Friday, March 02, 2012

Tribute To The Monkees

RACHEL had to have Peter Tork of the 60s band Monkees for the interview tonight, following the sad news of Davy Jones's sudden death of a heart attack. Which got me in a nostalgic mood ...

The Monkees were a hybrid, accidental, band created around the hugely popular TV series of the same name. It just so happened the guys had musical talent too, lots of it, and they outgrew their top-down imposed limitations to become a live concert band. This is one of Davy's last concert performances, at the Beacon Theater in NY last year. The raw camera video recording works amazingly well; it's one of the best versions of Daydream Believer I've ever seen or heard. Here's Davy Jones, Micki Dolenz and Peter Tork doing their thing ...  For fellow Monkees fan, Rachel:

This one applies to news of the day, set gender aside:

And here's a brilliant segment in which Mike Nesmith switches places with the late, great Frank Zappa. Absolutely HILARIOUS! A true GEM:

Chris At His Best: Which Is Outstanding

And why we keep watching, and won't bail on Chris, despite the occasional disagreements. Another thing. This young lady, Sandra Fluke, has been subjected to vile, despicable attacks by Limbaugh and his sycophant wingnuts. Chris was a perfect gentleman toward her. That's what separates the decent people from Rush Limbaugh and his ilk. Chris is much too nice, but the sooner he realizes the Republican Party in its current incarnation is indeed 'evil', though not in the Biblical sense, the clearer the politics of right wing extremism, which has no equivalent on the left, will become to Mr. Matthews.

Fake Progressive Channel Watch: Susan Page ... Again?!

Have I mentioned yet today, as a sometime fan of Hardball, that Susan Page is IN THE TANK FOR MITT ROMNEY? It's like a parlor game with Matthews; she sits there patiently, before her opening, and zap! comes her biased comebacker. See, the problem I have is, she's posing as a journalist. And while none are truly "objective," the better ones are professional about it.

Are you really this dense, Chris? It's hard to believe. We're tired of hearing Susan's pro-Romney propaganda disguised as "journalism." For Pete's sake, man, give us a Haberman or a Fineman, or anyone from the NYT.  Even David Brooks is more objective than Susan, because he doesn't pretend to mask an opinion, and they're honest. And unlike a Krauthammer or a Will, Susan is ALWAYS finding the most ridiculous silver lining to make excuses for Romney — this time on his phantom appeal to women. Doesn't that tell you something, Chris, when you find it so absurd (yeah, right ... compared to Santorum) you had to laugh? Incidentally, your segment yesterday on CONSERVATIVES you insist on calling moderates was a total disgrace. As was your Beltwayspeak. That "lefty" lingo you smug Beltway jerks use to demean progressives is NOT appreciated.

Chris, you deserve a TON of credit for your progressive stance on women's issues, even though we had to light a fire under your you-know-what. But then you keep falling back on some really, really bad Beltway Media habits. Sadly, it keeps pulling you back. Frankly, you're at your best when you surprise us. But then it's back to the old habits. Jeez, Chris, you're so Beltway, you just can't seem to break free.


Pigman's Perversion Revealed

RUSH LIMBAUGH, leader of the Republican Party is not apologizing for his despicable smear of Georgetown student Sandra Fluke, a private citizen thrust into the contraception debate spotlight simply for testifying before a Democratic Congressional panel about the medical need women have for birth control pills. (Republican Chairman Issa had denied her appearance as a Democratic witness on his infamous all-male anti-contraception panel.)

Specifically, Fluke testified to the case of a friend who was prescribed the pill, not for avoiding unwanted pregnancy but for a medical need, to treat an ovarian cyst. The prescription was not covered by insurance on religious conflict grounds, and her friend, foregoing the costly treatment, tragically lost her ovaries. It's this essential part of women's health care, particularly for women who cannot afford the out-of-pocket costs, that is being attacked by Republican ideological intransigence.

