On Old long syne my Jo,
On Old long syne,
That thou canst never once reflect,
On Old long syne.
. . . a tip of the hat to master Robert Burns . . .
We are not in a war zone, but we might as well be. A frequent factor in these violent incidents is mental illness. In many — but not all — of these incidents, the weapons used to wreak havoc were obtained legally. This is not a proposed assault on the Second Amendment. There is, of course, no way to avoid all gun violence. But there is a clear choice we must ultimately make: What kind of society do we want to inhabit — one in which we risk our lives to watch a movie, go shopping or enter a classroom? Or one where capable and responsible adults are free to own guns but every effort is made to weed out those who could turn violent?
This faction and its unhinged fanaticism has no place in any advanced democracy. They must be broken. But the current irony is that no one has managed to expose their extremism more clearly than their own Speaker. His career is over. As is the current Republican party. We need a new governing coalition in the House - Democrats and those few sane Republicans willing to put country before ideology. But even that may be impossible.
Last night, the House of Representatives was actively working on a bill that would not even be brought to the floor in the Senate and would face certain death at the president's desk. But let's think about that fact for a minute. Is this the way American government is supposed to work? Seriously? Back room negotiations between the speaker and the president? Bills that are written up on the fly and go nowhere? Bills that never even get considered for a vote for the other body? Bills that are vetoed before they are even passed? Think about this: Guess how many vetoes President Obama has issued. The answer is two. The average for presidents is 48. FDR vetoed an average of 53 bills per year and he never once had to deal with Republican majorities. President Obama has less vetoes than Warren Harding—and he was only president for four months! It seems to me the system isn't working properly when the president isn't seeing bills he doesn't like. That isn't a sign of a healthy separation of powers or checks and balances.
“Where are the president’s spending cuts?” asks John Boehner. With Republicans coming to grips with their inability to stop taxes on the rich from rising, the center of the debate has turned to the expenditure side. In the short run, the two parties have run into an absurd standoff, where Republicans demand that President Obama produce an offer of higher spending cuts, and Obama replies that Republicans should say what spending cuts they want, and Republicans insist that Obama should try to guess what kind of spending cuts they would like. Reporters are presenting this as a kind of negotiating problem, based on each side’s desire for the other to stick its neck out first. But it actually reflects a much more fundamental problem than that. Republicans think government spending is huge, but they can’t really identify ways they want to solve that problem, because government spending is not really huge. That is to say, on top of an ideological gulf between the two parties, we have an epistemological gulf. The Republican understanding of government spending is based on hazy, abstract notions that don’t match reality and can’t be translated into a workable program. . . . When the only cuts on the table would inflict real harm on people with modest incomes and save small amounts of money, that is a sign that there’s just not much money to save. It’s not just that Republicans disagree with this; they don’t seem to understand it. The absence of a Republican spending proposal is not just a negotiating tactic but a howling void where a specific grasp of the role of government ought to be. And negotiating around that void is extremely hard to do. The spending cuts aren’t there because they can’t be found.
The Arcitc is a constantly variable dreamscape, and with its variations comes fortune or doom for the individual. These are populations that already reside in conditions that are as unpredictable and unrelenting as possible. We are throwing too much chaos in the equation. Variations. It is very frustrating to behold months of dry conditions and then have your friends and neighbors complaining at the first, briefest rains that do little more than tide over wild biota as the streams run low, and the heat that is just not right to those with what's called 'native eye' and an affinity for the land. And it is troubling to know that whatever pleasant warmth these people feel, disproportionately larger changes are happening in the North's landscape of desire and imagination. The Arctic is very sensitive to oil spills and other forms of pollution. Polar bears in areas affected by oil spills have been observed licking oil off their fur, resulting in the agony of renal failure. Of climate, the yearly return of something as simple as the narrow stream-like leads in the ice and a particular amount of snow is vital to the health of the population. There are so many things that climate variations can throw out of whack, and we don't know most of what those are. At the same time, the Arctic nations are witnessing the scramble for the next, great natural resource bubble.
... according to longtime political observers Thomas Mann and Norman Ornstein, campaign coverage in 2012 was a particularly calamitous failure, almost entirely missing the single biggest story of the race: Namely, the radical right-wing, off-the-rails lurch of the Republican Party, both in terms of its agenda and its relationship to the truth. Mann and Ornstein are two longtime centrist Washington fixtures who earlier this year dramatically rejected the strictures of false equivalency that bind so much of the capital's media elite and publicly concluded that GOP leaders have become "ideologically extreme; scornful of compromise; unmoved by conventional understanding of facts, evidence and science; and dismissive of the legitimacy of its political opposition." The 2012 campaign further proved their point, they both said in recent interviews. It also exposed how fabulists and liars can exploit the elite media's fear of being seen as taking sides.Dan Froomkin's column has valuable links to Thomas Mann's and Norman Ornstein's work.
