Sunday, June 15, 2014

Sunday Night Music Club v.36

Alright!

The National Football League basically justified my decision to dump that stupid Roman numbering system and go with good ol' decimal.

The NFL recently announced that the next Super Bowl will be "50" instead of the Roman numeral "L".

I consider that validation on an unprecedented level!

So, here's my choice for v.36 this week:

Leonard Cohen's apocalyptic poem to our society's inevitable decay..."The Future"!

This song was featured in the film "Natural Born Killers", that was directed by Oliver Stone and produced in part by Jane Hamsher, who currently resides at FireDogLake.com, and who was a major influence in my becoming politically active as a blogger.

So, you can blame all this craziness on her!

Actually, Jane is one of my heroes, and I consider myself lucky to have met her and done work that made her proud (see the year 2006 in the archives of this blog). And I have her to thank for influencing much of the music that was selected for NBK, including this amazing song by Leonard Cohen.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Here's the thing....

I often wondered about this linguistic crutch that people use to give themselves a moment to think of something clever to say. "Here's the thing" is definitely that.

So, just a moment ago I was pondering that phrase and suddenly I wondered, "Where's the Thing?"

And so, here's the Volkswagon "Thing". A production car I remembered from my childhood that had a brief run in the United States during the second Nixon term. It so clearly was a terrible "thing" that few people bought it.

But, it IS a "thing".

Does anyone else remember the "Thing"?

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Why Eric Cantor losing is a bad thing



I didn't think it was possible to find any more room to the right of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor.

Yesterday Cantor, a seven term congressman and the second most powerful person in the House, was soundly thrashed in a primary by an unknown Tea Party candidate. Cantor's supporters poured something like $5,000,000 into his campaign, while Dave Brat spent around $100,000 to gain a huge victory.

Cantor was clearly stunned by the results during his post-defeat remarks. His wife didn't look too happy either.

Here's why this is such a bad thing:

Cantor's defeat sends a message to all GOP congressmen that it doesn't pay to be even the slightest bit moderate in their actions. If you want to stay in Congress, you will have to move as far right as humanly possible...and then take another three steps to the right of that! Any hint of compromise with the Democrats will be the kiss of death for their careers.

This will result in Congress doing even less constructive work than before. Immigration reform is likely dead for the remainder of Obama's presidency. And it will embolden the Tea Party to run even MORE extremist candidates to challenge establishment Republicans.

This upset should scare the living shit out of any GOP congressmen who are vulnerable, and also all the Democrats who actually are hoping to get anything useful done in Congress.

We had a government shutdown last year because of extremists in the House. I can only imagine what's in store if a significant number of Tea Party candidates win this year.

It won't be good, that's for sure.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Will Connecticut Legislature drop the ball on National Popular Vote?

UPDATE: Today I spoke to the Speaker's representative about the bill. He told me that Mr. Sharkey would gladly bring the bill to a vote if there was enough support for it to pass. But he said that the Republicans are nearly unanimous in their opposition to it, and there isn't enough Democratic support to get a clear majority. There are other more pressing issues that need to be addressed during the final days of the session, and having a bill fail to pass wouldn't be the best use of the time.

I appreciate hearing from the Speaker's office, and agree with his reasoning.

==============================================================

Reprinted in its entirety from My Left Nutmeg:

by: Kim Hynes
Thu Apr 24, 2014 at 08:37:38 AM EDT

We're getting close to the end of the legislative session and, as usual in a short session, things are getting lost. National Popular Vote is in danger of being one of those things. Under the National Popular Vote bill, participating states would join an agreement to award their electoral votes to the candidate who wins the most votes in all 50 states. This agreement would only go into effect when states representing an Electoral College majority, 270, signed on. When the agreement kicked in, the winner of the national popular vote would win in the Electoral College. We are 60% of the way there! New York joined the compact last week, with Governor Cuomo signing it into law.

Despite promising that the bill would be called if the votes were there (they are) House Speaker Brendan Sharkey seems focused on letting it die. We have heard he was very negative about it in the Democratic caucus. CT News Junkie today quotes Representative Jutila, " 'Although the speaker has said he would allow the bill to be raised if enough House Democrats wanted it passed', Jutila said Sharkey's opinion on the issue has cooled support among lawmakers who did not previously have firm positions on the issue."

If you have not yet called Speaker Brendan Sharkey or the Governor now is the critical time to express your support for House Bill 5126, the National Popular Vote Bill .

Every vote should count for President of the US as it does in other elections, support the National Popular Vote!

--------------------

Contact info:

Legislative Office Building, Room 4100
Hartford, CT 06106-1591
1-800-842-1902 | (860) 240-8500

600 Mount Carmel Avenue
Hamden, CT 06518
(203) 281-4647
Brendan.Sharkey@cga.ct.gov

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Sunday Night Music Club v.35

Fuck it, I'm done with the stupid Roman numeral scheme I adopted a million years ago, back when I thought it looked kind of cool. Now when I have to hit the "x" key more than twice, it annoys the hell outta me. So, that's it for any non-decimal number system for me!

