Monthly Archive: June 2015

Jun 30 2015

SCOTUS Puts Hold on Closing Texas Abortion Clinics

In a late announcement Monday afternoon, the Supreme Court stayed a decision by the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, which imposed limits on a woman’s right to choose. In a 5 -4 decision, the court allows Texas abortion clinics to remain open.

The Supreme Court issued a brief, two paragraph order (pdf) on Monday permitting Texas abortion clinics that are endangered by state law requiring them to comply with onerous regulations or else shut down to remain open. The order stays a decision by the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, which imposed broad limits on the women’s right to choose an abortion within that circuit.

The Court’s order is temporary and offers no direct insight into how the Court will decide this case on the merits. It provides that the clinics’ application for a stay of the Fifth Circuit’s decision is granted “pending the timely filing and disposition of a petition” asking the Court to review the case on the merits. The Court adds that, should this petition be denied, the stay will automatically terminate. Otherwise, the stay “shall terminate upon the issuance of the judgment of this Court.”

Justce Anthony Kennedy joined the liberal judges to grant the clinics a reprieve. The court has yet to decide if they will hear arguments in the case in the fall.

Jun 30 2015

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

Richard H. Pildes: At the Supreme Court, a Win for Direct Democracy

IN 2000, voters in Arizona adopted a state constitutional amendment that created an independent commission to draw congressional districts. But the commission immediately faced a legal challenge: the United States Constitution gives the power to state legislatures (and to Congress) to regulate national elections – not to the voters. Can the word “legislature” in the Constitution mean voters themselves?

That question eventually came before the Supreme Court, which on Monday ruled, in a 5-to-4 decision, that the Constitution permits states to let their voters use “direct democracy” – popular votes on ballot measures, known as voter initiatives – to regulate the rules for national elections. [..]

The Supreme Court often surprises critics who see it in simplistically ideological terms. As this term and this decision confirm, the current court remains a pragmatically minded institution that interprets legal language with an eye toward the problems that language was created to address. As a result, direct democracy will remain available to constrain partisan gerrymandering and other ways legislatures seek to manipulate democratic purposes for self-serving reasons.

Scott Lemieux: If execution by torture isn’t ‘cruel and unusual’ punishment, what is?

You might think that the Eighth Amendment, which forbids “cruel and unusual” punishments, clearly prohibits death penalty regimes like those currently in effect in Oklahoma: unqualified and inexperienced personnel trying experimental drug regimes that have a substantial likelihood of inflicting serious pain before death. But, if you know anything about the Roberts Court, you won’t be surprised to discover that they disagree. In a 5-4 decision written by Justice Samuel Alito (appropriately, as he’s the current justice with the very worst record on civil liberties) the US supreme court gave the green light to Oklahoma’s method of death (pdf).

Late last year, Oklahoma horrifically botched its execution of Clayton Lockett, effectively torturing him for 40 minutes before he died (and blocking him from view from observers midway through). Its system for lethal injection relies on a three-drug cocktail, the formula invented (entirely arbitrarily) by the Sooner State itself in 1977: two of the drugs stop the heart but, as Justice Sonia Sotomayor explained in her dissent to the majority ruling, “they do so in a torturous manner, causing burning, searing pain.” The first drug, then, is supposed to be a barbiturate that renders the condemned prisoner unable to feel pain (although, since the second drug is generally a paralytic, it’s not really possible to tell if it works). Oklahoma, however, has been unable to obtain any of its usual drugs for the first step of the process, and has thus resorted to an alternative that carries the substantial risk of producing death by torture.

Nonetheless, to a bare majority of the court, Oklahoma’s system is good enough for the Eighth Amendment, based on a series of scientifically weak defenses offered for the protocol by a single witness and the argument that the condemned prisoners themselves are required to offer the state a less risky method for their own executions. The state can, under Alito’s reasoning, torture people to death as long as it cannot procure the drugs needed for a safer, less torturous method.

David Cay Johnston: Egalitarianism is on the march

The fall of the Confederate flag is the latest step in a progressive wave of reforms

Bigotry is suddenly on the run in America.

It is as if a giant dam thrown up to block human progress has begun to spill over the top, the outpouring growing until the dam collapses, a flood of decency, fairness and respect washing the stains of discrimination, exploitation and oppression.

