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Inundated 19 June 2008

Posted by marisacat in Inconvenient Voice of the Voter.

A dam along an artificial lake gave way under severe flooding Monday [Monday of last week] on a farm west of Lake Delton, Wis., unleashing a powerful current that ripped several homes off their foundations. [Photo: Steve Apps/Wisconsin State Journal, via Associated Press]


The latest breaks occurred overnight near the small town of Meyer on the western border of Illinois and Missouri, deluging roads and farmland and prompting the authorities to force about 50 people to leave their homes. The river was expected to crest early this afternoon farther downstream in Quincy, Ill., an elevated town of about 40,000 people perched on the banks of the Mississippi.

The rising waters further strained some of the country’s most fertile farmland, pushing corn prices near record highs. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, the flooding thus far has left about 12 percent of Midwestern crops in poor to very poor condition, lifting corn prices to $8 a bushel and soybeans to $15.96 a bushel. Those prices were expected to climb as the flooding continued.

Here in Canton, a town of 2,500 in eastern Missouri, people were bracing for the Mississippi to crest by Thursday morning.

The Mississippi River, as seen on Tuesday evening near St. Louis, Mo. [Photo: Todd Heisler/The New York Times]
CLARKSVILLE, Mo.—On the Missouri side of the Mississippi, the fate of towns in harm’s way is heavily influenced by levees. At least seven levees broke Wednesday between St. Louis and the border with Iowa, creating havoc in small towns and shutting down roads up and down the river.

Two towns without levees – Louisiana and Clarksville—struggled mightily against the encroaching Mississippi, as water levels approached the historic highs from the 1993 flood, with scheduled crests about two days away.

Clarksville, a charming little village about halfway between Hannibal and St. Louis, is close to defenseless against the rising river. Hundreds of volunteers feverishly shoveled sand into bags and stacked them high around homes, businesses, a bank and the tiny brick public library while roaring generators pumped water out of basements, water that almost certainly will do damage to another building. Water pours out of the bank.

“I never thought I’d see anything like this,” said Gary Mudd, who owns a convenience store on Howard Street, which now resembles a boat ramp. A flooded monument proclaims “Clarksville” at the top, with the inscription “Touch the Mississippi” beneath it. ::snip::

Debra Gouoran (center) and Brook Crandall (right) transport a load of sandbags on a flooded street in Louisiana, Mo. [Tribune photo by Kuni Takahashi / June 18, 2008]

Canton and Hannibal are not worried:

[A]ll is not troublesome on the river. Residents in Canton, in the northeast, say they are confident their levee will hold. And in Hannibal, tourists walked along Main Street on a brilliant 80-degree day, all but oblivious to the swollen Mississippi that is dangerously high and only 50 yards away, held in by a massive flood wall.

“I’m pretty relaxed about this,” said Frank North, who runs a downtown ice cream parlor whose back door opens to the flood wall. “That wall is state-of-the-art.”

The above from the Chicago Trib… and USA Today has the following:

[T]he stories from Canton and elsewhere along the Mississippi were heartening, with townspeople working shoulder-to-shoulder with stranger-volunteers seemingly appearing from nowhere. The heroics are commendable, but questions have to be gnawing at residents who in 1993 were told that was “a 500-year flood,” one with a 0.2% chance of occurring each year. This flood, however, might exceed the ’93 flood in places. Two 500-year floods in 15 years? Something’s wrong with the math.

While some communities along the Mississippi might well need to shore up their defenses, the answer has to lie beyond taller, stronger levees. Not every community can afford to shoulder a 35% share of the levee construction bill, as Hannibal did.

The notion that governments should step in to ensure every town has a Hannibal-size levee is also problematic. Hydrologists know that when levees grow and rivers narrow, the flooding gets nastier, at least for someone downstream.

In coming weeks, as the waters recede and the cleanup proceeds, the discussion should focus less on levees and more on managing flood-plain development. That means controlling runoff, restricting growth in flood-prone areas, and relocating buildings and even some communities to higher ground.

This much is clear: Finger-crossing is not an option, because if recent events are any indication, it’s likely to be far less than five centuries before the next 500-year flood.

ABC news overnight appear less convinced about the dams at Canton and Hannibal and report some mad sand bagging. AND that 90% of those in Cedar Falls had no flood insurance… with water to the 12 and 14 ft levels, now receded.


Flood relief

Lawmakers on Capitol Hill negotiated privately Wednesday over how much money to add to President Bush’s informal $1.8 billion request for flood relief. Mr. Bush requested funding for the government’s main disaster relief fund, as well as help for farmers and small businesses.

A dozen senators in both parties were pressing to add money for levee repair and help for displaced homeowners, among other pressing needs. House Appropriations Committee Chairman David Obey, D-Wis., was cobbling together a bulked-up flood relief package Wednesday afternoon.

Democrats were also seeking to iron out sticking points on the war funding bill, which has been delayed for months amid internal Democratic Party wrangling. Key battles are over how much non-war-related legislation and spending to add to Mr. Bush’s war request and whether to abide by rules requiring such add-ons – especially a huge increase in GI Bill college benefits for veterans – to be “paid for” instead of added to the U.S. debt.

In addition to the emergency flood aid, Democrats hope to use the Iraq funding bill as an engine to advance a 13-week extension of unemployment payments for people whose benefits have run out, as well as the GI bill benefits. The GI Bill benefits, originally slated to cost $52 billion over 10 years, would be $10 billion more generous over the same period to meet a Pentagon request to permit service members to transfer them to their spouses or children.

hmmm… AP in the Guardian on June 15:

Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama toured Quincy, Illinois, and helped fill sandbags yesterday.

“Since I’ve been involved in public office we’ve not seen this kind of devastation,” Obama said of the midwest flooding. He vowed to push the federal and state governments to provide needed aid to the stricken areas.

