11/13/2011 archive

Rant of the Week: Jon Stewart

Penn State Riots

“Both scenarios involved stopping it and calling the police.”

The firing of football coach Joe Paterno following news of assistant coach Jerry Sandusky’s alleged sexual abuse outrages Penn State students.

On this Day In History November 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.

November 13 is the 317th day of the year (318th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 48 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1982, The Vietnam Veterans Memorial is dedicated in Washington, D.C. after a week long national salute to Americans who served in the Vietnam War.

The Memorial Wall, designed by Maya Lin, is made up of two gabbro walls 246 feet 9 inches (75 m) long. The walls are sunk into the ground, with the earth behind them. At the highest tip (the apex where they meet), they are 10.1 feet (3 m) high, and they taper to a height of eight inches (20 cm) at their extremities. Stone for the wall came from Bangalore, Karnataka, India, and was deliberately chosen because of its reflective quality. Stone cutting and fabrication was done in Barre, Vermont. Stones were then shipped to Memphis, Tennessee where the names were etched. The etching was completed using a photoemulsion and sandblasting process. The negatives used in the process are in storage at the Smithsonian Institution. When a visitor looks upon the wall, his or her reflection can be seen simultaneously with the engraved names, which is meant to symbolically bring the past and present together. One wall points toward the Washington Monument, the other in the direction of the Lincoln Memorial, meeting at an angle. Each wall has 72 panels, 70 listing names (numbered 1E through 70E and 70W through 1W) and 2 very small blank panels at the extremities. There is a pathway along the base of the Wall, where visitors may walk, read the names, make a pencil rubbing of a particular name, or pray.

Inscribed on the walls with the Optima typeface are the names of servicemen who were either confirmed to be KIA (Killed in Action) or remained classified as MIA (Missing in Action) when the walls were constructed in 1982. They are listed in chronological order, starting at the apex on panel 1E in 1959 (although it was later discovered that the first casualties were military advisers who were killed by artillery fire in 1957), moving day by day to the end of the eastern wall at panel 70E, which ends on May 25, 1968, starting again at panel 70W at the end of the western wall which completes the list for May 25, 1968, and returning to the apex at panel 1W in 1975. Symbolically, this is described as a “wound that is closed and healing.” Information about rank, unit, and decorations are not given. The wall listed 58,159 names when it was completed in 1993; as of June 2010, there are 58,267 names, including 8 women. Approximately 1,200 of these are listed as missing (MIAs, POWs, and others), denoted with a cross; the confirmed dead are marked with a diamond. If the missing return alive, the cross is circumscribed by a circle (although this has never occurred as of March 2009); if their death is confirmed, a diamond is superimposed over the cross. According to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund, “there is no definitive answer to exactly how many, but there could be as many as 38 names of personnel who survived, but through clerical errors, were added to the list of fatalities provided by the Department of Defense.” Directories are located on nearby podiums so that visitors may locate specific names.

Occupy Wall St. Livestream: Day 58

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

How I Stopped Worrying and Learned to Love the OWS Protests

by Matt Taibbi

Much more than a movement against big banks, they’re a rejection of what our society has become.

I have a confession to make. At first, I misunderstood Occupy Wall Street. [..]

What both sides missed is that OWS is tired of all of this. They don’t care what we think they’re about, or should be about. They just want something different. [..]

But now, I get it. People want to go someplace for at least five minutes where no one is trying to bleed you or sell you something. It may not be a real model for anything, but it’s at least a place where people are free to dream of some other way for human beings to get along, beyond auctioned “democracy,” tyrannical commerce and the bottom line. [..]

People want out of this fiendish system, rigged to inexorably circumvent every hope we have for a more balanced world. They want major changes. I think I understand now that this is what the Occupy movement is all about. It’s about dropping out, if only for a moment, and trying something new, the same way that the civil rights movement of the 1960s strived to create a “beloved community” free of racial segregation. Eventually the Occupy movement will need to be specific about how it wants to change the world. But for right now, it just needs to grow. And if it wants to sleep on the streets for a while and not structure itself into a traditional campaign of grassroots organizing, it should. It doesn’t need to tell the world what it wants. It is succeeding, for now, just by being something different.

