03/04/2011 archive

Evening Edition

Evening Edition is an Open Thread

Now with 59 Top Stories.

From Yahoo News Top Stories

1 Kadhafi forces hit Libyan rebels east and west


2 hrs 40 mins ago

NEAR RASLANUF (AFP) – Libyan forces loyal to strongman Moamer Kadhafi killed and wounded rebels trying to advance on Tripoli and claimed to have recaptured a town close to the capital Friday, rebel and government sources said.

A doctor at one of the hospitals in rebel-held territory, where casualties were being treated from the fierce clashes round the refinery town of Raslanuf, said there were “many dead and wounded” by rocket fire from loyalist defenders.

In restive Yemen troops also killed four protesters and wounded seven in the north of the country as nationwide protests raged against President Ali Abdullah Saleh.

We apologise for the fault in the subtitles

Technical difficulties at Søapbløx.

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”

Paul Krugman: How to Kill a Recovery

The economic news has been better lately. New claims for unemployment insurance are down; business and consumer surveys suggest solid growth. We’re still near the bottom of a very deep hole, but at least we’re climbing.

It’s too bad that so many people, mainly on the political right, want to send us sliding right back down again.

Before we get to that, let’s talk about why economic recovery has been so long in coming.

New York Times Editorial: Foreclosure Follies

Recent price data show home values at nearly their lowest levels in the postbubble era, and a coming tide of foreclosures means prices will drop further. Seven million families have lost their homes so far, and another three million foreclosures are expected through 2012.

The ongoing crash is further evidence that the government’s antiforeclosure efforts have fallen short and America’s struggling homeowners need more help.

So what are House Republicans proposing? They want the government to get out of the antiforeclosure business altogether and leave homeowners to fend for themselves. The result would be hundreds of thousands of additional foreclosures and steeper price declines.

Glenn Greenwald: Bradley Manning Could Face Death: For What?

The U.S. Army yesterday announced that it has filed 22 additional charges against Bradley Manning, the Private accused of being the source for hundreds of thousands of documents (as well as this still-striking video) published over the last year by WikiLeaks. Most of the charges add little to the ones already filed, but the most serious new charge is for “aiding the enemy,” a capital offense under Article 104 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice. Although military prosecutors stated that they intend to seek life imprisonment rather than the death penalty for this alleged crime, the military tribunal is still empowered to sentence Manning to death if convicted.

Article 104 — which, like all provisions of the UCMJ, applies only to members of the military — is incredibly broad. Under 104(b) — almost certainly the provision to be applied — a person is guilty if he “gives intelligence to or communicates or corresponds with or holds any intercourse with the enemy, either directly or indirectly” (emphasis added), and, if convicted, “shall suffer death or such other punishment as a court-martial or military commission may direct.” The charge sheet filed by the Army is quite vague and neither indicates what specifically Manning did to violate this provision nor the identity of the “enemy” to whom he is alleged to have given intelligence. There are, as international law professor Kevin Jon Heller notes, only two possibilities, and both are disturbing in their own way.

In light of the implicit allegation that Manning transmitted this material to WikiLeaks, it is quite possible that WikiLeaks is the “enemy” referenced by Article 104, i.e., that the U.S. military now openly decrees (as opposed to secretly declaring) that the whistle-blowing group is an “enemy” of the U.S. More likely, the Army will contend that by transmitting classified documents to WikiLeaks for intended publication, Manning “indirectly” furnished those documents to Al Qaeda and the Taliban by enabling those groups to learn their contents. That would mean that it is a capital offense not only to furnish intelligence specifically and intentionally to actual enemies — the way that, say, Aldrich Ames and Robert Hanssen were convicted of passing intelligence to the Soviet Union — but also to act as a whistle-blower by leaking classified information to a newspaper with the intent that it be published to the world. Logically, if one can “aid the enemy” even by leaking to WikiLeaks, then one can also be guilty of this crime by leaking to The New York Times.

