Monday, February 28, 2011

Going around…

...and too good to pass up. I snagged it from Dallas Taylor at Anticontrarian...
A unionized public employee, a teabagger and a CEO are sitting at a table. In the middle of the table is a plate with a dozen cookies on it. The CEO reaches across and takes 11 cookies, looks at the teabagger and says, "Watch out for that union guy. He wants a piece of your cookie."

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Sunday, February 27, 2011

Meanwhile in Olympia…

…my own personal first-term Representative is making her mark. Via Of Paramount Importance...
OLYMPIA—State Rep. Cindy Ryu reached a major milestone today in her effort to save Washington’s Mortgage Lending Fraud Prosecution Account.

The House of Representatives voted 97-0 for Ryu’s proposal to cancel the scheduled July termination of the fraud-fighting account and extend its life to the end of June, 2016.
While I'm generally in favor of sunset provisions that keep legislation from outliving it's usefulness, sometimes a good idea remains good, and sometimes it might get even better, with the passage of time. Spotting and saving the good ones is something we count on our legislators for, and Cindy's proving we can count on her.

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Saturday, February 26, 2011

Wouldn't be Chart of the day week...

...without lifting something from Ezra...

Wanna play 'Find the FOX viewer'?

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Signs of the times.

All y'all that don't read Kos mighta missed this one...

C'mon, there's gotta be one of y'all...anyway, great sign.

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Hey, it's Saturday…

…and I owe y'all a random ten. Here, then, is some but not all that jazz from the hard drive...
Lou Donaldson - Blues Walk
Nina Simone - Feeling Good
Hank Jones Trio
Kenny Burrell - Chitlins Con Carne
Louis Armstrong & His Hot Seven - Potato Head Blues
Miles Davis - All Blues
Charles Mingus - Goodbye Pork Pie Hat
Dave Brubeck Quartet - Take Five
Miles Davis - Great Expectations
Lee Morgan - The Rumproller
Yeah, Miles is there twice, but it's two different Miles', ya' know?

Heck, I can think of five or six different Miles' off the top of my head.

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Friday, February 25, 2011

Chart of the Day.

Chart of the Day week continues with a Black History Month installment by W.E.B. DuBois, via Matt Yglesias...

(Yep, it clicks bigger.)

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I foolishly overlooked... important Rep. Norm Dicks was to that Boeing contract. Kudos to the Husky Hall of Famer, too.

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Thursday, February 24, 2011

All wonk and no play...

...makes Graph of the Day Week a dull exercise. Some corrective levity via Indexed...

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From the "Make it here" file.

Good news...
WASHINGTON -- The Air Force has chosen Boeing to build its new fleet of aerial refueling tankers, reversing its award three years ago to EADS in one of the most contentious procurement duels in recent history.
In case you don't speak acronym, the E stands for European. Frankly, the idea of awarding a contract for the production of American military aircraft to a foreign owned company brings out the jingo in me. Part of it's being a Seattle boy at heart, I suppose. I decided a few decades ago that Boeing made the best aircraft in the world and I've never changed my mind, even if they've changed their headquarters.

Part of it is the concern that if we can't produce the planes necessary for our defense it's tantamount to admitting that we can't defend ourselves. Maybe we can't. There's certainly a case to be made. It seems unwise, though, to admit it.

Part of it, too, is believing that maximizing American employment and conserving American capital is also part of defending America, and is therefore a proper consideration in the award of defense contracts.

At any rate, kudos to Boeing, to the Air Force and to our tireless advocate in this fight, Senator Patty Murray.

We can make it here. We should. And, thankfully, we will.

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Survivor, Olympia style.

It's that time of the legislative session that bills start being declared dead because of committee action or the lack thereof. Worthy ideas like marijuana legalization and horrible notions like stomping on state workers' right to collective bargaining are biting the dust. Some of the good stuff does get through to the next level though. Publicola reports
...Sen. Sharon Nelson’s (D-34, Maury Island) legislation to require paid signature gatherers to register with the state and to raise the filing fee for initiatives made it out of the Senate Committee on Government Operations and Tribal Relations & Elections last week.
Also making the cut and moving along to the Rules Committee are a couple of my own personal State Senator's better ideas, SB 5306, which authorizes tribal governments in Washington to certify mental health counselors for their agencies, and SB 5362, authorizing utilities to solicit charitable contributions to assist their low-income customers.

