I find it appalling that even the academic elite are now cowering in advance. In today's Paul Krugman column, I read this:
The alternative would be policies that address the job issue more directly. We could, for example, have New-Deal-style employment programs. Perhaps such a thing is politically impossible now — Glenn Beck would describe anything like the Works Progress Administration as a plan to recruit pro-Obama brownshirts — but we should note, for the record, that at their peak, the W.P.A. and the Civilian Conservation Corps employed millions of Americans, at relatively low cost to the budget.
This is the same guy dubbed 'the shrill one' by his collegues for writing about economic policy (and a few other things) over the past few years and ultimately being right about it. Apparently, being right hasn't done much for him. Because now it looks like he's ceding his opinion to what's 'politically possible' even before he's fully laid out his argument.ShareThis
Not one but two pieces of good news yesterday and we should all celebrate them.
First, Obama signed a military spending bill yesterday which actually cut back some wasteful defense spending. It didn't reduce military spending next year but it's not as bad as it could have been and a lot of reduction goals were met.
Mr. Obama has said that he does not intend to reduce military spending while the nation is engaged in two wars. But Mr. Gates also wants to cut more futuristic programs to free money for simpler systems like helicopters and unmanned spy planes that can help the troops now.
Next, the hate crimes bill was also signed.
The measure also includes a ban on hate crimes that Democratic leaders attached to the bill.ShareThis
Coffee in hand, I click on my first website of the day - as usual, the BBC news. After shaking my head at the top headline, I knew I'd be sharing my reactions (and hoping to hear yours) at Partizane.
I guess the only thing that really surprises me about this is the year. The Nobel committee had this to say about their reasoning.
Nobel Committee head Thorbjoern Jagland said: "It was because we would like to support what he is trying to achieve".
"It is a clear signal that we want to advocate the same as he has done," he said.
He specifically mentioned Mr Obama's work to strengthen international institutions and work towards a world free of nuclear arms.ShareThis
Hi, you guys! Real life has been a bit overwhelming lately. But I'm still around, enjoying better living through chemistry.
The title of my post would indicate why I haven't been motivated to post lately. (Though pistachio is the best flavor of ice cream.) The main stream media seem intent on putting the laser focus on anything but real discussion of health care reform. Michael Jackson, Sarah Palin, and the poor 8 year old girl. Michelle Bachmann, the All Star game, and cash-for-clunkers. Sotomayor (again?), is it Iraq or Afghanistan, and Hillary gets insulted. Blah blah blah.
Let's get real - Obama has no health plan on the table. He has 'priorities.' The insurance companies are writing the plans - which are being created and presented in the House and Senate. These are not Obama's plans - and he's admitted he doesn't know what's in those 1000 pages. So what exactly is he selling? I don't know. But we can be sure that single payer is off the table. At least we have one certainty.
I love this Tom Tomorrow cartoon. www.salon.com/comics/tomo/2009/07/28/tomo/index.htmlShareThis
I've already got trolls in the comment section, dripping with sanctimony, citing the lack of coverage as a reason not to support Health reform.
Wow. Let me be sure I understand her statement - people commenting that the health care reform plan should not be supported unless it covers everyone are trolls.
A troll is a person advocating universal health care who won't support a plan that doesn't include it?
Given that we don't know what the final plan will look like, a troll is a person unwilling to support "something is better than nothing"?
A troll is a person wanting a good reform plan rather than just any reform plan?
How many people is a troll expected to consider acceptable to be left out?
How bad of a plan would it have to be in order for Digby not to be in support of it, and thus get oneself removed from the troll category?ShareThis
I thought y'all would appreciate this typical example of too-smart-for-their-own-good thinking. Politicalwire applauds an article written for Politico using this headline 'Obama's Plan to Sabotage the Republican Party.'
Gee that's sounds good. How's he planning to do that? By appointing Republicans to leadership roles in his administration! Really sneaky - instead of progressives running the government (which is what the voters voted for) Obama will put people who disagree with his policies and don't believe in changing anything in charge of running various departments. Wow - that will be really effective in making these Republicans look like the incapable dolts they were during the last 8 years.ShareThis
This truly entertaining article written by Michael Moore for today's Huffington Post reads like those fun science fiction novels I used to curl up with as a kid. Bullet trains and electric cars, manufacturing plants converted to produce solar panels and alternative energy devices! Cool!
