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      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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Why It Will Never End (Part 1)

Don't let their Vaginas eat you!

Don't let their Vaginas eat you!

Sarah Palin is not qualified to be the President of the United States. She is dreadfully inexperienced. She is a Fundie. That alone is normally a disqualify, but let’s continue. When it comes to women’s reproductive freedoms and choices, she disappoints. Her energy policies are mediocre at best, and her obsession with drilling in ANWR is at times annoying. She doesn’t get that there isn’t much oil there to begin with, and drilling there will degrade the natural habitat. She is not as supportive of LGBT rights as she should be, and she would probably sell out our Health Benefits to jackoffs in the Insurance Industry, given the opportunity. I could go on, but you get my point.

But she has also, correct me if I’m wrong, taken on her own party Establishment and been elected as the youngest and first lady Governor of the largest and most beautiful state in the union, raised taxes on oil companies and created a state budget surplus, which she gave back to Alaskans. Her first veto in office was a bill that would deny gay couples health benefits (and you know how those lesbians love Alaskan Cruises. Good call, Sarah!). She appointed a pro choice member of Planned Parenthood to the Alaskan Supreme Court in favor of a bible humping Fundie Blowhard, and she supports funding Head Start. She is, contrary to popular belief, pro-contraception, and has said so many times. She is a Feminist. Her husband is an Eskimo Union man who owns a commercial fisherman business. She is personally socially Conservative, but based on her performance as Governor, does not use her office to inflict those beliefs on her constituents. She has stated that she believes in Science and Evolution. In fact, her father was a Science Teacher and track coach, and her mother was a school librarian, so she likes books too.

Let’s face it: Bible Spice isn’t all that Conservative. Oh sure, she says she’s a Conservative, but in today’s political environment, that’s what you say if you’re a Republican. The word “liberal” has probably not been uttered by any politician for about 40 years. Not to say that Sarah is liberal, Goddess no. “Maverick” is code for “Moderate.” Like Riverdaughter always says, we have to pay attention to what politicians say. But honestly, it’s more important to pay attention to what they do. If Teleprompter Jesus taught us anything, he taught us that.

On the fourth of July, Violet Socks said it best when she marveled at the phenomenon that is Sarah Heath Palin.

The only thing Palin is commonly accused of that is actually true is her anti-abortion stance, though, as I’ve pointed out several times, her political position is that “the will of the people” should decide the law. She has also expressed sympathy for women choosing abortion and has said that she is totally opposed to any woman ever being criminalized for it. I’m not pretending she’s anything other than what she is (an adamant “pro-lifer”), but I am trying to be as clear and honest as I can be about her actual stance.

The fact is, that stance alone is not enough to explain the kind of frenzied hatred and feminist repudiation that Palin has attracted. Notice the example of Hugo Schwyzer, who, as I pointed out in my comment at IBTP, is allowed to call himself a feminist and even cross-post at RH Reality Check — while Sarah Palin is endlessly slandered and ridiculed for having the same beliefs. Notice, too, that the Republican Party (and even the Democratic Party) is full of other “pro-life” politicians, none of whom have ever been crucified and slandered Palin-style.

Speaking of slander, that brings me to my next big puzzlement: what is it with the feminists who just freely make shit up about Palin? The lies had to start somewhere, and they didn’t all hatch in the bowels of the Obama campaign (though a bunch of them did). Some of them were incubated by feminists, particularly the ones about Palin being an anti-sex “purity queen,” the kind of batshit Christian who believes in Purity Balls and abstinence pledges and is opposed to sex ed. None of that is true.

When I first started investigating Palin, I was very relieved to discover that she’s not nearly as nutty as she might be, given that she’s a Christian. I was pleased to learn that she’s not one of those fundies who thinks wives have to submit or that Adam and Eve rode on dinosaurs. She’s not into that whacked-out purity or abstinence-only stuff. That’s good. It’s good that she’s not a nutjob. So…why aren’t other feminists also happy that she’s not a nutjob? Why do they, in fact, spread lies to make her seem worse than she is?

