Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Rick Warren's Fine; Vilsack and Salazar are the Problem

The only things we have to discuss these days are appointments, so they're getting all the attention. But the emphasis is backward. Obama selected Rick Warren to do the invocation at his inaguration and this has outraged righties more than cabinet picks Tom Vilsack (Agriculture) and Ken Salazar (Interior). What the hell?

Let's start with Warren. This pick is a political no-brainer. It costs Obama nothing to make the gesture and may gain him a lot. Say what you will about the waning authority of the Christian right; they're still a quarter of the electorate, the best organized and most-energized on certain issues. Antagonizing them from the start has the potential to hamstring his early efforts at things like Medicare.

And not to put too fine a point on it, they care about the invocation. Some large percentage of the people who oppose Warren aren't religious or aren't Christians. And Obama shouldn't be making decisions based on their views.

Now let's look at Vilsack. He's deep into ethanol and industrial farming. He comes from Iowa, the state most invested in skewing public policy toward industrial farming. Michael Pollan, who wants a Department of Food, not Ag, says, "He was biotech governor of the year. And he has very close relations to Monsanto.

Ken Salazar voted against CAFE standards, with Exxon, and is a friend of coal and mining:
Oil and mining interests praised Mr. Salazar’s performance as a state official and as a senator, saying that he was not doctrinaire about the use of public lands. “Nothing in his record suggests he’s an ideologue,” said Luke Popovich, spokesman for the National Mining Association. “Here’s a man who understands the issues, is open-minded and can see at least two sides of an issue.”

“Salazar has a disturbingly weak conservation record, particularly on energy development, global warming, endangered wildlife and protecting scientific integrity,” said Mr. Patterson, who was elected last month to the Arizona House of Representatives from Tucson and who supports fellow Arizonan Mr. Grijalva for the Interior job. “It’s no surprise oil and gas, mining, agribusiness and other polluting industries that have dominated Interior are supporting rancher Salazar — he’s their friend.”
Why are liberals wasting their time kvetching about Warren when these two jokers just got cabinet posts?

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Damn Blazers

Sure, get my hopes up.


PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) - Zach Randolph doesn't harbor any bad feelings toward his former team. He just doesn't want to lose to the Trail Blazers .

Randolph scored a season-high 38 points to lead the Los Angeles Clippers to a 120-112 double-overtime victory over the Blazers on Friday night.

Randolph, who was booed at times by the Portland crowd, also had 11 rebounds.

While the Rose Garden fans' reaction suggested that many associate Randolph with the so-called ''Jail Blazers'' era, Randolph clearly has a soft spot for Portland.

''I miss the rain,'' he said. ''I miss everything. I came here at 19 and I still have a house here.''

But the brief trip down memory lane was also a motivational factor....

The Clippers (5-17), with the second-worst record in the Western Conference, sure did. Baron Davis contributed 27 points and made a 3-pointer that sent the game into overtime.

A little D, anyone?

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

This is the Livestream feed.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Is Obama Insane?

To reword the question slightly: Do Obama's appointments to his cabinet, at best moderate Democrats and at worst Robert Gates, represent the political direction his administration will take?


1. Yes.
Explanation: He totally rooked saps like Alworth, who saw his record of liberalism and soaring rhetoric as the return of FDR (or at least Mario Cuomo) and now we must get used to Clinton II. Hey, at least it's not Bush III, right?

2. No.

Explanation: In one of the great bait-and-switches in modern political history, Obama plans to use the cover of moderates and right-wingers to push through liberalish (probably not Chomskyish) legislation. Who can scream at Bob Gates for bringing home the troops when Bush appointed him? Etc.

3. Sort of.
Explanation: His plan is to use their cred with moderate Dems and Republicans to take what he can get, but without a real liberal in the White House, we can't expect a whole hell of a lot. Best case, competency and maybe a surprising bit of legislation. Worst case, a muddled Carter II.

On the up side, Obama is wicked smart, and has seen three or four moves further down the road than anyone else, so you never know. On the downside, it is Washington, and he may be overestimating his ability to finesse a very coagulated system. Fingers crossed, but mind steeled for the worst.