Daily Archive: 10/10/2011

Oct 10 2011

2011 ALCS- Tigers at Rangers Game 2

It’s really hard to remember what happened Saturday what with the 2 Rain Delays and Suzuka, but at least last night they had the good sense to cancel early so I could take a nap and the really stellar news is that this afternoon’s game is going to wipe out Faux’s schedule until early evening.

When last we left them the Tigers had just lost a squeaker, 2 – 3, at the Rangers leaving them trailing in the series 1 – 0.  Optimistic fans will say that doesn’t matter so much as you’re always playing for a split away and wins at home.  Plus, of the last 23 7 Game Series, the winner of the initial game went on to ultimate victory only 13 to 10 times.

Sure I’m whistling in the dark here.  I hate the Rangers and want them to lose.

Last night’s rainout will mix up the pitching rotation down the road, but for today it will be Max Scherzer and Derek Holland.  Scherzer is remarkably inconsistent, Yankees fans should think A.J. Burnett.  It also created some breathing space in the Bullpen for the Rangers so Ogando will be available.  Scherzer gets an extra day of rest after a 1 1/3 inning relief appearance.

The other big news is that Magglio Ordonez has re-injured his ankle and will be out for the rest of the post-season.  He’ll be replaced by Delmon Young who was pulled from the roster against the Yankees with a strained oblique.

Oct 10 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: Panic of the Plutocrats

It remains to be seen whether the Occupy Wall Street protests will change America’s direction. Yet the protests have already elicited a remarkably hysterical reaction from Wall Street, the super-rich in general, and politicians and pundits who reliably serve the interests of the wealthiest hundredth of a percent.

And this reaction tells you something important – namely, that the extremists threatening American values are what F.D.R. called “economic royalists,” not the people camping in Zuccotti Park.

Consider first how Republican politicians have portrayed the modest-sized if growing demonstrations, which have involved some confrontations with the police – confrontations that seem to have involved a lot of police overreaction – but nothing one could call a riot. And there has in fact been nothing so far to match the behavior of Tea Party crowds in the summer of 2009.

New York Times Editorial: The Myth of Voter Fraud

It has been a record year for new legislation designed to make it harder for Democrats to vote – 19 laws and two executive actions in 14 states dominated by Republicans, according to a new study by the Brennan Center for Justice. As a result, more than five million eligible voters will have a harder time participating in the 2012 election.

Of course the Republicans passing these laws never acknowledge their real purpose, which is to turn away from the polls people who are more likely to vote Democratic, particularly the young, the poor, the elderly and minorities. They insist that laws requiring government identification cards to vote are only to protect the sanctity of the ballot from unscrupulous voters. Cutting back on early voting, which has been popular among working people who often cannot afford to take off from their jobs on Election Day, will save money, they claim.

None of these explanations are true. There is almost no voting fraud in America. And none of the lawmakers who claim there is have ever been able to document any but the most isolated cases. The only reason Republicans are passing these laws is to give themselves a political edge by suppressing Democratic votes.

Robert Reich: The Wall Street Occupiers and the Democratic Party

Will the Wall Street Occupiers morph into a movement that has as much impact on the Democratic Party as the Tea Party has had on the GOP? Maybe. But there are reasons for doubting it.

Tea Partiers have been a mixed blessing for the GOP establishment – a source of new ground troops and energy but also a pain in the assets with regard to attracting independent voters. As Rick Perry and Mitt Romney square off, that pain will become more evident.

So far the Wall Street Occupiers have helped the Democratic Party. Their inchoate demand that the rich pay their fair share is tailor-made for the Democrats’ new plan for a 5.6 percent tax on millionaires, as well as the President’s push to end the Bush tax cut for people with incomes over $250,000 and to limit deductions at the top.

And the Occupiers give the President a potential campaign theme. “These days, a lot of folks who are doing the right thing aren’t rewarded and a lot of folks who aren’t doing the right thing are rewarded,” he said at his news conference this week, predicting that the frustration fueling the Occupiers will “express itself politically in 2012 and beyond until people feel like once again we’re getting back to some old-fashioned American values.”

But if Occupy Wall Street coalesces into something like a real movement, the Democratic Party may have more difficulty digesting it than the GOP has had with the Tea Party.

