Paul Revere by Cyrus Dallin, North End, Boston

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BREAKING NEWS

Nigeria has been declared officially free of Ebola after six weeks with no new cases, the World Health Organization (WHO) says.



According to the BBC, the Spanish nurse who was the first person to contract Ebola outside of West Africa has tested negative for the virus (a second test is required before she’ll be officially free of the disease). And the United States has reached an important milestone: the 21-day monitoring period for the 48 people who had contact with Thomas Eric Duncan, the Liberian man who died of Ebola in Dallas, ended on Sunday and Monday. Aside from the two nurses who cared for him, there have been no new infections.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

JINDAL, MT. REDOUBT, AND FRANCE, OH MY!

Bobby Jindal, in his rebuttal to President Obama's speech to a joint session of Congress had this to say about what he considered foolish government spending:

"But Democratic leaders in Congress rejected this approach. Instead of trusting us to make wise decisions with our own money, they passed the largest government spending bill in history -- with a price tag of more than $1 trillion with interest.

While some of the projects in the bill make sense, their legislation is larded with wasteful spending. It includes $300 million to buy new cars for the government, $8 billion for high-speed rail projects, such as a "magnetic levitation" line from Las Vegas to Disneyland, and $140 million for something called "volcano monitoring." Instead of monitoring volcanoes, what Congress should be monitoring is the eruption of spending in Washington, D.C."

The high-speed railroad project turned out to be non-existent and the "something called "volcano monitoring?"

Alaska volcano Mount Redoubt erupts 5 times

By MARY PEMBERTON,
Associated Press Writer –
Mon Mar 23, 7:28 pm ET

The 10,200-foot Redoubt Volcano, roughly 100 miles southwest of Anchorage, last erupted during a four-month period from 1989-90.

In its last eruption, Redoubt sent ash 150 miles away into the path of a KLM jet and its four engines flamed out. The jet dropped more than 2 miles before the crew was able to restart all engines and land safely. The plane required $80 million in repairs.

The volcano became restless earlier this year. The observatory had warned in late January that an eruption could occur at any time.

Increased earthquake activity over the past 48 hours prompted scientists to raise the alert level for Mount Redoubt on Sunday.

The "something called volcano monitoring" probably saved lives.

And more foolishness from the Conservatives:

Obama writes letter to Chirac - [rightwing] blogosphere goes crazy
By Jimmy Orr 03.23.09


Want to know how quickly rumors get spread on the Internet? Here’s a prime example.

The right side of the web is apoplectic this morning claiming that President Obama doesn’t know who the French president is.

They point to an article in the French newspaper Le Figaro reporting that President Obama last week wrote a letter to former French President Jacques Chirac.

“I am certain that we will be able to work together, in the coming four years, in a spirit of peace and friendship to build a safer world,” Obama is purported to have written.

Wrong guy

This has electrified the Internet. Why would President Obama initiate correspondence with Mr. Chirac instead of President Nicolas Sarkozy?

One excited blogger writes, “Doesn’t Obama ever consult his staff before acting? Sarkozy is the President there! It’s like Sarko writing to George Bush and saying he looks forward to working with him. Chirac is the FORMER president.”

That’s a good heads up. But let’s dig a little deeper.

French-speaking pal

Our handy colleague, Laurent Belsie, who writes the New Economy blog here at the Monitor, speaks French. (We don’t hold that against him.)

With his help we found out that another French newspaper, the New Observer, explained that Obama was merely replying to a Chirac letter who was writing him as the head of his foundation — the Jacques Chirac Foundation for sustainable development and cultural dialogue.

The foundation is promoting access to water and medicines in west Africa, combating deforestation in the Congo Basin, and trying to save dying languages in Polynesia, according to a spokesman who helped set up the foundation.

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In their eagerness to discredit the less than 100 days of Mr. Obama's presidency and declare it a total failure, the GOP and its hysterical followers are making themselves look sadly foolish.



21 comments:

Gordon said...

Oh, hell, we don't have to declare it a total failure. I mean, he's mostly succeeded, if you figure his goals were to greatly increase the size and power of government, scare the financial markets, raise taxes on pretty much everyone and turn our foreign policy into amateur hour.

