Wednesday, December 31, 2008

America's worst, 2008 edition


It seems appropriate to end the posting year by identifying the worst the country had to offer in 2008. And a tawdry list it is, including the likes of Holy Joe, Governor Go-go, Deadeye Dick, Eliot Spritzer, and President Petulant.

Arianna Huffington also chimes in.

What a year it's been.

Here's hoping we can all do better in 2009.

Separated at birth?


NASA head Michael Griffin and Howdy Doody.

The Usual Suspects


Here's an interesting story on a terrific movie.
[M]any continue to wonder just how much of "The Usual Suspects"—how much of Verbal Kint's story—is true. (True, that is, within the movie's plot.)

[Writer Christopher] McQuarrie says only after finishing the film and preparing to do press interviews about it did he and [director Bryan] Singer realize they both had completely different conceptions about the plot.

The dumbing of Connecticut


Colin McEnroe has been fired. I'm sure he'll land on his feet somewhere, but the state's radio has lost its most erudite voice. I suppose WTIC, with its hideous lineup of Dunaway-Vicevich-Limbaugh-Hannity, etc., is satisfied that it's appealing to the area's philistines (The station is, after all, run by CBS, the network that insists its sports announcers wear American flag pins in their lapels.), but it's certainly lost at least two afternoon listeners.

At any rate, the news is really like hearing of the loss an old friend.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The Legacy, cont'd


According to some, President Prevaricator's tenure was effectively over in 2005.
"Katrina to me was the tipping point," said Matthew Dowd, Bush's pollster and chief strategist for the 2004 presidential campaign. "The president broke his bond with the public. Once that bond was broken, he no longer had the capacity to talk to the American public. State of the Union addresses? It didn't matter. Legislative initiatives? It didn't matter. P.R.? It didn't matter. Travel? It didn't matter."
This may be true, although I certainly think our feckless leader had "broke[n] his bond with the public" on myriad occasions prior to that deadly episode. Katrina was perhaps the most dramatic sign up to that point in time that the decider-in-chief—and his coterie—were incompetent beyond comprehension.

Bottom line: Katrina made it abundantly clear that XLIII et alia cared not a hoot for the American public.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Guarding the henhouse, cont'd


These saboteurs can't get out of office soon enough.
Current and former career officials at OSHA say that ... during the Bush administration ... political appointees ordered the withdrawal of dozens of workplace health regulations, slow-rolled others, and altered the reach of its warnings and rules in response to industry pressure.

The result is a legacy of unregulation common to several health-protection agencies under Bush: From 2001 to the end of 2007, OSHA officials issued 86 percent fewer rules or regulations termed economically significant by the Office of Management and Budget than their counterparts did during a similar period in President Bill Clinton's tenure, according to White House lists.
This is just another example of the fact that the Bushies never cared about working people—or most Americans, for that matter. Stories like this probably aren't enough to get the racists in Alabama, Oklahoma, Tennessee, et alia, to vote against Republicans any time soon, but it sure should strengthen the resolve of those who have brains in their heads.

False Memoir of Holocaust Is Canceled


I don't get it: What could possibly compel someone to lie about such a hideous experience as Buchenwald?

Now the sniping begins


Not surprisingly, the calls for both Favre and Mangini to go have begun.
[I]f the Jets think for a minute that Favre is worth bringing back next season, they're in greater denial than anyone could have imagined ...

The purge shouldn't end with Favre. Mangini has to go, too. He is as much at fault for the late-season nosedive as anyone. There is zero charisma in the guy, he is out-coached regularly, and his team plays with the same lack of emotion he shows when he stands expressionless and with arms folded at midfield.
I'm following this story primarily because the Jets let me down yesterday by losing to the Dolphins and denying the Pats the chance to go to the playoffs. However, there's also a somewhat profound relationship between the Jets and the Pats: Eric Mangini is a graduate of the somewhat celebrated Belichick University. Given that, were I a Jets fan, I don't know if I'd necessarily want to cut Mangini loose. After all, "zero charisma in the guy [and standing] expressionless and with arms folded at midfield" describes pretty accurately a coach here in New England who's won three Super Bowls and engineered an 11-5 2008 season with chewing gum, rubber bands, and 39-year-old retired linebackers. And, it goes without saying that said coach's acumen wasn't always readily apparent in his early days as a head coach.

