08/26/2010 archive

Evening Edition

Evening Edition is an Open Thread

From Yahoo News Top Stories

1 Pakistan orders nearly half a million to evacuate

by Emmanuel Duparcq and Hasan Mansoor, AFP

1 hr 55 mins ago

THATTA, Pakistan (AFP) – Pakistan ordered nearly half a million people to evacuate towns on Thursday as rising floods threaten further havoc in a country straining to cope with its worst humanitarian disaster.

Torrential monsoon rains triggered massive floods affecting a fifth of the volatile country — an area roughly the size of England — where a US official warned that foreign aid workers are at risk from Taliban attacks.

Villagers in the south fled from where the Indus delta merges with the Arabian Sea, trailing north in vans laden with furniture or crowded into buses, or in carts pulled by oxen. Some people were on foot, leading their livestock.


They Go or Obama Goes

Robert Scheer,

Truthdig, August 25, 2010

Barack Obama and the Democrats he led to a stunning victory two years ago are going down hard in the face of an economic crisis that he did nothing to create but which he has failed to solve. That is somewhat unfair because the basic blame belongs to his predecessors, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, who let the bulls of Wall Street run wild in the streets where ordinary folks lived. And there was universal Republican support in Congress for the radical deregulation of the financial industry that produced this debacle.

The core issue for the economy is the continued cost of a housing bubble made possible only after what Clinton Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers back then trumpeted as necessary “legal certainty” was provided to derivative packages made up of suspect Alt-A and subprime mortgages. It was the Commodity Futures Modernization Act, which Senate Republican Phil Gramm drafted and which Clinton signed into law, that made legal the trafficking in packages of dubious home mortgages. In any decent society the creation of such untenable mortgages and the securitization of risk irrationally associated with it would have been judged a criminal scam. But no such judgment was possible because thanks to Wall Street’s sway under Clinton and Bush the bankers got to rewrite the laws to sanction their treachery.

It is Obama’s continued deference to the sensibilities of the financiers and his relative indifference to the suffering of ordinary people that threaten his legacy, not to mention the nation’s economic well-being. There have been more than 300,000 foreclosure filings every single month that Obama has been president, and as The New York Times editorialized, “Unfortunately, there is no evidence that the Obama administration’s efforts to address the foreclosure problem will make an appreciable dent.”


Opting For Farce

I had a great chuckle at this from Jon Walker at FDL

In These Sorry Times, Boehner Owes Geithner and Summers a Big Apology

Trying to get the two individuals whose actions played a major role in assuring that Boehner will be promoted (to the position of Speaker of the House after Republicans win big this November) fired is just bad manners in my book. If it weren’t for Summers’ terrible economic projections and horrible advice, combined with Geithner’s equally bad counsel, consistently putting the prosperity of Wall Street over main street while horribly mismanaging the HAMP program, Boehner would not be close to measuring the drapes for the Speaker’s office..

And Paul Krugman was 100% correct in calling for Simpson firing, especially this


At this point, though, Obama is on the spot: he has to fire Simpson, or turn the whole thing into a combination of farce and tragedy – the farce being the nature of the co-chair, the tragedy being that Democrats are so afraid of Republicans that nothing, absolutely nothing, will get them sanctioned.

One of the best is from Dean Baker, also a recipient of Simpson’s derisive e-mails, who calls Simpson not just offensive but ignorant


Former Wyoming Senator Alan Simpson, the co-chairman of President Obama’s deficit commission, has sparked calls for his resignation after sending an offensive and sexist note to Ashley Carson, the executive director of the Older Women’s League. While such calls are reasonable — Simpson’s comments were certainly more offensive than remarks that led to the resignation of other people from the Obama administration — the Senator’s determined ignorance about the basic facts on Social Security is an even more important reason for him to leave his position.


   The key facts on Social Security are not hard to understand. The shortfall is relatively minor and distant. Most retirees have little income other than their Social Security, and most workers would find it quite difficult to stay at their jobs in their late 60s or even 70. We might have hoped that Senator Simpson understood these facts at the time when he was appointed to the commission, but we should at least expect that he would learn them on the job.

   His determined ignorance in the face of the facts is the most important reason why he is not qualified to serve on President Obama’s commission. Someone who is co-chairman of such an important group should be able to critically evaluate information, not just insult and demean his critics.

It looks like the President has opted for farce and tragedy with the acceptance of Mr. Simpson’s non-apology and refusal to fire him.

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.

Elizabeth Galewski Women – Still a Menace?

“DANGER! Woman’s Suffrage Would Double the Irresponsible Vote. It is a MENACE to the Home, Men’s Employment and to All Business.”

I stumbled upon a poster with these headlines while doing research for the 90th anniversary of women’s right to vote, which is on Aug. 26. The rest of the poster shows a sample ballot and explains that the (responsible male) voter should “Be sure and put your cross (x) in the square after the word ‘no’ as shown here.” A drawing of a hand points a finger at the sample ballot’s “no” box, which is checked.

