Friday, January 31, 2014

Robert Reich: Raising Minimum Wage Boosts Economy

Speaking on Crossfire, Robert Reich responded to conservative host S.E. Cupp's objection to the  minimum wage, namely that it would–heaven forbid–"force employers to raise wages." In the presence of co-host Stephanie Cutter and former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R), Reich explained that putting more money in the hands of low-wage workers actually boosts the entire economy. Watch:

Cupp: “You would suggest that we force employers to raise wages, force union participation, raise taxes on the top job creators, and force employers to cut off hiring at 50 employees to avoid Obamacare mandates. How is that a job recipe for job creation?”
Robert Reich: “It’s not forcing.”
Cupp: “You want to raise the minimum wage, which would force [employers] to raise wages.”
Reich:  “We’ve had a minimum wage in this country since 1935. Raising the minimum wage is good for the country. It puts more money in the pockets of people. Sixty-five percent of Americans want to raise the minimum wage. Most minimum-wage workers these days are not teenagers; they are breadwinners. If you help them, you are helping the economy overall. And a lot of employers will benefit from a higher minimum wage.”

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Bernie Sanders: Should We Provide Welfare For Walmart?

Questioning a panel of experts during a Congressional hearing on income inequality, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) asked whether Walmart should be subsidized by taxpayers. The Walton family, which Sanders refers to as "the wealthiest family in America," pays inadequate wages to much of its staff, forcing them to rely on food stamps, Medicaid and public housing. Sanders proposed a rise in the minimum wage to help alleviate this situation. While three panelists excused Walmart's reliance on the public to provide food, health care and housing to its staff, former Clinton Labor Secretary Robert Reich called the arrangement “corporate welfare of the worst kind.” Watch:

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Gallup: 67% Dissatisfied With Wealth Distribution

According to a recent Gallup poll, two-thirds of Americans are dissatisfied with the country's wealth and income distribution, including three-fourths of Democrats and 54% of Republicans:

Gallup's Jan. 5-8 Mood of the Nation survey included a question asking Americans how satisfied they are with income and wealth distribution in the U.S. Few, 7%, report that they are "very satisfied" with the distribution, while 39% of Americans say they are "very dissatisfied."

Attitudes about the distribution of income and wealth are highly related to partisanship. Republicans, at 45% very or somewhat satisfied, express the highest satisfaction with the current wealth disparity in the U.S. Democrats are much less satisfied, at 24%, with independents closer in satisfaction to Democrats, at 28%. Furthermore, almost half (43%) of Democrats and independents express strong dissatisfaction with the current state of wealth and income distribution.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Neil deGrasse Tyson: Religion Doesn't Belong In Science Class

In a brief clip, astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson tells Bill Moyers that religious beliefs are a fundamental freedom–but a religious philosophy not based on objective reality has no place in a science classroom. Watch:

Watch the first part of Bill Moyers interviewing Neil deGrasse Tyson.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Schumer: Tea Party Donors Exploit Followers

Speaking to the Center for American Progress Action Fund, Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) was right on target when he said that Democrats should counter the negative views of government propagated by the Tea Party–and that the wealthy donors to the Tea Party cynically exploit its middle-class adherents:

Senator Charles E. Schumer on Thursday called on Democrats to try to reduce the Tea Party’s political influence by driving a wedge between the movement’s elite leaders and its middle-income followers who depend on popular government programs like Medicare.

...Mr. Schumer, who led successful efforts to expand the Democratic ranks in the Senate in 2006 and 2008, said the party needed to embrace and push the message that government is a positive force in most American lives. He said the party, headed into the 2014 midterm elections, should emphasize bread-and-butter issues like an increase in the minimum wage, government assistance with soaring college tuition costs, infrastructure improvements, equal pay for women and better enforcement of trade laws to help American workers.

Mr. Schumer accused deep-pocketed backers of the Tea Party movement of cynically manipulating its adherents. “These people are wealthy, hard right, selfish, narrow; people who don’t want to pay taxes and don’t want government interfering with their companies no matter what damage their companies may do to their workers, to the environment or to anybody else,” he said.

“They framed the debate,” Mr. Schumer said. “Government was the problem, and shrinking it was the solution.”

