February 4, 2008 archive

Sub-Prime(Time) Meltdown Hits Fox News Where It Hurts

Over the past year there has been a broad array of economic and political indicators that have been trending generally downward. In the U.S. jobs having been declining, as have exports. Construction has pulled back and property values have fallen. Wages are not keeping pace with inflation. At the same time, approval ratings for President Bush have cratered and Republican Party registration is down. GOP primary voters are showing up at the polls in significantly lower numbers than Democratic voters.

Not surprisingly, this social climate crisis is also being reflected in the market performance of the Fox News Channel. For 2007, Fox News squeezed out a meager ratings increase of 4%. While that was enough to beat the somnambulent CNN’s 2% gain, it was far short of the surging 32% rise enjoyed by MSNBC.

Fox 2007

The Most Painful Vote I Ever Cast

My four year old son is having his adenoids and tonsils out early tomorrow, leaving me no time to vote in my neighborhood. So I headed to San Francisco City Hall today and underwent my own surgery. On myself. With a dull scalpel, a dirty sponge, and no anesthesia whatsoever. With eyes squinched I extracted my vote. It wasn’t joyless, but it still hurts.

I’ve posted long and often about my indecision.  I believe we have two excellent candidates, two great Democrats.  They differ on some details, but they both want healthcare for all, a clean and living planet, better schools, and repeal of the tax cut for the richest Americans.  And the war? Yeah, I know Clinton voted for it, but they both want us out now and, as much as I disagreed with her vote, I’m glad she understands the need to end this fiasco.

Obama captures an excitement that will be his to lose if he gets the nomination and, if he does, he better be prepared, lose that stutter, and get smooth in the face of attack.  He has the potential to be one of the most influential leaders of our century or the biggest disappointment in our lifetimes.

(more beneath the scar)

Getting Our Meta On… updated w/sports reference

Meta: a prefix meaning between, with, after, behind, over, about, reversely; a philosophy prefix meaning one level of description higher.


Four at Four

  1. The U.S. killed 9 Iraqi civilians in mistaken bombing reports the McClatchy Newspapers. “U.S. helicopters attacked allied Iraqi militiamen south of the capital on Saturday, killing at least nine civilians and wounding three, apparently because of a miscommunication during fighting with suspected Islamist gunmen. An Iraqi police spokesman put the death toll at 13. Casualties included two women and a child… The militamen apparently called for U.S. support during the fighting. A spokesman for the local militiamen said that poor communication between the militiamen and American forces was likely to blame. The militiamen were unable to summon U.S. forces directly, and their request was relayed through local police”. Winning hearts and minds — one corpse at a time.

  2. The Washington Post reports Bush unveils $3 trillion budget proposal. “Bush today unveiled a… $3 trillion budget proposal for fiscal 2009 that would slice $14.2 billion from… federal health-care programs, eliminate scores of programs and virtually freeze domestic spending — but would still record a $407 billion budget deficit… The Bush budget plan would continue his first-term tax cuts beyond their 2011 expiration date, at a cost to the Treasury of $635 billion through 2013, extend abstinence education programs, create elementary and secondary education vouchers and guard other White House initiatives… The document also assumes $70 billion in costs for the Iraq and Afghanistan wars next year, a fraction of the true costs, which could reach $200 billion in 2008. Beyond 2009, the budget includes no war costs at all.”

    McClatchy Newspapers add Bush budget – more of the same, and Democrats don’t like it. “Among the biggest spending increases would be a 7 percent boost for Pentagon spending and an 11 percent increase for homeland security, with big increases for border security. Not included is full funding for the war on terror; Bush would allot $70 billion for 2009 but leaves spending targets for future years’ up to future presidents and Congresses.”

  3. The AP reports there were Close ties between White House and Sept. 11 commission’s executive director.

    The Sept. 11 commission’s executive director had closer ties with the White House than publicly disclosed and tried to influence the final report in ways that the staff often perceived as limiting the Bush administration’s responsibility, a new book says.

