September 18, 2011 archive

Suck on this, Kerouac!

I live about 200 yards (as the crow flies) from the Midnight Ghost, and it never sounds like this, Japhy, Ray, Allen G, King Lear. Fuck off.

I got your nothing swinging.

The Obama Leadership Style

Crossposted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

Obama’s Economic Quagmire: Frank Rich and Adam Moss Talk About What’s Really in Ron Suskind’s Revealing New Book About the White House

By Adam Moss and Frank Rich, The New Yorker

9/17/11 at 4:38 PM

Frank Rich: It’s the most ambitious treatment of this period yet because Suskind integrates the White House story with the Wall Street story, giving them equal weight rather than downsizing one to serve as the backdrop to the other. He is truly after the big picture, not just the petty stuff. He has no agenda of his own that I can detect, he had enormous cooperation from the White House, and he names sources (and avoids blind quotes) far more than the norm for a book of this Woodward genre. And even for someone like me, who’s read most of the overlapping books and reported on some of this myself, there are new revelations and details. A depressing book yes, but savvy and informative. And some of that depression will be temporarily alleviated by the doubtlessly entertaining circular firing squad that is likely to emerge in the next week once Summers, Geithner, Warren, Emanuel, Rubin, Volcker, Orszag, Rouse, Barney Frank (who does not fare well), and perhaps the president get their hands on it.

(T)he buck stops with Obama. There’s a poignant moment of sorts in December 2008 when the North Dakota senator Byron Dorgan implores the president-elect not to go with his economic team. “I don’t understand how you could do this,” he tells him. “You’ve picked the wrong people!” As indeed Obama did, under the tutelage of Robert Rubin, who also tried to finagle a White House guru role for himself, not unlike the perch from which he helped wreak havoc at Citigroup during its subprime orgy. So Suskind’s book often reads like Halberstam’s “Best and the Brightest,” with Summers and Geithner as McNamara and Bundy. But the quagmire isn’t a neo-Vietnam like Afghanistan – it’s the economy, and the casualties are measured in lost jobs. After the stimulus bill passed in February 2009, Suskind writes, “little else happened on the jobs front for a year and a half,” with proposals being “talked to death without resolution.”

What should the White House do? Panic!

By James Carville, CNN Contributor

updated 11:05 AM EST, Sun September 18, 2011

For God’s sake, why are we still looking at the same political and economic advisers that got us into this mess? It’s not working.

Furthermore, it’s not going to work with the same team, the same strategy and the same excuses. I know economic analysts are smart — some work 17-hour days. It’s time to show them the exit. Wake up — show us you are doing something.

Bill Daley struggles to fix Barack Obama’s slump


9/16/11 6:54 PM EDT

The 63-year-old scion of Chicago political royalty was brought in as President Barack Obama’s chief of staff to provide fresh blood, corporate-world experience and adult supervision to a young, free-wheeling White House staff. But critics inside and outside the West Wing are questioning whether he is the tough, competent manager needed to shake up the operation and propel Obama into the 2012 election year.

As a banker and former secretary of commerce, Daley’s ability to soothe relations with Republicans was a major justification for bringing him from Chicago – much to the disgust of many Democrats who wanted Obama to take a more combative approach after the 2010 elections. But Daley’s failure to achieve any negotiating successes has only intensified the chorus of criticism from Democrats that Obama is too willing to compromise.

There’s also a primal scream aspect to the criticism, rooted in deep concerns among many Democrats about 2012, and, perhaps, the desire to find someone other than the man at the top of the ticket to blame.

The irony, of course, is that Daley is doing what his boss wants. He takes his role of gatekeeper seriously, and has restricted the torrent of paper and people into the Oval Office. The decision to downsize and deprioritize Obama’s legislative affairs team was made before Daley ever entered the building on a blueprint from interim chief of staff Pete Rouse.


Shiver Me Dodgers Episode 13 Part 2 Season 1

On This Day In History September 18

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

Find the past “On This Day in History” here.

September 18 is the 261st day of the year (262nd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 104 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1793, George Washington lays the cornerstone to the United States Capitol building, the home of the legislative branch of American government. The building would take nearly a century to complete, as architects came and went, the British set fire to it and it was called into use during the Civil War. Today, the Capitol building, with its famous cast-iron dome and important collection of American art, is part of the Capitol Complex, which includes six Congressional office buildings and three Library of Congress buildings, all developed in the 19th and 20th centuries.

