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Legalized marijuana in Washington and Colorado: Not if Obama can help it
11.08.2012
10:00 am
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Admit it, Obama voters, this is the kinda thing you expected Mitt Romney to do if he got into office. What did this take, all of around 36-hours, to get floated to the press?

Maybe I should have voted for (unimpressive) Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson (I probably agree with him on about 25% of the issues, around the same percentage as I agree with Obama, anyway). On election day it was more appealing to me to record a “fuck you” vote to the Republicans than to make a different sort of protest vote, but Obama is already making me regret that, as tiny a protest as that would have been, just TWO DAYS later!

Via Reuters:

Votes making Colorado and Washington the first U.S. states to legalize marijuana for recreational use could be short-lived victories for pot backers because the federal government will fight them, two former U.S. drug control officials said on Wednesday.

They said the federal government could sue to block parts of the measures or send threatening letters to marijuana shops, followed up by street-level clampdowns similar to those targeting medical marijuana dispensaries the government suspects are fronts for drug traffickers.

“This is a symbolic victory for (legalization) advocates, but it will be short-lived,” Kevin Sabet, a former adviser to the Obama administration’s drug czar, told reporters.

“They are facing an uphill battle with implementing this, in the face of ... presidential opposition and in the face of federal enforcement opposition,” Sabet said.

—snip—

Ian Millhiser, senior constitutional policy analyst with the left-leaning Center for American Progress, said the federal government, even if it sues to challenge the Colorado and Washington initiatives, cannot force police in those states to arrest people for marijuana infractions.

“If I were Barack Obama, I would look at this and say I would rather have young voters with me,” Millhiser said.

Damn, straight, Ian. I’d take it a step further and say that NO ONE was waiting to hear how Obama was going to crack down on… states’ rights.

If his DOJ does nothing about this, no one will even notice (Keep in mind that the Bush administration did very, very little to curb the explosive growth in California’s cannabis trade). Now they’re just going to get mad. Fuck Obama. What’s so “Forward” about this shit?

I want my vote back!

Posted by Richard Metzger
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11.08.2012
10:00 am
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Maine elects first open World of Warcraft gamer to state senate
11.08.2012
09:29 am
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Colleen Lachowicz
Would you trust this woman to public office?
 
Did you guys know that this election cycle brought us the first openly gay Senator, Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin? Did you also hear about Tulsi Gabbard, the first Hindu in Congress, or Mazie Hirono the first Asian-American woman Senator, both from Hawaii? Well who the hell cares?!?

We all know the real civil rights issue of our time is not race, religion, gender, or sexuality; the greatest victims of our society are our noble nerds. Have you ever been on Kotaku or a particularly esoteric sub-reddit? Nerds live under oppression you couldn’t even imagine!

Colleen Lachowicz, a Democrat from Maine, was recently elected to the state senate amidst a fury of anti-nerd controversy. Her opponents created a really, really terrible website hellbent on admonishing her using the harshest accusations possible.

Colleen Lachowicz is a Democrat candidate for Maine State Senate. In Colleen’s online fantasy world, she gets away with crude, vicious and violent comments like the ones below. Maine needs a State Senator that lives in the real world, not in Colleen’s fantasy world.

Daaaaaaaammmnm dude! Harsh! And what quote do they use to expose her unnatural predilections?

So I’m a level 68 orc rogue girl. That means I stab things … a lot.  Who would have thought that a peace-lovin’, social worker and democrat would enjoy that?!

So she admits it?!? For shame!

Luckily, in the grown-up world, no one really gives a shit, and Lachowicz won. I mean, if I were a Mainer, I’d be impressed, but demand to know her stance on Zelda, obviously.

Posted by Amber Frost
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11.08.2012
09:29 am
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Bill Maher on the election: America wins, comedy loses
11.07.2012
10:47 pm
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Posted by Richard Metzger
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11.07.2012
10:47 pm
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‘America died’: LOL tweets from conservative twit Victoria Jackson
11.07.2012
02:30 pm
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“Anti-intellectual political activist” Victoria Jackson reacts to the election on Twitter.
 

