Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for Free News & Updates

January 14, 2009

WEDNESDAY'S MINI-REPORT.... Today's edition of quick hits:

* Ouch: "Stocks plunged Wednesday as anxieties on Wall Street flared again amid a weaker-than-expected retail sales report, a new crop of corporate bankruptcies and continued debate over the release of federal bailout funds intended for the financial industry."

* In response to Republican demands, Tim Geithner's confirmation hearing has been pushed off until Jan. 21, the day after the inauguration. Obama is still optimistic about Geithner's nomination.

* It looks like Osama bin Laden is still alive.

* This 5-4 ruling will have a significant impact: "The Supreme Court on Wednesday upheld the conviction of an Alabama man on drug and weapons charges, emphasizing that the exclusionary rule, which generally bars prosecutors from using evidence obtained by the police through improper searches, is far from absolute."

* Rod Blagojevich was impeached again today, by the new newly sworn-in Illinois House. The final vote was 117 to 1, with the lone "no" vote coming from the governor's sister-in-law.

* I wonder if we'll ever know what the emails actually said: "A federal judge has ordered the Bush White House to preserve its e-mails, just days before a new administration takes over."

* The president doesn't "give a darn" about his lack of public support.

* It's great to see Rand Beers join Janet Napolitano's team at the Department of Homeland Security.

* Speaking of staffing moves, Bill Burton, Obama's national press secretary during the campaign, will join the White House staff as a deputy press secretary.

* Bush and Limbaugh, BFF.

* The Brad Schlozman story manages to appear even more ridiculous.

* Every day, it seems, the news looks worse for the newspaper industry: "Gannett is implementing a long-rumored furlough program that wil require most U.S. employees to take a week off without pay."

* The transition office unveiled the official Obama portrait today. It's the first time that an official presidential portrait was taken with a digital camera.

* It's great to see Judd Legum blogging again.

* Go, Kepler, go.

* The Speaker is aware of our Internet traditions.

Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.

Steve Benen 5:30 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (31)

Bookmark and Share
 
Comments

I believe that would be:

"The Speaker is aware of __ALL__ Internet traditions."

http://lefarkins.blogspot.com/2008/06/thanks-to-911-shes-outraged-by.html#583745

Posted by: Ninerdave on January 14, 2009 at 5:42 PM | PERMALINK

The new portrait of Obama is fine, but I wish he was smiling. "That grin" is something else!

And does anyone else wonder if Bush is going to do some major last minute pardons?

Posted by: phoebes in santa fe on January 14, 2009 at 5:43 PM | PERMALINK

Patrick McGoohan, probably best known as #6, in The Prisoner, passed away today at the age of 80. He was also great as John Drake in Secret Agent/Danger Man and Edward, Longshanks in Braveheart. He was not not a number, he was a free man.

Posted by: Tom Stewart on January 14, 2009 at 5:44 PM | PERMALINK

Did Steve just...yeah, I think Steve just Rickrolled us.

Well played, sir.

Expect retribution.

Posted by: doubtful on January 14, 2009 at 5:46 PM | PERMALINK

Can she be impeached for rickro;;ing us?

Posted by: Dee Loralei on January 14, 2009 at 6:02 PM | PERMALINK

Not a hot topic here but I'll add the Israel-Gaza fiasco.

Here's how the end the crisis and make the world safer for capitalism:

Israel can defang Hamas by supporting the Fatah government in the West Bank. If Fatah made real improvements in the lives of the Palestinians, than the moderate Gazans would flock to them and throw Hamas out. This implies that Israel is willing to offer something to moderate Palestinians. But what transformational deal has Israel offered Fatah? Certainly, removing the settlers from the West Bank would be a major improvement, or a jobs program or infrastructure improvements and on and on. But none of this is happening and one has to ask why. Recall that former prime minister Sharon referred to Mahmud Abbas, the Fatah leader, as a “plucked chicken;” moreover, Israeli army chief Moshe Yaalon declared that "the Palestinians must be made to understand in the deepest recesses of their consciousness that they are a defeated people."

