Category Archives: Blogging

President Clueless? Not so fast…

Posted by: Betsm

Reports claim Obama kisses up to the bankers in an interview. Critics on the left erupt! Here’s why they shouldn’t

President Barack ObamaPretty clever, those Bloomberg folks! First they buy BusinessWeek. Then BusinessWeek gets an interview with President Obama. Then, one day before the interview is to run, Bloomberg scoops its sister publication by excerpting a couple of choice nuggets suggesting Obama is cuddling up to the banks.

President Barack Obama said he doesn’t “begrudge” the $17 million bonus awarded to JPMorgan Chase & Co. Chief Executive Officer Jamie Dimon or the $9 million issued to Goldman Sachs Group Inc. CEO Lloyd Blankfein, noting that some athletes take home more pay…

“I know both those guys; they are very savvy businessmen,” Obama said in the interview yesterday in the Oval Office with Bloomberg BusinessWeek, which will appear on newsstands Friday. “I, like most of the American people, don’t begrudge people success or wealth. That is part of the free-market system.”

Unsurprisingly, two of Obama’s harshest critics on banking policy — from the left — immediately went ballistic. Simon Johnson called it “a major public relations disaster” and Paul Krugman, in a post titled “Clueless,” said “you would think that Obama would understand the importance of acknowledging public anger over what’s happening” and declared that “we are doomed.”

Hmm. Maybe we should read the entire interview before rending our hair and screaming doom and disaster? If there’s one thing we know about the president, it’s that he is pretty good with nuance and capable of making complex, multifaceted arguments. His performance during his meeting with the House GOP two weeks ago should provide all the evidence we need for that.

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Read the entire article by Andrew Leonard @ Salon

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Hope for Haiti Now: A Global Benefit for Earthquake Relief” Video highlights

Thanks to everyone who joined us for a night of great music and a show of support for the people of Haiti

Posted by: Audiegrl

Hope for Haiti Vodpod videos no longer available.Hope for Haiti Now Vodpod videos no longer available.Hope for Haiti Now Vodpod videos no longer available. Hope for Haiti Now Vodpod videos no longer available.Hope for Haiti Now Vodpod videos no longer available. Hope for Haiti Now Vodpod videos no longer available.Hope for Haiti Now Vodpod videos no longer available. Hope for Haiti Now Vodpod videos no longer available. Hope for Haiti Now Vodpod videos no longer available. Vodpod videos no longer available.

President Obama Signs Legislation

President Obama Signs Legislation Providing Immediate Tax Deductions for Haiti Charitable Contributions January 22, 2010.

President Obama Is Making It Easier for Americans to Support Haiti
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In the days since the earthquake in Haiti, Americans have shown their generosity with millions of dollars in donations. Tonight, President Obama signed a bill into law that makes it easier to give. This legislation will allow taxpayers to receive the tax benefit from donations made to the Haiti effort in this tax season, rather than having to wait until they file their 2010 tax returns next year. Specifically, cash donations to charities for the Haitian relief effort given after January 11 and before March 1 of this year may be treated as if the contribution was made on December 31 of last year so that the contribution can be deducted from 2009 income. This measure applies to monetary donations, not goods or services.


Clinton Bush Haiti Relief FundUNICEFAmerican Red Cross

WFP:  World Food ProgrammePartners In Health Oxfam America
Yéle Haiti

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44-D’s Picks for Best Books of 2009


Looking for a New Year’s Resolution? Reading more is a great resolution.

The number one rule to follow if you want to read more is to SIT down and do it. From October 2008 through October 2009 I read one book a day and along with all the pleasure and wisdom, laughs and tears, I became an expert on how to find time to read. Some tricks to reading more are obvious: ignore the dishes and the laundry and the Internet. Some tricks are surprisingly effective: don’t ignore friends and family, but instead invite them to sit down and read, too. ~~Nina Sankovitch
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Fiction


Under the Dome by Stephen King

King’s return to supernatural horror is uncomfortably bulky, formidably complex and irresistibly compelling. When the smalltown of Chester’s Mill, Maine, is surrounded by an invisible force field, the people inside must exert themselves to survive. The situation deteriorates rapidly due to the dome’s ecological effects and the machinations of Big Jim Rennie, an obscenely sanctimonious local politician and drug lord who likes the idea of having an isolated populace to dominate. Opposing him are footloose Iraq veteran Dale “Barbie” Barbara, newspaper editor Julia Shumway, a gaggle of teen skateboarders and others who want to solve the riddle of the dome.
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Strain-Book-One-TrilogyThe Strain-Volume One by Guillermo Del Toro and Chuck Hogan

