Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year

I'm not sure I'm going to make it to midnight. If you're off to a party, be safe. Don't drink and drive. If you're home and safe already, a virtual toast to you all. While you're waiting here's a great flamenco piece with a gorgeous video of Barcelona.



Shamelessly stolen from skippy's place. Congrats to the skippy crew for their
latest award nomination(s)
.

And if you make it to midnight, Auld Lang Syne. Hope you end this year and start the new one with peace of mind and hope for better days to come.
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People are talking

Half of Blogtopia has assembled at Jon Swift's place where he's posted the Best Blog Posts of 2008 as chosen by the bloggers themselves. Hours of fun reading at that post. You may want to bookmark it to fill your time while you're waiting for tomorrow's football games.

I don't feel like talking about the latest GOP hatefest, a/k/a their little Christmas joke about the Barack the Magic Negro song, but Hart has plenty to say about it. He thinks it presents an opportunity to take Rush Limbaugh down for good. I wish I believed that. I think the only way to do Rush in is with a wooden stake through the heart and as everyone knows, I'm against violence.

Thers has a "joie de fuck you" feeling about the ongoing Blagojevich antics. I have to agree. As always, the smart comments are as good as the blog post over there.

My buddy GTL also takes the practical approach on this story with his usual blend of common sense and snark.

I'm told 75% of us can't wait for Bush to get out of town, but blogenfreude is going to miss him. So Bush has that going for him.

On the American Street, Kevin comes up the most compelling reason to prosecute the Bush regime's war criminals. Heretik illustrates that point and Duggan clears his desk of a few old drawings.

And it's been way too long since I've checked in with Annie, from whom I stole the song in my head meme, since she doesn't seem to use it much anymore. She has a bunch of great pix and links. Just scroll.

[More posts daily at The Detroit News.]

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Graphic content

A few quick links that have been accumulating in the hold file.

Watertiger is vacationing in Middle Earth. The Shire is, as expected, quite lovely. As is Eriador. And even Mordor had improved greatly since they destroyed Barad-dur. It appears she may be presently be in Rohan.

Meanwhile, if you're a fan of other people's family photos, and I really am, take a peek at Jeffraham's kid pix. He was such a cutie.

Tom Tomorrow says goodbye to W as only he can. The last two panels alone are worth the click.

And this is pretty old, but I missed it so maybe you did too. With the GOP trying to rebrand themselves, they're going to need a new logo. Here's a few good suggestions.

Finally, the debate over gay marriage is largely conducted on theorectical ground. I wonder how many people who are so vehemently against it, have known any gay couples. I suspect they haven't. In any event, I found this amazing gallery to be the most compelling argument I've ever seen for it. Please don't divorce us.

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Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The book larnin' president

I couldn't bring myself to read Rove's column announcing Bush is really a closet braniac because he's such a prodigious reader but I choked down Richard Cohen's column to find out what he read. Hundreds of books they claim. It's probably true. It's not like he spent a lot of time socializing.

All I can say is I don't find the mere fact that he had an ongoing contest with Karl over who could read the most books all that compelling a case for Bush's intellect. I might best sum up my reaction by saying, you can lead a man to a book, but you can't make him absorb the content, or take any lessons from it.

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There are places I remember

It all started out innocently enough. I remembered I hadn't clicked over to see the fabulous drawing done by Ina's prodigal daughter so I thought I would stop by quickly before I started posting this morning to check it out. When I left a comment, on a whim, I checked the profile of another commenter I didn't recognize. I'm always looking for new Happy Valley bloggers who post pictures of my old hometown.

Blogger has this new feature called followed blogs. I don't use it myself, but this person had the longest list I've ever seen and I couldn't resist clicking on Pink Tentacle, where I found a ten best posts roundup. They were all great links. The Styrofoam dome houses was my favorite. I could happily live in a two pod version of one of those I think.

Thus inspired, I started clicking on more of her blog list. I found gorgeous vintage illustrations and a really nice mixed media collage blog that makes me want to start doing arty things again.

I found a hysterical Christmas animation at the top of this blog and he sent me to 100 cereal box covers. Boy did that bring back memories of the sugar rush mornings of my youth.

I got lost for a couple of hours before I finally made it to secret notebook-wild pages which was my original destination. My favorite find. She lives in the hilltowns where I spent ten years on the farm before I moved to lovely downtown Noho. I know these places she photographs. I've walked in those woods. And she takes trips to downtown. Rare good tonic for when I get homesick for the Valley. This is why I love Blogtopia.

[Title inspired by this song]

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Monday, December 29, 2008

Bush apologists grasp at straws

I'm almost amused by the disconnect. Yet another Bush apologist posits that our clueless current occupier of the White House will be remembered more kindly by historians because he "kept us safe." Their evidence? We haven't been attacked by terrorists on US soil since 9/11.

But by the same logic, we could say Bush presided over the greatest, most damaging, successful terrorist attack on US soil in the history of our nation. An attack that was successful only because he failed to heed clear warnings. Not to mention presiding over the greatest failure of emergency response ever, namely Katrina, whose victims are still displaced. I wonder how safe they feel? [Longer version of how Bush failed here at DetNews.]

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Media practices wilful negligence

The major news networks are effectively closing down their Baghdad bureaus. Nevermind that there are still some 130,000 US troops in Iraq, they say they can't afford the manpower. Of course they can't. They sent all their reporters to stalk Obama in Hawaii.
Joseph Angotti, a former vice president of NBC News, said he could not recall any other time when all three major broadcast networks lacked correspondents in an active war zone that involved United States forces. Except, of course, in Afghanistan, where about 30,000 Americans are stationed, and where until recently no American television network, broadcast or cable, maintained a full-time bureau.
Not that they were doing much coverage anyway. "The three network evening newscasts devoted 423 minutes to Iraq this year as of Dec. 19." I'd love to see a comparison to how many minutes they gave such issues of import as flag pins, 'terrorist' fist bumps and William Ayers who you know, almost killed somebody forty years ago.

And I suspect a fair percentage of those 423 minutes were devoted to the Iraqi shoethrower, a made for tabloid coverage event. Fun visuals on that one and I enjoyed every minute of it as much as the next guy, but the daily carnage that still goes on there every single day is never, or at best barely, covered. As Angotti put it, "stories that require knowledge of Iraq, like the political struggles that are going on" don't get any play. Apparently real news is so boring people won't watch it and the networks don't want to pay for analysis when tabloid coverage will do.

I guess it's much easier to dutifully parrot GOP talking points about how the 'surge worked' even as most of the costs of mantaining an Iraq presence went "for the security teams that protect each bureau and travel with reporters. Iraq remains the deadliest country in the world for journalists."