He must mean in the mid-west…

June 12 Obama webcast:

My heart goes out to the families in Illinois and across the Midwest, who have been forced to flee their own homes, and leave their businesses and communities behind. Right now, many of them are wondering when they’ll be able to return, and what they’ll find when they get there. While we cannot assure them that their communities will be rebuilt overnight, we can assure them that they will be rebuilt – because we’ll work to ensure that the full resources of our state and federal government are there to help. And I will do everything in my power to see to it that those resources get to the people who need them as swiftly as possible.


hmm Ambinder:

McCain To Iowa Tomorrow

18 Jun 2008 07:52 pm

Sen. John McCain will tear up his Thursday schedule and head to Columbus Junction, Iowa tomorrow to inspect flood damage. President Bush will also be in Iowa tomorrow, but the two won’t cross paths.

Not just souls suffering on the flooded rivers, but SWING STATES.



1. wilfred - 19 June 2008

TPM reporting the hideous Blue Dog Dems are going to facilitate the House giving Telecoms immunity on all their spying on us.

2. CSTAR - 19 June 2008

Oh and I’m sure there is a reason. The ways of the messiah are beyond the comprehension of mere mortals

There are multiple reasons why Obama would do this. For example, he might be trying to send a message to certain House Dems that he can help them even in conservative districts, which could keep them from refusing to endorse him — something that would give the GOP ammo in the Presidential race.

Send a message. Maybe he might try “send a stripper”. That’ll clinch it.

3. JJB - 19 June 2008

Latest on the flooding, don’t know if the levees mentioned here (St. Louis area) are newly breached or not:

The swollen Mississippi River continued to spread destruction on Thursday, surging over nearly a dozen levees in the St. Louis area and flooding vast areas of farmland, as the region’s growing crisis pushed corn and soy prices toward record levels.

The runaway river claimed its latest Missouri town late Wednesday night when it broke a levee in Winfield, just outside of St. Louis, leaving a 150-foot hole, deluging the small community and sending a surge of water downstream toward the next levee. Crews of firefighters spent the night evacuating residents, in some cases by boat, as workers fought to contain the river further south.

With weather forecasters calling for as many as two inches of rain in some parts of Missouri on Thursday, crews of emergency responders, sandbags in hand, were preparing for the worst.

St. Louis is the next major town in the path of the surging river, which is expected to crest at 40 feet there on Saturday. Because the river widens in St. Louis and connects with several tributaries, the damage is expected to be minimal. Still, the threat was great enough to prompt the city to relocate its annual Independence Day fair and festival for the first time.


Since the flooding began, 20 levees have been breached — 11 of them in the St. Louis area — and as many as 30 more were in peril. Estimates of the damage to farmland throughout the Midwest ranged from 2 million to 5 million acres of crops, pushing corn prices close to a record price of $8 a bushel. The U.S. Department of Agriculture is said to be planning a thorough review of the damage later this month.

Nowhere in any story on this situation have I seen any reference whatsoever to FEMA. Does it still exist?

4. marisacat - 19 June 2008

The only place I have seen FEMA mentioned is overnight, ABC reporter to Cedar Falls mayor, who said they are desperate for shelter. Think the town is all but wiped out. The reporter said, “FEMA trailers would help?” And the mayor said yes, we need whatever can be sent to us.

hmmm ?

Another reason presumptives need to say something…

I was asleep so don’t know what more they have said today… or what McCain said in going to Ohio….

5. Arcturus - 19 June 2008

yea, JJB – they just up ‘n folded – riiiight . . . what’s teh logic? if it’s not in the NYT, it doesn’t exist?


The Federal Emergency Management Agency said two levees in Illinois have broken and a dam in Morgan County, Ind., has been significantly damaged.

FEMA Administrator R. David Paulison said that as of Wednesday afternoon, officials shifted concern to flooding between St. Louis and the Quad Cities, which include Bettendorf and Davenport in Iowa and Moline and Rock Island in Illinois. In a phone call with reporters, Paulison said he expects that the lower part of the Mississippi will absorb the increased water flow without much impact. FEMA officials anticipate helping with major debris removal operations, oil and hazardous material cleanup, and health and medical support.

Paulison said the Environmental Protection Agency has been asked to test the water and air quality. FEMA also is organizing national housing task forces in the affected states. No states have requested FEMA trailers as of Wednesday.

In the flooded regions, some food processing plants were expected to be shut down, and officials expected maritime transportation to be closed for at least a week.

The federal government has provided more than 3 million quarts of water, 150 generators, more than 213,000 meals, 13 million sandbags and 4,000 rolls of plastic sheeting, according to FEMA and Army Corps tallies.

More than 28,000 people have registered for FEMA disaster assistance. Paulison said only 9 percent of them have flood insurance. Those without flood insurance are limited in what federal assistance they can receive.

Paulison’s on GW’s plane today:

FEMA Administrator R. David Paulison, accompanying Bush on Air Force One, praised the “great coordination” between federal, state and local leaders. Bush also was accompanied by two Democratic lawmakers from Iowa, Sen. Tom Harkin and Rep. Dave Loebsack.
. . .
But Paulison said FEMA was working better this time with other partners — the Army Corps of Engineers and even Wal-Mart — to distribute supplies. He said more than 3.3 million liters of water, 200,000 ready-to-eat meals and 4,000 rolls of plastic sheeting have been distributed. The agency also is placing stocks of sandbags and other supplies in states or towns where flooding hasn’t hit yet or material has not been requested, just to be ready.

“Another lesson learned from Katrina,” he said.

He said 28,000 people have registered for federal assistance. The average response time at FEMA’s 24-hour call line is 12 seconds — compared to response times that sometimes took hours during Katrina, he said.

this is the heartland of the Homeland – you’re not gonna see (mostly white) people stranded for days on end . .

