Tuesday’s mishmash

Hi guys,

1. It’s the beginning of a very hectic and very important three-days-of-China at the WH. Good day to announce this:

GE Plans to Announce Projects in China Yielding $2.1 Billion in Revenue and support about 5,000 jobs.

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2. President Obama is ordering a sweeping review of government regulations. He is laying his usual logical and smart vision in this WSJ Op-Ed. manufactured outrage in 3…2…1!

Toward a 21st-Century Regulatory System

For two centuries, America’s free market has not only been the source of dazzling ideas and path-breaking products, it has also been the greatest force for prosperity the world has ever known. That vibrant entrepreneurialism is the key to our continued global leadership and the success of our people.

But throughout our history, one of the reasons the free market has worked is that we have sought the proper balance. We have preserved freedom of commerce while applying those rules and regulations necessary to protect the public against threats to our health and safety and to safeguard people and businesses from abuse.

From child labor laws to the Clean Air Act to our most recent strictures against hidden fees and penalties by credit card companies, we have, from time to time, embraced common sense rules of the road that strengthen our country without unduly interfering with the pursuit of progress and the growth of our economy.

Sometimes, those rules have gotten out of balance, placing unreasonable burdens on business—burdens that have stifled innovation and have had a chilling effect on growth and jobs. At other times, we have failed to meet our basic responsibility to protect the public interest, leading to disastrous consequences. Such was the case in the run-up to the financial crisis from which we are still recovering. There, a lack of proper oversight and transparency nearly led to the collapse of the financial markets and a full-scale Depression.

Over the past two years, the goal of my administration has been to strike the right balance. And today, I am signing an executive order that makes clear that this is the operating principle of our government.

// snip

Where necessary, we won’t shy away from addressing obvious gaps: new safety rules for infant formula; procedures to stop preventable infections in hospitals; efforts to target chronic violators of workplace safety laws. But we are also making it our mission to root out regulations that conflict, that are not worth the cost, or that are just plain dumb.

For instance, the FDA has long considered saccharin, the artificial sweetener, safe for people to consume. Yet for years, the EPA made companies treat saccharin like other dangerous chemicals. Well, if it goes in your coffee, it is not hazardous waste. The EPA wisely eliminated this rule last month.

//

We’re also getting rid of absurd and unnecessary paperwork requirements that waste time and money. We’re looking at the system as a whole to make sure we avoid excessive, inconsistent and redundant regulation. And finally, today I am directing federal agencies to do more to account for—and reduce—the burdens regulations may place on small businesses. Small firms drive growth and create most new jobs in this country. We need to make sure nothing stands in their way.

One important example of this overall approach is the fuel-economy standards for cars and trucks. When I took office, the country faced years of litigation and confusion because of conflicting rules set by Congress, federal regulators and states.

The EPA and the Department of Transportation worked with auto makers, labor unions, states like California, and environmental advocates this past spring to turn a tangle of rules into one aggressive new standard. It was a victory for car companies that wanted regulatory certainty; for consumers who will pay less at the pump; for our security, as we save 1.8 billion barrels of oil; and for the environment as we reduce pollution. Another example: Tomorrow the FDA will lay out a new effort to improve the process for approving medical devices, to keep patients safer while getting innovative and life-saving products to market faster.

Despite a lot of heated rhetoric, our efforts over the past two years to modernize our regulations have led to smarter—and in some cases tougher—rules to protect our health, safety and environment. Yet according to current estimates of their economic impact, the benefits of these regulations exceed their costs by billions of dollars.

This is the lesson of our history: Our economy is not a zero-sum game. Regulations do have costs; often, as a country, we have to make tough decisions about whether those costs are necessary. But what is clear is that we can strike the right balance. We can make our economy stronger and more competitive, while meeting our fundamental responsibilities to one another.

The executive order itself is here.

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2. Oy vey.

ABC/Wash Post: President Obama Approval rating at 54% (+9 swing since mid-December)

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 3. Oy vey.

President Obama against GOP opponents: +13 on Romney, +12 on Huckabee, +26 on Palin.

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4. Oy vey.

The top US presidents: First poll of UK experts 

Barack Obama was not included in the survey, but interim assessments indicate that he would have been placed eighth overall if he had been included in the poll. George W Bush was in 31st place, putting him in the bottom 10.

