Daily Archive: 09/01/2011

Sep 01 2011

“(W)e want to look forward and not back.”

David Axelrod as quoted by Time Magazine- May 21, 2009

WikiLeaks: Iraqi children in U.S. raid shot in head, U.N. says

By Matthew Schofield, McClatchy Newspapers

Posted on Wednesday, August 31, 2011

A U.S. diplomatic cable made public by WikiLeaks provides evidence that U.S. troops executed at least 10 Iraqi civilians, including a woman in her 70s and a 5-month-old infant, then called in an airstrike to destroy the evidence, during a controversial 2006 incident in the central Iraqi town of Ishaqi.

The unclassified cable, which was posted on WikiLeaks’ website last week, contained questions from a United Nations investigator about the incident, which had angered local Iraqi officials, who demanded some kind of action from their government. U.S. officials denied at the time that anything inappropriate had occurred.

But Philip Alston, the U.N.’s special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, said in a communication to American officials dated 12 days after the March 15, 2006, incident that autopsies performed in the Iraqi city of Tikrit showed that all the dead had been handcuffed and shot in the head. Among the dead were four women and five children. The children were all 5 years old or younger.

(h/t Think Progress)

Sep 01 2011

Mass Exodus of Teachers In Wisconsin

Teacher Retirement Spike, with Tom Morello of Rage Against the Machine

Wisconsin facing teacher exodus

Controversial law prompts a spate of retirements

MADISON, Wis. – When students return today for the first day of school across Wisconsin, many familiar faces will be gone, as teachers chose retirement over coming back following the passage of a bill that would have forced them to pay more for benefits and taken away most of their collective bargaining rights.

Documents obtained by the Associated Press under the state’s open records law show that about twice as many public school teachers decided to retire in the first half of this year as in each of the past two full years, part of a mass exit of public employees.

Their departures came after the bill passed but before the new law took effect. The bill, which was pushed by Governor Scott Walker and the Republican Legislature, led to weeks of protests at the Capitol.

The ensuing exodus of teachers and other state employees has spurred fears that the jobs might not be filled and that classroom leadership by veteran teachers will be lost.

Sep 01 2011

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”.

Robert Reich: Obama’s Jobs Plan: Will He Offer Policy Miniatures or Give ’em Hell?

Next Thursday President Obama will unveil his jobs plan.

He’ll choose either Plan A or Plan B.

Plan A would be big enough to restart the economy (now barely growing) and reduce unemployment (which continues to grow). That means spending another trillion dollars over the next two years – rebuilding the nation’s infrastructure, creating a new WPA and Civilian Conservation Corps, and lending money to cash-starved states and cities.

snip

Plan B would be a bunch of policy miniatures that would have almost no effect on the economy or employment but would nonetheless be good things to do (extending the Social Security tax cut, extending unemployment benefits, reauthorizing the highway building trust fund, giving employers a tax incentive to hire the long-term unemployed, ratifying trade agreements).

David Kaye: What to Do With Qaddafi

LIBYA’S rebel leaders say they want to try Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi, if and when he is captured, in Libyan courts. In principle, Libyans deserve the satisfaction that only domestic justice can bring. National trials would advance the rule of law and allow Libyans to fully own their political transition.

One problem: the International Criminal Court, based 1,400 miles away in The Hague, has already issued arrest warrants for Colonel Qaddafi, his son and second-in-command Seif al-Islam, and his intelligence chief, Abdullah Senussi. The United Nations Security Council, recognizing that Colonel Qaddafi’s alleged crimes were not just against Libyans but against humanity, asked the I.C.C. in February to investigate the situation in Libya. Now the I.C.C. legitimately wants to try the three for atrocities committed since the uprising in Libya began last winter.

New York Times Editorial: The Military and the Death Penalty

Racism in the application of capital punishment has been well documented in the civilian justice system since the Supreme Court reinstated the penalty in 1976. Now comes evidence that racial disparity is even greater in death penalty cases in the military system.

Minority service members are more than twice as likely as whites – after accounting for the crimes’ circumstances and the victims’ race – to be sentenced to death, according to a forthcoming study co-written by David Baldus, an eminent death-penalty scholar, who died in June.

