Monthly Archives: January 2010

Good afternoon

Learning my way around a different keyboard certainly slows things down. But not the War in Afghanistan, where it is already the 106th day of the ninth year since it began.

Friday Night Oldies

But first, gotta share this I just picked up at Daily Kos. F

[Brown’s] prior visits to Washington, he explained, were mostly to watch his daughter Ayla, a college basketball player, play against American University, or to visit the monuments “as a tourist.”

“I’m a history buff,” he said. “I love the Museum of Natural History.”   — Sen.-elect Scott Brown (R-MA), as quoted by the Washington Post.

And now on to Friday night

Meet the new oligarchy . . .

I hope  to spend some time on yesterday’s Supreme Court decision on corporations and campaigns. Haiti also deserves a few more words. The good, the bad, and the ugly.

Probably tomorrow. Weary.

What a difference a day makes

Now I know how Jon Stewart feels when the week he takes as vacation turns out also to be the week that Elvis comes back.

A few observations:

SCOTT BROWN – has a decided Princess Diana quality about him. Even tilts his head sheepishly to the side. Most engaging. The guy starts with real star power.

TIMOTHY GEITHNER – on The News Hour last week facing a not altogether friendly Judy Woodruff. Tim looks like a cross between Spock and Warf. Half Vulcan, half Klingon. It’s all in the eyebrows and forehead.

Good afternoon

Well. Traffic ticket. Suspended license (temporary). Bad enough. More was in store. M-O-T-H-E-R-B-O-A-R-D. Warranty in force! But three/four days with shipping. Beloved sister delivers extra laptop. It was a hell of a day, yesterday was. Meanwhile, there will be no driving; blogging will be light. Dealing with email off site most annoying (There is a reason they don’t differentiate via font between read and unread items in the inbox???. Mysteries abound.)  Ahhh, this too shall pass.

But not Afghanistan I guess, where it is the 105th day of the ninth year of the War.

UPDATE: Actually, add to the  horrors – TV, DVD player don’t want to chat any more.

Holy shit

Krugman on his blog. Saying stuff.

They got that right.

John Cole at Balloon Juice quotes Jon Walker at Firedoglake. And says he agrees with every word. And so do I.

Cole is also floating a scathing new meme re Dems: “The 59-seat minority”.

Walker says:

“They [Dems] have zero excuses for failing to deliver. Americans will not find some nonsense about having only 59 Senate seats as an acceptable excuse for failing to accomplish anything. If Democrats think they can win in 2010 by running against Republican obstructionism, they will lose badly.

Not only will Democrats lose badly if they adopt this strategy, but they will be laughed at. Republicans never had 59 Senate seats, and that did not stop them from passing the legislation they wanted. Trying to explain to the American people how, despite controlling everything, Democrats cannot do anything, because a mean minority of 41 Republican senators won’t let them, is a message that will go over like a lead balloon. If you try to use that excuse, people will think elected Democrats are liars, wimps, idiots, or an ineffectual combination of all three.”


Pay attention!

Dr. Joshua Micah Marshall

When even Josh Marshall at TPM runs out of patience and descends into **%%!! territory, the Dems have not only blown it in Mass, they’re blowing it worse now. I started reading Talking Points Memo shortly after it began and before Josh Marshall became Dr. Joshua Micah Marshall. He got his PhD in Colonial American History, a fact he celebrated on his blog at the time (it was just a blog then), but he shut down the party and has been only Josh Marshall since then, which I consider to be classy.  But politics is his beat. His site has grown from a one man blog to a full blown journalistic enterprise with a large and growing staff, two offices (NY and DC) and TPM people are starting to show up on cable news.

Except I must be dreaming this, because Rush Limbaugh tells me liberals are anti-entrepreneurial.

It’s a real bag of goodies

Been browsing Politfact this morning since thier editor appeared on CSpan’s Washington Journal and it’s a terrific and useful place! I’m intruiged by their regular feature calLed TRUTH-O-METER: The latest statements we’ve reviewed for PolitiFact National. They do a pretty thorough link-rich job of evaluating current political statements from Obama to Beck. Good stuff. I’m bookmarking it right quick and it’s now on my blogroll if you want to take a look now and again. (The link seems to be a little kindy)

How’s it going?

Discussion on CSpan’s Washington Journal today about their ’10-Obama-promises’ evaluation from Politifact; the editor was a guest there. It’s an interesting and quick read. (Politifact is a project of the St. Pete Times, a pretty good paper.)

From the story:

The Obameter Scorecard

Not yet rated 2

Let’s not forget . . .

