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    • Rationality Is A Process, Not A Conclusion (Nuclear Weapons Edition)
      A lot of mistakes come from assuming rationality means “thinks the same way I do” rather than “reasons from premises I might not share.” Left than 1/1000 economists predicted the financial collapse, because they reasoned from assumptions like “the market is self-correcting” or “housing prices never go down.” (Sometimes both at the same time, which is rarely […]
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Your Breakfast Read, Served By The Confluence

Newspaper reading

  • Forget the 100 Days nonsense. Here comes the first test for Obama.
    Justice Souter to Retire From Court

    Justice Souter, 69, has been a reliable member of the court’s liberal wing, and President Obama is unlikely to appoint a successor who would significantly alter the court’s ideological makeup. He is likely to select a candidate young enough to serve for decades, bolstering the court’s aging liberal faction. Most observers expect he will nominate a woman to join the seven other men and one woman remaining on the court.

    White House Cheat Sheet: Souter Retirement (Further) Roils Political Landscape

  • Nobody is safe from the “swine” flu
    Obama guard on Mexico trip ‘has swine flu’

    A US security aide involved in Barack Obama’s recent visit to Mexico became the latest probable victim of swine flu yesterday, though the White House was quick to point out that the president was in no danger of contracting the virus.

    “The Gaffetastic One” makes life miserable for “The One”
    Biden’s Remarks Derail President’s Temperate Message

    On Thursday, Mr. Biden upended the Obama message machine on NBC’s “Today Show,” saying he would advise his own family not to ride a plane, take the subway or put themselves in any confined spaces. The appearance infuriated airline and public-transit industries and highlighted how difficult it is for the administration to find the right message about the new flu — and how different the careful president is from his free-speaking second.

  • Charles Krauthammer endorses torture uses the nonsensical “ticking bomb” scenario from 24
    Torture? No. Except . . .

    Here’s a must-read for all torture fanatics
    When Israel Confronted and Rejected Torture

    Reading about the Bush administration’s convoluted attempts to justify torture takes me back to reporting I did 12 years ago on the anguished debate in Israel over its secret service’s use of violence in interrogations. That was two years before the Israeli Supreme Court banned the practice. “This is the destiny of democracy, as not all means are acceptable to it and not all practices employed by its enemies are open before it,” wrote the president of the court, Aharon Barak.

  • I have listened to many interviews from William Cohan about his latest book House of Cards: A Tale of Hubris and Wretched Excess on Wall Street. The book has been languishing in my shopping cart for a while but that’s about to change. How did I miss this diatribe from Jimmy Caine (former Bear Stearns CEO) about Timmy: (via NY Magazine, h/t Brad Delong) (I tried to fill in the blanks)
    Bear Stearns’ Jimmy Cayne’s Profane Tirade Against Treasury’s Geithner

    “The audacity of that p(ric)k in front of the American people announcing he was deciding whether or not a firm of this stature and this whatever was good enough to get a loan,” he said. “Like he was the determining factor, and it’s like a flea on his back, floating down underneath the Golden Gate Bridge, getting a h(ar)d-on, saying, ‘Raise the bridge.’ This guy thinks he’s got a big d(ic)k. He’s got nothing, except maybe a boyfriend. I’m not a good enemy. I’m a very bad enemy. But certain things really—that bothered me plenty. It’s just that for some clerk to make a decision based on what, your own personal feeling about whether or not they’re a good credit? Who the f(uc)k asked you? You’re not an elected officer. You’re a clerk. Believe me, you’re a clerk. I want to open up on this f(ucke)r, that’s all I can tell you.”

  • Thank Goodness thehere are some sane people in the midst of totally insane creeps
    Marriage of Saudi Arabian girl, eight, annulled

    An eight-year old Saudi Arabian girl who was married off by her father to a man in his 50s has had the union annulled, it was reported yesterday. The case, which had generated local and international outrage, ended with an out-of-court settlement.

34 Responses

  1. Gotta run.

    There are tons of interesting items I could add later.

    • Thanks for doing these morning read posts, mablue. Great way to start the day.

  2. Thanks MABlue,

    Hope to see you later. Going to check links now.

