Open Thread

Never Again

It’s almost here. And it’s almost over. The New Dawn to replace the Interminable Darkness. Barack Obama- the holder of our hopes and vision for a better world is about to replace the Greatest Embarrassment that democracy has ever dealt up: the devastatingly moronic George W. Bush – twice elected and twice given the power to wreak untold havoc on this small planet of ours.

Never Again.

Never Again must we allow the politics of inertia to lull us into a stupor or sense of helplessness that has allowed the violations of all the tenets of justice and freedom that the so-called Developed World have the responsibility both to uphold and to encourage those with less resources and fewer opportunities.

Never Again must we stand by and allow our leaders to take us into the darkness that has led to the death of hundreds and hundreds of thousands of innocents through war, environmental assault, and sheer indifference and neglect.

And Never Again must we allow ourselves to become so culpable in the loss of what we are so privileged to have in our lives – freedom, the right to choose our government, and the responsibility to do so wisely and with a broad vision for all.

Welcome Obama – we are watching you with bated breath, and we will stand beside you when you falter if we know that you are at times understandably overwhelmed by the enormity of what you face, but that you are continuing to try and face the immeasurable responsibility you have been handed.

And George Bush… may you rot in hell.
You should have had the decency to just admit that you were never up to the task.

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239 replies on “Never Again”

Jen, hope President Obama rises to the occasion at a time when his country and our planet are in clear and present danger of experiencing major upheaval.

“And George Bush… may you rot in hell.”

No argument here, comrade. And “Never Again” forevermore let it be.

The political/media establishment isn’t desperately and unanimously fighting against the idea of investigations and prosecutions (Bush, Cheney et. al.) because they believe there was nothing done that was so bad. They’re fighting so desperately precisely because they know there was, and they know they bear much of the culpability for it. They fear disruptions to their own comforts and prerogatives if any more light is shined on what happened. The consensus mantra that the only thing that matters is to “make sure it never happens again” is simply the standard cry of every criminal desperate for absolution: I promise not to do it again if you don’t punish me this time. And the prevailing Orwellian Beltway battle-cry — look to the future, not the past! — is what all political power systems instruct their subjects when they want to flush their own crimes down the memory hole.
Thurs Jan 16:;_ylt=A0WTUe60QG9JH1gAOQIDwLAF

Thurs Jan 15:;_ylt=AqHVweGvLmIq4ZXclIk9C9bb.sgF

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always interesting to read what was posted after a few large chardies unleashes some passion 😉

I’m with you Jen.

Never again? I agree we need to work towards that but I fear to hope for it. I suspect a lot of the Vietnam protesters might have thought “never again” and would have been despondent to see the outcomes of W’s administration.

Truth is the internet has come along enormously since 2000 – the media has changed – and hopefully that will be a key factor in ensuring our governments are properly held to account.

But it’s also about how we vote – and it seems to me that many (most?) will still vote for their hip pocket despite injustices, incompetence and inequity.

However, I think it’s undeniable that the election of Obama is an important and a significant step forward.

I’ve got the day off on Wednesday. I’ll be watching with the tissues near by.

Onya, Jen- my sentiments exactly!!
Woke up this morning to the horror news on the BBC that the Israelis destroyed all the emergency food supplies when they attacked the UN headquarters yesterday.
How the hell are the Palestinian people going to survive now?
Bush would have given a nod and a wink to Olmert to go for it.
Makes me absolutely sick.
Despite his publicly-stated best wishes for Obama, he has certainly sown plenty of political and financial landmines to make life as difficult as possible for Obi.
My lights will be on in the wee hours on Wed morning- wouldn’t miss it for quids!

I think one way we can help is by setting people straight whenever some asshole tries to rewrite history. Like Gerard Henderson on the ABC the other day who said that it was generally accepted in the run up to the Iraq war that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction – he indicated that the Coalition of the Willing acted on the evidence available, which we all know is complete b.s.

I found this via Daily Kos – it’s a great summary of Bush’s 8 long, terrible years. (I gave up on inserting the url links.)

He took the nation to a war of choice under false pretenses — and left troops in harm’s way on two fields of battle. He embraced torture as an interrogation tactic and turned the world’s champion of human dignity into an outlaw nation and international pariah. He watched with detachment as a major American city went under water. He was ostensibly at the helm as the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression took hold. He went from being the most popular to the most disappointing president, having squandered a unique opportunity to unite the country and even the world behind a shared agenda after Sept. 11. He set a new precedent for avoiding the general public in favor of screened audiences and seemed to occupy an alternate reality. He took his own political party from seeming permanent majority status to where it is today. And he deliberately politicized the federal government, circumvented the traditional policymaking process, ignored expert advice and suppressed dissent, leaving behind a broken government.

Things are certainly going to be challenging for Obama. But I think that in all likelihood he will come at those challenges from the correct perspective, rather than having his views distorted by ideology or too much indebtedness to various groups.

He will be a huge improvement over Bush, but that is not saying much. I think that we are going to have to effectively dump such comparisons in order to give Obama his proper due. While a pessimist, I am actually optimistic that Obama can make significant headway on two issues, health and education, during his two terms in office. (I am not optimistic on global warming and I am certainly not optimistic on Israel/Palestine, for example …)

Health and education are means by which it will be possible to transform America. Talk of a permanent Democratic majority or a permanent Republican majority will become irrelevant when the US has a permanent thinking majority ….

Political Wire.

Obama Still Snubbing the NYT?

