eXTReMe Tracker

The Sideshow

Archive for November 2008

Check box to open new browser windows for links.

Sunday, 30 November 2008

The world is so full of a number of things

Chris Rodda on The Latest In Military Suicide Prevention: "Here at the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF), we get countless complaints about religiously based mental health and counseling programs, which, over the past few years, have been systematically replacing proven psychological and medical approaches to a multitude of issues faced by military personnel. I've seen so many truly insane, not to mention blatantly unconstitutional, ways that the military is playing with the mental well being of our troops since I began working for MRFF that I really didn't think it was possible for me to be surprised by anything anymore. Then I was sent a PowerPoint presentation by an airman at RAF Lakenheath, the largest U.S. Air Force base in England. On the MRFF scale of classifying by various expletives the egregiousness level of things that are reported to us -- "holy crap," "holy shit," and "holy f..." -- this one, promoting creationism as a means of preventing suicide among our military personnel, was definitely a "holy f...""

Glenn Greenwald covers the outrageous way the networks used experts with undisclosed conflicts of interest while being shameless conduits for illegal Pentagon propaganda.

On World AIDS day, will the media admit the truth of the way Bush administration policies have sabotaged the fight against AIDS?

Of course, highly-paid "experts" in the financial industry could never have predicted this mess.

Thank goodness Obama got so much money from small donors that he doesn't owe anything to the financial services industry. Oh, wait....

Employees stunned by employer who shares the wealth.

23:30 GMT

I've got a theory we should work this out

Digby knows our place:

The problem for the left isn't Obama, per se, it's that the political establishment, including some members who are now populating the Obama administration, see the left as the Omega wolves of the American political pack. They serve a useful purpose for the group: even though all the wolves fight amongst themselves for supremacy and have a strict pecking order, the pack is united in its mutual loathing for the Omega, which they all abuse with equal vigor. It's pack ranking at its most primitive.

For years liberals have allowed themselves to be cowed by the right (hell, they even turned the word itself into an epithet) and continue even to this day to apologize over and over again for their supposedly humiliating error of seeking equality for minorities and lifting people out of poverty, which is what apparently ruined everything.(Read Edsall's article for the full litany.) Those Beta members of the establishment who are on the leftish side are embarrassed by their associations with such losers and must go out of their way to separate themselves from them if they expect to be taken seriously --- in the wild Betas often brutalize the Omega worse than the Alphas do.

*sigh*. It's always been just like highschool.

A bad year for acorns: "I'm used to seeing so many acorns around and out in the field, it's something I just didn't believe," he said. "But this is not just not a good year for oaks. It's a zero year. There's zero production. I've never seen anything like this before." [...] The absence of acorns could have something to do with the weather, Simmons thought. But he hoped it wasn't a climatic event. "Let's hope it's not something ghastly going on with the natural world."

Nice cover. Wish I believed it.

Clips from Elvis Costello's new show, featuring Sting, President Bill, Lou Reed, and other nice surprises.

It could be bunnies.

16:01 GMT

The more things don't change

Moon of Alabama reports on further corruption of the process: The U.S. general commanding NATO forces in Afghanistan has ordered a merger of the office that releases news with "Psy Ops," which deals with propaganda, a move that goes against the alliance's policy, three officials said.

For eight years, Republicans have happily tried to cut military pay, starved the VA and even charged injured troops for their food while they were hospitalized, but for some reason when a Democrat - a member of the party that stopped some of this (although, admittedly, they didn't do enough) and forced through a new GI bill over the objections of a Republican "Commander in Chief" - is elected, military commanders need to be "reassured. Of what? That he'll be just as contemptuous of our troops as Republicans have been?

Top-down isn't really democracy, but that works fine for Obama, I guess. And his minions agree - it's not the business of the people to make our will known; it's our duty to do what we're told. Chumps.

The Talking Dog: "It's just that the last seven years have taught us that if, in responding to brutality and horror, we chose to betray the values of a civilized and law-abiding society, we will not only have failed to stop future attacks (as the events in Mumbai have shown, this is damned near impossible in any kind of open society as it is), but we will have given the attackers exactly what they want."

Listen to the .mp3 of Saturday's This is Hell: "This weekend, Chris Hedges discusses 'America's Wars of Self-Destruction,' Frances Fox Piven tells us why 'Obama Needs a Protest Movement,' George Packer will explain 'The New Liberalism,' Robert Parry will give us his insights on how the upcoming abeam administration and its policies are shaping up, Jeff Cohen tells us 'What Indy Media Heroes and History Can Teach Us,' and Larry Pinkney says, 'An Obama Presidency is More of the Same - Only Worse.'"

12:55 GMT

The colors of my father's dreams faded without a sound

Elixir de Lingerie by Lejaby Candide full cup braBra of the Week

The 22 Worst Gifts on Earth. Period. (via)

Ian Welsh has a simple solution: "Executive Compensation: Tax Them Into the Ground: The executive compensation debate is beyond tiresome and beyond stupid. It's not hard to rein in executive compensation, all you have to do is decide what the maximum pay you want someone to be able to receive is and tax most of the rest of it away. The simplest thing is to just count all income equally, tax it all at the same rate, don't allow deductions beyond a certain level (50K or so) and tax all income above, say 1 million at 90%, 95% for all income above 5 million. Don't allow too much income deferral and there you go. Slap on some "in kind" rules for corporations (yes, if your corporation pays for your car, that's salary) and while there will always be loopholes, you'll still rein in the worst excesses." (via)

Oh, look, The Washington Post has discovered that Americans are not getting the healthcare they pay for. But it sure sounds like everyone wants to nibble around the edges rather than confront the problem head-on.

I have the feeling that Matthew Yglesias doesn't get it that the problem was predicted nearly 30 years ago when Ronald Reagan started dismantling all the protections that had been built into the system to prevent just these problems.

Bill Kristol (always wrong) thinks Bush should not only pardon all the people he got to break the law and spy on Americans for him, but give them the Medal of Freedom. And Rupert Murdoch and Roger Ailes turn out to be tolerating Bill O'Reilly for the sake of ratings even though they despise him.

This woman has great taste in food and thinks Rick Noriega would make a great head of FEMA.

NOT the bra of the week. (via)

Judy Collins on The Smothers Brothers show.

01:10 GMT

Saturday, 29 November 2008

Boil the tea and put some toast on

George Walker Bush can't even sound good when the interviewer is his own sister.

Digby doesn't appear to be entirely convinced that it was just the power of the mighty blogosphere bullying poor Barack that seems to have taken Brennan out of the running to head the CIA. (Also, more on tasers and the companies that sell them and claim they are "harmless".)

Hilzoy wonders, "Who's In Charge Here? [...] Nobody was prepared for this,' Mr. Rubin said in an interview." They should have been; you could see it coming for the last 30 years.

Is Iran going to execute a blogger? Hossein Derakhshan has been arrested, charged with spying for Israel - which seems ironic indeed in light of the most recent post at his blog.

Diane observes the recent fashion of our glorious free press: "Isn't it interesting that after eight long years of unmitigated disaster the mainstream press is breaking its back trying to report on just how awful a president George W. Bush has been?" Meanwhile, Ruth notes that there are more good reasons than you might think for putting your body out there. And more from Diane on graft and corruption in California.

Boing Boing talks to The Yes Men, and Merrill Lynch is a bunch of snobs.

Kinksgiving: BDSM turkey-dressing, and Ten of the Kinkiest Science Fiction Books You'll Ever Read.

Ray Davies

13:45 GMT

Friday, 28 November 2008

I want pumpkin pie

Glenn Greenwald finds some interesting amnesia in the NYT, where they pretend that the administration was alone in giving a bass-ackwards explanation of the coup in Venezuela:

That was one of the most Orwellian editorials written in the last decade. The Times -- in the very first line -- mimicked the claim of the Bush administration that Chavez "resigned," even though, several paragraphs later, they expressly acknowledged that Chavez "was compelled to resign by military commanders" (the definition of a "coup"). Further mimicking the administration, the Times perversely celebrated the coup as safeguarding "Venezuelan democracy" ("Venezuelan democracy is no longer threatened by a would-be dictator"), even though the coup deposed someone whom the Times Editorial itself said "was elected president in 1998" and -- again using the Times' own language -- "handed power to" an unelected, pro-American "respected business leader, Pedro Carmona," who quickly proceeded to dissolve the democratically elected National Assembly, the Supreme Court and other key institutions.


The Times' propagandistic cheer-leading for the military coup in Venezuela is an important illustrative event which should be regretted, but not erased. There are vital lessons from the last eight years that get obscured when influential outlets such as the Times Editorial Page try to erase their own responsibility for events and heap all blame on "the Bush administration" -- which was able to do what it did only because it enjoyed the acquiescence, complicity and often blind support from so many of our leading political and media institutions.

So Planned Parenthood is offering gift certificates: "The certificates come in $25 increments. They can be used for everything from birth control to $58 examinations that include breast exams and pap tests. Men who receive healthcare at Planned Parenthood can use them too." But World Nut Daily described it differently....

Apparently, now that Paulson has spent all the money Congress gave him, the only effect being to protect the most culpable from having to suffer for their sins while completely failing to ameliorate any of the real problems they've created for our economy, he wants more money he can spend the same way. Gosh, I wonder what Congress will say....

I thought at first that this photograph was a painting.

22:38 GMT

Dr. Carol's Hindsight Parade


A few months ago I found myself at a meeting of economists and finance officials, discussing - what else? - the crisis. There was a lot of soul-searching going on. One senior policy maker asked, "Why didn't we see this coming?"

There was, of course, only one thing to say in reply, so I said it: "What do you mean 'we,' white man?"

"The Most Dangerous Woman in the World" - But some people have doubts that this woman was anything but a victim of BushCheneyCo.'s war of terror, and outside of the United States, her story is raising questions.

People saw oil prices shooting up and everyone predicting they'd only get worse, so they tried to plan for the future, and that didn't work out too well. I'm beginning to think that the only folks who might not be screwed are the ones who ignored everyone's advice and just kept all their money in a savings account. Now the question is whether to take it out and put it in a mattress.

Last night I mentioned to someone that I'd gotten bored watching snooker after it got taken over by people who played so careful that there were few magic moments left anymore. Jimmy White, he was magic - I once watched him clear the table in seven minutes, and I can't recall how many times I saw him do things that just seemed to defy the laws of physics. The person I was talking to said Ronnie O' Sullivan still takes daring shots and does neat things, and had broken the record - not only clearing the table in around five minutes, but getting the highest possible score for a single turn at the table ("break"), a 147. Naturally, I had to look that up on YouTube. (Basics: You have to sink a red ball before sinking another color until you've cleared all the reds, and the highest scoring ball is black. Non-red balls are always returned to the table if there are any reds left. Once the reds are cleared, you have to hit the colors in order, ending with the black.)

13:14 GMT


I haven't figured out how many of them there are, yet, but it wasn't until I realized I had e-mails from three different online "newspapers" with the same favicon that I realized it wasn't just The Washington Independent. (And then I wondered if the state of Washington has one, too, and what it's called.)

The Minnesota Independent says: "Screw U: University students turned away from polls on Election Day: As of Tuesday night, Hennepin County officials had yet to recount ballots from Minneapolis' Precinct 1, Ward 3. But when they do, there likely won't be as many ballots to count as there were voters who tried to cast them. Residents of a student cooperative on the University of Minnesota campus weren't able to register at their polling place this year like they did in past elections. The problem: Election officials would not accept the same kind of proof of residency they had in the past. It remains unclear how many students were turned away - and whether their votes could have an impact in the still up-in-the-air U.S. Senate race."

The New Mexico Independent says, "As Obama promises union push, business promises to push back" - Obama has promised to support card-check for unions, but cheap-labor conservatives (aka Rolls-Royce Republicans) will lie and threaten and fight to prevent anything that makes it easier for workers to protect themselves.

The Washington Independent says, "Faith and the Uniform: Two atheistic groups and a lawsuit call on Washington to end its sanction of religion in the military. Critics decry this as an attack on a venerable tradition. But the blend of martial and spiritual in the armed forces is largely the residue of the fight again communism in the late 1940s and 1950s. What will the Obama administration do?" Hell, even a roll-back to pre-2000 levels would be a vast improvement over what Bush has done to the military by allowing bullying by his Christianist soldiers.

01:05 GMT

Thursday, 27 November 2008

Moral clarity

Glenn Greenwald on How the media talks about torture and the rule of law:

All of this underscores a crucial fact: a major reason why the Bush administration was able to break numerous laws in general, and subject detainees to illegal torture specifically, is because the media immediately mimicked the Orwellian methods adopted by the administration to speak about and obfuscate these matters. Objective propositions that were never in dispute and cannot be reasonably disputed were denied by the Bush administration, and -- for that reason alone (one side says it's true) -- the media immediately depicted these objective facts as subject to reasonable dispute.

Hence: "war crimes" were transformed into "policy disputes" between hawkish defenders of the country and shrill, soft-on-terror liberals. "Torture" became "enhanced interrogation techniques which critics call torture." And, most of all, flagrant lawbreaking -- doing X when the law says: "X is a felony" -- became acting "pursuant to robust theories of executive power" or "expansive interpretations of statutes and treaties" or, at worst, "in circumvention of legal frameworks."

All of that is what has created the warped Beltway consensus that Bush officials who broke the law, committed war crimes and other felonies, should be absolutely immunized from the consequences of their crimes. That's because when government officials commit "crimes," they're not actually crimes -- they're mere "policy disputes among people in good faith." Only "incendiary" liberals believe that government officials who break the law should be subject to accusations as shrill and extreme as: "they committed crimes."

(And don't miss that link to what Jonathan Turley had to say to Rachel Maddow.)

15:17 GMT

Happy Thanksgiving

Sorry about the light posting yesterday, but I felt like crap. At least it wasn't as bad as last time.

Hey, what do you know, The Charleston Gazzette endorsed single-payer.

Help not on the way: "The four-unit shotgun house that Sandra Marshall bought after decades of double shifts has sat untouched since the flooding of Hurricane Katrina, while nearly $850 million in federal aid for her and thousands of other mom-and-pop landlords sits on a bureaucratic shelf."

Fuzzy math: "Rather, these two figures are undermeasuring the weakness in the labor market. By some measures, in fact, the job situation is worse than it has been at any time since 1994. [...] The data on people not in the work force show the number of people not looking for work because they're discouraged about finding jobs has risen from 276,000 in September 2007 to 467,000 in September 2008-up 70 percent. The percentage of people unemployed for more than 15 weeks stood at 2.3 percent in September 2008, up from 1.6 percent in September 2007, a rise of nearly 45 percent. But the most troublesome is the U6. The U6 is sort of the summa of job angst, a shorthand tally for the aggregate of job-related frustration. (Moneybox covered some of this terrain back in 2004.) To compile the U6, the BLS takes the number of unemployed, plus all marginally attached workers, plus all of those employed part-time for economic reasons, and then calculates that total as a percentage of the sum of the entire civilian labor force plus marginally attached workers. The U6 in September rose to 11 percent, its highest level since the data series started in 1994 and significantly higher than it was in the last recession, in 2001."

Unbossed unpacks the GAO report on outsourcing at the Department of Labor: "In the case of the DOL, it turns out that after some work has been privatized, contractors have been unable to perform all the work, so government workers have had to continue to do work that was supposed to be done by the contractor. The cost of the public employees' labor on work that has been "contracted out" is not included in assessing costs and benefits." As we have seen from the beginning, the Cheneyfied contract does not appear to include a requirement that the contracting companies actually do the work for which they are paid (by you, the taxpayer). The only good news about this one is that after they don't do the work, government employees are allowed to complete the job.

Rorschach continues the tradition with William S. Burroughs' Thanksgiving Prayer.

Fox is replacing its morning kid's programming with infomercials.

When reading the news makes me hungry to get back in touch with having actual human feeling, I listen to Beethoven's Violin Concerto. Thanks to Dominic for finding me this PBS presentation by the Boston Symphony Orchestra, conducted by James Levine with Christian Tetzlaff on violin. (There's also some bonus Dvorak on the same page.

12:58 GMT

Wednesday, 26 November 2008

It's American as apple pie

It appears Sally Quinn has issued her instructions to the Obamas for how to curtsey if they don't want to end up being treated like the Clintons.

Jason Rosenbaum says, "Expose the Right and we win health care [...] Having arguments is one thing, and yes, reasonable people can disagree on issues like health care. But it's important that the general public understand who's pushing arguments like "We can't afford health care in an economic crisis" or "big government health care is not the solution we need" and why they are pushing those arguments. As conservatives are making clear, they aren't against health care for ideological reasons so much as for partisan reasons."

"Four Actions for single-payer national health care [...] "We need to say loud and clear that single-payer national health care is the ultimate bail out plan."

"Bush Labor Department misled Congress in effort to privatize jobs: President George W. Bush's Labor Department misled Congress in an effort to prove outsourcing jobs to private companies was more efficient than assigning the jobs to government employees, according to a Government Accountability Office report released Monday." He can lie all he wants to, but you still have to be an idiot to believe this stuff.

Eugene Robinson reckons that help is not on the way fast enough: "I don't think ideology explains it all, though. Even if he wanted to make a real run at righting the economy, at this point Bush has neither the energy nor the credibility to make it happen. Frankly, he comes off as less a lame duck than a cooked goose. [...] James Baker, the former secretary of state and current Republican eminence grise, made an amazing suggestion on "Meet the Press" Sunday -- that Bush and Obama develop and announce a joint economic rescue program. It was a stunning acknowledgment of how weak the Bush presidency has become and how dangerous it would be to spend the next two months meandering from crisis to crisis."

