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Saturday Roundup

* An interesting piece from Jason Horowitz, who whacks the media for being more obsessed with how the Gulf spill fits into Obama's "narrative" than with the spill itself:

The BP oil spill has largely been treated as the latest plot twist in the Obama epic. The plume of crude rising from the seabed is not only the worst environmental disaster in U.S. history, darkening the gulf and thousands of lives and pervading the nation with a sense of helplessness, it is a metaphor for Obama's loss of control, a revealing moment to study our protagonist. Will he feel the seafarer's pain? Will he shake with fury? Will he weep tears into the salty sea?

The reason for this is clear enough: Obama's response to the spill is being most visibly coverered by political reporters who have been chronicling Obama's presidency since the outset. What's still hard to grasp is the obsession with the theatrics of Obama's response, rather than the substance of it.

The irony is that it's actually the substance of Obama's response -- not the theatrics of it -- that has real political implications. The pubilc doesn't care whether Obama meets some arbitrary pundit-generated threshold for proper emoting. It's hard to imagine that ordinary Americans spend much time wondering whether the failure to stop the spill symbolizes some larger truth about Obama and his presidency.

People just want the spill stopped, the responsible actors held accountable, and steps taken to ensure it doesn't happen again. How and whether Obama succeeds at these things seems like the real political story here -- and, to my mind, the more dramatic and interesting one, too.

* Bill Burton keeps amplifying the point that Joe Barton's apology to BP merely revealed "what some folks in the Republican Party truly believe, which in this case , was BP is the wronged party."

* Interesting point from Mark Halperin: The Barton mess is particularly lethal for the GOP because it revives memories of Bush-Cheney special-interest cronyism.

* Republicans seem to know that Barton can't keep his energy committee slot much longer, and one key tell will be whether Barton's apology to BP continues to resonate on a local level:

Republicans worry that Barton would be a political liability for the foreseeable future if he keeps his committee slot. And if lawmakers come back from this weekend expressing that they are feeling pressure in their districts because of Barton's comments, there's a good chance that he could still be pushed out.

* Jon Chait makes some key points about Sharron Angle and "Second Amendment remedies":

Angle did not quite advocate armed rebellion, but she did clearly egg it on it in a way that melds prediction with encouragement.

Angle's comments flow naturally from a right-wing ideology that regards taxation as theft and many commonly-accepted practices of government as the equivalent to Bolshevik expropriation of wealth, or at least unconstitutional. The alarming thing is not so much what Angle said but how relatively little a ripple it has made. It's just one more gaffe, something that has not prevented her from being embraced by Senate Republicans. It is not even considered sufficiently outrageous to force her to disavow the clear implication of what she said.

The lack of national press interest in this has been eyebrow-raising, but ultimately not that important: It's all over the Nevada news, which is obviously what really matters to the Senate race.

* Steve Benen rightly notes that Angle will have to disavow or "clarify" the comments soon enough. I predict by early next week.

* Short and sweet takedown of the day: Paul Krugman versus Alan Greenspan.

* And it really is extraordinary how widely the term "shakedown" is being used on the right.

What else is happening?

By Greg Sargent  |  June 19, 2010; 10:40 AM ET
Categories:  2010 elections , Climate change , House GOPers , Political media , Senate Republicans  
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Next: Sunday Open Thread



When did the frakking pundits ever connect with the public ? The beltway two bit hacks and the pundits with an IQ lower than 3 day old dish water have a cliquish mentality, all engaged in mutual jerking off.

The amurikans will only be liberated when the pundits and radio shock jocks are eliminated.

Posted by: amkeew | June 19, 2010 11:02 AM | Report abuse

Anti-government Jihadist Sharron "Second Amendment remedies" Angle must be taking her cue from the anti-democratic tribalists in Krygyzstan, Pakistan, Afghanistan and the lot, where the aphorism, if you "live by the sword," you "die by the sword," is their vade mecum. So, why is this American Jihadist, who espouses the politics of violence, getting away with it? Furthermore, I still can't figure out why she wants to be a part of the United States Government?

Posted by: dozas | June 19, 2010 11:08 AM | Report abuse

Greg: Maybe part of the MSM's obsession with Obama is that opining about unknowable matters is easy, while real reporting is often difficult. Case in point. The NYTimes today presents what purports to be an investigative journalism piece into the money flowing for Bog Oil to Gulf politicians. Sounds good right? It isn't. Must have taken the reporters abut 20 minutes to do the research that went into that piece. Utterly superficial. And Mary Landrieu and other LA pols are on the Sunday talk shows: care to bet that none of them is pressed on taking money from Big Oil while they BEG to re-open unsafe deepwater drilling even as the Gulf flood with poison?