6. marisacat - 19 June 2008

ooops McCain went to IOWA. An early am spot at THe Page says he flew into Muscatine and will tour Columbus Junction.

7. ms_xeno - 19 June 2008


…Maybe he might try “send a stripper”…

It’s a new breed of stripper. One who starts the show buck naked and then gets dressed in a garment made of old flags and old Bibles sewn together. Please let us choose an accompanying hymn or Sousa march for you.

8. wilfred - 19 June 2008

Yep, McCain and Bush in Iowa today feigning interest. Lol, not surprisingly their paths won’t be crossing.

9. marisacat - 19 June 2008

yes, w/r/t CSTAR’s comment… i just read that Obama is supporting an incumbent, pro war Dem in Georgia.

Well whatever floats your boat in a flood. So it seems.


11 am news in SF Bush flies in “with the promise of Federal aid”.. Also saw Blagoyavich (sp is off) is on the move today as well, into flood zone.

10. marisacat - 19 June 2008

Sargent at TPM on the Georgia Dem. Seems Obama cut an ad too. I gather the excuse, such as it is, is Party leadership, he is supporting the incumbent (there is a less conservative challenger).

11. marisacat - 19 June 2008


… “Country Love” is 60 seconds long and will air in 18 states at a cost to the campaign of, and i’m estimating, more than 1.5 million per week; if he’s saturating the airwaves, the figure is closer to $3 million.

The ad will air in Alaska, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Indiana, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Virginia, per the campaign.

Note the provocative references to welfare reform and tax-cutting.

Here’s the script: “OBAMA: I’m Barack Obama. America is a country of strong families and strong values. My life’s been blessed by both. I was raised by a single mom and my grandparents. We didn’t have much money, but they taught me values straight from the Kansas heartland where they grew up. Accountability and self-reliance. Love of country. Working hard without making excuses. Treating your neighbor as you’d like to be treated. It’s what guided me as I worked my way up – taking jobs and loans to make it through college. It’s what led me to pass up Wall Street jobs and go to Chicago instead, helping neighborhoods devastated when steel plants closed. That’s why I passed laws moving people from welfare to work, cut taxes for working families and extended health care for wounded troops who’d been neglected. I approved this message because I’ll never forget those values, and if I have the honor of taking the oath of office as President, it will be with a deep and abiding faith in the country I love.”

Ambinder has a link to the ad…

12. NYCO - 19 June 2008

You might be interested in the Invisible Flood Blog to get a nitty gritty account of flood recovery. This blogger has been documenting her efforts to get back on track since the (underreported) New York floods of 2006.


13. marisacat - 19 June 2008

thanks for that NYCO…………..

14. JJB - 19 June 2008


this is the heartland of the Homeland – you’re not gonna see (mostly white) people stranded for days on end . .

There are plenty of white people along the entire length of the Gulf Coast who are still homeless thanks not only to Katrinia, but the hurricanes that hit Florida in the years before that. The people being inundated in the Mississippi floods may very well have to abandon their homes just as the Dust Bowl migrants did 70 years ago. Most of them have no flood insurance.

As to the “logic” of my remark, it was a sarcastic statement meant to indicate that, as usual with BushCo., an important agency meant to respond to emergencies was proving itself hopelessly inadequate to the task. Next time, I’ll be sure to include footnotes so as not to cause confustion to those (such as yourself) who are so easily confused. 🙂

15. Arcturus - 19 June 2008

Antonia Juhasz (who was one of the organizers of the protests at Chevron’s Richmond facility), AFRI(OIL)COM (via CommonDreams):

The number of Americans who believe that the war in Iraq was a mistake has surpassed the number who felt the same way about Vietnam during that war. At the same time, a much quieter U.S. military build-up is underway on another continent. The ultimate objective of the two efforts is the same: securing Big Oil’s access to the regions’ oil. The impact in Africa will likely be the same as in Iraq: perpetual occupation, instability, and growing anti-Americanism.
. . .

16. Arcturus - 19 June 2008

There are plenty of white people

OMG!!! you’re kidding me!!!!!

sorry, I can’t help your poor reading habits

17. marisacat - 19 June 2008

Speaking of Africom (which i fully admit makes me bats) I had mentioned a few weeks back, that a neighborhood friend had jsut come back from taking a slow boat up the West Coast of Africa. Pretty flipped out that the “Chinese are everywhere”. I did not bother to point out we have staked out other areas, The Horn, in point, as one.

But it occurs to me that in say 5, 10 years on we can contrast the areas, and see whose footprint was more damaging.

18. JJB - 19 June 2008


I probably read more in a week that you do in a year.

And the material is far more elevated than the AP wires.

Incidentally, AP is suing people who quote material from their stories in comment threads such as this. They’re being so draconian about this that there’s an effort to get blogs to join in a strike to boycott them. Your comment is the very sort of thing they’re cracking down on.

Perhaps you’d be aware of that if you . . . did a bit more reading.


19. Arcturus - 19 June 2008

There are plenty of white people huh? & you base this on what, exactly? but go ahead, play penis games when you’re idiotic statements get mocked – let’s hear some more about Naders’ guv’mint by lawsuit . . .

& yes, I’m terrified of A-Friggin’-P – they can have ALL my assets! lol

20. Arcturus - 19 June 2008

well, cut ‘n paste didn’t work so well – but “I probably read more in a week that you do in a year.” is, umm, more ignorant than you’ll ever know

21. JJB - 19 June 2008

If you’re looking for an antidote for the sappy Tim Russert Still Dead coverage, Bob Somersby has some tart observations about the late, sainted Blue Collar Guy From Buffalo With The 8 Figure Income:

If we want to be honest, we have to say this: For good or ill, Timothy Russert never stopped selling his self-pimping blarney—the blarney which helped make him such a big star. At one point, in a bit of obscene self-promotion, Russert interrupted this life-and-death discussion to hand this pure blather to Moyers:

RUSSERT (to Moyers): Look, I’m a blue-collar guy from Buffalo. I know who my sources are. I work them very hard. It’s the mid-level people that tell you the truth.

