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Masters of our incredibly shrinking universe. 8 February 2009

Posted by marisacat in 2010 Mid Terms, Democrats, Inconvenient Voice of the Voter, Lie Down Fall Down Dems, U.S. Senate, WAR!.
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Sen. Joe Lieberman, I-Conn, Sen. Ben Nelson, D-Neb., Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa., talk about the Senate’s work to pass the economic stimulus bill in the face of strong GOP opposition. [AP]

Yes… don’t miss the guy on the left, who, forever it seems, lives to fight another day.   I say, the Gang of 14, from the old filibuster fights, still rules.

If it matters, this is the article that accompanied the photo, with some bits and pieces of the debris…

In other infinitely cheerier news, Kissinger, in Munich to receive an award for his “outstanding leadership in the cause of peace”… (no, really!) praised Obama.  Sounds like he said some version of With Obama As Our Global Rep, We Shall Overcome.

Irony is not dead and cannot die, it is literally all over the place.  We trip over it on the way to the exits…

***

Not a fan of the editorial page, nor the opinion columns, at the NYT but I did laugh out loud reading Gail Collins… too funny.  I would suspect the Op/Ed pages are feeling renewed vigor after the Daschle debacle.

I wanted them to work together on global warming, not on cutting money for Head Start out of the stimulus.

And Obama feels your pain. He always said the bipartisan path was going to be rocky, but this week the going was so rough that the great trailer-tractor of stimulus blew out several tires on the shoals of post-partisanism.

It was embarrassing — the President of the United States held White House negotiations with people who had already announced that they had no intention of voting for his bill. He let minority-party subleaders lecture him about what’s wrong with redistribution of wealth. He had a bipartisan Super Bowl party!

But he still wound up cooling his heels, waiting for word from the newly hatched moderate caucus on what would happen next. This is the group that was led by Susan Collins of Maine. In November, we apparently elected Collins and her fellow Maine Republican, Olympia Snowe, to help run the country. And you wasted all that time thinking about Joe Biden.

Tho as it turned out, it seems Snowe and Voinovich walked out… oh well!, stiff upper something and carry on…

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1. bayprairie - 8 February 2009

reverse firebird

“Slackjaw Jezebel” – Gov’t Mule

2. bayprairie - 8 February 2009

custom shop 1959 (r9)

Gov’t Mule – Thorazine Shuffle

3. bayprairie - 8 February 2009
4. bayprairie - 8 February 2009

Gov’t Mule – Rocking Horse

5. bayprairie - 8 February 2009

Gov’t Mule – Time to Confess

thank the goddess for warren haynes

6. bayprairie - 8 February 2009

thats for IB and madman who’ll “get it”

go there. and don’t be afraid to explore!!!

7. bayprairie - 8 February 2009

yeah and hey thats for

diane 2

and marisa 4

its the shiznits.. go figure…

play the damn guitar baby heh

8. marisacat - 8 February 2009

Police in Australia say the number of people killed in bush fires has risen to 76, making it the country’s worst fire disaster.

For more details: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news

***

Aside from the fires… there is this rather frightening article lurking at the UK Independent..

[M]inisters are blaming the heat – which follows a record drought – on global warming. Experts worry that Australia, which emits more carbon dioxide per head than any nation on earth, may also be the first to implode under the impact of climate change.

At times last week it seemed as if that was happening already. Chaos ruled in Melbourne on Friday after an electricity substation exploded, shutting down the city’s entire train service, trapping people in lifts, and blocking roads as traffic lights failed. Half a million homes and businesses were blacked out, and patients were turned away from hospitals.

More than 20 people have died from the heat, mainly in Adelaide. Trees in Melbourne’s parks are dropping leaves to survive, and residents at one of the city’s nursing homes have started putting their clothes in the freezer.

“All of this is consistent with climate change, and with what scientists told us would happen,” said climate change minister Penny Wong.

Australia, the driest inhabited continent on earth, is regarded as highly vulnerable. A study by the country’s blue-chip Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation identified its ecosystems as “potentially the most fragile” on earth in the face of the threat. …

9. marisacat - 8 February 2009

thanks bay for those posts… 8)

10. NYCO - 8 February 2009

76 dead… wow. That is horrible.

11. NYCO - 8 February 2009

For those intrigued by “American empire collapsing” stories, I present this discussion:

http://www.thealbanyproject.com/showDiary.do?diaryId=5724

The “let me out of this marriage” feeling on both sides has always been mutual, but I’ve never seen so many ordinary people talking about it as a rational solution before. There will be much more discussion about it in the coming years.

12. Madman in the Marketplace - 8 February 2009

Brad Blog: Filibuster Math: Dems Should Not Seat Gregg’s Replacement (Until Franken is Seated First)

However, the Senate rule requiring a supermajority (three-fifths of the Senate) to shut down attempted fillibusters with a cloture vote, is based on the number of “Senators duly chosen and sworn” — in other words, currently seated Senators.

With two seats vacant then, from MN and NH, after Gregg’s departure, that would put the number of “duly chosen and sworn” Senators needed to stop a filibuster at just 59 (or, 58.8, to be precise, but since we’re not allowed to count Lieberman as .8 of a human, the number needed for cloture would be 59)…

With Gregg gone and without his replacement yet seated, that would mean Democrats would only have to find to find one cross-over Republican vote to stop a filibuster, versus the two that they have to find currently with all but the MN seat filled. (With 99 Senators seated, a super-majority is 59.4, but since we’re not allowed to count the diminutive Linsdey Graham as .4, the number needed for cloture is still 60.)

As long as Coleman and the GOP plan to continue grandstanding in MN, and as long as NH’s Democratic Governor John Lynch is willing to make deals to appoint a Republican, the Democrats in the Senate ought to keep the appointed replacement Senator from NH on standby, until after the properly elected Franken (should the courts agree) is seated.

Remember, Article 1, Section 5 of the U.S. Constitution, allows that the Senate is the final arbiter of who may be seated in their own chamber, so they can take their sweet time doing it, if they choose.

Yes, the 1.3 million citizens of NH would unfortunately be temporarily robbed of full represenation in the Senate for the moment, but MN’s 5.2 million citizens are currently being disallowed their proper representation as well. To be clear, Coleman has every legal right to challenge the results of the U.S. Senate election in MN, but that doesn’t make grandstanding (and even doctoring evidence), as much of his case has been so far in MN, acceptable, or something that Democrats need to put up with.

Yeah, it’s hardball politics, but unless someone is aware of some Constitutional information that I’m not, its also both perfectly legal and Constitutional.

