“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Friday, September 07, 2012

Obama’s Record: Killing without trial, spying without warrant


  1. DNC, friend of the average Joe

    CHARLOTTE, N.C. — President Obama’s Democratic Party touts itself as the party of middle and working-class Americans. But the net worth of many DNC speakers is well over average.

    Median American household wealth in 2009 was about $77,000, according to the U.S. government. According to, former President Bill Clinton, Wednesday night’s keynote speaker, is worth at least $38 million and as much as $80 million — between 493 and more than a thousand times the median.

    “We Democrats think the country works better with a strong middle class, real opportunities for poor people to work their way into it and a relentless focus on the future, with business and government working together to promote growth and broadly shared prosperity,” Clinton said Wednesday night at the Democratic National Convention here. “We think ‘we’re all in this together’ is a better philosophy than ‘you’re on your own.’”

    Clinton indeed is middle class compared to other high-end DNC speakers. Former presidential candidate John Kerry, the Massachusetts U.S. senator, is worth a jaw-dropping $231 million, a figure that likely is related to marrying well. His wife is an heir to the Heinz ketchup fortune. Online entrepreneur and Colorado U.S. Rep. Jared Polis clocks in at $143 million. House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi’s personal assets are estimated at more than $100 million.

  2. I am new to this blog and stuff,so i dont have any idea to share my thoughts about this post, can you help me.?
    ewald struggl

  3. Is it just me or wouldn’t you love the opportunity to be in a bar and have a drunken Chris Mathews take a shot at you?

    MSNBC's Chris Matthews says if President Obama can win the election then the right-wing is "finished."

    "The best way to beat the right-wing is to beat them. If he beats them in this election, they're finished," Matthews said.

    However, Matthews reveals that strategy isn't his original idea, but it comes from the President himself. "I am talking what the President believes because he's told people that, that he thinks he can win this election and break these people on the right," Matthews said. Transcript below.

    Chris Matthews: Look, the only people who haven't had it tough in the last four years are the rich. They've had it easy, and I think that's obvious. And now they're afraid they might somebody in the next four years who might start winning battles.

    By the way, the best way to beat the right-wing is to beat them. If he beats them in this election, they're finished. And I think that's the point. And the moderates will come back. And Jeb Bush will come back. And the people like [Charlie Crist] will come back. The moderates will retake the party if you smash the right.

    I am talking what the President believes because he’s told people that, that he thinks he can win this election and break these people on the right, the moderates will come back and they’ll be able to negotiate and the Mitch McConnells will be shut up for a while.

  4. Chrissie do get fired up a bit, don't he?

  5. I've thought for awhile that this election would be decided in the debates. I haven't changed my mind.

    I watched Obammie's speech last night, and doubt that it moved the needle very much. The pundits (those on MSNBC, anyway,) seemed to think it was a "great" Convention. I'm not convinced. I don't think the white, blue-collar guy that stumbled onto it will be all that impressed.

    Bubba was the highlight. But, he might have just made Billy Bob long for the days of a "white guy" in the White House, again.

    If Romney doesn't show up at the debate, drunk, and fall off the stage, this might be his election to lose.

    1. That said, these are probably the two luckiest guys alive. They're each running against, possibly, the only person in the whole country that they could beat.

  6. Pretty good Monster Employment Report this morning. We'll see in a minute if the BLS Number is as good.

    1. Absolutely Terrible Jobs Report. 96,000 on the Establishment Survey, and 368,000 Dropped Out of the Labor Force.

      119,000 Fewer Employed.

    2. Ahhh, but the unemployment rate ...

      It dropped to 8.1%

      That is a headline improvement.
      Most folk don't read beyond that.

  7. To Deuce's point that the Democrats are rich folk, too ...

    Actually, why would anyone with a functioning brain and a remnant of honesty vote for a Republican or Democrat?

  8. Replies
    1. Economic central planning by the men from Goldman Sachs, the bi-partisan partisans, what else would you expect?