In Moore's hypothetical universe, the President (I guess in this case, it would have to be Obama) would call for national unity and sacrifice, a la 1942, where out of work auto mechanics and factory workers pull together to retool their factories and rachet up production on wondrous technology from the late 1950's which might drag our country out of the doldrums of the early 21st century and remake our transportation system into the model already used in places like Japan, France, and Brazil.
There are 2 really sad things about Moore's nostalgic wish list. First, nearly everything he wants is old technology. We could have it today, yesterday, last year, some of it - 50 years ago. This starkly points out how very much we've lost that vision thing - gleaming cities and all that? Heh, public transportation like trains and buses would be paid for by taxes - we can't have that.ShareThis
I can't find the original source for that remark but it appears often as advice for new celebrities. It could be a caution not to let a bad review get you down. I think the more common meaning is not to let flattery inflate your ego. Because if that did happen to you, you might be prone to say something like this:
"I would put these first four months up against any prior administration since FDR," Obama said.
Jeffery Katzenberg said, in introducing Obama as the speaker, "If you look in the dictionary under 'grace under fire,' it will say Barack Obama." Well, grace under fire is a phrase so it won't be in the dictionary. I'm sure you could find entries for arrogance, narcissicm, and elitism. There may also be an entry for fathead.
Look, Obama brings these labels to himself by making such fatuous claims. Let me ask - who is he trying to convince?ShareThis
This slipped by me earlier this month.
After nearly 30 years, the shuttle programme will fly just eight more missions – the first launching on Monday...Hundreds of jobs are expected to be cut over the next year as Nasa prepares for the retirement of the shuttle...Without help from private space companies, Nasa may be forced to buy its astronauts seats on the Russian Soyuz spacecraft. Alternatively the US could seek seats on vehicles being developed by other nations including China and India...
It is already clear that aeronautics and earth sciences like climate change will be a major focus of NASA's future spending...If the Constellation programme is scrapped, it risks leaving the US without the capability to send humans into space after the shuttle is retired in 2010.
So, we're on a countdown now. MIssion number 8 would be the one just completed to repair the Hubble telescope. Missions 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 will be completed by 2010 and then poof! The US abandons manned or unmanned space exploration and refocuses effort on Earth science.ShareThis
The title I wanted to put on this piece was: Our culture of acceptable
mediocrity failure. But the strikethru doesn't work in titles.
If you're a waitress and you piss off a table of customers, you might get fired. If you're a truck driver and you log too many hours on your run, you might get fired. If you're a warehouse worker and you drop a box of product, you might get fired.
But if you're higher up the food chain and you commit a whopping failure that costs your company millions of dollars, damages the reputation of the entire company or causes an international incident - oopsie. My bad, I won't do that again. At least, not until next time. Sure thing, just head back to your corner office with the windows and try again.
Has it always been this way? Or is this something new with my baby boom generation? Maybe it's that we've taken it to the extreme. Our standards have sunk so low as to be non-existant. The motto is - if you don't have an excuse, just make one up.ShareThis
The only thing I find ironic is that they seem surprised to be here.
Over at the Black Agenda Report, Glen Ford relates a Q&A with Obama by BET reporter Andre Showell at the press conference of 4/29/09 including this exchange. (H/T to Caro at Corrente.)
SHOWELL: “As the entire nation tries to climb out of this deep recession, in communities of color, the circumstances are far worse. The black unemployment rate, as you know, is in the double digits. And in New York City, for example, the black unemployment rate for men is near 50 percent. My question to you tonight is given this unique and desperate circumstance, what specific policies can you point to that will target these communities and what's the timetable for us to see tangible results?”ShareThis
'When she was good, she was very very good, but when she was bad, she was horrid.' Longfellow
Here's just another entry in the sad chronicle of the decline of the 4th estate. In the what-were-they-thinking department we have this odd recommendation, as highlighted by the UK Daily Mirror:
The New York Times dubbed the deprived districts of Deptford and New Cross as "London's Wild West" and urged Americans to visit the area's gritty attractions...There were 8,376 violent offences committed against people in Deptford's borough Lewisham. The figure includes four murders, 1,674 robberies, 135 gun crimes and 101 rapes..."All I can say is I hope they like hoodies, muggers and junkies - there are enough of them here." Even Deptford councillor Heidi Alexander admitted: "It does seem a bit bizarre."ShareThis
[See Update in NewHampster's comment below - net: Karpinski speaks.]