Who better to reinvent the vampire genre than Guillermo Del Toro, the genius behind Pan’s Labyrinth, and Chuck Hogan, master of character-driven thrillers like Prince of Thieves? The first of a trilogy, The Strain is everything you want from a horror novel–dark, bloody, and packed full of mayhem and mythology. But, be forewarned, these are not like any vampires you’ve met before–they’re not sexy or star-crossed or “vegetarians“–they are hungry, they are connected, and they are multiplying. The vampire virus marches its way across New York, and all that stands between us and a grotesque end are a couple of scientists, an old man with a decades-old vendetta, and a young boy. This first installment moves fast and sets up the major players, counting down to the beginning of the end.
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The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown

Everyone off the bus, and welcome to a Washington, D.C., they never told you about on your school trip when you were a kid, a place steeped in Masonic history that, once revealed, points to a dark, ancient conspiracy that threatens not only America but the world itself. Returning hero Robert Langdon comes to Washington to give a lecture at the behest of his old mentor, Peter Solomon. When he arrives at the U.S. Capitol for his lecture, he finds, instead of an audience, Peter’s severed hand mounted on a wooden base, fingers pointing skyward to the Rotunda ceiling fresco of George Washington dressed in white robes, ascending to heaven. Langdon teases out a plethora of clues from the tattooed hand that point toward a secret portal through which an intrepid seeker will find the wisdom known as the Ancient Mysteries, or the lost wisdom of the ages. This is just the kickoff for a deadly chase that careens back and forth, across, above and below the nation’s capital, darting from revelation to revelation, pausing only to explain some piece of wondrous, historical esoterica.
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evilatheartthumbEvil At Heart by Chelsea Cain

Gretchen Lowell strikes again—or does she?—in bestseller Cain’s grisly third thriller to feature the female serial killer who takes sadistic pleasure in taunting Portland, Ore., detective Archie Sheridan (after Sweetheart and Heartsick). A violent attack that leaves body parts in a rest stop bathroom, along with Lowell’s signature heart design, persuades Sheridan, a recovering Vicodin addict, to leave rehab and rejoin the hunt for Lowell. As he and newspaper reporter Susan Ward dig deeper, they discover that while the corpses cropping up around town are reminiscent of Lowell’s nasty handiwork, they might also point to one of the myriad fan clubs dedicated to the killer, who has become a media sensation since she escaped from prison in Heartsick. Even though readers may wonder how much longer this extended game can play out, Cain delivers her usual blend of organ-ripping, blood-soaked gore and compelling flawed heroes—and antiheroes. Hey, when characters from True Blood start reading your books, its on…
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Bloods A Rover by James Ellroy

Ellroy’s astonishing creation, the Underworld USA Trilogy, is complete. Its concluding volume, Blood’s a Rover, has just been published. The three long thrillers that make up the trilogy (American Tabloid, 1995; The Cold Six Thousand, 2001; Blood’s a Rover, 2009) present a brutal counterhistory of America in the 1960s and 1970s — the assassinations, the social convulsions, the power-elite plotting — through the lives of invented second- and third-echelon operatives in the great political crimes of the era. The trilogy is biblical in scale, catholic in its borrowing from conspiracy theories, absorbing to read, often awe-inspiring in the liberties taken with standard fictional presentation, and, in its imperfections and lapses, disconcerting
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The Winterhouse by Robin McGrath

“My father has married me to a mad old man.” These words, written on a slip of paper inside a fading brocade collar, are a clue to the unlikely marriage of a Jewish remittance man and a 14-year-old orphan in a remote Newfoundland fishing station. More curious still are the connections that entangle a retired school teacher and an Israeli scholar almost two centuries later. When the bereaved Rosehannah Quint and her mysterious “mister” retreat into winter quarters at the back of Ireland’s Eye, the two begin to develop an understanding based on curiosity as well as upon need – an understanding that works its way down the years. The Winterhouse is a compelling novel about finding oneself and creating one’s own community.
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2666: A Novel by Roberto Bolaño (Author), Natasha Wimmer (Translator)