The worst part is, if they had been reporting the truth instead of the Pentagon press releases from the beginning, they wouldn't be worrying about an Iraq bureau. Americans would have demanded an end to the occupation and a lot of good soldiers, journalists and thousands of Iraqi citizens would still be alive today. Not to mention, we would have hundreds of billions of tax dollars still in the Treasury instead of the pockets of corrupt private contractors.

[More posts daily at The Detroit News.]

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The banality of major media

Ben Smith remarks on the banality of pool coverage of Obama's vacation.
Just got my fifth pool report of the day, from the Trib's John McCormick , who reports that Obama is at a friend's house, and that reporters could glimpse "a couple jet skiis moving about in the water" and "a group of people watching from shore."

Aside from the devotion to exercise, Obama's seems like a pretty ordinary vacation. Random trips to water parks, old friends, and relatives; no apparent celebrities.
Newsrooms are cutting journalists who might cover real news from the payroll in record numbers all over the country. Yet they have a pool of reporters chasing after the President's elect motorcade and spying on him from behind bushes for a glimpse of him on the beach.

On some level that's a tribute to Obama's accessibility. Rather than hiding on a thousand acre ranch behind locked gates, he spends his down time in pubic places -- with the regular people. But as a practical matter for the media, this hardly seems to warrant the expense of sending who knows how many pool reporters to cover the banal details of an ordinary vacation.

Surely one pool reporter could do the job of many, if even that was necessary. We have hundreds of freelance paparazzi who make a living chasing celebrities. They could hire one of those or in the alternate, simply have Obama's team release a daily press release with a photo and a description of their day. It might free up the 'journos' who are lolling around the beach to, I don't know, maybe stalk the CEOs of the companies who are spending our bailout tax dollars. Or maybe they could trail Dick Cheney. It would be good to know what he's up to at any given moment. That would be much more interesting than breathless reports about water parks and idle speculation over whether Obama will be making his home state of Hawaii his vacation destination of choice once he's in office. Furthermore it would afford the Obamas the privacy they deserve for their limited family time.

[More posts daily at The Detroit News.]

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Sunday, December 28, 2008

Stray thoughts

I hate what's going on in the Gaza. But I don't want to talk about it. I don't understand it and I just wish they would all stop fighting and killing each other. If you want to read the analysis, there' s more than enough at Memeorandum.

I just can't seem to care about who gets to be Senator from New York. I don't think Caroline Kennedy would be awful, but who knows. I've read a lot of pros and cons. Seems to me this is something for New Yorkers to decide.

And I wonder whatever happened to Lester. He used to practically live in my comment section. He got mad at me one day and left in a huff. He never came back.

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Can't we just fire the press pool and get some real reporters

Cripes, two days after the fact and the media is still having a hissy fit over Obama taking his kids out without informing them.
Obama even took the unusual step Friday morning of leaving behind the pool of reporters assigned to follow him, taking his daughters to a nearby water park without them. It was a breach of longstanding protocol between presidents (or presidents-elect) and the media, that a gaggle of reporters representing television, print and wire services is with his motorcade at all times.
Who invented that stupid protocol anyway? I can't recall seeing every little thing that other presidents did and we don't need to know every time Obama buys his kids a snow cone. For crying out loud, shouldn't there be some kind of 'family time' clause in the protocol?

And where the hell was the press pool while Bush was taking us to hell in a handbasket? Maybe if they spent a little more time doing their job, which as I recall used to be "investigative journalism," instead of chasing after the motorcade like a bunch of sleazoid tabloid paparazzi, we would have a better informed electorate and might have avoided the debacle of at least the last four years. Bush would never have been 're-elected' if the media had been doing their damn job.

[More posts daily at The Detroit News.]

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May you find some comfort here

My intertubes seem to be clogged up this morning. Nothing seems to want to fully open. I haven't been able to access the news sites at all. It happens here occassionally, so maybe it will clear up soon. If it's the weather screwing up a major server somewhere, it may take longer. Anyway, if you've made it here, I have a couple of new links to entertain you while we're waiting.

Song in my head. I'd forgotten how much I like Sarah McLachlan.

This feel good story is especially compelling because it comes out of Irvine, CA, where they've been hit really hard by the meltdown. A woman finds $10,000 in cash in a box of crackers. Turns it into the police.
Police later heard from store managers at Whole Foods in Tustin that an elderly woman had come in a few days earlier, hysterical because she had mistakenly returned a box of crackers with her life savings inside. In a mix-up the store restocked the box rather than composting it.

The Lake Forest woman, whose identity was not released, had lost faith in her bank and decided the box would be a safer place for the money.

Luckily for her, the box of Annie's Sour Cream and Onion Cheddar Bunny crackers were bought by the Rogoffs, who discovered the crisp $100 bills in an unmarked white envelope on Oct. 10.
The only down side to the story is they never heard from the woman who got her money back. I mean maybe she couldn't afford to give them a $100 as a reward but the least she could have done is sent a thank you note. I'm hoping it's just due to senility.

On a more amusing note, this is the best photoshop ever of one of my favorite photos of the Bush years.

Eye candy link of the day is to this really nice Fiber art done by the wife of an on-line acquaintance.

And keeping up the spirit of Christmas, maybe this made the rounds but I hadn't seen it before. Good doggies.

[More posts daily at The Detroit News.]

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The more things change....

Sadly, this old quote feels rather timely again.

". . . that quaint period, the thirties, when the huge middle class of
America was matriculating in a school for the blind. Their eyes had
failed them, or they had failed their eyes, and so they were having
their fingers pressed forcibly down on the fiery Braille alphabet of a
dissolving economy."

--Tennessee Williams, The Glass Menagerie (1945)
I wish I could write like that.

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Saturday, December 27, 2008

Celebrating stupidity

Glenn catches the Politico patting itself on the back for their contributions to the dumbing down of the media. Their top ten list of 'political scoops' is worthy of the wingnuttiest of the wingnut blogs. In fact, outside of the one story buried at number seven, I can't imagine that Redstate would create a list that was significantly different. I suspect they might have substituted the Obama birth certificate 'controversy' for the Pentagon's propaganda expose and called it a day.

