Friday, July 10, 2009

Terminator Lies

Pushing his suddenly rabid right agenda, the Terminator (who is currently governor of California) is lying about fraud and abuse, demonizing a program to help the elderly and confined by asserting that a quarter of its funding is wasted. His own administration's study says it's more like 1%.

Rabid Right shock doctrinaires are trying to scare investors etc. by claiming that California's businesses are leaving in droves. It's not true. Neither are the rich. And why would they? What is true is that the rich are avoiding any responsibility or payment for the budget crisis, while the poor and the middle class state employees are paying everything, including their health.

The poor can't do anything about it, although some courts are defending them and state employees. But the middle class state employees can at least strike.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Today's Notes

Andrew Sullivan's blog continues to be an excellent source of news on the continuing protests in Iran.

And thus it must follow as the day the night... A day after several stories on the ramping up of lobbying mega bucks by insurers etc. on health care, there are stories about how the House or Senate proposals are in trouble. With remarkably little substance. Meanwhile, the Senate Health committee Kennedy/Dodd plan cuts costs and includes more people than earlier plans, and Speaker Pelosi promises a bill in August with public option passed by the House. She delivered on cap and trade.

Speaking of which, an excellent, precise analysis of the cap and trade bill by a Harvard economist in an oddly titled interview in Salon.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009


The Michael Jackson mania has mostly passed me by. Although I thought his moment in the 80s--"Billie Jean," the moonwalk and his other moves, "We Are the World"--was brilliant and energizing, those were the last years that I followed what's new in pop music. He would have meant more to those who were younger and starting to pay attention then.

Mostly I felt the response was inflated and overwrought, with such patently false claims as, his was the only music shared by several generations, children to grandparents. That's been true of a lot of popular music going way back, but the most obvious case in point is the Beatles. And I guess that's my generation's point of reference. The Beatles had many more memorable songs and a series of breakthrough albums that dominated popular culture for a decade, etc.

So I was prepared to just wait this media circus out. But I did hear some words from the memorial in Los Angeles today that made me take notice. Those words came from black people--musicians but also sports stars Magic Johnson and Kobie Bryant--paying tribute to Jackson as a breakthrough artist for all black entertainers, paving the way for global stardom. They would know that history better than I, though I do remember that black artists didn't get on MTV until Michael Jackson broke that barrier. So for that, and for his charity work, I make my peace with Rest in Peace, Michael Jackson.
The Delusional Enabled

Here are two examples of two trends. The trends are: the Republican congressionals' increasing detachment from reality, and the latest Internet/blogosphere/Twitter/instant messaging technologies tendency to enable and propel their delusional politics, wasting everybody's time, energy and public money.

The two examples are in one dispatch on Tuesday's congressional follies by TPM: first, the GOPer noise machine amping the volume on a Congressional Budget Office report that by the end of the day was proven not to exist, and an equally delusional panic button Twitter-storm on a vote that was never scheduled and never happened.
The Terminator

As California continues to sink financially, economically and with social consequences accruing for a long time to come, it's clear who is responsible now: Governor Arnold.

The legislature, the voters, the system, are all culprits in the larger problems, but on this specific budget crisis, it is the Terminator's recalcitrance and attempts to shock doctrine the situation that's the sole reason California doesn't have a budget.

It could have happened weeks ago, but the Terminator refused to consider any new revenue streams, which legislators proposed along with cuts, to avoid the Terminator's catastrophic cuts.

Then Democratic legislators gave up their revenue additions, and the governor appeared to give a little on cuts. But since then he has demanded additions to the deal that he couldn't get passed otherwise, and that have little or no bearing on the current budget.

His destructive stubborness finally led to Assembly Speaker Karen Bass shutting her door to his blather. Until the Terminator actually negotiates, there's no point in holding negotiations. So far the governor has apparently been winning the perception game, but maybe now the truth of it is clear: he is single-handedly terminating California, and dismantling the lives of countless Californians.