Wednesday Morning Open Thread

Travelled yesterday. Busy the next few days. Travelling again on the weekend. In short, not much posting from me for the next week.

Open Thread.

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    I think something that bears watching (5.00 / 1) (#2)
    by Anne on Wed May 11, 2011 at 09:27:54 AM EST
    is the House Armed Services Committee.

    Per the NYT:

    The House Armed Services Committee is expected to take up a defense authorization bill on Wednesday that includes a new authorization for the government to use military force in the war on terrorism. The provision has set off an argument over whether it is a mere update -- or a sweeping, open-ended expansion -- of the power Congress granted to the executive branch in 2001.


    The provision states that Congress "affirms" that "the United States is engaged in an armed conflict with Al Qaeda, the Taliban, and associated forces," and that the president is authorized to use military force -- including detention without trial -- of members and substantial supporters of those forces.


    In a joint letter to Congress, about two dozen groups -- including the American Civil Liberties Union and the Center for Constitutional Rights -- contended that the proposal amounted to an open-ended grant of authority to the executive branch, legitimizing an unending war from Yemen to Somalia and beyond.

    "This monumental legislation -- with a large-scale and practically irrevocable delegation of war power from Congress to the president -- could commit the United States to a worldwide war without clear enemies, without any geographical boundaries" and "without any boundary relating to time or specific objective to be achieved," the letter warned.

    I think that last paragraph sums up my own feelings; it's just way too much power and authority to vest in the judgment, ultimately, of whoever occupies the Oval Office.

    The last paragraph... (5.00 / 2) (#3)
    by kdog on Wed May 11, 2011 at 09:43:39 AM EST
    is bone chilling...perpetual war, here to stay.

    Perish the thought, but its times like this ya almost wish G-Dub was still president, at least their would be outcry and more debate...with Obama in charge, doves become hawks for purely political reasons.


    honestly (5.00 / 1) (#4)
    by CST on Wed May 11, 2011 at 09:54:04 AM EST
    this feels like an attempt to legalize, or "make official" something they've already been doing for 10 years.

    In that context, I'm not sure how I feel about it.  There is nothing in here that we aren't already doing.  I don't like that we're doing it, but it's being done.  So the question is - is it better or worse to make it official and put it in writing?

    In some ways it may be better because then it's more open, less secretive, and we may be following our own "laws" at least.  On the other hand, it could prolong the situation, and do we really want unending war to be legal...

    But in any event, there is nothing in here that suggests any new actions by our government.


    From Gore Vidals' essay (5.00 / 1) (#21)
    by Harry Saxon on Wed May 11, 2011 at 10:37:13 AM EST
    on the Twelve Caesars by Suetonius:

    There is an oddly revealing letter of Tiberius to a Senate which had offered to ensure in advance approbation of all his future deeds. Tiberius declined the offer: 'So long as my wits do not fail me, you can count on the consistency of my behavior; but I should not like you to set the precedent of binding yourselves to approve a man's every action; for what if something happened to alter that man's character?'

    That's what this amounts to, a pass in advance to any and every 'tactic' used in the war against the terrifying Taliban.

    Link to Robert Graves and the Twelve Caesars


    touche (none / 0) (#28)
    by CST on Wed May 11, 2011 at 10:57:18 AM EST
    and I guess even if they are doing this stuff already, I still don't want it to be easy.  And I certainly don't want to write what amounts to a blank check for war.

    I would sure like to see the actual language (5.00 / 0) (#15)
    by Peter G on Wed May 11, 2011 at 10:22:07 AM EST
    of the bill that is summarized in the phrase, "and substantial supporters of those forces."  That's equally scary, considering the Supreme Court's affirmance last year of the Administration's shockingly broad reading of the current law barring "material assistance" to terrorist groups.  

    Turns out, the "substantial supporters" (5.00 / 2) (#115)
    by Peter G on Wed May 11, 2011 at 10:29:26 PM EST
    language is not a journalistic summary, it is the actual statutory language!  The ACLU has the full text (PDF): "`SEC. 130g. AFFIRMATION OF ARMED CONFLICT WITH AL‐QAEDA, THE TALIBAN, AND ASSOCIATED FORCES.
    `(a) Affirmation‐ Congress affirms that‐‐
    `(1) the United States is engaged in an armed conflict with al‐Qaeda, the Taliban, and associated forces and that those entities continue to pose a threat to the United States and its citizens, both domestically and abroad;
    `(2) the armed conflict with al‐Qaeda, the Taliban, and associated forces includes nations, organizations, and persons who‐‐
    `(A) are part of, or are substantially supporting, al‐Qaeda, the Taliban, or associated forces that are engaged in hostilities against the United States or cobelligerents; or
    `(B) have engaged in hostilities or have substantially supported hostilities against the United States or its cobelligerents on behalf of or in aid of al‐Qaeda, the Taliban, or associated forces; and
    `(3) the President's authority includes the authority to detain belligerents, including persons described in paragraph (2) until the termination of hostilities.
    `(b) Congressional Notification‐ (1) The Secretary of Defense shall submit to Congress notification in writing‐‐
    `(A) not later than 90 days after the date of the enactment of this section, of any entity that is considered an associated force for purposes of this section as of such date; and
    `(B) after such date, whenever any entity is newly considered an associated force for purposes of this section.
    `(2) A notification under this subsection may be classified, as the Secretary determines is necessary.'.
      I am not easily moved to say "tyrannical abuse of power," but ... The US is engaged in an "armed conflict" with all "persons" who are "substantial supporters" of al Qaeda and the Taliban?  And can use any and all military force against such persons, including indefinite detention?  Where we already know that the Supreme Court is willing to affirm a Justice Department interpretation of similar statutory language that "material support" (which would seem to me to suggest a greater level of "support" than mere "substantial support") of a designated terrorist organization can include giving it advice to abjure violence and utilize U.N. procedures to advance its grievances?  Or to file an amicus brief on its behalf in a court case? I honestly don't see how this language wouldn't cover the lawyers who volunteer to represent Guantanamo detainees.
       The ACLU has information and a link here for those who might want to take action to forestall this horrendous amendment.

    Thanks. (none / 0) (#116)
    by oculus on Wed May 11, 2011 at 11:29:02 PM EST
    I'm with you, Peter: (none / 0) (#23)
    by Anne on Wed May 11, 2011 at 10:41:43 AM EST
    let's see what it says.  Although I have to say that, given some of the things we've been sold in recent years under the "oh, don't worry - this doesn't really affect anyone or change anything" umbrella, I'm more inclined to think there are reasons to worry when the ACLU and the CCR - and other groups - weigh in to refute the benign assessments offered up by the bill's sponsors, members of the branch of government whose powers will be expanded and generalized, or anyone else who derives some benefit from seeing the bill passed.

    Truth be told, I don't really trust my government much these days, and wish there was more of an effort being made to hold it accountable by those who actually are charged with doing that; more and more it seems, Congress takes the path of least resistance and just gives the executive branch whatever it wants in a sort of "oh, okay,here - you handle this" kind of way.

    What can I say - that bothers me.


    The new authorization not only codifies (5.00 / 1) (#25)
    by KeysDan on Wed May 11, 2011 at 10:44:30 AM EST
    but changes substantially the AUMF of 200l.   Whereas the existing authorization refers specifically to 9/ll (nations, organizations or person, or nations, organizations or persons harboring),  Howard McKeon (R. CA) chair of the House Committee on Armed Services, is proposing open and never-ending military intervention against named and unnamed enemies--and an expansive definition of such to boot.  However, it is not clear to me if the House bill will codify assassinations of Americans.

    The Taliban were originally targeted because they governed Afghanistan and were judged to be harboring al Qaeda. Of course, that part has long ago changed and we have our good ally, Karzai.  Maybe there is some hope in the positions of Senators John Kerry (D, MA) and Richard Lugar (R, IN), who are proposing a re-thinking of the Afghanistan war. But, it will be a battle royal, not all related to our national security.    


