Arrested Development Season 4!

Arrested Development Season 3I know this news will be important to a number of my readers: the fourth season of Arrested Development is coming out next month. Netflix announced that they will be releasing 15 new episodes that will constitute a fourth season. All of the episodes will be released at once at 12:01 am Pacific time on 26 May.

The weird thing about this is that I’ve been checking Wikipedia often to see if anything had been announced. There hasn’t been a thing. I had begun to give up hope. One problem is that everyone (especially the kids) are getting older. But more important, many of the stars have become much bigger and thus, much more expensive. Now, it seems quite suddenly, Wikipedia reports that on 7 August of last year, the gang began shooting the new episodes.

Because I’m a pessimist at heart, I’ve suddenly become very worried. I was looking forward to the fifth season of Breaking Bad, as well, and it turned out to be a total disaster. I’m more hopeful for Arrested Development. It can take off in any direction. That wasn’t true of Breaking Bad. The problem with it is that the producers decided to turn the protagonist into an antagonist; it isn’t just that I don’t like that; the show is supposed to be believable and that change just isn’t. Arrested Development is a series about a bunch of really narcissistic characters. I’m sure they won’t change that and so there should be no fundamental problem plaguing the show as there has been for Breaking Bad.

So set your calendars and watches. I know I’m going to be there at one minute past midnight to watch one or more episodes. I’m sure I will have much to say here in the afternoon of 26 May.

Afterword

If you don’t have a Netflix subscription, I’m sure you can get one of those one month trials and start some time in May. Provide a little time before, so you can catch up on the show. They currently have the first three seasons on Instant Watch. But be sure to leave enough time afterwards to watch all 15 episodes. In my case, that would be about half a day.

In Memoriam: 4 April 1968

AFSCMEIn 1968 sanitation workers made history in Memphis, Tennessee. Over a thousand workers went on strike to protest unfair wages, discrimination, and unsafe working conditions that took the lives of two of their own. Marching through the streets, they wore signs declaring “I Am a Man.” In April, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. arrived to Memphis to support the workers and was assassinated after delivering his famous Mountaintop speech.

Conditions for sanitation workers in Memphis today are surprisingly similar to conditions in the 1960’s. The city is threatening to privatize their jobs, workers are not earning a living wage, and working conditions are hazardous and unsafe.

In the midst of contract negotiations, the sanitation workers of Local 1733 continue the struggle for fairness and respect begun forty five years ago.

American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees

Two Mistakes from Obama

Obama CopePresident Obama screwed up twice in the last day or so. The most recent will probably get the most press. I also don’t think it is nearly as important. He said that Kamala Harris from California was brilliant and hard working and all that stuff. And then he added, “She also happens to be, by far the best-looking attorney general.” Ouch. Not good. Not appropriate. And all that.

But Obama is, after all, a man, and we are like that. Certainly, he needs to apologize and move on. And as Jonathan Bernstein notes, “A jovial ‘Michelle says I screwed up’ won’t do it.” Indeed.

But Obama did something else recently that he can’t so easily take away, because it reflects who he is. Reuters reported, Obama Cutting Own Pay in Solidarity with Federal Workers. How much is he cutting his pay? A whopping 5%! How will he ever survive?

Token gestures like this really bug me. My understanding is that federal workers getting furloughed will be losing 20% of their pay. And they make a lot less than Obama makes. Most of their money is not discretionary. So Obama will not be suffering at all and yet he wants credit for suffering along with the prols?!

I have an idea: why doesn’t he donate all the money he’s made from his books to charity. That would hurt and then maybe he would feel just a little of the pain that federal employees (and many others) are feeling.

What I Learned from the New Quinnipiac Poll

Quinnipiac PollThose clever devils at Quinnipiac thought to ask people whether they thought the same sex marriage issue should be settled by the Constitution or by the states. The results were: 56-36 in favor of Ye Good Ol’ Constitution. Everyone wants the Constitution to decide this one. Except… Are you ready for a shocker?! Republicans think the states should decide by the relatively narrow margin 49-45. What does that tell us?

