Monthly Archives: March 2010

Oil. Obama. What he did. What he said.

From candidate Obama in 2008:

ORLANDO, Florida (CNN) – Barack Obama said Friday that he would be willing to compromise on his position against offshore oil drilling if it were part of a more overarching strategy to lower energy costs.

“My interest is in making sure we’ve got the kind of comprehensive energy policy that can bring down gas prices,” Obama told The Palm Beach Post early into a two-day swing through Florida.

“If, in order to get that passed, we have to compromise in terms of a careful, well thought-out drilling strategy that was carefully circumscribed to avoid significant environmental damage – I don’t want to be so rigid that we can’t get something done,” Obama said.

He later said he didn’t believe that drilling would bring down oil prices in the short run after all. But he never changed his mind about being willing to do some drilling if it were part of an overall strategy.

This newest announcement doesn’t mean he’s caving or trying to make deals with Republicans – because Repubs aren’t the people he has to negotiate with on this one. It’s the energy sector. It’s the guys who met with Cheney. That’s the crowd he’s working.

Having just watched the 12-month health care roll out, I choose patience on this one.

and this clown still gets invited on CNN

Because his blame-the-victim theory of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church really contributes to the discussion. He is a stellar example of what’s wrong with the Catholic Church and it’s woman hating and it’s fear of the power of sex. Donohue goes off the rails at 7:15 in – near the end.

UPDATE: Can’t get the damn video to link. But it’s at CNN’s site – Larry King show.

UPDATE THE SECOND: Just heard Pat Buchanan on Hardball – he sounds much more sane than Donohue, but he is subtly making Donohue’s point. Wonder if any of the others on the panel hear what he’s actually just said.

It’s morning*

And there’s still ‘half-a-hole’ in my backyard. Anyone watching news these last few days knows that we had astonishing amounts of rain here in south Florida. The up side – and it’s a big ‘up’ – is that the rain took us right out of two years of drought. Of course it also made the ground quite wet. And so the big hole (shall I begin to call it the big dig?) has to take something of a back seat until the sun and drainage and evaporation do their jobs. And then, I shall have a hole that looks like this .

Doubles the pleasure

With this pool, I double the floor space of the lanai. Which makes the newly sized lanai almost the same square footage as the house itself! (A small house and a big lanai – works very well for me.)

The onset of this project seems to have diminished my obsession with events in the wider world, which I know very well is a temporary condition.

My sister saves The NY Times for me – they get it every day – and every four or five days, I catch up. And then there’s The Nation and The Atlantic and my lost-in-the-mail Harpers Magazine. From amongst these fine publications and the endless bounty of the interwebs (or is it intertubes Sen Stevens?), the material accumulates. (I do cut and save even from print media. I really must develop a filing system as the big pile – somewhat smaller than the big hole – is getting rather intimidating.

Not nearly as intimidating of course as the challenge in Afghanistan, where it is the 173rd day of the ninth year of the War.

*Called away before publishing. So, it’s actually afternoon. But, hey.

Who could have seen this one coming!

Guess they’ve been listening to Monica Michelle Bachmann (R-MN). She told them to beware the US Census.

The national average on the return rate for census forms is 34%. In much of Texas, the more Republican the area, the lower the return rate. In Briscoe County in the Panhandle, McCain/Palin won nearly 75% of the vote — and 8% of locals are sending in their census materials. In King County, near Lubbock, McCain/Palin won nearly 93% of the vote — and only 5% of locals are answering the census.

Who needs more seats in Congress or federal grants for highways anyway?

Again with the timing . . .

Unprecedented rainfall on Sunday and Monday, followed by attempt to dig big deep hole on Tuesday does not go well for the big deep hole. A few days of dry weather will now be allowed to intervene.

A special morning

Life overcomes the best of intentions. Step away for a day, perhaps two and before Glenn Beck can sling an arrow, it’s the next week.

Strange and unwelcome temperatures have returned to south Florida, where everyone knows thermometers must read 70+  after March 1. My calendar suggests that something called “April 1”  approaches. We’ve already had enough rain (mostly over the  last week) to meet our annual needs, and the traditional rainy season (July, Aug, Sept) may decide to take this summer off.

But however the summer of 2010 plays out, I will be ready. On this special morning, some nice men and a big machine are busy in my back yard digging a very big hole. Something’s coming . . . something good . . .

And in other news, today is the 172nd day of the ninth year of the War in Afghanistan.

