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Wednesday News

Good Morning Conflucians!!!

The big news we’re watching closely is hurricane Earl. Right now it has been downgraded to a category 3 and it seems to be sticking to a more outside path with no landfall in the US projected. Definitely good news. But we need to keep a close watch as it can still cause damage to many coastal areas. Discovery has a nice geeks guide to how hurricanes are tracked.

A couple of bits of big news from yesterday are worth repeating. First Murkowski conceded in her bid for Senate reelection in Alaska:

Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska conceded late Tuesday in her Republican primary race against Joe Miller, a lawyer from Fairbanks who was backed by Tea Party activists, Sarah Palin and other conservatives.

Mr. Miller shocked the political establishment here and in Washington last week when he emerged with a narrow lead, 1,668 votes, after the primary vote, on Aug. 24. His victory makes him the presumed favorite to win the Senate seat from this heavily Republican state.

Mr. Miller, who has proposed drastic cuts in federal spending, had trailed badly in local polls in the weeks before the election but benefited from a last-minute flood of advertisements, mailings and automated calls casting Ms. Murkowski as a Democrat in disguise. An abortion-related ballot measure also brought conservatives to the polls.

“Now is the time for all Alaskans to come together and reach out with our core message of taking power from the federal government and bringing it back home to the people,” Mr. Miller said in a written statement. “ If we continue to allow the federal government to live beyond its means, we will all soon have to live below ours.”

That’s pretty bad. The Tea Party candidates as we’ve seen are either loony or play one on TV. And of course that means we’ve lost another of the too few women’s voices in the Senate. The other aspect of this is the influence of Sarah Palin of course.

The other big news from yesterday was Obama’s speech basically announcing “Mission Accomplished.” The only thing missing from his bland speech in his newly renovated bland hotel room looking oval office was the flight suit. And maybe the inclusion of GWB in his own flight suite and perhaps a Mel Brooks choreographed song and dance number. The withdraw and its timetable was mostly planned by the previous administration:

President Obama marked the end of the U.S. combat mission in Iraq on Tuesday by declaring that after more than seven years, vast expenditures and thousands of casualties, the nation must focus its shrunken resources on rebuilding the ailing domestic economy.

Addressing the nation for only the second time from the Oval Office, the president appealed for support from a country impatient for progress on unemployment and other economic woes and increasingly weary of wars, including the one in Afghanistan, which Obama has chosen to escalate.

As he has done several times recently, Obama made note of his campaign pledge to wind down the war in Iraq, which he opposed from the outset. “That is what we have done,” he said. “We have removed nearly 100,000 U.S. troops from Iraq.”

Of course in the fine print they don’t mention is the fact that we still have around 100,000 combat troops in the form of Blackwater, around 50,000 US troops with many combat troops among them, and many, many thousands of black ops combat troops all still there. They also don’t mention that many of those withdrawn troops will be recycled into Afghanistan as part of the serge efforts there. Out of the frying pan, into the fire.

In economic news, the month of August was a bit of a loser with the Feds showing increasing worries in the latest meeting:

The stock market ended its worst August since 2001 with meager gains Tuesday after minutes from the latest Federal Reserve meeting showed officials’ increasing concern about the economy.

Stock indexes gave up most of their gains in midafternoon after the release of minutes from the Aug. 10 meeting. Fed officials recognized the economy might need further stimulus beyond the purchases of government debt the central bank announced that day. Some acknowledged the economy had softened more than they had anticipated.

The Dow Jones industrial average ended with a gain of 5 points, having been up 64 after a reading on consumer confidence in August came in stronger than expected. Stocks fell sharply for much of August after a series of reports suggested the recovery has weakened.

The Standard & Poor’s 500, the measure used most by stock-market professionals, finished August with a loss of 4.7 percent. It was the index’s worst showing for the month since August 2001, when it lost 6.4 percent as the dot-com bubble collapsed. Year-to-date, the S&P 500 is down 5.9 percent.

Some traders said there was disappointment the Fed wasn’t pessimistic enough to consider quicker steps to stimulate that economy.

According to the meeting’s minutes, released Tuesday, Federal Reserve officials were divided over whether they should resume purchases of Treasury bonds and what impact the move could have on the nation’s economy.

In the end, the policymaking committee elected to reinvest money from maturing mortgage securities in government bonds by a 9-1 vote.

But the minutes show there was wider disagreement behind closed doors than that final tally may suggest.

Most members of the Federal Open Market Committee thought it unwise to allow the Fed’s balance sheet to contract, which would have happened were it not for their action, because that would tighten monetary policy when the economic outlook was weakening, according to the minutes.

However, other members “noted that the magnitude of the tightening was uncertain, and a few thought that the economic effects of reinvesting principal … likely would be quite small.”

