Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

“There’s now a rumored-price tag on George W. Bush‘s forthcoming memoirs, ‘Decision Points:’ a $7 million advance from publisher Crown. How does that stack up to other Deciders?

“It’s $5 million less than Bill Clinton‘s advance for My Life$1 million less than Hillary Clinton got for Living History, and $2 million less than the advance for the memoirs of Tony Friggin’ Blair, the British prime minister who answered to some queen, and to George W. Bush. BURN.” (via Gawker)

Related

Read Full Post »

wizardofozWas Dorothy in Frank Baum’s 1900 children’s novel The Wonderful Wizard of Oz a Populist “Everyman” who — with William Jennings Bryan (Lion), a farmer (Scarecrow) and an industrial worker (Tin Woodman) — went off to see the Wizard (President) to voice support for the use of silver as currency? Or, more critically, as economists today “fear an onset of deflation, and economic certainties melt away like a drenched wicked witch,” are there lessons to be learned from Oz?

“In 1964, high school teacher Henry Littlefield wrote an article outlining the notion of an underlying allegory in Frank Baum’s book. He said it offered a ‘gentle and friendly’ critique of Populist thinking, and the story could be used to illuminate the late 19th Century to students. . . .

“[Littlefield] believed the characters could represent the personalities and themes of the late 1800s, with Dorothy embodying the everyman American spirit.

“US political historian Quentin Taylor, who supports this interpretation, says: ‘There are too many instances of parallels with the political events of the time.’ . . .

“But not everyone believes The Wonderful Wizard of Oz includes any hidden meanings.

“‘Nobody ever suggested it until 1964,’ says Bradley Hansen, who is a professor of economics at the University of Mary Washington. ‘There’s no solid evidence that Baum had written it as a monetary allegory,’ he adds.”

As for the value of Baum’s book to present-day economists, Taylor agrees that despite the references to late 19th-century economic issues, “little can be learnt from Baum about the modern economic crisis.” (more @ BBC News)

RelatedSarah Palin As Dorothy? We’re Not In Kansas …

Read Full Post »

The full episode of last night’s The Daily Show featuring Jon Stewart‘s “interview” of CNBC’s Jim Cramer can be viewed here.

Related

UpdateRoubini: CNBC’s Jim Cramer A “Buffoon”

Read Full Post »

chcuk-norris“On Glenn Beck’s radio show last week, I quipped in response to our wayward federal government, ‘I may run for president of Texas.’

“That need may be a reality sooner than we think. If not me, someone someday may again be running for president of the Lone Star state, if the state of the union continues to turn into the enemy of the state. . . .

“Anyone who has been around Texas for any length of time knows exactly what we’d do if the going got rough in America. Let there be no doubt about that. As Sam Houston once said, ‘Texas has yet to learn submission to any oppression, come from what source it may.'” (more @ WorldNetDaily)

Read Full Post »

“The defense never rests. . . . Even though Bush is keeping quiet in Texas before heading out on a lucrative speaking tour, an informal network of former aides is keeping his views in the political bloodstream, defending his legacy in TV appearances and backgrounding reporters about his record. 

“Former White House press secretary Ari Fleischer calls the Bush pundits ‘a loose confederation of people united in our belief in what President Bush did, and we’re freer now to talk about some things than we used to be — good and bad.’ 

“The Bush defense forces include Fleischer; former press secretary Dana Perino; Bush political czar Karl Rove, who has contracts with Fox News, The Wall Street Journal and Newsweek; economics guru Tony Fratto; the prolific Peter Wehner, former director of the White House Office of Strategic Initiatives; and the graceful speechwriter Michael Gerson, who writes an opinion column for The Washington Post.” (more @ Politico)

Read Full Post »

kissingercartoon“The Kissinger image [left] (by David Levine) is one of 320 illustrations – by 142 of the world’s most acclaimed contemporary artists – that The New York Times itself originally commissioned for its Op-Ed Pages, but then got cold feet about running, and eventually paid more than $1 million in ‘kill fees’ to hide from public view (sometimes for as long as 38 years).

“What didn’t the Times want you to see?

“Can you imagine illustrations so ‘blasphemous,’ so ‘politically embarrassing,’ so sexually ‘over the line’ that The New York Times gladly paid a fortune just to protect your delicate eyes from being exposed to them?

