Virtual Front Page, Monday, September 20, 2010

Things are still kinda slow; here’s what’s out there:

  1. Graham: U.S. must consider military force against Iran ( — Well, of course it has to be on the table, if you ever want Iran to get serious. And they have to believe it’s on the table. But watch people freak out when you say it.
  2. Stocks Climb to Four-Month High (WSJ) — So is it over? Probably not (sigh)…
  3. Recession Ended in June 2009, Group Says (NPR) — Well, OK, then — that’s a relief. But then, how come everything has continued to suck?
  4. Disappointed Supporters Question Obama (NYT) — Which is bound to make him rethink the desirability of the whole interactivity thing.
  5. Tea Party star Christine O’Donnell in witchcraft row (BBC) — She turned me into a newt! Fortunately, I got better.
  6. Republicans Making a New “Contract With America” (The Hill) — Yikes. Sounds like America’s gonna get whacked. Again.

24 thoughts on “Virtual Front Page, Monday, September 20, 2010

  1. Norm Ivey

    About O’Donnell–

    This is one of those things I just don’t believe. I mean, I saw the clip, and I know she said it, but I don’t believe it happened (the I dated a witch thing). I think she was looking for attention, and now she’s got it.

    Of real concern is that she thinks the definition of socialism “is when 50 percent or more of your economy is dependent on the federal government” (which still wouldn’t make the US a socialist country).

  2. Norm Ivey

    About the President–

    I didn’t see the whole broadcast–just the snippets from his Main Street questioners, but it seems that many people thought that “Change” would be somehow instantaneous. The economy has a lot of inertia and it responds slowly to outside forces.

    The changes wrought by FDR during the Depression didn’t really begin to have a major impact until after WWII. The changes wrought by the Civil Rights Movement also took years to be implemented–the election of Obama is one of those changes coming 50 years after the fact. The types of changes that have been wrought by this president are the same type–their full impact will not be felt for many years.

    One of the traits of President Obama that I most admire is his willingness to face his critics and opponents and “the whole interactive thing.” I am not satisfied with everything he has done, and I know we are not where we need to be, but I agree with him (and trust him) when he says we are moving in the right direction.

  3. Bart

    Obama used cocaine.
    Al Franken used cocaine.

    The press was ABSENT on both counts and made light of the subject, not daring to take it any further.

    O’Donnell was in high school.

    Franken and Obama were NOT in high school when they used cocaine.

    The press scoured the garbage cans to fing anything they could on Palin but the questionable relationships and influences in Obama’s past were left alone.

    Now, Bill Maher, a third class comedian(?) is literally trying to blackmail O’Donnell to come back on his show by threatening to air more “embarassing” moments when she was on his show in the past.

    I have no problem with reporters and the media digging into every aspect of anyone running for office. We need to know who the person is who is asking for us to give them our vote and confidence. However, when the media refuses to treat the candidates fair across the board, the media is no longer doing its job and has basically sold out the American voters.

    I say to the press, go after O’Donnell but be even handed and go after everyone else with the same vigor. Republican and Democrat alike.

  4. bud

    Here we go again with the fear-mongering. Who will it be next. We’ve already spent time and lives in places like Korea, Vietnam, Lebanon, Granada, Somalia, Iraq (twice), Afghanistan and who knows where else under cover. And we’ve come close to armagedon over Cuba. Let’s quite all the sabre rattling, concentrate on improving our low standing in healthcare and education. We’d be much safer and far healthier that way. Let France worry about Iran.

  5. bud

    My top story for next time would definitely be the tragic suicide of Kenny McKinelly. What a sad story to lose a talented 23 year old in that manner. As the story unfolds we’ll learn a lot about a young man who seemed to have a bright future. Seems to me these types of stories cry out for more attention. This is the kind of thing that threatens our security FAR MORE than some blusterous tyrant in the Middle East.

  6. bud

    The press scoured the garbage cans to fing anything they could on Palin …

    No, all they had to do was ask her what newspapers she read. From there she proved to the world what a scatterbrained idiot she is. Except of course to the Tea Partiers who remain clueless believing in witches and sorcery.