Well, Reid’s incapable of “hardball politics”, but it’s a funny/cool idea none-the-less.

13. Madman in the Marketplace - 8 February 2009

Kissinger, in Munich to receive an award for his “outstanding leadership in the cause of peace”… (no, really!) praised Obama.

Well, considering the religious nuttery he’s let into the White House, and combine that with the growing militarization of his Administration, and one can see that Obama is politically somewhere between Nixon and Eisenhower.

Henry feels right at home.

14. Madman in the Marketplace - 8 February 2009

it seems Snowe and Voinovich walked out

Maybe she just needed to change his diaper.

15. NYCO - 8 February 2009

I might have something in moderation. Not sure.

16. Madman in the Marketplace - 8 February 2009

Thanks for the Mule links Bay!

Haynes is underappreciated as a guitarist, maybe b/c he’s not purty and flashy enough.

Oh, and this … Pelosi & Reid, last night.

17. Madman in the Marketplace - 8 February 2009

11 – That is really interesting, NYCO. It’s pretty plain that upstate and the NYC region have many seriously competing interests.

There is some talk here about Milwaukee breaking away from Milwaukee County, many are sick of being held hostage by the Republican suburbs while generating a lot of the economic energy.

I think this whole country should break up into its constituent parts. It’s plainly not working.

18. marisacat - 8 February 2009

got it out of moderation, Madman…. 8)..

19. marisacat - 8 February 2009

15

NYCO

Did not see anything else but the one from madman in Moderation… and there was nothing in the Spam file…

If a comment got lost I apologise… from time to time WP does more than hiccup!

20. marisacat - 8 February 2009

I think this whole country should break up into its constituent parts. It’s plainly not working.

I agree.

21. marisacat - 8 February 2009

Well, Reid’s incapable of “hardball politics”,

I think Reid is the weakest leader of either house from either party I have seen. Hastert did defer to Bug Man… but everyone knew what was going on.

I have not voted for Nancy in 6 years but the fact that she gets openly hated, at so many levels (and it is so easy, I admit) and NOTHING gets said about Reid is appalling.

22. Madman in the Marketplace - 8 February 2009

Perlstein, in the WaPo, of all places — Wanted: Personal Economic Trainers. Apply at Capitol.

Equally specious is the oft-heard complaint that even some of the immediate spending is not stimulative.

“This is not a stimulus plan, it’s a spending plan,” Nebraska’s freshman senator, Mike Johanns (R), said Wednesday in a maiden floor speech full of budget-balancing orthodoxy that would have made Herbert Hoover proud. The stimulus bill, he declared, “won’t create the promised jobs. It won’t activate our economy.”

Johanns was too busy yesterday to explain this radical departure from standard theory and practice. Where does the senator think the $800 billion will go? Down a rabbit hole? Even if the entire sum were to be stolen by federal employees and spent entirely on fast cars, fancy homes, gambling junkets and fancy clothes, it would still be an $800 billion increase in the demand for goods and services — a pretty good working definition for economic stimulus. The only question is whether spending it on other things would create more long-term value, which it almost certainly would.

Meanwhile, Nebraska’s other senator, Ben Nelson (D), was heading up a centrist group that was determined to cut $100 billion from the stimulus bill. Among his targets: $1.1 billion for health-care research into what is cost-effective and what is not. An aide explained that, in the senator’s opinion, there is “some spending that was more stimulative than other kinds of spending.”

Oh really? I’m sure they’d love to have a presentation on that at the next meeting of the American Economic Association. Maybe the senator could use that opportunity to explain why a dollar spent by the government, or government contractor, to hire doctors, statisticians and software programmers is less stimulative than a dollar spent on hiring civil engineers and bulldozer operators and guys waving orange flags to build highways, which is what the senator says he prefers.

And then there is Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), complaining in Wednesday’s Wall Street Journal that of the 3 million jobs that the stimulus package might create or save, one in five will be government jobs, as if there is something inherently inferior or unsatisfactory about that. (Note to Coburn’s political director: One in five workers in Oklahoma is employed by government.)

In the next day’s Journal, Coburn won additional support for his theory that public-sector employment and output is less worthy than private-sector output from columnist Daniel Henninger. Henninger weighed in with his own list of horror stories from the stimulus bill, including $325 million for trail repair and remediation of abandoned mines on federal lands, $6 billion to reduce the carbon footprint of federal buildings and — get this! — $462 million to equip, construct and repair labs at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“What is most striking is how much ‘stimulus’ money is being spent on the government’s own infrastructure,” wrote Henninger. “This bill isn’t economic stimulus. It’s self-stimulus.”

Actually, what’s striking is that supposedly intelligent people are horrified at the thought that, during a deep recession, government might try to help the economy by buying up-to-date equipment for the people who protect us from epidemics and infectious diseases, by hiring people to repair environmental damage on federal lands and by contracting with private companies to make federal buildings more energy-efficient.

What really irks so many Republicans, of course, is that all the stimulus money isn’t being used to cut individual and business taxes, their cure-all for economic ailments, even though all the credible evidence is that tax cuts are only about half as stimulative as direct government spending.

Many, including John McCain, lined up this week to support a proposal to make the sales tax and interest payments on any new car purchased over the next two years tax-deductible, along with a $15,000 tax credit on a home purchase. These tax credits make for great sound-bites and are music to the ears of politically active car salesmen and real estate brokers. Most economists, however, have warned that such credits will have limited impact at a time when house prices are still falling sharply and consumers are worried about their jobs and their shrinking retirement accounts. Even worse, they wind up wasting a lot of money because they give windfalls to millions of people who would have bought cars and houses anyway.

What adds insults to injury, however, is that many of the senators who supported these tax breaks then turned around and opposed as “boondoggles” much more cost-effective proposals to stimulate auto and housing sales, such as having the government replace its current fleet of cars with hybrids or giving money to local housing authorities to buy up foreclosed properties for use as low-income rental housing.

Personal economic trainers would confirm all this. Until they’re on board, however, here’s a little crib sheet on stimulus economics:

Spending is stimulus, no matter what it’s for and who does it. The best spending is that which creates jobs and economic activity now, has big payoffs later and disappears from future budgets.

23. NYCO - 8 February 2009

20. Yeah, but what if America has 300 million “constituent parts”?

The truth is, we really aren’t sure where the “natural boundaries” lie. They haven’t been examined.

24. Madman in the Marketplace - 8 February 2009

23 – and I think that’s a political debate well worth having. Why is so much of this country’s progress held hostage by distorted representation to the prejudices and culture of the South? The North may have won militarily, but the South continues to win culturally, at least when it comes to a national government where the legislature is apportioned based on ideas 200 years old to maintain influence for rural areas.

