11/03/2011 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”.

Robert Reich: Greece’s Choice – and Ours: Democracy or Finance?

Which do you trust more: democracy or financial markets?

Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou decided in favor of democracy yesterday when he announced a national referendum on the draconian budget cuts Europe and the IMF are demanding from Greece in return for bailing it out.

(Or, more accurately, the cuts Europe and the IMF are demanding for bailing out big European banks that have lent Greece lots of money and stand to lose big if Greece defaults on those loans – not to mention Wall Street banks that will also suffer because of their intertwined financial connections with European banks.)

If Greek voters accept the bailout terms, unemployment will rise even further in Greece, public services will be cut more than they have already, the Greek economy will contract, and the standard of living of most Greeks will deteriorate further.

If Greek voters reject the terms and the nation defaults, it will face far higher borrowing costs in the future. This may reduce the standard of living of most Greeks, too. But it doesn’t have to. Without the austerity measures the rest of Europe and the IMF are demanding, the Greek economy has a better chance of growing and more Greeks are likely to find jobs.

Richard Reeves: American Decline Is Crushing the Middle Class

LOS ANGELES-By chance, the three things that landed in my inbox-that’s a polite euphemism for “pile”-on Tuesday were these:

The Hill, one of Washington’s all-politics-all-the-time journals, with a headline that read: “Most Voters Say the U.S. Is in Decline.”

Under that was Tom Friedman and Michael Mandelbaum’s new book, “That Used to Be Us-How America Fell Behind in the World It Invented.”

And there was a tear sheet from the Los Angeles Times that hit me especially hard. The headline: “Access to Community Colleges May Be Rationed: After years of cuts, the state’s open-door system must change, a task force suggests.”

The smaller headline on the Hill piece was: “The Hill Poll shows that the American spirit has been sapped. An overwhelming number of voters believe the current troubles presage a longer, deeper fall.” The “overwhelming number” was 69 percent, including an astounding number of Republicans, 90 percent, thinking we’re all going to hell in a handbasket. Only 21 percent of all respondents think the lives of their children will be better than their own.

Gail Collins: Day of the Armadillo

Important News You May Have Missed Dept.: While you and I have been spending the fall worrying about the secret talks of the Congressional supercommittee or trying to determine whether it would be a fun idea to dress as Rick Santorum for Halloween, other even more fascinating news events have been occurring.

I am thinking in particular of a recent story out of Dallas: “Man Allegedly Beat Woman With Frozen Armadillo.”

Here’s a test. Would you rather hear some details about the Congressional supercommittee or more about the armadillo? I thought so.


Sexual harassment is a serious subject. But Herman Cain isn’t. Honestly, I tried. I read his book. I watched the debate. Had many interesting conversations. But I can’t go there anymore. I do not believe that under any circumstances the Republicans are going to vote for a motivational speaker who seems to regard running for president of the United States as an expanded book tour.

A Herman Cain presidency is much less likely than the chances you’ll be thunked by an armor-plated piece of chili meat while shopping for dinner. So, really, I think I’m done.

Robert Sheer: Too Big to Jail

Can we all agree that a $1 billion swindle represents a lot of money, and the fact that Citigroup agreed last week to pay a $285 million fine to settle SEC charges for “misleading investors” demonstrates a damning admission of culpability?

So why has Robert Rubin, the onetime treasury secretary who went on to become Citigroup chairman during the time of the corporation’s financial shenanigans, never been held accountable for this and other deep damage done to the U.S. economy on his watch?

E.J. Dionne, Jr.: Romney and the South Carolina Conundrum

COLUMBIA, S.C.-Can Mitt Romney be dislodged as the fragile but disciplined front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination? If he can, South Carolina is the best bet for the role of spoiler.

Republican primary voters here have historically ratified establishment choices, but the old establishment has been displaced by new forms of conservative political activism, the tea party being only the latest band of rebels.

South Carolina conservatives also seem representative of their peers around the country in being uncertain and more than a trifle confused about the choices they have been handed. They are skeptical of Romney, disappointed by Rick Perry’s early performance, were enchanted by Herman Cain-a spell that may soon be broken-and are not sure what to make of the rest of the field.

