Logo-Designs-2011

17. Edge Board

Brand identity for the Edge Board chopping board.

EdgeBoard-Most-Inspiring-Logo-Designs-2011

Logo Inspiration

The following logos are not necessarily picked up by a business, but I thought I would share them for inspiration. I found them each creative in their own way. Enjoy!

18. EcoGive

Ecogive-Most-Inspiring-Logo-Designs-2011

19. Cherry Software

Creative use of the type to use the r’s for the cherries.

CherrySoftware-Most-Inspiring-Logo-Designs-2011

20. Fashion Law Institute

The handle of the gavel is a sewing needle designed to unite fashion with law.

FashionLawInstitute-Most-Inspiring-Logo-Designs-2011

21. Jam Session

The “S” in the word “session” becomes the curve of the guitar.

JamSession-Most-Inspiring-Logo-Designs-2011

22. SocialBox

SocialBox-Most-Inspiring-Logo-Designs-2011

23. Coffee Tree Café

Notice the green leaf wrapped around the cup.

CoffeeTreeCafe-Most-Inspiring-Logo-Designs-2011

24. Lighthouse Architecture

LighthouseArchitecture-Most-Inspiring-Logo-Designs-2011

25. RIP Steve

This one speaks for itself!

RIPSteve-Most-Inspiring-Logo-Designs-2011

26. Kaiser Organic Bakery

KaiserOrganicBakery-Most-Inspiring-Logo-Designs-2011

27. Aterna

Aterna-Most-Inspiring-Logo-Designs-2011

28. Who You Know

WhoYouKnow-Most-Inspiring-Logo-Designs-2011

29. Architects Revolver

ArchitectsRevolver-Most-Inspiring-Logo-Designs-2011

30. The Waterfront

TheWaterfront-Most-Inspiring-Logo-Designs-2011

31. Bread & Breakfast

The coffee in the cup doubles as a roll of bread.

Bread&Breakfast-Most-Inspiring-Logo-Designs-2011

32. Newwave

Newwave-Most-Inspiring-Logo-Designs-2011

33. Help Hand

HelpHand-Most-Inspiring-Logo-Designs-2011

34. Eagle Song Studio

EagleSongStudio-Most-Inspiring-Logo-Designs-2011

35. E-Drop

EDrop-Most-Inspiring-Logo-Designs-2011

36. Labtunes

Labtunes-Most-Inspiring-Logo-Designs-2011

37. Riders Animation Studio

Riders-Most-Inspiring-Logo-Designs-2011

38. KeyLogic

Keylogic-Most-Inspiring-Logo-Designs-2011

Do you see any favorites in the bunch? Which logos inspire you?

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Saturday Night At The Movies—The Haole and the IV: “The Descendants”

Saturday Night At The Movies


The Haole and the IV


By Dennis Hartley


















In the course of (what passes for) my “career” as a movie critic, I have avowed to avoid the trite phrase “heartwarming family film” as a descriptive. Well, so much for principles. The Descendants is a heartwarming family film. There, I said it. Now, let me qualify that. Since it is directed by Alexander Payne (Citizen Ruth, Election, About Schmidt, Sideways ) it is not a typical heartwarming family film. It is a heartwarming family film riddled with dysfunction and middle-aged angst (which is how I prefer my heartwarming family films, thank you very much). Think of it as Terms of Endearment goes Hawaiian.


Despite the lush and verdant tropical setting for his tale, Payne wastes no time clueing us in that there is trouble in Paradise. People who live in Hawaii get cancer, feel pain and generally encounter their own fair share of potholes as they caterwaul down the road of life, just like anyone else. That is the gist of an internal monologue that opens the film, delivered by its protagonist, Matt King (George Clooney), as he holds vigil in an ICU, where his wife (Patricia Hastie) lies in a coma, gravely injured from a water-skiing mishap off Waikiki. As he contemplates the maze of IV tubes and other apparatus keeping his wife alive, Matt, like anyone confronting the Abyss, begins taking inventory.


