10/01/2011 archive

Campaign Finance Game: Stephen Goes Stealth

Colbert Super PAC – Trevor Potter & Stephen’s Shell Corporation

Trevor Potter helps Stephen create his own shell corporation so that he can obtain secret donations for his Super PAC.

Stephen get schooled in how to game the campaign finance system by creating a 501(c)(4):

501(c)(4) organizations are generally civic leagues and other corporations operated exclusively for the promotion of social welfare, or local associations of employees with membership limited to a designated company or people in a particular municipality or neighborhood, and with net earnings devoted exclusively to charitable, educational, or recreational purposes. 501(c)(4) organizations may lobby for legislation, and unlike 501(c)(3) organizations they may also participate in political campaigns and elections, as long as campaigning is not the organization’s primary purpose. The tax exemption for 501(c)(4) organizations applies to most of their operations, but contributions may be subject to gift tax, and income spent on political activities – generally the advocacy of a particular candidate in an election – is taxable.

Contributions to 501(c)(4) organizations are not deductible as charitable contributions for the U.S. income tax. 501(c)(4) organizations are not required to disclose their donors publicly. This aspect of the law has led to extensive use of the 501(c)(4) provisions for organizations that are actively involved in lobbying, and has become controversial. In 2010, a bill (the DISCLOSE Act) was passed by the U.S. House of Representatives that addressed identification of donors to organizations involved in political advocacy, but the bill failed to pass in the Senate.

The entire transcript is below the fold but here is the punch line(s):

SC: Can I take this C-4’s money and then donate it to my Super PAC?

TP: You can.

SC: Well,wait. Super PAC’s are transparent.

TP: Right, right

SC: And the C-4 is secret

TP: Umhmmm

SC: So I can take secret donations of my C-4 and give it to my supposedly transparent Super PAC.

TP: And it’ll say given by your C-4

SC: What is the difference between that and money laundering?

TP: Hard to say.

Random Japan



A 42-year-old man in Italy was charged with killing his 24-year-old girlfriend after binding her to her friend with rope after a night of clubbing. The trio was apparently “performing a Japanese sado-masochist technique known as shibari” when things went wrong and one of the girls suffocated.

A jeweler in Otsu put 14 small 0.01-carat diamonds on sale for ¥100 each to try to bring people into his store. It worked-over 20 people lined up in front of the shop before it opened.

A soccer game in the Belgian League was stopped when Japanese goalkeeper Eiji Kawashima took exception to opposing fans chanting “Kawashima, Fukushima.” An enraged Kawashima left the field in tears and later called the chants “unforgiveable.”

The lone surviving pine tree out of thousands on tsunami-hit Takata Matsubara beach in Iwate Prefecture is in failing health with dead buds, discolored pine cones, and brown leaves. Damaged roots are thought to be the cause and a hotter-than-hell summer didn’t help.

A small wooden boat with nine people on board was stopped by the Coast Guard in the Sea of Japan near the Noto Peninsula. One passenger told officers that the boat was from North Korea and they were trying to get to South Korea.

A capsule house designed in the 1960s by famed “Metabolist” architect Kisho Kurokawa was put on display in Roppongi.

Japanese teen actors Shota Sometani and Fumi Nikaido won the Marcello Mastroianni Award for best young actor and actress at the Venice International Film Festival for their work in a movie called Himizu.

Another Japanese film, Kotoko, took home the festival’s Orizzonti award for “full-length feature films that reflect new trends in international film.”

The 13-year-old son of a Japanese banker killed in the World Trade Center attacks in 2001 gave an emotional speech at the Ground Zero ceremony in New York honoring the victims on the 10th anniversary of 9/11.

Two Russian bombers buzzed Japanese airspace, prompting Chief Cabinet Secretary Osamu Fujimura to send a protest to Moscow through diplomatic channels.

A 24-year-old Chiba man was arrested for stealing money from the bank account of a female university student and killing her by suffocating her with a plastic bag.

2011 NL Playoffs- Cardinals at Phillies

As I mentioned in my previous post the Phillies suffer under a Republican governor so my pick of the Cardinals has nothing at all to do with the fact they are division rivals of my Metropolitans.