  9. Rasmussen reports

    Electoral College
    Obama: 247 - Romney: 196 - Toss-up: 95

  10. Construction +1,000

    Autos, and Parts -7,500

    BLS Report

  11. While I wish Q all the best in his writing the great American novel, I must say that r Obama's real record ...

    Killing without trial, spying without warrant

    ... is not one that could be honestly associated with the "Far Left" of US politics. No, it is an example of ...

    Stay the Course!

  12. Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner is not a representative of the "Far Left". No more than Henry Merritt "Hank" Paulson, Jr. is.

    Stay the Course!

  13. I've said it before (many times,) and I'll say it again - "The Peak Oilers are the only ones who truly understand this economy."

  14. Yesterday, Ash informed us the U.S. needs a 64% tax increase to get out of the hole it's in. Rufus tells us it's a "revenue" issue.

    No one mentions a word about austerity or cost cutting. Below are some of the ridiculous spending that could be cut:

    International Fund for Ireland -- $17 million annual savings.
    * Legal Services Corporation -- $420 million annual savings.
    * National Endowment for the Arts -- $167.5 million annual savings.
    * National Endowment for the Humanities -- $167.5 million annual savings.
    * Hope VI Program -- $250 million annual savings.
    * Amtrak Subsidies -- $1.565 billion annual savings.
    * Eliminate duplicating education programs -- H.R. 2274 (in last Congress), authored by Rep. McKeon, eliminates 68 at a savings of $1.3 billion annually.
    * U.S. Trade Development Agency -- $55 million annual savings.
    * Woodrow Wilson Center Subsidy -- $20 million annual savings.
    * Cut in half funding for congressional printing and binding -- $47 million annual savings.
    * John C. Stennis Center Subsidy -- $430,000 annual savings.
    * Community Development Fund -- $4.5 billion annual savings.
    * Heritage Area Grants and Statutory Aid -- $24 million annual savings.
    * Cut Federal Travel Budget in Half -- $7.5 billion annual savings
    * Trim Federal Vehicle Budget by 20% -- $600 million annual savings.
    * Essential Air Service -- $150 million annual savings.
    * Technology Innovation Program -- $70 million annual savings.
    * Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) Program -- $125 million annual savings.
    * Department of Energy Grants to States for Weatherization -- $530 million annual savings.
    * Beach Replenishment -- $95 million annual savings.
    * New Starts Transit -- $2 billion annual savings.
    * Exchange Programs for Alaska Natives, Native Hawaiians, and Their Historical Trading Partners in Massachusetts -- $9 million annual savings
    * Intercity and High Speed Rail Grants -- $2.5 billion annual savings.
    * Title X Family Planning -- $318 million annual savings.
    * Appalachian Regional Commission -- $76 million annual savings.
    * Economic Development Administration -- $293 million annual savings.
    * Programs under the National and Community Services Act -- $1.15 billion annual savings.
    * Applied Research at Department of Energy -- $1.27 billion annual savings.
    * Freedom CAR and Fuel Partnership -- $200 million annual savings.
    * Energy Star Program -- $52 million annual savings.
    * Economic Assistance to Egypt -- $250 million annually.
    * U.S. Agency for International Development -- $1.39 billion annual savings.
    * General Assistance to District of Columbia -- $210 million annual savings.
    * Subsidy for Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority -- $150 million annual savings.
    * Presidential Campaign Fund -- $775 million savings over ten years.
    * No funding for federal office space acquisition -- $864 million annual savings.
    * End prohibitions on competitive sourcing of government services.
    * Repeal the Davis-Bacon Act -- More than $1 billion annually.
    * IRS Direct Deposit: Require the IRS to deposit fees for some services it offers (such as processing payment plans for taxpayers) to the Treasury, instead of allowing it to remain as part of its budget -- $1.8 billion savings over ten years.

