Friday, February 27, 2009

Andrew Sullivan on Obama


I've learned for two years now not to under-estimate Obama. I watched from the very start of the campaign how he strategized a path to achieving his goals partly by eschewing the kinds of tactics that Washington has come to see as political skill. I think of him in some ways as the Un-Rove. Karl Rove mastered the art of petty and nasty political tactics in the South of the post-Reagan era. And he never had a solid grip on conservatism as a political philosophy or of political strategy. And so Rove today endures as the architect of the biggest and deepest political implosion since the Democrats in the 1970s. It was all tactics, no strategy; all politics, no governance. He remains the worst single political strategist of modern times.

Now look at how Obama has framed the debate since the election. Every single symbolic act has been inclusive and sober. From that speech in Grant Park to the eschewal of euphoria on Inauguration Day; from the George Will dinner invite to the Rick Warren invocation; from meeting the House Republicans on the Hill to convening a fiscal responsibility summit; from telegraphing to all of us Obamacons that he wasn't a fiscal lunatic to ... unveiling the most expansive, liberal, big government reversal of Reagan any traditional Democrat would die for.

Smart, isn't he? He won the stimulus debate long before the Republicans realized it (they were busy doing tap-dances of victory on talk radio, while he was building a new coalition without them). And now, after presenting such a centrist, bi-partisan, moderate and personally trustworthy front, he gets to unveil a radical long-term agenda that really will soak the very rich and invest in the poor. Given the crisis, he has seized this moment for more radicalism than might have seemed possible only a couple of months ago.

The risk is, at least, a transparent risk. If none of this works, he will have taken a massive gamble and failed. The country will be bankrupt and he will have one term. His gamble with the economy may come to seem like Bush's gamble in Iraq. But if any of it works, if the economy recovers, and if the GOP continues to be utterly deaf and blind to the new landscape we live in, then we're talking less Reagan than FDR in long-term impact.

It's going to be a riveting first year, isn't it?

Conservatism is Dead

"Until conservatives can practice some painful introspection, looking with a self-critical eye at the reasons for the debacles of 2006 and 2008, most in the movement will continue to delude themselves that simply reaffirming conservative love of small government, low taxes, and less regulation will be enough to convince a majority of Americans that they recognize their shortcomings and have changed their tune. There must be a reckoning with those who violate the very nature of conservatism by obstinately adhering to exclusionary, anti-intellectual precepts that have thrown classical conservatism over in favor of ranting, ideological tantrums," - Rick Moran.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Wilco - The Late Greats (live)

"You can't hear it on the radio. . . "

A Day in the Life of Abbey Road

This is pretty cool. . . :)

Some Great Depression Cooking

Oh man this is great!!

Gold and Congo

A man working in a gold mine is pictured on February 23, 2009 in Chudja, near Bunia, north eastern Congo. The conflict in Congo has often been linked to a struggle for control over its resources. Congo is rich in mineral resources such as gold, diamonds, tin, and cobalt. The Democratic Republic of Congo government and the main former rebel group reached preliminary agreement on a wider peace deal for the east of the country on February 22, sources on both sides said. By Lionel Healing/AFP/Getty Images.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

"The Empire - A Soldier's View"

"Serving in Afghanistan is, I think, for anyone a humbling experience. You are continually humbled by the geography, the complexity of the society, and the weight of history. Understanding in your bones how long a drive thirty miles is without a road. Feeling in your stomach eyes watching you from canyon rims. Seeing the mixture of sorrow and hope in a child's eyes and the disillusioned stare of an adolescent with no options. That stays with you and gives a texture and reality check that is valuable when sifting through dry memoranda and contemplating strategic options," - Craig Mullaney, rumored to be soon named the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Central Asia and author of The Unforgiving Minute: A Soldier's Education. Interviewed by Andrew Exum.

Pete Seeger - What Did You Learn In School?


Wilco - Jesus, etc (live)

"Jesus! Don't cry!" or "Jesus, don't cry." What do you think?

Sunday, February 15, 2009

World's Worst Burglar

Okay, this is funny. . .

Thursday, February 12, 2009

M. Ward - Chinese Translation (live)

Atomictata introduced me to this guy. Definitely worth your FOUR minutes! This is good stuff! No joke.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

John Lennon sings Buddy Holly

This is for you Ronnie. Don't ever rag on Buddy dude!

Paul McCartney - Peggy Sue (1975)

Another one for you Ronnie. . . :)

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

"Obama plans regular happy hours"


You can stiff the president on a policy issue and defy him on a political one, but who can turn down an invitation to the White House?

Using one of the world’s most famous private residences as bait, President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama are unleashing a bipartisan charm offensive and exploiting every square inch of their new home to make friends and influence rivals. The social calendar suggests a return to the days of Camelot.

