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    • What May’s Brexit Deal Tells Us About The EU and Britain’s Future
      So, May has a Brexit deal. It’s a terrible deal, which makes the UK subject to many EU laws, and which doesn’t allow Britain to withdraw from the deal if the EU doesn’t want it to. This has caused ministerial resignations, and Corbyn has come out against it. But the interesting part is what the […]
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Your Breakfast Read, Sunday Edition

Democrats In The Age of Obama

Obama fatigue or Democrats fatigue? Which one is it?
Democratic Party encounters ‘Obama hangover’ in state, local elections

Some Democratic candidates running for local office around the country call the phenomenon the “Obama hangover.” It is proving tougher to recruit volunteers and get people to vote.

“It’s like the morning after the party,” Michael McGann, a Democrat running for clerk of courts in the Philadelphia suburbs, said in an interview. “The party was wonderful and exciting. The day after it’s like, ‘Gee, I don’t want to do that again for a while.’ ”

Combating the malaise, Obama is trying to galvanize voters by reminding them of the “fired up, ready to go” fervor that made last year’s race riveting political theater.

In his own image: Barack Obama’s DNC

The Democratic National Committee, often relatively inactive in the year after a presidential election, is ramping up its hiring and aggressively broadening its mission under the direction of Obama campaign veterans intent on applying the lessons of 2008 to races in 2010 and 2012.

Virginia Governor Tim Kaine, the DNC chairman installed in January by President Barack Obama, has hired many of the top staffers, pollsters, ad makers and fundraisers who helped steer the Obama campaign, completing a takeover of the party machinery that began when Obama became the Democratic nominee 14 months ago.

What’s up with this permanent campaigning? This attitude already annoyed the hell out of me during the Bush years, although Bush wasn’t afraid to satisfy HIS base.
Barack Obama must stop campaigning and start governing

Mr Obama won because of his persona – post-racial, healing, cool, articulate and inspirational. In a sense, therefore, his greatest achievement in life is being Barack Obama. Or the campaign version, at least.

Therein lies the problem. While campaigning could centre around soaring rhetoric, governing is altogether messier. It involves tough, unpopular choices and cutting deals with opponents. It requires doing things rather than talking about them, let alone just being.

Mr Obama is showing little appetite for this. Instead of being the commander-in-chief, he is the campaigner-in-chief.


I like Anna Quindlen, but buy is she making it hard for me to go through this piece.
Is Obama Keeping His Promises?

One reason may be the president’s essential character, which is at odds with the persona that developed during the campaign. Perhaps because of his race and his age, much of the electorate, especially those of us who are liberals, succumbed to stereotype and assumed that he was by way of being a firebrand. A year in, and we know that we deceived ourselves. He is methodical, thoughtful, cerebral, a believer in consensus and process. In an incremental system, Barack Obama is an incremental man. It is one reason he is taking his time ending the two wars in which we remain mired, Nobel Peace Prize notwithstanding. On the one hand, on the other.

Is Obama just sticking it to us for some reason?
Leaderless: Senate Pushes For Public Option Without Obama’s Support

President Barack Obama is actively discouraging Senate Democrats in their effort to include a public insurance option with a state opt-out clause as part of health care reform. In its place, say multiple Democratic sources, Obama has indicated a preference for an alternative policy, favored by the insurance industry, which would see a public plan “triggered” into effect in the future by a failure of the industry to meet certain benchmarks.


Around The Nation

I can’t believe some of the people who were rightfully outraged at the sexual abuse cases in the catholic church and would have any sympathy for a sexual predator like Polanski. If only some of those priests had only made good movies…
How a girl’s stark words got lost in the Polanski spectacle

“After he kissed you, did he say anything?” asked the prosecutor, Roger Gunson.

“No,” the girl said.

“Did you say anything?”

“No, besides I was just going, ‘No, come on, let’s go home. . . .’ He said, ‘I’ll take you home soon.’ ”

“Then what happened?”

“And then he went down and started performing cuddliness.”

“What does that mean?”

“It means he went down on me, or he placed his mouth on my vagina. . . . I was ready to cry. I was kind of — I was going, ‘No. Come on. Stop it.’ But I was afraid.”

Samantha’s testimony that day was unequivocal: She had kept trying to get away from him, putting her clothes back on, saying no repeatedly. She had made up a lie about having asthma to get out of a Jacuzzi. He persisted. She was scared. She did not physically fight him off. He began to have sex with her, then, concerned she might get pregnant, switched to anal sex. When he drove her home, he told her not to tell her mom, adding, “You know, when I first met you, I promised myself I wouldn’t do anything like this with you.”


Economy Watch

Colin Barr is making very good point here. We’ve heard so oft that if Wall Street is not allowed to pay a bunch of incompetent boobs a gazillion Dollars in bonus, the “best talents” would be lured away.
Who cares if Wall Street ‘talent’ leaves?

If lower pay lures some of Wall Street’s finest away, so be it. It’s not as if the best and brightest were doing a good job to begin with.

