01/23/2015 archive

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 Ties Editorial Board: Lessons of the James Risen Case

The Obama administration has taken two actions that seem a refreshing departure from six years of aggressively attacking investigative journalism. The Justice Department abandoned an attempt to force James Risen, a New York Times reporter, to testify about a confidential source. And it tempered internal guidelines for trying to obtain records or testimony from the news media during leak investigations.

But these developments are gallingly late, and they do not really settle the big issues raised by President Obama’s devoted pursuit of whistle-blowers and the reporters who receive their information. [..]

Two things are clear. First, dedicated journalists like Mr. Risen are willing to stand up to protect the identity of their sources. The second is the need for a strong federal shield law broadly protective of reporters who do that under the pressure of a high-profile leak investigation.

Paul Krugman: Much Too Responsible

The United States and Europe have a lot in common. Both are multicultural and democratic; both are immensely wealthy; both possess currencies with global reach. Both, unfortunately, experienced giant housing and credit bubbles between 2000 and 2007, and suffered painful slumps when the bubbles burst.

Since then, however, policy on the two sides of the Atlantic has diverged. In one great economy, officials have shown a stern commitment to fiscal and monetary virtue, making strenuous efforts to balance budgets while remaining vigilant against inflation. In the other, not so much.

And the difference in attitudes is the main reason the two economies are now on such different paths. Spendthrift, loose-money America is experiencing a solid recovery – a reality reflected in President Obama’s feisty State of the Union address. Meanwhile, virtuous Europe is sinking ever deeper into deflationary quicksand; everyone hopes that the new monetary measures announced Thursday will break the downward spiral, but nobody I know really expects them to be enough.

Amy Goodman: Something Different

“Imagine if we did something different.”

Those were just seven words out of close to 7,000 that President Barack Obama spoke during his State of the Union address. He was addressing both houses of Congress, which are controlled by his bitter foes. Most importantly, though, he was addressing the country. Obama employed characteristically soaring rhetoric to deliver his message of bipartisanship. “The shadow of crisis has passed, and the State of the Union is strong,” he assured us.

From whose lives has the shadow of crisis passed? And for whom is this Union strong?

Jessica Valenti: The Republican abortion bill shows they still believe many women lie about rape

In a move being credited to the wisdom of Republican women lawmakers, the House will not be voting on a sweeping 20 week abortion ban that only allowed for rape and incest exceptions if the victims reported their assaults to police. (Because Republicans know just how much women love to lie about rape and incest to get those sweet, sweet abortions!)

But before we pat all those kind, considered Republican women on the back for their reasoned withdrawal of support for a bill that would’ve made women file police reports 20 weeks after being assaulted in order to have the option of not being forced to have their rapist’s baby, let’s not forget that all of this is just political posturing. The bill – or even another, less extreme 20 week abortion ban – was unlikely to ever pass the Senate, and President Obama made clear that he would veto it (pdf) if it did.

So backing off on yet another terrible anti-abortion bill – they tried this in 2011 with the “forcible rape” provisions in the Hyde Amendment renewal – is not a sign that Republicans will be more moderate with their future restrictions on reproductive rights, or that Republican women will be able to temper the radical anti-choice agenda of their party.

Lauren Carasik: Holder assails policing for profit

Attorney general’s initiative curbs but does not eliminate controversial asset seizure policies

On Jan. 16, outgoing U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder announced sweeping revisions to the federal civil asset forfeiture policy, barring state and local police from using federal law to confiscate cash and other property. Under the oft-criticized equitable sharing program, the federal government “adopts” assets seized by state and local law enforcement and then funnels up to 80 percent of the value back to the agencies.

The program invited malfeasance by giving cash-strapped police departments incentive to confiscate property believed to be involved in illicit activities even when the owners were not accused – much less convicted – of any crime. The program’s abuses have garnered bipartisan support for reform, and critics are praising Holder’s changes.

