Monday, March 30, 2009


I've been taking a semi-break from politics, and I must say life is much less dismal when you aren't made aware of how wretched everything is all the time. Not better, mind you, just less dismal.

The Seeing Eye

The small dogs look at the big dogs;
They observe unwieldy dimensions
And curious imperfections of odor.
Here is the formal male group:
The young men look upon their seniors,
They consider the elderly mind
And observe its inexplicable correlations.

Said Tsin-Tsu:
It is only in small dogs and the young
That we find minute observation

-- Ezra Pound

Monday, March 23, 2009

Irrational Exuberance

A 500 point runup because Obama adopted a plan that wasn't considered good enough even during the Bush Administration.

I begin to realize Obama was dead serious about all that "hope" stuff he kept talking about during the election. He must really believe that if you just hope enough, everything will turn out OK. Needless to say, I hope he's right.


Before I forget... Bought the complete Outer Limits on DVD. Been on an old TV show kick lately, and really have been enjoying some of those shows -- TV doesn't have to be mindless garbage, any more than people need to eat french fries at a fast food joint. Anyway, as I watch this series, I'm impressed by how they were able to keep repackaging the same theme over and again without boring me to tears; and really how amazing an actor Martin Landau is. He made his mark playing oddball, even crazy, characters, but he could do it all, and had a particular gift for bringing out the humanity in the most inhuman-seeming characters. It's a reminder of how much luck plays a role in everything. He's had a fine career, capped by an Academy Award, but someone as good as he is --and he's has been turning in terrific performances for 50-odd years now -- should have had an even better one.

Sunday, March 22, 2009


I bet the SWAT guys went barrelling in there to be tough guys and blow away the cop killer, which is why two more of them died. No way should they have tried to force that situation against somebody like that -- you back out and use tear gas and the like until he surrenders. But that macho mentality won out, and two cops lost as a result. My brother commands the SWAT unit of a nearby city to Oakland (where we grew up), and I'm wondering what he has to say about this. It'll be interesting to hear him -- he's become something of an autonomic wingnut on lots of things in his time on the force, but he's still a smart, professional guy, and he remembers Oakland, and race relations, pretty well. There are lots of segments of Oakland where people see nothing wrong with killing cops, and the SWAT guys' apparent lack of professionalism here will only reinforce that mentality, despite the unfortunate deaths of those four men at the hands of a scumbag.

* My brother tells me he isn't sure if the SWAT guys knew he was in there -- they might have been breaking in to search the place on a tip, not knowing for sure if the guy was there at all. In that case, they were doing about the best they could. Jumping to conclusions on my part. He knows some of the Oakland SWAT guys, and is going to find out for sure, but if they did know the guy was in there, his basic take is similar to mine, although he won't say that in so many words.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

The Myth That Will Not Die

Wingnut actor Gary Sinise:

I remember all too well what it was like for our returning military members during the Vietnam conflict. They were caught in the middle of a very divided nation and not only did they have to endure the scars of battle, but upon their return they also were spit on and shamed and ridiculed for their service.

That this is a well-documented, largely debunked myth, doesn't interfere with the "memory" of Mr. Sinise. And about that memory ... Sinise was born in 1955. He'd have been a high school student when the bulk of the Vietnam service members were returning. Exactly how did these "memories" form?

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Flop Sweat

Obama looked bad on the teevee today. He looked 10 years older, unpoised, somewhat harried. I've never seen him look bad on the teevee before. He looked like someone who realizes he's in over his head. As I read around the internets this evening, it looks like Obama is fighting some chickens coming home to roost. Chris Dodd, the AIG bonuses, pressure from the left over civil liberties (isn't it supposed to be the left that wants to impose some kind of communist dictatorship on the country? Then why are they out in front on this issue, while the freedom loving right wants a more powerful, more intrusive state? Another question without an answer in your upside down world). The media people, fat and secure after watching their stock market investments appreciate 10% in a matter of days, are feeling their oats and going on the attack. Obama has yet to demonstrate he can sail into the wind, remember. His political career has been one long fairy tale.

