Daily Archive: 09/22/2010

Sep 22 2010

“It’s coming from inside the house!”

When a Stranger Calls

So it’s pretty clear this morning that a staffer identifying himself as Jimmy used a computer in Senator Saxeby Chambliss’ Georgia office to leave this message on Joe.My.God..

All Faggots must die.

Well, as Clint would say, “we all got it coming.”

I mention it more for its amusement value than anything else.  When I call Republicans bigoted and racist I’m not slandering them- I’m just stating facts.

James Galloway at the Atlanta Journal Constitution has the mainstream media lead on this.  He expects a clarifying statement by Senator Chambliss before tomorrow sometime identifying the culprit.  Frankly you’ll get a lot more information from this blog post by Max Fisher at The Atlantic.

Sep 22 2010

Punting the Pundits

Punting the Pundits” is 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.

This is a departure from the usual format because The New York Times is commemorating the 40th Anniversary of its Op-Ed with video interviews of some of the authors of its columns. Since this in UN Week and the Iraq War still continues, I find it profoundly appropriate that the NYT’s first video interview is with former Ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV and the lies that led up to that war.

Joseph C. Wilson IV What I Didn’t Find in Africa

Published: July 6, 2003

WASHINGTON — Did the Bush administration manipulate intelligence about Saddam Hussein’s weapons programs to justify an invasion of Iraq?

Based on my experience with the administration in the months leading up to the war, I have little choice but to conclude that some of the intelligence related to Iraq’s nuclear weapons program was twisted to exaggerate the Iraqi threat.

For 23 years, from 1976 to 1998, I was a career foreign service officer and ambassador. In 1990, as chargé d’affaires in Baghdad, I was the last American diplomat to meet with Saddam Hussein. (I was also a forceful advocate for his removal from Kuwait.) After Iraq, I was President George H. W. Bush’s ambassador to Gabon and São Tomé and Príncipe; under President Bill Clinton, I helped direct Africa policy for the National Security Council.

It was my experience in Africa that led me to play a small role in the effort to verify information about Africa’s suspected link to Iraq’s nonconventional weapons programs. Those news stories about that unnamed former envoy who went to Niger? That’s me.

New York Times Editorial: The Wars’ Continuing Toll

The United States military has never been better at helping soldiers survive the battlefield with sophisticated advances in treatment and transportation. Service members who come home with psychic wounds and hidden traumas are still not getting enough support.

Please Help a Veteran, Spread the Word

The “Usual” and “Unusual Suspects” are below the fold

Sep 22 2010

State Killing: Almost Disabled Enough To Live

Virginia plans to execute Teresa Lewis on Thursday evening at 9 pm.  There’s no question she was deeply involved in two murders nine years ago, that of her husband and of her son.  But you have to ask why she’s being killed when the two men who actually fired the weapons received life sentences.  And you have to wonder what the point of killing someone with an IQ of 72 might be, even if you’re not ordinarily appalled at the prospect of lethal injection.

The crime in this case is horrendous. There’s no question that it merits at the very least long term imprisonment. The New York Times provides the following about the crime:

Sep 22 2010

More Samuelson

The Defining Issue: Who Should Get the Tax Cut – The Rich or Everyone Else?

by Robert Reich, Sunday, September 19, 2010

Who deserves a tax cut more: the top 2 percent – whose wages and benefits are higher than ever, and among whose ranks are the CEOs and Wall Street mavens whose antics have sliced jobs and wages and nearly destroyed the American economy – or the rest of us?



The rich spend a far smaller portion of their money than anyone else because, hey, they’re rich. That means continuing the Bush tax cut for them wouldn’t stimulate much demand or create many jobs.

But it would blow a giant hole in the budget – $36 billion next year, $700 billion over ten years. Millionaire households would get a windfall of $31 billion next year alone.



The $1.3 trillion Bush tax cut of 2001 was a huge windfall for people earning over $500,000 a year. They got about 40 percent of its benefits. The Bush tax cut of 2003 was even better for high rollers. Those with net incomes of about $1 million got an average tax cut of $90,000 a year. Yet taxes on the typical middle-income family dropped just $217. Many lower-income families, who still paid payroll taxes, got nothing back at all.

