06/10/2011 archive

25 Years of FAIR

Last month Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR) celebrated its 25th Anniversary. It held an event in Manhattan on May 11th with four of the most well known voices of the the left and advocates for fairness, Noam Chomsky, Michael Moore, Amy Goodman and Glen Greenwald. Glenn’s 30 minute speech is now available on You Tube. The DVD of the entire night is available for sale at FAIR’s website.

The Week In The Dream Antilles


Coming Soon To A Town Near You

There is nothing quite like a summer scandal (Note: your Bloguero hesitates to call it “a sex scandal”).  The temperature and humidity are both in the mid-90’s in New York.  The air is fetid.  Movies that are heavily air conditioned are expensive.  The subway is a complete Schwitz.  And as if all of that weren’t miserable enough, there’s the quease-inducing idea of a 46-year old Congressman sexting with mid-20 year old women (are there more than six?) whom he has never met in person and who either like or do not like receiving such digital “stimulation.” (Note: your Bloguero cannot resist such puns.  The heat made him do it.)  In the midst of all this folly, that pinnacle of human garbage, Andrew Breitbart, got a public apology from the Weiner.  And MSNBC is now writing about how Democratic women aren’t screaming for Weiner’s resignation, let alone consulting with Lorena Bobbitt about appropriate sanctions. My father-in-law often said of that old the promotion, “New York is a Summer Festival,” “Yeah, New York is a summer vegetable.”  How very true and prescient.

On Tuesday, your Bloguero was incensed by the kidnapping of Syrian blogger Amina Abdallah, and he wrote Free Amina.  Amina had to be crazy, your Bloguero figured, writing from Damascus, being an out lesbian in a country where that is illegal, and criticizing the current despot, who appears to believe in armed violence against all protesters.  But crazy or not, your Bloguero was outraged that Amina was targeted and whisked off the streets by armed goons and disappeared.  What is this, your Bloguero shouted, do they think Syria is Videla’s Argentina or Pinochet’s Chile?  Your Bloguero promptly withdrew the remark: evidently Syria is cut from exactly the same fabric.

And then, cold water was immediately thrown on your Bloguero’s outrage.  It turns out that the entire story might be a hoax or fabrication or disinformation of some kind.  How Many “L’s” Are There In “Gullible” detailed the many problems.  Your Bloguero notes that as of Friday afternoon, there are no new entries at A Gay Girl In Damascus, which your Bloguero reads as confirmation of a hoax of some kind.

Weiner: Make Me One With Everything was a rant about Weiner’s public apology to Andrew Breitbart.  Your Bloguero is not holding his breath until Andrew Breitbart apologizes to anyone, much less Shirley Sharrod, for being a piece of barnyard excrement and for the mischief he has made.

On June 6, 2011, your Bloguero noted the anniversary of the assassination of Bobby Kennedy.

Your Bloguero is a football (as in futbol, as in soccer) fanatic.  This may be because other ball sports give unfair premiums to big or tall persons, and your Bloguero is neither.  It may be because your Bloguero loves to play the game.  So your Bloguero’s hall of fame is filled with people like him, of small stature who are the wizards of futbol skills. Two of these: Lionel Messi, who is your Bloguero’s size, and Diego Maradona, who ever so slightly smallter at 5’5″.  Both are from Argentina.  Diego Maradona Pwns FIFA noted that Maradona had spoken the truth about the governing powers of futbol, FIFA, calling them out as corrupt and saying that they should step down so that former players could run and preserve the game.  Your Bloguero agrees 100%.

Meanwhile, in Chile, Puyehue volcano erupted, dropping ash in Chile and Argentina and forcing evacuations.

And in a dramatic highwire act without a net, Visualizing That Tightrope, Part 2 your Bloguero celebrated the feat of Nik and Delilah Wallenda, his mother, in safely completely the very stunt that killed Karl Wallenda.  Your Bloguero is in awe of this kind of daring.

Your Bloguero notes that this Digest is a weekly feature. Your Bloguero, though needs encouragement.  From you.  It’s easy to give him that.  If you read this Digest, please click the “encouragement jar” in the comments.  That’s the only way your Bloguero will know that you visited.  Hasta pronto.

