November 2008 Archives

Fareed Zakaria: Wake-up call for India

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It seems Fareed Zakaria has some close personal connections to this week's events in Mumbai. Though I could wish that there not be attribution of sponsorship until a reliable investigation is complete, he does make one good point. It is terrorists that chose to carry out this attack and terrorists that must be condemned.

NYT's Journalism and Mumbai

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Glenn Greenwald holds the NYT responsible for its journalism, in this look back at how their reporting and editorializing about regime change in Venezuela has changed from 2002 to present. He goes onto to reflect on how we should keep that in mind in deciding how to respond to the terrorism in Mumbai. Thoughtful and interesting writing as usual from Mr. Greenwald. [via]

More on Netroots Development in the Middle East

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An observation by Brian Ullrich via Sully:

Early this evening I went to a panel on "Negotiating Community in the Arab Persian Gulf" which featured Fahad Bishara from Duke, Farah al-Nakib of London's School for Oriental and African Studies, UCLA'a Laith Ulaby, Leila De Vriese of Hamline University, and a chair/discussant whose name I did not catch...

[Leila De Vriese discussed] political activist blogging in Gulf countries, particularly Bahrain and Kuwait. She attributed the most efficacy to Bahrain's blogosphere, mentioning in particular the "Brain Farts" feature on the late, great Mahmood's Den. Overall, she credited the Bahraini blogosphere with generating a reconceptualization of Bahraini citizenship as part of an upsurge in grassroots political activism, particularly by Shi'ites. She also credited Kuwaiti blogs with playing a significant role in that country's 2006 Orange Revolution. [...]

... blogs have allowed women to participate openly in the same political sphere as men, even in highly segregated societies such as Saudi Arabia. ... In societies with high internet penetration, blogs can have a democratizing, community-building function. Although we've seen this in the United States, its occurrence in politically closed societies such as Bahrain is significant because of the nexus of people it can bring together in certain types of interactions. I don't know all the ramifications that the term "public sphere" has in political science, but it sounds like a local one may have emerged in certain Gulf states of a type that would have been unlikely prior to the internet.

Netroots in Iran

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Via Sully:



Per Mr. Aaron in the Vimeo comments, the graphics et al were inspired by the movie Persepolis.

Sounds like they may be looking for their Obama, just as the Palestinian journalist and blogger Daoud Kuttab noted in his post about Obama's impact on undemocratic Arab regimes.

Obama's "Change" and Egyptian Editorial Freedom

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It seems that some Egyptian editorial cartoonist got to thinking about the implications of Obama's election with regard to the political process of electing a president in his own country and included a little bit about it in his cartoon. And then he was forced to remove it after 150,000 copies were quickly withdrawn from the streets. And what were the seditious words that were removed? An "Arabic phrase uqbal inna, meaning 'may the same [change] happen to us.'" Here's the before and after cartoons courtesy of another Egyptian newspaper.

obamachangeegypt.jpg

BoingBoing has the details from Daoud Kuttab.

"Serious people are coming back to power"

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Fred Kaplan reviews some of the people on the Obama national security transition team:

Looking over the list of top players on President-elect Barack Obama's transition team, one gets the sense that serious people are coming back to power. On the national-security team in particular, they're professional, thoughtful, cognizant of the world's complexities, engaged with cutting-edge ideas but not dogmatic about them. This may not sound exciting, but those who think it doesn't constitute "change" haven't paid enough attention to these last eight years of Jacobin zeal and blundering.

He goes onto briefly discuss a few of people including Sarah Sewall, Michèle Flournoy, Wendy Sherman, Rand Beers, Clark Kent Ervin and Judith "Jami" Miscik.

Thomas Jefferson had it right

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It's hard to believe that I'm quoting John Derbyshire on anything but have to agree with the point that he made below. Although I do think the word "Americans" should be substituted for "Conservatives".

Conservatives stand for liberty, and that includes liberty of belief. We have to stand by that; but it's not easy to do so -- well, I don't find it easy -- when you're bickering about the content of belief. Over to you, Tom:

The legitimate powers of government extend to such acts only as are injurious to others. But it does me no injury for my neighbour to say there are twenty gods, or no god. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg.

                       -- Notes on Virginia

And there's many an issue to which that bit of wisdom should be applied.

