Greg Prince's Blog

Musings and pontifications from a reality based progressive

Better than I’d thought?

Posted by Greg on January 27, 2011

I’m sufficiently disheartened I skipped the SOTU address, catching a few snippets in subtitles on the gym monitors.  Based on what I saw, I’d have given it a high D+ or low C-.

Rachel Maddow review it, and suggests there may be more substance than I realized at first blush.

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Posted in Obama Administration, Progressive Agenda | Leave a Comment »


Posted by Greg on January 23, 2011

Another winner from the always wonderful Sam Tsui.

Posted in My Musings | Leave a Comment »

Was John Adams’ health care mandate unconstitutional?

Posted by Greg on January 21, 2011

Was John Adams’ health care mandate unconstitutional?.

Posted in Congress, Culture War, Health Care | 15 Comments »

The quest for happiness

Posted by Greg on January 21, 2011

Forbes magazine has an interesting article on the ten happiest countries, based on a recent survey.

They are, in order:

1. Norway

2. Denmark

3. Finland

4. Australia

5. New Zealand

6. Sweden

7. Canada

8. Switzerland

9. Netherlands

10. United States

I recommend reading the whole article, some interesting stuff both country by country and the overall analysis.

Posted in International | Leave a Comment »

January in Minnesota

Posted by Greg on January 21, 2011

Well isn’t this a pleasant drive.

Posted in My Musings | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

Harry Reid stands strong on Social Security

Posted by Greg on January 11, 2011

Harry Reid stands strong on Social Security.

Posted in Congress, Economics, Obama Administration, Politics in General | Leave a Comment »

Something to renew faith

Posted by Greg on January 9, 2011

It’s been an interesting weekend, following an exhausting week on many fronts.

Here’s a story from Egypt that brings a smile to my face, and goes far toward reminding us that humanity really is worth saving.

Remember this story next time a wingnut tries to tell you there is no such thing as moderate Muslims.

Egypt’s majority Muslim population stuck to its word Thursday night. What had been a promise of solidarity to the weary Coptic community, was honoured, when thousands of Muslims showed up at Coptic Christmas eve mass services in churches around the country and at candle light vigils held outside.

From the well-known to the unknown, Muslims had offered their bodies as “human shields” for last night’s mass, making a pledge to collectively fight the threat of Islamic militants and towards an Egypt free from sectarian strife.

“We either live together, or we die together,” was the sloganeering genius of Mohamed El-Sawy, a Muslim arts tycoon whose cultural centre distributed flyers at churches in Cairo Thursday night, and who has been credited with first floating the “human shield” idea.

Among those shields were movie stars Adel Imam and Yousra, popular Muslim televangelist and preacher Amr Khaled, the two sons of President Hosni Mubarak, and thousands of citizens who have said they consider the attack one on Egypt as a whole.

“This is not about us and them,” said Dalia Mustafa, a student who attended mass at Virgin Mary Church on Maraashly Street. “We are one. This was an attack on Egypt as a whole, and I am standing with the Copts because the only way things will change in this country is if we come together.”



Posted in International, Religion | Leave a Comment »

Knowing the enemy

Posted by Greg on January 7, 2011

This isn’t exactly new news, but the book taking France by storm is a short (13 pages) call to arms against the real enemies of the day.

The Independent   reports:

Take a book of just 13 pages, written by a relatively obscure 93-year-old man, which contains no sex, no jokes, no fine writing and no startlingly original message. A publishing disaster? No, a publishing phenomenon.

Indignez vous! (Cry out!), a slim pamphlet by a wartime French resistance hero, Stéphane Hessel, is smashing all publishing records in France. The book urges the French, and everyone else, to recapture the wartime spirit of resistance to the Nazis by rejecting the “insolent, selfish” power of money and markets and by defending the social “values of modern democracy”.

It doesn’t exist in translation yet, I haven’t found it as an eBook, and thus far the only source I’ve found domestically is here.  But it sounds like it’ll be worth a read. 