In my local paper, Jeremy Wallace adds some oft-overlooked perspective to Brown’s win in Massachusetts. Cable TV take note:

“”Though Massachusetts has a heavy Democratic registration, in my time working for the Boston Globe and Worcester Telegram & Gazette I found that voters there have shown more of a willingness to vote Republican than many would expect from a traditionally liberal state. In fact when Deval Patrick won the governors mansion in 2006, he became the first Democrat to hold that office since 1990, when Michael Dukakis left office. William Weld, Paul Cellucci, Jane Swift and Mitt Romney kept the office in GOP hands until Patrick.

But the Senate races have shown signs as well. The seat Sen. John Kerry won in the 1980s, was held by Edward Brooke, a Republican from the late 1960s until 1979. . . .it is not shocking to me to see Republicans with a legitimate shot of winning a statewide seat there.”

And good morning

Ted Kennedy’s Senate seat is about to be held by a Democrat Republican (thanks Ed). Somewhere a fat lady is singing. But probably not in Afghanistan, where it is the 103rd day of the ninth year of the war there.

Kennedy weeps

Many people will believe Massachusetts happened because of Obama. Massachusetts happened because:

Coakley was a lousy candidate, who ran a lousy campaign. On top of it she was tone deaf to what’s going on around her. She took the vote for granted. And interestingly, even though Kennedy had always won by a huge margin, he never ever took the voters for granted. He campaigned in the streets every single time. She didn’t. Also, she was a snob.

Plus, Brown is a hunk and ran a fabulous campaign. Plus, the number one thing people vote on is their pocketbook.

As recently as two–three weeks ago, she was ahead. That’s when the FOXish media (Rush et al) got really big and noisy about Brown, national money started pouring in to his campaign, and he took it all and ran. His voters got very motivated. She saw that and didn’t change a single thing.

He never mentioned he was the Republican candidate, acted as if he were an independent. He tapped the unaffiliated anger out there. He tapped the tea partiers.

The other night, Jon Stewart said: “ . . .if Coakley loses, Democrats will only have an 18 vote majority in the Senate, which is more than George W. Bush ever had in the Senate when he did whatever the fuck he wanted to. . . It’s not that the Democrats are playing checkers and the Republicans are playing chess. It’s that the Republicans are playing chess and the Democrats are in the nurse’s office because once again they glued their balls to their thighs.”

So that was a big issue too . . .

Health care now, health care forevah. Health care, eh?

We won't need heatlh care when we grow up. So it's okay!

Andrew Sullivan today (and David Leonhardt at the NY Times) get it about right.

Beneath The Anger, The Reality

David Leonhardt explains why the rage against a “leftist” Obama is baloney:

The current versions of health reform are the product of decades of debate between Republicans and Democrats. The bills are more conservative than Bill Clinton’s 1993 proposal. For that matter, they’re more conservative than Richard Nixon’s 1971 plan, which would have had the federal government provide insurance to people who didn’t get it through their job.

More conservative than Nixon or Clinton – and yet it’s a threat to the meaning of America. This is claptrap. Hooey. Hysteria. And wrong. If the Democrats give into this FNC/RNC campaign to smear Obama as something he is not, they will miss the only chance of real, imperfect but meaningful reform. They will have blinked after being psyched out.

Pass the Senate bill and then defend it loudly, strongly, proudly. And call the opponents’ bluff.

Shoot me now

Chris Matthews has just asked someone I never saw in my life if it’s too soon to be looking at Scott Brown for President for 2012.  Head exploding.

Stinkin’ liars

If health care fails to pass, it will mark the most remarkable victory of an industry lobbying effort in my life. The very saddest part of it will be that these people – who work against American interests – convinced Americans to go along.

Let’s never forget: corporations do not have any national allegiance. Corporations have no moral imperatives.

Good morning

Been pulling dead vines off stuff in the back yard that survived our recent ‘coolness’ and not liking the looks of my big exuberant boughenvilla . Not at all. Wondering too how snow will affect the turnout in Massachusetts. Who stays home – the Dems or the Republicans? All of them? Weather throws a big nasty curve into expectations. Nate Silver’s projections of last night however, still look so formidable, it may be that only a tsunami, combined with a hurricane, combined with the snow (and perhaps the circus in town) could change the outcome he sees.

Wondering too about yesterday’s Taliban attack, less than a mile from the Presidential palace, means for the troops there on the 102nd day of the ninth year of the War in Afghanistan

.

Double ouch

On polls and predictions, I trust Nate Silver at five-thirty-eight; he knows his numbers. And tonight he’s calling it for Scott Brown over Coakley tomorrow in Massachusetts by a big number.

