The Best of Everything – 2011

Here is my “top 10” list of the best of 2011:

Best non-fiction book: A Singular Woman by Janny Scott.  This book did not try to paint Stanley Ann Dunham a particular way.  It was simply the true story of a strong woman, who married a Kenyan and had a son named Barack Obama.  Stanley later married an Indonesian, Lolo Soetoro and they had a daughter named Maya Soetoro.

A Singular Woman is about a woman who did not conform to the norms of her time.  Stanley Ann Dunham went on to obtain her masters and PhD. in anthropology.

New York Times writer Janny Scott researched her topic meticulously and it shows on every page.  I enjoyed the book immensely.

Best Politician:  Without a doubt in my mind I have to say Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA)  Congressman Frank will be retiring after sixteen terms in office.   Known for his quips, quick responses and snarky comments over the last three decades, Congressman Barney Frank announced recently that he would not run for re-election in 2012.

  • I’m used to being in the minority. I’m a left-handed gay Jew. I’ve never felt, automatically, a member of any majority. 
  • They appear to have become so attached to their outrage that they are even more outraged that they won’t be able to be outraged anymore. 
  • Gay people have a different role than other minority groups. … Very few black kids have ever had to worry about telling their parents that they were black.

Best Pop Song of 2011:  Now I know that there are probably dozens of songs out there that folks will find better than Beyonce’s Love on Top but for me, that was the best song in 2011.  The funny thing is that I happened to be channel surfing and saw Beyonce performing that song on the Video Music Awards a few months ago.  I was blown away by the song and then by her pregnancy announcement at the end of the song.

President Obama’s Best Accomplishment of 2011:  Undoubtedly it has to be the POTUS ordering The Navy Seals to take out Osama Bin Laden.  It doesn’t eradicate ten years of an unjust war in Iraq, but it was a huge deal.

Best Motion Picture of 2011:  I can only go by what I’ve seen in 2011 and my pick is Limitless.  Bradley Cooper is phenomenal playing  a down and out computer genius who makes it big on Wall Street but not on his own volition.   Robert DiNiro has a small but significant role in the movie as well and suffice it to say, he’s excellent.

Best Fall Season 2011 Television Show:  Homeland which stars Clair Danes (who gives an outstanding performance as a bi-polar CIA Analyst) and British actor Damian Lewis who has actually mastered his American accent for his role as a soldier who was missing in Afghanistan for eight years and returns home to his wife and kids, a different man.   I hear this is one of the President’s favorite shows.  I can see why.  Check it out on Video on Demand, it’ll be worth it.

Best MSNBC Anchor of 2011:  I have to say, hands down it’s Rachel Maddow who anchors The Rachel Maddow Show  nightly on MSNBC at 9:00 pm est.   Rachel’s show is provocative, funny, informative and well researched.  I used to listen to Rachel on the now defunct Air America Radio.  The best thing about Rachel Maddow’s show is her deliberate presentation of an issue.  Needless to say, Rachel breaks down the most complex political news to it’s lowest common denominator so that all of her viewers will go away understanding exactly what a particular issue is really about.  Oh, by the way, she has a Doctorate  in political science.  Rachel Maddow is by far, MSNBC’s best asset.

Best Weekly Periodical of 2011:  Time Magazine, for recognizing that the Person of the Year actually turned out to be tens of thousands of  people from protests movements across the globe.  Time Magazine‘s smart choice of naming The Protester as person of the year gives them my nod for Best Weekly Periodical, besides, I subscribe to Time and look forward to each issue for their fine reporting on global issues.

Best Viral Video on You Tube in 2011:  

Best People I’ve Interacted with in 2011:  The readers and commenters of this blog.



The week in one-liners: Gingrich, Romney


The top quotes in politics …

“But let me tell you, you people disappoint me on Tuesday, you don’t do what you’re supposed to do on Tuesday for Mitt Romney, I will be back. Jersey style, people, I will be back.” – Gov.Chris Christie bringing a little New Jersey muscle to his speech supporting Mitt Romney.