No WWL Radio Tonight

Updated: We canceled the brain scan appt due to the weather, and Mike opted out of a reschedule. We agreed that if the lung cancer is killing him this fast, the brain cancer, if its in there? Redundant test and pointless 30k out of pocket. Sigh.

Of COURSE, every time we have had a Doctors appointment this past month, there has been weather; today is no exception. We had a freezing rain overnight and everything is glare ice.

By 6;30 am I was tied to the local news, amazed that there were no school closings. Nearly every major freeway around here had been closed due to accidents. They finally, about 15 minutes before Jake’s bus put his school on a 2 hour delay.

Last night was already tough. Our first truly frightening day. I didn’t expect it because he had a fairly good day. I think because his friend came over, and the oxygen tech, he didn’t get his day-sleep in and over exhausted himself. Or maybe it grew just enough to finally collapse that airway enough that even coughing can’t get air into the collapsed right lung. I dunno.

He struggled to breathe all evening. Gasping, breathing too fast… I had to keep talking him through trying to slow it down. I spent four hours watching his every breath. I finally got him to sleep and it normalized. Part of it I think is that he took his Ty 3 too late. The other is he panic attacked about it. But the obstructed airways sound worse by the day. Its like it went from not-good to “I didn’t expect this for months” in a few days. On oxygen no less. “In through your nose slow, babe, don’t try and make it too deep or you’ll cough… then out through your mouth like a straw.” A few times when it got too fast and I could see his chest and stomach almost convulse, I resorted to having him “sssss” it in through clenched teeth with a wide mouth barely parted, and blow out just to control the spasm. Almost like childbirth breathing. Neither one worked too well. He couldn’t lay down, or he started coughing uncontrollably, felt like he was choking/drowning. “I can’t get air!” is the most he could muster to speak the whole time.

So all he could do is sit up. He was hunched, weak, so I sat behind him and supported him against my body, holding his shoulders back trying to open the chest cavity more, so he wasn’t crunching it more by bending that far up. I kept being afraid he would just stop last night, or pass out. He has asked me for a DNR and no life support under any circumstances. So, am I supposed to just let him stop breathing already, or call an ambulance if it gets worse? I realized I will have to watch him die at some point, but last night shoved it home. Its horrifying to stand watch for hours doing nothing but watching someone breathe. I even watched for hours after he fell asleep.

He’s sleeping, and breathing ok now, ok being relative. It still sounds like a death rattle and is shallow and quick, but its even at least.

I am seriously worried about getting him in the car, let alone the drive.  I am loathe to wake him, afraid it will start another attack. But they want the brain scan. Not gonna make much difference if he can’t breathe though.

I have been dreaming that I cannot sleep and am trying to get to sleep in the dream itself, exhausted and unable to get rest. Don’t need Freud to figure out what that means. But last night, thankfully, I slept sound until the alarm. The first time in a week I got more than 4 fitful hours. Then I felt bad because I should have checked on him. Yeah, I know, I ain’t superwoman.

Gah. I’m off today, at least. Though I have no idea what I will do with myself w/o the show and him catching up his rest.  Linda has plans, so no yahtzee distraction. Maybe he will let me give him a sponge bath.

Maybe I’ll be able to write something of Political substance today. That would be nice. My brain gets too full if I can’t purge it on paper.  


My activist brother often tells me that the reason we have to constantly re-fight the battles of the past is that we didn’t crush these bone head brain dead assholes the way we should have in the first place.

I’m inclined to agree.

Remember Cuyahoga?

3 Dems join GOP fight to block EPA climate rules


03.03.11, 04:49 PM EST

WASHINGTON — Three Democrats are joining a Republican effort in the House to block the Environmental Protection Agency from reducing the gases blamed for global warming.

Rep. Nick Rahall of West Virginia, Rep. Collin Peterson of Minnesota, and Rep. Dan Boren of Oklahoma will sponsor a bill supported by 42 Senate and seven House Republicans that would bar the EPA from using federal law to control greenhouse gases from power plants, refineries and other industrial facilities.

