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Monday Midday: Zombietime News and Views

This is how I feel this morning

Hello Conflucians!! I don’t know what’s wrong with me, but I’ve been sitting here staring off into space like a zombie since I woke up at 7AM Eastern time. The only time I’ve gotten up was to make a cup of tea and go to the bathroom. I guess it’s the end-of-the-semester syndrome–nearly compete emotional, physical, and spiritual burnout.

Here are a few interesting stories for you to discuss when you finish reacting to myiq’s post–maybe seeing that headline about Obama’s grade for his first year that bumped me into zombieland. B+?! What is that guy on? We’re in the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, real unemployment is around 20%, the banksters are being bolstered by Obama’s free hand with the U.S. Treasury, health care reform is dead for at least another decade, and Congress is pushing for cuts in Social Security and Medicare. In my gradebook, that would be grounds for an F.

Anyway…where was I? Oh yeah. Headlines…..

Developing nations walked out of the Copenhagen climate talks this morning:

A little more here

THE Copenhagen climate summit is in chaos after poor countries walked out of negotiations en masse today.

The G77, a group which represents 130 developing countries, walked out because it is concerned the existing Kyoto protocol will be abandoned.

Australia’s Climate Change Minister Penny Wong confirmed that organisers were trying to fix the problem and coax back the developing world.

Many countries at the UN climate summit want a brand new treaty to tackle climate change, but the developing world wants the Kyoto protocol to continue as well.

The protocol forces rich countries to reduce or limit their greenhouse gas emissions.

Senator Wong said the walkout was “most unfortunate”.

“It is regrettable that we appear to have reached a gridlock on process,” she said.

I was getting excited, but the developing nations have already walked back in:

Developing nations return to Copenhagen climate talks

Talks at the UN climate summit resumed on Monday afternoon after protests from developing nations forced a suspension.

But talks have been limited to informal consultations on procedural issues, notably developing countries’ demands for more time on the Kyoto Protocol.

The G77-China bloc, speaking for developing countries, said the Danish hosts had violated democratic process.

Some delegates talked forlornly of the vast amount of negotiating left to be done before the summit concludes.

The countries that suspended co-operation were those which make up the G77-China bloc of 130 nations. These range from wealthy countries such as South Korea, to some of the poorest states in the world.

Italy’s Berlusconi to stay in hospital after attack (with video)

Italian Prime Minister is in the hospital after having a statue thrown at his face.

Italian PM Silvio Berlusconi will stay in hospital at least until Tuesday after having his nose broken by an attacker, doctors say.

A medical bulletin reported in the Italian media said Mr Berlusconi was able to eat, but only with difficulty.

Mr Berlusconi, 73, suffered a broken nose, two broken teeth and a cut lip after being hit with a model of Milan cathedral after a rally in the city.

A 42-year-old man was arrested and has been charged with aggravated assault.

The suspect, Massimo Tartaglia, was said by police to have had a history of mental illness, receiving treatment over a 10-year period.

Excuse me, I started laughing inappropriately and had to take a short break. {wiping tears away}

The Horrible Health Care Destruction Nightmare Continues unabated. Will it ever end?

Health Care Progress Report: December 14

Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) — one of the Democratic caucus members the plan was intended to appease — dropped a bombshell Sunday on CBS News’ “Face the Nation,” when he said he would not vote for a bill that expands Medicare.

“From what I hear, I certainly would have a hard time voting for it because it has some of the same infirmities that the public option did,” he said about the Medicare buy-in.

Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.), another conservative who may or may not vote for the health care bill, said on “Face the Nation” that the Medicare buy-in is “the forerunner of single-payer, the ultimate single-payer plan, maybe even more directly than the public option.”

WTF are Lieberman and Nelson doing in the Democratic party anyway?

Is Reid Cursed by the Lucky Number 60?

