08/24/2010 archive

That Pesky Window and the Stopped Clock


What is it that the Democrats do not understand about Negotiating 101? Peter Daou states it succinctly how the Republicans have dominated the debate and why the Democrats fail so miserably

There is a simple formula for rightwing dominance of our national debate, even when Democrats are in charge: move the conversation as extreme right as possible, then compromise toward the far right. It’s negotiation 101.

The Democrats just don’t get it.

House Minority Leader, John Boehner will call for the resignations of Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner and White House Economic Advisor, Larry Summers. While I can’t disagree with him, since I thought the appointment of these two was wrong from the start, Boehner is doing it for all the wrong reasons because everything that Geithner and Summers have done so far is almost exactly what the Republicans would have done were they in power, continuing the banking and financial industry bail outs, watering down Financial regulation and cutting the stimulus bill to making it ineffective in creating jobs. It’s almost like these two are “moles” for the Republicans but Boehner is making them the starting point of the conversation. While the media mentions that Boehner supports the renewal of the Bush tax cuts to “to sparking job growth”, they failed to mention that those cuts have been in effect for the last 10 years and have failed to stimulate the economy or create jobs. The Democrats need to hammer that home, instead they waffle

It is no wonder, as Daou continues to point out,

it matters not one iota if Obama is a progressive at heart. What matters is that Democrats run away from the left like it’s the plague while Republican run to the right like it’s nirvana. The net effect is that the media end up reporting far right positions as though they were mainstream and reporting liberal positions as thought they were heinous aberrations. And you wonder why America is veering off the rails?

The left can’t push that pesky Overton Window to the middle so long as they continue to muddle the negotiations and allow, as David Waldman called Boehner, a “Stopped Clockwork Orange”, to dominate the bargaining table.

h/t Corrente

Punting the Pundits

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.

Eugene Robinson: The right-wing, blinded by its own hysteria

When did the loudmouths of the American right become such a bunch of fraidy-cats and professional victims? Or is it all just an act?

The hysteria over plans for an innocuous Muslim community center in Lower Manhattan — two blocks from Ground Zero, amid an urban hodgepodge of office buildings, eateries and strip clubs — is wildly out of proportion. It would be laughable if it didn’t threaten to do great harm to the global campaign against Islamic terrorism.

It is by now firmly established that the project, dubbed Park51, is promoted by a peacenik Muslim cleric whose sermons often sound a bit like the musings of new-age guru Deepak Chopra. It is also undisputed fact that the imam in question, Feisal Abdul Rauf, is such a moderate that the U.S. government regularly sends him as an emissary to Muslim countries to preach peace, coexistence and dialogue.

Yet right-wing commentators and politicians have twisted themselves in knots to portray the Park51 project as a grievous assault — and “the American people” as victims. Victims of what? Rauf’s sinister plot to despoil the city with a fitness center, a swimming pool and — shudder — a space for the performing arts?

Media Matters for America:

No. 2 shareholder of Fox News’ parent company has funded Park51 planner

News Corp. double standard: Saudi funding OK for them but not for Park51

News Corp. partners with Saudi prince who Fox News lambasted

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart
The Parent Company Trap
Daily Show Full Episodes Political Humor Tea Party

Why Park51 is Important

Folks, it’s all the same bigotry.  The fact of the matter is that it’s the same 20% reliable Republican Teabaggers who are still fighting for Nathan Bedford Forrest’s KKK Nation of White Male Aryan supremacy.

I have all the taints traits that would enable me to walk among them as a Master of the Universe, but I’m a Class Traitor and proud of it.  These bigots need to be beaten back into the dust of the defeat of Appomattox, they obviously didn’t get it the first time because of their boneheaded idiocy.  All people are created equal and your position of privilege as an accident of birth does not confer a special nobility.  That attitude needs to be eradicated.

This is class warfare and were I an investing man I’d go long on Guillotines.

