Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Happy New Year!

++I thank of your faithful readers. I appreciate all the e-mails and comments on my posts every year. I've taken the editorial decision not to allow comments on the blog because I actually have other work to do and responding would become an endless task. 

++This year contains the most posts of any year since I've begun and I don't think they come up to the quality of the first few years where we were treated to the rise of nativism,the teabag phenomenon, the rise of the militias--which actually hint over 1,000 this year, and the wacky constitution arguments of the so-called "strict constitutionalists".

++This year I stepped into my own trap blogging more than helpful on the mid-terms and missing the results almost in the same proportion as 2010. I said I wouldn't but the elections get the horses running.

++I omitted my growing disenchantment with popular movements as forces that can actually spur change in this land. There are specific reasons for this, which I hope to take up next year. An exception to this is,which organized the global marches to halt climate change. I take as immediate effects of their efforts--the Peruvian climate agreement and the announcement by Pope Francis about the encyclical to 1 billion Catholics on Climate Change and the environment.

++The biggest disappointment this year was the weak campaigns by the Democrats in the mid-term, especially after their leadership promised they had learned the lessons of 2010--which clearly they did not.

++The biggest surprise was President Obama's liberation after the mid-terms to enact executive orders to spar 5 million undocumented immigrants deportation and his announcement of the normalization of relations with Cuba. 

++The fight over the Senate Torture Report was one of the most important news items but got quickly swept under the rug--for now. This sorry episode was documented in great detail in the 2009 Senate Report by the Armed Services Committee led by Senator Levin. Until we as a country come to grips with the war crimes we committed this will haunt our international affairs for years to come.

++I guess we have all forgotten Edward Snowden and his revelations of the scope of NSA surveillance on us all. Congress failed to pass the NSA Reforms which they promised after these  revelations became public knowledge.

++As for the 2016 elections, none of the Republicans so far are fit to govern in the 21st century and none have the moral vision which deserves any respect. That doesn't mean they can't win.Hillary Clinton doesn't excite me but she would be able and capable as President. Elizabeth Warren is actually the first candidate running in Iowa, even though she discounts these rumors. That hasn't stopped a Warren for President campaign from starting. 

++But let's close the year with a salute to Bernie Sanders,the longest serving independent in American political history. By March we will know whether a socialist can run in America. That was the question Karl Marx asked,"Why is America so exceptional? It doesn't have a socialist tradition." Ironically, American exceptionalism only showed up in the 2012 Republican platform and President Obama has been the only President ever to utter the phrase "American exceptionalism".  So, Bernie, to the Barricades!

++For all, a healthful, tranquil,slightly prosperous New Year and a year of mindfulness.

Those Who Didn't Disappoint in 2014

++These are writers for whom I have high hopes whenever I hear one of their books is coming out. In recent years there have been those who it's just nice to know they are still working but don't surprise or keep up the quality of their early work. Some grow in maturity but not many anymore. Some are old reliables whom you just read to hear the cadence of their sentences again--even though the sentences are almost always some slight re-wording of some text of theirs you have read before.

++This year is actually slim.

James Ellroy
William Gibson
David Mitchell
Carl Hiassen --for his young adult novel
John Lahr--for his biography of Tennessee Williams
James Risen--for his account of the greed and wealth in America's torture business.
Naomi Klein-- for her first semi-upbeat book on fighting climate change. This changes Everything.

I expect this year to bring more poetry. But I found the year overall flat. 

The Biggest Loses of 2014

++Number one was Robin Williams.

++Number two was one of my favorites, Sid Caesar.

++Number three was Peter Matthiessen, author and environmentalist.

++Number four was Maya Angelou. poet and author.

++Number five was Galway Kinnell,poet.

++Number six was Mark Strand, poet.

++Number seven was Lauren Bacall.

There was many more celebrities and talents that died this past year but those seven are favorites. Robin Williams, such an amazing talent, brought suicide as an issue back to the fore with his crippling diseases and chronic depression. 

A personal note, Bob Freda, who was the former husband of my niece and an Emergency Room and Burn nurse, committed suicide this year by blowing his brains out. He leaves behind a new wife. If anyone is tempted by suicide, ask for help. These days too many people are committing suicide after succumbing to deep depressions or facing long-term illnesses.

The Last Two Years

++Enjoy the last two years of the Obama Presidency. They may be the last of a democratically elected President.

++Princeton University published a study this year that already proclaimed the United States was no longer a democracy. 

++The 2016 elections are already upon us. Conservative websites just released an analysis of the 16 leading GOP hopefuls. Organizing for America is conducting their fund-raising drive. The Democratic congressional committee are already tut-tutting about Boehner's miscues. The caravan moves on.

++Grover Norquist is urging the GOP to claim they are responsible for the economic recovery. That's the spirit. They still send e-mails around blaming Barney Frank for causing the meltdown on Wall Street. So why not claim credit for the recovery?

++In case you haven't got the message the Republican Congress' message this year is "Jobs, jobs, jobs", which can only be created by giving corporations more tax breaks to ease their burden.

++When discretionary spending in the US budget is at the lowest level in decades and the military,intelligence terrorist complex eats 2/3rds of the budget, your political system has severe problems. Expect these problems to be solved by the new super duper "dynamic scoring" system the GOP wants to install in the Congressional Budget Office, instantly ruining one of the outstanding bipartisan arbiters of the budget in history.

++Your Supreme Court will continue its games. The case against the ACA runs into their corporate supremacy doctrine. Can SCOTUS really destroy an industry? They don't case about anyone getting healthcare. It's all the survival of the insurance industry. 

++Your know your system has problems when corporations are considered living, breathing beings with first amendment rights and the right to have religious beliefs. The Roberts Court's view that corporations are superior to individuals may help save same sex marriage--because its denial would mean material harm to businesses as the various amicus curiae briefs from business groups attest.

++Running up to 2016,expect the majority of GOP run state legislatures to gerrymander even more congressional districts and pass even more laws restricting voter access. The Supreme Court's gutting of the Voter Rights Act affected the results in 24 states this year. Expect this to have an extremely negative result in 2016.

++Then we have the issue of dark money in politics. It's not for nothing that the John Doe case in Wisconsin has references by campaign workers to the Scott Walker's "dark side". The FEC is so eviscerated that you should expect billions from overseas donors. Sheldon Adelson's Macau Casinos could be a case in point.

