Daily Archive: 11/17/2013

Nov 17 2013

Rant of the Week: Jon Stewart: Tower Record

Jon Stewart: Tower Record

Let me explain something, deep-dish pizza is not only not better than New York pizza. It’s not pizza. It’s a f***ing casserole!

Let me add this, if you can’t pick it up in one hand and have to eat it with a fork, it isn’t pizza.

Rahm Emanuel Sends Jon Stewart And ‘Daily Show’ ‘Deep Dish With Dead Fish’ After Pizza Fight

Apparently dead fish are Rahm Emanuel’s version of an olive branch. [..]

In a nod to one of his most infamous political shenanigans, Chicago’s mayor made sure the deep-dish pies were topped with dead fish (y’ know, anchovies). [..]

Yet as much as the feisty mayor wanted the last word, Stewart and company were having none of it. Their response to Emanuel’s “peace” offering? A Vine video showing a pooch turning his nose up at the delicious pie.

Nov 17 2013

Formula One 2013: Circuit of the Americas

So, remember Ronnie Reagan?  You know, that senile old actor who sold missiles to our sworn enemies the terrorist sponsoring, embassy despoiling, nuclear developing state of Iran gift wrapped with a cake and a Bible and a perfectly high profile secret spilling hostage NSC head just so he could get a little off the books money so he could finance his own nun killing anti-communist secret terrorist army?

Neither do I.

Nor does Bernie apparently.

Bernie Ecclestone admits to memory loss over details of Formula One reign

Paul Weaver, The Guardian

Monday 11 November 2013 16.22 EST

Bernie Ecclestone told the high court in London on Monday: “I have a bit of a difficulty to remember what happened last week.” The Formula One chief executive, who was 83 last month, was facing his fourth day of questioning in the case brought by Constantin Medien.

The German media company claims that Ecclestone undervalued Formula One when it was sold to the private equity group CVC Capital Partners and that he colluded with the German banker Gerhard Gribkowsky – who was jailed last year for eight and a half years – to keep control of the sport. Ecclestone denies wrongdoing.



Earlier, when asked about CVC’s purchase of a controlling interest in Formula One in 2005, a hesitant Ecclestone replied: “By the look of this I – dates – I’m sorry, I can’t keep up with these days.”

Ecclestone also had difficulty remembering a meeting he allegedly had last year, at the time of the jailing of Gribkowksy. Ecclestone and three other parties are accused of paying $44m in bribes to Gribkowsky to undervalue F1 when it was sold to CVC.

But when asked about the meeting, Ecclestone, after a pause, replied: “I don’t remember what the meeting was for but, if you – I don’t remember the meeting but, if you said – I have hundreds of meetings a month but, if you said there was a meeting, there obviously was a meeting but I don’t remember what it was for.”



Asked whether the case is damaging for Formula One, Ecclestone said: “I don’t think so. It’s good because a lot of facts come out of it.”

Sigh.

And nothing to see here-

Lawyer of Bernie Ecclestone’s ex-wife briefly suspected F1 chief had orchestrated robbery at his home

By Tom Cary, The Telegraph

10:17PM GMT 15 Nov 2013

Stephen Mullens, a former legal advisor to the Ecclestone family trust, and his wife and children were subjected to a “horrific” robbery in 2009 that he suspected may have been orchestrated by Bernie Ecclestone himself, a court has been told.



Recounting the robbery on Thursday at the High Court, where Mullens and Ecclestone are co-defendants in a $140 million damages claim brought by German media firm Constantin Medien, Mullens said that he was ready to “change my life, give up my practice and leave the country”, so traumatised was he by the experience which happened in April 2009.



Ecclestone, Mullens and Bambino are defendants in Constantin Medien’s lawsuit, which claims that they paid a total of $44m in bribes to German banker Gerhard Gribkowsky in order to steer the 2005 sale of Formula One to its current owners CVC Capital Partners.

Constantin claims that Formula One was purposefully undervalued by Gribkowsky, and that it lost out on a hefty commission as a result.

