Monday, September 27, 2010

Republicans attack anti-Outsourcing bill

Republicans are crying foul over a bill that would limit the outsourcing of American jobs to countries where employees would be paid less.

The Senate will consider a bill this week aimed at discouraging U.S. businesses from outsourcing jobs overseas, a plan that Democrats describe as an effort to fight unemployment but which Republicans deride as a pre-election political maneuver.

Democrats admit they don't have enough votes to defeat a possible attempt by Republicans to block the bill. But they hope that bringing the issue to the Senate floor will underscore their concern about unemployment, now at 9.6%.

"This is another in a series of bills designed to try and provide jobs here at home for the American people," a spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Sunday. "Just because the Republicans say 'No,' doesn't mean we shouldn't try."

The bill would provide tax breaks to companies that bring jobs home from abroad, and end certain tax credits, deductions and deferrals for U.S. companies expanding or moving overseas.[...]

"They want a headline the next day saying the Republicans blocked something," said a spokesman for Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky.

Outsourcing has emerged as a tit-for-tat issue in the California Senate race. Sen. Barbara Boxer, a Democrat and cosponsor of the Senate bill, is running a TV ad that criticizes her opponent, Republican Carly Fiorina, for presiding over layoffs and moving jobs overseas while CEO of computer giant Hewlett-Packard Co.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Quote of the Day

"Rand Paul running for Senate in Kentucky wants to eliminate the department of education which gives Kentucky 490 million a year. Really Kentucky? This is your guy?"
-Adam McKay, writer-director

Monday, September 20, 2010

Walter Mondale on Obama

Former Vice President Walter Mondale, the VP under disgraced former president Jimmy Carter, has a new memoir coming out. As such, he's been making the publicity tour. The New Yorker spoke with him recently and he has some harsh words about the political reality of today, mainly the Obama administration.
For most people, it’s hard to imagine what it’s like to be Barack Obama as his Administration’s high hopes are dashed by daily waves of bad news. But for Walter Mondale, who spent four years as Jimmy Carter’s Vice-President, the experience is all too familiar. When the public sours on you, he said last week, the Presidency seems “like a unique four-year marriage contract, in which divorce is not an option.”

Mondale, now in his eighties, was speaking on the phone from his home state of Minnesota, in advance of the publication of his memoir, “The Good Fight: A Life in Liberal Politics.” He could not help noting the similarities between Obama’s embattled White House and Carter’s. The problems that he and Carter faced from 1976 until 1980, he recalled, often seemed “overwhelming,” with “no good answers” in sight. As the economy was ravaged by what was known as “stagflation,” he said, the public “just turned against us—same as with Obama.” He went on, “People think the President is the only one who can fix their problems. And, if he doesn’t produce solutions, I’m telling you—when a person loses a job, or can’t feed his family, or can’t keep his house, he is no longer rational. They become angry, they strike out—and that’s what we have now. If you’re President, they say, ‘Do something!’ ”[...]

Mondale recalled that President Carter, as his standing in the polls slid, “began to lose confidence in his ability to move the public.” The President, he said, should have “got out front earlier with the bad news and addressed the people more.” He sees a similar problem with Obama: “I think he needs to get rid of those teleprompters, and connect. He’s smart as hell. He can do it. Look right into those cameras and tell people he’s hurting right along with them.” Carter, on the other hand, he said, might not have been able to. “At heart, he was an engineer,” Mondale said. “He wanted to sit down and come up with the right answers, and then explain it. He didn’t like to do a lot of emotional public speaking.”[...]

As for Obama, Mondale said, “He’s doing a good job,” adding, however, that when the President first took office he was “a bit green.” Also, he said, “In my opinion, Obama had a few false presumptions. One was the idea that we were in a post-partisan era.” The other was “the idea of turning things over to Congress—that doesn’t work even when you own Congress. You have to ride ’em.” Further, he suggested that Obama should stop thinking about what he can get from the Republican opposition: “You should explain clearly what you want, and, if they oppose you, attack them for it.”

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Evan Bayh for Governor in 2012?!?

Can it be? Is it possible? Are the rumors true? It is looking more apparent that Indiana Senator Evan Bayh will be running for his old position in 2012: Governor of Indiana. Given his name recognition and how much he does not enjoy the Senate these days, I am not surprised one bit.

Moreover, for the 2016 presidential race, he could run for President as Governor Bayh, a possible three-term governor with two terms of foreign policy experience. That's what people like. Politicians with executive and foreign policy experience.

The Journal Gazette reports:
Will the 2012 gubernatorial campaign look a lot like 1988? The chairman of the Marion County Democratic Party says it will quite likely include the same Democratic nominee, Evan Bayh.

Ed Treacy told the Indianapolis Business Journal that Bayh’s appearance at the annual Indiana Democratic Editorial Association event in French Lick last month was a clue to the senator’s intentions.

“That speaks volumes for him about his priorities,” Treacy said, noting that Bayh hasn’t attended the party event in years.