Silver, as he says, correctly predicted all 35 Senate races in 2008. He says Scott gets 74%. Ted Kennedy’s old seat in Massachusetts goes to a Republican. I don’t yet know what to make of that. Certainly angry independents are a big part of what’s happening and they will turn out for Brown.

If I had any, I’d eat a big big piece of chocolate cake, drink a long cold glass of milk, put on flannel pajamas and curl up in bed. The bed part I can do. And will. Since the world is ending.

Ouch

I’ve seen this before. And it didn’t turn out well that time.

But they probably need the money guys . . .

Before I head off to what promises to be a busy day full of meetings, I’d like to share the final paragraph from Frank Rich’s column in the Sunday NYTimes. He’s having some fun examining the antics of Michael Steele and Sarah Palin – both target rich even without the questionable sublimation of political principle to the wonderful world of personal-for-profits.

Rich wraps it with:

The Democrats’ efforts to counter the deprivation and bitterness spawned by the Great Recession are indeed timid and imperfect. The right has a point when it says that the Senate health care votes of Ben Nelson of Nebraska and Mary Landrieu of Louisiana were bought with pork. But at least their constituents can share the pigout. Hustlers like Steele and Palin take the money and run. All their followers get in exchange is a lousy tea party T-shirt. Or a ghost-written self-promotional book. Or a tepid racial sideshow far beneath the incendiary standards of the party whose history from Strom to “macaca” has driven away nearly every black American except Steele for the past 40 years.

That’s about right.

Good Morning

The sun is up and so am I. And – just like that! – it’s the 101st day of the ninth year of the War in Afghanistan.

Love letters

Mr. Limbaugh of Palm Beach

By now, pretty much all sentient and literate beings know the trashtalk that came from Rush Limbaugh last week after the Haitian earthquake. This sad fat man regularly reaches to the bottom of the barrel to titilate his drooling audience.Movie critic Roger Ebert has had enough I guess.On Thursday, he posted an open letter t o Limbaugh on his own website.* (I heard this exchange below in real time (masochist I am) and posted about it at the time.  It was far worse than it appears in print – full of sputtering noises, full of bluster and faux outrage.)

*It’s actually the Chicago Sun-Times’ site.

Here’s Ebert’s letter:

TO : Rush Limbaugh

FROM : Roger Ebert

You should be horse-whipped for the insult you have paid to the highest office of our nation.

Having followed President Obama’s suggestion and donated money to the Red Cross for relief in Haiti, I was offended to hear you suggest the President might be a thief capable of stealing money intended for the earthquake victims.

Here is a transcript from your program on Thursday:

Justin of Raleigh, North Carolina: “Why does Obama say if you want to donate some money, you could go to whitehouse.gov to direct you how to do so? If I wanted to donate to the Red Cross, why do I have to go to the White House page to donate?”

Limbaugh: “Exactly. Would you trust the money’s gonna go to Haiti?”

Justin: “No.”

Rush: “But would you trust that your name’s gonna end up on a mailing list for the Obama people to start asking you for campaign donations for him and other causes?”

Justin: “Absolutely!”

Limbaugh: “Absolutely!”


That’s what was said.

Unlike you and Justin of Raleigh, I went to Obama’s web site, and discovered the link there leads directly to the Red Cross. I can think of a reason why anyone might want to go via the White House. That way they can be absolutely sure they’re clicking on the Red Cross and not a fake site set up to exploit the tragedy.

But let me be sure I have this right. You and Justin agree that Obama might steal money intended for the Red Cross to help the wretched of Haiti.

This conversation came 48 hours after many of us had seen pitiful sights from Port au Prince. Tens of thousands are believed still alive beneath the rubble. You twisted their suffering into an opportunity to demean the character of the President of the United States.

This cannot have been an accident. A day earlier, in a sound bite from your show, you said “this will play right into Obama’s hands. He’s humanitarian, compassionate. They’ll use this to burnish their, shall we say, ‘credibility’ with the black community — in the both light-skinned and dark-skinned black community in this country. It’s made-to-order for them.”

Setting aside your riff on Harry Reid, consider what you imply. Obama will aid Haiti to please African-Americans. Haiti has lost untold thousands of lives. One third of the population has lost its homes. Countless people are still buried in the rubble. Every American president would act quickly to help our neighbor. You are so cynical and heartless as to explain Obama’s action in a way that unpleasantly suggests how your mind works.

You have a sizable listening audience. You apparently know how to please them. Anybody given a $400 million contract must know what he is doing.

