Daily Archive: 09/06/2010

Sep 06 2010

Evening Edition

Evening Edition is an Open Thread

From Yahoo News Top Stories

1 Suicide car bomber kills 19 in northwest Pakistan

by Lehaz Ali, AFP

8 mins ago

PESHAWAR, Pakistan (AFP) – At least 19 people were killed and 45 wounded when a suicide bomber rammed his explosives-laden car into a police station in northwest Pakistan on Monday, destroying the building, police said.

Nine policemen and four schoolchildren were among those killed by the attack in Lakki Marwat in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, not far from tribal areas that are a stronghold of the Taliban.

At least 110 people have been killed over the past week as militants step up their attacks across the country.

Sep 06 2010

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.

Paul Krugman: 1938 in 2010

Here’s the situation: The U.S. economy has been crippled by a financial crisis. The president’s policies have limited the damage, but they were too cautious, and unemployment remains disastrously high. More action is clearly needed. Yet the public has soured on government activism, and seems poised to deal Democrats a severe defeat in the midterm elections.  

The president in question is Franklin Delano Roosevelt; the year is 1938. Within a few years, of course, the Great Depression was over. But it’s both instructive and discouraging to look at the state of America circa 1938 – instructive because the nature of the recovery that followed refutes the arguments dominating today’s public debate, discouraging because it’s hard to see anything like the miracle of the 1940s happening again.

Robert Reich: The Real Lesson of Labor Day

Welcome to the worst Labor Day in the memory of most Americans. Organized labor is down to about 7 percent of the private work force. Members of non-organized labor — most of the rest of us — are unemployed, underemployed or underwater. The Labor Department reported on Friday that just 67,000 new private-sector jobs were created in August, which, when added to the loss of public-sector (mostly temporary Census worker jobs) resulted in a net loss of over 50,000 jobs for the month. But at least 125,000 net new jobs are needed to keep up with the growth of the potential work force.

Face it: The national economy isn’t escaping the gravitational pull of the Great Recession. None of the standard booster rockets are working. Near-zero short-term interest rates from the Fed, almost record-low borrowing costs in the bond market, a giant stimulus package, along with tax credits for small businesses that hire the long-term unemployed have all failed to do enough.

That’s because the real problem has to do with the structure of the economy, not the business cycle. No booster rocket can work unless consumers are able, at some point, to keep the economy moving on their own. But consumers no longer have the purchasing power to buy the goods and services they produce as workers; for some time now, their means haven’t kept up with what the growing economy could and should have been able to provide them.

Sep 06 2010

Economics 101

Monday Business Edition

I seem to be writing a lot about Economics these days.  Starting with The Big Fail (last week’s Monday Business Edition) there are 7 diaries-

What are my qualifications to do this?  Absolutely none.  I’m a critic, not a reporter Jim; except that as a History major I was required to take Economics 101 (where I got a gentleman’s B).  You might say I’m Neo-classically trained because along with millions of others my principal text was Economics by Paul Samuelson.

But I don’t often rest my hat on my own analysis, I prefer to cite others who have not ‘spent decades unlearning‘ the foundational principles of their “Science” (dismal though it is) in favor of Snake Headed Oil Salesmen hissing from the serpents in the garden (that’s another Stargate joke).

The Real Lesson of Labor Day

By Robert Reich

Friday, September 3, 2010

Welcome to the worst Labor Day in the memory of most Americans. Organized labor is down to about 7 percent of the private work force. Members of non-organized labor – most of the rest of us – are unemployed, underemployed or underwater. The Labor Department reported on Friday that just 67,000 new private-sector jobs were created in August, which, when added to the loss of public-sector (mostly temporary Census worker jobs) resulted in a net loss of over 50,000 jobs for the month. But at least 125,000 net new jobs are needed to keep up with the growth of the potential work force.



(T)he real problem has to do with the structure of the economy, not the business cycle. No booster rocket can work unless consumers are able, at some point, to keep the economy moving on their own. But consumers no longer have the purchasing power to buy the goods and services they produce as workers; for some time now, their means haven’t kept up with what the growing economy could and should have been able to provide them.



(The) Great Depression and its aftermath demonstrate that there is only one way back to full recovery: through more widely shared prosperity. In the 1930s, the American economy was completely restructured. New Deal measures – Social Security, a 40-hour work week with time-and-a-half overtime, unemployment insurance, the right to form unions and bargain collectively, the minimum wage – leveled the playing field.