Another clue might have come much earlier. When Bayh announced in February that he would not seek re-election to the Senate seat he won in 1998, his prepared statement emphasized his accomplishments as governor – working “with an outstanding team to balance the budget, cut taxes, leave the largest surplus in state history, create the most new jobs during any eight-year period, increase funding for schools every year, make college more affordable, and reform welfare to emphasize work.”

Revisiting the Virgin...

Alyssa Rosenberg revisits The 40-Year-Old Virgin five years later. The impact from the Apatow films is surely out there...even in the films that Judd had nothing to do with.

On Funny People...

Christopher Orr defends Judd Apatow's third feature film, Funny People. I must say that I did enjoy this movie.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

The Colbert Report: March to Keep Fear Alive

The Colbert Report will hold a March to Keep Fear Alive on October 30, 2010 in Washington, DC.

The Daily Show with Jon Stewart: The Rally to Restore Sanity

The Rally to Restore Sanity...October 30, 2010. National Mall, Washington, DC. Wait, that's on Shabbas...

The Daily Show with Jon Stewart will already be shooting on location in Washington, DC that week.

Two to three hours.

Take it down a notch...for America.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

A Message from Shimon Peres

In a message to Jewish communities around the world, Peres called for Israel to continue to "be a part of the Jewish and Zionist education of Jewish youth in the Diaspora," and for youth to visit the Jewish state as a way to achieve this goal.

Peres also called for Jews to work to thwart efforts to delegitimize Israel as the Jewish state and to "fight against fanatic leaders, armed with nuclear weapons, and who deny the Holocaust and call for the destruction of the State of Israel."

"Our mission for the coming year is to strengthen our unity in matters that affect the destinies and future of us all. We must work together in harmony and reach agreements through dialogue," he said. "Solidarity, brotherhood, tolerance and understanding are the foundations of a strong and secure family. We cannot, and must not, allow disagreements to tear us apart. We must collectively dedicate ourselves to the well-being of the Jewish people."

Portman the frontrunner...

It is early but Natalie Portman appears to be the frontrunner for Best Actress at the Oscars.

It's very interesting to see how Olivia Munn got her job as a correspondent for The Daily Show. Check it out.
So how did she land the gig with Jon Stewart? In part, with a Holocaust quip, she tells GQ. "When we met, Jon mentioned being Jewish, and I asked, 'The Holocaust—did it really happen?' " she recalls. "I mean, clearly it happened, but that's my sense of humor, and it showed I could joke in that Daily Show way."
Print does not do the spoken word justice. "Really" should be italicized.

Interesting. This article covers which episodes were submitted for Emmy consideration. For The Daily Show, it was their episode from May 10, 2010. The Tonight Show With Conan O'Brien submitted the final episode--honestly, how did that episode alone not win?!? SNL submitted the episode hosted by Betty White while The Colbert Report submitted one where President Obama appeared via satellite.
Daniel Gordis responds to TIME Magazine in his web-exclusive article for Commentary Magazine.
Here we are in the middle of peace negotiations that Israel's prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, insisted upon, and to which the president of the Palestinian Authority, Abu Mazen, had to be dragged, and Time writes about “why Israel doesn’t care about peace.” Is there no limit to the Israel-bashing that now passes for serious conversion in polite society?

The Web version of the story hardly even qualifies as journalism. It’s nothing more than a few sentences strung together, interspersed with links to a series of photographs.

The printed version, at least, has a thesis, and it’s not a bad one. Its claim is that Israelis don’t discuss the peace process much (true), that they have low expectations (true), and that they don’t care (also true). And why do Israelis not care?

Ah, here comes the rub. Part of the answer that Time offers is that Israelis have despaired of peace (though why that might be is never explicitly stated – Palestinian recalcitrance is never actually mentioned, like a dark family secret that everyone knows but that everyone hopes will go away if it doesn’t surface). Israelis have learned to build decent lives even in the face of the conflict, and the Palestinians are now a nuisance, not a strategic threat. That’s true, and a fair point.

But what about the rest of the answer that Time offers? Why are Israelis not more interested in the peace process? Money.

Yes, you read that correctly. The Jews are more interested in money than in peace. In four pages of text, the Israeli (Jewish) pre-occupation with real estate, startups, and high rises on the Ashkelon beaches is repeated again and again and again, like the refrain of a bad country song. “Newspapers print fewer pages of politics … and more pages of business news.” That’s news? How is that different from dozens of other papers throughout the world? It seems that this is important because now we’re talking about Jewish newspapers, and those stubborn Jews who “don’t care about peace” just print more and more pages of business news.[...]

Will anyone react to this story? One certainly hopes so. There’s a line in the Rosh HaShannah liturgy, which many Jews will recite in just a few days, that reads tein kavod le-amekha, roughly translated as “restore some dignity to Your people.” It’s going to take more than prayer to do that, though, and more than a silent shaking of the head. Time will tell (no pun intended) whether Time’s decent readers will make it clear that they have had more than enough, that even today, even with appallingly low standards to which we have become accustomed, not everything is Salonfähig.
Read the above link for more.