Isn’t it great being a banker? Your own s–t gets everyone in deep trouble, you get a boat load of money from all of us, and then you share get a huge bonus for your stellar performance.
Stop the fat-cat bonuses! George Soros turns on the bankers

George Soros became the latest high-profile figure from the world of finance to condemn the bankers, and call for watertight restrictions on their activities yesterday. He said: “Banks are actually getting hidden subsidies of enormous amounts because of their ability to borrow at effectively zero, and buy 10-year government bonds at 3.5 per cent. So those earnings are not the achievement of risk-takers. These are gifts, hidden gifts, from the Government, so I don’t think those monies should be used to pay bonuses. So there’s a resentment which I think is justified.”

Bankers and morality: churches turn on the modern moneylenders

The Brits are bleeding
U.K. Economy Continues to Shrink

The U.K. economy contracted for a record sixth consecutive quarter, underscoring the country’s lagging position compared with other leading nations and dealing a blow to Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s re-election prospects.


Around The World

At least 132 people have been killed and 520 injured in two car bomb attacks in Baghdad

The blasts hit the ministry of justice and a provincial government office near the Green Zone, causing severe damage.

They came in quick succession at 1030 local time (0730 GMT) as people headed to work during the morning rush hour.

Correspondents say this is the deadliest day in Iraq since the US handed over security control of Iraqi cities to local forces in July.

Can we get anything done right these days?
Costs for U.S. project in Afghanistan balloon, benefit hyped

Only about 6 percent of Afghans are estimated to have electricity, and in his appearance with President Hamid Karzai east of Kabul, Eikenberry hailed the project as part of the country’s emergence out of the “darkness” of oppression and isolation.

To some U.S. experts, however, the project is the latest example of exaggerated political expectations and wasted American taxpayers’ dollars in the effort to rebuild Afghanistan.

Plagued by delays and rising costs, the project reveals how the U.S. government continues to ignore the hard lessons of Iraq, critics say, where contractors received billions of dollars with little oversight and inspectors have found rampant waste, fraud and abuse.

Come on! Who wants to be compared to a used condom?
America, condoms and the Taliban

The Pakistanis use an earthy metaphor when they want to put their American interlocutors on the defensive. They complain that the United States used Pakistan like a condom, simply discarded it when it is no longer useful, as has happened time and again in the Cold War era. By saying so, they urge the Americans to be constant in friendship.


Odds & Ends

Bank robber demands $100, then waits to be arrested

Timmy Lee Porter walked into a Midtown bank this month and handed a teller a note scribbled on the back of a bank slip. “This is a bank robbery, place 1 100.00 bill on the counter or I will shoot you.”

Police arriving on the scene moments later found that note on the floor. The $100 bill was still in the bank. So was Porter, who had taken a seat on a couch in the bank lobby, apparently waiting to be arrested.

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Helen Thomas and Craig Crawford Offer Advice to President Obama

Helen%20Thomas%20at%20press%20conf

This is interesting Helen Thomas and Craig Crawford have written a book together in which they discuss Thomas’ recollections of all the Presidents she has covered, beginning with John F. Kennedy. It’s called Listen Up, Mr. President At CNN.com, the two reporters offer “five key insights” for the current President. There is also a great collection of photos of Helen Thomas over the years. Here are just a few brief excerpts from the article.

Insight #2: Forget your privacy: You are a public servant

You are not perfect, Mr. President. So don’t pretend that you are and hide the bad stuff. If you are still smoking, say so directly, and openly share your struggle with the public.

Protecting your privacy can come at a greater cost than simply revealing what you don’t want the public to know. If it is found out — and it probably will be — you not only have the fallout from the exposure to deal with, but you will also be accused of deceit.

Insight # 4: Have courage: Even if it hurts

The theme of your campaign was summed up by the title of one of your books, “The Audacity of Hope.” You’ve given us hope, Mr. President. Now show us the audacity.

In Afghanistan, Mr. President, you risk repeating Lyndon Johnson’s disastrous escalation of the Vietnam War after listening too much to the generals. Again, the Pentagon wants more troops for a tricky war, vowing success in Afghanistan if you only agree. That’s what the British and the Russians thought before they utterly failed to subdue their foes in Afghanistan’s difficult terrain.

Have courage to resist such pleas if your instincts say otherwise, Mr. President. That is why the founders of our nation put a civil servant in charge of the military. You are the decision-maker, not the follower.

Insight # 5: Give us vision: It’s your legacy

A good president, wrote 19th century historian Henry Adams, “resembles the commander of a ship at sea. He must have a helm to grasp, a course to steer, a port to seek.”

The port you seek, Mr. President, is your vision. Those who take this lightly do so at their peril.

But even the most inspirational vision is just talk if not combined with action.

Now is the time to fill in the blanks, Mr. President. The excitement and newness of your presidency has worn off. Turn your vision into reality. Show us that you can deliver results.

It’s excellent advice, gently delivered. If only the President would listen.

This is an open thread.

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