Michael Calderone notes President-elect Obama has not given an interview to the New York Times since winning the election in November. A new pool report indicates it’s clearly starting to bother some of the newspaper’s reporters:

After three and a half hours at his transition office, PEOTUS Obama took another 6 minute ride through Washington, arriving at 1:57 pm at the nondescript soviet-style building at 15th and L street that houses the Washington Post.

What’s this all about? Anyone know?

Continued on Political Wire


Boehner on stimulus: ‘Oh. My. God’.

It’s on. The $825 billion stimulus package unveiled by Democrats this morning has Republicans literally speechless.

“Oh. My. God,” said a stuttering Minority Leader John Boehner moments ago at a news conference. He was reacting after having just read the provisions outlined by Democrats today.

$1 billion for community development block grants. $650 million for digital TV coupons. Billions for universities.

Boehner says that much of it isn’t going to do anything to help the economy in the short term. He says the approach by Democrats is to “clean out every dime from the taxpayer,” and that the nation can’t “borrow and spend it’s way to prosperity.”

The Republicans really have no idea.

continued on MSNBC

Billions for universities. Excellent. 🙂 However, they really need to push a lot of money lower down. The massive boost to US science and technology in the lat 60s, 70s and early 80s was a direct result of vastly increased spending in primary schools and high schools across the country in a response to Sputnik.

The Elephant in the Room: McCain may be Obama’s secret weapon.

A desire by both men to secure their places in history might forge an unlikely pairing.
I have been to New York, Los Angeles, Philadelphia and Washington in recent weeks. In those cities, at least, you cannot watch the news, pass street vendors selling T-shirts, or browse magazine racks at the grocery store and not feel good about our next president, his family, and our nation’s future.

There is an air of something big, something grand, something electric about to explode upon us. Barack Obama’s visage is everywhere. His relaxed and reassuring – even beatific – smile is omnipresent. So are his irrepressibly cute girls and their together mom.

It seems less like a run-up to an inauguration than like a publicity campaign for the latest Hollywood blockbuster. Instead of on billboards, bus sides, and TV and Web ads, the Obama: The Movie glitz comes to us in news reports, magazines, daily papers, and network news shows. It’s all part of what certainly will be the longest, most hyped media promotion of an agenda in history.

A very interesting turn of events. It’s very welcome and handy if its true.

continued in The Philadelphia Enquirer


Obama gets first major win with TARP.

Not yet in the White House but working the phones as if he were, Barack Obama won a crucial Senate vote Thursday clearing the release of $350 billion more in bailout funds from the Treasury Department’s controversial financial rescue program.

For the incoming president, the 52-42 roll call represented his first major test of strength, and he threw himself into the fight this week, reaching out to both sides of aisle and making close to a dozen phone calls, many targeted at Democratic freshmen who won with his help in November.

The Senate victory came even as House Democrats unveiled their $825 billion two-year economic recovery plan — the next big plank for Obama and one he will speak to in industrial Ohio Friday. Five days before his inaugural, the twin events underscored how much he is already driving the nation’s economic policy agenda.

continued on Politico


House Dems push $825B recovery plan.

House Democrats unveiled an estimated $825 billion two-year economic recovery plan Thursday that includes $275 billion in new tax cuts and more than $300 billion in state and local aid channeled chiefly through health and education programs.

House Appropriations Committee Chairman David Obey said his panel will take up the measure as early as Wednesday, just a day after Barack Obama’s inauguration. And the Wisconsin Democrat wants it to be on the House floor the following week as part of a tightly scripted schedule aimed at sending Obama a final bill by Feb. 15th.

“Speed is a necessity,” Obey told reporters. And as big as the bill is, Obey said he still worries that it “may undershoot” the challenge facing the U.S. economy. This is not “salvation,” he said, but without action, unemployment could rise to 12% and Congress would be courting an “economic catastrophe.”

Republicans suggested the greater danger was the level of spending in the bill itself. “Oh, my God,” Minority Leader John Boehner (R- Ohio) told reporters in a hastily called press conference. “I can’t tell you how shocked I am at what I’m seeing.”

continuted on Politico

$30 billion for highway construction doesn’t seem much. The upgrade of the Monash Freeway is 1.3 billion. How far will $30 billion go in the USA?

The Hill.
Seven states, abortion-rights groups sue over ‘conscience’.

The attorneys general of Connecticut and six other states filed suit in federal court Thursday seeking to block the implementation of a controversial Bush administration rule they say would limit women’s access to contraceptives.

Though Obama and the Democratic Congress have regulatory and legislative means at their disposal, the courts could act more swiftly to block the regulation, which is set to take effect on Jan. 20, the day Obama will be inaugurated as president.

continued on The Hill

Huffington Post is reporting that Nancy Pelosi is meeting today with the Egyptian ambassador to push for a ceasefire between Hamas and Israel in Gaza. Meanwhile The Gardian is reporting that the Pentagon has suspended a munitions delivery to Israel on the grounds that they believe it would be used by Israel in Gaza.

On the historic transition from the imbecilic POTUS to one who posses an intellect and style, what more can be said except that democracy is always capable of producing the worst as well as the best? That such a shallow excuse of a human being could be elected twice is testament to the inherent gullibility of the masses and how complacent they were about their government.

But the pendulum swings, as does the wrecking the ball, and after 8 years of Bush and cronies swinging the latter, it’s time for a big swing of the former.