The analysis is so disturbing because the military has made sustained, often successful efforts to rid its ranks of discrimination. But even with this record, its failure to apply the death penalty fairly is more proof that capital punishment cannot be free of racism’s taint. It is capricious, barbaric and discriminatory, and should be abolished.

Glenn Greenwald: A Tweet That Explains Everything

In connection with this matter, I was literally awake all night overseeing (with complete uselessness) the successful birth of six puppies — an amazing and moving experience that I hope never to repeat again for as long as I live — and was therefore not planning on writing today as a result of the ensuing exhaustion.  But then I saw the Tweet That Explains Everything.  A momentous controversy erupted earlier this afternoon when President Obama announced that he wanted to deliver a speech about jobs to a joint session of Congress next Thursday at 9:00 p.m., which happens to be the same date and time of a planned GOP presidential debate, prompting House Speaker John Boehner to respond that he would convene a joint session on Wednesday — the day before — but not on Thursday.

The profound issues raised by this conflict prompted an orgy of probing analysis and vibrant debate among political journalists, party spokespeople and various partisan loyalists over who was being dishonest and Outrageous (indeed, so weighty and consequential is this showdown that it even subordinated the day’s prior top news story involving the scheduling snafus of Sarah Palin and Michelle Bachmann in Iowa).  Thankfully, we have a free and adversarial watchdog media in this nation to sort out the competing claims and to keep the citizenry informed and focused with respect to the Wednesday/Thursday conflict, which is what produced this aforementioned Tweet:

@ChuckTodd

Going on #hardball now to talk about the day of Washington gamesmanship re: speech to Congress

Ari Berman: The GOP War on Voting

In a campaign supported by the Koch brothers, Republicans are working to prevent millions of Democrats from voting next year

As the nation gears up for the 2012 presidential election, Republican officials have launched an unprecedented, centrally coordinated campaign to suppress the elements of the Democratic vote that elected Barack Obama in 2008. Just as Dixiecrats once used poll taxes and literacy tests to bar black Southerners from voting, a new crop of GOP governors and state legislators has passed a series of seemingly disconnected measures that could prevent millions of students, minorities, immigrants, ex-convicts and the elderly from casting ballots. “What has happened this year is the most significant setback to voting rights in this country in a century,” says Judith Browne-Dianis, who monitors barriers to voting as co-director of the Advancement Project, a civil rights organization based in Washington, D.C.

Amanda Marcotte: Rick Perry’s Demeaning Abortion Doctrine

The Texas governor’s real anti-abortion agenda – enforcing sexual abstinence – not only insults women; it doesn’t work

Rick Perry’s chances at passing himself off as a reasonable Republican were diminished considerably yet again this week, when the Centre for Reproductive Rights secured a victory against a draconian anti-abortion regulation Perry rushed through the legislature in May, claiming while doing so that it was an emergency measure. When US district judge Sam Sparks rejected the law and blocked enforcement, he created an occasion for the national media to look more closely at Perry’s record on women’s rights. What they’ll find is that Perry goes far beyond the usual anti-abortion platitudes: he not only bears a zealous hatred of abortion rights, but also a hostility to contraception and sex education.

E. J. Dionne, Jr. Obama’s Paradox Problem

Call it the Party-of-Government Paradox: If the nation’s capital looks dysfunctional, it will come back to hurt President Obama and the Democrats, even if the Republicans are primarily responsible for the dysfunction.

Then there is the Bipartisanship Paradox: No matter how far the president bends over backward to appeal to or appease the Republicans-no matter how nice, conciliatory, friendly or reasonable he tries to be-voters will judge him according to the results. And the evidence since 2009 is that accommodation won’t get Obama much anyway.

This creates the Election Paradox: Up to a point, Republicans in Congress can afford to let their own ratings fall well below the president’s, as long as they drag him further into negative territory. If the president’s ratings are poor next year, Democrats won’t be able to defeat enough Republicans to take back the House and hold the Senate. The GOP can win if the mood is terribly negative toward Washington because voters see Obama as the man in charge.

Michael Deibert: The U.N. in Haiti: Time to Adapt or Time to Go

In the summer of 2009, visiting Haiti for the first time after an absence of three years, I found the country in better shape than at any time since I started visiting there in 1997.

