11/23/2010 archive

Evening Edition

Evening Edition is an Open Thread

From Yahoo News Top Stories

1 Irish PM fights for survival as euro fears resurface

by Loic Vennin and Andrew Bushe, AFP

2 hrs 40 mins ago

DUBLIN (AFP) – Irish Prime Minister Brian Cowen battled for his survival Tuesday, while Germany said Ireland’s international bailout showed the future of the euro itself was on the line.

The efforts of the European Union and the International Monetary Fund to shore up the debt-laden Irish economy were called into question as the euro sank to a two-month low, dipping under 1.34 dollars.

As political anger at Cowen and the Irish government grew at home, Portugal — tipped to be the next eurozone economy to need a bailout — was bracing itself for a general strike on Wednesday.

Entice the Rich and Scrap the Cap

Doing away with the cap on Social Security tax would allow the Social Security trust fund to continue in the black indefinitely and the nation would never need to confront the fact that this peoples’ trust is the one debt elected officials don’t want to pay. It could also raise benefits and there might even be enough left over to lower instead of raise the retirement age.

But with the direction of the national debate, getting high income Americans to pay on a larger portion or their entire income is a pipe dream. I would like to point out a diary written by fake consultant, Social Security: If The Rich Paid Taxes Like You And Me…Problem Solved.

A diary not about the more sensible but unobtainable goal of getting the rich to pay in support of the rest of the nation. Instead of removing the tax cap to support the middle class, remove the cap and increase the benefit schedule. This does not shore up Social Security as much but it could get another class of people interested, people with influence.      

TSA Opt-Out Day

Fact Sheet: Know Your Passenger Rights on TSA Opt-Out Day

By: Jane Hamsher Monday November 22, 2010 9:42 am

The idea of an Opt-Out day has been picking up steam, and many airline passengers will be refusing to submit to the TSA’s whole body imaging scanners on Wednesday, November 24.  But in the wake of conflicting messages coming out of the TSA, travelers are going to be confused about what to expect at TSA security checkpoints. So FDL has put together  a handy flier about the scanners and the “enhanced” patdown procedures, which explains your risks and rights in the airport:

I’ve talked at other sites about a Serf Strike and while I don’t want to inflict any personal inconvenience on you I equally urge non-violent direct action of the type Martin Luther King practiced

You may well ask: “Why direct action? Why sit ins, marches and so forth? Isn’t negotiation a better path?” You are quite right in calling for negotiation. Indeed, this is the very purpose of direct action. Nonviolent direct action seeks to create such a crisis and foster such a tension that a community which has constantly refused to negotiate is forced to confront the issue. It seeks so to dramatize the issue that it can no longer be ignored. My citing the creation of tension as part of the work of the nonviolent resister may sound rather shocking. But I must confess that I am not afraid of the word “tension.” I have earnestly opposed violent tension, but there is a type of constructive, nonviolent tension which is necessary for growth. Just as Socrates felt that it was necessary to create a tension in the mind so that individuals could rise from the bondage of myths and half truths to the unfettered realm of creative analysis and objective appraisal, so must we see the need for nonviolent gadflies to create the kind of tension in society that will help men rise from the dark depths of prejudice and racism to the majestic heights of understanding and brotherhood. The purpose of our direct action program is to create a situation so crisis packed that it will inevitably open the door to negotiation. I therefore concur with you in your call for negotiation. Too long has our beloved Southland been bogged down in a tragic effort to live in monologue rather than dialogue.

Now I’ll never fly again unless absolutely necessary, simply because even before 9/11 I found it an unpleasant and tedious waste of time.  I can only imagine how horrible it is today.  And it’s not that I flatter myself that I have much of an audience, yet I’m irresistibly tempted to encourage this endeavour simply because of the Versailles Villagers begging people not to.

