Daily Archive: 03/09/2011

Mar 09 2011

from firefly-dreaming 9.3.11

Regular Daily Features:

mishima takes us back to 1979 in Late Night Karaoke.

Gha!

Essays Featured Wednesday, March 9th:

TheMomCat most kindly gives us a repeat performance of her Health & Fitness News

originally posted Saturday at The Stars Hollow Gazette

Youffraita‘s serving Fastnacht in Wednesday Open Thoughts

fake consultant tells a simple little story of a multinational corporation and the local opposition in On Being A Titan, Part One, Or, See It, Say It, Sue It

PeekABoo, a celebration of Spring from Xanthe

join the conversation! come firefly-dreaming with me….

Mar 09 2011

Evening Edition

Evening Edition is an Open Thread

Now with 51 Top Stories.

From Yahoo News Top Stories

1 Kadhafi says West after Libya’s oil as rebels pounded

by Antoine Lambroschini, AFP

1 hr 55 mins ago

TRIPOLI (AFP) – Moamer Kadhafi accused the West on Wednesday of wanting to seize Libya’s oil and warned a no-fly zone would backfire as his forces pounded rebel lines and a top aide jetted into Cairo.

“The colonialist countries are hatching a plot to humiliate the Libyan people, reduce them to slavery and control the oil,” Kadhafi said on state television.

He again accused Al-Qaeda of being behind the insurrection that began on February 15 and called on inhabitants of Benghazi, the rebels’ main base, to “liberate” the eastern city.

Mar 09 2011

Barack Hussein Obama Shuts Down National Labor Relations Board

And censors them.

A fierce advocate indeed-

“The House of Representatives is expected to soon vote on a funding proposal that contains drastic cuts to several federal agencies, including the National Labor Relations Board. The proposal would eliminate $50 million from this small administrative agency, or 18% of its total annual budget. Because the reduction would be squeezed into the final 7 months of the fiscal year, the cuts would be felt even more deeply – representing the equivalent of one-third of remaining 2011 funding.

Nearly all of the agency’s budget is spent on salaries and rents; there are no programs to eliminate or postpone. The only way to meet this extreme and immediate reduction would be to furlough all of the NLRB’s 1,665 employees for 55 workdays, or nearly three months, between now and the end of September. The great majority of these employees work far from Washington D.C., in 51 local offices, where every NLRB case begins. The economic impact of this cut would be felt by families and communities in 33 states.

If enacted, the House proposal could force the NLRB to curtail all agency operations, including investigating alleged illegal practices by private sector employers and unions, conducting workplace elections, and helping to settle election-related disputes. Regulation of a broad range of conduct, such as unlawful lockouts of workers, termination of union organizers, refusals to bargain with unions selected by workers, unilateral changes to contract provisions covering such things as health insurance and pensions, unlawful strikes, picket line violence, and secondary boycotts, would be stalled if this proposal were adopted.

NLRB: White House Muzzled Us In Budget Debate

Ryan Grimm, The Huffington Post

Posted: 03/ 9/11 11:08 AM

The White House demanded that the NLRB scrub the statement defending the agency from its website, an NLRB spokesperson told The Huffington Post.



The White House pushback against the NLRB would sound familiar to Wisconsin demonstrators. The Democratic National Committee’s Organizing for America, the group that is a remnant of Obama’s ’08 campaign operation, initially got strongly behind the pro-labor protests. But after the GOP criticized the White House for its involvement, an administration spokesman told The New York Times that “the White House had done nothing to encourage the demonstrations in Wisconsin,” as paraphrased by reporter Jackie Calmes.

Of course, this President is almost entirely absent from the Budget debate, except when it comes to throwing core Democratic Principles and Constituencies under the bus.

Obama Tries to Re-Engage on Budget with 9 Days Until Government Shutdown

By: David Dayen, Firedog Lake

Wednesday March 9, 2011 11:06 am

The President has been completely disengaged on the budget battle in Congress, preferring to let them battle it out while he jets around the country and says “win the future” a lot. And some members of Congress are sick of it. Now, part of this is Congress wanting to share the blame with the White House for whatever comes out. But the other part is a recognition that the caucus is rootless and without direction, and only a party leader can come in and impose that. The fact that Obama set Joe Biden to the task of working out a compromise, only to have Biden leave for Europe for a week, is testimony to the fact that there’s something wrong with this lack of engagement. When Joe Manchin, who I think got to the Senate three days ago, is calling you out for a failure of leadership, there’s a problem of engagement.

