Archive for April 5, 2012
The best 25 seconds in politics in my life (1988):
I wish Democrats could come up with sound bites like this more often than every 25 years.
I saw this live and I’ll never forget the energy in the room immediately afterward. Like the crowd in the video (listen), we erupted. It was the perfect thing to say about millionaire trust-fund kid George H. W. Bush and it’s the perfect thing to say about Mitt trust-fund-kid Romney. So, here it is again:
My tweet of the day:
Romney Using Ethics Exception to Limit Disclosure of Bain Holdings
Republican presidential front-runner Mitt Romney, whose wealth has become a central issue in the 2012 campaign, has taken advantage of an obscure exception in federal ethics laws to avoid disclosing the nature and extent of his holdings.
By offering a limited description of his assets, Romney has made it difficult to know precisely where his money is invested, whether it is offshore or in controversial companies, or whether those holdings could affect his policies or present any conflicts of interest.
This makes me very uneasy because I agree, how might Romney’s holdings affect his policies and might they present a conflict of interest? We need answers. I hope someone makes an issue of this.
Geezus, as if the banking industry isn’t being treated well enough already:
Bankers Form SuperPac for ‘Surgical’ Strike at Industry’s Enemies
Frustrated by a lack of political power and fed up with blindly donating to politicians who consistently vote against the industry’s interests, a handful of leaders are determined to shake things up.
They have formed the industry’s first SuperPAC — dubbed Friends of Traditional Banking — that is designed to target the industry’s enemies and support its friends in Congress.
“It comes back to the old philosophy of walking softly and carrying a big stick,” says Howard Headlee, the president and chief executive officer of the Utah Bankers Association. “But we’ve got no big stick. And we should. We have the capacity to have one, we just aren’t organized.”
Think of it as an Emily’s List for bankers and their allies.
“Congress isn’t afraid of bankers,” adds Roger Beverage, the president and CEO of the Oklahoma Bankers Association. “They don’t think we’ll do anything to kick them out of office. We are trying to change that perception.”
Legalized blackmail thanks to the Republicans on the Supreme Court.
Good-bye democracy and all that of, for and by the people crap. Hello plutocracy.
I’m serious. This is chilling.
I just finished reading Roger Ebert’s review of the new documentary, Jiro Dreams of Sushi:
Jiro Ono is 85 years old. As a young boy, he ran away from home to become an apprentice in a restaurant and has been making sushi for more than 70 years. He is apparently not happy doing anything else and prefers to work all day, seven days a week, every day in the year. If an enforced holiday comes along, he considers that lost time.
His restaurant serves only sushi. It has 10 seats at a counter. It is in the basement of a Tokyo high-rise, not far from a subway stop. It has been awarded three stars, the highest possible rating, by the Michelin Guide. David Gelb’s “Jiro Dreams of Sushi” is a documentary about a man whose relationship with sushi wavers between love and madness. He is a perfectionist, never satisfied, and if you go to work for him as an apprentice, you will have to spend weeks learning how to squeeze out a towel properly before moving on to learn how to slice a hard-boiled egg.
As a documentary about world-class sushi, this film is definitive. It runs only 81 minutes, but the subject is finite. While watching it, I found myself drawn into the mystery of this man. Are there any unrealized wishes in his life? Secret diversions? Regrets? If you find an occupation you love and spend your entire life working at it, is that enough?
Standing behind his counter, Jiro notices things. Some customers are left-handed, some right-handed. That helps determine where they are seated at his counter. As he serves a perfect piece of sushi, he observes it being eaten. He knows the history of that piece of seafood. He knows his staff has re??cently started massaging an octopus for 45 minutes and not half an hour, for example. Does he search a customer’s eyes for a signal that this change has been an improvement? Half an hour of massage was good enough to win three Michelin stars. You realize the tragedy of Jiro Ono’s life is that there are not, and will never be, four stars.
It sounds fantastic. A must-see.
Anyway, I found the trailer. Here it is:
Can’t wait to see it.
Mitt Romney added former Republican National Committee Chairman Ed Gillespie to his ranks of senior advisers Thursday, the campaign announced.
Mr. Gillespie is a former counselor to President George W. Bush and founded the bipartisan lobbying firm Quinn Gillespie & Associates, based in Washington, D.C. He played a central role in helping to draft the “Contract with America,” a conservative pledge in the 1994 elections that was partly credited for helping Republicans regain control of the House for the first time in four decades.
The number of people applying for unemployment benefits fell to a four-year low last week.
Weekly applications dropped 6,000 to a seasonally adjusted 357,000, the Labor Department said Thursday. That’s the fewest since April 2008.
The four-week average, a less volatile measure, fell to 361,750, also lowest in four years. The average has fallen nearly 13% in the past six months.
When unemployment benefit applications drop consistently below 375,000, it usually signals that hiring is strong enough to lower the unemployment rate.
On Friday, the government issues its March jobs report, which is expected to show a fourth straight month of strong hiring.