Sunday, June 30, 2013
Paul Krugman on the Obama "scandals":
When Barack Obama was elected, I was sure that it would be the Clinton years all over — that he would be subjected to an endless series of claims of “scandal”, creating the sense of a tainted administration even though all the alleged scandals would turn out to be either trivial or nonexistent. Remember, after all those years of front-page headlines and $70 million in public funds, the Whitewater investigation came up dry.
In fact, however, none of that happened during Obama’s first term. But would the second term be different? For a little while it looked as if the old scandal machinery was finally springing back to life, with Benghazi, the IRS, and more. You could almost hear the sigh of contentment from a certain part of the press corps.
But now it has all evaporated. Benghazi never made sense; it turns out that the IRS was targeting conservative as well as liberal groups. And as Chait says in the linked article, the NSA stuff is a policy dispute, not the kind of scandal the right wing wants.
Of course, the absence of any fire behind the smoke didn’t stop the Clinton witch hunts. But this time seems to be different. Maybe the news media have actually learned something; maybe they’re effectively disciplined, this time around, by the blogosphere. Anyway, the narrative of a scandal-ridden presidency seems to be evaporating as we speak.
So I was wrong. And I’m glad I was.
Monday, June 24, 2013
Wednesday, June 12, 2013
Okay, it's 40 minutes long, so I'd be dreaming if I thought you'd actually watch this. But if you did, you'd see Rimsky-Korsakov's Scheherazade conducted by Valery Gergiev, who puts on quite a show.
One commenter said, "He always looks like he crawled out from some sleazy bar someplace – but my God, he is a conducting genius !!"
I'd say he's sort of a cross between George Carlin and Joe Cocker.
Full screen a must.
Okay, I need help with this NSA spying-on-Americans thing.
• What, exactly, is new about this? The NSA was doing this during the Bush Administration, there was an uproar, Congress passed laws permitting it and providing for Congressional oversight, and it continued. Our elected representatives okayed this, having decided it was necessary for national security. What am I missing?
• Google has bots reading my mail. There's no Congressional oversight of that. Shouldn't I be more concerned about what unsupervised outfits like Google and Facebook are doing?
• And the thing that really gripes me: if the NSA can do this, why can't the Federal Trade Commission stop the 10+ scam calls I receive almost every day, even though I'm on the Do Not Call Registry?
Looks like the Washington Post's Tom Toles had the same thought about Google.