Occasional musings, Geistesblitze, photos, drawings etc. by a "resident alien", who has landed on American soil from a far-away planet called "Germany".
Hi Ulrich -- Many thanks again for leading the way on giving us such a great forum! I did read the long screed from the "polltical anayst" in Texas in the link you gave us in the Endgame thread... What incredible self-delusion! Looking glass unreality stood on its head to boot. Tom Teepen's column today (Cox Newspapers) sums up much of what the Washington Post has uncovered in the way of boobytraps inserted into the biased Bush bureaucracy at the last minute. It runs the gamut from gutting antitrust guidelines to leasing millions of acres of previously protected wilderness for oil and gas drilling in Utah. Clean-up of all the dirty tricks will be a headache, but at least there's going to be a trail to follow. Talk about "legacy"... they are still piling it on.
@artlvr, "screed" is a lovely use of the word. Ulrich's "whackjob" comes to mind also.I also read the Tom Teepen column you refer to - bleak!well, as Hill said, time to "roll up our sleeves and get to work."Anybody see the bit about Palin coming out in a towel to be "briefed"? There's a joke in there somewhere, mark my words. ;-)
I'm barely functional today--not enough sleep and too much to drink last night. I'm getting teary-eyed all over again when I read the comments in the foreign press and when I see the pictures of sheer joy and spontaneous celebration in the streets.
No, Deb, I missed that -- undeserved riches to rags? Cafferty summed up all the gaffes in Palin's brief flirtation with fame very succinctly, and now we can hope she'll sink again into some Alaskan slough. Too stupid to be a talking head and besides, she doesn't know how to shut up! I can just picture Cindy consoling her hero and hiding a tiny smile of relief that the hussy's barnstorming with her hubby is history. (Please pardon my bile!)Ulrich, you're right -- time to be of better cheer and rejoice in the dawn of a new era. The image of Jesse Jackson, somber and red-eyed but transfigured through his tears, spoke volumes... I only wish that Thurgood Marshall had been mentioned with the others in the forefront of past struggles. He was my personal favorite, from the first civil rights march on Washington in which I participated onward...
May I share with you what I wrote to my very conservative friend who has a son in the military and who asked how we could vote for someone who didn't "put country first":Jody, here's my view, straight up: We had to put someone in office who deals on a more substantive, more considered level than politics and wheeling&dealing. The scorn you hear from Obama supporters is aimed at the gullible chauvinism that doesn't consider someone else's reality beyond a narrow groove of McThink. All the flag waving and love of country cannot bring back the life that women have carried for 9 months and reared for 18 years before that life is given up to a government who cavalierly and callously sends them to be slaughtered on the promise of oil profits and hegemony. And then to be told they have to carry those babies to term because of some war-mongers' "respect for life," is beyond the pale. The Republicans are full of internal inconsistencies that do not support enlightened living. Leaving the country in the face of a McCain/Palin victory is a decision born of wishing to inoculate/isolate oneself from a virus of militant ignorance...sorry.~deb
Beautifully put, Deb!p.s. There's an aspect of the election left over, unresolved as yet -- and that's Proposition 8 on the California ballot which, if passed by simple majority vote, would become an amendment to the State Constitution banning gay marriages, although these marriages have been legal since May of this year. Some 17,000 citizens who have married in the interim would thus have their civil rights revoked. With 98% of the vote tallied, the measure received 52.4% of the vote in favor vs. 47.6% against, and opponents have already filed a court petition to have it declared invalid. Those in favor say the court cannot rule on a constitutional amendment, but oddly the petition is in the same court that ruled in favor if the legalization in the first place.It would probably be a shame if this made its way to the US Supreme Court before Obama has a shot at any new appointments there, given the current compostion of the Court. Individuals' rights have already been ignored by this Court, even in favor of allowing a town planner to take property by eminant domain for a private developer to improve for private profit, although this traditionally was a measure restricted to urgent public purpose only. No protection for individual homeowners remains.Note that various state laws against the marriage of a white person with a non-white person (i.e. selective miscegenatiion) were not finally struck down by the US Supreme Court until 1967, in Loving v. Virginia, and the last such law on the books was not removed until 2000, in Alabama. Ironically, before 1967, the mother of our new President-elect could have been found to be a criminal and put in prison if she had resided in VA or any of several states with similar laws!So let us hope that along with universal health care, Obama will turn his attention to the rights of individuals to pursue their happiness in marriage etc. with total freedom from interference of religious views of others! It would be most fitting... He also needs to revoke rules applying to all women in the military of whatever religion which prevent their obtaining personal care they are legally entitled to if private citizens, like birth control and abortion, and other practices which have bowed to demands of religious extremists in curtailing the freedoms of all our citizens. Terri Schaivo was a stunning example of government interference where it did not legally belong...Let us take back our country, finally! Fair laws, fairly applied to all, not minority religious views interfering in science, medicine, marriage, ecology education or totally personal choices.
p.p.s. sorry for a couple of typos above!
@fikink; You expressed this very well. I am very interested in learning if it made any difference with your friend, and please do not take the following as any sign that I want to slight him/her. "Putting country first" seems rather empty in the context of the McCain campaign whose basic message was "country last"--i.e. milk any chance for divisiveness and cheap short-term political gain even if it hurts the country in the long term. I wonder if your friend would be able to see through the rhetoric, through the sloganeering that appears, to me at last, devoid of any connection to reality. For example, does he/she really think that selecting Palin was a sig of putting country first?
Ulrich, It is 3 a.m. Guess who still cannot sleep!You have just addressed that which motivates me to keep on: empty rhetoric.My friend is a young man (late 30s/early 40s), a childhood friend of my nephew in Alaska. He is a Southerner (Kentucky), a bow hunter (I hate hunting of all kinds) and has a passel of kids. Until this election he voted Republican. His oldest spawn is in Iraq. My nephew had set up a family website where we could discuss politics and invited Jody to join our discussions. Like so many young "conservatives," he is caught up in the jingoism of the Right, something I have spent my adult life fighting.It is in that context, i.e., bringing the younger minds to a new way of thinking, that the above was proffered. This evening, he responded: "Define 'enlightened living.'" And I responded, "Enlightened living is working together toward a common end in lieu of shi**ing in one's own nest.";-)
@fikink: If your friend is willing to engage in a debate, he's not lost. The people who scare me are those that appear immune to rational argument--there is a psychology at work that I don't understand, and the psychological explanations I have seen so far do not help--they only wrap the phenomenon in a fancier name w/o explaining it.I find this report really revealing. The Obama ground operation was just awesome--note that they even had "comfort captains" to keep the foot soldiers well fed. The Republicans mocked "community organizing" to their peril!To all: The insider stories coming out from the McCain campaign about that "Wasilla hillbilly" are too good to be missed. What they don't answer, of course, is the question why said person was offered the VP job by the same campaign in the first place.
Just out: Obama wins NC! Blue continues to leak south and west.BTW the last Republican member of the house from anywhere in New England, a moderate Republican from SW CT (the area bordering the NY City metropolitan area) lost his seat. With this, the House delegation from New England is solidly blue. Maine has two Republican Senators, but they are not of the wingnut kind, unlike Sonunu from NH, who was voted out of office.
Sarah snatched for the golden eggs, but ended up fouling her own nest. I think she's toast very soon!Very happy that NC came through for Obama, and that Rohm Emanuel will be his chief of staff..
Ulrich, your KOS report brightened my day, especially the woman who couldn't read. These kids really remind me of the Bobby Kennedy years.And yes, I keep flashing back to Giuliani sneering at "community organizers" during the Republican convention - he who laughs last!
I agree with you, artlvr. I think it is over for Sarah. I read yesterday that she did not even know that Africa was a continent, not a country. (She who sees that other planet, Russia, from her porch.)Looks like Roberts Gibbs will be Obama's press secretary.
not as a frequent blogger but as a sporadic peeper from overseas-germany-I found the'endgame thread' fascinating and inspiring. Using all different media available covering this election it took this blog to give me an insight view into the hearts and minds of real people, concerned about the political future of heir country.I could feel that your hearts were bleeding and believe me, I suffered and hoped with you. My political awareness awoke in the early sixties, ripened during the vietnam war and the 68 movement, and because our german past I'm still very sensitive, when humanistic values and civil liberties are at stake. During the election I stayed awake all night,until in the morninghours-CET- the final result was visible. Beside the reunification of Germany no other political event had moved me to such an extend.When I went to bed I was dog-tired but deeply satisfied. We opened the bottles next night... mick
Mick, how very cool of you to make your presence known - thank you for your words! Please post again and let us know what you hear abroad. You will find Ulrich to be a gracious host!One of the things which excites us, all, is the prospect of the United States being thought of more highly in the coming days.
