Thursday, February 17, 2011

Matt Yglesias Confronts the Ugly Lie

The GOP is very good at convincing otherwise smart people to believe utter nonsense. Democrats, in contrast, are embarrassing bad at calling out this nonsense for what it is: lies.

Matt confronts a very popular GOP lie on Social Security:
For “you’re going to have to raise the retirement age for Social Security” to count as an “ugly truth” assumes that it’s true. And yet it’s not true. Closing the projected actuarial gap in Social Security requires some combination of more immigration, higher taxes, and lower benefits. Relative to higher taxes, lower benefits tend to be preferred by richer people. And of all the different ways to reduce benefits, raising the retirement age is the one that does the most to punish the poor and demands the least sacrifice from the rich. Christie, it’s true, isn’t saying “whatever the voters want to hear” but he’s not telling the truth either. What he’s doing is saying what rich people want middle class people to believe.

The particularly confusing thing, though, isn’t that Christie lied but that I read in The Washington Post that Christie’s lie is the truth. Doubly confusing is that I read a Washington Post article a few months ago by Ezra Klein that laid this out pretty clearly describing a “conversation in Washington, where affluent people who like their jobs propose cutting benefits for the poor (which is, after all, what raising the retirement age would do) rather than lowering benefits or increasing the payroll tax on, well, themselves.”

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Wave Skiing

Amazing video. Watch it in HD full screen if you have the horsepower.

(Hat Tip: The Dish)

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Tim Kaine

Sen Jim Webb announced today that he will not seek re-election in 2012, presumably opening the door for a easy win for the racist George "Macaca" Allen, who Webb defeated in 2006. TPM points out that according to a recent poll, the racist George Allen is all that popular in VA. By contrast, former VA Gov Tim Kaine in the same poll is considerably more popular than either the racist George Allen or current Sen Jim Webb.

Before Sen Webb announced his retirement, Gov Kaine said he wasn't interested in running for Senate, but that was really the only polite thing he could say with the upcoming election being for a seat currently occupied by a fellow Dem. With Webb announcing his retirement all bets are off.

But I've thought for a few years now that Kaine might have his eye on another position.

When Tim Kaine was named DNC chair by Obama in 2009, it occurred to me that he might be on a very short list for Veep in 2012. I love Joe Biden, warts and all, for all the reasons most Democrats love him – he seems to be a genuinely nice person, loving father, good husband and was a very good Senator. But Joe will be 70 in November of 2012, and out of contention to succeed Obama 4 years later. It makes no political sense to keep Joe on the ticket when Obama could be grooming a successor. Doesn’t mean Obama will do the smart political move, but assuming he does, I expect Joe to retire gracefully with a lot of pomp and glory and a lengthy farewell tour leading up to the 2012 convention and freeing Obama to pick a successor.

How can Tim Kaine, the bright, accomplished and popular former Governor of the Commonwealth of Virgina not be at the very top of that list?

Saturday, February 05, 2011

A Punk Rocker approaching 50

Mike Ness of Social Distortion will be 49 this year. Ness has fronted and been the principal song writer of Social Distortion for more than 30 years now and I'm pretty sure the only original member.

Social Distortion just released "Hard Times and Nursery Rhymes" (iTunes, Amazon) is a great piece of work that mixes Americana music with SxDx's punk rock roots.

I can't believe how much I'm enjoying this album.

"Writing on the Wall" is one of my favorites tracks,

And a SxDx bonus track.

Johnny Cash's "Ring of Fire" is one of my favorite all time songs and SxDx has been covering it for more than 20 years.

Justin Townes Earle's "Harlem River Blues"

I'm really enjoying Justin Townes Earle's latest album "Harlem River Blues"(iTunes, Amazon).

Justin performs the title tract on Letterman with Paul Shaffer joining in on the Hammond Organ.

One of the very under-rated features of Letterman is the outstanding music he has on the show almost every night. The music alone is reason enough to never watch Leno.

Like his father before him, Justin has struggled with a serious drug problem. Hopefully, he's finally put that behind him. I can't imagine Steve isn't very proud of Justin's latest album.