Before June 17, many Americans were already feeling revulsion towards our country’s legacy of white supremacy after seeing numerous cellphone videos of police attacking innocent blacks. Then Dylann Roof massacred nine worshippers at the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina. Suddenly and unexpectedly the vile nature of the Confederate battle flag, waved with pride by Roof in several photos released after the shooting, became obvious to so many people that within a week Southern politicians scurried away from that symbol of racist hatred.

This is just the beginning. We will see more positive change in the near future as those who solicit votes through fear and denunciation watch America move toward its founding ideals: that all people are created equal with inalienable rights and that America does best when our government follows the six noble purposes of our Constitution, especially promoting the general welfare.

Joseph Stiglitz: Europe’s Attack on Greek Democracy

The rising crescendo of bickering and acrimony within Europe might seem to outsiders to be the inevitable result of the bitter endgame playing out between Greece and its creditors. In fact, European leaders are finally beginning to reveal the true nature of the ongoing debt dispute, and the answer is not pleasant: it is about power and democracy much more than money and economics. [..]

It is startling that the troika has refused to accept responsibility for any of this or admit how bad its forecasts and models have been. But what is even more surprising is that Europe’s leaders have not even learned. The troika is still demanding that Greece achieve a primary budget surplus (excluding interest payments) of 3.5% of GDP by 2018.

Economists around the world have condemned that target as punitive, because aiming for it will inevitably result in a deeper downturn. Indeed, even if Greece’s debt is restructured beyond anything imaginable, the country will remain in depression if voters there commit to the troika’s target in the snap referendum to be held this weekend.

Alexis Goldstein and Luke Herrine:  Higher education reform should start with for-profit schools

Presidential candidates should recognize that the government’s education policy is rife with conflicts of interest

As the presidential campaign season heats up, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders are talking about debt-free or tuition-free college. Using student debt as an issue to damage Republicans and to energize young voters is a smart strategy. But to make the case for why higher education should be free in the United States, 2016 candidates need look no further than the current crisis in the for-profit college industry. The government’s deep conflicts of interest as both the regulator meant to protect students and the banker profiting off student debt has led to an unmitigated disaster – one that, so far, has stuck students with the bill.

For decades, for-profit colleges have run an outrageously profitable scam: They have devoured more than a quarter of all federal student loan money and used it to lure first-generation college students into career training programs that lead to few, if any, real prospects. These schools often spend more money on marketing (pdf) than on instruction. As a result, employers laugh at for-profit college degrees. [..]

For-profit colleges perfectly illustrate why the privatization of public goods doesn’t work. It turns public servants into the guardians of private interests, and students are left behind as collateral damage. Politicians on both sides of the aisle proclaim education as the civil rights issue of our time. If that’s the case, it’s time to move past the model of individual indebtedness, which falls most heavily on poor and minority students, and show we value education for more than just talking points.

 

Jun 30 2015

LGBT Equality Fight Not Over

Another battle for equality for the LGBT community was won with the Supreme Court Ruling that gives them marriage equality in all 50 states. However, the war for equality has only just begun. As Scott Lemieux in The Guardian points out. “The language of the ruling means that states cannot discriminate against same-sex marriages. The same cannot be said for LGBT people as a whole – yet.” He discusses Justice Anthony Kennedy vague opinion that leaves the door open on other forms of discrimination

The problem with Kennedy’s judicial vagueness is that public officials and lower courts need to know whether classifications based on sexual orientation should be subject to heightened scrutiny, like those based on race or gender, or whether such classifications require only a “rational basis”, like economic regulation. If heightened scrutiny applies, states can only use sexual orientation classifications in law if it they are closely related to a compelling state interest – a test states usually fail. If states need only a “rational basis,” courts are generally very deferential to the state. After Friday’s opinion, it seems obvious that heightened scrutiny is being applied in practice, but Kennedy inexplicably refuses to say so. The refusal to define sexual orientation as subject to heightened scrutiny will lead to unnecessary confusion, and possibly permit federal and state judges to deny LBGT rights claims that even Kennedy might think should be upheld.

By not being more specific about his rationale for forcing all states to recognize and perform same-sex marriages, Kennedy leaves open the legal possibility that marriage is the only form of discrimination against same-sex people that is covered by the 14th Amendment. But LGBT people face many other types of discrimination – in public accommodations and in employment, for example – that now may have to be fought out case by never-ending case in the lower courts.

