Daily Archive: 09/20/2011

Sep 20 2011

Site weirdness.

Soapblox upgrades are producing some site weirdness.

At least we’re not being censored by Yahoo like Occupy Wall Street.

Sep 20 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”.

Dave Zirin: Tomorrow, Georgia Murders Troy Davis.

It’s with shock that I report that the George Board of Pardons and Paroles on Tuesday denied clemency for Troy Anthony Davis. The 42-year-old Davis is now due to be executed tomorrow, Wednesday September 21st, at 7pm. For those unfamiliar with the case, let’s be clear: Davis’s execution is little more than a legal lynching. This is a demonstrably innocent man that the state is about to execute in the premeditated manner of a murder. The facts speak for themselves. Back in 1989, nine people testified that they saw Troy Davis kill Officer Mark MacPhail. Since that time, seven have recanted their testimony. Please allow me to repeat: of the nine people who testified that Troy killed Officer Mark MacPhail, seven have recanted their testimony. Beyond the eyewitnesses, there was no physical evidence linking Troy to Officer MacPhail’s murder. None. Three jurors have signed affidavits saying that if they had all the information about Troy, they would not have voted to convict. One juror even arrived in person to the Board of Pardons and Paroles to say to their faces that she would not have voted to convict if she’d had the facts. Another woman has even come forward to say that another man on the scene that night, Sylvester “Redd” Coles, bragged afterward about doing the shooting. Of the two witnesses who still maintain that Troy was the triggerman, one is Sylvester “Redd” Coles.

John Nichols: The Devilish Detail of Obama’s Speech: Deep Medicare, Medicaid Cuts

President Obama has erected what is likely to be the left flank in the debates of the Congressional Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction-the so-called “super-committee” that will define so much of this fall’s fiscal and economic discourse.

That flank is sturdier than some of the president’s critics on the left might feared it might be. But the flank is weak, very weak, in at least one key area: the defense of Medicare and Medicaid.

So what’s the balance that progressives should strike with regard to the speech? Let’s consider:

snip

But President Obama was still compromising with the Tea Party right when he delivered his remarks on Monday. Indeed, he proposed $580 billion in cuts to health and welfare programs, with $248 billion coming from Medicare and $72 billion from Medicaid.

That’s bad.

Very bad.

Eugene Robinson: The Fight-Back Plan

“Class warfare!” scream the Republicans, in a voice usually reserved for phrases such as “Run for your lives!”

Spare us the histrionics. The GOP and its upper-crust patrons have been waging an undeclared but devastating war against middle-class, working-class and poor Americans for decades. Now they scream bloody murder at the notion that long-suffering victims might finally hit back.

President Barack Obama’s proposal to boost taxes for the wealthy by $1.5 trillion over the next decade is a good first step toward reforming a system in which billionaire hedge-fund executives are taxed at a lower rate than their chauffeurs and private chefs.

Paul Krugman: The Bleeding Cure

Austerity is inflicting vast pain now, and killing our future, too.

Doctors used to believe that by draining a patient’s blood they could purge the evil “humors” that were thought to cause disease. In reality, of course, all their bloodletting did was make the patient weaker, and more likely to succumb.

Fortunately, physicians no longer believe that bleeding the sick will make them healthy. Unfortunately, many of the makers of economic policy still do. And economic bloodletting isn’t just inflicting vast pain; it’s starting to undermine our long-run growth prospects.

Joe Nocera: No Extra Credit

What if everything that is happening in Washington right now is just meaningless noise?

What if the Obama jobs plan, the coming deliberations of the supercommittee, the debate over taxing millionaires – what if none of it is likely to make a whit of positive difference for the economy? What if the only thing that matters is something Congress and the president rarely mention, and can do nothing about?

I’ve come to believe this is the case. What is killing the economy is lack of credit. In the aftermath of an asset bubble, invariably the result of too-loose credit, banks don’t just tighten their standards; they practically shut down.

