Gee. How convenient is that? Moreover, the Food and Drug Administration folks have determined that melamine really isn't all that dangerous unless a second, related poison, cyanuric acid, is coincident. That, of course, makes it even less likely that the feds would find a particular batch of infant formula that would trigger a drastic response from regulators.
Science: an excuse for the unthinkable, a tool for the powerful, a dead end for the victimized, and a belief system for the gullible.
In summary, just another religion the Bush Administration figured out how to use rather well.
UPDATE: As if it weren't enough that the FDA has declared the melamine levels found in infant formula are safe, this finding is now being pumped out by China's propaganda news services. Jongo News has extracted the story from USAToday and is reporting the FDA's finding as if the United States Food and Drug Administration has vindicated the Chinese for introducing poison into the food supply. Jongo quotes Stephen Sundlof, director of the FDA's Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition and goes on to intone gravely, "Switching to homemade formula is dangerous and could result in infants not getting the proper nutrition."
An extremist Republican presidency and Communist mercantilist thugs: Who knew it was destined to be a match made in Heaven?
In a personal and wide-ranging interview conducted by his sister about his legacy, his faith and the influence of his father, President George W. Bush said he hopes to be remembered as a liberator of the Iraqi people.
"I'd like to be a president [known] as somebody who liberated 50 million people and helped achieve peace," Bush told his sister, Dorothy Bush Koch, in a conversation recorded for the oral-history organization StoryCorps for the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress. [...]
"I would like to be a person remembered as a person who, first and foremost, did not sell his soul in order to accommodate the political process," Bush said, according to White House excerpts.
"I came to Washington with a set of values, and I'm leaving with the same set of values. And I darn sure wasn't going to sacrifice those values; that I was a president that had to make tough choices and was willing to make them," he said.
Bush is ending his eight-year presidency with historically low public approval ratings, wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and a dire economic crisis.
The president told his sister he is proud of the "tough decisions" he made.
"I surrounded myself with good people," Bush said. "I carefully considered the advice of smart, capable people and made tough decisions." [...]
Bush, who is a born-again Christian, spoke about the role his faith has played in his presidency.
"I've been in the Bible every day since I've been the president, and I have been affected by peoples' prayers a lot. I have found that faith is comforting, faith is strengthening, faith has been important," Bush said.
"I would advise politicians, however, to be careful about faith in the public arena," he said.
"In other words, politicians should not be judgmental people based upon their faith. They should recognize -- as least I have recognized I am a lowly sinner seeking redemption, and therefore have been very careful about saying [accept] my faith or you're bad. In other words, if you don't accept what I believe, you're a bad person. And the greatness of America -- it really is -- is that you can worship or not worship and be equally American. And it doesn't matter how you choose to worship; you're equally American. And it's very important for any President to jealously protect, guard, and strengthen that freedom."
"I have never understood
why anyone would
roast the turkey
and shuck the clams
and crisp the croutons
and shell the peas
and candy the sweets
and compote the cranberries
and bake the pies
and clear the table
and wash the dishes
and fall into bed
when they could sit back
and enjoy a hamburger."
Was just sitting around minding my own bussiness when a call came in, caller ID said it was the NRA.
So I thought what the hell, it's been a boring day and I need some refreshment, so I answered. It was a woman who thankfully did not sound like the Governor of Alaska.
I was immediately notified that under the 2nd amendment my right to bear arms was under attack when i simply cut her off. I told her that I have shot the shit out of stuff for a long time, but now I have no firearms in this house, but I do have access to a 20 and 12 gauge, a .22 rifle and pistol and if I wanted to continue to shoot the shit out of stuff I could.
I really don't get it, what is the fear of some of these sort? My belief is that they are mortified of not being able to perform Columbine massacres due to the lack of a suitable firearm. Around here it is dear and duck season, quail and others. About sunrise and sometimes a bit before it sounds like a battle is going on. Hunting. I have no problem with that, but I do have a problem with asswipes who would stuff a barrel in my face and order me about.
Anyroad it made for an interesting conversation, and I believe that I won on points.
Honestly, every time I think the Bush regime has done as much damage as it's going to, more atrocities are revealed. As a veteran myself, I have taken special interest in how active military and veterans are being treated by the crew without a clue. When I first read the story of soldiers injured in Iraq and Afghanistan being denied benefits because their injuries were determined not to be combat related, I had to hold my head tight to keep it from exploding. Since when is being injured in a land mine explosion or mortars pelting the area you are stationed in, considered not to be combat related? This last March would be the answer. Because everybody knows those kinds of injuries happen at home all the time. Once again the people who have paid the the most are the ones that are getting screwed.
And if that wasn't enough to raise my blood pressure, the GAO has found that Bush loyalists were once again cooking the books to make themselves look better. Competitive outsourcing is a bad policy that has had real world ramifications and demeans the people who have done the job successfully for many years. What's really interesting is that all of the people let go were African American. Color me not surprised.
Good grief! Let the kids have a little fun, they're in kindergarten and this is their introduction to US history. They will grow up soon enough and discover that most o fwhat they have been taught is a lie, why hurry the process? If they can't dress up as Pilgrims and Indians, dressing up as angels and a little drummer boy next month are going to be out of the question.
Did you know that women are allowed to drive in Iran? They can even have their own business as taxi drivers. Now that Iraq has been reduced to a fundamentalist prison, at least it is from a woman's point of view, Iran has more democratic freedoms than other Muslim countries. Imagine that.
More banks are failing and the ranks of the destitute are growing quickly. Destitute is worse than poor. You can be poor and still have a leaky roof over your head, when you are destitute you have nothing. Which is what happens when you lose your job, house and self respect. Food stamps only help if you have a place to store and cook the food and while a family of four making less than $21,000 is considered to be below the poverty level, it's still more money than being unemployed and homeless.
Unfortunately, I know the problem a little too well. Fortunately, my landlord has relented for the moment and has agreed to let us stay until February. Work Comp has made me an offer, albeit a very small one, so mom and I will have a roof over our heads for a few more months and I'm trying to find a regular job. Mom really can't be left alone for very long, she does weird things and doesn't remember doing them and now adult protective services wants her watched at all times, so I would prefer to work from home. Unfortunately all those offers have turned out to be scams. Oh well, tomorrow is another day.
The intent to commit genocide at Washita is hidden in plain view, unless key elements are brought together. These are: that the Cheyenne were placed on land where they would starve while promises to avert starvation were broken; that George Bent observed how Civil War soldiers did not harm white women and children by a "code of honor," while Indian women and children were slaughtered; that Sheridan declared "The only good Indians I ever saw were dead;" and that the War Department did not differentiate between peaceful and warring Indians. Hence, the orders "to kill or hang all warriors." As the consequence, the intent was to kill all men of a specific race.
We’ll begin with Custer prior to the Washita Massacre along with the fact that the Cheyenne were forced onto land wherein they would starve. . .
The economy is going to crash further if Bush doesn't put a sock in it and leave the job to someone with a little more intelligence. If he hadn't been so busy protecting his buddies under the guise of "free trade" and had understood that he was supposed to protect all Americans, the U.S and the world wouldn't be in this mess. And exactly who is this "we" Bush is babbling (after the last meeting he was referred to as "befuddled" and "down-at-the-ears" in an Egyptian newspaper) about? Shouldn't one have to suffer (i.e. not flying around in private jets) or be poor to be included as a victim in the financial crisis?
"Recovering from the financial crisis is going to take time, but we'll recover, and in so doing begin a new era of prosperity," he said.
For whom? Since most of us weren't included in the last "era of prosperity", why would we think the new one is going to be any different?
Congress seems to be suffering a little doom and gloom. Somehow I just can't bring myself to feel sorry for them. Perhaps if they had been doing their jobs all along they wouldn't be in such a panic now that the reality is finally dawning on them that their constituents are in a world of hurt.
It's that day again. Every year fewer people remember. Or care. 45 years ago today I was complaining because I couldn't find any cartoons on television and didn't understand what was so important about somebody being shot and why everybody was crying and saying "no, no, nooo). Whatever it takes, please, please, don't let it happen again in my lifetime. We have no more innocence to lose and tragedy is not a good way to run a country. The reaction to September 11 should have taught us that.
Strike two. While there are a handful of big stars making big bucks, the rank and file falls into the have not category. Maybe if the production companies didn't waste so much money on repetitive advertising and perks for the people on top, they would have enough money to pay the little guy who does the brunt of the work and still keep a reasonable profit. The Dark Knight has made almost half a billion dollars and if it can't show a profit then maybe the production companies are doing something wrong.
Better late than never. This is what happens when legislatures rush to push through a bill without considering the consequences. Not everyone is a good parent and just because you can have a baby doesn't mean that you are emotionally or financially capable of handling the responsibility. Meanwhile, the kids who have been abandoned have to live the rest of their lives knowing that their parents didn't want them.
OMG! Talk about creating a need where one shouldn't exist. Lift and separate those manboobs. Now men can wear bras to go along with all the other women's products that have been co opted in recent years. I'm afraid to see what they will think of next.
Speaking of bras, Nipplegate is on its way to the Supreme Court. It's nice to know that with all the wrongdoing that has occurred over the last eight years that the Supremes are finally going to tackle something important to us as a nation. Boobies!
What do my dogs say about me? I have a purebred black pug and a terrier chihuahua mix. Hmm, I must be slightly demented, have a good sense of humor, love food and like to chase my tail for no good reason. Sounds about right.
Reporting from Sacramento -- State lawmakers began moving toward a deal this week to close California's deficit with the help of steeper car fees that would cost many drivers hundreds of dollars annually, according to people involved in budget talks.
Under the plan, GOP lawmakers -- most of whom have signed anti-tax pledges -- would vote to triple the vehicle license fee that owners pay when they register their cars every year in exchange for a ballot measure that would impose rigid limits on future state spending. Motorists' annual license fees would rise from 0.65% of the value of their vehicles to 2%. For a car or truck valued at $25,000, the increase would be $336.
The higher fees would generate $6 billion annually, helping to fill a budget gap that is projected to reach nearly $28 billion over the next year and a half.