The LGBT community will now be focusing its energy on state laws that permit discrimination in housing, employment, commerce and the Transvestite communities special issues. To discuss those topics Democracy Now!‘s Amy Goodman was joined by Jennicet GutiĆ©rrez, undocumented trans activist from Mexico and a founding member of Familia: TQLM and Marc Solomon, national campaign director of Freedom to Marry.



Transcript can be read here

Jun 30 2015

On This Day In History June 30

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.

June 30 is the 181st day of the year(182nd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 184 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1986, the U.S. Supreme Court rules in Bowers v. Hardwick that states can outlaw homosexual acts between consenting adults.

Bowers v. Hardwick, upheld the constitutionality of a Georgia sodomy law criminalizing oral and anal sex in private between consenting adults when applied to homosexuals. Seventeen years after Bowers v. Hardwick, the Supreme Court directly overruled the decision in Lawrence v. Texas (2003), and held that such laws are unconstitutional. In overruling Bowers v. Hardwick, the 2003 Court stated that “Bowers was not correct when it was decided, and it is not correct today.”

Concurrences and dissents

The short concurring opinion by Chief Justice Warren E. Burger emphasized historical negative attitudes toward homosexual sex, quoting Sir William Blackstone‘s characterization of sodomy as “a crime not fit to be named.” Burger concluded, “To hold that the act of homosexual sodomy is somehow protected as a fundamental right would be to cast aside millennia of moral teaching.”

Opponents of sodomy laws criticized Bowers not only for its result but also because of the Court’s dismissive treatment of the liberty and privacy interests of gay men and lesbians. A sharply worded dissenting opinion by Justice Harry Blackmun attacked the majority opinion as having an “almost obsessive focus on homosexual activity.” Justice Blackmun suggested that “(o)nly the most willful blindness could obscure the fact that sexual intimacy is ‘a sensitive, key relationship of human existence, central to family life, community welfare, and the development of human personality.'” (Ironically quoting from the opinion by Chief Justice Burger in Paris Adult Theatre I v. Slaton which held that obscene films are not constitutionally protected)

Blackmun revealed in a 1995 oral history with Harold Koh that his dissent in Bowers v. Hardwick was written primarily by openly gay Pam Karlan (then a law clerk for Blackmun, and now professor of law at Stanford Law School). Blackmun said of the dissent; “[K]arlan did a lot of very effective writing, and I owe a lot to her and her ability in getting that dissent out. She felt very strongly about it, and I think is correct in her approach to it. I think the dissent is correct.”

Lewis Powell was considered the deciding vote during the case. He had initially voted to strike down the law but changed his mind after a few days. In a concurring opinion, Powell voiced doubts about the compatibility of Georgia’s law with the Eighth Amendment as it related to the prison sentence for conviction, but joined the majority opinion upholding the law against a substantive due process attack. It has been argued that Powell’s decision to uphold the law was influenced by the fact that he believed he had never known any homosexuals, unaware that one of his own law clerks was gay. In 1990, three years after retiring from the Court, Powell told a group of New York University law students that he considered his opinion in Bowers was an error. “I do think it was inconsistent in a general way with Roe. When I had the opportunity to reread the opinions a few months later I thought the dissent had the better of the arguments.” However, Powell believed that the case was one of little importance and spent only thirty minutes thinking about it.

Aftermath

Bowers was decided at a time when the court’s privacy jurisprudence, and in particular the right to abortion recognized in Roe v. Wade, 410 U.S. 113 (1973), had come under heavy criticism and was in doubt. In this historical context, Bowers signaled a reluctance by the then-members of the Court to recognize a general constitutional right to privacy or to extend such a right further than they already had.

State sodomy laws were seldom enforced against private consensual conduct in the decades following the decision, but the Bowers decision was frequently cited in opposition to gay rights programs. The Georgia law upheld in Bowers forbade oral sex and anal sex whether engaged in by people of the same sex or different sexes, but Justice White’s decision was restricted to homosexual sex. “The only claim properly before the Court, therefore, is Hardwick’s challenge to the Georgia statute as applied to consensual homosexual sodomy. We express no opinion on the constitutionality of the Georgia statute as applied to other acts of sodomy.”

In the years after Bowers was decided, several state legislatures repealed their sodomy laws. In addition, a number of state courts invalidated sodomy laws under privacy or other provisions of their state constitutions. The same sodomy law that was upheld in Bowers was struck down by the Georgia Supreme Court under the Georgia state constitution in the case of Powell v. State, 270 Ga. 327 (1998).