Why are so many cities sending out more in taxes than they ever get back in gov’t funding, dependent upon rural and suburban areas that loathe the entire idea of cities and the people who live in them. Or you get areas like NY state or IL where the economic needs of the two ends of the state are SO different from each other that they end up holding each other in a weird stasis where no one gets anywhere?

25. marisacat - 8 February 2009

hmm I saw a preliminary short report on these moves at Reuters last night… Wapo now has a report up… Obster, or who runs Obster, moved in ready to move on expanding the NSC, Jones is the front man. So great. He spent the last two years at Condi’s side in the Middle East.

Very bad news imo. Luv what was well formulated prior to move in. Militarising… that’s what.

President Obama plans to order a sweeping overhaul of the National Security Council, expanding its membership and increasing its authority to set strategy across a wide spectrum of international and domestic issues.

The result will be a “dramatically different” NSC from that of the Bush administration or any of its predecessors since the forum was established after World War II to advise the president on diplomatic and military matters, according to national security adviser James L. Jones, who described the changes in an interview. “The world that we live in has changed so dramatically in this decade that organizations that were created to meet a certain set of criteria no longer are terribly useful,” he said.

Jones, a retired Marine general, made it clear that he will run the process and be the primary conduit of national security advice to Obama, eliminating the “back channels” that at times in the Bush administration allowed Cabinet secretaries and the vice president’s office to unilaterally influence and make policy out of view of the others….

The new structure, to be outlined in a presidential directive and a detailed implementation document by Jones, will expand the NSC’s reach far beyond the range of traditional foreign policy issues and turn it into a much more elastic body, with Cabinet and departmental seats at the table — historically occupied only by the secretaries of defense and state — determined on an issue-by-issue basis. Jones said the directive will probably be completed this week.

“The whole concept of what constitutes the membership of the national security community — which, historically has been, let’s face it, the Defense Department, the NSC itself and a little bit of the State Department, to the exclusion perhaps of the Energy Department, Commerce Department and Treasury, all the law enforcement agencies, the Drug Enforcement Administration, all of those things — especially in the moment we’re currently in, has got to embrace a broader membership,” he said. …

Although Jones said he strongly supports increased resources for the State Department, which is increasingly dwarfed by the size and expanding missions of the Defense Department, he has long been an outspoken proponent of a “pro-active military” in noncombat regions. He has advocated military collaboration with the oil and gas industry and with nongovernmental organizations abroad.

“I believe in collegiality . . . in sounding out people and getting them to participate,” Jones said. “I notice the president is very good at that.” But he made clear he plans to apply military-like discipline to the NSC. “The most important thing is that you are in fact the coordinator and you’re the guy around which the meetings occur. When we chair a principals meeting, I’m the chairman.”

In his initial conversations with Obama before taking the job, Jones confirmed, he insisted on being “in charge” and having open and final access to the president on all national security matters. ….

I feel for the sweet little doves that voted for the ”anti war Obster”. I’d say Jones is very in charge. And pleased to say so.

26. marisacat - 8 February 2009

23

The Federal government is a BIG problem… as I see it, going back a long ways… I laughed pretty hard a few months ago when I read that as teh new central government solidified, in Philadelphia there were contingents who flet to the farthest points in FL, to evade the coming Federal government… Makes sense to me!.

It’s something that should get some sort of debate… for now it will fester at the state / regional level. Certainly been talk for years out here of some sort of Western States, coastal States coalition. Jokes about “Cascadia”.

27. marisacat - 8 February 2009

Note to Coburn’s political director: One in five workers in Oklahoma is employed by government.

I am perfectly willing to thank Perlstein for that one.

I did catch him one night on Rose … and thought, gosh I do think there is a bit of a real heart still left in there.’

Good piece from him, thanks for that Madman..

28. NYCO - 8 February 2009

24. “Why are so many cities sending out more in taxes than they ever get back in gov’t funding”

That’s a problem that we have here in NY. Despite any pretensions to the contrary (talk about “NYC welfare queens”), it is true that NYC sends more tax dollars Upstate.

But then the other side spouts an equal amount of nonsense, comparing Upstate NY to “Arkansas” or “Kentucky” – as if people up here at uncultured, illiterate, backward and have no skills or resources. New York is a resource-rich state, leading all-around agricultural and dairy state, water power generation facilities, wind farms, timber resources, highly educated population, some of the most influential industrial/scientific development corporations in the world are still based here… it has everything but mild winter weather. So WTF are they talking about? There are laws on the books that make sense for NYC but make no sense up here… and they hurt business development up here. frankly, it’s really a political problem. Upstate needs a vibrant progressive/liberal party (ie “Democratic”) that doesn’t play second fiddle to the downstate Democrats. NY’s regional divide is not a political or ideological one… it’s always been almost purely cultural; but for the last few decades, it’s also been a stark economic divide. That makes for political instability.

However, as to what you point out – the only people who have “won” are corporations that pushed globalization. That is why the South grew in political influence, because the business interests all went down there.

To make a long post short, it’s about struggling with the burdens of complexity. With NYS, you have a superdense urban area to administer, and then an equally complex and diverse large territory to administer. It would be so easy if it were just “urban vs rural” but it’s not so simple. Upstate isn’t rural: it’s rural, suburban, urban, and large expanses of raw wilderness… not to mention several Indian nations still holding on tightly to sovereignty. I feel that the debate we are having over at The Albany Project right now is one that the entire nation will be having amongst itself in years to come.

29. Madman in the Marketplace - 8 February 2009

27 – I was shocked Perlstein had it in him.

28 – NYCOL: I feel that the debate we are having over at The Albany Project right now is one that the entire nation will be having amongst itself in years to come.

I hope so. I think it needs to happen, for both/all “sides” sakes.

30. marisacat - 8 February 2009

There’s long been talk of splitting CA in half.. it comes and go es over the years. I could see it being raised again, soon, in the event of very rough times… I’d gladly deflate San Diego and float it to Micronesia, for one. The source of so much trouble. Winger R, Pete Wilson, masses of retired military (I refer to the city as The Old South) and hideous racist legislation, the source of ”No Tax! Low Tax!” madness that has befouled the state for 30 years (dating to Prop 13 that undercut taxing RE, nto just residential but COMMERCIAL as well)…

LOL Could be City V City in this issue…

31. Madman in the Marketplace - 8 February 2009

Oakland Police State

February 6 “March of Stolen Lives” Braves Massive Police Intimidation

Huge police presence and an all out program of intimidation calls to mind the violence of deep south law enforcement during the 1960s Civil Rights struggle

“You know they used to lynch us. Now they’re just shooting us down. Just shooting us down like it’s the thing to do. And its not just here. It’s everywhere.” — Patricia Johnson, sister of Anita Gay who was killed last year by Berkeley police.