Vox Frustrati (Vol. 1): Dissent

Welcome to the diary series, Vox Frustrati.  Vox is a persona and this project is a collaboration.  Today, we welcome Vox and we are very excited about his inaugural broadcast.  We congratulate him on his debut.

Vox Frustrati is here to give voice to our progressive concerns.  He welcomes correspondence from you via kosmail or at VoxFrustrati at gmail dot com.

If you have something to say, a rant, a comment or a question, Vox might decide to lend you his voice, either anonymously or with your byline. It is your choice.  Vox does reserve editorial rights.

Punting the Pundits

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”.

Paul Krugman: Rule by Rentiers

The latest economic data have dashed any hope of a quick end to America’s job drought, which has already gone on so long that the average unemployed American has been out of work for almost 40 weeks. Yet there is no political will to do anything about the situation. Far from being ready to spend more on job creation, both parties agree that it’s time to slash spending – destroying jobs in the process – with the only difference being one of degree.

Nor is the Federal Reserve riding to the rescue. On Tuesday, Ben Bernanke, the Fed chairman, acknowledged the grimness of the economic picture but indicated that he will do nothing about it.

And debt relief for homeowners – which could have done a lot to promote overall economic recovery – has simply dropped off the agenda. The existing program for mortgage relief has been a bust, spending only a tiny fraction of the funds allocated, but there seems to be no interest in revamping and restarting the effort.

Dean Baker: Political Advice to Republicans on Medicare

The Republicans are very upset that their vote for Representative Ryan’s plan to end Medicare is being used against them. The loss of an upstate New York Congressional seat that they held for 50 years was quite a shock. Furthermore, groups are already using this vote in attack ads around the country to threaten incumbents.

This could be really bad news for their election prospects in 2012 since Medicare is a hugely popular program. Polls consistently show that the program has enormous public support among all political and demographic groups. Not only do Democrats and independents overwhelmingly support the Medicare program, even Republicans overwhelmingly approve of Medicare. Even Tea Party Republicans overwhelming approve of Medicare.

The same story holds by age group. Of course, Medicare has the greatest support among the over-65 age group that currently depends on it, but the program even draws large majority support among young voters who hope to be able to rely on the program in their retirement. Republicans could try to extend the vote to ten-year-olds, but this route probably does not hold much promise.

Robert Reich: President Obama Must Not Go Over to the Supply Side

“I am concerned about the fact that the recovery that we’re on is not producing jobs as fast as I want it to happen,” President Obama said Tuesday, amid the flood of bad economic news, including last Friday’s alarming jobs report.

Does this mean we’re about to see a bold package of ideas from the White House for spurring growth of jobs and wages? Sadly, it doesn’t seem so.

Obama says he’s interested in exploring with Republicans extending some of the measures that were part of that tax-cut package “to make sure that we get this recovery up and running in a robust way.”

Accordingly, the White House is mulling a temporary cut in the payroll taxes businesses pay on wages. White House advisors figure this may appeal to Republican lawmakers who have been discussing the same idea. It would, in essence, match the 2 percent reduction in employee contributions to payroll taxes this year, enacted as part of the deal to extend the Bush tax cuts.

Roger Cohen: When Fear Breaks

MONTREAL – Whenever I come to Canada I think the world should be simple. People are nice. They’re decent. There’s lots of space. Angry identities assumed in tougher climes morph into gentler ones beneath the wide Canadian sky.

But not everyone can come to Canada. That’s a pity. This is a good place, even if Michael Moore did go a little over the top. Oscar Wilde, however, was too harsh – “a mournful Scottish version of America.” It’s less dark than that.

Outside Canada things are tense because seismic shifts are underway. Some of them are clear: The American Century is ending. Some are not: Nobody predicted the Arab Spring because nobody can predict the human spirit.

Leonard Pitts, Jr.: Commentary: Like Sarah Palin, many of us don’t know U.S. history

Don’t know much about history” – Sam Cooke

It would be the easiest thing in the world to make this about Sarah Palin.

She makes mistakes like Apple makes iPhones, so there is a temptation to catalogue her recent bizarre claim that Paul Revere’s midnight ride in April of 1775 was to “warn the British” (He actually rode to alert patriots Samuel Adams and John Hancock that British troops were coming to arrest them) as superfluous evidence of intellectual mediocrity. The instinct is to think her historical illiteracy speaks ill only of her.

