December 20, 2009 archive

Weekend News Digest

Weekend News Digest is an Open Thread

This Sunday’s Edition is being brought to you by TMC, so ek hornbeck can bake cookies.

The Top News Story

East Coast hammered by severe winter storm

Winter Storm,12/20/09

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A weekend nor’easter buried much of the U.S. East Coast on Saturday and Sunday, disrupting public transport and air travel and hampering holiday shoppers on the last weekend before Christmas.

Up to 22 inches of snow was expected by Saturday night in the Baltimore-Washington area, more than any snowstorm to hit the region since February 2003, as the storm system moved north into New York and New England.

With snow falling at a rate of two inches an hour, most flights were canceled at the three major Washington-area airports before two of them, Reagan and BWI, were closed until Sunday morning. Delays and cancellations also hit Philadelphia’s international airport.

The driving snowstorm did not stop U.S. senators from convening and Democrats secured the pivotal 60th vote of holdout Senator Ben Nelson needed to ensure passage of the healthcare overhaul bill by Christmas.

But the storm could take a big bite out of retail sales on one of the busiest shopping weekend of the year.

Washington Mayor Adrian Fenty declared a snow emergency and asked District of Columbia residents to keep off the streets as the U.S. capital faced what one TV station dubbed “The Shopper Stopper Storm.”

“We Can Fix It Later”

That is the excuse for passing a bad HCR bill.

Yeah, it sucks, but we can fix it later.

Yesterday NPR reported that this was also the excuse offered for a bad Climate agreement in Copenhagen.

Yeah, it sucks, but we can fix it later.

Two points:

One, no one actually believes that after a year of working on HCR and all these wasted years since Kyoto that we are REALLY going to fix anything later do they?

Especially if due to the Dems incompetence and weakness, the Repubs get back in power. The FIRST thing they will do is gut HCR. The second is gut any progress on Climate.

Two……WHY do we have to “fix it later?”

Why can’t we pass a GOOD bill now, one that deosn’t have to be fixed later?

The reason is obvious. The Minority Party that openly represents Corporate interest and only about a quarter of the people in the country and about 1% of the people on the Planet, have obstructed, buffaloed, beat down, punked, intimidated, and just plain SCARED the Dems into allowing themselves to be held hostage by the very same assholes who fucked everything up beyond recognition for the last eight years.

They either don’t know how to or they just plain WON’T fight against the Repub tactics that have stopped all progress not only on the health of all Americans….but now on the health of the entire Planet.

America is out of patience, and the Planet is out of time. if the Dems don’t show that they can fix ….something, ANYTHING now….the impatient American voter is going to fix them….at the ballot box.

Is there any way at all that we can prevent the Dems from committing political suicide……again?

Hold on to the sun

Someone asked me on this blog once why I find happiness in despair, why I find lightness in the dark, why I have a smile of steel at the worst possible times,


I have no answer, but the best way I can frame it is in a series of vignettes.

Oh my god, I think we’re GOIN’ IN!!!

Around and Around

(psssst… Cassiodorus read my mind!)

I’m not sure if anyone in my little political junkie clique here comprehends how much I hate hate HATE electoral politics. But I gotta tell ya. My Bullshit Detector has been polished and fine tuned in the past year. I watched only a clip snip of Axelrod on the shows this morning and then I went a-reading / scanning the blogs, and … if these guys spin this HCR POS Reform any harder …. they’re gonna land themselves on the frikkin moon.



Are liberals useless? A further meditation on Chris Hedges’ piece

I know, this Chris Hedges piece came out nearly two weeks ago.  This is a further exploration of the “liberals are useless” meme in political conversation.  Here I will suggest that liberals, progressives, etc. may be useless, but they can’t be dismissed outright.  Thus we need the building blocks of a more proactive stance.

(Crossposted at Orange)

Real News Network – Climate Debate

Part One (posted December 17):

More at The Real News

Part Two (posted December 18):

More at The Real News

Part Three (posted December 20):

More at The Real News

Daniel J. Weiss is making a very disingenuous argument in his “we should only go for what’s possible” approach.  He keeps falling back on the “perfect is the enemy of the good” line, as though anyone seriously expects or asks for perfection.  He also ignores that when Medicare, Social Security, the Civil Rights Act, and the Clean Air Act were passed, the political environment was very different – Republicans could be rolled far more easily than they can be today.  What’s more, by starting with the accommodation first and working down from there, substantive policies are not being passed.  Weiss doesn’t even acknowledge the obvious tactical reality at work: obviously demanding everything from the start is not going to get us everything, but it can lead us to some actual compromise that everyone can live with.  Daphne Wysham, who is advocating for stronger policies and takes the opposite argument, could have done a bit more to press the counterarguments I just mentioned, but overall it was a spirited and informative discussion.  It’s certainly nothing like what you’d see on any of the cable news programs.

The Simple Joys of a Reduced Christmas Season

While I and millions of DC residents are cleaning up after a huge snow storm, I look out my window this morning and notice strangers giving aid and assistance to drivers of cars stuck out in the wintry mix.  Stodgy, suspicious, ponderous Washington has momentarily set aside its default setting to lend a hand.  It is only when events this big and massive disrupt the status quo that this city shrinks in size and shared humanity begins to creep into the proceedings.  DC is a city full of cross-currents and diversity, so it is rare that anyone is truly on the same page with another for very long.  A Type A city ruled by Type A people means that often everyone is in a hurry going nowhere for no good reason, utterly consumed with their work to the detriment of every other facet of their lives.  Though retailers will undoubtedly even lose money here in these crucial days leading up to Christmas, I can’t say that I am entirely saddened by the development.      