After all, what family doesn’t have its ups and downs? On the “up” side, Matt is financially set for life, as an heir to and executor for a sizable chunk of prime, undeveloped land on Kauai, held in a family trust (thanks to genuine Hawaiian royalty buried in the woodpile a ways back). On the “down” side, his workaholic tendencies have precipitated an emotional distance from his wife and two daughters in recent years. His 17-year old, the sullen and combative Alexandra (Shailene Woodley) is away at boarding school; and precocious 10-year old Scottie (Amara Miller) is in hot water for antics like bringing photos of her comatose mother to school, and for cyber-bullying a classmate.


In the past, Matt’s wife has served as the buffer between him and this type of day-to-day daughterly drama, but now that she is indefinitely incapacitated, it’s all landed in his lap. He may be a respected pillar of the community and more than capable of running his own law office, but now finds himself akin to the proverbial deer in the headlights. After awkwardly putting out Scottie’s fires, Matt decides that he will need to enlist the assistance of her older sister for riot control. Besides, he figures it would be best to keep both of his girls close by, should the worst happen. As if this weren’t enough on his plate, Matt is also up against a pending deadline to sell the family’s land to a real estate developer. He is being egged on by a sizable coterie of cousins who (a couple anti-development dissenters aside) are eager to milk this potential cash cow for all its worth.


Then, the real bombshell gets dropped on Matt’s head. The bombardiers are his daughters, who let it slip that, completely unbeknownst to Dad, Mom has been getting a little action on the side as of late, with a younger man (Matthew Lillard). And he’s a real estate agent, no less (shades of American Beauty ). Poor Matt. He’s no sooner steeled himself for the looming possibility of becoming a grieving widower who must stay strong for his kids, than he instead finds himself suffering the confounded humiliation of a blindsided cuckold…as they look on. Flummoxed, Matt demands confirmation from his wife’s friends, who fess up. Although he has no real idea what he wants to say (or do) to him, Matt nonetheless decides that he must track down his wife’s lover (it’s a guy thing). With Scottie, Alexandra and her boyfriend (Nick Krause) in tow, he embarks on the Alexander Payne Road Trip, which in this case involves taking a puddle jumper to Kauai.

While the setup may feel somewhat familiar (like the aforementioned American Beauty meets Little Miss Sunshine ), or even rote, in Payne’s hands it is anything but. Yes, on one level it’s another soaper about a middle-aged male heading for a meltdown, but every time you think you’ve got it sussed, Payne keeps pitching curve balls. His script (which he co-adapted with Nat Faxon and Jim Rash, from the novel by Kaui Hart Hemmings) consistently hits the sweet spot between comedy and drama, giving us characters who, in spite of (or perhaps, due to) their contradictions and flaws, are people to whom we can all easily relate to. The film also showcases Clooney’s best work in years; it’s the closest he has come thus far to proving that he may indeed be this generation’s Cary Grant, after all.


This is one of the first true knockouts on the autumn release calendar, and one of the best films I’ve seen this year. There are many reasons to recommend it, not the least of which is a bevy of fine performances from the entire cast. Lillard shows surprising depth, and it’s a hoot to watch veteran character actors like Robert Forster and Beau Bridges doing that voodoo that they do so well. I also like the way Payne subtly utilizes the Hawaiian landscapes like another character in the story, much in the same manner he employed the California wine country milieu in Sideways. After all, it is only when human beings are set against the simple perfection of an orchid or a grape that we are truly exposed as the silly, needlessly self-absorbed and ultimately inconsequential creatures that we really are.

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California Leading the Way by David Atkins

California Leading the Way

by David Atkins

Some good news for today:

cross the country, the era of ambitious public works projects seems to be over. Governments are shelving or rejecting plans for highways, railroads and big buildings under the weight of collapsing revenues and voters’ resistance.

But not California.

With a brashness and ambition that evoke a California of a generation ago, state leaders — starting with Gov. Jerry Brown — have rallied around a plan to build a 520-mile high-speed rail line from Los Angeles to San Francisco, cutting the trip from a six-hour drive to a train ride of two hours and 38 minutes. And they are doing it in the face of what might seem like insurmountable political and fiscal obstacles.

