Daily Archive: 07/31/2011

Jul 31 2011

Evening Edition

Evening Edition is an Open Thread

From Yahoo News Top Stories

1 Burglars hunt down rhinos in museums

By Laurent Thomet, AFP

14 hrs ago

The natural science museum in Brussels has become the latest victim in a series of burglaries carried out by a gang police belief is profiting from a small, but lucrative, niche market for rhino horns.

The two thieves snuck into the rhino gallery and ripped a stuffed head off the wall. They carried it to a restroom, opened a window, and dropped the 30-kilo (66-pound) trophy two stories down to an accomplice waiting in a van.

“For 80 years we took care of it and from one day to the next it’s no longer there,” said Georges Lenglet, vertebrate exhibit curator at the Brussels museum, who has little hope of seeing the head again.

Jul 31 2011

Rant of the Week: Stephen Colbert

America’s Bucket List

Jul 31 2011

Congressional Game of Chicken: Countdown to Default Part 2 (Up Date)

There is no deal. The Reid bill failed to get the 60 votes needed for cloture. As expected it was blocked by Republicans and four Democrats. From CNN:

Senate Republicans on Sunday blocked a Democratic effort to end debate and move to a vote on Majority Leader Harry Reid”s debt ceiling proposal, extending consideration of the measure as negotiations continue on a deal to raise the federal debt ceiling and cut spending.

Reid had postponed the vote for 12 hours, until 1 p.m. Sunday, saying at the time there were “many elements to be finalized.” He plans to insert a negotiated final agreement into the proposal once a deal has been reached.

The Republican-controlled House rejected Reid’s plan on Saturday — partisan payback for the Democratic-controlled Senate’s rejection of GOP House Speaker John Boehner’s plan Friday night.

The Senate has been advised not to got to a ball game as there could be another vote later this afternoon with more sell outs to the hostage takers.

Paul Krugman on “This Week with Christiane Amanpour” said that this deal will cost jobs and decrease revenue worsening the crisis to even greater proportions:

    “From the perspective of a rational person, we shouldn’t even be talking about spending cuts at all now,” Krugman told ABC’s Christiane Amanpour. “We have nine percent unemployment. These spending cuts are going to worsen unemployment… If you have a situation in which you are permanently going to raise the unemployment rate – which is what this is going to do – that’s actually going to reduce future revenues.”

    “These spending cuts are even going to hurt the long-run fiscal position, let alone cause lots of misery. Then on top of that, we’ve got these budget cuts, which are entirely – basically the Republicans {saying}, ‘We’ll blow up the world economy unless you give us exactly what you want’ and the president said, ‘Okay.’ That’s what happened.”

    “We used to talk about the Japanese and their lost decade. We’re going to look to them as a role model. They did better than we’re doing,” he added. “There is no light at the end of this tunnel. We’re having a debate in Washington which is all about, ‘Gee, we’re going to make this economy worse, but are we going to make it worse on 90 percent the Republicans’ terms or 100 percent the Republicans’ terms?’ The answer is 100 percent.”

    H/t Raw Story for the transcript

    Up Date: 20:00 EDT There is a tentative deal that could be voted on tonight in the Senate but I wouldn’t count on that considering that back stabbing duplicity of the GOP leadership. Brian Buetler at TPM has the ugly details of the agreement. If this is accurate it will probably throw this country into a second recession with the jobless U-3 heading back into double digits.

    Keep in mind that no matter what the Senate may pass there is the renegade House and this time it isn’t just the tea party faction but the Progressive Caucus that is balking. This is not over yet.

Jul 31 2011

On This Day In History July 31

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

July 31 is the 212th day of the year (213th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 153 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1948, the Broadway musical “Brigadoon” closed after 581 performances. It originally opened on March 13, 1947 at the Ziegfeld Theater. It was directed by Robert Lewis and choreographed by Agnes de Mille. Ms. De Mille won the Tony Award for Best Choreography. The show was had several revival and the movie starring Gene Kelly and Cyd Charisse premiered in 1954.