As a young nation, the United States had no permanent capital, and Congress met in eight different cities, including Baltimore, New York and Philadelphia, before 1791. In 1790, Congress passed the Residence Act, which gave President Washington the power to select a permanent home for the federal government. The following year, he chose what would become the District of Columbia from land provided by Maryland. Washington picked three commissioners to oversee the capital city’s development and they in turn chose French engineer Pierre Charles L’Enfant to come up with the design. However, L’Enfant clashed with the commissioners and was fired in 1792. A design competition was then held, with a Scotsman named William Thornton submitting the winning entry for the Capitol building. In September 1793, Washington laid the Capitol’s cornerstone and the lengthy construction process, which would involve a line of project managers and architects, got under way.

Six In The Morning

On Sunday

Tumult of Arab Spring Prompts Worries in Washington


Published: September 17, 2011

WASHINGTON – While the popular uprisings of the Arab Spring created new opportunities for American diplomacy, the tumult has also presented the United States with challenges – and worst-case scenarios – that would have once been almost unimaginable.

What if the Palestinians’ quest for recognition of a state at the United Nations, despite American pleas otherwise, lands Israel in the International Criminal Court, fuels deeper resentment of the United States, or touches off a new convulsion of violence in the West Bank and Gaza?

Sunday’s Headlines:

Special report: Palestinian bid for statehood divides a people

Somalia bans foreign aid workers from rebel areas

TEPCO doles out money to greedy municipalities

No rest for an Egypt revolutionary

In search of Nirvana

“I never paid for sex.”

Evidently untrue.

Berlusconi boasts of sleeping with eight women in one night

Silvio Berlusconi was at the centre of further sordid revelations about his sex life on Saturday after the Italian leader was caught boasting of having sex with eight women in one night.

By Nick Squires, The Telegraph

8:58PM BST 17 Sep 2011

The taped conversations also suggested for the first time that Mr Berlusconi gave money to the women he allegedly slept with, contradicting his repeated insistence that he has never paid for sex.

In revelations which are set to test Italian tolerance to the limit, the conversations also offered the strongest evidence yet that the scandal-prone billionaire used taxpayers’ money and state-owned aircraft to fly alleged prostitutes around Italy.

Last week Mr Berlusconi pushed through parliament a 54 billion euro austerity package which will hit pensions, public services and retirement ages, sparking violent clashes between riot police and demonstrators outside parliament in Rome.

The taped conversations revealed in extraordinary detail how parties involving dozens of young starlets and escort girls were organised for the 74-year-old Italian premier by a middleman, Gianpaolo Tarantini, 36, a convicted cocaine dealer. Mr Tarantini is being investigated for allegedly recruiting young women, and has also been accused of blackmailing the prime minister in exchange for his silence over the alleged prostitution ring.

The latest revelations will increase concerns in Italy over whether Mr Berlusconi can concentrate on rescuing Italy from its acute economic problems at a time when the country risks being sucked into the euro zone crisis.

Mr Berlusconi already faces four trials on charges ranging from bribery, tax fraud and false accounting to paying for sex with Karima El Mahroug, a teenage exotic dancer who prosecutors claim was working as an underage prostitute.

Mr Tarantini is currently in custody for allegedly extorting hundreds of thousands of euros from Mr Berlusconi. The premier says he gave money to Mr Tarantini and his wife, who was also arrested, because he is a generous man who was trying to help a “family in need.”

Brag as he might, Silvio is unlikely to beat the record of Wilt ‘The Stilt’ Chamberlain.


Up with Chris Hayes

As disappointing as some of MSNBC’s recent personnel decisions have been, I’m willing to give Chris Hayes a chance.

He has a new show named Up with Chris Haynes on at 8 – 10 am Saturday and Sunday.  Considering the competition it can hardly fail to be better.  Whether it’s good enough to encourage watching any weekend beltway bootlicking gasbag show is up to you.  Courtesy of digby we have a link to yesterday’s debut and the following sample.

Late Night Karaoke