The "mosque" debate is not a "distraction"

By Glenn Greenwald, Salon

Monday, Aug 23, 2010 07:24 ET

This is like a metastasized anti-Semitism.  That’s what we feel right now. It’s not even Islamophobia; it’s beyond Islamophobia. It’s hate of Muslims, and we are deeply concerned.

Can anyone watch the video of that disgusting hate rally and dispute that?  That’s exactly why I’ve found this conflict so significant.  If Park51 ends up moving or if opponents otherwise succeed in defeating it, it will seriously bolster and validate the ugly premises at the heart of this campaign:  that Muslims generally are responsible for 9/11, Terrorism justifies and even compels our restricting the equals rights and access of Americans Muslims, and more broadly, the animosity and suspicions towards Muslims generally are justified, or at least deserving of respect.  As Aziz Poonawalla put it:  “if the project does fail, then I think that the message that will be sent is that bigotry and fear of Muslims is not just permitted, it is effective.”

That’s exactly the message that will be sent, and that’s what makes this conflict so significant.  Obviously, not all opponents of Park51 are as overtly hateful as those in that video — and not all opponents are themselves bigots — but the position they’ve adopted is inherently bigoted, as it seeks to impose guilt and blame on a large demographic group for the aberrational acts of a small number of individual members.   And one thing is certain:  if this campaign succeeds, it will proliferate and the sentiments driving it will become even more potent.  Hatemongers always become emboldened when they triumph.

The animosity and hatred so visible here extends far beyond the location of mosques or even how we treat American Muslims.  So many of our national abuses, crimes and other excesses of the last decade — torture, invasions, bombings, illegal surveillance, assassinations, renditions, disappearances, etc. etc. — are grounded in endless demonization of Muslims.  A citizenry will submit to such policies only if they are vested with sufficient fear of an Enemy.  There are, as always, a wide array of enemies capable of producing substantial fear (the Immigrants, the Gays, and, as that video reveals, the always-reliable racial minorities), but the leading Enemy over the last decade, in American political discourse, has been, and still is, the Muslim.

It’s all the same culture war

by Amanda Marcotte

Friday, August 20, 2010

When they talk about the “liberal elite”, they mean white class traitors who find their tribalism stupid.  Since you can’t tell white people apart just by looking at us, they invest a lot into singling out tribal markers of the liberal elite and shunning them.  Which is why you have some wingnut showing up in my threads about my CSA here and bragging about how he eats McDonald’s all the time.  The point is to make it clear that he would rather have a heart attack than associate with the class and race traitors who have what he considers feminized habits.  But as Rick Perlstein has documented, this anger and hatred is spiked through with jealousy.  Feelings of insecurity just cause more freaking out, which is why you get the “our women are hotter!!!!!” nonsense.  It’s kind of the natural reaction when you’ve cast your enemies as people who lives lives of sensual pleasure and good health, lives that you shun but are hard not to want sometimes for the obvious reasons.  So, defensive childish reactions.*

On This Day in History: August 24

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

August 24 is the 236th day of the year (237th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 129 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 79 A.D., Mount Vesuvius erupted burying the cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum in nearly thirty feet of ash and pumice. The toxic gases killed at least 2200 people who remained in Pompeii after the evacuation.

After centuries of dormancy, Mount Vesuvius erupts in southern Italy, devastating the prosperous Roman cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum and killing thousands. The cities, buried under a thick layer of volcanic material and mud, were never rebuilt and largely forgotten in the course of history. In the 18th century, Pompeii and Herculaneum were rediscovered and excavated, providing an unprecedented archaeological record of the everyday life of an ancient civilization, startlingly preserved in sudden death.

At noon on August 24, 79 A.D., this pleasure and prosperity came to an end when the peak of Mount Vesuvius exploded, propelling a 10-mile mushroom cloud of ash and pumice into the stratosphere. For the next 12 hours, volcanic ash and a hail of pumice stones up to 3 inches in diameter showered Pompeii, forcing the city’s occupants to flee in terror. Some 2,000 people stayed in Pompeii, holed up in cellars or stone structures, hoping to wait out the eruption.

