Daily Archive: 10/10/2014

Oct 10 2014

Party at SHG-A Funny Thing Happened On My Way to the Party

Hey there, Partiers. A little something different for you tonight. I think I may have mentioned that I’ve been under the weather, but rather than leave y’all completely high and dry–some comedy tonight~

Janeane Garofalo

Oct 10 2014

17 Year Old Is Awarded the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize

Nobel Peace Prize 2014: Pakistani Malala Yousafzai, Indian Kailash Satyarthi Honored For Fighting For Children’s Rights

The 2014 Nobel Peace Prize was awarded on Friday to Pakistani Malala Yousafzai and Indian Kailash Satyarthi for “their struggle against the suppression of children and young people and for the right of all children to education.”

“Children must go to school and not be financially exploited,” The Norwegian Nobel Committee stated in a press release. “In the poor countries of the world, 60% of the present population is under 25 years of age. It is a prerequisite for peaceful global development that the rights of children and young people be respected.”

Yousafzai, 17, was shot in the head by Taliban militants in 2012 for having the temerity to seek an education. The Islamist militant group also took issue with her for publishing a blog in 2009 that promoted the right to education. [..]

Satyarthi, 60, is a children’s rights activist who has dedicated his life to helping the millions of youths in India and around the world that have been forced into slavery.

A former electrical engineer, Satyarthi has participated in countless peaceful demonstrations and protests against the exploitation of children. He has mounted raids on factories where children were forced to work, and helped free and rehabilitate thousands. Satyarthi also established Rugmark (now known as Goodweave), a group that aims to “stop child labor in the carpet industry and to replicate its market-based approach in other sectors,” and currently heads the Global March Against Child Labor, a conglomeration of 2,000 social-minded organizations and trade unions in 140 countries.

Congratulations to Ms. Yousafzai and Mr. Satyarthi for their wonderful work on behalf of children around the world.

Oct 10 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

New York Times Editorial Board: A Global Economic Malaise

Large parts of the world seem to be on the verge of a recession. In many countries in Europe, Asia and Latin America, economic growth has already stalled.

Yet many finance ministers and central bankers who are meeting in Washington this week are unwilling or ill prepared to respond. In Europe, for example, officials from Germany continue to insist that countries that use the euro meet restrictive fiscal rules, and they are trying to prevent the European Central Bank from buying government bonds. Officials in Japan, meanwhile, have hurt that economy by raising a sales tax too fast.

Some countries, including the United States and Britain, are growing modestly, for now. But even these economies are not enjoying the kind of robust recovery that creates millions of jobs for the unemployed. And growth in the United States and Britain could slow down, too, if a lot of their major trading partners in Europe and Asia fall into a recession.

Paul Krugman: Secret Deficit Lovers

What if they balanced the budget and nobody knew or cared?

O.K., the federal budget hasn’t actually been balanced. But the Congressional Budget Office has tallied up the totals for fiscal 2014, which ran through the end of September, and reports that the deficit plunge of the past several years continues. You still hear politicians ranting about “trillion dollar deficits,” but last year’s deficit was less than half-a-trillion dollars – or, a more meaningful number, just 2.8 percent of G.D.P. – and it’s still falling.

So where are the ticker-tape parades? For that matter, where are the front-page news reports? After all, talk about the evils of deficits and the grave fiscal danger facing America dominated Washington for years. Shouldn’t we be making a big deal of the fact that the alleged crisis is over?

Well, we aren’t, and once you understand why, you also understand what fiscal hysteria was really about.

E. J. Dionne, JR.: A Tar Heel Rebellion Against Conservatism

The clergy gathered in the second-floor conference room at the First Baptist Church here were pondering whether this midterm election might be different from other midterm elections.

The five African-American pastors and bishops represented diverse theological traditions, but all were profoundly unhappy over what North Carolina’s ultra-conservative state government in Raleigh had done to reduce access to the ballot box, cut education spending, and turn back money to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act.

