03/04/2012 archive

Rant of the Week: Stephen Colbert

The Word – Change We Can Believe In

Barack Obama’s plan to eliminate the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy pits rich against poor, but luckily, the poor aren’t buying it.

On This Day In History March 4

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.

March 4 is the 63rd day of the year (64th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 302 days remaining until the end of the year.

In this day in 1933, at the height of the Great Depression, Franklin Delano Roosevelt is inaugurated as the 32nd president of the United States. In his famous inaugural address, delivered outside the east wing of the U.S. Capitol, Roosevelt outlined his “New Deal”–an expansion of the federal government as an instrument of employment opportunity and welfare–and told Americans that “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” Although it was a rainy day in Washington, and gusts of rain blew over Roosevelt as he spoke, he delivered a speech that radiated optimism and competence, and a broad majority of Americans united behind their new president and his radical economic proposals to lead the nation out of the Great Depression.

The only American president elected to more than two terms, he forged a durable coalition that realigned American politics for decades. FDR defeated incumbent Republican Herbert Hoover in November 1932, at the depths of the Great Depression. FDR’s combination of optimism and activism contributed to reviving the national spirit. Working closely with Winston Churchill and Joseph Stalin in leading the Allies against Germany and Japan in World War II, he died just as victory was in sight.

Starting in his “first hundred days” in office, which began March 4, 1933, Roosevelt launched major legislation and a profusion of executive orders that gave form to the New Deal, a complex, interlocking set of programs designed to produce relief (especially government jobs for the unemployed), recovery (of the economy), and reform (through regulation of Wall Street, banks and transportation). The economy improved rapidly from 1933 to 1937, but then went into a deep recession. The bipartisan Conservative Coalition that formed in 1937 prevented his packing the Supreme Court or passing much new legislation; it abolished many of the relief programs when unemployment practically ended during World War II. Most of the regulations on business were ended about 1975-85, except for the regulation of Wall Street by the Securities and Exchange Commission, which still exists. Along with several smaller programs, major surviving programs include the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, which was created in 1933, and Social Security, which Congress passed in 1935.

As World War II loomed after 1938, with the Japanese invasion of China and the aggressions of Nazi Germany, FDR gave strong diplomatic and financial support to China and Britain, while remaining officially neutral. His goal was to make America the “Arsenal of Democracy” which would supply munitions to the Allies. In March 1941, Roosevelt, with Congressional approval, provided Lend-Lease aid to the countries fighting against Nazi Germany with Great Britain. He secured a near-unanimous declaration of war against Japan after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, calling it a “date which will live in infamy“. He supervised the mobilization of the US economy to support the Allied war effort. Unemployment dropped to 2%, relief programs largely ended, and the industrial economy grew rapidly to new heights as millions of people moved to new jobs in war centers, and 16 million men (and 300,000 women) were drafted or volunteered for military service.

Roosevelt dominated the American political scene, not only during the twelve years of his presidency, but for decades afterward. He orchestrated the realignment of voters that created the Fifth Party System. FDR’s New Deal Coalition united labor unions, big city machines, white ethnics, African Americans and rural white Southerners. Roosevelt’s diplomatic impact also resonated on the world stage long after his death, with the United Nations and Bretton Woods as examples of his administration’s wide-ranging impact. Roosevelt is consistently rated by scholars as one of the greatest U.S. Presidents.

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: Joining Chris are Rev. Al Sharpton (@thereval), host of MSNBC’s “Politics Nation” and founder of the National Action Network; Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN) (@repcohen), represents Tennessee’s 9th district in the Memphis area; Michelle Bernard (@michellebernard), founder, president, and CEO of Bernard Center for Women, Politics and Public Policy; Goldie Taylor (@goldietaylor), MSNBC contributor; Michael Castle, former governor and congressional representative (R-DE); and John McWhorter, Columbia University professor of linguistic and American studies and contributing editor at New Republic and TheRoot.com.

The Melissa Harris-Perry Show: The site has not announced Sunday’s guests.

This Week with George Stephanopolis: This weeks’s guests are GOP presidential candidate Newt Gingrich, and Obama campaign senior adviser David Axelrod.

The roundtable guests are ABC’s Christiane Amanpour and George Will, political strategist and ABC News contributor Donna Brazile, political strategist and ABC News political analyst Matthew Dowd, Wall Street Journal columnist Peggy Noonan, former Vermont Governor and founder of Democracy for America Howard Dean, and The Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg debate all the week’s politics.

Face the Nation with Bob Schieffer: Indiana Republican Gov. Mitch Daniels, RNC Chairman Reince Priebus, Presidential candidates Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul.

The Chris Matthews Show: This week’s guests Kathleen Parker, The Washington Post Columnist; Bob Woodward, The Washington Post Associate Editor; Major Garrett, National Journal Congressional Correspondent; and Becky Quick, CNBC Co-Anchor, Squawk Box

Meet the Press with David Gregory: MTP’s guests are GOP presidential candidate Newt Gingrich and DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz. The roundtable weighs in on the latest developments in Decision 2012: Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, GOP strategist Mike Murphy, Time Magazine‘s Mark Halperin, and NBC’s Savannah Guthrie.

State of the Union with Candy Crowley: This Sunday GOP presidential candidate Newt Gingrich is making the rounds, along with fellow candidate, Ron Paul. Other guests include CNN Senior Congressional Correspondent Dana Bash and CNN Senior Political Analyst Ron Brownstein. Also, former U.S. Ambassador to Israel Martin Indyk; former Under Secretary of State Nick Burns; and Rep. C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger (D-Maryland) will discuss President Obama’s speech before AIPAC.

Six In The Morning

On Sunday

U.S. officials: Iran is stepping up lethal aid to Syria

By Joby Warrick and Liz Sly, Sunday, March 4, 10:41 AM

U.S. officials say they see Iran’s hand in the increasingly brutal crackdown on opposition strongholds in Syria, including evidence of Iranian military and intelligence support for government troops accused of mass executions and other atrocities in the past week.

Three U.S. officials with access to intelligence reports from the region described a spike in Iran­ian-supplied arms and other aid for Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad at a time when the regime is mounting an unprecedented offensive to crush resistance in the key city of Homs.

Sunday’s Headlines:

Chinese military spending increases by 11.2% in latest budget

Robert Fisk: The fearful realities keeping the Assad regime in power

Sudan’s Bashir thumbs nose at ICC

U.S. Backers of Israel Pressure Obama Over Policy on Iran

Russia election: Vladimir Putin seeks third term