Wednesday, December 31, 2008

News Nuggets 72

Check out the latest issue of Essence Magazine.  It has over 56 pages of commentary from notable African Americans on the election.  The cover photos of Barack and Michelle are also stunning.

Twelve Steps for the GOP from the Wall Street Journal
"The first comprehensive poll on why voters voted the way they did in November has just been released by the communications firm Target Point Consulting. I received a full briefing from the pollster Alex Lundry on what these 1,000 voters think of Republicans. The short answer is: not much."

Coming Soon: The 21st Century (E.J.Dionne) from the Washington Post
"The outcome of this year's election means that 2009 will, finally, mark the beginning of the 21st century."

Add Up the Damage (Bob Herbert) from the New York Times
"When Mr. Bush officially takes his leave in three weeks (in reality, he checked out long ago), most Americans will be content to sigh good riddance. I disagree. I don’t think he should be allowed to slip quietly out of town."

No Deal: Learning from FDR's Mistakes (Alan Brinkley) from the New Republic
"At no time did economic activity reach levels comparable to those of a decade earlier; and, while there were periods when the economy seemed to be recovering, none of them lasted very long. And so this bold, active, and creative moment in our history proved to be a failure at its central task. Understanding what went wrong could help us avoid making the same mistakes today."

Chip Saltzman's 'Magic Negro' Mistake (Tim Rutten) from the Los Angeles Times
"Given the current state of affairs, the Republican Party's next national chairman probably will need a sense of humor. A little judgment wouldn't hurt either."

"The threat of 9/11 ignored. The threat of Iraq hyped and manipulated. Guantánamo and Abu Ghraib. Hurricane Katrina. The shredding of civil liberties. The rise of Iran. Global warming. Economic disaster. How did one two-term presidency go so wrong? A sweeping draft of history—distilled from scores of interviews—offers fresh insight into the roles of George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, and other key players."

Helping to Write History from the Washington Post
"When Obama moves to the White House next month, Favreau will join his staff as the youngest person ever to be selected as chief speechwriter. He helps shape almost every word Obama says, yet the two men have formed a concert so harmonized that Favreau's own voice disappears."

"Tuesday's report from the transition, detailing contacts between members of Obama's inner circle and embattled Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich and concluding that "nothing at all inappropriate" was discussed, won't be the final word on the subject—but it did provide some telling insight into the way the White House's new occupant will operate."

Race Emerges as Issue for GOP from the Christian Science Monitor
"State GOP leaders will gather in Washington next week to begin the process of charting a new strategy for the Republican Party.  The issue of race will be central to the discussion, even if it’s not a specific item on the agenda.  That’s because, fairly or not, Republicans are being identified as the party of Southern white conservatives in an increasingly multicultural society."

"Hawaii is overflowing with pride that a son of the islands who shares their culture and traditions is going to the White House. Now that Obama is back in the islands for the winter holidays, the state is giddy."

"Although the president and his supporters shared a dim view of Obama as a prospective commander-in-chief, the supposedly woolly-minded, lily-livered Democrat may wind up doing more to salvage Bush’s legacy than the grizzled Republican nominee ever would, or could, have done."

Win, win, win, win, win ... (Thomas Friedman) from the New York Times
"How many times do we have to see this play before we admit that it always ends the same way?"

What to Do About Torturers? from the New York Review of Books
"As Alexis de Tocqueville showed long ago, sometimes it takes the eyes of an outsider to show us ourselves."

Monday, December 22, 2008

News Nuggets 71

A night view from a base camp near Mount Everest

This will be my last post until after the holidays -- I hope everyone has a wonderful Christmas and New Year.  I will probably be posting something before 2009 is upon us but here's wishing everyone the very best!  JD

Now the Real Test for Obama (Fareed Zakaria) from the Washington Post
"Whatever Obama may have thought when he began this journey, at a time when the war in Iraq was foremost in many voters' minds, whatever his campaign promises, his presidency will be judged on how he handles the economic crisis that envelops the United States and the world. For Obama to be remembered as a great president, he has to do nothing less than rescue capitalism."

