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      From a study by his officials: In the report, “The State of Homelessness in America,” even shelters get some of the blame for increasing the number of people who are homeless.The argument: Some people would be able to find their own housing if they were turned away from shelters. “While shelters play an extremely important role […]
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Early Reviews Are In: This Show is Not Ready for Prime Time

flight-jacket3
“Spiffy new flight jacket”

It’s been a tough couple of weeks for our new President. Does the guy know anyone he can appoint to a position who isn’t a tax cheat?

Conservative pundits are having a field day with Obama’s recent “missteps.”

Michael Goodwin of the New York Daily News:

It’s not easy to waste a mandate and a honeymoon at the same time, but President Obama seems determined to try. You know he’s off to a lousy start when his most favorable reviews came after he said, “I screwed up.”

Did he ever, and not just once. If he keeps going this way, America will be saying, “We screwed up.”

Charles Krauthammer at the Washington Post begins with a quote from Obama, “A failure to act, and act now, will turn crisis into a catastrophe.”

Catastrophe, mind you. So much for the president who in his inaugural address two weeks earlier declared “we have chosen hope over fear.” Until, that is, you need fear to pass a bill.

And so much for the promise to banish the money changers and influence peddlers from the temple. An ostentatious executive order banning lobbyists was immediately followed by the nomination of at least a dozen current or former lobbyists to high position. Followed by a Treasury secretary who allegedly couldn’t understand the payroll tax provisions in his 1040. Followed by Tom Daschle, who had to fall on his sword according to the new Washington rule that no Cabinet can have more than one tax delinquent.

Victor Davis Hanson, of the The Corner is openly ridiculing Obama for his lack of leadership in “The Impending Obama Meltdown.”

Some of us have been warning that it was not healthy for the U.S. media to have deified rather than questioned Obama, especially given that they tore apart Bush, ridiculed Palin, and caricatured Hillary. And now we can see the results of their two years of advocacy rather than scrutiny.

We are quite literally after two weeks teetering on an Obama implosion—and with no Dick Morris to bail him out—brought on by messianic delusions of grandeur, hubris, and a strange naivete that soaring rhetoric and a multiracial profile can add requisite cover to good old-fashioned Chicago politicking.

First, there were the sermons on ethics, belied by the appointments of tax dodgers, crass lobbyists, and wheeler-dealers like Richardson—with the relish of the Blago tapes still to come. (And why does Richardson/Daschle go, but not Geithner?).

Ouch! I know Hanson is a wing nut, but except for the part about Dick Morris, I really can’t disagree with him. Continue reading

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Don’t Forget to Tune in at 8:00pm for NO WE WON’T

Tonight’s Guest Host is the Confluence’s Own: Angienc

nww627

To Listen to the Show: CLICK HERE

CALL IN # (347) 539-5420

Comments Closed Here until 9:00pm – Make Sure to Check Out

Heidi Li’s post downstairs and join in the discussion

Kim Gandy is no Mary Anderson

(Cross-posted from Heidi Li’s Potpourri – if you enjoy the historical part of this post you might also enjoy this one from Potpourri)

I have been given to understand that a) Kim Gandy, currently President of N.O.W. (National Organization for Women) wants to become head of the Women’s Bureau at the Department of Labor and that b) today, February 8, 2009, a number of bloggers will be discussing whether appointing her to the job is a good idea. That Ms. Gandy wants the job is a total rumor to me; if she does, I can’t say that the choice thrills me.

