Friday, September 2, 2011

Listen up, McCain, Graham, and Lieberman

The abominable three-some, John McCain, Lindsey Graham, and John Lieberman, loudly criticized Obama for not going into Libya with guns blazing. He wisely didn't listen to those hawks.

We provided massive airstrikes, surveillance, intelligence, money and probably other kinds of assistance, while letting the French, Italians, and a few Arab nations lead the war. It's been referred to as "leading from behind."

Somehow those hawks think that's shameful, that it is demeaning to America and is another example of how Obama is letting our once-imperial nation go into decline.

But consider this: So far, anyway, the Libyan rebellion has been successful -- without the loss of one single American life, and very few if any loss of life other than Libyans. We gave them a lot of help, but they fought it and won it themselves. It is very clearly Libyans taking back their country from a tyrant.

Yesterday, the New York Times columnist Nichols Kristof reported from Tripoli at how the Libyans he encountered felt about this. Over and over again, people on the street tell him that they regard us as heroes. When they learned where he is from, they "fervently repeat variants of the same phrase: "Thank you, America!"

Further, he stated, "there has been almost no looting, and little apparent retaliation against the families of loyalists" to Qaddafi. "Pro-Americanism now is ubiquitous," and Kristof was particularly struck when one young man asked about hurricane damage in New York wondered how he might help.

Contrast this to the anti-American feeling in Iraq and Afghanistan. Could it be that people resent us "invading" and "occupying" their country, even when we got rid of an oppressive regime?

Is that so hard to understand? Apparently it is, if you're blinded by that imperialistic, "We've got to be the leaders of the world" mentality.

Maybe President Obama has more wisdom, listens to wiser counsel, and has more sense than the trio McGraBerman.


Thursday, September 1, 2011


It's been a few days since I posted anything here. Been very busy winding up loose ends as my administrative job at Emory came to an end on Aug 31.

Besides, there was nothing happening in the news that didn't seem like just more silly polemics and partisan squabbling.

Except Irene, of course. New Yorkers, in their "we're the center of the universe" mentality, were petulant that their mayor's extensive preparations turned out to have been a bit more than necessary when the storm lessened before it hit the city. This news should not obscure the fact that Irene wreaked major damage in other places -- the cost way up in the billions, with scores of lives lost.

More later.


Monday, August 29, 2011

Obama's new economics adviser

President Obama is set to announce his new Chair of the White House Council of Economic Advisers: Alan Krueger, PhD, Princeton Professor of Economics and Public Affairs. I haven't seen any second-guessers yet, but to me it looks like a stellar appointment -- and definitely a move away from Wall Street types, Larry Summers and Timothy Geithner.

Krueger has his PhD from Harvard, and he served as the Chief Economist for the U. S. Department of Labor in 1994-95 -- which was when Robert Reich was Secretary of Labor. What Reich thinks of him now, I don't know. But at least Obama has chosen someone whose primary focus is on the work force and not on corporate profit interests.

From his Princeton bio sketch:

"His primary research and teaching interests are in the general areas of labor economics, industrial relations, and social insurance. His current research projects include an examination of disability and the work force; a study of the relationship between school quality and labor market success; a study of the U.S. employment miracle; and an analysis of the impact of technological change on the labor market. . . . He writes a monthly column on economics for the New York Times."

Sounds good to me.


Sunday, August 28, 2011

Newt needs an intervention

When someone's behavior is continually self-destructive over time, and the person can't see his need for help, kind friends and family often do an intervention. That's what Newt needs now to end his quixotic campaign.

In most polls, he now comes in 7th or 8th, back there with Rick Santorum. Even in Georgia, from whence he launched his campaign and proclaimed himself to be from here -- he can't get any traction. As to Atlanta being his campaign headquarters: baloney. The main office that was played up in the announcement reportedly was closed down the following week, the rental furniture returned.

At a rally of GOP faithful in Perry, GA yesterday, he came in 4th, despite being the only candidate who showed up at the meeting. Herman Cain got 232 votes, Ron Paul 229, Rick Perry 180, and Newt Gingrich 162.

As usual, Newt promises that things are going to pick up when he rolls out some new ideas in September and people start to understand that he is offering solutions to our problems.

Trouble is, Newt has been offering "solutions" for years and years, and what is he most known for? Shutting down the government in a pique over a perceived slight. Runner-up? He is also known as a blathering TV talking head who spouts ideas right and left, but seems to accomplish nothing, except collecting big bucks from his political media empire.

So: is Newt such a blind narcissist that he can't see this is a fool's errand, aided and abetted by the besotted, bejeweled Callista? Or is he fox-smart and just riding the campaign bandwagon to boost the sale of his books, DVDs, and speaking engagements?

I'm betting that there is some of both.


PS: From redistricting maps, it appears that my area with be shifted from John Lewis' 5th district to Tom Price's 6th district. That's going from one of the most liberal voices in the House to the Chair of the Republican Policy Committee in the House. Ugh !! A physician, married to another physician, his political philosophy seems to be: small government, cut taxes, and social programs (or the lack thereof) that operate on the principle of 'survival of the fittest', (aka the wealthy), and 'whatever doesn't kill you makes you stronger.'