I once worked with a guy who was young and black. A key manager took the guy, and despite his poor performance, pushed him into a management role -- at 21, with no college at all, he became the youngest manager in the history of this Fortune 500 company. A role he was clearly unqualified for, and one in which he failed miserably, taking many of his direct reports down with him as he failed. This guy was modestly talented -- with several more years of seasoning, he would have made a competent manager. He now sells insurance. As I first watched Obama on the monitors today, then read around the internets today, I thought about that guy. And then I thought about some of the people whose careers he ruined, people it was his job to mentor and help grow their careers. I wonder if, once he started selling insurance, he tried to sell some to them.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Warning Sign

This stuff seems funny:

Now, at a time when the national GOP is trying to find its voice and cultivate new candidates, California GOP activists have begun engaging in a new pastime: issuing "fatwas" to punish state Republican legislators deemed too moderate on tax issues.

This circular firing squad was on display last week at a "Tax Revolt" rally that drew 8,000 people to a Fullerton parking lot. It was organized by popular conservative talk show hosts John and Ken - John Kobylt and Ken Chiampou of radio station KFI in Los Angeles.

The raucous California tea party featured such dramatics as the spearing of a likeness of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's head, and the sledge-hammering of a pile of Schwarzenegger dolls, videos and movie memorabilia - even an action hero lunch box.

The radio hosts' "fatwas" target a handful of moderate GOP legislators who sided with Democrats to end the state budget impasse. Their calls to recall those lawmakers have reverberated throughout the Republican grassroots.

"It's becoming the fatwa party ... the Jon and Ken party," said Hoover Institution media fellow and GOP consultant Bill Whalen.

And the Democrats are having a good time with it:

Democrats, at least, are cheering them on.

"It's the definition of insanity - they keep doing the same thing, over and over," said Ben Tulchin, a veteran Democratic pollster based in San Francisco who says that the Republican antics have kept the party's eyes off the real prize - winning elections in California.

"Instead of trying to expand their support, they keep appealing to the far right, which gives them a dwindling percentage of the vote," he said.

But I can't help but remember 2004, when the Democrats were "a national party no more," when they were the punch line of every joke, when they couldn't block anything the Republicans wanted to do (well, some things never change).

The fact is, the Democrats got where they are not because of their own brilliance, and not even because of Republican extremism, but because the Republicans utterly failed at the business of running the country. Had the Republicans not been so numbingly inept, they'd still be in power, just as extremist as ever, only no one would be talking about their "disarray." This is particularly something to keep in mind considering Obama has been anything but impressive coming out of the blocks, particularly with regards to the economy -- the one issue, more than any other, that put the Democrats where they are. The breaks don't have to all go the Republicans' way in the future for a reversal of sorts to happen, and then these same crazy Keystone Cops everyone laughs at for their extremism will be running the show again. The Democrats being what they are, the Republicans don't even need a nominal majority to run things; they just need to get close enough to numerical parity to stop looking like losers to the media people. The Blue Dogs will then flip, and it will be something like 1994 - 2000 all over again, with a Democratic president presiding over the implementation of Republican policies -- except Obama lacks both Clinton's skill and his balls, and these Republicans are, simply, batshit crazy, as opposed to the '90s Republicans who were merely ... "eccentric" ... by comparison.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

True Believers


For years, it has been chic to snicker at Rand. She's not a good writer. Few grownups take her seriously. Every time her philosophy comes close to being realized, disaster strikes. But her books and philosophy remain seductive to a certain mentality, and that mentality will not go away because it's the object of a little snickering, and it sure won't go away because reality turns out differently than their philosophy predicts it will, any more than followers of one of those crazy cults throw in the towel when, despite predictions to the contrary, the earth continues to exist day after day after day, and no saviour returns amidst a thundering of trumpets and the apocalyptic crash of lightning to save the faithful.

As a semi-aside, Rush Limbaugh is a sort of Ayn Rand for Dummies. Both Limbaugh's listeners and Rand's followers are psychologically similar, and draw the same sorts of psychic nourishment from their oracle. Limbaugh's listeners are told they are morally superior to everyone else; Rand's followers are told they are morally and intellectually superior. The primary difference is Rand's followers tend to be smarter (they got that part right, at least), and so their pap isn't ground down into as fine a paste before they are fed with it.

Friday, March 13, 2009

The Comedian

Question: Why is it that more "journalists" don't interview people like Jon Stewart did with Jim Cramer?

Answer: Because to conduct an interview like that requires brains, courage, and above all, preparation. Real journalists have more important things to do than prepare, and if they had brains and courage to begin with, they never would have gotten involved in the giant, incestuous whorehouse that is modern journalism, in the first place.

Even the wingnuts are liking Stewart, and wondering why they haven't seen interviews like that before. There's obviously a market for this sort of thing out there -- but what good is the knowledge that there's a market for something if you don't have the product to serve it? Could Charles Gibson conduct an interview like that? Brian Williams? It's better to pretend that a want doesn't exist than to admit you don't have the ability to meet it.


I think Drum does a good job of nailing it here. The fact is, for what he does, Cramer isn't as nearly as bad as he could be. And I get the sense he genuinely cares about the people who listen to him, and wants them to do as well as they can. If it wasn't him out there yelling nonsense, it would be someone else. That's not to excuse what he and CNBC do; it's just to point out that the problem won't be solved by pointing at Cramer and CNBC and blaming it all on them. People are getting what they want.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Upside Down

Why, exactly, is the kneejerk assumption that it's the Republican Party that is the patriotic one?

Actor Chuck Norris has his eyes on the presidency, but not the White House. Norris wrote that he would be interested in becoming the president of Texas, if the state were ever to secede from the Union.

“I may run for president of Texas,” Norris wrote Monday in a column posted at WorldNetDaily. “That need may be a reality sooner than we think. If not me, someone someday may again be running for president of the Lone Star state, if the state of the union continues to turn into the enemy of the state.”

The actor claimed “thousands of cell groups will be united around the country in solidarity over the concerns for our nation” and said that if states decide to secede from the union, that Texas would lead the way.

“Anyone who has been around Texas for any length of time knows exactly what we'd do if the going got rough in America,” Norris wrote.

“Let there be no doubt about that.” Norris was a strong supporter of Mike Huckabee’s presidential bid, and he helped to draw attention to the former Arkansas governor’s campaign.

This is the party of choice of the people from the South, who resisted the American Revolution, tried to secede from the Union, supported first slavery and then Jim Crow, the party of America-hating Limbaugh.

They had that poll out a while ago showing that something like 80-odd percent of the responders would rather Sarah Palin raised their children than Hillary Clinton. Hillary's daughter graduated from Stanford and Oxford; Palin's daughter is a highscool dropout unwed teenage mother. Sometimes, you wonder how the country doesn't simply explode at the seams of its own oblivious inability to pay attention.


With the real unemployment rate >10%, the Republicans are going around talking about nothing except "earmark reform," while one of their talking points is that Obama isn't focusing enough on the economic crisis.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


The way Fleischer said "Saddam might have attacked us again" implied it was Iraq who attacked us the first time. These are persistent people, whose persistence is exceeded only by their profound dishonesty. Matthews ended well (for him), but directly pointing out the implied falsehood and forcing Fleischer to backpedal would have been much better.

Separated at birth, Ari Fleischer:

and Werner Klemperer, better known as Colonel Klink from Hogan's Heroes:

Klemperer, a gifted, multi-talented man, got all the good genes; Fleischer got to work for the man who makes Colonel Klink look competent.

If I had a Hammer

Mark Sanford:

South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford plans to ask President Obama for permission to use part of his state’s stimulus money to pay down its debt, not on new spending, according to a letter he sent state legislators Tuesday.

A longtime opponent of the president’s nearly $800 billion stimulus package, the Republican governor told his state’s lawmakers that spending approximately $700 million in money coming from the federal government would only make the state’s financial situation worse in the long term.

It's like being given a bucket on the Titanic, and deciding you want to put it away for the time when you really, really need it. Or deciding the proper use of it is to get some water from the ocean and wash down the dirty decks of the ship. It's frightening to note Sanford is one of the bright stars in the Republican firmament.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

If you have to answer...

Obama answers a stupid question:

Q. The first six weeks have given people a glimpse of your spending priorities. Are you a socialist as some people have suggested?

A. You know, let’s take a look at the budget – the answer would be no.

Q. Is there anything wrong with saying yes?

A. Let’s just take a look at what we’ve done. We’ve essentially said that, number one, we’re going to reduce non-defense discretionary spending to the lowest levels in decades. So that part of the budget that doesn’t include entitlements and doesn’t include defense – that we have the most control over – we’re actually setting on a downward trajectory in terms of percentage of G.D.P. So we’re making more tough choices in terms of eliminating programs and cutting back on spending than any administration has done in a very long time. We’re making some very tough choices.

What we have done is in a couple of critical areas that we have put off action for a very long time, decided that now is the time to ask. One is on health care. As you heard in the health care summit yesterday, there is uniform belief that the status quo is broken and if we don’t do anything, we will be in a much worse place, both fiscally as well as in terms of what’s happening to families and businesses than if we did something.