Posted by: wbgonne | June 19, 2010 11:24 AM | Report abuse


I left a comment for you, on the previous thread.


I find this amazing:

"LONDON – BP chief executive Tony Hayward, often criticized for being tone-deaf to American concerns about the worst oil spill in U.S. history, took time off Saturday to attend a glitzy yacht race off England's Isle of Wight.

Spokeswoman Sheila Williams said Hayward took a break from overseeing BP efforts to stem the undersea gusher in Gulf of Mexico to watch his boat "Bob" participate in the J.P. Morgan Asset Management Round the Island Race."

Posted by: Liam-still | June 19, 2010 11:25 AM | Report abuse


I commented earlier on yesterday about Bilge. I am an example of a person who tries to read the comments and then he comes along and it is truly disgusting. So I go away, then I come back and there he is again and I leave again.

He is not an asset. He is not even interesting. He is just NASTY. I know you are not familiar with my name, but I bet there are a lot of other lurkers who feel the same way I do -- you should ban Bilgeman, and I don't think for just a month.

Posted by: suenaustin | June 19, 2010 11:37 AM | Report abuse

Liam -- I saw it, thanks.

Okay -- I can't take any banning action until Monday, when the powers that be are back on duty. Appreciate your patience.

But it looks like that's where we're headed. Thanks, all, for giving me your thoughts on this.

I take the comments section very seriously -- it's key to making this blog work -- and I really view the comments section as belonging to you. So we wouldn't want to take any action of this kind without hearing from you first.

Posted by: Greg Sargent | June 19, 2010 11:49 AM | Report abuse

Mark Halperin wagged his finger at *Republicans*? Be sure to mark that one on your calendar.

Posted by: CalD | June 19, 2010 11:50 AM | Report abuse

Al Franken gave the opening night address at the American Constituion Society. Read his remarks here:

Or for the fuller flavor, just watch the video:

Posted by: suekzoo1 | June 19, 2010 11:52 AM | Report abuse

Greg, I emailed you privately.

Posted by: suekzoo1 | June 19, 2010 11:54 AM | Report abuse

I wanted to go back to a story that should have caused a national outcry, and did not.

A pregnant mother of four children, was told by her doctors, that if her fifth pregnancy was taken to term, there was just about a 100% chance that she would die.

The ethic board of the hospital ruled that she had to undergo an abortion. The Nun in charge; followed the recommendations of the ethics board, to save the life of the 27 year old mother of four.

The Catholic Church,(which allows Pedophile Priests to stick around for decades) moved with the speed of lightning, and excommunicated the Nun.

This is the same Catholic Church, which claims to be against The Death Penalty, but still Excommunicated a Nun, for not carrying out a Death Sentence on a mother of four young children.

"May 19, 2010

Last November, a 27-year-old woman was admitted to St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center in Phoenix. She was 11 weeks pregnant with her fifth child, and she was gravely ill. According to a hospital document, she had "right heart failure," and her doctors told her that if she continued with the pregnancy, her risk of mortality was "close to 100 percent."

The patient, who was too ill to be moved to the operating room much less another hospital, agreed to an abortion. But there was a complication: She was at a Catholic hospital.

"They were in quite a dilemma," says Lisa Sowle Cahill, who teaches Catholic theology at Boston College. "There was no good way out of it. The official church position would mandate that the correct solution would be to let both the mother and the child die. I think in the practical situation that would be a very hard choice to make."

But the hospital felt it could proceed because of an exception — called Directive 47 in the U.S. Catholic Church's ethical guidelines for health care providers — that allows, in some circumstance, procedures that could kill the fetus to save the mother. Sister Margaret McBride, who was an administrator at the hospital as well as its liaison to the diocese, gave her approval.

The woman survived. When Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted heard about the abortion, he declared that McBride was automatically excommunicated — the most serious penalty the church can levy."

Posted by: Liam-still | June 19, 2010 11:55 AM | Report abuse

wbg, thanks for the comment on the substance/surface character of most journo work these days. Even the NY Times not immune. The Trib is just pathetic and I laugh when I read an article that's not local, since I can find out 100 times more info on the issue in 15 minutes on the net looking at blogs and news servers.

As newspapers move to ereaders, which they'll surely continue to do, then I would expect bloggers like Ezra Klein, Greg, and many others, to get featured as writers there.

The old journalism is dead. But right now it doesn't know it. Zombies.

Posted by: BGinCHI | June 19, 2010 12:12 PM | Report abuse


"The medium is the message".