Three years after the inauguration of René Préval as Haiti’s president (after the two-year tenure of an unelected interim government), the population of Haiti’s capital, Port-au-Prince, again felt safe enough to patronize downtown bars and kerosene-lit roadside stands late into the evening, where once armed gangs controlled entire neighborhoods. Billboards that once praised the infallibility of a succession of maximum leaders instead carried messages about the importance of respect between the population and the police, or decrying discrimination against the disabled.

Sep 01 2011

Roubini: We”re Going Into A Second Recession”

Nouriel Roubini: “we’re going into a recession”

Bloomberg TV’s Margaret Brennan speaks to Nouriel Roubini, co-founder and chairman of Roubini Global Economics LLC. Roubini tells Brennan, “we’re going into a recession based on my numbers” and that the Federal Reserve and other authorities no longer have the ability to provide emergency support.

There seems to a consensus here. Just last week Nobel Prize winning Economist Joseph Stiglitz told Bloomberg the same thing:

“The unemployment situation in the U.S. is very severe and very probably going to get worse,” Stiglitz told reporters today at a conference in Lindau, Germany. “There’s a very high probability we’ll go into double dip.”

snip

Stiglitz said calls by policy makers to engage in deficit- cutting austerity measures were heading in “exactly the wrong direction.”

“The most important way to address the deficit is to get America back to work, to get the economy back to full employment,” Stiglitz said at an annual gathering of Nobel Prize-winning economists. “Austerity is going to get us predictably into trouble. Spend the money on investments, and those investments will lead to higher growth.”

Two other points were made about the current economic crisis by Paul Krugman. One is that the economy has not really recovered and that the Federal Reserve needs to take firmer action to stimulate job growth. The non-recovery is best illustrated with this chart provided by Krugman:

Photobucket
.

Krugman’s second point is about debt, federal and personal, that there has not been an explosion in debt over the past few years

Photobucket

There have been hints about President Obama’s jobs plan that he will present to a joint session of Congress Thursday night but it needs to be big and bold but that’s doubtful with this president.

Sep 01 2011

On This Day In History September 1

This is your morning Open Thread. Pour a cup of your favorite morning beverage and review the past and comment on the future.

Find the past “On This Day in History” here.

September 1 is the 244th day of the year (245th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 121 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1897, the Boston subways opens, becoming the first underground rapid transit system in North America. It was the inspiration for this song by the Kingston Trio.

Sep 01 2011

My Little Town 20110831: Aunt Agnes and Uncle Guy

Those of you that read this regular series know that I am from Hackett, Arkansas, just a mile of 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.

Aunt Agnes was really my Great Aunt Agnes (my grandmum’s sister), born Agnes Roberts in the 1910s.  She was the baby, although Ma outlived all of her siblings.  Uncle Guy was a McBride, and a really nice fellow.  I never heard anyone say anything bad about Uncle Guy.

They lived a few miles south of Hackett near James Fork creek, the only all weather running water nearby.  They had a farm, and raised cattle and some truck.

Sep 01 2011

Evening Edition

Overwhelming news day.  Broke my system.  Literally and figuratively, I’ll have to find some way of dealing with the volumes of information this type of search generates.

I’m kind of interested from a technical standpoint how much it took, so I’ll be unpacking and posting as time allows.  Besides being somewhat therapeutic, like knitting, it’s not as if my cable is back on either.

Below are at least 16 49 65 stories.

Sep 01 2011

Countdown with Keith Olbermann: Worst Persons 8.30.11

Countdown with Keith Olbermann 08-30-2011 – Worst Persons

Sep 01 2011

The Abbreviated Evening Edition

Our news chief ek hornbeck has the evening off. (Yes, we let him out of his mom’s basement once on awhile).

U.S. moves to block AT&T, T-Mobile deal

WASHINGTON/NEW YORK (Reuters) – The Obama administration sued to block AT&T Inc’s $39 billion acquisition of wireless rival T-Mobile on concerns it would harm competition, launching its biggest challenge yet to a takeover and dealing the carrier a potentially costly blow.

AT&T, led by Chief Executive Randall Stephenson, plans to fight the government’s decision in court, and analysts say it might have to make big concessions — including selling major assets — to mollify regulators.