Perhaps I'm putting too much faith in Mangini, but when it comes to quarterbacks in a Belichick offense, a Favre-type signal caller won't cut it. After all, New England's golden boy, Drew Bledsoe, came this close to being benched before he was injured in 2001.

Sigh. As I was writing this, ESPN was reporting that Mangini has been fired.

UPDATE — Maybe I give too much credit to the vaunted Belichick University given this recent track record:

Mangini - fired
Crennell - fired
Weis - struggling

Sunday, December 28, 2008

One and done


I'm not going to grouse about the fact that the New England Patriots won't get to go to the NFL playoffs with an 11-5 record while the Arizona Cardinals (and Denver Broncos?) at 9-7 will.

The Pats had their chances, and I truly think that the November 13 loss to the hideous Jets (a game that most of America couldn't see) was the game the Pats can look back on and say, "If only ..." (For a period of ten days, the Jets looked like world beaters as they defeated both the Pats and the Titans. After that episode, the only team they could beat for the rest of the season was the lowly Bills.)

Next year could be interesting. Hell, the off-season could be interesting, as there're sure to be many teams interested in the Pats' backup quarterback—whoever he turns out to be.

At any rate, this'll make my January and February televiewing choices a bit easier. Go Huskies!

Saturday, December 27, 2008



Even though this appears to be an idea whose time has come, I'm glad it didn't make an appearance in my stocking.



Steve Benen comments on the pardoner-in-chief's latest snafu. Dr. Marshall also chimes in.

It's almost hard to remember when the country's executive branch was headed by someone with more intelligence than a four-year-old. Fortunately, we'll soon be reacquainted with that atmosphere.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Quote of the Day


"Pennsylvania is Philadelphia and Pittsburgh with Alabama in between." — James Carville

I'm off to the Keystone State today. I'll try to keep within its blue environs.

Guarding the henhouse


As Atrios might say, nobody could have predicted:
[A]ccording to a veteran agency source, under [Chairman Chris] Cox's leadership the [Securities Exchange C]ommission has made it increasingly difficult for investigators to obtain subpoenas, with the inevitable result that they have become less likely to ask for them ...

[A]ccording to [the] staffer, the failure to seek subpoena power in [the Madoff] case was in large part a natural result of the chairman's own policy.

"Under Cox, increasingly burdensome standards were applied to obtain subpoena power," [according to the source]. For investigators to obtain subpoena power, they're required to write a memo to the SEC's commissioners. Previous commissioners were more willing to respond by granting subpoena requests. "But under Cox," the source continued, "when you bring your memo down there, they pepper you with questions. It dies a thousand-cuts death."
This is exactly the kind of conflict-of-interest nonsense that one assumes will be eliminated after January 20.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

"They're singin' 'Deck the Halls' ..."


One of my favorite artists in a great rendition of one of my favorite Christmas songs:

This is the version she did in 1995; she appeared again on Letterman last night to sing the classic.

Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night.

The 10 Best Movies of 2008


One woman's opinion.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The airing of grievances


Blogging allows one to celebrate Festivus every day of the year!

Monday, December 22, 2008

YCMTSU, part 52


Governor Go-go's biggest mistake of the campaign?
"The biggest mistake made was that I could have called more shots on this: the opportunities that were not seized to speak to more Americans via media,” she told Human Events.

“I was not allowed to do very many interviews ..."
And the interviews she did do were soooo successful. If she'd had many more, Tina Fey [Link is an update.] never would've had to work again.

After a while, one comes to the inescapable conclusion that not only is Alaska's governor unspeakably dumb, but that she suffers from some kind of schizophrenia.

It's official


Cokie Roberts is an idiot.

The company he keeps, cont'd


Is it me, or does the president-elect sound a lot like a certain sanctimonious New England senator in discussing his choice of Rick Warren as The Official Inauguration Invoker?
"It is important for Americans to come together, even though we may have disagreements on certain social issues ... That dialogue, I think, is part of what my campaign's been all about; that we're not going to agree on every single issue, but what we have to do is to be able to create an atmosphere where we ... can disagree without being disagreeable and then focus on those things that we hold in common as Americans."
Personally, I think a stance like this is inane and disingenuous. Or, as Dahlia Lithwick said in the most quoted blog of the last week:
The president-elect continues to confuse reaching across the aisle with being principled. Sometimes the principle is just too important to compromise.
This is a tenet that Holy Joe no longer understands, and it's very troubling to hear it coming from Obama.