Why did we elect him again?  Oh, he claims to be a Democrat.

Well, he’s not.

And he’s not even doing his job, he’s just an AWOL deserter.

Mar 09 2011

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”

Robert Reich: Why the Democrats Should Never Have Started Paying Ransom to Avoid a Shutdown

It’s called ransom. That’s what Republicans are demanding from the White House and congressional Democrats for not pulling the plug on the government.

Problem is, when you pay ransom once, you’re almost begging to pay it again. And that’s exactly the pickle the Obama administration is finding itself in.

In order to avoid a shutdown last week and buy time until March 18, the White House agreed to more spending cuts for the remainder of this fiscal year than it originally put on the table. Now, in order to get past March 18, Republicans want even more. Democrats have offered to cut an additional $10.5 billion but Republicans want $61 billion. The White House is hinting it’s ready to compromise further.

Katrina vanden Heuvel: When Murdoch wins, citizens lose

We tend to measure the influence of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. in terms of the reach of Fox News or the circulation of the New York Post and the Wall Street Journal. But it is actually local television stations on which Murdoch has built his empire and increased his stranglehold on access to information.

He has done so, in large part, by taking advantage of a 1999 change in FCC rules that allowed a single company to own more than one television station in the same market. That arrangement, known as a duopoly, lets big conglomerates such as News Corp. buy up stations, reduce their staffs and consolidate newsrooms. Murdoch now has nine duopolies. According to Santa Clara University’s Allen Hammond, a staggering 109 duopolies were created between 2000 and 2006.

The problem isn’t just that control over the airwaves becomes concentrated; it’s that such consolidation often results in the gutting of local news coverage. Duopoly owners tend to duplicate their local coverage and reduce the amount of airtime dedicated to community news. The subsequent lack of coverage gives local governments a free pass to operate without any real media scrutiny.

Bob Herbert: Flailing After Muslims

It has often been the case in America that specific religions, races and ethnic groups have been singled out for discrimination, demonization, incarceration and worse. But there have always been people willing to stand up boldly and courageously against such injustice. Their efforts are needed again now.

Representative Peter King, a Republican from Long Island, appears to harbor a fierce unhappiness with the Muslim community in the United States. As the chairman of the powerful Homeland Security Committee, Congressman King has all the clout he needs to act on his displeasure. On Thursday, he plans to open the first of a series of committee hearings into the threat of homegrown Islamic terrorism and the bogus allegation that American Muslims have failed to cooperate with law enforcement efforts to foil terrorist plots.

Mar 09 2011

On This Day in History March 9

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

Find the past “On This Day in History” here.

March 9 is the 68th day of the year (69th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 297 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1841, the US Supreme Court rules on Amistad mutiny

At the end of a historic case, the U.S. Supreme Court rules, with only one dissent, that the African slaves who seized control of the Amistad slave ship had been illegally forced into slavery, and thus are free under American law.

The Amistad, also known as United States v. Libellants and Claimants of the Schooner Amistad, 40 U.S. (15 Pet.) 518 (1841), was a United States Supreme Court case resulting from the rebellion of slaves on board the Spanish schooner Amistad in 1839. It was an unusual “freedom suit“, as it involved international issues and parties, as well as United States law.

The rebellion broke out when the schooner, traveling along the coast of Cuba, was taken over by a group of captives who had earlier been kidnapped in Africa and sold into slavery. The Africans were later apprehended on the vessel near Long Island, New York, by the United States Revenue Cutter Service and taken into custody. The ensuing, widely publicized court cases in the United States helped the abolitionist movement.

In 1840, a federal trial court found that the initial transport of the Africans across the Atlantic (which did not involve the Amistad) had been illegal, because the international slave trade had been abolished, and the captives were thus not legally slaves but free. Given that they were illegally confined, the Africans were entitled to take whatever legal measures necessary to secure their freedom, including the use of force. After the US Supreme Court affirmed this finding on March 9, 1841, supporters arranged transportation for the Africans back to Africa in 1842. The case influenced numerous succeeding laws in the United States.

Arguments before the Supreme Court

On February 23, 1841, Attorney General Henry D. Gilpin began the oral argument phase before the Supreme Court. Gilpin first entered into evidence the papers of La Amistad which stated that the Africans were Spanish property. The documents being in order, Gilpin argued that the Court had no authority to rule against their validity. Gilpin contended that if the Africans were slaves (as evidenced by the documents), then they must be returned to their rightful owner, in this case, the Spanish government. Gilpin’s argument lasted two hours.

