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Friday Morning at The Confluence: News and Views

Another rainy day in Boston

Another rainy day in Boston

Good morning Conflucians! It’s another cold, rainy day in the Boston area. I’ve gone through the stages of grief, from denial to anger, and so on, and I think I’ve almost reached acceptance. Summer is just not coming to New England this year. It’s 57 degrees on July 3. So what? I should be grateful it’s raining and not snowing, right? The local papers have started publishing snarky little articles like this one about the “bright side” to all this rain and cold.

OK, it’s wet. OK, everyone’s miserable. OK, the sun shines on every other city in the country and Mother Nature is spitting on Boston.

But instead of thinking of this weather front as a personal affront, why not grab onto that silver lining and recognize the rainfall for what it is: a respite from the rat race known as summer.
Yes, summer, the ultimate setup for personal and recreational failure, when every day is supposed to be a mini-vacation….

But now, thanks to unremitting clouds and drizzle, it’s off.

No need to squeeze into the bathing suit. Or do your hair (it’ll frizz up faster than a flash flood). Or sport a tan. Or go for that walk or run or bike ride or show up for bootie boot camp at 6 a.m. It’s pouring!

As for the beach, no wonder everyone’s lying down, exposing themselves to deadly UVB rays. Getting there is exhausting. Lewis and Clark had an easier time looking for the Northwest Passage.

Oh hardy har har. Don’t get me wrong. I’m really happy for all of you Conflucians who don’t live up here in the Northeastern corner of the country. Who knows? Maybe God is punishing us for our sins or something.

The Boston Globe reports that there is one genuine positive to all this ghastly weather.

While the onslaught of miserable June weather played havoc with people’s plans and psyches, it has also provided a quiet benefit to many city neighborhoods. Fatal and nondeadly shootings in Boston have plunged, and police acknowledge the weather has been a key factor.

Well I’m glad there really is one positive effect of the horrible weather…. So let’s see… what’s happening in the rest of the country this morning?

You’ve probably heard the Washington Post did a quick reversal yesterday on its plan to sell access to politicans and Post writers and editors. It was all just a big misunderstanding, according to Howard Kurtz.

Washington Post Publisher Katharine Weymouth yesterday canceled plans for a series of policy dinners at her home after learning that marketing fliers offered corporate underwriters access to Post journalists, Obama administration officials and members of Congress in exchange for payments as high as $250,000.

“Absolutely, I’m disappointed,” Weymouth said in an interview. “This should never have happened. The fliers got out and weren’t vetted. They didn’t represent at all what we were attempting to do. We’re not going to do any dinners that would impugn the integrity of the newsroom.”

Sure Katharine, we believe you. Some guy in marketing is taking the fall for the public relations nightmare:

The fliers were approved by a top Post marketing executive, Charles Pelton, who said it was “a big mistake” on his part and that he had done so “without vetting it with the newsroom.”

I’d just love to know if the Post actually had an agreement with the White House to participate in these “salons.” It really does sound like something this administration would do, but we’ll probably never know for sure, since investigative journalism is dead.

It looks like the Washington Post still has at least one real reporter on staff though. R. Jeffrey Smith read some recent court filings and found some interesting background on the Valerie Plame case showing that Dick Cheney was in control of the Bush administration’s revelations about Plame’s status with the CIA in order to minimize the damage caused by her husband Joseph Wilson’s critique of the case for war in Iraq. Surprise, surprise, the Obama administration is trying to keep Cheney’s activities secret.

A list of at least seven related conversations involving Cheney appears in a new court filing approved by Obama appointees at the Justice Department. In the filing, the officials argue that the substance of what Cheney told special prosecutor Patrick J. Fitzgerald in 2004 must remain secret.

No such agreement was reached between Fitzgerald and Cheney at the time of their chat, according to a 2008 Fitzgerald letter to lawmakers. But the Bush administration rejected requests by Congress and a nonprofit group for access to two FBI accounts of the conversation, saying the material was exempt from disclosure under subpoena or the Freedom of Information Act.

The Obama administration has since agreed that the material should not be disclosed. A Justice Department lawyer at one point last month argued that vice presidents and other White House officials will decline to be interviewed in the future if they know their remarks might “get on ‘The Daily Show’ ” or be used as fodder for political enemies.

Gasp! Heaven forbid! You mean politicians could be laughed at? Or their actions might be used to defeat them in an election? I can certainly see why our Department of Justice would be fighting hard to prevent that. Seriously, do we live in anything event resembling a free country anymore? Continue reading

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Obama’s Oedipus complex

oedipus

Liberal Rapture’s “Yes, Andrew, Obama does want you to go away” inspired me to create this analysis, some of which has been steeping for a while.

