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    • Assassination Works Only Under Two Circumstances
      For years, decades even, America has had a policy of assassination. Americans believe that if you kill the leaders, you kill an organization. This is delusional. It only works when it almost isn’t necessary. How many times has American killed the #2 man of the Taliban? Did killing Osama stop Al-Qaeda? Assassinating Yamamoto in WWII […]
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Make me laugh: Open Thread

OK Conflucians, we’ve had more depressing news this week than we certainly deserve.  Therefore, I’m ordering a cease and desist on gloom and doom, at least for this thread. I’m challenging you all to make me, and everyone else here, LAUGH.  What do you have in your bag ‘o’ tricks that will create spontaneous explosions of laughter?  A video?  A picture? A website? A joke?  The sky’s the limit.

Just

MAKE US LAUGH!

laughing_kitten

OK, this video is just ridiculous, but I can’t stop laughing whenever I watch it.

Beat that Conflucians!

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Friday Morning News and Views: Friday the 13th Edition

2007-04-16

Looming Nor'easter in New England

Good Morning Conflucians! It’s a gloomy Friday the 13th here in the Boston area. I guess we’ll be getting hit with the tail end of Hurricane Ida over the next couple of days. I’m feeling a bit lethargic this morning, but I’ll try to locate a few interesting news links nonetheless. Please add your own in the comments!

Did you know this is the third Friday the 13th in 2009? Maybe that’s why this year has been such a disaster. Anyway, its supposed to make today “extra freaky.”


THERE IS HOPE FOR THEM YET

Paul Krugman is finally back to criticizing administration policy–without mentioning the President. But it’s a step in the right direction. Will Krugman be summoned to the White House for another Koolaid injection? He explains why Germany isn’t suffering from massive unemployment as the U.S. is.

Here in America, the philosophy behind jobs policy can be summarized as “if you grow it, they will come.” That is, we don’t really have a jobs policy: we have a G.D.P. policy. The theory is that by stimulating overall spending we can make G.D.P. grow faster, and this will induce companies to stop firing and resume hiring.

The alternative would be policies that address the job issue more directly. We could, for example, have New-Deal-style employment programs. Perhaps such a thing is politically impossible now — Glenn Beck would describe anything like the Works Progress Administration as a plan to recruit pro-Obama brownshirts — but we should note, for the record, that at their peak, the W.P.A. and the Civilian Conservation Corps employed millions of Americans, at relatively low cost to the budget.

Alternatively, or in addition, we could have policies that support private-sector employment. Such policies could range from labor rules that discourage firing to financial incentives for companies that either add workers or reduce hours to avoid layoffs.

And that’s what the Germans have done. Germany came into the Great Recession with strong employment protection legislation. This has been supplemented with a “short-time work scheme,” which provides subsidies to employers who reduce workers’ hours rather than laying them off. These measures didn’t prevent a nasty recession, but Germany got through the recession with remarkably few job losses.

I’m really starting to wish I could move to a European country–preferably one with universal, affordable health care like Italy or France. On the other hand, I love the wide open spaces here in the USA and I would prefer to stay here if I could. Sometimes I even fantasize about moving to Western North Dakota near Theodore Roosevelt National Park or maybe way up near Canada where I can live really cheaply and relatively free from government interference. Not that I’d join a militia or anything, lol, just that I’d be less noticeable to the authorities and maybe I could survive the authoritarian crackdown that I think is coming when the economy really collapses.

I have made fun of Chris Bowers and Open left over the past couple of years because of their slavish adoration of Obama, but I am starting to read them again. They are really standing up to their former “precious” of late. I’ve always like Paul Rosenberg’s work, and Natasha Chart has been on fire. Here’s her latest:

DNC, OFA Abandon Women In Healthcare Action Alert

Nancy Keenan, head of the national NARAL group (and most obedient of the obedient losers) was apparently personally promised before the health care battle by the Obama administration that they would look after the organization’s constituency interests in the health care bill and preserve the status quo. In return, NARAL was asked to stand down its activism.
They did. So with all their colleagues, they got caught with their pants down when a floor vote on the Stupak amendment was imminent.