Another of Senator Chase's bills, SB 5174, which encourages instruction in the history of civil rights, passed the full Senate 47-0 just yesterday.

We do win some. We've still got some work to do.

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Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Chart of the day week continues…

…with a contribution from the Kevin Drum article everybody's talking about...

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Good question…

…from karoli at Crooks & Liars
What group of citizens will be considered "dangerous" after unions are broken?
Copied to the "First they came for…" file.

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Tuesday, February 22, 2011

From the "Be careful what you wish for."

More Democrats go Galt and the Republicans can't function without 'em.

Gotta love it.

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Wild applause…

…and happy 8th blogiversary wishes for Steve and the gang at The Left Coaster.

That's, like, a billion in blog years. Congrats.

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Chart of the day.

Via digby...

And, yeah, it's starting to look like chart of the day week around here...

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Me too…

…too. Neil Sinhababu, on the immanent NFL lockout...
There's causes that I'll get more excited about, like the situation of ordinary union people in Wisconsin, but I hope the players win.
There's a core group of dedicated union busters among the NFL owners. Sure, there's an element of millionaires vs. billionaires that makes it hard to worry about beyond the implications for my fantasy league, but at its heart it's just labor vs. capital with a very high, and hard earned, wage scale.

The Player's Union has made concessions, stands ready to bargain and wants to work. They deserve our support.

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Monday, February 21, 2011

Good question.

Heather at Crooks & Liars has one for Mike Huckleb…erm…Huckabee…
I'm just wondering Huck, how many unions would Jesus want to see busted?
Hmmm…haven't heard from Republican Jesus for awhile. I'm not sure he's the same Jesus as Mike Huckabee's Jesus. Only Jesus knows, I suppose. He's the one I want to hear from, though.

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From the "Me too" file.

Doug Hill at Balloon Juice...
I don’t think there’s that many “independent voters” who hate unions so much that they’ll base their vote on which candidate busts unions harder. But I think there are plenty of center and right-center union members who will vote against a candidate who seeks to end collective bargain rights.
Me too.

Even more. Based on the talk across the bar (a generally reliable measure in my experience) there are quite a few folks out there who don't care much for unions and who wouldn't want one themselves, but are kind of appalled at the suggestion that people who do like 'em and want 'em would be deprived of their right to have 'em.

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Chart of the day.

Via Outside The Beltway...

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Sunday, February 20, 2011

Well, yeah…

“Gov. Walker has repeatedly said that we won’t negotiate the budget,” Cullen Werwie, a spokesman for Mr. Walker, said. The Democrats “should stop shirking their responsibilities” and “come back to Wisconsin to do their job.”
…but their job, part of it, anyway, is to negotiate the budget. Haven't seen a better demonstration of the essential totalitarianism of contemporary Conservatism lately.

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Stuff to go see.

Via John Gabree at Impractical Proposals, 198 METHODS OF NONVIOLENT PROTEST AND PERSUASION.

And they all sound perfectly practical to me.

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Chart of the day.

The state budget breakdown, via Publicola...

There's nothing to do, they say, but cut, and there's no place to cut that won't hurt.

Sure don't envy the leg this year.

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Saturday, February 19, 2011

Good question…

…for Governor Walker, asked in the form of an epic rant by the Rude Pundit. Here's the nub...
Did you really think that you could merely spit on those corpses and walk away unscathed?
…but you really need the context. As usual, he's not only rude, but profane. And perfect.

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Just the facts.

Via nicole at Political Ruminations...
Matt Osborne on Twitter: Today is the 45th day of the 112th Congress. 688 days remain. Zero jobs created, 800k jobs threatened, 12 abortion bills pending
Sheesh. If they haven't threatened at least a million jobs it's hard to believe they're even trying.

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Signs of the times...

...via Maddow Blog.

Me too, of course.

