02/21/2014 archive

XXII Day 15

    Time     Network Event
5 pm CNBC Curling, men’s gold medal final: Great Britain vs. Canada.
5 pm Vs. Hockey, men’s semifinal: USA vs. Canada. (repeat)
8 pm NBC Alpine skiing: women’s slalom gold medal final; short track: men’s 500m gold medal final, 5000m relay gold medal final, women’s 1000m gold medal final; speed skating: men’s team pursuit semifinals.
12:30 am NBC Speed skating: women’s team pursuit quarterfinals.
1:30 am NBC Alpine skiing: women’s slalom gold medal final; short track: men’s 500m gold medal final, 5000m relay gold medal final, women’s 1000m gold medal final; speed skating: men’s team pursuit semifinals. (repeat)
3 am Vs. Snowboarding: men’s and women’s parallel slalom competition.
4:30 am Vs. Cross-country skiing: women’s 30km freestyle gold medal final; snowboarding: men’s and women’s parallel slalom gold medal finals.
10 am Vs. Hockey, men’s bronze medal game: Finland vs. USA.
12:30 pm Vs. Figure skating gala.
2:30 pm NBC Snowboarding: women’s parallel slalom gold medal final; cross-country skiing: women’s 30km freestyle gold medal final; biathlon: men’s 4×7.5km relay gold medal final.
6 pm Vs. Hockey: Game of the Day.

Friday’s medal results are below the fold

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”.

Follow us on Twitter @StarsHollowGzt

Paul Krugman: The Stimulus Tragedy

Five years have passed since President Obama signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act – the “stimulus” – into law. With the passage of time, it has become clear that the act did a vast amount of good. It helped end the economy’s plunge; it created or saved millions of jobs; it left behind an important legacy of public and private investment.

It was also a political disaster. And the consequences of that political disaster – the perception that stimulus failed – have haunted economic policy ever since. [..]

In other words, the overall narrative of the stimulus is tragic. A policy initiative that was good but not good enough ended up being seen as a failure, and set the stage for an immensely destructive wrong turn.

Heidi Moore: Forget the minimum-wage job losses: it’s government cuts that’ll get you mad

When it comes to unemployment, Washington will manipulate any number beyond recovery. But in one case, that’s good news.

One of the the worst things you can do to a politician is hand him some economic statistics, because any politician worth his salt in Washington will inevitably twist them into a mess of bad motives and bad policy. It happened last month when conservative lawmakers yelped that Obamacare would cost some 2.3 million jobs. (It won’t). This week we have two more examples of twisted job figures, on the minimum wage and the unemployment rate. [..]

So, here’s the not-so-simple question: if everyone’s so angry about losing 500,000 jobs while paying the average worker more per hour, where’s the unstoppable outrage about the 2m jobs that already seem lost to austerity?

There simply is no outrage, and that illuminates the consistent hypocrisy around unemployment on today’s political scene. No matter what the economic number, it will inevitably end up twisted beyond recovery once it gets into the hands of the average lawmaker.

Amy Goodman: The monstrous merger of Comcast and Time Warner must be stopped – now

We must confront connected regulators and force them to pull the plug. Our democracy depends on it

Comcast has announced it intends to merge with Time Warner Cable, joining together the largest and second-largest cable and broadband providers in the country. The merger must be approved by both the Justice Department and the FCC. Given the financial and political power of Comcast, and the Obama administration’s miserable record of protecting the public interest, the time to speak out and organize is now. [..]

As for the regulators, the news website Republic Report revealed that the head of the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division, William Baer, was a lawyer representing NBC during the merger with Comcast, and Maureen Ohlhausen, a commissioner on the Federal Trade Commission, provided legal counsel for Comcast before joining the commission. If you wonder how President Obama feels about the issue, look at who he appointed to be the new chairperson of the FCC: Tom Wheeler, who was for years a top lobbyist for both the cable and wireless industries.

Robert L. Borosage: Fast Track to Nowhere: America’s Failed Trade Policy

The Obama administration continues to push a fast track to nowhere. U.S. Trade Representative Michael B. Froman now has launched charm offensive, meeting with legislators, consumer, union and environmental groups to try to defuse growing opposition to fast track trade authority.

