Daily Archive: 08/25/2014

Aug 25 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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Paul Krugman: Wrong Way Nation

Gov. Rick Perry of Texas is running for president again. What are his chances? Will he once again become a punch line? I have absolutely no idea. This isn’t a horse-race column.

What I’d like to do, instead, is take advantage of Mr. Perry’s ambitions to talk about one of my favorite subjects: interregional differences in economic and population growth.

You see, while Mr. Perry’s hard-line stances and religiosity may be selling points for the Republican Party’s base, his national appeal, if any, will have to rest on claims that he knows how to create prosperity. And it’s true that Texas has had faster job growth than the rest of the country. So have other Sunbelt states with conservative governments. The question, however, is why.

Robert Kuttner: Trade Deals from Hell

The latest reports from Europe indicate that the continent is slipping back into recession. The U.S. is doing only slightly better, with positive economic growth but scant progress on the jobs front, and no growth in the earnings of the vast majority of Americans.

Meanwhile, global climate change continues to worsen, producing unprecedented policy conundrums of how to reconcile the very survival of the planet with improved living standards for the world’s impoverished billions and for most Americans, whose real incomes have declined since the year 2000.

Amid all of these serious challenges, what common strategies are top U.S. and European leaders pursuing? Why, a new trade and investment deal modeled on NAFTA, to make it harder for governments to regulate capitalism.

Dave Johnson: Austerity Has Made Europe’s Depression Longer Than In The 1930s

Europe’s economic depression has now lasted longer than the Great Depression of the 1930s. Meanwhile, America’s “Great Recession” also drags on thanks to cutbacks in government spending since the stimulus.

Europe’s leaders somehow were convinced that austerity – “deficit reduction” through cutbacks in government – would somehow lead them out of their economic doldrums. They believed that taking money out of the economy would help the economy. The result has been terrible. The Washington Post’s Wonkblog calls Europe’s austerity-lengthened depression “one of the biggest catastrophes in economic history.”

To top it off, Europe’s governments are learning that cutting back on spending not only worsens the economic picture, causing terrible unemployment, poverty and human misery, but the worsened economic picture means less revenue coming in, thereby increasing deficits instead of lowering deficits. In other words, austerity cutbacks to fight deficits have instead made deficits worse and hurt people.

Ralph Nader: Corporations Spy on Nonprofits With Impunity

Here’s a dirty little secret you won’t see in the daily papers: Corporations conduct espionage against U.S. nonprofit organizations without fear of being brought to justice.

Yes, that means using a great array of spycraft and snoopery, including planned electronic surveillance, wiretapping, information warfare, infiltration, dumpster diving and so much more.

The evidence abounds.

For example, six years ago, based on extensive documentary evidence, James Ridgeway reported in Mother Jones on a major corporate espionage scheme by Dow Chemical focused on Greenpeace and other environmental and food activists.

Greenpeace was running a potent campaign against Dow’s use of chlorine to manufacture paper and plastics. Dow grew worried and eventually desperate.

David Mitchell: Trust us, say the online giants – we won’t make you think for yourself

Are eBay and Facebook trying to protect users from their own stupidity with their nannying tactics? It’s more sinister than that

We’ve got it covered… Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg in California, January 2012. Photograph: Josh Edelson/AFP/Getty Images

Here’s a tip for the dynamic go-getter on a time and money budget who’s determined to live the luxurious dream: when eating your lunchtime Pot Noodle, try putting on a CD of Handel’s Music for the Royal Fireworks. It’ll make everything seem so posh. Just close your eyes and each chemical forkful will be transformed to caviar as it crosses your tongue. Or, if not quite caviar, maybe a high-end ready meal. Or some toast made from expensive bread. At the very least, it’ll elevate your perception of the quality of any jam you happen to be eating. How much probably depends on you, but on average it’s 5%.

This is one of the key findings of a survey published last week: that classical music isn’t just good for discouraging teens from loitering around tube stations – it also makes shoppers overrate a product’s quality by about a twentieth. The purpose of the study was to find out how our purchasing choices are affected by sounds.

Aug 25 2014

Ferguson and the media

Listening Post examines racial conflict and social divisions in the US and how those issues are reported.

