01/23/2011 archive

“You Are the Un-Americans, and You Ought to be Ashamed of Yourselves”

Crossposted at Daily Kos and Docudharma

On January 23, 1976, one of the greatest Americans of the twentieth century died a nearly forgotten man in self-imposed seclusion in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  

Over the last three decades or so, you rarely, if ever, hear his name mentioned in the popular media.  Once every few years, you might hear someone on PBS or C-Span remember him fondly and explain as to why he was one of the more important figures of the past century.  In many respects, he had as much moral authority as Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King, Jr. and Rosa Parks; he was as politically active as Dick Gregory, Harry Belafonte, John Lewis, and Randall Robinson; and, as befits many men and women motivated by moral considerations, he conducted himself with great dignity.  For much of his life, not surprisingly and not unlike many of his worthy successors, he was marginalized and shunned by the political establishment of his time — until events validated their ‘radical’ beliefs and resurrected their reputations.

Throughout his life, few principled men of his caliber paid as high a price and for as long a period as he did for his political beliefs.

Conference Championship Sunday

2011 Throwball Playoffs

This time through we get excited about the early game on Fox at 3 pm.

Despite over 180 regular season meetings the Bears and the Packers have met just twice in the post season and I’m not as sanguine as my dad about the Packers’ ability to prevail as I was before watching the Bears dismantle the Seahawks last week.

A reminder of why you should be rooting for the Packers

The Packers are the only non-profit, community-owned franchise in American professional sports major leagues. Typically, a team is owned by one person, partnership, or corporate entity, i.e., a “team owner.” The lack of a dominant owner has been stated as one of the reasons the Green Bay Packers have never been moved from the city of Green Bay, a city of only 102,313 people as of the 2000 census.

As of June 8, 2005, 112,015 people (representing 4,750,934 shares) can lay claim to a franchise ownership interest. Shares of stock include voting rights, but the redemption price is minimal, no dividends are ever paid, the stock cannot appreciate in value – though private sales often exceed the face value of the stock, and stock ownership brings no season ticket privileges. No shareholder may own over 200,000 shares, a safeguard to ensure that no individual can assume control of the club. To run the corporation, a board of directors is elected by the stockholders.

Green Bay is the only team with this form of ownership structure in the NFL; such ownership is in direct violation of current league rules, which stipulate a limit of 32 owners of one team and one of those owners having a minimum 30% stake. However, the Packers corporation was grandfathered when the NFL’s current ownership policy was established in the 1980s, and are thus exempt. The Packers are also the only American major-league sports franchise to release its financial balance sheet every year.

Another old school matchup is Jets @ Steelers on CBS at 6:30 pm.  Last week I told you why the Jets were pretty loathsome and my opinion hasn’t mellowed in the 7 days since.

Plus the Steelers are a better team.

This is the end of the CBS broadcast season.

Rant of the Week: Keith Olbermann’s Last Special Comment 1/17/11

This was Keith Olbermann’s last Special Comment before “Countdown” was canceled.

Olbermann on the nine days since Tucson

To date, only one commentator or politician has expressed the slightest introspection… of the existence of the fantasy dream cloud of violent language

Transcript for this Special Comment can be read here.

On This Day in History January 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.

January 23 is the 23rd day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. There are 342 days remaining until the end of the year (343 in leap years).

On this day in 1849, Elizabeth Blackwell is granted a medical degree from Geneva College in New York, becoming the first female to be officially recognized as a physician in U.S. history.

Blackwell, born in Bristol, England, came to the United States in her youth and attended the medical faculty of Geneva College, now known as Hobart College. In 1849, she graduated with the highest grades in her class and was granted an M.D.

Banned from practice in most hospitals, she was advised to go to Paris, France and train at La Maternite, but had to continue her training as a student midwife, not a physician. While she was there, her training was cut short when in November, 1849 she caught a serious right eye infection, purulent ophthalmia, from a baby she was treating. She had to have her right eye removed and replaced with a glass eye. This loss brought to an end her hopes to become a surgeon.

In 1853 Blackwell along with her sister Emily and Dr. Marie Zakrzewska, founded their own infirmary, the New York Infirmary for Indigent Women and Children, in a single room dispensary near Tompkins Square in Manhattan. During the American Civil War, Blackwell trained many women to be nurses and sent them to the Union Army. Many women were interested and received training at this time. After the war, Blackwell had time, in 1868, to establish a Women’s Medical College at the Infirmary to train women, physicians, and doctors.

In 1857, Blackwell returned to England where she attended Bedford College for Women for one year. In 1858, under a clause in the 1858 Medical Act that recognized doctors with foreign degrees practising in Britain before 1858, she was able to become the first woman to have her name entered on the General Medical Council’s medical register (1 January 1859).

In 1869, she left her sister Emily in charge of the college and returned to England. There, with Florence Nightingale, she opened the Women’s Medical College. Blackwell taught at London School of Medicine for Women, which she had co-founded, and accepted a chair in gynecology. She retired a year later.