    We never learn (none / 0) (#124)
    by mmc9431 on Thu May 12, 2011 at 01:29:49 PM EST
    After the lies that brought on the fiasco known as the Iraq War, you would think that those responsible for the good of the nation would want to tighten the reins rather than relinguish them.

    Taking a country to war is considered the most difficult decision a politician can make. It should be very difficult to get into, not easier.


    Via atrios (5.00 / 2) (#7)
    by lilburro on Wed May 11, 2011 at 09:59:54 AM EST
    here, an AP story:

    WASHINGTON (AP) -- Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus says he doesn't think Congress will address Social Security as part of an effort to reduce government borrowing.

    The Montana Democrat said Tuesday that Social Security has not added to the budget deficit, so it should not be included in a deficit reduction package. Baucus is part of a bipartisan group of lawmakers, led by Vice President Joe Biden, who are trying to negotiate such a package.

    I agree with Atrios when he says:

    I don't know if this blog or any activism at all is good for anything, but the point of freaking out and making noise about a possible policy option is to send a message that people like me... are going to freak out about such things. Maybe that freaking out serves no purpose, in which case I don't know why people care at all beyond the basic "somebody on the internet is wrong" dynamic, or maybe, just maybe, it manages to play some small role in convincing lawmakers to do their damage elsewhere.

    I think it's a promising news story.  But we'll have to see if it means anything at all.

    ISI Lawsuit & the Officials Who Work for Them (5.00 / 1) (#9)
    by ScottW714 on Wed May 11, 2011 at 10:02:45 AM EST
    Pakistan's embattled ISI intelligence service has retained U.S. lawyers to block a lawsuit alleging that its current and former directors helped one of the world's most dangerous terrorist groups conduct the Nov. 2008 attack in Mumbai, India, killing 164 people, including six Americans.


    Among the firm's partners who are registered as lobbyists for the Pakistanis are two former top aides to President George W. Bush -- Harriett Miers, a former White House counsel, and Roy Coffee, one of his chief legislative aides when he was governor of Texas. The chief of the firm's Pakistan lobbying account is Mark Siegel, a former executive director of the Democratic National Committee and political aide in the Carter White House.


    Former government officials now lobbyists for Pakistan.  Do these people have no shame, using their connections to further foreign government agendas and defending them in court is just plain wrong.  No wonder Pakistan get billions while we hack at programs that actually help Americans.

    Franken held a hearing yesterday on the (5.00 / 0) (#13)
    by Farmboy on Wed May 11, 2011 at 10:18:47 AM EST
    smartphones tracking user locations issue. The big surprise for me was this: "Google collected user payload data for three years while driving around taking pictures on the street." They did this without getting user permission, and under the cover of creating Streetview. Then they sold the user info, again without user permission or knowledge.

    The google lawyer's response of "We never meant to do that" sounded pretty weak, especially when the senator followed up with, "Then why did you take out a patent on your process of surreptitiously capturing user data?"

    Hearing transcripts are here.

    Thanks for this (none / 0) (#58)
    by sj on Wed May 11, 2011 at 12:22:55 PM EST
    don't have time to look at now, but I will this evening.

    I'm curious (5.00 / 1) (#17)
    by lilburro on Wed May 11, 2011 at 10:23:39 AM EST
    as to whether all this al-Qaeda whining and the other very banal revelations that are coming out (bin Laden's matchmaker, the Coke and Pepsi stuff) will have any effect on al-Qaeda whatsoever.  It's not necessarily clear to me that bin Laden was still the primary charismatic force in al-Qaeda, but finding out your leader was just a horny hypocrite normally has some effect on recruitment for an organization.

    You're excused... (5.00 / 3) (#19)
    by kdog on Wed May 11, 2011 at 10:32:14 AM EST
    the same son has denounced terrorism and the 9/11 attacks...seems to me he is being consistent, unlike some "don't tread on me, tread on them" types on both sides.

    But I must admit it is a ballsy statement to make in this climate, at this time...but nothing to get worked up about, just one knuckleheads opinion amongst many.

    Yes, and add to that thought (5.00 / 2) (#83)
    by KeysDan on Wed May 11, 2011 at 02:41:38 PM EST
    the perspective that this is a son speaking about his father.

    Big night for little Dadler (5.00 / 3) (#44)
    by Dadler on Wed May 11, 2011 at 11:44:17 AM EST
    My son and his elementary/middle school band will be playing the national anthem tonight at the Giants/Diamondbacks game at AT&T park, in front of about thirty or forty thousand people.  I'm nervous as hell for him already, but I have to pretend to be otherwise.  He needs me to pump his confidence and relax him, since he gets more nervous than I do.

    And if any other TLer is actually there tonight, he plays trombone.

    Wow! That's so exciting! (5.00 / 2) (#57)
    by Anne on Wed May 11, 2011 at 12:20:40 PM EST
    Gosh, is there anything harder to do than acting like you're not nervous for your kid?

    When my daughter was doing the horse-show circuit, I would get the same nervous-sick-anxious feeling every time she took a horse over a course of jumps - would she remember the sequence, would she do it cleanly - combined with, would she do it safely (she took a terrible fall in a lesson one day - horse started the jump too soon, his knees hit the rail, he went down and rolled over on her; thankfully, other than getting a mouthful of sand and a cut on her chin that needed stitches, she was okay - but a month later, the same thing happened to a young woman at a show in PA, and it killed her).

    Your son will do fine, you will not be able to stop grinning with pride and love, and you will wonder why you were ever worried - until the next time, of course, when you will go through it all all over again!


    So--the Giants don't require recording and (5.00 / 1) (#61)
    by oculus on Wed May 11, 2011 at 12:36:09 PM EST
    lip-syncing or air guitar as the Pads do post Roseanne?  

    No, but apparently we've been told... (none / 0) (#88)
    by Dadler on Wed May 11, 2011 at 02:52:42 PM EST
    ...by the team that we need to improve our performance from last year.  Eli can only help that.

    The Giants employ a music critic? (5.00 / 2) (#91)
    by oculus on Wed May 11, 2011 at 02:58:42 PM EST
    They should stick to baseball!

    Also--what happened re your son's earlier audition?


    Went great, according to him (none / 0) (#96)
    by Dadler on Wed May 11, 2011 at 03:06:34 PM EST
    His trombone coach, good guy he is, had already talked up Eli to the PYO brass instructor, which helped relax my boy before he started playing.  Should know in the next week which orchestra they're assigning him to.  We did find out, however, that they really need trombone players, which might get him assigned to a more advanced group than he would if he played, say, violin (SO many violins), sax, clarinet, trumpet, or anything more common with tons of kids playing it.  So we'll see.

    Don't forget the flute! (none / 0) (#98)
    by oculus on Wed May 11, 2011 at 03:12:55 PM EST
    I got stuck with clarinet... (5.00 / 1) (#99)
    by kdog on Wed May 11, 2011 at 03:22:51 PM EST
    alto and tenor sax & trumpet filled up quick in Junior High Concert Band, when we had money to fund such beautifully educational things in public schools.

    Switched to alto clarinet in high school band....pretty cool instrument that kinda looks like an alto sax...too bad I made it squeak more than sing.


    Yeah (none / 0) (#108)
    by cal1942 on Wed May 11, 2011 at 04:29:57 PM EST
    when we had money to fund such beautifully educational things in public schools.

    We still have the money.  It's locked away in the hands of the few to the detriment of the many.


    Headline just today about WH conference (none / 0) (#113)
    by oculus on Wed May 11, 2011 at 08:05:07 PM EST
    re building up arts programs in secondary schools.  Another report.  

