Posted by Rojas @ 3:43 pm on January 31st 2009

Stimulating growth


It was only a matter of time.

Posted by Adam @ 8:17 am on January 31st 2009

So long

Bill Frindall, otherwise known as ‘Bearders’ or ‘The Bearded Wonder’, the scorer for BBC’s Test Match Special since before I was born, has died.

Not only was he an integral part of TMS — by far the best radio sports commentary of any sort, for my money — but he was fantastically accomplished at the arcane business of scoring cricket matches (and yet managed at the same time to appreciate the game he was scoring, a division of concentration which has always eluded me). He also seemed to be a very decent bloke.

Posted by Brad @ 7:47 pm on January 30th 2009

Thoughts on Michael Steele (Roundup)

Marc Ambinder has an extended take that’s pretty good, if a bit faulting on the side of hopeful.

Steele’s election won’t help the party attrack black voters immediately, but if Steele sets the right tone, he could help the party compete for them in the (way) future. As GOP strategists have always known, and noted, somewhat dyspeptically, it’s white suburban voters, particularly women, who are responsive to a diversity message. The RNC isn’t diverse yet; only five black delegates were chosen to attend the national convention. Steele was disgusted by that. It prompted him to run.

Even more than race, even as Steele lauded the party’s conservative members, his election marks a step away from the balkanized Southern white ethos of the party. Steele, pro-life, has worked with moderate Republicans all of his life, although he did his best during the campaign to minimize those ties. If he reverts to form, it means that the RNC has just selected a chairman who will not prioritize social issues above economic issues. When people speak of broadening the party’s geographic diversity, they are speaking in code. They mean that the party needs to welcome more moderates; needs to be more forgiving of departures from orthodoxy; need to be less antagonistic to pro-choicers and gays.

Dailykos, decidedly less bullish:

In fact, Steele’s 2006 campaign (when he trumpeted the support of “Steele Democrats”, of whom there appeared to be about seven), reveals the biggest weakness for Steele – he’s a political cipher, who represents change for the GOP only on the most superficial of levels.

His narrow victory indicates the serious rift within the GOP between those who desire some kind of nebulous change from recent failures (the Steele option), and those who want to keep doing things the same way (the Dawson option).

Of course, that Steele won, albeit narrowly, ought to at least say something favorable.

Andy McCarthy thinks Steele’s spin is made of anything but (but is incoherently hopeful):

I like Michael Steele — he’s one of those charismatic guys who’d be impossible not to like if you were trying not to like him. I’ve only met him a couple of times, but one was in a green room where we both found ourselves with an hour to kill. After five minutes I felt like I’d known him forever … and after 10 minutes, I couldn’t understand why he wasn’t already a governor. I’ve also listened to what he’s said about the leadership position he once held in the moderate Republican Leadership Council, and it makes sense to me. He’s a conservative, he’s usually very effective — especially on TV — and that will be refreshing.

BUT (you knew there was a “but” coming, right?), as I discuss at the end of my article today about the Republicans’ craven showing on President Obama’s cabinet selections, I think Steele was (is) perilously wrong on AG nominee Eric Holder — and was flat incoherent when I heard him describing his reasoning last Friday…

Of course, the Democrats now have the votes to push anything they want through, so by Michael’s logic they should never be fought on anything until they already have it. There seem to be many Republicans (especially in the Senate) who believe this[…]

My hunch is that Michael Steele knows this. I prefer to think that what happened on Holder is that Steele foolishly got out in front before he knew all the facts — that if Steele hadn’t taken the first misstep he’d have gotten the later steps right, and that it’s an error he won’t soon make again.

If I’m wrong about that, then the GOP is in big trouble because its leadership has to start embracing these important battles, not ducking them. There’s a reason Duke and Georgetown schedule a basketball game against each other early in the season instead of padding their records by scheduling non-conference teams they can beat by 50 points: They need to be tournament-tough when the tournament gets here.

The GOP needs a leader who can be tournament-tough right now. I wish Michael Steele well — he’s a good guy and he certainly has the gifts to be what the party desperately needs.