And, again, nothing trickled down.

As I’ve emphasized, the U.S. economy has suffered mightily from the middle class’s lack of purchasing power, while most of the economic gains have gone to the top. (The crisis was masked for years by women moving into paid work, everyone working longer hours, and, more recently, the middle class going into deep debt – but all those coping mechanisms are now exhausted.) The great challenge ahead is to widen the circle of prosperity so the middle class once again has the capacity to keep the economy going.

The Winds of Deflation

by Robert Reich, Friday, September 17, 2010

(Y)ou have what could be a recipe for deflation: Flat consumer prices, weekly earnings, and hours, coupled with increased pessimism about where the economy is heading.

Consumers aren’t buying. They’re acting rationally. Their debt load is still huge, they’re worried about keeping their jobs, they know they have to tighten belts, and they’re justifiably worried about the future.

But for the nation as a whole, it spells even more trouble. If consumers hold back even more, prices will start dropping. When and if they do, consumers will hold back even more in anticipation of still lower prices. That means more layoffs and less hiring.

It’s a vicious cycle. And once deflation sets in, it’s hard to reverse. Just ask Japan.

Why No Amount of Fiscal or Monetary Stimulus Will Be Enough, Given How Small A Share of Total Income the Middle Now Receives

by Robert Reich, Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Every indicator suggests third-quarter growth will be as slow if not slower than in the second quarter. Consumer confidence is down. Retail sales are down. Housing sales are down. Commercial real estate is in trouble.

A growth rate of 1.6 percent means even higher unemployment ahead. Maybe we’re not in a double-dip but we might as well be in one. Growth this slow is the equivalent of heading downward, relative to the growth needed to get us out of the hole we’re in.



Even though (The E)conomy is heading downward, flooding it with more money may not help.

The problem isn’t the cost of capital. Most businesses can get all the money they need. Big ones are still sitting on $1.8 trillion in cash.

The problem is consumers, who are 70 percent of the economy. They can’t and won’t buy enough to turn the economy around. Most don’t qualify for more credit given how much they already owe (or have already defaulted on).

Without consumers, businesses have no reason to borrow more. Except to speculate by buying back their own stock and doing mergers and acquisitions, which is exactly what they’re doing.



(The Economy) can’t run on its own because consumers have reached the end of their ropes.

After three decades of flat wages during which almost all the gains of growth have gone to the very top, the middle class no longer has the buying power to keep the economy going. It can’t send more spouses into paid work, can’t work more hours, can’t borrow any more. All the coping mechanisms are exhausted.

Anyone who thinks China will get us out of this fix and make up for the shortfall in demand is blind to reality.

So what’s the answer? Reorganizing the economy to make sure the vast middle class has a larger share of its benefits. Remaking the basic bargain linking pay to per-capita productivity.

Sep 22 2010

On This Day in History: September 22

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

September 22 is the 265th day of the year (266th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 100 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1862, President Abraham Lincoln issues a preliminary Emancipation Proclamation, which sets a date for the freedom of more than 3 million black slaves in the United States and recasts the Civil War as a fight against slavery.

When the Civil War broke out in 1861, shortly after Lincoln’s inauguration as America’s 16th president, he maintained that the war was about restoring the Union and not about slavery. He avoided issuing an anti-slavery proclamation immediately, despite the urgings of abolitionists and radical Republicans, as well as his personal belief that slavery was morally repugnant. Instead, Lincoln chose to move cautiously until he could gain wide support from the public for such a measure.

In July 1862, Lincoln informed his cabinet that he would issue an emancipation proclamation but that it would exempt the so-called border states, which had slaveholders but remained loyal to the Union. His cabinet persuaded him not to make the announcement until after a Union victory. Lincoln’s opportunity came following the Union win at the Battle of Antietam in September 1862. On September 22, the president announced that slaves in areas still in rebellion within 100 days would be free.