We are rapidly approaching the age of the tiny portable flat screen, which will kill all in depth writing.

The shorthand language of texting, will soon destroy the power of the written word. Twitter is just the first step toward reducing human communication down to a series of short grunts.

It is a medium where a billion Sarah Palins will take root and flourish, but not a single Shakespeare or James Joyce can ever flourish, in that garden of brain farts.

We are entering a new dark age, where children will never be exposed to what Frank McCourt was, and found the words of Shakespeare to be; "like jewels in my mouth".

Posted by: Liam-still | June 19, 2010 12:34 PM | Report abuse

"Okay -- I can't take any banning action until Monday, when the powers that be are back on duty. Appreciate your patience."

Well heck, meme-master, we don;t have to wait until Monday.

I'm a man of my word, so we can use "Gollum Rules".

Ask me to go away and not come back, and I'll go away and not come back.

That's all you need to do.

Posted by: Bilgeman | June 19, 2010 12:38 PM | Report abuse

Liam, I don't know, I think there's still a lot of great writing out there. Smart people will always find a way to do smart things. A number of the ways language is getting played with now is actually pretty encouraging; we're moving past a codified, corporate model of writing, publishing, selling, in a number of areas and so that makes me think these kids will get it figured out.

I like Frank's comment on WS. Probably had time to read it when he wasn't "interfering" with himself. I love that euphemism.

Posted by: BGinCHI | June 19, 2010 12:41 PM | Report abuse


You may wish to add a live link to Colbert King's great column in today's Post:

"On Father's Day, hypocrites are all in the family"

"Consider Obama: Raised by a single mother in a middle-class family where hard work and education were watchwords, Obama graduated from two of the top schools in the country, Columbia University and Harvard Law School. His legal scholarship was recognized when he became the first African American president of the Harvard Law Review. He married and, equally important, has stayed married to Michelle Robinson, a Princeton graduate and Harvard Law alumna. He lives with his wife, two children and his mother-in-law. Obama: constitutional law professor, civil rights lawyer, state legislator, U.S. senator, 44th U.S. president, family man.

Now let's turn to Obama's foremost critics: Rush Hudson Limbaugh III, Newton Leroy Gingrich and Sarah Palin.

Limbaugh and Gingrich have said too many negative things about Obama to count. "I want him to fail" (Limbaugh) and "secular socialist" (Gingrich) are just two of their attacks. Yet two of the nation's loudest proponents of family-values issues are serial husbands. Between them, the two men have had seven wives.

Limbaugh, who dropped out of college after one year, married his first wife, a sales secretary, in September 1977. She filed for divorce three years later; it was granted in July 1980. Limbaugh next married an usherette in 1983; they divorced in 1990. In May 1994, he married an aerobics instructor he met online. They separated in June 2004 and divorced that December.

Two weeks ago, Limbaugh married a Florida party planner. He's still wedded to her as far as I can tell.

Gingrich is one nuptial behind Limbaugh. But he started earlier. In 1962, at age 19, Gingrich married his 26-year-old former high school geometry teacher. Gingrich left her in the spring of 1980. He did return to see her at the hospital where she was getting treatment for cancer. He was there to discuss divorce terms. Formally divorced in 1981, Gingrich remarried six months later.

That marriage lasted until 2000. By his own admission, Gingrich started an affair with a woman 23 years his junior during his second marriage. It was around the time he was taking Bill Clinton to task over Monica Lewinsky. "

"But what would a Father's Day discussion of the nuclear family and a moral society be without bringing into the picture Mrs. Family Values herself, Sarah Palin? "

Posted by: Liam-still | June 19, 2010 12:58 PM | Report abuse

Who the hell is allowing this to happen? Ken Salazar appears to be just a potted plant.

From McClatchy:

"Posted on Fri, Jun. 18, 2010
Obama officials still approving flawed Gulf drilling plans
Shashank Bengali | McClatchy Newspapers

last updated: June 18, 2010 11:43:35 PM

WASHINGTON — Despite President Barack Obama's promises of better safeguards for offshore drilling, federal regulators continue to approve plans for oil companies to drill in the Gulf of Mexico with minimal or no environmental analysis.

The Department of Interior's Minerals Management Service has signed off on at least five new offshore drilling projects since June 2, when the agency's acting director announced tougher safety regulations for drilling in the Gulf, a McClatchy review of public records has discovered.

Three of the projects were approved with waivers exempting them from detailed studies of their environmental impact — the same waiver the MMS granted to BP for the ill-fated well that's been fouling the Gulf with crude for two months."

