04/10/2011 archive

Rant of the Week: Cenk Uygur and Dylan Ratigan

Cenk Uygur and Dylan Ratigan discuss what it is to regulate banks in the Rant of the Week.

“Pretty please, can we regulate you with someone you like?”

The fight for Elizabeth Warren to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is a “fight worth waging”. Jennifer Granholm, former governor of Michigan

A Plague Of Forgetting


This story begins in 1928 with bananas.  On the Caribbean coast of Colombia, campesinos who are employed by United Fruit are paid less than $1 per day for backbreaking work.  They live in filthy hovels.  And they die of malaria and tuberculosis.  Then they form a union.  Then they go on strike and paralyze the exportation of bananas.

General Carlos Cortez Vargas announces in Aracataca at a dinner put on by United Fruit that he will end the strike.  

The workers are told that a manager of United Fruit will arrive to accede to their demands, so they gather together to hear the announcement of their victory.  Instead of a United Fruit manager, General Cortez Vargas appears.  He doesn’t issue a concession.  Not at all.  He issues instead an ultimatum: get back to work, end the strike right now.  Or else.

On This Day In History April 10

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.

April 10 is the 100th day of the year (101st in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 265 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1970, Paul McCartney announces the breakup of the Beatles.

The legendary rock band the Beatles spent the better part of three years breaking up in the late 1960s, and even longer than that hashing out who did what and why. And by the spring of 1970, there was little more than a tangled set of business relationships keeping the group together. Each of the Beatles was pursuing his musical interests outside of the band, and there were no plans in place to record together as a group. But as far as the public knew, this was just a temporary state of affairs. That all changed on April 10, 1970, when an ambiguous Paul McCartney “self-interview” was seized upon by the international media as an official announcement of a Beatles breakup.

The occasion for the statements Paul released to the press that day was the upcoming release of his debut solo album, McCartney. In a Q&A format in which he was both the interviewer and the interviewee, Paul first asked and answered a number of straightforward questions involving the recording equipment he used on the album, which instruments he played and who designed the artwork for the cover.

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:

Not one real economist from the left to critique the budget. Stay in bed

This Week with Christiane Amanpour: Ms. Amanpour’s guests Republican Congressman Mike Pence and Democratic Congressman Chris Van Hollen debate the serious budget crisis facing America. The roundtable with George Will, interim DNC Chairwoman Donna Brazile, Chrystia Freeland of Thomson-Reuters and National Journal’s Ron Brownstein discuss the budget deal.

Christiane Amanpour has a the Sunday exclusive interview with Academy Award-winning director and actor Robert Redford.

Face the Nation with Bob Schieffer: Mr. Schieffer’s guests Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., Vice Chair, Democratic Conference and Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Alabama, Ranking Member, Senate Budget Committee debating the budget battles.

The Chris Matthews Show: This week’s guests Gloria Borger, CNN Senior Political Analyst, Michael Gerson, The Washington Post Columnist, John Harris, Politico Editor-in-Chief and Cynthia Tucker, Atlanta Journal-Constitution Columnist will give their opinions on these questions:

Will Republicans’ deep cut proposals hurt their chances in 2012?

Will his birther argument help or hurt Donald Trump In Republican primaries?

Meet the Press with David Gregory: Mr. Gregory will have exclusive interviews with Budget Committee Chairman, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) and the president’s senior adviser and former 2008 campaign manager, David Plouffe.

The Roundtable guests Chairman and CEO of the Special Olympics, Tim Shriver; host of CNBC’s “Mad Money” Jim Cramer; the New York Times White House Corresopndent Helene Cooper; and NBC News Chief White House Correspondent and Political Director, Chuck Todd discussing the president’s leadership and the 2012 landscape.

State of the Union with Candy Crowley: Ms. Crowley iintervies White House Senior Adviser David Plouffe, the Senate’s number two Democrat, Dick Durbin and the vice-chairman of the House Committee on Financial Services, Republican Jeb Hensarling of Texas.

Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair will join her to discuss the ongoing protests and upheaval in the Middle East and billionaire, Donald Trump to talk nonsense.

Fareed Zakaris: GPS: Fareed gives his take on Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) and has an exclusive interview with one of America’s elder statesmen, James Baker on the US budget and foreign policy

Matt Taibbi: Tax Cuts for the Rich on the Backs of the Middle Class; or, Paul Ryan Has Balls

Paul Ryan, the Republican Party’s latest entrant in the seemingly endless series of young, prickish, over-coiffed, anal-retentive deficit Robespierres they’ve sent to the political center stage in the last decade or so, has come out with his new budget plan. All of these smug little jerks look alike to me – from Ralph Reed to Eric Cantor to Jeb Hensarling to Rand Paul and now to Ryan, they all look like overgrown kids who got nipple-twisted in the halls in high school, worked as Applebee’s shift managers in college, and are now taking revenge on the world as grownups by defunding hospice care and student loans and Sesame Street. They all look like they sleep with their ties on, and keep their feet in dress socks when doing their bi-monthly duty with their wives.

Every few years or so, the Republicans trot out one of these little whippersnappers, who offer proposals to hack away at the federal budget. Each successive whippersnapper inevitably tries, rhetorically, to out-mean the previous one, and their proposals are inevitably couched as the boldest and most ambitious deficit-reduction plans ever seen. Each time, we are told that these plans mark the end of the budgetary reign of terror long ago imposed by the entitlement system begun by FDR and furthered by LBJ.

Scarecrow at FDL: Obama DemoPods Feed Tea-GOP Zombies, Keep Washington Monument Open

You would think that a sentient President of the United States would be embarrassed, ashamed, and contrite after one of the more mindless and destructive governmental performances in years. Nope. Not the President who foolishly believes the federal government needs to tighten its belt because he’s clueless about the difference between families and the federal government. Has there ever been a Democratic President more befuddled about what leadership requires?

Having locked his own DemaPod Party into voting to slash $38 billion for their own programs, Mr. Obama didn’t apologize. Instead he thought it was a moment to make another speech urging you to visit the Washington Monument, as though he were George Bush telling you to visit Disneyland. Why anyone would want to watch this spectacle of a government and party betraying their followers and making fools of themselves from the top of the Washington Monument escapes me.

Robert Reich: Why the Right-Wing Bullies Will Hold The Nation Hostage Again and Again

When I was a small boy I was bullied more than most, mainly because I was a foot shorter than than everyone else. The demanded the cupcake my mother had packed in my lunchbox, or, they said, they’d beat me up. After a close call in the boy’s room, I paid up. Weeks later, they demanded half my sandwich as well. I gave in to that one, too. But I could see what was coming next. They’d demand everything else. Somewhere along the line I decided I’d have a take a stand. The fight wasn’t pleasant. But the bullies stopped their bullying.

I hope the President decides he has to take a stand, and the sooner the better. Last December he caved in to Republican demands that the Bush tax cut be extended to wealthier Americans for two more years, at a cost of more than $60 billion. That was only the beginning – the equivalent of my cupcake.

Steve Benen: The Next Bite At The Apple

No one wants to hear this, but there are three moments for a budget crisis in 2011: wrapping up the current fiscal year, extending the debt limit, and next year’s budget. The first was wrapped up last night, and as ridiculous as this may sound, it was arguably the easiest of the three.

Last weekend, when the outcome of this week’s budget debate was still in doubt, a Republican congressional aide told Roll Call, “This is going to be nothing compared to the debt limit.” Or, as Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas) told CNN yesterday, “The debt ceiling is going to be Armageddon.”

Last night, almost immediately after the agreement was announced, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) expressed his satisfaction — and then mentioned the fight over the debt limit.

Oh, good.