Fat chance. Senate Majority leader Harry Reid says he has no intention of bringing fast track up on the Senate floor (at least before the election). House Speaker John Boehner couldn’t even round up a Democratic co-sponsor for the bill. Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi has voiced her opposition. [..]

Instead, the administration is pursuing trade negotiations in an outmoded and failed mold, behind closed doors with corporations at the table. We know that this model has failed us miserably over the last decades. President Obama was elected in the wake of the global collapse with the promise to develop a new foundation for growth. Isn’t it time to stop pursuing a fast track when the train is already off the rails? Isn’t it long past time to take another look and think anew?

Norman Solomon: Why Amazon’s Collaboration With the CIA Is So Ominous — and Vulnerable

As the world’s biggest online retailer, Amazon wants a benevolent image to encourage trust from customers. Obtaining vast quantities of their personal information has been central to the firm’s business model. But Amazon is diversifying — and a few months ago the company signed a $600 million contract with the Central Intelligence Agency to provide “cloud computing” services.

Amazon now has the means, motive and opportunity to provide huge amounts of customer information to its new business partner. An official statement from Amazon headquarters last fall declared: “We look forward to a successful relationship with the CIA.” [..]

Amazon now averages 162 million unique visitors to its sites every month. Meanwhile, the CIA depends on gathering and analyzing data to serve U.S. military interventions overseas. During the last dozen years, the CIA has conducted ongoing drone strikes and covert lethal missions in many countries. At the same time, U.S. agencies like the CIA and NSA have flattened many previous obstacles to Big Brother behavior.

And now, Amazon is hosting a huge computing cloud for the CIA’s secrets — a digital place where data for mass surveillance and perpetual war are converging.

Dan Gillmor: Beware the WhatsApp hype: Mark Zuckerberg is no benevolent overlord

What’s Facebook really up to? Same thing Silicon Valley does with every big deal, people: try to take over the world

By now there have may have been about as many words written about this week’s blockbuster technology deal – Facebook’s $16bn-plus acquisition of the WhatsApp messaging service – as there have been dollars spent. The tech chattering class and the jealous masses are speculating wildly, even as Mark Zuckerberg and WhatsApp co-founder Jan Koum hold pretty close to the vest their long-term plans, discussed over years’ worth of coffees and long walks and dinners.

But there’s got to be more to this partnership than a shared goal “to make the world more open and connected“, right? Koum has long been an evangelist of free speech, while Zuckerberg has said recently that he wants to “build great new experiences that are separate from what you think of as Facebook today”.

Indeed, from those billions of words emerge some early clues about the future of a very rich Facebook, which suggest even bigger changes to the future of what we hold in our hands. Not all of them are so utopian.

On This Day In History February 21

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.

February 21 is the 52nd day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. There are 313 days remaining until the end of the year (314 in leap years).

On this day in 1965, Malcolm X, an African American nationalist and religious leader, is assassinated by rival Black Muslims while addressing his Organization of Afro-American Unity at the Audubon Ballroom in Washington Heights in New York City.


Malcolm X began to speak to a meeting of the Organization of Afro-American Unity when a disturbance broke out in the crowd of 400. A man yelled, “Nigger! Get your hand outta my pocket!” As Malcolm X and his bodyguards moved to quiet the disturbance, a man rushed forward and shot him in the chest with a sawed-off shotgun. Two other men charged the stage and fired handguns, hitting him 16 times. Furious onlookers caught and beat one of the assassins as the others fled the ballroom. Malcolm X was pronounced dead at 3:30 p.m., shortly after he arrived at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital.

Talmadge Hayer, a Nation of Islam member also known as Thomas Hagan, was arrested on the scene. Eyewitnesses identified two more suspects, Norman 3X Butler and Thomas 15X Johnson, also members of the Nation. All three were charged in the case. At first Hayer denied involvement, but during the trial he confessed to having fired shots at Malcolm X. He testified that Butler and Johnson were not present and were not involved in the assassination, but he declined to name the men who had joined him in the shooting. All three men were convicted.

Butler, now known as Muhammad Abdul Aziz, was paroled in 1985. He became the head of the Nation of Islam’s Harlem mosque in New York in 1998. He continues to maintain his innocence. Johnson, now known as Khalil Islam, was released from prison in 1987. During his time in prison, he rejected the teachings of the Nation of Islam and converted to Sunni Islam. He, too, maintains his innocence. Hayer, now known as Mujahid Halim, was paroled in 2010.