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I subscribe to the notion…

…that folk music is any music folks make. A random assortment of ten folks songs, then…
Levon Helm - Poor Old Dirt Farmer
The Gosdin Brothers - Georgia
Townes Van Zandt - Mr. Gold And Mr. Mud
Fairport Convention - Who Knows Where The Time Goes
Fountains Of Wayne - Red Dragon Tattoo
Randy Newman - You Can Leave Your Hat On
Parliament - Up For The Down Stroke
Hayward Williams - One For My Baby (And One More For The Road)
Bob Wills & His Texas Playboys - What Makes Bob Holler
Carrie Newcomer - I Heard An Owl

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Friday, February 18, 2011

Everything you need to know…

…about why it's time to dump the initiative process in Washington, from initiative profiteer Tim Eyman
Pam (Roach, R-Auburn) and Don (Benton, R-Vancouver) are, by far, the greatest champions and defenders of the initiative process in the Legislature…
They're launching a full scale attack on a SB 5297, a modest initiative reform bill, but with friends like that, it's obviously time to take away their toy altogether.

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Thursday, February 17, 2011

The truth...

...about consequences, via WTF Is It Now?!?...

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Wednesday, February 16, 2011

A bright spot in the budget…

…as the Commander In Chief steps up for our returning troops...
The president's budget proposal would provide $58.8 billion for operational costs at the Department of Veterans Affairs and an additional $65.5 billion for veterans benefits.

The request is about 8 percent larger than what was provided in the fiscal 2010 budget. It includes $208 million to expand benefits for those caring for service members severely wounded in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Hat tip to VetVoice.

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Tuesday, February 15, 2011

I had predicted…

…based on personal experience working with her in Indian Country, that the tribes would find State Senator Maralyn Chase to be an effective, compassionate and sensible ally on the Government Operations and Tribal Relations & Elections Committee.

Nice to see I was right.

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At last, enough.

Enough, anyway, to cause Rep. Rick Larsen from the northern upper left to reverse his position on the Patriot Act extension over the course of a week...
Enough of extending these provisions without anything but what amounts to a pro forma debate about the balance between security and privacy;

Enough of the delay in developing an appropriate Congressional oversight mechanism of the Patriot Act implementation;

Enough of the extension of the business records provision that allows warrants for everything from what books you check out of the library to the books you buy.

It is still possible that I could vote for a Patriot Act reauthorization in the future, but it will depend upon what it looks like.

So, yes. I did change my position from what it was last week. But this has been something I have contemplated for some time. It is always the right time to do the right thing.
And it's never too late to strike a blow for liberty! A cheer from here for Rep. Larsen.

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Boehner Boner of the day.

John does a little catch up on the unseemly arrogance front. Via AFL-CIO NOW...
Today, when asked by reporters about the tens of thousands of workers who would be on the street if Boehner’s and the Republicans’ budget plan actually passed, here’s what he said.

If some of those jobs are lost, so be it.
"So be it." Sounds so much nicer than "Screw 'em," doesn't it?

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Monday, February 14, 2011

The gamut…

…from feigned modesty...

"The American people have the right to think what they want to think. It's not my job to tell them."
House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), quoted by the Wall Street Journal, saying that while he believes President Obama is a natural born American and Christian it was not his job to challenge people who think otherwise.
…to unseemly arrogance...
"The legislative agenda of Barack Obama is over."
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), quoted by the Lexington Herald Leader, declaring that Republicans will only work with President Obama to do what "we think is right for America."
…the Republican leadership covers all the bases. Boehner's "Who, me?" response to the notion that as a person who holds a national leadership position, a Constitutional office, he might tell people who are wrong they are wrong because the truth is the truth. Of course, by basing his own acceptance of the truth on taking the President at his word, Boehner avoids calling out the part of his party's base that rejects the truth. If you think the President is a liar, well, you can dismiss Boehner as a dupe and remain firm in your fantasy. Don't worry about John Boehner pointing to the extensive documentary and historical record that supports what the President says as evidence that you're wrong. He doesn't care if you're wrong, because he doesn't care about the truth.