++Then we have permanent war. Left-wing bloggers used the anniversary of the invasion of Panama to mark when this period began in earnest. Unfortunately they are right. James Fallows in the most recent Atlantic has a seminal article on what's wrong with our war-making machine. Please read it.

++The next two years, expect the Republican Congress to try and destroy anything President Obama has done positively. Our economy should remain strong through 2015 but Congress has to artificially create a recession for 2016. So that you forget President Obama and Hillary will be forced to distance herself from him.

++On the positive side,we should expect some sort of climate change agreement in December of next year. We may--but I am beginning to doubt it--see an agreement with Iran over their nuclear program. If there is, our Congress and their military will try to sabotage it.Don't expect any declaration of war against ISIS in any meaningful way.Congress doesn't want any responsibility for this action, just the right to criticize President Obama.

++Since I have no opinion on the matter--yet--expect Congress to give the President "fast track authority" to approve two free trade pacts--one with the Pacific nations, the other with the European Union.

Torturers Don't Go Unnoticed

++All the major human rights groups and the ACLU have called on the administration to prosecute those involved in our torture program.

++The European Center for Constitutional Law and Human Rights based in Germany is going to seek indictments in that country against the Bush administration officials involved with the program. They also are focusing on the lawyers for their role in justifying it.

++The European Center centers its case on German citizen Khalid el-Masri who was kidnapped and renditioned to the Salt Pit in Afghanistan and tortured. el-Masri was wrongfully identified by the CIA's Queen of Torture whom Jane Mayer identified in the New Yorker. The interrogators kept cabling back to Langley that el-Masri was not the Al Qaeda person the agency wanted. The Agency insisted. Once the mistake was finally recognized, the American ambassador former Senator Coats called for a special meeting with the German Foreign Minister and told him there had been a mistake--all this taken down because it was a formal meeting. El-Masri was then whisked away and dumped by the agency on the road leading to his rural home. He found that his wife had left him and taken his children to Lebanon.

++The UN Committee on Torture this week called on the United States to sanction the lawyers who justified torture. The UN said that by sanctioning the lawyers the United States would no longer have a legal excuse to resume torturing detainees.

++Legal aid groups are again focusing on the crime of "Scientific experimentation with Humans", a crime against humanity. This charge is aimed at the CIA psychologists who have admitted their interrogation project was an experiment in "learned helplessness". 

++By the way,"Enhanced Interrogation Techniques" quaintly called "EIT" is a direct translation from the Gestapo Handbook for their torture regime.

++By never mind, the New York Times tells us that the CIA's mandate has been renewed and that the agents who bugged the Senate computers were let off without a slap on the hands. Maybe because John Brennen ordered them to bug the Senate.

++The ACLU has organized a petition urging Mark Udall to release the full torture report before a new Congress begins and Udall walks out the door.

Grim Note To Close the Year

++Former FBI-agent, Representative Michael Grimm will resign his house seat next week after he pleaded guilty to fraud and tax evasion.

++Majority Whip Steve Scalise was called out for speaking to a white supremacist rally in Louisiana in 2002. The Washington Post going all soft and wobbly on the GOP says this is just politics in Louisiana and is to be expected. In the past Senator Lott had to resign because he spoke to a neo-confederate group. My ,how times have changed.

++Karl Rove claimed John Boehner handled both situations with tact, deliberation and conviction. Sean Hannity wants to dump Boehner for Trey Grady, the new conservative darling and chair of the Special Committee to investigate Benghazi. I'm for making Louie Gohmert Speaker of the House so his asparagus won'y be disrespected again/

++I remember when the Republican Party made a full court press to make sure David Duke didn't have a political future. It was Duke's group whom Scalise addressed. Duke is now threatening other GOP congressmen that he will expose his dealings with them if they don't lay off Scalise,"who just made a mistake"( according to Boehner). Duke said Scalise was a great Christian and family man.

++Usually we associate David Duke as the Grand Dragon of the KKK and racism. All the news stories were about Scalise attending a racist forum. 

++Well yes, but with a twist. That day David Duke aimed his hate at Jews and the state of Israel. He blasted all the Jewish advisers to President Bush--Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Pearl--and blasted the influence Israel had over the administration. For Republicans, the race card has been successfully played during the whole Obama Administration. But a charge of anti-semiticism would wound them as they portray themselves the greatest defenders of Israel.

++I don't know whether anyone followed David Duke's journey to Europe where he went on about 9-11 and great conspiracies. The Duke connection was and still is toxic for all human beings.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Obama Ties Reagan

++The blogger known as the "Drunken Irishman" reminds us that President Obama ends 2014 with a Gallup rating of 48%, his highest since 2013.

++But, more importantly, President Obama now has the same rating as President Reagan at the same time in their presidencies. 

PATTI SMITH IS 68--Happy Birthday to one of the great spirits

Great Read/S

++I am 2/3rds through Brian Krebs' Spam Nation:The Inside Story of Cybercrime--from Global Epidemic to Your Front Door. Krebs was the computer security writer for the Imperial Post until his stories demanded too many lawyers verifying his copy. He has gone on to create his own blog Krebs on 

++You could just read this as an account of a new form of global capitalism, a crime story or how hackers turned their trade into money. All those Viagra ads I get, actually deliver the drugs and don't rip off your credit cards. Krebs interviews customers of the virtual pharmacies and finds most are happy with the service. Why such a large American market? Almost all these drugs are cheaper overseas. Those "Canadian" pharmacies really ship from India or Hong Kong. The spam inserted in you computer is to generate more spam. 

++Krebs fascinates with stories how the cybercriminals fund Russian sports teams as a way to pay off law enforcement and finagle their way into the Russian legal system to finance clerks to stall their investigations. 

++When the Obama Administration started taking cybercrime seriously the man put in charge was none other than the EBOLA Tsar, a fact never mentioned in the press. He had previously been involved in cleaning up the virtual pharmacies.

++Krebs traces the origins of cybercrime back to Belarus and documents how they shut down all of Estonia's IT infrastructure, including banks, because they were attacking a rival cybercriminal family. From Belarus down to the Ukraine and some upwards to Russia.

++Krebs flies to Moscow to meet one head of a cybersyndicate and finds he is the same bullshitter in person as he was on the phone.

++The amount of documentation Krebs had to comb through is mind-numbing and the whole story of malware and the Internet Crime Forums, where junior hackers can get a start is beyond me and is probably only accessible to a younger generation.

