Daily Archive: 01/07/2013

Jan 07 2013

About that electoral victory thing.

Rendell Attacks Safety Net While Calling for More Elected Republicans

By John Amato, Crooks and Liars

January 07, 2013 10:00 AM

Rendell and himself would solve all our problems in a week and a half if he was allowed to. Rendell goes on to support the idea that it’s fine if more reasonable and conservative Republicans are elected to Congress. Did it ever cross his mind to maybe mention that electing many more progressive Democratic politicians would be the best solution to the crisis?

Rendell: Look, even if it means there are a few more Republicans in the Senate and the Congress, if they’re reasonable Republicans who are moderate-conservative then that’s a good prescription for America.

Republicans holding the House hostage isn’t enough for Rendell, he wants a few more, just in case their majority isn’t strong enough — and wants to add a couple more in the Senate, which would give R’s one-party rule. Ed Rendell, a major league embarrassment!

Jan 07 2013

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”.

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Paul Krugman: The Big Fail

It’s that time again: the annual meeting of the American Economic Association and affiliates, a sort of medieval fair that serves as a marketplace for bodies (newly minted Ph.D.’s in search of jobs), books and ideas. And this year, as in past meetings, there is one theme dominating discussion: the ongoing economic crisis.

This isn’t how things were supposed to be. If you had polled the economists attending this meeting three years ago, most of them would surely have predicted that by now we’d be talking about how the great slump ended, not why it still continues.

So what went wrong? The answer, mainly, is the triumph of bad ideas.

New York Times Editorial: The Next Round of Tax Increases

When the White House announced the deal on the fiscal cliff last week, it was quick – and correct – to note that much was left undone. There was still “substantial” room, the administration said, to raise taxes on high-income Americans, to reform corporate taxes and to reform entitlements, with the aim of “balanced” deficit reduction.

The White House seems to think the deal has established a firm foundation for building a new fiscal house. In fact, the deal could make tax reform less likely. And without reform to raise new revenue, deficit reduction would have to rely heavily on spending cuts, an outcome that can be averted only by persuasive and sustained leadership from President Obama.

Mark Weibrot: Why Paul Krugman Should Be President Obama’s Pick for US Treasury Secretary

Not only is he the world’s best-known economist, Krugman has the intellect and integrity to resist Wall Street’s calls for austerity

President Obama hasn’t picked a treasury secretary yet for his second term, so he has a chance to do something different.

He could ignore what Wall Street and conservative media interests want and pick somebody who would represent what the electorate voted for. And not even just the people who voted for him: there are a lot of Republican voters out there who are also unemployed.

It would be great to have a treasury secretary who can cut through all that crap. And since most of Wall Street’s money went to Republican nominee Mitt Romney in the run-up to the November election, Obama doesn’t owe anything to the people who crashed our economy and are now fighting to make senior citizens, working and poor people reduce their living standards.

The renowned actor and human rights activist Danny Glover has launched a petition to the president for him to nominate Paul Krugman for secretary of the treasury. It’s worth signing.

Michael Moore: Six Years Ago, Chuck Hagel Told the Truth About Iraq

You might have seen that on Monday President Obama will likely nominate former Sen. Chuck Hagel, a Nebraska Republican, to be Secretary of Defense.

But what you probably haven’t seen — because everyone has forgotten — is that back in 2007, Chuck Hagel went totally crazy and told the truth about our invasion of Iraq. Here’s what he said:

   People say we’re not fighting for oil. Of course we are. They talk about America’s national interest. What the hell do you think they’re talking about? We’re not there for figs.

Robert Reich: The Hoax of Entitlement Reform

It has become accepted economic wisdom, uttered with deadpan certainty by policy pundits and budget scolds on both sides of the aisle, that the only way to get control over America’s looming deficits is to “reform entitlements.”

But the accepted wisdom is wrong. [..]

Taming future deficits requires three steps having nothing to do with entitlements: Limiting the growth of overall healthcare costs, cutting our bloated military, and ending corporate welfare (tax breaks and subsidies targeted to particular firms and industries).

Robert Kuttner: The Jobs Numbers and the Deficit

The private sector created 155,000 jobs in December, almost exactly the average for the 11 previous months of 2012 and for all of 2011. Once again, it is a record far too weak to produce real progress towards either an adequate recovery or decent growth in wages and salaries. At this rate of job creation, according to the Economic Policy Institute, it will take another decade to get back to the employment rate of early 2008.

According to the Labor Department, there were 7.5 million net jobs lost in the recession, and a gain of only 3.5 million net jobs so far in the recovery. We have 4 million fewer jobs now than five years ago, and a much larger labor force.

Consider the connection between these tepid job figures and the debate that still occupies center-stage in Washington — deficit reduction. Supposedly, businesses are not creating enough jobs because business leaders are anxious about the Federal debt.

Jan 07 2013

On This Day In History January 7

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.

January 7 is the seventh day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. There are 358 days remaining until the end of the year (359 in leap years).

On this day in 1789, the first US presidential election is held.  The United States presidential election of 1789 was the first presidential election in the United States of America. The election took place following the ratification of the United States Constitution in 1788. In this election, George Washington was elected for the first of his two terms as President of the United States, and John Adams became the first Vice President of the United States.

Before this election, the United States had no chief executive. Under the previous system-the Articles of Confederation-the national government was headed by the Confederation Congress, which had a ceremonial presiding officer and several executive departments, but no independent executive branch.

In this election, the enormously popular Washington essentially ran unopposed. The only real issue to be decided was who would be chosen as vice president. Under the system then in place, each elector cast two votes; if a person received a vote from a majority of the electors, that person became president, and the runner-up became vice president. All 69 electors cast one vote each for Washington. Their other votes were divided among eleven other candidates; John Adams received the most, becoming vice president. The Twelfth Amendment, ratified in 1804, would change this procedure, requiring each elector to cast distinct votes for president and vice president.

In the absence of conventions, there was no formal nomination process. The framers of the Constitution had presumed that Washington would be the first president, and once he agreed to come out of retirement to accept the office, there was no opposition to him. Individual states chose their electors, who voted all together for Washington when they met.

Electors used their second vote to cast a scattering of votes, many voting for someone besides Adams with Alexander Hamilton less out of opposition to him than to prevent Adams from matching Washington’s total.

Only ten states out of the original thirteen cast electoral votes in this election. North Carolina and Rhode Island were ineligible to participate as they had not yet ratified the United States Constitution. New York failed to appoint its allotment of eight electors because of a deadlock in the state legislature.

Jan 07 2013

Pique the Geek 20130106: Magnesium — Common and Essential

Magnesium, with a Z = 12, is an extremely common element in the crust of the earth, but it is never found in nature in the elemental state.  It is the second member, after beryllium, in the alkaline earth series of elements.  It is above calcium in that same group, and has significant biological roles.

As is the general trend for elements on the left hand of periodic table, magnesium is less reactive than calcium, just as beryllium is less reactive than magnesium.  This is due to the fact that elements in the first and second columns have their electrons more tightly bound the higher in the column they appear because of less shielding from other electron shells.