10/03/2010 archive

Rant of the Week: Stephen Colbert: The Word – Original Spin

The Word – Original Spin

Justice Scalia: “A lot of stupid stuff is perfectly constitutional.”

The Colbert Report
The Word – Original Spin
Colbert Report Full Episodes 2010 Election March to Keep Fear Alive

   You know what else is insane folks? All the special rights minorities are asking for these days. Gay Americans want the right to be married in California. Mexican Americans want the right to drive through Arizona. And Muslim Americans want the right to be Muslims.

   But if we keep giving the rights, there will be fewer rights left for us. That’s just mad. Well luckily there is a way to preserve our rights and it brings us to tonight’s Word-Original Spin.

   Folks, these bogus rights are being dished out by activist judges who claim the Constitution is a “living document” that’s transformed every time society shifts its views on an issue, like gay rights, or how many fifths of me a black person is worth.

   To them, it just magically changes, as if James Madison wrote the Constitution on an Etch A Sketch. But I say… I say a document should never change its meaning unless it’s your health insurance policy and you just got sick.

   Now Supreme Court and shaved walrus Antonin Scalia agrees with me on this. He’s what’s called a Constitutional originalist saying “I interpret (the Constitution) the say it was understood by society at the time.”

   I’ve always said a good Supreme Court Justice is a Constitutional scholar first… a time traveling mind reader second. And as an originalist Scalia argues that the idea that the Equal Protection clause of the 14th Amendment protects women’s’ rights is a “modern invention” because he says in 1868 when it was written “Nobody thought it was directed against sex discrimination.”

   Evidentially back then women hadn’t been invented yet. Plus the 14th Amendment was created to protect the rights of newly freed slaves. That’s why it strictly limits equal protection under the law to “all persons born or naturalized in the United States.”

   So all Scalia is saying is that women aren’t persons. […]

   And gays, you don’t have any protections from sexual discrimination either. Back in the 1860’s there were no gay people.

Sunday Secrets from Pete Seeger, “America’s Granddad”

Pete Seeger shares his Sunday routine and some interesting observation and thoughts on life, letters, food and God.

Mr. Seeger, who lives in Beacon Falls with his wife of 67 years, spends his Sundays writing letters and chopping wood around the house that he built, calling Sunday the busiest day of the week. He also spends time at the Beacon Sloop Club which he helped build by tricking people into volunteering: “I called it a pot-luck supper, and 30 people showed up,” he said. “Food is one of the great organizing tools.”

Haven’t we all done that from time to time to get our families to help around the house. Bribery with food as an incentive.

Mr. Seeger isn’t a regular church goer but finds God in the woods.

My family’s not churchgoers, but we use the word God quite often. One of my most recent songs has God in every verse. Every time I’m in the woods, I feel like I’m in church.

On food, he eats healthy keeping down intake of fats, salt and sugar, which probably accounts for his relative good health and longevity.

Sunday breakfast is “a pick up” sometimes cereal and fruit, left-overs from the “ice box” or an indulgence

AN OMELET I met the French wife of a lefty organizer in Canada. She said you start the omelet by putting butter in the pan to get it sizzling. You put in your eggs and whatever, and you immediately put the heat down and the cover on. You don’t wait for it to get cooked; you want it to be liquid in parts. You take it out and turn it over so the brown is on top, and you take it right away to the table so it doesn’t get overcooked. And if you have good cheese, it can be super.

Once a month, there’s a pot-luck supper at the Sloop Club. I usually like some salad, so I made a salad. I like lots of lettuce, myself, but I like lots of onions, too. I’ll put some tomatoes in it. Purslane, if it’s fresh, is quite nice in a salad. Likewise another weed that came over from England, lamb’s quarters. If it’s the right season of the year, that will go on a salad. No two salads are alike. I used to go in for romaine, but now I like better the red-top lettuce. It’s almost a religious thing. I used to cut up my lettuce, but my family said no, a good salad, you break up the lettuce with your fingernails. I go along with my family. I like lots of color. Red peppers and yellow peppers.

His instructions for cooking corn on the cob, a couple of ears in boiling water for two minutes and not let the water temperature drop, is a “trick” he just learned.

I found his use of a rolling pin to reduce the swelling in his legs a neat idea. I learn something new every day.

I have to use a rolling pin on my legs because they swell up now. I promised the doctor I’d use a rolling pin to roll on my upper leg to pull the blood back up. It’s not painful at all, but it’s a nuisance. I’m in better condition than most people my age. I think because we don’t eat so much fat or salt or sugar.

But of all the “Secrets” that this lefty, anti- war activist, environmentalist, folk singing elder statesman shared, the most important one was this:

It’s a very important thing to learn to talk to people you disagree with.