Posted by: Liam-still | June 19, 2010 1:02 PM | Report abuse

Slave Sargent:
"Republicans seem to know that Barton can't keep his energy committee slot much longer, and one key tell will be whether Barton's apology to BP continues to resonate on a local level:

Republicans worry that Barton would be a political liability for the foreseeable future if he keeps his committee slot. And if lawmakers come back from this weekend expressing that they are feeling pressure in their districts because of Barton's comments, there's a good chance that he could still be pushed out."

Y'know, this illustrates perfectly why I hold you and your herd in such contempt.

BeePee is no angel, and no-one is saying that they are. They syepped on their own reproductive organs, and have made an ungodly mess in the GoM.

But it WAS an accident.

Now your beloved Obamateur commits the high crime and misdemeanor of extortion.

There was a criminal investigation of BeePee announced June 2nd, (IIRC), by the DoJ...and then here comes the Alleged Hawaiian to put his hand in BeePee's pockets.

What did they buy for their 20 billion?

Joe Barton has the sand to stand up and say that this whole think stinks to high heaven, and you cattle trample each other to howl and yammer at him.

But...and here's the part where you animals make me sick:

You moonbats gush and emote and weep tears of blood to ensure that due process is RIGIDLY followed in the case of some foreign self-confessed Islamist terrorist, who cheerfully commits mass-murder of Americans,with malice aforethought, and who freely states that given the chance, he'd slaughter more of us.

Greedy goobers like BeePee, you'd all be more than happy to see them robbed at Federal gunpoint and repeatedly waterboarded.

But let's show the world how "superior" we are by giving an evil murderer like Khalid Sheik Mohammed absolutely every benefit possible, instead of taking him out back and drowning him in a vat of aged pig any other SANE society would do.

That's why I despise you moonbat slaves.
You're lining up to stretch your neck upon a chopping block, and hollering for the rest of us to join you.

Posted by: Bilgeman | June 19, 2010 1:09 PM | Report abuse

I posted about this last night, so apologies if you've already seen this:

Two congressional Republicans are now bashing the administration for stealing their idea to set up the escrow account.

Benen's post on it is here:

The highlights:

"Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.), for example, issued a statement yesterday implicitly arguing that there couldn't have been a shakedown, since BP intended to put $20 billion into the escrow fund before the White House meeting. "The true outrage," Franks said, "is that this was never the President's idea at all."

"On Thursday, Rep. Anh "Joseph" Cao told me that he pressed BP on the fund idea a month ago, inspired by the example of Exxon after its 1989 spill off the coast of Alaska. And on Friday I talked with Ray McKinney, another engineer, who is running for Congress in Georgia against Rep. John Barrow (D-Ga.). McKinney stressed that there was no serious disagreement about the escrow issue, and said Democrats were concocting a political debate when all that mattered was making BP pay and investigating the disaster."

Posted by: suekzoo1 | June 19, 2010 1:21 PM | Report abuse

Been reading you all along - guess that makes me a long-time "lurker."

Hope you don't ban Bilgeman. The comments section here tends to be a collegial group all agreeing with each other. Buried in all his invective, Bilgeman offers some good information and an occasional thought-provoking idea. Besides, I think he likes you guys; he just has difficulty showing his affection.

He does have a hard time with apostrophes, though.

Posted by: LeftCoast5 | June 19, 2010 1:27 PM | Report abuse

Actually, it has now become very clear, that Bilgey wants to become a martyr; by provoking a suicide by cop incident.

Posted by: Liam-still | June 19, 2010 1:38 PM | Report abuse

Sue: Thanks for the Al Franken ACS video tip. Seems the URL has changed. Here's the currently active link:

Posted by: jzap | June 19, 2010 1:47 PM | Report abuse

LeftCoast5: If you can get past all the juvenile name calling to find a nugget of good information from Bilgeman, you are a saint. We don't all need to agree the same way to read or even to participate in thought provoking discussions, but there does come a point when someone is so disgusting that they need to be sent away because they are making the atmosphere dysfunctional & toxic.

You say he thinks he really has affection for TPL, but has difficulty showing it (maybe that was tongue-in-cheek?). Earlier someone referenced anger at a wife being manifested in punching the wife. I agree with the earlier assessment.

See? We are two lurkers with different opinions.

Posted by: suenaustin | June 19, 2010 2:02 PM | Report abuse

Hey look, bilgey's sockpuppet rooting for bilgey.

