Daily Archive: 11/01/2012

Nov 01 2012

Peter Coyote’s Failed Status Quo Exercise in Condescension

Cross posted at Voices on the Square

To start things off, I recommend first reading Cassiodorus's piece The case against the case for Obama even though I started mine about the same time he did. It's definitely quite worthy of checking out before mine because it has many apt points to it. My views are slightly in a different vein as I’m more of a mix of Jim Hightower and L. Randall Wray as one of my friends used to say so read his piece before reading my take.

Well I guess we knew it was coming. Matt Stoller's superb piece The progressive case against Obama was bound to exercise a reaction from the veal pen or hacktivist pen appealing to their own authority first hand to make sure you all know how serious their decisions to sell out are. The end justifies the means and in Peter Coyote’s case it is a failed exercise in condescension right off the bat. He claims he is making…

"The Progressive case for Obama"

So right off the bat we get an exercise in condescension—Peter Coyote is older than Matt Stoller so therefore his time working for CA Governor Jerry Brown must be more relevant than Matt Stoller’s past work including his tenure working for Congressman Alan Grayson. Psychologically one might think, as I do reading this piece, that Peter Coyote's arguments do not come from a position of strength behind them. Whether he realizes it or not, it lets you know how unserious Peter Coyote perhaps thinks of his own arguments right off the bat. After all, he must provide authority for them but not from historical facts of course, from his own resume.

Nov 01 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

Rihard (RJ) Eskow: God’s Stimulus? It’ll Take More Than Just Money to Recover From Sandy

Hurricane Sandy was the stimulus nobody wanted. It took a terrible toll in lives, homes, and dreams. For the families who lost loved ones the tragedy will never end. And yet, in a bitter irony, this terrible storm will spur the kind of spending we should have been seeing all along. There will be jobs, at least for a while — in construction, road work, repair, and other lines of work.

This “accidental stimulus” won’t make up for the loss of life, treasure, and property. But it’s a reminder that the things which nurture us as human beings – the bonds of community, a sense of social responsibility, caring for one another – are also surprisingly sound economic principles.

The economic history of our last century illustrates something important: Our nation’s always prospered when we care for one another. We do best economically when we use our government as an expression of our best selves.

Paul Krugman: Disasters and Politics

(L)et me just take a moment to flag an issue others have been writing about: the weird Republican obsession with killing FEMA. Kevin Drum has the goods: they just keep doing it. George Bush the elder turned the agency into a dumping ground for hacks, with bad results; Clinton revived the agency; Bush the younger ruined it again; Obama revived it again; and Romney – with everyone still remembering Brownie and Katrina! – said that he wants to block-grant and privatize it. (And as far as I can tell, even TV news isn’t letting him Etch-A-Sketch the comment away).

There’s something pathological here. It’s really hard to think of a public service less likely to be suitable for privatization, and given the massive inequality of impacts by state, it really really isn’t block-grantable. Does the right somehow imagine that only Those People need disaster relief? Is the whole idea of helping people as opposed to hurting them just anathema?

John Nichols: Yes, Romney’s a Liar, But This Is Getting Ridiculous

It is no secret that political candidates are capable of doing awful things when they are reach the desperate final days of an election campaign.

But trying to scare American workers into believing that a government initiative that saved their industry was some sort of secret scheme to shutter major plants and offshore jobs is more than just creepy. It’s economic fear-mongering of a sort that is destructive to the spirit of communities and to the very future of the republic as an industrial force.

George Romney, who led the remarkable American Motors Company project that would eventually produce the Jeep, never in a political career that saw him win election as governor of Michigan and seek the Republican nomination for president would have engaged in such calumny.

But George Romney’s ne’re-do-well son, a very different sort of businessman who devoted his career to taking apart American companies and offshoring jobs, is trying to resurrect his presidential candidacy with a big lie.

