09/11/2011 archive

Rant of the Week: Jon Stewart

Indecision 2012 – The Great Right Hope

The GOP candidates fulfill the fifth pillar of Republicanism: the Hajj to the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library.

Oh My God, Rick Perry Is Going to Be Our Next President – Second Installment

Republicans have a choice between a guy with a multipoint fact-based plan that he thinks will get the economy going and a guy who will punch cancer in the face.

On This Day In History September 11

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.

September 11 is the 254th day of the year (255th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 111 days remaining until the end of the year. It is usually the first day of the Coptic calendar and Ethiopian calendar (in the period AD 1900 to AD 2099).

On this day in 1941, ground is broken for the construction of The Pentagon.

The Pentagon is the headquarters of the United States Department of Defense, located in Arlington County, Virginia. As a symbol of the U.S. military, “the Pentagon” is often used metonymically to refer to the Department of Defense rather than the building itself.

Designed by the American architect George Bergstrom (1876-1955), and built by Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, general contractor John McShain, the building was dedicated on January 15, 1943, after ground was broken for construction on September 11, 1941. General Brehon Somervell provided the major motive power behind the project; Colonel Leslie Groves was responsible for overseeing the project for the Army.

The Pentagon is the world’s largest office building by floor area, with about 6,500,000 sq ft (604,000 m2), of which 3,700,000 sq ft (344,000 m2) are used as offices. Approximately 23,000 military and civilian employees and about 3,000 non-defense support personnel work in the Pentagon. It has five sides, five floors above ground, two basement levels, and five ring corridors per floor with a total of 17.5 mi (28.2 km) of corridors. The Pentagon includes a five-acre (20,000 m2) central plaza, which is shaped like a pentagon and informally known as “ground zero”, a nickname originating during the Cold War and based on the presumption that the Soviet Union would target one or more nuclear missiles at this central location in the outbreak of a nuclear war.

On September 11, 2001, exactly 60 years after the building’s groundbreaking, hijacked American Airlines Flight 77 was crashed into the western side of the Pentagon, killing 189 people, including five hijackers, 59 others aboard the plane, and 125 working in the building.

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 have been preempted by the 10th Anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.

Ahmed Rashid: And Hate Begat Hate

LAHORE, Pakistan

IN their shock after Sept. 11, 2001, Americans frequently asked, “Why do they hate us so much?” It wasn’t clear just who “they” were – Muslims, Arabs or simply anyone who was not American. The easy answer that many Americans found comforting was equally vague: that “they” were jealous of America’s wealth, opportunities, democracy and what have you.

But in this part of the world – in Pakistan, where I live, and in Afghanistan next door, from which the Sept. 11 attacks were directed – those who detested America were much more identifiable, and so were their reasons. They were a small group of Islamic extremists who supported Al Qaeda; a larger group of students studying at madrasas, which had expanded rapidly since the 1980s; and young militants who had been empowered by years of support from Pakistan’s military intelligence services to fight against India in Kashmir. They were a tiny minority of Pakistan’s 150 million people at the time. In their eyes, America was an imperial, oppressive, heathen power just like the Soviet Union, which they had defeated in Afghanistan.

Michelle Chen: Ten Years On, Sick Ground Zero Workers Still Without Proper Care

This weekend, the public will mourn a site of loss, recasting the painful memories and haunting fears that still hover over the aftermath at Ground Zero. But the people who worked and breathed that tragedy in the days and months following September 11 won’t be at the primary commemoration ceremony for the families of victims. The Mayor’s decision to limit the attendees by excluding the 9/11 first responders is an unnerving metaphor for an unhealed scar of 9/11. Many of the rescue and recovery workers who labored at Ground Zero have been plagued by a metastasizing medical crisis, aggravated by chronic political failure.

This week, 9/11 firefighters and police chiefs rallied to demand changes to the rules governing compensation for health problems tied to poisonous air and debris at Ground Zero. They want federal funds to support treatment for cancer, which is currently omitted from the primary legislation covering Ground Zero-related medical needs. For years, researchers have been uncovering fresh evidence of widespread and devastating illnesses afflicting a large portion of people exposed to the aftermath; ongoing health issues range from crippling lung and breathing problems to post-traumatic stress disorder. But adequate funding for 9/11 workers has often been ensnared in political gridlock, not to mention the general incompetence of the healthcare system.