The number of mourners who came to the public viewing in Harlem’s Unity Funeral Home from February 23 through February 26 was estimated to be between 14,000 and 30,000. The funeral of Malcolm X was held on February 27 at the Faith Temple Church of God in Christ in Harlem. The Church was filled to capacity with more than 1,000 people. Loudspeakers were set up outside the Temple so the overflowing crowd could listen and a local television station broadcast the funeral live.

Among the civil rights leaders in attendance were John Lewis, Bayard Rustin, James Forman, James Farmer, Jesse Gray, and Andrew Young. Actor and activist Ossie Davis delivered the eulogy, describing Malcolm X as “our shining black prince”.

   There are those who will consider it their duty, as friends of the Negro people, to tell us to revile him, to flee, even from the presence of his memory, to save ourselves by writing him out of the history of our turbulent times. Many will ask what Harlem finds to honor in this stormy, controversial and bold young captain-and we will smile. Many will say turn away-away from this man, for he is not a man but a demon, a monster, a subverter and an enemy of the black man-and we will smile. They will say that he is of hate-a fanatic, a racist-who can only bring evil to the cause for which you struggle! And we will answer and say to them: Did you ever talk to Brother Malcolm? Did you ever touch him, or have him smile at you? Did you ever really listen to him? Did he ever do a mean thing? Was he ever himself associated with violence or any public disturbance? For if you did you would know him. And if you knew him you would know why we must honor him.

Malcolm X was buried at Ferncliff Cemetery in Hartsdale, New York. At the gravesite after the ceremony, friends took the shovels away from the waiting gravediggers and completed the burial themselves. Actor and activist Ruby Dee (wife of Ossie Davis) and Juanita Poitier (wife of Sidney Poitier) established the Committee of Concerned Mothers to raise funds to buy a house and pay educational expenses for Malcolm X’s family.

1% Society

LOL Foreign Policy…

In the “War of Terrorism”.


(F)rom a U.S. policy perspective, why is Karzai refusing to agree to these terms?

Jessica, from a U.S. policy perspective, I’m not sure I can answer that question without laughing. From an Afghan policy perspective, from Karzai’s perspective, political and what I would call realpolitik in particular, he has every reason to object. Just the last issue that you discussed, special operating forces running slipshod, rampant through Afghanistan, doing whatever they want to do at all hours of the night, killing civilians, killing al-Qaeda, killing Taliban or alleged Taliban, whatever, that is enough in and of itself, were I Karzai, to object strenuously to this BSA.

The other provisions, almost a loss of sovereignty in terms of prosecuting any crime or any activity by a U.S. service member that might be against Afghan law, and just the fact that you need the territory for ten bases, sort of impugns that same sovereignty.

So I know he’s doing it for political purposes, and other purposes don’t relate to our policy, but he’s got good ground to stand on in terms of the agreement.

XXII Day 14

    Time     Network Event
5 pm CNBC Curling, women’s gold medal final: Canada vs. Sweden.
5 pm Vs. Women’s hockey, gold medal final: Canada vs. USA.
8 pm NBC Figure skating: ladies’ gold medal final; freestyle skiing: women’s halfpipe gold medal final, men’s ski cross gold medal final.
1 am NBC Nordic Combined: men’s team K-125 large hill gold medal final.
2 am NBC Figure skating: ladies’ gold medal final; freestyle skiing: women’s halfpipe gold medal final, men’s ski cross gold medal final. (repeat)
3 am Vs. Curling, men’s bronze medal game: Sweden vs. China; freestyle skiing: women’s ski cross.
6:30 am Vs. Hockey, men’s first semifinal: Sweden vs. Finland.
9:30 am Vs. Biathlon: women’s 4x6km relay gold medal final; freestyle skiing: women’s ski cross gold medal final.
11:30 am Vs. Hockey, men’s second semifinal: USA vs. Canada; speed skating, women’s team pursuit quarterfinals.
3 pm NBC Freestyle skiing: women’s ski cross gold medal final; biathlon: women’s 4x6km relay gold medal final.
3 pm Vs. Hockey.
5 pm CNBC Curling, men’s gold medal final: Great Britain vs. Canada.
5 pm Vs. Hockey: Game of the Day.

Medal Results for Wednesday and Thursday are below the fold. ~TMC~