Brigadoon is a musical with a book and lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner and music by Frederick Loewe. Songs from the musical, such as “Almost Like Being in Love” have become standards.

It tells the story of a mysterious Scottish village that appears for only one day every hundred years, though to the villagers, the passing of each century seems no longer than one night. The enchantment is viewed by them as a blessing rather than a curse, for it saved the village from destruction. According to their covenant with God, no one from Brigadoon may ever leave, or the enchantment will be broken and the site and all its inhabitants will disappear into the mist forever. Two American tourists, lost in the Scottish Highlands, stumble upon the village just as a wedding is about to be celebrated, and their arrival has serious implications for the village’s inhabitants.

Jul 31 2011

Punting the Pundits: Sunday Preview Edition

Punting the Punditsis 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”.

The Sunday Talking Heads:

I strongly suspect that there will be only one topic discussed on any of these programs. Go to the park or the beach. It may be your last chance as most public facilities will be closed due to the coming austerity

This Week with Christiane Amanpour: This week’s guests are White House Senior Advisor David Plouffe and ABC News Chief Political Correspondent George Stephanopoulos. Then, if you can stomach watching, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) in an exclusive interview.

The guests on the roundtable are ABC News Chief Political Correspondent George Stephanopoulos, ABC’s George Will, Nobel Prize-winning economist and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman, and Grover “Lord Voldemort” Norquist, President of Americans for Tax Reform.

New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly discusses security and ABC News’ David Muir in the Horn of Africa on the devastating famine.

Face the Nation with Bob Schieffer: Guests are Senate Minority Leader Sen. Mitch “Human-Hybrid Turtle” McConnell (R-KY), and Democratic Policy Committee Chairman Sen. Chuck “Wall St.’s Puppet, Schumer (D-NY).

The Chris Matthews Show: This week’s guests Andrea Mitchell, NBC News Chief Foreign Affairs Correspondent, Howard Fineman, The Huffington Post Senior Political Editor, Michael Duffy, TIME Magazine Assistant Managing Editor and Nia-Malika Henderson, The Washington Post National Political Reporter who will discuss:

Why the GOP thinks this debt chaos helps them beat Barack Obama in 2012 and will Rick Perry be the GOP Nominee?

Meet the Press with David Gregory: Guests are White House Senior Advisor David Plouffe, Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) and Sen. John Thune (R-SD). Joining the roundtable are Former Governor of Michigan, Jennifer Granholm (D), Rep. Raul Labrador (R-ID), the host of CNBC’s “Mad Money” Jim Cramer, and NBC’s Tom Brokaw.

State of the Union with Candy Crowley: Guest host Gloria Borger will talk to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Director of the National Economic Council and Assistant to the President for Economic Policy Gene Sperling and Mark Zandi, chief economist for Moody’s Analytics.

Fareed Zakaris: GPS:Fareeh is pissed at the tea party so watching this might be fun just to hear him vent

His primary interview will be with International Monetary Fund, Christine Lagarde on the US debt crisis.

Jeff Cohen: Mainstream Reporters: Too Close to the Field and Teams to Get the Debt Story

If you were a spectator in a sky box seat looking directly down on the Washington debt debate, you’d be seeing a contest both narrow and off to one edge of the field — like watching a football game being played entirely between the 10-yard line and the goal line.

The big items that added trillions to the debt are not even on the field of debate. Because the two teams are not contesting them.

   

  • Wars: When Obama expanded the Afghan war and asked for the largest military budget in world history, the GOP largely applauded. It was bipartisan.
  • Bush Tax Cuts for the Wealthy: Obama extended them in December.
  • Bank Bailouts: Bipartisan.
  • Declining Tax Revenue: Resulted from recession and financial meltdown caused by years of bipartisan (Reagan/Clinton) deregulation of Wall Street. And by big companies like General Electric (whose CEO is Obama’s jobs chairman) dodging their taxes.

