Daily Archive: 11/25/2011

Nov 25 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: We Are the 99%

“We are the 99 percent” is a great slogan. It correctly defines the issue as being the middle class versus the elite (as opposed to the middle class versus the poor). And it also gets past the common but wrong establishment notion that rising inequality is mainly about the well educated doing better than the less educated; the big winners in this new Gilded Age have been a handful of very wealthy people, not college graduates in general.

If anything, however, the 99 percent slogan aims too low. A large fraction of the top 1 percent’s gains have actually gone to an even smaller group, the top 0.1 percent – the richest one-thousandth of the population.

And while Democrats, by and large, want that super-elite to make at least some contribution to long-term deficit reduction, Republicans want to cut the super-elite’s taxes even as they slash Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid in the name of fiscal discipline.

Robert Reich: The First Amendment Upside Down. Why We Must Occupy Democracy

You’ve been seeing this across the country … Americans assaulted, clubbed, dragged, pepper-sprayed … Why? For exercising their right to free speech and assembly – protesting the increasing concentration of income, wealth, and political power at the top. [..]

Across America, public officials are saying Occupiers have to go. Even in universities – where free speech is supposed to be sacrosanct – peaceful assembly is being met with clubs and pepper spray.  [..]

How are Americans to be heard about what should be done about any of this if they are not allowed to mobilize and organize?  When the freedom of speech goes to the highest bidder, moneyed interests have a disproportionate say.

John Nichols: Another Helping of FDR, Please

President Obama’s Thanksgiving proclamation for 2011 reprises the boilerplate language employed in his previous seasonal statements. His messages have been a bit more historically and anthropologically detailed than those of his immediate predecessors – for instance, this year’s proclamation makes reference to how the feast of 1621 “honored the Wampanoag for generously extending their knowledge of local game and agriculture to the Pilgrims, and today we renew our gratitude to all American Indians and Alaska natives.”

Obama’s 2011 proclamation is even more religious in tone than Obama’s earlier ones – abandoning his previous bows to universalism in favor of more references to God and grace.

With each passing year, Obama’s proclamations become more generic. They are no more poetic, no more adventurous, than those issued by George W. Bush.

For Americans who think that Obama ought to use the bully pulpit more ably than his immediate predecessor, and than those Republicans who are campaigning so ardently to replace him, this is disappointing.

Michelle Chen: Washington’s Debt Panic and the Real Social Debt in America

In the wake of the Congressional Supercommittee’s collapse, we finally have consensus on both sides of the aisle: the lawmakers orchestrating the partisan drama are, behind the scenes, happy to collaborate on destroying economic security for all but the wealthiest Americans.

Though the debt hysteria made good political theater, the main immediate impact on the budget is simply to prolong the sense of doom hovering over struggling households. The budget problem those families face isn’t some theoretical future debt crisis but the possibility of losing unemployment checks when a year-end legislative deadline hits.

Federally funded unemployment benefits, which conservatives dismiss as a fluffy cushion for shiftless poor, have been a lifeline for some 17 million Americans in the past three years. In addition to helping individual households pay their bills, the benefits have had a ripple effect on cities and towns battered by an anemic job market,  “contributing nearly $180 billion in hard cash to those communities struggling with severe unemployment,” according to a report issued in October by the National Employment Law Project.

Robert Sheer: Thanks for What?

I love Thanksgiving for its illusion of abundance. It brings back early childhood memories of the one day each year during the Depression when the food on my family’s table was not the leftover produce that my Uncle Leon could no longer sell at his stall, or the nearly spoiled organ meats that our local butcher offered at a steep discount.

But Thanksgiving day was quite the opposite, and while I obviously can’t recall what was served in 1936, the year I was born, the holiday was soon seared into my childhood memory as the day when the good times looked upon us in the form of charity gift baskets from philanthropists of various religious and political orders, much like the needy will be served today in volunteer kitchens across America and just as soon will be forgotten.

Joe Conason: Realism and Compassion: Unacceptable in Today’s GOP

Tasteless and questionable as it was for CNN to “co-sponsor” a Republican presidential debate with a pair of right-wing Washington think-tanks, at least the branding was accurate. There among the honored interlocutors were the authors of dismal failure and national disgrace in the Bush era, such as Paul Wolfowitz and David Addington, whose presence helpfully reminds us that to elect a Republican risks a presidency that will make the same gross moral and strategic errors, or worse. Listening to them talk about Iran, a nation that unlike Iraq or the Taliban is a real military power, it was clear that we will certainly edge closer to another war with almost any Republican in power.

What the debate also revealed again is that a Republican who dares to utter a few words of compassion or realism is likely to prove unacceptable to the base of that party.

E.J. Dionne, Jr.: Obama’s Catholic Friends and Enemies

Any time the Obama administration touches issues related to the Roman Catholic Church, it seems to get itself caught in a rhetorical and moral crossfire that leaves all involved wounded and angry. This is what’s happening in the battle over how contraception should be covered under the new health care law.

Partly because it mishandled the issue at the outset, the Obama team seems destined either to leave supporters in the reproductive rights community irate, or to put the president’s Catholic sympathizers in a much weakened position.

Nov 25 2011

This Week In The Dream Antilles

A Friday that feels like Sunday. Unless you’re engaged in the widely hyped capitalist feeding frenzy called “Black Friday.” Or some of the many other activitie your Bloguero disdains. Today your Bloguero’s world is divided into only two parts, day and night, the 1% and the 99%, those who think today might be Sunday and those who think it’s for filling up the credit cards, those who are hung over from tryptophan and wine and those who are not. This way of experiencing the world, sharp, high contrast dualism, is disturbing to your Bloguero. But what can you expect when the first meal of the day is left over turkey and chocolate cake?

