Monthly Archive: June 2011

Jun 30 2011

Evening Edition

Evening Edition is an Open Thread

From Yahoo News Top Stories

1 Police battle rioters as Greece adopts austerity

By Roddy Thomson, AFP

18 hrs ago

Greek lawmakers backed a stinging new austerity plan demanded by international creditors, sparking frenzied battles between masked rioters and police firing tear gas late into the night.

Lawmakers voted 155 to 138 for the hotly-disputed package on Wednesday to slash 28.4 billion euros ($40 billion) from the balance of government spending by 2015, a plan aimed at unlocking emergency finance from the EU and the IMF.

An estimated 500 to 600 hardcore youths hurled missiles, according to police, who responded with volleys of tear gas that blanketed Syntagma Square in front of the parliament and reached high floors in surrounding buildings.

Jun 30 2011

Barack Obama is a Dick!

HarlequinNarrowYou know I’m kind of ashamed at myself for even addressing a topic so jejune and banal.  There was a time when I was an avid consumer of traditional media lies and hypocrisy and let them make me feel angry and betrayed as when Chris Matthews (and I watched every night, often 2 or 3 times) passed off the now notorious Republican shill master Frank Luntz as a neutral pollster for years and years.

I’d direct those interested in charting the decline at least as far back as Murphy Brown which thoroughly documented that the only thing of importance is the names in your Rolodex and truth an inconvenient virtue rarely found.

My family is now divided about the value of viewing.  I contend that watching at all makes you measureably stupider and they insisting that it’s at least an indicator of conventional wisdom.

What wisdom is that?  These people are constantly, consistently wrong.  They’re wrong about science and economics and politics and political science and history.  They are beyond stopped clock wrong and can’t be relied on to tell the truth even twice a day.  They have proven themselves as incapable as drowning turkeys in a thunderstorm of discerning whether someone’s pissing on their leg or if it’s really raining even with the aid of a window and a Maine Weather Stick (you put the stick outside your window, if it’s wet, it’s raining).

I wish I could work up a sense of righteous outrage at Mark Halperin but he is part and parcel of the Versailles Village system that through the sheer weight of it’s own ignorance and arrogance is moving us closer to July 14th every day.

“I like irony except I find that if you just toss your clothes in the dryer for a few minutes you hardly ever have to use it.”- ek hornbeck

“Barack Obama is a Dick!”, is the truest thing Halperin has said in years.

Jun 30 2011

Send In More Clowns

According to a CBS/NYT poll 71% of Republican voters want more choices. That doesn’t say much about the current field of candidates.

Overwhelming dissatisfaction with the direction in which our country seems to be heading, and mediocre approval ratings for President Obama, should provide plenty of opportunity for Republican presidential candidates to find traction.

But a new CBS News/New York Times poll suggests the current field have a long way to go to impress the nation’s conservative-minded voters.

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Apparently the Democrats aren’t that enthralled about their current only choice:

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And by the way, there were 428,000 new jobless claims filed. Where are the jobs?

Jun 30 2011

Colbert Gets his Super-PAC

People camped out last night outside the FEC headquarters in Washington,DC to get a seat in the hearing room this  morning. Why? Because Stephen Colbert would be testifying about his request to form a super PAC to raise campaign money. This morning the FEC approved his request:

Stephen Colbert learned an important lesson Thursday at the Federal Election Commission: Even a gifted comedian can’t make campaign-finance law funny.

In a meeting devoid of anything beyond a gentle chuckle, the FEC decided that Colbert could go ahead with his plans to form a self-titled “super PAC” that could raise and spend unlimited money on the 2012 elections.

snip

The real parody came outside the FEC building, where Colbert began accepting donations from fans for the newly registered “Colbert Super PAC.”

“Some people have said, ‘Is this some kind of joke?’ ” Colbert told the crowd. “I for one don’t think participating in democracy is a joke.”

Colbert continued being coy about the ultimate goal of his new PAC, and whether he would take advantage of a loosened campaign-finance environment to solicit big money from corporations and others. When asked by a reporter when the first ad might run, Colbert said: “I’ve got to get some money first.”