Incoming House Transportation chief against ‘Opt-Out’ Day in TSA protest

By Kevin Bogardus, The Hill

11/21/10 10:25 AM ET

Rep. John Mica (R-Fla.) urged airline passengers Sunday to not purposefully slow down airport security lines by refusing to go through body scanners.

Likely the next House Transportation Committee chairman, Mica said he could not support what has become known as National “Opt-Out” Day. During the busy Thanksgiving travel period, passengers may opt-out of the body scanners, which take naked body images, and instead choose to go under invasive pat-downs as an act of protest. That will then likely slow down security lines.

Good.  That’s what it’s supposed to do.

John Pistole, TSA Chief, Pleads With Travelers Against Full-Body Scan Boycott

RAY HENRY, Associated Press

11/22/10 11:13 PM

ATLANTA – The nation’s airport security chief pleaded with Thanksgiving travelers for understanding and urged them not to boycott full-body scans on Wednesday, lest their protest snarl what is already one of the busiest, most stressful flying days of the year.

Transportation Security Administration chief John Pistole said Monday that such delaying actions would only “tie up people who want to go home and see their loved ones.”

“Just one or two recalcitrant passengers at an airport is all it takes to cause huge delays,” said Paul Ruden, a spokesman for the American Society of Travel Agents, which has warned its more than 8,000 members about delays. “It doesn’t take much to mess things up anyway.”

Well, since it’s coming up on Thanksgiving Day anyway-

And friends, somewhere in Washington enshrined in some little folder, is a study in black and white of my fingerprints.  And the only reason I’m singing you this song now is cause you may know somebody in a similar situation, or you may be in a similar situation, and if your in a situation like that there’s only one thing you can do and that’s walk into the shrink wherever you are ,just walk in say “Shrink, You can get anything you want, at Alice’s restaurant.”.  And walk out.  You know, if one person, just one person does it they may think he’s really sick and they won’t take him.  And if two people, two people do it, in harmony, they may think they’re both faggots and they won’t take either of them. And three people do it, three, can you imagine, three people walking in singin a bar of Alice’s Restaurant and walking out. They may think it’s an organization.  And can you, can you imagine fifty people a day, I said fifty people a day walking in singing a bar of Alice’s Restaurant and walking out.  And friends they may think it’s a movement.

And that’s what it is , the Alice’s Restaurant Anti-Massacre Movement, and all you got to do to join is sing it the next time it come’s around on the guitar.

With feeling.


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.

Thanks to ek hornbeck, click on the link and you can access all the past “Punting the Pundits”.

Jim White: Douthat Stumbles Upon, Discards Truth to Promote Conservative Myth on Irish Economic Woes

Poor little Ross Douthat, this analysis gig of his is so hard, especially while the fantasy world of conservatism continues crashing all around him when his primary job is to keep that fantasy alive, at great cost to the real world. Today we find little Ross taking on the crash of the Irish economy. In flailing about for an explanation of what has happened to this former poster-child of Chicago economics run wild, Douthat briefly flirts with an accurate explanation of what went wrong, but then pays proper homage to his overlords by discarding the painfully obvious truth in favor of yet another conservative talking point that is easily demonstrated to be false.

When examining Ireland’s rapid economic growth just prior to the collapse, Douthat of course rushes immediately to tout conservatives’ wet dreams about growth. . .

Yup, it’s that nasty move toward “one world government” represented by the EU that is really to blame for Ireland’s woes. Poor little Ross can’t trouble himself with considering that if this explanation were true, all of the EU would be suffering just as badly as Ireland. So where are the staggering government debts in those EU countries that didn’t slash their taxes? Where are the failing banks in the EU countries that maintained more regulation? Maybe Ross can get back to us on those points.

Joe Conason: On Earmarks

It isn’t the earmarks, stupid.

Bullying Republican Senate leaders into a “voluntary” ban on earmarks may represent a political triumph for the tea party movement, but as a measure to reduce the federal deficit it is a meaningless substitute for real action. The facts about earmarks — and the deficit, for that matter — are so simple that even the dumbest birther should be able to understand.