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Nancy Grace Vs. Nancy Grace On Pot

Nancy Grace, expressing views that reflect the 1938 movie "Reefer Madness," recently referred to "people on pot that shoot each other, that stab each other, that strangle each other, that kill whole families — wipe out a whole family.” Grace, though, is actually quite conflicted about marijuana; she also recently asked, "Isn't it true that when you smoke pot you just want to lay on the sofa and eat?" Watch this compilation of Nancy Grace debating herself on pot:

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Saturday Night At The Liberal Curmudgeon: Arthur Lee & Love

Following our viewing last week of Arthur Lee, leader of Love, performing "Alone Again Or" on the Jools Holland Show, I decided to showcase another song from that 2003 performance, "You Set The Scene" (original version here.) "Alone Again Or" and "You Set The Scene" are the most well-known songs from Love's critically acclaimed 1967 album, "Forever Changes." Lee's performance here is a tour-de-force of rock instrumentation with horns and strings, along with lyrics that stir us to live life to the fullest.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Gallup: More Americans Than Ever Identify As Liberal

In 1988, Democratic presidential candidate Michael S. Dukakis resisted calling himself a liberal; when he finally "admitted" his ideological leanings, he was mocked by George Bush '41 for his reluctance. A recent Gallup poll finds that such reluctance is, thankfully, passé; more Americans than ever identify as liberal. While there are still more who identify as conservative, that number has held steady. As a result, the conservative advantage is shrinking:

Americans continue to be more likely to identify as conservatives (38%) than as liberals (23%). But the conservative advantage is down to 15 percentage points as liberal identification edged up to its highest level since Gallup began regularly measuring ideology in the current format in 1992.

...When Gallup began asking about ideological identification in all its polls in 1992, an average 17% of Americans said they were liberal. That dipped to 16% in 1995 and 1996, but has gradually increased, exceeding 20% each year since 2005.

The shift toward greater liberal self-identification has been led by Democrats. Currently, 43% of Democrats say they are liberal, a nearly 50% increase from 29% in 2000. Over the same period, the percentage of Democrats identifying as moderate is down to 36% from 44%, and conservative identification is down to 19% from 25%.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Chart Makes The Scientific Consensus Clear: Climate Change Is Real

Geochemist James Lawrence Powell has published the simple pie chart above, along with statistics that lay waste to the position of climate change deniers. Specifically, Powell found that over the past year, 2,258 articles, written by 9,136 authors, were published in peer-reviewed scientific journals that confirm human-made climate change. Meanwhile, only one author wrote an article in a peer-reviewed journal rejecting human-caused climate change. If the deniers are confident in their stance, why are they so reticent about publishing? Powell calls climate change denial the real hoax:

I have brought my previous study (see here and here) up-to-date by reviewing peer-reviewed articles in scientific journals over the period from Nov. 12, 2012 through December 31, 2013. I found 2,258 articles, written by a total of 9,136 authors. (Download the chart above here.) Only one article, by a single author in the Herald of the Russian Academy of Sciences, rejected man-made global warming. I discuss that article here.

My previous study, of the peer-reviewed literature from 1991 through Nov. 12, 2012, found 13,950 articles on “global warming” or “global climate change.” Of those, I judged that only 24 explicitly rejected the theory of man-made global warming. The methodology and details for the original and the new study are described here.

...The scientific literature since 1991 contains a mountain of evidence confirming man-made global warming as true and no convincing evidence that it is false. Global warming denial is a house of cards.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

"The Armory Show At 100: Modern Art And Revolution" At New-York Historical Society

"The Armory Show At 100: Modern Art And Revolution" at the New-York Historical Society focuses on a groundbreaking exhibit that introduced New Yorkers to American and European avant-garde art movements at the beginning of the 20th century. That original show, at the 69th Regiment Armory on Lexington Avenue between 25th and 26th Streets, was mounted in 1913 by the Association of American Painters and Sculptors. While art has assimilated the trends of a century ago, one is struck by how shocking movements such as Cubism and Fauvism were then. Those who think that today's culture wars are a recent development need only read the comments of critics, cited in the show, who equated the artists with political radicals and viewed them as presaging the breakdown of civilization. The work of the Americans was not quite as incendiary as that of the Europeans; Marcel Duchamp's "Nude Descending A Staircase," 1912 (above), was likened to "an explosion in a shingle factory." Of the Americans, I particularly enjoyed the Ashcan School of painters, whose depiction of New York working class life was considered unconventional subject matter. This survey of 100 works provides an outstanding survey of the artists who gave birth to modernism.