While California apparently has no recourse but to tax the hell out of the citizens in order to fill the gaping budget holes, at least they can be proud of another victory, one which obliterated an opportunity to plug 40% of that budget hole.
The Campaign Against Marijuana Planting, a local and federal task force, closed out the marijuana growing season by announcing that it had destroyed 2,905,232 plants, a slight increase over last year. The street value of the plants is estimated at$11.6 billion. Outdoor crops are usually harvested in California in late September or early October.
Not only that, but the state will incur the expense of herding 143 people arrested in connection with this farming operation through the courts and perhaps, in some cases, the bloated prison system.
Sorry, California. I just lost all sympathy for your economic plight. And yes, I am aware the Feds have your hands tied in that regard, which is why I have little sympathy for the nation's economic turmoil.
Bush Administration Attorney General Michael Mukasey collapsed this evening while speaking at a meeting of the Federalist Society, a Right-wing extremist legal group from which President Bush has drawn the vast majority of his appointments to the federal bench and other influential government positions. A Justice Department official indicated that Mukasey was "shaking" just before he lost consciousness, which might point to some kind of seizure. He did not regain consciousness right away.
Michael Mukasey was appointed to head the Justice Department in the wake of the resignation of his embattled, controversial predecessor, Alberto Gonzales, who had long resisted calls to step down because of his obfuscation and inconsistent testimony before Congress about the political motivations alleged in the firings of U.S. Attorneys.
Mukasey, himself, was not without controversy when he sat on the federal bench. In the wake of the attacks of September 11, 2001, young Arab men were being rounded up around the country, and one of those detainees who appeared before then-Judge Mukasey on October 2, 2001, claimed through his attorneys that he was beaten while in custody. The immigrant, a Jordanian named Osama Awadallah, was wearing a prison jumpsuit and was in shackles in Mukasey's courtroom when his attorneys told this to the judge. Mukasey, with no medical background, no way to see any bruising on the prisoner's body, and no interest in ordering a medical examination, said, "As far as the claim that he was beaten, I will tell you that he looks fine to me."
A later medical exam found that Mr. Awadallah had, indeed, suffered blunt force trauma consistent with having been beaten.
Mukasey, who sent a number of men rounded up after 9/11 to indefinite detention, never apologized for his handling of that case.
Attorney General Mukasey has reportedly been taken to a local area hospital for treatment of the condition that caused his collapse. It is hoped that he will be in the hands of those with medical training when the determination is made as to whether or not he looks fine.
And — and one thing I do take exception to is the idea that somehow we are not attentive to pushing the issue of human rights, whether it’s in Libya or any place else around the world. I don’t think — I would put the record of this administration up against any American administration or any other government around the world in terms of promoting universal human rights and pushing for human rights.
One of the greatest speeches ever written was given after a battle that cost many Americans their lives.
Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.
Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.
But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate -- we can not consecrate -- we can not hallow -- this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us -- that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion -- that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain -- that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom -- and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.
Lincoln was wrong on only one point. The world did note and some of us will always remember what he said. Our job is to make sure that it wasn't in vain.
CNN.com is reporting that President-elect Barack Obama will appoint campaign adviser Eric Holder as U.S. Attorney General. On the surface, Mr. Holder appears to be a bipartisan favorite, serving in the Justice Department first under Democratic President Jimmy Carter, then being appointed to the Superior Court of Washington, D.C. by Republican Ronald Reagan. He left that position to serve at the appointment of Democratic President Bill Clinton as U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia.
Widely held in high regard, Holder is not without his detractors. As Deputy Attorney General under Janet Reno, he was deeply involved in the Elian Gonzales affair, when federal law enforcement officers stormed into the Miami residence of the 8-year-old Cuban immigrant's home and seized him at gunpoint in front of news media cameras, which captured the terrified child still in the arms of an immigrant relative of the family in a custody dispute with Elian's father in Cuba. Federal authorities sided with the father, whose attorney was none other than Greg Craig, whom President-elect Obama has just appointed as White House chief legal counsel. Holder's favorable review of fugitive Democratic contributor Marc Rich for a presidential pardon by departing President Bill Clinton is also considered by some to be a mark against him to the extent that it gives the appearance of a willingness by Mr. Holder to allow old-fashioned political favoritism to supersede the rule of law when it comes to criminals who have benefited the Democratic Party.
Now for the bonus surprise in the gathering assembly that will be President-elect Obama's government: he plans to retain Bush Administration officials in top positions. Mentioned only briefly in the CNN.com story about Eric Holder, but reported more prominently elsewhere, is Mr. Obama's apparent intention to keep Bush appointee Robert Mueller as Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Obama will probably also retain several other top Bush-appointed people, including Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Admiral Michael Mullen. Before the election, Mueller had made it clear that he had no intention of voluntarily stepping down before the end of his 10-year term, which would be completed in 2011. Although Mueller has been praised for refusing to support CIA interrogation methods that are widely considered to constitute torture, a report by his own department's Inspector General harshly criticized the FBI's extraordinarily common use of so-called "National Security Letters," a means by which federal law enforcement authorities can acquire private information about citizens without judicial review and without any means by which the targets of the extra-judicial subpoenas can even find out that they have been subjected to search. The administrative subpoenas have been used to acquire everything from bank records to Internet surfing habits to telephone and cell phone logs, and they have been issued as dragnets to acquire, among other information, the records of usage from Internet service providers of all the ISPs' customers. In 2005, before the FBI Inspector General had revealed the extent of misuse of National Security Letters, Mueller went before Congress requesting that temporary provisions of the Patriot Act be made permanent and that Congress authorize even more extensive authority for the Bureau to conduct invasive searches of Americans.
Notwithstanding Mr. Mueller's declaration that he plans to remain until the end of his 10-year stint as FBI Director, the President-elect has the ability to make it clear that he wants a clean slate of appointees. In most cases, officials of an out-going Administration will resign before being asked to do so, and that is so for some appointees even when a President begins his second term. That Mr. Obama seems entirely disinterested in pressuring Director Mueller to voluntarily step down to make way for new blood to head federal law enforcement speaks loudly to Mueller's own unwillingness to recognize the political nature of his appointment, but it speaks even more so to the difference between Barack Obama's official claim of recognizing Americans' right to privacy and what he will actually do to protect that right.
If Mr. Obama had any genuine dedication to restoring the constitutional right of citizens to be secure in their persons, papers, and property, he would most certainly have no room in his Administration for a chief law enforcement officer who, by the objective, exhaustive assessment of the Bureau's own Inspector General, massively and systematically abused administrative subpoenas. Mueller's oversight of the FBI has demonstrated his willful disdain for imposing a high threshold upon law enforcement personnel and prosecutors who seek to diminish the constitutional safeguard against unwarranted searches, and this disdain has been to the manifest effect of circumventing judicial review to the end of stripping the citizenry of its only, if minimal, realm of protection from an intrusive unitary Executive Branch that deems constitutional rights of the people at odds with, rather than the heart of, that which secures the Republic from its enemies, both foreign and domestic.
Mr. Obama's supporters who have claimed he is the agent of change from an era of brutish Right-wing authoritarians may find themselves increasingly hard-pressed to support their prior insistence that he represents something other than the continuity and continuation of America's descent into an authoritarian state. Barack Obama might very well be widely liked for the rhetoric he speaks, but the troublingly dislikable direction he plans to take this nation is already becoming clear from the people with whom he is choosing to govern.
As the President-elect continues to signal his intention to govern to the Right, the host of this Website will continue to take exception to and umbrage with the emergence of yet another Administration that mistakes election to the presidency for coronation to the throne.
Some gave all, others are forced to do it one drop at a time. As I told anybody who would listen to me and quite a few who didn't, the repercussions of a war very rarely affect the people at the top, it's the troops on the bottom who bear the brunt of the burden.
“You fill out a job application and you can’t write ‘long-range reconnaissance and sniper skills,’ ” said Mr. Spurlock, who searched a year for a better-paying job than delivering pizza, finally finding one as a construction supervisor.
Truer words were never spoken. They always say when you join the military that you will have skills that employers want when you get out. The recruiting commercials make it look like you will be considered an employer's dream. What a crock. When I got out of the Army many years ago it became blindingly obvious that very few of my skills (other than the ability to take orders and I wasn't very good at that) would translate into civilian life. Seriously, how many people have a Lance, TOW, Dragon or Shillelagh missile in their backyard that needs help with the guidance system? The correct answer is none.
It was weekend at the movies. I saw Quantum of Solace on Friday night (not bad, Casino Royale was better) and Bolt on Saturday. Bolt rocked. It might help to be a dog lover but it really isn't necessary. I also saw the new Star Trek trailer and it looks like the movie will be filled with action but it will have a long way to go in order to equal the nonstop action in Quantum.
Give it a rest. The bailout is not working. It hasn't changed the national economy one iota but it has enabled some companies to acquire smaller rivals and to continue the lavish lifestyle of the CEOs who had a big hand in creating this mess. Meanwhile the rest of us schlubs continue to slide deeper into the hole that at this moment has no bottom. I wonder how long it is going to take before the powers that be realize that if the schlubs don't have money to pay their bills they won't have money to buy the overpriced goods on the shelves and more companies will go under. Unfortunately, just like any snowball on its way downhill, the crisis will continue to get bigger and companies will go under faster.
Two weeks after the election approval of Congress is still lower than approval of Bush and what do they do? They continue to make the same mistakes hoping that two years from now we will have forgotten all about their bad behavior. After the electorate (that would be us schlubs) voted Democrats into the majority and how do they repay us? By disregarding everything we want and reinforcing the opinion that once Congress critters are in office they don't care about anything else. Least of all the truth or doing what their constituents want. In what world is it okay to be rewarded for voluntarily playing for the other team in the middle of the playoffs and then not be punished for your actions? And the answer is...our world. Nothing has changed except McCain and Palin didn't have seats when the music stopped playing. And neither do we.