@mick: Thank you for your comment. Your bio is very similar to mine, and you confirm what I had glanced from German news sources about the interest there in and the reaction to the election here. When I saw the spontaneous celebrations in the steets here, I, too, was reminded of the celebrations that erupted in Germany when the Berlin Wall fell.Here is a very revealing NY Times map, showing on a scale from blue to red the percentage of votes the Democratic/Republican ticket gained on a county-by-county basis. In the majority of states, all counties a blue in various shades, i.e. Obama gained everywhere (I have to ask my friends in Boston what the hell is the matter with central and SE Massachusetts). When it comes to red, we see the well-known pockets in the FL panhandle, in Lousiana (didn't they learn anything from Katrina?) and E Texas. But the most striking feature is the wide swath of red starting in S Appalachia and then moving west, covering almost all of Tennessee and even more of Arkansas (remember the segregated school in Little Rock?), major portions of Oklahoma, and finally petering out in N Texas.There is a thread on Daily Kos addressing this phenomenon. Not surprisingly, the comments drip with derision and condescension for the benighted inhabitants of "inbreedia" (there are even suggestions, meant ironically, I'm sure, to encourage this area to secede from the Union). I wonder, though: Should liberals really write this area off as hopeless, as beneath redemption?Here are some thoughts: I have come to the conclusion that single-issue voters (anti-abortion, anti-gay-marriage, anti-gun-control--note: they are always against, never for something) are immune by argument. I also believe that true racists are turned that way through the milieu in which they grow up, and that it will be very difficult, if not impossible, to rid them of prejudices that have become deeply ingrained. But I am not sure that everyone in that region falls under one (or both) of these categories. The fact of the matter is that the Democratic party's economic policies would be able to help these people much more than anything Republicans have ever done or will ever do for them. I believe that it would be well worth it if Democrats tried to help this region in a way that families really feel b/c it makes their life demonstrably easier, and that the party responsible for this may be able to make inroads--this would certainly be in the spirit of reconciliation the Obama campaign tried to create.So, I would say, stop the condescension, tempting as it may be--and yes, I do understand the desire for revenge after 8 years of suffering in Republican hell. But making Democrats the majority party wherever there is a chance would be the much better revenge in the end.PS I would have posted this on the thread in question, but I'm never tempted to be the 800th comment in a thread--will anyone take notice?
Addendum: I just noticed that the link in my previous comment doesn't open the map I'm talking about directly: You have to click on "voting shifts" in the box on the left to get there.
Me too, Mick -- I thank you for your sympathy and kind observations. I'm the same age as you, and have been aware of the manipulation by certain Republican cadres for years, but never dreamed they would dare to steal a national election with the vote fraud seen especially in Florida in 2000. The deceit of the Bush administration through the past eight years has energized a new generation to act together for the greater good, and we hope this revived spirit will last for a long, long time!
Congratulations everybody! You will not believe how many calls and emails I got while in Holland during and after the election! Some people hugged me to congratulate me. There were major parties in Amsterdam and The Hague, and a big team of journalists had been sent to NY, with reporters in Iowa, Arizona, Chicago, Washington and New York to comment throughout the night (until 7 a.m. on the 5th). They interviewed many American people, journalists, politicians, radio and tv personalities, and Dutch people who had lived in the US for longer periods of time, some of them citizens.Our son reported on a gathering of Obama supporters watching the results on TV in a New Delhi coffee house, and there was crying and hugging going on there too!After unpacking my suitcase I'll do the puzzle, check Rex's blog and return here later! Glad to be back.@mick: Welcome. I'm sure you ran into a lot of people celebrating the new president! By the way, your English is beautiful!
@mac: I also read about this spontaneous outpouring of joy in many countries. One article I read made also the connection with Germany in 1989, as Mick and I did, and with the demise of Milosevic in Serbia (I forgot the year), which also resulted in spontaneous celebrations on the streets of Belgrade. In each case, people clearly felt delivered from a long nightmare. It's sad that those who see the Obama election as something to be mourned cannot join in the celebration.
Hi Mac -- Welcome back, we missed you! It was neat to hear about the election parties in Holland... Great too, to see Obama's first address to the media as President-Elect went well.Interesting news just now about Sen. Robert Byrd, (D, WV) our longest-serving senator ever who turns 91 on Nov. 20. He's stepping down from the chairmanship of the Senate Appropriations Committee, though he hopes to finish his current term of four more years. Sen. Daniel Inouye (D, HI) is in line to succeed him. (Inouye is 84). It also looks as if Sen. Dianne Feinstein will get the chair of the Intelligence Committee, with Sen. Jay Rockefeller noving to Commerce instead. These have yet to voted on officially, but are important! Most news reports are concerned more with coming Cabinet appointments, or Joe Lieberman's role. (Haha, on that last, since he was TweedleDum to McCain's TweedleDee.)
@artlvr: re Joe Lieberman, since we are in CT and democrats, we were so incensed with his constant appearances with McCain that we would love to see him reprimanded, or, to call a spade a spade, kicked out of town, but I guess we need him or at least his vote every once in a while... Did you see his latest threats to go talk to the Republican caucus? It's too bad we have to wait 4 more years before elections where he is concerned, I think my friends and I will vote him out! What, Ulrich?
Ah, Mac, a noble aim but age may get Simpering Toady Joe out before he faces another election -- could happen. Otherwise I'll come register to vote in CT in aid of your project!I was just looking up Ehud Barak, Israeli Prime Minister 1999-2001 and now Defense Minister... It turns out he adopted that name before entering military sevice (was Brog), and that Barak means "lightning" or "shine" in Hebrew. I never saw that mentioned before -- quite odd with everyone so concerned with Obama's middle name, Hussein!
p.s. Joe Lieberman, self-styled "Independent Democrat", will still go down in history as the first Jewish nominee on a major party's national ticket because of running with Al Gore in 2000... and apparently many Senators like him personally -- they just don't trust him at this point. How did he stray so far on behalf of buddy McCain when he's still pro women's rights and pro gay rights? Blind to McCain's sell-out to the extreme right? I watched a televised session of the GOP platform committee in disbelief as they voted to seal in everything from teaching creationism to denying personal freedoms for women etc. They controlled all of it.
@artlover: I guess someone assured Joe early on that somehow McCain would win and he would be given a plumb job. I just got so tired of seeing his big head next to Mr M.
@mac: My wife worked for the Lamont campaign, i.e. against Lieberman, by calling people--she ran into a wall of resentment by blue-collar Democrats, as I reported before. So, as much as I want to believe that he will be voted out of office in 4 years, I'm hedging my bets. Last time, Lieberman won b/c he carried the independent and the Republican vote, as the Republicans did not nominate a credible candidate of their own, which I found very fishy at the time. But acc. to the latest polls, independents are turning against him, which is encouraging. On the other hand, much can happen in 4 years--he may run as a Republican, which I hope b/c it will clarify the issue. I think there is a good chance for this b/c among his many unpleasant character traits are petulance, pettiness, vindictiveness and self-righteousness--I do not think he will caucus with the Democrats if they strip him of his plum assignments: good riddance--I'm all for it.
Again, re Lieberman -- I was just listening to the CSpan2 review of the campaigns and learned that McCain was sure he could have Lieberman as his vice presidential choice for a full four months after locking up his own nomination. It was only with less than two months before the convention date that his advisors came to him with their own poll results indicating he'd lose 20 points more with GOP voters if Lieberman was on the ticket. It was apparently such an emotional blow that McCain took little interest in the choice from that point on. Palin had been quietly angling for such attention for nearly a year, as it turns out! McCain disliked his rivals for various reasons, especially Romney, and let himself be persuaded that a new pretty face more acceptable to the far right would be the best choice -- but the vetting was quick and scanty. The chemistry was never good. It was all an act.Meanwhile, the Obama campaign had heard about Palin early on too, but she wasn't even on their list of the five most possible picks to run against, since they also had heard of her Troopergate problems! When they got the news, Biden said "Sarah who?" They lucked out, as McCain lost his "experience" edge even before the economy crash.
I like that Gail Collins wrote this in today's NYT: The most Lieberman accomplished with months and months of nonstop campaigning was to push McCain support in his home state of Connecticut to 38 percent. Treachery is bad, but inept treachery is easier to get over.Hi, Mac. Glad the REAL Mac is back!
Thanks, Deb, for the mention of Gail Collins' column -- I found the whole thing on the web, very funny. We get a different assortment of non-local op-eds in the daily Albany paper, but wish she could be included. Boy, I still miss Molly Ivins!