The Armory Show At 100: Modern Art And Revolution” continues through Feb. 23 at the New-York Historical Society, 170 Central Park West at 77th St., NYC; (212) 873-3400,

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Hoboken Mayor: Christie Administration Held Sandy Funds Hostage

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's (R) problems don't end with the George Washington Bridge scandal. Hoboken, NJ, Mayor Dawn Zimmer (D) alleges that two of the governor's aides warned her that Hurricane Sandy relief money depended on her support of a development project favored by the Christie administration. The mayor has not approved the project and her city has received a fraction of the relief money requested. Zimmer's explosive allegations fit the Christie administration's reputation for political retribution. Watch as she is interviewed by MSNBC's Steve Kornacki:

Since this interview, Mayor Zimmer has met with federal investigators and turned over documents related to her allegations.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Pennsylvania Judge Strikes Down Voter ID Law

The extension of voting rights is a major part of the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The struggle against disenfranchisement, however, continues following the Supreme Court's gutting of the Voting Rights Act and the Republicans' attempt to suppress the vote, including among minorities, the young and the poor. One recalls Pennsylvania GOP leader Mike Turzai's prediction that Voter ID laws will "allow Gov. Romney to win"–an admission of such laws' actual intent, despite protestations of "voter fraud." One positive move in that state is the ruling by Commonwealth Court Judge Bernard McGinley stating that the voter ID law passed by Republicans is unconstitutional. The ruling, however, does not directly affect other states such as Texas, North Carolina and Wisconsin with Voter ID laws:

Commonwealth court judge Bernard McGinley concluded the state's voter ID law, introduced by Republican-controlled state legislature in 2012, disenfranchised “hundreds of thousands” of voters who could not easily meet the requirements set by the state.

“Voting laws are designed to assure a free and fair election; the voter ID law does not further this goal,” the judge said, adding: “Disenfranchising voters through no fault of the voter himself is plainly unconstitutional.”

...In one particularly damning section of his ruling, Judge McGinley found there was no evidence the legislation was even intended to stamp out voter fraud, which was the justification given by state lawmakers when they passed the law.

Although the ruling was a significant one for Pennsylvania’s 8.2 million voters, legal scholars said it had only limited implications for the rest of the country, where similar laws have passed from state to state.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Springsteen And Fallon Sing "Gov. Christie Traffic Jam"

Gov. Chris Christie (R) of New Jersey is a big fan of Bruce Springsteen, having attended 129 concerts. One doubts, however, that he'd enjoy viewing Springsteen and Jimmy Fallon perform "Governor Christie Traffic Jam," a parody of "Born to Run." The song starts, “In the day we sweated out on the streets, stuck in traffic on the GWB. They shut down the tollbooths of glory ’cuz we didn’t endorse Christie." Watch:

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Saturday Night At The Liberal Curmudgeon: Arthur Lee & Love

The late Arthur Lee, leader of Love, sang "Alone Again Or" on the Jools Holland Show, England, 2003. The original version is on Love's "Forever Changes" album, 1967, at first overlooked and later critically acclaimed and placed at number 40 on Rolling Stone's list of the 500 Greatest Albums.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

GOP Rep. Opposes Free School Lunch, Charges Taxpayers $4,182 In Meals

Republican Representative Jack Kingston of Georgia opposes the federal lunch program for poor children. In December, he told a GOP gathering that such children should learn "that there such thing as a free lunch" and proposed that they "sweep the floor of the cafeteria." Kingston, however, doesn't mind free lunches for him and his staff. A report by the Savannah affiliate of NBC found that taxpayers paid for $4,182 worth of free business meals (which could have bought almost 2,000 school lunches) for Kingston's congressional office over the past three years. Kingston and staff also enjoyed free meals totaling $4,289.33, paid for by third party groups. Watch:

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Christie Repeatedly Accused Of Political Retribution

Whether or not Gov. Chris Christie (R) of New Jersey had prior knowledge about the George Washington Bridge scandal, he has repeatedly been accused of political retribution. In his press conference Thursday, Christie said, “This is the exception. It is not the rule of what’s happened over the last four years in the administration.” It is worth considering whether the scandal truly is an exception–and whether Christie created a culture of bullying and vengeance that his aides carried forward:

...while Christie claimed that this was “not the way this administration has conducted itself over the last four years” and denied being a bully, accusations of political retribution have long surrounded the governor. For instance, former Gov. Richard Codey (D) accused the Christie administration of “sending a message” by denying him state trooper protection after he publicly disagreed with Christie. The same day, a Codey cousin was fired from his position at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and a former Codey aide was removed from the New Jersey Office of Consumer Affairs.