A day to make the crooked straight and the rough places plane.  And for this:

This Week In The Dream Antilles is usually a weekly digest. Sometimes, like now and for several of the past weeks, it isn’t actually a digest of essays posted at The Dream Antilles. For that you have to visit The Dream Antilles.

Nov 25 2011

On This Day In History November 25

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 25 is the 329th day of the year (330th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 36 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1999, The United Nations General Assembly passes a resolution designating November 25 the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. The resolution, which was introduced by the Dominican Republic, marked the anniversary of the death of three sisters, Maria, Teresa, and Minerva Mirabel, who were brutally murdered there in 1960. While women in Latin America and the Caribbean had honored the day since 1981, all UN countries did not formally recognize it until 1999.

Many organizations, including the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM), had been pushing for international recognition of the date for some time.

International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women

The Mirabal sisters were four Dominican political dissidents who opposed the dictatorship of Rafael Trujillo. Three of the sisters were assassinated by persons unknown.

Patria Mercedes Mirabal (February 27, 1924 – November 25, 1960), Belgica Adela “Dede” Mirabal-Reyes (March 1, 1925 – present), Maria Argentina Minerva Mirabal (March 12, 1926 – November 25, 1960) and Antonia Maria Teresa Mirabal (October 15, 1935 – November 25, 1960) were citizens of the Dominican Republic who fervently opposed the dictatorship of Rafael Trujillo. Dede Mirabal was not assassinated and has lived to tell the stories of the death of her sisters. Presently, she lives in Salcedo, Dominican Republic in the house where the sisters were born. She works to preserve her sisters’ memory through the Museo Hermanas Mirabal which is also located in Salcedo and was home to the women for the final ten months of their lives. She published a book Vivas en El Jardin, released on August 25, 2009.

The Mirabal women grew up in an upper class, well-cultured environment. Their father was a successful businessman. All became married family women. When Trujillo came to power, their family lost almost all its fortune. They believed that Trujillo would send their country into economic chaos. Minerva became particularly passionate about ending the dictatorship of Trujillo after talking extensively with an uncle of hers. Influenced by her uncle, Minerva became more involved in the anti-Trujillo movement. She studied law and became a lawyer, but because she declined Trujillo’s romantic advances, he ordered that while she would be issued a degree she was not to receive her practitioner’s license. Her sisters followed suit, and they eventually formed a group of opponents to the Trujillo regime, known as the Movement of the Fourteenth of June. Within that group, they were known as “The Butterflies” (Las Mariposas in Spanish) because that was the underground name that Minerva was given. Two of the sisters, Maria Argentina Minerva Mirabal and Antonia Maria Teresa Mirabal, were incarcerated and tortured on several occasions. While in prison they were repeatedly raped. Three of the sisters’ husbands were incarcerated at La Victoria Penitentiary in Santo Domingo.

Despite these setbacks, they persisted in fighting to end Trujillo’s leadership. After the sisters’ numerous imprisonments, Trujillo was blamed for their murders, but this is now being questioned. During an interview after Trujillo’s assasination, General Pupo Roman claimed to have personal knowledge that they were killed by Luis Amiama Tio, perhaps to create a rise in anti-Trujillo sentiment. On November 25, 1960, he sent men to intercept the three women after they visited their husbands in prison. The unarmed sisters were led into a sugar cane field and executed, they didn’t even have the luxury of being shot, instead they were beaten to death, along with their driver, Rufino de la Cruz. Their car was later thrown off of a mountain known as La Cumbre, between the cities of Santiago and Puerto Plata, in order to make their deaths look like an accident.

This day also marks the beginning of the 16 days of Activism against Gender Violence. The end of the 16 Days is December 10, International Human Rights Day.

Nov 25 2011

Happy Evacuation Day

Sarah Vowell thinks that Americans should be thanking the 11,000 loyal patriots who perished on British prison ships instead of some Mayflower-cruising Jesus freaks.

Nov 25 2011

Turkey Day TV 3: Black Friday

What?  You’re not shopping yet?  Don’t you know the whole Capitalist system not to mention our Galtian Overlords’ Rolexes depend on you spending yourself into bankruptcy?

Well good for you.

Today is the 20th Annual ‘Buy Nothing’ Day™, sponsored by Adbusters of #OWS fame, where we rebel in small ways and save ourselves a lot of aggravation and hassle by staying home and maybe watching some TV.

Each time I do this I have to remind myself what works and what doesn’t because frankly a ton of research goes into each one.

What I’ve discovered this year is that the largest amount of time goes into making the passes from one end to the other of my 40+ channel hot list, so it’s actually more efficient to cover a longer period of time than it is to break up the task into multiple segments.

Another thing I’ve noticed is that 6 am seems to be the common reset point for the day’s schedule.  Very few Marathons roll over past that point though some of the movie oriented stations will have a feature that persists through the transition.  If you can’t find it listed you might try yesterday’s effort and for immediate updates you can go directly to my source- Zap2it.

If you click on the link under the network name you see all the shows for the day.  You simply need to cut and paste the ones you’re interested in under the appropriate time label and your outline is done.  Tomorrow I’ll bore you with how to make it look pretty.

This particular schedule covers from 6 am to 6 am Black Friday.

Nov 25 2011

We interrupt your regular programming…

Holiday for Drumsticks