 

 

 

 
Via BuzzFeed

Posted by Tara McGinley
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11.07.2012
02:30 pm
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Hell Night at Fox News


 
After Diane Sawyer’s incessantly giddy slurring began to annoy me too much (”...and the swimmer in South Carolina is Jim Beams!”), we switched over to Fox News for the lulz we knew would await us there and never changed the channel after that.

It was riveting stuff.

As a connoisseur of Republican schadenfreude, it was pretty obvious that Fox was the place to be on this election night.

Megyn Kelly was clearly shell-shocked by the incoming results and you could tell with her, fairly early on, that she knew what was happening by a look of deer-in-the-headlights PANIC that crept over her face in real time during the broadcast. Also, they had her vamping constantly, but she’s just so unfunny, stiff and strident (and was so clearly off-put by Romney’s looming loss) that this fell completely flat and even I felt sorry for her. It was almost as if Fox News didn’t have much of a contingency plan when Obama won other than asking Megyn Kelly to wing it!

When Fox finally called it for Obama, it was like lacquer-haired Bret Baier, the one who blurted it out, had farted loudly behind the desk and the rest of them just looked down in embarrassment, shook their heads and muttered something. THAT was how the election results got called on Fox News last night: “Oh shit… he won.”

It was hysterically funny and SO REAL. I only wish that Sean Hannity had been on camera at that point, but alas, ‘twas not to be.

But did you hear what Papa Bear, Bill O’Reilly had to say earlier in the evening when the writing was already so clearly on the wall for R. Money:
 

 
And then there was supposed evil genius Karl Rove, who looked like he was trying to start a push-back against Fox News’ own “war room” of data analysts. He sort of scolded Kelly for calling Ohio too soon. It was a borderline nerd freakout, as if you could see the gears turning in his head as he realized that his days as one of the most influential people within the Republican party were coming to an abrupt end. That was a pretty extraordinary thing to watch:
 

 
After the commercial break, Rove came back on the air and basically said “Uh, okay, well, yeah, never mind.” Some evil genius “Turd Blossom” turned out to be this go-round. Rove couldn’t even buy an election (and this might be the GOP’s last election where they even get to try). Karl’s gonna have a lot of essplaining to do to the Koch Brothers, Sheldon Adelson and the other members of the Billionaire Boys Club about how he pissed their money down a black hole. Rove got fucking skunked last night, and he’s well aware of it, too, there’s no doubt about it.

For a little perspective: This was the widest vote to return an incumbent president to the White House since Ronald Reagan won 49 states in his 1984 reelection bid. That’s not a statistical fluke, no matter what the “know nothings” at Fox News, Breitbart and the Drudge Report want you to believe. What’s more, Frenchman John Kerry got over a million more votes in 2004 than Romney got on Tuesday.

Here’s what Fox News DIDN’T REPORT ON last night, at least not as long as we were watching:

  • Liberal hero Alan Grayson won his House seat back (Hell yeah!)
  • Wisconsin elected Tammy Baldwin, a proud lesbian woman, to the Senate, beating Tea party-backed former governor, Tommy Thompson.
  • Marijuana was decriminalized by Colorado and Washington voters.
  • Maryland and Maine became the first states in which the voters chose to legalize same-sex marriage.
  • Left for dead Democrat Senator Claire McCaskill of Missouri beat Republican goatboy Todd Akin.
  • Liberal hero Elizabeth Warren won handily in Massachusetts.
  • Michele Bachmann, who raised more money than any other member of the House, barely squeaked by in her reelection.
  • Cuckoo Tea party favorite Col. Allen West lost his seat in the House.
  • Joe Donnelly beat Richard Mourdock in Indiana. God’s will?

Well then God must hate the Republicans’ fucking guts this year, that’s all I gotta say.

