11/06/2011 archive

Rant of the Week: Stephen Colbert


The Department of Justice releases a full-color, 151-page cost report proving no government money was wasted on muffins.

On this Day In History November 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.

November 6 is the 310th day of the year (311th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 55 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1860, Abraham Lincoln is elected the 16th President of the United States over a deeply divided Democratic Party, becoming the first Republican to win the presidency. Lincoln received only 40 percent of the popular vote but handily defeated the three other candidates: Southern Democrat John C. Breckinridge, Constitutional Union candidate John Bell, and Northern Democrat Stephen Douglas, a U.S. senator for Illinois.

Lincoln received 1,866,452 votes, Douglas 1,376,957 votes, Breckinridge 849,781 votes, and Bell 588,789 votes. The electoral vote was decisive: Lincoln had 180 and his opponents added together had only 123. Turnout was 82.2%, with Lincoln winning the free Northern states. Douglas won Missouri, and split New Jersey with Lincoln. Bell won Virginia, Tennessee, and Kentucky, and Breckinridge won the rest of the South. There were fusion tickets in which all of Lincoln’s opponents combined to form one ticket in New York, New Jersey, and Rhode Island, but even if the anti-Lincoln vote had been combined in every state, Lincoln still would have won a majority in the electoral college.

As Lincoln’s election became evident, secessionists made clear their intent to leave the Union. On December 20, 1860, South Carolina took the lead; by February 1, 1861, Florida, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, and Texas followed. The seven states soon declared themselves to be a sovereign nation, the Confederate States of America. The upper South (Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky, Missouri, and Arkansas) listened to, but initially rejected, the secessionist appeal. President Buchanan and President-elect Lincoln refused to recognize the Confederacy. There were attempts at compromise, such as the Crittenden Compromise, which would have extended the Missouri Compromise line of 1820, and which some Republicans even supported. Lincoln rejected the idea, saying, “I will suffer death before I consent…to any concession or compromise which looks like buying the privilege to take possession of this government to which we have a constitutional right.”

Lincoln, however, did support the Corwin Amendment to the Constitution, which had passed in Congress and protected slavery in those states where it already existed. A few weeks before the war, he went so far as to pen a letter to every governor asking for their support in ratifying the Corwin Amendment as a means to avoid secession.

Occupy Wall St. Livestream: Day 51

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

Transforming Harm & Building Safety: Confronting Sexual Violence At Occupy Wall Street & Beyond

On the morning of October 29, a woman participating in OWS was sexually assaulted at Liberty Square. The person who she identified as having assaulted her was arrested on November 1 for a previous assault and is currently incarcerated. [..]

We have been saddened and angered to observe some members of the media and the public blame the survivor for the assault. A survivor is never at fault. It is unacceptable to criticize a survivor for the course of action they chose to take or their community for supporting them in that choice. Additionally, we were troubled at the time of her report that responding police officers appeared to be more concerned by her political involvement in OWS than her need for support after a traumatic incident of sexual violence. A survivor is not at fault for being assaulted while peacefully participating in a public protest to express their political opinions. We are aware that this is one of several known cases of sexual assault that have occurred at OWS. We are dismayed by these appalling acts and distressed by the fear among many Occupiers that they have caused, as well as their negative impact on our ability to safely participate in public protests. We have the right to participate in peaceful protests without fear of violence. [..]

We are creating and sharing strategies that educate and transform our community into a culture of consent, safety, and well-being. At OWS, these strategies currently include support circles, counseling, consent trainings, safer sleeping spaces, self-defense trainings, community watch, awareness campaigns, and other evolving community-based processes to address harm. We encourage survivors to connect with support and advocates, and to access medical, legal, and social services, as well as available community-based options, many of which are listed below. We stand together as a community to work towards the prevention of sexual violence and harassment, and to provide unwavering support for anyone who has been assaulted. We commit to creating a culture of visibility, support, and advocacy for survivors, and of accountability for people who have committed harm.