Although, the idea of doing it with hexidecimal kinda intrigues me...SNMC #23 works, right?

Anyhoo, here's 2 Skinnee J's doing "Nrrrd Riot". I saw them at Woodstock '99, which was great except for the post concert riots, which I managed to avoid for the most part, but someone gave me a Metallica T-shirt he looted during the general anarchy that followed the closing show. And that ensured there will never be another WS concert again, when compared to the '94 festival, which was largely peaceful and mostly consisted of truly caring people instead of the drunken frat-boy fest that was '99.

Which was a shame, but there were still some good memories from '99, which included 2 Skinnee J's doing an awesome late night set in one of the hangers in the old Rome Air Force Base. There was a vintage B-52 bomber displayed at the entrance of the airport that looked pretty cool in an anachronistic sense. Plus, they showed "A Clockwork Orange" on a huge screen in one of the hangers, which was awesome during the 20 minutes I chilled there. But ICP was scheduled to play on the 2nd stage, and I didn't want to miss them!

Friday, March 28, 2014

Gov. Malloy announces reelection bid

Today Gov. Dannel P. Malloy announced he will seek reelection as governor of Connecticut. This news was not unexpected, but coming on the heels of his signing into law the raising of the minimum wage to $10.10 per hour (making Connecticut the first state to do so) has provided the governor with a big public relations win and a high profile going into the 2014 election campaign.

CT News Junkie has more:
Sporting his signature green tie, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy announced Friday that he and Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman will seek a second term and run for re-election this November.

Malloy, who had been widely expected to run, made it official in response to a question during a routine press conference following Friday’s state Bond Commission meeting.

“Nancy and I have talked about the race and we both reached a mutual conclusion that we should go to the people of Connecticut and ask them for their support to continue the work that we’ve been undertaking,” he said.

Although he had been expected to seek a second term, the governor had previously suggested he would wait until after the legislative session in May to announce. On Friday he said that despite the announcement his approach to the legislative session would not change and he would attempt to avoid being “dragged into the campaign” for as long as he could.

Malloy, the first governor elected under the state’s public campaign finance system, indicated he planned to run a publicly-financed campaign for his second term.

In an appearance on MSNBC Friday morning, Malloy answered several questions pertaining to his re-election without disputing the premise that he would be running. Asked what issues he felt would resonate with voters in November, Malloy touted job growth over the past three years and the state’s firmer budgetary footing compared to when he took office.

“All of that in the last three-and-a-half years. All I’ve got do is get that story out and have people understand it,” he said...
You can read the rest of the story at CT News Junkie.

So far I don't know who the Republicans are touting for their candidate. I'm guessing Linda McMahon has had her fill of CT politics, and probably we haven't seen the last of Tom Foley. Oh, and I heard that Lee Whitnum is going to enter the fray as a dark horse candidate, which always livens up the televised debates. It should all end up to be a mildly amusing distraction on the way to Gov. Malloy's inevitable second term.

Monday, March 10, 2014

McConnell vows to crush Tea Party

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is running for re-election this year and faces a tough primary challenge from a Tea Party-endorsed candidate.

The longtime Kentucky senator is obviously looking for a fight, because he had tough words for the ultra-conservative edge of the Republican Party who put up the candidate challenging him (via CNN.com):
"I think we are going to crush them everywhere," McConnell told the New York Times in an interview. "I don't think they are going to have a single nominee anywhere in the country."
I'm pretty sure the Tea Party was satisfied with those remarks, and they probably went on with their day without raising any ruckus.

Or not.
"It is shameful that the Senate minority leader would make such comments. He is talking about the base of the party, so he must not want the tea party vote in the general election and that is why he should be removed. The GOP needs a uniter, not someone that is there because they have seniority," Amy Kremer, the Tea Party Express chair, told CNN.

"The days of the good ole boy club are coming to an end. This seat doesn't belong to Mitch McConnell or to the Republican Party. This seat belongs to ‘We the People’ and we will have our voices heard," Kremer added.

"Grassroots voters will not be bullied by self-anointed senators for life," said Matt Kibbe, president and CEO of FreedomWorks. "Mitch McConnell and his cronies still serve the people back home, and his hostile comments only provide more motivation to send new leadership to Washington."

"Does Senator McConnell have a political death wish? There was some division within tea party groups about whether to support him or support Matt Bevin and I think he just settled the issue," chimed in Judson Phillips, founder of the Tea Party Nation, told CNN.
Right. I can't say I'm sorry to see the entire GOP starting to reap the consequences of what they've sown by getting into bed with the radical right nutjobs of the Tea Party.

