Saturday, January 31, 2009

Friday, January 30, 2009


Albany Times-Union: Rangers great, Richter, not in race for Gillibrand’s seat

Ricky would have been the best Democrat to run for Gillibrand's seat because he's got something most of the other Dems don't: name recognition. Plus he's wicked smart.

The O'Bama Song: A Capella

With additional verses!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

White Sox, What Were You Waiting For?

How is that the Chicago White Sox waited so long to invite President Barack Obama to throw out the first pitch of the baseball season?

I mean, he is their Number One Fan!

I guarantee that Obama will NEVER declare that throwing out the first ball at any sporting event was the most anxious moment of his presidency, unlike some recently deposed moron we all know and despise.

Corporations Taking Bailout Money, Spending It Opposing Unions

Corporations are taking taxpayer money -- contributed by the workers of America, as most corporations in this country don't pay taxes -- and using it to lobby against the Employee Free Choice Act so they can keep workers under their thumbs. During an October 17th conference call hosted by Bank of America involving AIG, Home Depot and other US corporations, the corporate thieves suggest giving millions to a lobbying organization so they can get around the McCain-Feingold campaign finance laws. So, they've taken our money, and they're using it to lobby against us.

I've signed Change Congress's donor strike pledging not to donate to any federal candidate unless they support legislation making congressional elections citizen-funded, not special-interest funded.

HuffPo: Bailout Recipients Hosted Call To Defeat Key Labor Bill

Three days after receiving $25 billion in federal bailout funds, Bank of America Corp. hosted a conference call with conservative activists and business officials to organize opposition to the U.S. labor community's top legislative priority.

Participants on the October 17 call -- including at least one representative from another bailout recipient, AIG -- were urged to persuade their clients to send "large contributions" to groups working against the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA), as well as to vulnerable Senate Republicans, who could help block passage of the bill.

Bernie Marcus, the charismatic co-founder of Home Depot, led the call along with Rick Berman, an aggressive EFCA opponent and founder of the Center for Union Facts. Over the course of an hour, the two framed the legislation as an existential threat to American capitalism, or worse.

"This is the demise of a civilization," said Marcus. "This is how a civilization disappears. I am sitting here as an elder statesman and I'm watching this happen and I don't believe it."

You can listen to the call here on Wikileaks. Just click the blue "audio-recording" at the top of the page.

Obama Signs Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Restoration Act

Today President Obama signed his first piece of legislation into law. The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act restores the civil rights law guaranteeing discrimination victims equal pay that the rightwing nutjobs (Roberts, Alito, Kennedy, Scalia, Thomas) on the Supreme Court overturned in the Ledbetter v. Goodyear decision.

I'm sure Obama's grandmother, Madelyn Dunham, one of the first female bank vice presidents in Hawaii, is smiling down on him today.

An excerpt of Obama's remarks:

Because while this bill bears her name, Lilly knows this story isn’t just about her. It’s the story of women across this country still earning just 78 cents for every dollar men earn – women of color even less – which means that today, in the year 2009, countless women are still losing thousands of dollars in salary, income and retirement savings over the course of a lifetime.

But equal pay is by no means just a women’s issue – it’s a family issue. It’s about parents who find themselves with less money for tuition or child care; couples who wind up with less to retire on; households where, when one breadwinner is paid less than she deserves, that’s the difference between affording the mortgage – or not; between keeping the heat on, or paying the doctor’s bills – or not. And in this economy, when so many folks are already working harder for less and struggling to get by, the last thing they can afford is losing part of each month’s paycheck to simple discrimination.

So in signing this bill today, I intend to send a clear message: That making our economy work means making sure it works for everyone. That there are no second class citizens in our workplaces, and that it’s not just unfair and illegal – but bad for business – to pay someone less because of their gender, age, race, ethnicity, religion or disability. And that justice isn’t about some abstract legal theory, or footnote in a casebook – it’s about how our laws affect the daily realities of people’s lives: their ability to make a living and care for their families and achieve their goals.

Ultimately, though, equal pay isn’t just an economic issue for millions of Americans and their families, it’s a question of who we are – and whether we’re truly living up to our fundamental ideals. Whether we’ll do our part, as generations before us, to ensure those words put to paper more than 200 years ago really mean something – to breathe new life into them with the more enlightened understandings of our time.

That is what Lilly Ledbetter challenged us to do. And today, I sign this bill not just in her honor, but in honor of those who came before her. Women like my grandmother who worked in a bank all her life, and even after she hit that glass ceiling, kept getting up and giving her best every day, without complaint, because she wanted something better for me and my sister.

