Obama Losing Game of Chicken in Kobani

    Obama appears to be losing another game of chicken. (The last was with the GOP in 2013 over budget control act of 2011 which mandated cuts to the Pentagon.) Obama and his top advisors still seem to be, in too many instances, sucker bait for scoundrels, be they in the GOP or foreign heads of state. The 'chicken' aspect of this situation is all too clear.

    It is much more serious then budget cuts. The question is who, if anyone, is going to act to save the Kurds of Kobani from the murderers of ISIS. ISIS is attacking the major Kurdish city of Kobani right on the Turkish/Syrian border, and with a population of over 150,000 potential victims.

    Hal Ginsberg's picture

    Playoff Baseball on Yom Kippur

    As a newspaper columnist, celebrated Jewish filmmaker Aviva Kempner is a very good baseball documentarian.  In the Washington Post's 2014 Yom Kippur edition, Kempner blasts the lords of baseball for scheduling games on the holiest of Jewish holidays thus forcing those “who have to follow [their] conscience” to miss playoff games “[t]hanks to the insensitivity of Major League Baseball”.

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    Ramona's picture

    Hey, Democrats, You Want To Win? Try Being Democrats

    The mid-term elections are less than a month away and there's a good chance the Republicans will hold the House and possibly take the Senate.  Stunning as that probability possibility is, considering the shoddy business the Republicans have been engaged in ever since their guy, Mitt Romney, lost to Barack Obama, the truth is, it looks like half the country's voters are still more than willing to vote for that particular party.  

    You hear that, Democrats? The Republicans could win.  I mean, WIN.

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    Short Century: A Novel of War and Taboo

    Thanks to The Lost and Found Show, I had the opportunity to read at Word Bookstore as part of the Brooklyn Book Festival this year.  Believe me, I was hilarious.  No, really.  I was funny.  But, beyond that, I met the author David Burr Gerrard and his debut novel Short Century. I just finished reading it and it was a bl

    Ramona's picture

    Should I Die At 75? Oh Wait. Too Late.

     

    On September 17, the very day--I mean, the exact day I turned 77, Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel's essay, "Why I hope to Die at 75" appeared in The Atlantic magazine.   You could have knocked me over with a feather.  Really?  (We old people say, "really?" while you say, "seriously?".  There's one difference right there.)

    danielfaris's picture

    It’s Time to Legalize Pot, if Only for the Tax Revenue

    Since the Marijuana Tax Act became law in 1937, it’s been illegal to sell or possess the drug in the United States.

    But somehow, the illegality of marijuana hasn’t seemed to deter many people from trying the drug. In 2012, someone was arrested for a marijuana-related offense every 42 seconds. That translates into nearly 750,000 different arrests.

    Michael Wolraich's picture

    Ken Burns and the Myth of Theodore Roosevelt

    The Roosevelts, a new PBS documentary by director Ken Burns, presents President Theodore Roosevelt as a political superhero. In photo after photo, Burns’s famous pan-and-zoom effect magnifies Roosevelt’s flashing teeth and upraised fist. The reverential narrator hails his fighting spirit and credits him with transforming the role of American government through sheer willpower. “I attack,” an actor blusters, imitating Roosevelt’s patrician cadence, “I attack iniquities.”

    Though exciting to watch, Burns’s cinematic homage muddles the history. Roosevelt was a great president and brilliant politician, but he was not the progressive visionary and fearless warrior that Burns lionizes. He governed as a pragmatic centrist and a mediator who preferred backroom deal-making to open warfare. At the time, many of his progressive contemporaries criticized him for excessive caution. The “I attack” quote, for example, came from a 1915 interview in which Roosevelt defended himself from accusations that he had been too conciliatory.

    Read the full article at New York Magazine's culture website, Vulture.com

    Hal Ginsberg's picture

    The Case of Steven Salaita

    Generally, I am skeptical of claims of anti-semitism in the academy. I think that people for a variety of reasons confuse legitimate criticism of Israel with anti-semitism. Accordingly, I was inclined to side with former University of Illinois Professor Steven Salaita and CUNY-Brooklyn Professor Corey Robin who claim that Salaita was wrongly terminated from the University of Illinois because he tweeted critically of Israel.

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    Doctor Cleveland's picture

    Who Lost Scotland?

    Today Scotland votes on independence: a fifty-fifty referendum on leaving the United Kingdom. It's gone from a long shot to a statistical dead heat, and nobody can say for sure how the vote will go. But what's certain is that Scotland's old relationship with the rest of Britain is finished. The Scottish independence movement will not just go away if they come up a couple percent short; they're never going to give up now that they've gotten this close. And if a united United Kingdom squeaks by, Scotland will expect to be given much more autonomy than it's had so far.

