01/05/2014 archive

Anti-Capitalist Meetup: Fracking Skirmishes In the Anti-Corporatist War by Northsylvania

Fracking, like cigarette production, is one of the moral indicators of Capitalism-as-practiced. A lot of money is spent by the companies involved proving that it causes no harm and is in fact a common good. It also provides a good case study in how the fight against corporate/ governmental hegemony can be a long drawn out process punctuated by the occasional surprising success. If the city of Dallas, the home of Big Oil, effectively bans fracking, that says a lot.

J.R. Ewing standing in front of Southfork with the phrase,

 However, fracking is a complicated subject. The points made for it by its apologists include economic development, the prospect of having a smaller carbon footprint than with coal fired energy generation, and cheaper gas for those who are vulnerable to high heating costs. Proponents say that fracking is a proven technology used for many years, has never been proved to have a negative effect on environmental degradation, and has never caused earthquakes, which is true…if you define fracking narrowly as sending an explosive charge down a borehole to loosen the formation from which the oil is extracted, and discount the storage and transport of waste, the fugitive emissions from extraction and storage, and earthquakes caused by injection disposal wells.  Fracking is also bound up in our ideas of individual versus collective rights, class warfare, corporate/ governmental collusion, and climate change, something we on the Left are passionate about, and rightly so. On the Right it is likewise associated with decreasing reliance on foreign gas and oil imports, national economic progress, and providing jobs. Because the media promotes controversy, everything from the visual images of protesters to the letters written to local papers are often chosen to be polarising. The most extreme examples of corporate sponsored puff pieces are often balanced with impassioned but uneducated letters and e-mails, so that readers unfamiliar with the process become confused. One friend of mine asked, “How can anyone possibly think that injecting a highly pressurised column of carcinogenic chemicals into a pipe through the water supply could be a good idea?” Another made equally valid points from his point of view: “If you all say that nuclear power is off the table, renewables can’t generate enough power, biofuels take up too much productive land, and coal and petroleum has to stay in the ground, how are you going to heat your houses and cook your food?”

Rant of the Week: Greenwald v Marcus

Glenn Greenwald vs. Obama “Loyalist” Ruth Marcus On Clemency For Snowden

Full transcript can be read here h/t RealClearPolitics

Glenn Greenwald went head-to-head with The Washington Post‘s Ruth Marcus on Thursday during a debate about whether Edward Snowden should be granted clemency.

The New York Times and the Guardian recently made headlines after arguing that Snowden – who leaked revelations about the NSA’s secret domestic security programs to former Guardian columnist Greenwald, as well as The Washington Postshould be granted some form of clemency.

On Thursday, Marcus told CNN’s Jake Tapper that she disagreed.

2014 Thowball Wild Card- ‘9ers @ Packers

An easy pick.  Have I mentioned recently that I’m only half troll?  You see in Michigan a troll is anyone who’s from under the Mackinaw Island bridge.  If you were born in God’s country, which is the Upper Peninsula, they may call you a Yooper but what do you care anyway?  They’re trolls!

Now along with that comes certain allegiances- there is only one Football team and that is the Green Bay Packers.

For me it’s not just an accident of birth.  To quote from Wikipedia

The Packers are the only non-profit, community-owned franchise in American professional sports major leagues. Typically, a team is owned by one person, partnership, or corporate entity, i.e., a “team owner.” The lack of a dominant owner has been stated as one of the reasons the Green Bay Packers have never been moved from the city of Green Bay, a city of only 102,313 people as of the 2000 census.

As of June 8, 2005, 112,015 people (representing 4,750,934 shares) can lay claim to a franchise ownership interest. Shares of stock include voting rights, but the redemption price is minimal, no dividends are ever paid, the stock cannot appreciate in value – though private sales often exceed the face value of the stock, and stock ownership brings no season ticket privileges. No shareholder may own over 200,000 shares, a safeguard to ensure that no individual can assume control of the club. To run the corporation, a board of directors is elected by the stockholders.

Green Bay is the only team with this form of ownership structure in the NFL; such ownership is in direct violation of current league rules, which stipulate a limit of 32 owners of one team and one of those owners having a minimum 30% stake. However, the Packers corporation was grandfathered when the NFL’s current ownership policy was established in the 1980s, and are thus exempt. The Packers are also the only American major-league sports franchise to release its financial balance sheet every year.

The ‘9ers are a fine team and San Fransisco a lovely town, but they no longer play there having moved to Santa Clara and ending San Fransisco’s bid for the 2016 Olympic Games about which (to her credit) even Dianne Feinstein is incensed.