John Quincy Adams, former President of the United States and at that time a U.S. Representative from Massachusetts, had agreed to argue for the Africans, but when it was time for him to argue, felt ill-prepared. Roger Sherman Baldwin, who had already represented the captives in the lower cases, opened in his place.

Baldwin, a prominent attorney (who was no relation to Justice Baldwin, the lone dissenter on the Court) contended that the Spanish government was attempting to manipulate the Court to return “fugitives”. In actuality, Baldwin argued, the Spanish government sought the return of slaves, who had been freed by the District Court, a fact that the Spanish government was not appealing. Covering all the facts of the case, Baldwin spoke for four hours over the course of the 22nd and the 23rd.

John Quincy Adams rose to speak on February 24. First, he reminded the court that it was a part of the judicial branch, and not part of the executive. Adams introduced correspondence between the Spanish government and the Secretary of State, criticizing President Martin van Buren for his assumption of unconstitutional powers in the case.

   This review of all the proceedings of the Executive I have made with utmost pain, because it was necessary to bring it fully before your Honors, to show that the course of that department had been dictated, throughout, not by justice but by sympathy – and a sympathy the most partial and injust. And this sympathy prevailed to such a degree, among all the persons concerned in this business, as to have perverted their minds with regard to all the most sacred principles of law and right, on which the liberties of the United States are founded; and a course was pursued, from the beginning to the end, which was not only an outrage upon the persons whose lives and liberties were at stake, but hostile to the power and independence of the judiciary itself.

Adams argued that neither Pinckney’s Treaty nor the Adams-Onis Treaty were applicable to the case. Article IX of Pinckney’s Treaty referred only to property, and did not apply to people. As to The Antelope decision (10 Wheat. 124), which recognized “that possession on board of a vessel was evidence of property”, Adams said that did not apply either, since the precedent there was established prior to the prohibition of the foreign slave trade in the United States. Adams concluded after eight and one-half hours of speaking on March 1 (the Court had taken a recess following the death of Associate Justice Barbour).

Attorney General Gilpin concluded oral argument with a three-hour rebuttal on March 2. The Court retired to consider the case.

Decision of the Supreme Court

On March 9, Associate Justice Joseph Story delivered the Court’s decision. Article IX of Pinckney’s Treaty was ruled off topic since the Africans in question were never legal property. They were not criminals, as the U.S. Attorney’s Office argued, but rather “unlawfully kidnapped, and forcibly and wrongfully carried on board a certain vessel”. The documents submitted by Attorney General Gilpin were not evidence of property, but rather of fraud on the part of the Spanish government. Lt. Gedney and the USS Washington were to be awarded salvage from the vessel for having performed “a highly meritorious and useful service to the proprietors of the ship and cargo”.

When La Amistad came into Long Island, however, the Court believed it to be in the possession of the Africans on board, who had no intent to become slaves. Therefore, the Adams-Onis Treaty did not apply, and the President was not required to return the slaves to Africa.

Upon the whole, our opinion is, that the decree of the circuit court, affirming that of the district court, ought to be affirmed, except so far as it directs the negroes to be delivered to the president, to be transported to Africa, in pursuance of the act of the 3rd of March 1819; and as to this, it ought to be reversed: and that the said negroes be declared to be free, and be dismissed from the custody of the court, and go without delay.

Mar 09 2011

Under The Radar: WTF

Some of this is just really depressing. Where is this country headed?

  • From Michael Moore: The Forbes 400 vs. Everybody Else

    According to the most recent information, the Forbes 400 now have a greater net worth than the bottom 50% of U.S. households combined.

    In 2009, the total net worth of the Forbes 400 was $1.27 trillion.

    The best information now available shows that in 2009 the bottom 60% (yes, now it’s 60%, not 50%) of U.S. households owned only 2.3% of total U.S. wealth.

    Total U.S. household net worth — rich, middle class and poor combined — at the time the Forbes list came out was $53.15 trillion. So the bottom 60% of households possessed just $1.22 trillion of that $53.15 trillion, less than the Forbes 400.

    Thus the Forbes 400 unquestionably have more wealth than the bottom 50%.

