I was deeply amused to read the breathless news coverage of Hammerin’ Hank Paulson’s “ambitious” and “sweeping” plans to restructure the federal financial regulatory structure. It says something about how far the goalposts of this country’s discourse have been moved towards rampant, unchecked, unbridled “law of the jungle” financial pillaging that modest reforms like these are considered a major move.
If these pathetic hot-flashing stenographers that call themselves “reporters” would actually take a closer look at the plan itself–hell, even just the fact sheet–they would see that not only is Paulson’s reform agenda miniscule at best, but that it’s a shell game, a distraction designed to accomplish the long-held mantra of the Bush administration–centralizing federal power and weakening consumer protections at the state level. Continue reading →
What you’re seeing is my reaction to reading an interview in which Hillary Clinton basically tells every Democrat that she’s in it till the last dog dies and is not going to quit until the Convention.
According to her,
â€œI know there are some people who want to shut this down and I think they are wrong,â€ Clinton said in an interview during a campaign stop here Saturday. â€œI have no intention of stopping until we finish what we started and until we see what happens in the next 10 contests and until we resolve Florida and Michigan. And if we donâ€™t resolve it, weâ€™ll resolve it at the convention â€” thatâ€™s what credentials committees are for.Continue reading →
Eric Haas and our friends over at the Rockridge Institute have a great Monday Weekly Workgroup feature that I encourage everybody to investigate. Today the subject is homeschooling, and that’s obviously one that’s going to matter to a lot of folks here. Several of us at S&R either are or were educators and it’s a topic our readers have demonstrated a good deal of concern for, as well.
Walt Whitman once said, “I see great things in baseball. It’s our game, the American game. It will repair our losses and be a blessing to us.” You could look it up. – Annie Savoy
I’ll promise to go easier on drinking and to get to bed earlier, but not for you, fifty thousand dollars, or two-hundred and fifty thousand dollars will I give up women. They’re too much fun. – Babe Ruth
Today is Opening Day for America’s Pastime, and to mark the occasion S&R honors our newest Scrogue, George Herman Ruth. The Bambino. The Sultan of Swat.
Elections in Africa are always precarious affairs. If there is the least sense that, perhaps, the current dictator-for-life will somehow be deprived of power then the citizens will expect change.
If, despite this overwhelming demand for change, the election still goes the way of the incumbent then … well, you get events like Kenya. Previously seemingly stable countries erupt into genocide and horror.
Then we get Zimbabwe. A place that has been unstable and unpleasant almost since independence. Current president-for-life, Robert Mugabe, is responsible for massacres in Matabeleland and causing untold suffering to his people. He has rigged every election since independence. But he is gradually losing control as the economy falls apart (inflation is now 100,000% – everyone is a billionaire).
So, here we stand. The elections took place on the 29th of March. The results were due out this morning. They are not yet out. The opposition parties expect to win. So do the people. If Mugabe still wins, then the chances are that there will be outrage.
However, if Mugabe rigs it outrageously, and his well-paid army takes to the streets … well, things will go on much as they have for the past decade. Unpleasantly.
Mr. Adams’s Last Crusade: John Quincy Adams’s Extraordinary Post-Presidential Life in Congress
by Joseph Wheelan
Fewer families in America have had a greater influence on the country than the Adams family of Quincy, Massachusetts. After all, the family spawned two presidents, Americaâ€™s most influential Founding Mother, a minister to England who helped saved the Union during the Civil War, and a turn-of-the-twentieth-century literary giant.
The family patriarchâ€”Americaâ€™s second president, Johnâ€”has received a lot of attention in the past few years since the publication of David McCulloughâ€™s Pulitzer Prize winning biography. Continue reading →
Appearing weekly, Nota Bene attempts to provide an overview of the week’s news. Meanwhile, in its appendix, we cull trenchant comments to articles and posts, as well as those heard in person or emailed.
In “The Obama Doctrine” at American Prospect, Spencer Ackerman writes: “Obama is offering the most sweeping liberal foreign-policy critique we’ve heard from a serious presidential contender in decades. [He envisions] a doctrine that first ends the politics of fear . . . in favor of ‘dignity promotion,’ to fix the conditions of misery that breed anti-Americanism. ”We want to have [a foreign policy] debate with John McCain,’ a close Obama adviser says.” Continue reading →
Timothy Crouse’s book gave us the overused phrase “boys on the bus.” Now, it seems, the boys (and girls) are being yanked off the bus in droves. Fewer and fewer reporters for the nation’s major dailies are riding the campaign bus and flying on the press plane to regularly cover the remnants of the pre-convention presidential race.
That bodes poorly for both the survival of the print press and the level of political knowledge of the electorate the print press decreasingly serves.
Jacques Steinberg of The New York Times reports that 650 journalists parachuted into Cleveland, Ohio, in February to cover the debate between Sens. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. “But,” Mr. Steinberg writes, “early the next morning, as the two candidates set off for engagements across Ohio and Texas, representatives of only two dozen or so news organizations tagged along.” [emphasis added].
Newspaper managers say they have reasons for pulling the boys off the bus. Continue reading →
During its 36-year run, LIFE Magazine traversed a period of technological innovation and peril unsurpassed in the recorded history of humanity. As the first issue was released in November of 1936, a resurgent Germany was constructing the most awesome war machine the world had yet seen, a development that literally threatened the very future of the hemisphere. LIFEâ€™s final issue went to press at the end of 1972, roughly three weeks after NASAâ€™s last manned mission to the moon, Apollo 17, closed the books on a program that proved — theoretically, at least — that humanity was not inevitably bound to this planet.
