Daily Archives: Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Tom Waits interviewed on CBC long time ago

Love the CBC interviewer.  Signal question that arises…what drug?


Handmade music

John Hinderaker of Powerline

Lawyer and rightwing blogger Hinderaker proves a consistent source of amusement for a lot of us.   You can get some of the skinny on the fellow at  wikipedia

A day or two ago, Obama mispronounced “Orion”.  Here’s Hinderaker’s comment:

Everyone knows that Barack Obama is lost without his teleprompter, but his latest blunder, courtesy of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, via the Corner, suggests that the teleprompter may not be enough unless it includes phonetic spellings. [Obama apparently mispronounced the name of the company “Orion”]

So evidently we have to add astronomy to history and economics as subjects of which Obama is remarkably ignorant. I’m beginning to fear that our President has below-average knowledge of the world. Not for a President, but for a middle-aged American.

Yes.  And it’s typical actually.  But for the kicker, this is what he wrote previously about George W. Bush:

It must be very strange to be President Bush. A man of extraordinary vision and brilliance approaching to genius, he can’t get anyone to notice. He is like a great painter or musician who is ahead of his time, and who unveils one masterpiece after another to a reception that, when not bored, is hostile.

And he seems to believe what he is writing.  Here’s commentary from Anonymous Liberal about Hinderaker and the surprisingly large number of folks like him:

The alternative universe that these folks manage to create for themselves is really quite something to behold. In their world, a man who was the editor-in-chief of the Harvard Law Review and a constitutional law professor at a top law school is some sort of empty suit who is incapable of thinking or expressing a coherent thought without a teleprompter. A man who spent much of his childhood in Indonesia, has travelled extensively overseas, and who, by all accounts, is an avid student of foreign policy is some kind of ignoramus who knows nothing about the world.

But a man who was notorious for his struggles with the English language, who achieved everything in his life by virtue of his last name, a man who admittedly had no interest in foreign policy and had traveled nowhere prior to becoming president . . . that guy is worldly beyond measure, a “man of extraordinary vision and brilliance approaching to genius.”

What’s really sad is that Hinderaker is not alone in this belief. If you read the right wing blogs, it’s just an accepted fact that Obama is a moron. It’s as if they think that if they say it over and over again, it will somehow catch on with the public at large. The problem with this meme, of course, is that it’s so easily disproven. No one who watched Obama give his hour long prime time press conference last month–where he gave lengthy professorial answers to every question asked–would entertain for even a moment the suggestion that he is stupid or unknowledgeable or incapable of speaking without a teleprompter. The right wing blogosphere might as well be trying to convince the public that Obama is white.

But in the up-is-down world of the right wing echo chamber, anything goes, no matter how dumb.

h/t Andrew Sullivan

Matt Tabibi – “The Big Takeover”


Everyone has been citing (and raving about) Tabibi’s recent piece on the economic crisis.  Having myself now read it, I’m joining the chorus.  But it is not a happy story.  It’s here.

For god’s sake, Israel, get your fucking house in order

The Guardian has compiled detailed evidence of alleged war crimes committed by Israel during the 23-day offensive in the Gaza Strip earlier this year, involving the use of Palestinian children as human shields and the targeting of medics and hospitals.

A month-long investigation also obtained evidence of civilians being hit by fire from unmanned drone aircraft said to be so accurate that their operators can tell the colour of the clothes worn by a target.

The testimonies form the basis of three Guardian films which add weight to calls this week for a full inquiry into the events surrounding Operation Cast Lead, which was aimed at Hamas but left about 1,400 Palestinians dead, including more than 300 children.

The Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) refused to respond directly to the allegations made against its troops, but issued statements denying the charges and insisted international law had been observed.

continue here

Update: this editorial from Ha’aretz is, contrary to the above, thoughtful and sane

It is clearly in Israel’s interest to halt Iran’s nuclear program, but it is no less in our interests to have close ties and a coordinated policy with the United States. The new government should give Obama’s diplomatic initiative a chance; it must not come out against it or portray it as tacit acceptance of a nuclear-armed Iran or as American abandonment of Israel’s security.

The initial reaction in Iran to Obama's message was far from enthusiastic, but this is just the beginning of the dialogue. If Obama manages to reduce the rising tide of tension in the region and to introduce a new framework of dialogue and cooperation between nations, he will have made an important contribution to Israel's security and to its international standing. This is the approach that should guide Netanyahu when he holds his first meeting with President Obama at the White House.

full editorial here

A hopeful direction and a possible opportunity

After the most expensive campaign cycle in U.S. history, a bipartisan group of lawmakers will introduce legislation this week to create an ambitious voluntary public campaign financing system that would ban contributions from lobbyists and place strict limits on other sources of campaign cash.
Under the proposed overhaul of campaign finance law, candidates would be prohibited from accepting donations from registered federal lobbyists but would receive public matching money for contributions from people in their communities. Advocates of the “Fair Elections Now” measure said the system would weaken the predominance of special interests in politics.
Bipartisan challenge to campaign finance