"Self-anointed"? "cronies"? "Death Wish"? Jeez, I thought that was the kind of talk they reserved for the President.

Monday, March 03, 2014

Computer-side chat with Jim Himes

Here's the rather choppy streaming video of my interview with Rep. Jim Himes (CT-04) last Thursday. Don't worry about the quality, you can hear the audio fine.

We really didn't know if this was gonna happen until less than a day beforehand. I didn't have a lot of time to prep for it which is obvious when you hear my hesitant interviewing style. I pretty much winged the entire thing by reading viewer-submitted questions and injecting inane comments on occasion, but I think it went pretty well.

Anyway, it was fun to be on the first computer chat with Jim. He hopes to make this a regular thing. I think I set the bar pretty low for future interviewers, so you're welcome in advance!



As an aside, immediately after the interview Jim needed to get to the House floor for a vote, and he invited Joyce & me along. He got us through security quickly and led us up to the gallery while he went down to the floor.

There were several procedural votes and a bit of debate before a vote on a bill that passed with pretty much exclusively Republican support. We were able to see most of Connecticut's Congressional delegation chatting with fellow Democrats between the votes. My favorite thing was every time the Speaker hit the gavel, Joyce jumped. Like, EVERY TIME! It was awesome! After the voting was done Jim took us back over to the Cannon office building via the really cool underground tunnel.

And I noticed a soft bag below each seat in the gallery and I asked a guard what they were for. He said they contained survival gear in case of an emergency. I saw that perhaps one in ten seats didn't have a bag beneath it. That set me to wondering what I'd do in a packed gallery during a terrorist attack and found myself sitting in a bagless seat.

Welp, all I can say is that I hope the imaginary 86 year-old grandma sitting in the next seat had enjoyed her life, 'cause me & Joyce got plans we can't break! Unless grandma knows some nifty MMA moves she's gonna get choked out if she even LOOKS at her bag!

(Just kidding. I'm sure I wouldn't need to choke her.)

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Google chat with Rep. Jim Himes (CT-04) Thursday 2/27

During my visit to DC this week I'll be a guest on a live chat on Google with Congressman Jim Himes. If you have any questions you'd like me to ask, please submit them to me on Twitter @connecticutbob or on Facebook www.facebook.com/connecticut.bob, or via email (futuredv AT yahoo DOT com).

The press release is below:

Himes to Hold “Computer-Side Chat” Google Hangout

WASHINGTON, DC—Congressman Jim Himes (CT-4) will host a “Computer-Side Chat” Thursday at 4:30 p.m. with blogger Bob Adams of http://connecticutbob.com. The Google Hangout will be live-streamed on the Congressman’s YouTube page and can be watched here. Questions can be submitted to the Congressman by commenting on that page.

WHO: Congressman Jim Himes
Bob Adams, Connecticut blogger “CT Bob”
Reporters and constituents welcome to tune in

WHAT: “Computer-side Chat” Google Hangout

WHEN: Thursday, February 27 from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m.

WHERE: Tune in at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zu_cFdWggcI

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Gov. Malloy disputes Gov. Jindal on wages

Funny how Bobby Jindal, the governor of a very poor state, is much more concerned with ramming an oil pipeline through the heart of our country rather than helping his constituents make a reasonable living wage.

And that pipeline will carry Canadian oil. As Gov. Malloy asks, is it necessarily the best thing for the American economy?

Jindal is clearly representing the GOP's unceasing partisan drumbeat, to the detriment of the very people who elected him in the first place.


(via My Left Nutmeg)

Jindal later made a comment about Gov. Malloy after he had already left the press conference, which led to Malloy referring to Jindal as a "cheap shot artist".

I gotta say, I very much admire that. The Democrats need to keep the spotlight on the Republican's lack of constructive discourse, their set-in-stone policy of obstructionism, and their refusal to do ANYTHING helpful to their constituents at all if it originates from the Democrats.

Let's see how well that works out for the GOP in the midterms, and then in 2016.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Sunday Night Music Club XXXIV

Somebody mentioned 80s pop band "Squeeze" today and I thought, "Hey, I can do a post about them tonight."

And that's how this week's selection of Squeeze's "Black Coffee In Bed" happened.

I know I'm tearing down the fourth wall by revealing the fact that there isn't a lot of thought I invest in these choices, but I figured you already probably suspected as much.

Maybe some day I'll put some serious effort into creating a list of say my Top 100 Songs or something similarly banal.

But in the meantime, please enjoy this tribute to the big fluffy hair of the 80s, back when MTV used to play music videos!



Thursday, February 06, 2014

Happy Birthday Ronald Reagan

Today (Feb. 6th) dead president Ronald Reagan would have been 113 years old. Happy birthday Dutch!