  15. * Require collection of unpaid taxes by federal employees -- $1 billion total savings. * Prohibit taxpayer funded union activities by federal employees -- $1.2 billion savings over ten years.
    * Sell excess federal properties the government does not make use of -- $15 billion total savings.
    * Eliminate death gratuity for Members of Congress. WHAT???
    * Eliminate Mohair Subsidies -- $1 million annual savings.
    * Eliminate taxpayer subsidies to the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change -- $12.5 million annual savings
    * Eliminate Market Access Program -- $200 million annual savings.
    * USDA Sugar Program -- $14 million annual savings.
    * Subsidy to Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) -- $93 million annual savings.
    * Eliminate the National Organic Certification Cost-Share Program -- $56.2 million annual savings.
    * Eliminate fund for Obamacare administrative costs -- $900 million savings.
    * Ready to Learn TV Program -- $27 million savings.. WHY?????
    * HUD Ph.D. Program. Huh?
    * Deficit Reduction Check-Off Act.
    * TOTAL SAVINGS: $2.5 Trillion over Ten Years

    1. Gag, there's no way that adds up to $250 Billion/Yr.

    2. Not to say that we couldn't do without some of those. :)

      But, just sayin . . .

  16. The trouble, gag, is that the current deficit is $1 trillion per year.
    Your cuts, if averaged amount to $250 billion per year.
    1/4 of the deficit.

    You only need another $750 billion in further savings to balance the current cash flow deficit.

    This before beginning to address the unfunded liabilities in Veterans benefits, Medicare and Social Security that ash was making reference to.

    Mr Ryan's budget slashes $11 billion from the Veterans Affairs, should we ad that to your list?

    1. I hadn't thought to do the arithmetic on the list, guess that confirms I'm not a Democrat.

    2. I didn't either, but I'd bet a bucketful of Ameros it doesn't come out to That much.

    3. I knew both of you would question the total, which is OK, and I knew both of you, especially Rat, would nitpick what should be on the list or not, but the gist of my list is you have to work both sides of the equation to make it work.

      If your pay gets cut at home, you cut back on eating out and going to the movies. If revenue drops at your business, you cut out spending in other areas, until sales lands another account. Or, if sales are good but your profits are not what they should be, you control your spending.

      Bottom line, you don't write a check your balance won't cover.

      The real trouble, Rat, is those are just a few I picked out of a very long list.

    4. But, here's the thing, Gag: The Finances of a Country Are NOT Analogous to the Finances of running a household.

      These are two things that are Not alike.

    5. No, gag, I'd accept every cut on the list, for the sake of the debate.
      The challenge is that the entirety of your list only covers 1/4 of the current cash flow problem.
      It does nothing to address the unfunded liabilities that ash was referencing.

      We need to find another $750 billion to slash, annually, then figure where to find the cash to cover the unfunded liabilities in Medicare and Social Security and Veterans benefits.

    6. Yes, Rat, but you continue to miss the point. My list only covers a small area.

      And I say running a household or business is similar to running the counry fiscally, not identical. Again, I knew before I posted both of you would belittle it. Our government spends money like drunk sailors. You both seem to disagree. Wow.

      On a similar note, Our government has no idea how much money is being "gamed" out of social security, medicare, food stamps, housing, etc. by citizen cheaters, and don't seem to care. Especially the Democrats as most doing the "gaming" are part of their constituency. That dollar amount would be staggering.

    7. I don't think anyone "belittled" your list, Gag. I merely said it didn't add up (and, it doesn't.)

      But, if you want to make a big deal out of it, show us the Big items on the list, the ones that make it add up to $250 Billion/Yr. I have a hunch you really don't want to do that. Am I right?

    8. Rufus, you want to argue arithmetic instead of the real issue, which is wasteful SPENDING. Never mind.

    9. Gag, YOU brought it up. $2.5 TRILLION.

      Rat had a good question; Was Veterans Affairs on that list? USDA (food stamps?)

      $250 Billion/Yr is a Big number.

    10. I don't think I was arguing. I was just asking for more information.

  17. as I've said numerous times before Gag - the fix lies in BOTH the revenue and expense side.

    I thought this was interesting in a commentary piece I read this morning (seems to be only in my print copy):

    ""A lot of people derive a lot of benefits from public policy, but they don't recongnize that the government is assisting them, so they are less likely to support government" Dr. Mettler told me. She cited a survey she did in which only 43 per cent of respondents said they ever received help from the government. When asked about specific programs, however, 96 per cent turned out to have benefited from state largesse."

