Saturday, August 28, 2010

The Fireside chat for August 28, 2010 (VIDEO)

With the end of combat operations in Iraq days ahead, the President salutes our troops for their service and pledges to fulfill America’s commitment to them as veterans.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Benen: "Nearly as annoying as Limbaugh's racism is his ignorance"

Limbaugh goes off on African-Americans claiming that the Fourth of July is no big deal.

Only thing is, the Fourth of July wasn't celebrated that much in the South, as it was considered a "Yankee" holiday.

Trust Krugman's numbers, never his poltical sense, Part II

Let me put it another way.

Paul Krugman is the guy in the stands, with his team down three touchdowns, with all the Running Backs injured and out for the game, facing the Number 1 defense in the league, talks about how the Team should go back to running the ball more.

Trust Krugman's numbers, never his poltical sense.

I want to know why when other Economic Scholars are out there saying that what's going on now is fairly typical for so-called Credit Recessions, Paul Krugman is still out there with his hair on fire over the size of the Stimulus.

Carmen Reinhart and Vincent Reinhart have authored a paper examining the historical record of economies that experienced a major financial crisis over the ensuing decade. And the results are rather sour news for anyone expecting the U.S. economy to bounce back from the Great Recession rapidly.

Indeed, their major takeaway is that the weak, slow recovery the U.S. has experienced over the last year is well within the historical norm for nations that experience a deep crisis.

They analyzed the economic results following three global financial crises--the aftermath of the 1929 stock market crash, 1973 oil shock, and the current experience--and 15 crises in both advanced and emerging nations.

The results: Among advanced economy, per-capital gross domestic product is now about 2 percent lower than it was in 2007, which is comparable to the experience three years after the onset of the 15 severe financial crises studied.

Meanwhile, Krugman at least gives me this:

Now, it’s arguable that even in early 2009, when President Obama was at the peak of his popularity, he couldn’t have gotten a bigger plan through the Senate. And he certainly couldn’t pass a supplemental stimulus now. So officials could, with considerable justification, place the onus for the non-recovery on Republican obstructionism. But they’ve chosen, instead, to draw smiley faces on a grim picture, convincing nobody. And the likely result in November — big gains for the obstructionists — will paralyze policy for years to come.

Krugman in a nutshell: Yeah, even though the Obama Administration could have never passed the Stimulus of the size I wanted, it's still their fault for not passing it. And worse, they're trying to put their best face on the fact that credit recessions are notoriously slow to come back from, even though my recent commentary is ignoring that. Never mind the fact that the President said on the night of his election that this was going to hard-sledding for the next few years.

Albert Pujols turns out to be a Beckhead. Go Cubs!

I can tell this is going to be an awful morning.

First, Economic Growth was revised downward from 2.2% to 1.6%, feeding the Austerity Caucus, but as Mathematician Dad reminded me that the German's 2.2% is the best they have done in decades. Still, it's going to feed the Pain Caucus, and cause the Congress to do even less when they come back to actually address the Economy.

Then, I learned that St. Louis Cardinals Manager Tony LaRussa and Cardinals Superstar Albert Pujols are going to attend Glenn Beck's Goldline-sponsored "reclaiming" of the Civil Rights Movement on Saturday. Now, I'm not a Cards fan (actually, I'm a long-suffering Orioles fan), and the fact that LaRussa is a Right-wing douchebag is not a total surprise. The fact that Albert Pujols is attending shocks me.

Now, both LaRussa and Pujols are using the fact that the Beckocalypse is "non-political" to justify their attendance. Bull@#$%! If they don't know, they don't want to know. They're Beckheads, plain and simple. Go Cubs.

I hope Albert realizes that this is going to damage his brand with African-Americans for a long time, probably for good. What I want to know is what his Latino fans are going to do with this. After all, he's siding with the people who hate Latinos almost as much as they hate gays, blacks and everyone who's not white and Christian. I'd love to be surprised, but I'm not optimistic.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

D.W.M. (There and back again, Edition)

Maybe cab-attacker Michael Enright was who we thought he was all along.

According to the New York Daily News (via TPM):

When he was arrested Tuesday in midtown, Enright had a personal diary filled with pages of "pretty strong anti-Muslim comments," a police source said.

The source said Enright's journal equated Muslims with "killers, ungrateful for the help they were being offered, filthy murderers without a conscience."

And check out the picture of himself he posted on Facebook.