Coming Home 2008 - Support our troops: Bring 'em back alive, and take care of our obligations to them.

Sammy's Nightmare

Spacecrab re-finds his city: "It could just as well have been 1972..."

Buzzcook reminds me* that Tom Lehrer also had something to say about racial harmony and other sorts of love.

15:54 GMT

Trawling the net

If I hear one more person talk about all the great stuff Obama's going to do because he's black and understands the things that black people allegedly understand after slavery &etc., I may have to explode in a rant about how stupid and racist it is to believe such crap. I really wish those people would get it through their tiny minds that black people really are just like white people, and all the other flavors of people, in that they can be nice, or not, smart, or not, empathetic, or not - just like real people. I didn't think I'd have to point this out, but it keeps happening.

Wouldn't it be nice if Illinois governor Rod Blagojevic were to tap a good progressive to fill Obama's Senate seat? Maybe you can help.

Anyone wondering who will replace Joe Biden in the Senate? Fred Clark has that story, and news that Delaware's Governor-elect has come up with a refreshing alternative to a big inaugural ball.

It appears Ann Coulter will not be able to promote her latest book whining about liberals because her jaw has been wired shut. And I failed to notice earlier that bin Laden's driver has been sent back to Yemen.

The class war in one easy (oversimplified) sentence.

How close is the Minnesota recount? Close enough that this matters: "According to the secretary of state's website, 1,074 people in Clay County voted on Election Day but only 1,069 ballots were produced by the county for the recount. In St. Louis County, 1,649 people voted on Election Day but the county turned over 1,646 ballots for the recount. And in Washington County, 1,464 voted on Election Day but 1,449 ballots were turned over for the recount. The shortfall can easily shift the election to Franken or Coleman's favor because the race between the candidates is so close."

Cernig alerts me that Sara Robinson has provided a bit of verbal karate for those who expect to be confronted by knee-jerk conservative relatives over the Thanksgiving dinner table.

I still believe it's a good bet that Saxby Chambliss never won that 2002 race. Experts agree. And, "The contractor, Chris Hood, was ordered by the President of Diebold, Bob Urosevich, to install uncertified software patches on machines in predominantly Democratic counties, according to Mr. Hood. Saxby Chambliss won a surprising victory after trailing badly in the pre-election polls."

An editorial cartoon

A commenter suggests that what might be a Shorter Phil Ochs was written first by Tom Lehrer.

00:52 GMT

Tuesday, 25 November 2008

Our pistols are hungry and our tempers are short

Down in comments, Mike alerts me to this article rounding up evidence that the Obama administration will be blatantly Old School War Hawks: "Accordingly, that new generation of antiwar policy analysts in Washington has been taught a rather painful lesson. They won't make the mistake of publicly expressing their antiwar views again, if anything, they will err on the side of utterances of a markedly violent, unilateralist kind, and the generation behind them will be instructed to keep their mouths shut as well. We are not just experiencing a short term fight over patronage within the Obama administration, but one that will shape the contours of acceptable dissent within the foreign policy establishment for many years. It is a great tragedy that will cast a long shadow."

Remember this? "Almost 18 months after a pornography conviction that could have sent her to jail for 40 years was thrown out, former Norwich substitute teacher Julie Amero plead guilty to a single charge of disorderly conduct Friday afternoon. The plea deal before Superior Court Judge Robert E. Young in Norwich ends a long-running drama that attracted attention from around the world. ... She had originally been charged with 10 counts of risk of injury to a minor and later convicted on four of them. ... In June of 2007, Judge Hillary B. Strackbein tossed out Amero's conviction on charges that she intentionally caused a stream of 'pop-up' pornography on the computer in her classroom and allowed students to view it. Confronted with evidence compiled by forensic computer experts, Strackbein ordered a new trial, saying the conviction was based on 'erroneous' and 'false information.'"

Atrios is right as usual about this article which is an interview with an anonymous US Senator. What the hell is that? OK, I realize it's Roger Simon, who was just as ridiculous in his previous employment (and good riddance), and it's Politico, but really, if they're anonymous you can just make the stuff up (which they do anyway). And what's the content that so urgently required anonymity? Just another Republican trying to deny the fact that the public rewarded them for their accomplishments this time.

It occurred to me during my earlier foray into the Phil Ochs listings at YouTube that if I'd been able to post a link to this song a few years ago, a number of my friends would probably have quit speaking to me. Most of them have since come to their senses, but their willingness to be part of the warmongering chorus at the time was very possibly the scariest thing I was seeing, because dammit, they knew better.

18:33 GMT

The power and the glory

Ruth reports, "Prosecution Got a Conviction in Holy Land Foundation Trial: The prosecution succeeded, and that is the only way I can lead off on this embarrassing report. A jury of twelve Dallas residents believed a prosecution that I also witnessed, and handed down a conviction on all counts - of Muslim charities being directly supportive of Hamas after that group was declared a terrorist operation. I cannot say the defendants, including the Holy Land Foundation itself, were found guilty."

It's certainly pretty silly for conservatives to keep harping on the liberal plot to revive the Fairness Doctrine when it seems clear that absolutely no one with any power seems to have any interest in doing so. But would a return of the Fairness Doctrine be such a bad thing?

"The Decline and Fall of the First MBA President: "If nothing else, George W. Bush is an irony-producing machine. After all, the collapse of the American economy, perhaps the enduring legacy of Bush's tenure in the White House, was presided over by the man many once lauded as the nation's "first MBA President." Now with the Bush recession deepening into a crisis of historic proportions, "MBA President" has joined expressions like "mission to Mars", "weapons of mass destruction" and "we do not torture" among the cruel jokes of the Bush years."

At Angry Bear, Tilman Tacke and Robert Waldmann have a little report for you on The Relative Efficiency of Public and Private Health Care. Meanwhile, Massachusetts provides an example of how the "best" healthcare may not mean much, and Gallup finally finds a profession that people still respect - nursing.

Dean Baker says the NYT got it exactly right in this editorial about Obama's choice of economic advisors. The Washington Post, on the other hand, is apparently too Kool-Aid sodden to see past its neoconism: "The Post thinks its important to evaluate school teachers by their performance. Why is it so reluctant to use performance as a criterion to evaluate economic policymakers?" And he suggests that there's something wrong when the WaPo finds it remarkable that France and other countries are refusing to cut spending in hard times rather than that "a major country is pursuing incredibly foolish policies that will damage both its own economy and the world economy."

Dr. Benway explains.

Phil Ochs and Jim Glover

16:25 GMT

Chilly blogging

The 2nd Circuit decided that the 4th Amendment's warrant clause doesn't apply overseas, even if you're an American citizen. In other words, they can spy on me all they want with no probable cause.

BTD warns that "a false meme is beginning to gain traction among Democrats - to wit, that the GOP lost because of their politics, not their results of their policies. [...] This is just wrong. Republican politics failed because Republican policies failed." Also, Jeralyn says it looks like Obama will disappoint marijuana reformers, and BTD defends "the left flank" of the blogosphere.

I can't be the only person who is enjoying the irony of the fact that Tom Friedman's family fortune has just trickled up.

David Sirota on the threat of a center-right Obama administration.

Help! Hit by the kind of plumbing emergency you usually only see on TV (and are really glad isn't happening to you), Lambert asks for our help. Give what you can, folks, I need him to be free to cover one of my favorite obsessions.

Is there anyone who hasn't seen a trailer for Frost/Nixon yet? This one is pretty clean but for a minute I was afraid it was never going to stop buffering.

02:36 GMT

Monday, 24 November 2008

Anyone for shuffleboard?

Shrimplate on viral memes in Flu Season: "I have long wished that economists would subject their work to scientific and rational analysis. Instead of that, the discipline (for lack of a better word) seems to be mired in cold-war assumptions fashioned more to oppose an old and non-existent Soviet ideology than to actually tell us about how the world works."

Nate Silver is projecting Al Franken to win by a very narrow majority - but could he be wrong? And if he's right, Norm Coleman will probably contest it, and the GOP has already set everyone up (with plenty of help from the media) to believe it wasn't a legitimate win.

I watched Democracy NOW! with the second part of the interview with Bill Ayers and Bernadine Dohrn, but most importantly there's the first address by Professor Noam Chomsky since the election, and oh, man, is it ever true. (I believe the permalink for that will be this.)

Everything the cops know about tasers, they learned from Taser International Inc. "And nobody seems to think there's anything wrong with the police inflicting horrible pain on people on the thinnest of pretexts. As long as there's no permanent damage, there's no harm in it. Heck, even if there is permanent damage, it's the victim's fault for failing to be properly cooperative --- or agreeing to do it as part of their job."

"A Whoop-Dee-Damn-Do-Gooder: [...] Derrick Coleman was often criticized during his NBA career for being lazy because he didn't confuse his career with his life. Turns out that this "lazy" man is working very hard to make his home town a better place."

Google does seem to agree that the author of the statement, "Bank failures are caused by depositors who don't deposit enough money to cover losses due to mismanagement," is Dan Quayle.

And now, a few words of advice from William S. Burroughs.

15:46 GMT

More coffee, please

Annie had a chance to deliver her elevator speech to the editor of Newsweek, and told him the media was leaving a vital element out of the healthcare story: "The almost three million nurses in the US provide about 95% of all reimbursed healthcare services. Yet, because they are not investors and business owners, instead, overwhelmingly practicing as employees, they are not represented at the nation's health policy and key decision-making tables. All media ignores professional nursing and fails to include its role and issues across all healthcare reportage."

Right on time, Mark Halperin announces that it's time to be unfair to Obama!

Oh, look, a graph demonstrating the sudden rise in the need for media figures to announce that we are a "center-right" nation.

I guess Citigroup really needed that money so they could take out ads telling us we could trust them.

Thanks to Bush, the Chinese no longer have to listen to America.

The Talking Dog interview with Buz Eisenberg, a professor of constitutional law and criminal justice and attorney for four current or former detainees at Guantanamo Bay.

Change you wouldn't believe: "A senior Obama campaign official shared with The Washington Note that In July 2008, the McCain and Obama camps began to work secretly behind the scenes to assemble large rosters of potential personnel for the administration that only one of the candidates would lead. Lists comprised of Democrats and Republicans were assembled, sorted into areas of policy expertise, so that the roster could be called on after the election by either the Obama or McCain transition teams. This kind of out-of-sight coordination is rare between battling presidential camps and provides some indication that both Obama and McCain intended to draw expertise into their governments from both sides of the aisle -- or at least they wanted to appear interested in doing so if the information leaked out about the list development process."

So many questions: Will Obama act to increase inequality? Did Republicons make us safer by weakening us? Did 7,075 Republicans really forget to sign their absentee ballot requests?

A little reminder from Uggabugga.

Why Beth Israel bought a robot.

12:07 GMT

Sunday, 23 November 2008

And the painted ponies go up and down

Wouldn't it be nice if Saxby Chambliss' use of stinky campaign ads in the runoff for his Senate seat actually sank him this time?

Did we mention that, while everything is going routinely in Minnesota, the Republicons are stinking up the place?

Oh, please let the conservative reactionary movement be over.

Don Corrigan says Sarah Palin is still talking about Joe the Plumber and his friends, but he sure wishes she'd introduce another guy: "For my money, I wish she would have found Randy the Regulator this fall. He has been missing for years, and boy have we been paying for it! From Wall Street to the high school cafeteria, the absence of Randy the Regulator has hurt us all big time." This guy makes so much sense that it's amazing he can keep his job.

Myths and Facts about Oil Refineries in the United States - get some verbal karate here.

"Their Hands Are Bloody With The Guts Of Humanity."

Conservative Politics = Death.

Some things haven't changed. I'm not the only one.

Who was Jeannette Rankin? She was a singular woman, and now there is a movie, A Single Woman. (Warning: That's also your title music link.)

16:42 GMT

All that glitters

William Greider says, "The Dirty Secret of the Financial Crisis: Our Banking System's Broken: [...] Paulson was trapped by these circumstances (and his own mendacity). Each time he tried to change the script, market insiders became even more alarmed. Congress is trapped too. So is President-elect Obama. From the outset of the crisis, the essential fallacy shared by governing influentials has been a wishful assumption that quick interventions with tons of public money would somehow restore the system to "normal" without disturbing free-market principles. Replenished banks would start lending again and lead us to recovery. "Normal" is not going to happen. If the new president does not break free of the denial and act decisively, his administration will be dangerously compromised from the start."

Who was responsible for the financial crisis? "The financial crisis wasn't the fault of the people seeking loans. And it wasn't the fault of the Community Reinvestment Act (something put in place years earlier) or even Fanny Mae or Freddy Mac. Much fault can be laid on the high-flying companies and on Alan Greenspan's Fed which refused to start writing any regulations on the home mortgage market until last December and even then, they were not in place until mid-2008."

"You've Been Robbed: On last night's Bill Moyers' Journal, Joe Nocera, featured financial reporter, moved right up next to using a line that I am waiting to hear. Then, instead of saying that Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson was robbing the U.S., misusing public money, he said Paulson was resigning [...] We aren't so much in a Depression, as in an absence of constitutional government. Instead of taking the money and running, the war criminals have taken the money and stayed."

13:24 GMT

Saturday, 22 November 2008

Oh, the stories we'll tell

Simone Perele Avant Premiere plunge low neck half cup braBra of the Week

Another WTF item from Pravda on the Potomac.

Lest we forget: Robert Gates is still the wrong man for the job.

Thers: "As a parent, you know the question is coming someday, but I gotta tell ya, you're just never ready for it."

Apparently, Suburban Guerrilla is more educated than The Sideshow, which is more educated than Krugman's blog. Or maybe you need more education to read her blog, and less education to read Krugman...? Not sure how it works, but it's amusing.

Athenae: "They created a lawless prison. If I had to sum up the past eight years in a single sentence that would be it. They created a lawless prison. And I'm not talking about Guantanamo. I'm not talking about Guantanamo at all."

This was actually written before the battle for Waxman, but it's an important point: Those Congressional chairmanships we haven't really been paying much attention to are really where an awful lot of the action is, and we should be pushing to strengthen the progressives we've elected.

Talking babydoll tolerance and pre-meditated shock: "I promise you that outrage is considered foreplay in Republican households."

Victory! "The government of Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki is systematically dismissing Iraqi oversight officials, who were installed to fight corruption in Iraqi ministries by order of the American occupation administration, which had hoped to bring Western standards of accountability to the notoriously opaque and graft-ridden bureaucracy here." Via Gary Farber, where I also learned about the Mayberry solution to Richard Nixon.


23:49 GMT

I see it all through my window, it seems

Yes, I did know that a Secretary of the Treasury had already been named before I posted the article about Larry Summers, but leaving aside the fact that Tim Geithner's isn't a name I associate with anything other than Larry Summers, and given that there's still no law preventing Larry Summers from being placed somewhere else in Obama's administration, I didn't think this was something it was safe to forget about.

A timely resignation: "Palo Alto Police Chief Lynne Johnson announced her retirement Thursday, citing the strain of a controversy she sparked nearly a month ago with comments that appeared to endorse racial profiling. Johnson said at an Oct. 30 public meeting at City Hall that she had directed officers to broadly question African American men while searching for suspects in a string of recent street robberies."

Why they'll fight us tooth and nail: "U.S. News' James Pethokoukis and Cato's Michael Cannon believe that if Obama is successful in passing a national healthcare plan, Americans will not only like it, but will reward Democrats for having passed it. As a result, Pethokoukis and Cannon conclude, conservatives need to block the reform effort, whether it's a good idea or not."

It's simple: "Basically, attempts to tie various random regulations to mythical abortion 'centrism' is a giant scam. Making women wait 24 hours to obtain an abortion isn't going to stop educated women who live in major cities from obtaining an aboriton no matter what the reason, and they make it more difficult for a poor women who lives 150 miles from an abortion provider to obtain one even if William Saletan himself would bless her choice. Which is why -- even leaving aside the question of why we should care what Ross Douthat or William Saletan thinks about a woman's reasons for obtaining an abortion in the first place -- leaving the choice to the affected women with a minimum of pointless restrictions is the right policy choice."

"Nobody can cross this river without getting wet." ... "With so much attention understandably focused on the economy and the incoming administration, the struggles being faced by G.I.'s coming home from combat overseas are receding even further from the public's consciousness."

I'm all for a Constitutional amendment forbidding Bush (and any successor) to do what Bushes do in terms of pardoning anyone who might testify against them (the FFs made clear their assumption that any president who did so would be impeached, but that obviously hasn't happened), but the thing is I just don't think a mere bill gets around the fact that the Constitution itself lets a president pardon people for anything without explanation, full stop. Still, it's a good thing to talk about, and if a bill makes that discussion more likely, that's just fine.

"Peak Hour"

20:12 GMT

Change you won't believe

Mark Ames in The Nation on Larry Summers:

We all know in the backs of our minds that Barack Obama's incredible victory will eventually be followed by disappointment. But does it have to come so soon, and hit so hard? The answer will be yes, if Lawrence Summers is named treasury secretary in the president-elect's cabinet, as many observers believe will be the case. Summers was one of the key architects of our financial crisis--hiring him to fix the economy makes as much sense as appointing Paul Wolfowitz to oversee the Iraq withdrawal. And when you look at the trail of economic destruction Summers left behind in other crisis-stricken countries who sought his advice in the past, then "terror" might be a more appropriate word than "disappointment."