We’re all holding on by fingernails out here. And things aren’t really looking up. Maybe they’ll all come to their senses and do an actual job creating stimulus plan. Yea, right.

Which brings us to the looping political storm brewing. It’s not looking good for Democrats:

The Gallup organization dropped a bomb on the political world this week. In shorthand, the pollsters said Monday that if the midterm elections were held now, Republicans would take control of the House – and probably by a comfortable margin.

On Tuesday, James Campbell, a professor of political science at the University of Buffalo, weighed in with a prediction based on his modeling of the political climate. He said that Republicans are poised to gain 51 or 52 House seats, at least 11 more than needed to depose the Democrats.

Election Day is still two months away, but the twin findings added to the fear among Democrats that their House majority – and possibly their Senate majority as well – is in jeopardy.

Any bets? What are everyone’s predictions? I’m guessing around 50 seats change parties in the house unless something big changes the landscape. Maybe 5 in the senate.

Here’s a bit more from that article:

This week’s survey produced the largest lead for the Republicans in the history of asking that question: 51 percent to 41 percent. Ninety-six percent of Republicans said they would vote for the GOP candidate, while 88 percent of Democrats said they would support the Democrat. Independents, who helped power Democratic victories in 2006 and 2008, split 48 percent to 31 percent for Republicans.

This measurement (known as the generic ballot question) has sometimes been considered an imperfect or misleading indicator of House election results. Gallup begs to differ. Frank Newport, editor in chief of the Gallup poll, said that Gallup’s final survey of likely voters before Election Day has been an accurate predictor of the two parties’ share of the national vote in House elections. The national vote, in turn, he added, is an excellent predictor of seats won or lost.

Four years ago, when Democrats won control of the House, the final Gallup survey of likely voters gave Democrats an advantage of seven percentage points over Republicans. Their actual share of the national two-party vote was eight points more.

In 1994, when Republicans won the House and Senate, Gallup showed the GOP with a seven-point advantage in its final survey – exactly the margin between the two parties on Election Day.

That’s bad. That’s actually stunningly bad. First the gap is wider than in those two previous big turn over elections. And the fact that Repubs are above 50% is really bad too. Well, it’s not like we’re surprised. You install a non leader, no experienced, empty suit as the head of your party and surprise, he doesn’t work out so well. And what’s worse, he’s a frack’en Bush II clone who is passing Repub policies even they couldn’t have passed. Really Dems, that was your big political move? With friends like these, who needs enemies.

Speaking of great policies and their results (that was snark), we are seeing the obvious results of bailing out the too big to fail:

U.S. banks are making money again, although a split picture of the industry has emerged since the financial crisis.

The largest banks are thriving, mostly because they can borrow on the cheap and have rid themselves of bad debt. Yet smaller banks lack those advantages and are failing at the fastest pace in years.

Overall, banks made $21.6 billion in net income in the April-to-June quarter, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. said. It was the highest quarterly level since 2007.

Banks with more than $10 billion in assets — only 1.3 percent of the industry — accounted for $19.9 billion of the total earnings.

At the same time, the number of banks on the FDIC’s confidential “problem” list increased by 54 in the quarter — growing to 829 from 775 in the first quarter. That’s a little more than 10 percent of the 7,830 federally insured U.S. banks.

Most of the biggest banks have recovered with help from federal bailout money, record-low borrowing rates from the Federal Reserve and the ability to earn big profits from fees on banking services and investment fees. They also have been able to cut back on lending in troubled parts of the country, such as Florida and Nevada.

Smaller and regional banks, however, have less flexibility. They depend heavily on making loans for commercial property and development. Those sectors have suffered huge losses. Companies have shut down in the recession, vacating shopping malls and office buildings financed by the loans.

All of the 118 banks that have failed this year have been smaller or regional banks. Last year 140 banks shuttered, most of them small institutions.

What? You’re not making big profits hand over fist? Sucker. But there is the potential for things getting better and some “good signs” in that the big banks are doing better:

The decline in bank lending stemming from the financial crisis showed signs of leveling off, the data show. Total lending declined by $107.5 billion, or 1.4 percent from the first quarter. It posted the steepest drop since World War II — 7.5 percent — in 2009 from the year before.

FDIC Chairman Sheila Bair said banks’ lending standards are beginning to ease for some types of credit.

“But lending will not pick up until businesses and consumers gain the confidence they need to hire and spend,” Bair said.

She said the economic recovery is starting to be reflected in banks’ higher earnings and the improved quality of loans, with fewer defaults and delinquencies.

So if you businesses and consumers can just get some confidence already, we’ll be fine. You lazy bastards. (Yes, snark again.)

In some interesting ethics news, there are more congressmen being investigated for ethics violations:

A congressional ethics watchdog has asked for a further probe of campaign fundraising appeals to Wall Street firms by Rep. John Campbell (R-Irvine) and two other House members before lawmakers voted on financial regulatory overhaul legislation.