20 Kirribilli Removals Excellent idea, KR. I suspect there will be a large number of Neocons that will become a recipient of this boycott. As quite a number of Neocons are Jewish. Which means they will be very stubborn to reasonable negotiations.

21 Kirribilli Removals Fortunately they seem to have learn’t from this. I was always surprised by the people (in Australia) who were sucked into supporting Bush.

Washington Post.

Kids’ Concert Has Lots of Stars, but No Tickets for Public.

And the hitmakers keep coming. Young pop phenoms Miley Cyrus, the Jonas Brothers and Demi Lovato have signed on to play at a Kids’ Inaugural concert Monday evening at Verizon Center, the Presidential Inaugural Committee announced yesterday.

That’s good news for Malia and Sasha Obama — their father says they are fans of the Disney Channel hit series “Hannah Montana,” starring Cyrus — but other parents should dampen their tweens’ excitement. Although the concert was previously announced as a free event with tickets required, it evidently won’t be open to the screaming masses.

The inaugural committee is handling ticket distribution, and “they have told us to tell callers that no general public tickets are available,” said Sheila Francis, Verizon Center’s publicity director.

The committee would not comment on ticketing details. But it appears that only preselected groups — mainly military families — will be invited. The concert, to be hosted by Michelle Obama and Jill Biden, will be broadcast live on the Disney Channel from 8 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.

may need to be registered.

continued on the Washington Post

Meanwhile the rest of the world continues.

The Parliament.

UK Socialist group elects new EU parliament leader.

Glenis Willmott has been chosen as the new leader of Britain’s Socialist MEP delegation.

She replaces Gary Titley, who is not standing in June’s European elections, with immediate effect. He held the post for the past six years.

Willmott, who represents the east Midlands, said: “I feel privileged to have been elected to lead the party. Europe has such an important part to play in making our everyday lives better and we have already achieved so much by working together.

“It is an honour to take the helm and help build on those achievements in the run-up to the European elections in June and beyond.”

continued on The Parliament

Even the suggestion that the US would stop the flow of arms to Israel must be causing a lot of angst behind the scenes in both Washington and Tel Aviv.
It’s perhaps the most positive sign yet, that the new US administration is a different sort of beast. Let’s hope so!
Thanks for that Kirri.
I don’t suppose it will do much to stop the slaughter
But it will certainly make me feel better and just that little bit less powerless.
An interesting article on the history of Hamas here.

Just once, and possibly only ever once, the Doofus in Chief gets it right:

“This is a moment of hope and pride for our whole nation. And I join all Americans in offering best wishes to President-elect Obama, his wife Michelle, and their two beautiful girls.”

It’s also a moment of utter relief that this tawdry excuse for a ‘leader’ and the awful crew he empowered for eight years is going too.

But let’s not accept this “I kept America safe from another attack” meme to take hold…it’s a travesty of logic and a denial of the real decline in America’s standing in the world. Bush most certainly did not hold America’s reputation safe from near universal opprobrium. He did not keep safe their financial system, and he most certainly did not keep safe the citizens of New Orleans. He did not keep safe their Constitution, nor their obligations under the Geneva Convention.

He did, however, empower their enemies and piss off most of their friends.

911 was like being struck by lightning, a very low probability event with an infinitesimally small chance of occurring twice. So to claim, like Bush is now, that his ‘great achievement’ was to keep America safe from another attack because, hey, you know, another one did not happen, is like claiming your lucky rabbit’s foot kept you safe from being struck from lightning a second time.

Yeah, right, but what about the first time? He probably won’t talk about that too much.

Catrina Says: Seems that GWB just wanted to say one more last goodbye.

Good grief!! Thank God I had a large bucket beside me while watching that. Utterly vomit inducing.

Meanwhile….Crikey has put up some comparison speeches for departing presidents.

Bill Clinton – Farewell Address

Ronald Regan-Farewell Address

Richard Nixon – Remarks on Departure from the White House

Eisenhower on the Military Industrial Complex

Washington Post.

Malia Obama to Dad: Speech ‘Better Be Good’.

President-elect Barack Obama made a surprise appearance on a conference call with major donors to his Presidential Inaugural Committee today, sharing a fun little outing he had with his girls the other night.

First, Obama thanked everyone for relinquishing their cash in such hard times to help fund his historic five-day celebration. Despite the dismal economy and the super heightened security that will force celebrants at his inauguration –even top donors — outside for many hours on end Tuesday morning, Obama told everyone on the call to stay focused on “havin’ some fun, making history.”

may need to be registered.
continued on the Washington Post.

Consortium News.

Outgoing CIA Director Michael Hayden is going around town telling folks he has warned President-elect Barack Obama “personally and forcefully” that if Obama authorizes an investigation into controversial activities like waterboarding, “no one in Langley will ever take a risk again.”

continued on Consortium News.

CQ Politics.

Conscious of 2010 Election, Specter May Get Tough During Holder Hearing.

When Eric H. Holder Jr.’s confirmation hearing to be attorney general begins Thursday in the Senate Judiciary Committee, he can expect the toughest questions to come from ranking Republican Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania.

Taking the lead in questioning Holder makes political sense for Specter, who is likely to face yet another Republican primary challenger in 2010 when he runs for a sixth term, Pennsylvania political experts say.

continued on CQ Politics

Thoughts on the Hudson ditching:

First heard about it on ABC News, RN, 9AM SEQ. The announcer read that “a terrorist attack had be ruled out at this stage, as the plane had hit a flock of large birds”.

Kid you not, although have heard no mention of a possible terrorist connection to the ditching in bulletins or online since.