During her retirement, Blackwell still maintained her interest in the women’s rights movement by writing lectures on the importance of education. Blackwell is credited with opening the first training school for nurses in the United States in 1873. She also published books about diseases and proper hygiene.

She was an early outspoken opponent of circumcision and in 1894 said that “Parents, should be warned that this ugly mutilation of their children involves serious danger, both to their physical and moral health.” She was a proponent of women’s rights and pro-life.


Former Spy With Agenda Operates a Private C.I.A.

By MARK MAZZETTI, The New York Times

Published: January 22, 2011

Over the past two years, he has fielded operatives in the mountains of Pakistan and the desert badlands of Afghanistan. Since the United States military cut off his funding in May, he has relied on like-minded private donors to pay his agents to continue gathering information about militant fighters, Taliban leaders and the secrets of Kabul’s ruling class.

Hatching schemes that are something of a cross between a Graham Greene novel and Mad Magazine’s “Spy vs. Spy,” Mr. Clarridge has sought to discredit Ahmed Wali Karzai, the Kandahar power broker who has long been on the C.I.A. payroll, and planned to set spies on his half brother, the Afghan president, Hamid Karzai, in hopes of collecting beard trimmings or other DNA samples that might prove Mr. Clarridge’s suspicions that the Afghan leader was a heroin addict, associates say.

Mr. Clarridge, 78, who was indicted on charges of lying to Congress in the Iran-contra scandal and later pardoned, is described by those who have worked with him as driven by the conviction that Washington is bloated with bureaucrats and lawyers who impede American troops in fighting adversaries and that leaders are overly reliant on mercurial allies.

His dispatches – an amalgam of fact, rumor, analysis and uncorroborated reports – have been sent to military officials who, until last spring at least, found some credible enough to be used in planning strikes against militants in Afghanistan. They are also fed to conservative commentators, including Oliver L. North, a compatriot from the Iran-contra days and now a Fox News analyst, and Brad Thor, an author of military thrillers and a frequent guest of Glenn Beck.

For all of the can-you-top-this qualities to Mr. Clarridge’s operation, it is a startling demonstration of how private citizens can exploit the chaos of combat zones and rivalries inside the American government to carry out their own agenda.

Making money in blogging.

The latest rumor circulating about Keith (not that I’m star struck or anything, but he did in fact take the time to respond to a post of mine once, so it’s just professional courtesy) is that like Howard Fineman, Tucker Carlson, and others, he’s seeking his next fortune in the world of new media.

Did Keith Olbermann Bolt MSNBC to Create Media Empire?

By Dominic Patten & Sharon Waxman, TheWrap.com via HuffPo

Published: January 21, 2011 @ 6:13 pm

With two years left on his $7 million a year contract, Olbermann was seeking a full exit package but he really has his eye on creating his own media empire in the style of Huffington Post, according to the individual. That way, Olbermann would control his own brand and, in his view, potentially earn far more as an owner.


Here’s a bit of free advice which, I’m afraid, is all I can afford.

I’ve heard that it’s possible to make money from blogging, but that’s certainly not my experience.

If you want to crosspost, you’re more than welcome to register.  I’d be grateful for your content.

Punting the Pundits: Sunday Preview Edition

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.

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

The Sunday Talking Heads:

This Week with Christiane Amanpour: Christiane Amanpour asks Sens. Joe Lieberman, Kent Conrad and Kay Bailey Hutchison what the President needs to achieve in his speech next week. Will the health care law survive Republican efforts to repeal it? What can the President and the Congress do about jobs? With a call for a new tone in Washington in the wake of the Tucson shooting, does bipartisanship have a chance? And why have these three Senators decided to retire?

Christiane talks with three new Republican members of Congress, Rep. Chris Gibson (R-N.Y.), Rep. Bobby Schilling (R-Ill.) and Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) share their views on how they hope to change Washington, whether they can keep their campaign promises and their thoughts about the Tea Party movement.

The roundtable with George Will, Nobel Prize-winning economist and New York Times Columnist Paul Krugman, former Bush political strategist Matthew Dowd, and Democratic strategist Donna Brazile will take a hard look at the tough compromises that both the White House and newly emboldened Republicans on Capitol Hill will have to make if Washington is to avoid gridlock.

Face the Nation with Bob Schieffer: Mr. Scheiffer will have exclusive interviews with Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. and Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y. (at left)

The Chris Matthews Show: This week’s guests are Howard Fineman, The Huffington Post Senior Political Editor, Norah O’Donnell, MSNBC

Chief Washington Correspondent, Katty Kay, BBC

Washington Correspondent and Cynthia Tucker, Atlanta Journal-Constitution Columnist who will discuss these questions:

Will President Obama’s State of the Union offer Republicans a deal they cannot refuse?

Riding the tiger: are Chinese mothers really superior to western mothers?

Meet the Press with David Gregory: Gregory has an exclusive interview with House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA).

This Sunday’s roundtable guests are the Assistant Democratic Leader in the House, Rep. James Clyburn (D-SC), former advisor to President George W. Bush, Ambassador Karen Hughes, Former Clinton Chief of Staff John Podesta now with the Center for American Progress, the Political Director for Atlantic Media, Ron Brownstein and CNBC’s Erin Burnett.

