Good Morning Conflucians!!
What a week we’ve had with our Democratic majority in both houses and a Democratic president. With an initial super majority and later with a near super majority, most of their accomplishments would be great successes if they were Republicans. Here’s a quote from Jay Leno from last week that sums things up:
It looks like the Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthy will continue, thanks to the courage of a strong Republican leader, Barack Obama.
In fact, today, Obama changed his slogan from “Yes, we can” to “Yes, we caved.”
Sad but true. To pressure from a small minority, the president caved. You’d think he had no political or policy experience at all. Oh wait, he didn’t have any when he was selected as the Democratic candidate by the super delegates, that is, mostly members of the very same supermajority in congress. Oh, then it’s not a surprise at all. In fact, we… oh, never mind. No one listened then. Here’s an interesting op-ed in the Chicago Tribune that echo’s what we’ve been saying:
Smart women know that if a guy is sending mixed signals — promising to call but never getting around to it, making dates and then canceling, professing warm feelings but not introducing you to his friends — it can mean only one thing: He’s just not that into you.
Liberals keep wondering why Barack Obama so often disappoints them. But if he truly cared about not disappointing them, he wouldn’t. He disappoints them because his heart is somewhere else.
It took a while, but thanks to the tax deal he reached with Republicans, it seems to be dawning on those in the left wing of the Democratic Party that he is not one of them and never will be.
So the tax cut deal came as a bitter surprise. But why? Obama has made it plain that he sees liberal priorities as sometimes congenial but always expendable.
He signed a stimulus package far smaller than liberals wanted. He dropped the “public option” from health care reform while protecting the interests of insurance companies. He bailed out big banks.
He stuck to George W. Bush’s policy in Iraq and escalated the war in Afghanistan. He hasn’t gotten around to closing the Guantanamo detention camp. He signed a free trade deal with South Korea.
A few weeks ago, liberal Democrats were up in arms about the recommendations of deficit commission co-chairs Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called the plan “simply unacceptable.” Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, an avowed socialist, denounced it as “absurd.”
What no one seemed to notice is that the commission came about only because of an executive order by Obama, who also appointed the leaders. Could it be that Obama selected them because he knew, and liked, what they would propose?
Liberals and conservatives have one thing in common: They have both persisted in believing that Obama, in his heart of hearts, is a man of the left. But by his fruits, they — eventually — shall know him.
That’s kind of it in a nut shell. Judge him by his actions. Any progressive holdouts that still think Obama is on their side, the message is clear, he’s just not that in to you.
But we’ve all been very happy to see a real government official doing what he’s hired to do, push hard on the values he holds dear. Bernie Sanders has become a hit filibustering the bad tax bill. The NYTimes seems to have another story up about it (after deleting an earlier one because, well, because it showed the MSM’s chosen ones to be fools). And Salon has a good one up as well. From Salon:
His epic rant — perhaps one of the most extraordinary critiques of how the American economy has been managed over the last several decades delivered in living memory — is an endless sequence of connecting the dots from one outrage to another. Even as I wrote this paragraph, he segued effortlessly from trade policy to Wall Street.
“But it is not just a disastrous trade policy that has brought us where we are today. The immediate cause of this crisis, and it gets me just sick talking about it … is what the crooks on Wall Street have done to the American people.”
Sanders then delivers a capsule history of deregulation, blasts Alan Greenspan, notes that in the late ’90s he had predicted everything that ultimately happened, but failed to rally legislative support to stop the runaway train — “and the rest is, unfortunately, history.”
From there, a class warfare sideswipe: “Understand, that in this country when you are a CEO on Wall Street — you can do pretty much anything you want and get away it.”
“And what they did to the American people is so horrible.”
And a bit from the NYTimes:
“I’m not here to set any great records, or to make a spectacle,” Senator Bernard Sanders, independent of Vermont, said Friday, about a minute into his speech on the Senate floor. By the time he stopped talking, nearly nine hours later, Mr. Sanders was an ascendant, if unlikely, Internet star.
Mr. Sanders’s monologue, a marathon riff against the Obama administration’s plan to continue the tax policies of George W. Bush, stirred Twitter users to a roar over the course of eight-plus hours, putting his name atop the social network’s “trending topics” by Friday night. It garnered even more attention than when he was elected to the Senate in 2006 and was considered the first senator ever to identify himself as a socialist.
“I was a little bit nervous having never done this before,” Mr. Sanders, 69, said Saturday in a telephone interview from Burlington, Vt. “I was afraid that after two or three hours I’d have nothing more to say or I’d be tired or have to go to the bathroom. But I was pleased. It was very strange walking on there when the longest speech you’ve ever given in your life is an hour and a half.”
Bernie, you rock! You’re the best thing going in congress. Please, please, keep up the good work. If you need anyone to bring water, sandwiches, whatever, you need only ask.
Meanwhile Obama in his radio address says it’s a good deal for Americans and will likely pass:
President Obama said Saturday that the compromise he reached with Republicans on tax cuts was “by no means perfect” but a “good deal for the American people.”
Obama, in his weekly radio address, said the middle class had been hit hardest by the recession and that “taking money out of the pockets of working people is exactly the wrong thing to do to get our economy growing faster.”
Economists say the tax hikes that would result if Congress failed to act could cost “well over a million jobs,” Obama said.
