Submit your Al Gore theories here

I have two theories:  The first is that Al Gore hired the "masseuse" to release his "second Chakra" and everything went down as planned.  But this masseuse saw an opportunity to shake him down for much more than a $50 handjob and took it.  This begins to come to light and Al comes clean with Tipper before it is made public.  At which point Tipper, because she doesn't need to take that shit, splits.  Now the masseuse has gone public with basically a phony story containing a kernel of truth which Al Gore can never publicly admit to.  And the masseuse, being no William Shakespeare herself, leaves us with a rambling, confusing, and very hard to believe story.  Thus the masseuse caused Al and Tipper to split despite the story being basically phony.

My second theory after the jump:

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MYDD 2.0 is like talking to myself

 I was getting set to write a short diary on the culpability we all have in the oil spill and how this isn't like Obama's Katrina so much is it is like Obama's Iraq.  Then I noticed that of all the diaries listed as "most popular" there are a total of 6, that's right, one, two, three, four, five, six, comments.  Be it far from me to use hipster acronyms, but -- WTF????  Did the switch to MYDD 2.0 spook everyone that much? Has everyone gone back to FireDogLake or DailyKos? Personally, I find much more enjoyment out of trolling  But I miss the MYDD community sometimes.  Not sure what to do about it, but there it is.

Oh, by the way.  Yes, we are all culpable for the BP oil spill in the Gulf.  And, yes, we are all culpable for the deaths of innumerable numbers of civilians in Iraq.  We participate in a Democracy that has achieved both of these things.  Therefore, we are culpable.  Our government is us.  If we don't like it, we need to change it.



What the healthcare summit did


Just a short diary to convey my hopelessly naive take on what the Healthcare Summit accomplished and how Obama put the Republicans in a no-win situation.  First, let's think about the conventional wisdom in two ways.  There's the totally unrealistic expectation that Obama invited the Republicans to discuss healthcare reform as a way of winning some of their votes through persuasion and charmsmanship.  Sign me up for believing that Obama (and Rahm Emmanuel) are smarter than this.  They may end up getting a few Republican votes on it, but it won't be because of persuasion or logic.  Another view of the overall goal of Healthcare Reform is that Obama was really doing this to reassure Blue Dogs, presumably by making this bill seem less scary.  In a sense, you can think of the Blue Dogs as moderate Republicans who are open to being persuaded.  By either of these counts, the summit probably did not reach its goals.  As stated by various gasbags, it was a tie and a tie, as always, goes to the Republicans.  I have a slightly different take on the politics and optics of the summit and I believe Obama was largely successful.  Won't you join me after the jump?


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Tell the House to Pass the Bill!

Apparently, some folks in the House have decided that they'd rather see the Senate in Republican hands than to pass a less-than-perfect victory in the struggle for Healthcare Reform.  The House Progressives and a few others have suggested chopping the bill into pieces and sending the pieces to the Senate to be filibustered one at a time.  In their minds, this leads to a more Progressive bill - apparently because of the unicorns that will leap forth from the parchment.

Nancy Pelosi has just issued a statement that she doesn't believe the House will pass the Senate bill.  Thus, Healthcare Reform is dead for now.  Only our words and our voices can revive it at this point.  Here are some links that may be of interest to you:

Sample email below the fold:

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Trigger for dummies

For those of you not familiar with the trigger or not caffeinated enough to wade through Bruce Webb's excellent and informed diary on the topic, I offer the cynic's thirty-second guide to the trigger.

The trigger is a way to allow people to vote for Healthcare Reform without making any difficult choices.  It will unite the Bluest Dogs and the Reddest progressives under the umbrella of ducking an issue head-on.

The trigger is also a terrific way to ensure that literally hundreds of millions of dollars continue to be spent buying Congress and the agencies in charge of implementing the trigger.

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Remember the "peacekeeper" missile?

This is one of the weirdest clips I've seen in a long time.  Weird for its honesty and for how close it comes to finally admitting that the Global War On Terror (TM) is really about hoping for another attack while spending hundreds of billions of dollars on excess military capacity.

After eight years of George Bush, I got very used to the whole "up-is-down" thing.  But the metaphysical truism in this exchange between Glenn Beck and Michael Sheuer is more like "up-is-purple".

Just watch.

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Every so often, I think "Obama gets it"

Bob Hebert has a nice piece in NYT today.  It's a little on the sycophantic side for my tastes, but whatever.  One part of the op-ed piece that really struck me was this passage from a conversation between Obama and Hebert:

When asked about the sharp drop in the stock markets after Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner announced an expanded bank bailout plan last week, Mr. Obama replied:

"I am not planning based on a one-day market reaction. In fact, you can argue that a lot of the problems we're in have to do with everybody planning based on one-day market reactions, or three-month market reactions, and as a consequence nobody was taking the long view.

When was the last time we had a leader who spoke in these terms?

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Nate Silver - Chill out, y'all!

Nate Silver, over at has a post up making a compelling case that we should essentially trust Obama and Geithner to get this thing right.  The crux of his argument is that they have every incentive to fix the economy and no incentive to cave to Wall Street or some other fantastic notion of insider influence-peddling.

I generally agree with his assessment, although I think there are different ways of conceptualizing the current crisis.  One concept is to get us back to where we were economically two years ago.  This presumably presages another economic collapse in 2011.  The other concept is to get us back to pre-Reagan economics both with its vicissitudes and its protections for the middle class.  That, to me, is the real question about Summers & Geithner.  Do they want late Bush II-era social and economic divides and credit-card living?  Or do they want a solidly middle-class country?  I'm not sure of the answer to this.

From Nate:

1. Nobody, absolutely nobody, has more incentive to get this right than the Obama Administration. If the economy collapses -- well, more than it already has -- then the Democrats get slaughtered in 2010, Obama is a one-termer, health care doesn't happen.

Point well taken.  Geithner is trying.  I will certainly give him that.

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Today's news in Gaza massacres

Amazing how often Israel "accidentally" hits U.N. targets ,isn't it? dUSTRE5053R720090106

Israeli tank shells killed at least 40 Palestinians on Tuesday at a U.N. school where civilians had taken shelter, medical officials said, in carnage likely to boost international pressure on Israel to halt a Gaza offensive.

This was "friendly fire".  Is that correct?  Aren't friends people you, you know, don't kill?

Inane poll below.

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Why is David Plouffe still sending emails?

If you ever need a quick downer, go over to OpenLeft and read something by David Sirota.  I tend to agree with a lot of what he says, mostly because I'm a pessimist by nature.  Sirota ain't happy with Obama these days.  His team of rival (singular) essentially pits the progressive image of Obama versus the center-right D.C. establishment.  

In this narrative, Progressives have been played somewhat by ponying up precious time and money to get Obama in office only to find out that he's a re-run of the triangulation and lukewarm centrism that is both unsavory and unnecessary at this time.  The counter-argument is that Obama is so overwhelmingly in control that his center-right team will actually help him hone his thoughts and skills to the point that mere mortals will shutter at his deft center-leftitude.

I'm not terribly comfortable with either narrative, but I do find surprising solace in the daily emails I still receive from David Plouffe.  There is apparently a coordinated effort to continue online fundraising and drawing Progressives into the fold.  Obama's team is urging us to get together to share our thoughts for the future and actually organizing Progressive causes into some sort of lasting force.  I find this interesting.

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