The AFL-CIO and its community arm, Working America, just released their 2008 Health Care for America Survey. Most of the 26,419 online respondents are insured, employed, and college graduates — those, the report explains, most likely to react positively to America’s health care system.
But with its pie charts and tables, enhanced by 489 “heart-wrenching stories about the effects of this broken health care system on them and their families,” the report is like a PDF version of Michael Moore’s movie “Sicko.” Of course, it’s to be expected that many of those who took part were prompted by the chance to air their grievances.
I still do not know whom I will vote for as president. That’s because what I wish to know, candidates will not tell me — whom they’ll appoint to office. It is through appointments to judgeships, cabinet posts and other executive branch positions that presidents implement their policies and impress their will upon government and therefore the governed.
Alan Pergament of The Buffalo News, in his review of PBS’ “Bush’s War,” said it well:
At a time in which America is preparing to elect a new president to deal with Bush’s war, it reminded me of something I learned from my college courses in political science: It doesn’t so much matter who becomes president as it matters whom he or she chooses to put in his or her Cabinet. [emphasis added]
Hi folks, and welcome to SVR’s Halloween in March special. Today we’re going to have a look at things that just scare the bejeezus out of us. First up, Tiny Toons. I was never as big a fan of the series as some of my friends, but it did have its moments. The subtle homomegalomaniacism of Pinky & The Brain, for instance, never ceased making me wonder “how the hell did they get that past the censors?” But as the original Warner toons taught us, the best kids’ shows are really aimed at adults, anyway. Continue reading →
As expected, one of the two major Democratic candidates saw a downturn in the latest NBC/WSJ poll, but it’s not the candidate that you think. Hillary Clinton is sporting the lowest personal ratings of the campaign. (emphasis mine)
It’s not the candidate that we think? Is he implying that most people thought Obama would “see a downturn” in your poll? Continue reading →
If it was the Marlins, you wouldnâ€™t see people in Florida getting up at 5 a.m. And if it was the Yankees â€” well, their fans arenâ€™t real. They just buy the hat.
â€” Helio Rocha, a restaurant manager who stayed up all night in anticipation of watching the Red Sox’ Major League Baseball opener (played in Toyko) at 5:30 a.m. in famed Boston watering hole Cask â€™nâ€™ Flagon; March 26.
Adam Smithâ€™s invisible hand has a puppeteer: the Federal Reserve. In case there is any confusion about who was pulling the strings behind the scenes of JPMorgan Chaseâ€™s acquisition of Bear Stearns, the curtain was lifted Monday. By raising its bid â€” with the grudging approval of the Fed â€” to $10 a share, from $2, JPMorgan exposed what had long been whispered about but no one dared to say aloud: the Fed is officially in the deal-making business.
I’ve been hearing some ads lately on sports talk for the Fly Clear program, which allows you to speed through airport security. Seductive message, that – those security lines are a bitch, even now that the TSA has apparently concluded that I’m not a terrorist. It would damned sure be nice to be able to scoot through a special line and be on my way, especially when I’m running late.
Of course, it’s not an uncomplicated issue, is it? These days convenience comes at a price, and the price here is almost certainly even more loss of privacy. So let’s see – how does this work? Ah, here it is, in Step 2: Continue reading →
The results of the latest S&R poll are in. The question was: What should happen to the FL and MI primary delegates?
1: Nothing; the states violated Dem rules (54)
2: Do-over primaries in both states (18)
3: Seat delegates from both (11)
4: Caucuses in both states (6)
Each state should decide for itself (6)
6: Other (4)
Our new poll, which asks about your opinions on popular music, is now posted in the column to the right.
It wasn’t until I was emptying my flat as my cleaning lady took possession of most of my bits and bobs that it really hit home.
The life of a cleaning lady
There are around 15 million South Africans of working age (out of a population of 41 million). Around 8 million have jobs. The rest don’t.
For 2 million uneducated, barely literate women there really is only one choice for earning a living. They clean the homes of the people who do have jobs. These are the cleaning ladies, or “Domestic Workers”. Maids, in other words.
Sometimes they live in and cook and clean and wash. Sometimes they turn up once a week to do some ironing and basic cleaning. They’re not paid much. The minimum Government-mandated wage is less than $1 per hour.
Since most white English-speaking South Africans battle with African names, these women call themselves mundane platitudes, like Beauty, or Faith, or Monica. I think half the cleaning ladies in Cape Town are called Monica. Continue reading →
At The Washington Note yesterday, the estimable Steve Clemons wrote “Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is speaking this morning to Grover Norquist’s weekly powerhouse gathering at Americans for Tax Reform of conservative associations, think tanks, and political operations.” What’s not business as usual about this?
It seems a major Republican operative told Clemons that it was an attempt to “secure her future in Republican politics and to position herself as a ‘potential’ VP candidate on the McCain ticket.” Continue reading →
The universe is destined to die. Some physicists believe that this death will occur as the rate of expansion tears every atom apart. Others believe that the Second Law of Thermodynamics means that, trillions of years into the future, all that will be left is the universal background radiation, after all the suns have burned out and all the black holes have even evaporated. But even before the Big Rip or the heat death of the universe, entropy – the degree of disorder in our own systems – is destined to rule our future. We can struggle against it, and we can even beat it back for a time, but ultimately entropy wins and we die. Our works fall apart. And memory fades.