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    The Confluence

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  • RSS Ian Welsh

    • The Perceived Self-Interest Of The Rich And Powerful
      Yesterday I had a brief article, which noted a general rule, “only things the rich and powerful believe will benefit them will be done” and applied it to shortages, suggesting that if the rich and powerful are benefiting from them, no serious action will be taken to end the crisis in countries where that is true. I wanted to note that this is a general rule. […]
  • Top Posts

Your Breakfast Read, Served By The Confluence

  • WE REMEMBER (h/t BostonBoomer)
  • On This Day In 1968: Robert F. Kennedy Is Shot Moments After Winning California Primary

    Sen. Robert F. Kennedy (D-NY), moments after declaring victory in Tuesday’s Democratic presidential primary in California, is shot three times by Sirhan Sirhan, a Jordanian immigrant, at Los Angeles’ Ambassador Hotel.

    Kennedy, who never regains consciousness, dies 25 hours later, on June 6.

  • Analysis of The Cairo Speech
  • Cairo scorecard: The good, the bad & the omitted (Jerusalem Post)

    The address US President Barack Obama delivered in Cairo on Thursday was one of the most anticipated and hyped speeches in recent memory. And now that the 5,804-word address has been delivered, every sentence will be dissected for days, weeks and months by various states and groups trying to figure out just how they fared.

    What Obama did and didn’t say (Haaretz)

    Speech stirs mixed feelings (Al Jazeera English)

    Arab intellectuals remain unsurprisingly split over the speech by Barak Obama to the Islamic world.

    While some consider it as bold, historic and an opening of a new chapter in US relations with the Islamic world, others simply see it as evasive and lacking substance.

    A blunt message for Arabs and Jews (Gulf Times)

    US President Barack Obama had a blunt, “tough-love” message for Arabs and Israelis that thrust him deeper into Middle East peacemaking – a tangled web that bedevilled his predecessors and carries risks for him.

    Obama put Arabs and Israel on an equal footing (Haaretz)

    […]U.S. President Barack Obama declared before the entire world, upon an Arab-Muslim stage, that the time has come to end the era of Israeli occupation in the Palestinian territories. Moreover, Obama announced that he was taking responsibility for doing so. The imbalance in the unequal U.S.-Israel-Arab triangle was replaced Thursday by an Isosceles triangle.

    Obama’s Unfinished Speech in Cairo (Der Spiegel)

    With his address, US President Barack Obama offered a olive branch to the Islamic world. Whether his speech will go down in history will be determined by the mullahs in Tehran and the hardliners in Israel.

    Varying Responses to Speech in Mideast Highlight Divisions (NY Times)

    Obama’s Speech Brilliant and Troubling (Rabbi Brad Hirschfield, WashPost)

    The President’s remarks were filled with partial truths which often idealized the history of Islam and consistently avoided many of the real challenges which the world faces today.

    Do Obama’s words reveal his Middle East sympathies? (LA Times)

    A close examination of the speech underscores how Obama, four months into his presidency, is still introducing himself — and what he stands for — to Americans and the world.

  • Health Care Reform
  • Grass-roots groups must test President Obama’s mettle on health care reform

    As the White House launches its bid to reform health care, the big questions bedeviling the activist base of the Democratic Party are how and when to nudge President Obama to the left on key issues.

    Keeping Them Honest (Paul Krugman)

    Health reform will fail unless we get serious cost control — and we won’t get that kind of control unless we fundamentally change the way the insurance industry, in particular, behaves. So let me offer Congress two pieces of advice:

    1) Don’t trust the insurance industry.

    2) Don’t trust the insurance industry.

    Kennedy’s Absence Felt by Lawmakers on Health Care Bill

    Health care: America can learn lessons from abroad

    American health care is broken. At 16 percent, the United States spends a much larger share of GDP on health care than Western European economies. Yet the United States has about 45 million uninsured, while its peers do not.

    For those who haven’t read this must-read piece about the health care debate, here it is:
    The Cost Conundrum
    It’s very long (what do you expect? It’s in The New Yorker), but it is absolutely worth the time.

  • The SCOTUS Nominee
  • Nominee’s Criminal Rulings Tilt to Right of Souter

    Many questions for Sotomayor on abortion issue

    Some Democratic senators, including Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., sought answers this week on Sotomayor’s commitment to privacy rights. Meanwhile, activists on both sides of the debate continue to press senators to grill the nominee on her views of 1973’s Roe v. Wade, which made abortion legal nationwide, during upcoming confirmation hearings.

    Speeches Show Judge’s Steady Focus on Diversity and Struggle

    She has lamented the dearth of Hispanics on the federal bench. She has exhorted young people to value immigration. She has mulled over the “deeply confused image” America has of its own racial identity. And she has used on more than one occasion a version of the “wise Latina” line that she has spent much of this week trying to explain

    White House Undermines Its Case for Sotomayor

    The White House’s attempt to end the debate about a Sotomayor speech will end up prolonging it.

    Smears on Sotomayor

    For geeks, here is Judge Sotomayor’s filled out questionnaire.