Other than the token liberal (I can’t recall her name) the only person on Fox News last night who actually appeared to pick up on the core message of what had transpired (other than Bill O’Reilly, I suppose) was Brit Hume who mused aloud that perhaps America has simply become more liberal than conservatives want to believe:

“Many of us have believed — and I still basically do — that that this is a center-right country. And a lot of conservatives have taken the view that liberals are really on the wane. If you look at tonight’s exit polling that we’ve seen so far, those that self-identified as liberals are about 24 percent, self-identified conservatives 35 percent, moderates 40 percent. Now, this apparent outcome tells you one thing about those moderates, that there are in that category an awful lot of them who are actually liberals.”

“Now, liberal became kind of dirty word, that’s when the word progressive came into use. But I think that — but I don’t think — you take the conservative number, 35 percent, it’s certainly a share of those moderates that are moderate to conservative, you’ve still got a center-right country, but it’s more liberal than many may have thought looking at those numbers. It’s got to be.”

Well, there’s that, and they also happen to think the Republicans are batshit crazy lunatics.

I’m expecting Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert to come up with time capsule-level shows tonight, aren’t you?

Required reading:
Welcome To Liberal America (Buzzfeed)

2012 or Never: Why 2012 is the Republicans’ Last Chance (New York magazine)

The Republicans Bet Everything, and Obama Won It All (New York magazine)
 

 

Posted by Richard Metzger
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11.07.2012
12:03 pm
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Mitt Romney comforts his supporters in song
11.07.2012
09:57 am
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Take it away Mitt Romney and the Mormon Tabernacle Dixieland Band!
 

 
Via The Gregory Brothers

Posted by Richard Metzger
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11.07.2012
09:57 am
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Lindsay Anderson: Rarely seen documentary on Free Cinema
11.06.2012
08:56 pm
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lindsay_anderson_o_lucky_man
 
There were 3 of them. Karel Reisz, Tony Richardson and Lindsay Anderson. Young film-makers, who together formed the Free Cinema movement in Britain during the 1950s. They had a manifesto, which had been written by Anderson and another young film-maker Lorenza Manzetti, and it declared:

As filmmakers we believe that
No film can be too personal.
The image speaks. Sound amplifies and comments.
Size is irrelevant. Perfection is not an aim.
An attitude means a style. A style means an attitude.

It was published in the magazine Sequence, and Anderson followed it up with a longer declaration, Get Out and Push, published in Encounter magazine, which examined the state of British cinema.

As film-makers, Anderson, Reisz and Richardson wanted “to get ordinary, uncelebrated life on the screen.” Their films were portraits of everyday life - an amusement park or porters at Covent Garden (Anderson’s O, Dreamland, and Every Day Except Christmas), youngsters at a Jazz club (Reisz and Richardson’s Momma Don’t Preach), or the story of 2 deaf-mutes, (Mazzetti’s Together).

As Anderson’s explains in this excellent documentary on Free Cinema, they ‘weren’t interested in technique, except as a means of expression’, their aim was to create:

‘An unobtrusive, precise, camera style. A respect for people as individuals, as well as members of a class or industry. These were the characteristics of Free Cinema. Our films were Humanist, not sentimental. You could feel the inevitable thrust towards drams, towards the feature film.

Richardson went on to win glory and Oscars with his film versions of Saturday Night and Sunday Mornnng and Tom Jones; Reisz was the producer, and he went onto direct Morgan: A Suitable Case for Treatment, Isadora and The Gambler; while Anderson directed This Sporting Life, and then, in collaboration with writer David Sherwin, he made 3 of the most important and seminal films of late 20th century British cinema - If…, O, Lucky Man! and Britannia Hospital, which was the last Free Cinema film.