Limbaugh called Fluke a "slut" and a "prostitute" then doubled down, saying "if we're going to pay for your contraceptives and thus pay for you to have sex, we want something for it. We want you to post the videos online so we can all watch." It seems the pervert Pigman can't wait:

Pervert wingnut guttersnipes are jumping on the Rush bandwagon. Craig Bannister (director of communications for conservative and executive editor of its "The Right View, Right Now" blog) "calculates" that Ms Fluke is having sex 2.74 times per day, every day, and for three years straight, based on her sworn testimony last week before a Congressional panel. Glenn Beck piled on, defaming Ms Fluke with disgusting locker room sexual innuendo. Already, one Limbaugh advertiser has pulled its commercials following a relentless consumer campaign. We should continue pressuring more advertisers to follow suit. Ms Fluke, a classy young woman, is not one to be intimidated:

Thursday, March 01, 2012

Our Kind of Civil War: Rebels v. Rebels

As Super Tuesday looms, Rick Santorum heads South where Newt Gingrich lies in wait, ready or not, to defend his Georgian turf. Mittens is persona non grata in the occupied Southern states. But he will be waging his favorite kind of campaign: blanket drone scorched earth attacks targeting Psycho Ricky and Newt Gingrich. "My favorite Civil War general, William Tecumseh Sherman, inspired our campaign's total warfare ... He did a lot of burning, ha-ha. But, let me say this — if nominated I promise to run ... ha-ha, and I will, if elected ... ha-ha — I will serve, I promise! Hahahaha ..."
Feigning outrage, Newt Gingrich replied: "Governor Romney is the most dangerous Republican in history. He's a liar, a mudslinger. He's like Goldilocks. It has to be just so. Anything less and he'll start whining and go running off to his sugar daddies for another money fix." Opening yet another line of attack, Gingrich accused Romney of being a carpetbagger with Swiss bank accounts and tax shelters in the Cayman Islands, who as the "grotesquely hypocritical" governor of the People's State of Massachusetts provided women with contraceptive services, against the wishes of the Catholic Bishops. Taunting Mittens as "an avid hunter of small varmints" Gingrich asked sarcastically, "do you still believe taking away 2nd Amendment rights 'helps protect us'?"

Then he admitted never having owned a firearm himself. Meanwhile, Mittens unleashed his not-so-secret weapon, Ron Paul, to slip through the doggie flap and attack Gingrich/Santorum: 39 times to zero. Yet Paul insisted disingenuously he's not Mittens' lapdog. Really?!

For his part, Psycho Ricky pledged to run a "positive" campaign smoking out Satan from our lives:
"The place where [Satan] was, in my mind, the most successful and first -- first successful was in academia. He understood pride of smart people. He attacked them at their weakest. They were in fact smarter than everybody else and could come up with something new and different -- pursue new truths, deny the existence of truth, play with it because they’re smart. And so academia a long time ago fell."
Psycho Ricky believes colleges are "indoctrination centers" of the left and President Obama "wants to remake you in his image. I want to create jobs so people can remake their children into their image, not his." That image, could it be, could it be ...

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Michael Steele's Revenge: Unleashing The Crazies In The GOP Primaries

Is former RNC Chairman Michael Steele a double-agent? For all of his early GOP talking point bloviations at Hardball et al, leaving wreckage-strewn segments in the wake of his hyper-partisan droppings, Mr. Steele has become the best friend President Obama and the Democratic Party could possibly hope for in a Republican. If not for Steele, principal architect of the new primary rules for proportional delegate allocation in the Republican primary presidential elections, we wouldn't be feted with this grotesquely revealing bizarro clown show with a Republican circular firing squad to regale us week after week. After week.

Fellow political maven Chris Matthews must know this instinctively, on a molecular subatomic level, when he gratefully introduces Steele with faux formality as "Mister Chaaaairman." Lawrence thanked him profusely. Steele, for his part, is much too cagey and Machiavellian a politician not to realize his rules changes would tilt the balance of power in the GOP presidential process from the Establishment to its Tea Party evangelical base. Under the old winner-take-all rules the big-money Establishment candidate, Mitt Romney, could eke out an underwhelming 41% win in Michigan and rake up most of its delegates. But under the governing Michael Steele rules Romney and Rick Santorum, who had 38% of the vote, get to split the delegates. Can anyone say, humiliating Pyrrhic victory ... ? (It's a Mittens specialty.)

Now it's on to Ohio for Psycho Ricky and Mittens the "Spartan" sock puppet. Ricky could have won Michigan hadn't he grossed out Catholic voters by threatening to "vomit" on JFK's separation of church and state speech; flummoxed voters all calling the President a "snob" for encouraging young people to get a college education, at least one of Ricky's three degrees; and repulsed women voters by foisting on them his American Taliban vision of total control of their bodies. Who's left? More than enough crazies to pull Psycho Ricky within three points of handing Mittens a flaming bad hair day in Michigan, home state with right-sized trees and lots of cars. (Thanks to President Obama's "bailout" of Detroit. Can you say: "thank you Mr. President," wingnuts — Mittens?)


