Archive - Feb 2009
In John Dickerson's article today about Obama's budget (in which he highlights how it contains gimmicks of its own, just different and perhaps less egregious ones than have typically been used before), he raises an interesting question:
Rarely has an administration made such a big deal about its honesty and transparency...So we face a familiar question with the Obama administration of what standard to pick when evaluating the administration. Should we judge it against the Bush standard, which included lots of gimmicks—including not accounting for the Iraq war—or against the standard Obama sets for himself? It's not the first time we've come to this question. On government transparency, ethics and now truth in budgeting, the reality has fallen short of the bold claims. Obama's new ethics rules were heralded as the toughest in history, but after days of boasting we learned that there were exceptions to them. The stimulus bill was heralded as a model of transparency, but in the end, wasn't conceived transparently.
I say we do both. Give him credit for the ways he surpasses the standards of Bush and his other predecessors but don't let him off hook for the ways that he falls short of the standards he claims to be setting.
I came across this meme on Twitter: #backflick - movie plots backwards. Here are a few of my favorites (especially the first two):
Superman - A guy who flies around, putting people into precarious situations, then hiding.
Rambo - Sylvester Stallone healing people with his magical bullet vacuum.
Supersize Me - dude vomits hamburgers until he loses 20 kg and regains his health.
Star Wars - Contract presentation ceremony, then go to repair Death Star, return home to desert family.
...on Twitter in case he had something interesting to say. My verdict so far: not so much. Here's a sampling related to Obama's recent address:
Nobody messes with joe and the smiles and nancy handshake resembled a democratic pep rally not a state of the union--sophomoric and silly
Speaker Pelosi standing up to applaud the private jet line while she flies around in a government jet at taxpayer expense verges on bizarre
Bobby jindal got a good national launch out of last night. His story is compelling.his values appeal to most americans
Especially that last one. He did have positive things to say about energy, healthcare, and education. I'll give him a little longer. He's definitely a better Twitterer than Karl Rove who is mostly promoting his newspaper articles and TV appearances. One of the more interesting aspects of the Twittering political pundits, in my opinion, is when you get to watch them interact via Twitter (for example, John Dickerson and Jake Tapper).
Finn's class is singing "You're a Grand Old Flag" in the upcoming Carpenter Street School talent show, and Lisa will accompany them on piano. Yesterday Lisa was practicing, and Finn joined in singing.
Here is the video:
From The Week (link):
Since the liberal media long ago lost interest in Iraq, said Charles Krauthammer in The Washington Post, we didn’t hear much about the “near miracle” of the country’s provincial elections earlier this month. So allow me to recap: There was virtually no violence, and 14,400 candidates from 400 parties competed. Parties defined by religious sectarianism were the big losers, including a pro-Iranian party that was “devastated” at the polls by Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s more secular State of Law Party. The big winners? Iraqis, who, despite the “condescension” of those who thought democracy a “fool’s errand” in the Middle East, proved they’re on the way to functioning, largely secular self-government. The other winner, of course, was the U.S., which now has a nascent democratic ally in the Arab world.
but Thomas Ricks is not as optimistic:
Having spent a lot of time in Iraq recently researching a book, it’s my sad duty to report that nearly every American military leader there is very pessimistic about the country’s future. Deep sectarian rifts remain in Iraqi society, they say, and only the presence of armed troops has prevented the eruption of violent conflict. Shiite radicals such as Muqtada al-Sadr and Sunni extremists haven’t given up; they’re just biding their time until the Americans leave. The Iraqi military, meanwhile, remains a “deeply flawed” institution, with no qualms about killing Iraqis, and U.S. officials privately are warning that power-hungry generals very well might mount a takeover attempt if the U.S. does, in fact, go home. So let’s not get overly excited about a round of regional elections. “I don’t think the Iraq war is over, and I worry that there is more to come than any of us suspect.”