The irony, said the Rev. Dray Bland, pastor of First Baptist on Apple-the street location distinguishes it from the predominantly white First Baptist Church downtown-is that measures designed to make it harder for voters to cast ballots may actually inspire a larger number to do so.  

Joe Conason: What Ebola Can Teach Us

Even if Africa’s Ebola emergency never mutates into a global catastrophe, those of us who live in the world’s most fortunate country ought to consider what this fearsome virus can teach us. The lessons are quite obvious at this point-and contain implications that are political in the most urgent sense.

The tea party mania for shrinking federal budgets and rejecting international organizations-both of which are bedrock policy among the current Republican leadership-is not only bad for our national prestige but also exceptionally dangerous to our health. At the insistence of House leaders, whose answer to every problem has been cutting government and reducing taxes, the United States has steadily starved the budgets of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization.

The disturbing consequence is that in both this country and the world, humanity lacks the full arsenal of weapons needed to combat Ebola and other potentially devastating outbreaks of tropical disease.

John Nichols: Chris Christie Defends The ‘Great American’ Koch Brothers

The Koch brothers like to meet in secret with their political minions. And, for the most part, the minions prefer to keep their interactions with the billionaire campaign donors on the down low.

But not Chris Christie.

The governor of New Jersey, who currently chairs that Koch-tied Republican Governors Association, and who well understands that a steady flow of dark money will be required to light up his 2016 presidential prospects, is elbowing everyone else aside in his mad rush to defend the billionaire brothers.

A Koch favorite who has appeared at secret summits organized in the past by the major donors to conservative causes and the RGA, Christie has been among their most vocal defenders in recent months. At the the 2014 Conservative Political Action Conference, for instance, he hailed brothers Charles and David Koch as “great Americans who are creating great things in our country.”

Now, as the 2014 midterm elections approach, no one is championing the Kochs more aggressively than Christie-even if that means he has to grab the spotlight from candidates the embattled New Jerseyan is supposed to be assisting.

George Zornick: The Elephant in the Room With Leon Panetta

In his widely read blog of Beltway goings-on, Chris Cillizza made the following fairly obvious point about former defense Ssecretary Leon Panetta’s Obama-bashing media tour:

  What’s fascinating about this gripe with Obama is how much it plays into a) the argument that Hillary Clinton made against him in the 2008 presidential primary and b) the argument Hillary Clinton will likely make when (sorry, if) she runs for president in 2016. That argument, in short: I have been there and done that. I know what it takes to move the levers of power in Washington-and I am willing to do whatever it takes to make them move.

In addition, Panetta’s criticisms mainly involve Obama’s reluctance to use military force-also a fault line between Clinton and Obama, particularly on the matter of arming the Syrian rebels.

But the Beltway press shouldn’t be afraid to explicitly ask if Panetta is serving as an agent of Clinton’s official-but-not-yet-official presidential campaign. It’s not just that his criticisms dovetail with Clinton’s and are no doubt politically convenient for her as she attempts to draw a difference with the Obama administration-there are explicit ties to the shadow Clinton campaign that should make this question fair game.

Oct 10 2014

When you’ve lost Jonathan Chait…

Debt Scolds: Pay No Attention to the Falling Deficit!

By Jonathan Chait, New York Magazine

October 8, 2014 3:21 p.m.

The Congressional Budget Office announced today that the federal budget deficit for fiscal year 2014 came in at $495 billion, almost $200 billion below the previous figure and probably low enough for new reports to stop calling it a “trillion-dollar deficit.” Within minutes, Washington’s debt-scold community sprang into action to guard against complacency. It is true that the deficit is falling right now, they warn. But right now is not the problem. Later is the problem. “Unfortunately, Washington’s myopic focus on short-term deficits has likely slowed the recovery by cutting deficits somewhat too fast in the short term while leaving substantial imbalances in place over the long term,” laments the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget. Maya MacGuineas likewise protests, “Our leaders are focusing on the short term when we should be looking at the medium and long term.”