The pro-train constituency has not been derailed by a state report this month that found the cost of the bullet train tripling to $98 billion for a project that would not be finished until 2033, by news that Republicans in Congress are close to eliminating federal high-speed rail financing this year, by opposition from California farmers and landowners upset about tracks tearing through their communities or by questions about how much the state or private businesses will be able to contribute.


Adam Nagourney's article paints the whole project in a negative light, but that's just Nagourney being the concern troll he is.

California bucked the Republican wave in 2010. It has bucked the trend of rejection of public works projects. And it's only the ridiculous 2/3 requirement for passing tax increases that prevents California from becoming a progressive utopia in a sea of conservative economic policy.

One of the biggest reasons I'm involved in local Democratic politics is to help elect Democrats to the State Senate and Assembly, which are both held my Republicans in my neck of the woods despite being in competitive districts. Just a handful more across the state and California will have 2/3 supermajorities in both houses--enough to overcome the Republican tyranny of the minority here on budgetary issues.

Conservatives should be worried: demographically speaking, the rest of the country is going to look more and more like California over the coming years. Cultural trends begun in California tend to sweep the nation. For conservatives, that's a very scary future.

And that's a good thing.

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Walking with the Egyptians

If you are trying to figure out what's happening in Egypt right now (it's not good) and wonder how it got there, this fascinating segment from Up with Chris Hayes will fill you in.

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

When I hear how this whole thing has evolved and transformed, I can't help but worry about where this is all leading there --- and here.

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Attention LA Locals

If you can't occupy or get arrested, you can do this:

[Yesterday] at 4:30pm, Mayor Villaraigosa announced the eviction of Occupy LA from the grounds of City Hall. He has offered the West Steps as a meeting area for General Assemblies, but this space is not sufficient for hundreds of people who attend Occupy LA daily. He has set aside 50 beds for homeless occupiers and will send down various social service organizations to inform people of their options before Sunday’s eviction.

However, occupiers are resolved to stay. We need your help. If you are at an occupation, plan a Sunday night action in solidarity with our cause. We must remain occupied.

We have generated a petition to stop the eviction. Take the time to sign it, tweet it, and pass it along to your friends:

Stop the eviction of Occupy LA

Call and email the Mayor and Council Members too!

Antonio Villaraigosa: mayor@lacity.org (213) 978-0600 or (213) 978-0721
District 1: Ed Reyes: councilmember.reyes@lacity.org (213)-473-7001
District 2: Paul Krekorian: councilmember.Krekorian@lacity.org (213)-473-7002
District 3: Dennis Zine: councilmember.zine@lacity.org (213)-473-7003
District 4: Tom LaBonge: councilmember.Labonge@lacity.org (213)-473-7004
District 5: Paul Koretz: paul.koretz@lacity.org (213)-473-7005
District 6: Tony Cardenas: councilmember.cardenas@lacity.org (213) -473-7006
District 7: Richard Alacorn: councilmember.alarcon@lacity.org (213)-473-7007
District 8: Bernard Parks: councilmember.parks@lacity.org (213)-473-7008
District 9: Jan Perry: Jan.Perry@lacity.org (213)-473-7009
District 10: Herb Wesson Jr.: councilmember.wesson@lacity.org (213)-473-7010
District 11: Bill Rosendahl: councilman.rosendahl@lacity.org (213)-473-7011
District 12: Mitchell Englander: councilmember.englander@lacity.org (213)-473-7012
District 13: Eric Garcetti: councilmember.garcetti@lacity.org (213)-473-7013
District 14: Jose Huizar: councilmember.huizar@lacity.org (213)-473-7014

Here's a block of email addresses to send one email message:

mayor@lacity.org; councilmember.reyes@lacity.org; councilmember.Krekorian@lacity.org; councilmember.zine@lacity.org; councilmember.Labonge@lacity.org; paul.koretz@lacity.org; councilmember.cardenas@lacity.org; councilmember.alarcon@lacity.org; councilmember.parks@lacity.org; Jan.Perry@lacity.org; councilmember.wesson@lacity.org; councilman.rosendahl@lacity.org; councilmember.englander@lacity.org; councilmember.garcetti@lacity.org; councilmember.huizar@lacity.org

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Wingnut Pie

Apparently the right wingers are all up in arms that Planned Parenthood offered some advice to pro-choice adherents on how to have a conversation with relatives who don't agree on the subject. It's undoubtedly the work of the devil (and Michelle Obama) and certainly cause for immediate defunding of birth control services everywhere.