The part that really got me (in Huffy) was the report of Captain “Sully” twice checking the evacuated plane, all 150 survived, before getting himself out.

Trouble is, leaders with this kind of courage and integrity are pretty thin on the groud. To witness the deeds of such a commander– humanity bouyant on the Hudson–was poignant to the max when juxtaposed against a narcissistic, cowardly C-I-C like Bush The Imbecile.

Ecky –
the only reason it wasn’t a terrorist attack (and who really knows where those birds were trained) was because George is still at the helm keeping them safe :vomit:

They were Al Qaeda trained suicide geese. Meant to explode on impact, but failed to detonate.

If you could choose a guy to be in charge of a plane on a crash landing, he is the man. An F4 Phantom Pilot previously. Years of experience, but here’s the clincher, a very good glider pilot. which would have helped to no end in the landing. Some of the best pilots in World War II were glider pilots first. Particularly the Germans.

Barack Obama inauguration inspires Chicago area schools

Historic event inspires lessons, celebrations.

While area children prepare for the presidential inauguration with lessons in civics, history—even oration—1st graders at Ivy Hall Elementary School in Buffalo Grove are learning the waltz.

The children are having their own inaugural ball on Tuesday, complete with formalwear, a piano accompanist and “fancy finger foods,” said teacher-turned-party planner Lu Auer. Partisanship has taken a back seat to political history and etiquette as students learn patriotic songs, study history and write letters to Barack Obama.

“We’ve talked about who is the new president . . . although I had one boy that just didn’t get it and thought it was George Clooney,” Auer said.

Educators are trained to look for the “teachable moment,” when students’ natural interests open them to learning about a topic. They say that Obama’s race, socioeconomic background and strong ties to Chicago make him particularly interesting to students.

continued in The Chicago Tribune.

Some good environmental news out of America for a change.

Senate votes to expand wilderness protections.

The Senate on Thursday voted to set aside more than 2 million acres in nine states as protected wilderness and allow Alaska to build an airport access road through a wildlife refuge.

The 73-21 vote moves Congress closer to one of the largest expansions of wilderness protection in the past 25 years. The legislation heads to the House, where approval is expected.

The measure would confer the government’s highest level of protection on land ranging from California’s Sierra Nevada mountain range to Oregon’s Mount Hood, Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado and parts of the Jefferson National Forest in Virginia.

The bill also would let Alaska construct the road through the Izembek National Wildlife Refuge. Critics call the project a “road to nowhere.” Supporters say the road is needed for residents of a remote village on the Bering Sea who now use a hovercraft to reach an airport and hospital.

Environmentalists lamented the Alaska road, but said the overall good done by the bill far outweighs any negative effects of the road. Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) the bill’s chief opponent, said it was a land grab that would lock up acreage that could be used for future development such as oil and gas drilling.

continued on AJC

Arianna says it like it is:
“He was wrong about Iraq and Saddam and WMD. He was wrong to take his eye off the ball on Afghanistan. He was wrong about tax cuts being the answer to our economic woes. He was wrong about Wall Street being able to regulate itself. He was wrong about Katrina. He was wrong about torture. He was wrong about extraordinary rendition. He was wrong about warrantless wiretapping. He was wrong about Gitmo. Wrong, wrong, wrong.

The speech was spin at its most dangerous. It’s easy to feel a pang of pity for a guy who was on top so long and is now heading out the door. But the more sympathy he evokes, the more susceptible we are to the lies he is telling. Before we know it, his revisionism becomes accepted as the truth.

So if there was any value in the speech it was this: it should remind us of the importance of refusing to allow this delusional revisionism to stand.”


Fri Jan 16:;_ylt=AqmmQAR0GJ1eVtVux8dZbUPV.i8C

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Springfield, VA, USA.

Pity about Richo. He came out strongly as a Super-Delegate for Obama at Easter which was a blow for HRC as Richardson had been in her corner prior. Carville memorably called Bill R. a “Judas” on Good Friday. Richo delivered his home State of N.M. and helped turn muchos Hispanics to vote for Bazza in the big one.
As mentioned before, don’t believe the other two are exactly inspired choices.

Fri Jan 16:;_ylt=A0WTUeXET3BJuhkBgQYDwLAF

chris @39
“We’ve talked about who is the new president . . . although I had one boy that just didn’t get it and thought it was George Clooney,”

so know where he is coming from :mrgreen:

Ah jen. You women are all the same. Think with your…………………. photographic memory.

Really a very good article in New Matilda, thanks Paddy.

As I watched the SBS doco tonight on Churchill’s bodyguard, as they wandered the desert of Sinai with TE Lawrence and dropped in to Gaza and Jerusalem it all seemed so surreal and pre-ordained that the British would never understand what was going on, and never really care even if they did. There was a telling contrast between Thompson (the bodyguard, Scotland yard) and T E Lawrence: whenever Thompson described the hostile Arab mobs they encountered in Egypt, he described them as ‘maniacs’ or the like, yet Lawrence, who spoke Arabic fluently and had brought them together to overthrow the Ottomans, was revered almost like a god. Lawrence spoke and the crowds literally parted like the Red Sea!

Needless to say, we know which attitude towards the Arabs ultimately prevailed, much to Lawrence’s shame, and eventually, even ours.