Mitch McConnell, on the other hand, while a national leader of sorts is one of a different sort than John Boehner. He's not a Constitutional officer, but a creature of the Senate rules. A lesser creature at that, being the leader of the minority. Actually, if Boehner were to declare the President's agenda dead, at least he would be speaking on behalf of a majority of the members of the House and presumably would have the votes to fairly enforce such an edict. McConnell, on the other hand, speaks on behalf of a caucus that most Americans have voted against, and from that platform assumes the role of setting the nation's course. It's not that he's wrong. He may be right. Mitch McConnell, though, is not the one to say it.

Of course, he says it with some degree of confidence not because he speaks on behalf of the American people, but because he speaks on behalf of a caucus that is committed to using any parliamentary trick, holds, filibusters, killing amendments, lies and threats to enforce its will and thwart the aspirations of the administration and of the people themselves.

That's why I keep saying...

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Sunday, February 13, 2011

Can't let the day go by...

...without noting that we're in the midst of our annual annivaliversary celebration here at Upper Left World Headquarters. Yep, my brilliant and beautiful best friend became the Brilliant and Beautiful Bride of Upper Left 24 years ago this very day, which was 21 years after we met and about 18 years after the first time she said yes when I popped the question.

Life interevened while we were making those plans, but I can't help think we may not have survived so many years together had it not been for some of those years apart. At any rate, I'm grateful for every year, every day, we've shared, and for every one to come.

Happy Annivaliversary, Sweetheart. I love you.

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Saturday, February 12, 2011

Wild about Harry…

…yet? 'Cause c'mon, you gotta like this...
...we need to think about what we’re cutting, and make sure those cuts aren’t counterproductive. We need to pay attention to the quality of these cuts, not just the quantity.

After all, you can lose a lot of weight by cutting off your arms and legs. But no doctor would recommend it.
The Majority Leader, on the other hand, sounds more and more like just what the doctor ordered.

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This may not be a particularly clever way…

…to introduce this week's random ten, but it's what I've got right now. That, and these...
A.J. Croce - Five
The Laws - Walking Away
Art Neville - Cha Dooky-Doo
Ween - Stay Forever
William Bell - You Don't Miss Your Water
Rosanne Cash - Motherless Children
Pete Seeger - The Power And The Glory
The Itals - Brutal
Johnny Cash - Redemption Day
Rich Hardesty - All My Friends Are Stoners
Pete Seeger singing Phil Ochs. That's about as good as it gets, IMO.

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Friday, February 11, 2011

Spring isn't quite here...

…and the sky's not quite blue, but Drifty & Blue Gal are going to the chapel anyway.

Mazel Tov!

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It ain't the stuff they don't know…'s the stuff they know that ain't so. Roy Edroso offers 10 Historical 'Facts' Only a Right-Winger Could Believe.

Good summary of what we're up against. Forewarned is forearmed. Go read.

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Thursday, February 10, 2011

From the "Let's Make A Deal" file.

George Will offers a proposition...
Those Americans who know which Republican will win next year's Iowa caucuses can complain about those who did not know that when a Tunisian street vendor set himself on fire, he would set a region afire. From all other Americans, forbearance would be seemly.
Sounds fair.

If anyone's wondering, one of the reasons I'm not writing much about Egypt is that I don't actually know much about Egypt. I have a sense of how they got to this point, some fears about what might happen and some hope that it will somehow work out well for the Egyptians, but I don't know much.

Which, I suppose, puts me on the same side as George Will.

Is that wrong?

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Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Map of the day.

I thought I got the maps out of my system last week, but this one from Goldy's first print piece as a Stranger columnist got picked up by Slog and I couldn't resist...

As usual, this one will click a bit bigger, but there's an even larger version here.

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An Upper Left Landmark.

This is the 9000th post on Upper Left since I launched this thing back in October of 2003. Upwards of 8900 of 'em are probably my fault, but this seems like a good occassion to thank Carl, Darryl, Deej and Diane, who have all stepped in from time to time, allowing me to take a couple actual vactations over the last few years.

I know some of y'all have been hanging in through most all 9000 posts, and some of y'all are just checking in for the first time. I want you to know how much I appreciate all y'all.

A bunch. That's how much.

9000. Whew.

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Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Good question…

…for Bill Kristol from Steve M....
If you think Glenn Beck is such a crazy, dangerous demagogue, why is your Weekly Standard still advertising on his show?

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From the "Me neither" file.

