Daily Archive: 12/27/2011

Dec 27 2011

Dreidel, dreidel, dreidel…

Tonight is the 8th and last night of Hanukkah and a very slow news day which has its good side. So, with a h/t Tengrain @ Dependable Renegade, watch the kitty play with a dreidel

And his counterpart attacking the angel on top of the Christmas tree

Dec 27 2011

Brilliant!

DSCC Wastes $1 Million in Ads on Retiring Ben Nelson

By: David Dayen, Firedog Lake

Tuesday December 27, 2011 12:00 pm

Ben Nelson, Nebraska’s Democratic senator, will retire from the Senate next year, despite benefiting from a million dollars in early-cycle advertising funded by the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.



I understand that the ad money was meant to entice Nelson into running for re-election by showing him the support he would receive from national Democrats. I don’t understand why you would spend that money. Nelson has spent the last couple years voting in lockstep with the Republican minority on dozens of key issues, particularly around spending and debt. His vote to keep Harry Reid in the majority obviously meant more to the leadership than any of his votes on substantive issues.

What’s more, Nelson was going to lose next year. Polling showed him consistently under 40% in Nebraska, and unlike in some other states, increased turnout from the Presidential race would not help him. Senate observers were writing this one off all ready, and any money the DSCC sunk into this race would have been as wasted as money put toward re-electing Blanche Lincoln or Rick Santorum or any other doomed incumbent.

I once again put forth the proposition that I could vaporize money much more efficiently than any of our current banksters, political consultants, or pundits.

You know where to find me.

Dec 27 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”.

The New York Times Editorial: Keeping Students From the Polls

Next fall, thousands of students on college campuses will attempt to register to vote and be turned away. Sorry, they will hear, you have an out-of-state driver’s license. Sorry, your college ID is not valid here. Sorry, we found out that you paid out-of-state tuition, so even though you do have a state driver’s license, you still can’t vote.

Political leaders should be encouraging young adults to participate in civic life, but many Republican state lawmakers are doing everything they can instead to prevent students from voting in the 2012 presidential election. Some have openly acknowledged doing so because students tend to be liberal.

John Nichols: ‘Politico’ Is Right (and Wrong) About the Edgiest Electoral Test of 2012

‘Tis the season for lists. And so it should come as no surprise that the Politico, the Washington-insider journal that covers every aspect of national politics, has offered up a Boxing Day analysis of “2012’s Top Unanswered Questions.”

What is surprising, and significant, is that the first item on the Politico list does not involve a Congressional or presidential race.

Rather, it focuses on a fight in the states, where the direction of the nation is being determined by pitched battles between right-wing Republican governors and defenders of public education and public services.

Politico’s top unanswered question for 2012 was: “Can Democrats claim a scalp in Wisconsin?”

Putting aside the clichéd and offensive “get a scalp” language, the analysis turns attention to what will indeed be one of the great political battles of the coming year.

Dean Baker: Obama’s stimulus failure

The president could have rescued the economy by pushing for more stimulus. Not doing so was an error of epic proportions

The economy badly needs stimulus. The collapse of the housing bubble caused us to lose more than $1.2tn in annual demand. Residential construction collapsed when the bubble burst, falling by more than 4 percentage points of GDP, which translates into approximately $600bn a year in lost annual demand.

The collapse of the bubble also led to the destruction of close to $8tn of bubble-generated housing equity. The wealth effect of this equity on consumption generated close to $500bn in annual consumption demand. This also was lost when the bubble burst.

Eugene Robinson: A Brainpower Revolution

This is a moment when policymakers should be thinking big, not small. History will little note nor long remember that the payroll tax holiday was extended for two months rather than 12. The complex and difficult questions we’re avoiding, however, may haunt us through the century.

Let me be clear that I applaud President Obama and the Democrats for the political victory they won last week. The impact was to weaken the influence of the most reactionary and clueless faction in Congress-the tea party Republicans-and strengthen the hand of both progressives and pragmatic conservatives. This can only be a good thing.

Melvin A. Goodman: The Bush/Obama War Against Truth

The campaign to intimidate potential whistleblowers or dissidents within the government is consistent with the national security state that the Bush and Obama administrations have created over the past decade. [..]

This trend is particularly regrettable because government oversight processes have been severely weakened during the Bush and Obama administrations. The Offices of Inspector General, particularly at the CIA and the Department of Defense, have been downgraded and significantly weakened. The House and Senate Intelligence Committees are unwilling to investigate illegal conduct in the intelligence community.

