h/t David E.
Open Thread below...
It's Friday, and that means it's time for the new installment of Friday Night Ripoffs(?). Every Friday, two songs, where one of them might very well be a gigantic ripoff of the other.
Parisienne Walkways by Gary Moore and Phil Lynott (both of Thin Lizzy, but not a Thin Lizzy song) sounds an awful lot like Kenny Dorham's Latin jazz staple Blue Bossa. Coincidence? Or was Gary Moore aping his jazz records knowing that most of his fans would never know?
Tell us what you think, and leave some suggestions for next week's theft investigation in the comments.
I watch a video like this - thoughtful doctors pointing out the pressing need for health care reform - and I just have to shake my head at the travesty we have instead. I'm especially furious at the obstructionist role taken by the Blue Dogs, the quasi-Democrats.
The thing is, the Blue Dogs are not negotiating in good faith - that is, they are not trying to improve health care - or people's lives, unless that person is an insurance company lobbyist. It's about money and influence, and how much they're willing to do to get it and keep it. Nice to see prostitution pays off!
On June 19, Rep. Mike Ross of Arkansas made clear that he and a group of other conservative Democrats known as the Blue Dogs were increasingly unhappy with the direction that health-care legislation was taking in the House.
"The committees' draft falls short," the former pharmacy owner said in a statement that day, citing, among other things, provisions that major health-care companies also strongly oppose.
Five days later, Ross was the guest of honor at a special "health-care industry reception," one of at least seven fundraisers for the Arkansas lawmaker held by health-care companies or their lobbyists this year, according to publicly available invitations.
The roiling debate about health-care reform has been a boon to the political fortunes of Ross and 51 other members of the Blue Dog Coalition, who have become key brokers in shaping legislation in the House. Objections from the group resulted in a compromise bill announced this week that includes higher payments for rural providers and softens a public insurance option that industry groups object to. The deal also would allow states to set up nonprofit cooperatives to offer coverage, a Republican-generated idea that insurers favor as an alternative to a public insurance option.
At the same time, the group has set a record pace for fundraising this year through its political action committee, surpassing other congressional leadership PACs in collecting more than $1.1 million through June. More than half the money came from the health-care, insurance and financial services industries, marking a notable surge in donations from those sectors compared with earlier years, according to an analysis by the Center for Public Integrity.
A look at career contribution patterns also shows that typical Blue Dogs receive significantly more money -- about 25 percent -- from the health-care and insurance sectors than other Democrats, putting them closer to Republicans in attracting industry support.
Most of the major corporations and trade groups in those sectors are regular contributors to the Blue Dog PAC. They include drugmakers such as Pfizer and Novartis; insurers such as WellPoint and Northwestern Mutual Life; and industry organizations such as America's Health Insurance Plans. The American Medical Association also has been one of the top contributors to individual Blue Dog members over the past 20 years.
Many liberal Democrats and advocates of health-care reform were angry about the compromise bill and view the Blue Dogs as being too cozy with drugmakers, hospitals and insurers, and they argue that the conservative Democrats should be more supportive of the agenda set by President Obama and Democratic leaders.
"The Blue Dogs are carrying water for the industry instead of their constituents," said Richard Kirsch, national campaign manager for Health Care for America Now, a liberal pro-reform group. "In effect, the Blue Dogs and the Republicans are taking positions that are closer all the time and further away from what most Americans want."
Rachel Maddow talks to Rep. Anthony Weiner, who threw down the gauntlet on health care reform, and forced the Republicans to vote on an amendment abolishing Medicare.
Rachel reports on the battle going on between those in Congress who are representing the interests of the insurance companies, and those representing the interests of their constituents.
Maddow: As for the many, many cries against a publicly funded insurance plan, well Democratic Congressman Anthony Weiner of New York is all over it. Congressman Weiner has cast himself as the health care version of Clarence the Angel, forcing everyone in Congress to think what life would be like without a very popular, already existing publicly funded health insurance plan.
Congressman Weiner introduced an amendment tonight that would eliminate Medicare. Of course Mr. Weiner didn't actually want Medicare to be eliminated. But he did want to force every conservative on the House Energy and Commerce Committee to have to go on the record that their position on the government run health plan upon which forty three million voters rely. In other words, really Republicans? You're against government funded health care? Care to go on the real record with that? Care to vote to kill Medicare?