@fikink: IWGA@artlvr: Molly Ivins: ditto
Oh yes, Ivins would have had a field day with McCain and Palin, and I'm convinced that she would have supported Obama, especially given one of her last columns on Clinton and how she would never, no matter what, vote for her. Every time I go off on Texas, I have to remind myself Molly Ivins (not to forget Ann Richards either) lived there too. I hope all the Lieberman critics are signing the petition that was posted on Daily Kos to strip him of his chairmanship of the Homeland Security Committee.
@marlene, yes, I hope what Lieberman is finding "unacceptable" these days is just what he'll have to settle for.@foodie, if you are out there, I bet everybody would love to hear your daughter's and her friends' reaction Election night - update please!They all worked so hard.
Hello, Marlene -- Do you live in Texas, with your comment "every time I go off on Texas..."? Nice to hear from you! It will be interesting to see if Lieberman keeps that Homeland Security Oversight chairmanship, at which he's apparently tried to draw a line in the sand... I think they can still demote him to other committeees; it would serve him right. He's stuck with few options after all, since McCain's still there to lead any "hands across the aisle" gestures. The joke's on Joe.Meanwhile, any speculation that Palin can resign and get herself named to be US Senator from Alaska is a no-go. It turns out that Alaska passed a law requiring election in such cases, unlike many other states, after one doting Dude named his daughter to an open seat!
@artlvr: it's wonderful how you answer my questions and are at the ready with the fact! Thank you, I feel much better knowing Palin can't insert herself into the senate, although I wouldn't be surprised if the Alaskans voted her in later on.....
Thanks, Mac -- so glad you're back safely! I'm hoping a stellar Dem emerges to oppose Palin if she ever tries running for the Senate... There's such a thing as too much exposure, and the report of Sarah sallying forth to meet prep people clad only in a towel may not be true but could give pause to fellow Alaskans!
The one thing that bothered me in everything Obama said to date was that his "would still be a faith-based administration." What the ??? I just listened to Stephen Mansfield on BookTV talking about his book "The Faith of Barack Obama", and found it very interesting though the white author/pastor never interviewed the candidate and wasn't suppporting him. He sees Obama as part of a generational shift away from adamant condemnation of abortion and gays to an emphasis on liberation of oppressed peoples as the core Christian message. I said to myself "wow" -- neat way to steer the bulk of the far right away from their hatreds, and good luck! This assessment of where Obama is coming from personally and how it fits into black faith groups' greater tolerance of diversity was a bit reassuring. Joe Biden as his choice partly for his conservative Catholicism made sense too, as Biden's never been one to foist individual religious beliefs onto public policy...
@artlvr: As an ex-Catholic who grew up in a very religious household, I know the bible well (actually, too well i.t. of the horror stories it contains), and I always wondered 1) How people who profess to follow the bible are so obviously not doing it: just ask yourself how often Jesus talked about gay people and how often he talked about the poor and railed against the rich.2) Why non-fundamentalist Christians haven't pointed this out more consistently and more loudly.What you're saying seems to suggest that we see movement in this direction, which I find encouraging.
@artlvr Hi, My connection to Texas is purely as a tourist. I have done some hiking in the Texas Hill Country, and I fell in love with place, its smashing scenery and fabulous Tex-Mex food. I really liked the people I met too,whose independence seemed real to me and not copied from B westerns to impress the tourists. Thus, I'm always blown away by the fact that so many Texans would elect that moron Bush, be so committed to the death penalty, and just generally vote Republican. When Texas seems to represent everything I despise, I have to remind myself not just of the Hill Country in bloom with the wildflowers planted by Lady Bird Johnson--a truly magnificent sight--but also of the real progressives who came out of the state, like Ivins and Richards, but also Jim Hightower to name some of the most prominent. While I know Texas went for McCain, I haven't looked at the breakdown of the vote. I am hoping that Obama's fifty state strategy turned it a little bit bluer in honor of the late, great Molly Ivins, who never gave up on it.
It crossed my mind, watching the Sunday press shows this morning, how absolutely wonderful is the prospect of not having to dive for the mute when the President of the United States appears on screen. (You could put an eye out that way! ;-)
Yes Ulrich -- We saw some of the motivation to perpetuate old biases starkly in the recent campaign: old leaders need to keep their "base". True of religious superstars as well as politicos.. A few of the former are recently deceased, revealed to have feet of clay, etc., so we'll see if new leaders can modify the message. I'm not partisan in this, just an observer...Another book I heard is of interest: "The Second Civil War" by Ron Brownstein. He speaks of the current inversion in political parties and my brother is a good example of a part of it, in that he might have been expected to be a Republican in a prior generation, but is very much for Obama. My mailman, on the other hand, was for McCain. I didn't pursue it, doubt he's racist but who knows?Brownstein points out that Congresspeople will still need to be mindful of their party's center, but the President must aim at the country's center. In Obama, we have a new leader with fewer debts to special interests than imaginable before, and the first Democrat to get over 51% of the vote since FDR and LBJ. With this tide, he has the leverage and electoral iincentive to continue reaching out!A major part of my great disgust with the Palin/McCain campaign was the harping on the idea of energy independence in face of its clear idiocy... A panel, again on CSpan2 today, was terrific: Robert Bryce on his book "Gusher of Lies" especially, with details on the ethanol scam etc. Alexandra Fuller, who wrote "The Legend of Colton h Bryant", gave dire details of the ruin of Wyoming. The state is now 25% under oil leases, the air worse than LA, the crime rate up 30%. The Greater Yellowstone ecosystem, once limited to one rig per 80 acres, now has only 5 acres between rigs. This means that animals who must migrate there in winter for survival --i.e. all of them except bison -- are at huge risk! Death rates of oil workers are up too, as safety was ignored in getting as many new rigs up by November 1 as possible, the legal limit to allow them to drill, thanks to Bush.Lisa Margonelli, author of "Oil on the Brain", spoke of the culture of oil where we don't see the major consequences of greed. Examples included rising deaths in Nigeria, with gangs stealing oil and using their profits to buy more guns, so they can steal more oil, continuing the spiral into anarchy.Others told of the Jevons Paradox, the counter-intuitive finding in the 19th century that the more efficient you are in the use of energy, the more you use! Also noted: the problem of increased boutique formulations, now at about 45 different types of gasoline nationwide, some mandated by states and some by smaller enclaves. In cases of severe fuel distribution disruption, as often seen after storms or other disasters, the switching of other pipeline feeds to affected areas is hampered by such new restrictive laws. Further, the whole transportation industry is under siege because of mistakes in regulation of diesel and jet fuels.. Oy!@ marlene -- thanks for your take on Texas.. We must keep hoping for more sense and vision there and everywhere. At least we have a new start now. @ mac -- Can't believe my latest verification word = GREED.
Hi everyone, I've come back and reread both the end of the previous thread and everything in this one! It was terrific to see how you guys communicated throughout! Ulrich, you're terrific to host this. I'm sorry I disappeared for a while, but for a couple of days before the election, I simply could not focus. I barely was able keep up with my work. And then for a couple of days thereafter, I cried at the drop of a hat, especially as I watched African Americans and their reactions. Since then, my daughter Katie and I have talked about how, even though we thought we knew how important this election was, we really had no idea. We were watching Will Smith on Oprah and he said something like: "I grew up thinking this should be possible, but part of me did not believe it until this happened." I think that summed it up. This was HUGE.The magnitude of the response throughout the world was breathtaking. I know it's a lot to put on one person, but amazingly, even though I tend to practice zweckpessimismus, I think Obama will live up to expectations. The task is enormous as he is careful to warn, but I think, for a change, America picked the one person who has a real chance to make good things happen. @fikink, thanks for asking re my daughter. Katie (who's in her mid 20's) hung out with her friends and campaign workers all evening and all night, so I did not watch her immediate reaction to the election. But she's clearly over the moon. I think all of them feel they've done something amazing, truly momentous, together. She was always in touch with people in all walks of life, but this was such a fantastic experience, something she'll remember for the rest of her life. She's had to shift gears and get back to her own work (she runs a small but very successful global non-profit health organization) but I can see that her happiness seems to help her in dealing with the challenges in her own work. Actually, in many ways, she's a community organizer across cultures. When she started a couple of years ago, she told me that she felt that if you give people power over even a single aspect of their life (e.g. their health), you will teach them to stand up for themselves in general, and that is the first step to democracy. I've often thought that this was exactly what Obama knew, and exactly what McCain and Palin did not get.