Yeah, I wanna be his friend...and I take back what I said yesterday.

Let's be honest, posing with a pump-action shotgun, rockin' it like you're playing Guitar Hero doesn't make you're crazy.  But couple this photo after you've tried to throat slash a New York Cabbie???

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

D.W.M., continued (More weirdness)

According to TPM, the Driving While Muslim story keeps getting weirder and weirder...

Michael Enright is a film student at the School of Visual Arts in Manhattan and has been working with the Intersection International, an interfaith and multicultural effort which seeks to promote justice and peace. The project's website is strongly supportive of the Cordoba House project in lower Manhattan and videos of its leader, Imam Faisel Rauf, are posted on their website.

The 21-year-old aspiring filmmaker had been to Afghanistan recently, working on a documentary on a Marine unit his high school buddy served with. His earlier efforts to embed with his friend were the subject of a profile in the local paper.

The documentary he was working on was "completely nonpolitical," Enright told the newspaper. "It's just showing the young people who are spearheading our foreign policy. They're doing what I don't have to do."

Enright told police he had been working with an Internet media company and had recently spent time with a combat unit in Afghanistan filming military exercises according to The New York Post.

A former high school classmate of Enright's, speaking to TPMMuckraker on background, expressed shock about the crime and spent the morning eliminating electronic footprints that connected the two. "It's just disgusting, sad, horrific," he said, adding that, like the group Enright was working with, he supports the Cordoba Project.

You gotta figure that something about Enright was chemically amiss. If he really had truck against Muslims (like say an Cordoba House basher), he had ample opportunity to get stabby in Afghanistan (or maybe he was worried about being outnumbered).

Still, at the very least, this is a person skilled in dealing with Muslims on a daily basis on their home turf. What sets him off her? Either strong drink or a chemical inbalance of another kind, which is going to require a Doctor's help.

Krugman runs smack at Business week

A couple of months ago, Business Week ran a story asking who would you rather bet on: Hank Paulson or Kruggers himself?

Krugman takes a moment to gloat.

Tuesday (formerly Alaska)

First, the story from TPM:

Political prognosticators were surprised to wake up this morning and see Joe Miller holding a narrow lead of less than 3,000 votes over Sen. Lisa Murkowski in Alaska's Republican primary.

Unofficial returns as of this morning -- with 84.2 percent of precincts reporting -- showed Miller leading with 45,188 votes to Murkowski's 42,633 votes. That's Miller 51.5%-Murkowski 48.6%. What's more, the votes outstanding are from rural areas and 8,400 so-far-unreturned absentee ballots, so the final result won't be known for at least a week and might be undetermined until Sept. 8.

Jonathan Bernstein:

First, give the Sage of Wasilla credit. Right now, I don’t know whether or not Joe Miller will actually knock off Senator Lisa Murkowski in the Alaska primary, but even if he ultimately falls just short (and he’s leading now, so it’s at least just as likely that he’ll prevail), Sarah Palin’s reputation will surely be enhanced by her endorsement of an unknown insurgent against a sitting Senator. Did she carefully and correctly assess Miller’s chances of winning before she took to her usual combo of Facebook and Twitter, or was she just carrying on her personal feud with Murkowski’s family? Did her endorsement actually make any difference in the contest? I have no idea the answer to either question, but in terms of her national reputation, neither matters: all that anyone is going to know is that she endorsed a nobody who either took down a sitting Senator or came close. Maybe her endorsement mattered, but if not, figuring out which way the parade is headed and jumping out in front is an important political skill, and she at the very least seemed to have that working this time around. matter what the final result, but especially if Miller wins: these primaries are sending a very strong message to GOP pols about the dangers of ever allowing any space to develop between themselves and movement conservatives. And that’s true whether or not that’s a message that Alaska’s primary voters are intending to send (it may be, as I said last night, that the explanation for this election has more to do with the reputation of the Murkowski name in Alaska along with general voter discontent with the economy than it has to do with her actual actions in the Senate): the interpretation everyone’s going to hear and believe is that ideological deviation, even very mild deviation, is extremely dangerous to one’s electoral health. Whether it’s the New START treaty, or a compromise deal on the budget if the GOP controls at least one House of Congress next year, or any other issue, you can be sure that Republican pols who have to cast tough votes are going to remember Bob Bennett and Lisa Murkowski (and Arlen Specter, for that matter).