The conventional wisdom is that Summers is the "centrist" choice--Fareed Zakaria ("I think Summers is an extraordinarily brilliant guy") and David Gergen ("Larry Summers would be superb at this job"), two titans of centrism, both weighed in Sunday on the Stephanopoulos show in favor of Summers. And yet so far the debate over Summers has been largely confined to two outrageous moments in his career: his 1991 World Bank memo calling Africa "UNDER-polluted," and his more recent declarations, while serving as president of Harvard, about women's genetic inferiority in math and science. By themselves, these two incidents might be dismissed as merely provocative in a maverick-moron sort of way, as many of Summers' supporters argue; but in the context of Summers's track record, in which he oversaw the destruction of entire economies and covered up cronyism and corruption, his Africa memo and sexist declarations aren't exceptions but rather part of a disturbing pattern.

From the start, Summers has been on the wrong side of Obama's supporters. In 1982, while still a graduate student at Harvard, Summers was brought to Washington by his dissertation advisor Martin Feldstein, the supply-side economist, to serve on Ronald Reagan's Council of Economic Advisors. Those first years in the Reagan administration were crucial in the right-wing war against New Deal regulation of the banking system and financial markets--a war that Reagan's team won, and that we're all paying for today.

Other countries that have been helped by Mr. Summers when they were in economic crisis include Lithuania, where he managed to double the suicide rate.

The fact that Larry Summers is now part of the Democratic Party cocktail circuit doesn't mitigate this; on the contrary, it just says terrible things about the Democratic Party, who may not be quite as crazy and horrible as the Republicons, but that's an increasingly low bar. Read on....

12:43 GMT

Thoughts they cannot defend

Digby discusses the innocent bystanders in the media, who have absolutely no control over what stories get covered, and how.

Let us gnash our teeth that the wisdom conferred by military service is not held by our incoming president, much the same as with our current White House occupant - who, as we all know, didn't get what starting wars might unleash. Just think, we could have had that famous much-decorated peacenik John Sidney McCain.

Glenn Beck is shocked at the deteriorating discourse in America. O-kayyyyyyyyy....

The unexpected jump in unemployment. Because nobody could have predicted....

Is Charles Windsor trying to Bring down the monarchy?

Ten of the contested Minnesota ballots have been put online, and you can vote on how those votes should be allocated, and see how others voted on them. (Plus, a buncha more interesting links.)

I can't decide what to link at World-O-Crap, so go read it all.

The Moody Blues

01:53 GMT

Friday, 21 November 2008

Scattered light

Ruth passed me this link with the note, "Darth snarls," but there's actually some interesting background on the story of the Cheney/Gonazales indictments and the privatized prison corruption at the bottom of it.

Typical: "A recount watchdog for Norm Coleman flags a ballot because the voter put a check next to Al Franken's name instead of blacking in the oval. A Franken monitor challenges an apparent vote for Coleman because Franken's name is also marked." Let me see if I can guess the difference between these two questions....

Free Dr. Pepper! "Dr Pepper is making good on its promise of free soda now that the release of Guns N' Roses' "Chinese Democracy" is a reality. The soft-drink maker said in March that it would give a free soda to everyone in America if the album dropped in 2008. "Chinese Democracy," infamously delayed since recording began in 1994, goes on sale Sunday." Damn, I don't get one.

Krugman says the wingers (or at least one of their fabulous "experts") are now trying to claim that Keynesian policies obviously failed because Lyndon's Great Society was a failure, although Keynesian policies had nothing to do with the Great Society programs. What he doesn't say is that the other problem with this formulation is that the Great Society programs did work, and cut poverty in the US dramatically before they were dismantled by the Republicans. Meanwhile, he warns that things can get a whole lot worse before Obama takes over in January.

Skimble on Fixing the unfixable: "All the hot air about who Obama should or shouldn't appoint to his cabinet won't do a damn thing about bringing to justice the people responsible for this."

Since people have been asking, the prepared text of the speech Mukasey was giving to the Federalist Society when he had his medical emergency. I'm sure you will find much to disagree with. For those who are wondering, this is what he said just before he collapsed: "And I am hopeful that some time from now, after the next Administration has had the chance to review the decisions made and the legal advice provided, it will acknowledge that despite any policy differences, the national security lawyers in this Administration acted professionally and in good faith and that the country was safer as a result." He said, "as a result" three times and then fell over. (Video.)

22:56 GMT

Everything new is old again

Malcolm Gladwell in The New Yorker explains how and why they screwed us:

The years just after the Second World War were a time of great industrial upheaval in the United States. Strikes were commonplace. Workers moved from one company to another. Runaway inflation was eroding the value of wages. In the uncertain nineteen-forties, in the wake of the Depression and the war, workers wanted security, and in 1949 the head of the Toledo, Ohio, local of the United Auto Workers, Richard Gosser, came up with a proposal. The workers of Toledo needed pensions. But, he said, the pension plan should be regional, spread across the many small auto-parts makers, electrical-appliance manufacturers, and plastics shops in the Toledo area. That way, if workers switched jobs they could take their pension credits with them, and if a company went bankrupt its workers' retirement would be safe. Every company in the area, Gosser proposed, should pay ten cents an hour, per worker, into a centralized fund.

The business owners of Toledo reacted immediately. "They were terrified," says Jennifer Klein, a labor historian at Yale University, who has written about the Toledo case. "They organized a trade association to stop the plan. In the business press, they actually said, `This idea might be efficient and rational. But it's too dangerous.' Some of the larger employers stepped forward and said, `We'll offer you a company pension. Forget about that whole other idea.' They took on the costs of setting up an individual company pension, at great expense, in order to head off what they saw as too much organized power for workers in the region."

A year later, the same issue came up in Detroit. The president of General Motors at the time was Charles E. Wilson, known as Engine Charlie. Wilson was one of the highest-paid corporate executives in America, earning $586,100 (and paying, incidentally, $430,350 in taxes). He was in contract talks with Walter Reuther, the national president of the U.A.W. The two men had already agreed on a cost-of-living allowance. Now Wilson went one step further, and, for the first time, offered every G.M. employee health-care benefits and a pension.

Reuther had his doubts. He lived in a northwest Detroit bungalow, and drove a 1940 Chevrolet. His salary was ten thousand dollars a year. He was the son of a Debsian Socialist, worked for the Socialist Party during his college days, and went to the Soviet Union in the nineteen-thirties to teach peasants how to be auto machinists. His inclination was to fight for changes that benefitted every worker, not just those lucky enough to be employed by General Motors.

There's a certain irony in the fact that Big Business wants now to divest itself of the very mechanisms they once used to fatten themselves, somehow apparently thinking that Americans who have no benefits and no jobs will just keep buying their products (made in Brazil? (via)) and never complain - or strike.

16:06 GMT

This day will last a thousand years

I can't help thinking it Means Something that Mukasey was struck dumb while trying to defend torture to the anti-American Federalist Society.

Nate Silver interviewed John Ziegler about the bizarre poll he commissioned from Zogby to "prove" that Obama voters were ill-informed on "important issues" in the campaign. Hilarity ensues. (Alas, transcript only.)

Jane Hamsher says that placing Waxman at the head of the Energy and Commerce Committee in preference to Dingell is a huge blow to the Blue Dogs. "As one wag put it, 'Dingell should have just endorsed McCain if he wanted to keep his gavel.'"

TChris fleshes-out the Cheney/Gonzales indictment story. More clown circus expected since the arraignment is scheduled for today.

Sam Stein provides a nice headline for us: "McCain Pollster Explains Loss, Calls Frank Luntz A Moron."

It's funny, there doesn't seem to be much objection on either side (including Left Blogistan) to the appointment of Hillary Clinton as Obama's Secretary of State, but Eric Boehlert notices one exceptional constituency: "So we go back to our original point. Who was Scarborough talking about when he kept referring to these detractors who Hitchens represented. Who were these SoS "critics"? Answer: Scarborough was talking about the Beltway press corps. And if the Beltway press corps thinks Clinton should not be SOS, then that's big news."

"The Day Begins"

13:35 GMT

Everything's comin' up roses

Rahm has been running around talking about universal healthcare as if it's a good thing, which is actually a lot better than what was going on before the election. Also, the wingers hate Rahm, which is another thing in his favor.

Say what you will, but at least the WSJ op-ed page has a column admitting that America voted for liberalism, which is more than the rest of the corporate media seems willing to admit.

Diane says: "Rosa Brooks has noticed all the little gifts the Bush administration is leaving behind for the incoming Obama administration. The Federal Register is working overtime to keep up with all of the regulatory changes and executive orders which have issued in the past several months." Meanwhile, Ruth reckons putting Daschle in charge of HHS is a good thing.

Pruning Shears: "We have just found out that the Federal Reserve and the Treasury have spent more money on the financial system in inflation-adjusted dollars than we did in World War II. How exactly the money is being spent and who in particular has benefited is basically a complete mystery. Bloomberg News - not, remember, a branch of the federal government - has filed a lawsuit to obtain details on where it has gone. Congress ought to be asking the same questions and could much more easily find out. But instead we have politicians squabbling about relatively small amounts based on how much their constituents depend on the domestic auto industry. The much larger executive overreach passes unnoticed." Jeez. Or jizz, as the case may be.

More destruction on the out: USDA to allow factory fish to be labelled "organic". Maybe the Dems can add that to their list of other things they'll need to stop or undo. "'The House, in consultation with the incoming administration and relevant committees, will review what oversight tools are at our disposal regarding this and other last-minute attempts to inflict severe damage to the law in the waning moments of the Bush administration,' Hammill said."

Everything explained - simply.

Best runway performance in sensible shoes.

00:48 GMT

Thursday, 20 November 2008

Talk, talk

Doghouse Riley: "I've had a few decades to ponder this by now, between the time the grey old power brokers swore never again to nominate a raging Bolshevik like George Stanley McGovern and the time, earlier this very year, when their ironic Ché teeshirt-wearin' grandchildren explained the wisdom of the thing to me all over again. And, of course, in that time I've viewed the arc of the other party with revulsion and derision in pretty much equal measures. I don't have any better answer now than I did in 1973: Democrats tolerate Republican excesses in the hopes that they'll get their shot and will be tolerated in turn. The fact that the opposite is always the case never seems to occur to them."

Digby on Talkers Revealed: This is a very interesting article written by a former right wing talk show producer revealing the secrets of the trade. I think the thing I find most interesting about it is that this fellow is obviously a fairly level headed guy but it took until the obnoxious talk radio coverage of Katrina for him to realize that their entire schtick was a fraud. I think that may be something that happened to a fair number of people. There was something so other-worldly about the way the right reacted to that disaster that it cracked the strange, post modern up-is-downism of the Bush years."

Jon Stewart on the indictment of Dick Cheney and other Cheney-related filth.

Nobody wants to shake Bush's hand.

Jay Ackroyd does an interview show in Second Life (as Jimbo Hoyer) that you can also see archived here. He'll be talking to Karen Tumulty of Time and Jay Rosen of PressThink tonight, and you can also stream it on the web at Blogtalk Radio.

14:50 GMT

News and stuff

Via Atrios, another succinct item from Dean Baker on how the press reports on the financial crisis as if policies had nothing to do with it. A lot of people did see it coming and realized that was going on was crazy, but for some reason no one was listening to us. Which leads to Michael Lewis' insider story of The End, which starts at the beginning: "To this day, the willingness of a Wall Street investment bank to pay me hundreds of thousands of dollars to dispense investment advice to grownups remains a mystery to me. I was 24 years old, with no experience of, or particular interest in, guessing which stocks and bonds would rise and which would fall. The essential function of Wall Street is to allocate capital-to decide who should get it and who should not. Believe me when I tell you that I hadn't the first clue." And of course, he ultimately realized that grown-ups would not have paid him anything at all to do anything of the kind - but the grown-ups were not in charge. (via)

Sam Stein has the report on Lieberman Senate Theater in "How Joe Lieberman Kept His Post."

Black Agenda Report: "No presidential administration keeps its promises without relentless pressure from below. It's never happened before, and there's no reason to expect any different. The popular demand for jobs, peace and justice are the concrete 'change' Democratic voters believe in, and what swept Obama and his party to power. The self-made crisis of the US auto industry is the perfect opportunity to make good on two of those promises. It's not just the first test of whether an Obama administration intends to serve its voters or its wealthy corporate campaign contributors. It's the first test of whether Obama's popular base can or will hold the new president and his party accountable for producing the 'change' they promised."

McCain wins Missouri.

Waxman to head Oversight and Government Reform committee.

Can't recall if I knew this before or not, but the complete I.F. Stone's Weekly and other work is now online.

00:14 GMT

Wednesday, 19 November 2008

Listening for the new-told lies

We could get a lot farther if we could just declare that the last eight years involved an illegitimate government - because under international law, a nation isn't responsible for the actions of an illegitimate government. Chris Floyd on The Era of Magical Thinking: SOFA Smokescreens and Presidential Power:

The American media is by and large swallowing the propaganda line that the Iraqi cabinet's acquiescence to a "Status of Forces Agreement" (SOFA) with the U.S. occupation force means that the Iraq War will be over in 2011. This will further cement the conventional wisdom that the suppurating war crime in Iraq is now behind us, and the topic will be moved even further off the radar of public scrutiny.

[...]Of course, going this far into the weeds on the details of the "agreement" ignores the fact that the entire process is actually a brutal sham. Disregarding for a moment the murderous nature of the Hitlerian war crime perpetrated on Iraq by the American government -- which removes the situation from any kind of "normal" considerations of diplomacy -- what we have here are negotiations dealing directly with the very essence of a nation's sovereignty, and America's continuing, intimate -- and armed -- involvement in that nation's life. It is absurd in the extreme to pretend that this is not a treaty-level matter, requiring full debate and a vote in the Senate, but simply a side issue to be left up to the President's discretion.

Yet that is the case. Bush makes the deal alone -- after all, as Obama continually reminds us, "we only have one president," and even if he is a twerpish, murdering, nation-gutting son of a bitch, we should all defer respectfully to his judgment. All Obama asks is that any agreement to extend the war crime in Iraq will provide "sufficient protections for our men and women in uniform." As for "sufficient protections" for the Iraqi men and women -- and children -- out of uniform, who have been killed and displaced by the millions, our singular president and his successor have little to say. As always, they play no part in these high affairs of state. And neither, apparently, do the American people, or their elected representatives.

But all of this is entirely in keeping with our cowed and craven post-Republic era, where in the end, all must yield to the prerogatives of the "commander-in-chief." The constant use of this title as a synonym for "the president" is yet another mark of our democratic degradation. For of course the president is only the commander-in-chief of the armed forces in wartime -- not the military commander of the entire country. It has been astonishing to see the erasure of this distinction not only in the popular mind but also among our powerful elites. It is one of the clearest expressions of the true state of the Union: a nation that has willingly submitted itself to rule by a military junta, surrendering, without a shot, the liberties it once claimed as its very raison d'etre.

All I know is that so far Obama looks like the very epitome of Village thinking. Am I wrong? Show me where. Because based on the evidence, the only reason some people have for so fervently believing in Obama's progressivism is the racist assumption that because black Democrats have historically been pretty good on this war and justice stuff, Obama must be, too. Except that Obama and his supporters have been simultaneously telling us all along that he heralds a "new generation" of (post-racial) leadership, divorced from all those embarrassing old dark people with southern accents who got beaten up and risked (and sometimes lost) their lives trying to make the rest of us aware that justice is still a dream.

In other news: Sadly, it doesn't look like there's much to that Cheney/Gonzales indictment, although I'd be happy to get them on prisoner abuse in Texas, too, and on the whole ugly passel of evils that result from privatizing such government services.

Amy Goodman interviews Cornel West on Democracy NOW!.

16:27 GMT

Let the sun shine

I'm feeling a bit better, but after two days of being mostly unconscious, I have a lot of catching up to do on more things than blogging, so I'm not sure how fast we'll be up to date (as if that ever happens).

Begich finally officially beats Stevens in Alaska, while "Coleman Enters Recount With Official 215-Vote Lead" over Franken in Minnesota. (Also: 18 November in 100 seconds, or more all-day suckers.)

Hilzoy: "Even now, the Bush gang is pushing an 11th-hour plan to "grant sweeping new protections to health care providers who oppose abortion and other procedures on religious or moral grounds has provoked a torrent of objections." That's from an extremely linky post that also leads to the liberated Chuck Hagel and the new Star Trek trailer (with geek analysis).

Good news and bad news - On the one hand, "More than 100 retired generals and admirals called Monday for repeal of the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy on gays so they can serve openly, according to a statement obtained by The Associated Press." But that's just a call for change. "On another front, the U.S. military recently barred Iraqi translators from wearing masks. When I first read it I gasped. Seems like a good way to get your head blown off." Stunning stupidity.

I'm with Greenwald - we've had eight years of too much bipartisanship and it's led us to ruin. Let's get rid of it, please.

This would have been the top headline if it appeared to be anything, but it's actually true: Richard Bruce Cheney and Alberto Gonzales indicted in Texas, although it's unclear what they were indicted for.

"Oh, that scary and complicated medical marijuana: There has been an incredible chorus of whining from law enforcement personnel since the initiatives in Michigan and Massachusetts passed. It reeks of desperation and, quite frankly, incompetence." (You also might want to throw a few bucks to Peter to help cover costs for taking students to the Students for Sensible Drug Policy Conference being held this weekend at College Park - or, for that matter, if you're in or near Maryland, you might want to check it out yourself.)

The General finally pursues redemption by leaving the church. (Not as dramatically as this, sadly, but it did bring a tear to my eye.)

"Lone Ranger, Go Away," or the problem with silver bullets, (via).