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.

This Week with Christiane Amanpour:Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett (R) will discuss the child sexual assault case at Penn State.

There are two roundtables: one on politics with George Will, Democratic strategist Donna Brazile, conservative radio host Dana Loesch, and ABC News senior political correspondent Jonathan Karl. Plus, USA Today columnist and ABC News contributor Christine Brennan joins in to discuss the sexual abuse scandal at Penn State.

The second roundtable will focus on this week’s International Atomic Energy Agency report Iran’s nuclear program the with former U.N. weapons inspector David Albright and Karim Sadjadpour, an analyst at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

Face the Nation with Bob Schieffer:Sunday’s guests will be Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Governors Haley Barbour (R-MI) and Martin O’Malley (D-MD); Republican presidential candidate Jon Huntsman, former U.S. Ambassador to China; a political roundtable with CBS News Political Analyst John Dickerson, National Journal’s Major Garrett, Washington Post columnist Kathleen Parker, and former White House Press Secretary Dee Dee Myers.

The Chris Matthews Show: This week’s guests: Nia-Malika Henderson, The Washington Post National Political Reporter, Joe Klein, TIME Columnist, Major Garrett, National Journal Congressional Correspondent, and Katty Kay, BBC Washington Correspondent.

Meet the Press with David Gregory: Making the morning rounds. Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett (R); Republican presidential candidate Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN); Chairwoman of the DNC, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL); a special roundtable with A special discussion with the New York Times’ David Brooks and the Washington Post’s EJ Dionne on this weeks political news and the Penn State child sexual assault.

State of the Union with Candy Crowley:An exclusive interview with the Co-chair of the Super Committee, Congressman Jeb Hensarling (R-TX); the Senate perspective Senator Mark Warner (D-VA) and Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK); Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus; the first installment of our “America’s Cities” series, a look at mayors trying to bring jobs back to their city. We start with the President of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, Antonio Villaraigosa, mayor of Los Angeles.

James K. Galbraith: The crisis in the eurozone

The continent is destroying the weak to protect the strong. But will that be enough?

The eurozone crisis is a bank crisis posing as a series of national debt crises and complicated by  reactionary economic ideas, a defective financial architecture and a toxic political environment, especially in Germany, in France, in Italy and in Greece.

Like our own, the European banking crisis is the product of over-lending to weak borrowers, including for housing in Spain, commercial real estate in Ireland and the public sector (partly for infrastructure) in Greece.  The European banks leveraged up to buy toxic American mortgages and when those collapsed they started dumping their weak sovereign bonds to buy strong ones, driving up yields and eventually forcing the whole European periphery into crisis. Greece was merely the first domino in the line.

Robert Reich: Why We May Be In Store for a Passionless Presidential Race

Polls show Americans angrier and more polarized than at any time since the Vietnam War. That’s not surprising. We have the worst economy since the Great Recession and the worst politics in living memory. The rise of the regressive right over the last three decades has finally spurred a progressive reaction. Occupiers and others have had enough.

Yet paradoxically the presidential race that officially begins a few months from now is likely to be as passionless as they come.

President Obama will be supported by progressives and the Democratic base, but without enthusiasm. His notorious caves to Republicans and Wall Street – failing to put conditions on the Street’s bailout (such as demanding the Street help stranded home owners), or to resurrect Glass-Steagall, or include a public option in health care, or assert his constitutional responsibility to raise the debt limit, or protect Medicare and Social Security, or push for cap-and-trade, or close Guantanamo, or, in general, confront the regressive Republican nay-sayers and do-nothings with toughness rather than begin negotiations by giving them much of what they want – are not the stuff that stirs a passionate following.

Six In The Morning

On Sunday

Occupy Oakland and News Media Coexist Uneasily



Published: November 12, 2011

Immediately after a man was shot to death Thursday afternoon near the Occupy Oakland encampment, Randy Davis, a cameraman for KGO-TV, turned his lens on a group of protesters helping the victim. Then part of the crowd turned on him.

Protesters formed a chain around the victim. About a dozen men – some shouting, “No cameras!” and “No media!” – punched Mr. Davis in the head and pushed him to the ledge overlooking a BART station stairwell before other protesters intervened, witnesses said.

