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Passive. Passive. Passive. 31 August 2009

Posted by marisacat in 2010 Mid Terms, 2012 Re Election, DC Politics.

Order the lillies… lay them with appropriate reverence on the coffin.

Can this get limper?  More limp? Limpier?   I think they can barely be bothered… about much of anything… GOOD LUCK!  Remember, health care was their signature promise!

From the gaggle today (questioner is Ed Henry of CNN):

Q Robert, what do you say to Bob Dole, who’s got this op-ed today, saying he thinks the President sort of needs to refresh the health care debate, and specifically, needs to put a plan on the table?

MR. GIBBS: Well, I think the President has outlined a series of proposals and principles that he thinks ought to be included in health care. And we’ll continue to see if we can make progress as it relates to that.

Q Right, but on the specific plan aspect, Dole is saying that the President is not a commentator, he’s the President of the United States, and shouldn’t just be commenting on what Congress is doing. Shouldn’t he — in the estimation of Dole and others who have said this in Congress — maybe a more active role?

MR. GIBBS: Well, he’s talked with many members of the Finance Committee and members of Congress in the House and the Senate. I think to characterize the role that the President is playing as inactive would be inaccurate.

Q Okay. Well, he doesn’t seem to be active on health care right now. Is he — I mean, he’s going to go on to Camp David —

MR. GIBBS: You mean, like, right now?

Q Well, he’s golfing right now, I guess so —

MR. GIBBS: If he hits Marvin with a golf ball, I guess he’d become more active in health care. (Laughter.)

Q Okay. What’s the calculation then, since he’s golfing, he just came back from vacation, he’s going to Camp David for more vacation — when is he going to get back into this debate?

MR. GIBBS: Well, again, Ed, the President did some meetings today that included discussions on health care. I assume he’ll continue to make calls throughout the week, judging and assessing where we are. I don’t — I think that just because the President just might be doing something else doesn’t mean he’s not focused on health care reform.

have to love it!

Jake then picked up the question

TAPPER: A couple of questions, Robert.  One, just teeing off of Ed’s* question about health care, have you guys seen this fundraising letter from Senator Chuck Grassley in which he goes after — “The simple truth is that I am and always have been opposed to the Obama administration’s plans to nationalize health care … I’m deeply concerned about rising health care costs … but the reality is…” — it just goes after President Obama and Democrats’ effort on health care reform.

GIBBS:  I have not seen it.

TAPPER: It would seem to belie any indication that Senator Grassley is actually a partner with the administration or with Senator Baucus in creating the plan that you guys would support. Are you still firmly committed to working with the three Republicans who are still in the negotiating phase?

GIBBS:  I’ll say this, Jake.  The President is firmly committed to working with Democrats, Republicans, independents, anybody that wants to see progress on health care reform.  I will say this.  I haven’t seen the contents of that letter.  Certainly, I think the radio address over the weekend by Senator Enzi repeating many of the generic Republican talking points that Republicans are using that have bragged about being opposed to health care are tremendously unfortunate but in some ways illuminating.  It appears that at least in Senator Enzi’s case, he doesn’t believe there’s a pathway to get bipartisan support, and the President thinks that’s wrong.  I think that Senator Enzi has clearly turned over his cards on bipartisanship, and decided that it’s time to walk away from the table.  I think what somebody has to ask Senator Enzi and ask others, every member of Congress, is, are you satisfied with the way the system is working right now?  Are you satisfied that premiums are doubling every nine years?  Are you satisfied that out-of-pocket expenses are skyrocketing?  Are you satisfied that small businesses are dropping their coverage?  Are you satisfied that every day 14,000 Americans wake up and find themselves without health insurance coverage?  I think many may believe that we can’t afford to do anything.  I think this President believes we can’t afford not to.

TAPPER: Well, let me ask you, are you satisfied with the ability that the White House has shown in getting that message out, as opposed to what the opponents of health care reform are saying?  Have you guys been doing —

GIBBS:  Notwithstanding Ed’s question about what the President is doing right now.

TAPPER: Do you think — I mean, we’ve all now — the congressional recess has been going on and some of us have left Washington, D.C.  Do you think you’re doing a good job in getting the message out as to what health care reform should be?

GIBBS:  I think we looked at and we discussed when we last met in here — I think the President has made progress on turning around some of the very specific yet untrue allegations about this bill.  It doesn’t help — I’ll give you, Jake, it doesn’t help to have Republicans who say they’re for bipartisanship and say they’re at the table to try to find a solution repeating Republican Party talking points about what they know is not true in the bill.  I don’t think that’s helpful and I think that it’s unfortunate — again, it’s tremendously unfortunate that it looks like Republicans are stepping away from seeking a bipartisan solution.  I think that’s — it’s bad for this town, but it’s much worse for this country.

Life is just so tough. It’s UNFAIR! Maybe next year a companion dog. Or two cats. Maybe a small rabbit hutch next to the Victory Garden… Anything for greasy photo ops. Maybe they could start keeping Mrs O out of $540.00 Lanvin sneakers. Esp at soup kitchens… You think? (‘Cuz the economy is going to limp along, shoeless.)