That’s the broad view — a perspective that sees our country in extreme debt and extremist “debate” because the leaders of the two teams collaborated in putting it there.

But this would not be your view if you were a mainstream reporter. Because reporting in elite U.S. media is not so much about relaying obvious and important facts as it is about positioning.

Ken Sofer: World Reacts to Debt Ceiling Debacle: “Irresponsible,” “Worst Kind of Absurd Theatrics”

The rhetoric over raising the debt ceiling has become increasingly harsh as Democratic and Republican congressional leaders trade barbs back and forth. But as the U.S. inches closer to defaulting on its debts for the first time in history, criticism of Congress is starting to come from beyond our own borders. From France and Germany to China and India, countries around the world are angry that American politicians play with the possibility of a U.S. default like a yo-yo with little regard for the international economic system that depends on American solvency.

Despite China’s traditional preference of staying out of the domestic affairs of other nations, senior Chinese officials’ frustrations are growing louder and louder. Stephen Roach, the non-executive chairman of Morgan Staley Asia, said senior Chinese officials told him the debt ceiling debte in the U.S. is “truly shocking.” “We understand the politics,” a Chinise official said, “but your government’s continued recklessness is astonishing.” And newspapers around the world are voicing discontent with Congress’s handling of the debt ceiling . . .

Frank Bruni: Taxes, and a Dangerous Purity

WHAT does the face of antitax absolutism look like?

It has a tentative beard, more shadow than shag, like an awkward weigh station on the road from callow to professorial. It wears blunt glasses over narrowed eyes that glint mischievously, and its mouth is rarely still, because there’s no end to the jeremiads pouring forth: about the peril of Obama, the profligacy of Democrats and the paramount importance of opposing all tax increases, even ones that close the loopiest of loopholes.

It belongs to Grover Norquist, and if you hadn’t seen it before, you probably spotted it last week, as he pinged from CNN to MSNBC to Fox, reveling in the solidarity Republicans had shown against any new revenue. The country was lurching toward a possible default, but Norquist was riding high. In between television appointments on Thursday, he met me for breakfast near Times Square.

New York Times Editorial: Meanwhile, Back in the Economy

The economy is in trouble, and Washington – fixated on budget slashing at a time when the economy needs more spending – seems determined to make matters worse.

On Friday, in the midst of the debt limit battle, the government reported that economic growth nearly ground to a halt in the first quarter of 2011, a far worse performance than previously estimated. The second-quarter growth number, a feeble 1.3 percent annual rate, is not nearly enough to stop unemployment from rising even higher.

Nor are there persuasive signs that absent more government support, conditions will turn around anytime soon. Indeed, they are bound to worsen if Congress approves deep near-term spending cuts as part of a debt-limit deal while letting relief and recovery measures

Jul 31 2011

F1: Hungaroring

I told you most of what’s worth knowing yesterday.  Since then there’s been a lot of pushback from British Formula One fans on the BSkyB deal but Bernie seems to be exploiting a loophole in the Team agreement that says that as long as some of the the races available on free TV the teams can’t block it.  On the other hand there is no real team agreement, just a temporary letter of extension that expires at the end of the season and the sponsors, who are in this for the advertising are pissed, and they have deep pockets.  Bernie is tring to buy them off with a $1.7 million cut each from the $680 million deal.  Like the New York Times paywall, Bernie’s last experiment in Pay TV in the 90s had to be dropped because it was just flat out unprofitable.  He couldn’t deliver the audience.

Teams are also asking for a rethink of the 2012 Schedule because it has 7 races in 10 weeks.

You’re going to get sick of the phrase “Monaco without the houses“, but there’s no denying the 2.73 mile track is twisty with lots of elevation change and no long straights.  This is thought to disfavor the Red Bulls which won’t be able to show their speed.  Teams will be running their big high down force wings that we haven’t seen since the Principality (though they’ve been re-engineered) and McLaren is thought not to have as effective a Drag Reduction System as some.  Red Bull is having difficulties of their own charging their KERS electric boost system which sucks so much energy out of the cars that it’s effecting brake balance and causing slips and spins.