While the improvements are laudable, they will not end the abuse for a number of reasons. First, local agencies may continue the programs under state laws. Second, Holder did not ban forfeiture for state and federal joint operations. And finally, the changes fall short of addressing the how civil forfeiture tramples due process rights.

Norman Solomon: Leak Trial Shows CIA Zeal to Hide Incompetence

Six days of testimony at the trial of former CIA officer Jeffrey Sterling have proven the agency’s obsession with proclaiming its competence. Many of the two-dozen witnesses from the Central Intelligence Agency conveyed smoldering resentment that a whistleblower or journalist might depict the institution as a bungling outfit unworthy of its middle name.

Some witnesses seemed to put Sterling and journalist James Risen roughly in the same nefarious category — Sterling for allegedly leaking classified information that put the CIA in a bad light, and Risen for reporting it. Muffled CIA anger was audible, coming from the witness stand, a seat filled by people claiming to view any aspersions on the CIA to be baseless calumnies.

Other than court employees, attorneys and jurors, only a few people sat through virtually the entire trial. As one of them, I can say that the transcript of USA v. Jeffrey Alexander Sterling should be mined for countless slick and clumsy maneuvers by government witnesses to obscure an emerging picture of CIA recklessness, dishonesty and ineptitude.

Electoral Victory

State of the Union 2015: Lethal, Predatory, Delusional

by Glen Ford, Black Agenda Report

Wed, 01/21/2015 – 16:32

Tuesday night, in his next-to-last State of the Union address, President Obama flashed the suckers a bag of tricks that has no chance of passing the Republican-controlled Congress, but will allow his apologists to claim that the genuine, more progressive Obama is revealing himself in his final two years in office. Of course, the final-years Obama could have accomplished his modest 2015 agenda, and much more, back in 2009 and 2010, when Democrats dominated both the House and the Senate and the Republicans were in despair and disarray. Which is precisely why Obama chose, instead, to put his party’s perishable congressional majorities at the service of bankers, Wall Street, private insurers and Big Pharma. Now that Democrats are the endangered species on Capitol Hill, Obama hangs a piñata of subsidized community college education, additional tax deductions for child care, seven days paid sick leave, higher capital gains taxes on the wealthy, and billions in fees on casino bankers.

On closer examination, his grab bag of bills and requests for legislation contains even less than advertized – a vapor-thin rhetorical veneer for a center-right presidency whose real accomplishment has been to re-inflate the Wall Street casino, flush the last vestiges of secure employment out of the economy, and put the imperial war machine back on the offensive. Corporate pundits describe Obama’s antics as an appeal to his party’s “base.” In a world in which words actually mean something, a politician’s base would be composed of the people whose interests he actually serves, rather than those he victimizes. But, such logic does not apply in late capitalist America, where both parties cater to the needs of the moneyed classes; one, shamelessly, without inhibition, the other through deployment of talented liars like Obama.

Obama celebrated the “resilience” of the “strong, tight-knit” American family, exemplified by a Minneapolis couple that have both regained employment. “Our economy is growing and creating jobs at the fastest pace since 1999,” said Obama – bad jobs, in a nation of growing inequality. For Blacks, wages relative to whites have regressed to 1980 levels, and Black household wealth has collapsed so completely there is no statistical possibility of ever reaching parity with whites under the existing economic system – period.

Thousands of U.S. troops now man the machinery of war in Iraq, where the U.S. was compelled to withdraw, five years ago.

Obama has no plans whatsoever to leave Afghanistan, where about 10,000 U.S. troops, largely Special Forces, remain on indefinite assignment. Yet, he begins his State of the Union address with the lie: “Tonight, for the first time since 9/11, our combat mission in Afghanistan is over.”

What is over – kaput! – is the U.S.’s ability to compete in a world that is breaking the chains of Euro-American imperial bondage. Washington can muster no response, except war. Neither can it maintain living standards for the vast majority of its own people, whose interests are diametrically opposed to those of the financial ruling class to whom the Democrats and Republicans answer.