OAKLAND – On February 6, about 200 people gathered at the main intersection of the city to demand Enough is Enough. No More Stolen Lives! They came to protest what they see is an epidemic of police brutality, with the murder of Oscar Grant only the latest example. As they gathered the crowd learned that Johannes Mehserle, the BART officer who was captured on video shooting Grant in the back, had been released on bail. The Oakland Police Department was deployed in a huge force, and the civic plaza was completely surrounded by rows of heavily armed police and metal barricades. People in the march expressed outrage that at the same time Mehserle was able to go free on bail, the victims of police brutality were not permitted to march down Broadway, on the sidewalk but instead were forced to march to the Police Station on a side street.

Ten families who have had loved ones killed by law enforcement spoke at the rally. They included Rashidah Grinage, whose son and husband had been killed in her home by Oakland police who to this day have not been held accountable for those murders.

32. marisacat - 8 February 2009

addendum to 25

I think this is the most worrisome line in the Wapo piece on the expanded NSC

He has advocated military collaboration with the oil and gas industry and with nongovernmental organizations abroad.

…other than the agencies now grouped under Jones.

33. marisacat - 8 February 2009

The Oakland Police Department was deployed in a huge force, and the civic plaza was completely surrounded by rows of heavily armed police and metal barricades.

It was pretty stunning, as seen from the over head helicopter.. They claimed cops were out at a 2:1 ratio but it looked to be much higher.

I can say the shooting – the whole of it, with the exception of one host, has brought out the ugliest racist side of KGO … our local “liberal” talk radio. Unbelievably ugly.

34. Madman in the Marketplace - 8 February 2009
35. marisacat - 8 February 2009

Ricks has a new book out… Wapo carrying snippets… til it hits the bookshelves.

Mike Allen has some partts that are not at Wapo

‘THE LONG WAR … No matter how the U.S. war in Iraq ends, it appears that today we may be only halfway through it. That is, the quiet consensus emerging among many people who have served in Iraq is that we likely will have American soldiers in combat in Iraq until at least 2015which would put us now at about the midpoint of the conflict.In other words, the events for which the Iraq war will be remembered probably have not yet happened.’

–‘Even as security improved in Iraq in 2008, I found myself consistently saddened by the war, not just by its obvious costs to Iraqis and Americans, but also by the incompetence and profligacy with which the Bush administration conducted it. Yet I also came to believe that we can’t leave [oh puhleez.. we built the hardened bases, the huge new airport for OURSELVES –Mcat]. … [A] smaller but long-term U.S. military presence is probably the best case scenario. … Nor, at the end of many more years of struggle, is the outcome likely to be something Americans recognize as victory.’

–‘A FRAYED MILITARY … The last few years have seen soldiers burning out after repeated tours of duty in the war, with high rates of posttraumatic stress disorder among combat veterans. Rates of suicide and divorce have been increasing. Officers and sergeants are leaving in greater numbers. … The quality of recruits also has been dropping … The Army could be quite unforgiving of the missteps of younger soldiers, but enormously understanding when it came to much larger mistakes by generals. Captains were subjected to rigorous after-action reviews, but generals, inexplicably, were treated with kid gloves.’ [duh. it is not “inexplicable”. —Mcat]

–‘OBAMA’S WAR (Fall 2008) … Just before the election, Odierno said in my interview with him that one of the points he would make to the new president would be ‘the importance of us leaving with honor and justice. … For the military it’s extremely important because of all the sacrifice and time and, in fact, how we’ve all adjusted and adapted.’ … Like Clinton, Obama also would face the prospect of a de facto alliance between the military and congressional Republicans to stop him from making any major changes. My bet is that Obama and his generals eventually will settle on what one Obama adviser calls ‘a sustainable presence’ – and that that smaller force will be in Iraq for many years.’

–‘OBAMA IN IRAQ … He arrived in late July … [I]n this meeting, according to two participants, [Obama and Petraeus] concentrated on their differences – at least when Obama was permitted to interrupt the lecture. … Obama made it clear that his job as president would be to look at the larger picture – an assertion that likely insulted Petraeus, who justly prides himself on his ability to do just that. … Obama left people in Iraq with the sense he would be flexible and consider conditions on the ground and would be able to adjust his 16-month timetable if he saw the need.’

36. marisacat - 8 February 2009

34

might as well laugh. I feel sure Boeing will be keeping a few operational “models” for itself.

37. Madman in the Marketplace - 8 February 2009

boo fuckign hoo … the bigots now have a little intimidation coming back their way: Prop 8 Donor Web Site Shows Disclosure Law Is 2-Edged Sword

FOR the backers of Proposition 8, the state ballot measure to stop single-sex couples from marrying in California, victory has been soured by the ugly specter of intimidation.

Some donors to groups supporting the measure have received death threats and envelopes containing a powdery white substance, and their businesses have been boycotted.

The targets of this harassment blame a controversial and provocative Web site, eightmaps.com.

The site takes the names and ZIP codes of people who donated to the ballot measure — information that California collects and makes public under state campaign finance disclosure laws — and overlays the data on a Google map.

Visitors can see markers indicating a contributor’s name, approximate location, amount donated and, if the donor listed it, employer. That is often enough information for interested parties to find the rest — like an e-mail or home address. The identity of the site’s creators, meanwhile, is unknown; they have maintained their anonymity.

Eightmaps.com is the latest, most striking example of how information collected through disclosure laws intended to increase the transparency of the political process, magnified by the powerful lens of the Web, may be undermining the same democratic values that the regulations were to promote.

With tools like eightmaps — and there are bound to be more of them — strident political partisans can challenge their opponents directly, one voter at a time. The results, some activists fear, could discourage people from participating in the political process altogether.

That is why the soundtrack to eightmaps.com is a loud gnashing of teeth among civil libertarians, privacy advocates and people supporting open government. The site pits their cherished values against each other: political transparency and untarnished democracy versus privacy and freedom of speech.

“When I see those maps, it does leave me with a bit of a sick feeling in my stomach,” said Kim Alexander, president of the California Voter Foundation, which has advocated for open democracy. “This is not really the intention of voter disclosure laws. But that’s the thing about technology. You don’t really know where it is going to take you.”