Campbell confirmed the Office of Congressional Ethics’ referral to the House Ethics Committee but denied wrongdoing.

“I am perplexed by OCE’s decision, as they have presented no evidence that would suggest wrongdoing,” he said in a statement Tuesday.

The action, two months before the November midterm election, comes as fellow Southern Californian Rep. Maxine Waters (D- Los Angeles) and Rep. Charles B. Rangel (D-N.Y.) face rare ethics trials. Both have denied wrongdoing.

The Office of Congressional Ethics also asked the committee to further investigate Reps. Joseph Crowley (D-N.Y.) and Tom Price (R-Ga.).

Campbell, Crowley and Price all held fundraisers in December, around the time of crucial House votes on the most sweeping overhaul of the nation’s financial regulatory system since the Great Depression. President Obama signed it into law in July.

Both Republicans opposed the legislation, which strengthened oversight of the financial industry and consumer protections. Crowley, the Democrat, opposed some amendments that would have toughened the measure but backed the final bill.

In startling news, the next edition to be published, the third edition, of the Oxford English Dictionary may be published in electronic form only:

The head of Oxford University Press, Nigel Portwood, recently caused a stir by openly considering the possibility that the third edition of the Oxford English Dictionary might be published in electronic form only. What prompted those thoughts was the success of the online version of the O.E.D., as it is usually called, and the limited sales of the printed 20-volume edition.

No decision has been reached, nor is one likely soon, since the third edition will not be ready to publish in full for another decade or so. And who is to say what publishing will look like a decade from now?

For Oxford, the decision to go online-only would make a great deal of economic sense. Current subscribers to the online edition pay $295 a year for access. The print edition is selling for $995. Which is the better deal for you depends on how you value shelving and the cost of leaving your desk to look up a word.

But the difference in price also represents linguistic currency. The online edition includes updates. The printed one contains what it contained in 1989, when the second edition was published: all of the words then in the language, their historical uses, etymology and pronunciation. Language is a living organism, and the O.E.D.’s help in understanding how we speak this instant is important. But even our spoken language is overwhelmingly historical in nature. That is the O.E.D.’s greatest value — as a guide to our spoken and written history.

I like having my hardback edition (well, the shorter two volume version at least). But it is a bit unwieldy and having a digital version is better for something like that. But as the article goes on to say, what about when the lights go out?

Speaking of trends and things we don’t want, the pentagon is funding companies to make flying humvees. You just can’t make this stuff up:

The race to build the world’s first flying military jeep just moved a step closer to the finish line. The Pentagon’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has selected two companies to proceed with the next stage of its Transformer, known as TX—a fully automated four-person vehicle that can drive like a car and then take off and fly like an aircraft to avoid roadside bombs. Lockheed Martin and AAI Corp., a unit of Textron Systems, are currently in negotiations with DARPA for the first stage of the Transformer project, several industry sources told Popular Mechanics at a robotics conference here in Denver. DARPA has not announced the official winners yet.

It’s unclear how many companies competed for the DARPA project, but the competition brought together an unusual mix of large defense companies with smaller aviation firms vying to build the vertical takeoff and landing craft. Perhaps most surprising—and for some competitors galling— is that DARPA selected a rotor-based aircraft for one of the two winning submissions. At an industry day held earlier this year, DARPA officials had initially said they weren’t interested in a traditional rotary-wing aircraft, though they might consider a vehicle if the rotor was shrouded.

The only question I have is, will they have fricken lasers on top?

Which inevitably brings us to five ways humankind might be wiped out:

The Universe looks like a pretty tranquil place to live, doesn’t it? During the day the sun shines steadily, and at night the heavens are reassuring and unchanging.

Dream on. The Universe is filled to the brim with dangerous, nasty things, all jostling for position to be the one to wipe us off the face of the planet. Happily for us, they’re all pretty unlikely—how many people do you know who have died by proton disintegration?—but if you wait long enough, one of them is bound to get us.

But which one?

The first one is my favorite, death by asteroid:

Of all the ways we might meet our untimely demise, getting wiped out by an asteroid is the most likely. Why? Because we sit in a cosmic shooting gallery, with 100 tons of material hitting us every day. The problem, though, occurs every few centuries when something big this way comes. If you could ask a dinosaur, I’d imagine they’d tell you to take this seriously.

And we do. The B612 Foundation is a collection of scientists dedicated to making sure we don’t end up with our bones in some future museum. Their advice: no nukes! Instead, slam a spacecraft head-on into a dangerous rock to move it in a hurry, then fine-tune it with another spacecraft by using its gravity to pull the rock into a safe path. It sounds like sci-fi, but models show this is in fact our best bet to save the Earth.

Read on for more fun.

