Tastykake has delayed the filing of its annual report with the SEC because its accountants and lawyers are focusing all of their energy on trying to sell the company. Tasty Baking has been restructing its debt agreements since early January, partly as a result of problems they're having with their new production facility at the Philadelphia Navy Yard but also because of the downstream effects of the bankruptcy of the company that owns SuperFresh, A&P and Pathmark. As part of the restructing deal, Tasty Baking agreed to try to find a buyer by June who could pay the bills.
Tastykake promises to file the annual report within 15 days, and says it will include a warning from its auditors that the company may not be able to continue as a going concern.
Brendan Skwire says that the Republicans' recent initiative to kick all family members of striking workers off food stamps is actually a policy adopted originally ... in 1981. Why haven't we heard about it? Because, he says, it's largely symbolic:
[W]hile the language is offensive, it’s largely unworkable if the idea is to kick people already receiving [food stamps] off the program. When you apply, there’s a requirement to report if you’re on strike. If you’re already receiving SNAP, it’s a lot harder to determine that, simply due to the fact that the welfare offices where the majority of SNAP cases are handled are overworked, understaffed, inefficient, and in general swamped. ... [N]o one has the time (or for that matter the resources) to go through every applicant’s files to see which ones belong to unions and which unions are on strike at any given time. The only way this “policy” (and I’m using the term charitably) could work is if a striker went into the county assistance office and said “hey guys, those food stamps i’m getting? Cancel them, I’m on strike”.
There you have it: A great example of the real beauty of the internet, where people who actually know things tell other people who don't.
Getting smacked in the face by a cruiser-style shotgun is a comparatively gentle reminder that you need to be taught properly how to handle and shoot a gun before you get anywhere near live ammunition.
Apparently, the Richter scale was phased out 20 years ago. Today they use the moment magnitude scale, which measures the total energy of the quake. (The Richter scale just measured the distance the land moved.) People still say "8.9 on the Richter scale", but they should say "magnitude 8.9 earthquake."
"I'm a big football fan, but I also think that for an industry that's making nine billion dollars a year in revenue, they can figure out how to divide it up in a sensible way," Obama said. "I've got a lot of other stuff to do."
He's right. Presidents should stay out of trivial crap like this.
Most white (and a few black) NFL players that I have met or heard talk are raging wingnuts. The overwhelming majority of black players would side with Obama. It would split the union and make a pro-owner result more likely. Also, Republican voters and politicians presumably would take up the cause of the owners more fervently than they already do. If Obama urged compromise (I know, inconceivable), Republicans would call for drone attacks on Kevin Mawae.
Join Drinking Liberally Center City tonight at our regular weekly get-together, starting at 6 p.m. in the upstairs bar at Jose Pistola's, 263 S. 15th St. (between Locust & Spruce). Beer specials all evening.
Drinking Liberally is a project of Living Liberally, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization which builds progressive community through social networks and events. Founded in 2003, Living Liberally has 212 chapters across the country. The Center City Philadelphia chapter of DL was started during the 2004 election and has met every Tuesday night since.
We're a week away from when candidates for office can begin circulating petitions to get on the ballot. If you have a preferred candidate, you might consider volunteering as a petition circulator for them. If you don't, prepare to be asked to sign. Remember, you can only sign as many petitions as there are open seats for a particular office. (For example, there are 10 City Council district seats, and 7 at-large seats, so you can sign only one petition for your district candidate but up to 7 petitions for at-large candidates.)
Thanks to everyone who made it out to last Sunday's range outing with Shooting Liberally Philly. We'll be doing it again in March.
Drinking Liberally is a project of Living Liberally, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization which builds progressive community through social networks and events. Founded in 2003, Living Liberally has 212 chapters across the country. The Center City Philadelphia chapter of DL was started during the 2004 election and has met every Tuesday night since.
Oh look, the Egyptian military allowed a popular uprising to continue long enough to force the current leader out while installing a successor just as or even more friendly to them, thereby confirming to everyone in sight that they are the ones in charge. Yippee, democracy!