Filling the Vacuum

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Steve Benen writes about Obama's roll-out of his economic team: the "leaks" on Friday, the appearances on Sunday chat shows, the press conference today, the press conference promised for tomorrow.

... this is Obama's way of improving investor confidence and settling the markets before he can take actual policy steps to improve investor confidence and settle the markets. ... no one's listening to Bush, who went to Peru over the weekend, and Paulson's credibility is shot -- and Obama is simply stepping to fill the void.

Exactly what we decided was happening at the dinner table tonight.

Bill Kristol: Fundamentally Wrong

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George Packer sums up Bill Kristol's column at the NY Times so well.

It's not just that he was fundamentally wrong at least every other week throughout the year (misattributing a quote in his first column, counting Clinton out after Iowa, placing Obama at a Jeremiah Wright sermon that Obama didn't attend, predicting the imminent return of a McCain adviser named Mike Murphy who ended up staying off the campaign, all but predicting a McCain victory, sort of predicting that McCain would oppose the bailout, praising McCain's "suspension" of his campaign as a smart move, preferring fake populism to professional excellence and Joe the Plumber to Horace the Poet, urging Ayers-Wright attack tactics as the way for McCain to win, basically telling McCain to ignore all the advice Kristol had given him throughout the year, but above all, vouching again and again and again, privately and publicly, for Palin as an excellent Vice-Presidential choice). What the hell--it was an unpredictable year.

The real grounds for firing Kristol are that he didn't take his column seriously. In his year on the Op-Ed page, not one memorable sentence, not one provocative thought, not one valuable piece of information appeared under his name. The prose was so limp ("Who, inquiring minds want to know, is going to spare us a first Obama term?") that you had the sense Kristol wrote his column during the commercial breaks of his gig on Fox News Sunday and gave it about the same amount of thought.

Short version for the NYT management: Save some money. Don't bother renewing his contract this time around. [via]

US officials flunk test of American history, economics, civics

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It seems that our elected officials know less than they should about our history and our government. [via]

US elected officials scored abysmally on a test measuring their civic knowledge, with an average grade of just 44 percent, the group that organized the exam said Thursday.

Ordinary citizens did not fare much better, scoring just 49 percent correct on the 33 exam questions compiled by the Intercollegiate Studies Institute (ISI). [...]

The exam questions covered American history, the workings of the US government and economics.

You can take the quiz yourself. I answered 31 out of 33 correctly for a score of 93.94 %.

After 63 years, vet learns of brother's death in Nazi slave camp

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This is an amazing story via CNN of two brothers who both fought in WW II and how one brother recently found out about his brother's death via an earlier CNN feature of yet another vet held in that same terrible Nazi slave camp.

Conservatives and Science

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An email sent to David Frum in which the author pretty much nails why the theo-cons et al are having so much trouble with science.

I find it astonishing that conservatives can discuss the election results and their path back to power without addressing the right wing's increasing estrangement from science. Religious conservatives have refused to acknowledge that evolution is the cornerstone of biological sciences and that the earth and universe are billions of years old, Free market enthusiasts have denied the efficacy and necessity of the Clean Air Act's protections of the environment and human health. They have also refused to acknowledge Reagan's leadership role in protecting the stratospheric ozone layer and the successes of the Montreal Protocol in addressing this global problem. It is genuinely difficult to find an adult discussion of climate change on any conservative web site. Conservatives find themselves arrayed against the National Academy of Science, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Geophysical Union, the American Meteorological Society and the Academies of Science of many countries.

Science was transformed into a partisan affair by Gingrich et al.. Prior to that time, many Republicans could be counted upon as realists concerning nature. Lincoln signed the legislation founding the National Academy of Science. T. Roosevelt established rule-making agencies that valued scientific expertise above political influence. Nixon founded the EPA and was important in passing the Clear Air Act, Clean Water Act and National Environmental Policy Act. He appointed Ruckelshaus as EPA's initial director. The major steps to protect the stratospheric ozone layer were made with the conscious leadership of Reagan and Bush I. Now Republican candidates are required to nod in the direction of creationism and the young earth. McCain's brave stand acknowledging the reality of climate change cost him dearly among the most partisan Republicans. They stayed home. [...]