“Would it be so strange that they’ve invented technology to spread cancer and we won’t know about it for 50 years?” – Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez theorizing that the United States found a way to cause his cancer and that of other Latin American leaders.

“We’re not going to kill Big Bird…Big Bird is going to have advertisements, all right?” – Mitt Romney pledging to cut spending for public television.

“They pick corn in Iowa. They actually pick presidents here in New Hampshire.” – Jon Huntsman gives his reasoning for focusing on New Hampshire.

“I get teary-eyed every time we sing Christmas carols… My mother sang in the choir and loved singing in the choir. And I don’t know if I should admit this, but when I was very young she made me sing in the choir and we had pictures of me at a very young age singing in the choir.” –Newt Gingrich gets a little weepy while speaking about his mother at an Iowa stop.

“I love Ron Paul. I liked him a lot during the last republican nomination and no one gave him a chance.” – “American Idol” winner Kelly Clarkson tweeting her support of Ron Paul.

“I heard someone suggest the other day that as soon as President Obama releases his grades and birth certificate …then maybe he’ll do it.” – Mitt’s son Matt Romney responds to a question about his father releasing his tax returns.

“When the president’s characterization of our economy was, ‘It could be worse,’ it reminded me of Marie Antoinette: ‘Let them eat cake.'” – Mitt Romney refers to the famous remarkattributed to Antoinette.

“He admits he made mistakes, and he asked for God’s forgiveness.” – Newt Gingrich’s daughterJackie Gingrich Cushman defends her father in People magazine.

“She would retire right now, if the donors she has didn’t want her to stay so badly” – Alexandra Pelosi told Big Government that her mother Nancy Pelosi is ready “to have a life.”


The worst political gaffes of 2011

I couldn’t let the New Year come in without sharing one prepared Best/Worst article and one original.  First, the prepared article…

The Week

Only one GOP candidate will get to face off with Obama in 2012’s general election. But plenty participated in 2011’s contest for biggest goof up

Sure, Michele Bachmann had her fair share of public blunders in 2011, but so did President Obama, Newt Gingrich, and just about every other presidential candidate. Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images SEE ALL 16 PHOTOS

Best Opinion:  Wash. Monthly, Hot Air, Daily Beast…

After long months of speeches, town halls, cable news segments, newspaper interviews, and a seemingly endless string of debates, the Republican presidential hopefuls (and the Democratic incumbent) have had plenty of chances to stick their feet in their mouths in 2011. Of course, they didn’t disappoint. As the year draws to a close, we remember 10 of the most memorable political gaffes of 2011:

1. Michele Bachmann: The Founding Fathers “worked tirelessly” to end slavery
In January, the Minnesota congresswoman said “we know that the very founders that wrote those documents worked tirelessly until slavery was no more in the United States.” Then in June, Bachmann doubled down on her claim that the slave-owning authors of the Constitution worked to end slavery, citing the efforts of John Quincy Adams — who was 9 when the Declaration of Independence was signed. “I hate to be a stickler for reality,” said Steve Benen at Washington Monthly, but “to use the possible beliefs of a 9-year-old boy as evidence that the Founding Fathers ‘worked tirelessly to end slavery’ is simply absurd on its face.”

2. Newt Gingrich: The GOP budget is “radical… right-wing social engineering”
The GOP hopeful nearly killed his campaign in its rollout May weekend, telling NBC’s Meet the Press that Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-Wis.) controversial Medicare-voucherizing plan was “radical,”adding that “I don’t think right-wing social engineering is any more desirable than left-wing social engineering.” Republicans were “outraged” by Newt’s kneecapping of the GOP plan, said Steven Hayward at PowerLine. Gingrich’s “face plant on Meet the Press” suggests there’s “something fundamentally wrong with him.”

3. President Obama: What year is it again?
Obama visited Britain’s Westminster Abbey in May and left a touching note in its VIP guest book: “It is a great privilege to commemorate our common heritage and our common sacrifice.” Then, inexplicably, he backdated his entry by three years, to “24 May 2008.” The White House “is pleading jet lag, but c’mon,” said Allahpundit at Hot Air. With hope and change all but gone, “it’s only natural for a man to revert to thoughts of his glory days when everything around him is falling apart.”

