Daily Archive: 10/13/2011

Oct 13 2011

2011 ALCS- Rangers at Tigers Game 5

Ugh.  I think we’re at the ‘pray for rain’ stage of this particular series.  Fortunately there’s almost a 100% chance of that.

If Chaac fails to come through (and goodness knows he doesn’t much listen to Rick Perry’s prayers) we have another Verlander/Wilson matchup.  For the supposed aces of their staffs neither one of these guys has looked particularly dominant, of course that may be because of their Joe Btfsplk-like rainmaking qualities.

From here on the Tigers have to win every single game which is always a tough row to hoe.  Additionally they’re suffering from injuries to Martinez, Young, and Ordonez.  If you see any of them play it’s merely a sign of desperation.

In contrast the Rangers need pick up only 1 of 3 remaining (with 2 of those home games) and their only questionable starter is Beltre.  Despite (or perhaps because of) that the latest betting line favors the Tigers in this particular contest.

Who knows?  That’s why they play the games.

Oct 13 2011

Obama’s Jobs Bill Passes

In an unprecedented spirit of bipartisan cooperation, Congress passed three jobs bills. The  only problem is the bills wont create any jobs for Americans, only for Colombians, Panamanians and South Koreans.

Job-Killing Trade Deals Pass Congress Amidst Record Democratic Opposition

by Lori Wallach, Director of Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch

With nine percent unemployment and Americans desperate for job creation, it is unconscionable that President Obama and House Republicans would push through a trio of NAFTA-style job-killing trade agreements that even the government’s own studies show will increase the U.S. trade deficit.

This represents a complete flip-flop for President Obama, who won crucial swing states by pledging to overhaul our flawed trade policies. So it is no surprise that a sizeable majority of Democrats in Congress voted against these agreements, against Obama and for American jobs.

From David Dayen at FDL

They’re not a win for Colombian trade unionists, as even the weak Action Plan which has failed to protect them from murder was kept on the side and not written into the trade pact, giving it no authority. They are mainly a win for North Korean sweatshop owners and Panamanian tax haven specialists. And, I should add that the President and his entire party just got done saying that Republicans want only to sabotage the economy, and will not let anything pass that creates jobs. Now they are applauding the passage of job-creating trade agreements. Something doesn’t fit.

Economist Dean Baker on trade package – Obama calling this a job creator is ‘silliness’

One of the amendments to these Free Trade Agreements that President Obama has alleged will create jobs for Americans is supplemental benefits for workers whose jobs are shipped overseas. What? But if these agreements are suppose to create American jobs, then why would this amendment be needed? Unless the American people are once again being lied to by the Democratic resident of the Oval Office.  

Oct 13 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”.

Amy Goodman: A New Bush Era or a Push Era

Back when Barack Obama was still just a U.S. senator running for president, he told a group of donors in a New Jersey suburb, “Make me do it.” He was borrowing from President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who used the same phrase (according to Harry Belafonte, who heard the story directly from Eleanor Roosevelt) when responding to legendary union organizer A. Philip Randolph’s demand for civil rights for African-Americans.

While President Obama has made concession after concession to both the corporate-funded tea party and his Wall Street donors, now that he is again in campaign mode, his progressive critics are being warned not to attack him, as that might aid and abet the Republican bid for the White House.

Enter the 99 percenters. The Occupy Wall Street ranks continue to grow, inspiring more than 1,000 solidarity protests around the country and the globe. After weeks, and one of the largest mass arrests in U.S. history, Obama finally commented: “I think people are frustrated, and the protesters are giving voice to a more broad-based frustration about how our financial system works.” But neither he nor his advisers-or the Republicans-know what to do with this burgeoning mass movement.

Bernie Sanders: Six Demands to Make of Wall Street

The Occupy Wall Street protests are shining a national spotlight on the most powerful, dangerous, and secretive economic and political force in America.

If this country is to break out of the horrendous recession and create the millions of jobs we desperately need, if we are going to create a modicum of financial stability for the future, there is no question but that the American people are going to have to take a very hard look at Wall Street and demand fundamental reforms.  I hope these protests are the beginning of that process.  

Let us never forget that as a result of the greed, recklessness, and illegal behavior on Wall Street, this country was plunged into the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression.  Millions of Americans lost their jobs, homes, and life savings as the middle class underwent an unprecedented collapse.  Sadly, despite all the suffering caused by Wall Street, there is no reason to believe that the major financial institutions have changed their ways, or that future financial disasters and bailouts will not happen again.

David Sirota: OWS doesn’t need Bloomberg’s permission

The billionaire mayor will “allow” peaceful protesters to remain. What right did he have to remove them?