12:55 GMT

Tuesday, 18 November 2008

Briefly awake

I'm still falling asleep a lot, and after staying home yesterday to take care of me, Mr. Sideshow now has whatever it is, too, and thank the gods he isn't as bad off as I was, because I'm in no condition to take care of him if he was.

Anyway, I can't read or anything else for very long, so have some Driftglass on why it was really important to rescue rich people from the consequences of their acts (to the tune of $700bn of our money!) but not so important to save millions of real jobs in one of the few productive industries we have left. And then Drifty saves the auto industry.

Best fantasy of the day. I wish it were true.

Did you know that tomorrow is National Ammo Day?

23:48 GMT

Things that piss me off

After the Republicans mismanaged everything in sight, of course Obama wants to keep them in his administration. Why, one could get the impression that what Obama meant by "change" was "keeping Republicans in charge." Apparently the rule is that when management screws up, we punish the voters or punish the workers, but never admit that it was management that screwed up.

How about just removing Lieberman from the committee because he has been really terrible at it? No, Jane's right, they hate me. And Sammy is calling it Kabuki, too: "but if that's the case who do they think is buying it? Anyone angered by Lieberman would know that this is no punishment- Any fellow elected Democrat couldn't possibly see this as a genuine punishment and disincentive to going off the reservation... Who do they think they are fooling?" One is tempted to think of the reason conservatives do many things: to piss liberals off.

16:50 GMT

Late reading

Sorry about the unscheduled pause in posting, but last time I felt like that my mother was there to take care of me. I'm still a bit weak, but readers have been keeping me up to date:

Tim F. at Balloon Juice says More On The Detainee Landmine:

Some pundits think that we should wait and see what Obama does with the Bush-era torture regime; in my opinion that attitude is dangerously wrong. America's credibility hangs by a rapidly fraying thread. Saving it will depend on relentless pressure from prominent pundits, preferably voices much more prominent than Glenn Greenwald, to pull up the rocks and expose the entire regime to disinfecting sunlight.

Doing anything else exposes Obama to legal peril and, worse, to have two different administrations governing the Conventions' most important signatory treat them as optional could render the accords functionally meaningless.

And Athenae concurs, noting that the administration got this stink on everything, with us holding the bag.

I know aimai mainly as one of the smarter commenters in the blogosphere, but imagine my surprise at learning that her grandaddy was Izzy Stone hisself. She celebrates 100 Years of I.F. Stone in the presence of the usual fatuous journalistic honchos, and Atrios adds a word or two.

Eliot Spitzer tried to save Wall Street from itself, but it didn't work out.

Frank Rich: "The G.O.P. ran out of steam and ideas well before George W. Bush took office and Tom DeLay ran amok, and it is now more representative of 20th-century South Africa during apartheid than 21st-century America." I actually don't know what that sentence means. When did the GOP have new ideas?

Everyone else was wrong, but Peter Schiff was right.

07:04 GMT

Monday, 17 November 2008

Apple-smoked cheese

Although "So far, Sens. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Bernie Sanders (I-VT) are the only senators to have explicitly called for Lieberman to lose his chairmanship," Byron Dorgan (D-ND) has publicly said that Lieberman's behavior during the campaign was not acceptable for a committee chair. Meanwhile, the original Zell Miller is off again being Zell Miller. (Also, some nice photos from the Marriage Equality demos Saturday.)

Between the lines, I'm gathering that the people who are doing this survey have found it leans a little too far to the right in past years, so they've asked me to invite some more liberal people to participate this time. They're doing it under the auspices of the School of Journalism & Electronic Media at the University of Tennessee, and naturally gave their colleague Glenn Reynolds as a reference. Heh.

Rachel is on Lame Duck Watch and talks to Andrew Bacevich about what Obama will be able to do if things keep getting worse at the current rate - especially in Afghanistan.

Bill Scher explains why even a filibuster-proof majority may not be filibuster-proof, and why we need to get in the weeds without getting lost in the weeds. Bill also interviewed David Reese of Get Your War On this weekend on his radio show.

Break The Bailout.

01:15 GMT

Sunday, 16 November 2008

Elderflower cordial

Libby says: "My main concern is we're focusing too much on Obama, who doesn't have any real power yet and not enough on the sitting Democrats who are still busily enabling Bush to continue his trashing of the office. But putting that aside, I'm wondering why we're not using the tools we have to make our case directly to the transition team instead of arguing with each other on the blogs. I see a lot of people making lists of priorities but what I'm not seeing is a call to send them to Obama's new website. They have a suggestion box. Why don't we fill it up? If every on-line American sent in their own list, it seems to me we could prove once and for all that America really is a center-left country."

The Jihadis appear to be worried about The Deadly Democrats, who are cunning enough to think before they react. "Maybe they and the extremist Christian fundies can build an apocalyptic theme park where they can act out their fantasies without killing the rest of us." (Also: "What I want to know is, if the Free Market is so all-fired miraculous, how did such a pack of meatheads rise to the top of the auto industry?")

TChris says, "Let's Knock Off the Talk About Preventive Detention [...] The concept of preventive detention has prevailed at Guantanamo, albeit in unrecognizable form. When the diseased are no longer contagious, they are released from quarantine. If the mentally ill or "sexual predators" respond to treatment and are no longer dangerous, they're released. It's never been clear what condition, other than an unrecognizable victory in the war against terror, would trigger the release of the Guantanamo detainees. And unlike individuals detained pursuant to civil commitment laws, no Guantanamo detainee has had a hearing [that] meets even minimum standards of due process to establish a basis for his detention."

Digby notes a remarkable insight by Chris Cilizza at the WaPo: "You see, when a Democrat wins a Republican seat it means his or her constituents really prefer Republicans."

How Black Dynamite changed the future. This seems to be a bit of side promo for a Blacksploitation retro flick, but what the hell....

22:33 GMT

Slow morning

Possibly the best news of the week: One of the three members appointed to the Congressional Oversight Panel on the state of the markets will be Elizabeth Warren.

Support our troops!

I'm wondering if Ezra has lost the plot on healthcare or if he's just forgotten that Bush ran on education in much the same way. The thing about Republicon plans is that they are never designed to actually deliver for the people, but rather to destroy what services already exist and divert funds that could be used to improve them. Plus, Jindal is not coming up with a new policy idea, he's just repeating something other states have tried (to no good effect). There's no point in talking about how Jindal's plan is evidence that bright young Republicans have bright new ideas when the whole point is that this is another con game like the privatization of Social Security - a way to wreck Medicare rather than a path to improved health services. Let's not forget that what the Republicans are trying to do is avoid universal healthcare, not bring services to more people.

"How did Iceland go bankrupt?: The small and hitherto very prosperous nation of Iceland seems likely to go bankrupt. At the moment they don't have even enough foreign exchange to import food (which they can't grow themselves), and because Icelandic banks have defaulted on British depositors, Britain has rather ludicrously declared Iceland to be a terrorist nation. The future is uncertain, but it seems sure that every Icelander will see a big decline in their standard of living, and that includes many who never really profited from the recent boom."

At After Downing Street, David Lindorf says, "'Too Big to Fail' Has an Easy Answer: Anti-Trust or Public Ownership," and Chip says, "Progressives Have Leverage NOW: Use It Or Lose It."

The James Bond Tour of Jamaica (with slideshow). I liked the pictures.

15:00 GMT

Saturday, 15 November 2008

If only it were just about dancing and lingerie

Chantelle Africa Sexy half cup braBra of the Week

Thank BushCo.'s State Department: "Two former employees of Blackwater Worldwide, the company led by ex-SEAL and current Sociopath of the Board Erik Prince, have made some surprising revelations about their former company to a federal grand jury and ABC News. Namely that the company's been smuggling weapons and silencers into Iraq, which is a no no with their biggest benefactor the United States State Department." (Also: "George W. Bush warned Europe during an economic summit in New York today as to the dangers of deregulation by saying that the free market didn't fail and is not responsible for the worldwide financial meltdown that resulted in a $700 billion bailout bill that included a $140 billion tax windfall for banks.")

Irrational Self-Interest - Randians talk about "rational self-interest" as if it's rational. No, that would be "enlightened self-interest", which posits that the best way to avoid ending up with your head on a pike is to avoid doing things that make people want to put your head on a pike. "Rational self-interest" is the proposition that it's morally all right to do things that make people want to put your head on a pike as long as you make yourself more powerful than they are.

Biblical Hate Group creates schism.

Center for Independent Media tells reporters to STFU.

World domino record set on TV - At some point I hope to see each one of these whole (some look rather beautiful), but in the meantime I recommend watching this video in full-screen. (Thanks to Julia.)

23:30 GMT

Wobbling into the future

Charlie has produced a pretty decent list of things he'd hope the incoming administration and Congress would prioritize come January. I'd go farther on #6, though - I still think it's important to impeach Scalia and Thomas for failing to recuse themselves in Bush v. Gore as required by federal law. (And of course there's the extra count against Scalia for not recusing himself in the Cheney Energy Task Force case.)

Feingold for the Constitution: "Before the election, Mr. Feingold argued that whoever won should make a priority of rolling back Bush administration policies that eroded constitutional rights and disrupted the careful system of checks and balances. Now that Mr. Obama - a onetime constitutional law professor who made this issue a cause early in the campaign - has won the election, there is both reason for optimism and increased pressure on the president-elect to keep his promises. Mr. Feingold has been compiling a list of areas for the next president to focus on, which he intends to present to Mr. Obama. It includes amending the Patriot Act, giving detainees greater legal protections and banning torture, cruelty and degrading treatment. He wants to amend the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act to restore limits on domestic spying. And he wants to roll back the Bush administration's dedication to classifying government documents." I am not quite sure why Adam Cohen refers to these people as "Mr." rather than as "Senator". (via)

Will Friedman learn that money is round? Wait six more months to find out.

S. Clay Wilson is gravely ill. (And if I'd listened to Maron v. Seder earlier the other day, I'd have known that the Yes Men's version of the NYT was actually distributed in paper form in New York that morning. Which reminds me, Marc made the observation yesterday that Paulson's method seems to be to emulate the throwing money away economic plan from Iraq.)

Close Gitmo.

17:37 GMT

Blogger's notebook

National rally against Prop H8 in all 50 states today. Get your info here.

Sirota: "Go read Rick MacArthur's timeless book "The Selling of Free Trade" and you'll see how Bush's father dropped NAFTA into the lap of the last new Democratic administration, and it was NAFTA that then fractured the congressional Democratic majority between its Wall Street wing and its progressive wing; thus demoralizing the progressive movement, scuttling health care reform, and helping birth the 1994 Republican revolution."

One of the processes that's worried me over the last eight years is the way we prepare for Bush to do outrageous things (like, say blanket pardons). They start off as "paranoia", we're assured that no one would do something like that, then people produce the arguments for why it could happen and even be legitimate, and next thing we know it's a fait accompli and the Villagers have already decided it's old news, everyone knew it was coming/happening, and it's not worth discussing. What a pity we can't send out the meme with such effectiveness that if Bush pardons everyone, we'll have no choice but to hand him and them over to the international courts.

"Let Them Eat Cake" - In California, the combination of meanness from the corporate right in Washington and in the Governor's mansion means that children will die from lack of healthcare because rich people and corporations can't bear to violate the principle that they should get a free ride. Of course, Arnie might have been able to pay for SCHIP if he'd clawed back all that money Enron stole from the state, but never mind; the answer to California's problem today is to tax the rich who profited so well from the taxes levied on the people who have to work for a living. (And, by the way, Diane is having a hard time now that her hours and health benefits have been cut, and I think it would be a really good idea if you'd hit her tip jar.)

Jamison Foser on the media's handling of the Franken-Coleman race vote-count: "Naturally, conservative radio hosts are working themselves into a lather, baselessly accusing Democrats of trying to "steal" the election. That shouldn't surprise anyone. But NBC and The New York Times have also pushed the dubious notion that the Minnesota recount has been plagued by chaos and impropriety."

Style sheet: The full names of magazines and newspapers are italicized, including the "The" - i.e., "The Washington Post", "The Nation, "The Great Speckled Bird". However, British newspapers drop the "The" from the official names; thus: "the Guardian", "the Daily Mail", "the Independent" - with the sole exception of The Times.

13:05 GMT


I really can't imagine what the point of an apology from Lieberman could be, even if there were any reason to believe he'd make one. The fact of the matter is that Lieberman is a dishonest and petty man who might very well lie in order to stay in his chairmanship just as he lied to retain his Senate seat. Then he'd go on sabotaging his committee and the Senate and the country, and there's just no need for it. The man is a creep and by now even the Blue Dogs should have noticed he's got cooties. (Does anyone really think he would be of any use as the 60th member of the Dem caucus? Don't hold your breath; he'd play exactly the same role he's played for the last couple of years.)

A letter to The Salt Lake Weekly suggests that there's something wrong with a church that can spend $20m to counter gay rights while many Utah families are living in shelters.

As many people have been predicting and fearing since Murdoch took over the WSJ, oversight of the news coverage will now be in the hands of a right-wing nut, which would appear to spell doom for the news values of the paper's formerly highly-respected reportorial work.

Russ Feingold wants to roll back Bush's anti-constitutional policies.

Will Joe Biden tell us what Dick Cheney has been doing at the VP's residence?

Robert Borosage and Stanley Greenberg on The Emerging Center-Left Majority: "Conservatives dismiss the notion that this election represents the solidifying of a center-left America. A new poll shows they are wrong."

Like Atrios, I'm not as optimistic as Krugman about the economy. This is only one data point - there are many reasons to see things getting a lot worse, with recovery uncertain at best.

You would have thought the headline "Judge Rules Against White House in E-Mail Case" would have been on the front page rather than just the Technology section of The New York Times.

00:31 GMT

Friday, 14 November 2008

Sausage and other links

Down in comments, JHB offers us a Shorter David Brooks: "Only by not interfering with the market can we solve problems caused by not interfering with the market." And then a slightly longer Brooks: "..and we'll help the workers who will inevitably get the shaft by some vague, undefined assistance (despite the track record of such things amounting to too little too late, and subject to attacks as "socialism" every step of the way.)"

Christy Hardin Smith is genuinely shocked and appalled (and so am I) to learn that the Siegelman prosecution was even more corrupt than we already knew: "The USAtty, Laura Canary, supposedly recused herself from the case due to substantial conflicts of interest involving her husband, a GOP political strategist running the political campaign for Siegelman's gubernatorial rival. In subsequent emails (PDF), Canary specifically gives directives and strategy to the AUSAs in her office handling -- on multiple occasions. This breach of a "Chinese wall?" Huge breach of USAtty Manual conduct, let alone professional ethics rules." But wait, there's more! "AUSAs in the case had multiple ex parte communications with jurors, while the jury was deliberating on its verdict -- passed through US marshals at the courthouse -- which were never disclosed to either the judge or opposing counsel. " Completely out of bounds, meant to be reported at once. "I have never heard of conduct this egregious that did not result in severe, swift and ugly sanction. But this hasn't been a usual case, now has it?" No, it sure hasn't. (via)

Two signs that something is seriously wrong: "Every once in a while in the world of economics an economic indicator will suddenly go crazy. One day the charts all look normal and easy to understand. The next day it suddenly launches into an entirely different world." And boy, are those charts weird.

"We can't afford not to have single payer" - It can't be said often enough. It will save us all money. (Also, "It's almost like things were set up so homeowners could NEVER be rescued" - Yep, because you're not the customer, you're just the "end-user".)

John Gorenfeld is in my comments guaranteeing me entertainment with the online version of Bad Moon Rising: How Reverend Moon Created The Washington Times, Seduced the Religious Right, and Built an American Kingdom.

"Why the Final Nine Weeks Still Matter: In an interview several weeks ago Seymour Hersh said "you cannot believe how many people have told me to call them on 20 January." Clearly many are eager to tell what they know of the current administration but want to wait until it officially ends before doing so. The reactions I saw to his statement were largely along the lines of salivating anticipation, but the implications behind it bothered rather than cheered me. In response I wrote last week about the immediate reasons for taking action, but there are longer term ones as well."

Bill Tchakirides learned three things listening to Secretary Paulson on the Bailout, and also provides a link to the Top 10 Bailout-Sponsored Junkets.

Yikes, someone broke into Jeralyn's place and robbed her.

18:23 GMT

Look through any window

If anyone questions whether CBS let the right-wing have their fingers on the scales in the question of Dan Rather and the memos, County Fair counts the ways. Also: Interestingly, Roger Ailes seems to think Fox News' ratings improved when they attacked Clinton in 1993 over gays in the military, although Fox didn't launch until 1996. (And, for others who've forgotten, Fox did pretty badly for quite a while and was sucking millions of dollars from Murdoch's wallet for five more years before it began to turn a profit.)

Democracy Now! had an illuminating interview with Bill Ayers and Bernadine Dohrn this morning that would be well worth your time to watch. (The show should be available on their main page today, and here thereafter.)

Putin was being so creepy that Sarkozy finally asked him, "Yes but do you want to end up like Bush??" According to The Times, "Mr Putin was briefly lost for words, then said: 'Ah - you have scored a point there.'"

Here's someone else who agrees with me that the time to start pushing Obama to the left is now, not after January when his administration's center-right polices and structures have already been set in stone. In a related vein , BTD says : "What I can not understand is the ridiculous Cult of Obama who believes that not a negative or questioning word should be said about Obama ever. Oh sure, they'll say "wait till he is President." But then they'll say "wait till he finishes his first year." And after that, "wait for the mid terms." And then "wait until after reelection." In short, members of a cult can never have the leader of the cult criticized. That is how the Republicans have done it, and no one is as zealous as a convert." And eriposte praises and lambastes a lot of people on the way to saying something similar. (Meanwhile, paradox is unimpressed by Democratic triumphalism.)

