Archive for September, 2010

Still More B&W Boston Photoblogging

More random Boston photos.

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September 9th, 2010 at 11:30am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Photoblogging

A Crisis Is A Terrible Thing To Waste

Matt Bai has a depressing column in today’s NYT about how Obama had a golden opportunity to put a landslide victory, 70% approval rating, and a once-in-a-lifetime financial crisis to good use and completely squandered it:

That was a moment, perhaps, when Mr. Obama might have given one of his trademark orations to an anxious public, an opportunity to lay out the different dimensions of the economic crisis in a way that had eluded his predecessors. You could have imagined Mr. Obama explaining then that the country had to respond in two related but distinct ways — first by spending hundreds of billions of dollars in the short term to avoid a depression, and then by making a series of large-scale investments over time that would modernize the foundation of the economy.

What happened, instead, was this: The administration turned control of the roughly $800 billion stimulus package over to Congress. Congress decided that the most expedient thing to do was to throw every kind of expenditure one could think of, short-term and long-term, into a single bill, because the public was willing to spend the money right then and the legislative politics required addressing the demands of disparate constituencies.

Sounds a lot like Obama’s approach to healthcare reform, but without the behind-the-scenes sabotage.  But more than anything it sounds like Dubya’s approach to capturing Osama bin Laden at Tora Bora, and look how well that turned out.

September 8th, 2010 at 07:57pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Economy,Obama

Boston Aquarium Photoblogging

I just realized that I want to hoard most of my New England Aquarium shots for my Friday Quote & _____ Blogging, but I did take some pictures of the aquarium’s creepy/cool whale skeleton…

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September 8th, 2010 at 11:26am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Photoblogging

Nice To Hear, But…

Officially, Obama is now taking the correct stance on the expiring Bush tax cuts:

President Obama on Wednesday will make clear that he opposes any compromise that would extend the Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthy beyond this year, officials said, adding a populist twist to an election-season economic package that is otherwise designed to entice support from big businesses and their Republican allies.

Mr. Obama’s opposition to allowing the high-end tax cuts to remain in place for even another year or two would be the signal many Congressional Democrats have been awaiting as they prepare for a showdown with Republicans on the issue and ends speculation that the White House might be open to an extension. Democrats say only the president can rally wavering lawmakers who, amid the party’s weakened poll numbers, feel increasingly vulnerable to Republican attacks if they let the top rates lapse at the end of this year as scheduled.

It is not clear that Mr. Obama can prevail given his own diminished popularity, the tepid economic recovery and the divisions within his party. But by proposing to extend the rates for the 98 percent of households with income below $250,000 for couples and $200,000 for individuals — and insisting that federal income tax rates in 2011 go back to their pre-2001 levels for income above those cutoffs — he intends to cast the issue as a choice between supporting the middle class or giving breaks to the wealthy.

So yeah, good for him… but he said he strongly supported the public option too, and look how that turned out.

I think the question really is going to be whether he has the guts to veto a bill that extends all the Bush tax cuts if that’s what Congress gives him.  It’s awfully hard for me to imagine him winning a game of chicken with the GOP.

I would point out, by the way, that Obama never promised to veto the healthcare bill if it didn’t include a public option, and he hasn’t promised to veto the tax cut extension bill if it does include the over-$200,000 brackets.  I’ve got a bad feeling about this…

September 8th, 2010 at 09:24am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Obama,Politics,Taxes

More B&W Boston Photoblogging

Up next: The New England Aquarium.  That’s actually the exterior in the second photo.

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September 7th, 2010 at 11:30am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Photoblogging

Monday Media Blogging

You haven’t lived until you’ve seen Mr. B rap about cricket in an upper-crust British accent…


September 6th, 2010 at 04:39pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Monday Media Blogging

B&W Boston Photoblogging

Yep, I was in Boston.  Go figure.

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September 6th, 2010 at 09:51am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Photoblogging

Friday Quote & Pug Blogging

This week’s quote is from the Denise Richards-Kirsten Dunst beauty pageant comedy Drop Dead Gorgeous, which was actually surprisingly funny… for about a half hour or so:

Mom says never eat anything that carries its own house around with it – you never know the last time they cleaned it.

And, of course, there’ll be other people’s wee pugs…


September 3rd, 2010 at 06:14pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Friday Quote & Cat Blogging

BP = Blackmailing Polluters

Nice, real nice:

BP is warning Congress that if lawmakers pass legislation that bars the company from getting new offshore drilling permits, it may not have the money to pay for all the damages caused by its oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

The company says a ban would also imperil the ambitious Gulf Coast restoration efforts that officials want the company to voluntarily support.

“Gee, we’d really love to keep helping out, but…”

September 3rd, 2010 at 11:35am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Energy,Environment,Wankers

Obama’s Republican Presidency Continues

It’s getting harder and harder, if not impossible, to think of Obama as a Democrat.  His administration openly despises progressives, unions, gays, and immigrants; his economic team is a bunch of pro-corporate Wall Street/University Of Chicago hacks; he created a commission built to gut Social Security and stubbornly stands by co-chair Alan Simpson as he spews blatantly anti-Social Security lies and insults; and now this:

With just two months until the November elections, the White House is seriously weighing a package of business tax breaks – potentially worth hundreds of billions of dollars – to spur hiring and combat Republican charges that Democratic tax policies hurt small businesses, according to people with knowledge of the deliberations.