++Spam Nation is accessible and a riveting read.

++Meanwhile the LA Times has an oped today on the Financial Transaction Tax, which I have supported for years, and why it will assist the middle class.

++Paul Krugman is interviewed by Ezra Klein in the VOX. Klein should learn to stay as much out of the conversation as possible. Krugman warns of pandemics that are certain to grow from globalism,is pessimistic Congress will achieve anything and speaks about liberals' fears that Hillary may be flirting with Clinton-Blairism that dictated the economic policies of the 1990s or the Third Way.

++Margaret Thatcher's papers have been released because the 30-year ban is up. Maggie wanted to rebuild the UK's chemical weapons program because of her fears in the Cold War and wanted to put commercials on the BBC. I don't know which is worse.

++Ed Kilgore at Washington Monthly ran a video of Jeb Bush saying that the science on climate change is not unanimous. This then led to a riff on Stem Cell research and anti-abortion. BUT to Jeb's Defense he is right. Climate change is not unanimous. I found a scientist named Dr. Zimmerman, who believes termites and cow farts release more methane into the air than human activity and cause more carbon emissions than your average coal plant. He's probably Bob Dylan's demented uncle. Of all the scientific papers on the subject, all of One , count it, One suggests humans are not responsible for climate change. 

++But if that's Jeb's position, you can imagine what the next two years will song like.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Hillary and Barack Romp

++Barack Obama has been the most admired man in the United States for the last seven years, according to Gallup.

++Hillary Clinton has been the most admired woman for a stunning 17 out of the last 18 years,once losing out to Laura Bush. Eleanor Roosevelt, also one of the most admired women, never came close to Hillary,only topping the list 6 times.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

War Is Over If You want It

++Today marks the formal end to our 13-year war in Afghanistan. The small ceremony marked the end of the war at the NATO headquarters in Kabul.

++Under President Obama the US military peaked to 140,000. We suffered 3,500 dead. 

++Now the US is there under the slogan "Resolute Support". We will have 11,000-13,000 armed forces there with an expanded mission that includes going after Al Qaeda and groups suspecting of giving support to ISIS. 

++The mission has expanded from providing support to the Afghan army to actively engaging in armed conflicts with "terrorists". The Afghan army now stands at 350,000 but has complained already about the lack of pay and supplies. 

++The Guardian of London marked the end of the conflict by saying that Britain proved it was no longer a reliable ally of the United States because American forces had to bail the Brits out on the last two major battles.


++CNN's poll today shows that just rumors of Jeb Bush running puts him at 23%, almost double last month's poll. Chris Christie is at 13% and Neurosurgeon Ben Carson is at 7%. Rand Paul and Mike Huckabee stand at 6%.

++A tad premature. Chris Christie and Andree Cuomo both defied their legislatures to veto plans to reform the Port of Authority. Alison Grimes, the Attorney-General of Kentucky, says she will not allow Rand Paul to run both for the Senate and the President.

++Chris Christie says he will not resign as governor of New Jersey if he runs for president.

++Jeb Bush hasn't run in a campaign for over a decade. This should be interesting/

Whither Bibi?

++In my world Israel's politics was defined by the Labor Party and Likud. Those days are long gone as Israel's body politic has moved increasingly rightwing so that Bibi Netanyahu looks like a centrist.  I normally try to follow Americans writers who seem to know what they are writing about. The recent proliferation of new parties just confuses me.

++Josh Marshall at Talking Points Memo has a piece about whether Bibi is going to fail in the March elections. No one is really believing this since he is clever,resourceful and Machiavellian enough to survive.

++But the noises coming from Israel indicate the situation has become increasingly unstable. For instance, Michael Orens, the former ambassador to the United States and the protege of Frank Luntz,the GOP pollster, has abandoned Bibi and joined the new party. Orens , you will recall, was the liaison with the Romney campaign and has been totally identified with Bibi.

++Then Avbrigor Lieberman ,the former Foreign Minister who is notoriously nationalistic,openly criticized the Prime Minister's foreign policy as a non-starter.Then the comptroller of Likud ruled that Bibi can't run for the nomination of his party because he misused party funds for personal purposes. Almost everyone laughs this one off as certain to be reversed.

++All of this indicates Bibi has lost his internal clout so that political figures feel free to challenge him, although criticism is part and parcel of Israeli politics but this feels different.

++The moment of Israel's success in Gaza has vanished with the unease among Israelis that nothing has been solved. The question about how long can Israel hold 5 million Palestinians under occupation has surfaced again. And with that the fundamental issue of whether Israel can remain democratic and Jewish, which has been their hallmark and won them support in the most difficult days.

++Lieberman, no great friend of democracy or Arab Israelis for that matter, gave a very revealing speech about the challenges that lie ahead. He reminded his Israeli audience that it depends on the EU for its economy and that the EU is turning against it. (In part, this is because the EU is seriously considering the recognition of Palestine and also, let's be frank, anti-semiticism has re-emerged in Western Europe as a pernicious force.)  Lieberman said that the opening to China hasn't panned out yet and Bibi's trip to Russia hasn't yielded anything with the crisis there. Curiously, he then advocated a two-state solution again and Israel being sensitive to foreign concerns on this matter. 

++I have heard someone like Elliot Abrams argue that Israel could go it alone and their economy would not hurt. From listening to Lieberman's analysis, I don't believe this and think it is sheer bravado.

++The divestment movement in America and Europe has been symbolic so far but it has concerned both Israelis and the American-Jewish community because there are more than tinges of anti-semiticism, which should worry anyone.

++When Bibi was here in the fall, he touted how Israel and the "moderate" Arab states were helping in the fight against ISIS and he reiterated his support of a two state solution--even though his active sabotage of John Kerry's efforts belie this notion. It was about this time he acquiesced to the Jewish Home Party's demand for the expansion of settlements. How much of this is playing politics for the upcoming elections is anyone's guess.

++Outside observers feel dissolving the Unity Government and calling early elections was a mistake, a mistake that seriously weakens Bibi Netanyahu and his chances of cobbling together both a ruling coalition and one which will have tacit acceptance from the international community.

++No one seriously is questioning Bibi's ability to pull this off since he has dominated Israeli politics for some time. But recent events have increased the anxiety about Israel's direction.

++Watch this space because I think the Israeli elections are going to be  major event in 2015.

