Archive for March 2nd, 2011

02
Mar
11

‘republican war on working families’ – updated

I just read that this new ad, from the Progressive Change Campaign Committee and Democracy for America, raised $100,000 in just five hours today.

“That’s enough to air it quite a bit in Wisconsin, and a sign that the Democratic base is pretty intensely engaged in the state fight,” Politico reported …. through gritted teeth.

Updated again –

Greg Sargent: National liberal money flows into Wisconsin fight: Yesterday I  first reported on a new ad being aired by progressive groups featuring ordinary Wisconsites making the case against Scott Walker, and in the 24 hours since, the spot has now pulled in  more than $200,000 in contributions to keep it on the air.

The influx of cash — which will enable the ad to run widely — is a measure of how high the stakes have become in Wisconsin for Dems and liberals around the country, and the degree to which they view the standoff as one chapter in a national war with implications that go well beyond the particulars of this one battle.

02
Mar
11

‘forgotten lessons in necessary government’

PM Carpenter: A spokesman for the Tea Party Patriots, 2,300 of whom convened in Phoenix, Arizona last weekend, said that “[Democrats] can’t win if we’re focused on issues.”

…To be sure, it’s exceptionally difficult to beat a party or movement that regards a “focus” on issues as a bundle of pithy slogans with enormous emotional appeal, backed by mounds of propagandistic cash. The current “debate” on government’s size and spending is exemplary.

Which is easier to sell to a mass electorate? “Government’s too big” and “We’re drowning in debt” …

or … “The size of the federal government and the spending it does is less important than its effectiveness; take, for instance, those funds allocated to the Securities and Exchange Commission, which tea partying machete-accountants insist on slashing — Do you, Mr. and Mrs. Voter, care to save a few bucks now, only to grease the skids for another catastrophic collapse down the road, caused by fewer financial watchdogs and far less oversight?”

And that’s the short version.

…….so many Americans — I’d venture most — have no clue as to why government ever grew, as it did; they’ve no sense of the social carnage of the Gilded Age or of the vast disparities of wealth in the 1920s or the vicious official assaults on organizing labor or the atrocities of child labor or the repulsive depths of elderly poverty or … None of which Hoover’s pathetic “volunteerism” and limited government for ideology’s sake could help when it all inexorably came crashing down.

And would have again, to the selfsame severe proportions, had it not been for lessons learned — now being forgotten.

Read the full post here

****

I can’t believe I forgot to link P M Carpenter’s blog on the list in the right sidebar – it is essential reading.

02
Mar
11

open doors

President Barack Obama talks with Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton in the doorway from the Outer Oval Office to the Colonnade of the White House, March 2, 2011. The President met with Vice President Joe Biden and Secretary Clinton later in the Oval Office. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

02
Mar
11

‘subtropical wisconsin’

Paul Krugman: Fox News shows us film of violent protests in Wisconsin. Except notice the people in shirtsleeves and the palm trees in the background.

(The film showed, in fact, footage of a “solidarity” protest in Sacramento)

02
Mar
11

you’ve got a friend (in the briefing room)

Singer James Taylor tries out the podium in the news briefing room at the White House after being presented the 2010 National Medal of Arts by President Barack Obama during ceremonies at the White House, March 2

…Taylor, a big fan of “The West Wing,” mentioned volunteering on the Obama campaign in North Carolina in 2008, and he called the president “a remarkable leader”.

He said he is a big fan of the president and the “so remarkable” first lady Michelle Obama.

“I think the administration has been almost too modest in their accomplishments…I’m hoping that the American public understands who we’ve got here, what we’ve got in this president and what a remarkable leader and chance it is for the country.”

02
Mar
11

joan’s journal

by (our very own!) Joan Katherine Shaw


Luck is half the game. It’s no good having it and being incapable of using it. On the other hand, great striving may come to naught without luck. My sense is that President Barack Obama is a lucky man. – Roger Cohen

Mr. Cohen, Obama is not just lucky, he is an example of the Great Man theory

Why is it luck that President Obama surrounds himself with advisors he carefully chose – a hydra headed advance guard with the expertise and intelligence and, best of all, contacts throughout the world, to see what’s coming in a year, two years, more?

