Tuesday, February 12, 2008

McCain's Yes We Can video

Thanks to Andy Cobb and the folks at BarelyPolitical.com for making these two video parodies of the Yes We Can video a few posts below.

Saturday, February 09, 2008


This is simply baffling and shocking - if this doesn't make one ashamed of the current state of our environment, I don't know what does.

So I will repeat - WTF?!??!?!?!?!

A "plastic soup" of waste floating in the Pacific Ocean is growing at an alarming rate and now covers an area twice the size of the continental United States, scientists have said.

The vast expanse of debris – in effect the world's largest rubbish dump – is held in place by swirling underwater currents. This drifting "soup" stretches from about 500 nautical miles off the Californian coast, across the northern Pacific, past Hawaii and almost as far as Japan.

The sheer dumbassery of Ben Shapiro

I write this here because Ben Shapiro is, sadly, a UCLA graduate. One of the few mistakes UCLA has managed to produce. Shapiro was a child prodigy, starting at UCLA at the age of 16. But see, from talking to people that knew him, Shapiro was the classic case where those around him heaped praise upon him for being so smart, which led to unqualified arrogance on his part. And when he got to college and met professors who *gasp* were smarter than him, his lack of maturity couldn't handle it. Why, he couldn't possibly be wrong about anything! It must be those damned liberal professors who are wrong! It's why he wrote that book Brainwashed about how college professors are deviously trying to brainwash their students into becoming liberals. No, Ben, it's called critical thinking skills. Something you obviously never learned at UCLA. That, my friends, is Ben Shapiro in a nutshell.

And so today I was alerted to the latest piece of tripe he wrote for TownHall.com. His primary nonsensical claim? Barack Obama "went to a private high school and has spent about as much time facing down serious racism as Mitt Romney".

Wow. Just wow. I mean, what can you really say after seeing tripe such as that? Really, Ben? That's what you think? Got any proof of that, other than how Obama went to a private high school, where I'm sure racism simply did not exist? Cuz, you know, it's only in those damned public schools where racism still lingers. Say, UCLA is a public school..........

Of course, Obama not encountering enough racism for Shapiro's satisfaction at that private high school may have been because it was in Punahou, Hawaii, with a mix of a bunch of different races, and where whites were (and still are) a minority.

Yep, see, the best place to understand racism is to go to a young, white, conservative blogger who was raised in Burbank by two Reagan Republicans. As Kossack EdSF notes similarly: "The more privileged we gays are the less homophobia we experience."

As Wikipedia notes about him, he is a "very strong advocate for abstinence before marriage". For Ben, that won't be a problem. And from this latest column of his, it seems he understands what racism is as much as he understands "knowing" the opposite sex, in the Biblical sense of things. Which makes it even more interesting that he references Rick Salomon, creator of an infamous tape (OK, one of them) involving Paris Hilton:

Obama is a candidate who knows less about foreign policy than Rick Salomon, who at least knows about Paris.

Now, how did such a chaste young man like Shapiro even hear of Salomon? Must be that evil Internet warping his mind.

And finally, what does he mean by this line?

Barack Obama is the Halle Berry of American politics -- he's a pretty, nonthreatening face who happens to be the right color and, therefore, demands our plaudits.

Does Shapiro mean to say that if Halle Berry's skin were darker, then... he would find her threatening? Take what Shapiro says to its logical conclusion, and we come to a very disturbing discovery about what lurks deep inside Ben's mind.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Yes We Can

I think no matter who you support, most people would agree that this a pretty powerful ad.

On Saturday, YouTuber user "WeCan08" uploaded "Yes We Can," a music video for a new Obama ballad by the Black Eyed Peas' will.i.am and director Jesse Dylan, Bob Dylan's son. The "song" was essentially written by Barack Obama, since the lyrics are adapted from his "Yes We Can" speech after the New Hampshire primary. That speech, of course, was inspired by Cesar Chavez's motto for a United Farm Workers hunger strike in 1972. Excerpts of Obama play throughout the video, with accompaniment from stars like John Legend, Herbie Hancock, Common, Kareem Abdul Jabbar, Scarlett Johansson, Tatyana Ali and Nick Cannon. The video was first reported by ABC News, which interviewed the creators. (emphasis added for Kyle)
I am happy that both Democrats are reaching out to young people and hopefully inspiring them.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Props. 94-97: a bad idea

Don't take it from me, take it from the progressives over at Calitics.com, who call upon Democrats and progressives to vote against the Indian gaming propositions. They provide the following reasons.

A No vote on these referenda would overturn the compacts. These compacts do not make any guarantees of revenues to the state, although they toss around huge numbers in their ads, $9 B is the normal number. This number is through 2030, the life of the compact, and the Legislative Analyst's Office estimates that on an annual basis, the income will be no more than $200M for the next few years, ranging up to the mid-hundreds of millions at their height. That is between 0.2% and say, 0.5% or 0.6% of the annual general fund income, which is currently $100B. Furthermore, if non-gaming tribes do not receive enough revenue, as dictated by the compacts, the state has to dip into its portion of revenues.

Furthermore, there is the issue of the unions. The tribes are not subject to NLRB standards, and these compacts make no assurances that the workers of this casino will have fair opportunity to organize.

The progressive San Francisco Bay Guardian also came out against the propositions, providing more details on why it's a bad idea.

But this is a shady deal, and voters should reject it.

Props. 94–97 would allow four tribes — all of which have become very, very wealthy through gambling — to dramatically expand the size of their casinos. The Pechanga, Morongo, Sycuan, and Agua Caliente tribes operate lucrative casinos in Southern California, spend a small fortune on lobbying, and convinced Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to give them permission to create some of the largest casinos in the nation. Opponents of this agreement have forced the issue onto the ballot.

The tribes say the deals will bring big money into the state coffers, and it's true that more gambling equals more state revenue. But the effective tax rate on the slot machines (and this is all about slot machines, the cash engines of casinos) would be as little as 15 percent — chump change for a gambling operation. And none of the other tribes in the state, some of which are still desperate for money, would share in the bounty.

The big four tribes refuse to allow their workers to unionize. While we respect tribal sovereignty, the state still has the right to limit the size of casinos, and if the tribes want the right to make a lot more money, they ought to be willing to let their workers, not all of them Indians, share in some of the rewards. We're talking billions of dollars a year in revenue here; paying a decent salary is hardly beyond the financial ability of these massive operations.

The governor cut this deal too fast and gave away too much. If the tribes want to expand their casinos, we're open to allowing it — but the state, the workers, and the other tribes deserve a bigger share of the revenue. Vote no on 94-97.

I urge the Bruin Democrats to take these things into consideration before Tuesday's vote. Allowing workers the right to unionize is one of the key things that separates us from Republicans. Like it or not, unions have been the backbone of the Democratic Party. That these casinos do not allow their workers such a precious right is a travesty no matter how you look at it.

I understand I'm going against the club's endorsement on these propositions, but I ask that everyone look at what's really going on with the deals again.