The second area is on energy, which we’ve been talking about for decades. Now, in each of those cases, what we’ve said is, on our watch, we’re going to solve problems that have weakened this economy for a generation. And it’s going to be hard and it’s going to require some costs. But if you look on the revenue side what we’re proposing, what we’re looking at is essentially to go back to the tax rates that existed during the 1990s when, as I recall, rich people were doing very well. In fact everybody was doing very well. We have proposed a cap and trade system, which could create some additional costs, but the vast majority of that we want to give back in the form of tax breaks to the 95 percent of working families.

So if you look at our budget, what you have is a very disciplined, fiscally responsible budget, along with an effort to deal with some very serious problems that have been put off for a very long time. And that I think is exactly what I proposed during the campaign. We are following through on every commitment that we’ve made, and that’s what I think is ultimately going to get our economy back on track.


President Obama: Just one thing I was thinking about as I was getting on the copter. It was hard for me to believe that you were entirely serious about that socialist question. I did think it might be useful to point out that it wasn’t under me that we started buying a bunch of shares of banks. It wasn’t on my watch. And it wasn’t on my watch that we passed a massive new entitlement – the prescription drug plan without a source of funding. And so I think it’s important just to note when you start hearing folks through these words around that we’ve actually been operating in a way that has been entirely consistent with free-market principles and that some of the same folks who are throwing the word socialist around can’t say the same.

Q. So who’s watch are we talking about here?

A. Well, I just think it’s clear by the time we got here, there already had been an enormous infusion of taxpayer money into the financial system. And the thing I constantly try to emphasize to people if that coming in, the market was doing fine, nobody would be happier than me to stay out of it. I have more than enough to do without having to worry the financial system. The fact that we’ve had to take these extraordinary measures and intervene is not an indication of my ideological preference, but an indication of the degree to which lax regulation and extravagant risk taking has precipitated a crisis.

I think that covers it.

His followup answer was better, but the best answer of all would have been derisive laughter, followed by, "You've got to be fuckin' kiddin' me. If I used the military in response to an attack on this country, would that mean I was a warmonger? The fact is, the economy is falling apart, and the only entity capable of holding it together is the government. That doesn't make me, or anyone else in this office, a 'socialist,' -- it just makes me a public servant, using the tools at my disposal to do my job."

I'm reminded of the tone of Joe Biden's response to that airhead in Florida.

That Obama feels it necessary to go into this long-winded reply to a stupid question, and that he later felt it necessary to call the paper back for a do-over, suggests he's feeling the heat of all this socialism talk. That could be a good sign -- it could mean he realizes he's going to have to use even more activist policies to halt the freefall, and he wants to establish that socialism and ideology have nothing to do with it, or it could mean he's starting to bend in response to the constant onslaught. My sense of the guy is that, while he's pretty plastic, there will come a point where he won't bend anymore, and he's smart enough to know he has very little room to bend when it comes to the economy. But really, the left is going to have to put an end to this "socialism" talk. It takes instruments off the table just when we need them most, and the fact is, the country is facing problems -- healthcare, a collapsing economy -- that free markets have never been able to solve on their own.

Saturday, March 7, 2009


I'm watching Soylent Green, a film I liked as a child when I saw it on TV, and one that is freaking me out just a tad as I watch it as an adult on my computer. Who can look at this world -- a collapsing economy; two presidents in a row who claim dictatorial powers to themselves; lawless wars centered around natural resources; looming ecological catastrophe -- who, looking at all this, could be anything but disturbed when watching a film like Soylent Green?

Watchmen is being described as a "dystopian film." Bullshit. The thing about Watchmen is that people are still in control. Sure, they're on the brink of nuclear war, but they can (and ultimately, do) step away from that brink. The problems we are facing could well be almost entirely out of our control. That is, we are on the brink of disaster, but that's because the disaster is growing, expanding to include what was once solid ground. And we're running out of room to step away from it.

Middle of the road

Obama should take a close look at Schwarzenegger's situation:

Arnold Schwarzenegger's dream of becoming the first "post-partisan" governor has finally come true - he's equally disliked by Republicans and Democrats.

"He's reached his goal. Both sides view him the same way," said Mark DiCamillo of the Field Poll. "Negatively."

Overall, the action-star-turned-budget-bedraggled-compromiser scored a 38 percent approval rating in a statewide Field Poll of 761 voters taken after the recent budget deal was reached.

