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    October 2009
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    • The Law of Equal Treatment
      Last Friday I wrote an article on the idea that if a society has a rule or duty, it must apply to everyone in the applicable situation, no matter who they are, even if it’s someone you love. It was interesting to me that most of the commenters disagreed. Perhaps this is my fault in choosing the famous example of a German general executing his own son for aba […]
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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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37 Responses

  1. Curbing Executive Pay, But Not the Perks

    The proposals are easy to criticize. Some of the rules will be clumsy, irrational, or unfair. But will a clamp-down on executive pay really hurt American capitalism? Will ordinary investors end up paying the price? Maybe not.

    David Yermack, a professor at NYU’s Stern School of Business and an expert in executive compensation and performance, says there’s little evidence that higher compensation leads to higher performance, and consequently better returns for investors.


    • In a sane world the curbs on excessive risk taking and outlandish bonuses would come from the stock holders or the board of directors.

      • Exactly, MrMike!

      • Why don’t the stockholders demand that then?

        • Actually, this stockholder did and does.

          Every time I get one of those ‘election’ things in the mail, the stockholders voting certificates, I vote against pay rises, bonuses, etc for the CEOs and so on.

          Of course the literature they send with the voting certificate always says they MUST have the rises, bonuses, etc to be competitive. And the issue is always brought up by stockholders who want to vote against it (in other words it’s the stockholders, not the company chairpeople, who put the vote on the raises on the ballot). And somehow, it never passes. Must be all those shorted stocks, eh/

      • Hate to mention it, but right now the “stockholders” are the Chinese (and others)-and they’re demanding a new international currency.

      • If (hypothetically) the banks’ earnings and stock prices were strong because of iffy information gathering, iffy trading instruments, iffy risk taking, large shareholders and board members may not know or care, as long as stock prices were going up. We need enough regulation on both practice and compensation to make banking boring (not sexy), as Dak says, especially during years when the market is rising and overheating. Pressing for strong regs after meltdowns is difficult because everyone’s worried about hamstringing the recovery.

    • The “curb” only applies to November and December, anyway.

      It’s pro-rated, for 2 months.

      Political theater.

  2. Good points about mandates and the surtax vs. Cadillac tax:

    Dem Plans Put Reform On Shaky Ground
    Obama faces the risk that his allies will chisel two dangerous cracks into the health plan’s foundation.


  3. Obama can’t get large amounts of people fired up because they’ve been burned. His health care agenda is deplorable. His aid to the banks stink, and his endless speeches are like week old stale bread. On second thought, he can get me fired up but not in the way he wishes.

    • Ditto!

      • Me tooo!
        Obama has brought this on himself. He could at least pretend he is interested in the plight of those who got him into the White House.
        But all you have to do is look at his history in politics and you know that ain’t gonna happen anytime soon.
        A tired old saw explains it best. He has managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. But he didn’t do it alone, he had the help od the Congressional Cowards(TM)

  4. He is methodical, thoughtful, cerebral, a believer in consensus and process.

    Kool-aid is a helluva drug.

  5. The bank robbery story reminded me of an instance a number of years ago when a colleague who was part of a program to help former convicts assimilate into society, was in a panic because he couldn’t find Henry – his assigned parolee.

    He said he’d looked everywhere, called everyone but couldn’t find him. I suggested that he look in the county jail. He just stared at me – I said “Ralph, it’s winter, it’s cold and snowy. Henry doesn’t have a job yet and he likes to eat three meals a day.”

    So Ralph called the county jail and sure enough there was Henry, having been arrested for some minor infraction but warm and well fed.

    He may not have been the bightest bulb but he wasn’t stupid.

  6. Some news from the newly formed German gov’t. The youngest minister will be at 36 liberal politician Phillpp Roesler who will become Minister of Health, not exactly an easy portfolio.

    Roesler is originally from S Vietnam and was orphaned during the war. As a baby he was adopted by a German couple. He is a medical doctor.


