December 18, 2009 archive

The Poster Boy for Cheerleading the President

Cross-posted at Daily Kos


Jacob Heilbrunn has a new essay up at the Huffington Post titled “Please, Cut Obama Some Slack.”  It is Exhibit A in hero mythology of the President, as well as a prime example of chastising anyone — even progressives — who would dare criticize any of Obama’s policies.

A year ago, Barack Obama was a hero for Democrats. Now he’s becoming a villain. Have the Democrats lost their minds?

The tenebrous story is recounted by Dana Milbank in the Washington Post, who notes that some liberals are even starting to join forces with the tea party to decry Obama over the confirmation of Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke. The decriers are also upset about Obama’s decision to send more troops to Afghanistan, the administration’s readiness to make concessions on health care, its failure to shutter Guantanamo, along with a host of other grievances.

Apparently, because some liberals have chosen not to regard President Obama as a “hero” and have begun to seriously question some of the policies of the Obama Administration, that qualifies Heilbrunn to assert that those same liberals have “lost their minds.”  Heilbrunn doesn’t identify in his article who those allegedly insane Democrats are — though for the record, Dana Milbank does, naming liberal voices such as Howard Dean, Bernie Sanders, Nancy Pelosi,, John Conyers, and Alan Grayson as the progressives who are supposedly “joining forces with the tea party,” to use Heilbrunn’s language.

Dying Bats: More Bad, Frightening News


When I first moved to Columbia County, New York, about 25 miles southeast of Albany, in the foothills of the Berkshires, evening sunsets were spectacular.  And there were dozens of bats zooming through the dim light feasting on insects.  There were two primary kinds of bats: big brown bats ones and little brown bats.  I considered putting up a bat house, but never did.  The bats seemed to be thriving quite well without one, thank you.  But in the summer of 2007 I began to notice that there were fewer bats.  And in summer, 2008 even fewer.  And this past summer hardly any.  What I was witnessing was the bat population dying out.  It was being ravaged by disease.

Today, the Times Union brought the details of this bad news about the bats:


Friday Melancholy Blues

My Melancholy Blues

Friday Melancholy Blues

My Melancholoy Blues

Docudharma Times Friday December 18

Friday’s Headlines:

Nearing New Arms Pact, U.S. and Russia Look Beyond It

Kucinich panel to investigate Citigroup tax ruling

Senate healthcare bill now relies on regulation

China holds the world to ransom

At Japanese Cliffs, a Campaign to Combat Suicide

Georgia’s answer to ‘The Simpsons’

Irish Bishop Donal Murray resigns over cover-up of child sex abuse

How Ehud Olmert mapped a vision for peace in West Bank

Search as ship sinks off Lebanon

Dairy firm managers leave over Robert Mugabe wife deal

Mexican drug lord: Why Arturo Beltran Levya’s death matters

Barack Obama’s speech disappoints and fuels frustration at Copenhagen

US president offers no further commitment on reducing emissions or on finance to poor countries

Suzanne Goldenberg and Allegra Stratton in Copenhagen, Friday 18 December 2009 12.53 GMT

Barack Obama stepped into the chaotic final hours of the Copenhagen summit today saying he was convinced the world could act “boldly and decisively” on climate change.

But his speech offered no indication America was ready to embrace bold measures, after world leaders had been working desperately against the clock to try to paper over an agreement to prevent two years of wasted effort – and a 10-day meeting – from ending in total collapse.

Obama, who had been skittish about coming to Copenhagen at all unless it could be cast as a foreign policy success, looked visibly frustrated as he appeared before world leaders.

CIA working with Palestinian security agents

US agency co-operating with Palestinian counterparts who allegedly torture Hamas supporters in West Bank

Ian Cobain in Ramallah, Thursday 17 December 2009 18.16 GMT

Palestinian security agents who have been detaining and allegedly torturing supporters of the Islamist organisation Hamas in the West Bank have been working closely with the CIA, the Guardian has learned.

Less than a year after Barack Obama signed an executive order that prohibited torture and provided for the lawful interrogation of detainees in US custody, evidence is emerging the CIA is co-operating with security agents whose continuing use of torture has been widely documented by human rights groups.

The relationship between the CIA and the two Palestinian agencies involved – Preventive Security Organisation (PSO) and General Intelligence Service (GI) – is said by some western diplomats and other officials in the region to be so close that the American agency appears to be supervising the Palestinians’ work.

Tweety: Netroots aren’t real Democrats

Tweety hates DFHs on the blogs.  They aren’t real Democrats!   So without further ado…… Chris Lieberman Mathews on the Netroots.  

This is short, but the video speaks for itself.  

Tweety: Netroots aren’t real Democrats

Tweety hates DFHs on the blogs.  They aren’t real Democrats!   So without further ado…… Chris Lieberman Mathews on the Netroots.  