David Sirota: Growing Up: Why Schools Need to Teach 9/11

Kids must learn the complex truths about the attacks to combat the Islamophobic myths they’ve grown up with

Ten years ago this week, I, like many living in Washington at the time, was fleeing my office building. In those minutes of mayhem, I knew only what the police were screaming: Get out fast, because we’re being attacked by terrorists.

In the years since 9/11, we’ve learned a lot about that awful day — and about ourselves.

We’ve learned, for instance, about the attack’s mechanics — we know which particular terrorists orchestrated it and how many lives those mass murderers tragically destroyed. We also know about 9/11’s long-term legacy — we have healthcare data showing that it created a kind of mass post-traumatic stress disorder, and we have evidence that it generated a significant rise in anti-Muslim bigotry. And, of course, we’ve learned that our government can turn catastrophes like 9/11 into political weapons that successfully coerce America into supporting wars and relinquishing civil liberties.

Ray McGovern: Bird-Dogging Torturers in NYC

As the tenth anniversary of 9/11 nears, many ex-Bush administration officials who approved torture in the “war on terror” and botched the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq are back in the spotlight taking bows from appreciative audiences in tightly controlled settings.

Back in my native New York on Thursday afternoon, I was bolstered by a scene of what I call real New Yorkers (along with tourists and honking cab drivers) joining in a protest of the adulation bestowed on torture lawyer John Yoo at the swank University Club off Fifth Avenue.

What became gradually and reassuringly clear is that New York continues to be a tale of two cities. And those whom my grandmother used to call “the swells” remain a loud but increasingly transparent minority.

Richard (RJ) Eskow: The New GOP: Anti-Kids, Anti-Jobs, Anti-Business… And Anti-Republican

This is not your father’s (or mother’s) GOP. During a time of national crisis, the president has submitted an urgently-needed jobs bill that is well within the mainstream for Republicans as well as Democrats. But today’s Republicans are a new breed, dedicated not to their country or even an ideology.

Who could best express the absurd lengths these politicians will go to destroy anything that’s stands in their way? Nobody I can think of — except Groucho Marx. But before Groucho has his say, let’s have ours.

Their refusal to pass the strongest provisions in this reasonable bill, if that’s what they choose to do, will be conclusive proof that their only allegiances are to their own re-elections and the massive corporations that they serve. This bill is far from perfect, but it’s a start.

Maureen Dowd: Sleeping Barry Awakes

WOW, what a relief.

The president was strong and House Republicans were conciliatory.

There was only one teensy-weensy problem: The president is weak and House Republicans are obstructionist.

Congressional Republicans, heeding polls indicating that their all-out assault on President Obama was risky, finally tempered their public comments after the jobs speech on Thursday and stopped acting like big jerks.

Obama, heeding plummeting polls and beseeching voices from his despairing base, finally deigned to get tough.

In the capital of political tactics, it was just another fine day of faking it.

F1: Autodromo Nazionale Monza

Well, this is not likely to be exciting unless it rains, but at GP2 time it is merely hot and muggy.  This is the last of the 9 European races and after this they get really early or sleep in late.

The New York Times is asking the big questions which is another sign that the racing is almost over with Red Bull dominating for the second year in a row.  Scuderia Marlboro is talking about future directions and has given up on this year’s because Maranello is unable to master aerodynamics.

The last 7 races (including this one) are shaping up to be a contest of ‘the also rans’ and the field has stratified into 4 distinct groups with some fighting on the fringes-

  • Contenders– Red Bull, McLaren, Scuderia Marlboro
  • Wanna Bes– Mercedes, Renault
  • Bums– Sauber, Force India, Toro Rosso
  • Field Fillers– Williams and the n00bs, Lotus, HRT, Virgin

Lotus is demanding better results next year.  I suppose we shall see.

Speed coverage starts at 7:30 am.  Pretty tables below.

Six In The Morning

On Sunday

9/11 anniversary: US marks 10 years since attacks

The US has started to mark the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on New York, Washington and Pennsylvania.

The BBC 11 September 2011

Security is tight following warnings of a possible al-Qaeda attack.

