Sententia-ae. fem, Latin for: opinion, view, judgment; purpose, intention; (law) sentence, verdict; (in the Senate) motion, proposal, view; meaning, sense; sentence; maxim. See also: garrulitas, magnificentia, opinio, praejudicum.
I've resisted the urge to write about Palin. I assume that whatever she is or isn't will gradually become apparent. But I can't help wondering about the syndrome of pushing a talent before it is ready. By happenstance I came across this old post that has some resonance.
Well, at least sorta. Here.
That would be in loan guaranties to the tune of $25 billion. Told ya so. But now at least American car companies can get busy designing those super-duper hybrids and fuel efficient cars that ... uh... the Japanese already have on the market. Oh, well.
The Detroit Free Press reported that it is “the largest federal aid ever offered to the U.S. auto industry.” The loan payments are deferred for five years, so the cost to taxpayers is $7.5 billion, AP reported.
That amounts to a subsidy for such products as hybrid vehicles and plug-in electric cars.
One of our faithful readers has published a book about the vikings. Vikings in Ireland, in fact. They're the guys who founded Dublin, btw. Anyway it looks like a great book. Has a picture of a viking ship on the front and everything (the author modestly declines all credit for the viking ship pic). If you like vikings, or pirates, you should buy this book.
By which I mean do you want some of your tax money to guarantee loans for GM, Ford and Chrysler? After all they are having so much trouble selling their metal these days. And their ability to get credit seems to be eroding for some reason.
The Smart MHD is rated at 71hp and is a particularly economical variant. The car features a stop/go function to lower emissions and increased gas mileage. The new model consumes 8 percent less fuel in the combined cycle, and 19 percent less fuel in urban traffic.
Just a week after "Talk Like a Pirate Day,"* real pirates have pulled off a hijacking that has some real potential for mayhem and agony. Here's the nut of it:
A Russian warship on Friday rushed to intercept a Ukrainian vessel carrying 33 battle tanks and a hoard of ammunition that was seized by pirates off the Horn of Africa — a bold hijacking that again heightened fears about surging piracy and high-seas terrorism.
Rich Lowry seems to be in a deeply pessimistic mood today, partly because of the latest polls (which, under the circumstances, are still better for McCain than anyone could have hoped and still survivable). Here he is on the Corner today in two separate posts (there are others).
One side effect of McCain's debate gambit is, I'm told, that everyone at Ole Miss now hates him. It will make for a very hostile audience tonight among those students and faculty attending. He might have to apologize for creating the uncertainty or make some explanation up front, which is never ideal.
A friend on Capitol Hill in a very dark mood thinks so. Last time, House Republicans got blamed for shutting down the government, this time they'll get blamed for shutting down the financial system. He also worries—did I mention he's in a dark mood?—that if nothing passes and the crash comes, the country may arrive at a turning point, moving irrevocably in the direction of a social democracy.
A screen shot from the Wall Street Journal* this morning. About 10 hours before the debate (which is apparently on again) even starts.
Here in Western North Carolina, for reasons that make very little sense, many of the filling stations have run out of gas. I first heard of it when one of my more responsible students e-mailed that she would not be able to make it to class because she could find no gas for her car. She was down in the Hickory area. Then today at work people made the same comment, including Maire. No gas.
Gov. Mike Easley announced Wednesday (yesterday) evening that substantial additional gasoline supplies have been released to North Carolina.
“The major oil companies have agreed to make additional gas supplies available to hard hits areas of our state, particularly western North Carolina,” said Easley. “We are getting tankers from Wilmington, Tennessee and South Carolina terminals to bring hundreds of thousands of gallons of gas to those most in need.”
The governor said the additional gallons of gas will be available over the next two days
“I am grateful to the oil companies for trying to get gas to our people. They do not have to make these changes in their delivery routine and I have no power to make them. They have agreed to do this voluntarily,” Easley said.