National Review hopes he has more than tokenism and lukewarm TV charisma going for him:

There is a sense in the room that Blackwell’s endorsement was a key moment in the competition—and with the nation’s euphoric response to the inauguration of its first African-American president, Blackwell didn’t need to mention race. Everyone in the room understood that angle, and moved beyond it to the qualifications of the remaining candidates.

One who preferred Dawson noted that by the time it got down to the two, it was no longer a contest between two men; it was a contest between an African-American, who had been endorsed by the other African-American in the contest, calling for the GOP to remain “the party of Lincoln,” against the guy whose membership in a country club ensured that his name would always appear in the same sentence as “whites-only charter.” While no member would ever want to say that race was a factor, everyone knew the shorthand message that would be transmitted by a hostile media, eager to paint Republican leaders as hostile to minorities, if Dawson won on the final ballot.

What will Republicans be getting in Steele? Maybe the ideal television presence, a dynamic and energetic speaker who cheerfully brings a Republican message to communities that aren’t always initially receptive. The contrast with Duncan’s seemingly invisible media presence will be clear. But Steele’s bid was hindered by questions about whether he would excel as much at the parts of the job that aren’t in front of the cameras—the day-to-day management and fundraising.

In the coming year, Republicans will learn one way or the other.

RedState:

Congratulations to Michael Steele on his victory in the hotly contested race for Chairman of the Republican National Committee. The former Maryland Lieutenant Governor was not our first choice for this spot, given our concern that he was not the most conservative choice in the race. But he is an eloquent and persuasive spokesman for the party and an impressive man, and we wish him well.

The Republican Party needs to do two contradictory things in the years to come: return to the party’s conservative roots and sell the party’s message to voters who are not base conservatives. Chairman Steele has promised an aggressive outreach to do the latter; we urge him, in that effort, not to neglect the former. We can’t sell a message based on our principles if we don’t have principles.

Interesting comment section at Hot Air.

Most other people seem to just be watching.

Posted by Brad @ 3:54 pm on January 30th 2009

Retraction

Please disregard this post. Katon Dawson now leads for RNC Chairman. Party of white Southern protestants to continue unabated.

Updates here

In related news, his staffers are busy spinning his wikipedia entry.

Posted by Adam @ 3:48 pm on January 30th 2009

Jesus wept

In looking up the tedious and sometimes confusing business of Microsoft SQL Server* licensing, I found this nugget of literary excellence in the second paragraph of this page:

Microsoft has been driving thought leadership in this area…

“Thought leadership”? Sweet Jesus. What the hell is “thought leadership”?

Some people have a long overdue appointment with a painful death in a hot fire. Things like this just won’t happen when I’m King Of The World.

*It’s database software. From Microsoft. I quite like it.

Posted by Brad @ 3:27 pm on January 30th 2009

Michael Steele at RNC

Turns out the Chip Saltsman / Katon Dawson racial controversies have moved RNC voters towards Steele, though he may well have won anyway. Sitting chair Duncan just dropped out, and though voting hasn’t finished, Steele should lock it up here in a few minutes.

I like Steele, but he hasn’t really offered to bring much of anything new to the job. He’s black, is a big part of it, and he does indeed seem to understand that the Republican party needs to reach beyond Southern white protestants, but beyond that, I’m not sure that he has anything groundbreaking in mind to broaden the Republican coalition or its organization game. But maybe that’s not up to the RNC Chairman anyway, who just has to glad-hand and raise money more than anything.

Posted by Brad @ 6:09 pm on January 29th 2009

Joke of the Day

George H.W. Bush tells a joke so raunchy that Bill Clinton, who follows him, is floored. Priceless.

Posted by Adam @ 5:35 pm on January 29th 2009

So long

John Martyn has died. Here he is from 25 years ago:

Posted by Brad @ 5:34 pm on January 29th 2009

Quote of the Day

Meanwhile, in Minnesota, the Coleman challenge to Franken’s win continues apace

[Coleman Attorney Joe] Friedberg: In point of fact, even though I did something I wasn’t supposed to do with the application, my ballot should still count because my signature is genuine.

Deputy Secretary of State Jim Gelbmann: Not according to the procedures we use to determine whether the signature is genuine.

Friedberg: I don’t care about your procedures.

(Franken lawyer calls an objection, is sustained.)