And finally, let’s look at a nice product comparison to test whether WD-40 really is a wonder product:

Conventional wisdom credits WD-40 with thousands of uses as a penetrating oil and lubricant. But is that really the case? We put the red-capped classic to the test in five common tasks to see how it held up against other lubes—and now think twice about our WD-40 overuse.

One of the more dispiriting facts of consumer life is that panaceas don’t routinely live up to their promises. Sure, sometimes you get penicillin, a product that needs no introduction, but other times you get Dr. Ebeneezer Sibley’s Reanimating Solar Tincture, an elixir alleged to restore life in the event of sudden death.

And then there’s WD-40, a putative fix-all that boasts uses ranging from driving moisture from a flooded motor to killing roaches to breaking in baseball gloves to reviving drowned cellphones. Such is its pop-cultural ubiquity that it even co-stars in a well-known handyman apothegm: “If it moves and it shouldn’t, you need duct tape. If it doesn’t move and it should, you need WD-40.”

But is WD-40 really toolbox penicillin? Or is it the snake oil of lubricants?

Read on for the details and products they compared. But I’ll give you the punch line. Nope, there are better products for most every use. Sad isn’t it. But not that surprising.

That’s a bit of what’s in the news today. Chime in with what you’re seeing.

87 Responses

  1. Meghan Mccain has a book out and talks about the Palin’s:

    John McCain’s daughter says in a new book released Tuesday that Sarah Palin brought drama, stress and uncertainty to her father’s failed bid for the presidency in 2008, but she doesn’t blame the vice presidential nominee for losing the race.
    In “Dirty Sexy Politics,” Meghan McCain portrays conflicted feelings about her father’s surprise choice for a running mate. She reveals that she called Palin “the Time Bomb.”
    “I was waiting for her to explode,” McCain wrote. “There was a fine line between genius and insanity, they say, and choosing her as the running mate was starting to seem like the definition of that line.”
    But McCain also praises the Palins as “nice and down-to-Earth” and says she was impressed with Palin’s ability to captivate and inspire women.
    In the end, she writes, her father lost because “Obama was unbeatable” — the electorate and the news media were too enamored with a fresh new face who represented a monumental change from then-President George W. Bush.

  2. Interesting article at Salon about Larry Summers playing both sides in the unemployment game:
    http://www.salon.com/technology/how_the_world_works/2010/08/31/larry_summers_on_unemployment/index.html

  3. thanks for the roundup.

    billy kristol is very content with the Obummer speech, so that pretty much says it all.
    http://www.weeklystandard.com/blogs/note-my-fellow-hawks

    from the link:

    In sum, the president seemed to me to go about as far as an anti-Iraq war president could go in praising the war effort

    well that does sum it up

  4. President Barack Obama’s nationally televised speech from the White House Oval Office Tuesday night was an exercise in cowardice and deceit. It was deceitful to the people of the United States and the entire world in its characterization of the criminal war against Iraq. And it was cowardly in its groveling before the American military.

    The address could inspire only disgust and contempt among those who viewed it. Obama, who owed his presidency in large measure to the mass antiwar sentiment of the American people, used the speech to glorify the war that he had mistakenly been seen to oppose.

    The most chilling passage came at the end of the 19-minute speech, when Obama declared, “Our troops are the steel in our ship of state,” adding, “And though our nation may be traveling through rough waters, they give us confidence that our course is true.”

    It is for this statement, rather than all the double-talk about troop withdrawals, that Obama’s miserable speech deserves to be remembered. It was rhetoric befitting a military-ruled banana republic or a fascist state. The military—not the Constitution, not the will of the people or the country’s ostensibly democratic institutions—constitutes the “steel” in the “ship of state.” Presumably, the democratic rights of the people are so much ballast to be cast overboard as needed.

    The occasion for the speech was the artificial deadline fixed by the Obama administration for what the president termed the “end of our combat mission in Iraq.” This is only one of the innumerable lies packed into his brief remarks.

    Behind the duplicitous rhetoric one thing is underscored by the speech: the decisions in Iraq and Afghanistan have been dictated by the military brass and obediently implemented by the Obama White House. This is a government that has no independent policy, much less convictions. It implements policies that are worked out elsewhere—on Wall Street and within the Pentagon—and is dedicated to the defense of the financial aristocracy at the expense of the American people.

    Guess who?

    • The military—not the Constitution, not the will of the people or the country’s ostensibly democratic institutions—constitutes the “steel” in the “ship of state.” Presumably, the democratic rights of the people are so much ballast to be cast overboard as needed.

      wow…

    • Good find. That must smart. And he’s right on the money too.

  5. Two unrelated thoughts.

    1. The only thing I’ve ever used WD-40 for is squeaky door hinges, and for that it’s a miracle. Had the same can for 20 years.

