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Justice Alito mouths not true

Obama is wrong: It's not true that every day in Washington is Election Day. Every day is The Circus Has Come to Town Day.

The whole point of gathering the entire House of Representatives, the entire Senate, the entire presidential Cabinet save for the one human backup plan, the entire Supreme Court, much of the White House staff and various American heroes in a single chamber for an evening is so that the following morning we can discuss who didn't clap enough or who said the wrong thing or who, in this particular case, mouthed something to himself. [Link via Memeorandum, where, even before I looked, I knew it would be the top item, even higher than the text of the speech itself.]

The last time Obama addressed Congress, we wound up spending about a week discussing Joe Wilson, the decline of civility in politics, and the looney bin that is South Carolina. I'm sorry to say that I can't even remember why Obama gave that particular address. Everything vanishes in the mind except the "You lie!"

Now we have a new stunt: A rogue mouthing. An emphatic, if silent, rebuke. "Not true." Samuel Alito hasn't had this much exposure since he was first nominated. Most Americans had forgotten about him completely. But there he was: moving his lips. This will be the story of the day. I don't know what the White House wanted the Day Two story to be -- Obama nudging health care aside in favor of jobs, jobs, jobs? -- Obama scolding both Dems and Repubs for being overly partisan? -- but the decision to take on the Supreme Court's recent campaign-finance ruling, and to do right in the face of the justices in the front row, has certainly succeeded in making a splash.

I'm just not sure that's the pool that Obama wanted to jump in.

Strategic error, says here.

We should put the Alito mouth-off in perspective. It's not like Alito fired a spitwad at the president. It looked to me as though he might not have even realized he was mouthing "Not true." It could have been a hidden-brain thing. But it might also have been a carefully premeditated mouthing. Perhaps he edited in his head his mouthing-off response -- first he may have considered mouthing "The petitioner's plea for certiorari is hereby denied."

So Alito will dominate the news today, at least until we turn to more important things, like some dumb comment by a talking head on cable TV.

By Joel Achenbach  |  January 28, 2010; 8:53 AM ET
 
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Next: J. D. Salinger

Comments

Barack Obama, SOTU, meet Chris Matthews, STFU.

Posted by: byoolin1 | January 28, 2010 10:00 AM | Report abuse

Aw, c'mon Joel, it wouldn't be a SOTU if someone didn't make an a** of themselves. This time it was Alito. And frankly, given that the SC decision, if left in place, will challenge the Dred Scott decision as one of the most wrongheaded in the history of the country - and given that congresscritters of both parties see the dangers it poses - President Obama was actually encouraging Congress to keep going in the direction it wants to go on this issue.

I was more struck by the silence (didn't you hear the crickets chirping?) when he brought up new disclosure policies on lobbyists' contributions/conversations with Congress.

Posted by: blondie3 | January 28, 2010 10:01 AM | Report abuse

I though Obama was pretty mild with the Supremes. I would have let a few barbs loose on Roberts, et al, to remind them that they too are accountable to the American people. But then I would simply be acting like a member of the House.

Posted by: jp1954 | January 28, 2010 10:09 AM | Report abuse

Pretty soon the seperation of powers will be handled by folks in black-and-white striped jerseys wearing whistles and carrying yellow flags. "Number 217, House of Reps, Roughing the POTUS. Thats a ten-yard penalty; Loss of Cloture!"

Posted by: lostinthemiddle | January 28, 2010 10:19 AM | Report abuse

So, it's all about Alito today? I thought it would be about crystal-ball gazing by pundits and whether Obama's State of the Union address--coupled with Obama's goals or promises for the future as expressed during his delivery--might be a game changer?

So, if it's Alito you want to analyze, plus a few more details of the recent Supreme Court decision which caused Alito to express himself sotto voce during the speech last night, here's Linda Greenhouse at the NYT:

http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/01/27/justice-alitos-reaction/

Or, we could always compare Obama to past presidents' addresses? Reagan? Clinton? Bush 43? Or just past presidents in general. Chester Arthur? James K. Polk?


Posted by: laloomis | January 28, 2010 10:27 AM | Report abuse

Gosh Joel, you've got *two* front page links. You have appeased the spiders.

Posted by: Yoki | January 28, 2010 10:30 AM | Report abuse

i didn't see Clarence Thomas at the speech..maybe someone forgot to wake him.

Posted by: rmcgolden | January 28, 2010 10:32 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, y'all.

Another sunny but frigid day in TWC.

With all due deference to separation of powers, this isn't the first time the SCOTUS has taken steps to influence the outcome of popular elections. Anyone remember 2000?

Posted by: MsJS | January 28, 2010 10:38 AM | Report abuse

I wish my husband could have watched the SOTU address with me last night, but it's hard to do when he had to work a 14-hour day with no dinner break. Glad we talked just before 11 p.m. so that I knew he'd be home shortly. He decided to fry up some eggs before turning in after midnight. I was too tired to stay up for dinner-prep duty.

My husband's take on recent political events? "People are fickle."

Good news about one of the guys who was laid off last summer (and whose going-away lunch I attended) from my husband's workplace. He was hired back as a contractor, but I'm fairly confident that his benefits are hardly what they once were.

I think the thought on many minds after last night's SOTU is whether conditions on Main Street will improve much, if any, in 2010, particularly in those areas of the country which are not faring so well.

Posted by: laloomis | January 28, 2010 10:39 AM | Report abuse

i see where kennedy, scalia, and thomas all boycotted the obama speech..thomas probably didn't go because he feared he might have to mouth some words..

Posted by: rmcgolden | January 28, 2010 10:44 AM | Report abuse

Thank you Justice Alito were calling attention to the fact that Obama was being at a minimum deceptive about the recent SCOTUS decision. That decision left untouched existing law regarding foreign corporate political contributions. You can't just sit on your hands when your BS detector is going off. We can no longer allow politicians of either party to be dishonest with us. Fire any who don't tell the truth. We get lousy leadership because we have such low standards.

Posted by: hit4cycle | January 28, 2010 10:47 AM | Report abuse

rmcgolden: I'm no fan of Justice Thomas, but SC Justices are not required to attend. Each gets an invitation and RSVPs to the White House based on his/her other commitments.

I recall that none of them showed up for one of Bill Clinton's later SOTU addresses.

Posted by: MsJS | January 28, 2010 10:49 AM | Report abuse

Eight.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 28, 2010 10:51 AM | Report abuse

Next time the justices should just stay home. This was crass on Obama's part. Having his nose bloodied in recent elections, he wants to pick a fight with the town nerds. The applause from the chamber was like a bunch junkies cheering on one of Marion Barry's anti-drug speeches. Stop us before we shoot up again!

Posted by: maxtel1910 | January 28, 2010 10:51 AM | Report abuse


Bravo, Alito!

Exercising his First Amendment freedom of soundless speech.


Posted by: DagnyT | January 28, 2010 10:52 AM | Report abuse

I'm told that justices do follow the election returns. But that general statement was made before they starting making the election returns.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 28, 2010 10:52 AM | Report abuse

Corporations have a funny way of being both American and foreign-owned, hit4cycle.

This is indeed a backdoor to letting foreign money influence elections. It's ain't BS.

Learn more about the subject.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | January 28, 2010 10:52 AM | Report abuse

SCC: It ain't BS.

I must write ten times on the chalkboard:

"I will never type and send submit while my eyes are rolling."

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | January 28, 2010 10:54 AM | Report abuse

I admire Alito's restraint, actually. Not to mention Roberts and Kennedy. You dont go after another branch of government in public WHEN that branch of government is part of a captive audience. Especially in the combative terms he did. Obama was looking for a cheap and easy political target and he found one in the disinterested a political supreme court. The funny thing is that Obama doesnt need to whine and demagauge. He just needs to bury health care so congress can move on to campaign finance reform. The supreme court draws the lines of the field and congress gets to play within those lines. IN other words, stop whinning, just do your JOB.

Posted by: dummypants | January 28, 2010 10:54 AM | Report abuse

Bunker stocked with comestibles and combustibles?

Ivansmom -- if you have power -- how's the storm going?

Posted by: -ftb- | January 28, 2010 10:58 AM | Report abuse

FACT CHECK: Republicans have lobbied for campaign finance reform, too. This is a bipartisan concern.
I could name the McCain-Feingold Bill for one.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | January 28, 2010 10:59 AM | Report abuse

Hmmm. I think I'll have to call the mechanic to see if he can check the demagauge when I bring the car in next, and then get to the stable to see if the horse can whinning.

Open the bunker door, as I'm coming through!

Posted by: -ftb- | January 28, 2010 11:01 AM | Report abuse

How many Front Page Alerts are we under?

Posted by: yellojkt | January 28, 2010 11:02 AM | Report abuse

"I admire Alito's restraint, actually. Not to mention Roberts and Kennedy. You dont go after another branch of government in public WHEN that branch of government is part of a captive audience."
--------
So he should COMMEND the Senate for becoming disfunctional, allowing a single senator to obstruct any/all legislation? NO. Obama handled it exactly right, "Senate if you won't act, I WILL" (executive order to create base-closing type commission to reduce the deficit)...
total hypocriscy for either Repubs or Dems to resist that... and it's what the PEOPLE want!
Obama rocked last night. That was a lousy decision by Supreme Court, he called it as he saw it... congress can fix their decision to allow free speech and prevent corporate domination of political campaigns. You want he should tell them one on one or save some time and get his POV to all 435 at once? I prefer the latter. We elected him to LEAD. No one elected Alito.

Posted by: sgoewey | January 28, 2010 11:05 AM | Report abuse

I'm coming through right unerneath you, ftb!

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | January 28, 2010 11:05 AM | Report abuse

I thought today was High-Speed Rail Day...

Posted by: Scottynuke | January 28, 2010 11:07 AM | Report abuse

Yello: I count two, but without the benefit of coffee.

Posted by: MsJS | January 28, 2010 11:10 AM | Report abuse

Since going all digital I get no reception except five weather satellite stations, one spanish station, and one religious station.

So instead of the SOTU address, I watched the original "Planet of the Apes"

"Take your stinking paws off me, you damned dirty ape! "

"It's a mad house! A mad house!"

If anyone's interested:
TV Schedule: Mon. Feb. 1 10:45 AM AMC

Posted by: omnigood | January 28, 2010 11:18 AM | Report abuse

Aw please! Isn't it kinda rude to invite the Supreme Court to your party and then insult them? Alito's reaction was very mild, I think a mass walkout of justices would have been, er, justifiable.

Posted by: Nemo24601 | January 28, 2010 11:19 AM | Report abuse

"You dont go after another branch of government in public WHEN that branch of government is part of a captive audience," the aptly named dummypants says.

So I guess Obama should never have criticized Congress, either, huh?

slyness, get ready to bolt the bunker door after everybody's in.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | January 28, 2010 11:19 AM | Report abuse

Gonna be a fun day!

Bunker's open, the furnace is on, wine and beer at correct temperatures, some snacks already out, waiting for whatever folks bring!

Right on, sgoewey!

Posted by: slyness | January 28, 2010 11:20 AM | Report abuse

Should a diversion be required I offer the boodle a virtual wine tour,

http://www.niagaraworldwinetours.com/van_fs.html

Posted by: dmd3 | January 28, 2010 11:20 AM | Report abuse

That's funny, omni. I watched the planet of the apes last night, too. We even live-blogged it.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | January 28, 2010 11:21 AM | Report abuse

if thomas had been there he would have mouthed the words "this is a high tech lynching"

Posted by: rmcgolden | January 28, 2010 11:21 AM | Report abuse

MsJS - you have hinted at a true emergency: you have no coffee. This is unacceptable. If need be, I will arrange for delivery.

I would, literally, walk a mile on a sprained ankle to get my necessary caffeine. During a power outage a few years back I made instant with hot tap water. If that's not addiction, I don't know what is.

Posted by: Wheezy11 | January 28, 2010 11:22 AM | Report abuse

*referring to much of the audience in the chamber, if that wasn't clear*

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | January 28, 2010 11:24 AM | Report abuse

I read the kit's title as "Scalia's third vote on the SC has his multiple buccal orifices misaligned"

Must be something wrong with me.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | January 28, 2010 11:25 AM | Report abuse

Hey Mudge -- awfully pleased you'll be back in town (if only for BPH purposes).

Wonder what dummypants (*snort*) thought of the Rethuglican Joe (somebody -- can't remember the last name) who yelled "you lie" at the POTUS last year. Betcha that was okay with him/her.

Democracy allows one to go after everybody. Kinda messy, but tastes good with some relish and some premium hot sauce.

Hope there's copious amounts of same in said bunker.

Posted by: -ftb- | January 28, 2010 11:26 AM | Report abuse

People are crowing about how the Supremes ruling did not change current restrictions on Foreign corporations in elections, but keep in mind that Alito may think Obama was wrong, but other Supremes thought Obama was right as in the desent from the other 4 supremes,,,

but how alito can think the ruling does not change the political dialogue in bad ways speaks to the majority's position as a right wing corporate majority protecting the entrenched interest of corporate american at the expense of individuals

Posted by: EastCoastnLA | January 28, 2010 11:26 AM | Report abuse

Wheezy we are separated at birth.

Posted by: dmd3 | January 28, 2010 11:30 AM | Report abuse

Hmm. I actually thought the most controversial thing was when Obama mentioned that his wife gets embarrassed easily. In my experience you *never* point out that someone gets embarrassed easily, because, you know, it makes the person even more embarrassed. I thought poor Obama was risking banishment to the Lincoln bedroom.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | January 28, 2010 11:30 AM | Report abuse

this current Supreme Majority is from the same political and economic class that provided the changes in the regulatory laws and banking laws that gave banks and investment houses to operate unfettered in the market place,,,, raise credit card interest rates to 25%,, remove bankruptcy law protections for individuals,, give investment banks and regular banks to make all kinds or risky loans to individuals that led to the current economic mess,,

in their world,, what is good for corporate american is good for every individual american,,,

What it really is about,, is serviing and protecting entrenched economic wealth and power,,,,, i

its the last great power grab by a older white male elite in America.....

Posted by: EastCoastnLA | January 28, 2010 11:34 AM | Report abuse

EastCoastnLA - what decisions are you referring to, specifically? I'm on your side, I just have never heard anyone claim that this Supreme Court is responsible for the recent outrageous actions by banks, and I would like to know.

Posted by: Wheezy11 | January 28, 2010 11:36 AM | Report abuse

What a great headline (on MarketWatch):

BREAKING

Starbucks recalls glass water bottles

Posted by: Wheezy11 | January 28, 2010 11:39 AM | Report abuse

I think it's fair ball for a public figure to say what you think a decision will mean, and even to say that you think it's wrong. What is considered to be over the line is to impugn a judge's motives in reaching a decision. Obama didn't do that, although spotlighting the decision in the middle of the SOTU ratchets up the politicization of the court even more.

A closer to the line example is a Nova Scotia lawyer/mayor that has just been reported to their law society (outcome pending) for criticizing a judge's decision, but his comment goes much further towards actually suggesting that the decision was motivated by political affiliation.

http://network.nationalpost.com/np/blogs/fullcomment/archive/2009/12/12/jacob-t-ziegel-you-can-t-say-that-muzzled-lawyers.aspx

The next question is whether a judge is allowed to have or express an opinion about criticism of a decision. Obviously the former; the second is not on because the decision is supposed to speak for itself.

Finally though, I think what Alito was actually mouthing was "hot stew". Mmmm, stew.

Posted by: engelmann | January 28, 2010 11:39 AM | Report abuse


Obama clearly over-stepped his boundaries by chastising SCOTUS on their recent ruling. Especially since what he said was untrue. Check it out. Obama uses his Office as a bully pulpit.

Our founding fathers made a distinction of the separate branches of the government. In this way they would not have one arm of the government strong-arming the decisions another other.

Obama wasn't stating the truth, because the SCOTUS did not rule on foreign corporations last week. That part of the law remains unchanged.

It appears Obama took a page out of Alinsky's Rules for Radicals.

Obama is the one out of line.

Posted by: janet8 | January 28, 2010 11:39 AM | Report abuse

A letter to the editor in the local paper complains that the Media didn't report the demonstration on the Mall a while back by a million tea baggers.

Was it Joel who took a look and failed to spot that vast multitude? Were they all wearing green camo? Dressed up like Birnham Wood? Hiding behind a scrim of gay rights demonstrators?