  • Economy Watch
  • Ailing, Banks Still Field Strong Lobby at Capitol

    […] Mr. Obama did not mention that the measure he was signing, the Helping Families Save Their Homes Act, was missing its centerpiece: a change in bankruptcy law he once championed that would have given judges the power to lower the amount owed on a home loan.

    It had been stripped out three weeks earlier in a showdown between Senate Democrats and the nation’s banks, including many that are getting big government bailouts.

    Angelo Mozilo, mortgage risk-taker charged with fraud

    Governing GM (The Nation Editorial)

    The problem with bailouts

    Hulu May Begin Charging for Content

    Nothing free and awesome lasts forever. Case in point: Hulu.com. According to Jonathan Miller, News Corps.’s chief digital officer, Hulu may begin charging for some online content in the near future.

    Another Czar?
    White House Set to Appoint a Pay Czar

    The Obama administration plans to appoint a “Special Master for Compensation” to ensure that companies receiving federal bailout funds are abiding by executive-pay guidelines, according to people familiar with the matter.

  • What Else is New?
  • Democrats punt on war bill

    Intel firestorm: GOP reveals briefing info

    Republicans ignited a firestorm of controversy on Thursday by revealing some of what they had been told at a closed-door Intelligence Committee hearing on the interrogation of terrorism suspects.

    Democrats immediately blasted the GOP lawmakers for publicly discussing classified information, while Republicans said Democrats are trying to hide the truth that enhanced interrogation of detainees is effective.

  • The Sad and Ugly
  • Racial hatred runs African American family out of dream home

    Happy to have found a place near her salon in Altadena and close to her fiance in Pasadena, the 31-year-old hairdresser moved her four children from North Hollywood into the one-story charmer on Broach Avenue in Duarte last fall.

    Davy never thought about the fact that they would be the only black family on the mostly Latino block — until someone reminded her in a way that still makes her eyes tear and her stomach twist.

    Bank customer says he’s ‘on a mission to kill the president’; fed charges filed

    Please DIGG!! & Share!

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    33 Responses

    1. MABlue,

      You might want to add that today is the anniversary of Robert F. Kennedy’s assassination, just after he won the California primary.


      • A couple of days ago I saw RFK Jr. on Norwegian TV. He apparently attended a Climate Conference there. (He has a perculiar way of speaking! Don’t think I ever heard him talk before.)

        And a couple of weeks ago Al Gore was here in Copenhagen – also attending a Climate Conference.

        I wonder if the American administration can/will live up to the great expectations, so many in the rest of the world have, concerning this issue?

        • Bobby has a medical condition that makes it difficult for him to speak. Don’t know the details, but it’s gotten worse over the years–that’s why he sounds that way. He is a true environmental pioneer, and was a stolid HRC supporter.

          • Thank you fif. Yes I thought it might be something like that. And I do remember him as one of the true loyal HRC supporter.

      • Shhh .. don’t mention RFK’s assassination –> anyone who does gets an automatic visit from the Secret Service.

      • Thanks for the reminder.

        It’s doubly sad because it brings to memory one of the worst character assassinations ever perpetrated on an individual in the history of this country.

    2. From the news conference in Dresden. (Sorry for the length.)

      The two heads of states enter the scene. Obama as always forgets that he is the guest and makes a gesture towards Merkel as if saying: ‘You go first’. She ignores it and makes her welcome speech.

      Then it’s his turn, and he speaks, and speaks, and zzz. Even without the teleprompter his head goes right, left, right, left …
      [I wish he would call her Merkel, as is her name, and not Mörkel!]

      Time for questions and he again forgets, that it is not up to him to start that part of the seance. She again ignores him and points to a German journalist: “Frau Meyer?”. He again for a while forgets to use the earpiece, which provides him with the translation.
      [The German TV stations are World Champions in instant translation. Really impressive!]

      Frau Meyer adresses the speculation since his last visit about the relationship between the two. And his schedule. This pisses him off, he explains their great relationship. And his schedule. And then while his ever pointing index finger stabs the air in her direction, says “So stop it! All of you!” … and turns on his stupid grin.
      [He’s just sooo charismatic, charming, and coool!]

      Then Angela Mergel proposes an American question, and Obama gives a shout out:
      “Eh, Robert! Do you have a favorite here? Or should I just pick on somebody?” (Smirk, smirk.)
      [Why does he say “pick on” and not just “pick”?]

      Apparently he doesn’t get an answer, so a little annoyed he raises his voice and repeats:
      “Should I just pick on somebody, or …?” Then realizes that, “Eh, you know Jennifer has the mike. Sorry Jake.” Big grin in “Jake”s direction.

      His answer to “Jennifer”s question about ME:
      “… I think that, what is different now is, no. 1 [did he ever get around to no. 2?] you’re seeing an American administration and an American President engage this issue, almost on the day I took office. We’ve only been in office 5 months, and yet you’ve seen extraordinary activity already on this issue, and that sends a signal to all the parties in the ME, that we are serious.

      [… I, my, I, I, me, my, I …]

      … and so we’ve probably seen more sustained activity on this issue in the first five months, than you would have seen in most previous administrations.”

      This is when I had had enough!

