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"Froomkin Blogs Again: Obama Makes Bushism the New Normal"

Froomkin's catching up fast, I see.

Those of you familiar with my White House Watch column on washingtonpost.com (it ran from early 2004 to mid-2009) may remember my attempt to organize the data stream about the White House, with intelligence and voice. Read below the fold...

How to get on the train without actually spending cash (and not buying a pass)

I'm not sure anything's happening in the zeitgeist, but two of these stories cropped up at the same time. Takepart: Read below the fold...

Techies For Teachout-Wu

Micah L. Sifry* and Andrew Rasiej in TechPresident:

The defining battle of the 21st century is between open and closed systems and New York State is one of the ultimate closed systems. Politics here in our home state is systematically corrupt, in the sense that self-dealing and lack of accountability are the norm in Albany. Three men--the Governor, Andrew Cuomo, the Assembly Speaker, Sheldon Silver and the Senate Majority leader, Dean Skelos--make all the decisions about the state budget with no transparency or participation by other legislators, let alone the public. State "ethics" rules allow sitting legislators to hold jobs in the private sector and keep their incomes and clients secret, with the result that the public has no way of knowing who is greasing whose palm. Gubernatorial campaign contributions are "capped" at the ludicrously high level of $60,000, but widespread loopholes allow big donors and industries to effectively shovel millions to their favored candidates and party committees. And a long-standing gentlemen's agreement between the two major parties to not attack each other's stronghold in the legislature (Democrats control the Assembly, Republicans the Senate) has fostered a culture of impunity in Albany that has only been jostled, but not cleansed, by the frequent indictment of sitting lawmakers.

Boss Tweed has risen from the grave. Read below the fold...

Tweet of the Day (2)

"Is the History of Capitalism the History of Everything?"

An interesting question posed at The Junto, a history group blog:

It’s been a big part of the new history of capitalism from the beginning to reorient the way historians think about slavery, by removing it from the category of things that are not capitalism. Walter Johnson has asked us to see “the commodification of laborers and the commodification of labor power [as] two concretely intertwined and ideologically symbiotic elements of a larger unified though internally diversified structure of exploitation”—at least, a structure that was unified through most of the “eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Atlantic.”[4] As Rockman puts it, “slavery was integral, rather than oppositional, to capitalism.”[5] There’s no denying that the two were intertwined in American and global history. Are we supposed to understand by “integral,” though, something without which the larger system just can’t operate? That strikes me as a harder sell.

I don't see why things can't be both "integral" and "oppositional." For example, the Slave Power and the North were clearly "integrated," at least in the sense that the Slave Power in the South and the North shared Federal institutions ("provide for the common defense") at least up until 1860, though I can't speak to economic integration. ("Southern slaves on Yankee bottoms ended when slaves were no longer imported, with the "Act Prohibiting the Importation of Slaves," as of 1808.) Read below the fold...

In the garden: Are these things I need to worry about?

The students are back, but that's actually not something I worry about, except in "Get offa my lawn!" mode:

Although, like everybody else, I do worry that this -- see touch of color at top right -- is a sign of the impending collapse of Western civilization. It's always something!

But then there's this: Read below the fold...

Tweet of the day

Here's a happy thought!

Critical Commentary on Current Black Leadership

Thread: 

EXCERPTS:

Byran K. Bullock in "Historically, Black Leaders Supported Palestinians; Why Less So Now?"

“The congressional black caucus, the so-called ‘conscience of the congress,’ has not shown an ounce of righteous indignation at the massacre of the Palestinians.”

snip

Read below the fold...
letsgetitdone's picture

Real Fiscal Responsibility 4; Carter: Education Reform

If you're reading this you've landed near but not at the beginning of my very lengthy series evaluating the fiscal responsibility/irresponsibility of the Governments of the United States (mostly the Congress, the Executive Branch, and the Federal Reserve) by Administration periods, beginning in 1977 - 1981 with the Jimmy Carter period. My first post explained why I chose to start my evaluation with the Carter period, and also laid out my related definitions of fiscal sustainability, and fiscal responsibility.

It explained why fiscal responsibility is closely connected to the idea of public purpose, which I laid out in this post prior to beginning the series. You may want to consult that post, if you want to know what I mean by “public purpose.” I also claimed that the Government of the United States has been fiscally irresponsible in every Administration period since 1977.

In my second post, I began by examining the problems of ending economic stagnation, and providing full employment at a living wage, and, I hope, by showing that the Government, during the Carter period, failed to solve either problem because of its commitment to deficit reduction, and budget balancing, in the service of hoped for inflation moderation. The third post in the series, examined how the US Government failed in its efforts to create and maintain price stability, and also failed to provide a solution to the problem of providing the right of receiving health care to every American in need. So, thus far in the first three posts in the series we've seen how the Government during the Carter period failed to 1) end economic stagnation; 2) failed to create and maintain full employment; 3) failed to maintain price stability; and 4) failed to maintain price stability. It did not fail however, to reduce the Federal deficit, which is not in itself an aspect of public purpose, but a presumed means of preserving government solvency, and avoiding inflation. So, I suppose congratulations are due the Government for solving a faux problem and failing to directly address the real ones.

So, from 1977 – 1981, the Government of the United States is thus far 0 for 4 when it comes to achieving real fiscal responsibility through fiscal policy in accordance with key aspects of public purpose. The remaining posts in this series will continue to document the claim that all the US Governments since 1977 have been fiscally irresponsible. In this, the fourth post in the series, I'll evaluate the Government's efforts at educational reform during the Carter period. Will the Government go 0 for 5? We'll see! Read below the fold...

What Avedon said

If every word of this weren't true, I'd call this a rant: Read below the fold...

Cannonfire is right

Cannonfire looked into Yandex, the Russian mail service. I'm testing some new keen Drupal software, and I needed to create a number of accounts, so I thought I'd test it out. It's pretty slick! And as Cannonfire says: Read below the fold...

In the garden: The race against mildew

As you can see, I've got some nice orange something-or-others coming in, at lower left, under the leaves, and as usual, at upper right, a great teaming mass of tomatoes are all going to ripen at once. So, success! Read below the fold...

letsgetitdone's picture

Real Fiscal Responsibility 3; Carter: Inflation and Health Care

Here's the third post in my series evaluating the fiscal responsibility/irresponsibility of the Governments of the United States (mostly the Congress, the Executive Branch, and the Federal Reserve) by Administration periods beginning in 1977 with the Jimmy Carter period. My first post explained why I chose to start my evaluation with the Carter period, and also laid out my related definitions of fiscal sustainability, and fiscal responsibility.

It explained why fiscal responsibility is closely connected to the idea of public purpose, which I've laid out here. I also claimed that the Government of the United States has been fiscally irresponsible in every Administration period since 1977.

In my second post, I began by examining the problems of ending economic stagnation, and providing full employment at a living wage, and, I hope, by showing that the Government, during the Carter period, failed to solve either problem because of its commitment to deficit reduction, and budget balancing, in the service of hoped for inflation moderation. The remaining posts in this series will continue to document the claim that all the US Governments since 1977 have been fiscally irresponsible. This, one, the third in the series, will examine how the US Government failed in its efforts to create and maintain price stability, and also failed to provide a solution to the problem of providing the right of receiving health care to every American in need. Read below the fold...

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