That’s what offends me. You know exactly what you’re doing.

More stuff that needs to go away

What happens in the living backdrop

I don’t know or care which president began the ‘tradititon’, and maybe it was just a campaign device carried into the Presidency . . . it is time to stop propping a line of stiff people behind the President for every speech. It pretty much diminishes the impact of the speech every time. And I don’t know who these people are, I don’t want to have to look at them, and I especially don’t want to see their wooden faces, utterly immovable, no matter what matter of great import is being said.

Take them away please.

Good afternoon

Well. Here it is. The 100th day of the ninth year of the War in Afghanistan.

Today, Steve Clemmons at the New America Foundation has a pretty good story on where things stand there.

Yeah, they’ll do that. Sure they will.

After 9/11, I found my way to Juan Cole’s site, Informed Comment.  He is one of our foremost experts on the Middle East. An Arabic speaker, he’s spent half his life in that part of the world. So while wars were blooming around us in the early naughts, Cole became an important source – for me anyway – in trying to figure out whatever was going on.

And just now, planning to link to him, looking around his site, I find there is no bio. He’s a very geeky academic type (if you’ve ever seen him on TV, you know this already), so that’s surprising.  His numerous awards and affiliations however are mostly there.  You can go look and marvel.

Today, he muses about Haiti and contemplates the Wall Street bonuses, and suggests these dudes tithe their bonuses to the relief effort. Heh. This particular line struck me:

” . . . the bonuses of the six biggest banks are now estimated to come in at $150 billion. Ten percent of that would be two years worth of Haiti’s gdp.”

He’s written an entire column on the subject at NPR.

Someone needs to mix it up with Sarah

How about Rick Santorum? Of Pennsylvania. Very Christian. One term Senator. Real, real lightweight.

He’s jumping in ole Rick is. He’s a runnin’ for Prez of the US of A!!! Jon Stewart should be on his knees right now thanking god. At last. A target worth the word. And a comedy goldmine.

I know this because Wonkette told me.

In an e-mail and letter to supporters of his Political Action Committee, America’s Foundation, Santorum writes, ‘After talking it over with my wife Karen and our kids – I am considering putting my name in for the 2012 presidential race.’

Is Texas still seceeding?

In these days of natural disasters and breathtaking congressional fights, not often is it asked.

Or is it  Are Texas still seceeding?

Words that need to go away

Breaking News

Breaking News!

and maybe, Senior Medical Correspondent

Who knew? There’s money in it

FROM ANDREW SULLIVAN today. By these figures, marriage in this country appears to make much more money for all of us than divorce. Maybe that fact will overcome the cultural resistance. After all, money is money. Business is business. And what’s good for business “is good for the U.S.A.!”

(Besides, I want to go to some more weddings and the only people left among my friends and family who aren’t already married are gay. So loosen up everyone and let’s have a party!)

16 Jan 2010 09:15 am

The Searchable Harper’s Index

Commence time suck. Type in “gay marriage” and find:

Amount that the U.S. wedding industry would gain each year if gays wed at the same rate as straights: $17,000,000,000

Amount that U.S. divorce attorneys would gain if gays also divorced at the same rate: $1,900,000,000

Life just got better: I love it when that happens!

About a year ago, the local Goodwill store – under a mile from my house – closed down to consolidate its operations with a larger store about five miles away. It was a  good move for them, but locally the closing left a hole.

But today, on the way home, I discovered they’re reopened – as a bookstore. A bookstore – a great big store just full of books. Well appointed, books arranged by subject and genre – by people who obviously know their stuff.

Move over

At a time when we see amenities disappearing or being cut way back (the ‘new releases’ shelf at my local library has been practically empty for a year or more), this is a very happy surprise. Like the first sign of spring, of hope, like a daffodil in the lawn – there it is, a valuable addition to the neighborhood and to my own quality of life.

Check out this what I brought home for under $17.o6 (every one of these is in tip-top condition):

Ashes to Ashes: American’s Hundred-Year Cigarette War – by Richard Kluger – Winner of the Pulitzer Prize

Bush at War – by Bob Woodward (I have the other two of  this trilogy so it’s great to find this 0ne)

Beyond Peace – by Richard Nixon (I’m something of a Nixon freak)

When Presidents Lie : A History of Official Deception – Eric Alterman

Secrets and Lies – by Dilip Hiro (Indian born and one of the most knowledgeable writers on the Middle East)

Sabine – by Nick Bantock (sequel to Griffin and Sabine, an artful, charming pop-up book with an intriguing story)