I wasn't going to post on this topic since my cynicism meter exploded quite a while back - thus I expect outrage will produce no tangible result.
But I'm outraged about our government torturing people and ordering people to be tortured. And don't give me any lawyered up memos saying that as long as the prisoner doesn't die it's not torture - because we've tortured people to death too.
Now the evidence is overwhelmingly unrefutable that torture occurred - 183 times in one month on one person. Obama releases the evidence but says it can't be used. And the left blogosphere, including I'm disappointed to say Glenn Greenwald (in not 1 not 2 but 3 posts), can't heap enough praise on O for following the law in releasing the memos. Tough luck on that accountability thing - maybe next time, Charlie Brown.ShareThis
Today I'm feeling somewhat confused. What is natural? Honor the Earth on Earth Day - but I'm no longer certain how.
Let me back up just a bit. I've recently returned from a fabulous vacation on Maui. It's stupendous, it's inspiring, it's beautiful, it's refreshing, it's relaxing. It's paradise.
This pool is found on the southeastern coast at a place named Ohe'o Gulch in the Kipahulu Valley, which is part of Haleakala National Park. It's a very popular swimming area, on days when it's not rainy and subject to flooding. When I was there, it was an overcast and misty day, which did nothing to reduce the serene tranquility of the place.
It's very remote. Your car has to be rugged to get there since the road is unpaved and uneven part of the way. Of course, it was worth the trip there and the short hiking I did up and down the gulch.
Who wouldn't want to spend some time letting the waters wash over them in the sun or, just as I did, sit listening to the falls in the mist.
In case you hadn't seen today's headline: U.S. says greenhouse emissions endanger human health
This quote must have been edited out of the article:
EPA scientist G. Galilei was relieved to hear of the US government's acknowledgement of accepted science. "At least I wasn't threatened with excommunication this time," he said.
Clearly, women-hatred is even more OK in the UK than it is in the US. Way to go, Brits!
h/t to twandx for pointing out this article. I glanced at the headline but it was such obvious bs I didn't read it. But upon perusal, it's even more hateful than the usual run of the mill 'scientific' study. Where to they turn out such uncritical, illogical 'professors?'
Men never go on shopping sprees.
Their hormones never drive them to visit home improvement centers and fill up garages with redundant power tools they will never use. Nor will they ever mail this useless junk to their relatives hoping that someone else will use it. They never fill baements/attics with computers and stereo equipment only a couple years out of date so they can shop for the latest and greatest toy. There aren't racks of unplayed video games laying in closets.
Men never have hangars filled with clothing they don't wear, duplicate sets of books they'll never read. Also, there are no garden sheds filled with lawn and garden equipment that pristinely ages while the yard is full of weeds.ShareThis
My irony meter pegged at max this morning. Here's an article about the current state of 'medical' treatment by the BBC:
With a headline of 'Life: a Medical Condition' and a tag of Medicalisation of Normality, it begins thusly:
Restless leg syndrome, social anxiety disorder, female sexual dysfunction, celebrity worship syndrome - it seems that a new illness is invented every week, covering every potential quirk in human behaviour.
Okayyyyyyyyyy - female sexual dysfunction is normal, merely a quirk, no need to wonder why or try to diagnose or assist the woman. Thanks, BBC! Good to know!
The article continues with a description of medical female ailments of the past including hysteria and neurasthenia and goes on to say that female sexual dysfunction is not well defined. Gee, doctor, I wonder why the hell that is? Lack of study of the problem maybe? The female half of the equation has been underserved, so to speak, since Kinsey (and now that we find out he was homosexual, that seems understandable). Yes, it seems women have been and continue to be subject to a bunch of quackery, especially when it comes to sex. How much more normal can you get?ShareThis
It was created in 1789. The purpose of it is to help out you, the president, in conducting foreign policy. Next time, your Oliness, you might want to take advantage of that huge number of people toiling all around you - you know, like um, the government? That thing you run now?
