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A rose by any other name

Some names in America – Kennedy, Du Pont, Barrymore, Manning – carry a certain cachet that invokes positive feelings. Other names – Manson, Oswald, Daley – carry a negative taint.

William Daley at Top of Obama List for White House Chief of Staff

The Obama White House is considering William Daley as the new chief of staff, but no final decisions have been made, and interim chief of staff Peter Rouse still has not finalized whether he wants to stay.
Daley, who lives in Chicago, is Midwest chairman for New York-based J. P. Morgan Chase & Co. and is the bank’s head of corporate responsibility.

He is also the brother of Mayor Richard M. Daley and a close friend and mentor to former White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel. After Mayor Daley announced he was not seeking another term, Emanuel left the Obama White House in October to return to Chicago to run for mayor.


William Daley would bring vast political and government experience to the job and give President Obama a comfort factor an outsider could not: Daley is very close to Senior White House Adviser David Axelrod, who also was a top adviser to Mayor Daley.

So far it’s just a rumor. But if it’s true it blows away that theory that Emanuel left the White House with a boot mark on his ass. It would also prove that Obama really doesn’t give a fuck what his base thinks.

His Democratic base, that is. His banker base will be very happy.

My Favorite Moonbeam

Jerry Brown’s third inaugural address, part 1 and 2:

As you can see, Jerry never was a smooth talker.

Reactions to Gov. Jerry Brown’s inaugural address Monday in Sacramento:

“Hopefully the Democrats will listen to him more about spending than they did to me.” – outgoing Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

“No question, California is far more partisan than when he was governor the first time. But he’s already started early talking to leadership and rank-and-file and trying to get everyone to take ownership … After 60 or 90 days, I think he’ll have a pretty good feel for what kind of budget we need – not what kind of budget we’d like, but what kind of budget we need.” – former Gov. Gray Davis, a Democrat, who was Brown’s chief of staff.


“If the budget is going to be balanced, you have no choice. You either have to produce enough money to keep spending like drunken sailors, or you have to cut back as if you’re almost homeless. And he’s talking about doing both.” – former Assembly speaker and San Francisco mayor Willie Brown.

“The governor’s fired up. He’s clearly reaffirmed what he’d been saying since his election, and that is we’re going to have to sacrifice. There will be serious spending cuts while at the same time, identify the revenues, chart a middle ground. You can’t just do it decimating state services.” – Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.

“It’s going to be a hard thing for the Democratic party, it’s going to be a hard thing for the labor unions, and not just big business. Just because we have a Democrat in doesn’t mean that our party should feel that its ‘constituency’ is safe from the kinds of reforms that are necessary.” – San Francisco Mayor and Lt. Gov.-elect Gavin Newsom.

The Knitting Diaries: Knitting between the lines

I loved that red scarf with the leaves so much I’m redoing it with an alpaca/silk yarn for my sister in law. That’s one of the fun things about knitting … The same pattern can be a snug muffler-type scarf or a long silky drapey affair. Knitting a familiar lace pattern makes it easy-peasy but, the color and texture are totally different. So far this scarf is looking just as I hoped it would.  But, it’s got a long way to go.

And that’s not the only thing on my needles.

I’m still recovering from the mental blow I received when my Nook went belly-up.  (supposedly a new one is out for delivery from UPS but, I’ll believe it when I actually see it!) I had just bought a bunch of books when it crashed so switching gears to read a totally different set of books was weird.  Usually I can see a reading emergency coming but, this one sort of blindsided me.  And that affected my knitting.

So, I’m still working on the sweater:

It’s starting to look like a sweater but, I still have to do the dreaded button holes. And it’s going to need some serious blocking when it’s done so any hints on that will be gratefully appreciated!!

Finally, my biggest project is finishing the basics class.  I’ve done about half the swatches for the second lesson but, I’m holding off thinking about this until those other two projects are done.

The women in my knitting group laugh at the one woman who never has any UnFinished Objects (UFOs) …. she works on one thing until it’s done and then moves onto the next.  I have a feeling that’s going to be my style of knitting.  I just can’t take the pressure of having these unfinished projects hanging around the house mocking me.

How about you? Are you juggling multiple projects (it doesn’t have to be knitting)

Freed at last

From SF Gate:

DNA clears Texas man who spent 30 years in prison

Cornelius Dupree Jr., 51, was paroled out of prison in July after 30 years behind bars for aggravated robbery with a deadly weapon. DNA test results that came back 10 days after his release excluded him as the person who raped and robbed a Dallas woman in 1979.


Dupree was charged in 1979 with raping and robbing a 26-year-old woman and sentenced in 1980 to 75 years in prison for aggravated robbery. He was never tried on the rape charge.

According to court documents, a 26-year-old woman and her male companion stopped at a Dallas liquor store in November 1979 to buy cigarettes and use a payphone. As they returned to their car, two men, at least one of whom was armed, forced their way into the vehicle and ordered them to drive. They also demanded money from the two victims.

The men eventually ordered the car to the side of the road and forced the male driver out of the car. The woman attempted to flee but was pulled back inside.

