09/23/2011 archive

If This Were The Tea Party

The silence of the traditional media on the Wall St. protest that has been going on for a week is deafening. As Keith Olbermann and Michael Moore point out of this were the Tea Party, it would be all over TV and the papers. Last, Mr. Moore expresses his outrage of over the murder of Troy Davis by the State of Georgia and his support of the Innocence Project and Get Out the Vote in Georgia.


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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”.

Eugene Robinson: ‘Probably’ Isn’t Good Enough

The death penalty is a barbaric anachronism, a crude instrument not of justice but of revenge. Most countries banished it long ago. This country should banish it now.

The state of Georgia was wrong to execute convicted murderer Troy Anthony Davis as protesters and journalists kept a ghoulish vigil Wednesday night-just as the state of Texas was wrong, hours earlier, to execute racist killer Lawrence Russell Brewer.

Paul Krugman: The Social Contract

This week President Obama said the obvious: that wealthy Americans, many of whom pay remarkably little in taxes, should bear part of the cost of reducing the long-run budget deficit. And Republicans like Representative Paul Ryan responded with shrieks of “class warfare.”

It was, of course, nothing of the sort. On the contrary, it’s people like Mr. Ryan, who want to exempt the very rich from bearing any of the burden of making our finances sustainable, who are waging class war.

Robert Sheer: Murder Is Good Politics, Bad Justice

I don’t know if Troy Davis was innocent, but I do know that the evidence for demanding a re-examination of his conviction, including the recanted testimony of most of the witnesses against him, was overwhelming. But of course that is now beside the point, which is exactly what is so wrong about the use of the death penalty. No matter what evidence of innocence might be produced in the future, it is of consequence no longer.

That is a compelling argument against the death penalty-no room for correction-but there are others. The most egregious argument for capital punishment is the claim that the finality of officially condoned killing is a necessary guarantor of civilized order. Egregious because it is not possible to make that case without explaining why most of the democratic societies that we admire shun the death penalty as contrary to their most deeply held values.

David Sirota: Two Heads of One Political Monster

By now, probably everyone reading this is already sick of America’s quadrennial political spectacle-the one in which politicians and media outlets ask us to believe that there remain vast differences between our two political parties. It’s like cheaply staged pornography on a red and blue set, with words like “polarization,” “socialist,” and “extremist” comprising the breathless dialogue in a wholly unconvincing plot.

Some of this tripe can be momentarily compelling, of course. And as the 2012 election climax draws nearer, many Americans will no doubt submit to the fantasy. But before that happens, it’s worth looking a few levels beneath the orgiastic presidential campaign for a last necessary dose of nonfiction, if only to remind us that the parties are often two heads of the same political monster.

John Nichols: GOP Debaters Needn’t Worry: Obama’s No Socialist

Asked whether Barack Obama was a socialist — as Texas Governor Rick Perry, Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich have all agreed is most certainly — former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney tried to talk his way around the most predictable question of Thursday night’s Fox News/Google debate.

But he more or less “went there.”

“What President Obama is, is a big-spending liberal,” Romney replied. “He takes his political inspiration from Europe and from the socialist democrats in Europe. Guess what? Europe isn’t working in Europe. It’s not going to work here.”

A few minutes later, Gingrich went all in, decrying “Obama’s socialist policies.”

So there you have it. Obama’s a socialist, right? Wrong.

E. J. Dionne, Jr.: When Socialism Saves Capitalism

Washington – Have you noticed that one of the Obama administration’s most successful programs is also its most “socialist” initiative?

OK, the bailout of General Motors and Chrysler was not socialist in the classic sense: the government was not looking to hold onto the companies over the long run. Their turnaround was accomplished in significant part by tough, capitalist management steps.

But, yes, this was socialism — or, perhaps, “state capitalism” — because the government temporarily took substantial ownership in the companies when no one in the private sector was willing to put up enough capital to prevent them from going under. Today, the companies are thriving.