Friedberg: Okay, okay I do care…

Posted by Rojas @ 3:59 pm on January 29th 2009

Bite the bullet

Jim Manzi’s comments today at The Atlantic business blog constitute the best single post I’ve read so far this year. You’ll want to read the whole thing–the directness is immensely refreshing and the anecdotal example he uses is perfect. You’ll like the “punchline” as well.

But the hard kernel of truth at the center of his essay is best of all. Emphasis mine:

American consumers are awash in debt, drowning in it. This is the fundamental issue with the stimulus proposal. We’re trying to borrow our way out of debt. Unfortunately, we need a recession. That is, consumption must decline because for some time we have been consuming more than we produce or have reasonable prospects of producing.

I have been sort of dancing around Manzi’s conclusion for a while now. I think it’s time to stop dancing.

The massive media and governmental panic over the recession is the product of the public’s mindset that short-term pain must be avoided at all costs. We are unwilling to defer pleasure under any set of circumstances, and the government perfectly mirrors the polity in its unwillingness to live within its means. Similarly, we resist any form of direct accountability for the consequences of our own actions; there is always “corporate greed” or “predatory lending” to blame for our own wretched, shortsighted decisions.

Manzi gets to the heart of the matter. The ongoing economic growth which our nation has been experiencing is the product of borrowed money. It is, therefore, illusory. We were borrowing from the future to finance our desires of the moment; now the future has arrived. We were always going to have to pay for our extravagance sooner or later. This recession simply represents the bill coming due.

The stimulus bill–indeed, all efforts to spend our way out of recession, or to eliminate it through tax reduction–represent a simple effort to kick the problem further down the road. These bills, too, will come due, and the pain will be all the greater. As long as we consume more than we produce, we are living on borrowed time. Our options are to produce more or consume less. Period.

For some time now, I have felt myself to be a minority of one where my feelings on emerging events have been concerned. I listen to tales of mortgage defaults without feeling a shred of sympathy for the “victims”, who almost universally locked themselves into deals that they hadn’t the remotest prospect of paying. I recieve robo-calls offering to help me out with my “predatory lenders” (I have no current debt worth mentioning, so I assume these are made at random) and I want to kick the caller in the teeth–and kick those who’d take them up on the offer even harder.

Now as the entire universe joins in chorus in support of some form of government bailout–Republicans, Democrats, and the media alike–I find myself alone again, intent on the idea that this recession is, indeed, necessary to the long-term economic security of the United States. Pain is our body’s way of telling us that our behavior is unsustainable. The proper response to this pain is not to load up on drugs, but to correctly identify and then alter the behavior that caused it.

It seems that Ron Paul is the only man in Washington who shares my views. It’s me, Ron, and Jim Manzi against the world.

Posted by Rojas @ 1:07 pm on January 29th 2009

Stimulating

The concept of an economic “stimulus” implies a business cycle in which federal policy can alter the amount of economic activity. During a period of recession, increased spending would in theory enhance economic growth. The corollary to this is that, when the boom period returns, this same sort of spending would be inflationary and, hence, fiscally unwise.

The current Republican objection to the Democratic stimulus package is that much of the spending involved isn’t perceptibly related to economic stimulus. Not isolated examples, either, but great big heaping gobs of it. Much of the spending occurs more than eighteen months down the road, well after the “crisis point” which allegedly justifies the spending. Much of it is targeted to activities such as the computerization of hopsital records to which the economic multiplier effect does not apply.

It seems to me that the Democrats have a way out of these objections. All they have to do is accept a sunset provision in the programs they’re enacting. In other words: once we return to a period of verifiable economic growth, all of the high-speed rail programs, all of the educational infrastructure buildup, all of the alternative energy goodies–all of those are automatically cancelled.

Why not? There’s no jutification for economic stimulus in a growth environment, particularly not during a period of high deficits. It seems to me that to insist that this spending become permanent is to more or less grant the Republican argument that it isn’t really stimulus spending at all.

Posted by Jerrod @ 9:21 pm on January 28th 2009

Greenhouse effect: bringing you changes for the next 1000 years.

According to Susan Solomon, Senior Scientist of the NOAA, our rosiest secenario is 1000 years of global warming.