“I have a lot of staff working very hard on this and am asking people to be reasonable and cooperative with each other. Conserve for a few more days and we will be fine. We are going to continue to work hard to get every possible gallon of gasoline to the locations where it is needed.
The gas shortage that was caused by refinery shutdowns during Hurricanes Gustav and Ike has been worse in rural areas of North Carolina because those areas tend to have more independently-owned gas stations. The independent stations typically do not have long term contracts for gasoline delivery, while stations that carry major brand names do have contracts. The independents run out of gas first, consequently it is important that the brand companies have come through with extra fuel for the state.
If I understand this right, it is a gas shortage caused by the unwillingness of gas companies to ship gas to independent dealers who didn't have long term contracts. But I should be grateful to them for shipping extra gas to their own company owned stations so they can sell all they want at $3.99 a gallon?
Or did I miss something?but at least our gov is on the case. I feel so much better.
A boy runs through 122 years of British history to get the bread home.
Had enough of cute little bunnies and weird French rugby stars? This should bring you back to earth: our economic crisis. Which is either really really bad, an absolute disaster, or the end of life as we know it, depending on who you last talked to.
Even if it was a conscious conspiracy by the bankers (unlikely) I find it hard to blame them. I've read increasingly that many of the bankers were complicit in such loans because Congress was pressuring them to do it. Listening to the administration the last few years, I suspect they were pressuring the bankers, too. Remember all the boasting a few years ago about how home ownership was higher than it had ever been?
The Paulson rescue plan is one chapter. But there will be others. Over the next few years, the U.S. will have to climb out from under mountainous piles of debt. Many predict a long, gray recession. The country will not turn to free-market supply-siders. Nor will it turn to left-wing populists. It will turn to the safe heads from the investment banks. For Republicans, people like Paulson. For Democrats, the guiding lights will be those establishment figures who advised Barack Obama last week — including Volcker, Robert Rubin and Warren Buffett.
Once again Andrew Sullivan posts a link only after I have used the very same item! (check the last post) Though I have to admit he seems to have found the Urquellen for this one. And I owe my discovery of this to Carmen who had already read it by the time I got up this morning.
Not by bunnies apparently but from Hank Paulson, soon to be dictator of our republic's financial concerns. Here it is in toto (from BoingBoing) :
I need to ask you to support an urgent secret business relationship with a transfer of funds of great magnitude.
I am Ministry of the Treasury of the Republic of America. My country has had crisis that has caused the need for large transfer of funds of 800 billion dollars US. If you would assist me in this transfer, it would be most profitable to you.
I am working with Mr. Phil Gram, lobbyist for UBS, who will be my replacement as Ministry of the Treasury in January. As a Senator, you may know him as the leader of the American banking deregulation movement in the 1990s. This transaction is 100% safe.
This is a matter of great urgency. We need a blank check. We need the funds as quickly as possible. We cannot directly transfer these funds in the names of our close friends because we are constantly under surveillance. My family lawyer advised me that I should look for a reliable and trustworthy person who will act as a next of kin so the funds can be transferred.
Please reply with all of your bank account, IRA and college fund account numbers and those of your children and grandchildren to email@example.com so that we may transfer your commission for this transaction. After I receive that information, I will respond with detailed information about safeguards that will be used to protect the funds.
Yours Faithfully Minister of Treasury Paulson
Don't laugh too hard.
By special request from one of my devoted readers*. Here it is.
Because I don't understand what has happened, at least not in enough detail to feel comfortable with the bailouts we are pushing through at record speed. My gut reaction is like this reader of Andrew Sullivan:
the administration's proposals continue a process of socializing loss and preserving profits and distributions, many of which were made with full knowledge of the pending losses.
I know something of Mormon history though not a lot. The Washington Post has a brief review of two new books about two disturbing events in that history. The main difference between early Mormon history and, say, early Christian or Islamic history, is the degree of documentation we have. It took place in the full glare of a civilization with widespread literacy, the printing press, and an obsession with making and recording history.
