06/12/2011 archive

Rant of the Week: Stephen Colbert

The Word: Hear no Evil

Stephen Colbert comments on Sen. Rand Paul’s proposal that anyone who hears a speech that might advocate the over throw of the US government be arrested.

“After all the Bill of Rights guarantees freedom of speech, not freedom of listen”

F1: Circuit Gilles Villeneuve

As they never quite got tired of pointing out during all 24 Hours of Le Mans, Sports Cars race harder, faster, and longer in a single day than Formula One does in a whole season.

Pedro de la Rosa gets a ride with Sauber today, coming from the McLaren reserves to replace Sergio Perez who is not yet recovered from his Monaco concussion.  bmaz reports on the Bahrain decision I covered Friday.

Scuderia Marlboro UPC did a little better in qualifying than I expected, but it doesn’t mean much for anyone as they are forcasting a 60% chance of rain.  To make things even more (ahem) interesting they’ve all dialed down the downforce because of the long straights and it’s not the kind of thing you’re allowed to adjust.  Virgin will start it’s second car despite missing the 107% cut off.

Hopefully during the boring parts I’ll find a source for the Le Mans results, it was actually much closer than I predicted, a mere 13 seconds after 24 hours that Audi won over Peugeot with their single remaining car.

Pretty tables below.

On This Day In History June 12

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.

Click on image to enlarge

June 12 is the 163rd day of the year (164th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 202 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1776, Virginia adopts George Mason’s Declaration of Rights

The assembled slaveholders of Virginia promised to “the good people of VIRGINIA and their posterity” the equal right to life, liberty and property, with the critical condition that the “people” were white men. These same white men were guaranteed that “all power” would be “vested in, and consequently derived from” them. Should a government fail to represent their common interest, a majority of the same held the right to “reform, alter or abolish” the government.

Drafting and adoption

The Declaration was adopted unanimously by the Fifth Virginia Convention at Williamsburg, Virginia on June 12, 1776 as a separate document from the Constitution of Virginia which was later adopted on June 29, 1776. In 1830, the Declaration of Rights was incorporated within the Virginia State Constitution as Article I, but even before that Virginia’s Declaration of Rights stated that it was ‘”the basis and foundation of government” in Virginia.  A slightly updated version may still be seen in Virginia’s Constitution, making it legally in effect to this day.

It was initially drafted by George Mason circa May 20, 1776; James Madison assisted him with the section on religious freedom. It was later amended by Thomas Ludwell Lee and the Convention to add a section on the right to uniform government (Section 14). Patrick Henry persuaded the Convention to delete a section that would have prohibited bills of attander, arguing that ordinary laws could be ineffective against some terrifying offenders.

Mason based his initial draft on the rights of citizens described in earlier works such as the English Bill of Rights (1689), and the Declaration can be considered the first modern Constitutional protection of individual rights for citizens of North America. It rejected the notion of privileged political classes or hereditary offices such as the members of Parliament and House of Lords described in the English Bill of Rights.

The Declaration consists of sixteen articles on the subject of which rights “pertain to [the people of Virginia]…as the basis and foundation of Government.” In addition to affirming the inherent nature of natural rights to life, liberty, and property, the Declaration both describes a view of Government as the servant of the people, and enumerates various restrictions on governmental power. Thus, the document is unusual in that it not only prescribes legal rights, but it also describes moral principles upon which a government should be run.


The Virginia Declaration of Rights heavily influenced later documents. Thomas Jefferson is thought to have drawn on it when he drafted the United States Declaration of Independence one month later (July 1776). James Madison was also influenced by the Declaration while drafting the Bill of Rights (completed September 1787, approved 1789), as was the Marquis de Lafayette in voting the French Revolution’s Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen (1789).

The importance of the Virginia Declaration of Rights is that it was the first constitutional protection of individual rights, rather than protecting just members of Parliament or consisting of simple laws that can be changed as easily as passed.

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: This should be an interesting Economics forum with Sen. Richard “no” Shelby (R-AL), Former Clinton Labor Secretary Robert Reich, Chairman/CEO of MF Global Inc. Jon Corzine, who is also the former Democratic governor of New Jersey and former Chairman/CEO of Goldman Sachs and ABC News senior political correspondent Jonathan Karl.