The measure is the latest to be introduced in the Republican-controlled House, where at least a half-dozen bills target the EPA and its efforts to control air and water pollution.

On This Day in History March 4

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.

March 4 is the 63rd day of the year (64th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 302 days remaining until the end of the year.

In this day in 1933, at the height of the Great Depression, Franklin Delano Roosevelt is inaugurated as the 32nd president of the United States. In his famous inaugural address, delivered outside the east wing of the U.S. Capitol, Roosevelt outlined his “New Deal”–an expansion of the federal government as an instrument of employment opportunity and welfare–and told Americans that “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” Although it was a rainy day in Washington, and gusts of rain blew over Roosevelt as he spoke, he delivered a speech that radiated optimism and competence, and a broad majority of Americans united behind their new president and his radical economic proposals to lead the nation out of the Great Depression.

The only American president elected to more than two terms, he forged a durable coalition that realigned American politics for decades. FDR defeated incumbent Republican Herbert Hoover in November 1932, at the depths of the Great Depression. FDR’s combination of optimism and activism contributed to reviving the national spirit. Working closely with Winston Churchill and Joseph Stalin in leading the Allies against Germany and Japan in World War II, he died just as victory was in sight.

Starting in his “first hundred days” in office, which began March 4, 1933, Roosevelt launched major legislation and a profusion of executive orders that gave form to the New Deal, a complex, interlocking set of programs designed to produce relief (especially government jobs for the unemployed), recovery (of the economy), and reform (through regulation of Wall Street, banks and transportation). The economy improved rapidly from 1933 to 1937, but then went into a deep recession. The bipartisan Conservative Coalition that formed in 1937 prevented his packing the Supreme Court or passing much new legislation; it abolished many of the relief programs when unemployment practically ended during World War II. Most of the regulations on business were ended about 1975-85, except for the regulation of Wall Street by the Securities and Exchange Commission, which still exists. Along with several smaller programs, major surviving programs include the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, which was created in 1933, and Social Security, which Congress passed in 1935.

As World War II loomed after 1938, with the Japanese invasion of China and the aggressions of Nazi Germany, FDR gave strong diplomatic and financial support to China and Britain, while remaining officially neutral. His goal was to make America the “Arsenal of Democracy” which would supply munitions to the Allies. In March 1941, Roosevelt, with Congressional approval, provided Lend-Lease aid to the countries fighting against Nazi Germany with Great Britain. He secured a near-unanimous declaration of war against Japan after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, calling it a “date which will live in infamy“. He supervised the mobilization of the US economy to support the Allied war effort. Unemployment dropped to 2%, relief programs largely ended, and the industrial economy grew rapidly to new heights as millions of people moved to new jobs in war centers, and 16 million men (and 300,000 women) were drafted or volunteered for military service.

Roosevelt dominated the American political scene, not only during the twelve years of his presidency, but for decades afterward. He orchestrated the realignment of voters that created the Fifth Party System. FDR’s New Deal Coalition united labor unions, big city machines, white ethnics, African Americans and rural white Southerners. Roosevelt’s diplomatic impact also resonated on the world stage long after his death, with the United Nations and Bretton Woods as examples of his administration’s wide-ranging impact. Roosevelt is consistently rated by scholars as one of the greatest U.S. Presidents.

Economics is NOT a science

At least the way many economists practice it.  Instead it is a faith based Voodoo cult.

For one thing science is predictive and replicable.

Neo-classical synthesis predicts that reduction in Government spending, without increases in spending of other sectors of the overall economy like Business and Consumers, decreases Aggregate Demand.  In the absence of Demand businesses stop producing now surplus goods and services (there’s no demand for them you see) and reduce marginal expenses (fire people and close factories) and hoard capital (money).

Pretty predictive huh?

And in terms of replicable- we have seen this same phenomena time after time ever since there have been economies and the end result is always the same.  Voodoo economics believes in Tinkerbell and Pixie Dust.