“You’ll find hundreds of such allegedly ‘not-fit-to-print’ illustrations – together with the bizarre and often ludicrous reasons for suppressing them – in a sly and deliciously funny new book called All The Art That’s Fit to Print (And Some That Wasn’t), by Jerelle Kraus, former Art Editor of the Times Op-Ed and Editorial Pages, who reluctantly quit her ‘dream job’ at the Times after 13 years in order to publish it. . . .

“Unfortunately, if you’re looking for more information about this book — don’t expect to consult a review in The New York Times. You won’t find one. For years the Times tried to discourage Ms Kraus from publishing this book, but now that it’s out, the Times is spitefully refusing even to acknowledge its existence, let alone actually review it. Since the Times‘ Book Section is a bible of the publishing world, not being noticed in its pages can often destroy a book’s chances of attracting a large audience.

“Which may be the the Times’s purpose — a publicity blackout might make the book quietly disappear.” (more @ AlterNet)

[Then there’s the New York Post, which had no problem running the Obama-as-stimulus-writing-monkey cartoon just last month. Seems to me both papers need to redraw their standards.]

Read Full Post »

obama-bushFrom an opinion piece by Jackson Diehl, deputy editor of The Washington Post‘s editorial page, suggesting that Obama may be more comparable to George W. Bush than Franklin Roosevelt:

“So Obama hasn’t strayed far from Karl Rove’s playbook for routing the opposition. But surely, you say, he’s planning nothing as divisive or as risky as the Iraq war? Well, that’s where the health-care plan comes in: a $634 billion (to begin) ‘historic commitment,’ as Obama calls it, that (like the removal of Saddam Hussein) has lurked in the background of the national agenda for years.”

[Forgive me, but I’m having a little trouble accepting a comparison between an illegal war that continues to cost countless billions of dollars and thousands upon thousands of lives, both American and Iraqi, with plans to reform the U.S. health care system, no matter how expensive. There’s more to fume about in Diehl’s piece but I think this gets my point across.]

Read Full Post »

Obama 2008“Joe the Plumber” is suing former Ohio officials for violating his privacy, reports the Cleveland Plain Dealer. Employees of the state’s family services department (since resigned) checked Samuel Wurzelbacher for unpaid child support obligations, after Sen. John McCain elevated him to prominence. “You shouldn’t have to regret asking a reasonable question in a public forum of a presidential candidate,’ says the head of the group representing Wurzelbacher.

“Wurzelbacher says this is just one example of how the campaign caused long-term damage to his reputation. ‘I can no longer actually work as a plumber,’ he told the Washington Post. That’s because anything he does—like break a pipe—would become national news. ‘I’ve spoken to some of my plumbing buddies in town and no one really wants to touch me right now.'” (via Newser)

Read Full Post »

johnyooFrom Balkinization, Jack Balkin on “The End of the Yoo Doctrine”:

“The Office of Legal Counsel has just released a series of previously secret opinions from the Bush Administration. Perhaps equally important, it has issued two remarkable opinions, one from October 6th, 2008 and one from January 15th, 2009 which essentially disown the extreme theories of Presidential power offered during the crucial period between 2001 and 2003 when John Yoo was at the OLC. . . .

“The October 2008 and January 2009 memos are the Bush OLC’s way of distancing itself from its conduct during the period when John Yoo was at OLC and when the Cheney/Addington/Yoo theory reigned supreme. It is important to recognize that these two memos are largely concerned with disowning particular broad claims of constitutional law, and they do not disown any of the Bush Administration’s specific policies regarding surveillance, detention, and interrogation. Indeed, after John Yoo left the OLC the Bush OLC was able to justify many of these policies without the Cheney/Addington/Yoo theory, by arguing for example, that applicable legislation should be read very narrowly or that Congress had authorized what the Bush Administration wanted to do in the September 18, 2001 Authorization for the Use of Military Force. No one should confuse these memos with a reversal of Bush Administration policy– instead, they are an attempt to disown a particular theory of unlimited Presidential power that was an embarrassment to the professional standards of the OLC. In this sense what is remarkable about these two memos is not that they change any concrete practices but that the OLC felt the need to reverse itself years later and to disavow a particular type of reasoning– reasoning which sought, in secret, to justify a theory of Presidential dictatorship.” (via The Daily Dish)

