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Lazy Saturday News and Views: Snowpocalypse!

A Washington DC neighborhood yesterday


Good morning Conflucians!!!!

It’s a repeat of last weekend–only worse–for those in the Mid-Atlantic states and stretching west all the way to Ohio and Indiana. Coastal areas are experiencing blizzard conditions and record snowfalls in Washington, DC, Maryland, and Virginia and all the way up to New Jersey and New York. Let us know how things are going where you are. I hope everyone is safe and warm and doesn’t lose power. Stay inside until this think winds down. I speak from experience. There’s no use fighting it, just surrender and enjoy being snowbound for a little while.

From Weather.com:

A punishing winter storm will continue to blast an area from the eastern Ohio Valley to the Mid-Atlantic coast today.

The focus for the heaviest snow today will continue to be near and along the Mid-Atlantic coast. Heavy snow will stretch from eastern Pennsylvania to southern New Jersey through the Delmarva Peninsula into the early afternoon hours.

An additional six to as much as twelve inches of snow will fall today bringing snow totals in this region up to the eighteen to twenty-four inch range with locally higher amounts possible.

Washington Post: Snowstorm’s intensity has D.C. region hunkering down

The full weight of winter brought life in much of the Washington region to a standstill Saturday as a storm predicted to be one of the most powerful on record dumped 12 to 21 inches of snow overnight.

New York Times: East Coast Is Hit by ‘Potentially Epic Snowstorm’

WASHINGTON — One of the largest winter storms the Mid-Atlantic region has seen in decades swept into Washington and Baltimore on Friday, grounding flights, closing schools and government offices, and sending residents racing to stock up on groceries and rock salt before the snow accumulated to what are expected to be record-setting depths….

Jane Lubchenco, administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, parent agency of the weather service, called the blizzard “a potentially epic snowstorm” that could rival the 28 inches of snow that a January 1922 storm dropped on the capital.

“The National Weather Service has been very clear that this is a storm to take very seriously,” she said. The halls of the Capitol building were quiet, and the federal government sent many workers home four hours early on Friday. Dr. Lubchenco said she was making contingency plans for all government offices in and near the capital to be closed through Tuesday.

“If it is as much and as heavy as they are forecasting, it may be a number of days before people are actually moving around again,” she said. “This is a serious storm.”

Here are some gorgeous snowstorm pics donated by our own Indigogrrl:

A Mama Cardinal

Two Downey Woodpeckers

Just breathtaking! And here is a picture contributed by Riverdaughter:

RD's neighborhood in anticipation of blizzard conditions

We’d love to hear more reports from Conflucians in the hard-hit areas. I’ll be glad to post more photos too. Be careful out there!


THE ECONOMY

Nobel Prize economist Joseph Stiglitz has an article in the Guardian this morning: Obama’s muddled solutions. Stiglitz argues that the message of Scott Brown’s victory in Massachusetts is not for Democrats to move even further right. Instead he says that voters are sending the same message they sent to Bill Clinton and that he was smart enough to act on: “It’s the economy, stupid!” and “Jobs, jobs, jobs”

The US economy is in a mess, even if growth has resumed, and bankers are once again receiving huge bonuses. More than one out of six Americans who would like a full-time job cannot get one; and 40% of the unemployed have been out of a job for more than six months.

As Europe learned long ago, hardship increases with the length of unemployment, as job skills and prospects deteriorate and savings gets wiped out. The 2.5-3.5m foreclosures expected this year will exceed those of 2009, and the year began with what is expected to be the first of many large commercial real-estate bankruptcies. Even the Congressional budget office is predicting that it will be the middle of the decade before unemployment returns to more normal levels, as America experiences its own version of “Japanese malaise”.

Just as Dakinikat predicted way back at the beginning of the financial crisis.

Stiglitz also has a new book outFreefall: America, Free Markets, and the Sinking of the World Economy. More from the Guardian piece:

Continue reading

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A Safe Refuge and Open Thread

In honor of Mawm and Gary’s PUMA Vacation:*

I want to add my welcome to our visitors. And share some of the ground rules.

The most important thing to know is that The Confluence is a refuge for PUMAs and Hillary supporters. It was created by Riverdaughter in the wake of the abuse we received at our former blog-homes. And the administrators of The Confluence have always kept that concept of A Refuge in mind when we review the comments posted to this site.

The rule (if there is one) is pretty simple. If it makes us (or our friends) uncomfortable or unhappy we delete it. Obama supporters: We’re not here to “Inform” you. Or “Help you understand.” We might keep your comment if it’s amusing or if we want to play with you for a while. But, if you bore us? You’re gone. Without a trace. And we won’t apologize.

I want to repeat my welcome to PUMAs near and far. I love this place that Riverdaughter made and I hope you come to love it too.

* Photos take in Kansas City, Kansas at midnight last night.  I just talked to Gary and the PUMA mobile is now a little west of Manhattan, KS.  They haven’t got a generator so they only have Internet access when they stop for breaks.

Sunday, crying in the wilderness

Our fearless leader, riverdaughter, is on vacation this week so it’s up to us to pretend that nothing is wrong.  We can do this alone.  Everything will be OK. She has complete confidence in our ability to keep everyone informed and amused while not totally trashing the place.