In a presidential campaign marked by bitter and often gratuitous negativity, Barack Obama campaigned on hope, painting the possibility of a better future. Millions across the U.S. and abroad were moved by his message. Even amidst economic crisis and international turmoil, a shared sense of hope lifted and opened people's hearts, seeding their better dreams. And with Obama's decisive win on November 4th, hope erupted into effusive joy. For millions of his supporters, dreams came true. "Yes, we can" morphed into "Yes, we did."
Those highs will fade. Life goes on. Our daily routines - commuting, work, buying groceries, paying bills - eventually flatten such emotional peaks into foggy memories. Sobering us up further, we're told that economic times will get worse before they get better. Millions face or fear joblessness, lost homes, and more.
We need positivity, the complex web of causes and consequences of positive emotions, now more than ever. Not just to sugarcoat bitter news or distract us from gloom. We need positivity because we're different people when we're under its influence.
Pleasant emotions like hope, inspiration, joy, and well-earned pride literally open us. As the blinders of negativity fall away, we take in more of what surrounds us. We see both the forest and the trees. We appreciate the oneness that binds us instead of the barriers that divide us. Even race becomes irrelevant.
But that's not the half of it. Positivity's mental openness fertilizes just the sort of creative and integrative thinking that hard-to-find solutions and compromises are made of. With the throng of problems facing our nation and our new president, we sorely need this expansive thinking. In addition, when we think broadly we discover and build new skills, new alliances, and new resilience - which make us better prepared to handle future adversity. Even mild positive emotions, experienced regularly, set people on discernable trajectories of growth, making them better off next season than they are today.
Science suggests that when we experience genuine, heartfelt positive emotions in a 3-to-1 ratio with negative emotions, we cross a psychological tipping point on the other side of which we function at our very best.
Knowing the importance and promise of positivity is one thing. Being able to cultivate it on demand is another. [...]
Keep in mind that positivity is a feature of moments, not a permanent veneer. If it were permanent, we'd risk becoming hapless fools, unable to tell the difference between a bridge and a bridge to nowhere. What's more, positivity's benefits accrue only when it is genuine. Fake or forced positivity does as much damage as negativity.
Recall the emotions you felt when the news hit the night of November 4th that Obama had roared past the necessary 270 electoral college votes. For millions, that night marked the best they'd felt in years - buoyant, alive, hopeful, brimming with possibilities. Collectively and in unison, we felt something powerful. That's because positive emotions - even in hues far milder than experienced that night - fundamentally change our biochemistry and our worldviews. In time, they can even change who we are - helping us become better versions of ourselves.
A spontaneous dance party in celebration of president elect Barack Obama along Broadway in the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Seattle.
I know that you understand that your leadership has an important spiritual component, and is not just political: that is why you have spoken so consistently of the need to replace fear with hope, and why --during this transition period-- you've focused on the work of reconciliation. You understand the necessity for the spirit of America to be transformed in order to make possible all the other changes, in the political sphere, you will be striving to achieve. People recognize that your victory represents a victory of light over darkness.
That's why the night you won the election, an extraordinary celebratory energy burst forth in this country and, indeed, around the world. In the hearts and minds of many millions of people, your victory went beyond the level of politics. Never before has the election of an American president been greeted with this kind of joy, and that's because never before has a presidential election had such important stakes at the spiritual level.
It is doubtful that you could have risen so fast to the presidency, here in 2008, under ordinary circumstances. It is because of the depth of spiritual darkness of your predecessor's leadership that so many people turned to you --relatively inexperienced politically, but of such palpably exceptional spiritual qualities-- as a means to come back toward the light.
That joyful upsurgence in the hearts of so many millions of people represented a recognition of that spiritual victory, the night you won the election, the release of a spiritual force, long pent up, the recognition that the hope you offer had dispelled the despair and dread brought over our spirits by your predecessor.
I hope you understand how important it can be, for your ultimate success, to tend to that spiritual force. I hope you will regularly blow on the embers of that fire that your victory ignited.
President-elect Obama and Vice President-elect Biden today announced the following key White House staff, Valerie Jarrett, Phil Schiliro and Ron Klain. Valerie Jarrett will serve as Senior Advisor and Assistant to the President for Intergovernmental Relations and Public Liaison, Phil Schiliro as Assistant to the President for Legislative Affairs and Ron Klain to be the Chief of Staff to the Vice President.
Today, President-elect Barack Obama announced the following key White House staff, Pete Rouse, Jim Messina and Mona Sutphen. Pete Rouse will serve as Senior Advisor, and both Mona Sutphen and Jim Messina will serve as Deputy Chief of Staff.
Nov. 14: Lame duck watch: President Bush is showing that he cares about the economic crisis by hosting a G20 summit. And how does he kick it off? He has a fancy dinner! Rachel Maddow digs in with Boston University’s Andrew Bacevich.
The retired Army colonel, a West Point graduate, teaches history and international relations at Boston University. His latest book, "The Limits of Power: The End of American Exceptionalism," explores our nation's current predicament, not just on the world stage, but here at home as well. [snip]
Bacevich speaks truth to power, no matter who's in power, which may be why those of both the left and right are eager to hear his views. Perhaps it's also because when he challenges American myths and illusions, he does so from a genuine patriotism forged in the fire of his experiences as a soldier in Vietnam and the death a year ago of his son, an Army lieutenant in Iraq. "The Limits of Power" is dedicated to the young man, but the senior Bacevich, a man of quiet, solid gravitas, holds his grief privately between himself and his family. [snip]
"The clearest statement of what I value is found in the Preamble to the Constitution. There is nothing in the Preamble to the Constitution which defines the purpose of the United States of America as remaking the world in our image, which I view as a fool's errand. I believe that the framers of the Constitution were primarily concerned with focusing on the way we live here, the way we order our affairs. To try to ensure that as individuals, we can have an opportunity to pursue our, perhaps, differing definitions of freedom, but also so that, as a community, we could live together in some kind of harmony. And that future generations would also be able to share in those same opportunities.... With the current crisis in American foreign policy, unless we do change our ways, the likelihood that our children, our grandchildren, the next generation will enjoy the opportunities that we've had is very slight because we're squandering our power. We are squandering our wealth."
"The Limits of Power: The End of American Exceptionalism"
~ by Andrew Bacevich
President-elect Barack Obama has formally named his friend Valerie Jarrett to be a senior adviser in the White House. Her official title will be "senior advisor and assistant to the President for Inter-government relations and Public Liaison in the Obama White House," according to the Chicago Sun-Times' Lynn Sweet.
Transition co-chair Valerie Jarrett provides a web-exclusive update on recent personnel decisions and the latest steps taken on ethics reform.
Obama-Biden Transition Project Co-Chair Valerie Jarrett took some time on November 13th 2008 to give the viewers of Change.Gov an update on how the transition is progressing and highlighting some of the major moves that have occurred thus far.
The Obama-Biden Transition Team today announced the Agency Review Team leads for the Department of Treasury, Department of State, and Department of Defense. The Obama-Biden Transition Team also announced the Agency Review Team co-chairs, who will oversee the entire review process, as well as the Agency Review Working Group, which will manage and review the Teams' work and coordinate with other transition teams, including those handling personnel, policy and the budget.
The Agency Review Teams will complete a thorough review of key departments, agencies and commissions of the United States government, as well as the White House, to provide the President-elect, Vice President-elect, and key advisors with information needed to make strategic policy, budgetary, and personnel decisions prior to the inauguration. The Teams will begin their efforts by the end of the week, and will ensure that senior appointees have the information necessary to complete the confirmation process, lead their departments, and begin implementing signature policy initiatives immediately after they are sworn in.
The Obama-Biden Transition Team today announced a broad list of Agency Review Team leads that will complete a thorough review of key departments, agencies and commissions of the United States government, as well as the White House, to provide the President-elect, Vice President-elect, and key advisors with information needed to make strategic policy, budgetary, and personnel decisions prior to the inauguration.
The list includes teams that will review the Securities and Exchange Commission, Department of Homeland Security, Department of Justice, Department of Energy, Department of Education, Department of Labor, Department of Health and Human Services, Department of Veterans Affairs, Department of Housing and Urban Development, Department of Commerce, and the Department of Agriculture.
The teams will begin their efforts today, and will ensure that senior appointees have the information necessary to complete the confirmation process, lead their departments, and begin implementing signature policy initiatives immediately after they are sworn in.
In the latest display of an emergent center-right government coming at the nation, President-elect Barack Obama is seriously considering naming his campaign adviser Greg Craig as White House chief counsel. That name might not ring a bell, but Craig, in his previous capacity as an adviser to the Obama campaign, earlier this year did a song-and-dance routine about how the Illinois Senator had supported the revision in 2007 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act because it would otherwise "expire."
In fact, that was an out-and-out lie: FISA was not about to "expire." Obama voted for the abomination that became known as the Protect America Act (in some circles called the Police America Act) either because he was full-on comfortable with its intrusive, privacy rights stripping provisions, or he was a political coward who didn't want to stand up to the Terrorists-Are-Coming howl from the Right-wing authoritarians masquerading as they always do as genuine conservatives. Either way, Greg Craig, the man with the inside track to be Obama's White House lawyer, has already demonstrated that time-honored, quite remarkable ability to look the public straight in the eye while blowing smoke up our butts.
In 2007, when the revision of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act was being debated, Obama initially claimed that he was opposed to it because it granted large telecommunications companies immunity from civil suits arising from their participation in the Bush Administration's conspiracy to spy on Americans; he also claimed that it did not provide adequate oversight of those who would engage in domestic spying. Ultimately, however, he voted for the bill despite the retention of the grant of immunity and despite outside observers' contention that it would not only violate citizens' rights but also risk putting intelligence data into the hands of the very terrorists the law enforcement snoops want to catch.
'Center-right' might end up being a charitable description of the incoming Administration: the Obama campaign's message of hope and change might have sold the merchandise, but now the President-elect has a country to run. What better way to do so than the same way, with the same mentality, that has for the past eight years run it into the ground?
Sitting back to wait and see is sound advice, whether it be for the ultimate direction an incoming President is already indicating or for an on-coming freight train of thugs, mob favorites, neo-cons, and other Right-wingers bearing down the track toward a deer-in-the-headlights citizenry waiting once again for the rein of a President who sells one thing to a gullible electorate and then delivers something considerably different and far more toxic.