A puzzlement

Both Jane and Ed sent this in. I had seen the commercial myself, and had already begun scratching my graying head about it.

What’s GE going for here? Are they hoping to sell weapons systems directly to Americans? Get us to write our congressmen on their behalf in case the defense budget takes any hits?

I know that it’s going to be good politics to celebrate the Reagan ‘centennial’ (my God, didn’t the man just die? Couldn’t we wait a decent interval and celebrate some other milestone?) but GE doesn’t need to waste an advertising dime to gain the goodwill of the American people. Aren’t they pretty well doing the people’s business 24/7 right now? So what’s the point?

My favorite line is about Reagan’s ‘entrepreneurial spirit’. That’s a cool line for a guy whose life was remarkably free of entrepreneurial anything. A great smile, a great personality, swell hair and people liked him. And there you go.

Take it away G.E. for whatever you are taking it away for.

Nasty noises out there

Looking at last week’s incivility during the health care voting, Frank Rich (in his Sunday column up now at the New York Times) remembers another era of incivility from the 60’s.

Medicare was robustly opposed, but it  passed the Senate with 70 votes in 1965. No one died.

It was the 1964 Civil Rights Act that ” made some Americans run off the rails. That’s because it was the one that signaled an inexorable and immutable change in the very identity of America, not just its governance. The apocalyptic predictions then, like those about health care now, were all framed in constitutional pieties, of course. Barry Goldwater, running for president in ’64, drew on the counsel of two young legal allies, William Rehnquist and Robert Bork, to characterize the bill as a “threat to the very essence of our basic system” and a “usurpation” of states’ rights that “would force you to admit drunks, a known murderer or an insane person into your place of business.” Richard Russell, the segregationist Democratic senator from Georgia, said the bill “would destroy the free enterprise system.” David Lawrence, a widely syndicated conservative columnist, bemoaned the establishment of “a federal dictatorship.”

This feels like another one of those times. This feels like 1964. All the lashing out at non specific targets. All this ‘take my country back’ stuff.

The changing demographics of the United States – and most of Western Europe – are increasingly visible in the popular culture.  People – young people – moving into the visible professional and political positions are not all white anymore. That frightens some people because it’s change. Too much perhaps. Too fast perhaps. But change and some of us fear change.

I hate that it feels the same now. Yeah, speech is free and to be protected; but some of what I’m hearing lately sounds like incitement. There is a line and I don’t know when we cross it.

UPDATE: I think it’s worth posting another line from Rich’s column, because it clarifies exactly why this ‘tea party’ movement is coalescing around the Republican Party (whether the Republicans want them or not). He reminds us that “Republicans haven’t had a single African-American in the Senate or the House since 2003 and have had only three in total since 1935. Their anxieties about a rapidly changing America are well-grounded.”

You were saying?

Take a look at this and then let’s have a chat about bipartisanship.

Friday night oldies

So 50’s.  So ‘slow-dancing’. So white.

The honeymoon’s back on!

Teddy Roosevelt, FDR, Harry Truman, JFK, LBJ, Richard Nixon, Bill Clinton. They tried.  But Obama did it.

I love my president all over again. He got a huge and historic health reform bill into law.

Richard Nixon, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush. They tried. One step forward, two back. Sometimes two steps forward, one back. But the line never moved very much. But Obama did it.

I love my president all over again. He signed a huge and historic treaty today with Russia to move nuclear arms reduction into territory never imagined.

And now, the buzz is that the financial sector is next. They thought they’d passed through the danger zone. Apparently they were just on hold.

Yup, I love my president all over again.

(And I apologize for getting a little snippy these last months.)

More lip smackin’ deliciousness

Former Congressman Dick Armey (R-TX), now busy building the bank account as a lobbyist in DC, assumed the role as ‘leader’ of the Tea Party phenomenon. So he said. In fact, he was responsible for much of the early funding and professional management as the movement began to cohere into something resembling a unified grassroots movement.

But in the way of those durn Tea Partiers, guess who’s not pure enough for them anymore?

Someone check her I.D.!

Oh that Washington ‘press corps’. They’ve got  their panties all in a knot again, because (gasp!) ABC has hired Chrsitianne Amanpour to host their Sunday new show, This Week. (Seems this hire is messing with their heads. It’s delicious.)