Had the Members of Congress been even slightly rambunctious last night, Alito would have gone unnoticed.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | January 28, 2010 11:40 AM | Report abuse

My favorite part of the dummypants comment was the line about "the disinterested a political supreme court." While I suspect that what dp meant was "apolitical" I have to say I think he was right the first time.

Posted by: kguy1 | January 28, 2010 11:41 AM | Report abuse

I don't know what economic class you think the Supremes are in, EastCoast. I could cite 27 criticisms of the majority or of the whole bunch, but their economic class wouldn't be among them. You want Joe the Plumber and Sarah Palin on the court?

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | January 28, 2010 11:43 AM | Report abuse

Sam Alito is just another republican dirt bag.

Posted by: jeffc6578 | January 28, 2010 11:46 AM | Report abuse

Bonjour, Boodle, and merci Boodle et Joel for live-blogging last night's Address. I was unable to watch.

Thanks to Ivansad we have a new router and I once again have Internet access, just in time. The schools robo-called at 5:55 a.m. to say no school, our secretary called at 6:30 to say the boss told everyone not to worry about coming to work. I went in then, before the freezing rain began, and was back home by 8:30 (I think they shut down for all but non-essential personnel and I'm certainly not essential). The storm isn't yet as fierce right here as they predicted and we still have power. I have bottles & buckets of water ready, just in case.

Posted by: Ivansmom | January 28, 2010 11:47 AM | Report abuse

We could have had Harriet Miers, Mudge. Wouldn't that have been something?

Posted by: Wheezy11 | January 28, 2010 11:48 AM | Report abuse

I agree with Joel. The entire line in the speech was in your face to the justices. Reacting is normal and Alito's fairly low key response isn't exactly an invitation to settle the matter outside.

Obama was wrong on the point of law as well. The law against foreign corporations weighing in on our politics still stands as Justice Kennedy's opinion states. While there is some ambiguity for American subsidiaries of foreign corporations, I'm certain that politicians of all political stripes will gladly make that explicit in law during any upcoming vote.

It is unfortunate for the administration that this matter takes precedence over a generally well delivered speech.

Posted by: edbyronadams | January 28, 2010 11:52 AM | Report abuse

I know, Wheezy. Generally speaking just about all Supremes have been long-time judges, with many prior years on the bench. That means they've all been making standard govt. salaries their entire careers. You might make a reasonable living as a judge, but their economic status is pretty uniform across the board (unless one of them marries wealth, or happens to have been born into it). The Supreme who comes from outside the bench system is the exception, not the rule. So "economic class" is an absurd distinction.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | January 28, 2010 11:56 AM | Report abuse

I too am charmed by the naivete of the poster who referred to the disinterested apolitical Court. The Court as a whole strives to avoid bias in its rulings but its members are keenly aware of both the public opinion of their actions and the political consequences. I believe the campaign finance decision is more ambiguous than some posters suggest, I guarantee Obama understands precisely what it means, and I thought his decision to call five of the Supremes out on this was extremely interesting.

Odd lagomporph behavior: Beatrice ran about the house like a wild thing this morning, then jumped up on my chair as if to Boodle. She turns out to be passionately fond of clementine slices, which we ration severely.

Posted by: Ivansmom | January 28, 2010 11:57 AM | Report abuse

It is no more unfair for the President to complain about the Supreme Court decision on campaign finance than it would have been to criticize them for the "separate but equal" decision that enshrined Jim Crow for generations. He was, in effect, echoing what the 4 justices said, with great forcefullnes in their dissents. Alito, for his part, was simply saying to himself what he believes, since he went with the majority on the decision.

Posted by: ebtnut | January 28, 2010 11:59 AM | Report abuse

George Will is very happy with that Supreme Court decision.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/01/27/AR2010012703909.html

That alone is reason to make me suspicious of it.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 28, 2010 12:04 PM | Report abuse

Agreed, Ivansmom (re: SCOTUS).

I wonder if Beatrice is reacting to the changes in the atmosphere meteorologically where you are (after all, the elephants and other animals predicted the tsunami in Asia -- it was the stupid human animals who ignored it).

Or ... Beatrice knew that there are clementines in the house.

In either event, she is one smart wabbit!

Posted by: -ftb- | January 28, 2010 12:12 PM | Report abuse

Interesting comment by Diane Rehm during her NPR program this morning, with her empaneled guests, including E.J. Dionne of the Washington Post.

Rehm threw out the comment that she'd very much like to hear or see how the people who have lost jobs or homes reacted to last night's SOTU, not particularly how people on the Hill have responded.

Interestingly, not one of Rehm's three guests--Dionne, Byron York of the Washington Examiner, nor NYT WH correspondent Sheryl Gay Stolberg--took up or responded to this comment, as Rehm immediately pointed out.

Posted by: laloomis | January 28, 2010 12:16 PM | Report abuse

We might be able to cancel the Front Page Alert... *fingers crossed* :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | January 28, 2010 12:19 PM | Report abuse

I'm guessing none of the three lost their home or job, and took her at her word that that was who she wanted to hear from those who did.

Posted by: LostInThought | January 28, 2010 12:25 PM | Report abuse

SCC: ...to hear from -- those who did.

Posted by: LostInThought | January 28, 2010 12:26 PM | Report abuse

SCC: ...to hear from -- those who did.

Posted by: LostInThought | January 28, 2010 12:26 PM | Report abuse

RD, if you're still helping your mother-in-law with bookmarks, suggest thepioneerwoman.com. I've mentioned the Pioneer Woman, Ree Drummond, before. She recently appeared on Bonnie Hunt's show, and put out a pretty good cookbook.

Posted by: Ivansmom | January 28, 2010 12:33 PM | Report abuse

Imom, say it ain't so. I consider you completely essential.

However,staying home with a storm imminent always is a good idea. You have certainly had your share of those this winter.

Posted by: --dr-- | January 28, 2010 12:33 PM | Report abuse

Well, as someone who lost her job in 2009, I thought the SOTU was great. Maybe I'll email Diane Rehm.

Steve Inskeep on NPR had Jon Kyl on this morning, who whined about the SOTU and how political is was. He claimed the American people do not want health care reform. Of course, Inskeep did not challenge any of Kyl's assertions. Drives me crazy. Maybe I'll email him too.

Posted by: seasea1 | January 28, 2010 12:42 PM | Report abuse

Do it, seasea! I'm trying to think of ways, other than the tired old writing to my congresscritters, to be a little more activist. I'm coming up with nothing. I refuse to have anything more to do with Jane Hamsher and her ilk, who vehemently fight the good in favor of the perfect.

Posted by: Wheezy11 | January 28, 2010 12:49 PM | Report abuse

I have nothing to say. Just sheltering from the comments on the other editorials and blogs. I think it is getting worse out there. I may need something alcoholic and strong.

C'est surprenant de voir tant de français dernièrement ici. Je ne me plaindrai pas... il faudrait informer l'académie et l'OLF des nouveaux verbes boudeler et retroboudeler - boodling and backboodling, the last of which I have still have a lot to do. Are the kits every 12 hours now?

Posted by: qgaliana | January 28, 2010 12:54 PM | Report abuse

Every 12 minutes, qgaliana... :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | January 28, 2010 12:56 PM | Report abuse

I think you are missing the entire point:

1) President in formal setting makes a statement.
2) A Justice reacts with "not true", meaning the President did not tell either the truth or the whole truth.

So, either one man is correct. Or they are both correct in some degree. I want to learn more about which it is and why. That way I will know more about each man or clarity to the differing statements.

Posted by: Expat2001 | January 28, 2010 1:04 PM | Report abuse

I appreciate all this Frenchification. The Boy is taking French this year and needs all the practice he can get. I almost said he needs "real-world" practice, but certainement le Boodle rejoices in les amis imaginaire.

Posted by: Ivansmom | January 28, 2010 1:06 PM | Report abuse

Actually, expat, the point of the Kit is not the truth, falsity or ambiguity of either statement. The point is somewhere closer to the wisdom of Obama's choice to criticize the Supremes (regardless of truth), the propriety of Scalia's public reaction during the speech, and the inevitability that this, rather than anything substantive, would be the media focus.

Posted by: Ivansmom | January 28, 2010 1:09 PM | Report abuse

CNN just announced JD Salinger died? Has that been confirmed.

Posted by: dmd3 | January 28, 2010 1:11 PM | Report abuse

Whoops. I hit "submit" too soon. Expat, you may have articulated very well the point you wish to make, or have answered. That is not the point of the Achenblog post above. As I tediously point out in many contexts, it is useless to criticize a piece of writing simply because the author has not written the piece you wish to read. Unless, of course, the author evidently set out intending to write that piece but failed miserably. That does not appear to be the case here.

Posted by: Ivansmom | January 28, 2010 1:12 PM | Report abuse

Welcome to the bunker, qgaliana. It serves a noble and pleasant purpose, and we are all grateful for it.

Joel's been a kit-creating machine this week. It's hard to keep up when he's so busy.

Posted by: slyness | January 28, 2010 1:13 PM | Report abuse

edbyronadams, what makes a corporation foreign?

Corporation have stock shares which anybody can buy. Those stocks are traded all over the world.

Many US corporation headquarter their business in the bahamas to avoid paying taxes, yet have do most of their business in America and profit from it.

Secondly, even if a corporation is American, it doesn't mean it doesn't have foreign interests that are contrary to America's national security.

Walmart is owned by the Walton family and it is a very large importer from China, a country that does not have the safety and quality standards we demand in the USA.

Many dollar store corporations (US owned) buy products that violate US safety standards and remarket them here.

Why do you think that they need more power to influence politics? This flies in the face of a century of law designed to block corporate dominance-- anti-trust laws, etc.

Teddy Roosevelt, a Republican helped bust up monopolies and trusts in America.

For everybody who bleats that the marketplace is better than government, I must say that slavery was marketplace-driven, so is prostitution and human trafficking.

We have forgotten the ancient christian maxim: "Love of money is the root of all evil."


Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | January 28, 2010 1:14 PM | Report abuse

As this was a "State of the Union" address, isn't it on point for the President to advise Congress that this decision has grave implications for this democracy inspired Union?

Even stipulating that the decision is correct does not change this: Electioneering for all candidates for office, including judges, at all levels of government is now ripe for corporate exploitation. Shall this benefit "We the People?"

Posted by: Phil_in_MN | January 28, 2010 1:14 PM | Report abuse

Breaking news on the home page too, dmd...

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/01/28/AR2010012803177.html

Posted by: Scottynuke | January 28, 2010 1:14 PM | Report abuse

I can't believe anyone who has lost their jobs and then their homes that would not want some form of health coverage. I mean isn't that the usual progression of losing everything. But the need to keep ones family safe and healthy is the major issue.

I know that after losing a job,you can be covered by Cobra insurance for up to 8 months i think,but the cost is off the charts.I can see not having health care coverage if you are an individual with no children as I am and did not have health insurance.But when I was looking for employment,I choose a company with good health care coverage over one that paid more with lousy coverage.

Posted by: greenwithenvy | January 28, 2010 1:19 PM | Report abuse

Ivansmom: Wishing you all the best. I hope you continue to have power. We had an ice storm last Feb. and had no power for a week. And, we also have a well and so no water. We do have a fireplace,so we kept warm thanks to #1 son cutting wood in 20 degree weather. No cooking, of course, so I had to go out daily to forage for food where I could find stores with power. Ice storms are no fun.

Posted by: Manon1 | January 28, 2010 1:23 PM | Report abuse

Another death, oh my.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/01/28/AR2010012803177.html?hpid=topnews

I can't say I was a fan, even as a teenager. Was it junior year in high school we had to read Catcher in the Rye?

Posted by: slyness | January 28, 2010 1:30 PM | Report abuse

Not a fan either, slyness. That deaf-mute remark pretty much reminded me why.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | January 28, 2010 1:39 PM | Report abuse

"edbyronadams, what makes a corporation foreign?"

They file incorporation papers in a country other than the USA.

I have some concern about corporations having a freer hand in our election process. We will see how it plays out over the next couple of cycles. OTOH, the specific case that went before the justices begged to be decided this way. A law that gives the FEC the right to suppress what was obviously political speech on the eve of an election because they didn't like the financing of the project just seems wrong to me.

Posted by: edbyronadams | January 28, 2010 1:39 PM | Report abuse

It seems to me that the doctrine of separation of powers doesn't preclude one branch of government from criticizing another as much as it dictates a lawful way for such criticisms to be resolved. Indeed, it appears to me that the system of checks and balances is predicated on the assumption that criticism between the branches will be frequent and intense.

In fact, I would assert that such criticism is am implied duty of the branches. You can't keep in check something that you aren't willing to criticize. The real question is if the mechanisms used by a branch are consistent with those allowed by the Constitution.

Now, if the President had asserted that the Supreme Court ruling was null and void just because he said it was, well, there would be Constitutional issues. But he didn't say that. Rather, he encouraged Congress to do what it is supposed to do and create some appropriate legislation to buffer what he feels is a bad ruling.

Now, whether it was rude or politically unwise for the President to call out the Supreme Court is a valid question. And certainly the substance of the President's criticisms can be legitimately challenged. But to claim that he somehow doesn't have the right to criticize a ruling he doesn't agree with seems absurd.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | January 28, 2010 1:43 PM | Report abuse

I avoided Salinger. My school had a thing against books by authors who were still breathing.

Posted by: MsJS | January 28, 2010 1:47 PM | Report abuse

When I was in high school (in the 1200's (Mudge and I were classmates and he kept dunking my braided pig tails in ink) we had to get written permission from our parents to read Catcher in the Rye. I'm sure I have my dog-eared copy around somewhere. I still also have Franny & Zoey, Raise High the Roof Beams, Carpenters and Seymour, an Introduction. Somewhere. With all those other books I know are they, yet are so hard to find.

But Salinger was some SOB, eh?

Posted by: -ftb- | January 28, 2010 1:51 PM | Report abuse

Two really incredible lines from the Salinger obit:

"In 1999, New Hampshire neighbor Jerry Burt said the author had told him years earlier that he had written at least 15 unpublished books kept locked in a safe at his home."

"Meanwhile, he was refusing interviews, instructing his agent to forward no fan mail and reportedly spending much of his time writing in a cement bunker. Sanity, apparently, could only come through seclusion."

Can you imagine, at least 15 of his books are sitting in a safe somewhere? OMG, OMG.

And slyness, we have to go check that locked backroom in the bunker. Nobody's been in there for years. From time to time I thought I heard a noise in there, but thought I was just hearing the bunker settling.


Posted by: curmudgeon6 | January 28, 2010 1:51 PM | Report abuse

I am much more a fan of Wilbrod's excellent question about what makes a corporation foreign than I am of your legalistic and highly evasive answer, eba. She was onto something.

I would assert further that equating a corporation with a single individual (insofar as both have a right to free speech) is absurd.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | January 28, 2010 1:59 PM | Report abuse

Oh damn; (College Barkian here); CqP was J.D. Salinger. That is the noise in the bunker, Mudge. I was waiting to reveal this later but....whoops, here comes the VLP, ohmigod, HE IS HER EXECUTOR? The estate goes to he Humane Society of Canada with special attention to uglified doggies....help.help help...he is slobbering, and leaving tapiolca pearls every where....he insisted on Korean bubble tea last night....help yelp yelp

911: Get me the poodle protection society stat.....

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | January 28, 2010 1:59 PM | Report abuse

Hmmm...that would be kewl, Mudge, and would explain the unexpected consumption of toilet paper in the bunker's men's room. Have you missed any comestibles also? Beer? Pretzels?

Posted by: slyness | January 28, 2010 2:01 PM | Report abuse

I read Catcher in the Rye when I was 9. My uncle was in Vietnam and it was in his room at the Grandfrostrents house. Grandma Frostbitten objected, but by then I was done having raced through it in an afternoon. Re-read at 30ish, somehow escaping it as an assignment. At 9 it was the best book ever written, even better than the dozens of biographies I'd read of Florence Nightingale and Clara Barton. At 30 it was such a slog I only finished it out of obligation to a book group.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | January 28, 2010 2:02 PM | Report abuse

LOL, CollegeBarkian! Are you okay? Are you sure? I'll get the firefighters and police officers to take VLP home now.

Whew, that was close!

Yanno, there's a small safe in the back righthand corner of the bunker pantry. I've never paid a bit of attention to it, it's mostly in the dark even on bright days. (Gotta ask the shop steward for funds to pay window washers, I know the budget is tight, but jeez, the windows are dirty!)

