10/06/2011 archive

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”.

Keith Olbermann: The Statement Released By The Wall Street Protesters – 2011-10-05

Amy Goodman: Policing the Prophets of Wall Street

The Occupy Wall Street protest grows daily, spreading to cities across the United States. “We are the 99 percent,” the protesters say, “that will no longer tolerate the greed and corruption of the 1 percent.”

The response by the New York City Police Department has been brutal. Last Saturday, the police swept up more than 700 protesters in one of the largest mass arrests in U.S. history. The week before, innocent protesters were pepper-sprayed in the face without warning or reason.

That is why, after receiving a landmark settlement this week from the police departments of Minneapolis and St. Paul, as well as the U.S. Secret Service, my colleagues and I went to Liberty Square, the heart of the Wall Street occupation, to announce the legal victory.

Richard Wolff: Occupy Wall Street Ends Capitalism’s Alibi

This protest pinpoints how dysfunctional our economic system is: we must refashion it for human needs, not corporate aims

Occupy Wall Street has already weathered the usual early storms. The kept media ignored the protest, but that failed to end it. The partisans of inequality mocked it, but that failed to end it. The police servants of the status quo over-reacted and that failed to end it – indeed, it fueled the fire. And millions looking on said, “Wow!” And now, ever more people are organizing local, parallel demonstrations – from Boston to San Francisco and many places between.

John Nichols: The Politics of Occupy Wall Street: Bernie Sanders, Progressives, Big Unions Endorse; Obama’s Silent

The Occupy Wall Street movement’s political breakthrough came Wednesday, as leaders of the Congressional Progressive Caucus and the Congressional Black Caucus joined Senator Bernie Sanders, I-Vermont, in endorsing the burgeoning national challenge to corporate greed and corrupt politics.

On a day that saw thousands of union members, community activists and supporters of New York’s Working Families Party rallied in solidarity with the New York protests, Congressman John Larson, the Connecticut Democrat who is the fourth-ranking member of the party’s House Caucus announced that, “The silent masses aren’t so silent anymore.”

Dave Zirin: ‘If the South Would Have Won’: The NFL and Hank Williams Jr.

In our segmented, culturally segregated, 5,000-channel era, the NFL might be the last entertainment product that tries to be all things to all people. Black or white; Northerner or Southerner; male, or female: the NFL wants your passion and wants your money. Last week, for example, was a nod to the wallets of women everywhere, as all players were tinted in bright-pink to “raise breast cancer awareness.” The gravity of the issue didn’t stop Cowboys owner Jerry Jones from displaying his cage-dancing cheerleaders in a more straightforward display of breast-awareness, hold the cancer.

Katrina vanden Heuvel: Nurses’ Prescription for Healing Our Economy

If you want to know just how bad things are for those hit hardest by the Great Recession, ask a nurse: They see more young men suffering heart attacks, more anxiety in children and more ulcers and stomach illnesses in people of all ages. Financial struggles are forcing more patients to forgo necessary medicines and treatments. A Princeton/Georgia State study reports a 39 percent increase in ER admissions for suicide attempts precipitated by home foreclosures, and a direct correlation between foreclosure rates and increases in emergency-room visits and hospitalization for hypertension, diabetes and anxiety.

Given this widespread hardship and pain, it makes sense that nurses who are on the frontlines in our communities every day are leading an effort to hold Wall Street accountable for causing these economic troubles while raising hundreds of billions of dollars for vital human needs.

Jim Hightower: Something Big Is Happening: Occupy Together

To paraphrase one of Bob Dylan’s songs of youthful protest, “Something’s happening here, and you don’t know what it is, do you Ms. Bellafante?”

A New York Times writer, Ginia Bellafante, is but one of many establishment reporters and pundits who’ve been covering the fledgling “Occupy Wall Street ” movement – but completely missing the story. Instead of really digging into what’s “happening here,” they’ve resorted to fuddy-duddy mockery of an important populist protest that has sprouted right in Wall Street’s own neighborhood.

