My quest these days is to find my long lost inner child,
but I'm afraid if I do, I'll end up with food in my hair
and way too in love with the cats.
Born January 7, 1948
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Hume now says that his public call, as a news anchor for FOX News, for Tiger Wopds to leave Buddhim and embrace Christianity was mocked only because he dared to utter two words on national television: Jesus Christ.
Or because your speech sounded a bit slurred and you came off as an intolerant evangelical nut rather than a newsman.
Muse in the MorningPeering Inside(Click on image for larger view)Another graphic inside... OpeningThe muses are ancient. The inspirations for our stories were said to be born from them. Muses of song and dance, or poetry and prose, of[...]
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In his January 6 New York Post column, Michael Goodwin advanced the false claim that former President George W. Bush had "a record of zero successful attacks on America after 9/11."
From Goodwin's January 6 New York Post column:
The images that stick are the ones out of Hawaii, with the president in vacation mode -- no tie, a perfunctory appearance on Dec. 28, no questions, then off for more fun in the sun. Behavior doesn't get less serious or more callow.
The images accurately reflect a troubling mindset that borders on religious faith about how to combat terrorism, with Obama himself the high priest. He is a war president who defiantly shuns the mantle.
So be it. The Oval Office and the choices are his. And so is the responsibility.
If America gets hit again, it's on him. All of it.
Obama often complains about the problems he inherited from George W. Bush, but he also inherited a record of zero successful attacks on America after 9/11. If Islamic terrorists succeed on his watch, he can't blame Bush.
2002 attack against El Al ticket counter at LAX. In July 2002, Hesham Mohamed Hadayet opened fire at an El Al Airlines ticket counter at Los Angeles International Airport, killing two people and wounding four others before being shot dead. A 2004 Justice Department report stated that Hadayet's case had been "officially designated as an act of international terrorism."
2006 UNC SUV attack. In March 2006, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill graduate Mohammed Reza Taheri-azar drove an SUV into an area of campus, striking nine pedestrians. According to reports, Taheri-azar said he acted because he wanted to "avenge the deaths or murders of Muslims around the world." Taheri-azar also reportedly stated in a letter: "I was aiming to follow in the footsteps of one of my role models, Mohammad Atta, one of the 9/11/01 hijackers, who obtained a doctorate degree."
2001 Anthrax attacks. A March 2004 State Department report on "Significant Terrorist Incidents, 1961-2003" quotes then-Attorney General John Ashcroft saying of the letters containing anthrax mailed to various targets: "When people send anthrax through the mail to hurt people and invoke terror, it's a terrorist act." Five people were killed as a result of those letters in the autumn of 2001.
2002 DC-area sniper. The state of Virginia indicted Washington, D.C.-area sniper John Allen Muhammad -- along with his accomplice, a minor at the time -- on terrorism charges for one of the murders he committed during a three-week shooting spree across Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C. Muhammad was convicted, sentenced to death, and subsequently executed for the crime.
Frederick, Perino, Crowley ignore attacks that occurred during Bush term. As Media Matters for America has documented, other conservative media figures also have denied that terrorist attacks occurred under Bush after 9-11. Bush White House Press Secretary and current Fox News contributor Dana Perino falsely claimed on the November 24, 2009, edition of Fox News' Hannity that "[w]e did not have a terrorist attack on our country during President Bush's term." In a January 3 column, Las Vegas Review-Journal publisher Sherman Frederick falsely claimed that "the two cases of domestic terrorism since 9/11" happened "on Obama's watch." And on the January 5 edition ofThe O'Reilly Factor, Fox News contributor Monica Crowley asserted that "[a]fter 9-11, President Bush and Vice President Cheney had a 100 percent perfect track record in keeping the homeland safe from an Islamic terrorist attack."
John Amato over at Crooks and Liars has a few choice words about the comparison of President Obama and Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
If you're going to use Buffy as a model to help Obama, then you really should know what you're talking about. First of all, Buffy didn't kill Darla, Angel did, as he helped thwart Darla's plan to win Angel's heart again and bring him back to "The Master."
