As a young girl from Anoka, I was shocked at the level of security in Israel. We worked on the kibbutz from 4 am to noon. We were always accompanied by soldiers with machine guns. While we were working, the soldiers were walking around looking for land mines. I really learned a lot in Israel.
Am I the only one who finds that kind of… unsettling?
I’m not a real post. I’m just a placeholder post so that the lovely girl who made this blog can test various templates with content. Someday my usefulness will come to an end, and I will be deleted. Relegated to the void from which there is no return. Alas. I should meditate on the transitory nature of the universe, and then maybe I’ll feel better about just being a test post. And really, I shouldn’t refer to myself as “just” a test post. Test posts serve an important and valuable purpose! Without me, the wickedly intelligent and beautiful blog author wouldn’t have a clear idea of how the finished product will look. I’m useful! Vital, even! But still temporary. Ah, impermanence, the essential truth of all things. Sigh. I’ll stop moping about it now. You don’t care about the test post. Nobody cares about the test post.
It seemed a shame to let it just vanish into the ether with no one to remember it or mourn its passing. So…
That’ll do, test post. That’ll do.
3 commentsJanuary 15th, 2011 at 05:50pmPosted by Eli
One theory of mine is that Mr. Obama — if one assumes that he is a liberal himself — sees less need to hedge his words when speaking to other liberals, in the same way that most of us tend to speak more bluntly to friends and family members than to relative strangers.
Aaaaaahahahahaha!!! Sure, that’s it – he calls us sanctimonious purists and unreasonable whiners because he’s so fond of us! That’s the ticket!
Someone tell me again how the teabaggers are some kind of spontaneous populist uprising that reflects America?
Here’s one reacting to Baron Hill (not exactly a raging liberal as Democrats go) saying that man-made climate change is an indisputable scientific fact:
A rain of boos showered Mr. Hill, including a hearty growl from Norman Dennison, a 50-year-old electrician and founder of the Corydon Tea Party.
“It’s a flat-out lie,” Mr. Dennison said in an interview after the debate, adding that he had based his view on the preaching of Rush Limbaugh and the teaching of Scripture. “I read my Bible,” Mr. Dennison said. “He made this earth for us to utilize.”
Ah yes, Rush Limbaugh the noted climate expert. And other than the great flood, the Bible doesn’t really address climatology a whole lot.
This one is my personal favorite, though:
“This so-called climate science is just ridiculous,” said Kelly Khuri, founder of the Clark County Tea Party Patriots. “I think it’s all cyclical.”
“Carbon regulation, cap and trade, it’s all just a money-control avenue,” Ms. Khuri added. “Some people say I’m extreme, but they said the John Birch Society was extreme, too.”
Umm… yeah. But hey, if you really want to use that as your defense, I am willing to stipulate that the Tea Party movement is no more extreme than the John Birch Society.
But it’s not just me. Let’s go to the polls:
Those who support the Tea Party movement are considerably more dubious about the existence and effects of global warming than the American public at large, according to a New York Times/CBS News Poll conducted this month. The survey found that only 14 percent of Tea Party supporters said that global warming is an environmental problem that is having an effect now, while 49 percent of the rest of the public believes that it is. More than half of Tea Party supporters said that global warming would have no serious effect at any time in the future, while only 15 percent of other Americans share that view, the poll found.
And 8 percent of Tea Party adherents volunteered that they did not believe global warming exists at all, while only 1 percent of other respondents agreed.
Oh yeah, they sure are mainstream all right. As the NYT story points out, they believe what the energy companies that fund their movement want them to believe. On the plus side, at least they’ve read up on what to do when the entire planet is underwater.
In a speech to supporters in Las Vegas on Sunday night, Reid said that when Obama replaced George W. Bush in the White House he found himself in a “hole so deep that he couldn’t see the outside world.
“It was like the Chilean miners, but he, being the man he is, rolled up his sleeves and said ‘I am going to get us out of this hole,’” Reid said at an “Early Vote GOTV” event.
In addition to the fact that the Chilean miners have now been successfully rescued, the problem with this analogy is that the Chilean miners didn’t dig themselves out, they had to depend on someone else doing it for them.
Which is unintentionally revealing, because that is precisely the alibi that Obama has been using for his ineffectiveness: That he is utterly dependent on the all-powerful Congress to get anything done. So if we’re still in a hole, it’s all Ben Nelson’s fault for not digging hard enough, not Obama’s.
Today’s entry comes from Harry Reid’s batnuts opponent, Sharron Angle:
In an interview at a Northeast Washington hotel, she claimed that her critics are using tactics of the late radical community organizer Saul Alinsky to try to discredit her.