With hope and solidarity,

Members of the survivor’s support team at Occupy Wall Street

Occupy Wall Street Erects Women-Only Tent After Reports Of Sexual Assaults

In the wake of an alleged rape and a sexual assault in Zuccotti Park that resulted in the arrest of an Occupy Wall Street protester earlier this week, the movement has erected a women-only safe-space sleeping tent. According to the Post the 16-square-foot metal-framed tent will be watched by female members of the de-escalation team, and can sleep 18 people. “This is all about safety in numbers,” 24-year-old protester Becky Wartell says.

One 23-year-old woman tells the paper that she’ll be sleeping in the safe space “partially because of the recent attacks that have been happening.” She adds, “I think that this will help bring more women to the movement as well. I think a lot of women have been hesitant and especially for those that are new and don’t know a lot of people it’s hard to find a safe place to stay.”

Occupy Wall Street protesters get their own potties

For seven weeks, the occupiers of Zuccotti Park — a block from Wall Street — were mostly relying on fast-food restaurants and the kindness of other establishments to do their personal business. But neighbors complained to public officials, including Mayor Michael Bloomberg, that demonstrators were also urinating and defecating outdoors.

The group’s website announced Friday afternoon that Occupy Wall Street “is providing access to porta-potties in a private, well-lit space with 24-hour security, only 2 blocks away from the square.” The announcement said the portable toilets would be “maintained by a professional service” and that volunteers would be blanketing the park with fliers directing people to the facilities.

Veterinarians lend a hand at Zuccotti Park, checking  pets of Occupy Wall Street protesters

Provide vaccinations and deworming treatments for dogs, cats and even rats

Dogged supporters of Occupy Wall Street are getting some free medical care – thanks to volunteer veterinarians at Zuccotti Park.

Protesters’ pets – including pooches, cats and rats – can receive check-ups once a week from a ragtag band of animal caretakers doling out shots and deworming and flea treatments.

“It’s reassuring to know you can take your pets here,” said Chris Brown, who, with his mutt, Genevieve, camps at the park. “As things get worse in the economy, we have access to less and less health care, and the same goes for our pets.”

Dr. Konstantine Barsky of Hope Veterinary Clinic in Brooklyn told Brown his dog was chubby, but otherwise healthy.

Punting the Pundits: Sunday Preview Edition

Punting the Punditsis 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”.

The Sunday Talking Heads:

Up with Chris Hayes: If you are an earlier riser on weekends or, like me, up all night working, I’ve heard that Hayes is a good watch and has had some very interesting guests and discussions. Guests are not announced adding to the spontaneity of the format.

“Up w/ Chris Hayes” focuses on politics including the day’s top headlines, newsmaker interviews, and panels of pundits, politicos and voices from outside the mainstream. It is live on Saturdays from 7:00 – 9:00 a.m. ET and Sundays from 8:00 – 10:00 a.m. ET.

This Week with Christiane Amanpour:House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) for a one-on-one and former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has a book. The round table guests are the usual suspects: George Will, political strategist Matthew Dowd, Arianna Huffington of the Huffington Post and Niall Ferguson, author of “Civilization,” debates the fallout for the Cain campaign and the rest of the Republican field and then take on the Greek economic crisis.

Face the Nation with Bob Schieffer:Guests, GOP consultants Liz Cheney, Ed Gillespie and Ed Rollins, CBS News Political Analyst John Dickerson, and Rick Perry supporter Ken Blackwell, will babble about the Republican clown parade and Jon Huntsman’s daughters, @jon2012girls whose video spoof went viral.

The Chris Matthews Show: More babble about Republicans candidates and who can defeat Obama by this week’s guests Kathleen Parker, The Washington Post Columnist, Jim Cramer, CNBC Host, Mad Money, Gloria Borger, CNN Senior Political Analyst and Howard Fineman, The Huffington Post Senior Political Editor.

