Monthly Archive: August 2012

Aug 31 2012

Ayn Rand

In 10 pretty painless minutes.

Aug 31 2012

Blue Moon Lights Tonight’s Sky

Tonight’s Blue Moon is special since there will not be another until 2015.

Blue MoonThe moon will wax to its full phase at 9:58 a.m. EDT (1358 GMT) today, bringing August’s full moon count to two (the first one occurred Aug. 1). Two full moons won’t rise in a single month again until July 2015. [..]

Tonight’s blue moon also happens to fall on the day of late astronaut Neil Armstrong’s memorial service. Armstrong, who on July 20, 1969 became the first person to set foot on the moon, died Aug. 25 following complications from heart surgery.

So stargazers may want to keep Armstrong’s “one small step” in mind as they gaze up tonight.

“For those who may ask what they can do to honor Neil, we have a simple request,” Armstrong’s family wrote in a statement shortly after his death. “Honor his example of service, accomplishment and modesty, and the next time you walk outside on a clear night and see the moon smiling down at you, think of Neil Armstrong and give him a wink.”

So if your sky’s are clear tonight, even if they’re not, go outside, reach up with your arms towards the moon and breath.

Aug 31 2012

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”.

Follow us on Twitter @StarsHollowGzt

The New York Times Editorial: Mr. Romney Reinvents History

Mitt Romney wrapped the most important speech of his life, for Thursday night’s session of his convention, around an extraordinary reinvention of history – that his party rallied behind President Obama when he won in 2008, hoping that he would succeed. “That president was not the choice of our party,” he said. “We are a good and generous people who are united by so much more than divides us.”

The truth, rarely heard this week in Tampa, Fla., is that the Republicans charted a course of denial and obstruction from the day Mr. Obama was inaugurated, determined to deny him a second term by denying him any achievement, no matter the cost to the economy or American security – even if it meant holding the nation’s credit rating hostage to a narrow partisan agenda.

Cenk Uygur: The Real Convention Is at Cracker Bay

One of the reasons this Republican convention has been so deathly dull is that the real action isn’t at the convention. It’s at Cracker Bay. That’s the name of the yacht where the Romney team just hosted 50 partiers, including some of his top donors. This was one of about a dozen events outside of the convention where they had private meetings with donors giving more than $1 million dollars to his campaign. Over $1 million a piece. Now, where do you think the real policy gets made?

You think Mitt Romney gives a damn what a delegate thinks? The only delegates that matter were on that yacht. They call this group the “Victory Council.” This is made of people who are literally millionaires and billionaires and who dictate what Mitt Romney’s positions will be. He’s a legendary flip-flopper, but if you want to know what he really thinks you had to be on that boat.

Roger Cohen: Made in the U.S.A.

I built this column.

I built it all by myself in this second American century.

I built it after seeing banners at the Republican National Convention saying, “Build, Baby, Build!” So I decided to drill down and see what I could find.

I found I needed a laptop that somebody else had built, somewhere outside the United States, somewhere like China, where there’s a lot of building going on. Naturally enough I discarded the computer in horror because I believe in building things myself from the ground up, just like my role-model Mom told me. She, by the way, was from Sicily and came via Wales to the United States, where she built a small business.

Now, that’s the last time I’m going to mention foreign countries in this self-built column. Real Americans know the rest of the world does not exist. The rest of the world is just a bad fantasy the other party has.

John Nichols: Mitt Romney: His Party Is the Problem

Who knew that Mitt Romney was such a fan of Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign?

“How many days have you woken up feeling that something really special was happening in America?” Romney told thousands of Republican delegates, alternates and hangers-on Thursday night. “Many of you felt that way on Election Day four years ago. Hope and Change had a powerful appeal.”

Speaking of the “fresh excitement about the possibilities of a new president” Americans felt upon Obama’s election, the man who will now seek to prevent the Democratic president’s reelection told the 40th Republican National Convention about how much he had hoped Obama would succeed “because I wanted America to succeed.”

But it wasn’t just that citizens wanted America to succeed. As Romney noted: “Every family in America wanted this to be a time when they could get ahead a little more, put aside a little more for college, do more for their elderly mom who’s living alone now or give a little more to their church or charity… This was the hope and change America voted for.”

In this, Romney was right.

Laura Flanders; The Bushwomen. They’re Back.

