09/18/2011 archive

Evening Edition

Evening Edition is an Open Thread

Now with 37 stories.

From Yahoo News Top Stories

1 Desperate US consumers turn to ‘extreme couponing’

By Fabienne Faur, AFP

2 hrs 9 mins ago

The humble coupon — which in the past gave consumers a few cents off soap or cereal — has mushroomed into a lifestyle for millions of Americans with its own television programs, websites and trading platforms.

A total of 167 billion coupons were distributed to US consumers in the first six months of 2011, according to the research firm NCH Marketing Services, and the value of redeemed coupons rose 5.3 percent to $2 billion.

But it’s not your grandmother’s Sunday newspaper coupon clipping anymore.

Class War on the Poor

Yes, the Republicans are partly correct in saying that the President’s newest proposal to increase revenues by adjusting the tax rates on top earners to make sure they pay their fair share is class warfare:

WASHINGTON –  Republicans on Sunday decried the notion of a new minimum tax rate for millionaires as “class warfare,” saying the proposal by President Obama may be intended to portray Congressional Republicans who resist it as being callously indifferent to the hardships facing many Americans.

They just have the wrong class on whom that war has been declared:

WASHINGTON – President Obama on Monday will call for a new minimum tax rate for individuals making more than $1 million a year to ensure that they pay at least the same percentage of their earnings as middle-income taxpayers, according to administration officials.

With a special joint Congressional committee starting work to reach a bipartisan budget deal by late November, the proposal adds a new and populist feature to Mr. Obama’s effort to raise the political pressure on Republicans to agree to higher revenues from the wealthy in return for Democrats’ support of future cuts from Medicare and Medicaid.

Mr. Obama, in a bit of political salesmanship, will call his proposal the “Buffett Rule,” in a reference to Warren E. Buffett, the billionaire investor who has complained repeatedly that the richest Americans generally pay a smaller share of their income in federal taxes than do middle-income workers, because investment gains are taxed at a lower rate than wages.

Mr. Obama will not specify a rate or other details, and it is unclear how much revenue his plan would raise. But his idea of a millionaires’ minimum tax will be prominent in the broad plan for long-term deficit reduction that he will outline at the White House on Monday.

Sure, Obama may look like he’s being more “confrontational” with Republicans but the reality is he is still selling out the most vulnerable of our citizens.

Rant of the Week: Jon Stewart, Kristen Schaal

Warning! Even with blips the language is graphic and not work place friendly.

Uncensored – Big Mouth Billie Vagina

Kristen Schaal is torn on the HPV issue: on one hand, Rick Perry takes care of Texas vaginas, and on the other, Michele Bachmann argues for a woman’s right to choose cancer.

On This Day In History Archive links











The Obama Leadership Style

Obama’s Economic Quagmire: Frank Rich and Adam Moss Talk About What’s Really in Ron Suskind’s Revealing New Book About the White House

By Adam Moss and Frank Rich, The New Yorker

9/17/11 at 4:38 PM

Frank Rich: It’s the most ambitious treatment of this period yet because Suskind integrates the White House story with the Wall Street story, giving them equal weight rather than downsizing one to serve as the backdrop to the other. He is truly after the big picture, not just the petty stuff. He has no agenda of his own that I can detect, he had enormous cooperation from the White House, and he names sources (and avoids blind quotes) far more than the norm for a book of this Woodward genre. And even for someone like me, who’s read most of the overlapping books and reported on some of this myself, there are new revelations and details. A depressing book yes, but savvy and informative. And some of that depression will be temporarily alleviated by the doubtlessly entertaining circular firing squad that is likely to emerge in the next week once Summers, Geithner, Warren, Emanuel, Rubin, Volcker, Orszag, Rouse, Barney Frank (who does not fare well), and perhaps the president get their hands on it.

(T)he buck stops with Obama. There’s a poignant moment of sorts in December 2008 when the North Dakota senator Byron Dorgan implores the president-elect not to go with his economic team. “I don’t understand how you could do this,” he tells him. “You’ve picked the wrong people!” As indeed Obama did, under the tutelage of Robert Rubin, who also tried to finagle a White House guru role for himself, not unlike the perch from which he helped wreak havoc at Citigroup during its subprime orgy. So Suskind’s book often reads like Halberstam’s “Best and the Brightest,” with Summers and Geithner as McNamara and Bundy. But the quagmire isn’t a neo-Vietnam like Afghanistan – it’s the economy, and the casualties are measured in lost jobs. After the stimulus bill passed in February 2009, Suskind writes, “little else happened on the jobs front for a year and a half,” with proposals being “talked to death without resolution.”

What should the White House do? Panic!