I was trained by conservative scientists who worked under a Republican administered EPA to establish the scientific foundations for the Clean Air Act regulations that have saved thousands of lives. I studied ozone depletion under Reagan. Now, practitioners who follow the data are slandered by Conservatives. 200 countries have ratified the Montreal Protocol. The world's turn away from the release of CFCs has clearly resulted in arresting the decreases in ozone that triggered the Protocol. Poor Rush and his minions are unable to acknowledge this fundamental fact. They use Montreal Protocol as a slur. The Right Wing is estranged from both science and reality. Educated Americans are increasingly seeing a Republican Party that will lie about science to satisfy dogmatists and ideologues. Increasingly science and technology are defining the environment within which the market and policy must succeed. You are losing those who understand this century. How can Republicans rebuild their winning coalition when they insist that its members deny physical reality?

James Charles Wilson
John Evans Professor
Department of Mechanical and Materials Engineering
University of Denver


Good question Professor Wilson. My guess is they going to wander in the wilderness for awhile. Especially if the leaders turn out to be Mike Huckabee, Sarah Palin, Mike Pence, Eric Cantor, and John Boehner.

[via]

I wonder how much he paid her?

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Seriously, how much did Erick Ericksen pay Suzanne Smalley for this write-up in Newsweek? I get the feeling that Ms. Smalley doesn't understand the basics on blog traffic or just what pathetic shape Redstate.com is actually in financially ... at least based on their begging for supporters to give them money so they can upgrade the website to something like Daily Kos. And the reason that they have to beg for money is that the traffic on the website is so low that they can't make enough money from their ad stream to pay for it. Yeah, really influential there.

She'd have been better off featuring the people from The Next Right which though conservative, has some interesting thinking going on there.

Buddhist Temple Built from Beer Bottles

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This is unique and not unattractive. Via Sully, "Buddhist monks from Thailand's Sisaket province built the Wat Pa Maha Chedi Kaew temple out of a million green Heineken and local brown beer bottles."



As the treehugger post noted: "...there is no such thing as garbage, just useful stuff in the wrong place."

Waxman Wins Chairmanship

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Henry Waxman has won his bid to replace John Dingell as chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. Harold Meyerson wrote a piece at WaPo a couple days ago as to why this would be a good move.

Fundamentally, there are two reasons Waxman would be the better chairman of Energy and Commerce. First, he is probably the House's most accomplished legislator in three issue areas that are high on the agendas of the nation and President-elect Barack Obama: universal health care, global warming and enhanced consumer protections (no small matter with a steadily rising percentage of our food and medication ingredients coming from China). On environmental questions, Waxman offers a sharp contrast to Dingell, who has long been the primary opponent of stricter standards for auto emissions and fuel efficiency.

Second, Waxman is a legislative genius. Most of his legislative accomplishments came before the 1994 Republican takeover of Congress, when he chaired the health and environment subcommittee of Energy and Commerce. Progressive legislating has been pretty much off the table since then, which is why he shifted focus to Congress's chief investigative committee. Those who have served in Congress for fewer than 14 years weren't around when Waxman greatly strengthened the Clean Air Act and authored the legislation that expanded Medicaid coverage to the poorest children (enlisting Republican abortion-foe Henry Hyde as his partner in the effort). They didn't see Waxman steer to passage the bills that gave rise to the generic drug industry, required uniform nutrition labels on food, heightened standards of care at nursing homes, created screening programs for breast and cervical cancer, provided health care for people with HIV/AIDS, or expanded Medicaid coverage to the working poor.

In the midst of the Reagan era's cutbacks, Waxman expanded the number of working poor eligible for Medicaid a stunning 24 times. He consistently won key Republican backing for these regulatory and programmatic expansions. In fact, the Wall Street Journal's editorial page ran a series of articles complaining of "the Waxman state," in which, horror of horrors, businesses were compelled to meet environmental and consumer protection standards. Wyoming Republican Sen. Alan Simpson once emerged from a marathon conference committee meeting and noted, "Henry Waxman is tougher than a boiled owl."

Some of Waxman's achievements were to keep bad things from happening. For virtually the entire 1980s, Waxman blocked Dingell and the Reagan administration from weakening auto emission standards.

Here is a clear reason why term limits are NOT a good idea.

Congratulations, Chairman Waxman.