Or not. It seems Barack is in breezy letter writing mode. On Thurday Mar 19, Le Figaro reported this:
Barack Obama a écrit à Jacques Chirac
I used to really heart Digby, until she drank the koolaid. I still drop by to visit over there - check up on what she and dday are up to.
Today, this gem:
"I wish that Democrats had spent the last campaign educating the public about the differences between the conservative and progressive philosophies. It was intensely frustrating to watch the candidates spout tired Republican rhetoric, although in some circumstances it was clear they actually believed it, at least to some degree."
Yes, gee, it really was frustrating watching our DNC-appointed Democratic candidate for president praise Reagan policies and Republican rhetoric. Or worse yet, vowing support for liberal causes while voting the opposite (FISA, anyone).
If only there had been a more popular candidate who clearly articulated a Democratic vision for our country, one with a track record of liberal voting and years of successful policy work on progressive legislation and issues. If only 18 million voters had not had their state delegates assigned to some other candidate spouting Republican memes!
/facepalm, shakes headShareThis
This headline comes to us from the BBC online.
It's good to see a study which highlights an issue in women's health getting some visibility. For too long, health/medical studies looked at effects on men - and then somehow the corresponding study for women was considered as an afterthought, if it ever got done. In this case, since the professors studied couples, both sexes were studied at the same time.
The headline left off the rest of the sentence. It should read 'Strained marriages harm women, not men.' In a nutshell, it appears that while a strained relationship may cause stress and depression in both sexes, it's women that have long-term physiological consequences from that. Men - unaffected.
Sisters, are we at all surprised? No. (And given my current situation, I can attest that my stress level has gone down dramatically in the last month!) This is why it's important.
"The gender difference is important because heart disease is the number-one killer of women as well as men, and we are still learning a lot about how relationship factors and emotional distress are related to heart disease."ShareThis
I feel the need to refute a Republican meme I'm seeing around (here). The new scary enemy strawman being propped up is Iran. Well, it's not all that new but for some reason, this idea keeps being put forth that we need to bomb the country between Iraq and Afghanistan. Maybe just to make the region more symmetrically destitute? Or maybe to spread our Muslim phobia across a broader area? Not sure. Perhaps the same people advocating for a new war are the same ones who think that the Great Depression was solved only by WWII and all that New Deal stuff didn't matter. Yah, it probably didn't since the New Deal was about saving people from, you know, starving to death and had little to do with enriching the US banking oligarchy and replenishing their banks' money.
Here's an article referenced at The Agonist on Iran. This might provide a more balanced, real world, view than the propaganda machine is spewing at us.ShareThis
Sorry I've disappeared for a while. Real life has intervened.
First, husband of 20 years moved out at end of Jan. This is a good thing but still hard.
And now, just today, I find out that my job at huge corporation which is one of few posting profits in 4Q08, is 90% likely to be outsourced by end of spring. Along with more than half my team.
I'm just...floating. What is my identity today? Which is my preferred last name - my father's or my husband's? Maybe I'll just pick something else. What's my usefulness today? Apparently, not as much as it was yesterday - someone in India can stumble thru my job just as well as I can, albeit with a thick accent and a penchant for specific direction.
Change - it's what's for breakfast.ShareThis
And today, the last voice of reason drinks the koolaid and is lost. Over the months, the Democratic pundits have sipped from the cup and entered the land of Obotia, one by one. There are none left of the major pundits I used to read regularly. The last to fall - Bob Somerby.
His post today http://www.dailyhowler.com/dh121608.shtml describes how he feels that the media are 'parsing' to death Obama's statements in the Blago scandal. He goes on to compare this 'over-parsing' to what the media has done to Al Gore over the years.ShareThis
Today's 'surprise' is yesterday's announcement by Obama that he's not going to implement a windfall profits tax on oil companies.ShareThis
119 dead and over 300 wounded in a coordinated raid of 10 locations in one city is the horrific toll so far. Does a large terrorist attack gain any notice in the US if it occurs during a US holiday?
I'm thinking definitely not, so this latest rash of violence seems especially pointless. The previously unknown group claiming responsibility for this attack appears to have tried to target Britons and Americans, according to one witness. Though it's hard to see that strategy being carried out very well, what with random shooting at a train station and a restaurant. Most victims are Indians.