And Amateur Hour describes sending a letter to a former head of state who was defeated by the current head of state, and with whom we've had a lot of policy differences, in which you state that you're looking forward to working with him. In the diplomatic world, little things can have big consequences. That's why we don't leave the keys to the diplomatic car with the kool kids.

But hey, they probably managed to get the translation right, this time! That's change we can believe in.

Shaw Kenawe said...

Dear, dear confused Gordon.

Mr. Obama sent the letter to the ex-foreign head of state Chirac as the HEAD OF A CHARITABLE ORGANIZAATION and said he would work with him--and that was in reference to Chirac's CHARITABLE FOUNDATION.

You and the other conservatives got the entire story completely wrong. Or did you not bother to read my post on it?

From the Christian Science Monitor linked in my post:

"This has electrified the Internet. Why would President Obama initiate correspondence with Mr. Chirac instead of President Nicolas Sarkozy?

One excited blogger writes, “Doesn’t Obama ever consult his staff before acting? Sarkozy is the President there! It’s like Sarko writing to George Bush and saying he looks forward to working with him. Chirac is the FORMER president.”

That’s a good heads up. But let’s dig a little deeper.

French-speaking pal

Our handy colleague, Laurent Belsie, who writes the New Economy blog here at the Monitor, speaks French. (We don’t hold that against him.)

With his help we found out that another French newspaper, the New Observer, explained that Obama was merely replying to a Chirac letter who was writing him as the head of his foundation — the Jacques Chirac Foundation for sustainable development and cultural dialogue.

The foundation is promoting access to water and medicines in west Africa, combating deforestation in the Congo Basin, and trying to save dying languages in Polynesia, according to a spokesman who helped set up the foundation.

Of course it is much more fun to write things like “Maybe President Obama’s correspondence office needs a teleprompter too!” But in fact, there doesn’t seem to be a controversy here.

Le Figaro did opine in its article that “in using the word ‘peace,’ Obama was offering an implicit homage to the former French president who had opposed the Iraq war.”

But other French news organizations confirmed with Chirac’s entourage that they believed the reference was not in regards to the Iraq war but to Chirac’s current work as head of the foundation.

Whatever. In any case, there is no evidence that the language has upset President Sarkozy or anyone else in France."


Really. This faux outrage makes you and the conservatives look like silly teenagers who jump on the latest gossip and rumors without checking the veracity.

Speaking of Mr. Obama's goals, he has a way to go before he matches the expansion of government that Mr. Bush oversaw during his administration and giving 95% of Americans a tax break is hardling "rais[ing] taxes on pretty much everyone."

You and your fellow travelers need to take some outrage meds, calm down and look at reality.

You've spent too much time in Crazyland.

dmarks said...

As good as it may be, what does volcano monitoring have to do with "emergency stimulus"? Just imagine if Obama had kept actual emergency economic stimulus in the package, and left other government spending to be handled the usual way, instead of being sold as "don't even bother to read the bill. vote for it NOW or else the economy will collapse!" emergency.

Actually, I think the mag-lev train, if it existed, might count as emergency economic stimulus. It would be a big economic deal. But they could probably do it for a lot less money if they bypassed "prevailing wage" and went for the best contractors instead.

TAO said...

Oh, yeah...the folks that decided to call french fries 'Freedom Fries' now want to critique foreign policy....brillant.

Then dmarks wants to believe that the best labor is slave labor....

Yep, the south built one heck of an economy on slave labor before the Civil War....

Then of course no one wants to deal with the fact that Buick is now one of the best built cars...so it obiviously isn't unions that destroyed the American Automakers.

I wonder how much wealth is lost due to natural disasters? It seems to me that we could preserve more wealth if we started to be more aware and prepared for natural disasters...

Of course Jindal disagrees with that concept....but then again he probably dreams of being a maharaja...its doeable in Louisana.

dmarks said...

Tao: "Then dmarks wants to believe that the best labor is slave labor...."

Again and again, I have insisted on a fair wage for the value of the work. No where have I insisted that human beings own other human beings. I think you are pulling this one from thin air. Do you have any quotes to back up the slave thing? The slave thing comes across like a nonsequitur.

Buick still ranks low on quality in Consumer Reports. The JD Power thing is probably based more on satisfaction with luxury-car amenities like climate control.

"so it obviously isn't unions that destroyed the American Automakers."