John Amato's not happy with President Obama's gentle hand with BillO…
The Obama administration has heavily criticized FOX News before and so he had another chance to call them out for their propaganda. He chose a much softer approach this time, which is calculated at trying to win over some of their voters, as if that's possible. Does his team really believe that it is? Because I sure do not.
Regarding the latter, me neither.

Neither, though, do I think that the President's approach was calculated to win over FOX viewers. I think the approach was tailored to the forum, not calculated to attract votes, but to avoid You Tube moments showing the President in a pissing match with O'Reilly.

I've only seen the footage from the Super Bowl broadcast, but from that and what I've read of the remaining interview, it seems to me that Obama hit a successful tone, taking a position that I think he shares with most of the country, one that says "Look, Bill, we know you guys are biased. We know you have to pretend not to be. We're all in on the joke, even if we're not laughing. But, sure, you gotta right…"

It was a way of being dismissive without being contemptuous. Maybe the word is bemused. Balanced against O'Reilly's typical "Enough about me, let's talk about what you think of me" act, the President came across as graciously indulgent and presidentially reassuring.

A more biting attack on O'Reilly, who was in the role of invited guest at the White House, would have been more unseemly than the satisfaction might have merited.

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Good idea…

…from the Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, via Politics Northwest...
An association representing defense lawyers has a different idea than King County Prosecuting Attorney Dan Satterberg about how his office can do its job following the elimination of 36 deputy prosecutors since 2008.

Instead of seeking an appropriation of criminal-justice reserve funds, the Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers suggests that Satterberg not seek the death penalty in aggravated murder cases.
I don't think the financial cost is the best reason to give up the death penalty, but it's good enough.

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Quote of the day.

State Senator Jeanne Kohl-Welles (D-Magnolia), via Slog...
"Our vampires should stay in Washington State."
Especially the young, sexy movie vampires.

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Monday, February 07, 2011

From the Department of Redundancy Department...

Blue Dogs praise Bill Clinton

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Headline of the day.

From The Plum Line
Palin says nothing in particular about Egypt, still gets headlines
Copied to the "Signs of the apocalypse" file.

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At first I thought…

…hey, cool, now Arianna can start paying the writers.

Guess not.

Hat tip to Pamela Leavey.

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Sunday, February 06, 2011

From the "Me too" file.

Matt Yglesias...
I want Bush and other high-ranking current, former, and future American officials to know that Switzerland is a lovely country and my personal advice is that you should try and avoid doing anything that you think is likely to constrain your future travel for fear of war crimes prosecutions.
Me too.

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One more time...

Let's Go Green Bay!

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Killing time…

…before the kickoff? This is kinda fun...

The Glenn Beck Conspiracy Theory Generator

Hat tip to Larry Gross.

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Saturday, February 05, 2011

By all means...

Tell KTTH: Beck's dangerous rhetoric doesn't belong on Seattle's airwaves. Click here to automatically sign the petition.
Hat tip to BlatherWatch.

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No city is safe!

I'll wrap up Map of the Day Week with a blast from the past...

(It clicks bigger.)

Ah, the wonderful world of my youth...

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'Bout time…

…for the random ten.
Hayes Carll - Girl Downtown
Hank Williams - I'll Never Get Out Of This World Alive
Clarence Carter - Funky Fever
George Jones & Willie Nelson - I Gotta Get Drunk
The Delfonics - Didn't I Blow Your Mind This Time
Les Paul & Mary Ford - Tennessee Waltz
The Itals - Brutal
Black Sabbath - Sweet Leaf
Lyle Lovett - All My Love Is Gone
James Taylor & Alison Kraus - How's The World Treating You
Pretty diverse set this week. That last is a Louvin Brothers cover, which popped up at random as always, but is fitting given the recent loss of the surviving Louvin, Charlie. R.I.P.

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Friday, February 04, 2011

Everything you need to know…

…about Newt, from Jonathan Bernstein...
...outside of that no one gets presidential nominations despite having achieved nothing higher than the House of Representatives, and outside of Newt's continuing lack of popularity, and that he was pretty much chased from office because he was terrible at being Speaker, and then there's the messy personal life...put that all aside, and you're left with: he was big in the 1990s. Which is, you know, a long time ago.
His record won't stop him from covering his travel expenses with a vanity campaign, I suppose, but it's hard to see him actually winning anything.