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5. I received this mail from a member of our community, who wish to stay anonymous, and provided some really terrific links:

Here is an example of Industry and Environmentalists getting along.
http://www.bellinghamherald.com/2010/11/18/1728808/new-cherry-point-reserve-plan.html  (I love our new Lands Commissioner)  Plus further news on that BP oil refinery that creates jobs; as well as some gains (and a couple losses) from a 2010 business roundup http://www.bellinghamherald.com/2010/12/26/1784009/signs-of-better-days-whatcom-county.html  Note the piece of great news for sockeye salmon.
 
Here’s someone paying back their TARP funds (guess they got tired of the government overwatch) http://www.bellinghamherald.com/2011/01/13/1815475/whidbey-island-bank-pays-back.html  Wish they’d start lending money for construction, though.
 
Here’s an example of business and environmentalists sort of working together.  Notice the environmentalist’s hyperbolic comment about the Obama administration’s “extreme disregard for the health of the American people.” (cough) http://www.bellinghamherald.com/2011/01/12/1813324/epa-gives-break-to-biomass-over.html

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6. I don’t like the snarky headline, but it’s a good story about the president’s policies helping native Americans.

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7. Just a terrific read from The New York Review of Books, following that speech last week. This is a must read. (Thank you, Mary).

Obama’s Finest Hour

During the 2008 presidential campaign, I wrote a comparison of Barack Obama’s Philadelphia speech on race with Abraham Lincoln’s Cooper Union address during his own 1860 campaign. I noted that both men had to separate themselves from embarrassing associations—Lincoln from John Brown’s violent abolitionism, and Obama from Jeremiah Wright’s black nationalism. They had to do this without engaging in divisive attacks or counter-attacks. They did it by appeal to the finest traditions of the nation, with hope for the future of those traditions. Obama renounced black nationalism without giving up black pride, which he said was in the great American tradition of self-reliance:

It means taking full responsibility for our own lives—by demanding more from our fathers, and spending more time with our children, and reading to them, and teaching them that while they may face challenges and discrimination in their own lives, they must never succumb to despair or cynicism; the must always believe that the can write their own destiny.

In a situation where his critics trumpeted “family values,” he spelled out what those really are. I concluded by saying, of Lincoln and Obama: “Each looked for larger patterns under the surface bitternessses of their day. Each forged a moral position that rose above the occasion for their speaking.”

The New York Review wanted to publish a booklet printing the Lincoln and Obama speeches together, but the Obama campaign discouraged that idea, perhaps to avoid any suspicion that they were calling Obama a second Lincoln. Well, I am willing to risk such opposition now, when I say that his Tucson speech bears comparison with two Lincoln speeches even greater than the Cooper Union address.

// more

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8. And another one, this time from the British Telegraph:

Barack Obama explains the Big Society beautifully

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9. We said it first! ;)

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57 thoughts on “Tuesday’s mishmash

  1. The Democrats in the House of Representatives are holding a meeting on the Future of Health Care Law right now on C-SPAN2. The meeting started at 1:00 p.m. EST

  2. Brilliant! BWD, your wisdom in naming this website “The Only Adult In The Room” is validated everyday. That cartoon at the end of the mismash is too cute.

  3. I love the “Adult in the Room” cartoon.

    Remember folks, you heard it here first!

    Thanks for all the great links, BWD (and others). I’m going to spend a little time now doing some quality reading.

  4. Loved this post. Good variety, and sources I would probably never find. I also like your term, “Mishmash.” I know it is authentically BWD when it has the word, mishmash.

  5. in reference to the regulations. I am glad he is taking a look at things. Because most of those rules has to be updated and reviewed. We are probably out dated on our regulatory system and this why we are not seeing growth.

  6. Hundreds of balls in the air, and all handled beautifully. We will be so spoiled for future Presidents.

    Must be boring on the Screaming Blogs…

    I remember learning that there was some Blog of the Year Contest in existence. No contest necessary THIS year!

    Stay safe if you drive, my friends.

  7. There is a lot of regulatory redundancy and excessive red tape that needs to be addressed, but the President will have to make sure the lobbyists keep their grubby hands out, because at what could be seen as a rather inocuous removal on paper said lobbyist might know will have far reaching effects in the real world.

    Interesting the President Obama would be rated 8th only after half of one term. Most on that list of course would have had a full two terms. What will be very, very important is keeping the Senate in 2012. We only have a three seat buffer and will have 23 seats up for re-election, ten of which would be virtual coinflips today.