Meanwhile, Chairman Steele laments his calls aren't being returned. The Republican Establishment, he admits ruefully, "they're not talking to me."  But then Steele waxed poetic, without a hint of irony or recrimination, about the pitchfork legions —99.9% white, mind you, which places Michael in the weird Republican contradiction category — he has so lovingly empowered. Feel the love of his poetry:

We Are The Base

 Lo, Romney Death Star's shooting rays
A Rick Santorum meteor haze
Establishment, red planets gaze

The Beltway orbits, Super Pacs 
Made by Chief Roberts in his haste
To lay our whole nation to waste

But all must pass the twinkling stars
God, gays, and guns, the stars and bars
Ron Paul's bromance, the Gingrich dance

A racists ball, college? No chance
For women must submit to men 
Slay contraception's evil plan

For men, Republicans know best
Which path to take, we'll nominate
Your bodies to control at last.

We are the base, you must obey
The state our church, repent and pray
We are the base, tear down this wall

The state and church are one and all
We are the base, you must obey
Dare not become our primary prey.

You are the base: twinkle-twinkle little wingnut stars. Michael Steele is your Avatar.

Chris Rips Latest Republican Attack On Women's Health

 Thumbs up, Chris. Tough questioning lifts the scab off the latest right wing attack to deny women essential contraception services under the guise of a broad religious and "moral" exception; namely, that if a male corporate CEO decides he wants to deny women employees birth control coverage, he can do so unilaterally by invoking a "moral" or "religious" objection.


And Here are the women's "health experts" consulted by Republicans:

Memo To Chris Matthews: Um, Wake Up ...

Winston Churchill didn't write While England Slept. A young JFK did. Thought you'd like to know. I know you do, it's in your book, along with two preposterously benign references to J. Edgar.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Will Michigan Go CRAZY!? Today ...

The gutcheck says maybe ... It's a genuine tossup. Here's why:

1. The candidates — Any objective appraisal of the candidates must recognize Rick Santorum's growth as a credible presidential candidate. It's one of those intangibles, in which voters will look at a candidate and see a president for the first time. Rick Santorum, I believe, has crossed that Rubicon, passed the test. And that happened, in large part, with his appearance on the Sunday shows. Anyone who tuned in to the Sunday shows saw an impressive candidate. Santorum was poised, relaxed, answered every question without equivocation — and even though one disagreed with his every  point — he looked presidential.

Mitt Romney, by contrast, has regressed. Clearly. He has been running for president so long that his test with the voters is competence, confidence, and electability. He's failing on every count. He represents the unfortunate adage that "familiarity indeed breeds contempt." In sports terms, one could say Mitt Romney is off his game and mired in a slump at the worst possible time. He's pressing, trying too hard to get too many messages across. He's not connecting with voters; whiffing on the 'regular guy' scale (one that Santorum hit out of the park) and, most significantly, on the competence scale.

Today, in what smacked of desperation, Romney accused Santorum of being "a lightweight" on economics. A laughable charge, considering Mitt is being rightly hammered for having penned an Op-Ed in the New York Times, Let Detroit Go Bankrupt. Indeed, President Obama wasn't about to allow one million jobs and the crown jewel of U.S. manufacturing to go belly-up. Call it a bailout, a rescue plan, a restructuring; call it what you will. But the fact remains, decisive government intervention saved Detroit. And today the President was basking in the glow of a great American success story, as Detroit came roaring back and GM reclaimed its position as the world's no. 1 automaker, posting the highest profits in its history. President Obama brought down the UAW house with a barnburner of a speech, taking on both Romney and Santorum. Speaking of an economic "lightweight" Romney gave the same tired old "drop dead" Republican non-solution for the housing market woes. 'Nuff said.

2. Sparta ... what Sparta?! — No elaboration is necessary (asked and answered in this blog). Unlimited money does not a nimble, competent campaign make. Sometimes, it's just the opposite when there's a failure of leadership, negative internal dynamics, and too many "chieftains" with not enough foot soldiers. Suffice it to say, Romney's campaign comes off as clunky, confused, lacking message discipline or even an overarching message — sort of like a gargantuan headless chicken. Who's in charge? Meh ... Do they have a counter-narrative to the Beltway true refrain that Romney "can't close this deal"?! They should, if they're as competent as Alex Castellanos claimed.

