Weekend reading recommendations

Interesting articles you may have missed during the week

  1. Dems bury resolution due to war fears“, Washington Times, 26 September 2008 — An end to the rumors that this authorizes a blockade of Iran.
  2. Government Seizes WaMu and Sells Some Assets“, New York Times, 26 September 2008 — How to make a fast $20 million.
  3. Burning the Tide“, Popular Science, 25 September 2008
  4. Protests Against Bailout Bill Registering With Congress“, Naked Capitalism, 23 September 2008 — Citizen action has an impact!
  5. Obama campaign cracks down on misleading TV ads“, KMOV TV St. Louis, 23 September 2008 — Asks Missouri Attorney General to harass opponents.
  6. DOJ Confirms It Has No Plans to Investigate Donors and Independent Citizens Groups“, American Issues Project, 16 September 2008 — Federal AG says no.
  7. Gov. Blunt Statement on Obama Campaign’s Abusive Use of Missouri Law Enforcement“, Office of the Governor, Missouri, 27 September 2008

Also:  go to this site to see a wonderful visual display of Gov Palin’s economic logic:  “I’m Speechless“, Zublin Jelveh, posted at Portfolio.com, 26 September 2008.

Excerpts

1.  Dems bury resolution due to war fears“, Washington Times, 26 September 2008.

The bill that so many blogs reported as fact — actual American public policy — has been killed. This illustrates the folly of getting too worked up about pending legislation. Getting worked up to influence it is good; reporting on it as if already passed and signed is just misrepresentation.

2.  Government Seizes WaMu and Sells Some Assets“, New York Times, 26 September 2008 — How to make a fast $20 million.  Excerpt:

Many WaMu employees came to work Friday wondering about their jobs. JPMorgan executives said that it was too early to know how many employees might be laid off, but industry analysts said the number could be as high as 5,000.

… the company’s new chief executive, Alan H. Fishman … who has been on the job for less than three weeks, is eligible for $11.6 million in cash severance and will get to keep his $7.5 million signing bonus, according to an analysis by James F. Reda and Associates.

3.  Burning the Tide“, Popular Science, 25 September 2008 — Excerpt:

Alan Burns made a fortune in the oil business. But as oil wanes, he’s convinced that clean energy will be-must be-the next big thing. And so this inventor has poured his fortune into a challenge far greater than finding new oil deposits: extracting energy from the ocean.

… Burns named his invention CETO, after a Greek sea goddess. For many years, it was a back-burner project for him, a design he worked on along with myriad others

… About 10 years ago, Burns started devoting serious time and resources, including $5 million of his own fortune, to the wave-energy project. Unlike other wave-power systems, it rests on the ocean floor, completely hidden from view. Like the kelp that Burns has dived and fished in for decades, his CETO units are designed to sway slowly and gently in time with the waves. The motion drives a piston that pumps high-pressure seawater to shore and powers a generator to make electricity.

4. Protests Against Bailout Bill Registering With Congress“, Naked Capitalism, 23 September 2008 — Citizen action has an impact!

We received this e-mail today from one of the Congressional staffers who has taken to corresponding with us:

“I know that people are often cynical about contacting their representatives. Frankly, they should be. Most days, the overwhelming volume of constituent contacts is form letter e-mails, pre-printed postcards, blast faxes, and automated phone calls. It’s easy for genuine individual requests to get lost in the sea of astroturf (fake grassroots) campaigns.

“But, on this issue, the calls and e-mails are making a difference. Members and staffers are talking about it in the halls and in meetings. The volumes are big (although as big as when the NRA or AARP mobilizes their members) but they’re all individual. And they’re running 99-to-1 against. If you read the capitol hill press (Roll Call, Politico, The Hill, CQ, National Journal), you can see the developing dissent among the rank-and-file on both sides. A lot of that is beign driven by the calls and e-mails from back home. Keep it up!”

5.  Obama campaign cracks down on misleading TV ads“, KMOV TV St. Louis, 23 September 2008 — Hat tip to National Review Online.  Excerpts:

The Barack Obama campaign is asking Missouri law enforcement to target anyone who lies or runs a misleading TV ad during the presidential campaign.

Update:  “A Bit More on the Obama ‘Truth Squad’ in Missouri“, Eugene Volokh, The Volokh Conspiracy, 28 September 2008.  Also, from Political Fix:  “St. Louis Circuit Jennifer Joyce has been caught in a dust-up over her presence on a “Truth Squad” for Barack Obama”, and she has released a statement.

6.  DOJ Confirms It Has No Plans to Investigate Donors and Independent Citizens Groups“, American Issues Project, 16 September 2008 — Excerpt:

The veteran director of the Election Crimes Branch in the Department of Justice’s Public Integrity Section, Craig Donsanto, the DOJ does not view the rules of the Federal Election Commission as a basis for a criminal case.

As reported in Tuesday’s BNA Money and Politics Report, the DOJ stance could disappoint campaign reform supporters and officials in the presidential campaign of Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.), who have called on the Justice Department to aggressively pursue alleged instances of independent groups weighing in on the current race for the White House.