Life Without Bubbles (Paul Krugman) from the New York Times
"The prosperity of a few years ago, such as it was — profits were terrific, wages not so much — depended on a huge bubble in housing, which replaced an earlier huge bubble in stocks. And since the housing bubble isn’t coming back, the spending that sustained the economy in the pre-crisis years isn’t coming back either."

This was the Year That Was (Larry Sabato) from the UV Center for Politics
"We have reached the end of another election cycle, but this has been no ordinary campaign."

More Losses for Republicans? (Charlie Cook) from National Journal
"Republicans first have to get past the 2010 races that, at first glance, would appear to put the GOP at a disadvantage for a third straight cycle."

"Though Obama is expected to spend considerable time with family and friends, aides say he is still doing transition work while on vacation, including receiving national security briefings each day."

GOP's Dangerous Imbalance from the National Journal
"In both chambers, the GOP caucus is increasingly dominated by members from the country's most conservative regions. And, as the vote to block federal assistance to the beleaguered auto companies demonstrated, those members are likely to steer the party on an ideologically aggressive course in 2009 that makes it tougher for Republicans to recover in swing or Democratic-leaning states where they have lately lost ground."

The Teddy Awards (Joe Klein) from Time Magazine
""The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again ... who spends himself in a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly.""

Republican v Republican (Michael Tomasky) from the Guardina [of London]
"Bush's bail-out of the big three (or two) shows the fissures inside the GOP."

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

News Nuggets 70

There are several interesting items in this week's Time Magazine along with the following!

Barack Obama: 2008 Person of the Year from Time Magazine

"In the waning days of his extraordinary year and on the cusp of his presidency, what now seems most salient about Obama is the opposite of flashy, the antithesis of rhetoric: he gets things done. He is a man about his business — a Mr. Fix It going to Washington."

Young Republicans Seek a New Kind of Party from the Christian Science Monitor

"Reflecting an Obama age, they want more diversity and pragmatism, less partisanship."

Committing War Crimes for the 'Right Reasons' (Glenn Greenwald) from Salon

"Those defending Bush officials by claiming they acted with good motives are invoking the same rationale used by every war criminal and aggressor."

Obama Charm Offensive sways Republicans from The Hill

"Some of these Republicans, who are poised to represent their party on issues ranging from the economy to healthcare to homeland security, say it is the most aggressive outreach from an incoming president that they can remember."

Hurled Shoes: Bush's Epitaph (Robert Scheer) from the Nation

"That an Iraqi journalist, whose family had been victimized by Saddam Hussein and who was kidnapped by insurgents while attempting to work as a TV reporter, came to so loathe the American president, as does much of the world, should serve as the final grade on the Bush administration."

Between Obama and the Press from the New York Times Sunday Magazine

"There was a sense among Obama’s communications team that not only did they have a gifted candidate to ride but also that they had figured out new ways to maximize their advantages."

Obama's Inaugural Ceremony from the New York Times

"Aretha Franklin and Dr. Rick Warren, an evangelical minister of the Saddleback Church, are among the select group of people who will participate in Barack Obama’s inaugural swearing-in ceremony on Jan. 20."

The Green House from Slate

"For President-elect Barack Obama, the sagging economy is the gift that keeps on giving. First, it helped get him elected. Now it's giving him a mandate to spend more than he ever could under normal circumstances."

Obama Preserves Political Capital for Stimulus Plan from the Wall Street Journal

"Barack Obama's transition team is resisting Bush administration overtures to coordinate more on the financial-sector rescue, convinced that neither the lame-duck President George W. Bush nor the president-elect has the clout to win a smooth congressional release of more bailout funds."

Lemmings on Wheels (Eugene Robinson) from the Washington Post

"It may be that General Motors, Chrysler and Ford are lumbering, Jurassic beasts that deserve their looming extinction. But only a free-market fundamentalist, a lunatic or a Senate Republican -- perhaps that's redundant -- would conclude that now is the moment to hasten Detroit's demise."