Tom Shales is the TV critic for The Washington Post and he let go with a breathless column on the horror. Amanpour, one of the pre-eminent global reporters of our age, is not – repeat NOT – one of ‘them’. She is NOT in thrall to the DC cocktail circuit,  the dinner parties or the gossip that eternally percolates among the villagers of their precious press corps. She is not a villager.

Good for ABC. Maybe they can begin the process of restoring credibility to the Sunday morning news shows.

Krugman adds: “Um, maybe the idea is to do a bit less “inside-the-Beltway palaver”? You know, we’ve got a global economic crisis, a budding confrontation with China, a major row with Israel; maybe someone who’s knowledgeable about the world rather than the DC party circuit might be just the right choice”

Bob Somerby has been the definitive voice condemning their insularity – and he’s done it since 1997.

There is no accountability anywhere

Here in the US, we have about the highest incarceration rate in the world. But Wall Streeters and regulators who destroy the lives of hundreds of  thousands, and priests who abused children for decades walk free. They’re not decorating jail cells.

Today the NY Times has a story that makes a lie of all the ‘apologies’ coming from the Vatican to Catholics around the world.

The internal correspondence from bishops in Wisconsin directly to Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, the future pope, shows that while church officials tussled over whether the priest should be dismissed, their highest priority was protecting the church from scandal. . . . Father Murphy not only was never tried or disciplined by the church’s own justice system, but also got a pass from the police and prosecutors who ignored reports from his victims, according to the documents and interviews with victims. Three successive archbishops in Wisconsin were told that Father Murphy was sexually abusing children, the documents show, but never reported it to criminal or civil authorities.

In case anyone is wondering what ‘social justice’ means, I point out that this is a perfect example of  ‘social injustice‘.


Continuing my recovery apace, and remaining somewhat housebound, I happily welcomed a neighbor who brought some chicken soup. The very definition of neighborliness.

Mentioned I was about to cut my hair. Said she “oh, I was once a haircutter. Want me to do it for you?”

And she did. In five minutes. And it’s the very best haircut I’ve had in years.

How tidy that a fan has fans

Roger Ebert. Former movie critic, Chicago Trib and syndicated TV. I discovered his blog a few months ago and was enchanted – a fine writer, a profoundly human man and very very brave. He’s wasting away from cancer – can no longer speak or eat. He doesn’t even have a jaw anymore. And yet he blogs. And he cares. And he has his finger on the pulse of the humanity that is us. I wish I knew him.

This morning I checked in to see if he’d posted since his absolutely definitive take down of Glenn Beck following the TV star’s absolutely astonishing ‘social justice’ rant and was very glad to see he’s still bangin’ them out.

And his Glenn Beck post has 693 comments! So don’t even bother. 693 comments.

I’ll bet some of them came from the Americans on the ground in Afghanistan where it is the 167th day of the ninth year of the war there.

They are all fourth grade girls

Ed sends this.

On Wednesday, the Judiciary Committee was forced to cancel a hearing as was the Senate Armed Services Committee.

Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) tweeted today : “Disappointed. Rs refusing to allow hearings today. Had to cancel my oversight hearing on police training contracts in Afghanistan.”

Sen. Mark Udall also complained that he had to delay a hearing on the cause of Western forest fires.

Guess why.

And it’s because libs WANT them to suffer the little children

Good lord.  Micro management at its worst. Those devious Dems constructed this entire thing, just so they could keep sex offenders in Viagra. Yup.

A trillion trillion dollar piece of legislation and this is worth a Senator’s time.

Rock and hard place guys?

The GOP has itself a lil problema with the Tea Party. A new Quinnipiac poll, just out, shows that while most Tea Partiers identify with the Republican Party, they don’t necessarily support Republican incumbents.

“While voters say 44 – 39 percent that they will vote for a Republican over a Democratic candidate in this November’s Congressional elections, if there is a Tea Party candidate on the ballot, the Democrat would get 36 percent to the Republican’s 25 percent, with 15 percent for the Tea Party candidate, the independent Quinnipiac University poll finds.”

“The Tea Party could be a Republican dream – or a GOP nightmare. Members could be a boon to the GOP if they are energized to support Republican candidates. But if the Tea Party were to run its own candidates for office, any votes its candidate received would to a very great extent be coming from the GOP column”

So the GOP wants to tap the energy of the Tea Party but they’re wary – and they should be. There’s a great analogy out there for the situation in which they find themselves. Wish I could think of it.

A talking point is born

Want to stir up some trouble? But you don’t actually have anything to say?