In an attempt to end the "birther" myth that President Obama was not born in the United States (and thus not qualified to serve as president), five Democrats on the Hawaii state legislature have introduced a bill that would allow anyone to obtain a copy of President Obama's birth records for a $100 fee.
For that price, they should send the customer a framed copy of the thing, printed on vellum, with a little brass plaque on the frame that says, "He's an American, you stupid asshole."
For the past several weeks, I've been hearing Obama would announce plans to cut Social Security in the State of the Union speech and that I should join with the Jane Hamshers of the Left to prevent it. Well, it didn't happen, which proves ... what?
It proves that a bunch of anti-Obama Dems are opportunistic motherfuckers who are just positioning themselves to make bank in the next couple of years. And people who believe their bullshit are fucking fools.
President Obama is preparing to nominate a White House deputy counsel and prominent litigator, Donald B. Verrilli Jr., to be solicitor general of the United States, the White House confirmed on Monday. The position has been vacant since Elena Kagan became a Supreme Court associate justice last year.
Why is this move "pro-business"?
A specialist in First Amendment, telecommunications and intellectual property law, he played a role in several important cases about copyright law in the Internet era – including representing the music industry in a 2005 lawsuit against the file-sharing service Grokster, and Viacom in a 2007 case against Google.
So Verrilli helped the music industry destroy P2P, and most recently was trying to destroy Google and YouTube on their behalf, too.
On the plus side, he's clerked for Brennan and is good on First Amendment issues. But Solicitor General is a stepping stone to the Court, and I would hate to see this corporate lackey on the Court.
When the conservative financier Charles Koch sent out invitations for a political retreat in Palm Springs later this month, he highlighted past appearances at the gathering of “notable leaders” like Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas of the Supreme Court.
A leading liberal group is now trying to use that connection to argue that Mr. Scalia and Mr. Thomas should disqualify themselves from hearing campaign finance cases because they may be biased toward Mr. Koch, a billionaire who has been a major player in financing conservative causes.
The group, Common Cause, filed a petition with the Justice Department on Wednesday asking it to investigate potential conflicts by Justices Scalia and Thomas and move for their disqualification from the landmark Citizens United case ... .
On June 8, 2008 more than 1,800 ACLU members, staffers and volunteers flooded in to Washington D.C. to attend the ACLU’s annual membership conference. ...
We got to hear from both clients and the people leading the charge in such diverse fields as Privacy, LGBT issues, Capitol Punishment, Affirmative Action and a whole score of other issues. ...
We also had such stand out guests as U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, U.S. Supreme Court Justice David Souter, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia and featured speakers like Arianna Huffington, Senator Arlen Specter, Helen Thomas and Kal Penn among others.
The Common Cause letter to Holder argues that a reasonable person would question Scalia's and Thomas' impartiality in the Citizens United case because (a) their attendance at the Koch retreat was highlighted in the invitation, (b) the Koch retreats are "highly political" and designed to garner support for a particular political course of action, (c) the retreats are secretive and proceedings are unpublished, (c) Koch was the moving force behind Citizens United, which was pending during the retreat Scalia and Thomas attended, and (d) "[r]egardless of the timeframe, we believe it is inappropriate for a Supreme Court judge to be 'featured' at or attend closed-door strategy meetings with political donors, corporate CEOs, candidates and political officials, and thereby lend the prestige of their position to the political goals of that event." The letter separately argues that Justice Thomas' wife's involvement with a conservative political group also is grounds for his disqualification from the Citizens United decision.
I believe that Scalia and Thomas are not "impartial" in any meaningful sense. They are movement conservatives whose jurisprudence is deeply slanted to reach their preferred politicals outcomes and occasionally is totally unprincipled. But if attending a meeting of like-minded people who are actively involved in pursuing political goals disqualifies a Supreme Court Justice from hearing a case, then Ruth Bader Ginsberg should be disqualified from hearing every ACLU case that comes before the Court. (She doesn't just attend their meetings and speak to their staff and donors, she used to work at the ACLU as the head of the Women's Rights Project!)