We don’t have to agree but we need to keep communicating.

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.


Thomas L. Friedman: Third Party Rising

“We basically have two bankrupt parties bankrupting the country,” said the Stanford University political scientist Larry Diamond. Indeed, our two-party system is ossified; it lacks integrity and creativity and any sense of courage or high-aspiration in confronting our problems. We simply will not be able to do the things we need to do as a country to move forward “with all the vested interests that have accrued around these two parties,” added Diamond. “They cannot think about the overall public good and the longer term anymore because both parties are trapped in short-term, zero-sum calculations,” where each one’s gains are seen as the other’s losses.

We have to rip open this two-party duopoly and have it challenged by a serious third party that will talk about education reform, without worrying about offending unions; financial reform, without worrying about losing donations from Wall Street; corporate tax reductions to stimulate jobs, without worrying about offending the far left; energy and climate reform, without worrying about offending the far right and coal-state Democrats; and proper health care reform, without worrying about offending insurers and drug companies.

“If competition is good for our economy,” asks Diamond, “why isn’t it good for our politics?”

We need a third party on the stage of the next presidential debate to look Americans in the eye and say: “These two parties are lying to you. They can’t tell you the truth because they are each trapped in decades of special interests. I am not going to tell you what you want to hear. I am going to tell you what you need to hear if we want to be the world’s leaders, not the new Romans.”

Dean Baker and Sarita Gupta: Tax Breaks Are Not Sufficient to Restore Employment

There is a depressing complicity among much of the political leadership about the recession. Many politicians seem prepared to accept that we will have sky-high rates of unemployment for the indefinite future. Projections from the Congressional Budget Office and other authoritative forecasts show the situation improving little over the next few years.

At the moment, this means 15 million people unemployed, 9 million under-employed and millions of other workers who don’t even get counted because they have given up hope of finding a job and stopped looking. It is outrageous that we have this situation today. Allowing high unemployment to continue for years into the future is unacceptable.

We know how to get the unemployment rate down.

Part of the story should include programs like the Local Jobs for America Act that will save and create jobs in areas of high unemployment. This will be a way to give young people a decent start to their working careers in areas like Detroit where the youth unemployment rate is close to 50 percent. These workers can help maintain and clean-up parks, schools, and other public facilities.

The Week In Review 9/26 – 10/2

289 Stories served.  41 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: October 3

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

October 3 is the 276th day of the year (277th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 89 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1967, Woody Guthrie, godfather of the 1950s folk revival movement, dies.

In 1963, Bob Dylan was asked by the authors of a forthcoming book on Woody Guthrie to contribute a 25-word comment summarizing his thoughts on the man who had probably been his greatest formative influence. Dylan responded instead with a 194-line poem called “Thoughts on Woody Guthrie,” which took as its theme the eternal human search for hope. “And where do you look for this hope that yer seekin’?” Dylan asks in the poem, before proceeding to a kind of answer:

You can either go to the church of your choice

Or you can go to Brooklyn State Hospital

You’ll find God in the church of your choice

You’ll find Woody Guthrie in Brooklyn State Hospital

Woodrow Wilson “Woody” Guthrie (July 14, 1912 – October 3, 1967) is best known as an American singer-songwriter and folk musician, whose musical legacy includes hundreds of political, traditional and children’s songs, ballads and improvised works. He frequently performed with the slogan This Machine Kills Fascists displayed on his guitar. His best-known song is “This Land Is Your Land”, which is regularly sung in American schools. Many of his recorded songs are archived in the Library of Congress. Such songwriters as Bob Dylan, Phil Ochs and Tom Paxton have acknowledged their debt to Guthrie as an influence.

Guthrie traveled with migrant workers from Oklahoma to California and learned traditional folk and blues songs. Many of his songs are about his experiences in the Dust Bowl era during the Great Depression, earning him the nickname the “Dust Bowl Troubadour”. Throughout his life Guthrie was associated with United States communist groups, though he was never an actual member of any.

Guthrie was married three times and fathered eight children, including American folk musician Arlo Guthrie. He is the grandfather of musician Sarah Lee Guthrie. Guthrie died from complications of Huntington’s disease, a progressive genetic neurological disorder. During his later years, in spite of his illness, Guthrie served as a figurehead in the folk movement, providing inspiration to a generation of new folk musicians, including mentor relationships with Ramblin’ Jack Elliott and Bob Dylan.