Presumably, the Responsible Vote had required this kind of careful guidance. At least, the “Progress Publishing Co.,” which printed it, thought so.

Uncovering this gem of a poster resulted in a moment of high hilarity for me at the Wisconsin Historical Society. I could not resist pulling a librarian over and showing it to him. “I must, I simply must,” I told him, “get this as an electronic file.”

Today, it almost seems hard to believe that only 90 years ago, women did not have the right to vote. How could withholding this basic right from half of the population possibly have been justified?

Dahlia Lithwick: In Ken We Trust

Why do Ken Cuccinelli’s legal opinions always match his personal ambitions?

It must be Wednesday, because Virginia’s hyperactive Attorney General, Ken Cuccinelli, is back in the news. Of course, he was also in the news on Tuesday, on Monday, and last Friday. Religious displays on public land, abortion, immigration, climate change. Is there a single issue from the culture wars over which Cuccinelli hasn’t picked a fight? But that’s one of the perils of treating one’s elected office like a Fox News show: If Cuccinelli isn’t launching five national ideological battles per week, his ratings might slip. And so ever onward he trudges, devoting his every working day to treating the Commonwealth like it’s the Lord’s Disneyland.

Matt Bai is a Moron

Matt Bai is a moron who grew up under Ronnie and thought he was a great president simply because he was the only one he’d ever personally experienced and he’s not a very deep thinker.  He’s a preening poppycock of privilege who’s never had to work hard for anything in his life and thinks because he was born on third base he hit a triple.

Among his other idiocies is the opinion it’s ok to default on sovereign debt with the full faith and credit of the United States behind it because it’s owned by the ‘lesser people’.

NYT and Matt Bai Falsely Call Social Security Trust Fund a "Lottery"

By: Scarecrow Thursday August 26, 2010 1:30 am

So ignore Bai’s gratuitous insult that anyone concerned about protecting Social Security is merely worried about an outbreak of bipartisan agreement. Does the New York Times have editors? Surely someone there must know this entire framework is false, misstating how the Trust Fund works and even how bonds and debt are created.

More important, someone at the Times must surely know that a frequent canard of the Republican Party and Social Security opponents is to argue that the Social Security Trust Fund, which has a surplus of $2.5 trillion in US Treasury bonds built up since 1983 by higher payroll taxes paid by future retirees, is just worthless paper. And if it’s worthless paper, future beneficiaries will never be able to rely on the $2.5 trillion they paid into the system to help pay the Social Security benefits to which they’re entitled.

The canard was always designed to convince today’s and tomorrow’s elderly that they cannot rely on the US Government honoring its own Treasury bonds – in effect, arguing the US would be so irresponsible as to engage willy nilly in a sovereign debt default, not to mention breaking a sacred promise to its own people. The goal of the canard is to convince Americans they should not count on Social Security, or government in general, to help in their retirement. Give that money to Wall Street instead.

Social Security is “broke,” they claim; it’s “in crisis,” they continue, and if the Government were forced to pay off those bonds when the system needs to redeem them to pay benefits – just as the government planned – it would create a massive “debt crisis” for the United States. Everything about that story is false and malicious.

The Trust Fund’s bonds are just like other Treasury bonds except they aren’t traded. When the Trust Fund needs to “redeem” a bond to cover ongoing benefit payments, all that happens is that electronic entries reflecting the change appear on the respective governments accounts, and Social Security checks go out, as always, as scheduled. Calling this a “lottery” is stunningly false.

My emphasis.

Well fuck you Matt.  Next time we meet in person I’ll spit in your face like you deserve.

On This Day in History: August 26

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

August 26 is the 238th day of the year (239th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 127 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1920, The 19th Amendment, guaranteeing women the right to vote, is formally adopted into the U.S. Constitution by proclamation of Secretary of State Bainbridge Colby. The amendment was the culmination of more than 70 years of struggle by woman suffragists. Its two sections read simply:

“The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex” and “Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.”

America’s woman suffrage movement was founded in the mid 19th century by women who had become politically active through their work in the abolitionist and temperance movements. In July 1848, 200 woman suffragists, organized by Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott, met in Seneca Falls, New York, to discuss women’s rights. After approving measures asserting the right of women to educational and employment opportunities, they passed a resolution that declared “it is the duty of the women of this country to secure to themselves their sacred right to the elective franchise.” For proclaiming a women’s right to vote, the Seneca Falls Convention was subjected to public ridicule, and some backers of women’s rights withdrew their support. However, the resolution marked the beginning of the woman suffrage movement in America.

n January 1918, the woman suffrage amendment passed the House of Representatives with the necessary two-thirds majority vote. In June 1919, it was approved by the Senate and sent to the states for ratification. Campaigns were waged by suffragists around the country to secure ratification, and on August 18, 1920, Tennessee became the 36th state to ratify the amendment, giving it the two-thirds majority of state ratification necessary to make it the law of the land.