Meet the Press with David Gregory:Former U.S. Ambassador to China and struggling Republican candidate for the presidential nomination, Jon Huntsman in an exclusive interview and the Fmr. Governor Bill Richardson (D-NM), and former RNC Chairman, Governor Haley Barbour (R-MS) will talk about the other Republican choices. The roundtable guests are Republican strategist Alex Castellanos, columnist for the Wall Street Journal, Kim Strassel, Senior Political Reporter for Politico, Maggie Haberman and author of the new book “Jack Kennedy: Elusive Hero,” and host of MSNBC’s Hardball, Chris Matthews (who will compare everyone to JFK).

State of the Union with Candy Crowley: Maryland Governor and Democratic Governors Association Chair Martin O’Malley on state election strategy for Obama; Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) on the Cain/Perry controversy and the Super Committee; veteran political panelists Tom Davis and Anita Dunn on politics of the week; and  American Values President Gary Bauer and Rev. Jim Wallis of Sojourners Magazine discussing how religion will affect both the primary and the 2012 general election.

Go back to bed or watch the NYC Marathon, football later. There are also leaves to be raked. You have an extra hour today.

Richard (RJ) Eskow: Vetoing Democracy: In Athens or Washington, Elites Still Call the Shots

This week was a sharp reminder that the ancient ideal of democracy is just as threatened — and to some, just as threatening — as it’s ever been. In government offices in Athens, G20 meeting rooms in Cannes, and “Super Committee” chambers in Washington, we learned that there are still places where the will of the people can be overruled by the whims of the powerful.

From the Parthenon to the Potomac, it was the same story: Elites still hold veto power over the democratic process, and they’re not afraid to use it.

Fred Wison: The XL Pipeline Is a Dog That Can’t Hunt

As thousands get ready for a big last push on President Obama against the XL Pipeline in Washington DC this weekend, decision makers should remember Elvis Presley’s sage advice: “When things go wrong, don’t go with them.” If, or when, XL goes down, how many politicians, businessmen and labour leaders will get pulled under with it?

By any measure, TransCanada Pipeline’s Keystone XL project has gone horribly wrong. This $7 Billion project was supposed to have been under construction seven months ago. It has yet to receive critical US state approvals, and the once expected pro-forma approval from the White House is now very much in question.

Paul Krugman: A Brave New World Wide Web of Economics

Ryan Avent, the economics writer at The Economist, and I have been corresponding about the role of the economics blogosphere, for the Christmas issue of the magazine.

I don’t know what parts of our conversation will actually show up there, but having assembled my thoughts I might as well put some of them here.

The concern, or maybe just issue, is whether the rise of econoblogs is undermining the gatekeepers – whether any old Joe can now weigh in on economic debate, whereas in the good old days you had to publish in the journals, which meant getting through the refereeing process.

My take is that the system never worked like that – or at least not in my professional lifetime. And when you consider how economic discussion actually used to work, you see the blogs in a different and more favorable light.

Alejandro Reuss: The 99%, the 1%, and Class Struggle

Between 1979 and 2007, the income share of the top 1% of U.S. households (by income rank) more than doubled, to over 17% of total U.S. income. Meanwhile, the income share of the bottom 80% dropped from 57% to 48% of total income. “We are the 99%,” the rallying cry of the #OccupyWallStreet movement, does a good job at calling attention to the dramatic increase of incomes for those at the very top-and the stagnation of incomes for the majority.

This way of looking at income distribution, however, does not explicitly focus on the different sources of people’s incomes. Most people get nearly all of their incomes-wages and salaries, as well as employment benefits-by working for someone else. A few people, on the other hand, get much of their income not from work but from ownership of property-profits from a business, dividends from stock, interest income from bonds, rents on land or structures, and so on. People with large property incomes may also draw large salaries or bonuses, especially from managerial jobs. Executive pay, though treated in official government statistics as labor income, derives from control over business firms and really should be counted as property income.

Six In The Morning

On Sunday

Rise of an economic superpower: What does China want?

 Other countries unnerved, despite Beijing’s efforts to assuage their fears

By Peter Ford

Staff writer

It had been billed as a friendly exhibition game in basketball-crazy Beijing, between the Georgetown University Hoyas from Washington, D.C., and the Chinese Army’s Bayi Rockets. But after some blatantly biased Chinese refereeing and unashamedly aggressive play by Bayi, it ended in a bench-clearing brawl, with Chinese fans in the Olympic stadium throwing chairs and bottles of water at the Americans.