The remaining state sodomy laws in the U.S. were invalidated, insofar as they applied to private consensual conduct among adults, in the Supreme Court case of Lawrence v. Texas 539 U.S. 558 (2003). Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote the majority opinion in Lawrence, ruling that Texas’ state sodomy law was unconstitutional under the Fourteenth Amendment’s due process clause (adult consensual sexual intimacy in ones’ home is a vital interest in liberty and privacy protected by the Due Process Clause). Lawrence explicitly overturned Bowers, with Kennedy writing “Bowers was not correct when it was decided, and it is not correct today. It ought not to remain binding precedent. Bowers v. Hardwick should be and now is overruled.”

Jun 30 2015

The Daily/Nightly Show (I’m not interested in their opinion)

Something that’s been clear for a very long time now

Tonightly It’s Big Gay Monday with the New York City Gay Chorus-

Our panelists are Janet Mock, Jordan Carlos, and Guy Branum.

Continuity

Religion and Science are not contradictory

This week’s guests-

Taylor Schilling is best known for her work in Orange is the New Black, but if you’re not a Netflix subscriber you’ve never seen it.  Do not forget however that she was also Dagny Taggart in Atlas Shrugged: Part I.

Richard Lewis’s web exclusive extended interview and the real news below.

Jun 29 2015

Scotus: The Final Three New Rules

Today is the last day of this years Supreme Court session. After yesterday’s momentous ruling in favor of marriage equality for all (yes, gays should have the same right to be miserably married as heterosexuals), the court handed down rulings in three cases, two which have even a wider impact than the Affordable Care Act ruling.

In another five – four ruling Justice Anthony Kennedy sided with the conservatives approving Oklahoma’s use of the controversial sedative midazolam in Oklahoma’s execution protocols which opened the door for the state to carry out the first executions since January.

The ruling ends a hold on most executions outside Texas and Missouri. Several states had delayed executions while they awaited the ruling in Glossip v Gross, in which the court was asked to decide whether Oklahoma’s use of midazolam fell within the boundaries of the US constitution.

Though the ruling fell into the familiar 5 to 4 conservative to liberal split within the supreme court, it marked the first time in seven years that the nation’s highest judicial panel considered directly the constitutional basis of modern executions by lethal injection. It also gave the progressive-leaning justices an opportunity to vent their opinions on the ultimate punishment, with Stephen Breyer backed by Ruth Bader Ginsburg, using a dissenting opinion to openly denounce the death penalty as a violation of the eighth amendment ban on cruel and unusual punishment.

In the case against the Environmental Protection Agency, the court struck down the agency’s efforts to set limits on the amount of mercury, arsenic and other toxins coal-fired power plants can spew into the air, lakes and rivers.

The 5-4 decision was a major setback to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and could leave the agency more vulnerable to legal challenges from industry and Republican-led states to its new carbon pollution rules.

It was also a blow to years of local efforts to clean up dangerous air pollution.

The supreme court has now sent the case back to the Washington DC circuit court of appeals, which will then ask the EPA to reconsider its rule-making. Activists are now urging the EPA to act definitively and quickly to issue revised regulation.

In its final ruling, the curt upheld Arizona’s independent redistricting that was passed in a 2000 ballot referendum, striking a blow to gerrymandering.

The court’s decision affirms the constitutionality of an Arizona state ballot measure approved by voters in 2000 that allowed an independent commissioner to determine congressional districts in the state.

State legislatures determine congressional district boundaries after each census, as dictated by the constitution, but the Arizona measure sought to undo this model, which is widely understood as a tool for partisan lawmakers to divvy up districts to favor the political party in power – also known as gerrymandering.

The supreme court ruled 5-4 that the elections clause of the US constitution does not disallow such commissions from being created.

Jun 29 2015

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: Affordable Housing, Racial Isolation

A Supreme Court ruling last week forcefully reminded state and local governments that the Fair Housing Act of 1968 forbids them from spending federal housing money in ways that perpetuate segregation. Communities across the country have been doing exactly that for decades.

Instead of building subsidized housing in racially integrated areas that offer minority citizens access to jobs and good schools, local governments have often deepened racial isolation by placing such housing in existing ghettos.