I still think he should replace Bernanke.

Sunday, December 21, 2008



This headline from Variety really says all one needs to know about the current state of US television:
MTV plans 16 new reality shows
Typical of the upcoming garbage is
The Trump-produced "Girls of Hedsor Hall" [which] will follow a dozen hard-partying young women as they're whisked off to an English finishing school. The series will debut in January.
Maybe I'm naive, but I remember the early days of MTV, and it did quite well by showing music videos. Apparently, that approach hasn't occurred to the solons of Viacom.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

His honor is intact


I'm struck by this item from Yahoo! News wherein, in discussing his legacy, our invisible leader asserted to
FOX News [that] "I didn't compromise my soul to be a popular guy." The quote is an acknowledgment that the president is well aware that he's about as popular as taxes and chicken pox. Bush went on to say that he would have liked to have been more popular, but he's proud that he didn't sacrifice his integrity.
Of course, the fact that he'll speak only to Faux News shows his lack of integrity in the first place.

And, his economic policies of taking from the poor to give to the rich, his environmental policies of ravaging the planet, and his foreign policies of attacking innocent peoples and sanctioning their torture all show that he had no integrity to sacrifice.

I don't believe in the notion of a "soul," but if I did, I'd be certain that his would burn in Hell.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Senator Sanctimony sees the light


Steve Benen discusses Holy Joe's epiphany here. As usual, the comments are salient.

A pitiful, dreadful life


Before anyone soon watches It's a Wonderful Life for the 800th time, this analysis of the film shouldn't be missed.

W. Mark Felt


A hero to millions has died. Requiescat in pace.

Senator Franken


It looks as if Al Franken will ultimately win the contested Senate seat in Minnesota. Eric Kleefeld at TPM has an outstanding post on how the race has gone.

Kleefeld points out that
What's become clear is that the vast, overwhelming majority of [Republican incumbent Mark] Coleman's challenges have been efforts to not get ballots counted for Franken.
Notwithstanding Kleefeld's somewhat tortuous syntax, the point is—as it always is when it comes to Republicans and these types of races—that the only way Coleman hopes to win is by disenfranchising people who voted in good faith and, more importantly, legally. This has been the Republican strategy since the beginning of the millennium, and if it worked in Florida in 2000 and in Ohio in 2004, then, by God, it's worth a try in Minnesota in 2008.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

The company he keeps


The liberal blogosphere is outraged with Obama's selection of Rick Warren to deliver the invocation on January 20. Leah McElrath Renna explains why. (Jason Linkins has more here.)

At the same time, at least one of Obama's actions seems eminently defensible.

Another Legacy


Colin McEnroe blogs on Connecticut's former unctuous governor.

The Legacy, cont'd


Glenn Greenwald has an excellent post this morning on the war crimes issue.
The recognition [that "to stand silent in the face of a war crime and do nothing"], finally, seems to be spreading -- beyond the handful of blogs, civil liberties organizations and activists who have long been trumpeting the need for this accountability. The New York Times Editorial Page today has a lengthy, scathing decree demanding prosecutions: "It would be irresponsible for the nation and a new administration to ignore what has happened . . . . A prosecutor should be appointed to consider criminal charges against top officials at the Pentagon and others involved in planning the abuse." Today, Politico -- of all places -- is hosting a forum which asks: "Should the DOJ consider prosecuting Bush administration officials for detainee abuse as the NYT and others have urged?" Even Chris Matthews and Chris Hitchens yesterday entertained (albeit incoherently and apologetically) the proposition that top Bush officials committed war crimes.
With Deadeye Dick now admitting that he approved of "enhanced coercive interrogation techniques," there's no question that the Bushies broke both federal and international laws.

Of course, I still believe that ultimately they will have done so with impunity.

This day in history


I realize that just about everybody thinks that teachers have it made because they work only "half the year." What those critics ordinarily don't realize is that the other half of the year teachers aren't getting paid. That, of course, includes all holidays. I.e., teachers don't have the benefit of having Christmas, for example, as a paid holiday.