  18. The Federal budget amounts to $3 trillion annually.
    $1 trillion is borrowed.

    A long list of questionable programs could amount to $250 billion.

    That still leaves $750 billion in current deficits.
    It does not address the unfunded liabilities.

    Should we support 20% cuts in ALL of the programs not on the list, to bring the budget into balance?

    Should we support the funding levels that the GOP and the Obama administration agreed to in the sequester solution to the debt ceiling debate of August 2011?

    1. Mr McCain says that cutting Federal spending to the levels in the sequester solution will eliminate !,000,000 jobs.

      That's a lot Federal subsidies and stimulus, aye.
      But is it a stimulus that we no longer afford?

    2. I wouldn't pretend to know where to start the cutting. Cutting is painful, but a little pain wouldn't hurt. Obama wants to spread the money around thru re-distribution of wealth. Why not spread the pain also? You have to start somewhere.

      And who ever came up with the term, "too big to fail" should be waterboarded. :-)

    3. I think Most programs could stand a 10% cut.

    4. I would submit, gag, that is what a "Balanced Solution" would do. Spread the "Pain".

      $2.5 in spending cuts for $1 in increased revenue, was the last option that was turned down by the House.
      Myself I would raise it to around $4 to $1.

      Every GOP Presidential candidate said they would veto a $10 to $1 solution.

      So, instead of Simpson/Bowles we have a Sequester Solution.
      What may be the worse of all.

      But better than Stay the Course!

    5. The other day Patrick J. Buchanan wrote he thought the Romney best case "solution", the most radical thing he could do ...

      FREEZE SPENDING at current levels.

      Hell, in the real whirled I'd go for that.

    6. unfortunately that wouldn't be enough...

    7. It seems the consensus is nothing is enough, so let's not do anything.

    8. That appears to be what is happening and that does not bode well for the future.

  19. God's Country exists! I'm there. Motel lot filled with cars, pickups with bikes, kayaks, motorcycles, campers, one Jeep. Manger can't stand Empty. Chilly last night.

    My compassion flows to you!

  20. Five Oclock was too early. Naptime. later.

  21. 35.8 million federal tax dollars spent on RNC and DNC conventions in 2012.

  22. "America's Flight from Fiscal Reality
    Jeffrey Simpson

    The flight from reality of so many Americans into the nether worlds of ideology is discouraging when it’s not frightening.

    Last week, we witnessed the blending of libertarian economics with social conservatism that is the contemporary Republican Party. This week, the restless coalition that is the Democratic Party has been on display.

    Each party, for different reasons, has convinced itself (and will try to convince the country) that America’s doleful fiscal situation – one that will sap the country’s economic might and international influence and distort its domestic economy for years to come – can be remedied without meaningful tax increases. This change goes beyond not just rescinding tax cuts for those earning more than $200,000, as the Democrats propose, but tax increases across a wide swath of American society.

    The flight from reality is easy to diagnose. Neither party wants to axe the sacred military budget. Neither wants to raise taxes. By definition, therefore, the restoration of fiscal health has to come exclusively from spending cuts to domestic programs.

    These cuts, savage as the Tea Party and Paul Ryans of the Republican Party propose, are not what Americans tell pollsters they want – notwithstanding what the fire-breathers in the Republican world believe. Democrats are reluctant to cut almost anywhere, and Republicans want to cut almost everywhere. Neither are remotely realistic in their ambitions.

    1. U.S. taxes aren’t what they seem on paper – rather steep in some areas and redistributive in others. When you glance below the surface, however, the tax code is shot full of complications and loopholes, tilted to the rich and the very rich, producing less revenue than any other OECD country (except Mexico and Chile) as a share of the total economy and, critically, relying less on consumption taxes than other countries. Were the Americans to impose a 5-per-cent national sales tax on themselves (the Canadian rate, and the lowest among countries with national sales taxes), the country’s fiscal crisis would be on the way to resolution.

      Such a tax is unthinkable in a climate where Americans feel themselves overtaxed, despite the evidence that, in 2009 (according to the OECD), Americans paid the third-lowest share of their national income in tax within that organization.

