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The Prodigal Conflucian, i.e. me!


Well, will you take me back??? Continue reading

America Jumps The Shark

10-obama-meets-spiderman-100109I’m beginning to think that the art of politics (if there is such a thing) is the ability to get strangers to pretend to understand when you talk nonsense out of both sides of your mouth.  Unfortunately, that is also today’s definition of journalism.  That makes looking for turds of political wisdom among the media bullshit as much fun as a scavenger hunt in a sewer.  And just as obvious.

Politico is reporting that there are landmines ahead for ever-prepared policy wonk, Hillary Clinton, in her upcoming Senate confirmation hearings because she’s married to Bill and she ran against the man who appointed her, while at the same time (same article) reporting that her confirmation hearings are scheduled for only one day and everybody thinks she’ll be confirmed “speedily.”

Rasmussen Reports tells us that “lots” of people, 75% in fact, plan to watch at least “some” of the first black president-elect’s upcoming inauguration, with 28% planning to watch it “all,” while you couldn’t pay 21% to watch “any” of it.  They don’t tell us how many people plan to watch “for sure,” but 61% of black people will watch “all” the festivities, because he’s black, too, while only 22% of whites feel the same way, because they’re not.  Since the stupid networks show every indication of airing every aspect of the stupid inauguration festivities over and over until we “all” puke, I think it’s significant that 21% obviously won’t be turning on their televisions, reading a paper or surfing the net in the foreseeable near future.

California Senator Dianne Feinstein’s recent support of Rod Blagojevich’s appointee for Barack Obama’s vacant Senate seat, Roland Burris, should score her some major points with black voters and colleagues who pretty much liked her anyway, according to CQ Politics.  Fienstein’s support registered well with members of the Congressional Black Caucus, though her reasoning had nothing to do with his skin color; rather, she cited a quaint little concept known as “the law.”

Feinstein’s bold stance on a no-brainer issue nonetheless puts her at odds with her Senate colleagues intent upon prolonging what amounts to a pissing contest during a circle jerk.  Those opposing Burris’ seating because he was appointed by a guy they consider to be a slimeball, (presumably not because he was involved in shady pay-to-play scams, but because he got caught; nobody’s calling for Bill Richardson‘s head or for his duties to be suspended; probably because he doesn’t have a Senate seat to sell like Blago and barely Governor Patterson) are suddenly trying to figure out how to zip up their wet pants and look presentable without washing their hands now that they realize that the curtain’s open and people are watching.

What do you do when you pick the guy you like to give the invocation at your inauguration, in order to make nice with the people who didn’t vote for you, if the people who did vote for you hate him?  Why, you find somebody the people who like you will like, too, and invite him to speak at another event, call it an “inauguration…something” and, sell it on EBay the internet.

But, all of that is just business as usual.  Sure, the outgoing Republican president turning over 350 billion taxpayer dollars to the incoming Democratic president is a little unprecedented (like being a little pregnant) but, not eyebrow-raising in today’s Obamacan political climate.  And, so what if people who read Politico think that MSNBC’s Chuck Todd is a latter-day Walter Cronkite?   Who cares if the FISA guy wants to digitalize medical records?  Multiple wars, impeachments, Gitmo flip-flops, unemployment, sucky economy, scandal, we’re used to all that stuff.

No, what has sent the country into a Happy Days-inspired leap from reality is the recent propensity of popular culture icons to embrace the ridiculous as it relates to Barack Obama.  You’d think they’d never seen a black president before, or something.  First Ms. Magazine, in a move that makes6a00e553cca69a8833010536c23492970c-800wi “The View” and “Playgirl” seem radical by comparison, boasted an improbable cover touting Obama’s non-existent feminist creds, going so far as to depict him as the women’s movement’s very own super hero, a giant leap up, in the wrong direction, from Prince Charming or Barbie’s Ken.

But the “fridge was nuked” waaaay over the rainbow shark when Marvel Comics equally (more) improbably paired Obama with a real-as-it-gets superhero, Spiderman, in it’s latest edition, because the future Geek-In-Chief was once a collector.  I shit kid you not.

The Barack Obama rage has now taken the comic world by storm. Reportedly the president will feature along with the superhero ‘Spiderman’. The fact that the US-president elect was a Spidey collector as a kid, has inspired the Marvel Comics to feature the ‘icon’ for the children’s book.

“When we read that we thought, ‘Oh my God the future Commander-in-chief is actually the future nerd-in-chief,’ the New York Daily News quoted Joe Quesada, Marvel’s top editor, as saying. “With a geek in the White House , we just had to give him a shout back. It’s just the coolest thing ever,” Quesada added.

Unlike Ms., at least they didn’t give the Obamessiah undeserved super powers.  Maybe by this time next week, or more likely, the week after, since “lots” of us will be eating nachos and watching the Super Bowl of Politics on cable next week, (I wonder if they’ll have cool new commercials?) we’ll find out that the wheels on the Obabus are actually jet-propelled wings or something.  I’m sure a rocket fueled, Acme Co. E-ject-O driver’s seat is too much to ask for.

And, the wheels on the bus…

*X-posted over at my place, Cinie’s World, as you would expect.

Still Riding the Wave or Crashing on a Rocky Shore?


The other day as I was aimlessly surfing the net in search of something interesting to read, I came across a fascinating op-ed column by James Saft of Reuters, UK. Saft referenced a book by historian David Hackett Fischer, The Great Wave: Price Revolutions and the Rhythm of History. in an effort to understand the current worldwide economic crisis.