I prefer to not read large quantities in French, and I’d prefer the electronic version, but lacking those options and at only 13 pages, I’m tempted to purchase sooner rather than later. 

You might like it as well.  If you don’t read French, it’s sure to be available in translation soon.

Posted in International, Politics in General | Leave a Comment »

Three cheers for Warner Bros

Posted by Greg on January 6, 2011

You may recall a blog posting that went viral last fall about the little boy who dressed as Daphne from Scooby Doo for Halloween.

Turns out Warner Bros read the post as well, and sent the young man a really cool care package.  Read all about it in his mom’s blog. The hyperlink isn’t cooperating but you can paste into your browser.

Posted in Entertainment, My Musings | Leave a Comment »

Gearing for a delusional 2012

Posted by Greg on January 6, 2011

Delusions of adequacy, no other way to explain it.

With the newly sworn Congress barely in session we are well into the horserace leading up to the 2012 presidential election.  Chronologically we’re entering the third year or “autumn” of the cycle and appropriately the nuts are starting to fall from the trees.

Thus far the Obama administration has governed differently than candidate Obama campaigned, frustrating progressives and liberals and compromising away hoped for policy gains.  Given both disappointment among the base and the slow pace of economic recovery, especially unemployment, you’d think the President would be particularly vulnerable to a primary opponent.  Certainly, some on the left would welcome the prospect of a Democratic primary, but at this point it doesn’t seem likely.

The water is a bit muddied by the successful lame duck session which demonstrated  that once in a rare while Democrats can accomplish something, yet generates a sense of frustration and wondering where that can-do competence has been the previous two years.

Frustrations notwithstanding, a credible primary challenge on the left seems increasingly unlikely.  That leaves the GOP side of the aisle where the excitement is to be found.

Starting with a blast from the insufficiently distant past, CNN reports that former Senator Frothy, Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, is making preparations for a 2012 White House run.

A source close to the former senator from Pennsylvania confirms to CNN that later Wednesday Santorum will announced [sic] that he’s bringing on board one of the top GOP political strategists in New Hampshire, a state that plays a crucial role in the race for the White House. Santorum will also next week make another visit to the state, which traditionally holds in nation’s first primary in the presidential calendar.

Haven’t we suffered enough?  It’s hard to imagine a world in which a Santorum candidacy would be taken seriously, but then I look at the current House of Representatives and wonder if he isn’t an ideal stealth candidate.  He’s got the social conservative bonafides Multiple Choice Mitt lacks.  He was a wingnut before teabagging asshattery was cool and the public at large doesn’t have the longest of memories.

But things could be even more entertaining.  Gazing northward from my comfortable home in Minnesota’s Fourth Congressional District, we find the sixth district, a rather “special” place represented by the always entertaining (usually not deliberately so) Michele Bachmann.

Michele Bachmann is always unpredictable – her logic isn’t like other people’s logic.  There was speculation she would consider taking on Minnesota’s senior senator Amy Klobuchar who stands for reelection in 2012.  It turns out Bachmann’s ambitions may be a bit more grand in scale:

MinnPost has learned that Bachmann loyalists have already begun holding conversations with activists and officials in key early caucus and primary states and will begin travelling to those states in the coming weeks and months. Internal conversations have already begun about who might leave her Washington and district offices to staff a potential bid. And Bachmann told reporters she will likely visit additional early voting states in the upcoming months.

I have to admit this is a bit mind numbing.  Bachmann’s ability to raise vast sums of money, mostly from out of state, was demonstrated in the 2010 election but that’s not the same thing as a national draw for votes.  Bachmann’s idiocy is a known quantity in the Sixth and they vote for her anyway.  It’s probably a mistake to think Americans nationwide, even a majority of GOP voters, are equally forgiving.

There is yet some amusement value to be had here.  The GOP leadership created the monster.  As Hot Air observes, “A ‘Palin vs. Bachmann’ storyline in the primaries would be the political event of a lifetime.”  Yeah, it would.  The GOP leadership has fed the teabagging beast for electoral advantage, praying all the while they could keep it under control.  But the beast doesn’t want to be controlled.