Nothing at all.

You see, they also Taser their fans-

Health and Fitness News

Welcome to the Stars Hollow Health and Fitness weekly diary. It will publish on Saturday afternoon and be open for discussion about health related issues including diet, exercise, health and health care issues, as well as, tips on what you can do when there is a medical emergency. Also an opportunity to share and exchange your favorite healthy recipes.

Questions are encouraged and I will answer to the best of my ability. If I can’t, I will try to steer you in the right direction. Naturally, I cannot give individual medical advice for personal health issues. I can give you information about medical conditions and the current treatments available.

You can now find past Health and Fitness News diaries here and on the right hand side of the Front Page.

Yogurt: Much More Than a ‘Health Food’


In countries where yogurt is part of the culinary landscape, it’s used in many savory dishes.

To thicken yogurt, simply put it into a cheesecloth-lined strainer set over a bowl and refrigerate for several hours. Or buy already thick Greek yogurt or lebna in Middle Eastern markets. But whatever you do, buy organic yogurt that has only two ingredients on the label: milk and live active cultures

Plain low-fat (not nonfat) yogurt was usd in this week’s recipes; full-fat yogurt will work too, but nonfat is too watery and often quite sour.

Grilled Albacore With Yogurt-Dill Sauce on a Bed of Arugula

Based on a recipe for red mullet from “Classic Turkish Cooking” by Ghillie Basan.

Turkish Hummus With Yogurt

This dish is much like the familiar Middle Eastern chickpea purée, but instead of tahini, the chickpeas are blended with yogurt.

Mache Salad With Yogurt Dressing

The mild, subtle mâche, also known as lamb’s lettuce, contrasts nicely with the sharp, pungent garlic-spiked yogurt.

Summer Squash, Tahini and Yogurt Dip

From Paula Wolfert’s book “The Cooking of the Eastern Mediterranean,” a simple combination of cooked squash, drained yogurt, garlic and tahini that proves you can make yogurt dips with just about any vegetable.

Eggplant, Bulgur and Tomato Casserole with Yogurt Topping

A vegetarian moussaka, with bulgur standing in for meat.

2011 NL Playoffs- Diamondbacks at Brewers

I had promised TheMomCat I’d go afternoon/evening on the DCS games, but apparently that’s not the way the schedule is working out and since I’m at wits end with my now totally non-functional upgrade I can hardly give you more than a few lines of distraction in any event.

I do know that I hate the thought of watching a World Series and World Series money going to the bigoted against brown people State of Arizona and its racist leaders like Jan Brewer and Joe Arpaio, so I’m hoping the Diamondbacks wash out as soon as possible.

Wisconsin under Walker is not much better so it’s tough to root for the Brewers either, but hopefully they’ll get knocked off by the Cardinals in the LCS.

‘But ek,’ you whine, ‘isn’t it incredibly shallow to make your picks based on political correctness?’

No shallower than basing it on the color of their uniforms.

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: America Faces a Jobs Depression

Keynes was right: only government can get us out of this jobs slump. And only taxing wealth can restore US prosperity

The Reverend Al Sharpton and various labor unions announced Wednesday a March for Jobs. But I’m afraid we’ll need more than marches to get jobs back.

Since the start of the Great Recession at the end of 2007, the potential labor force of the United States – that is, working-age people who want jobs – has grown by over 7 million. But since then, the number of Americans who actually have jobs has shrunk by more than 300,000.

In other words, we’re in a deep hole – and the hole is deepening. In August, the United States created no jobs at all. Zero.

America’s ongoing jobs depression – which is what it deserves to be called – is the worst economic calamity to hit this nation since the Great Depression. It’s also terrible news for President Obama, whose chances for re-election now depend almost entirely on the Republican party putting up someone so vacuous and extremist that the nation rallies to Obama regardless.

New York Times Editorial: Improving No Child Left Behind

The 2002 No Child Left Behind Act focused the country’s attention on school reform as never before, but the law is far from perfect. The Obama administration is wise to address its flaws, since Congress is four years overdue in updating the law.