Democratic strategist Donna Brazile, Peggy Noonan of The Wall Street Journal, ABC News senior White House Correspondent Jake Tapper and ABC News’ George Will discuss Gingrich’s “rats” jumping ship.

This should be a “winner” panel to discuss Weiner’s political suicide by Twitter:

ABC News’ Claire Shipman, co-author of “Womenomics,” former Assistant Pentagon Press Secretary Torie Clarke, and Cecilia Attias, former wife of French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

I just might watch to hear what Cecilia has to say.

Face the Nation with Bob Schieffer: Mr. Schieffer’s guest are House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD),  House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC)

The Chris Matthews Show: This week’s guests are Andrea Mitchell, NBC News Chief Foreign Affairs Correspondent, David Ignatius, The Washington Post Columnist, Rana Foroohar, TIME Magazine Assistant Managing Editor and John Heilemann, New York Magazine National Political Correspondent. They will discuss:

Tough new signs America won’t recover soon: can President Obama still win?

Is talking to the Taliban the way out of Afghanistan?

Meet the Press with David Gregory: The first debate between the new DNC Chair, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, and RNC Chair Reince Priebus.

GOP presidential hopeful former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA) is interviewed. Don’t expect Gregory to be “harsh”.

The roundtable guests Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed (D), GOP strategist Mike Murphy, MSNBC’s Richard Wolffe, and the Wall Street Journal’s Kim Strassel will discuss Obama, the economy, the budget and the GOP presidential field.

State of the Union with Candy Crowley: New Hampshire politics on the national stage, Candy talks to Sen. Kelly Ayotte and Rep. Charlie Bass.

Then, Candy sits down with two men who share a name well-known in the realm of New Hampshire politics. New Hampshire’s father and son pair, Fmr. Governor John Sununu and Fmr. Senator John Sununu, to give us their take on the GOP field shaping up for 2012.

Finally insights on Monday’s debate from Philip Rucker of The Washington Post and the Neil King of the Wall Street Journal.

Check out our Live Blog of the Le Mans finish and the Canadian Gran Prix.

Fareed Zakaris: GPS: Rountable guests are CNN’s “In the Arena”, Eliot Spitzer, conservative commentator Ann Coulter, Reuters Global Editor-at-Large Chrystia Freeland, and the British historian Andrew Roberts.

Coulter??? Really, Fareed, that is scraping bottom.

Former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, the author of a new book On China discusses will discuss what, his war crimes?

Washington Post columnist David Ignatius will discuss spying and spies and his new novel Bloodmoney.

Robert Reich: The Stalled Recovery, Smoke and Mirrors, and the Carnage on the Street

The Dow ended the week below 12,000 for the first time since March. This is the sixth straight week of downs for the Dow. It’s almost as bad over at the Nasdaq. All the gains racked up in 2011 have now been erased.

What’s going on?

The real economy is catching up with the financial economy, as it always does eventually. Wall Street is built on smoke and mirrors, while the real economy is based on jobs and wages. Smoke and mirrors can only take you so far – as we learned so painfully three years ago.

Jobs and wages stink, if you haven’t noticed. They’ve been bad for months, even before this week’s data made it fairly clear the recovery has stalled.

Eileen Appelbaum: No Tax Holiday for Multinational Corporations

If you think that “double Irish” and “Dutch sandwich” are schoolyard jump rope games girls play, think again. These are the nefarious, but legal, games that hundreds of multinationals play to avoid paying their fair share of taxes. According to a report by Bloomberg, Google used these techniques to cut its tax rate to 2.4 percent and its taxes by $3.1 billion over the three years from 2007 through 2009. The company’s top two markets by revenue are the US, with a 35 percent corporate income tax rate, and the UK, with a 28 percent rate, yet Google – using practices widely employed by global companies – dramatically reduced its tax rate.