Richard Clarke on Zawahri tape

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Via Democracy Arsenal and Sully, Richard Clarke sums up al-Zawahri's blurb:

"Obama's election has taken the wind out of al Qaeda's sails in much of the Islamic world because it demonstrates America's renewed commitment to multiculturalism, human rights, and international law. It also proves to many that democracy can work and overcome ethnic, sectarian, or racial barriers.

"Obama's commitment to withdraw from Iraq also takes away an al Qaeda propaganda tenet: that the U.S. seeks to occupy oil rich Arab lands. His commitment to defeat al Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan also challenges their plans. Most of all, by returning to American values the world admires, Obama sets al Qaeda back enormously in the battle of ideas, the ideological struggle which determines whether al Qaeda will continue to have significant support in the Islamic world."

-Richard Clarke

The 25 Most Important Stories the Media Isn't Reporting

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Via dkos, Project Censored has released its list for 2009 of the top 25 most important stories that are not being covered by American media. It's a disturbing list.

Don't Go Away Mad (Just Go Away)

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Via Spencer Ackerman at his Attackerman blog, more on the just-signed SOFA agreement with Iraq:

The good people at McClatchy have translated an Arabic text of the U.S.-Iraq Status of Forces Agreement into English. Check it out here. ... Here, for instance, is the money quote:

All U.S. forces are to withdraw from all Iraqi territory, water and airspace no later than the 31st of December of 2011.

All U.S. combat forces are to withdraw from Iraqi cities, villages, and towns not later than the date that Iraqi forces assume complete responsibility of security in any Iraqi province. The withdrawal of U.S. forces from the above-mentioned places is on a date no later than the 30 June 2009. The withdrawing U.S. forces mentioned in item (2) above are to gather in the installations and areas agreed upon that are located outside of cities, villages and towns that will be determined by the Joint Military Operation Coordinating Committee (JMOCC) before the date determined in item (2) above.

[...]

Also, Leila Fadel, McClatchy's excellent Baghdad bureau chief, writes a great supplementary story about how the SOFA "is now called the withdrawal agreement" in Iraq because it, in her view, truly does provide "an ultimate end to the U.S.-led occupation of Iraq." And she notes this new language in Article 27, inserted almost certainly to forstall a U.S. attack on Iran:

It is not permitted to use Iraqi land, water and airspace as a route or launching pad for attacks against other countries.

Guess that makes it pretty clear where the Iraqis stand. Wonder what will happen with the bases that the US has built / is building in Iraq.

Josh Dorner: NBC Confirms That "Clean Coal" is an Oxymoron

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Josh Dormer highlights an NBC report by Brian Williams and Anne Thompson that tells the truth about coal:

Brian Williams began with a remarkable lead-in:

"Coal. While you might have heard the phrase 'clean coal' during the presidential campaign, it's actually an oxymoron. Wishful thinking. Coal does not burn cleanly and it's hugely expensive to make it burn that way..."

Check out the video Josh included in the post.

Disastrous Health Crisis in Zimbabwe

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Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) and their Zimbabwean colleagues, Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights (ZADHR), are attempting to call attention to an immediate and severe health care crisis in Zimbabwe.

Per jhutson:

Zimbabwe's health system has failed: authorities have closed the country's main hospitals in Harare and Bulawayo, along with the maternity wards and a medical school. The country is paralyzed by drug shortages, insufficient medical supplies, dilapidated infrastructure, and equipment breakdown. Sick and injured people are being turned away without treatment. Birthing mothers and their infants are imperiled. On top of this, the country is threatened with a full-blown cholera epidemic that the government has failed to address.

He has more information, links and photos in this post.

Obama's message to governors' meeting: climate change

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By video link, President-Elect Barack Obama spoke to a gathering of governors and foreign officials in Los Angeles Tuesday, reiterating his stance on climate policy.

[via]

Piracy?

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Just skimmed the Guardian UK website and this headline stood out:

Pirates seize oil tanker with UK crew

Just a few weeks ago the US was / may still be involved in monitoring pirates' seizure of a ship near Somalia which had some weapons and parts which should not fall into the wrong hands. Then the link next to it drew my attention.

Live piracy map

That's a lot of virtual pins on the map.

Why is there such a resurgence of piracy? Or is this something that's always been there and is just now getting more press?