  8. One of my favorite lines in the New York Times Review, comparing speeches of President Lincoln with the remarks of President Obama at Tucson:

    “Each forged a moral position that rose above the occasion for their speaking.”

    Beautifully and simply put. I just love it. America, We Have a Leader.

  9. Review of regulations – Once more the President is triangling the GOP out. Brilliant.

  10. I’m not really a paper hoarder (except of things that I really like!), but recently I came across a paperback copy of the Blair House Papers of January 1997 on the National Performance Review. Vice President Gore was asked in 1993 by President Clinton “to figure out how to make government work better and cost less.” Obviously, the two had some success.

    My friends and I who are retired from the federal government used to laugh that “there’s nothing new under the sun,” when you work for the government, just a different project name or acronym.

    So, I’m personally a little amused with the President’s call for an “Improving Regulation and Regulatory Review” (not because it’s not a serious and worthwhile effort – just amuses me in a snarky way that our best administrations have to root out the problems our not-so-great administrations left behind, over and over again). But methinks our current President will DEFINITELY have his folks get to work on this, and succeed everyone’s wildest imaginations. Again. How’s that for confidence in our elected officials?

  11. President Obama has been talking about the need for smart and efficient government from day one. I remember during the 2008 campaign, then Senator Barack Obama said he wanted to make government cool again.

    It really is hilarious to hear Majority Leader Eric Cantor implying that President Obama is taking credit for something HE recommended. While President Obama and the Democrats were doing the hard work of governing, the Republicans were obstructing every step of the way.

  12. Love the concluding gif of Mrs. O! I can’t imagine any other First Lady waving her hand in the air with all those children around her.

  13. thanks for all the news BWD.. and I love the cartoon of The Adult in the Room… I’ve been hearing that phrase a lot of late.. YOUR title is definitely catching on, and I do believe folks are starting to take notice.. both of our President’s magnificent abilities and of your straight up website.

  14. And it was not simply the statements, but HOW they were delivered. Bush’s best speechwriter might have come up with something along those lines. But it would have to be loaded onto a teleprompter, he’d mangle the simplest words, emphasize the wrong points, inflect when not warranted, and smirk. He’d make no eye contact, and if reminded to, through an earpiece, would glance at Daniel when referring to Commander Kelly, and then lose his place on the teleprompter. And unless the speech included references to punishment for the shooter, Bush would display no genuine emotion. And despite the community being in mourning, I do not believe the tens of thousands who came to UofA to hear POTUS, would have done so for Bush. MO is that many in the audience KNEW Obama was truly there for them, to use an onerused expression.

  15. On the note of ‘keeping the senate’… I received an email from Senator Conrad (ND) this morning informing us that he will not be seeking re-election in 2012.. unfortunately I figure that will open the door for another repub win here in ND. That will leave Pomeroy as our only democrat, very sad for ND, it will be totally red.

  16. This was rumored. Along with a few others.

    Nebraska will be hard to hold, and the GOP is going to go hard after Tester. That’s three right there. And we still have McCaskill, Webb, Stabenow, Kohl, Nelson in Fla, Sherrod Brown, Casey and would have to hold all of them.

  17. those states with republican Governors can be winners. They are already having buyers remorse.

  18. I remember at the start of primary season, when I was unclear about BOvHCvJE, a friend kept saying “Catch the Wave. Catch the Obama Wave.” I am wondering if there is in fact Wave, The Sequel developing now. There is a pity party on the Screaming Blogs, admitting that Prag Blogs are dominent now, Reps are seeing POTUS with clearer vision since Tucson, I’m not sure if Dem Congresscritters will go back to their default defensive positions with theit POTUS ratings the way they are….and Ms Palin is losing her mojo.

    And we were ahead of the curve, as the popularity of the title of our blog suggests.

  19. Hey g. Since I don’t go to the screaming blogs — I have to maintain an even keel for my patrons — which blogs have been admitting that the pragmati are winning? Just curious because every now and then I like to cackle.

  20. Humor I could do, S :) And I had just watched a Youtube video called “Obama Bush Dance Off.”

    But trust me, when I’m in the classroom, I act enthusiasm about theit “Writer’s Workshop” quit appropriately, LOL, while thinking “just EMAIL kids, you can shortcut EVERYTHING!”