Jun 30 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”.

Katrina vanden Heuvel: Those Reckless Republicans

When House Majority Leader Eric Cantor walked out of the debt-ceiling negotiations last week in a hissy fit, he once more dramatized the simple truth that cannot speak its name. This Republican Party is addled by an extremist ideology and cankered by a vengeful partisanship. In a time of national crisis, it is locked into ideological litmus tests – no new taxes – and opposed to anything the “Kenyan, socialist” president might propose.

This makes the routine difficult and the necessary impossible. Republicans threaten to blow up the world economy by refusing to lift the debt limit without getting drastic cuts in the deficit. Puffed up with locker-room bravado, they set a high bar – more than $2 trillion in deficit reduction over 10 years, a dollar or more for every dollar hike of the debt limit.

John Nichols: Obama: ‘It’s Only Fair’ to Ask Rich to Give Up Tax Breaks

Rejecting Republican demands for massive cuts in federal programs while maintaining tax breaks for the wealthy as not “sustainable,” President Obama used a press conference Wednesday to argue that serious negotiations about balancing the budget and addressing deficits and debt must include plans to end tax breaks for “millionaires and billionaires, oil companies and corporate jet owners.”

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So Obama’s strong stance on tax breaks is to be celebrated. It is the right one. But his talk of compromise and negotiation ought to be viewed cautiously. Some compromises will be necessary, But any compromises on Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security will hand the Republicans, the insurance industry and Wall Street the keys to the US Treasury that they have for so long coveted.

Robert Sheer: Yes to Violence, No to Sex

This American life of ours has long been pro-violence and anti-sex, unless the two can be merged so that violence is the dominant theme. The U.S. Supreme Court reaffirmed that historical record on Monday in declaring California’s ban on the sale of violent video games to minors unconstitutional while continuing to deny constitutional protection to purely prurient sexual material for either minors or adults.

The California law that the court struck down prohibited the sale or rental of violent games to minors “in which the range of options available to a player includes killing, maiming, dismembering, or sexually assaulting an image of a human being,” unless the work, taken as a whole, possessed redeeming literary, artistic or social value-qualities that limit censorship of sexually “obscene” material.

Maria Margaronis: Greece in Crisis: Protest, Violence and Necessity

The Greek parliament has just passed the package of savage austerity measures and privatizations required to get the last tranche of a 110 billion euro loan from the EU and IMF; without it, the country would have been broke by mid-July. Outside in Syntagma Square, protesters in cycling masks are running from clouds of teargas. Since yesterday, the square has been filled with surging crowds pushed back by riot police; Greek TV reports that 500 people aged between 15 and 65 have been treated in the metro station for respiratory problems and injuries.

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The tragic flaw is in Greece’s own responsibility for its problems, which has allowed Northern European pundits and politicians to demonize its people as incorrigibly lazy, feckless, criminal and corrupt: There simply wasn’t enough solidarity from outside the country to support a heroic last stand against austerity, the banks and the IMF. Perhaps political and economic pressure will soften the measures and ease the terms of Greece’s loans; perhaps, when default eventually comes, Greece will be better prepared to weather it. Perhaps the sight of a European country being forced to its knees might prompt a belated rethinking of the European project and the relationship between democracy and the markets. Perhaps. Otherwise, as one tweet coming out of Athens put it, “You are all in Syntagma Square. You just don’t know it yet.”

Amy Goodman: ‘Food Terrorism’ Next Door to the Magic Kingdom

Think of “food terrorism” and what do you see? Diabolical plots to taint items on grocery-store shelves? If you are Buddy Dyer, the mayor of Orlando, Fla., you might be thinking of a group feeding the homeless and hungry in one of your city parks. That is what Dyer is widely quoted as calling the activists with the Orlando chapter of Food Not Bombs-“food terrorists.” In the past few weeks, no less than 21 people have been arrested in Orlando, the home of Disney World, for handing out free food in a park.