Despite fawning media coverage of a mayor from whom many elite reporters hope to get a $500,000-a-year job, there remains a simple reason why polls show that a large number of rank-and-file New Yorkers haven’t fallen for the propaganda: It’s because he behaves like he believes he’s a king.

This is a billionaire despot who weekends in Bermuda and doesn’t come home for municipal emergencies; deliberately lands himself recession-blind headlines describing him as “baronial”; makes sure public workers plow his street while the Big Apple’s citizens die; and now, most recently, declares that he has the extra-constitutional power to decide who is “allowed” in New York City and who is not.

Robert Reich: The Seven Biggest Economic Lies

The President’s Jobs Bill doesn’t have a chance in Congress – and the Occupiers on Wall Street and elsewhere can’t become a national movement for a more equitable society – unless more Americans know the truth about the economy.

Here’s a short (2 minute 30 second) effort to rebut the seven biggest whoppers now being told by those who want to take America backwards. The major points:

1. Tax cuts for the rich trickle down to everyone else

2.Higher taxes on the rich would hurt the economy and slow job growth.

3. Shrinking government generates more jobs.

4. Cutting the budget deficit now is more important than boosting the economy.

5. Medicare and Medicaid are the major drivers of budget deficits.

6. Social Security is a Ponzi scheme.

7. It’s unfair that lower-income Americans don’t pay income tax.

E. J. Dionne, Jr.: The Rise of the Reverse Houdinis

Washington – So let’s see: The solution to large-scale abuses of the financial system, a breakdown of the private sector, extreme economic inequality and the failure of companies and individuals to invest and create jobs is — well, to give even more money and power to very wealthy people, to disable government and to trust those who got us into the mess to get us out of it.

That’s a brief summary of the news from the Republican Party this week. It’s what Republican candidates said during the Washington Post-Bloomberg debate, and it’s the signal Senate Republicans sent in voting as a bloc against President Obama’s jobs bill. Don’t just do something, stand there.

Jules Boykoff: Occupy Wall Street: Reclaiming Public Space, Reclaiming Dignity

As the public-space prairie fire known as Occupy Wall Street spreads across the country from New York to Portland, it’s becoming glaringly apparent activists are pinging the political target. In the face of both predictable right-wing detractors as well as high-profile liberals who want a crisp list of specific demands, activists have rejected top-down, slicker than slick press-release politics in favor of messy, slow, ground-up politics — the essence of radical democracy. Because the movement is leaderless, it has left the media rudderless.

At first many journalists were befuddled, wondering what the movement stood for. This is a bit odd. After all, the movement is called Occupy Wall Street and one of its central slogans is “We are the 99 percent.” People are fed up with the wealthiest 1 percent reaping the economic rewards, with the super-rich stuffing their pockets while the rest of us — the 99 percent — are left holding the bag.

Oct 13 2011

Occupy Wall St. Livestream: Day 27

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

Blogger extraordinaire, Jesse LaGreca, aka MinistryOfTruth, was interviewed by Susie Madrak of Crooks & Liars. Jesse recounted at Daily Kos about being assaulted by a man who was pitching a fit and looking for a fight and discovered that James O’Keefe was lurking in Liberty Park, as well as, some right wing trolls. He warned that the “Empire” is striking back.

Wall Street Occupier Jesse LaGreca Talks To C&L From An Alley Near Zuccotti Park

The Los Angeles City Council has introduced a three page resolution in support of #OccupyLA that is expected to pass today. h/t Crooks & Liars

From Kevin Gosztola , who has been indefatigable in his coverage of #OWS at FDL:

The “Occupy” Movement: Angry at a System Rigged by Both Parties

The issue of the Democratic Party trying to co-opt the growing “Occupy” movement has become a topic of establishment media conversation. It is being discussed through the lens of whether this movement will do for Democrats what the Tea Party did for Republicans in 2010. It is also being discussed in terms of how to use the broad-based anger and energy to advance Democratic policy proposals in Congress. []

Democrats may believe “people are people” but they certainly haven’t done anything to address the issue of corporate personhood in America. The passage of the Credit Cardholder’s Bill of Rights is nothing to tout. As William Greider of The Nation wrote, it basically consisted of regulatory rules that had previously been adopted by the Federal Reserve. It gave the industry nine additional months to “gouge” customers before the new rules went into effect. And, Visa and MasterCard, Citigroup and JPMorgan Chase were “free to raise future interest rates to the sky-without limit.” Additionally, Schultz must be lunatic if she thinks this group is going to coalesce behind the nomination of Richard Cordray, whom Obama picked because he didn’t want to upset his Wall Street donors and push for Elizabeth Warren to be nominated. []

The people’s ability to influence power has been neutralized by corporate and special interest money. It has been neutralized by bureaucracies whose existence in government is more important than the damage they do to liberty and justice in society. And, it has been neutralized by two parties who give Americans the illusion of choice and cite the other party’s most frightening and upsetting features to intimidate citizens into perpetuating and reinforcing the worst aspects of the system.