    By contrast, in 2007 the bottom 50% of U.S. households owned slightly more wealth than the Forbes 400; the economic meltdown has hurt the bottom more than the top. (And in fact, in 2010 the net worth of the Forbes 400 jumped to $1.37 trillion.)

  • From TPM: Republicans Move To Strip Detainee Authority From Holder And Future Attorneys General

    Sens. John McCain (R-AZ) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) are teaming up with Republicans on the House Armed Services Committee to write legislation that would take decisions about trying detainees out of the attorney general’s hands and hand that power to the secretary of defense.

    In the wake of the White House’s new executive order allowing Guantanamo detainees to be held indefinitely, House Armed Services Committee Chairman Buck McKeon (R-CA) unveiled legislation that would, among other things, affirm the military’s right to detain, hold and interrogate detainees at its discretion without Department of Justice or Attorney General Eric Holder involvement.

    What digby said about the above:

    Are these guys under the misapprehension that the Secretary of Defense doesn’t serve at the pleasure of the president, exactly as the Attorney General does? What’s the point of this?

  • From the New York Times: AARP Sues U.S. Over Effects of Reverse Mortgages

    Reverse mortgages, which pay older homeowners a regular sum against the equity in their house, are supposed to shield borrowers from economic upheaval. But the popular loans have become tangled up in the real estate collapse.

    AARP, the seniors’ organization, filed suit Tuesday against the Department of Housing and Urban Development, which regulates reverse mortgages. The suit asserts that policy changes by HUD are pushing older homeowners into foreclosure.

    The case was filed in Federal District Court for the District of Columbia by the AARP Foundation, the organization’s charitable arm, and the law firm of Mehri & Skalet on behalf of the surviving spouses of three homeowners who had bought reverse mortgages. All three are facing eviction, the suit says.

    “HUD has illegally and without notice changed the rules in the middle of the game at the expense of vulnerable older people,” said Jean Constantine-Davis, a senior lawyer at the AARP Foundation.

    This is happening with a Democrat in the White House?

Mar 09 2011

DocuDharma Digest

Regular Features-

Featured Essays for March 8, 2011-

DocuDharma

Mar 09 2011

Prime Time

A V premier.  That’s about it.

I’m here on the ground with my nose in it since the whole thing began. I’ve nurtured every sensation man’s been inspired to have. I cared about what he wanted and I never judged him. Why? Because I never rejected him. In spite of all his imperfections, I’m a fan of man! I’m a humanist. Maybe the last humanist.

Don’t get too cocky my boy. No matter how good you are don’t ever let them see you coming. That’s the gaffe my friend. You gotta keep yourself small. Innocuous. Be the little guy. You know, the nerd… the leper… shit-kickin’ surfer. Look at me. Underestimated from day one. You’d never think I was a master of the universe, now would ya?

Later-

Let me give you a little inside information about God. God likes to watch. He’s a prankster. Think about it. He gives man instincts. He gives you this extraordinary gift, and then what does He do, I swear for His own amusement, his own private, cosmic gag reel, He sets the rules in opposition. It’s the goof of all time. Look but don’t touch. Touch, but don’t taste. Taste, don’t swallow. Ahaha. And while you’re jumpin’ from one foot to the next, what is he doing? He’s laughin’ His sick, fuckin’ ass off! He’s a tight-ass! He’s a SADIST! He’s an absentee landlord! Worship that? NEVER!

Dave in repeats from 1/31.  Jon has Brian Christian, Stephen Dan Sinker (get some wiki pages you assholes!).  Conan hosts Nigel Marven and Gary Oldman.

Vanity, definitely my favorite sin.

Zap2it TV Listings, Yahoo TV Listings

Mar 09 2011

from firefly-dreaming 8.3.11

Regular Daily Features:

A Bicycle Race kicks off the day in Late Night Karaoke, mishima DJs

Gha!

Six Brilliant Articles! from Six Different Places!! on Six Different Topics!!!

                Six Days a Week!!!    at Six in the Morning!!!!

Essays Featured Tuesday, March 8th:

The King’s Speech Inspires Dreamer

Tuesday Open Thoughts in which puzzled tells of & challenges us with the Joy of Giving

Today we have two essays to honour International Women’s Day:

ny brit expat graciously cross-posts the well-written essay~ Bread and Roses: In Honour of All Women’s Struggles for Equality, Justice and Freedom

slksfca republishes from his archives the very informative~ The Mother of Civil Rights

Put on your masks, toss some beads & coins, explore Mardi Gras with TheMomCat