      • I haven’t been paying attention. Is he like this (spotlight hogger) with all the foreign hosts or just with the women leaders?

        • He was pretty patronizing to Gordon Brown awhile back in London.

          • He really seems to dislike Brown. I wonder why.

            Seems to be taking the whole “America’s Tony Blair” thing too much to heart?

        • votermom, its been like that with everyone I have seen him visit!

          During his victory lap around the world before the GE, he always with a hand gesture “invited” his hosts to sit down, when the obligatory pictures were to be taken!

          He seems to believe in the propaganda about himself, lol.

      • He should have just given her a backrub like Bush did. That would show how much he likes her.

        • Well, bb I wish someone would tell him, that it isn’t appropriate to put his hand on <I<everybody he meets with. Not just the females. He does it to everyone, and it drives me crazy, arghhh!

          But one of the (many) reasons I so like Angela Merkel is, that she “pats” him back! I’m convinced, that she disapproves of it.

          (I also wish, that someone would tell him, that it can be taken as offensive, when he keeps his hands in his pockets! Can’t someone teach him about protocol and such?)

      • lol, thanks for the play-by-play. Sounds just like him. I AM THE CENTER OF THE UNIVERSE & YOU ARE ALL BLESSED TO BE IN MY PRESENCE. Now, where’s that damn teleprompter and what am I supposed to do next? Rahm? Rahm?

      • I have to say, Pips, that you really have turned me into a fan of Angela Merkel–especially her ability to go toe to toe with the alpha males and parry their gestures of dominance–whether in the form of an unwelcome backrub from W or gaffe-filled attention-hogging by O.

        • Inky, if that is so (that I have turned you into a fan) that would be my pleasure!

          I really, really like her. When I think back on the dull, wishy-washy, stiff East German woman she was, and how she has evolved both as a person and in looks, I’m amazed.

          And she has such a mature and natural posture in all situations. When the German journalist asked Obama to address the rumours that the two of them didn’t approve of each other, her mimic was priceless and totally disarming.

          By the way: Good to see you back. 🙂

    3. BB:

      You just ruined my day. Why? What did I do? What did you make me revisit this?

      • if anyone shot Barky, I would blame Olbermann. He was frothing like O’Lielee. What an a$$. Ten minutes? Obsession, anyone?

      • I’m afraid to watch that.

    4. Where has RD been? Still busy with work? Miss her…

      • She was on the show with us last night. Before that she was in Cambridge, MA for a conference and I got to have lunch with her!

        She is just really tired after the past year and more of blogging every single day. She needs a little more break to give her hypergraphia a chance to rebuild.

    5. The campaign never stopped:

      A political pattern to stimulus tour

      Since Congress passed President Barack Obama’s $787 billion economic stimulus bill in February, administration officials have traveled to at least 66 events across the country to tout the massive spending program or hand out stimulus cash to grateful local officials.

      But a POLITICO examination of the travel reveals a distinctly political trend line: Top officials have hosted events predominantly in states that Obama won in 2008.

      What’s more, the examination revealed that Obama officials all but avoided Southern states that Obama lost.

      But the numbers tell the tale: 52 of the 66 events were in states that backed Obama.


    6. well did you notice that the whole torture debate became about her? Do you think the media was maipulated or that they willingly went along because somehow this helps Obama?
      It’s been amazing to watch actually.

      • I think it is just the fact that a woman is easier to attack. Fun for everyone – Repubs, Dems, media all like to attack women because they are simple bullies and thye know that no one will bother to defend a single female.

        Its a slam dunk for wanker points. High five anyone.

    7. Eriposte has done it again – Part III of his interview with Boehlert is up if you want to read/comment

      I’ll be doing a post later today


    8. I started reading this and thought it would be of interest here




    9. Noticed the bit about Kennedy’s absence causing health care reform to go off track. I don’t think it matters – wasn’t gonna happen anyway without Hillary.

      The reason the old farts and insurance owned senators wanted her to be removed from the senate to another job was to keep things just as they are. They have been and will continue to be successful.

      God Bless us poor citizens.

    10. On a more depressing note, unemployment is now 9.4%.That’s the highest in 26 years.


    11. and, the Obama is falling in the polls:

      The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Friday shows that 34% of the nation’s voters now Strongly Approve of the way that Barack Obama is performing his role as President. Thirty-four percent (34%) Strongly Disapprove giving Obama a Presidential Approval Index rating of 0. That’s the highest level of strong disapproval and the lowest overall rating yet recorded


    12. Saw this at Alegre’s Corner.

      Employers ‘targeting pregnant women for redundancy’

      The number of pregnant women and new mothers losing their jobs has shown an “alarming” rise as employers target them for redundancy ahead of childless colleagues, according to an alliance of support groups launched this week.

      The Alliance Against Pregnancy Discrimination in the Workplace has identified a sharp increase in women consulting lawyers or calling helplines because their jobs have been terminated during maternity leave or pregnancy.

      “It appears that some employers are using the recession as an excuse to break the law on discrimination,” the alliance warnedyesterday. Campaigners said that the “long-term consequences of job loss as a result of pregnancy or maternity leave jeopardise women’s financial security for their whole lives”.


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