By James Carville, CNN Contributor

updated 11:05 AM EST, Sun September 18, 2011

For God’s sake, why are we still looking at the same political and economic advisers that got us into this mess? It’s not working.

Furthermore, it’s not going to work with the same team, the same strategy and the same excuses. I know economic analysts are smart — some work 17-hour days. It’s time to show them the exit. Wake up — show us you are doing something.

Bill Daley struggles to fix Barack Obama’s slump


9/16/11 6:54 PM EDT

The 63-year-old scion of Chicago political royalty was brought in as President Barack Obama’s chief of staff to provide fresh blood, corporate-world experience and adult supervision to a young, free-wheeling White House staff. But critics inside and outside the West Wing are questioning whether he is the tough, competent manager needed to shake up the operation and propel Obama into the 2012 election year.

As a banker and former secretary of commerce, Daley’s ability to soothe relations with Republicans was a major justification for bringing him from Chicago – much to the disgust of many Democrats who wanted Obama to take a more combative approach after the 2010 elections. But Daley’s failure to achieve any negotiating successes has only intensified the chorus of criticism from Democrats that Obama is too willing to compromise.

There’s also a primal scream aspect to the criticism, rooted in deep concerns among many Democrats about 2012, and, perhaps, the desire to find someone other than the man at the top of the ticket to blame.

The irony, of course, is that Daley is doing what his boss wants. He takes his role of gatekeeper seriously, and has restricted the torrent of paper and people into the Oval Office. The decision to downsize and deprioritize Obama’s legislative affairs team was made before Daley ever entered the building on a blueprint from interim chief of staff Pete Rouse.

On This Day In History September 18

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 18 is the 261st day of the year (262nd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 104 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1793, George Washington lays the cornerstone to the United States Capitol building, the home of the legislative branch of American government. The building would take nearly a century to complete, as architects came and went, the British set fire to it and it was called into use during the Civil War. Today, the Capitol building, with its famous cast-iron dome and important collection of American art, is part of the Capitol Complex, which includes six Congressional office buildings and three Library of Congress buildings, all developed in the 19th and 20th centuries.

As a young nation, the United States had no permanent capital, and Congress met in eight different cities, including Baltimore, New York and Philadelphia, before 1791. In 1790, Congress passed the Residence Act, which gave President Washington the power to select a permanent home for the federal government. The following year, he chose what would become the District of Columbia from land provided by Maryland. Washington picked three commissioners to oversee the capital city’s development and they in turn chose French engineer Pierre Charles L’Enfant to come up with the design. However, L’Enfant clashed with the commissioners and was fired in 1792. A design competition was then held, with a Scotsman named William Thornton submitting the winning entry for the Capitol building. In September 1793, Washington laid the Capitol’s cornerstone and the lengthy construction process, which would involve a line of project managers and architects, got under way.

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: Before the Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting, former President Bill Clinton discusses the global jobs crisis. Plus, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair on the Middle East, and Google’s Eric Schmidt on jobs and innovation.

The roundtable with George Will, Cokie Roberts, ABC News senior political correspondent Jonathan Karl and presidential historian Michael Beschloss will discuss the recently released tapes of former First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy.

Face the Nation with Bob Schieffer: This Sunday’s Guests are former Vice President Dick Cheney and former President Bill Clinton.

The Chris Matthews Show: This week’s guests Katty Kay, BBC Washington Correspondent, Kelly O’Donnell, NBC News Capitol Hill Correspondent, Michael Duffy, TIME Magazine Assistant Managing Editor and Major Garrett, National Journal Congressional Correspondent, will discuss these questions:

Is Rick Perry Ronald Reagan? Is He The Underestimated Conservative Who Could Win?

The Jackie Kennedy Tapes — She Tells What JFK Could Not Tell

Meet the Press with David Gregory: Once again former President Bill Clinton discussing jobs and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, (R-KY, The Human Hybrid Turtle) discussing how not to create jobs.

Joining the roundtable, Former Gov. Jennifer Granholm (D-MI), Republican strategist Alex Castellanos, Senior political analyst for TIME Magazine, Mark Halperin and NY Times White House Correspondent Helene Cooper will discuss jobs or not.

State of the Union with Candy Crowley: Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Republican Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC). Plus, former Congressional Budget Office directors Alice Rivlin and Douglas Holtz-Eakin discuss the impact, or not, of President Obama’s jobs plan.

Fareed Zakaris: GPS: Pres. Obama’s jobs czar Jeff Immelt on getting US back to work & a panel on the Middle East.

New York Times Editorial: Leadership Crisis

As the economy faces the risk of another recession, and the 2012 campaign looms, President Obama has been groping for a response to the biggest crisis of his career. All he has to do is listen to the voters.