The people have woken up. They won’t go to sleep because they realize the last option they have for improving their lives and the greater society is public rebellion. Everything else is futile.

Included in Kevin’s great analysis of the Democrats’ attempts to co-opt the OWS movement was this segment of “Hardball” with Chris Matthews and Ron Reagan

   REAGAN: This is a movement that has a broad-based anger and the challenge it seems to me for the Democratic Party if they want to somehow join the movement or co-opt the movement, however you want to put it, is that these folks are just as mad at them as they are with the Republicans. The Republicans may be more egregiously in the hip pocket of Wall Street and the bankers but the Democrats are too. There are plenty of Democratic congressmen and senators who have staked their whole careers on providing tax loopholes for the richest 1%. They’re not the natural allies of the “Occupy Wall Street” movement.

   MATTHEWS: And, by the way, let’s not forget the Democrats controlled both Houses of Congress and the White House at numerous times in our lifetime and they didn’t fix the tax system when they had all the power in the world. []

   REAGAN:The problem is, again, that these people are angry at a system that has been rigged by both parties to serve moneyed interests. The Democrats have been complicit in that just as the Republicans have been complicit in that. Your question to Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, “What are you going to offer these people?” is exactly the question. What are the Democrats going to offer these people? Are they going to throw some bankers in jail? Are they going to close the loopholes for the richest 1%? I’m not so sure that all the Democrats are on board with that.

   MATTHEWS: I wonder if both parties aren’t hoping for colder weather to come soon because then they can say what a great demonstration of unhappiness and how wonderful it’s over because then we don’t have to worry about it anymore.

Matthews is a clueless, twit. The cold didn’t stop the protests in Madison, WI.

Oct 13 2011

On This Day In History October 13

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 13 is the 286th day of the year (287th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 79 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day on 1792, the cornerstone for the White House in laid in Washington, DC.

In 1800, President John Adams became the first president to reside in the executive mansion, which soon became known as the “White House” because its white-gray Virginia freestone contrasted strikingly with the red brick of nearby buildings.

Architectural competition

The President’s house was a major feature of Pierre (Peter) Charles L’Enfant’s’s plan for the newly established federal city, Washington, D.C. The architect of the White House was chosen in a design competition, which received nine proposals, including one submitted anonymously by Thomas Jefferson. The nation’s first president, George Washington, traveled to the site of the federal city on July 16, 1792, to make his judgment. His review is recorded as being brief, and he quickly selected the submission of James Hoban, an Irishman living in Charleston, South Carolina. Washington was not entirely pleased with the original Hoban submission, however; he found it too small, lacking ornament, and not fitting the nation’s president. On Washington’s recommendation, the house was enlarged by thirty percent; the present East Room, likely inspired by the large reception room at Mount Vernon, was added.

Construction

Construction of the White House began with the laying of the cornerstone on October 13, 1792, although there was no formal ceremony. The main residence, as well as foundations of the house, were built largely by enslaved and free African-American laborers, as well as employed Europeans. Much of the other work on the house was performed by immigrants, many not yet with citizenship. The sandstone walls were erected by Scottish immigrants, employed by Hoban, as were the high relief rose and garland decorations above the north entrance and the “fish scale” pattern beneath the pediments of the window hoods. The initial construction took place over a period of eight years, at a reported cost of $232,371.83 ($2.8 million in 2007 dollars). Although not yet completed, the White House was ready for occupancy on or circa November 1, 1800.

Shortages, including material and labor, forced alterations to the earlier plan developed by French engineer Pierre Charles L’Enfant for a “palace” that was five times larger than the house that was eventually built.] The finished structure contained only two main floors instead of the planned three, and a less costly brick served as a lining for the stone facades. When construction was finished the porous sandstone walls were coated with a mixture of lime, rice glue, casein, and lead, giving the house its familiar color and name.

As it is a famed structure in America, many replicas of the White House have been constructed.

Oct 13 2011

My Little Town 20111012. This is the Way that we Washed the Clothes

Those of you that read this regular series know that I am from Hackett, Arkansas, just a mile or 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.

Here is how we washed clothes back when I was little.  We had a wringer washer, and it was not automatic at all.  Actually, it could be a fairly dangerous piece of equipment, especially for older women with pendulous breasts.  I mean that as no insult at all, but they were sort of “grabby”.

However, for folks who liked to line dry their clothes, they were the best.  I shall try to include some pictures here, so here we go!