President Obama, who endorsed protection for courageous whistleblowers during his campaign, has been both unwilling to investigate crimes of the Bush administration and most willing to invoke the Espionage Act of 1917 to harass genuine whistleblowers.

We expected a Bush/Cheney administration to bend the law in their direction. But who would have expected Obama, a Harvard-trained lawyer and a teacher of constitutional law, to follow suit?

Wendell Potter: When Medicare Isn’t Medicare

Let’s say you have a Ford and decide to replace everything under the hood with Hyundai parts, including the engine and transmission. Could you still honestly market your car as a Ford?

That question gets at the heart of the controversy over who is being more forthright about GOP Rep. Paul Ryan’s plan to “save” Medicare, Republicans or Democrats.

If you overhaul the Medicare system like you did your Ford and tell the public it’s still Medicare, are you doing so honestly? [..]

PolitiFact’s Washington-based editor defended the choice by contending that Ryan’s proposal to restructure Medicare by providing beneficiaries subsidies to buy private insurance would not “end” the program. It would still be Medicare, he reasoned.

What he’s missing is that Ryan’s proposal would change the program so fundamentally as to represent the equivalent of replacing the engine and transmission.

Dec 27 2011

Did They? Or Didn’t They?

Saturday evening I received an e-mail from Stratfor, a security think tank based in Texas, that their web site had been hacked by “an unauthorized party” and they had shut down their servers and e-mail while the incident was under investigation by law enforcement. (Yes, I have an account.) The news of the breach hit the front page of the New York Times on Christmas morning:

On Saturday, hackers who say they are members of the collective known as Anonymous claimed responsibility for crashing the Web site of the group, Stratfor Global Intelligence Service, and pilfering its client list, e-mails and credit card information in an operation they say is intended to steal $1 million for donations to charity. The hackers posted a list online that they say contains Stratfor’s confidential client list as well as credit card details, passwords and home addresses for some 4,000 Stratfor clients. The hackers also said they had details for more than 90,000 credit card accounts. Among the organizations listed as Stratfor clients: Bank of America, the Defense Department, Doctors Without Borders, Lockheed Martin, Los Alamos National Laboratory and the United Nations.

The group Lulz Security (LulzSec), a hacking group loosely affiliated with Anonymous, has taken responsibility for the attack. LulzSec, which derives its name from the neologism “LOL, may have been involved in a previous attack against the security firm HBGary. One of its founders, Sabu, seems to act as its leader and decides what targets to attack next and who could participate in these attacks. However, the media has continued to give credit to Anonymous. Anonymous released a statement denying that they are responsible:

“The Stratfor hack is not the work of Anonymous. Stratfor is an open source intelligence agency, publishing daily reports on data collected from the open Internet. Hackers claiming to be Anonymous have distorted this truth in order to further their hidden agenda, and some Anons have taken the bait,” the group claimed in an online communiqué.

“The leaked client list represents subscribers to a daily publication which is the primary service of Stratfor. Stratfor analysts are widely considered to be extremely unbiased. Anonymous does not attack media sources.”



According to Anonymous, Stratfor has been deliberately misrepresented by “these so-called Anons” and portrayed in false light as a company which engages in activity similar to HBGary. 



“Sabu and his crew are nothing more than opportunistic attention whores who are possibly agent provocateurs… As a media source, Stratfor’s work is protected by the freedom of press, a principle which Anonymous values greatly. This hack is most definitely not the work of Anonymous,” the group added.

Since disarray and disagreement within groups and organizations these days seems to be the trend, re: Republicans and Democrats, why should Anonymous be any different? LOL

Dec 27 2011

Have yourself a selective-fire, gas-operated 7.62×39mm eksmas

Dec 27 2011

On this Day In History December 27

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.

December 27 is the 361st day of the year (362nd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are four days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1932, Radio City Music Hall opened in New York City.

The 12-acre complex in midtown Manhattan known as Rockefeller Center was developed between 1929 and 1940 by John D. Rockefeller, Jr., on land leased from Columbia University. The Radio City Music Hall was designed by architect Edward Durell Stone and interior designer Donald Deskey in the Art Deco style. Rockefeller initially planned a new home for the Metropolitan Opera on the site, but after the Stock Market Crash of 1929, the plans changed and the opera company withdrew from the project.

