Daily Archive: 12/05/2014

Dec 05 2014

Where’s The Party?

In case you don’t know yet, YouTube dealt us a real curve last week when it eliminated the old embed code option.  While we are still waiting on an update from the nice people at Soapblox I have used the tools I have to make it possible (albeit with a few extra steps) to make it possible for people to continue posting YouTubes here.

I’ve put the directions here.  The point of this diary is to give you a playground to work out the kinks in the system.

fGOyNm8xE9s ==

<object width=”480″ height=”385″><param value=”http://www.youtube.com/v/fGOyNm8xE9s&showsearch=0&rel=0&fs=1&autoplay=0&ap=%2526fmt%3D18″ name=”movie” /><param value=”window” name=”wmode” /><param value=”true” name=”allowFullScreen” /><embed width=”480″ height=”385″ wmode=”window” allowfullscreen=”true” type=”application/x-shockwave-flash” src=”http://www.youtube.com/v/fGOyNm8xE9s&showsearch=0&fs=1&rel=0&autoplay=0&ap=%2526fmt%3D18″></embed></object>

Dec 05 2014

Generating YouTube Embeds

Generate YouTube embed codes

Cut and paste the first thing you see when you go to YouTube and hit Embed just as you would to post to Facebook, in this case-


into the Generator.  Now delete that part which always says-


and push the Generate! button.  You’ll come out with a piece of crap that looks like this-

<object width=”475″ height=”381″><param value=”http://www.youtube.com/v/OMOVFvcNfvE&showsearch=0&rel=0&fs=1&autoplay=0&ap=%2526fmt%3D18″ name=”movie” /><param value=”window” name=”wmode” /><param value=”true” name=”allowFullScreen” /><embed width=”475″ height=”381″ wmode=”window” allowfullscreen=”true” type=”application/x-shockwave-flash” src=”http://www.youtube.com/v/OMOVFvcNfvE&showsearch=0&fs=1&rel=0&autoplay=0&ap=%2526fmt%3D18″></embed></object><br /><a href=”http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OMOVFvcNfvE” target=”_blank”>View on YouTube</a>

Which will pretty much work fine if you cut and paste it as is OR you can be a little fussier like me and strip away all the non-essential garbage (everything that’s not between <embed> and </embed>) and end up with something like this.

<embed width=”475″ height=”381″ wmode=”window” allowfullscreen=”true” type=”application/x-shockwave-flash” src=”http://www.youtube.com/v/OMOVFvcNfvE&showsearch=0&fs=1&rel=0&autoplay=0&ap=%2526fmt%3D18″></embed>


(Based on an earlier and chattier version- About Those Embeds)

(Now available in the ‘About‘ box on the extreme right side of the page.)

Dec 05 2014

Our Ugly History

What’s going on in America with regards to the killing of black men for pretty petty crimes so often now really reminds me of the old days of lynchings. In those days, the white folks in town played judge, jury, and executioner of a great many black folks who they had accused of some crime or another. They didn’t get a trial. And then they would pose around the bodies and take pictures, sometimes even smiling as if they were proud. Those pictures would be made into postcards that they could send to friends and family. Really not something to be proud of imo.

I suggest everyone take a look at some of the pics in the links below to get a feel for what it was like. These photos are not something you want kids to see or your work to see, so keep in mind that they are purely and graphically brutal. It’s jarring, seeing the actuality, and if you’re like me, you were probably raised maybe occasionally hearing references to it, but to truly understand the barbaric nature of us you have to view the pictures. Keep in mind this was just last century, and many of them in my parent’s lifetime. I will never forget the first time I was confronted with the pictures of our actual past, a past that should haunt us and disgust us.

When i think of Michael Brown and Eric Garner and the others that have been shot and killed in the recent past, I think that we really haven’t moved that far past the old lynching days. We may have outlawed old style lynchings, but nowadays we’ve seemingly codified a new way of doing it: via law enforcement. And still for accused crimes, many of them petty, no trial allowed. We’re still lynching them albeit without the postcard pictures. And then we’re insulting the folks who do nonviolently protest. Sigh…

As I said, I’m forewarning you that these pictures are graphically brutal. Take a good look at our horrible past and maybe understand some of the anger:

Without Sanctuary: Photographs and Postcards of Lynchings in America

Some of our ugly fairly recent history

Dec 05 2014

“People Don’t Even Know”

Chris Rock

For all the current conversation about income inequality, class is still sort of the elephant in the room.

Oh, people don’t even know. If poor people knew how rich rich people are, there would be riots in the streets. If the average person could see the Virgin Airlines first-class lounge1, they’d go, “What? What? This is food, and it’s free, and they … what? Massage? Are you kidding me?”

Obama’s been faulted for not showing anger in public, and for not speaking in simple, declarative Bushisms. Of course, the moment he does do that, he’s accused of being an angry black man.