I gather the church has had it with the shadowy Gnome Liberation Front, although they're not fooling me with this kind of thing: "The gnomes, along with plastic flowers and other decorations such as teddy bears, have been called 'inappropriate' and tacky by the Diocese of Bath and Wells. The church banned the garden figures from Wrington and Congresbury cemeteries in Somerset, and have said they will remove any that they find as part of new guidelines issued by the Chancellor of the Diocese, Worshipful Timothy Briden. A spokesman for the Diocese of Bath and Wells said: 'There is no such thing as a real gnome so why should we have such unnatural creatures in churchyards?'" Yeah, you stick to that story, son.

14:27 GMT

More of the same

Glennzilla: "How is this anything other than a full-scale exemption issued to political leaders to break our laws? There's nothing unique about circumstances now. New Presidents are always going to have Very Important Things to do. And investigations and prosecutions of past administration officials are always going to be politically divisive. By definition, investigations of past criminality are going to be "distractions" from the Important Work that political leaders must attend to. They're always going to be what Litt perversely refers to as "old battles." To argue that new administrations should refrain from investigating crimes that were committed by past administrations due to the need to avoid partisan division is to announce that the rule of law does not apply to our highest political leaders. It's just as simple as that. [...] In his 1776 revolutionary pamphlet, Common Sense, Thomas Paine famously declared that "so far as we approve of monarchy, the law is King." But the Robert Litts and Cass Sunsteins and David Broders have radically re-written that principle so that, now, "trans-partisan harmony is King," which means, in turn, that the President -- whose crimes should no longer be prosecuted due to fear of sowing "divisiveness" -- resides above the rule of law, and thus possesses one of the defining traits of a King."

This kind of "truth and reconciliation" commission is unlikely to deliver either one.

If there's one thing the world needs, it's George Walker Bush lecturing world leaders on economic policy.

Terry Jones is unimpressed by Alan Greenspan.

Maureen Dowd confesses that she prefers trivia to real issues. Ms. Dowd is an Important columnist for The New York Times.

Harold Meyerson thanks Fox for their crazifying news coverage that marginalized the GOP.

Watching the vote-count in Alaska - with pictures.

00:30 GMT

Thursday, 13 November 2008

News and other things

Nate Silver says "Begich Leads By 814 Going Into Thursday [...] As we've pointed out and has been pointed out elsewhere, the remaining votes come from Begich-friendly districts. Mark Begich is now an overwhelming favorite to win the Alaska Senate seat." Which is really good news, since Sarah Palin was saying she'd appoint herself to that seat if Stevens won and the Senate kicks him out for being a criminal.

The Guardian's top headlines: "slashes 10,000 jobs amid economic pressure" and "Markets slide amid economic gloom". Also: "Michael Moore to tackle financial crisis in next film."

Ettlin finally got closure on the election yesterday when Maryland's 1st District called the Congressional election for a Democrat - in an area of Maryland that has seen some mighty strange history for that seat in the past. Yep, that was Bobby Bauman's seat. (And he also really loved this movie.)

Why doesn't anyone want to talk about Sun Myung Moon? "For a couple years now we have watched the right, O'Reilly, Rush, Coulter, Hannity and all the rest of the mind molders of the conservative movement, as they bitched and moaned that U.S. citizen George Soros was trying to "buy the Democratic Party" with his donations of roughly 25 million dollars to liberal causes during the 2004 election cycle. Do you ever hear them tell their followers that Sun Myung Moon has spent BILLIONS bringing them to power? If you ask a conservative who their "sugar daddy" is, they will likely mention Richard Mellon Scaife. The WP reported a few years ago that Scaife had spent some $300 million on conservative causes over 40 years. SUN MYUNG MOON has outspent Scaife 7 fold on the Washington Times alone in 20, yet most of the people in the country don't know Moon is still alive and certainly most conservatives don't know he is their prime 'sugar daddy.'" It's one thing that he's a swindler whose organization has been convicted of criminal activities in Japan - I mean, that's par for the right-wing course. But he's a foreigner who has declared himself the Messiah (and Jesus a failure), and he has openly stated his goal of taking over America. And...that's not a problem?

"On The First Day Of School, Nothing Happened [...] "That an eighth grader can transition without incident in a heavily evangelical town is a wonderful thing, and it gives me hope that simple humanity might actually triumph in the long run, Proposition 8 or no Proposition 8."

Oh, thank you, ks, for letting me know there's an HTML version of that NYT mock-up (with internal links!), and that it's the Yes Men.

Kids say the darnedest things - and it's not funny.

"Top 25 Most Valuable Pieces of Advice Bush Gave to Obama" (Thanks, D.!)

The BBC page has better pictures of Mitch Mitchell, and the Guardian's notice has video from the Isle of Wight. And here's "Bold As Love", just because it's beautiful.

14:16 GMT

If I had listened to my first mind

Ruth has been in court watching that "terrorism" case in Dallas: "The government I saw in action yesterday is a disgrace, and proof positive that the Department of Justice has been badly damaged by the executive branch that has so besmirched this country's good name. If we can't be represented by dignified, intellectually capable, attorneys in a trial concerning terrorist activities, we are horribly betrayed."

One more thing that our troops have to worry about.

I think it's sweet that they're having a big protest against Prop H8 Saturday, but I do think there are bigger fish to fry.

I would feel better if it was called the De-Privatization of Foreign Policy Initiative, actually.

I could be wrong, but I get the impression Spocko isn't quite sold on the idea that we should just let bygones be bygones after January 20th: "If you are looking for a model that makes sense for how to act now we should really be acting like the surviving Jews after World War II. The guy who lost during WW II was punished (my grasp on human history is tenuous but I think he killed himself because he felt so bad about what he did). The Americans and Jews had a big event where then forgave the people who supported him, especially those who were just following orders. I'm a bit fuzzy on this but I think they concluded that the people who created the programs weren't really responsible nor were the people who were just following orders. There was really only one person responsible and he was now out of power. He had an accountability moment. What more is there to do? Clearly his ideas and his policies were repudiated after he left office in a bunker. The Jews decided that it was more important to move on with their lives than to try and bring to justice the people who made life miserable for others. What good can come from remembering the bad stuff? I think "Always Forget" was even their motto after the war. Let their acts and world view slink away."

Wait - another two trillion bucks? (Also: "When Gov. George Bush meets President-Elect Obama on Monday I wonder if his first question will be, 'What does it feel like to actually win a Presidential election?'")

Molly Ivors sees bad winners still piling on Palin after she's done.

Really, just take their tax exemption away. If you want to be a political party, own up.

This is a big fat .pdf, but it came to me labelled "All the news we hope to print" and it's dated July 4 2009. I don't know about putting Bush's indictment below the fold on A5, though.

A Bubble in Cygnus

RIP Mitch Mitchell, the last surviving member of The Jimi Hendrix Experience departs. (More JHE.)

11:30 GMT

Wednesday, 12 November 2008

The night rushes in

I mused earlier on the bizarre nature of the executive order, and Aaron Veenstra dropped into comments to explain:

The idea behind executive orders is fairly simple. The President is the head of the executive branch and has the authority to lay down rules about how it is organized, how it will execute its duties, etc. Congress may also pass legislation to cover these areas, of course, but if they pass something with vague or non-specific terminology (e.g., "unsafe levels"), an executive order may be issued to explain how they should be understood by the relevant agency.

The problem with executive orders is not that they exist; rather, it's that Congress has decided that the President ought to be in the business of filling in gaps however he sees fit. It's yet another abdication of power by our legislators.

Yes, and that's my problem with it. And it's a huge problem, as Glenn Greenwald discusses here in relation to the question of whether Obama should or shouldn't have anything to do with the Senate's decision with regard to Joe Lieberman. And, jaw-droppingly, there are a lot of people who are already advising us to crown Obama our new king rather than demand that our Constitution be restored. Sorry, I'm definitely not signed on for that. Some of these Obamaniacs really are just as bad as the creepy little Bushistas who used to infest comment threads not so long ago, and I don't want to join them on any WWOD bandwagons - now or ever.

I can remember when we used to have student grants - student aid. I remember when they began to turn into loans that would saddle graduates with unwieldy debts that might burden them for the rest of their lives. I remember the passage of the legislation because I remember walking into my sociology class and Prof. Pease (I believe I may have mentioned John Pease before, but am too lazy to check) produced a bottle of Gatorade which he'd renamed "Studentade" and entertained us with yet another of his hilarious talks about things that were (and are) actually pretty damned scary. It's worth reading that Wikipedia entry to find out who he is. I really ought to send him a love-letter; he may not have been particularly pretty, but he was smart and funny and he actually cared about things that matter - and he never wasted our time. I was caused to look him up because I remembered that lecture (I have remembered it often) and I was reading this article about what funding choices mean and how funding good educational programs (and not bad ones) will make a real difference to our future. If Obama really wants to improve our nation and our budget, he should get rid of the costly and destructive "No Child Left Behind" program and replace it with what we used to have back when we were, you know, America. And maybe we can get rid of things like this.

A good question at Newshoggers, with "Should the Big Three be put out of their misery? [...] But if a corporation is so poorly managed to require massive government assistance to stay afloat, that management should get the boot and the government (and, by extension, the taxpayers) get some oversight into the management of the bailed out company. And about those companies that are too big to fail? How about this; if a company is too big to fail, it's just flat out TOO BIG."

Christmas Comes Early for Oliver Willis: "Michael Steele and Newt Gingrich running for RNC chairman? On one hand, an odious public figure whose petulance led to the shutdown of the government, on the other hand a failed lieutenant governor and failed senatorial candidate (by double digits). SWEET. I wonder if rapist Mike Tyson will endorse Steele again?"

23:25 GMT

Moral clarity

On virtually every question, the answer is the same: We cannot "compromise" with conservatives/the Republican leadership because:

they do not compromise;
they will obstruct anything that makes sense; and, most importantly,
what they believe in is crazy at best and anathema to every decent and/or sensible impulse the rest of us have.
Let's stop beating around the, er, bush, shall we? What the Republicans believe in is indefensible. They claim to be Christians yet worship Mammon. Their philosophy is that those who acquire great wealth and power were either chosen by God because they were so godly or simply earned it by virtue of having somehow had that money come to them, even if it was only by being born into the right family. And because they either believe or purport to believe in this disgusting framework, they think we should agree to let them make decisions that kill people in the millions, that warehouse people in torture and rape factories who might otherwise have been productive and creative citizens, that allow children to starve and hard-working people to be robbed of everything they have earned, solely in order to make these hideous rich people even more immorally rich and powerful than they already are. People whose very philosophy is sociopathic really don't belong in the position of making policy for society.

D. Potter responded* to my suggestion about postcards saying:

I wish there was some way to condense this onto a postcard.
I don't know, maybe there is, but those first paragraphs light the way:
You know, I've studied history, I've read about America and you know something, if it weren't for liberals, we'd be living in a dark, evil country, far worse than anything Bush could conjure up. A world where children were told to piss on the side of the road because they weren't fit to pee in a white outhouse, where women had to get back alley abortions and where rape was a joke, unless the alleged criminal was black, whereupon he was hung from a tree and castrated.

What has conservatism given America? A stable social order? A peaceful homelife? Respect for law and order? No. Hell, no. It hasn't given us anything we didn't have and it wants to take away our freedoms.-- "I'm a fighting liberal," Steve Gilliard, 3 December 2003

That's right. Conservatives brought us rich people getting richer by making everyone else poorer and more miserable, and liberals brought us all the good stuff.

Which brings us to Mr. Lieberman, who persists in masquerading as a liberal even while he undermines liberals and liberal principles at every turn. As I understand it, he was a leading member of the Gang of Fourteen who made sure that two far-right corporatist reactionaries were installed on the Supreme Court without any interference from liberals. From the very beginning of his Senate career (when he won office by smearing a more liberal Republican), he was supported by William F. Buckley, and he is in the Senate today because he has always been backed by the Republican Party. He's a stellar example of why making a pact with the devil is a bad idea, because he performs for the Republican Party while representing himself as a liberal and a Democrat, thus tarnishing both brands in the service of conservatism. At the same time, he's been skating by on a reputation as a "moderate" although there has been nothing particularly moderate about his activities as a scolding prig, a warmonger, a corporatist, and an obstruction to liberal policies. We need his kind of "bipartisanship" like we need Ebola. There's a pretty easy answer to the question of, "Why did the (alleged) Democrat reach across the aisle?" It's: "To pull for the other side."

But never mind all that. It would be nice to have seen him retired from the Senate in the last race, and it would have been nice of him not to try to undermine his party's presidential candidate, but he certainly should not be the head of the Homeland Security committee, because he's done a terrible job of it. As Greg Saunders says:

It's not that he's been ineffective, but that he hasn't tried to accomplish anything. No oversight, no hearings, no subpoenas, nothing. Considering the breadth of the crimes that have been committed by the Bush Administration that fall under the jurisdiction of Lieberman's leadership, the lack of oversight is unconscionable. That he let his support of George W. Bush overshadow his responsibilities as a Senator isn't just a stab in the back to his constituents, it's proof that he's refused to perform the duties that he swore he would. For that reason alone, he should be removed from any leadership posts within the Senate. The responsibilities that Joe Lieberman has abdicated are too important to leave in the hands of someone who's unwilling to work hard for the American people.

17:54 GMT

The Village versus America

Down in comments, QrazyQat speaks for many of us:

Nate Silver did a fantastic job on the election prediction. It would be nice to start seeing the people who get these things right on TV and the radio instead of the people who get them wrong. Nate is a great one to start with.

Can you imagine if being wrong started having consequences for pundits, think tank residents, reporters, and politicians? If being right started becoming a road to advancement and fame? I have a dream.

Digby notes that it was Chris Matthews who responded to conservative talking points by accusing them of speaking with Forked Tongues, but even some Democrats are playing along
When Obama says he's going to govern as a post partisan, I'm not sure even he knows exactly what that means just yet. But Democrats and pundits reflexively reassuring everyone who'll listen that the crazy progressives are completely irrelevant is not only a public slap in the face of millions of Democratic voters (many of whom are new and must be wondering who these hated Democrats are) is destructive. All I hear is small bore, boiler plate junk about middle class tax cuts and "stimulus" --- which doesn't mean anything to people. If they succeed in defining it as a crabbed, circumscribed agenda that must appeal to some mythological swing voter while simultaneously placating the walking ids that call themselves conservatives, they are going to shrink this mandate before the new administration has unpacked its laptops in the West Wing. I realize that they want to "manage expectations" but this excessive pearl clutching about bipartisanship is about as inspiring as dirt and could very well lead to a premature loss of confidence among the faithful and a loss of flexibility in the congress.
You know, I really don't think it would hurt if thousands of people sent actual, physical postcards to Obama saying that they did not vote for some tinkering at the edges, and they really do want real change, no matter what the conservatives who are wrecking our country want to call it. Call it liberalism, call it "socialism" if you must, or call it democracy, but we want an end to war and a return to pursuit of the liberal goals of accountability, freedom, and progress, and anything less at this point really is treason.

It's worth remembering that, despite what the (right-wing-fuelled) punditocracy says, and have misled many people into believing about themselves, we're a liberal country, and liberalism is what we want. Sure, after 30 years of hearing people on TV claim that what liberals believe in is "big government" and that we all think abortions are fun and everyone should have them (even though everyone should also be gay), not many people self-identify as liberal, since no one believes in that. But the policies that most people believe in are far, far to the left of what the so-called "centrists" believe in, which is probably more like big government than anything any actual liberal would ever support.

14:51 GMT

News and analysis

I assume you saw this coming - "welfare reform" discouraged women over 18 from continuing their education. Mark Thoma reports that a new report shows that "the reforms decreased the probability of adult women attending high school or college by 20 to 25%." Which, of course, means that their earning-potential and likelihood of working outside of the service industry dropped significantly. Now add that to what we know about education and family planning....

"Utah Legislators Call Mormon Leadership's Bluff on LGBT Rights" - Since the church insisted that it was all in favor of partnership rights just as long as it wasn't "marriage", these legislators and activists are calling for the church to work with them to get those rights into the law.

Greg Sargent looks at Obama's statement of neutrality regarding what is to be done about Joe Lieberman's position as chair of the Homeland Security committee, and rounds up opinions from elsewhere in the blogosphere. And "It's Official: Full Dem Caucus Will Vote On Lieberman's Fate [...] The news comes amid signs that Lieberman is losing support among his fellow Senators. The Huffington Post reports, for instance, that the Clintons are not making any calls on Lieberman's behalf. And Senators Chuck Schumer and Dick Durbin are reported to be hoping that Lieberman is given the push." Just like real people. You should tell your Senators how you feel about it, and that, all other issues aside, he has performed abysmally as the head of that committee and should not be there.

Also at the TPM media empire, Dean Baker is not happy to see so many old Clinton hands being brought on board Obama's economic policy team, and calls them "The High Priests of the Bubble Economy." Meanwhile, David Kurtz worries about suggestions that "Obama is not going to substantially rein in Bush-era intelligence activities and ... that Obama is leaning toward asking Bob Gates to stay on as secretary of defense." Me, too.

Yep: "In his victory speech Tuesday, Obama said that his win was not the change that his campaign pursued; it was the chance to make the change happen. Making it happen means keeping your checkbooks out, your feet on the ground and your mouth open. The year after a presidential election is typically when government and voters pay the least attention to each other, and if that happens in 2009 this was all for nothing." I'm not promising to write any checks to Obama's re-election campaign, though. First he has to show me that he's going to be more than just the guy whose name you tick on your ballot because he's not the Republican.

