09/16/2010 archive

Tea Party Primaries

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart
Tea Party Primaries – Beyond the Palin
Daily Show Full Episodes Political Humor Tea Party

Leave it to Jon and company to point out how the Democrats can “F” up a sure thing. Given the fact that O’Donnell has a 16% chance of winning, that is still 16 percentage points too many. Good luck to Democrat Chris Coons.  

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.

Joseph E. Stiglitz: Fixing America’s Broken Housing Market

NEW YORK – A sure sign of a dysfunctional market economy is the persistence of unemployment. In the United States today, one out of six workers who would like a full-time job can’t find one. It is an economy with huge unmet needs and yet vast idle resources.

The housing market is another U.S. anomaly: there are hundreds of thousands of homeless people (more than 1.5 million Americans spent at least one night in a shelter in 2009), while hundreds of thousands of houses sit vacant.

Indeed, the foreclosure rate is increasing. Two million Americans lost their homes in 2008, and 2.8 million more in 2009, but the numbers are expected to be even higher in 2010. Our financial markets performed dismally — well-performing, “rational” markets do not lend to people who cannot or will not repay — and yet those running these markets were rewarded as if they were financial geniuses.

None of this is news. What is news is the Obama administration’s reluctant and belated recognition that its efforts to get the housing and mortgage markets working again have largely failed. Curiously, there is a growing consensus on both the left and the right that the government will have to continue propping up the housing market for the foreseeable future. This stance is perplexing and possibly dangerous.

Robert Scheer: After Summers Comes the Fall

When will the president give Lawrence Summers his pink slip? He can thank him for his years of service and use the excuse that his top economic adviser wants to spend more time with his family. I don’t care how he sugarcoats it. But Summers deserves the same fate as the millions of workers laid off because of the banking debacle he helped cause, the dire consequences of which he has done precious little to mitigate.

It was Summers who, as treasury secretary in the Clinton administration, pushed through the Commodity Futures Modernization Act, which opened the floodgates to the toxic mortgage-backed derivatives that still haunt the economy. The Federal Reserve now holds $2 trillion in junk securities it took off the books of banks. But the financiers who packed those devilish derivatives still hold a huge amount, and the houses they unload every time the housing market shows faint signs of stabilizing keep the economy in the doldrums.

more enthusiasm, yay

As I noted last night in Prime Time, I had to turn Joe Biden’s interview with Rachel Maddow off because I can’t really afford a new TV.  I wondered if others noticed the savage disconnect between the Institutional Democrats and reality.

Well, Gregg Levine at Firedog Lake did.  I’ll spare you the embedded video because I don’t want responsibility for your monitor either, but I’ll quote extensively as it’s a long piece.

Biden Scolds Dem Voters for Enthusiasm Gap; Tells Progressives to "Get in Gear"

By: Gregg Levine, Thursday September 16, 2010 7:00 am

Vice President Joe Biden made room in his busy schedule Wednesday to appear on “The Rachel Maddow Show” to address the much-reported enthusiasm gap between fired-up Tea-publicans and a disappointed Democratic base. How do I know that was his reason? He said so…

Biden then launches into a list of Democratic accomplishments-tobacco regulation, hate crime laws, insuring kids (SCHIP…)-none of them, as best I recall, ones that were first enacted during the Obama Administration…

Actually, Mr. Vice President, you didn’t mention a single thing that your administration or this Democratically controlled 111th Congress has gotten done. You are just telling progressives out there that they “better get energized,” that they “get in gear,” that they “should not stay home” come November.

Why? Because. . . because. . . Pete Sessions!

Joe Biden is not saying Democrats need an excited progressive base to win in November, and here is what the administration is going to do to excite them; Biden is saying Dems need an excited base-so the progressive base damn well better get excited. Period.

He (Obama) brought us goals? Obama gave us the goals? Progressives haven’t been articulating goals since. . . when now? 2006? 2002? 1932? 1916? . . . 1899? OK, maybe Biden just phrased that badly-but still, Joe, what goals have been met, exactly?

(T)he progressive base hasn’t been warning about the opposition? It has been the progressive blogosphere, far out in front of any Democratic Party organ, that has been telling the establishment that they had created space for the Tea Parties by aligning the White House too closely with the banksters. It was progressives that begged for a bigger stimulus, a jobs agenda, and health care reform that actually helped people and did so before the midterm elections.

Make no mistake, what Joe Biden was doing last night was blaming progressives now for Democratic losses later.

Back in the 1990s and early 2000s, I was a consultant-of the branding and marketing variety-and Biden’s performance reminds me of some of my worst clients from those days. These guys (and gals) would sit behind the two-way mirror watching focus groups, and they would deride the respondents and curse about how their stupid target consumers were wrong-wrong!-about their product. It was the consumer who was doing a bad job of understanding the product. It was the consumer that was not paying attention to the right things. It was the consumer that had failed to understand the benefits of these clients’ brands.