Riiiight.

Riverdaughter makes it look so easy.  Penetrating insight first thing Every-Single-Morning — she hasn’t taken a full day off in months (if ever.) With one of her first posts (copied here in full) she set the tone for The Confluence showing that she was not just messing around with a vanity blog:

Hillary Cheats in SC by using her gender, Obama camp claims.

Nathor-Nile River GoddessObama’s camp is pre-emptively accusing the Clinton campaign of using Hillary’s gender as an incentive to females to vote for her.

“It’s totally unfair of Senator Clinton to exploit her gender. It put Obama at a disadvantage in South Carolina due to his penis. That is why he lost next week.”, David Axelrod said in advance of Clinton’s victory. When it was pointed out that the Democratic South Carolina primary hasn’t occured yet, Mr. Axelrod responded, “Exactly. This is why we are wasting no time in filing our complaint with the South Carolina Democratic party in advance. This kind of political scheming on the part of Senator Clinton can not stand.”

The Obama campaign has filed complaints in all of the states where the primary or caucus process has resulted in a win for Senator Clinton. They have declined to pursue charges in Iowa even though Axelrod asserts that, in retrospect it is clear that Clinton deliberately lost in order to lull the Obama camp into a false sense of security.

“They are master political schemers. Everybody says so”, Axelrod continued. “Chris Matthews has been following their dirty tricks for years. But I never expected that she would deliberately appeal to females in order to eek out her win next week. She’s crossed the line this time. We intend to file charges of cheating in all of the other states, starting with her wins in NY, NJ and CA on SuperDuperTuesday. “

Axelrod pointed to the fact that Obama had completely sewn up the African-American vote by taking the high road in his accusations of racism against Clinton’s organization. It was a forgone conclusion that Obama would assume the mantle of the most disadvantaged candidate in this campaign. But the polls started to turn in Clinton’s favor when a viral distribution of one of John Lennon’s and Yoko Ono’s songs from the seventies took the internet by storm.

“She’s already got a former president’s support, years of service and she talks like a policy wonk “, said Axelrod, frustrated. “She should stop using her gender to put herself so far ahead and learn to pack a lunch like the rest of us.”

And right from the beginning comments at The Confluence kept up with her:

oldpro, on January 22nd, 2008 at 9:50 am Said:
Heh heh heh….and Hillary’s response…

“Shut up!” she explained.

(shaking my head)

And so it was that riverdaughter’s The Confluence escorted us through all the ups and downs of this incredible primary season.  I think it’s very possible that she was a P.U.M.A. before PUMAs were cool:

To BiPM and William f Harrison
…. I could never compete with the Great Orange Satan but that doesn’t mean that I have to STFU simply because the Obamaphiles have closed me down on DKos. William f Harrison also has places to go. We’re like water. We seek the path of least resistance. We’re out here. We’re not lurking like we used to and we’re putting our efforts into pulling the party together from the outside. ….. (emphasis mine)

Let’s not focus on missing riverdaughter: this thread is a celebration of the site built by Riverdaughter. Let’s share our favorite posts. AND I’d personally love it if we shared our own first comments — and a bit from the posts that inspired them.

Mid-Afternoon Breaktime Open Thread

It’s been mentioned in the threads that Corbett at WILK radio in Scranton will be covering PUMA today. Riverdaughter just sent this message:

He asked me to call in around 3:35pm

And from the Comments (Hugh Gagner)

If you want to call in, ESPECIALLY if you live in PA, call 570-883-0098

PUMA

November To Remember

Here’s a link to more information (thanks grlpatriot!)

This? Is an Open Thread.

Celebrating Goldberry — Our Riverdaughter (an Open Thread)

We’ve been whispering about it for hours — but here’s the Story of Confluence:

The Campaign Toll:
When Democrats Go Post-al
By James Wolcott (Vanity Fair, June 2008)

. . . .

At Daily Kos, Clinton’s supporters felt not only outnumbered but patronized as objects of sexist condescension, pummeled like tackling dummies. One regular diarist, who went by the handle of Goldberry, exited the Daily Kos and set up her own blog, the Confluence, rolling out a welcome mat for fellow “Kossacks in Exile.” Toward Markos himself, she bore no ill will: “I totally respect Markos. He’s created a beautiful thing.” But the beautiful thing he created has been overrun by ruffians, leaving refugees like herself to hole up in the hills “until the ravagers run out of fuel to burn.” In an open letter to the liberal blogosphere, a fed-up Daily Kos regular named Alegre urged a writers’ strike . . . (Here’s the whole story)

RD here: Ok, I’m going to get a gigantic ego, except some of Wolcott’s piece was scathing so I think we are “on notice” (better get one of those big boards to keep track). I appreciate that Wolcott gave us a mention but this site wouldn’t be possible without all the other people who blog here like Katiebird, ronkseattle, bostonboomer, and our latest addition , garyinchapelhill. And there are all the commenters like shainzona, litigatormom (anyday now), MABlue, ghost2, DCDemocrat, tucsonlynn and many, many more. BUT *we* couldn’t do it without:

TaylorMarsh, Jeralyn Merritt and Big Tent Democrat at Talkleft, Lambert, Vastleft, Sarah, myiq2xu at Corrente, Sugar at Sugar ‘n Spice, Anglachel and Tom Watson, eriposte and turkana at TheLeftCoaster and the whole rest of the growing Progressive Blogosphere 2.0 that sprouted up like mushrooms in the wilderness outside the palisade of the Great Orange Satan. Let’s raise a glass to each other.