Ecclestone and Mullens deny the charges, claiming that they paid Gribkowsky to keep him quiet after he threatened to go to the UK tax authorities and make false claims regarding Ecclestone’s control of Bambino.

Bernie Ecclestone court case sees F1 deal-making under scrutiny

Richard Conway, BBC

The case stems from a claim for £90m in damages by Constantin Medien, a German media company that says it lost out because of a “corrupt bargain” when a stake in Formula 1 was sold in 2006.

,,,

But when a verdict finally comes in this case, it will not mark the end of Ecclestone’s legal issues.

A £400m civil case related to the 2006 sale is waiting to be heard in the United States.

And then early next year a German criminal court will decide whether Ecclestone should stand trial on bribery charges related to payments made to Gerhard Gribkowsky.

Gribkowsky, a German banker who was a central figure in the sale of the shares to CVC, is currently serving an eight-year jail term for being in receipt of corrupt payments.

Ecclestone denied in court this week that the £10m he personally provided to Gribkowsky was a bribe and said it was unrelated to the Formula 1 sale.



The job, it transpired, was to ensure Mr Gribkowsky didn’t “shake him down” by talking to the UK tax authorities about the structure of his family’s financial trust, Bambino.

The evidence heard in court so far has shone a light on how business and deals are conducted within Formula 1 – with everything from the Concorde agreement between the F1 teams and the sport’s governing body and commercial arm to the potential for a rival breakaway series under discussion.

Well, at least it’s not global thermonuclear war or anything like that in the hands of a senile old rich man.

Tires on offer are the Hards and Mediums (which show no particular speed advantage).  Top 10 will all start used Mediums.

Engine failures are a possibility as the track is fast and has considerable elevation changes that are not visible on TV.

Live coverage is on NBC main.

Nov 17 2013

On This Day In History November 17

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 17 is the 321st day of the year (322nd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 44 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1558, Queen Mary I, the monarch of England and Ireland since 1553, dies and is succeeded by her 25-year-old half-sister, Elizabeth.

Elizabeth became queen at the age of 25, and upon hearing of her accession to the throne, she is reputed to have quoted the 118th Psalm’s twenty-third line, in Latin: “A Dominum factum est illud, et est mirabile in oculis notris” – “It is the Lord’s doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes.”

On 20 November 1558, Elizabeth declared her intentions to her Council and other peers who had come to Hatfield to swear allegiance. The speech contains the first record of her adoption of the mediaeval political theology of the sovereign’s “two bodies”: the body natural and the body politic:

My lords, the law of nature moves me to sorrow for my sister; the burden that is fallen upon me makes me amazed, and yet, considering I am God’s creature, ordained to obey His appointment, I will thereto yield, desiring from the bottom of my heart that I may have assistance of His grace to be the minister of His heavenly will in this office now committed to me. And as I am but one body naturally considered, though by His permission a body politic to govern, so shall I desire you all…to be assistant to me, that I with my ruling and you with your service may make a good account to Almighty God and leave some comfort to our posterity on earth. I mean to direct all my actions by good advice and counsel.

As her triumphal progress wound through the city on the eve of the coronation ceremony, she was welcomed wholeheartedly by the citizens and greeted by orations and pageants, most with a strong Protestant flavour. Elizabeth’s open and gracious responses endeared her to the spectators, who were “wonderfully ravished”. The following day, 15 January 1559, Elizabeth was crowned at Westminster Abbey and anointed by the Catholic bishop of Carlisle. She was then presented for the people’s acceptance, amidst a deafening noise of organs, fifes, trumpets, drums, and bells.

The Elizabethan era was a time associated with Queen Elizabeth I’s reign (1558-1603) and is often considered to be the golden age in English history. It was the height of the English Renaissance and saw the flowering of English poetry, music and literature. This was also the time during which Elizabethan theatre flourished, and William Shakespeare and many others composed plays that broke free of England’s past style of plays and theatre. It was an age of exploration and expansion abroad, while back at home, the Protestant Reformation became more acceptable to the people, most certainly after the Spanish Armada was repulsed. It was also the end of the period when England was a separate realm before its royal union with Scotland.