  7. 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.

    These people just don’t seem to realize how riveting Hillary’s contribution to the race was. When Obama was running against McCain it just was plain usual. Palin had to come along to add some excitement. Obama is basically boring IMO anyway.

    • Like Bush he wan interested in the contest, not the nuts and bolts of governing.

    • I wonder how many are ” fired up and ready to go” in any direction away from him and the fools that selected him at the country’s expense?



    • Sometimes I get the sense a lot of people would be happy erasing Hillary’s campaign from the history books. Never mind the fact that she’s should be the one in office, not an also ran like Dodd, or a symbolic candidate like Kucinich. I know Hillary herself does not want or need the limelight right now. But people just don’t like bringing her up in conversation, in the media. Weird national psychology.

  8. Obama is a brand. Period. When you stop thinking of him as a president who has a certain set of skills and expertise and start thinking of him as the new world image of America, it saves a lot of heartburn. He’s merely an image, promoted, and fawned over much like the latest Mercedes, 50 inch TV, or pharmaceutical designed to make your life “better”.

    The real question is: Who IS calling the shots?

    • Does Obama cure “restless leg syndrome”? If so, it would be his only positive in my view.

    • His speeches remind me of that annoying Head On commercial.
      Does anyone else think of cotton candy when he speaks? All spun sugar and no there there and leaves a mess.



    • Imo, no one is calling the shots. Axelface and Rambo are brand stewards. But no one is really in charge. Which is unsettling.

  9. http://rabblerouserruminations.blogspot.com/2009/10/low-low-low-low-low-low.html

    this is one of my favorite bloggers,
    read the comments from the obots who are now having an
    ” oh sh-t” wakeup moment.



    • Oh wow, Helen, that’s a great website!

      One of the comments they quote from Americablog made me laugh out loud:

      Judas Peckerwood.
      If Obama’s ultra-secret overarching goal for his presidency is to make the PUMAs look sane in retrospect, then all I can say is, “Well played, sir, well played indeed.”


      They’re mentioning the Connie Francis song “Who’s Sorry Now?”

      Aravosis and his koolaid sippers are very, very bitter, calling Obama a sellout.


      • Here’s another good one from that post:

        vkobaya said:
        I’m sick of the man. Revolted, bitter, and angry that I and so many others were played for suckers into voting for him. Would we have been worse off under McCain and Sarah Palin? Beginning to wonder. Probably would have been no different.

        • I’m seeing this kind of bitterness in the comments all over the progressive blogs. It’s at Firedoglake, Hullabaloo, everywhere.

          Digby keeps trying to fire up her readers to hate Republicans, but the comments are full of Obama disgust. They’re just not falling for her red meat distractions anymore.


  10. http://www.dailytopseven.com/readmore.php?newsid=Njc0

    One of the top stories is about NJ and VA democrats trying to get women to vote for them.
    Gee I guess us bitter knitters with scary lady parts are not as bad as the democrats thought last year.
    Its kind of a reap what you sow thing.



    • Maria Shriver’s new-found concern about lower- and middle-class women is the same crap. It’s all about saving the new Kennedy Prince’s bacon.

      We bitter knitters don’t have trust funds or nannies or maids or chauffeurs, do we?

      Gimme a break, Maria.

      • I also saw a picture of Caroline Kennedy campaigning for Corzine with Obama this week. They still think it’s 2008. The gimmicks are not working anymore people, you need a new ad campaign.

        • Caroline and Maria don’t have a damm clue how “regular” people live, or how they’re struggling.

          Hillary Clinton did.

          And they knifed her in the back.

          Far as I’m concerned, Caroline and Maria can kiss mine.

        • Caroline and Maria didn’t help Obama in the first place, what makes them think they can help him now? Get over yourselves, the Kennedy name means little these days.

      • It is sad to see how Caroline Kennedy has become an embarrassment to watch. Maria was always an embarrassment although she was very pretty.

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