Pope Francis Goes Large

++The Dalai Lama has been one of religion's biggest supporters of science even saying that if science disproves something in Buddhism he would change the teaching. He holds a cross-disciplinary seminar every year to be briefed on the most far-reaching discoveries in the science community.

++While we remember Catholicism's treatment of Galileo,The Vatican has long since changed its views on science and even has a very sophisticated observatory and a Vatican official astronomer.

++Pope Francis seems to be taking this further. He will be issuing a papal encyclical next year on Climate Change and the environment to lead up to the climate change talks in Paris on December 2015. The document will be 50-60 pages long and such a document with doctrinal meaning is rare.

++Pope Francis previously spoke out on the issue during the Days for Climate Action, organized in part by, the global non-profit "movement" spearheaded by Bill McKibben. 

++Pope Francis anticipated actions have been met by resistance within the Vatican, where conservatives claim the science is not settled. And he has met antagonism by American evangelicals who claim the American environmental movement is "unbiblical".

++Pope Francis has already ruffled American conservatives' feathers by his assault on the inequities in today's capitalist system.

++Last week the Vatican released its "Inquisition" of the American nuns,whom it suspected of being feminist,politically active and tampering with tradition. The investigation has been feared by the American nuns because it was instigated by Pope Benedict and the very conservative hierarchy. 

++The results ended up lauding the nuns' charity work and praised their active concern in humanitarian matters. The tone was night and day from what was expected. That is because the study quotes Pope Francis extensively on his doctrine of openness and inclusiveness and rejected Benedict's authoritarianism.

++The Pope has sent many of those in charge of the Vatican treasury packing called on the Vatican staff to clean up their act. 

++With the GOP in charge of the American Congress, Pope Francis' declaration on Climate Change should shake up the place. Are liberals going to insist that conservatives be denied communion if they are climate change deniers? Just as conservatives demand the same of pro-choice Catholics or the divorced.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Two Things to Look Forward to in 2015

++In my quest for great Retro, I offer these two great products for 2015. My son types on a 1935 Remington, which always amuses people, but I am working on an Apple Laptop which is dying and has a jerry-rigged keyboard.

++So what better than two new types of typewriters. Today';s Wall Street Journal features the "Hemingwrite", which has the acoustic pleasures of a manual typewriter. Created by a software developer and MIT mechanical engineering graduate, it comes with a four week battery life and an aluminum bodied 4 lb machine that saves your work to Evernote,Google Drive,and ICloud via WI-FI. Financed by a Kickstarter campaign, yopu can pre-order it in January for $399 and expect delivery in September.

++Another Kickstarter campaign funded Qwerkywriter, the creation of a 43-tear old video game developer. It has a mechanical keyboard inspired by Smith-Corona Junior and the Remington Rand portable. Models can be pre-ordered now at $309 for August delivery.

++With my luck,I'll order one and it's turn out to be another Sinclair. 

Friday, December 26, 2014

They Just Won't Quit

++Only a day after Christmas and the right won't let up. 

++Today's beefs were climate change. Termites put more carbon emissions in the atmosphere than coal power plants. Article cited was from 1982. Remember Reagan about trees cause pollution. 

++FDR. Where that came from I can't tell you. America has rejected FDR's deviation from the founding fathers. That's why America rejects President Obama,although they don't use President. It is only the "leftist" apologists and "the media' who protect the man. Somehow the mid-terms in both Obama administrations have come to represent to white males over 60 that America really is conservative and that President Obama would never be elected in a "free and fair election". Although he did it twice with less voter suppression than the mid-terms. How this is related to FDR I can't understand.

++Also that the small arms treaty that went into effect today demands an international registry of arms but thank God The Senate Republicans have prevented it from being ratified. They also haven't ratified the Rights of the Child Treaty negotiated under Reagan and Bush I, the Disabilities Treaty, which was based on our law. 

++President Obama is the most divisive President because he caused all the racial animosity and generated the hate for the police. 

++President Obama is the cause of the great wealth disparity in the country. This just hasn't happened before and was better in the past, which was true but there are all sorts of macroeconomic factors that hastened this trend.

++It was outside agitators that caused the Ferguson protests. God, it's like hearing about the civil rights movement.

++Curious I guess the line hasn't been dictated yet what to think about Cuba. President Obama coddles dictators but I haven't heard yet from a non-Cuban objections on lifting the trade embargo.

++On things like climate change, they double down and just resist. They think accommodating the issue and trying to slow it will make us fall behind other countries. 

++And the best for last "Only liberal Democrats care about torture." Which as the polls show may be right--to our everlasting disgrace as a country.

Forward to 2016

++We were told that Hillary Clinton's popularity plunged this week to 61% of Democrats ,instead of the previous 67%. 

++Bernie Sanders, star of Brunch with Bernie, says he will decide in March of this year wether to run.

++The political press is start harping on Senator Warren entering into the race.

++And I am the sole person urging Jerry Brown to make another run for the Democratic nomination.

++It would be good for Hillary to have some competition just so her debating skills would sharpen. It will be eight years since she ran against Barack Obama.

++On the GOP side, Jeb released his e-mails as governor. ZZZ. He also stepped down from his $1 million a year post at Barclay's Bank, which had been fined for violating the Cuban, Syrian and Iranian embargo. He also quit a firm which profited from Obamacare.The question I have--If Obama outperformed all three Bush administrations (terms) economically, what can Jeb say to make anyone think he's different.

++More importantly,America faces key structural problems and a foreign policy without any geostrategic sense for the past twenty some years or since the end of the Cold War. Who do you believe has the moral vision that can lead the country forward in the 21st Century?

++Remember you are electing a political party, not just an individual. What talent exists in either party to make you confident in the future? The Obama people are basically burned out. The GOP personnel are all discredited from the Iraq War or the Global Depression.

++The GOP has some weird in-fighting over Cuba. Marco Rubio, Rand Paul and Jeb. Is Cuba going to be the Ebola Virus of the 2016 campaign? 

++While Mideast Christians are being slaughtered, Vishnu Jindal will be launching his campaign at LSU before a throng of the Religious Right. Sadly the Religious Right did play a major role in the defeat of Southern Democrats this year, siding with the GOP 70% of the time. The group Jindal is speaking to believes 9/11 was caused by homosexuals. This should make for an interesting campaign. 

++I think Jindal's bumper sticker should be" Try a Hindu,He's better than the Muslim." Actually Jindal is a Catholic and brags about his skills as an exorcist.