At any rate, teachers have been way behind the curve of the majority of officers in the Malverne, NY police force, but, alas, the glory days seem to be waning.
The Malverne police union that claimed hundreds of paid days off for officers who worked "special" holidays such as Gold Star Mother's Day and Child Health Day has lost its bid to keep the unusual perk and accrued time off.

An independent arbitrator's decision to side with the village means about half of the department's 22 officers owe back time for work on more than two dozen arcane observances, including Elizabeth Cady Stanton Day (Nov. 12) and Gerald Ford Day (Jan. 2) ...

Based on the union's interpretation of a clause in a now-expired contract, officers got credit for work on up to 25 additional days between 2004 and 2007. The days - most of which were commemorated in state or federal proclamations - included National Day of Katrina Remembrance (Aug. 29), Theodore Roosevelt's birthday (Oct. 27), and Parents' Day (July 27).

"I would say there has been some disappointment in the department," said Malverne Mayor Patricia McDonald.
I know it would just kill me if I could no longer celebrate Teddy Roosevelt's birthday in the way it deserves.

Wankers of the Day®


Connecticut's Democratic State Central Committee.

Ooh. They're just so mad at Holy Joe. They're going to ... They're going to ... write a letter!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Wanker of the Day®


(With apologies to Atrios.) Doug Schwartz.

Here's hoping ...


With the largest national infrastructure investment since "the creation of the federal highway system in the 1950s" somewhat imminent, the stock market today has been able so far to minimize the relatively bad news the FOMC provided yesterday.

I'm struck by the Forbes' writer who opines that Obama's plan is a new New Deal. I don't know if this means anything, but I knew people one and two generations older than I who absolutely loathed FDR and the changes he brought to the country. Now it seems that a plan similar to FDR's is the sine qua non for any possible economic rejuvenation for the country.

Be that as it may, Bob Reich warns that there's a real danger the infrastructure impetus "will be too small."

Dog bites man


Barack Obama is Time's Person of the Year.

Into the next decade!


Give me strength.
Just in time for Joe Paterno's 82nd birthday: a three-year contract extension.

Give or take a year.

A deal was struck with Penn State that will provide "for the opportunity of Coach Joe Paterno leading the football program through the 2011 season," the athletic department said Tuesday in a brief statement.

That means the Hall of Famer and major college football's all-time winningest coach could lead the Nittany Lions into his mid-80s.
I know that it may be difficult to get rid of a coach who's one point (and one inane decision) away from an undefeated season, but this is really getting ridiculous.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Handshakes and the Bay State


As one who's always been a little taken aback at the haste in which Connecticut high school basketball officials head to the locker room at the sounding of the final horn—it seems to me they move much faster in that moment than at any time during the actual game—I'm interested in this story where apparently their Massachusetts' counterparts won't be able to make such a speedy exit (albeit grudgingly).
For implementing a rule that promotes sportsmanship, the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association has been accused of bordering on delusional.

This, according to Alan Goldberger, a lawyer from New Jersey who was speaking on behalf of the Massachusetts State Basketball Officials Association in a case the referees are so far losing, and should lose ...

The "absurd" rule in question requires high school basketball referees to remain at courtside during the teams' post-game handshake. Many referees worry this will expose them to danger from irate fans, and open up liability issues.
I have to admit I agree, for the most part, with the officials on this one for two reasons. First, I think it should be up to the coaches to ensure that handshakes take place—if, indeed, handshakes are to be used at all. (A president of a regional officials' board in Massachusetts admits that he knows of a case where post-game handshakes were omitted because they were deemed too dangerous.)

Second, I'm struck by the fact that Connecticut's Shoreline Conference has abandoned this year the alternate introduction practice that it had mandated for the past few years at the beginning of girls' basketball games. (I always felt that this mandate was instituted to reduce the biased intonations that some obnoxious high school PA announcers use in their player introductions, but that's neither here nor there.) The reason for the change: The Conference felt that it wanted no mixing of the teams at center court prior to the game. If one sports body has determined that the less handshaking the better, it seems to me that the MIAA mandate is problematic at best.

Monday, December 15, 2008

The Legacy, cont'd


Glenn Greenwald discusses the question of whether the US is to be a nation ruled by laws or men in this colloquy with Bill Moyers.