The Elizabethan Age is viewed so highly because of the periods before and after. It was a brief period of largely internal peace between the English Reformation and the battles between Protestants and Catholics and the battles between parliament and the monarchy that engulfed the seventeenth century. The Protestant/Catholic divide was settled, for a time, by the Elizabethan Religious Settlement, and parliament was not yet strong enough to challenge royal absolutism. England was also well-off compared to the other nations of Europe. The Italian Renaissance had come to an end under the weight of foreign domination of the peninsula. France was embroiled in its own religious battles that would only be settled in 1598 with the Edict of Nantes. In part because of this, but also because the English had been expelled from their last outposts on the continent, the centuries long conflict between France and England was largely suspended for most of Elizabeth’s reign.

The one great rival was Spain, with which England clashed both in Europe and the Americas in skirmishes that exploded into the Anglo-Spanish War of 1585-1604. An attempt by Philip II of Spain to invade England with the Spanish Armada in 1588 was famously defeated, but the tide of war turned against England with an unsuccessful expedition to Portugal and the Azores, the Drake-Norris Expedition of 1589. Thereafter Spain provided some support for Irish Catholics in a debilitating rebellion against English rule, and Spanish naval and land forces inflicted a series of reversals against English offensives. This drained both the English Exchequer and economy that had been so carefully restored under Elizabeth’s prudent guidance. English commercial and territorial expansion would be limited until the signing of the Treaty of London the year following Elizabeth’s death.

England during this period had a centralised, well-organised, and effective government, largely a result of the reforms of Henry VII and Henry VIII. Economically, the country began to benefit greatly from the new era of trans-Atlantic trade.

Nov 17 2013

Anti-Capitalist Meetup: Feb 23, 1903 Mother Jones and the Massacre of the Raleigh County Miners

By JayRae:

 

“Has anyone ever told you, my children, about the lives you are living…?”

 

Mother Mary Harris Jones

 Mother Jones The Miners Angel
 

Let us stop and consider, for a moment, what would cause thousands of miners to lay down their tools and go out on strike, when striking meant homelessness and hunger for themselves and their families. Striking also brought down upon them the terror of the company guards, heavily armed deputies (often one and the same), state militia, bullpens, raids, court injunctions, and the wrath of the capitalistic press. In 1897, Mother Jones was in West Virginia traveling and speaking to miners and their families. John Walker of the United Mine Workers of America was traveling with her. In 1904, a reporter who had accompanied her wrote this account of one of her speeches:

 

“Has any one ever told you, my children, about the lives you are living, more so that you may understand how it is you pass your days on earth? Have you told each other about it and thought it over among yourselves, so that you might imagine a brighter day and begin to bring it to pass? If no one has done so, I will do it for you today. I want you to see yourselves as you are, Mothers and children, and to think if it is not time you look on yourselves, and upon each other. Let us consider this together, for I am on of you, and I know what it is to suffer.” So the old lady, standing very quietly in her deep, far-reaching voice, painted a picture of the life of a miner from his young boyhood to his old age. It was a vivid picture. She talked of the first introduction a boy had to those dismal caves under the earth, dripping with moisture often so low that he must crawl into the coal veins; most lie on his back to work. She told how miners stood bent over until the back ached too much to straighten, or in sulpher water that ate through the shoes and made sores on the flesh; how their hands became cracked and the nails broken off in the quick; how the bit of bacon and beans in the dinner pail failed to stop the craving of their empty stomachs, and the thought of the barefoot children, at home and the sick mother was all too dreary to make the homegoing a cheerful one…. by JayRaye And so, while he smoked, the miner thought how he could never own a home, were it ever so humble; how he could not make his wife happy, or his children any better than himself, and how he must get up in the morning and go through it all again; how that some day the fall of rock would come or the rheumatism cripple him; that Mary herself might die and leave him, and some day there would be no longer for him even the job that was so hard and old age and hunger and pain would be his lot. And why, because some other human beings, no more the sons of God than the coal diggers, broke the commandment of God which says, “Thou shalt not steal.” and took from the toiler all the wealth which he created, all but enough to keep him alive for a period of years through which he might toil for their advantage. “You pity yourselves, but you do not pity your brothers, or you would stand together to help on another,” said “Mother” Jones. And then in an impassioned vein she called upon them to awaken their minds so that they might live another life. As she ceased speaking men and women looked at each other with shamed faces, for almost every one had been weeping. and suddenly a man pushed his way through the crowd. He was sniveling on his coat sleeve, but he cried out hoarsely: “You, John Walker; don't you go tell us that 'ere's 'Mother' Jones. That's Jesus Christ come down on earth again , and saying he's an old woman so he can come here and talk to us poor devils. God, God-nobody else knows what the poor suffer that way.” The man was quieted by his wife and led away, while “Mother” Jones looked after him with dilating eyes, and then broke out fiercely in one of her characteristically impassioned appeals for organization. The reporter feared the outbreak was too sacrilegious for publication….