Anybody got 411 on the safe? Know the combination? Maybe we'll find something valuable in it...

Posted by: slyness | January 28, 2010 2:05 PM | Report abuse

Sorry about the legalistic explanation but it is the law we are talking about. As far as corporations being seen as individuals as far as the law is concerned, I think you have to take that up with a court seated in 1896. Again legalistic, again law.

As I stated, I'm not overjoyed with this decision but unlike others, I'm uncertain that it will have a dramatic effect on the elective process. If it does, the Congress will act in ways that a court will have to go out on a limb, against public opinion, to reverse. They rarely do that.

My own tongue in cheek solution is to pass a law that states that all candidates must wear NASCAR style jumpsuits with the logos of all sponsors displayed whenever they campaign.

Posted by: edbyronadams | January 28, 2010 2:10 PM | Report abuse

VLP is running in the alley HE HAS MY PASS(poodle)PORT. How he will look like my dark curly unclipped self, I do not know.

I will curl up on stash of TP -- I may shred if the firefighters stop for donuts at too many bakers....

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | January 28, 2010 2:11 PM | Report abuse

a law student chiding a supreme court justice.
and of course, the media is on the
side of the student.
don't forget,
obama's forte'
race and law'
reparations...
I forget what his thesis was on'
because it has never been released.

Posted by: simonsays1 | January 28, 2010 2:20 PM | Report abuse

I read Catcher in the Rye when I was a teenager, but have no specific memories of it now. I suppose I should read it again. I seem to have gone to a school that had no required reading lists, at least not that I can remember. So I read what my older sister and brother had, as well as my parents (who never objected to anything we read).

Posted by: seasea1 | January 28, 2010 2:22 PM | Report abuse

OMG, slyness! I just opened the safe back there and found some of those novels CqP/Salinger wrote! You won't believe some of them:

Catcher in the Snausages

Raise High the Woof Beam, Chihuahuas, and Shar-peis: An Introduction

Franny and Rover

For Esme With Love and Kibbles and Bits

Just Before the War With the Huskies

Potty Mouth and Brown My Eyes

A Perfect Day for Schnauzerfish

Although I must say, I begin to wonder if College Barkian and VLP haven't been engaging in some sort of literary hoax...these don't sound like the kinds of novels CqP would write...

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | January 28, 2010 2:24 PM | Report abuse

I read Catcher In The Rye for the first time in a single sitting one night after I had just finished high school. It was good, but no Slaughterhouse Five.

The second time was a few years ago when it was assigned to my son for school. Either I or it hadn't aged well.

And ever since I saw that Mel Gibson movie, I've been very suspicious of that maroon tattered paperback on my 'literary' shelf. I know they're watching.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 28, 2010 2:25 PM | Report abuse

This darn VLP has escaped again!
He won't run for long. He just can't.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | January 28, 2010 2:26 PM | Report abuse

DO NOT GO IN THE BACKROOM OF THE BUNKER.

The bunker's WC was occupied last week and I, um, went in the backroom.

Sorry.

Posted by: Gomer144 | January 28, 2010 2:28 PM | Report abuse

I suggest that if you have to lock yourself into a underground concrete bunker to keep your sanity, it's too late.

Present company excepted.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 28, 2010 2:29 PM | Report abuse

Still here. It got significantly darker and the precipitation increased; y'all cross your fingers for us.

Beatrice, usually happy eating the basket in which her food and whatnot is stored, has taken to rummaging in it for the yogurt drop package, which she's chewing through. I am constantly surprised at the actions possible for a creature with no hands, let alone opposable thumbs.

Posted by: Ivansmom | January 28, 2010 2:29 PM | Report abuse

While checking out high schools for my eldest I noted the Grade 9 English reading list at one included Catcher in the Rye, 1984, Brave New world, Lord of the Flies, and Edgar Allen Poe short stories. I made a mental note to consider a suicide watch that year if he wound up attending.

Money isn't really the root of all evil, but it makes for one heck of a lever if you have enough of it. And it doesn't take evil to be indifferent to whose skull is the fulcrum or where the application point is being jammed, just sufficient distance. Corprorations can afford an awful lot of distance. That supreme court judgement seems to lack, well, judgement. Aside from the uncomfortable notion that legal persons can acquire the rights of an individual people, it strikes me that they have turned a blind eye to the reality that free speech is not necessarily accurate speech. Mass media and modern wealth, which didn't exist back in the founding days of the constitution, will amplify the effects of every exageration and innacuracy. Legal persons are also fairly easy to create or dissolve if they get into trouble (e.g. slander). I'm looking for a lot of numbered subsidiaries appearing around election time. All in all no real upside to this interpretation and a lot of potential downside. Hopefully I'm wrong and I'm missing some nuance but this smells like an idea that is a century or two overripe.

I think Obama was overdue and well within his rights to comment on this. It's not like he can overturn the ruling, wheras the SCOTUS itself, I thought, has the power to invalidate unconstitutional legislation, repudiating the congress. The congress definitely needs to sow up some gaping holes here. Alito is a non issue - 'not true' can easily be interpreted as 'I disagree' which obviously he does.

PS Sorry for any disturbing imagery.

Posted by: qgaliana | January 28, 2010 2:34 PM | Report abuse

Unnecessary point of clarification: Obama was a law professor, not a student, and taught classes which directly dealt with Supreme Court jurisprudence.

Had to clear that up. Sorry. I guess I'm a sucker for trolls.

I liked CinRye at the time, also many of the other novels. It has been a long long time since I read them. I don't want to try and re-create those moments.

Catch-22, on the other hand, is good no matter how many times I read it, over a span of decades.

I dunno, College Barkian. You're a poodle. I say you can take the VLP.

Posted by: Ivansmom | January 28, 2010 2:35 PM | Report abuse

It seems the Canucki invasion has no regard for sexual orientation:

http://gawker.com/5458715/the-gay-canadian-menace

Posted by: yellojkt | January 28, 2010 2:35 PM | Report abuse

The presidents comments on the courts ruling were not true. If anyone has read the complete ruling what Barack's interpretation to the public is, and what the ruling actually says are two different definitions. He is free to critize, but not to misinterpret. The Judge was quite correct is his disbelief of the comment.

Posted by: jimf4 | January 28, 2010 2:44 PM | Report abuse

>"And ever since I saw that Mel Gibson movie, I've been very suspicious of that maroon tattered paperback on my 'literary' shelf. I know they're watching."

The New Testament? Or are we talking about a different movie?

Posted by: engelmann | January 28, 2010 2:45 PM | Report abuse

If President Obama is so concerned about campaign finance reform, why did Candidate Obama break his agreement with McCain on accepting matching funds in the general election?.. Could it have anything to do with how fast he was accumulating funds for the general election?

Posted by: dtf1970 | January 28, 2010 2:46 PM | Report abuse

I agree, Mudge, those aren't titles I would expect from CqP...hmmm, hoaxes, you say?

Gomer, I thought you cleaned up after yourself! You didn't have to tell the whole world, yanno!

Posted by: slyness | January 28, 2010 2:50 PM | Report abuse

engelmann,
If you had seen the movie (and a lot of people didn't), you would know.

Hint: My wife insists we see every Julia Roberts movie, even the bad ones. Especially the bad ones.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 28, 2010 2:53 PM | Report abuse

Yes, and he did it from the people themselves. I donated myself.

Both presidental candidates had campaign finance issues.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | January 28, 2010 2:54 PM | Report abuse

I'll fall for the troll.

My father the borderline birther likes to make a big deal that Obama's college records, theses, law journal review articles, etc. have never been released. Well, neither have mine. I don't know what sort of smoking gun these documents are supposed to reveal.

I've seem Dubya's alleged transcript and he was no Phi Beta Kappa candidate. And yet he got elected. Twice.

So, simonsays, if there is something in Obama's record that would sway you to his side, let him know and perhaps he would release it. But if you are just fishing for fuel for more conspiracy theories and misconceptions, nothing he can do will dissuade you, so why bother.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 28, 2010 2:59 PM | Report abuse

what part of not true, is true! Ahhhh!, Obama bin laden, what a guy!!

Posted by: drummerman11 | January 28, 2010 3:00 PM | Report abuse

I wish Obamba would look directly at the televised audience more often rather than side to side reading the teleprompters. You know what they say about people who can't look you in the eye. Just sayin....

Posted by: Windy3 | January 28, 2010 3:01 PM | Report abuse

Leaving aside the merits of the decision, Obama TWICE stated that this decision would allow foreign corporations to pump money into American political campaigns. It was this statement to which Alito responded "not true." No foreigner, individual or corporate, can contribute to American political campaigns and this decision did not change that fact and so Alito is correct.

Moreover, if Obama were not a purported Constitutional Law scholar, one could excuse this as an innocent mistake on his part. But, since he is, the only rational conclusion is that he deliberately LIED in order to rabble rouse. And judging by some of the comments above, he has been singularly effective in misleading and firing up the rabble.

As such, I would rate him right up there with Hugo Chavez or Julius Caesar in his potential to threaten a Constitutional order. So where is Brutus, the honorable man, or even Joe Wilson, the clown, when they are really needed? One Justice mumbling under his breath is all we can muster in defense of our Constitution?

Posted by: CincinnatiRIck | January 28, 2010 3:02 PM | Report abuse

Here's an idea:

Amendment XXVIII:

Section 1. The enumeration in the Constitution of certain rights retained by the people shall not be construed to afford these rights to entities other than human beings.
Section 2. The Congress shall have the power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

Posted by: tharmon | January 28, 2010 3:03 PM | Report abuse

Going back to an early comment, Dred Scott was the decision that found once a slave, always a slave. So I suspect the poster meant the opposite of his position.

Posted by: RHouck | January 28, 2010 3:03 PM | Report abuse

SP...Obama That was a real typo!!!

Posted by: Windy3 | January 28, 2010 3:03 PM | Report abuse

Going back to an early comment, Dred Scott was the decision that found once a slave, always a slave. So I suspect the poster meant the opposite of his position.

Posted by: RHouck | January 28, 2010 3:03 PM | Report abuse

simonsays1 says, basically, that "black folk" all think alike and are interested only in exactly the same issues. Golly, that smells like a little teeny whiff of racism.

Posted by: ScienceTim | January 28, 2010 3:07 PM | Report abuse

You know, after watching the SOTU I am in *such* a happier mood. I realize that the same obstructionist barriers that were there Tuesday are still there today. But it was awfully nice to be reminded that the President of the United States is both smart and wise.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | January 28, 2010 3:09 PM | Report abuse

Alas, there are many who will never forgive our President for noticing that our formerly, most trusted Judicial Institution, has abundantly defecated upon it's most solemn charter to defend and protect our Constitution from the powerful internal and global enemies of our Freedom. They'll just have to chew harder!

Although the POTUS did an excellent job of defining the state of the Union in all respects, I was disappointed the he did not grab each member of the "Mussolini Court" by the nose, and kick each of them in the pants.

Like "Dread Scott", these most dreadful judicials on the Mussolini Court, have simultaneously created a vast and unexpected Constitutional crisis while forever destroying their own credibility as an apolitical institution of government. The Mussolini Court now has less credibility and political impartiality than a rural Justice Court!

How could we have ever guessed that this deviant partisan court would oneday transfer its' allegiance from the RNC (2000 election) to current and future multinational corporations?

Because of the gravity of the crime against the Constitution committed by a gang of 5 right wing judicial outlaws on our Supreme Court, two critical action pages are now available:

Action Page: Corporations Are NOT The People http://www.peaceteam.net/action/pnum1029.php

Action Page: Impeach The Supreme Court 5 http://www.peaceteam.net/action/pnum1030.php

By any fair legal definition, the decision yesterday by The Supreme Court 5 constitutes nothing less than an act of TREASON against the people of the United States.

"I wouldn't call it fascism exactly, but a political system nominally controlled by an irresponsible, dumbed down electorate who are manipulated by dishonest, cynical, controlled mass media that dispense the propaganda of a corrupt political establishment can hardly be described as democracy either." -- Edward Zehr - (1936-2001) Columnist

Posted by: MrTruth | January 28, 2010 3:10 PM | Report abuse

All of Salinger's New Yorker short stories have been placed outside the paywall as some sort of literary flower arrangement.

http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/backissues/2010/01/postscript-j-d-salinger.html

Posted by: yellojkt | January 28, 2010 3:12 PM | Report abuse

"No foreigner, individual or corporate, can contribute to American political campaigns. . . ." I think this is the precise point Obama referenced. This isn't set in stone; it isn't part of the Constitution. It is only as true as statute makes it, and that in turn is only as reliable as its most recent Supreme Court interpretation. What Obama is suggesting is that the ramifications of the recent campaign finance decision include the possibility of foriegn corporate contribution to individual U.S. political campaigns. This may or may not be true. Adopting a premise that foreign money has not up to this point been allowed doesn't refute the claim that it may yet be. Put another way, this is the beginning of the argument against the President's statement. It is not itself a counter-argument, and certainly not a discussion ender.

Posted by: Ivansmom | January 28, 2010 3:24 PM | Report abuse

I think Boodlers and Obama are PARTIALLY right about what will come out of the SCOTUS ruling, re: foreign companies and campaign stuff.

Lord, I do not feel like reading deeply today on SCOTUSBLOG but here's a link recommended by some smart people:
http://www.scotusblog.com/2010/01/the-new-world-of-campaign-finance-law/#more-15621

I read Catcher at around 14 and it fired me up. I re-read it at 22 or so, and developed a real dislike of the protagonist. I picked it up a couple of years ago and just put it down after 10 pages.

Posted by: Jumper1 | January 28, 2010 3:27 PM | Report abuse

Myth and fact... Obama and fund raising... (oh, were McCain's hands clean?)

I add, when folks bend the meaning of words and specialize in mis-remembering...

From the Jed Report
Sat Jun 28, 2:06 PM Pacific • posted by Jed Lewison

The Myth of John McCain's Fundraising Disadvantage

A few days ago, I showed that despite John McCain's widely praised decision to accept public funding, about half of his general election budget will be funded privately with donations funneled through the Republican National Committee.

Even though the public finance system nominally limits McCain's post-convention spending to the $84 million he'll receive in public funds, those limits are relatively meaningless thanks to loopholes that allow him to spend RNC money as if it were his own.

When I wrote about this, I thought I was flagging something that the McCain campaign would have wanted to keep under wraps to avoid charges of hypocrisy. After all, individuals can give up to $28,500 to the RNC, more than twelve times as much as the $2,300 an individual is allowed to give to Obama's general election campaign.

It turns out that I was completely wrong -- for weeks now the McCain campaign has been publicly boasting that McCain-RNC fundraising activities are joint operations to raise money for McCain's general election campaign.

In fact, when McCain campaign manager Rick Davis gave a strategy briefing to supporters earlier this month, he explicitly noted that as far as the general election is concerned, there is no meaningful distinction between McCain campaign fundraising and RNC fundraising.

Davis argued -- correctly -- that to get a true understanding of who is leading the fundraising battle, one must look at the combined totals of each candidate and their party.

In other words, it's not the John McCain 2008 committee versus the Obama for America committee, it's McCain+RNC versus Obama+DNC.

And when you look at the numbers that way, the world turns upside down: John McCain is leading the fundraising battle, and it's not even close.

As you can see from this chart, John McCain and the RNC not only outraised Barack Obama and the DNC by more than 50% in May -- $45.9 million to $28.1 million -- they are also sitting on nearly twice as much cash-on-hand, $85.1 million to $47.1 million.

The bottom-line here is that the media have spun up a David and Goliath narrative about fundraising this campaign. They are partially right -- it is a David and Goliath battle, but they've got the roles reversed.

No matter what happened in the primary season, so far in the general election, it's John McCain whose got the fundraising advantage now.

And it's Barack Obama who is the underdog.

my note: Obama didn't take Lobbyist money.

Posted by: russianthistle | January 28, 2010 3:27 PM | Report abuse

I have not yet seen the speech, I have only read the lengthy excerpts posted by Joel, but those provide enough information to counter certain specious claims.

One particular hobby-horse that has been trotted out repeatedly to argue that Obama is either stupid or a liar, are the conjoined claims that (a) Alito's disagreement constitutes an infallible judgment, so that Obama is automatically factually incorrect (like 4 of the SC justices); and (b) that foreign corporations clearly are still disbarred from contributing campaign money, so Obama must be either constitutionally ignorant, or an evil wicked liar.