  21. That op-ed in the WSJ is very good. One example he uses is FDA finding saccarine ok for coffee but EPA finding it toxic sludge. The different departments really need to get on the same page one way or another. Conflicting rules and redundant paperwork is another issue he brings up. Cleaning this stuff up has got to be a good thing.

  22. The acknowledge that he’s being judged on only two years in office. So it’s a provisional score. What’s fun is the compare presidents feature on that site.

  23. “that many in the audience KNEW Obama was truly there for them”

    And not just emotionally, but literally. I was surprised that in so many interviews with people in Tucson, they were surprised that the Prez. would come and speak to them. I would be surprised if he hadn’t.

  24. Hi LL – My sister is also an LL :)

    I’m stuck in an ice storm and got bored. I checked out GOS. Amazing stuff there. They were despairing that blogworld is not leftist enough. They seemed confused. But what jumped out at me was almost an admission that their sympathies run toward Socialism. They seem to be pining for the Good Old Days when DK was a “hotbed of that sort of thing”, and moaning that their comrades had deserted the cause. My understanding is that it was the Pragmatics that “deserted” them. The other comment that struck me was made by one of my least favorite humans over there – something about leftist blogging being the centerpiece of his life. I guess telling him to “grab a mop” would fall on deaf ears. I’ve posted this before, I had a running argument with those types. They denigrated the volunteer work that is so important to me. “But YOU might help one or two. We BLOGGERS, OTOH, help thousands.”

  25. Lovely round-up today. Can’t wait to read some of the links after I escape from work.

    That gif of Mrs. O is priceless! That one will be recycled many times to put an instant smile on my face.

  26. They parsed the WSJ op-ed to fit their hate and paranoia. Which was in abundance.

    When you have to resort to cutting and pasting words like Fox News does, then you have lost all credibility, dKos.

  27. Well, all those young people at the UofA wouldn’t have been able to get in to see Bush. When did Bush hold any event that wasn’t stacked with followers? When did he open his events to the public?

    It’s hard to speak effectively when you have the intelligence of a stone and less of a moral compass.

  28. Unfortunately, part of Gore’s plan was a giant increase in privatization, that had barely begun under Jimmy Carter and was expanded greatly by Reagan and Bush (of course).

    The truth is the truth I’m afraid. Under Clinton’s watch and Al Gore’s supervision a lot of positions that should have remained as government service, went to private contracts who had no allegiance to the nation and just to their paycheck and profit.

    I read a really in-depth article about this about 4 years ago. Atlantic Monthly or the New Yorker I think but I really don’t remember. It was a leftie writer and this was long before it became fashionable to bash Democrats on purity grounds. This was a well-researched, thoughtful article whose information has stuck with me.

  29. That thread was particularly disgusting today. When they have to scrape the barrel to condemn Obama over a Day of Service then there is no reality left.

  30. Great article

    Barack Obama’s Work in Progress

    Over the past few years, we’ve gotten to know our president as a lot of different things: campaigner, lawyer, father, basketballer. But what if Obama’s first and truest calling—his desire to write—explains more about him than anything else? Robert Draper recounts the untold story of the first man since Teddy Roosevelt to serve as author in chief.

    http://www.gq.com/news-politics/politics/200911/barack-obama-writing-books-writer-robert-draper?printable=true

  31. As usual this mom and daughter look so natural and relaxed in each other’s company. I noticed in that picture that Malia seems to be the same height as Mrs. O (without her heels). Won’t be long now before the First Lady is the one looking up. :)

  32. I liked the New York Review of Books piece. These words stood out: “a moral position that rose above the occasion”. That is the perfect descripton of Barack Obama as President of the United States.

  33. Librarians rock! It took me til almost my forties to find my professional niche, but it was worth the wait. I love my job.

    How sad that leftist blogging was the centerpiece of that person’s life. My girlfriend, my job, my writing — and of course, my cats — are the centerpieces of my life. My friends and family. Leftist blogging, while useful, is probably a very brittle center around which to base your life. And I don’t say it’s sad because I think she is living in her parents’ basement typing away; it’s sad because the statement betrays a lack of connection with people who need help. That type of life favors abstract ideology over the concrete contact with people.