This is short, but the video speaks for itself.  

Kill This Bill

This bill just gets worse. Sen. Ben Nelson turned down a compromise to his draconian proposal on abortion and now says he has “other” concerns about the bill.

compromise Holdout senator rejects abortion compromise

WASHINGTON – A moderate Democrat whose vote could be crucial said Thursday an attempted Senate compromise on abortion is unsatisfactory, raising doubts about whether the chamber can pass President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul by Christmas.

“As it is, without modifications, the language concerning abortion is not sufficient,” Nebraska Sen. Ben Nelson, a key holdout on the health care bill, said in a statement after first making his concerns known to Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev.

Nelson said there were positive improvements dealing with teen pregnancy and adoption, and that he was open to further negotiations. But in a radio interview earlier in the day with KLIN in Lincoln, Nebraska, Nelson also said that abortion wasn’t his only concern and he didn’t see how the Christmas deadline was achievable.


Late Night Karaoke

Open Thread

Organization 0.1 Alpha – My letter to my attorney

“You have to begin somewhere” I remember somebody telling me that when I first started lifting weights in a gym. (Not much weight on the bar, you see. IIRC, there was actually no weight on the bar.) However, it’s true in a lot of areas – like all of them.

So, even though I’m not a Democrat, I’m trying to help jeffroby get the ‘Full Court Press’ going for Dems. (I expect I’ll try and help Republicans get their version  going, if I can find any Republican-leaning citizens who are interested). Because we all have to start somewhere, and complaining in the blogosphere and petitioning those in power don’t seem very effective, we need to truly dump sellout Congress critters.

Chris Bowers has wisely advised us to do things correctly, legally speaking, so I sent an email to a lawyer I had retained, who I knew was a Democrat and seemed like a very good guy, overall. What follows is a modified, de-personalized version, that has a lot of links which will be useful for telling friend, family, and even strangers about the new group.

Officials and Experts Warn of Crash-Induced Unrest

Officials and Experts Warn of Crash-Induced Unrest

This is one of those entries where I’m going to basically just send you over to the link so you can check it out for yourself.  The site itself has become a daily must-visit for me, and should be for others interested in what’s really going on.   I don’t know who this guy is, but he’s really really good.  

His entries are so chock-full of links that cutting and pasting what he’s saying is almost pointless, unless you include all the links (and if anyone knows an easy way to do that, I’d love to learn it!).

Anyway for all the Larry Summers MORONS out there who think that sunny days of economic lushness are right around the corner, well, this is something of a buzz-kill.   (the same guy has an awesome piece that just DESTROYS Summers).

Anyway, here’s a sample:

Today, Moody’s warned that future tax rises and spending cuts could trigger social unrest in a range of countries from the developing to the developed world, that in the coming years, evidence of social unrest and public tension may become just as important signs of whether a country will be able to adapt as traditional economic metrics, that a fiscal crisis remains a possibility for a leading economy, and that 2010 would be a “tumultuous year for sovereign debt issuers”.

Bank CEOs Pledge to Push for Re-Regulation

Chief executives of the largest U.S. banks acknowledged Monday the “disconnect” between their expressed support for re-regulating financial markets and the work of their lobbyists to weaken any new rules.

In later comments, one CEO elaborated as follows:

There’s a yawning chasm between what we say and what we do.  It’s unconscionable.

How big is this disconnect?  Well, say you had a choice between measuring it in angstroms or light years…take a guess!

It’s absolute, two-faced hypocrisy.

Let me give you an example: On one hand I’ve got Barney Frank’s balls in a vise, which I guess is why he’s always raising his eyebrows at everything we say, and on the other I’m drawing upon every inch of will power not to burst out laughing in the President’s face when he asks us to comply with greater lending and restraining our bonuses.  I mean, he can’t be serious.  And we know he’s not.  That’s what makes it so hard not to laugh.  Remember how Tim Conway used to crack-up Harvey Korman when he’d go off script?  God forbid that Lloyd Blankfein starts busting up, because it’s contagious, ya know?  That man is a riot.  The White House publicly said Blankfein showed contempt for the President in refusing to come to the last meeting, but privately they asked him not to come because of that comment about “doing God’s work.”  He even had the President laughing his guts out with that one.  And the President knows that’s no way to run a meeting to dress down us “fat cat bankers.”  I loved how the Wall Street journal played up the meeting as a no amenities, all business and brass tacks sort of thing: “The executives were served glasses of water — and nothing else -” as if we’re not milking it for all it’s worth, but that’s just Axelrod’s attention to detail. The President himself is damned good at keeping a straight face, but I’ve $300 million bucks that says we’re gonna make him laugh again, with or without Lloyd.

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