These arguments are not disingenuous but they are, in fact, both stupid and wrong.

(1) Even a SC Justice can be incorrect on a matter of opinion. Unlike the pope, SC Justices are not infallible when speaking in their 'papal' capacity; but, they can only be overruled by a later SC decision. SC rulings are, in fact, matters of opinion -- if they were matters of fact, they could be decided without recourse to the SC for interpretation in the context of the Constitution. The SC exists because not all decisions are clearly right or wrong (although not all decisions are ambiguous, either).

(2) Obama did not say "foreign corporations." He said "foreign interests." Lots of corporations have huge financial involvements with other countries, many of them countries that are noticeably not devoted to our best interests.

(3) The ruling had nothing to do with making campaign contributions. Limits in this arena remain the same as before. This is not a subtle point. The ruling is about corporate advertising and the kind and the timing of "speech" undertaken by corporations on their own. The nature of the ruling is such that any corporate entity now is free to issue an advertisement for or against any candidate that they wish, so long as they do it themselves -- they cannot simply give money to a candidate to do the same thing, they have to spend it themselves. But there is, apparently, nothing to keep a corporate entity from colluding with a campaign to craft the content of that speech or to conveniently time it to best fulfill the needs of a campaign. Lots of foreign-owned corporations (and note that ownership does not connote location of incorporation) buy advertising in the US all the time. Foreign citizens are perfectly within their rights to free political speech. By equating the quasi-personhood status of corporate entities with actual persons and thereby conferring (or 'recognizing', if you agree with the decision) the legal rights of actual personhood for purposes of political speech, this decision does, in fact, open the door for foreign interests to directly influence US politics.

Posted by: ScienceTim | January 28, 2010 3:30 PM | Report abuse

Thank you, ScienceTim. Excellently said.

Posted by: Ivansmom | January 28, 2010 3:41 PM | Report abuse

Thanks Tim.
Another source I'm not going to read now is:
http://www.scotuswiki.com/index.php?title=Citizens_United_v._Federal_Election_Commission

Posted by: Jumper1 | January 28, 2010 3:42 PM | Report abuse

Let's contextualize this... I am supposed to worry about how honorable John McCain is when he was the man who couldn't remember how many houses he had?

I think I can take very little of the whining from those who have no issue grandstanding for the ultra wealthy in a time that they also name call about those losing their homes by the thousands.

McCain, when he isn't being pulled by the lobbyists or playing politics with people's lives may be a very fine person.

I'm thinking the man is a bit old to understand basic recession economics middle class struggles, much less living as a poor person in America. I think that the country made a very wise decision when it elected Obama over McCain. All these posters with names like TRUTH or REALITY, etc, boy. What we all have to do is remember that there are clear and important lessons to be learned from the collapse of the economy during the last two years of the Bush administration. Gramm-o-nomics came back to haunt us, as did the fact that the our last recovery was referred to as the jobless-recovery.

One would hope that, instead of an obsession of trying to prove that Obama is so evil, spending a bit of energy on helping the nation improve the lot of the middle class would be helpful. We have to do more than just providing a middle class tax cut, which we have done so far.

Posted by: russianthistle | January 28, 2010 3:44 PM | Report abuse

Alito is as every conservative be: an unprincipled self-centered cowardly creature.
He knows very clearly that he did a huge damage to democracy ruling in favor of moneyed openly buying American politicians, but he didn't expect the President would put him in the bullseye; when Obama mentioned that SCOTUS had fouled out, Alito wanted to hid under the chair, all what he could do instead was whine a "wasn't me, is not true, is not true".
What a future we have with this apatriotic court.

Posted by: SouthStar | January 28, 2010 3:46 PM | Report abuse

somebody wake up clarence thomas..he is missing all the fun

Posted by: rmcgolden | January 28, 2010 3:55 PM | Report abuse

Kennedy was the swing vote. The four libs and four cons voted like they always do. By the way, Obama was factually incorrect in his statement regarding the decision but what else is new. He has lied about earmarks, lobbyists, voted for every spending bill as a Senator, and everything...

And what about the loony bin that is Joel Achenbach's brain?

Posted by: hz9604 | January 28, 2010 4:00 PM | Report abuse

Yep, back on the Front Page...

*turning the BunkerSignal on again*

Posted by: Scottynuke | January 28, 2010 4:01 PM | Report abuse

Obama misrepresented the Supreme Court decision. As a self-professer "Constitutional scholar," this was inexcusable.
He had also made much of the GOP's posture against his policies, yet he himself had participated in filibusters as a Senator, and his voting record clearly shows that he voted consistently against any and all Republican legislation and nominees.
He spoke against, participated in filibusters against, and voted against both Roberts and Alito, because he didn't agree with them philosophically, yet holds this to be an unjustifiable position if held by Republicans.

There was a steady deluge of distortions of fact by the President for 71 long minutes in SOTU. He's entitled to his own opinions, but not his own facts. Slick weasel words by a Harvard lawyer don't serve the country well.
"You lie" by presenting half-truths and distortions, just as surely as you do when you say something that's just "wrong." Nobody can call the President out on every one of those misrepresentations. He continues to get away it because they are far too numerous. Some are said often enough that the gullible have begun to believe them.
The fact-checking on this SOTU would be as long as a book if it were done fairly and accurately.
Failing that, it's time to start laughing at him. We did. Thank God we weren't playing one of those SOTU drinking games!

Posted by: parkbench | January 28, 2010 4:01 PM | Report abuse

Salinger was a bum in real life, a misogynist and a creep. Holden was an unattractive character (to my mind), but, but...

Salinger was a superb stylist, and I think American letters were the poorer for his having withdrawn.

I'm rather with Gene Weingarten on the art/artist question. I don't really care who or what the artist is as a person, I do care about the quality of the product. And I can't fault Salinger there. So I'm sorry he's gone.

Posted by: Yoki | January 28, 2010 4:03 PM | Report abuse

hz9604, I refer you to my 3:30 posting; you are incorrect about Obama being factually incorrect. The rest if your posting is true up through word number 19 ('way'), after which it is nearly entirely demonstrably false, including the "the's" (of which there are only two, actually).

Posted by: ScienceTim | January 28, 2010 4:05 PM | Report abuse

parkbench, what was not true in Obama's speech? Do you have a difference of opinion with the President or did he say something that wasn't "true?"

Self-professor? what mean you?

Posted by: russianthistle | January 28, 2010 4:06 PM | Report abuse

Hi kids -

Read the title of the Kit and wondered, "How many mouths does Alito have? How many are true, and how many aren't? And how does one tell the difference?"

But that's just me.

bc

Posted by: -bc- | January 28, 2010 4:09 PM | Report abuse

bc, what was that old "I hate Bush" line...

How can you tell for sure that George Bush is telling a lie?

His lips are moving.

Posted by: russianthistle | January 28, 2010 4:12 PM | Report abuse

@parkbench: "As a self-professer "Constitutional scholar," this was inexcusable." I assume you mean "self-professed."

(1) He is not self-professed. He was externally professed, by the University of Chicago law school, for whom he was an adjunct faculty member, aka "a professor."

(2) He did not misrepresent the SC decision. I refer you to my 3:30 posting, which discusses this point.

(3) The filibuster exists for good reasons, and it is not shameful to filibuster, per se. Like so many useful things, it can be abused. That is the nature of the criticism of the Senate Republicans.

(4) You claim that the SotU address was 71 minutes of lies and misrepresentations, too many to fact-check all of them. Fine, I'll take you at your word about them being too numerous. Please present us with just one, with specific proofs showing it to be false or misleading. Your opinion is not sufficient -- please provide actual evidence, citations, whatever.

Posted by: ScienceTim | January 28, 2010 4:13 PM | Report abuse

I'm struck that Obama would have made a stellar prime minister in a parliamentary democracy. Too bad the presidency has no serious leverage on that upper house.

I have some US civics questions, pardon my foreigness.

I've only recently understood that filibustering requires zero effort - no debate, not even pointless speeches. Just a refusal to go to a vote. From online comments I read it seems that most Americans don't realise this either. I'm wondering what the reaction will be when they do.

On the other hand why can't the majority just pummel the floor with motions (cloture is it?) to go to a vote until someone on the minority has to go the washroom or something? Reverse filibuster so to speak. Don't the 40 dissenters have to be there at least for that?

Posted by: qgaliana | January 28, 2010 4:17 PM | Report abuse

Ah, Joel... thanks for clearing things up for us rubes who need you to tell us what to think.

All nine members of SCOTUS should have stood up and shouted "LIAR" at Odumbo" instead of politely listening as our child-king Executive trashed a co-equal branch of our government. Then they should have walked out. Getting hit by a political brick hard between the eyes is the only thing this narcissist may notice.

Posted by: rethman | January 28, 2010 4:18 PM | Report abuse

What is rude for the Supreme Court to keep politicizing their decisions. It started when they appointed George Bush to be President. Maybe Clarence Thomas will leave - he is useless anyway.

Posted by: brit89 | January 28, 2010 4:23 PM | Report abuse

An aside for something more likeable:

How to Find a Habitable Planet by James Kasting, a new PUP book.

http://press.princeton.edu/titles/9132.html

Kasting's a professor of geosciences at Penn State. He must suddenly be in demand as an expert on Pandora-like planets.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | January 28, 2010 4:23 PM | Report abuse

Completely agreeing with Ivansmom and SciTim. That a true and renown "constitutional scholar" would deliberately "get it wrong" is laughable.

But, then, knowing how to read and write is elitist.

Is the Bunker ready for the cocktail hour and dinner?

Posted by: -ftb- | January 28, 2010 4:24 PM | Report abuse

The Supreme Court just keeps covering itself with glory....

Posted by: nadinem | January 28, 2010 4:25 PM | Report abuse

@rethman: what is your evidence of lying? The one point addressed to the SC justices was, in point of fact, 100% accurate on the facts. Once again, as for several before you, I refer you to my posting at 3:30 (which received approval from an actual lawyer!). 4 of the SCOTUS disagreed with the majority and agreed with Obama. Why should they defame him, as you suggest?

qgaliana, I thought of trying to answer your filibuster question, then thought I should probably learn more from Wikipedia. Then it occurred to me that I should just make the same suggestion to you, to Google it, and I should get my nose back to the grindstone.

Posted by: ScienceTim | January 28, 2010 4:29 PM | Report abuse

Amazing. Obama taught the Constitution part-time (and was offered full-time tenured status) at one of the most prestigious law schools in the country, and he's ridiculed for pointing out problems with a 5-4 court decision.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | January 28, 2010 4:30 PM | Report abuse

brit89 does make the point that this court is the anti-stare decisis group. Although, to be fair, it wasn't this court.

I guess in the Gore case, they stated that this wasn't an interpretation of law, but just a "call."

Like a put out at second base.

Posted by: russianthistle | January 28, 2010 4:31 PM | Report abuse

If the bunker signal needs a graphic:
http://www.pbase.com/bmcmorrow/image/66587693

SciTim I dub thee Sir Timoteus Malleus Trolli*.

*title void in any real world nations

Posted by: qgaliana | January 28, 2010 4:33 PM | Report abuse

Dave, he ain't alone, either. I wonder if the odd posters know that the Justices take speaking engagements at which they offer up their opinions on any number of political opinions.

Seeing as the case wasn't heading to the court until Roberts reached out and grabbed it, that should be an indicator of intent.

Posted by: russianthistle | January 28, 2010 4:35 PM | Report abuse

parkbench, you stated as fact that Obama participated in filibusters against Roberts and Alito. I give you this from Wikipedia:

BEGIN QUOTE
Although there has been a long history of Supreme Court nominees being rejected, only one Supreme Court nominee has ever been filibustered. In 1968, Chief Justice nominee Abe Fortas was filibustered and withdrew after a short period.

During the summer of 2005, it was assumed that the Democrats would filibuster any Supreme Court nominee who would change the ideological composition of the court. Initially, this conjecture seemed to be borne out when conservative jurist John Roberts was renominated to replace conservative Chief Justice Rehnquist. The confirmation process went relatively smoothly with no threat of a filibuster. Later, however, the hypothesis was disproved. When Bush chose another conservative appellate judge, Samuel Alito, to replace moderate Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, opponents of Alito could not generate enough votes to prevent cloture from being invoked on his nomination. Very soon afterward, he was successfully confirmed.

END QUOTE

So, Obama may have wanted to participate in the attempt at filibuster against Alito, I don't know - could find no info. However, there was no actual filibuster against either, and none attempted against Roberts.

Why would you try to mislead about this?

Posted by: Wheezy11 | January 28, 2010 4:35 PM | Report abuse

I am once again in awe of the rational, logical quality of the arguments of the regular Boodlers. (Tim, I-Mom, you know I'm talking about you.) The "neener, neener" quality of today's visitors' postings, not so much. Oh, that's right...we're just a bunch of edjamucated smarty-pants liberals.

I don't believe the Prez was lying when he said that this recession began 24 months ago, or that the previous administration turned a 200 billion dollar budget surplus into a trillion-plus dollar deficit, or...oh, you get my drift. And what part of "foreigners can invest in corporations, who are now permitted to air their own ads favoring or opposing a candidate" escapes the logic of said visitors?

Posted by: Raysmom | January 28, 2010 4:38 PM | Report abuse

parkbench, you stated as fact that Obama participated in filibusters against Roberts and Alito. I give you this from Wikipedia:

BEGIN QUOTE
Although there has been a long history of Supreme Court nominees being rejected, only one Supreme Court nominee has ever been filibustered. In 1968, Chief Justice nominee Abe Fortas was filibustered and withdrew after a short period.

During the summer of 2005, it was assumed that the Democrats would filibuster any Supreme Court nominee who would change the ideological composition of the court. Initially, this conjecture seemed to be borne out when conservative jurist John Roberts was renominated to replace conservative Chief Justice Rehnquist. The confirmation process went relatively smoothly with no threat of a filibuster. Later, however, the hypothesis was disproved. When Bush chose another conservative appellate judge, Samuel Alito, to replace moderate Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, opponents of Alito could not generate enough votes to prevent cloture from being invoked on his nomination. Very soon afterward, he was successfully confirmed.

END QUOTE

So, Obama may have wanted to participate in the attempt at filibuster against Alito, I don't know - could find no info. However, there was no actual filibuster against either, and none attempted against Roberts.

Why would you try to mislead about this?

Posted by: Wheezy11 | January 28, 2010 4:40 PM | Report abuse

Sorry for the double post.

Posted by: Wheezy11 | January 28, 2010 4:41 PM | Report abuse

I just walked up to the mailbox. The storm truly arrived this afternoon. Fortunately what I walked through looked to me like sleet. There's lots of ice pellets now covering the ground. Sleet is better than freezing rain, because it doesn't accumulate on the power lines in quite the same way. I also checked the lines to our house, which are good so far. We may be lucky. They just announced school is closed tomorrow too.

I love weather jargon. This is from the latest NWC warning: "FAST ANIMATIONS OF KFDR REFLECTIVITY DATA AND STORM RELATIVE
VELOCITY SUGGEST A MESOSCALE CONVECTIVE VORTICITY MAXIMA WAS
FORMING ABOUT 50 MILES SOUTH OF WICHITA FALLS. THIS CIRCULATION WAS
ASSOCIATED WITH THE NORTHERN EXTENT OF THE CONVECTIVE LINE THAT
EXTENDS INTO CENTRAL TEXAS.
IF THIS EVOLUTION CONTINUES IT WILL HELP TO ENHANCE VERTICAL MOTION
AND PRECIPITATION RATES FROM SOUTHWEST OKLAHOMA INTO THEN INTO
CENTRAL OKLAHOMA OVER THE NEXT FEW HOURS. THE RESULT WOULD BE AN
INCREASE IN GLAZING RATES."

Posted by: Ivansmom | January 28, 2010 4:41 PM | Report abuse

vorticity_maxima would make a good boodle handle

Posted by: frostbitten1 | January 28, 2010 4:46 PM | Report abuse

I used to have vorticity_maxima. But then I got some special cream and now I'm all better.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | January 28, 2010 4:54 PM | Report abuse

SciTim, I beg to differ.

"With all due deference to separation of powers, last week the Supreme Court reversed a century of law that, I believe, will open the floodgates for special interests, including foreign corporations, to spend without limit in our elections."

