February 27, 2009

Off to a Flying Start


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The Republicans are doing their best to stage a comeback. Now that intellectual policy wonks of color are in fashion, Bobby Jindal is their great taupe hope. However, his response to Obama's speech on Tuesday night on behalf of Republicans left Rachel Maddow speechless, conservative George Will appalled and got Jindal forever linked to Urkel and Kenneth the Page There were those who found his tone infantilizing, and those who are desperate enough to use his speech for fund raising purposes, since the pickings are lean.

Sadly, as Republicans are wont to do, Jindal told a lie in his showcase appearance ---and he was caught. This, and his threatened refusal of stimulus funds for Louisiana may put a crack in his catapult into the 2012 Presidential race .

Even as Sarah Pee and the Dumber Plumber struggle to stay in the public eye, a new voice of conservatism is emerging. Jonathan Krohn is just thirteen now, but we can wait a few years until he's eligible. All of us here at Dakota are holding our breath.

Photo note: A flying leap with an East Asian flavor --an uncommon image in our daily life

Posted by Dakota at 05:46 PM

February 25, 2009

A Rose By Any Other Name Won't Make A Whit Of Difference


Larger image Up close, Up close, not roses

Remember when Berkeley professor George Lakeoff exposed the manipulative linguistic tactics of right wing conservatives in his book "Don't Think Of An Elephant"? An example would be relabeling the inheritance tax, the "Death Tax" (progressives preferred the "Paris Hilton Tax")? Well Lakeoff is back with another significant linguistic analysis of what he calls The Obama Code.

....But beyond policy, there will be a vision of America--a moral vision and a view of unity that the pundits often miss. What they miss is the Obama Code. For the sake of unity, the President tends to express his moral vision indirectly. Like other self-aware and highly articulate speakers, he connects with his audience using what cognitive scientists call the "cognitive unconscious." Speaking naturally, he lets his deepest ideas simply structure what he is saying. If you follow him, the deep ideas are communicated unconsciously and automatically. " The Code is his most effective way to bring the country together around fundamental American values.

Don't get too relaxed because neoconservatives are still busy renaming the renamed as they lose their luster. Abu Ghraib for example, has been renovated and will now be known as Baghdad Central Prison

You will be pleased to know that Bush's notorious private army Blackwater is now called "Xe", pronounced like the letter Zee. Macho catchy! Their subsidiary Blackwater Lodge and Training Center is now U.S. Training Center Inc. Too bad. All of us here at Dakota were particularly fond of the "Lodge" part.

John Cole of Balloon Juice wrote a piece about rebranding not only of Blackwater but of the Christian Right where he suggests that cancer be henceforth be called Puppybreathrosepetalcoolsideofthepillowdipinthelakecoolbreezesunnyday.

His readers riffed on a number of neonames, which we have excerpted here for your amusement, without giving credit where credit is due. Apologies to the clever.

"I personally hope that Blackwater changes its logo from "Xe" to some unintelligible squiggle, so then we can call it "the company formerly known as Xe".

"I think Republicans should re-brand themselves, since Republican is now a dirty word. Maybe Republicans could now be called Blackwater, since it’s available?"

"Xe"? I guess "Murder Incorporated" is still under copyright."

"No, it’s spelled "Xe," but it’s pronounced, "Throatwobbler Mangrove."

Blackwater should rename themselves as "Amway".

"Xe and the religious right can merge and become Xevangelicals! It’s pronounced "zee-van-GEL-uh-culls" not to be confused with the Xevongelicals, which are the die hard fans of Warren Xevon."

Which brings us to the Christian Right

"Cotton mathermouths"

"Religious White"

"How about the Religious Wrong?"

"Oh, they dislike "Religious Right" now? Well, how about "Christian Taliban" instead?"

"I liked someone’s suggestion on Think Progress yesterday – Evilangelicals."

"I’ve liked "Talibangelicals" for a while ."

"I rather like "Godbotherers"

"Call the sumbitches the 'Taliborn-again'"

"it's like putting lipstick on a pig"

Actually evangelical churches aren't simply renaming, they're undergoing McDonaldization. It's a thought for all of us, I suppose.

Photo note: November rose etc in the garden in front of Old South Church, Boston -- an excuse for a winter flower picture

Posted by Dakota at 10:42 AM

February 19, 2009


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Ever since Obama's stimulus package went through, the propagandists have begun to pound a new horror into the public psyche as noted by Alex Koppelman in "Fox, The Socialist News Network"

A search of transcripts available on Lexis-Nexis -- a limited sample, unfortunately -- for Fox's programming from Tuesday shows that in the span of just six hours, the network managed to squeeze in five segments devoted to a discussion of impending socialism; the words "socialism," "socialist" and "social democracy" were used a total of 37 times. "Your World with Neil Cavuto," "The O'Reilly Factor" and "On the Record with Greta" all managed to stay socialism free, but "Special Report" and "Hannity" each had two segments about it, and "Glenn Beck" had one. No transcript for "FOX Report" was available, but I happened to see the show repeat one of the segments from "Special Report," for a total of six time slots on the subject between 4 p.m. ET and 11 p.m.