Not entirely destroyed, but helping destroy. Paying someone paid double to do shoddy work can do this. It's not just the top CEOs who are overpaid to underperform.

Gordon said...

Dear, dear befuddled Shaw,

Go back and read my first comment, and look at the link I provided. It's pretty clear to anyone not suffering from Charles River incomprehension that yes, indeed, I was aware of Chirac's current, and former kleptocratic status.

dmarks said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Arthurstone said...

dmarks typed:

"so it obviously isn't unions that destroyed the American Automakers."

'Not entirely destroyed, but helping destroy. Paying someone paid double to do shoddy work can do this. It's not just the top CEOs who are overpaid to underperform.'

Ah yes. Those unions once again. Firstly the automakers who have made the largest inroads into the American market all enjoy, interestingly enough, a single payer health care system in their home markets. A bit of an advantage I'd say. Likewise 'shoddy' doesn't really apply these days. The cars are pretty well assembled but poorly engineered and conceptualized, expensive hunks of metal and plastic.

Secondly if the UAW designed, engineered and marketed automobiles that no one in their right mind would buy then conceivably they would be at fault. It certainly isn't the UAW's fault that some thirty years after the last gov't bailout Chrysler still doesn't build a car anyone really wants. Nothing economical. Nothing sensible. Just more overpowered, over-sized junk.

425HP Chrysler 300 anyone?

dmarks said...

Addendum: "Consumer Reports" 2009 car issue:

Buick: 3 models.

Reliability: one below average, one average, one above average.

Owner satisfaction: one below average, one average, one above average.

None "recommended" to buy in the 3 Buick models. This is in distinct contrast to much higher ranked companies as Subaru (all 4 models recommended), Toyota, and Honda... whose product-line includes higher-quality models built by well-paid non-union auto workers in US factories.

Overall rankings in "who builds the best cars", GM is 2nd to last, just about Chrysler.

Click here for an enlightening discussion about how flimsy the J. D. Power criteria are compared to Consumer Reports criteria.

Buick? "Nothing to see here, move along".

dmarks said...

Arthur: "Firstly the automakers who have made the largest inroads into the American market all enjoy, interestingly enough, a single payer health care system in their home markets."

Which has nothing to do with it, as these companies succeed with their American workers in American factories who are NOT part of the Japanese health-care monopoly.

"Likewise 'shoddy' doesn't really apply these days."

It sure does. Consumer Reports does a lot of data collection on "fit and finish", which reflects crappy work on the assembly line.

"It certainly isn't the UAW's fault that some thirty years after the last gov't bailout Chrysler still doesn't build a car anyone really wants."

It certainly is when the union blocks incentive programs to pay exceptional line workers more and pay or fire the bad ones. As a result, Chrysler products come out atrocious on the "fit and finish" part: they come off the line as hunks of junk.

Arthurstone said...

Foreign manufacturers import automobiles to the US assembled by workers covered by a single payer national healthcare system. This is a price advantage over US manufacturers who provide healthcare & pensions negotiated through labor agreements. Of course US subsidies of foreign manufacturers locate to 'right to work' states where they can dispense with labor agreements entirely. This is a cost advantage as well.

The day of the pot smoking assembly line worker welding a wrench in the passenger side door there to rattle maddeningly are gone forever. Quality has risen over the years and today Detroit turns out a well built product. Still assembly line quality is overwhelmingly a function of engineering.

Sadly they design and build automobiles people don't want to buy.

Go figure.

dmarks said...

Arthur: I was referring to the many factories run by Toyota, Subaru, Honda, and others. Factories that the companies run auccessfully. Factories that the companies provide health-care benefits for American workers in. These American workers are not part of Japan's or Korea's health-care monopoly. The companies provide very good wages at these factories, along with healthcare benefits, all without involvement of Japan's healthcare system (which of course does not cover US workers) and without the UAW forcing people to join it.

Your argument would apply to the Japanese-made cars shipped over here, but not to the US factories run by East Asian automakers.

"Quality has risen over the years and today Detroit turns out a well built product"

They still lag way behind: 3 of the 4 lowest-quality carmakers are the Big 3. Hyundai, once pretty bad and way behind, has surged ahead of the Big 3. And Consumer Reports has noticed that the quality of dead-laat Chrysler actually went down this year compared to last year.

TRUTH 101 said...

