Monthly Archives: November 2009

Okay, just one more thing

CNN is on my teevee and it occurs to me that the daytime anchors who are gushing with the ‘latest’ on the State Dinner party crashers really-really-sincerely-honestly-absolutely-and-who-wouldn’t believe that this story in fact is terribly terribly important and that it is almost as important as Tiger Woods’ bad job of backing out of his driveway.

In other news, we’re still in two wars, the economy is still tanking, people are still out of work and . . . wait! Hold the presses! New top story – man fights alligator. And it is on my teeveee because someone somewhere got that little baby with their cell phone and emailed it to old CNN. Also, a old man is pushing and shoving a young woman. Wow. Big news day.

Going quiet

for a short while. Brain needs refilling.

Good afternoon

Although, some days I wonder what could ever be good about a day that is also the 53rd day of the ninth year of the War in Afghanistan.

Good morning

The chilly weather skipped town and it’s now sunny and warming up. And today is the 52nd day of the ninth year of the War in Afghanistan.

Is it really better than nothing?

I’m finding a lot of grumbling about the health care bill coming to the floor in the Senate. It seems there aren’t too many fans out there. For a while, liberals agreed that compromising on single-payer was the only way to get this process moving.

I’m not hearing that so much over the last few days. The left now seems to fear the law of unintended consequences. There’s a lot of talk saying that the plan might actually have negative consequences and should be abandoned.

This is pretty discouraging,, but still I come down on the side of ‘better than nothing.’ It may be that this bill actually doesn’t solve any of our problems. To me, however, the stronger argument is for ‘a foot in the door‘. Bills can be amended after the fact. But there has to be a real thing to amend. And if we don’t get that something now . . .

Today, at Balloon Juice Tim F isn’t liking it one bit.

“I hope that the rest of the health care bill is freaking awesome. I really do. Because without some major changes the public option is going to suck. What will stop insurers from dumping expensive undesirables into a public ghetto? A guilty conscience? An unprotected public option will do one of two things. Either it will make insurance unaffordable again for anyone who really needs it, or else public option managers will come back to Congress over and over to beg for more money. Either way Democrats will discredit public healthcare by implementing it in the worst way imaginable.

There really is no way around it. Either Democrats protect the public option from adverse selection or they will do themselves more harm than good. As it stands now we might as well let idiot moderates kill the public option and just require private plans to cover everyone who wants care.”

Good morning

It’s not yet nine a.m. on the 51st day of the ninth year of the War in Afghanistan.

Good morning

Pies have been eaten (and appreciated!), babies have been kissed, voice have been heard expressing  the required regrets over eating too much. Time for some normal, a laundry on the line perhaps. But not sufficiently contented to forget that today is the 50th day of the ninth year of the War in Afghanistan.

Good morning

The last pie is in the oven and this time I may have gotten the top crust to close properly. And now it’s meet a friend for breakfast, visit with the next-day-nephew, clean me up, load up the pies and head off to Thanksgiving dinner with old friends. I’m very grateful today, especially for the committment of our troops in Afghanistan where it is the 49th day of the ninth year of that war.

Up is truly down

The Wall Street Journal tells us today that Lou Dobbs . . . let me see, how did they put it?  Oh yeah, Lou Dobbs reaches out to Latinos.


Memories, installation of

Most of us don’t really remember events from our very early years – 2 or 3 years old. But we seem to have ‘sense memories’. Mine include the smell of Lux (a dish soap) at one grandmother’s and the heat of an oven at another grandmother’s. I also remember my mother all wet from a shower, mashed potatoes (!) and one grandmother’s clothes line – clothes line!  I don’t have memories of the women themselves from that time, but somehow my little mind connected the ‘sense’ memory with the correct grandmother.

This is by way of explaining why I am disappointed that a nephew who was to stop by today had to move the visit to tomorrow morning.

He’s come from California with his family including two kids under 30 months. I don’t  see these little guys much because of miles, so I wanted to plant something they might connect with me. Something they may remember when they’re 12 or 20. So I staged it. They were to arrive around 4pm.

At 2 pm I began making pumpkin pies. At 3pm I put them in the oven.  The pies would come out of the oven at 4pm and the house would duly fill with the wonderful scent of fresh warm pies. And perhaps that would imprint on Emma and Grady.

But they’ll come tomorrow morning instead. And the damn pies will be in the fridge. And so it goes.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Been a while

Yesterday I was flabbergasted. Today I am simply breathless.

I made the error: I listened to a bit of Rush today and I learned the following: we have the story of  Thanksgiving all wrong. It wasn’t about that socialist sharing thing. Thanksgiving was possible because of supply side economics and vibrant capitalism. And especially they were thankful that they hadn’t adopted the socialist ways of the natives.

Imagine – the story has been wrong for over three centuries and it took the Limbaugh to figure it out.