Originally broadcast in 1985, this is Lindsay Anderson’s personal essay on Free Cinema and its influence British film making. Almost thirty years later, the documentary form developed by Anderson and co. has been taken over by television - from award-winning fly-on-the wall series like The Family (1974), to the bastard child of Reality TV. While technology, for better or worse, has made film-makers of anyone who owns a smart ‘phone. Anderson is clear, succinct and an excellent guide to the small film group that changed the British film cinema for the better.
 

 

Posted by Paul Gallagher
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11.06.2012
08:56 pm
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Mayor Bloomberg attempts photo-op; is shouted down
11.06.2012
06:55 am
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Bloomberg
Bloomberg doing his best approximation of a Christian rock album cover, and half as sincere
 
New Yorkers are pissed off with local response to Sandy. Trains in poorer neighborhoods have been lower priority for restoration. Bloomberg defended going through with the New York Marathon while they were still fishing bodies off of Staten Island. When public sentiment finally forced his hand, he was demonstrably begrudging, perceiving the cancellation as a huge concession on his part.

Afterwards, it took forever to bring the (highly portable) marathon resources from the race points to those in need. There’s a gas shortage further immobilizing the city. People are still waiting in long lines for shelter and food, and necessities, and many areas are still woefully under-serviced. And now there’s been a nasty cold snap.

It only makes sense that Bloomberg make an appearance for a photo-op. Fortunately, the awesomely bitter New York spirit takes no truck with his unctuous performance. Notice how he just walks away from his constituency and instead drops a sound bite on the cameras.
 

Posted by Amber Frost
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11.06.2012
06:55 am
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‘Born In Saudi Arabia’: Angry Black Man takes down Bruce Springsteen


 
Tea Party freak Elmer Williams Jr. (The Angry Black Man) runs a blog called “Whatever Happen To Common Sense” (spelling is his, not mine). Williams is living proof that it doesn’t take a shitload of intelligence to operate the machinery of the Internet. He also seems to have gotten the hang of Youtube as well. In this particular rant he goes after Bruce Springsteen and predicts a future in which The Boss is under the thumb of Ayy-rabs in some sort of Ayy-rab concentration camp.

Riding around in his bigass pick-up truck and wearing a pair of mirror shades that would make Erik Estrada envious, Williams’ worldview is a pungent mix of stupidity and arrogance and would be funny if it weren’t so damned pathetic.
 

Posted by Marc Campbell
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11.05.2012
04:10 pm
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‘Why I’m Voting to Re-Elect President Obama’
11.05.2012
03:58 pm
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There is no doubt in my mind that the single best writer covering the 2012 election, numero uno, is Esquire’s Charles P. Pierce. I admire Pierce’s insight, his craft and the fact that he actually has a deep knowledge of 20th century history and politics.

He’s also hilarious. Real bust-a-gut, laugh out loud funny with tears running down your face stuff. There was really no competition this year, I don’t think, for the best writing on politics, although I rate The Daily Beast’s Michael Tomasky, Rolling Stone’s Matt Taibbi and Salon’s Alex Pareene very highly, also. But when it comes to the writing, Charles P. Pierce is, I think by far, the finest political prose stylist in American life, in a rarefied class with Mark Twain, H.L. Mencken, Ambrose Bierce, Gore Vidal before he became a crank and Hunter S. Thompson before his brain got soft.

I don’t hesitate to make that claim for Charles Pierce’s writing, read him for just a week and I’m sure you’ll agree. I find myself in awe of his talents on pretty much a daily basis. No one has him beat for creative ways of calling idiots idiots and I love him for it. I only wish I could write as well as he can. For his coverage of the 2012 election, the guy deserves not only a Pulitzer prize and a lucrative new book contract, but his own TV show. He’s my dream guest to see on Moyers & Company.

Reading Charles P. Pierce is a privilege. Pierce wrote the best piece, bar none, on the reason to vote for Barack Obama tomorrow. Reposting it here in its entirety, since it doesn’t lend itself to an easy exceprt. I hope he won’t mind.