Sixty is the number of senators in the Democratic caucus, and the precise number needed to overcome Republican filibusters. It is the magic number of votes that Mr. Reid needs to pull together to advance major health care legislation.

In many ways, 60 is also a mirage – falsely raising Democratic hopes, particularly those of more liberal senators, that they have the muscle to push the health care bill without making painful concessions to centrists in both parties.

To be sure, controlling 60 votes has generally been advantageous to the Democrats. They have repeatedly cleared procedural obstacles that Republicans set in their path, even on routine bills that ultimately are approved by overwhelming majorities.

But on the health care bill, in particular, the notion of nominally controlling 60 votes has emboldened many Democrats, especially liberals, to make demands that they might otherwise have regarded as unreasonable if their party held even one less seat.

WTF?!! Wanting Americans to have reasonably priced health care like the civilized countries do is “unreasonable?” Maybe it’s reading assinine stories like this every day that is making me feel like a zombie.

ProPublica.org is running a series of stories on police misconduct after Hurricate Katrina–highly recommended.

<a href=”After Katrina, police shot first and asked few questions.“>After Katrina, NO police shot first and asked few questions

Matt McDonald left his native Connecticut and headed to New Orleans in the summer of 2005, shortly before Hurricane Katrina struck and floodwaters engulfed the city. McDonald was a troubled soul, a heavy drinker who had lived on the streets, but he kept in touch with his family, calling from time to time.

After the storm, his brother John, an auto-body technician who lives in Norwich, Conn., began working the phones, reaching out to anyone in Louisiana he thought might know something. “I heard so many different things,” John McDonald recalled.

John McDonald’s wife, Kerry, spent the next month making one phone call after another. “It was such a big runaround,” said Kerry McDonald, who recalled speaking to FEMA officials, American Red Cross staffers, New Orleans police officers and numerous others. “One person would say he was shot to death; the next would say he was found floating.”

Eventually, despite the conflicting stories, one thing became clear: Matt was dead at 41. His body was identified by several distinctive tattoos, including the name of his daughter, Crystal, and a pair of black bat wings.

His girlfriend, Martha Dziadul, paid to cremate the body.

Four years later, a reporter looking at the conduct of the Police Department in the aftermath of the hurricane called Dziadul to ask whether she had ever seen the official report on McDonald’s death. The document said a police officer armed with an AR-15 assault rifle had shot him to death on Sept. 3, 2005.

She was staggered. “They never, ever told me the police shot him. They told me it was a homicide,” she said. “They said: We don’t even know what day it happened because we weren’t there.”

Shot or Not, Dead or Alive? Two Men’s Fate Lost in Chaos

A motionless body lay on the pavement. Perhaps 20 riled-up police officers milled around. On the shoulder of the road, an RTA bus was parked at a crazy angle, like a dislocated elbow. Nearby was a long white limousine, crashed into a pole.

What had we stumbled upon?

Then there were guns aimed at us, and my face was pushed against a wall. I heard lots of shouting and cursing.

It was three days after the levees broke: Thursday, Sept. 1, 2005 — in my limited view, the day things completely fell apart in New Orleans.

The desperation was mounting. The cavalry wasn’t coming, it seemed. We were in it alone.

The heat was brutal, punishing. Supplies were minimal, and shrinking.

Can any country that permits this kind of abuse and neglect of its people survive? I honestly don’t think so.

There are a couple of terrific opinion pieces at Truthdig today:

Scott Ritter on Afghanistan: Our Murderers in the Sky

The true test of a society and its leaders is the extent to which every effort is made to both properly define a problem as one worthy of military intervention and then exhaust every option other than the use of force. It is true that President Barack Obama inherited the war in Afghanistan from his predecessor and therefore cannot be held accountable for that which transpired beyond his ability to influence. But the president’s recent decision to “surge” 30,000 additional U.S. military troops into Afghanistan transfers ownership of the Afghan conflict to him and him alone. It is in this light that his decision must be ultimately judged.

