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Thursday, February 5, 2009
A Small, Good Thing, With Apologies to Raymond Carver
A modest but important note to the refreshingly frank assessment by President Obama in the Tom Daschle fiasco that, "I screwed up." Obama didn't say, "Mistakes were made," the favorite dodge of errant leaders who hope the passive verb somehow thrusts the burden of the crime to an amorphous, distant other. He said, "I screwed up." It's a distinction that E.B. White would love; the rest of us can at least acknowledge that it matters, and it's a start toward accountability.
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Wednesday, February 4, 2009
Not Change: Is Obama's Rightwing Pick for Commerce Secretary Corrupt Too?
From Mark Nickolas' excellent blog : Yesterday, President Obama nominated Sen. Judd Gregg (R-NH) as his Commerce secretary. Many Democrats and some Republicans aren't thrilled by the pick. For Democrats, Gregg's record in the Senate shows a strong conservative philosophy that is destined to clash with labor and side with big business... There is another very good reason to be concerned about Obama's decision to bring Gregg into his administration. That involves questions about his actions as a Senate appropriations chairman in 2005 that involve some of his homeland security related donors.
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Tuesday, February 3, 2009
Next Up For the Kids: Their Own Little Guantanamo Play Set. Tasers Optional.
From the Surreal Adventures in Capitalism Department comes Playmobil's Security Check Point ($62), where kids can learn about racial profiling, metal detectors, full-body searches, questionable abridgments of civil rights and other pleasures of our so-called war on terror. This toy is real. The customer reviews, a collective, hilarious holler of protest, are the best part. Read all about it here
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Daschle Withdraws Nomination for HHS Job
AP is reporting: WASHINGTON - Tom Daschle has withdrawn his nomination to be Health and Human Services secretary. Obama said Tuesday he accepted the withdrawal "with sadness and regret." Daschle has been battling for his nomination since it was disclosed he failed to pay more than $120,000 in taxes.
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Surprise! Beer Sells, Gay Rights Don't
In the wake of California's passage of Proposition 8 banning same-sex marriage, that state's GetToKnowUsFirst.org has taken to the airwaves with a series of ads aimed at garnering understanding of and support for gay marriage – or at least they had, until Super Sunday. Having run five, 30-second Public Service Announcements (PSA) featuring gay and lesbian families throughout the state during the presidential inauguration, the California group found that their proposed ad, scheduled to run during the Super Bowl, had been rejected by the National Football League. According to KNBC, their local affiliate, the NFL turned down the ad because it excluded "advocacy" ads during the day-long programming. Lo and behold, group members were surprised, while watching the game, to see a number of such ads, including those for TobaccoFreeCA and DontBeAnAsterisk.org, an anti-steroids campaign. The rejected ad shows two married African-American men raising five children; their evidently dangerous message is, "Marriage promotes family." To see their message, get more information, protest or donate, go here
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Send the Negotiators, Bring the Troops Home
Given the alarming signs of escalating U.S. involvement in Afghanistan – Obama's talk of increased troops, the recent bombings of mountainous border areas of Pakistan – the possibility of a political, not military solution to Afghanistan seems to slip further and further away. Progressive Democrats of America – "Healthcare NOT Warfare" – urges us not to let it. Why is there almost no discussion in Congress about finding a political solution? Tell them we need it here
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Monday, February 2, 2009
Oops, Changed My Mind, But I Might Not Recall Much...
Karl Rove now says he will cooperate with prosecutor Nora Dannehy's probe of the Bush Administration's firings of U.S. attorneys in 2006, Rove's attorney tells TPMmuckraker here
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Reject 'Lemon Socialism': Obama Should Nationalize Bailed Out Banks
A growing chorus of economists are urging Obama to reject 'lemon socialism' - where losses are socialized; profits privatized. Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman adds his voice today: “If taxpayers are footing the bill for rescuing the banks, why shouldn’t they get ownership, at least until private buyers can be found? But the Obama administration appears to be tying itself in knots to avoid this outcome.”
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The (Changing) Color of Our Skins
Here at the dawn of the Obama era, NPR gives us an interesting look at race, which turns out to be far more mutable that many thought. An anthropologist from Penn State finds that 100 or so generations ago, "almost all of us were in a different place and we had a different color." For more, click here
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Super Ambivalent
What a thrill. What a travesty. So much grace and drama and prowess. So much hype and dross and excess. Our childlike wonder in the face of spectacle is endearing. Our gullibility and skewed value system is appalling, borderline sinful. And Bruce! What a showman! What a sell-out! The giddy overkill of the Super Bowl, this year even more than others, inspires...mixed feelings. Moral outrage is helped along, though, by the unusually scurrilous behavior of corporate America. How much good could be done with the $3 million per beer ad they spent? Ask a food bank.
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