Thoughts from a Yellow Dog Democrat living in Olympia, in the great BLUE state of Washington

I am a liberal because it is the political philosophy of freedom and equality. And I am a progressive because it is the political path to a better future. And I am a Democrat because it is the political party that believes in freedom, equality and progress. -- Digby

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Deja Vu All Over Again

BP's insistence that the air is safe to breathe and workers don't need protection seems to be a repeat of the Administration assuring us that the air at the World Trade Center was safe after 9-11. The only difference seems to be that it took longer for the symptoms to show up on the 9-11 workers than it is for the workers on the oil gush cleanup.

When are we ever going to choose to be more concerned about the safety of people over corporate profits?

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Friday, May 28, 2010

Conservatives Divide

Andrew Sullivan tore into Peggy Noonan this morning. How come a conservative musters more passion supporting Obama than Democrats?

Here's some of his best quips:
. . . It heralds nothing less than the end of the Obama presidency just a year and a half in:
The disaster in the Gulf may well spell the political end of the president and his administration ...

Seriously? Her evidence for this? She claims the Democrats don't love him. The latest poll of polls shows over 80 percent support. She claims that he is "weakened, polarizing and lacking broad public support." Really? With unemployment at near record highs after a deep recession, Obama's approval ratings are stuck just below 50 percent - and have been remarkably stable for months. At this point in his presidency, Obama is about five points more popular than Reagan, who was poised to drop to 37 percent approval by January of 1983. Clinton was lower than Obama in June 1994. In today's polarized climate and awful economy, Obama is remarkably resilient. He has a favorable rating over 52 percent, and his unfavorable rating is at a six month low of 39 percent. This is Obama's political end?

The premise of Noonan's moronic column is that the federal government, especially the president, should be capable of ending an oil-pipe rupture owned and operated by private companies, using technology that only deep-sea oil companies deploy or understand. And if such a technical issue is not resolved by government immediately, it reveals paralyzing presidential weakness and the failure of an entire branch of political philosophy. Again: seriously? It's Obama's fault that under Bush and Cheney, government regulation of oil exploration was so poor and corrupt, corner cutting appears to have been routine? And this, Peggy, is what governments do, even when run by crazy-ass liberals. Governments do not dig for oil; they merely regulate those who dig for oil. That the government failed to do so under the previous administration does not seem to me to be proof that this administration has failed.

What I have also learned these past few years is that the right seeks merely a narrative to lead themselves out of the hole they dug for all of us. Reality be damned. The job of the rest of us is to insist that reality matters and that these fools be exposed.

Come on, Democrats! Let's show a little support and passion. We are in the majority, for GAWDS sake!


Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Kagan Should Not Respond

It appears that the extreme right is pushing the Republithugs to question Kagan's sexuality.

I say she should pull a Laine Hanson and refuse to answer the question if they have the balls to ask it. Laine Hanson is a character from the 2000 movie, The Contender. Joan Allen plays Laine.
Laine Hanson, a senator who is nominated to become Vice President following the death of the previous office holder. During the confirmation process, Laine is the victim of a vicious attack on her personal life in which stories of sexual deviancy are spread. She is torn as to whether she should fight back, or stick to her high principles and refuse to comment on the allegations. Although it isn't easy, she sticks to her guns, and in the end she is rewarded for it.

I know life isn't the movies and movies are not life but Laine Hanson's reasons for not responding are valid -- if she responded to the questions it meant that the questions were appropriate. I don't care whether Elena Kagan is gay or not but I do deeply care that some people think it is an appropriate criteria to judge whether she can perform as Associate Justice.

I searched the record of the David Souter hearings and despite his being a life long bachelor no one ever asked him about his sexuality. Roberts married late in life and had some strange views about women and one could read things about this picture. But no one ever asked him about his sexuality.

If Kagan addresses this subject it will become the litmus test forever in the future. She should pull a Laine and refuse. It is irrelevant and inappropriate to ask.

UPDATE: No matter how many times Condoleeza Rice answered questions from the Senate and Congress, no one ever asked her about her loan partner, business associate, home co-owner, friend. It wasn't relevant.