As usual, Fox is wrong. The phenomenon we are really seeing is lemon socialism From Randy Shaw at Beyond Chron :

Jack Lemmon won an Oscar for Best Actor in ""Save the Tiger", a 1973 film in which he played Harry Stoner, an owner of a garment factory in Los Angeles. The business faced tough times, but Stoner felt that if the government could only give him a little break—like it did in the real world to save the giant weapons contractor Lockheed Corp—he could get by. But the message of the film is that the government does not step in to help “little guys” like Stoner—it saves its massive bailouts for the big fish like Bear Stearns or, this week, A.I.G. This used to be called “lemon socialism,” which described how the government would bail out or take over faltering private enterprises—i.e. ”lemons,” only to then have free market ideologues point to these businesses as examples of how government regulation hurts business. This “heads government loses, tails the private sector wins” economic agenda convinced millions of United States voters that government harmed rather than fostered economic growth. It also helped persuade voters that government was powerless to bolster the nation’s manufacturing sector, enshrining a false philosophy of “government shouldn’t pick winners and losers” that continues to this day.

Back in the 1970’s, activists used such phrases as “lemon” socialism, trickle-down economics, and “Pentagon capitalism” to describe the fraudulent aspects of “free-market” capitalism. We’ve had a great demonstration of all three policies during the Bush years, with the government takeover of failed free-market enterprises gathering most of the attention this year.

Too dry and technical for you? Let us turn over the action to Lansing, Michigan Mayor Virge Bernero squeezing a few lemons over at Fox (scroll down for the video)

Photo note: Because lemon shots are buried too deeply in the archive, we have chosen instead, a picture of pigeons lined up ready to poop on the worker

Posted by Dakota at 08:03 PM

February 14, 2009

Why Government


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As you know, all of us here at Dakota are deeply concerned about your development as an informed citizen Thus we worried that you might have missed Obama's inspiring speech at the Lincoln Banquet due to the trumped up flap around Judd Gregg's withdrawal, so we have unearthed Obama's speech in its entirety from YouTube for your viewing pleasure. .

Obama's Speech Part I and Part 2

Our new President is a fine teacher. Just in case you couldn't find time to watch the clickies, Obama explains that the purpose of government is to do the things that cannot be done with individual action alone -- least we still think government should be diminished to the point that it can be drowned in a bathtub.

Given Republican behavior over the past few weeks, William Rivers Pitt gives us a plethora of reasons to dump the GOP, all of which are worth noting. Here's an excerpt for the hurried:

There are a few distinct reasons the GOP has decided to get in the way of everything proposed by the Obama administration and the Congressional Democratic majority. They need to appear to be relevant after back-to-back electoral pastings in 2006 and 2008. Because they are better at playing the media game than the Democrats, they can telegraph whatever remaining strengths they have far more effectively.

They need Obama to fail on all fronts if they are to have a prayer at recovering lost ground at the polls in 2010. Finally, they only have representation in states where Bush remains popular and the GOP cant on government remains holy writ, so if they want to keep those few remaining seats, they have to play in the hard-right part of the pool. This is not a group of people Obama should expect anything from beyond what has already been demonstrably in evidence. Hoping for something different is a foolish pipe dream.

....as well as The Saturday Night Live version

Photo note: Light shining through the American flag framed by clouds and darkness.- a metaphorophoto

Posted by Dakota at 10:22 AM

February 06, 2009

Two Main Points


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From John Cole at Balloon Juice

I really don’t understand how bipartisanship is ever going to work when one of the parties is insane. Imagine trying to negotiate an agreement on dinner plans with your date, and you suggest Italian and she states her preference would be a meal of tire rims and anthrax. If you can figure out a way to split the difference there and find a meal you will both enjoy, you can probably figure out how bipartisanship is going to work the next few years.


The down to earth, straight forward, supremely sane Elizabeth Warren's report on the results of Henry Paulson's bailout (a $78 billion dollar rip off. . I want my bailout money

Photo note:Two main points -- or -- Trinity Church Copley Square Boston- in the snow

Posted by Dakota at 07:24 AM

February 02, 2009



The folks at the BBC coined a useful new word for us: Banker + Gangster= Bankster. Bankers are the new pariahs and have done much to deserve the label lately.

Ah, but once again, it's even worse than you think. BBC financial journalist Max Keiser believes that banks are a criminal syndicate Watch the movie which is embedded after a few cautionary quotes from important historical figures like Thomas Jefferson who warned "If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation then by deflation, the banks and the corporations that will grow up around them, will deprive the people of all property until their children wake up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered." Prescient.

Columbia's Nobel Prize winning economist, Joseph Stiglitz, thinks we should let the banks fail and start anew, but a commenter in the New York Post had the best idea for the banksters "Lock them all up with Bernie Madoff in his penthouse!"

Here's a bigger better version of the video just in case you couldn't get through it the first time.

Photo note: Cold day in hell

Addendum: Paul Krugman explains

Posted by Dakota at 08:10 AM