A westerly wind protected Herculaneum from the initial stage of the eruption, but then a giant cloud of hot ash and gas surged down the western flank of Vesuvius, engulfing the city and burning or asphyxiating all who remained. This lethal cloud was followed by a flood of volcanic mud and rock, burying the city.

The people who remained in Pompeii were killed on the morning of August 25 when a cloud of toxic gas poured into the city, suffocating all that remained. A flow of rock and ash followed, collapsing roofs and walls and burying the dead.

Plaster Citizens of Pompeii

Those that did not flee the city of Pompeii in August of 79 AD were doomed. Buried for 1700 years under 30 feet of mud and ash and reduced by the centuries to skeletons, they remained entombed until excavations in the early 1800s.

As excavators continued to uncovered human remains, they noticed that the skeletons were surrounded by voids in the compacted ash. By carefully pouring plaster of Paris into the spaces, the final poses, clothing, and faces of the last residents of Pompeii came to life.

n the only known eye witness account to the eruption, Pliny the Younger reported on his uncle’s ill-fated foray into the thick of the ash from Misenum, on the north end of the bay:

“. . .the buildings were now shaking with violent shocks, and seemed to be swaying to and fro as if they were torn from their foundations. Outside, on the other hand, there was the danger of failing pumice stones, even though these were light and porous; however, after comparing the risks they chose the latter. In my uncle’s case one reason outweighed the other, but for the others it was a choice of fears. As a protection against falling objects they put pillows on their heads tied down with cloths. ”

And then:

“You could hear the shrieks of women, the wailing of infants, and the shouting of men; some were calling their parents, others their children or their wives, trying to recognize them by their voices. People bewailed their own fate or that of their relatives, and there were some who prayed for death in their terror of dying. Many besought the aid of the gods, but still more imagined there were no gods left, and that the universe was plunged into eternal darkness for evermore.”


Morning Shinbun Tuesday August 24

Tuesday’s Headlines:

Billions of aid dollars buy U.S. little goodwill in Pakistan

Inside a celestial super-volcano


Pesky shareholder activists gain influence

State Department details Blackwater violations of U.S. laws


Prosecutors may decide today on charges against WikiLeaks founder

British critic unlikely to find leniency in Singapore court

Middle East

Egyptians prepare for life after Mubarak

Iraqi Army trains Kurdish forces as part of U.S. integration plan


Pakistan in political crisis amid allegations of flooding aid corruption

India rejects Vedanta mine plans for Orissa


Zuma’s media censorship ‘is like going back to Apartheid era’

Reports of mass rape by DRC rebels

Latin America

Trapped Chile miners receive food and water

Prime Time

Welcome to the loser’s bracket.  Win tonight or go home.  ESPN 2.  

We also have Monday Night Throwball, Cardinals @ Titans.  Pfft!  Who cares?

Keith AND Rachel all night long.


Dave is back with Brian Williams (ugh), Big Boi performs.  Jon has Rod Blagojevich, Stephen Leslie Kean (did I mention that the History Channel is always right?  Especially about Aliens and the Illuminati).

Alton does Yorkshire Pudding.  The Family That Slays Together, Stays Together- Part 1, Part 2 of the 3 part Venture Brothers Season 3 Finale.

Listen, Doc, about the future…

NO! Marty, we’ve already agreed that having information about the future can have disastrous consequences. Even if you’re intentions are good, it can backfire drastically!

What about all that talk about screwing up future events? The space-time continuum?

Well, I figured, what the hell.

Evening Edition

Evening Edition is an Open Thread

From Yahoo News Top Stories

1 US egg recall above half-a-billion and growing


Mon Aug 23, 1:57 pm ET

WASHINGTON (AFP) – A massive recall of eggs possibly tainted with salmonella bacteria is now at more than half-a-billion and could grow, the top US food safety official said Monday.

“It is the largest egg recall that we’ve had in recent history,” Margaret Hamburg, head of the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), told NBC television.

“We may see some additional recalls over the next couple days, even weeks, as we better understand the network of distribution of these eggs contaminated,” she said.