The US embassy in Afghanistan has begun the ceremonies, with events due later in the sites where four hijacked planes struck, killing nearly 3,000 people.

An official memorial to those who died is to be unveiled at the site of the World Trade Center, whose twin towers were destroyed in the attacks.

Metal barriers have been erected on roads near the World Trade Center, while police in New York and Washington are stopping and searching large vehicles entering bridges and tunnels.

Sunday’s Headlines:

Coral reefs ‘will be gone by end of the century’

Germany Lacks Clear Plan for Climate Change

Fukushima’s wave of despair

Tsvangirai: Mixed messages are hurting Zimbabwe

Jimmy Carter: ‘We never dropped a bomb. We never fired a bullet. We never went to war’

Whether and How to Sell the Jobs Policy

Burning the Midnight Oil for Progressive Populism

First off, the thing to do with the BS about gutting the safety net on the excuse that the Take Everything Away Party wants to kill it is to take the idea of gutting the safety programs behind the farmhouse to the mint bed and apply a sharp ax.

How to do that, I don’t know.

But if it can be done, then there’s still the question of whether and how to sell the “Jobs Policy”

In a Nutshell

Without the specifics, the broad outline (pdf) of the policy is about $240b in tax cuts and $200b in spending. Of the $200b in spending, about $50b is unemployment insurance extension, which is maintaining what we presently have, and $35b is offsetting state and local cuts in teacher and first responder employment, so about $115b in new spending stimulus.

Economically, the alternative is not status quo, the alternative is ongoing cuts, so you could argue that its a useful $200b increase in spending in economic terms ~ but in political terms, “it could have been worse” is a sharp an argument as a plastic knife, so I’ll count it as $115b in stimulus.

Can that work? Well, it depends on what you mean by work. To the extent that the $115b in spending can be done over the next year, it is more “Stimulus” than we had last year, and almost as much as we had in the Fiscal Year from October 2009 to September 2010 ~ when unemployment did, in fact, noticably decline.

So in terms of “will unemployment noticeably decline?” as working (as low a bar as that may be), yes, it’s likely to work.

Over the long haul, if that worth the promised future spending cuts over the next decade to “pay for” the payroll tax cuts that will have such weak effect? …

… well, that’s the question.

In policy terms, we need employment now. When we set the damage to be done in the future against whatever fights we lose in the future based on the “baseline” including absurd cuts …. against the damage that will be done by a second recession if we allow the economy to continue heading into a second recession … the recession is more total damage.

And in political terms, I was here in Ohio when Governor Strickland was facing re-election against a heavily corporate backed and heavily attacked for his corporate background rival, and the heavy attacks on his corporate background had a serious impact … but Kasich still won by 2%. If the economy slips into a recession next year, the Citizen’s United money is going to get that to use to continue attacking the half measures taken in 2009, and could quite conceivably lay the foundation for policies that extend the current Depression into something to rival the Great Depression.

Fighting to preserve the safety net is complex enough: I argue for simplifying everything else.

But HOW to support the Jobs Bill

The problem is, based on past performance, we would expect the Obama administration to cave on the useful parts of the Job Bill and accept a “compromise” consisting of only the useless parts. After all, the Republicans would happily accept the useless parts, as advancing their interests while still tilting the playing field to their advantage as they choose between nominating a bad candidate or several worse ones.

So support needs to be both simple, and to be support for the spending plus tax cuts as a package deal.

I reckon the message is:

The real job creators are customers. All the tax cuts in the world are useless unless businesses have orders to fill. Pulling out the spending makes the tax cuts useless, so no spending, no jobs. And no jobs, no deal.

No spending, no jobs. And no jobs, no deal.

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1 Nude Blacks’ bare all for rugby fun

By Gael Favennec, AFP

12 hrs ago

Stripping a defence took on a whole new meaning as an enthusiastic crowd gathered to watch the ‘Nude Blacks’ here on Saturday ahead of the World Cup clash between Argentina and England.

The Nude Blacks, a side made up of amateur players from New Zealand, do, as their name suggests, play with no clothes on.

“Our first game was in 2002 in the middle of a dunes on a beach. We were frozen. It started as a joke as part of a backpackers’ festival,” Ralph Davies, founder of the Nude Blacks, told AFP on Saturday.