Daily Archive: 10/07/2011

Oct 07 2011

2011 NL Playoffs- Diamondbacks at Brewers Game 5

Brewers fans are looking for a repeat of Game 1, what with Gallardo pitching against Kennedy at Miller Park and all.  The Diamondbacks are betting the momentum of 2 straight victories will carry them through to the next round.

That kind of magical thinking didn’t much work for the Brewers.

Bud Selig will be throwing out the first pitch tonight, so there will be a natural inclination to root against the Brewers just to spite him.  It’s an interesting bit of sports trivia that tonight’s double, double elimination game is the third time this has happened in Baseball history and the Brewers were involved in the first of those in 1981 when they lost to the Yankees.

Likewise the Phillies lost that same day to the Expos.

For you completeness fanatics the third double elimination game that day was Dodgers over the Astros and the other double, double was 2001 when the Yankees beat the As and the Mariners beat the Indians.

Oct 07 2011

SCOTUS: A Question of Ethics

In 2010 the public advocacy group Common Cause linked Supreme Court Justices Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia to the billionaire Koch brothers. At issue was their presence at private parties hosted by the brothers just before the infamous Citizens United decision. More questions have now arisen about Justice’s Thomas’ objectivity and ethics and whether he should recuse himself from any review of the Affordable Care Act. Thomas’ wife Virgina’s involvement with the conservative groups, the Federalist Foundation and Liberty Central, her very vocal opposition to the ACA and his failure to disclose her income have raised a “specter off bias”:

The Obama administration filing a petition with the U.S. Supreme Court to hear the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is news, but a side issue might draw more attention: whether Justice Clarence Thomas should recuse himself.

Thomas’ wife, Virginia, was employed for several years by the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank. Heritage has long opposed the health-care law. Last March, Heritage staffers published six op-ed pieces in The Dispatch, all criticizing the law and covering topics ranging from the law being unconstitutional to its purported cost savings being illusory.

According to political watchdog Common Cause, Mrs. Thomas earned $686,589 from Heritage between 2003 and 2007. As a member of the Supreme Court, Justice Thomas was obligated under the federal Ethics in Government Act to disclose his wife’s employment, but he failed to do so between 2004 and 2009. Finally, on Jan. 21, 2011, Justice Thomas submitted to the Committee on Financial Disclosure six letters, one for each of the six years.

These latest revelations about the lapse in the justice’s financial disclosures forms precipitated a call from House Democrats for an investigation into ethics violations by the Judiciary Committee:

“Public records clearly demonstrate that Justice Thomas has failed to accurately disclose information concerning the income and employment status of his wife, as required by law,” Democrats led by Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) and Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.) wrote in a letter (pdf) Wednesday to leaders of the Judiciary Committee. The Democrats also question whether Thomas accurately reported gifts and inappropriately solicited donations.

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“There is now more than enough evidence to merit a formal inquiry as to whether Justice Thomas willfully failed to make legally required disclosures, perhaps for as long as 13 years,” Common Cause president Bob Edgar said in a statement Wednesday. “Given that we now know he correctly completed the reports in prior years, it’s hardly plausible–indeed, it’s close to unbelievable–that Justice Thomas did not understand the instructions.”

Democrats contend that the Supreme Court’s protocols for such disclosures should be more transparent. “Because the Court continues to operate without a binding code of ethics or a transparent recusal process, it is time for Congress to exercise its Constitutional role and become involved in this process,” Blumenauer said in a statement.

Representative Louise Slaughter (D-NY), one of the signers, appeared on Countdown with Keith Olbermann not only calling for the Judiciary Committee investigations but “exploring “retroactive recusal” in cases like Citizens United, which would nullify Thomas’ vote and overturn the ruling.” “Countdown” contributor and former White House Counsel to President Nixon John Dean joined Keith to discuss the case for “retroactive recusal” (transcript contained in the link).

Oct 07 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”.

Paul Krugman: Confronting the Malefactors

There’s something happening here. What it is ain’t exactly clear, but we may, at long last, be seeing the rise of a popular movement that, unlike the Tea Party, is angry at the right people.

When the Occupy Wall Street protests began three weeks ago, most news organizations were derisive if they deigned to mention the events at all. For example, nine days into the protests, National Public Radio had provided no coverage whatsoever.