Paul Krugman: Keeping them honest

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Paul Krugman highlights a Republican talking point that emerged during Arnold Schwarzenegger's appearance on This Week yesterday.

He asserted, as a simple matter of fact, that "government created the housing bubble", because Fannie and Freddie made all these loans to people who couldn't afford to pay them.

This is utterly false. Fannie/Freddie did some bad things, and did, it turns out, get to some extent into subprime. But thanks to the accounting scandals, they were actually withdrawing from the market during the height of the housing bubble -- the vast majority of the loans now going bad came from the private sector.

Yet it's now clear that the phony account of the crisis -- that it's all due to Fannie, Freddie, and nasty liberals forcing poor Angelo Mozilo to make loans to Those People -- is setting in as Republican orthodoxy, part of what you have to believe to be a respectable member of the party.

That's almost as good as Krugman's appearance on the This Week roundtable discussion in which he repeatedly schooled George Will and the others. It was so nice to have someone who actually knows what they're talking about right there on the spot to correct the talking heads.


Retired Judge: Guantanamo Like Serbian War Camps

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Posted without comment from The Hill:

"I was struck by the similarity between the abuse they suffered and the abuse we found inflicted upon Bosnian Muslim prisoners in Serbian camps," wrote Patricia M. Wald, a retired appointee to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals by President Jimmy Carter, about Guantanamo prisoners. Wald penned the foreword to a report on "Guantanamo and its Aftermath" published by the Human Rights Center at the University of California-Berkeley.

"The officials and guards in charge of those prison camps [in Serbia] and the civilian leaders who sanctioned their establishment were prosecuted...for war crimes, crimes against humanity and, in extreme cases, genocide," Wald wrote.

A participant in previous matters in the War on Terror, Wald was a member of the Commission on the Intelligence Capabilities of the United States Regarding Weapons of Mass Destruction established by the Bush administration to investigate the intelligence failures in the run-up to the War in Iraq.

Michael Lewis - The End of Wall Street's Boom

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Michael Lewis, author of Liar's Poker, has penned a very readable account of how Wall Street brought down our economy. It's full of entertaining black humor and insight into just how shaky the house of cards was all along. [via]

Peter Schiff Was Right

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Andrew Sullivan pointed this one out. To be honest, I'd not heard of Peter Schiff before but I give him credit for being so clear about what was coming and sounding the alarm bell. The contrast between him and Art Laffer (a name I recognize from econ class) is remarkable. Laffer couldn't have been more wrong.



For those who have any money left or even if you're just curious on where he thinks the future is headed, Mr. Schiff posts regularly at his website and offers a free newsletter.

Hell freezing over

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Well, maybe not but I never thought I'd be writing these words about a Fox News anchor but way to go, Shepard Smith. Via Ta-Nehisi, Shep Smith denies that the "liberal media" doomed McCain.

IOKIYAR: Talk Radio Secrets Revealed by Insider

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IOKIYAR -- That's dkos shorthand for "It's OK If You Are Republican". A term which is applied to all the duplicitous actions of Republicans at all levels of government as well as the hands-off non-investigative attitude that the media has displayed in the last 8 years. And now it seems a wing-nut talk radio insider, Dan Shelley, has confirmed what the left-wing blogosphere has long known. Shelley was the news director for WTMJ's show with Charlie Sykes, wingnut talk show host extraordinaire.

Via kossack worried sick:

This long article in the Milwaukee Magazine confirms what thinking people have said all along.  Here's the talk radio formula.

Rule #1:  Appeal to perceived victimization

"To begin with, talk show hosts such as Charlie Sykes - one of the best in the business - are popular and powerful because they appeal to a segment of the population that feels disenfranchised and even victimized by the media. These people believe the media are predominantly staffed by and consistently reflect the views of social liberals. This view is by now so long-held and deep-rooted, it has evolved into part of virtually every conservative's DNA."

Rule #2: Host always wins

"There is no way to win a disagreement with Charlie Sykes. Calls from listeners who disagree with him don't get on the air if the show's producer, who generally does the screening, fears they might make Charlie look bad. I witnessed several occasions when Sen. Russ Feingold, former Mayor John Norquist, Mayor Tom Barrett or others would call in, but wouldn't be allowed on the air."

My blood pressure rises.