Ms. Alexander and many Internet activists have good reason to be queasy. California’s Political Reform Act of 1974, and laws like it across the country, sought to cast disinfecting sunlight on the political process by requiring contributions of more than $100 to be made public.

Eightmaps takes that data, formerly of interest mainly to social scientists, pollsters and journalists, and publishes it in a way not foreseen when the open-government laws were passed. As a result, donors are exposed to a wide audience and, in some cases, to harassment or worse.

For years gay activists, suffragists, abolutionists, risked life and limb, their livelyhoods and their family’s livelyhoods, to fight for justice and fairness. Turnabout is fair play:

Some donors to groups supporting the measure have received death threats and envelopes containing a powdery white substance, and their businesses have been boycotted.

The targets of this harassment blame a controversial and provocative Web site, eightmaps.com.

The site takes the names and ZIP codes of people who donated to the ballot measure — information that California collects and makes public under state campaign finance disclosure laws — and overlays the data on a Google map.

Visitors can see markers indicating a contributor’s name, approximate location, amount donated and, if the donor listed it, employer. That is often enough information for interested parties to find the rest — like an e-mail or home address. The identity of the site’s creators, meanwhile, is unknown; they have maintained their anonymity.

Eightmaps.com is the latest, most striking example of how information collected through disclosure laws intended to increase the transparency of the political process, magnified by the powerful lens of the Web, may be undermining the same democratic values that the regulations were to promote.

With tools like eightmaps — and there are bound to be more of them — strident political partisans can challenge their opponents directly, one voter at a time. The results, some activists fear, could discourage people from participating in the political process altogether.

That is why the soundtrack to eightmaps.com is a loud gnashing of teeth among civil libertarians, privacy advocates and people supporting open government. The site pits their cherished values against each other: political transparency and untarnished democracy versus privacy and freedom of speech.

“When I see those maps, it does leave me with a bit of a sick feeling in my stomach,” said Kim Alexander, president of the California Voter Foundation, which has advocated for open democracy. “This is not really the intention of voter disclosure laws. But that’s the thing about technology. You don’t really know where it is going to take you.”

Ms. Alexander and many Internet activists have good reason to be queasy. California’s Political Reform Act of 1974, and laws like it across the country, sought to cast disinfecting sunlight on the political process by requiring contributions of more than $100 to be made public.

Eightmaps takes that data, formerly of interest mainly to social scientists, pollsters and journalists, and publishes it in a way not foreseen when the open-government laws were passed. As a result, donors are exposed to a wide audience and, in some cases, to harassment or worse.

38. Madman in the Marketplace - 8 February 2009

oops, messed up the blockquoting.

39. Madman in the Marketplace - 8 February 2009

oh, shoot me now: Official: Sebelius near top for health post

I’m catching up on Rosen and Greenwald on Moyers. It is really good. I wish it mattered.

40. marisacat - 8 February 2009

Sibelius… none of the names near the top are good. IIRC she has an insurance background. Not sure but think she might have been Insurance Commissioner for KS, as well. can’t care enough to tlook it up. We will get shit for health care. See Medicare Part D for instruction. UGH.

But you know, dynastic Dem family. Onward… of not forward. Maintain the flatline!

Gah.. just caught a snippet of the start of Hannity (he refers to the show as The Conservative Underground), he opens with a teaser of a mixer of Ob calling out Hanity and Hannity viewers. Let’s see… Ob has hit The Corner (they loved it!) then Hannity and FOX, separately and together (they loved it and I just read FOX numbers up under Obster) and now Rush. Rush Loves It!!

DIVERSION. From Ob.

I can hardly bear to read whathisname (Frank Rich, I looked it up) in the “liberal” NYT warning Ob to not miss the populist angst. Cuz imo Ob could actually miss that big. festering. sore.

41. marisacat - 8 February 2009

39

yes it really was good.

Well as Frances Fox Piven of CUNY (forget which campus she is at) said a few years ago, we are allowed “our” political books and “our” magazines and “our” side of the netteries bed (tho it is massively fractured)… and so on as it does not matter. it all circulates amongst us.

I do hold out some real shreds of hope for how much info there is online… but too, there is masses of entertainment, of all sorts, as diversion.

But bit by bit.. it will make a difference.

42. Madman in the Marketplace - 8 February 2009

I threw something together on the NSC story.

43. marisacat - 8 February 2009

Here is a snip from Madman’s post:

[T]his isn’t the structure of a government and diplomatic entity that is approaching the world from a peaceful prospective. This the continuation and expansion of our empire and militaristic mindset, more bullying and sabrerattling at a world that has increasingly had it with us.

This is also a path that our shrinking economy and our fractured polity can’t sustain without an increased reliance on authoritarian control of the population here at home … paying for all of this, and running it through the corrupt culture of the military, will be utterly unsustainable. If you call even building infrasture or overseeing the safety of drugs “security”, then you give the government the excuse to keep more and more of what they do secret.

44. marisacat - 8 February 2009

William Blum in C Punch (he also has a list of changes, country by country, that would be worth something to a leftischer non-Obamamaniac):

The Obamania bubble should already have begun to lose some air with the multiple US bombings of Pakistan within the first few days following the inauguration. The Pentagon briefed the White House of its plans, and the White House had no objection. So bombs away — Barack Obama’s first war crime. The dozens of victims were, of course, all bad people, including all the women and children. As with all these bombings, we’ll never know the names of all the victims — It’s doubtful that even Pakistan knows — or what crimes they had committed to deserve the death penalty. Some poor Pakistani probably earned a nice fee for telling the authorities that so-and-so bad guy lived in that house over there; too bad for all the others who happened to live with the bad guy, assuming of course that the bad guy himself actually lived in that house over there.

The new White House press secretary, Robert Gibbs, declined to answer questions about the first airstrikes, saying “I’m not going to get into these matters.”1 Where have we heard that before?

After many of these bombings in recent years, a spokesperson for the United States or NATO has solemnly declared: “We regret the loss of life.” These are the same words used by the Irish Republican Army (IRA) on a number of occasions, but their actions were typically called “terrorist”. …

***

And the fires burn on in Australia. I guess more than 100 dead. They are claiming firebugs set them, including re-igniting a fire that had been fought to being contained (I don’t think this sort of fire “goes out” for sometime)..

http://www.smh.com.au/

Country Fire Authority (CFA) state duty officer Mark Glover said the toll could still climb further.

“It’s now at 108 and still likely to climb unfortunately,” Mr Glover told ABC Television.