Schwarzenegger's abandonment of the Republican mantra of no new taxes cost him dearly among his own party. The number of Republicans who approve of his job performance is down to 39 percent, versus 56 percent who disapprove, the Field Poll showed.

The previous Field survey, taken in September at the beginning of the budget standoff, showed Republicans evenly split on Arnold - 45 percent positive, 45 percent negative.

His alienation of Republicans hasn't really helped Schwarzenegger among Democrats, who are thumbs down on him in the latest poll - 33 percent positive to 57 percent negative.

"I've never seen an elected official with these kinds of numbers," DiCamillo said. "Even when former President George Bush was getting very low job ratings here in California, he still had the support of half of his party."

When times are good, people like all that bipartisan, postpartisan, ZenJudoChess bullshit. When times are bad, people want results -- and if you don't deliver them, nobody cares about your conciliatory, good intentions.

"Diplomacy is the art of saying 'Nice doggie' until you can find a rock.” -- Will Rogers

Obama -- with big Congressional majorities and high approval ratings -- came into office holding a rock, but all he did was keep saying "Nice doggy" to the Republicans. At the rate the economy is collapsing, the Republicans will have a rock of their own, and unlike Obama, they've not shown any reluctance to use rocks, or any other weapon, when they have one.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Bad News in Wingnuttia

Even hardcore wingnuts are passing this around and laughing.

I wonder if the right's traditionally overwhelming edge in ridicule is eroding. I imagine a lot of that stuff is bandwagon-based, anyway -- the Republicans were on top for a long time, so the natural tendency was to see the Democrats as weak and ridiculous, but now the shoe is changing feet, and the Republicans are looking weak and ridiculous. Obama better do something about the banking crisis, or that shoe is going to go right back on the Democratic foot.

Thursday, March 5, 2009


When I read the name "Mark Twain," I mentally replace it with "Samuel Clemens." It's done subconsciously, and sometimes I can read for pages, doing that all along, before I realize there are times when the distinction between the two names serves a purpose.

I used to use a word processing program that worked like that; you would type in a word, make a spelling error, and the program would correct the error while you were still typing. Here's the key point: you could not turn this feature off, and unfortunately, I had made some additions to the spell checker's dictionary including some typos, and was stuck with mis-spelled words forever after, until I finally deleted the whole program in disgust. Of course, you can't do that with your brain. "Sam Clemens" is apparently hardwired in there for the rest of my life.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009


The Democrats have some teeth. They're baby teeth, but you gotta start somewhere. Two years ago they would have been incapable even of this.

Sad to say, this is the sort of empty-headed mockery that the Beltway admires and rewards, but it's the only game in town, and if you aren't playing it, you're losing to it.

But he won't


In the 2007-2008 congress Specter, no doubt in part as a token of appreciation for that AFL-CIO support, was the lone Republican to back EFCA. If he votes for it again this congress, it’ll be tough for him to win the primary. But if he votes against it, I think he’ll find it tough to win the general election when his support from Democratic-leaning interest groups vanishes. I doubt Specter will avail himself of this option, but the obvious solution would be to stick to his guns on EFCA and follow up his support for the stimulus by switching parties and, like Jim Jeffords, reposition ideologically somewhat. In other words, stop being a vulnerable moderate Republican and become a plain-vanilla Democrat with a safe seat. It would be pretty easy for Specter, as a Democrat, to beat GOP nominee Toomey in a general election. But beating Toomey in a primary without becoming too right-wing to carry the state will be tough.

The Republican Party is driving itself off a cliff, and trying to make Specter the first one to go "splat" on the bottom below -- but he clings to his spot in the car all the same, even taking his turn at the wheel at times. Why? What is so compelling about that "R" next to his name that he'd rather risk political death than make a simple party switch?

Monday, March 2, 2009

Funny, but not haha funny.

E.J. Dionne

The central issue in American politics now is whether the country should reverse a three-decade long trend of rising inequality in incomes and wealth.

It takes one of Washington's house liberals to point out the obvious. Now that one of their media minders has said the words, maybe the Democrats can stop cowering in fear of the "Class Warfare!" attack and actually start reciting the dismal statistics that are the bitter fruit of almost 30 years of Reaganism. The case against Reaganism makes itself, but nobody seems to want to take it -- or anyone who does has been dismissed as "unserious" by E.J. and his pals. This is the single most interesting development of the past few months, surpassing even Limbaugh being called out by the Democrats. Take away "Class Warfare!" as some kind of master trump card and all sorts of interesting discussions open up -- none of them favorable to Republicans.