++The GOP campaign will be against Barack Obama and trump the glories of 9/11 and the Iraq War, which Obama obviously lost in the end. The economy really didn't come back, taxes should be lowered, abortion outlawed, and regulations rolled back or ended completely. We are drowning in debt--forget Obama's record. And we are running for our grandchildren.

++The United States' influence has waned. We are in decline and crime may make a comeback because Obama taught minorities to hate the police. We have to increase defense spending because Obama eviscerated our defense. (Note: Russia spends $50 billion on defense, we spend $650 billion. Russia has two overseas bases, we have 650 and climbing.)
We face no greater threat than Islamic fundamentalism and we must fortify Israel, our greatest ally--anywhere.

++Will this sell? Among the GOP, absolutely. Will they have enough money to wage a national campaign? Absolutely. Could they win? Yes. With continued voter suppression, massive dark money,they have a shot at making it at least close.

++The problem with Hillary's campaign is that it can not be seen as too reactive and defensive. I don't advise distancing yourself from President Obama. So far in by-elections it hasn't worked.

++We will all be nostalgic for Obama during the 2016 campaign which should be the nastiest in a long time.

++I believe there is only one Republican who understands the complex issues we face in the 21st century. He was the only Republican last time who appears as a modern man. Jon Huntsman, Jr. He won't be running but by passing him by last time the Party is stuck somewhere in the 1890s and 1920s. 

++Hillary's problem will be not to laugh out loud at the GOP's platform.

++The only issue for me is The Supreme Court.

Pope Francis and the Middle East Conflict

++The United States has spent $1.6 trillion--yup,trillion--on the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. President Obama announced that this is the last month of American combat operations in Afghanistan.

++Now what did anyone get out of this--except militarized police in America?

++Pope Francis yesterday gave a homily about the world's wars ,the refugee problems and ISIS' vicious repression against the region's minorities. He asked the world to be hospitable to the refugees--who with the displaced--represent even more than the same population produced by WWII.

++What awe are seeing in the Middle East is the eradication of the region's ethnic and religious diversity. The nicest photos from yesterday were those of Christians worshipping in Baghdad. I remember when members of that congregation were slaughtered in 2011 by the Mahdi Army, while attending a worship ceremony. 

++Pope Francis has been the most vocal in speaking out for the Christians in the region, while our own churches have remained silent. I spoke to a conservative friend of mine about why American Christians don't defend the oldest branches of their religion. The answer I got was that the Syrian Churches who date back to Paul favor Assad. I said you can still defend them whatever their political inclinations. But no, they are considered "political enemies".

++I find looking at the extermination of these groups from a political point of view as bizarre and wrong-headed. What we are seeing is the region stripped of its remaining pluralism and diversity. People who historically belong there being uprooted. 

++We will hear alot in the next few months about the war to fight ISIS, but nothing about doing the humanitarian work that would actually harm them the most. Just a fraction of the $1.6 trillion would amount to a Marshall Plan-type humanitarian effort that would deal with the millions of refugees and displaced people, the children who have been wounded and maimed,and the hundreds of thousands of civilians who also have been wounded. 

++You simply can not begin to deal with the Middle East now without making humanitarian issues the central point of discussion. 

++We will debate this strategy or that strategy . But we won't reflect on what that $1.6 trillion got us in the first place. And that's the pity.


++Most of us are too busy with daily life to avoid thinking about the meaning of the minutia that occupies of all the time. This past year has been the most truly bizarre in living memory.

++No one ill, no deaths but I spent a good part of six months hounding health insurance companies about bills I had never received that came from mysterious charges three years ago. Finally a week before the holiday season I received a notice that --indeed--I was right, I did pay a hospital bill in full from 2011. This process had me call various insurance companies that covered us at the time and claim the other one was responsible. Factor in the time you wait on the line, the number of people you have to talk to ,the wait-time for the transfer to the responsible party and then finding someone "responsible"--which is rare in any transaction. Frustrated then send a letter and then go through the follow-up. That's just one example of many this year.

++Then we have COBRA and finding that your COBRA policy is really not what you had but you are given the new policy that company just chose the week after you opted for COBRA. And you didn't get the discount for the cheaper plan.

++Conservative friends of mine always complain about the government. But for me ,the Post Office,the DMV,the local and federal tax offices have treated me fine. It's the private sector that's the problem. Yes, if they want you as a customer, they will treat just grand. Then once you are in their web,try and get satisfaction if things screw up.

++I have three lawyers and two accountants. Sometime this year I counted the different insurances I had--I gave up at 16. Then if you rent a car,I don't want my regular car insurance to go up so I waste money of the temporary insurance. I am a member of at least 8 groups that give discounts although only two of them I use. 

++So let's start with the lawyers--three real gentlemen. From last tax time until today, I have put in the equivalent of two months of work time giving lawyers the documents ,papers and diaries for them to prepare their work. Much of which could have been done by paralegals. But I still get charged at D.C. legal rates even though all the factual preparatory work is done by me. Out of one such instance, the lawyer who earns $629.per hour produced a two-page letter ( a very good one) and another document written by me and my colleague but edited by him. OK,I guess you just hope he is successful and give it a by.

++More to everyone's experience. The accountant. Last year I spent about three week part-time assembling the figures for my taxes--we are not talking any significant sums or exotic Mitt Romney investments here. He spends a half an hour jotting them down in his computer program. And then "Voila" the next morning I hear the news about whether there is a refund or taxes owed. Then the bill.

++Auto Insurance. This has been a J.G. Ballard Crash year--Three--count them--three. The last occurred three days before Christmas. The Family was sound asleep--the first time in many weeks--and Boom,Boom on the front door. A policewoman appeared to say "Someone Crashed Into Your Car." Our car was parked perfectly two doors down from our house and two spaces away from the corner. My wife and i walked down toward it and saw nothing wrong. There were Six cop cars surrounding the scene. I saw 5 cops. I spotted a mini-Cooper with two men inside. The Mini-cooper couldn't do anything to my Obama Ford Escape 2008. Turns out a rich man just picked up his son who had crashed his Camry into my car. Still no sign of damage. Then I saw that he had taken off the left side of the car until the fuel engine and had even torn one-third of the bumper off.
The young male was sober--claimed he was avoiding a dog--dogs don't run free here. My wife and I suspect he was "texting". The crash defied my limited knowledge of physics.

