Thursday, June 5, 2008

A Go Read

Rick Perlstein has written a fantastic post giving us some historical perspective on Obama as nominee from Illinois, and the predicate for the upsurge of Republicanism after 1966. It's full of all kinds of amazing ironies .......


Irrelevance Watch


Broder's boy surges all the way to 25%.

President Bush's approval rating is at its lowest level to date. Just 25 percent of Americans approve of the overall job Mr. Bush is doing as President, an all-time low for him and among the lowest approval ratings ever recorded for a President.

Sixty-seven percent disapprove of the job Bush is doing - the highest such figure in CBS News polls since he assumed office.
Worst. Ever.


Typical Bush

Remember all those proclamations that we would never have permanent bases in Iraq? Froomkin:

Despite opposition from both the Iraqi and American people, President Bush appears to be forging ahead on a multi-year security agreement with the Iraqi government that would lock in the occupation status quo.

A British newspaper reports new details about the ongoing secret negotiations: Bush wants to retain the use of more than 50 military bases in Iraq and is insisting on immunity from Iraqi law for U.S. troops and contractors, as well as a free hand to carry out military activities without consulting the Baghdad government. The pact, which Bush has said he does not intend to submit for Congressional approval, would take effect shortly before he leaves office. Reversing it, while possible, would force a future president to break an international commitment.

Iraqi's don't want it. American's don't want it. So who does? Two people: al Maliki and Bush. Bush because he's an narcissist oilman and al Maliki because he values his neck.

A new President Obama breaking a treaty negotiated with al Maliki might be a bit tricky. But on the other hand, both are so unpopular domestically and internationally that it may not be that difficult to repudiate such a deal. I suspect the international community would simply pretend such a deal never happened, and after the November election* I suspect Congress would easily support a disengagement move.

*all assumes there is no October surprise attack on Iran.


Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Night Of The Living FISA

Like the zombies in Night of the Living Dead, the FISA getoutofjailfree bill for the telecommunications companies is back yet again!

As Digby has said all along, something really really bad happened and Dems are being tempted to help Republicans cover it up. My best guess is that electronic surveillance was done for political purposes outside of FISA approval. And, yet again like a zombie, it looks like it's going to take a very strong grass-roots effort to kill a compromise ..... again.

Dday is suggesting Obama could put the kaboosh on it now if he wanted to. Maybe. I'm not sure if it's related or not, but Obama did sorta act like he was going to kick Lieberman's ass today:

Roll Call reports that during a Senate vote today, Sen. Barack Obama "dragged" Sen. Joe Lieberman "by the hand to a far corner of the Senate chamber and engaged in what appeared to reporters in the gallery as an intense, three-minute conversation."

"While it was unclear what the two were discussing, the body language suggested that Obama was trying to convince Lieberman of something and his stance appeared slightly intimidating."

"Using forceful, but not angry, hand gestures, Obama literally backed up Lieberman against the wall, leaned in very close at times, and appeared to be trying to dominate the conversation, as the two talked over each other in a few instances."

"Still, Obama and Lieberman seemed to be trying to keep the back-and-forth congenial as they both patted each other on the back during and after the exchange. Afterwards, Obama smiled and pointed up at reporters peering over the edge of the press gallery for a better glimpse of their interaction."
I really really hope Obama will kick Lieberman's ass.

Added: More on Obama/Lieberman is here. Apparently Obama was taking issue with Lieberman being the GOP attack dog on Iran.


The Evidence Continues To Mount

This from Froomkin:

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is expected to use his White House visit today to push President Bush to take a more aggressive approach toward Iran -- and there are some signs that he'll have a receptive audience.

Both Olmert and Bush are badly wounded and looking for salvation. Olmert is facing corruption allegations that could drive him from office. Bush is wildly unpopular, desperate to salvage his legacy and fighting irrelevance as the general election begins in earnest -- with even the Republican candidate trying to keep him at a distance.

It's in this environment that the Jewish Telegraph Agency reports: "Ehud Olmert will urge President Bush to prepare an attack on Iran, an Israeli newspaper reported.