    2. Upon further reflection, beige is the perfect color for the Obama Oval Office. Nonconfrontational, noncommital, not red, not blue, not much of anything, and certainly nothing to challenge the blandness of Obama himself. Contrast it with the colorful vibrant Clinton Oval Office.

    http://www.whitehousemuseum.org/west-wing/oval-office-history.htm

    • The article shows that there is a much better choice for squeaky hinges. Oil tends to spread and splatter with use in a hinge whereas a grease product will do better. But I admit I use it for lots of things. I’ll take a closer look at those other approaches though.

      I agree on the beige office for the beige president.

    • Since you had to bring up the Beige-orama I will repost my comment on it from the last thread:

      “You have gone too far. You have stolen the nomination, you have destroyed the Democratic Party, you have crashed the economy. All that I could forgive. But Mr. President … ecru and beige?”

  6. Terrific round up DT!

    So if you businesses and consumers can just get some confidence already, we’ll be fine. You lazy bastards. (Yes, snark again.)

    Okay : stop firing our asses for 5 minutes , and we’ll think about it . Isn’t that fair?

    How can we buy thier shit, if they keep firing our ass?

    • Thanks. And yea, funny how that confidence is hard to come by when you have around 20% unemployment (or severe underemployment).

      • Well, the plan is to expand credit so that the debt slaves will get off their lazy asses and go even further into debt in order to consume some more.

        They don’t want to give us JOBS, they want to give us some EASY CREDIT, and the public is rightfully looking at them like they are batshit crazy, and minding their pennies.

        BTW, something like 70% of small businesses, in the latest poll, said “access to credit” was not the reason they were not hiring/expanding. “Uncertainty” topped the list. No one has a clue what these clowns are going to do next, or any confidence that anything they pass doesn’t have nasty surprises buried in the 2000 page bill.

        I know I’m a broken record, but it’s all about the TRUST, and this administration has earned none. And instead of recognizing that this lack of trust in govt is THEIR FAULT, and taking steps to earn back that trust (like Clinton did), they spend all their time attacking the voters for not trusting them.

        No, you are never going to change the mind of hard-core small-govt fanatics. But a lot of people on the teaparty bandwagon are not hard-core, just frustrated. By belittling and deriding lack of trust in govt, rather than SHOWING the people concrete results of how it can work, all they are doing is driving more and more voters into that camp.

        • I’m so happy to read your comments here again. As I read them I’m always shaking my fist and shouting YES!

        • Here’s their election theme this fall, WMCB:

          You’re all angry, racist, uneducated bigots.
          But vote for us anyway!!

          (Yeah, like that’s gonna work)

    • Got it

  7. Thanks for the info on WD-40. I was just about to pick some up for a squeaky door hinge.

    • You’re welcome. Their recommendation for door hinges:

      he best product for metal-to-metal lubrication is lithium grease. It copes well with heavy loads—it’s almost universally used on garage doors. It resists water and tolerates temperatures up to 400 degrees F, which means it inhibits corrosion and won’t bake off a car-door hinge even in equatorial heat.

      It is messy, though, so we recommend white lithium grease, which tends not to trace so dramatically. Permatex White Lithium Grease is a popular choice, but Gunk makes one, as do CRC, 3-in-1, LPS, DuPont and others.

  8. Sorry. WD-40 has nothing over Duck Tape, the true “wonder product.” :0)

    As for POTUS’s address from the Oval Office? I’m still scratching my head. What was that shout out to the middle-class, beyond an afterthought? Or perhaps another sleight of hand: the Iraq mission is over [even though we’ve left 7 “assist and advise” brigades and another 2 National Guard infantry brigades for back up] and oh yeah, we’re going to get around to the middle-class and their concerns. Sometime.

    Huh?

    As for the Dem losses. Someone needs to tell Donna Brazilla. I listened to her on CNN last night and she, like Biden and Dean, said the Democrats will absolutely retain the House and Senate. These people have really stepped through the looking glass.

    A rundown on what remains in US forces in Iraq can be found here:

    http://www.armytimes.com/news/2010/08/dn-brigades-stay-under-different-name-081910/

    I’m glad we’ve withdrawn the 50,000. But come on, the manpower and expense of this misadventure is still haunting us. And flipping these men and women over to Afghanistan is just more of the Big Lie.

  9. Missed last night’s threads.

    Is it r@cist to call BO the Beige One now? Dear goddess, whoever said he never should have pissed off us LGBT’s wa right. That room is so inoffensive it’s offensive.

    • The six family photographs in the shot last night was overkill, as well. One or two is fine. Six just smacks of trying too too hard to distract. “Never mind the wars and the economy – look at what a sweet family man I am!”

      His kids are precious and adorable, BTW. But it has nothing to do with how he does his job.

