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I've read a lot of excuses over the last couple of days for President Obama's debate performance, from the utterly ridiculous - 'He was thinking about his wedding anniversery!' - to the marginally less ridiculous - 'He was thinking about Turkey and Syria!' - to the somewhat reasonable - 'Governor Romney's pivot took the President by surprise!'

Here's another to consider, from the Washington Post's Dana Milbank.

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Republicans, and far too many Democrats, claim that the midterm elections were a referendum on the liberal gawdless socialist policies of the Obama Administration and the 111th Congress. They claim that Americans want tax cuts, particularly for the wealthy, to create jobs, that Americans don't want socialized medicine, in particular Obamacare health care reform Mitt Romney's health insurance reform, that Americans want to reduce growth-stifiling regulation on Wall Street, again to create those elusive jobs, that Americans want cuts to the social safety net entitlement spending to rein in the out-of-control deficit.

I've heard similar, if less extreme, claims right here on Daily Kos, that Americans aren't ready for liberal policies, that the best Democrats and others on the American Left can expect are incremental changes in the hope that someday we can achieve a more liberal society.

And as it turns out, that's all bollocks.

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A University of California Berkeley policy brief (pdf) released last month reveals that public employees in California are neither overpaid nor overcompensated for their jobs.

A Cal press release summarizes the brief.

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Sat Oct 30, 2010 at 01:01 PM PDT

Pity the poor Blue Dogs

by Orange County Liberal

Ronnie Shows, former 'Democratic' representative of Mississippi's $th Congressional District, argues that  bad news for Blue Dogs is bad news for progressives.

Anyone who has been following my blog on the Huffington Post knows that I believe that what is bad for the Blue Dogs is also bad for the progressives. Why you may ask? It's very simple; retaining Blue Dogs in swing congressional districts are the key to keeping control of Congress and all the benefits that come with being in the majority.

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Sat Aug 21, 2010 at 02:28 PM PDT

And the walls came down

by Orange County Liberal

Bassist, singer, songwriter, and engineer Michael Been, lead singer of The Call, died Thursday from an apparent heart attack. He was sixty years old.

Mr Been was working as an engineer for his son Robert's band, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, at a festival gig in Belgium. Despite immediate treatment at the scene, Mr Been was pronounced dead in a Belgian hospital a short time later.

I can't begin to tell you how sad I am.

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Thu Jul 22, 2010 at 02:04 PM PDT

The farm team

by Orange County Liberal

When people think of Branch Rickey, the Hall of Fame baseball executive, it's usually in the context of desegregating Major League Baseball. But in the 1920s, Mr Rickey brought to baseball his first game-changing innovation: the farm system.

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In the Rec Listed-diary, Democrats Surge in Generic Congressional Ballot, deaniac83 reports, "A just-released Gallup poll now gives Democrats a 6-point lead among registered voters in the generic Congressional ballot," further noting that this represents the "first statistically significant lead" for Democratic candidates since Gallup began weekly polling for this metic in March.

It is certainly hopeful news, particularly as it runs counter to the media narrative predicting significant electoral losses in the fall.

It also reminds me of my two favorite team sports, baseball and cycling.

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President Obama, Wednesday:

As November approaches, leaders in the other party will campaign furiously on the same economic arguments they’ve been making for decades.  Fortunately, we don't have to look back too many years to see how their agenda turns out.  For much of the last 10 years we've tried it their way.  They gave us tax cuts that weren’t paid for to millionaires who didn’t need them.  They gutted regulations and put industry insiders in charge of industry oversight.

The President is right, of course.

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The DOJ wants the lawsuit filed on behalf of Jose Padilla against torture architect John Yoo dismissed.

The Obama administration has asked an appeals court to dismiss a lawsuit accusing former Bush administration attorney John Yoo of authorizing the torture of a terrorism suspect, saying federal law does not allow damage claims against lawyers who advise the president on national security issues.

And the compelling reason why these attorneys must be protected from the consequences of their advice, according to the Department of Justice?

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The Medicare+5% public option supported by the Progressive Caucus will not be in the final House health care bill submitted on Thursday, says Education and Labor Committee Chairman George Miller in an article on Politico.

House Democrats will unveil the final version of their health care bill along with cost estimates on Thursday, according to members and aides briefed on the rollout.

As expected, leaders will include a public option in which doctors can negotiate their rates with the government, despite Speaker Nancy Pelosi's obvious preference for a plan pegged to Medicare. (source)

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The Obama Administration notched another victory in its War on Transparency in Government today as the Second Circuit Court of Appeals agreed that the U.S. government could withhold photographs of detainee abuse pending an appeal to the Supreme Court.

The Second Circuit stayed its own support of a lower court ruling requiring release of the photographs to give the Administration time to file its appeal.

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Late Friday the Administration filed a brief (pdf) in opposition to granting the Uighurs housed at Guantánamo Bay a Supreme Court hearing challenging the government's refusal to release the seventeen men into the United States.

In 2008 a district court judge ordered the men, non-enemy combatants all released into the United States on the basis that their current detention is unlawful, that they could not reasonably be returned to their home country of China, and that no other country has been willing to take the unlawfully detained men.

The judges order was overturned by the Court of Appeals in February of this year. The crux of the argument cited by the appeals court is that it is not the place of the court to supercede the judgement of the legislature and executive to regulate entry into the sovereign territory of the United States. The Obama Administration Friday asked the Supreme Court to let the court of appeals decision stand.

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