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    Ramona's picture

    Making Excuses For Spanking: Adding Insult To Injury

    Every few months--sometimes less--a story about child abuse hits the airwaves and everyone takes it to the top and talks about it.  Everyone agrees that child abuse is bad.  How could they not?  Child abuse IS bad.  This time it's

    No jury would convict.

    If ever there were a profound argument in favor of the principal that jurors ought properly to exercise their independent discretion to nullify a criminal charge, this would be it.

    In a truly stomach turning codicil to the James Foley saga, we learn that his family members were the recipients of explicit threats that payment of the ransom to save his life would make them criminally liable.

    coatesd's picture

    Playing Defense and Still Losing

    You don’t win football games by only playing defense. And you don’t win mid-elections that way either. Perhaps somebody should remind the Democrats that winning elections, like winning games, requires you to take the game to the opposition, and to take it to them on your terms – not on theirs.

    Michael Maiello's picture

    Friday Deep Thoughts (Open Thread!)

    When U.S. trade policies wreck entire industries and cause unemployment, our answer is "train the workers."

    When U.S. foreign policies wreck entire regions, sending them into a tailspin of ethnic, religious and economic violence and chaos our answer is "train the local armies to deal with it."

    I think we need to combine these two things to turn the unemployed into the world's most effective killing machine.  I mean, it's just synergy, right?

    **End of Week Open Thread!**

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    Attack on ISIS (Watch Your Wallet)

    As I somewhat expected, the military hawks have won over American public opinion regarding Syria/Iraq/ISIS, though what they get for that is tempered by Obama's pru

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    Doctor Cleveland's picture

    Obama's Mission

    Barack Obama was elected because the American people were tired of being bogged down in unwinnable foreign wars. He was elected because a majority of American voters had come to view the Iraq war as a mistake. This is a basic, bottom-line political fact. Therefore, it is not (and cannot be) Official Beltway Wisdom.

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    Ramona's picture

    He Hit Her. And She Went Down

    The big domestic story this week is the suspension of Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice after a video surfaced showing him inside an elevator punching his then-fiancee, Janay Palmer, so hard he knocks her out cold.  She falls on the floor, unconscious, and when the elevator door opens he is seen dragging her out of the elevator, kicking her to get her dead weight away from the doors, never once seeming to worry about the fact that she is not moving.

    bslev's picture

    President Obama's Address to the Nation

    Tomorrow evening This evening at 9 a.m. eastern time,  President Obama will address the nation and is expected to focus on ISIS, the threat he believes ISIS poses, and the the outlines of a strategy going forward to deal with any threat he identifies.  It is a difficult speech, both for political reasons, but more importantly because he will be speaking to a number of very different domestic and international constituencies in this one address.  Notably, many of the president's base supporters, people who have stayed with him from the beginning, have done so in large measure because they have trusted him to avoid the urge to solve the world's problems through the barrel of a gun. As to the president, whatever one thinks of him overall, I think it is fair to say that he does not look to involve the nation's military unless he determines that there really are no other viable options. 

    Losing our heads (Here, in Iraq, and in Saudi Arabia)

    It took only the deaths of two American reporters to send our government (particularly in the person of the President) scrambling to cobble together a manifestation of bellicosity.

    Oddly, the prior deaths by way of bullet, bomb, or building collapse of far more American reporters more or less at the hands of the same cast of characters produced only weasel words, a dance around the subject, and gauzy  platitudes.

    The difference, of course, lay in high production values.

    Wattree's picture

    An Ugly Truth: Why Some Black People Are Still Waiting For Santa Claus

    Whenever I hear the Name Belafonte the first word that comes to mind is "Class." That’s the only word appropriate for the way Harry Belafonte represented Black manhood in the fifties and early sixties. During a time when the few other Black celebrities with the crossover appeal of Belafonte were trying their best to make the White world forget that they were Black, Harry Belafonte flaunted his Blackness with dignity and pride. This soft-spoken, intelligent, and self-assured Black man with the undulating body drove White women crazy for just a taste of forbidden fruit, while at the very same time giving the White establishment a glimpse of things to come.

    Murder in Michigan

    A news item about an apparent road rage shooting in Howell, MI, caught my eye today. 

    http://www.livingstondaily.com/story/news/local/community/genoa-township...

    A couple (the Flemmings) was driving to pick up their kids from school when they were allegedly cut off by a guy in a pickup truck (Martin Edward Zale.) When they all stopped at a stoplight, Flemming, age 43, approached the truck, presumably to yell at Zale, whereupon Zale, age 69, rolled down the window and shot Flemming dead.

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