Mercury Rising 鳯女

Politics, life, and other things that matter

Archive for April 23rd, 2009

The Mindset Obama Faces

Posted by Phoenix Woman on April 23, 2009

David Frum, on the possibility that Bush-era torturers might be held accountable: “Obama slides toward show trials“.

I heard Chris Cillizza on Hardball tonight say much the same thing.

Remember, impeachment over oral sex = OK. Prosecutions for torture and other war crimes = icky partisanship.

Posted in GOP/Media Complex, torture | 2 Comments »

Posted by Charles II on April 23, 2009

The modern economy
(image from International Freebies)

The Economist:

The plunge in manufacturing is in part the result of a huge global inventory adjustment. With unsold goods piling up and finance hard to come by, firms around the world have slashed production even faster than demand has fallen. Once firms have run down their stocks they will start making things again and the manufacturing recession will be past its worst.

Even if that moment is at hand, two other slumps are likely to poison the economy for much longer. The most important is the banking crisis and the purge of debt in the bubble economies, especially America and Britain. Demand has plummeted as tighter credit and sinking asset prices have exposed consumers’ excessive borrowing and scared them into saving more. History suggests that such balance-sheet recessions are long and that the recoveries which eventually follow them are feeble.

The second slump is in the emerging world, where many economies have been hit by the sudden fall in private cross-border capital flows. Emerging economies, which imported capital worth 5% of their GDP in 2007, now face a world where cautious investors keep their money at home. According to the IMF, banks, firms and governments in the emerging world have some $1.8 trillion-worth of borrowing to roll over this year, much of that in central and eastern Europe. Even if emerging markets escape a full-blown debt crisis, investors’ confidence is unlikely to recover for years.

These crises sent the world economy into a decline that, on several measures, has been steeper than the onset of the Depression.

Posted in economy, financial crisis | Comments Off on

This Is Wrong

Posted by MEC on April 23, 2009

The Obama Administration is arguing in a Supreme Court case that police should be allowed under the Constitution to “initiate questions” when a defendant doesn’t have a lawyer present.

The government said defendants who don’t wish to talk to police don’t have to and that officers must respect that decision. But it said there is no reason a defendant who wants to should not be able to respond to officers’ questions.

I disagree completely. Too many defendants don’t have the knowledge or the social status to defend themselves from an overazealous pursuit of “case solved”. Without a lawyer present, there is too much opportunity for police to intimidate a defendant into “wanting” to answer questions, and too much opportunity to mislead or intimidate a defendant into giving the answers the police want to hear.

Posted in civil rights, Obama Administration, Supreme Court | 2 Comments »

Thursday Morning Calico Cat Blogging

Posted by Phoenix Woman on April 23, 2009


A calico kitty managed to sneak onto the field during a Cubs game in Chicago. Fortunately, she managed to survive the experience and is now living at a local animal shelter under a vet’s care:

A veterinarian who was at the game took the cat after it was captured by a security guard and deposited tail-first into the box seats down the left field line.


The veterinarian plans to care for the cat the next 7-10 days, hoping that the owner shows up to Wrigley to claim it.

“If not, I’m sure it will find a good home,” Chase said.

There was no ID on the cat, so its name is unknown. A Wrigley groundskeeper said it should be named “Ozzie,” after White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen, who claims to have seen giant rats in Wrigley Field.

The kitty is almost certainly a she-kitty, as most calicos are female.

Posted in cats, Chicago | 1 Comment »

Good News for Republicans

Posted by MEC on April 23, 2009


Since it’s always Backwards Day in the alternate universe where the Republicans live, they’ll surely take this new poll as proof that they’re doing exactly the right thing to restore themselves to their rightful role as America’s rulers.

For the first time in years, more Americans than not say the country is headed in the right direction, a sign that Barack Obama has used the first 100 days of his presidency to lift the public’s mood and inspire hopes for a brighter future.


Sixty-four percent of the public approves of Obama’s job performance, down just slightly from 67 percent in February.

That drop is within the poll’s margin of error, 3.1%.

It’s Backwards Day for the Associated Press, too, which just can’t let go of the storyline that Obama is a “polarizing figure”:

Obama has become a polarizing figure, with just 24 percent of Republicans approving of his performance — down from 33 percent in February.

I’d like to see this number in the context of the percentage of people who identify themselves as Republicans. As of about a month ago, that percentage was dropping, so the predictable disapproval of Republicans is less and less significant.

In spite of the AP’s insistence that the poll “could signal trouble for Obama”, the poll shows that Americans trust our President:

Twice as many say Obama is living up to his promises as those who say he’s not (30 percent to 15 percent).


Seven in 10 Americans say it is reasonable to expect it to take longer than a year to see the results of Obama’s economic policies. Just as many people say Obama understands the concerns of ordinary Americans and cares about “people like you.”


A majority of Americans believe the Obama administration is following higher ethical standards than the Bush administration.

Most also say he’s changing things about the right amount and at the right speed.

What does that mean for the Republicans?

Since Republicans are, after all, Americans, having a President who inspires confidence in the future is good news for them — whether they like it or not.

Posted in polls | 4 Comments »

Sorry, Climate Change Denialists

Posted by Phoenix Woman on April 23, 2009

But even an unusually-quiet sun won’t be enough to stop human-induced global warming:

Prof [Mike] Lockwood [of Southampton University in the UK] was one of the first researchers to show that the Sun’s activity has been gradually decreasing since 1985, yet overall global temperatures have continued to rise.

“If you look carefully at the observations, it’s pretty clear that the underlying level of the Sun peaked at about 1985 and what we are seeing is a continuation of a downward trend (in solar activity) that’s been going on for a couple of decades.

“If the Sun’s dimming were to have a cooling effect, we’d have seen it by now.”

One problem is that we’re finding out that atmospheric pollution we weren’t even aware was a factor in global warming — namely, black carbon or “soot” — is turning out to be a very big factor indeed. People who deny the reality of human-caused climate change don’t realize (or won’t admit) just how much humans have done to the planet in what is a geological eyeblink of time. Plastics have only gone global in the last fifty years, yet enough plastic garbage has made its way into our oceans to create at least one dead zone that’s bigger than Texas.

Posted in climate change, environment | Comments Off on Sorry, Climate Change Denialists

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