“I’m a blue-collar guy from Buffalo!” If we’re going to be honest, we have to say this: Russert presented this self-promotion in every conceivable situation. This was not a good thing about Tim. This conduct was really quite bad.. . . According to [Chris] Matthews, Russert’s “Everyman/Mr. America patriotism” made him a bit of a dupe for the claims of the war hounds. But then, Russert bought the pseudo-conservative company line on many large aspects of modern politics. He bought the company line on Social Security—pretty much made it his pet issue—and he relentlessly pimped the issue, in grossly misleading and incompetent ways, over the past dozen years. Then too, he pretty much bought the company line about who “the phonies” were. On Sunday’s Meet the Press, Tom Brokaw said Russert knew who “the phonies” were because his blue-collar dad would tell him. (Yes. He actually said that.)

22. JJB - 19 June 2008
23. ms_xeno - 19 June 2008

SMBIVA mentions that Blackwater is being floated by some clot of concerned celebs and tastemakers as being just the thing to cure Darfur.

[slams forehead on keyboard]

Will we ever in a million years find the bottom of all this “bipartisan” imperial absurdity ?

24. ms_xeno - 19 June 2008

#19, Arcturus:

“Guv’Mint By Lawsuit” would be a great name for a blog. You could do the logo up like a bottle of cologne or something.


25. marisacat - 19 June 2008

A few months ago Charlie Rose had Clooney on, who raised it, Couldn’t Blackwater “help” us out in Darfur?

It was during the Eric Prince testimony on the Hill, and gosh darn if Prince was not on CR two nights later as part of his refluffing… and Prince said, in response to CR, that “he’d be GLAD to help”.

We are drowning.

26. JJB - 19 June 2008

I see someone’s allowed a fellow gas passer into her hermetically sealed cave of the winds, and they think think the atmosphere is just lovely. I guess when you have nothing to say, you might as well say it to each other.

27. ms_xeno - 19 June 2008

JJB, if you don’t like my peaches, feel free to go and shake somebody else’s tree.


It’s not as if your shtick (personal attacks and grade-school insults towards those who don’t buy every last fibre of your every argument) is all that rare a commodity in Blogland.

28. JJB - 19 June 2008


In case you haven’t noticed, it’s you and your playmate who started in with the insults towards me. If you don’t like someone who answers back, then don’t start the dialogue. I’m also not the one who sunk to spewing Anglo-Saxon in our last exchange. As to not being that rare a commodity in Blogland, you’re an expert on that, so common you’re generic.

So please, don’t ever respond to anything I write. I do desire that we were better strangers.


29. ms_xeno - 19 June 2008

…who started in with the insults towards me…

Yeah, right.

As for generic qualities, I’ve noticed that lately your shtick does have a certain familiar texture to it;Highly reminiscent of somebody long departed/expelled from the space.

So, consider yourself honorarily kill-filed. Have a nice life, etc.

30. Madman in the Marketplace - 19 June 2008

Why women quit technology careers

Harvard Business Review has an answer to why women get sick of the tech business, despite excelling in it. It is because of “antigens” — elements of the culture that actively repel women. Which is another way of saying that it’s full of misogynistic dicks. From Computer World:

31. Intermittent Bystander - 19 June 2008

Forecast is for more extreme weather: Rare events likely to become commonplace, climate report says (MSNBC on the latest report from the U.S. Climate Change Science Program, “a joint effort of more than a dozen government agencies”).

“Moderate flood control measures on a river can stimulate development in a now ‘safe’ floodplain, only to see those new structures damaged when a very large flood occurs,” the report said.

At the same time heavy rains increase, there’ll be more droughts, especially in the Southwest. . . .


“It is well established through formal attribution studies that the global warming of the past 50 years is due primarily to human-induced increases in heat-trapping gases,” the report itself states.

On the bright side, apparently humans will become increasingly free to believe their own lying eyes.

Psst . . . ms_xeno . . . there’s a little cadeau d’ anniversaire waiting for pick-up at #56 High Street. (Be sure to see the handy propagation tips at the second to last link.)

32. Intermittent Bystander - 19 June 2008

U.S. Climate Change Science Program report in psychedelic bell-bottoms and go-go boots (groooovy Wellies, no doubt) in the Carnaby Street of WordPress, I think.

33. Madman in the Marketplace - 19 June 2008

Study Finds That One-Third Of Taser Victims Need Medical Attention

Only days after Taser International was found liable in a wrongful death suit, a new study conducted by CBC News/Radio-Canada and the Canadian Press have concluded that one in three people shot by a Taser require medical attention. The information was gathered from RCMP incident reports filed between 2002 and 2007. Of the 3,226 tasings laid down during that period, 910 of the victims went to a medical facility to treat their injuries—and many more potentially serious cases did not seek treatment.

34. marisacat - 19 June 2008

my advice to the world, grow webbed feet, except where green is going to desert. There, maybe wings. A crusty covering… something.

35. Intermittent Bystander - 19 June 2008

33 – I was once hit by lightning (that had snaked along a garden hose, crossed a puddle, and then slapped my big toe something fierce), and I can’t say I’m surprised to hear that targeted Electro-Muscular Disruption might cause trouble for 1 in 3 average citizens. According to Wiki, Amnesty International can document 250 (plus or minus) deaths in the aftermath, since summer 2001.