But the thing is, she is not the only one.

Eugene Robinson: A plan for Afghanistan: Declare victory – and leave

Slender threads of hope are nice but do not constitute a plan. Nor do they justify continuing to pour American lives and resources into the bottomless pit of Afghanistan.

Ryan Crocker, the veteran diplomat nominated by President Obama to be the next U.S. ambassador in Kabul, gave a realistic assessment of the war in testimony Wednesday before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Here I’m using “realistic” as a synonym for “bleak.”

Making progress is hard, Crocker said, but “not impossible.”

Not impossible.

What on earth are we doing? We have more than 100,000 troops in Afghanistan risking life and limb, at a cost of $10 billion a month, to pursue ill-defined goals whose achievement can be imagined, but just barely?

It’s the Beans

The deadly deadly out break of food poisoning in Germany has supposedly been traced to its source, bean sprouts that were grown at an organic farm in Germany. Over 3000 people have been sickened, many of them seriously, and 31 one deaths have been attributed to this contamination. According to the article in the NYT, even though there has been no harmful bacteria found in the sprouts, Reinhard Burger, the head of the country’s disease control agency said:

investigations centering on interviews with patients and even the chefs at restaurants where they had eaten showed that people who had consumed bean sprouts were nine times more likely to become infected than those who had not.

Even though Germany has lifted the advisory about eating fresh produce and sealed off the organic farm that was the source of the sprouts, the damage has been done with consumers all over Europe still not buying fresh tomatoes, cucumbers and other frsh produce from Spain. Meanwhile, Spain has refused to accept the compensation that was offered for the losses to farmers as too little. From the Guardian:

The European commission on Tuesday promised to pay more than €150m (£134m) to farmers hit by the E coli crisis, following robust lobbying by Spain and France.

The agriculture commissioner, Dacian Ciolos, proposed sharing out to farmers affected by falling sales amid the public health panic the sum of €150m, equating to payments worth about 30% of the average market price for the unsold crops.

But at the meeting of agriculture ministers in Luxembourg, representatives from several member states demanded more help.

Spain immediately warned the €150m would not be enough. Spain has suffered disproportionately from the economic impact of the outbreak, in part because it grows a significant share of Europe’s salad produce but also because blame for the bacteria outbreak at first was attributed to its cucumber crop.

The German health ministry was too quick to make a conclusion and should have been more diligent in their investigation.

Gingrich Goes Galt

Well, actually his campaign staff, but if this guy is any indication they are the most arrogant, ignorant, self serving, narcissistic group of Beltway suck up asskissing Versailles Villagers to expose themselves like the raincoat wearing perverts they are in a while.

On TV yesterday and last night I guessed that while Newt and his wife were in Greece, the staff was fuming over their refusal to allow the people who do campaigns for a living help get this campaign on the right path.

To raise money from large donors requires start-up money: Halls have to be rented, stages have to be built, food has to be ordered, invitations have to be printed, addressed and mailed.

Information from the former staffers started coming out by early evening. No surprises. The staff was made up of campaign professionals who wanted to run a professional campaign.

May I just say for the vast majority that actually have to work for a living instead of “doing things like talking into a TV camera (or writing Internet-based columns)” that you, Rich Galen, have no talent or skill except for self gratification.

Journalism is not a profession or a trade. It is a cheap catch-all for fuckoffs and misfits — a false doorway to the backside of life, a filthy piss-ridden little hole nailed off by the building inspector, but just deep enough for a wino to curl up from the sidewalk and masturbate like a chimp in a zoo-cage. Stockton

I’d call you my wanker of the day but you have some stiff competition-

Follow my lead or Labour is finished, Blair tells Miliband

Labour will not win elections, Mr Blair says, by going back to the political equivalent of ‘warm beer and old maids bicycling’

By Andrew Grice, Political Editor, The Independent

Friday, 10 June 2011

In his book, Mr Blair argues that traditional left-right boundaries are breaking down and that to be successful, today’s politicians need to “rise above partisan politics”. This reflects fears among Blairites that David Cameron, an admirer of Mr Blair’s strategy, is more likely to appear above the traditional left-right fray than Ed Miliband, who is seen by voters as to the left of his party.

