In view of the economic realities, at some points during his speech Obama was almost too upbeat, at times almost euphoric. He had been studying how FDR and Ronald Reagan raised public optimism. The essentially thematic nature of his speech—the emphasis on “competitiveness” and “winning the future”—was intended to give the presidency something that several outside advisers had recently told him was needed: a “narrative” that would help people understand his overall purpose....
Obama’s reshuffled staff is designed to bring more order and discipline to the White House. Before, there had been several high-flying figures who, whatever their talents, on occasion went their own way. Also, some observers thought from the start of his presidency that his White House lacked a “grown-up,” someone with solid experience, wisdom, and discipline. It wasn’t terribly helpful to have in Rahm Emanuel an energetic but brash chief of staff who used the f-word with members of Congress and who made much of his toughness...
The Republicans are thus running the great risk of misreading their mandate and, under the strong influence of—if not in the grip of—the Tea Party, running their party off the road. Their problem is not just the elected Tea Party members exercising their influence in Washington (and driving the congressional leadership crazy), but also the grassroots members, who could mount challenges in the primaries for the next election. The losses of some prominent members, such as Bob Bennett, a strong conservative from Utah, and Mike Castle of Delaware, shocked other Republicans, many of whom live in fear that they might meet the same fate. In the House, about eighty members are either affiliated with the Tea Party or owe their seats to Tea Party support, but in the Senate just four showed up for a meeting of Tea Party members in late January. Some of those elected with Tea Party backing are now uneasy about being identified with the movement, in part because of some of its more prominent leaders—such as the wacky and self-appointed Michele Bachmann of Minnesota, who seems to want to displace Sarah Palin as the leader on the right and who, like Palin, gets a lot of attention in the press, on television, and online, by saying wild things. Bachmann first gained national prominence by claiming on Chris Matthews’s Hardball last year that Obama “may have anti-American views.” (It mattered little that she later took this back.)...
Truth in snoring. S'funny, had a couple of pints last night with GOB whom I thoroughly pissed off: he was luxuriating in the angry buzz of his new obamapostasy and I was so like, Dude.(D)espite their occasional deference to Tea party demands, the Republican congressional leaders, Mitch McConnell, John Boehner, and Eric Cantor, are also realists. They may try to drive a hard bargain on the budget but they know that the issue must be resolved. Despite the baying of some Tea Party allies that the government should be shut down if the administration doesn’t offer enough concessions, these leaders understand that that would be a disastrous course for the Republicans—as it was when Newt Gingrich tried it in 1995.
- Thoughts on Egypt and Democracy.
- Repressing the Arab Awakening.
- Feudalism's feminist.
- The selfish gene turns racist.
- What 666's face taught Charlie.
- Junk touched.
- MOCO minority majority.
- Hug a Maryland teacher.
- Reading and premeditation.
- I bought a headache.
- Sick to move.
If that someone who's me yet not me yet who judges me is always with me, as he is, shouldn't he have been there when I said so long ago that thing I said? If he who rakes me with such not trivial shame for minor sins now were there then, shouldn't he have warned me he'd even now devastate me for my unpardonable affront? I'm a child then, yet already I've composed this conscience-beast, who harries me: is there anything else I can say with certainty about who I was, except that I, that he, could already draw from infinitesimal transgressions complex chords of remorse, and orchestrate ever-undiminishing retribution from the hapless rest of myself? 2 The son of some friends of my parents has died, and my parents, paying their call, take me along, and I'm sent out with the dead boy's brother and some others to play. We're joking around, and words come to my mind, which to my amazement are said. How do you know when you can laugh when somebody dies, your brother dies? is what's said, and the others go quiet, the backyard goes quiet, everyone stares, and I want to know now why that someone in me who's me yet not me let me say it. Shouldn't he have told me the contrition cycle would from then be ever upon me, it didn't matter that I'd really only wanted to know how grief ends, and when? 3 I could hear the boy's mother sobbing inside, then stopping, sobbing then stopping. Was the end of her grief already there? Had her someone in her told her it would end? Was her someone in her kinder to her, not tearing at her, as mine did, still does, me, for guessing grief someday ends? Is that why her sobbing stopped sometimes? She didn't laugh, though, or I never heard her. How do you know when you can laugh? Why couldn't someone have been there in me not just to accuse me, but to explain? The kids were playing again, I was playing, I didn't hear anything more from inside. The way now sometimes what's in me is silent, too, and sometimes, though never really, forgets.