4. Bachmann: Confusing John Wayne and a serial killer
“John Wayne was from Waterloo, Iowa,” Bachmann said in June during her official campaign launch, in the city of her childhood. “That’s the kind of spirit that I have, too.” The only problem, commentators quickly pointed out, is that the actor John Wayne was born a few hours away in Winterset. Waterloo’s John Wayne was John Wayne Gacy, a serial killer who dressed like a clown and raped and murdered 33 boys and men in the 1970s. This “hilariously inept comment” is what she gets for “tempting fate by launching her [campaign] in a place called Waterloo,” said James Fallows at The Atlantic.

5. Sarah Palin: Paul Revere warned the British
Palin hadn’t formally taken herself out of the 2012 race yet when she launched an apparently political bus tour of historic sites in June. During the trip, Palin said that during his famous midnight ride, Revolutionary War hero Paul Revere warned “the British that they weren’t going to be taking away our arms, uh, by ringing those bells and, um, making sure as he’s riding his horse through town to send those warning shots and bells.” It’s bad enough that Palin “bollixed up the account of Paul Revere in such an obvious and excruciating fashion,” says Andrew Sullivan at The Daily Beast. But what’s creepy is that she stuck to her guns, and her fans reacted to her “perfectly predictable gaffe by trying to edit the Wikipedia entry on Revere to align it with Palin’s ramblings.”

6. Rick Perry: Ben Bernanke is guilty of “treason”
The Texas governor was a little late to the race, but “he made a valiant effort to catch up in his first week on the trail” in August,said David A. Graham at The Daily Beast. The gaffe that “many commentators felt crossed the line from baffling or humorous into downright scary” was when Perry said it would be “treasonous” for the Federal Reserve chairman to keep up his loose monetary policy. “If this guy prints more money between now and the election, I don’t know what y’all would do to him in Iowa, but we would treat him pretty ugly down in Texas,” Perry said, drawing rebukes from both the Left and Right.

7. Obama: Riding in a Canadian-made U.S. jobs bus
The president took a shiny new black bus across the Midwest in August to promote his plan to bring new jobs to America. Unfortunately, as the New York Post “gleefully” pointed out, Obama’s bus was mostly built in Canada. The Post dubbed Obama “Canucklehead.” And you have to admit, said Ed Morrissey at Hot Air, “buying two buses from a Canadian company while promising to create jobs in the U.S. is the worst kind of optics imaginable.”

8. Mitt Romney: “Corporations are people”
Romney didn’t soften his image as a Wall Street corporate raider when he told a heckler at August’s Iowa state fair: “Corporations are people, my friend… Of course they are. Everything corporations earn ultimately goes to the people.” Okay, “we think we understand what Mitt Romney meant,” said Frank James atNPR. But “he gave his Democratic opponents an early Christmas gift by uttering those words,” making “their goal of pushing the narrative that he is a tool of corporate America much easier.”

9. Perry: “The third one. I can’t. Sorry. Oops.”
The Texan was already losing altitude due to widely panned debate performances when he had an “epic” memory lapse at a November face-off in Michigan, coming up with only two of the three federal departments he would try to eliminate: “Education, the, uh, Commerce, and let’s see. I can’t. The third one. I can’t. Sorry. Oops.” Oops, indeed, said Nolan Finley in The Detroit News. Perry is “the worst debater since Dan Quayle,” and after this “stunning” extended meltdown, he’s “toast.”

