09/05/2010 archive

Rant of the Week: Keith Olbermann

Countdown with Keith Olbermann

No, George, we don’t miss you at all.

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

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.

Jimmy Breslin: Jimmy Breslin on the National Mood

There are these sudden loud noises in the hotel kitchen, one, two, three, probably a tray falling, and then there is so much screaming and a hand holding a gun high in the air and Robert Kennedy, who had walked into the gun, is on the floor with his eyes seeing nothing. On this June night in 1968 he has just won a Presidential primary and suddenly he is fit only for a gravedigger’s dirt.

It happens this way when the claws of madness swipe through the sky. In 1919 Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes called it for all time, and crashingly so today, when he wrote, “The most stringent protection of free speech would not protect a man in falsely shouting fire in a theatre and causing a panic.”

And now in New York they are turning an empty lot of the old World Trade Center and a mosque that isn’t built and probably never will be, into national fear. Omaha fights the mosque in Manhattan! Some foamer named Jones says he burns the Koran, and he actually is treated as news. All day on television yesterday you had the aimless babbles of this Beck, who looks like he eats Bibles.

h/t to Gaius Publius @ AMERICA blog, yes, Breslin is a national treasure.

Frank Rich: Freedom’s Just Another Word

Among the few scraps of news to emerge from Barack Obama’s vacation was the anecdote of a Martha’s Vineyard bookseller handing him  an advance copy of Jonathan Franzen’s new novel, “Freedom.” The book has since rocketed up the Amazon best-seller list, powered by reviews even more ecstatic  than those for Franzen’s last novel, “The Corrections.” But I doubt that the president, a fine writer who draws sustenance from great American writers, has read “Freedom” yet. If he had, he never would have delivered that bloodless speech on Tuesday night.

What was so grievously missing from Obama’s address  was any feeling for what has happened to our country during the seven-and-a-half-year war whose “end” he was marking. That legacy of anger and grief is what “Freedom” mainlines to its readers. In chronicling one Midwestern family as it migrates from St. Paul to Washington during the 9/11 decade, Franzen does for our traumatic time what Tom Wolfe’s “The Bonfire of the Vanities” did for the cartoonish go-go 1980s. Or perhaps, more pertinently, what “The Great Gatsby” did for the ominous boom of the 1920s. The heady intoxication of freedom is everywhere in “Freedom,” from extramarital sexual couplings to the consumer nirvana of the iPod to Operation Iraqi Freedom itself. Yet most everyone, regardless of age or calling or politics, is at war – not with terrorists, but with depression, with their consciences and with one another.

This mood has not lifted and may be thickening as we trudge toward Year 10 in Afghanistan. But Obama only paid it lip service. It’s a mystery why a candidate so attuned to the nation’s pulse, most especially on the matter of war, has grown tone deaf in office. On Tuesday, Obama asked the country to turn the page on Iraq as if that were as easy as, say, voting for him in 2008. His brief rhetorical pivot from the war to the economy only raised the question of why the crisis of joblessness has not merited a prime-time Oval Office speech of its own.

The Week In Review 8/29 – 9/4

259 Stories served.  37 per day.

This is actually the hardest diary to execute, and yet perhaps the most valuable because it lets you track story trends over time.  It should be a Sunday morning feature.

On This Day in History: September 5

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

September 5 is the 248th day of the year (249th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 117 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1882, the first Labor Day was celebrated in NYC with a parade of 10,000 workers. The Parade started at City Hall, winding past the reviewing stands at Union Square and then uptown where it ended at 42nd St where the marcher’s and their families celebrated with a picnic, concert and speeches. The march was organized by New York’s Central Labor Union and while there has been debate as to who originated the idea, credit is given to Peter McGuire, general secretary of the Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners and a co-founder of the American Federation of Labor.

It became a federal holiday in 1894, when, following the deaths of a number of workers at the hands of the U.S. military and U.S. Marshals during the Pullman Strike, President Grover Cleveland  put reconciliation with the labor movement as a top political priority. Fearing further conflict, legislation making Labor Day a national holiday was rushed through Congress unanimously and signed into law a mere six days after the end of the strike. The September date was chosen as Cleveland was concerned that aligning an American labor holiday with existing international May Day celebrations would stir up negative emotions linked to the Haymarket Affair. All 50 U.S. states have made Labor Day a state holiday.

Morning Shinbun Sunday September 5

Sunday’s Headlines:

Democrats plan political triage to retain House

Efforts Afoot to Oust Assange as WikiLeaks Leader


The post-9/11 life of an American charged with murder

Oil dispersant effects remain a mystery


Tough lessons: How teachers are seeking answers at Auschwitz

Mafia cash in on lucrative EU wind farm handouts – especially in Sicily

Middle East

Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani to be lashed over newspaper photograph

Middle East peace process: High-level talks but with low expectations


‘Millions’ without aid in Pakistan

Resentment Simmers in Western Chinese Region

Latin America

Tortured Mexican kidnap victim says: ‘I would sit there wondering how people could be that bad’

Evening Edition

Evening Edition is an Open Thread

From Yahoo News Top Stories

1 Police on alert as Pakistan suicide attack victims buried

by Maaz Khan, AFP

2 hrs 58 mins ago

QUETTA, Pakistan (AFP) – Anti-terror police were on high alert in Pakistan on Saturday as mass burials took place for the victims of a suicide bomber who killed at least 59 people at a Shiite Muslim rally.

The bomber was among a 450-strong crowd marching through the southwestern city of Quetta on Friday and blew himself up as the procession reached the main square.

Chaotic scenes followed, with an angry mob starting fires and shooting into the air while others fled or lay on the ground to avoid the gunfire.