After assaulting Barack Obama’s national service proposals as Hitler-like, Rep. Paul Broun told WGAC radio today: “I regret putting it that way.” He added, “The point I tried to make is that he is extremely liberal, he has promoted a lot of socialistic ideas, and it just makes me concerned.” Both of Georgia’s Republican Senators — Saxby Chambliss and Johnny Isakson — distanced themselves from Broun’s earlier remarks.
Yesterday, MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough accidentally dropped the f-bomb while live on air. After apologizing, Scarborough said, “My wife is going to kill me when I get home.” (Watch the incident here.) The show will now have a seven-second delay to protect against future outbursts. An MSNBC spokesman said that no other shows on the network will have the delay, which was reportedly a “mutual decision.” Former MSNBC morning host Don Imus had a similar arrangement on his show.
No RNC Chairman race for Newt Gingrich, but he is working on some new jargon:
However, my job as an American first is to develop a tri-partisan approach to developing solutions for the challenges we face. I use the word tri-partisan to designate the concept of attracting Democrats, Republicans, and independents to solutions that unify most Americans.
Through an unfortunate confluence of events, Gingrich has a passion for playing inane linguistic games and also scored a big win for the GOP in 1994. That, in turn, set into motion a deplorable trend in which many people seem to have decided, largely without evidence, that this sort of thing is integral to political success.
That means finally ending our addiction to oil, a source — if not the source — of two recent wars. And that also means avoiding centuries of strife and conflict from catastrophic climate change. As reported in September:
An intelligence forecast being prepared for the next president on future global risks envisions a steady decline in U.S. dominance in the coming decades, as the world is reshaped by globalization, battered by climate change, and destabilized by regional upheavals over shortages of food, water and energy.
The world beyond 450 ppm atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide, the world that crosses carbon cycle tipping points that quickly take us to 1000 ppm, is a world not merely of endless regional resource wars around the globe. It is a world with dozens of Darfurs. It is a world of a hundred Katrinas, of countless environmental refugees — at least a hundred million by the second half of this century and more than a billion by the next century — all clamoring to occupy the parts of the developed world that aren’t flooded or desertified.
In such a world, everyone will ultimately become a veteran, and Veteran’s Day itself will fade into obscurity, as people forget about a time when wars were the exception, a time when soldiers were but a small minority of the population.
The time to act is January 20, 2009.
Interestingly, it seems Bobby Jindal was being seriously considered for the Veepstakes but decided to say no in part because they feared that he might “be caught up in what they believed to be a less-than-stellar campaign that could pin a loss on Jindal without much ability to change or control the direction of the contest.”
Ross Douthat says this shows Jindal’s smarts. And perhaps so, though I actually have a hard time seeing a VP seriously taking the blame in a situation like that. It was never really my sense, for example, that John Edwards’ 2008 primary campaign was in any sense hampered by people blaming him for the loss of the Kerry-Edwards ticket.
Either way, I’m actually a bit skeptical of Jindal’s 2016 prospects. Discussion of this tends to begin and end with talking about whether the GOP is really ready for a non-white standard-bearer. I think a bigger issue may be that the next few years aren’t shaping up to be an especially promising time to be a governor. A governor presiding over an economic boom can cut taxes while increasing spending, and thus develop a reputation as a popular can-do pragmatist. Think of George W. Bush, George Voinovich, Christie Todd Whitman, and other classics of the 1990s. This also works if your state government is mostly financed by oil revenues and you’re in office amidst a commodities boom — Sarah Palin comes to mind. Louisiana does share some of Alaska’s petrostate attributes, but it’s not really the same situation, and right now he’s looking at the need to cut $1 billion in spending. Not his fault (though the decision to make up the budget shortfall with a mix of 100% service cuts and 0% tax cuts reflects the intellectually and morally bankrupt nature of contemporary conservatism) any more than the “free money for everyone” governors of the nineties were really geniuses, but it’s going to make it difficult for him to rack up the sort of Record Of Accomplishments that you’re usually looking for in a presidential candidate.
Fred Hiatt did a column on Monday urging Barack Obama to do his utmost to help the school reform efforts in DC being spearheaded by Adrian Fenty and Michelle Rhee. I’d like to see that, too, but I think Hiatt overlooked one particular concrete way in which the administration will be involved. That’s via the DC Public Charter School Board which authorizes new charter schools (and revokes the charters from schools that are no good) and whose members are appointed by the mayor from a list of candidates drawn up by the Secretary of Education.