To say that 2666 is a novel is like calling a Beethoven symphony a collection of songs. If we must, though, this novel in five parts is without doubt Roberto Bolaño’s masterwork, epic in scope, labyrinthine, frustrating, disjointed, maybe a bit pretentious, always somewhat aloof—and brilliant. The novel’s parts are interrelated only to the extent that the author wants them to be, and his intention isn’t always clear (witness the title, which has little, if any, connection to the text itself). Reading 2666 is a daunting task, though once accepted, the result might be something akin to what readers felt in 1922 when, faced for the first time with the disquieting modern vision of James Joyce, they picked up Ulysses and were changed by the experience. Perhaps we’ll know in 657 years.
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The Casebook of Victor Frankenstein: A Novel by Peter Ackroyd

Medical student Victor Frankenstein imbibes fellow student Bysshe Shelley’s belief in the perfectibility of mankind and strives to create a being of infinite benevolence in this recasting of Mary Shelley’s horror classic from Ackroyd (First Light). When Victor reanimates the body of acquaintance Jack Keat, he’s so horrified at the implications of his Promethean feat that he abandons his creation. Outraged, the Keat creature shadows Victor as an avenging doppelgänger, bringing misery and death to those dearest to him. Ackroyd laces his narrative intelligently with the Romantic ideals of Lord Byron and Percy Shelley, and deftly interweaves Victor’s fictional travails with events of the well-known 1816 meeting between the poets that inspired Mary to draft her landmark story. His hasty surprise ending may strike some readers as a cheat, though most will agree that his novel is a brilliant riff on ideas that have informed literary, horror and science fiction for nearly two centuries.
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Non-Fiction


True Compass: A Memoir by Edward M. Kennedy

Often touching . . . After a life chronicled in tabloid chatter and often vicious editorial cartoons, Kennedy tells his own story here, expansively yet selectively, portraying himself as a dedicated, loving, flesh-and-blood figure who, despite being born well, had to prove himself. And the person, to whom he most had to do that is clearly etched in these pages. It was neither his famous brothers, nor his pious mother, Rose, nor even himself, but his controversial father, Joseph P. Kennedy Sr. . . This is a book that all but the most toxic Kennedy critic could love . . . Later, there is much substance about his political life. His accounts are richly detailed. As a reporter covering Kennedy decades ago, I learned that he was keeping a diary and knew what a treasure it would someday be. It is. The best insights are perhaps his accounts of Senate maneuverings prior to the impeachment of Bill Clinton, his advocacy for peace in Northern Ireland, the misgivings that he and Robert both had about Vietnam, and the run-up to the latter’s presidential campaign and subsequent murder in 1968 . . . He writes with great affection of dating and marrying the warmly elegant Vicki Reggie. The memoir is dedicated to her.

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The First Family: Terror, Extortion, Revenge, Murder, and the Birth of the American Mafia by Mike Dash

Decades before the Five Families emerged and more than half a century before Mario Puzo wrote The Godfather, Giuseppe Morello and his family controlled all manner of crime in New York City. Bestselling historian Dash (Satan’s Circus; Tulipomania) presents an enthralling account of this little-known boss of bosses, ‘dubbed the Clutch Hand‘ because of his deformed arm. Arriving with his family from Corleone, Sicily, in 1892, Morello soon set up a successful operation counterfeiting American and Canadian bills. Dash depicts the balance between loyalty and betrayal as an ever-changing dance and nimbly catalogues the endless gruesome murders committed in the name of revenge and honor. Readers may think they know the mob, but Morello’s ruthless rule makes even the fictional Tony Soprano look tame.
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This Is Why You’re Fat: Where Dreams Become Heart Attacks by Jessica Amason

Food was once the providence of celebrated chefs and critical connoisseurs. Cooking shows featured all gourmet creations and web sites displayed artfully photographed delights. Then something changed. Perhaps it was the desensitizing of web culture or perhaps it was a cry for help from the food-loving public. But by God – there came a day when fancy vegetable towers came crashing down and $50 mushrooms were no longer acceptable. Amason and Blakley wanted see the old stand-bys, the carnival foods of their childhoods, the sticky mess of a deep-fried candy bar, the indulgence of a greasy burger with all the fixin’s. It was the birth of the nasty food web-trend. And it was delicious. The website This Is Why You’re Fat is an ode to this trend – whether seen as a commentary on North American dietary habits or a celebration of the deliciously bad – and Amason and Blakeley are devoted to the world’s newfound obsession with over-the-top food. Within its first month the site pulled in over ten million eyeballs, and attracted major nation media including CNN. The world cooked, they listened.
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Last Words: A Memoir by George Carlin