  10. My husband loves Duck tape. He is not the ‘handy’ man type–light bulbs are challenging for him. We kid him all the time about it, but he doesn’t care–

  11. Actually, I like Clinton’s Oval the best also. It makes a statement. Like, ‘I’m in charge.”

  12. The Obama speech as seen through the eyes of the “Committee of the of Fourth International”:

    “Obama’s Iraq speech: An exercise in cowardice and deceit”

    ****
    The address could inspire only disgust and contempt among those who viewed it. Obama, who owed his presidency in large measure to the mass antiwar sentiment of the American people, used the speech to glorify the war that he had mistakenly been seen to oppose.

    The most chilling passage came at the end of the 19-minute speech, when Obama declared, “Our troops are the steel in our ship of state,” adding, “And though our nation may be traveling through rough waters, they give us confidence that our course is true.”

    It is for this statement, rather than all the double-talk about troop withdrawals, that Obama’s miserable speech deserves to be remembered. It was rhetoric befitting a military-ruled banana republic or a fascist state. The military—not the Constitution, not the will of the people or the country’s ostensibly democratic institutions—constitutes the “steel” in the “ship of state.” Presumably, the democratic rights of the people are so much ballast to be cast overboard as needed.
    ****
    Obama’s speech was both incoherent and groveling. The president sought, dishonestly, to take credit for fulfilling his campaign promise on Iraq. As a candidate he had pledged to withdraw all US combat troops from the country within 16 months of taking office. In the end, he merely adopted the time table and plan crafted by the Pentagon and the Bush administration for a partial withdrawal, leaving 50,000 combat troops in place.
    ****
    Finally, after acknowledging that the Iraq war has contributed to bankrupting the country, Obama suggested that the change he has ordered in the military deployment in Iraq is somehow linked to a determination on the part of his administration to shift its focus to resolving the crisis that confronts more than 26 million American workers who are either unemployed or unable to find full-time jobs.

    “Today, our most urgent task is to restore our economy, and put the millions of Americans who have lost their jobs back to work,” he said. “To strengthen our middle class, we must give all our children the education they deserve, and all our workers the skills that they need to compete in a global economy.”

    This is one more lie. While the administration has handed over trillions of dollars to bail out Wall Street, it has repeatedly made clear that it will do nothing to create jobs for the unemployed. As for education, the federal government is continuing to cut funding, ensuring increased layoffs of teachers and more school closures.

    Behind the duplicitous rhetoric one thing is underscored by the speech: the decisions in Iraq and Afghanistan have been dictated by the military brass and obediently implemented by the Obama White House. This is a government that has no independent policy, much less convictions. It implements policies that are worked out elsewhere—on Wall Street and within the Pentagon—and is dedicated to the defense of the financial aristocracy at the expense of the American people.

    http://www.wsws.org/articles/2010/sep2010/obam-s01.shtml

  13. Ace of Spades (yes, I know, he’s right wing, so sue me) has nailed Chris Matthews ridiculous comments about Obama’s speech. Here are Tweetie’s comments, followed by Ace.

    CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: It’s about being an American, and the wonderful thing about this country is you can grow up to be basically what, you know, it’s a Great Gatbsy country, you can actually create your own identity and become a person. This guy Barack Obama, not to get too basic about it, did everything right.

    JOAN WALSH, SALON: Yes.

    MATTHEWS: He studied hard in school. He obeyed the law. He raised a family. He took care of his family. He was an excellent student. He was on the Harvard Law Review. He did everything. He went through the democratic process. He didn’t go out and make a lot of money on Wall Street. He gave himself to his community. This guy is almost pluperfect and they don’t like him.

    ———

    Chris Matthews: Boy Howdy, I Can’t Tell You How Wonderful It Is to See A Black Man With a Wife and a Steady Paycheck!
    —Ace

    More racial nuance from Chris “For a moment I almost forgot he was black” Matthews.

    “Almost pluperfect,” he calls Obama.

    His entire speech here is racist. Yes, racist. Most politicians “do everything right” in terms of getting an education, securing gainful employment, getting married and raising a family.

    Most people do this, in fact.

    Why is it that in the case of Obama it is required that we “like this guy” for doing what 85% of the public does? In fact — for doing what 85% of black people do?

    He’s doling out the superlatives for perfectly ordinary good behavior, of course, because Obama’s black, and Chris Matthews finds it just plum remarkable that there’s a successful, bourgeois upper-class black man out there, and we should all gawk at it and and “oooh” and “ahhh” at it like it’s a, well, like it’s a unicorn.

    As Chris Rock said, “You’re supposed to” do these things, and you’re not supposed to get a big stack of credit for doing them.

    But Chris Matthews, closet racist, thinks this is just about the most amazing thing he’s ever seen, like a horse that can do addition.

    • Chris Matthews forgot to “forget Obama was black.”

    • I’m actually wondering who’s playing the race here more?

      Crackpot Ace of Spades or crackpot Chris Matthews?

