05/22/2011 archive

Rant of the Week: A “Dramatic” Reading

Thanks to Stephen Colbert, John Lithgow and Lawrence O’Donnell for this rendition of Newt Gingrich’s press release. If only the rest of politics were so entertaining.

Yogi Berra: “It’s Finally Over”

Crossposted at Daily Kos and Docudharma

Competition by Randall Enos, Cagle Cartoons, Buy this cartoon

On This Day In History May 22

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.

May 22 is the 142nd day of the year (143rd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 223 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1843, the Great Emigration departs for Oregon

A massive wagon train, made up of 1,000 settlers and 1,000 head of cattle, sets off down the Oregon Trail from Independence, Missouri. Known as the “Great Emigration,” the expedition came two years after the first modest party of settlers made the long, overland journey to Oregon.

Great Migration of 1843

In what was dubbed “The Great Migration of 1843” or the “Wagon Train of 1843”, an estimated 700 to 1,000 emigrants left for Oregon. They were led initially by John Gantt, a former U.S. Army Captain and fur trader who was contracted to guide the train to Fort Hall for $1 per person. The winter before, Marcus Whitman had made a brutal mid-winter trip from Oregon to St. Louis to appeal a decision by his Mission backers to abandon several of the Oregon missions. He joined the wagon train at the Platte River for the return trip. When the pioneers were told at Fort Hall by agents from the Hudson’s Bay Company that they should abandon their wagons there and use pack animals the rest of the way, Whitman disagreed and volunteered to lead the wagons to Oregon. He believed the wagon trains were large enough that they could build whatever road improvements they needed to make the trip with their wagons. The biggest obstacle they faced was in the Blue Mountains of Oregon where they had to cut and clear a trail through heavy timber. The wagons were stopped at The Dalles, Oregon by the lack of a road around Mount Hood. The wagons had to be disassembled and floated down the treacherous Columbia River and the animals herded over the rough Lolo trail to get by Mt. Hood. Nearly all of the settlers in the 1843 wagon trains arrived in the Willamette Valley by early October. A passable wagon trail now existed from the Missouri River to The Dalles. In 1846, the Barlow Road was completed around Mount Hood, providing a rough but completely passable wagon trail from the Missouri river to the Willamette Valley-about 2,000 miles.

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:Exclusive guests this week are former Special Envoy for Middle East Peace George Mitchell and King Abdullah II of Jordan, author of “Our Last Best Chance: The Pursuit of Peace in a Time of Peril.”

The roundtable with George Will, political strategist Matthew Dowd, Democratic strategist Donna Brazile and ABC News Senior Political Correspondent Jonathan Karl will look at the GOP contenders.

Will will talk them to death

Face the Nation with Bob Schieffer: Former House Speaker and GOP Presidential Candidate Newt Gingrich  will be Mr. Schieffer’s guest.

The Chris Matthews Show: This week’s guests Norah O’Donnell, MSNBC Chief Washington Correspondent, Howard Fineman, The Huffington Post Senior Political Editor, Michael Duffy, TIME  Magazine Assistant Managing Editor and Katty Kay, BBC Washington Correspondent will discuss these questions:

Which leading GOP candidate has the political chops to conquer his flaw?

Is the cost of a college education still worth the price?

This line up could be wrong. Rachel Maddow said she would be a guest. I set my alarm to watch

Meet the Press with David Gregory: House budget chair Paul Ryan (R-WI) will be an exclusive guest.

The roundtable guests Rep. Chris Van Hollen, Ranking Member of the House Budget Committee, Mike Murphy, NBC’s Andrea Mitchell, WaPo’s Eugene Robinson, and NYT’s Andrew Ross Sorkin will discuss the Middles East and Newt Gingrich.

State of the Union with Candy Crowley: Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin, member of the nearly defunct “Gang of 6 will discuss the consequences of defaulting on the debt.

Two members of the House Select Committee on Intelligence, Reps. Mike Rogers (R-MI) and Dutch Ruppersberger (D-MD) will talk about intelligence gathering in the wake of the Arab Spring.

Former Republican House Majority Leader Dick Armey and former Biden chief of staff Ron Klain, will talk about the GOP fiekd for 2012.

Israeli Ambassador to the United States, Michael Oren will talk with Ms. Crowley about the President’s speech on the Middle East.

