Sunday, April 12, 2009

Last Call

Our Navy SEALs did their job admirably and professionally. God forbid if things had gone wrong and Captain Phillips was injured or killed, it would have been on the President's head. He would have been crucified.

Oh wait, he's getting crucified anyway. The same guys who are saying "How DARE Obama take any sort of credit for this! He took too long to make the call! He's just a civilian 8,000 miles away!" of course are the ones who'll be the first to tell you that Bush freed Iraq from Saddam's WMDs.

But my hat is doffed to the guys on the right who did give credit to Obama where credit was definitely due.

And a round of the barkeep's best to the crew of the USS Bainbridge, the SEAL team on board, and most of all to Captain Phillips (who resembles my father so much it frightened me when I first saw his picture.) He did what he had to do to protect his crew and his ship, and then stayed cool long enough for the Navy to do their job. That man is the hero of the story. He put his life on the line for his people, gave himself up as a hostage, and made his own luck in the end.

Would that we had a million more people with that kind of resolve to do the right thing. Oh wait, we do: the men and women of our armed forces and the man who commands them.

Happy Easter, Cap'n.


[UPDATE] And one last thing before we get all Kumbaya on everybody down here. Speaking of the resolve to do the right thing, Post of the Week goes to the Double G, who pretty much slaughters Obama's legal position on infinite detention, rendition, and lack of habeus corpus rights with the following:
We all know about the recent case of the Canadian man who was suspected of terrorist connections, detained in New York, sent to Syria--through a rendition agreement--tortured, only to find out later it was all a case of mistaken identity and poor information. . . .

This is an extraordinarily difficult war we are prosecuting against terrorists. There are going to be situations in which we cast too wide a net and capture the wrong person. . . .

But what is avoidable is refusing to ever allow our legal system to correct these mistakes. By giving suspects a chance--even one chance--to challenge the terms of their detention in court, to have a judge confirm that the Government has detained the right person for the right suspicions, we could solve this problem without harming our efforts in the war on terror one bit. . . .

Most of us have been willing to make some sacrifices because we know that, in the end, it helps to make us safer. But restricting somebody's right to challenge their imprisonment indefinitely is not going to make us safer. In fact, recent evidence shows it is probably making us less safe.

Oh wait a minute. Glenn Greenwald didn't say that.

A young Senator from Illinois did. His name was Barack Obama.

Our President does indeed deserve credit for making the right call, as he did in the case of the piracy of the Maersk Alabama. And he deserves criticism when he clearly makes the wrong one, as he has done in the Bagram detainees case. Any political leader must be kept honest, especially an American President. Mr. President, I'd like you to meet Candidate Obama. You two have a lot to discuss.

Here endeth the lesson.

Executive Decision

Turns out Obama made two requests for the use of military force to rescue Captain Phillips.
Obama granted the authority to use appropriate force with the focus on saving and protecting Phillips’ life. The requests were made by the Pentagon Friday and Saturday. For technical reasons, authority was granted two different times, according to the official, because different U.S. forces moved in the region near the coast of Somalia.
You know, that's good, because otherwise you'd have wingnuts accusing him of being President Carter.

Dogging The Right

John Cole commented this morning:
Keeping up with the hard hitting news, it appears that the first dog has been selected.

It just occurred to me- they have their “in” now. I was wondering how the Malkins and the Red States were going to get their two minute hate on over a puppy, and now that Kennedy is giving it to the Obamas, they now have an excuse to hate… a puppy. Just watch.

Well, with a pretty defenseless target like Bo, the First Puppy, you'd better believe the Wingers are taking a swing.

Malkinvania goes straight for the Kennedy angle, Don Surber goes for the "self-named dog" bonus points, and the rest are wondering why this is news at all, forgetting that the Great Gizoogle gives us 205k hits on "President Bush dog Barney" including Barney's own damn White House web page, archived for your reading pleasure.

As my good friend Bon The Geek would say, "I can't believe those assholes are picking on that cute little puppy."

I can. That's why they're assholes.

