Extreme Liberal's Blog

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Saturday Night Funnies – I Still Need It!

These are two of the my favorite scenes from a movie. Young Frankenstein is my all time favorite comedy. Marty Feldman…gotta love him.

In this one, notice how Gene Wilder loses it right after Igor bites the mink stole on Madeline Kahn’s neck.

May 29, 2010 Posted by | Humor | Leave a comment

Friday Night Funnies – Because I Need It!

From my all time favorite collection. Sorry about the crappy encoding on the Monty Python skit, I didn’t do it!

May 28, 2010 Posted by | Humor | Leave a comment

Give Me Symbolism, Damn It! The New “Drama-News” Business

People are getting very frustrated with the oil spill that continues to gush into the gulf. It sickens me and its unbelievable to me that they ever let oil rigs off-shore – especially if they didn’t have a tested plan to fix a problem like this. Rachel Maddow had a great review of news footage from years past. This isn’t new, they have never had any good plans to fix this type of problem. It is posted below, watch it if you want some context to the situation. Of course the media never seems to give any context, they treat everything as a new phenomenon, they re-invent the wheel repeatedly.

I’ve heard both James Carville and Harry Shearer screaming and attacking the president, both Louisiana natives who are especially upset that this mess hasn’t been fixed yet. They have every right to feel that way. But I think they are both letting their emotions overwhelm them and have slipped into irrationality. Their anger is misdirected, very much like someone who is helpless and has to lash out at someone. I think they have chosen the wrong people, to even imagine that the President doesn’t take this seriously is just fucking stupid. Both Shearer and Carville are screaming for symbolism, they admitted it in their rants. They want style over substance, damn it. I want visuals, photo ops…maybe President Obama should move the Oval office to Louisiana until this problem is fixed….what, 20 fucking years from now? It’s not like there is anything else the president has to worry about, and I think Barack Obama got his undergraduate degree in petroleum engineering, right?

These cries for a superhuman response, they want Obama to swoop in and fix the problem like magic, are very irrational and like a said, very much a scream for help from someone who feels they have no control, no options. The response from Carville and Shearer and I would add Howard Fineman, is really kind of childish. This situation isn’t cut and dry, there isn’t a magic answer that just isn’t getting done. The experts in this area HAVE been assembled in Houston for many weeks, a combination of experts tapped by the administration, BP experts and experts from other oil companies too. They are weighing all the science, testing, experimenting and they are working with urgency, we may not have a live feed of their work, but it is happening.

Continue reading

May 27, 2010 Posted by | Media, MSM, Politics, President Barack Obama | | 12 Comments

Put Up or Shut Up!

Al Giordano has another excellent piece up that I recommend you read. I plan to post about the oil spill and the “yelling” that is surrounding it soon, stay tuned. But for now, here is a snippet from Al’s latest on the catastrophe in the gulf.

I don’t know how to cap the big oil leak in the Gulf and truth is neither do you. And even if it is capped in five minutes from now, the damage is already done.

That said, as a longtime vocal opponent of off shore oil drilling, and proponent of renewable energy, I wish to publicly disassociate myself from all the newly concerned voices screaming at the top of their lungs that the government must “do something” if they don’t come with concrete suggestions for what exactly can be done. They do not represent me and please don’t ever confuse me with them, okay?

Without an easy solution in sight, and with the knowledge sinking in of just how harmful this oil gusher will be to the Gulf of Mexico, its shores, its fishing and tourism and quality of life, a lot of people seem to be screaming that somebody should yell louder and point their fingers harder.

Okay, just this once, I will point fingers. You know who is to blame in addition to BP and the government that allowed this oil rig to be built? Every single one of us that ever drove a car, got in an airplane, or drank from a plastic bottle (they’re made from petroleum, too). The heavier our “carbon footprints” the greater each of us is to blame. Go yell at yourself now.

Yell at yourself especially if you live in the United States, because you use up twenty times the earth’s resources as people in other countries. You are, therefore, twenty times greater to blame for this civilization’s addiction to oil that created the market for which BP and others went drilling in the seas.

Go read the whole thing, it helped me to dispel some anger.