Rep. Weiner goes on to explain why his amendment went down in flames and that the Republicans just hate any government run health care, unless it's Medicare and they are forced to say whether they'd really want to get rid of it. He then tells Rachel about a very bold move he's going to make on health care reform.
Weiner: But it does lead us to the next logical step where I need my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to start to come to, and that is not why have a public option, but why have a private option at all? If we know for example that the one experiment we have is very successful in publicly funded health care through Medicare, why do we even need the insurance companies? What constructive role are they playing?
We know they're taking tens of billions of dollars each year and putting it into profits that should be going into health care, so tomorrow I'm going to be taking the next step and offering a true single payer health care plan, and I wanted people today to start to think about, "hey maybe that's the way we do it". It's simpler, and we know that it works.
All I can say is amen brother. I think the Democrats have been wrong not to push for single payer and make the Republicans and Blue Dogs walk back from that. The Republicans are going to try to kill any reform whether it's single payer, or even the compromised position of a public option. I think getting a decent public option in place would lead to single payer, but I don't understand why they started there. If Congressman Weiner is willing to get enough of them on board with him to fight for single payer, and try to get some real reform passed, I'm with him. I guess we'll be finding out how this plays with the leadership shortly.
Full transcript below the fold.
(The Beach Boys - all wrapped up in a big package of innocent)
When my friend Gary Schneider ran a link to some previously undiscovered Beach Boys performance photos, I got the idea to drag this tape out of the vault and give it a listen. I figured as long as someone was discovering lost photos of the Beach Boys, I might as well compliment the situation by offering a lost concert, right?
It's the classic concert format so prevalent in the 1950's and early 60's. A dozen acts would perform two or three numbers each and an MC kept things rolling. Nobody ever got bored, but nobody ever really got to hear the band play either.
This concert was organized by local radio station KFWB in conjunction with the YMCA on October 19, 1963. Part of it was televised (although I've never seen any videotape of this show or word that it's survived).
What's on here are the last two acts of the show, The Surfaris and The Beach Boys. The Surfaris jam through four numbers, three as a medley and the Beach Boys get to do an extra number because well . . .they're the headliners.
Like all of the Bowl recordings it's raw and not mixed with any thought of history transpiring on the microphone. It's just a record of an event that happened that luckily escaped the dumpster.
With the exception of the impromptu acapela KFWB jingle at the end, no one else has heard this tape, until now.
Think of it as a nod to mid-summer.
(Manfred Mann - Not your average grab-bag of pretty faces)
During the first couple of years of the British invasion (1964-1966), one of the consistent hit makers were Manfred Mann. They turned out some memorable music and were one of the first British bands to record Dylan material "With God On Our Side", and it served them very well. Their second Dylan track, "If You Gotta Go, Go Now" (the one we've got here), did great in the UK - hitting at #2 before some of the lyrics and their implications were discovered and promptly banned from radio airplay. It was released here in the States, but as a B side so there was little, if any controversy because radio never played B-sides.
Despite that, Manfred Mann did very well and weathered some personnel changes before the band split up and resurfaced as Manfred Mann's Earth Band.
But this is 1965 and none of that has happened yet.
Earlier this week, the Cardozo School of Law's Immigrant Justice Center released a study examining the effects of SWAT-style immigration raids that have been used with an increasingly heavy hand by Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials in recent years. (You can read the study here [PDF].)
Chief among its findings:
Analysis of these records, together with other publicly available documents, reveals an established pattern of misconduct by ICE agents in the New York and New Jersey Field Offices. Further, the evidence suggests that such pattern may be a widespread national phenomenon reaching beyond these local offices. The pattern of misconduct involves:
• ICE agents illegally entering homes without legal authority – for example, physically pushing or breaking their way into private residences.
• ICE agents illegally seizing non-target individuals during home raid operations – for example, seizing innocent people in their bedrooms without any basis.
• ICE agents illegally searching homes without legal authority – for example, breaking down locked doors inside homes.
• ICE agents illegally seizing individuals based solely on racial or ethnic appearance or on limited English proficiency.
This is behavior straight out of 1984 or Brazil. It should make Americans -- especially those demanding we "round up the illegals" and deport them -- wonder what kind of country we're becoming.