John Nichols: No Shutdown, But a Lot of Sellouts

If you had asked Franklin Roosevelt or Harry Truman or John Kennedy or Lyndon Johnson or Jimmy Carter or even Bill Clinton what Democrats would defend in a fight over the future of government, there’s no real question that funding for housing, public transportation, community development programs and safe air travel would be high on the list.

Yet, in order to achieve the Friday night deal that averted a government shutdown — for a week and, potentially, longer if an anticipated agreement is cobbled together and agreed to — all of those programs took serious hits.

Peterr at FDL: user Lessons in Negotiations from Marian Anderson and Eleanor Roosevelt

Saturday April 9, 2011

Watching the news last night hurt.

President Obama’s remarks on the budget agreement with the GOP included this signature line: “Like any worthwhile compromise, both sides had to make tough decisions and give ground on issues that were important to them.  And I certainly did that.”

Yes, Mr. President, you certainly did. Nobody can “give ground” on important issues like you can. (See Iraq, the public option, Dawn Johnsen, . . .)

It wasn’t always like this in DC. Once upon a time, there were folks there who took on entrenched opponents with creativity and passion. And they won.

Eighty-two Seventy-two years ago today, the renowned Marian Anderson gave a concert on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. That wasn’t where she originally wanted to sing, but that’s where the concert ended up.

Six In The Morning

Giving female veterans a chance to share their pain

At a weekend retreat in Oceanside, participants find that, by learning how other women have had experiences like theirs, they can feel less alone.

By Alexandra Zavis, Times Staff Writer

April 10, 2011

The war veterans gathered amid the tranquil gardens and arched walkways of the Mission San Luis Rey in Oceanside. In a circle, they sat together, more than 50 women in all.

Some laughed and chatted as they settled in chairs or propped themselves up on the floor of an adobe-walled hall. Others glanced around, uncertain what to expect from a weekend retreat.

Several commented that it was the first time they had been in a room with so many women.

Stiglitz: The Cost Of War and Redistribution of Wealth

Nobel Prize laureate Joseph Stiglitz has consistently pointed out that the US is on the wrong track for economic recovery and that the continued support for the money pit of Iraq and the shifting the countries wealth to the 2% elite will be the downfall of economics growth, He recently wrote an excellent article in Vanity Fair, Of the 1%, by the 1%, for the 1%, pointing out that even the wealthy will come to regret this path.

t’s no use pretending that what has obviously happened has not in fact happened. The upper 1 percent of Americans are now taking in nearly a quarter of the nation’s income every year. In terms of wealth rather than income, the top 1 percent control 40 percent. Their lot in life has improved considerably. Twenty-five years ago, the corresponding figures were 12 percent and 33 percent. One response might be to celebrate the ingenuity and drive that brought good fortune to these people, and to contend that a rising tide lifts all boats. That response would be misguided. While the top 1 percent have seen their incomes rise 18 percent over the past decade, those in the middle have actually seen their incomes fall. For men with only high-school degrees, the decline has been precipitous-12 percent in the last quarter-century alone. All the growth in recent decades-and more-has gone to those at the top. In terms of income equality, America lags behind any country in the old, ossified Europe that President George W. Bush used to deride. Among our closest counterparts are Russia with its oligarchs and Iran. While many of the old centers of inequality in Latin America, such as Brazil, have been striving in recent years, rather successfully, to improve the plight of the poor and reduce gaps in income, America has allowed inequality to grow.

(emphasis mine)

This is well worth the time to read the entire piece and save it as a reference as this country sinks further into the morass and becomes a “Banana Republic”as the Tea Party Republicans try to drag this country back to the 19th century by repealing laws that protect children and workers.