William Rivers Pitt: Bank On It: They’re Scared

Far be it from me to accuse Gandhi of missing a note, but in the case of the ‘Occupy Wall Street’ protests, the Mahatma’s famous quote appears to be lacking a few essential words. “First they ignore you,” he said, “then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win.”

That’s not quite correct.

Certainly, the OWS protests began with a great whistling silence from the “mainstream” news media. It is only because of the resources available to the average person in this marvelous technological age we live in that word of the protest ever reached beyond its original location.

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First they ignore you.

Then they ridicule you.

Then they get scared.

Then they fight you.

Then you win.

I don’t think the Mahatma would mind this small edition to his statement. It fits.

And it’s true. They are scared.

You can smell it.

Les Leopold: Ten Things to Know About Wall Street’s Rapacious Attack on America

But now Americans are fighting back and there’s no telling where Occupy Wall Street can lead.

When you climb out of the subway at Wall Street, you might wonder why there are no protestors in the cavernous alley by the stock exchange. That’s because since 9/11, Wall Street has been barricaded shut to prevent possible attacks. But up the block at Zuccotti Park between Liberty and Cedar streets, west of Broadway, the party’s on.

There you’ll find a festive group of about 1,000 people, mostly young folks having a good time accompanied by the occasional cluster of old lefties singing songs. People make signs while sitting on the ground then prop them up wherever they can find a space. They gather at tables filled with donated food and browse boxes of donated books. You also can’t miss the swarm of media folks milling around asking questions, taping interviews and taking notes: they’re the ones in dress suits who spend most of their time interviewing each other. My favorite sign held by an occupier is painted on a skateboard: “This is what Freedom Looks Like.” My son would agree.

And my recurring thought is, “It’s about f’ing time.”

John Nichols: Hypocrisy Share Values Soar as Tea Party Republicans Accuse Occupy Wall Street of ‘Dividing Americans’

If share values could be devised for hypocrisy, Eric Cantor’s would be soaring.

When Tea Party activists swarmed Washington, DC, in 2009, the Virginia congressman hailed them with “fighting” words.

>Now, however, the No. 2 Republican in the House is attacking the Occupy Wall Street movement for pitting “Americans against Americans.”

Cantor’s not the only protest hypocrite. Republican presidential contender Herman Cain, a Tea Party favorite known for his anti-Muslim rants, is attacking Occupy Wall Street protests as “Un-American.” Rush Limbaugh is condemning the demonstrators as “parasites.”

But it is Cantor who is cornering the hypocrisy market.

David Macaray: Who Can Believe How Far We’ve Fallen?

How many stockbrokers, lawyers, bankers, accountants, or aluminum siding salesmen would turn down a big, fat pay raise if it came with strings attached? What if accepting that raise was contingent upon future new-hires being denied the opportunity to earn those same wages? Would they make a personal sacrifice for these unsuspecting, future employees-reject a pay raise as a matter of principle-or would they take the money and run? My guess is that most would take the money.

And yet we hear the pejorative term “sell-out” applied to union negotiators who agree to two-tier arrangements. Under a two-tier wage/benefit schedule, new-hires can never receive the same compensation as those employees already on the payroll. We hear “sell-out” applied to the UAW (United Auto Workers), and, unfortunately, we hear it applied with little or no understanding of how ferociously the union resisted it, or how forcefully the two-tier configuration was crammed down their throats.

Oct 10 2011

Occupy Wall St. Livestream: Day 24

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

Fellow blogger and one of the long term under-/unemployed, Jesse LaGrega, participated in ABC’s “This Week with Christiane Amanpour”. He not only held his own with the Village pundits, he left George Will speechless and shreds out of touch elitist Peggy Noonan.

Jesse was also recognized by Truthdig as their Truthdigger of the Week for his priceless take down of Fox News and educating them about Occupy Wall Street. Congratulations to Jesse. Now somebody give this man a job in the media.

From Scarecrow at FDL:

Bill McKibben at Occupy Wall Street rally 10/8/2011

(Transcript is in Scarecrow’s article)

It sounds like a Wiccan cleansing or Christian exorcism. 🙂

Protesters Against Wall Street

As the Occupy Wall Street protests spread from Lower Manhattan to Washington and other cities, the chattering classes keep complaining that the marchers lack a clear message and specific policy prescriptions. The message – and the solutions – should be obvious to anyone who has been paying attention since the economy went into a recession that continues to sock the middle class while the rich have recovered and prospered. The problem is that no one in Washington has been listening.