Nov 17 2013

Anti-Capitalist Meetup: Feb 23, 1903 Mother Jones and the Massacre of the Raleigh County Miners

By JayRae:

 

“Has anyone ever told you, my children, about the lives you are living…?”

 

Mother Mary Harris Jones

 Mother Jones The Miners Angel
 

Let us stop and consider, for a moment, what would cause thousands of miners to lay down their tools and go out on strike, when striking meant homelessness and hunger for themselves and their families. Striking also brought down upon them the terror of the company guards, heavily armed deputies (often one and the same), state militia, bullpens, raids, court injunctions, and the wrath of the capitalistic press. In 1897, Mother Jones was in West Virginia traveling and speaking to miners and their families. John Walker of the United Mine Workers of America was traveling with her. In 1904, a reporter who had accompanied her wrote this account of one of her speeches:

 

“Has any one ever told you, my children, about the lives you are living, more so that you may understand how it is you pass your days on earth? Have you told each other about it and thought it over among yourselves, so that you might imagine a brighter day and begin to bring it to pass? If no one has done so, I will do it for you today. I want you to see yourselves as you are, Mothers and children, and to think if it is not time you look on yourselves, and upon each other. Let us consider this together, for I am on of you, and I know what it is to suffer.” So the old lady, standing very quietly in her deep, far-reaching voice, painted a picture of the life of a miner from his young boyhood to his old age. It was a vivid picture. She talked of the first introduction a boy had to those dismal caves under the earth, dripping with moisture often so low that he must crawl into the coal veins; most lie on his back to work. She told how miners stood bent over until the back ached too much to straighten, or in sulpher water that ate through the shoes and made sores on the flesh; how their hands became cracked and the nails broken off in the quick; how the bit of bacon and beans in the dinner pail failed to stop the craving of their empty stomachs, and the thought of the barefoot children, at home and the sick mother was all too dreary to make the homegoing a cheerful one…. by JayRaye And so, while he smoked, the miner thought how he could never own a home, were it ever so humble; how he could not make his wife happy, or his children any better than himself, and how he must get up in the morning and go through it all again; how that some day the fall of rock would come or the rheumatism cripple him; that Mary herself might die and leave him, and some day there would be no longer for him even the job that was so hard and old age and hunger and pain would be his lot. And why, because some other human beings, no more the sons of God than the coal diggers, broke the commandment of God which says, “Thou shalt not steal.” and took from the toiler all the wealth which he created, all but enough to keep him alive for a period of years through which he might toil for their advantage. “You pity yourselves, but you do not pity your brothers, or you would stand together to help on another,” said “Mother” Jones. And then in an impassioned vein she called upon them to awaken their minds so that they might live another life. As she ceased speaking men and women looked at each other with shamed faces, for almost every one had been weeping. and suddenly a man pushed his way through the crowd. He was sniveling on his coat sleeve, but he cried out hoarsely: “You, John Walker; don't you go tell us that 'ere's 'Mother' Jones. That's Jesus Christ come down on earth again , and saying he's an old woman so he can come here and talk to us poor devils. God, God-nobody else knows what the poor suffer that way.” The man was quieted by his wife and led away, while “Mother” Jones looked after him with dilating eyes, and then broke out fiercely in one of her characteristically impassioned appeals for organization. The reporter feared the outbreak was too sacrilegious for publication….