There she is, just the woman I was thinking of, on the op-ed page of the New York Times. Except she isn’t apologizing for her role unleashing the GOP’s “war on women.” She is writing about terrorism and the Clean Air Act. What I’d wanted someone to ask Christine Todd Whitman about was the day at the 1996 RNC, when she helped coronate today’s extremist GOP.

Former New Jersey Governor Christine Todd Whitman is usually described in the money media with the words “moderate” and “pro-choice” glued firmly to her name. Republican in a pro-choice state, she’s on the record saying that abortion is “a personal decision between a woman and her doctor,” and the government has no business telling a woman what to do. (That used to be the conservative position.) She’s held up by pro-choicers as a tragicomic victim,  abandoned by her party, but the fact is, Whitman’s done more to help the vicious wing of the GOP than she ever did to stop the backlash.

Richard Dreyfuss: US Sells Three-Fourths of Worldwide Arms

Here’s the opening phrase of a scare story in the Washington Post from this weekend:

   China’s arms exports have surged over the past decade… [..]

China doesn’t even show up as a blip on the screen. The Post buries in the piece that China is “the sixth-largest arms exporter in the world.”

So dominant is the United States in worldwide arms trafficking that-get this!-US arms sales to a single country, Saudi Arabia, totaled $33.4 billion last year. That amount surpassed the entire total of US arms sales to all countries in the world in 2009, $31 billion. A commentary by a Wall Street analysis site notes happily: “The news confirms how critical defense, airplane, and agricultural exports are to the overall American trade balance.”

Aug 31 2012

On This Day In History August 31

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

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

August 31 is the 243rd day of the year (244th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 122 days remaining until the end of the year.

I am very hesitant to make the death of Princess Diana the prominent story of the day but her death was a tragedy on so many levels that it is not surprising that the world nearly stood still for 6 days until her funeral. There are many things that we remember exactly where we were and what we were doing when they happened, like 9/11 and, for those of us old enough, JFK’s assassination.

I was living in Paris then not far from the site of the accident. I had been out to dinner that evening with my then ex-husband, Dr. TMC, when we heard the crash, it was that loud, and shortly after the sirens of emergency vehicles. Not unusual in Paris, so, we continued on to our destinations. It wasn’t until very early that I heard that the Princess had died and where. Paris was stunned. The site became a instant memorial.

We all sat glued to the TV for days waiting for the Queen to say something. The Queen badly underestimated the admiration that was held her former daughter-in-law.  The day of her funeral Paris froze, the only time I have ever seen the city this quiet was on 9/11.

After being criticized for failing to satisfactorily match the grief of the British people, the royal family arranged for a state funeral to be held for Diana at Westminster Abbey on September 6. Diana’s coffin was taken from Kensington Palace to the Abbey on a horse-drawn gun carriage, and an estimated one million mourners lined the route. Diana’s sons, William, 15, and Harry, 12, joined their father, Prince Charles; grandfather Prince Philip; and uncle Charles, the Earl of Spencer, to walk the final stretch of the procession with the casket. The only sound was the clatter of the horses’ hooves and the peal of a church bell.

The service, watched by an estimated two billion people worldwide, sacrificed royal pomp for a more human touch. Workers associated with Diana’s various charities represented 500 of the 2,000 people invited to attend the funeral. Elton John, a friend of Diana, lent a popular touch to the ceremony when he sang “Candle in the Wind,” accompanying himself on piano. After the service, Diana’s body was taken by hearse to her family’s ancestral estate near Althorp, north of London. In a private ceremony, she was laid to rest on a tree-shaded island in a small lake, securely beyond the reach of the camera lens.

Since the death of Princess Diana, Althorp, which has been in the Spencer family for over 500 years, is now a popular tourist attraction that offers tours to the general public.

I still light a candle in her memory on this day.

Blessed Be.

Aug 31 2012

“I Talk to the Trees”

Now I talk to the chairs. In a bizarre, unscripted rambling monolog Clint Eastwood spoke to an empty chair representing President Barack Obama.  That was not his best performance.

Mitt Romney probably hoped that surprise guest Clint Eastwood would make his day at the convention — instead, the 82-year-old gave a rambling speech that was as disastrous as the botched bank robbery that he stopped in “Dirty Harry” while playing a jaded San Francisco cop. [..]