10. Herman Cain: “I got all this stuff twirling around in my head”
Drawing unflattering comparisons with Perry’s “oops” moment, Cain had his own “baffling” brain freeze while speaking on camera with the editors of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. Asked an open-ended question about Obama’s Libya policy, Cain replied: “OK, Libya. [pause] President Obama supported the uprising, correct? President Obama called for the removal of Gaddafi. I just wanted to make sure we’re talking about the same thing before I say, ‘Yes, I agreed’ or ‘No I didn’t agree.’ I do not agree with the way he handled it for the following reason — nope, that’s a different one. [pause] I gotta go back and see. I got all this stuff twirling around in my head.” That “supergaffe” should be a deal breaker, said Hot Air‘s Allahpundit. Or, I guess we’d be alright “as long as President Cain never gets a phone call at 3 a.m.”


Reich: Get ready for an Obama–Clinton ticket in 2012

If Robert Reich’s prediction is true, this would make every GOP operative and candidate in the 2012 race go mad…

America Blog

There was a point (see here) when I thought a primary challenge to Obama could easily come from within the Dem power structure. Obama seemed that vulnerable.

And I assumed that Hillary was positioning herself to be that person. In 1968, RFK didn’t declare his candidacy until Gene McCarthy had fatally wounded Johnson, making a safe entry possible. I saw the same strategy back then for a Clinton challenge for the crown in 2012.

But the moment passed, and hopes for a primary challenge seemed to have dimmed. (“Seemed”? Yes.)

Not only that, but the Clinton and Obama machines seem to have merged; certainly the CEOs of those machines are more and more aligned.

So I find this the next logical step — Hillary Clinton as the 2012 VP nominee. This makes her a shoe-in for the nomination in 2016 (assuming no horrid misstep betwixt), and possibly pres as well, given the current state of the opposition. So everyone’s happy:

    ▪ Obama can’t run again and the Dems need an heir.
    ▪ His daughters are too young for their dynastic turn.
    ▪ The Clintons still want it.
    ▪ Hillary as heir-apparent gives both her and the Dems another 4–8 years on the throne.

Sweet deal for them. Let Chelsea and Sasha duke it out, come their turn to seek power.  That will be later; this will be now.

Here’s Robert Reich, who might know a thing or two about the Clintons, on this subject (my emphasis):

My political prediction for 2012 (based on absolutely no inside information): Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden swap places. Biden becomes Secretary of State — a position he’s apparently coveted for years. And Hillary Clinton, Vice President.

So the Democratic ticket for 2012 is Obama-Clinton. … Obama needs to stir the passions and enthusiasms of a Democratic base that’s been disillusioned with his cave-ins to regressive Republicans. Hillary Clinton on the ticket can do that. … Clinton would help deflect attention from the bad economy and put it on foreign policy, where she and Obama have shined.

Sign me up — I think Reich makes the good call.

Am I liking this? Do you think I think we need 8 more years of progressive dreams deferred? That would be No.

But my dreams are beside the point, aren’t they. You and me, we’re just God’s spies, inspecting the mystery of things. Birds in a cage, as it were.

Pew Research Center · Public's View of Political Terms

POLL: ‘Progressive’ Is The Most Positively Viewed Political Label in America

It’s always good to be on the  correct side of any issue…

Think Progress

new poll from the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press out yesterday shows that “progressive” is the most positively viewed political label in America, with 67 percent holding a positive view compared to just 22 percent who view the term negatively:



The poll found that the term progressive is viewed positively by a majority of all partisan groups — including 55 percent of Republicans, 68 percent of Independents, and 76 percent of Democrats.

Michele Bachmann

The Week: Why Michele Bachmann’s Iowa chief endorsed Ron Paul: 3 Theories

Kent Sorenson's dramatic defection from Michele Bachmann's team to the Ron Paul campaign dealt an embarrassing blow to the struggling Minnesotan. Photo: Scott Olson/Getty

Undoubtedly there are some  backroom dealings happening in Iowa when it comes to the faltering Michele Bachmann campaign.