They're Republicans, though. Who knows what they might do. If they want to offer up Newt as 2012's ritual sacrifice, bring him on. Could be almost as fun as Sarah.

Or they could team up. Hey, a Democrat can dream, can't he?

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Speaking of Truth Surfer…

…that's the source for our latest Map of the Day entry for Map of the Day Week, and another difference between the upper left and Minnestota…

I'm kind of surprised, and considerably disappointed. What's wrong with us, anyway? We have a woman Governor, two women as Senators, scads of woman legislators and we're behind Mississippi in pay equity? Jeebus.

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It's here!

Blogroll Amnesty Day, extended this year to Blogroll Amnesty Weekend in in honor of one of it's founding fathers, the late and genuinely great Jon Swift, AKA Al Weisel, is a time to pause in our correction of all that is wrong on the internet in order to recognize some of what is right. The general idea is to link to five blogs that are lower in traffic than the linker's blog. I'm not sure all of mine qualify, because I really haven't taken the time to research their traffic and, frankly, given the multiplicity of feed readers and aggregators and the typical inaccuracy of traffic trackers (I use three for different information, and there are significant daily differences between them), I don't really know what my traffic is.

So, statistics aside, here are five blogs I check in on regularly that are active, independent, mostly solo, sometimes local and always worthwhile…


Dallas Taylor writes this one from somewhere in the upper left, and it's a place I often find local and national stories that I've missed elsewhere.

Bats Left/Throws Right

Home of the irrepressible Doghouse Riley, BL/TR is a delightful daily snark-fest. Not always safe for work, I suppose, but always good for a laugh followed by an insightful 'a-ha'.

Whatever It Is I'm Against It

WIIIAI has been against it since he commenced it, 'it' being a regular barrage of outrage aimed at a broad range of ideas and individuals that inspire his ire.

Truth Surfer

Truth Liberty Justice teams up with mnsky for this regular report from Minnesota, which I like to think of as the upper left east. Coffee, Norwegians and a tendency toward courtesy, they're just like us with more snow. And Michelle Bachmann.

Who Hijacked Our Country

Tom Harper writes from the shadow of the Olympic Mountains, one of my childhood homes and still a favorite get-away destination. He seems to be able to see everything worth seeing from there, though, and covers a wide range of issues with a distinctive perspective.
Click over and bang around any of these sights and you'll be sure to find something to enrage, delight or inform you.

A grateful hat tip to Blue Gal and Skippy for keeping the B.A.D. light burning brightly.

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Thursday, February 03, 2011

Back in business.

Phones are up thanks to, well, I'll spare you the nitty gritty, but thanks, Pat!

Gotta catch up a bit but I'm sure there's someone, somewhere, being wrong on the internet that I'll feel compelled to correct right quick here...

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Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Just so ya' know...

...I'm blogging from an undisclosed location tonight because there's no phone line at Upper Left World Headquarters just now. Might be back in a matter of hours, or days. We're still catching up, and the gas company came first.

Blogging tomorrow is iffy, but I'm going to do my best. Keep checking in - I won't be far away...

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Must be map week around here.

Another map of the day, via John Cole...

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Tuesday, February 01, 2011

The people have spoken...

Who are you rooting for in the Super Bowl: the Green Bay Packers or the Pittsburgh Steelers?
Packers 43
Steelers 27
Kos is in the minority. Bears fan. Bitter. I get it.

But the Steelers represent everything that's wrong with the game.

Have since '05.

And, yes, I'm a Seahawks fan and I'm bitter.

Let's go Green Bay!

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Quote of the day.

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, via the Daily Dish...
"I have exhausted my life serving Egypt but I am totally prepared to end my career."
In the nick of time?

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Map of the day.

A true one this time. Timely, too. Via Maddow Blog...

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From the "Me too" file.

Steve Benen...
Four federal district courts have heard challenges testing the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act. Two judges concluded the law is legally permissible, two came to the opposite conclusion.

But it occurs to me the public has heard quite a bit more about the latter than the former.
Me too.

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