It is, therefore, a testament to the passion of those involved that the protests not only continued but grew, eventually becoming too big to ignore. With unions and a growing number of Democrats now expressing at least qualified support for the protesters, Occupy Wall Street is starting to look like an important event that might even eventually be seen as a turning point.

What can we say about the protests? First things first: The protesters’ indictment of Wall Street as a destructive force, economically and politically, is completely right.

Ann-Marie Slaughter: Occupied Wall Street, Seen From Abroad

THE American mainstream media is gradually beginning to pay attention to the Occupy Wall Street movement and its spinoffs springing up in Atlanta, Chicago, Boston and Seattle. But from the very beginning the movement has attracted extensive coverage from Al Jazeera and other Middle Eastern news outlets and Twitter users – probably because they recognize the forces that are reshaping politics across their region.

Indeed, the twin drivers of America’s nascent protest movement against the financial sector are injustice and invisibility, the very grievances that drove the Arab Spring.

Joe Conason:How (and Why) to Co-opt Those Cops on Wall Street

If the pivotal moment of this protest continues to be a video of a high-ranking police officer brutally “macing” innocent women, then it is unlikely to grow far from its anarcho-bohemian roots. There are simply too many Americans who will never side with “hippies” against cops, no matter how wrong the cops may be. But if the sympathetic statements from labor leaders of the past few days turn into supportive action-and if teachers, bus drivers, firefighters, nurses and, yes, police officers show up to demand change-then this could be the beginning of something very, very big.

Don’t scoff too quickly: Last winter, hundreds of off-duty law enforcement officers from around Wisconsin repeatedly joined the statehouse sit-in against Gov. Scott Walker’s attack on labor, even though their own unions were exempt from his proposed law-and even as their fellow officers were standing guard over the protesters.

Naomi Klein: Occupy Wall Street: The Most Important Thing in the World Now

Yesterday, one of the speakers at the labor rally said: “We found each other.” That sentiment captures the beauty of what is being created here. A wide-open space (as well as an idea so big it can’t be contained by any space) for all the people who want a better world to find each other. We are so grateful.

If there is one thing I know, it is that the 1 percent loves a crisis. When people are panicked and desperate and no one seems to know what to do, that is the ideal time to push through their wish list of pro-corporate policies: privatizing education and social security, slashing public services, getting rid of the last constraints on corporate power. Amidst the economic crisis, this is happening the world over.

And there is only one thing that can block this tactic, and fortunately, it’s a very big thing: the 99 percent. And that 99 percent is taking to the streets from Madison to Madrid to say “No. We will not pay for your crisis.”

John Nichols: Should Obama Face a Challenge in the Democratic Primary?

The Illinois 10th Congressional District Democrats work in Barack Obama’s political heartland, the northern suburbs of Chicago, which so warmly embraced a young state senator’s bid for the US Senate in 2004 and the presidency in 2008. Long before Obama became a national phenomenon, he had liberals swooning in Glenview, Deerfield and Northbrook. But early last month, after President Obama overruled his own Environmental Protection Agency and scuttled anti-smog regulations, the blog of 10th District Dems featured a plaintive post: “Do I still believe his promises? I want to… I really want to.” Even as the grassroots group was spreading the word that “volunteers are needed for Avon, Antioch, Grant, and Lake Villa for President Obama’s campaign,” sincere activists were speculating on its website about whether President Obama is a “monumental fraud.” The frustration with Obama is real and widespread, extending from environmental issues to economics to foreign policy. “I’ve been going door-to-door a lot in the past few weeks” for Democratic candidates, says Sharon Sanders, a member of the group. “We’re only hitting Democrats, and they are so discouraged about everything-as I am.”

So what about a challenge to Obama? Should a progressive take on the president in the rapidly approaching Democratic caucuses and primaries?

Oct 07 2011

This Week In The Dream Antilles: Not Columbus Edition

Once again, your Bloguero notes that it is Columbus Day Weekend.  Your Bloguero often takes ten days off at this time.  Why?  Funny you should ask.  Your Bloguero has short answers: it’s his Birthday.  Your Bloguero was born exactly 399 years after the christening of Cervantes in 1547. Also, it’s a weekend he takes off to help facilitate a Shamanic Men’s Retreat.  This year will be the second wonderful year of that gathering. And finally, your Bloguero cannot abide the celebration of Columbus Day, which he sees as the beginning of the subjugation of this hemisphere. The last is best expressed in this 2008 post:


   

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The Church In Baracoa, Cuba

Across the Caribbean from desde Desdemona is Baracoa, a small town inaccessible by land from before 1500 (when Columbus first landed there in 1492) until the 1960’s. In 1512 Baracoa was the first Spanish settlement in Cuba. It’s like Macondo. The lush forest of the Sierra Maestre and El Yunque, the tallest peak in Cuba, tower over the town. The town is nestled against the warm ocean. North of town is Maguana, a beautiful, white beach, shared by tourists and occasional foraging pigs.