@foodie, you and Katie have been much on my mind. Please extend our thanks to her for all she and her friends accomplished. Mr. Fikink's pharmacy is a liberal bastion in a very Republican "small town" and he, too, had attempted to affect the process, giving his two Hispanic techs hours off to vote and counseling a steady stream of pharmacy students doing their externships in his dispensary. There is a great deal of optimism in our local public health service that we may, indeed, accomplish wonderful things near term since we have just legitimized some much needed support!Viva la!
@ foodie -- Congrats from me too to your daughter and her friends. What a great experience! It will shape the rest of their lives, I'm sure..@ fikink -- Neat to hear of Mr. F's outreach too... Don't know about you all, but I'm still feeling high even though I didn't indulge in anything alcoholic this past week. Time to get back to to earth soon.∑;)
@artlvr: What is it with the postal service? In my past experience, workers employed by some government or semi-gov't egency seemed to be Democratic b/c they knew their jobs were much safer with them. But when I walked into our local office in the afternoon during the last weeks, they had always Rush Limbaugh on. I was considering marching into the supervisor's office to complain (propaganda in a semi-gov't facility?), but then I chickened out: Mail deliverers can really mess up your life--they make enough mistakes already w/o doing this deliberately.@foodie: I also have the greatest admiration for your daughter and her peers who pulled this off--one doesn't even have to be cynic to see the implication of the fact that McCain only led among the over 65 crowd and Obama had a big lead in the 18-25 crowd: We in the first demographic will not be around for much longer!@fikink: I always admire business people who do not hide their political affiliation, even if it costs them customers (well, as long as they support liberal candidates). In our neck of the woods, it's John's Refuse (of all places!) that reliably lines its front with yard signs for Democrats. Needless to say, whenever we need a dumpster in connection with a DIY project I'm doing, it will come from John's.I, too, feel very good about the way the Obama team goes about its business so far. Actually, I feel confident enough to view this w/o zweckpessimismus--a very welcome change from the previous months.You all have been great companions this last month--my thanks to you all!
@marlene: Here's an interesting article from the La Times on Texas.
@Ulrich, coming back to the postalservice, I heard today that in Westport workers are being laid off or their work hours are being reduced, which for one of them meant a cut in salary of $ 10,000/yr.
Thank you all!!! I will pass your kind comments on to my daughter. And I agree Fikink, I admire your husband for what he does. His actions have more of an impact because they are so different from the surrounding sentiment. Iowa is actually an amazing state. We cannot forget they turned the whole thing around for Obama. I'm getting ready to head off to DC for almost 10 days..it's our major scientific meeting (literally tens of thousands of scientists). We're booked from dawn to late night. I'll try to check in here and at Rex's whenever I can.Meanwhile, Cheers!
Thanks Ulrich. The article was encouraging, and I know Molly Ivins would be pleased to hear that Texas may be next in line to go back to the Democrats.
Good morning America.All our leading newspapers mentioned Obamas election as a very positive signal not only for the US but also for the rest of the world.There is still intolerance in Germany towards our Turkish fellowcitizens and asylum seekers from Africa and Asia.The question arose, if Germany would be ready someday to accept a chancellor-if not a female- with turkish ethnic background?? We commemorated the 90th.anniversary of WW1 armistice, and the 70th. anniversary of the illfamed Reichskristallnacht, the beginning of a nationwide state-organized pogrome against the jewish population of Germany.We went to a commemorative ceremony in our little town last night, where a historian explained in detail, how nazi authorities took over property, real-estate and businesses of jewish people. Those lucky enough to obtain a permission to leave Germany payed with their entire property. With those funds loyal members of the naziparty were awarded and that's how in postwar germany many enterprises and businesses were founded.-Last night for the first time names on the documents that were blackened before had been made visible and so one could see, that not a virtual or abstract power, but real people were responsible... Studs Terkel died just a few days before this triumph of democracy but Miriam Makeba experienced just before she died the victory, she had been fighting for her entire life..Good luck!
Mick -- Thanks for your update. Sometimes it seems to take forever to get the truth out... I wrote the curator at the Art Institute a few years ago about some paintings that were under national consideration for return to their rightful Jewish owners' heirs, and got back a curt note saying that they were admitting nothing with regard to any questionable titles! I suppose that was some legal position at the time, because there was a better response in the news not long afterward!
p.s. I meant to say that was in Chicago...
@mick: Interesting question about the chances of a Turkish/German to become chancellor some day (how about the chances of a Jewish chancellor?). You have a much better perspective, being closer to the action, but let me give some of my impressions anyway. If I'm not mistaken, the "ruling mayor" of Berlin is known to be gay and attends official functions with his companion. Isn't the leader of one of the established parties also openly gay? Which is to say that i.t. of the acceptance of gay people, Germany does not lag behind the US. It's behind i.t. of racial prejudice, but one has to remember that it took the US 150 years to get where it is today, and if I look at the trajectory of prejudice in Germany over the last 60 years, I have hope that Germany will get there too, eventually.I don't want to be misunderstood as being complacent, let alone smug. I only want to point out progress when and where it occurs b/c I feel it is very important to encourage and applaud those who are working on the side of the angels.
One more thing to support what I just wrote: last month, a neo-Nazi group had planned a demonstration in Cologne to protest the planned construction of a large mosque, hoping to piggy-back on concerns in the population about the project to promote its real agenda. But the demo did not happen b/c practically the whole city rose up to to prevent it, blocking literally every venue by which the demonstrators could have reached their destination (my brother, who lives in Colgne, told me that some were even prevented from leaving the airport). Of course, this could not have happened w/o the cooperation of the police, and cooperate they did. So, give the old Germans (or at least the people of Cologne) some credit!
@ulrich: just about a month ago the people of Rotterdam elected a Moroccan/Dutch muslim to be their mayor. Granted, quite a few people grumble about this, but most feel he is a good man and a good politician.
@ulrich:you're right but you should know (perhaps you do) that Cologne is the most friendly and liberal city of entire Germany and they call it the 'San Francisco of Germany'. BTW the Mayor of Hamburg is gay as well as many other politicians and having a gay chancellor is not a weird idea at all.Same sex marriage is quite common and accepted and gay couples can adopt children.So far we consider ourselfs tolerant but there are still 'no go areas' where right wing skinheads control entire blocks and cityquarters in north-eastern and eastern Germany, and the police looks away.A jewish chancellor is also a realistic perspective: The leader of our new leftist party'die Linke', Gregor Gysi, ist a socialist and he is jewish. When he is attacked it's because he is left and not because he is a Jew. So far I'm optimistic but my concern is that female,muslim turkish chancellor. I bet our christian-democratic right-wing hardliners are not ready for such a perspective and the liberal democratic left just doesn't have enough votes.
Mick, Mac, it's quite a revelation -- rhe tolerance you write of in Cologne and Rotterdam!. Do you see a trend abroad where individuals are airing individually taped videos on the internet to bring violent agitators and those police who look the other way to justice? It's changing things here!I was especially struck by the Front Line program on PBS tonight, the exposé called "Boogie Man: The Lee Atwater Story". I'd heard of this evil genius of the Republican party for years, but never before grasped the full extent of his influence. With a Machiavellian mindset of "tell any lie, win election at any cost", he ended up dead of a brain tumor at age 41 in 1991. Yet his vile legacy -- from getting Reagan and GHW Bush (Willy Horton racist ads) through their primaries to its post-mortem culmination in the amoral reign of G W Bush and smears used against Obama -- lives on.
@mick: Female, Turkish, Muslim President? I don't think the US would be ready for her, either. Neither would it be for an atheist, which is a monumental non-issue in Germany and other European countries. So, we all have still quite a way to go.On a different topic: I am struck by the way the Republicans react to their defeat: Only two (complementary) options appear to be on the table: (1) Purge the party of the last remaining moderates and of all who did not support the ticket; and (2) resist anything the Democrats will try--the only issue is how aggressively this should be done. The possibility of acting as a "loyal opposition" for the good of the country--cooperate when the goals are compatible and criticise when they are not--is not even mentioned, let alone seriously considered. That is, it's all about power--country last!I find this article interesting in this connection. It's written by John Dean, of Watergate notoriety, who, together with Kevin Phillips, has turned into my favorite "neo-lib". He makes the distinction between the Republicans, who want to rule, and the Democrats, who want to govern. The current debate among Republicans illustrates this beautifully.
@ulrich, Re: the Republicans, exactly my point above to Jody about fouling one's own nest. I am thinking they are just too stupid to learn from history, current or otherwise.Congrats to Connecticut. Yahoo is saying you are allowing gay marriage, any backstory that you wish to provide us?Mr. Fikink was stationed at the Naval Dispensary in D.C. just when Watergate was beginning. He ate stuffed grape leaves at a Ben Bradley/Sally Quinn party, unwittingly in the midst of great tumult. This was just before John Dean's resignation. A very interesting time in our history. I joined him later, we asked for "anywhere, Europe" and were transferred to Norfolk, Virginia.