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Sunday, May 09, 2010

Thursday's Stock Market Dive

Thursday the stock market nose dived almost 1000 points in 15 minutes. The NY Times says
President Obama and lawmakers called for action, and regulators at agencies including the Securities and Exchange Commission promised to deliver, even as they struggled to understand the origins and particulars of Thursday’s chaos.

The gist of the solution, according to regulators, traders and academics is that markets need uniform rules for intervening when a stock goes into free fall.

I've heard excuses that it was "fat finger syndrome", the Greek riots, computerized trading, but what I never hear about is computer hacking.

As Amy Poehler said on Saturday Night Live Last Night: "You mean a trader can trade a billion shares without manager oversight, while if I try to use a $50 bill to pay for a Starbucks it becomes a 4 person transaction -- REALLY?"

My hope is that SOMEONE is investigating whether this was due to hacking but they just aren't talking about it until they can set up safeguards to prevent it from happening again.

Sometimes I am a Pollyanna and live in my own happy safe world.


Thursday, May 06, 2010

Palin Inserts Foot in Mouth

Sarah Palin announced today:
I’d like to tell you about a Commonsense Conservative running for office in California this year. She grew up in a modest home with a school teacher dad, worked her way through several colleges, and then entered an arena where few women had tread. Through a combination of hard work, perseverance, and common sense, she proved the naysayers wrong to reach the top of her field, where she led with distinction – facing hard truths, making tough decisions, and showing real leadership through a rocky transition period. Where others had failed, her company had weathered the storm and settled on a stronger new foundation.

Her name is Carly Fiorina, and I’m proud to endorse her for U.S. Senate.

I've made no secret as to my feelings about Fiorina. Maybe I shouldn't be surprized that Sister Sarah would think Carly was impressive. ARGH!

BUT her Facebook followers turned on Palin. Seems that Carly isn't Tea Bag worthy. Oops! Fiorina is not Bat Shit crazy enough for them. Could Sister Sarah be losing touch with her adoring fans??

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Wednesday, May 05, 2010

The Ridiculousness of the Bail Out

When you get Digby over at Hullabaloo adding to quotes from Atrios at Eschaton, you know there should be a warning sign:
It's a little weird that reporters are hesitant to clearly spell out what happened. Basically the Fed printed a huge amount of money. Some of that money they used to do what TARP was originally supposed to do, buy up Big Shitpile at inflated prices. Some of that money they lent to banks at basically 0 interest. Of course there were plenty of other things they could have done with 2 trillion bucks, if preserving the executive compensation at megabanks wasn't thought to be crucial for the survival of the economy. They could have dropped it from helicopters. They could have paid off mortgages directly. They could have given it to state governments. They could have bought me a SUPERTRAIN. But, no, they decided that propping up an obviously failed system of financial intermediaries was the important thing, so that's what they did.

The ruling elites believed that the best way to bring back the economy was to ensure that jackasses like Fabrice Tourre weren't unduly inconvenienced, the thought being that even though they were the ones who caused the problems, we couldn't possibly do without them. And we the proletariat are supposed to be so grateful that they left Ponzi in place to further steal from us in the future. This was the problem with leaving Geithner, Bernanke, and Summers on the payroll and keep bringing Greenspan back to testify and guide the idiots.

I agree with Digby and Atrios that we could have spent that money smarter and in a way that it would have resulted in a lasting legacy of infrastructure for generation to come. But NO we had to ensure that the Fabulous Fabrice got his bonus.

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Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Kent State

This is the 40th anniversary of the Kent State massacre. It is one of the more important dates in my political maturation. Of course the assassination of John, Bobby, and Martin affected me -- but they were at unattainable levels -- highly visible leaders. Being outside of the Chicago Democratic Convention was big but I wasn't in the front lines -- I was way back in the crowd and again I thought only the leaders out front were the ones at risk. Kent State was me and I realized I could be assassinated for my views. The demonstrations were no longer fun events but serious expressions of my views -- views I had to be willing to die for. I've never stopped demonstrating but it was much more serious after Kent State.