Flying Shoes Create a Hero in Arab World from the Washington Post

"In hurling footwear and insults at President Bush, Muntadar al-Zaidi expressed what relatives said were his own frustrations with American policy in Iraq and made himself into an overnight celebrity in the Arab world."

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

News Nuggets 69

As Economy Falters, Obama's Goodwill Grows from the New York Times
"The six weeks after Election Day have produced an extraordinary juxtaposition: the worse things have become for the country, the better they’ve become for President-elect Barack Obama."

"Dick Cheney was spot-on last week in his verdict on Senate Republicans’ opposition to a survival plan for the American auto industry. "It's Herbert Hoover time," he said, mordantly channeling the theme song of a hallmark children's show of the 1950s: "It's Howdy Doody time." "

Putin Had Better Not Underestimate Obama from Le Monde [of France in English]
"Russia has once again sought a rivalry that would give it the feeling of being a great power. … Mr. Putin shouldn't be under any illusions about an American president who is considered inexperienced in foreign affairs."

Obama has Flexibility to Think Big From Day One (Al Hunt) from the Bloomberg News Service
"President-elect Barack Obama faces more difficult challenges than any new American chief executive since FDR. He also has more leeway, on policy and politics, than most."

Born in the USA from the Guardian [of London]
"Republicans are trying to prove that Obama is not eligible to be president. But their party has much bigger problems to solve."

Obama Team Woos GOP to Ease Way for Agenda from the Wall Street Journal
"Obama hopes the effort will both ease the way for an aggressive, decidedly liberal policy blitz after he takes office, and establish terrain for a good working relationship in areas where the parties can find common ground. First up will be a half-trillion-dollar stimulus plan he hopes will win Republican votes."

Don't Say the D Word from Time Magazine
""Shall we call it a depression now?" asked former Labor Secretary Robert Reich. "The threat of a widespread depression is now real and present," argued the University of Maryland's Peter Morici."

A Finger in the Dike (Nicholas Kristof) from the New York Times
"For the first time in human history, I agree with Dick Cheney. According to LA Times, he warned Republican senators that if they refused to bail out the auto companies, “we will be known as the party of Herbert Hoover forever.”"

Joe Cool Arrives at the White House from the Times [of London]
"Whether or not he lives up to the hype (and, frankly, who could?), Barack Obama looks set to become the coolest president America has ever had."

Saturday, December 13, 2008

News Nuggets 68

They're really good this week!

An Old Rage to Quell (David Ignatius) from the Washington Post
"Obama is a living rebuttal to Fanon's rage of the powerless. The son of a Luo tribesman, whose father was born on the shores of Lake Victoria and schooled by British colonial administrators, is about to assume the most powerful job on Earth. It is Fanon's world turned upside down."

To Teach, They Reach for Obama from the Washington Post
A MUST-READ for today!
"You could call it Obama discipline or Obama etiquette, and it goes something like this: Get up! Do you think Obama would have slept late and not made it to school on time?"

"Why did a small group of Southern Republicans turn the auto bailout into a demolition derby? Introducing the senators who hate unions and love foreign cars."

Why Conservatives Should Not be Cheery (Matthew Continetti) from NPR
"My conservative friends have been filled with glee during this holiday season, savoring recent GOP victories and reveling in Democratic scandals. But it is far too early for them to break out the eggnog. The GOP remains in serious trouble."

Nuclear Crossroads (Jim Hoagland) from the Washington Post
"The power of the presidential jawbone atrophied under his two immediate predecessors. But Barack Obama has shown that he will employ subtle threats, brazen promises and words at large as his ambassadors in pursuit of personal and national goals."

The Hunting of the President Resumes (Joe Conason) from Salon
"The right is trying to link Obama to Blagojevich and corruption -- and the mainstream media is playing along. The Clinton rules are back."

Colin Powell: GOP 'Polarization' Backfired in Election from CNN
Sage words from Mr. Powell -- words I'm sure that will be completely ignored.  
"The Republican party must stop "shouting at the world" and start listening to minority groups if it is to win elections in the 21st century, former Secretary of State Colin Powell said Thursday."