Had this been any average year, the media would have run half a dozen stories (or more) gently chiding us for again, yet another year, completely destroying the meaning of the Christmas season.  Many of us would assume our time-honored roles, mournfully nodding our heads up in down to signify that we agreed, but could find no solution to stop the orgiastic aspects of capitalism from overrunning the most important of holidays.  A recession ought not only provide purely negative consequences.  If we can learn from it, then all is not lost.  If we are to face discomfort and pain, my hope is that we can understand that simplicity is a virtue, not a hindrance, and that accumulating possessions is a bit like accumulating inches of snow.  In the beginning, it’s fun, but after a while, it begin to pose a serious problem.  Not only that, others who believe in the grass is greener principle have a tendency to envy accumulation without understanding its notable drawbacks.

I personally am enjoying fewer crowds, less traffic, and less panicked looks.  That it took a weakened economy and with it the loss of buying power surprises me not a bit.  If the free market promised freedom from producing more problems than it fixes, I would be wholeheartedly in its corner.  Some of the strongest people I ever met were those of my grandparents’ generation, who had faced a Great Depression and a World War, and whose iron resolve and stoic attitude showed the results of having gone fifteen rounds with hardship and tragedy and emerged stronger than steel.  No shrinking violets were they.    

As for these times, the only time I saw anything remotely similar to the traditional Christmas insanity was Friday of this past week, shortly before the snow fell, when thousands upon thousands of residents in our nation’s capital rushed madly to scoop up enough provisions and finish up their seasonal shopping.  Everyone seems to be cutting back this year and I certainly am as well.  Some have mentioned that the tinsel and electric excitement that requires a robust pocketbook is lacking, making this a bummer of a Season’s Greetings, at which point I suppose I have to note that I have grown so cynical about Christmas reality that I have embraced a kind of deliberately sparse rendering.  All that twinkles is not gold.  Some might assume that less money in the bank is the true War on Christmas™, though I believe that to be the overwhelming opinion of bankers.          

The generation of my parents’ parents have been romanticized as “The Greatest Generation” but while the moniker is fitting, I saw nothing particularly superhuman about them.  They were indebted to the same flaws as humanity has displayed ever since humans began to walk upright.  If we faced the same challenges and abject perils as they, I am firmly convinced that we too would respond the identical way they did.  The human body and the human mind have a way of being incredibly adaptive to adversity.  It is fashionable in some circles to take pot shots at Baby Boomers or their children out of some desire to shame us all into acting properly or that we might better appreciate that which has fallen into our lap, but I will refrain from that line here.  We have been incredibly fortunate, certainly, but neither do I think beating us over the head with our privilege is much of a solution.  My hope is that we will retain the memory of what it felt like to not revel in excess and that we will apply those examples to our own lives and to the lives of those who we directly influence.    

If this were truly some pitched battle against all that is sacred and holy against Christmas, then the true enemies would not be a secular society gone wildly astray, having embraced the confusion of political correctness.  Instead, the enemies would be those people and things which fool us into thinking that we are the center of the universe and that there is no need to take into account the lives and struggles of our fellow beings.  As I said before, 364 days out of the year, this city runs on the twin forces of preoccupation and workaholicism, but it has only been now when the roads are still largely impassible, many businesses and places are still unreachable or closed, and public transportation is barely functional that we recognize the folly of our ways.  Still, I imagine a thousand nervous fingers madly punching keys on their Blackberries, expecting a fresh batch of places to go, people to see, and things to do.  

I know personally of many people who believe that bringing their work home with them aids and assists those in need.  Worthy causes exist, of course, and the belief among many is working themselves to death provides help to those who would otherwise not have it.  I know others who have built their entire self-esteem, self-image, and self in their vocation, at the expense of any other facet in their life.  This is tragedy to the extreme.  We lose our humanity when we become robotic and monolithic.  DC needs a snow day like this to re-think its priorities and my hope is that it doesn’t take a series of blizzards, both literal and figurative, to change the conventional wisdom.

Rahm Emanuel: Don’t Worry About the Left

I do remember the Obama who implicitly promised to “turn the page” and fight for Main Street.   Well…

Rahm thumbing his nose

Year of the Rahm: Get ‘Em, Then Gut ‘Em

In a blunt remark to the Wall Street Journal, the White House Chief of Staff tipped his hand on how he planned to get 60 votes in the Senate: bring left-wing Democrats on board early to generate enthusiasm, then turn on them in the end game to woo conservatives.


Champagne Corks are Poppin in the Insurance Lobby Boardrooms!

6 Months Gains in Stock prices — 3 Health Insurance Giants

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6 Months Gains in Stock prices — 3 more Health Insurance Giants

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Notice the recent spike in price, in the last few weeks, when they knew “Santa got their wish list, and was making a special trip, just for them!”

Remnants of War, Just One

There are many for if there is an end it doesn’t come for decades later for those invaded and occupied by others. The innocent are the ones who suffer the most and in greater numbers by the destruction and death from the moment of invasion and decades later with what’s left behind by those who are ordered to invade and then occupy in these Wars of Choice based on lies or for reasons of material worth a small country can add to a power that wants to control.

This is just one of many of the long running destructive remnants of our generations War of Choice, an extremely destructive Weapon of Mass Destruction, Dioxin, Agent Orange and the others used as we occupied a small country Vietnam for over a decade. Destructive not only to the Vietnamese Civilians, then and now, but also to many soldiers who served in country and elsewhere, where it was stored and packaged for shipment to Vietnam and stored at bases to be sprayed over the country at the whim of the commanders of war.

Publishers Clearing House

Search and win!  OK Fine

“deep underground military base disclosure project”

OOhh, another one

“JFK magic bullet theory”

Go ahead make my day, do ya feel lucky punk

Monitor my ass all you want.

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