He clearly said "foreign corporations" not foreign interests.

www.investorwords.com/2040/foreign_corporation.html

Foreign corporation is indeed defined as one which is incorporated in another country.

That said, foreign ownership through stock holdings of domestic corporations and domestic subsidiaries of foreign corporations now reside in a murky area into which Congress will now jump. The Supreme Court may wish they had never ruled on this thing since the potential cases seem to go on without end.

Does anyone defend the rightness of the FEC keeping the Hillary movie under wraps during the election season as reasonable under the First?

Posted by: edbyronadams | January 28, 2010 4:54 PM | Report abuse

Ed, if McCain wanted the Hillary movie shown so badly, why didn't he just pay for it? Or, since it was during the primaries, I'm assuming, why didn't Obama or Romney pay for it?

Posted by: Wheezy11 | January 28, 2010 5:08 PM | Report abuse

Wheezy, it isn't a question of who needs to pay for it. Somebody did. The question is whether the proscription because of the way it was produced made it legally suppressible free speech. I just don't see how that squares with the First.

BTW, I'm certain the movie was a hatchet job with little real value. However that shouldn't be suppressed either.

Posted by: edbyronadams | January 28, 2010 5:13 PM | Report abuse

Edbyronadams, are you asking about the legality or the rightness of withholding the Hillary movie?

For the former, no idea, although I would think it depends on the producers of the movie, the content, and the phrasing of the law. As for rightness I would again say it depends, but even without seeing it I would lean towards withhold and extend the same restriction to say, Michael Moore, if he wanted to pop something out in mid campaign. Money doesn't facilitate discourse as much as it just ups the volume to drown out opponents.

But that's more of a Canadian perspective and we're used to very restrictive financing rules here. Our political parties are constantly broke and seeing the effects of money on american politics makes me want to keep them that way. Honestly, this decision looks to me as sensible as claiming a right to drive yourself home after chugging a bottle of vodka. Except they've granted the bartender the right to forcefeed you the vodka if he so desires.

Posted by: qgaliana | January 28, 2010 5:13 PM | Report abuse

Yes.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | January 28, 2010 5:14 PM | Report abuse

Just to clarify, we're tight here on third party campaign expenditures too just so we're talking about the same thing.

Posted by: qgaliana | January 28, 2010 5:15 PM | Report abuse

My optical glazing rate is increasing in proportion to the length of time spent on discussion of campaign financing.

Posted by: engelmann | January 28, 2010 5:19 PM | Report abuse

Bosco

Posted by: russianthistle | January 28, 2010 5:21 PM | Report abuse

Sorry, just had flashback to simpler times.

Posted by: russianthistle | January 28, 2010 5:22 PM | Report abuse

Too bad those cheesy political commercials have any effect at all. If everyone was smarter they'd do real research instead of basing their views on junk the evil Mad Men come up with. I hate commercials.

Posted by: Jumper1 | January 28, 2010 5:25 PM | Report abuse

Actually in this context the question seems to be precisely who paid for it. The Supremes majority have indeed cast this as a pure free speech issue. However, this is only one way to frame the issue, and it runs counter to previous law which emphasized a different question. To view this entirely as a simple debate over speech is simplistic.

The "free speech" claim assumes this is the only issue raised. "Not true." The case can also be viewed as a nexus of conflict between free speech and the restrictions placed on U.S. campaign financing to ensure that more powerful or wealthy interests cannot dominate an election cycle. The question is whether allowing a particular type of entity to pay for content clearly intended to influence a campaign subverts the election process and the citizen rights intended to be protected by the First Amendment.

The issue is not whether the content should be suppressed. Clearly, had any number of other individuals or entities chosen to finance "Hillary" it would have been aired without restraint. The issue is whether, under the specific circumstances of a presidential campaign, this particular entity could finance the movie. Clear legal precedent said no. A narrow majority of the Supremes decided differently. There is a great deal of room to debate this conclusion.

Posted by: Ivansmom | January 28, 2010 5:28 PM | Report abuse

I-mom, I'm going to reveal the depths of my ignorance here, but if the Supremes say that corporations have the same legal right to free speech that individuals do, shouldn't they (the corporations) be subject to the same limits that individuals are ($2,500, isn't it?)? How many individuals does one corporation count as? And are those actual individuals who make up the corporation - if so, does the amount they have already donated as individuals subtract from the amount the corporation is allowed to spend?

Sorry if this is idiotic.

Posted by: Wheezy11 | January 28, 2010 5:36 PM | Report abuse

Sorry, edBa. I'm enjoying your discussion and thoughtful posts and don't mean to pick on you. The sleet is pouring down like rain and I'm a little tense. At such times, as the Boy often reminds me, I get nit-picky.

I guess nit-picky comes from lice, huh? No lice here, it is just an expression.

Whoops. That was nit-picky, wasn't it. Insidious.

Posted by: Ivansmom | January 28, 2010 5:36 PM | Report abuse

That's not idiotic at all, Wheezy, it's kinda fun. The short answer is that it depends on how the legislation is written. If there's something specific in there about corporate vs. individual contributions in another section, that would probably apply.

Of course, the interesting part about this movie was that it didn't, as I imperfectly understand it, overtly shill for any particular candidate. [Feel free to correct me, anyone, if I'm wrong.] It just discouraged people from voting for Hillary. This was clearly speech, financed by a particular group with an agenda, intended to influence the outcome of an election. Also clearly, it was financed by an entity prohibited by the law (at that time) from spending large sums to influence elections. However, there's an argument that it cannot be designated a contribution to any particular candidate's campaign. Nudge nudge wink wink.

Posted by: Ivansmom | January 28, 2010 5:42 PM | Report abuse

Since I have been reading about the decision, did any of you hear that Justice Thomas issued a separate, partially concurring brief, in which he wanted the decision to be that campaign finance disclosure laws are eliminated. He said it was because of the retribution against some donors to Prop 8 in California. No one agreed with him. I'm no fan of Thomas, but sometimes Open Secrets seems creepy to me. There must be some better way to regulate campaign finances.

Posted by: Wheezy11 | January 28, 2010 5:43 PM | Report abuse

It's funny how the Repubs were so all-fired geared up to fight Hillary, wasn't it? They were so sure she would be the candidate, and they wanted that face-off, because they thought they would win it. In retrospect, I'm glad they didn't get to have the battle they wanted to have.

Posted by: Wheezy11 | January 28, 2010 5:47 PM | Report abuse

I do not understand the conservatives. They seem to be saying two things. Is the GOP supposed to be the party of small government and little man populism, a la tea baggers or big business, corporations are "people" with rights country clubbers? It seems that they want to take both positions at once.

Posted by: hansenthered | January 28, 2010 5:47 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for your thoughtful answer, I-mom. Hope you keep your power on. We're getting the storm after you, but it's going to be milder for us.

Posted by: Wheezy11 | January 28, 2010 6:10 PM | Report abuse

Wildly off-topic, and I apologize if someone already linked to this, but I was greatly amused by:

"Locations of Ancient Woolworths Stores Follow Precise Geometrical Pattern"

http://www.standupmaths.com/woolworths/

Posted by: bobsewell | January 28, 2010 6:12 PM | Report abuse

Obama got his facts wrong -- again. His inexperience is showing in a manner that will cripple his credibility within his own party.

On his calling out of the Supreme Court, even the NYT call him (Obama) out.

http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/01/27/justice-alitos-reaction/

Obama is going to have to learn how to lead, and quit being a part time cheerleader!!

It would have been better for all had he allowed American Idol to have taken the time slot on Jan 27!! NOT A GOOD NIGHT FOR OBAMA!

Posted by: wheeljc | January 28, 2010 6:12 PM | Report abuse

WOW!! Obama did not adhere to one of his campaign promises to bring more civility to Washington did he??

More questions are arising daily on his sheer ability to lead this nation. Good theater? B Movie at best. Good SOTU Speech? Sophomoric at best!

Posted by: wheeljc | January 28, 2010 6:17 PM | Report abuse

Obama probably paid Alito to mouth that. The whole point of the speech was to portray the Elitist in chief ("anyone can own a PICKUP TRUCK!) as a populist. As I watched the dems standing and cheering this remark, it looked like the making of a lynching. If I were a justice, I'd skip this political theatre next year.

Posted by: ericnestor | January 28, 2010 6:19 PM | Report abuse

I love the way people will equate a specific pundit who is carried by a paper with the paper itself. Alas, most papers carry a variety of pundits, not all of whom speak with the same voice.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | January 28, 2010 6:21 PM | Report abuse

I stand in awe of your mad skills Ivansmom.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | January 28, 2010 6:23 PM | Report abuse

Oh, Ivansmom. I want to be you when I grow up.

Posted by: Yoki | January 28, 2010 6:29 PM | Report abuse

Time for an off topic post and some GOOD NEWS in a sea of struggle and strife

Girl Child, sung by Namibian school children about a bicycle program that helps them get to and fro school

BEEP Bikes for Education Empowerment Program
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B1RTmvQ_QT8

Brought to you by the Chicago-based World Bike Relief program.
They are gearing up to help Haiti; WBR provided bicycles after the Tsunami. Bikes
increase carrying capacity, five times as much as compared to walking;

increase the distance a person can travel by four times compared to walking;

save time, approximately three hours for every ten miles traveled compared to walking

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | January 28, 2010 6:30 PM | Report abuse

Loved your 5:21, Weed. Just wanted you to know I was paying attention (I was driving home, tho').

Posted by: Curmudgeon5 | January 28, 2010 6:42 PM | Report abuse

I liked that Woolworths article Bob S., but it was slightly ruined by the overly barbed sting at the end.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | January 28, 2010 6:52 PM | Report abuse

From the President's remark I don't think he has read the complete opinion. I do not support it but I have read it. I hope Obama hasn't read it completely because if he has I now know why he ran for President, he's a terrible lawyer.

Posted by: staterighter | January 28, 2010 6:52 PM | Report abuse

Thank you, RD & Yoki. When I grow up, can I be you two?

In a leap of faith I started the NYT no-knead bread dough. I'm betting we'll have power in 20 or so hours. I hope it isn't the hubris talking. I also poured a nice glass of red wine. The nits are receding.

I keep forgetting that I was at work before 7 this morning and finished a case before spending the afternoon on pleadings and transcripts (and thank goodness the Boodle). I think I'll stop Work for the day. As opposed to work, you understand, which is never done.

Posted by: Ivansmom | January 28, 2010 6:56 PM | Report abuse

I've been trying to catch up with the afternoon's activity and have only gotten more confused about the Alioto thing.

For example, there's a political action committee called Sony Pictures Entertainment PAC, headquartered in Culver City, CA. It's a part of Sony Corporation of America HQ'ed in New York City, which is part of Sony Corporation HQ'ed in Tokyo. Tokyo is located in Japan, which from the perspective of the USA would be considered a foreign country.

Sony Pictures Entertainment PAC donates money to American political campaigns. Has done so for years.

By corporate association, the Sony Corporation HQ'ed in Tokyo donates money to American political campaigns.

So here is where I am confused. I thought Obama meant that this sort of PAC could potentially now donate whatever amount it wants to an American political campaign as a result of the SCOTUS decision. There are postings above that seem to contradict this.

What dots do I need to connect to untangle this?

Posted by: MsJS | January 28, 2010 6:59 PM | Report abuse

Ivansmom, just now our local weatherguy in DC, NBC-4's Bob Ryan, just mentioned the weather in Oklahoma being miserable, cold, snow, sleet, etc., and then said...it's coming here.

Posted by: Curmudgeon5 | January 28, 2010 6:59 PM | Report abuse

Alito's resignation should be demanded. Or, he should stand up and publicly apologize to the President. This was a judge who has clearly gone onto the Supremes with a conservative agenda. He should either apologize, or resign, and on this one, President Obama may have had some inkling that this guy could turn out this performance. So be it.
Let this clown go.

Posted by: zennheadd | January 28, 2010 7:00 PM | Report abuse

Hee hee, Mudge. Misery loves company.

MsJS, no dots necessary. Your question is excellent. The missing link is that the particular section of legislation to which the Supremes opinion referred does not apply to PACs. [Again, I'm fairly sure of this but feel free to correct me if I'm wrong, anyone.]

I really like your example, because it clearly shows the influence a foreign corporation, or foriegn interest, already routinely exerts in U.S. elections. In this age of global corporate interests, the campaign finance laws which seek to keep election influence "local" (read: U.S.) may be fighting a losing battle.

Posted by: Ivansmom | January 28, 2010 7:06 PM | Report abuse


Alas, the First says the Congress shall pass no law that abridges free speech, not no law that abridges free speech except when other compelling public interests mean they can abridge it.

This fight isn't about candidate funding. It is about issue advocacy, which often is a candidate's wolf in sheep's clothing. The limits on individual candidate contributions still hold.

The problem, more than financing sources, that McCain Feingold was trying to address is suppressing attack ads just before election day when there remains little time for a candidate to refute erroneous charges. How anyone can do that without suppressing free speech rights is a challenge. I might note that the President's attack on the Supremes last night was not dissimilar.

Posted by: edbyronadams | January 28, 2010 7:07 PM | Report abuse

The 1st amendment protects everyone, not just U.S. citizens. Now that the Supremes have determined that U.S. corporations can contribute to political campaigns, the only way to prevent foreign corporations from making contributions is to amend the constitution.

Posted by: westcoastdog | January 28, 2010 7:10 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, Alito's being re-elected today. Perfectly parallel.

BTW, If you have to pay for it, why is it called free speech?


Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | January 28, 2010 7:11 PM | Report abuse

I tried to take SciTim's advice and look up the filibuster. As near as I can tell any senator can now invoke it just by saying he's doing it and then debate stops and they move on to another item. It's impossible to resume work on the bill until no senator is invoking the filibuster, or 60 votes get scraped together and they invoke cloture. Except that cloture severely restricts debate as well, so the bill doesn't really get discussed. Cloture can only be voted on the next day of the motion so it's really at best a once a day thing. Is that about right?

Imom, I was also interested by your posts, assuming (a stretch) I understood... you're saying the SC, instead of deciding on the right of this single group, chose to give a blanket ruling of free speech for any corporation? If that's the case isn't it going to be hard for congress to pass any campaign advertising limits without getting another SCOTUS ruling to overturn this one?

Yes, I'm feeling inquisitive this evening.

Posted by: qgaliana | January 28, 2010 7:11 PM | Report abuse

Boy, some folks are really ill-informed.

Posted by: russianthistle | January 28, 2010 7:17 PM | Report abuse

Yes, qgalliana, the Supremes opinion went to this entire category of entities. You have some great questions tonight.

I was about to write that in a case like this the Supremes will generally look at the category rather than the individual party entity - unless, of course, the individual party entity can or may be distinguished from other similarly situated parties, and the point of law at issue allows such distinction, or the Court is trying to narrowly focus the issue, or the Court doesn't want to broaden the ruling or many other things. Then I decided to not even write the sentence. This explanation is why my Federal Courts students were constantly asking me why the Court would reach particular results in what appeared to be similar cases. I'd tell them, look at what the Court doesn't say, consider the historical context, what result might the Court have intended etc. Decades from now teachers will see patterns in these Court cases which appear to us very murky.

You're absolutely right about the filibuster, and it is widely not understood. People still think it means the lone Senator standing on the floor, punch-drunk with fatigue, talking until he's hoarse. If only. I think they should return to that model.

Posted by: Ivansmom | January 28, 2010 7:19 PM | Report abuse

When I was driving home just now, All Things Considered had the Politifact guy on, and they played this clip (among others) for him to comment on. My ears pricked up, because it wasn't exactly as in the transcript. The transcript says, "Last week, the Supreme Court reversed a century of law to open the floodgates for special interests -- including foreign corporations -- to spend without limit in our elections." But in the audio clip, there was an "I believe" in the middle. Something like "... in a decision that I believe will open the floodgates..." I'm too lazy to go to youtube for the exact quote right now, but I swear it was there. With the "I believe," what he's saying is not, "this is the intention of the decision," but "this is what I think will result from this decision." And he's in a position to have an educated opinion about potential consequences. Now, the fact that the transcript was released without the "I believe" in there suggests that he didn't consider it critical. And either way we can all discuss what we think the likely consequences of the decision will be. Still, if the question is whether what he said is true, the phrase makes a difference.

