Live on the TV

Okay, it’s a strategy. Will it work? It has definite possibilities in terms of putting Republicans on the defensive over health care reform, and in providing a rationale for the “radical” idea of passing the legislation through reconciliation.

But I’d prefer something gutsy:

President Barack Obama is planning to host a televised meeting with Republican and Democratic congressional leaders on health care reform. The Feb. 25 meeting is an attempt to reach across the aisle but not a signal that the president plans to start over, as Republicans have demanded, a White House official said. ‘I want to come back [after the Presidents Day congressional recess] and have a large meeting — Republicans and Democrats — to go through, systematically, all the best ideas that are out there and move it forward,’ Obama said in an interview with Katie Couric during CBS’s Super Bowl pre-game show Sunday. Obama said he wants to ‘look at the Republican ideas that are out there. If we can go, step by step, through a series of these issues and arrive at some agreements, then, procedurally, there’s no reason why we can’t do it a lot faster the process took last year,’ he said. In a statement, the official said, ‘What the president will not do is let this moment slip away. He hopes to have Republican support in doing so — but he is going to move forward on health reform.’

Obama first suggested reopening talks with Republicans during his State of the Union address last month, and reiterated the call at a Democratic fundraiser Thursday, but the White House had kept details of his plan under wraps until Sunday. The idea has been met previously with skepticism by the congressional leaders of both parties.

Republicans say they see little room for compromise because the bill should be scrapped, while Democrats argue they have already tried a bipartisan approach, but failed.

… The half-day meeting will take place at Blair House, and be broadcast live, presumably by C-SPAN, making it the first televised White House meeting on health care reform since a forum last March.

More Big Ass Snow

We’re getting another nor’easter Tuesday night and Wednesday. We’re supposed to get at least another foot of snow – unless it gets pushed north to New England. (This means you, Dr. S.!)

I was telling someone today the big problem is, where do you put the snow? In the downtown area, they load it into trucks and dump it into the river, but that’s not practical in the neighborhoods with all these narrow streets.

Termites

From Dan over at Pruning Shears:

That is why when the Democrats took back Congress in 2006 relatively minor episodes like the Libby commutation and Gonzales’ deliberately obtuse testimony were more infuriating than the horrors that came before. There was finally a sense that yes, as a country we went crazy for a while but we were finally getting our bearings. It was happening too late for too many, but it was happening. What the summer of Scooter and Fredo showed was: No, it is not and it will not. Revelations began to trickle out, the first verdicts were finally coming in, and it became unmistakably clear that some of our leaders were criminals who were audacious enough to defiantly live publicly guilty lives. Among the rest of our leadership, there was a critical mass that was too cowardly to do anything about it.

That has been the situation for several years now. For the foreseeable future our government appears content to simply ignore the great crimes plainly in its midst. There is no sense of urgency, significant new developments are not acknowledged, and the plan seems to be to resolutely ignore all of it lest some turbulence disturb the ruling class. For those of us who care deeply about these issues it seems the best reaction now is not angry demands for real investigations and real consequences (outrage is difficult to sustain), but placid, ongoing documentation of the atrocities in order to have as complete a record as possible.

All of this is my somewhat awkward attempt to explain my reaction to Scott Horton’s report on detainee deaths at Guantánamo. It alleges war crimes that go all the way to the White House, it has been out for several weeks now, and continues to be developed. Yet there are no investigations, no hearings, nothing. We just postulate that our leaders did it, refuse to talk or do anything about it, and move on.

The problem is that such a corrosively cynical approach to governance causes foundational damage, and typically it is not recognized until the whole thing collapses. No one thinks anything will come of it, but nobody thought the Soviet Union would collapse either. In fact, a vignette from that period comes to mind; I recall seeing video of this as reported by the New York Times:

The next day [Romanian leader Nicolae] Ceausescu himself in effect brought the revolt to Bucharest, when a crowd of 100,000 he had summoned to denounce the Timisoara revolt suddenly took up a chant of ”Timisoara! Timisoara!” The last televised image was Ceausescu’s shocked face shouting ”Be quiet!” That moment, all agree, finished him.

