08/10/2010 archive

Dear Mr. Gibbs

Do you really think that with this kind of rhetoric and then the non-apology walk back, that you are going to win the hearts and votes of the Left, the Independents and Moderate Republicans?

Come on, Bob. Do you even recognize the man in the Oval Office as being the same man from the campaign trail? Granted many of us knew damned well he wasn’t a progressive or even a so-called centrist for that matter. He was already reneging on his promises when the instead of filibustering the FISA renewal bill, he voted for it.

For someone who was so critical of Bush’s wars and the Presidential powers that Bush had assumed, he certainly has embraced them now and then some. Bush is probably wishing he could have gotten away with what Obama is doing that is being ignored by his proponents. Wow, targeted assassinations of American citizens, suspending habeus corpis on whim and prosecuting minors for war crimes. Cool. Now he wants unfettered access to private e-mail. Why not just repeal the 4th Amendment.

And how about that Cat Food Commission? Oops, sorry Obama’s supporters don’t like that term for the Deficit Commission that is proposing cutting Social Security and Medicare benefits. Brilliant. Bush never would have gotten away with that.

And wow, not just one woman on the Supreme Court but two. One who has a history of rulings in favor of corporations and the other with no bench experience but a supporter of the unitary executive that was greatly expanded under Bush and explicitly adopted and expanded by Obama.

Yes, Mr. Gibbs, we on the Left are not happy with the corporatist, neoliberal agenda that is coming from your boss. You don’t like the criticism than maybe you’d best listen to what we are saying instead of whining about it. The hallmark of a democratic society is criticism. We are still living in a democratic society so far. Or are we?

Well, thanks for listening to one really pissed off “Leftie”

Washington ‘Protecting’ Iraq From…Washington

Crossposted from Antemedius

In a perhaps unintentional and obtuse twist of sardonic wit and possibly complete unawareness of the irony of his own words, Commander of United States Forces – Iraq (USF-I) General Ray Odierno said on Sunday in an interview with ABC’s Christiane Amanpour that the 50,000 US troops that will remain in Iraq along with “a significant civilian presence” after the US ‘withdraws’, will help Iraq thwart “interference from outside countries”.

Really. You can’t make this stuff up. If fiction it wouldn’t qualify as humor.

United States forces under President George W. Bush invaded Iraq in an unprovoked attack in 2003 and have occupied the country since. By some counts more than a million Iraqis have died as a direct result of the US invasion and occupation.

Odierno was former primary military advisor to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice from November 2004 to May 2006, and has long argued against withdrawal of all US forces from Iraq. He assumed command of USF-I’s predecessor, Multi-National Force – Iraq on September 16, 2008 and took the reins as Commander of U.S. Forces Iraq on January 1, 2010, under President Barack Obama.

Odierno’s ironic comments in the interview followed only a few days after President Obama publicly backtracked on his 2009 pledge to withdraw all US combat troops from Iraq by September 1, 2010:

Punting the Pundits

Punting the Punditsis an Open Thread. It is a selection of editorials and opinions from around the news medium and the internet blogs. The intent is to provide a forum for your reactions and opinions, not just to the opinions presented, but to what ever you find important.

Robert Reich: The Jobs Emergency

Washington’s latest answer to the worst jobs crisis since the Great Depression is $26 billion in aid to state and local governments. This still leaves the states and locales more than $62 billion in the hole this fiscal year. And because every state except Vermont has to balance its budget, the likely result is 600,000 to 700,000 more state and local jobs vanishing over the next 12 months (including private contractors and other businesses that depend on state and local governments) according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. Say goodbye to even more of the teachers, firefighters, sanitary workers, and police officers we depend on.

In July alone, state and local employment dropped 48,000. Not counting temporary census workers, the federal government shed 11,000. So with private payrolls increasing a paltry 71,000, July’s overall increase in payrolls was just 12,000.

Robert Kuttner: Who Are You Going to Believe — Tim Geithner or Your Own Lying Eyes?

The jobs situation stinks, even as corporate profits keep rising. Another 131,000 jobs were lost to the economy in July, according to the Labor Department’s latest report released Friday. The measured unemployment rate stayed stuck at 9.5 percent.

The only reason it wasn’t worse was because more workers gave up looking for nonexistent jobs, leaving a smaller labor force to measure against the meager supply of work. Small comfort.

Meanwhile, another important government report, by the Social Security Trustees, showed only a trivial improvement in the gap between what Social Security owes the next generation of retirees and the tax receipts that it can expect.

There is, of course, a direct connection between rising unemployment, declining wages, and the condition of Social Security. That’s because Social Security is funded by payroll taxes.

If wages had continued to rise with the growth of the economy’s productivity, instead of profits and bonuses taking an ever larger share, Social Security would be enjoying an endless surplus.

Based on recent trends and a dismally pessimistic projection of our economic future, Social Security’s Trustees assume wage growth of just 1.2 percent a year. But that can be changed by better policies.

On this Day in History: August 10

This is your morning Open Thread. Pour a cup of your favorite morning beverage and review the past and comment on the future.

August 10 is the 222nd day of the year (223rd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 143 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in  1846, Smithsonian Institution was created. After a decade of debate about how best to spend a bequest left to America from an obscure English scientist, President James K. Polk signs the Smithsonian Institution Act into law.

In 1829, James Smithson died in Italy, leaving behind a will with a peculiar footnote. In the event that his only nephew died without any heirs, Smithson decreed that the whole of his estate would go to “the United States of America, to found at Washington, under the name of the Smithsonian Institution, an Establishment for the increase and diffusion of knowledge.” Smithson’s curious bequest to a country that he had never visited aroused significant attention on both sides of the Atlantic.