As he prepares for transition, two years from now, to more lucrative position in service of the Lords of Capital, Obama harkens back to his national television debut, at the Democratic convention, in 2004. “I gave a speech in Boston where I said there wasn’t a liberal America, or a conservative America; a black America or a white America - but a United States of America.”

He was lying back then, just as he lied Tuesday night when he promised “to reform America’s criminal justice system so that it protects and serves us all.”

So said the man who gave the final coup de grace to due process and the rule of law with his preventive detention bill, his Tuesday assassination sessions, and his ever expanding Kill List.

It’s Time for a Revolution: Bankrupt Policies, Historic Losses Call for New Generation of Leaders

By Bill Curry, Salon.com

January 18, 2015

Progressives have long cohabited with Democrats. The relationship, while abusive, is hard for them to quit. Starting over is always scary, and building movements is hard even in good times, so the temptation is strong to keep on doing what they’re doing. Besides, how can you tell the Democrats are really dead? You can’t call in a coroner or poke them with a stick. It’s simple, really. All you have to do is look.

Life is change and these Democrats never change. It’s like watching “Groundhog Day” but without laughs, a love interest or a learning curve. Democrats in Congress ran the same race in 2014 they ran in 1994, lost badly, and then reelected all their leaders. Obama handled the budget this year the same way he does every year, with the same result. Hillary Clinton is poised to run the same awful race in 2016 she ran in 2008.

In 2014 Democrats were supposed to hold a populist revival. Aside from a few tinny sounding ads, they didn’t. Tied to the tracks with a giant locomotive barreling down on them, they couldn’t bring themselves to cut their Wall Street ties and dodge otherwise certain death. Now, after six years of blown chances, they say they’re ready to act as our tribunes and ask us once again to commingle our hopes and dreams with theirs. I say not so fast.

Obama has made more populist gestures in the last two months than in his first six years as president. It’s why his popularity’s rising. Some say it’s the economy, but the economy rose for some time without the middle class or Obama’s ratings being much helped by it. Proposals to fund universal access to community colleges and tax Wall Street speculators to finance a middle class tax cut are catnip not just to the left but to the middle class. The question for us all is whether this populist charm offensive signals real change.

The cosseting of the rich is more brazen now and more subversive of the public interest, and people hate it.

Worst of all was the Democrats’ complicity in passing a corrupt, shameful budget. Aside from its senseless priorities – wars are winding down so let’s give the military some more dough – it curtailed efforts to slow global warming, restored Wall Street grifters’ ability to shift their losses onto honest wage earners and weakened what’s left of campaign finance laws. Without scores of Democratic votes it could never have passed.

Within weeks of an inglorious defeat the Dems had a chance to hit the reset button. Instead they gave Republicans priceless cover while making it harder for their own members to go on posing as populists. They bartered their honor and got nothing in return. Someone should tell these “realists” that their compromises are killing them.

The Breakfast Club (Counting Up The Years)

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

President Nixon announces accord to end Vietnam War; North Korea seizes the U.S.S. Pueblo; The TV mini-series “Roots” airs on ABC.

Breakfast Tunes

Not Just The University of Missouri- Kansas City

Actually, I’ve been there for a convention associated with my club.

Not at the University, per se, my strongest memory of the event is a reception we had at a Children’s Discovery Center 150 feet below the surface in a Salt Mine which looked unfortunately similar to many classrooms of the modern design I’ve been to in that the walls were solid cinderblock painted in soothing colors and the lighting industrial florescent.  I understand some people couldn’t take the inherent claustrophobia long enough to stick around for the tasteless box lunch but I found it no different from many epistemic closures I have experienced in the past.

Speaking of salt (because I’m not really talking about the box lunch) there are two “Mainstream” schools of economics (which bears the same relationship to “science” of even the social type that a rattle shaking Shamen bears to a Medical Doctor), the “Saltwater School” that at least acknowledges John Maynard Keynes (in a weak tea Samuelson sense) and the “Freshwater School” of Friedmanite Monitarism which worships Hobbesian and Randian Social Darwinism.