At this point, protest is the message: income inequality is grinding down that middle class, increasing the ranks of the poor, and threatening to create a permanent underclass of able, willing but jobless people. On one level, the protesters, most of them young, are giving voice to a generation of lost opportunity.

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It is not the job of the protesters to draft legislation. That’s the job of the nation’s leaders, and if they had been doing it all along there might not be a need for these marches and rallies. Because they have not, the public airing of grievances is a legitimate and important end in itself. It is also the first line of defense against a return to the Wall Street ways that plunged the nation into an economic crisis from which it has yet to emerge.

Oct 10 2011

On This Day In History October 10

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 10 is the 283rd day of the year (284th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 82 days remaining until the end of the year.

On October 10, 1935, George Gershwin’s opera Porgy and Bess premieres on Broadway.

Porgy and Bess is an opera, first performed in 1935, with music by George Gershwin, libretto by DuBose Heyward, and lyrics by Ira Gershwin and DuBose Heyward. It was based on DuBose Heyward’s novel Porgy and the play of the same name which he co-wrote with his wife Dorothy Heyward. All three works deal with African American life in the fictitious Catfish Row (based on the real-life Rainbow Row) in Charleston, South Carolina, in the early 1920s.

Originally conceived by Gershwin as an “American folk opera”, Porgy and Bess premiered in New York in the fall of 1935 and featured an entire cast of classically trained African-American singers-a daring and visionary artistic choice at the time. Gershwin chose African American Eva Jessye as the choral director for the opera. Incorporating a wealth of blues and jazz idioms into the classical art form of opera, Gershwin considered it his finest work.

The work was not widely accepted in the United States as a legitimate opera until 1976, when the Houston Grand Opera production of Gershwin’s complete score established it as an artistic triumph. Nine years later the Metropolitan Opera gave their first performance of the work. This production was also broadcast as part of the ongoing Saturday afternoon live Metropolitan Opera radio broadcasts. The work is now considered part of the standard operatic repertoire and is regularly performed internationally. Despite this success, the opera has been controversial; some critics from the outset have considered it a racist portrayal of African Americans.

Summertime” is by far the best-known piece from the work, and countless interpretations of this and other individual numbers have also been recorded and performed. The second best-known number is “It Ain’t Necessarily So“. The opera is admired for Gershwin’s innovative synthesis of European orchestral techniques with American jazz and folk music idioms.

Porgy and Bess tells the story of Porgy, a disabled black beggar living in the slums of Charleston, South Carolina. It deals with his attempts to rescue Bess from the clutches of Crown, her violent and possessive lover, and Sportin’ Life, the drug dealer. Where the earlier novel and stage-play differ, the opera generally follows the stage-play.

The Porgy and Bess original cast recording was included by the National Recording Preservation Board in the Library of Congress, National Recording Registry in 2003. The board selects songs on an annual basis that are “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.”

On July 14, 1993, the United States Postal Service recognized the opera’s cultural significance by issuing a commemorative 29-cent postage stamp, and in 2001 Porgy and Bess was proclaimed the official opera of the State of South Carolina.

Oct 10 2011

Pique the Geek 20111009: All about Soap

Before we start, here is an important public service message brought to you by Translator.  There is a fraudulent email going around asking that gmail users verify their accounts by the end to the month to avoid suspension.  This is a fraud!  If you get an email from Gmail@carrierzone.com, do not respond and delete it.

We take something as mundane as soap way too much for granted.  It is not an exaggeration to say that soap has saved more lives over its history than modern medicine has over its history.  Of course, soap has a much longer history than modern medicine, but soap is still essential as a medical adjunct.

The actual origin of soap is lost in prehistory.  I suspect that the first soap like materials were plant saponins, and we shall get to them in just a bit.  Before we get into the nuts and bolts of soap (and by extension detergents), it is important to understand just how these materials work.  At first it does not seem to make a whole lot of sense, but as we continue I promise one of those “Aha!” moments.  Ready to get going?  I am!