Obama’s thralls are a manifestation of a group Oedipal event, in the archaic sense, not the Freudian.  They sought a saviour.  {I describe them as thralls because they were enthralled by Obama.}  Like Oedipus, they were warned by prophecy of the bad actions they would take, but they were not guided adequately by their foreknowledge. The founders warned people about the consequences of having kings, aristocrats, and saviours do their thinking and acting for them.

Like Oedipus, Obama’s thralls based their actions on a form of wilful blindness to the circumstance. They saw Obama as anti-Bush, anti-politics-as-usual, and anti-whatever is keeping them down, regardless of evidence to the contrary. To various extents, Obama’s thralls were more or less wilful than Oedipus in their metaphorical self-blinding. The intelligentsia sit at the end of the continuum that is most wilful.

Furthermore, Obama has stated that people project upon him an image of someone “good” that they want him to be. Obama, his campaign, and the behaviour manipulation scholars identified by Time magazine, designed their presentation of Obama to take full advantage of his amorphous “goodness.”

{Obviously, Obama and his team are not fans of free thought.  If they were they would not be using practises that are intended to override, subvert, or sidestep rationality. Expect someone to say that they were only doing what’s best for the people, which is the standard starting point for totalitarian aspirations. Our world is filled with such anti-humanist practises, whether by business people or ignoble politicians.}

Like Oedipus, the thralls are now at various places before, upon and past the threshold of recognizing that “their eyes lied.” In short, Obama is not providing the “anti-Bush, anti-politics as usual, and anti-whatever is keeping them down” leadership they expected to see.  In fact, to their horror, he is doing the things that he has typically done as an elected official and as a candidate.  {FISA stands as the archetypal example.}

What remains is how they will choose to “blind” themselves to alter the organ that misled their actions.

In my humble opinion, a good place to start is to re-cognize the dangers inherent in wanting others to do our thinking and acting for us in the political sphere.  What do you think?

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Obama Makes Black People Smarter

20090121044149_img_1478-simulacrum_of_hopeIt’s a good thing President Black Obama is…black on slow news days.  Talk about a reliable “go-to” subject.  I mean, now that it’s obvious that two-thirds of Americans polled are going to support him no matter what he does, reporting on what he does is, frankly boring.  So, why not ask what his being black means to America if you’re a columnist up against a deadline?  We never get tired of that.

Thanks to the New York Times, we now know that “researchers” have shown that just having a black president makes black people test better.  Which seems to bode well for new Secretary of Education Arne Duncan’s job:

Educators and policy makers, including Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, have said in recent days that they hope President Obama’s example as a model student could inspire millions of American students, especially blacks, to higher academic performance.

Now researchers have documented what they call an Obama effect, showing that a performance gap between African-Americans and whites on a 20-question test administered before Mr. Obama’s nomination all but disappeared when the exam was administered after his acceptance speech and again after the presidential election.

Whew!  I know I feel smarter!  Andrew Sullivan claims news of the “Obama effect” blew his mind, and for some reason made him relate the heartwarming tale of his African American teacher neighbor’s concerns about her students’ use of the dreaded “n-word,” which they never use in reference to the new president.  On second thought, maybe the “Obama Effect didn’t take with me, ‘cuz I don’t see what the flock one thing has to do with the other, but that could just be me.  At least, now we know what happened to Andy’s mind, though.

Deroy Murdock sees a connection.  Writing for RealClearPolitics, Murdock puts forth the theory that Obama’s “erudition” will eliminate the “ghetto culture” and cause young black men to pull their pants up and stop belittling people like him and his siblings for “acting white,” just because the Murdock kids got good grades.  Some scars stick, I guess.  Though, I never knew you couldn’t get good grades if your butt was cold.  And, those kids who picked on the Murdock family probably call Obama the “n-word” all the time, being immune to the “Obama effect,” like they obviously are, since they must be about 35 -40 years old by now.

CNN informs us that some people think that America will demand that Obama be twice as good as a white president would have to be, while others do not.  They also clue us in to the fact that “twice as good” as his predecessor ain’t saying much, making the whole premise moot.  But, what the hell do I know, I’m one of those “Obama effect” immune “n-words” who used to pick on Republican kids.

In other “news,” did you know that the day before the inauguration,  Matthew J. Clark put a statue of Barack Obama on a donkey and dragged it through the streets of Des Moines, Iowa all the way to the capitol building, while onlookers waved palm fronds and Secret Service-style SUV’s followed?  Betcha didn’t.  But, he did.  The “performance art” exhibit is called, “Simulacrum of Hope: Simulation of the Triumphant Entry of the Christ.”  Here’s Matthew on Matthew:

Matthew J. Clark is an unidisciplinary artist and sculptor who is neither living nor working in New York, New York. He hasn’t a MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and knows absolutely nothing about painting. His technical proficiency at 3-dimensional art could speak for itself if he would let it. In a self-fulfilling exercise of ostracization and alienation, he works tirelessly designing, constructing, and re-designing and re-constructing concept-driven sculptures and installations that he understands most people misunderstand. His work examines emotional, mental, spiritual, physical, metaphysical, psychological, physiological, sociological, and societal realities, hyperrealities, and dream-like states of consciousness, along with semiotics. Matt insisted that he end this bio with the declaration, “Words have no meaning.” He can’t stop.

