09/14/2010 archive

Evening Edition

Evening Edition is an Open Thread

From Yahoo News Top Stories

1 French parliament adopts ban on full-face veil

by Frederic Dumoulin, AFP

10 mins ago

PARIS (AFP) – The French parliament passed a law Tuesday prohibiting wearing a full-face veil in public, meaning a ban will come into force early next year if it is not overturned by senior judges.

The Senate passed the bill by 246 votes to one and, having already cleared the lower house in July, the bill will now be reviewed by the Constitutional Council, which has a month to confirm its legality.

The text makes no mention of Islam, but President Nicolas Sarkozy’s government promoted the law as a means to protect women from being forced to wear Muslim full-face veils such as the burqa or the niqab.

Punting the Pundits

Punting the Punditsis an Open Thread. It is a selection of editorials and opinions from around the news medium and the t 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.

Dean Baker: The Soft Bigotry of Incredibly Low Expectations: The Case of Economists

In a country with almost 15 million people out of work, it is amazing that any economists still have jobs. This one is their fault first and foremost. Economists are supposed to know about the economy and provide advice on how to avoid disasters before they happen and help us recover from the bad things happen in spite of good advice.

The economics profession has not done well on this simple scorecard. Remarkably, rather than improve their game, economists are now busy dampening down expectations so that the public will not hold them responsible for the state of the economy.

Towards this end, a group of Fed economists recently put out a new studyclaiming that it was impossible for economists to recognize the $8 trillion housing bubble before it wrecked the economy. In effect, they argued that economists should not be blamed for this failure because:

“The state-of-the-art tools of economic science were not capable of predicting with any degree of certainty the collapse of U.S. house prices that started in 2006.”

This raises the obvious question: if economists can’t see an $8 trillion housing bubble, what can they see? This is bit like the firehouse where everyone sits around calmly sipping their coffee as the school across the street burns down. Completely missing the largest financial bubble in the history of the world is pretty inexcusable, even if economists continue to make excuses.

Bob Herbert: A Recovery’s Long Odds

We can keep wishing and hoping for a powerful economic recovery to pull the U.S. out of its doldrums, but I wouldn’t count on it. Ordinary American families no longer have the purchasing power to build a strong recovery and keep it going.

Americans are not being honest with themselves about the structural changes in the economy that have bestowed fabulous wealth on a tiny sliver at the top, while undermining the living standards of the middle class and absolutely crushing the poor. Neither the Democrats nor the Republicans have a viable strategy for reversing this dreadful state of affairs. (There is no evidence the G.O.P. even wants to.)

Robert Reich, in his new book, “Aftershock,” gives us one of the clearest explanations to date of what has happened – how the United States went from what he calls “the Great Prosperity” of 1947 to 1975 to the Great Recession that has hobbled the U.S. economy and darkened the future of younger Americans.

On This Day in History: September 14

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

September 14 is the 257th day of the year (258th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 108 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this Day in 1901, U.S. President William McKinley dies after being shot by a deranged anarchist during the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, New York.

President and Mrs. McKinley attended the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, New York. He delivered a speech about his positions on tariffs and foreign trade on September 5, 1901. The following morning, McKinley visited Niagara Falls before returning to the Exposition. That afternoon McKinley had an engagement to greet the public at the Temple of Music. Standing in line, Leon Frank Czolgosz waited with a pistol in his right hand concealed by a handkerchief. At 4:07 p.m. Czolgosz fired twice at the president. The first bullet grazed the president’s shoulder. The second, however, went through McKinley’s stomach, pancreas, and kidney, and finally lodged in the muscles of his back. The president whispered to his secretary, George Cortelyou  “My wife, Cortelyou, be careful how you tell her, oh be careful.” Czolgosz would have fired again, but he was struck by a bystander and then subdued by an enraged crowd. The wounded McKinley even called out “Boys! Don’t let them hurt him!” because the angry crowd beat Czolgosz so severely it looked as if they might kill him on the spot.