As Jackie Mahendra at America's Voice observes, many of these raids are ostensibly after "high value" targets but usually succeed in rounding up lesser violators:
Despite this purported focus, approximately two-thirds of the people arrested during these raids were "civil immigration violators who are in the wrong place at the wrong time - people who have, for example, overstayed their visas." The report also uncovered a pattern of racial profiling against Latinos. Approximately "90% of the collateral arrest records reviewed, where ICE officers did not note any basis for seizing and questioning the individual, were of Latino men and women - though Latinos represented only 66% of target arrests."
If you think we've gone far enough, America's Voice has a petition up for you to sign.
The 2nd annual All Points West festival kicked off today in Jersey City, NJ. The 3 day concert is aiming to become the East's answer to Goldenvoice's other creation, Coachella. Originally slotted for tonight's headliner was the Beastie Boys, who were replaced by Jay-Z after the Beasties canceled their tour due to Adam Yauch aka MCA undergoing surgery for cancer.
Tool headlines tomorrow night, with Coldplay closing out the festival on Sunday.
Minnesota Republican Michele Bachmann has given us plenty of comedic fodder over the past few years. She's established herself as one of the most extreme, far right-wing members of Congress and is a constant source of embarrassment for both her party and the nation. Now, a group of Minnesota bloggers has filed an ethics complaint against her for partisan use of taxpayer money:
ST. PAUL, MINN – Jul. 29, 2009 – Minnesota bloggers Dusty Trice, Brian Falldin, and Aaron Landry filed an ethics complaint with the House Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) requesting an investigation into whether Rep. Michele Bachmann’s office has violated House franking rules pertaining to proper e-mail usage.
The complaint points out that an e-mail sent by Representative Bachmann’s office on May 26, 2009, advocates for the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA), a political organization, which is in violation of the House Franking Rules.
Aaron Landry, who first began investigating the story said, “Michele Bachmann is no stranger to NADA, they’ve been a strong donor to her congressional campaign committee.” According to campaignmoney.com, Rep. Bachmann has received approximately $13,000 from NADA since 2006. Thus, Rep. Bachmann’s ties to the organization establish a potential quid-pro-quo scenario. Read on...
This was another gem from Hardball yesterday besides Matthews' "deather" rant where bad Tweety was rearing his ugly head again. Was it a full moon yesterday or what? Joan Walsh attempted to give Chris Matthews a bit of a history lesson on the divisions in the United States which have been played upon by politicians and corporate interests to keep people voting against their own interests, and Matthews attacks it as being "Marxist".
Joan had something to say about this over at Salon, Is GOP using race to block Obama agenda? Ya think?:
There is one main reason the U.S. doesn't have the social democratic traditions and programs enjoyed by most Western democracies -- we are the only such nation without some kind of universal healthcare -- and that reason is our history of ethnic, racial and class strife. (The bounty of the eternal frontier and American exceptionalism fit in there too, but I'd pick our fractious and well-manipulated heterogeneity as the top reason.)
The history of the 19th century and early 20th century is the history of labor and political coalitions splintered by divisions between Northern Europeans and Southern Europeans, between middle-class Germans and less well off German Jews, between the Irish and everyone else, and, increasingly after blacks won something akin to freedom, between all white ethnic groups and African-Americans. Latinos and Asians came with their own demands and baggage and relations got more complicated still. Barriers of language, culture, class and skin color thwarted many efforts to grow labor unions and build a social-democratic majority.
Meanwhile, the one constant for at least 150 years has been a savvy cadre of political operatives who used those racial and ethnic divisions to advance their pro-business agenda. Go back to Karl Rove's idol Mark Hanna, who made turn-of-the-19th-century Republican politics safe for whites-only organizing in the South, to Richard Nixon's Southern Strategy, to Lee Atwater's Willie Horton strategy to Rove's own neo-Southern, pander-to-the-base strategy that has driven the GOP into its current ditch. Where in other Western nations, those years saw the fairly steady advance of basic conceptions of human rights, labor rights and an expanded social safety net, in the U.S. such social progress -- and especially such programs -- was more sporadic and limited.
Matthews didn't buy my analysis; in fact, he called it "Marxist" -- I challenged him, as it's not that simple, and he changed it to an "economic analysis" -- and he put former Rep. Kweisi Mfume on the hot seat asking if he agreed with me. Mfume started off by saying he's not a conspiracy theorist -- for the record, neither am I -- but then he added with a smile, "I don't believe Humpty Dumpty just fell; I believe he was pushed. And there are people who are pushing buttons to try to hold back the progress we are making in this country as one nation. And when you push those buttons, it causes the progress to slow down ... This is anti-American."