Posted by: amkeew | June 19, 2010 2:07 PM | Report abuse

The Media Matters list of Republicans using the shakedown talking point shows their continued willingness to act as one no matter how wrong the message. Again, add David Brooks to the list. Here he is on last night's NewsHour:

"[W]e have a set of laws, when somebody does something bad, does something negligent, to force them to pay and compensate those who were damaged. And that's all on the books. And what President Obama did when he very publicly and very brutally strong-armed BP into setting aside this $20 billion, is, he went around those laws."

Brutally strong-armed BP. Wow.

Posted by: AllButCertain | June 19, 2010 2:21 PM | Report abuse

ABC, what I find quite curious is the "he went around those laws" meme. What friggin' laws?

It isn't written anywhere that the courts are the only avenue of settling differences. The courts are the arbitrator of last resort when the parties can't reach a mutually acceptable agreement.

And, BP is no shrinking violet, they are a HUGE multi-national conglomeration. There were a number of upsides for BP to agree to escrow. Their stock price stabilized and grew in the last few days. They are on better financial footing making them less likely to attact a hostile takeover.

Posted by: suekzoo1 | June 19, 2010 2:36 PM | Report abuse

Not to mention that, under Bush & the GOPers, Big Oil got to write its own laws, which is really cool and gives the lawyers something to do besides. The least Big Oil could have done was follow the laws it enacted for itself.

Posted by: wbgonne | June 19, 2010 3:24 PM | Report abuse

Khalid Sheik Mohammed is just another human being, pure and simple. Why do some make him out to be some superhuman alien with super human powers? He's a crook, just like any other crook. Due process is a quintessential American value, an anchor of our jurisprudence. I believe in our system of justice. I'm not afraid of this guy. Remember, this is the Land of the Free, Home of the Brave.

Posted by: dozas | June 19, 2010 3:31 PM | Report abuse

86 the comments, not the commenter. Of course, screening Bilgeman's comments might require a full-time assistant. In that case, your choice.

Posted by: KathleenHusseininMaine | June 19, 2010 3:41 PM | Report abuse

"Of course, screening Bilgeman's comments might require a full-time assistant. In that case, your choice."

Well there ya go! I'm a one-man job stimulus
program...and I wouldn;(<---that's deliberate, for LeftCoast),cost the taxpayer a cent!

I'm SUCH a Giver!

Anytime, Sargent, just say the magic words and Gollum goes away, and you can caper about with your little tribe of Smeagols.

Posted by: Bilgeman | June 19, 2010 3:45 PM | Report abuse

"Due process is a quintessential American value, an anchor of our jurisprudence."

Except when you're a BeePee stockholder or employee, THEN you're a scumbag and deserve treatment that these defective slime wouldn't visit upon a mass-murdering terrorist.

"I believe in our system of justice. I'm not afraid of this guy."

If you really believe in our system of justice, then you cannot escape the conclusion that the Alleged Hawaiian in the Oval Orifice has committed the high crime of extortion/exaction, and impeachment must proceed immediately.

Or is he above the law because his target is unpopular?

"Remember, this is the Land of the Free, Home of the Brave."

That is what is fundamentally at issue here, and it is never, ever a settled one.

""Free government is founded in jealousy, not confidence. It is jealousy and not confidence which prescribes limited constitutions, to bind those we are obliged to trust with power.... In questions of power, then, let no more be heard of confidence in men, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution." -- Thomas Jefferson, 1799 "

Posted by: Bilgeman | June 19, 2010 3:55 PM | Report abuse

Short comment on BP's CEO taking a respite to watch the progress of his yacht as it plies the breezes around Isle of Wight.

I fully expect the boys and girls at FOX to sympathize. After the maltreatment of him and after the hours he has put in trying desperately to remedy the gushing oil AND running a big important corporation at the same time, who wouldn't need a holiday? Who wouldn't deserve one?

Now imagine if Obama were to take a day sailing.

These folks are so intent upon bringing down this (or any) Dem president that they will turn all values up side down and launch what is effectively a war against their own President.

Posted by: bernielatham | June 19, 2010 4:23 PM | Report abuse

Sue, here's more of the Brooks comment, which goes further with the illegality idea (more of the up is down, down is up approach):

"And some people think, oh, it's no problem. It's only BP. Well, if you're upset about -- I mean, if imagine if Dick Cheney did it to somebody he didn't like and said, oh, we don't happen to like you. We're going to set $20 billion aside, and I will appoint the person is going to decide what is going to happen to that $20 billion. . . .

"I'm worried about the erosion of the rule of law, which is a president using the vast powers of the federal government to strong-arm a company, no matter how unpopular and no matter how badly they may have behaved."

Posted by: AllButCertain | June 19, 2010 4:25 PM | Report abuse

My favorite part of your roundup? The part where you said, "Mark Halperin makes an interesting point..." Now THAT is news. (Can we just let Halperin eat his waffles?)