Rule #3: Dissenters face personal attacks

"How can Charlie do that? By belittling the caller's point of view. You can always tell, however, when the antagonist has gotten the better of Charlie. That's when he starts attacking the caller personally."

He goes on in great detail and there's lots of juicy reading. He mentions that "the more talk show hosts squawk about something ... the more they're worried about the issue" and cites the Swiftboating of Kerry as an example. We've always talked about wingnut cognitive dissonance here, and he lists up several examples that were gratifying.

• Perjury was a heinous crime when Clinton was accused of lying under oath about his extramarital activities. But when Scooter Libby, Vice President Dick Cheney's top aide, was charged with lying under oath, it was the prosecutor who had committed an egregious act by charging Libby with perjury..

Shelley finally got out when Katrina hit, when the attacks on the residents of NOLA were too much for even him to handle.

Nouriel Roubini's "Blog Teaser"

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Nouriel Roubini has received much acclamation by those who know much more than I do about economics for his long time predictions of the financial and economic debacle we now face. I've seen Roubini's comments and writing referenced in more than one blog so I decided to do a little research and found Dr. Roubini's webpage at NYU on which he lists all his various writings and venues in which he is active including his blog.

My Global Economics Blog

Which, as it turns out is part of this:

My Roubini Global Economics (RGE)Monitor (ranked as the #1 Web Site in Economics in the world by The Economist Magazine)

Actually his Global Economics Blog should be called a "blog teaser" because only the title and the first sentence or so of each post is accessible unless you pay the RGEmonitor's premium for admission. And that's not in my budget. Guess we'll have to hope that other bloggers with deeper pockets or better access quote from Roubini's posts for the rest of us.

The New Yorker: Joe Biden

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Ryan Lizza trailed Joe Biden around for awhile and did a little investigative work on how Joe came to be the Vice-President-elect. Long article but interesting reading.

What's next?

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One of dkos's resident economist-types has written another post which makes me feel sick to my stomach. My reaction to some of his past posts over the last couple of years was to read them and then hope that he was being overly pessimistic. Unfortunately, what he wrote about has now come to pass over the last 2-3 months and I find I'm less inclined to ignore what he says no matter how uncomfortable and depressing.

Stranded Wind references another economic blog, The Automatic Earth, which has some uncomfortable reading. The principal writers are Stoneleigh and Ilargi. Stoneleigh and Illargi are alumni of The Oil Drum who spun off into their own blog when their financial and economic analysis spread into areas not directly energy-related. Stoneleigh's bio via the Wayback Machine notes that she "is an energy policy analyst and free-lance academic with a background in science, psychology and law and an abiding interest in economics." It looks like one to be added to a regular reading list if you're interested in where the economy is headed.

Add The Oil Drum to your reading list for meaningful analysis on the global energy situation. The not-to-be-missed Drumbeats feature is a great summary of energy-related news all on its own.

Disaster continuity planning for the US government

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I never thought about it this way but it seems that our government has the same problem that many companies have: outdated, practically non-existent disaster recovery continuity plans that indicate how to continue when disaster strikes the people who head up the various branches and departments of government.

We all know that the VP steps in for the Prez and that the Speaker of the House steps in if the VP isn't available. But the planning doesn't go much beyond that. Knowing what we now know about how large a disaster, whether natural or man-made, might be, those plans for keeping the government of the United States of America running are clearly insufficient. And in business terms, they altogether fail the standards of good continuity planning. The Wall Street Journal has an article that starts the discussion but knowing what I do know about what we did for disaster and continuity planning back when I was in the corporate world, I have to say that it only starts the discussion.

The New York Times as of July 4, 2009

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As the real New York Times reported

In an elaborate hoax, pranksters distributed thousands of free copies of a spoof edition of The New York Times on Wednesday morning at busy subway stations around the city...

The paper is dated July 4, 2009, and imagines a liberal utopia of national health care, a rebuilt economy, progressive taxation, a national oil fund to study climate change, and other goals of progressive politics.

The hoax was accompanied by a Web site that mimics the look of The Times's real Web site. A page of the spoof site contained links to dozens of progressive organizations, which were also listed in the print edition.

The Associated Press reported that copies of the spoof paper were also handed out in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Philadelphia and Washington, and that the pranksters ... financed the paper with small online contributions and created the paper to urge President-elect Barack Obama to keep his campaign promises.