Eastwood, who praised Romney as a “stellar businessman,” later said that he thought it was never a good idea for attorneys to be president, despite the fact that Romney has a J.D. from Harvard Law School. [..]

The otherwise prolific actor and director clearly appeared to be showing his age in what was meant to be a big coup for Republicans as their “mystery speaker.” [..]

The Romney campaign seemed to grasp how Eastwood’s bizarre, rambling, unscripted speech fell flat. “Judging an American icon like Clint Eastwood through a typical political lens doesn’t work,” was the campaign’s response. Aides winced backstage, according to the Associated Press.

Eastwood’s attacks on Obama didn’t faze the campaign. “Referring all questions on this to Salvador Dali,” Obama campaign spokesman Ben LaBolt said in an email to The Huffington Post.

It’s a bit hard to figure what the RNC organizers were thinking when they invited Clint to play such a prominent roll. After all he isn’t exactly a family values kind of guy or, for that matter, much of a 2012 Republican. This is what he said during an interview with GQ about his film J. Edgar that starred Leonardo DiCaprio:

GQ: Yeah, but maybe between the movies you have some political feelings. [to Eastwood] You’ve described yourself as a social libertarian. What does that mean to you?

Clint Eastwood: I was an Eisenhower Republican when I started out at 21, because he promised to get us out of the Korean War. And over the years, I realized there was a Republican philosophy that I liked. And then they lost it. And libertarians had more of it. Because what I really believe is, Let’s spend a little more time leaving everybody alone. These people who are making a big deal out of gay marriage? I don’t give a fuck about who wants to get married to anybody else! Why not?! We’re making a big deal out of things we shouldn’t be making a deal out of.

Leonardo Dicaprio: That’s the most infuriating thing-watching people focus on these things. Meanwhile, there’s the onset of global warming and-

Clint Eastwood: Exactly!

Leonardo Dicaprio: -and these incredibly scary and menacing things with the future of our economy. Our relationship to the rest of the world. And here we are focusing on this?

Clint Eastwood: They go on and on with all this bullshit about “sanctity”-don’t give me that sanctity crap! Just give everybody the chance to have the life they want.

Stick to singing, Clint

Aug 31 2012

The Flim-Flam Man Paul Ryan

It’s Flim-Flam

The economist has been a vocal critic of Ryan’s budget. On Wednesday, he appeared on Current TV to analyze the plan with Al Gore – who is hosting the network’s coverage of the conventions – and hosts Eliot Spitzer and Jennifer Granholm.

Krugman said that Ryan’s plan would leave “tens of millions” of people without health insurance. Gore said that his understanding is that it would take money from the poor and give it to the rich while increasing the budget deficit.

Krugman said that was indeed the case. “How can [Ryan] get away with this?” he asked incredulously. “World’s greatest nation falls for this flimflam?”

Paul Krugman: The Medicare Killers

Paul Ryan’s speech Wednesday night may have accomplished one good thing: It finally may have dispelled the myth that he is a Serious, Honest Conservative. Indeed, Mr. Ryan’s brazen dishonesty left even his critics breathless. [..]

But Mr. Ryan’s big lie – and, yes, it deserves that designation – was his claim that “a Romney-Ryan administration will protect and strengthen Medicare.” Actually, it would kill the program. [..]

The Republican Party is now firmly committed to replacing Medicare with what we might call Vouchercare. The government would no longer pay your major medical bills; instead, it would give you a voucher that could be applied to the purchase of private insurance. And, if the voucher proved insufficient to buy decent coverage, hey, that would be your problem.

Moreover, the vouchers almost certainly would be inadequate; their value would be set by a formula taking no account of likely increases in health care costs. [..]

The question now is whether voters will understand what’s really going on (which depends to a large extent on whether the news media do their jobs). Mr. Ryan and his party are betting that they can bluster their way through this, pretending that they are the real defenders of Medicare even as they work to kill it. Will they get away with it?

You should realize you’ve screwed up when your own paid shills call out your lies:

According to Fox News columnist Sally Kohn, vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan’s speech at the Republican National Convention on Wednesday “was an apparent attempt to set the world record for the greatest number of blatant lies and misrepresentations slipped into a single political speech.”

“On this measure, while it was Romney who ran the Olympics, Ryan earned the gold,” Kohn wrote. [..]