13:04 GMT

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

How we remember

Last Thursday night, when Rachel wanted some expert opinion, she talked to bloggers - Steve Benen and Nate Silver. Nate thinks there might be something funny going on in the Alaska vote count.

I really thought old Hindraker had already reached the depths of stupidity when he wrote that adoring post about Bush's wonderfulness, but he seems to have surpassed himself with his advice to Obama to be a better speaker by following Bush's example. Ahem. (Or this, or this.)

Kevin Drum wonders why right-wingers persist in pushing the idea that the New Deal didn't completely cure the First Great Republican Depression, since economists have generally agreed that its failures were because FDR wasn't a Keynesian, and the obvious conclusion is that we need more stimulus in the liberal mold, not less.

Thers explains why it's stupid to think we can just ignore the wingnuts - the same mistake everyone made in the '90s. Atrios agrees.

Jerome Doolittle remembers the importance of dogs after reading another of Bill Kristol's brilliant contribution to political discourse. He also post a pretty photograph. And Chuck Dupree makes a tribute to Mama Afrika.

"Democratic Concern Trolls Voice Concern About the Future of Democratic Concern Trolling." Bérubé (yes, yes, I know) reports.

Keith Olbermann (yes, yes, I know) did a pretty damned good Special Comment on Proposition Hate.

If you had trouble with PB True's PayPal link, she's fixed it now so please try it again.

16:48 GMT

Found on the internets

Jay Ackroyd posts this morning: "The Minnesota Senate race is now in the lawyers, guns and money phase. You can help, if you're so inclined, with the money part of it."

Kos says Obama wants to keep Lieberman, and apparently President Bill is running around making phone calls on his behalf, too. (Bill Clinton really is a putz sometimes, y'know?) I liked the new codenames for members of the administration-in-waiting and their families, but I was most amused to learn what George W. Bush's codename is. Oh, and Obama at the Rahm Emanuel roast.

So it turns out they were still spying on David Halberstam well past the end of the Nixon administration - at least as late as 1987. What was the point of getting rid of COINTELPRO if they keep doing it anyway?

Reagan got a "honeymoon" that lasted eight years, and the current occupant got one that lasted well into his second term when Bush's popularity numbers reached Nixonian levels and even they couldn't pretend he was beloved anymore (we can only imagine what they'd have given a McCain presidency). But Clinton's presidency was "failed" almost before he got to the White House, and they're obviously preparing to do the same to Obama, pretending that this "always" happens. Well, no, it doesn't happen to presidents the right-wing likes, even when everyone else hates them and they weren't even legitimately placed in the office. Even after 9/11, when the press should have been asking, "How the hell did he let this happen?" they were adoring him and thanking their lucky stars that we had a great guy like Bush in charge instead of that boring old Al Gore. Meanwhile, something really does always happen is that people hustle for jobs in the new administration, but trust our media to try to paint it as something new and ugly that Democrats have introduced to the process.

Why does The Miami Herald think that keeping Gitmo open is a "centrist" position?

I wish I could believe that the election of Obama will limit further damage from the Bush administration, but this guy can't move without making things worse.

Well, I truly must have been out of it if I failed to notice speculation that the NYT may be getting rid of Bill Kristol. Even if it's not true, it's a lovely thought.

I'm bad, I failed to wish Neil a happy birthday, but the video of Neil assisting Jonathan Coulton is fun.

13:46 GMT

Monday, 10 November 2008


Brit Hume is retiring because things have become "poisonous" in Washington. Oh, and Republicans are depressed. Yeah. Well.

Steve Benen thinks David Brooks gets it right when he describes the current state of the conservative movement, but I'm most interested in this sentence: "And, fundamentally, the conservative movement failed (and I've been in it my entire life) because it hasn't addressed the problems of today, the rise of China and Russia, the rise of inequality, energy, health care. It's great to worry about Reagan. I loved Reagan, but those days are over." It "hasn't addressed the problems of today," David, because it created them - and you helped. Which is precisely what it was supposed to do - make everyone so wretched that they would never again feel free to grow their hair too long and march in the streets.

Thom Hartmann reviews a couple of books about how societies collapse, and reminds us that the Soviet Union had a "soft crash" because their infrastructure supported a continuation of the things they needed, and they didn't have to worry about paying the rent.

Brad Reed reviews the Republicons' stupid campaign tricks, Ruth watches the wingnuts try to plan a stupider future, and Diane posts Langston Hughes' letter from GI Joe, "Will V-Day Be Me-Day Too?"


Irma Thomas, live.

22:48 GMT

Coffee and cream

BooMan says, "I'd Treat DC as a Crime Scene," but then, he knows he wasn't the guy who was elected to the presidency and it's not possible to put yellow tape around everything the Republicans have touched. But it'd be a good start to fire Mueller and do as thorough investigation of anthrax attacks and other weird goings-on at the DOJ.

At emptywheel, bmaz on why 8-year-olds should not be charged as adults. And I'll bet if you asked these same people whether an 8-year-old was old enough to consent to sex, they'd say no. For some reason, it is now only sex that we have decided kids can't make decisions about. Everything else, they expect mature decision-making, apparently. I cannot even begin to say how completely wrong that is.

Was this not obvious? "But corporate tax lawyers quickly realized the enormous implications of the document: Administration officials had just given American banks a windfall of as much as $140 billion."

Frank Rich: "The most conspicuous clichés to fall, of course, were the twin suppositions that a decisive number of white Americans wouldn't vote for a black presidential candidate - and that they were lying to pollsters about their rampant racism. But the polls were accurate. There was no "Bradley effect." A higher percentage of white men voted for Obama than any Democrat since Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton included." Told ya. But it's funny how an article like this spends precious little time on the other myth that was busted - that Americans don't want liberal policies.

The lioness sleeps tonight: Miriam Makeba 1932-2008. Mama Afrika sings "When I've Passed On".

13:34 GMT


I've never really understood how something like executive orders came into existence in the first place. We have presidents making policy that is pretty much antithetical to the laws of the United States, and it seems to be perfectly legal. I keep reading up on it and I still can't figure out how they get away with it. (via)

"The Day The Earth Stood Still" - This election was historic, absolutely, but it will take the efforts of all of us to make it what it should be.

The Talking Dog has a laundry list of suggested Change, although right off the bat I'm going to disagree about voting machines - they're okay as a back-up, but I want to see paper ballots, hand-counted on the night in full view of the public. There is no known method of voting where you can't cheat, but machines make cheating a whole lot easier and possible to do on a far grander scale.

Johann Hari on The time-bombs ticking under Obama's Presidency - a collapsing economy, a collapsing climate, and stupid wars are a lousy situation to have to start with. But there are certainly things that can be done.

Quiddity says that Jon Chait is Not stating the obvious in his post-election essay.

Ezra is enjoying the re-emergence of Robert Novak touting the future of conservatism, and it is called Newt Gingrich.

BTC News does some hipster book reviews - yes, it's Kerouac and HST.

What this post-election coverage needs is the invisible spork of Jonah Goldberg.

Everyone has their nominee for the number one problem; Dave Johnson says, "Problem One is Corporate Money Influencing The System."

I understand that people have hard, scary lives at a level I've managed to avoid for most of my life. But I think the politics of resentment that the right-wing stirs up is a very effective means to keep them from seeing who the real enemy is. Republicon policies are aimed at making some segments of society feel so isolated from any of the good that government can do that all they really see is lack of service, even when they still have to pay taxes not to get anything for them. Right-wingers thrive on negative impacts, and all their programs exacerbate them. Then they pretend that they have the solution - in more of the same.

I don't usually link to PB True's blog because she's not that kind of blogger, but she's a Sam Seder fan and frequent denizen of his blog, and she's turned me on to a few interesting things that are going on politically from time to time. But right now I'm seriously worried about her because she's been having a toothache and has no dental coverage, so if you have anything to spare, I'd be grateful if you hit her tip jar so I can quit freaking out. (Cafe Wellstone members may know her as Pebea Quandry.)

Um, not change.

Brawling monks

02:15 GMT

Sunday, 09 November 2008

Sunday dinner

I'm looking at the Bobblehead Thread at Eschaton and apparently it is full of people spouting right-wing memes (as usual), and saw this:

This Martinez needs to be put on a raft and set adrift in the ocean.

"SCHIP was a divisive program. There was no consensus on it"

"I don't think single-payer health care can work"

"The economy is in crisis, we can't go forward on healthcare now"

Someday I would like to live long enough to know that someone on a panel heard crap like this and said, "Are you saying Americans are too stupid or dishonest to do what every civilized country in the world has already successfully done?" (I also understand that Harry Reid is busy walking back the idea of punishing Lieberman for being a Republican by treating him like one.)

Bill Ayers finally speaks about being made the bogeyman of the campaign, and some other things.

Edroso on Wingnut watch finds some of their finest are in economic straits due to, um, I dunno, but it sounds like they were just lazy, spendthrift, shif'less, and plain irresponsible. Who'd a thunk it?

And Not Just At Gitmo - Ali Saleh Kahlah al-Marri has been held for half a decade in a Navy brig after the Bush administration stopped his civilian trial on fraud charges and declared him an "enemy combatant". But if the Supreme Court agrees to hear his case, it will be Obama's Justice Department arguing the prosecution case. "While the President Elect has made it clear that he wants to close Guantanamo Bay and end the Military Commission system, he has made it equally clear that he will wage a muscular war on terrorism. Will his administration follow through on his campaign rhetoric and allow Mr. al-Marri his day in a civilian court with charges clearly spelled out and a chance at a real defense? This might be Mr. Obama's first and perhaps most serious test. I hope his answers line up with the Constitution he will be taking an oath to defend and preserve." But his election has already created signs of foreign policy triumph.

What the youth vote looked like.

I love this guy's origami.

Do I understand that KOZT does Breakfast With the Beatles every week, or is this a special occasion?

17:39 GMT

Good news and bad news

Thank you, Paul Krugman, for explaining why conservative attacks on the New Deal are bull, and why we need an even bolder New New Deal now. (Although I'm not so sure we get to be Japan as long as Bush is in charge, because Japan recovered.)

And, anyway, it sure doesn't look like America is "a conservative country".

Be that as it may, our administration have been maniacs, and the Democrats haven't exactly been all over it to put a stop to it, so I'm not surprised that Robert Fisk is not brimming with trust - or holding his breath to see if Gordon Brown will suddenly reverse his own authoritarian instincts. And Bush is still in office, so, "Only days before the wretched president finally departs from us, new US legislation will ensure that citizens of his lickspittle British ally will no longer be able to visit America without special security clearance. Does Bush have any more surprises for us before 20 January? Indeed, could anything surprise us any more?"

This Week in Tyranny, Unpacking Jane continues, and "Across the political spectrum - from the ACLU to torture advocates - people are noting the issues with the current policies that will become de facto policies in the Obama White House if they are not explicitly addressed quickly." (And yes, it is odd that no one is crowing about the right-wing's major victory in the War on Terror.) And a tip for a Naomi Klein article in Rolling Stone saying, "The Wall Street bailout looks a lot like Iraq - a 'free-fraud zone' where private contractors cash in on the mess they helped create."

Apparently, white people preferred voting for the black guy to voting for a white guy four years ago. (If you believe the machines, anyway.)

Yes, I figured they'd come around about boycotting Utah. It didn't seem like a very useful idea. On the other hand, you could always boycott some Mormon-owned businesses, but I see a problem arising there already.

Why would an eight-year old kill his father and his father's friend? And what kind of cops want to try an eight-year-old as an adult?

Wednesday's Doonesbury, which didn't run in papers that thought McCain had a chance of winning.

13:17 GMT

Wow, they actually played it on the radio

Elle Macpherson Intimates Spellbound contour braBra of the Week

Ridiculously cute baby pygmy hippo, Billboard Liberation Front and Wachovia Bank, Photoshop user interface physicalized, and an unusual dress, at Boing Boing.

The blog of the President-Elect. I have to admit that it's a relief to be able to write "President-Elect" without irony.

QrazyQat recommends we learn to haggle from Gandhi - ask for everything first.

Jamison Foser observes once again that the nation is divided - between the talking heads who want to claim Obama has a mandate to run a conservative administration, and everyone else, who voted for his liberal policies.

Who better than Fred Clark to review a book called Rapture Ready? Like Fred, the author of Rapture Ready isn't too fond of the Left Behind books, which "are responsible for leading many evangelical Christians to embrace sacrilege as a form of devotion."

I believe what Julie Bindel is saying here is that she got so tired from fighting for inclusion that defending her annoyance with other people's inclusion has become her mission.

What does it mean that we've elected a black man to the presidency and yet we seem to have revived slavery?

I could tell you to boycott Utah, but that's easy for me to say since they're not exactly on my itinerary to begin with.

Let's see, who should I believe - Rove and Goldberg, or Joe Conason and Walsh?

Oh, thank you, Charles, for alerting me to Joe Lieberman Hand Turkeys!

Also, thanks to KS for the link to Bernie Sanders' 2003 House Committee Hearing grilling of Greenspan.

Yeah, it was a bit of that. And it's been an awful lot like this.

"Solid Air"

01:17 GMT

Saturday, 08 November 2008

It's real, but it ain't exactly there

Fred Clark on the Rebel without a map:

This was reinforced by a parallel emphasis in McCain's standard stump speeches in which he criticized Barack Obama for not having a long history of contradicting his own party. McCain seemed to assume that contradicting one's own party was always and inherently the right thing to do. But that doesn't make any sense. If one's party is in the wrong, then standing up against them would be the right thing to do. But if one's party is not in the wrong, then there's no virtue in contradicting them.

The idea that I think McCain was reaching for in all of this was to contrast the idea of a person of principle with the idea of unprincipled partisanship. That could have been a powerful argument, but McCain seemed not to understand the essence of it. He wasn't presenting himself as a man of principles and deep convictions who stood by those principles and convictions even when doing so put him at odds with his own party. Instead he seemed to be arguing that being at odds with one's own party was somehow, in itself, a virtuous position. He wasn't arguing that he was a maverick in service of some larger set of principles -- to McCain, being a maverick was the larger principle.

When this argument moved from the general to the particular, it got even worse for McCain. The examples he provided of instances where he was willing to buck his own party were all cases where I think he was right to do so. He opposed the Bush administration's support for torture; he opposed restrictions on stem-cell research; he accepted that climate change was a real problem that couldn't be ignored. McCain liked to point out that while he was willing to criticize the Republican position on all of those issues, Barack Obama never stood up to criticize the Democratic Party for where it stood on torture, or stem-cell research, or climate change. This was a surreal argument from McCain -- one it was impossible to make any sense of until one realized that, for McCain, rebellion and maverickitude were the highest virtues.

For McCain, the content or the cause of that rebellion mattered less than the fact that one rebelled. There was no reason for Obama to rebel against his own party on torture, or stem-cell research, or climate change, because Obama believed that his party was right about all those issues. Obama's agreement with the party line was not unprincipled -- the party line was in accord with his principles. John McCain's once-frequent disagreements with his own party were evidence either that his party was frequently wrong on the issues, or else that he had cast his lot with the wrong party -- with a party that was frequently opposed to his own principles. Either way, it reflected badly on John McCain. That Barack Obama did not face a similar dilemma was a credit both to him and to his party.

The principled politician must be prepared to stand by their principles even if doing so should place them at odds with their own party or their own constituents. Such principled stands were the subject of John F. Kennedy's book Profiles in Courage. McCain's maverick mantra, however, seemed not to be calling for profiles in courage, but for profiles in contrariness for its own sake.

Certainly, McCain's failure to stand up to his party on those important issues when it really counted - that is, not just speaking out against torture, but actually voting against it, suggests that he just wasn't much of a principled guy. But there's another thing about being a maverick that no one seemed to have paid much attention to: a maverick splits away from the herd, but does so alone because no one follows. You cannot be both a maverick and a leader. But, Fred continues:
McCain's confusion about the meaning of mavericity is resurfacing now in mirror-image form in the coalescing conventional wisdom that President-elect Barack Obama "must," above all, seek to govern in a "bipartisan" fashion.
Paul Wellstone made it simple: Politics should be about making people's lives better. The Republicans and Blue Dogs and the Villagers want it to be about being "bipatisan" (i.e., continuing the Republicon agenda). I see they're even worried that they might not be able to marginalize Russ Feingold even though he was a weirdo who opposed the invasion of Iraq. That's your "conventional wisdom", and it's certainly not about any worthwhile principle. No wonder they loved McCain.

Man, I sure hope this is true: "Yep. One of the reasons why people like Marshall Wittman are moaning about "Obamaworld" is because they know that a progressive counterweight exists out there, and Obama is savvy enough to realize that jettisoning his base isn't an option even if he were a reflexive centrist. (He isn't.)"

I see that among a number of other amusing right-wing elements, Mark Adams discovered the perfect country for despairing Republicans to move to.

Not everybody won, but coming close in a deeply red district is still pretty good. Congrats to Phyllis.

Gary Farber, who had his best birthday ever Tuesday, predicts that "THE ONE TRUE THING about this election is that it will prove that there is no true Republican." Also, which Doonesbury strip did your paper run?

Time to make your nominations for the prestigious award season at The Poor Man Institute, but I really don't know how they're going to top that picture.

Hey, look, we can have power!

So, for some people, it was just a menu selection.

Democracy is comin' to the USA.