Ever wondered what the real numbers look like? Then read this, and remember that the Great Depression had numbers only a bit higher:

The monthly unemployment report is prepared by the Bureau of Labor Statistics . It reveals that the number of unemployed has climbed over the past year by 3.6 million to 11.1 million, but the real numbers are much worse when looking through the government sugar-coating in these reports. As The Wall Street Journal explains it: “While the official unemployment rate is 7.2%, a different figure that includes discouraged workers who have dropped out of the labor force and those working part-time because they can’t find full-time work hit 13.5% in December. That was nearly a full percentage point higher than in the previous month and up from 8.7% at the end of 2007.”

While a 13.5% unemployment rate is shocking, the truth is even worse because the WSJ is still relying upon government reports. To get the unadorned picture, we need to turn to private economists, and I reply upon the work of John Williams of Shadow Government Statistics , who presents in his latest report the true picture of the dire unemployment situation: “During the Clinton Administration, ‘discouraged workers’ those had given up looking for a job because there were no jobs to be had were redefined so as to be counted only if they had been ‘discouraged’ for less than a year. This time qualification defined away the bulk of the discouraged workers. Adding them back into the total unemployed, actual unemployment, as estimated by the SGS-Alternate Unemployment Measure, rose to 17.5% in December from 16.6% in November.”

…pretty soon you can ask: “are we there yet?”

“The Most Ridiculous Speech of All” , his final insult to the world.
The imbecile continued creating and believing his own reality, a walking avatar.
” Bush had the gall to smile down on a man from New Orleans, who had heroically worked to dig out from his city-annihilating failures during Katrina. He had the gall to smile down on a soldier, who suffered the torments of Iraq duty because of him. He had the gall to smile down on a man whose son was killed in Iraq. He had the gall. It was astonishing.”

(My preferred version of ‘farewell’ would be -,
“….may the door REALLY hit ya where the Good Lord split ya!” )

Kirri – those figures make much more sense. even here if you have one hour a week paid work you are not counted in the unemployment figures!!
Megan – when Bush said that while the rest of the world moved on after 9/11 but he hadn’t I nearly gaged. he honestly took it as his personal crusade – never mind the families of the dead: i assume they didn’t just “move on”. What a Fucking tool.
Let the investigations and prosecutions begin- and DavidG. you may think this is a pipe dream but there are a lot of damaged people out there who are looking for justice – vengeance even- and some of them are in powerful positions, and some will have the ear of the new president. We don’t even know the real extent of the corruption and illegality of what this lot did – they have kept it covered, but there are people who do know. The whistleblowers will start to sing soon.


It’s over: Bush staffers make exits.

The president will be the president until 12 noon Tuesday, but most of his employees will be gone by the close of business Friday.

They’ll turn in their BlackBerrys, laptops, building passes and gym keys.

And by the time the weekend is out — before the new administration can reverse course on waterboarding or SCHIP or anything else — teams of painters and carpet cleaners will have wiped away any hint that they ever set foot in the White House.

“Every day, I see the inaugural stands going up and bleacher seats going in,” said Anita McBride, chief of staff to first lady Laura Bush, whose office overlooks the north grounds. “So as you’re busy packing up boxes and packing to leave, you’re seeing the physical structures there to celebrate incoming administration.”

Not until the lunatic is in the asylum.

continued on Politico

CQ Politics
Pelosi Quietly Lines Up Her Young Lieutenants.

Rep. Chris Van Hollen of Maryland, the top House Democratic election strategist, got a phone call from Speaker Nancy Pelosi in November, soon after he hinted that he might step down after a single term as chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

By the next day, Van Hollen had reversed course. During a long chat, the two discussed efforts to hold on to the Democratic majority and to keep younger members motivated in their support of her agenda in the 111th Congress.

With few openings on the leadership tree, the Speaker has looked for creative ways to woo, cajole and reward members whom she needs to be players on her team.

Pelosi’s quiet offensive to keep members by her side rather than follow in the footsteps of, say, Rep. Hilda L. Solis of California, the choice for Labor secretary, has yielded a handful of triumphs. They include the decision by Van Hollen, 50, to remain at the DCCC, rather than vie for another post in the leadership or on a committee.

continued on CQ Politics

Yes, Jen. It is a pipedream – and more so because of the type of administration that Obama is going to run. He is going to look to the future, not the past, as he does not want the battles of the previous administration to drag his administration into the dirt in any way.

So, while there may well be private prosecutions and civil actions launched, there will be nothing at the official level. And those private court cases will get nowhere, as we have already seen.


Obama tries to seduce Republicans.

It’s no secret Barack Obama is trying to seduce Republicans these days. But his conservative courting runs much deeper and wider than is publicly known.

Obama has had meetings with his former opponent John McCain, GOP congressional leaders and some of the country’s leading conservative commentators. He’s also honoring McCain and Colin Powell in high-profile pre-inaugural dinners, where Obama is expected to toast the Republicans.

Behind the scenes, Obama and his team are working just as hard, courting prominent Republicans and conservatives through frequent phone calls, e-mails and private sit-downs.

continued on Politico

Vale John Mortimer, sworn enemy of wowsers, wankers most pompous and self appointed control freaks whose obsession is to crush any public expression of the human spirit. (unless of course, they have approved it beforehand)

Screenplay by John Mortimer:

“Mortimer was called to the Bar in 1948, at the age of 25. His early career consisted of testamentary and divorce work, but on taking silk in 1966 he began to undertake work in criminal law.[3] His highest profile though was in cases relating to censorship.
He had already been junior defence counsel in the prosecution of Lady Chatterley’s Lover, but in 1968 he successfully defended publishers John Calder and Marion Boyars in their appeal against their conviction for publishing Hubert Selby, Jr.’s Last Exit to Brooklyn.[3] Mortimer fulfilled the same role, this time unsuccessfully, for Richard Handyside, English publisher of The Little Red Schoolbook three years later.[3]
Mortimer was defence counsel at the Oz “conspiracy” trial later in 1971. In 1976 he defended Gay News editor Denis Lemon (Whitehouse v. Lemon) for the publication of James Kirkup’s “The Love that Dares to Speak its Name” against charges of Blasphemous libel; Lemon was convicted with a suspended prison sentence. His defence of Virgin Records in the 1977 obscenity hearing for their use of the word bollocks in the title of the Sex Pistols album Never Mind The Bollocks, and the manager of the Nottingham branch of the Virgin record shop chain for the record’s display in a window and its sale, led to the defendants being found not guilty”

“The defence lawyer(at the Oz magazine obscenity trial), John Mortimer QC announced at the opening of the trial in 1971 that “[the] case stands at the crossroads of our liberty, at the boundaries of our freedom to think and draw and write what we please” (The Times: 24 June 1971). For the defence, this specifically concerned the treatment of dissent and dissenters, about the control of ideas and suppressing the messages of social resistance communicated by OZ in issue #28.”

STOP PRESS: Just four more days, Freedom Lovers, till the The Imbecile leaves the building.
D.C. Removals (a Delaware domiciled subsidiary of downunder parent company, Kirribilli Removals, which also provides its services in Europe as Kirribilli Demanagements) have a crew of expertly trained operatives standing-by with unrestrained relish and a comprehensive exit strategy.

The Hill.

Potential Dem candidates flood Fla. Senate race.

Florida Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink’s (D) decision not to run for the state’s open Senate seat has, as expected, opened the floodgates to potential Democratic nominees.

Sink was seen as the only potential field-clearer in the race, so her decision to run for reelection gave would-be candidates the go-ahead to make their ambitions known.

State Sen. Dan Gelber was quick to say that he will enter the race soon.

Gelber told the St. Petersburg Times that he “was prepared to fully support Alex, had she chosen the U.S. Senate seat as her next step in public life, and it is now my hope to share the ballot with her in 2010 …”

“Given this morning’s news, I expect to officially enter the race in the coming weeks,” he concluded.

In a statement, Rep. Allen Boyd (D-Fla.) also promised a decision very soon.

The more candidates the better chance of a higher quality candidate emerging. Which is in the interests of having a long term Democrat Government.

continued in The Hill


Bush’s Final Approval Rating: 22 Percent.

President Bush will leave office as one of the most unpopular departing presidents in history, according to a new CBS News/New York Times poll showing Mr. Bush’s final approval rating at 22 percent.

Seventy-three percent say they disapprove of the way Mr. Bush has handled his job as president over the last eight years.

Mr. Bush’s final approval rating is the lowest final rating for an outgoing president since Gallup began asking about presidential approval more than 70 years ago.

The rating is far below the final ratings of recent two-term presidents Bill Clinton and Ronald Reagan, who both ended their terms with a 68 percent approval rating, according to CBS News polling.

Recent one term presidents also had higher ratings than Mr. Bush. His father George H.W. Bush had an end-of-term rating of 54 percent, while Jimmy Carter’s rating was 44 percent.

Harry Truman had previously had the lowest end-of-term approval at 32 percent, as measured by Gallup.

continued on CBS News

Just in case I am not clear. I do not like George Bush one little bit.

He is a Fcukn R Sole.

David – it is simply not possible to look to the future without learning from the past. It can’t just be ignored – as much as we might want past horrors to go away. It is how we learn, and Obama is no fool – moving forward must involve addressing past wrongs – not just burying them.

CBS News.

Millions will descend on the nation’s capitol over the long weekend and stick around for the historic swearing in of Barack Obama. And while they press for a glimpse of history, tens of millions more will log onto news sites, picture sharing sites, social media sites and anything else to vicariously take part in this moment of American history.

The citizen journalists providing that content (and the pros for that matter) will face a unique set of challenges on the Mall in Washington as history plays out.

Considering CBS has asked people to take an inauguration picture and send it to them. This is going to be one hell of an overloaded network. Maybe this could be the start of up grading the network.

continued on CBS News

61 jen, spot on. If they don’t the Republicans will come back to haunt them. The financial crisis will happen again. It’s obvious they do not understand what they did wrong. They also think they did nothing wrong. But then that’s the advantage of being a Neocon.

Jen, Paul Krugman agrees most vehemently:

Meanwhile, about Mr. Obama: while it’s probably in his short-term political interests to forgive and forget, next week he’s going to swear to “preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States.” That’s not a conditional oath to be honored only when it’s convenient.

And to protect and defend the Constitution, a president must do more than obey the Constitution himself; he must hold those who violate the Constitution accountable. So Mr. Obama should reconsider his apparent decision to let the previous administration get away with crime. Consequences aside, that’s not a decision he has the right to make.

NY Times

He argues, very cogently, that the long list of Bush’s crimes were but an extension of the Iran Contra style of ‘doing things’, which of course his old man ‘excused’ by pardoning the perpetrators. So to do it again would be an even bigger crime.

He’s got a good argument there.

The Wall Street Journal

Obama’s Stimulus Plan Includes $6 Billion for Broadband.

The $825 billion proposal from the Obama transition team and House Democrats includes $6 billion to improve the U.S. broadband infrastructure, which is lacking in many rural and mountainous areas, particularly the West.