As Glenn points out, we're so lucky there weren't more important stories to cover.
By contrast, a country that was plagued by actual political problems might focus on such dreary, boring revelations as the choerographing and approving of torture techniques at White House Principals Meetings; or the creation of a massive, likely illegal domestic surveillance system of sprawling data bases built and maintained with no Congressional approval or oversight by the NSA; or the issuance of a memo by the Bush DOJ endlessly expanding the definition of "torture" and declaring the Fourth Amendment inoperative to "domestic military operations" inside the U.S.; or the massive contributions received from the telecom industry by Sen. Jay Rockefeller immediately before he became the key advocate of immunity for that lawbreaking industry; or the flagrant abuse of unchecked NSA eavesdropping powers for purely prurient and invasive ends; or the patently false denials by the U.S. military -- bolstered by an ostensibly first-hand report from Oliver North on Brit Hume's "news" broadcast -- of massive civilian deaths in Afghanistan; or the endless holes in the attempts by the FBI to blame the anthrax attacks on a dead scientist; or so many other similar boring disclosures.
This is of course, hardly a comprehensive list of the trivial matters that merited no more than a passing mention in the news cycle. The looting of the Treasury and the hamfisted handling of the economy prior to the bailouts, the rise of poverty and hunger and the growing numbers of uninsured Americans, the administration's shortchanging of veteran's health care, the ongoing fraud and profiteering in Iraq by private contractors, the gutting of our regulatory agencies, the hackability of voting machines and the myriad revelations about the Bush administration's lies, cover-ups and general malfeasance are nothing compared to the great importance of what Obama ate for breakfast on the campaign trail and the alarming absence of lapel pins. A story that only died when leftie bloggers starting documenting that Republicans didn't wear them either.

In a way, all these abuses of the fourth estate can be traced to the rise of the Corporatocracy. But don't expect the media to report on that. They're the biggest symptom of the problem. [graphic]

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A thousand ways to die... I'd rather fly

Krazy Kristol's reprobationary period at NYT is just about up. The question of the hour, will the NYT do the right thing and take a wrench to that wingnut?

Radley discovers the definition of 'transparency' at the US Treasury Department on the bailout money.

And a handy widget that tracks the modern day mobsters who are spending it.

This reminded me that we used to burn coal to heat our shack cottage on the farm. The ancient coal furnace we had would burn wood as well but it required really short logs and frequent feedings. It wouldn't hold a fire overnight. The coal would last the night but it was much dirtier and if memory serves there was some concern about fumes from coal gas or something. In the end I traded off sleep for peace of mind.

On a brighter note, yet another Christmas miracle story, featuring good hearted cops.

They're now in the voting phase at Poorman for the wingnut awards. Cast your ballots. Fair warning, the nominees are all so 'good' it's a very difficult choice.

And finally, so as not to neglect the continued celebration of Christmas altogether, Santa's other reindeer. The ones nobody talks about.

[Title inspired by this song in my head. H/t for some links to Avedon.][graphic]

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Friday, December 26, 2008

Media Bytes - Not Missing You At All Edition

Song in my head fits the opening link. It seems just about everyone will not be missing Bush.

It might have something to do with the economy. I'm told this is the best explanation for what went wrong, The House that Jack Built.

I mean really. Cry me a river for the poor misbegotten hedge fund managers.

And my heart is equally breaking for these 'poor' souls who took ten years to raise minimum wage to levels that still won't provide a decent living with only one job. Because it's bad for business.

Speaking of bad business, this is damn frightening. If Monsanto can eliminate seed cleaners, they would have accomplished a TOTAL monopoly in the Midwest, the bread basket of the world, and they would control world food, feed and now bio-fuel prices at will. They would, as well, have broken the fragile dam that seed cleaners and seed bankers now provide against the insanely-fast and just plain insane on-coming tide genetic engineering.

On the other hand, here's one way the Pentagon found to foster better living through pharmaceuticals.

Speaking of pharmaceuticals, we already knew that Bristol Palin's baby daddy's mommy is stupid for drug dealing so openly, but it's notable that the bust was delayed because of Secret Service protection. I'm wondering why she had it in the first place. Technically, they weren't even related to Palin, yet.

And speaking of stupid, the annual wingnut awards are beginning to roll in and how Bush sees himself.

Which reminds me of all the wingers who just can't seem to figure out there is a difference between weather and climate.

A lesson the local constables have surely figured out on this Canadian police chase.

If you're looking for a new income stream and live in the UK, you might want to consider joining pay-per-wink. Feelunique.com is offering people the chance to earn 10 pence per wink in return for displaying the company's logo on their eyelid space. People who sign up to star in the campaign will have the feelunique.com logo temporarily transferred onto their eyelid and will be paid on a Pay Per Wink (PPW) basis - up to a total of 100 pounds per model. Via j-walkblog, which is worth a click. Fun stuff over there.

And finally, it's not a media bytes without the eye candy, so here's a photo gallery of the best nature photography of 2008.

[More posts daily at The Detroit News.]

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Media bytes - Feels like Xmas spirit edition

Dedicated to Eartha Kitt. Wasn't she really "the hawt" Santa Baby? Rest in peace.

I hear the Christmas retail season was teh suck. Sales down by 5% in store and 2% on-line. To put that in context, last year on-line sales rose 22%. However, I'm getting anecdotal reports that the stores and malls are jam packed today with bargain hunters.

I suspect some of them are subscribing to my old strategy of Christmases past when I was broke. If you wait until after Christmas to send your gifts to out of town friends and relatives, you miss a lot of pre-Christmas hassles and your gift stands out more when it's not lost in the shuffle of the big day. This year, I imagine some families decided to postpone the whole celebration just to afford gifts at all.

But we're not going to let that stop us from celebrating the spirit of the season.
Taking a cue from Avedon, who will be celebrating with links until Three Kings Day, I also have a bunch of links that I didn't get to myself and I've always believed in prolonging the celebration as well.

This interactive card from my favorite cranky historian would be fun at any time.

My sister is settling into the blogging scene and posts on The Festival of Lights that she took me to see last year after Christmas. It was just as magical after Christmas. I'm a pushover for this kitschy stuff, even though I know it's bad for the environment and all. It's really an amazing light show and well worth driving through if you're in the area.

Squid remembered a Christmas Eve alone in Austria with a beautiful story.

NTodd just lives in a beautiful place. I have to admit, when I see the photos, I miss the snow but when I'm out driving I'm not sorry there isn't any here.

I'm glad to see this ugly rumor about Santa cancelling Christmas didn't come true.

Stone Soup Kathy found a Christmas miracle story that was even better than the one I found yesterday. And be sure to scroll down to the Christmas tree post. It didn't sound that creepy to me, but I suppose some might be squigged out by it.

I don't think I posted this White House Christmas with Barney video. Still funny even after the holiday. I think it's a spoof but some people think it was real.

And did I post the Solstice celebration at Stonehenge pix? I really want to go there someday. I don't even care if it's for the solstice.

And finally, this isn't quite about Christmas, but Prof Wombat found an article about communion wafers. It's much more interesting than you might think. I had no idea they were made of real bread.

