Daily Archive: 05/05/2014

May 05 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”.

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Mark Weisbrot: The world has nothing to fear from the US losing power

As China looks set to overtake the US as the world’s largest economy, a multipolar world can only be good for democracy

In the 18th century, those who opposed democratic revolutions like that of the United States had dystopian visions of governance without monarchy. So, too, our foreign policy establishment cannot imagine a multipolar world where the US and its allies must negotiate more and give orders less often. But economic trends are making this reality inevitable, and Americans should embrace it. Whatever the internal political systems of the countries whose representation in the international arena will increase, the end result is likely to be more democratic governance at the international level, with a greater rule of international law, fewer wars, and more social and economic progress.

Trevor Timm: Technology law will soon be reshaped by people who don’t use email

The US supreme court doesn’t understand the internet. Laugh all you want, but when NSA, Pandora and privacy cases hit the docket, the lack of tech savvy on the bench gets scary

There’s been much discussion – and derision – of the US supreme court’s recent forays into cellphones and the internet, but as more and more of these cases bubble up to the high chamber, including surveillance reform, we won’t be laughing for long: the future of technology and privacy law will undoubtedly be written over the next few years by nine individuals who haven’t “really ‘gotten to’ email” and find Facebook and Twitter “a challenge”.

A pair of cases that went before the court this week raise the issue of whether police can search someone’s cellphone after an arrest but without a warrant. The court’s decisions will inevitably affect millions. As the New York Times editorial boardexplained on the eve of the arguments, “There are 12 million arrests in America each year, most for misdemeanors that can be as minor as jaywalking.” Over 90% of Americans have cellphones, and as the American Civil Liberties Union argued in a briefing to the court, our mobile devices “are in effect, our new homes”.

Gary younge: Tighter gun control won’t stop the violence on its own

Inner-city poverty and segregation lie behind the US firearms problem. And the National Rifle Association knows how to exploit it

So long as the debate about gun violence limits itself to gun ownership alone it risks being suspended in this morbid circular logic with broad appeal and limited plausibility. Chicago, gun lobbyists point out, has some of the strictest gun legislation in the country. What they don’t say is that between 2008 and 2012 almost one in five guns recovered in crimes within a year of purchase were bought at one gun shop just out of the city limits. Polls consistently show that Americans favour universal background checks for gun sales. Research shows that states with stricter gun controls have fewer gun-related deaths.

So gun control laws are important and have an effect. That’s why the NRA is so viciously opposed to them. Just last week it managed to delay a White House plan to close a loophole allowing people to buy weapons like machine guns, grenades and sawn-off shotguns without undergoing background checks. But by themselves they provide a significant but entirely insufficient frame through which to understand and remedy gun violence. In a nation with rampant inequality, endemic segregation and massive poverty guns are the spark on a huge pile of dry tinder.[

Charles M. Blow: Eye-for-an-Eye Incivility

The botched Oklahoma execution of Clayton Lockett has called our continued use of the death penalty in this country back into question. In many ways, the death penalty is an abhorrent attempt to sate an irrational cultural bloodlust, rooted in vengeance and barbarism and detached from data. [..]

Those sentenced to death have often, like Lockett, been convicted of heinous, nearly unspeakable crimes. But is state-sponsored eye-for-an-eye justice truly a mark of a civilized society? How do we not, as a culture, descend to the same depravity of the person who takes a life – or multiple lives – when, as citizens of a state or country, we, in turn, take the murderer’s life? Do our haphazard attempts to rid the world of evil imbue us with it?

Richard (RJ) Eskow: ‘Who Makes the Game?’ Donald Sterling Certainly Asked the Right Question

His racism got all the headlines, but there was something to be learned from Donald Sterling’s other words. So, before the spotlight turns elsewhere and Sterling crawls back into well-deserved obscurity, it’s worth considering his usefulness as a representative sample of the oligarchical class.

We’ll say one thing for Donald Sterling: He certainly asked the right question. [..]

Racism is a powerful ongoing force in our country’s social dynamic, but race is also closely connected with class as a tool for economic warfare. The “plantation” isn’t the only analogy for Sterling’s mindset. His attitude toward the players also resembles that of baronial landlords toward tenant farmers, or mine owners toward miners who were paid in “credits” for the company store.  Like plantation owners, the landed aristocracy and the mining bosses saw their employees and tenants as less than fully human. They kept them in a form of peonage, both financial and cultural, while clinging to a worldview which justified their own domination.

Noah Greenwald: How Many More Fiery Rail Explosions Do We Need?

Wednesday’s fiery train derailment in Lynchburg, Va., is yet another disturbing reminder of the dangers of increasing shipments of particularly explosive Bakken crude oil from North Dakota and western Canada.

