Monthly Archives: October 2010

With Victory, Republicans Would Face Uncertainty

In The New York Times article With Victory, Republicans Would Face Uncertainty, John Harwood goes over some of the obvious problems facing the government after the election.

He concludes with the following:

What’s clear, after Republican defeats in 2006 and 2008 and Democrats’ travails this year, is that both parties remain at risk so long as Americans suffer from high unemployment and weak economic growth. As the political world begins looking ahead to the 2012 elections, that means the widest opening for an independent candidacy since Ross Perot’s 1992 campaign.

“I think it’s possible,” Jeb Bush said. Meantime, he added, just as Mr. Obama has hit “the reset button” on foreign policy endeavors, “We should maybe try to reset the political climate in Washington.”

If Obama’s problem is that he has not been able to get the 60% cooperation of the Senate, how is an independent President going to do better?

If the problem is the Senate, then the solution is not to change the President or the President’s party.  The solution, one would think, would be to change the Senate.

Of course nothing that the American electorate might choose to do would surprise me any more.  They might in fact change the characteristics of the Presidents they elect in the future without paying any attention to the real problem which seems to lie in the Senate.

The old Sesame Street routine seems to have more and more relevance these days.  Who knew it was meant as a parody of the American electorate as a whole? The routine went something like this:

Customer: I’ll have orange juice and eggs for breakfast.

Waiter: We don’t have orange juice.

C: Then I’ll have cereal and orange juice.

W: We don’t have orange juice.

C: Then I’ll have pancakes and orange juice.

W: We don’t have orange juice.




Why big-time CEOs make terrible politicians

I found Michael Hiltzik’s article Why big-time CEOs make terrible politicians in the Los Angeles Times.

The quote above the article sums it up very well as follows:

Government and business are antithetical. That’s not a flaw in the system — government exists to take on precisely those tasks the private sector can’t or won’t.

The article goes on to explain in more depth why the title is appropriate.

How’s this for a bird-brained study?

I had to show you this letter to the editor, How’s this for a bird-brained study?, from the Worcester T & G.

Worcester T & G Letter Of The Week

Note the date is October 31, 2010. It is not April 1, 2010. This must be why they invented the acronym ROTFL, which Murray must have done when he saw his letter chosen as the letter of the week.

I don’t know of any seersucker birds, especially not single and double breasted ones. But I think the people who chose this as the letter of the week were almost certainly the suckers.

According to OMG Facts

Dr. Suess coined the word “nerd.”

The term originated in the 1950 book “If I Ran the Zoo”. From the book:

“And then, just to show them, I’ll sail to Ka-Troo. And Bring Back an IT-KUTCH, a PREEP and a PROO, a NERKLE, a NERD, and a SEERSUCKER, too!”

The Shock Doctrine

Does this sound like a must read book? 🙂

In THE SHOCK DOCTRINE, Naomi Klein explodes the myth that the global free market triumphed democratically. Exposing the thinking, the money trail and the puppet strings behind the world-changing crises and wars of the last four decades, The Shock Doctrine is the gripping story of how America’s “free market” policies have come to dominate the world– through the exploitation of disaster-shocked people and countries.

November 8, 2010

When I posted this, I had forgotten that I had a post with the same title The Shock Doctrine, on October 12, 2008.

That post had links to 6 video clips of Naomi Klein speaking about her book to a Canadian organization.

In that post, I had written the following:

I was in the middle of watching part 3 of the above links when I realized that I wasn’t feeling well enough to watch the rest of it.  Between watching this, and after watching a Huffington Post item previously, and participating in some Worcester Telegram & Gazette discussions, I am not sure how much more of this I can take.

Now that I am actually reading the book, I find that the revelations in the book do affect me in that way again.

It’s the Stupidity, Stupid

David Sirota authored the posting It’s the Stupidity, Stupid. Thanks to my friend MardyS for linking to this on his Facebook page.  It is the perfect response to my posting Poll: Americans Don’t Know Economy Expanded With Tax Cuts.

Sirota writes:

What could cause this intensifying politics of free-market fundamentalism at the very historical moment that proves the failure of such an ideology? Two new academic studies suggest all roads lead to ignorance.

The first, by Harvard’s Michael Norton and Duke’s Dan Ariely, finds that Americans grossly underestimate how much inequality our economy produces.




…the most powerful factor in our economic illiteracy is found in the other new academic report—the one examining our innate denial reflex.

Poll: Americans Don’t Know Economy Expanded With Tax Cuts

Bloomberg News published the article Poll: Americans Don’t Know Economy Expanded With Tax Cuts.

The Obama administration cut taxes for middle-class Americans, expects to make a profit on the hundreds of billions of dollars spent to rescue Wall Street banks and has overseen an economy that has grown for the past five quarters.

Most voters don’t believe it.

A Bloomberg National Poll conducted Oct. 24-26 finds that by a two-to-one margin, likely voters in the Nov. 2 midterm elections think taxes have gone up, the economy has shrunk, and the billions lent to banks as part of the Troubled Asset Relief Program won’t be recovered.

“The public view of the economy is at odds with the facts, and the blame has to go to the Democrats,” said J. Ann Selzer, president of Selzer & Co., a Des Moines, Iowa-based firm that conducted the nationwide survey. “It does not matter much if you make change, if you do not communicate change.”

Isn’t it odd how a news service whose primary duty is to inform the public can find out that the public is ill informed and yet not even think to ask about their own culpability?

When people read the news and find that the reporters of that news often miss the most obvious questions, it is no wonder that the news services are losing customers.  You would think it would be in the news service’s own interest to figure this out, but even with that incentive, they missed it.

In Writings of Obama, a Philosophy Is Unearthed

The article Writings of Obama, a Philosophy Is Unearthed by Patricia Cohen in The New York Times coincides more with my view of President Obama than it does with the article’s author’s view.

In New York City last week to give a standing-room-only lecture about his forthcoming intellectual biography, “Reading Obama: Dreams, Hopes, and the American Political Tradition,” Mr. Kloppenberg explained that he sees Mr. Obama as a kind of philosopher president, a rare breed that can be found only a handful of times in American history.

“There’s John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison and John Quincy Adams, then Abraham Lincoln and in the 20th century just Woodrow Wilson,” he said.

To Mr. Kloppenberg the philosophy that has guided President Obama most consistently is pragmatism, a uniquely American system of thought developed at the end of the 19th century by William James, John Dewey and Charles Sanders Peirce. It is a philosophy that grew up after Darwin published his theory of evolution and the Civil War reached its bloody end. More and more people were coming to believe that chance rather than providence guided human affairs, and that dogged certainty led to violence.

Pragmatism maintains that people are constantly devising and updating ideas to navigate the world in which they live; it embraces open-minded experimentation and continuing debate. “It is a philosophy for skeptics, not true believers,” Mr. Kloppenberg said.