11/05/2010 archive

Evening Edition

Evening Edition is an Open Thread

From Yahoo News Top Stories

1 Suicide attack at Pakistan mosque kills 61

by Lehaz Ali, AFP

1 hr 3 mins ago

AKHURWALL, Pakistan (AFP) – A suicide bomber destroyed a Pakistani mosque on Friday, killing 61 people during the main weekly prayers and leaving body parts under a collapsed roof and pulverised rubble.

The deadliest attack in two months in the country on the front line of the US-led war on Al-Qaeda was followed by a grenade assault on a second mosque in the same area which killed at least three.

Dozens of people were critically wounded and officials fear the toll from both attacks could rise.

Congressional Progressive Caucus Increases Plurality in Next Congress

As David Swanson noted on Wednesday:

You may have heard that our center-right nation got enthusiastic, formed a grassroots movement called a tea party, and overwhelmingly voted in a more rightwing party, sending hordes of nasty socialists packing as a result of their overly progressive performance, meaning gridlock between the righteous Congress and the infidel president for the next two years. There are some problems with this story, beginning with the fact that it’s completely false.


As Karen Dolan blogged about immediately after Tuesday’s elections, members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus — over 80 members — lost only 3 seats. The Cut-Spending-Except-For-Killing Blue Dogs had 54 members and lost 26 of them, and those 26 were their true believers. Congress members, including one or two real progressives, didn’t lose by being progressive but by being Democrats. Alan Grayson was defeated by the largest investment of corporate money in any House race, but the obedient corporatist Democrat in the next district over lost too. And this was despite the Democratic Party funding and supporting the Blue Dogs, leaving the progressives to raise their own money.

Tea Party candidates, in contrast to progressives, did not have a successful day on Tuesday. Their nominees’ craziness cost the Republican Party control of the Senate. Yet the whole corporate-funded smoke-and-mirrors “movement” of the Tea Party pushed the Republican Party as a whole to the right, in a way that no well-funded institution has pushed the Democrats to the left or even tried to. And this is the key lesson: pushing the Democrats to the left would save them from themselves.

On Thursday Amy Goodman at Democracy Now spoke with CPC Co-Chair Raul Grijalva about the CPC not only holding it’s own with a loss of only 4 seats in the mid terms, but coming out of the elections holding the relative largest plurality of all groups in Congress.

The Democrats lost the majority in the US House of Representatives in Tuesday’s midterm elections, but what is the makeup of the new Democratic House caucus? The conservative Blue Dogs lost half their members, while the Progressive Caucus remains near eighty. We speak to its co-chair, Rep. Raúl Grijalva, who appears to have retained his seat in a close election in Arizona’s 7th Congressional District. Over the past year, Grijalva has received numerous threats, including having a suspicious package covered in swastikas sent to his office and having a bullet shot through his district office in Yuma, Arizona.

Democracy Now – November 04, 2010

about 10 minutes

..transcript follows..

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.

David Sirota: Thank You, Dick Cheney, For Giving Me the Proper Words

The facts are painfully apparent. Though hundreds — if not thousands — of people in D.C. are professionally paid to pretend these facts require debate and analysis and parsing and speculation and press releases and pithy Tweets and Sunday Show roundtables and C-SPAN symposia and to-camera cable-TV rants and lengthy thousand-page books, they don’t require any of that. The facts are simple. The facts are obvious. The facts are undeniable to anyone not paid fistfulls of sweaty money  to lie or sensationalize:

1. The Democratic Party shit on its base with its policies, as noted above.

2. This demoralized the Democratic base, which responded by not turning out to vote. As CBS News notes, “Hispanics, African Americans, union members and young people were among the many core Democratic groups that turned out in large numbers in the 2008 elections (but) turnout among these groups dropped off substantially, even below their previous midterm levels.”

3. In cause-and-effect style, the result of all this was, as the Washington Post reports, a freshman congressional class that is primarily made up of angry, white, lunatic-conservative assholes.

So yes, all of you who are wasting all of our time pretending this isn’t the basic point-A-to-point-B story of the election — and there are a lot of you out there — please, if not for me, then for everyone else: Go fuck yourself.

Paul Krugman: The Focus Hocus-Pocus

Democrats, declared Evan Bayh in an Op-Ed article on Wednesday in The Times, “overreached by focusing on health care rather than job creation during a severe recession.” Many others have been saying the same thing: the notion that the Obama administration erred by not focusing on the economy is hardening into conventional wisdom. . . . .

