Daily Archive: 10/16/2012

Oct 16 2012

Ohio Voters Win

The Obama/ Biden campaign sued the state of Ohio  over changes in Ohio law that took away the three days of voting for most people, but made exceptions for military personnel and Ohioans living overseas. The 9th Circuit Cout of Appeals ruled that Ohio must make early voting available (pdf) to all Ohio voters and Ohio’s Republican Secretary of State, John Husted, made an emergency appeal to the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court weighed in this afternoon declining to block early voting.

The Supreme Court is siding with Democrats in refusing to block early voting in the battleground state of Ohio.

The court on Tuesday refused a Republican request to get involved in a dispute over early voting in the state on the three days before Election Day.

This is not just a win for Democrats, it is a victory for democracy.

Oct 16 2012

Demanding Answers from the Candidates

The Romney/Ryan tax plan is not serious. As Matt Taibbi, contributing editor of Rolling Stone, points out, we should all be rolling our eyes and laughing at this farcical plan. He also takes the mainstream media to task for not being offended by the dishonest tactics and lies that the Republican candidates are using to bamboozle the electorate into handing these two frat boys the White House.

I’ve never thought much of Joe Biden. But man, did he get it right in last night’s debate, and not just because he walloped sniveling little Paul Ryan on the facts. What he got absolutely right, despite what you might read this morning (many outlets are criticizing Biden’s dramatic excesses), was his tone. Biden did absolutely roll his eyes, snort, laugh derisively and throw his hands up in the air whenever Ryan trotted out his little beady-eyed BS-isms. [..]

The load of balls that both Romney and Ryan have been pushing out there for this whole election season is simply not intellectually serious. Most of their platform isn’t even a real platform, it’s a fourth-rate parlor trick designed to paper over the real agenda – cutting taxes even more for super-rich dickheads like Mitt Romney, and getting everyone else to pay the bill. [..]

Think about what that means. Mitt Romney is running for president – for president! – promising an across-the-board 20 percent tax cut without offering any details about how that’s going to be paid for. Forget being battered by the press, he and his little sidekick Ryan should both be tossed off the playing field for even trying something like that. This race for the White House, this isn’t some frat prank. This is serious. This is for grownups, for God’s sake. [..]

Sometimes in journalism I think we take the objectivity thing too far. We think being fair means giving equal weight to both sides of every argument. But sometimes in the zeal to be objective, reporters get confused. You can’t report the Obama tax plan and the Romney tax plan in the same way, because only one of them is really a plan, while the other is actually not a plan at all, but an electoral gambit. [..]

The proper way to report such a tactic is to bring to your coverage exactly the feeling that Biden brought to the debate last night: contempt and amazement. We in the press should be offended by what Romney and Ryan are doing – we should take professional offense that any politician would try to whisk such a gigantic lie past us to our audiences, and we should take patriotic offense that anyone is trying to seize the White House using such transparently childish and dishonest tactics.

Like Taibbi, I am no fan of the Obama/Biden administration, but this campaign by the Republican candidates is a bad joke being played out with the blessings of the traditional MSM. It’s time to get answers. This is serious business.

Oct 16 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: If Roe v. Wade Goes

A Romney-Ryan victory could result in re-criminalizing abortion in much of America

It is no secret that Mitt Romney and his running-mate, Representative Paul Ryan, are opponents of abortion rights. When Mr. Ryan was asked at last week’s debate whether voters who support abortion rights should be worried if the Romney-Ryan ticket were elected, he essentially said yes.

They would depart slightly from the extremist Republican Party platform by allowing narrow exceptions for rape, incest or the life of the woman. Beyond that, they would move to take away a fundamental right that American women have had for nearly 40 years.

Dean Baker: The National Debt and Our Children: How Dumb Does Washington Think We Are?

While much of the country is focused on the presidential race, the Wall Street gang is waging a different battle; they are preparing an assault on Social Security and Medicare. This attack is not exactly secret. There have been a number of pieces on this corporate-backed campaign in the media over the last few months, but the drive is nonetheless taking place behind closed doors.