The attack, one of at least two against journalists that night, highlighted the growing tensions between Occupy Oakland and the news media after a week of largely negative coverage of problems at the encampment.

Sunday’s Headlines:

Life and death in Rio’s drug wars

Inside the twisted remains of Fukushima nuclear plant

Boy genius of the art world

AU troops in Somalia face funding shortfall

Cold war-style blacklists? Wide ripples from Russian lawyer’s death in prison.

F1: Yas Marina

Well, let’s start with a little off track rumor and innuendo as the race itself promises to be incredibly boring unless you care about who finishes 6th for the season.

The first tidbit is that Bahrain is back on the calender, HIS Royal Highness Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, Crown Prince and Deputy Supreme Commander and Bahrain Motor Federation Honorary President expressed confidence yesterday which title in and of itself tells you what a tinpot dictatorship Bahrain is.  Bernie will feel right at home.

In other news there may or may not be racing at the new ‘Circuit of the Americas’ track in Austin Texas, the $300 Million Boondoggle Rick Perry is financing by firing teachers ensuring that Texas schoolchildren will be even more ignorant due to class overcrowding than their Confederate Christianist textbooks already make them.

You see, Bernie doesn’t need Rick so much now that he has Chris Christie in his pocket.  Who wants to swelter when you can watch from your Wall Street Fat Cat Corporate Shelter?  Not only are the commute times from the Hamptons shorter, but the food is better unless you like Tex-Mex which you can get from Bobby Flay anyway.

If that seems a lot of races, not to worry.  Ecclestone will probably dump Yeongam for having the temerity to try and renegotiate their contract.

Miscellaneous AFP stories- Rosberg signs with Mercedes, Schumacher plays coy (that’s an ornamental carp to you), Hamilton goes zen, and a season recap.

Now some racing related stuff.  Finally found a source for the compounds they’ll be using today.  Mediums and Softs, not the Super Softs the commentators were saying.  Do these guys get anything right ever?  There will only be 2 pits tops and there’s just not a lot of speed differential between the compounds.

It’s a twi-night race which will create visibility challenges as the sun sets.  When the track cools the engines will develop more power and the tires less grip which could make things more slippery except that it’s a very fast track with few turns.  Teams are running their low downforce configurations and there are 2 DRS zones, but don’t expect a lot of passing because they won’t have to slow down much (creating opportunities).

The Cosworth engines that the Williams are running are flat worn out.  Maldonado has already had to accept a 10 grid spot penalty for using a 9th and Barrichello is saving his last fresh for his home race at Interlagos.  Only 2 teams will be using Cosworths next year.

Teams attempting to emulate the Red Bull ‘Wiggle Wing’ are experiencing aerodynamic inbalances that cause them to oscillate and hit the track at the ends of the 2 long straights.  If that’s your cup of tea then I recomment the Razor Spark.

Hamilton had fastest Practice this morning, which really doesn’t make up for his disappointing Qualifying performance.  If you hurry you can still make book on his having a collision with Massa.

Speed will be broadcasting the exhibition GP2 All-Star race starting at 6 am.  Re-broadcast of the main event at 4 pm.

Pretty meaningless tables below.

Missing the Point of Ohio’s Referendum

In a comment posted in response to the Open Salon version of my previous entry, Barzin Pakandam posted the following:

Hi Michael, I completely agree with your assessment. My post goes one step further:


Mr. Pakandam, with all due respect, I think you glossed over what I wrote about Obama.  Yes, voters are fed up with far right, anti-labor, anti-woman, anti-civil-liberties, pro-war, anti-environment, pro-torture, pro-corporate Republican policies.  But they’re also fed up with far right, anti-labor, anti-woman, anti-civil-liberties, pro-war, anti-environment, pro-torture, pro-corporate Democrat policies.

On the issue of health care, for example, Obama cynically bet that by ramming through what amounts to a corporate boondoggle, he could remove health care as a wedge issue going into 2012.  And the best way he could do that was to pass something the Republicans had already passed at the state level.