Posted by: benintn | June 19, 2010 4:32 PM | Report abuse

"They seem unconcerned by Article 1, Section 9 of the Constitution which states explicitly:

"No bill of attainder or ex post facto Law shall be passed."

Over the years, the courts have ruled against some ex post facto laws - but have allowed others to stand.

Menendez notes that the 30-year-old Superfund law retroactively imposed enormous liabilities on companies to clean up hazardous waste sites.

Constitutional law Prof. Jonathan Turley of George Washington University says ex post facto laws are "always controversial" and "raise serious questions," but might pass Supreme Court scrutiny.

"It runs against the grain," said Turley in a telephone interview with CBS News, "but on the other hand, the Court has upheld retroactive taxes."

"There have been precedents," he said, "so it would give Congress an edge in retroactively increasing BP's liability.

Whether it does or not, the White House is adamant in asserting that it will hold BP financially responsible for the costs of the oil spill containment and cleanup.

"They are fully liable for cleanup and recovery costs per the Oil Pollution Act of 1990," says presidential spokesman Robert Gibbs. And he points to an exception in the law that eliminates the limit on liability.

"The cap is not in place if somebody is found to be either grossly negligent... involved in willful misconduct, or in violation of federal regulations," said Gibbs at his daily press briefing yesterday."

Posted by: bernielatham | June 19, 2010 5:12 PM | Report abuse

"On Sunday, 54 U.S. senators signed a letter to BP CEO Tony Hayward demanding that $20 billion be placed in escrow for cleanup and damage costs, money that would be administered by an independent trustee.
But does the government have the legal authority to make such a demand?
Under current law BP is only on the hook for no more than $75 million in liability—a cap enacted, ironically enough, as a means of increasing the liability exposure for oil companies in the wake of the 1989 Exxon Valdez spill. The lawmakers settling on that figure clearly didn't anticipate a disaster on the scale of the BP spill—and as a result even traditionally business-friendly lawmakers such as House Minority Leader John Boehner of Ohio have called for the cap to be lifted, as estimates of BP's possible liability drift as high as $40 billion.
So far, there seems to be scant precedent for the White House mandating a private company to establish escrow accounts. And calls and emails to the White House on the question have so far gone unanswered"

The piece goes on to quote Greg.

Posted by: bernielatham | June 19, 2010 6:08 PM | Report abuse

bernie: "Short comment on BP's CEO taking a respite to watch the progress of his yacht as it plies the breezes around Isle of Wight."

Truth be told, Bernie, I find beating on Tony Haward for this to be punative and without purpose.

"Now imagine if Obama were to take a day sailing."

We don't have to imagine it, he gets beat on for playing a round of golf, or sneaking past the press pool to go to his daughter's soccer game for 30 minutes. Equally punative and without purpose. But just because Obama suffers it, does not excuse beating on Tony Hayward for going
out for a day. I mean, really, who or what is harmed?

Posted by: suekzoo1 | June 19, 2010 6:48 PM | Report abuse

ABC, thanks. I went to NPR and listened to David Brooks' statement. Amazing.

I wish one show host would confront a guest stating that laws were broken in negotiating the escrow with some tough questions: which law? what precendents?

The bill of attainder provision does not cover this. That goes to congress passing a law to raise the cap, and that has not happened yet. Parties to litigation are free to negotiate a settlement without the help of the courts.

Now, just perhaps, the stockholders of BP could sue the board of directors for their decision to agree to escrow $20b, but I doubt they would since it was the one thing that kept the value of their holdings from sliding off the cliff into oblivion.

Posted by: suekzoo1 | June 19, 2010 6:56 PM | Report abuse

"Parties to litigation are free to negotiate a settlement without the help of the courts."

Then you won't mind having this "settlement" adjudicated in its proper venue, the Senate, with the Chief Justice of the SCOTUS presiding, will you?

Moonbat, if a public official launches a criminal investigation of you, and then invites you in to sit down and give over a sum of your monies into his control, that is only a "settlement" to someone with a severely warped moral compass.

No wonder you livestock have such picayune concerns about my writing style and vocabulary. I may be blunt and admittedly vulgar at times, but I'm straightforward.

To someone engaged in such an exercise in sophistry as what you are attempting here, you want that POS jalopy to have a real pretty coat of paint and a nice wax job for the suckers not to see the rust-holes filled with bondo beneath the pretty words.

"No your Honor, I didn't jack his car, we had us a negotiation and arrived at a SETTLEMENT!"