The death toll surpasses that from the 1983 Ash Wednesday bushfires, in which 75 people died in Victoria and South Australia, and the Black Friday bushfires of 1939, which killed 71.

According to police figures, another 11 people were found dead at Kinglake West, north of Melbourne, taking that community’s toll to 20 while another four bodies were found at Marysville taking that town’s toll to eight.

Only one building was left standing at Marysville after the inferno swept through on Saturday.

A CFA spokesman said 31 fires are still raging throughout the state with five – at Beechworth, Churchill, Murrindindi, the Kinglake complex and Bunyip – causing the most concern. …snip…

45. marisacat - 8 February 2009

Kissinger in the IHT (republished at RCP)… that conf in Munich they are all at, is a SECURITY conf. Oh the plans they have for us. I am sure, behind closed doors, they are talking about global unrest rather than you know who (AQ).

46. NYCO - 8 February 2009

44. On Australia fires

FOR those close to the fires, the conditions could be best described as being similar to the fire-bombing that destroyed German cities such as Dresden in World War II… The “survivability” distance of Saturday’s heat was about four times their height – a 35-metre high fire would directly imperil those within 140 metres.

Plus it was 117 degrees in Melbourne. Hellish.

47. marisacat - 8 February 2009

could be best described as being similar to the fire-bombing that destroyed German cities such as Dresden in World War II

Mike Davis, the great writer of modern CA, City of Quartz and so on, has written that the CA fires are studied as nuclear bomb effects. Fire bombing in war… Because fo the sheer heat of the fire. And Australia would have, in some sense, a similar topography.

Years ago when I learned that eucalyptus (which you posted is feeding the fires in AU) is not indigenous to CA I was really surprised. It is nearly everywhere, and so unusually beautiful that it seems to belong here. As it explodes in the fires…

48. marisacat - 8 February 2009

At least she made me laugh

Once upon a time, America thought Prince Charming would glide in and kiss her, reviving her from a coma induced by a poison apple of greed, deceit, carelessness, recklessness and overreaching.

But then the prince got distracted, seeing Lincoln in the mirror, and instead gave the kiss of life to a bunch of flat-lining Republican tax-cut fetishists.

Somehow the most well-known person on the planet lost control of the economic message to someone named Eric Cantor. [ooo that stings! –Mcat]

(And Larry Summers ended up making Henry Paulson seem riveting.) …

49. NYCO - 8 February 2009

48. gahhh.

This whole scenario is playing out worse than I feared, back when I wondered what would happen to all those champagne wishes and caviar dreams of the “political” house party crowd, once the depression hit.

50. marisacat - 8 February 2009

Well… Vennochi in Boston.com suggests Obster might wanna get that dog soon.

McClatchy has a report out of middling response to the call to arms for the 13 million strong email list, some house parties got half to show up,, some got a third or so…. Not sure what anyone expected…

Washington Times had a report, not just their opinion but linked to the usual rating/counting sources… in November December viewer numbers for Obster’s YouTube Sat address fell and fell and fell. I did not pay too much attention, at first, as the campaign was exhausting.. and holidays were in motion.

But who knows. Typically Democrats get a Dem in the WH and go to sleep. I have no idea what will happen this time.

51. Madman in the Marketplace - 8 February 2009

Ob revealed himself to be a hack really, really fast.

Speaking of hacks, Capt. Sullenberger is on 60 Minutes, and Couric is asking the most inane, clueless set of questions. Of course, one of them was, “did you pray?”

He handled it really gracefully.

52. marisacat - 8 February 2009

He handled it really gracefully.

He seems really well strung together… The wife, judging from appearance,s has since day two, fallen for the Wife Of The Great Man routine, but he seems immune. Which is refreshing.

53. Madman in the Marketplace - 8 February 2009

I feel like I’m watching this incredibly dignified professional get interviewed by someone from the Lifetime network.

54. Madman in the Marketplace - 8 February 2009
55. diane - 8 February 2009

And a say hey, hey, hey Marisa!…hugs to ya……………always………..

jus a guick momentary light down…….been concentrating on: …cleaning (waz up NYCee ..and thanks hon, ….one more time);……..funky physical presence (will never be outdated on this earth);…and land line dial phone thing…………..

[sweet] bay [laurel] ( re the Thorazine Shuffle)

well,…………… kisses to sweet, salty, well calloused fingers…pluckin raw wire..to make life,…at least momentarily,…live able…………..

;0)

56. Madman in the Marketplace - 8 February 2009
57. marisacat - 8 February 2009

oops. Goodwin of NYDN. Minces no words, but he did make me laugh.

He’s our President, it’s a horribly dangerous time at home and abroad and we desperately need him to succeed. But he can’t be successful unless he builds a broad swath of public trust in his leadership. So far, he’s going backward.

It’s very early, but it’s worrisome that Obama has stumbled almost since he took the oath. His inauguration speech was uninspired and next to nothing has gone right for him. Already he looks like he needs a vacation.

News to the Universe, Ob was never high energy and had significant energy drops, fatigue periods and, Horrors!, would get cranky on the stump trail. Probably the single biggest thing (other than his hack status) that media HID for him and his..

58. marisacat - 8 February 2009

he’s getting whalloped in the media. Even John Nichols at The Nation…

59. wu ming - 8 February 2009

australia is california on the other side of the world, a glimpse of july/august 6 mos early. 117’s pretty terrible, but not an uncommon temp for summer heatwave in redding, chico, or fresno. they’ve been working to get the eucalyptus trees out of urban areas ever since the oakland fire in 89, when they went off like roman candles. not sure if the past couple years of fires will have helped us out with some of the fuel load, although foreclosed houses with unwatered neglected landscaping probably will throw a new heap of tinder on the pile.

the mike davis book you were thinking of is ecology of fear: los angeles and the imagination of disaster. i read it last summer, while hiding from the smoke of a million forest fires.

the N-S CA “split the state” pressures emerge in drought years when the water wars really heat up. we should be on track to hear it again by may or so, if we don’t get a couple huge spring storms. one of the difficult things about “natural boundaries” is that we’re split different ways on different interests/topics. cities/suburbs, urban/rural, coastal/inland, north/south, upstream/downstream, culturally, hydrologically, economically, any one of them could flare up in a given situation. one of the things about now, like the early 90s or late 70s, is that so many crises are hitting at once.

right now, i don’t know who’s more dysfunctional and bankrupt, CA or the US. the point where secession will look attractive is if it can provide states a way to get out from under federal debt or currency collapse.

60. wu ming - 8 February 2009

OTOH, splitting the state could give californians a way to get rid of prop 13 and all the other insane howard jarvis straitjackets. secession on a subnational scale.