Funds directed to specific projects by legislators — which is what earmarks are — account for around 1 percent of any annual budget, so they represent far too little money to substantially reduce the budget. Besides, banning earmarks won’t reduce the budget (or the deficit) anyway, because they are drawn from funds that have already been appropriated. . . .

It isn’t the stimulus, stupid. And it isn’t the bailouts, either. . . .

Proposals to reduce the deficit by impoverishing seniors, punishing middle-class families, and neglecting infrastructure and education will do more harm than good. The deepest problem in the U.S. economy is the gross tilt of income and wealth toward the very top and the distortion of policy to favor financial manipulation rather than real growth.

Perhaps it is time to listen again to the only president in recent memory who balanced four budgets and left a surplus for the Republicans to squander. He achieved those goals not by cutting spending, shutting down the government or ending welfare, but raising taxes on the wealthy in his first budget. There will be no progress toward fiscal balance and economic sanity until we acknowledge those facts — and stop listening to stupid.

Thom Hartmann: Michael Chertoff, Bend Over, Please…

During the time you’re reading these words, somewhere in the world somebody is getting onto or off an airplane with a few ounces of cocaine, heroin, or diamonds packed into a condom and stuffed up their rear.

The cocaine, heroin, or diamonds could just as easily be enough C4 plastic explosive to blow out the side of a plane, easily molded to fit into a condom.

Easily removed in an airplane lavatory and detonated. . . .

As Benjamin Franklin famously wrote on February 17, 1775 in his notes to the Pennsylvania Assembly, “They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.”

If we are serious about stopping Middle Eastern zealots from attacking us, instead of blowing up our own Fourth Amendment right to be secure in our persons, let’s stop blowing up Middle Eastern countries.

When the Obama administration pulls our troops out of Iraq and Afghanistan, and works hard to resolve the Israeli/Palestinian crisis, then I’ll believe our government really cares about our safety.

Until then, it’s just theatre – with a few millions in profit for Chertoff and his friends.

What’s Cooking: Fried Turkey

By now you should have defrosted that frozen turkey and it should be resting comfortably in the back of you refrigerator. If you haven’t, getteth your butt to the grocery store and buy a fresh one because even if you start defrosting today, your bird might not be defrosted in time. I discussed the how to cook your bird to perfection in a conventional oven, now for a method that’s a little daring, deep frying.

Alton Brown, is one of my favorite TV cooks. Good Eats funny and informative, plus, his recipes are easy and edible. I’ve done fried turkey and while I don’t recommend it for health reasons, once a year probably wont hurt. Alton’s “how to” videos are a must watch on safety tips, how to choose a turkey fryer, equipment and, finally, cooking directions. If you decide to try this, please follow all directions carefully and take all the safety precautions.

Below the fold are recipes and more safety tips.

Bon Apetite

Ireland hasn’t gone away either

Though Brian Cowen and his Fianna Fail (great name dude) Party soon will.

Irish Debt Crisis Forces Collapse of Government

By LANDON THOMAS Jr., The New York Times

Published: November 22, 2010

DUBLIN – The Irish government faced imminent collapse on Monday, only a day after it signed off on a $100 billion bailout, setting the stage for a new election early next year and injecting the threat of political instability into a European financial crisis that already has markets on edge.

Confronted with high-level defections from his governing coalition, Prime Minister Brian Cowen said he would dissolve the government after passage of the country’s crucial 2011 budget early in December.

His announcement capped a grim day for Ireland, as protesters tried to storm the Parliament building in Dublin, and Moody’s Investors Service, the ratings agency, lowered the rating on Irish debt by several notches.

In summary form, Fianna Fail controls the Irish Parliament by a very thin majority.  The Green Party, currently in coalition to provide that majority with 6 seats of its own has officially announced that they’ll vote No Confidence after the signature of the bailout agreement and passage of the new austerity budget.