It seems that Israel has no real solution to the plight of the Palestinians--other than they hope they go away and if they won’t go away there is their slow, creeping erasure. This is similar to America's policy toward its indigenous Indians. It worked in the USA (the Indians were all killed or corralled into reservations) but is not working in Gaza because Israel lives in a sea of Arabs. Short of killing all the Arabs, a solution is needed. Some adult needs to tell the Israelis and Hamas to stop. A neutral military force needs to be placed between the fighting forces. No rockets, blockades or settlers allowed. Go back to the '67 armistice lines, and deliver the two state solution preached by many but practiced by few.

Posted by: Dr Wu, I'm just an ordinary guy on January 14, 2009 at 6:05 PM | PERMALINK

i wondered what that music was ...

i clicked the link to open in another tab while i came into comments and learned that i'd been house-rolled.

anyway --

"weaker-than-expected retail sales report"

are they kidding? they were SURPRISED?

no wonder the economy has gone into the toilet -- these people are maroons.

Posted by: karen marie on January 14, 2009 at 6:06 PM | PERMALINK

Stock prices fell from early September to late November, and have oscillated widely since then.

Meanwhile, in energy news

cellulosic ethanol:

http://gas2.org/2009/01/09/first-cellulosic-ethanol-plant-in-usa-up-and-running/#more-1558

and bio-butanol

http://www.biofueldaily.com/reports/Displacing_Petroleum_Derived_Butanol_With_Plants_999.html


Corn ethanol is at best a third-rate fuel (1.4 times as much energy generated as consumed), cellulosic ethanol is second-rate (low energy density, absorbs too much water [frozen fuel lines in cold climates], causes corrosion), but cellulosic butanol will be a first-rate fuel, approximately as good as biodiesel.

Stay tuned. Don't just worry about Hubbert's Peak and outrageous petroleum prices. The U.S. is on track to increase production of biofuels and other sources of fuel faster than it increases energy consumption. Soon-to-be Energy Secretary Steven Chu supports biofuels and other renewables, as well as nuclear and clean coal (with CO2 sequestration.) Like Pres. G.W. Bush, Dr. Chu wants the U.S. to develop and share CO2 sequestration technologies with other developed and developing nations, since it is obvious that coal burning will not decrease any time soon.

Posted by: MatthewRMarler on January 14, 2009 at 6:14 PM | PERMALINK

I... I was just rickrolled by the speaker of the house. That made my day.

Posted by: Jesse on January 14, 2009 at 6:22 PM | PERMALINK

I had high hopes for Energy Secretary nominee Steven Chu.

But his comments during his confirmation hearing, in which he expressed support for building more conventional coal-fired power plants without carbon sequestration technology, and for spending hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars to bail out the failed nuclear power industry, were appalling and shocking. This guy was supposed to be an advocate of clean, sustainable, renewable energy. Instead, he is following the coal and nuclear industry propaganda line.

Sure, MRM -- it is "obvious that coal burning will not decrease any time soon" if we don't do anything to decrease the use of coal. And according to Chu's statements, the Obama administration plans to increase the use of coal -- without CO2 sequestration.

And "developing and sharing CO2 sequestration technologies" will take decades at least, and thus will do nothing to address anthropogenic global warming within the dwindling time remaining to us to avoid climate catastrophe by drastically reducing CO2 emissions.

"Clean coal" and "safe nuclear" don't exist. They are nothing but propaganda campaigns, which the fossil fuel and nuclear industries hope to convert into huge taxpayer-funded boondoggles that will do nothing to provide clean, sustainable energy and nothing to address global warming. They will, however, enrich wealthy and powerful industries at the public expense.

I had hoped that Obama and Chu would embrace the proposal put forward by Al Gore's organization to obtain 100 percent of US electricity from clean, renewable, carbon-free sources within ten years -- or any of the several other plans that have been put forward to achieve a similar goal. Instead they are bowing and scraping before the advocates of dirty coal and toxic nuclear. It is unspeakably disappointing.