Oct 13 2011

2011 NLCS- Brewers at Cardinals Game 3

All even going into St. Louis where we will have a 55% chance of rain and the question is whether Chris Carpenter will be available for Game 7 if it happens and it happens on time.

He’ll be facing Yovani Gallardo in another duel of the aces.  Nothing more boring than that.

The Brewers are under a bit of pressure because of their loss Monday, not from the margin which was due to an incredible performance from Pujols, but because strategically they have to win on the road against the Cardinals.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that, as you are aware I’m rooting for the Cards to win it all, but it’s causing some tension with my dad, Richard, who’s an honorary Cheesehead (I’m only half troll).

Not that he cares all that much, both he and Mom are die hard Yankee fans since they moved their games to Newsradio 88 (traffic and weather together at 8, 18, 28, 38, 48, and 58 minutes past the hour) and he shows more interest in hating on the Rangers (“they have ‘Texas’ in their name and that’s all I need to know”).

Yup, us Metropolitan supporters are masochistic rebels.

Oct 13 2011

More Insanity: Corporate Tax Holiday Backed By Blue Dogs

Everyone one of these Democrats should lose the support of the DCCC and be primaried.

Blue Dogs backing corporate tax holiday

House Blue Dogs are on board with a temporary corporate tax holiday they argue will boost economic growth.

The group joined a growing bipartisan chorus pressing the congressional deficit-reduction committee to give U.S. multinational corporations a tax break in exchange for investing at home.

[]

The Blue Dog Coalition is backing a bipartisan bill sponsored by Reps. Jim Matheson (D-Utah) and Kevin Brady (R-Texas) that would remove a barrier keeping upwards of $1.4 trillion in American private-sector money overseas, which is similar to a Senate bill introduced last week by Sens. Kay Hagan (D-N.C.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.).

I have no idea what experts they are citing the article doesn’t say. I do know the history if the last time this was done in 2004 when they gave 92% of the money to themselves. Nor did the law which stated the money could not be used to raise dividends or to repurchase shares, stop them.:

There is no evidence that companies that took advantage of the tax break – which enabled them to bring home, or repatriate, overseas profits while paying a tax rate far below the normal rate – used the money as Congress expected.

“Repatriations did not lead to an increase in domestic investment, employment or R.& D., even for the firms that lobbied for the tax holiday stating these intentions,” concluded the study by three economists, including a former official of the Bush administration who took part in the discussions leading to enactment of the plan in 2004.

The study, titled “Watch What I Do, Not What I Say: The Unintended Consequences of the Homeland Investment Act,” was released this week by the National Bureau of Economic Research. It was written by Dhammika Dharmapala, a law professor at the University of Illinois; C. Fritz Foley, an associate professor of finance at Harvard Business School; and Kristin J. Forbes, a professor of economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology who was a member of the president’s council of economic advisers from 2003 to 2005.

“The restrictions on how the money will be spent seem to have been completely ineffective,” Ms. Forbes said in an interview this week.

“Dell was a great example,” she added, referring to Dell Computer. “They lobbied very hard for the tax holiday. They said part of the money would be brought back to build a new plant in Winston-Salem, N.C. They did bring back $4 billion, and spent $100 million on the plant, which they admitted would have been built anyway. About two months after that, they used $2 billion for a share buyback.”

The give away also cost the country more than 500,000 jobs:

Following a tax holiday on repatriated foreign earnings in 2004, 58 corporations that benefitted from the holiday slashed a total of nearly 600,000 jobs. These 58 giant corporations accounted for nearly 70 percent of the total repatriated funds and collectively saved an estimated $64 billion from what they otherwise would have owed in taxes.

According to the Joint Committee on Taxation this current clamor by for a tax holiday by the multinational corporations that barely pay any taxes now, would cost the US $80 billion and would do nothing to reduce the deficit and wouldn’t protect or create jobs:

Representative Lloyd Doggett, a Texas Democrat who is a senior member of the Ways and Means Committee, yesterday circulated an estimate from the Joint Committee on Taxation pegging the cost of a repatriation bill at $78.7 billion. An unsuccessful effort to create a similar holiday in 2009 would have cost the U.S. government about $30 billion over a decade in forgone revenue.

“This means we will have to borrow more from foreign creditors or shift a greater burden to American small businesses and families,” Doggett said. Congressional estimators projected that companies would repatriate about $700 billion if offered a 5.25 percent rate, compared with $300 billion during the tax holiday enacted in 2004.

[]

Democrats also maintain that the bill does too little to protect jobs at companies that repatriate overseas funds. They have pointed to such examples as Hewlett-Packard Co. (HPQ), which returned $14.5 billion to the U.S. at a low rate in 2004 and cut its workforce by 14,500 employees in 2005.

Primary these idiots