"Citing sources close to the Israeli prime minister, Yediot Achronot reported on its front page Wednesday that Olmert, who is due to hold closed-door talks with Bush in Washington, will say that 'time is running out' on diplomatic efforts to curb Iran's nuclear program.

"The United States should therefore prepare to attack Iran, Olmert will tell Bush, according to Yediot."

Really, can anyone tell me exactly why Bush wouldn't attack Iran? The only one I come up with is a moral argument.

Yes, there would be a large oil shock but the U.S. doesn't import any oil from Iran anyway. Thus any shock would be to supplies elsewhere. Yes, prices would go up but oil would remain plentiful in the U.S. and Bush would bank on any shock being temporary and justified. So what I'm left with is the concept that the only reason Bush would not attack is because he thinks it's "wrong".

And we all know how important that is to the boy king. We also know that the little birdie known as Big Dick Cheney is continuously ready to whistle in Bush's ear that it's time to pull the trigger .....



I told you. I knew it:

Red wine may be much more potent than was thought in extending human lifespan, researchers say in a new report that is likely to give impetus to the rapidly growing search for longevity drugs.

The study is based on dosing mice with resveratrol, an ingredient of some red wines. Some scientists are already taking resveratrol in capsule form, but others believe it is far too early to take the drug, especially using wine as its source, until there is better data on its safety and effectiveness.

The report is part of a new wave of interest in drugs that may enhance longevity. On Monday, Sirtris, a startup founded in 2004 to develop drugs with the same effects as resveratrol, completed its sale to GlaxoSmithKline for $720 million.

Sirtris is seeking to develop drugs that activate protein agents known in people as sirtuins.

“The upside is so huge that if we are right, the company that dominates the sirtuin space could dominate the pharmaceutical industry and change medicine,” Dr. David Sinclair of the Harvard Medical School, a co-founder of the company, said Tuesday.
I guess I'm officially considered a pharmaceutical manufacturer! To quote Jan's dad, "throw the water down the sink everybody have a drink! (of Red Wine that is).


Congrats Obama

It's now official. We've known it for some time, but now we can officially say Obama is the Democratic nominee for President.

The media seems somewhat astounded that a Jr. Senator beat the "Clinton machine". It's really not so astounding if you are paying attention to the situation in America (which the media doesn't despite thinking they do). By most objective measures, Bush has driven the U.S. into the ground. Not irreparably, but not insignificant either. While Bill Clinton's administration was seen as prosperous, "the Clinton's" are painted with the taint of Bush and the "old guard".

Maybe for once I'm somewhat in the mainstream. I'm not totally sure about Obama. But I'm interested in something new and different .... taking a risk in the direction that Obama just might be the real deal. I know he'll be closer to the deal I'm looking for than either Hillary Clinton or John McCain.

Next up? Who will be VP. Hillary is working really really hard to get the job. I sense Obama has been hoping she wouldn't. There are many fine arguments in either direction. I used to think it would be a litmus test for Obama whether he would "cave" to Hillary's demanding the VP slot. I'm now convinced that if Obama chooses her or not is not that significant.

Other than the fact we'd be saddled with Bill for years ........


Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Corporate Taxes

This, my friends, is a chart that is to be kept handy for those cocktail party discussions with your nutbar conservative buddies:

Of course you'll get all kinds of caveats about double taxation and other B.S. Fact is, corporations have been getting a big-assed free ride on paying their fair share for maintaining this country in which they are enriched.


Oh My

Via Barry. Lest you doubt that the country and economy have been in a very serious crisis, take a look at this chart of the money lending to financial institutions over time:

The shaded areas are recessions. You may have to click to enlarge the chart to really see it. But the chart on the right hand side goes straight up!



I get a sense the summer doldrums are setting in. The political season is calming down and it seems as if the news is going on vacation. It's probably time for a missing white girl story or shark attack. Anyway, my blogging energy is low low low.


More Evidence

The former foreign minister of Germany thinks there will be an attack on Iran before the end of the Bush administration.

I'm still waiting for oil to come down just a bit more. If there is an attack, I want to be holding some oil futures as prices spike to over $200 per barrel.


Sunday, June 1, 2008

Cold Snap In Hell

For once, Dick Cheney and I agree on something.


Got It?

Has Hillary now, FINALLY, figured out that she's lost?