"The Master," was an ancient Vampire with incredible powers, but was stuck in a mystical force field after he failed in his attempt to open up the Hell Mouth many years ago. He was the Big Bad in the first season. Buffy was already the Slayer before she went to Sunnydale when the series started.
I know Joss Wheedon might differ with my take, but it wasn't until she confronted The Master in the final episode to fulfill a prophesy that she was able to conquer her crippling fear of him. And it was that fear that was holding her back from truly blossoming into the most powerful Slayer of all. At one point she was so terrified of the Master that she wanted to quit being a Slayer altogether, but she finally accepted her fate and decided to face the Master in the end.
If Obama were truly a liberal transformative hero, but fear was holding him back from becoming the ultimate progressive warrior, then I could sort of buy the comparison. I don't see that, do you?
Last night I attended a blogger conference call for Kendrick Meek. If you don't know him, he's a current Congressman running for Senate from Florida. The call was led by campaign manager Abe Dyk. This is the be the first of many conference calls. The Meek campaign is committed to being people-powered, and therefore wants to ensure information dissemination to bloggers. They also have Facebook pages and a Twitter presence.
The real part of "people-powered" is that they see their path to victory being involved with getting non-traditional voters to the polls. One of the ways they are approaching this is a petition drive. Dyk said that the Meek campaign is the first Senate campaign in Florida history to choose to qualify for the ballot via petition. I asked about this, because I didn't understand the Florida system. It turns out that to be on the ballot in Florida, one can qualify by having a number of signed ballots which relate to a percentage of the voters in the last election of that type. In this case, they will need 112,476 legitimate signatures. The other option is to pay a filing fee equal to 7% of the annual salary of the position. The campaign's position is that "People put Kendrick Meek on the ballot, not a check."
There were two incredibly obnoxious bloggers on the call who kept pressing for an exact number of signed petitions. I say that they were "incredibly obnoxious" because when I tuned in to the call a few minutes before the official start time, they were talking about BDSM, and insulting medical doctors, chiropractors, and the overall population of Tallahassee. Dyk said that there was a lag between when signatures were turned in to the counties and when they were verified. The lag could be up to 30 days. He said that the campaign was already halfway there, and he didn't have an exact number, because there were still many signatures in the pipeline. The trend appears solid, and I don't think we need a more precise number than that.
Dyk's point is valid: if people sign a nominating petition, they are more likely to vote for that candidate. One of the greatest lessons of the Obama campaign was that the more times a voter is "touched" (called, visited, or the voter gives money) the higher the probability that voter will turn out for that candidate on election day. In Florida, given early and absentee voting, they have more opportunities than "just one day" to get the voters out.
After the jump: demographics, more of the plan, and analysis.
The Meek campaign sees their path to victory in terms of reaching the people that don't vote in the midterms. It was pointed out that the winning advantage for Crist in 2006 was about 70,000 votes R>D, and he won with 51% of the vote, In 2008, Obama won with 52% of the vote with a 308,000 D>R edge. In total, slightly over 1.6 million more Democrats voted in Florida in 2008 but not in 2006. The related breakdown was 35% African-American, 19% Hispanic, 12% Other, and 15.5% young, white voters. They believe these folks are their winning margin. In Florida, it's always about turnout.
The campaign believes that whoever emerges from the Crist-Rubio bloodbath will have no money left the day after the primary. Open Secrets reports through 3Q 2009:
The Meek campaign says that they did even better in Q4, but numbers are not yet available as they're still opening envelopes and tallying.
Dyk said that the petition drive, and the overall campaign, will help to publicize Meek's "compelling" story, which includes a college football scholarship, stints in high school and college as a Skycap, and his time as a State Trooper.
The final piece of the victory path is that they believe Meek will appeal to both the non-traditional voters and the moderate voters. They had me to that point.
Back in November, my ranking for Florida moved from "Leans Republican" to "Solid Republican". I was hoping that this conference call would give me pause to move it back to "Leans" or even to "Toss-Up" as I work through all the Senate changes in light of the recent changes to the field. Dyk didn't grab me.