Folk revival and Guthrie’s death

In the late 1950s and early 1960s, a new generation of young people were inspired by folk singers including Guthrie. These “folk revivalists” became more politically aware in their music than those of the previous generation. The American Folk Revival was beginning to take place, focused on the issues of the day, such as the civil rights movement and free speech movement. Pockets of folk singers were forming around the country in places such as Cambridge, Massachusetts and the Greenwich Village neighborhood of New York City. One of Guthrie’s visitors at Greystone Park was the 19-year-old Bob Dylan, who idolized Guthrie. Dylan wrote of Guthrie’s repertoire: “The songs themselves were really beyond category. They had the infinite sweep of humanity in them.” After learning of Guthrie’s whereabouts, Bob Dylan regularly visited him. Guthrie died of complications of Huntington’s disease on October 3, 1967. By the time of his death, his work had been discovered by a new audience, introduced to them in part through Bob Dylan, Pete Seeger, Ramblin’ Jack Elliott, his ex-wife Marjorie and other new members of the folk revival, and his son Arlo.

Huntington’s Disease Society of America

Morning Shinbun Sunday October 3

Sunday’s Headlines:

Americans tread water in gulf between rich and poor

Jon Stewart, TV scourge of America’s right, turns his satire against Barack Obama


Traumatic brain injury leaves an often-invisible, life-altering wound

Democrats playing on opponents’ words


Venice’s historic buildings ‘violated’ by billboards, say cultural experts

Ireland’s young are on the march again

Middle East

PLO demands settlements freeze before peace talks

Syrian leader attacks direct talks


Host shuts down for opening

Plaintiffs’ attorneys hunt for North Korea’s money


Nigeria bombings: SA police arrest man in Jo’burg

Millennium Goals: How Far Have We Come?

Latin America

Ecuador U-turn on controversial austerity law

Stiglitz: Dear Tea Bag Party, Government is Absolutely Essential

President Obama, this is the man who should head your Economic Council along with Robert Reich, Paul Krugman and Nouriel Roubini. Watch the entire video, it is an education in the current economic situation and how we got here.

Complete video at: Joseph Stiglitz: Freefall Commonwealth Club

What would Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz say at a Tea Party convention? Stiglitz says he would defend the role of government in economic affairs, positing that the bank bailout saved the country from depression.

Joseph Stiglitz, winner of the 2001 Nobel Prize Winner for Economics and author of Freefall sits down with Andrew Leonard, Senior Technology and Business Writer for Salon.

Stiglitz argues that America exported bad economics, bad policies and bad behavior to the rest of the world. Stiglitz outlines a way forward building on ideas that he has championed his entire career: restoring the balance between markets and government; addressing the inequalities of the global financial system; and demanding more good ideas (and less ideology) from economists. – Commonwealth Club of California

Joseph Stiglitz was chief economist at the World Bank until January 2000. Before that he was the chairman of President Clinton’s Council of Economic Advisers. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in economics in 2001. He is currently a finance and economics professor at Columbia University. He is most recently the author of Freefall: America, Free Markets, and the Sinking of the World Economy.

Prime Time

Lots of College Throwball, Notre Dame @ Boston College or Stanford @ Oregon, and Florida @ Alabama.

Speed has the conclusion of The Petit Le Mans this season’s final race in the American LeMans series.  They started at 11 am and it’s a 10 hour or 1000 mile race so I expect the field and Class winners to be pretty well sorted out by the time you tune in.  They have 2 Classes of GP cars, GP and GP 2 (which are the 2 seat open cockpit cars), and GT and GT 2 (which are both recognizable ‘street machine’ based classes with marques like Porsche and Corvette), that all race at the same time so there’s a lot of overtaking.  Since the races are so long there’s often time to repair quite a bit of damage and I suspect all the most spectacular crashes will be long forgotten.

And on Vs. the much more thrilling conclusion (if you like open wheel Turn Left racing) of the IndyCar (think Danica Patrick) racing season at the Miami Indy 300.

Oh, and the Mets won today.  Season Finale tomorrow.

Dueling Stallones


SNL has Bryan Cranston and Kanye West.  GitS: SACAg2O and Angel’s Share (Episodes 16 & 17).

Zap2it TV Listings, Yahoo TV Listings

Evening Edition

Evening Edition is an Open Thread

From Yahoo News Top Stories

1 French unions up ante with latest pension protest

by Frederic Jeammes, AFP

1 hr 51 mins ago

PARIS (AFP) – French unions on Saturday brought millions of protestors onto the streets, they said, shunning strikes for rallies in their latest salvo against President Nicolas Sarkozy’s pensions reform plan.

“Around 2.9 million” demonstrators have taken part, the CFDT union’s deputy leader Marcel Grignard told AFP, “roughly the same number” as during the last day of action against raising the retirement age from 60 to 62 on September 23.

“This is a successful mobilisation. We expect the government finally to pay attention to this popular expression and take action on it’s plan,” Grignard said.