3. The Wild Card — Mitt Romney is already whining about partisan Democratic mischief — "OPERATION HILARITY" as Michael Moore called it gleefully —that a plan is afoot by Democrats to cross party and ideological lines to vote for Rick Santorum with Rick's blessing. Well, you know what they say — and this is delicious — "what goes around, comes around," Mittens. What did you expect, Mr. 1%, after bashing the unions repeatedly, to the last, calling them "stooges" and telling the auto industry that sustains more than one million jobs to drop dead. What did you expect, asshole, after using unions as a verbal piñata, because it worked so well for your Koch brothers fellow neighborhood stooge, Scott Walker, that Democratic union households won't be energized to come out and throw a wrench in your dreams of doing to the country what you did at Bain Capital?! Think again, rich boy with the magic underwear. (Is that why you walk so funny? Srsly ...)

The only silver lining in this scenario, if there is one for Mitt Romney, is that some Democrats are so alarmed by Santorum that they actually went out and voted for the "lesser of many evils" Romney — "be careful what you wish for" ... "law of unintended consequences" ... Blahblahblah. That's typical wimpy Democratic, skeert, WRONG thinking. Sure, if he's the nominee Rick Santorum has an infinitesimal chance of being elected. Nothing in life is certain. But that would depend on highly unlikely outside factors, including an epic stumble by the Obama campaign. The more likely scenario with Santorum heading the GOP ticket is an electoral defeat for Republicans, up and down the ticket, of Goldwater proportions. There's too much upside here for Democrats to behave like hand-wringing wimps.

And if it comes down to late deciders who watched  the Sunday shows, they may put Rick Santorum over the top, regardless. Santorum by 1.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Alex Castellanos's Lament: O Sparta, Where Art Thou?

Fellow GOP Elitists And Party Bosses:

Things are looking grim for our candidate. Despite my successful efforts at disinformation at CNN and MSNBC — political newbie Alex Wagner fell for our "Sparta v. Sparta" plant — designed to sustain the increasingly false aura of inevitability in Mitt Romney as our nominee building momentum propaganda around his campaign with specious comparisons to the Obama campaign, what we've got here instead is a multi-million dollar LAME-O going up against ANIMAL KINGDOM. To make matters worse, the candidate's weekend workouts in advance of tomorrow's race were dreadful!
  • What to do about a candidate telling Michiganders he likes cars and his wife drives two cadillacs?!
  • How to overcome the optics of a candidate mincing around in obviously brand new jeans as if they're giving him a rash in the nether regions?!
  • Or handle a candidate who can't stop talking about the trees in his home state, noting weirdly they're "the right height"?!
  • Then saying he doesn't follow NASCAR "as closely as some of its most ardent fans. But I have friends who are NASCAR team owners."?!
We're in "deep dooh-dooh" my fellow Establishment elitists, to quote our esteemed Bush patriarch.

This is some juggernaut, eh? With OPTICS like these even my namesake will stop buying the "Sparta" bullshit.

Sparta was famous and legendary for doing more with less. It did not have unlimited resources, and did not win its wars by overwhelming its enemies with expendable numbers until it razed them to the ground, like the carpet bombings of Dresden and Japan in World War II. Sparta was virtuous (they did not lie like Romney), courageous (they did not cower behind anonymous benefactors like Romney), and fiercely efficient —unlike Romney, they could fill a space like Thermopylae and look to the enemy as if they were thousands instead of 300.

Rachel, our fearless enemy combatant, immediately grasped the significance of these images: Mitt Romney is flawed — how did she put it ... "not a very good candidate" — and his much touted campaign is not very competent. Sparta? Whatever's left of it in a bankrupt 2012 Greece.

We are beginning to hear GOP Establishment rumbles and grumbles. The message is clear: Mark Halperin and Susan Page, "objective reporters" both according to Chris Matthews (ha-ha, I know, Chris is a soft target) are already bailing on Mitt Romney, per instructions.