      Republicans whine about high corporate taxes and, on paper, these taxes are high – a top rate of 39 per cent. Yet, so many exemptions, credits and other loopholes – many resulting from ubiquitous corporate lobbying on Capitol Hill – pockmark the corporate tax code that U.S. business pays one of the lowest effective tax rates in the advanced industrial world.

      Lobbying, too, is among the reasons why the tax code favours the rich. (See the small rate of personal income tax paid by millionaire presidential candidate Mitt Romney.) Republican tax proposals in this election would offer even more tax advantages to the rich.

      Paul Ryan, the Republicans’ vice-presidential candidate, proposed a draconian budget-cutting plan that would have given those earning more than $1-million a tax cut of $265,000, according to the liberal Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

      It’s one of the enduring mysteries of American politics why so many people with some dependence on government and modest personal incomes fervently support a Republican Party whose policies would be so inimical to their personal welfare – but then Karl Marx had it wrong from the start when he said economic self-interest axiomatically leads to political choices. Maybe he was right, though, in analyzing the phenomenon of “false consciousness.”

      There are compromise positions to grapple with the country’s fiscal situation. Two bipartisan commissions combined tax increases and spending cuts. Mr. Ryan, however, bolted from one of those commissions because it dared to mention tax increases. His party’s official position is to reject any new taxes.

      President Barack Obama never got behind either of the compromises, because he sensed that the Republicans weren’t interested in compromises. Nor were many of his own party’s members.

      Today, Republican candidates for the Senate and the House are campaigning on not making any compromises if they’re elected. Even if Mr. Obama is re-elected, the gridlock and ideological entrenchment that define contemporary American politics will continue, and one key to solving the country’s fiscal dilemma – tax increases – will remain as remote as ever."

  23. From Noonan:

    Barack Obama is deeply overexposed and often boring. He never seems to be saying what he's thinking. His speech Thursday was weirdly anticlimactic. There's too much buildup, the crowd was tired, it all felt flat. He was somber, and his message was essentially banal: We've done better than you think. Who are you going to believe, me or your lying eyes?

    There were many straw men. There were phrases like "the shadow of a shuttered steel mill," which he considers writerly. But they sound empty and practiced now, like something you've heard in a commercial or an advertising campaign.

    It was stale and empty. He's out of juice.

    His daughters have grown beautiful.

    .As for Joe Biden, I love him and will hear nothing against him. He's like Democrats the way they used to be, and by that I do not mean idiotic, I mean normal—manipulative only to a normal degree, roughly aware of the facts of normal life, alert to and even respecting of such normal things as religious faith. I wish he did not insist on referring to his wife as "Dr. Jill Biden." I'm sure she has many doctorates, but so do half the unemployed in Manhattan.

    John Kerry was on fire. It was the best speech of his career. He drew blood on foreign policy: "Talk about being before it before you were against it!" Obama will take that message, on Afghanistan, into debate.

    Was it a good convention?

    Beneath the funny hats, the sweet-faced delegates, the handsome speakers and the babies waving flags there was something disquieting. All three days were marked by a kind of soft, distracted extremism. It was unshowy and unobnoxious but also unsettling.

    There was the relentless emphasis on Government as Community, as the thing that gives us spirit and makes us whole. But government isn't what you love if you're American, America is what you love. Government is what you have, need and hire. Its most essential duties—especially when it is bankrupt—involve defending rights and safety, not imposing views and values. We already have values. Democrats and Republicans don't see all this the same way, and that's fine—that's what national politics is, the working out of this dispute in one direction or another every few years. But the Democrats convened in Charlotte seemed more extreme on the point, more accepting of the idea of government as the center of national life, than ever, at least to me.

    The fight over including a single mention of God in the platform—that was extreme. The original removal of the single mention by the platform committee—extreme. The huge "No!" vote on restoring the mention of God, and including the administration's own stand on Jerusalem—that wasn't liberal, it was extreme. Comparing the Republicans to Nazis—extreme. The almost complete absence of a call to help education by facing down the powers that throw our least defended children under the school bus—this was extreme, not mainstream.

