Patterico's Pontifications

6/16/2010

Impulsive Wednesday Night Chat

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 9:41 pm

The usual instructions: You see the chat window below? Look at the bottom. Enter your name or pseudonym where it says “Your name.” Enter your comment in the second window just under that, and hit send. I will have to approve your comment before it appears, but I’m online right now, and will approve most comments within a minute. Usually within seconds.

IMPORTANT: Note the buttons at the bottom. You will probably want to turn off “autoscroll.” It bothers a lot of people.

UPDATE 10:28 p.m.: The chat is closed to new chatters, but all current participants may chat away to their hearts’ content.

Wednesday Night Roy Harper

Filed under: General,Music — Patterico @ 8:36 pm

You probably know him best as the vocalist on Pink Floyd’s “Have a Cigar,” but Roy Harper is much more.

One of the best performances I have seen of one of his best songs:

Several years ago, Roy came out to Los Angeles and performed several nights at Largo on Fairfax. Around the same time he played McCabe’s in Santa Monica. I saw every show. I talked to him after the McCabe’s show, and he said he might be coming to Los Angeles more, because his son was out here.

He never came back to Los Angeles to perform. He officially announced his retirement from touring a while back, but then recently did a short tour with Joanna Newson in Europe. We can always hope for more.

Here he is covering Jethro Tull’s song “Up the Pool”:

How could I not post this one:

YouTube has plenty more excellent cuts from this genius.

Footnotes from Obama’s BP Meeting

Filed under: Obama — DRJ @ 7:10 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

A few more thoughts about today’s meeting between President Obama and the BP officials:

  • BP’s Chairman Carl-Henric Svanberg is getting a lot of press for saying BP cares about the “small people.” He’s Swedish and this strikes me as a translation problem that shouldn’t be an issue. But it will be because too many people want BP to be mean, bad or evil — as well as financially responsible.
  • BP will not pay dividends this year. It’s only June and I assume that means BP won’t pay dividends for 3 quarters. I’m no stock market guru but odds are BP’s stock will go down following this news, along with the morale of its stockholders, other oil companies, and all of Britain.
  • Remember the report regarding President Obama’s meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu — the one where Obama left Bibi alone to go eat dinner with his family? Apparently the President is making a habit of going in and out of the room during meetings:

    “This is about accountability. At the end of the day, that’s what every American wants and expects,” Obama said after a meeting that stretched more than four hours, with Obama darting in and out of the room.”

  • What’s with this? Surely the President isn’t too busy to attend a meeting of this importance. If so, he needs to work on time management. If not, all I can think of is that Obama and his staff are being deliberately rude or conducting meetings by using a White House version of a Good Cop-Bad Cop.

    Frankly, I find this amazing. There are a lot of business and professional people who read and comment here. Does anyone conduct a meeting this way, or do you know any successful people who do?

    — DRJ

    Presidential Malpractice in the Gulf

    Filed under: Obama — DRJ @ 6:11 pm

    [Guest post by DRJ]

    If this is true, it seems like decision-making malpractice by the President and his hand-picked team:

    “Three days after the Gulf oil rig explosion, the Netherlands offered to send in oil skimmers to pump oil off of the surface of the ocean. The Obama Administration turned them down because they were not 100% efficient and small amounts of oil would be pumped back into the Gulf with the excess water.EPA regulations do not allow for residue water to contain any oil. So rather than use equipment that was not 100% efficient the Obama Administration chose to let all of the oil run into the Gulf.”

    Further, the article states “the administration still has not given the OK to allow emergency workers to use a Maine company’s oil boom even though they were made aware of the warehouse full of containment boom back on May 21.” According to Hot Air, the Maine company’s boom is reportedly superior its competition.

    — DRJ

    It’s Popcorn Time Again

    Filed under: Media Bias,Obama — DRJ @ 5:50 pm

    [Guest post by DRJ]

    Ed Driscoll has fun reminding Maureen Dowd what she wrote last year:

    Pass the Popcorn
    ***
    Meanwhile, back in the world of dead tree media, Maureen Dowd cluelessly asks, “How can a man who was a dazzling enough politician to become the first black president at age 47 suddenly become so obdurately self-destructive about politics?”