The spoof website looks amazingly like the real one and it has a pdf of the print edition that was handed out. It was a lot of work and coordination to get the million copies printed and distributed.

Makes you wonder about what the creators were doing when they came up with this idea. What made them decide that it was doable and worth the effort and money to do it?

Helen's back

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Helen Thomas is back in the White House press room after being out for awhile for health reasons and she's all ready with some tough questions for the Obama administration. [via]



One of the things that struck me about this clip is the depth of her memory. She casually brings up Bobby Kennedy's prediction during a VOA interview in the 60s that there would be a black president within 30 years. There's something to be said for the perspective of age and the immediacy of history that it brings.

More Nods for Nate Silver

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In addition to the NYT article on Nate Silver, his fivethirtyeight.com site has now been named a Nieman Notable by the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard University and he's featured in a Q&A session on the Columbia Journalism Review Campaign Desk blog. That's in addition to the Facebook group entitled "There's a 97.3 Percent Chance That Nate Silver Is Totally My Boyfriend".

There's more interesting details in the CJR Q&A plus Nate's thoughts on what happens next for the fivethirtyeight.com site now that the election is over.

The NY Times' financial woes

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Scholars & Rogues blog has a well-documented and informative write-up on the precariousness of the New York Times financial situation.

Obviously they've not taken my advice concerning David Brooks and Bill Kristol, ie., quit paying them good money, though I'm not sure that would be quite enough to make up the difference this situation. Couldn't hurt though.

Photographs by Obama's Digital Journalist, Callie Shell

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From her website:

Travels With Barack

Four years ago Time photographer Callie Shell met Barack Obama backstage when she was covering presidential candidate John Kerry. She sent her editor more photographs of Obama than Kerry. When asked why, she said, "I do not know. I just have a feeling about him. I think he will be important down the road." Her first photo essay on Obama was two and half years ago. She has stuck with him ever since.

The photographs are amazing. Keep clicking on See More Photographs at the bottom of each series and more will appear. You will need javascript active.

The right place at the right time

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Talk about being in the right place at the right time. "Leola Brock-Reese learned who won the presidential race from the best source in America: President-elect Barack Obama himself."

It's quite the story.

Veterans Day

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vetsday08-lo-1.jpg


There are many powerful stories about our veterans today including this one about Anthony Acevedo. They all deserve to be honored.

Daily Kos: To our Republican friends ... where do you go now?

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Lawyer NCrissieB started an interesting discussion on dailykos by writing a diary addressed to Republicans who likely voted for Obama yet have made the decision to remain within the Republican party or who have not decided what is next. The original post is good but the comments are equally interesting.

Documents linking Iran to nuclear weapons push may have been fabricated

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Gareth Porter, an investigative journalist, reports that the "International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has obtained evidence suggesting that documents which have been described as technical studies for a secret Iranian nuclear weapons-related research program may have been fabricated."

The documents in question were acquired by U.S. intelligence in 2004 from a still unknown source -- most of them in the form of electronic files allegedly stolen from a laptop computer belonging to an Iranian researcher. The US has based much of its push for sanctions against Iran on these documents.

The new evidence of possible fraud has increased pressure within the IAEA secretariat to distance the agency from the laptop documents, according to a Vienna-based diplomatic source close to the IAEA, who spoke to RAW STORY on condition of anonymity.

Remind anyone of Ahmed Chalabi? Or yellow-cake uranium?

How many times is the Bush/Cheney administration going to repeat this mistake?

Obama Grabs Headlines

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Someone at the newseum put together an extraordinary page of all the newspaper front pages around the world announcing Obama's election. There's a lot of them.

The New York Times Features Nate Silver

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Way to go, poblano. It's such a nice feature article on what you accomplished this year. You certainly hooked my husband who's a stats geek himself with fivethirtyeight.com.

We're all proud of you.

Jamison Foser nails it

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Jamison Foser of Media Matters outlines the incredible acrobatic reasoning of pundits and media types who have called the election of the supposedly most liberal president ever to be conclusive evidence of America's center-right politics. How stupid do they think we are?

CNN Does A Hit Job On Obama

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Mash at dailykos documents CNN's hit job on Obama's press conference. I watched the press conference in toto and I'm astonished as well at the way the CNN reporter twisted what was said by misrepresenting what was asked. Mash includes email addresses if you want to help keep the media honest.