Oct 10 2011

OWS: Grayson Schools a Conservative on the Economy with Up Date

Former Congressman and now congressional candidate from his old Florida district, Alan Grayson was a guest on Bill Maher’s Real Time on HBO along with former humorist PJ O’Rourke. When the subject turned to Occupy Wall Street Grayson gave O’Rourke a priceless lesson in basic economics.

Thanks to Crooks & Liars for both the video and the transcript.

O’Rourke: Get your shoes off, get a bongo drum, forget where to go to the bathroom and it’s yours.

Grayson: If I am the spokesman for all the people who think we should not have twenty four million people in this country who can’t find a full time job. That we should not have fifty million people who can’t see a doctor when they’re sick. That we shouldn’t have forty seven million people of this country who need government help to feed themselves. And we shouldn’t have fifteen million families who owe more on their mortgage than the value of home, OK, I’ll be that spokesman..

Up Date:

What Yves Smith said

One of the intriguing things about the commentary by the media and political operatives on OccupyWallStreet is how often they try to denigrate it, usually via ridicule and attacks on the appearance or presumed demographics of the participants. The underlying message is that the protestors are slovenly unproductive losers and hence have nothing in common with respectable middle class people. That flies in the face of the evidence on the ground, where the crowd in Zuccotti Park has gotten to be both older and more mixed ethnically than it was at its inception, and many of the Occupy demonstrations in other cities have solid representation of the middle aged and retirees.

Alan Grayson spoke with Rachel Maddow about the litany of economic grievances that are behind the Occupy Wall Street movement sweeping across America.


If you watch the video at Maddow’s site there is a transcript

Oct 10 2011

Could The Economy Have Been Different?

Washington Post columnist, Ezra Klein wonders “Could this time have been different?”

Christina Romer had traveled to Chicago to perform an unpleasant task: she needed to scare her new boss. David Axelrod, Barack Obama’s top political adviser, had been very clear about that. He thought the president-elect needed to know exactly what he would be walking into when he took the oath of office in January. But it fell to Romer to deliver the bad news.

So Romer, a preternaturally cheerful economist whose expertise on the Great Depression made her an obvious choice to head the Council of Economic Advisers, gathered her tables and her charts and, on a snowy day in mid-December, sat down to explain to the next President of the United States of America exactly what sort of mess he was inheriting.

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By that point, the shape of the crisis was clear: The housing bubble had burst, and it was taking the banks that held the loans, and the households that did the borrowing, down with it. Romer estimated that the damage would be about $2 trillion over the next two years and recommended a $1.2 trillion stimulus plan. The political team balked at that price tag, but with the support of Larry Summers, the former Treasury secretary who would soon lead the National Economic Council, she persuaded the administration to support an $800 billion plan.

The next challenge was to persuade Congress. There had never been a stimulus that big, and there hadn’t been many financial crises this severe.

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Romer and Bernstein gathered data from the Federal Reserve, from Mark Zandi at Moody’s, from anywhere they could think of. The incoming administration loved their report and wanted to release it publicly. Romer took it home over Christmas to double-check, rewrite and pick over. At 6 a.m. Jan. 10, just days before Obama would be sworn in as president, his transition team lifted the embargo on “The Job Impact of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.” It was a smash hit.

“It will be a joy to argue policy with an administration that provides comprehensible, honest reports,” enthused columnist Paul Krugman in the New York Times.

There was only one problem: It was wrong.

In his assessment of Klein’s review of why we are still in an economic quagmire, Paul Krugman generally agrees except:

Ezra Klein has a generally reasonable analysis of the Obama administration’s failure to respond with sufficient force to the economic crisis. Broadly speaking, he’s saying that the eurovenn applied: an economically adequate response lay beyond the bounds of the politically feasible.

In general, I’m trying not to do too much looking back; the question is what to do now. Still, I guess this needs addressing.

There’s certainly a lot to Ezra’s thesis. Yet I think he lets Obama and company off the hook too much.

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Now, Ezra may be right that none of this would have made much difference. But the White House was weak and confused in the face of a political and economic debacle, when it should have gone all out.

And you know what? It should still go all out. The chances of success are lower than they would have been if it had taken a strong position two years ago, but it ain’t over until it’s over.

h/t Meteor Blades