And if the Obama administration is ready to pre-emptively cave on the single most important issue facing humanity, in favor of Cheney-like energy policies that favor politically powerful dinosaur industries, then it is hard to believe they will behave much differently in other policy areas.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on January 14, 2009 at 6:31 PM | PERMALINK

I was so proud to see that picture of Barack Obama, the official portrait.

Such a minor thing, a photo, yet also such a monumental thing. Consider that that portrait is the most recent of a long series of presidential portraits, a sequence spanning centuries and hopefully continuing for centuries to come. It says so much. We were here. We voted for him.

Feels good to be proud of this great country for a change.

We've come so far; we've got so far to go.

Posted by: Badass4Peace on January 14, 2009 at 6:32 PM | PERMALINK

[...] the official Obama portrait [...] was taken with a digital camera. -- Steve Benen

So that the flag pin could be Photo-Shopped in.
(ducks, giggling)

Posted by: exlibra on January 14, 2009 at 6:36 PM | PERMALINK

It's finally here!

Bush Bash 09 - January 19, 2009

(I'll be dressed as "Snoogles" the Blackwater contractor.)

The rest of the world celebrates: Bye-Bye Bush Party

Posted by: MissMudd on January 14, 2009 at 6:48 PM | PERMALINK

Such a minor thing, a photo, yet also such a monumental thing. Consider that that portrait is the most recent of a long series of presidential portraits, a sequence spanning centuries and hopefully continuing for centuries to come. It says so much. We were here. We voted for him.

Stop that! Y'all know what a big squish I am!

Posted by: shortstop, not moist-eyed. No, sir. on January 14, 2009 at 6:52 PM | PERMALINK

The president doesn't "give a darn" about his lack of public support.

6 more days!

Posted by: John Henry on January 14, 2009 at 7:05 PM | PERMALINK

"It looks like Osama bin Laden is still alive."

And the White House responded:

"It appears this tape demonstrates his isolation and continued attempts to remain relevant"

Sounds more like a description of Chimpy Bush.

Posted by: Joe Friday on January 14, 2009 at 7:08 PM | PERMALINK

George W. Bush. Unfortunately, we'll never be able to forget him.

Posted by: AJB on January 14, 2009 at 7:11 PM | PERMALINK

George W. Bush. Unfortunately, we'll never be able to forget him. -- AJB, @19:11

I don't know about "unfortunately"; I think we should not be allowed to forget, so that "it never happens again". Kind-a like we remember Holocaust.

Posted by: exlibra on January 14, 2009 at 8:03 PM | PERMALINK

and for spending hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars to bail out the failed nuclear power industry, were appalling and shocking.

Per gigawatt-hour of electricity produced, nuclear has the lowest subsidies and lowest toxic waste of all means that we now use to generate electricity. Even coal is subsidized, by, for example, the federal subsidy to river transportation.

Solar and wind produce no toxic waste in operation, but the manufacture of the devices consumes lots of electricity, most of it produced from coal, nuclear, gas, or petroleum powered plants.

Chu supports the building of new coal plants in the U.S. because (1) no other country is going to scrap its plans to build new coal-fired power plants and (2) he is confident that CO2-sequestration technology will in fact be widely installed in the near future.

Chu also supports biofuels and everything.

Alternative sources are a good long-term bet, but you can't get from here to there without building new coal-fired and nuclear plants. In what order would you shut down America's electricity-consuming industries? Pharmaceuticals first, perhaps -- but who would manufacture the new anti-retroviral medicines and malaria vaccines?

Posted by: MatthewRMarler on January 14, 2009 at 8:18 PM | PERMALINK

Steve,

I really liked your comments re: Obama indulging "both sides of the isle". Only time will tell us how helpful this approach will be. An approach we are clearly ill at ease and unfamiliar with.

I think most people are so fearful of the unknown and as such are quick to judge this act as only
self-serving.

I think not.