In her column, Kohn called out four lies in Ryan’s speech. She critcized Ryan for blaming President Obama for the shutdown of a General Motors plant in Janesville, Wis., that actually was closed during the Bush administration. She also knocked Ryan for pinning the blame for S&P’s downgrade of U.S. debt on Obama, when Republicans in Congress helped precipitate the downgrade by threatening to refuse to raise the debt ceiling.

“The good news is that the Romney-Ryan campaign has likely created dozens of new jobs among the legions of additional fact checkers that media outlets are rushing to hire to sift through the mountain of cow dung that flowed from Ryan’s mouth,” Kohn wrote.

But they will continue to repeat this litany of lies and the people will believe. Hallelujah! Amen!

Message to Romney and Obama: Keep Your Hands Off Medicare

Aug 31 2012

2012 Republican National Convention: Day 4

Well Ann Romney is still the best speaker overall with Huckabee clearly second and Rice and Ryan about tied.  Christie slides to 5th just ahead of Pawlenty.  Everyone else is reality show bad or worse.

Remember my points are given on presentation not substance so the fact that Ryan’s speech was such a comprehensive compendium of lies that even inoffensive little words like ‘a’, ‘and’, and ‘the’ were overwhelmed by the onslaught is immaterial to the score.

Of course tonight we have our special super secret guest speaker which rumors say will be Clint Eastwood.  I must say if true I consider this a mistake from 2 standpoints.  Firstly I’m not sure ‘Dirty Harry’ Callahan is sufficiently ardent for the Party at this particular stage and secondly he’ll make Romney look bad.  He’s already going to have competition enough from Jeb Bush who wouldn’t even be on the stage except for his institutional strength.

I think actually that will be the speech to watch tonight.  Jon is not kidding when he calls this a rehearsal for ’16 because no one with any brains (and I had to set the bar that low to include the Villager Idiots) thinks there is a path to electoral victory for Mitt.  What we have seen so far is the chaotic evil of the id raging anti-fairies (Fairly Odd Parents, I stand by my metaphor), Jeb is the face of the soul sucking pixies and they own this town.

There are reports that ratings are tanking and the enthusiasm among the delegates distinctly down.  Other factors are contributing (Isaac) and will no doubt be blamed by those looking for excuses, but what I’m feeling is a huge emotional black hole at the center of all of this and his name is Barack Obama.

Reagan was sunshiny optimism and hope on a hill.  He had goals, evil goals but still goals.  These guys have nothing but hate, resentment, and fear.  They won’t talk about their program for America because people justifiably don’t like it.  Huge majorities, even in their own party.

However Democrats are just as bad.  One of the reasons Paul Ryan is an evil hypocritical liar is that he voted against the Bowles/Simpson report.  We should be thanking him instead.

The politicians are afraid of democracy.  Since 2006 every election has been a “change” election and attrition has replaced many of the less firmly entrenched.  There is no reason not to expect this trend to continue until conditions improve.

I’ve been watching the action on CSPAN and I highly recommend it as complete and mercifully pundit free.

7:00 p.m.

  • Convention convenes
  • Call to order
  • Introduction of Colors US Central Command Joint Forces Color Guard Team
  • Pledge of Allegiance by Dylan Nonaka
  • National Anthem sung by SEVEN
  • Invocation by Ken and Priscilla Hutchins
  • Remarks by U.S. Rep. Connie Mack (FL)
  • Reagan Legacy Video
  • Remarks by Newt and Callista Gingrich
  • Remarks by Craig Romney

8:00 p.m.

  • Remarks by Governor former Jeb Bush (FL)
  • Remarks by Bob White, chairman of Romney for President campaign
  • Remarks by Grant Bennett
  • Remarks by Tom Stemberg

9:00 p.m.

  • Remarks by former Massachusetts Lt. Governor Kerry Healey
  • Remarks by Jane Edmonds, former Massachusetts Secretary of Workforce
  • Remarks by Olympians Michael Eruzione, Derek Parra and Kim Rhode

10:00 p.m.

  • Remarks by U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (FL)
  • Remarks by presidential nominee Mitt Romney
  • Benediction by Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan
  • Adjournment

Aug 30 2012

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”.

Follow us on Twitter @StarsHollowGzt

New York Times Editorial: The Vacuum Behind the Slogans

The party that claims to have all the answers on Medicare seemed to have no interest in sharing them with the American people at its convention on Wednesday. The session, devoted to the theme of “We Can Change It,” never went any deeper than that slogan or a few others: Reform Medicare. Strengthen Medicare. Protect Medicare.

