SocraticGadfly: 6/13/10 - 6/20/10

June 19, 2010

Mort Zuckerman tries to be serious about Obama

But, the US News chieftain goes swimming in the neocon kiddie pool and fails miserably. Probably about 10 percent of his schtick is actually true, and another 15 percent is true-ish.

Deepwater Horizon: NOT worst enviro disaster ever

The NYT makes that clear in its refutation of one bit of Obama's rhetoric.

Worse, one thing they miss and the biggest, most ironic, or timid, omission of Obama's speech, is global warming itself, the meta-disaster behind the Deepwater Horizon disaster. But, certainly the Dust Bowl, among NYT examples, is far worse than this, too.

(For more on global warming as disaster, with a direct comparison to Deepwater Horizon, go here.)

Beyond the overarching fact of global warming, we could include inside it species extinction, shoreline erosion, island drowning and other things all worse than Deepwater Horizon.

Mountaintop removal coal mining, still countenanced in "light" form by Team Obama, is also worse.

Arguably, so is giving out new nuke plant loans without figuring out where you're going to put the waste.

The push for even more ethanol in gas tanks by Obama's EPA, when ethanol is, at best, energy-return neutral?

I guess that's why Obama wants to make Deepwater Horizon look so bad — to try to get us to forget about worse disasters unfolding or getting worse on his watch.

Meet Comic Sans

A great blog about a great font.
To any of my media analysis friends, or contacts of theirs (Jay Rosen types), who tout a financier idea of New Media, this is why New Media with big private donor subsidy is just as bad as "old media.' (That said, shock me that Huff Post is the poster child.)

Turkey wins, Iran loses, Israel still looks idiotic

A doctoral candidate and a professor at Princeton (both being Jewish, I believe) note how Turkey and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan smell like roses over the Gaza flotilla. And, Iran stinks, even in the nostrils of Hamas. While the Arab sheikdoms are jealous of democratic Turkey. And, Israel, and by extension, the US, remains clueless.

Other than the possible danger of an Armenia genocide resolution passing Congress, as long as Batman and Robin remain clueless and act on their cluelessness, Turkey continues to be the winner.

June 18, 2010

Neoliberal blech at TPM

Talking Points Memo proprietor touts this weak-tea defense of Obama against true liberals on his handling of Deepwater Horizon by Theda Skocpol. I write back:

Any non-Gang Green enviro group worth its salt 18 months ago was saying how bad, relatively, Kenny Boy Salazar was as Interior nominee.

The recent Rolling Stone article points out just how bad MMS continued to be under Salazar/Obama.

Greenwald had more. (In part because I and others told him to look at Salazar and more.)

And, don’t forget Obama’s hands deep in Exelon’s pockets; hence, all his nuke plant guarantees.

Finally, did Skocpol actually listen to Obama’s excuse of a speech, mixed of platitudes and the lack of tough specifics?

Or Robert Reich’s latest post (at TPM)?

Finally, her “do not support” leading to “rabid Right” comment is like the spouse of an alcoholic and “enabling.”

The only way Progressivism got on the plate of either major party a century ago was vigorous third-party movements in the late 19th century.

MoJo Dowd: Dumber than usual?

Either that, or she's as bought-off as the other inside-the-Beltway/inside-the-Corridor journalists she defends for going to Joe Biden's journos' meet-and-greet.

Interesting that she talks about "cold French fries" as not being able to buy off DC mouthpieces, but not a word about how "hot insider access" actually can, and does, do the same.

June 17, 2010

'I love my kids so much I didn't have them'

You may now be saying "HUUUHHHH"? Please read this Peter Singer column, which explains a previous column where, in Peter Singer style, he discusses whether or not this should be "The Last Generation."

The comment is from a woman responding to the original column, and I fully understand.

US lawmakers turn on Turkey

The one and only good thing coming out of this would be an Armenian genocide resolution passing Congress. Otherwise? More pandering to Zionism.

I love the one Congressman commenting on Turkey's occupation of Cyprus.

First, it doesn't control all the island.

Second, Cyprus itself wasn't innocent, and neither was Greece in the background.

Third, this is part of larger geopolitical moves by Turkey, which has a right to an independent foreign policy.

Reading between BP's escrow lines

That $20 billion escrow account? It won't be topped off until the end of 2013.

BP could be bankrupt by then. Or bought by ExxonMobil or Shell. All of which would render the account's topping off as kind of nugatory.

Dick Armey, hypocrite

Well, this really isn't new. Fortunately, Olbermann has a rapid-response fireback. Too bad he didn't take a few more shots.

June 16, 2010

The Mighty Obama strikes out?

I didn't see too much of The One's speech, read snippets of it online, read more in the way of analysis of it. That said, nobody needed to tell me in advance that "pontificating platitudes" were likely. Also, now, can we get past the idea that he's that dynamic? Or eloquent? Can we also get past certain stereotypes (you have them too, many white liberals) that lie behind those presuppositions?

Face it, the speech sucked. It contained nothing new, other than Obama groveling more for the Senate to pass about anything he can call an "energy bill" with his name attached.

Where have we seen that one before? Oh, yeah. National health care. Stimulus.

June 15, 2010

Jay Rosen: Half right on MSM at best

Jay Rosen says the MSM isn't really either liberal agenda pushers nor corporate tools, but that it's much more complicated than that.

He's right that journalists look to serve their own interests. How he can miss the angle of journalists being perfectly OK as being celebrities and entertainers, though, I have no idea.

He's also wrong in overlooking how much the press does serve as part of an elite, and considers itself as such. That also is not complicated.

Hmm, maybe Rosen likes a bit of vicarious boost "pushing off" the MSM as a critic, to partake in being a celebrity, entertainer elite himself.

June 14, 2010

June 13, 2010

Blinded to the change

A new book explains how, especially when our attention is focused tightly, we can be blind to changes that we're not looking for.

And, computerized testing of this illustrates how pervasive it is, and not just about literal field-of-vision "change blindness."

Altruism not just limited to humans

People who have not felt the need to insist on the uniqueness of homo sapiens have known this fact for some time. Nonetheless, it's worth noting that information for the number of altruistic species, and the depths and specificity of their altruism, continues to mount.

Frank Rich asks two good questions

In a good column about gay marriage, Frank Rich asks why Rush (The Pomposity of Lust, to riff on Steve Miller) Limbaugh would invite Elton John, openly gay and civil-union pseudo-married, to be the wedding singer.

The real question is, why would Elton John even have considered accepting, let alone actually doing it? Was he fame-whoring or something? Does he really need the money that badly?

Elton John just went way down in my book.