Wages in right-to-work states are 3.2% lower than those in non-RTW states, after controlling for a full complement of individual demographic and socioeconomic variables as well as state macroeconomic indicators. Using the average wage in non-RTW states as the base ($22.11), the average full-time, full-year worker in an RTW state makes about $1,500 less annually than a similar worker in a non-RTW state.
Here’s the first lesson from the early skirmishing over ways to avoid the fiscal cliff: Democrats and liberals have to stop elevating Grover Norquist, the anti-government crusader who wields his no-tax pledge as a nuclear weapon, into the role of a political Superman. Pretending that Norquist is more powerful than he is allows Republicans to win acclaim they haven’t earned yet. Without making a single substantive concession, they get loads of praise just for saying they are willing to ignore those old pledges to Grover. You can give him props as a public relations genius. Like Ke$ha or Beyonce, he is widely known in Washington by only one name. But kudos for an openness to compromise should be reserved for Republicans who put forward concrete proposals to raise taxes.
The problem, of course, is that there's no such break happening. Whatever flirting various members might be doing around the edges of tax "reform" has nothing to do with breaking the pledge on tax rates. That's been made abundantly clear by House Speaker John Boehner. Schumer is smart enough to know this, so maybe he's just trying to keep the narrative going in the media that Republicans are in disarray. If that's his strategy, he might be being a bit too cute. There's advantage to the Republicans in these negotiations if there's a media narrative that they're not wholly intransigent. Which they are, and which they should be called out for.
Sen. Jim DeMint would rather see Congress go over the fiscal cliff than have a group of “zombie legislators” make tax and spending policy in final post-election weeks of the 112th Congress. In a report on the dangers of legislating in lame-duck sessions, the South Carolina Republican argues, “The American people were never presented with competing ‘lame duck’ agendas, so Washington has no business trying to pass one. Conservatives may not like the policy outcome in any case, but rejecting the ‘lame duck’ and achieving an honest, transparent process respectful of the American people and our republican institutions is significant in its own right.”
... Whole and ground chia seeds are being added to fruit drinks, snack foods and cereals and sold on their own to be baked into cookies and sprinkled on yogurt. Grown primarily in Mexico and Bolivia, chia is rich in the same omega-3 fatty acids found in fish, along with antioxidants, protein and fiber. Recognition of its nutritional value can be traced as far back as the Aztecs.
When I was very young and the urge to be someplace else was on me, I was assured by mature people that maturity would cure this itch. When years described me as mature, the remedy prescribed was middle age. In middle age I was assured that greater age would calm my fever and now that I am fifty-eight perhaps senility will do the job. Nothing has worked. Four hoarse blasts of a ship's whistle still raise the hair on my neck and set my feet to tapping. The sound of a jet, an engine warming up, even the clopping of shod hooves on pavement brings on the ancient shudder, the dry mouth and vacant eye, the hot palms and the churn of stomach high up under the rib cage. In other words, I don't improve; in further words, once a bum always a bum. I fear the disease is incurable. I set this matter down not to instruct others but to inform myself.And so it goes . . . a fine book of its time and a comforting companion on some few lonely and mostly cold hitch-hiking nights trying to sleep under bridges . . .
We are going to die, and that makes us the lucky ones. Most people are never going to die because they are never going to be born. The potential people who could have been here in my place but who will in fact never see the light of day outnumber the sand grains of Arabia. Certainly those unborn ghost include greater poets than Keats, scientists greater than Newton. We know this because the set of possible people allowed by our DNA so massively exceeds the set of actual people. In the teeth of these stupefying odds it is you and I, in our ordinariness, that are here.
I collect my tools: sign, smell, touch, taste, hearing, intellect. Night has fallen, the day's work is done. I return like a mole to my home, the ground. Not because I am tired and cannot work. I am not tired. But the sun has set.I fear that different editions have slight variations on the first pages of this book . . . but still . . . this book kept me sane for a time in Bavaria but may have slightly skewed my life in other directions . . . this father of Zorba is the real Greek deity . . . the rest are mere broken statues . . .