34 – Right! Probably crocodiles and cockroaches should take a turn as role models, right about now. The “big brain” approach appears to have its wrinkles.

(But speaking of hoses, I was tickled to see this spider monkey story the other day.)

36. Arcturus - 19 June 2008

There was a taser death in Woodland recent.y He had checked himself into a mental health facility, wandered away – they asked cops to find him. He was large, ethnic, & non-responsive to commands.


5 seconds w/ google shows the ‘satire’ to be lame, at best. Sorry that gives you fits. Odd fact not to know for someone who professes such care for the victims.

37. James - 19 June 2008

#5 – yup. Folks in the Lower 9th ward were largely invisible prior to the broken levees of 2005; they’ve been invisible (and displaced) ever since. The feds care somewhat more about the “heartland” if for no other reason than the residents tended to be among the more reliable Bu$hCo voters.

38. Madman in the Marketplace - 19 June 2008

CNN is in full “aren’t working class white people the best here in the HEARTLAND?!?” mode … I seriously can’t watch this shit.

39. lucid - 19 June 2008

So hey… this is something different than I’ve posted before – not a poem that has a rhythmic intention within the words, but lyrics to a song I’m writing that have a rhythm within the song:

How many lives to make a bullion,
With the cyanide in the ground?

How many children make a barrel,
At the barrel of a gun?

And we pretend our leisure,
Sight unseen, forestall.

Our sugar tooth betrays us,
When we take the higher ground.

[Imagine a Nick Drake voice singing that, with an equally Nick Drake guitar accompaniment]. Syllable, it’s 9-7,9-7,7-5,7-7. I always start off the one. The two 9’s start on the half beat after the one and the 7’s start on the 2.

Sorry… boring…

40. Heather-Rose Ryan - 19 June 2008

JJB, would you please relax? Nobody needs the supercilious act you’ve been imposing on everyone lately.

41. lucid - 20 June 2008

I second.

42. Heather-Rose Ryan - 20 June 2008

From an article in which Russert’s widow reveals he was under a lot of stress in recent weeks:

She also said the family’s vacation to Italy, a present for Tim’s son Luke, who had just graduated, was not easy.

Maybe his visit with Ratzi fell through?

43. moiv - 20 June 2008

David Brooks isn’t in love anymore: The Two Obamas

God, Republicans are saps. They think that they’re running against some academic liberal who wouldn’t wear flag pins on his lapel, whose wife isn’t proud of America and who went to some liberationist church where the pastor damned his own country. They think they’re running against some naïve university-town dreamer, the second coming of Adlai Stevenson.

But as recent weeks have made clear, Barack Obama is the most split-personality politician in the country today. On the one hand, there is Dr. Barack, the high-minded, Niebuhr-quoting speechifier who spent this past winter thrilling the Scarlett Johansson set and feeling the fierce urgency of now. But then on the other side, there’s Fast Eddie Obama, the promise-breaking, tough-minded Chicago pol who’d throw you under the truck for votes.

This guy is the whole Chicago package: an idealistic, lakefront liberal fronting a sharp-elbowed machine operator. He’s the only politician of our lifetime who is underestimated because he’s too intelligent. He speaks so calmly and polysyllabically that people fail to appreciate the Machiavellian ambition inside.

But he’s been giving us an education, for anybody who cares to pay attention. Just try to imagine Mister Rogers playing the agent Ari in “Entourage” and it all falls into place.


Dr. Barack said he could no more disown the Rev. Jeremiah Wright than disown his own grandmother. Then the political costs of Rev. Wright escalated and Fast Eddie Obama threw Wright under the truck.

Dr. Barack could have been a workhorse senator. But primary candidates don’t do tough votes, so Fast Eddie Obama threw the workhorse duties under the truck.

Dr. Barack could have changed the way presidential campaigning works. John McCain offered to have a series of extended town-hall meetings around the country. But favored candidates don’t go in for unscripted free-range conversations. Fast Eddie Obama threw the new-politics mantra under the truck.

And then on Thursday, Fast Eddie Obama had his finest hour. Barack Obama has worked on political reform more than any other issue. He aspires to be to political reform what Bono is to fighting disease in Africa. He’s spent much of his career talking about how much he believes in public financing. In January 2007, he told Larry King that the public-financing system works. In February 2007, he challenged Republicans to limit their spending and vowed to do so along with them if he were the nominee. In February 2008, he said he would aggressively pursue spending limits. He answered a Midwest Democracy Network questionnaire by reminding everyone that he has been a longtime advocate of the public-financing system.

But Thursday, at the first breath of political inconvenience, Fast Eddie Obama threw public financing under the truck. In so doing, he probably dealt a death-blow to the cause of campaign-finance reform. And the only thing that changed between Thursday and when he lauded the system is that Obama’s got more money now.

And Fast Eddie Obama didn’t just sell out the primary cause of his life. He did it with style. He did it with a video so risibly insincere that somewhere down in the shadow world, Lee Atwater is gaping and applauding. Obama blamed the (so far marginal) Republican 527s. He claimed that private donations are really public financing. He made a cut-throat political calculation seem like Mother Teresa’s final steps to sainthood.

44. Madman in the Marketplace - 20 June 2008

and in today’s news, Tim Russert is still dead.

Today hopefully we’ll read about his last bowel movement.

45. NYCO - 20 June 2008

That article about women and tech was interesting. I’m not employed in the tech field, but the part about the “diving catch” was revealing. I always wondered why “management by crisis” was so widely accepted in any field of endeavor. Maybe it’s because men find it an easy way to look like a hero, in a white-collar world where you don’t ever get a chance to show any physical heroism — outside of team-building exercises where you walk across hot coals or something.

46. NYCee - 20 June 2008

Guess you could say I’m no “angel”… in this pre production stage of The Great Obama Road Show.