Join me in Baracoa.  We can celebrate Not Columbus Day together.

In the church in Baracoa is a part of one of the original crosses that Columbus planted in Cuba when he first landed there. It’s not under guard. To see it, you knock on the back door of the church. Nobody there? Go across the street, as Bardo did, to find someone in the Parochio to let you in. Bardo goes and asks to see El Cruz. The woman behind a counter says ok, let us find the key. She takes Bardo across the street, opens the back door, enters the silent, dark church, and in the nave there it is, in a glass case with no security at all, El Cruz de la Parra . The cross’s 500 year old wood (it’s been carbon dated) is held up by a metal holder (which is from much later on).

In many ways this is the most important relic, and maybe the most important marker in the history of the Western Hemisphere. It represents the beginning, the zero mile marker on the highway from then to now. If Columbus, instead of planting a cross and taking on the conquest and/or conversion of indigenous people, had said, “This place is really great so let’s hang out here and enjoy it with the locals,” the last 500 years would have been significantly, inconceivably different. And maybe, Bardo reminds us, a whole lot better. Bardo cannot believe what he’s looking at. He makes a small donation to the church, and wanders off into the heat of the day. The woman closes up the church. Nobody else is waiting to see the cross.

   

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If the Cruz were in New York or Madrid, it would have laser Mission Impossible security, armed guards, and lots of publicity around it. Lines of buses of tourists. Souvenir shops. Air conditioning. T-shirt sales. But there’s none of that in Baracoa. Just the cross and the empty church in the middle of Baracoa.

Bardo buys a bottle of Habana Club rum ($3.25), sits on the roof of the Casa Particular where he’s staying, and wonders if Macondo could be any more beautiful. He decides Baracoa is perfect and beautiful. He loves the way the mountainous jungle cascades to the town at the edge of the ocean. Columbus, he thinks, was right about one thing: Baracoa is one of the most beautiful places Bardo has ever seen.  About everything else, he decides, he’s with Alejo Carpentier, Columbus was dead wrong.

This Week In The Dream Antilles is usually a weekly digest. Sometimes, like now, it isn’t actually a digest of essays posted in the past week at The Dream Antilles.  Your Bloguero regrets that this week because two of his recent posts, one from this week and one from last week, are among the best he has written. Regardless, please leave a comment so that your Bloguero will know that you stopped by. Or click the “Encouragement Jar” if there is one. Your Bloguero likes to know you’ve visited.


cross posted from The Dream Antilles

Oct 07 2011

On This Day In History October 7

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 7 is the 280th day of the year (281st in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 85 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1955, Beat poet, Allen Ginsberg reads his poem “Howl” at a poetry reading at Six Gallery in San Francisco.

Irwin Allen Ginsberg (June 3, 1926 – April 5, 1997) was an American poet who vigorously opposed militarism, materialism and sexual repression. In the 1950s, Ginsberg was a leading figure of the Beat Generation, an anarchic group of young men and women who joined poetry, song, sex, wine and illicit drugs with passionate political ideas that championed personal freedoms. Ginsberg’s epic poem Howl, in which he celebrates his fellow “angel-headed hipsters” and excoriates what he saw as the destructive forces of capitalism and conformity in the United States, is one of the classic poems of the Beat Generation  The poem, dedicated to writer Carl Solomon, has a memorable opening:

I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by

madness, starving hysterical naked,

dragging themselves through the negro streets at dawn

looking for an angry fix…

In October 1955, Ginsberg and five other unknown poets gave a free reading at an experimental art gallery in San Francisco. Ginsberg’s Howl electrified the audience. According to fellow poet Michael McClure, it was clear “that a barrier had been broken, that a human voice and body had been hurled against the harsh wall of America and its supporting armies and navies and academies and institutions and ownership systems and power support bases.” In 1957, Howl attracted widespread publicity when it became the subject of an obscenity trial in which a San Francisco prosecutor argued it contained “filthy, vulgar, obscene, and disgusting language.” The poem seemed especially outrageous in 1950s America because it depicted both heterosexual and homosexual sex at a time when sodomy laws made homosexual acts a crime in every U.S. state. Howl reflected Ginsberg’s own bisexuality and his homosexual relationships with a number of men, including Peter Orlovsky, his lifelong partner. Judge Clayton W. Horn ruled that Howl was not obscene, adding, “Would there be any freedom of press or speech if one must reduce his vocabulary to vapid innocuous euphemisms?”

In Howl and in his other poetry, Ginsberg drew inspiration from the epic, free verse style of the 19th century American poet Walt Whitman. Both wrote passionately about the promise (and betrayal) of American democracy; the central importance of erotic experience; and the spiritual quest for the truth of everyday existence. J. D. McClatchy, editor of the Yale Review called Ginsberg “the best-known American poet of his generation, as much a social force as a literary phenomenon.” McClatchy added that Ginsberg, like Whitman, “was a bard in the old manner – outsized, darkly prophetic, part exuberance, part prayer, part rant. His work is finally a history of our era’s psyche, with all its contradictory urges.”

Ginsberg was a practicing Buddhist who studied Eastern religious disciplines extensively. One of his most influential teachers was the Tibetan Buddhist, the Venerable Chögyam Trungpa, founder of the Naropa Institute, now Naropa University at Boulder, Colorado. At Trungpa’s urging, Ginsberg and poet Anne Waldman started a poetry school there in 1974 which they called the “Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics”. In spite of his attraction to Eastern religions, the journalist Jane Kramer argues that Ginsberg, like Whitman, adhered to an “American brand of mysticism” that was, in her words, “rooted in humanism and in a romantic and visionary ideal of harmony among men.” Ginsberg’s political activism was consistent with his religious beliefs. He took part in decades of non-violent political protest against everything from the Vietnam War to the War on Drugs. The literary critic, Helen Vendler, described Ginsberg as “tirelessly persistent in protesting censorship, imperial politics, and persecution of the powerless.” His achievements as a writer as well as his notoriety as an activist gained him honors from established institutions. Ginsberg’s book of poems, The Fall of America, won the National Book Award for poetry in 1974. Other honors included the National Arts Club gold medal and his induction into the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters, both in 1979. In 1995, Ginsberg won a Pulitzer Prize for his book, Cosmopolitan Greetings: Poems 1986-1992.

Oct 07 2011

Occupy Wall St. Livestream: Day 21

Watch live streaming video from globalrevolution at livestream.com

OccupyWallStreet

The resistance continues at Liberty Square, with free pizza 😉

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

For all the criticism about being leaderless and not having a cohesive, coherent message, Occupy Wall Street is ending its third week and it does show signs of going away. They have garnered support from activists, union, some politicians, and groups like MoveOn.org but the spokespeople for this nebulous group are adamant that this is not political. It is about the stolen American Dream from not just Americans but the world. It’s about health care, education, jobs, shelter and food. It about some people who will be in debt for the rest of their lives while the 1% who have destroyed this country stare down from their balconies and sip champagne. It is not the Democratic party’s Tea Party. It is not the left or the right, it is the bottom versus those at the top. It should be a wake up call to Wall St, corporations, banks, Republicans and Democrats alike. We aren’t going to take this anymore. Occupy Wall Street is the new Declaration of Independence for the 99% regardless of race, religion, sex, sexual preference or politics.

Occupy Wall Street & What Liberals Now Aim to Do with the Movement’s Energy

By: Kevin Gosztola Thursday October 6, 2011 9:16 am

What should the Occupy Wall Street organizers do? They should continue on the path they were on prior to all the labor and Democratic Party support. They should put the movement first and not bow to any Democratic Party or liberal organization operatives who seek to channel the movement into electoral politics or compel the movement to lower its sights. It should work to maintain a level of discipline and make sure it establishes what it is not. It should continue to aim for the impossible and remember that they have earned their power because they have occupied the park and stood their ground in the face of a media blackout, police brutality and contemptuous criticisms.