The corporate honchos are not expecting to convince the public that we should support cuts to Social Security and Medicare. They know this is a hopeless task. Huge majorities of people across the political spectrum strongly support these programs.

Instead they hope that they can use their power of persuasion, coupled with the power of campaign contributions and the power of high-paying jobs for defeated members of Congress, to get Congress to approve large cuts in Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and other key programs. This is the plan for a grand bargain that the corporate chieftains hope can be struck in the lame duck Congress.

William K. Black: The Vampire Squid Has Feelings and Obama Is No Longer Her BFF

Matt Taibbi famously dubbed Goldman “a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money.” Taibbi knew his metaphor worked a deep injustice on Vampyroteuthis infernalis, a small animal that feeds on carrion and excrement (I will let the reader explore the metaphorical possibilities). Goldman Sachs’ leaders were always secretly flattered by Taibbi’s metaphor. They like being thought of as hyper-aggressive and intimidating. Saying that an investment banker’s goal is to make money is to state the obvious and causes no embarrassment.

The news flash is that Goldman Sachs has revealed her new, softer side. She has become Ms. Good in the Sack and she wants us all to know that she has feelings and she is terribly hurt by the way she is being taken for granted, treated coldly, and made fun of as a “fat” feline. The cruelest blow is that Ms. Good in the Sack suffered these indignities at the hands of the handsome new guy who escorted her to the presidential ball. Her BFF, the tall, dark and handsome guy who was exotic without seeming too dangerous — the kind of guy her dad always warned her never to date — has betrayed her. No sooner had she gotten in a serious relationship with Obama that helped him climb to the top of the social order than she saw him flirting with that skank — Ms. Liberal.

Richard (RJ) Eskow: Morgan Stanley: Please Allow Me to Introduce Myself …

Please allow me to introduce myself, I’m a man of wealth and taste …

“Some people,” my mother used to say, “are just no damned good.” This was from somebody who rarely used bad language around us, and it was usually said with an air of bemused resignation rather than white-hot rage. I’ve always leaned a little more toward the possibility of redemption myself. But the more I learn about Wall Street, the more I see the wisdom in Mom’s words.

The latest lawsuit against Morgan Stanley raises the question again: Are a whole lot of Wall Street executives “just no damned good”? The evidence is overwhelming: They cheated. They lied. They used racial discrimination to make a fast buck at the expense of African Americans, ripped off their own investors (including working people’s pension funds), and then took a huge bailout from the American people.

Then, once they were safely ensconced back on their plutocratic perch and raking in more unearned wealth, they quickly deployed huge amounts of that money — to subvert our political process. That way they can loosen regulations on their own industry while forcing us to accept an austerity program like the “Simpson-Bowles” plan, which imposes even more hardship on the majority while offering even more tax breaks to people like Morgan Stanley’s executives.

Did we mention that Erskine Bowles, co-author of that plan, is on the Board of Directors of Morgan Stanley?

Wendell Potter; Romney’s Talking Points on the Uninsured Are Like the Ones I Wrote When I Was an Insurance Industry Flack

I understand where Mitt Romney was coming from when he said last week that Americans without health insurance don’t have to worry about dying at home.

“We don’t have people that become ill, who die in their apartment because they don’t have insurance,” the GOP presidential nominee told members of the Columbus Dispatch editorial board. “We don’t have a setting across this country where if you don’t have insurance, we just say to you, ‘Tough luck, you’re going to die when you have your heart attack.’ No, you go to the hospital, you get treated, and it’s paid for, either by charity, the government or by the hospital.”

I have no reason to believe that Romney saw anything wrong with what he said. In fact, I probably would have said the same thing back when I was still a health insurance PR guy and trying to convince folks that the problem of the uninsured wasn’t really such a big deal.

Frank Bruni: Pop Goes the President

A candidate now needs to be up on Snooki as well as Bibi, and an up-to-the-minute playlist doesn’t hurt.