Today, I got a press release from the DNC, and their Organizing For America project, on their plan to drum up more support for the health care reform bill: targeting Republicans.

It says nothing about women’s healthcare. Nothing. Like it isn’t even at issue. OFA is still watching NARAL’s back, women’s backs, as well as they always have.

OFA is crowing about the 500,000 phone calls they’ve prompted on the health care issue. Were any of them centered around preserving reproductive health care when it mattered? Ha! As Femlaw says at the link, “The idea is to build organizational capacity, so when really critical moments in the campaign happened, OFA could deliver huge numbers.”

Targeting Republicans is critical. Encouraging Democrats to stand together for women’s health and rights, not critical.

Even The Huffington Post has begun to rag on Obama’s policies. Here’s the big headlined post this morning:

Goldman To Private Insurers: No Health Care Reform At All Is Best by Sam Stein

A Goldman Sachs analysis of health care legislation has concluded that, as far as the bottom line for insurance companies is concerned, the best thing to do is nothing. A close second would be passing a watered-down version of the Senate Finance Committee’s bill.

A study put together by Goldman in mid-October looks at the estimated stock performance of the private insurance industry under four variations of reform legislation. The study focused on the five biggest insurers whose shares are traded on Wall Street: Aetna, UnitedHealth, WellPoint, CIGNA and Humana.

That must be why the Goldman Sachs administration Obama administration is doing it’s darndest to kill health care reform by excluding women’s health coverage.


LATEST BREAKING STORIES

This news is just breaking around the world: ‘NY trial’ for key 9/11 suspects

Alleged 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed will be sent from Guantanamo Bay to New York for trial in a civilian court, reports say.

Citing unnamed government officials, the reports said he would be transferred from the US prison camp in Cuba with four other suspects.

US Attorney General Eric Holder is expected to announce the decision later, the officials say.

Mr Mohammed has admitted planning the 9/11 attacks, the US military says.

That seems like a step in the right direction. Maybe we will see Guantanamo closed after all. I’d sure like to see that happen.

Politico: After spending binge, White House says it will focus on deficits

Bloomberg:
Home-Purchase Index in US Plunges to Lowest Level Since 2000

NYT: Among Obama Aides, Debate Intensifies on Troop Levels

The Nation: Whose Team Is It, Anyway? by Katha Pollitt

The Hill: Tensions brim between GOP and CEOs over healthcare reform

The Latest Lecture from Charles Krauthammer: Medicalizing mass murder (he does have a few good points)


WEEKEND ESCAPES

What’s Friday the thirteenth without the release of a big horror/disaster movie?

‘2012’ Cheat Sheet: Everything You Need To Know

It’s 2009 and a couple scientists discover the sun is freaking out and heating up the Earth’s core. Good news for anyone who likes a nice subterranean sauna. Bad news for anyone who wants the Earth not to fall to pieces in the few years.

Disaster kingpin Roland Emmerich’s “2012” then cuts to the year 2012, which looks pretty much like 2009, except the governments of the world are scrambling to come up with a secret survival plan for humanity. Which they are going to need — stat! — because it’s not too long before a few Los Angeles tremors make way for mega-quakes, lava-gushing volcanoes and tsunamis that no amount of human fortitude can combat.

Into this apocalyptic mess comes John Cusack’s struggling novelist Jackson Curtis, who has to rescue his ex-wife and kids while trying not to pee himself.

This one, on the other hand, looks really worthwhile, even if you need to bring a box of Kleenex with you.

Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire

It’s hard to believe that a movie that traffics so operatically in images of brutality and squalor can be so fleet, assured and lyrical. But such breathtaking contradictions abound in “Precious,” which in the course of introducing the viewers to unspeakable despair, manages to imbue them with an exhilarating sense of hope — if not in a bright and cheery future for the film’s beleaguered protagonist, then at least in the possibilities of cinema as a bold, fluent and adamantly expressive art form.