Also the country is suffering from ‘chick-ification’ (women in army).

It’s turning us into pussies and making us soft. Somebody better tell Iraq and Afghanistan.

Good afternoon

It’s just after noon on the day before Thanksgiving, which is the 48th day of the ninth year of the War in Afghanistan.

And yet, it could be worse

I’m flabbergasted. Flabbergasted.

This breaks my heart

Princess Diana campaigning against land mines

Refusing to sign the treaty banning landmines was a Bush era staple. I expected better of my new President. Sadly, the policy stays in place.

The story at TPM (from AP) carries this headline:

Obama Adminstration will not sign land mine ban

Wow. Says it all

I’ve happily encountered two young women here in blog world and we’ve been exchanging thoughts over at The Drudge Retort, Ben Hoffman’s blog, which seems to attract some extended discussions. One famous post drew 224  comments – putting him in Duncan Black territory. So congrats to Ben!

Sleepygirl and The Arborist and I have been enjoying our repartee. And this morning, Arborist posted a brilliantly conceived and written post there in response to one of those constant empty charges about the evils of socialism.

And because it’s so very good, I paste it here (with her permission). It is long, but every word is delicious.

UPDATE: Actually this list, posted by The Arborist, came from a comment at the Daily Kos. And I just assumed she wrote it, although she absolutely did not claim credit. Never assume. But I am grateful to her for posting it because it would otherwise have escaped my attention.

Continue reading

Good morning

I’m off to buy canned pumpkin which is apparently in short supply this year. And I don’t have a Plan B. I imagine a lot of families around the country will be missing someone from their Thanksgiving table this year, perhaps because this is the 47th day of the ninth year of the War in Afghanistan.

I’ve been wondering too . . .

Sarah Palin’s book has no index. Lots of books don’t have indexes. But not lots of books published by a major house like Harper-Collins. Those books have indexes. And if the author didn’t submit one, I feel pretty confident that the publisher would see to it that an index would be created as part of the finished product. Standards and all.

But the published book has no index. And I am just checking Andrew Sullivan and today he asks “And who was the fact-checker at HarperCollins?”

Were there compromises to get this book out for the Christmas shopping season?

Still, I hate this stuff

I kinda like Andrew Cuomo even though (and shame on me) I really don’t know a lot about him – probably because I think so highly of his father. So sue me.

There’s a story at Bloomberg today about his campaign contributions. It’s caught my attention, as does any story about our corrupt campaign finance practices.

However, if  I”m reading this correctly, it seems that in fundraising for his gubernatorial run, Cuomo is operating within  the norm but because the ethics of this norm is often questionable, Andrew Cuomo may have acted improperly. It just seems like one of those non-story stories, which would be perfectly legit – in fact very welcome – if it were not hung off a single individual. Read the story and if I’m getting it wrong, let me know. Campaign finance reform is something I care deeply about so maybe I’m being deliberately blind because I like Cuomo.

From the story:

Cuomo’s donation forms ask contributors to sign a statement saying they have no “matter” pending with him. That rule “does not extend to attorneys representing persons or entities with matters before the NYS Attorney General’s office,” the form states, mirroring his predecessors’ policies.


The American Bar Association “Model Rules” for lawyers, which don’t address attorneys general, prohibit donations to judges made for the purpose of getting hired. Cuomo, who doesn’t hire outside lawyers, abides by that principle, Bamberger said. New York State rules for attorneys allow contributions to judges or public officials as long as the recipient is allowed to accept gifts.

Eliot Spitzer, attorney general from 1999 to 2006, took lawyer donations too from those with cases before him. Boies gave him $15,000 and the Boies Schiller firm gave $10,000 in 2004, according to state records.

“Candidates in New York State for district attorney, judge, attorneys general, and all other offices have operated under the very same rules for decades,” Bamberger said.

Good afternoon actually

The morning seemed to disappear on me today, but not so thoroughly that I forgot for a moment that today is the 46th day of the ninth year of the War in Afghanistan.

Keep this in your sights

Glenn Beck is dangerous. I think he’s very dangerous. Neither Palin nor Limbaugh attract at such a deeply emotional level. And that is partly because Beck compels your attention. Even his critics can get momentarily drawn in (speaking as one of his critics). Beck is a new thing – at least in this modern media age.

He is going wherever the road leads – and he is  the one laying the paving stones.  Even Beck isn’t sure where he’ll land. I think he’s just making it up as he goes along and staying with whatever works (where have I heard that before?)

I don’t think he’s planning to run for any office. Doing that would force him to pigeon-hole himself to some extent; to address the issues of  whatever office he sought. Not really his style. I think his two favorite subjects are himself and things he fears or doesn’t understand and must therefore attack. He is really the epitome of the long and fabled paranoid strain in American political life.