The language of unity, and specifically the language of cross-ethnic, American national unity that Obama has used so often strikes me as clearly progressive because it is a direct contrast both to laissez-faire hyper-individualism as well as to racial bigotry and other forms of prejudice. If Obama can get a middle-aged, middle-class white American to feel a stronger connection with someone different from himself on the basis of their shared American-ness, then that first person is more likely to be supportive of progressive ideals broadly defined, whether it’s on the economy or immigration or even gay rights. Ultimately, left and right are relative terms. They are meaningless without a comparison that defines “left of what?” and “right of what?” Obama is to the left of conservative Republicans on virtually every domestic issue. On foreign policy, as he said in 2002 when he came out against the Iraq war, he’s no pacifist, he’s not against all wars, just “dumb” ones.
After months of campaigning at a cost of around $6 billion, it looks almost exactly like the status quo ante to me. We've got the same president; the Democrats picked up two seats in the Senate (hooray for Elizabeth Warren!), but nothing like a super-majority; and the House is essentially unchanged, with the Republicans still firmly in control. Think this crew will be able to accomplish any more than they have the last 2 years? If so, please explain.
Remember the famous scene from Raiders of the Lost Ark when Indiana Jones faces off against a guy who unsheathes a scimitar and wows the audience with his fancy swordsmanship--only to get shot in the chest by Indy? The swordsman—that’s House Speaker John Boehner right now on the Bush tax cuts. Whether it’s out of deference to the office, eagerness to have an interesting story to write about, or plain gullibility, every congressional reporter in town is now dutifully reporting on his negotiating strategy. But this fight is over. Boehner has brought a knife to a gunfight, only nobody seems to have told anyone in the conservative movement. To recap, the basic situation is this. Back when George W. Bush was in office, he wanted to cut taxes. And he wanted to disguise the cost of his tax cuts. So he had his allies on Capitol Hill write the legislation so that the tax cuts would automatically expire at the end of a 10-year window. That window closed at the end of 2010. But during the 2010 lame-duck session, Republicans were riding high on electoral victory and the Obama administration was concerned that tax hikes would hurt the economy. So they cut a deal to extend the Bush tax cuts two more years into the 2012 lame-duck session. It was a smart idea for everyone concerned. With the economy weak, there really was no case for a short-term tax increase, and this way the presidential election would resolve everything. If Obama lost, his GOP opponent would surely sign a permanent extension of the Bush tax cuts. But if Obama won, then he’d block any extension. As you probably heard Tuesday night, Obama won. . . . The conceit here is the frankly bizarre idea that since Obama wants to extend the Bush tax cuts for the middle class, he needs to engage in some kind of bargaining process. But this is silly. The Senate already passed a plan to extend the middle-class tax cuts. Now the choice before the House of Representatives is whether they want to vote to pass that plan before the new year or after the new year. Grover Norquist, the conservative Solon on taxes, appears to have made a metaphysical ruling that a vote for partial extension (before the new year) is a vote for higher taxes. That’s silly, but the dictates of holy writ are often a bit arbitrary. All Republicans need to do is wait until the Bush tax cuts have already expired. At that point, a vote for a tax cut that Obama will sign—i.e., the middle-class tax cuts only—would clearly be a vote to cut taxes rather than raise them. . . . There’s no political or substantive reason for Republicans to resist a post-new-year tax cut proposal. That means there’s no leverage on the GOP side and nothing for the parties to negotiate over. Republicans took a risk with the tax sunsets, and they lost. Boehner is bluffing, and it’s time for everyone to recognize that, take the next couple of months off, and pass the Obama middle-class tax cuts in January.
Divided States of America - Notes on the Decline of a Great Nation
The United States is frittering away its role as a model for the rest of the world. The political system is plagued by an absurd level of hatred, the economy is stagnating and the infrastructure is falling into a miserable state of disrepair. On this election eve, many Americans are losing faith in their country's future.
Destroyed by Total Capitalism - America Has Already Lost Tuesday's Election
Germans see the US election as a battle between the good Obama and the evil Romney. But this is a mistake. Regardless of who wins the election on Tuesday, total capitalism is America's true ruler, and it has the power to destroy the country.For what it's worth ...