Remember the Haka war dance of the New Zealand All Blacks? If not, watch this. Then consider what would happen if the French made their own Haka.
When I was about 9 my family went to visit the Gettysburg Battlefield. Back in those days the crush of tourism and capitalism had not yet fully worked its magic. I still remember how awed I was by the gigantic circular painting of the battle called the Cyclorama. You have seen photos of it, perhaps without knowing it, in almost every book on the battle containing pictures. I wanted to be an artist to recreate every nuance of such a work. I wanted to be that artist. Actually it was a team of 20 artists but I thought one person had done it all.
That would be soccer, to you and me. But not to Murty, Maire and Maeraed. They should be thrilled with this news, as uncovered at the National Review Online
AIG was the prime sponsor of the largest sports franchise in the world, soccer giants Manchester United. As they are now, I suppose, the official soccer team of the United States government, Donal Blaney suggests they need to change their uniform design.
Over on "Ragged Thots" a reader named Bill Barker left this little statistical post:
If you had purchased $1,000 of Delta Airlines stock one year ago you would have $49.00 left.
With Enron, you would have had $16.50 left of the original $1,000.
With WorldCom,less than $5.00 would be left.
If you had purchased $1,000 worth of beer one year ago, drank all of the beer, then turned in the cans for the recycling refund, you would have $214.00 cash.
Based on the above, the best current investment advice is to drink heavily and recycle. It's called the 401-Keg plan.
That's what I call Rich Lowry, the hand picked successor to Bill Buckley as editor of the National Review. Whenever he talks about partisan politics he descends into incoherence (in my view) but when talking about straight forward policy analysis can make some honest sense. He is one of the few denizens of "The Corner" who can actually be invited on national TV and I don't think it is solely because of his young good looks. Here he is today:
The Bush years will be remembered for the cruel triumph of realism over illusion.
One of the era’s great illusions was spun by President Bush — that the force of freedom was so irresistible, it would prevail in a place like Iraq even in the absence of law and order. Bush himself eventually realized his mistake. The second illusion — fed by anyone who possibly could get rich from it — is bursting now.
A vital demographic, by the way. Here is some trenchant political commentary from the Muppets. Scroll down to the video.
If there is one thing I know absolutely nothing about, it's economics. I seem to share that ignorance with John McCain by his own admission. And lo and behold, the economy has turned around and bitten us on the ass. As I watch my TIAA/CREF account sink slowly in the West I ponder what to do next. Don't know.
Fascinating new blog by an Ethiopian Israeli. He is fascinated by Obama's candidacy and writes about its reception in Israel, where most Israelis seem to view it as a potential danger for Israel. As he writes about reactions to Obama he tells us more and more about Israeli society.
I stumbled on this blog of photos from Japan. I first I was in awe of how clean everything was. Then I noticed something even stranger, though perhaps related. There are absolutely no people in the pictures either. In Japan.
John Derbyshire has been rather silent for the last few weeks and still has nothing to say about recent recent events within the Grand Ol' Party. But on his web page he does have something to say about a Microsoft product called FrontPage.
That original website was built in the late 1990s using Microsoft FrontPage. By the time I realized that using FrontPage had been a ghastly mistake, the site was big and cluttered enough to make a rewrite daunting. Now Microsoft has stopped issuing new releases of FrontPage. They have folded it into a new product that (a) costs three times as much, and (b) inherits all the worst qualities of FrontPage.
David Brooks today sidesteps any specific commentary on the McCain/Palin race this week in the NY Times. The wimp*. Still, it's an interesting rumination on the strain of tough, conservative individualism and how this has been superseded by what we now know about human nature according to Brooks.
If there’s a thread running through the gravest current concerns, it is that people lack a secure environment in which they can lead their lives. Wild swings in global capital and energy markets buffet family budgets. Nobody is sure the health care system will be there when they need it. National productivity gains don’t seem to alleviate economic anxiety. Inequality strains national cohesion. In many communities, social norms do not encourage academic achievement, decent values or family stability. These problems straining the social fabric aren’t directly addressed by maximizing individual freedom.