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Quick bytes - Post Christmas edition

I'm in post holiday coma today. I ate and drank entirely too much. I didn't do much blogging, but I did post these bytes at Newshoggers yesterday and want to archive them here, so in case you missed them, I'm cross posting.

Everybody loves Obama. He has an 82 percent favorable rating on his handling of the transition. Best numbers of any incoming president in the past three decades.

Nobody likes Bush. The LAT looks at the legacy. Shorter: The arrogant SOB singlehandedly turned us from a major world power into the laughingstock of the planet.

Cabdrollery has a very good tool for tracking how often your Congresslizards voted to enable him to do it.

And this is just great. It's not enough that our local law enforcement is killing people regularly with tasers, now they're about to get a new toy. Pain beam weapons. Some kind of microwave guns that cause "skin pain." If memory serves the Pentagon has been working on this weaponry for some time and it creates a sensation of burning. Like the taser, it's billed as non-lethal but there have been real burn injuries in the testing phase.

On a much brighter note, a A real Christmas miracle story. Family home gets saved by a friend's blog post. Very uplifting. I recommend it.

Rest in peace, Harold Pinter. He was an amazing playwright.

[More posts daily at The Detroit News.]

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Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Merry

I hope everyone enjoyed their day. I had a fabulous dinner with the family and a rousing game of Flipping Frogs. The game overall is a little odd, but the frogs and the launchers are awesome. And in an effort to maintain my mellow, I'm only posting Christmas links today.

Hecate made the most awesome castle cake ever.

If you still want some Christmas music, Echidne has some beautiful stuff you haven't heard yet this season. And Powerpop has some obscure tunes as well.

Whiskey Ina has all kinds of Christmas spirit going on while, SoBeale remembers the ghosts of Christmas presents past.

And Dan chooses the best music of 2008. A very interesting list

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A host of angels

Merry Christmas. One of my favorites, Angels we Have Heard on High



And it wouldn't be a trip down the Christmas memory lane without the Vienna Boys Choir. Hark the Herald Angels Sing and Adeste Fidelis.

If you prefer something more contemporary, try Trademark Dave's Christmas jukebox.

Peace and joy to you and yours.
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Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Count Your Blessings

I watched White Christmas last night and since it's Christmas Eve and the news is so toxic, let's forget about it for a moment. Here's my favorite scene and one of my favorite songs, even though it isn't really so much about Christmas.



Times being what they are, there might not be quite so many presents under the tree this year, but it's good to remember that we are blessed with many things that can't be wrapped up in gift paper and a bow.

Merry Christmas to those who celebrate and a peaceful and joyous holiday season to those who mark these days in some other way. Count your blessings. I count you, my dear readers, among mine.

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Pardon my disgust - Updated

Tone deaf to the end. In a tribute to the Christmas spirit Bush issued a new round of pardons today. The most notable being for Isaac Toussie, a 36 year old real estate "developer" who is alleged to have defrauded some 436 minority homeowners, tricking them into buying substandard houses they couldn't afford. It's surely a mere coincidence that the man's father recently made his first time ever donation to the GOP party to the tune of $28,500.

Worse yet, to my thinking, is the guy had already served his sentence, such as it was and it wasn't much of a punishment and he's still working in the real estate business. Why do I have the feeling he's one of those 'developers,' (read that speculators) who are asking for a bailout before their refinancing terms kick in?

Update: Well that was fast. Never mind the pardon. Bush rescinded it "pending further investigation." They're billing it as a procedural error. Surprising. I can't recall the White House ever caving to negative press so quickly before.

[More posts daily at The Detroit News.]

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Best post of the year?

Bless his snarky heart, Jon Swift has invited me to be part of his year end round up. The downside is, I have to pick my best post of the last year and send it to him. I'm inclined to just send in the manatee post. That's certainly my most unusual, since I've never posted a photo of myself before. I think he had something more substantive in mind though and I can't remember what I wrote last week, much less what the best post of year would be.

I have to come up with something by tomorrow, so if anyone remembers a post that stood out as being good, or at least memorable, please leave it comments. Don't feel bad if you can't think of anything. Neither can I.

[More posts daily at The Detroit News.]

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Sayonara SUVs

I for one welcome the demise of the SUV era. Always hated those behemoths. Even putting the ecologically unsound gas consumption aside, you can't see around them on the road and backing out of a parking space when you're boxed in by them is an exercise in blind faith. Besides I always thought they were the ugliest vehicles on the road. And they're not even safe. It took quite a few tries to engineer them so they wouldn't roll over on a sharp turn. Good riddance.

But one point seems to be missing in the discussion, that being how they became so popular in the first place. Few seem to remember that the SUV boom exploded in 2003, when as part of the Bush economic stimulus package, they created a tax incentive too good to refuse. It offered "a $100,000 tax credit for business owners who purchase any vehicle weighing 6,000 pounds or more when fully loaded." That was up from a $75,000 credit the year before.

The credit, orginally designed in the mid-80s to allow famers and small businesses who needed trucks to haul their products to avoid a luxury tax on heavy equipment, soon become the prime incentive for every sort of self-employed businessman, from doctors and lawyers to realtors and health care consultants to move up to the traveling tank class, especially as the size of the credit incrementally increased from the original $17,500.

At the same time, "legislation that offers a much smaller tax break — a $2,000 tax deduction — to those who purchase fuel-efficient hybrid cars" was on track to be phased out. Considering the difference in the tax benefits, it would seem a moot point. Only those few who care more about the saving the environment than saving money would be using it. Meanwhile, the SUV became a status symbol of the wealthy that ordinary people sought to acquire, justifying the purchase with soothing bromides about needing the extra room, which by the way was non-existent. I could pack more into my little Suburu wagon than I could into two SUVs.

While falling for scheme was short-sighted, one can't entirely blame the Big 3 for responding to the demand, which was essentially created by that "big government" boogieman that all those SUV drivers are always blaming when it comes to social programs that serve the poor but never seem to notice when it benefits them.

[More posts daily at The Newshoggers and The Detroit News.]

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Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Media bytes - Festivus edition

Festivus is the new Flying Spaghetti Monster. Or should I say it's the new official holiday for the FSM? Air you grievances in comments if you've got them.

I've lived in lots of places that embraced the philosophy, the Good Lord put it there and the Good Lord will take it away. In the meantime, you're on your own.

The music industry executives are stupid. Suing people for listening to their music and pulling videos that promote their artists from YouTube is not a good business model.

No surprise here. In bad times, petty property crime goes up.

The top ten most inane pundit commentaries. My grievance is the list is too short.

Funny. Palin is convinced her biggest problem in 08 was that she wasn't allowed to speak to the press enough. Maybe she didn't notice that her favorables went down the more she appeared on air. Of course, it all may have turned out differently if she gave her BFF at Fox, Greta von Susteren, sole access.