Nature red in tooth and claw good (grunt).

We’ve seen the rise of some Heterodox Schools of which I most favor Modern Monetary Theory, with its main academic center at University of Missouri- Kansas City.  Among its prominent professors are Bill Black and L. Randall Wray.

They’ve seen Stephanie Kelton appointed Chief Economist on the Senate Budget Committee.

They publish a web site called New Economic Perspectives that I enthusiastically endorse and to which Dr. Kelton was a frequent contributor and this recently appeared there from Robert E. Prasch, Professor of Economics at Middlebury College (not noticably near any major water ways at all).

The State of the Union Speech and the President’s Credibility Gap

By Robert E. Prasch, New Economic Perpectives

January 21, 2015

Let us begin with the old adage that “talk is cheap.” The fact is that this president has had six years to demonstrate – in deeds rather than words – what exactly constitutes his priorities. Let us, as this is a website devoted to economics issues, set aside the Obama Administration’s genuinely horrific record on civil liberties (The sordid record is long, but highlights include unchecked domestic spying by the NSA; drones deployed to terrorize the citizenry of numerous foreign nations; proclaiming and defending the prerogative to unilaterally kill American citizens with ever stating charges, much less presenting evidence or seeking convictions in the courts; solely and exclusively prosecuting those brave individuals who alerted the public to the Bush Administration’s war crimes, even as he comforted or promoted those who committed the crimes, etc.). Let us focus solely on economic policy. What follows is a brief review of the low moments thus far. These are not presented in any order and is not a comprehensive list:

(1) Appointing failed regulators (Geithner and Bernanke) and failed economists (Summers) to senior positions to oversee the recovery of the economy and the reregulation of the financial system.

(2) Overseeing the bailing out the Too Big To Fail Banks (TBTF) through TARP, the several Fed QE programs, and (early on) accounting rules changes, while flat-out failing to admit that straight-out subsidies constituted the core of the “recovery” plan. By contrast, homeowners, including those that had been defrauded by these same TBTF banks or their subsidiaries, were left to the tender mercies of these same banks.

(3) Repurposing that modest element of the TARP legislation that was supposed to assist struggling homeowners into a ruse that would further bleed those same homeowners in order to further assist the banks and the fat cats that oversaw their collapse (Geithner’s memorably stated that bleeding homeowners through misrepresentation of their chances to have their mortgages refinanced was good public policy because drawing out a few last payments from broke families would “foam the runways” for the failed banks).

(4) Blocking (through highly visible inaction) the rewriting of U.S. bankruptcy law in a manner that would enhance the bargaining power of underwater homeowners vis-à-vis the TBTF banks.

(5) Working diligently to assist in the denial or outright cover-up of widespread and flagrant fraud on the part of TBTF banks and bankers. This fraud occurred in the origination of the mortgages, the sale of mortgage-backed securities, in the stringing along of struggling homeowners, and in the course of foreclosing on customers (and foreclosing on people who weren’t customers, also). Foreclosure fraud included the widespread forging of mortgages and liens that had been misplaced or destroyed. These forgeries were then presented in court proceedings as original documents.

(6) Working long and diligently to provide ex post legal immunity for bankers from Federal and State criminal proceedings on tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of instances of mortgage and foreclosure fraud.

(7) Working diligently to ensure that financial regulation would be a mishmash of meaningless sturm und drang that could – as all the adults knew at the time that it would – be unwound during the rule writing process that was to take place at a later date and largely behind closed doors.

(8) Participating in, and then promoting, the outright lie that the US government “made money” on the bailout of the financial system, including the bailout of AIG.

(9) Participating in the unwinding of the (all-too-few) meaningful Dodd-Frank Act reforms. Granted, we know that Treasury lobbied against the inclusion of these few meaningful reforms at the time, and that everyone knew that they would never become law, so the only remaining point of interest was how they would come to be annulled. Now we know.