Currently, CO2 levels in the atmosphere are around 385 ppm, a 35 percent increase over pre-industrial levels. The most optimistic scenarios arrive at a figure of 450 ppm as the best we might be able to achieve in the coming decades, but even at that level, changes in precipitation patterns, temperature increases, and a rise in sea level appear to be locked in for at least the next thousand years.

The dynamics of the oceans are to blame…”In the long run, both carbon dioxide loss and heat transfer depend on the same physics of deep-ocean mixing. The two work against each other to keep temperatures almost constant for more than a thousand years, and that makes carbon dioxide unique among the major climate gases.”

One of the most profound effects looks to be a severe decrease in rainfall that will affect the southeastern US, the Mediterranean, southern Asia, and swathes of subtropical Africa and South America. Sea levels are going to rise too. Without even accounting for melting ice sheets, the sheer thermal expansion of the Earth’s oceans will be between 0.4-1m, and as with the temperature rise and the changes to rainfall, these effects look set to persist for at least until the year 3000.

And for those who are still skeptical of this whole “global warming” scheme, even though 82% of the earth scientists surveyed are convinced that the earth is warming due to human influence, only 64% of meteorologists are in on the conspiracy.

Among those who accept the facts of global warming, there have been two camps: rollback vs adapt. Unfortunately, because of the tendency for these kinds of debates to scream to extremes, there doesn’t seem to be a very visible camp promoting the idea that we need to do what we can to reduce greenhouse gas emissions but shouldprepare to deal with the now-inevitable changes. We should get off of oil for no other reason than that it will run out eventually and making the transition off it sooner than later is bound to be easier and less painful. The fear is that accepting impending changes and making preparations for it is going to equate with abandoning efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Obviously this is stupid as it would only make our effort to adapt even harder. It looks like this is where we need to go though, although I don’t have much faith that we’re going to get off oil until forced to. And that is likely to be more painful than rising sea levels and local weather changes.

Posted by Rojas @ 11:36 pm on January 27th 2009

Music Video of the Week

No Cussing Club — “Don’t Cuss”

As I am a fan of lost causes, and of the willingness of people to expose themselves to intense ridicule in support of their beliefs, there is actually a level at which I rather respect this.

At the same time…jumpin’ Jesus on a pogo stick.

More of the NCC’s videos here. Gaze in slackjawed awe.

Posted by Brad @ 9:58 pm on January 27th 2009

Ron Paul vs. Everyone

Paul was on Morning Joe today, and they threw apparantly everyone they had in the studio at him in the course of 10 minutes. Clearly, the answer that we can’t necessarily solve the current financial crisis isn’t one anybody wants to hear.

Posted by Brad @ 9:49 pm on January 26th 2009

Hero of the Week

From Chicago, a 14-year-old boy somehow managed to acquire a police uniform this morning, marched into a police station to get an assignment, and then spent 5 hours on patrol with a partner. Conflicting reports on what all he did—some sources say he wrote tickets and responded to a domestic battery call. But finally, the ruse was detected…once his shift ended.

Posted by Brad @ 9:46 pm on January 26th 2009

The Great Masal Bugduv

Moldova’s best footballer.

Posted by Cameron @ 9:40 pm on January 26th 2009

Net Neutrality, Part I (The Post Office)

This post has been in limbo for quite a while now.  It began as a response to a short little remark I made in November, the gist of which was that I am opposed to network neutrality because of free enterprise and free speech. I’ve decided to break it up into three or four individual posts, all dealing with a specific facet of my opposition to net neutrality. We being with stifled innovation. Look forward to upcoming ones on free enterprise, and free speech/government regulation.

I think we should first start with a short lesson on the concept of net neutrality. The basic concept of net neutrality is one of data transportation equality. That is, your data should not be treated differently from Microsoft’s as it travels through various servers owned by various ISPs. This concept does not cover speed of data access to the end user as much as data preference protocols within the ISP’s servers. An easy way to conceptualize this is to think in terms of latency. Latency is different from throughput. Throughput is the ‘speed’ of the internet when downloading a single file. Latency is the lag in contact time between two computers as they negotiate sending data. As that negotiation occurs, the various computers trying to contact each other must be sorted by the server doing the negotiation. Under a network neutral system there can be no differentiation in the priority with which these packets of data can be processed. It’s a first-come, first-served system. This ensures equal access among all participating parties. Your email to your friend with wedding photos tomorrow has the same priority as the teleconferencing neurosurgeon and the same priority as the miraculous penis enlargement system you were alerted to this morning.