Posted by: Bilgeman | June 19, 2010 7:46 PM | Report abuse

@sue - The point wasn't to beat up on Hayward (though I'm more than happy to focus on the disparities of wealth and privilege that are revealed between "Bob" and your average shrimper boat, for example) but rather to underline how seriously and single-mindedly FOX and other such are to bringing down this administration (or, as I said, any Dem administration).

Posted by: bernielatham | June 19, 2010 8:02 PM | Report abuse

Bound to be the coolest treehouse in town...

Posted by: bernielatham | June 19, 2010 9:02 PM | Report abuse

Okay Bilge, let's try it like this.

If you can share your views, and challenge those of others, without any "slave" BS, without any mangling of others' names and without any other abuse or name-calling, then please stick around.

That would be my preference. I like it when there's disagreement in here -- the more combative, the better, as long as it's generally civil.

If you can't or don't want to bag the abuse, then please take a hike. But if you do, please don't get it into your head that anyone is telling you to go away because of your opinions.

Posted by: sargegreg | June 19, 2010 9:22 PM | Report abuse

Pleased to concur with this option.

Posted by: bernielatham | June 19, 2010 9:33 PM | Report abuse

That sounds like a decent option, though I wonder if Bilgeman can distinguish between what's abusive and what isn't. For me, it's abuse if something makes me really recoil. I'm not sure he's got that personal filter working, which is actually kind of sad.

Posted by: AllButCertain | June 19, 2010 9:52 PM | Report abuse

bernie: @sue - The point wasn't to beat up on Hayward

I did not intend to infer that you were, bernie, and apologize if that is how it came across.

I've just seen the "Hayward went yachting today" criticisms all over the place today, and what it has provoked in me is "What are they gonna report on next, his choice of condiments? His style of jeans?" We know the guy is rich and a putz. He obviously doesn't have any expertise in stopping the spill, so hey, why not let him race his boat in peace?

I dunno, maybe it's just me.

Posted by: suekzoo1 | June 19, 2010 10:09 PM | Report abuse

Remember NewsRef? He/she was a sweetheart: only tossed terms racist, fascist, bigot, moron, idiot around 10-20 times a day.

I miss NR and Tena.

Guess it depends on the Ox...

Posted by: tao9 | June 19, 2010 10:32 PM | Report abuse

@sue - No problem. The guy is part of a corporate culture and (likely) a social class that assumes privilege. Still, I find it difficult to generate anything bordering on hate towards him as an individual - and that's not just because he looks like Dudley Moore.

But I do hate the culture that has facilitated and justified such incredible disparities of wealth and power and my notion is that proper (that is, factual) stories that describe this disparity as it really is are beneficial. About two decades ago, there was a piece in a major magazine on the wealth accumulated by evangelical leaders. It included, importantly, aerial pictures of their mansions. That story did much to bring these people and their constant pleas for money (from suckers who had far less) into disrepute. So, there's that, at least in the way I see things. But again, it was the other thing I was mainly pointing to.

And thankyou! and jzap for the Franken link. I want to marry that guy and have his baby.

Posted by: bernielatham | June 19, 2010 10:34 PM | Report abuse

"Guess it depends on the Ox..."

It's true, at least to some degree.

One social-contractual responsibility that now falls to the rest of us is that we all have to refrain from the sorts of discourse faults we've just policed.

Posted by: bernielatham | June 19, 2010 10:38 PM | Report abuse

tao! Full report on summer in the northwoods, please.

You following world cup? Reading any books?

Sorry all, sports and culture now featured in:

Plum Line After Dark (lowers cholesterol).

I for one have just had dinner and drinks at an amazing little place in Uptown called Bar On Buena, which is now, turns out, run by a former student of mine. Really great selection of stuff in a hole-in-the-wall neighborhood place with a patio along the street under the trees. Quintessential Chicago without, you know, the shakedown and thuggery you usually get. It's also nice when the guy who runs the place says "I was just thinking about Titus Andronicus and it reminded that I needed to get ahold of you."


Posted by: BGinCHI | June 19, 2010 10:40 PM | Report abuse

@BG - That's a rather magical type of feedback, isn't it? One afternoon, going through a checkout at a store, the 6' clerk attending said, "I know you! You taught that lesson on Early Man." He'd been in a grade 5-7 practicum class of mine six years earlier. He remembered the lesson.

Posted by: bernielatham | June 19, 2010 10:49 PM | Report abuse

NY Times has a hagiographic piece on Haley Barbour tonight. I'll just point out one of the best examples of a straw man I've seen in a while. Complaining about media coverage of the Gulf gusher, he said...