And I sign this bill for my daughters, and all those who will come after us, because I want them to grow up in a nation that values their contributions, where there are no limits to their dreams and they have opportunities their mothers and grandmothers never could have imagined.

In the end, that’s why Lilly stayed the course. She knew it was too late for her – that this bill wouldn’t undo the years of injustice she faced or restore the earnings she was denied. But this grandmother from Alabama kept on fighting, because she was thinking about the next generation. It’s what we’ve always done in America – set our sights high for ourselves, but even higher for our children and grandchildren.

Now it’s up to us to continue this work. This bill is an important step – a simple fix to ensure fundamental fairness to American workers – and I want to thank this remarkable and bi-partisan group of legislators who worked so hard to get it passed. And this is only the beginning. I know that if we stay focused, as Lilly did – and keep standing for what’s right, as Lilly did – we will close that pay gap and ensure that our daughters have the same rights, the same chances, and the same freedom to pursue their dreams as our sons.

The Barack O'Bama Song

My cousin, she of the driveway poster waving bye-bye to Darth and Shrub, sent me this in email. Obama's our people! "He's as Irish as bacon"!

Moneygall is a small village in County Offaly, Ireland. It has a population of 298 people, has a Roman Catholic church, five shops, a post office, a national school, a police station and two pubs.

President Barack Obama's great-great-great grandfather, Falmouth Kearney, emigrated from Moneygall to New York City at the age of 19 in 1850 and eventually resettled in Tipton County, Indiana. Kearney 's father had been the village shoemaker. [You can see the Irish portion of President Obama's genealogy here.]

And now for the SONG...Crank up your speakers.


No one as Irish as Barack Obama

O'Leary, O'Reilly, O'Hare and O'Hara
There's no one as Irish as Barack O'Bama

You don't believe me, I hear you say
But Barack's as Irish, as was JFK
His granddaddy's daddy came from Moneygall
A small Irish village, well known to you all

Toor a loo, toor a loo, toor a loo, toor a lama
There's no one as Irish As Barack O'Bama

He's as Irish as bacon and cabbage and stew
He's Hawaiian he's Kenyan American too
He’s in the white house, He took his chance
Now let’s see Barack do Riverdance

Toor a loo, toor a loo, toor a loo, toor a lama
There's no one as Irish As Barack O'Bama

From Kerry and cork to old Donegal
Let’s hear it for Barack from old moneygall
From the lakes if Killarney to old Connemara
There’s no one as Irish as Barack O’Bama

O'Leary, O'Reilly, O'Hare and O'Hara
There's no one as Irish as Barack O'Bama
From the old blarney stone to the great hill of Tara
There's no one as Irish as Barack O'Bama

2008 the white house is green, their cheering in Mayo and in Skibereen.
The Irish in Kenya, and in Yokahama,
Are cheering for President Barack O’Bama

O'Leary, O'Reilly, O'Hare and O'Hara
There's no one as Irish as Barack O'Bama

The Hockey Mom's gone, and so is McCain
They are cheering in Texas and in Borrisokane,

In Moneygall town, the greatest of drama, for our Famous president Barack o Bama

Toor a loo, toor a loo, toor a loo, toor a lama
There's no one as Irish As Barack O'Bama

The great Stephen Neill, a great man of God,
He proved that Barack was from the Auld Sod
They came by bus and they came by car, to celebrate Barack in Ollie Hayes’s Bar

O'Leary, O'Reilly, O'Hare and O'Hara
There's no one as Irish as Barack O'Bama

Hardy Drew

Bipartisanship: The Enduring Myth

Obama put $300 billion in tax cuts into his economic stimulus plan, cut funds for family planning and refurbishing the National Mall, all to appease Republicans, and guess what?

Not one Republican voted for his "bipartisan" stimulus plan.

In Washington, "bipartisanship" is doing what the Republicans want.

They're not going to vote for your bill, Obama. Just craft the best stimulus possible and forget them. They want the economy to fail. They've been working hard at that for the last eight years.

I don't need $500. I need you to fix the bridges I drive across every day. Get to work the smart way. You don't need those bozos.


Out-Of-Town News in Harvard Square will stay open after all. Hurray!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Another Reason to Avoid High Fructose Corn Syrup

It's contaminated with mercury.

[M]any foods sweetened with HFCS contain mercury, left as a residue in the production of caustic soda, a key ingredient in HFCS. And worst of all, the FDA and the industry have known about this potential toxin and has continued serving it up since at least 2005.


A second study [] tested products directly from the supermarket. One in three tested positive for mercury residue. These included products like Smucker's Strawberry Jelly, Hunt's Tomato Ketchup, Hershey's Chocolate Syrup, Nutra Grain Strawberry Cereal Bars, Pop-Tarts Frosted Blueberry and Coca-Cola Classic.