The Times and CBS News released a new poll on Friday, and once again we were impressed that Americans are a lot smarter than Republican leaders think, more willing to sacrifice for the national good than Democratic leaders give them credit for, and more eager to see the president get tough than Mr. Obama and his conflict-averse team realize.

So long as the politicians keep reinforcing their misconceptions – and listening only to themselves – the country has little chance of getting what the voters want most: jobs and a growing economy.

Gail Collins: Rick Perry, Uber Texan

YOU think of Rick Perry, you think of Texas. And more Texas. Perry the cowboy coyote-killer, the lord of the Texas job-creation machine, the g-dropping glad-hander with a “howdy” for every stranger in the room. He barely exists in the national mind outside of the Texas connection.

A continuation of the TV series “Dallas” is due in 2012. How long will it take before we fixate on the fact that James Richard Perry is another J. R.?

Some of this is natural – the man is the governor, after all. But we didn’t obsess about the state this way when Governor Bush was the presidential candidate. (We obsessed about the Bushes.) We didn’t talk endlessly about Arkansas when we were evaluating Governor Clinton. (We obsessed about the Clintons.)

The difference is that Perry obsesses about Texas, too. On the campaign trail, he’s the ambassador from the Lone Star State, promoter of the Texas Miracle, filtering almost everything through a Texas prism. On his maiden voyage through the Iowa State Fair, some hecklers were giving him a hard time, the typical hazing for a new face on the national scene, and Perry’s response was instinctive.

Michelle Chen: [In Anti-Government Politics, “Time-Out” on Regulation versus Shortened Lives ]

Seizing upon a reliable “job creation” talking point, conservatives have stoked their war against “big government” by trying to freeze federal actions to protect the public.

The proposed “Regulatory Time-Out Act,” which would impose a one-year moratorium on “significant” new regulations, takes aim at regulations that keep industry from dumping poison in rivers or accidentally blowing up factory workers-in other words, policies that capitalists call “job killers.”

According to the champion of the bill, Sen. Susan Collins, “significant” rules are those “costing more than $100 million per year,” and those projected to “have an adverse impact on jobs, the economy, or our international competitiveness.” The guiding principle of this proposed regulatory kill-switch is a cold cost-benefit analysis that weighs profitability against people’s health and safety.

Jim Hightower: DuPont’s Herbicide Goes Rogue

The company’s landscaping weed-killer turned out to be a tree-killer.

In the corporate world’s tortured language, workers are no longer fired. They just experience an “employment adjustment.” But the most twisted euphemism I’ve heard in a long time comes from DuPont: “We are investigating the reports of these unfavorable tree symptoms,” the pesticide maker recently stated.

How unfavorable? Finito, flat-lined, the tree is dead. Not just one tree, but hundreds of thousands all across the country are suffering the final “symptom.”

The culprit turns out to be Imprelis, a DuPont weed-killer widely applied to lawns, golf courses, and – ironically – cemeteries.

Rather than just poisoning dandelions and other weeds, the herbicide also seems to be causing spruces, pines, willows, poplars, and other unintended victims to croak.

“It’s been devastating,” says a Michigan landscaper who applied Imprelis to about a thousand properties this spring and has already had more than a third of them suffer outbreaks of tree deaths. “It looks like someone took a flamethrower to them,” he says.

Six In The Morning

On Sunday

Tumult of Arab Spring Prompts Worries in Washington


Published: September 17, 2011

WASHINGTON – While the popular uprisings of the Arab Spring created new opportunities for American diplomacy, the tumult has also presented the United States with challenges – and worst-case scenarios – that would have once been almost unimaginable.

What if the Palestinians’ quest for recognition of a state at the United Nations, despite American pleas otherwise, lands Israel in the International Criminal Court, fuels deeper resentment of the United States, or touches off a new convulsion of violence in the West Bank and Gaza?

Sunday’s Headlines:

Special report: Palestinian bid for statehood divides a people

Somalia bans foreign aid workers from rebel areas

TEPCO doles out money to greedy municipalities

No rest for an Egypt revolutionary

In search of Nirvana

DocuDharma Digest

Regular Features

Featured Essays-


The Abbreviated Evening Edition

Our erstwhile news editor, ek hornbeck, is once again on assignment that keeps him from his duties here at the Gazette. Tonight’s Evening Edition will be hosted by me, tada, and will be abbreviated but interesting.

Hundreds march in Georgia to oppose Troy Davis execution

By David Beasley

(Reuters) – More than 2,000 activists chanting and toting banners joined a march and rally on Friday to oppose the execution of Georgia death row inmate Troy Davis, convicted of the 1989 murder of a Savannah police officer.

Georgia’s Board of Pardons and Paroles is slated to meet Monday to consider whether to stop Davis’ execution by lethal injection, which is scheduled for next Wednesday.