Since moving into their new digs, the first couple has hosted a half-dozen gatherings — from bipartisan cocktail receptions to a public open house to the more intimate Super Bowl party two Sundays ago — ending many of their days past midnight. Most recently, on Wednesday, the Obamas opened the White House doors to House caucus leaders from the moderate Blue Dog Democrats and the Congressional Black Caucus. White House aides say the couple hopes to make the Wednesday cocktail parties a tradition.


Monday, February 9, 2009

"Sebastian's Voodoo"

This is cool. . .

watch more at aniBoom

Milton Friedman - "Greed"

Wow. Conservatism can sometimes kick some serious ass! Too bad they have Clint Black and Toby Keith singing their "political" anthems. . . :)

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Quote of the Day

"The president is finally toughening up, and I suppose we shouldn't be surprised that his toughening process is taking the same calculated trajectory as it did in previous battles against Hillary Clinton and John McCain. First came Obama's exhortations for reasoned debate and civilized behavior, then came the inevitable unreasonable and uncivilized assaults in retort, and finally came a reinvigorated candidate, giving as much -- and then more -- as he got. Obama is something of a robust self-contradiction, if not a living oxymoron: He is, it seems, a kind of delicate but thunderingly hardass Illinois pol," - P.M. Carpenter, Buzzflash.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

The Rolling Stones - Not Fade Away (Live)

The Stones covering Buddy Holly's NOT FADE AWAY. One of my favorite Buddy Holly songs. You can definitely feel the vibe with this version. I'm diggin Brian Jones on this one. He's kicking some ass on the harmonica!

John Lennon singing Lady Marmalade

I think this came from a 1975 French TV interview. Further proof that this was not a "Lost Weekend."

Friday, February 6, 2009

Billy Bragg w/ Natalie Merchant - Way Over Yonder In The Minor Key

This is from the Mermaid Ave. album that features Wilco and Billy Bragg singing to Woody Gurthrie's lost lyrics. I found this video and was blown away by these paintings. Amazing stuff. And this is a great song! Ava sings the Natalie Merchant part everytime. Melts my heart. . .

Here's the story behind the video and painting:

I made this for an old roommate who wanted to see some work because he said he wanted to buy a painting. It's real choppy. I'm kind of in a hurry, because I'm goin' to Kansas City (yes, like the song) tomorrow or Thursday. The lighting is real bad; I think just because my apartment doesn't get much light. A lot of the paintings are from Steve Keene who's out of Brooklyn, some friends' paintings, 2 paintings from my mom. Most of my work is unfinished. A couple years ago the love of my life ripped my heart out, then my dad died and my confidence just went to shit. So, currently I'm trying to regain it. I think you just have to work hard and not get depressed. Life definitely throws you some curveballs.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

The Beatles - All Things Must Pass

Never understood why this song never made a Beatle album. Incredible song. Incredible version. George was on fire from 68-70. On fire!

"A mind can blow those clouds away. . . " :)

"Cheney Sets Obama Up"


He hunkers down to play the Dolchstoss card, preparing to blame the next terror attack on the Obama administration's disavowal of his torture program. It seems to me that regardless of the merits or demerits of his view, it's a remarkable violation of civil norms for a vice-president just out of power to assault his successors and all-but declare them indifferent to public safety. It's deeply divisive, deeply partisan and utterly self-serving. In other words: as cheap as one would expect. And part of what ails conservatism. Yes, they seem to be rooting for failure at home and abroad, because it would help vindicate their own appalling record on both fronts.

Think of Cheney and Limbaugh as the two centers of gravity for the current GOP. A deeply unserious and deeply disturbing pincer movement against the democratic mandate of the new president.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Bon Iver - Flume

Hat tip to Alex D. . . Good vibe.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

"President Obama is feeling nostalgic"

"Slavery and Mistrust in Africa"

This is part of an abstract from a paper by Nathan Nunn and Leonard Wantchekon. HISTORY MATTERS. . . IT REALLY DOES.

We investigate the historical origins of mistrust within Africa. Combining contemporary household survey data with historic data on slave shipments by ethnic group, we show that individuals whose ancestors were heavily threatened by the slave trade today exhibit less trust in neighbors, family co-ethnics, and their local government. We confirm that the relationship is causal by instrumenting the historic intensity of the slave trade by the historic distance from the coast of the respondent’s ancestors, controlling for the respondent’s current distance from the coast. We undertake a number of falsification exercises, all of which suggest that the necessary exclusion restrictions are likely satisfied. We then show that much of the relationship between the slave trade and an individual’s level of trust today cannot be explained by the slave trade’s effect on factors external to the individual, such as domestic institutions or the legal environment. Instead, the evidence shows that a significant portion of the effects of the slave trade work through vertically transmitted factors that are internal to the individual, such as cultural norms of behavior, beliefs and values.