    Philip Zelikow, a friend of then-national security adviser Condoleezza Rice, spoke with her several times during the 20-month investigation that closely examined her role in assessing the al-Qaida threat. He also exchanged frequent calls with the White House, including at least four from Bush’s chief political adviser at the time, Karl Rove.

    Zelikow once tried to push through wording in a draft report that suggested a greater tie between al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden and Iraq, in line with White House claims but not with the commission staff’s viewpoint, according to Philip Shenon’s The Commission: The Uncensored History of the 9/11 Investigation.

    Raw Story weighs in with 9/11 Commissioner: ‘We had to go through Karl Rove’. “9/11 Commission member John Lehman goes on to tell MSNBC that it was impossible not to go through Karl Rove when documents such as presidential daily briefings were needed… ‘We had to go through Karl Rove, and through [Attorney General Alberto] Gonzales and the other most senior members,’ says Lehman.” Certainly calls into question the commission’s independence.

  4. The Los Angeles Times report on Where blubber meets the road. Some elephant seals below the Hearst Castle are “sneaking past barbed-wire fences designed to protect them, then flopping on blubbery bellies right across California 1… The phenomenon of wandering seals isn’t entirely new. Seals and motorists have had encounters before. Seals have been killed and drivers injured. But Brian Hatfield, a biologist with the U.S. Geological Survey who has watched the rookery grow from a few seals in 1990 to an estimated 16,000 this year, said it had become more of a problem as the population exploded.” Check out the great narrated slide show too.

Politico Stole Two Elections

Note: Originally I’d planned on posting this Friday, but the library was closed due to bad weather. But it’s still current…

Below the fold is how Politico screwed Katrina/Rita/flood survivors in Louisiana and Mississippi, and their supporters, out of having a question relevant to their plight asked during last Wednesday’s and Thursday’s debates.

On Saturday, Jan. 26, on Daily Kos, I diaried a way, per colorofchange.org, to vote on Politico for the following debate question:

Two years after Katrina and Rita and Gulf Coast schools, hospitals, police stations, roads and flood protection still lie in ruins, keeping displaced residents from returning and communities from recovering. Will you support H.R. 4048, the Gulf Coast Civic Works Act, as President to rebuild community infrastructure and create job and training opportunities for residents?


Pony Party: A GIANT Procrastinator

Eek! I forgot again. And I even have a reminder set in Outlook.

Oh, well. Another Monday morning, another pathetic Pickle Pony Party.

But, hey, the GIANTS won and that PATS lost! W00t!

Two Futures

NOTE: This is a personal position, and does not in any way constitute a endorsement by Docudharma of a candidate. Though we try to keep DD a candidate diary free zone, this election is too important not to take a stand, or for me to try to hide the stand I am taking, so please forgive me! I promise not to campaign here until the nomination has been decided.

Their policies may look the same, but the vision behind the policies is different.

The promises and platitudes are nearly identical, but the means of achieving them are not.

The possibilities of winning go back and forth in the polls now, but the possibilities of real change are, in my opinion all on of side of the ledger.

Experience vs Hope? Experience means already knowing how things work, and expecting them to keep working in that same way. Working to make them work in the same way, doing the same thing, only better.

Well…. the same way, doesn’t work.

Given a choice between the same way, and some admittedly tenuous new way and hoping it will work, I’ll take even a hope of a new way.

Chaos has arrived

Hey all,

 I am officially turned off to that “other site”, looks orange and big. So I am hanging out here. I promise to bring environmental goodness, a few conspiracy theories, random essays and general snarkiness to the site.

 I am not bashing but I want to state that the level of “see it our way or leave” at the big orange has reached junior high click status. I will still skim to see if anything new is going on over there, maybe after the elections it will return to a place of knowledge and sanity.

Budhy invited me here a long time ago and I visited a few times but did not want to get caught up in a blog addiction of reading tons of different blogs so stuck with the big guy. Now however, with what has happened to the big orange I am looking for a refuge of sanity and civility. So here I am.