There’s an advantage that Bush had that Obama doesn’t have. People thinking you’re dumb is an advantage. Obama started as a genius. It’s like, What? I’ve got to keep doing that? That’s hard to do! So it’s not that Obama’s disappointing. It’s just his best album might have been his first album.

What has Obama done wrong?

When Obama first got elected, he should have let it all just drop.

Let what drop?

Just let the country flatline. Let the auto industry die. Don’t bail anybody out. In sports, that’s what any new GM does. They make sure that the catastrophe is on the old management and then they clean up. They don’t try to save old management’s mistakes.

That’s clever. You let it all go to hell.

Let it all go to hell knowing good and well this is on them. That way you can implement. You hire your own coach. You get your own players. He could have got way more done. You know, we’ve all been on planes that had tremendous turbulence, but we forget all about it. Now, if you live through a plane crash, you’ll never forget that. Maybe Obama should have let the plane crash. You get credit for bringing somebody back from the dead. You don’t really get credit for helping a sick person by administering antibiotics.

What would you do in Ferguson that a standard reporter wouldn’t?

I’d do a special on race, but I’d have no black people.

Well, that would be much more revealing.

Yes, that would be an event. Here’s the thing. When we talk about race relations in America or racial progress, it’s all nonsense. There are no race relations. White people were crazy. Now they’re not as crazy. To say that black people have made progress would be to say they deserve what happened to them before.

Right. It’s ridiculous.

So, to say Obama is progress is saying that he’s the first black person that is qualified to be president. That’s not black progress. That’s white progress. There’s been black people qualified to be president for hundreds of years. If you saw Tina Turner and Ike having a lovely breakfast over there, would you say their relationship’s improved? Some people would. But a smart person would go, “Oh, he stopped punching her in the face.” It’s not up to her. Ike and Tina Turner’s relationship has nothing to do with Tina Turner. Nothing. It just doesn’t. The question is, you know, my kids are smart, educated, beautiful, polite children. There have been smart, educated, beautiful, polite black children for hundreds of years. The advantage that my children have is that my children are encountering the nicest white people that America has ever produced. Let’s hope America keeps producing nicer white people.

Gaius Publius

Five hundred billionaires, 15,000 people all averaging $2,800,000 per year, and every group below them averages a tenth or less in earnings. Look at that list above, and notice the bottom bullet. Everyone from the top 2% through the top 10% averages less than $200,000 per year – 1/120th of our lucky 15,000.

Why point this out? Because people have no idea what life for the 15,000 is actually like, much less life for someone in the David Koch class. When we think of the wealthy, we imagine MacMansions blown big; we conjure pictures we’ve seen from wealthier neighborhoods, and we just … scale up a bit. We see monster Cadillac SUVs and say, “Ah, the very rich.” People who live like us, but with more stuff.

Our image of the very very rich – MacMansions, only scaled up; nice cars, only pricier; like us, but with more toys – is very very wrong. It’s also one reason we haven’t had a class revolt since the New Deal era.

Except even he (Chris Rock) doesn’t scale up enough. These people never ride first class because they never fly commercial. He rides first class; they own airplanes. They don’t own homes, they own estates – so many of them in fact that not one is “home” in the normal sense. Now extend that – for most of these people, not one country is home either.


Dec 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”.

Follow us on Twitter @StarsHollowGzt

New York Times Editorial: It Wasn’t Just the Chokehold

Eric Garner, Daniel Pantaleo and Lethal Police Tactics

One route to justice for Eric Garner was blocked on Wednesday, by a Staten Island grand jury’s confounding refusal to see anything potentially criminal in the police assault that killed him.

But the quest will continue. The fury that has prompted thousands to protest peacefully across New York City, and the swift promise by the Justice Department of a thorough investigation, may help ensure a just resolution to this tragedy. Mayor Bill de Blasio and Police Commissioner William Bratton, too, have vowed that necessary changes will come from Mr. Garner’s death, promising that the Police Department will respond and improve itself, and redouble efforts to patrol communities in fairness and safety.

But among the many needed reforms, there is one simple area that risks being overlooked. Besides the banned chokehold used by Officer Daniel Pantaleo, who brought Mr. Garner down, throwing a beefy arm around his neck, there was lethal danger in the way Mr. Garner was subdued – on his stomach, with a pile of cops on his back.

Richard )RJ)Eskow: Why Demographics Can’t Save the Democrats – But Populism Can

In his examination of former Virginia Senator Jim Webb’s potential presidential candidacy, New York Times commentator Thomas Edsall explored Webb’s potential appeal to “voters convinced that Wall Street owns both parties, voters tired of politicians submitting to partisan orthodoxy and voters seeking to replace ‘identity group’ politics with a restored middle- and working-class agenda.”