Meanwhile, any guesses on who will win the last minute pardons sweepstakes? TP's are good. I'd add Gonzales, Rove and Cheney to the pre-emptive list.

And finally, it's not media bytes without the eye candy. No doubt about it, our new President is buff. Oddly, open-minded as I am, I'm vaguely uncomfortable about seeing him half-naked.

[graphic via]

[More posts daily at The Detroit News and The Newshoggers]

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The blogosphere is self correcting

Except when editors get involved. I seem to have missed the big blog kerfluffle yesterday. Apparently, Matt Yglesias posted some silly throwaway post the other night and made a snarky comment about some organization called The Third Way, describing their "domestic policy agenda as 'hyper-timid incrementalist bullshit,' in addition to noting that the group's policy ideas 'are laughable in comparison to the scale of the problems they allegedly address.'" I have no idea what The Third Way is, but apparently they occassionally partner with Matt's home think tank, Center for American Progress and the acting chief exec felt compelled to commandeer Matt's blog to issue a disclaimer. You know, the usual, "Matt speaks for himself and his views do not necessarily reflect the views of CAP" sort of thing.

It being a slow news day and all, the board at Memeorandum lit up with bloggers weighing in, mostly in Matt's defense and predicting the impact of such editorial interference. I thought Steve Benen had the best take of the ones I read and John Cole also has a good roundup of reactions.

For myself, I have to agree that the 'correction' was a bit ham-handed and unnecessary. It was probably counterproductive in terms of doing anything to improve the perception of Third Way's work but I doubt it will really destroy Matt's independence. I've always thought he was fairly cautious blogger anyway and assumed it was because he has to tread some kind of line between what he really would like to say and how he expresses it.

Anyone who blogs for some establishment entity self-censors to some extent. I do it myself at the DetNews. I have complete editorial freedom, but there are some things I wouldn't post there. That's why I started this blog, where I can risk pissing people off and the only one I can embarrass is myself. Anyway, in the long run, I doubt this will have any lasting impact. But it does prove my belief that it's always the throw-away posts that get the legs. The ones you slave hours over, are most often ignored.

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Unexpected hiatus

Sorry I disappeared yesterday. I had a dentist appointment scheduled and decided I should try to keep it. Negotiating the stairs was a little dicey but I found I could drive and walk with reasonable comfort. I left a couple of hours early just in case I wasn't going to be able to make the whole drive and would have time to give them some notice if I had to cancel.

It worked out okay. I used the extra time to go to one store and pick up the three Christmas presents I'm going to buy this year. Went to TJ Maxx, so I got out for under thirty bucks. And it was good that I made the appointment because my mockups were still screwed up and have to done over again. If I had cancelled it would have set me back another three weeks more.

It was exhausting though and I just couldn't do the news last night. I went to bed. The good news is, the foot seems to have survived the outing. I think the walking around brought down the swelling. Maybe it's just wishful thinking, but it seems to look a little better this morning. Nonetheless, I'll be giving it a rest today.

So off to catch up on the news. I'll be back.

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Sunday, December 21, 2008

Happier times

I'm really unphotogenic and I tend to avoid cameras so when someone asked me for a photo to use for a blogger Christmas card I had to send them a picture of a photo because I don't even have a scanner. I figure since it's going to be out there anyway now, I may as well post it here for those of you who have been reading me all this time and don't know what I look like. The pix is about five years old but it was the most recent shot I could find that I was willing to circulate. It's a photo of me feeding a manatee that came up to the docks when I was vacationing in the Florida Keys.



That was one of the top ten coolest things that ever happened to me. You can't see it in the photo but the guy on the right is looking at the baby manatee, whose size was pretty intimidating on its own.

When they arrived I was in the water about up to my waist, just walking around looking at the sea bed. I had just started heading back to shore when I felt something bump me from behind. I turned around. It was the mother manatee. I had never seen one before and having this two ton fish bumping me in the butt freaked me out. I screamed and started running for the beach.

Meanwhile, everyone on the beach, including tiny children, knew what it was and went running into the water to play with it. Embarrassing. It took me a couple of hours to work up the nerve to touch it myself, but by the end, I was spending ten bucks a day on lettuce to feed her while she was hanging around.

Despite the shaky begining, and you would have laughed to see me quaking the first time I got in the water with her again, in the end it turned out to be a magical experience. One of the happiest times in my life.

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Saturday, December 20, 2008

Hand me the tinfoil, honey...

GOP IT "guru" Mike Connell, has been killed in a plane crash in Ohio. He wasn't just any guru, he was deeply connected to every GOP related scandal from the stealing of the vote in Ohio, to the "lost emails" related to the Attorney Purge, to the fraudulent prosecution of Don Siegelman. In fact he had just been deposed in the Ohio vote fraud case and was ready to testify despite having been threatened by Karl Rove, if he "didn't take the fall."

It's also useful to remember that the court just ordered the White House to take steps to retrieve the "lost emails" that covered the period of Katrina, the attorney purge and the outing of Valerie Plame. Connell is said to have hosted some of the accounts on servers in Chattanoga, TN through another of his related companies Coptix. Which leads me to recall that odd alleged April Fool's joke that had the distinct feel of a distraction tactic at the time.

My co-blogger at Newshoggers, Ken Anderson collects the relevant links to the backstory and the analogy to Forrest Gump is apt. Connell was literally present at the scene of every Bush family related crime for at least a decade. Details of the crash are sketchy but Connell is reported to have been alone in the plane and an experienced pilot. That reminds me of the death of Paul Wellstone who died in a similarly odd crash just as he was winning a race against Norm Coleman.

Add to that the other mysterious plane crash deaths listed at the last link and excuse me while I put on my tinfoil suit. I don't think just a hat is enough for this one. Further, considering that Al Franken is now winning the recount against the same Norm Coleman, let me give Al a bit of unsolicited advice. Stay the hell out of small aircraft.

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The Three Stooges speak

This little op-ed by McCain, Lieberman and Graham, the three BFFs of campaign 08, couldn't be a more transparent, self-serving attempt at political positioning, but you know what? I don't care.

Fine. The surge worked. They're vindicated. Great. Let's declare victory and get the hell out of Baghdad. Whatever it takes to bring our troops home.

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Clairvoyant

Well you didn't really need a crystal ball to figure this out. The consensus around the comment sections was that Levi Johnston's mom was busted for meth. Having long years of experience in dealing with drug defendants while I was at the law firm, it didn't feel like to a meth bust to me. Plus I just had that gut feeling it was going to turn out to be pharmaceuticals.
WASILLA -- Wasilla resident Sherry L. Johnston, mother of Bristol Palin's boyfriend, faces a Jan. 6 court date for an oxycontin-related arrest at her home by Alaska State Troopers.
By the way, I was being glib about the Cindy McCain connection. I doubt it is really tied to any of her close associates. [graphic via]

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Friday, December 19, 2008

The Ponzi generation

Shorter Paul Krugman: Greed is not good.