And yet locked in the old framework, the Republican Party’s knee-jerk response to many problems is: “Throw a voucher at it.” Schools are bad. Throw a voucher. Health care system’s a mess. Replace it with federally funded individual choice. Economic anxiety? Lower some tax rate.
He then points out that this paradigm does not cover the Fannie/Freddie bailout and goes on:
The irony, of course, is that, in pre-Goldwater days, conservatives were incredibly sophisticated about the value of networks, institutions and invisible social bonds. You don’t have to go back to Edmund Burke and Adam Smith (though it helps) to find conservatives who understood that people are socially embedded creatures and that government has a role (though not a dominant one) in nurturing the institutions in which they are embedded.
That language of community, institutions and social fabric has been lost, and now we hear only distant echoes — when social conservatives talk about family bonds or when John McCain talks at a forum about national service.
A critique of conservatism as it is now from within. But is this conservatism? Many conservative pundits seem intent on defining conservatism by reading anyone whose views they don't like out of the movement. But that doesn't leave much left except perhaps the conservative flavor of the season.
But the Ford F-Series pickup did not rule the roost as the nation’s best-selling vehicle, on an annual basis, from 1981 to last year [!!] just because gas was cheap. Its ascent required a helping hand from Uncle Sam. As Washington scrambles for a policy to achieve the incompatible goals of making fuel cheaper and making Americans use less of it, it might consider the twisted tale of how four-wheel-drive gas hogs became Detroit’s best sellers.
Further evidence that no one's reputation survives the touch of the Bush administration: the Department of the Interior. I assume most of you are aware of the charges leveled at employees there, of the bribes and sex involved. Here is an editorial from the NY Times about it today. Not entirely an unbiased source, but the facts in it are backed up by news stories I have read elsewhere.
In three extraordinary reports delivered to Congress this week, Mr. Devaney [the Dept Inspector General] found that officials at the Minerals Management Service — the division responsible for granting offshore oil leases and collecting royalties — accepted gifts, steered contracts to favored clients and engaged in drugs and sex with oil company employees as part of what he described as a broader “culture of substance abuse and promiscuity.”
The White House can take no comfort at all. The people it brought to Washington to run the department had no interest in policing the oil, mining and agricultural interests they were sworn to regulate and every interest in promoting industry’s (and their own) good fortune. The most notorious of these was J. Steven Griles, a mining industry lobbyist who really ran the agency for four years and who later pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice in the Jack Abramoff scandal.
This little notice appeared on Aol.com this morning in a long list of companies that are about to lay off 10,000 or more employees.
August car sales at Ford fell by 26% to just over 155,000 units. The company said the second half might be worse than the first. Ford promised to cut production for the balance of 2008. Ford is running low on cash and its credit ratings have been dropped due to rising default risks. Once it has switched its product mix to fuel-efficient models*, it still have to deal with Toyota and Honda who own that end of the market.
Well, not exactly a bailout, but guarantied loans backed up by money supplied by you and me.
And now for something completely frivolous. No politics or social commentary. But I have been talking about horse nomads (Scythians, Sarmatians, Alans etc), so this short essay on horses in the NYT this morning caught my attention.
I have been riding when my horse suddenly pauses because some detail in the landscape has changed — a fallen branch has been moved aside or a stream bed has gone dry — while I struggle to remember what that detail might have been. A horse’s attention is particular, not abstract or symbolic. It shows in the cant of its ears, the flicker of its eyes, the fluidity or hesitation of its gait.
A democracy probably works best when you have an informed electorate like we have here in America.