George Zornick: Progressives on Supercommittee Marginalized Amidst Deficit Theater

For the austerity class in Washington, yesterday was high theater. The Congressional supercommittee on deficit reduction heard hours of testimony from people who served on other deficit commissions about how best to cut the government’s budget. Both Alan Simpson and Erksine Bowles, of the Bowles-Simpson Commission, testified, as did Alice Rivlin and Pete Domenici, who have their own deficit reduction plan.

A morality play about the evils of national debt unfolded: the scene, as set by Domenici, was a fiscal house in disarray-“We have rats, holes in the roof and grass growing window high,” he said. Bowles-a board member at Wall Street megafirm Morgan Stanley-invoked his grandchildren and told the supercommittee not to “fail the country” by not agreeing on a major deficit reduction plan. Rivlin, who helped Representative Paul Ryan craft his Medicare privatization plan, proclaimed that “this committee can change the course of economic history for the better.”

William Rivers Pitt: Republicans Crack Me Up

Upon cracking open the Washington Post home page early Tuesday morning, I counted no less than eleven stories about GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain’s not good very bad day on Monday. That bad day started with a Politico article detailing two separate incidents of accused sexual harassment leveled at Cain in the 1990s. Before anyone had a chance to decide whether or not the charges had merit, Mr. Cain and his people took the report and transmogrified it into the one thing the Washington press corps loves above all else: a juicy cover-up story.

To wit: Mr. Cain and his people changed their minds about how to respond to the Politico report, quite literally, every fifteen minutes or so. Josh Marshall of Talking Points Memo succinctly summed up the run of the Cain crew’s reaction throughout the day: “1. Politico allegations are false. Story is crap; 2. Yes, there were allegations. But they were false; 3. Yes there were allegations that were false and I don’t know what money was paid; 4. I don’t know whether money was paid. And it would be wrong for me to find out whether money was paid because it’s confidential; 5. There was a in-depth investigation. And I was cleared. But I don’t know anything about it; 6. Here’s the gesture that led to my getting accused of harassment; 7. Okay, I remember some discussion of a settlement number.”

Occupy Wall St. Livestream: Day 48

Watch live streaming video from globalrevolution at livestream.com


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

Occupy Wall Street NYC now has a web site for its General Assembly  with up dates and information. Very informative and user friendly. It has information about events, a bulletin board, groups and minutes of the GA meetings.

NYC General Assembly #OccupyWallStreet

The People vs. Goldman Sachs – Trial and March!

On November 3rd, the People, the 99 percent, will hold A People’s Hearing of Goldman Sachs in Liberty Square Park and march on Goldman Sachs! The people will bring to justice perhaps the single most egregious perpetrator of economic fraud and corruption in the United States. The Hearing will include testimonials from individuals directly affected by Goldman’s fraudulent manipulation of financial markets, including victims of housing foreclosures, pension losses, public lay-offs and untenable student debt.

The proceedings will also include expert analysis from Ralph Nader, Cornel West and Chris Hedges. Following the 99-minute hearing the people will decide on a fair and deliverable verdict via our own process of consensus-based direct democracy – and we intend to deliver it ourselves – to the headquarters of Goldman Sachs at 200 West Street, eight blocks from Liberty Square. We will ask for something our judicial and legislative systems have so far failed to deliver – the return of billions of taxpayer dollars to the 99 percent and criminal sentences for those Goldman Sachs executives who carried out the fraud. The event will be broadcast live via the Occupy Wall Street Livestream, among other public media outlets.

Read More…

Thousands attend protests in Oakland

Occupy marchers descend on city’s banks and close main thoroughfares and port

Watch live streaming video from occupyoakland at livestream.com

Thousands of people have attended a general strike organised by Occupy Oakland, closing streets, squares, banks and the port.

About 300 people gathered at Frank H Ogawa Plaza at 9am, the first of three rallies called by Occupy protesters during the day of action. Others soon joined, closing the main thoroughfares in central Oakland and marching on banks in the city.