Enter Romneycare, on which Obamacare was modeled and which bears many similarities to the Clinton plan Obama campaigned against in ’08.  (And they all appear to have swiped the idea from Richard Nixon.  Go figure.)

The thinking on this was painfully simple, and horrendously evil.  There’s an institutional crisis in how Americans are able to gain access to decent health care.  So Obama’s, Clinton’s, and Romney’s plan was to institutionalize the problem.  If it’s a built-in part of the system, no more crisis in the system because it’s now a feature instead of a supposed aberration.  Now we’re being forced to bail out the health insurance and pharmaceutical industries because they went too far in price gouging and were losing paying customers.

And, of course, Obamacare, as is Romneycare before it, is deliberately designed to fail.  As Jon Walker and Scarecrow at FDL reported last year, the Massachusetts plan failed spectacularly the same week Obamacare became law.  The state objected to proposed premium increases, which prompted insurers to back out of agreements to offer new coverage.

Why pass such a flawed plan if it’s very design guarantees failure?  As I wrote above, there’s a cynical political ploy at the heart of the matter.  But it runs much deeper than that.  By passing a health care law at the national level that’s designed to fail, the far right-wing lackeys of Wall Street (which include Obama in their ranks) can pretend to justify their long-disproven claims that government health care or insurance doesn’t work.  And also as I wrote above, they got to bail out two massive industries that had priced their goods so ridiculouly high that they were starting to worry that they’d not have enough customers.

It’s pretty insidious, but then what can be expected from a guy who, as a state senator in Illinois, and at the behest of his corporate bosses, actively and enthusiastically worked to gut a proposed bill that would have extended health insurance to impoverished children?

By the way, a year after the collapse of Romneycare in Massachusetts, it was still a miserable failure.

And that’s just on health care reform.  Look at each and every one of Obama’s policies and you will find a continuation or expansion of Bush’s far right policies.  He isn’t doing these things out of weakness or some misguided desire to be conciliatory.  He’s doing them because he is a right-wing extremist and his policies are the same as those of the Republicans.  THAT is what voters rejected in Ohio on Tuesday.

What’s Cooking: Sweet Potato Mash

Republished from April 24, 2011 for obvious timely reasons.

I love sweet potatoes and not just at Thanksgiving. I like them baked, boiled and mashed and dipped in tempura batter and fried. They are great in breads and baked desserts. They are very nutritional, an excellent source of vitamin A and a good source of potassium and vitamin C, B6, riboflavin, copper, pantothetic acid and folic acid. Sweet potatoes are native to Central America, grown in the Southern US states since the 16th century and are in the same family of plants as Morning Glories. The plant is a trailing vine with a large tuberous root.

Sweet Potatoes are often confused with yams which are native to Africa and relate to lilies and grasses. Even though they are both flowering plants, botanically they are different.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture requires labels with the term ‘yam’ to be accompanied by the term ‘sweet potato.’ Unless you specifically search for yams, which are usually found in an international market, you are probably eating sweet potatoes!

A couple of Thanksgivings ago, my daughter decided to ditch the “traditional” candied version topped with marshmallow that would put a normal person into a diabetic coma and went “surfing” for something different. The recipe she found now makes it to our table more often than once a year. It is still sweet but not overwhelming. It’s great served as a side with pork or ham, as well as turkey. Nummy as a midnight snack with a little whipped cream, too.

Bourbon-Walnut Sweet Potato Mash


   4 pounds red-skinned sweet potatoes

   1/2 cup whipping cream

   6 tablespoons (3/4 cup) butter

   1/4 cup pure maple syrup

   2 tablespoons bourbon

   1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

   1 teaspoon ground allspice

   3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

   1 cup walnuts, toasted, chopped


Preheat oven to 350°F. Roast potatoes on rimmed baking sheet until tender, 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Cool slightly. Scoop flesh into large bowl; discard skins. Mash hot potatoes until coarse puree forms.

Heat cream and butter in heavy small saucepan over low heat until butter melts, stirring occasionally. Gradually stir hot cream mixture into hot potatoes. Stir in syrup, bourbon, and all spices. Season with salt and pepper.

DO AHEAD: Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and chill. Rewarm in microwave. Sprinkle nuts over and serve.