To the clamor for administration records concerning embassy security, I’d like to add my own request. I hereby subpoena President Obama’s iPod.

Nicki Minaj? For real? On Friday the president claimed that her voice was one of those occasionally streaming through his ear buds. I don’t buy it. For starters, she once rapped, facetiously or not, that she was voting for Mitt Romney and that Obama was a “lazy” noun-that-I-can’t-print-in-this-newspaper. On top of which, the president strikes me as more of an Adele guy, rolling in the deep of a post-debate funk.

But he’d been asked to weigh in on Minaj’s feud with Mariah Carey, and after praising Carey for fund-raising help, he hastened to throw some love in her foe’s direction. While Mitt Romney is on multiple sides of a single issue, Obama is on all sides of iTunes.

Oct 16 2012

Carnival of Venice

Crossposted from DocuDharma

The Self-Destruction of the 1 Percent

By CHRYSTIA FREELAND, The New York Times

Published: October 13, 2012

Even as the winner-take-all economy has enriched those at the very top, their tax burden has lightened. Tolerance for high executive compensation has increased, even as the legal powers of unions have been weakened and an intellectual case against them has been relentlessly advanced by plutocrat-financed think tanks. In the 1950s, the marginal income tax rate for those at the top of the distribution soared above 90 percent, a figure that today makes even Democrats flinch. Meanwhile, of the 400 richest taxpayers in 2009, 6 paid no federal income tax at all, and 27 paid 10 percent or less. None paid more than 35 percent.



Educational attainment, which created the American middle class, is no longer rising. The super-elite lavishes unlimited resources on its children, while public schools are starved of funding. This is the new Serrata. An elite education is increasingly available only to those already at the top. Bill Clinton and Barack Obama enrolled their daughters in an exclusive private school; I’ve done the same with mine.



America’s Serrata also takes a more explicit form: the tilting of the economic rules in favor of those at the top. The crony capitalism of today’s oligarchs is far subtler than Venice’s. It works in two main ways.

The first is to channel the state’s scarce resources in their own direction. This is the absurdity of Mitt Romney’s comment about the “47 percent” who are “dependent upon government.” The reality is that it is those at the top, particularly the tippy-top, of the economic pyramid who have been most effective at capturing government support – and at getting others to pay for it.

Exhibit A is the bipartisan, $700 billion rescue of Wall Street in 2008. Exhibit B is the crony recovery. The economists Emmanuel Saez and Thomas Piketty found that 93 percent of the income gains from the 2009-10 recovery went to the top 1 percent of taxpayers. The top 0.01 percent captured 37 percent of these additional earnings, gaining an average of $4.2 million per household.

The second manifestation of crony capitalism is more direct: the tax perks, trade protections and government subsidies that companies and sectors secure for themselves. Corporate pork is a truly bipartisan dish: green energy companies and the health insurers have been winners in this administration, as oil and steel companies were under George W. Bush’s.



Businessmen like to style themselves as the defenders of the free market economy, but as Luigi Zingales, an economist at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, argued, “Most lobbying is pro-business, in the sense that it promotes the interests of existing businesses, not pro-market in the sense of fostering truly free and open competition.”



That all changed with industrialization. As Franklin D. Roosevelt argued in a 1932 address to the Commonwealth Club, the industrial revolution was accomplished thanks to “a group of financial titans, whose methods were not scrutinized with too much care, and who were honored in proportion as they produced the results, irrespective of the means they used.” America may have needed its robber barons; Roosevelt said the United States was right to accept “the bitter with the sweet.”

But as these titans amassed wealth and power, and as America ran out of free land on its frontier, the country faced the threat of a Serrata. As Roosevelt put it, “equality of opportunity as we have known it no longer exists.” Instead, “we are steering a steady course toward economic oligarchy, if we are not there already.”

It is no accident that in America today the gap between the very rich and everyone else is wider than at any time since the Gilded Age. Now, as then, the titans are seeking an even greater political voice to match their economic power. Now, as then, the inevitable danger is that they will confuse their own self-interest with the common good. The irony of the political rise of the plutocrats is that, like Venice’s oligarchs, they threaten the system that created them.