To sum it up, the most compelling reason to vote for Obama has got less to do with Obama himself or his record and everything to do with making sure Mitt Romney and his fellow passengers in the Republican clown car don’t get the keys to the White House

Because I am going to be in Florida on Election Day, I am voting this morning here in the Commonwealth (God save it!). There is only one vote that I am casting with any measurable amount of enthusiasm. That is the vote I am casting for Elizabeth Warren to be my next United States senator. This enthusiasm is based not solely in my personal affection for her, nor solely in my admiration for the things she’s already accomplished, nor solely as a reaction against the unnecessarily crude and boorish campaign waged against her by incumbent Senator Scott Brown, nor solely even in the fact that I think this race is still agonizingly close and that I think Warren has it in her to be a great United States senator on behalf of many of the issues that I think are important to the country. The enthusiasm derives from the fact that, when she was asked in a debate what her policy would be toward our groaning (and increasingly futile) military adventure in Afghanistan, she answered quickly and simply. Out. Now.

I am also going to vote for Barack Obama. Without enthusiasm. And without a sliver of a doubt in my mind.

To be fair, this won’t be the most unenthusiastic presidential vote I ever have cast. The prize for that one remains Jimmy Carter in 1976. I spent a year chasing that grinning peanut-farmer around the country on behalf of Mo Udall’s campaign, organizing in the field in New Hampshire and Massachusetts and Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, until the money ran out. All we did was finish second, over and over again. Hell, we finished second to him by an eyelash in Michigan after Mo had dropped out. Voting for Carter that fall was like draining my own blood with a turkey baster. I wasn’t particularly ginned-up over Mondale in 1984, either. Neither did Bill Clinton make my lights shine either time he ran. And, to be perfectly honest, the only real enthusiasm I felt for this year’s incumbent in 2008 came largely from being around people who were so transported by the idea of him. That and the fact that George W. Bush no longer would have anything to screw up.

However, I am casting my vote for him (again) because of something that Dr. Jill Stein said the other night on TV, when she was being interviewed in the wake of that third-party candidates debate that Larry King hosted. I’ve known Jill socially for some time, and I admire her, and I agree with her on a marginally greater percentage of the issues than I do with the president. I think a lot of the snark aimed her way is unjustified. She’s not responsible for the wankerific fantasies of renegade “progressives.” I do not, however, think she is any more likely to become president — or any more qualified to be president — than I am. For example, I take a back seat to nobody in my scorn for the president’s apparent naïvete concerning the virulent nature of his political opposition. But, listening to Stein talk about the glories of the “Green New Deal” she’s going to pass through a Congress that is unlikely to differ much one way or the other from the one we have now, well, that makes Barack Obama sound like Huey Long. Still, I thought long and hard about tossing her my vote, because I live in the bluest of blue states, and I felt that, in casting my vote that way, I would absolve myself of complicity in the drone strikes, and in the inexcusable pass given to the Wall Street pirates, and in what I am sure is going to be an altogether dreadful Grand Bargain while not materially damaging the most important cause of all: making sure that Willard Romney is not president. And I might have done it, had Jill not gone on TV and talked about how those people who are voting for the incumbent president simply to make sure that Willard Romney is not president are doing so out of “fear.”

Horse hockey.

It is not fear. It is simple, compelling logic. We have two major political parties. Until that great gettin’-up morning, when purists on both sides of the ideological ditch manage to create workable third parties that look like something more substantial than organized unicorn hunts — which won’t happen until we have proportional voting, and I wish you as much luck with that as Lani Guinier had — we always will have two major political parties. One of them is inexcusably timid and tied in inexcusably tight with the big corporate money. The other one is demented.