I lived in the DC area in the Watergate years too, totally engrossing! I'm glad we finally found out the identity of Deep Throat -- though it's sad that his memory is far gone.
@fikink and artlvr: I wasn't that close to the action, but remember the whole scandal well. What strikes me as remarkable, at this part. time, is that among the senators pushing vigorously for an investigation and leading the charge against Nixon were Republicans like Lowell Weicker--from our beautiful state (especially when it's covered in fall leaves). This would be unthinkable now: Partisan politics always wins over the interest of the country when it comes to Republicans these days.
Yes, I was fond of liberal Republican Lowell Weicker too -- ironic that he lost his Senate seat to Lieberman, the Democrat who was so conservative he was backed by the Buckleys et al. Then to see Weicker quit the GOP and become Gov. of CT as an independent was neat. Finally, old rival Joe sort of quit the Dems -- they should have kicked him all the way out! My father's circle thought of themselves as Independents too, or liberal Republicans, highly ethical self-made businessmen and professionals who created their own local Indepebdent party in order to clean up local politics and won handily. They despised Joe McCarthy and the anti-intellectual religious right -- and never could have imagined the utter subversion of the GOP from Nixon on. In fact, Dad was editor of the Harvard Law Review in his day, and he probably would have endorsed Obama this year as Weicker did!∑;)
Artlvr's comment about the Buckleys supporting Lieberman just did it for me. I've been trying to avoid sticking my two cents in because I was hoping to stay calm after the daily anxiety leading up to the election but the references to Lieberman just destroyed my resolve. I consider him a menace as chairman of Homeland Security. Thanks to him we have never had a serious investigation of any of the issues truly related to Homeland Security, like the increase in the terrorist threat thanks to the Iraq War and the phenomenal ineptitude shown in the aftermath of Katrina. For the Democrats to allow him to remain as chairman is a disgrace, and I'm not at all convinced that when it really counts, for instance if Obama launches an investigation of the U.S.'s use of torture, that Lieberman will contribute the vote that the Democrats seem so concerned about.(Like Republican Chuck Hagel isn't worth two Liebermans anyway and Hagel, at least, seems to have a couple of principles left so when the Democrats need it, their blessed one-vote-to-make-sixty might come from a proclaimed Republican rather than a Democrat-in-name-only.) All of which is to say there are numerous petitions circulating and requests to call the Democratic steering committee (numbers are available on Daily Kos) asking that Lieberman, at the very least, be removed as chair, and I hope those who contribute to Ulrich's blog might consider signing or calling. While I have no problem with Lieberman's staying in the Democratic caucus, not that he will if he doesn't get his way,letting someone of his ilk stay on in such an important post seems too dangerous to me. Evan Bayh claimed on Rachel Maddow's show that if the Democrats don't like what Lieberman does, they'll remove him as Chairman of Homeland Security, but from what I've read that's not so easy to do once he is sitting pretty as chairman. It also raises the question, Why haven't they done that before since he has been in the Administration's pocket since day one of the war?
Whew -- well said!
That's my puma hunter!
I'm going to Kos to sign a petition! My husband went to Highschool with him, he's been very ambitious all his life.Thank you Puma Hunter!
@ who, Mac -- I don't get who you mean? I just heard that Larry Summers is out as a Treasury Secretary possibilty, and I'm delighted! Kudlow just sneered at the news, blaming "feminazis" for dissing Summers for his unfortunate remark about "women students maybe having less aptitude for math than men", while President of Harvard, -- but there were worse problems while he was in that position... Most notable as I recall was his insult in telling a tenured black faculty member, a full professor of note, that he should change his field of study to something else (more commercial, less controversial, whatever). The main points were both Summers' egregious interference in the matter of academic freedom, and especially his racist tone in this demand of the black professor. The whole faculty voted in favor of recommending that Harvard's Board of Overseers fire Summers as President, a very rare action if not unprecedented!If you wonder why names of potential nominees for Cabinet appointments are selectively floated to the public after the Obama campaign's tight discipline against leaks, this is a good example of why it's a good idea. Things that should not be overlooked -- even if swept under a rug -- will tend to come to light in a timely way!
@artlover: with Joe Lieberman.
@mac:I'm intrigued--does your husband have some interesting insider stories? I only know Joe Lieberman has/had a house in an upper-middle class neighborhood on the other side of town (New Haven) from us.@artlvr: I hear you, but I find this whole HRC thing very confusing--perhaps it's just a feeding frenzy by the media who are starved for news, anynews from inside a very tight-lipped campaign. I hope it all will make sense in a few days.
Mac, Wonderful about your signing the petition. I just looked at DailyKos and I couldn't find the post I read this morning, which is odd, but I might be tired. In any case, this is one source for a petition:http://liebermanmustgo.com/You just have to scroll to the very bottom to find it. I'm so glad Patrick Leahy came out publicly and said he did not believe Lieberman should be allowed to be chairman of Homeland Security (Yesterday his office told me he had no official position on the subject yet.) Bernie Sanders seconded the motion. I hope more will follow. Every time I think of that sanctimonious old hypocrite rejecting any investigation of the government's ineptitude following Katrina because "We don't want to play the blame game," I get apoplectic.
@laraine, I went to the liebermanmustgo.com site and signed, plus I emailed it to 5 friends in CT who will definitely sign as well! Thanks for letting me know about it.
@ulrich: I think you have just enough time to get this lovely lady ready for the NYT Xword tournament. Go to it, we want to meet her!
@mac: She's lovely, I agree. w.r.t the tournament, I have to let her speak for herself.
Just breaking news re. the chances of politicians with minority backgrounds in Germany: Cem Özdemir (of Turkish descent) was elected chairman of the Greens.Now, one should not overinterpret this--the Greens are pc to a fault (too much, in my opinion), but still...@mick: any comment?
@Mac I am the last person who could attend a conference on cross word puzzles. I think Ulrich and I started doing them about the same time because I had read that doing cross word puzzles builds dendrites and we were (and are) trying to avoid senility. He has a gift for them, and I'm dumb as a trout. Half the time I don't even understand the clues, let alone find the words to respond.However if the conference is in the city again, I'd certainly stop in to say hello. This seems to be a very congenial group.@Ulrich I think the election of someone of Turkish origin to the chairmanship of the Green party is a really positive sign and a big deal in its own right. When I lived in Germany,thirty years ago now, the highest position Turkish men and women ever reached was to become restaurant owners. The times really are changing, thanks be to god.
I'm looking forward to meeting you in Brooklyn, Laraine!I worked hard today, at a friend's studio show, selling my jewelry. I'm looking forward to a Sunday with only the mail and bills to deal with, and a winter's supply of Dutch pea soup to make.
I have to recommend a book by Naomi Klein called "The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism" -- a timely discussion of GOP tactics culminating in the final looting known as Bailout, using access to trillions in Federal credit as their own personal ATM. The law firm advising Paulson was the same one representing seven of the nine big banks benefiting from the hasty legislation!She details the devastating privatization or "outsourcing" trend without accountability or oversight, going back to Larry Summers' pushing through repeal of the Glass-Stiegel Act in 1999, and warns that Obama will waste his chance to make the Change We Need if he gets too carried away with the Team of Rivals concept. He must not recycle too many Clinton hold-overs, let alone Republicans!More horrifying details are found in Jeremy Seahill's book on Blackwater, the private military services now being expanded to offer private intelligence services "Total Intelligence Solutions". They hire ex-CIA people with top-secret expertise and sell themselves to multinational corporations -- even have specialized maritime and aviation divisions. Both authors say Obama cannot ban participation of Blackwater in Afganistan, and will find it nearly impossible to reverse the most radical ripoffs by privatization of government in history, from prison management to schools to medical/health care. A continued involvement of new activists from the recent campaign is our only hope, since the news media laid down on the watchdog role too long!
I highly welcomed Cem Özdemir beeing back in charge and I favored for many years the Greens as an adjustment factor for the Socialdemocrats, the yeast in the dough.But those SPD dumbasses prefer pragmatic coalitions and alliances with the Right and liberal-Right instead.The Greens, when in charge did very good jobs: the mayor of Tübingen, an important university-town in southern Germany, Boris Palmer, a Green has a high reputation nationwide. And one of my heroes is still Joschka Fischer who, as former secretary of state, said right in the face of Rumsfeld,'we are not convinced' about the evidence of Iraq having weapons of mass destruction. He was the only one who had the guts to speak that out in public. Courage is a shy bird amongst our politicians.@lareine, we need pumahunters in Germany as well: in Hessen a group of four socialdemocrats blew the election of state governor in favor of a right-wing candidate, Roland Koch, who is corrupt and a notorious liar.Btw the leader of that group of dissidents applied for a managerposition at Frankfurt International Airport, and guess who is a chairman of the Board of Directors??Yes! the cheater and liar Roland Koch. What a coincidence !!