Marc Ambinder:

In Alaska, Sarah Palin's endorsement does seem to matter. It's not like no one predicted that Joe Miller could be the next senator; former Gov. Tony Knowles told me a month ago that Murkowski was not taking Miller seriously and that he could easily organize a campaign to beat her in the primary. Absentees won't be fully counted for a while, but Miller's victory can be reasonably inferred from the outstanding ballots.

But Also:

It is fairly clear that the anti-establishment / anti-Washington / pro-radical revolution plankton are feeding more off Republicans than off Democrats. As the year has unfolded, it has become easier and easier for formerly fringe candidates to find funding sources, get key "outsider" endorsements and shock complacent frontrunners. When it comes to the Tea Party factor, remember: about issues it ain't. Bill McCollum was one of the attorneys general who filed a lawsuit against Obama's health care reform bill. He is as conservative as a Blackberry at an Apple convention. But he has ties to the state's now-discredited Republican establishment (think of the indictment of the former party chairman) and his avuncular, amiable, comfortable-as-a-leather shoe style just doesn't fit with the times. Rick Scott didn't need the money, but the Tea Party Express helped him build a volunteer base. In Alaska, the same group ponied up $500,000 to help Miller (probably) defeat an incumbent U.S. senator.

Meanwhile, there was an equal surprise on the Democratic side:

Thanks to an old-fashioned political upset, Sitka, Alaska Mayor Scott McAdams is about to get a lot more ink.

McAdams (D) will face the winner of the Republican primary between Sen. Lisa Murkowski and Joe Miller, though we may not know for sure if Miller unseated Murkowski until next month. National Democrats tell us privately the Alaska Senate race wasn't even on their radar, until today when Miller's showing stunned Washington.

Well, we'll see.

Updated at 11:16pm, Pacific, where I added the Ambinder stuff, and changed the Post's title.


As if New York City wasn't dangerous enough...

I got this from TPM. It looks like the Cabbie is alive (enough to make a statement to the press), and New York City Police are treating this as a hate crime. (I'll set aside how ironic that statement is).

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Primetime Address next Tuesday?

According to CNN, the President has requested some airtime for an Oval Office Address on Iraq next Tuesday.

I'm with Team Evil (VIDEO)

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
The Parent Company Trap
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical HumorTea Party

The Teabaggers "avoid Black people" guide to Washington, D.C. Part 2 (VIDEO)

Rachel Maddow on the racist Metro Guide being handed out ot the TeaBaggers coming to Glenn Beck's crapfest on August 28th. (And if you listen carefully, there's now a safety issue in that Democratic Lawmaker's home addresses have been listed.)

Let's think about this Glenn Beck is claiming to be the ideological heirs to Martin Luther King and the Civil Rights movement, but at the same seems that the ideological heirs want to avoid Black people at all costs.

Makes you think, doesn't it?

"The Stupidity of Liberal Apathy", Part IV

In light of that damned Politico piece, Noam Scheiber (subbing for Jonathan Chait) goes after Eric Alterman (whom I like) and Progressive Activist Bob Borosage (whom I don't know, never heard of, and don't give a damn about):

On Alterman:

It's true that Obama often spoke in transformational terms about the practice of politics. But if you listened to the way he and his campaign discussed policy, it was always clear that they preferred a relatively pragmatic, non-ideological approach to some sweeping progressive vision. Many of us in the press made this point repeatedly during the primary and general-election campaign, so it hardly seems like there was some massive flip-flop on Election Day.

On whats-his-name:

Is the suggestion that it would have been preferable to have failed on health care (an ideologically modest but substantively far-reaching and historically momentous achievement) if that was the price of rallying progressives? I'm guessing Borosage would say it was possible to both rally progressives and pass health care--that, in fact, rallying progressives would have led to a better bill by shifting the debate leftward. And, at the margins, that might have been useful. But the idea that you were going to pass health care without a ton of Washington deal-making is just willfully blind to the realities of policymaking. Whatever the progressive mobilization, there was simply no way to pass a comprehensive bill without defanging the huge array of interests with the power to block it--doctors, hospitals, insurers, device-makers, pharmaceuticial manufacturers, etc., etc. (And the need for 60 votes in the Senate gave these interests even more power than they'd otherwise have.)

And (what I thought was) the summary:

We got the president we voted for--and, what's more, that non-ideological pragmatism was one of the things that really appealed to people after George W. Bush.