Fareed Zakaris: GPS: Mr. Zakaria will be reporting from Tahir Square in Cairo, Egypt on the latest developments and reactions to recent events. Some of his guests will be:

Waleed Rashed, a spokesman for the April 6th youth movement, one of the key groups organizing protests in Tahrir Square.

Sarah Abdelrahman, student activist and video blogger who was in Tahrir.

Noor Ayman Nour, a law student active in the protests.

Ragia Omran, a human rights activist and a lawyer helping defend the protestors against the military tribunals.

Joining him will also be Amr Moussa, the outgoing Secretary-General of the Arab League and former Foreign Minister of Egypt and Mohamed Elbaradei, the former head of the International Atomic Energy Agency and Nobel Laureate.

John Nichols: AFL-CIO’s Rich Trumka on the Post-Wisconsin Game Plan

Unions such as the Service Employees and National Nurses United are investing in smart, grassroots projects in the states – seeking to build on the protest and politics model developed in Wisconsin,wheremass protests against anti-labor initiatives signaled an opening for labor togo on the offensive. At the same time, key unions such asthe Firefighters have signaled that, because of their disappointment with Republicans and Democrats at the federal level, they will be putting all their political money into state and local races and related projects.

Now, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka is stepping up with a plan for unions to declare “independence” and back candidates – no matter what their party affiliation – who are committed to support workers and their unions.

Trumka, who was in Wisconsin early and has visited most of the states where battles over labor rights and cuts in public services are playing out, has made no secret of his interest in building on the energy of the new state-based movements.

It is with this in mind that he is now talking about changing the way labor practices politics. And that’s a very good thing.

Peter Hart: NYT’s Sorkin Hasn’t Heard of the People’s Budget

New York Times business reporter Andrew Ross Sorkin wrote a piece on Sunday (5/15/11) that tried to advance the argument that $250,000 actually isn’t that much money to make in a year. The complaint is that politicians who advocate raising tax rates on income above $250,000 have chosen an arbitrary dividing line–above it you’re rich, and you’ll be taxed accordingly.

Articles like this are annoying for obvious reasons–we’re being asked to listen to wealthy people complain that they’re not that wealthy, once you factor in the private school tuition and a hefty mortgage. But they often mislead in other areas–especially when it comes to how much wealthy people pay in taxes. Ross Sorkin mentions a Manhattan father of two with a household income of $262,000 who sees his tax bill potentially going up, and he says, “I don’t understand why people like us are lumped in with millionaires and billionaires.”

As Dean Baker points out, anyone who understands marginal tax rates should know that someone making slightly more than $250,000 would pay a higher rate only on that income above that amount–which, in this case, would amount to a few hundreds dollars at most in extra taxes.

Shahid Buttar: Out of the Frying Pan and Into the Fire: Why the FBI Needs New Leadership

The last ten years have witnessed an assault on the constitutional rights of law-abiding Americans, led largely by the FBI. Appointed mere days before the 9/11 attacks, Director Robert S. Mueller III has guided the bureau through the resurrection of many long discredited practices from its COINTELPRO era. Yet, the Obama administration has proposed extending Mueller’s term as FBI director. Congress should reject the proposal and insist on a nominee from outside the bureau to restore accountability, law and order. Just ask Nick Merrill in New York, Joe Iosbaker in Chicago or Ahmadullah Niazi in Los Angeles: three law-abiding Americans whose constitutional rights are among the casualties of the last decade.

The last time Congress extended the term of FBI director was in 1972, to keep J. Edgar Hoover in office. Years later, when the Church and Pike committees finally exposed the notorious counterintelligence program (aka COINTELPRO), Congress discovered that Hoover presided over severe abuses for decades.

Rania Khalek: This Is What A Police State Looks Like

The late Chalmers Johnson often reminded us that “A nation can be one or the other, a democracy or an imperialist, but it can’t be both. If it sticks to imperialism, it will, like the old Roman Republic, on which so much of our system was modeled, lose its democracy to a domestic dictatorship.” His warning rings more true by the day, as Americans watch the erosion of their civil liberties accelerate in conjunction with the expansion of the US Empire.

When viewed through the lens of Johnson’s profound insights, the Supreme Court’s recent ruling in Kentucky v. King makes perfect sense. On May 13, in a lopsided 8-1 ruling, the Court upheld the warrantless search of a Kentucky man’s apartment after police smelled marijuana and feared those inside were destroying evidence, essentially granting police officers increased power to enter the homes of citizens without a warrant.