This is not “fear” talking. I watched the Republican primaries. I went to the debates. I saw long-settled assumptions about the nature of representative democracy thrown down and danced upon. I heard long-established axioms of the nature of a political commonwealth torn to shreds and thrown into the perfumed air. I saw people seriously arguing for an end to the social safety net, to any and all federal environmental regulations, to the concept of the progressive income tax, and to American participation in the United Nations, the latter on the grounds that a one-world government threatens our “liberty” with its insurance-friendly national health-care reform bill. I saw Rick Santorum base his entire foreign policy on the legend of the 12th Imam, and I saw Herman Cain and Michele Bachmann actually be front-runners for a while. I saw all of this and I knew that each one of them had a substantial constituency behind them within the party for everything they said, no matter how loopy. When you see a lunatic wandering down the sidewalk, howling at the moon and waving a machete, it is not fear that makes you step inside your house and lock the door. It is the simple logic of survival. Fear is what keeps you from trying to tackle the guy and wrestle the machete away from him. And, as much as it may pain some people to admit it, the president is the only one stepping up to do that at the moment.

It is vitally important that the Republican party be kept away from as much power as possible until the party regains its senses again. It is not just important to the advance of progressive goals, thought it is. It is not just important to maintain the modicum of social justice that it has taken eighty years to build into the institutions of our government, though it is. It is important, too, that that you vote for one of these men based on whom else, exactly, he owes. Who is it that’s going to come with the fiddler to collect when you get what you’ve bargained for?

Barack Obama owes more than I’d like him to owe to the Wall Street crowd. He probably at this point owes a little more than I’d like him to owe to the military. The rest he owes to the millions of people who elected him in 2008 — especially to those people whose enthusiasm I neither shared nor really understood — and he will owe them even more if they come out and pull his chestnuts out of the fire for him this time around. He may sell them out — and, yes, I understand if you wanted to add “again” to that statement — but they are not likely to revenge themselves against the country if he does and, even if they decided to, they don’t have the power to do much but yell at the right buildings.

On the other hand, Willard Romney owes even more to the Wall Street crowd, and he owes even more to the military, but he also owes everything he is politically to the snake-handlers and the Bible-bangers, to the Creationist morons and to the people who stalk doctors and glue their heads to the clinic doors, to the reckless plutocrats and to the vote-suppressors, to the Randian fantasts and libertarian fakers, to the closeted and not-so-closeted racists who have been so empowered by the party that has given them a home, to the enemies of science and to the enemies of reason, to the devil’s bargain of obvious tactical deceit and to the devil’s honoraria of dark, anonymous money, and, ultimately, to those shadowy places in himself wherein Romney sold out who he might actually be to his overweening ambition. It is a fearsome bill to come due for any man, let alone one as mendaciously malleable as the Republican nominee. Obama owes the disgruntled. Romney owes the crazy. And that makes all the difference.

In his time in office, Barack Obama has done some undeniable good for people. There are auto workers in Ohio with jobs, and women making equal pay, and young people freed from the burdens of health care because of some of the president’s policies. And he is running on that record, making the case for his second term based on the good he has done for people in his first. In his only time in elective office, Romney also did some good for people. He reformed the health-care system in Massachusetts in a way that made him far more popular up here than he ever will be again. And he has spent seven years now running against the good he did for people. What kind of a politician does that? What kind of a man does that? A politician who has counted the debts he owes to the people to whom he owes them, and a man who is willing to hock everything about himself just to get even.

This is not “fear” talking. This is simply the way things are. It is important to stand against the people and the forces to which Willard Romney owes his political career. It is more important to do that than it is to do anything else. It is more important to do that than to salve my conscience, or make a statement, or dream my wistful dreams of a better and more noble politics. And that is why, today, I will vote for Barack Obama, not because of the man he is not, but because of the man his opponent clearly has become. I will do so without enthusiasm, and without a sliver of doubt in my mind.

Plus one, brother!

Read Charles P. Pierce daily at the Esquire Politics blog. Bookmark it!

You can follow Charles P. Pierce on Twitter. He is the author of Idiot America: How Stupidity Became a Virtue in the Land of the Free.

Posted by Richard Metzger
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11.05.2012
03:58 pm
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