(W)here were the debt scolds when the short-term deficit was high and the business and political communities were freaking out? Their belief in patience and the long view might have helped the political system avoid its disastrous turn toward austerity. Instead they fomented panic.



That analysis turned out to be completely wrong. Interest rates were not rising in 2009. Indeed, they remain extremely low even five years later.

In September of that same year, MacGuineas was insisting that deficit-financed public spending could not work because the deficit was too large.



The fiscal crisis still showed no signs of occurring. Still, two years later, Erskine Bowles cautioned that it would occur in “maybe two years, maybe a little less, maybe a little more.” As recently as last year, MacGuineas wrote, “The federal debt is the nation’s most pressing economic problem.”

Now they concede that it is not actually the most pressing problem but merely something we’ll need to get around to. This could have been brought to our attention yesterday.

Oct 10 2014

The Breakfast Club (Raise Your Glass)

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.

 photo 807561379_e6771a7c8e_zps7668d00e.jpg

This Day in History

Martin Luther King accepts Nobel Prize; Women get right to vote in Wyoming; First US domestic passenger jet flight; General Pinochet dies. Otis Redding dies.

Breakfast Tunes

Oct 10 2014

On This Day In History October 10

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.

October 10 is the 283rd day of the year (284th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 82 days remaining until the end of the year.

On October 10, 1935, George Gershwin’s opera Porgy and Bess premieres on Broadway.

Porgy and Bess is an opera, first performed in 1935, with music by George Gershwin, libretto by DuBose Heyward, and lyrics by Ira Gershwin and DuBose Heyward. It was based on DuBose Heyward’s novel Porgy and the play of the same name which he co-wrote with his wife Dorothy Heyward. All three works deal with African American life in the fictitious Catfish Row (based on the real-life Rainbow Row) in Charleston, South Carolina, in the early 1920s.

Originally conceived by Gershwin as an “American folk opera”, Porgy and Bess premiered in New York in the fall of 1935 and featured an entire cast of classically trained African-American singers-a daring and visionary artistic choice at the time. Gershwin chose African American Eva Jessye as the choral director for the opera. Incorporating a wealth of blues and jazz idioms into the classical art form of opera, Gershwin considered it his finest work.

The work was not widely accepted in the United States as a legitimate opera until 1976, when the Houston Grand Opera production of Gershwin’s complete score established it as an artistic triumph. Nine years later the Metropolitan Opera gave their first performance of the work. This production was also broadcast as part of the ongoing Saturday afternoon live Metropolitan Opera radio broadcasts. The work is now considered part of the standard operatic repertoire and is regularly performed internationally. Despite this success, the opera has been controversial; some critics from the outset have considered it a racist portrayal of African Americans.

Summertime” is by far the best-known piece from the work, and countless interpretations of this and other individual numbers have also been recorded and performed. The second best-known number is “It Ain’t Necessarily So“. The opera is admired for Gershwin’s innovative synthesis of European orchestral techniques with American jazz and folk music idioms.

Porgy and Bess tells the story of Porgy, a disabled black beggar living in the slums of Charleston, South Carolina. It deals with his attempts to rescue Bess from the clutches of Crown, her violent and possessive lover, and Sportin’ Life, the drug dealer. Where the earlier novel and stage-play differ, the opera generally follows the stage-play.

The Porgy and Bess original cast recording was included by the National Recording Preservation Board in the Library of Congress, National Recording Registry in 2003. The board selects songs on an annual basis that are “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.”

On July 14, 1993, the United States Postal Service recognized the opera’s cultural significance by issuing a commemorative 29-cent postage stamp, and in 2001 Porgy and Bess was proclaimed the official opera of the State of South Carolina.

Oct 10 2014

TDS/TCR (Kashmir)

TDS TCR

Lipstick and a Bow

Hump Day

The real news, the 2 part web exclusive interview with Leon Panetta (if you can stomach it), and next week’s guests below.