Edsall’s essay quotes political scientist Morris Fiorina on the Democratic Party’s “upscale capture” and Joel Kotkin’s characterization of the party’s controlling bloc as an “upstairs/downstairs” coalition led by “gentry liberals.”

It certainly appears that the Democratic Party establishment has been enjoying the best of both worlds for some time now: a perception of liberalism and idealism among the party’s core constituencies, along with all the money, support, and opportunities for post-political employment that Wall Street and its affiliated institutions can provide.

Their good times may be coming to an end. The party’s leadership has pinned its electoral hopes on demographic shifts – often described as the “rising American electorate’ of women, young adults, and people of color – and the cultural shifts that have brought issues like marriage equality to the fore.

Lalit KundaniUnderstanding the Real Role of a Grand Jury

From my training in law school to my years as a prosecutor, I was taught that Lady Justice draped a blindfold across her eyes because she was a stalwart of equality, remaining impartial in all situations, and judging facts instead of people. I was encouraged to remember this, to practice this, to swallow it whole, and repeat it. As a concept, it was lofty and idealistic. It was noble. The idea that justice was literally blind.

Then came Wednesday’s instant replay of injustice in Staten Island, after a grand jury — the second in less than 10 days — returned a “no true bill” against a white police officer who killed an unarmed black individual. But, unlike Ferguson, this time it was all on tape. And whether you wear a blue uniform or a black robe, make no mistake: this was vile, plain and simple.  [..]

But that’s not the vile part. The vile part is how this case and the Ferguson case were completely mismanaged for the purposes of (not) returning a grand jury indictment.

A grand jury is not responsible for finding guilt or innocence. More importantly, a prosecutor is not responsible for proving someone is guilty before a grand jury. The sole function of a grand jury is very limited and minimal. Is there enough evidence to at least justify an arrest in this case? A “yes” answer does not mean you think the person is guilty. A grand juror can believe a defendant is not guilty of a crime yet still return an indictment. Doing so only means that that there is enough evidence (probable cause) to let both sides have their day in court, to let them argue in front of a judge and jury, with lawyers representing each side, with the right to cross-examine witnesses and tell both sides of the story. In other words, an indictment simply lets justice run its due course.

Jessica Valento: #CrimingWhileWhite is exactly what’s wrong with white privilege

In the wake of protests in Ferguson, Missouri following both the killing of Michael Brown and the grand jury’s refusal to indict the police officer who did it, and the killing of 12 year-old Tamir Rice in Cleveland, Ohio, and the appalling lack of charges in Eric Garner’s homicide at the hands of a New York City police officer, many white people have been asking how, exactly, they can help.

It’s a vital question, and I get it: I want to help, too. I’m just not so sure #CrimingWhileWhite is the best way to do it.

This latest viral hashtag started on Wednesday night after the Garner decision came down and, using it, white people have detailed crimes they’ve committed without much trouble (let alone violence) from authorities. The hashtag is meant to be a glimpse into the incredible world of white privilege, where you can shoplift and get away with it, dine and dash with impunity, tell a cop to fuck off or even have one [drive you to the ATM for bail money https://twitter.com/Dr24hours/… on the way to jail.

John Nichols: Bernie Sanders’s Bold Economic Agenda Seeks to Transform Politics

Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders will “make a decision within the first few months of 2015” on whether to bid for the presidency of the United States. It is not certain that he will run. And, if the independent senator from Vermont does decide to run, he says he has yet to determine precisely how he might do so: as a challenger to presumed front-runner Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination or as an insurgent independent taking on both major parties. Sanders has in recent months spent a good deal of time in the first caucus state of Iowa and the first primary state of New Hampshire, and he acknowledges that this has stoked speculation that he is likely to go the Democratic route. He also declares, “I will not play the role of a spoiler”-tipping a fall 2016 race to a right-wing Republican. Yet, the senator expresses deep frustration with the failure of the Democratic Party to adopt positions that are sufficiently progressive and populist to build a movement to change the debate and the direction of the country.

Sanders explained in an interview with The Nation that he is convinced, after visiting not just Iowa and New Hampshire but Wisconsin, Minnesota, South Carolina, Mississippi, California and other states, that “there is a real hunger in grassroots America for a fight against the greed of the billionaire class, which is wrecking havoc on our economic and political system.”

Zoë Carpenter: Can the Military Fix Its Sexual-Assault Problem on Its Own?

After an Army drill sergeant was accused of raping or assaulting a dozen female soldiers while deployed in Afghanistan and in a bathroom at Missouri’s Fort Leonard Wood, it seemed like the military justice system worked the way it was supposed to. The accused, Angel Sanchez, was tried at a court-martial. In September, he was convicted on multiple counts, sentenced to twenty years confinement and given a dishonorable discharge.

