Daily Archive: 11/19/2010

Nov 19 2010

Evening Edition

Evening Edition is an Open Thread

Now with 60 Top Stories (my arbitrary limit).

From Yahoo News Top Stories

1 Suspected Germany-bound bomb was ‘security test’

by Deborah Cole, AFP

Fri Nov 19, 11:16 am ET

BERLIN (AFP) – A suspected bomb intercepted in Namibia that was to be put on a Munich-bound charter plane was a harmless US-made dummy used to test security checks, Germany’s interior minister said Friday.

Thomas de Maiziere said it was not immediately clear who had carried out the test, which sparked a major security alert Wednesday, but said he had had no advance knowledge of the purported exercise.

“Experts from the (German) federal police force examined the luggage on site,” De Maiziere told reporters after a security conference with interior ministers from Germany’s 16 states.

Nov 19 2010

Punting the Pundits

Punting the Pundits is an Open Thread. It is a selection of editorials and opinions from around the news medium and the internet blogs. The intent is to provide a forum for your reactions and opinions, not just to the opinions presented, but to what ever you find important.

Thanks to ek hornbeck, click on the link and you can access all the past “Punting the Pundits”.

Paul Krugman: Axis of Depression

What do the government of China, the government of Germany and the Republican Party have in common? They’re all trying to bully the Federal Reserve into calling off its efforts to create jobs. And the motives of all three are highly suspect. . . .

It’s no mystery why China and Germany are on the warpath against the Fed. Both nations are accustomed to running huge trade surpluses. But for some countries to run trade surpluses, others must run trade deficits – and, for years, that has meant us. The Fed’s expansionary policies, however, have the side effect of somewhat weakening the dollar, making U.S. goods more competitive, and paving the way for a smaller U.S. deficit. And the Chinese and Germans don’t want to see that happen. . . . .

But why are Republicans joining in this attack?

Mr. Bernanke and his colleagues seem stunned to find themselves in the cross hairs. They thought they were acting in the spirit of none other than Milton Friedman, who blamed the Fed for not acting more forcefully during the Great Depression – and who, in 1998, called on the Bank of Japan to “buy government bonds on the open market,” exactly what the Fed is now doing.

Republicans, however, will have none of it, raising objections that range from the odd to the incoherent.

Morris Davis: A Terrorist Gets What He Deserves

(Critics) of President Obama’s decision to prosecute Guantánamo Bay detainees in federal courts have seized on the verdict in the Ahmed Ghailani case as proof that federal trials are a disastrous failure. After the jury on Wednesday found Mr. Ghailani guilty of only one charge in the 1998 African embassy bombings, Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader in the Senate, called on the administration to “admit it was wrong and assure us just as confidently that terrorists will be tried from now on in the military commission system.” . . . .

President Obama is in a no-win situation when it comes to trying detainees – any forum he chooses will set off critics on one side of the debate or the other. I hope he pauses to reflect on what he said at the National Archives in May 2009: “Some have derided our federal courts as incapable of handling the trials of terrorists. They are wrong. Our courts and our juries, our citizens, are tough enough to convict terrorists.”

The Ghailani trial delivered justice. It did so safely and securely, while upholding the values that have defined America. Now Mr. Obama should stand up to the fear-mongers who want to take us back to the wrong side of history.

Morris Davis, a former Air Force colonel, was the chief prosecutor for the military commissions at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, from 2005 to 2007. He is the director of the Crimes of War Project.

Eugene Robinson: Obama’s opportunity to be the decider

For what it’s worth, my advice for Obama is to forget the Republicans. Not literally, of course – the new House leadership is going to make itself hard to ignore. But ultimately, it’s the president who sets the agenda and who ultimately is held accountable for America’s successes and failures. Obama’s focus should be on using all the tools at his disposal to move the country in the direction he believes it must go.

A new report by the Center for American Progress – a think tank headed by John Podesta, former chief of staff to Bill Clinton – seeks to remind Obama that shepherding legislation through Congress is only one of the ways a president can get things done. . . .

Progressives are right when they complain that the White House must do a much better job of making the case for its policies. But the challenge goes well beyond communications. Judging by the way they snubbed Obama’s invitation to break bread together, Republicans seem eager for gridlock – and the chance to blame the president for not getting anything done.

That may be the GOP’s preferred story line, but Obama can write a narrative of his own. He’s the Decider now.

Nov 19 2010

An Irish update-

Ireland: The big uncertainties

Robert Peston, BBC

15:38 UK time, Thursday, 18 November 2010

It would be far cheaper for the Irish government if markets were to be reassured by the existence of a substantial borrowing facility – because Ireland would only pay the full 5% interest rate on drawn down loans.



(I)t is the perceived weakness of Ireland’s bloated, lossmaking banks that is the fundamental problem.

That said, is it the case that these hobbled banks would be able to borrow from commercial lenders again, and would become less dependent on the European Central Bank for funds, if all that happened was that a few more tens of billions of euros was injected into them as new capital, as additional protection against losses?

Or would investors and banks still be wary of lending to these banks, if they felt that the entity standing behind the banks – the Irish state – remained a credit of dubious worth?



(T)he other huge unknown is over the other strings and conditions that would be attached to the loans or borrowing facilities.

In particular, will Germany get its way and force the Irish government to raise its 12.5% corporate tax rate, which the German government has long seen as unfair tax competition, as a de facto bribe to big international companies to settle in Dublin?



Curiously the Irish government’s preferred tax-raising measure, I am told by officials, is to increase the number of citizens paying income tax, by lowering the income threshold at which income tax is payable.