The perpetrators drove the woman to a nearby park, where they raped her at gunpoint. They debated killing her but eventually let her live, keeping her rabbit-fur coat and her driver’s license and warning her they would kill her if she reported the assault to police. The victim ran to the nearest highway and collapsed unconscious by the side of the road, where she was discovered.

About five days later, two men whose descriptions did not match Dupree tried to sell the rabbit-fur coat at a grocery store two miles from the liquor store, according to court documents. The car stolen from the victims was found abandoned in the parking lot.

Dupree and Massingill were arrested in December because they looked similar to two suspects being sought in another sexual assault and robbery. The 26-year-old woman picked both men out of a photo array, but her male companion did not identify either defendant in the same photo array.

This is one reason I oppose the death penalty. New evidence can free the wrongly imprisoned but it can’t bring the executed back to life.

DNA is great evidence, but it’s only available in a limited number of cases besides those involving sexual assaults. The flaws revealed in our criminal justice system however, exist in every type of case.

Unlike what you see in the CSI shows and its progeny, most police departments don’t have highly trained crime scene technicians and state of the art labs. Not only is some evidence lost or contaminated, some is never collected. Even the best cops make mistakes.

One of the most common factors in convictions overturned by DNA evidence has been wrongful eyewitness identification. Someone on another blog recently argued that was proof that women lie about rape but I disagree. It’s only proof that they picked the wrong guy(s) as the perpetrator(s.)

When you look at the number of people exonerated by DNA, you have to wonder how many more innocent people are behind bars because there is no DNA evidence to free them?

Today is the first Monday of the rest of your life

This is kinda scary:

Dead birds fall from sky in Arkansas

Wildlife experts are trying to determine what caused more than 1,000 blackbirds to die and fall from the sky over the town of Beebe in Arkansas.


The birds fell over a one-mile area, and an aerial survey indicated that no other dead birds were found outside that area. Ornithologist Karen Rowe said the the birds showed physical trauma, and she speculated that “the flock could have been hit by lightning or high-altitude hail”. The dead birds have been sent for testing. The commission said that New Year’s Eve fireworks celebrations could have startled the birds from their roost and caused them to die from stress. The dead birds have been sent for testing.

I really hope it turns out to be something natural and not man-made.


Massive fish kill blankets Arkansas River

Arkansas officials are investigating the death of an estimated 100,000 fish in the state’s northwest, but suspect disease was to blame, a state spokesman said Sunday.

Dead drum fish floated in the water and lined the banks of a 20-mile stretch of the Arkansas River near Ozark, about 125 miles northwest of Little Rock, said Keith Stephens of the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission. A tugboat operator discovered the fish kill Thursday night, and fisheries officials collected some of the dying animals to conduct tests.

Stephens said fish kills occur every year, but the size of the latest one is unusual, and suggested some sort of disease was to blame.

“The fish kill only affected one species of fish,” he said. “If it was from a pollutant, it would have affected all of the fish, not just drum fish.”

Ozark is about 125 miles west of the town of Beebe, where game wardens are trying to find out why up to 5,000 blackbirds fell from the sky just before midnight New Year’s Eve.

This is starting to sound like the plagues of Egypt.

Every couple years the military tries to out-do the frat boys:

Navy to probe controversial carrier videos

The Navy will investigate “inappropriate” videos produced on the nuclear aircraft carrier USS Enterprise, which among other scenes show simulated masturbation and women showering together.


The excerpts show female sailors pretending to wash one another in a shower on the carrier and in other scenes “sailors parade in drag, use anti-gay slurs, and simulate masturbation and a rectal exam,” the newspaper said on its site.

Shown in a number of the excerpts is Owen Honors, then the executive officer on the Enterprise and now a Navy captain and its commander, the Virginian-Pilot said.

Honors “masterminded” the 2006-2007 production of the videos, which were shown aboard the ship, the newspaper said.

Bye-bye, Owen.

It took long enough:

Obama signs health bill for September 11 responders

President Barack Obama on Sunday signed into law a bill that funds medical care for firefighters and other responders to the September 11 attacks in 2001.

The five-year, $4.3 billion measure will provide medical treatment for emergency responders sickened by toxic dust inhaled at the World Trade Center site in New York in the days following the attacks.

It also includes a health program for responders sickened by the toxic debris and establishes a victims’ compensation fund. Victims have five years to file claims.

We’re only nine months away from the tenth anniversary of that dark day.

From the I Told You So Department:

Republican puts crosshairs on Holder over WikiLeaks

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder should quit if he can’t stop WikiLeaks from disclosing government documents, Darrell Issa, incoming chairman of the House of Representatives Oversight Committee said Sunday on Fox News.issa

“He’s hurting this administration. If you’re hurting the administration, either stop hurting the administration, or leave,” Issa said.

As chairman of the oversight panel when the new Congress convenes Wednesday, the California Republican has the authority to investigate the government for waste and fraud and will be able to issue subpoenas to obtain information he believes he needs.