One bullet was easily found and extracted, but doctors were unable to locate the second bullet. It was feared that the search for the bullet might cause more harm than good. In addition, McKinley appeared to be recovering, so doctors decided to leave the bullet where it was.

The newly developed x-ray machine was displayed at the fair, but doctors were reluctant to use it on McKinley to search for the bullet because they did not know what side effects it might have on him. The operating room at the exposition’s emergency hospital did not have any electric lighting, even though the exteriors of many of the buildings at the extravagant exposition were covered with thousands of light bulbs. The surgeons were unable to operate by candlelight because of the danger created by the flammable ether used to keep the president unconscious, so doctors were forced to use pans instead to reflect sunlight onto the operating table while they treated McKinley’s wounds.

McKinley’s doctors believed he would recover, and the President convalesced for more than a week in Buffalo at the home of the exposition’s director. On the morning of September 12, he felt strong enough to receive his first food orally since the shooting-toast and a small cup of coffee. However, by afternoon he began to experience discomfort and his condition rapidly worsened. McKinley began to go into shock. At 2:15 a.m. on September 14, 1901, eight days after he was shot, he died from gangrene surrounding his wounds. He was 58. His last words were “It is God’s way; His will be done, not ours.” He was originally buried in West Lawn Cemetery in Canton, Ohio, in the receiving vault. His remains were later reinterred in the McKinley Memorial, also in Canton.

Czolgosz was tried and found guilty of murder, and was executed by electric chair at Auburn Prison on October 29, 1901.

Morning Shinbun Tuesday September 14

Tuesday’s Headlines:

U.S. pledges millions to end child labor in cocoa harvests

Shark survivors team up to save species


After Volatile Primary Season, G.O.P. Faces New Test

Jobless are straining Social Security’s disability benefits program


Traditionalists outraged at Versailles’ modern makeover

EU agency demands more coherent asylum procedures

Middle East

New building permits cast shadow over Middle East peace talks

Briton ‘among thousands held without trial in Iraq’


Indian children still underweight – after 20 years of interventions

Japan PM Naoto Kan survives leadership challenge


A suburban idyll fades away in Johannesburg

Latin America

Cuba to cut more than 1m state jobs

Welcome to the Unemployed

Oh, and about your phoney baloney jobs assholes-

Democratic Job Prospects Dim on K Street

By Anna Palmer, Roll Call Staff

Sept. 14, 2010, 12 a.m.

Help wanted on K Street. (Democrats need not apply.)

That’s the not-so-subtle message many Democratic Hill staffers say they are getting about their employment prospects this fall.

Limited job prospects have left some Democratic staffers, particularly those working for vulnerable Members, doing everything they can to be ready to start their job search on Nov. 3. In addition to readying their résumés for potential lobbying gigs, staffers are meeting with former colleagues who have already made the jump downtown.

Democratic aides may take a cue from their Republican counterparts. It wasn’t that long ago that Republicans found themselves in a similar position. After Democrats won the House in 2006, the job market significantly tightened, and many former GOP staffers left the Beltway completely.

Good riddance to bad rubbish.

Fear Factor II

Fear Factor

Be afraid.  Be very, very afraid.

A line of argument we’re mostly used to hearing from Thugs, but being pushed hard by the Institutional "Fuck You Retards" Democrats in the run up to this election.  Even my activist brother somewhat bought the latest variation- that re-districting might be effected by the results in November.

Not so much it seems.

Debunking the Redistricting Myth

by Dylan Loewe- Speechwriter, Author of Permanently Blue

Via Huffington Post, Posted: September 13, 2010 08:00 AM

Many have suggested that if Republicans are able to retake the majority in Congress this fall, they’ll be able to maintain that majority over the long-term, largely as a result of a subsequent redistricting process they expect to control. Some have even argued that Republicans could gain the power to draw as many as 25 congressional districts in their favor.

(Only) 23 states … will be at the center of the redistricting battle.

Democrats will be in a better position during this redistricting in at least 8 states, and, depending on the outcome in November, could very well be in better shape in as many as 11 states. Republicans, on the other hand, will find themselves in an improved partisan environment in just 6 states.