The Department of Education’s plan gives states that agree to several reforms – including stringent teacher evaluation systems and new programs for overhauling the worst schools – an exemption from many of the law’s requirements. It would permit the states to change the way they evaluate most schools for the purpose of compliance, allowing indicators other than just reading and math scores to be considered. And it would lift the law’s provision that all students be proficient in math and reading by 2014, which was never going to happen anyway because there were so many loopholes.

The administration, however, must not allow the new waiver system to become a way for states to elude the purpose of the act, which is to raise student achievement across the board.

Eugene Robinson: Chris Christie’s Big Problem

Whether or not he lets himself be persuaded to run for president, Chris Christie needs to find some way to lose weight. Like everyone else, elected officials perform best when they are in optimal health. Christie obviously is not.

You could argue that this is none of my business, but I disagree. Christie’s problem with weight ceased being a private matter when he stepped into the public arena-and it’s not something you can fail to notice. Obesity is a national epidemic whose costs are measured not just in dollars and cents, but in lives. Christie’s weight is as legitimate an issue as the smoking habit that President Obama says he has finally kicked.

Davis Sirota: How Baseball Explains Modern Racism http://www.truthdig.com/report…

Despite recent odes to “post-racial” sensibilities, persistent racial wage and unemployment gaps show that prejudice is alive and well in America. Nonetheless, that truism is often angrily denied or willfully ignored in our society, in part because prejudice is so much more difficult to recognize on a day-to-day basis. As opposed to the Jim Crow era of white hoods and lynch mobs, 21st century American bigotry is now more often an unseen crime of the subtle and the reflexive-and the crime scene tends to be the shadowy nuances of hiring decisions, performance evaluations and plausible deniability.

Thankfully, though, we now have baseball to help shine a light on the problem so that everyone can see it for what it really is.

Today, Major League Baseball games using the QuesTec computerized pitch-monitoring system are the most statistically quantifiable workplaces in America. Match up QuesTec’s accumulated data with demographic information about who is pitching and who is calling balls and strikes, and you get the indisputable proof of how ethnicity does indeed play a part in discretionary decisions of those in power positions.

Tim Karr: High Noon for Internet Freedom

As democracy movements worldwide struggle to speak out via the Internet, many here in the U.S. may have overlooked an effort in Congress to undermine this basic freedom.

It takes the form of an arcane “resolution of disapproval” now wending its way through the Senate. If it passes, the resolution would void a recent Federal Communications Commission rule that seeks to preserve long-held Internet standards that protect users against blocking and censorship.

The resolution would remove these protections. It was put forth by industry-funded members of Congress who don’t mind letting the few corporations who sell Internet access in America decide what we get to see, hear and read on the Internet.

Jeff Biggers: House Committee Censors Testimony of Appalachian Activists

The House Natural Resources Committee has some explaining to do.

In a blatant disregard of the concerns of affected West Virginia coalfield residents who actually live under the fallout of devastating mountaintop removal operations, a press release summary from the Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources’ field hearing on “Jobs at Risk: Community Impacts of the Obama Administration’s Effort to Rewrite the Stream Buffer Zone Rule” completely deleted any mention of the official testimonies by Appalachian coalfield leaders Maria Gunnoe and Bo Webb. The press release reported exclusively on testimony from coal industry representatives, Big Coal-bankrolled politicians and hired coal industry supporters.

“Yesterday a House Natural Resources subcommittee tried its very hardest not to hear West Virginians’ concerns about the destruction and heartbreak of mountaintop removal in their communities,” noted Natural Resources Defense Council staff Melissa Waage. “Now the subcommittee leadership is trying to pretend these people don’t even exist.”

Occupy Wall St. Livestream: Day 15

Watch live streaming video from globalrevolution at livestream.com


The resistance continues at Liberty Square, with free pizza 😉

Wall Street protesters march on police

More than 1,000 people marched past City Hall and arrived at a plaza outside police headquarters in the late afternoon. Some held banners criticizing police, while others chanted: “We are the 99 percent” and “The banks got bailed out, we got sold out.”

Workers from the financial district on their way home watched as the marchers passed, with some saying it was not obvious what outcome organizers of the Occupy Wall Street movement wanted.