Shipments of the oil have ramped up dramatically in recent years and a series of derailments, including one in Quebec that killed 47, have raised serious safety concerns.

We’ve got to do something. The best first step is a moratorium on these shipments until we know for sure that people and the environment can be protected.

May 05 2014

The Breakfast Club: 5-5-2014

Welcome to The Breakfast Club! We’re a disorganized group of rebel lefties who hang out and chat if and when we’re not too hungover  we’ve been bailed out we’re not too exhausted from last night’s (CENSORED) the caffeine kicks in. Join us every weekday morning at 9am (ET) and weekend morning at 10:30am (ET) to talk about current news and our boring lives and to make fun of LaEscapee! If we are ever running late, it’s PhilJD’s fault.

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This Day in History

May 05 2014

On This Day In History May 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.

Click on images to enlarge

May 5 is the 125th day of the year (126th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 240 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1862, the Mexican Army defeated the French forces at the Battle of Puebla

Certain that French victory would come swiftly in Mexico, 6,000 French troops under General Charles Latrille de Lorencez set out to attack Puebla de Los Angeles. From his new headquarters in the north, Juarez rounded up a rag-tag force of loyal men and sent them to Puebla. Led by Texas-born General Zaragoza, the 2,000 Mexicans fortified the town and prepared for the French assault. On the fifth of May, 1862, Lorencez drew his army, well-provisioned and supported by heavy artillery, before the city of Puebla and began their assault from the north. The battle lasted from daybreak to early evening, and when the French finally retreated they had lost nearly 500 soldiers to the fewer than 100 Mexicans killed.

Although not a major strategic victory in the overall war against the French, Zaragoza’s victory at Puebla tightened Mexican resistance, and six years later France withdrew. The same year, Austrian Archduke Ferdinand Maximilian, who had been installed as emperor of Mexico by Napoleon in 1864, was captured and executed by Juarez’ forces. Puebla de Los Angeles, the site of Zaragoza’s historic victory, was renamed Puebla de Zaragoza in honor of the general.

Mexico

Cinco de Mayo is a regional holiday limited primarily to the state of Puebla. There is some limited recognition of the holiday in other parts of the country.

United States

In a 1998 study in the Journal of American Culture it was reported that there were more than 120 official U.S. celebrations of Cinco de Mayo, and they could be found in 21 different states. An update in 2006, found that the number of official Cinco de Mayo events was 150 or more, according to Jose Alamillo, professor of ethnic studies at Washington State University in Pullman, who has studied the cultural impact of Cinco de Mayo north of the border.

In the United States Cinco de Mayo has taken on a significance beyond that in Mexico. The date is perhaps best recognized in the United States as a date to celebrate the culture and experiences of Americans of Mexican ancestry, much as St. Patrick’s Day, Oktoberfest, and the Chinese New Year are used to celebrate those of Irish, German, and Chinese ancestry respectively. Similar to those holidays, Cinco de Mayo is observed by many Americans regardless of ethnic origin. Celebrations tend to draw both from traditional Mexican symbols, such as the Virgen de Guadalupe, and from prominent figures of Mexican descent in the United States, including Cesar Chavez. To celebrate, many display Cinco de Mayo banners while school districts hold special events to educate pupils about its historical significance. Special events and celebrations highlight Mexican culture, especially in its music and regional dancing. Examples include baile folklorico and mariachi demonstrations held annually at the Plaza del Pueblo de Los Angeles, near Olvera Street. Commercial interests in the United States have capitalized on the celebration, advertising Mexican products and services, with an emphasis on beverages, foods, and music.

May 05 2014

Cinco de Mayo

Reprinted from 5/5/2012

The name simply means “The Fifth of May” and it’s an oddly U.S. American holiday.

Except in the State of Puebla they don’t much celebrate the victory over the French at the Battle of Puebla in Mexico which makes it much more like Patriot’s Day that we here in New England get to celebrate almost every year as an extra filing day (I understand there’s also a foot race in Boston).

Interestingly enough it was a stand up fight against the banksters which they lost (those who do not remember history…).  Some people say that the French intervention was intended to establish a supply line to aid the Slave Owner’s Rebellion (or as the more charitable put it, The War of the Rebellion).

Not Congressionally recognized until 2005, celebrations started in California as early as the mid 1860s and for over 100 years were most common in Southwestern States with a large population of people of Mexican descent.  Now of course it’s just another excuse to over consume the cheap crappy Tequila and Beer that Mexico exports (don’t get me wrong, there are good Mexican Beers and Tequila but Corona, Dos Equis, and Jose Cuervo are not them) and ignore real, actual factual Mexican history because we’re so fucking exceptional that understanding and caring about the countries we border is as beneath us as even knowing which ones they are.

Just don’t mistake it for Grito de Dolores.