New York City’s Obama economic boom

Manhattan's High Line trail overlooking new West Side construction

Manhattan’s High Line trail overlooking new West Side construction

A visit to New York City reveals a metropolis transformed by a seemingly unprecedented economic boom. Numerous neighborhoods, such as the areas along the well-planned High Line park, are gentrifying and have become Euro-fashionable, with boutiques to match. Williamsburg, Brooklyn, once home to bearded Hasidic Jews, is now the Mecca of bearded hipsters and young families, and has almost become a pricey parody of itself. Condo skyscrapers are reaching new heights, both physically and in terms of dollars. Restaurants and cafes, many of them quite expensive, are filled night after night. And President Barack Obama deserves a fair share of the credit.

The Smithsonian museums are liberal!

IMG_0565If you visit the Smithsonian Institution museums in Washington, D.C. (free admission courtesy of your tax dollars) and have your political antennae extended, you’ll find some refreshingly liberal facts. Among them are:

Using the Jennifer Lawrence nude pictures model for political gain

Jennifer Lawrence at the 2013 Golden Globe Awards

Jennifer Lawrence at the 2013 Golden Globe Awards

If you were anywhere near the Internet this past weekend, you read or heard about the Jennifer Lawrence nude photo scandal. Actually, the private photo collections of numerous models, actresses and celebrities, including not just Jennifer Lawrence but also Kate Upton, Kirsten Dunst, Mary Elizabeth Winstead and others were hacked, put up online, sent around virally and viewed millilons of times. Putting aside the obvious criminal and moral violations of the photo leak, one has to marvel at the speed and magnitude at which people were able to take in the content. So the question becomes, how can we send around our political messages with this kind of speed and impact?

After Ferguson, we’re done with the GOP

Protesters for Mike Brown in Ferguson, MO

Protesters for Mike Brown in Ferguson, MO

The shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, MO by police officer Darren Wilson may well be a tipping point in American political history. The ensuing Right versus Left war over the narrative in Ferguson made it clear that we cannot reason with conservatives and Republicans. They are so invested in their tribalism and Kool-Aid identity politics (in this case, the Scary Brown People narrative) that, presently, there’s no chance of Republicans working with us to solve any big issues. Accordingly, Democrats and progressives might want to focus on the following three things:

Controlling the narrative in Ferguson

Anonymous "Hands Up, Don't Shoot" protester in Ferguson, MO.

Anonymous “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot” protester in Ferguson, MO.

The news coverage of Michael Brown‘s killing in Ferguson, MO is a classic example of conservatives trying to change the story. The facts are that Ferguson Police officer Darren Wilson shot the unarmed teenager Brown multiple times, seemingly execution style, and killed him. But the Ferguson Police, Fox News and other conservatives are trying to distract us from the facts with various narratives.

Good government and capitalism meet near Las Vegas

Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System

Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System

Las Vegas, perhaps the ultimate symbol of capitalism, ironically is bookended by two huge examples of business/government partnership. The first one, as we all know from Rachel Maddow‘s MSNBC “Lean Forward” videos, is the Hoover Dam, located about 30 miles from Las Vegas. Hoover Dam is an example of government working with business to create a huge public project that business could not accomplish by itself. In the case of Hoover Dam (the creating legislation for which was signed by conservative Republican President Calvin Coolidge), the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, a division of the Department of the Interior, partnered with a consortium of large corporations known as Six Companies, including familiar capitalist faces Henry J. Kaiser Co. and Bechtel Corporation.

Today’s the anniversary of infamous Bush PDB on Bin Laden

George W. Bush, Condoleeza Rice and Dick Cheney

George W. Bush, Condoleeza Rice and Dick Cheney

August 6, 2001. That’s when President George W. Bush, on one of his numerous vacations, was given a Presidential Daily Briefing (PDB) entitled “Bin Laden Determined to Strike in US.” Among the PDB’s findings was:

FBI information since that time indicates patterns of suspicious activity in this country consistent with preparations for hijackings or other types of attacks, including recent surveillance of federal buildings in New York.

What did Bush do after receiving such a warning? Crickets. Even worse, Bush reportedly told his CIA briefer: “All right. You’ve covered your ass now.”

Good roads come from good government

 

Route 66 in Flagstaff, AZ, where the highways meet.

Route 66 in Flagstaff, AZ, where the highways meet.

Route 66, America’s “mother road,” was built in large part by the federal government. This includes funding going back to the Federal Aid Road Act of 1916 and the Federal Aid Highway Act of 1921. In the 1930s, Democratic President Franklin D. Roosevelt put thousands of unemployed young men to work completing Route 66. Likewise, America’s Interstate Highway System was constructed pursuant to the 1956 National Interstate and Defense Highways Act envisioned and signed by Republican President Dwight D. Eisenhower. All of this federal highway construction has brought about tremendous benefits for Americans, from commercial to recreational, and it could not have been done without politicians from all sides participating in Good Government for patriotic reasons.

What we’d like to hear at the Congressional town hall meetings

Rep. Sue Myrick (R-NC) at 2010 town hall meeting.

Rep. Sue Myrick (R-NC) at 2010 town hall meeting

Congress is about to take a paid vacation for the entire month of August. During this time, many members of Congress hold town hall meetings where they take questions from their constituents. Here are some questions we would love our Republican friends to ask their Republican members of Congress:

The FCC’s Net Neutrality outrage of the week?

Net Neutrality gravestone

Net Neutrality gravestone

If you needed more evidence that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is captured by big corporations and ready to take a dive for them on Net Neutrality, that evidence seemed to arrive this week. Many of you know that Net Neutrality, i.e., the idea that companies should not be able to speed up, slow down or otherwise herd Internet users into particular affiliated corners of the Internet, generated over one million comments to the FCC, a record-setting amount. The FCC’s website got so overloaded that it shut down, and the FCC had to extend its Net Neutrality comment period, a rare occurrence. But now comes Gigi Sohn, the FCC’s Special Counsel for External Affairs, who said in an NPR interview that:

A lot of these comments are one paragraph, two paragraphs, they don’t have much substance beyond, ‘we want strong net neutrality.’