I think he truly is a compassionate and wise man who is unbelievably dedicated to being a top notch public servant. What more would you expect from the guy who finished first in his Harvard class and who was the first black man to be picked as editor of the Harvard Law Review?

Ambition can indeed be guided with heart and humility--and it's something we really don't know of.

Posted by: method to Obama's madness on January 14, 2009 at 8:49 PM | PERMALINK

No, no, no! Osama bin Laden is dead. Has been for years. Please get used to the idea!

Posted by: Daro on January 14, 2009 at 9:06 PM | PERMALINK

It is amazing, indeed truly curious, we have the GPS technology to pinpoint a hair on someones ass yet still can't locate OBL

Posted by: gilligan on January 14, 2009 at 9:28 PM | PERMALINK

On pardons, this may seem shocking but I don't think Bush will make any pardons of his administration staff; Cheney, et al, to do so would be an admittance of error and fault and he has patently been unable to do either.

Which may prove to be a silver lining in a very dark, dark cloud.

Posted by: DRichmond on January 14, 2009 at 10:04 PM | PERMALINK

A senior U.S. official told ABCNews.com, "There is no reason to doubt the authenticity of the tape."

It is the first time bin Laden has been heard from in seven months and puts to rest speculation he is dead.

Wow. So it's come to the point where voice recognition software is so fucking perfect that even a recording streamed over the internet can be analyzed with 100% accuracy.

That's pretty impressive.

It's also pure bullshit. Fuck these idiots.

Posted by: Wake Up Dipshits, He's Dead on January 14, 2009 at 10:31 PM | PERMALINK

Whose interests are served by producing more OBL tapes? (Cuz he's been dead for a very long time).

Usually you can tell by who jumps out to "authenticate" the tapes. But who knows. Some government somewhere, or even non-state actors. Somebody.

But who is most likely to be faking the tapes?

Posted by: flubber on January 14, 2009 at 10:32 PM | PERMALINK

But who is most likely to be faking the tapes?

Some 18 year old punk who is laughing his ass off right now.

Posted by: Wake Up Dipshits, He's Dead on January 14, 2009 at 10:33 PM | PERMALINK

I can just hear the voice forensics asshole now: "Characteristic staccato vowels in mid-sentence. It's Osama all right."

Posted by: Wake Up DIpshits, He's Dead on January 14, 2009 at 10:39 PM | PERMALINK


I'm pretty sure Osama left a comment on my blog last year. Had the tell-tale syntax that is uniquely his own.

Posted by: Wake Up Dipshits, He's Dead on January 14, 2009 at 10:41 PM | PERMALINK

Osama bin Laden released a VIDEO 16 months ago.

Posted by: Joe Friday on January 15, 2009 at 12:24 AM | PERMALINK

"...A senior U.S. official told ABCNews.com, "There is no reason to doubt the authenticity of the tape."

It is the first time bin Laden has been heard from in seven months and puts to rest speculation he is dead. The al Qaeda leader's last audio message was posted on May 18, 2008..."

What "senior US official"? And just why does it "put to rest speculation that he is dead"? His last tapes were confirmed forgeries. The man must beimmortal having out lived most well taken care of Americans with his condition and on dialysis. Will they still be trotting this guy out after every election to fear monger a terrorist threat. It is utterly ridiculous and demonstrates the propaganda machine is alive and well in America. Family and friends attended his funeral years ago and it is why he has never been captured and is only seen and heard when he sends America a tape. Gotta keep him up and runnin' for a Palin mouthfull sometime in the future eh?

A news organization just accepts a nod from a "US official" and runs with it for a good story and headlines but has the nerve to act like we should just believe it. Is he sitting on a pile of WMD too? How stupid...

Posted by: bjobotts on January 15, 2009 at 2:52 AM | PERMALINK

"Osama bin Laden released a VIDEO 16 months ago."

LOL. So did Spiderman.

Posted by: U R DIPSHIT on January 15, 2009 at 2:43 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

Read Jonathan Rowe remembrance and articles
Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for Free News & Updates

Advertise in WM



buy from Amazon and
support the Monthly