The Emancipation Proclamation consists of two executive orders issued by United States President Abraham Lincoln during the American Civil War. The first one, issued September 22, 1862, declared the freedom of all slaves in any state of the Confederate States of America  that did not return to Union control by January 1, 1863. The second order, issued January 1, 1863, named ten specific states where it would apply. Lincoln issued the Executive Order by his authority as “Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy” under Article II, section 2 of the United States Constitution.

The proclamation did not name the slave-holding border states of Kentucky, Missouri, Maryland, or Delaware, which had never declared a secession, and so it did not free any slaves there. The state of Tennessee had already mostly returned to Union control, so it also was not named and was exempted. Virginia was named, but exemptions were specified for the 48 counties that were in the process of forming West Virginia, as well as seven other named counties and two cities. Also specifically exempted were New Orleans and thirteen named parishes of Louisiana, all of which were also already mostly under Federal control at the time of the Proclamation.

The Emancipation Proclamation was criticized at the time for freeing only the slaves over which the Union had no power. Although most slaves were not freed immediately, the Proclamation did free thousands of slaves the day it went into effect in parts of nine of the ten states to which it applied (Texas being the exception). In every Confederate state (except Tennessee and Texas), the Proclamation went into immediate effect in Union-occupied areas and at least 20,000 slaves[2][3] were freed at once on January 1, 1863.

Additionally, the Proclamation provided the legal framework for the emancipation of nearly all four million slaves as the Union armies advanced, and committed the Union to ending slavery, which was a controversial decision even in the North. Hearing of the Proclamation, more slaves quickly escaped to Union lines as the Army units moved South. As the Union armies advanced through the Confederacy, thousands of slaves were freed each day until nearly all (approximately 4 million, according to the 1860 census) were freed by July 1865.

Near the end of the war, abolitionists were concerned that while the Proclamation had freed most slaves as a war measure, it had not made slavery illegal. Several former slave states had already passed legislation prohibiting slavery; however, in a few states, slavery continued to be legal, and to exist, until December 18, 1865, when the Thirteenth Amendment was enacted.

Sep 22 2010

Prime Time

So it’s the Season Finale of Warehouse 13 and I’ve mostly spent the day watching the ‘catch up’ marathon which has unfortunately left me terribly confused because of my distractions.  Next week we’ll start Season 2 of Stargate Universe (I think, all the starting and stopping, did I mention I was terribly confused?) with a similar marathon.

Three NCIS premiers and a bunch of miscellaneous others on broadcast.  Keith and Rachel all night long.

Later-

Dave hosts Simon Baker, Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi, and Maroon 5.  Jon has Sigourney Weaver, Stephen Eric Schmidt.  Alton does Peanuts.

BoondocksThe Story of Lando Freeman.

Zap2it TV Listings, Yahoo TV Listings

Sep 22 2010

Misogynous Plutocrat and Failed Economist Larry Summers Dumped

Good riddance to bad rubbish, but also ‘too little, too late’.

As Atrios puts it-

Decision Points

They screwed up first with a too small stimulus.

They screwed up second last December/January when they got skeered of zombie unicorns invisible bond vigilantes.

They screwed up the third time when they thought recovery summer was here and the jobs growth was coming, despite very little evidence of that.

And-

Bye Larry

Don’t let the door…

And maybe one day you can explain to the world why an "insurance policy" was all that was needed.

Update:

Chris in Paris

If this is correct, we may be in for an even more conservative economic agenda. Should that be the case, there’s really even less reason to support this administration.

Administration officials are weighing whether to put a prominent corporate executive in the NEC director’s job to counter criticism that the administration is anti-business, one person familiar with White House discussions said. White House aides are also eager to name a woman to serve in a high-level position, two people said. They also are concerned about finding someone with Summers’ experience and stature, one person said.

His “experience and stature?” Really? So another scoundrel with deep ties to Wall Street who represents everything that’s wrong with the current system? It better be a hard right turn so he can attract the Teabaggers because this sounds like one kick too many for liberals.