Stiglitz also appeared on Democracy, Now! with Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez to discuss his article and the current US “budget crisis” that has been fabricated by the right wing, Obama and the ever beholding MSM:

This week Republicans unveiled a budget proposal for 2012 that cuts more than $5.8 trillion in government spending over the next decade. The plan calls for sweeping changes to Medicaid and Medicare, while reducing the top corporate and individual tax rates to 25 percent. We speak to Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz, who addresses the growing class divide taking place in the United States and inequality in a new Vanity Fair article titled “Of the 1, by the 1, for the 1%.” Stiglitz is a professor at Columbia University and author of numerous books, most recently Freefall: America, Free Markets, and the Sinking of the World Economy. “It’s not just that the people at the top are getting richer,” Stiglitz says. “Actually, they’re gaining, and everybody else is decreasing… And right now, we are worse than old Europe.” includes rush transcript

Nobel Economist Joseph Stiglitz: Assault on Social Spending, Pro-Rich Tax Cuts Turning U.S. into Nation “Of the 1 Percent, by the 1 Percent, for the 1 Percent”

DocuDharma Digest

Regular Features-

Featured Essays for April 9, 2011-


F1: Sepang

Once again I used up most of my good material yesterday for Qualifying, which is ok I guess since unless there are surprises or someone blows up or parks there’s just not a lot to talk about; and if you’re not going to cover all of Qualifying and cut it so you can carry your lame Scuderia Marlboro UPC suck up fest and repeat everything everybody knew 2 weeks ago there’s hardly any point at all.

Pick any random race from last year and you have almost exactly the same Starting Grid.  Michael Schumacher once again underperforms and Kamui Kobayashi does better than expected.  Everyone made the 107% limit so we start a field of 24.

As we approach the actual race there are 2 scenarios- rain and not rain.

If it doesn’t rain then the drivers and teams who waited in the pits until the last 2 and a half minutes of Qualifying (warm up and hot lap) may have done themselves a favor in terms of tire wear since Sepang is notoriously tough because of the heat and cornering.  On the other hand everyone might start a fresh set of Wets which will be exciting racing.  If dry they are predicting 3 or 4 pits.  The bottom 14 get a chance to start Hards (weather permitting) and run some tire strategy.  Right now the forecast is for temperatures in the high 80s, 70 – 80% humidity, and a 60% chance of scattered Thunderstorms (if there is lightning they Red Flag the race because it’s just not safe).

Nothing I’ve seen yet has changed my overall opinion, which is that it’s McLaren and Red Bull and everybody else.  Hamilton and Button will be running handcrafted Titanium underwings that they’re running their exhausts back to front over to improve downforce.  The exhaust direction is not unique, all the other teams are doing the same thing but their wings are Carbon Fiber.

Pretty tables and discussion below.

from firefly-dreaming 09.4.11

This is an Open Thread

Essays Featured Saturday the 9th of April:

Sympathy for the Devil begins the day in Late Night Karaoke, mishima DJs

Six Brilliant Articles! from Six Different Places!! on Six Different Topics!!!

                Six Days a Week!!!    at Six in the Morning!!!!

Alma discusses being long standing customers in Saturday Open Thoughts

A wonderful piece of Saturday Art! from mishima‘s talented hands.


Betsy L. Angert tells a tale of Parenthood Planned

Diane Gee asks Did You Fuck it Up?

The most recent Popular Culture  from Translator showcases The Who: Happy Jack  

join the conversation! come firefly-dreaming with me….

Evening Edition

Evening Edition is an Open Thread

From Yahoo News Top Stories

1 Portuguese president appeals for interim debt deal


2 hrs 21 mins ago

GODOLLO, Hungary (AFP) – Portugal’s president pleaded for mercy from the EU and IMF Saturday after they set tough conditions for an 80-billion-euro ($115 billion) bailout weeks ahead of snap general elections.

Anibal Cavaco Silva said that with new elections due on June 5 “what we need now is an interim programme so that the next government can take part in the final negotiations, because it is the next government that will implement” the deal that emerges.

“It’s understandable (and) we need, let’s say, a little imagination on the part of European institutions to come up with a suitable interim programme,” he added.