I find it kind of funny and yet, ironic that a right winger like Gordon would care about the art of diplomacy. "In the diplomatic world, little things can have big consequences." You support Bush and his don't do nuance brand of diplomacy but now you're concerned about President Obama writing a letter to a former head of state who's now running a foundation. Jimmy Carter. BushI and Bill Clinton get letters from heads of state all the time. Where's all the diplomatic outrage from around the world Gordon.

No my friend. You have failed to convince me or anyone else that you really know what you're talking about. Your pathetic attempt to make an issue out of a polite response to a former head of state by President Obama exposes you as just another parrot for the right wing. I was hoping for better things from you Brother.

Shaw Kenawe said...

TRUTH101,

The image that came to mind immediately upon reading what the rightwing pearl clutchers had to say about this non-story was that of President Bush, Leader of the Free World and Chief Representative of the American people, walking across a meeting room and giving the PRESIDING AND PRESENT head of state of Germany, Angela Merkel, a presidential NOOGIE!

That was probably the most cringe-inducing diplomatic moment of his presidency, and he did have lots of them.

I believe the rightwing is so desperate to erase Bush's gaffes, idiocies, and mistakes from America's conscience, that they're deliberately misinterpreting or just plain fabricating stuff on Obama so that attention will be drawn away from the 8 years of the embarrassment that was Bush.

And how crocodile-teary of the rightwing to be concerned about the delicate feelings of the French.

This distress is especially touching, coming from the crowd that called the French "cheese-eating surrender monkeys," and changed the name in the Congressional dining hall of French Fries to Freedom Fries because France would not join us in our Excellent Adventure in Iraq.

Their indignation at the putative injury done to France and Frenchmen everywhere is duly noted.

dmarks said...

That's interesting, because the retaliation against Saddam's regime Iraq does not meet the definition of a military "Adventure". Not only did France not go on an "Adventure" there, the US did not either.

Chirac's record in Iraq is far more is perhaps the most odious of any leader of the "Free World", He was instrumental in helping Saddam build his nuclear bomb factory. He remained an ardent supporter of the terrorists into this decade.

Shaw Kenawe said...

The "most odious" of the Free World?

Wait. Take a look at this before you give France that distinction:

Arming Iraq and the Path to War

A crisis always has a history, and the current crisis with Iraq is no exception. Below are some relevant dates.

September, 1980. Iraq invades Iran. The beginning of the Iraq-Iran war. [8]

February, 1982. Despite objections from congress, President Reagan removes Iraq from its list of known terrorist countries. [1]

December, 1982. Hughes Aircraft ships 60 Defender helicopters to Iraq. [9]

1982-1988. Defense Intelligence Agency provides detailed information for Iraq on Iranian deployments, tactical planning for battles, plans for air strikes and bomb damage assessments. [4]

November, 1983. A National Security Directive states that the U.S would do "whatever was necessary and legal" to prevent Iraq from losing its war with Iran. [1] & [15]


Donald Rumsfeld -Reagan's Envoy- provided Iraq with
chemical & biological weapons
November, 1983. Banca Nazionale del Lavoro of Italy and its Branch in Atlanta begin to funnel $5 billion in unreported loans to Iraq. Iraq, with the blessing and official approval of the US government, purchased computer controlled machine tools, computers, scientific instruments, special alloy steel and aluminum, chemicals, and other industrial goods for Iraq's missile, chemical, biological and nuclear weapons programs. [14]

October, 1983. The Reagan Administration begins secretly allowing Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Egypt to transfer United States weapons, including Howitzers, Huey helicopters, and bombs to Iraq. These shipments violated the Arms Export Control Act. [16]

November 1983. George Schultz, the Secretary of State, is given intelligence reports showing that Iraqi troops are daily using chemical weapons against the Iranians. [1]

December 20, 1983. Donald Rumsfeld , then a civilian and now Defense Secretary, meets with Saddam Hussein to assure him of US friendship and materials support. [1] & [15]

July, 1984. CIA begins giving Iraq intelligence necessary to calibrate its mustard gas attacks on Iranian troops. [19]

January 14, 1984. State Department memo acknowledges United States shipment of "dual-use" export hardware and technology. Dual use items are civilian items such as heavy trucks, armored ambulances and communications gear as well as industrial technology that can have a military application. [2]