After the nephew died without heirs in 1835, President Andrew Jackson informed Congress of the bequest, which amounted to 104,960 gold sovereigns, or US$500,000 ($10,100,997 in 2008 U.S. dollars after inflation). The money, however, was invested in shaky state bonds that quickly defaulted. After heated debate in Congress, former President John Quincy Adams successfully argued to restore the lost funds with interest.  Congress also debated whether the federal government had the authority to accept the gift. Congress ultimately accepted the legacy bequeathed to the nation and pledged the faith of the United States to the charitable trust July 1, 1836.

Eight years later, Congress passed an act establishing the Smithsonian Institution, a hybrid public/private partnership, and the act was signed into law on August 10, 1846 by James Polk. (See 20 U.S.C. ยง 41 (Ch. 178, Sec. 1, 9 Stat. 102).) The bill was drafted by Indiana Democratic Congressman Robert Dale Owen, a Socialist and son of Robert Owen, the father of the cooperative movement.

The Week in Editorial Cartoons, Part II – Climate Change Obstructionism

Crossposted at Daily Kos and Docudharma

Nick Anderson

Nick Anderson, Comics.com, see reader comments in the Houston Chronicle

Monday The Bloguero Slept Late

Well, sorta.  I’m not Harry Kemelman and this isn’t Barnard’s Crossing.    And it’s not 1964, though on some levels it feels like it.  I mean: there are a zillion right wing nutjobs trying to repeal the 14th Amendment to the US Constitution and deport 15 million people, and somehow those terrible ideas aren’t even being greeted with even the vituperation Barry Goldwater got when he suggested carpet bombing Vietnam back into the stone age (as if that were possible without killing everyone on Earth).  On the vituperate scale, Barry G got a 6.  The current mischagas gets about a 4.  Or less.  What I’m talking about is a country gone insane.  Just like 1964.

I know.  It’s hot.  Very hot.  When it’s August, all of the psychiatrists go to Martha’s Vineyard for the month, leaving behind voicemails that tell their distraught clientele to go to the emergency room if they need to.  If I were having cocktails right now in Chilmark, and I hasten to say that I’m not, I’d probably think that such a message was a good idea too.  But it’s not.  It doesn’t take into consideration the overwhelming, gigantic epidemic of mental disease and delusion now festering in America in the form of amnesiac tea baggers, Glenn Beck devotees,  birthers, racists, kooks of all stripes,  dittoheads and a Republican Congress that for all its orange skin and blow dried hair should have its own chapter in the DSM IV.  Yes, I know.  These loons don’t have shrinks who are on vacation in Martha’s Vineyard.  Correct.  The people whose shrinks are in Martha’s Vineyard, people like me, living in New York and Boston, are in far worse condition: they’re sweltering in an apartment that cannot make it cooler than 80 degrees, the air is awful, and the only thing on the tube is the constant, annoying blathering of people so deranged that they throw even those like me, those with minor, urban, post information age neuroses into serious crisis.  You could take me for an example.

Let’s look at one thing, ok?  I heard today that the oil from the BP spill is all but disappeared and that soon Louisiana fisherman are going to start fishing and shrimping again.  Because, allegedly, that’s now safe and we all believe the Government and the pants-on-fire team at BP about that.  It’s safe?  I’ll believe it when I see BP’s executives eating oysters off the halfshell. Till then,  I’m sorry,  I can’t accept that.  Oil and all that Corexit, all gone now?  Nonsense.  In fact, these stories enrage me.  They are, to me, like tickling dynamite with a blowtorch.  If I had a shrink, I’d be speed dialing already.  “Help me,” I’d whimper, grasping the Blackberry in icy, flinching hands, “The most violent, greedy, despicable inmates have taken over the asylum.  And I need your help to deal with it.”

I know Obama and the Democrats were supposed to be able to play 11-dimensional chess when they took over.  Right now, I’m wondering whether they can even play checkers.  It’s too hot to be charitable, and the neighbors, that is, the other occupants of this country, are becoming louder and more deranged every day.  The summer heat is making the country even more insane.

Maybe what I need is a cocktail and a new outgoing message.

simulposted at The Dream Antilles and dailyKos

Prime Time

Keith and Rachel all night long.  Jon is repeating August 3rd- Will Ferrell, Stephen August 4th- Michael Posner.  David is also in repeats, from way back on June 23rd- Adam Sandler and Bettye LaVette.  Leno is at least live with Howie Mandel and Mike Posner (again, must have a book out).

Thank goodness for Adult Swim (though napping might be a good alternative).


Well I’ve really sucked all the air out of it.  Alton does Oranges.  Shadowman 9: In the Cradle of Destiny is full of information about the the Guild of Calamitous Intent and the mysterious ‘Council of 13’.

Yahoo TV Listings

Evening Edition

Evening Edition is an Open Thread

From Yahoo News Top Stories

1 BP moves to well kill, kicks off compensation fund

By Pascal Fletcher and Anna Driver, Reuters

1 hr 41 mins ago

MIAMI/HOUSTON (Reuters) – BP advanced on Monday on the final lap toward permanently killing the source of the world’s worst offshore oil spill and kicked off a $20 billion compensation fund with a first $3 billion deposit.

A relief well being drilled by BP is on track to start this week a definitive “bottom kill” shutdown of the crippled Gulf of Mexico well, unless an approaching weather system disrupts the timing, the top U.S. oil spill response chief said.

The biggest environmental response operation ever launched in the United States passed a critical milestone last week by subduing the blown-out deepwater well with injections of heavy drilling mud, followed by a cement seal.