The new Congress would also have to craft whistle-blower legislation to set policy on those who report government misconduct, under the new circumstances created by WikiLeaks, Issa said.

“The next whistle-blower bill has to deal with WikiLeaks and the loss of these classified documents in a mature, bipartisan way,” he said. (Emphasis mine)

Nobody saw that coming. I wonder if the new leak stoppers will be called “The Plumbers?” Maybe they’ll even hire G. Gordon Liddy to run it.

Via Anglachel, Paul Krugman and Robin Wells:

Where Do We Go from Here?

President Obama, a master of understatement, did it again when he described the Democratic midterm losses as a “shellacking.” No, it was a massacre. The party lost support from virtually every demographic group. Even Michigan auto workers whose jobs were saved by the bailout of GM voted Republican. While Democrats got some comic relief from Christine O’Donnell in Delaware and Carl Paladino in New York, in reality it is hard to see how things could have been much worse.

Jonathan Martin at Politico has observed that the impressive expansion of the electoral map that Democrats enjoyed in 2008 has evaporated. Conservative-leaning states won by Obama in 2008—Virginia, North Carolina, and Indiana—swung back to the Republican column. Critical swing states that Obama won in 2008—Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Florida—abandoned the Democrats. What’s left is an electoral map that looks a lot like the 2004 presidential election between George Bush and John Kerry, characterized by district-by-district trench warfare. As Paul Begala succinctly noted, “If Obama holds the Kerry states and carries only the states in which Democrats prevailed in 2010, he loses.” In the present environment, even holding onto the Kerry states of Michigan, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey looks challenging.

Was this disaster caused by reactions to the awful economy—an economy that Obama believes he saved, but not sufficiently to please voters? Or was it, as the Republicans believe, a repudiation of Obama and all that he and Nancy Pelosi stand for?

In case you’ve been wondering (like I have) about her lack of recent posts, Anglachel reports she is suffering from a painful pinched nerve. I hope you all will join us in hoping she gets well soon.

I only mention this because one of our frontpagers is interested in this game:

Stanford, coach aim for history in Orange Bowl

Jim Harbaugh prides himself as a student of college football history. But when a reporter mentioned Sunday that his team could be Stanford’s first since 1940 to finish in the top five in the final polls, he had to admit that was news to him.

“I wasn’t aware of that,” the coach said at a news conference. He promised to “hammer that home” to his players later in the day.

In what promises to be a rare interesting bowl game in a postseason full of yawners, Stanford will try to complete one of the best seasons not only in school history but in Bay Area history today by beating Virginia Tech in the Orange Bowl at Sun Life Stadium.

Rumor has it this über-geeky resident of Old Dominion used to wear the gorilla suit for the Cardinal band.

Okay, that’s it for now. After today there are only 51 Mondays left this year.

Today I get an old new governor

SF Gate:

California has drastically changed in the 36 years since Jerry Brown first took the oath of office to become governor.

The Golden State’s population has swelled by 15.8 million people, the price of a gallon of milk has more than doubled, and the state spends nearly 10 times as much on government services in 2010 as it did in 1975.

The incoming governor has changed as well. Back in ’75, Brown was a 36-year-old bachelor with a thick tuft of hair, driving a Plymouth Satellite and sleeping in a cheap studio apartment.

Now, the balding, 72-year-old Brown is chauffeured around in a Ford Crown Victoria and shares a hip loft with his wife, Anne Gust Brown, when they aren’t sleeping at their $1.8 million Oakland hills home.

Then, he was the youngest person ever to serve as California’s governor.

When he’s sworn in today, he’ll be the oldest.

When young Jerry Brown was sworn in in 1975 he was taking over from an actor turned politician. Today old Jerry Brown is taking over from an actor turned politician.

I don’t envy Moonbeam. Sacramento is totally FUBAR these days.

All work and no play

Presidentin' is hard

You may recall my recent post about Obama’s work habits:

The president’s “biggest regret” was that because of economic turmoil, “He had to spend almost every waking hour in Washington working on solving that crisis,” senior adviser Valerie Jarrett said during an interview on NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday. “And what he missed sorely was engagement with the American people.

Byron York

But it turns out Obama has already spent nearly half his presidency outside Washington. As of January 2, Obama has been president for 712 days. According to figures compiled by CBS News reporter Mark Knoller, who serves as a sort of unofficial White House record-keeper, Obama has spent 339 of those days — nearly 48 percent — outside Washington.

According to Knoller, Obama has spent 176 days on domestic trips, 70 days on foreign travel, 58 days on vacation, and 35 days at Camp David. (You can add a couple more vacation days to the total before the president returns from his break in Hawaii.) Nevertheless, Jarrett claimed that Obama has had to spend “almost every waking hour in Washington” since taking office. The truth is more like half of that.

York is a wingnut but facts are facts.

I’ll also point out that Knoller’s numbers don’t include all the time Obama has spent in Washington playing golf, shooting hoops, and attending parties, concerts and dinners.

I don’t begrudge any POTUS some R&R but Obama and his people shouldn’t tell such obvious lies about how hard he works.