In a September article, Bellafante dismissed the young people’s effort as “fractured and airy,” calling it a “carnival” in an “intellectual vacuum.” Their cause is so “diffuse and leaderless,” she wrote, that its purpose is “virtually impossible to decipher.” No wonder, she concluded, that participation in the movement is “dwindling.”

Whew – so snide! Yet, so wrong.

Ezra Klein: Who Are the 99 Percent?

“I did everything I was supposed to and I have nothing to show for it.”

It’s not the arrests that convinced me that “Occupy Wall Street” was worth covering seriously. Nor was it their press strategy, which largely consisted of tweeting journalists to cover a small protest that couldn’t say what, exactly, it hoped to achieve. It was a Tumblr called, “We Are The 99 Percent,” and all it’s doing is posting grainy pictures of people holding handwritten signs telling their stories, one after the other.

Donna Smith: Protestors’ Message Pretty Simple and Clear: Enough Is Enough

No matter how the media folks seem befuddled by what they claim is a lack of clarity from those at the Occupy Wall Street and its solidarity events throughout the nation, I hear one clear and concise message from them all. I am not speaking for them, but I live where they live in life and in spirit. And there are millions more like me out here. Enough is enough.

Working people in this nation have always given themselves to a hard day’s work for honest pay at a living wage and decent benefits and modest time off for a brief annual vacation or to stay home sick when needed. But as the decades of assault on the working class have continued from the 1980s forward, workers have had to do more with less both at work and at home and have been expected to be cheerful, even grateful, while doing so. Enough is enough.

Occupy Wall St. Livestream: Day 20

Watch live streaming video from globalrevolution at livestream.com


The resistance continues at Liberty Square, with free pizza ๐Ÿ˜‰

“I don’t know how to fix this but I know it’s wrong.” ~ Unknown Author


Foley Square, NYC. 4:47 PM

Wall Street as Public Enemy Number One

Glen Ford, Black Agenda Report

They are very young, very white, and largely inexperienced in organizing. But the Occupy Wall Street crew has picked the right target: finance capitalists, the class that is the common enemy of the human race. In that sense, “the Zuccotti Park campers are eons ahead of the faux radicals and ‘progressives’ who, in terror of the Tea Party and Republican presidential clown candidates, will soon return to the Obamite fold in their eternal search for lesser evils.” Obama was, and will remain, the candidate of Wall Street.

Streamed by We are Change in New York, NY.

Unions, students join Wall St. protesters

NEW YORK – Unions gave a high-profile boost to the long-running protest against Wall Street and economic inequality Wednesday, with their members joining thousands of protesters in a lower Manhattan march. Across the country, students at several colleges walked out of classes in solidarity.

People gathered at Foley Square, an area encircled by courthouses and named for “Big Tom” Foley, a former blacksmith’s helper who became a prominent state Democratic leader. From there they marched to Zuccotti Park, the protesters’ unofficial headquarters.

Sterling W. Roberson, vice president for the United Federation of Teachers, said union members shared the same ideals as activists who have been camped out in sleeping bags for more than two weeks.

“The middle class is taking the burden but the wealthiest of our state and country are not,” he said.

Thousands of protesters packed Foley Square, standing behind police barricades in front of the courthouse buildings. Some wore union T-shirts, others were in business attire, and many left work early to be there.

People in the crowd were carrying red-white-and-blue signs bearing a giant star-graced A — representing the motto “Rebuild America.” Other signs bore slogans including “Tax Wall Street” and “Make Jobs Not Cuts.”

For amusement, Glenn Greenwald shreds CNN’s newest anchor, Wall St. apologist, Erin Burnett and her condescending scorn for Occupy Wall Street. Burnett is another reason not to watch CNN.  

On This Day In History October 6

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 6 is the 279th day of the year (280th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 86 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1927. The Jazz Singer makes its debut in New York City.

The first feature-length motion picture with synchronized dialogue sequences, its release heralded the commercial ascendance of the “talkies” and the decline of the silent film era. Produced by Warner Bros. with its Vitaphone sound-on-disc system, the movie stars Al Jolson, who performs six songs. Directed by Alan Crosland, it is based on a play by Samson Raphaelson.