Are people simply confused about the differences between Christians? Do they think all Christians are alike? I doubt it. I’m no godbag and I personally wish that Christianity would evaporate from the face of the earth, but I still recognize that not all Christians are alike. I think most other people do, too. I think most people in this country understand that Tennessee snake handlers don’t go to Catholic mass, and that the Quiverfull people are not the same as the Episcopalians. Being a Christian, even a conservative Christian, doesn’t automatically mean you’re a young earth creationist in a calico dress with a purity ring on your finger.

But to get back to the original point, Sarah Palin is not qualified to be President of the United States. And I think most everyone here, including me, would probably not vote for her, depending on the alternative. She is qualified to be VICE President of the United States, as is our current Disappointment in Chief. When we all thought the Democratic Nomination wasn’t going to be jacked from Hillary in a rigged nominating process, many of us here thought he would make a good VPOTUS. He could run around on Jay Leno and Conan O’Brien, making fun of the Special Olympics and talking about who would win in a fight (Ninjas or Pirates?!) while Hillary busied herself with ramming Single Payer Healthcare through Congress and down all of our collective grateful throats. So vital were his potential talents for distraction.

To reiterate, Sarah Palin is, in fact, no more qualified to be President of the United States than Barack Obama is. As David Harsanyi says

Can you believe the gall of these Sarah Palin cultists? Presidential aspirations? This is a woman who named one of her kids “Track,” for God’s sake. (Well, if it really is her kid.)

William Buckley once wrote that he rather would “entrust the government of the United States to the first 400 people listed in the Boston telephone directory than to the faculty of Harvard University.”

But running government is no longer a suitable vocation for the bumbling proletariat. It’s for folks with schoolin’ and such. It’s a job for herculean thinkers with degrees from Ivy League schools. In other words, no one from Alaska need apply.

Former sports reporters certainly won’t do. We need former constitutional scholars. Who else, after all, has a better understanding of how to undermine the document?

He’s right of course. Our last “Herculean Thinker” President from an Ivy League School was Dubya. And he was the greatest a great President. So the fact that Governor Palin doesn’t have a pretty Harvard degree is just a point against her, as far as America is concerned. In fact

If Palin were president, chances are we’d have a gaffe-generating motormouth for a vice president. That’s the kind of decision-making one expects from Miss Congeniality.

The job of building generational debt is not for the unsophisticated. Enriching political donors with taxpayer dollars takes intellectual prowess, not the skills of a moose-hunting point guard.

The talent to print money we don’t have to pay for programs we can’t afford is the work of a finely tuned imagination, soaring gravitas and endless policy know-how.

Palin is so clueless she probably would have rushed through some colossal stimulus plan that ended up stimulating nothing.

If Palin were president, no one doubts this nation would have continued the Bush-era policy of indefinite detention of enemy combatants and the CIA’s program of transferring prisoners to other countries without legal rights. Be thankful you have a president who makes you think this nation doesn’t.

If Palin were commander in chief — and, again, can anyone imagine anything so preposterous? — the United States still would be fighting endless and expensive wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

It’s true that Palin’s first veto as Alaska governor was of a bill that would have blocked state employee benefits and health insurance for same-sex couples, but does anyone doubt her true intentions?

If she were president, brave American soldiers still would be living under the dark specter of “don’t ask, don’t tell.” Palin even might have instructed her Justice Department to file a brief in defense of the Defense of Marriage Act. Such is the depth of her depravity.

Does anyone believe that Palin possesses the competence to nationalize entire industries without the consent of the people? A housewife from Wasilla isn’t equipped with political brawn to shake down banks and bondholders.

Palin never would be able to convince Americans that a trillion-dollar government-run health care plan would save taxpayers money or have the rhetorical ability to convince even a single person that a European-style cap-and-trade scheme has any benefit at all.

Palin is such a goofball that she probably believes oil will continue to be a vital American energy source.

And how is anyone as simplistic as Palin going to help change the habits of all these fatsos in America? We need a mommy … but, you know, not a real mommy.

It’s fairly obvious to everyone with a shred of certifiable sanity that Obots are one fry short of a Happy Meal. Projection is a common psychological phenomenon, and Obots seem to use it often. They have called Sarah Palin silly, narcissistic, bumbling, rambling, and an intellectual lightweight who cannot utter three consecutive sentences without the aid of a teleprompter. Gee. I think one could make a lot of money in this recession by declaring themselves kool aid prevention counselors.