The campaign believes they can capture "Democratic excitement" (their term), get out new voters, appeal to moderates, and hold on to the Democratic base and Super Voters. The petition drive is a good start, but where I see the train coming off the track is the candidate's voting record. Had Obama won the Florida primary last year, I could see it, but Hillary Clinton won. I can buy that Meek can capture a lot of the new voters, as well as the AA vote. Potentially even the Hispanic vote if Crist wins the primary. But it's a tall order to present a true progressive, which Meek is, as a moderate to moderate Democrats, especially older ones, as well as independent swing voters while simultaneously running on his long-time positions of pro-choice, pro-gay rights, pro-affirmative action, etc. He would be "the moderate" compared to Rubio, but he'd be "left" compared to Crist.
I'm hoping that the Meek campaign can find a path to the Democratic base. In every piece I read about the overall "enthusiasm gap" people talk about the problem with getting out the new voters, the 2008 voters. If that is where the problem is, and the base will vote Democratic no matter what, then Meek really does has a path to victory, and personally, I think that would be a good thing. I'd like to see him in the Senate. But I can't shake the sense that a lot of the enthusiasm gap is with the long-time Democrats who have re-registered as Independents, and who are planning on sitting out 2010 because the party is not left enough. Still, Florida is a special case: it always has been, and I'm going to keep my fingers crossed that they can find the true path to victory.
After meeting with red-faced advisers on Tuesday, President Obama noted that there was no inadequacy in the amount of their assembled security intelligence -- indeed, the NY Times' David Brooks has pointed out the staggering fact that "the National Security Agency alone now gathers four times more data each day than is contained in the Library of Congress" -- although their comprehension of it was, to put it gently, wanting.
"I will accept that intelligence by its nature is imperfect," said Obama, "but it is increasingly clear that intelligence was not fully analyzed or fully leveraged. That?s not acceptable," he continued, and just to publicly clarify what "unacceptable" means, he added that he "will not tolerate it."
The Times, in its straight reporting on Obama's news conference, had this to say, and it was representative of most everyone's reporting: "The tone of the president?s remarks on Tuesday -- the sharpest of any of his statements since the [Flight 253] incident nearly two weeks ago -- underscored his anger over the lapses in intelligence as well as his efforts to minimize any political risks from his administration?s response."
Yet, or so it seems to me, the accentuated order of those two observations should have been reversed. Since Obama's delivered remarks I've read innumerable stories and heard countless analyses about how angry the president appeared, but his anger -- again, this was just my take -- seemed more politically tactical than genuinely emotional.
This is not to suggest that Obama is in any way indifferent or unfeeling. He is, however, extraordinarily realistic about, and intellectually tuned into, inherent human error and inescapable institutional flaws to work up much of an authentic fury when they make their appearance.
No, they're not acceptable; they are, on the other hand, inevitable.
And that's an imposingly hard truth for any politician to impart. From the horror of 9/11 to the potential horror of Flight 253 and in every horrific instance between, the clinical gathering of revealing intelligence has been the least of our problems. What becomes of that intelligence in human hands, however -- whether because of innocent ineptitude or even unpardonable ideological resistance -- is pretty much anybody's guess.
The closest Obama came to imparting that truth emerged from behind the scenes. Tellingly, in Tuesday's meeting the president "insisted that he was not interested in getting into a blame game," reported the Times via anonymous administration sources. "[T]he president called the events leading up to the attempted Christmas Day attack a 'screwup,' one White House official said, and told the assembled officials, 'We dodged a bullet, but just barely.' Mr. Obama, the official said, also told the group that he would not 'tolerate' finger-pointing."
You know, such as the intensely overheated, unscrupulous criticism radiating from the likes of Dick Cheney & Family -- O They of Unpardonable Ideological Resistance -- and their political allies among the GOP in general and more pointedly among right-wing crackpots in print, such as the Washington Post's Charles Krauthammer.
With every passing day, the latter and his diseased ilk become more fantastically unhinged and hysterically irresponsible, writing such imbecilic drivel as: "The reason the country is uneasy about the Obama administration's response to this attack is a distinct sense of not just incompetence but incomprehension. From the very beginning, President Obama has relentlessly tried to play down and deny the nature of the terrorist threat we continue to face."
