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From Dusk Till Dawn

It’s not the best vampire movie ever made, but it damn sure has the best soundtrack

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Movie Preview Open Thread

What movie are you looking forward to seeing?  

More previews after the jump:

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Obama’s Choice: Save the Economy or Save the Bankers

With the help of Dakinikat’s and Riverdaughter’s posts and my own reading, I’ve been trying to understand what is happening to our economy and how that is going to affect Americans. I came across an economist and historian named Michael Hudson who used to work on Wall Street and is now a Distinguished Research Professor at the University of Missouri, Kansas City (UMKC).

Hudson is really good at explaining the financial disaster we are going though, and he does it in plain English. In the interview posted below (taped yesterday in London) Hudson argues that governments around the world are deliberately shortchanging their own economies, because the financial sector give so much to politicians. Here’s the money quote (it appears about 4:54):

“…the largest contributor to the political campaigns is the financial sector, and the government has a choice: they can save the economy or or they can save the creditors who made the bad loans. They’ve said, ‘We don’t care about the economy; we’re bailing out the creditors. That’s our constituency.”

Here’s another interview with Hudson by Amy Goodman of Democracy Now. This one is from February 15. In this interview Hudson explains in more detail why Obama’s recovery plan is “awful.” It is the “greatest transfer of wealth in American history,” and it is turning the U.S. into an oligarchy with a whole new class of wealthy financiers.

In the end, says Hudson, the debts will have to be written off; because you simply can’t get blood from a stone. If people don’t have the money to pay their mortgages, they can’t pay them. In the meantime, Obama is pouring trillions of dollars of our tax money into the banks.

What can we do about it? I don’t know, but I agree with RD and Dakinikat that we all have to get up to speed on economics as best we can. This country is in real trouble, and the “vast majority of baby boomers have accumulated little to no wealth.” These people are close to retirement, and their houses have lost value and their 401Ks are in the crapper.

And the combination of falling house and stock values means that the vast majority of people near retirement have accumulated little or no wealth, meaning they will be almost completely reliant on Social Security and Medicare to support them in their retirement years.

These are the findings of “The Wealth of the Baby Boom Cohorts After the Collapse of the Housing Bubble,” a report by the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR), a non-partisan research firm.

We cannot allow the rapidly developing Obamagarchy to destroy social security and medicare just as we are very likely headed into a Depression that could be worse than the Great Depression my parents lived through. And we are more poorly prepared now than people were at the time of the 1929 crash. In those days, people had some savings. We are really going to have to stick together as a people and remind ourselves again and again that this is our country. It doesn’t belong to Obama or to the bankers. This land is our land.

Stupid Should Hurt

animatronic

There must be something in the Kool-aid over at MyDD, cuz Chuckie Lemos isn’t the only one that’s a few french fries short of a Happy Meal.  From Todd Beeton:

A new Gallup poll taken the day of and the two days following President Obama’s first address to a joint session of Congress on Tuesday, finds the President’s approval rating has jumped up 8 points to 67% and his disapproval has dropped 4 points to 21% from the prior 3-day period. Obama’s term-high approval rating was 69% just after his inauguration.

While Todd is having an obagasm over an alleged 8 point jump in Teh Precious’ approval rating, he glosses over the part that shows Obama has dropped two points in just one month.  At that rate Obama will be under 50% by Christmas.  He also ignores the fact that the poll shows that Obama’s “support” is extremely volatile.

Personally, I don’t pay much attention to polls at any time, but right now they are meaningless.  Obama’s approval rating won’t matter until the November 2010 mid-term election, and even then they aren’t an indicator of what will happen in 2012.  At the two-year mark George H. W. Bush had a 90% approval rating but he lost when he ran for reelection.  Bill Clinton’s approval rating was low in 1994 but he was reelected in 1996.

15 year-old girl beaten by thug with badge

From the Seattle Post-Intelligencer:

A video showing a King County Sheriff’s deputy pummeling a 15-year-old girl in a holding cell was released Friday over the strenuous objections of the officer’s attorney.