Some foreigners in the crowd that hot night in August were tempted to see the melee as nothing less than a metaphor for China’s role in the world today: contempt for the rules and fair play, crowned by a resort to brute strength in pursuit of narrow self-interest.

Sunday’s Headlines:

Cubans hail a private property revolution

Rupert Cornwell: Is the American Dream at an end?

Beijing elite breathes easy as proletariat sucks in smog

African farmers battle to break into carbon credit market

Why Colombia’s FARC rebels remain a threat after Cano’s killing

Thoroughly Modern Meatless Mince Pie

Mince pie is a old holiday tradition that can be traced back to 13th century when European crusaders returned from the Middle East with recipes for meats, fruits and spices. Mincing was a way of preserving meats without salting or smoking. The pie has been served at royal tables and, at one time, was banned by the Puritans since it was a symbol of the Pagan Christmas celebration.

Traditional mincemeat pie contains shredded meat and suet along with fruits and spices and cooks for hours. Mostly made with beef, there is a record of a recipe that used whale meat.  Today, most cooks buy mince in a jar, like Cross & Blackwell or None-Such, to make pies and small tarts. I use to do that as well, adding chopped apples, walnuts and extra brandy.

Several years ago, I came across recipe for a meatless mince full of apples, dried fruits and lots of spices. It cooks over low heat for about ninety minutes filling the house and the neighborhood with its spicy aroma. This recipe calls for pippin apples but MacIntosh, Granny Smith or any pie variety of apple is a fine substitute. I use a combination. It can be made a week or so ahead of time and kept refrigerated in an airtight container. The recipe will make one pie or about a dozen medium tarts. I like the tarts even though it’s more work making the crusts. For the top crust, I make decorative cutouts with small cookie cutters, shaped like leaves and acorns. I’ve also just made a few cutouts in the top crust and surrounded the pie edge with the dough cutouts.

Modern Mince Pie


   3 1/2 pounds small pippin apples (about 7), peeled, cored, chopped

   1/2 cup chopped pitted prunes

   1/2 cup golden raisins

   1/2 cup dried currants

   1/2 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar

   1/4 cup unsulfured (light) molasses

   1/4 cup brandy

   1/4 cup orange juice

   1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces

   2 tablespoons dark rum

   1 tablespoon grated orange peel

   1 teaspoon grated lemon peel

   1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

   1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

   1/4 teaspoon ground allspice

   1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

   Pinch of salt


Combine first 17 ingredients in heavy large saucepan or Dutch oven. Cook over low heat until apples are very tender and mixture is thick, stirring occasionally, about 1 1/2 hours. Cool filling completely. (Can be prepared up to 1 week ahead. Cover and refrigerate.)

Position rack in lowest third of oven and preheat to 400°F. Roll out 1 pie crust disk on lightly floured surface to 13-inch-diameter round (about 1/8 inch thick). Roll up dough on rolling pin and transfer to 9-inch-diameter glass pie plate. Gently press into place. Trim edges of crust, leaving 3/4-inch overhang. Fold overhang under crust so that crust is flush with edge of pie pan. Crimp edges with fork to make decorative border. Spoon filling into crustlined pan, gently pressing flat.

Roll out second disk on lightly floured surface to 13-inch round. Cut out about 28 three-inch leaves using cookie cutter. Press leaves lightly with tines of fork to form vein pattern. Brush bottom of 1 leaf with milk. Place leaf atop mince, overlapping crust slightly and pressing to adhere to crust. Continue placing leaves atop pie in concentric circles, overlapping edges slightly until top of pie is covered. Brush crust with milk. Bake until crust is golden brown and mince bubbles, about 40 minutes. Cool completely. Serve pie with rum raisin ice cream if desired.

(To make this recipe vegan substitute light olive oil for the butter.

Bon appétit!