Posted by: -bia- | January 28, 2010 7:26 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, I-mom. Let me try again.

Could Sony Pictures Entertainment, a subsidiary of a Japanese corporation, now run gobs of ads specifically favoring a particular candidate as a result of the SCOTUS decision? No money would be given directly to the candidate's campaign fund, but the candidate would be the beneficiary of the ads.

Posted by: MsJS | January 28, 2010 7:29 PM | Report abuse

qgalliana, here's a classic but heartfelt lawyer answer. Before the recent decision, I would have said Sony Pictures Entertainment (not a PAC, but the corporate entity) was almost certainly prohibited from such activity. After the decision, I would say that arguably there is a very good possibility Sony Pictures Entertainment could engage in such activity without fear of breaking the law.

Posted by: Ivansmom | January 28, 2010 7:40 PM | Report abuse

That was MsJs, not me, but thanks for thinking of me. :-)

Lots of us baby birds chirping with their mouths open for info tonight.

Posted by: qgaliana | January 28, 2010 7:45 PM | Report abuse

Thank you, I-mom.

A question for the Canadian boodlers. Can the Canadian subsidiaries of U.S. corporations either donate to political campaigns or run ads on behalf of a candidate?

Posted by: MsJS | January 28, 2010 7:46 PM | Report abuse

Ed I appreciate your deferral to the first amendment - free speech is sacrosant in almost every western democracy. But since I philosophically don't see the equivalence between a legal person and a person under a constitution (actually I would disagree with this) any further reasoning just doesn't track for me.

I 100% agree that it is about issue advocacy. I just don't think restricting advocacy groups (including political parties) constrains the rights of individual advocates. Given that they usually use giant budgets for mass campaigns of superficial and often demeaning advertising, I would argue it is better for democracy that they be restricted. In fact now that I think of it a lot of these advocacy groups seem to have a similar psychological effect to an anonymous internet handle. Civility and honesty just go out the window (pointing at troll spoor further up the blog).

Posted by: qgaliana | January 28, 2010 7:52 PM | Report abuse

Sometimes I read certain punky comments and think the writer essentially has some idea so skewed from reality they think the President's job is to be like an actor on a sitcom; a Skipper on their deluded psychic TV show.

Posted by: Jumper1 | January 28, 2010 8:04 PM | Report abuse

edbyronadams makes a good point that I, myself, flubbed my understanding of what Obama said while chiding others for it. I apologize on that. He definitely did say "foreign corporations."

Justice Stevens made a good point in his dissent to the SC majority opinion, that the actual facts of the case did not require the sweeping new precedent of the majority opinion. His contention is that the majority sought to have the case argued in such a way that it would be feasible to establish a new precedent to overturn existing law.

I'm concerned about the final decision and have lots of opinions (some more well-informed than others) on the effects of this decision. I am less prepared to claim clear thinking on the specific case that led to the present situation. The movie is clearly a hatchet job and is at least not too picky about factual truth in saying horrible things about Hillary Clinton. I am not able to set aside my personal political opinions and distaste for the movie. The claim of political speech allows a lot of latitude for making statements that are only tenuously related to truth. I am deeply troubled by protecting vile defamation of such a nature and broadcasting it with the powerful bullhorn of unrestricted big money. On the other hand, I'm concerned about the slippery-slope issues of blocking such speech. It seems that Stevens feels the specific case could have been decided on narrow grounds without overruling precedent. I don't know what that argument would have been.

Posted by: ScienceTim | January 28, 2010 8:05 PM | Report abuse

Judges Alito and Roberts stood and clapped for President Bush a breach of etiquette. So is it any surprise Alito would openly express his political leanings during President Obama's State of the Union Address? They are there for corporate America, not for you and me.

Posted by: MNUSA | January 28, 2010 8:12 PM | Report abuse

MsJs, I believe it's about 1000$ per candidate donation. Advertising is 3k per district and 150k nationally.

From Elections Canada:
Certain corporations and trade unions are not eligible to make a contribution:
a corporation that does not carry on business in Canada
a trade union that does not hold bargaining rights for employees in Canada
a corporation that is wholly and directly owned by the Crown, and its wholly owned subsidiary
a corporation that receives more than 50 percent of its funding from the federal government

The ownership doesn't seem to be an issue. With the tight limits it's not a huge factor.

Posted by: qgaliana | January 28, 2010 8:13 PM | Report abuse

See this link for the Canadian legal history. No matter how clear it is in our own brain, there is plenty to debate. There were a lot of court challenges in this country as well, which is probably as it should be.
http://www.elections.ca/content.asp?section=pol&document=thiinf&dir=thi&lang=e&textonly=false

Posted by: qgaliana | January 28, 2010 8:16 PM | Report abuse

Joe Wilson was right!!!!

Posted by: richardch_2 | January 28, 2010 8:17 PM | Report abuse

@zennheadd: "Alito's resignation should be demanded. Or, he should stand up and publicly apologize to the President. This was a judge who has clearly gone onto the Supremes with a conservative agenda."

Um. This is clearly crazy talk. If SC Justices were not permitted to disagree with the President, that would be the end of the independent judiciary. I think the decision that instigated all this discussion is highly troubling, but I'm not prepared to throw away the Constitution because of it. The injury it does to preserving the national experiment in government by, for, and of the people is exactly why the decision is troubling.

Posted by: ScienceTim | January 28, 2010 8:19 PM | Report abuse

Thank you, I-mom and SciTim, for that clear explication of the decision and the precedent it sets. I hope it will be changed in the future. We know there is precedence for that occurring.

We are back from Winterfeast, and I wished for all of you. The local fine dining establishments come together with a dish each to share with the diners, $25 a person. It is so worth the money. Duck and pasta, pheasant pot pie, lamb stew, beef bourguignon, jambalaya, shrimp salad, gumbo, scotch eggs, pulled pork, beef brisket, oh my, the food went on and on. And then there was dessert...I stopped with a tiny piece of almond cheesecake and a wonderful tiramisu.

Be careful out there, Ivansmom. We expect that weather to reach us tomorrow afternoon. It will make for an exciting weekend, with 12-15 inches of snow predicted for the high country.

Posted by: slyness | January 28, 2010 8:21 PM | Report abuse

Wheezy, in regard to your earlier question regarding the $2,000 limit on individual contributions: as I understand it, this only applies to contributions made directly to a candidate's campaign. Since the existing ban on corporate contributions directly to candidates is unaffected by this decision, the limit doesn't come into play.

Campaign finance law prior to the decision prohibited corporate funds from being spent on any form of advocacy that directly endorses or opposes a political candidate, which is why the Hillary movie was in question, since it had been financed in part with corporate funds. Corporations were free to spend whatever they wanted to support or oppose a particular issue (as opposed to candidate ). Individuals have always had the right to spend as much as they wanted in support of a candidate -- as long as the money was not given directly to the campaign, or a political entity like the RNC or DNC (in which case the limit is, I believe, $28,000). Bill Gates has always had the right to spend a billion dollars of his own money, if he chose, on TV ads directly attacking a candidate. Now corporations can do that, too.

Somewhere I saw a suggestion that corporate CEO's should be required to sign off at the end of any ad they help pay for: "I'm John Q. Plutocrat, CEO of Bilkmore Corporation, and I sponsored this message." If more than one company helped pay for it, they all have to do it. This would, at least, prevent companies from hiding behind names like Citizens United for a Better America.

Posted by: rashomon | January 28, 2010 8:34 PM | Report abuse

Thank you all for clarifying and for the Canadian info. It really does help.

Posted by: MsJS | January 28, 2010 8:38 PM | Report abuse

A couple of quick notes - I, too, [erp , gggrrrrr] - believe the SC ruling is opening a Pandora's box regarding politics and the media.

Wait 'till James Cameron produces a high-tech $600M 3-D epic Campaign Ad, and releases it about three weeks before an election.

bc

Posted by: -bc- | January 28, 2010 8:55 PM | Report abuse

I suspect that the issue of what constitutes a foreign corporation is going to be a huge snake's nest in regard to the way this decision actually plays out. Is any company incorporated in the U.S. eligible? In that case, there is nothing to stop a foreign citizen (or government?) from starting a company in the U.S. and indulging in a little corporate political bribery or blackmail. Is any company owned, at least in part, by foreign citizens barred? That means just about any publicly traded company. Will there be a threshold (say, 50% foreign ownership)? Then what's to stop a non-U.S. interest from buying 49% of a company and finding a willing (and well-compensated) U.S. citizen to front for 2%, thereby obtaining control.

Basically, it looks like anyone who claims that this doesn't open the door for foreign money in U.S. campaigns is fooling themselves.

Posted by: rashomon | January 28, 2010 8:55 PM | Report abuse

"My father the borderline birther likes to make a big deal that Obama's college records, theses, law journal review articles, etc. have never been released. Well, neither have mine."

Made me laugh, yello!

Posted by: nellie4 | January 28, 2010 8:57 PM | Report abuse

The Constitution and Bill of Rights follow lock-step in the "liberal" train of thought that the founders enunciated in our Declaration of Independence. Our rights are "inalienable" and come from the "Creator", not from some government edict, political negotiation or piece of paper.

This includes our "freedom of speech." The First Amendment does not "give" us anything we did not already have (whether by providence or nature). It merely restricts the government from infringing on that right. And what the government cannot do to an individual, it cannot do to a group of individuals organized as a corporation, union, church or whatever. Consider the consequences of a view that the Bill of Rights only applies to individuals. The government would be able to illegally search and seize records and property of any group. They could deny any group or organization due process of law. They could deny groups equal protection of the law. They could quarter troops in any building owned by a group (including a Quaker Meeting House). etc. etc. etc. Have you had enough of the absurdity?

And the SCOTUS properly ruled that the government may not restrict that right from groups of individuals (however organized) any more than they can restrict it for an individual unless (as in an individual crying "fire" in a crowded theater) there is a compelling public interest and need to do so. The justices were unanimous in so finding. Where the majority and minority split was on whether there was a "compelling" public interest.

For a President to harrangue and demonize a Court over such a fine and arguable legal distinction (and throw in the red herring of foreign influence) smacks of despotism and violation of the spirit of the separation of powers (which explains his ad lib demurral in that regard). Perhaps a pang of conscience?

When asked what form of government the Constitutional Convention had given us, Franklin responded: "A republic, if you can keep it." Had the incoherent idiot, Bush, said something of this sort, he could be forgiven. But what excuse is there for an ostensible "Constitutional scholar" to have done so?

The argument that we be extremely reticent in equating any sort of political speech to yelling "fire" in a crowded theater, seems compelling.
I would go further to suggest that such an equation is false and malicious. None of us knows when we will be the goose and when we will be the gander. So let us be conscientious in sparing the sauce.

Posted by: CincinnatiRIck | January 28, 2010 9:00 PM | Report abuse

Exactly. 30000 corporations, cheaply set, could all say no to NO coal for $2000 each.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | January 28, 2010 9:00 PM | Report abuse

I logged in at the library today and was going to post a "Hey everybody, I'm at the library" But couldn't remember any of my passwords.

Haven't used Windoze in nine months, and it is amazing how much I've already forgotten. Kept trying to use Mac short cut keystrokes and getting the complete wrong response. yikes

And I hate the touchpad even more than the trackball. It kept trying to scroll when I wanted to move the cursor, and when it did move it moved millimeters when I wanted it to move centimeters.

Posted by: omnigood | January 28, 2010 9:05 PM | Report abuse

The Truthful State of the Union Speech Obama should have given:


I am the Commander in Chief with No Military experience, I am the Chief Executive with No Executive experience, I have No business experience, NO economic experience, NO financial experience, No Foreign affair experience, No mayor, NO governor, Nothing. And I surround myself with Tax Cheats, Chicago thugs, incompetents, radical loony perverted Czars and has Democrat accomplices in congress that can't even READ the trillion dollar pork packages and Obama/Pelosi Government Crap Care they put their X on and inflict on Americans. I quadrupled the deficit in months which hasn't stimulated a flea, just added to the already bloated government that will keep Americans in financial bondage for the unforeseeable future. My future polices of Cap and Trade and other onerous AGW hoax policies will further kill businesses especially small businesses and destroy the American dream and surrender the sovereignty of the United States. And my idea of redistribution of wealth is insane and has the mind­­­set of a Chicago thug. Tingly legged Obama voters, you out did yourselves.
Unemployment is at 10% (17.5% if you include those that stopped looking and those with temporary jobs) and RISING, Taxes on EVERYBODY will be rising(just watch, I mean EVERYBODY), Businesses in financial straits...
Yes America, I failed you miserably. I am just a Neophyte socialist with no experience. The truth is, I am an empty suit....
With this confession of truth, I have to follow in the footsteps of that other Great Liberal , Lyndon Baines Johnson', "I shall not seek, and I will not accept, the nomination of my party for another term as your president."

Standing O.............Standing O....... for he's a jolly good failure for he's a jolly good failure.........Standing O........Standing O....... ..

Posted by: sophic | January 28, 2010 9:07 PM | Report abuse

Sigh.

Posted by: seasea1 | January 28, 2010 9:14 PM | Report abuse

*memo to self: stay the hell out of Cincinnati*

Posted by: Curmudgeon5 | January 28, 2010 9:17 PM | Report abuse

One of the great triumphs of the U.S Declaration of Independence, Constitution and political system is that so many of us who live under U.S. gummint rule absolutely take its bedrock premises for granted. Our Founders said the People were endowed with certain inalienable rights. Far be it from me to disagree. I do note, however, that those rights had to that point been markedly observed in the breach by all previous known "civilized" governments.

That is, there were in the governments of countries in Europe and Asia no rights to life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness, or property for that matter, much less free speech. This is particularly true of those many societies at the time which relied in whole or in part on religious authority. The Creator of those societies wasn't much interested in social equality or freedoms.

In a sense, these rights were created out of whole cloth when the country was formed. Their success is best measured, I think, by the fact that they have transcended their own documents: people now firmly believe that these rights are grounded in some mystical foundation separate from any political system.

Posted by: Ivansmom | January 28, 2010 9:17 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, seasea. I know.

*sigh*

Posted by: Curmudgeon5 | January 28, 2010 9:18 PM | Report abuse

No! No! I object!
Shirley not loony.

Posted by: Boko999 | January 28, 2010 9:22 PM | Report abuse

Obama broke his promise to accept public campaign financing, then he ran the most expensive campaign in history. Now he claims to be a champion of campaign finance reform.

Posted by: pkhenry | January 28, 2010 9:27 PM | Report abuse

BTW [grrrrrrrrowllll], I think it's going to be one of *those* nightssssss. Dag, I didn't check the calendar for the phases of the Moon and cleaned the house from top to bottommmmm [ArrrroooooooOOOOOOOOOooooo...] Glad I stocked up on the Resolve Pet Strength carpet cleaner. Ar-ar-ar--Arrooooooooooo!!!

Oops. Gotta go.
It's starting to get, er, *hairy* around herrrrrrrreeee!

[Wonder if Benico del Toro has been thinking of changing his last name to "Lobo?"]

Arrooooo! Ar-ar-ar-arrrrRRRRRRROOOOOOOOOOOOO!

bc

Posted by: -bc- | January 28, 2010 9:30 PM | Report abuse

*memo to self: stay the hell out of Cincinnati*

Posted by: Curmudgeon5 | January 28, 2010 9:17 PM
--------------

Only those ignorant of this nation's history would ASSume that Cincinnati was a geographical reference.

Posted by: CincinnatiRIck | January 28, 2010 9:38 PM | Report abuse

That's not what I saw him silently mouth. I distinctly saw him mouthing "Obama's right; what an utterly foolish decision we made, standing up for rich corporation rights. Please forgive me."
Most of the Court members sitting there agreed with the president.

Posted by: dudh | January 28, 2010 9:42 PM | Report abuse

And a beautiful moon it is bc, fresh dusting of snow here for the moonlight to bounce off.

Posted by: dmd3 | January 28, 2010 9:44 PM | Report abuse

Cincy, are you a bowl of chili, or just a roamin' dictator?

bc

Posted by: -bc- | January 28, 2010 9:46 PM | Report abuse

I'm glad Obama is president. It's so nice for a change to be able to listen to a speech by the chief executive and not feel a rising tide of panic, frustration and disgust. I went to sleep peacefully after viewing the state of the union address last night. I'm certainly not satisfied with the state of our union, and I'm sure Obama isn't either. But I believe he is doing what he can to move us in the right direction.