Nick Turse: Obama’s Arc of Instability

Destabilizing the World One Region at a Time

It’s a story that should take your breath away: the destabilization of what, in the Bush years, used to be called “the arc of instability.”  It involves at least 97 countries, across the bulk of the global south, much of it coinciding with the oil heartlands of the planet.  A startling number of these nations are now in turmoil, and in every single one of them — from Afghanistan and Algeria to Yemen and Zambia — Washington is militarily involved, overtly or covertly, in outright war or what passes for peace.

Garrisoning the planet is just part of it.  The Pentagon and U.S. intelligence services are also running covert special forces and spy operations, launching drone attacks, building bases and secret prisons, training, arming, and funding local security forces, and engaging in a host of other militarized activities right up to full-scale war.  But while you consider this, keep one fact in mind: the odds are that there is no longer a single nation in the arc of instability in which the United States is in no way militarily involved.

Sep 20 2011

Typhoon Roke: More Bad News For Japan

Keeping our brother mishima, his family and the Japanese people in our hearts. May they all stay safe from harm.

Typhoon Roke Tracking Map

Photobucket


You can follow Roke’s track at the Weather Underground

1 dead, 2 missing, over 1 million urged to evacuate as typhoon nears

More than a million people in Japan were warned to leave their homes on Tuesday as an approaching typhoon brought heavy rain and floods which left one person dead and two others missing.

Typhoon Roke, packing winds of up to 144 kilometers an hour near its center, could land in central Japan Wednesday and move northeast, possibly towards the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant, the Japanese weather agency said.

“While keeping its strength, the typhoon could make a land fall on Wednesday,” an official with the Japan Meteorological Agency said in a televised news conference.

“We ask that the highest level of caution be used because of the heavy rain, strong wind, and high waves.”

The city of Nagoya issued an evacuation advisory to some 1.09 million residents at one point because of worries that rivers might burst their banks.

The advisory was lifted from parts of the city, but landslide, flooding and tornado warnings affecting over a million people were still in place as night fell.

Typhoon Roke Hits Japan on Track for Leaking Nuclear Power Plant

Sept. 20 (Bloomberg) — Typhoon Roke brought evacuation orders, downpours and fears of floods to southern Japan today as it began to traverse the country on a course towards the crippled Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear plant.

More than 400,000 people have been advised to evacuate because of Roke, public broadcaster NHK said. That’s in line with evacuation numbers for typhoon Talas earlier this month, which dumped record rainfall on southern Japan, causing mudslides and floods that killed 67 people and left 26 missing.

The eye of Roke, which is categorized as “strong” by the Japan Meteorological Agency, was about 1,016 kilometers (631 miles) southwest of Tokyo at 1 p.m. local time today and packing wind speeds of 40 meters per second. The typhoon is forecast to take three days to pass over Japan and its storm warning area is due to cover most of the country in that time, according to the meteorological agency’s website.

Sep 20 2011

More Economic Insanity

In his speech Monday, President Barrack Obama actually started to sound like a president. His threat to veto any deficit cutting legislation that did not include revenue producing tax increases was praised by everyone left of Attila the Hun as “progressive”. It gave these critics some kind of new “hope” that Obama had finally drawn a line in the sand with the “my way or the highway” tea party Republicans.

Really? Were any of them listening to what he did say? What did most everyone from Michael Moore on Rachel Maddow’s show to Markos Moulitsas and Move-On.org miss? Anyone with half a functioning brain can see that what Obama offered was just more of the same insanity, piled higher and deeper that and was being covered with his new found veto power.

What should have caught their attention was what Jon Walker at FireDogLake pointed out:

In fact,  in his only veto threat Obama made it clear he would accept Medicare benefit cuts if they were accompanied by new tax revenue from the rich by saying, “I will veto any bill that changes benefits for those who rely on Medicare but does not raise serious revenues by asking the wealthiest Americans and biggest corporations to pay their fair share.” That “but” is a very important clause that means there are scenarios in which Obama would sign a bill that significantly cuts Medicare benefits.

Raise Revenue = Cuts to Medicare

Hello? Did anyone besides a very few of us on the left not hear this?

Obama’s communications director, Dan Pfeiffer said, “we are entering a new phase.” And just what “phase” would that be? “Chief Negotiator” to “Chief Hostage Taker” to get his right wing Republican agenda past this extremist congress?