Food Not Bombs is an international, grass-roots organization that fights hunger. As the name implies, it is against war. Its website home page reads: “Food Not Bombs shares free vegan and vegetarian meals with the hungry in over 1,000 cities around the world to protest war, poverty and the destruction of the environment. With over a billion people going hungry each day how can we spend another dollar on war?” The Orlando chapter sets up a meal distribution table every Monday morning and Wednesday evening in the city’s Lake Eola Park.

Adam Sanchez: Taking on Big Coal’s Curriculum

For years dirty energy corporations have created education materials marketed to young children in an attempt to shape the discussion around environmental issues. After the Exxon Valdez oil spill, Exxon created a lesson plan “about the healthy, flourishing wildlife in Prince William Sound, Alaska, which showed beautiful eagles, frolicking sea otters, and sea birds in their habitat.” Last year, oil giant BP was exposed for helping to write California state’s environmental curriculum for over six million children. So it should come as no surprise that Scholastic recently partnered with the American Coal Foundation to produce “The United States of Energy,” a 4th grade curriculum designed to boost the “clean” image of dirty coal.

Scholastic, a $2 billion corporation whose educational materials are in 9 out of 10 classrooms in the United States, is no stranger to partnering with the corporate world to market products and brands to children. Last year Scholastic teamed up with SunnyD, the juice company whose product has been labeled by consumer groups as “junk juice” because of its high sugar and very low fruit juice content despite being marketed as a “real fruit beverage.” Marketing the campaign through their Parent & Child magazine, Scholastic agreed to donate 20 books to any class that sent in 20 UPC labels of SunnyD drinks. The ten schools that collected the most labels (ranging from 13,000 to 30,000 SunnyD labels per school!) were awarded hundreds of books.

Jun 30 2011

On This Day In History June 30

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.

Click on images to enlarge.

June 30 is the 181st day of the year(182nd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 184 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1986, the U.S. Supreme Court rules in Bowers v. Hardwick that states can outlaw homosexual acts between consenting adults.

Bowers v. Hardwick, upheld the constitutionality of a Georgia sodomy law criminalizing oral and anal sex in private between consenting adults when applied to homosexuals. Seventeen years after Bowers v. Hardwick, the Supreme Court directly overruled the decision in Lawrence v. Texas (2003), and held that such laws are unconstitutional. In overruling Bowers v. Hardwick, the 2003 Court stated that “Bowers was not correct when it was decided, and it is not correct today.”

Concurrences and dissents

The short concurring opinion by Chief Justice Warren E. Burger emphasized historical negative attitudes toward homosexual sex, quoting Sir William Blackstone‘s characterization of sodomy as “a crime not fit to be named.” Burger concluded, “To hold that the act of homosexual sodomy is somehow protected as a fundamental right would be to cast aside millennia of moral teaching.”

Opponents of sodomy laws criticized Bowers not only for its result but also because of the Court’s dismissive treatment of the liberty and privacy interests of gay men and lesbians. A sharply worded dissenting opinion by Justice Harry Blackmun attacked the majority opinion as having an “almost obsessive focus on homosexual activity.” Justice Blackmun suggested that “(o)nly the most willful blindness could obscure the fact that sexual intimacy is ‘a sensitive, key relationship of human existence, central to family life, community welfare, and the development of human personality.'” (Ironically quoting from the opinion by Chief Justice Burger in Paris Adult Theatre I v. Slaton which held that obscene films are not constitutionally protected)

Blackmun revealed in a 1995 oral history with Harold Koh that his dissent in Bowers v. Hardwick was written primarily by openly gay Pam Karlan (then a law clerk for Blackmun, and now professor of law at Stanford Law School). Blackmun said of the dissent; “[K]arlan did a lot of very effective writing, and I owe a lot to her and her ability in getting that dissent out. She felt very strongly about it, and I think is correct in her approach to it. I think the dissent is correct.”