(10) Passing George W. Bush’s investor protection (a.k.a. “free trade”) agreements with South Korea, Columbia, and Panama even though his government knew, at the time, that these agreements would harm the United States economy.

(11) The aggressive, unrelenting, and absolutely secretive pursuit of those monsters of all investor protection agreements dubbed the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).

While we are on this subject, I am in awe that in the State of the Union address Obama had the temerity to say, “We should write those rules [on trade]…That’s why I’m asking both parties to give me trade promotion authority to protect American workers with strong new trade deals from Asia to Europe.” They say that if you have to lie, go big. After all, who is the “We” in that sentence? Not working Americans, we can count on that. Not civil society organizations concerned with workplace or environmental issues, to say nothing of people concerned with the cost of excessive patent or copyright protections that have become simple giveaways to firms. No, “We” does not include them, either. The “We” of that sentence refers to the hundreds of corporate lobbyists and trade lawyers who have been working, secretively, cheek-by-jowl with the most virulently anti-labor office in the entire executive branch, the Office of the United States Trade Representative. “We.” I love it. That’s real chutzpah.

(12) The persistent pursuit, albeit without a triumph (yet), of that greatest dream of all New Democrats, a “Grand Bargain” that would significantly cut payments to the elderly on Social Security (keep in mind that over ½ of all retirees have no measurable retirement incomes other than this enormously effective program).

(13) The aggressive and unrelenting effort to undermine teachers and privatize schools (or privatize school dollars in the case of “Charter schools”), on the thinnest of rationales such as the results of standardized test scores. This agenda has been maintained even though prominent studies appeared soon after the Obama Administration came into office demonstrating that Charter schools did not outperform traditional public schools, and often did somewhat worse.

(14) The eager adoption of the core of Sarah Palin’s energy program, “drill baby, drill,” by facilitating virtually unhindered hydraulic fracturing along with extensive offshore drilling.

(15) As with the Clinton presidency, anti-trust action against large and uncompetitive firms is most noteworthy for its absence. Personal favorites include last year’s US Air-American Airlines merger, which is an even worse deal for consumers than the United-Continental merger of 2010. But lets not overlook the forthcoming merger of Time-Warner with Comcast. Wow, could either of those firms achieve new lows in customer service? Stay tuned!

After six years in office, even the most loyal of Democrats can no longer feign to be ignorant of the substance and consequences of President Obama’s economic policies. Remarkably, the income of the median American household declined more during Obama’s recovery than during Bush’s recession! An optimist might describe the Obama Administration’s performance as pathetic or, as is the norm, present multiple excuses for it.

But the agenda and its consequences have not been pathetic by accident, or even from Republican Party interference, but by design. The failure is a consequence of a betrayal of the traditions and ideals of the Democratic Party so complete that it might, I say might, have shamed Bill Clinton (think NAFTA, WTO, the massive giveaway to the Telecoms, aggressive bank mergers, the repeal of Glass-Steagall & the ban against any regulation of derivatives, and so much more). Yet, despite this abysmal record, we are being asked to believe that President Obama and his senior economic advisors are concerned for the declining American middle class! That is to say that, after having lost both houses of Congress, we are to believe that the leadership of the Democratic Party is (finally) willing to do something about the ravages of thirty-five years of neoliberal economics.

Please excuse me for being skeptical. Excuse me for supposing that there may be an ulterior motive for this freshly minted interest in the economic fate of someone, anyone, who does not work on Wall Street or for a defense contractor. Indeed, I would like to remind readers that the last time we heard significant noise from the White House over the plight of working Americans, it was as part of an embarrassingly obvious effort to distract us from an upcoming Senate vote on the South Korea, Columbia, and Panama investor protection agreements.