++Now skip to the next day. Four phone calls to the other guy's insurance company and no call back. Finally one women answered the phone and took all the information. Now this episode just opens the door to how numbers have haunted me all year. I had to have the Case number,his insurance number, my insurance number,my phone numbers. Then she wanted the number of a Body Shop I wanted the car towed to. Next what towing company did I know around here. And what car rental company did I use?

++Now I believe --and I am sure anyone else in the same situation would believe--if I didn't know these things, the car would still be wounded at the end of the street with pieces of the fender in the middle of the road.  And dutifully like a good citizen, I followed up to make sure the towing company did what they said they would, that the collision shop had the car,that photos have been taken,the insurance company notified. 

++So add up times spent with auto crashes and the follow-up,lawyers and accountants, it's not difficult to see why there are reports that America is not generating mid-level jobs. Because we are filling them with our own work for free.


++Yes, George Carlin Stuff, Stuff that needs to be moved, Stuff that needs to be stored--Just Stuff.

++If you have lived in a single place ,in the same house, for twenty years, you have accumulated a lot of stuff--good stuff,bad stuff, stuff that should be thrown away, but Stuff nonetheless.

++You even have virtual stuff--Washington Post and Los Angeles Times subscriptions, the Dish and Washington Monthly subscriptions,Amazon Prime,and the New York Times but you like the Times in its printed shape.

++I have so much stuff I have a storage unit that could fit two Hummers in it--the Raiders of the Lost Ark version--where the Ark sits hidden among my boxes. It is so large I actually pay Sunday visits there to visit MY STUFF. Stuff accumulated during my entire adult life. Photos from my celebrity wall at my old office,computers including my old Mac with floppy discs from New Jersey,hard drives from even older computers. I even have a Sinclair, which was one of the first laptops who had a screen that showed one line at a time. I have at least four laptops that were used in countries all over the world.

++When my father died, I had to get rid of his stuff. He had every receipt for everything he ever purchased in his life and diaries that recorded every cent he spent--even the 5 cents for the Daily News. He kept every pill jar for every prescription he and my mother even took. He kept every gift box ever received--in case he ever needed one. He kept all gift wrapping--which stored in the attic was an amazing fire hazard.

++I once suggested to my sister we donate it all to Rutgers for an art exhibit of the typical suburban family's STUFF. It was amazing record of someone who grew up in The Great Depression--not to be confused with the Bush Depression.

++But as they say the acorn doesn't fall far from the tree. In my storage unit are all the receipts for my taxes since the late 1980s. I have finally winnowed these down to the five years I need to keep. But here there were finds. I found the bill for the treatment for amoebic dysentery by the Shah of Iran's doctor on the upper East Side of Manhattan. Drumroll--total bill was $75.00. This was when Blue Cross-Blue Shield was a  non-profit. 

++I have all the papers from the various organizations I have run in the past twenty years and the records of the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights. I also have hand-scribbled notes from the overseas travel. I have the entire Iran-Contra investigation hearings, the Grenada papers,key court transcripts of these tried for killing Maurice Bishop in Grenada. I have all books about Richard Nixon dating back to Bruce Mazlich's psychological profile. I have the hearings of the Andrew Johnson impeachment. 

++But this gets us to books. I have sold 1,000 books from my house. It felt like selling my children into slavery. But I still have 1,000 left. Now let's go to the storage unit. There are 450 boxes of books--just my personal reading--nothing professional. Let's call it 9,000 books. These don't count the 5,000 lost when my storage unit in New Jersey was sold and the new owners did not contact me and I lost everything.

++I have birthday cards to Joseph Stalin sent by the Communist Parties around the world, which I snagged  in Moscow during the period of Boris Yeltsin. I have the hearings of the Dewey Commission on Leon Trotsky as well as the transcripts of the show trials under Stalin.

++I have Voodoo flags,Suriname hand-carved chairs,African masks,and Canes which double as swords. In fact my storage unit is cooler than my house in decor.

++But it is all just stuff. The book market collapsed about 2006 and I have heard the woes from local book sellers and buyers about how my autographed first-editions are no longer worth much. For a time, pre-publication copies were the hot item and I have hundreds but no longer.

++I once said if I won the lottery I would buy a first edition of "The Whale" which last I looked went for $35,000. Today, I wouldn't . Why? No one in my family would want it. I already have a fine Moby Dick. 

++There is nothing my son would want from all my stuff. The only thing I kept from my father's STUFF was the only book he ever bought in my lifetime--Catcher in the Rye. The irony is that it isn't a first edition but it's cover is the original. A book buyer suggested i buy a cheap first edition and put my father's dust jacket on it.

++My wife would just as soon trash everything. And we have done that a lot. Have you ever seen a shredder--shred a computer? It is amazing. The result is like metallic graffiti. Just ribbons of metal.

++The storage unit costs per month the equivalent of a modest Home Equity loan. 

++But you have to consider who's going to get rid of your stuff when you are gone? Do you want to make some family member spend months going through your Stuff for memories? I think that is grossly unfair. It's not like I'm Morris Louis leaving thousands of paintings behind that have never been seen or shown. And even that isn't sorted out in 2014,almost a generation after he died.

++I treat the Stuff as a false guarantee I will not lose my memory and that physical things will trigger whole episodes in my life and experience. And it is hard getting rid of Stuff.


++Yesterday,I spent ZERO dollars and ZERO cents. There is no trick to this--no credit card charges,no bit coin transactions, no online orders. Zero, ZIP. I can't think of another time when this actually happened. Maybe the early days in Manhattan but I doubt it.It's unlikely to occur again until I am dead. 

Wednesday, December 24, 2014


++Or as Pope Francis said in his homily try a little kindness and warmth.

Look Forward To The Supreme Court Debate

++January will begin the same-sex marriage debate at the Supreme Court. I don't know who the advocates will be or who will argue against it.

++The advance of LGBT rights under this administration has been astonishing. The administration ruled by executive order last week transgender people will be protected as federal employees. But a majority of our states still allow discrimination against LGBT people in their hiring practices.

++Still we approach the same sex marriage debate wondering how the Supremes can blow this one.

++35 states and the District of Columbia allow same sex marriages. Florida joins the ranks in two weeks.How would a negative ruling impact not only the couples but the states where the issue is resolved.