RelatedJohn Yoo is sorry for nothing

Read Full Post »

al

“Newt [Gingrich] owes some of his staying power to his conservative fans and admirers like [Grover] Norquist, but I think the biggest contributors to Newt’s longevity in the spotlight are political reporters. Let’s face it: Newt makes for great copy. Unlike a lot of conservatives, who hate talking to (presumably liberal) journalists, Newt will talk to you. And talk. And talk. And talk. Just plop a tape recorder down in front of him, and you’ve got a story. I like to think the media’s relationship with Newt as being the conservative version of its relationship with Al Sharpton. Just as the national media used to view Sharpton . . . as a ‘one-stop shop’ for ‘all things black’ . . . Newt has found his greatest constituency among journalists who turn to him as a one-stop shop for all things conservative.” (via The New Republic)

RelatedNewt. Again. (via New York Times Magazine)

Read Full Post »

Blagojevich MoneyGlenn Selig, a publicist for Rod Blagojevich, says the recently impeached former Illinois governor signed a six-figure deal on Monday to write a book “exposing the dark side of politics.” (via The Huffington Post)

Update: (3/9) BLAGOJEBOOK

Read Full Post »

obamunism“Conservatives might be seeking a spiritual leader, organizing principle and fresh identity, but they at least seem to have settled on a favorite rhetorical ogre: socialism.

“As in, Democrats are intent on forcing socialism on the ‘U.S.S.A.’ (as the bumper sticker says, under the words ‘Comrade Obama’).

“It seems that ‘socialist’ has supplanted ‘liberal’ as the go-to slur among much of a conservative world confronting a one-two-three punch of bank bailouts, budget blowouts and stimulus bills. Right-leaning bloggers and talk radio hosts are wearing out the brickbat. Senate and House Republicans have been tripping over their podiums to invoke it. The S-bomb has become as surefire a red-meat line at conservative gatherings as ‘Clinton’ was in the 1990s and ‘Pelosi’ is today.” (more @ NY Times)

Read Full Post »

spockvulcanMaureen Dowd on President Obama’s Mr. Spock-like cool:

“Mr. Obama has a bit of Mr. Spock in him (and not just the funny ears). He has a Vulcan-like logic and detachment. Any mere mortal who had to tell liberals that our obligations in Iraq and Afghanistan are far from over and tell Republicans that he has a $3.6 trillion budget would probably have tears running down his face.”

Related: Obama is Spock: It’s quite logical

Read Full Post »

orwell“The longlists for the 2009 Orwell Prize for Political Writing were announced today, and for the first time the award includes a category for bloggers. Along with the traditional Book and Journalism submissions, this year the judges received entries in the form of YouTube videos and Twitter tweets. From eighty-three entrants for the Blog Prize . . . the judges selected a choice twelve, mixing the professional with the amateur, the politically affiliated with the politically free-wheeling:

“Alix Mortimer’s ‘The People’s Republic of Mortimer’; Andrew Sparrow’s Guardian Politics Blog; Chekov’s ‘Three Thousand Versts of Loneliness’; Hopi Sen’s Blog from the back room; Iain Dale’s Diary; Jack Night’s ‘Night Jack’; Mark Easton’s BBC News blog, ‘Mark Easton’s UK’; Neil Robertson’ ‘The Bleeding Heart Show’; Oliver Kamm’s Times Online blog; Paul Mason’s ‘Idle Scrawl’; The Heresiarch’s Heresy Corner; and Tom Harris’s ‘And another thing…’.

“While the Books and Journalism prizes have taken as their mantra Orwell’s ambition to ‘make political writing into an art’, the Blog Prize has looked to the day-to-day reflections in Orwell’s diaries for its criteria.” (via Granta)

[The March 12, 2009 issue of The New York Review of Books includes Julian Barnes’s essay, “Such, Such Was Eric Blair,” on George Orwell’s political writings. On his blog today, Andrew Sullivan writes of Barnes’s essay: “I’ve read a lot of Orwell and almost as much about him. This essay captures his Britishness – and avoids hagiography – as well as any I’ve read.”]

Read Full Post »

porn-computer“Americans may paint themselves in increasingly bright shades of red and blue, but new research finds one thing that varies little across the nation: the liking for online pornography. . . .

“‘When it comes to adult entertainment, it seems people are more the same than different,’ says Benjamin Edelman at Harvard Business School.

“However, there are some trends to be seen in the data. Those states that do consume the most porn tend to be more conservative and religious than states with lower levels of consumption, the study finds.

“‘Some of the people who are most outraged turn out to be consumers of the very things they claimed to be outraged by,’ Edelman says.”