Mr Blair argues that New Labour, Bill Clinton’s “new Democrats” and Barack Obama all reached out beyond their traditional support base and suggests the Coalition Government is trying to do the same. “Where political leaders deliberately go outside their own political base, they almost always win public approval,” he says. “Face people with a choice between traditional left and traditional right and there is a traditional outcome: the left loses.”

You know Tony, you’re not just a war criminal, you’re also a loser.  History shows again and again how nature points out the folly of man, likewise that given a choice between Republicans and Republicans Lite, Republicans win every time.

Denying that he had become a “pariah” in his home country, Mr Blair said: “I think it’s a little harsh to say that. One of the things you learn in politics is the fact that you get a hundred people or a thousand people, or even 10,000 people out on the street doesn’t mean to say the whole of the population thinks that way. You know, I did win three elections in Britain.”

Pobrecito.  Que lastima.

On This Day In History June 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.

June 10 is the 161st day of the year (162nd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 204 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1990, Luther Campbell and fellow 2LiveCrew members are arrested on obscenity charges

Though the First Amendment to the Constitution clearly states that the U.S. Congress “shall make no law…abridging the freedom of speech,” free speech is widely understood to have its limits. It is dangerous and potentially criminal, for instance, to yell, “Fire!” in a crowded theater. But what about yelling “$&%#@!!” in a crowded nightclub? Lenny Bruce and other comedians tested the limits of that practice in the 1960s, but it was not until the late 1980s that the issue of obscenity came front and center in the world of popular music. The group that brought it there was 2LiveCrew, a hip-hop outfit led by Luther “Luke Skyywalker” Campbell. On June 10, 1990, just days after a controversial ruling by a Florida federal judge, Campbell and two other members of 2LiveCrew were arrested on charges of public obscenity after performing material from their album As Nasty As They Wanna Be in a Hollywood, Florida, nightclub.

As Nasty As They Wanna Be

In 1989, the group released their album, As Nasty As They Wanna Be, which also became the group’s most successful album. A large part of its success was due to the single “Me So Horny”, which was popular despite little radio rotation. The American Family Association (AFA) did not think the presence of a “Parental Advisory” sticker was enough to adequately warn listeners of what was inside the case. Jack Thompson, a lawyer affiliated with the AFA, met with Florida Governor Bob Martinez and convinced him to look into the album to see if it met the legal classification of obscene. In 1990 action was taken at the local level and Nick Navarro, Broward County sheriff, received a ruling from County Circuit Court judge Mel Grossman that probable cause for obscenity violations existed. In response, Luther Campbell maintained that people should focus on issues relating to hunger and poverty rather than on the lyrical content of their music.

Navarro warned record store owners that selling the album may be prosecutable. The 2 Live Crew then filed a suit against Navarro. That June, U.S. district court Judge Jose Gonzalez ruled the album obscene and illegal to sell. Charles Freeman, a local retailer, was arrested two days later, after selling a copy to an undercover police officer. This was followed by the arrest of three members of The 2 Live Crew after they performed some material from the album at a nightclub. They were acquitted soon after, as professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr. testified at their trial in defense of their lyrics. Freeman’s conviction was overturned on appeal as well.

In 1992, the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit overturned the obscenity ruling from Judge Gonzalez, and the Supreme Court of the United States refused to hear Broward County’s appeal. As in the Freeman case, Gates testified on behalf of Navarro, arguing that the material that the county alleged was profane actually had important roots in African-American vernacular, games, and literary traditions and should be protected.

As a result of the controversy, As Nasty As They Wanna Be sold over two million copies. It peaked at #29 on The Billboard 200 and #3 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart. A few other retailers were later arrested for selling it as well, including Canadian Marc Emery who was convicted in Ontario in 1991, and would later gain fame as a marijuana activist. Later hard rock band Van Halen sued over an uncleared sample of their song “Ain’t Talkin’ ‘Bout Love” in The 2 Live Crew Song “The Fuck Shop”. The publicity then continued when George Lucas, owner of the Star Wars universe, successfully sued Campbell for appropriating the name “Skywalker” for his record label, Luke Skyywalker Records. Campbell changed his stage name to Luke (and changed the record label’s name to Luke Records) and the group released an extremely political follow up album, Banned in the USA after obtaining permission to use an interpolation of Bruce Springsteen‘s Born in the U.S.A. The 2 Live Crew paraphernalia with the Luke Skyywalker or Skyywalker logos are often sought-after collector’s items.

