Nota Bene #43

Link of the Week (as opposed to the Weakest Link):

From American Raj, a new book by Eric Margolis: Abdullah Azzam “ran a dingy little rooming house next to his office for Muslim mujahedin headed for Afghanistan that came to be known as ‘the base’ or ‘the centre,’ and in Arabic, ‘al-Qaida.’ Rarely in history has an international revolutionary movement sprung from such modest origins.” From humble beginnings, a little acorn grows.

From “Reversal of Fortune” by Joseph Stiglitz at Vanity Fair: “We learned from the Depression that markets are not self-adjusting — at least, not in a time frame that matters to living people.” There’s only so long you can put off your retirement because of a down market. 

In a New York Times article on retiring representative Tom Davis (R-Va.), Peter Baker writes: “Davis asked for a list of all 20 bills on the floor [on a recent] day — naming post offices, recognizing the anniversary of Bulgaria’s independence, honoring an old American war sloop. Davis wanted me to have the list. ‘Tell them about the important work we’re doing while Rome burns,’ he said.”

BJ at Newshoggers writes: “For any who have been whining about how it is that Obama hasn’t pulled away in a year that highly favours the Democratic Party, remember that we’re talking about a Black man with an Arabic sounding name in post-9/11 America running against a very popular war hero on top of one of the most effective electoral machines in American political history. The fact that he now has a clear lead is as impressive an accomplishment in politics as I’ve ever seen in my admittedly short adult life.”

Arianna Huffington: “Watching Biden and Palin on the same stage was like watching a tennis champion walk onto Centre Court at Wimbledon only to find himself facing an over-eager amateur from the local high school.”

Kevin Drum at Mother Jones: “I’ll be honest: I genuinely didn’t understand about 50% of what Sarah Palin said. She pretty overtly didn’t even pretend to address a lot of Ifill’s questions — probably because she couldn’t — and a lot of her filibustering ended up sounding like random strings of phrases from the Hockey-Mom-o-Bot 3000.” Best Sarah Palin Alias Ever.

Time magazine’s Joe Klein on the debate: “Her relentless opacity was impressive. … The fact that Palin made it through the debate without running off the stage shouting, ‘I can’t do this!’ should not obscure the fact that there was only one person tonight whom anyone with any sense — even John McCain, I imagine — would trust as President.”

In a Christian Science Monitor article, “What It’s Like to Debate Sara Palin,” Andrew Halcro, who ran against her in 2006, writes of a post-debate meeting with Palin, in which she said: “Andrew, I watch you at these debates with no notes, no papers, and yet when asked questions, you spout off facts, figures, and policies, and I’m amazed. But then I look out into the audience and I ask myself, ‘Does any of this really matter?'”

Jim Lobe of IPS News on the Indian nuke deal: “‘This is a nonproliferation disaster,’ said Daryl Kimball, the executive director of the Washington-based Arms Control Association (ACA), who noted that it effectively exempts India from the global nonproliferation regime and will likely ‘promote further nuclear competition with Pakistan.'” On the part of India, that is.

Dean Baker at Talking Point Memo on The Great Bail-Out of 2008: “But hey, if the scare story helps get the bailout passed — and gets those uneducated skeptics in the hinterlands to buy it — why not talk about the Great Depression? I was on a talk show today in which one of the other guests (a representative of the security industry trade group) told listeners that you can’t get a mortgage unless you put 30-40 percent down. This is of course total garbage (the interest rate on 30-year fixed rate mortgages is a very low 6.0 percent) and the vast majority of loans are being made with 10-20 percent down, but lying for Wall Street is no sin.”

Ezra Klein at the American Prospect: “McCain has managed to build a health care plan that’s a bad deal from a medical standpoint, an insurance standpoint, a cost standpoint, and a tax standpoint. Even insurers don’t really win, because patient dissatisfaction with the individual market will almost certainly hasten real reforms. It is, as far as I can tell, a lose-lose-lose-lose-lose health care plan. A rare feat.”

Dr. Atul Gawonde asked Elizabeth Edwards about how she gets people to listen to her health care message when they only want to ask about her marriage. “She then reached into her shirt, pulled a slip of paper from beneath her right bra-strap, and read a quotation from Gawande’s first book, ‘Complications: A Surgeon’s Notes on an Imperfect Science’: ‘We are all, whatever we do, in the hands of flawed human beings. The fact is hard to stare in the face. But it is inescapable.'”

Andy Borowitz: “At the University of Minnesota’s School of Law, professor Davis Logsdon said there is ‘a valuable lesson to be learned’ from Mr. Simpson’s conviction: ‘Apparently, in America it’s easier to get away with murder than stealing sports memorabilia.'” More wisdom from the master parodist.


In his si.com column, Monday Morning Quarterback, Peter King quote former New York Giants quarterback Phil Simms on the subject of retirement: “Just when no defense could ever throw anything at me to confuse me, it was time to retire.”

Terrell Being Terrell

This section replaces, at least for this week, “Manny Being Manny.” Here’s Calvin Watkins at the Dallas Morning News:Terrell Owens’ frustration with the Dallas Cowboys offense carried over from the field to the locker room Sunday. Owens, despite having 18 passes thrown his way in the loss to Washington, had what was deemed a serious conversation about the offense with quarterback Tony Romo after the game, according to multiple sources. The types of routes and throws are what concerns Owens, the sources said.” [Emphasis added.] Owens goes beyond the complaint some receivers voice about the quantity of passes thrown his way to the quality. Wait, didn’t we already see this movie when Jeff Garcia was throwing to him on the San Francisco 49ers?

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