Ever since Sarah Palin resigned (and again since she gave her farewell speech) an enormous, slightly pointless debate has erupted on the PUMAsphere about Sarah Palin. It is very easy to say, “I do not support Sarah Palin politically, even though I like her and will defend her against personal, misogynistic, and unfair attacks.” Bam. Done. Simple Pimple. In fact, I have yet to meet anyone on this blog who has not stated that as their official Palinpalooza position.

The fact is, Sarah Palin, like Hillary Clinton, is provocative. I don’t mean their personalities are provocative. They both seem to be pretty normal, straightforward women. Hillary taught Sunday School at her Church in Little Rock, and she grew up in 1950’s Suburbia, playing softball, wearing poodle skirts and trying to convince her dad to let her go on dates. She goes shopping with Chelsea and watches Hospital Dramas with Bill on weekends.

Sarah Palin was a point guard basketball champ. She won the “Miss Congeniality” Award in the Alaska Beauty Pageant, which helped her pay for college. She eloped with her childhood friend because she was in a family way, and it would have embarrassed her dad. She goes to a normal Fundie Church, emails her mom on her blackberry and listens to Gretchen Meyer on her morning jogs.

But like Violet Socks says

it is striking to me how much of the political discourse in 2008 revolved around people who don’t exist. The main players last year, if you recall, were Obama, the genius messiah whose perfection and purity would save the planet; Hillary, the evil racist lesbian who killed Vince Foster with her bare hands before plotting the Iraqi invasion and then attempting to have Obama assassinated; and Sarah Palin, a crazed dominionist who hates polar bears and personally arranges for Christian girls to be raped by their fathers just so she can charge them for their rape kits.

Think back to the reactions to Sarah Palin’s speech at the convention. Remember the gal at Jezebel whose head throbbed with hate blood as she listened to Palin speak? The one who said she wanted to “murk that cunt”? What the hell is that? I cannot figure it out. I look and look, and it’s like trying to see someone else’s hallucination. No matter how hard I squint, I can’t see whatever it is they’re looking at. What is so horrifying?

Violet couldn’t wrap her head around it, and neither could her commenters. What is it about Sarah Palin (and even Hillary Clinton) that drives people into such frenzies of lunacy? So many took a crack at it. It’s Sarah’s working class background. It’s her hot husband. They’re upset because she chose to have her child.

The truth is, it’s not any of those things. Hillary and Sarah are two very different people who evoke the same violent, misogynistic reactions from people. I call bull shit on people who claim Sarah has it worse than Hillary did. Bull. Shit. Not that it matters, since misogyny is something that has to be called out no matter how varying the degrees.

Remember the Nineties? Remember Rush Limbaugh holding up a picture of Chelsea and saying she was the White House Dog? Remember all those reporters sniffing through Arkansas (the same way they would later sniff through Alaska) looking for dirt and a list of Hillary’s lesbian lovers? Remember John McCain calling Hillary and Chelsea ugly pigs? Remember the Internet graphics showing Hillary being raped by a donkey and flying on a broom? Remember Newt Gingrich’s mother calling her a bitch? Remember Hickman Ewing, one of Ken Starr’s goons, saying she was “a little woman,” and claiming the whole Whitewater “scandal” was just a cover up for her love affair with Vince Foster, who she later murdered? Late night comedians have and still do make countless nasty, unfunny jokes about her. I could go on and on, but that’s only the Nineties. 2008 was worse, as we all know.

And it will never end. Sarah Palin suffers the same fate as her. I could list the offenses against her too, but it was exhausting enough listing the ones against Hillary, and I don’t want to be in a bad mood. The point is that it is a fate Sarah Palin will continue to suffer, for as long as her political career lasts. But why?

Never fear, I have the answer for you, but I’m not telling yet. You’ll have to wait for Part 2.

To Be Continued….

Cross posted at Age of Aquarius

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Sunday Brunch at the Confluence: Odds and Ends and Fuzzy Slippers

fruit platter


And now for the rest of the paper…

It’s another lazy Sunday morning. Some of us may have had a bit too much of the hard stuff last night; others stayed on the internet way past their bed time. In any event, you’re all caught up on the heavy news of the day. Now, from the sublime to the silly, this collection is gathered for your entertainment and mental escape.  So, settle into that big comfy chair (no WMCB, not *the* comfy chair), kick off those fuzzy bunny slippers and enjoy the inside sections of our virtual newspaper.