State of the Union with Candy Crowley: Ms. Crowley will have and exclusive live, in studio interview with former Secretary of State Colin Powell.

And are we at a political pivot point for the Obama administration? We’ll break down presidential politics and the Republican agenda with Democratic strategist Paul Begala and former Bush speechwriter Michael Gerson.

Fifty years after President Dwight Eisenhower‘s farewell speech and John F. Kennedy’s inaugural address, we’ll sit down with author and presidential historian, Richard Norton Smith.

Fareed Zakaris: GPS: The big story of the week was Chinese President Hu Jintao’s State Visit to Washington. It’s visit that would not have been possible without the past efforts of two men: former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and former National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski. Both men paved the way for U.S./China relations. And both of these diplomatic giants sit down in exclusive one-on-one interviews with Fareed to assess the trip, the current state of affairs, and the future of relations between the two nations. Are things as tense as they seem? Can the world’s two economic superpowers find common ground and work together?

Next week, President Obama will deliver his State of the Union address. What does he need to say? Fareed offers his take.

And later in the show a GPS panel of experts, including two former Presidential speechwriters share their thoughts on why the speech is so critical and what should (and shouldn’t) be in it.

Then, what in the world is going on in the Arab world? Is George W. Bush’s vision of democracy across the Middle East and North Africa coming true?

And finally a last look at what happens when a village meets 49,200 lbs. of explosives.

Six In The Morning

The Law Takes The Otherside      

Police join protests in Tunisia

Thousands of demonstrators including police officers, lawyers and students, have taken to the streets of Tunisia’s capital, Tunis, in another day of unrest in the North African country.

At least 2,000 police officers participated in Saturday’s demonstrations, according to the Associated Press news agency. They were joined by members of the national guard and fire departments.

Crowds gathered in front of the office of Mohamed Ghannouchi, the interim prime minister, and on Avenue Habib Bourguiba, the main street of Tunis.

The rally was the latest in a month of turmoil that toppled Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, Tunisia’s longstanding ruler, sending him into exile in Saudi Arabia on January 14.

Prime Time

Since this is a TV diary I should address Keith’s departure and I will at some point, but right now I’m still trying to gather information and process the implications so I hope you’ll forgive me if I’m a little off topic.

What it does point out is something I’ve long advocated.

If you want to change THE media you have to change YOUR media and in my own little way what I’m trying to demonstrate with these trivial pieces is that you have a lot of choices.

The only thing these assholes understand is ratings and the only things they care about are money (ratings) and their pouty diva cewebwity feewings (also ratings, but in addition ‘Fan’ mail and public criticism so a mite more activist).

At the very least you can avert your eyes.

PBS is premiering Austin City Limits with Sonic Youth and The Black Keys.


I know why you’re here, Neo. I know what you’ve been doing… why you hardly sleep, why you live alone, and why night after night, you sit by your computer. You’re looking for him. I know because I was once looking for the same thing. And when he found me, he told me I wasn’t really looking for him. I was looking for an answer. It’s the question that drives us, Neo. It’s the question that brought you here.

SNL from 12/4/10.

BoondocksThe Story of Gangstalicious, The Itis

Do you know how long I wanted to own my own restaurant?

Three weeks. At Sunday dinner, that was the first time you mentioned it. And you only started doin’ the stupid Sunday dinner thing because you saw Soul Food on cable.

We’re gonna pause this for the benefit of all ya’ll that never saw Soul Food. Soul Food is a movie about a big, humongous, black grandmother, aptly named Big Mama. Big Mama demonstrates her love by feeding herself and her offspring enormous amounts of pig lard. Then – get this – Big Mama’s arteries are so clogged, they gotta amputate her arm.

It was her leg!

Right, OK, whatever, leg. Then, she dies from a heart attack or another stroke or somethin’. And what does the family do after she dies? They get together for a Sunday dinner and eat the same food that just killed Big Mama. The *same* food. They didn’t learn a lesson, nobody went on a diet, and that’s the end of the movie.

Sunday dinners was my idea! They got that from me.

Zap2it TV Listings, Yahoo TV Listings

Evening Edition

Evening Edition is an Open Thread

From Yahoo News Top Stories

1 Irish PM quits as party leader

by Andrew Bushe, AFP

1 hr 49 mins ago

DUBLIN (AFP) – Ireland’s embattled Prime Minister Brian Cowen announced Saturday he was stepping down as leader of his Fianna Fail party but would remain as the country’s premier ahead of the March 11 general election.

In a surprise move after a week of political turmoil, Cowen said he wanted the centrist party to fight the election “free from internal distractions” — while he could now focus on getting budget laws passed to cement an EU-IMF bailout to revive Ireland’s battered economy.

“Taking everything into account, and having discussed the matter with my family, I have decided on my own counsel to step down as uachtarain (president) of Fianna Fail and leader of Fianna Fail,” Cowen told a Dublin news conference.