When Bachmann stopped having her way with GOP leadership in the Minnesota Senate, she launched her quixotic bid for Congress in the Sixth.  Bachmann aspires to leadership, having recently formed the Tea Party Caucus in the House of Representatives and campaigned actively for far right candidates in the 2010 season. Not only were her attempts to secure a leadership position within the House GOP were solidly rebuffed, she was denied a desired seat on the Ways and Means Committee, to be placed on the Intelligence Committee.  Now in principle the Intelligence Committee is prestigious, but it’s also a committee that by nature of its work is often out of the limelight – something troublesome for Bachmann who follows TV cameras like a moth to flame.

Rep. Keith Ellison had this to say about Michele Bachmann’s possible candidacy:

I think it would be great for her to run for president. I think she has strongly-held views which she should test on the whole of the United States – see how her views are received across the country, not just in the comfort of the 6th District.

It certainly could be educational:

I think her views would not match up with the mainstream of American society, but I do encourage her to try it, I think it would be a very good thing for her to get out there  – and maybe she should resign from office now so she can devote all her time to her presidential run.

Educational indeed, this has potential for some great political theater.  Please Michele….please GOP.

Posted in Congress, Election 2012 | Leave a Comment »

And they lost to these bozos?

Posted by Greg on January 5, 2011

You know, it kind of boggles.

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Top of the GOPs
Daily Show Full Episodes Political Humor & Satire Blog</a> The Daily Show on Facebook

Posted in Election 2010, The Right | Leave a Comment »

Ding dong the witch is dead

Posted by Greg on December 8, 2010

Finally, five weeks too late, failed gubernatorial candidate Tom Emmer of Minnesota faces reality and concedes to Democrat Mark Dayton.

From the Star Tribune:

Republican Tom Emmer conceded the governor’s race to DFLer Mark Dayton Wednesday, bringing an end to the disputed election and clearing the way for Dayton to take office on Jan. 3.Emmer also waived his right to a recount, and the state Canvassing Board quickly certified the original election night results and declared Dayton the winner. The board signed the election certificate shortly after noon, making Dayton the governor-elect.

Those actions mean Dayton, a former U.S. senator, will become the first Democratic governor in Minnesota in two decades.

One of Dayton’s first orders of business January 3 will be to sign an executive order opting in for federal health care money – something outgoing wingnut wannabe Tim “hard times in the land of” Pawlenty has opposed in his ongoing quest to appeal to the Republican base in 2012.

Dayton inherits a $6.2 billion deficit, deteriorating infrastructure, lagging education and social programs, and a brand new GOP controlled legislature which will make it very challenging for him to undo the damage the last eight years of malfeasance have wrought.

Challenges notwithstanding, at least Minnesotans rejected Emmer’s doubling down on the previous administration’s failures.

Kudos to Emmer for concessions to reality. Unlike the Franken/Coleman recount, there were thousands of votes separating the candidates – within the margin of a state funded mandatory recount, but at the upper end to the point that barring major failures previously undetected in the initial count, there was no way for him to win.

And Jeers to Best Buy and Target who contributed mightily to backers of Emmer’s campaign, evoking a storm of protest by people who object to business interests buying elections. Minnesota law remains stronger on disclosure requirements, in many states and nationally, monied interests practically have carte blanche. Does disclosure make a difference? Too early to tell, but I like to think so. If nothing else, you know what you’re getting.

Posted in Election 2010, Minnesota | Leave a Comment »

GPS: Bill Maher on President Obama’s Job Performance

Posted by Greg on December 6, 2010

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Posted in My Musings | Leave a Comment »

Federal worker pay freeze is unjustified and ineffective

Posted by Greg on November 29, 2010

Federal worker pay freeze is unjustified and ineffective.

Posted in Economics, Obama Administration | Leave a Comment »

To Hell With the Activists

Posted by Greg on November 18, 2010

To Hell With the Activists.

Murkowski ‘s win in Alaska demonstrates that sometimes the better path is to keep going.

Posted in Election 2010 | Leave a Comment »