Archive for August, 2011

If You Read Nothing Else Today

by , posted on Sunday, August 7th, 2011 at 9:07 am

go read this piece by Drew Weston, author of The Political Brain. The piece appears in today’s NY Times opinion pages, and is entitled “What Happened to Obama?”

Just a little excerpt, from very near the end:

A final explanation is that he ran for president on two contradictory platforms: as a reformer who would clean up the system, and as a unity candidate who would transcend the lines of red and blue. He has pursued the one with which he is most comfortable given the constraints of his character, consistently choosing the message of bipartisanship over the message of confrontation.

But the arc of history does not bend toward justice through capitulation cast as compromise.

And just one comment from me about the piece; just one thing that stands out enough that I feel the urge to address it. Weston’s piece reads, to me, like a political obituary; from title to last sentence this opinion reads as if it would serve just as well if it was written on the day after the 2012 election in attempt to explain why Obama lost.


For the Troops: Some Good News, Some Very Bad

by , posted on Saturday, August 6th, 2011 at 6:38 pm

My son spent last year and part of this one deployed in eastern Afghanistan, so the loss of dozens of troops we’ve experienced today in eastern Afghanistan strikes me much more personally than it might have a couple of years ago. It also strikes me as tragic that it takes such a large mass of casualties for the mainstream media to care enough to give an Afghanistan or Iraq war story headline room; most days, despite the fact that we most likely lost a man or woman or several in one of these wars on that day, it’s hard to tell from the press that we are still at war in two countries. Throughout my son’s deployment I struggled every day, every single day, to come to terms with the fact that he might not come home alive, and every single day I failed to be able to get my head around that.

One day I would get news of several of his friends and fellow platoon members being wounded or killed, another I would hear about some incredibly dangerous situation he somehow miraculously escaped unscathed, on another I would learn of plans and dreams he just hoped he would be able to come home and put in motion and I would be in tears with the fear that he would never have that chance, and then on yet another day I would hear…nothing at all. And those silences were the most terrifying by far. It was a terrible year.

My heart grieves for these 31 soldiers who will not come home to live out their dreams. May their families and loved ones find peace and comfort. As I said, I was never able to get my head around how one could possibly ever find peace or comfort in these circumstances, but it is my fervent wish for them nevertheless.



The Mediocre, The Bad, and The Ugly

by , posted on Friday, August 5th, 2011 at 9:00 pm

So this morning’s job report was better than expected, with the economy adding 117,000 jobs. So that’s good, right? Well, not really. More like mediocre. Among other things, we get to write off people who are so discouraged they just stopped looking, meaning there were actually less people working in July than in June. So that’s the mediocre.

The Bad is the downgrading of the country’s credit rating, courtesy of S&P. As a coworker of mine noted last week, when this was only a possibility, “If you’ve seen the movie Inside Job you’d kind of have to take any rating coming out of S&P with a grain of salt – okay maybe a truckload of salt – becuase how did those people put it when they were in the Congressional hearings? They said something like ‘It’s not like those ratings mean anything, it’s more like’…what’s the word I’m looking for here?”

“You mean ‘It’s more like they’re guidelines?'” I asked”

“Exactly!” she said. “Like Pirates of the Caribbean, which is fitting, since they are real, live 21st Century Pirates.”



Another Day, Another Stock Slide

by , posted on Thursday, August 4th, 2011 at 4:35 pm

Though this one is a bit of a biggie: the Down closed down 512 points, its worst day since 2008, you know, the last time our economy crashed into the most serious recession since the Great Depression.

But, not to worry, as I pointed out yesterday, we’ve solved all of our economic problems.

Next up: jobs report, due out tomorrow. But I’m sure that will be good news. Lots of people are saying that it’s going to be good news. Sure, none of the unemployed people I know are saying that, but lots of people are optimistic. I know I read that somewhere on the intertubes.


SO Glad We’ve Solved Our Economic Crisis

by , posted on Wednesday, August 3rd, 2011 at 12:26 pm

Really, I can’t thank those Tea Partiers enough for making all the right moves to ensure that we continue to push the Great Recession well along the way toward becoming the Greatest Depression.

Today we’ve learned that in the wake of the Debt Ceiling Deal of Doom being signed, sealed and delivered, the stock market continues an alarming slide and the Chinese have downgraded our credit rating. A special shout out to Enabler in Chief Barack Obama, for his exquisitly choreographed moves in response to the Economic Terrorists in Congress. But I want to reserve my most special shout out of all for local Illinois Economic Terrorists Randy Hultgren and Joe Walsh, because it’s just not easy for two freshmen congresscritters-turned-economic-terrorists to accomplish so much in such a short time. Helluva Job!

Damn. I just used the “j” word didn’t I? Sorry, so sorry. Forgot. We are all supposed to be pretending that there is no problem with one in ten Americans being unemployed by obsessively focusing on a deficit that could be much better handled if we just worked on getting them jobs. Damn. Did it again didn’t I?

Well, will just have to hope that Congress is so busy right now that they failed to notice someone worried about jobs. I think it’s more likely than not.


IL-14: Hultgren and Walsh just seem like the same guy

by , posted on Tuesday, August 2nd, 2011 at 5:21 pm

But they are not really. I can tell you that in person Hultgren is very pleasant and Walsh is downright scary.

Beyond that, though, politically they are pretty much…okay, you got me, the same guy. For instance, yesterday they both voted against the Deal O Doom that raised the debt ceiling limit today. Not that I mind their no votes, I just mind that they are representative of the short-sighted Tea Partying mentality that got us into this invent-a-crisis in the first place.

Why worry about what these two do? Well, I feel compelled to do so on a personal level, as I currently live in the new IL-14 (though I could cross the street to borrow a cup of sugar and be in another district, and drive five minutes in the other direction and be in a third) so I can look forward to one or the other of these Economic Terrorists being my congresscritter in the near future. Well, one of them already is, but the main point is they are both prominent Illinois Economic Terrorists, hell-bent on destroying the middle class, our country, and certainly my chances of ever getting health care in America.

And there is slim to no chance that anyone in this district will run against whichever of them ends up the Chosen Annointed Economic Terrorist in Chief of the IL-14 Tea Party and thus try to stop them from committing future acts of economic terrorism on my behalf.

It’s just depressing.


Guy Walks Into an Army Recruiting Center

by , posted on Monday, August 1st, 2011 at 9:46 am

and says “where do I sign?” The sergeant on duty hands him a waiting list.


No. Nothing funny about it.



Food for Thought: Van Jones on Rebuilding the American Dream

by , posted on Monday, August 1st, 2011 at 7:00 am