How to Kill a Recovery

By PAUL KRUGMAN, The New York Times

Published: March 3, 2011

Republicans believe, or at least pretend to believe, that the direct job-destroying effects of their proposals would be more than offset by a rise in business confidence. As I like to put it, they believe that the Confidence Fairy will make everything all right.

(W)e have a lot of evidence from other countries about the prospects for “expansionary austerity” – and that evidence is all negative. Last October, a comprehensive study by the International Monetary Fund concluded that “the idea that fiscal austerity stimulates economic activity in the short term finds little support in the data.”

And do you remember the lavish praise heaped on Britain’s conservative government, which announced harsh austerity measures after it took office last May? How’s that going? Well, business confidence did not, in fact, rise when the plan was announced; it plunged, and has yet to recover. And recent surveys suggest that confidence has fallen even further among both businesses and consumers, indicating, as one report put it, that the private sector is “unprepared to fill the hole left by public sector cuts.”

Over the next few weeks, House Republicans will try to blackmail the Obama administration into accepting their proposed spending cuts, using the threat of a government shutdown. They’ll claim that those cuts would be good for America in both the short term and the long term.

But the truth is exactly the reverse: Republicans have managed to come up with spending cuts that would do double duty, both undermining America’s future and threatening to abort a nascent economic recovery.

I’m not taking any bets on whether Obama caves again or not, or what the results will be when he does, just over/unders on how long it will take.

Six In The Morning

‘Gaddafi’s men had heavier weapons but we had more to fight for’

Rebel forces have repelled attacks by troops.

By Kim Sengupta on the front line of a civil war, and Catrina Stewart in Brega  Friday, 4 March 2011

Rebels pursuing the retreating troops of Muammar Gaddafi have set up a new frontline in regime-held territory in preparation for an offensive which they claim will significantly change the course of the conflict.

After repulsing an attack on Brega, a strategic town and oil production centre, the revolutionary forces have moved on to Agheila, 40 miles further west towards Sirte, Colonel Gaddafi’s birthplace and a loyalist stronghold.

Although the outcome of what is now a civil war is far from certain, the failure of the regime to take Brega and push on to Benghazi, the capital of “Free Libya”, has provided a great boost to the morale of the dissident movement.

Tax Revenues Are Falling

David Cay Johnson, professor at Syracuse University, author of “Free Lunch” and columnist for Tax.com, spoke with Rachel Maddow about the Republican plans to cut funding to the IRS and the direct impact that will have on the governments ability to collect taxes and reduce the deficit.

Taking the Revenue Out of the IRS

Johnson also reported in an article at Tax.com, that tax revenues in 2010 were smaller than in 2000 before the Bush tax cuts.

We take you now to the official data for important news. Federal tax revenues in 2010 were much smaller than in 2000. Total individual income tax receipts fell 30 percent in real terms. Because the population kept growing, income taxes per capita plummeted.

Individual income taxes came to just $2,900 per capita in 2010, down 36 percent from more than $4,500 in 2000. Total income taxes and income taxes per capita declined even though the economy grew 16 percent overall and 6 percent per capita from 2000 through 2010.

Corporate income tax receipts fell 27 percent and declined 34 percent per capita, even though profits boomed, rising 60 percent.

Payroll taxes increased slightly overall, but slipped per capita because the nation’s population grew five times faster than the number of people with any work. The average wage also declined slightly.

You read it here first. Lowered tax rates did not result in increased tax revenues as promised by politician after pundit after professional economist. And even though this harsh truth has been obvious from the official data for some time, the same politicians and pundits keep prevaricating. Some of them even say it is irrelevant that as a share of GDP, income tax revenues are at their lowest level since 1951, when Harry S. Truman was president.

No matter how many times advocates of lower tax rates said it, tax rate cuts did not pay for themselves, did not spur economic growth, did not increase jobs, and did not make America better off.

(emphasis mine)

The full transcript for the video can be read a Rachel’s blog.

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