Let’s look at a post office as an analogy. As you arrive, you are directed to stand in line in a first come, first served basis. This line does not discriminate in importance. The busy CEO must wait behind the grandmother based only on who stepped through the door first. This is economically inefficient. It would be ideal if the system were able to discriminate based on need. However, such a system exists as soon as the CEO reaches the counter. The CEO is able to pay for highly expedited service for an additional (hefty) fee. They are able to ensure that their correspondence reaches the addressee faster than the grandmother who is simply sending a care package to grandchild at summer camp. The overnight letter has priority at each stage of it’s journey when compared the the care package. This increase in speed is associated with a fee. However, the existence premium services like overnight mail allow highly efficient transportation for those willing to pay. That willingness to pay is directly related to the need that the buyer has for the service. If there was no tiered service for mail transportation, there would be no way for the CEO to ensure faster delivery of critical correspondence. The letter holding up a billion dollar deal would be stuck behind the care package throughout the entire journey, and not just in line at the post office. That is net neutrality. By preventing tiers of service, we are all stuck behind the retired grandmother. Such a system has the appearance of fairness, but is actually unfair and horribly inefficient.

This inefficiency stifles innovation. By not permitting preferential treatment of those willing to pay, services that require priority are hindered. They are forced to wait in line behind spam, based simply on the fact that the spam was sent first. It is not hard to imagine a new internet technology or company springing up that requires incredibly expeditious data service. Even with a need to pay, such communication would be required to sit in line behind menial other data transactions. Net neutrality is essentially the same as one size-fits-all ground mail service. Had such a regime been in place as airplanes were developed, the development of airmail and other expeditious forms of communication would have been greatly hindered simply because there was no need to send all mail via airplanes. Since all mail did not need to go, none could. Forcing data transportation to abide by similar rules will likely stifle the development of similar technologies and services.

Expect my next installment, free enterprise, in a few days.

Posted by Brad @ 9:17 pm on January 26th 2009

The Bush Administration Was Fundamentally Uninterested in Bringing Terrorists to Justice

That is the inescapable conclusion. On top of everything else we know about their utter lack of concern for the prosecution of terrorism suspects, the incoming Obama administration has run into a snag in their Gitmo policy. In looking for the case files of the terror suspects being held there, they found out that…well, that there are no case files.

President Obama’s plans to expeditiously determine the fates of about 245 terrorism suspects held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and quickly close the military prison there were set back last week when incoming legal and national security officials — barred until the inauguration from examining classified material on the detainees — discovered that there were no comprehensive case files on many of them.

Instead, they found that information on individual prisoners is “scattered throughout the executive branch,” a senior administration official said. The executive order Obama signed Thursday orders the prison closed within one year, and a Cabinet-level panel named to review each case separately will have to spend its initial weeks and perhaps months scouring the corners of the federal government in search of relevant material.

Several former Bush administration officials agreed that the files are incomplete and that no single government entity was charged with pulling together all the facts and the range of options for each prisoner. They said that the CIA and other intelligence agencies were reluctant to share information, and that the Bush administration’s focus on detention and interrogation made preparation of viable prosecutions a far lower priority.

Think on that for a moment. Not only are these people being detained indefinitely without charge: our government didn’t even bother creating case files or systematically collecting information about them. Not only may they be innocent or guilty, we apparantly didn’t much care which.

And, it goes without saying, if they were innocent we couldn’t really be arsed to figure that out, and if they were guilty we couldn’t really be arsed to dig deeper. Torture wasn’t a last resort, in that respect; it was, apparantly, the only resort.

The legal wranglings having to do with the detention and interrogation apparantly had not much to do with the actual considerations relating to the people we were detaining and interrogating.