The system is a bit odd on a theoretical level, but it’s worked well throughout its lifetime. Several secretaries of education in a row have made responsible nominations, and the system has managed to insulate the board from the vagaries of municipal politics. It’s crucially important that the board not become an extension of patronage politics or be captured by the stakeholders in the status quo rather than preserving the charters as alternatives to DCPS. At the same time, it’s also important that the appointments be made with a real focus on the interests of DC and DC’s school students rather than suffering from total inattention. One assumes the Obama transition team isn’t going to get around to staffing the Department of Education for a while (top priority will rightly be on the White House staff, Treasury, Defense, and State) but this will be critically important to the city’s future when the time comes.
Nothing is more important to the deniers and delayers than finding a mistake. Oops, let me quickly correct that mistake before they do and start again.
Nothing is less important to the deniers and delayers than finding or even acknowledging the whopping mistakes by fellow deniers and delayers or frankly by anybody who publishes anything that might seem to support their anti-scientific views. See, as but a tiny sample,
- Should you believe anything John Christy and Roy Spencer say?
- Yet another denier talking point melts down
- Sorry deniers, hockey stick gets longer, stronger: Earth hotter now than in past 2,000 years
- Killing the myth of the 1970s global cooling scientific consensus
- Nature article on ‘cooling’ confuses media, deniers: Next decade may see rapid warming
- A bunch of huge mistakes by Michael Crichton
Also, nothing is more important to the deniers and delayers than finding even the tiniest and most irrelevant mistakes in NASA datasets (see, for instance, “Must read from Hansen: Stop the madness about the tiny revision in NASA’s temperature data!“).
Well, they’re back! Two of the most popular denier websites are all excited by a temporary misreporting of some temperature stations by NASA (see wattsupwiththat.com and climateaudit.org — note, I can’t actually bring myself to hyperlink to them and thereby simplify their task of spreading disinformation). Anyway, you can read the entire story from NASA’s Gavin Schmidt at RealClimate.org in a post appropriately titled, “Mountains and Molehills“:
In July, Barack Obama proposed a “civilian national security force,” an idea backed by President Bush and intended to expand AmeriCorps and other national service programs. But today in an interview with the AP, Rep. Paul Broun (R-GA) compared the idea to a Gestapo-like force:
“That’s exactly what Hitler did in Nazi Germany and it’s exactly what the Soviet Union did,” Broun said. “When he’s proposing to have a national security force that’s answering to him, that is as strong as the U.S. military, he’s showing me signs of being Marxist.”
“We can’t be lulled into complacency,” Broun said. “You have to remember that Adolf Hitler was elected in a democratic Germany. I’m not comparing him to Adolf Hitler. What I’m saying is there is the potential of going down that road.“
A further note on transition speculation/reporting. An awful lot of the questions you’re seeing people try to answer — who will be Attorney-General? — have a paradoxical quality to them. Most likely there is no answer. Of course someone will become Attorney-General but the point is that this isn’t a secret, it’s almost certainly a decision that hasn’t been made. It would be extremely difficult to formulate a decision, ask someone, have that person accept, and then keep the whole thing under wraps for an extended period of time.
If you want to add some actual information to your speculation, I’d check out the video of CAPAF’s event on presidential transitions from back in October. No guarantees, but John Podesta is president of CAPAF and I hear he has Barack Obama’s phone number.
Jennifer 8. Lee reports on the surge of “Baracks”:
There have been other presidential naming trends in the past century, according to Social Security Administration data. Franklin jumped to No. 33 in 1933, up from No. 147 in 1931. Dwight surged in the 1950s and Lyndon in the 1960s. Theodore hit its peak in the first decade of the 20th century.
“Honoring new presidents with baby namesakes used to be an American tradition,” said Laura Wattenberg, author of “The Baby Name Wizard.” But she pointed out that the custom faded around the time of Watergate, in part because people became more cynical about the presidency.
Ms. Wattenberg said Barack and Obama might break that trend for a number of reasons. Blacks, particularly moved by Mr. Obama’s victory, tend to be more open to new names and to naming children after public figures. Also, Mr. Obama drew strong support from people of child-bearing age, and his name sounds fresh.
Will Jewish parents return to naming kids Baruch?