    He's actually losing a tooth (5.00 / 2) (#92)
    by Dadler on Wed May 11, 2011 at 02:59:48 PM EST
    Surprised us when it started to happen the other day, the last sorta front one that just never fell out.  We're hoping he doesn't fire it through his trombone tonight like a bb and ping someone.

    good luck (5.00 / 1) (#59)
    by sj on Wed May 11, 2011 at 12:24:40 PM EST
    And I'm sure they'll be fine.  Scared as heck before and totally pumped after.

    And cold as hell (none / 0) (#93)
    by Dadler on Wed May 11, 2011 at 03:01:05 PM EST
    It is SF, after all.  And our ballgame tix, of course, are up in the freezing nosebleeds.  Love how they do that.  Thanks for playing the anthem, now go hike to your seats up the hill a mile or so.

    Reminds me of the lousy seats (none / 0) (#95)
    by oculus on Wed May 11, 2011 at 03:05:26 PM EST
    the Pads gave the Marine recruits and military enlisted from Camp Pendleton..  "From the Halls of Monteaume . . ."  And they ALWAYS had to leave b/4 the end of the game.  Why?

    Adorable! (5.00 / 1) (#62)
    by lilburro on Wed May 11, 2011 at 12:46:55 PM EST
    Have fun!

    He'll be fine (5.00 / 2) (#68)
    by jbindc on Wed May 11, 2011 at 01:07:40 PM EST
    I was in band for 11 years (and marched at 4 Detroit Lions games).  The thing you can tell him, is that the crowd is overwhelming just for a minute at first.  Then you start playing, and you don't even realize the crowd is there because you're focused on the music and the conductor.  Then you realize it's over - way too fast for you to have enjoyed the whole experience. Just don't look around.

    Besides, the fans will be great since they are little kids.

    He'll be terrific!


    I shall tell him just that thing (none / 0) (#90)
    by Dadler on Wed May 11, 2011 at 02:57:14 PM EST
    Thanks for the experienced advice.

    Congrats to Eli. (none / 0) (#112)
    by caseyOR on Wed May 11, 2011 at 05:09:54 PM EST
    The crowd will love those kids. And those kids will have a great time.

    I haven't been to a Giants game since they played at Candlestick. The current ballpark cannot possibly be colder and windier than the "Stick" can it?


    Still high on shooting Osama... (5.00 / 1) (#72)
    by kdog on Wed May 11, 2011 at 01:20:12 PM EST
    the nation is, Lil' Dadler and the band are guaranteed a standing O!

    Don't even start me on that (none / 0) (#89)
    by Dadler on Wed May 11, 2011 at 02:56:14 PM EST
    I gotta just grin and stay on the ups.  AND I gotta make sure I don't get lost in my new city on the way to the stadium.

    Enjoy it (5.00 / 1) (#78)
    by vicndabx on Wed May 11, 2011 at 02:22:18 PM EST
    Dad.  Break a leg to your son.

    Jeanne Woodford, former director of (5.00 / 1) (#117)
    by oculus on Wed May 11, 2011 at 11:36:14 PM EST
    CA Dept. of Corrections and Rehab. and former superintendent of San Quentin, is now against the death penalty.  

    LAT: (none / 0) (#118)
    by oculus on Wed May 11, 2011 at 11:36:59 PM EST
    Whitey strikes again... (none / 0) (#5)
    by kdog on Wed May 11, 2011 at 09:57:04 AM EST
    but there is still hope for Seneca Nation sovereignty and honoring treaties (for a change), and hope for tyrannically taxed NYS smokers, thanks to Judge Donna Siwek giving the legal b*tch slap to the federal appeals court, Gov. Cuomo. and the state's top pig, Eric Schneiderman.

    Thanks Donna, and in the nick of time too...one of my roomies took the ride out yesterday and our Poopsatuck brethren said the state is blocking delivery trucks from entering the rez, and 4 tobacco shops have already closed, accepting defeat at the hands of the dirty white man...and they understandably jacked the price to cover their arse...hopfully it might come back down on this news.

    Schneiderman is a real piece of work, talking like NYS is somehow entitled to this money...your nuts you statist bastard.

    what a difference geography makes (5.00 / 1) (#8)
    by CST on Wed May 11, 2011 at 10:00:50 AM EST
    I read your subject line and immediately thought you were talking about Whitey Bulger.  Then I spent the next 2 minutes trying to figure out what he could possibly have to do with cigarettes in NY.

    Good decision.  Ny should not be able to impose a trade blockade.


    Whitey... (none / 0) (#16)
    by kdog on Wed May 11, 2011 at 10:23:16 AM EST
    is tough all over kid:)

    Thank the spirits for Judge Donna...whenever I'm ready to give up, with my way of life under mild attack from several angles by those in our employ, a glimmer of hope usually appears.  Today that hope is most deserving of the prefix "your honor"...I'd like nothing more than to give her a big wet kiss.

    NYS will never give up though...they got their cold hearts set on bleeding us dry, their own people and the people of the Seneca Nation.  


    Let Me Guess (5.00 / 1) (#32)
    by ScottW714 on Wed May 11, 2011 at 11:12:40 AM EST
    Schneiderman is one of those free market clowns.

    I am dealing with the reservations at work.  It's disheartening to see people with nothing being taken advantage of.

    Recently oil/gas has been discovered on the western reservations and instead of being a the windfall they so desperately need, it's becoming cash cows for the ruthless, aka the states the reservations are located within.

    Unlike the NY situation, here, no strong arm tactics are needed because these are the dirt farm reservations in below poverty like conditions.  The states just do what they want and the Indians are happy to get the few crums they toss them to.

    I don't know who is more at fault, the people taking advantage or the people letting them do it.  There is literally nothing in any reservation law/court precedent on tax, so they are muddling through it, making it up as they go, and doing it very poorly.  They are too distrusting of outsiders, they won't get people in who understand these complex issues.

    My dealings with them have been enlightening in really bad way, it's like a bygone era, where things are done using a dysfunctional honor system no one honors, using paper instead of computers, by people who just aren't capable of abstract thought in regards to tax.  Once I had to explain the concept of rounding because often in tax, the result goes beyond the cent.

    Calling it heartbreaking would be an understatement.

    And like the NY situation, the budget crunched states have no problem using their might to do what is clearly wrong.  Before I started tackling this issue, I would not have ever guessed that in this day and age it's still acceptable to screw the Indians, but they do.


    The Seneca Nation... (none / 0) (#47)
    by kdog on Wed May 11, 2011 at 11:53:09 AM EST
    is not rolling over accepting crumbs...when Whitey tried to bust the treaty and tax their smokes in the 90's, the Nation shut down the NY Thruway with a tire fire....Whitey backed off.

    In the latest offensive by the greed-mongers, the Seneca's are letting it play out in the courts, for now.  If Judge Donna had not come to the rescue with a wise ruling, I think more aggressive negotiations would be under way as we type.  Keep in mind the retail price of a pack has gone from 2.50 in the mid-90's to ten bucks or more today...and its almost all tax.  The price of poker has gone way up...back then the Native American smokes were only slightly cheaper retail, now the price difference, and the lost tyrannical tax revenue, are huge.


    And don't know Schneidersh*ts... (none / 0) (#75)
    by kdog on Wed May 11, 2011 at 01:27:28 PM EST
    economic views, he's the top hired gun of a tyrannical taxman...a glorified mercenary tasked to get some scalps and snatch that paper.  A Brand D admin. in a Brand D state, probably not a Fox Business Channel type.

    Probably a sheep like so many law & order types...a sheep has no views, whatever the sheperd says, whatever the law says...check your conscience and free mind at the door.


    Irrelevant to discussions of policy but (none / 0) (#6)
    by AngryBlackGuy on Wed May 11, 2011 at 09:58:16 AM EST
    "WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama's approval rating has hit its highest point in two years -- 60 percent -- and more than half of Americans now say he deserves to be re-elected, according to an Associated Press-GfK poll taken after U.S. forces killed al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden.