"On Wednesday, Dick Cheney met with Senate Republicans and emphasized the importance of keeping the American automotive industry afloat. "If we don't do this, we will be known as the party of Herbert Hoover forever," the vice president said. The Neo-Hooverite caucus apparently seems willing to wear the label with pride."

"George W. Bush's recent statement that he believes the Bible is "probably not" literally true has apparently left many Christian conservatives reeling in shock."

Community Organizer in Chief from the National Journal
"Last weekend, his state organizers huddled in Chicago for a meeting; earlier this week, his field organizers began getting phone calls: Would you be interested in possibly coming back to work?"

Thursday, December 11, 2008

News Nuggets 67

Obama Won't Play from Daily Kos
"When the news of the arrest of Illinois Governor Rob Blagojevich broke, it took the RNC less than an hour to try and tie him to President-elect Barack Obama, an attempt so pitiful that even the Washington Times wasn't buying it. Apparently the RNC didn't bother to read the Criminal Complaint."

No Change for Sale (John Dickerson) from Slate
"Obama looks great in Gov. Rod Blagojevich's indictment."

"These after-the-election presidential campaign panels — in which campaign managers, pollsters, media consultants and other strategists talk about what they did and why they did it — have become a regular postscript to presidential campaigns."

"Plans for Mr. Obama’s inauguration on Jan. 20 are slowly taking shape.  But with increasing numbers of people out of work and American soldiers enmeshed in two wars, inaugural planners face the task of keeping the tone respectful while still celebrating Mr. Obama’s achievement."

"Barack Obama says his presidency is an opportunity for the U.S. to renovate its relations with the Muslim world, starting the day of his inauguration and continuing with a speech he plans to deliver in an Islamic capital."

"The manager of Barack Obama's historic presidential campaign gives a rare behind-the-scenes look back at the election."

Bush's Ranch Dressing from the Nation
"So it's official: George W. Bush is not a cowboy. We pretty much suspected he wasn't when we learned that, for all his bow-legged strutting, the man's afraid of horses. But last week, Bush let the other Luchesse boot drop: He and Laura bought a $2 million, fancy-pants house in Dallas's toniest neighborhood and will soon be high-tailin' it out of that eight-year-old stage set of a "ranch" in Crawford. Any uncleared brush can go clear itself."

Obama and the Liberals (Michael Tomasky) from the Guardian [of London]
"Should liberals be disappointed in Obama so far? Angry? Absurd. They should be thrilled."

Obama's Heavyweight Cabinet from the Guardian [of London]
"Thus far, Obama's cabinet appointments reflect the historic nature of his incoming administration. He has built a meritocratic cabinet of intellectual heavyweights, where reason, debate and consensus will govern his administration."

"More than a month before Obama is sworn in, D.C. is in the grips of inaugural madness -- and it goes beyond the attempted price gouging on rentals."

The Battle for Chicago from the Guardian [of London]
"Blagojevich and Obama represent the two sides of Chicago's political history: corrupt machine versus the grassroots"

Monday, December 8, 2008

News Nuggets 66

A photo that captures some unusual aspects of both Hillary and Obama.

Obama Preserves Political Capital from the Wall Street Journal
"Mindful of the disastrous presidential transition between the administrations of Herbert Hoover and Franklin D. Roosevelt -- during which an already bad economy worsened -- both the Obama and Bush camps have strained to be cooperative.  But tension is growing."

"Three luminaries of political analysis agreed to share their insights with Salon. Chris Hayes is the Washington editor of the Nation ... Chuck Todd is the national political director for NBC News. ... and Amy Walter the editor in chief of the Hotline"

Small Isn't Beautiful (William Kristol) from the New York Times

Mr. Kristol's FIRST appearance on this website!  He actually had something vaguely insightful to say!

"I can’t help but admire some of my fellow conservatives’ loyalty to the small-government cause. It reminds me of the nobility of Tennyson’s Light Brigade, as it charges into battle: “Theirs but to do and die.” Maybe it would be better, though, first to reason why."

