About “political rookies”

I’m going to leave alone the political implications of trashing the “professional left” as needing to be “drug-tested,”[1] a political strategy which then-White House press secretary Robert Gibbs later apologized for,[2] but has reappeared in Obama for America (OFA) New Mexico State Director Ray Sandoval’s recent “email to supporters defending the president’s position on the debt deal and bashing the Nobel Prize winning New York Times columnist Paul Krugman and the ‘Firebagger Lefty blogosphere.'”[3]

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  1. [1]Sam Youngman, “White House unloads anger over criticism from ‘professional left’,” The Hill, August 10, 2010, http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/113431-white-house-unloads-on-professional-left
  2. [2]Agence France Presse, “White House Spokesman Apologizes After Saying ‘Professional Left’ Should Be Drug Tested,” Alternet, August 10, 2010, http://www.alternet.org/news/147807/white_house_spokesman_apologizes_after_saying_’professional_left’_should_be_drug_tested
  3. [3]Amanda Terkel, “Obama Campaign Staffer Sends Out Email Bashing Paul Krugman And The ‘Firebagger Lefty Blogosphere’,” Huffington Post, August 17, 2011, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/08/17/new-mexico-ofa-firebagger-lefty-blogosphere_n_929231.html

Why Obama’s compromise is doomed

About a month ago, Joan Walsh penned a couple of articles for Salon.com, where she is editor-at-large, in which she tackled President Barack Obama’s relationship with compromise. These articles are worth reading if for no other reason than her examination of the analogy between Obama’s and Lincoln’s so-called pragmatism in polarized political situations where attempts to compromise fall far short.[1] In her view, Obama is unmasking the extremism of Tea Party zealots. But, she writes,

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  1. [1]Joan Walsh, “Arianna Huffington v. Frederick Douglass,” Salon, July 19, 2011, http://www.salon.com/news/opinion/joan_walsh/politics/2011/07/18/arianna_huffington_vs_frederick_douglass; Joan Walsh, “The president wins another round,” Salon, July 22, 2011, http://www.salon.com/news/opinion/joan_walsh/politics/2011/07/22/obama_liberal_support_slips

Shooting to kill

It almost went unnoticed in the mainstream media. After all, it was just a homeless African-American at the Civic Center Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) Station, shot to death by a BART police officer less than a minute after he stepped off a train.[1] The New York Times carried a damning story thirteen days later observing that BART had implemented a fraction of an independent auditor’s recommendations following the Oscar Grant shooting on New Year’s Day, 2009.[2]

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  1. [1]Joe Eskenazi, “Charles Hill BART Shooting Video,” SF Weekly, July 21, 2011, http://blogs.sfweekly.com/thesnitch/2011/07/charles_hill_bart_shooting_vid.php
  2. [2]Zusha Elinson and Shoshana Walter, “Latest BART Shooting Prompts New Discussion of Reforms,” New York Times, July 16, 2011, http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/17/us/17bcbart.html

So now we go to war for China?

Fallout from the debt ceiling agreement continued as a mainstream consensus emerges that President Barack Obama got rolled by the rabid right wing,[1] the Dow Jones Industrial Averages fell by 512.76 points Thursday,[2] and Standard and Poors lowered the U.S. government’s credit rating from AAA to AA+, on Friday, saying “The downgrade reflects our opinion that the … plan that Congress and the Administration recently agreed to falls short of what, in our view, would be necessary to stabilize the government’s medium-term debt dynamics.”[3] Jane Hamsher responded to the S&P downgrade by pointing to the agency’s shifting rationale for threatening a downgrade, suggesting the move is an attempt to manipulate U.S. politics.[4] For all the hue and cry, Dylan Matthews posted that the impact of the downgrade was as yet unclear: it might matter—and it might not.[5]

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  1. [1]Elizabeth Drew, “What Were They Thinking?” New York Review of Books, http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2011/aug/18/what-were-they-thinking/?pagination=false
  2. [2]Graham Bowley, “Stocks Plunge on Fears of Global Turmoil,” New York Times, August 4, 2011, http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/05/business/markets.html
  3. [3]Charles Riley, “S&P downgrades U.S. credit rating,” CNN, August 5, 2011, http://money.cnn.com/2011/08/05/news/economy/downgrade_rumors/index.htm
  4. [4]Jane Hamsher, “The PMS of S&P,” Firedoglake, August 5, 2011, http://firedoglake.com/2011/08/05/the-pms-of-sp/
  5. [5]Dylan Matthews, “The U.S. is downgraded. Now what?” Washington Post, August 5, 2011, http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/ezra-klein/post/2011/08/05/gIQAx4NKxI_blog.html

Dickens redux

I drive past an old red VW bus parked on the edge of a shopping center parking lot. The side door, facing towards the street is open and a mother watches over her children, across the street from a local market. I pull into the market’s parking lot and as I get out of my truck, I notice directly ahead of me a four-door sedan whose paint job has seen better days; the driver’s door is ajar and inside, a young woman focuses intently on her smartphone (a rare luxury even the poor can afford these days). I pick up a few items and get back in my truck to head home. Back on the main drag through Santa Rosa, I drive past a strip mall with three empty storefronts; two are advertised for lease with a large sign on the building.

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