Important appellate judges have legal ideologies. People want to hear from appellate judges whose views they agree with. Absent the appearance that the judge is receiving some kind of specific, tangible benefit from an interested party to a case, then I think that these kind of celebrity appearances are relatively harmless.
[A] piece of religion in this country for a lot of people is a basic kind of ethnic tribalism. Most people aren't genuinely very religious and most of those who profess to be don't have any kind of sophisticated understanding of what their religion is supposed to be. They do know what team they play for, and that's important.
Right. See this local example from a few years ago:
Mrs. Dobrich said she had asked the board to develop policies that would leave no one feeling excluded because of faith. People booed and rattled signs that read "Jesus Saves," she recalled. Her son had written a short statement, but he felt so intimidated that his sister read it for him. In his statement, Alex, who was 11 then, said: "I feel bad when kids in my class call me 'Jew boy.' I do not want to move away from the house I have lived in forever."
Later, another speaker turned to Mrs. Dobrich and said, according to several witnesses, "If you want people to stop calling him ‘Jew boy,’ you tell him to give his heart to Jesus."
Humans are social animals, but belonging to a tribe - otherwise known as being in a gang - is a basic unit of "society". It requires a higher level of abstract reasoning to consider yourself a member of a group that primarily includes people you don't know and who may look and behave in ways very different from you.
Nationalism is a common way of conjuring this higher level of belonginess. In America, nationalism was made possible by the exclusion of blacks from the definition of "American." Once that notion was undermined, whites started either turning away from nationalism or re-defined "the nation" using their own idiosyncratic measures. The rise of the Christian gang as a political force in America is the result of both of these reactions. On one hand, white conservatives have to some extent become Christians first and Americans second. On the other, Christians have conflated Americanism and Christianity, and thereby imported the requirements of the bigoted form of the first - xenophobia, militarism, exceptionalism - into the second. To conservatives, they are the nation, and anyone who is "other" must be silent or be driven out.
The Republican who will head the House committee that oversees domestic security is planning to open a Congressional inquiry into what he calls “the radicalization” of the Muslim community when his party takes over the House next year.
Representative Peter T. King of New York, who will become the chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, said he is responding to what he has described as frequent concerns raised by law enforcement officials that Muslim leaders have been uncooperative in terror investigations.
I will bet you $20 Pam Geller gets to address the committee.
Please notice this is all part of their plan to unseat Obama. Emphasizing the foreign, swarthy Islamic threat in our midst binds naturally to the addled conservative belief that Obama is a foreign-born Muslim.
Happening right now on tv. Some kind of bill signing. He and Michelle are posing that it's about "healthy" school "meals" for kids. I haven't read the bill (and don't intend to - tldr) and don't know anything about this policy area, but I'm sure it's bad. Hillary would never have done this. Primary him!
It occurred to me this week that the biggest loser in the Wikileaks shitstorm would be Wikipedia. People are stupid and will think that anything with "wiki" in its name is associated with the encyclopedia.
I was just now trying to do some work, when I hear a noise that sounds like something I haven't heard since 9/11: Fighters flying CAP. Scary for a second. Then I remembered today is Army/Navy, and realized it's probably the halftime fly-over.
Update: The answer is "yes" per Mr. Williams at the Tax Policy Center via email:
Low-income workers will pay more tax in 2011 than in 2010, all else the same. Everyone else would see their taxes drop.
The tables we have posted on the TPC website do not include tax provisions from the 2009 stimulus bill in the baseline so the tax changes shown don't consider the fact that people are getting MWP this year. We will post a new table shortly that compares MWP and the payroll tax cut directly--that will show the winners and losers from the effective swap of one provision for the other.
In fact, the only groups likely to face a tax increase are those near the bottom of the income scale — individuals who make less than $20,000 and families with earnings below $40,000. ...
Although the $120 billion payroll tax reduction offers nearly twice the tax savings of the credit it replaces, it will nonetheless lead to higher tax bills for individuals with incomes below $20,000 and families that make less than $40,000. That is because their payroll tax savings are less than the $400 or $800 they will lose from the Making Work Pay credit.
“It will come to a few dollars a week,” said Roberton Williams, an analyst at the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center, “but it is an increase.”