He is not represented by the Marian Goodman Gallery which has offices in New York and Paris. I think I have pneumonia.

Does the “Obama effect” apply to white people in reverse?  Probably not, whatever’s troubling Matt is probably a pre-existing condition.  And, speaking of lingering troubles, the Cabbage Patch Weeble, Rod Blagojevich, has hired a public relations firm to handle his upcoming “Screw Your Impeachment Trial” media blitz.  In true Blago ham-fisted style, the firm he chose is notorious for its clientele, primarily, Drew Peterson, the latest Peterson to be accused of killing his inconvenient wife.

In case you just can’t get enough Obama, and I’d be shocked if you could, there’s always Pocket Obama.  Yes, you too could have a pocket full o’ Obie quotes to consult anytime your hopium levels plunge.  And, if that’s not enough, you can generate your own inaugural speech here, secure in the knowledge that you couldn’t possibly do worse.

And, the wheels are off the bus.  The people under it say, “hi.”

You can consider this an open thread.

Cross posted at my place, Cinie’s World, natch.

Obamabots in Extremis

The number one recommended diary at the Great Cheeto at this moment is:

Is dkos being played by Rove?

….Why is it that all we do is talk about McCain or Palin (look at the diary titles beneath mine)? Why do we put up so many diaries complaining about Obama that he should being doing this or that? What has happened to the positive diaries about speeches Obama makes from the trail (they exist and continue to come out each day), or of people’s positive experiences canvassing for Obama or registering voters for Obama? It is time for this community to get back to what it was doing just a couple of weeks ago — getting out and fighting to win this election, doing so with grit but also with a smile. Come on everyone Lets Get Fired Up and Ready to Go!

Remember when DK didn’t allow discussion of conspiracy theories? This hysterical diary was triggered by a letter to Andrew Sullivan from one of his readers. Here’s the letter Andrew Sullivan published:

I just wanted to say thank you so much for being the only blogger (aside from Al Giordano) who gets it. While the rest of the blogosphere (especially the liberal bloggers) lose their heads you are an island of common sense. Patience and Steel. Yes, yes. yes.

It also occurs to me that in a way McCain and Rove have actually simply taken over the liberal blogosphere in some way. They are being played.

Just a few examples—yesterday Obama gave a fantastic interview at the Service Forum. Did the liberal blogs even cover this? No.

He gave a great speech on the trail. Are his town halls even posted or excerpted? No.
The liberal bloggers have become McCain central. They make people click on his ads, make the world spin around him instead of focusing on our candidate and what he is trying to do. There is ZERO coverage of what Obama is actually doing every day talking tough on the issues. There is ZERO coverage of Biden (who is on the trail but the blogs don’t seem to care or cover him unless he is doing what they think he should be doing. Sadly AFP did cover him this week and people seemed to be too busy saying he was not doing anything to include the link with his forceful comments against McCain. The one time the blogs linked to Biden—when the MSM tried to make a big deal out his answer to a question that made Hillary look bad and he defended her. That was it).

McCain and crew realized early this cycle that they did not have a visible internet presence. So what did they do? They took over the liberal presence, they are manipulating the leading liberal blogs , just as they manipulate the MSM. All to their own advantage. And the blogs have all fallen for this hook, line and sinker. Does no one realize this?

They are all being played.

And Obama, god bless him, he gets it. As does his team. while everyone whines he keeps at it every day with much much class and like a laser focused on the issues. The problem is not Obama, is that no one wants to follow his lead. Instead they are following McCain-Rove and they don’t even know it.

Sorry bots, but Rove doesn’t need to play you. Obama already played you. Now you’re bringing your own candidate down by spewing your vile rage and hatred at Sarah Palin. It’s different this time, isn’t it? When you did it to Clinton, nobody (except a bunch of old, menopausal, “low-information” Democratic women) called you on it. Republicans are different from Democrats. They stand up for other Republicans. They play to their base instead of trying to drive it out of the party.

Congratulations. You used slimy smear tactics to win the primary for your candidate. Now you’ll have to figure out how to get him elected without all the people you and he disrespected all through the primaries and during the convention. It couldn’t happen to a better bunch of people.

This is an open thread.