    In worrisome signs for Republicans, the president's standing improved not just on foreign policy but also on the economy, and independent Americans -- a key voting bloc in the November 2012 presidential election -- caused the overall uptick in support by sliding back to Obama after fleeing for much of the past two years."


    "Irrelevant to discussions of policy"?!? (5.00 / 2) (#12)
    by Yman on Wed May 11, 2011 at 10:17:42 AM EST
    Obama's re-election is now irrelevant to discussions of policy?!?

    Heh ...

    Can we quote you on that in the future?


    Good one. LOL (none / 0) (#31)
    by AngryBlackGuy on Wed May 11, 2011 at 11:09:58 AM EST
    I was just trying to cut off the inevitable "but who cares if people like his economic and foreign position and he gets re-elected and we avoid President Romney" retort.

    Polls (5.00 / 1) (#14)
    by mmc9431 on Wed May 11, 2011 at 10:19:01 AM EST
    This isn't a comment on Obama or any politician. It's a comment on the American people.

    I'm continually astounded with the attention span and depth of thinking of my fellow Americans.

    To believe that one action could move 20% of the people is absolutely scary.

    It's no wonder we have the government we have.


    Polls also have conflicting info (5.00 / 0) (#48)
    by MO Blue on Wed May 11, 2011 at 11:54:06 AM EST
    While overall approval has gone up, approval of Obama's handling of the economy has gone down to the lowest level ever recorded by NBC.

    Following the killing of Osama bin Laden, President Obama's approval rating received an expected bump. Yet while his overall approval rating ticked up, his marks when it comes to the economy actually fell at the same time, dropping to a record-low in the latest NBC survey released this week.
    In the poll, 52% of Americans said they approved of Obama's job performance, compared to 41% who disapproved. That's an improvement from last month when 49% of respondents gave Obama good marks on his job performance, compared to 45% who gave him negative marks.

    However, the poll also found that only 37% of Americans now approve of Obama's handling of the economy, the lowest level ever recorded by NBC, and an eight-point drop from one month ago. Fifty-eight percent of respondents said they disapproved of Obama's economic stewardship in the latest poll, also a record. link

    Of course (none / 0) (#34)
    by AngryBlackGuy on Wed May 11, 2011 at 11:13:55 AM EST
    It is that was and will be that way forever. People are motivated by their fears and short term interests.

    It's silly to waste any time lamenting about how ignorant the masses are because that will never change.

    Better to get on with trying to figure out how to work with the masses (and their attention spans)  for change.

    Conservatives get that concept.  Liberals dissect it, complain, rant, gnash their teeth, sneer, and then ultimately do not.

    Most modern liberals are trying to change the game based on the strength of their ideals. Most conservatives realize that such attempts are futile and are trying to win the game they've been asked to play.

    Whether you think Obama's brand of liberalism is a success depends on whether you want him to win the game or change it (campaign slogans aside . .  that was a tactic for winning the game).


    Obama's brand of liberalism, (5.00 / 2) (#38)
    by Anne on Wed May 11, 2011 at 11:26:40 AM EST
    isn't.  Isn't "liberalism," that is - not by any stretch of the imagination; just because the right moves even farther to the right, does not make where Obama stands - if you can get him to quite jumping all around long enough for him to have an actual "stand" - "liberalism."

    I've never wanted him - or anyone, for that matter - to win just for winning's sake, because unless the win is moving us to a better place, improving people's lives, strengthening our rights and the democracy, it is a truly hollow victory.  And after seeing what "change" means - the marginalization and disrespect for liberal ideas -  I no longer see this "new" Democratic Party as a vehicle for truly progressive/liberal policy.


    Every Dem post LBJ (none / 0) (#42)
    by Socraticsilence on Wed May 11, 2011 at 11:43:28 AM EST
    at least at the presidential level has been in the same general "new liberal" mold, acting like Obama is somehow to the right of Clinton or Carter is just deluding yourself- heck, Obama's actually added regulation, and enhanced the Social contract instead of gutting welfare and "freeing the market."

    I guess my response to your statement (5.00 / 1) (#52)
    by Anne on Wed May 11, 2011 at 12:10:33 PM EST
    that all of our post-LBJ presidents have been in this "new liberal" model is, so what?  So that makes it okay?  I should just accept it?

    What makes you think I was thrilled with everything Clinton or Carter did?  I don't think I decried anything but this steady move to the right, and whether it began with Carter, and continued with Clinton making his own moves, it's irrelevant to me since I don't like the rightward movement regardless of who is doing the moving.

    It has picked up considerable speed under Obama, and shows no signs of reversing.


    Anne (none / 0) (#80)
    by AngryBlackGuy on Wed May 11, 2011 at 02:33:43 PM EST
    If you were happy with neither Clinton or Carter it places your criticism of Obama in a certain perspective.

    Democrats generally approved of Clinton and his policies and most think Carter's presidency has been unfairly painted.

    Basically you  are not a mainstream democrat.  Which is completely fine. But I don't think Obama should be looking to formulate his policy around the beliefs of people who aren't even mainstream in his own party.


    You are reading too much into my (5.00 / 4) (#100)
    by Anne on Wed May 11, 2011 at 03:22:55 PM EST
    statement that I wasn't thrilled with Carter and Clinton, and have used that interpretation to once again make the argument you want to make.

    But, okay - I'll play.

    In 1976, when Carter was elected, I was one year out of college and not all that immersed in politics; I remember the hostages, the gas lines, outrageous interest rates being paid on savings, mortgage interest rates somewhere in the 8-10% range.  I thought Carter was a nice man, but wasn't really paying attention to things the way I do now.

    I was a more aware citizen in 1992, although my kids were in elementary school, I was working full-time, and life was generally crazy and exhausting, so I didn't have as much time to explore the issues in depth.  I was certainly aware that Clinton was not a liberal, but you need to understand that I am more liberal now than I was then.  I was never "in love" with Clinton - I don't fall in love with politicians - he didn't always do what I wanted him to do, but I liked the way he played the Republicans, stood his ground when he needed to, and didn't hesitate to call BS.  Was I enamored of all of his policies?  No.  Did I feel like he was looking out for the less fortunate?  Yes.  So much of the Clinton years were consumed by one investigation after another that it was, at times, a wonder anything got done.

    I hate to break it to you, but this was my party before it was Obama's; yes, as the president, he is the leader of the Democratic party, but I have more seniority.  And being "mainstream" is less important to me than being true to who I am, what I believe, and what I think is in my country's best interest.  It may well be that I no longer have a place in the Democratic Party as it currently exists, but I am not going to become something or someone I'm not just so I can be acceptably mainstream to you or anyone else.

    You're a "big tent" guy, or so you say, but as much as you claim that you want more people inside that tent, you really want them there going with the flow in service to the politician you unequivocally support, and don't see the party as a vehicle to move us where we want to go, only to keep Obama where he is.


    Ick (5.00 / 0) (#128)
    by lentinel on Thu May 12, 2011 at 04:26:43 PM EST
    You have this annoying habit of telling us what "most" think.
    This is pure Fox News.

    The democratic party has moved significantly to the Bush right since Obama took over. What democrat would want to be in the mainstream of that?

    Would anyone have imagined that we are being called upon by Obama supporters to get "high" on Obama's alleged orchestration of the killing of OBL?

    If our lives were getting any better, we would know about it.


    Obama (5.00 / 2) (#64)
    by Ga6thDem on Wed May 11, 2011 at 12:48:45 PM EST
    IS to the right of Clinton. I think the last two years have proved that beyond a shadow of a doubt.

    This is absurd (none / 0) (#81)
    by AngryBlackGuy on Wed May 11, 2011 at 02:35:23 PM EST
    many of the high points of Obama's presidency involve reversing conservative policies instituted by Clinton and counteracting the effects of other clinton era conservative policies.

    You're just making unsupportable statements at this point.