For my own part, I shall stay off the tracks and start writing about the up-coming clash of the new Administration's authoritarians with a shell-shocked citizenry that will once again and soon be roadkill on the highway to America's bleak future.
Geez, I knew these guys were dumb when I wrote about them earlier, I just had no idea how dumb. And how dumb might that be? Well, after killing the woman they went to a convenience store and asked the clerk how to get bloodstains out of their clothes.
Sheriff's investigators said they received the initial tip about the killing from a convenience store clerk. Two of the group members went into the store and asked the clerk if he knew how to get bloodstains out of their clothes, Strain said. The clerk told them no, and called the sheriff after they left.
Officials tracked down those two members and arrested them. Authorities established telephone contact with other members of the group who were still at the campsite and let them know law enforcement officials were on their way. They surrendered without incident.
Have you ever heard an acoustic version of Michael Jackson's Billie Jean? Chris Cornell's (Soundgarden) version is...interesting. The lyrics hold up pretty well.
The truth is slowly dawning on some people. Waterboarding is torture and the United States has been torturing people for the last seven years and those who authorized it are criminals that need to be held accountable. Even if you are the current Vice President. Gee, I had no idea that for this administration vice was being used as noun instead of an adjective.
Blue light special on aisle four. Why is everybody so shocked? If billions of dollars were lost in Iraq due to no oversight, why should the 700 billion dollar bailout be any different? You didn't really think that the bailout was to help anybody except the people at the top did you? After seven years of looting the Treasury, why in the world would they stop before the last second?
What do Gretzky, Smith and Montana have in common? Their kids are all playing football at the same high school. A San Fernando Valley high school hasn't been this famous since Spacey, Winningham and Kilmer graduated from Chatsworth High.
Umm, yeah. Americans cut back on spending because the few dollars they made have to cover the important things like food and shelter. A new car? Not so much. But keep on cutting that interest rate in the mistake belief that people will borrow more. Banks don't lend to little people who have service wage jobs, they lend to people who don't need the money. So those same people can invest in foreclosed properties to rent to little people who can't afford to live in the homes they thought they owned. It's the American way.
This presidency is finally over. We can say goodbye to an administration whose misdeeds have piled so high that the size of the mountain no longer shocks us. In our lifetimes, we will see administrations of varying degrees of competence and integrity, some we'll agree with and some we won't. But we will probably never see another quite like the one now finally reaching its end, so mind-boggling a parade of incompetence and malice, dishonesty, and immorality. So at last - at long, long last - we can say goodbye.
And good riddance.
Goodbye and Good Riddance
After eight years of President Bush, we almost don't know how to function without him -- almost. But before we move on, we should pause to remember just what we're leaving behind.
Since last week, I have stopped short and shaken my head in amazement every time I have heard the words "President-elect Obama." But it is equally extraordinary to consider that in just a few weeks, George W. Bush will no longer be our president. Let me repeat that: In just a few weeks, George W. Bush will no longer be our president. So though our long national ordeal isn't quite over, it's never too early to say goodbye.
Goodbye, we can say at last, to the most powerful man in the world being such a ridiculous buffoon, incapable of stringing together two coherent sentences. Goodbye to cringing with dread every time our president steps onto the world stage, sure he'll say or do something to embarrass us all. Goodbye to being represented by a man who embodies everything our enemies want the people of the world to believe about America -- that we are ignorant, cruel, and only care about foreign countries when we decide to stomp on them. Goodbye to his giggle, and his shoulder shake, and his nicknames. Goodbye to a president who talks to us like we're a nation of fourth-graders.
And goodbye, of course, to Dick Cheney. Goodbye to the man whose naked contempt for democracy contorted his face to a permanent sneer, who spent his days in his undisclosed location with his man-sized safe. And while we're at it, goodbye to Cheney's consigliore David Addington, as malevolent a force as has ever left his trail of slime across our federal institutions.
Goodbye, indeed, to the entire band of liars and crooks and thieves who have so sullied the federal government that belongs to us all. We can even say goodbye to those who have already gone, to Rummy and Scooter, to Fredo and Rove, tornados of misery left in their wake.
Goodbye to the rotating cast of butchers manning the White House's legal abattoir, where the Constitution has been sliced and bled and gutted since September 11. Goodbye to the "unitary executive" theory and its claims that the president can do whatever he wants -- even snatch an American citizen off the street and lock him up for life without charge, without legal representation, and without trial. Goodbye to the promiscuous use of "signing statements" (1,100 at last count) to declare that the law is whatever the president says it is, and that he'll enforce only those laws he likes. Goodbye to an executive branch that treats lawfully issued subpoenas like suggestions that can be ignored. Goodbye to thinking of John Ashcroft as the liberal attorney general. Goodbye to the culture of incompetence, where rebuilding a country we destroyed could be turned over to a bunch of clueless 20-somethings with no qualifications save an internship at the Heritage Foundation and an opposition to abortion. Goodbye to the "Brownie, you're doin' a heckuva job" philosophy, where vital agencies are turned over to incompetent boobs to rot and decay. Goodbye to handing out the Medal of Freedom as an award for engineering one of the greatest screw-ups of our time. Goodbye to an administration that welcomed gluttonous war profiteering, that was only too happy to outsource every government function it could to well-connected contractors who would do a worse job for more money.
Goodbye to the Bush Doctrine of preemptive war. Goodbye to the lust for sending off other people's sons and daughters to fight and kill and die just to show your daddy you're a real man. Goodbye to playing dress-up in flight suits, goodbye to strutting and posing and desperate sexual insecurity as a driver of American foreign policy. Goodbye to the neocons, so sinister and deluded they beg us all to become fevered conspiracy theorists. Goodbye to Guantanamo and its kangaroo courts. Goodbye to the use of torture as official U.S. government policy, and goodbye to the immoral ghouls who think you can rename it "enhanced interrogation techniques" and render it any less monstrous.
Goodbye to the accusation that if you disagree with what the president wants to do, you don't "support the troops."
Goodbye to stocking government agencies with people who are opposed to the very missions those agencies are charged with carrying out. Goodbye to putting industry lobbyists in charge of the agencies that are supposed to regulate those very industries. Goodbye to madly giving away public lands to private interests. Goodbye to a Food and Drug Administration that acts like a wholly owned subsidiary of the pharmaceutical industry, except when it acts like a wholly owned subsidiary of the fundamentalist puritans who believe that sex is dirty and birth control will turn girls into sluts. Goodbye to the "global gag rule," which prohibits any entity receiving American funds from even telling women where they can get an abortion if they need it.
Goodbye to vetoing health insurance for poor children but rushing back to Washington to sign a bill to keep alive a woman whose cerebral cortex had liquefied. Goodbye to the ban on federal funding of embryonic stem-cell research.
Goodbye to the philosophy that says that if we give tax cuts to the rich and keep the government from any oversight of the economy, prosperity will eventually trickle down. Goodbye to the thirst for privatizing Social Security and to the belief that the success of a social safety-net program is what makes it a threat and should mark it for destruction. Goodbye to the war on unions and to a National Labor Relations Board devoted to crushing them. Goodbye to the principle of loyalty above all else, that nominates Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court and puts Alberto Gonzales in charge of the Justice Department. And goodbye to that Justice Department, the one where U.S. attorneys keep their jobs only if they are willing to undertake bogus investigations of Democrats timed to hit the papers just before Election Day. Goodbye to a Justice Department where graduates of Pat Robertson's law school roam the halls by the dozens, where "justice" is a joke.
Goodbye to James Dobson and a host of radical clerics picking up the phone and hearing someone in the White House on the other end. Goodbye to the most consequential decisions being made on the basis of one man's "gut," a gut that proved so wrong so often. Goodbye to the contempt for evidence, to the scorn for intellect and book learnin', to the relentless war on science itself as a means of understanding the world.
Lee Atwater. Important figure in the mix of what's brought us -- hell, the whole world -- so much misery.
What we could have been. The wasted time, the lives...
Frontline did a tremendous job last night with Boogie Man, displaying a perspective -- from the Brahman Bush whose boots Atwater happily licked, to Joe Conason's clear focus, to the brittle egos of Southern boys made to feel like trash, to the current Atwater-admiring McPalin advisor -- that tells us how the influence lives on.
Atwater and Rove. Now there's a movie: children of tragedy as they find their way up the ladder and the darkness they brought with them. Growing like a cancer, Young Republicans, Abramoff, Ralph Reed, Grover Norquist, an army of Free Republic bullies. Palin's base.
How to heal this? Because heal we must. They'll keep sidetracking issues by making it personal until we do.
My sentiments exactly. When I saw the article yesterday about Michelle Obama being only interested in getting her kids settled and that she isn't going to have a seat at the decision table, I thought, "wow, she has had to give up everything that made her who she is and settle for picking the drapes." She isn't an extension of her husband, she is a person in her own right. If she had wanted to be a stay at home mom, she would have done it earlier in her career. And as one commenter pointed out, if Hillary had been elected what role would Bill be playing right now? It certainly wouldn't be as the interior decorator, clothes horse or chief babysitter. America is so far behind the times when it comes to gender equality that I doubt we will ever catch up to the rest of the world.
Dumb-dee-dumb dumb. To say they weren't the sharpest knives in the drawer is putting it mildly. I'm sure the KKK would like to disavow all knowledge.
I'm desperately looking for a place I can afford here in San Jose and having no luck at all. 99% of the ads for places under a thousand dollars have been either preforeclosure homes or a variation of this letter.