Primarily, it tells us that people who know they are losing a battle grab onto states rights. The argument goes like this: Sure, you godless homo huggers can have your gay-boy marriage, but leave me and mine here in our intolerant state alone! And so what we have here is the conservative movement hunkering down and trying to stop the inevitable march of progress from touching them. They’re probably hoping North Korea bombs us back to the stone age before they have to give in on one of the two issues that God really cares about. (The other is that every zygote is sacred.)

The sad thing is that the conservative clowns on the Supreme Court are most likely going to do the same thing. “Oh, this is a state issue; why are we even talking about it?” I wonder if they really think that future Americans will find this dodge compelling. Certainly, when we see some person on the TV from years ago talking about “states rights” we don’t hesitate from thinking, “Bigot!” I suspect people like John Roberts think that their faith will protect them—that people will give them a pass because they were just following their religion. Of course, so were the bigots of the civil rights era.

It has been no secret that we are heading at breakneck speed toward sexual orientation equality. What is interesting about the Quinnipiac poll is that it shows that the Republicans understand it too.

Welcome to the 21th century guys! We look forward to you catching up!

Eric Cantor Is Not for New Taxes

Eric CantorI am constantly amazed at how naive mainstream, even insightful political writers are. This morning, Jonathan Chait made a big deal of the fact that Eric Cantor said “we’ll see about additional taxes” after being asked if he would consider taxes if Obama showed he was “serious” about the budget deficit. Of course, even Chait notes that Cantor immediately went back on his statement. But somehow, for Chait, Cantor’s statement seems to be telling, as though Cantor is really willing to accept new taxes and that his “no taxes” pledge is just a bargaining stance.

Bull Pucky!

What Cantor said was no kind of gaff. Republicans are forever claiming that they will raise taxes under the right circumstances. It is just that the Democrats are never “serious” enough for them to consider raising taxes. Even the White House has fallen for this. Remember their recent charm offensive where Obama was meeting with Republicans and showing them, “We really will fuck the poor and middle classes if you’ll just give us a few pennies from the rich.” The point that the White House and commenters like Chait don’t seem to get is that Republicans are always reasonable in the theoretical case of the Democrats offering them something that they know the Democrats will never offer them.

Of course, they make mistakes. Remember the unnamed Republican legislator who Ezra Klein introduced us to? He didn’t know that Obama had offered Social Security cuts. As I reported at the time:

One of the reporters at the meeting asked the legislator if it would matter to him if the president put Chained-CPI for Social Security on the table. The legislator responded that it would, because, “That’s serious!” This goes along with a very old Republican talking point that the president’s offers are not “serious.” Well, another reporter chimed in, point out what I thought everyone knew: the president has put Chained-CPI on the table. The legislator laughed and said, “I’d love to see it!”

Of course, Klein responded to this with another moderate’s Hallelujah Chorus, “See the Republicans aren’t intransigent; they’re just ignorant!” But they aren’t. Well, they are ignorant. But it doesn’t matter, because they are by definition intransigent. I’m sure that unnamed Republican legislator has since come up with other requirements before he can say of Obama, “That’s serious!”

The Democrats move more and more to the right, but this only causes the Republicans to move more and more to the right so that the two parties are no closer together. How long can this go on before otherwise smart political observers like Chait and Klein see that there really isn’t a reasonable party hidden inside the modern Republicans? Maybe after they control the White House and Congress, they will become a bit more reasonable. But for now, we need to stop reading the tea leaves. The Republicans are against any proposal by the Democrats because it is a proposal by the Democrats. The one thing that works against this is actual leverage. I would have thought that everyone would understand that by now.

Mojo Still Working

Muddy WatersThe great French director Eric Rohmer was born on this day back in 1920. And Anthony Perkins was born back 1932.

Overrated, but reasonably good writer Maya Angelou is 85. Record producer Clive Davis is 81. Hugo Weaving is 53. And David Cross and Robert Downey Jr are 49.

But the day belongs to McKinley Morganfield, or as you probably know him, Muddy Waters. He was born on this day back in 1913. Here he is doing “Got My Mojo Working,” which I think explains just about everything you need to know about why he was so important: