Monday Reads

Good Morning!! It’s the beginning of another week and, despite the impending holidays, there is quite a bit of news.

Six U.S. soldiers were killed by a bomb in Afghanistan yesterday.

Six U.S. soldiers were killed and more than a dozen U.S. and Afghan troops were wounded Sunday when a van packed with explosives was detonated at a new jointly operated outpost in southern Afghanistan.

The soldiers were inside a mud-walled building near the village of Sangsar, north of the Arghandab River, when the bomber drove up to one of the walls and exploded his charge.

The explosion blasted a hole in the thick wall, causing the roof to collapse on the soldiers inside. Others quickly arrived and clawed and pulled at the waist-deep rubble to free the buried troops.

[….]

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the bombing. “We have killed numbers of Americans and Afghan soldiers and wrecked and ruined their security check post,” a Taliban spokesman, Qari Yousuf Ahmadi, said by phone. “We will carry out similar attacks in the future.”

USA Today: Taliban small arms attacks nearly double

U.S. forces have encountered more than 18,000 attacks this year from Taliban fighters armed with automatic weapons, rocket-propelled grenades and in some cases missiles, according to data from the Pentagon. That compares with about 10,600 such attacks in 2009.

But supposedly, that’s a good sign.

Army Capt. Ryan Donald, a military spokesman in Kabul, said the rise is a result of bringing “the fight to them.”

Donald said coalition troops have been on the offensive in an attempt to dislodge Taliban forces from their strongholds in southern Afghanistan and in the east along the mountainous border with Pakistan.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates visited the top commander in Afghanistan, Gen. David Petraeus, this week to assess the situation.

More hard fighting remains, Gates said.

“This is tough terrain, and this is a tough fight,” Gates said. “But as Gen. Petraeus has said, we are breaking the momentum of the enemy, and we will reverse that momentum in partnering with the Afghans and will make this a better place for them, so they can take over, and we can all go home. It will be awhile, and we’ll suffer tougher losses as we go.”

More from the Globe and Mail:

Barack Obama’s high-risk war wager that sent tens of thousands of U.S. troops surging into Afghanistan is showing signs of success, U.S. officials say. The raging Taliban insurgency is being defeated, but foreign troops are still years away from heading for the exit.

“Our joint efforts are paying off,” said Robert Gates, U.S. Secretary of Defence and the only cabinet secretary kept on by Mr. Obama from the former Bush administration. “[I’m] convinced that our strategy is working and that we will be able to achieve key goals set out by President Barack Obama last year.”

Hey, we’re years away from exiting this endless war, so how is that success? I just don’t get the point of all this violence and death.

In another of Obama’s battles–this one to give more money to the rich–David Axelrod claims the Democrats in Congress will go along with the con game.

White House adviser David Axelrod said the administration expects House Democrats, including Speaker Nancy Pelosi, to back the compromise tax package negotiated by President Barack Obama and the Republicans.

“At the end of the day no one wants to see taxes go up for 150 million Americans on January 1st,” Axelrod said on CNN’s “State of the Union” program. “This framework represents a compromise that both sides can accept and we can’t change it in major ways and expect that this thing is going to pass.”

So the rich will get richer and the old and the disabled with pay the price.

At Huffpo, former Obama believer Robert Kuttner writes about the “coming cave-in” of Social Security.

If you think the Democratic base is mad at Obama now for making a craven deal with Republicans that continues tax breaks for the richest Americans and adds new ones for their heirs through a big cut in the estate tax, just wait a few weeks until Obama caves on Social Security.

A few weeks?!

…Obama has created a kind of pincer attack on Social Security. One arm is the deficit commission, which has created the blueprint. The other is the tax-cut deal, which increases the deficit, adding to the artificial hysteria that Social Security is going broke. Meanwhile, the right is playing a very cute game, congratulating Obama for the deal….

When the right congratulates Obama for winning, you know he is losing. For starters, the proposed compromise isn’t much of an economic stimulus. If the deal passes Congress, taxpayers will be paying the same income tax rates in 2011 and 2012 as in 2010. No stimulus there.

The only real stimulus is the temporary cut in Social Security taxes, the extension of unemployment insurance plus a few minor tax breaks for regular people, totaling about $200 billion. That’s a little more than one percent of a $15 trillion economy. Pretty puny, certainly a lot smaller than the inadequate stimulus of February 2009 when the recession was only beginning to deepen.

Except for the extension of unemployment insurance, which should be done out of common decency, most of the “stimulus” is pure Republican ideology — stimulate the economy by cutting taxes.

Folks, the only thing standing between us and economic disaster for the majority of Americans is the weak-kneed Democrats in Congress. Nancy Pelosi needs to come through this time.

Robert Reich thinks lots of people are going to be to beat down and discouraged to drag themselves to the polls and vote in 2012.

In the 2010 midterm elections Democrats suffered from a so-called “enthusiasm gap.”

If Dems agree to the tax plan just negotiated by the White House with Republican leaders, they’ll face a “why-should-I-get-up-out-of-my-chair” gap that will make 2010’s Dem enthusiasm seem like a pep rally by comparison.

It’s a $70,000 gift for every millionaire, financed by a gigantic hole in the federal budget that will put on the cutting board education, infrastructure, and everything else most other Americans need and want.

“Why should I get out of my chair” in 2012, he asks.

Here are a couple of interesting stories about the potential effects of Wikileaks on the corporate media.

Dakinikat sent me this link: ‘The Fourth Estate is dead,’ former CIA analyst declares

Ray McGovern, of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity, told Raw Story in an exclusive interview. “The Fourth Estate in his country has been captured by government and corporations, the military-industrial complex, the intelligence apparatus. Captive! So, there is no Fourth Estate.”

[….]

McGovern, a CIA analyst for 27 years, whose duties included preparing and briefing the President’s Daily Brief and chairing National Intelligence Estimates, said that he preferred to focus on the First Amendment battle of WikiLeaks’ founder Julian Assange than on the current “cyber war” in which WikiLeaks is embroiled.

McGovern said that modern people can now become informed through what he termed “The Fifth Estate.”

“Luckily, there is a Fifth Estate,” he said. “The Fifth Estate exists in the ether. It’s not susceptible of government, of corporations, or advertisers or military control. It’s free. That is very dangerous to people who like to make secrets and to make secret operational things. It’s a huge threat. And the Empire – the Goliath here – is being threatened by a slingshot in the form of a computer and a stone through these emissions thrown into the ether to our own computers.”

And there’s this story at The New York Times: WikiLeaks Taps Power of the Press

In July, WikiLeaks began what amounted to a partnership with mainstream media organizations, including The New York Times, by giving them an early look at the so-called Afghan War Diary, a strategy that resulted in extensive reporting on the implications of the secret documents.

Then in October, the heretofore classified mother lode of 250,000 United States diplomatic cables that describe tensions across the globe was shared by WikiLeaks with Le Monde, El Pais, The Guardian and Der Spiegel. (The Guardian shared documents with The New York Times.) The result was huge: many articles have come out since, many of them deep dives into the implications of the trove of documents.

Notice that with each successive release, WikiLeaks has become more strategic and has been rewarded with deeper, more extensive coverage of its revelations. It’s a long walk from WikiLeaks’s origins as a user-edited site held in common to something more akin to a traditional model of publishing, but seems to be in keeping with its manifesto to deliver documents with “maximum possible impact.”

Julian Assange, WikiLeaks’s founder and guiding spirit, apparently began to understand that scarcity, not ubiquity, drives coverage of events. Instead of just pulling back the blankets for all to see, he began to limit the disclosures to those who would add value through presentation, editing and additional reporting. In a sense, Mr. Assange, a former programmer, leveraged the processing power of the news media to build a story and present it in comprehensible ways. (Of course, as someone who draws a paycheck from a mainstream journalism outfit, it may be no surprise that I continue to see durable value in what we do even amid the journalistic jujitsu WikiLeaks introduces.)

A new site for leaks, “Open Leaks” is supposed to debut today. It was formed by some disgruntled Wickileaks employees. Is it possible that we are really seeing a way to combat the power of the corporate media and force them to respond to the needs of ordinary Americans or become obsolete?

Media professor Douglas Rushkoff says the Internet “was never free or open and never will be.”

Secrets outlet WikiLeaks’ continuing struggle to remain online in the face of corporate and government censorship is a striking example of something few truly realize: that the Internet is not and never has been democratically controlled, a media studies professor commented to Raw Story.

“[T]he stuff that goes on on the Internet does not go on because the authorties can’t stop it,” Douglas Rushkoff, author of Program or be Programmed: Ten Commands for a Digital Age and Life, Inc.: How Corporatism Conquered the World and How to Take it Back”, said. “It goes on because the authorities are choosing what to stop and what not to stop.”

Rushkoff told Raw Story that the authorities have the ability to quash cyber dissent due to the Internet’s original design, as a top-down, authoritarian device with a centralized indexing system.

Essentially, all one needs to halt a rogue site is to delete its address from the domain name system registry.

Rushkoff says if we really want a free internet we’ll have to build it ourselves.

Here’s a great story: a blogger at NPR asked a question about the 1969 moon landing, and Neil Armstrong himself responded with a lengthy e-mail.

In yesterday’s post, I talked about Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin’s walk across the lunar surface back in 1969 and wondered, how come they walked such a modest distance? Less than a hundred yards from their lander?

Today Neil Armstrong wrote in to say, here are the reasons:

It was really, really hot on the moon, 200 degrees Fahrenheit. We needed protection.

We were wearing new-fangled, water-cooled uniforms and didn’t know how long the coolant would last.

We didn’t know how far we could go in our space suits.

NASA wanted us to conduct our experiments in front of a fixed camera.

We [meaning Neil] cheated just a little, and very briefly bounded off to take pictures of some interesting bedrock.

But basically, he says, we were part of a team and we were team players on a perilous, one-of-a-kind journey. Improvisation was not really an option.

You can read the entire e-mail at the link.

I know everyone has already seen this nutty op-ed by Ishmael Reed: What Progressives Don’t Understand About Obama. I just want to call attention to one strange comment that Reed made in the piece:

…I read a response to an essay I had written about Mark Twain that appeared in “A New Literary History of America.” One of the country’s leading critics, who writes for a prominent progressive blog, called the essay “rowdy,” which I interpreted to mean “lack of deportment.” Perhaps this was because I cited “Huckleberry Finn” to show that some white women managed household slaves, a departure from the revisionist theory that sees Scarlett O’Hara as some kind of feminist martyr.

WTF?! Scarlett O’Hara, a feminist? Let’s see, she wore corsets and spent most of her time flirting with boys. She disliked other women and used men to get what she wanted. What could possibly make her a feminist? Believe it or not, I found a journal article on the subject. You can download the entire article in PDF form if you’re interested. The author, J. M. Spanbauer, describes Scarlett as:

…at best irritating, and at worst, despicable: a character who embodies all of the negative stereotypes attributed to women throughout history. She is narcissistic, shallow, dishonest, manipulative, amoral, and completely lacking in any capacity for self-reflection and for analysis of the emotional and psychological responses of others.

That’s a feminist? The article is an interesting analysis of the roles of women in Scarlett’s time and ours, and why many women still find Scarlet’s fascinating. Read it if you want to know more. I still don’t see how anyone could make a case for Scarlett as a feminist though, any more than I can agree with Ishmael Reed that the reason Obama can’t fight for any principle is that he’s black and black men can’t get angry without threatening white people. Reed should stick to poetry, because he doesn’t understand politics. Obama wouldn’t need to get angry to stand for something. He could be cool as a cucumber and still veto the tax cut extension for the super-rich.

Sooooo… what are you reading this morning?


36 Comments on “Monday Reads”

  1. cwaltz says:

    I posted it on the last thread. They’re preemtively caving in the House according to Van Hollen.

    Everyone needs to call his and Nancy’s office and we need to start making a scorecard to see which of our members are deadweight and unable to represent us.

  2. Linda C says:

    Social Security is being threatened. In a dec 6 press conference Obama reported that social security was originally for widows and orphans. Therefore, Obama has in in the cards to effectively cripple social security. He is already trying to re-write history and then gut the funding.

    • Woman Voter says:

      Here is why:

      washingtonpost The Washington Post
      by OpenSecretsDC
      Obama’s reelection campaign could hit billion-dollar mark http://wapo.st/efo4SE

      His base is Millionaires and Billionaires that want any retirement money to go into Wall Street where they can once again ROB US CLEAN, while they keep their bonuses and their wealth.

      So, the idea of a primary challenger is shoring up Billions to make sure he is elected again to KILL SOCIAL SECURITY. Hope and Change is the only thing we are going to be left with once they loot Social Security and Medicare.

  3. TheRock says:

    Good Morning all! The night shift is finally coming to an end and my bed is calling me – loudly. I was lucky enough to jump over to John Smart’s site (if this link has been posted, please forgive me). Anyone that wants to know why I try to sign all my posts with Hillary 2012, just watch this video. THERE IS NO ONE ELSE ELIGIBLE FOR THE POSITION MORE QUALIFIED OR BETTER SUITED FOR THE POSITION OF POTUS. The world would be a much darker place without her (and the Big Dawg of course, in it). Screw the Dem elites. Screw the progs. Screw the GOP.

    http://www.cnn.com/2010/OPINION/12/12/clinton.empower.girls/index.html?eref=rss_topstories&utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+rss%2Fcnn_topstories+%28RSS%3A+Top+Stories%29

    Hillary 2012

  4. Pat Johnson says:

    May as well say it: we are pretty much in the grip of the GOP for the next two years and possibly beyond.

    We will see the privatization of just about everything. The Bush tax cuts will become permanent and “budget cuts” will be made at the expense of the least of us while deregulation will become the norm in most industries. The unnecessary wars will continue with more dead and injured being brought home and our financial security will be in the hands of the wealthiest 2%.

    Religous fervor and references will become part and parcel of most legislation, women’s rights will be further diluted, DADT will continue in place, stem cell research abandoned, and education will decline even more so.

    Since the Dems will be considered the “minority party” come January, there will be fewer voices of outrage to be heard.

    Obama is just a rubber stamp for all the nefariousness of Bush and it we will be hard pressed to support or endorse this man should he decide to make a run in 2012.

    We are on the precipice of wiping out every social program that has aided the middle class and are firmly in the grip of a GOP who has made no secret of ridding us of the government intervention we have come to rely upon in times of stress.

    You get what you pay for and we are paying a high price for our lack of attention in consistently voting these morons into office despite the fact that it is against our better interests. Forget what is wrong with Kansas. What is wrong with us?

    • cwaltz says:

      Sigh.

      I wish I could say that I believe you’re wrong. Sadly, many of our country’s citizens are going to suffer because people forgot that democracy demands sacrifice. Not just going and pulling a lever every 2 years but everyday asking what is your government doing on your behalf.

      Worse I’m pretty positive we’re looking at least a lost decade, not just 2 years plus the 4 that will likely ensue following Obama’s failed Presidency. It may take decades to regain what is lost and I don’t even see a leader on the horizon who brings us to the new “New Deal”

      • bostonboomer says:

        I think I’ll probably be gone before this turns around. I just hope the world won’t be too bad for the young children in my family.

  5. paper doll says:

    Hey, we’re years away from exiting this endless war, so how is that success? I just don’t get the point of all this violence and death

    That’s cause you don’t work for Haliburton….Vand D are great for the bottom line

    Folks, the only thing standing between us and economic disaster for the majority of Americans is the weak-kneed Democrats in Congress. Nancy Pelosi needs to come through this time.

    Then we are soooo f-ed. The Dems only made a fuss this time because they were keep out of the smoke filled back rooms. THAT was the betrayal as far as they were concerned…not the continuation of Bush tax cuts . Except for the senator from VT…but they allowed him his moment and now business as usual

    yes a few weeks on the social security…why wait? They want it all done on Obama’s watch …..so chop chop! ( no pun inteanded) .

    Now we know why Hillary fought so hard

  6. Peg says:

    Having not seen the movie, I read Gone With the Wind for the 1st time in the 1980s; and I was surprised by my reaction to the Scarlett O’Hara character. I thought she developed into a strong, independent woman who discovered that she didn’t need a man to deal with the war’s devastation to her property and financial future. She may have used men, but she had to; she may have been selfish, but I’m not aware that feminism requires altruism.

    It’s been so long since I read it, I can’t remember details; and I didn’t read the article with the pompous title (sorry) you cited. Read without the Hollywood glamor background, I think the character comes off a lot different than I, certainly, expected. JMHO : )

    • Fannie says:

      Obama and many others are re-writing history, women are once again being sent to the back of the book.

      As was done back then is being done now, reshaping the boundries of women.
      We saw it in the 2008 election. Just as kin were pitted against kin in the civil war, they are pitting women against women in the 21st century. Lest we forget, it was Now magazine that gave us the cover “this is what a feminist looks like” Obama.

      Hollywood protrayed Scarlett as the beautiful woman, and 150 years later
      comes Sarah Palin, and both are painted as lacking harmony in the times they live, and both showing disregard for the feminine standards of behavior that seems to be set in stone by masculine authority.

      As was then, we still have a low regard when it comes to women and their behaviors, and their roles. After all, true womanhood is about purity, is about domesticity. Women cannot become the masters, women cannot become the
      President, and women cannot become the elders or the pope of the church. Can’t do that.

      Women were not politicans, were not ministers, lawyers, doctors, judges, and very few were clerks. They were domestics. When Reed says that women managed the slaves, he forgets they were governed much the same way that the
      blacks were. They were considered inferior just as the slaves were.

      When the women lost their families to war, to disease, they developed strongbacks, and leather looking faces from working the fields. They muscled up,
      and many white women shared bread with black women, who like them were starving to death.

      • bostonboomer says:

        Fannie,

        Yes, I agree. Margaret Mitchell apparently wrote many times that she disliked Scarlett and had intended her book to focus on Melanie. But she said Scarlett just took over the story somehow.

        I’m guessing that Mitchell may have idealized Melanie, but put some of herself into Scarlett–perhaps a part of her that she felt ambiguous about? But there is no doubt that Scarlett’s courage in the face of danger and hardship, her refusal to cowtow to men, and to other women in her society who tried to control her, made her somewhat of a role model for women who read the book.

        The truth is that in the South in the 1800’s, women had almost no rights. They were rich and privileged only if they were attached to a rich and privileged man–father or husband.

        Today, we are still fighting many of these old battles for our rights. Scarlett could only have reproductive freedom by avoiding sex. Look what’s happening today. Republicans, and even Democrats like Bart Stupak and Barack Obama, want to force us back into the days when women had no control over their own bodies.

    • bostonboomer says:

      Peg,

      I think the things you mentioned are the reasons why many women are attracted to the character of Scarlett. She developed independence and she learned she could live just fine without a man.

      The article I cited discussed two aspects of women’s lives in Scarlett’s time: One aspect is that Scarlett came from a privileged family that were rich because of slave labor. But as a woman, Scarlett also was discriminated against in that women were not allowed to own property–in fact they were considered the property of men.

      One of the issues discussed in the article was Scarlett’s aversion to sex and her fear of pregnancy. She famously said that all women get from sex is “a passel of brats.” But the author points out that in those days, she had reason to fear pregnancy–just as women fear unplanned pregnancies today.

      I loved Gone With the Wind as a young girl, and I did identify with Scarlett’s ability to survive and to stand up for herself. As I got older, I realized that the picture of what happened in the South was very distorted in Margaret Mitchell’s book.

      So these questions are very complicated. I think the author of the article was trying to make the case that Scarlett (and other women in that time) was dealing with a complex situation in which women were both put on a pedestal and horribly discriminated against.

      The author also argued that much of this is still true today, and for that reason women still identify with Scarlett as a women who fought back against injustice as she saw it and refused to be under the thumb of a man.

      I hope I’m making sense here….

      • Fannie says:

        I hear what you are saying BB………let’s not forget that gambling was illegal and sinful back then. Bring it forth today, the lottery, & gambling casinos, and online casinos have made a comeback that is truly destructive in our society.
        Thousands taking their hard earned money and hoping for a bit hit.

        Not all women giving birth back then had midwives, millions had no one to help,
        there were no hospitals, no help birthing for those first time mothers.

        Reed was making the case that should Obama behave that way, he’d be seen as having a deep hatred of white people. What he doesn’t say is that women
        who behave that way, are termed feminnist, and that they have a deep hatred of men. The two are not correlated in Reed’s mind.

      • Minkoff Minx says:

        This is exactly how I feel about BB, I first read GWTW when I was in 3rd grade. And you are right I identified with Scarlett too. I see Scarlett acting like a man, and I thought…and still think, that is cool. But the reflections in the book, about the war, was written from a woman that was emotionally tide to the ones who lost the war. Mitchell was from the 1st generation after the war, and she heard about it from the people that actually lived through it. I think that is were the sentimental way of looking at some of the actual “events” that took place comes from.

  7. Pat Johnson says:

    Scarlet was a Republican at heart. “Feminism” aside, she would have sold out her own mother to get what she wanted regardless of the cost to others.

    Her mantra was always “gimme, gimme, gimme” and woe to anyone who stood in her way.

    Her “art of compromise” was evident in every husband she chose. Each one brought her closer to her selfish goals.

    And Ashley was her “Ronald Reagan”. He just “wasn’t that into her”.

    • HT says:

      Bingo – As a feminist I could never understand the attraction of women to Scarlet. She was horrible to Melanie, until Melanie was dying.

      • Fannie says:

        I remember the scene when a yankee came into the house. Melanie had the baby upstairs. And Scarlett shot him dead. I thought she was one brave woman to have done that. Reminds me that women have a right to protect themselves in their homes.

  8. bluelady says:

    “At the end of the day no one wants to see taxes go up for 150 million Americans on January 1st,” Axelrod said on CNN.

    He’s the Republican, right? Repeating the Republican mantra?

    Oh, sorry, that’s the Democrat!!! But spouting the Republican mantra.

    WTF! I can only hope karma is gonna come around and bite him in the ass
    someday.

    • cwaltz says:

      We’re so screwed. The House will be Republican and they won’t have a problem forcing crap through. The Senate might as well be Republican Reid is worthless. He’ll rubber stam in a way that he didn’t when Nancy controlled things. And the WH is occupied by a Republican- masquerading as a Democrat. The only way we get to move is rightward even though rightward is right off a cliff for the country.

  9. Minkoff Minx says:

    Morning everybody, are you keeping warm? We have so much snow over hear in banjo land. Schools are closed, and kids are happy. I wanted to post this link to EmptyWheel: The Misplaced US Determination To Indict Assange | Emptywheel
    Read it, it is very interesting…

    “The interesting thing is this type of prosecution flies directly in the face of the written charging guidelines of the DOJ which prescribe a prosecution should be brought only where the admissible facts and evidence are “sufficient to obtain and sustain a conviction”. As we have seen in so many instances over the last few years, the DOJ uses this requirement to decline prosecution on a whole host of matters they simply do not want to touch, even where the evidence for conviction of serious crimes is crystal clear and unequivocal. Take for instance the case on the blatant destruction of the abu-Zubaydah and al-Nashiri torture tapes for instance (see here and here), where the DOJ and John Durham used just this basis to decline prosecution because the DOJ just does not, you know, go out on limbs.”

    • cwaltz says:

      It’s a rigged game. The whole entire system is rigged. They can pick and choose what to prosecute and what to let slide and what warrants a slap. Who deserves the resources this country has and who doesn’t. They collaborate behind closed doors and anyone who exposes them is destined for guatmo. We, the citizens, are just a giant ATM, and the government is the world’s largest kabuki theater.

  10. janicen says:

    I am so tired of the endless wars and the lack of attention from the media. Paul McCartney was on SNL over the weekend and made the audience join in singing John Lennon’s, All We Are Saying, Is Give Peace a Chance, and it brought tears to my eyes. We need to remind ourselves that it doesn’t have to be this way and call for peace before it’s too late.

  11. Pat Johnson says:

    I keep thinking of those dependent upon their unemployment benefits to keep their homes warm right now and it just sinks me into a form of depression that I would rather avoid.

    As a parent of grown children, I have a difficult time imagining myself wondering during the holidays how I am going to be able to at least place one gift under the tree, keep a home warm, a roof over my head, and enough food on the table to sustain my family if I were in those shoes.

    This is not the America I grew up with.

    • cwaltz says:

      The gift thing would not be easy but what is absolutely the worst as an adult is knowing you’re trying so hard to provide the basics like food and shelter and knowing you’re going to fail. It feels like you’re failing being an adult. It doesn’t help that the GOP storyline is that failure is a ersonal thing. If you don’t succeed it’s because you’re stupid or lazy or some other personal failing. It’s never the system’s fault. It’s never because the market isn’t rewarding work sufficiently or because businesses that rovided essential services like health care have rigged the market and our government. It’s always a personal failing.

  12. dakinikat says:

    Here’s a really good simple explanation in terms of economics on Why The Tax Cuts are a very Dumb idea. Here’s what this woman economist recommends instead.

    Such policies would include measures (e.g. cash transfers) to facilitate the deleveraging of underwater households; measures to support the retraining of the unemployed, and thus avoid skills-erosion due to prolonged unemployment; and a bipartisan commitment to a more predictable regulatory environment and a sustainable fiscal outlook, so that businesses can plan for the long-term, including in their hiring.

    In this context, describing the measures proposed last week as a “compromise” would be laughable, if one actually had the luxury to laugh with the US fiscal outlook. But in the current situation, they are dumb at best, if not potentially damaging.

  13. Sweet Sue says:

    The thing that male critics don’t get-and never have-is that Scarlett appeals to many women because she is not a victim. She’s the ultimate survivor even if she has to betray her sister or shoot a man who’s trying to rob (and, by implication, to rape) her.
    There weren’t many portrayals of steely, strong women back in the day.

    • cwaltz says:

      I don’t think betrayal is something that takes strength. It’s the easy choice to choose self interest. It’s far harder to be principled and to look at things from another’s perspective.

      Maybe that’s why some of us don’t see her as a feminist. Feminists have traditionally not only looked after themselves but have had the backs of their proverbial sisters in the process.

      • Sima says:

        You’ve hit the point about why I don’t like Scarlett that much.

        I don’t like women who game the system against other women. I understand all the reasons why they might do so, I understand that they are victims too, but that’s no excuse.

  14. cwaltz says:

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20101213/ap_on_re_us/us_us_north_korea

    Swell, because we all know that there can never be enough war and the military industrial complex must be fed.

  15. dakinikat says:

    From CNN breaking news:

    Federal judge rules unconstitutional parts of Obama health care law. Justice Department expected to appeal.

  16. dakinikat says:

    Toward Peace in the Middle East

    Last night, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton spoke at the Brookings Institution’s Saban Center for Middle East Policy Seventh Annual Forum in Washington, D.C. The Secretary said:

    “…I want to offer the deepest condolences of the American people for the lives lost in the recent fires in Northern Israel. Israelis are always among the first to lend a hand when an emergency strikes anywhere in the world. So when the fires began to burn, people and nations stepped up and offered help. It was remarkable to watch. Turkey sent planes; Egypt and Jordan donated chemicals and equipment; the Palestinian Authority dispatched firefighters and their trucks; and the United States was also part of the effort deploying expert firefighters, C-130 cargo planes, and thousands of gallons of chemicals and suppressants. It was testament once again to the deep and enduring bonds that unite our two countries, to the partnership between our governments, and the friendship between our people.