I'm sorry the president hasn't been able to achieve his initial goals regarding the illegal prison camp in Guantanamo Bay. I spent my lunch hour today reading a Harpers article about three prisoners who were reported to have committed suicide; later evidence has come to light that points to torture and homicide. I mention it here as my small contribution to the Amnesty International cause. Political prisoners have very little hope except to the extent that ordinary citizens are willing to agitate for their rights.

http://harpers.org/archive/2010/01/hbc-90006368

Posted by: kbertocci | January 28, 2010 9:51 PM | Report abuse

dmd (Grrrrowlllll.... grrrr...) it's....

a...beyouoooooooOOOOOOOOOOOOtiful night for a fast romp through the woods and the hood...

...mmmmust try to... stay out of ...trashcans... ar-ar-ar-arooooOOOOOOOO... and keep the territory marrrrrrrrrrking to a minimum (or have another bowl of waterrrrrrrRRRRRRRRR rrrrrrready....)

Ah-hooooooooooooooOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

G'night, all.

Hope yourrrrrr evening's as interrrrrrresting as mine.
And that there's less to clean up afterwards.

bc

Posted by: -bc- | January 28, 2010 9:56 PM | Report abuse

It's hard to describe the Citizens United decision and the effect it will have in a sentence or two, but President Obama did as well as anyone could. The decision is a disaster and was correctly described as one.

It would be nice if Alito, Roberts, Scalia, and Thomas were to realize that their jobs are to construe the Constitution rather than using it as a means to implement their conservative agendas.

Posted by: esch | January 28, 2010 9:58 PM | Report abuse

Careful there, bc, and have fun.

I really enjoyed the proposed bunker troll crossing sign, somewhere up in the Boodle.

The weather is relatively quiet now, but we expect snow starting about 6 am. I fervently hope to still be asleep at that point. It has been a long and interesting day, so I'm taking some tea and toddling off. Buenos gnocchis, y'all, vaya con queso and fondue.

Posted by: Ivansmom | January 28, 2010 9:59 PM | Report abuse

kb,
I like having a grown-up in charge too. Even if he is finding dealing with 535 self-entitled little children a little trying.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 28, 2010 10:01 PM | Report abuse

I say Cincy is a Red.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 28, 2010 10:03 PM | Report abuse

BC, I think Rick is looking for some Aequi to smite. Or maybe Sabines or even some Samnites. Mudge may have known some back in the day.

On second thought I think Ohio is more likely...

Posted by: qgaliana | January 28, 2010 10:07 PM | Report abuse

"FIVE CORPORATIONS, IN CHARGE OF FORTY SIX NATIONS, YOU GOT BLOOD ON YOUR HANDS, GOD MADE MAN AND MAN MADE THE DEVIL, YOU GOT BLOOD ON YOUR HANDS."
From the rock band, Killing Joke.

Posted by: kubrickstan | January 28, 2010 10:09 PM | Report abuse

What's all the fuss if reporters had done their homework they would have known Alito is not unqualified for the Job but he sided with Corporations all his career. He's so grateful he's still sending out thank you notes to the Corps., KKK and fake Churches. Alito and Roberts asked for a salary raise from taxpayers during this Recession and they didn't get it. Now they got that salary increase from the Corporations. If Alito new the Constitution like Obama does he would have known it starts with We the People.

Posted by: qqbDEyZW | January 28, 2010 10:10 PM | Report abuse

The reference is to the society of the Cincinnati, and he's wrong about rights being "natural", Rousseau nothwithstanding.

Second, even if these rights were natural, corporations are not natural persons, pure and simple.

Back to natural rights: government actually is obligated to protect the rights of its citizens not to be: murdered, enslaved, extorted, coerced, so forth.

Our natural state is a 120 member (or fewer) hunter-gather-farmer tribe, where collective opinion and the fear of social ostracism is enough to keep people in line. Nobody had freedom of speech to lip the elders, and most people kept their thoughts inside their heads.

Everybody knew everybody's reputation and nobody could con anybody without repercussions.

Social pressure alone is insufficent to govern a town of five hundred, let alone a country of 300 million. Adding to that, farmers needed stable individual property rights.

Things called laws, police, and government become necessary to preserve order and life and limb, as well as trade-- distribution of food, the right not to have thousands of citizens die from somebody poisoning the water upstream, so forth.

When people have a more equal society, they tend to have a more equal form of government that offers protection to all.

When power and wealth is concentrated in a few, the government is set up to safeguard that privilege, at the expense of most of that society.

The Greeks knew this and designed their society accordingly. The Romans didn't. They had two classes-- the patricians, and the plebians. They went from a republic to a dictatorship to Empire, only giving the plebians rights because of the threat of riots and chaos.

This is why we won our independence from Britian, because of second-class citizen treatment.

Yet, many in the Continental army wanted to make George Washington King-- because that's how they were raised to think of government. He refused.

Concentrating powers in the hands of a few (who often inherit it) is no way to safeguard the rights of the many.

It's even worse when "the few" aren't natural persons.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | January 28, 2010 10:19 PM | Report abuse

Libs and their fake outrage and sudden righteousness, what a joke....LOL

Corporations contribute equally to Lib and Dem parties. Get over it. Barry looked stupid, ill-informed or simply lied. Most likely the latter.

The biggest threat, the problem, the most corrupt of all lobbyists, the one in bed with Barry are the Unions. S.E.I.U. coughed up $60M to Barry's campaign....see that as a problem? No, of course not. Barry bends America over and lets S.E.I.U. have their way with her in secret bribes and payoffs. They crafted the corrupt sham of a health care bill and the stimulus scam. Barry should be read his Miranda Rights for allowing America to be raped by the Union Thugs.

Why no outrage Libs? Jerks.


Posted by: jas7751 | January 28, 2010 10:28 PM | Report abuse

@ CincinnatiRick said: "Only those ignorant of this nation's history would ASSume that Cincinnati was a geographical reference."

Son, sometimes you just gotta shut up and pay attention BEFORE you stick your foot in your mouth. Only someone ignorant of this Boodle's history would presume to school Curmudgeon on American history or references to ancient Roman citizen-soldiers.

@esch said: "It would be nice if Alito, Roberts, Scalia, and Thomas were to realize that their jobs are to construe the Constitution rather than using it as a means to implement their conservative agendas."

You know, I agree with you on the fundamental issue, but still -- I think that "construe" doesn't mean what you think it means. Implementing one's political philosophy within the confines of an agreed-upon code is PRECISELY what construal means.

Posted by: ScienceTim | January 28, 2010 10:31 PM | Report abuse

You know, if one were conspiracy-minded, one could not help but be intrigued by the fact that the acronym of Citizens United for a Better America is CUBA. So, CUBA is interested in influencing American electoral politics. Huh.

Posted by: ScienceTim | January 28, 2010 10:33 PM | Report abuse

My father was an union vice president and he was far from a corrupt thug.

You've been listening to too many fairy tales.

Unions are worker-organized and run for the benefit of their members, not for profit. They exist to safeguard their workers against abuses by their employers, who operated under excessively flexible laws granting them great power and limited liability in negotiations otherwise.

You have a 40-hour workweek? Thank unions. I could go on and on.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eight-hour_day#United_States

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | January 28, 2010 10:44 PM | Report abuse

I ASSumed it was because you bore a passing resemblance to Marge Schott, Rick. Clearly my error. I apologize.

Posted by: Curmudgeon5 | January 28, 2010 10:46 PM | Report abuse

Well, Obama did a good job of providing an opening for making a lot of future jobs for analyzing what he said (ment). This will provide employment for years to come in certain circles. re: here to start and not to mention TV pundits, college profs etc.

Something I want to make clear about what I keep hearing on TV (CNN etc) that Oregon voters approved a tax increase Tuesday.
In 1931, Oregon imposed a tax on corporations of $10 per year. The election was to increase the $10/year tax on corporations to $150 in year 2010 dollars.
From the corporate advertizments against the measure you would think Niki would go out of business or would have to layoff thousands. Or maybe they could not include an extra pair of shoelaces in the crate of shoes they send to Oregon U.
The measure only passed 52 to 48 state wide. And here in this county where there are hardly any corporations it failed 52 to 48. go figure.

Posted by: bh72 | January 28, 2010 10:48 PM | Report abuse

Many people in business for themselves are incorporated because of the lower taxes. But they're probably not the ones spending lots of money on advertisments.

That is strange, but perhaps they fear all states would follow suit, and then they'd have to pay what... 7000 more dollars if they do business (or are liable to tax) in all 50 states?


Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | January 28, 2010 10:54 PM | Report abuse

CincinnatiRick, regarding your earlier post about the value of group rights. I would argue that collective property is in fact the property of the shareholders or members and thus covered by individual rights. No need to extend anything.

As far as protection under the law, I believe most organisations are generally described only by the law and not by the constitution. Their rights (legal as opposed to unalienable) protections and obligations are defined there. Churches may be a different case and a lawyer might be able to correct me, but I still don't see any pressing need for organisations to generally be protected under the constitution. Again I'm speaking more personal philosophy and not any legal knowledge.

Individual free speech, as expressed in their opinions, doesn't amalgamate well in these groups, unless they were chartered for this purpose (like a political party). I've noticed election laws often make a point of differentiating between parties, political action groups, and other organisations.

There is a lot of nuance in this subject - and I didn't see any in that supreme court decision. Most organisations don't have the mechanisms to protect their members that democracies have to protect their citizens. Nor are they accountable in the same way.

Posted by: qgaliana | January 28, 2010 10:56 PM | Report abuse

Wow, a young Mudge!

http://d.yimg.com/a/p/uc/20100125/largeimagenq100125.gif

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | January 28, 2010 10:57 PM | Report abuse

Hi Wilbrod,

I've heard of the society of Cincinnatus. I had thought of them more as a masonic (or esoteric if you will) style organisation (outside of their public political existence). That would imply they believed in the intrinsic divinity of individual men hence their unique value. Humanists picked up on a lot of this thinking, without the divinity.

Which makes it hard for me to square a defence of corporate rights with their philosophy. Maybe I've missed the point *head scratching*

Posted by: qgaliana | January 28, 2010 11:10 PM | Report abuse

I'm very lol, Wilbrod. Thanks. Nice to go to bed with a laugh.

Posted by: Curmudgeon5 | January 28, 2010 11:11 PM | Report abuse

Justice Alito has a lot of nerve even thinking President Obama might be wrong about something, much less mouthing the words. That's the problem with freedom of speech--reckless individuals imagine they actually have the right to disagree with the President. Oh we've got trouble, right here in the Federal City.

Posted by: Rob_ | January 28, 2010 11:14 PM | Report abuse

Enough of this Constitutional nonsense. Let's address ourselves to the really important issue of the day: who owns the Lorton meteorite, the doctors in whose office it fell and who discovered it, or the landlords of the building?

Posted by: ScienceTim | January 28, 2010 11:20 PM | Report abuse

I nominate Justice Samuel Alito and Joe Wilson for The Metal Of Freedom for the courage to speak truth to lies.America needs more American Patriots like them and less of the liars.

Posted by: Imarkex | January 28, 2010 11:20 PM | Report abuse

@lmarkex, please document one of these lies. You know, with that evidence stuff. An actual lie, please, on a matter of substance, not merely an incident of reach exceeding grasp and so forth.

Posted by: ScienceTim | January 28, 2010 11:22 PM | Report abuse

Document them yourself .There many to choose from.

Posted by: Imarkex | January 28, 2010 11:25 PM | Report abuse

With fascist enemies of the US Constitution (like Sam Alito) sitting on the Supreme Court, we don't really need to worry about foreign enemies. Our democracy is being destroyed from within.

Posted by: brattykathyi1 | January 28, 2010 11:29 PM | Report abuse

Curious and curiouser are the fine articles that the Post is now publishing about the truth.

I felt that it was tacky of Obama to chastize the Supreme Court in his SOTU.

Oh yes, I LOVED IT when I saw the Justice move his mouth. Oh yes, I knew that the new Justice would not do that!

Give us more articles like that!

Posted by: WISEOWL1 | January 28, 2010 11:53 PM | Report abuse

'scuse me, lmarkex, but I'm not the one making the outrageous claim that the President of the United States is a serial liar. Back up the claim, or close your mouth. Otherwise, you're just making noise.

Posted by: ScienceTim | January 29, 2010 12:22 AM | Report abuse

ScTim: the docs should donate the meteorite to a special group devoted to science education that you are very familiar with and to.

Cinncinatus: First thought is Dallas MacKinnon, the actor who played the beared second side kick of Fess Parker. First side kick would be Ed Ames, playing Mingo.... cue theme to Daniel Boone, the TV series.

Dallas MacKinnon died this summer. OH YES. He was also the voice of GUMBY.

GNite all. Play nice.

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | January 29, 2010 12:31 AM | Report abuse

SCi Tim, It depends upon the current practice of docs having a position in the building that they are practicing in. Which seems to be the practice now.

Posted by: bh72 | January 29, 2010 12:35 AM | Report abuse

I say finders keepers.

Posted by: bh72 | January 29, 2010 12:42 AM | Report abuse

OH, just looked at the WaPo home page and saw the meteorite is the front page news. Oregon law in the news again.

Posted by: bh72 | January 29, 2010 1:05 AM | Report abuse

"The U.S. courts have ruled that a meteorite becomes part of the land where it arrives through 'natural cause' and hence the property of the landowner; the notion of 'finders keepers' has been rejected by the Supreme Court of Oregon."

Say it ain't so, Joe!

Posted by: seasea1 | January 29, 2010 1:56 AM | Report abuse

And this breaks my heart:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/01/28/AR2010012803440.html?hpid=artslot&sid=ST2010012803466

Posted by: seasea1 | January 29, 2010 2:00 AM | Report abuse

This is a pretty good article....The Senate is owned by Wall Street....

http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/johann-hari/johann-hari-this-corruption-in-washington-is-smothering-americas-future-1882349.html

Posted by: rainforest1 | January 29, 2010 5:00 AM | Report abuse

Good article rainforest, but not news. The current corporate climate on Capitol Hill makes the Teapot Dome congressmen look like Ralph Nader.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 29, 2010 6:41 AM | Report abuse

'Morning, Boodle. TGIF. I hope the Alitostorm is over. Thankfully, there's no front page alert this morning.

RIP the only Tuskegee Airman ace of WWII: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/01/28/AR2010012804678.html?hpid=moreheadlines

slyness, what have we got this morning? Hope you and cassandra have food and TP stiocked up: you're gonna get hit hard tonight. They're predicting DC will be on the northern edge, might not get much, butI'm south of town, and we are expecting to be snowed in tomorrow.

Posted by: Curmudgeon5 | January 29, 2010 6:44 AM | Report abuse

Mornin' - weekend resolution: shorter posts. Thank ye kindly for your patience.

Posted by: qgaliana | January 29, 2010 6:52 AM | Report abuse

The Wilson camera catches a judge instead.
Impeachment is not that big a deal, just a rule of the body politic.
Obama knew better, it cannot be that he didn't expect anyone to me listening to him.
The speech was long and without focus, the media needed something to report.
The director has become part of the calculation.
Someone should tell Obama that he is the President, and words matter.

Posted by: RayOne | January 29, 2010 7:16 AM | Report abuse

Good morning boodle! Headed to St. Paul today, will be judging at the state robotics tournament tomorrow. Fun time will be had I'm sure. -21F here this morning so I'm getting a bit of a slow start. Greek yogurt with honey and fresh pomegranate on the table. Looks like enough almond granola left to sprinkle on top.

Later gators.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | January 29, 2010 7:20 AM | Report abuse

'morning all. It's an invigorating -21C/-6F this morning. Real winter is back.

The number of constitutional experts commenting on this kit is staggering.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | January 29, 2010 7:24 AM | Report abuse

A guy could get used to these spectacular high-clouds-glowing-purple-and-gold-on-the-eastern-horizon sunrises, yanno...

Yes, a delightfully brisk morning! Let us hope it leads to a delightful (and swift) workday!

*TFSMIF-and-for-good-hot-coffee Grover waves* :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | January 29, 2010 7:47 AM | Report abuse

"I found the President Arrogant."

"Mr. President, words matter."

Dude, facts matter, too.

Posted by: russianthistle | January 29, 2010 7:49 AM | Report abuse

Funny, Obama nailed Alito in his confirmation hearing. BAM.