Not a problem!

Find a pro. And all the pros have to do is whip up some anger at something or other, scare the folk good about something or other, and point a finger. Then, a lazy media is happy to jump right in to report the new talking point as ’some people are saying’. Your pot has now been stirred. Sit back, scratch your butt and watch. Such fun.

Why is Luke Russert on my teevee?

His late Dad was a teevee pundit guy. And now he practically has a show on MSNBC. Isn’t he supposed to still be in school? They treat him like a pet, or a mascot. Not really expecting serious reporting from him, just thinking it’s simply adorable that he’s there wearing long pants.

We are truly doomed.

I can breathe again!

Just leave the soup by the door

Wow. Nothing in years has knocked me low as thoroughly as I was the last three days. Woke up Saturday a.m. with a raw throat – out of nowhere. It calmed down and then Sunday a.m. I was coughing so hard it felt like I was breaking ribs. Hit a walk in clinic on Monday a.m. and was told pleurisy and bronchitis had come to visit. Got RX level cough syrup and pretty much took to bed. Sleeping is very curative. So today is a very good day, feeling much much better. For the next few days, I shall avoid public places where other germs linger and I shall make it a point to ‘sit in the sun’. That’s what Ben Franklin did and it seemed to work for him.

The world has – remarkably – pretty much carried on without my constant harping. But the harping is for me anyway – it makes me feel good. So there.

And while I begin to sniff around and see what’s been happening in my absence, may I remind us all that today is the 166th day of the ninth year of the War in Afghanistan.

Well that was fast

There’s already a huge petition ad at the top of  The Drudge Report – the very large graphic says REPEAL IT NOW. Busy, busy, busy. (Reconciliation vote hasn’t even happened yet!)

I guess hope never dies. Even when you’re a Republican.

Uh oh

Just glanced outside and I think things are moving on the horizon. Things usually don’t move on my horizon. Maybe the Republicans are right – maybe it’s end I see. Oh. My. God. The-earth-moved-under-my-feet. Shit.

Boehner is an ass

But I do notice that he’s been cutting down on the insta-tan lately. Which has to count as a good thing.

He’s on the floor of the House. Health care is going to pass and the world is going to end. Let us see what procedural wrench he will try to throw into the works now.

And the first Oscar of the evening . . .

. . . . for “Most over the top performance” – so far – goes to . . . Rep. Devin Nunes? Never heard of him. But he gets the statuette anyway.

Or you can keep up to the minute

. . . .at Talking Points Memo, where the bestest of the new Washington breed of digital reporters are liveblogging the heatlh care debate as it unfolds all over D.C.

The best $25 I ever contributed –  the Talking Points Memo ‘start-up’ a few years back. I’ll always be proud of that one.

Watching in happen

Another view of today’s events over at mac’s. It’s not all on TV!

Another reason why

Nicholas Kristof’s column in today’s NY Times describes in a few words,the devastating experience of friends of his, whose insurer cut them off in the midst of cancer treatment for the wife.

“The policy allowed it to cut Jan off because she suffered from a “chronic condition.” It stopped paying her bills in January, Zack [the husband] says.

I reached Sophie Walker, the group head of claims for InterGlobal. She said she couldn’t talk about an individual case. But she explained in an e-mail message that with a “chronic condition” the policies can have a much lower limit, $85,000, on lifetime claims. That’s the limit that Jan ran into in January, Zack says.

Then Ms. Walker gave me the company’s definition of “chronic” (you couldn’t make this up):

“Chronic means a medical condition which has at least one of the following characteristics: has no known cure; is likely to recur; requires palliative treatment; needs prolonged monitoring/ treatment; is permanent; requires specialist training/rehabilitation; is caused by changes to the body that cannot be reversed.”

That sounds like a spoof from “The Daily Show.” To translate: We’ll pay for care unless you get sick with just about anything that might be expensive. Then we’ll cut you off at the knees.

I asked InterGlobal if this was an accurate translation. I noted that by its definition, cancer, heart disease, strokes, diabetes, tennis elbow and even athlete’s foot seemed to be “chronic.” I also asked InterGlobal to name any serious disease that it did not consider “chronic.”

The next e-mail message came back from the company’s chief executive, Stephen Hartigan, who sent his “kind regards” but added that because he was “disappointed” at the tone of my inquiries, the company would have no further comment.

Here’s why

As if we didn’t already know.