The lead-up to that quote gives the impression that net overall taxes on lower-earning taxpayers will go up under the compromise. And some people have run with that interpretation:
No worries! Poor people don't create jobs, anyway, I hear.
But if you re-read the quote from Prof. Williams at the Tax Policy Center, you'll see it only addresses the change in payroll taxes, not all the elements of the compromise. I went to the Tax Policy Center's website and found this analysis of selected elements of the compromise, including the payroll tax changes:
On that table, everyone gets an overall tax cut. (Although look at the way those making over $500,000 and over $1,000,000 make out! Those are some very happy Republicans.)
I think this means that people making under $20/$40k might have a tax hike of "a few dollars a week" on employment taxes, but get a larger tax cut from all of the other elements of the deal. If that's right, then the New York Times overinterpreted Prof. Williams remark about one aspect of the compromise and reported that the working poor are getting screwed.
And people who are invested in the narrative that this deal is a sellout by Obama ran with it. Welcome to campaign 2012!
Now that attempts to limit the tax cut extension to incomes under $1 million, Dems in Congress have two options: Vote to extend them all, or let them all expire.
If they extend them all, then they look weak and "progressives" will heap scorn on them all, including the "AWOL Obamabush".
If they let them all expire, Republicans have vowed to filibuster everything else of substance through the end of the term. So nothing else gets done from now to Xmas. And then Republicans will claim that Democrats raised taxes on everyone, and make a big deal out of re-passing the "Republican tax cuts" next term. And so the threat to let them all expire is empty; not a threat at all, but an opportunity for the GOP.
John Cole, on congressional Republican tactics to stall until Xmas:
Insist on tax cuts first, running out the clock a good bit, then demand that amendments be allowed, and then let the others do the dirty work with thousands of amendments and procedural stalling. But David Broder will be impressed with how reasonable you are!
This should also manage to eat up enough of the legislative clock that we can dismiss START and unemployment benefits extension and anything else. But hey- rich folks will get a tax cut!
As Duncan says, people are losing confidence in Obama's competence.
Electoral competence is what led me to support him in 2008. Starting with Super Tuesday, Hillary increasingly looked to me like she was going to lose to McCain, and Obama looked like he was going to win. (Before that, I thought Hillary was a lock for the nomination.) There wasn't a whole lot of daylight between them policy-wise, and neither were especially liberal. I was tired of losing, so I went with the candidate who I thought would win.
I also thought that it didn't matter whether we had the first black President or the first woman President, what was more important to the world was having a competent President. I hoped Obama would be as adroit at governing as he was at campaigning. That's not working out so well. But where we'd be if we had gotten Hillary instead (assuming Hillary could have beaten McCain) is, as he says, unknowable.
But I do know I'm glad John McCain is not President. And that Sarah Palin is not Vice President. It's knowable that things would be worse if they were in the White House.
A similar choice is going to come up in 2012. I think primarying Obama would be a disaster. But it still might happen. Whether he wins the primary or not, in November there will be a Democrat and a Republican. And the Republican will be, relatively speaking, far worse for the country.
So I expect whoever the Dems put up, I am going to support and work for. I wish it can be with some enthusiasm and optimism, as in 2008. But I am going to do it regardless, because it's the only responsible thing to do.
If the terrorist plot has advanced to point where they're in the airport and an hour away from detonating a bomb, if they defeated the FBI, the CIA, the entire military to make it to that point, you think those guys in the blue shirts, with the bins and the shoes, are really going to be able to stop this plot?
We’ve been making this point for a long time: the best chance to catch a terrorist is through old-fashioned law enforcement and intelligence work.
[Emphasis supplied.] Citing Jeffrey Goldberg for anything is perilous. The implicit notion here is that "those guys in the blue shirts" are stupid lummoxes who couldn't catch a cold guarding a daycare center. Unlike us clever, highly educated professionals who are flying to Burning Man.