The story begins with young Jakie Rabinowitz defying the traditions of his devout Jewish family by singing popular tunes in a beer hall. Punished by his father, a cantor, Jakie runs away from home. Some years later, now calling himself Jack Robin, he has become a talented jazz singer. He attempts to build a career as an entertainer, but his professional ambitions ultimately come into conflict with the demands of his home and heritage.

The premiere was set for October 6, 1927, at Warner Bros.’ flagship theater in New York City. The choice of date was pure show business-the following day was Yom Kippur, the Jewish holiday around which much of the movie’s plot revolves.  The buildup to the premiere was tense. Besides Warner Bros.’ precarious financial position, the physical presentation of the film itself was remarkably complex:


Each of Jolson’s musical numbers was mounted on a separate reel with a separate accompanying sound disc. Even though the film was only eighty-nine minutes long…there were fifteen reels and fifteen discs to manage, and the projectionist had to be able to thread the film and cue up the Vitaphone records very quickly. The least stumble, hesitation, or human error would result in public and financial humiliation for the company.

None of the Warner brothers were able to attend: Sam Warner-among them, the strongest advocate for Vitaphone-had died the previous day of pneumonia, and the surviving brothers had returned to California for his funeral.

According to Doris Warner, who was in attendance, about halfway through the film she began to feel that something exceptional was taking place. Jolson’s “Wait a minute” line had prompted a loud, positive response from the audience. Applause followed each of his songs. Excitement built, and when Jolson and Eugenie Besserer began their dialogue scene, “the audience became hysterical.”  After the show, the audience turned into a “milling, battling, mob”, in one journalist’s description, chanting “Jolson, Jolson, Jolson!” Among those who reviewed the film, the critic who foresaw most clearly what it presaged for the future of cinema was Life magazine’s Robert Sherwood. He described the spoken dialogue scene between Jolson and Besserer as “fraught with tremendous significance…. I for one suddenly realized that the end of the silent drama is in sight”.

Critical reaction was generally, though far from universally, positive. New York Times critic Mordaunt Hall, reviewing the film’s premiere, declared that


not since the first presentation of Vitaphone features, more than a year ago [i.e., Don Juan], has anything like the ovation been heard in a motion-picture theatre…. The Vitaphoned songs and some dialogue have been introduced most adroitly. This in itself is an ambitious move, for in the expression of song the Vitaphone vitalizes the production enormously. The dialogue is not so effective, for it does not always catch the nuances of speech or inflections of the voice so that one is not aware of the mechanical features.

Variety called it “[u]ndoubtedly the best thing Vitaphone has ever put on the screen…[with] abundant power and appeal.” Richard Watts, Jr. of the New York Herald Tribune called it a “a pleasantly sentimental orgy dealing with a struggle between religion and art…. [T]his is not essentially a motion picture, but rather a chance to capture for comparative immortality the sight and sound of a great performer.” The Exhibitors Herald’s take was virtually identical: “scarcely a motion picture. It should be more properly labeled an enlarged Vitaphone record of Al Jolson in half a dozen songs.” The film received favorable reviews in both the Jewish press and in African American newspapers such as the Baltimore Afro-American, the New York Amsterdam News, and the Pittsburgh Courier. The headline of the Los Angeles Times review told a somewhat different story: “‘Jazz Singer’ Scores a Hit-Vitaphone and Al Jolson Responsible, Picture Itself Second Rate.” Photoplay dismissed Jolson as “no movie actor. Without his Broadway reputation he wouldn’t rate as a minor player.”

Democracy Catches On

What a concept!

I’m not an Islamobigot so it doesn’t bother me at all to admit that the Sharia spirit of popular discontent with our corrupt and incompetent ruling class seems to be catching on, not just with the inchoate ill-dressed patchouli smelling masses of #occupywallstreet, but also with the sold out veal pen access whores of traditional ‘liberal’ special interest groups.

