FM newswire for 30 January, articles for your morning reading

Today’s links to interesting news and analysis.  If you find this useful, pass it to a friend or colleague.

  1. Scum at work:  update on the workings of our military contractors:  “Open the Shut Case. Why is KBR so afraid of letting Jamie Leigh Jones have her day in court?“, Dahlia Lithwick, Slate, 28 January 2010
  2. Question for the day:  “Q & A How Skillful Are The Global Climate Models Given The Relatively Small Radiative Human-Caused Forcing?“, Roger Pielke Sr, 29 February 2010
  3. Obvious, but worth repeating:  “Conservatives Don’t Care About the Deficit“, Matthew Yglesias, Think Progress, 29 January 2010

Weakest rebuttal of the year:  “Suicide or Murder at Guantánamo? The shortcomings of a Harper’s magazine ‘exposé‘”, Jack Shafer, Slate, 28 January 2010 —  A summary of Jack Carter’s articles (part 1 here), mostly an assertion that it could not have happened while ignoring most of the evidence Harper’s presents (he gives a bit more analysis in the comments).  Of course, a weak rebuttal does not prove the accusations correct.

Today’s Features:

(A)  A picture tells the story
(B)  Update on the scandal of the ACORN-hoaxer  James O’Keefe

(A)  A picture tells the story

Worst economic crisis since the Great Depression? By a long shot.“, Josh Bivens, 1 January 2010:

(B)  Update on the scandal of the ACORN-hoaxer James O’Keefe

The stories proliferate as to what James O’Keefe as his team were attempting to accomplish.

(a)  The bare facts:  “Four Men Arrested for Entering Government Property Under False Pretenses for the Purpose of Committing a Felony“, FBI press release, 26 February 2010 — Esp note that they “next requested access to the telephone closet because they needed to perform work on the main telephone system.”  Here is the FBI agent’s affadavit.  What was their plan?

(b)  “Why tamper with Landrieu’s phones?“, MSNBC, 27 January 2010 — A law enforcement official says the four men arrested for attempting to tamper with the phones in the New Orleans office of Sen. Mary Landrieu (D) were not trying to intercept or wiretap the calls … {they} wanted to see how her local office staff would respond if the phones were inoperative.”  That’s a Federal Crime, 18 USC 1362, good for up to ten years in jail.

(c)  A different story:  “Statement from James O’Keefe“, Big Hollywood, 29 January 2010 — “The sole intent of our investigation was to determine whether or not Senator Landrieu was purposely trying to avoid constituents who were calling to register their views to her as their Senator.”

This may remain mysterious, with the key evidence hidden as it is in the ACORN “investigation”:


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6 thoughts on “FM newswire for 30 January, articles for your morning reading”

  1. You’re on fire right now, FM.

    The TomDispatch article was a great explanation and Highlander’s attempts to justify it are the most persuasive explanation of why leaders should be reluctant to declare war and should declare peace as soon as possible. Otherwise the war will degenerate into retaliatory violence in which nothing good can be accomplished.

    I thought I was deeply ashamed for our country when I was finished with the TomDispatch article. Then I read the Jamie Leigh Jones article and knew true shame and outrage. We need to wonder how many other women were subjected to the same treatment as Jamie Jones and were too ashamed and upset to come forward. Normally I’m not impressed with Al Franken but his amendment was a first class piece of legislation.

    Finally the recessions graph got me thinking (always dangerous, that). The Fed added $2 trillion in debt to its balance sheets, the Bush and Obama administrations allocated 700 and 787 billion (call it $1.5 trillion) to keep the banks afloat, and help the state governments, and threw some cash to the rest of us as well. There’s been a ton of smaller programs such as Cash for Clunkers and less publicized programs that probably add up to another $200 billion or so (I don’t have any numbers handy so that is a total SWAG). The total government stimulus effort (not spending as most of this is likely to return some sort of profit some day) since September 2008 is in the neighborhood of $3.7 trillion or 25% of our annual GDP.

    Now the wad is pretty much spent and the economy not only isn’t in good shape but seems to be seriously toying with a double dip. I’ve done some very rough calculations that suggest we need another $2 trillion stimulus to avoid being in deep economic doo-doo by election day 2010.