At the heart of this strategy is the transfer of rights to intellectual property developed in the US – often, as in Google’s case, with early research funded by US taxpayers through the National Science Foundation – to a subsidiary in a low-tax country. Foreign earnings based on the technology are then attributed to the subsidiary. Google transferred its search and advertising technology for much of the world to its Irish subsidiary at a price sanctioned in 2006 by the IRS. But even the much-vaunted low Irish taxes were not low enough for Google. That’s where the “double Irish” and the “Dutch sandwich” come in.

Michelle Alexander: Think Outside the Bars: Real Justice Means Fewer Prisons

A white woman with gray hair pulled neatly into a bun raises her hand. She keeps it up, unwavering and rigid, as she waits patiently for her turn to speak. Finally, the microphone is passed to the back of the room, and she leaps to her feet. With an air of desperation she blurts out, “You know white people suffer in this system, too, don’t you? It’s not just black and brown people destroyed by this drug war. My son, he’s been in the system. He’s an addict. He needs help. He needs treatment, but we don’t have money. He needs his family. But they keep givin’ him prison time. White people are hurting, too.” She is trembling and sits down.

There is an uncomfortable silence in the room, but I am in no hurry to respond. I let her question hang in the air. I want people to feel this discomfort, the tension created by her suffering. The audience is overwhelmingly African American, and a few of them are visibly agitated or annoyed by her question. I’ve spent the last forty minutes discussing my book, The New Jim Crow. The book argues that today, in the so-called era of colorblindness, and, yes-even in the age of Obama-racial caste is alive and well in America. The mass incarceration of poor people of color through a racially biased drug war has birthed a new caste system. It is the moral equivalent of Jim Crow.

Michael Winship: The Perils of Ignoring Science

A local NPR reporter was talking with Joseph Nicholson, CEO of Red Jacket Orchards in Geneva, New York, up in the neck of the upstate woods where I was born and raised. There’s been a lot more rain than usual, he said. Produce hasn’t been exposed to sufficient “heat units” — in other words, the sun.

“We’re going to be at least two weeks behind in harvest or ripening,” he said, and if the skies don’t brighten up soon, yields could be down 30 to 35 percent. That’s a lot of lost apples — and cherries, peaches and plums (although the rhubarb is doing just fine, thanks for asking).

As upstate kids we were told — apocryphally — that the only part of the world more overcast than us was Poland, so the idea that all these years later it’s cloudier than ever is startling. Is this part of manmade climate change?

Nicholas D. Kristof: When Food Kills

The deaths of 31 people in Europe from a little-known strain of E. coli have raised alarms worldwide, but we shouldn’t be surprised. Our food often betrays us.

Just a few days ago, a 2-year-old girl in Dryden, Va., died in a hospital after suffering bloody diarrhea linked to another strain of E. coli. Her brother was also hospitalized but survived.

Every year in the United States, 325,000 people are hospitalized because of food-borne illnesses and 5,000 die, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That’s right: food kills one person every two hours.

Yet while the terrorist attacks of 2001 led us to transform the way we approach national security, the deaths of almost twice as many people annually have still not generated basic food-safety initiatives. We have an industrial farming system that is a marvel for producing cheap food, but its lobbyists block initiatives to make food safer.

Six In The Morning

Syrian unrest: Troops move into Jisr al-Shughour

Syrian government forces have advanced into the northern town of Jisr al-Shughour, state media say, as part of a widespread government crackdown.

The BBC  12 June 2011

Witnesses reported an attack using tanks and helicopter gunships, after an early-morning bombardment.

The government says it is trying to restore order after it claimed 120 security personnel had been killed.

But residents say the dead were killed after a mutiny and fighting between the security forces.

The government advance sent more people fleeing towards the Turkish border, to join more than 4,000 who have already crossed.

Sunday’s Headlines:

Misrata: One day in Libya’s rebel stronghold where calm gives way to chaos

After 10 years, no security unit is fit to take over from coalition in Afghanistan

Our family ripped apart by Europe’s last dictator says Iryna Khalip, wife of jailed Andrei Sannikov in Belarus

Zim summit charts course toward elections

Mexico peace tour: Final stop in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico’s ‘epicenter of pain’

DocuDharma Digest

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Featured Essays for June 11, 2011-