“We had argued strenuously that the videotape released to the media this morning not be released because it does not tell the whole story of the incident,” attorney Anne Bremner said in a statement.

[…]

“As we argued to the judge, it will inflame public opinion and will severely impact the deputy’s right to a fair trial.”

The video shows Schene and Brunner as they escorted the girl into the holding cell. Schene had asked her to remove her basketball shoes, and, as she slipped out of her left shoe, she appeared to kick it at Schene.

Schene then lunged through the door and kicked her, striking either her stomach or upper thigh area, court documents say. He pushed her against a corner wall before flinging her to the floor by her hair. He then squatted down on her and made “two overhead strikes,” although it’s unclear where the blows landed.

I’ll bet the thug’s attorney objected.  Video like that is highly prejudicial and likely to convince a jury that he is guilty.  Without the video that girl would just another criminal who “resisted arrest.”

I really HATE bad cops.

Happy Birthday Gary!

Once you're over the hill, you start to pick up speed!

Once you're over the hill, you start to pick up speed!

The Confluence wishes Gary (garychapelhill) a very happy birthday!
This is his birthday card, so please everyone sign it. 
(this is not a discussion thread – take discussion elsewhere)

No More Taxation Without Representation

The Time is Now

The Time is Now

Well, my sistren and brethren, after a month of “Hope and “Change,” are you feeling sufficiently represented by your new “progressive” government?

In my case, the answer to that question is a resounding, “Hell, no!”

Legislatively, the Obama Administration has failed to impress. The Lilly Ledbetter Act finally passed, but without the Paycheck Fairness Act, it’s only good for punishing employers after they have already been paying women less based on their sex. To make a real change in the daily lives of women and their families, we needed the tougher regulations the Paycheck Fairness Act would have imposed. As for the fabled stimulus package, when the President wanted to garner Republican votes, how did he reach across the aisle? By cutting Planned Parenthood funding, which helps poor women gain access to birth control. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi was furious at this betrayal, stating in an interview that cutting the funding actually increased the size of the stimulus bill by $700 million.

Pelosi on Planned Parenthood provisions of stimulus

And of course, not one Republican vote was gained by this tactic.

In the category of gender equity in his Cabinet, President Obama gets an “F.” He could not even bring himself to do any better than George W. Bush.

That’s just sad.

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Media Malpractice

Filmmaker John Zeigler produced a documentary about the media coverage of last year’s election titled “Media Malpractice – How Obama Got Elected And Palin Was Targeted.” 

I’ve only seen the previews and they left me wanting to see more, like any good preview should.

I’m not endorsing or bashing the film, I’m just presenting these clips for your consideration.

Make the jump for “Sarah Palin Unplugged On The Media” and “How Obama Got Elected… Interviews With Obama Voters”

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Friday: Budget under control? Great. What about mass transit?

The CRRNJ terminal and ferry docks in Jersey City, sitting idle.

The CRRNJ terminal and ferry docks in Jersey City, sitting idle.

Paul Krugman reviews Obama’s budget plans and gives a thumbs up.  Obama’s got his priorities straight, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t some problems coming up:

So we have good priorities and plausible projections. What’s not to like about this budget? Basically, the long run outlook remains worrying.

According to the Obama administration’s budget projections, the ratio of federal debt to G.D.P., a widely used measure of the government’s financial position, will soar over the next few years, then more or less stabilize. But this stability will be achieved at a debt-to-G.D.P. ratio of around 60 percent. That wouldn’t be an extremely high debt level by international standards, but it would be the deepest in debt America has been since the years immediately following World War II. And it would leave us with considerably reduced room for maneuver if another crisis comes along.

Furthermore, the Obama budget only tells us about the next 10 years. That’s an improvement on Bush-era budgets, which looked only 5 years ahead. But America’s really big fiscal problems lurk over that budget horizon: sooner or later we’re going to have to come to grips with the forces driving up long-run spending — above all, the ever-rising cost of health care.

And even if fundamental health care reform brings costs under control, I at least find it hard to see how the federal government can meet its long-term obligations without some tax increases on the middle class. Whatever politicians may say now, there’s probably a value-added tax in our future.