As I said a few days back, Stephen Kinzer, when asked by an audience member about his sense of the promise of Obama for positive change (ie, reversing our long trend of shameful – Only in America! – foreign policy sins) said: No reason not to hope, but hold onto your wallet!

My grip only tightens:

Obama looks like such a playuh when he ‘splains (his broken promises) about how he was gonna have a serious sitdown with the GOP candidate to urge him to go public with him on the funding. Yeah, right. And it happened… when? Ugh! Give it up.

Then, it is reported, he is doing back channel talks with Iraqis, saying dont take it too seriously, what I say on the trail re pulling out.

Similar to reports of back channel talks with Canadians about his public statements about changing NAFTA. Pay no mind to the man in the shiny suit hawking CHANGE!

How ’bout those Town Halls, too – McCain ought to hold a few… with an empty chair marked Agent for Change.

My sense is that the powers that be are ready for a readjustment from the horrendous outcome of the too-deeply flawed Bush prescriptions for our ailing nation, which they once rallied round. He is a good front man for the nip and tuck. I have little hope for anything beyond that.

I cannot fathom from where he gets the enormous ground swell of enthusiastic support from the masses… Where do they see this tremendous promise of change that they are opening their wallets for?

I see him with a lot of skepticism. If he gets in the WH he’ll need to show me positive and bold, before I clap my hands together for him. Yet so many do… as they empty their wallets. Our fellow Americans help to keep our pols on the safe and narrow because the safe and narrow is not only what they tolerate, but what they enthusiastically support.

47. NYCee - 20 June 2008

Tim Russert to Bill Moyers on media meltdown re Iraq war lies:

TR: Okay, so I helped spread the notion that preventive war with Iraq was in our best interest, letting BushCo spout their lies unchallenged.

But hey, they had my number! Why didnt they call me to correct these mistakes? Why didnt my masters free me so I could tell the truth?

This is our paragon of journalistic virtue…

So I hear… and hear… and hear.

48. Intermittent Bystander - 20 June 2008

NY Rep. Maurice Hinchey has joined Wexler, Woolsey, and Lee as a cosponsor of Kucinich’s impeachment bill. WI Rep. Tammy Baldwin has signed on, as well. (Hat tip to buddydrama at pff for the news.)

49. ms_xeno - 20 June 2008

#31 — IB, which link were you referring to ? There are so many on that page. Sorry, but getting up at 5:30 AM every day this week (after being attacked by swarms of hungry cats that insist on rising with the sun) is starting to take its toll…


50. Intermittent Bystander - 20 June 2008

49 – Now I’m confused. This page?? (Propagation tips and short list of varieties at Totally Thyme.)

51. Intermittent Bystander - 20 June 2008

Floods engulf archaic levee system (Christian Science Monitor).

The news of so many levees overtopping or breaching can come as a shock to residents who felt safe behind their walls.

But experts say it’s hardly surprising, especially given the low standards to which most levees are built.

To qualify for the National Flood Insurance Program, structures simply need to be behind a levee built to a so-called 100-year standard, meaning there is a 1 percent chance in any given year that a flood will rise above the levee. In the Netherlands, on the other hand, levees for ocean flooding are built to a 10,000-year standard, and inland levees are designed at least to a 250-year standard and usually in excess of 1,250 years.

“Around the world, the 100-year standard is a joke,” says John Barry, author of “Rising Tide,” his book about the Mississippi River flood of 1927, and a member of a flood control authority that oversees six levee districts in metropolitan New Orleans. “We invest on the cheap.”


Several lessons and recommendations emerged from the 1993 floods, but few have been acted upon, says Mr. Galloway.

One of the key lessons: that the loose amalgam of federal and non-federal levees wasn’t sufficiently monitored or maintained. No one knows how many levees exist or what their condition is, and most are turned over to local communities after being built.

Galloway recommended that the government develop an inventory and inspection system for levees similar to the one it created for dams in the 1970s. Congress finally agreed after Katrina to start such a program, but lawmakers have yet to appropriate sufficient money, Galloway says.

“We also indicated that critical infrastructure” – hospitals, nursing homes, fire and police departments – “was not supposed to be in the flood plain,” says Galloway. “But we’ve continuously ignored that.”

One community did decide to move the entire town to higher ground after the 1993 floods. This week, residents of Valmeyer, Ill., are looking down at the raging river from the bluffs they now sit atop, instead of from the plain where their town was largely washed away 15 years ago.

Such an approach is what a some advocates would like to see more of. Any structural system like levees is always going to be inadequate, say some environmentalists and engineers, and it interferes with the river’s natural ability to deal with flooding by overflowing into wetlands and floodplains.

52. marisacat - 20 June 2008

I caught Galloway on The News Hour yesterday, very good he was.

53. Intermittent Bystander - 20 June 2008

Oops . . . meant to ID the speaker there: Gerry Galloway, a retired brigadier general with the US Army and an engineering professor at the University of Maryland, who led a widely acclaimed study of the 1993 floods.

54. JJB - 20 June 2008

Israel has upped the ante in the game of chicken it’s playing with the US over who’s going to launch attacks against the Iranians:

Israel carried out a major military exercise earlier this month that American officials say appeared to be a rehearsal for a potential bombing attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities.

Several American officials said the Israeli exercise appeared to be an effort to develop the military’s capacity to carry out long-range strikes and to demonstrate the seriousness with which Israel views Iran’s nuclear program.

More than 100 Israeli F-16 and F-15 fighters participated in the maneuvers, which were carried out over the eastern Mediterranean and over Greece during the first week of June, American officials said.

The exercise also included Israeli helicopters that could be used to rescue downed pilots. The helicopters and refueling tankers flew more than 900 miles, which is about the same distance between Israel and Iran’s uranium enrichment plant at Natanz, American officials said.