61. marisacat - 8 February 2009

OTOH, splitting the state could give californians a way to get rid of prop 13 and all the other insane howard jarvis straitjackets. secession on a subnational scale.

Shorthand… San Diego.

62. Madman in the Marketplace - 8 February 2009

You Try to Live on 500K in This Town

Five hundred thousand dollars — the amount President Obama wants to set as the top pay for banking executives whose firms accept government bailout money — seems like a lot, and it is a lot. To many people in many places, it is a princely sum to live on. But in the neighborhoods of New York City and its suburban enclaves where successful bankers live, half a million a year can go very fast.

“As hard as it is to believe, bankers who are living on the Upper East Side making $2 or $3 million a year have set up a life for themselves in which they are also at zero at the end of the year with credit cards and mortgage bills that are inescapable,” said Holly Peterson, the author of an Upper East Side novel of manners, “The Manny,” and the daughter of Peter G. Peterson, a founder of the equity firm the Blackstone Group. “Five hundred thousand dollars means taking their kids out of private school and selling their home in a fire sale.”

Sure, the solution may seem simple: move to Brooklyn or Hoboken, put the children in public schools and buy a MetroCard. But more than a few of the New York-based financial executives who would have their pay limited are men (and they are almost invariably men) whose identities are entwined with living a certain way in a certain neighborhood west of Third Avenue: a life of private schools, summer houses and charity galas that only a seven-figure income can stretch to cover.

Few are playing sad cellos over the fate of such folk, especially since the collapse of the institutions they run has yielded untold financial pain. But in New York, where a new study from the Center for an Urban Future, a nonprofit research group in Manhattan, estimates it takes $123,322 to enjoy the same middle-class life as someone earning $50,000 in Houston, extricating oneself from steep bills can be difficult.

Therefore, even if it is not for sympathy but for sport, consider the numbers.

The cold hard math can be cruel.

The NYT thinks we’re supposed to feel compassion for these people.

63. marisacat - 8 February 2009

I understand the “restriction” is loaded with loopholes.

NTIM.

Not in favor of dumb restrictions, esp with no teeth, in any case.

64. marisacat - 8 February 2009

Germaine Greer on Dubai

While Burj Dubai is a pretty conservative building, Burj al Arab, the huge sail-like luxury hotel built on the lines of an Arab dhow, is entirely innovative. The structure hangs from a steel exoskeleton. From the outside it is unbelievably elegant, light and clean (the interior is anything but). In afterthought, the reference to the tiny dhow seems somehow mocking. The only dhows on Dubai Creek these days take tourists on one-hour pleasure cruises. Though in Dubai you are surrounded by the poor, who labour on every building site, clean the streets and the houses, and wait on the children, they are as invisible as the plumbing. Here, there is no subsistence; here there is only shopping.

Crassest of all the real estate initiatives are the three Palms, off-shore developments of 16 branches emerging from a central trunk, enclosed within a circular breakwater, each intended to house hotels, villas, apartments, marinas, theme parks, sports facilities, and malls. At Palm Jumeira, still largely undeveloped, the water between the branches is stagnating and algae is forming along the man-made beachfront. How this will affect the dolphins that are shipped from the South Pacific to amuse the guests at the Hotel Atlantis, who pay $75 to swim with them, is anybody’s guess. ..snip…

65. marisacat - 8 February 2009

hmmm

Dominique Strauss-Kahn said the Fund needed an urgent cash infusion if it was to continue bailing out troubled economies in the future.

Mr Strauss-Kahn also indicated that the world’s advanced economies were now tipping from recession into full-blown depression, cementing fears about the scale of the economic slump in rich nations.

The IMF head made the comments in Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia over the weekend, where he is attending a meeting of central bankers from Southeast Asia. The Fund has bailed out a number of countries including Iceland, Latvia and Pakistan but Mr Strauss-Kahn said there would be many others in need of help in the months ahead.

“Today, the IMF’s resources are enough to face the situation but because we are facing a global crisis, the needs may be much bigger than previously,” he said. “We have to intervene in Asia, Africa and Central Europe, Latin America, and maybe elsewhere. I can’t promise that in six to eight months from now, we will have enough resources.” …

Whatever did they all think ENFORCED globalisation of labor was going to be. Perot may have been a tad nutty but the “big sucking sound” assessment of NAFTA (best soundbite of my life) whereby, it is clear now, we traded America’s jobs to finance China’s rise, among other trades we made (killing a living from the land in Mexico and elsewhere) what did they think it would mean?

A rotted tree that somehow grows forever?

Fuck them all.

66. catnip - 8 February 2009

48.

Nancy Pelosi told her leadership team that she had told the president, “I don’t mind you driving the bus over me, but I don’t appreciate your backing it up and running over me again and again.”

lol

Is Nancy saying she’s roadkill?

Obamalama and his infamous bus. No one is safe. No one.

67. marisacat - 8 February 2009

Yeah when I read that I wondered… Plus I read she took a house at the retreat.. and invited only Nita Lowey and Rosa deLauro to stay with her. Now it comes out De Lauro had Rahm as a 5 year occupant/non-paying renter in DC. I think there is less culpability there than meets the eye (tho apparently RdL is married to the pollster Greenberg), but perhaps information.

I assume Nancy is marshalling her forces.

I am not a fan of anyone, but if they go to full throttle kill mode iwth each other, fine by me.

And it strikes me that Ob, for whatever reason, may be making enemies of people he needs.

Check for blood spatter daily, would be my guess.

68. catnip - 8 February 2009

62. The NYT thinks we’re supposed to feel compassion for these people.

I guess they’ve never heard of roommates and coupons. You know…”little people” stuff.

I was telling someone today that it’s almost easier to already be poor during these times. I can’t get much more poor. I think rent prices in declining boomtown here hit their high and are set to slide down now and there’s always mac and cheese stocked up in the cupboard when food prices are too brutal. Not exactly healthy but it fills the belly.

It’s just a shorter fall when you’re already poor.

69. catnip - 8 February 2009

67. I am not a fan of anyone, but if they go to full throttle kill mode iwth each other, fine by me.

And it strikes me that Ob, for whatever reason, may be making enemies of people he needs.

They all need a dose of humility and a lesson in how to handle power. They’re just scattered. The fact that Obama Worship has been nipped in the bud since he took office is a Good Thing&tm for us realists. There just aren’t enough vomit bags on hand otherwise.