Nov 17 2013

The Obama Management Style

The piece speaks for itself, as what I choose to highlight so often does.  That is my style, to draw your attention to articles of significance and interest and construct from them a narrative, a story that encapsulates a truth about our current situation.  After all, who are you going to believe?  Me, or your own lying eyes?

I expect that some that read this will be as outraged as I am, others (equally outraged) will spring forth in defense of a President and his intimate staff who choose to immerse themselves in a West Wing bubble no less insular and irrelevant than the Imperial Court of the Forbidden City.

I have rightly called Politico Tiger Beat on the Potomac after the fashion of  Charles Pierce because of its attention to process and personality instead of politics or policy and there is no denying their conservative point of view in a Village that is essentially composed of aristocrats and courtiers, but unlike the stridently partisan depictions of this President and his Administration as do nothing layabouts who lounge all day in their sweats watching Hoopies this one has the air of authenticity even though composed by the same Rolodex stenography I frequently decry.

Maybe better than I can distill it to a few paragraphs, but the rot is so pervasive I can’t easily summarize it.  It is a tale of corruption and greed and disorganization and indifference that touches so many policies and actions that it is hard to condense.

I’ll introduce it as the author does with the tale of Steven Chu, but you should read the whole thing.  This is not an isolated incident.

Locked in the Cabinet

By GLENN THRUSH, Politico Magazine

November 2013

Steven Chu is a Nobel Prize-winning physicist, a brilliant innovator whose research fills several all-but-incomprehensible paragraphs of a Wikipedia entry that spans his achievements in single-molecule physics, the slowing of atoms through the use of lasers and the invention of something called an “optical tweezer.” President Barack Obama even credits Chu with solving the 2010 Gulf oil spill, claiming that Chu strolled into BP’s office and “essentially designed the cap that ultimately worked.” With rare exception, Chu is the smartest guy in the room, and that includes the Cabinet Room, which he occupied uneasily as secretary of energy from 2009 to the spring of 2013.

But the president’s aides didn’t quite see Chu that way. He might have been the only Obama administration official with a Nobel other than the president himself, but inside the West Wing of the White House Chu was considered a smart guy who said lots of stupid things, a genius with an appallingly low political IQ-“clueless,” as deputy chief of staff Jim Messina would tell colleagues at the time.

In April 2009, Chu joined Obama’s entourage for one of the administration’s first overseas trips, to Trinidad and Tobago for a Summit of the Americas focused on economic development. Chu was not scheduled to address the media, but reporters kept bugging Josh Earnest, a young staffer, who sheepishly approached his boss, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs, with the ask. “No way,” Gibbs told him.

“Come on,” Earnest said. “The guy came all the way down here. Why don’t we just have him talk about all the stuff he’s doing?”

Gibbs reluctantly assented. Then Chu took the podium to tell the tiny island nation that it might soon, sorry to say, be underwater-which not only insulted the good people of Trinidad and Tobago but also raised the climate issue at a time when the White House wanted the economy, and the economy only, on the front burner. “I think the Caribbean countries face rising oceans, and they face increase in the severity of hurricanes,” Chu said. “This is something that is very, very scary to all of us. … The island states … some of them will disappear.”

Earnest slunk backstage. “OK, we’ll never do that again,” he said as Gibbs glared. A phone rang. It was White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel calling Messina to snarl, “If you don’t kill [Chu], I’m going to.”

As Air Force One headed back to Washington, Messina found Chu-who has “no recollection” of this exchange, a person close to him says-sitting at the long table in the plane’s conference room. “What did you say?” Messina demanded, according to a witness. “What were you thinking?” he yelled. “And how, exactly, was this fucking on message?”



The staffers who rule Obama’s West Wing often treat his Cabinet as a nuisance: At the top of the pecking order are the celebrity power players, like former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, to be warily managed; at the bottom, what they see as a bunch of well-intentioned political naifs only a lip-slip away from derailing the president’s agenda. Chu might have been the first Obama Cabinet secretary to earn the disdain of White House aides, but he was hardly the last.