RIP John Updike

NYTimes: The author at the Boston Public Library in 2006.

John Updike died yesterday at the age of 76. My favorite piece of his -- my favorite piece of sportswriting ever -- was on the final game of Ted William's career:

Hub Fans Bid Kid Adieu

Like a feather caught in a vortex, Williams ran around the square of bases at the center of our beseeching screaming. He ran as he always ran out home runs—hurriedly, unsmiling, head down, as if our praise were a storm of rain to get out of. He didn’t tip his cap. Though we thumped, wept, and chanted “We want Ted” for minutes after he hid in the dugout, he did not come back. Our noise for some seconds passed beyond excitement into a kind of immense open anguish, a wailing, a cry to be saved. But immortality is nontransferable. The papers said that the other players, and even the umpires on the field, begged him to come out and acknowledge us in some way, but he never had and did not now. Gods do not answer letters.

NYTimes: A Relentless Updike Mapped America’s Mysteries

Obituary: John Updike, a Lyrical Writer of the Ordinary, Is Dead at 76

The New Yorker: John Updike Short Story Archive

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Gillibrand Sworn In

Kirsten Gillibrand is now the junior Senator from New York. Pretty meteoric rise for someone who entered the 20th NY Congressional race in 2005 as a virtual unknown.

She is the youngest member of the Senate, and is the 37th woman ever to serve in the United States Senate.

Inauguration Poster


My cousin put this awesome poster up at the end of her driveway to celebrate the End of the Error.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Albany Times-Union Goes There

Whenever I visit my friend who lives in Albany and the subject of Kirsten Gillibrand comes up, she always tells me that "everyone knows" that Gillibrand's grandmother Polly Noonan was Erastus Corning's mistress. (Erastus Corning was the long-time mayor of Albany and the leader of Albany's Democratic machine.) I have never written that on my blog because, you know, I don't want to be sued for libel! The Albany Times-Union delves into the rumors today.

Political legacy arives on stage
Kirsten Gillibrand received her first experiences in Albany politics from her grandmother, the legendary "Polly" Noonan

Mayor Corning [] was an intimate of Polly Noonans for more than four decades.

Gillibrands parents and other family members have described Corning as a father figure who taught the Noonan kids how to hunt, fish and enjoy outdoor pursuits. The mayor was a regular guest of Noonan and her husband at the Noonans house. Corning and Noonan frequently attended political functions, dinners and dances together and the mayor occasionally joined the Noonan on family vacations.

Even on Gillibrands heady day that resembled something of a coronation, her family members could not escape the unquenchable rumors that Corning and Noonans long association produced offspring. It remains one of Albanys great abiding political myths, a mystery wrapped in an enigma, likely never to be resolved.

Until her death in 2003 at age 87, Noonan bluntly dismissed the rumors with salty-tongued retorts. Corning deftly deflected such speculation with his cool, urbane personality. He died in 1983 at age 73.

Noonan and Corning each remained married to their respective spouses throughout their lives. If there was a romance, family members say, the two took the truth to the grave with them.

"I don't think there is any truth to that. Its pure conjecture," Gillibrand's father said.


Corning and Noonan became close in 1937, when Corning, 28, was a Democratic state senator who headed the Scenic Hudson Commission and Noonan, 22, was hired as the commission's secretary. He was a product of Groton and Yale; she was a tenacious Scot who touted her tartan but did not have a college degree.

Giving weight to the rumors that their union "produced offspring" is that fact that Corning left the bulk of his estate to Noonan's children (that would include Gillibrand's mother.)

Mayor Erastus Corning
Albany Icon, Albany Enigma

Grow Up

Why must politicians treat their work like jr. high school?

There were plenty of smiles as she [Kirsten Gillibrand] was introduced in Albany last week, but Gillibrand is widely disliked within New York’s congressional delegation for her bullying personality and unwillingness to wait her turn in the Washington seniority queue. Already Congresswoman Carolyn McCarthy, of Long Island, has vowed to challenge Gillibrand in a 2010 Democratic primary because of the new senator’s pro-gun stance. Paterson seems to believe that he has cauterized the intramural Democratic fighting. Instead, the elevation of Gillibrand has widened the wound. Last Thursday, one of the governor’s aides called Andrew Cuomo, asking the attorney general to attend Gillibrand’s unveiling. Cuomo, according to a friend, said he’d be busy reorganizing his sock drawer.

This is also completely sexist, for in a man, "bullying personality" would be described as "hard-charging go-getter". Every time I read something like this about Gillibrand, I like her more.