Just for fun, right before the Ed Henry question, this was asked at the gaggle:

Q Let me ask you on another matter — the Jerusalem Post conducted a survey and found that only 4 percent of Jewish Israelis consider President Obama to be pro-Israeli. Does that trouble you in any way?

MR. GIBBS: I haven’t seen the poll.

Passive. Or laughter. Or outright dismissal. Please fellas, push the envelope. Maybe a Czar of Envelope Pushing? What ever is good for the country!


Cali 31 August 2009

Posted by marisacat in California / Pacific Coast.

Acton residents Arnold Torrez,73, left, Joseph Rini, 11, and Scott and Rosanne Wright watch the Station fire creep up the mountains not far from their hilltop home on Olson Road in Acton. (Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times / August 30, 2009)


Station fire Flames from the Station fire sweep across Angeles Crest Highway. (Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times / August 29, 2009)

Just drifts of quotes I pulled from the LAT LA Now blog:

Road signs had melted, guardrails were burned free of their wood moorings, and the switchbacks were choked with fire-loosened boulders and scorched tree limbs. – Mt Wilson Fire, early AM Monday, August 31

Couple of hours earlier at the Station fire, below Mt Wilson:

The fire is moving to the Mt. Wilson area. We expected that. The fire is moving east. We know there’s nothing we can do to stop the fire from reaching Mt. Wilson,” said Capt. Mark Savage of the Los Angeles County Fire Department.

Firefighters cleared brush around Mt. Wilson to create a buffer zone in hopes that flames would not be able to damage the communications towers and observatory.

About 10:30 Sunday night, Mike Dietrich, incident commander for the U.S. Forest Service, said he expected the fire to reach the top of Mt. Wilson soon.

“Mt. Wilson is not hit yet. It’s about a mile and a half from there. It could happen tonight, it could happen tomorrow. It’s not a matter of if, but when,” Dietrich said.

Earlier, late afternoon on Sunday, August 30:

The fire burning in Angeles National Forest is approaching the historic solar observatory and television transmission towers atop Mt. Wilson, according to Los Angeles County fire officials.

The communications towers house transmitters for every major television station in Los Angeles.

“We expect it to get there in the next two to four hours,” said county fire Capt. Mark Savage.

Crews were clearing brush around the structures, but fire officials were not sure if they could leave personnel on the mountain to fight the flames because of the danger and limited escape routes. The fire is less than two miles away.

“It’s a serious situation,” said Bob Shindelar, operations branch director of California Incident Management Team 5. “Is the observatory going to make it? We’re doing everything in our power. But I wouldn’t be surprised if it is impacted by fire today or tomorrow.”

We’re not mesmerised by fire, we are hypnotised by it. One of the few amusing things this go round, with some 17,000 acres burning from the top to nearly the bottom of the state, has been our weakling governator telling people to obey the mandatory evacuation orders. HA!

heat wave 28 August 2009

Posted by marisacat in California / Pacific Coast, Divertissements, San Francisco.

Hôtel Jardins Secrets, Nîmes

Just a few days ago I mentioned to someone our old overcast, foggy summers had returned to us, after three years of relentless heat waves and endless fires…

Obviously I was overheard in Hades. They shipped in 95 degree days, even in San Francisco (the fires came first, dotted all over the state).  I had barely stopped speaking of our cool days………….

On the route.. 28 August 2009

Posted by marisacat in California / Pacific Coast, Lie Down Fall Down Dems.

Route 66, Erick. To travel the old road today — stumbling across crumbling ghost towns and half abandoned communities, across the sprawling native American desert reservations, through cities where people work all the hours they aren’t sleeping and still cannot afford to go to the doctor – is to encounter a new despair [Photograph: David Levene]

From a gallery of photos taken along Route 66, at the Guardian.


Some version of gawd took pity on us out here in Cali… we had a complicated case of a kidnap victim turn up, 18 years later…  it blew Kennedy almost out of the water.  The story kept popping all day, finally by 3 pm when the police in the county she was found in (or taken from, by now I am confused) held a presser, I realised:

We Are Released! Teddy is a side dish! Hallelujah!

Then word came down the NUMMI plant, apparently the only car assembly plant in the state, will indeed close in March of next year.  That did it… Ted got the dregs.

Full immersion 27 August 2009

Posted by marisacat in 2010 Mid Terms, 2012 Re Election, Democrats, Inconvenient Voice of the Voter, Lie Down Fall Down Dems.

Hindus immerse an idol of the elephant-headed god Lord Ganesha in a river on the outskirts of Amritsar, India [AFP/GETTY]

Frankly I am mostly curled in a fetal ball, begging that non-existent gawd to not take GHW Bush anytime soon. Much as I’d love to be rid of him (and her)…. it would be just too awful to drag us from Hyannisport to Kennebunkport. We can’t take it!

All in all tho, it is hilarious to watch pols choke back tears (Biden, Kerry, Dodd, etc.)

Let it end!

Always been partial to the … 25 August 2009

Posted by marisacat in Divertissements, Inconvenient Voice of the Voter.