Oct 16 2012

On This Day In History October 16

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.

This Day in History: October 16 October 16 is the 289th day of the year (290th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 76 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1916, Margaret Sanger opened a family planning and birth control clinic at 46 Amboy St. in the Brownsville neighborhood of Brooklyn, the first of its kind in the United States.

It was raided 9 days later by the police. She served 30 days in prison. An initial appeal was rejected but in 1918 an opinion written by Judge Frederick E. Crane of the New York Court of Appeals allowed doctors to prescribe contraception.

This was the beginning of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. Sanger founded the American Birth Control League in 1921,  which changed its name to Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Inc. in 1942. Since then, it has grown to 850 clinic locations in the United States, with a total budget of approximately US$1 billion, and provides an array of services to over three million people.

Dealing with sexuality, the organization is often a center of controversy in the United States. The organization’s status as the country’s leading provider of surgical abortions has put it in the forefront of national debate over the issue. Planned Parenthood has also been a party in numerous Supreme Court cases.

In scanning through the articles on Margaret Sanger, I found this bit of trivia quite amusing

In 1926, Sanger gave a lecture on birth control to the women’s auxiliary of the Ku Klux Klan in Silver Lake, New Jersey. She described it as “one of the weirdest experiences I had in lecturing,” and added that she had to use only “the most elementary terms, as though I were trying to make children understand.” Sanger’s talk was well-received by the group and as a result “a dozen invitations to similar groups were proffered.”

Oct 16 2012

On This Day In History October 16

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.

This Day in History: October 16 October 16 is the 289th day of the year (290th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 76 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1916, Margaret Sanger opened a family planning and birth control clinic at 46 Amboy St. in the Brownsville neighborhood of Brooklyn, the first of its kind in the United States.

It was raided 9 days later by the police. She served 30 days in prison. An initial appeal was rejected but in 1918 an opinion written by Judge Frederick E. Crane of the New York Court of Appeals allowed doctors to prescribe contraception.

This was the beginning of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. Sanger founded the American Birth Control League in 1921,  which changed its name to Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Inc. in 1942. Since then, it has grown to 850 clinic locations in the United States, with a total budget of approximately US$1 billion, and provides an array of services to over three million people.

Dealing with sexuality, the organization is often a center of controversy in the United States. The organization’s status as the country’s leading provider of surgical abortions has put it in the forefront of national debate over the issue. Planned Parenthood has also been a party in numerous Supreme Court cases.

In scanning through the articles on Margaret Sanger, I found this bit of trivia quite amusing

In 1926, Sanger gave a lecture on birth control to the women’s auxiliary of the Ku Klux Klan in Silver Lake, New Jersey. She described it as “one of the weirdest experiences I had in lecturing,” and added that she had to use only “the most elementary terms, as though I were trying to make children understand.” Sanger’s talk was well-received by the group and as a result “a dozen invitations to similar groups were proffered.”

Oct 16 2012

Justice Party Candidate: Rocky Anderson

If you watch only the major networks or read only the local newspapers you would think that only Barack Obama and Mitt Romney are vying for the Oval Office. There are other candidates running for President but the MSM and the two major parties have managed to keep them out of the debates. There are three other candidates: Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson; Justice Party candidate Rocky Anderson and Green Party candidate Jill Stein.

Today’s focus will be on Justice Party candidate, Rocky Anderson.

Ross Carl “Rocky” Anderson (born September 9, 1951) served two terms as the 33rd mayor of Salt Lake City, Utah, between 2000 and 2008. He is the Executive Director of High Road for Human Rights. Prior to serving as Mayor, he practiced law for 21 years in Salt Lake City, during which time he was listed in Best Lawyers in America, was rated A-V (highest rating) by Martindale-Hubbell, served as Chair of the Utah State Bar Litigation Section and was Editor-in-Chief of, and a contributor to, Voir Dire legal journal.