I confess that as a liberal Democrat I'm amazed that Obama isn't 20 points ahead in the race. Yes, he had that one lousy debate, but what a truly vapid, uninspired candidate Mitt Romney is, standing for nothing, a glistening shrine to hackitude. Romney's been compared to Nixon in his mendacious duplicitous insincerity but Romney's actually worse: Nixon knew stuff, he did his homework, not like Romney, who has a vacancy sign on his brow whenever he's forced to discuss an issue--usually foreign-policy related--that he's had six or seven years to study up on if he hadn't been such a complacent, incurious sumbitch too busy admiring his fucking hair and winning smile in the mirror. I really thought he'd be smart enough not to glue himself to Tea Party positions that become a mite uncomfortable in the general election, such as hey let's send disaster relief back to the states or better yet privatize it, but no, he pandered like a fan dancer. His shape-shifting about the Detroit bailout couldn't be more spazzy. And he's the best the Republicans had! Santorum, Cain, Rick Perry, et al are even more ignorant than Romney, and Newt Gingrich is a yeast infection. In 2016, assuming Romney loses, the Conservative Base isn't going to want Chris Christie, they're going to want Allen West spraying the air with machine-gun fire, like Nick Fury and his Howling Commandos. Assuming, that is, West wins reelection. Me, I'm pulling for Patrick Murphy.
Meet the undecided donors. They are not lobbyists or other members of the political class — donors with a professional imperative to hedge their bets — but ordinary voters whose back-and-forth donations mirror the undulations of the swing electorate. Some have attended small fund-raisers for both men, curious to hear what the candidates’ more ardent supporters have to say. Others have responded to the campaigns’ daily barrages of e-mail solicitations, or to the ups and downs of the candidates’ debate performances and public gaffes. Still others said they simply could not make up their minds. “I’m all mixed up between being a conservative and a liberal,” said Kurt Schoeneman, a grape grower from Northern California, who added that some of his friends thought he was “senile.” He had found himself seized by waves of enthusiasm, Mr. Schoeneman said — first for one candidate and then for the other. “Some of these people, they just loathe Obama, and they’ll write something really nasty about him,” said Mr. Schoeneman, who has given checks to both candidates, most recently $100 to Mr. Romney in June and $100 to Mr. Obama in July. “And then something else will happen, and I’ll go give Romney some money.” Charles Y. Chen, a salesman in Virginia, gave Mr. Romney $100 on the day of his convention speech in late August. But in September, Mr. Chen donated to Mr. Obama every few days, $50 here, $55 there. Then he switched again, giving Mr. Romney $50. “I think the Republicans have better ideas on the economy and the Democrats have better ideas on social issues, immigration and social justice,” Mr. Chen said in an interview. “Just like anything, both have something that they do great and something that they need to improve.” Gretchen Davidson, a homemaker in Birmingham, a Detroit suburb, said she had gone to several events to hear different ideas and arguments. She gave $500 to Mr. Romney in early August and $1,500 to Mr. Obama in late September. “You have friends that throw parties on each side, and honestly, I am someone in the middle that didn’t really know which way I was going,” Ms. Davidson said. “You try to sort of see what people are so excited about.”
The passion comes from what Romney is running against. For more than four years, without pause, Republicans have been campaigning and propagandizing against an imaginary Obama. At the most grotesque end of the fantasies, he is a foreign-born, anti-colonialist Muslim. In more reputable precincts, he is a power-mad socialist and a dumb affirmative-action baby, promoted all the way to the presidency by a race-crazed, condescending liberal elite. (As if the presidency of the Harvard Law Review were awarded to anyone but the hungriest shark in the shark tank.) This is the position of the party's mandarins and reputable spinners—that Obama was foisted off on regular Americans against their will, despite all those votes last time around. Hence the baiting of Obama, throughout his term, for supposedly being unable to speak without a teleprompter. Republicans predicted, over and over, that the president would be exposed and humiliated in face-to-face debate with an opponent (Newt Gingrich especially fantasized about being that foe). Eventually this led to Clint Eastwood haranguing the empty chair. And then in the first presidential debate, Obama was slack and ineffectual against a sharp Romney. See? It was true! And then Obama shredded Romney in the second debate, and kept cuffing him around in the third. Now Romney was the deflating balloon, wild-eyed and babbling and licking his dry mouth in desperation. From which Peggy Noonan—whose proudest credential is having written the scripts for a Republican president who couldn't function without being fed his lines—concluded in the Wall Street Journal that the only meaningful debate was the first one.