Joe Klein -- the ultimate house liberal -- is speaking out, as well. Joe doesn't wipe his ass without the approval of his Beltway buddies, so something is definitely afoot.

10000 Years plus one

The banzai spirit is catching on in Wingnuttia:

I want Barack Obama to fail and I want to help ensure he does.

If Barack Obama is successful in implementing his stated agenda, America will fail and the American dream will die for millions.

We already know Barack Obama's economic policy will fail, but it will hurt millions of hard working Americans.

Give that man a cup of sake, a bayonet, and point him towards the machine guns and barbed wire. He's ready to go.

I have my issues with Obama and his ability to positively move an agenda, but against these sorts of crude attacks, his counter-punching style is perfect. He should be able to mow these guys down.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Still Doodlin' After All These Days

A followup:

1982 Republicans defending only 13/33 seats.

1984 Republicans defending 19/34 seats.

2010 Republicans defending 19/34 seats.

2012 Republicans defending 9/33 seats.

I think it's pretty clear that, almost regardless of what else happens, and no matter how big Obama wins in 2012, the Democrats are going to lose seats in the Senate that year, probably enough to knock them down below 60 votes, maybe significantly below 60 votes. The key is 2010. If the unemployment rate (and for reasons I won't go into here, I believe almost nothing else will matter on the economic front) is declining, the Democrats pick up two, maybe three seats in the Senate, and then they can do almost what they please. If the unemployment rate is stagnant, or, worse case scenario, climbing, they stay flat to +1. As was true in 1984, when Reagan won huge with a historically high, but improving, unemployment rate, what matters is the sense of progress. Obama has done a good job of painting a sufficiently ugly picture of economic reality; now he has to show he can improve that picture.

I think the still-fresh memory of Republican failure, and their astonishing tone-deafness to date, plus the disadvantage of defending more seats, makes it highly unlikely they will actually pick up anything in 2010. The goal, for them, should be avoiding losing too many, just as the goal for the Democrats in 2002 - 2004 was to avoid losing so many they lost the ability to filibuster -- not that they used that ability all that often or well.

The point of all this is simple: Obama has, at the very most, three years to pass major legislation, like universal healthcare. The odds are he's going to be sitting pretty after 2010, but he's shot himself in the foot some with the too-small stimulus package, which means the economy could still be shedding jobs just when we're hitting the 2010 election. If that happens, a lot of the initiative Obama enjoys now will evaporate; he'll probably lose some of the cooperation of the crypto-wingnuts Snowe, Collins, and Specter; and face rebellion from the Blue Dogs in his own party, who'll be looking to distance themselves from "failure" in a (futile; as we saw in '02 and '04, when the winds blow against liberalism the moderate Dems in Red states are the first to go no matter how obsequious they are) attempt to save their own political skins.

The upshot of all this is that the Dem position is strong now, but it is hardly impregnable. The Republicans should be fighting a holding action to get safely to 2012, and then they will be in a much stronger position to obstruct. The way to have taken that away from them was to make certain the stimulus package was big enough all but to guarantee success, get a big working majority in 2010, and then enact popular and necessary legislation regardless of Republican whining. But the stimulus wasn't big enough to guarantee success. And now, we have to hope.

One annoying thought at the back of my mind: some time around late spring in 2010, the economy is still failing, what does Obama do? Public works-type spending won't hit the economy fast enough to move the dial on the '10 elections, the Republicans plus quaking Blue Dogs will block such legislation anyway, so he's left with one form of fiscal stimulus: tax cuts. The Rushpublicans would crow that they were right all along, that spending doesn't work, Keynes was an idiot, blah blah blah. It's a disaster that could easily happen. So much depends on the economy showing life in the next 18 months....


GDP shrank at a 6.2% rate in the most recent quarter. Pro-rated, that means that in one year, GDP would contract by an amount greater than the entire, two-year stimulus package.

I can see why Obama would want to be careful talking about this, as he's already on the record as saying the stimulus package is "the right size" or some such. But the silence of the greater left is baffling. It's a tailor-made talking point in favor of, not just this package, but the next one down the road. It's like the left doesn't want to win, like it doesn't really care all that much. Can anyone imagine the conservatives throwing away such a golden opportunity for propaganda?