Police observed the march and kept protesters on the sidewalk, but no clashes were reported. Police said no arrests were made before the protest dispersed peaceably by 8 p.m. after the march.

AFL-CIO’s Trumka Hails Occupy Wall Street

by John Nichols

Declaring that “Wall Street’s out of control,” AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka has embraced street protests such as the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations-and others like them that are planned for cities across the country.

Asked about the ongoing mass protest in New York’s financial district, which has begun to gain support from major unions, Trumka said Friday morning: “I think it’s a tactic and a valid tactic to call attention to a problem. Wall Street is out of control. We have three imbalances in this country-the imbalance between imports and exports, the imbalance between employer power and working power, and the imbalance between the real economy and the financial economy. We need to bring back balance to the financial economy, and calling attention to it and peacefully protesting is a very legitimate way of doing it.”

Hailing the power of street protests to shift the dialogue, Trumka said, “I think being in the streets and calling attention to issues is sometimes the only recourse you have because, God only knows, you can go to the Hill, and you can talk to a lot of people and see nothing ever happen…”

On This Day In History October 1

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.

October 1 is the 274th day of the year(275th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 91 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1946, 12 high-ranking Nazis are sentenced to death by the International War Crimes Tribunal in Nuremberg. Among those condemned to death by hanging were Joachim von Ribbentrop, Nazi minister of foreign affairs; Hermann Goering, founder of the Gestapo and chief of the German air force; and Wilhelm Frick, minister of the interior. Seven others, including Rudolf Hess, Adolf Hitler’s former deputy, were given prison sentences ranging from 10 years to life. Three others were acquitted.

The Nuremberg Trials were a series of military, held by the main victorious Allied forces of World War II, most notable for the prosecution of prominent members of the political, military, and economic leadership of the defeated Nazi Germany. The trials were held in the city of Nuremberg, Bavaria, Germany, in 1945-46, at the Palace of Justice. The first and best known of these trials was the Trial of the Major War Criminals before the International Military Tribunal (IMT), which tried 22 of the most important captured leaders of Nazi Germany. It was held from November 20, 1945 to October 1, 1946. The second set of trials of lesser war criminals was conducted under Control Council Law No. 10 at the US Nuremberg Military Tribunals (NMT); among them included the Doctors’ Trial and the Judges’ Trial.

The Main Trial

The International Military Tribunal was opened on October 18, 1945, in the Palace of Justice in Nuremberg. The first session was presided over by the Soviet judge, Nikitchenko. The prosecution entered indictments against 24 major war criminals and six criminal organizations – the leadership of the Nazi party, the Schutzstaffel (SS) and Sicherheitsdienst (SD), the Gestapo, the Sturmabteilung (SA) and the “General Staff and High Command,” comprising several categories of senior military officers.

The indictments were for:

  1. Participation in a common plan or conspiracy for the accomplishment of a crime against peace

  2. Planning, initiating and waging wars of aggression and other crimes against peace

  3. War crimes

  4. Crimes against humanity

Countdown with Keith Olbermann: Worst Persons 9.29.2011

Worst Persons: Bill O’Reilly, Rep. Al Pscholka, Rep. Allen West

Find out why Bill O’Reilly is WORSE; Rep. Al Pscholka is WORSER; and Rep. Allen West is the WORST PERSON IN THE WORLD for Sept. 29, 2011.

Popular Culture (Music): The Who. Odds and Sods Part I of II

Odds and Sods was the third “canonical” compilation album released by  The Who, released 19740928, almost exactly 37 years ago today.  

In the US the record was released by MCA, and in the UK by Track.   There is some discrepancy as to how the record charted, some references saying #10 and #15 in the UK and US, respectively, whilst others indicate #10 and #8.

This is one of my favorite records, since it contains material not previously released, some of which is amongst their best.  It also marked the final release of material that I consider “classic” Who, since the next studio album, The Who by Numbers, was a considerable departure from their old sound, a trend already started by Quadrophenia, discussed here and here.

All of the material was previously unreleased, except “I’m the Face” which we shall discuss in a bit.  None of the material on the record was specifically recorded for it, but rather were studio tapes recorded months to years before it was compiled and released.

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