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Sunrise. Topsail Island.  March, 2013.  Photo by joanneleon.

Topsail Island.  March, 2013.  Photo by joanneleon.

Topsail Island.  March, 2013.  Photo by joanneleon.

Bobby Darin - Beyond the sea

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Proving once again that "progressive" is not in his mindset...  If it was he'd take a much bigger cut, one that compares fairly to federal workers and how it affects their lives and pocketbooks.  This is the Obama idea of "shared sacrifice", I guess.  We don't even feel it, like the chicken who drops and egg and walks away.  You, however, must sacrifice a limb.  Ham and egg justice.

Obama Sequesters Himself to Prove the Wrong Point

But a 5 percent pay cut is stupid. The New York Times reports that the amount was meant to "approximate the level of automatic spending cuts to non-defense federal agencies that took effect" at the beginning of March. (Obama's pay cut is retroactive to that date and runs through the end of the year, so he's forgoing 4.2 percent of his 2013.) For Obama, who makes a federally mandated $400,000 a year, he's losing $16,667 this year. For a worker earning minimum wage, Obama's pay cut is $1,500 more than they'll earn this year.

Unlike the cuts faced by others, Obama's dip will not affect his lifestyle. The president has a few other perks that an average worker doesn't. He has a house, for example. He doesn't pay for gas in his limousine fleet. He pays for personal expenses, but also has an expense account, as detailed in this great (if old) Slate explainer. Very, very few people earning minimum wage can match that.

Nor would this be a big dent if the president weren't actually president. Barack Obama, thanks mostly to sales of his various books, has a pretty decent bank account. Last year, CNNMoney estimated his net worth at between $2.8 and $11 million. In 2011, the last year for which data is available, he earned about $790,000, including his presidential salary. Even if CNNMoney's lower bound estimate is correct, losing 16 grand is a dip of about .6 percent in his net worth.

All of which makes his offer to sacrifice five percent of his salary a worse move than if he'd done nothing. If someone you know to be wealthy drops a quarter into a cup held by a homeless person, you're far more likely to consider the move cheap than generous.

Anne-Marie Slaughter gave up her tenured position at Princeton to head the New America Foundation, the same organization that is recommending expanding Social Security.  If this is a genuine proposal with no catches, it could be great.  But I am really skeptical at this point, since this think tank gets funding from Pete Peterson, since the Fix the Debt campaign was spun off from this think tank, etc.  We need to know more about this proposal.  Does it come with a catch, like privatizing Medicare in exchange, for example?  What's the catch and where does the money for it come from?  I don't know a lot about Slaughter or the other prominent figures in this think tank either, though I have recently heard about it and some other newer think tanks. One article that I read said that Obama's policies might be affected by one or two new think tanks that have rapidly gained influence in Washington. I've been digging around about various new think tanks lately and will be including more stories, excerpts that I find.  For instance, PNAC and the neocons have new names too.
New America Foundation Naming Anne-Marie Slaughter as President

Anne-Marie Slaughter is leaning in. A Princeton professor and former State Department official, Ms. Slaughter said Wednesday morning that she has decided to leave academia to become the next president of the New America Foundation, a nonprofit, nonpartisan policy institute based in Washington.

Emptywheel notes that suddenly some Democrats have noticed that there is a CIA branch within Bloomberg's army, the NYPD.  It's kind of like all the A-list progressive bloggers like Digby who are suddenly noticing that we have some big problems, but who for some reason didn't notice those problems for a whole year leading up to the 2012 election, when we might have been able to apply some pressure on our candidates and had a chance of getting some kind of change, however small.   Oh!  The CIA  is operating on American soil in NY?  ZOMG, didn't notice that those meddlesome bloggers have been complaining about that for two years.
Where Were These Dems Asking about CIA-on-the-Hudson During Brennan’s Confirmation?

I have always been a huge fan of what Thomas Perez has done in DOJ’s Civil Rights Division. But this sentence, from Adam Serwer’s query on what happened to DOJ’s review of the CIA-on-the-Hudson, ought to give pause.

Since taking office, the special litigation section of the civil rights division has investigated more local police departments for unconstitutional policing than ever before, but never on behalf of American Muslims profiled by law enforcement.
But Brennan’s role in finding a way to use CIA tactics domestically barely came up in his confirmation hearings. As I noted, he was asked whether he knew about the program (and acknowledged knowing about it), but he was not asked — at least not in any of the public materials — whether he had a role in setting it up.

Sort of a key question for the guy now in charge of the entire CIA, whether he thinks the CIA should find loopholes to get around prohibitions on CIA working domestically, don’t you think?

Interesting. This comes from a blog at the New America Foundation site.  I'm very skeptical about this think tank, but less skeptical about the women doing this interview.  Click the link to listen to the podcast.  
The Name's Bond, Jane Bond

Do women make better spies than men? Has the CIA’s laser- focus on Al Qaeda blinded it to other critical security issues? How could new CIA Director John Brennan change the agency?  On this In the Tank Podcast, National Security Studies Program Fellow and former CIA Military Analyst Tara Maller convenes three prominent women with intelligence backgrounds – Valerie Plame Wilson, Nada Bakos and Lindsay Moran – for a candid conversation about the CIA’s security blind spots, how motherhood may prime women for espionage careers, and why the public  - and Hollywood – are so enthralled by stories about female spies.

This really is an amazing piece, filled with stunning and intriguing photos and captions.
The Masks We Wear

We wear masks for many reasons: for fun, for protection, or to make a statement.  [...] I've gathered here a few recent images of people wearing masks, covering their faces for a wide variety of reasons.


Check out this site for the various protest groups and events across the country.

April Days of Action Against Drones Begin!

The April Days of Action Against Drones began with numerous actions in the last week, and the schedule of events accelerates this week.

SAN DIEGO - The weekly protest at General Atomics headquarters on March 23 foreshadowed the multi-day anti-drones protest on April 4-6.

The protests in San Diego are provoking questions about the U.S. drone program and U.S. dependence on arms production for jobs in the media. "With the U.S. drone industry contributing billions to their city, residents of San Diego must reconcile their politics with the need to keep their economy humming." (The Daily Beast:San Diego, Hub of the U.S. Drone Industry.)


PENNSYLVANIA - On March 29, about forty people gathered at Lockheed Martin for the Brandywine Peace Community's annual Good Friday Peace Demonstration and service modeled on the traditional stations of the cross, however with readings, poetry, recordings of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and music paralleling Jesus' last steps and crucifixion with the suffering of humanity through war, social injustice, and the violation of the earth, as well as signs of hope and expressions of radical peacemaking - people facing arrest for nonviolent resistance to the criminal authority of Lockheed Martin, the world's largest war profiteer.

Blog Posts and Tweets of Interest

Evening Blues

The Beach Boys - Sail on sailor
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