  7. Phillip

    @Bart: yes, and George W. Bush was a reformed alcoholic. Big deal. I think we’re past that now in 2010. All this proves is that a little experimentation with drugs in your youth doesn’t automatically doom you to a wasted life, and even if you never get anywhere near recreational drugs you can still be capable of holding ideas and opinions that are completely hallucinatory and paranoid (e.g., Sharron Angle, Christine O’Donnell, Carl Paladino). I agree, though, that the witch thing is not really worth focusing on, because O’Donnell’s platform positions are scarier than the Wicked Witch of the West any day.

  8. Lynn T

    I’m with Bud on the sabre rattling. Enough already, more than enough already. I also find Graham’s position odd since I give him credit for sufficient intelligence to learn from experience. Experience tells us that air wars don’t bring regime change, and that countries (like Iran) with substantial support among its people for the existing regime are very difficult and expensive to fight. Further, Graham should be honest enough to admit that a consistent position in favor of repeated interventions of this kind should also entail admitting to the American people that taxes will have to be increased substantially to pay for these wars, and that these attempts at regime change are being prioritized over health care reform (which Graham says we can afford) and rebuilding our own decayed infrastructure (again, he votes against this investment in our country). Nation building begins at home, Senator, and the U. S. must get out of the business of trying to control the world. We can’t. We can’t even control Afghanistan.

  9. Libb

    “Come out here and tell me I can do it, and then say I can’t do it,” he said. “It ain’t right.”
    “I’ll go to another city or state if I have to. That’s the end of that.” – Ernest Lee aka Chicken Man

    And what a shame it would be were Cola to loose this local icon.

    FWIW, I’m a frequent traveler on N Main St (have bought produce from George Lewis/MaMa’s Farm on several occasions) and the area is not overrun w/ street vendors. In today’s economy you’d think we’d be looking for ways to encourage not discourage entreprenuerial endeavors (especially in “have not” neighborhoods).

  10. Phillip

    Re #1: I think Iran knows full well it’s on the table, and is what Graham is saying really news? or very different from administration policy? Or is he just trying to make sure that Jim DeMint doesn’t steal too much of the national limelight from him?

    The only difference is that some people (the grownups in the Obama Administration) don’t just give lip service to the idea that military action is a last resort, they truly believe it…hence every effort to accomplish these goals via sanctions, via intelligence, via the biggest arms sale in history to Saudi Arabia (though that presents its own problems of course), via trying to build as much of an international consensus as possible, via patience to give Iranian domestic opposition a chance to widen and deepen. And then there are the others who are just itching for more war, who have a patience level matched to our 24/7 cable news cycle, and for whom a long-range patient-but-vigilant approach is just too, well, unexciting and un-Jerry-Bruckheimer-ish.

    Nowhere in Graham’s comments or of those who think like him do I see any acknowledgement of the fact that (regardless of the fraud of the last election in Iran) Ahmedinajad and the regime still have major, substantial support within the country, support that would skyrocket to 99% the moment an American missile landed in Tehran. If the process of regime-replacement took 7 years in Iraq, it would take 15 years in Iran.

  11. Brad

    “Enough already, more than enough already,” with regard to sabre-rattling? Really? Seriously, when have you seen any sabre-rattling whatsoever in the past 7-plus years? And even 7-plus years ago, we didn’t fool with that. We said we were going in, and did.