There aren’t a lot of details yet on how that $6 billion would be given out, but it doesn’t seem to encompass the tax breaks phone and cable companies were lobbying for. Even so, the wireless industry was cheering Thursday morning because a summary of the spending released by House Democrats calls for the money to be used on “broadband and wireless grants.”

Wireless companies were concerned that the money would be earmarked for cable and phone companies providing fiber to the home.

On Wednesday, an Obama adviser who’s been in charge of the broadband stimulus package indicated that industry and tech expectations about the broadband part of the package had gotten a bit out of control.

“The broadband piece of the Obama agenda is not going to be done solely in the economic recovery package,” said Blair Levin, a telecom analyst and former FCC chief of staff who’s been advising the campaign on how to structure its broadband plan. He was speaking at a tech conference on Capitol Hill.

It’s interesting to note how fast Obama is in getting things moving on broadband. Obama is not in power yet and things are moving fast. Compare with Kevin Rudd. Twelve months later and still nothing to show. I wonder if anything will be done before the election?

continued on the Wall Street Journal

Board Odds:

Obama Cliche Betting:
What will Obama say first in his first Presidential Address?
8/1 Change has come

12/1 As I stand here today

12/1 Fundamental belief

12/1 Defining moment

12/1 God Bless America

14/1 Let me be clear

14/1 War on terror

14/1 Politics of hope

14/1 Common purpose

16/1 Crossroads of history

16/1 I have a dream

16/1 Pursuit of happiness

16/1 I’m fired up

16/1 Building a better America

18/1 My civil liberties

18/1 Same old politics

18/1 Core Values

18/1 Hungry for change

18/1 It won’t be easy

20/1 Honour for me

20/1 Safe from harm

20/1 Don’t get me wrong

20/1 Decent shot at life

20/1 They said this day would never come

25/1 There are better days ahead

25/1 Challenges that face us

25/1 Make Washington work

25/1 Hard to believe

25/1 We cannot lose hope

25/1 We can be one people

25/1 We’ll have to make hard choices

25/1 Make college more affordable

33/1 For far too long

33/1 Beacon of freedom

33/1 All men are created equal

33/1 Faith in simple Dreams

33/1 Jobs to the jobless

33/1 In the words of JF Kennedy

33/1 All of them with a story to tell

33/1 Divided, we are bound to fail

33/1 Where North, South, East and West come together

33/1 Washington has a long way to go

33/1 Reshapes our economy

33/1 Let us transform this nation

40/1 Homes to the homeless

40/1 A new direction

40/1 Deepest Gratitude

40/1 We all made this journey for a reason

40/1 There is power in words

40/1 There is power in conviction.

40/1 Willing to listen to each other

40/1 We can work together to keep our country safe

50/1 Abiding Faith

50/1 Possibilities of this Nation

50/1 Greatness of our nation

50/1 Believe in what this country can be

50/1 In the face of despair, you believe there can be hope

50/1 Unity is the great need of the hour

50/1 Serve as a model for the world

50/1 The vehicle, of your hopes, and your dreams

66/1 Legacy of our forbearers

66/1 Doors of opportunity

66/1 Brighter day will come

66/1 Where I learned the meaning of my Christian faith

66/1 Disagree without being disagreeable

66/1 Let us be the generation that begins that work

80/1 Diversity if my heritage

80/1 Promise of future generations

80/1 Overcome the adversity

80/1 We have more work to do

100/1 Forgive your enemies, but never forget their names

100/1 An eye for eye only ends up making the whole world blind

250/1 Let’s get ready to rumble

250/1 Life is like a box of chocolates

500/1 Always bet on black!

1000/1 Yo, Mofos, The Jig is up!

from HuffPo, mostly.


All the (First) Ladies in the (White) House Say ‘Gay’.

Soon-to-be First Lady Michelle Obama turns 45 this weekend, and you have to say her husband’s given her a hell of a birthday present. Michelle’s no-nonsense style, grace, commitment to being a mother and fist-bumping skills have already put her in the running for the title of coolest First Lady since Jackie-O. And the gays? We love her.

First Ladies have always had a special relationship with the gay & lesbian community, and it’s more than just a love of pill box hats and pearls that connect them to us; many have spoken out or reflected on our issues, even while their husband’s sit silently by.

As Michelle prepares to take on the conflicting roles of a non-political figure of state, advocate for do-good causes and mother, she’s probably looking back at previous women who’ve held the position and trying to figure out just what sort of First Lady she’d like to be. We have a hunch that Mrs. O will reshape the office as much as her husband is likely to remake his, but if she’s going to have any chance of becoming a popular drag queen role, she’s going to have to make her mark. Let’s take a look at the nice old white biddies who have come before her and see how they did it.

continued on Queerty

Out in the Real world life goes on….

EU Business.

EU hits Microsoft with fresh antitrust charges over web browser.

The European Commission opened a new front on Friday in its epic antitrust battle with Microsoft, hitting the US software giant with fresh charges of unfairly squashing competition.

In a move that could lead to huge new fines, Europe’s top antitrust wachdog accused Microsoft of crushing rivals by bundling its Internet Explorer web browser into its ubiquitous Windows personal computer operating system

“Microsoft’s tying of Internet Explorer to the Windows operating system harms competition between web browsers, undermines product innovation and ultimately reduces consumer choice,” Europe’s top antitrust watchdog said in a statement.