As you can see above, we’re serving fresh fruits and sticky buns warm from the oven. Mmmmmm…can’t you just smell that caramel-pecan glaze oozing atop the pastries?      Enjoy.

Napkin anyone?

Funny and addictive websites

*Ever wish your pet could talk to you? Check out this interactive site: Talking Pets where you can get your Dr. Doolittle on for free.

*If you’re a TV Trivia geek, you can play TV theme song trivia at this site: Television Tunes.  I was shocked to learn how many I knew.

*For those who may be wondering what the love child of Michael Jackson and Marilyn Manson would have looked like, look no further than Morph Thing where you can morph two celebrities, reveal what their offspring would look like, or even upload your own photos to “morph.”

*I don’t usually like to reveal my “secret places” but since we’re all family here, I invite you to the official Aluminum Foil Deflector Beanie website. Learn all about how to protect yourself from those aggressive mind controllers.

Arts & Leisure

*honore sherrarFemale Artist Profile: Artist Honoré Sharrer (born 1920; died April 17, 2009)

Honoré Sharrer died from complications of dementia April 17, 2009. She was 88 years old. She leaves behind her life’s work – paintings that will forever be a part of American cultural history. One is safeguarded in our national repository at the Smithsonian Museum, and other works are a part of the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art. Rochester’s Memorial Art Gallery owns one; the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts owns over 100.

Her recent death, in April of this year, has sparked renewed interest in her works, in a genre sometimes described as “magic realism.”

In an era in which many of her contemporaries had begun to explore Abstract Expressionism, Ms. Sharrer remained committed to figurative art as a powerful vehicle for social criticism. Known for their jewel-like colors and painstaking attention to detail, her paintings were purposely flat, hyperrealistic and strongly narrative in their depiction of everyday life. Her visual style seemed to embrace the old masters and the Ashcan school in equal measure; in later years, it also incorporated a dash of deliberate strangeness that some critics described as magic realism.

Two of her more famous works are Resurrection of the Waitress and Tribute to the American Working People


*Basil Wolverton’s works are on exhibit at Barbara Gladstone Gallery in Chelsea Manhattan through August 14th. Wolverton was the cartoonist-illustrator that created the “uniquely grotesque” Mad Magazine artwork we all remember so well.


blue_meaniesR.I.P. Heinz Edelmann (1934 – July 21, 2009), art director for the Beatles’ Yellow Submarine.


*This week’s unusual spot to visit is The Museum of Questionable Medical Devices, located at the Science Museum of Minnesota in St. Paul, MN.


Ever consider taking a trip to the four corners of the United States (or at least the lower 48)? Here are a few unconventional stops along the way:

*We’ll start our journey in the far reaches of the northeast with Eartha, The World’s Largest Revolving and Rotating Globe, in in Yarmouth, Maine.

*Travelling south you’ll find Spook Hill, in Lake Wales FL where cars roll up hill – really!

*Heading west takes us to California where there are several Pyramid Mausoleums, including the Dorn Pyramid in San Luis Obispo. This pyramid was erected by the distraught husband of Cora Russell Dorn. Both Cora and their newborn son passed away within days of the birth.

*And what better way to end your journey to the four corners of the lower 48, than at Gum Wall, in Seattle, WA.  This attraction has the dubious distinction of being listed on Trip Advisor’s “Most Unsanitary Attractions,” second only to the Blarney Stone.