Since I don’t think Palin is running for anything either, maybe the best  we can hope is for Beck and Palin to go at each other. That would be tidy.

From the business section of today’s New York Times: Glenn Beck Stakes Out Activist Role in Politics

So that’s what I saw . . .

In a post earlier this week, I described watching a ‘break dance’ at the Miami Book Fair. Alas, another sign of age – identifying something with a decades old name when in fact it’s something entirely new. (Which shouldn’t surprise, since I stopped being able to identify most cars a  l-o-n-g  time ago.)

This morning, The New York Times informs me that what I saw is called ‘jerking’. Right name or not, I got one thing right. It was the best of sidewalk theatre. And I was grateful to have been right there.

More Oliver

This morning I’ve been trolling some blogs I haven’t visited in a while. Old favorites, including Oliver Wills. I don’t know when I got out of the habit of checking in with him. When Oliver first moved into my line of sight, I think he was about 13 years old. Well, maybe he was 20. Or 21. Or something. His archives appear to be offline, so I can’t confirm when he began blogging. But I followed him pretty closely for a number of years. He was young and had such a fresh perspective. And it was cool to be my age and learn from someone so much younger. And it was reassuring to see someone his age caring enough to be informed. And in those days his graphics theme was all Superman, all the time. And I respected that!

This morning he brings us a little reality check. And he asks ‘where were the tea parties then?’



Good morning

It’s early enough in the morning to consider going back to bed. But I doubt our troops can do that today, the 45th day of the ninth year of the War in Afghanistan.

All too familiar . . .

Bill Moyers will be retiring from TV in the spring. I’ll miss him.

Last night’s show was an hour examination of Lyndon Johnson’s painful journey to a course of action in Vietnam in the first year of his presidency. There were taped conversations – agonizing conversations – with Fulbright, McNamara, Russell, Bundy, Mansfield. No one, not a one, had a clear idea of what to do or even a favored course of action. And all the while of course, the hawks and the generals were calling for troops – for escalation.

Ultimately, it was the thrust of events that forced a decision.

Here’s Moyers (being as good as he gets):

Now in a different world, at a different time, and with a different president, we face the prospect of enlarging a different war. But once again we’re fighting in remote provinces against an enemy who can bleed us slowly and wait us out, because he will still be there when we are gone.

Once again, we are caught between warring factions in a country where other foreign powers fail before us. Once again, every setback brings a call for more troops, although no one can say how long they will be there or what it means to win. Once again, the government we are trying to help is hopelessly corrupt and incompetent.

And once again, a President pushing for critical change at home is being pressured to stop dithering, be tough, show he’s got the guts, by sending young people seven thousand miles from home to fight and die, while their own country is coming apart.

And once again, the loudest case for enlarging the war is being made by those who will not have to fight it, who will be safely in their beds while the war grinds on. And once again, a small circle of advisers debates the course of action, but one man will make the decision.

We will never know what would have happened if Lyndon Johnson had said no to more war. We know what happened because he said yes.

Like kryptonite to stupid*

I noticed this myself  when I watched the trailer (?) earlier today for the apparently actual upcoming tea-bagger documentary. (Really. There is one.)

A black guy named Nate appears a LOT in the trailer. I think it’s probably because he’s so handsome, not because he was the only black guy they could find. Here are three of his five appearances.

*An early blog title by an early blog hero: Oliver Wills.

I like this. I really like this.

An email from Susie with an interesting idea from Gene:

If  hawks want more war and 40,000 more troops, let Obama address the nation and say “you want foot soldiers? It will cost you.” Then announce an immediate tax increase to pay for these  40,000 unfortunates.”

What a novel idea – pay for our wars! Let us never forget that Afghanistan/Iraq were the first wars we ever fought that were not accompanied by a tax to pay for them. (But then, it wasn’t so easy to borrow from China in those days.)

And further, let us not forget that budgets for the last seven years did not include the wars – they were ‘funded’ by ‘supplementals’, so they stayed off the balance sheet. The current budget includes the cost of the wars.

You have to look for yourselves

It is . . . well, just go there. I would have thought even a Republican from Utah would know better.


We are truly kidding ourselves

It we really think Congress and  the associated agencies give a damn about decent governance. I wonder who owns the FEC these days?  Imagine this scenario: Congress passes a clearly reformist law. They look good doing it and pose for the pictures which no doubt will be used in the next campaign. And then their buddies at the Federal Election Commission undo things and we’re right back where we were. And  I guess Congressman It’s-All-About-Me gets to fly on the Goldman-Sacks jet again. (h/t Eric Alterman)

Wonder if this will make the nightly news?

What Glenn Beck meant

C”mon down Glenn ! The ‘weather’ is just perfect.

Going the extra mile

Because it’s worth it for the dear little things, and – as the sign says (in case you can’t read that bottom line):


I like that exclamation point.