America is filled with people who think its okay to lie, bullshit, or otherwise misrepresent the truth in order to advance the electoral prospects of a politician or the cause of a governing coalition. Let's call them shills. Other people aren't necessarily aware that they're misrepresenting the truth, but their work is so shaped by what would advance the causes of a candidate or governing coalition that it's often indistinguishable from the shills. We'll call them hacks. In a better world, journalists would be sworn enemies of shills and hacks, and the best are. Unfortunately, the press, especially the political press, has more than its share of shills and hacks. There are shills and hacks in the polling business too. You'd think that all pollsters would have an incentive to be as accurate as possible. But telling partisans what they want to hear, or telling undecided voters what partisans want them to hear, can be lucrative - it is widely believed in politics that if enough people say something will happen, there is a better chance of it happening. And that may be correct. . . . I thought [the wager] was pitch perfect. It communicated, in one provocative Tweet, I am not a shill, I am not a hack, I know my business, and just to prove I am not bullshitting about any of that, I am willing to risk $1,000 of my own money on the accuracy of my model. It's the reaction of an honest professional confident in his craft - and it's very difficult to imagine, for example, Dick Morris reacting to Dave Weigel's criticism in the same way. For all I know, Silver would lose the bet, but the fact that he made it seemed to exude earnestness, and probably caused Scarborough to reassess how sure he was about his own claim. (Of course, since his claim was that the election is a tossup, Silver should've given him odds.)
Americans have been deeply divided since the days of Jamestown and Plymouth. The original North American colonies were settled by people from distinct regions of the British Islands, and from France, the Netherlands, and Spain, each with their own religious, political, and ethnographic characteristics. Throughout the colonial period, they regarded one another as competitors — for land, settlers, and capital — and occasionally as enemies, as was the case during the English Civil War, when Royalist Virginia stood against Puritan Massachusetts, or when New Netherlands [New York City and environs] and New France were invaded and occupied by English-speaking soldiers, statesmen, and merchants. Only when London began treating its colonies as a single unit — and enacted policies threatening to nearly all — did some of these distinct societies briefly come together to win a revolution and create a joint government. Nearly all of them would seriously consider leaving the Union in the eighty-year period after Yorktown; several went to war to do so in the 1860s. All of these centuries-old cultures are still with us today, and have spread their people, ideas, and influence across mutually exclusive bands of the continent. There isn’t and never has been one America, but rather several Americas. [Emphasis mine]
America’s most essential and abiding divisions are not between red states and blue states, conservatives and liberals, capital and labor, blacks and whites, the faithful and the secular. Rather, our divisions stem from this fact: the United States is a federation comprised of the whole or part of eleven regional nations, some of which truly do not see eye to eye with one another. These nations respect neither state nor international boundaries, bleeding over the U.S. frontiers with Canada and Mexico as readily as they divide California, Texas, Illinois, or Pennsylvania. Six joined together to liberate themselves from British rule. Four were conquered but not vanquished by English-speaking rivals. Two more were founded in the West by a mix of American frontiersmen in the second half of the nineteenth century. Some are defined by cultural pluralism, others by their French, Spanish, or 'Anglo-Saxon' heritage. Few have shown any indication that they are melting into some sort of unified American culture. On the contrary, since 1960 the fault lines between these nations have been growing wider, fueling culture wars, constitutional struggles, and ever more frequent pleas for unity.
The event we call the American Revolution wasn’t really revolutionary, at least while it was underway. The military struggle of 1775–1782 wasn’t fought by an 'American people' seeking to create a united, continent-spanning republic where all men were created equal and guaranteed freedom of speech, religion, and the press. On the contrary, it was a profoundly conservative action fought by a loose military alliance of nations, each of which was most concerned with preserving or reasserting control of its respective culture, character, and power structure. The rebelling nations certainly didn’t wish to be bonded together into a single republic. They were joined in a temporary partnership against a common threat: the British establishment’s ham-fisted attempt to assimilate them into a homogeneous empire centrally controlled from London. Some nations — the Midlands, New Netherland, and New France — didn’t rebel at all. Those that did weren’t fighting a revolution; they were fighting separate wars of colonial liberation. [Emphasis mine.]Right now, I don't necessarily agree with all of Woodard's conclusions - but I haven't finished reading the whole book yet, and I'll need to think some when I do. Still, it's a good read and very refreshing. Highly recommended.
A soul! a soul! a soul-cake!
Please good Missis, a soul-cake!
An apple, a pear, a plum, or a cherry,
Any good thing to make us all merry.
One for Peter, two for Paul
Three for Him who made us all.
Soul, soul, a soul cake!
I pray thee, good missus, a soul cake!
One for Peter, two for Paul,
Three for Him what made us all!
Soul cake, soul cake, please good missus, a soul cake.
An apple, a pear, a plum, or a cherry, any good thing to make us all merry.
One for Peter, two for Paul, and three for Him who made us all.