It is a great pleasure that to you are interested in my Place.Thanks for your email and it is my gladness to hearing you I am a Single Christain Father, With no kid, My Wife, Pass by Last 4 Month (got dead). Due to the Fatal Accident we Had she got Dead, and I got Dislocation on my Legs and Hand, My name is Pastor Rev Benard Glott The Owner of the 2 bedroom home and its located @ 3665 Benton Street, Santa Clara, CA 95051 I am presently in West Africa due to my transfer that makes me leave the house and also want to give it out for rent and looking for a responsible person that can take very good care of it as I am not after the money for the rent but want it to be clean at the time and the person that will rent it to take it as if it were its own. So for now, i am here in west Africa, My new house and put all my worries off concerning the maintenance of the apartment for, since i am not residing there for now.I left behind some Facilities and electonics which include the rent, and a DVD player, air conditioning, alarm system. The kitchen is fully equipped with all necessary cooking utensils, arefrigerator-freezer, four-hob and oven, microwave,dishwasher and washing machine, My Computer Connected with Internet Acess Also the keys to the House are right here with me, and the lease document. Which i can send to you after all necessary agreement has be accepted. Also i will like you to know that the rent charges is not really the issue ,but your absolute maintenance of my apartment is most important thing so will want you to get back to me with the Application form below.
And here is one of the many variations.
We are so much excited. My name is Jeff Garza the owner of the apartment and also want you to know that it was due to my transfer that makes me and my wife and little daughter to leave the apartment and also want to give it out for rent and looking for a responsible person that can take very good care of it while we are not at the state as we are not after the money for the rent but want it to be clean at the time and the person that will rent it to take it as if it were its own. So for now, we are here in West Africa, our new house and put all my worries off concerning the maintenance of the apartment for, since i am not residing there for now. I left behind some Facilities and electonics which include the rent, DVD player, air conditioning, alarm system. The kitchen is fully equipped with all necessary cooking utensils, refrigerator-freezer, four-hob and oven, microwave, dishwasher and washing machine, my computer connected with Internet access also the keys and document of the apartment are right here with us in West Africa, and the lease document. Which i can send to you after all necessary agreement has been accepted. Also i will like you to know that the rent charges is not really the issue, hope you are okay with the price of $699 per month including utilities like water, gas, heat laundry facilities, air condition and so on, but your absolute maintenance of my apartment is most important thing, if you are really interested in renting this apartment get back to me so that i can forward you an application form for you to fill so that i can start all necesary arrangement asap. Here is the apartment address : 347 Massol Ave, Los Gatos, CA 95030, USA ..... Pls note that you will be viewing the apartment from outside and won't be able to inspect because the keys and document to the apartment are with me here in africa and. It is located on a cool, quiet and safe neighbourhood.
I've received about fifteen of these responses so far. Meanwhile, my landlord is taking me to court and that will prevent me from renting anywhere else in the future. I don't have a clue as to what to do. The effects of moving on mom will be bad enough, moving her to another state would be disastrous besides being fiscally impossible Her doctor doesn't think she should go into a care facility yet and adult protective services told me not to move her until we have a solid place to stay. For the first time in my life I am having anxiety attacks and they are as far from fun as you can get. I know that I'm hyperventilating and that lack of oxygen is what causes my vision to go dark, but it is really hard to get my breathing to slow down when my heart is beating abnormally fast. All I can say is that this situation sucks and I need help.
Oh yeah, and now my internet connection is slower than dial up (ten minutes to load a page, the signal keeps dropping) and I can't get anything done. I can hardly wait for the next shoe to drop.
Update: The manager came over and made me an offer to extend the time until February 15th, as long as I can come up with a $1000 in three days. I'm thinking of selling my car, but then I wouldn't be able to get to work at all the places I have to be since the bus service isn't all that great. And certainly not within the time frame that my job requires. But I'll do it in order to stay here for a few more months and keep a roof over mom's head. They say that when one door closes another opens. Unfortunately I think I'm stuck in a real world variation of Cube.
"The size and age of the Cosmos are beyond ordinary human understanding. Lost somewhere between immensity and eternity is our tiny planetary home. In a cosmic perspective, most human concerns seem insignificant, even petty. And yet our species is young and curious and brave and shows much promise. In the last few millennia we have made the most astonishing and unexpected discoveries about the Cosmos and our place within it, explorations that are exhilarating to consider. They remind us that humans have evolved to wonder, that understanding is a joy, that knowledge is prerequisite to survival. I believe our future depends on how well we know this Cosmos in which we float like a mote of dust in the morning sky."
"Education on the value of free speech and the other freedoms reserved by the Bill of Rights, about what happens when you don't have them, and about how to exercise and protect them, should be an essential prerequisite for being an American citizen — or indeed a citizen of any nation, the more so to the degree that such rights remain unprotected. If we can't think for ourselves, if we're unwilling to question authority, then we're just putty in the hands of those in power. But if the citizens are educated and form their own opinions, then those in power work for us. In every country, we should be teaching our children the scientific method and the reasons for a Bill of Rights. With it comes a certain decency, humility and community spirit. In the demon-haunted world that we inhabit by virtue of being human, this may be all that stands between us and the enveloping darkness."
~ The Demon Haunted World
Chapter 25, "Real Patriots Ask Questions"
Perhaps the police and the District Attorney's office should spend more time and effort on capturing thieves, rapists and murderers instead of potheads, prostitutes and protesters. Wasting time and dwindling resources to prosecute victimless crimes trivializes the justice system and lets criminals of greater crimes remain at large because they have better legal representation. Sentencing a person to jail for three to five years for possession of pot while allowing white collar criminals who bilked millions out of their savings to go free is stupid at best and criminal at worst. Prisons are so overcrowded that rapists and murderers are allowed to go free so there can be room for people convicted of possession is a miscarriage of justice and shows a disturbing sense of priorities. One is not soft on crime if a pot smoker is left alone, one is soft on crime when a rapist is allowed to go free so you can incarcerate the pot smoker.
Hung out with the BARBarians on Thursday night for a post victory celebration and several thoughts struck me. First of all, very few people showed up. I guess everyone thinks their job is done. It isn't. Obama deserves the same scrutiny that we gave Bush, otherwise we are the hypocrites that we accused the hardly ever right of being.
Second, Generik was surprised that I wasn't as emotionally affected by Obama's win and I never got a chance to tell him why. Yes I'm black, but I'm also a woman and I can honestly say that being female has held me back more often than my skin color. If Obama had been a woman, I would still be walking around with a smile and my head held high. As it is, I don't see that things are going to change much under an Obama administration since he has very few women in his inner circle and doesn't seem inclined to step out of his comfort zone. Unfortunately this is typical of many black men. Women are rarely seen as equals and society will continue to reflect that unless Obama makes the same effort that Bill Clinton did to put women into decision making roles in his cabinet. Hopefully I'm wrong but past experience has shown that politics at the top is a major boy's club.
It's rained a little bit and the weather is chilly (for California), so tonight's dinner is going to be Chicken and Dumplings with carrots, onions, rutabaga and turnip. I can hardly wait. And since I just typed that, the sun has decided to make a brief appearance and play peekaboo with the clouds. Not changing my mind, my taste buds are all set for the dumplings and gravy. Yum!
One thing we're all seeing up close and personal is just how dirty things get when religion gets mixed with politics.
It was true in California with Prop 8 and it is true in the passage of a proposition in Arkansas banning unmarried couples from adopting children or being foster parents. And gee, who are the vast majority of the unmarried couples?
A New York Times article today cites antipathy toward Obama as a major reason the amendment passed by such a majority, despite the fact that 55% of those polled were against it.
The measure, which voters overwhelmingly approved Tuesday and which prevents unmarried cohabitating couples from adopting or fostering children, won strong support from conservatives, exit polls found. The ban affects all unmarried couples but was written with the intent of preventing gay couples from raising children in Arkansas.
Unlike most states, Arkansas shifted to the right politically in this election. Senator John McCain won the state by 20 points compared with President Bush’s nine-point victory in 2004.
How in the bloody hell can a state have antipathy at such a critical moment in our history? I guess the voters were just preoccupied with other matters of importance. Whatever.
I certainly don't think Jesus would approve of the tactics nor the misuse of the church for political purposes.
A survey in October by the University of Arkansas found 55 percent of voters in the state opposed to the ban. But conservatives ratcheted up their lobbying before the election, distributing 350,000 inserts for church bulletins, and the measure passed with nearly 57 percent of the vote.
How very.. um... Taliban. And how very sad for the children.
Arkansas has three times as many children who need homes as people willing to adopt or foster them, said Brett Kincaid, campaign director for Arkansas Families First, a coalition of groups opposing the ban.
Religion and politics don't mix. When they do, somebody is gonna get fucked without any lovin' as my grandma used to say. I'm paraphrasing just a bit. Better to leave the children without homes than to have them living with the dirty godless faggots.
President-elect Barack Obama has named Congressman Rahm Emanuel as his chief of staff. Mr. Emanuel represents the 5th District in Illinois. He has a reputation for playing hard-ball politics that some might describe as vicious and over-the-top, with rumors that he tore up campaign donation checks that weren't large enough, sent a dead fish to a political opponent (and also to a pollster), and repeatedly stabbed a steak knife into a table while saying the word "Dead!" to describe Democrats with whom he disagreed. In 2005, Barack Obama, himself, even joked about Emanuel being dragged before a grand jury, noting the coincidence that he and Robert Novak, who reported the name of a CIA operative at the behest of Bush Administration officials, share the same lawyer. What might have triggered Obama's reference to Emanuel being called to testify was the long-standing ties Emanuel has had to the infamous Chicago Democratic machine led by Mayor Richard Daley and to a figure in Chicago politics, Donald Tomczak, who was convicted of corruption in office.
Rahm Emanuel is the son of Dr. Benjamin Emanuel, a pediatrician who was a member of the Zionist terrorist gang called Irgun, which carried out acts of violence in Palestine between 1931 and 1948. Among other terrorist acts, Irgun was responsible for the bombing of the King David hotel in Jerusalem on July 22, 1946, where British diplomats and their families were staying. Ninety-one people were killed. To this day, the Israelis celebrate this act of unconscionable horror, crafting a wholly self-serving reconstruction of the event to exonerate the Irgun of responsibility for mass murder. Rahm has never condemned his father's terrorist past and, in fact, remains close to his dad. Upon being asked if his son would promote Israeli interests as Obama's chief of staff, Benjamin said, "Obviously he will influence the president to be pro-Israel. Why wouldn't he be? What is he, an Arab? He's not going to clean the floors of the White House," thereby leaving the impression that, at least to the elder Emanuel, Rahm can be either a janitor for Barack Obama or a Zionist for Israel. William Daroff, director of the Washington office of the United Jewish Communities (UJC), an umbrella organization representing 155 Jewish Federations and 400 independent Jewish communities across North America, said of the new White House chief of staff, "Rep. Emanuel is... a good friend of Israel, coming from good Irgun stock..."