As one of America’s preeminent comedic voices, George Carlin saw it all throughout his extraordinary fifty-year career and made fun of most of it. Last Words is the story of the man behind some of the most seminal comedy of the last half century, blending his signature acer-bic humor with never-before-told stories from his own life. George Carlin’s journey to stardom began in the rough-and-tumble neighborhood of New York’s Upper West Side in the 1940s, where class and culture wars planted the seeds for some of his best known material, including the notorious “Seven Words You Can Never Say On Television.” His early conflicts, his long struggle with substance abuse, his turbulent relationships with his family, and his triumphs over catastrophic setbacks all fueled the unique comedic worldview he brought to the stage. From the heights of stardom to the low points few knew about, Last Words is told with the same razor-sharp honesty that made Carlin one of the best loved comedians in American history.

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Gabriel García Márquez : A Life by Gerald Martin

The great Colombian novelist—winner of the 1982 Nobel Prize, the chief exponent of “magic realism,” and the author of, among other celebrated works, One Hundred Years of Solitude—has continuously offered both challenges and delights to his readers. This well-researched, authorized biography offers a total immersion into the author’s life and career, and, unlike many of García Márquez’s novels, it is a relatively uncomplicated and quick read. Unearthing facts never before presented to the reading public, Martin tracks the evolution of a small-town, “susceptible” boy from the steamy Caribbean region of Colombia into a novelist whose work, while remaining grounded in Colombian history and culture, reflects a worldview transcending local interest. Discerning explication of García Márquez’s fiction (especially in terms of its autobiographical component) finds its grounding in an understanding of the man’s uneasy relationships with his family and his inveterate interest in politics. García Márquez, an international star, lived many places in the world, but Martin makes clear that, in the end, while the man could be taken out of Colombia, Colombia was never taken out of the man. His intense political consciousness—he was a leftist and good friend of Fidel Castro—always found its sounding board in the tumultuous politics of his homeland. A brilliant and lasting biographical treatment.

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LiveStream: Clean Energy Economy Forum with Youth Leaders

Event Concluded

Clean Energy Economy Forum with Youth Leaders: Live Chat Break Out Session

December 02, 2009 5:45 PM EST

Clean Energy Economy Forum with Youth Leaders: Closing Session
December 02, 2009 7:00 PM EST

Clean Energy Economy Forum with youth leaders from around the country at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar , Labor Secretary Hilda L. Solis, Energy Secretary Steven Chu, and Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa P. Jackson, and other Administration officials will reiterate the need for a comprehensive energy plan that puts America back in control of its energy future.
source:
Climate Crossroads Blog

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Obama’s ‘Mistakes’: Way Too Early to Judge By Joe Klein

Opt-Ed by Joe Klein

Time—Over the past few weeks, Barack Obama has been criticized for the following: He didn’t go to Berlin for the 20th anniversary of the Wall’s coming down. He didn’t make a forceful enough statement on the 30th anniversary of the U.S. diplomats’ being taken hostage in Iran. He didn’t show sufficient mournfulness, at first, when the Fort Hood shootings took place, and he was namby-pamby about the possibility that the shootings were an act of jihad. He has spent too little time focusing on unemployment. He bowed too deeply before the Japanese Emperor. He allowed the Chinese to block the broadcast of his Shanghai town-hall meeting. He allowed the Chinese President to bar questions at their joint press conference (a moment memorably satirized by Saturday Night Live). He didn’t come back with any diplomatic victories from Asia. He allowed Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and the other 9/11 plotters to be tried in the U.S. criminal-justice system rather than by the military. He has dithered too long on Afghanistan. He has devoted too much attention to — and given congressional Democrats too much control over — health care reform, an issue that is peripheral to a majority of Americans.

And all this has led to a dangerous slippage in the polls, it is said, a sense that his presidential authority is ebbing.