Posted by Jerrod @ 10:53 pm on January 25th 2009

Exempting lobbyists from the new code of ethics scuffs the sheen a little bit

First it was this, from the campaign trail:

“I am running to tell the lobbyists in Washington that their days of setting the agenda are over. They have not funded my campaign. They won’t work in my White House.” via CNN

Then it was this, in the Oval Office:

As of today, lobbyists will be subject to stricter limits than under any other administration in history. If you are a lobbyist entering my administration, you will not be able to work on matters you lobbied on, or in the agencies you lobbied during the previous two years.

And now it is this:

Senate consideration of President Obama’s choice for the Pentagon’s No. 2 job will be allowed to proceed after the Armed Services Committee chairman said that an ethics waiver would be granted to the nominee, William J. Lynn III, who was a registered lobbyist for a military contractor. Without a waiver, those provisions would appear to preclude Mr. Lynn’s acting on many significant issues. With the waiver, Mr. Levin said, the Senate can act on the nomination. He also emphasized that the committee would continue to insist that Mr. Lynn comply with ethics rules that would require him to recuse himself for one year from decisions involving his prior employer, Raytheon, unless specifically authorized to participate.

How is the No. 2 job at the Pentagon going to avoid dealing with Raytheon? Sure, I’m forgiving of campaign rhetoric and the Pentagon isn’t the White House. There are just too many people who get a check as a lobbyist for it to be possible to avoid employing them. I don’t know the specifics of this choice and why Obama wants him (it appears that it was Gates who wants him, but I find it hard to believe that Lynn is the only person qualified for this job. Let him sit out two years and try again. If someone really had faith in Obama, they would have quit their lobbying positions a year ago and would be halfway to qualified. It would be easier to make exceptions in those cases as well.

As Coleman Parker says, “They always disappoint.”

Posted by Brad @ 4:18 pm on January 22nd 2009

The #1 Voting Issue: Civil Liberties

Right out of the gate.

President Obama is expected to sign executive orders Thursday directing the Central Intelligence Agency to shut what remains of its network of secret prisons and ordering the closing of the Guantánamo detention camp within a year, government officials said…the orders would bring to an end a Central Intelligence Agency program that kept terrorism suspects in secret custody for months or years, a practice that has brought fierce criticism from foreign governments and human rights activists. They will also prohibit the C.I.A. from using coercive interrogation methods, requiring the agency to follow the same rules used by the military in interrogating terrorism suspects, government officials said.

He already suspended the kangaroo court Bush/McCain military tribunal system.

One pen stroke, first 100 Hours. The latter part is the big surprise to me. Declaring, explicitly and in writing, that the CIA is not “out of the jurisdiction” of interrogation rules, is huge, really even above and beyond what civil libertarians had any reason to hope for. It’s probably something he could have wriggled out of if he wanted to, and he made some quacks like he might do just that. But nope, a clear edict, wrapped in a clear message to the outside world on Gitmo, beginning the process (which will be slow and arduous to be sure) of mainstreaming terror suspects, the War on Terror, and the executive branch in regards to both, into the American judicial system.

Now with Holder in AG, a CIA Director directly answerable to the President, stacking the Office of Legal Council with the likes of Marty Lederman and Dawn Johnsen (that bears repeating: Marty Lederman is directly replacing John Yoo)…well, Obama is exceeding this civil libertarian’s expectations, and they were probably already higher than they had any right to be.

Even Glenn Greenwald, not one to openly fawn, can’t help but be enormously bolstered.

Barack Obama will have spent his first several days in office issuing a series of executive orders which, some quibbling and important caveats aside, meet or actually exceed even the most optimistic expectations of civil libertarians — everything from ordering the closing of Guantanamo to suspending military commissions to compelling CIA interrogators to adhere to the Army Field Manual to banning CIA “black sites” and, perhaps most encouragingly (in my view): severely restricting his own power and the power of former Presidents to withhold documents on the basis of secrecy, which has been the prime corrosive agent of the Bush era. As a result, establishment and right-wing figures who have been assuring everyone that Obama would scorn “the Left” (meaning: those who believe in Constitutional safeguards) and would continue most of Bush’s “counter-Terrorism” policies are growing increasingly nervous about this flurry of unexpected activity.

Elections matter.

The full executive orders after the jump.

(more…)

Posted by Brad @ 3:52 pm on January 22nd 2009

Oscar Nominations

Are out. Benjamin Buttons and Slumdog Millionare lead. Doubt picks up an Oscar nod for all four of its lead actors, and Milk and Frost/Nixon get lots of love too.

