Declaring that Obama has done “pretty well” compared to what a Republican in the Oval Office would have done is like saying, “Obama’s not that good, but a Republican would have been downrightevil. Is that what you progressives would prefer?” More here.
Interview in today’s Guardian with Bruce Springsteen about his new album:
At a Paris press conference on Thursday night, Bruce Springsteen was asked whether he was advocating an armed uprising in America. He laughed at the idea, but that the question was even posed at all gives you some idea of the fury of his new album Wrecking Ball.
Indeed, it is as angry a cry from the belly of a wounded America as has been heard since the dustbowl and Woody Guthrie, a thundering blow of New Jersey pig iron down on the heads of Wall Street and all who have sold his country down the swanny. Springsteen has gone to the great American canon for ammunition, borrowing from folk, civil war anthems, Irish rebel songs and gospel. The result is a howl of pain and disbelief as visceral as anything he has ever produced, that segues into a search for redemption: “Hold tight to your anger/ And don’t fall to your fears … Bring on your wrecking ball.”
“I have spent my life judging the distance between American reality and the American dream,” Springsteen told the conference, where the album was aired for the first time. It was written, he claimed, not just out of fury but out of patriotism, a patriotism traduced.
“What was done to our country was wrong and unpatriotic and un-American and nobody has been held to account,” he later told the Guardian. “There is a real patriotism underneath the best of my music but it is a critical, questioning and often angry patriotism.”
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Today, the Maryland House of Delegates passed a marriage equality bill. It goes to the state Senate, and if it passes, they have a Democratic governor, Martin O’Malley, who’s man enough not only to sign it, but to go out and campaign for it:
That would set the stage for the measure to be signed into law by Democratic Gov. Martin O’Malley, a gay marriage supporter who lobbied fervently for the bill this week. One of his chief tasks was to sway black lawmakers, many of whom were hesitant to back an issue opposed by much of the state’s black clergy.
“Today, the House of Delegates voted for dignity,” O’Malley posted on Twitter. He later added in another tweet, “Love is an inalienable right.”
As opposed to bloviating little bullies like Chris Christie, who like to talk big and pretend to be straight shooters, but are actually scared little boys who are afraid to cross their party’s right wing:
Feb. 17 (Bloomberg) — New Jersey’s Republican Governor Chris Christie fulfilled his pledge to veto a bill that would have legalized same-sex marriage, setting up an override fight with a Legislature controlled by Democrats.
Christie, 49, announced the move in a statement issued late today from his Trenton office. Lawmakers sent the measure to him earlier in the day. Sponsors said they’ll work to assemble the two-thirds majority in each chamber needed to override the veto.
“For someone who has national aspirations in the Republican party right now, I think there’s not much choice but to take this position,” Ken Sherrill, who teaches politics at Hunter College in New York, said by telephone.
Christie has said he believes that marriage should be between a man and a woman and that the issue should be decided by a statewide referendum. Democrats have countered that marriage is a civil right and shouldn’t be subjected to a popular vote. Legislative leaders have made the issue a priority, two years after failing to pass a similar bill supported by then-Governor Jon Corzine, a Democrat.
“I am adhering to what I’ve said since this bill was first introduced — an issue of this magnitude and importance, which requires a constitutional amendment, should be left to the people of New Jersey to decide,” Christie said in his statement.
Now go listen to the stirring video, in which Newark Mayor Cory Booker puts Christie in his place: “Dear God, we should not be putting civil rights issues to a popular vote. No minority should have their civil rights subject to the sentiments, the passions of the majority.”
And as Washington Gov. Christine Gregoire, who signed a marriage bill this week, told CNN:
“Sometimes the majority doesn’t always protect the minority,” Gregoire said about voter referendums in an interview today on CNN. “We were elected to make decisions.”
It was a month ago today that I had my gall bladder whacked. I have to say, there were times I wondered if I’d ever feel normal again, but here it is, and after “only” one month. Yes, it was worth all the aggravation.
I’m still a little bit tired, but I’m going back to the gym next week.
I bought a giant box of Kashi granola bars at Costco. “No high fructose corn syrup, nothing artificial”, they trumpet on the box. Instead, they use brown rice syrup. Since I’m a good little diverticulosis patient, I’ve been eating at least two a day.
So today I read this:
Worrisome levels of arsenic have been found in two infant formulas that contain organic brown rice syrup as a main ingredient, researchers reported Thursday. Arsenic was also found in some cereal bars that contain organic brown rice syrup.
The toxic element is a known contaminate found in rice because the crop absorbs arsenic from soil. According to the authors of the study, from Dartmouth College, the type found in the food products has been identified as a human carcinogen. Arsenic can also cause skin, lung and intestinal irritation as well as miscarriage and infertility.
The paper, published online in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, found arsenic in two of 17 infant formulas tested. One sample had an arsenic concentration six times the federal limit for arsenic allowable in bottled water or drinking water. In infants, such a level could be toxic because they consume more per pound of body weight compared to adults.
Among 29 cereal bars tested, those containing syrup or other forms of rice had arsenic levels two to 12 times higher than the allowable limit.
It’s not as if I think women should have any say about their reproductive organs, so it’s perfectly okay that Darrell Issa’s committee meeting yesterday didn’t invite any women who would speak out against their slut-shaming party yesterday:
This morning, Democrats tore into House Oversight Committee Chairman Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) for preventing women from testifying before a hearing examining the Obama administration’s new regulation requiring employers and insurers to provide contraception coverage to their employees. Republicans oppose the administration’s rule and have sponsored legislation that would allow employers to limit the availability of birth control to women.
Ranking committee member Elijah Cummings (D-MD) had asked Issa to include a female witness at the hearing, but the Chairman refused, arguing that “As the hearing is not about reproductive rights and contraception but instead about the Administration’s actions as they relate to freedom of religion and conscience, he believes that Ms. Fluke is not an appropriate witness.”
And so Cummings, along with the Democratic women on the panel, took their request to the hearing room, demanding that Issa consider the testimony of a female college student. But the California congressman insisted that the hearing should focus on the rules’ alleged infringement on “religious liberty,” not contraception coverage, and denied the request.
Reps. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) and Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) walked out of the hearing in protest of his decision, citing frustration over the fact that the first panel of witnesses consisted only of male religious leaders against the rule. Holmes Norton said she will not return, calling Issa’s chairmanship an “autocratic regime.”
Rich Eskow explains it all for you:
Coburn and Burr don’t even pretend to show how their anti-Medicare plan – excuse me, “choice” plan – will save money. They just say this:
We do not yet have a concrete, specific amount of “savings” outlined, but we believe our proposal could save between $200 billion and $500 billion over a decade.
Well, I do not yet have a concrete, specific schedule, but I believe that “monkeys” will fly out of my butt any moment now, and that there will be somewhere between two hundred and eight hundred of these aeronautical primates by the time the process concludes.
Burr and Coburn want you to believe that they can raise the Medicare eligibility age, make you pay more in premiums, turn your health care over to the same insurers that are bankrupting you before you’re sixty-five (if you’re lucky enough to have insurance) – and that somehow you’ll save money!
Go read the ludicrous details.