“We are completely marginalized … until the shit hits the fan,” says one former Cabinet deputy secretary, summing up the view of many officials I interviewed. “If your question is: Did the president rely a lot on his Cabinet as a group of advisers? No, he didn’t,” says former Obama Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.



“Going into D.C., I didn’t know the political side. I knew the science and technology side,” recalls Chu, who today professes thinly veiled disdain for the people who “hover around”-the political types who felt little compunction about condescending to a Nobel Prize winner. “It took me a while to realize that one’s own instincts and judgments are sometimes better than the people that have been on the scene for a while.”

Nov 17 2013

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”.

Follow us on Twitter @StarsHollowGzt

The Sunday Talking Heads:

Up with Steve Kornacki: Steve’s guests for Sunday were not available on the wseb site.

This Week with George Stephanopolis: The guests on “This Week” are: Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY); Gov. Scott Walker (R-WI); and the founder of security contractor Blackwater USA Erik Prince discusses his new book.

At the roundtable, the guests are Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL); PBS “NewsHour” co-host and managing editor Gwen Ifill; former Obama White House senior adviser and ABC News contributor David Plouffe; ABC News political analyst Matthew Dowd; former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean; and Wall Street Journal foreign affairs columnist Bret Stephens.

On the upcoming 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, ABC News Chief National Correspondent Byron Pitts; JFK nephew Patrick Kennedy; and documentary filmmaker Ken Burns look at JFK’s life, death and legacy.

Face the Nation with Bob Schieffer: Mr. SChieffer’s guests are Luci Baines Johnson, Lyndon B. Johnson’s youngest daughter; Hugh Aynesworth of the Dallas Morning News; Mike Cochran of the Associated Press; Dr. Ronald Jones, the surgeon who treated both President Kennedy and his assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald, at Parkland Hospital; Thurston Clarke, author of “Kennedy’s Last 100 Days;” Larry Sabato, author of “The Kennedy Half Century;” Douglas Brinkley, author of “Cronkite;” Peggy Noonan of the Wall Street Journal; and Harvard University’s David Gergen.

Meet the Press with David Gregory: This Sunday’s guests on MTP are House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA); and  Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH).

At the roundtable the panelists are NBC Special Correspondent Tom Brokaw; Washington Post columnist Kathleen Parker; Republican Strategist Mike Murphy; and host of MSNBC’s “Hardball,” Chris Matthews.

State of the Union with Candy Crowley: Ms. Crowley’s guests are Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu; Republican Senator John Barrasso and Democratic Congressman James Clyburn.

Joining her for a panel discussion are Crossfire Host Van Jones; CNN Commentator Ross Douthat; and Amy Walter from the Cook Political Report.

Nov 17 2013

Six In The Morning

On Sunday

Philippines typhoon survivors attend church services

17 November 2013 Last updated at 06:10 GMT

The BBC

Thousands of grieving survivors have attended church services in areas of the Philippines devastated by Typhoon Haiyan nine days ago.

In many places, including the mostly flattened city of Tacloban in Leyte province, Masses were held in half-destroyed and flooded churches.

The international aid effort is starting to have a major impact, with Britain’s HMS Daring warship joining the huge relief operation.

Haiyan killed more than 3,600 people.

The typhoon – which had some of the strongest winds ever recorded on land – also left about 500,000 people homeless.




Sunday’s Headlines:

Deaths in assault on China police station

Camila Vallejo, student leader, gets ready for a seat in Chilean congress

France’s flood of anti-left hoaxes: These stories are gripping the nation, but you won’t find them in the papers…

Muslim Brotherhood up for talks to end post-Morsi crisis

Special Report: Indonesia’s graftbusters battle the establishment

Nov 17 2013

Three Things On The Internet

The team of All In with Chris Hayes puts out a daily request on Twitter asking their followers to send them the things they find most interesting on the internet. These are their finds for November 15, 2013.

1. BatKid saves the day & melts your heart;

2. An NBA melody;

3. Van Damme doing splits all over the place.