      • So many crackpots to choose from. I just can’t decide. Can I be disgusted by both the same. 🙂

        • Oh, I’m disgusted by AOS on a LOT of other things. But he told the truth on this one, IMO.

          • Actually he didn’t. I know hoew these guys operate as soon as race is in the mix. They can use anything to then throw in what THEY actually would like to say. Lemme show you a giveaway:

            Chris Matthews: Boy Howdy, I Can’t Tell You How Wonderful It Is to See A Black Man With a Wife and a Steady Paycheck!
            —Ace

            In fairness to Chris Matthews, who’s someone I despise, he didn’t introduce race, he’s wondering why people would dislike Obama that much, although he has s fairly “clean” CV and is a decent human being. This vould be said about a white politician too.

            What do these guys do with that, they play the race.

            It reminds me of Letterman vs Palin. Go back and check those blogs (unfortunately some LW blogs too) to see the vilest racists jokes “softened” with the premisse “what if Letterman had said…”, follow ONLY by racists insults about Michelle Obama.

            I have many of those people in my archive. They have to wake up very early to fool me, only I don’t ever sleep.

          • The blowback on racism is happening as I feared. We’re getting real racism and then people scream ‘race card’ and think it’s NOT racism but just a political ploy.

            Some of it really is racism.

    • WMCB–He does have a point.

  14. Dandy Tiger, I noticed you said you own and use the Oxford Dictionary.

    Good for you. It’s the best.

    • You may not be able to tell by my frequent grammar mistakes, but I do like my two volume “New Shorter Oxford English Dictionary” Highly recommended. And of course you have the Oxford American Dictionary and Thesaurus built in if you have a Mac as well all know. 🙂

      • Aren’t dictionaries just nice ornaments for the bookshelves?

        Good grammar is overrated anyways (Kids, don’t ever repeat that!)

        • The 20 volume OED looks great on my book shelf.

        • *gasp!!!* (clutching my copy of Eats, Shoots, and Leaves)

          I’m one of those weird people who really enjoyed diagramming sentences in grade school. Do they still do that?

          • I enjoyed spelling because I found it easy. I read a lot and the words became imprinted photographically in my memory.

      • I don’t have a mac so I didn’t know.

        I don’t notice your mistakes, if you make them. I haven’t been around here for that long.

        I used to find Fowler’s English Usage helpful at times.

    • Another related thing I highly recommend is the eighth edition (or later if there is one) of “The Brief English Handbook” by EA Dornan. The spiral version is the best. There are lots of those grammar handbooks of course, but I got hooked on this one from school.

  15. CEO Pay Disclosure Causes Controversy
    Buried deep in the new Wall Street reform law is a public disclosure of CEO pay in relation to each company’s average employee. (DISCLOSURE is called SNEAKY???? Hemmm…this kind of sneaky is good, because we can see how the RICH are not hurting.)

  16. Big music/media related event at Apple today at 10am pacific. They will stream the event live from their website, and lots of people will live blog it. Lots of rumors abound on what will be shown. Here’s a fun rumor site:
    http://www.macrumors.com/

  17. Charlie Cook on the Dead Dems:

    Simply put, Democrats find themselves heading into a midterm election that looks as grisly as any the party has faced in decades. It isn’t hard to find Democratic pollsters who privately concede that the numbers they are looking at now are worse than what they saw in 1994.

    The race-by-race outlook confirms the dire forecasts. Cook Political Report House Editor David Wasserman points out that at this point, 32 Democratic incumbents are running even or behind their Republican challengers in one or more public or private polls. At this point in 2006, when Republicans lost control of Congress, only 11 GOP incumbents were running even or behind.

    Privately, some Democratic pollsters say that they are routinely seeing districts where Democratic incumbents are running only even with relatively unknown GOP challengers. In other districts where the Republican challengers are reasonably well known, the incumbents are often running 5-10 points behind, a rather extraordinary development at this point.

    In the Senate, while the odds still favor Democrats holding on to a narrow majority, it is not only mathematically possible for the GOP to capture a majority this year, but it has become plausible. The odds of Democrats capturing even one currently Republican-held seat appear to be getting longer. Meanwhile, Republicans are running ahead or roughly even in 11 Democratic-held seats, one more than necessary for control of the Senate to flip. It’s still a tall order but not crazy to say that Republicans will win the Senate.

    Congress does not come back to town for two more weeks, but it is a pretty safe assumption that the mood among Democrats will be surly and the fingers will begin pointing. A party has not lost a House majority in such a short period of time in over a half-century. This is not going to go down well.

    • I hope Ted Kennedy is watching. I hold him responsible for destroying the Democratic Party.

      If we had a real Democrat in the White House the House and Senate majorities would be increasing, not decreasing.