Obama's campaign a case study in marketing excellence

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BusinessWeek declares "Obama's campaign is a case study in marketing excellence." The article goes on to outline 8 points that support their argument. It's interesting to read a "business" analysis as opposed to a "political" analysis.

Reactions

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-- GeekDad at Wired lists the 5 Signs President-Elect Obama Is a Geek.

-- G.D. at PostBourgie noted Jonah Goldberg's surprising acknowledgment of Obama's win in his election-watch blog post. I'd missed any mention of it. I usually regard anything that Goldberg writes as worthy of fishwrapper status only but this one is remarkably fair, given how far in the right-wing mud-slinging universe he usually resides.

-- Many conservatives are now contemplating what the loss of their candidate means to their party. thereisnospoon has been following their discussion and posted a diary at Daily Kos yesterday that highlights the bankruptcy of the Republican party as defined by a Republican who admits that the Republicans have supported socialism all along. They've just varied on who should be the beneficiaries.

-- Behind the scenes photos of Tuesday night from the Obama campaign:



To see the full-size version of the slideshow.

More celebration

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Celebrating in Harlem on Tuesday night. [via PostBourgie]

What do we talk about now?

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Just yesterday morning my husband called me at the time he usually calls me to discuss the latest Rasmussen poll and what Nate Silver had to say at fivethirtyeight.com and said, "I'm having withdrawals." The Onion does their usual biting satire on all those feeble-minded Obama supporters and somehow, it's just a little too true for comfort.

Patriots

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The next time a wingnut starts going off on the liberals aren't patriots theme, direct them to these videos of spontaneous renditions of the Star-Spangled Banner by mostly young voters celebrating the election of Barack Obama as president.

From Harvard Yard:



From the White House:



On St. Mark's Street in NYC:



Renewing the Beacon

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The NY Times has a fascinating look at how Obama's election is viewed overseas.

Newsweek's Tidbits

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Newsweek has some interesting tidbits about the just-completed campaign including the news that the Obama and McCain campaigns were notified by the FBI that they had been hacked by foreign operatives. Also news that the number of threats against Obama skyrocketed after McPalin's slurs and vituperation picked up on the campaign trail. Nothing quite like hate-mongering to drive up the death threat numbers. There's more, as well, on the wardrobe spending and the internal warfare in the McCain campaign.


Historians' 1st draft on Obama and the election

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MSNBC has an interesting collection of comments by historians on their first assessments of Obama's election as president of the United States.

Another Georgia Tale

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My friend beachmom sent me a link to this story from Georgia -- another one in the long list of how this campaign has touched real people.

Obama Speaks About the Death of His Grandmother

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Our condolences to the Obama family on the death of their beloved "Toot". Barack remembered her at the NC rally today.



More details in this AP article.

Greg the builder needs you to cast your vote in his place

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Another one of those interesting canvassing stories that has a real punch at the end. Do watch the youtube video and then go vote in Greg's place.

Liberal Cowgirl: Thank you, John Kerry

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Reflections on what was and what is from one of my fellow Kerry campaign volunteers.

A unique graphic summary of the entire election season

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The title pretty much says it. Go look. [via]

Millions Will Starve

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One of dkos's resident specialists on the food and agriculture economy has a must-read alert on short-falls in fertilizer and its impact on the world's food supply. Starvation and food riots are not out of the question. Go read.

A banker canvasses for Obama

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Jonathan Curley talks about his experience canvassing for Obama with his wife. It seems he learned some new things.

BBC video: Redneck support for Obama

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From the BBC: Redneck support for Obama

Tattooed Redneck Jason Hill is known as Cupcake to his friends and would appear to be an unlikely Barack Obama supporter. He spoke to the BBC's Matthew Price about his support for the Democrat, and why some of his friends will not vote for a black man.

Why we stand in line to vote - a historical photo essay

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terjeanderson did some digging to develop this photo essay on standing in line to vote. The pictures do add perspective to an activity that many of us will be involved in on Tuesday.

Photo Essay: Eight Epic Weeks Across America with 538.com

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Brett Marty has put together an amazing photo essay of his eight weeks traveling across the US with Sean Quinn which has been reported in daily posts at fivethirtyeight.com.