Ferguson, Missouri – a dateline that rarely drops on the global news wire. But this week, small-town America was put under the international media spotlight after a black teenager, Michael Brown, was killed on August 9 by a white policeman.

When US journalists do hostile environment training, they usually have foreign conflicts at the back of their minds. This one was right on their doorstep. Because this week, the Midwest turned into a warzone – and the post-racial America story arc just took a turn for the worse.

Helping us to understand how the media reported Ferguson are: Mikki Kendall, a writer; Lizz Brown, a columnist for the St Louis American; Byron Tau, a reporter for Politico; Rashad Robinson, the executive director of Color of Change; and Ash-har Quraishi, a correspondent for Al Jazeera America.

Aug 25 2014

The Breakfast Club: 8-25-2014

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. Everyone’s welcome here, no special handshake required. Just check your meta at the door.

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.

breakfast beers photo breakfastbeers.jpg

This Day in History

Aug 25 2014

On This Day In History August 25

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.

August 25 is the 237th day of the year (238th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 128 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1768, James Cook began his first voyage to travel to the Pacific Ocean to observe and record the transit of Venus across the Sun. This would be the first of three voyages that would be hailed as  heroic by the scientific community.

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The routes of Captain James Cook’s voyages. The first voyage is shown in red, second voyage in green, and third voyage in blue. The route of Cook’s crew following his death is shown as a dashed blue line.

In 1766, the Royal Society hired (James) Cook to travel to the Pacific Ocean to observe and record the transit of Venus across the Sun. Cook was promoted to Lieutenant and named as commander of the expedition. The expedition sailed from England in 1768, rounded Cape Horn and continued westward across the Pacific to arrive at Tahiti  on 13 April 1769, where the observations were to be made. However, the result of the observations was not as conclusive or accurate as had been hoped. Cook later mapped the complete New Zealand coastline, making only some minor errors. He then sailed west, reaching the south-eastern coast of the Australian continent on 19 April 1770, and in doing so his expedition became the first recorded Europeans to have encountered its eastern coastline.

On 23 April he made his first recorded direct observation of indigenous Australians at Brush Island near Bawley Point, noting in his journal: “…and were so near the Shore as to distinguish several people upon the Sea beach they appear’d to be of a very dark or black Colour but whether this was the real colour of their skins or the C[l]othes they might have on I know not.” On 29 April Cook and crew made their first landfall on the mainland of the continent at a place now known as the Kurnell Peninsula, which he named Botany Bay after the unique specimens retrieved by the botanists Joseph Banks and Daniel Solander. It is here that James Cook made first contact with an Aboriginal tribe known as the Gweagal.

After his departure from Botany Bay he continued northwards, and a mishap occurred when Endeavour ran aground on a shoal of the Great Barrier Reef, on 11 June, and “nursed into a river mouth on 18 June 1770.” The ship was badly damaged and his voyage was delayed almost seven weeks while repairs were carried out on the beach (near the docks of modern Cooktown, at the mouth of the Endeavour River). Once repairs were complete the voyage continued, sailing through Torres Strait and on 22 August he landed on Possession Island, where he claimed the entire coastline he had just explored as British territory. He returned to England via Batavia (modern Jakarta, Indonesia), the Cape of Good Hope and the island of Saint Helena, arriving on 12 July 1771.

Aug 25 2014

Sunday Train: Yet Another Airport Terminal Station Opens on Dallas’s Orange Line

YAATS (Yet Another Airport Terminal Station) has opened in Dallas for the “orange line” in the Dallas Area Regional Transit light rail system. This is not at the regional airport Love Field, even though the Orange Line runs directly past Love Field, but at the Dallas / Fort Worth International airport, following completion of a five-mile extension to the western end of the Orange line.

The Dallas Morning News reports:

“Strategically, this is a major accomplishment,” said Mayor Mike Rawlings.

It is undoubtedly DART’s biggest accomplishment in its 31-year history. The way officials and regional leaders see it, the airport-rail link brims with promise. They say it will dramatically bolster North Texas transit options, attract more conventions and provide a smooth welcome to international visitors.

So lets take the Sunday Train to the airport, below the fold.