Thursday, February 26, 2009

Diddit: A Social Network To-Do List For You

More at “Diddit, a new site launching today to the public, is looking to help you check off all the things you’ve done with your life, and discover new things that you’d like to do. The site allows users to browse through thousands of activities in categories ranging from the bars you’ve visited to “Bizarre Retro Candies” you’ve eaten at one time or another. ”

-- I just joined, but I'm not sure what its value is -- perhaps as another form of networking?

The irony of hope: Obama's not relying on it

Internet Journalist Tom HayesTo confront the most profound challenges to our financial system the people of the United States have invested their hope in a former lawyer turned community activist, Barack Obama. In his address to the U.S. Congress, watched by much of the nation Tuesday night, Obama offered an insight into what's been happening inside his administration during the first month he's been in office, but it's clear the work began well prior to inauguration day on a wide range of initiatives.

You may argue that the cost of the Iraq war leaves us too far in debt to attain his ambitious goal of halving the national budget deficit in four years, or that the need for money to help homeowners and those losing their jobs is too urgent and will hamper his ability to attain those goals - and that's far from the only challenge the White House faces domestically, let alone on the stage of world affairs.

Still, we must reverse the unacceptable trends in the housing markets and the massive bleeding of the jobs from the workforce in the United States. We cannot simply wait and hope it gets better. Our long range future depends on a realistic assessment of the scope and scale of the problems and addressing not merely the budget deficit, but the deficit that average citizens feel when considering the leadership of our financial institutions and lawmakers that brought us to this critical point.

click to enlarge ball ticketsAs the President rolls out the budget today, questions about fiscal policy in particular loom from all sides about more than the numbers. We must move to a system with clearer rules and better oversight to prevent another looting of our savings and investments in ways that benefit only a very few already wealthy individuals while leaving privatized retirement accounts and home values in tatters with echoes of the crisis around the globe.

Fortunately, Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, and their team are neither rookies nor have they been basking in the post-inaugural glow. They've had their sleeves rolled up for months. This administration has brought new vigor and insight to a variety of issues, clearly including the domestic economic crisis. Barack Obama gave an inspirational speech, despite unseemly catcalls from some of the opposition as he described an interlocking, holistic approach that combines controlling costs, retaining/creating job opportunities, and enhancing revenue by targeting three major sectors (energy, education, and health care.)

The man who had hope as a central theme of his campaign is not relying on hope. Obama's laid out a clear foundation for recovery that moves quickly into rebuilding our economy and infrastructure in a way that accounts for our place on the planet, both physically and metaphorically. He's not overlooking the threat from disaffected individuals in Afghanistan and elsewhere around the globe, but Obama his team have brought new energy and creativity to ordering our priorities, in a refreshingly open way.

Obama's asking a lot of people. Even mustering the energy to remain hopeful can be hard when challenges are so ubiquitous. Like the best doctor faced with a critical patient, though, Obama's asking more of himself, though, and his staff - they're not content to hope, they're leading by example. The executive branch of the U.S. is working aggressively on all fronts, using transfusions where appropriate to keep critical systems functioning, while focusing on the goal of stabilizing the U.S. and world economy that are intertwined with our other domestic challenges so that we can heal, and back to the American dream. That's a path I can believe in.

President Obama on the Fiscal Year 2010 Budget And Openess

More at The White House - Press Office: “In keeping with my commitment to make our government more open and transparent, this budget is an honest accounting of where we are and where we intend to go.  For too long, our budget has not told the whole truth about how precious tax dollars are spent.  Large sums have been left off the books, including the true cost of fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan.  And that kind of dishonest accounting is not how you run your family budgets at home; it's not how your government should run its budgets, either.  We need to be honest with ourselves about what costs are being racked up -- because that's how we'll come to grips with the hard choices that lie ahead.  And there are some hard choices that lie ahead.”

-- President Obama is making good on his promise to be more open, but in the budgetary case that means more shocking news about what actually costs what. We've not -- in the Bush 2 years or Clinton -- seen a real budget that shows what the government is spending. Be ready for a shock, especially with the Iraq War. But see, that's where the savings come in because then when we see what all of this costs, the reductions will get us to a deficit drop.

Bobby Jindal Enrages Volcano Monitoring People By Mocking Volcano Monitoring People

More at Wonkette: “Bobby Jindal’s speechwriters, they are Gods. Check out this little one-two he pulled on the Democrats. See, he sets it up all good-like by saying that the stimulus package included “$140 million for something called ‘volcano monitoring,’” like wtf is that right, and then KA-CHING: “Instead of monitoring volcanoes, what Congress should be monitoring is the eruption of spending in Washington, D.C.” Get this guy a Washington Post column! He’d fit right in, because everyone already despises him.”

-- That is totally funny by Wonkette!