I’m not sure whether the economics of keeping corporation tax low while raising more from low-income families quite works. But the politics is certainly very intriguing.

Nov 19 2010

On This Day in History: November 19

This is your morning Open Thread. Pour your favorite beverage and review the past and comment on the future.

November 19 is the 323rd day of the year (324th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 42 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1863, President Abraham Lincoln delivers Gettysburg Address.

On November 19, 1863, at the dedication of a military cemetery at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, during the American Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln delivers one of the most memorable speeches in American history. In just 272 words, Lincoln brilliantly and movingly reminded a war-weary public why the Union had to fight, and win, the Civil War.

The Battle of Gettysburg, fought some four months earlier, was the single bloodiest battle of the Civil War. Over the course of three days, more than 45,000 men were killed, injured, captured or went missing.  The battle also proved to be the turning point of the war: General Robert E. Lee’s defeat and retreat from Gettysburg marked the last Confederate invasion of Northern territory and the beginning of the Southern army’s ultimate decline.

Charged by Pennsylvania’s governor, Andrew Curtin, to care for the Gettysburg dead, an attorney named David Wills bought 17 acres of pasture to turn into a cemetery for the more than 7,500 who fell in battle. Wills invited Edward Everett, one of the most famous orators of the day, to deliver a speech at the cemetery’s dedication. Almost as an afterthought, Wills also sent a letter to Lincoln-just two weeks before the ceremony-requesting “a few appropriate remarks” to consecrate the grounds.

Text of Gettysburg Address

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation, so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate, we can not consecrate, we can not hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us-that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion-that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain-that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom-and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

Nov 19 2010

Morning Shinbun Friday November 19




Friday’s Headlines:

Conservationists launch appeal to save nature’s ‘ugly ducklings’

USA

Obama Forces Showdown With G.O.P. on Arms Pact

One family’s plunge from the middle class into poverty

Europe

Nato to debate Afghanistan at crucial Lisbon summit

Irish bank woes trigger urgent talks to end crisis

Middle East

Al-Qaeda ideologue held in Syria

How to win power in Egypt

Asia

Chinese woman sent to labour camp for retweeting

Aung San Suu Kyi: Determined to build on national euphoria

Africa

Madagascan coup attempt fizzling

Latin America

Amazon champ meets his match

The peace prize war

Nobel ceremony may be cancelled, for the first time in 106 years, after China threatens diplomats in row over jailed dissident

By Paul Vallely Friday, 19 November 2010

For the first time in the history of the Nobel Peace Prize the award may not be handed out this year after a strenuous campaign by the Chinese government to stop one of its citizens, the jailed human rights campaigner Liu Xiaobo, receiving the honour.

Under Nobel Prize rules, the 10 million kronor (£880,000) award can only be collected by the laureate or a close family member.

The government in Beijing placed Mr Liu’s wife under house arrest as soon as the award was announced last month and his two brothers are under surveillance.

Nov 19 2010

Rep. Alan Grayson, You Will Be Missed

All of us the left who have witnessed Rep. Alan Grayson’s interviews and speeches on the Floor of the House will miss him. Mr. Grayson, despited his defeat in this last election, is not going quietly into that good night. I expect that we will hear from him.

Alan Grayson: Five Things The Rich Can Do With Their Tax Cuts

WASHINGTON — Alan Grayson (D-Florida) wants everyone to know that he is not in favor of extending the Bush cuts for the wealthy, which would average out to about $83,347 a year for each person in the top 1 percent of the U.S. income bracket. To drive his point home, he made a list for lawmakers on the House floor Wednesday night of the many ways those “high and mighty” individuals making an average of $1.4 million a year will be able to use that extra cash.

Nov 19 2010

Prime Time

A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving.  Mostly premiers.

We don’t have none of this stuff in the boy’s room! Wait a minute! We don’t got none of this… we don’t got doors on the stalls in the boy’s room, we don’t have, what is this? What’s this? We don’t have a candy machine in the boy’s room!

Later-

Dave hosts Jim Carrey and Nicki Minaj.  Jon has Phillip K. Howard, Stephen Salvatore Giunta and Dick Wolf.  Conan hosts Jesse Eisenberg, Venus Williams, and The Decemberists.

Oh ho ho, I see. Now I’m the “master of this mechanical stuff.” As opposed to five minutes ago, when I was calmly and coolly trying to find a solution to this very problem. But then something happened. Someone, who will remain nameless…  JIM WEST! …decided to jump over the wire, thereby providing us with that exhilarating romp through the cornfield, and that death-defying leap into the abysmal muck! And here we stand, with that demented maniac hurtling towards our President, with our one and only means of transportation, with Rita as his prisoner, armed with God-knows-what machinery of mass destruction, with the simple intention of overthrowing our government and taking over the country!

Zap2it TV Listings, Yahoo TV Listings

Nov 19 2010

Evening Edition

Evening Edition is an Open Thread

From Yahoo News Top Stories

1 Anti-UN unrest spreads to Haiti capital

by Stephane Jourdain, AFP

6 mins ago

PORT-AU-PRINCE (AFP) – Gangs of angry Haitians trawled Port-au-Prince on Thursday as violence aimed at UN peacekeepers blamed for the cholera crisis spread to the capital after deadly rioting in the north.

Organizers had urged people to vent their anger at the United Nations and the Haitian authorities in a demonstration at a main square by the presidential palace, but what transpired was more like urban guerrilla warfare.

Tear gas filled the air and sporadic gunfire could be heard as gangs took to the streets of the quake-ravaged capital, blocking roads with barricades of burning tires and dumpsters full of rotten garbage.