May 26, 2010 Posted by | Politics | 5 Comments

photo of the day

May 25, 2010 Posted by | Politics | 12 Comments

The Role of Government – BP Edition

As I listen to the right trying to blame anything that happens in the world on the Obama administration, I can’t help but wonder how these people justify their statements in light of their claim from the other side of their mouths that Obama is trying to take over the business sector. Oh, yeah, that’s right, they are BIG FUCKING HYPOCRITES. I’ve been wondering during this whole BP mess what exactly the US government CAN do. I admit that I am ignorant on exactly what powers our government has over a British company who is offshore. I’ve been so sickened by the whole mess that I have been in conscious denial about the whole damn thing. Bob Cesca says much of what I’ve been thinking about in this post about the government taking over the mess from BP…

But why wait? Get in there now. Again, I don’t know the legalities of actually nationalizing BP, but I wouldn’t just take over the capping and cleanup effort, I would take over the whole damn company. They’ve forfeited their corporate status. This is one of the biggest corporate disasters in the history corporate disasters.

Meanwhile, today we’re hearing from Sarah Palin and Pat Buchanan and others that the government ought to get in there and do something. But when the administration actually takes this advice, these same people will be screeching about a “government takeover.” The tea party people will scream about the government “bailing out” BP. Suddenly Palin and the Republicans will rally around Rand Paul and endorse his “un-American” line. The cable news people will hector congressmembers and administration officials about how they plan to pay for the cleanup — what about the CBO?

The stupid will reach all news levels of ear-bleeding hackery.

Of course when the US government does take over the problem, the games will begin in the congress. The Republi-fucks will try some stupid shit like tacking on an amendment to increase off-shore drilling or some abortion funding bullshit. I no longer underestimate the gall or stupidity of the Republicans, they keep sinking to new lows just when I think they’ve reached bottom.

May 24, 2010 Posted by | Politics | 8 Comments

The Role of Government

I have in my bio how I think that government serves a purpose. It often functions very poorly and it’s not always the Republicans who cause it. Democrats have certainly been responsible for it’s malfunctioning over the years. They had control of both houses for over 40 years and had plenty of opportunity to screw things up. But, simply because our government doesn’t always function properly doesn’t mean that we should do away with it or have the knee-jerk reaction to cut it, make it smaller as if somehow that will make it operate more effectively. President Reagan was the one who really started the brainwashing of the right to simply repeat the talking point like robots, “government is bad, musssst stoppp big government”, oh, but don’t take away my social security or medicare.  And of course Reagan went on to expand the government and quadruple the national debt in 8 years. But, the brainwashing helped to mask all that and it continues to this day.

Steve Benen at Washington Monthly had a great post about President Obama’s address at the University of Michigan’s Commencement on this very topic. This is from that…(emphasis mine)

And periodically — in his first State of the Union, at various public events — Obama will, with varying degrees of subtlety, remind the electorate that the government can be a productive, constructive role in advancing the country and empowering its people. The president’s audience in Ann Arbor heard some extended thoughts on this very subject.

“…American democracy has thrived because we have recognized the need for a government that, while limited, can still help us adapt to a changing world…. The democracy designed by Jefferson and the other founders was never intended to solve every problem with a new law or a new program. Having thrown off the tyranny of the British Empire, the first Americans were understandably skeptical of government. Ever since, we have held fast to the belief that government doesn’t have all the answers, and we have cherished and fiercely defended our individual freedom. That is a strand of our nation’s DNA.

“But the other strand is the belief that there are some things we can only do together, as one nation — and that our government must keep pace with the times. When America expanded from a few colonies to an entire continent, and we needed a way to reach the Pacific, our government helped build the railroads. When we transitioned from an economy based on farms to one based in factories, and workers needed new skills and training, our nation set up a system of public high schools. When the markets crashed during the Depression and people lost their life savings, our government put in place a set of rules and safeguards to make sure that such a crisis never happened again. And because our markets and financial system have evolved since then, we’re now putting in place new rules and safeguards to protect the American people.

“This notion hasn’t always been partisan. It was the first Republican President, Abraham Lincoln, who said that the role of government is to do for the people what they cannot do better for themselves. He would go on to begin that first intercontinental railroad and set up the first land-grant colleges. It was another Republican, Teddy Roosevelt, who said that ‘the object of government is the welfare of the people.’ He is remembered for using the power of government to break up monopolies, and establishing our National Park system. Democrat Lyndon Johnson announced the Great Society during a commencement here at Michigan, but it was the Republican president before him, Dwight Eisenhower, who launched the massive government undertaking known as the Interstate Highway System.”