In many ways, Obama’s presentation before the Long Gray Line at West Point, in which he explained his decision to conduct the Afghanistan surge, represented an insult to the collective intelligence of the American people. The most egregious contradiction in his speech was the notion that the people of Afghanistan, who, throughout their history, have resisted central authority whether emanating from Kabul or imposed by outside invaders, would somehow be compelled to embrace this new American plan.

Chris Hedges: Gravel’s Lament: Fighting Another Dumb War

I have spent enough time inside the American military to have tasted its dark brutality, frequent incompetence and profligate ability to waste human lives and taxpayer dollars. The deviousness and stupidity of generals, the absurdity of most war plans and the pathological addiction to violence—which is the only language most who command our armed forces are able to understand—make the American military the gravest threat to our anemic democracy, especially as we head toward economic collapse.

Barack Obama, who is as mesmerized by the red, white and blue bunting draped around our vast killing machine as the press, the two main political parties and our entertainment industry, will not halt our doomed imperial projects or renege on the $1 trillion in defense-related spending that is hollowing out the country from the inside. A plague of unchecked militarism has seeped outward from the Pentagon since the end of World War II and is now sucking our marrow dry. It is a familiar disease in imperial empires. We are in the terminal stage. We spend more on our military—half of all discretionary spending—than all of the other countries on Earth combined, although we face no explicit threat.

Mike Gravel, the former two-term senator from Alaska and 2008 presidential candidate, sat Saturday on a park bench in Lafayette Park facing the White House. Gravel and I were in the park, along with Rep. Dennis Kucinich, Ralph Nader, Cynthia McKinney and other anti-war activists, to denounce the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan at a sparsely attended rally. Few voices in American politics have been as consistent, as reasoned and as moral as his, which is why Gravel, on a chilly December morning, is in front of the White House, not inside it.

Hedges is one powerful writer!

Please add more links in the comments. I’m sure I missed something big….


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106 Responses

  1. Here is an interesting post on “girl bashing.”


    • From the link:

      At the same time, there is also a bizarre prudery. Two years ago, three juniors at a public high school in suburban New York were suspended for using the word “vagina” during a reading of “The Vagina Monologues.” If you were a 13-year-old girl, wouldn’t you be confused?

      Apparently the correct term is “hoo hoo”

      • I always thought it was “hoo hah”, but maybe I’m out of touch with current trends.

        • When I was in junior high everyone used to say the word “wazoo” all the time, but I never figured out what it stood for.

          • I hear it used for a portion of anatomy shared by both genders, as in : “He’s up to the wazoo in debt”.

            Also “Wazoo” is WSU (Wash. State Univ) in Pullman, Washington. I believe the emphasis is on the “Zoo” portion of the fond appellation.

        • if you are a Gen Xer or a Millennial then the term is Va jay jay.

          In the 70s we had much cruder terms I will not repeat.

  2. It’s really sad to see Paul Krugman become such a shill for the Democrats. Fortunately, readers of the NYT aren’t swallowing his bunk anymore. From one of the Comments letters comes this gem recommended by 359 readers:

    Under the Democrats, and with very little resistance from most Republicans, the causes of corporate interest and political interest have merged.

    Paul, the Democrats have controlled Congress for four years, and they have controlled the Presidency for a year. They have a huge majority in the House and a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate. You need to quit whining about the Republicans. Your whines about them are old, and , boring, and irrelevant. The republicans have no power to fight the bankers or do much of anything else. The Democrats , from President Obama down, have been, and are now, in the tank for the NYC banking establishment. That fact is obvious to all but the intentionally blind.

    Other than the Dems having been in control for three years rather than four hears, this woman is not likely to be fooled by Krugman’s whitewashing.

    • Let’s face it, Krugman is probably one of to the top 1% in income.