    President Obama’s bloodless quality about people and events, the emotional detachment that his aides said allowed him to see things more clearly, has instead obscured his vision. It has made him unable to understand things quickly on a visceral level and put him on the defensive in this spring of our discontent, failing to understand that Americans are upset that a series of greedy corporations have screwed over the little guy without enough fierce and immediate pushback from the president.

    Huh, I remember when people on the left thought that a cool, aloof, alienated, distant, detached president was a pretty good idea in 2008 and early 2009.

    People like Maureen Dowd, for example.”

    He adds an even better one here about Robert Gibbs, MSNBC and Fox News.

    It really is popcorn time again.

    — DRJ

    The Anybody-but-Marco Party

    Filed under: Politics — DRJ @ 5:37 pm

    [Guest post by DRJ]

    Florida Democrats are flirting with throwing their support to Charlie Crist because of Jeff Greene, a troublesome candidate in the Democratic primary.

    It’s tempting to smirk at the Democrats’ problem candidates in Florida and South Carolina (ironically, both are named Greene), but then I remember Mark Sanford and Lindsey Graham and it’s not so funny.

    — DRJ

    UPDATE: Ace points out another one of those problems that make Party officials want to squirm. This one is in a GOP Congressional run-off race in North Carolina.

    Why are so many Lefties AWOL on Afghanistan?

    Filed under: General — Karl @ 1:57 pm

    [Posted by Karl]

    That’s the question Michael A. Cohen asked at The New Republic:

    While no one can be sure how escalation in Afghanistan will turn out, the warning signs are blinking red. Yet the reaction from many of the president’s liberal and left-of-center supporters has been acquiescence and even silence. The Pentagon report—like much of the recent bad news out of Afghanistan—caused barely a ripple on the left. It’s a familiar pattern. The American Prospect, along with Salon, has devoted enormous and laudable energy to covering civil liberties issues related to the U.S. war on terror, but has run only one major article on Afghanistan since Obama’s December speech at West Point.

    The Center for American Progress’s Wonk Room blog has not run a headlined story about the war since January. At Talking Points Memo, which is perhaps the most prominent liberal blog, Afghanistan rarely rates a mention. Paul Krugman, a frequent critic of the Iraq War (and President Obama), has not written a column on Afghanistan since the president took office. And The New Republic itself has largely avoided critical consideration of the war. (The Nation and Mother Jones have been exceptions to this relative silence.)

    So why are so many liberal voices muted?

    The obvious explanation is to be avoided, so Cohen offers up three lame rationalizations. The first is that “[t]here are fewer reporters in Afghanistan than in Iraq—and little in the way of TV coverage. As a result, it is difficult to get a clear sense of what is happening on the ground and what is working and not working.” Yet a premise of Cohen’s piece is that the US mission in Afghanistan is not working; he must be getting some information somewhere, yes? Moreover, the establishment media’s coverage of Iraq was badly flawed, for reasons above and beyond political bias. Indeed, Cohen’s third reason — that the misunderstood “success” of the surge has led many progressives to now “feel chastened about speaking out against Obama’s escalation in Afghanistan” — tacitly admits that the establishment media’s coverage of Iraq warped public perceptions of the conflict.

    Cohen’s remaining rationale is that “in contrast to the war in Iraq, liberals generally support the objectives of the war in Afghanistan—and for a good part of the past seven years have been calling on the U.S. to devote more attention to the war there, rather than Iraq.” How does that square with the facts on the ground? Congressional Democrats were threatening a one-year deadline last year. Both the Obama administration and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi had to twist Democratic arms to pass the emergency war-spending bill in the House by eight votes. Pelosi later said that Obama would have to make the case himself to the Democratic caucus for votes to support a “surge” in Afghanistan this year; those votes are going to be hard to find. Furthermore, two-thirds of Democrats do not think the Afghanistan mission has been worth its costs. It seems doubtful that liberals would be more committed to the mission than Democrats generally.

    Spencer Ackerman offers a raft of similarly lame rationalizations. For example, the fact that ISAF is a NATO operation has done more to reveal the limits of NATO than legitimize the mission. But Ackerman comes dangerously close to the truth in offering a final reason:

    The lack of a political fight over Afghanistan. Republicans have either backed the strategy or acquiesced to it. The absence of partisan bickering means the more-ubiquitous media outlets don’t treat Afghanistan as a contentious issue. (Yes, this is a structural failure of contemporary journalism.) From the liberal perspective, it would be a tendentious to ignore that liberals are just going to be less likely to get into a heated rage over a president from the Democratic Party. That’s neither a defense nor an accusation that liberals are intellectually dishonest people, just a recognition that human beings have a natural tendency to be harder on the Other Fellow than One of Us.