Lewis Powell was considered the deciding vote during the case. He had initially voted to strike down the law but changed his mind after a few days. In a concurring opinion, Powell voiced doubts about the compatibility of Georgia’s law with the Eighth Amendment as it related to the prison sentence for conviction, but joined the majority opinion upholding the law against a substantive due process attack. It has been argued that Powell’s decision to uphold the law was influenced by the fact that he believed he had never known any homosexuals, unaware that one of his own law clerks was gay. In 1990, three years after retiring from the Court, Powell told a group of New York University law students that he considered his opinion in Bowers was an error. “I do think it was inconsistent in a general way with Roe. When I had the opportunity to reread the opinions a few months later I thought the dissent had the better of the arguments.” However, Powell believed that the case was one of little importance and spent only thirty minutes thinking about it.

Aftermath

Bowers was decided at a time when the court’s privacy jurisprudence, and in particular the right to abortion recognized in Roe v. Wade, 410 U.S. 113 (1973), had come under heavy criticism and was in doubt. In this historical context, Bowers signaled a reluctance by the then-members of the Court to recognize a general constitutional right to privacy or to extend such a right further than they already had.

State sodomy laws were seldom enforced against private consensual conduct in the decades following the decision, but the Bowers decision was frequently cited in opposition to gay rights programs. The Georgia law upheld in Bowers forbade oral sex and anal sex whether engaged in by people of the same sex or different sexes, but Justice White’s decision was restricted to homosexual sex. “The only claim properly before the Court, therefore, is Hardwick’s challenge to the Georgia statute as applied to consensual homosexual sodomy. We express no opinion on the constitutionality of the Georgia statute as applied to other acts of sodomy.”

In the years after Bowers was decided, several state legislatures repealed their sodomy laws. In addition, a number of state courts invalidated sodomy laws under privacy or other provisions of their state constitutions. The same sodomy law that was upheld in Bowers was struck down by the Georgia Supreme Court under the Georgia state constitution in the case of Powell v. State, 270 Ga. 327 (1998).

The remaining state sodomy laws in the U.S. were invalidated, insofar as they applied to private consensual conduct among adults, in the Supreme Court case of Lawrence v. Texas 539 U.S. 558 (2003). Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote the majority opinion in Lawrence, ruling that Texas’ state sodomy law was unconstitutional under the Fourteenth Amendment’s due process clause (adult consensual sexual intimacy in ones’ home is a vital interest in liberty and privacy protected by the Due Process Clause). Lawrence explicitly overturned Bowers, with Kennedy writing “Bowers was not correct when it was decided, and it is not correct today. It ought not to remain binding precedent. Bowers v. Hardwick should be and now is overruled.”

Jun 30 2011

Six In The Morning

Report: Pakistan ends US use of base for drone attacks

Ties between the two countries remain strained since the bin Laden raid

REUTERS  

Pakistan has stopped the United States from using an air base in the southwest of the country to launch drone strikes against militant groups, the defense minister was quoted as saying, as ties remain strained between the two countries.

Pakistan has long publicly opposed the missile attacks as a violation of its sovereignty, but has in private given support including intelligence to help target members of al-Qaida and the Taliban in the northwest region along the Afghan border.




Thursday’s Headlines:

‘War on terror’ set to surpass cost of Second World War

Greece crisis: Greek MPs face second austerity vote

France confirms Libya arms drops

The deal behind Thailand’s polls

Equatorial Guinea steadies itself for Africa’s big stage

Jun 30 2011

DocuDharma Digest

Regular Features-

Featured Essays for June 29, 2011-

DocuDharma

Jun 30 2011

“Turtles Hit The Tarmac at JFK”

Sometimes I love New York

Mama Turtles Put JFK Runway On Hold

Jun 30 2011

My Little Town 20110629: Ma’s Philosophy

Those of you who read this regular series know that I am from Hackett, Arkansas, just a mile or so from the Oklahoma border, and just about 10 miles south of the Arkansas River.  It was a redneck sort of place, and just zoom onto my previous posts to understand a bit about it.

I rarely write about living people except with their express permission, but may make an exception or two here because it might be important to talk about some of her decedents who still breathe.  None of those references will be derogatory.

I introduced you to Ma a few weeks ago here.  Now comes more about her.

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