They’re unlikely to win anyway as this game will be played on the frozen tundra of Lambeau Field (named for a real human being and not a slave labor exploiting blue jean company), Titletown USA, in conditions projected to rival the fabled Ice Bowl.

2014 Thowball Wild Card- Chargers @ Bengals

This is a tough one since I care so little about either team.  The Bengals have made the Playoffs 4 out of the last 5 years but they haven’t had a playoff victory since 1990.  Their problem is that they have a tendency to give up the ball a lot in the form of interceptions.  What’s notable about them historically is they were founded by the legendary Paul Brown after he was booted by the infamous Art Modell from his eponymous team and played for many years in Cleveland Browns uniforms that Brown owned and took with him in the breakup.  His son and heir Mike Brown is pretty much universally regarded as one of the dumbest owners in the NFL, which is saying a lot.

The Chargers haven’t been in the Playoffs since 2009 and contrary to their past playbook are primarily a running team.  This will be interesting since the Bengals are tough against the rush, giving up only about 100 yards a game on average.  The Chargers are one of the original AFL teams and are currently the only NFL team in Southern California since the Rams decamped Los Angeles in 1994.  If you want to find a reason to hate them, they employ Manti Te’o of the dead girlfriend hoax fame.  You remember that one don’t you?

One of the enduring stories of Notre Dame’s 2012 season was Te’o’s strong play following the death of his grandmother and girlfriend… In January 2013, the sports blog Deadspin revealed that the existence and death of his girlfriend had been faked. An acquaintance of Te’o confessed to orchestrating a hoax that lured Te’o into an online relationship with a nonexistent woman.

The other big plot line is snow in Brown Stadium (I’ll give the Bengals that, it’s still named after Paul Brown and not some faceless corporation).  Some are predicting it in buckets, others that it will be warm enough to be just freezing rain.  It shouldn’t handicap either team, the Bengals play in crappy lake effect weather all season long and some of the Chargers’ biggest victories this season have been outside in the cold.

On This Day In History January 5

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.

January 5 is the fifth day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. There are 360 days remaining until the end of the year (361 in leap years).

On this day in 1933, construction starts on what will become one of America’s most famous landmarks: the Golden Gate Bridge. When completed in 1937, the Golden Gate has a 4,200-foot-long suspension span, making it the world’s longest suspension bridge. Since opening to the public in May 1937, almost 2 billion vehicles have crossed the bridge, in both the north- and southbound directions.

The bridge was named not for its distinctive orange color (which provides extra visibility to passing ships in San Francisco’s famous fog), but for the Golden Gate Strait, where the San Francisco Bay opens into the Pacific Ocean. The bridge spans the strait and connects the northern part of the city of San Francisco to Marin County, California.

Before the bridge was built, the only practical short route between San Francisco and what is now Marin County was by boat across a section of San Francisco Bay. Ferry service began as early as 1820, with regularly scheduled service beginning in the 1840s for purposes of transporting water to San Francisco. The Sausalito Land and Ferry Company service, launched in 1867, eventually became the Golden Gate Ferry Company, a Southern Pacific Railroad subsidiary, the largest ferry operation in the world by the late 1920s. Once for railroad passengers and customers only, Southern Pacific’s automobile ferries became very profitable and important to the regional economy. The ferry crossing between the Hyde Street Pier in San Francisco and Sausalito in Marin County took approximately 20 minutes and cost US$1.00 per vehicle, a price later reduced to compete with the new bridge. The trip from the San Francisco Ferry Building took 27 minutes.

Many wanted to build a bridge to connect San Francisco to Marin County. San Francisco was the largest American city still served primarily by ferry boats. Because it did not have a permanent link with communities around the bay, the city’s growth rate was below the national average. Many experts said that a bridge couldn’t be built across the 6,700 ft (2,042 m) strait. It had strong, swirling tides and currents, with water 500 ft (150 m) in depth at the center of the channel, and frequent strong winds. Experts said that ferocious winds and blinding fogs would prevent construction and operation.

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”.

Follow us on Twitter @StarsHollowGzt

The Sunday Talking Heads:

This Week with George Stephanopolis: Guests on “This Week” are Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY); and Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY).

In the Sunday Spotlight, ABC’s Bob Woodruff speaks with actor Mark Wahlberg; writer and director Peter Berg, and former Navy SEAL Marcus Luttrell about “Lone Survivor.”

ABC News Chief Global Affairs Correspondent Martha Raddatz, Col. Steve Ganyard, USMC (Ret.) and Vice Admiral Robert Harward, U.S. Navy (Ret.) discuss the future of special operations forces.