++NOM and other anti-gay organizations have sputtered this past year. Some are even facing bankruptcy. Who's going to take up the anti-gay mantle except the extreme Religious Right?

++ I am sure I'll have something to write near the time of the oral arguments but this one looks like a no-brainer.

Proceed Justices

++Let's take a look at the videotape before the Supreme Court rules on the subsidies for health insurance, which would affect 36 states who did not create their own exchanges.

++From a Kaiser Family Foundation poll:
     +78% support the exchanges
     +76% support subsidies
     +75% support Medicaid expansion
     +60% support the employer mandate
     +35% support the individual mandate

++The law pre-George W Bush supports the argument that everyone could get subsidies if their income levels qualified them. Post W,I don't know given Citizens United, Hobby Lobby and other decisions that defy our legal heritage.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Strange Fact

++Since President Obama took office, the economy has created 6 times as many jobs as the entire two George W. Bush terms.

Happy Birthday! Jorma Kaukonen is 74

++From the Jefferson Airplane, Hot Tuna and his solo ventures, Jorma remains one of my favorite guitarists and I hope he returns to Alexandria and plays at the Birchmere again sometime soon. Young or old, he still gives a good show.

++See a few of his performances over at Washington Monthly where Ed Kilgore posts Jorma over the ages.

CNN/ORC Poll on Obama

++I credit this to having Obama front and center without the filter of his party or the elections.

++CNN/ORC shows Obama's approval rating at a 20-month high. He is at 48% approval, the highest since May 2013. With women he has jumped 9 points within a month and increased his approval rating among millenials. Among women, he now stands at 53% approval rating.

++51% of Americans now see the economy in a positive light compared to 38% in October. 

++Basically leadership matters and his taking strong steps on Cuba, immigration and climate change add up.

++Andrew Sullivan at The Dish writes today about how Obama is famous for having good fourth quarters. He recalls the desultory campaign against Hillary Clinton where he just walked along picking up delegates and then came on strong for the general election in 2008. The same can be said about the 2012 election where he started wobbly and picked up momentum. I hope for all our sakes Andrew is right about the last two years.

The Steve Israel Memorial Post

++Steve Israel has to go done in history as the most amazing Democratic leader. He treated us with e-mails that "we are doomed" throughout the mid-term elections. Somehow campaigning either against or in distance from Barack Obama's achievements seemed to make sense for the Democratic Party. No one can tell why at this stage. We look at the prospects of true awfulness next year.

++But first, the CNN/ORC poll shows that 63% President Obama's policy of normalizing relations with Cuba. But 81% of Americans still hate Fidel Castro.

++2 million and climbing have enrolled in Obamacare this year. It is ahead of predictions.

++Consumer confidence is the highest in 10 years.

++The FDA has approved letting gays donate blood.

++The Supreme Court will hear the case for same sex marriage on January 9th.

++President Obama announces that he will nominate Sally Yates as Deputy Attorney-General. Ms. Yates is an old colleague of Eric Holder so expect fireworks in the nomination hearings.

++On the news of the biggest economic expansion in years, neither John Boehner nor Mitch McConnell or for that matter Rinse Penis released a press release, even condemning the news. It's crickets.

++Rep. Issa released his much anticipated IRS report. It didn't link the White House to the tea party scandals.

++The GOP will remove the head of the CBO because Grover Norquist insisted. The problem they have is that the CBO reports do not agree that tax cuts increase government revenues.

++The GOP has decided that reconciliation is OK if the GOP controls Congress. What this means is that next fall they can eliminate Obamacare and pass such a law by 51 votes and it can not be vetoed.

++In this holiday season when Christians worship the birth of their messiah, who would end up tortured, ISIS has converted the churches in Iraq and Syria into  torture facilities.

++Somehow Rudy Guiliani has managed to blame President Obama , who is in Hawaii, for the killings of the two NYPD policemen.

The Obama Boom--5.2% growth rate, 18,000 DOW

Monday, December 22, 2014

Pentagon Moves To Stop Release of Detention Photos

++The Pentagon represented by Rear Admiral Sinclair  Harris put forward to the U.S. District Court that they are refusing to release the 2,100-plus photos of detentions because they would endanger American lives.

++The Pentagon said that the photos show simulating anal rape and holdings guns to the detainees' heads. 

++The Pentagon said that ISIS uses imagery from American detentions to recruit members. They point to the use of the Orange jumpsuits used by ISIS for their captives being copied from Gitmo.

++The Pentagon argues that the detention photos would give ISIS, who were not in existence then, a propaganda victory.

++The Case was brought by the ACLU in 2004. Judge Alvin Helberstein could rule as early as January 20 whether the photos should be released.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

NYTimes Editorial --Prosecute Torturers and The Bosses

++ I read this on-line and ran downstairs to find it in the print edition. Maybe they recalled it.

++The New York Times Editorial Board on December 21 calls for the prosecution of Dick Cheney, David Addington, his chief of staff,former CIA director George Tenet, John Yoo and Jay Bigbee. 

++They also called for the prosecution of Jose Rodriquez,Jr for destroying the torture tapes as well as all CIA employees who carried out the program.

++The cite the letter by Antonio Romero, the head of the American Civil Liberties Union, that will be delivered Monday to Eric Holder calling him to designate a Special Prosecutor to investigate a widespread criminal conspiracy on torture and its coverup.

++The Times chides President Obama for his policy of looking forward without prosecuting crimes which existed before George W. Bush took office. They cite rightfully that torture is a federal crime and is a crime according to the Convention against Torture, which pre-existed the Bush administration.

++The Times sees the need for this because of the support torture has among the population and the Republican Party and as a way to stop from it repeating as a policy choice.

People May Have Notice Something

++Gallup reports an uptick in Obama's approval rating. He's now at 47 and his disapproval at 49. He hasn't been this high since last year before the Obamacare rollout mess. I think it's because we saw Obama unfiltered this past week and appearing everywhere. He has a record to sell and he did well.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Gitmo and Other matters

++The Closing of Gitmo remains a goal of the Obama Administration after all these years.President Obama has turned to Pope Francis for him to use his clout with countries to resettle detainees as a humanitarian gesture.

++In this year's Defense Authorization Act, President Obama added a very precisely worded "signing" statement where he argued that legislative restrictions on resettling the detainees were an intrusion on his executive powers. He goes on at great length reciting the history of his Administration's efforts to get assistance from Congress on this issue.