It’s also usually very hot which will stress engines, brakes, and tires, tires, tires.  You’ll hear a lot about tires since they were decisive at Nurburgring with McLaren doing exceptionally well on stop times and Hamilton extracting unexpected performance out of the harder compound to thwart 2 passing attempts by Red Bull and Ferrari.  Given the speeds (actually slower than Monaco) there is a one pit strategy possible despite the Super Soft compound.  Still, the alternate Softs are not much different in performance and while Buemi and STR may fancy themselves clever by saving all 3 sets of the Supers in Qualifying given their 5 position penalty (for which they got a bad rap in my opinion, I think the replays show Heidfeld is just as responsible) there might not be enough race to use them all up before they are forced to switch to the just plain Softs.

The Silverstone and Nurburgring results didn’t change the standings as much as the announcers would have you believe.  The Driver’s Championship is a 3 way tie for second between Hamilton, Webber, and Alonso.  In the Team competition once again McLaren failed to finish both of its cars.

Your half hour of hype starts at 7:30 am on Speed.  Rebroadcast 4:30 this afternoon.  I want to once again encourage you to read this great piece on the 1936 race.  My last year’s coverage is here and here.

This is the 11th race of 19 and the last before the summer break.  We will resume August 27th in Spa.

Pretty tables below.

Jul 31 2011

Six In The Morning

On Sunday

Syrian unrest: ‘Many deaths’ as army attacks Hama

The Syrian army has begun an assault on the city of Hama in northern Syria, with residents saying that dozens of people have been killed.

The BBC  31 July 2011

Hama has been in a state of revolt and virtually besieged for the past month.

Locals said more than 20 people were killed in “intense gunfire” after forces moved in from several sides.

The army is signalling that it will not tolerate large-scale unrest ahead of the month of Ramadan, when protests are expected to grow, correspondents say.

Syria has seen more than four months of protests against the authoritarian four-decade rule of President Bashar al-Assad’s Baath party.




Sunday’s Headlines:

China rail crash families accept compensation as Beijing moves to silence furore

Kenya is on the brink of its own disaster

Europe’s Right-Wing Populists Find Allies in Israel

Nuclear regulator asked utility to push nuclear power in public forum

Campaign puts Mexico teachers union leader back in spotlight

Jul 31 2011

DocuDharma Digest

Regular Features-

Featured Essays for July 30, 2011-

DocuDharma

Jul 31 2011

Cutting Deficits Kills Jobs

According to a PEW Poll I saw, a majority of Americans think cutting the deficit will save jobs. But cutting the deficit will:

  • Stop spending on goods and services; and/or
  • Destroy purchasing power with taxes

So clearly, cutting the deficit kills jobs compared to the exact same policies with a larger deficit.

Pollies are pandering to people who have been told (by whom, they mostly don’t know) that cutting deficits save jobs. But in reality, cutting deficits kill jobs. Oops.

With the economy now set to slide into a double dip recession, with both parties dedicated to policies that will bring about recession, what is there to do?

Jul 31 2011

Evening Edition

Evening Edition is an Open Thread

From Yahoo News Top Stories

1 Turkey seeks solution to army resignation crisis

AFP

4 hrs ago

Turkey sought Saturday to downplay the crisis caused by the resignations of its top military brass in the latest episode in a fight between the Islamist-rooted government and the staunchly secularist Turkish army.

The military police chief of the country was named acting chief-of-staff and the commander of land forces late Friday, in a quick move to contain the crisis.

“The president has approved the assignment of military police chief General Necdet Ozel as the land forces commander. General Ozel is deployed as acting chief-of-staff,” the president and prime minister’s offices said in a joint statement.