The leaders of the Evangelical movement there think that Bachmann should drop out of the race.  Thus far she has ignored all the signals and requests for her to drop out.  Her absence would leave Rick Santorum and Rick Perry to reel in the Religious Right in Iowa.  Most Evangelical groups in Iowa have already endorsed Rick Santorum…

The Week

Mere days before the Minnesotan tries to make a splash in the Iowa caucuses, prominent backer Kent Sorenson dramatically dumps her for Ron Paul

Rep. Michele Bachmann’s (R-Minn.) slim chance to win the Iowa Republican caucuses on Jan. 3 receded even further Wednesday night, as her Iowa campaign co-chairman, state Sen. Kent Sorenson (R),jumped ship to endorse Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas). A short three hours after appearing at a rally with Bachmann, the evangelical Christian, socially conservative Sorenson showed up on stage with Paul, saying he was going all-in for the libertarian icon. “When the Republican establishment is going to be coming after Ron Paul, I thought it is my duty to come to his aid,” Sorenson explained. What’s really behind this 11th-hour defection? Here, three theories:

1. Sorenson knows Bachmann is going to get crushed
Bachmann was already tied for last place in the polls, and now Sorenson’s “new land-speed record for a political defection… pretty much kills the Bachmann campaign,” says Joe Klein at TIME. Indeed, Bachmann really “hasn’t shown much to offer as a serious contender” since a standout performance at an early debate, says Bryan Preston at Pajamas Media. A late surge never materialized, and Sorenson probably “panicked once he realized that he was on a sinking ship.” But he chose a tenuous life raft, bailing “from one candidate who won’t win Iowa to another who might but probably won’t, and won’t win the nomination. Interesting choice.”

2. The Paul campaign bribed him
After Sorenson’s defection, Bachmann shot back: “Kent Sorenson personally told me he was offered a large sum of money to go to work for the Paul campaign.” (Team Paul denies any financial motivation in Sorenson’s decision.) I initially chalked up Bachmann’s bribery allegation to “the momentary and understandable hyperbole in the immediate aftermath of betrayal,” says Ed Morrissey at Hot Air. But then Sorenson’s former campaign manager said Sorenson had told her a similar story, so maybe Bachmann’s right after all. A direct payoff, or promise of some sort of steady “salary,” would at least “explain why he would leap from Bachmann to Paul, two campaigns that have diametrically opposed viewpoints on foreign policy and immigration.”

3. Paul was always a better fit for Sorenson
Sorenson may be a home-schooling, anti-gay, evangelical darling, but “it’s not entirely surprising” that he decided to back the libertarian Paul, says Patrick Caldwell at The American Prospect. Sorenson is a fiscal conservative as well as a social conservative — “he once sponsored a bill to return Iowa’s government to the gold standard,” for example — and he’s worked with Paul’s Campaign for Liberty group in the past. And there’s a personal element as well: Paul helped raise money for Sorenson in his 2009 state Senate campaign. If, as Sorenson says, he believes the GOP has “a clear, top-tier race between [Mitt] Romney and Ron Paul,” it makes a lot of sense that he backed Paul.

Vulture Capitalists

Moment of Clarity: The Greediest Men Alive « medic343

H/t: sekanblogger…thanks Sekan for bringing this video to my attention.

Not too many Americans know about “Venture Capital Vultures”. I know that Greg Palast has been writing about this for years.
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Stormfront founder: Ron Paul’s views ‘coincide with ours’ on most issues

Texas Rep. Ron Paul (R) received an unwanted endorsement on Tuesday when Don Black, the founder of the white nationalist group Stormfront, told The Young Turks host Cenk Uygur that he supported Paul’s presidential candidacy.

Paul has recently been plagued by racist, hate-filled newsletters that were published under his name. The newsletters were published about 20 years ago and contained a number of incendiary comments about African-Americans, gays and Israel. All of the newsletters featured his name, but
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Lawrence O’Donnell calls for NYPD to fire ‘outlaw cops’ | The Raw Story

On the “Rewrite” segment of his show Wednesday night, MSNBC host Lawrence O’Donnell said the only way for the New York Police Department to remain respectable was for the department to terminate officers who prevent reporters from covering protests.

NYPD Commissioner Raymond Kelly had ordered officers to avoid interfering with media access. But in December police officers prevented the New York Times from photographing arrests at an Occupy Wall Street protest.

O’Donnell said officers that violated the non
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