And he coins a new label with my favorite word.
But the costs of America’s Ponzi era surely went beyond the direct waste of dollars and cents.
Seriously, I was calling the Bushenomic boom a Ponzi scheme for years, even when the experts were waving their charts around and proclaiming all this wonderful growth. The earliest reference I find here is May 06 and before that I was calling it a house of cards. I'm sure I used it even earlier than that at DetNews but their archives are too clunky to search.

If I had a dollar for every time someone called me stupid for saying it then, I could be vacationing in the tropics right now.

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Bush bailout or the final looting of the treasury?

At first glance Bush looks like a hero coming to the Big 3's rescue but the real motivation is in the conditions. He'll take a few billion from the TARP funds to bail out the automakers but only if Congress releases the other $350 billion to Paulson to distribute among his cronies as he sees fit. Anyone want to make a bet they would be a cent left in that fund by January 20th?

Hell, they've been trying to get their grubby mitts on that money for while now. Remembering the serious consults that Cheney had with the GOP before they killed the original bill that was hammered out by the Democrats and the White House, one can't help but wonder if this was the real plan the whole time.

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Ow, ow, ow....

I managed to fall down last night and twisted my foot. These stupid old slide on slippers stretched and I caught the front of one on the rug and went down like a ton of bricks with my foot headed the wrong way. I don't think it's broken. More likely I pulled some tendons or strained some ligaments. Not much swelling. The pain is centered at top of the foot where it bends, just in front of the ankle. The ankle seems fine.

It didn't seem so bad at first. An hour later I couldn't walk on it. Oddly, I've been experimenting and if I can stand the pain, since I've woke up walking seems to help some if I don't put too much weight on the front and keep the weight on the heel. It's more bearable than it was I woke up anyway. I thought for a minute I'd have to crawl to the bathroom to pee.

I had to drop my health insurance months ago so I can't go get it checked out since I'm already almost $8000 in debt for medical bills. I really need to keep what's left of my credit limit in case the car breaks down. I can't believe it's all that serious anyway. I think it would hurt more if I broke something and the internet doctor sites say the treatment is rest and ice in any event so I'm going to try that for a day or two and see if it helps.

I wish I had some crutches. Ironically, most of my life I've always had a set of crutches around since I've broken toes occassionally and then they just take up room for years on end. Now that I really could use a pair, I don't have any.

Oy. What a life. I can't wait for my luck to turn.

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More trouble for the Palin family

Going wild in Wasilla. Levi Johnston's mother was arrested on drug charges yesterday. No details, just that it's part of an ongoing investigation. Palin's office has no comment on her daughter Bristol's future mother in law. Also no word yet on whether Bristol has delivered Levi's baby yet. I understand she's due any minute.

Levi's mom looks pretty young herself. I suspect she may have also been a child bride. Guess it might be a family tradition on both sides. [h/t Jules.]

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Thursday, December 18, 2008

Media Bytes - Silver Bells edition

Keeping up the Christmas spirit, here's the Bing Crosby singing the song in my head. I'm behind on posting carols, so if you need more, new commenter Deranged Leftwing Baker has Gene Autry and Jethro Tull doing Santa songs. Go over and check out his blog even if you don't want Christmas music. He's got a lot of fun posts including bread porn.

For more Christmas fun, check out Trademark Dave's holiday tree. Click on a Xmas tree ornament for a surprise!

And a clever take on an old classic, the Cheney version of A Christmas Carol.

I'm in the mood for easy reading tonight, so here's a nice profile of Jon Favreau, Obama's speechwriter. It's a real American dream kind of story.

Octopus does the auto bailout with a great photo post of cars.

And of course, you can never know too much about bacon.

Meanwhile, the end of year retrospectives are rolling in. I thought the top ten baby names were interesting. A curious mix of the classics and the Biblical.

People magazine puts up their idea of the ten best dressed women. I guess that's in the eye of the beholder.

On a related note, if you need lingerie for a normal sized woman, this place might be a help. [via Avedon]

Finally, the Big Picture blog at Boston Globe has a fabulous 40 shot gallery of the year in photographs.

[graphic via]

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The wrong fight over Warren

I was wondering earlier when they started having invocations at all at the inaugurations. I still don't know who did it first, or why, being too lazy to research it, but Steve Benen provides one answer from an email commenter.
* This is the wrong fight: The real problem isn't with who will give the invocation, but rather, the fact that there's going to be an invocation in the first place. We had 144 years of presidential inaugurations, dating back to George Washington, in which there was no invocation and no benediction. This shouldn't be a fight over which pastor delivers the prayer; this should be a fight over the official prayer itself.
The more I mull it over, the more I agree but it's not a fight we could win in time for it to make a difference for this inauguration. However, the increasing encroachment of religion into government functions is a fight worth having over the long run before we forget that freedom of religion very much was meant to also be freedom from religion, by our Founders.

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They feel our pain -- not

With the country shedding jobs like a dog sheds hair, in addition to the still employing working class Americans who are seeing their hours cut and their bonuses eliminated, Congress gets a raise.
A crumbling economy, more than 2 million constituents who have lost their jobs this year, and congressional demands of CEOs to work for free did not convince lawmakers to freeze their own pay. ...Instead, they will get a $4,700 pay increase.
Cagily, the system is set up to award the pay hikes automatically, sparing our Congresslizards the shame of having to go on record to give themselves more money when the rest of America is trying to figure out how to pay the bills. As Steve Ellis of Taxpayers for Common Sense says, "They have it set up so that it’s wired so that you actually have to undo the pay raise rather than vote for a pay raise."

I'm sure I don't need to point out the hypocrisy here and it occurs to me as we contemplate how to "change the way Washington works," automatic pay raises would be a good place to start. If they need more money, fine, but let them make their case for a raise the same as the rest of America has to, by asking the boss -- which is this case is the taxpayer.

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Second thoughts on Rick Warren

John Cole's commenters are smart. Even as I was pounding out my rant yesterday, I had a recollection lingering at the edge of my mind of hearing some progressives defending Warren during the uproar over the presidential debate. He has apparently done some good work despite his stone age views on social issues. One of the Balloonjuicers who clearly follows fundie politics more closely than I do, offers up this rationale for the choice.
If you followed the internal politics of evangelical and fundamentalist leaders, you’d see this for what it is—not an elevation of Warren, but a slap in the face of the old guard leaders like Dobson and LaHaye. They’ve been fighting to see who gets to be the spokesman for the movement, and lately it’s been a tie. Obama just broke it.

