08/07/2011 archive

Rant of the Week: Stephen Colbert

Stephen thanks his contributors to his Super PAC with a special call out to Suq Madiq, his dad, Liqa Madiq and his mom, who still uses her maiden name, Munchma Quchi. He did warn his affiliates he was going “low”.

On This Day In History August 7

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 images to enlarge

August 7 is the 219th day of the year (220th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 146 days remaining until the end of the year.

The Northern Hemisphere is considered to be halfway through its summer and the Southern Hemisphere half way through its winter on this day.

On this day in 1947, Kon-Tiki, a balsa wood raft captained by Norwegian anthropologist Thor Heyerdahl, completes a 4,300-mile, 101-day journey from Peru to Raroia in the Tuamotu Archipelago, near Tahiti. Heyerdahl wanted to prove his theory that prehistoric South Americans could have colonized the Polynesian islands by drifting on ocean currents.

Heyerdahl and his five-person crew set sail from Callao, Peru, on the 40-square-foot Kon-Tiki on April 28, 1947. The Kon-Tiki, named for a mythical white chieftain, was made of indigenous materials and designed to resemble rafts of early South American Indians. While crossing the Pacific, the sailors encountered storms, sharks and whales, before finally washing ashore at Raroia. Heyerdahl, born in Larvik, Norway, on October 6, 1914, believed that Polynesia’s earliest inhabitants had come from South America, a theory that conflicted with popular scholarly opinion that the original settlers arrived from Asia. Even after his successful voyage, anthropologists and historians continued to discredit Heyerdahl’s belief. However, his journey captivated the public and he wrote a book about the experience that became an international bestseller and was translated into 65 languages. Heyerdahl also produced a documentary about the trip that won an Academy Award in 1951.

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: Sunday on “This Week,” Christiane Amanpour speaks with Standard & Poor’s Managing Director John Chambers, who serves as chair of S&P’s Sovereign Rating Committee, Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley, chair of the Democratic Governors Association, and Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL), ranking member of the Senate Budget Committee and an exclusive interview with Ambassador Robert Ford, only on “This Week.”

The roundtable guests are ABC’s George Will and Cokie Roberts, as well as Steve Rattner, former Counselor to the Treasury Secretary and Lead Auto Advisor, Tea Party member Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), who voted against this week’s debt ceiling increase, and Ariel Investment president Mellody Hobson.

A special interview with Gloria Steinem.

Face the Nation with Bob Schieffer: The guests are David Axelrod, Obama campaign strategist and fmr. White House Advisor, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), and fmr. Democratic presidential candidate, Gov. Howard Dean

The Chris Matthews Show: Guests this week Dan Rather, HDNet Global Correspondent, Gloria Borger, CNN Senior Political Analyst, Rana Foroohar, TIME Magazine Assistant Managing Editor and Andrew Ross Sorkin, New York Times Wall Street Reporter who will discuss these topics:

Wall Street is the latest name for Obama’s pain and the 24/7 media universe: already fired up to fight that super committee!

Meet the Press with David Gregory: Sunday’s guests are John Kerry (D-MA) and John McCain (R-AZ).

The round table guests are former Chairman of the Federal Reserve, Dr. Alan Greenspan,  outgoing White House Economic Adviser, Austan Goolsbee,  MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow, and Republican strategist, Alex Castellanos.  

This might be a reason to turn on the TV

State of the Union with Candy Crowley: Steve Forbes, the CEO of Forbes Incorporated and Pres. Obama’s former top economic adviser, Larry Summers are the first guests, then California Gov. Jerry Brown in his first national interview since his election last year. Former White House communications director Anita Dunn and former Republican congressman Tom Davis discuss the debt ceiling debacle. Vice Adm. Mike McConnell, former director of national intelligence gives his perspective on the brutal violence taking place inside Syria and alleged cyber attacks emanating from China.

Fareed Zakaris: GPS: Guests are Arianna Huffington, TIME’s Joe Klein and Sharif el-Gamal, the realestate developer behind Park 51, the so-called, “Ground Zero Maosque”.