  24. Continued:

    The sheer strangeness of all the talk about abortion, abortion, contraception, contraception. I am old enough to know a wedge issue when I see one, but I've never seen a great party build its entire public persona around one. Big speeches from the heads of Planned Parenthood and NARAL, HHS Secretary and abortion enthusiast Kathleen Sebelius and, of course, Sandra Fluke.

    "Republicans shut me out of a hearing on contraception," Ms. Fluke said. But why would anyone have included a Georgetown law student who never worked her way onto the national stage until she was plucked, by the left, as a personable victim?

    .What a fabulously confident and ingenuous-seeming political narcissist Ms. Fluke is. She really does think—and her party apparently thinks—that in a spending crisis with trillions in debt and many in need, in a nation in existential doubt as to its standing and purpose, in a time when parents struggle to buy the good sneakers for the kids so they're not embarrassed at school . . . that in that nation the great issue of the day, and the appropriate focus of our concern, is making other people pay for her birth-control pills. That's not a stand, it's a non sequitur. She is not, as Rush Limbaugh oafishly, bullyingly said, a slut. She is a ninny, a narcissist and a fool.

    And she was one of the great faces of the party in Charlotte. That is extreme. Childish, too.

    Something else, and it had to do with tone. I remember the Republicans in Tampa bashing the president, hard, but not the entire Democratic Party. In Charlotte they bashed Mitt Romney, but they bashed the Republican Party harder. If this doesn't strike you as somewhat unsettling, then you must want another four years of all war all the time between the parties. I don't think the American people want that. Because, actually, they're not extreme.

    Bill Clinton is The Master. That is stipulated. Almost everyone in the media was over the moon about his speech. It was a shrewd and superb moment of political generosity, his hauling into town to make the case, but it was a hack speech. It was the speech of a highly gifted apparatchik. All great partisan speeches include some hard and uncomfortable truths, but Mr. Clinton offered none. He knows better than so much of what he said. In real life he makes insightful statements on the debt, the deficit and the real threat they pose. He knows more about the need for and impediments to public-school reform than half the reformers do. He knows exactly why both parties can't reach agreement in Washington, and what each has done wrong along the way. But Wednesday night he stuck to fluid fictions and clever cases. It was smaller than Bill Clinton is.

    Still, he gave the president one great political gift: He put Medicaid on the table. He put it right there next to the pepper shaker and said Look at that! People talk Medicare and Social Security, but, as Mr. Clinton noted, more than half of Medicaid is spent on nursing-home care for seniors and on those with disabilities such as Down syndrome and autism. Will it be cut?


  25. Here's what I'm seeing the past 10 years. The baby boomers have been supporting their grown children and their aged parents. They are stressed, stretched and largely uncomplaining, because they know that as boomers—shallow, selfish—they're the only generation not allowed to complain. And just as well, as complaints are the only area of national life where we have a surplus. But they are spiritually and financially holding the country together, and they're coming to terms with the fact that it's going to be that way for a good long time. They're going to take a keen interest in where Medicaid goes.

    Romney-Ryan take note: this will arrive as an issue.

    So: was it a good convention? We'll know by the polls, by the famous bounce, or lack of it. A guess? Dead-cat bounce. Just like the Republicans got.

    Maybe Mr. Clinton made a bigger, more broadly positive impression than I suspect; maybe a sense the Democrats were extreme will take hold. People left both conventions talking about only one thing: the debates. They know they didn't move the needle in Tampa and Charlotte. The people in charge of politics aren't so good at politics anymore.

  26. And, Noonan is still a tedious, depressed bore.

    1. I expected that type of response from you. That is the response both you and Q give when it's your ox that get's gored.

      I agree with everything she said, except about Biden. He needs to be in a straight jacket, bound and gagged.

    2. Did MY ox get gored? I wasn't aware of it. When did it happen?

      I just don't think much of Peggy Noonan.

    3. The Republicans put Todd Akin's separated-at-birth twin on the ticket, and Peggy's surprised the Dems are talking about Women's Rights? Really?

    4. Hell, the really substantive thing, Medicaid, she agrees with me.

      If you'll remember, I was saying that two weeks before Clinton, Noonan, or hardly anyone else was.

    5. you are the man, Rufus. THE GURU.