All without the slightest hint of how that supposed reform or strengthening would take place, regarding that program and many others. “We will not duck the tough issues; we will lead,” said Representative Paul Ryan, in his speech accepting the vice-presidential nomination. “We will not spend four years blaming others; we will take responsibility.”

Sounds great, except that the speech ducked the tough issues and blamed others for the problems.

Mo Rocca: ‘The Right to Vote’

Pop quiz. Which of the following countries does not guarantee its citizens the right to vote? Is it:

(A) Iran

(B) Libya

(C) The United States

(D) All of the above.

If you guessed “all of the above,” you’re right. Yes, the United States is one of only a handful of nations whose constitution does not explicitly provide the right to vote. (Singapore is another, but it doesn’t even allow you to chew gum on the street.)

I imagine you’re surprised. I know I was. Think of all that hard work our founding fathers put in – the revolutionizing, the three-fifths compromising, having to write the entire Constitution with a quill – and yet they neglected to include the right to vote. (I know, it was a long, hot summer. Hard to stay focused.) It got me thinking: What else don’t I know about voting in our country? How does voting really work – or sometimes not work – in America?

Bernie Sanders: Deficit Hawk Hypocrites

Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan and the Republican Party are now mounting a massive attack against Social Security and other programs. Using “deficit reduction” as their rationale, they are attempting to dismantle every major piece of legislation passed since the 1930s that provides support and security to working families.

They are being aided by at least 23 billionaire families, led by the Koch brothers and Sheldon Adelson, who are spending hundreds of millions of dollars in this campaign as a result of the disastrous Citizens United Supreme Court decision. Despite paying the lowest effective tax rate in decades, the billionaires want more tax breaks for the very rich. Despite the fact that the elimination of strong regulations caused the Wall Street meltdown and a terrible recession, the billionaires want more deregulation. Despite outsourcing of millions of good-paying American jobs to China and other low-wage countries, the billionaires want more unfettered free trade.

At this pivotal moment in American history, it’s important to note how we got into this deficit crisis, who was responsible and what is the fairest way to address it.

Robert Reich; How Romney Keeps Lying Through His Big White Teeth

“We’re not going to let our campaign be dictated by fact-checkers,” says Neil Newhouse, a Romney pollster.

A half dozen fact-checking organizations and websites have refuted Romney’s claims that Obama removed the work requirement from the welfare law and will cut Medicare benefits by $216 billion.  

Last Sunday’s New York Times even reported on its front page that Romney has been “falsely charging” President Obama with removing the work requirement. Those are strong words from the venerable Times. Yet Romney is still making the false charge. Ads containing it continue to be aired.

Presumably the Romney campaign continues its false claims because they’re effective. But this raises a more basic question: How can they remain effective when they’ve been so overwhelmingly discredited by the media?

Mark Morford: How to Spot Completely Miserable GOP Women

You can see it in the eyes. Vacant, sort of glassy, dark and distant as if staring into a cave full of nails from a thousand miles – and a million joyful lifetimes – away.

It moves on to the skin, pale and ill-fitting like a mannequin in a human costume, like it’s not the slightest bit comfortable in there, closing around a sallow tightness of the mouth and lips, maybe a severity of haircut, the sweater buttoned a bit too tight and the collar cutting circulation to the vital organs, but most especially and obviously, to the heart.

Do you see it? Do you see it, most frequently and with a tragic sigh, in the women of the GOP, from the senseless female candidates themselves (Hi, Ms. Bachmann!) to the sallow wives and disoriented daughters of the ultraconservative males who fear and detest everything real women represent?

You know the look. You’ve seen it a million times, this “Oh my God how did I get here,” this “How can this really be my life,” this look of deep and long-muted pain and/or dull resignation (Hi, Mrs. Vitter!), the long rusted-over knowledge that choices have been made and there was no other way, even though there was, even though there still is.

Gail Collins: Renovating Mitt Romney

So, about Mitt Romney.

The Republicans have been holding a convention to nominate him for president! I am telling you this on the off chance that you haven’t been paying attention. Perhaps you feel as if you’ve already met Mitt Romney and don’t require another introduction. Perhaps you feel as if you’ve met him a lot. But this is entirely different because the party’s mission this week is to construct an entirely new, improved, warmer, more lovable version.