Naming Hillary: 'May be One of Obama's Great Achievements'" from the Financial Times Deutschland [from Germany in English]

"If Gates supervised the withdrawal from Iraq after having organized Bush's deployment of additional troops and Hillary negotiates with the mullahs in Tehran, who could accuse Obama of lacking the needed toughness?"

Meet Obama from The Root

"The News: Barack Obama reminds Americans that it's okay for presidents to be smart, thoughtful and authoritative. "

The Obama Phenomenon: A Forum from the Organization of American Historians Newsletter

Some of these articles are interesting and there's quite a range of opinion put forward.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

News Nuggets 65

Rumsfeld Nemesis Shinseki to be Named VA Secretary from AMERICAblog

John Arovosis has a great take on Shinseki's appointment yesterday.

"You have to give the Obama people credit.  They are quite adept at slipping the knife in slowly."


The Deluder-in-Chief from the New York Times Editorial Board

"It was skin crawling to hear him tell Mr. Gibson that the thing he will really miss when he leaves office is no longer going to see the families of slain soldiers, because they make him feel better about the war."

The Real Generation X (Tom Friedman) from the New York Times

"What book will our kids write about us? “The Greediest Generation?” “The Complacent Generation?” Or maybe: “The Subprime Generation: How My Parents Bailed Themselves Out for Their Excesses by Charging It All on My Visa Card.”"

Obama Pledges Public Works on a Vast Scale from the New York Times

"Mr. Obama’s remarks showcased his ambition to expand the definition of traditional work programs for the middle class, like infrastructure projects to repair roads and bridges, to include new-era jobs in technology and so-called green jobs that reduce energy use and global warming emissions."

Partisan’ Seeks a Prefix: Bi- or Post- from the New York Times

"President-elect Barack Obama can already boast one striking accomplishment: persuading partisan, ideological adversaries to see him in a less partisan, less ideological light."

The Real Bill Ayers (William Ayers) from the New York Times

"IN the recently concluded presidential race, I was unwillingly thrust upon the stage and asked to play a role in a profoundly dishonest drama. I refused, and here’s why."

Snapshots from a Time of Change from the Los Angeles Times

"On the eve of Barack Obama's presidency, excitement mingles with economic turmoil."

Spying on Pacifists, Environmentalists and Nuns from the Los Angeles Times

"Investigators, the files show, targeted groups that advocated against abortion, global warming, nuclear arms, military recruiting in high schools and biodefense research, among other issues."

World, Don't You Worry (Howard Fineman) from Newsweek

"By hiring and associating with well-known, well-respected figures, Obama is saying to investors: It's safe to come back. America knows what it's doing."

The Starving States (Howard Fineman again) from Newsweek

"It's not yet Christmas, and Obama was not elected to be Santa Claus. But the talk leading up to Inauguration Day has assumed the air of a Dickensian orphanage, with the inmates shouting, "more please!"  They are entitled: they are starving.""

Obama's Manna (E.J. Dionne) from the Washington Post

"Obama's luxury is that the economic demands of the moment almost perfectly coincide with his political interests. With even conservative economists urging Obama not only to cut taxes but also to spend and spend and spend some more, he has an opportunity to keep a whole raft of political promises all at once."

Regret-Me-Nots (Eugene Robinson) from the Washington Post

"Remember that long-ago news conference when George W. Bush couldn't think of any mistakes he had made? Unbelievably, he still can't."

Friday, December 5, 2008

News Nuggets 64

Team of Heavyweights (Henry Kissenger) from the Washington Post
"It took courage for the president-elect to choose this constellation and no little inner assurance -- both qualities essential for dealing with the challenge of distilling order out of a fragmenting international system. In these circumstances, ignoring conventional wisdom may prove to have been the precondition for creativity. "

Neither Left, Nor Right but Forward (Gerald Seib) from the Wall Street Journal
"You've got to give Barack Obama credit: The man knows how to read.  Read the results of an election, and the mood of a country, that is. The team the president-elect is assembling around him is strikingly centrist in nature, a group of people known more for competence than for ideology."