Tbogg explains:

You see, trying to find common ground and pointing that abortion is a very personal and private decision that should be made by the woman and her doctor and the deity of her choice is actually an act that is the moral equivalent of feeding newborns into a woodchipper, so you and Planned Parenthood should be ashamed of yourselves because, as Steve says, you’re “promoting abortion”. In fact, failure to completely agree with Steve that all abortion should be banned and doctors who perform them should be hunted down like animals and immediately dispatched to hell with a bullet between their eyes means that you probably don’t love God as much as you think you do.

If that is the case, and since you are going to go to Hell anyway, you might as well as go all in by dispensing with the Planned Parenthood ‘diplomacy’ and telling the Steve Ertelts in your family, to, oh I don’t know… “Why don’t you mind your own fucking business you panty-sniffing twatwaffle” or the ever popular, “What? Aren’t there already enough kids in the world for you to molest?.” Not only will the subsequent uproar change the direction of the conversation, but the dinner may come to a premature ending meaning more pie for you.

And who doesn’t like more pie?

MMMM. Pie.

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Political Entrepreneurs and Lunatics

Political Entrepreneurs and Lunatics

by digby

If you haven't read this David Frum analysis of the Republican Party in New York magazine, you are missing out.

The Bush years cannot be repudiated, but the memory of them can be discarded to make way for a new and more radical ideology, assembled from bits of the old GOP platform that were once sublimated by the party elites but now roam the land freely: ultralibertarianism, crank monetary theories, populist fury, and paranoid visions of a Democratic Party controlled by ACORN and the New Black Panthers. For the past three years, the media have praised the enthusiasm and energy the tea party has brought to the GOP. Yet it’s telling that that movement has failed time and again to produce even a remotely credible candidate for president. Sarah Palin, Donald Trump, Michele Bachmann, Rick Perry, Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich: The list of tea-party candidates reads like the early history of the U.S. space program, a series of humiliating fizzles and explosions that never achieved liftoff. A political movement that never took governing seriously was exploited by a succession of political entrepreneurs uninterested in governing—but all too interested in merchandising. Much as viewers tune in to American Idol to laugh at the inept, borderline dysfunctional early auditions, these tea-party champions provide a ghoulish type of news entertainment each time they reveal that they know nothing about public affairs and have never attempted to learn. But Cain’s gaffe on Libya or Perry’s brain freeze on the Department of Energy are not only indicators of bad leadership. They are indicators of a crisis of followership. The tea party never demanded knowledge or concern for governance, and so of course it never got them.

And the really great thing about them is the fact that they have gained prominence at the worst possible time. I know it's fashionable to call people like me whores and hacks for pointing out that the Republicans are certifiably nuts when the Democrats are also so feckless, but it's true. (Over this week-end if you feel like reading about something that may or may not be relevant to that question, read about this again.)

In any case, at least read Frum's long essay if you have the time. I still disagree with him philosophically on virtually everything, but I think he is at least living in the same dimension. That can't be said of the looney tunes who are running his party. What he doesn't seem to grasp is that the Democratic Party is already playing the role he wants to assign to the Republicans --- defending the status quo. He really should just join the Party. At this point he'd be to the left of at least half the Senate Democratic caucus.

On the other hand, the right's insane intransigence has saved us so far from a Grand Bargain, so from my perspective they are at the moment behaving as useful idiots, for which I'm grateful. In the age of austerity anything that stops the economic quacks from bleeding the patient is a good thing. But it's important to keep in mind that these people are only stopping the bleeding because they want to cut the patients arms and legs off. Lord help us if they ever get what they really want.

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Lego John Pike by David Atkins

Lego John Pike

by David Atkins

This was emailed by a friend who said she got it off twitter but couldn't remember where. I haven't been able to find it online otherwise, so if anyone knows whom to attribute to, let me know in the comments.

You can see more John Pike meme goodness here.

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