    • Krugman is still recovering from burned retinas he received at the job summit when the Lightbringer sat with him prior to his panel and quietly, but effectively, administered a First hand job. After being refreshed, Krugman waxed prophetic after which he entertained all with a dance of the seven veils where he proved he is not, “Flat, Hot or Crowded.”

    • Under the Democrats, and with very little resistance from most Republicans, the causes of corporate interest and political interest have merged.

      I do believe this is what we call fascism.

    • I’ve lost respect for him. Since the primaries, t’s amazing how many people I once respected are on my “s” list.

    • But today, Obama said this: “I did not run for office to be helping out a bunch of fat cat bankers on Wall Street.” Unfrigginbelievable.

      • I can’t watch him talk. I keep expecting one of two things to happen – either he starts laughing because what he is saying is so outrageous or a bolt of lightning from Heaven fries his lying ass.

  3. Matt Yglesias:

    So it’s also worth sparing a few words for the potentially demoralized voters who are considering staying home. To wit: Grow up. Nobody ever accomplished anything in politics by not participating.

    Yeah, giving Democrats Congress and the White House accomplished so much.

    • Nobody ever accomplished anything in politics by continuing to give guaranteed votes to a party who spits in their face and ignores them once the election is over, either. How’s that been working out so far, Matt?

      Oh, and Matt, “participating” does not necessarily equal “vote for”. Please see the example of the religious right, who though a minority, managed to gain great clout in their party by digging in their heels and WITHHOLDING THEIR VOTE if their concerns were ignored. Not threatening to do it – but actually doing it.

      There is already an existing roadmap for how to shift a party your way, but fauxgressives don’t have the balls to do it.

    • And what did we get By participating?(

      • We got experience.

        My grandpa used to say “Experience is what you get when you didn’t get what you wanted.”

        • woah…smart Grandpa.
          I loved my Grandfather. the man who the word Gentleman was coined I am positive. He had many many little phrases like that. I wish I could remember more, but the one which keeps playing in my head is actually a poem he used to recite at least once a summer when we went to their lake cottage.
          He was quite droll as you will see.
          He didn’t write this poem, but he used to write his own and read it on the air when he was a radio announcer in the 30s in Rochester NY.

          I Eat My Peas with Honey

          by Anonymous
          I eat my peas with honey;
          I’ve done it all my life.
          It makes the peas taste funny,
          But it keeps them on the knife.

          God should have given us grandparents when we were old enough to appreciate them. All we can do now is miss them.

    • I thought nothing could be accomplished? America is ungovernable? At least keep your narratives straight!

    • Doncha wonder what the Team Obie email Matt got that prompted that quote said?

      Dear (Insert name here)
      You’re my favorite (blogger, author, journalist, columnist, person in the whole world)
      So please, help our cause that you and I worked so hard to get me elected for. Tell those less enlightened beings who are starting to try to hold me to my campaign promises, in your own words, just how great I still am. I mean, really, oceans rise? Sheesh, They were the ones they were waiting for, after all.
      Anyway, I look forward to having one of my flunkies, er, staffers, ahem, read the pearls of wisdom you’re sure to write about me for us, in your inimitable style, whoever you are.
      Your friend,
      The Honorable Mr. Sir Barack Hussein Obama, Jr. III, President of the United States, Nobel Peace Prize Winner, Leader of the Free World, Chairman of the Publisher’s Clearinghouse, and All Around Swell Guy

      • 🙂

      • Dear Matt,

        I am the director of the First Bank of Nigeria. I have 31 million dollars trapped in a Nigerian bank account. I was forced to flee the country due to the political situation. I need your help in claiming these funds. I can offer you a 50% finder’s fee. All I need is a deposit of $75,000 American plus 240,000 words of hagiography devoted to Barack Obama. Thank you for your assisstance, David Axlerod, deposed director of the First Bank of Nigeria

  4. Obama is asking Harry Reid to cut a deal with Lieberman–meaning no medicare expansion or public option. Not that either of those would have done most of us any good.


