Daily Archive: 03/17/2014

Mar 17 2014

The Wearing Of The Green

The Wearing Of The Green
O Paddy dear, and did ye hear the news that’s goin’ round?

The shamrock is by law forbid to grow on Irish ground!

No more Saint Patrick’s Day we’ll keep, his color can’t be seen

For there’s a cruel law ag’in the Wearin’ o’ the Green.

I met with Napper Tandy, and he took me by the hand

And he said, “How’s poor old Ireland, and how does she stand?”

“She’s the most distressful country that ever yet was seen

For they’re hanging men and women there for the Wearin’ o’ the Green.”

So if the color we must wear be England’s cruel red

Let it remind us of the blood that Irishmen have shed

And pull the shamrock from your hat, and throw it on the sod

But never fear, ’twill take root there, though underfoot ’tis trod.
When laws can stop the blades of grass from growin’ as they grow

And when the leaves in summer-time their color dare not show

Then I will change the color too I wear in my caubeen

But till that day, please God, I’ll stick to the Wearin’ o’ the Green.

You can listen to it here.

Mar 17 2014

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: That Old-Time Whistle

There are many negative things you can say about Paul Ryan, chairman of the House Budget Committee and the G.O.P.’s de facto intellectual leader. But you have to admit that he’s a very articulate guy, an expert at sounding as if he knows what he’s talking about.

So it’s comical, in a way, to see Mr. Ryan trying to explain away some recent remarks in which he attributed persistent poverty to a “culture, in our inner cities in particular, of men not working and just generations of men not even thinking about working.” He was, he says, simply being “inarticulate.” How could anyone suggest that it was a racial dog-whistle? Why, he even cited the work of serious scholars – people like Charles Murray, most famous for arguing that blacks are genetically inferior to whites. Oh, wait.

Joseph E. Stiglitz: On the Wrong Side of Globalization

Trade agreements are a subject that can cause the eyes to glaze over, but we should all be paying attention. Right now, there are trade proposals in the works that threaten to put most Americans on the wrong side of globalization.

The conflicting views about the agreements are actually tearing at the fabric of the Democratic Party, though you wouldn’t know it from President Obama’s rhetoric. In his State of the Union address, for example, he blandly referred to “new trade partnerships” that would “create more jobs.” Most immediately at issue is the Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP, which would bring together 12 countries along the Pacific Rim in what would be the largest free trade area in the world. [..]

Controversy has erupted, and justifiably so. Based on the leaks – and the history of arrangements in past trade pacts – it is easy to infer the shape of the whole TPP, and it doesn’t look good. There is a real risk that it will benefit the wealthiest sliver of the American and global elite at the expense of everyone else. The fact that such a plan is under consideration at all is testament to how deeply inequality reverberates through our economic policies.

Worse, agreements like the TPP are only one aspect of a larger problem: our gross mismanagement of globalization.

Robert Kuttner: The Democrats’ Obama Problem

With the loss of a close House special election in Florida, the entry of several strong Republican contenders in close Senate races, and continuing fallout from flaws in the Accordable Care Act, Democrats are in a panic about their president dragging down the Democratic ticket in this November’s mid-term elections.

Many Democrats have joined Republicans in criticizing Obama Care. Several Democratic incumbent senators in swing states have already moved to distance themselves from President Obama in key confirmation votes. [..]

It’s a tricky business when a president’s unpopularity hurts members of his own party. If a Democratic candidate criticizes him, the president and his party appear even weaker. But supporting an unpopular president does rub off on down-ticket officials.

What to do?

Richard (RJ) Eskow and Robert Fowler: Dear Abby: An Open Letter to MSNBC’s Huntsman About Social Security

Last week MSNBC’s Abby Huntsman expressed some strong opinions about Social Security. That’s her right and her privilege. Unfortunately, she also made some inaccurate and misleading statements. (See Michael Hiltzik in the Los Angeles Times for details.)

As the saying goes, we are entitled to our own opinions but not to our own facts. We have written this open letter in order to ask for a correction.

Dear Abby:

We’re writing you as members of two different generations — Boomer and Millennial — to ask you for an on-air correction to your recent segment on “The Cycle” focused on millennial and earned benefit programs. It was frustrating to see you unquestioningly repeat so many misleading talking points about one of our nation’s most successful programs: Social Security.

Even more importantly, it was disappointing to see you repeat the phony claim that there is a “generational war” between the young and the old. The real “war” in this country is between the haves and the have-nots, and it’s no secret who’s winning that one. In fact, this notion of a “generational war” was dreamed up in the think tanks and PR firms of billionaires, so that credulous journalists, politicians, and yes, news anchors, would pick it up and repeat it endlessly.

Norman SolomonWhen hope turns rancid: LBJ and Obama

Hope makes history. So does betrayal of hope.

