Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Raj Patel's Apology

Raj Patel "apologizes" to Obama for a number of presumptuous assumptions about what "change" meant.

A brilliant ironic letter, much in keeping with how I feel about it all.

Happy New Year to All!!!!!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Your... Bible is a. Lie...

The title of this post is brought to you in ShatnerVision (tm).

There are many things to be said about Obama's choice of Rick Warren to provoke, er, invoke, er, deliver the invocation at his inauguration. Sarah Posner says some of them in the Nation:
There was no doubt that Obama, like every president before him, would pick a Christian minister to perform this sacred duty. But Obama had thousands of clergy to choose from, and the choice of Warren is not only a slap in the face to progressive ministers toiling on the front lines of advocacy and service but a bow to the continuing influence of the religious right in American politics. Warren vocally opposes gay marriage, does not believe in evolution, has compared abortion to the Holocaust and backed the assassination of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

And. The hits. Just keep on! Coming!

J-Mom (aka J-Mom, PhD aka Dr. J-Mom aka Prof. J-Mom) had this excellent hypothesis: since Obama is enjoined from saying too much about the Blagojevich scandal (hey-oh! did I spell that right on my first try?) and people keep trying to hang it around O's neck somehow, despite much proof of anything substantive to hang, he used his political savvy and determined that starting a tempest in a teapot was a wise way to go. Something to distract people from a circumstance beyond his control about which he can do little, by giving them something else to get outraged at. Now, to be sure, I am among the camp that thinks his choice of Warren is substantively bad and an affront to gays and those who support equal rights for humans of all flavors regardless of what other consenting adult they wish to marry, but strategically, it is a tempest in a teapot. That is, it sends a signal that is worrying, but if it really were a "wag the dog" type move, it would be in the knowledge that while this may cause discomfort, he can win back those he loses on the Left through actual substantive action later on. Which is absolutely true -- this is affronting, but if he follows with actively promoting gay rights when his administration actually starts, well, all wouldn't be forgiven, but enough would be that this would be a wise wager on his part.

I don't know that J-Mom, Phd is correct, but I don't know that she's wrong, either. It's a fascinating hypothesis, and one practically unresolvable barring a personal admission from P-E B. H. O.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Doctor J, I presume...

Hoo-RAY! Just finished my PhD -- well, mostly. The oral defense and most of the writing. Still re-drafts to go (#!@#$!!) but that's a pittance compared to the hallucinatorily difficult process of getting here. Still don't believe it's true.

Anyway, in other "Just can't believes..." Could Obama please nominate SOMEONE progressive to his Cabinet? I know I didn't really expect him to be very actually change-ful, c'mon, now. I wonder how my friends that were very pro-Obama feel about all this -- though I suspect they (fairly) are still taking a bit of a "wait and see" approach, since who you appoint doesn't completely determine what you do. Nevertheless, though, who you appoint does have a big significance, or can, because it doesn't seem that the Prez typically gets too involved deep down in the details of Cabinets. That has mixed effects, being that a lot of day-to-day Cabinet work is not of a big great huge political nature, and that Cabinets have lost much of their power (though it depends on who the Sec is and what the prez's approach to Cabinets is), but on the other hand, the technocrats within the Cabinet influence what happens in the future through the groundworks they lay in terms of philosophy and research and therefore solutions and ideas available at later dates.

I think. I may be making all that up.

Anyway, GREAT article here on how O has seemingly snubbed Joe Stiglitz, probably one of the best mainstream economists there is from my point of view. (He's no heterodox, not really, but close enough for government work, as it were.) Stiglitz, author of "Globalization and its Discontents", was one of the few Clintonites to not only NOT jump on the globalization-free-trade IMF-bull-shitting on the developing countries horse hockey, but he actually OPPOSED it. (And his Nobel-Prize winning research contradicts its theoretical foundations. According to the article, no less a free marketeer than Milton Friedman admitted Stiglitz was right on Russia's conversion to capitalism -- that sound institutions and regulatory regimes should be the first priority -- and Friedman himself was wrong in having suggested primarily "Privatize, privatize, privatize.)

Anyway. Stiglitz is yet another example of a perfectly acceptable, incredibly qualified mainstream-type progressive-ish choice Obama could make, but he's reportedly out in the cold. This is boding poorly, my friends, very poorly indeed.