For Susan who baffled Chris by suggesting the Romney-Paul alliance was a "friendship" thing, then astutely backtracked having reached the limit of his credulity, even a Romney squeaker in his home state of Michigan would place his "path to the nomination back on track." That was said in the friendly confines of the neutered PBS News Hour.

That's spin, of course. Not how I'd say it, but I can't be babysitting our media moles 24/7. Tonight on Rachel our worst nightmare, Michael Moore, made the right call: A Romney "win" by a couple of points in his home state would be the same as a disastrous loss. Fortunately for us, that silly "40 yard" crowd of Chris's discounts and ignores anything Moore says. That should buy us some time to spin a squeaker with our narrative and the Beltway Media's cooperation.

But do we want to? That is the question. Our Party elders, both of whom would be stronger candidates today — Jeb Bush and Mike Huckabee — criticized the Republican race with almost the same coordinated language. Huckabee lamented the "toxic atmosphere" while Jeb, with his usual understatement, found our candidates' rhetoric to be "a little troubling."

My friends, when Jeb and Mike speak out in unison, just days before the critical Michigan and Arizona primaries, that's our cue to pivot to Plan B. Mitt is on notice and Rick is unacceptable; he's off the reservation. Should Mitt not win Michigan decisively, we must pivot to serious consideration of a brokered convention — Plan B. A late entry against Santorum's momentum, charging out of a Michigan "upset" with a full head of steam, is untenable.

Our white knight — be he Jeb or Mike, or Mitch or Chris — must not go head-to-head against Rick, and face the possible ignominy of a primary defeat. I've done my part, playing the Media elites. Scored a bit of a coup, too, by signaling our (the GOP Establishment) distancing from Romney and Santorum to the Times' Maureen Dowd:
IT’S finally sinking in.

Republicans are getting queasy at the gruesome sight of their party eating itself alive, savaging the brand in ways that will long resonate.

“Republicans being against sex is not good,” the G.O.P. strategist Alex Castellanos told me mournfully. “Sex is popular.”

He said his party is “coming to grips with a weaker field than we’d all want” and going through the five stages of grief. “We’re at No. 4,” he said. (Depression.) “We’ve still got one to go.” (Acceptance.)
Nice bit of niche marketing, eh? Now the Beltway Media can begin to pivot away from defining our party as "outdated" and "ghastly" to being more sex-friendly (forgive my chauvinism, but being overly P.C. would be non-authentic) and "coming to grips with a weaker field than we'd all want" — which means, of course, that the Beltway Media has our officially sanctioned permission to consider the alternative.

I've done my job, fellow snobs (inside joke, ha-ha); it's now up to you to rescue our Party. There's an old Cuban saying that goes: A beber y a tragar, que mañana el mundo se va a acabar. (Eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow the world ends.)

¡Salud, chicos y muchachas!

~ Alex ~

Politics, Academy Awards, And J-Lo's Aura

I was not ever a fan of Margaret Thatcher, the "Iron Lady," nor Meryl Streep. She's right. We're sick and tired of her gaming the Academy system for her "surprised" self-aggrandizement, keeping other deserving actresses from raking in some of that gold. Meryl Streep is a very good method actress who has an uncanny knack for picking choice roles. That factors in, and though I'll wait for the video, the "Iron Lady" with ice in her veins is a perfect part for Streep's clinical, detached acting.

She never moved me as a romantic lead. I was never convinced of any emotional connection between Streep and her male love interests. She collects leading dudes like trophies. Her fake emoticons opposite Clint Eastwood in Bridges of Madison County and Robert Redford in the sting-our-eyes with soap Out of Africa and throw in the STD thing were downright cringy. So, yeah you're right, Meryl. And you didn't even have the decency to recognize your fellow nominees. My vote went to the tattoo girl. I kept thinking Rick Santorum when she told a metaphorically bound and gagged voter: "I'm crazy!"

Random observations: (1) Cirque du Soleil was a terrific barnburner of a show; (2) only two songs nominated — what's up with that?! ... (3) Is Angelina Jolie ill or bulimic? ... Bony arms without definition, yikes ... (4) J-Lo's big artificial ass seems to coincide with her not getting acting jobs. Contrary to female ET viewing phobias, males are really really turned off by the narcissism driving women to patronize the  fake "beauty" body parts industry. But we did catch a glimpse of J-Lo's aura. Will this juvenile peek-a-boo behavior ever cease? It's becoming stupid and redundant.