And let’s be clear, there is a difference between those groups. Warren may not be progressive on gay rights, but he’s been out front on a number of issues of global justice—traveling from Davos to Damascus, and working hard to get rank-and-file evangelicals invested in “creation care” environmentalism and the fight against global HIV/AIDS.

If he were put in charge of HHS or listened to on gay policies, I’d be pissed. But what Obama is doing here isn’t that. It’s a move that marginalizes the worst on the religious right, elevates a guy who’s more progressive than most religious leaders on a number of issues, and earns him some moderate cred at the outset.

If Obama sells out on the progressive promise in actual policy, I’ll be in the streets protesting with everyone else. But if his “selling out” is having a fairly moderate, popular evangelical give the invocation at the inaugural—when large sections of this country still worry Obama’s a scary evil Mooooslim—then who gives a flying fuck?
I don't think anyone believes the choice of Warren signals some huge shift in policy for Obama and the point on the political advantage for him in reaching out to this group to build consensus for the future is valid. And granted, in the greater scheme this is really a trivial matter but nonetheless, I still think it was a bad choice on a symbolic level.

This isn't just any inauguration. It's one of historic proportions and choosing Warren elevates fundamentalist Christians over all other religious denominations when they are in fact a minority and more importantly a minority that uses its church to advance a political agenda seeking to impose their intolerant doctrine on all of us by law. Somehow, that doesn't really send a message of tolerance to me but rather reinforces the unacceptable blurring of the separation of church and state.

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Wednesday, December 17, 2008

No, No, No Obama - Bad choice

I've been willing to swallow a lot of distaste for some of Obama's choices in the transition phase, but this is really going too far. The Inauguration Committee just announced that Rick Warren, charlatan pastor of Saddleback Church, who lied his face off about the so-called cone of silence during the presidential debate he hosted, is going to deliver the invocation.

I can't believe there isn't some other pastor in America, who is less polarizing, that would be available to do it. I get that Obama wants to reach out to the opposition and all that, but this really is a slap in the face to all the sane Christians who supported him. Not to mention, the progressives and those in the gay and lesbian community.

If there was ever a time to reach out to the side of the fence that didn't oppose him tooth and nail all the way to the White House, this is it. I would suggest people might want to leave a suggestion at change.gov and ask him to rethink this choice. Frankly, I don't know who to suggest as an alternative, but there has to be someone more neutral than Warren. And no, I don't think Jim Wallis is the one either. Too polarizing the other way. It should be someone low profile and non-political.

Addendum: I've left aside that they shouldn't really even have a religious invocation at the inaugural because it's become a tradition now. But my friend Capt. Fogg left an excellent comment that I urge to read in full. The main point being, "Religious rituals have no place at all in government. It's the law. Belief in God or gods is not part of public policy: that's the law, and if no religious test may be imposed for office, which is the law, why then are we asking a president to demonstrate his private religiosity in public, as part of his inauguration?"

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Obama reaches out to opponents

I know the concept of bi-partisanship has been little more than a bad joke for decades, a code word for caving to the GOP agenda, but this feels different. Obama is calling various Republican power players directly and actively looking for common ground.
“He said he wanted to work with me and I said that I wanted to be as constructive as possible,” said Gregg, describing the conversation. “I very much appreciate it. I think there’s not any question it makes a difference. It sets the right tone and it’s the way to get things done.”
It gives me some hope that he can redefine bi-partisanship to mean co-operation between (friendly by necessity) adversaries instead of cowering before bullies.

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The path to prosperity

I've been saying this for years but I'm not a big time blogger or a well credentialed policy wonk so no one listens to me.
The flip side of this, of course, is that rich people are going to have to accept the fact that they don't get all the money anymore. Their incomes will still grow, but no faster than anyone else's. [...]

This isn't just a matter of social justice. It's a matter of facing reality. If we want a strong economy, we can only get it over the long term if we figure out a way for the benefits of economic growth to flow to everyone, not just the rich. This is, by far, Barack Obama's biggest economic challenge. Until median wages start rising steadily and consistently, we haven't gotten ourselves back on track.
To use my favorite quote from the town treasurer at a long ago Cummington Town Meeting, "You can cook the books any way you want, but there just ain't no money in the bank." You can't spend what you haven't got. If you do, it's called debt, not growth.

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Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Giving the shoe protest some legs

While it's not being universally applauded, many people have been inspired by the shoe throwing journalist and are anxious to seize the moment and the motif to generate their own sole-ful events. As NTodd points out, shoes can make a powerful statement and Code Pink already has a shoe-based peace protest scheduled for tomorrow.

I've also seen a quite a few calls to organize a stinky shoe mail-in to the White House but I have to agree with those who think it won't be that effective. While I love the idea of insulting Bush, it's unlikely to penetrate his bubble anyway and mostly inconvenience peripheral workers. But it does occur to me that someone could organize a shoe drive of decent shoes, in honor of Al-Zaidi, for the economically disadvantaged here to highlight the demo that has grown so dramatically under the Bush regime. That would still make a statement and would be more embarrassing to Bush on some level. It also has the added benefit of doing some good for people who need help.

Meanwhile, word has it that the shoe-tossing journo is suffering mightily for his personal protest. FDL gathers reports that he's being severely beaten to the point of torture and has been "transferred to Camp Cropper prison [the Airport prison, managed by the American forces]." Keeping the story alive with a charitable shoe drive might also serve to prevent any further torment and put some pressure on Bush to take Digby's suggestion that he make a public request for clemency on Al-Zaidi's behalf. I don't see how it could hurt to try.

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Gay penguins make the best parents

A gay penguin couple, presumably joined by a civil union so as not to destroy the sanctity of hetero penguin marriage, were segregated from the colony because they were stealing eggs to satisfy their paternal urge. After animal activists complained, the zoo helped them out.
'We decided to give them two eggs from another couple whose hatching ability had been poor and they've turned out to be the best parents in the whole zoo,' said one of the keepers. [...]

Wildlife experts at the park explain that despite being gay the three-year-old male birds are still driven by an urge to be fathers.

'One of the responsibilities of being a male adult is looking after the eggs.

Despite the fact that they can't have eggs naturally, it does not take away their biological drive to be a parent,' said one.

I wonder how the fundies, who insist that homosexuality is a 'lifestyle choice,' explain why it occurs as a natural phenomenon in the animal world? One assumes the penguins operate on instinct, not choice, and well, God did make all creatures great and small -- right? [graphic via]

Update: I no sooner posted this when I discovered Lis had the same thought. Click over for her graphic.