Of course, there’s a subtext to the whole line that health reform was a mistake: namely, that Democrats should stop acting like Democrats and go back to being Republicans-lite. Parse what people like Mr. Bayh are saying, and it amounts to demanding that Mr. Obama spend the next two years cringing and admitting that conservatives were right.

There is an alternative: Mr. Obama can take a stand.

For one thing, he still has the ability to engineer significant relief to homeowners, one area where his administration completely dropped the ball during its first two years. Beyond that, Plan B is still available. He can propose real measures to create jobs and aid the unemployed and put Republicans on the spot for standing in the way of the help Americans need.

Would taking such a stand be politically risky? Yes, of course. But Mr. Obama’s economic policy ended up being a political disaster precisely because he tried to play it safe. It’s time for him to try something different.

(emphasis mine)

Joe Conason: Obama should push back — like Bill Clinton

It’s true that Clinton compromised after 1994 — but first he fought the Gingrich GOP to a standstill

Long before the dismal results of Tuesday’s election were complete, one especially dog-eared bit of guidance for President Obama was getting wide circulation in the mainstream: He must now emulate Bill Clinton, who “shifted to the center” after the electoral debacle of November 1994, “triangulated” his way to compromise with the Republicans, and won a second term.

Among the reasons why such advice is outdated and useless, the most obvious may be that Obama’s position today is stronger than Clinton’s after 1994. Today, unlike then, the Democrats can look forward to retaining control of the Senate. But there are two other overriding reasons why Obama shouldn’t seek to imitate Clinton by immediately seeking compromises with the Republicans.

The first is that he has tried vainly from the beginning of his presidency to engage the Republicans in negotiation over vital reforms, only to learn again and again that they aren’t really interested in anything but sabotage. The second is that compromising with the Republicans isn’t exactly what Clinton did — or not at first, anyway. Before he could do anything else, he had to push back.

Independents, Unions, and Gays- More Exit Polls

As a follow up to yesterday’s CBS News Exit Polling

Greg Sargent

(The Progressive Change Campaign Committee) set to release new polling from the respected Dem firm Public Policy Polling that is meant to buttress this case (“that indys who backed Obama in 2008 stayed home, because they were unsatisfied with Obama’s half-baked reform agenda, while McCain-supporting indys turned out in big numbers”). The Progressive Change Campaign Committee commissioned the poll and sent some results my way.

The key finding: PPP asked independents who did vote in 2010 who they had supported in 2008. The results: Fifty one percent of independents who voted this time supported McCain last time, versus only 42 percent who backed Obama last time. In 2008, Obama won indies by eight percent.

That means the complexion of indies who turned out this time is far different from last time around, argues Adam Green of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee. His case: Dem-leaning indys stayed home this time while GOP-leaning ones came out — proof, he insists, that the Dems’ primary problem is they failed to inspire indys who are inclined to support them.

“The dumbest thing Democrats could do right now is listen to those like Third Way who urge Democrats to repeat their mistake by caving to Republicans and corporations instead of fighting boldly for popular progressive reforms and reminding Americans why they were inspired in 2008,” Green says.

Note: Sargent doesn’t endorse this view, merely reports it.

Taylor Marsh quotes The Wall Street Journal

Union households, a key Democratic voting bloc, turned out in force last night and accounted for a quarter of the vote in the battlegrounds of Pennsylvania and Ohio, exit poll showed.

The problem: They didn’t always vote for Democrats, despite six-figure ad campaigns and get-out-the-vote efforts by their unions encouraging them to do so.

In the Pennsylvania Senate contest, for example, exit polls showed that 44% of union household members who voted Tuesday picked Republican Pat Toomey, rather than Democratic Rep. Joe Sestak. Mr. Toomey narrowly won, 51% to 49%, according the latest numbers from the Associated Press.

What’s going on? Nearly half, 45%, of Pennsylvania’s union household voters said someone in their house had been laid off in the past two years. President Barack Obama carried this state by 10 points in 2008, and campaigned there repeatedly this fall. But on Tuesday, 36% of the state’s electorate said they voted to register their discontent with Mr. Obama.

Marsh’s conclusion?  “You think this is bad? Just wait until Pres. Obama cuts a deal on education.”

Finally John Aravosis cites this Yahoo News analysis

Exit polling commissioned by the major cable news networks has found that 31 percent of people who identified as gay, lesbian or bisexual voted for Republicans on Election Day. That represents a big uptick from the 24 percent of gays who voted for the GOP in 2006 and from only 19 percent who did so in 2008. The trend appears to bear out pre-Election Day predictions from gay rights organizers that gay voters were angry and disenchanted with Democrats for not delivering on promises to the community.