More than that: the auto industry exemplifies how unions can do their best to protect the interests of their members while also ensuring the prosperity of the companies that employ them.

This Week In The Dream Antilles



A week of horrors, death and killing.  The death of Troy Davis.  The evaporation of the illusion that justice would somehow be served in his case.  The negation of hope for mercy and compassion and life for Troy Davis. A killing in our names we were unable to stop.  We could not, did not spare Troy Davis.  We killed him.  And we killed a part of ourselves.

We have lost our way.  And we have broken ourselves apart.  We believe in the illusion that we are all separate, that we are fragmented.  We don’t see ourselves as every bit of the entire phenomenon.  But we are all of it.  Every single bit of it.  We are all of it: we are the failed rescuers, we are the victims (Officer McPhail and Troy Davis and their families and friends the homeless man who was shot), and most importantly we are the executioners (wearing a black hood or shooting Officer McPhail or denying the stay). Inside each of us is all of them.  Inside us is the person who killed Officer McPhail.  And Officer McPhail.  And Troy Davis.  And those who killed him.  And those who judged him.  And those who advocated for him.  And all of the families of all of these people.  All of them is inside us.   A huge loud, bloody cacophony.   We truly are Troy Davis.  And we also are Officer McPhail.  And Justice Scalia.  And every single person touched this week by this killing, especially those we most blame for this execution.

But we deny it.  We cannot accept it.  We cannot allow it to recognized inside us, in our hearts, our minds, our souls (if we have them).  It is unacceptable to be all of this.  It is denied.  We consign all of this ugliness to our Shadow.  To the unseen.  To the denied.  To the disowned.  To the unacceptable. We can’t see it in us, but everybody else can.

We are oh so dangerous like this.  We are blinded like this.  We cannot love anything or anyone like this. In our panic to deny and disown all of this and our dread of our own painful, complicated human ugliness, we are filled with fear.  We deny it.  And we lash out.  And we kill.  We kill it outside of us, because we cannot countenance its existence inside each and every one of us.  We kill outside because we cannot love what is inside.

This has to stop.  We are dreaded Angulimala, with his chain of fingers around his neck, whom the Buddha himself told to stop.  But we are also the Buddha.  We need to abolish the death penalty, and we need to accept, in fact love the parts of us that are so invisible, so unacceptable, so horrible.  These parts and our efforts to ignore them are driving us crazy.  And they are making us kill.  We need to stop ourselves.

In Troy Davis’s memory, we need to commit once and for all to ending State Killing.  For everyone.  And part of that commitment, if we are to succeed, has to be to healing this enormous fissure inside us.

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On This Day In History September 23

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 23 is the 266th day of the year (267th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 99 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1964, the Paris Opera, Palais Garnier, unveils a stunning new ceiling painted as a gift by Belorussian-born artist Marc Chagall, who spent much of his life in France. The ceiling was typical of Chagall’s masterpieces–childlike in its apparent simplicity yet luminous with color and evocative of the world of dreams and the subconscious. . . .

. . . . Andre Malraux, the French minister of culture, commissioned him to design a new ceiling for the Paris Opera after seeing Chagall’s work in Daphnis et Chloe. Working with a surface of 560 square meters, Chagall divided the ceiling into color zones that he filled with landscapes and figures representing the luminaries of opera and ballet. The ceiling was unveiled on September 23, 1964, during a performance of the same Daphnis et Chloe. As usual, a few detractors condemned Chagall’s work as overly primitive, but this criticism was drowned out in the general acclaim for the work. In 1966, as a gift to the city that had sheltered him during World War II, he painted two vast murals for New York’s Metropolitan Opera House (1966).

In 1977, France honored Chagall with a retrospective exhibition at the Louvre in Paris. He continued to work vigorously until his death in 1985 at the age of 97.

The unveiling of the ceiling coincided with the publication of The Phantom of the Opera (“Le Fantôme de l’Opéra”) by Gaston Leroux.