I love how Republicans and Tea Partiers often refer to Reagan as a saint and the perfect conservative. He now enjoys a mythical status among the conservatives of today.

When in reality, if through some miracle of time travel Reagan appeared today as the guy he was in 1980, he wouldn't have a snowball's chance in hell of ever being nominated for president. He was too moderate by today's standards, and during his presidency he was known for working with the Democrats to get things done.

If 1980s House Speaker Tip O'Neill was anywhere near as an obstructionist as current speaker John Boehner, it's entirely possible that Reagan wouldn't have accomplished 90% of what he is now remembered for doing. Which, given the hindsight of history, might not have been that terrible a thing.

But back then it seems like the President and Congress took their oaths seriously, and worked together while not always agreeing, to represent the people of the United States of America.

So, happy birthday Ronnie! It's a good thing you're gone, because if you could how your party has been hijacked by extremists, you would never stop vomiting.

1978

Today is the anniversary of the great Blizzard of 1978. I remember having to trudge through waist deep snow to get to a nearby convenience store to buy beer. Yup, time's was tough in those days! That was so long ago, I was able to legally buy beer while still a teenager!

And I like the "Etch A Sketch" (by Ohio Arts) lettering on the snow.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Sec. of State Merrill annouces same day registration results

I just received a press release that shows the results of same day voter registration (Election Day Registration) from the 2013 election. EDR was established last year in Connecticut after many years of lobbying by pro-voting activists and concerned citizens.

Back in 2010 I discussed same day registration with Sec. Merrill, and at the time she was somewhat reticent about enacting it because of worries about possibly overwhelming municipality's voter officials. I supported her during the campaign and was thrilled to see her coast to an easy victory, but I did endorse Gerry Garcia immediately before the primary election entirely because he campaigned as a strong proponent of EDR and early voting, which I consider very important practices for a more participatory democracy. It was a purely symbolic gesture on my part and not a complaint about her performance or abilities as Merrill enjoyed an insurmountable lead in the polls.

So I'm especially pleased that we now have EDR in place, with Sec. Merrill's support, and it seems to be working out well. Nearly 3,000 citizens registered to vote the same day as the election, and their votes and voices were relevant. Especially when you remember that Gov. Malloy won back in 2010 by a margin of around 5,000 votes. This program will undoubtedly have a significant impact on GOTV efforts going into the final two weeks of future campaigns.

So my hat's off to Sec. Merrill and Gov. Malloy and the state legislature for being progressive in helping make our democracy even more inclusive. It goes without saying I'll be supporting them both in their reelection efforts.

Oh, and for the hell of it I'm putting a video up I made for Denise back in 2010 where she discussed Long Island Sound and the need for smart environmental legislation. The EDR press release is below.



Hartford: Secretary of the State Denise Merrill today released comprehensive statewide figures that show nearly 3,000 Connecticut voters used Election Day Registration to register and cast ballots in the 2013 municipal elections. Election Day Registration (EDR) became available for Connecticut voters for the first time on November 5, 2013 after being enacted by Governor Dannel P. Malloy and the Connecticut General Assembly in 2012. The figures released today are part of a comprehensive report on EDR being prepared for the Connecticut General Assembly as required by state law, due February 1, 2014. Secretary Merrill estimates that 2,900 Connecticut voters in 169 cities and towns were able to register and vote on Election Day November 5, 2013. Secretary Merrill’s estimate is based on municipal head moderators’ reports and additional research by Secretary of the State Office staff. The municipality with the highest number of EDR voters was New Haven, where 202 citizens registered and voted on Election Day, followed by New Britain, with 164 EDR voters...

“Voting is a fundamental American right, and Connecticut’s new Election Day registration law made it possible for almost 3,000 new voters across our state to exercise that right. That is something we can all celebrate,” said Secretary Merrill, Connecticut’s chief elections official. “The data speaks for itself; Election Day Registration is both popular and reliable, and my office did not receive any reports or complaints of concern as this law was implemented.”

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Sunday Night Music Club XXXIII

OK, here's another song by The Whiskey Sisters. I previously referenced them back in June here.

Ray Benson ("Asleep At The Wheel") hosted the band on his show The Texas Music Scene.

Also, I heard the band just scored a prime gig, they're going to open for Willie Nelson on New Year's Eve at the legendary Austin City Limits. The show is totally sold out, of course. I wish I could be there for that one!

Here's the happiest boy in Austin with Barbara Nesbitt and Teal Collins after the show when I was in town last month and got to see them at their usual Thursday happy hour gig at The Continental Club. I like this band and hope they put out another album of their original music soon. You can buy their debut album The Whiskey Sisters.


I really like the way they used split and multiple screen video in this one. Hats off to Ray and his production team. The Whiskey Sisters perform "Good Girl Down":