    Reversing what (5.00 / 2) (#94)
    by Ga6thDem on Wed May 11, 2011 at 03:04:11 PM EST
    policies? The milquetoast reform that was really no reform? Issuing the Stupak executive order? Passing Bob Dole's insurance reform? Extending the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy?

    There are three examples of him being to the right of Bill Clinton. I'm sure there are many more I can't come up with right off the top of my head.

    You're the one that's not dealing in facts but we already know that anyway.


    Anne (none / 0) (#43)
    by AngryBlackGuy on Wed May 11, 2011 at 11:44:14 AM EST
    I want Obama (or whoever the dem candidate is) to win for two reasons, in order of importance:

    1. To prevent a republican president

    2. To provide some opportunity to move portions of the progressive agenda forward

    Note that nowhere in the 2 items above is there a requirement that Obama take the liberal position on every or even most issues. I don't expect him to and to be honest, as an American, I don't want him to.  I am under no illusions that the liberal position is the best position in all scenarios.  For example, I don't think killing Obama was the liberal position, but I increasingly think it was the right one.

    So 1 and 2, although the fall far short of your presidential requirements, are just fine for me and most other democrats.

    I don't think having that view makes us conservative.  It just makes us liberals with a different idea of what is politically possible and what the real dangers are.


    "killing osama" (none / 0) (#45)
    by AngryBlackGuy on Wed May 11, 2011 at 11:44:49 AM EST

    Obama (none / 0) (#66)
    by Ga6thDem on Wed May 11, 2011 at 12:51:25 PM EST
    is not going to "move a progressive agenda" forward. You should know that by now and he's likely to have a Republican Senate to boot after '12 if he's reelected.

    Except (none / 0) (#82)
    by AngryBlackGuy on Wed May 11, 2011 at 02:39:00 PM EST
    On health care, gay rights, equal pay, financial regulation, supreme court representation, foreign policy, and almost every other issue you can think of he has moved things forward.

    Other than being completely wrong you are right.


    You consider (5.00 / 0) (#97)
    by Ga6thDem on Wed May 11, 2011 at 03:07:27 PM EST
    Bob Dole's healthcare plan "progressive"? The medicaid expansion is getting ready to be cut in the next budget negotiations so you really can't claim that.

    The undoing DADT that's still not in force?

    This is why I don't call myself a progressive. "Progressive" stands for what Obama wants not necessarily anything else.


    equal pay? (none / 0) (#84)
    by nycstray on Wed May 11, 2011 at 02:44:48 PM EST
    Equal (5.00 / 1) (#102)
    by mmc9431 on Wed May 11, 2011 at 03:48:01 PM EST
    Maybe that means minimum wage for all! Those are the only jobs that seem to be opening up.

    The Lily Ledbetter legislation in 2009 (none / 0) (#103)
    by christinep on Wed May 11, 2011 at 04:00:09 PM EST
    ...correcting the SCt's recent constrictive view that limited the time & scope for filing gender discrimination claims. The legislation from the Obama admin & the Dem Congress made the date of discovery (rather than the more constraining actual occurrence) the determinative date for timeliness purposes. Major victory.

    That's not equal pay (5.00 / 2) (#105)
    by nycstray on Wed May 11, 2011 at 04:21:59 PM EST
    and it was done before O was sworn in and handed to him as a neatly wrapped package, if I remember my history correctly. . .

    When I hear equal pay, it means the day I no longer have to be reading an article about all the women graduating with advanced degrees etc and run into the paragraph about their still unequal pay . . . Seems to me we just 'celebrated' another women's equal pay day this past April. Isn't there a "Fair Pay Act" lying around somewhere?


    According to the women's groups with whom (none / 0) (#110)
    by christinep on Wed May 11, 2011 at 04:40:09 PM EST
    I'm involved, the Ledbetter legislation was very central to the reality of equal pay & was viewed and celebrated as such. Oh: NOW & other national groups gave the Obama admin the credit.

    it was important (5.00 / 1) (#111)
    by nycstray on Wed May 11, 2011 at 04:46:15 PM EST
    but it's not bringing about equal pay. Well, unless we all start posting our salaries next to our nameplates . . . .

    O was still in the honeymoon phase at that point afa getting praise for lifting a pen. He also got a peace prize as I recall just for . . . ?

    Get back to me when we can eliminate that April reminder day . . .


    Health insurance legislation (none / 0) (#121)
    by MO Blue on Thu May 12, 2011 at 12:10:41 PM EST
    is insurance and health industry conservative legislation.

    From Yglesias's The Sensible Conservative Alternative To The Affordable Care Act Is The Affordable Care Act:

    From Krugman:

    There are no more conservative alternatives -- not unless you give up on the whole idea that everyone should have coverage. There are alternatives to the left -- single-payer, VA-style government provision -- but Obamacare is already as conservative as a plan to make health insurance more or less universal can be.

    As President Obama said yesterday in his speech to House Democrats:

    "...this piece of historic legislation is built on the private insurance system that we have now and runs straight down the center of American political thought.  It turns out this is a bill that tracks the recommendations not just of Democrat Tom Daschle, but also Republicans Bob Dole and Howard Baker; that this is a middle-of-the-road bill that is designed to help the American people in an area of their lives where they urgently need help."

    As Nancy Pelosi pointed out when it passed, the law was based on an old proposal from the Heritage Foundation and effectively identical to what AHIP, the for-profit insurance company lobby, ask for in 2008.

    An op-ed by E.J. Dionne on Friday reveals that the current health reform legislation pending before Congress was "built on a series of principles that Republicans espoused for years."


    I think to an extent (none / 0) (#37)
    by CST on Wed May 11, 2011 at 11:21:21 AM EST
    you underestimate liberal teeth nashing.

    It helps effect the tone of the national conversation.  When liberals start to freak out about cutting medicare and social security, all of a sudden those programs start to come "off the table".

    It may not be nice, you may not always agree with it, it may not work as well for politicians, but liberal outrage does have a role in shaping the overton window.


    CST (none / 0) (#41)
    by AngryBlackGuy on Wed May 11, 2011 at 11:39:25 AM EST
    Let me give you an example of what I mean.  The left are, IMHO, wasting massive amounts of e-ink and effort on this Bin Ladin thing.

    Now I get it.  Did we violate international and maybe domestic law? Personally, I think there is a good chance that we may have.  Are the questions about what really happened legitimate? Yeah, they probably are.

    But step back for a second. There are probably 2 dozen issues on which I think our policies are wrong or borderline illegal (Iraq, Afghanistan, funding of Israel without condition, etc.)  

    Instead of spending our time attacking the most universally praised and celebrated military/defense action taken by a liberal president in our lifetimes (supported by 90%+ of the electorate) how about we attack the OTHER issues that we'd like Obama to push on, like troop draw downs in Iraq.

    It's just a matter of common sense strategy, and our need to stand on ideals, even to the detriment of the bigger picture goals, just kills me.

    We have an devastating counter to accusations that war opponents are weak given to us on a silver platter by Obama, Clinton and the rest of the team, and the voices you hear complaining the most loudly about the OBL event are the ones like Greenwald.  Does he not understand that doing this gives Obama immense leverage to pull troops.  Is your ideology so myopic that you can't see the trade off for the bigger benefit?

    I hope these people know how to grow feet, because they are fantastic at shooting their own feet off.  


    Bin Laden (5.00 / 2) (#56)
    by CST on Wed May 11, 2011 at 12:16:47 PM EST
    was huge news, it's only natural that people are gonna talk about it.  Frankly, I don't know why you're so upset about it, the longer it's in the news, the better for Obama - doesn't really matter why it's in the news.

    As to the "strategy" issue - what strategy?  In the words of... someone "I don't belong to an organized party, I'm a Democrat".  People generally talk about issues they're interested in and concerned about.

    My point about the overton window, is that even if I disagree with people like Greenwald, and I do at times, I appreciate that he is out there doing his thing.  Because in the absence of someone pushing hard from the left, what you'd have is a conversation between the hard right and the moderates.  Which will inevitably shift the conversation to the right.  So I like that there are those I disagree with on my left.  Because it pushes the defined "center" closer to where I sit.  That doesn't mean I want him to be my president, but I still appreciate it.