When you look at our history as a nation and think about the role that government has had as our society has evolved, I don’t understand how so many on the right can just reject outright, the role of government in everything. And the motivation in recent years has been monetary, Republicans want to privatize Social Security. The Wall Street folks have such a great track record, let’s give America’s life savings over to them. Great fucking idea! Why didn’t we think of that before? I hope the Republicans pick that mantle back up and run with it because it will be a good wake up call for many in the country who were brainwashed, maybe they can be de-programmed with a public debate on the role of government vs. the greedy private sector. And the private sector is all about greed. There are some exceptions for sure, but the bottom line is the master of all in the private sector. Here is more from Steve Benen’s piece which has an extended excerpt from President Obama’s speech at U of M.

Continue reading

May 23, 2010 Posted by | Politics, President Barack Obama, Republican Party | 1 Comment

Political Memory Lane

Booman had a post similar to this and it inspired me to think back on my political junky-ness.

1968 – This is the first election I was aware of, I was 6 years old. That year had a huge impact on my life. My father died of a heart attack, my oldest brother went off to Vietnam and my next oldest brother went off to college at Berklee College of Music in Boston, the Vietnam war was on TV, my other brothers were marching in anti-war protests. (5 boys in the family) I have impressions of Chaos and doom that Nixon would win. I told you so. :)

1972 – I was 10 and spent the summer working at McGovern Headquarters in Muskegon, Michigan – stuffing envelopes and handing out flyers at grocery stores, I remember the same sense of doom and depression because of the war.

1976 – I didn’t pay a lot of attention at 14 but vividly remember coming home on election night and watching the returns with my mom, the first feminist in the country, born in 1923. (I know there were many others before her, but she was way ahead of her time) I was surprised that Carter won, I remember assuming he would lose and was pretty excited that night.

1980 – Carter, Carter, Carter…I was very active in the election, Reagan was going to be the end of civilization as we know it. A senior in High School, I was fully addicted to politics, eating and breathing it.

1984 – Must stop Reagan and his puppetmasters….anyone but Reagan. Saw Mondale in Lansing Michigan where I was going to Michigan State University, I was over the top political junky, buying every paper I could find, watching every political show I could find on TV. Those days it was Sunday morning shows and the MacNeil Lehrer Newshour. In 1985, I took a General Business Law class with a professor at MSU who was one of Reagan’s speechwriters in the ’84 campaign. He graduated #1 from the University of Michigan Law School. We would have debates about the election, we re-fought the election during class. It was pretty crazy debating him about politics, I was way out of my league. He gave me an A in the class even though I really deserved a C.

1988 – Dismal year, I wasn’t happy with any of the candidates, really. Dukakis had no sex appeal and the electorate was coming off the Hollywood president, the empty suit. Dukakis was stiff, wonky…but I agreed with him and tried to help him get elected.

1992 – Clinton, Clinton, Clinton….I liked him a lot. I didn’t like some of his moderate positions like welfare reform and too many tax breaks for business, easing of regulations..but I did like the fact that he was intelligent, hands on, persuasive, telegenic, and not of the World War II era. When he came to Grand Rapids Michigan and spoke, I was interview by the Grand Rapids Press (GR is Amway land, Devos and Van Andel-ville), the paper ended up using a bunch of quotes from me that were picked up across the state. I told them how I wanted a president who didn’t live through the “Great War”, someone who was evolved beyond the “red scare” mentality that was still lingering.

1996 – Clinton all the way, more out of a sense of defending him from the bullshit from Republican attacks, lesser of two evils to some extent.

2000 – Wasn’t thrilled that Gore got the nomination, Mr. Excitement and I thought the Republicans did a great job picking Ole Bushie boy, he was considered moderate at the time, compassionate conservative bullshit. Of course I was obsessed with the recount, bastards….insert expletives here.