"Half of Americans now say Iraq had weapons of mass destruction when the United States invaded the country in 2003 -- up from 36 percent last year, a Harris poll finds" (Washington Times, 7/24/2006); "Nearing the second anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, seven in 10 Americans continue to believe that Iraq's Saddam Hussein had a role in the attacks" (Washington Post, 9/6/2003); "The same poll in June showed that 56% of all Republicans said they thought Saddam was involved with the 9/11 attacks. In the latest poll that number actually climbs, to 62%" (USA Today/Gallup poll, 10/6/2004); "The latest Harris Poll has some interesting results on public opinions of Saddam Hussein's possible links to al Qaeda. Of those Americans polled, 64% agree that Saddam Hussein had 'strong' links to al Qaeda" (Harris poll, July 21, 2006); "49 percent of Americans think the president has the authority to suspend the Constitution . . . Only a third of Americans understood that much of the rest of the world opposed our invasion [of Iraq]. Another third thought the rest of the world was cheering our invasion, and a third thought the rest of the world was neutral" (Rick Shenkman, June, 2008).
(which means this may end up like 1066 and All That)
That would be the very big country growing powerful enough off of its oil money to tell us convincingly to mind our own business in Georgia. That's it right up there next to Alaska. Here's a little anecdote from Tom Friedman:
Palin’s nomination for vice president and her desire to allow drilling in the Alaskan wilderness “reminded me of a lunch I had three and half years ago with one of the Russian trade attachés,” global trade consultant Edward Goldberg said to me. “After much wine, this gentleman told me that his country was very pleased that the Bush administration wanted to drill in the Alaskan wilderness. In his opinion, the amount of product one could actually derive from there was negligible in terms of needs. However, it signified that the Bush administration was not planning to do anything to create alternative energy, which of course would threaten the economic growth of Russia.”
There. Just to show you I can criticize the liberals' flagship paper of record, or whatever they call themselves these days, here is a story about credulous and incompetent reporting.
He did it. No! He did it.
Following Jack's advice (thank you thank you thank you) I have discovered the Urquellen of the naughty librarian meme. It's here, from June 2007. I have NO idea who Craig Ferguson is, or was, since I don't watch much TV, but he is prescient.
There's been some commentary comparing the protesters, presumed to be Obama supporters, unfavorably with the fact that protesters, presumably Repubs, have never disrupted a Demo convention.
Rich Lowry, NRO's designated adult, starts to get an inkling about something that a lot of Repubs are overlooking about Palin/McCain. It's an anti-Repub ticket. That is, it leans toward the populist forces of the party that have been taken for granted and used as shock troops by the Repub leaders for so long without a payoff. After Katrina there is an anti-establishment mood out there among the volk. It has a 'liberal' expression and that is what the Demos have been banking on. But it also has a distinct and large 'conservative' expression. If McCain can actually carry out his stated agenda, the Repub party apparat is in for considerable heartburn. If the steele cupcake has anything to do with it they might get a dose of genuine right wing Christian populism. Rather than Dan Quayle think Evita.
Then again, McCain's message wasn't always congenial to these delegates. You never would've known that he's a Republican running when Republicans have held the White House for the last eight years. There was a nod to President Bush for keeping us safe at the top; after that, McCain made the case for getting "this country moving again" - typically an out-party message.
The reaction in the hall was tepid to his diagnosis of how the GOP has lost the trust of the public, and to his pledges to work cooperatively with all well-intentioned comers in a nonpartisan manner. But his real audience was out in the country, where traditional GOP politics is a tough sell this year.
He HAS to run against the Repub establishment. I think that doing so actually appeals to him. He may even mean it. But can he pull it off once in office?
No surprise there. The venue though is a surprise. It seems that the picture used as a backdrop to McCain's speech was of the Walter Reed Middle School of North Hollywood CA (that would be the same Hollywood then where all the elite celebrities hang out). Why would they use a shot of an unknown middle school in California, especially one that looks like it might be one of McCain's mansions?
[with apologies to Monty Python]
The folks over at National Review are getting quite worked up over Palin. I thought Joey Sobrino was being a little arch with his 'naughty librarian' comment, but now I realize that he was actually being subtle. Now the NRO crowd are talking about her "Paglian chthonic sexual power"* and her "unabashed embrace of her fecundity and motherhood ." Ok. If these are factors in the race, just say so.