Ninjas Beat Pirates

CNN is reporting that the US Navy freed Capt. Phillips, killed 3 of the 4 pirates, and captured the 4th one.
The captain of the Maersk Alabama was freed Sunday after being held captive since Wednesday by pirates off the coast of Somalia, a senior U.S. official with knowledge of the situation told CNN.

The official said Capt. Richard Phillips is uninjured and in good condition, and that three of the four pirates were killed. The fourth pirate is in custody. Phillips was taken aboard the USS Bainbridge, a nearby naval warship.
Good. Phillips managed to get away a second time, and the Navy jumped in.

Broder's Making Stuff Up Again

What BooMan said.
Relentless mockery by bloggers does have an influence on how Bigfoot reporters go about their job. Eventually, they anticipate the mockery and take precautions against it. Ideally, this involves fact-checking but it also takes this form...paragraphs that begin:

First, the data that shout that I am wrong.

That's how David Broder transitions from his lede to his argument in today's column. This is a form of fact-checking, albeit one in which the facts are checked only so that they can be ignored. You can call it a half-step in the right direction. At least it demonstrates the first signs of self-awareness. Broder, as is always his want, is writing yet another column about the greatness of bipartisanship and centrism. But he knows that the Republicans unanimously rejected the budget and nearly-unanimously rejected the stimulus. He knows that the 61% partisan divide in presidential approval is at an historic high for this period in a new presidency. In the past, he might have just ignored these facts but today he takes them head-on. Of course, his procedure is to ignore other facts.

Bottom line, Broder's convinced it's April 1993, not 2009. To these guys, it's always 1993, and the GOP ascendancy is just around the corner.

Wall Street Banks On Greener Pastures

Atrios smells a rat and Big Tent Dem has a good laugh as the banksters collectively seem to pick up their toys and are heading to the greener grass on the other side of the regulatory fences.
Top bankers have been leaving Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Citigroup and others in rising numbers to join banks that do not face tighter regulation, including foreign banks, or start-up companies eager to build themselves into tomorrow’s financial powerhouses. Others are leaving because of culture clashes at merging companies, like Bank of America and Merrill Lynch, and still others are simply retiring early.

This is certainly a concern for the banks losing top talent. But other financial experts believe it is the beginning of a broader and necessary reshaping of Wall Street, too long dominated by a handful of major players that helped to fuel the financial crisis. The country may be better off if the banking industry is less concentrated, they say.

“If the risk-taking spreads out to these smaller institutions, it is no longer a systemic threat,” said Matthew Richardson, professor of finance at the Stern School of Business at New York University. “And innovation is spreading out too. This is a good thing.”

In past downturns, the big firms suffered but bounced back when the economy returned to health. This time, their pain may be more lasting given the depth of the crisis and the government’s efforts to rein in Wall Street’s practices as it tries to turn around the economy, a process that may take years.

To deter the people it thinks caused the crisis, the government is clamping down.

Sensing a shifting tide, talented bankers who fear a dimmer future at banks that have taken taxpayer money are migrating to brash boutique firms like Aladdin, which are intent on proving their critics wrong by chasing fast profits and growth in hopes of one day rising up as challengers to the old guard.
This to me screams "shot across Obama's bow." It's a warning to him and Timmy not to overregulate these start-ups and new financial firms. It's all about the money to these guys, and the story is clearly telling Obama not to mess with them.

It's actually funny if you think about it. Exactly what are these "financial titans" going to put on their resumes when they go job hunting? "Lost two billion at AIG!" "Invested heavily in toxic assets!" "Helped drive Lehman Brothers out of business!" That'll look good.

But hope springs eternal with these guys. We'll see how Obama responds.

Four Hundred Forty-Four Versus Six

The latest Wingnut Stupidity? Obama's failed response to the existential Pearl Harbor-style threat of Somali piracy and six day standoff with hostage Captain Richard Phillips is completely equivalent to Jimmy Carter's 444-day failure to release the American hostages in Iran.

God help us, we actually have a President who recognizes the problem is complex and difficult, instead of sending in the cruise missiles and mispronouncing things.

New tag, Wingnut Stupidity.
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