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The interactive President

At Obama's transition website, they've closed the first round of open questions and answered a few. He's for stem cell research and against legalizing marijuana, among other things, but I thought this response was the most interesting.
Q: "What will you do to establish transparency and safeguards against waste with the rest of the Wall Street bailout money?" Diane, New Jersey

A: President-elect Barack Obama does not believe an economic crisis is an excuse for wasteful and unnecessary spending. As our economic teams works with congressional leadership to put together a plan, we will put in place reforms to ensure that your money in invested well. We will also bring Americans back into government by amending executive orders to ensure that communications about regulatory policymaking between persons outside government and all White House staff are disclosed to the public. In addition all appointees who lead the executive branch departments and rulemaking agencies will be required to conduct the significant business of the agency in public so that every citizen can see in person or watch on the Internet these debates.
I hope this comes to fruition. It would be nice to have public business conducted in public again. Meanwhile, Ben Smith is having some trouble concealing his contempt for the process.
The transition responds to some of the top questions on its "Open for Questions" site, not making a lot of news -- you could have found those answers with Google -- but concluding the first round of an interesting experiment in what's likely to be vastly expanded online engagement across the federal government.
One imagines, it would be making plenty of news on Ben's blog if Obama had jumped on Ben's pet issue -- Blago. In any event, they're shutting down the format temporarily, one assumes so they can work out the kinks in the rating system that so offended Mr. Smith and some of his colleagues in the elite media by failing to validate their priorites.

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Monday, December 15, 2008

Where was the Secret Service?

My initial reaction to the shoe throwing incident, after I stopped laughing, was the same as Josh. It did seem to take a very long time for security to get to the shoe thrower. I suppose that could be explained by the Iraqis being in charge of security in the press gallery and stringent entry searches, but there was a significant lag between the two shoes. Shouldn't Bush's personal Secret Service guy been throwing himself in front of the president by then?

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Commander Clueless

People seem to be focusing on Bush's remarks about AQ in Iraq during this interview conducted shortly after the shoe throwing incident in Baghdad. But I thought this exchange was just as telling:
Raddatz: It's also considered a huge insult in this world, the sole of a shoe, throwing a shoe.

Bush: I guess. Look they were humiliated. The press corps, the rest of the Iraqi press corps was humiliated. These guys were just besides themselves about, they felt like he had disgraced their entire press corps and I frankly, I didn't view it as, I thought it was interesting, I thought it was unusual to have a guy throw his shoe at you. But I'm not insulted. I don't hold it against the government. I don't think the Iraqi press corps as a whole is terrible. And so, the guy wanted to get on TV and he did. I don't know what his beef is. But whatever it is I'm sure somebody will hear it.
I guess that interview was conducted before the thousands of Iraqis marched in Baghdad in support of the reporter's release. Followed closely by the roar of approval heard all across the Arab Street, hailing the insult "as a proper send-off to the unpopular U.S. president."

It's tempting to think Bush is just being deliberately obtuse, but I have a feeling he's been living in the bubble for so long, he simply believes his own propaganda. This response does nothing to dissuade that notion.
Bush: Well, first of all I think a president's legacy is going to take time. We've accomplished a lot in my administration. Like No Child Left Behind; 52 months of uninterrupted job growth; PEPFAR, which is the AIDS initiative in Africa; fighting malaria, where there's poverty; faith based; I mean there a lot that people will be able to judge this administration on.
Indeed there is, and never shall public opinion and Bush's own rosy revisionist fairy tale meet.

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Sunday, December 14, 2008

Well the Iraqis finally threw something

So it wasn't sweets and flowers for the "Great Liberator" but the journalist who finally lost his cool and threw his shoes at Bush in Baghdad today did call it "a goodbye kiss -- you dog." Apparently in Arab culture, the throwing of the shoes is the ultimate insult. The video is priceless.



Word has it that Bush was unhurt but Dana Perino suffered a black eye from a wayward microphone in the ensuing melee in the press gallery. Apparently Bush took his mouthpiece with him as he snuck in for his final peek at the country he ruined in the name of freedom. Maybe Bush will buy her one of the famous five dollars rugs from the bazaar as well so she'll have a more long lasting souvenir of her trip.

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Burning down the House (of God)

The church that Palin attends in Wasilla suffered a terrible fire last night but thankfully no one was hurt. Watertiger already has the definitive post on this, and do click over for the pictures, but it's worth noting that Sarah's immediate reaction was to make it all about her.
"Gov. Palin stopped by the church this morning, and she told an assistant pastor that she apologizes if the incident is in any way connected to the undeserved negative attention the church has received since she became a vice presidential candidate on Aug. 29.
Meanwhile, I hear the boys at Powerslime are already blaming it on some imaginary enraged Democrat. That doesn't even make sense. We won the election. Why should we be pissed? It would seem more likely to be some crazed fundie who was pissed off at God for not answering their prayers and making their Sarah the savior of DC.

In fact, if we're going to speculate, Palin herself, attention addict that she is, has more motive than most to be behind any arson attempt. She hasn't made the national news in some time now and suddenly -- there she is again. Just saying...

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Christmas Canon

I'm falling behind on my Christmas spirit campaign, so here's something that seems suitable for a Sunday morning. This one isn't something from my childhood memories. I was introduced to the Trans Siberian Orchestra only a couple of years ago but I love their Christmas stuff. Enjoy.

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Saturday, December 13, 2008

Media Bytes - Winter Wonderland edition

I couldn't find a really perfect version of the song in my head but this Andy Williams quartet cover was something I would have watched as a kid and have been singing right along to in my living room.

Love the song anyway, and among the wonders on this winter night is this list of 2008's ideas from A - Z in the NYT magazine. I could probably use A pretty soon. Personal airbags for the elderly to cushion falls. And I rather like the D entry. DNA for dog poop, for the CSI pooper-scooper enforcement squad I guess.

This is too funny. Oops. The McCain campaign staff were supposed to erase that information before they sold the Blackberries at the yard sale.

And this was funny in a frightening way. I swear, Palin's impossibly garbled syntax is contagious.

Meanwhile, this is the most cheerful Krugman column I've ever seen.

And if you're still stuck for a gift idea for the Obama supporter on your list, this is the best tshirt I've seen, designed by our pal Heretik. Speaking of that rabble rouser, he also made a beautiful logo for Newhoggers. I wish he would do one for this little blog someday.

Finally, do not click this link if you hate cute puppies.

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Greed is its own reward

First rule of any investment. If it seems too good to be true, it's probably a Ponzi scheme. On the bright side, I guess these people won't be worrying about losing the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy anymore. Hell, they might even want to buy into some of that "spread the wealth" thing.

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