Case in point-

Environmental groups target Democratic lobbyists on Canadian oil pipeline

By Juliet Eilperin, The Washington Post

Thursday, October 6, 12:26 AM

Environmental groups are demanding more public documents from the State Department about a controversial oil pipeline that will cross the U.S.-Canada border, seeking information on half a dozen lobbyists and their firms connected to the Obama administration.

The new Freedom of Information Act request, which Friends of the Earth, the Center for International Environmental Law and Corporate Ethics International will file Thursday, is part of an ongoing campaign aimed at pressuring the administration to deny a construction and operating ยญpermit to TransCanada. The firm wants to construct a 1,700-mile pipeline to transport crude extracted from oil sands in Alberta, Canada, to Gulf Coast refineries. State has recently released a slew of e-mails in response to a FOIA that detail how a former campaign aide to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Paul Elliott, has appealed to the department’s officials to support the proposal.

Two of the lobbyists named in the request – Gordon Giffin with McKenna Long & Aldridge and James Blanchard with DLA Piper – served as fundraising bundlers for Hillary Rodham Clinton’s 2008 presidential bid. Jeff Berman, a lobbyist listed on Bryan Cave’s Keystone XL lobbying account, directed delegate selection in President Obama’s primary campaign.

Pam Geller Is An Idiot

This woman is an ignorant idiot pandering to uninformed ignoramuses that read the NY Post. Media Matters critiques her latest spew that she is peddling in book stores. Here’s a summation of a chapter:

“Secret halal meat”

In a chapter on “cultural jihad,” Geller covers subjects like “The Islamic/Leftist Alliance,” “The Mosqueing of the Workplace,” and “the Islamization of the Schools.” There’s also a section on “Secret Halal Meat,” in which she highlights “numerous explosive revelations” about “the little-reported fact that much of the meat in Europe is being processed as halal and yet sold without the halal label.” Geller declared this to be “a little-known strike against freedom” and that “we are being forced into consuming meat slaughtered by means of a barbaric, torturous, and inhuman method: Islamic slaughter, the cutting of the animal’s throat without stunning or any other form of mitigation for the animal’s pain.” Geller went on to assert that it “appears clear” that “some of this halal meat is going to public school lunch programs.”

Even a goy, Atrios, got it right, the differences are negligible in the Kosher and Hallal method of slaughter, “slit throat and bleed without stunning.” If you want to nit pick, Go Vegan.

Sorry for the rant but this just got my goat. ๐Ÿ˜‰

2011 NL Playoffs- Brewers at Diamondbacks Game 4

The big fail for the Diamondbacks is that they haven’t sold out a Playoff game.  A PLAYOFF GAME!  You know, one in which they could be eliminated too.

And they deserve it.  Not just because of lack of fan support (there are plenty of cities that would gladly steal from their taxpayers to land a major league franchise, many in better media markets than yours), but also because their front office is looking to invoke the blackout rule so they can sell the last of those overpriced so-called luxury boxes to rubes and suckers.

Way to show community spirit you amoral corporatist leeches.

The Brewers are starting Randy Wolf who’s a statistical twin of Joe Saunders, but the worst thing that can happen to them is they return to Milwaukee and get to celebrate (or commiserate) in front of a crowd that loves them.

The Diamondbacks are a team without a home.

My Little Town 20111005: Ben Boggs

Those of you that read this regular series know that I am from Hackett, Arkansas, just a mile of so from the Oklahoma border, and just about 10 miles south of the Arkansas River.  It was a redneck sort of place, and just zoom onto my previous posts to understand a bit about it.

Ben Boggs was a nice guy, but had a lot of problems.  He lived in the rock house that Granddad built in the early 1950s whilst Granddad lived in the bus.  Ben had a very nice and understand wife, Johnnie, and two kids who are likely still living, so I will not say anything about them.  You know that I do not write about living folks from My Little Town without their express permission most of the time.

Ben was a World War II veteran, and had a leg shot off almost at the hip.  He did not have enough bone left for the technology at the time to offer him a prosthetic leg, so he used crutches, and those were made of aluminum when my memory began in 1962.  these memories are mostly from 1966 and later.