One can only recline in incredulity in the face of such prodigious rubbish. If anything, Obama has overreacted to the "terrorist threat we continue to face": Exhibit A, and perhaps the only exhibit needed, 101,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan.
Yet, irony being the thematic stuff of great dramatic narratives, I eagerly note that Obama's calmest, most rational and most articulate defender amidst this national security kerfuffle has come from none other than the right: the above-quoted David Brooks.
Whom I'll quote again: "During the middle third of the 20th century, Americans had impressive faith in their own institutions ... [even though] there was a realistic sense that human institutions are necessarily flawed.... That mature attitude seems to have largely vanished. Now we seem to expect perfection from government and then throw temper tantrums when it is not achieved....
"[T]he system is bound to fail sometimes. Reality is unpredictable, and no amount of computer technology is going to change that.... Human institutions are always going to miss crucial clues because the information in the universe is infinite and events do not conform to algorithmic regularity....
"In a mature nation, President Obama could go on TV and say, 'Listen, we?re doing the best we can, but some terrorists are bound to get through.' But this is apparently a country that must be spoken to in childish ways."
QED, Dick and Liz and savage hordes of GOP propagandists and the rabidly foaming Charles, ad infinitum, from the right.
It's true that the conservative Mr. Brooks was, subtly, himself making an ideological point: the Burkean distrust of large, government institutions and realistic acceptance of human imperfection over -- as Burkean conservatism saw it -- liberalism's hopeless corrective strivings. But isn't it refreshing to read this kind of sedate, conservative intelligence -- whether one subscribes to its philosophical tenets or not -- in this era of ultraconservative hysteria?
Brooks & Co.'s rare mind harks back to that postwar brand of Republican Establishmentarianism that is now but a vague, historical memory; a conservatism that permitted authentic, honest debate. Brooks' contemporary conservative colleagues should be ashamed at what they've done to it, but they won't ... because they're shameless.
January 6, 2010Shift in Risk Sentiment Hurting U.S. DollarThe Dollar finished the day near its low as a late session report from the Federal Reserve helped diminish expectations for an interest rate hike. Today?s Federal Reserve minutesshowed that officials were unconvinced about the strength of the recovery and that inflation should remain under control for now.Although the Fed had forecast growth for 2010 and 2011, it stated that a faster paced recovery should not be strong enough to quickly turn around the unemployment …Read More …
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Perhaps you will recall how the clueless Rahm Emanuel-- yes, despite all the media hype he's courted so assiduously and which the media has bought into so thoroughly, he's utterly incompetent and always has been; a bully, certainly, but an incompetent one-- tried to persuade then-Governor Rod Blogojevich to "appoint" a placeholder for "his" congressional seat. Emanuel's intention was always to work for Obama for a year or two-- the length of time even a competent presidential chief of staff would last-- and hen go back and pursue his ambition to become Speaker of the House. Imagine how pissed he was when he found out what any 9th grade civics student could have told him: governors don't appoint House members. It's the Senate that is inherently anti-democratic; the House has always been made up of elected members. Mike Quigley was elected to the seat and he has no intention of stepping aside for Rahm Emanuel.
So Wall Street's boy wonder Inside the Beltway-- yes, yes; he's also the Likud's boy wonder-- started sniffing around for his post-C-o-S job. And, according to Sally Quinn, he's got the Chicago mayoralty in his sights.
Emanuel, the most political animal in this town, also should understand that keeping Rogers on as social secretary reflects upon the president's judgment. It's possible that he has other considerations. Emanuel is said to have told people that the chief-of-staff role is an 18-month job and that he is considering a run for mayor of Chicago. And Rogers is a major social and political player in the Windy City.
Sarah Palin is standing by her claim that Democratic-authored health care legislation includes the infamous "death panels" - even after the assertion was labeled the "lie of the year" by a prize-winning fact checking organization.And, she's the GOP's best hope for 2012.
The former Alaska governor told Sean Hannity, in a taping of the conservative firebrand's radio program on Wednesday, that she was "not gonna back off" the criticism that the health care bill would pursue cost saving measures by rationing end of life care.