President-elect Obama promised during his campaign for the presidency to be a consensus-builder; upon winning the election, he said during his victory speech on the night of November 4, "I will listen to you, especially when we disagree." These words appear to ring hollow now that he has put between him and those who would address him a gatekeeper like Rahm Emanuel, who has no tolerance for disagreement and who has crafted a well-earned reputation for intolerance with troubling tendencies for violent expression of his desire to get his own way. Indeed, Rahm Emanuel has proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that he is "from good Irgun stock."
While Barack Obama might have posed throughout his campaign as a prospective leader with a wide embrace of differing views, his first major appointment has rendered evidence of a far less expansive presidency that he plans to conduct. In essence, Mr. Obama has now stepped in front of a mirror where all can see the reflection of his true nature as an insular man with no plans to build any consensus that does not meet his own desires and the agenda of the man who will serve as his chief of staff.
While Mr. Obama's die-hard supporters may find nothing deeply troubling and broadly indicative in his appointment of Rahm Emanuel, other Americans may come to find out, once again, that a leader who would choose a thug for his close ally is a President who has no intention of governing by consensus, much less by the rule of law.
Normally I don't look forward to being in a church, but tomorrow i get to be in one with my x-rabbit and her younger sister. I'm really looking forward to it.
I remain skeptical and secular, but am open to options.
I love my family, and regardless of the situation they are still my family. Maybe I am more closed than I thought. I go to bed with the Woof with a light heart, tomorrow should be a decent day.
I thank all of you here.
Got up early, showered and brushed up, even dressed in a suit sans tie, put the Woof on the leash to take him to the backyard and noticed that my little truck was listing to the starboard. Front right tire flatter than a damned pancake. I'm beginning to believe there is a devil, but the bastard better not show itself to me, I will cleave it's fucking head with my steel shafted nine-iron.
On a Sunday here, try to get a tire repaired. Might as well wait for Monday. I have a doughnut spare, just why the fuck you place a "space saver" spare into a pickup truck only makes me want to kick the shit out of any auto sales type, the cheap shits.
Now I have to call the rabbit and apologize, not looking forward to that.
Last night I had the unfortunate experience of listening to someone claim that the reason the car makers are having financial difficulties is because they have been forced to go green and make hybrids for the last few years and that this is the reason that the whole economy is failing. I did what any normal, rational person would do. I picked up my drink and walked out. You can't reason with stupidity and now that the election is over I really can't be bothered.
I said I wasn't going to vote for Obama but the California GOP pissed me off so badly that I went ahead and cast my vote for him. It seems they were so desperate to throw mud that they filed a lawsuit about his using campaign money to visit his sick grandmother. That wasn't quite as stupid as those who felt that he had his grandmother killed for the sympathy vote, but it was up there in the stupid zone.
Meanwhile over at Open Salon another one of the intellectually impaired wrote a post blaming liberals for causing a future nuclear terrorist attack by voting for Obama. It is utterly fascinating how the mistakes of the last eight years are being blamed on someone who isn't in office yet. Typical Republican behavior. Blame everyone except themselves.
One of the things I've noticed since blogs have become so popular is that a good proportion of people do not know how to spell. Not just typos, they happen to everyone, but words that have been in the news on a daily basis such as Barack. It isn't spelled Barak unless you are talking about Ehud. The word is initiative, not innitiave. And for Pete's sake, the word is Republican, not Repug. Shai Shai gets offended every time it is used.
In regards to the First Puppy, I recommend a pug. The cuteness factor is enormous and they are the comedians of the dog world. No matter how bad the day gets they can bring a smile to your face and they are tenacious enough to entertain you until you do.
It seems that Italy's Prime Minister Berlusconi has offended some people by calling Obama "tanned". Being biracial myself, I am not the least offended by the remark. For most of my life I have been telling people that my skin color doesn't bother me since it is the shade that all those blonds waste time in tanning beds risking skin cancer to acquire. Not every observation about skin color is racist. Now it's time to break another color barrier, as soon as we find an albino willing to run for office.
Employers cut payrolls by 240,000 in October, much more severely than expected, while September registered the biggest monthly loss in jobs in nearly seven years, according to a government report on Friday that showed labor markets were sharply deteriorating. REUTERS/Graphics:
The unemployment rate shot to a 14-1/2 year high last month as employers slashed jobs by an unexpectedly steep 240,000, suggesting President-elect Barack Obama will face a deep recession when he takes office.
The Labor Department said on Friday the jobless rate rose a steep four-tenths of a percent to 6.5 percent in October, the highest since March 1994, and that job losses in September and August were deeper than previously thought.
So far this year 1.2 million U.S. jobs have been lost, with 651,000 in the past three months alone as the slide in the national labor market picked up in intensity.
"We have entered the phase of serious recession conditions. Unfortunately we will encounter more of this," said Richard DeKaser, chief economist for National City Corp in Cleveland.
Goldman Sachs economist Jan Hatzius said the data implied the U.S. economy was sinking into a deep recession in which the jobless rate could climb to 8.5 percent by the end of 2009.
. . . . .
About 284,000 jobs were shed in September, the most since November 2001, shortly after the September 11 attacks on the United States, and 127,000 were lost in August. In all, 179,000 more jobs were cut in August and September than previously thought.
Michael Feroli, an economist with JPMorgan Chase, said the surprising weakness in August and September suggests the economy headed into recession even before the worst of the credit crisis hit.
"Whereas it had been thought the financial crisis pushed a teetering economy over the edge, it now looks like that crisis kicked an economy that was already down," Feroli said.
Fear about job security has led U.S. consumers to cut spending, and that has reverberated around the globe, with China and other low-cost goods producers feeling the impact of slacker American demand.
. . . . .
The National Association of Realtors said pending sales of existing U.S. homes dropped 4.6 percent in September because of tighter credit and worsening economic conditions.
The jobs report showed the construction industry shed 49,000 jobs last month, the 16th straight monthly loss.
It also showed a whopping 90,000 manufacturing jobs were cut in October -- reflecting in part 27,000 striking workers at Boeing Co and marking the 28th consecutive month in which factory employment has fallen.
Earlier this year, job losses had been concentrated on the goods-producing side of the economy. But the latest data showed the pain spreading further into the vast services sector.
Service industries cut 108,000 jobs last month, on top of 201,000 lost in September.
Jobs lost in 2008: 1.2 million
Payrolls shrink by 240,000 in October, 10th straight month of cuts.
Unemployment soars to 6.5%
"There is so much bad in this report that it is hard to find any silver lining," said Morgan Keegan analyst Kevin Giddis.
. . . . .
With 1,179,000 cuts, the economy has lost more than a million jobs in a year for the first time since 2001 - the last time the economy was in a recession. With most economic indicators signaling even more difficult times ahead, job losses will likely deepen and continue through at least the first half of 2009.
"It's pretty clear that we're in a recession," said Robert Brusca, economist at FAO Economics. "There is reason for us to believe we'll see a drumbeat of heavy job losses for a while, and there's room for them to get even worse."
Brusca noted that separate readings on the manufacturing and auto industries indicated economic conditions are the worst in about 30 years.
"We may be in a severe recession, in which case these job numbers are not even big yet," he said, suggesting monthly job loss totals could grow in excess of 300,000 an unemployment could rise to around 7%.
. . . . .
"Job loss has a big impact on the economy," Brusca said. "When people have no income, they spend less, businesses make less money, and they cut more jobs."
In another sign of weakness, a growing number of workers were unable to find jobs with the amount of hours they want to work. Those working part-time jobs - because they couldn't find full-time work, or their hours had been cut back due to slack conditions - jumped by 645,000 people to 6.7 million, the highest since July 1993.
The so-called under-employment rate, which counts those part-time workers, as well as those without jobs who have become discouraged and stopped looking for work, rose to 11.8% from from 11%, matching the all-time high for that measure since calculations for it began in January 1994.
Temporary employment, including workers employed by temp agencies, fell by 50,800 jobs last month. That could mean even more full-time payroll reductions to come, as employers often cut temporary workers before they begin cutting permanent staff.
The nation's unemployment rate bolted to a 14-year high of 6.5 percent in October as another 240,000 jobs were cut, far worse than economists expected and stark proof the economy is deteriorating at an alarmingly rapid pace.
The new snapshot, released Friday by the Labor Department, showed the crucial jobs market quickly eroding. The jobless rate zoomed to 6.5 percent in October from 6.1 percent in September, matching the rate in March 1994.
Unemployment has now surpassed the high seen after the last recession in 2001. The jobless rate peaked at 6.3 percent in June 2003.
October's decline marked the 10th straight month of payroll reductions, and government revisions showed that job losses in August and September turned out to be much deeper. Employers cut 127,000 positions in August, compared with 73,000 previously reported. A whopping 284,000 jobs were axed in September, compared with the 159,000 jobs first reported.
So far this year, a staggering 1.2 million jobs have disappeared. Over half of the decrease occurred in the past three months alone.
. . . . .
"The U.S. recession is deepening," said Michael Gregory, economist at BMO Capital Markets Economics. The final quarter of this year is getting off to a "particularly ugly" start, he said.
Job losses were widespread, reflecting the mounting carnage from a trio of crises — housing, credit and financial.
Factories cut 90,000 jobs, the most since July 2003. Construction companies got rid of 49,000 jobs with heavy losses in home building. Retailers cut payrolls by 38,000. Professional and business services reduced employment by 45,000. Financial activities cut 24,000 jobs, with heavy losses in mortgage banking and at securities firms. Leisure and hospitality axed 16,000 positions.
All those losses more than swamped some gains elsewhere, including in the government, as well as in education and health care.
. . . . .