++Ruth Marcus for the Washington Post in one of the numerous columns praising the President in the last few days writes about the Obama strategy of closing Gitmo by the end of his second term. Marcus argues that President Obama will painstakingly whittle the numbers of detainees down so that the expense will be too high to justify the current ban on bringing detainees to the United States. 

++ The cost is now $3million per detainee per year compared to $75,000 for a SuperMax prison. President Obama's calculus is that as the population dwindles that expense will grow and make it unacceptable for Congress to justify the continued expense. 

++The objection to resettlement is that they would present a terrorist threat to mainland America. The detainee now on trial for Benghazi has been camping out only a mile from my house and I don't feel he poses a threat and no one has mentioned him since his capture. He's just not the talk of the neighborhood. I have always argued that they can be relocated to the Naval Brig in Charlestown, South Carolina.

++Gitmo, the Torture program, the record of detainee abuse in Iraq and Afghanistan remain issues we as a country have to cope with--some day. Federal courts have been hitting nearly a 100% on convictions of suspected terrorists but the military commissions have yet to yield a conviction. 

++Yesterday the United States sent 4 detainees home to Afghanistan and released them to the Afghan's authority.

++ Expect to see drips and drabs of detainees released during the next two years. 

++A kudos to Ruth Marcus for actually discussing President Obama's amazing record for judicial appointments. She is right this is a legacy to shape a generation.

Obama Unbound and America Resurgent

++Timothy Egan at the Times had a column extolling President Obama's accomplishments. It's worth a read because Egan is one of our most accomplished writers and usually has a unique way of putting things.

++I guess The Post really misses Congress because they had two more new articles on President Obama's comeback and his relaxed manner.

++Even more bizarre the Post had a news article how the ACA aka Obamacare has improved healthcare in the United States. Always noting that you can never be sure what factors have actually made a difference.

++And even stranger still the Post decided to editorialize in support of the ACA and its effects.

++President Obama didn't let up. He repeated his message at the press conference in his weekly address that spoke about America resurgent. 

++I like David Axelrod's snark on tweeter that "Isn't interesting how CW went from Obama dead to CW he has rebounded. WOW."

++President Obama will continue his end zone dance with a one-on-one interview with Candy Crowley has she winds up her stay at CNN.

++I guess the only male this past week who got to question the President was Stephen Colbert, who finally ended the Colbert Report with a celebrity party.

Friday, December 19, 2014

The Very Consequential President

++Steve Benen at RachelMaddowBlog writes that President Obama's list of achievements already make him a consequential President,at least more than the previous two. He quotes Matt Yglesias who has made the same analysis this month. 

++Benen goes on a rift on everything Obama has done in six years from the stimulus,a nuclear treaty with Russia,wall street reform, LGBT rights, climate change, Cuba and Bin Laden. He also quotes Paul Krugman from the Rolling Stone article where Krugman was the first to say he has been "consequential" and has been successful.

++Benen does have a caveat. The GOP will try and chip away at his accomplishments like Obamacare and if a Republican is elected President,he will be duty bound to try and eradicate Obama's accomplishments--if he could and that would eventually color history's take on Obama's Presidency.

++Or maybe we have had a clearer picture this week since the debris from the midterms has been swept away. Seeing President Obama by his lonesome out there is actually reassuring. 

++But the final test is during the next one and a half years. It will be interesting to see if any presidential candidates can define issues as compelling as those President Obama has tackled.

The Bear Is Loose

++At the Daily Beast, Robert Avalon writes about President Obama destroying the lame duck myth and in his article he promptly lists all he has achieved since the mid-terms. He also notes that President Obama has set the terms of debate for the next two years. I hope. Control the language you control the politics. 

++Obama won the Daily Kos' who won the week poll, something he hasn't done for quite a while.

++Male reporters complained that hard questions (from white guys) weren't asked. Two that males shouted out were:"Are you going to smoke any Cuban cigars?" my former executive assistant Jon Karl shouted out," Do you have any New Year's Resolutions?"  These profundities went unanswered.
Women reporters tweeted out their laughter at the guy's complaints. 

The Post Is Going Soft

++The Post must be going soft. They claimed President Obama's last press conference of the years was his best--he was at his met articulate and his answers had a precision he sometimes lacked at past pressers. Personally I think he enjoyed taking questions from smart women and not dumb white guys and then gets to fly to Hawaii.

++My, Holidays come early. Florida same-sex couples can get married on January 5. SCOTUS turned Florida's appeal for a stay down. I real have a very hard time believing SCOTUS can actually rule on same sex marriage when it comes to the final decision. But that crowd is one of our most lawless bunch

I Must Have Heard It Wrong

++Sony made a mistake. Sweeney Todd was right. All the news outlets had that as the lead to the press conference. Unbelievable. 

++The real lead was that President Obama only called on women reporters during the press conference. That's a story.

The Last Light Before The January Darkness--President Obama's Presser

++President Obama rattled off all the good things accomplished by his Administration from the greatest job growth since the 1990s,paying back all the Auto loan and TARP,(with a profit) outgrowing every major economy combined,over 10 million with health insurance,Climate change deal with China,the opening to Cuba,his task force on community relations,educational reform,etc.

++At the end , Chuck Todd said,"The take Away from the press conference was that President Obama criticized Sony for its response to North Korean hacking."  Yes, President Obama in answering questions did suggest Sony should not have scrubbed the movie. Out of an hour,you would be hard pressed to make this the top story.

++President Obama was cagy about the Keystone XL Pipeline Mitch McConnell says he will pass first thing. He was good in explaining why it has marginal impact on fuel prices in the United States and job creation.

++I would have asked "Since you say we are now the world's biggest producer of oil and number one producer of gas, why then are we still mired in wars in the Middle East? And does this development mean that area has less importance now?"

++Good luck getting any such questions. There was none on the fate of Russian economy,Vladimir Putin and the Ukraine. Also missing since it was his last press conference of the year were there questions about the fate of Obamacare under The Supreme Court.

++ The most substantive question was asked by an African American reporter on race relations. His answer was it's better but still a lot of work to go rap.

++He ended the press conference with paean to the American people and their problem solving skills. 

++A fine and pleasant way to end the year. Happy Holidays ,Mr. President. January beckons. The state of the union will be on January 20 so we can hear boos and jeers and maybe the tea bagger yelling "Liar", something that didn't happen when the last President lied in his speech.