Under the Fourth Amendment, police are barred from entering a home without first obtaining a warrant, which can only be issued by a judge upon probable cause. The only exception is when the circumstances qualify as “exigent,” meaning there is imminent risk of death or serious injury, danger that evidence will be immediately destroyed, or that a suspect will escape. However, exigent circumstances cannot be created by the police.


Six In The Morning

US ‘would repeat Bin Laden raid

President Obama has indicated he would order a similar operation to that which killed Osama Bin Laden if another militant leader was found in Pakistan.

He said the US was mindful of Pakistani sovereignty but said the US could not allow “active plans to come to fruition without us taking some action”.

The killing of Bin Laden by US forces in a Pakistani garrison town on 2 May strained ties between the two allies.

President Barack Obama was speaking to the BBC ahead of a European visit.

Asked what he would do if one of al-Qaeda’s top leaders, or the Taliban leader Mullah Omar, was tracked down to a location in Pakistan or another sovereign territory, he said the US would take unilateral action if required.

F1: Circuit de Catalunya

So have I mentioned tires are the story?

Teams are going to absurd lengths to save their Softs and in this race particularly so since Pirelli is introducing their new Super Hards and they are a full 2 seconds a lap slower.  While Hards and Super Hards are supposed to produce durability benefits that offset their lack of speed, there is absolutely no evidence that they do so even with the small number of non lemming-like teams that have dared to persue unorthodox strategies.

This leads to spectacles like Istanbul where Red Bull ran their hot Qualifying laps and parked (which McLaren emulated yesterday) and the 6 also rans from Scuderia Marlboro UPC, Renault, Mercedes, and Williams staying off track until a mere 2 minutes were left in Q3 (Schumacher didn’t bother turning in a time).  I hope Bernie heard the boos and jeers from the crowd at the empty track that were quite audible to the cameras in Pit Lane, but he’s such a arrogant and greedy bastard I doubt it.

Bottom line for racing?  Red Bull and McLaren have an extra set of Softs and everyone else pretty much doesn’t.

But it goes to a bigger picture mentioned by one of the commentators- Formula One used to be about technology, innovation, and going fast.  There used to be a U.S. series like that too called Champ or CART who’s turbo-charged cars in the early ’80s were actually faster than F1 because they also allowed more down force.

It’s successor, ‘IndyCars‘, is open wheel NASCAR- bumper cars so evenly matched (supposedly to highlight ‘driver skills’) that the only thing to watch is who ends up in a flaming chunk of twisted metal, modern gladiator games with rules designed to enforce nose to tail racing and bunch cars up whenever someone gets too far ahead so as to ensure more crashes for the blood thirsty fans.

Did I mention the 100th Anniversary Indianapolis 500 is next week?  Dad would want me to.

Circuit de Catalunya is notoriously boring and I expect nothing different today (the front five are exactly the same as they were last year).  Next week is also Monaco which is all about glitz, glamor, and tradition.  No actual racing is allowed.

I’ll probably produce 2 separate pieces, one for Monaco and one for Indy.  I’ll have to watch them both anyway since Richard will quiz me at the end, but I can’t guarantee I’ll be able to keep my eyes open.

As usual I used up all my good material yesterday so I really encourage you to click that top link.

Speed has GP2 at 6 am to rubber in the track, Formula One at 7:30 am with a repeat at 4:30 pm.

Pretty tables below.

DocuDharma Digest

Regular Features-

Featured Essays for May 21, 2011-


Evening Edition

Evening Edition is an Open Thread

From Yahoo News Top Stories

1 Defiant Spanish protesters warn ‘we’re here to stay’

by Denholm Barnetson, AFP

1 hr 47 mins ago

MADRID (AFP) – Spanish youths furious over soaring unemployment kept up their week-long protest movement Saturday on the eve of local elections expected to deal the ruling Socialists a crushing defeat.

“We intend to continue, because this is not about Sunday’s elections it’s about social cutbacks,” said Carmen Sanchez, a spokeswoman for the organisers at the ramshackle protest ‘village’ that has sprung up in Madrid’s Puerta del Sol square.

Thousands of people have massed in city centres across the country in a snowballing movement that began May 15, the biggest spontaneous protests since the property bubble burst in 2008 and plunged Spain into a recession from which it only emerged this year.