“I think it’s right out of Saul Alinsky’s rulebook for radicals, those rules about your opponents,” she said of criticism that her views put her far out of the political mainstream. “Marginalize them. That means push off as far to the side as you can. Isolate them. Make it appear that they’re the only one thinking the way they do. And then demonize them. Make it look like their ideas are way out of the realm of thinking folks.”
Instead, she argued, it is the tea party movement that best represents mainstream America. The country is “nostalgic,” she said, for a return to Reagan Republicanism. “It’s mainstream America that’s finally awakened, and it really doesn’t have anything to do with party so much as the [constitutional] principles,” she said. “There’s an anxiety level, I guess, just among mainstream America that we may not be able to preserve those principles if we don’t get active.”
At the same time, Angle did not hesitate to label President Obama as a socialist, saying the path his administration is on would turn the United States into Western European-style government. “When he moves toward that big centralized government, that [is] what people see as the move toward socialism,” she said.
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.
Goldman Sachs Group Inc., fighting a fraud lawsuit from U.S. regulators who accuse the company of misleading investors, is trying to persuade more Americans to trust the firm with their retirement funds.
The two Republican senators afterward issued a statement promising to “treat the president’s nominee fairly” but warning against “a rush to judgment.” They set down markers for how they expect to debate the nomination once it is made.
“Judges must apply the Constitution and laws even-handedly,” they said. “They should not enter the courtroom with preconceived outcomes in mind, or work to arrive at the preferred result of any president or political party. A Supreme Court justice must not be a rubber stamp or policy arm for any administration.”
HAHAHAHAHAHA!!! They must have their irony gland surgically removed or something.
[Tea Partier] Paul Butterfield, 48, an engineer from Ontario, N.Y., said: “We’ve achieved equal rights for blacks, equal rights for women, equal rights for gays. But creating a welfare state is a step backward.”
We have? That’s so awesome!
Minorities and women may have perhaps attained something close to equal rights… but only on paper, not in the real world. And gays haven’t even come close to paper equality yet, much less the real thing.
All this is good news for Republicans; defeating the Senate’s top Democrat and a key architect of Obamacare would be a huge victory for the GOP.
Oh no. Please don’t take away our Harry Reids. The Democrats would simply fall apart without his powerful and savvy leadership. Please, have mercy, spare us from this terrible fate. O woe, whatever shall we do.
Turner triggered controversy in August when he first floated the transaction tax idea and criticized the size of the U.K. financial sector in an interview in Prospect, a British journal. At a black-tie gathering of financial executives in London on Sept. 22, Turner said banks should move away from products, such as complex derivatives, that don’t benefit society.
“Some financial activities which proliferated over the last 10 years were socially useless, and some parts of the system were swollen beyond their optimal size,” he told the gathering.
Turner’s remarks have been condemned by executives who say it’s ridiculous to introduce a moral dimension to regulation.
“Quite honestly, I am appalled, disgusted, ashamed and hugely embarrassed,” wrote Howard Wheeldon, a senior strategist at BGC Partners LP, in an August note. “How dare he?” Wheeldon now says. “Markets will decide if something is too big or too small. It’s not for an individual, however powerful, to slam and damn nearly 1 million people.”
Yes, how dare anyone suggest that something as petty and schoolmarmish as mere morality should every trump the wisdom of the almighty and all-knowing market which never makes mistakes!
[Harold Ford Jr.] blasted [Gillibrand's] support for the proposed health care overhaul, which is expected to cost New York an extra $1 billion a year, and for opposing the taxpayer bailout of the financial industry.
“It was a mistake,” he said, noting that most Wall Street firms had already paid back the money. “How can you be against ensuring that the lifeblood of your city and of your state survives?”
After Mr. Ford, a five-term Tennessee congressman, arrived in New York, he took a job as a vice chairman at Merrill Lynch (now Bank of America). But he kept a toe in politics, becoming a commentator on Fox and then NBC, which features him several days a week on programs like MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”
Speaking from a conference room at New York University, where he is a teacher, Mr. Ford, 39, expressed enthusiasm about his new hometown, though he described a life quite different than most New Yorkers. On many days, he is driven to an NBC television studio in a chauffeured car. He and his wife, Emily, a 29-year-old fashion executive, live a few blocks from the Lexington Avenue subway line in the Flatiron district. But Mr. Ford said he takes the subway only occasionally in the winter, to avoid the cold when he cannot hail a cab.