2004 – Depression, Kerry was a horrible pick, WTF were the democrats thinking, I guess the field of candidates wasn’t that great to begin with. I think I originally wanted Dick Gephardt and was certainly intrigued by Howard Dean, but he melted down too quickly. I think he quit too soon. Kerry was way too stiff. I was in Baltimore MD visiting when a young guy named Barack Obama gave the keynote address at the democratic convention. I told my wife that he was going to be the first black president, we were both blown away by him.

2008 – I supported Obama before he even announced his candidacy, I even made a sign that I put on my office door at the university where I work before he even announced. I gave money to the campaign and certainly did my part commenting on blogs, but I was too busy with my many projects and jobs to help out much. Unlike many in my party, I think he’s doing a masterful job, not perfect, but I don’t expect perfection.

May 22, 2010 Posted by | Politics | 1 Comment

Saturday Morning Cartoon

This is one of the best Foghorn Leghorn cartoons in my opinion. It sure was fun surfing around Youtube trying to find one. Watch it, it will remind you of how much better cartoons were back in the day.

May 22, 2010 Posted by | Humor | 1 Comment

The Dust Has Settled On Tuesday’s Elections

Having posted about how I don’t pay too much attention to primary results as they relate to the general election and “national trends”. But I still read the stuff and ponder it, so I found this from Al Giordano who is becoming one of my favorite reads. From The Field…(emphasis mine)

Most of the races on the ballot yesterday were primaries and in that context political outsiders out-organized the insiders within both major parties. The only contest to test whether climate change has come to the Democrat-vs.-Republican rivalry happened in Pennsylvania’s Congressional District number 12, in a special election to replace the late US Rep. Jack Murtha, a conservative Democrat. How great was the supposed “anti-establishment” tide that the media has been crowing about? The winner was Murtha’s longtime Congressional aide named Mark Critz...

…And yesterday the Democrat got 53 percent of the vote, a comfortable margin of victory, in this supposedly “anti-incumbent” year even though Critz was the closest thing to an incumbent in the contest. His victory underscores that when it comes to US House elections – fantasies of the activists of left and right aside – “the issues” and ideology are secondary criteria for most voters. Most Americans look at their representative in Congress and think “what can he do for me?” They want to know that their US Rep. can “deliver for the locals.” Critz was accurately seen as the one who could pull the strings for the district precisely because he had Congressional staff experience. The “anti-incumbent” revolution predicted from all quarters did not materialize in Western Pennsylvania. The proper reading of yesterday’s result in fact brings the opposite conclusion: Incumbents who do the grunt work of constituent services will mostly survive in November.

People vote for candidates not for some media created narrative as if they are mindless drones. Don’t get me wrong, I believe that there are many mindless drones out there but I also believe that the way to win elections is to run good candidates who are in tune with their local population. If either candidate is perceived as out of touch with the local folks, it lowers their chance of pulling off a win. More from Al…

Tuesday’s results screw with the narratives imposed by many players on the political stage, and not just Gingrich’s. White, college educated, progressive activists have invested heavily in a harmonious argument with that of the tea partiers of the right. The portrait they paint is that President Obama isn’t satisfying “the base” enough, not being “progressive” enough, and that therefore ideological voters on the left will stay home and Republicans will conquer the upcoming midterm elections. It is often said as a threat: Do what I say or you will lose because “we” will sit on our hands. It’s tiresome not merely because it is boorish and an act of aspiring bullydom, but also because those who shout it don’t really have enough of a “we” behind them to make good on those threats, and most of that “we” doesn’t knock on doors or volunteer on phone banks or organize communities. They are aspiring generals with blogosphere accounts, but without armies.

Rather, the tea-baggers and fire-baggers alike are merely trying to get out in front of a normal trend in midterm elections: the party in the White House usually loses an average of twenty seats in the House and three in the Senate. They simply want to set up the bowling pins to be able to crow credit if and when the ball knocks some of them down. For careful watchers of US politics, their gambit is superficial and transparent, one aimed only at the most gullible among us.