All the economy's woes — a housing collapse, mounting foreclosures, hard-to-get credit and financial market upheaval — will confront Obama when he assumes office early next year. And, the employment situation is likely to get worse.
Many expect the jobless rate to climb to 8 percent, possibly higher, next year. In the 1980-1982 recession, the unemployment rate rose as high as 10.8 percent before inching down.
. . . . .
White House press secretary Dana Perino appeared to suggest that additional action may not be needed.
"Today's employment numbers are a stark reminder of how critical it is we keep focused on utilizing the tools we now have to return our country to the strong job creation we had in recent years," Perino said. "We know what the main problems are tight credit and housing markets and we have the tools to solve them."
. . . . .
As U.S. consumers watch jobs disappear, they'll probably retrench even further, spelling more trouble for the sinking economy.
That's why analysts predict the economy is still shrinking in the current October-December quarter and will contract further in the first quarter of next year. All that more than fulfills a classic definition of a recession: two straight quarters of contracting economic activity.
Just last month, Dana ("clueless twit") Perino, confirming that the Bush Administration would oppose extending unemployment benefits, said: “We want people to be able to return to the workplace as soon as possible.”
She concluded by saying that “the best way to help” the economy and unemployed people is for unemployed people to simply “get back to work.”
Ford, GM set to announce billions in losses Friday
“If there is anyone out there who doubts that America is a place where anything is possible, who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time, who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer,” Obama declared.
“Young and old, rich and poor, Democrat and Republican, black, white, Hispanic, Asian, Native American, gay, straight, disabled and not disabled, Americans have sent a message to the world that we have never been just a collection of red states and blue states,” he said. “We have been and always will be the United States of America.
“It’s been a long time coming, but tonight, because of what we did on this day, in this election, at this defining moment, change has come to America,” he said to a long roar.
They did it. They really did it. So often crudely caricatured by others, the American people yesterday stood in the eye of history and made an emphatic choice for change for themselves and the world. Though bombarded by a blizzard of last-minute negative advertising that should shame the Republican party, American voters held their nerve and elected Barack Obama as their new president to succeed George Bush. Elected him, what is more, by a clearer majority than one of those bitter narrow margins that marked the last two elections.
. . . . .
This marks the end of the conservative ascendancy of the past 30 years. Whether it now marks a new, sustained era of American liberalism of the sort which followed the election of 1932 must remain to be seen. What is not open to doubt is that Mr Obama's win is a milestone in America's racial and cultural evolution. It is 45 years since Martin Luther King, in the greatest of all late-20th century American speeches looked forward to the day when his children would not be judged by the colour of their skin but by the content of their character. Almost unbelievably, that dream has now become a reality in the shape of America's first African-American leader and its first black first family. It is a day many thought they would never see. It is hard to know whether to weep or shout for joy now that it has arrived - probably both - but it is a lesson to the world.
Mr Obama will take office in January amid massive unrealisable expectations and facing a daunting list of problems - the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the broken healthcare system, the spiralling federal budget and America's profligate energy regime all prominent among them. Eclipsing them all, as Mr Obama has made clear in recent days, is the challenge of rebuilding the economy and the banking system. These, though, are issues for another day. Today is for celebration, for happiness and for reflected human glory. Savour those words: President Barack Obama, America's hope and, in no small way, ours too.
Just an open thread to allow any who would like to take a deep breath or get their feet back on the floor to make some noise.
I'm still in a bit of a haze and the reality hasn't set in just yet, not that this has cured us of all the ills we face, but I do believe it's a fair start. Instead of having mooseburger today I might just have some fried chicken, with taters and slaw. And enjoy it with mixed company.
It's been a long fight, and it ain't over yet, we have a long row to hoe. But at least now there is a reason for some hope.
Thanks to all here who spent so much effort to create change. With hat in hand I salute you.
Country music's got mamas and daddys
We got bar rooms and old heartbreak songs
But I'm here today to stand up and say
How I feel about my home sweet home
What's left, what's right and what's wrong
And I'm takin' my country back
Son, you ain't been doin' her right
Oh, I been watchin' you and I don't like
How you've been treatin' my Stars and Stripes
You took our jobs and sent 'em overseas
Now we owe billions to the Red Chinese
You blew the budget and you botched Iraq
So I'm takin' my country back
We had a bundle in the treasury drawer
More than there had ever been before
But everyday we're drownin' deeper in debt
Maybe four years should be all you get
Then you gave tax breaks to the millionaires
And you tried to make the workin' man pay
But you can't tax a man when his job's not there
Now look at where we are today
Hey, I'm takin' my country back
Son, you ain't been doin' her right
Oh, I been watchin' you and I don't like
How you've been treatin' my Stars and Stripes
You got too many fancy friends for me
The Saudis treat you like you're royalty
You blew the budget and you botched Iraq
Now I'm takin' my country back
Now I can understand why you were hot
'Cause bin Laden never did get caught
So you said we had Saddam to blame
Tried to tell us it was all the same
But now the years roll by and our kids keep dyin'
You don't even have a plan to bring 'em home
And those WMDs you promised on TV
Hey, admit it, you figured it wrong
So I'm takin' my country back
Now you don't know my name,
But you know who I am
I'm your everyday work hard, play hard
Raise kids and pray hard common man
And Lord knows I love this land
That's why I'm takin' my country back
Son, you ain't been doin' her right
Oh, I been watchin' you and I don't like
How you've been treatin' my Stars and Stripes
You say "unite" but you divide us more
Cussin' each other on the Senate floor
Ain't we supposed to be above all that?
Hey, I'm takin' my country back
I got my family and my church and flag
Now I'm takin' my country back
What I want is any man or woman who can build a consensus and form a functioning government. It matters not what the race, sex, color or creed may be. Just that the one, maybe that one, can be the one that builds the team that works against the enormous challenges that it is confronted with.
With that I will have a decent nights sleep. Thanks to whatever spirit or molecules are out there for that.
This of course assumes you are not on dial-up. If you are, then just hunt and peck, most of you are easily sharp enough to keep up tonight, and for all of the most wonderful people here and at several other sites, may you have a great evening.
Me and the Woof are thinking about popcorn, peanut butter and crackers for later. Oops, forgot about the milk-duds, when the box is empty it makes a great kazoo.
Got up this morning, brushed my hair and beard into a semblance of order, took a long cool drink out of the toilet, placed the Woof in the backyard and left to perform my civic duty.
First i went to a gas station that also specializes in breakfast biscuits, got two bacon, egg and cheese jobs. Then I proceeded to City Hall where around here we vote, pay our water bills, and sometimes gripe with our esteemed Mayor/Barber, who is more qualified to be POTUS than any hockey anything from anywhere.
Being about 8:30AM I thought I would beat the crowd. I was wrong.
There was quite a crowd at City Hall, a fair line to the touch-screen evil doo-dads that register something or other. I was wearing one of my favorite "evil GOP bastards" tees that has a Orwellian bent toward the shrub and it's minions and was actually complemented on it by an election official.
While in line I studied a sample ballot and wrote the F/A (for/against) for the propositions on my left hand. The candidates did not require any study, my mind had been made up on that for some time. It took about an hour to wade through the line and get to a machine.
Then in about 30 seconds I was finished, confirmed and registered, at least I hope.
Then went back to my little truck, drove home and shared breakfast biscuits with the Woof.
This will be an interesting day, come hell or high water.
I did my dirty deed, have you done yours? And if not why?
UPDATE 1:24:00 a.m. EST 4 November, 2008: In lieu of any detailed medical report, Sarah Palin's campaign has now released a physician's letter dated November 3, 2008, stating that, "Governor Palin is in excellent health and has no known health problems that would interfere with her ability to carry out the duties and obligation of Vice President of the United States of America." In what might be considered circumspect language, the physician, Dr. Cathy Baldwin-Johnson, includes a paragraph of commentary about the GOP vice presidential candidate's last pregnancy, noting, "At the time of her most recent pregnancy, Governor Palin had no health risk factors other than her age"; the paragraph goes onand out of its wayto address certain aspects of that 'last' pregnancy and health of the baby, which would seem to be entirely unrelated to the physical health of Ms. Palin. Why Palin waited this long to provide medical information about herself is a question still unanswered, as is the matter now of why a summary letter from a physician has been issued rather than a full and detailed report that would support the physician's claims and representations via scrutiny by independent sources.
◊ ◊ ◊
After having promised to finally release her medical records last week, GOP vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin has still not released them and very likely will not before the election. McCain, Obama, and Biden have all released theirs.
Palin's decision to keep her medical records from public scrutiny is possibly a first in modern memory for a candidate for President or Vice President and is certain to raise serious questions about why someone who appears to be in excellent shape would not allow voters the opportunity to know about her health history. The secrecy is sure to rekindle rumors that had circulated regarding her most recent pregnancy that no one else knew about until her seventh month, at the same time her unmarried daughter was not attending high school because of what was claimed to be a virulent case of mononucleosis that lasted far longer than for most teens.
Should Gov. Palin choose to stay in the national spotlight, as she seems to have vowed, even if the Republican ticket is defeated in the general election, she might find it increasingly difficult to shield her medical records from public scrutiny, regardless of what is in those records that she considers too confidentialor perhaps too inconsistent with her claimsto reveal.
Well, it's alright, riding around in the breeze
Well, it's alright, if you live the life you please
Well, it's alright, doing the best you can
Well, it's alright, as long as you lend a hand
You can sit around and wait for the phone to ring
Waiting for someone to tell you everything
Sit around and wonder what tomorrow will bring
Maybe a diamond ring
Well, it's alright, even if they say you're wrong
Well, it's alright, sometimes you gotta be strong
Well, it's alright, as long as you got somewhere to lay
Well, it's alright, every day is judgement day
Maybe somewhere down the road a ways
You'll think of me, and wonder where I am these days
Maybe somewhere down the road when somebody plays
Well, it's alright, even when push comes to shove
Well, it's alright, if you got someone to love
Well, it's alright, everything'll work out fine
Well, it's alright, we're going to the end of the line
Don't have to be ashamed of the car I drive
I'm just glad to be here, happy to be alive
It don't matter if you're by my side
Well, it's alright, even if you're old and grey
Well, it's alright, you still got something to say
Well, it's alright, remember to live and let live
Well, it's alright, the best you can do is forgive
Well, its alright, riding around in the breeze
Well, its alright, if you live the life you please
Well, its alright, even if the sun don't shine
Well, its alright, we're going to the end of the line
Vice President Richard "He of the Ninth Level" Cheney has endorsed John McCain for President. In his endorsement speech, Mr. Cheney also offered glowing praise of GOP vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin.