15:37 GMT

Friday, 07 November 2008

Eat flowers and kiss babies

I think Josh Orten still umderstates the case. It's not just that Lieberman undercut Obama on national security. It's that Joe Lieberman has stymied all efforts to actually do anything about national security, despite the fact that he has been chair of the Homeland Security Committee. In fact, he explicitly broke his promises about what he would do as chair of that committee. He stinks. He shouldn't be on it. (Also: Republicans never could tell the difference between bald tokenism and affirmative action.)

Americans Embrace Pro-Education, Pro-Prevention, Pro-Choice Values in Historic Election.

Obama was a far-left candidate who won as a conservative, Obama's win is like the Luftwaffe, and 64 percent of Republicans want Palin to run for president in 2012 (but there are a lot fewer Republicans than there were four years ago). (And where I come from, we don't start saying "Merry Christmas" until well after Thanksgiving.)

Putting things in proportion.

"The middle class is just poor people with credit." -- Marc Maron

23:55 GMT

Things I saw

"Balance" - Who would CBS choose as a panel to investigate whether Dan Rather had misbehaved when he did a story on George Walker Bush's AWOL performance in the National Guard? In addition to those they actually chose, the shortlist was: "* William Buckley * Robert Novak * Kate O'Beirne * Nicholas Von Hoffman * Tucker Carlson * Pat Buchanan * George Will * Lou Dobbs * Matt Drudge * Robert Barkley * Robert Kagan * Fred Barnes * William Kristol * John Podhoretz * David Brooks * William Safire * Bernard Goldberg * Ann Coulter * Andrew Sullivan * Christopher Hitchens * PJ O'Rourke * Christopher Caldwell * Elliot Abrams * Charles Krauthammer * William Bennett * Rush Limbaugh". And Roger Ailes (not the good one). I'm sure any one of them would have been more than fair.

Personally, I find it unacceptable that Harry Reid didn't tell Lieberman to take a hike.

Paul Krugman agrees with me: "Right now, many commentators are urging Mr. Obama to think small. Some make the case on political grounds: America, they say, is still a conservative country, and voters will punish Democrats if they move to the left. Others say that the financial and economic crisis leaves no room for action on, say, health care reform. Let's hope that Mr. Obama has the good sense to ignore this advice." You know, we were told over and over that Obama was "the most liberal member of the Senate" (not true, but I'm sure lots of people believed he was really liberal), and the Republicans even insisted that Obama was a socialist - and yet the people elected him! So Obama has a mandate to be at least a screaming liberal, or even a socialist, right? "You might say that the only thing he has to fear is fear itself."

Day One

"New "Liquid Smoking" Drink Promises Instant High for Smokers."

20:22 GMT

In transition

Rahm Emanuel is not popular at Open Left, and they have a lot of good reasons why. Like his claim that a guy who ran on a populist message was elected because he supported things like "more federal incentives for research, tougher border security, flexibility on skilled-worker visas". Yeah, right, that's what people were eager to vote for in this election - especially "flexibility on skilled-worker visas", which is another way of saying "giving jobs to foreigners that could have been given to skilled American workers." And we need that, because foreigners are at the mercy of their bosses, in no position to complain, and they can be hired without most benefits. Why, they're not even allowed to go on strike without losing their work visas (and being deported). Chris Bowers really doesn't like the implications of Obama wanting Emanuel in his administration, but he's perfectly happy to get him out of the House, where he was a threat to climb to the very top of the leadership. (Also: What The Hell Happened In Alaska?? Given the corrupt nature of its officials, election fraud is at least as likely as any explanation.)

And this Larry Summers? If this is the kind of person Obama wants in his administration, he's not going to be "another Clinton" - he'll be much worse.

Note to Alice Walker: No, he is not "the commander in chief of the United States", a position which has never existed in US law. The President of the United States serves as the commander in chief of the military; he is an employee of the United States, not our boss.

Lucius reads the election.

"A Butler Well Served by This Election" - He was hired to work at the White House in 1952,and served presidents. He was really looking forward to going to the polls with his wife this week to vote for the first black president. (via)

"Please Use Porn Responsibly." (For the more serious overview of the harm of porn, my 1995 article is here.)

15:15 GMT

Groping for the future

What Digby said:

If Obama wants to govern as liberally as the political circumstances allow, then we need to work to make sure that the political circumstances include a strong liberal base. Mindlessly cheerleading out of a misplaced sense of loyalty will not help him. As Roosevelt understood, politics are interlocking interests and constituencies that have to be brought to bear to achieve certain goals.

In the current political world, I believe that Obama and the Democrats need a strong left wing that is out there agitating in order that we can continue to build popular support and also give them a political excuse to do things that the political establishment finds too liberal. Being cheerleaders all the time, however enjoyable that is, is not going to help them. Leaving them out there with no left wing cripples them.

We won the election, which was the excuse people had before for why we couldn't criticize Obama. Well, that's gone, so it's time. We want single-payer and if Barack and Rahm don't like it, we have to make them like it. We want no dicking around with "private accounts" weakening Social Security. We want equal rights for gay couples. We want the removal of all tax breaks that ease departure of American companies and jobs to foreign shores. We want the reinstitution of all the SEC regulations that Reagan and his successors have been tearing down, enforcement of Glass-Steagle, and strong oversight of financial institutions. We want strong enforcement of worker protections and we want progressive taxation that weakens the oligarchy.

The can call us anything they want, but there has to be a real left that pulls these people toward the real center or they will stay where they are, on the center-to-far right.

In other news, I would really, really like it if Joe Lieberman actually became a Republicon in name - it would be truth in advertising.

One of the reasons we have been given repeatedly over the last few years for why impeachment proceedings against Bush, Cheney, et al. should not be initiated is that it would prevent other legislative work from being done. Another is that it's more important to win the election and we don't want to distract from that. Hey, that's another thing we don't have to worry about anymore! We know the Republicans still won't let any good legislation pass, so any legislation that passes will be bad. And since the administration's impeachable activities are pretty well documented at this point, let's get started before it's too late.

The rest of the world really wants to love American again, so they're deliriously happy at the election of Barack Obama.

01:59 GMT

Thursday, 06 November 2008

From the notebook

It's just weird, and everybody seems to be doing it, whether it's Jon Stewart or the BBC or any dozens of other people - they talk like Tuesday was the Inauguration rather than just the election. Watching the Beeb talking about Tuesday as, "The day an African-American became president of the United States," I was shouting at the tube, "No he didn't! He was just elected, dammit!" There are constant references to "President Obama" as if he actually was. It's as if there weren't several dangerous weeks to go. This is now, people, so keep in mind that "eyes on the prize" isn't about one guy named Obama, it's about trying to save our country (and our world) and make it a better place. Bush and Cheney are still there trying to drive a stake through its heart.

Gosh, it can't possibly be that someone is stealing the votes in Alaska, can it?

Avram is not impressed by declarations that the election of Obama signals the end of racism, and Fox announces the end of Ralph Nader's career.

Thanks to rishathra for tipping me off* to Wetmachine for "all things FCC-related."

In the end, it doesn't seem McCain was having much fun with Palin, and I knew this would be true: "Palin asked to speak along with McCain at his Arizona concession speech Tuesday night, but campaign strategist Steve Schmidt vetoed the request." It's kind of awesome, really, the expectation that she would speak at McCain's concession speech. Where does that girl get her airs?

Maia's been taking some nice photos of porcelain and other things in museums.

Oh, fer godsakes!

17:26 GMT

Leftover links

Down With Tyranny has probably been the place to go if you want to know about downticket races like yesterday's Senate, and House numbers, and Democrats Kicked Ass In The State Legislative Races Around The Country, plus last night's good news about the late victory of Jeff Merkley, who Howie says is the most Wellstonian of the new Dems. But Howie is starting to worry that we elected Rahm Emmanuel. (Some of my commenters are worried about that, too.)

"F.C.C. Nods to New Use of Airwaves: Over the objections of television broadcasters and other groups, federal regulators set aside a disputed slice of radio spectrum for public use on Tuesday, hoping it would lead to low-cost, high-speed Internet access and new wireless devices."

Julia gives the Claude Rains Memorial Gambling Awareness Award to Shephard Smith of Fox News, who can't figure out where those McCain supporters who were present for the Republican nominee's concession speech got the idea that it was acceptable to be nasty about a Democrat in public.

Yes, I failed to link to "Fafblog Election Day Special! Know Your Swing States" in a timely fashion.

Some interesting posts up at Krugman's blog in the last couple of days: The monster years, Too much explanation, Meanwhile, in an alternative universe, and Zell Miller was right - sort of.

Just when you thought he'd already devolved as far as human life can go, John Derbyshire comes back with more.

I think you ungrateful wretches should thank me for finding that Benny Goodman link for you.

12:27 GMT

And I hope you're satisfied, you rascal, you

Someday I would like to know how many votes everyone really got - and what the totals would have looked like without the voter-suppression and vote-stealing.

A triumph of bigotry over bigotry. Or something like that. Not the world's biggest surprise, for those of us who remember who betrayed their promises to vote for the ERA. (Also: Did these two nitwits actually forget already, or is it just that, like me, they can't bring themselves to think of him as a "president"?)

John Cole wonders if there's a Bradley Effect for corrupt politicians, but I'm not hearing about what machines they voted on. The Brad Blog reported last night on questions in the Franken race: "Franken down by 1,400 with 95% reporting. But: a caller just reported that the New York Times website was reporting that exit polls had Franken ahead by 12%--that data has now been scrubbed. Election integrity experts, have at it. Even if Franken wouldn't stick up for election integrity, we shall stand up for him--and the voters in Minnesota. More on this to come, I'm sure." Also: Major creep Mitch McConnell retains his seat, but famous vote-rigger Tom Feeney is out.

I'd been interested to see what would happen in Nevada. Well, it appears Obama crushed McCain.

Ruth noticed that in her area, votes were counted in secret without the usual proper monitoring, and with mysterious losses resulting. She spoke to one of the candidates about it.

New ground rules for the next few years.

Wingnut watch: Moronageddon.

"Goody Goody".

01:18 GMT

Wednesday, 05 November 2008

Remember, remember

First things first: Despite what all the talking heads are saying, don't forget to remind everyone that the people of the United States repudiated the failed conservative economic policies of the last three decades.

Yes, I stayed up and watched it all, right to the end of Obama's victory speech, on the BBC. I loved seeing Jane Hamsher as part of their coverage. Eddie Izzard was interviewed at the same gathering, a few feet away, and I couldn't help wondering if they spoke to each other.

I'll even give McCain credit for a gracious and touching concession speech that rose to the occasion.

When I woke up I found QrazyQat had already saved me the trouble of describing some of what I saw by providing it in comments:

I also wanted to say a few things about the BBC coverage I watched here. First, in the day or two before the election, the BBC always pointed out matter of factly that Obama had a huge lead in the polls. None of this "tightening" stuff; none of this phoney horse race. And whenever I switched over to CNN it seemed they were always looking at their "oh so amazing" interactive board they were going to use. The BBC had something like that, but for some reason didn't think they needed to ooh and aah over having technology which is, face it, several years old.
And perhaps they remember being slightly embarrassed about that time they had all those splashy graphics with Peter Snow prepared to dance through them all night but then Bill Clinton won so fast they ended up with a bit of embarrassing anti-climax on their hands.
Now when they did the election night coverage, they had a blogger segment once in a while where they asked Jane Hamsher hat was up, and had been up, on lefty blogs, and chiropractor/blogger Melissa Clouthier for the righty blogs. They also had a GOP talking head who several times performed the "Obama most liberal record" lie. A reminder that the GOP lie machine never stops. And they also had, of all people, John Bolton, who they presented as if he wasn't a radical nutcase. His best nutty bit: insisting that Sarah Palin had been a plus for the McCain campaign. And also that McCain had done better than any other Republican could have. This is all part of the "we didn't fail" element of the GOP lie machine. We'll also be hearing how Obama didn't win by that much because the popular vote was "close", unlike what we hear with close popular votes where elections go for the GOP. Count on it.
Bolton seemed absolutely furious at the suggestion that Palin may have hurt McCain's campaign. The only thing more appalling than his bullying was watching that poor blond woman from the BBC try to be polite to him. He deserved a good solid smack-down and I'd wished it was me in her place so I could give it to him.
And that was on the BBC, which as I mentioned was far more balanced, nuance, and reality-based than any major US news I've seen. Keep it in mind. This doesn't stop here; it's going to be a fight all through the next 4 years, and while we're fighting that we're also going to be fighting to make better Democrats in office. And improving the brand recognition for the info adverse.
Seeing Jesse Jackson cry was really something, too. I think a lot of people just don't get what a big deal this is for those of us who were part of the civil rights movement. It's not about Obama, who isn't the Thurgood Marshall/Ron Dellums sort of black liberal we'd dreamed of, but damn, it's really something.

On the other hand, here's the headline at AfterEllen:

Election '08: Barack Obama wins presidency, gays and lesbians lose rights

You haven't won anything yet. Bush is still in the White House on Cheney's leash. The Villagers are all talking National Unity, which would be great if by that they meant doing what everyone except them wants (get out of stupid wars and don't get into new ones; use government to serve the people rather than to help eat the people; universal healthcare and a real economy instead of a "service" economy; taxes on the rich - etc.), but they just mean "Do what conservatives want and don't hold anyone accountable for the last eight years."

Don't you dare pretend that the fight is won. We have so much work to do.

12:59 GMT

Tuesday, 04 November 2008

Baby plum tomatoes

OK, I admit it, I have not been pacing the floor this afternoon - I have been offline on R&R. But, y'know, blog goes on....

Hilzoy alerts us to this: "In a move that is sure to put to rest the notion that there are no second acts in American life, former Bear Stearns chief risk officer Michael Alix has landed a job in the office of the Federal Reserve charged with assessing the safety and soundness of domestic banking institutions." (Thanks to Anna.)

One of the five essential practices of the Muslim faith is charity, but what do you do when the only charity that can be relied on to give help to the needy is declared a terrorist group? Well, maybe you give anyway, but then you can end up on trial in Texas.

I hate to take issues with Matt Yglesias' post about how outstandingly rotten Bush is, except that I cannot imagine how he can say, "I mean, say what you will about Bush, but unlike many American presidents he didn't believe in slavery." Has anyone ever seen a shred of evidence that this is true? (And by the way, Matt, it's not good riddance 'til we actually get rid of him, which is more than two months away. He can still do plenty of damage between then and now, even if he does actually leave, at last, in January.) Via Eschaton.

Bloggers On The Race And Their Role In It - The National Journal asked us a bunch of questions.

"The True Confessions of an Election Official" in the Register is really just about the process of working the polls, but there's a lot of interesting detail. (Thanks to Dominic.)

19:37 GMT

Coffee morning

Bruce Schneier will be liveblogging the election for Making Light tonight starting at 5:00 PM Eastern, and Patrick suggests we all calm down. Meanwhile, Time listed Disemvoweling as one of the best inventions of 2008, but failed to credit the creator, Teresa Nielsen Hayden ("who invented Disemvoweling as a moderation technique at or about 2:53 PM on November the 21st, 2002"). There's no excuse for that, since it was Teresa herself taking it to Boing Boing that brought it to wider attention in the first place, and it's not like they couldn't find out. (And yeah, the hairs stood up on the back of my neck too when I found out about Manassas, but I always worry about what could go wrong.)

TChris notes The Shocking Outcome of the Bahlul Trial - not the 35 convictions on dubious grounds, but rather the fact that, "With the ability to put on a completely uncontested, unrefuted, unconfronted case, the prosecutors still lost on two counts? How embarrassing. Also, Wyoming's Casper Tribune Endorses Obama, and I'm glad Barack visited his grandmother before she died. Also: Israelis for Obama. "100% Kosher on Israel"

Stranger believes McCain and Palin finally managed to be too stupid even to fool the media and Republicans, thanks at least to the information age. And Invictus says in our Debtor Nation, the future looks frugal.

You know, Glenn Reynolds descended into overt racism and betrayed every one of his alleged libertarian principles a long time ago, so none of this surprises me. If anyone ever doubted that it's all about hating liberals and funny-colored people, Glenn is all the proof you need. Can't expect much more than this when the basis of your ideology is that shallow. (via)

Molly Ivors watches MoDo reach for daddy.

Steve M. learns how to be a Republican novelist.

Diddy Blog #31 - Aint No Line Too Damn Long!

12:53 GMT

Pacing the floor

Greg Palast decides to vote for Obama - because he's black. Also: "How McCain Could Win."

"Voter Integrity Group Urges Preservation of Unadjusted National Exit Poll: Widespread voting problems in early voting indicate that independent documentation may be needed to audit election." May be? We already know something's not right. We need accurate exit polls that haven't been adjusted to tell us who the machines say won.

Newspapers Ignore Corddry's Law And Readers Bid Them Adieu - Debbie Howell apparently believes that newspapers like The Washington Post are losing readers because they are too left wing!

The award-winning documentary Manufacturing Consent is available in YouTube and Google formats.

The Corporation

Nerdarchy in the USA.

Once upon a time, Sam Seder made a film about "Joe Lieberman's n'er do-well son, so angered by the 2000 election that he seeks to impress a French woman, Charlie Rose and radical religious zealots by attempting to blow up a building in New York City." It was being shot just before 9/11, and was never finished until earlier this year, when he premiered it at Netroots Nation. The DVD is now in release, and you can also see a tiny clip of Stephen Colbert before he was STEPHEN COLBERT, here. In no clothes.