Hi, Laraine! I am glad you posted so I can thank you directly for all your good work this election. (Btw, I am calling Harkin's office re:ousting Lieberman.) I would love to hear all of you as to whether we should bail out GM or let it go through bankruptcy and reorganize under different management.Is that something I can ask here, Ulrich, or would you like a separate thread for that question?
@fikink: I'm fine with letting this thread run for a little longer--I'll post later this eveing.
@mick: I love "yeast in the dough"--great metaphor!@fikink: My knee-jerk reaction is to let the company that hoped to make an obscenity on the road, the Hummer, its flagship car go under. But it is apparently more complicated b/c of the ripple effect it would have--I'm no expert and can't voice an informed opinion. I would say, though, that strings have to be attached to any subsidies from the taxpayer, like that the co. give up its long resistance to raising gas efficiency standards. What's most urgently needed, of course, is innovation leading to cars people would actually buy. But I don't know if innovation can be demanded by law.
Ulrich, this was my reaction too and Tom Friedman has been very vocal on the subject. But you are right, the ripple effect is the rub. Also, I was struck by the length of time the whole bankruptcy/reorganizing would take and how many say they would NOT buy a car from a company in bankruptcy for fear of not getting parts and service after the sale.
@fikink: I agree with Tom Friedman on this subject, the companies certainly should have an acceptable business plan before they get the money. I think people don't need to worry about the parts, I think many already are made elsewhere, even in Afrika. I was impressed with Obama's interview last night. It's so great to have a smart, thoughtful leader once again. My husband highly recommends the Nov. 17 New Yorker to get an insight in this man.
Mac, I think I heard the parts argument from Carl Levin and the governor of Michigan, so I must consider the source. I agree with you on having an acceptable business plan for just where the money is going.I think if Hillary is Secretary of State, SHE may be the one to rein in Bill. Interesting to watch.Yes, both Obamas were a pleasure to watch last night. Not being a follower of The Simpsons, I watched the interview (although I did do the puzzle yesterday and found the diagonal message). It has been fascinating to watch this transition with such hope and in the face of such mighty challenges!
Arrrg -- Lieberman has kept chairmanship of the Homeland Security Oversight committee... As to the auto bailout, it should be in the form of a loan with lots of strings, agreed. On the other hand, a Chapter 11 would give more scope, as it requires a detailed plan -- and it would provide a chance to get union cooperation beforehand, among other things.
p.s. The rumor of a $7 milllion book deal for the Barracuda is so cynical! Who'd be the ghost, Rove?
Laraine and I are totally disgusted with the Democrats' appeasing of Lieberman. Here's an article debunking the partisanship that's supposed to exist: it's a complete myth propagated by those that do not want change, which apparently includes the Democrats.
Re: Lieberman - It seems this is coming down from Obama; he really is quite political. (Look at this thing with Hillary.) I think it is probably a smart move.If, in the longrun, it helps the Dems get their agenda through with Lieberman's vote, then maybe it is wise. I just hope that the thinking president-elect follows through and keeps all of these maneuverings within his purview.
@fikink: I said the same thing, and my husband agrees: the Democrats in Washington are already listening to Obama, which I think is good. Bush has checked out months ago, and someone has to be in charge. I hated his half-hearted "excuse" though, and we in Connecticut have to deal with 4 more years of his smarmy face..... Then we will have a chance to vote someone else in, most likely Himes. It's so awful, two years ago our most rightwing friend voted for a democrat for the first time in his life: Lieberman.I often like Christopher Hitchens in Vanity Fair, but he is still a shock jock, and I think he was really out of line today (and, for that matter, a few weeks ago when speaking about McCaine). @ulrich: tomorrow evening our German hairdresser and his wife are coming over for Gruenkohl!
@fikink and mac: Yes--if it works out that way. But you have to realize that the article I linked is correct in pointing out that bipartisanship is not the issue: The Democrats have been willing to be bipartisan to a fault, w/o getting any credit from the media, let alone from the right, and the left is disgusted. The issue is how to get an agenda implemented that benefits the country in the absence of a filibuster-proof majority in the senate. If Lieberman's acquiescence is needed--so be it. But the more important issue is this: Does the new administration actually have such an agenda? I have to assume that it has--that's what the entire campaign was based upon.BTW I am far less concerned about personalities Than the media seem to be: I'd rather take an old hand that knows how to get something done than someone who is new and doesn't.@mac: What do serve with Grünkohl?
@ulrich: I'm serving it the Dutch way (and similar to what I had in Hamburg): finely chopped and cooked, mashed with potatoes, butter and hot milk, then served with slowly cooked beef and gravy and smoked sausage (kielbasa). We sometimes serve mustard with it, and pickles, I tend to like it plain.In Holland that would be it, I'm serving smoked salmon on thinly sliced brown bread before, a thin apple tart after.
@fikink (First off, thank you for your earlier post, which I just read now) I'm supposed to be working, but I can't resist contributing to this discussion. I do hope giving Lieberman what he wants proves to be a shrewd move as you suggest, but at the moment, I'm skeptical for these reasons.(1) I think it was today's Time magazine on line that said Obama was smart to get involved because Lieberman is nothing if not loyal and now Lieberman owed him. At the request of Lieberman's office, Obama campaigned for Lieberman when it was clear that Lamont was giving the miserable old hypocrite a run for his money and I'm pretty sure Obama stayed on the sidelines when, after Lamont won the primary, the other Democrats said o.k. Ned's our man. Lieberman already owed Obama and he was nothing if not disloyal. (2) To me the chairmanship of Homeland Security and Government Affairs (I'm probably bolluxing the full title)is really important and Lieberman can stymie investigations into, for instance, phony security companies billing the government for non-existent protection against terrorists. Naomi Klein's "Shock Doctrine" explores the rise of newly-minted, anti-terrorism consultants in the aftermath of 9/11, and that government bilking practice might have not been so prevalent if Lieberman had done his job. (3) I don't think Lieberman ever met a war he didn't like and if the Democrats need him to stop, for instance, saber-rattling legislation against Iran, like the Kyle-Lieberman Act, I just don't believe they will have his vote when it really matters. (But if they do, I will admit to being dead wrong and that Obama pulled off a very shrewd political move today (4) I think Obama made what he thought was a smart political decision (I've looked for a while now for a long article I read during the primary in which a Chicago reporter, who had covered Obama for years, said anyone who thinks Obama isn't a tough and savvy politician doesn't know the man) and he may be right. Then again he may have sacrificed the good of the country and the good will of numerous net roots supporters for political points that won't get him that precious one vote to make sixty in the end when it really, really counts. Much as I'm mad though about the vote today, I hope I'm wrong about all of this and that that sanctimonious old gasbag actually behaves himself for the rest of his tenure in Washington, which I hope ends in ignominious defeat in 2012.@Ulrich I'm a little nervous about how many "old hands" are on board for Obama. I'm not a big fan of the Clinton years, and as the venerable Helen Thomas said the other day, "What's with all the old faces when he's always talking about change?" (She voted for Obama. She's just the bees knees!)@mac: That dinner sounds so wonderful.
I think Ulrich already posted one comment by Glen Greenwald on the subject of Democratic partisanship. I think this one is equally important and equally suggestive of how closely we should look at and respond to what the Democrats actually do with their new found power:http://www.salon.com/opinion/greenwald/2008/11/12/lieberman/index.html@Mac I haven't stopped thinking about the menu for your dinner. When I'm not railing over politics, I love to eat and that dinner menu spoke to my heart.
@Laraine: this dish, "boerenkool" is so popular that I already have a list of (Dutch) friends who want leftovers!I'm going to your link now, thank you.