The choice of Gandy does not thrill me because she holds great power at N.O.W. (from the N.O.W. site: “Gandy also is president of the NOW Foundation, chair of NOW’s Political Action Committees, and serves as the principal spokesperson for all three entities”; and I think she used that power to have N.O.W. sell women down the river when N.O.W. broke with its usual practice and made a general election presidential endorsement, picking Barack Obama, somebody who used and tolerated sexism and misogyny to gain the Democratic Party’s nomination. I use the expression “sold women down the river” with all its metaphorical baggage: the image of humans being treated like chattel sold down to the Delta to be auctioned off. I think N.O.W. had very little evidence of Barack Obama’s commitment to women’s empowerment, little evidence of even his commitment to women’s reproductive rights (the usual excuse used by mainstream women’s groups to go out of their way to support his candidacy). And still, under the leadership of Gandy, N.O.W. went out of its way to auction off women’s votes, encouraging them to turn out and make sure this man, who never once denounced the nutcrackers and the media comments and the misogynistic rappers singing him into office, became President of the United States of America.

On the other side of the ledger, Kim Gandy has clearly spent the better part of her life working on issues important to women; she’s probably quite knowledgeable about working conditions for women and in a position to hire high quality staff. So Gandy is not a bad person and she’s not anti-woman. But she made a Faustian bargain at high profile moment. The dynamics of the general election were such that women’s votes really mattered. And lots of women were and still are furious at the Democratic Party for depriving Hillary Rodham Clinton of an equal opportunity to win the nomination at the Denver Convention by abiding by the Party’s own rules and traditions. Under these circumstances, N.O.W. should have remained agnostic. As an organization that does not usually trade in presidential endorsements, refraining from making one would not have made news. Going out of its way to endorse Obama is what made news, and Gandy made that decision. In a year when every poll showed any generic Democrat beating John McCain and almost every poll consistently predicted Obama beating McCain, there really was no reason – even for those who believed that McCain would be a worse president for women than Obama – for women’s organizations to line up behind Obama. The only reason to do so would be fear of reprisal if they did not; or if their leaders hoped for a seat within the administration after the election. N.O.W. and, if rumor is correct, Ms. Gandy acted for the latter reasons.

I believe that once a person shows a capacity for major betrayal – in public or private life – that person cannot be safely relied upon to act in a reasonably trustworthy way again. So I was not surprised that it turned out that Bill Richardson had apparently not been totally forthcoming with the Obama administration about the corruption charges against him back in New Mexico. If Richardson would deceive the Clintons to further his aims, why would he not do the same to Obama?

If Kim Gandy was willing to sell out women who expected really very little of her – just that she stick with usual practice and show organizational restraint in an election that was wracking many women with distress – I can easily predict that she will sell out women who expect harder things of her, such as real fighting for women’s interests in an economy that is bad for everybody but worst for women.

That said, making a deal with the devil does not make Kim Gandy the devil. Of course neither does it make her another Mary Anderson, the first director of the Women’s Bureau of the Department of Labor.

Mary Anderson (served 1920 – 1944)

Ander2

The first “up from the ranks” labor woman to head an executive department of the Federal Government, Mary Anderson directed the Women’s Bureau for nearly 25 years, leading efforts to win better wages, hours and working condition for women. She served for five presidents and, during her tenure, saw the ranks of women workers more than double.

Women’s Bureau, Director’s Gallery

“As the world evolves, so too does the growing role of women who are proving their infinite capabilities in today’s complex workplace, and exhibiting a new usefulness now and for the future.”

Mary Anderson Signaturefrom the Labor Hall of Fame citation inducting Mary Anderson

Also from that citation:

From a domestic worker to factory employee to trade union leader, Swedish-born Mary Anderson was a tireless champion of women in the workplace. Director of the Women’s Bureau for a quarter century, she was the most influential of all women in Federal service. Her leadership in fact-finding and standards-setting established her as the Nation’s foremost authority in the struggle for women’s rights and the improvement of their lives and working conditions.

At the start of the 20th century the Women’s Bureau was lead by a woman whose commitment to women’s equal opportunity in the workplace transcended party politics, Why should we expect anything less from the Director appointed at the start of the 21st century?

(Excerpted at 51 Percent)

Sunday Afternoon Open Thread

stimulus

What’s on your mind?

Sunday: Krugman fails to cheerlead. Becomes just another Limbaugh

Paul Krugman

His eyes are so dreamy!