Note the second bolded portion. What does "old-fashioned law enforcement" mean in the context of terrorism? The unstated assumption is detective work, that is, work done by people in suits and ties, not in blue shirts. But blue shirts have been part of capturing terrorists or preventing terrorist attacks. Timothy McVeigh was caught by Oklahoma State Trooper Charlie Hanger, who pulled him over for a traffic violation and arrested him for carrying an illegal concealed weapon. In 2002, Whitney Donahue called the police to a highway rest stop, and Maryland State Police Trooper First Class D. Wayne Smith captured the beltway snipers. This year, a street vendor, Lance Orton, alerted New York City police officer Wayne Rhatigan to smoke coming from an SUV parked on the street. Rhatigan discovered the Times Square bomb before it went off. (It's possible the bomb would never have detonated, but he didn't know that and it's irrelevant anyway.)
Of course, detective and intelligence work have foiled plots and resulted in terrorists being captured, probably many more than uniformed police have or ever will (the number being unknowable because government figures on attacks stopped secretly are inherently unreliable).
Look, there are lots of stupid cops. That's true no matter what color shirt they're wearing or which agency they work for. It's true because there are lots of stupid people. TSA procedures probably make no sense, and the people in charge of the TSA are to blame for that. TSA screeners who behave badly should be fired. But people should stop thinking of them as mindless robots just because they are uniformed security.
From a personal injury lawyer regarding potential lawsuits by passengers on that Carnival cruise ship that had an engine room and had to be towed to port:
Although the passengers on the Splendor were inconvenienced by the fire and the elderly undoubtedly suffered the most, sometimes a cruise line will step up to the plate and make a fair offer. But if you decide to reject it, please don't call us. Most jurors will not have much patience for vacationers complaining about eating Pop Tarts on a cruise ship, when some of the jurors cannot afford a cruise in the first place and our U.S. troops have been eating MRE meals in the middle of the desert in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Raising hell about being searched before getting on an airliner is so precious. I'm not referring to the question of whether it's "security theater" and therefore useless or not -- of course it is. But the level of indignation generated by this exceedingly polite, deferential process from the people who could not give a shit about the abuse heaped on poor Americans every day. Having some minion gently squeeze your nuts is the end of the constitution? Most people can't afford to take a cab to the airport, asshole, much less get on a plane. Eat your fucking caviar and shut the fuck up.
Islam is suddenly on trial in a booming Nashville suburb, where opponents of a new mosque have spent six days in court trying to link it to what they claim is a conspiracy to take over America by imposing restrictive religious rule.
The hearing is supposed to be about whether Rutherford County officials violated Tennessee's open meetings law when they approved the mosque's site plan.
Instead, plaintiff's attorney Joe Brandon Jr. has used it as a forum to question whether the world's second-biggest faith even qualifies as a religion, and to push a theory that American Muslims want to replace the Constitution with extremist Islamic law. "Do you want to know about a direct connection between the Islamic Center and Shariah law, a.k.a. terrorism?" Brandon asked one witness in a typical line of questioning.
At one point, he asked whether Rutherford County Commissioner Gary Farley supported hanging a whip in his house as a warning to his wife and then beating her with it, something Brandon claimed was part of "Shariah religion."
The commissioner protested that he would never beat his wife.
County attorney Jim Cope objected to the question, saying, "This is a circus."
The magistrate conducting the trial is allowing all of this prejudicial, irrelevant testimony in because -- the article speculates -- there is no jury and the judge has the power to simply strike irrelevant evidence in the end and rule based on the relevant facts. If this is true, he's giving the plaintiffs leeway to prove their case so they can't even plausibly claim they haven't had their day in court.
The less-cheerful scenario is that the magistrate really believes the testimony of Frank Gaffney that "Shariah, and by extension the new mosque, poses a threat to America" is actually relevant.
Concerns over the loyalty of ethnic Japanese seemed to stem as much from racial prejudice than evidence of actual malfeasance. Major Karl Bendetsen and Lieutenant General John L. DeWitt, head of the Western Command, each questioned Japanese American loyalty. DeWitt, who administered the internment program, repeatedly told newspapers that "A Jap's a Jap" and testified to Congress,
I don't want any of them [persons of Japanese ancestry] here. They are a dangerous element. There is no way to determine their loyalty... It makes no difference whether he is an American citizen, he is still a Japanese. American citizenship does not necessarily determine loyalty... But we must worry about the Japanese all the time until he is wiped off the map.