Amritsar, India: Idols of the Hindu god Ganesh are displayed at a roadside stall [Narinder Nanu/AFP/Getty]

… to the animal gods.   Better than what they throw at us to worship…


War zone 25 August 2009

Posted by marisacat in DC Politics, Inconvenient Voice of the Voter, Political Blogs, Viva La Revolucion!.

Kabul Hit By Violence On Eve Of Elections [GETTY]

hmm A redhead photog at large in our global garrison system… and in some ways she is as lethal as he is.


Glenn Greenwald has a post up on the ‘Joe Klein unraveling at the beach’… Madman posted a comment in a thread, from “No More Mister Nice …” blogger Aimai, who confronted JK…


Sunday Aug. 23, 2009 11:24 EDT

Bush critics: still evil, crazy extremists

(updated below – Update II)

Time‘s Joe Klein was at a beach party last weekend and was confronted about his recent, vague statement that “there are Democrats who are so solicitous of civil liberties that they would undermine legitimate covert intelligence collection.”  The person doing the confronting was Aimai of NoMoreMisterNiceBlog — who also happens to be the granddaughter of I.F. Stone (which ends up being relevant to the confrontation) — and she masterfully recounts the revealing and hilarious Klein outburst that ensued, during which, among other things, he accused me of being “evil,” a “crazy civil liberties absolutist”  and “crazily anti-national security.”

Much of this is just standard Klein.  He’s been “accusing” me for years of being what he calls a “civil liberties extremist” or “monomaniacal on the subject of civil liberties” — as though that’s some type of insult, when I view it as being exactly the opposite.  For reasons I recently explained — in response to to Michael Massing’s Chuck-Todd-echoing accusation in The New York Review of Books that I fail to take into account “practical considerations” when advocating various views — it’s impossible to believe in constitutional principles and the rule of law without being “extremist” and even “absolute” because that is the nature of those guarantees.

Funnily enough, all thru Klein’s diatribe at the woman confronting him, was his toss at her that she did not know what she was talking about… how dare she characterise either Izzy Stone OR Glenn Greenwald.  Only Klein knows who is who, who is a guilty-as-a-commie Leftischer.  (Or “lefticle”, as I read someone use over at SMBIVA yesterday, cute!  I like it!)

Then, turns out she is IF’s granddaughter.  So Mr Klein, may she speak?

A bit more from Glenn:

But the more significant aspect of Klein’s outburst is its relationship to the lesson revealed by Marc Ambinder’s similar outburst earlier this week, in which Ambinder insisted that those who were right about Bush extremism and criminality nonetheless deserved to be ignored and marginalized because they were such hate-driven extremists (Politico‘s Mike Allen, on right-wing radio, similarly called such people “left-wing haters”).  Paul Krugman aptly summarized the meaning of the Ambinder episode:

It was clear from any serious analysis of that record that the Bush people consistently relied on lies and misinformation to sell their policies, consistently abused power for political gain. . . . [I]t’s really sad that those who missed the obvious, who failed to see what was right in front of their noses, still consider themselves superior to those who got it right.

Just think about this:  Joe Klein is someone who went on Meet the Press in February, 2003 and urged that the U.S. invade Iraq, which resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of human beings.  Once the war went bad, he lied and claimed he never supported itIn February, 2002, he bitterly mocked Europeans for complaining about torture at Guantanamo; insisted the U.S. would never do any such thing; and said Gitmo detainees should “be dressed in pink tutus, to give them an appreciation of the freedoms accorded western ballerinas.”  snip

Yes, we all can be so proud of Non-Lefticle and certainly Not-a-Leftischer Joe Klein.  Relax Joe… You’re Not A Lefty, it’s official.  Same advisory to Ambinder… Relax kid:   You’re not a Lefticle Lefty, either.  Chuck Todd, same deal.  Relax kids!  Unclench the sphincters!

We, the evil, crazy extremists on the Lefticle Leftischer Left, are relieved.  Bed checks later to be sure the journo-boychicks are sleeping on the right side of the bed.

Can’t be too safe.  Only reactionary, authoritarian righties are safe to cover the commodity known as the “news”.

Curious comrades… 24 August 2009

Posted by marisacat in Divertissements.

A tiger cub and a pig snooze together, at the Sriracha Tiger Zoo, in Thailand [EPA]

From a gallery at the Telegraph of unusual friends… some I think, judging from the photos, just happen live at the same compound and sometimes walk together, others seem to be actual buddies…

Tho… there does seem to be something going on at Sriracha Zoo…


Just a thread… ;) 23 August 2009

Posted by marisacat in Greece, Inconvenient Voice of the Voter.

Thick smoke over the Acropolis [Icon/Reuters]


Weekend 21 August 2009

Posted by marisacat in Culture of Death, Democrats, Inconvenient Voice of the Voter, Lie Down Fall Down Dems, WAR!.

A penguin fascinated by footprints, from the Veolia Environment Wildlife Photographer of the Year Competition 2009 [ROBERT FRIEL]

Flipping thru material today on Martha’s Vineyard and the long Democratic All Stars fascination with it… I read that Bill and Hill were guests of McNamara on their visit in ’93.  Somehow I had forgotten, if I ever knew, that little tidbit.

Birds of a feather, flock.. etc.