For example:

  • Eight of the top 10 pornography consuming states gave their electoral votes to John McCain in last year’s presidential election
  • Residents of 27 states that passed laws banning gay marriages boasted 11% more porn subscribers than states that don’t explicitly restrict gay marriage.
  • States where a majority of residents agreed with the statement “I have old-fashioned values about family and marriage,” bought 3.6 more subscriptions per thousand people than states where a majority disagreed.
  • A similar difference emerged for the statement “AIDS might be God’s punishment for immoral sexual behaviour.” (via New Scientist)

Read Full Post »

Obama GOP ReactionFrom TPM, evidence that the story told Tuesday night by Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal during his GOP response to President Obama’s speech to Congress — “about how he backed a tough-talking sheriff’s efforts to rescue Katrina victims, government red-tape be damed [sic]” — was not true.

The full text of Governor Jindal’s speech can be found here.

obamacongressMeanwhile, Peggy Noonan saw Obama’s speech as a defining moment:

“A mysterious thing happened in that speech Tuesday night. By the end of it Barack Obama had become president. Every president has a moment when suddenly he becomes what he meant [sic] to be, or knows what he is, and those moments aren’t always public. . . .

“So with Mr. Obama, about four-fifths of the way through the speech. He was looking from the prompters to the congressmen and senators, and suddenly he was engaging on what seemed a deeper level. His voice took on inflection. He wasn’t detached, as if he was wondering how he was doing. He seemed equal to the moment and then, in some new way, in command of it.” (via Wall Street Journal)

A transcript of President Obama’s Address to Congress can be found here.

[As for that other influential GOP spokesperson, a video of “Joe the Plumber”‘s response to Obama’s speech can be found here.]

Update: (2/27) Jindal Admits Katrina Story Was False

Read Full Post »

watermelon

What’s up with California Republicans and all the Obama-watermelon references?

Dean Grose, the white, Republican mayor of Los Alamitos, California, has apologized to a local black businesswoman, Keyanus Price, to whom he sent an email depicting the White House lawn planted with watermelons. The picture included the caption, “No Easter egg hunt this year.” (via The Huffington Post)

obama-bucks

And let’s not forget the “Obama Bucks” pictured in a newsletter mailed by a California Republican women’s organization on the eve of the November election.

Maybe it was more than just policy differences that had California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger considering a switch in parties.

Update

    Read Full Post »

    ghandi“Indians are expressing outrage over a New York auction that is set to sell some of the most personal belongings of India’s great independence leader Mohandas K. Gandhi — the gaunt, bare-chested man whose ascetic life defied materialism.

    “The auction is a travesty for many Indians, for whom Gandhi is a godlike figure, and some in India’s Parliament have called for the government to either stop the auction or put in the highest bid to get back the nation’s iconic mementos.

    “The bidding for Gandhi’s distinctive metal-rimmed round spectacles, his leather sandals, a 1910 sterling Zenith pocket watch, and a brass bowl and plate is scheduled for March 5 and 6 in New York.” (via The Washington Post)

    Antiquorum Auctioneers, in their press release for the March sale, estimate the value of the c. 1901-1915 pocket watch at $20,000-$30,000 and note that Ghandi “gave it to his grandniece, Abha Gandhi, his assistant of six years, and in whose arms he died.”

    Related

    Update

    Read Full Post »

    marijuana11“Could Cannabis sativa be a salvation for California’s fiscal misfortunes? Can the state get a better budget grip by taxing what some folks toke?

    “[Assemblyman Tom Ammiano] from San Francisco announced legislation Monday to do just that: make California the first state in the nation to tax and regulate recreational marijuana in the same manner as alcohol.” (via LA Times)

    Related

    Updates

    Read Full Post »

    texasborderbadge“In a controversial program aimed at enhancing border security, Texas sheriffs have erected a series of surveillance cameras along the Rio Grande and connected them to the Internet.

    “Thousands of people are now virtual Border Patrol agents — and they’re on the lookout for drug smugglers and illegal immigrants.

    “Robert Fahrenkamp, a truck driver in South Texas, is one of them.

    “After a long haul behind the wheel of a Peterbilt tractor-trailer, he comes home, sets his 6-foot-6-inch, 250-pound frame in front of his computer, pops a Red Bull, turns on some Black Sabbath or Steppenwolf, logs in to www.blueservo.net — and starts protecting his country.

    “‘This gives me a little edge feeling,’ Fahrenkamp says, ‘like I’m doing something for law enforcement as well as for our own country.'” (more @ NPR)

    Read Full Post »

    « Newer Posts - Older Posts »