And if anyone understands how to count jobs and what things will effect them, it’s Obama. Oh wait, no, he’s been wrong about jobs and unemployment every time. I think when Obama says it will be a good deal for the American people, I think he has a different definition of American people than the rest of us have. I think he means the kinds of people he knows and hangs around with, the super rich. The rest I presume can just eat cake.
In other legislative efforts, it looks like the Dream act will be shelved:
The measure that passed in the House on Wednesday is unlikely go anywhere in the Senate, and the House is unlikely to revisit the issue once the new Republican leadership takes over.
Groups like The National Council of La Raza and other Hispanic and immigrant advocacy groups know the prospects for comprehensive immigration reform are dim for the time being. So they’ve turned their attention to a measure that they believe will spark more sympathy from most Americans, bringing with them a coalition of labor groups, the Conference of Catholic Bishops and even Defense Secretary Robert Gates. And come 2012, advocates say, Spanish-language media will be filled with ads slamming lawmakers who voted against the Dream Act.
Good luck with that. I’m afraid Obama’s just not that into you guys either.
A couple of items covered yesterday are worth another mention. Richard Holbrooke had heart surgery yesterday. And Elizabeth Edwards’ funeral was yesterday.
An interesting twist in the stock market this week, the S&P dropped NYTimes and added Netflix:
Netflix was added to Standard & Poor’s S&P 500 index, which lists large-cap public companies, mostly from the U.S.
It’s also a sign of the times as an old media giant, The New York Times, officially loses the large-cap company title and starts slumming with other mid-sized companies.
One outlet brings you fiction, the other movies. Yea, I couldn’t resist that one. But in truth, I quite like the paper. I wish they would revisit that old tradition of journalism now and again though.
Another bit of interesting news this week is that life expectancy has gone down the US, though it’s up for black men:
Overall U.S. life expectancy dropped a tenth of a year to 77.8. It’s down by a fifth of a year in white men and women but up to 70 years for black men — an all-time high.
This isn’t the first downtick in U.S. life expectancy — there have been three others since 1980, the most recent in 2005. It’s too soon to say whether the current slight decline is the beginning of a plateau or whether American life span will resume its upward trend.
Infant mortality in the U.S. dropped 2.4% to an all-time record low of 6.59 deaths per 1,000 live births.
So mixed news. Follow the link for more details that only an actuary could love. Well, and the people on the cat food commission.
In the corner of the newspaper Obots follow most closely, there are some updates with Sarah Palin. First she went down to Haiti to add to the focus and attention to the cholera epidemic. If you want a good chuckle, take a look at WaPo’s coverage. They talk about what she wore and about the security involved in her visit. No, I’m not kidding. Hilarious. And while on the subject, Palin’s reality show last week involved her and her dad and a friend hunting. Pretty straightforward hunting trip to any familiar with hunting. But of course the usual crowd has gone apeshit over the episode. Here’s an interesting take on how normal the event was and how crazy the coverage has been (warning, WSJ):
The other and more interesting discovery, at least for me, is how little most people who criticized the episode know about Alaska, guns, wildlife, and hunting. The Hollywood swell Aaron Sorkin started the ball at the Huffington Post by misidentifying Palin’s quarry, the caribou, as a moose.
I mean, I know Sorkin wrote “The Social Network” (OMG! 2 cool!) and all that, but boy, does he know zilch about animals (including, presumably, the ones that provide his Santa Monica dinners). I suppose he doesn’t understand that he’s a predator in his own right – who else would label a woman documenting a hunting trip with her father, Chuck Palin Sr., as a “witless bully?”
But never mind that. Friends have told me that even some hunters have criticized the show on various grounds. After watching the episode, I suspect it’s simply because those critics are among that distinct minority that hunts but also suffers from Sarah-phobia. The show accurately represents an authentic hunting experience; in fact, it does so with greater honesty and integrity that you find on your typical Saturday morning “antler porn” hunting show.
Palin’s hunt opens the window on a fiercely beloved (mostly) rural tradition with surprising grace and sensitivity (as demonstrated by the inclusion of those can’t-miss extras, like the red-tailed hawk in flight, roiled skies, and campfire banter). The show is often touching, not least because of the father-daughter bonding elements that seem staged in direct proportion to the degree of animosity you feel toward Palin. I feel none, so they work for me.
There’s a lot more detail and coverage of various issues critics have brought up. I watched the episode and thought it was great. The woman who lives alone was truly amazing. And the hunting part was handled well. Of course I understand if you’re a vegetarian that it will not be to your liking. There was a bumper sticker on one of the trucks used that says “Vegetarian: An old indian word for poor hunter.” I have to admit, I also liked the episode because I knew exactly the kind of reaction it would get from the usual suspects. Just cracks me up.
Let’s leave you with one more bit of humor. Jimmy Fallon on his show this week had this to say:
President Obama has reached a deal with Republicans to extend the Bush tax cuts in exchange for extending jobless benefits. The Republicans in Congress say they’re thrilled with the tax cuts, while Democrats leaving Congress say they’re thrilled with the jobless benefits.
There you have it. A bit of what’s happened this week, and what’s going on today. Chime in with what you’re finding.
Filed under: Barack Obama, broken promises, comedy, Economy, General, Immigration Reform, Morning News edition, Palin Derangement Syndrome, Sarah Palin, Taxes, unemployment | Tagged: General, Morning Edition, news | 45 Comments »