Too Funny not to post (NSFW)

Monday, August 23, 2010

Jon Stewart destroys Governor Rod Blagojevich

For my Father, who sooooo loves him some Blagojevich:

Part 1:

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Exclusive - Rod Blagojevich Extended Interview Pt. 1
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical HumorTea Party

Part 2:

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Exclusive - Rod Blagojevich Extended Interview Pt. 2
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical HumorTea Party

The Teabaggers "avoid Black people" guide to Washington, D.C.

Again, my two regular readers should know by now how I feel about the Huffington Post, and how I grit my teeth when I forward along a story from them.  But this one deserves forwarding.

But there's another thing you should know about me, I'm an actual native D.Cer. Yup, born at Georgetown University Hospital (D.C.), raised in College Park and Seabrook, Maryland. I love my hometown...especially now that the Teabaggers don't:

A blogger at Maine Refounders has taken it upon himself to offer repost a DC visitors guide to anyone coming to the Rally For Glenn Beck's Material Wealth, scheduled for August 28th. So, if you want some not-half bad restaurant recommendations or are interested in learning how you can avoid Nancy Pelosi's house, get thee hence. That said, I find this take on the DC Metro system to be sort of comical:

If you are on the subway stay on the Red line between Union Station and Shady Grove, Maryland. If you are on the Blue or Orange line do not go past Eastern Market (Capitol Hill) toward the Potomac Avenue stop and beyond; stay in NW DC and points in Virginia. Do not use the Green line or the Yellow line. These rules are even more important at night. There is of course nothing wrong with many other areas; but you don't know where you are, so you should not explore them.

Let's be honest, this is a "avoid the Black People guide to the D.C. Subway."

You were saying Half-Governor Palin?

Jeff Merkley's Op/Ed on the Cordoba/Park 51 Community Center.

Just about everyone loved on this piece from Senator Jeff Merkley of Oregon, and...well, they're right to:

The debate swirling around the proposed mosque and Muslim community center in lower Manhattan near the World Trade Center site has, for many, tapped into strong emotions of a national trauma that is still raw. But in the churning political and constitutional arguments, one question has not been adequately addressed: what makes a mosque near ground zero offensive?

Nearly everyone in this debate affirms the constitutional right for the mosque's construction. Indeed, that right is a cherished founding principle. As Thomas Jefferson said, "The constitutional freedom of religion [is] the most inalienable and sacred of all human rights." It is no accident that the right to worship in accordance with one's own conscience is enshrined in the First Amendment.

But, many mosque opponents argue, just because it can be built does not mean it should be. They say it would be disrespectful to the memories of those who died on 9/11 to build a Muslim facility near the World Trade Center site. I appreciate the depth of emotions at play, but respectfully suggest that the presence of a mosque is only inappropriate near ground zero if we unfairly associate Muslim Americans with the atrocities of the foreign al-Qaidaterrorists who attacked our nation.

Such an association is a profound error. Muslim Americans are our fellow citizens, not our enemies. Muslim Americans were among the victims who died at the World Trade Center in the 9/11 attacks. Muslim American first responders risked their lives to save their fellow citizens that day. Many of our Muslim neighbors, including thousands of Oregon citizens, serve our country in war zones abroad and our communities at home with dedication and distinction.

Some have also argued that the construction of the mosque would hand a propaganda victory to Osama bin Laden. I think the opposite is true. Al-Qaida justifies its murder by painting America as a nation at war with Islam. Celebrating our freedom of religion and Muslim Americans' place in our communities is a blow to al-Qaida's ideology of hate and division. We strengthen America by distinguishing, clearly and unequivocally, between our al-Qaida enemy and our Muslim neighbors.

President Bush understood the importance of separating the terrorists from over a billion peaceful Muslims around the world whose faith has been used as an excuse by those bent on killing. Speaking at a mosque just six days after the World Trade Center attack, President Bush said, "These acts of violence against innocents violate the fundamental tenets of the Islamic faith, and it's important for my fellow Americans to understand that."

I have great respect for the sentiments of the survivors and family members of those who died on 9/11, and understand that some may not regard the situation this way. But our fundamental religious freedom and our national security -- in addition to fairness for our fellow citizens -- will be well served by drawing a bright line between our Muslim friends and neighbors at home, and our al-Qaida enemy abroad.

Amen, brother. Amen.

P.S., I stressed different stuff than Greg Sargent did.