[T]he scope of the Israeli exercise virtually guaranteed that it would be noticed by American and other foreign intelligence agencies. A senior Pentagon official who has been briefed on the exercise, and who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the political delicacy of the matter, said the exercise appeared to serve multiple purposes.

One Israeli goal, the Pentagon official said, was to practice flight tactics, aerial refueling and all other details of a possible strike against Iran’s nuclear installations and its long-range conventional missiles.

A second, the official said, was to send a clear message to the United States and other countries that Israel was prepared to act militarily if diplomatic efforts to stop Iran from producing bomb-grade uranium continued to falter.

“They wanted us to know, they wanted the Europeans to know, and they wanted the Iranians to know,” the Pentagon official said. “There’s a lot of signaling going on at different levels.”

Especially interesting is that mention of overflights of Greece, which would presumably have granted permission for this. If nothing else, strange aircraft appearing on Greek radar screens would almost certainly have been presumed to be Turkish, and might have triggered hostile action before the situation could have been explained.

On a related note, Gareth Porter discusses Dick Cheney’s continuing efforts to involve us in war with Iran, by any means possible.

55. marisacat - 20 June 2008

well if Olmert, on his way out to some sort of disgrace, won’t do it… I can easily see Tzipi Livni doing it. I rather imagine they’d love to saddle the new mixed message, little of this, little of that president with an Iranian strike.

Who knows. war is on the horizon – beyond that, not much else. IMO.

56. marisacat - 20 June 2008

Looking a little thin on the ground, somehow, maybe due to no info yet from CNN:

Meet the Press (with Brian Williams): Sens. Biden, Graham

This Week: Sen. Hutchison, Rep. Markey.

Face the Nation: Gov. Richardson, Carly Fiorina

Fox News Sunday: Daschle, Tom Ridge

57. JJB - 20 June 2008

MCat, no. 55,

It seems like almost everybody (outside of a circle of true fanatics)knows what a disaster it would be, yet they can’t make themselves decide not to do it. Even some of the fanatics, in this country anyway, are probably held back by the situation in the Afghanistan/Pakistan border areas, which has considerably worsened of late.

58. aemd - 20 June 2008

DJIA drops below 12k.

IOZ on the Donk effort to get everyone to sit down and STFU. He’s done some very good posts over the last week.

59. marisacat - 20 June 2008

I see IOZ changed his format again… I can read this one, wihtout pulling up to the screen and feeling impossibly elderly… LOL.

SMBIVA has been manic and wonderful too, the past few weeks.

60. Intermittent Bystander - 20 June 2008

Final tally on the FISA vote.

(Much gnashing of naranja teeth.)

61. bayprairie - 20 June 2008

yeah Ib. mucho wailing and nashing of teeth on the party blogs today over the democratic party leadership’s double sell-out; iraq funding and telco amnesty.

didn’t the “A” listers get the memo re: major holiday approaching? democratic party members always cave to the opposition before holiday breaks.

“some say” the solution is to contribute money to act blue.


62. ms_xeno - 20 June 2008

IB, #50:

Sorry, IB. I thought you were talking about a link I should click to on the page about climate change. But now I see what you’re talking about.

Hope to have more garden pics up by Sunday, BTW.

Meanwhile, state to state Green issues and why the Presidential nomination process isn’t as democratic as it should be. Thrills galore for those geeky enough to wade in.


63. marisacat - 20 June 2008

pelosi was a yes i see.

the singl republican hold out was johnson ofillinois….

64. marisacat - 20 June 2008

This gave me a laugh. The answer is probably written on a tiny piece of paper hidden under that fucking flag pin:

Where’s Obama on FISA?

The reauthorization of the federal surveillance laws is the central issue on the Hill and on both sides of the political debate right now, with liberal critics attacking the Democrats’ accession to key White House demands, but the candidates have been tiptoeing around it a bit.

Asked on a conference call for Obama’s position, a senior aide didn’t know.

By Ben Smith 02:19 PM

65. Arcturus - 20 June 2008

pleasantly surprised to see Doris MAtsui actually voted against it

btw, Dennis Bernstein was flogging his Penny Prtizker story (as sup-prime architect) again yesterday – has dug up some old lawsuit docs – I was in the car, lost reception & haven’t d/l’d it yet – not sure if he’s going to write on it again or not

66. bayprairie - 20 June 2008

well the whack spoonless says in this rec list piece that:

Obama Staff “Literally Reviewing FISA as we speak”

of course that “very courteous staffer” is pumping the webrube full of shitsky. but hey its good for a laugh. plus living proof that the democratic party stands for next to nothing.

all they do is kneel.

67. marisacat - 20 June 2008

I noticed Matsui’s name as well. BTW, if anyone wants to see So Seas pearls that out glow the others… check out Doris someday when she is up on Cspan. LOL. Some sweetheart pacific deal no doubt.

Oh Obama is so busy being lanky and Kennedy-esque, he does not need opinions. Or, only ones he drops off to the committed xtians (and Kmiec is a committed “natural law” devote as well) he meets with personally. LOL what a JOKE.

68. marisacat - 20 June 2008


Monitoring the calls

A reader emailed half an hour ago that the operators in Obama’s call center (Who knew that he had a call center?) had been offering a scoop on his position on the wiretap bill known as FISA. I called the campaign’s (800) number to check, and a woman with a British accent answered that Obama has “opposed this legislation and stood with Senator Dodd, cosponsoring his amendment to remove this special interest provision from the bill that came before the Senate.”

Dodd opposes the compromise, so that sounded like an answer.

But on spokesman Bill Burton’s urging, I called back and asked more narrowly about today’s compromise on the Hill, and a second operators said he didn’t know, but could read the past statement.