    I’m sure you’ll accuse me of being alarmist and inexact and you’d be right to do so. But it appears to me that the primary result of the stimulus spending has been to hide the fact that the so-called “Great Recession” should have been the second Great Depression. Depressions, as Herbert Hoover could tell you, pretty much ignore Presidential desires and this monster is waiting for the government to weaken or be distracted enough to let it come in and play with us.

    The US received an enormous wake-up call in 2008. I hate to think that we will have to endure listening to hundreds of government and business leaders explain to us that the crash of 2010 could not be foreseen or avoided.
    FM reply: You economic sketch closely matches mine. A second dip probably be worse than the first, as described here. If the economy is not recoving, March-April will be the moment of decision, the last opportunity for Congress to vote another simulus (as the current one fades). In this scenario, that would mean a brutal economic decline and shattering defeat for the Democratic Party.

  2. With all due respects, Pluto and Fabius, I find you comments, while factual and intelligent, nevertheless to be useless because there is nothing – nothing – that I as an individual can do to respond to them. It is much as if you were telling me that an asteroid was coming and that it is going to hurt.

    And please, Fabius, spare me the line about how Americans collectively need to wake up and regain their moral fiber, much like Jonah told Nineveh to don sackcloth and ashes and repent. I’m just one guy. I have no control and little influence over my next door neighbor – much less America collectively.

    I’m a guy, standing by a beach. The waters have suddenly receded. Yes, that means a tidal wave is coming. Are there some nearby hills I can run to? If so, where? And don’t tell me that if everyone gets together and breathes at the ocean as hard as they can, then the tidal wave will be defeated. That ain’t going to happen. And don’t lecture me about how we all should have been building tidal wave shelters over the past generation but have failed to do so. That’s useless now. ( BTW: I, for one, did try – little good that that will do me. )
    FM reply: I love the elegant way so many intelligent people rationalize surrender and despair. After all, why bother working on the next election when you’ve used your superabilities to forecast the future. But with your vast fortune from playing the markets, why worry about such things while relaxing on your island retreat? All I ask is that your don’t express your distain for the rest of us, for whom the future is cloaked in fog — and whom believe that we have the ability to influence it.

    “It’s unwise to be born; it’s unwise to be married; it’s unwise to live; and it’s unwise to die.”
    — George Bernard Shaw, in his play “You Never Can Tell

  3. I’m sorry if Jamie Lee Jones was raped and denied her day in court .
    It must be terible to be a young girl in Africa where ancient tribal customs decree genital mutilation , sometimes self inflicted .
    Or to be a woman in a strict Muslim society , denied the opportunity to get drunk in the company of strangers , having to cover yourself so you can only impress through your eyes , actions and converstion .
    How fantastic to be Western girl , where all you need is False Tits . Even if you are educated ,free, 20 years old and might, one day , have wanted to suckle your child .
    FM reply: False tits are a bit off-topic for this website, but FYI. The ability to breastfeed after implants depends on the kind of surgery. Incisions made under the fold of the breast or through the armpit shouldn’t cause any trouble. (source, widely repeated elsewhere around the Internet).

  4. Re #2: “With all due respects, Pluto and Fabius, I find you comments, while factual and intelligent, nevertheless to be useless because there is nothing – nothing – that I as an individual can do to respond to them. It is much as if you were telling me that an asteroid was coming and that it is going to hurt.”

    I strongly disagree with your comment. You might feel powerless to change the course of nations, but you certainly have control over your own life.

    FM won’t give up on changing the course of the country until it goes down underneath him and I support him because it is very likely that whatever follows will likely be far less pleasant than what we currently have. But that’s not the primary reason I wrote the warning.

    The primary reason is so YOU have time to figure out where the higher ground is BEFORE the tidal wave rushes in. What you do after that is your own business and if you choose to stay on the beach after the warning then you’ll deserve what you get.

    I think FM is spot-on and we’ll know by March 31st or so whether the anemic recovery is still alive or if we’re about to get an all-expenses paid trip back into financial disaster. The signs at this time aren’t good but are not yet conclusive.
    FM reply: Together we are powerful. We’ve just forgotten that fact.

  5. #3 . Relevance is that Jamie Lee , age 20 , white , free ,equal , educated , pretty , had her ‘ silicone implants ‘ dislodged . I just think this says something as sick about our culture , as the rape and injustice headline .
    FM reply: Many people also felt that way about trains and planes. Not only against the will of god, but there is no need to travel with such speed. Progress!

  6. will of god ? Never mind the day in court then ; she was lucky not to get turned into a bear or heifer .

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