Those were not successful brands. And without a change in their point of view, they didn’t become successful brands.

(B)enefits were not what Vice President Biden was selling to Rachel Maddow and her presumably progressive audience on Wednesday. Biden went with fear and loathing, blame and bluster. That strategy didn’t work for my clients in boom times, and it won’t work for Democrats now.

GLBT: What is the matter with the DNC?

Jon Aravosis @ AMERICAblog Gay points out that the DNC web site on its “Civil Rights” page,  no longer mentions the repeal of DOMA which was one of the top three promises made to the GLBT community by Candidate Obama.

#  Enacting the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which includes measures prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity;

# Ensuring full civil unions and federal rights for LGBT couples;

# Repealing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” in a sensible way that strengthens our armed forces and our national security;

It the DNC now calls for “civil unions”. How about marriage guys?

And WTF does this mean?

Repealing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” in a sensible way that strengthens our armed forces and our national security

Meanwhile, Sen. Sen. Mark Udall (D-CO) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) have written Attorney General Eric Holder to not appeal Judge Virginia Phillips’ ruling that DADT violates the 1st Amendment.

On This Day in History: September 16

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

September 16 is the 259th day of the year (260th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 106 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1932, in his cell at Yerovda Jail near Bombay, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi begins a hunger strike in protest of the British government’s decision to separate India’s electoral system by caste.A leader in the Indian campaign for home rule, Gandhi worked all his life to spread his own brand of passive resistance across India and the world. By 1920, his concept of Satyagraha (or “insistence upon truth”) had made Gandhi an enormously influential figure for millions of followers. Jailed by the British government from 1922-24, he withdrew from political action for a time during the 1920s but in 1930 returned with a new civil disobedience campaign. This landed Gandhi in prison again, but only briefly, as the British made concessions to his demands and invited him to represent the Indian National Congress Party at a round-table conference in London.

In 1932, through the campaigning of the Dalit leader B. R. Ambedkar, the government granted untouchables separate electorates under the new constitution. In protest, Gandhi embarked on a six-day fast in September 1932. The resulting public outcry successfully forced the government to adopt a more equitable arrangement via negotiations mediated by the Dalit cricketer turned political leader Palwankar Baloo. This was the start of a new campaign by Gandhi to improve the lives of the untouchables, whom he named Harijans, the children of God.

Morning Shinbun Thursday September 16

Thursday’s Headlines:

Ahmadinejad: Iran justified in barring nuclear inspectors

Pope Benedict XVI set to begin controversial state visit to Britain


Poll Suggests Opportunities for Both Parties in Midterms

An American innovation in light bulbs, but will manufacturing stay in the U.S.?


Wasteland: Europe stalked by spectre of mass unemployment

Sarkozy suggests Roma ‘should be sent to Luxembourg’

Middle East

Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani denies torture claims on Iranian TV

Gaza militants launch rocket attacks in effort to derail peace talks


Zardari offers more intelligence to Afghanistan Tahir Khan

How North Korea was lost – to China


Guinea postpones presidential election run-off

Copenhagen climate change summit effort fruitless, says Kibaki

Latin America

High security alert for Mexico bicentennial

Prime Time

I dunno, I think your best bet is gloating with Keith and Rachel tonight.


Jon has Jon Hamm, Stephen Saul Griffith.  Alton does Rice and Beans (they’re better than you think).  BoondocksSmokin’ With Cigarettes.

It all started on the day that I died. If there had been an obituary, it would have described the unremarkable life of an unremarkable woman, survived by no one. But there was no obituary, because the day that I died was also the day I started to live. But that comes later. This was my life. Days blended together, consistently ordinary, thanks to a job that was the practical version of my passion. I was supposed to be an artist by now. Instead, I was designing ads for beauty cream.

The day I died was the day I started to live. In my old life, I longed for someone to see what was special in me. You did, and for that, you’ll always be in my heart. But what I really needed was for me to see it. And now I do. You’re a good man, Tom. But you live in a world that has no place for someone like me. You see, sometimes I’m good. Oh, I’m very good. But sometimes I’m bad. But only as bad as I wanna be. Freedom is power. To live a life untamed and unafraid is the gift that I’ve been given, and so my journey begins.

Evening Edition

Evening Edition is an Open Thread

From Yahoo News Top Stories

1 Seven civilians killed in US-Iraqi raid

by Azhar Shalal, AFP

Wed Sep 15, 11:46 am ET

FALLUJAH, Iraq (AFP) – Seven civilians were among 18 people killed in Iraq on Wednesday, shot dead as US and Iraqi troops tried to nab a top Al-Qaeda leader in Fallujah, sparking public anger in the former rebel base.

Two Iraqi soldiers were also killed in the firefight west of Baghdad, while a roadside bomb in northern Iraq claimed the lives of nine other troops travelling home on leave.

The latest violence comes two weeks after Washington declared an official end to combat operations here, and with no new government having formed since elections in March.