Hi all -- I looked up some of the background of Valerie Jarrett and others last night, found much on politico.com and links from there. Great fun. Michelle has a cousin-once-removed who is a rabbi, and one of Valerie's great uncles is Vernon Jordan... Long ago I taught with a son-in-law of the Johnson who founded the Ebony magazine empire, so I was aware of some of the black millionares in Chicago -- but it was eye-opening to catch up on the network of big Obama backers in Chicago!I have a feeling the better pundits are right -- there were only Clinton-era "old DC hands" to choose from, unless one went back to Jimmy Carter's era, and the new Attorney General is a good example of those he can find who got their careers on a top track on merit, despite GOP years.As to Lieberman, I'm sure he's been told that he'll toe the line or else he's toast, very untouchable burnt toast.@ Laraine, glad to hear from you too... I enjoy the food descriptions from you and mac and Ulrich and all too, but appreciate the enforced separation from immediate temptation. I got on the scales and found I'd lost about 10 pounds in the past month or so, just from focus on the political and economic turmoil -- a good thing! Expect it will last through the inauguration, at least.∑;)
@mac: That's how I remember Grünkohl from Germany, served with Bratwurst and mustard (for the sausage).@artlvr: That's basically what I meant when I said I'm not that concerned about names: Goals can be adjusted, but experience and competence are more permanent.@fikink: That's what I keep on telling myself. The Republicans seem to have no inclination whatsoever to cooperate for the good of the country (with a few possible exceptions). We can expect them to construct every possible road block to derail Obama's program so that they can claim in 2 years that nothing has been accomplished. Obama's team may be aiming at making this as hard for them as possible and may have concluded that Lieberman's good will is indispensible to this end. But still, it rankles to see this guy get away with things he has no right to get away with. The CT Democrtas BTW are talking seriously about expelling him from the party.
Did you hear there's a book out called "The Wisdom of Sarah Palin"? The pages are all blank. My idea -- make some slipcovers, so you can casually display your favorite, like "Principles of Joe Lieberman". Gift suggestion!I do think the economic situation is so dire that any GOP Senators who go the route of unsubtle obstructionism for the sake of their next election run will fail, for the most part. People won't forgive that very soon, given the societal damages we'll still be suffering -- no matter that Obama's early initiatives won't turn out to be a magic wand. FDR didn't get a lot of traction in his first term, but he still was able to foster hope in better times to come. That may be mostly what we'll have left too, but the Bush disasters will still be coming to light for years ahead.
Laraine, I bet the article you are thinking of is one Ryan Lizza wrote for The New Yorker at the end of July in which he chronicled Obama's rise in Chicago politics.
p.s. No joy in Mushville, Alaska! Another credible ethics complaint against Palin has now surfaced because it's against the law to do politicking out of your elective office, even up there. As every one knows, she has repeatedly been talking about her potential plans for a national run again in 2012, from her Governor's office as well as everywhere else. Not cool... Gotcha, you betcha!Meanwhile, you guys in CT made Rachel's show with your loathing of Lieberman! Go team!
@fikink You mentioned the bailout, pros and cons the other day, and while at the moment, it looks to fail, Paul Krugman no less points out that, at different times, bankruptcy would be the way to go but these are not the times. Then he cites the article below as the best explanation of why not. I thought you might be interested.http://www.tnr.com/politics/story.html?id=a4893b49-36df-4784-9859-2dfa3a3211bfThe article I read about Obama in his Chicago days wasn't in The New Yorker, it was from some Chicago newspaper. However, I'm going to look for the one you mention. I'm not sure I read it. One last note on the mystery article I thought I bookmarked, the reporter said something very interesting. He said, he was used to covering politicians and not particularly impressed by them (Gee, I wonder why), but Obama scared him; he was that smart and apparently that ready to read the reporter the riot act if he got anything wrong or said anything Obama found objectionable. A very different Obama from the no-drama one we know. Thanks again for the New Yorker reference.
Laraine, thanks for the link. An interesting article which makes every day watching the markets even more intriguing. They did not fail to strike terror in the hearts of people hoping to retire, today. It's going to be a lean yule!
I am now very worried and upset about this market. So many people even in wealthy Connecticut are being laid off, the stores and restaurants are empty, and there is a sense of dispair settling in. I have never lived through a period this scary before.
@ mac -- Do not despair! The market liked the naming of Timothy Geithner as the new Treasury Secretary -- and he is known for having foreseen the bursting of the economic bubble as long as two years ago and having tried to spread the word. More foresight like that is what we need, even if current ravages cannot be repaired quickly... Confidence will pick up as inauguration nears, and bargain hunters will emerge to spur sales. Fingers crossed, anyway!
p.s. The visit to new green GM plants on PBS just now was highly encouraging! The CEO testimony before Congress wasn't very effective, but the proposed government loans -- as seen from the workers perspective -- make a great deal of sense! They have won awards with their new designs, and have orders to fill abroad from China to the Mideast... a nice twist, not well known.
@Artlvr: I trust your judgment--thx for the encouragement (what stocks should I buy right now?--just kidding:-)
Thank you, thank you, ArtLvr (the capitals make your name so much more formal!) for the upbeat comments. You always get the best info, at the right time.
@Ulrich and ArtlvrLike everyone here, I am hoping for the best from our new government, but I'm increasingly uncomfortable with so many old Clinton hands surrounding Obama, including--maybe even especially--Hillary, with whom he seemed to strongly disagree on foreign policy. A lot of people, including me, supported Obama because he didn’t have her hawkish history, and it somewhat pains me to see her in this influential position, so related to war and peace, not as much as this person below, but I do share some of these sentiments (If you hate the sentiments, I think you’ll still love the cartoon):http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2008/11/21/12149/508/435/664677 By this time, I would have liked to see some or at least one real hard-core liberal like Howard Dean (maybe not so hard core, but definitely a progressive), Paul Krugman, Robert Reich, Barbara Lee, and Sherrod Brown being offered a position of real power in the new government, and I share the general mopiness and frustration expressed in this article from “The Nation.”http://www.thenation.com/blogs/jstreet/385427/left_out?rel=hpbox While I don’t mean to echo the recent mavericky blather about the importance of being a Washington “outsider,” I do question the assumption that the new president elect has to pick from a pool of people already experienced , and I might add entrenched, in Washington politics as opposed to smart people outside of the federal government who know a lot about the particular area they might have authority over. For instance, I think Paul Krugman would have been a good choice for treasury secretary. Actually, I thought that was what Kennedy did when he won--handpicked the best and the brightest in or out of Washington (Of course some of them went on to make a complete mess of foreign policy so I may be ruining my own argument). But didn’t FDR’s brain trust, who helped him launch the new deal, consist largely of Columbia law professors. In any case, I’m trying as the Germans say to keep my ears stiff. Then, too, as the esteemed originator of Krautblog has said several times in response to my railings over the last week, “Wait and see what policies these people come up with; then we’ll actually know something.” I’m waiting.
This is a wonderful article demonstrating exactly what I have mentioned several times, that the GOP has no intention to do what's best for the country or desired by its people. The amazing thing is that they are quite open about it: They are determined to fight Obama's health plan tooth and nails precisely b/c it may turn out to be immensely popular. And b/c it may be popular, it may put the people who are against it or any other gov't programs that help major portions of the population, i.e. the Republicans, out to pasture for a generation. So, as the Cato Institute rep says, "Blocking Obama's health plan is key to the GOP's survival."I remember reading somewhere that when the MediCare bill was passed, R. Reagan predicted that it was the end of freedom as we know it.
@laraine,I think you don't need to worry about Hillary, she has proven in the Senate that she can be a team player. Also, Obama and Hillary Clinton are extremely close in their policy ideas.I have also wondered why Paul Krugman hasn't been tapped, and I think it is because he is an academic, a teacher and he's not comfortable in the Washington arena. Hope he will be an advisor, though, just like Larry Summers.
Whatever direction the transition team goes, isn't it lovely to know that there are going to be thinking pragmatic people running the country who, at heart, disdain the "bubble" of their own echo?It will make for good reading and lower blood pressure.
@fikink: I'm telling myself the same thing, but as Laraine said before, the two of us are not seeing things eye-to-eye right now.What we do agree on is that the way in which the outgoing administration is trying to end its (mis)rule with a last shower of favors for Cheney's cronies is absolutely outrageous. And I didn't even know until now that there was such a thing as "burrowing".
Ulrich, I missed whatever it was about "burrowing" but if it applied to Bush, I can imagine. It must be about more landmines planted in the bureaucracy and/or commitments here and abroad we've yet to find.Just watched the opening speech of Canada's 40th parliament by the Governor General, Michaelle Jean. The lady mentioned being a great grand-daughter of slaves! Yet oddly, she's a Conservative and was criticized immediately afterward by one of the opposition as not being bold enough: he said it was more of the "same-old", and would have preferred to hear about an economic program more in the mold of Obama. Canada's hurting too.She did note that Canada's obligations to back the US in Afghanistan end in 2011 and while their forces are still there, she plans to restrict them to non-military support... Meanwhile, we just bombed a village in Pakistan (our ally): six dead. If only we could dump Bush today!!!