Things to Eat

*Short on time this summer and don’t want to hit the fast food joints to fill your tummy? Here are some quick, light, and easy meals to feed the famished:  Summer Express: 101 Simple Meals Ready in 10 Minutes or Less


*For the asparagus fans out there, Bobby Flay has a healthy Grilled Asparagus Panzanella Salad to please your palate. If you have these ingredients on hand, you’re ready to go:

  • 1 1⁄2 pounds fresh asparagus
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
  • 6 (1-inch-thick) slices day-old country-style bread
  • 1⁄4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 16 cherry tomatoes, mix of red and yellow, quartered
  • 1 small red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1⁄2 cup niçoise olives, pitted
  • 2 tablespoons capers, drained
  • 8 fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced, plus more for garnish

Odds n Odder Ends

*File this one under “Ohfercrissakes!” — Just in case you haven’t had your fill of stories about “rogue” cops, this one was accused of pulling a gun while waiting for food at McDonalds

— REALLY??? Too bad he wasn’t there while this was happening:


*Just some more proof that nature does screw up now and then: 10 Worst Evolutionary Designs


*Speaking of questionable evolutionary designs: They found it; but what the heck can they do with it? Found! The longest bird penis ever


*“Yo quiero Taco Bell” – R.I.P. Gidget: Taco Bell ad star Gidget the Chihuahua dies at 15


*Did someone beat the pants off this guy, or is he out to beat the pants off of Bloomberg?   Naked Cowboy’ runs for NYC mayor: Tosses everything but his hat — and his underwear — into ring. At least his position on campaign financing is intriguing:


*Can you control your dreams; or are the dreams in control? I believe I can fly: a discussion of “Lucid Dreaming


*Apparently some Austrians are not amused by people stealing their F#$!@ng signs.


*According to this article, there’s good news and bad news. The good news is, the number of drunk drivers has gone down; the bad news is that stoners have now taken their place: Stoners outnumber drunks on road.


*Is this what we’ve been reduced to? Lawsuits over whose iPhone “farting” application gets to prevail?: ‘Pull My Finger’ iPhone Fart App Dispute Lingers.” The iFart lawyer explains:

I just have one question. What could one possibly need a “farting” application for?


*Talk about a twist on the old “waiter! There’s a fly in my soup” routine – I don’t know about you, but I would flip out if this happened to me: Man claims he found condom in French onion soup.


*With all the depressing news out there, why don’t we all just join these frolicking apes at their monkey pool party?


*The Stupid Person of the Week Award goes to Viorel Firoiu of Romania for his attempt at a most unconventional cure for constipation:

The final word

And last but not least, I don’t know that I’ve ever come across a video that portrays unabashed joy as well as this one does:

Unusual Wedding Entrance

I cried…will you?

This is an Open Thread.  What’s happening in your neck of the woods?


Happy Sunday everyone!


Your Breakfast Read, Sunday Edition

Health-Care Nightmare “Waterloo” Reform

Tax on ‘gold-plated’ health plans gains ground

White House officials are embracing a plan to tax “gold-plated, Cadillac” insurance policies, giving momentum to an idea that is receiving bipartisan consideration on Capitol Hill.

“A premium charge on top of the most expensive packages is one of the ways to ensure that there’s a lid on health-care costs,” a top administration official told POLITICO. “The president believes this is an intriguing idea.”

CBO deals new blow to health plan

For the second time this month, congressional budget analysts have dealt a blow to the Democrat’s health reform efforts, this time by saying a plan touted by the White House as crucial to paying for the bill would actually save almost no money over 10 years.

The Congressional Budget Office vs. The White House

The CBO’s analysis suggests that the short-term effects of IMAC [Independent Medicare Advisory Council] will be modest. That’s to be expected — it doesn’t go into effect until 2015. Over time, the effects could compound, and a strong IMAC proposal could save a lot of money — “equal to several percent of Medicare spending.” Or maybe not. The CBO, at various points in its analysis, says that it’s hard to know.

Focus on Health Savings Obscures Other Issues

The Health-Care Sacrifice

What President Obama needs to tell the public about the cost of reform

Economy Watch

The Recession is Over! But Not for You–Yet.

Irrational exuberance, it’s not. But even stagnation would be an improvement over recent history. The U.S. economy shrank at nearly a 6 percent annualized rate between September 2008 and March 2009, a shocking slowdown that pitched the global economy into recession for the first time since World War II. “This looks an awful lot like the beginning of a second Great Depression,” Nobel laureate Paul Krugman said in January. Catastrophe may have been averted. But when economists proclaim a recession over, they’re celebrating a technicality: they mean economic output has stopped contracting. And while that is good news, you might wait a while before adding Judy Garland’s rendition of “Happy Days Are Here Again” to your iPod. GDP growth alone can’t feed a family, or pay a mortgage. Cursed with a high national debt load and blessed with a dynamic, growing workforce, the U.S. economy needs annual growth of at least 1.5 percent just to feel like we’re standing still.