U.S. allowed to arrest Taliban No. 2?!?

Okay, the U.S. recently arrested Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, the second in command of the Taliban. On any other day, this should be (in the Vice President's words) a big f@#$%in deal.

But how we were allowed to arrest Mullah Baradar has come into question. And yes, you read that right, we were allowed to arrest him.

It seems that the Pakistani Government allowed the United States to arrest the Taliban's Number two because:

"We picked up Baradar and the others because they were trying to make a deal without us," said a Pakistani security official, who, like numerous people interviewed about the operation, spoke anonymously because of the delicacy of relations between Pakistan, Afghanistan and the United States. “We protect the Taliban. They are dependent on us. We are not going to allow them to make a deal with Karzai and the Indians."

Okay, did we get that?

The Pakistanis sold out Taliban Soul-Brother No. 2 out to us because Soul-Brother No. 2 had the temerity to make a deal without them.

Are you @#$%ing kidding me?!?!?

We're in a war where we can't trust our enemies (Taliban-duh!), can't trust our allies (Pakistan) because they're dealing with our enemies (Taliban), and are willing to sell them out in a moment's notice.

We're screwed.

More Politico...

I don't like Politico. I don't trust Politico, but they are given free rein at times by the MSM to create the morning meme. Why, I don't know.

This morning's meme is all about a Politico article that appeared this morning about disinheartened Democrats:

White House press secretary Robert Gibbs's recent complaint about the ingratitude of the "professional left" is a small symptom of a larger problem for President Barack Obama: He has left wide swaths of the Democratic Party uncertain of his core beliefs.

In interviews, a variety of political activists, operatives and commentators from across the party's ideological spectrum presented similar descriptions of Obama's predicament: By declining to speak clearly and often about his larger philosophy -- and insisting that his actions are guided not by ideology but a results-oriented "pragmatism" -- he has bred confusion and disappointment among his allies, and left his agenda and motives vulnerable to distortion by his enemies.

The president's reluctance to be a Democratic version of Ronald Reagan, who spoke without apology about his vaulting ideological ambitions, has produced an odd turn of events: Obama has been the most activist domestic president in decades, but the philosophy behind his legislative achievements remains muddy in the eyes of many supporters and skeptics alike.

Which is nonsense, since all I do is hear the man talk about his core philosophy, in every speech, in every video, which means some on the Professional Left haven't been listening!

To which, Greg Sargent wrote (after clarifying ways in which the Politico article was right):

I tend to think this critique is overstated: Obama has passed the most ambitious domestic agenda since FDR, and there are some grounds for believing that the White House got as much as it possibly could have. But my bet is that if the White House hadn't fetishized bipartisanship early on; if Obama had drawn a sharper contrast with the GOP from the outset; and if he had taken a stronger stand on behalf of core priorities even if they were destined for failure, his lefty critics would be more willing to give him the benefit of the doubt.

That said, presuming Obama's will be a two-term presidency, we are not even one-fourth of the way through his tenure. By the time Obama retires to private life, this whole debate underway about Obama's early failings could ultimately be reduced to a mere asterisk, or even forgotten completely.

And Joe Klein chimed in as well:

But Dems are distressed? He's not populist or ideological enough? Oh please. There are several ways to go about the presidency. Ronald Reagan chose one way: he said one thing and did another. He was for cutting back the size of government, but didn't. He was for lowering taxes and he did, but then he raised taxes--two of the laegest percentage increases in American history--when his supply-side "philosophy" proved a phony. He confronted the Soviet Union, but he also would have agreed to massive reductions in nuclear arsenals if the Soviets had allowed him to pursue his Star Wars fantasy.

Barack Obama has chosen another way.

He has pretty much done what he said he'd do. His achievements are historic. But he hasn't wrapped them up in an ideological bumper sticker--or provided some neat way for the public to understand it, or pretended to be a yeoman simpleton, noshing on pork rinds, clearing brush and excoriating the business community. That is a real political problem. He delivered a stealth tax cut to 95% of the American people; I've never seen a politician cut taxes and not take sufficient credit for it before. He made it impossible for Americans to be denied health care coverage because of pre-existing conditions or chronic problems; somehow this has gotten lost in the "socialist" shuffle as well. He ended major combat operations in Iraq, on time and without much fuss--without using the word "victory" or denying the continuing problems involved in cobbling together a coherent government there. Another President might have hyped this "achievement" relentlessly.