Laraine, I understand your consternation with the apparent "business-as-usual" selections by Obama, but here I would echo what Ulrich advises: wait, let's see what he does. Obama's approach to things, I think, is one of positioning himself IN the tent and THEN rearranging the furniture through constant renegotiating, not one of showing everyone the door and starting with a clean slate. Think of how far he has gotten and what obstacles he faced to get here. He was not elected because having a black man as president was thought to be a good idea by 53% of the country. He was elected because 53% of the country understood that 1. he was not scary and 2. he thought before he acted, i.e., he had a brain!He has to use those powers, both of critical thinking and persuasion, to coax this country back on track. I am not expecting much "dramatic" change rapidly. We will probably not notice the change until it is upon us. And what better way to implement change that USING the power that is already in place and working from the inside out (kinda like from the bottom up).Keep the faith - it is going to take time.
I second Fikink's treatise. The Senate and the House are slowmoving behemoths, you need some insiders to get things done at all. He's also creating confidence in the markets and the people, at this moment of the utmost importance. He needs to work with a scalpel, not a sledgehammer.
India's 9/11 today -- coordinated terrorist attacks on seven targets in Mombai (formerly Bombay), w/ situation still not yet under control at 7 p.m., after about six hours. Estimates of hundreds injured, many dead, and possible hostages taken also. It's of personal concern since my son's girlfriend's parents just went over for an extended visit, though they are supposed to be well north of that area.
Sorry, the city is spelled Mumbai. Talk about that phone call at three a.m. -- we didn't even get to ring the old year out.
Of course I was doubly worried about India - out son is there, but in Delhi. We have sms-ed with him, he is ok and on his way to Agra for the weekend, bypassing an invitation for a Thanksgiving meal with someone working at the US consulate. We are watching the goings-on very carefully, considering we are supposed to travel to India on December 20th.
@fikink I do want to respond to your comment because on the whole I agree with you, only with some very strong reservations, but I am going to wait till we know more about what is going on in Mumbai. I can't bring myself to natter on about Obama's cabinet and advisor choices, something I'm capable of doing ad nauseum, when Mac and Arlvr are anxious about relatives and friends in the country. Since Ulrich was in India not too long ago, I sympathize. More soon.
@mac: I sincerely wish that things will work out for your India trip--your son doesn't appear to be in danger, thank God. I've been to India only once, and as it happens, tp the part you seem to be travelling to, Delhi, Agra etc.@arlvr: Burrowing, as I learned a few weeks ago, refers specifically to the act of moving a political appointee, i.e. someone hired for reasons of ideology, not competence, to a career civil service position. These positions are tenured, as opposed to those of political appointees, who lose their job when the old administration goes out. The Bushies didn't invent burrowing, but seem to be doing it with special enthusiasm--remember, their political appointees are often Evangelicals or people waiting for "rapture" and the near Armageddon--why they want to be tenured escapes me b/c to them, the end is near anyway. Perhaps deep down, they do not really believe this stuff? Or more likely, they couldn't get a secure job based on competence.
Thanks, Ulrich and all -- I did hear about the Bush contamination of the bureaucracy. At least highest levels can be replaced, but it does make one sick. Such a legacy of corruption and sabotage! I'm sorry for W's parents too, especially Barbara who never wanted this son of hers proposed for the nomination to the presidency...Mac, I'm glad your son is safe! Wishing everyone a good Thanksgiving today.
@fikink I had written a long response to your comment about Obama's choices, but then I listened to Naomi Klein, author of "The Shock Doctrine," and Robert Kuttner, author of "Obama'a Challenge" discuss the choices that have most upset me, Summers and Geithner, and I thought they did a much better job laying out my objections and fears about these two than I ever could. Ultimately, I agree with Kuttner: These are very disturbing choices (particularly Summers) and there were more progressive and less-tainted by deregulation choices available, but Obama is still the man in charge, and the nineties are over, so neither man may be as committed to Rubinomics as they once were, and people like me (and Kuttner himself) should calm down and see what policies they actually propose before thinking we are going to get a repeat of the Clinton years. Klein gets cut off in the middle, but she is clearly more pessimistic and more appalled. In any case, I am putting the link here in two forms in the hopes that one works. Here's the cut and paste version:http://www.archive.org/details/dn2008-1125_vidand now I'm going to try to use HTML tags so you can just hit the link: Klein andKuttnerI probably messed up the tags, but I'll improve in the future.
@Fikink I should mention you have to fast forward about ten minutes into the program--it's Democracy Today--before you will hear Klein, Kuttner and ultimately Michael Hudson discuss what they think Obama's choices mean for the country's future,
@Laraine, you are a doll (if I may)!I will look up all your citations and listen to everything. I must admit to having been so involved in this election and so fearful that the idiots couldn't be thrown out that, in my relief, I am starting to sound like I "drank the kool-aid" - for months I have been unable to look past Nov 4.Now it is time to gather my thoughts and start paying attention again and mull things anew.First things first, Happy Thanksgiving to everyone. Prayers go up today for everyone's safe return.
@Fikink Yes, First things first, Happy Thanksgiving to everyone. Second thing, you may call me a doll anytime. And thirdly, in listening to or reading people like Klein, Kuttner, Hudson, and just about every third person writing in forums like Daily Kos, I try to keep in mind what Kuttner recently said in an online posting called "Team of Rubins," where, after lamenting some of Obama's recent choices, he offered a theory that definitely lifted my spirits. After opening with the possibility that Obama might turn out to be a huge disappointment to progressives, Kuttner suggested another possibility: that Obama "has very shrewdly named a team of technically competent centrists so that he can govern as a progressive in pragmatist's clothing--as he moves the political center to the left." I like this idea. I also took comfort in one of the last lines in the posting, where Kuttner wrote "..."in my writings during the campaign, I sometimes found myself second-guessing Obama's strategy--and he invariably turned out to be smarter than I was." And Kuttner is no dope. Just take a look at the web site for one of his books. Kuttner
@Fikink I'll get the hang of this yet. Here again, and this time I hope correctly, is one of the web sites for Kutner's booksKuttnerI think it's a good indication that he is both thoughtful and smart, plus a real Obama supporter, just with some reservations.
My laugh of the day: Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) on Obama's hope we could be moving into a post-partisan era -- Barney said that the idea of dealing gently with the ultra-right Republicans who usually run the opposition tends to give him "post-partisan depression"... He's also talking about how the reminder that there can't be two Presidents at the same time "overestimates the number available by one"! Go, Barney!∑;)
He is so funny. I saw an interview with him, where he was asked what his opinion was of Sarah Palin. He said: "One think I can say is that she is much more tolerant of me than I am of her"!
Thanks, Mac! Recommending to all the repeat on CNN , both Sat. and Sun. nights, of the special by Christiane Amanpour, if you missed it. She has put together a stunning history of the genocides from WW2 to the present -- who did what to whom, how it was reported, and the reactions of the US, UN and others each time. It's called "Scream Bloody Murder" and definitely is not for kids...
@artlvr: Thanks for the recommendation. I wish the UN could get its act together on this one, which would mean the US have to give up their objections to a standing international force under UN control (the UN may even accept a US command).On a more pleasant topic: When I put together my piece about the Dolchstoßlegende (BTW feel free to spell it with 2 ss) and read some articles, it became clear that it is strictly a phenomenon of the right. I'm still watching with amusement the sundry attempts by the right to blame everybody under the sun for the lection loss except for themselves--the newest: Obama won, not b/c he was the superioor candidate running the superior campaign, but b/c he had more money, especiallty from all of those pesky small contributors. What doesn't occur to them is that they have it backwards: He had more money b/c he was the more attractive candidate.When Democrats lose, they go in sack and ashes, looking for the mistakes they made. Rebublicans, on the other hand, are incapable of finding fault with themselves. See also Bush's recent interviews: Every mishap on his watch is explained by external forces, from "bad intelligence" to the mysteries of the stock market. There is no sense that he was to exercise leadership, i.e. anticipate crises and act forcefully when they occur--he pictures himself as a rudderless ship buffeted about by out-of-control forces.
@Ulrich: on MSNBC last night there was mention of a real effort on the part of the White House and all their hangers-on to rewrite history to make Bush look good. Just leave it to them to actually create a plan for this! It is just outrageous that they concern themselves with the facade when the foundation is crumbling.
@mac: I agree--the word that comes to my mind is the same that comes to my mind a lot when I think about the White House: obscene.Note that Karl Rove is again at the center of the effort. What they don't realize is that spin isn't what it used to be: With news stations like MSNBC, online news, and blogging, they just aren't getting away with the stuff they used to get away with. The let's-treat-people-out-there-as-idiots approach seems to be coming to an end.BTW we're now below the fold for this political thread and I'm going to create a new one.
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