DeWitt also sought approval to conduct search and seizure operations aimed at preventing alien Japanese from making radio transmissions to Japanese ships. The Justice Department declined, stating that there was no probable cause to support DeWitt's assertion, as the FBI concluded that there was no security threat. On January 2, the Joint Immigration Committee of the California Legislature sent a manifesto to California newspapers which attacked "the ethnic Japanese," whom it alleged were "totally unassimilable." This manifesto further argued that all people of Japanese heritage were loyal subjects of the Emperor of Japan; Japanese language schools, furthermore, according to the manifesto, were bastions of racism which advanced doctrines of Japanese racial superiority.
[Citations omitted.] So strong was the belief that people of Japanese descent were inherently disloyal, that infants in orphanages who had even "one drop of Japanese blood" were sent to orphanages in the concentration camps.
It's all there: The "we're not racists, they are", the Juan Williams-level belief that "they" are inherently disloyal and unassimilable, the equivalent of "Madrassa" hysteria, the eliminationist rhetoric. The people who hate and fear American Muslims today are the direct inheritors of those who hated and feared Japanese Americans.
There are some Democrats who want to primary Obama. They're angry because they think he's a wimp. I think it's stupid and a little retrograde to evaluate political performance by the "toughness" yardstick, but to each their own.
A serious primary challenge would almost guarantee a Republican victory. Not only would it deplete the overall Democratic warchest (pitiful to begin with) but it would produce an extraordinary amount of rancor that would put Carter v. Kennedy in the shade. And even if the Democrat (whether Obama or a successful challenger) won the general election, the ideological outcome probably won't make white liberals any happier and might conceivably make them even more unhappy.
You see, President Obama is black. And any challenger (who? no one says) will likely be white. And black voters always, always make up the margin of victory for Democrats in the general election, at least since 1964. Black voters today overwhelmingly support Obama - 91%. This compares to 79% of Democrats and 75% of liberals.
In short, white Democrats -- especially white liberals -- are turning on the first black President and black Democrats like him a lot.
This tells me that in a serious primary challenge, black Democrats will come out in droves to support him and a white challenger will tend to appeal to white Democratic voters, some of whom will be liberals but in general will be more conservative than the average, because there are more moderate to conservative white Democrats than there are white liberal Democrats.
In terms of racial politics, it will be worse than Hillary v. Barack. The animosity generated will make it very hard for the survivor -- I hesitate to use the word "winner" in this scenario -- to unify the party and go on to win.
In terms of substance, it means Obama is more likely to be successfully primaried by a white candidate who is as liberal or less liberal than he is. And that means that Obama will have to compete for those white moderate to conservative Democratic voters -- ultimately causing him to stay where he is ideologically or move even further right. In the end, no matter who wins, we'll end up with a President that's either no more liberal or more conservative, maybe way more conservative if it's the Republican, than we have in Obama now.
Obama denies that he's caving on extending the Bush tax cuts for people making over $250,000. This won't end the hyperventilating over things Axelrod said. Nothing will, unless Obama actually beheads John Boehner with a katana on live TV.
I'm not that concerned with a temporary extension of the tax cuts on everyone. The Republicans oppose that because it would just put them into a dilemma in 2012. That fight would crowd out whatever other obstructionist grandstanding they want to do that year and it might be really unpopular if the economy has improved. Also, it is true that there is some anti-stimulative effect to raising even rich people's taxes, although there are way, way better ways of spending all that money (like, say, directly hiring the unemployed to do stuff we need done. Just a thought.) So, I'm roughly indifferent to the outcome if the choice is repeal the tax cuts for the wealthy or extend them one or two years. The unacceptable outcome is extending them indefinitely or for more than two years.
We now return you to your regularly scheduled program of people breathing rapidly into paper bags.
There are plenty people out there (I've just seen a documentary on Channel 4 presented by one) who don't believe in Keynesian economics, but who think that the Great Depression was ended by the Second World War. In other words, paying men to dig holes and fill them in again is a ridiculous policy, compared to the sensible and effective course of action of paying men to dig holes and die in them.
