06/16/2011 archive

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”.

Sen. Bernie Sanders: Stop Oil Speculation Now

The increased cost of oil and gasoline is damaging the American economy and is causing severe economic pain to millions of people, especially in rural America, who often have to drive long distances to work. Many workers are already seeing stagnant or declining wages and high gas prices are just taking another bite out of their paychecks.

People in Vermont and across the country are also worried about the high price of heating oil for the coming winter.

The price of oil today, while declining somewhat in recent weeks, was still over $95 a barrel today. That’s about $30 higher than it was two years ago.

The theory behind the setting of oil prices is that price is determined by the fundamentals of supply and demand. The fact of the matter is that there is more supply and less demand today than there was two years ago when gas prices averaged about $2.44 a gallon.

Robert Reich: Why the Republican War on Workers’ Rights Undermines the American Economy

The battle has resumed in Wisconsin. The state supreme court has allowed Governor Scott Walker to strip bargaining rights from state workers.

Meanwhile, governors and legislators in New Hampshire and Missouri are attacking private unions, seeking to make the states so-called “open shop” where workers can get all the benefits of being union members without paying union dues. Needless to say this ploy undermines the capacity of unions to do much of anything. Other Republican governors and legislatures are following suit.

New York Times Editorial: Can Justice Be Bought?

Two years ago, the Supreme Court tried to bolster public trust in the nation’s justice system by disqualifying a state judge in West Virginia from a case that involved a coal company executive who had spent more than $3 million to help get the judge elected.

At a time when torrents of special interest campaign spending is threatening the appearance and reality of judicial impartiality, the ruling in Caperton v. Massey drove home the need for states to adopt more rigorous rules for recusal. The message has largely gone unheeded.

Richard Reeves: Here We Go Again: Reform in California

Forget the midnight ride of Paul Revere, Callista Gingrich’s jewelry collection and Anthony Weiner’s … well, you know. The most important political people right now are 14 Californians you don’t know. They are the members of the Citizens Redistricting Commission of this great state.

American elections are rarely decided by debates in New Hampshire or even hundreds of millions of dollars in television advertising. By and large, American elections are determined by who comes out to vote, the fine print of election laws and squiggly lines on state maps. Except for presidential elections, which can surprise you, more than 90 percent of congressional and legislative elections are decided before ballots are even printed.

Robert Scheer: Seven Republican Dwarfs

They assumed the stance of the Seven Dwarfs, not as a matter of physical but rather intellectual stature. Not one of the candidates for the GOP presidential nomination who debated Monday night rose to a point of seriousness in addressing the nation’s grievous problems. Instead, they ever so playfully thumbed their collective noses at any possible meaningful government reaction to the mess that we are in. It was Herbert Hoover warmed over, leaving Barack Obama secure in the mantle of FDR whether he deserves that tribute or not.

Obama, who has been inconsistent and weak in reining in the Wall Street greed that got us into this deep economic morass, is now under no pressure from the opposition to improve his performance. The Republican knee-jerk reaction-government bad, big business great, and don’t dare say that the Wall Street scoundrels who created this crisis need a timeout-gets Obama off the hook from legitimate criticism he needs to hear. As The Wall Street Journal headlined the non-debate: “Candidates Run Against Regulation.”

Glen Ford: How the Corporate Right Divided Blacks from Teachers Unions and Each Other

Back in the mid-Nineties, devious right-wing activists at the Bradley Foundation, in Milwaukee, hit upon a “wedge” issue designed to wreck the alliance at the core of the Democratic Party’s urban base. Blacks and public employee unions – particularly teachers – were the foundations of Democratic power in the cities. Aware that African Americans revered education but were often in conflict with largely white teachers unions over issues of racism and community control, the Bradley gang, under president Michael Joyce, created out of whole cloth a “movement” for publicly-funded vouchers for private schools. No such Black community “demand” had ever existed, but well-aimed infusions of millions of dollars among opportunistic politicians like Cory Booker, a first term city councilman who aspired to become mayor of Newark, New Jersey, grafted Black faces onto a Hard Right corporate scheme to divide key progressive constituencies: Blacks and unions.

On This Day In History June 16

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 16 is the 167th day of the year (168th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 198 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1933, The National Industrial Recovery Act is passed.