My kitties wish to say hi to your ponies….

Clinton, Obama Both Flawed On Health Care

In the middle of the mandate pie-fight (which just had a big ole can of gas dumped on it today by Paul Krugman), I think it’s important for folks to understand that – mandates aside – there’s still issues with both Hillary Clinton’s and Barack Obama’s health care plans that need to be addressed. I’m going to pick the big, blank area of each plan that leaves it open to attack, because my primary goal is to have a viable universal health care plan introduced by whoever wins the Democratic nomination (and then hopefully the presidency) as quickly as possible.

The Flannel Shirt

Years ago, a professor that I disliked because he had a tendency to hush the women and allow the men to expound even when they did verbal fishtails and even confused themselves, told me I just wasn’t that bright and I did not belong in graduate school. Now when somebody tells me I am an idiot, I cheerfully agree and ask them to teach me.

But it came at a time of intense personal and intellectual flux and insecurity. I came from a small school of no significance attended primary by locals. We played soccer either with the profs, drank beer with them, a few profs even taught informal seminars just for the hell of it. I had one friend who was an intellectual star and went on to be a successful corporate lawyer. The rest of us were merely curious goofballs and it was encouraged. However, being a curious goofball turned out to be a deadly downfall in graduate school.

I lacked intellectual rigor you see, I had arrived and found out taking class X was impossible if I had not already read A, B, and C. So, I panicked. I dropped a class, added another, switched my areas of concentration for my comp exams was told I would fail

because the reading list was too extensive and lured a few others into a study group for the purposes of mutually assured survival. I plowed through my degree like a chastened farm animal.

My curiosity evaporated.

John Laesch (IL-14) LIVE on BlogTalkRadio TODAY at 3PM Eastern

For those of you who missed Downtowner’s diary last night on what is happening in Dennis Hastert’s old district, it is a good run down of what Daily Kos member, progressive, patriot, military veteran and Democratic Congressional candidate John Laesch is up against.

In addition to tomorrow’s primary, there is a special election on March 8 for the seat that Dennis Hastert retired from and progressive John Laesch is up against a “DC insider choice” who is described as new to politics and a wealthy self funding individual who has contributed hundreds of thousands to a primary challenge.

You can check out what is happening on the campaign trail from the Laesch for Congress diary series, and we are happy to have John on our BlogTalkRadio show today at 3PM Eastern/noon Pacific.  

John Conyers, 1974: Why Nixon should have been impeached

(John Conyers is chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, which has before it House Resolution 333, calling for articles of impeachment to be drawn up against Vice President Dick Cheney.  In 1974, while a member of the Judiciary Committee, Conyers helped draft articles of impeachment against Richard Nixon, articles that were about to be voted on by the full House when Nixon suddenly resigned. Conyers had been one of the most vocal and persistent proponents advocating for Nixon’s impeachment. In May 1972 he and others had taken out a two-page ad in the New York Times calling for impeachment in response to Nixon’s handling of the war in Vietnam; the Watergate burglary had not yet taken place.  The essay below appeared in the October 1974 issue of the journal, The Black Scholar. Nixon resigned in August 1974 and was pardoned the next month by President Gerald Ford.  To the best of my knowledge, this essay has never before appeared online. – o.h.)



by John Conyers, Jr.

from The Black Scholar, Vol. 6, No. 2, October 1974

Reprinted by permission of The Black Scholar

RICHARD NIXON, like the President before him, was in a real sense a casualty of the Vietnam War, a war which I am ashamed to say was never declared. Since the hearings of the House Judiciary Committee began on May 9th, 1974, we have had a professional staff of some 89 men and women gather in great detail over 42 volumes of information that was considered throughout some 57 sessions. My analysis of the evidence clearly reveals an Administration so trapped by its own war policy and a desire to remain in office that it entered into an almost unending series of plans for spying, burglary and wiretapping, inside this country and against its own citizens, and without precedent in American history.

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