After then State Sen. Sean Kean (R) told a reporter that Christie erred in not calling for a state of emergency sooner, during a 2010 blizzard, Christie’s staff banned Kean from attending the next news conference Christie held in Kean’s home district. A Christie aide told the Star-Ledger that Kean “got what he deserved.” Rutgers Professor Alan Rosenthal saw his state funding slashed after backing a re-districting map more favorable to Democrats and last year, confirmation of a judicial candidate recommended by State Sen. Christopher “Kip” Bateman (R) suddenly stalled after the legislator voted against Christie’s public medical education system reorganization.

Fox Devotes Little Time To Christie Bridge Scandal

Mediaite presented the total minutes of coverage that three major cable news networks devoted to the Chris Christie bridge scandal as it exploded Wednesday: MSNBC: 142 minutes; CNN: 142 minutes; Fox News: 14 minutes and 30 seconds. The "fair and balanced" station apparently decided that it was a minor news story.

Paul Krugman: Conservatives Losing "The War Over Poverty"

Paul Krugman cites studies from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities finding that the war on poverty, declared 50 years ago by Lyndon Johnson, resulted in a significant decline in poverty and long-term benefits to families and children. He also argues that the conservative hostility to anti-poverty programs and to the poor themselves is becoming increasingly derided in view of income inequality affecting ever greater numbers of Americans:

At this point, the rise of the 1 percent at the expense of everyone else is so obvious that it’s no longer possible to shut down any discussion of rising inequality with cries of “class warfare.” Meanwhile, hard times have forced many more Americans to turn to safety-net programs. And as conservatives have responded by defining an ever-growing fraction of the population as morally unworthy “takers” — a quarter, a third, 47 percent, whatever — they have made themselves look callous and meanspirited.

You can see the new political dynamics at work in the fight over aid to the unemployed. Republicans are still opposed to extended benefits, despite high long-term unemployment. But they have, revealingly, changed their arguments. Suddenly, it’s not about forcing those lazy bums to find jobs; it’s about fiscal responsibility. And nobody believes a word of it.

Meanwhile, progressives are on offense. They have decided that inequality is a winning political issue. They see war-on-poverty programs like food stamps, Medicaid, and the earned-income tax credit as success stories, initiatives that have helped Americans in need — especially during the slump since 2007 — and should be expanded. And if these programs enroll a growing number of Americans, rather than being narrowly targeted on the poor, so what?

So guess what: On its 50th birthday, the war on poverty no longer looks like a failure. It looks, instead, like a template for a rising, increasingly confident progressive movement.

Fox's Carlson Uses Christie Scandal To Attack Obama

The Chris Christie bridge scandal raises compelling questions: Was Christie telling the truth when he said that he was misled? If he didn't know, how tight a ship does he run? Did he create a culture of bullying and vengeance reflected in his aides? These are the questions that a real journalist would ask. On the other hand, if one is a hack like Fox's Gretchen Carlson, along with other right-wing media figures, one takes the focus off of Christie and puts it on Obama. Watch Carlson make this pivot:

Slo-Mo Video: Waiting For The Subway

Photographer Adam Magyar did a slow-motion, panoramic video of New Yorkers waiting for the subway at 42nd Street and Grand Central Station. At one of the busiest stations in this vast system, the subjects stand on a crowded platform, all together, all self-absorbed. Magyar sees them as "an endless row of living sculptures brought together by the same subway line, the same direction, the same intention of taking the train to get caught and carried away by the urban flow. All their motions slowed down, they are graceful..." Watch this striking depiction of an everyday scene underground:

Saturday Night At The Liberal Curmudgeon: Iris DeMent Live

Folk and country singer-songwriter Iris DeMent performs her song, "Let the Mystery Be," whose cheery agnosticism about an afterlife and recognition of the limits of speculation appeal to me.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Christie Bridge Scandal: Aides Were Gleeful About Gridlock

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie (R) loves to throw tantrums at teachers. His administration has taken on his bullying ways, as revealed by the growing scandal over the closing of two lanes on the George Washington Bridge. The move caused massive traffic gridlock, all to exact revenge on the mayor of Fort Lee, NJ, who didn't endorse Christie's re-election. While Christie states that he was misled, a series of damning staff emails and texts spells bad news for his potential Republican presidential candidacy:

The mystery of who closed two lanes onto the George Washington Bridge — turning the borough of Fort Lee, N.J., into a parking lot for four days in September — exploded into a full-bore political scandal for Gov. Chris Christie on Wednesday, when emails and texts revealed that a top aide had ordered the closings to punish the town’s mayor after he did not endorse the governor for re-election.

“Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee,” Bridget Anne Kelly, a deputy chief of staff to Mr. Christie, emailed David Wildstein, a high school friend of the governor who worked at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which runs the bridge.

Later text messages mocked concerns that school buses filled with students were stuck in gridlock: “They are the children of Buono voters,” Mr. Wildstein wrote, referring to Mr. Christie’s opponent Barbara Buono.

The emails are striking in their political maneuvering, showing Christie aides gleeful about the chaos that resulted, including emergency vehicles delayed in responding to three people with heart problems and a missing toddler, as well as commuters fuming. One of the governor’s associates refers to the mayor of Fort Lee as “this little Serbian,” and Ms. Kelly exchanges messages about the plan while she is in line to pay her respects at a wake.

...While the emails do not establish that the governor himself called for the lane closings, they show his staff was intimately involved, contrary to Mr. Christie’s repeated avowals that no one in his office or campaign knew about them. In fact, the emails show, several staff members and appointees worked to cover up the scheme under the ruse that it was a traffic study. The disclosing of the emails will probably intensify an investigation into the lane closing by the Port Authority Inspector General’s office, which opened a formal inquiry in December.

Fox's Gretchen Carlson Mistakes Atheists For Satanists

How much research does Fox News host Gretchen Carlson conduct before her shows? Previewing a segment on the Satanist Temple's proposed Oklahoma Statehouse statue, Carlson conflated atheism with Satanism in a tweet stating, “Atheists unveil Satan statue for OK capitol: smiling kids with goat-faced demon!” Here is the tweet, posted by Atheism Tweets before Carlson deleted it:

Refusing to apologize for her error following online criticism, Carlson then tweeted, “Stop the hate tweets. I made a simple mistake. Thx. [sic] I’m not stupid or asking everyone to believe in my God. Thx.”

Monday, January 6, 2014

Matt Rothschild: Demand A Digital Bill Of Rights

Matt Rothschild, senior editor of The Progressive, points out that following revelations of the extent of NSA surveillance, there have been calls by high tech giants and internationally prominent authors to curtail such activities in the name of human rights and democracy. Listen (click on the "P" below):

(h/t: Best of the Left Podcast)

Utah Man Fasting To Stop Marriage Equality

A recent article in The Nation focused on the use of hunger strikes for human rights and social justice. Now a Utah man is employing the same tactic toward an entirely different end: depriving others of their human rights and equal protection under the law. Following a judicial decision in Utah finding the state's ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional, Trestin Meacham vowed to fast until the ban is restored. Watch:

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Eugene Robinson: Affordable Care Act Is Here To Stay

Eugene Robinson writes that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is here to say–and those states that don't fully implement it will be compared unfavorably to those that do. He also looks toward a time when we move past the real flaw of the ACA, its basis in private insurance, and continue toward universal coverage:

Any existential threat to the Affordable Care Act ended with the popping of champagne corks as the new year arrived. That was when an estimated 6 million uninsured Americans received coverage through expanded Medicaid eligibility or the federal and state health insurance exchanges. Obamacare is now a fait accompli; nobody is going to take this coverage away.

...Now, officials in states that refused to participate in Medicaid expansion will have to explain why so many of their constituents—about 5 million nationwide—remain uninsured when they could have qualified for coverage...

...Meanwhile, insurance costs and benefits in states that refused to set up their own exchanges will be compared with those in states that did. There will be questions about how the new law is performing—but no one will be able to pretend it does not exist.

...The real problem with the ACA, and let’s be honest, is that it doesn’t go far enough. The decision to work within the existing framework of private, for-profit insurance companies meant building a tremendously complicated new system that still doesn’t quite get the job done: Even if all the states were fully participating, only about 30 million of the 48 million uninsured would be covered.