The Giants are the second team to accomplish the feat since the playoff field was doubled from four to eight teams in 1995. The other was the New York Yankees, who won three in a row from 1998 to 2000. The Giants, Yankees, Marlins, Cardinals and Red Sox have won multiple titles in the wild-card era. The Giants also got hot at the right time, as many title teams do. They finished their run to the championship with seven straight wins. Their longest winning streak during the regular season was six. And a group of players who spoke so often about "team" put their final rally where their mouths were. Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/giants/article/SF-Giants-win-World-Series-3989059.php#ixzz2AgXTr8DB
The song "Colcannon", also called "The Skillet Pot", is a traditional Irish song that has been recorded by many artists, including Mary Black. It begins:"Did you ever eat Colcannon, made from lovely pickled cream?
Hunter Pence, who scored one run and drove in the other during a 2-0 win in Game 2, drew a four-pitch walk to begin the second. It was a telling sign - Sanchez had not walked a right-handed batter since August. Pence stole second, took third on a wild pitch and, with the Tigers' infield playing in, trotted home when Blanco tripled off the wall in right. Crawford looped an RBI single with two outs for a 2-0 lead, and Rick Porcello began warming up in the Detroit bullpen.
... It came down to three: Sunny (who came from a shelter in Houston), Casey (Nashville), and a dog from Indiana named Bart Star ... Bart Star was eliminated. ... Sunny won top billing over Case partly because of the mournful black rings around her eyes - the perfect Depression mutt.Bart Star was male and a little too easily aroused to be a good choice as a Depression mutt.
Seismologists said they were horrified after six of their colleagues were sentenced to six years in jail for manslaughter Monday on charges of underestimating the risk of an earthquake that struck Italy in 2009. “We are deeply concerned. It’s not just seismology which has been put on trial but all science,” Charlotte Krawczyk, president of the seismology division at the European Geosciences Union (EGU), told AFP. The verdict struck at scientists’ right to speak honestly and independently, she said in a phone interview from Germany. “All scientists are really shocked by this,” said Krawczyk. “We are trying to organise ourselves and come up with a strong statement that could help so that the scientists do not have to go to jail. “People are asking, ‘Is this really true?’ ‘What does it mean for us?’ And, ‘What does it mean for talking in public about risks?’” “People are stunned,” said Mike Bickle, a professor of earth sciences at the University of Cambridge. Roger Musson at the British Geological Survey (BGS) said the verdict was “unbelievable”. He and other seismologists said it was impossible to forecast an earthquake, and scientists pressed to give a black-or-white answer could unleash panic or lose all credibility if nothing happened. “Seismologists are more or less reconciled to the fact that the chances of predicting when a large earthquake is going to strike are somewhat more remote than finding the Holy Grail,” said Musson.Where is that damned grail . . . ?
'Wall Street owns the country. It is no longer a government of the people, by the people, and for the people, but a government of Wall Street, by Wall Street, and for Wall Street.' - Mary Ellen Lease, lecturer, writer, and political activist, advocate of women's suffrage, Kansas Populist, a speech in 1890
... Politicians routinely tailor their words to suit an audience. Romney, though, is shameless, lavishing vastly diverse audiences with words, any words, they would trade their votes to hear. ... In the first months of his presidency, Obama acted decisively to stimulate the economy. His leadership was essential to passage of the badly needed American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Though Republicans criticize the stimulus for failing to create jobs, it clearly helped stop the hemorrhaging of public sector jobs. The Utah Legislature used hundreds of millions in stimulus funds to plug holes in the state’s budget.Update note: If interested, Meteor Blades on his Open Thread for Night Owls at Daily Kos has an updated list of newspaper endorsements for the election.
The first man who, having fenced in a piece of land, said "This is mine," and found people naïve enough to believe him, that man was the true founder of civil society. From how many crimes, wars, and murders, from how many horrors and misfortunes might not any one have saved mankind, by pulling up the stakes, or filling up the ditch, and crying to his fellows: Beware of listening to this impostor; you are undone if you once forget that the fruits of the earth belong to us all, and the earth itself to nobody.
— Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Discourse on Inequality, 1754
I should like to see, and this will be the last and most ardent of my desires, I should like to see the last king strangled with the guts of the last priest.
— J. Messelier (clause in a will, Paris, 1733)
... wanting good government in their states, they first established order in their own families; wanting order in the home, they first disciplined themselves ... - Confucius, The Great DigestYou don't need to wait for anybody else. Start today. "If not us, who? If not now, when?"