Meanwhile, Honest Reporting issued their own critique.
The Time article, written by Karl Vick, however, glosses over any legitimate reasons why Israelis may have lost interest in the details of the peace process, instead presenting Israelis as callous, insensitive, and decadently more concerned with beaches, water sports, and Tel Aviv's cafe culture than with matters of real substance.

Vick writes:
In the week that three Presidents, a King and their own Prime Minister gather at the White House to begin a fresh round of talks on peace between Israel and the Palestinians, the truth is, Israelis are no longer preoccupied with the matter. They're otherwise engaged; they're making money; they're enjoying the rays of late summer. A watching world may still define their country by the blood feud with the Arabs whose families used to live on this land and whether that conflict can be negotiated away, but Israelis say they have moved on.
The reference to the "blood feud with the Arabs whose families used to live on this land" is particularly telling. Vick appears to subtly reject Israel's historic claims to the land and to imply that Israelis are at fault in the conflict, since the land really belongs to the Arabs.

The print edition's accompanying photos reinforce Vick's contention that Israelis are preoccupied with leisure. The images feature Israelis lying on the beach, chatting at a cafe, or sitting on park benches. The implication is obvious: Israelis don't care about peace because they are doing fine without it.

Thus, Time distorts Israeli resilience in the face of a decade of rocket attacks and terrorism into an image of decadence.[...]

As a result, we have another cover story on newsstands worldwide accusing Israel of not caring about peace. What we really learn, however, is that Time magazine doesn't care about Israel.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Mayor Daley not running for re-election

I'm trying to think of the last time that there was not a mayor named Daley in Chicago. There was a brief time in the early 1980s when they filmed The Blues Brothers in Chicago but that is about it.

The big news today is that Chicago Mayor Richard Daley is stepping down.
"The truth is I have been thinking about this for the past several months," Daley said at a City Hall news conference that stunned the city. "In the end this is a personal decision, no more, no less."

His wife Maggie stood by his side with the help of a crutch, smiling broadly as the mayor continued: "I have always known that people want you to work hard for them. Clearly, they won't always agree with you. Obviously, they don't like it when you make a mistake. But at all times, they expect you to lead, to make difficult decisions, rooted in what's right for them.

"For 21 years, that's what I've tried to do," he said. "But today, I am announcing that I will not seek a 7th term as mayor of the city of Chicago.

"Simply put, it's time," said Daley, 68. "Time for me, it's time for Chicago to move on."

The mayor said that "improving Chicago has been the ongoing work of my life and I have loved every minute of it. There has been no greater privilege or honor than serving as your mayor.

"Working alongside seasoned professionals, incredibly committed business and community leaders, and some of the most dedicated public employees you will ever expect, I have had the opportunity to expand, to build, to create, unite and compromise for the betterment of Chicago."

"I am deeply grateful to the people of this city, more grateful than I can fully express," Daley said. "I have given it my all. I have done the best.

"Now, I am ready with my family to begin the new phase of our lives. In the coming days, I know there will be some reflecting on my time as mayor. Many of you will search to find what's behind my decision. It's simple. I've always believed that every person, especially public officials, must understand when it's time to move on. For me, that time is now," he said. "The truth is that I've been thinking about this for the last several months. And in the last several weeks, I've been increasingly comfortable with my decision. It just feels right."

"For the next seven months, I assure you I will work as hard as I have for the past 21 years, for all the people of Chicago," he added.

Daley spoke for less than five minutes and took no questions

His announcement comes as he faces a record $655 million budget shortfall. Last month, the mayor said he's looking at hiring private firms to take over more city functions, including potentially running the Taste of Chicago, as a way to cut costs.[...]

Daley's decision sets off a major power scramble following more than 20 years of stifled political ambitions in city politics.

Daley was first elected mayor in 1989 following a failed bid in 1983. The mayor easily won re-election ever since, always with little to no opposition.[...]

Earlier this year, White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel voiced his mayoral ambitions. But the former North Side congressman quickly added that he wouldn't take on Daley, for whom he served as a strategist and fundraiser in the mayor's first winning bid. Likewise, Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart said he won't run for mayor unless the office is open.
Potential replacements for Rahm Emanuel's position as chief of staff are mentioned below.
Other internal names have risen and fallen: Peter Orszag was viewed, for an early moment, as a likely successor; Jim Messina is also a candidate, though bad midterms would do him damage as well; Tom Daschle has the requisite stature and connections on the Hill; John Podesta, who has said he doesn't want the job, would represent a change of course.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Jukebox the Ghost's Performance on Letterman

Here's the video of Jukebox the Ghost performing on last night's Late Show with David Letterman:

Pre-order the new Jukebox the Ghost album...

These guys are friends of mine. You should buy their upcoming album, Everything Under the Sun.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Jukebox the Ghost on Late Show with David Letterman

Jukebox the Ghost will be appearing tonight on the Late Show with David Letterman. They are longtime friends--especially pianist Ben Thornewill, a fellow Ballard High School Class of 2003 graduate.

Conan new show to be called Conan