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Restore the Wetlands. Reinforce the Levees.

Archive for October, 2009

Pajama Party

Monday, October 12th, 2009

ds5087Those bloggers need to take off their pajamas, get dressed and realize that governing a closely divided country is complicated and difficult.” —Anonymous Obama adviser to NBC White House correspondent John Harwood

Wait—we have to get dressed? Drag! Our best pieces are done in our PJ’s! We just sit here in our flannels, drinking coffee and scratching our unshaven cheeks and making wisecracks about the hard-working grown-ups who have real jobs. (Maybe we’re still in our pajamas because—why bother dressing?—we can’t find a job?)

Hey, you know what’s difficult? Understanding how the Obama administration has let Wall Street get away with murder. You know what else is difficult? Going on a third, fourth, and fifth tour of duty to Afghanistan when your marriage is falling apart and the bank is foreclosing on your house. You know what else is difficult? Understanding how an anonymous source in the White House thinks it’s smart to whisper to John Harwood that the progressives who supported Obama when most of the “dressed” people backed Hillary need to get serious. That’s a real Sister Souljah moment—especially coming from an anonymous source. That’ll put us in our place.

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The Nobel Peace Prize 2009

Saturday, October 10th, 2009

nobel-medal_thumbnail_0Warm congratulations to President Barack Obama for being selected to receive the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize “for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples.” It is a proud and happy occasion for the President and for the United States of America. French President Nicolas Sarkozy expressed well the international significance of the prize in his letter of congratulations: “. . . it sets the seal on America’s return to the heart of all the world’s peoples.”

The Nobel Committee’s announcement reads in part:

Obama has as President created a new climate in international politics. . . . Only very rarely has a person to the same extent as Obama captured the world’s attention and given its people hope for a better future. His diplomacy is founded in the concept that those who are to lead the world must do so on the basis of values and attitudes that are shared by the majority of the world’s population.

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Are “Conservatives” Conservative?
Are They Even American?

Tuesday, October 6th, 2009

Sipa Press“. . . although they believe themselves to be conservatives and usually employ the rhetoric of conservatism, [pseudo-conservatives] show signs of a serious and restless dissatisfaction with American life, traditions, and institutions. . . . Their political reactions express rather a profound if largely unconscious hatred of our society and its ways. . . . The pseudo-conservative is a man who, in the name of upholding traditional American values and institutions and defending them against more or less fictitious dangers, consciously or unconsciously aims at their abolition.”

Richard Hofstadter, “The Pseudo-Conservative Revolt” (1954)

We’ve been looking for a more accurate word to describe those on the political right. Philosophically, self-proclaimed “conservatives” are far from the root meaning of conserve, as in conservation, preservation (see Inhofe below). “Traditionalist” would not do, either, exactly. “Pseudo-conservative,” the term used above by Hofstadter? Radicals? Revolutionaries? The question of identity here is not so much about ordinary citizens who are understandably ill at ease with high government spending, economically insecure, suspicious of the mainstream news media, and so on. We’re thinking more of the elites, the elected officials who until recently held the White House and majorities in Congress, certain corporate executives and right-wing think tankers and pundits who identify themselves as conservatives.

Now, of course, those who call themselves conservatives will insist that they are the true Americans, and that those they oppose are not worthy of the name (think, for example, of HUAC, the House Un-American Activities Committee [1938–75]). And the more fiercely “conservative,” the more vehemently they insist. But we think they do protest too much.

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Rep. Grayson, Tough Kid from Bronx, Rips GOP

Friday, October 2nd, 2009

We like to look on the bright side when it’s at all realistic to do so, and so in a week that saw the very disappointing performance (despicable, really) of several Democratic members of the Senate Finance Committee—including Chairman Max Baucus—who voted against amendments put forth by their Democratic colleagues Jay Rockefeller and Chuck Schumer that would have offered some form of public option to the Finance Committee’s health reform bill, we are happy to praise someone who does have courage to stand up and fight.

Ladies and gentlemen, may we introduce the Bronx Bomber.

On the floor of the House Sept. 29 and 30, Florida Democratic Congressman Alan Grayson bluntly called the congressional Republicans heartless liars whose only health care plan is “Don’t get sick . . . and if you do get sick, die quickly.” Naturally the Republicans are shocked! at such behavior from a Democrat, and have demanded an apology. Not from this Democrat. Grayson turned right around and apologized to the tens of thousands of Americans who have died needlessly from a heartless medical system. He cited a recent study that says 44,789 Americans die each year because they have no health insurance. “I apologize to the dead and their families that we haven’t acted sooner to end this holocaust in America.” (More about his use of the word “holocaust” below.) Later in the TPM clip shown here, CNN’s polite society led by Wolf Blitzer asks Grayson if he shouldn’t apologize to the Republicans. “They should apologize to the American people. These are foot-dragging, knuckle-dragging Neanderthals who think they can dictate policy to America by being stubborn.” He used the same terms with Rachel Maddow, but added, “We’re dealing here with people on the other side who are utterly unscrupulous.” (He also admitted, when pressed three times, that the word “holocaust” perhaps wasn’t the best choice of words.) Here is a clip from The Rachel Maddow Show that shows her interview in full.

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