In the decades after World War II, legislation like the G.I. Bill, a vast expansion of public higher education and civil rights and voting rights laws further reduced economic inequality. Much of this was paid for with a 70 percent to 90 percent marginal income tax on the highest incomes. And as America’s middle class shared more of the economy’s gains, it was able to buy more of the goods and services the economy could provide. The result: rapid growth and more jobs.

1938 in 2010

By PAUL KRUGMAN, The New York Times

Published: September 5, 2010

The economic moral is clear: when the economy is deeply depressed, the usual rules don’t apply. Austerity is self-defeating: when everyone tries to pay down debt at the same time, the result is depression and deflation, and debt problems grow even worse. And conversely, it is possible – indeed, necessary – for the nation as a whole to spend its way out of debt: a temporary surge of deficit spending, on a sufficient scale, can cure problems brought on by past excesses.

But the story of 1938 also shows how hard it is to apply these insights. Even under F.D.R., there was never the political will to do what was needed to end the Great Depression; its eventual resolution came essentially by accident.

I had hoped that we would do better this time. But it turns out that politicians and economists alike have spent decades unlearning the lessons of the 1930s, and are determined to repeat all the old mistakes. And it’s slightly sickening to realize that the big winners in the midterm elections are likely to be the very people who first got us into this mess, then did everything in their power to block action to get us out.

If you still have the stomach for it I’ll also cite this analysis on Open Left brought to my attention by Jay Ackroyd on Eschaton

When we say “the Dems hate the Left” or they’re beating up on “dirty fucking hippies”, what we’re REALLY saying is that, for the Third-Wayers, neoliberalism vs. social democracy is actually the whole ballgame.  The last vestiges of American social democracy - the New Deal and all its accoutrements - must be wiped out, at all costs.

They haven’t been able to say so – because they need the votes of the “little people”.  But there’s almost no play left in that gambit.  With each [dispiriting] election betrayal (Clinton and NAFTA, Obama and Health Care, Obama and Social Security) the Democratic brand gets weaker and weaker.

We on the Left, the “netroots”, etc., need to understand the centrality of this point more than we do.  The coming fight over Social Security is not one issue among many, it’s the defining issue of this period.  Third Way politics is dependent on the bubble economy.  This has failed.  We can’t go back there.  We have to make this known.

As Jay says- “Eventually you have to consider the possibility they are getting the policies they want to get.”

Sep 06 2010

Happy Labor Day!

Solidarity forever!

Solidarity forever!

Solidarity forever!

For the union makes us strong

When the union’s inspiration through the workers’ blood shall run,

There can be no power greater anywhere beneath the sun.

Yet what force on earth is weaker than the feeble strength of one?

But the union makes us strong.

Solidarity forever!

Solidarity forever!

Solidarity forever!

For the union makes us strong

They have taken untold millions that they never toiled to earn,

But without our brain and muscle not a single wheel can turn.

We can break their haughty power, gain our freedom when we learn

That the Union makes us strong.

Solidarity forever!

Solidarity forever!

Solidarity forever!

For the union makes us strong

In our hands is placed a power greater than their hoarded gold;

Greater than the might of armies, magnified a thousand-fold.

We can bring to birth a new world from the ashes of the old

For the Union makes us strong.

Solidarity forever!

Solidarity forever!

Solidarity forever!

For the union makes us strong

Sing it loud.  And if that doesn’t get you a little verklempt, look for the Union Label below the fold.

Sep 06 2010

On This Day in History: September 6

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

September 6 is the 249th day of the year (250th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 116 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1995, Cal Ripken Jr of the Baltimore Orioles plays in his 2,131st consecutive game, breaking a record that stood for 56 years.

Calvin Edwin “Cal” Ripken, Jr. (born August 24, 1960) is a former Major League Baseball shortstop and third baseman who played his entire career (1981-2001) for the Baltimore Orioles.