  3. Yup! Joe’s inspired comments made at least one NYC tabloid front cover

    • Remember it was Obama’s superior judgment in picking Joe (that is why Hillary R. Clinton, was blocked from getting a VP ROLL CALL VOTE by the DNC elite; Donna Brazile, Pelosi, Dean, Axelrod and Obama) and Joe was such a prize that Obama offered the SoS job to him first.

      Imagine Joe running around the world as SoS… 🙄

      • Still, I gotta love it that Joe can’t keep his foot out of his mouth. Actually, Joe’s the only one in the administration who forgets the gag order and speaks the truth once in a while. And doesn’t that just piss off Barry. You should have heard National Pampers Radio today trying to to damage control on Joe’s gaffe: surreal, in an Orwellian/Kafkaesque kind of way.

  4. I would love to know how the WH is so sure the President is in “no danger.” That is two people now that he was exposed to who got swine flu. And one of them died the day after shaking hands with Obama!

    • Because they already gave him all the treatments available and they have all the Purell (that is why there is none at the stores now). Obama will be OK!

    • Because he is the son of God and as such is resistant to mere disease.

  5. A woman? There is only one woman. Hillary. And the defeat of the cramdown proves that we need her on the Supreme Court bench to clean up this economic mess. No elected representative will ever be able to stand up to the banksters who put them in office. Somebody needs to gut this evil bankruptcy act and I say Hillary is the one because she called the debacle long before anyone else listened. I know, I know, I’m dreaming and I haven’t had my coffee yet. But a girl can hope, right?

  6. If the flu is so deadly that it requires level 5 warnings from the WHO, why isn’t the White House closed down? This guy who got the flu passed it to family members and went to work with it. So people in the WH have been exposed. To me this proves that all the hysteria about this flu bug is total B.S., and they are just milking it to avoid other issues like torture prosecutions.

    • Correction: apparently the museum director that Obama shook hands with didn’t actually die of the flu.


      Nevertheless, if this thing is so serious, I think they would be more worried about the WH staff member who caught it. The whole thing is completely overblown, IMHO.

      • I’m concerned that it’s been so difficult to get accurate information about this flu …. first we hear the museum director died of the flu, now we hear he didn’t …. at first the death count reported for Mexico was high, then yesterday I heard a revised number …..

        Biden says he would tell his family not to travel in confined spaces …. then we hear he intended to say something else ….

        I know our media sucks, but can’t they at least get their facts straight before they start spinning them?

        At this point, my best guess is that this particular strain of flu in pretty mild, but that the various governmental agencies and WHO fear it could mutate to a more deadly strain if it circulates widely and continues to spread into the fall (apparently, that is what happened with the 1918 flu, however, that doesn’t mean that will happen with this one).

        • I heard on the BBC that this flu has been around a while and that it’s just being reported on. The case in PA is from March. The reason the death count in Mexico went down is that many who died did so before they were conducting the lab tests and, thus, can’t conclusively say it was this strain. They are listed as probables. Also the speaker reminded us that many people die of the flu each year – vulnerable people due to age, and other compromises to the immune system.

          From this I would agree with you that “this particular strain of flu in pretty mild.”

      • They can’t speak the like Joe Blah Blah VP because they would PANIC people and they don’t have masks to hand out, they are working on it and the idea was to contain where they could while they get their act in order.

        The Brits are reporting that even doctors don’t have enough masks on hand for protection, so they too are in the same dilemma. Hope for the best, and trust that they are getting it together and please keep Joe in Al Gore’s ‘LOCK BOX’ until it is over. It sickens people to have the White House tell lies to cover him (gaffs) and it will only lead to miss trust of the government during a crisis/emergency.

  7. Maybe BO is actually spreading the flu. He is a bit of a pig you know

  8. I think Obama will appoint a Hispanic Liberal Woman on the SC.

    He has to.

    • Has to????

      • I think so.

        We have only one woman on the SCOTUS and there are no Hispanics. In addition, we need a solid Liberal.

        I only hope everyone to the left of Mussolini will put enouigh pressure on Obama to avoid the bipartisan non-sense on this nominee.

        As I said, this will forget the 100 days silliness, this is the first big test.

        • I predict that liberals will be disappointed by his pick (though of course the fauxgressives will do their best to spin it).