    Any number of Ackerman’s friends know the hip term for this: “epistemic closure.” (Ace could explain why it’s also a version of “manufacturing consent.”) Why this is better than pure partisan hackery when it comes to key questions of national security and the lives of American troops is left unexplained. Moreover, the people harping on the “epistemic closure” of the Right — most of whom were quite critical of the war policies of the Bush era — will likely never bother to explain why liberal wagon-circling on the war is less of a problem.

    As someone who still supports the mission in Afghanistan, it is tempting to overlook the behavior of the Left here. However, it is difficult to ignore the subtext (also present in a range of war-related issues), which is that a Democrat in the White House will face far less opposition from the Left and its media enablers in pursuing the war than a Republican. That is no way to fight a war or govern a nation.

    –Karl

    BP Agrees to $20B Fund

    Filed under: Obama — DRJ @ 10:17 am

    [Guest post by DRJ]

    In its meeting at the White House today, BP has reportedly agreed to a $20 billion fund to be administered by the President’s Pay Czar:

    “BP will set aside $20 billion to pay the victims of the massive oil spill in the Gulf, senior administration officials said Wednesday, a move made under pressure by the White House as the company copes with causing the worst environmental disaster in U.S. history.

    The independent fund will be led by lawyer Kenneth Feinberg, who oversaw payments to families of victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. In his current role, Feinberg is known as Obama’s “pay czar,” setting salary limits for companies getting the most aid from a $700 billion government bailout fund.”

    Feinberg has been the President’s pit bull on matters such as the AIG bonuses, salary caps for Wall Street executives including mid-level workers, executive pay caps at bailed out banks, and bankruptcy lawyer compensation.

    BP has, not surprisingly, given in so I guess this is another lost opportunity to find out whether the Pay Czar is constitutional.

    — DRJ

    Media Growing Leery of Obama

    Filed under: Obama — DRJ @ 9:36 am

    [Guest post by DRJ]

    Last night it was MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann, Chris Matthews, and Howard Fineman questioning President Obama’s handling of the Oil Spill, including this statement by Matthews:

    Ludicrous that he keeps saying [Secretary of Energy] Chu has a Nobel prize. “I’ll barf if he does it one more time.”

    Today it’s Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson. Apparently the media’s new talking points are that President Obama relies too much on Steven Chu’s irrelevant Nobel Prize:

    “Less than a minute into President Obama’s Oval Office address, my heart sank. For the umpteenth time since the Gulf of Mexico oil spill began, an anxious nation was informed that Energy Secretary Steven Chu has a Nobel Prize. Obama’s speech pretty much went down hill from there.”

    Is it possible Robinson is beginning to realize that President Obama is all hat and no cattle?

    “The president was cool, determined, forceful — stylistically, all the things that the braying commentators said he had to be. But where was the substance? Specifically — and urgently — where was the new plan to contain the oil spill and protect the coastline? I wish I’d heard the president order the kind of all-out marshaling and deployment of resources that now seems imperative. But I didn’t.

    Instead, I heard about a special commission to study the accident. I heard about new leadership at the agency that oversees offshore drilling. I heard about a new long-term restoration plan for the gulf region. All of this is great — but what about the oil?”

    Style vs substance? I prefer Door #2, but I’m virtually certain the media and President Obama will someday kiss and make up.

    — DRJ

    Robert Gibbs Thinks About Rain-Powered Cars

    Filed under: Obama — DRJ @ 8:45 am

    [Guest post by DRJ]

    [Video starting at 12:55:] “We need to take some bold steps, and Congress needs to work with this President to take bold steps to break once and for all our dependence, as you said, on foreign oil and on fossil fuels and make sure that the car that my son drives and the car that my grandchild drives isn’t powered by something that has to be imported from overseas or drilled at 5,000 feet below the ocean, but is powered by the sun and the wind and the rain.”

    No, I don’t think Gibbs believes there are rain-powered cars but politicians and liberal arts graduates can get carried away with rhetoric. When that happens, it’s time for them to stop and re-examine whether they know what they’re talking about.

    H/T JD.

    — DRJ

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