After reviewing the full data, Sherrill says there was a disproportionate drop in Democratic support among LGB voters compared to Hispanic, black, and young voters. Though the sample size is still very small and thus there’s a large margin of error, Sherrill now says the drop may be attributed to “dissatisfaction with the pace of change on LGB rights over the past two years.”

Which John correctly identifies as validation for his initial data set

The best comparison is from one mid-term election to the next mid-term election, since turn out is usually lower in the off years.  Gay voters went from 75% Democratic in the 2006 House races to 68% Democratic in 2010 – i.e., a 7 point drop in gay support for Democrats (and a 7 point increase in support for Republicans), which translates to a 9.3% change.  It was an even greater drop if you look at the percentage of the gay vote that went Democratic in the 2008 House races, 80%, as compared to 68% this year.  That’s a 12 point drop, which translates to a 15% decrease.

My conclusion?  Pissing off your base loses elections.  Duh.

Anyone who claims to care about “electoral victory” is a LIAR!

Update: Amanda Terkel

On This Day in History: November 5

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

November 5 is the 309th day of the year (310th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 56 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1938, Samuel Barber’s Adagio For Strings receives its world premiere on NBC radio

Adagio for Strings is a work for string orchestra, arranged by the American composer Samuel Barber from the second movement of his String Quartet. Barber finished the piece in 1936, and in 1938, it was conducted by Arturo Toscanini. Toscanini’s conducting was recorded at 8H Studio for radio broadcasting. Toscanini took the piece on tour to Europe and South America. It is disputed whether the first performance of Adagio in Europe was conducted by Toscanini or Henry J. Wood. Barber has rejected many arrangements published by G. Schirmer, such as the organ arrangement by William Strictland.

The piece begins with a B flat played by the violins. Lower strings enter two beats after the violins. At practical tempo, the piece length is about eight minutes. The piece’s reception was generally positive, with Alexander J. Morin writing that Adagio for Strings contains “full of pathos and cathartic passion, rarely leaves a dry eye.” The piece can be heard in many TV shows and movies.

The recording of the 1938 world premiere, with Arturo Toscanini conducting the NBC Symphony Orchestra, was selected in 2005 for permanent preservation in the National Recording Registry at the United States Library of Congress.[18] Since the 1938 recording, it has frequently been heard throughout the world, and was one of the only American pieces to be played in the Soviet Union during the Cold War.

The Adagio was broadcast over the radio at the announcement of Franklin D. Roosevelt‘s death. It was also played at the funeral of Albert Einstein and at the funeral of Princess Grace of Monaco. It was performed in 2001 at Last Night of the Proms in the Royal Albert Hall to commemorate the victims of the September 11 attacks, replacing the traditional upbeat patriotic songs. It was also played during the opening ceremonies of the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics. In 2004, listeners of the BBC’s Today program voted Adagio for Strings the “saddest classical” work ever, ahead of “Dido’s Lament” from Dido and Aeneas by Henry Purcell, the “Adagietto” from Gustav Mahler’s 5th symphony, Metamorphosen by Richard Strauss and Gloomy Sunday as sung by Billie Holiday.

Adagio for Strings can be heard on many film, TV, and video game soundtracks, including Oliver Stone’s Oscar-winning film Platoon, David Lynch’s 1980 Oscar-nominated film The Elephant Man, Michael Moore’s documentary Sicko, Lorenzo’s Oil, A Very Natural Thing, Reconstruction, and Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s Oscar-nominated 2001 film Amélie. It has been heard in episodes of The Simpsons, Big Brother 2010 (UK), That Mitchell and Webb Look, The Boondocks, South Park, Seinfeld, ER (TV series), Big Love. A recorded performance by the London Symphony Orchestra was, for a time, the highest selling classical piece on iTunes. The work is extremely popular in the electronic dance music genre, notably in trance. Artists who have covered it include Armin van Buuren, William Orbit, Ferry Corsten, and Tiesto. eRa included this song in their new album Classics.

BoA: Feeling The Heat?

So a couple of weeks ago I highlighted 2 posts by Bill Black and Randall Wray on how Title Fraud, Securities Fraud, and Accounting Fraud (which they call Control Fraud) had the potential to force Bank of America into receivership and contending that was the proper course of action.