Over on an blog chat on The Washington Post earlier today someone asked Jay Nordlinger, a conservative pundit, what he thought was wrong with Liddy Dole, our dear Senator here in North Carolina, as a Vice Presidential choice. His reply:
Jay Nordlinger: I think there is a feeling that her time has passed. But what a good question -- I haven't thought of her in years. (Goes to show you.) What a star she was. Sad about politics, as in other fields of life.
St Paul is my adopted hometown. I lived on the bluffs of the Mississippi just off Summit Avenue one block from the Lake St bridge. I called it 'Catholic Corner.' At the other end of Summit Ave was Summit Heights, a wonderful place filled with a world class cathedral and world class bars. Now some of Blogistan's elite are finding out about it the easy way: this just in from Matt Yglesias:
In the spirit of Barack Obama’s call for national reconciliation and a de-escalation of the culture wars, after knocking off work yesterday I went with Chris Hayes (pictured) and Ari Berman of The Nation and Mike Tomasky of The Guardian to grab some beers and, like any good beer-track voter, pair them with a selection of local cheeses.This was all in St. Paul’s Summit Heights neighborhood, which seemed to come straight out of liberal elite central casting. Indeed, we literally — and not just Joe Biden literally, but actually liberally — wound up in Garrison Keillor’s living room. He turns out to be a very generous host, but not a blog reader.
Someone left the mic on while Peggy Noonan and some of the boys (Chuck Todd and Mike Murphy) discussed politics. For what it's worth, Noonan denies that she really meant it because it depends on what the meaning of 'is' is. Or something . Here's the quote:
In the truncated version of the conversation, on the Web, it appears I am saying the McCain campaign is over. I did not say it, and do not think it.
Now for something having nothing to do with American politics. Archaeologists have found a portion of the walls of ancient Jerusalem dating back 2100 years to the era of the Second Temple. Here's the story and here's my favorite part of it:
The walls were first located through tunnels by 19th Century researchers, whose beer bottles were also found.
Never heard of it? Shame on you. Actually there are only three people in America who know the full history of the Ossetian people*. I know all three of them personally. One is retired, one is crazy, and I myself have forgotten all the details.
Well as I live and breath. Not all conservative radio talk show hosts are over the moon for Palin. Her reasoning though seems to describe a fair chunk of the working women of America.
No. Not the Democrats (remember them?): the Libertarians. Who needs Sarah Palin when you have Jesse Ventura to electrify the Ron Paul crowd? Here's his take on the second amendment.
The founders did not write the Second Amendment to protect hunters and sportsmen, he said. “The Second Amendment is there so that we the people, if our government gets out of control, we have the ability to rise up and change it.” The ensuing standing ovation was louder than anything so far today.
He added, “Some say, well how could we stand up to the U.S. government and its entire military might? I got the answer. We threw everything we had at Vietnam, and they were nothing but a bunch of farmers with a couple of AK-47s...” (the rest was drowned out by the cheering).
When Ventura brought up 9/11, these people starting cheering and clapping. “ Why is it that when you ask questions about 9/11, it’s out-of-bounds?” he said. “Why has the U.S. Department of Justice not charged Osama Bin Laden for 9/11?”
As Ventura continued to “ask questions” about what really happened on 9/11, a vocal contingent in the crowd (coming from all parts of the arena) took to chanting, “9/11 was an inside job.” At one point, it got so loud that Ventura had to pause for a few moments before going on. Many in the crowd were applauding Ventura throughout his discussion of 9/11, but some were sitting stone-faced, looking on with dismay.
I have no good idea of how Palin as VP will work politically. She shores up the base, which was absolutely critical, steps on the Obama speech buzz, and certainly has the potential to be seen as one of those gut instinct decisions that later looks inspired.
"That naughty librarian vibe" that Palin has. Maybe. Though Carmen wants to know what movies you have been watching lately (we suspect it was not "The Music Man").