As mayor, Anderson rose to nationwide prominence as a champion of several national and international causes, including climate protection, immigration reform, restorative criminal justice, LGBT rights, and an end to the “war on drugs”. Before and after the invasion by the U.S. of Iraq in 2003, Anderson was a leading opponent of the invasion and occupation of Iraq and related human rights abuses. Anderson was the only mayor of a major U.S. city who advocated for the impeachment of President George W. Bush, which he did in many venues throughout the United States.

Anderson’s work and advocacy led to local, national, and international recognition in numerous spheres, including being named by Business Week as one of the top twenty activists in the world on climate change, serving on the Newsweek Global Environmental Leadership Advisory Board, and being recognised by the Human Rights Campaign as one of the top ten straight advocates in the United States for LGBT equality. He has also received numerous awards for his work, including the EPA Climate Protection Award,[9] the Sierra Club Distinguished Service Award, the Respect the Earth Planet Defender Award, the National Association of Hispanic Publications Presidential Award, The Drug Policy Alliance Richard J. Dennis Drugpeace Award, the Progressive Democrats of America Spine Award, the League of United Latin American Citizens Profile in Courage Award,[14] the Bill of Rights Defense Committee Patriot Award,[15] the Code Pink (Salt Lake City) Pink Star honor, the Morehouse University Gandhi, King, Ikeda Award, and the World Leadership Award for environmental programs.[16]

Formerly a member of the Democratic Party, Anderson expressed his disappointment with that Party in 2011, stating, “The Constitution has been eviscerated while Democrats have stood by with nary a whimper. It is a gutless, unprincipled party, bought and paid for by the same interests that buy and pay for the Republican Party.” Anderson announced his intention to run for President in 2012 as a candidate for the newly-formed Justice Party

Logan native Rocky Anderson discusses run for U.S. president, need for more parties

Since announcing his run for the White House in January, Anderson has stressed the elimination of corporate influence in American government and on making the office of president more accountable. Other issues that top his list, he said, are climate change, equal rights and the regulation of banking and finance industries. [..]

Explaining the purpose of the new Justice Party, Anderson says his campaign is different because the two primary candidates are ignoring the country’s most significant challenges.

“Neither of the dominant parties will even discuss breaking up the banks that are too big to fail,” he added. “We just went through a major economic upheaval with tragic results for the American people … and yet the conditions that led to the economic meltdown are still in place, and it’s because these candidates and their parties have received millions of dollars from Wall Street firms.”

The candidate said he wants the White House to be held accountable for its aerial drone program, which Anderson says has killed “hundreds if not thousands of innocent men, women and children,” and tainted the United States’ reputation for global security.

Oct 16 2012

2012 NL Championship Series- Cardinals at Giants, Game 2

The Giants are wisely going with one of their 3 playoff winners tonight and not a moment too soon.  It is certainly possible (as I will be telling Yankee fans tomorrow) to overcome a 2 game home losing streak, especially in a longer series where you don’t immediately face road elimination, but it’s not a desirable position to be in if you can avoid it.

The Cardinals can’t afford to be complacent.  A split away is what you expect, however their Bullpen didn’t look overpowering by any means and they can’t expect a 6 run cushion every game.

Tonight the Left Coasters will start Vogelsong (14 – 9, 3.37 ERA) who is as good as anyone in their rotation post season.  They’ll face Carpenter (0 – 2, 3.71 ERA) who allowed the Nats 7 hits in their Game 3 8 – 0 defeat.

Carpenter is much nastier than those figures suggest because he can hit too and has a great record in the playoffs.  Then there is the fact that basically no team has demonstrated much Home Field advantage, even in the Regular Season.

On the positive side Tim Lincecum is set to start Game 4 even after last night’s relief appearance unless he gets called for relief tonight or in Busch Stadium Wednesday.

Since I have a feeling we’ll be seeing lots more of the Rally Squirrel here’s the 2010 official hype video again.

No, they don’t have a new one as far as I can tell, but my searches are all messed up by Sunday’s ‘9ers/Giants game.

Senior League Games will be carried on Faux.