Now, we know that the president and an embarrassingly large number of Congressional Democrats are anxious to rush through TPP and TTIP before the New Hampshire primary obliges them to pretend that they care about what mere voters, that is to say the sops that make up the rank-and-file of their own party, think about these certain-to-be-odious trade treaties. If I were to bet, it would be that concern over a coming backlash is the primary motivation behind Obama’s “liberal” State of the Union speech. But don’t take my word for it. Let’s test it. Let’s see how much of this agenda remains thirty days after these profoundly harmful treaties are ratified with, I am guessing, the affirmative vote of close to 50% of Democratic Party Senators.

So, what is to be done? I would suggest that those of us who still cling to the belief that the United States should and could be something other than a plutocracy have some serious thinking to do. While I have not addressed this topic here, I would also suggest that those of us who still believe that the 1st, 4th, 5th, 6th, and 14th Amendments were a good idea also have some serious thinking to do. This thinking is all the more important because, in this world of uncertainly and change, we can all rest assured that Hillary Clinton is not, and never will be, on our side. She and her long list of friends in the banks and amongst the defense contractors are opposed – adamantly – to our values and ideals. So, what are we to do?

Stated simply, it is time for those of us who are dissatisfied with the direction that this nation has taken over these past thirty-five years to begin to think and act strategically. I would submit that the dominant strategy pursued thus far – that of unquestioned loyalty to the Democrats – has been put to the test, repeatedly. We now have definitive evidence that, considered as a strategy, this approach been an absolute failure. Remember that in 2008 we voted for “Hope and Change. The issues of the day were President Bush’s random wars and the collapse of the financial system that was a consequence of the unthinking deregulation pursued by both parties. What did we get? The reappointment of Bush’s Defense Secretary Robert Gates who, as a prominent CIA official, previously disgraced himself in the course of his involvement in the Iran-Contra Scandal. In what world did such a reappointment constitute “Change”?

And what of the economy? Proven failures from Bill Clinton’s frenzied deregulation drive – Larry Summers and Timothy Geithner (amongst many others) were appointed to the highest offices. There they were joined by a bevy of Goldman and Citigroup alums who, we were told, would oversee the reregulation of the financial system. Really? When did that ever constitute “Change”? What about it constituted “Hope”? Was all the prattle about “Hope and Change” simply a joke? Was it just a marketing gimmick? I believe that we can now answer that question, definitively.

Returning to strategy, we can now conclude that “lesser evil” voting has, in no way or form, advanced our programs, ideals, or values. It has been tried, repeatedly, and it has failed. We now know that the DNC treats the rank and file of the Democratic Party contemptuously because they know that they, at least implicitly, have our permission to do it. Should we ever decide that we are tired of their contempt, this implicit permission will have to be revoked in a manner that this is both unmistakable and dramatic. This means, operationally, that the DNC’s contempt for us must be returned, and in kind.

Holding the leadership of the DNC accountable does not mean adding our signature to an online poll, or holding a sign at a “peaceful protest,” and then turning out to vote for the 1% favored candidate. Holding the DNC to account means denying them, and their massive entourage of Washington-based apparatchiks, something that they ardently desire – election or appointment to high office. This means that those whom Howard Dean once labeled the “Democratic wing of the Democratic Party” must be prepared to stand on the sidelines while “centrist Democrats” lose. We must not shy away from taking such action, rather we must openly embrace it. In the aftermath, we must be prepared for the massive opprobrium that will be directed at us by these same time-serving apparatchiks and sundry Washington hustlers who have long staffed the DNC, associated think tanks, and political campaign consultancies. As stifled would-be office-holders anticipating an easy passage through the revolving door, we can and should expect the DNC’s officialdom to be bitter about losing their best chance to acquire cushy jobs with low workloads and high payouts. To quote one of their icons, “I feel their pain.”

Let us be clear, what is being proposed here not about being “revenge” or “being in a huff.” It is a strategy, one that proposes to win by playing the “long game.” As the saying goes, first they will ignore us and then they will insult us, but if can hold the line and deny the time-servers in the DNC the things that they want, they will be forced to negotiate with us. The day after the professional insiders and boot-lickers of the DNC come to learn that they cannot win without their Democratic wing, is the day that they will begin to consider what we want, and actually begin to respond to it.