However up to 5 Fianna Fail members have announced that they won’t wait that long and don’t plan on voting for either the bailout or the budget.

Voter sentiment in Ireland is similar to that in Iceland which was forced to repudiate many offers made by the banksters to safeguard their balance sheets and opposition party leaders are strongly calling for snap elections as a referendum on the government, its policies, the bailout agreement, and austerity.

If elections are held they’ll likely win in a landslide.  It’s not certain Fianna Fail can even continue to survive as a party.

Good riddance to bad rubbish.  You sleep with dogs, you wake up with fleas.

Of course the banksters are making threats-

EU warns Ireland over snap election

By Bruno Waterfield in Dublin, The Telegraph

10:00AM GMT 23 Nov 2010

The European Union has warned the Irish government that snap elections would be “very irresponsible” as post-bail-out turmoil continues to rock Ireland’s political establishment.

Vital to his staying on in power, were EU warnings that Ireland’s £77 billion bail-out would be jeopardised if the government fell Ireland, a situation that would spark a euro zone debt crisis and lead to the value Irish bonds being wiped out by global markets.

“From our perspective, it is important that the government is able to represent Ireland in the talks,” said another EU source. “It would be very unpleasant if there was no one to talk to. That would be very irresponsible.”

The turmoil means there are question marks over whether the government can pass a four year austerity later this week and a 2011 budget next month, both are preconditions of the EU and IMF rescue programme.

Declan Ganley, the leader of the successful 2008 Irish No campaign against the Lisbon Treaty, before the vote was overturned last year, accused the EU of destroying Ireland’s political class by pressuring it into an unpopular bail-out to preserve the euro.

“The Irish political class has been sacrificed on the altar of expediency by those they thought were their friends in Brussels, Berlin and Paris,” he said.

Yes, more like that please.  I hope you starve just like the workers you betrayed you arrogant idiots.

The BP Oil Blowout Disaster hasn’t gone away

Kenneth Feinberg’s plan to settle oil-spill claims met with opposition

By Steven Mufson, Washington Post Staff Writer

Monday, November 22, 2010; 7:16 PM

Tuesday (TODAY!) is the day that Feinberg wants to end emergency payments by BP’s Gulf Coast Claims Facility to individuals and businesses for damage inflicted by the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. After Thanksgiving, Feinberg will start offering lump-sum payments to people ready to settle all present and future claims – giving up their rights to file lawsuits.

Earlier this month, Alabama Gov. Bob Riley (R) called Feinberg’s claims process “extortion,” and outgoing Alabama Attorney General Troy King issued a “consumer alert” warning people that Feinberg “works for BP.” Feinberg was named by President Obama, though BP is paying him and four other lawyers at his firm $850,000 a month to run the fund.

BP Gulf-Leak Estimates Slowed Efforts to Kill Well

Jim Efstathiou Jr., Bloomberg News


BP Plc “impeded” efforts to kill an out-of-control well in the Gulf of Mexico by underestimating the amount of oil gushing into the water, the staff of a presidential panel investigating the disaster said in a report.

Estimates of a 1,000-barrel-a-day leak after a drilling rig exploded April 20 delayed planning for techniques to seal the well, staff of the National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill said today. A U.S. government-appointed team of scientists in August said the well was gushing about 62,000 barrels a day after the blowout and 53,000 barrels when it was capped on July 15.

“Had BP not shown such aggressive indifference to the size of the disaster, and the oil industry to preparing for such an event, then perhaps early actions could have made a difference in stopping this spill,” Representative Edward Markey, a Massachusetts Democrat, said today in a statement.

The Obama administration blocked release of worst-case government estimates of the spill rate, the commission staff said in an Oct. 6 report. The move undermined public confidence in the U.S. response and may have hindered efforts to staunch the flow.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration “wanted to make public some of its long-term, worst-case discharge models for the Deepwater Horizon spill, and requested approval to do so from the White House’s Office of Management and Budget,” according to the staff paper. “The Office of Management and Budget denied NOAA’s request.”