Glen Ford: Ruin-Nation: The Obama Catastrophe

Barack Obama finally got the grand, bipartisan consensus he’s been working towards for two and a half years. His implacable, deep-seated hostility to the left half of the Democratic Party (“retarded,” said his boy, Rahm Emanuel) – which includes most of the Congressional Black Caucus – transformed a 2008 popular mandate for progressive change into its opposite: a de facto center-right governing coalition of Republicans, rightwing Democrats and Obama’s Executive Branch arrayed against roughly half the Democrats (on a very good day) in the House of Representatives, plus a handful of liberal Senators.

Obama’s unrelenting hostility to “entitlements,” which he vowed to put “on the table” for cutting two weeks before taking the oath of office in January, 2009, came to fruition this week, setting in motion a rolling implosion of Roosevelt’s New Deal and Johnson’s Great Society. It is a monumental catastrophe, worthy of a Mt. Rushmore in reverse (say, deep in a guano-filled bat cave). History will, without doubt, lay this ruin of a nation at the doorstep of Obama, the corporate Democratic Trojan Horse whose complexional characteristics neutered, neutralized or outright made insane the bulk of Black America and most of those whites that pass as “progressives.”

Bruce Dixon: Barack Obama and the Debt Crisis: a Successful Con Game Explained

What just happened? Did Barack Obama just save the world, and us from a looming debt catastrophe? Or has he just played good cop to the Republican bad cop in an elaborate hoax staged to circumvent the will of the American people and deal mortal blows to Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security?

The phony debt ceiling crisis was, from beginning to end, a con. It was an elaborate and successful hoax in which the nation’s first black president, the Democratic and Republican parties, Wall Street and corporate media all played indispensable parts. The object of the supposed “crisis” was to short circuit public opinion, existing law, democratic process and traditions of public oversight, in order to deal fatal blows to Medicaid, Medicare, social security, job growth and public expenditures for the common good. It worked. We’ve been conned.

David Dayen: Balanced Budget Amendments Don’t Work: Look at State and Local Gov’t Stats

Republicans are barnstorming across the country in support of a balanced budget amendment. This, they say, will force government to “live within its means” and lead to surging economic growth, though I’m not really sure how they get from A to B. But we don’t really have to guess about the impact of a balanced budget amendment, particularly during recessions. Because we’re seeing the effects right now.

Since the technical end of the recession in July 2009, the public sector has 430,000 less jobs (pdf).

   Government employment is now 1.9 percent lower than it was at the start of the recovery, a drop of 430,000 jobs. In contrast, government employment rose by 1.1 percent (or 232,000 jobs) during the equivalent part of the last recovery.

In a testament to how weak the last recovery was, private sector hiring is actually better in this recovery. But the government employment cutbacks counteract it.

As we know, state and local governments cannot print money and are limited by statute in their ability to run deficits. So instead of borrowing in a recession when faced with a budget shortfall, they raise taxes or cut spending. Increasingly during this recession, they opted for the latter. As a result, we are seeing a catastrophe in public sector jobs. These are teachers, nurses, sanitation engineers, cops, firefighters, all being put on the street because state and local governments have to balance their budgets. And while the federal government provided some aid in the stimulus package to help states and localities manage, that has mostly faded away. So more cuts are in the offing.

Michael Winship: The New Era of Hostage Politics

When I arrived in Washington this past Sunday, just as the debt ceiling crisis was approaching its climax, all the flags surrounding the capital’s Union Station stood at half-mast. I blackly joked with my brother and sister-in-law that maybe they’d been lowered to mark the death of the New Deal. (In fact, they honored the recent passing of former Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman John Shalikashvili.)

As for those throngs of sightseers, defying the malarial heat and clogging the DC streets and sidewalks? I imagined them engaged in that phenomenon known as “last chance tourism” — getting to a location before it disappears, like the melting glaciers of the Rockies.