They built this Romney!

“We built it” is one of the themes here, at the government-underwritten convention in a government-subsidized convention center in a city that rose on the sturdy foundation of government-subsidized flood insurance. But no taxpayer dollars were expended in the attempt to put together a New Mitt.

None. Really, it was just private corporations and rich people.

Aug 30 2012

Conservative Humor

C’mon, Victoria Jackson, Dennis Miller…

The Real Romney

By DAVID BROOKS, The New York Times

Published: August 27, 2012

The Romneys had a special family tradition. The most cherished member got to spend road trips on the roof of the car. Mitt spent many happy hours up there, applying face lotion to combat windburn.

The teenage years were more turbulent. He was sent to a private school, where he was saddened to find there are people in America who summer where they winter. He developed a lifelong concern for the second homeless, and organized bake sales with proceeds going to the moderately rich.



Some have said that Romney’s lifestyle is overly privileged, pointing to the fact that he has an elevator for his cars in the garage of his San Diego home. This is not entirely fair. Romney owns many homes without garage elevators and the cars have to take the stairs.

Dear Paul

Why I’m breaking up with Paul Ryan.

By William Saletan, Slate

Wednesday, Aug. 29, 2012, at 8:56 AM ET

My friends said I was crazy. They said you weren’t who I thought you were. Paul Krugman said you were a fake fiscal conservative. Scott Lemieux called you a standard-issue right-winger. Jim Surowiecki compared you to Barry Goldwater. I didn’t believe the naysayers. Sometimes they said you were too extreme. Sometimes they said you were a squishy hypocrite for supporting TARP and the auto bailout. It seemed like they just wanted to make you look bad one way or the other. I thought they were just playing politics.

I knew you weren’t perfect. I didn’t like your vote against the Simpson-Bowles debt reduction plan. I worried that your weakness for tax cuts would squander the savings from your budget cuts. But I should have studied your record more carefully. I didn’t understand how pivotal you were in sinking the budget deal between President Obama and Speaker Boehner. I paid too much attention to what you said about cutting the defense budget and not enough attention to what you did. You accused the military of requesting too little money-a concern that makes no sense to anyone familiar with the acquisitive habits of government agencies. You also objected to setting financial savings targets and forcing the Pentagon to meet them, even though that’s how you proposed to control domestic spending.



I hate to admit it, but Krugman nailed me on this one. I was looking for Mr. Right-a fact-based, sensible fiscal conservative-and I tried to shoehorn you into that role.

That’s where you let me down, Paul. Since Mitt Romney tapped you as his running mate, you haven’t stood for fiscal restraint. You’ve attacked it. You warned voters in North Carolina and Virginia that cuts in the defense budget would take away their tax-supported jobs. And I cringe when I recall what I said about you and Medicare. “Ryan destroys Romney’s ability to continue making the dishonest, anti-conservative argument that Obamacare is evil because it cuts Medicare,” I wrote. “Now Romney will have to defend the honest conservative argument, which is that Medicare spending should be controlled.”

I couldn’t have been more wrong. Four days after Romney put you on the ticket, you began parroting his Medicare shtick. You protested that Obama’s $700 billion savings in the future growth of Medicare payments to providers-a spending reduction that any sensible conservative president would have sought, and that you had previously included in your budget plan-would “lead to fewer services for seniors.” You depicted a horror scenario: “a $3,600 cut in benefits for current seniors. Nearly one out of six hospitals and nursing homes are going to go out of business.” You assured seniors that the Romney-Ryan agenda for Medicare “does not affect your benefits.” And you promised future retirees “guaranteed affordability” of health care.

In short, you adopted every tactic in the liberal playbook. You framed a reduced rate of growth as a draconian cut. You inflated the likely impact of the reduction. You denounced any loss of services as unacceptable. You promised not to touch seniors’ benefits. And you reaffirmed a fiscally unsustainable guarantee. By my count, you’ve now done this in at least six speeches and rallies. Every day, you’re reinforcing the culture of entitlement and making it harder to rein in retirement programs.

Oh, Paul. And I thought you were so rugged.

Ok, you’re right.  There is no such thing as conservative humor.  The funny (in the sense of disconcerting or odd) part is that there is already a “Mr. Right-a fact-based, sensible fiscal conservative” who supports all that gutting of our social insurance contract.