    • I’m just sitting here eating my popcorn, watching all the faux progressives go into a tailspin. Assuming either of the congressional insurance reforms makes it into law, I will be on Medicare (thank goodness) by the time any of this takes effect. At this point, I’m counting on other seniors like me (apparently the only remaining political activists) to make sure that Medicare remains viable. Young people are screwed if any of the congressional bills are passed.

      • I’m thoroughly angry now. If I were not going to be on Medicare before this junk is fully implemented, I would be in a red rage. Like you, I’m counting on other seniors to keep voting!

  5. In January of 2007, Bush’s Rasmussen approval/disapproval numbers were 41/57. Obama’s are now 44/55

    Yet the media still portrays him as immensely popular and well-liked, even though he is within 2 points of Bush’s disapproval in early 2007. At those numbers, they INVARIABLY referred to Bush as a markedly unpopular president. The double standard is astounding.

    Me, I’m honest and consistent – I can’t stand either one of them.

  6. d,

    OT, but last night we set a new record of -50.8 degrees fahrenheit!



  7. Joseph Cannon has a way with words:

    Dave Sirota is a fucking liar

  8. Here’s Matt and Glenn giving each other a hug.


    • Is that what the kids are calling it these days?

    • Matt gets so close, but then he starts reciting the Democrat mantra “The Republicans are worse. The Republicans are worse.”

      • I love how it always comes down to that. Someone on the Left will do this long critique of all the ways that a particular Dem is selling us all out. And will be applauded for their bravery in “holding their feet to the fire”.

        How praiseworthy! Wow, behold the True Liberal, valiantly defending our ideals!! We’re really holding those Democrats ACCOUNTABLE now! Woohoo, lookit us being STERN with our politicians!

        Until you get to the end of the article, and all the comments, all the chest-beating and gnashing of teeth winds down. The conclusion is always the same: “But we still have to vote for him/her anyway, because the Republicans are worse.” Jesus, and these morons don’t GET why they are and always WILL BE ignored once the votes are counted?

        Withhold your VOTE, morons. It will hurt for an election or 2, but it is the only way to EVER be taken seriously.

        • All the Democratic politicians have to do is be marginally “better” than the Republicans. But what “better” usually comes down to is promising to be different from the GOP but breaking that promise on all but a few minor issues.

        • So the other day a rather earnest young fellow came to my door soliciting for the Sierra Club (an organization I’ve belonged to for, well, decades). He enthralled me with a spiel about how the Sierra Club wants to “help President Obama ™”
          in his (or should that be “His”?) efforts to ban mountaintop removal. I fixed him with a steely glare and said, “If he plans to ban it, then why did he approve over 40 applications for mountaintop removal in his first two months in office?”

          After a few seconds of stunned silence I added, “You were had, son.”

          I think his pupils were still dilated when I closed the door in his face.

    • That was Matt giving Glenn a recommend *yesterday*.

      Here was Glenn giving Matt a recommend on *Friday* :

      UPDATE: Obviously quite related to all of this, if I had to recommend one article for everyone to read this month, it would be Matt Taibbi’s new, masterful account in Rolling Stone of how the Obama administration has aggressively ensured the ongoing domination of our government by Wall Street. I don’t want to excerpt any of it because I want to encourage everyone to read it in its entirety; suffice to say, it makes many of the same arguments as those made here in the context of Obama’s decisions in the financial and economic realms (though several people, such as Tim Fernholz and Salon’s Andrew Leonard, have voiced what appear to be serious objections to some of Taibbi’s claims; hopefully, he’ll respond).

      • I’m glad Matt’s giving Wall Street a hard time, aside from his flip flops on Obama. But he has a credibility issue imo. Not because he’s not a deep finance guy. But because he puts his thesis and conclusions ahead of his analysis. There’s no gray for him. He’s young and eager that way. More like a prosecutor than a journalist.

      • That link isn’t working.