    For example, absence the noise from the left on Bin Laden, the conversation right now would be all about how wonderful torture is and aren't we glad we used it to get our guy.  At least now it's a conversation.  And while I'm glad Obama did what he did, I'm not sure I'm comfortable with giving him (or some other future president) a blank check to do this type of thing whenever they feel like it.  Absence any pushback on this issue, that may very well be where we end up.


    Well, OBL (5.00 / 1) (#60)
    by lilburro on Wed May 11, 2011 at 12:27:11 PM EST
    is in the news.  I haven't really seen a lot of heavy criticism leveled at Obama on this from the Left, generally.  The people who want to ask questions are asking questions.  And I think they are consistent - if you didn't think Glenn Greenwald would have a problem with this operation you're crazy.  He's a principled guy.  I think GG has a lot of value in the way he is able to dig up dirt.

    Do you really think the average American is going, "OMG, my horrible President may or may not have broken international law!!"  I doubt it.


    It's primarily the left of (none / 0) (#73)
    by brodie on Wed May 11, 2011 at 01:20:32 PM EST
    the Left who've been raising major objections to the OBL takeout.  Mainstream liberals, basically they are on board with mass murderer Ben Laden being removed, as I am.

    There's always been a contrarian or never-satisfied element of the Left.  Chomsky.  Vidal.  Jeremy Scahill and Amy Goodman.  Michael Moore to a lesser extent.  A few of these people (probably Chomsky and Scahill, iirc) were against Clinton going after Milosevic and the Serbs.  But they aren't the mainstream libs or Dems.  Some, like Chomsky, aren't even Dems.  I don't think Chomsky even calls himself a lib.


    Good perspective, brodie. (none / 0) (#104)
    by christinep on Wed May 11, 2011 at 04:16:08 PM EST
    I'd add that CST makes a fine observation with his appreciation for those to the further left in the role they play to counter the right. That function is significant...not merely for symmetry, but also for synthesis. I'd also add that ABG makes a useful observation about a sometimes tendency for some on the further left to shoot off their own feet (my dad used to refer to us Dems, himself included, as occasionally giving in to a "cut off the nose to spite the face" impulse.) At a point in each cycle, the ability to come together, tho, becomes paramount if a party is to be more than an ideological vehicle and be able to govern. Unlike those in permanent ideological mode, it does take winning to govern or to change anything...bit by painstaking bit.

    I really do not think (5.00 / 1) (#120)
    by lilburro on Thu May 12, 2011 at 09:49:44 AM EST
    the OBL assassination criticism from the left has had any noticeable impact on the national debate.  For some reason certain Democrats wig out when someone to the left of them has a problem with something they don't.  Why do you care what Mainstream Democrats think as opposed to other types of Democrats?  GLBT Democrats have a different laundry list of priorities than Mainstream Democrats; Women's Rights Democrats have a different laundry list of priorities than Mainstream Democrats; Unions have a different laundry list of priorities than Mainstream Democrats.  I just don't worry about Mainstream Democrats because I don't really know who they are and what they want.  What they want is easily manipulated.  That's what the different groups in the Big Tent are for.

    Worrying about Mainstream Democrats is just useless.  I can't think of any subgroup of the Big Tent that has particularly controversial ideas.

    Seriously, what is a "Mainstream Democrat"?  What do they care about?  Do either you or ABG have any idea?  I'm not going to be marginalized by a concept that has no definition.


    To: lilburro (none / 0) (#122)
    by christinep on Thu May 12, 2011 at 12:48:44 PM EST
    I'm thinking that we are more in agreement here than might be supposed. I'm not arguing one way or the other (or "worrying about") "mainstream Democrats." My focus has been more on timing. That is: Have the discussions full bore...they are useful & a must for a lot of reasons, as they make a party stronger through synthesis and honing/fine-tuning positions & approaches...have the back & forth, and don't fear each other...and, eventually, move forward together. It is the last word "together" that can be a source of disagreement in itself in timing, resolution, etc.

    For me, the several surveys ("polls" or "look-sees" if you wish) suggest a very high cohesion in support for the WH by Democrats...the high 80s is a positive at this stage in the cycle, historically. So...your caution to those who would "worry" is well-taken since the pace is about as well as could be expected from a re-election standpoint.


    Good point (none / 0) (#123)
    by lilburro on Thu May 12, 2011 at 01:15:11 PM EST
    For me, the several surveys ("polls" or "look-sees" if you wish) suggest a very high cohesion in support for the WH by Democrats...the high 80s is a positive at this stage in the cycle, historically.

    If the Left isn't "poisoning" the electorate then why not let them talk.  It kills me that people go after Glenn Greenwald, just because it pisses them off that he doesn't back everything the President does.  Glenn Greenwald is not ruining America people, and he's not ruining Obama's chances.  Let him do his thing, please.


    I have really come to dislike the (5.00 / 1) (#127)
    by Anne on Thu May 12, 2011 at 02:52:18 PM EST
    "but everybody else is doing it" kind of reaction that is supposed to convince people with legitimate, valid concerns that they are outside the mainstream - whatever that is - and aren't going to get what they want anyway, so we should just shut up, line up and be good little Democrats.

    What is it that makes people so fearful when questions are asked, when differing viewpoints are expressed - is it the realization that we are not all stamped from the same mold, that we are not just rolling off some assembly line, complete with a vote-for-the-(D) reflex pre-programmed into our circuits?

    Honestly, when the debate really gets going, I sometimes can almost see some people breaking out in hives and fanning themselves furiously as they check to see if their pearls are still intact - and all because some of us have veered from the dry, academic, and distanced tone with which they are most comfortable, or don't put a great deal of stock in polls that keep being offered as proof that life is good and getting better.

    Whatever.  I've been going along, doing the good-Democrat thing, for a long time, and about all I have to show for it these days is the cold, cold comfort of knowing that it could be worse.  With each passing election, with each passing Congress, it does get worse, setting the bar even lower for the next crop.

    For the life of me, I not only do not understand why that standard is enough for people, but why that is the standard at all - why is there so little it-could-be-and-needs-to-be-better expectation to which we should be holding these politicians if we do want it to be better?


    Bush the Elder and Desert Storm (5.00 / 2) (#20)
    by Dadler on Wed May 11, 2011 at 10:36:31 AM EST
    In early 1991, nobody thought he could possibly lose re-election after kicking Saddam's ace out of Kuwait and seeing his approval rating at 88% -- or a third higher than Obama's. 21 months later, with a terrible economy (but one that the current economy makes seem robust), Bush was at 37% and done.

    Jobs, jobs, jobs.

    Nothing.  Else.  Will.  Matter.


    This time around, I think it's going to be (5.00 / 1) (#30)
    by nycstray on Wed May 11, 2011 at 11:03:18 AM EST
    Decent jobs, jobs, jobs.

    Trends matter more (none / 0) (#35)
    by AngryBlackGuy on Wed May 11, 2011 at 11:15:05 AM EST
    If things are headed the right way, he'll be fine.  

    Trends matter more (5.00 / 1) (#40)
    by nycstray on Wed May 11, 2011 at 11:34:17 AM EST
    than putting food on the table?

    Trends matter more (5.00 / 1) (#49)
    by sj on Wed May 11, 2011 at 12:02:01 PM EST
    to those who have no trouble putting food on their tables.

    So far.


    You didn't get the memo? (5.00 / 0) (#50)
    by MO Blue on Wed May 11, 2011 at 12:03:29 PM EST
    Losing your job, your home, funds for WIC and not having enough money to put food on the table is a small price to pay for having Obama as president. :-(

    Big picture here. Obama is awesome. :-(



    I'm working on some new recipes (5.00 / 3) (#55)
    by nycstray on Wed May 11, 2011 at 12:15:14 PM EST
    with the main ingredient being trends . . .