I want a President who is tough as nails and really knows her stuff!

I started the primary season as an Edwards supporter.  But when I realized Edwards wasn’t going to win, I started looking at Barack Obama.  That was when I discovered that Obama didn’t seem to have any ideology to speak of and wasn’t into sharing details about his proposed programs.  He was for “hope” and “change.”  Like a lot of other people, I wanted more information about what “change” Obama was offering and how he would accomplish it.  Very few of his supporters seemed to be able to verbalize what this “change” would be either.  It also made me angry that Hillary was being attacked in such sexist ways by the Obama Campaign, the big bloggers, the media.  Being a contrarian at heart, I took a closer look at Hillary Clinton.

I had watched all of the debates, and even while I still supported Edwards, I had developed a lot of respect for Hillary’s intellect and her knowledge base.  I admired the way she had all the issues down.  She could talk extemporaneously about almost anything.  Each time I listened to Hillary, I was impressed with her fluidity of speech.  When she confronted an issue, the words just flowed out of her, confidently, clearly, and concisely, and directly to the point.  I knew this had to be the result of many hours of study and active engagement with the material.  I have seen this same fluidity of speech in the academic world.  When academics know their fields inside and out and are enthusiastic about their research, they sound just like that.  Riverdaughter wrote about how she and her colleagues at work look at this kind of wonkishness in a recent post, “Feminists and Geeks” here .

We spend our working days listening to our colleagues give us presentations on the work that they have done. Over the years, we develop a keen ear for detecting who has quality work and who has pretty presentations but is BS-ing their way through 20 minutes. Our support for Clinton has less to do with her being a female and more to do with the quality of her presentation. 

In December, Steve Clemons wrote about his experience of Hillary’s wonkitude  (via eriposte at the Left Coaster)

…one of the things that simply can’t be disputed is her work ethic. I’ve met her a number of times, usually at receptions — and each time I decided not to waste the moment with trivial banter but to throw an idea at her or mention a person or issue that would help me understand how real, how informed, or alternatively — how contrived — she was. Every single time she jumped on the issue I brought up and expressed two or three dimensions to the issue that showed she was deeply steeped in this or that policy. In my New America Foundation role, I helped build and support programs as diverse as debates about genetic scientific advancements to family work issues, health care, and wireless spectrum — not to mention my own core interests in foreign policy, national security/defense issues, and international economic policy. Hillary Clinton and I have had quick encounters that involved her sharing incredibly diverse and serious policy commentary.

The last time I had such a discussion with her was after she had won her last Senate race in New York, and she and Bill Clinton were a bit early to a UN Foundation reception honoring Muhammad Yunus. We had a really interesting discussion about what should be on a roster of 21st century threats and how our national security and foreign policy resources should be reorganized to deal with future challenges rather than keeping vested interests tied to old threats well funded. Her quick grasp of what I was trying to get at — and a detailed response that was serious and level-headed — really surprised me as I’m used to politicians who typically have to fake their way through detail. 

What it all boils down to is that Hillary knows her stuff and she’s into it.  She loves to think and talk about policy, just like her husband.  That must be one of the shared interests that have kept them together.

In addition to being a policy wonk and an excellent communicator and debater, Hillary is tough and unafraid.  Watching her performance in the debates this year, I was reminded of the many times I have seen Hillary on C-Span in various committee hearings.  One really great memory I have of Hillary in the Senate is the time in 2006 when she questioned Donald Rumsfeld about whether his views on the situation in Iraq were trustworthy.  She gave a long summary of the situation at the time and finished with this:

CLINTON:  A recent book, aptly titled Fiasco, describes in some detail the decision-making apparatus that has lead us to this situation. So Mr. Secretary, when our constituents ask for evidence that your policy in Iraq and Afghanistan will be successful, you don’t leave us with much to talk about. Yes, we hear a lot of happy talk and rosy scenarios, but because of the Administration’s strategic blunders, and frankly the record of incompetence in executing, you are presiding over a failed policy. Given your track record, Secretary Rumsfeld, why should we believe your assurances now?

RUMSFELD:  My [pause] goodness[!]

Rumsfeld spoke these words in such a condescending way—as if he were stunned to be spoken to in that way by this woman.  How dare she!  It really was a smackdown.  You have to watch the video to get the full flavor of his reaction.   Hillary Clinton is tough as nails, and at that moment, Rumsfeld had to know it, despite his arrogant response.

Those are the qualities I want in a President.  I want my President to know policy inside out and have a facility for communicating ideas.  I want my President to be strong as steel and have the guts to stand up against all comers.  I have seen Hillary’s toughness and smarts during this primary campaign, and I am confident she can be such a president.