00:25 GMT

Monday, 03 November 2008

Well, like a withered stone, fears will pierce your bones

Fafblog! interviews John McCain, and doesn't shrink fromthe hard questions: "Now look John McCain, everybody wants to shut down children's hospitals, but how're you really gonna do it what with all the Washington gridlock and the Beltway infighting and the fatcat lobbyists from Big Children? I mean Ronald Reagan promised us he'd destroy the government and twenty years later we're still stuck with a functioning public sewage system." And McCain doesn't shrink from the hard answers on the war! "And, and the first thing we have to do is let General Petraeus finish the job of securing Iraq for the Iraqi people, a proud and united people, so that it doesn't fall into the hands of their enemies, the Iraqi people."

Jesse Taylor reads the tea leaves.

Yesterday I noticed someone saying something about how, despite his other sleazy campaign tactics, John McCain should be "commended" for not having used Rev. Wright - which struck me as being akin to saying I should be commended for not having robbed a liquor store - but it may be time to admit that no matter how hard you scrape, those "honorable" McCain moments don't fly.

Atrios is right, and they're actually doing it already - trying to tell us that America doesn't want that liberal agenda that polls show 66-80 percent of us want.

The sweet smell of success. Actually, I already know how people are going to vote, but I don't know how high the machines are set, and that's what worries me most. (At the moment. If the find a way to stop the election, that will be another matter. If they refuse to let the vote-winner into the White House, whoa.)

(Thanks to Anna for the assist.)

In fannish news, I see Alexis Gilliland has a website. There's a Religion section. Also, File 770 is reporting that 4E Ackerman is gravely ill.

"I Am Waiting".

18:09 GMT

Twenty-twenty-twenty four hours to go

I see Michael Tomasky has the McCain illegal-leak and perjury story from Truthout (linked below) up today at the Guardian, and for those of you who haven't read it yet, you really should.

Did I mention that the "Christianity" these people practice is really the worship of Mammon? Well, it is. (Also, McCain supporters are just plain creepy. And mean to children.)

Paul Krugman on The Republican Rump: "Also, the Republican base already seems to be gearing up to regard defeat not as a verdict on conservative policies, but as the result of an evil conspiracy. A recent Democracy Corps poll found that Republicans, by a margin of more than two to one, believe that Mr. McCain is losing 'because the mainstream media is biased' rather than 'because Americans are tired of George Bush.'" (Not to mention ACORN.) But the more "moderate" a Republican is, the more likely to be replaced by a Democrat, which means only the fruitcakes are left (although I would argue that anyone still calling themselves a Republican at this juncture is already over the edge). But, personally, I don't think the problem is that Republicans will be left in Congress, albeit in the minority. I think the real problem is that even a "filibuster-proof" Democratic majority isn't going to be worth much if the Blue Dogs do what they've always done, which is ensure that, while there may be a Democratic majority, there won't be a liberal majority. Never has been, and won't be this time. What does that mean? Well, think about it: There was an actual communist movement in America during the depression. Roosevelt was facing general strikes when he came into office; Obama will be facing keyboards. Whose going to make them bring this "Change" we've been hearing so much about?

"Electioneering Republican Style" - Tom Legg rounds-up a few stories of GOP dirty tricks, including the voting machines in West Virginia that are flipping Obama votes to McCain.

"Guess Who's Coming to Dinner" - Frank Rich watched an old movie and considers the election through its lens.

Endorsed by Satan.

Snopes debunks Obama as Anti-Christ.

Guess who's winning the 7-11 constituencies. (Thanks to PNH.)

I know I posted a link to this video before, but it's nice to be reminded of the original context, especially given that this is the day there is one day more. But, gods, I hope any parallels end right here.

The Ramones, live. Thanks to sysprog for the reminder.

15:33 GMT

Wishin' And Hopin'

"Violations Of Law May Be Classified, Court Rules: Information that would reveal a violation of the law may be properly classified as long as it is not deliberately classified for the purpose of concealing the violation, a federal judge indicated this week." The Bush administration hasn't classified things that need to be classified for the sake of national security - those are the things they spew in press releases to distract the media. As far as I can tell, they only classify material in order to conceal wrongdoing. But of course, how do you prove that without having access to classified information?

Down in comments, Chris reminds me of this Bob Somerby piece demonstrating that the playbook they are using now was on display in 2000 - so don't be surprised if it all sounds familiar. God, I remember how that was like a drumbeat - "Attack attack attack."

It no longer surprises me that people who think moving money around without creating anything useful is so productive that everyone else should have to pay for it. I wish I believed that Barney Frank would do the right thing about all this, but the very fact that he showed no interest in fighting Paulson tooth and nail tells me that he isn't the guy for the job.

Has The BBC's coverage of the United States been taken over by neocons? Honestly, who claims that John McCain has an ambitious plan to reduce healthcare costs while covering more people? And who outside of the United States thinks that single-payer (or even the NHS) is more expensive than what America has now?

The battle for St. Louis.

So...the race isn't narrowing? Could the Republicons and media be tryin' to lie to me?

"There is a real sadness there." And yet, I somehow can't bring myself to feel anything for them. (What, do they think things got like this by spontaneous generation or something?)

Do-It-Yourself Intellectual Bankruptcy Kit

Dusty with Martha Reeves

02:25 GMT

Sunday, 02 November 2008

That's what life is all about

Watch Hacking Democracy.

What threats did BushCo. drop on Bosnia to force them to turn over six Algerians they knew to be innocent of connections to terrorism? And why are they still in Guantanamo, with the administration once again having dropped charges against them not so they can be freed, but so they can continue to be held?

Brad Jacobson in The Raw Story, "Legal experts question US Attorney's decision not to prosecute Obama 'assassination plot': Interviews with numerous legal experts suggest that Colorado US Attorney Troy Eid misled reporters and diverged from state law when declining to prosecute any of the three men arrested in Denver for threatening to assassinate Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama." But while Brad was researching that story, he found something else that didn't get into Newsweek.

"McCain First, Second, and Always: Should he have been expelled from the Senate? Exclusive evidence reveals the Keating Five story you've never heard." Perjury and illegal leaking? Not so illegal for a Republican, of course. Via Mercury Rising.

Even the McCain campaign is forced to admit that they have no evidence of registration fraud leading to a fraudulent vote.

Ben Bernanke, Please Send Me Some Green! "Some insider welfare would be peachy keen."


18:46 GMT

All America's choked up inside

Vince Bugliosi says George Walker Bush is guilty of murder. The evidence is overwhelming, it's open-and-shut. Bugliosi reckons the best state for a conviction is Vermont, but thinks Bush deserves the death penalty. One thing in this interview that rang my chimes was his anger at the way the smug bastard sent thousands of kids to get maimed and killed and kill a million or so others and was laughing and grinning and having a good time through it all. Among the many things I will never forgive him for is the fact that, on the night he launched the invasion of Iraq, when he was asked how he felt, he said, "I feel good."

"Avoiding a Great Depression: Rescue, Rebalance, Reform: The 1920's were marked by a credit expansion, a significant growth in consumer debt, the creation of asset bubbles, and the proliferation of financial instruments and leveraged investments. The Federal Reserve expanded the money supply and the Republican government pursued a laissez-faire approach to business."

Ruth informs me that the prank call to Sarah Palin [call transcript] was actually played on the Today show this morning.

This Week In Tyranny, the lame-duck continues his policy of wrecking America.

My commenters are curious about why Sarah Palin won't release her medical records - at all.

The smell of death - Republicans go blind from whacking off too much. (On the other hand, I find it hard to believe that this call actually came from the McCain campaign. It has the smell of drunk teenagers on a Friday night.)

I've never put much stock in that "no atheists in foxholes" thing, but I get the impression that mindlessly following church doctrine decreed by those who don't have to follow it loses its flavor when circumstance is squeezing your hopes out of you. It's a bit like being in a foxhole, only with more time to see what's coming.

No on Prop Hate. Vote No. Barack, DiFi, and Arnie agree.

The Juicy Fruits

14:14 GMT

Papa do ron de ron de

Pour Moi? Opulence plunge braBra of the Week

35 Greatest Works of Reverse Graffiti, and other interesting links, at Biomes Blog.

Jamison Foser also looks to the past to find the prologue: "But no matter how hostile, how relentlessly negative, how scandal-obsessed the media were in their coverage of Clinton, conservatives kept right on going with their complaints of liberal bias. [...] Let's stop there for a second: Just weeks after The Washington Post, which had reported on allegations of infidelity on Clinton's part, spiked a story about an alleged Dole affair, Bob Dole was running around accusing the media of being in the tank for Clinton. That's awfully reckless behavior -- if Dole actually believed the media were against him. [...] On February 9, 1998, the Minneapolis Star Tribune ran an interview with Bozell in which he complained that the media weren't devoting enough coverage to the Monica Lewinsky story. [...] Why do they make such absurd claims? Because it is clear that it works. (If, unlike many journalists, you understand what the goal is.) Which brings us to 2008. And now we have the "studies" showing that the media is biased in favor of Obama - because stories about how he's doing in the polls are more positive. Which is a bit like saying that coverage of crime reports is more negative toward criminals.

The NYT has a profile of Media Matters for America that contains this quote: "'I think they are one of the most destructive organizations associated with American politics today,' said Frank Luntz, a pollster for Rudolph W. Giuliani and Newt Gingrich who this year has led on-camera voter focus groups on Fox News, a frequent Media Matters target. 'They are vicious. They only understand one thing: attack, attack, attack.'" It is awfully vicious of Media Matters to do what they do, which is repeat every vicious, nasty, lying attack that comes out of the hot-house Mr. Luntz helped build.

Note to The Atlantic: No woman worth spending your time with is wasting hers looking for men in bars.

The morning after

Continuing today's infatuation, Jan & Dean sing P.F. Sloan's "I Found A Girl" - with cheesecake! (And I swear this looks like it's being lipsynced by the Juicy Fruits.)

00:25 GMT

Saturday, 01 November 2008

Ride the wild surf

So, someone who is undoubtedly part of the GOP political machine leaked sensitive information dealing with a member of Obama's family, and even the AP thought it worth mentioning (albeit not until the third paragraph) that something was a bit off. As Josh Marshall puts it, "And there you have it. Quite likely working in concert with the McCain campaign, a Bush administration official is leaking details on an immigration case to try to help McCain three days before the election. It's shades of Bush I's riffling through Bill Clinton's passport files just before the 1992 election in a desperate last minute gambit as they were swirling down the drain." (In other Republican campaign news, John Boehner must be worried. Gosh, and Republicans say one of the bad things about liberals is that we use bad language.)

Leveraging Turned Upside Down: "Listening today to some economists trying to make their way through the garbage that our economy has become, I was brought up short by that old familiar term, 'leverage'." Might be a good idea to remember what that word means. (Meanwhile, Republicans continue to hide behind rules that were meant to protect their legitimate work rather than simply cover up their crimes.)

Nice as it is to know that Erica and Jane and their friends are worried about what is actually not as implausible as some might have you believe, I still find it a bit difficult to take the comparison with Susan Sontag.

The complications of conscience and elections - Well, yeah, the part of me that knows it can't just be about one person (and I don't particularly trust this one person anyway) is definitely in conflict with the part of me that knows an unmistakable Obama landslide will speak volumes in a way that nothing else will.

From Mother Jones: The MoJo Interview: Studs Terkel; How to Protect Your Vote; and The "Steal This Election" Citizen Investigation Map.

Wow, Eagleburger is even more pitiful than all the other Republicans who took it all back after inadvertently telling the truth. I wonder what they threatened him with....

Rachel with Alex Keyssar on voter-suppression (audio only) from Tuesday.

Ettlin's road trip is over, but the signs he sees of good people in bad times are still part of the picture.

Attaturk posts a photo.

Title credits - and a reminder that when I first saw Jonathan Ross (with his old, pre-floppy haircut), I thought they'd cloned Fabian.

18:19 GMT

What is past is prologue

Somerby talks about the war on Gore, and I talk about stolen elections. I think they're both important. I think that failing to push these issues into the public consciousness just helps the Republicons do more and more of what they've been doing. If no one calls them on their sleazy, lying, tactics, people forget that this is what they do. If no one calls them on stealing elections, they can keep stealing elections. I still want to smack certain bloggers around for deciding that they were above discussing stolen elections. I think this stuff is important, and I think not talking about it just helps the right-wing con artists when they start whining about voting and registration fraud.

The first time I voted, I went with my mother, and the pollworkers were greeting her by name checking off her line in the rolls as soon as we walked in. Then they realized I was her daughter and said, "And you must be..." and checked off my name, too. They congratulated me on my first time voting. After that, I went by myself and never actually had to say my name aloud or present any ID because they recognized me when I walked in the door. It's a better safeguard than having ID if what you're worried about is voter fraud.

It's also not an accident that Republicans arrange to move polling places in low-income/minority neighborhoods all over the map on election day to make that system less stable. If they were really worried about voter fraud, they'd never do that.

The real problem is having a bunch of Republicans standing by trying to slow down your progress or prevent you from voting altogether - or machines that are set to misallocate your vote. The very idea that we should be talking about voter registration fraud when we have had at least two successive presidential elections stolen is really an outrage in itself.

The perception that voter registration fraud is the problem is itself a problem, and people on our side who refuse to discuss the questions about voting machines and disenfranchisement (and actual stolen elections) while treating the voter fraud and registration fraud issue seriously only make the problem worse. We have real election fraud doing serious damage to us, and we should be screaming that Republicans are distracting us with their phony voter and registration fraud stories.

So it is with some distress that I learn Hilzoy herself is helping the wingers by treating the registration fraud story so seriously at a time when we have real election fraud to worry about. (I'm suspicious of anything in Slate anyway unless it's Dahlia Lithwick. If it's in Slate, ask yourself, "Why would center-rightists be talking about this?") Always remember: Proposals that make it more difficult for any citizen to vote are not there to prevent fraud, they are there to prevent legitimate voters from voting. That is their only reason to exist. There are better ways to protect the integrity of our elections than to hinder voting and compromise our civil liberties.

I've referred before to the important optics of an Obama win this year. It's not that I love or trust Obama, you understand. It's not that I think he'll be anything like the president we need (although I'm still hoping for the best while expecting the worst), but a McCain win on Tuesday will be seen as an affirmation of everything that's been wrong with the last thirty years - an affirmation that we actually want those things. As with the last four years, it won't matter that some of us know it's not what it seems, because if everyone is yammering about how this proves America is "a conservative country" and we're all a bunch of hateful bigots and warmongering scum who love torture and won't object when our leaders wreck our country and defy our values, well, you can expect a great deal more of the same. We need a repudiation of what has gone before, and if Obama is a weaker vessel for it than we'd like, he's still a great deal better than the alternative. We're certainly not going to get anywhere with what needs to be done if we have to start from the assumption that everyone is okay with the last eight years. Is anyone really okay with this stuff? I don't think so, but we need to say it loud, and this is the only way we've got at the moment to slow the trainwreck down. (Also: Why does Orson Scott Card claim he's a Democrat?)

14:29 GMT

Seasons change with the scenery

Devastating news, because he was not someone who had quietly retired and hadn't worked in years, but a working writer and interviewer and chronicler to the end - and one of my heroes, still. It seemed like he was there my entire life, covering the bases of the sociology and history of our nation, our culture. On reflection, I have to say I like the title for William Grimes' article, except for the last part: "Studs Terkel, Listener to Americans, Dies at 96." I've been dreading this. There are so few left who remember, now. We will be starting all over, soon. (via)

Atrios says an odd thing here: "I've actually long thought, with no evidence, that the Bush ground game was in fact a Big Myth." I say it's odd because, though the Bush team (especially Rove) talked about the fabulous Bush ground game, no one ever saw any evidence that it existed. They weren't out there. Seasoned campaign workers went out looking for them and they just were not there. Rove created a story to "explain" the fact that Bush "won" in spite of the fact that all of the evidence said he suffered a humiliating defeat in 2004.

D2 flagged the Nightly Business Report's "Treasury Blowout Sale" commercial in comments as "Shorter Dave Sirota", and CMike offered this NYT article from September, declaring that we should now officially call it "The Paulson Swindle". Don't Nancy and Harry look proud?

Somerby responds to Kevin Drum, and he has it exactly right - it is not possible that the public will get tired of hearing about how badly the media treated Gore, because the public isn't hearing about it. And yes, it's important that we drag this stuff into the light, because the GOP relies on our silence so they can keep getting away with it.

I meant to link to Rachel's interview with Barack Obama earlier, but I forgot. Tristero gave Maddow high marks.

"Hazy Shade of Winter"

04:34 GMT

Avedon Carol at The Sideshow, November 2008

October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007
August 2007
July 2007
June 2007
May 2007
April 2007
March 2007
February 2007
January 2007
December 2006
November 2006
October 2006
September 2006
August 2006
July 2006
June 2006
May 2006
April 2006
March 2006
February 2006
January 2006
December 2005
November 2005
October 2005
September 2005
August 2005
July 2005
June 2005
May 2005
April 2005
March 2005
February 2005
January 2005
December 2004
November 2004
October 2004
September 2004
August 2004
July 2004
June 2004
May 2004
April 2004
March 2004
February 2004
January 2004
December 2003
November 2003
October 2003
September 2003
August 2003
July 2003
June 2003
May 2003
April 2003
March 2003
February 2003
January 2003
December 2002
November 2002
October 2002
September 2002
August 2002
July 2002
June 2002
May 2002
April 2002
March 2002
February 2002
January 2002
December 2001
November 2001
Is the media in denial?
Back to front page

And, no, it's not named after the book or the movie. It's just another sideshow.

Weblog Commenting and Trackback by HaloScan.com

There is a Creative Commons license attached to this image. AttributionNoncommercialShare Alike