  27. dead cat bounce. I like that.

  28. Malcolm had been well healed for a very long time now. So long, that he hardly could remember Mexico any longer. Only something about a tanned brown beauty on a beach, knocking over a bottle of Tequila from the hotel balcony and nearly knocking out the proprietor, something about losing one shoe, and a ride on a Ferris Wheel, and the sounds of explosions from some Mexican fiesta. It was long ago, and far away, so long ago and far away it might have been in Argentina, on a cattle ranch, and he had never been on a cattle ranch, nor in Argentina. When he had come out of the Well and Healed Holistic Human Health Institute, at the end of three years, his wife had met him and had said, "Malcolm, you can be well healed with me, or go back to the Well and Healed. Which is it going to be?" And Malcolm had said, "I want to be with you." Now they were at the Yellowstone Lodge, built early last century, old, big timbers, small, but extremely well appointed rooms, and his wife was in bed early, asleep. They had been there three days, are were going hiking tomorrow. Malcolm was excited. He thought of the fishermen, real fishermen, he had seen earlier on the Gallatin River,

    teen age boys, who knew what they were doing, older men, some with beards, all with long sleeve shirts, the men often with ski poles for balance. He and his wife had stopped, and he had fished too, it was an old expertise of his. He had caught five and thrown them all back, releasing them carefully, under the current, undamaged. An older fisherman said 'I see you know what you are doing' and Malcolm had smiled and said 'I have seen you know what you are doing as well', and they were friends. Driving through the park were areas burned, over a decade ago, already bursting with new pines and firs. Malcolm felt enthused, like he could do anything now. He was looking forward to the hike. His wife was asleep. He was watching Obama on the big screen. He and his wife both hated Obama, and all he stood for, he and his whole organization. He turned the big screen off. His wife was asleep. He silently slipped out the room door, closing it softly, and took the elevator to the Lodge Lounge. I am well and healed, I can do anything now, an unconscious thought flowed through his mind.....


    Over The Caldera

  29. The first of these problems was resolved quite quickly, thanks both to lots of emergency lending by the Federal Reserve and, yes, the much maligned bank bailouts. By late 2009, measures of financial stress were more or less back to normal.

    This return to financial normalcy did not, however, produce a robust recovery. Fast recoveries are almost always led by a housing boom — and given the excess home construction that took place during the bubble, that just wasn’t going to happen. Meanwhile, households were trying (or being forced by creditors) to pay down debt, which meant depressed demand. So the economy’s free fall ended, but recovery remained sluggish.

    Now, you may have noticed that in telling this story about a disappointing recovery I didn’t mention any of the things that Republicans talked about last week in Tampa, Fla. — the effects of high taxes and regulation, the lack of confidence supposedly created by Mr. Obama’s failure to lavish enough praise on “job creators” (what I call the “Ma, he’s looking at me funny!” theory of our economic problems). Why the omission? Because there’s not a shred of evidence for the G.O.P. theory of what ails our economy, while there’s a lot of hard evidence for the view that a lack of demand, largely because of excessive household debt, is the real problem.

    And here’s the good news: The forces that have been holding the economy back seem likely to fade away in the years ahead. Housing starts have been at extremely low levels for years, so the overhang of excess construction from the bubble years is long past — and it looks as if a housing recovery has already begun. Household debt is still high by historical . . . . .

    Cleaning up the Mess

    1. So much for peak oil causing the current mess.

    2. It just made it worse, Ash. And, it's making the attempts at recovery more difficult.

    3. With the global price of oil almost doubling, since 2008, there is an added drag to demand for other products. Which, along with high levels of household debt, have made it difficult for the consumer to be the engine of recovery.

      That the author wishes to concentrate upon the housing market and debt, well, that does not eliminate the effects of energy prices on the recovery, just ignores them.

  30. Agricultural Research Service (ARS) geneticist Sarah Hake, working with University of California-Berkeley plant geneticist George Chuck, found that taking a gene from corn called corngrass and inserting it into switchgrass keeps the grass always in a juvenile form that doesn’t flower, doesn’t produce seeds, and doesn’t have a dormant growth phase. And that means the sugars in the plant starch are more readily available for conversion into cellulosic ethanol.