    There’s nothing wrong with socialism — although I’m more of a namby pamby social democrat; but unless you make it connect on a grassroots level with people, it’s just typing on a keyboard. Grab a mop, volunteer, get out there and do something. “Leftist blogger” is not the only thing I want on my tombstone.

  34. Maybe if the Obamas had led the nation in a rousing serenade of “The Internationale”?

  35. RIP to Sargent Shriver, who leaves quite a legacy—Peace Corps, Job Corps, War on Poverty and Head Start, to name a few. I worked with Head Start for many years and so believe in that program. I know what we did there and the difference we made in those kids’ lives. I still check for names in the paper and so many of them have distinguished themselves in all sorts of good ways as they’ve progressed through high school and beyond.

  36. You did say it first, bwd. :)

    Would love to have the facility to post some wonderful toons here.

  37. Exactly, Starshine… If the GOP House is going to be as bent on investigating every nook and cranny that they claim they intend to be (wasting more tax dollars), PBO did the right thing by heading them off at the pass.

    That said, this move is actually Phase 2 of a process he began when he asked federal employees to submit ideas on where spending could be cut, better and more efficient ways of doing things, etc.

    Which is to say, as usual, PBO’s 100 steps ahead of everybody else.

  38. The Gary Wills essay in the NYRoB is spectacular.

    The cartoon – so accurate. And, yes BWD, you were there first!!

  39. For those of you still willing to punish yourself by visiting that place I do hope you are not doing unnecessary brain or soul damage.

    The world is full of truly evil stuff that we can’t avoid if we are engaged in striving for a better future.

    The frustrati vile is, fortunately, of minimal impact, anywhere, so please don’t allow it to waste your precious time.

    p.s. I now only login there to rec a diary I know will be very unpopular with the frustrati and therefore worthy of a rec because it contains substantive content.

  40. I also have appreciation for Socialism. But ironically, Socialism is ABOUT your fellow man and woman. Blogging as done by the screamers seeems very detached.

    My sister is the Media Director (fancy term for Librarians here) of a local school. She not only loves her job, but, I’m sure, like you – BELIEVES in it. (“People take public libraries for granted, but..”) It doesn’t take much to get her going with this speech :)

  41. Not a problem, Bob. I was banned ages ago. What interests me now is purely selfish – the traffic patterns. They are not good (cackle). I have had it with extremists on both sides. The ones on the left seem to have blown their chance. If Palin could sink the ones on the Right…And then we tighten up the gun laws…
    And now a chorus of “Imagine,” LOL.

  42. “The Only Adult in the Room” indeed! Terrific mishmash as always. This blog is prescient!

  43. It’s incredible to think about the contributions of the extended Kennedy family to this country. That they enshrined the principle that, “to whom much is given, much is expected” stands in such contrast to “I got mine; too bad for you!!!” which seems to be at play with too many of our current members of the privileged class.

    Amen to your beautiful thoughts about Sargent Shriver. RIP, and thank you.

  44. That is so NOT a problem, LOL! Reps (and JLs) are a vanishing species now. My local Town Council struggles to get Reps to run. The Rep seats now are only filled due to legal requirements. That party runs on the same tired lie every election – THEDEMSWILLRAISEYOURTAXES. Boy, meet wolf.

    We’ll see what happens, but the Tale of The Wrestling Queen and her millions, turned many people, including common sense Reps, off. If Malloy does well, it will suck to be a Rep here. And, I’ve heard only excellent reports about him to this point. My sister saw Dan and bill Clinton at a rally this summer. BC is huge here – a big asset for CT Dems.

  45. Will someone please explain to me why the GE announcement is a good thing. Aren’t they the company that managed to not pay a dime in U.S. Tax last year?

  46. I just made the mistake of looking at DK and there’s a whole thread (http://www.dailykos.com/story/2011/1/18/937191/-Obama-announces-regulatory-streamlining,-Chamber-wants-more if you can stomach it) complaining about the WSJ editorial. The writer and every commentator are convinced that it’s a plan to totally gut all regulations, validate Republican frames, and grind up puppies.

    Not a single person in the article or comments quotes a single regulation that is to be repealed or revised. It’s a fact-free zone.

    Never going there again.

  47. The sad thing is that I started going there when I lived in AZ during GWB’s second term , and for a few years it was interesting and exciting. Something went sour after the election. You’re right, I should just move on.

    Thanks for starting this site; it’s needed.

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