It was first published as a serialization in “Le Gaulois” from September 23, 1909 to January 8, 1910. Initially, the story sold very poorly upon publication in book form and was even out of print several times during the twentieth century, despite the success of its various film and stage adaptations. The most notable of these were the 1925 film depiction and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s 1986 musical. The Phantom of the Opera musical is now the longest running Broadway show in history, and one of the most lucrative entertainment enterprises of all time.

Evening Edition

Evening Edition is an Open Thread

Now with 33 stories.

From Yahoo News Top Stories

1 Recession panic grips global markets

AFP – 11 mins ago

World markets buckled under a frenzied sell-off Thursday as investors panicked the global economy was headed for another slump, one which policymakers may be ill-equipped to prevent.

From New York to Tokyo it was a brutal day for investors as countless billions of dollars were wiped off the value of companies globally.

The 30 firms that make up the Dow Jones Industrial Average alone lost $103 billion of their value — or around 3.5 percent — while major indexes in Europe, Asia and Latin America commonly suffered losses of around five percent.

Autumnal Equinox 2011

At 5:05 AM EDT, the Northern Hemisphere passes from Summer into Autumn as the sun passes over the equator heading south to give the Earth’s Southern Hemisphere its turn at Summer. The Autumnal Equinox is also known as: Alban Elfed, Autumn Equinox, Fall Equinox, Cornucopia, Feast of Avilon, Festival of Dionysus, Harvest Home, Harvest Tide, Mabon, Night of the Hunter, Second Harvest Festival, Wine Harvest, Witch’s Thanksgiving, and the first day of autumn.

It is the second harvest, a time for gathering the Summer’s last fruits, giving thanks for the harvest and marking a celebration in gratitude as the soil and plants die away. This year’s Harvest Moon reached its peak early Monday, Sept. 12 at about 5:27 AM EDT. The “Harvest Moon” is another name for the full moon that occurs closest to the autumnal equinox, which marks the change of seasons. The moon gets its name from the amount of light it emits, allowing farmers to continue harvesting the summer’s crops through the evening. The Harvest Moon usually appears before or after the equinox. Last year, the Harvest Moon occurred on the fall equinox, a rare occurrence that won’t happen again until 2029.

A scientific myth is that day and night are equal around the entire world, not really:

Most Northern Hemisphere locations, however, do not see an exact 12-hour day until a few days after the fall equinox (and a few days before the spring equinox).

The main reason is atmospheric refraction: This bending of the sun’s light allows us to see the entire sun before and after it crosses the horizon. (By definition, actual sunrise occurs as soon as the upper edge of the solar disk appears above the horizon, while sunset occurs the moment the sun’s trailing edge disappears below it – though that’s not how our eyes see it.)

This helps explain why the day is slightly more than 12 hours long on the equinox. It also explains why places on the equator always see just over 12 hours of daylight year-round: It’s because of the angle from which they observe the sun.

One of the myths connected to this celebration/time of year is the myth of Demeter and Persephone.  The Autumn Equinox signals the descent of Persephone back to the underworld to be with her husband, Hades and the Harvest Mother, Demeter’s mourning for her daughter…thus, the explanation of the dying back of plant life.  This myth gave explanation to our ancient ancestors for the changing of the seasons.  The symbolism that is present for us today is the letting go of our youth, child-bearing years and moving closer to the crone/elder part of our lives.  But it is only a preparation, the opening to what needs to be prepared when the Winter inevitably comes.

I Am The Autumnal Sun ~ by Henry David Thoreau

Sometimes a mortal feels in himself Nature

— not his Father but his Mother stirs

within him, and he becomes immortal with her

immortality. From time to time she claims

kindredship with us, and some globule

from her veins steals up into our own.

I am the autumnal sun,

With autumn gales my race is run;

When will the hazel put forth its flowers,

Or the grape ripen under my bowers?

When will the harvest or the hunter’s moon

Turn my midnight into mid-noon?

I am all sere and yellow,

And to my core mellow.

The mast is dropping within my woods,

The winter is lurking within my moods,

And the rustling of the withered leaf

Is the constant music of my grief….