Early in his presidency, Lyndon Johnson inspired enormous hope. But the promise for a Great Society imploded – and disappointment jolted many former supporters, with trust and optimism turning into alienation and bitterness. The negative ripple effects lasted for decades.

Fifty years after Johnson entered the White House, the corrosive aspects of his legacy are easy to discern. A political base for progressive social change eroded as he escalated the Vietnam War and bought time with shameless deceit. For many people, distrust of leaders became the essence of realism. [..]

Forty years later, the new presidency of Barack Obama was awash in a strong tide of good will, comparable, in its own way, to the wave of public sentiment that lifted Johnson as the new president after the Nov. 22, 1963, assassination of John F. Kennedy. Obama had run and won on hope, and his victory – while not of Johnson’s landslide proportions – provided major momentum.

David Wise: Can Congress control the CIA?

The current fight between the Senate Intelligence Committee and the CIA – each accuses the other of spying on it – is part of the deep, continuing struggle between the legislative and executive branches of government over the wide-ranging power of the intelligence agency in the post-9/11 world.

The immediate dispute is about the committee’s lengthy study of the CIA’s harsh interrogation policies, used during the Bush administration. But underlying all the charges and counter-charges is a larger question: Can Congress genuinely exercise  its authority if the intelligence agencies can classify, and so control, the committee’s oversight efforts?

Ari Melber: Our fierce fight over torture

The new Congress versus the CIA battle over “hacking” Senate computers and “spying” isn’t about surveillance. It’s about torture.

We have never had a full reckoning for our government’s use of torture on terror suspects after September 11. There were no prosecutions of military officers or senior officials. (One soldier was imprisoned for abuse at the Abu Ghraib prison, former Corporal Charles Graner, while four officers received administrative demerits, not prosecution.) Remarkably, there has not even been a full release of classified government investigations into U.S. torture. It’s hard to get accountability in the dark.

That repressed history is the real context for the remarkable fight that spilled into public view when Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) spoke on the Senate floor on Tuesday.

Mar 17 2014

On This Day In History March 17

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 17 is the 76th day of the year (77th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 289 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 461, Saint Patrick, Christian missionary, bishop and apostle of Ireland, dies at Saul, Downpatrick, Ireland.

Much of what is known about Patrick’s legendary life comes from the Confessio, a book he wrote during his last years. Born in Great Britain, probably in Scotland, to a well-to-do Christian family of Roman citizenship, Patrick was captured and enslaved at age 16 by Irish marauders. For the next six years, he worked as a herder in Ireland, turning to a deepening religious faith for comfort. Following the counsel of a voice he heard in a dream one night, he escaped and found passage on a ship to Britain, where he was eventually reunited with his family.

According to the Confessio, in Britain Patrick had another dream, in which an individual named Victoricus gave him a letter, entitled “The Voice of the Irish.” As he read it, Patrick seemed to hear the voices of Irishmen pleading him to return to their country and walk among them once more. After studying for the priesthood, Patrick was ordained a bishop. He arrived in Ireland in 433 and began preaching the Gospel, converting many thousands of Irish and building churches around the country. After 40 years of living in poverty, teaching, traveling and working tirelessly, Patrick died on March 17, 461 in Saul, where he had built his first church.

First St. Patrick’s Day parade

In New York City, the first parade honoring the Catholic feast day of St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland, is held by Irish soldiers serving in the British army.

Early Irish settlers to the American colonies, many of whom were indentured servants, brought the Irish tradition of celebrating St. Patrick’s feast day to America. The first recorded St. Patrick’s Day parade was held not in Ireland but in New York City in 1762, and with the dramatic increase of Irish immigrants to the United States in the mid-19th century, the March 17th celebration became widespread. Today, across the United States, millions of Americans of Irish ancestry celebrate their cultural identity and history by enjoying St. Patrick’s Day parades and engaging in general revelry.

Mar 17 2014

Sunday Train: Four Rules for Transit-Oriented Development from Five leaders

This week’s Sunday Train features a piece from John Karras’ urbanSCALE.com, How Your City Can Succeed In Transit Oriented Development. John looks at DC, Portland, Denver, Salt Lake City and Cleveland to argue that your city can also succeed in pursuing Transit Oriented Development:

Here are the 4 key ingredients needed to create successful transit oriented development:

  • TOD Ingredient #1: Connect dense employment centers
  • TOD Ingredient #2: Regional collaboration
  • TOD Ingredient #3: Proactive planning and public policies to encourage TOD
  • TOD Ingredient #4: Public-private partnerships for joint development

This is an important argument, and ties in with many themes address in previous Sunday Trains, including Sustainable Real Estate Development is Good for the Economy and Other Growing Things (30 June 2013), Trains & Buses Should Be Friends (24 Nov 2013) and ‘the successful communities are going to be the ones who get rail.’ (1 Dec 2013), so join me below the fold for the most recent consideration of these issues and Transit-Oriented Development, commonly abbreviated as “TOD”.