The roundtable guests are ABC News’ Cokie Roberts; Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol; Republican strategist and CNN contributor Ana Navarro; former Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer; and BuzzFeed editor-in-chief Ben Smith.

Face the Nation with Bob Schieffer: This Sunday’s guests are Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV): Republican Congressmen Matt Salmon (R-AZ); and Peter King (R-NY).

The roundtable guests are Peggy Noonan of The Wall Street Journal; David Sanger of The New York Times; David Ignatius of The Washington Post; and our CBS News Political Director John Dickerson.

Meet the Press with David Gregory: This Sunday the guests on MTP are  Director of the National Economic Council Gene Sperling; CNBC’s Jim Cramer; former Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano; Dr. Delos Cosgrove of the Cleveland Clinic and Dr. John Noseworthy of the Mayo Clinic.    

For the roundtable discussion the guests are  Republican strategist Steve Schmidt; Rep. Donna Edwards (D-MD); PBS Newshour’s Judy Woodruff and NBC Political Director Chuck Todd.

State of the Union with Candy Crowley: Ms. Crowley’s guests are Director of the National Economic Council Gene Sperling;  Governor Scott Walker (R-WI) and veteran Supreme Court reporter Joan Biskupic of Reuters.

Joining her for a panel discussion are Stu Rothenberg of the Rothenberg Political Report, along with CNN Commentator Cornell Belcher and Mattie Duppler of Americans For Tax Reform.

Six In The Morning

On Sunday

After typhoon, Philippines faces one of the most profound resettlement crises in decades


By Chico Harlan, Sunday, January 5, 8:19 AM E-mail the writer

TACLOBAN, Philippines – The typhoon that recently barreled through the Philippines has left in its wake one of the most profound resettlement crises in decades, with the number of newly homeless far exceeding the capacity of aid groups and the government to respond.

Two months after one of the strongest typhoons on record, recovery in the central Philippines has been marked by a desperate scramble for shelter, as people return to the same areas that were ravaged and construct weaker, leakier and sometimes rotting versions of their old homes.

That urgent but crude attempt to rebuild has raised the prospect that the storm-prone areas devastated by Typhoon Haiyan will emerge more vulnerable to future disasters.

Sunday’s Headlines:

Iraqi PM to al Qaeda fighters: ‘We will not withdraw’ from Anbar province

Is it 1914 all over again? We are in danger of repeating the mistakes that started WWI, says a leading historian

Thai protesters march again in bid to bring down government

Terminators or protectors? Rise of the robot soldiers may be closer than you think

US icebreaker to rescue 2 ships in Antarctica

Three Things On The Internet

The team of All In with Chris Hayes puts out a daily request on Twitter asking their followers to send them the things they find most interesting on the internet. These are their finds for January 2, 2014

1. “Hold ma hand, just want you to hold my hand”

2. Why did the wild turkey stalk the mail delivery service man?

3. When your leading lady is a dog.

2014 Thowball Wild Card- Saints @ Evils

Yes, that’s spelled right.

Once again an easy pick as to who to hate more for me.  You see, the Evils play in my Division against my favorite team, the Giants.  They’d have to be playing the ‘Boys or some even more execrable team to get me to root for them.

The Saints on the other hand are remembered fondly despite being no better or worse than most and a legendary record of failure because of their performance after Katrina.  There is speculation they might suffer because of the weather, but it’s not snowing now and it’s not as cold as it was (which was very).

I will give the Evils this however, their fans are loyal and turn out.  Of the 4 Wild Card games this was the only one not in danger of a TV Blackout.

In his Divisional Playoffs 2014 Trash Talk bmaz at emptywheel bemoans this phenomena (and he’s no John McCain) and the various excuses offered but by far the best commentary is from Peterr of Firedog Lake in a private email that bmaz shares-

Reading some of the news stories about this over breakfast, various folks point to the cost of tickets and the prevalence of 55 inch flat screens at home as reasons for people not going.

This strikes me as yet another symptom of the two-tier economic world we’re in these days. For all the 1%ers who have enjoyed the rise in the stock market and have plenty of money to throw around, there are still a lot of lunchpail fans for whom $100+ for the cheapest ticket is still too much, and a lot of other fans who used to carry lunchbuckets whom no job means no tickets either. The NFL is increasingly becoming a rich fan’s sport – PSLs, high ticket prices, higher parking/amenities fees, more games leaving broadcast TV for ESPN on basic cable or the pricier NFL Red Zone cable channel, over-the-top merchandise prices, etc.

Even if all three of these games do get sold out at the last minute, it’s a sign of real problems in the economy generally and the NFL specifically when selling out playoff games goes down to the last minute.