        • You are so full of hope. I will be shocked if Obama nominates either a woman or a Latino. I’ll bet Larry Tribe thnks he’s getting it, but it will probably be Cass Sunstein. Larry Tribe would be OK with me, but Obama will probably go with the Chicago school.

        • The first big test was dealing with torture, and he flunked it royally.

          • You’re on a roll, bb. Predicting from past Obama decisions is disheartening though. Quick, I’m off to looking up election reform activities.

          • I think the first test was FISA, before he took office. Failed miserably. Oh, and don’t forget public campaign financing….

    • I think he’ll say” we have to reach across , blah blah blah.” He was going to vote for Roberts before his aide told him not to….perhaps it’s a matter of who has his ear at the time….but he’d be smart to make such a pic as you suggest ….( if they could be relied upon to make the calls Barry Inc wants ) because his Hispanic appeal could use some help.

    • Obama Borrows “Just Words”

      It will be Deval Patrick for keeping quiet about ‘Just Words’ and then saying he lent his speech to Obama, as plagiarism led to Obama’s wise choice of VP Biden to drop out of a prior run for President.

      So, it will be Deval Patrick!

  9. Well, ok, but I don’t believe for once second that Israel’s Mossad actually “abandoned” torture.


  10. “The Gaffetastic One” makes life miserable for “The One”

    Part of the 100 days celebration was letting Biden outta his cell and look what he did! Back to lock down for you buddy. /snark. He behaved during the Specter
    dog and phony show presser….and it went to his head. Again. Joe’s all about puffing up stuff in order to puff up his own importance .

  11. That piece by Charles Krauthammer actually focuses on Pelosi’s lies and hypocrisy. She was fully briefed about the methods that were going to be used, and not only did not oppose them, when it would have taken courage, but she and the Senate Intelligence Committee asked if there was anything more they could do to encourage Congress to go along with it. Now, she knew NOTHING! NOTHING! She’s nothing but a political animal through and through.

  12. Obama’s 100 Days: Wall Street Crowd Makes His Administration Like Grant’s

    Little that we have seen in his first 100 days suggests that the 44th president sees the danger of over-reliance on high finance. Yet in the Grant administration it was wheeling, dealing, and outright corruption that plagued the nation and besmirched the incumbent. And now that trillions are sloshing up and down K Street, the same muckraked fate looms for the Obama administration.

    If anything, the financiers are more solidly in charge now than they were during George W. Bush’s presidency, when the New York Times declared that “Government Sachs” was a reality. Today, such figures as Timothy Geithner, Lawrence Summers, and Steven Rattner are accelerating the Bush era’s finance-favorable policies, piling bailout on top of bailout.

    How did this happen? As economist Simon Johnson observed recently, “A whole generation of policymakers has been mesmerized by Wall Street.” And now Obama seems similarly ensorcelled. Johnson, a former chief economist for the International Monetary Fund, writes in the Atlantic that America is descending into the financial vortex that Russia, Argentina, and Thailand plummeted into back in the ’90s. How so? The same insiders and self-dealers who created the crisis “are now using their influence to prevent precisely the sorts of reforms that are needed.” And yet, he adds, “The government seems helpless, or unwilling, to act against them.” That “quiet coup,” Johnson warns, could turn America into a “banana republic.”

    After all, in this globalized, funds-are-fungible world, why shouldn’t the banks use their bailout money to create jobs in China, India, or Dubai? In fact, that’s exactly what they have done, according to a congressional study by Ohio Democratic Rep. Dennis Kucinich.


  13. A Tale of Two Bows, starring Barack Obama

    The Brits say “enough already”
    After six years, one month and 11 days, Britain ends its military mission in Iraq
    They understood clearly that the BOW to the King and the head nod to the Queen was sending them a message. Why take all the flack at home, when he can’t or won’t respect Queen Elizabeth, it couldn’t be because she is a woman…could it.

  14. Did you see this one from the Daily Mail

    “How a global swine flu pandemic could actually be LESS dangerous than the annual flu season”
    Scientists are coming to the conclusion that the new strain of swine flu that has killed at least ten people around the world may actually be less dangerous than the average annual flu season.


    • I just read something similar in the CS Monitor. I’ll probably put that up tomorrow.

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