“The commission is concerned that through the tying, Microsoft shields Internet Explorer from head to head competition with other browsers which is detrimental to the pace of product innovation and to the quality of products which consumers ultimately obtain,” it said.

Microsoft has eight weeks to respond to the charges and can request an oral hearing to state its defence.

But if the company cannot sway the commission, then the commission could slap hefty fines on Microsoft and order it to change its ways.

Maybe they will force them to let you choose which browser to use. This will eventually help the quality of web pages.
continued on EU Business

oops – SNAP!
and You Betcha! – (dontcha just miss Sarah??)
God – it will be so boring without Bush, Palin, Howard and all the other reasons I had to get out of bed and start raging at the world every single day. I’ll have to remarry.

sounds like he has a case of wishful thinking to me Kirri. – there’d be a lot of nervous americans out there I reckon, including some journalisits.

Speaking of cop outs, Kirri,

Between Obama’s hype and the pageantry, lies reality:

That’s why every American who isn’t a financial industry executive should be nervous………..

Amid paeans to “new politics,” we’re watching old-school paybacks from a politician who raised more Wall Street dough than any other — a president-to-be whose inauguration festivities are being underwritten by the very bankers who are benefiting from the bailout largesse. Safely distanced from electoral pressure, Obama has appointed conservative economists to top White House positions; floated a tax cut for banks; and is now trying to preserve corporate welfare that almost exclusively benefits the political donor class.

I’ve got a spooky feeling you’re right Jen. 🙂
I particularly enjoyed the pundit’s parting shot.

It’s over. It’s done. It is, yes, finally, history. Yet we can’t just bury this presidency alive in the cold, cold ground and have a picnic on the earth above it, joyously toasting as it screams and claws and tries to get free before it inhales dirt, gags, vomits, and dies horribly, not knowing why it deserved such an awful fate. No, alas, no.

Because the reason I will unreasonably hate this man, these men, these women, as human beings, and not just for ideologies and actions, is because neither I nor most of you will live to see the day that all their hurt is healed.

Glenn Greenwald

Prior commitments prevent me from writing much until later this afternoon, so I wanted to post the two-part video of a shockingly balanced, candid and informed discussion of the Israeli war in Gaza and of the U.S.’s self-destructively one-sided policy towards Israel that actually took place yesterday on a major American television outlet yesterday. Numerous people emailed and commented about this segment, which was part of MSNBC’s Morning Joe show [it’s safe and worthwhile to watch because Scarborough himself was entirely absent …..

Perhaps it takes a highly-telegenic, American-born Jordanian monarch for America’s cable networks to include these views, though it does seem, for a variety of reasons, that the taboo against discussing these matters is eroding slowly though substantially:

Even more amazing……Watching the clips on this link, I found myself agreeing with Pat Buchanan!!!
My head’s still spinning!!! 🙂

re 88. Whew!! After watching the second link to the discussion Morning Joe, Pat Buchanan redeemed his reputation and reverted to type.
I was beginning to think someone had put a tablet of “hope and change” in his morning cup of bile. 👿

Ecky, we’ve let the DC crew start delivering a dose of reality to the Whitehouse a bit early, but we’re still struggling to pack away the years of lies, deceit, half-truths, propaganda and gallons of Presidential dribble. We’re not sure we can get it all shifted on time! LOL

There was an excellent Frontline doco on Obama on SBS last night, entitled “Dreams of Obama”.

It gave me more of a sense of his long held ambition – it seems like each step he took as an adult deliberately built credentials for some position of power and influence.

He was also no pushover – a long term Illinois state senator by the name of Alice Palmer decided she wanted to run for congress and offered Obama the state senator position. Palmer got whipped in the congress election by Jesse Jackson Jnr and wanted to run again for her senate seat – so she and some pretty important people in the party, including African Americans asked Obama to step aside and wait a bit, especially since she had effectively handed him this opportunity in the first place. He’d already started campaigning and didn’t want to pull out. Then Obama had his staff check the signatures on the petitions lodged by Palmer for her candidacy, and also those of any other opponents for the seat, and had them all knocked out on some technicality that I didn’t quite understand from the show. Obama won with no opponents. So this man can be ruthless – I’m not surprised.

The other thing I really got a sense of was the strict pecking order in the national congress – and just how junior Obama was considered to be. As a junior, he would speak last on committee hearings and have to watch his tongue for fear of contradicting or outshining more senior senators. He played that game. It struck me that Hillary and McCain had to be utterly astonished that he would even run for the presidency, let alone beat them.

Anyhoo, great doco.

Re my pecking order comment above – it should have been the national senate, not the congress.

65% of Americans believe Obama will be an above average president.
I will go further and say barring any unseen disaster with his presidency. Obama will be the best president the USA have ever had.

Katie Lou – you do get the sense that under his fairly affable and pleasant manner there is a steely determination.
He is going to need to be quite literally one of the srongest humans alive in our time to deal with the exraordinary mess we face.

93 KatieLou

It struck me that Hillary and McCain had to be utterly astonished that he would even run for the presidency, let alone beat them.

They did not understand the power of the Internet.
Anyone from now on who underestimates or ignores the Internet will get thrashed in any election. It is an extremely powerful tool. The Internet will only become far more powerful under Obama. Hence his urgency to quickly put billions into the Internet. Unlike our Kevin.

Not Your Father’s Republican Party?

Diversity and inclusion have become key buzz words in Republican circles as the beleaguered party looks to bounce back from resounding defeats in Congress and the White House.

ABC News

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