It's an interesting discussion, but ultimately fairly discouraging.

'Tis the season


Steve Benen points out the hilarity going on in Olympia, Washington regarding various religions' holiday displays around the state capitol.

I'm gratified to see my own sect represented.

Monday morning


... And all the news is bad.

The Madoff debacle can only get worse and already has evinced terrible repercussions.

And Google now wants preferential treatment on the Internet. Is this the beginning of the end of the net neutrality era?

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Calling in the expert


It's kind of unbelievable (and more than a little amusing) to see who's among the latest to call for Governor Blago's resignation.

Regarding Sean Penn


As Colin McEnroe opines in his latest post: "My God. Give the man his Oscar now and have done with it." I've only seen the trailers, but even in those Penn seems Oscar-worthy.

Anybody who can play Jimmy Markum and Harvey Milk in one lifetime has thespian skills I'm just not familiar with.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Republicans = Robber Barons


More and more it's appearing that the failure of the auto industry bailout was an attack against the UAW.

Friday, December 12, 2008

The GOP and the Big Three


The Republicans have made their bed; now let them lie in it. As a commenter on TPM states,
[T]he political fallout from this maneuver ... means that the GOP has not only written off New England and the Mid-Atlantic, but the Midwest, and is hunkering down in its Dixie and Plains base. The GOP used to consider Indiana as a given, Ohio as a must, and Michigan as a like-to-have. Now all three are gone, along with Wisconsin and Minnesota.
Last time I checked, 120 electoral votes won't win many presidential elections.

Molly I. at Eschaton gives the short take on the bailout failure (Republicans to Detroit: If only you could figure out a way to pay your executives and not your workers, we might help you.), and Bob Reich explains the Republicans' stance in more detail.

Of course, as the owner of two Hondas, I have to admit to a certain ambivalence about all of this.

Eight years ago today


As the Hartford Courant reported the story:
A divided and contentious U.S. Supreme Court shut the last door on Al Gore's presidential hopes Tuesday, striking down the crucial Florida recount in a complicated ruling that left the justices split 5-4 on the key issue.

Their decision effectively makes George W. Bush the next president, as Republicans and even some Democrats quickly lined up to call Gore's campaign finished.
And the rest, as they say, is infamy.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

An offer she could refuse


The Courant is featuring this rather amusing item involving a certain Connecticut shoreline town.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The company he keeps


Needless to say, Barack Obama is falling all over himself, denying that he had anything to do with the selling of his Senate seat by Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich. Indeed, it seems unlikely to me that Obama was at all involved in the naming of his successor—that was strictly the governor's task.

Nevertheless, Obama's past chumminess with Governor Bagman is a problem. Obama
supported his fellow Democrat for re-election in 2006, even though the governor backed someone else over Obama in the U.S. Senate Democratic primary race in 2004. Obama has said little about the many misconduct allegations that have piled up against Blagojevich, and he has complimented Blagojevich for running "a sound administration" with "the right priorities."
Unfortunately, this is an issue that the William Kristols, Sean Hannitys, and Mark Levins of the world will go nuts over—and will no doubt keep repeating ad nauseam. I'm sure they're ecstatic over being able to talk about something other than such non-issues as Obama's middle name and his acquaintance with a respected community organizer.

UPDATE &mdash Steve Benen provides some evidence.

So ...


How much do you think my Billy Wagner bobblehead doll will fetch on E-bay?

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

A myth destroyed?


A week ago, the San Francisco Chronicle reported that
Ramones drummer Marky Ramone [asserts that] legendary producer Phil Spector never pulled a gun on the band.

According to rock 'n' roll folklore, the famed '60s hitmaker held the punk pioneers at gunpoint during recording sessions for their 1980 album "End Of The Century."

Bass player Dee Dee Ramone even claimed Spector leveled a pistol at his heart when he threatened to quit the studio.

But Marky Ramone has finally shattered the myth by declaring it never happened.
I don't buy it, and the commenters to the article don't either—if for no other reason than that the gun was pulled on Dee Dee; Marky had nothing to do with it.

I've almost finished reading Tearing Down the Wall of Sound, and if Spector didn't pull a gun on the Ramones, they were probably the only people to evade the experience.