Asked whether he had visited all five boroughs, he mentioned taking a helicopter ride across the city with fellow executives, at the invitation of Raymond W. Kelly, New York City’s police commissioner. “The only place I have not spent considerable time is Staten Island,” he said, adding that “I landed there in the helicopter, so I can say yes.”
He has breakfast most mornings at the Regency Hotel on Park Avenue, and he receives regular pedicures. (He described them as treatment for a foot condition.)
Mr. Ford declined to discuss what he is paid by the bank, but publicly available data suggests that he earns at least $1 million a year. Asked what role outsize pay packages played in fueling the financial crisis, Mr. Ford said he objected to capping executive compensation on Wall Street. “I am a capitalist,” he said. “I believe that people take risk, and there are rewards if they do well; they should lose if they don’t.”
Offering a glimpse into a possible campaign strategy, Mr. Ford and his aides said he would run as an insurgent who is uncontrolled by the entrenched political class that he says has rallied around Ms. Gillibrand. His tentative slogan: “Harold Ford: nobody’s man but ours.”
Mr. Ford has officially been a resident of the state only since 2009, and did not vote in November’s mayoral election.
Oh yeah, New Yorkers are just going to loooove this anti-establishment man of the people. He really has that common touch.
“I’m utterly depressed about our current political situation,” Baker said. “The Republicans have been completely overtaken by the far right, and turned into one of the great, lunatic parties in American history. The Democrats are completely feckless. President Obama seems to have all but disappeared. And beyond ideology, many of our elected representatives in both parties seem to have simply been bought off.”
“We’re on the verge of making potentially catastrophic decisions, or continuing our equally catastrophic drift,” Baker said. “The basic element of American optimism — that we can and will adapt to meet any crisis — has been destroyed.”
Rep. Kevin Brady (R-Tex.) just gave a severe tongue-lashing to Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner moments ago in the Joint Economic committee, concluding with a surprising call for Geithner to resign. For a change, Geithner didn’t just sit there and take it.
“Will you step down from your post?” Brady asked, concluding his statement.
Geithner shot back: “It is a great privilege for me to serve this president. I agree with almost nothing you said, almost nothing you said represents a fair and accurate picture of the economy today.” He told Brady, “You gave this president an economy falling off a cliff.”
Geithner then directed his criticism back to the Bush administration, accusing it of “either years of basic neglect of basic public goods in health care, in education…in how we use energy and fixing those problems is the central objective of this administration.”
Brady shot back: “Tell that to the millions of Americans who no longer have jobs because of your decisions.
Geithner would not take the criticism lying down: “They would have had more jobs and more confidence and more employment in this country if we had not let this crisis get to the point it did.” Geithner said the Bush administration should have spent “eight years of paying for our commitments instead of borrowing against them.”
Shorter Geithner: “My incompetence wouldn’t be such a big deal if you guys had been doing your jobs for the last eight years.” Burn!
2 commentsNovember 20th, 2009 at 07:23pmPosted by Eli
Senate Majority Leader Reid Tuesday said Democrats will try to move a climate and energy bill early next year as part of a larger effort to address the economy.
“We’re going to try to do that sometime in the spring,” Reid said about the climate bill.
Some senators are skeptical lawmakers will be ready to tackle another huge issue after finishing health care. “After you do one really, really big, really, really hard thing that makes everybody mad, I don’t think anybody’s excited about doing another really, really big thing that’s really, really hard that makes everybody mad,” Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., said. “Climate fits that category.”
Yes, apparently Congress has an allotment of one Big Difficult Thing per year. That would certainly explain why they were so cautious and incrementalist during the Bush Era, right?
3 commentsNovember 19th, 2009 at 11:36amPosted by Eli
Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) told Fox’s Sean Hannity that she hoped all of his viewers would join her for a press conference outside the Capitol on Thursday and then walk with her “through Cannon, Longworth, Rayburn,” where they would go “up and down through the halls, find members of Congress, look at the whites of their eyes and say, ‘Don’t take away my health care.’”
So let’s see: Bachmann’s genius idea is to bring the town hall crazy right into the halls of Congress. One of the distinguishing features of the town hall crazy was teabaggers conspicuously packing heat. Which makes her usage of the phrase “whites of their eyes” – most commonly associated with “don’t fire until you see the” – more than a little alarming.
I guess I could be reading too much into it – it’s such an innocuous, commonly-used phrase, after all.
The aide who helped turn Rep. Michele Bachmann into a controversial mainstay of cable news has informed colleagues that she’s quitting — just as the firebrand Republican congresswoman prepares for her biggest media moment yet.