This policy was implemented by our progressive mayor, Mike Nutter:
In 2009, police stopped 253,333 pedestrians, 72 percent of whom were African American, the suit said. Only 8 percent of the stops led to an arrest, often for "criminal conduct that was entirely independent from the supposed reason for the stop," according to the suit.
The population of Philly is about equally black and white, so do the math. The ACLU and local civil rights attorney David Rudovsky have brought a class-action lawsuit. One of the named plaintiffs is a African-American lawyer who has been frisked four times since 2008.
Nutter and police commissioner Ramsey credit stop-and-frisk for reducing violent crime in Philly. But crime rates across all categories in the U.S. have fallen since 2007, so color me unconvinced.
Given a choice I select the slurring alcoholic over the comatose junkie as a lifelong professional partner, and I say this with some knowledge of the two alternatives. But neither is strictly desirable.
In our organization, inside this rather unusual floating circus we call home, I am forced into the role of martinet, the one who gets blamed for silly arbitrary rules. (Like, for a show in front of 60,000 people for which we are being paid some $6 or $7 million for a few hours' work, I like to suggest to everyone that we start on time, and that we each have in place a personal plan, in whatever way suits us best, to stay conscious for the duration of the show.)
Funny, and many of the things he says about Richards sound true. On one level, it's stupid to care about the inner lives of entertainers. But it sounds like Jagger was a self-disciplined anomaly in a business filled with self-indulgent tossers. On the other hand, he the imagined response by Jagger only acknowledges in passing that he benefitted greatly from Richards' talent and therefore "maybe I was being selfish" to enable his behavior. Possibly the only choices he had were to smooth the way or break up the band, and I know what I would have chosen, if I could stomach it. Jagger portrays himself is portrayed as helpless.
Asking what the Stones could have done if Richards weren't such a drug- and alcohol-addled wreck begs the question of whether Richards' talent was fueled by the same things that manifested themselves in his assholish, out-of-control behavior. Maybe Jagger knew that and figured he'd rather have a musical genius falling over behind him on stage rather than the alternative.
Listened with half an ear to Obama's press conference today. He comes across as a man who is bemused by how other people behave in such a petty, illogical way. No wonder people who don't like him really don't like him.
He said the same thing he always says, that he's willing to listen to good ideas no matter who they're from. I didn't catch whether that caused a chuckle around the room. The idea of having a "Slurpee Summit" with the Republicans did.
Nothing about Obama or the Dem leadership makes me think they're going to be able to manage the Republicans any better now than they did the last couple of years. The GOP has no reason to compromise on anything. Saying no to everything has worked so far. They'll be even more bombastic and self-righteous about taxes and spending. And they're disciplined enough that they'll just roll Obama and the Dems. The only hope is that infighting among the Republicans over who will get the credit for their glorious victories will cause them all to fail.
Thus far into Obama's presidency, the Republicans have done very well by being obstructionist. Obama extends his hand and offers to work together, and they both slap it aside and call him divisive. Congressional Democrats adapt Republican ideas like cap and trade and the public option and the Republicans scream Nazi socialism. They haven't had a single positive idea, and for them that's a good thing. A positive plan would just confuse their supporters.
So, when the Republicans win the House, they will just continue to do what they've been doing: Demonize and demagogue. Their primary mission will be to rail against the evils of the health insurance reform bill and make loud announcements about how they're going to slay it. There will be lots of talk about making tax cuts for very, very wealthy people permanent in order to help "small business." No matter what happens, they will never let DADT be repealed on their watch. Etc.
But to help further their cause, they'll do what the GOP always does: Sling mud. I don't think even they are dumb enough to try to impeach Obama himself, but there will be lots of talk about it. There will be inquiry upon hearing upon outraged press conference, spiced up with calls for independent counsel investigations. They pull a Breitbart and find some plausibly bad-seeming thing and use it to force some hapless official out of his or her job. Then they'll bay at the moon, lick the blood from their chops, and lope off in search of another victim.