Dow closing at 9,000 is a sign economic panic has subsided

Happy days aren’t here again, but the Dow’s recent closings suggest panic has given way to a sense the economy won’t get much worse.

Companies keen on green when profits benefit early

Companies are taking a selective approach to reducing their impact on the environment, moving slowly on bigger investments while embracing strategies like energy efficiency and waste reduction that quickly lift profits.

Antitrust Chief Hits Resistance in Crackdown

The official, Christine A. Varney, the antitrust chief at the Justice Department, has begun examining complaints by the phone companies Verizon and AT&T that their rivals — major cable operators like Cablevision and Cox Communications — improperly prevent them from buying sports shows and other programs that the cable companies produce, industry lawyers said.

Flexibility Is Signaled on Financial Oversight

The effort to revamp financial regulation has lost considerable momentum since it was proposed in June, despite President Barack Obama’s call for quick action. It has been hindered by political and industry criticism and overshadowed by a larger political debate over health care. It has also ignited a turf war between federal agencies that stand to gain or lose significant authority.

Risks rise as liquidity inflates China stock prices

China’s stock market, up some 85 percent this year, owes its good fortune largely to loose bank lending and foreign speculators, leaving it awash with cash and lifting share prices above what economic reality can support.

Dean Baker responds to Alan Blinder

Alan Blinder Was Out of the Country During the Housing Bubble.
That of course is fine, but it is a bit painful that the NYT gives him a column to lecture the rest of us on how things would have been different in 2005 if the Fed had been given the title of “systemic risk regulator.”

Opinion Columns & Editorials

Should Ben Bernanke be reappointed to the FOMC Chair? Which side are you on?

  • Nouriel Roubini says yes:
  • LAST week Ben Bernanke appeared before Congress, setting off a discussion over whether the president should reappoint him as chairman of the Federal Reserve when his term ends next January. Mr. Bernanke deserves to be reappointed. Both the conventional and unconventional decisions made by this scholar of the Great Depression prevented the Great Recession of 2008-2009 from turning into the Great Depression 2.0.

  • But Anna Jacobson Schwartz says “Hell No!”
  • AS Federal Reserve chairman, Ben Bernanke has committed serious sins of commission and omission — and for those many sins, he does not deserve reappointment.

    Prof Glenn Loury goes beyond “Gatesgate” and focuses on a much larger point. The column is nuanced and very good.
    Obama, Gates and the American Black Man (By Glenn Loury)

    It is depressing in the extreme that the president, when it came time for him to expend political capital on the issue of race and the police, did so on behalf of his “friend” rather than stressing policy reforms that might keep the poorly educated, infrequently employed, troubled but still human young black men in America out of prison. This is to say that, if Mr. Obama were going to lose some working-class white votes to the charge of “elitism,” I’d much rather it have been on countering the proliferation of “three strikes” laws, or ratcheting down the federal penalties for low-level drug trafficking, or inveighing against the racial disproportion in the administration of the death penalty.

    He Promised Change, but Is This Too Much, Too Soon (By Dan Balz)

    It was inescapable after the troubled presidency of George W. Bush that people were ready for change. But how much and how fast were not so apparent from the election returns. Obama’s decision to launch the most ambitious domestic agenda since Lyndon B. Johnson’s thus became the defining decision of his presidency.

    What You Might Not Know About the Recovery (By Joe Biden)

    The actions we took — passing the Recovery Act, stabilizing the banking system, pressing to get credit flowing again and helping responsible homeowners — brought us back from the precipice. Monthly job losses are down, financial markets are improved, and economic contraction has slowed. We still have a long way to go, but clearly we are closer to recovery today than we were in January. The Recovery Act has been critical to that progress.

    Not a Victim, but a Hero (By Nicholas Kristof)

    A Pakistani girl musters the courage to publicly fight her rapists, despite threats to her family.

    Around The Nation

    The final days of a horror show
    Inside Bush and Cheney’s Final Days

    Hours before they were to leave office after eight troubled years, George W. Bush and Richard B. Cheney had one final and painful piece of business to conclude. For over a month Cheney had been pleading, cajoling, even pestering Bush to pardon the Vice President’s former chief of staff, I. Lewis (Scooter) Libby.