    The scientists observed that the leaves in the transgenic switchgrass are not nearly as stiff as leaves in switchgrass cultivars that haven’t been modified. In addition, they determined that leaf lignin is slightly different in the transgenic switchgrass than leaf lignin in other plants. This could lead to new findings on how to break down the sturdy lignin and release sugars for fermentation, a development that will be essential to the commercial production of cellulosic ethanol.

    Forever Young (soft and juicy) Switchgrass

    1. The seeds of which will, forever, have to be purchased from a large agricultural biotechnology corporation, like Monsanto. This will put switchgrass on the lobbyists map.

      Moving US forward, towards sustainable homegrown energy, once again.

  31. Rasmussen reports ...

    The president is enjoying a convention bounce that has been evident in the last two nights of tracking data. He led by two just before the Republican convention, so he has already erased the modest bounce Romney received from his party’s celebration in Tampa. Perhaps more significantly, Democratic interest in the campaign has soared. For the first time, those in the president’s party are following the campaign as closely as GOP voters. Interest in a campaign is typically considered a good indicator of turnout.

  32. Rasmussen further reports that the bounce has not effected the

    Electoral College
    Obama: 247 - Romney: 196 - Toss-up: 95

    1. Election 2012: Missouri Senate
      Missouri Senate: McCaskill (D) 48%, Akin (R) 38%

      What a difference one TV interview can make. Embattled Democratic incumbent Claire McCaskill has now jumped to a 10-point lead over her Republican challenger, Congressman Todd Akin, in Missouri’s U.S. Senate race. Most Missouri Republicans want Akin to quit the race while most Missouri Democrats want him to stay.

      The latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of Likely Voters in the Show Me State finds McCaskill earning 48% support to Akin’s 38%. Nine percent (9%) like some other candidate in the race, and five percent (5%) are undecided.

  33. The political convulsion over Missouri Republican Todd Akin's bizarre talk of "legitimate rape" highlights an issue that the GOP had buried in its campaign.

    A Commentary by Froma Harrop

    While the U.S. senatorial candidate's grasp of reproductive science is shockingly lacking -- he said real rape victims rarely get pregnant -- his position that abortions be banned with no exception for rape happens to be in the new Republican Party platform. It is a stance that most Americans, including most registered Republicans, disagree with and probably didn't know was an official party position. Now they do.

    Meanwhile, Republican leaders can't avoid the truth that Akin's call to do away with the rape exception is a principled "pro-life" position. If you believe that the cell cluster created when a sperm fertilizes an egg is a full a human being, then it shouldn't matter whether it was made through marital love or a violent crime. So holding that rape victims shouldn't be forced to have the child of their tormenters is a cop-out. When Missouri Right to Life says it supports Akin's "defense of the life of an innocent unborn child conceived by rape," it is being consistent.

    1. When premises lead to bad conclusions one should examine the premises.

    2. The definition of who is "fully" a citizen worthy of legal protection continues to expand, ash.

      At one point women were not "fully" citizens, they counted but were on an unequal legal footing as compared to men. Some would say they still are.
      Blacks were counted as 3/5 citizens.

      As to a fetus, Mr Romney supports full legal protections at conception. Said so to Mike Huckabee on TV.
      Mr Obama, well, his position is a tad more nuanced.

  34. Most forms of birth control are, technically, abortions. The "pill," if I'm not mistaken, causes the fertilized egg to disconnect from the lining of the uterus.

    It turns out that a fair share of other Republicans are running into buzzsaws at their town hall meetings over this.

    1. I Think it is the IUD that does that.

    2. I'm thinking of the phenomenum of Epidermal Edema, which the pill can cause.

    3. Baby Doll came in the room and distracted me. I don't know where I came up with "epidermal."

  35. Evidently, "Billy Bob" liked the Dem Convention more than I thought he might. :)

  36. In his post-Dem Convention humongous ad buy Romney passed over Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania.

    If he's given up on Wisconsin . . . . . . well, that is truly momentous. That means Barack take the election with Ohio, and one more, or Fla and his dick.