But testimony from two of Sanchez’s victims suggested that despite two decades of promises to enforce a “zero tolerance” policy toward sexual assault, the military is still hostile to service members who report sex crimes. One private testified that a high-ranking officer told her company that no one would graduate “if any more sexual assault cases” were reported. Another victim said a Lieutenant Colonel told her and other trainees “not to make any more allegations.” As a result, she said, “I have issues of trusting those who are in charge of me.”

The question of whether the military is doing enough to stamp out not only sex crimes but also retaliation against those who report them was raised again Thursday by the release of a 136-page report by the Department of Defense. The Pentagon estimates that 19,000 service members were assaulted this year, down from 26,000 in 2012. Only one in four of those crimes were reported, though more victims came forward to report assaults than in previous years. About two-thirds said that after reporting crimes against them, they were retaliated against by their superiors or peers.

Dec 05 2014

The Breakfast Club (Day of Wrath, Day of Anger)

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

Prohibition ends in the United States; Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart dies; Walt Disney and Little Richard are born.

Breakfast Tunes

Mozart – Requiem

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s final Masterpiece was commissioned in mid 1791 by the Austrian count Franz Von Walsegg, as a Tribute to the passing of his young wife Anna. Mozart began his final composition in Prague, suffering from an undetermined illness, which would eventually take his life and rob him of the chance to see the completion of his Magnum Opus. After Mozart’s death, his understudy ‘Franz Xaver Süssmayr’, at the behest of Mozart’s wife, completed the missing parts of the Requiem.

Requiem Mass was first performed on January 2, 1793, in a private concert for the benefit of Mozart’s grieving wife, Constanze Mozart.

Dec 05 2014

On This Day In History December 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.

December 5 is the 339th day of the year (340th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 26 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1933, The 21st Amendment to the U.S. Constitution is ratified, repealing the 18th Amendment and bringing an end to the era of national prohibition of alcohol in America. At 5:32 p.m. EST, Utah became the 36th state to ratify the amendment, achieving the requisite three-fourths majority of states’ approval. Pennsylvania and Ohio had ratified it earlier in the day.

The movement for the prohibition of alcohol began in the early 19th century, when Americans concerned about the adverse effects of drinking began forming temperance societies. By the late 19th century, these groups had become a powerful political force, campaigning on the state level and calling for national liquor abstinence. Several states outlawed the manufacture or sale of alcohol within their own borders. In December 1917, the 18th Amendment, prohibiting the “manufacture, sale, or transportation of intoxicating liquors for beverage purposes,” was passed by Congress and sent to the states for ratification. On January 29, 1919, the 18th Amendment achieved the necessary three-fourths majority of state ratification. Prohibition essentially began in June of that year, but the amendment did not officially take effect until January 29, 1920.

The proponents of Prohibition had believed that banning alcoholic beverages would reduce or even eliminate many social problems, particularly drunkenness, crime, mental illness, and poverty, and would eventually lead to reductions in taxes. However, during Prohibition, people continued to produce and drink alcohol, and bootlegging helped foster a massive industry completely under the control of organized crime. Prohibitionists argued that Prohibition would be more effective if enforcement were increased. However, increased efforts to enforce Prohibition simply resulted in the government spending more money, rather than less. Journalist H.L. Mencken asserted in 1925 that respect for law diminished rather than increased during Prohibition, and drunkenness, crime, insanity, and resentment towards the federal government had all increased.

During this period, support for Prohibition diminished among voters and politicians. John D. Rockefeller Jr., a lifelong nondrinker who had contributed much money to the Prohibitionist Anti-Saloon League, eventually announced his support for repeal because of the widespread problems he believed Prohibition had caused. Influential leaders, such as the du Pont brothers, led the Association Against the Prohibition Amendment, whose name clearly asserted its intentions.

Women as a bloc of voters and activists became pivotal in the effort to repeal, as many concluded that the effects of Prohibition were morally corrupting families, women, and children. (By then, women had become even more politically powerful due to ratification of the Constitutional amendment for women’s suffrage.) Activist Pauline Sabin argued that repeal would protect families from the corruption, violent crime, and underground drinking that resulted from Prohibition. In 1929 Sabin founded the Women’s Organization for National Prohibition Reform (WONPR), which came to be partly composed of and supported by former Prohibitionists; its membership was estimated at 1.5 million by 1931.

The number of repeal organizations and demand for repeal both increased. In 1932, the Democratic Party’s platform included a plank for the repeal of Prohibition, and Democrat Franklin Roosevelt ran for President of the United States promising repeal of federal laws of Prohibition.

Dec 05 2014

TDS/TCR (Green Hornet)


Speechless in Staten Island

A Study in Pink

Stranger with Candy

The real news and most of next week’s guests below.