As a fully licensed pundit, I have the authority to weigh in here … but I demur. Oh, I could sling opinions about every one of the events cited above — some were unfortunate — but it would matter only if I could discern a pattern that illuminates Obama’s presidency. The most obvious pattern, however, is the media’s tendency to get overwrought about almost anything. Why, for example, is the 20th anniversary of the Berlin Wall demolition so crucial that it requires a President’s presence? Which recent U.S. President has gotten the Chinese to agree to anything big? (In fact, Obama has secured significant diplomatic cooperation from the Chinese on North Korea, Afghanistan and Pakistan.) Was his deep bow indicative of anything other than his physical fitness? (My midsection, sadly, prevents the appearance of obsequiousness in such circumstances.)

Stepping back a bit, I do see a metapattern that extends over the 40 years since Richard Nixon’s Southern strategy began the drift toward more ideological political parties: Democrats have tough first years in the presidency. Of the past seven Presidents, the two Bushes rank at the top in popularity after one year, while Obama and Bill Clinton rank at the bottom, with Jimmy Carter close by. There is a reason for that. Democrats come to office eager to govern the heck out of the country. They take on impossible issues, like budget-balancing and health care reform. They run into roadblocks — from their own unruly ranks as well as from Republicans. They get lost in the details. A tax cut is much easier to explain than a tax increase. A foreign policy based in bluster — railing against an “axis of evil” — is easier to sell than a foreign policy based in nuance. Of course, external events count a lot: the ratings of Bushes I and II were bolstered, respectively, by the disintegration of the Soviet Union and the flattening of the World Trade Center. Reagan’s rating — 53% and headed south — was dampened by a deepening recession.

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Sarah Palin: Rogue Republican or Democratic Operative?

blogpost by: JUST A GIRL FROM HOMER


“Why do you still talk about Sarah Palin? Maybe if you shut up she’d go away.”

Wrong.

Sarah Palin isn’t going anywhere. Look at her political history. When Sarah ran for mayor of Wasilla, she had to destroy her Republican opponent, John Stein.

The Robo-caller from Wasilla

Once elected, she boasted she was “the first Christian mayor”. Mr. Stein replied, “Really?”

Palin and Wasilla Republican and Alaska Senate President, Lyda Green, often clashed over politics in Green’s district. On a local shock jock talk show, Palin giggled after the host called Lyda Green “a cancer”. Green had just recovered from cancer. Plunk, there went the district.

When Palin filed to run for governor against first term incumbent Frank Murkowski, people took notice. Frank wasn’t loved. His first act as governor was to nepotistically appoint his daughter to fill his vacated US Senate seat. Within the Alaska GOP, a war ensued, including fisticuffs at the Republican Party picnic between rabid Palin supporters and the GOP faithful. Oh, lookie, there went the state…copy

Many people regard Sarah Palin as a punch line. That’s too easy. In fact, she’s more of a threat. If the Republican Party had half a mind, they would look at Palin’s history of party divisiveness, polarization and destruction and take heed. In fact, they’d be smart to take her at her word. She’s a self-proclaimed rogue.

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Think Progress Makes It’s Mark

Judged by the standard of influencing the conversation, Think Progress is flourishing.’~Politico

The 44D’s just wanted to take a moment and celebrate the blogger’s at ThinkProgress and the TP community. It’s not often that the MSM gives blogger’s recognition for all the hard work they do, even when they use blogger’s reporting in their own stories. Today, hopefully will mark a turning point in that behavior, and investigative blogger’s will earn the respect they so genuinely deserve.

Thank you TP for providing both excellent reporting and a place for honest political discussion.

thinkprogressmakesitmark

Politico/Daniel Libit—Can a liberal blog launched in the midst of the Bush era – a blog that once obsessed over Alberto Gonzales, Donald Rumsfeld, Karl Rove and the outing of Valerie Plame – still make its mark in the age of Obama?

In the case of Think Progress, the answer so far is yes.

Since January, the online arm of the Center for American Progress Action Fund has embraced its new role as the pin to prick the air out of Obama opposition — largely by offering up evidence that powerful Washington interests are fertilizing grassroots conservative anger.

In April, Think Progress was the first to highlight former House Majority Leader Dick Armey’s dual role as a lobbyist for a pharmaceutical company at DLA Piper and as the chairman of FreedomWorks, which has helped organize grassroots attacks on health care reform.

In the media uproar that followed, Armey quit his DLA Piper job and Editor Faiz Shakir says the controversy called into question whether the movement against the president was astroturfed.

In the ensuing months, Think Progress’s trackers and bloggers have tried to make that point with videos and posts that undercut the opponents of President Barack Obama’s agenda.

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