SocraticGadfly: 6/27/10 - 7/4/10

July 03, 2010

With gays like this ...

With a gay man like Jonathan Rauch defending California's Prop. 8, and with an argument that could have been used to defend "separate but equal" AND defend the idea that the Supreme Court had no right considering Brown as a case, gay marriage advocates don't need the Mormons, the Christian Religions Right or any other enemies.

Rauch is also, along with people like Michael O'Hanlon on foreign warmongering policy, more proof that Brookings is NOT a "liberal" think tank.

Ideological flexibility can go WAYYY too far

In defending Bill Clinton's new take on Robert Byrd's early-life Klan membership, Salon cites Clinton not just signing the Defense of Marriage Act, but bragging about it, on Christian radio stations.

That's not flexibility, that's unscrupulousness.

Steve Kornacki apparently doesn't know the different between ideologically "flexible" and ideologically "unscrupulous."

Why didn't he at least try to ameliorate DOMA's worst by executive order after the 2000 election? Or, why didn't he do what Obama doesn't have the courage to do now, end DADT by executive order, per Truman and military desegregation?

Or, why did he push for Glass-Steagall repeal, only to "repent" a full decade later, and that only, in all likelihood, because of worries about his "legacy." (Hint: Jackson Stephens surely liked all the financial dereg the Slickster promulgated.)

July 02, 2010

Confusing Obama cause and effect at TPM

Josh Marshall seems to want to blame the lack of a stronger stimulus package on Congressional Democrats (with the Senate GOP in the background, of course) and NOT President Obama.

Of course, facts are different. Obama's clueless and soon-to-be-departing Chief of Staff, Rahm Emanuel, started compromising away the stimulus store long before the proper time for compromises was at hand.

Since then, the only "initiative" has been continued extensions of unemployment benefits (until now). Thinks like an infrastructure repair bill haven't even come close to coming out of the White House.

Meanwhile, per the overall tenor of Josh's comments, the White House let go of keeping a firm hand on the "narrative" of this issue long ago, too.

Abroad, it probably could have "swapped" support, at least lip support, for additional stimulus spending by first, backing what some Eurozone countries have done already on financial reform rather than trying to pretend the US was at the lead, and second, citing what China had actually done in the way of stimulus spending.

July 01, 2010

Obama: First female Prez?

Riffing on Maya Angelou's famous observation about Bill Clinton, Kathleen Parker raises the above rhetorical question about Obama.

Stereotypes aside, and also setting aside how much of real male-female relational and socializing style in America is cultural and how much is genetically engendered, I'd say Parker isn't all wrong.

That said, is Obama's style "wrong"? No. But, if it's ineffectual, the search for compromise, or getting along, or whatever, has to be junked. Unless you'd prefer being popular (or trying to be popular, or conciliatory) to being effective.

How did Scott Brown get to be the financial reform "decider"?

Salon asks the "duh" rhetorical question column of the week, and never even mentions the Obama-Dodd-Schumer troika's refusal to deal with Russ Feingold. (Which is, of course, the non-rhetorical answer to the rhetorical question.)

June 27, 2010

Dianne Feinstein, warmonger

Sen. Betty Crocker, the Senate Intelligence Committee chair, is okey-dokey with delaying the troop withdrawal from Afghanistan.

Salazar sux, part deux

Via Frank Rich, I am reminded that in addition to taking down Gen. Stanley McChrystal, Rolling Stone also, in the same issue, has a second installment of all that's rotten in the Department of the Interior.

Everything that was wrong, in advance, with Deepwater Horizon in the way of over-aggressive drilling and lack of advance preparations for serious problems, is wrong in spades with proposed new drilling in the Arctic:
The closest Coast Guard station is on Kodiak Island, some 1,000 miles away. The nearest cache of boom to help contain a spill is in Seattle — a distance of 2,000 miles. ... Relief equipment can realistically be brought to the region only by boat — and then only seasonally. The Arctic is encased in ice for more than half the year, and even icebreakers can't assure access in the dark of winter. "If it's this hard to clean this up in the relatively benign conditions of the Gulf of Mexico," Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse cautioned Salazar at a hearing after the BP spill, "good luck trying to implement this sort of a cleanup in the Arctic."

Shell, in fact, has never conducted an offshore-response drill in the Chukchi Sea. Perhaps that's because there's no proven technology for cleaning up oil in icy water, which can render skimming boats useless — much less to cope with a gusher under the ice. In the worst-case scenario, according to marine scientists, a blowout that takes place in the fall, when the seas are freezing over, could flow unabated until relief wells could be drilled the following summer. In the interim, oil could spread under the sea ice, marring the coastlines of Russia and Canada, and possibly reaching as far as Norway and Greenland. "It could realistically be a circumpolar event," says Steiner.

This is the new frontiers of Arctic drilling for which Secretary of the Interior Kenny Boy Salazar is pushing so hard.

Meanwhile, even as the Rolling Stone piece was being penned, and despite the six-month moratorium on deepwater drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, Minerals Management Service was still accepting new deepwater tract bids.

Hey, Obamiacs: As long as The One stays with Kenny Boy, it's a sign he supports his position. Perhaps, as with Wall Street, "New Democrats" would like more campaign money from Old Big Oil?