UPDATE — Being engrossed in the life and times of Phil Spector as I've been for the past few days, I can now say that I'm wholly convinced that dear Phillip did, in fact, shoot and kill Lana Clarkson nearly six years ago.

Leonard Cohen, one of the myriad artists with whom Spector was less than successful, explains it all on pages 302-303 in Tearing Down the Wall of Sound:
"In the state that [Spector] found himself, which was post-Wagnerian, I would say Hitlerian, the atmosphere was one of guns. I mean, that's what was really going on, guns. The music was subsidiary, an enterprise. People were armed to the teeth, [and] everybody was drunk, or intoxicated on other items, so you were slipping over bullets, or you were biting into revolvers in your hamburger. There were guns everywhere."
Cohen speaks here about his experiences with Spector 30 years ago, but Spector never changed, and his fascination with guns (Rare was the time after 1968 when Spector wasn't armed, and his bodyguards always were.) seems to have continued to the present day.

The man is a true genius, but like many geniuses, he's been nutty as a fruitcake for just about his entire life.

Anyway, here's a performance that's referred to in the book—so much better than the actual recording as to beggar description—that shows how profoundly Paul Shaffer knows his Spector.


Honest to God ...


... They never learn.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Blockbusting, Dallas style


This is a hilariously ironic example of the NIMBY philosophy evinced by so many have mores. I just love the benighted opinion of the woman with the King Charles spaniel.

The new paradigm, cont'd


What began as a trickle has now reached tsunami-like proportions.
The Tribune Company, the newspaper chain that owns The Chicago Tribune and The Los Angeles Times, is trying to negotiate new terms with its creditors and has hired advisers for a possible bankruptcy filing, according to people briefed on the matter.
The McClatchy Co. has approached potential buyers to sell The Miami Herald, one of its most prestigious properties.
And even the Gray Lady herself isn't immune:
The New York Times Co. plans to borrow as much as $225 million against its Manhattan headquarters building in the latest signal that the credit crisis and diminishing advertising revenues are casting an ominous shadow over the newspaper industry.
I realize that I get 90% of my news from the Internets, but I didn't necessarily want to be representative of a coterie responsible for the demise of the tactile newspaper.

A phrase I hope I never hear again, but no doubt will—millions of times


"Car czar."

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Bush's Brain's Book


In a development that must have bibliophiles bating their collective breaths, Karl Rove is writing a book (with a ghost writer, no doubt).
Ken Herman of Cox News interviewed Texas Bushies, including Rove, and reports this from Bush's Brain: "I've got behind-the-scenes episodes that are going to show how unreceiving they were of this man as president of the United States. I'm going to name names and show examples."
With a preview like that, I foresee a Harry Potter-like hysteria attached to the publication of the opus, with millions camping out until the booksellers open their doors at midnight some evening in order to allow the teeming masses to purchase the precious volume.

Having said that, I know of one library where the book will never make an appearance.

Steve Benen has more.

Hell freezes over


Tom Friedman actually writes a column that, for the most part, makes sense.

Tooting my own horn


I feel a certain pride in Spencer Ackerman's effusive statements ("inspired choice" and all that) about the selection of Eric Shinseki as Obama's Veterans' Affairs Secretary, since I suggested Gen. Shinseki for the post before the election was even held.

(I also suggested Richard Danzig for Secretary of Defense, but that seemed like more of a no-brainer. Anyway, it looks like Danzig will assume the post before the end of 2009.)

Saturday, December 06, 2008

"Harris Smith" and his gun


The AP has the latest on the Plaxico Burress fiasco. The former Michigan State All-American is looking at 3½ years for gun possession. Given juries' recent decisions vis-à-vis NFL players and former players, I wouldn't be surprised at all if he got it.

The inevitability of it all


Two comments:

I don't know why this doesn't happen several times a game.

And, this whole thing seems much too WWE-ish to me.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Fiddling and presidential pardons


What Dr. Marshall said.

The Economic Cataclysm and the Republicans


Just about all the blogs I follow have been commenting on various Republicans' tired mantra about cutting spending in order to get out of the terrible mess the US and world economies face right now.