The investigations on Iraq in Britain and Guantánamo torture in Spain seem remote and of little interest right now. The erosion of credibility and good will that they symbolize is easy to ignore as well. In fact, the whole thing is. If anything comes of all that, however, we will be oblivious to it – carrying on as if nothing will change until the moment we, like a clueless dictator, look on uncomprehendingly as our world turns upside down.

That probably will not come to pass, though. The odds favor stagnation. I used to think it was a matter of getting the word out, making enough noise, keeping the issues alive and waiting for our political and media elite to finally catch on. Horton’s reporting, and the radio silence greeting it, puts the lie to that. We can – and must – continue to catalog these evils, but out of respect for the historical record and not any expectation that those responsible will be called to account. It’s L33T Justice, baby, and everyone gets a pass.

Comments

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#&#@*!!

In case you were wondering why I haven’t been online for the past two days, here’s the explanation from our (former) host:

Unfortunately, your WordPress site is causing what is called “slow queries” on your database server.

A slow query is a query that examines a high amount of rows over a long period of time. The more the query has to examine and the longer the query
takes to do so, the harder it can be on the server. In that you are hosting on a shared hosting server, such queries can become problematic for other users.

WordPress, being a dynamic site, would normally run such queries on every to almost every access on the site. One recommendation would be to setup a
caching utility if you haven’t already, which would prevent the software from having to run so many queries. You may also wish to check with the
Wordpress forums for any thoughts on reducing the impact WordPress might have on a database server.

Here are some example queries that we are referencing:

# User@Host: susiemad[susiemad] @  [209.68.6.23]
# Query_time: 163  Lock_time: 0  Rows_sent: 1  Rows_examined: 32054
SELECT SQL_CALC_FOUND_ROWS  wp_posts.* FROM wp_posts  WHERE 1=1  AND
HOUR(wp_posts.post_date)=’19’ AND MINUTE(wp_posts.post_date)=’8′ AND
YEAR(wp_posts.post_date)=’

2007′ AND MONTH(wp_posts.post_date)=’12’ AND
DAYOFMONTH(wp_posts.post_date)=’24’ AND wp_posts.post_type = ‘post’ AND
(wp_posts.post_status = ‘publish’)  ORDER BY wp_posts.post_date DESC LIMIT
0, 15;

# User@Host: susiemad[susiemad] @  [209.68.6.23]
# Query_time: 191  Lock_time: 0  Rows_sent: 1  Rows_examined: 10328
SELECT p.* FROM wp_posts AS p  WHERE p.post_date < ‘2007-12-21 20:37:49’
AND p.post_type = ‘post’ AND p.post_status = ‘publish’  ORDER BY
p.post_date DESC LIMIT 1;

# User@Host: susiemad[susiemad] @  [209.68.6.23]
# Query_time: 14  Lock_time: 0  Rows_sent: 1  Rows_examined: 64108
SELECT SQL_CALC_FOUND_ROWS  wp_posts.* FROM wp_posts  WHERE 1=1  AND
wp_posts.post_type = ‘post’ AND (wp_posts.post_status = ‘publish’)  ORDER
BY wp_posts.ID ASC LIMIT 0, 1;

# User@Host: susiemad[susiemad] @  [209.68.6.23]
# Query_time: 32  Lock_time: 0  Rows_sent: 1  Rows_examined: 32054
use susiemad_wordpress;
SELECT SQL_CALC_FOUND_ROWS  wp_posts.* FROM wp_posts  WHERE 1=1  AND
HOUR(wp_posts.post_date)=’16’ AND MINUTE(wp_posts.post_date)=’24’ AND
YEAR(wp_posts.post_date)=’2004′ AND MONTH(wp_posts.post_date)=’10’ AND
DAYOFMONTH(wp_posts.post_date)=’31’ AND wp_posts.post_type = ‘post’ AND
(wp_posts.post_status = ‘publish’)  ORDER BY wp_posts.post_date DESC LIMIT
0, 15;

Unfortunately, given the number of problems the database has caused we will have to ask your review of the above and a discussion on correcting the problem prior to our re-enabling the database.

Ignore This

We’re in the middle of moving, so things will be a mess for a while. Go out and play in the snow.

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