Bill McKibbenSandy Forces Climate Change on US Election Despite Fossil Fuel Lobby

Such is Big Energy’s hold on DC, neither Obama nor Romney talk about climate change. But Americans are joining the dots

Here’s a sentence I wish I hadn’t written – it rolled out of my Macbook in May, part of an article for Rolling Stone that quickly went viral:

  “Say something so big finally happens (a giant hurricane swamps Manhattan, a megadrought wipes out Midwest agriculture) that even the political power of the industry is inadequate to restrain legislators, who manage to regulate carbon.”

I wish I hadn’t written it because the first half gives me entirely undeserved credit for prescience: I had no idea both would, in fact, happen in the next six months. And I wish I hadn’t written it because now that my bluff’s been called, I’m doubting that even Sandy, the largest storm ever, will be enough to make our political class serious about climate change. [..]

If we’re going to change the political equation, we’re going to do it by going after the fossil fuel industry. They deserve it. As that Rolling Stone article of mine laid out, they’re planning to burn literally five times more carbon than the most conservative government on earth thinks is safe. They’ve turned into a rogue force.

Nicholas D. Kristof: Will Climate Get Some Respect Now?

President Obama and Mitt Romney seemed determined not to discuss climate change in this campaign. So thanks to Hurricane Sandy for forcing the issue: Isn’t it time to talk not only about weather, but also about climate?

It’s true, of course, that no single storm or drought can be attributed to climate change. Atlantic hurricanes in the Northeast go way back, as the catastrophic “snow hurricane” of 1804 attests. But many scientists believe that rising carbon emissions could make extreme weather – like Sandy – more likely. [..]

Democrats have been AWOL on climate change, but Republicans have been even more recalcitrant. Their failure is odd, because in other areas of national security Republicans pride themselves on their vigilance. Romney doesn’t want to wait until he sees an Iranian nuclear weapon before acting, so why the passivity about climate change?

David Morris: A Stormy Reminder of Why We Need Government

A job well done, from the local 911 switchboard to the White House

If this election is a referendum on the benefit of government then superstorm Sandy should be Exhibit A for the affirmative. The government weather service, using data from government weather satellites delivered a remarkably accurate and sobering long range forecast that both catalyzed action and gave communities sufficient time to prepare. Those visually stunning maps you saw on the web or t.v. were largely based on public data made publicly available from local, state and federal agencies. [..]

Seven years ago, Katrina showed the tragic consequences when government fails its duty to respond to natural disasters. But that was the exception that proves the rule. When disasters hit, the government is the only agent with the authority and capacity to marshal and mobilize resources sufficient to the undertaking. It can coordinate across jurisdictions and with both the public and private sectors. That’s because its mission is not to enhance its balance sheet but to preserve the well being of its citizens. And in October 2012 it has shown how effectively it can perform that task.

Nov 01 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

Richard (RJ) Eskow: God’s Stimulus? It’ll Take More Than Just Money to Recover From Sandy

Hurricane Sandy was the stimulus nobody wanted. It took a terrible toll in lives, homes, and dreams. For the families who lost loved ones the tragedy will never end. And yet, in a bitter irony, this terrible storm will spur the kind of spending we should have been seeing all along. There will be jobs, at least for a while — in construction, road work, repair, and other lines of work.

This “accidental stimulus” won’t make up for the loss of life, treasure, and property. But it’s a reminder that the things which nurture us as human beings – the bonds of community, a sense of social responsibility, caring for one another – are also surprisingly sound economic principles.

The economic history of our last century illustrates something important: Our nation’s always prospered when we care for one another. We do best economically when we use our government as an expression of our best selves.

Paul Krugman: Disasters and Politics

(L)et me just take a moment to flag an issue others have been writing about: the weird Republican obsession with killing FEMA. Kevin Drum has the goods: they just keep doing it. George Bush the elder turned the agency into a dumping ground for hacks, with bad results; Clinton revived the agency; Bush the younger ruined it again; Obama revived it again; and Romney – with everyone still remembering Brownie and Katrina! – said that he wants to block-grant and privatize it. (And as far as I can tell, even TV news isn’t letting him Etch-A-Sketch the comment away).