In response to the American Issues Project’s ad examining the links between Sen. Obama and unrepentant domestic terrorist William Ayers, the Obama campaign has demanded three times in the past month that the Department of Justice investigate and prosecute the American Issues Project, its officers, board of directors, and donors for supposed campaign finance law violations.

Ed Martin, president of the American Issues Project, responded to the report: “The American Issues Projects applauds the Department of Justice for refusing to treat as criminal the exercise of free speech during an election. The Obama campaign’s tactics have been recognized for what they are – an attempt to bully a legitimate message off the air through intimidation and scare tactics.”

6.  Gov. Blunt Statement on Obama Campaign’s Abusive Use of Missouri Law Enforcement“, Office of the Governor, 27 September 2008 — Excerpt:

St. Louis County Circuit Attorney Bob McCulloch, St. Louis City Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce, Jefferson County Sheriff Glenn Boyer, and Obama and the leader of his Missouri campaign Senator Claire McCaskill have attached the stench of police state tactics to the Obama-Biden campaign.

What Senator Obama and his helpers are doing is scandalous beyond words, the party that claims to be the party of Thomas Jefferson is abusing the justice system and offices of public trust to silence political criticism with threats of prosecution and criminal punishment.

This abuse of the law for intimidation insults the most sacred principles and ideals of Jefferson. I can think of nothing more offensive to Jefferson’s thinking than using the power of the state to deprive Americans of their civil rights. The only conceivable purpose of Messrs. McCulloch, Obama and the others is to frighten people away from expressing themselves, to chill free and open debate, to suppress support and donations to conservative organizations targeted by this anti-civil rights, to strangle criticism of Mr. Obama, to suppress ads about his support of higher taxes, and to choke out criticism on television, radio, the Internet, blogs, e-mail and daily conversation about the election.

Barack Obama needs to grow up. Leftist blogs and others in the press constantly say false things about me and my family. Usually, we ignore false and scurrilous accusations because the purveyors have no credibility. When necessary, we refute them. Enlisting Missouri law enforcement to intimidate people and kill free debate is reminiscent of the Sedition Acts – not a free society.

Please share your comments by posting below.  Please make them brief (250 words max), civil, and broadly relevant to these topic.  These weekend reading posts are more like open threads than the usual tightly focused discussions on this site.

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  1. Iran – will the US or Israel attack Iran?
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  3. For a broader perspective on the crisis:  End of the post-WWII geopolitical regime
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2 thoughts on “Weekend reading recommendations

  1. Here in sunny Florida, there’s been a cloud around something called the Clarion Group, which sent me a free DVD/drink coaster called “Obsession: Radical Islam’s War Against the West.” It’s also been placed in a lot of newspapers as an advertisement. Here’s a somewhat interesting short article about it: One Newspaper Refuses to Distribute ‘Islam Terror’ DVD, Greg Mitchell, Editor & Publisher, 15 September 2008

    I’m not sure how effective it will be as far as election advertising is concerned. When I got it I thought maybe my Mom had put me on some Sean Hannity mailing list, but apparently they are using the shotgun approach and just sending it out to a lot of people. The problem is that investigation of the Clarion Group by some local groups seems to show that they are a foriegn lobbying association that isn’t properly registered in the United States.

    The main reason I’m commenting on this here, is because I suspect that the Clarion Group is one of those independant groups the Obama campaign would like the Department of Justice to investigate.

  2. My latest Amazon.com purchase: Electoral Guerilla Theatre: Speaking Mirth to Power — Blurb:

    Electoral Guerilla Theatre demonstrates, with a high degree of wit and verve, that is is possible to expose the sham and, through a variety of performative tactics, make a meaningful contribution to democracy … the book provides an accessible introduction to forms of interventionist politics that are playful and inspiring, and I commend Bogad on making a major contribution to performance studies. – Modern Drama

    Product Description:

    Across the globe, in liberal democracies where the right to vote is framed as both civil right and civic duty, disillusioned creative activists run for public office on sarcastic, ironic and iconoclastic platforms. With little intention of “winning” in the conventional sense, they use drag, camp and stand-up comedy to undermine the legitimacy of their opponents and sometimes the electoral system itself.

    Electoral Guerilla Theatre explores the recent phenomenon of the satirical election campaign, and questions:
    *what is the purpose of such public political performances?
    *what theatrical devices and aesthetic sensibilities do electoral guerrillas draw on to enhance their satire?
    *how do electoral guerrillas create their public personas and platforms, and which audiences are they playing to and/or against?
    *how do parodies and the “respectable” political performances that they mock interact and how can this tactic backfire?

    Drawing on extensive archival and ethnographic research, Larry Bogad examines satirical campaigns around the world, placing his analysis in national, cultural, political and legal contexts. Electoral Guerilla Theatre will offer an entertaining, enlightening and informative read for those working across a variety of disciplines, including performance studies, social science, cultural studies and politics.

    Caveat: having just ordered this book, I of course have not yet read it and therefore cannot positively vouch for it. However, I find the idea of “guerrilla satire” to be intriguing and well suited to the current situation.

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