The health care funding is the key.  It stops well short of universal however.  Let’s not forget that there’s a hidden tax applied to every working taxpayer to pay for the uninsured. In NJ, that hidden tax is estimated to total  $700,000,000 per year and with more people out of work these days, it’s bound to go up.  That’s why universal healthcare is so important.  Ideally, we want to keep people healthy before they become so sick they end up in the emergency room and the hospital.  It saves us all money in the end.

Krugman expects tax increases on the middle class.  I suppose that is inevitable but I hope that someone is thinking about the millions of us single parents out here who pay taxes at a single rate and even with Head of Household and dependent deductions end up paying more every year in taxes than married people.  I’m sorry, married people, but I think this is unfair.  No one is reducing the cost of living for single people and single parents aren’t spending like there’s no tomorrow, except on the locusts who reside with us and regularly clean out our refrigerators.  Reports of our disposable incomes are greatly exaggerated.

One thing I haven’t heard mentioned is mass transit.

The abandoned CRRNJ station at Belle Mead, NJ

The abandoned CRRNJ station at Belle Mead, NJ

My impression is that it was underfunded but if anyone has a handle on the exact numbers, raise your hand.  Here on the east coast, especially dense NJ, there were a number of commuter rail lines that were abandoned in the 60’s as workers took to their cars.  Now, 40 years later, suburban sprawl has made getting from point A to point B a nightmare.  But the old rail lines are still there.  You can see them on google satlellite maps.In at least one case, the CRRNJ, the terminal station in Jersey city is still there.  It looks like it’s waiting for someone to just flip a switch.  I’m sure there’s a lot more to it than that but with most of the infrastructure already in place, what are the barriers to getting it up and running again?  We could really use it.

What’s your budget priorty?  Let us know in the comments.

Conflucians Say: What do we want? Accountability! When do we want it? LAST SUMMER!

I was perusing the NYTimes this morning, because I do happen to believe that news is what they do best, (when they’re not the tools of someone who is trying to manipulate the public), when I ran across this little tidbit: Bloggers and Unions Join Forces to Push Democrats to the Left.  That’s interesting, thought I.  They must be talking about us, People United Mean Action and Party Unity My Ass bloggers who tried to get the country’s attention last year after the RBC meeting.  You know, the unParty that wrote the book on PUMA Power and how it was really important to try to get the Democratic Party’s attention *before the nomination* because afterwards, they don’t have to listen to you?  Wow!  What an opportunity for bloggers to join up with the unions and really shake things up!  I mean, we have credibility for seeing Obama and the Democrats as they really are. Our predictions were deadly accurate where Obama was concerned.  Surely, SURELY, we now have the recognition we deserve.

Alas, it is not to be:

Ms. Hamsher said Accountability Now — which will also have support from the Service Employees International Union, one of the nation’s largest service sector unions, and the Web site DailyKos.com — would concentrate more fully on candidate recruitment on a statewide level.

“We’ve gone out to the state blogs asking them to put together research on people who they think are good candidates who should be on our radar,” she said. “We’re not just parachuting in.”

{{Snort!}} DailyKos?  I’m sorry but weren’t they swimming in Kool-ade just last week?  The problem with the big orange cheeto is that the people who hang out there now are incredibly vulnerable to suggestion.  They don’t stand a chance against the Axlerod trained psych infiltrators who derail them with remarkable alacrity.

As for Jane Hamsher and Glenn Greenwald, I used to admire them both.  But I was so disappointed to see how thoroughly they bought into the Obama mystique and how nasty they were to Palin.  They wasted a lot of energy on distraction when they should have kept their eyes on the ball and Obama’s feet to the fire.  It didn’t help that they treated the “old coalition” like red-headed stepchildren.  Oh, that’s right.  We were racists because we refused to recognize the divinity of Jesus Christ Obama.

Accountability now or Better Late Than Never?

Stay tuned for Conflucians Say tonight at 10PM EST when we discuss Accountability Now, books with good moments but bad quarters of an hour and acquaintances who don’t know when to stop digging.  It’s on PUMA United Radio!  (PURrrr)

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