Six In The Morning

‘This revolution was a curse’: Economic woes test Egypt

‘People in the neighborhood are talking about going back to the streets for another revolution – a hunger revolution’


 Egypt’s economy, whose inequities and lack of opportunities helped topple a government, has now ground to a virtual halt, further wounded by the revolution itself.

The 18-day revolt stopped new foreign investment and decimated the pivotal tourist industry. The annual growth slowed to less than 2 percent from a projected 5 percent, and Egypt’s hard currency reserves plunged 25 percent.

Friday’s Headlines:

Bahrain Grand Prix cancelled after team protests

Gaddafi regime staked £12bn on secret deal in bid to open peace talks

Syrian army ‘moves on Jisr al-Shughour

Iraq: A frat house with guns

Rana acquitted in Mumbai attacks, jailed for helping LeT

Mo’ Meta, Mo’ Betta

Between the Belmont, Le Mans, and Circuit Gilles Villeneuve it’s shaping up a busy weekend.  You may well ask, “ek, why do you talk about sports so much?

It’s a metaphor.

Consider today’s offering from The Gulf Daily News



Posted on Friday, June 10, 2011

Bahrain always assumed that the Western world was too wise and mature to mix politics with sport. But the way it is behaving towards our Grand Prix fixture begs many questions now about its judgement.

No country in the world can guarantee itself totally free of some form of domestic disturbances – and we fully understand that when lives and security are endangered, such events can be postponed, as happened here.

But to now use human rights allegations as an excuse to deprive Bahrain of such an important sporting occasion, contradicts every ethic and value, as well as the spirit of global competition in its broadest sense.

Because you know, after all, Jesse Owens humbled Hitler in Berlin (not actually the story you think it is, the real one is Marty Glickman).

But our hole is not yet to China, let’s dig a little deeper.

Unfortunately, hidden hands are at work to discredit Bahrain government’s positive measures which have restored law and order to the country. It seems as if there is a willingness for members of this sporting body to be swayed by opposition claims of ongoing and brutal repression.

The facts of the matter are simple. The government of Bahrain has advised that the country is a safe and secure destination to host the Bahrain Grand Prix in October this year. The FIA, F1 management and the teams should not allow political machinations of a disaffected and small opposition group to affect the decisions taken by the FIA which quite rightly are based entirely on logistics and security considerations.

For members of the F1 fraternity to single out Bahrain over questions of human rights issues is unacceptable victimisation. A number of other countries which host F1 are considered to be far more repressive. The same stance should apply to Bahrain as to these other nations.

Certainly Bahrain should share part of the blame for innocently allowing both international media and human rights organisations to twist the truth. For years they have been fed a dubious diet of information. However, we have relied on individuals like Lord Gilford and public relations organisations such as Bell-Pottinger (whose staff deserted the kingdom en masse as soon as trouble started). They have milked the country’s financial resources for a long time, yet failed to deliver any positive result.

From now on we hope such tasks will be undertaken by organisations with true local links, knowledge and understanding, as well as a genuine love for Bahrain.

The defamation of Bahrain was started by so-called native opposition elements, therefore only local, loyal media and public relations companies with a vested interest in the future of this country can be relied upon.

There are many highly capable, mature, experienced Bahrainis and expatriates who have been in this field all of their professional working lives.

They are the ones fully aware of internal politics, and only experts of such calibre can explain and influence Western thought and decision-making.

In fairness and to his credit Mr. Abdulrahman calls out Max Mosley as the fascist he is but to decry as he does “mixing sport with politics”…

My father is no different than any powerful man, any man with power, like a president or senator.

Do you know how naive you sound, Michael? Presidents and senators don’t have men killed.

Oh. Who’s being naive, Kay?

This could never happen here.  We’re “exceptional”.

DocuDharma Digest

Regular Features-

Featured Essays for June 9, 2011-


Load more