Fischer’s book, published in 1996, looks at price data back to the time of the Babylonian king Hammurabi, and actual prices back to Europe in the 13th century.

As the title implies, Fischer finds in the data a succession of waves, often lasting more than 100 years, of first inflation that leads to violent crises and then very long periods in which prices are basically stable. The most recent “Great Wave” of inflation began in 1896 and may or may not have broken on the shore of the current debacle.

“It looks as if the long inflation has come to an end, but we can’t be sure,” Fischer said in an interview.

He makes no claims for the predictive value of his work, unlike those who study cycles, and warns that the wild swings characterizing the ends of waves make it impossible to judge until well after the fact.

Continue reading

Monday: Separation Anxiety

Melissa Ethridge


I don’t want to start another flame war.  I love her songs and her passion.  What bothers me is her slavish devotion to hopium when reality is smacking her upside the head.  But she, like a lot of people who make their money in front of adoring crowds, has to watch what she’s saying.  No, no, I don’t mean she should censor what she says.  I mean that the crowd can turn on her and regardless of her sexual orientation, Ethridge is a cross over singer.  Her career could very easily take a Natalie Maines type path if she pisses off the global warming, crunchy granola, Whole Foods, “we are so enlightened we even listen to lesbians” crowd.

But I think there is a little more to it than that.  Someone recently pointed out that the country has a strong civil rights narrative and it was stirred up last election cycle.  Well, that’s civil rights when it comes to African Americans at least.  The rest of us can take an old, cold tater and wait.  Barack Obama, the post partisan, unimpressive, unaccomplished candidate rode that baby straight to the White House.  The guy who claimed to be running a post racial campaign never let us forget for one minute that he was black.  He brought it up *constantly*.  In fact, it was his secret weapon.  He identified so closely with the struggle to overcome that even *I* was touched when I saw that sea of humanity in Grant Park.  The whole Obama phenomenon didn’t make sense to me until that moment.  But as I watched that joy and triumph, I was able to separate the nation’s ability to overcome the color barrier from Obama, the candidate who exploited that cultural narrative.

I guess I have always been able to see Obama as a post racial candidate.  Ironically, that made me a racist in the eyes of many.  But the color of his skin wasn’t as important to me as the content of his character, which I eventually found severely wanting.  In the last couple of weeks, the orgasm has started to fade away for many and the content of the character has become more and more obvious.  There seems to be an almost frantic response to the idea that Obama is just a man, and not a liberal one, after all.  He now appears to be less than agile as a politician.  He’s pissed some people off.  His economic plans seem underwhelming when a huge, monumental action is called for.  He seems to be pretty cool with Gitmo and the war and torture.  And he has no trouble telling us how we all need to sacrifice.  Like handing over $700 billion to the robber barons and sitting on pins and needles waiting for the pink slip isn’t sacrifice enough.

We’ve seen David Shuster go bat-$#%@ insane over Sarah Palin’s reading list even though Sarah lost already and have heard newly fledged pundits go way off on a tangent justifying their support of Obama because Hillary never told us why she wanted to run for president while Obama did.  And now we have Melissa Ethridge cozying up to Rick Warren saying he’s not so bad after all.  Um, yes, Melissa, he really is that bad.  Give yourself permission to loathe him. Even Ms. Magazine has lost it with its inaugural edition cover of Obama as Superman, bringing hope into the darkness for women.  Tennessee Guerilla Women has a collection of reponses to that cover from around the blogosphere and asks this very pertinent question: Does feminism even need women?

This is what the Kool-ade drinkers bought.  They allowed the Obama magicians to fuse Obama the Unready with Obama the successor to Martin Luther King Jr.  Now that they have discovered he is not who they thought he was, they have separation anxiety.  It’s nervewracking to think you might have been fooled again and that the person you love is not who they said they were.  So, they cling harder, like little kids left with strange babysitters for the first time in their lives.  They can’t let go.

Let it go, guys.  Just because it turns out that Obama is just another fallible human being, albeit more dishonest, insincere and corrupt than most Democrats who run for office, doesn’t mean you are a racist for thinking so.  Just because his campaign was so bad that he needed the RBC hearing to rig the primary so he could “win”, doesn’t mean you are a stupid, old, ugly woman for finally coming to that realization.  You can still enjoy the inauguration of the first African-American, because that will be his only moment of glory.  He ran as a symbol of his race, whatever race means in a strictly genetic sense, and he won.  Celebrate with the country’s African Americans.  We can live it up because the triumph wasn’t Obama’s, it was OURS as a nation.  Learn to separate the guy who flogged that racism baby harder than anyone ever has from the country’s victory from the shackles of bigotry that bound us to old white guys for president for hundreds of years.

The struggle for equality isn’t over by a long shot.  No one in the LGBT community should relax and women have just had the clock reset for them by forty years.  It is going to be a long, hard slog for us, make no mistake about it.  And Obama is already a failure as a president IMHO because he didn’t bother building accountability into the Paulsen Bailout Bill when he had a chance back in September and October of last year like Hillary was trying to do.  But that is the hand that the Kool-ade drinkers have dealt us even if they are now sobering up.  But we have to make the next week of inaugural BS shoveled down our throats palatable.  So, try to live in the moment because the good times won’t last more than a nanosecond.

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