During his baseball career, he earned the nickname “Iron Man” for doggedly remaining in the lineup despite numerous minor injuries and for his reliability to “show up” to work every day. He is perhaps best known for breaking New York Yankees first baseman Lou Gehrig’s record for consecutive games played, a record many deemed unbreakable. Ripken surpassed the 56-year-old record when he played in his 2,131st consecutive game on September 6, 1995 between the Orioles and the California Angels in front of a sold-out crowd at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. To make the feat even more memorable, Ripken hit a home run in the previous night’s game that tied Gehrig’s record and another home run in his 2,131st game, which fans later voted as Major League Baseball’s “Most Memorable Moment” in MLB history. Ripken played in an additional 502 straight games over the next three years, and his streak ended at 2,632 games when he voluntarily removed his name from the lineup for the final Orioles home game of the 1998 season. His record 2,632 straight games spanned over seventeen seasons, from May 30, 1982 to September 20, 1998.

Sep 06 2010

Contemplating Cucumbers

My sister-in-law, who knows that I am “Going Green”, sent me this article about the nutritional and practical uses for the consummate salad component, the cucumber. While I can attest ot some of the accuracy of the nutritional information, I have yet to try out cleaning the sink or eating cucumber slices to ward off a hangover. So for something amusing

WOW WHAT A LITTLE GEM THE CUCUMBER IS. I WILL LOOK AT IT DIFFERENTLY NOW.

Photobucket

1. Cucumbers contain most of the vitamins you need every day, just one cucumber contains Vitamin B1, Vitamin B2, Vitamin B3, Vitamin B5, Vitamin B6, Folic Acid, Vitamin C, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Potassium and Zinc.

2. Feeling tired in the afternoon, put down the caffeinated soda and pick up a cucumber. Cucumbers are a good source of B Vitamins and Carbohydrates that can provide that quick pick-me-up that can last for hours.

3. Tired of your bathroom mirror fogging up after a shower? Try rubbing a cucumber slice along the mirror, it will eliminate the fog and provide a soothing, spa-like fragrance.

4. Are grubs and slugs ruining your planting beds? Place a few slices in a small pie tin and your garden will be free of pests all season long. The chemicals in the cucumber react with the aluminum to give off a scent undetectable to humans but drive garden pests crazy and make them flee the area.

Sep 06 2010

Morning Shinbun Monday September 6




Monday’s Headlines:

Pakistan’s flooded farms unable to be sown

Tales of the unexpected: The dark side of bedtime stories

USA

Congressional Charities Are Pulling In Corporate Cash

Obama to call for $100 billion business tax credit

Europe

Basque separatist group Eta calls off 50-year campaign of violence

French immigration minister forced to change date of wedding after Facebook campaign

Middle East

Israeli police accused of targeting Jerusalem’s Arab residents

Asia

Vedanta investors look into human rights issues in India

Fit for a miniature Indian highway

Latin America

Child mortality in Bolivia: a partial success

Sep 06 2010

Pique the Geek 20100905: Star Trek Gadgets

Most of you who read my posts know that I am a big fan of the Gene Roddenberry Star Trek universe of science fiction.  Those of you who do not read my posts as often also know that I am a dedicated fan of Doctor Who.

What you might not know is that both of those TeeVee Series have contributed more that you might not have thought towards our technology as it stands at present.  Well, we do not have a TARDIS just yet, but we have many of the things that Star Trek pioneered.  Tonight we will study just a few of them that are common.

Please stay with us on this trek.  By the way, the term “Star Trek” was NEVER used in the original series, but finally was uttered in the very last installment of Star Trek, The Next Generation, by “Q”.  

Sep 06 2010

Prime Time

Holiday weekend Sunday.  Some stuff, but not a lot to pick and choose from.  You might be interested in this though, Turner Classic is running a marathon of The March of Time newsreels.

Later-

Pinstripes & Poltergeists.  When I mentioned this on Friday I didn’t realize it was the last episode so far.  The rest of Season 4 starts on the 12th, so if you want to catch up you might want to watch.

Zap2it TV Listings, Yahoo TV Listings

Sep 06 2010

Evening Edition

Evening Edition is an Open Thread

From Yahoo News Top Stories

1 Focus of Gulf oil disaster shifts to finding the culprit

AFP

21 mins ago

NEW ORLEANS, Louisiana (AFP) – With a key piece of evidence raised from the depths of the Gulf of Mexico and BP’s Macondo well ruled a threat no longer, the focus shifts to what went wrong and who is to blame.

Had it functioned properly, the blowout preventer would have sealed off the well after the explosion that ripped through it in April and the biggest maritime oil spill in history would never have happened.

The giant safety valve, which is being transferred to a NASA facility near New Orleans after being raised from the ocean on Saturday, could incriminate BP or one of the other firms involved in drilling the well.