Steve Benen may have the best precís of the situation, and, for what it's worth, I fervently believe the Republicans' policy statements are due to the so-called Strategic Explanation.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

The new paradigm


It's ominous that
The Chicago Tribune, responding to industrywide revenue declines, is reducing the size of its newsroom by 11 staff members this week.

Included among the latest departures, announced to Tribune journalists Wednesday, are both of the newspaper's New York-based correspondents.
The Tribune Corporation, of course, owns the Hartford Courant, a paper that's had its share of downsizing in the last few years.

Given all this, it seems problematic whether the Courant (and other newspapers) can continue to exist at all.

UPDATE — The state's legislators are investigating this state of affairs.

FURTHER UPDATE — Josh Marshall chimes in.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

The Legacy, cont'd


Apparently, the Bushies have put their pinheads together and decided that it really wasn't their fault that the Iraq invasion and occupation turned out to be among the nation's greatest fiascoes. If only the intelligence (especially regarding the so-called WMDs) had been better, the argument goes, they would've made a much more informed choice. President Prevaricator asserted this ridiculous position the other day, and now his brain is repeating that inane claim.

Of course,
the administration—specifically Vice President Dick Cheney—reportedly advanced faulty or poorly sourced information to fit the conclusion that Iraq possessed WMD, or that intelligence reports from the run-up to the war suggested that such a case was flimsy.
That is, the ideology trumped the facts, but now the Vulcans want to argue that, if only they'd known the facts, the quagmire that became Iraq wouldn't have happened.

One hopes that Americans will see through this nonsense, but Glenn Greenwald posits that they're not getting much help doing so.

Monday, December 01, 2008

The demise of the middle class


Bob Reich explains the Great Crash of 2008:
Consumers have gone on strike because their earnings haven't kept up. The recovery that officially ended December, 2007 (the National Bureau of Economic Research now tells us) was the first on record in which median earnings declined, adjusted for inflation ...

The only way to revive Wall Street is to revive Main Street, and the only way to accomplish this is to get America back on the course of rising median incomes.
And the Republicans sat back and didn't care when this was happening, preferring to raise cries of "Class Warfare" when middle and lower classes started protesting over their diminishing standards of living.

Obama is singing the right song, but the economic situation has been so dissonant for so long that even such a hip musician as he may not be able get it back in tune.

The Legacy


Steve Benen points out
Bush's record when it comes to disregarding warnings is right up there on the list of his most humiliating failures, isn't it? When warned that bin Laden is "determined to strike" inside the United States, the president humored the intelligence official and told him, "You've covered your ass, now." When warned that a hurricane was poised to destroy New Orleans, the president was satisfied that FEMA would handle the crisis. When warned about a looming financial crisis, Bush's White House paid more attention to the banks that told the president not to worry.
Benen doesn't say this in this particular post, but he and others have frequently opined that, for the Bushies, ideology trumped the facts every time.

President Petulant was just interviewed by ABC's Charlie Gibson wherein he asserted that he was unprepared for war (an astonishing admission after all these years), but the truth of the matter is that ideology carried the day for these morons every time. Let's never forget that the Bushies truly thought they were capable of creating their own reality in the dark days of 2004. There's no way that Feckless Leader can now conflate the reality as he then saw it in with the way things have turned out.

He's become a truly pathetic human being whose reach consistently exceeded his grasp to the detriment of the country. And after all the nonsense he's gone through and put us through, he seems genuinely surprised that it all didn't turn out so well. Perhaps he misinterpreted God's message. He wouldn't have been the first to do so.

UPDATE — Greg Sargent has more on President Prevaricator's revisionism.

Smells like Nittany Lion


Surely this is an idea whose time hasn't come.
The scent of Penn State is now available in a bottle.

The university has an official perfume and cologne that captures the essence of the school's blue and white colors, according to the scent's developer.

Harrisburg-based Masik Collegiate Fragrances developed the scents. The company said the Penn State perfume exudes vanilla, lilac, rose and white patchouli, while the cologne smells of blue cypress and cracked pepper vapor. The 3.4-ounce bottles cost $60.
I can think of any number of scurrilous punch lines to go with this state of affairs, but I'm much too tactful to repeat them.

UPDATE — The Courant's Paul Doyle opines
Given that the face of Penn State is an 81-year-old coach who recently had hip replacement surgery, the scent of Ben-Gay might be more appropriate.