Multiple sources have confirmed that Michelle Marston, a veteran Hill aide, is leaving Bachmann’s office.
In an e-mail exchange with POLITICO, Marston declined to say why she’s going.
“I’m just not talking about it, and frankly I don’t think there’s a story here,” Marston wrote….
A conservative Republican House member, speaking on the condition of anonymity, suggested that Bachmann’s views — and her willingness to state them — make it hard for her to keep staff.
“When your captain’s crazy, it’s time to find a new ship,” the lawmaker said.
Matalin said she could not imagine a Cheney firm engaging in lobbying, or being a strictly political shop. She said she thought the idea of Dick Cheney as a political consultant far-fetched. But Mary Cheney, according to Matalin, is politically savvy, has intimately worked on campaigns in the past and would be fully capable of providing political counsel.
Matalin saw the Cheney clientele in a more post-partisan light, saying, “People who would seek the kinds of advice Dick Cheney could provide are not given to ephemeral winds of politics.” She added: “The idea of it is an incredible thing.”
For two years, the Democrats have charged that Republicans are the “party of no,” and that’s grated on many nerves. Republicans have been talking about their proposals so much their faces are nearly blue. They’ve offered ideas to address the challenge of improving health care in America, but because they don’t have the bully pulpit and can’t get a word in edgewise, their ideas get lost.
Ah yes, those poor, poor Republicans, always ignored by the media, completely unable to ever get any coverage or appear on any of the talking head shows.
Special Bonus Quote:
As a good friend from North Carolina used to tell me, “Nobody likes change except a baby.”
That explains why Obama was crushed in a landslide defeat last year. More than anything else, Americans want to maintain the status quo, because it’s TOTALLY AWESOME.
And that is the other great theme of this book: the struggle of a president mostly interested in policy against an opposition party obsessed with regaining power. The Republican efforts to undermine Clinton were rarely substantive and often unscrupulous. The president was impeached not because he committed anything resembling a high crime, but because the effort would cripple him at a moment when he might have gotten something accomplished — his popularity was running at 60 percent or so, the economy was booming. During the Clinton presidency, the Republicans accelerated their slide from a party of responsible conservatives to a party of antigovernment talk-show nihilists. Leaders like Bob Dole were intimidated by bomb-throwers like Newt Gingrich.
I wonder what it will take to bring the GOP back to reality, for it to take some scant interest in governing rather than simply pursuing power for the sake of power. If anything, they seem to be infecting Democrats with the same disease.
Now that the national Republican party is solely the province of meathead politicians and radio maniacs, there are “sensible” conservatives who are alarmed by what they see. It should be agreed upon in our politics that these people drift into the wilderness for a while and muse upon where their movement has led them. But the first thing they all should do is apologize to the nation for choosing to take a course 45 years ago in opposition to the transcendant moral issue of America. They prospered through bigotry, and then through a deft ability to package it, and they made the ensuing four decades immeasurably crueler as a result. There’s not enough sackcloth in the world for these clowns.
The Republicans have been so busy trying to paint President Obama as a socialist, as a radical, as a Marxist, as a Muslim, as the Devil, that they haven’t even noticed that he has become one of them.
Alas, sad but true. As Galloway says, Obama still talks a good game, but he’s not even trying to back it up. He’s playing the same words-and-perception-are-more-important-than-reality game that his predecessor did.
It never ceases to amaze me, the things Michael Steele will admit to…
“These days branding is more of a marketing term,” said Steele. “It’s about persuading the public that we Republicans really believe in limited government, lower taxes, individual liberty and personal responsibility, regardless of our actual behavior in office.”
“In the real world,” said Steele, “It’s much more practical to hire consultants to craft new talking points, logos, slogans and advertising than it is to try to get a bunch of rogue Republican incumbents to actually stand together for our values, and walk the talk.”
Shorter Steele: “We suck, and it’s much easier to lie about it than to actually stop sucking.”
“We need fiscal sanity in government,” Huckabee writes. “Congress is truly spending like John Edwards in a beauty shop (sorry I couldn’t resist.)”
Hahaha! Edwards is a great big sissy!
I thought Huckabee was supposed to be branding himself as one of the few Republicans who’s actually a decent, likable guy who can appeal to people outside the mean-spirited conservative base. And yet here he is, trying to be Ann Coulter Lite, taking shots at a guy who’s pretty much completely irrelevant now. Stay classy, Huck!
Having devoted his life to the common dick practice of redefining words to mean something different and more convenient, Yoo, during the course of one business day, redefined “acceptable behavior for a civilized nation” to “pretty much anything up to the reenactment of an Eli Roth movie.”