Posted by: russianthistle | January 29, 2010 7:53 AM | Report abuse

Repost:

I look forward to seeing how Obama walks this tightrope. I tend to come down in the "truth" camp - Had we not had cheerleaders last fall giving us rosy pictures, perhaps we would have begun recovery or at least acknowledged the extent of the problem earlier. You have to admit there's a problem to fix it, and I think some people aren't there even yet.

Russianthistle, I have enjoyed your posts about supporting banks that work.

Posted by: Ivansmom | February 24, 2009 10:50 AM

Posted by: russianthistle | January 29, 2010 7:57 AM | Report abuse

Snuke reminds weed... make coffee and get GOING!!!

Posted by: russianthistle | January 29, 2010 7:59 AM | Report abuse

Thanks to the Mussolini Court, when US Citizens vote in future elections, we will knowingly choose between Democratic governance and Fascism (republican't corporatist governance.)

Alas, there are many who will never forgive our President for noticing that our formerly, most trusted Judicial Institution, has abundantly defecated upon it's most solemn charter to defend and protect our Constitution from the powerful internal and global enemies of our Freedom. They'll just have to chew harder!

Although the POTUS did an excellent job of defining the state of the Union in all respects, I was disappointed that he did not grab each member of the "Mussolini Court" by the nose, and kick each of them in the pants.

Like "Dread Scott", these most dreadful judicials on the Mussolini Court, have simultaneously created a vast and unexpected Constitutional crisis while forever destroying their own credibility as an apolitical institution of government. The Mussolini Court now has less credibility and political impartiality than a rural Ozark Justice Court!

How could we have ever guessed that this deviant partisan court would oneday transfer its' allegiance from the RNC (2000 election) to current and future multinational corporations?

Because of the gravity of the crime against the Constitution committed by a gang of 5 right wing judicial outlaws on our Supreme Court, two critical action pages are now available:

Action Page: Corporations Are NOT The People http://www.peaceteam.net/action/pnum1029.php

Action Page: Impeach The Supreme Court 5 http://www.peaceteam.net/action/pnum1030.php

By any fair legal definition, the decision yesterday by The Supreme Court 5 constitutes nothing less than an act of TREASON against the people of the United States.

"I think that we should be men first, and subjects afterward. It is not so desirable to cultivate a respect for the law, so much as for the right: Henry David Thoreau, Civil Disobedience, 1849

Posted by: MrTruth | January 29, 2010 8:14 AM | Report abuse

Obama is affraid of Free Speech for Everybody yet he has the Corporate GE which owns NBC in his pocket and unelected radical Czars directing governnemt policy?
Hypocrites!

Posted by: sophic | January 29, 2010 8:14 AM | Report abuse

Obama is affraid of Free Speech for Everybody yet he has the Corporate GE which owns NBC in his pocket and unelected radical Czars directing governnemt policy?
Hypocrites!

Posted by: sophic | January 29, 2010 8:14 AM | Report abuse

The Society of the Cincinnati occupies a nice Washington mansion near Dupont Circle.

Which leads me to wonder how so much activity can be crammed into the Dupont Circle area. You'd think it was a high-rise Circle, like Columbus Circle in Manhattan.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | January 29, 2010 8:16 AM | Report abuse

Could you please not spam this site!

This is a real discussion site. If you have something to say, make an argument that cogent.

sophic, if you have been tooled, please try not to make it appear so obvious.

Mr. Truth... that's two days in a row. OK, you can stop now.

Posted by: russianthistle | January 29, 2010 8:18 AM | Report abuse

Dave, are you writing tongue in cheek? Or, if that is a serious question, I can address. I used to have my office at Dupont.

Posted by: russianthistle | January 29, 2010 8:21 AM | Report abuse

Man, if this keeps up we're going to need to set up a free lithium and prozac clinic right in front of the bunker. Mussolini Court? Jeez.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | January 29, 2010 8:25 AM | Report abuse

Morning, all, hey Cassandra...sorry I'm late. Being in the mountains ensures that we won't arise at the normal time. Ham biscuits and mixed fruit on the ready room table, with appropriate hot and cold beverages...

Yes, Mudge, we are prepared for 10-14 inches of snow here in the high country, starting around sunset. Tomorrow will be fun! I may even have Mr. T get out the high tech sleds I got him for Christmas.

Posted by: slyness | January 29, 2010 8:25 AM | Report abuse

Joel, these posts makes one long for a kit about science or anthropology. Hey, I'd love a kit that would address that in 2010, cold is colder than it used to be.

Posted by: russianthistle | January 29, 2010 8:26 AM | Report abuse

Mudge, this one's for you!

http://wpcomics.washingtonpost.com/client/wpc/nq/

Posted by: slyness | January 29, 2010 8:33 AM | Report abuse

Ai chihuahua, now THIS is sad on a number of levels...

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/answer-sheet/literature/taking-anne-frank-off-shelves.html

*SIGHHHHHHHHHHHHHH*

Posted by: Scottynuke | January 29, 2010 9:03 AM | Report abuse

Indeed, slyness. Thank you.

Good ol' Babe Ruth. Or Marv Throneberry.

Post top story:

"U.S. economy soars in fourth quarter of 2009

"Economy grew at a 5.7 percent pace, the quickest rate in more than six years, as businesses reduced inventories less aggressively."

Ahem. OK, all you alleged patriots who have been complaining about the stimulus package, whining about the deficit, crying crocodile tears over your poor taxes, and otherwise boo-hooing about how Obama has "destroyed the economy" please take one step forward.

And remember, the proper response is going to be, "Thank you, may I please have another?"

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | January 29, 2010 9:13 AM | Report abuse

I think that our kids should learn from South Park and The Simpsons rather than reading books like “Diary of A Young Girl.”

Actually, I am wondering how a parent of one child can dictate to the parents of many.

Then mind wanders back to watching the Senate for a year and I understand. They have all the judgment.

Posted by: russianthistle | January 29, 2010 9:18 AM | Report abuse

mudge, if you understand the economy, you would know that it always comes back, just like it isn't global warming, it's a natural Earth cycle.

As my T-shirt says: "Keynes Was Right"

Posted by: russianthistle | January 29, 2010 9:25 AM | Report abuse

I'm not sure that anyone EXCEPT Keynes understands the economy, Wedd. I know I don't. But it seems to me the question isn't will it come back, but how fast, and what can we do to help it.

Of course, the last thing you're going to hear out of any Republicans or these rightwing yahoos we've just been infected with is any acknowledgement that Obama and Bernanke and the stimulus worked, and saved the country.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | January 29, 2010 9:38 AM | Report abuse

I only had the expurgated version of Anne Frank when I was kid, so I never read the bits about her discussing her lady parts. Judging by the quotes on the link, they seem about as explicit as a Judy Blume novel. Which is, of course, it's own problem.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 29, 2010 9:45 AM | Report abuse

Well, Obama didn't exactly "save" the economy--he simply applied some brakes with the stimulus package to keep the economy from cratering.

As NYT's Paul Krugman points out at the end of his column today, about the state of the union--not very good. Or roll over to Horsey's cartoon at the Seattle PI--Obama is making small budget cuts to the National Parks? I can think of a number of other areas where bigger cuts can be made, rather than nickel-and-diming America's outdoor playground.

*returning to waiting for delivery truck to show up with new dryer*

Posted by: laloomis | January 29, 2010 9:49 AM | Report abuse

russianthistle |
Mr. Truth... that's two days in a row. OK, you can stop now.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Yo camerade, in the place of any meaningful response to my two previous posts, this is the best you can come up with?

You've made at least 5 posts since my last. Looks (and smells) like just another little pile of steaming republican't hippocracy to me!

If, in fact, you're just looking to limit the "free speach" of those on this board that you happen to disagree with, you better go get your deviant, partisan, republican't Mussolini Court:

We The People say blank Corporations and the corporatists who rode in on them! That includes:

the previous vastly failed republican't administration.
the current vastly failed obstructionist republican'ts in Congress.
the treasonous and despicable MUSSOLINI COURT.
the misguided morons who voted for two terms of the worst governance of our Nation ever!

The corporatist republicant's and their corporate puppet masters have already created a defacto corporatist state in 2000 and in two terms nearly destroyed the global economy. Our Nation has been brought to the very edge of the economic abyss by republican't corporatist arrogance, greed, and incompetence. Anyone who owned a 401k from 2000-2008 knows what republican't corporatist rule did for their future.

This why republican'ts have less credibility than any used car salesmen.

We The People have had it with republican't "clunkers".

"It is error alone which needs the support of government. Truth can stand by itself": Thomas Jefferson

Posted by: MrTruth | January 29, 2010 9:53 AM | Report abuse

So, perhaps girls should be segregated from the boys, and be given the tome, "Our Bodies, Our Selves?" Would that solve the Frank Anne Problem?

Posted by: laloomis | January 29, 2010 9:53 AM | Report abuse

I'm always amazed at the importance of narrative. We like to think we are relying on facts, but we are really just telling competing stories consistent with the facts. But then, there really isn't much of an alternative.

The thing about the Supreme Court story that I have been thinking about is that it is a defacto oligarchy. Sure there are institutional checks and balances, but they have such a long lag time and are so imprecise that for all intents and purposes, it seems to me, the real constraint on the power of the court is the court itself.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | January 29, 2010 9:58 AM | Report abuse

Sure, mudge, I was joking. What people also fail to realize is that this thing could crash again. Taking the economic situation of Greece and what's happening with China and 2010's downsizing by state and municipal governments and we could be looking at another real chilling year.

I have taken it on the chin from businesses just starting to fail again. People have held on as long as they can.

AND, this recovery is going to be a lot tamer and slow growth as the last few because we don't have as much credit at our finger tips to just go and spend, spend, spend. People have hunkered down. The savings rate is at about 6 percent. No one is going long with debt. No one is offering loans.

I reposted a bit about community banks that I had been discussing about a year ago when there was a realization that big banks weren't serving the needs of middle class America. I have been ranting about banks and credit since the commercial building crunch that arrived in spades two years before Obama's win.

Again, America's last recovery was a jobless recovery -- so to speak. If the government did anything, it would be to guarantee small business loans from small community banks. Only by revitalizing communities and keeping jobs and money local, can we really get a widespread recovery going. In my belief, the lower that we "plant" the seed money, the more success we will see.

Handing billions to Wall Street doesn't help a small town outside of Pittsburgh or UP.

What's more, without the great backing of the American people, local banks will stress from a few selected investment and loan failures. By carefully planting money seeds and keeping businesses afloat with continuation loans rather than paying later for unemployment benefits, we win. The costs are less, as well.

But I ramble on. Sorry.

Posted by: russianthistle | January 29, 2010 10:03 AM | Report abuse

Mr. Truth,
We have a habit of ignoring long-winded drive-by posters that post spammish diatribes. Mostly because we never see them again and they rarely advance the dialog.

If you want some response, post in a less confrontational manner, don't just repost the same text every day, and engage the other boodlers directly.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 29, 2010 10:07 AM | Report abuse

It's true, the economy did make a nice little hop at the end of last year. At our workplace, we just got a juicy packet which compiled statistics of vacation rental sales; way up in 4th quarter 2009 compared to 4th quarter 2008. Just yesterday, there was a local article about real estate sales: huge jump in Nov '09 compared to Nov '08, and a smaller but still respectable jump in Dec '09. Any rise in non-mandatory personal spending sounds like a reason to think the economy might start climbing out its hole.

I don't personally feel like the economy will be completely stable again until certain problems are fixed, but any respite from hard times is very good indeed.

Posted by: schala1 | January 29, 2010 10:11 AM | Report abuse

New kit!

Posted by: RD_Padouk | January 29, 2010 10:14 AM | Report abuse

Mr. Truth,

I suspect your politics align with many of the people in this forum, but your tone is just a little too strident.

And making not-so-oblique references to fascism by using 'MUSSULINI' in ALL CAPS is flirting with Goodwin's Law and SHOUTING.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 29, 2010 10:23 AM | Report abuse

Loomis, First off, Bush asked both candidates to the White House and pretty much said, we have to do something. In a spirit of cooperation, Obama and the Dems did push through with some Republican support, a bill that did take the binding off the money business on the Street which was very important. We were facing a crisis.

The banks had pulled the plug on credit and, at the time, credit was propping up our economy--both business and personal. Credit had to be forced out of the system immediately.

PLUS, money and jobs had to be forced down into the comsumer/middle class to keep the economy limping along. All that was done, but with a lot of haggling. In reality, as long as you keep the money out of the hands of those who would just bank it, the plan would work and it did. What Krugman and others have argued for is more. They aren't saying that Obama did the wrong thing, per se, but just not enough.

Obama did take useful actions to bail out the economy, no question. The question that remains is can he keep it up because, right now, we are dependent on money flowing from the government and into main street--even more so as state and local governments stop spending.

I don't see what your issue is other than some folks find fault with the level of the President's actions. Are you saying, Loomis, that you agree with Krugman that we should spend even more money?

Or are you suggesting that the President is "arrogant?"

Posted by: russianthistle | January 29, 2010 10:24 AM | Report abuse

yellojkt: Mr. Truth,
We have a habit of ignoring long-winded drive-by posters that post spammish diatribes. Mostly because we never see them again and they rarely advance the dialog.
If you want some response, post in a less confrontational manner, don't just repost the same text every day, and engage the other boodlers directly.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

We have a habit?? If posters stay away, maybe it's because they sense that this board is some kind of exclusive club where like minded people keep each other company by reassuring each other that their preconcieved notions are Laws of the Universe. Naturally, this tends to exclude those who disagree.

As for advancing the dialogue, I have now made three posts on this board in two days and the only response thus far are non-responses and whiny complaints about too long, all-caps etc.

>"If you want a response...< In fact I could care less about getting the usual neener neeners and non-answers like yours. I'm not here to engage in inocuous blather. I'm here to take republican't scalps. Just like "The Bear" in, Inglorius Bastards", my post is a baseball bat in the face of corporatist republicants everywhere.

You may not agree with my posts, but your non-answer is just another scalp on my belt wether I come back or not.

"t is error alone which needs the support of government. Truth can stand by itself": Thomas Jefferson


Posted by: MrTruth | January 29, 2010 11:06 AM | Report abuse

Truthiness, sir, engage, don't spam. People here tend not to talk past each other. Adopt a simple and clear voice--sort of an "inside" voice that you might use when discussing something at a coffee shop. We have some interesting discussion with folks from around the world and it helps to start with a point of view that you logically develop without name-calling or unsubstantiated characterization.

If you care to discuss things, come on to the next kit.

Posted by: russianthistle | January 29, 2010 11:54 AM | Report abuse

russianthistle:

Truthiness, sir, engage, don't spam. People here tend not to talk past each other. Adopt a simple and clear voice--sort of an "inside" voice that you might use when discussing something at a coffee shop. We have some interesting discussion with folks from around the world and it helps to start with a point of view that you logically develop without name-calling or unsubstantiated characterization.

If you care to discuss things, come on to the next kit.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Truthiness? Exactly what point of "truthiness" or the lack thereof are you actually referring to? You have commented on my posts twice without saying anything substantive or specific to the content of my post. People "here" are free to talk to, or around anything they please, barring further decisions from the Mussolini Court. So tell me, who died and left you in charge of my "voice"?

Admit it comerade. You don't really have an intelligent response regarding the "truthiness" of my post. Yet, by employing the tactic of questioning my "truthiness", you assume the gum will stick. You didn't like or agree with my comments but had no meaningful answer. That's why you're trying to put me on the defensive about my status as an "outsider" to your little cadre of like-thinkers. Do you always insult the intelligence of your fellow bloggers in this way?

So tell me, when does the interesting discussion begin? And how do you get folks from around the world to communicate in your exclusive little den of correct thinking.? Do you set a trap?

Personally, I think it would be beneficial for our global neighbors to know that the global economy destroying forces of corporatist republican'ts have strong and effective opposition throughout our Nation. Even on this seemingly placid island of correct thinking.

It's OK comerade, you can leave your hat on.


"The modern susceptibility to conformity and obedience to authority indicates that the truth endorsed by authority is likely to be accepted as such by a majority of the people." David Edwards - British columnist - Source: Burning All Illusions, 1996


Posted by: MrTruth | January 29, 2010 4:28 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Truth,
You need to meet Pop Socket. The two of you would get along great.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 29, 2010 5:04 PM | Report abuse

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