    Finally one thing we can all agree on
    Gates says it’s time to ‘move on’ from his arrest

    Black Harvard scholar Henry Louis Gates Jr. says he’s ready to move on from his arrest by a white police officer, hoping to use the encounter to improve fairness in the criminal justice system and saying “in the end, this is not about me at all.”

    Obama’s beer fails to cool fiery race row

    The president’s reaction to the arrest of a black scholar has dented his reputation and distracted Obama during a tough week

    Is the party over for the Republicans?

    In this summer of 2009, it is hard to exaggerate the Republican predicament. Out of fashion, out of power, and above all out of ideas, the party of Abraham Lincoln, Dwight Eisenhower and Ronald Reagan now counts as its most recognisable national figure a somewhat flaky, soon-to-be-ex-governor of Alaska named Sarah Palin, of few discernible political talents other than an inordinate ability to attract press attention.

    Who said politic wasn’t fun? Just the title of the story makes you guffaw.
    Both U.S. political parties offend “Joe the Plumber”

    “Joe the Plumber,” who came to symbolize U.S. taxpayer frustration during last year’s election, sounds even angrier now at what he sees as excessive government spending on the economy and healthcare reform.

    Terror Interrogations: Can the CIA and FBI Work Together Again?

    If President Obama greenlights a proposal to create an inter-agency team of interrogators to handle terrorist suspects, it will be — as Samuel Johnson said sardonically of second marriages — the triumph of hope over experience. The history of inter-agency cooperation on interrogation is both brief and bleak.

    Right Wing US conspiracists question Obama’s birth certificate

    On the fringes of the American right, a growing conspiracy claims that Barack Obama is hiding a Kenyan birth certificate, making him ineligible to serve as president.

    The next headache?
    Obama setting the priorities on immigration

    As Congress moves slowly on immigration reform, President Obama is making numerous policy changes in enforcement and other areas that are designed to shift priorities and boost confidence in the administration as it lays the groundwork for possible legislation.

    From the forgotten “War On Terror”
    Some translators not fit for duty

    Officers say they endanger troops

    US push to put an Afghan face on Helmand offensive

    Just 650 Afghans are fighting alongside the 4,000 US Marines in the Helmand province. US commanders and now Congress are pushing to grow Afghan security forces.

    Around The World

    Clinton talks tough in Thailand

    In a three-day flurry of pastel pantsuits, celebrity appearances and tough talk, the former first lady claimed to set a new course for American regional foreign policy. Along the way, she sounded off on nuclear threats, human rights and terrorism while reassuring beleaguered long-time ally Thailand and trading insults with North Korea.

    Netanyahu says Israel-U.S. ties still steadfast

    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu played down sharp differences with the United States over Jewish settlements on Sunday before the arrival of two senior U.S. officials.

    The Arab world: Waking from its sleep

    A quiet revolution has begun in the Arab world; it will be complete only when the last failed dictatorship is voted out

    ‘No Saint’? Berlusconi’s New Ploy to Win Over Italy’s Catholics, and the Vatican

    Embroiled in a months-long sex scandal, with audio tapes leaked this week that appear to confirm his libidinous romps, the Italian Prime Minister’s reference Wednesday to his less-than-holy behavior was a kind of “confession with a wink” that plays to both the strains of Catholicism and Machismo that have long battled for the (male) soul of this country.

    This And That

    From the department of absurdity: How come so many of these “traditions” objectify women?
    Naked girls plow fields for rain (h/t MyIQ’s)

    Farmers in an eastern Indian state have asked their unmarried daughters to plow parched fields naked in a bid to embarrass the weather gods to bring some badly needed monsoon rain, officials said on Thursday.

    Monthly allowances for Jackson’s mother, children will be urged

    Court papers say administrators of the superstar’s estate believe Katherine Jackson ‘has no other sources of income currently available other than Social Security income.’ A hearing is set Aug. 3.

    Sunday Talking Heads

    Sunday talk shows: Hillary Clinton, Kyl, Axelrod, Jindal, Gibbs, DeMint
    Those who watch can document the dog and pony show for the rest of us.

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