He calls himself a "Democrat" and his name is Barack Obama.

Aug 30 2012

On This Day In History August 30

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

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

August 30 is the 242nd day of the year (243rd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 123 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1967, Thurgood Marshall becomes the first African American to be confirmed as a Supreme Court justice. He would remain on the Supreme Court for 24 years before retiring for health reasons, leaving a legacy of upholding the rights of the individual as guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution.

Thurgood Marshall (July 2, 1908 – January 24, 1993) was an American jurist and the first African American to serve on the Supreme Court of the United States. Before becoming a judge, he was a lawyer who was best remembered for his high success rate in arguing before the Supreme Court and for the victory in Brown v. Board of Education. He was nominated to the court by President Lyndon Johnson in 1967.

Marshall was born in Baltimore, Maryland on July 2, 1908, the great-grandson of a slave who was born in modern-day Democratic Republic of the Congo.His original name was Thoroughgood, but he shortened it to Thurgood  in second grade because he disliked spelling it. His father, William Marshall, who was a railroad porter, instilled in him an appreciation for the Constitution of the United States and the rule of law.

Marshall graduated from Frederick Douglass High School in Baltimore in 1925 and from Lincoln University in Pennsylvania in 1930. Afterward, Marshall wanted to apply to his hometown law school, the University of Maryland School of Law, but the dean told him that he would not be accepted because of the school’s segregation policy. Later, as a civil rights litigator, he successfully sued the school for this policy in the case of Murray v. Pearson. As he could not attend the University of Maryland, Marshall sought admission and was accepted at Howard University School of Law.

Marshall received his law degree from the Howard University School of Law in 1933 where he graduated first in his class.

Marshall won his very first U.S. Supreme Court case, Chambers v. Florida, 309 U.S. 227 (1940), at the age of 32. That same year, he was appointed Chief Counsel for the NAACP. He argued many other cases before the Supreme Court, most of them successfully, including Smith v. Allwright, 321 U.S. 649 (1944); Shelley v. Kraemer, 334 U.S. 1 (1948); Sweatt v. Painter, 339 U.S. 629 (1950); and McLaurin v. Oklahoma State Regents, 339 U.S. 637 (1950). His most famous case as a lawyer was Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, 347 U.S. 483 (1954), the case in which the Supreme Court ruled that “separate but equal” public education, as established by Plessy v. Ferguson, was not applicable to public education because it could never be truly equal. In total, Marshall won 29 out of the 32 cases he argued before the Supreme Court.

Marshall served on the Court for the next twenty-four years, compiling a liberal record that included strong support for Constitutional protection of individual rights, especially the rights of criminal suspects against the government. His most frequent ally on the Court (indeed, the pair rarely voted at odds) was Justice William Brennan, who consistently joined him in supporting abortion rights and opposing the death penalty. Brennan and Marshall concluded in Furman v. Georgia that the death penalty was, in all circumstances, unconstitutional, and never accepted the legitimacy of Gregg v. Georgia, which ruled four years later that the death penalty was constitutional in some circumstances. Thereafter, Brennan or Marshall dissented from every denial of certiorari in a capital case and from every decision upholding a sentence of death.[citation needed] In 1987, Marshall gave a controversial speech on the occasion of the bicentennial celebrations of the Constitution of the United States. Marshall stated,

   

“the government they devised was defective from the start, requiring several amendments, a civil war, and major social transformations to attain the system of constitutional government and its respect for the freedoms and individual rights, we hold as fundamental today.”

In conclusion Marshall stated

   

“Some may more quietly commemorate the suffering, struggle, and sacrifice that has triumphed over much of what was wrong with the original document, and observe the anniversary with hopes not realized and promises not fulfilled. I plan to celebrate the bicentennial of the Constitution as a living document, including the Bill of Rights and the other amendments protecting individual freedoms and human rights.”

He retired from the Supreme Court in 1991, and was reportedly unhappy that it would fall to President George H. W. Bush to name his replacement. Bush nominated Clarence Thomas to replace Marshall.

Marshall died of heart failure at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, at 2:58 p.m. on January 24, 1993 at the age of 84. He is buried in Arlington National Cemetery. His second wife and their two sons survived him

On November 30, 1993, Justice Marshall was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Bill Clinton.

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