70. marisacat - 8 February 2009

There just aren’t enough vomit bags on hand otherwise

😆 and I am sure the airlines charge for them now………………..

wooohooo. 🙄

71. catnip - 8 February 2009

As for the NSC story above and the inclusion of the oil & gas sector (along with the other ones mentioned) – not a surprise because that’s in the framework of the so-called Security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP). Honchos from those gov’t depts and corporations have been meeting behind closed doors discussing this type of integration for years now.

I might do a post about that on Monday.

72. marisacat - 8 February 2009

ugh I see Nissan is to slash 20,000 jobs.

Nissan to Cut 20,000 Jobs Amid Loss

By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

Published: February 9, 2009 Filed at 1:54 a.m. ET

TOKYO (AP) — Nissan sank into a loss for the fiscal third quarter and forecast its first full-year loss in nearly a decade on Monday, forcing Japan’s third-biggest automaker to slash 20,000 jobs, or 8.5 percent of its global work force.

”The global auto industry is in turmoil, and Nissan is no exception,” Chief Executive Carlos Ghosn told reporters in Tokyo.

Nissan Motor Co. now expects a 265 billion yen ($2.9 billion) net loss for the fiscal year through March — the first time in nine years it’s tumbling into an annual loss.

The maker of the Z sports car and the March compact reported a net loss of 83.2 billion yen for the October-December period, a reversal from the 132.2 billion yen profit it earned the same period the previous year. That was its first quarterly net loss since it began reporting quarterly earnings in 2003. ….

Just before that I read (on the ap wire at NYT) that Asian markets opened mixed… NYSE futures had dipped and perhaps the bloom was off the bailout stim whatever.

Who knows.

73. marisacat - 8 February 2009

71

that whole descriptive line about Jones and the reorg (military and NGOs) is pure Neo Liberal WAR. And imo one reason why a foundation utterly entwined with the government (the Gates and Buffett sick $$ marriage) is deep in Africa and deep in the Congo.

And i saw earlier tonight there is trouble again between “rebels” and an oil installation in Nigeria…

74. marisacat - 8 February 2009

BTW I heard a dicey little deal today that I guess is partially in place with more to come in the housing bail out, or whatever they call it. Thru Fannie Mae, it will be 10% down, on favorable terms.. and you can buy up to 10 houses on that ticket. The Fannie Mae part sounded to be in the bag.

YIKES.

At least that was a version I heard today on a discussion of RE bail out. No idea if it is tied to/related to/same as the deal possibly being struck for the Stim Bill… see bottom of the SMBIVA post.

75. catnip - 9 February 2009

More than you ever wanted to know about Booman:

Frivolous Friday Open Thread With Poll

by CabinGirl
Fri Feb 6th, 2009 at 04:13:57 PM EST

Socks during sex: acceptable attire or fashion felony?

Comments >> (42 comments)

76. wu ming - 9 February 2009

i suspect this will gut the whole damn world. while stats on china’s economy are maddeningly difficult for even the chinese govt to get ahold of, it’s looking like things are going pretty pear-shaped over there as well, and the most recent econ. predictions have taiwan’s GDP shrinking by 11% this coming year. going to be interesting to see the political fallout, as well as how the export economy effects the street vendor economy that i come into more contact with.

they linked the whole world together and then crashed the system. reminds me more and more of why the great leap forward in 58-61 was such a catastrophic famine: before then, famines were localized, and there was always somewhere for aid to come from, and starving refugees to flee to. but the GLF was a centralized national policy, and crashed more or less the whole country’s agricultural production at once, so starving refugees just found other starving villages when they skipped town.

substitute capital for grain (although it’ll ripple down to global food production and flow pretty soon, with all of the farms going bust of late), and you’ve got 2009.

joy.

77. catnip - 9 February 2009

73. that whole descriptive line about Jones and the reorg (military and NGOs) is pure Neo Liberal WAR. And imo one reason why a foundation utterly entwined with the government (the Gates and Buffett sick $$ marriage) is deep in Africa and deep in the Congo.

No doubt.

We careen between neocons and neolibs – as if there is no other way in the world to think.

I have to say that I was shocked to read in the Shock Doctrine about Paul Volcker’s “Volcker Shock”, knowing he’s one of Obama’s chosen ones. Of course, considering all of the retreads he’s chosen (who’s next? Kissinger? Dubya?) I shouldn’t have been surprised but I didn’t know about what Volcker had done (having successfully ignored economics for many years – especially of the US variety).

78. marisacat - 9 February 2009

Gee. None other than Jim Lobe:

Condi Rice Could’ve Written Biden’s Speech

I hate to agree with Bill Kristol, but he’s right about Vice President Joe Biden’s speech at the ongoing Munich security conference when he writes that “the administration chose not to use the occasion to say something interesting. One hopes the Obama administration is actually thinking more seriously than the Biden speech indicates.”

I’m sure Kristol and I were looking for different things in the speech, but, at least from my point of view, it was hopelessly uninspired and offered no hints of any creative and new thinking that might actually lead to breakthroughs, particularly in the Middle East. Indeed, it sounded like a speech that Condoleezza Rice might have submitted in draft for White House approval before the vice president’s office and Elliott Abrams got their hands on it. Remember, this was the Obama administration’s first major foreign-policy address and thus a huge opportunity to begin charting its own path.

I especially had problems with the way he spoke about Iran, mainly in the language of carrots and sticks that is so deeply resented in Tehran; to wit:

“We’ll be willing to talk to Iran and to offer a very clear choice: Continue down the current course and there will be continued pressure and isolation; abandon the illicit nuclear program and your support for terrorism, and there will be meaningful incentives.”

Note that we’re willing to talk “to” not “with” Iran “to offer them a very clear choice.” This is the language of ultimatum; it is not the language of “respect” that Obama promised in his Inaugural address and his interview with al-Arabiya’s Hisham Melham. The only thing that indicated “respect” was the condescending passage: “The Iranian people are a great people; the Persian civilization is a great civilization.” The Bush administration always made the same observation when its senior officials, including Bush himself, spoke about Iran. …snip…

Yes well no shock. Or, there should not be…

79. kjl - 9 February 2009

77. Henry Kissinger woos Russia for Barack Obama

[http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/northamerica/usa/barackobama/4530042/Cold-warrior-Henry-Kissinger-woos-Russia-for-Barack-Obama.html]

an extra special frosting flower on the hopeychanginess cake. 🙂

80. marisacat - 9 February 2009

nu….

LINK

……….. 8) …………….

81. NYCO - 9 February 2009

Re the NYT story on the poor little rich families and poor little golddiggers… I read this story already in high school. The House of Mirth, Edith Wharton.


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