Its originally planned name was International Music Hall. The names “Radio City” and “Radio City Music Hall” derive from one of the complex’s first tenants, the Radio Corporation of America. Radio City Music Hall was a project of Rockefeller; Samuel Roxy Rothafel, who previously opened the Roxy Theatre in 1927; and RCA chairman David Sarnoff. RCA had developed numerous studios for NBC at 30 Rockefeller Plaza, just to the south of the Music Hall, and the radio-TV complex that lent the Music Hall its name is still known as the NBC Radio City Studios.

The Music Hall opened to the public on December 27, 1932 with a lavish stage show featuring Ray Bolger and Martha Graham. The opening was meant to be a return to high-class variety entertainment. The new format was not a success. The program was very long and individual acts were lost in the cavernous hall. On January 11, 1933, the Music Hall converted to the then familiar format of a feature film with a spectacular stage show which Rothafel had perfected at the Roxy Theatre. The first film was shown on the giant screen was Frank Capra’s The Bitter Tea of General Yen starring Barbara Stanwyck and the Music Hall became the premiere showcase for films from the RKO-Radio Studio. The film plus stage spectacle format continued at the Music Hall until 1979 with four complete performances presented every day.

By the 1970s, changes in film distribution made it difficult for Radio City to secure exclusive bookings of many films; furthermore, the theater preferred to show only G-rated movies, which further limited their film choices as the decade wore on. Regular film showings at Radio City ended in 1979. Plans were made to convert the theater into office space, but a combination of preservation and commercial interests resulted in the preservation of Radio City and in 1980, after a renovation, it reopened to the public.

Radio City Music Hall is currently leased to and managed by Madison Square Garden, Inc. Movie premieres and feature runs have occasionally taken place there but the focus of the theater throughout the year is now on concerts and live stage shows. The Radio City Christmas Spectacular continues to be an important annual event. The Music Hall has presented most of the leading pop and rock performers of the last 30 years as well as televised events including the Grammy Awards, the Tony Awards, and the MTV Music Awards.

Dec 27 2011

On this Day In History December 27

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.

December 27 is the 361st day of the year (362nd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are four days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1932, Radio City Music Hall opened in New York City.

The 12-acre complex in midtown Manhattan known as Rockefeller Center was developed between 1929 and 1940 by John D. Rockefeller, Jr., on land leased from Columbia University. The Radio City Music Hall was designed by architect Edward Durell Stone and interior designer Donald Deskey in the Art Deco style. Rockefeller initially planned a new home for the Metropolitan Opera on the site, but after the Stock Market Crash of 1929, the plans changed and the opera company withdrew from the project.

Its originally planned name was International Music Hall. The names “Radio City” and “Radio City Music Hall” derive from one of the complex’s first tenants, the Radio Corporation of America. Radio City Music Hall was a project of Rockefeller; Samuel Roxy Rothafel, who previously opened the Roxy Theatre in 1927; and RCA chairman David Sarnoff. RCA had developed numerous studios for NBC at 30 Rockefeller Plaza, just to the south of the Music Hall, and the radio-TV complex that lent the Music Hall its name is still known as the NBC Radio City Studios.

The Music Hall opened to the public on December 27, 1932 with a lavish stage show featuring Ray Bolger and Martha Graham. The opening was meant to be a return to high-class variety entertainment. The new format was not a success. The program was very long and individual acts were lost in the cavernous hall. On January 11, 1933, the Music Hall converted to the then familiar format of a feature film with a spectacular stage show which Rothafel had perfected at the Roxy Theatre. The first film was shown on the giant screen was Frank Capra’s The Bitter Tea of General Yen starring Barbara Stanwyck and the Music Hall became the premiere showcase for films from the RKO-Radio Studio. The film plus stage spectacle format continued at the Music Hall until 1979 with four complete performances presented every day.

By the 1970s, changes in film distribution made it difficult for Radio City to secure exclusive bookings of many films; furthermore, the theater preferred to show only G-rated movies, which further limited their film choices as the decade wore on. Regular film showings at Radio City ended in 1979. Plans were made to convert the theater into office space, but a combination of preservation and commercial interests resulted in the preservation of Radio City and in 1980, after a renovation, it reopened to the public.

Radio City Music Hall is currently leased to and managed by Madison Square Garden, Inc. Movie premieres and feature runs have occasionally taken place there but the focus of the theater throughout the year is now on concerts and live stage shows. The Radio City Christmas Spectacular continues to be an important annual event. The Music Hall has presented most of the leading pop and rock performers of the last 30 years as well as televised events including the Grammy Awards, the Tony Awards, and the MTV Music Awards.