Do you think Darrell Issa is going to want to investigate this?  Do you think the Obama Administration is blameless?

On This Day in History: November 23

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

Find the past “On This Day in History” here.

November 23 is the 327th day of the year (328th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 38 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1936, the first issue of the pictorial magazine Life is published.

Life actually had its start earlier in the 20th century as a different kind of magazine: a weekly humor publication, not unlike today’s The New Yorker in its use of tart cartoons, humorous pieces and cultural reporting. When the original Life folded during the Great Depression, the influential American publisher Henry Luce bought the name and re-launched the magazine as a picture-based periodical on this day in 1936. By this time, Luce had already enjoyed great success as the publisher of Time, a weekly news magazine.

In 1936 publisher Henry Luceaid $92,000 to the owners of Life magazine because he sought the name for Time Inc. Wanting only the old Life’s name in the sale, Time Inc. sold Life’s subscription list, features, and goodwill to Judge. Convinced that pictures could tell a story instead of just illustrating text, Luce launched Life on November 23, 1936. The third magazine published by Luce, after Time in 1923 and Fortune in 1930, Life gave birth to the photo magazine in the U.S., giving as much space and importance to pictures as to words. The first issue of Life, which sold for ten cents (approximately USD $1.48 in 2007, see Cost of Living Calculator) featured five pages of Alfred Eisenstaedt’s pictures.

When the first issue of Life magazine appeared on the newsstands, the U.S. was in the midst of the Great Depression and the world was headed toward war. Adolf Hitler was firmly in power in Germany. In Spain, General Francisco Franco’s rebel army was at the gates of Madrid; German Luftwaffe pilots and bomber crews, calling themselves the Condor Legion, were honing their skills as Franco’s air arm. Italy under Benito Mussolini annexed Ethiopia. Luce ignored tense world affairs when the new Life was unveiled: the first issue depicted the Fort Peck Dam in Montana photographed by Margaret Bourke-White.

Morning Shinbun Tuesday November 23

Tuesday’s Headlines:

WikiLeaks release: WikiLeaks to release three million secret US documents


Elsewhere, profiling is preferred method of airport security

New poll undercuts GOP claims of a midterm mandate


Irish PM is forced to call election as €90bn bailout sparks unrest

Nicolas Sarkozy ‘calls journalist a paedophile’

Middle East

Plebiscite required for return of Israeli land

Intel on Iran has telling flaw


Aung San Suu Kyi reunited with her son after 10 years

Pakistan opens its door to US ops


International justice and Congo ‘warlord’ on trial

Constitutional referendum passes in Madagascar

Latin America

Bolivian president criticizes U.S. in front of Robert Gates

North and South Korea Exchange Dozens of Artillery Shells


Published: November 23, 2010

SEOUL, South Korea – North and South Korea exchanged artillery fire on Tuesday after dozens of shells fired from the North struck a South Korean island near the countries’ disputed western sea border, South Korean military officials said.

The South Korean military immediately went to “crisis status,” said a Defense Ministry official. There were widespread media reports that Seoul had scrambled F-16 fighter jets but the official declined to confirm whether the planes were in the air.

The South Korean broadcaster YTN reported that one marine had been killed and three others seriously wounded in the shelling on the island, in addition to two civilian casualties. TV footage showed large plumes of black smoke spiraling from the island.

Jan Schakowsky on the PBS NewsHour

It was so good to see a bit of reality from an elected official. Last week Chris Bowers presented Jan Schakowsky’s deficit reduction plan and tonight she spoke up on the TV.

You can find the transcript here. The interview is really worth viewing and really worth passing around. A proposal that says we don’t have to go after the middle and lower classes and should go after the rich coming from an elected official was refreshing.

But will anybody else ever hear Rep. Jan Schakowsky?

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