But Obamacare does establish the principle that health care is a right, not a privilege—and that this is true not just for children, the elderly and the poor but for all Americans.

Throughout the nation’s history, it has taken long, hard work to win universal recognition of what we consider our basic rights. Perhaps future legislation will expand and streamline the ACA reforms until everyone is covered. Or perhaps we’ll move toward a single-payer system, possibly by expanding Medicare and Medicaid until they meet in the middle.

David Ippolito Sings Satirical "Tea Party Anthem (I Want My Country Back)"

Singer-songwriter David Ippolito, known as "That Guitar Man from Central Park," performed his satirical "Tea Party Anthem (I Want My Country Back)" at Merkin Concert Hall, NYC. The song hearkens back to a time “when hardly anyone was gay,” news anchors and candidates were white men and the poor had no possibility of health insurance. Then progressives came along and ruined "my perfect U.S.A." The song follows the tune of “I Dreamed a Dream” from Les Misérables. Watch:

Rachel Maddow Rejects Kochs' "Correction" Script

Kudos to Rachel Maddow for refusing to read the script provided by lawyers for right-wing billionaires Charles and David Koch. The script states that the Kochs are not involved in funding welfare drug testing. Maddow traces how the Kochs do indeed fund that failed policy and rejects their call for an on-air correction, stating, “We will not stop reporting on the political actions and the consequences of the political actions of rich and powerful men even if they send angry letters every time we do it. I will not read scripts provided to me by anyone else. I do not play requests. I will happily make corrections when I do get things wrong. We do it on this show all the time. But I will not renounce or retract reporting that is true even if the subjects of that reporting don’t like it.” Watch:

David Brooks Scolds Pot Smokers

Over the past year, I've written a number of articles about the stop-and-frisk program in New York City, which targets blacks and Latinos–the vast majority of whom are innocent. While the program has proven ineffective in recovering guns, it caused marijuana arrests to soar here. On a national level, federal data shows that blacks are four times as likely to be arrested for possession, despite the fact that blacks and whites use the drug at similar rates.  In a recent column, David Brooks is seemingly unaware of the racist war on pot, which stigmatizes and criminalizes minority youth.

Brooks recalls smoking pot as a youth, but writes that he grew out of it and turned to life's finer pursuits. He expresses regret at the legalization of weed in Colorado and Washington and cites health, cost and tax issues, but does not mention the arrests and imprisonment that ruin lives. Instead, he plays the moral scold in an argument that could just as well be used to support the prohibition of alcohol:

Laws profoundly mold culture, so what sort of community do we want our laws to nurture? What sort of individuals and behaviors do our governments want to encourage? I’d say that in healthy societies government wants to subtly tip the scale to favor temperate, prudent, self-governing citizenship. In those societies, government subtly encourages the highest pleasures, like enjoying the arts or being in nature, and discourages lesser pleasures, like being stoned.

In legalizing weed, citizens of Colorado are, indeed, enhancing individual freedom. But they are also nurturing a moral ecology in which it is a bit harder to be the sort of person most of us want to be.

Once again, a conservative supports intrusion into personal choices and contradicts the supposed belief in "freedom" and "small government." Brooks would do well to stop generalizing about those who use marijuana recreationally–and start considering the ways in which arrests and incarceration related to pot have prevented so many from "being the sort of person" they want to be.

Image: Truthdig

De Blasio Pledges "New Progressive Direction In NY"

At his inaugural address, Mayor Bill de Blasio confirmed a "new progressive direction in New York" and a commitment to alleviating the city's growing income inequality. "When I said we would take dead aim at the 'Tale of Two Cities,' I meant it," he declared. De Blasio cited a number of reforms his administration would undertake, including expanded paid sick leave, affordable housing, stopping hospital closures, expanding community health centers, reforming stop-and-frisk, and raising taxes on the wealthy to afford universal pre-K. Watch:


Saturday, January 4, 2014

Saturday Night At The Liberal Curmudgeon: Remembering Phil Everly

Phil Everly, part of a duo with his brother Don that became one of the most influential acts in early rock history, passed away on Friday. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame states that the Everly Brothers "...transformed the Appalachian folk, bluegrass and country sounds of their Kentucky boyhood into a richly harmonized form of rock and roll." Above, singer Julius La Rosa introduced the Everly Brothers before they performed "Bye Bye Love" on June 22, 1957.