His eyes are so dreamy!

{{sigh, shaking head}}

What are we going to do with you, Paul?  Did you forget your Prozac, buddy?  You are being relentlessly negative.  Shouldn’t you be out there pushing for the country to embrace and promote the Obama economic stimulus plan?  Where’s your patriotism?  Your sense of hope and optimism?  Your insistence on a reality based understanding of macroeconomics and concern for the “general welfare” mentioned in the preamble is really harshing the Hopium mellow:

According to the CBO’s estimates, we’re facing an output shortfall of almost 14% of GDP over the next two years, or around $2 trillion. Others, such as Goldman Sachs, are even more pessimistic. So the original $800 billion plan was too small, especially because a substantial share consisted of tax cuts that probably would have added little to demand. The plan should have been at least 50% larger.

Now the centrists have shaved off $86 billion in spending — much of it among the most effective and most needed parts of the plan. In particular, aid to state governments, which are in desperate straits, is both fast — because it prevents spending cuts rather than having to start up new projects — and effective, because it would in fact be spent; plus state and local governments are cutting back on essentials, so the social value of this spending would be high. But in the name of mighty centrism, $40 billion of that aid has been cut out.

My first cut says that the changes to the Senate bill will ensure that we have at least 600,000 fewer Americans employed over the next two years.

The real question now is whether Obama will be able to come back for more once it’s clear that the plan is way inadequate. My guess is no. This is really, really bad.

What a downer.  No one’s going to want to hang out with you, Paul.  You are going to ruin *everything* for Obama.  Why are you getting on his case before he’s even done anything?  He’s just learning how to do this stuff.  It’s soooo unfaaaaiiiir!

His eyes are so piggy!

His eyes are so piggy!

Jeez, Paul, I never thought I would see the day when a liberal such as yourself would channel Rush Limbaugh. Clearly, you are becoming just like him.  You want to undermine Obama. You *want* to see him fail.  You can’t wait til he crashes and burns and you will laugh all the way from your cushy desk in Princeton reveling in his ignominious demise that YOU helped engineer.

Or maybe you’re not like Rush at all.  Maybe you are like those racist, closeted Republican, old, uneducated, working class, sino-Peruvian lesbians here at The Confluence.  The Axelrovian moles are out in force in different blog comment threads accusing we “shrieking bands of paranoid holdouts” of sedition.  But I have prepared a handy chart for those visitors looking for a rage fix.  Here is the difference between Rush Limbaugh and Conflucians:

Rush Limbaugh

Conflucians

Big, Fat Idiot

Scientists, health care professionals,
economists, attornies, academics, students, marketing/ad specialists, IT
nazis
, body coaches, opera singers, psychologists, DJs, librarians and freelance morticians

Lying liar

Not really into character assassination and rumormongering. We passed on the birth certificate
and Larry Sinclair gay sex stuff.

Tool of the right wing uber rich

Just a bunch of liberlal blogger types, defending our right of self-determination and freedom of speech

Bombastic, mean-spirited, misogynistic gasbag

Ruthlessly snarky

Paid millions of dollars to pollute the airwaves and clog up the intertoobz

We do this for free! Although, we are
considering other options as long as they don’t infringe on our ability to
call it like we see it

Promotes
the agenda of the neo-feudalists

Firmly in the pocket of the working class American schlub

(and by working class, we mean everyone not making millions of dollars in
bonuses each year)

Which are you, Paul? Are you going to be a morbid crepe hanger, pointing out every inadequacy of the economic stimulus plan just because tens of millions of middle class Americans are about to experience real poverty for the first time in their lives or are you going to jump aboard the Obama Love Train and put your niggling, Nobel prize winning doubts to rest? You wouldn’t want to be the target of a Axelrodian generated discrediting campaign of vicious lies and innuendos would you? That would mean you can’t sit at the popular table anymore. You’d have to hang with the Conflucians and the {{gasp!}}, PUMAs!

It’s up to you, Paul. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.