The occupiers did not come together to be the Tea Party of the left. They came together to take on corporate power and address problems that impact Americans who are conservative and liberal, left wing and right wing. And, to continue to grow as a movement that challenges the influence of corporations, special interests and the top 1% in government, they need to make clear this is not about building a better Democratic Party. This is about the war on poor, working class and middle class Americans, the constant attacks on unions and how Americans are begin to have influence over their government so the assaults on poor and working Americans come to an end.

Right Here All Over  (Occupy Wall St.) from Alex Mallis on Vimeo.

This is a really long article by Spocko at MyFDL so I’m just going to post the link. it has some very salient points and information well worth reading even if you aren’t going to the protests

Techniques the Corporate Powers Will Use to Destroy the OWS Movement

“Remember, the guy who suggests getting the dynamite is usually the Fed.” ~ Old hippie saying

Oct 07 2011

Did Reid Just Use The “Nuclear Option”?

It sounded like Senate Majority Leader did just that last week in getting a vote that overrule the Senate parliamentarian’s decision. And while it didn’t end filibuster, it did leave the door open for its eventual demise. This is what took place this evening as initially reported by The Hill:

Reid and 50 members of his caucus voted to change Senate rules unilaterally to prevent Republicans from forcing votes on uncomfortable amendments after the chamber has voted to move to final passage of a bill.

Reid’s coup passed by a vote of 51-48, leaving Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) fuming.

The surprise move stunned Republicans, who did not expect Reid to bring heavy artillery to what had been a humdrum knife fight over amendments to China currency legislation.

As Ryan Grim and Michael McAuliff at Huffington Post point out, Harry Reid Busts Up Senate Precedent

McConnell moved to suspend the rules and shift debate over to the American Jobs Act. Reid argued that doing so amounted to another filibuster, because it required 60 votes to move back to the original bill, and so therefore was out of order. Sen. Mark Begich (D-Alaska), who happened to be the presiding officer at the time, asked the Senate parliamentarian what he thought. The parliamentarian advised Begich that McConnell’s motion was in order.

Reid then appealed the ruling, following a script that advocates of ending the filibuster wrote long ago. What some senators call the “constitutional option,” and what others call the “nuclear option,” involves as a first step appealing a ruling that a filibuster is in order. The second step is to defeat a motion to table that appeal, which is exactly what happened next, with all but one Democrat sticking with Reid.

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With the chair overruled, McConnell’s motion was declared out of order, setting a narrow precedent that motions to suspend the rules are out of order during a post-cloture period.

But it also set a more important precedent. The advice of the parliamentarian is considered sacrosanct in the Senate. Reid’s decision to overrule him opens a gate to similar efforts that could also be done by majority vote.

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Reid’s move Thursday, in that context, is less abusive of Senate precedent than it first appears. The current rules create a situation in which two 60-vote thresholds must be met before a bill can pass, the first to end debate and the second to move to final passage. McConnell’s move to suspend the rules could have created additional 60-vote hurdles, clearly in violation of the spirit of the post-cloture period, which is intended to be a short stretch until moving to final passage.

David Waldman st Daily Kos came to this conclusion:

(T)he discussion on the floor has in fact wandered into rules reform territory, which is not altogether unfitting. If this really were the nuclear option, that would of course mean that the infamous “Gentleman’s agreement” was now inoperative, since part of that deal was that neither party would use the “constitutional option” (which would under most definitions encompass the slightly different “nuclear option” as well) in this Congress or the next. Do Republicans really want that door open? We can do that, I guess. But we might as well go all the way, then.

We’ll just have to see how much more frustrated Reid gets with the Republicans blocking everything. This may have some two years too late.

Up Date: The jobs bill failed to get enough votes to pass cloture. Looks like Harry still hasn’t found his last nerve with Republican obstruction.  

Oct 07 2011

2011 AL Playoffs- Tigers at Yankees Game 5

It’s kind of easy to dump on the Yankees because they are the most expensive team in the biggest market.

The problem with that kind of thinking is that it doesn’t recognize the most important part of professional athletics which is that these teams are not businesses in the traditional sense (profits, losses, dividends, shareholders) but rather gigantic masturbatory ego advertisements for billionaires like Lamborghinis and yachts, the next best thing to Potlach bonfires of cash.

chirp en a spaniel

Say what you like about George and the machine he built, at least he put his money where his mouth was and invested in producing winners instead of milking every last dime he could out of gullible rubes.