March, 1986. The United States with Great Britain block all Security Council resolutions condemning Iraq's use of chemical weapons, and on March 21 the US becomes the only country refusing to sign a Security Council statement condemning Iraq's use of these weapons. [10]

May, 1986. The US Department of Commerce licenses 70 biological exports to Iraq between May of 1985 and 1989, including at least 21 batches of lethal strains of anthrax. [3]

May, 1986. US Department of Commerce approves shipment of weapons grade botulin poison to Iraq. [7]

March, 1987. President Reagan bows to the findings of the Tower Commission admitting the sale of arms to Iran in exchange for hostages. Oliver North uses the profits from the sale to fund an illegal war in Nicaragua. [17]

Late 1987. The Iraqi Air Force begins using chemical agents against Kurdish resistance forces in northern Iraq. [1]

February, 1988. Saddam Hussein begins the "Anfal" campaign against the Kurds of northern Iraq. The Iraq regime used chemical weapons against the Kurds killing over 100,000 civilians and destroying over 1,200 Kurdish villages. [8]

April, 1988. US Department of Commerce approves shipment of chemicals used in manufacture of mustard gas. [7]

August, 1988. Four major battles were fought from April to August 1988, in which the Iraqis massively and effectively used chemical weapons to defeat the Iranians. Nerve gas and blister agents such as mustard gas are used. By this time the US Defense Intelligence Agency is heavily involved with Saddam Hussein in battle plan assistance, intelligence gathering and post battle debriefing. In the last major battle with of the war, 65,000 Iranians are killed, many with poison gas. Use of chemical weapons in war is in violation of the Geneva accords of 1925. [6] & [13]

August, 1988. Iraq and Iran declare a cease fire. [8]

August, 1988. Five days after the cease fire Saddam Hussein sends his planes and helicopters to northern Iraq to begin massive chemical attacks against the Kurds. [8]

September, 1988. US Department of Commerce approves shipment of weapons grade anthrax and botulinum to Iraq. [7]

September, 1988. Richard Murphy, Assistant Secretary of State: "The US-Iraqi relationship is... important to our long-term political and economic objectives." [15]

December, 1988. Dow chemical sells $1.5 million in pesticides to Iraq despite knowledge that these would be used in chemical weapons. [1]


The rest of the history of how the US armed and made use of Saddam is here.

TRUTH 101 said...

Chirac is an ardent supporter of terrorists because Dmarks said so.

Well hell then. That's good enough for me Buddy. Damn that Frenchy Chirac. Sent a few cases of wine and some crepes to the dirty terrorists in Iraq. It's a good thing we sent all those biological weapons and howitzers over there to even things out for the forces of good.

dmarks said...

Truth: "Chirac is an ardent supporter of terrorists because Dmarks said so."

Erm, no. History says so, with Chirac's helping Saddam with the nukes and later ardently defending his regime.

(Shaw, I'd like to see the Iran Chamber list with fabrications removed. Fabrications such as from sites like Alternet. Some of the sources listed were credible, such as CJR, but some where not. And none of it excuses Chirac for doing everything he could to help Saddam).

By the way Shaw, I agree on the letter you made this post to discuss. I figured there was something fishy about the claim when I read the first sentence elsewhere.

Gordon said...

Funny. Y'all used to say Bush was so bad at diplomacy. But Bush isn't president anymore. Obama is. Yet when confronted with the evidence that Obama's team is screwing up, you want to talk about...Bush.

I wouldn't bring it up, except that it seems to be the pattern around these parts. Obama screws up? What about Bush!

Arthurstone said...

dmarks typed:

'Erm, no. History says so, with Chirac's helping Saddam with the nukes and later ardently defending his regime.

Let's not ever forget what a good friend had in various administrations here at the good old US of A.'

And Gordon.

There is no foreign policy 'screw-up' here.

Sorry.

Next.

Shaw Kenawe said...

Gordon,

I bring up Bush as an example to point up the hypocrisy and fake concern about injuring the French government's feelings.

No one in the rightwing gave a flying donut about France's feelings while George Bush was president.

Now the rightwing is falling all over its hypocritical self trying to paint Obama as inept over something that didn't happen.

But it did give me a chance to bring up George Bush and The Infamous Noogie embarrassment.

LOL!