That beleaguered protagonist is Claireece “Precious” Jones (played in an astonishing debut by Gabourey Sidibe), a 16-year-old girl who, as the movie opens, is still attending junior high school in 1980s Harlem. Morbidly obese, functionally illiterate, pregnant with her second child after being raped by her father, Precious lives with her mother, Mary (Mo’Nique), in a squalid apartment where she endures the latter’s near-constant verbal, physical and sexual abuse. Precious’s only escape from this lurid tableau is rich, glittery fantasy life, in which she has a “light-skinned boyfriend” and “good hair,” dresses in ball gowns and carries a little terrier.


HAVE A FABULOUS FRIDAY THE THIRTEENTH!

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When the President does it . . .

nm_greg_craig_090409_ssh

Greg Craig and his boss

 


This way to the Egress:

 

In the first major shakeup among President Barack Obama’s senior staff, White House Counsel Greg Craig is being pushed out in favor of veteran Democratic lawyer Bob Bauer because of a dispute over plans to close the U.S. military prison in Cuba, CNN has learned.

The move will be announced by the White House in the coming days, a senior administration official and a senior Democratic source confirmed. The sources said it could be announced as early as Friday while the president will be in Japan starting a four-nation tour of Asia, which would make it likely the staff change will be overshadowed by other events.

[…]

Democratic officials said Craig was ousted because of frustration among senior White House aides over his handling of the plans to close the prison at Guantanamo Bay. As the White House’s top lawyer, Craig was pivotal in advising Obama to sign an executive order during his first week in office promising to shut the prison by the end of January 2010.

In a politically embarrassing move that has frustrated some of the president’s liberal supporters, White House aides have since backed off that deadline, citing complex legal issues surrounding what to do with the approximately 200 terror suspects still detained at Guantanamo.

Some administration officials privately believe Craig should have better anticipated the pitfalls. However, his supporters believe he is being used as a scapegoat and note he was not the only top official who supported the ironclad executive order.

Closing Gitmo isn’t the problem. The problem is what to do with all the people that have been detained by our government for up to eight years without trials. Habeas corpus and due process aren’t “just words.”

The answer is simple – bring them here, give them trials and let the chips fall where they may.  But that won’t happen, it might upset Obama’s fellow Republicans.

It sounds like Craig believes in the rule of law. Too bad for him, cuz his boss doesn’t. The Friday White House News Dump doesn’t usually include bodies, so maybe they’re gonna wait until Saturday night to massacre him.

**********************************

The more things change, the more they remain the same:

The Obama administration is increasingly exasperated by leaks of national-security-related information and is planning a major effort to root out and punish those responsible, top officials said Thursday.

Every administration since George Washington has complained about leaks. But there’s an old saying – “The ship of state leaks from the top.”

Maybe the White House should call a plumber to find and fix the leaks. This guy has some experience at doing that:

 


g_gordon_liddy

 

 


Are you catching the theme of this post? If not, here’s a hint:

 

Continue reading

This ain’t your daddy’s Country and Western

Last night the Country Music Association had their annual awards show. Taylor Swift was the big CMA winner, with four awards: Album of the Year, Music Video of the Year, Female Vocalist of the Year, and Entertainer of the Year.

For those of you who weren’t paying attention at the MTV Video Music Awards, Taylor is the nineteen year-old singer-songwriter who was embarrassed by Kanye West. These were her first CMA wins, but she’s been racking up awards since she was sixteen, with 33 awards and 48 nominations, and not a single scandal or arrest.

Her first hit was Tim McGraw:

Despite what Jeralyn Merritt thinks, C&W music isn’t a bunch of white guys in sequined suits twanging away at the Grand Ole Opry anymore. The CMA award for New Artist of the Year went to Darius Rucker (formerly of Hootie and the Blowfish):

Single of the Year went to Lady Antebellum:

Vocal Duo of the Year was awarded to Jennifer Nettles and Kristian Bush of Sugarland:


(Sorry, but the links don’t embed, but click through to YouTube and you can watch them.)