Given the hype about Obama’s operation, I imagined the call center as a complicated system in which volunteers all over the world, including apparently England, were dialing in to a switchboard in Southern California to answer the enormous flood of calls, all under the control of a 17-year old Obama staffer who who also owns 20% of Google.

Apparently, not so much: The call center is made up of about a dozen volunteers in Chicago. And after I asked, Burton walked down the hall and told them to change the message.

And so when I called a third time, about two minutes later, I got a much smaller scoop from a third volunteer, who told me that Obama will be releasing a statement later today.

All in all, reassuringly low tech, though I’m still not sure how Obama feels about the NSA listening in on the calls.

By Ben Smith 03:12 PM

69. CSTAR - 20 June 2008

From it is false that we are not spoonless. This is not unfunny

it also occurred to me that Senator Clinton earned not a few votes from committed supporters, and wields more than a smidgen of influence. If you wish to contact her, her numbers are 212.688.6262 (NY) and 202.224.4451 (DC).

It’s Clinton’s fault. Or it’s not the case that it is not her fault,

70. James - 20 June 2008

A classic from Matthew Witemyre at Scary Shit who seems to have as good an insight on the prog blog psychology as anyone:

OK, Progressive bloggers and the Democratic party:

Step 1) “Goddamn scurrilous Republicans, they are fucking everything up. I hate those guys. And they are stupid too.”

Step 2) “Goddamn scurrilous Republicans are trying to enact some godawful policy. Hey Dems, you guys’ll stop it, right (even if you guys are the ones pushing the policy. must be some variation of the old switcheroo, right? I like the way you guys think. Crafty.)”

Step 3) “OK everybody, let’s all e-mail and call our Dems. They are totally going to listen this time.”

Step 4) “Well, looks like the Dems are gonna fuck us. You guys better keep calling and e-mailing though, unless you are objectively pro-McCain. Defeatist bastards.”

Step 5) “What’s up with all you jerk-faces hating on the Dems? You got a better idea, or do you just hate America?”

Step 6) “Well, it looks like those goddamn scurrilous Republicans got what they wanted. Those guys are such jerks.”

Step 7) “Why would the Democrats do this, it just doesn’t make any sense?”

Step 8) Omit Step 8.

Step 9) “Clearly the fault lies with the naysayers out there. Those negative Nellies and their bad-vibes screwed everything up. We need two things right now, stat! More hope, and more Democrats. Gooooooooooo Team Blue!”

71. James - 20 June 2008

If you get bored and are looking for some sort of long-winded blog post, I’ll do some blogwhoring of my latest: “Women and children first” (21st century edition). If you have even more time to kill, might I also suggest I beg to differ?

72. marisacat - 20 June 2008


I can add one… LOL

Blue Dogs, send them your cash NOW, remember big tent, majorities, elect Nancy as Speaker! Blue Dogs Blue Dogs they are with us! on most things! (cue Georgia on my Mind for Obama!) Blue Dogs Blue Dogs, send cash! Go GO GO!!! Yay Blue Dogs!!!! Fight FIGHT FIGHT!!!

6 mos later: Those Bush Dogs! they stand in the way of everything, we will get it right next time, next year, next cycle, (NEXT CENTURY) but for now we will make a list, hang it high (same as mistletoe!) … grrr, those Bush Dogs they stand in the way of everything! Grrr. Need Better Democrats, note to self!

73. marisacat - 20 June 2008

Here is his statement on the FISA bill. Better afterwards than before, it seems.

here is the last graf… reading it over, I think it also is easy to modify wording for WAR as well:

[“I]t is not all that I would want. But given the legitimate threats we face, providing effective intelligence collection tools with appropriate safeguards is too important to delay. So I support the compromise, but do so with a firm pledge that as President, I will carefully monitor the program, review the report by the Inspectors General, and work with the Congress to take any additional steps I deem necessary to protect the lives – and the liberty – of the American people.”

74. NYCee - 20 June 2008

Go blue dogs, gooooo! (blech, belch, bomit <–Spanish pronunciation on the last, in the interest of aliteration) Nancy Pee not only lies down with them, but she votes with them too, apparently.

(Not to be confused with that nice dog Blue, of the cartoon series… I think he teaches science and stuff to the tykes)


What a Country!

Thanks for the reminder of the Somersby on the Russet, JJB.

My boyfriend told me about it yesterday and your link got me over there. It’s a fun read so far… I’m past outrage, most of the time, over media elite antics, but am enjoying the ride, following the trail of a punctured hot air balloon (buffoon?) a la Somersby’s digging …

What a Country!

75. marisacat - 20 June 2008

grass fire(s) in Watsonville, affecting Highway 1, North and South. Fire in Oakland, sounds like the flatlands, encompassing two buildings so far.

76. marisacat - 20 June 2008

uh. TNH offered a brutally real tale of an Oakville Iowa pig farm under water. Life is too tough, it really is.

77. marisacat - 20 June 2008

The Oaklnd fire went to fire alarms. Several buildings engaged now, several to the right and left of the 4 buildings it began in. Think they said International Blvd at 93rd

78. marisacat - 20 June 2008

have a laugh. The Dems begged and begged for a bounce, so newsweek gave them one Democrats are such believers..

I am remembering that when Clark joined the field, newsweek popped irght up wiht a poll that had him 17 points ahead. Armando nearly creamed in his trousers.

79. NYCee - 20 June 2008

A very lame statement, indeed, on the FISA bill, by Mr Obama.

Whadda fightah!

Well, the American people get what they ask for… which is very little (inflated to look very big).

80. bayprairie - 20 June 2008

“There’s no avoiding this conclusion, our town is turning into shit.”

81. marisacat - 20 June 2008

oakland fire goes to 6 alarms. Fairfield fire now too.


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