    What would be GREAT is if we COULD resort to sabre-rattling, with good effect (because effective rattling means you don’t have to draw it). If we had stayed united behind the Iraq War, and if Bush hadn’t screwed it up as badly as he did for the first three-and-a-half years years, we could really use sabre-rattling to good effect. We wouldn’t even have to rattle it. Just make a slight move toward the sabre with the swordhand, and suddenly everybody would get serious about diplomacy. Because, as Sollozzo said to Tom Hagen, blood is a big expense — on every level. (Anyone who doubts it should read the book I’m reading right now, by Eugene Sledge about his experience in the Pacific. Conrad’s Kurtz would well have been predicting the battle for Okinawa when he muttered “The horror! The horror!“)

    My anti-war friends never understood the value of having a president whom the whole world understood was JUST CRAZY ENOUGH to use force. As it happened, the residual benefit we got from the Iraq invasion didn’t last long. Qaddhafi wet his pants and rushed to act right, and we made some minor gains toward democratization in Lebanon and even Saudi Arabia, but the effect wore off immediately when we let the insurgency get out of hand, and a good-sized chunk of the U.S. electorate started wanting us to get out. At that point, bad guys the world over breathed a sigh of relief, seeing that it might be another generation (like the one after Vietnam) before the U.S. would dare to flex its muscle again.

    So, while our sabre-rattling may not be as convincing as one would wish, Graham is doing the Obama administration a great service by stating the obvious: That if Ahmadinejad’s crowd get their nukes, we’ll probably have to take them out. That’s is, we might have to if the Israelis don’t.

    Of course, if Graham remains the only one saying it, the value is diminished.

    I HOPE that he’s doing this in concert with the administration, to get the difficult conversation started. It would be yet another instance in which I am reassured by the pragmatism of Obama. But I don’t know whether he is. He might just be saying it because HE knows someone needs to.

    As for Phillip’s last paragraph: That sounds like a logical concern, but then I don’t know. There’s always been a deep disaffection in that country ever since the mullahs took it from the Shah, but I have no way of measuring it or predicting what would happen.

    To me, the “regime change” part of the argument is the most iffy. The reason to use force would be to physically deny the regime the ability to deploy nukes, whatever the political fallout. Seems to me that political change is a separate track — something you might pursue INSTEAD of military action, or on a parallel track, but not assuming a cause-and-effect relationship.

    Of course, I also know that Graham is probably light-years ahead of me on this issue before he opened his mouth. He doesn’t go into anything without doing his homework. I’d like a chance to talk with him about it…

  12. Lynn T

    Brad, you always lose me when you get to the part of taking things on faith because the politician in question is one whom you admire a great deal. Aside from all other issues (depriving the U.S. of needed resources, etc.), Graham’s incorporation of regime change into his position makes nonsense of the rest of it. It is possible to keep an open mind on the possibility of an air strike on a nuclear facility, pending information about just how well protected that facility is (the Iranians have always known it would be a tempting target). It is not possible to believe that Graham is making sense in talking about an air war that will bring regime change in a direction that will suit our national interests.

  13. bud

    Graham said he thinks Ahmadinejad “was lying” when he said Monday in New York, after arriving for the United Nations’ General Assembly, that Iran isn’t building a nuclear bomb.

    Yogi Berra once said, “It looks like deja vu all over again.” Just substitute Saddam Hussein for Ahmadinejad and we’re looking at 2002 all over again.

    But at least this time we have the lessons of history firmly on our side. Rather than accept the word of a war-mongering, pansy-assed senator from South Carolina let’s send in the inspectors and let them finish their work this time around. Damned if I’m going to sit back and quietly acqueise to another “police action” that results in another 5,000 Americans and a trillion dollars of much needed treasure go down the drain while stiring up a hornets nest. Thankfully we have a sensible man in the White House this time around rather than a dry-drunk liar.

  14. Phillip

    “My anti-war friends never understood the value of having a president whom the whole world understood was JUST CRAZY ENOUGH to use force.”

    Probably almost exactly the words one Iranian cleric in the elite power structure has said to another cleric who was more of an Ahmedinejad-skeptic, about the usefulness to the Iranian regime of having him in office. The only thing Ahmedinejad wants more than having nukes is to goad Israel into attacking him first.

  15. Burl Burlingame

    “The press scoured the garbage cans to fing anything they could on Palin but the questionable relationships and influences in Obama’s past were left alone.”

    Guess you’ve missed the whole birther/Secret Kenyan Muslim thing.

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