There’s something pathological here. It’s really hard to think of a public service less likely to be suitable for privatization, and given the massive inequality of impacts by state, it really really isn’t block-grantable. Does the right somehow imagine that only Those People need disaster relief? Is the whole idea of helping people as opposed to hurting them just anathema?

John Nichols: Yes, Romney’s a Liar, But This Is Getting Ridiculous

It is no secret that political candidates are capable of doing awful things when they are reach the desperate final days of an election campaign.

But trying to scare American workers into believing that a government initiative that saved their industry was some sort of secret scheme to shutter major plants and offshore jobs is more than just creepy. It’s economic fear-mongering of a sort that is destructive to the spirit of communities and to the very future of the republic as an industrial force.

George Romney, who led the remarkable American Motors Company project that would eventually produce the Jeep, never in a political career that saw him win election as governor of Michigan and seek the Republican nomination for president would have engaged in such calumny.

But George Romney’s ne’re-do-well son, a very different sort of businessman who devoted his career to taking apart American companies and offshoring jobs, is trying to resurrect his presidential candidacy with a big lie.

Bill McKibbenSandy Forces Climate Change on US Election Despite Fossil Fuel Lobby

Such is Big Energy’s hold on DC, neither Obama nor Romney talk about climate change. But Americans are joining the dots

Here’s a sentence I wish I hadn’t written – it rolled out of my Macbook in May, part of an article for Rolling Stone that quickly went viral:

  “Say something so big finally happens (a giant hurricane swamps Manhattan, a megadrought wipes out Midwest agriculture) that even the political power of the industry is inadequate to restrain legislators, who manage to regulate carbon.”

I wish I hadn’t written it because the first half gives me entirely undeserved credit for prescience: I had no idea both would, in fact, happen in the next six months. And I wish I hadn’t written it because now that my bluff’s been called, I’m doubting that even Sandy, the largest storm ever, will be enough to make our political class serious about climate change. [..]

If we’re going to change the political equation, we’re going to do it by going after the fossil fuel industry. They deserve it. As that Rolling Stone article of mine laid out, they’re planning to burn literally five times more carbon than the most conservative government on earth thinks is safe. They’ve turned into a rogue force.

Nicholas D. Kristof: Will Climate Get Some Respect Now?

President Obama and Mitt Romney seemed determined not to discuss climate change in this campaign. So thanks to Hurricane Sandy for forcing the issue: Isn’t it time to talk not only about weather, but also about climate?

It’s true, of course, that no single storm or drought can be attributed to climate change. Atlantic hurricanes in the Northeast go way back, as the catastrophic “snow hurricane” of 1804 attests. But many scientists believe that rising carbon emissions could make extreme weather – like Sandy – more likely. [..]

Democrats have been AWOL on climate change, but Republicans have been even more recalcitrant. Their failure is odd, because in other areas of national security Republicans pride themselves on their vigilance. Romney doesn’t want to wait until he sees an Iranian nuclear weapon before acting, so why the passivity about climate change?

David Morris: A Stormy Reminder of Why We Need Government

A job well done, from the local 911 switchboard to the White House

If this election is a referendum on the benefit of government then superstorm Sandy should be Exhibit A for the affirmative. The government weather service, using data from government weather satellites delivered a remarkably accurate and sobering long range forecast that both catalyzed action and gave communities sufficient time to prepare. Those visually stunning maps you saw on the web or t.v. were largely based on public data made publicly available from local, state and federal agencies. [..]

Seven years ago, Katrina showed the tragic consequences when government fails its duty to respond to natural disasters. But that was the exception that proves the rule. When disasters hit, the government is the only agent with the authority and capacity to marshal and mobilize resources sufficient to the undertaking. It can coordinate across jurisdictions and with both the public and private sectors. That’s because its mission is not to enhance its balance sheet but to preserve the well being of its citizens. And in October 2012 it has shown how effectively it can perform that task.