Obama is now using the social safety network that protects our most vulnerable citizens to con the electorate that he has changed and to reelect him.

What bilge.

Sep 20 2011

An Outrage In Georgia

The Georgia Pardon and Parole Board has DENIED clemency to Troy Davis.  The Atlanta Journal Constitution reports:


The state Board of Pardons and Paroles on Monday has denied clemency for Troy Anthony Davis after hearing pleas for mercy from Davis’ family and calls for his execution by surviving relatives of a murdered Savannah police officer.

Davis’ case has already taken more unexpected turns than just about any death-penalty case in Georgia history and his innocence claims have attracted international attention. Its resolution was postponed once again when the parole board late Monday announced it would not be making an immediate decision as to whether Davis should live or die.

Davis, 42, is scheduled to be put to death by lethal injection on Wednesday at 7 p.m. at the state prison in Jackson.

I doubt there are other legal steps that can stop the state from killing Troy Davis.

My heart goes out to Troy Davis and his family, and also to the McPhail family.  They all deserve better.

Sep 20 2011

On This Day In History September 20

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 20 is the 263rd day of the year (264th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 102 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1973, in a highly publicized “Battle of the Sexes” tennis match, top women’s player Billie Jean King, 29, beats Bobby Riggs, 55, a former No. 1 ranked men’s player. Riggs (1918-1995), a self-proclaimed male chauvinist, had boasted that women were inferior, that they couldn’t handle the pressure of the game and that even at his age he could beat any female player. The match was a huge media event, witnessed in person by over 30,000 spectators at the Houston Astrodome and by another 50 million TV viewers worldwide. King made a Cleopatra-style entrance on a gold litter carried by men dressed as ancient slaves, while Riggs arrived in a rickshaw pulled by female models. Legendary sportscaster Howard Cosell called the match, in which King beat Riggs 6-4, 6-3, 6-3. King’s achievement not only helped legitimize women’s professional tennis and female athletes, but it was seen as a victory for women’s rights in general.

Billie Jean King (née Moffitt; born November 22, 1943 in Long Beach, California) is a former professional tennis player from the United States. She won 12 Grand Slam  singles titles, 16 Grand Slam women’s doubles titles, and 11 Grand Slam mixed doubles titles. King has been an advocate against sexism in sports and society. She is known for “The Battle of the Sexes” in 1973, in which she defeated Bobby Riggs, a former Wimbledon men’s singles champion.

King is the founder of the Women’s Tennis Association, the Women’s Sports Foundation, and World Team Tennis, which she founded with her former husband, Lawrence King.

Despite King’s achievements at the world’s biggest tennis tournaments, the U.S. public best remembers her for her win over Bobby Riggs in 1973.

Riggs had been a top men’s player in the 1930s and 1940s in both the amateur and professional ranks. He won the Wimbledon men’s singles title in 1939, and was considered the World No. 1 male tennis player for 1941, 1946, and 1947. He then became a self-described tennis “hustler” who played in promotional challenge matches. In 1973, he took on the role of male chauvinist. Claiming that the women’s game was so inferior to the men’s game that even a 55-year-old like himself could beat the current top female players, he challenged and defeated Margaret Court 6-2, 6-1. King, who previously had rejected challenges from Riggs, then accepted a lucrative financial offer to play him.

Sep 20 2011

DocuDharma Digest

Regular Features

Featured Essays-

DocuDharma

Sep 20 2011

Evening Edition

Evening Edition is an Open Thread

Now with 53 stories.

From Yahoo News Top Stories

1 Dale Farm wins legal reprieve

By Robin Millard, AFP

44 mins ago

Residents at the country’s largest illegal traveller camp won a last-minute court injunction on Monday delaying a bid by the local authority to evict them from the sprawling site.

The High Court ruling, stopping any action before a further hearing Friday, came as bailiffs prepared to enter the Dale Farm camp outside the town of Basildon.

A party atmosphere erupted among the 200 residents and outsider activists, some of whom have chained themselves to the hastily-erected barricades blocking the entrance to the 2.4 hectare camp.