The states where Republicans are expected to be better positioned (Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, Missouri, Tennessee, and South Carolina) are midsized states, with an average of only about 8 congressional districts each.

The states where Democrats are expected to improve, on the other hand, (Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New York, Virginia, and Michigan) include a significant number of very large states, with an average of about 17 congressional districts.

Over the last ten years, 80 percent of the population growth in this country has come from minorities, overwhelmingly in metropolitan areas. When states like Texas are awarded new congressional districts (they are expected to get four this cycle), those districts will have to be drawn in the same metropolitan areas where such high minority population growth is occurring. Barack Obama won 80 percent of the minority vote. He won every major city in Texas except Fort Worth. This means that these new districts are going to be drawn in areas that are going to be highly populated with Democrats, ones that are almost certainly going to send Democrats to Congress. This, of course, will play out beyond Texas. In fact, of the 10 new districts expected to be allocated, there is reason to believe that at least 8 of them will end up in Democratic hands.

I don’t mean to understate the power of gerrymandering. But even gerrymandering can’t solve this problem for the Republican Party. In the middle of last decade, when Tom Delay and state Republican leaders redrew the Texas state map in a way that removed half a dozen Democratic seats, they didn’t touch the minority districts already in place. Why? Because they were concerned that doing so would invoke the Voting Rights Act and send the newly drawn map to the courts, where it would likely be redrawn by judges. (If that happened in 2011, Democrats could gain as many as 10 seats in Texas.) During the 2011 redistricting, it won’t just be the already existing minority districts that Republicans will have to avoid. It will be the new ones too. With the vast majority of the population growth coming from minorities, the vast majority of the new districts are likely to require minority representation. And for the first time since the Voting Rights Act was passed, the Attorney General in charge of overseeing the process will have been appointed by a Democratic president.

(E)ven if taken to the extreme–even if Republicans are able to ensure, in each case, that a Democratic seat gets erased, that still won’t do as much for the Republican Party as they think. Such a district is likely to be erased in predominantly white, rural areas, where population has declined over the last decade. That means that the Democratic districts that will be erased are more likely to be moderate ones, the kinds that Blue Dogs represent.

By the time redistricting is over, not only will Democrats have secured for themselves a far more favorable map, they will have also gone through a process that will unify their caucus, increasing the number of seats where progressives can win, in exchange for decreasing the number of seats where Blue Dogs can win.

Folks, the only thing they’re really afraid of is losing their phoney baloney jobs and getting second pick at the choice offices and parking spots on Capitol Hill.

Prime Time

Monday Night Throwball double header, but the real treat is for you Ayn Rand fans- Patricia Neal in The Fountainhead

The Fountainhead’s protagonist, Howard Roark, is an individualistic  young architect who chooses to struggle in obscurity rather than compromise his artistic and personal vision. The book follows his battle to practice what the public sees as modern architecture, which he believes to be superior, despite an establishment centered on tradition-worship. How others in the novel relate to Roark demonstrates Rand’s various archetypes of human character, all of which are variants between Roark, the author’s ideal man of independent-mindedness and integrity, and what she described as the “second-handers.” The complex relationships between Roark and the various kinds of individuals who assist or hinder his progress, or both, allow the novel to be at once a romantic drama and a philosophical work. By Rand’s own admission, Roark is the embodiment of the human spirit and his struggle represents the triumph of individualism over collectivism.


Dave is in repeats.  Jon has Ben Affleck, Stephen Lisa Birnbach.  Alton does game birds.  Boondocks is doing Stinkmeaner 3: The Hateocracy, but you’ve already seen that, haven’t you?

This whole country’s just like my flock of sheep!


Rednecks, crackers, hillbillies, hausfraus, shut-ins, pea-pickers – everybody that’s got to jump when somebody else blows the whistle. They don’t know it yet, but they’re all gonna be ‘Fighters for Fuller’. They’re mine! I own ’em! They think like I do. Only they’re even more stupid than I am, so I gotta think for ’em. Marcia, you just wait and see. I’m gonna be the power behind the president – and you’ll be the power behind me!