The package containing the certified record of the action of the Tennessee legislature was sent by train to the nation’s capital, arriving in the early hours of August 26. At 8 a.m. that morning, Secretary of State Bainbridge Colby signed it without ceremony at his residence in Washington. None of the leaders of the woman suffrage movement were present when the proclamation was signed, and no photographers or film cameras recorded the event. That afternoon, Carrie Chapman Catt, head of the National American Suffrage Association, was received at the White House by President Woodrow Wilson and Edith Wilson, the first lady.

The 26th of August was proclaimed “Women’s Equality Day” in 1971 when a joint resolution, that was introduced by Rep. Bella Abzug, was passed. Each year the President issues a proclamation recognizing women’s equality.

WHEREAS, the women of the United States have been treated as second-class citizens and have not been entitled the full rights and privileges, public or private, legal or institutional, which are available to male citizens of the United States; and

WHEREAS, the women of the United States have united to assure that these rights and privileges are available to all citizens equally regardless of sex;

WHEREAS, the women of the United States have designated August 26th, the anniversary date of the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment, as symbol of the continued fight for equal rights: and

WHEREAS, the women of United States are to be commended and supported in their organizations and activities,

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, that August 26th of each year is designated as “Women’s Equality Day,” and the President is authorized and requested to issue a proclamation annually in commemoration of that day in 1920, on which the women of America were first given the right to vote, and that day in 1970, on which a nationwide demonstration for women’s rights took place.

Morning Shinbun Thursday August 26

Thursday’s Headlines:

US new house sales hit record low

Satoshi Kon dies at 47; Japanese anime director


As economy slows and Fed voices conflict, markets look to Bernanke for guidance

Oil industry’s answers frustrate federal panel


EU reviews France’s Roma expulsion as Paris digs its heels in

Middle East

Facing jail, the unarmed activist who dared to take on Israel

Mousavi secrets ‘put his life in danger’


Japanese politician launches attack on ‘River Kwai’ Britons

US warns of threat to foreign aid workers in Pakistan


UN to improve DR Congo links

Latin America

Mexico: bleeding to death in the war on drugs

‘Professional’ Liberals

Folks, I’ve never made a dime out of blogging.  Sure I’m scrambling like hell to set up some sources of revenue for this site because I want to create an endowment that will freeze your photons forever, but at $15 bucks a month I can skip the sixpacks (I don’t always drink beer, but when I do…).

You’ll pry my Mets cable package out of my cold, dead hands.

Jerome Armstrong is not like that.  He’s a paid pollitical consultant and expects a check to pay his bills and I don’t begrudge him.  I in fact applaud his bravery despite that to make observations like this-

The promise of a primary for Obama

by Jerome Armstrong, Thu Aug 26, 2010 at 01:48:37 AM EDT

That Obama will give us enduring war in Afghanistan beyond July 2011 seems a given. Will it come on the heels of his buckling to the Republican passage of the permanent Bush Tax cut package for millionaires?

And when I say lose the Party, I mean explicitly that he will face a Democratic primary in 2012, and hopefully, denied the nomination.

Some of you still might see this as far-fetched. But watch and see how losing 50 seats, setting the Democrats back below 200 in the House, has a way of changing the perception.

To which I’ll add just wait until the Catfood Commission reports.

Remembering Senator Ted Kennedy

Crossposted at Daily Kos and Docudharma

An Incomparable Record of Achievement

Senator Ted Kennedy – 1932-2009 by R.J. Matson, St. Louis Post Dispatch, Buy this cartoon

“Kennedys Never Complain”

No observation by Joseph Kennedy Sr. had as much lasting influence as a similar dictum: “There’ll be no crying in this house.”

The “House” he had in mind, I am certain, was the House of Kennedy.  He repeated this admonition to all of us, and he pronounced it with the force of moral law, and all of us absorbed its import and molded our behavior to honor it… To understand the profound authority of this charge to us is to understand much about my family.

— Edward M. Kennedy, True Compass, p. 41

Prime Time

So Fairfield heads home.  There’s more Little League World Series if you want to watch it, I’ll stick with the Mets’ typical implosion.

What I’d like to highlight for your consideration is Turner Classic’s To Have and Have Not.  I think it’s almost as good as Casablanca (best.  movie.  ever.).

Keith and Rachel all night long.


Dave hosts Christina Applegate, Tom Dreesen, and The Pretty Reckless.  Miss Universe 2010 presents the Top 10.  Jon has Drew Barrymore, Stephen Heidi Cullen.  Alton does Carrots.

Blood of the Father, Heart of Steel, the Venture Brothers Season 4 premier, is a little confusing because it has 2 timelines that go in opposite directions.  Fortunately Adult Swim screwed up the first broadcast and as a make good ran it for the rest of the week so I could figure it out.

You know Steve, you’re not very hard to figure, only at times. Sometimes I know exactly what you’re going to say. Most of the time. The other times… the other times, you’re just a stinker.

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