Nov 01 2012

On This Day In History November 1

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.

November 1 is the 305th day of the year (306th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 60 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1512, the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in Rome, one of Italian artist Michelangelo’s finest works, is exhibited to the public for the first time.

Michelangelo Buonarroti was commissioned by Pope Julius II in 1508 to repaint the vault, or ceiling, of the Chapel. It was originally painted as golden stars on a blue sky. The work was completed between 1508 and 2 November 1512. He painted the Last Judgment over the altar, between 1535 and 1541, on commission from Pope Paul III Farnese.

Michelangelo was intimidated by the scale of the commission, and made it known from the outset of Julius II’s approach that he would prefer to decline. He felt he was more of a sculptor than a painter, and was suspicious that such a large-scale project was being offered to him by enemies as a set-up for an inevitable fall. For Michelangelo, the project was a distraction from the major marble sculpture that had preoccupied him for the previous few years.To be able to reach the ceiling, Michelangelo needed a support; the first idea was by Julius’ favoured architect Donato Bramante, who wanted to build for him a scaffold to be suspended in the air with ropes. However, Bramante did not successfully complete the task, and the structure he built was flawed. He had perforated the vault in order to lower strings to secure the scaffold. Michelangelo laughed when he saw the structure, and believed it would leave holes in the ceiling once the work was ended. He asked Bramante what was to happen when the painter reached the perforations, but the architect had no answer.

The matter was taken before the Pope, who ordered Michelangelo to build a scaffold of his own. Michelangelo created a flat wooden platform on brackets built out from holes in the wall, high up near the top of the windows. He stood on this scaffolding while he painted.

Michelangelo used bright colours, easily visible from the floor. On the lowest part of the ceiling he painted the ancestors of Christ. Above this he alternated male and female prophets, with Jonah over the altar. On the highest section, Michelangelo painted nine stories from the Book of Genesis. He was originally commissioned to paint only 12 figures, the Apostles. He turned down the commission because he saw himself as a sculptor, not a painter. The Pope offered to allow Michelangelo to paint biblical scenes of his own choice as a compromise. After the work was finished, there were more than 300. His figures showed the creation, Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, and the Great Flood.

Nov 01 2012

My Little Town 20121031: Halloween in the Day

Those of you that 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 rural sort of place that did not particularly appreciate education, and just zoom onto my previous posts to understand a bit about it.

As a kid, Halloween was one of my favorite birthdays.  I think that around four or five I really came to like it, and by grade school was wild about it.  I still remember the name and the chorus of a poem in my second grade civics book.  It was called “Black and Gold” and the part that I remember

Black and gold, black and gold, and nothing in between,

When the world turns black and gold, you know it’s Halloween

When  was really small my mum and grandmum would take me trick or treating, but by the time I was six or so I was free to go by myself, but usually my cousin Mike and/or my friend Rex would go together.  You have to consider both the time and the culture to understand why our folks would allow us to do that.

Nov 01 2012

Sandy

Hurricane Sadndy HalloweenAs you all must have noticed at this point ek hornbeck & I have been absent for the last few days. The good news is that we and our families are safe, sound & dry. That’s about it for the good news.

The bad news is that due to the extensive damage to the power grid here in the tri-state, ek hornbeck has been without power for the last few days and of course no internet. The last we were able to speak by phone, that’s an big problem as well, he expected to have power sometime late tonight but unknown if he would have an internet connection.

I have power but internet and cell phone service has been very nearly nonexistent. I am currently sitting in my car in front of a Barnes & Noble with a cup of coffee and my trusty side-kick, Minibook. Not exactly the way I usually spend Samhain.

This is the first night I’ve had off since the storm hit, so I thought I would take the advantage to let our loyal readership know, we hadn’t washed out to sea or blown away.

I’ll try to post some of out regular features as best I can and we hopefully be back to entertain you very shorty. Meanwhile, we ask that you make your own fun and we’ll be back.