For his part, Sen. McCain has shown uncharacteristic rudeness in not publicly thanking Vice President Cheney.
For her part, Gov. Palin has not revealed imminent plans to leave her husband, Todd, and elope with Mr. Cheney to Wyoming.
It seems that Democratic candidate Barack Obama is now taking political revenge on reporters whose newspapers have endorsed John McCain by denying them seats on the Obama plane during these last critical days running up to the election on Tuesday. His people claim it's just a matter of too many reporters and too few seats; so, while he's keeping "reporters" from Jet and Ebony magazines (where there are no day-to-day reporter filing deadlines), he's dismissed reporters from the daily newspapers Washington Times, Dallas Morning News, and the New York Post.
It is worth pointing out, by the way, that newspaper reporters have nothing whatsoever to do with editorial board endorsements of candidates. It is also worth pointing out that this behavior by the Obama camp is consistent with my own experiences on several occasions when I attempted to interact with Mr. Obama and his staff: the tendency to demean and obstruct anyone they do not deem useful and important to their goals was palpable.
So much for Obama bringing a "new culture" to Washington, D.C. This is the same nasty reward-and-punishment routine George W. Bush and his neo-con crew were famous for using to docilize the mainstream media and turn it into a virtual propaganda outlet for Bush Administration policies, positions, and actions. It was wrong then, and it is wrong now.
More to the point, though, it was telling then, and it is every bit as telling now.
The CNN political wire for Saturday, November 1, 2008, has an article about a Republican rally in Florida at which the GOP candidate for Vice President, Sarah Palin, spoke. The focus of the story was on the absence of any mention of Republican presidential candidate John McCain: no signs handed out at the rally showed his name, and Palin, herself, did not talk about him. The event was about and for Sarah Palin. Signs distributed by organizers read, "Country First," and others blared, "Florida is Palin Country," but not one official sign had the name "John McCain" anywhere on it. Without extensive comment, the article was sent to me by a long-time correspondent who goes by the handle "OddJob." Undoubtedly, he grasps the significance of this story to the larger issue of the future of the Republican Party in the aftermath of what will undoubtedly be a historic rout on November 4.
At least for the time being, Barack Obama has taken command of the American political center, as well as a notable collection of relatively centrist conservatives, and he has done this from his natural base among big-city liberals, rising as he did to power in the upstate of Illinois, which is to say that he was largely cultivated for national office by the legendary Chicago Democratic machine. Even though he has masterfully brought moderate conservatives to his camp in the course of his campaign for the presidency, they would be unlikely to continue supporting him for very long but for the consolidation of the Republican Party to the Right and, more ominously and importantly, to the extreme Right, that latter group being the people Sarah Palin is becoming more and more comfortable courting. Although she, herself, might or might not be as much of an extremist as the more vociferous of the attendees at her rallies, she has a native ability to entice them and to draw them to identify with her. As bad as she is when put on the spot by interviewers, she is every bit as good when sheby her words, her expressions, and her very voiceis in control of the narrative before a boisterous crowd. It is in those open, crowded, noisy venues that the enticement she hands out like candy from a basket teeters in a precarious but oddly stable balance on the precipice of incitement. She need not call the crowd to fury in order to make the constituents furious; she need not exhort the crowd to bitterness to make her supporters bitter; and, in the end, she would never have to remind her supporters of their growing rage to enrage them. Those people waving "Sarah Palin" signs know this campaign has turned remarkably bad for them: a man they do not want to be President will, in fact, be elected, and that means everything about him, from his color to his politics, is justifiably magnified, demonized, and then hated.
Whether by intent or otherwise, those in McCain's camp who championed his selection of Palin were bidding to transform Republicanism from a political party into a movement, a crucial step in the kind of resurgence from the fringe that European neo-fascists are now enjoying. Fortunately, at least for a while, the car "accident" that claimed the life of Austria's extreme-Right politician Joerg Haider will blunt the political spear point the European movement needed to become pervasive and compelling; as it stands now, Europe's extremists will have to content themselves with the slower, somewhat more accommodative path to re-establishing pan-European political dominance through elected power. (It will probably help if Europe's next aspirant to the leadership of continental neo-fascism does not get unceremoniously outed for a gay relationship with a young protégé.)
With respect to the United States and its political future, I have made my case, notably in “The 21st Century, Epilogue,” that America will inevitably descend into an authoritarian state as this century proceeds. That grim, unavoidable future can be a controlled descent from what now constitutes the “Center” and the “Left,” but there is every possibility that from the ashes of defeat the Republicans will suffer in the election rout three days from now will emerge a bitter fringe group looking for a leader, a cause, and some semblance of a coherent theme, if not a cogent (albeit illogical) philosophy: those are the ingredients for a movement to form. The circumstances that would foster the political articulation of that movement are, most unfortunately, almost inevitable. The economic catastrophe caused by the past nearly eight years of recklessly irresponsible taxation, spending, and monetary policies have placed the country on a collision course with nearly ruinous pain, and the Democrats, led by Barack Obama, will not have the courage (nor, quite possibly, the know-how) to stop the freight train of economic recession before it leads to appalling, debilitating inflation. This will herald the resurgence of the Right and its financially muscular extremists as a political force, exactly as it has at previous times in other parts of the world, most notably, South and Central America.
The leader of the Resurgent Right could very well be Sarah Palin. The cause will be the revitalization of the United States. The theme will be overt nativism tinged by racism, with openly religious overtones and the likely support of elements within our own military as well as interests in other countries that will have become entirely weary of the persistent American drain upon global physical and, most crucially, financial resources.
Fortunately for America, Sarah Palin’s time has not come.
Legendary oral historian, author and radio personality Studs Terkel has died at his home in Chicago. He was 96.
Terkel's health had been declining for some time and he was very frail; his son, Dan Terkel, said his condition worsened on Oct. 30, and he died "quickly and peacefully" just before 3 p.m. on Oct. 31.
For nearly half a century, Terkel crisscrossed the country interviewing people from all walks of life about war, their jobs and a variety of other subjects. His conversations with the prominent and the uncelebrated became books that chronicled much of the history of the 20th century.
Terkel often said that America suffers from what he described as a sort of national Alzheimer's disease. So he wrote books such as Working, Hard Times and his Pulitzer Prize winner, The Good War — oral histories of labor, the Great Depression and World War II, respectively — to help jog the nation's memory.
RAY SUAREZ: The book is "Hope Dies Last: Keeping the Faith in Troubled Times." The author is Studs Terkel. He's written 11 books of oral history, allowing ordinary Americans from all walks of life to tell their own stories through him. This latest book looks at how people survive difficult times in situations, and hold onto hopes...
STUDS TERKEL: The connective thread is simply they are people brave, who are active, who are citizens in an open society called the United States of America. In short, they are activists, which is why we were born to begin with.
"Hope Dies Last," the title I got from an old Mexican farm worker. She helped Caesar Chavez organize the farm workers. Her name was Jesse Delacruz. She was retired at the time from Fresno, California, and she said to me once, "When times are troubled and we're bewildering, we have a saying in Spanish: Esparanza muera al ultimo, 'hope dies last.'" And in a sense, these people represent that idea.
These people are those to whom I pay tribute, activists they're called. And they've done stuff over and beyond their call of duty, which is something to be born, to live, to die. They're more than that. They want to have a meaning in the world. And as a result of their hope, the rest of us are imbued with a little hope. And they're a prophetic minority.
. . . . .
But they have something else, that hope, the idea that we are thinking people. See, who was one of the first guys we know to have hope when this country was being born?
It was Thomas Paine, who wrote "Common Sense." And Thomas Paine spoke of a new society, the United States of America where a cat can look at a king, a commoner can tell the king to "bugger off," or a guy can tell the president to "bugger off -- if you're wrong, you're wrong." And that's what this country was about. The nature of dissent being part of the nature of a person's being, if you feel the guy who is your chieftain is wrong. And so Tom Paine was one of the first.
He's the one who was saying-- I'll try and paraphrase something he said in "Common Sense" -- fear was pursued around the world, people were afraid to think, reason was equated with rebellion, until sometime people finally could find themselves, and find themselves and find that they are kindred to the rest of the world. And that was an inhuman idea that the rest of the world is the enemy that was surrounded by axes of evil rather than rather than axis. And so this is what the country was about. We have to change the whole world to raise the world. And that's what these people in our time do. There were the abolitionists back during the slavery days. They took beatings. They were a hopeful people, too.
. . . . .
...I have an epitaph all set for me: "Curiosity did not kill this cat." And basically that's what it is, I'm curious. Do I have diminished hopes to some extent? Yes, I do. My hopes diminish. But I'm quoting an old English journalist friend of mine, Jimmy Cameron, who said, "My hopes have diminished but my curiosity remains." And so my curiosity... my hope, by the way, is not diminished, but at the moment it's taken a whacking or two.
Hope Dies Last: Keeping the Faith in Troubled Times
Hope Dies Last is Studs Terkel's inspiring new oral history of social action in America. An alternative, more personal history of the "American century," Hope Dies Last forms a legacy of the indefatigable spirit that Studs has always embodied, and an inheritance for those who, by taking a stand, are making concrete the dreams of today.
For Terkel, these interviews represent a change that has taken place in the last few years of uncertainty in America. From a doctor who teaches his young students compassion, to the now-retired brigadier general who flew the Enola Gay over Hiroshima, these interviews tell us much about the power of the American dream and the force of individuals who hope for a better world. Terkel's subjects express with grace and warmth their secret hopes and dreams, combining to tell an inspiring story of optimism and persistence that resonates with the eloquence of conviction.