Among the options under consideration are a temporary payroll-tax holiday and a permanent extension of the now-expired research-and-development tax credit, which rewards companies that conduct research into new technologies within the United States.

God forbid we should have a stimulus that actually puts money directly into the hands of people who will spend it (because they’re unemployed slackers who don’t deserve it!); no, Obama wants to adopt the Republican approach of handing out tax cuts and hoping for the best.

Tell me why we voted for this guy again?

1 comment September 3rd, 2010 at 07:05am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Corruption/Cronyism,Economy,Obama,Politics,Taxes,Unemployment,Wankers

Random B&W Pittsburgh Photoblogging

Up next: Boston!

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September 2nd, 2010 at 11:36am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Photoblogging,Pittsburgh

Quote Of The Day

From Politico’s story about the GOP’s reform plans if (when) they retake control of the House:

They make clear that they plan not only to change the top-down management style of Speaker Nancy Pelosi but also to pare back the excesses and power plays that occurred during the 12 years of Republican control under Newt Gingrich, Dennis Hastert and Tom DeLay.


Right.  “We’ve learned our lesson, we promise we won’t be dicks anymore.”  That sounds totally plausible, on account of the Republicans are so much more moderate and reasonable now.

This is totally going to suck for Obama and the Democrats, but, well, they’ve kind of earned it.  Unfortunately it’s going to suck for the rest of us too, and we didn’t.

September 2nd, 2010 at 07:14am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Elections,Politics,Quotes,Republicans,Wankers

Wednesday Why-I-Love-The-Weekly-World-News Blogging

This week in history, 219 BC:

Experimental surgery on a fire-breathing dragon was a roaring success – doctors successfully made it so the beast misted cool water instead of blowing burning fire.

Demand for the dragon went through the roof for wedding receptions, large parties and outdoor events.

Experts carried out the project during the Qin Dynasty in China in an attempt to propel them to higher power and more prominence.

Shi Ro Chen, the operating surgeon, was given full credit for the amazing reversal.

“We have taken a terrible, terrible beast and turned him into a kind creature who breathes nothing but goodness,” he said.  “He will always be remembered, and with such, so will we.”

Yet another example of just how technologically advanced China was compared to the rest of the world.

September 1st, 2010 at 08:28pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Weekly World News

Arena Construction Nocturnal Photoblogging

Fun with night photography.  Man, those ducts really look cool in the dark.

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September 1st, 2010 at 11:37am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Photoblogging,Pittsburgh


What more appropriate publication to write about Sarah Palin than Vanity Fair?  Michael Joseph Gross has a long but amazing profile of Herself in the latest issue.  Adjectives that come to mind include: thin-skinned, vindictive, secretive, manipulative, callous, angry, selfish, greedy, and phony.  There’s also some interesting nuggets about her nasty sockpuppety supporters and use of suspiciously ephemeral shell PACs to launder her speaking fees.

And then there’s this:

There’s a general consensus in town that, at least since the start of the 2008 campaign, Todd has been shouldering the bulk of the parenting and that Sarah’s relationship with her children has grown more distant. The children did not, as Sarah has claimed, have a chance to weigh in on her decision to run for vice president. She did not even deliver the news to them personally; as has been reported, she asked McCain’s campaign manager, Steve Schmidt, to do it for her. Todd reportedly told Sarah that, if the children spent too much time on the campaign trail, they would pay a price: grades would tumble and discipline would fall apart. When she agreed to serve as McCain’s running mate, one of her children was already failing in school, according to campaign aides. But Sarah, these aides say, seemed comforted by having the children around, and she seemed lonely when they were gone. An aide overheard conversations between Sarah and Todd in which Sarah tried to make a self-serving argument sound selfless, holding that the campaign was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, one that she could not deny the children. “I don’t care what it costs,” she said. “I want them here.” Although the couple hired a nanny to help the children with their homework, little homework got done.

On the road, aides say, Sarah spared the rod. When one child refused to sign autographs unless she was provided with pink or purple Sharpies that had been custom-printed with her name, the staff tried to argue that black Sharpies—the only kind they had—would do just fine. But Sarah ordered them to do what the child said, and personalized pink and purple markers were produced. Another time, when one daughter wanted to have her hair and makeup done by Palin’s campaign stylists (the children’s grooming was not part of their job), Palin’s initial response seemed like an old-fashioned lesson in manners. According to an aide, Palin told the daughter that, since she was seeking a favor from the stylists, she should ask them nicely herself and see what they said. When the stylists apologetically told the girl they didn’t have time that day, Palin, incensed, sent the child back to give them a message: “Tell them they don’t have a choice. They have to do it.” And so they did.  Despite railing at the press for invading her family’s privacy, Palin showed little ambivalence during the campaign about making some aspects of the childrens’ private lives public to serve her interests. Soon after her nomination, she brought up with McCain aides the subject of Bristol’s out-of-wedlock pregnancy by Levi Johnston: “Would it be good for the campaign if they got married before the election?” she asked, and went on to wonder whether one weekend or another would be more advantageous for media coverage.


September 1st, 2010 at 07:45am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Corruption/Cronyism,Media,Palin,Politics,Republicans,Wankers

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