"Mr Obama repeatedly insists that America only has “one president at a time”. But since election day that “one president” seems to have been the junior senator from Illinois rather than the former governor of Texas."

Hillary's Eleanor Roosevelt Moment (Ellen Goodman) from the Boston Globe
"One of the lifelong commitments Clinton will bring to her new role is to improve the rights and everyday lives of the world's women. These issues will not be the "women's page" in her portfolio, but integral to the way she views the world and, perhaps, to the way America can exercise its power."

"A historical line can be drawn from these Low Country cabins to Michelle Obama, charting an American family's improbable journey through slavery, segregation, the civil-rights movement and a historic presidential election."

The Election Without End (Larry Sabato) from UVA Center for Politics
"Granted, the 2008 election is not like 2000: it's mainly over. But parts of it are not, and ballots are still being counted and recounted in various parts of the United States."

"Barack Obama was, without question, born in the U.S., and he is eligible to be president, but experts on conspiracy theories say that won't ever matter to those who believe otherwise."

"In his first term alone, Obama could have the opportunity to fill at least two, and maybe three, vacancies. His first nomination would mark only the third by a Democratic president in four decades."

"There are powerful lessons from the Obama campaign for politicians here."


I missed this one the day after the election.

Churches Across America Reflect on Obama Election from the Chicago Defender

"Jubilation, pride and relief permeated pews and pulpits at predominantly Black churches across the country on the first Sunday after Barack Obama’s election, with congregrants blowing horns, waving American flags and raising their hands to the heavens."

Thursday, December 4, 2008

News Nuggets 63

Michelle is Every Woman's Model from the Standard [of Kenya]
"Michelle Obama has become one of my role models, and it is not because she is the next First Lady-in-waiting but rather, her character has mesmerised me and billions of women worldwide.  Michelle has introduced a global image of the modern wife and mother. Gender activists worldwide are hoping women will emulate her principles and grow to be independent women."

A Great Opportunity from the Guardian [of London]
"By showing the strength of the west's values and beliefs in justice and liberty, Obama can win the battle for hearts and minds."

"Barack Obama’s grandfather was imprisoned and brutally tortured by the British during the violent struggle for Kenyan independence, according to the Kenyan family of the US President-elect."

"The former Prime Minister told The Timesthat he was more optimistic than before that a deal can be struck between Palestinians and Israelis, saying that the role of Mr Obama would be “absolutely critical”."

Obama's Victory Shames Africa from the Huffington Post
"His election victory shattered myths about America and caused some discomfort among Africa's gang of "hippos" - the nasty, ornery and unrepentant hard-knocks. Wedded to seats of power, not even bulldozers can dislodge them."

Obama in the Divided Heartland from the New York Review of Books
"The coverage seemed so focused on the candidates and their campaigns and on the race between them that the concerns and attitudes of ordinary voters tended to get overlooked. I was especially exasperated by the readiness of TV pundits and Op-Ed writers to make sweeping statements about the state of the electorate without ever talking to an actual voter. I wanted to see if I could uncover some of the deeper, underlying currents in the body politic."

"He must make the U.S. a world leader in global warming solutions. Then he must inspire China to follow suit."

You Mean We Can Talk Back? (Daniel Froomkin) from the Washington Post
"Here's the status quo: A president who has overt contempt for public opinion, who shields himself from opposing views and whose idea of White House Web site interactivity is a video of his dog.  And here's the change: The Obama transition team is actually soliciting public comments on its Web site, reading them and responding to them."

Obama and the Cult of Competency (Chris Cilizza) from the Washington Post
"Obama seems far more focused on ensuring that his nominees have impeccable credentials and a readiness for the job rather than that they fit into a specific ideological box or share a particular vision on the issue (or issues) they will oversee in his Administration."

Closet Centrist (Michael Gerson) from the Washington Post
"It is a lineup generous in its moderation, astonishing for its continuity, startling for its stability."