See now Al is a man after my heart, referring to the fire-baggers. :) His point about progressives threatening to stay home, I have to wonder exactly how many democrats are so pouty and would really go against their own best interests by helping Republicans get elected. Do the “fire-baggers” really think that democrats want to elect a right-wing nutball who will ruin our country some more, start some more unnecessary wars, give tax cuts to their rich buddies, gut regulations that end up causing disasters, torture people, spy on their own citizens and drive the country into a ditch again. I don’t think so, Homey don’t play that. Some more Al Giordano…

Many still don’t grasp that in 2008, everything changed in US politics, which is increasingly fought on the ground with the methods of community organizing. That’s what explains the high Democratic turnout yesterday and the bellwether district in Pennsylvania remaining blue. And that – and not ideological tantrums on the Internets – will write the history of November 2010. Seems like the grownups are still at the driver’s wheel and, once again, the Chicken Littles were wrong. And that is of course, old news and history repeating itself again. How many times have I written this story? How many more will I have to pen? Oh well, at least we get to use images of that cute little feathered guy again.

“Ideological tantrums”, love it. Go look at the cute little feathered guy at Al’s blog, The Field.

May 21, 2010 Posted by | Democratic Party, Politics, Republican Party | 2 Comments

photo of the day – Devo

One of my favorite concert photos, the second in a series of 3. Now don’t go thinking I’m a big Devo fan, although I have to admit I like some of their tunes.

Shot by Extreme Liberal

May 20, 2010 Posted by | Photography, Public Domain | 1 Comment

Rand Paul – The New Face of the Republican Party

If you haven’t seen this, check it out. Rachel gives Rand Paul a lot of opportunity to back off his previous racist statements but he digs in and seems to make matters even worse. It ought to be a fun year in politics. Strap on your seat belts folks.

May 20, 2010 Posted by | Racism, Republican Party, Tea Party, Teabaggers | 7 Comments

Arizona Immigration Law For Dummies

David Neiwert has an excellent piece over at Crooks and Liars covering some of the issues with the new Arizona immigration law. Go read it now! I’m going to paste the ending which is great, but you have to go read the whole thing if you want to understand why the Arizona law will not be around very long. From Crooks and Liars…(emphasis mine)

It’s important to remember that unless people are caught in the actual act of crossing the border, and not merely found on a freeway crammed into a minivan, there is no criminal violation that any officer could suspect them of. The only violation likely to arouse suspicion would be a civil one.

Thus, as you can see, Kobach’s and Van Susteren’s analogy comparing someone suspected of being in the country illegally to someone pulled over with a bag of pot on the seat, or some other criminal violation, is all wrong.

A more apt analogy would be a situation in which a police officer approached a suspect for a drinking-and-driving violation and began to suspect that the same person was a tax cheat because he was a wealthy white Republican. Certainly, there are no shortage of those in Arizona.

If the Arizona law were applied similarly regarding all federal civil violations, well, the officer would be required to call the IRS and have that person audited.

Anyone wanna bet the Arizona Legislature won’t be demanding that of their police officers anytime soon?

The reason why it won’t be around any longer is in David Neiwert’s piece, here is another link to it. :)

May 19, 2010 Posted by | Immigration, Politics | 30 Comments

Did You Know?

That Kurt Vonnegut was the author of the saying “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

May 19, 2010 Posted by | Miscellaneous | | Leave a comment

What Tuesdays Elections Mean

My answer is, whatever anyone wants it to mean. The pundit class is out and about today spinning and interpreting the results of primaries and one special election. Apparently both parties are claiming victory which proves to me that when people cast votes, politicians get elected. I personally don’t read too much into individual races, just like I don’t read much into polls this far out from an election. Like Tip O’neill said, all politics are local. Trying to read a larger meaning into primary elections or any individual election is an exercise in futility. I scoff at most of the talking heads who try to connect dots that aren’t supposed to be connected or prognosticate the implications for the general election in November. The voting public, specifically the middle of the electorate are very fickle, their opinions blow in the breeze depending on whatever the current mood is. Good politicians like Barack Obama and David Plouffe know how to swing that fickle middle. But I propose that until we get close to November, it’s pretty silly trying to predict outcomes or major swings. One major event, a natural disaster, a terrorist event or even an upturn in the economy can cause major swings in the middle segment of the voting population. both parties have weaknesses and incumbents are in trouble if they are perceived to be part of those problems. I would propose that Republicans look much more like a part of the problem and it is up to us liberals to help get that word out.

May 19, 2010 Posted by | Election, Politics | 1 Comment

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