The National Industrial Recovery Act (NIRA), officially known as the Act of June 16, 1933 (Ch. 90, 48 Stat. 195, formerly codified at 15 U.S.C. sec. 703), was an American statute which authorized the President of the United States to regulate industry and permit cartels and monopolies in an attempt to stimulate economic recovery, and established a national public works program. The legislation was enacted in June 1933 during the Great Depression as part of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal legislative program. Section 7(a) of the bill, which protected collective bargaining rights for unions, proved contentious (especially in the Senate), but both chambers eventually passed the legislation and President Roosevelt signed the bill into law on June 16, 1933. The Act had two main sections (or “titles”). Title I was devoted to industrial recovery, and authorized the promulgation of industrial codes of fair competition, guaranteed trade union rights, permitted the regulation of working standards, and regulated the price of certain refined petroleum products and their transportation. Title II established the Public Works Administration, outlined the projects and funding opportunities it could engage in, and funded the Act.

The Act was implemented by the National Recovery Administration (NRA) and the Public Works Administration (PWA). Very large numbers of regulations were generated under the authority granted to the NRA by the Act, which led to a significant loss of political support for Roosevelt and the New Deal. The NIRA was set to expire in June 1935, but in a major constitutional ruling the U.S. Supreme Court held Title I of the Act unconstitutional on May 27, 1935, in Schechter Poultry Corp. v. United States, 295 U.S. 495 (1935). The National Industrial Recovery Act is widely considered a policy failure, both in the 1930s and by historians today. Disputes over the reasons for this failure continue, however. Among the suggested causes are that the Act promoted economically harmful monopolies, that the Act lacked critical support from the business community, and that the Act was poorly administered. The Act encouraged union organizing, which led to significant labor unrest. The Act had no mechanisms for handling these problems, which led Congress to pass the National Labor Relations Act in 1935.

Six In The Morning

Al-Zawahri succeeds Osama bin Laden as new al-Qaida leader

Al-Qaida statement gives no details about the selection process

msnbc.com news services  

Al-Qaida has selected its longtime No. 2 to succeed Osama bin Laden following last month’s U.S. commando raid that killed the terror leader, according to a statement posted Thursday on a website affiliated with the network.

Ayman al-Zawahri, who will turn 60 next week, is the son of an upper middle class Egyptian family of doctors and scholars.

Al-Qaida “announces that Sheikh Dr. Ayman al-Zawahri, may God guide him, assumed responsibility as the group’s amir [leader],” the BBC reported.

Thursday’s Headlines:

Iran launches second satellite into orbit, claims state TV

Pakistanis accused of CIA collusion over Bin Laden raid

Greek PM George Papandreou to unveil new cabinet

‘Urban Mining’ Could Reduce Reliance on Metal Imports

Côte d’Ivoire launches probe into conflict crimes

DocuDharma Digest

Featured Essays for June 16, 2011-


Rolling in the Mud

Sometimes it’s deeper than others.  I recall a year when I foolishly volunteered to help park cars.  Now when I say it was raining hard I’m not talking 40 days and 40 nights, but it was more than merely damp.

And the drainage was poor.

Now my practice when it rains, which it does more frequently than you ordinarily notice but are forced to confront when working out doors, is to ignore it.  Yeah you’re wet, but you’re going to get wet anyway (though Gortex is a wonderful thing) and unlike Margaret Hamilton you’re not going to melt (My beautiful wickedness!  What a world, what a world).

Well, this was hipboots and waders and the job was to squish through to the cars and get them from the unpaved lot to the driveway in front of the nice dry tent where the owners were waiting.

Now sometimes being good is not exactly a blessing and my winter driving skills honed in the lake effects of upstate New York meant that I was less likely than some others I could name, but won’t, to grind the cars into an almost untowable morass.  This resuling in my spending a lot more time than the untrainable or unlucky getting dirty and moist.

It was almost the last car of the day that I got my first tip which I wasn’t really expecting but gratefully pocketed and I said to the driver as he climbed in the car “I’m not sure you’ll think it’s as good as all that once you sit where I was sitting, but thank you just the same.”

My Little Town 20110615: Granddad Part the First

Those of you who read this regular series know that I am from Hackett, Arkansas, just a mile or so from the Oklahoma border, and just about 10 miles south of the Arkansas River.  It was a redneck sort of place, and just zoom onto my previous posts to understand a bit about it.

I rarely write about living people except with their express permission, but may make an exception or two here because it might be important to talk about some of her decedents who still breathe.  None of those references will be derogatory.

I actually know less about Granddad than I do about Ma, because he died in 1969 at the age of 91.  I was only 12 years old then.  Ma lived until she saw me as an adult and married and their mother having her great, great grandchildren.  Here is what I know about his history.