Bank of America has issued a response (also on The Huffington Post) and today Black and Wray published the first part of a 2 part counter-response.

I thought it might be of interest.

Let’s Set the Record Straight on Bank of America: Open the Books!

William K. Black and L. Randall Wray, The Huffington Post

Posted: November 4, 2010 06:06 PM

The demands by investors that Bank of America repurchase loans and securities sold under false “reps and warranties” may cause exceptional losses if those making the demands document the broader fraud by the lenders. The article “Bank of America Resists Rebuying Bad Loans” shows that Bank of America’s potential loss exposure to Fannie and Freddie is staggering: “[Bank of America] said it sold $1.2 trillion in loans to the government-controlled housing giants from 2004 to 2008 and has thus far received $18 billion in repurchase claims on those loans.”

As argued in a recent article by Jonathon Weil, the bank is nearing a “tipping point” as markets recognize it is “cooking the books,” vastly overstating the value of its assets as it refuses to recognize the true scale of losses on its purchase of Countrywide. Ironically, it still carries on its books $4.4 billion of fictional “goodwill” value created by overpaying for Countrywide (a notorious control fraud), as well as $142 billion of home equity loans that are worth far less. A more honest accounting of “good will” and of the value of home equity loans would take a big bite out of Bank of America’s market capitalization ($116 billion), which has lost 41 percent of its value since April 15. The markets are moving ever closer to shutting down the institution, but Moynihan is not “putting up with” the demand by investors for Bank of America to come clean on its fraudulent practices.

The bank’s response primarily criticizes its borrowers as deadbeats, yet the data it provides support points we have made in our prior posts, including Bill Black’s posts about the banks working with the Chamber of Commerce and Chairman Bernanke to extort the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) in order to destroy the integrity of the accounting rules requiring banks to recognize losses on their bad loans. We have explained why the fraudulent officers controlling many lenders followed a strategy of making bad loans at premium yields in order to maximize (fictional) accounting income and their bonuses. This dynamic drove the current crisis. These frauds hyper-inflated the housing bubble and caused trillions of dollars of losses.

Morning Shinbun Friday November 5

Friday’s Headlines:

100 objects of desire: The story of the radio series of the year – from the man who made it


Johann Hari: America is now officially for sale

For G.O.P., Big Ambitions Face Daunting Obstacles


‘Right to be forgotten’ proposed by European Commission

Fear Darkens Czech Uranium Mining Town

Middle East

Iraqis take fight for ‘torture’ inquiry to the High court

Abbas accuses Iran of trying to derail talks in Middle East


Papuan tells of torture by Indonesian soldiers

Dozens die in new Mount Merapi eruption in Indonesia


Spanish Wages Keep African Island Afloat

Sudan peacekeepers probe Darfur clash

Latin America

Haiti ‘unprepared’ as hurricane approaches

U.S. gets some love, and hate, in Tehran

Officials praise Washington for placing an Iranian insurgent group on its terrorism list even as crowds mark the anniversary of the U.S. Embassy hostage-taking in 1979 with chants of ‘Death to America.’

By Borzou Daragahi and Ramin Mostaghim, Los Angeles Times

Reporting from Beirut and Tehran – Supporters of Iran’s government took to the streets of the capital Thursday to denounce the United States on the 31st anniversary of the takeover of the American Embassy compound, even as the nation’s Foreign Ministry praised Washington for placing an Iranian militant group on a list of outlawed terrorist organizations.

In a rare moment of accord between the two nations, ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast praised the announcement Wednesday that the Obama administration had placed the ethnic Baluchi group Jundallah on its terrorism list. Iran executed the group’s leader,Abdulmalak Rigi, in June.

The 112th Congress: My Take

One of the problems, post-election, will be the Democrats’ reaction to the mid-term blowout. In past elections where Democrats have lost seats, there was a rush to emulate the conventional wisdom of why the other side prevailed. This time, aided by the corporate media that proclaims the country has moved solidly to the center- right, it is very conceivable that the Democrats will overreact to the small government, roll back spending, cut taxes, and reduce the deficit ‘mandate’ that the American people supposedly gave the Republicans in the recent election.

We all know that is nonsense. However, the Democratic Party has never been known to be the most astute when it comes to playing political hardball.

Prime Time

Mostly premiers.  Not much to pick from and nothing worth writing about.  A good night for a nap.


Dave hosts Edison Peña and Tracy Morgan.  Jon has David Sedaris, Stephen Elvis Costello.

Zap2it TV Listings, Yahoo TV Listings