  9. “WTF are Lieberman and Nelson doing in the Democratic party anyway?”

    Well, Lieberman theoretically *isn’t* a Democrat anymore, although I don’t suppose he’s really any further from historic Democratic principles than most of those who are.

    I suppose it’s rather too late to hope for a Stalinist purge – particularly since we’d have to start at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.

    • Hard to believe Holy Joe came within one vote of being a Democratic Vice President.

      • Was he like this before he was VP candidate? Or did getting the nod go to his head and make him want to be a power player?

        • He was the moral scold of the Senate during the impeachment crisis, saying the Big Dawg was a bad boy but arguing for censure instead of removal from office. He went farther criticizing Bill than the other Dems in Congress.

          Some people thing Gore picked him as VP to distance himself from the most popular Democratic incumbent since FDR.

        • Did you know that Joe won his first political race (for ninth grade class pres) by using a poster of himself on top of his roof saying, “Vote for me or I’ll jump”

          • Lol Joe must have gone to a nice school. Today he’d lose in a landslide and have to switch schools after most of the kids went over to his house and taunted him to jump.

    • This reminds me of Joe. http://bit.ly/6WAKl4

  10. Lots of debate about this today. Personally, I thought the NYTimes has tilted more Obamaward in the past two years than the WSJournal has tilted rightward.


  11. Did anyone else hear that some of those bankers who were supposed to meet with the president today couldn’t muster the energy to fight the weather and instead blew off the face to face meeting offering only teleconference access?

  12. USA Today/Gallup poll (not the same as the daily Gallup tracking poll) has Obama’s approval rating at 49% and this is the headline they write:

    Poll: Obama approval rating positive, but just barely

  13. Headshrinker Today:

    In an earlier review of fellow PT blogger Susan Pinker’s book The Sexual Paradox: Troubled Boys, Gifted Girls and the Real Difference Between the Sexes, we ponder why it is that so many highly successful women experience the “imposter syndrome” – the persistent feeling that, despite their well-deserved success and accolades, they are somehow frauds and will soon be exposed – while very few comparable men experience it. We may have an answer.

    • They really have an excellent point in that “success” is usually defined in male terms in our society and very rigid materialistic terms at that. I believe we should do almost anything in our power to change the definition so that “success” is always defined by the individual for themselves.

  14. Where is everyone today?

    Is it Heavily-Medicated Monday or something?

    • I dunno …been wondering the same thing….

    • Life snuck up on me today and grabbed me when I wasn’t looking. I hate it when that happens 😉

      Better to be heavily-medicated.

      • Count your blessings. Death snuck up and grabbed my next-door neighbor yesterday. Heart failure. He was 10 years younger than me and seemed in good health.

        He left a wife and three young girls.

        • That’s a real eye opener when it happens close like that. Our own mortality suddenly seems a lot closer.

          My heart goes out to surviving families always.

    • No silly. It’s act like a zombie Monday.

  15. I found this on a comment on another blog. Are Dems bailing? Very interesting….

    So I finally looked at the stats here in Iowa. The stats are confusing as heck because they separate them into “active” and “inactive”. I have no idea why, nor is there anything on the site explaining it.

    But on the “active” side I found this:

    Nov08 Dems registered 698,839
    Dec 09 Dems registered 682,573

    Lots more interesting stuff here:

    • Bailing is the only prudent course of action when faced with the titanic failure of Obombya and his Dem chorus.

  16. Just because:

    “Octopus snatches coconut and runs”


    The Beeb is always good for some cute critter news.

    • Earlier they had one about stoned wallabis creating crop circles in Tasmania. Seems the wallabis eat opium poppies and then wander around. The comments were precious.

  17. New post up!

  18. @carney: The Fed buys MBS insured by FNM, which is backed by Treasury, which sells bonds bought by Fed. The mind boggles.

    Guess the Fed’s buying up those toxic assets with its platinum credit card.

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