      Everyone would know the difference between the two parties because Hillary could explain it in terms even Republicans can understand.

      son-of-a-bitch

    • The one that makes me saddest is the latest Gallup on the economy. Democrats went from holding a 16 point lead on that issue in 2006 to now 11 points behind.

      That would have never in a million years happened under our wonky Hillary. She’d have gone straight to work on the economy and jobs, not further propping up the banksters. THEN, when people could see tangible improvement in their own lives, she’d have tackled healthcare – wisely using the trust she had banked to persuade.

      • Since Obama is too incompetent to change the trajectory of America for the better, he’s settled for the worse.

        “Ronald Reagan changed the trajectory of America in a way that Richard Nixon did not, and a way that Bill Clinton did not,” — Obama 2/24/2009

        • It amazed me that he did not understand how much President Clinton changed the trajectory. (Unfortunately, GW Bush made a U-turn in the middle of the road.) But I guess Candidate Obama found Peace and Prosperity boring. I wonder what he thinks now.

          djmm

      • And every time she got near a camera or a microphone she would be letting everyone know she feels our pain.

        We would follow her to hell because we would know she was doing everything in her power to bring us back from there.

    • Every time I talk to my dad he just keeps going on about how Barrack Obama is in over his head, not doing his job, and ruining the country. I’ve never seen my dad wound up like this. He lives in an apartment building in Belleview,WA filled with sr citizens. They all think they’re going to lose their social security.

      • I guess what I’m saying is that I’ve never seen people this worked up. Especially “mainstream” republicans.

        • I have never felt so worked up about the political & economic situation either; even when I was spitting mad at W.
          It’s the constant low-level economic anxiety I think.
          Talk about t*rrorists — the real t*rrorist are in DC– they have me living in fear of my health, my future, my life, every day.

        • That’s what happens when you have a vacuum of leadership, coupled with public disdain for those who doubt your “leadership”.

          Forcing and abusing the electorate always creates backlash. Always. You have to convince them, or at least a good portion of them – Hillary had the knack for doing that. Obama is the worst of both worlds – corporatist policies overlaid with the worst breed of statist apparatchik hubris, bullying in the name of Liberalism that is not Liberal in the slightest.

      • I know that Obama lost the seniors vote to McCain 45% – 53%. I have not seen any numbers lately but have a feeling its now like 70% disapproval for Obama.

        Seniors have nothing better to do on a Tuesday in November but go vote. Total disaster is on the way.

        I don’t like Obama but I don’t want the Mecuricome Man to be speaker.

    • Dems had a golden chance in 2006, and a silver chance in 2008, to forge a New New Deal. Instead they cashed in and stabbed the real Dems in the back.

      They deserve to go down in flames.

      • Honk, honk

      • This is why I ended up voting for McCain. Because as bad as another R term would have been, I couldn’t see that Obama would be a lot better, other than in minor ways.

        But the BIG difference, to me, was the risk of destroying the Liberal brand. If McCain would be a 2, but it would be on the R’s heads, whereas Obama would be a 3, but it would be on Liberals’ heads, I went for not destroying the whole idea of liberalism in the public psyche.

        Because that destruction is a much greater threat to this country long term than even 4 years of McCain would have been. That was my reasoning.

        • Me, too

        • I voted for McCain for similar reasons. I knew that if we didn’t have the Clinton’s, the next president and thus the president’s party, would be a train wreck. Just because Bush left us in that bad a mess. So I voted for Dems to have a chance in 4 years. Now they don’t have another chance for 10 years. Turns out I was right.

  18. Ohio is very important for presidential elections. Political Wire

    Kasich Expands Lead in Ohio
    A new Public Policy Polling survey in Ohio shows John Kasich (R) has opened up a double-digit lead over Gov. Ted Strickland (D) in the race for governor, 50% to 40%.

    “The race has pretty much shaped up as a referendum on Strickland and that is not to the incumbent’s advantage. Only 34% of voters in the state approve of the job he’s doing while 52% disapprove. Republicans are now almost universal in their disapproval of him at 83% while Democrats are a little more divided in their support of his work at 67%. Independents go against him by a 59/26 margin as well.”

  19. The race to build the world’s first flying military jeep just moved a step closer to the finish line.

    And it’s about goddamned time! I’m almost 55, and I’ve been waiting for my flying car ever since The Jetsons debuted. I might actually live long enough to get one (I’ve pretty much given up on the whole “lunar vacation” thing, alas!).

  20. I usually avoid her columns these days, but I think Ms. Dowd is over her Obama crush for now:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/01/opinion/01dowd.html?_r=1&ref=opinion

    Plus she didn’t like the new decor in the Oval Office, either.

    djmm

  21. MSNBC w/ Cenk: Fiery Debate On Social Security and how they gave OUR Social Security Money to the RICH via tax cuts. Thieves…thieves…and they are trying to blame Bill Clinton…you know the President that eliminated the deficit and LEFT A SURPLUS!

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