    Heh, heh ... (5.00 / 2) (#69)
    by Yman on Wed May 11, 2011 at 01:11:07 PM EST
    ... at least they're not fattening.

    Thanks for the delicious laugh, but (none / 0) (#106)
    by christinep on Wed May 11, 2011 at 04:22:13 PM EST
    I understand that political scientists/historians consider that trends may actually matter more than the real number at the time of a vote. The key question involves the "Do you think things are getting better/will get better in the year ahead....'" But, job creation will be the key...the more GM news stories following today's strong announcement the better for the President & his credibility in that area.

    And don't forget (5.00 / 3) (#101)
    by Zorba on Wed May 11, 2011 at 03:30:41 PM EST
    losing funds for your home heating oil.  May not matter now, but it sure will next winter, if you don't have a well-paying job by then.

    This is silly (none / 0) (#46)
    by AngryBlackGuy on Wed May 11, 2011 at 11:52:37 AM EST
    but the unfortunate way these arguments go.  No nycstray. The thing that matters most to any family is putting food on the table.  You are correct.

    But in evaluating the most efficient way to achieve that goal, people will judge which of the two candidates is most likely to help in that process.  If the trends are going in the right direction, they are likely to go with the guy in office.

    And the trends, despite hiccups, are good.

    Take the auto industry. Did you know that employment levels in the auto industry are now near the levels they were at in 2008?


    Well Obama will be making sure we all know that shortly.  In an environment where the right wanted to let GM and Chrysler fail, that will mean something (and it should mean something to the lefties bemoaning how small the stimulus was while not counting those bailouts as stimulus).  Is there still a long way to go? Of course.

    But the story the dems will tell is going to be a good one, because the big picture is that they really did what it took to avoid a depression, even if the far left and far right don't want to give credit.


    Don't ask me a question (none / 0) (#53)
    by nycstray on Wed May 11, 2011 at 12:13:08 PM EST
    and then answer it with an assumption. I do happen to know what's going on in Detroit.

    First I read a headline stating half (none / 0) (#86)
    by oculus on Wed May 11, 2011 at 02:51:41 PM EST
    of Detroit's population is functionally illiterate.  Then I see NYT's "36 hours in Detroit."  Weird.

    First I read a headline stating half (none / 0) (#87)
    by oculus on Wed May 11, 2011 at 02:51:42 PM EST
    of Detroit's population is functionally illiterate.  Then I see NYT's "36 hours in Detroit."  Weird.

    Hmmm... was that Jan 2008 or Dec 2008??? (none / 0) (#65)
    by jimakaPPJ on Wed May 11, 2011 at 12:49:38 PM EST
    On those jobs in Detroit.

    BTW - There's a poll out that says 58% disapprove of how Obama is handling the economy.


    That's from a recent NBC news poll (none / 0) (#119)
    by Harry Saxon on Thu May 12, 2011 at 03:48:54 AM EST

    WASHINGTON -- In the days after Barack Obama ordered the successful mission to kill Osama bin Laden, the president's approval rating on foreign policy issues reached an all-time high, even as public opinion regarding his handling of the economy sunk to the lowest point of his administration, according to a new NBC News poll.

    The survey shows a mixed picture for Obama, whose overall job-approval rating was bumped higher by a modest three points after the al-Qaida leader's death was announced late Sunday.

    What has changed for the president since the raid at bin Laden's compound: The number of respondents seeing Obama as a strong leader and a good commander in chief has spiked, and public opion for his handling of the war in Afghanistan jumped to an all-time high.

    Economy fears temper bin Laden bump

    As a commentator at Nate Silvers' NYT blog put it:

    The bottom line here is two-fold:

    1. In a direct sense, it's too far out from the election to predict what President Obama's approval rating, and therefore his election chances, will be on Tuesday, Nov 6, 2012.

    2. The Presidential approval rating is a pretty classic example of a chaotic system, with a sensitive dependence on initial conditions. The initial conditions in this case include the killing of bin Laden.

    There will, no doubt, be further positive and negative news between now and the election, the impact of which it will be difficult to predict.

    Beyond Obama's Bin Laden Bounce

    Of course, now that Obama has laid to rest the canard that Democrats are only domestic surrender monkeys, I'm surprised that you aren't complaining about that as well.

    Hmmm... was that Jan 2008 or Dec 2008??? (none / 0) (#65)
    by jimakaPPJ on Wed May 11, 2011 at 12:49:38 PM EST
    On those jobs in Detroit.

    Ron Bloom, the president's assistant for manufacturing policy, wrote that because of President Barack Obama's "tough love, the American auto industry is now positioned to grow and prosper. ... Since GM and Chrysler emerged from bankruptcy in June 2009, the auto industry has added 115,000 jobs -- the fastest pace of job growth in the auto industry since 1998."

    From AGB's Detroit Free Press link.


    Even if you're right (5.00 / 1) (#51)
    by sj on Wed May 11, 2011 at 12:09:45 PM EST
    I'm more interested in us being fine.  He'll be fine whether he's re-elected or not.

    Trends (none / 0) (#67)
    by Ga6thDem on Wed May 11, 2011 at 12:54:26 PM EST
    are what George HW Bush tried to sell in '92 and nobody was buying it.

    He should (none / 0) (#63)
    by Ga6thDem on Wed May 11, 2011 at 12:47:33 PM EST
    get a bump. I would have been very surprised if he didn't. The bigger question is how long will it last?

    I give it two months (5.00 / 0) (#70)
    by Yman on Wed May 11, 2011 at 01:14:51 PM EST
    Focus will quickly revert back to the economy, although the predicted fall in gas prices might help him a bit, by that point.

    It all comes back to jobs, jobs, jobs ...


    Maybe longer (none / 0) (#71)
    by jbindc on Wed May 11, 2011 at 01:18:47 PM EST
    We're going into the summer season, when most people will not be paying attention to politics.  If his numbers are going to change drastically, I'd say it won't happen until fall and the race really begins.

    Heard last night (none / 0) (#74)
    by nycstray on Wed May 11, 2011 at 01:22:19 PM EST
    or was it this AM? that gas prices may tick back up due to flooding and speculating . . .

    shouldn't gas prices be going up anyway? After all, summer starts in a couple weeks . . . (who me jaded?)


    I may be more jaded on the gas prices thing (5.00 / 1) (#107)
    by christinep on Wed May 11, 2011 at 04:28:55 PM EST
    A friend of mine reminded me weeks ago that the ruse of raising prices in spring & dropping them in summer is not new. She said (and, I seem to recall hearing this on a mainstream news broadcast thereafter as well) that oil companies & related recognize that they don't want to damper travel by all us minions in summer; so, it is best to allow the price to fall a bit to encourage large numbers to continue with or replan car trips during their summer vacations. Why: $$$

    So perhaps I'll be spared those (5.00 / 1) (#109)
    by nycstray on Wed May 11, 2011 at 04:36:42 PM EST
    horrid "Staycation" ads this summer?!  :D

    I have to wonder if they can get the price low enough though. It's running 4.15 - 4.50 here . . . and then there's food and other costs that rose. They only have a couple weeks before the first big weekend . . .  


    Rajaratnam Guilty on all 14 counts! (none / 0) (#11)
    by ek hornbeck on Wed May 11, 2011 at 10:15:18 AM EST
    Typed media has not caught up yet.

    Happens Every Day (5.00 / 1) (#39)
    by ScottW714 on Wed May 11, 2011 at 11:31:38 AM EST
    The defense argued that the tapes revealed nothing more than that Rajaratnam was doing his duty by asking questions about information already circulating in the "real world" of high finance.

    "That happens every day on Wall Street," he said. "There's nothing wrong with it."
    Found Here

    That last quote pretty much sums up Wall Street, lying, cheating, and stealing happens every day and the clowns doing don't think there is anything wrong with it.