“I’ve heard reports that this would be a threat to Europe,” he railed to The Sun-Herald newspaper. “That’s about the same as saying I’m going to grow wings and take flight.”

Posted by: bernielatham | June 19, 2010 10:56 PM | Report abuse

35th univ reunion 2 wks pres of the alma mater was a classmate, lots of "knew you when" blackmail fodder. Laughed so hard for forty-eight hours my voice went all Rod Stewart into the work week. Climbed Giant last Sunday, 18 big muddy miles (the lawn at camp was savannah-like today). Coaching a Cap/Dist HS girl's lacrosse travel team Tues&Thurs nights. Playing in a 35+ men's league Weds nights, will hit the Lake Placid and OceanCity tourney's in Aug.

So thankful to your B-Hawks for vanquishing teh odious Phila.. Bought a handful of Harvard Classics for a buck @ Indian Lake used book shop--reading Marlowe's "Edwd the 2nd" this weekend. Also got the Dana, "2Yrs Before the Mast" so I'll be reading something I read 40plus years ago at camp in Summertime!

Go SoxRouge.
Prayers for the Gulf.
All the best.

Posted by: tao9 | June 19, 2010 11:23 PM | Report abuse

tao, reading Marlowe's EII? Wow. So, for a really interesting read, you ought to pick up Charles Nicholl, The Reckoning, which is a page-turner account of Marlowe's life and murder by a really smart scholar/writer. Excellent fare.

Sounds like you have a full summer schedule. The climb sounds perfect for a city-bound cat like me. I only get to go fast on my bike ad the scenery whooshes by. Not really very zen.

And on cue an old Faces song comes on the iPod ("Flying"). Ahh, Rod Stewart.

Here at the Plum Line After Dark we like to provide a full service cultural experience. It can also lower your standing heart rate.

Posted by: BGinCHI | June 19, 2010 11:40 PM | Report abuse

Oh, and Two Years Before the Mast. Wow. That's an amazing book. The British Navy, what an institution. Sometimes I think half the good words in our language come from there.

Posted by: BGinCHI | June 19, 2010 11:43 PM | Report abuse

For the Plum Line book club, or PL After Dark if that's the official title:

1) Jonathan Alter's The Promise, which was wonkier than I expected but a very good look at the Obama executive style and the number of amazingly hard things the White House had on its plate in his first year +. One thing that interested me was Alter's saying Rahm put reconciliation for healthcare in the budget bill to keep it as an option before they knew they would need it.

2) Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese-- I'm only about a quarter in, but it's a wonderfully detailed novel packed full of startling medical info, vivid characters and places (Addis Ababa for one), and compelling drama with a humorous touch.

Posted by: AllButCertain | June 19, 2010 11:53 PM | Report abuse

ABC, heard great things about the Verghese. Thanks for the reminder.

I wonder if Alter's book compares favorably to other books, like Richard Wolffe's. Don't really read those, but wondering who's doing the harder reporting.

Currently the iPod has chosen The Drive-By Trucker's "Women Without Whiskey," so I'm having some cognitive disconnect as I type. Which, by the way, is the best disconnect I can get my hands on.

Posted by: BGinCHI | June 20, 2010 12:01 AM | Report abuse

I don't know B, one-speed biking the Loop in Feb is pretty zen IMHO.

Charming old English word that's recently captured my imagination: withinforth (=at heart).

Dana was quite the Boston cat, polymath, abolitionist, Louisburg Sq hardy on par with Rbt Gould Shaw. There's Dana stuff all over Harvard, he hung out w/ Longfellow!

Hittin' hay...will remember to seek The Reckoning.

Thanks, BG.

Posted by: tao9 | June 20, 2010 12:12 AM | Report abuse

Isn't Women Without Whiskey number 6 3/4 on the Zen Eightfold Path?

ok, out

Posted by: tao9 | June 20, 2010 12:21 AM | Report abuse

I read Wolffe too. I like him but thought his book was slight and hurried. It's about the campaign and he left out so many of the compelling parts. The Alter book really digs into the decision making process in the White House in a way that made me feel that I really hadn't known much about what was going on substantively during that first year. And as well connected as he is, he only has a couple of small Villager moments.

I'm still curious about the way Maureen Dowd used Alter's comments in one of her recent columns in which she compared Obama to Nixon. Alter said he wasn't like him, but she somehow incorporated the quote in a way that supported her general thesis.

Posted by: AllButCertain | June 20, 2010 12:42 AM | Report abuse

All, Sunday roundup posted:

Posted by: Greg Sargent | June 20, 2010 10:29 AM | Report abuse

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