On This Day In History January 23

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.

January 23 is the 23rd day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. There are 342 days remaining until the end of the year (343 in leap years).

On this day in 1849, Elizabeth Blackwell is granted a medical degree from Geneva College in New York, becoming the first female to be officially recognized as a physician in U.S. history.

Blackwell, born in Bristol, England, came to the United States in her youth and attended the medical faculty of Geneva College, now known as Hobart College. In 1849, she graduated with the highest grades in her class and was granted an M.D.

Banned from practice in most hospitals, she was advised to go to Paris, France and train at La Maternite, but had to continue her training as a student midwife, not a physician. While she was there, her training was cut short when in November, 1849 she caught a serious right eye infection, purulent ophthalmia, from a baby she was treating. She had to have her right eye removed and replaced with a glass eye. This loss brought to an end her hopes to become a surgeon.

In 1853 Blackwell along with her sister Emily and Dr. Marie Zakrzewska, founded their own infirmary, the New York Infirmary for Indigent Women and Children, in a single room dispensary near Tompkins Square in Manhattan. During the American Civil War, Blackwell trained many women to be nurses and sent them to the Union Army. Many women were interested and received training at this time. After the war, Blackwell had time, in 1868, to establish a Women’s Medical College at the Infirmary to train women, physicians, and doctors.

In 1857, Blackwell returned to England where she attended Bedford College for Women for one year. In 1858, under a clause in the 1858 Medical Act that recognized doctors with foreign degrees practising in Britain before 1858, she was able to become the first woman to have her name entered on the General Medical Council’s medical register (1 January 1859).

In 1869, she left her sister Emily in charge of the college and returned to England. There, with Florence Nightingale, she opened the Women’s Medical College. Blackwell taught at London School of Medicine for Women, which she had co-founded, and accepted a chair in gynecology. She retired a year later.

During her retirement, Blackwell still maintained her interest in the women’s rights movement by writing lectures on the importance of education. Blackwell is credited with opening the first training school for nurses in the United States in 1873. She also published books about diseases and proper hygiene.

She was an early outspoken opponent of circumcision and in 1894 said that “Parents, should be warned that this ugly mutilation of their children involves serious danger, both to their physical and moral health.” She was a proponent of women’s rights and pro-life.

The Daily/Nightly Show (Sometimes It’s Just A Cigar)

What do we know now?

Not as much as we thought we did about tonight’s panel.  Can’t find the list anywhere.  I see the Kinks are still with us.

Couldn’t think of a thing to ask about Cuba either, though on reflection it would probably have been something stupid like-

Are the Cigars as good as they say?

I wonder if someday he’ll be able to get Cornell West or Glenn Ford on the panel.  They would have fit right in.

Since it’s the end of the first week I feel compelled to make a snap (the yet unheard of Zorro in flying Z formation) judgement about what we’ve seen so far.

The show is very fast paced and you have to pay close attention.  The humor, such as it is, is very dry and Larry doesn’t stop and wait for you to catch up.  The panel discussion is highly intelligent and sets a standard that makes the Sunday Shows look like the vacuous preening and hackneyed cliches that they are.  Even the Republicans attempt to make sense and there is only a hint of ‘bottiness, mostly from the white guys.  ‘Keeping it 100’ should be a staple of every talking head program- it really reduces the clueless disconnectedness of most panels by exposing, or threatening to expose, it.  Larry Wilmore is a nice, likable character (who knows what he is in real life) who comes off as super smart but laid back and inofficious.


We’re correspondents on a basic cable fake news show

That’s the waiting tables of being on television.

Next week’s guests-

The Daily Show

Jennifer Aniston will be on to talk about her Oscar snub for Cake and her new film, She’s Funny That Way.