    More extensive coverage. (none / 0) (#18)
    by ek hornbeck on Wed May 11, 2011 at 10:30:22 AM EST
    available now from the New York Times via The Stars Hollow Gazette.

    Who said this? (5.00 / 1) (#24)
    by Harry Saxon on Wed May 11, 2011 at 10:42:25 AM EST

    Too much cannot be said against the men of wealth who sacrifice everything to getting wealth. There is not in the world a more ignoble character than the mere money-getting American, insensible to every duty, regardless of every principle, bent only on amassing a fortune, and putting his fortune only to the basest uses --whether these uses be to
    speculate in stocks and wreck railroads himself, or to allow his son to lead a life of foolish and expensive idleness and gross debauchery, or to purchase some scoundrel of high social position, foreign or native, for his daughter.

    That would be Teddy Roosevelt, and if (5.00 / 3) (#26)
    by Anne on Wed May 11, 2011 at 10:51:05 AM EST
    you expand the quote:

    Such a man is only the more dangerous if he occasionally does some deed like founding a college or endowing a church, which makes those good people who are also foolish forget his real iniquity. These men are equally careless of the working men, whom they oppress, and of the State, whose existence they imperil. There are not very many of them, but there is a very great number of men who approach more or less closely to the type, and, just in so far as they do so approach, they are curses to the country.

    what comes immediately to mind is:

    A foundation bankrolled by Libertarian businessman Charles G. Koch has pledged $1.5 million for positions in Florida State University's economics department. In return, his representatives get to screen and sign off on any hires for a new program promoting "political economy and free enterprise."

    Traditionally, university donors have little official input into choosing the person who fills a chair they've funded. The power of university faculty and officials to choose professors without outside interference is considered a hallmark of academic freedom.

    Under the agreement with the Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation, however, faculty only retain the illusion of control. The contract specifies that an advisory committee appointed by Koch decides which candidates should be considered. The foundation can also withdraw its funding if it's not happy with the faculty's choice or if the hires don't meet "objectives" set by Koch during annual evaluations.

    Wrong on so many levels, not least of which is that FSU is a public university, not a private one.

    And I think the Kochs' feelings about the working man can easily be seen in the recent efforts in Wisconsin against the unions and union workers.


    That would be TR. (none / 0) (#27)
    by ek hornbeck on Wed May 11, 2011 at 10:55:52 AM EST
    Provincetown 1907.  Wish I had a good link to his speech

    Prohibition corrupts... (none / 0) (#22)
    by kdog on Wed May 11, 2011 at 10:38:56 AM EST
    even parking and driving prohibitions...the NYPD tix-fix scandal is blowing up in the local papers.

    Not like its anything everybody didn't know or expect anyway...cops, cronies, and the connected don't get tickets or DUI's, and if by some miracle they are treated as we are, they get it fixed for some Yankee tickets...that ain't a scandal, thats s.o.p.

    With the price of Yankee tix (5.00 / 1) (#29)
    by nycstray on Wed May 11, 2011 at 11:00:47 AM EST
    you'd think it would be cheaper to pay the ticket . . .

    Ya don't think... (none / 0) (#33)
    by kdog on Wed May 11, 2011 at 11:12:59 AM EST
    them Yankee tix were paid for, do ya?  

    You haven't been gone that long Stray, ya gotta remember how Gotham works...modernized Tammany Hall stylee.


    too true :) (none / 0) (#54)
    by nycstray on Wed May 11, 2011 at 12:14:14 PM EST
    If the Boston Globe today is any indication (none / 0) (#36)
    by CST on Wed May 11, 2011 at 11:17:00 AM EST
    Setti Warren appears to be emerging as the Dem "favorite" in the senate race, after announcing his run yesterday there is now an entire section heading devoted to him on their front page.

    Granted, if Lynch, Capuano, or that other Warren jump in they could be major game changers.  But in the absence of that, it seems like he will end up being the guy to beat.  And right now the others are being ominously quiet.

    In any event other Democratics aren't waiting.  I've already seen ads from the league of women voters attacking Scott Brown for a vote against the EPA.

    Well, that's quite a name (5.00 / 1) (#76)
    by brodie on Wed May 11, 2011 at 01:33:37 PM EST
    to give your son and for him to have to live up to, I mean evoking as it does a rather famous and powerful ancient Egyptian pharaoh.  Unless of course they named him for that silly effort to investigate, the SETI program re finding advanced alien civilizations out there who would, improbably, still be using 19th/20th C radio technology.

    I'll check out MA pol Setti if only because I'm less than excited about another Capuano run, not that I don't agree with his politics but the personality is a little uninspiring.  And the other Warren probably isn't going to be tossing her hat into the ring.  Dunno anything about Lynch.

    Whatever happened to the deep bench Dems once had in MA?  


    They are apparently too comfortable (none / 0) (#77)
    by CST on Wed May 11, 2011 at 01:46:08 PM EST
    where they are.  I don't know.  In theory this Setti Warren guy could be great.  I just think he would be much better off if this were say, 2013 instead of 2011.  He has only been mayor of Newton for 16 months, and rightfully so, some people are none to pleased he's running for senator.

    Lynch is my congressman.  I really hope he doesn't win.  He's a conservadem by our standards - prolife.  But he is good at playing that down and playing up his working man creds - he's not conservative on economic issues.  And he's popular and well known enough that he could probably win.


    Setti's video (none / 0) (#79)
    by brodie on Wed May 11, 2011 at 02:32:50 PM EST
    at his website is fairly impressive, and he presents as polished and capable.  Just the question about experience in a tough political battle, which could be answered if he had one or two tough primary opponents.  He'll need the added toughness and experience going up against an incumbent who seems to enjoy MSM favor and some statewide popularity, and who's as slick or slicker than the Mittster.

    Lynch strikes me as a Gray Davis pol -- solidly centrist in many ways with a wonkishness to appeal to good govt types, to go with a gray, low-wattage personality.  Seems to me a very conventional Dem with very little pizzazz.  Zzzzz ...

    (btw, forgot to h/t my main man Stan Friedman for the anti-SETI snark I recited above)


    to be more specific (none / 0) (#85)
    by CST on Wed May 11, 2011 at 02:48:46 PM EST
    The problem with Newton is not about the length of experience, it's about the fact that he promised to stay on as mayor and is now running for higher office immediately.  The people feel used.  And as that is a fairly solid, and not small Dem stronghold that could pose some problems.

    Lynch, zzz is right.  But he's been around for a long time and he could possibly win over some of the independents that Brown has a solid hold on.  But I'd just as soon not have another centrist Dem in the senate if we don't need one.


    Healthcare: Sanders vs Paul (none / 0) (#114)
    by nycstray on Wed May 11, 2011 at 08:26:47 PM EST
    Rand: (none / 0) (#126)
    by jondee on Thu May 12, 2011 at 02:11:52 PM EST
    takes a stance not unexpected from someone named after an influential philosopher who built a career on convincing the most privleged and powerful members of American society that they were not only society's main benefactors, but also society's main victims and martyrs.

    Gotta pass on.... (none / 0) (#125)
    by kdog on Thu May 12, 2011 at 01:42:26 PM EST
    an update to my direct deposit cubelife drama...today the bossman's bankster calls to report somebody is forging company checks, and actually got a couple cashed out of state.  How that is possible when on the rare occasion I go to his bankster to cash out they inspect the watermark, demand two forms of ID, and take a fingerprint third degree stylee??? This is too rich...

    So I couldn't let this golden opportunity pass, and I hollered for all to hear..."now you know why I won't ever go for direct deposit!"  Though he didn't drop his demand outright, I got a "I can respect that position" out of the bossman:)  What timing!

    Thats the good news, bad news is I might have a problem cashing my paycheck next week as they cancel and reopen new accounts and all that hassle, but regardless I'm loving this vindication of my eccentricity.