But my bleakest fantasies aside, Washington and America still stand, although the shining city on a hill Ronald Reagan liked to extol has been graffitied with the intemperate sloganeering and mudslings of Tea Partiers and others of the right who believe the best government is none at all, and selfishly would have those in need huddle, jobless and hungry, in the dark. (What’s the old joke: how many laissez-faire economists does it take to screw in a lightbulb? None — the market will take care of it.)

Like so many progressives, I tried, really tried to find a silver lining in the deal that finally was brokered, much as one occasionally hears news reports on the “upside” of global warming. (Wider shipping lanes in the Arctic — hooray!) Programs for the poor seem to be protected, for now. Medicare cuts allegedly don’t affect beneficiary payments. The Bush tax cuts for the wealthy still expire in 2013! (I’ll believe it when I see it.)

Six In The Morning

On Sunday

Brown blames US and Europe for ‘throwing away’ recovery  

Former prime minister mounts an extraordinary attack on world leaders for mishandling economic crisis and risking ‘a decade of joblessness’  

By Matt Chorley, Jane Merrick, Stephen Foley and Margareta Pagano Sunday, 7 August 2011

Gordon Brown today launches an extraordinary attack on the leaders of America, France and Germany, accusing them of being “wrong” on the big economic decisions and failing to heed his warnings over the EU debt crisis.

The former British prime minister breaks his silence to claim wrong-headed EU leaders, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy, had “thrown away” another chance of economic recovery. They ignored his warnings about their banks’ debt levels and are exacerbating the financial crisis which, in turn, risks condemning millions of people to a decade of joblessness.

Sunday’s Headlines:

Emergency talks called to calm global financial crises

Muslim Brotherhood holds first open vote in Egypt

Five myths about Africa

Hip-hop moments that shook the world

Albert Camus might have been killed by the KGB for criticising the Soviet Union, claims newspaper

DocuDharma Digest

Regular Features-

Featured Essays for August 6, 2011-


GetEQUAL’s Response to the Rick Perry’s Hate

Don’t let these faux Christians fool you, they hate America.

A funeral procession is held for all thr LGBTQ people murdered or who have taken their own lives because of the hateful rheteric of the American Family Association. Their hate event is sanctioned by Texas Governor Rick Perry.

Protesters Travel From Across Texas to Picket Hate-Based Event

   “Our Governor invited, and therefore endorsed, groups to preach hate in our state,” said GetEQUAL Texas State Lead Organizer Michael Diviesti. “The American Family Association and the Family Research Council empower the bullies that are driving our youth to suicide and the murderers who kill out of hatred and ignorance.”

   For the LGBT community, this was a day to stand up and fight back – not against prayer, but against those using their religion as a justification for the harm they cause to others.

   “Governor Perry called for prayer to confront the crisis faced by our nation. Sadly, those sponsoring the event are the cause of the crisis that lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Americans and their families are facing”, said Jay Morris, GetEQUAL Texas State Lead Organizer. “Religion and prayer should not be used as tools for bigotry and inequality.”

   “I’m not surprised that he spoke at this event,” said Julie Pousson, GetEQUAL member and supporter. “He has chosen to align himself with these groups and has made it clear that he only represents the radically intolerant.”

   “Growing up in a loving Christian family, I was always taught that prayer means asking for protection, healing, and love,” said John Dean Domingue, GetEQUAL Texas South Plains Coordinator. “This event supports the use of prayer as a tool for violence – something every human being is morally obligated to refute and reject.”

H/t Teddy Partridge at myFDL

Evening Edition

Evening Edition is an Open Thread

From Yahoo News Top Stories

1 30 US troops dead as Afghan Taliban down chopper

By Sabawoon Amarkhail, AFP

18 mins ago

Thirty US troops and seven Afghan special forces died when the Taliban shot down their helicopter, said officials, the biggest single loss for foreign troops in the decade-long war.

All were killed during an anti-Taliban operation late Friday when a rocket fired by the insurgents struck their Chinook aircraft as it began to take off shortly after a firefight in Wardak province, southwest of the capital Kabul.

A statement from Afghan President Hamid Karzai’s office said the US victims were special forces, and that 31 of them had been killed.