Dark Night shut out of Best Picture. Clint Eastwood shut out of everything. In Bruges, Revolutionary Road, Happy-Go-Lucky shut out of most of the places that would count for them. Marisa Tomei is back.

I want Mickey Rourke to bust open the Oscars like a hotel room door.

Posted by Rojas @ 2:08 am on January 22nd 2009

Pittsburgh Steelers: Implement Soonest

Go ahead and tell me you don’t want to see this TD celebration in the Super Bowl. And I won’t believe you.

Posted by Rojas @ 1:48 am on January 22nd 2009

I was only kidding

I understand the need to touch all the bases, but just for the record, I don’t think this was actually necessary.

Posted by Brad @ 6:22 pm on January 21st 2009

Holder Confirmation Hearing Delayed

Why?

Because judiciary Republicans are consternated about his rather unequivocal remarks on torture. They hope he doesn’t mean them.

Eric Holder’s confirmation vote before the Judiciary Committee will be delayed for up to a week as Republican senators continue to press him on his views about interrogation and other Bush administration intelligence methods.

The Judiciary Committee was originally scheduled to vote today on Holder’s nomination as attorney general, but Republicans have objected, and under committee rules they can delay the vote for up to a week. Holder was grilled last week by Republicans on his views about interrogations, Guantanamo Bay and his involvement in the 2001 pardon of fugitive financier Marc Rich.

Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) is seeking more information from Holder on whether the Department of Justice will pursue criminal prosecutions of “intelligence personnel” involved in detainee interrogations.

Holder declared that “waterboarding is torture” during last week’s session in the Judiciary Committee. That statement raises the possibility that the government agents who used the method, which simulates drowning, could be prosecuted.

Holder said that the Obama administration does not want to “crimilinalize policy disputes” with the Bush White House during that hearing, but Republicans want a more firm commitment from the prospective attorney general.

“It could well be there will be a request to delay the markup for a week so those questions can be asked and answered,” Cornyn said. “Part of my concern relates to his statements at the hearing with regard to torture and what his intentions are toward our intelligence personnel who were operating in good faith based on their understanding of what the law was.”

Posted by Brad @ 6:20 pm on January 21st 2009

Quote of the Day

In his remarks to incoming senior staff and cabinet secretaries today, Obama had a lot to say about ethics, including this:

Going forward, anytime the American people want to know something that I or a former President wants to withhold, we will have to consult with the Attorney General and the White House Counsel, whose business it is to ensure compliance with the rule of law. Information will not be withheld just because I say so. It will be withheld because a separate authority believes my request is well grounded in the Constitution.

Let me say it as simply as I can: Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency.

That is significant in its own right. But note too the inclusion of “or a former President”.

Interesting.

Posted by Brad @ 2:03 pm on January 21st 2009

Inaguaration Day

From space.

The black clumps are people gathered around jumbotrons.

Posted by Liz @ 2:09 pm on January 20th 2009

Atmosphere

I couldn’t get out of work to go to the actual swearing in, but wandering around the city the past few days has been pretty amazing. A lot of uncontrolled giggling and random chanting and running aimlessly around The Mall. DC. is many things, but it is very rarely giddy. The fact that last call for alcohol was extended to 4am this week might have something to do with it.

Posted by Brad @ 1:59 pm on January 20th 2009

He’s Gone

And as Marine One takes to the skies, the mall breaks into chants of “Na na na na. Na na na na. Hey hey hey. Goodbye.”

Hard to believe it’s over.

Posted by Brad @ 1:46 pm on January 20th 2009

My Moment of the Morning

Checking out the changing of the guard on Wikipedia’s entry for America.

The online version of pinching yourself, I guess.

Posted by Cameron @ 1:38 pm on January 20th 2009

Hrmmm

It was easy to overlook, but there was a notable shoutout to the athiests of the nation in Obama’s speech.  As he rattled off religions and ethnic groups, he tossed an olive branch to the non-believers of the country.  Of all of the taboos in national politics athiets remain in a special group that includes types like child molesters and similar ilk.   Kind of nice to see such an inclusion by the President.

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