Like FDR did in the 1930s, Obama acts as a sponge, soaking up the information culled from this advance guard. He orders and categorizes it, and then, after one helluva lot of cogitation, he acts on it.

Leaders of countries have always been faced with explosive situations, both at home and abroad, and they have not always been “lucky,” because they’ve not always acted intelligently while meeting them. Think of Vietnam, for instance – who in the world thought up the “domino theory” anyway? Eisenhower did, followed by Nixon who galloped off with it, complete with drafted soldiers.

Result? The domino theory resulted in the deaths of untold numbers of Vietnamese and American troops, not to mention the Vietnamese civilians caught up in it. Finally, the term was quietly put away and forgotten.

Then there’s the Cold War, a term coined by Bernard Baruch, a long-time advisor to presidents from Woodrow Wilson to Harry Truman. The term was picked up by the press through columnist Walter Lippmann and that’s all we heard for decades, killing millions in proxy wars backed by the US versus the USSR, stretching from the Korean War to wars in Southeast Asia and beyond.

We’ve all read, I’m sure, that Reagan “broke up the Soviet Union,” though what actually broke up the Soviet Union was exhaustion bred from too many wars, too many states pulled into their orbit. But it was as early as the late seventies that historians and analysts foretold the Soviet Union’s break up.

In fact, if any one person “broke up the Soviet Union” it was Mikhail Gorbachev who tried to stop his county’s economic freefall with his Perestroika and Glasnost. The reward he received was a Soviet jail and exile, in that order but, by 1991, the USSR was no more and all the dead were still dead, and for nothing.

Okay, say President Obama is “lucky” to be facing so many disasters all at once, including the revolutionary fervor spreading through the Middle East. Suppose he followed the advice of most of the far Left and all of the Right and went into the Middle East with guns blazing? Certainly there were more of the Hawks urging war than there were of his advisors. And even among his close advisors there might well have been some who counseled intervention.

But while he was still a US senator Obama said that he wasn’t against all wars. He was against dumb wars. And intervention in Tunisia and Egypt would have been dumb and Barack Obama is not dumb.

In fact I have always thought that Barack Obama is a real life example of the Great Man theory – that in times of need, a Great Man would arise and, further, that his actions would be impossible without the social conditions built before his lifetime.

The theory fits President Obama.  It took more than a confluence of good genes to give our president the brilliant brain and good sense and empathy he has. I agree with the posters here that Obama is blessed, except to add that we are infinitely more blessed to have him.

Visit Joan’s blog here

02
Mar
11

loss

02
Mar
11

story time

First Lady Michelle Obama reads the Dr. Seuss book ‘Green Eggs and Ham’, alongside Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, to elementary school students during a kickoff event for the National Education Association (NEA) Read Across America Day, at the Library of Congress in Washington, March 2

02
Mar
11

‘blessed are they who see beautiful things in humble places’

President Barack Obama presents a 2010 National Medal of Arts to poet Donald Hall

Cuban-born critic of Latin American literature and culture Roberto González Echevarría

Pianist Van Cliburn

Author and conservationist Wendell E. Berry

Sculptor Mark di Suvero

Novelist Joyce Carol Oates

Ella Baff of Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival

Producer, playwright and educator Robert Brustein

Qunicy Jones

Novelist Philip Roth

02
Mar
11

buoyant buffett!

Reuters: Billionaire Warren Buffett said the U.S. economy is “coming back” and does not need more stimulus, despite an uneven recovery that mirrors the fortunes of businesses at his company, Berkshire Hathaway Inc.

…Speaking on CNBC television, Buffett maintained his “enormous respect” for the efforts of Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke to move the economy forward.

He said improvement in the business environment is likely in future months to be reflected by a decline in the U.S. unemployment rate, probably to the low 7 percent range by the November 2012 elections from 9 percent now.

…”The economy is coming back,” Buffett said. “There is a resiliency to the American system,” he added. “It does work. It sputters from time to time, it will sputter from time to time, but you don’t want to get worried.”

More here

Thank you cat48 😉




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