Occupy Oakland protesters voted for the action on Wednesday, the day after police cleared Occupy campers from the plaza, seriously injuring former marine Scott Olsen in the process.

“Today is about saying no to the 1% and yes to the 99%,” said Cat Brooks, a long-time Oakland activist and campaigner against police violence. “This is a warning, a test, to the 1%. We don’t need them, they need us.”

Veterans Join Occupy Wall Street Demonstrations

A potentially powerful new element joins Occupy Wall Street as military veterans in uniform took to the streets in New York, marching from Vietnam Veterans Plaza to Zuccotti Park Wednesday, enlisting the campaign to spotlight issues of social and economic injustice.

Veterans have “a unique opportunity to continue serving here at home through our participation in this civic movement for change,” said Andrew Johnson, president of the New York City chapter of Iraq Veterans Against the War, which organized Wednesday’s march.


Their grievances tend to be deep and personal as they face the challenges of coming home from war. The unemployment rate for veterans, at 12.4 percent, is due to climb as thousands of military personnel flood out of the ranks into an extremely competitive job market, with the Defense Department cutting back on manpower this year and in the years ahead.

On this Day In History November 3

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.

November 3 is the 307th day of the year (308th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 58 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1964, residents of the District of Columbia cast their ballots in a presidential election for the first time. The passage of the 23rd Amendment in 1961 gave citizens of the nation’s capital the right to vote for a commander in chief and vice president. They went on to help Democrat Lyndon Johnson defeat Republican Barry Goldwater in 1964, the next presidential election.

Washington, D.C., formally the District of Columbia and commonly referred to as Washington, the District, or simply D.C., is the capital of the United States, founded on July 16, 1790. Article One of the United States Constitution provides for a federal district, distinct from the states, to serve as the permanent national capital. The City of Washington was originally a separate municipality within the federal territory until an act of Congress in 1871 established a single, unified municipal government for the whole District. It is for this reason that the city, while legally named the District of Columbia, is known as Washington, D.C. Named in honor of George Washington, the city shares its name with the U.S. state of Washington located on the country’s Pacific coast.

On July 16, 1790, the Residence Act provided for a new permanent capital to be located on the Potomac River, the exact area to be selected by President Washington. As permitted by the U.S. Constitution, the initial shape of the federal district was a square, measuring 10 miles (16 km) on each side, totaling 100 square miles (260 km2). During 1791-92, Andrew Ellicott and several assistants, including Benjamin Banneker, surveyed the border of the District with both Maryland and Virginia, placing boundary stones at every mile point. Many of the stones are still standing. A new “federal city” was then constructed on the north bank of the Potomac, to the east of the established settlement at Georgetown. On September 9, 1791, the federal city was named in honor of George Washington, and the district was named the Territory of Columbia, Columbia being a poetic name for the United States in use at that time. Congress held its first session in Washington on November 17, 1800.

The Organic Act of 1801 officially organized the District of Columbia and placed the entire federal territory, including the cities of Washington, Georgetown, and Alexandria, under the exclusive control of Congress. Further, the unincorporated territory within the District was organized into two counties: the County of Washington to the east of the Potomac and the County of Alexandria to the west. Following this Act, citizens located in the District were no longer considered residents of Maryland or Virginia, thus ending their representation in Congress.

The Twenty-third Amendment to the United States Constitution was ratified in 1961, granting the District three votes in the Electoral College for the election of President and Vice President, but still no voting representation in Congress.

My Little Town 20111102: My Little Church

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.

Hackett had several churches, both in town and outside of town.  I can think of three in town, a Southern Baptist, and Assembly of God, and my little church, the Hackett Methodist Church.  I do not know when it was formed, but the old building had extremely high ceilings, frosted whitish windows, handsome hanging light fixtures, and a belfry.

There were four rooms:  the main sanctuary and three smaller rooms for children’s Sunday School, divided by age into preschool, grade school, and high school.  The adults used the main sanctuary for their Sunday School.

I can not remember exactly how many pews the old building held, but I would guess that it would seat around 200 people, hardly ever seen except for Christmas, Easter, and some weddings.  Normally around 40 or so people, including children would attend on any given Sunday.