Justice Anthony Kennedy delivered this timely message in the majority opinion, ruling that the law allows plaintiffs to challenge housing policies that have a discriminatory effect – without having to prove that discrimination was intentional.

Paul Krugman: Greece Over the Brink

It has been obvious for some time that the creation of the euro was a terrible mistake. Europe never had the preconditions for a successful single currency – above all, the kind of fiscal and banking union that, for example, ensures that when a housing bubble in Florida bursts, Washington automatically protects seniors against any threat to their medical care or their bank deposits.

Leaving a currency union is, however, a much harder and more frightening decision than never entering in the first place, and until now even the Continent’s most troubled economies have repeatedly stepped back from the brink. Again and again, governments have submitted to creditors’ demands for harsh austerity, while the European Central Bank has managed to contain market panic.

Rep. Alan Grayson: A Good Rule of Law: Mind Your Own Business

Friday’s U.S. Supreme Court decision was a great victory for LGBT rights. But it also was a great victory for something that rests right at the heart of the human experience, the paramount legal doctrine of M.Y.O.B.

Mind Your Own Business.

Reporters love to generate controversy. In a TV interview on Friday, a reporter asked me, “What do you have to say to all of the millions of opponents of gay marriage?”

I replied thusly: “Mind your own business.”

OK, I’ll admit that that response will not earn me the Nobel Peace Prize. But I’m making an important point here. What difference does it make to Person X if Person Y marries Person Z? Seriously.

Robert Reich: Why We Must Fight Economic Apartheid in America

Almost lost by the wave of responses to the Supreme Court’s decisions last week upholding the Affordable Care Act and allowing gays and lesbians to marry was the significance of the Court’s decision on housing discrimination.

In a 5-4 ruling, the Court found that the Fair Housing Act of 1968 requires plaintiffs to show only that the effect of a policy is discriminatory, not that defendants intended to discriminate.

The decision is important to the fight against economic apartheid in America – racial segregation on a much larger geographic scale than ever before.

The decision is likely to affect everything from bank lending practices whose effect is to harm low-income non-white borrowers, to zoning laws that favor higher-income white homebuyers.

Robert Kuttner: A Good Week for America

What an extraordinary week in the political and spiritual life of this nation.

It was a week in which President Obama found the voice that so many of us hoped we discerned in 2008; a week in which two Justices of the Supreme Court resolved that the legitimacy of the institution and their own legacy as jurists was more important than the narrow partisan agenda that Justices Roberts and Kennedy have so often carried out; a week in which liberals could feel good about ourselves and the haters of the right were thrown seriously off balance.

Yet this is one of those inflection points in American politics that could go either way. It could energize the forces of racial justice and racial healing. It could reconstitute the Supreme Court as a body that takes the Constitution seriously. The week’s events could shame, embarrass and divide the political right.

Jun 29 2015

On This Day In History June 29

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.

June 29 is the 180th day of the year (181st in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 185 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1928, The Outerbridge Crossing and Goethals Bridge in Staten Island, New York are both opened.

The Outerbridge Crossing is a cantilever bridge which spans the Arthur Kill. The “Outerbridge”, as it is commonly known, connects Perth Amboy, New Jersey, with the New York City borough of Staten Island and carries NY-440 and NJ-440, each road ending at the respective state border.

The bridge was named for Eugenius Harvey Outerbridge (sometimes pronounced “ooterbridge”) the first chairman of the then-Port of New York Authority and a resident of Staten Island. Rather than call it the “Outerbridge Bridge” the span was labeled a “crossing”, but many New Yorkers and others mistakenly assume the name comes from the fact that it is the most remote bridge in New York City and the southernmost crossing in New York state.

It is a steel cantilever construction, designed by John Alexander Low Waddell and built under the auspices of the Port of New York Authority, now the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which currently operates it.

It opened simultaneously with the Goethals Bridge on June 29, 1928. Both spans have similar designs. Neither bridge saw high traffic counts until the opening of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge in 1964. Traffic counts on both bridges were also depressed due to the effects of the Great Depression and World War II.

The Outerbridge Crossing carried 32,438,000 vehicles (both directions) in 2006, or approximately 90,000 each day. Tolls are collected in the eastbound direction only. In early 2009, the cash toll was $8 for passenger vehicles. Users of E-ZPass pay a toll of $6 during off-peak hours (outside of 6-9 am and 4-7 pm).

In 2003, the Port Authority raised the speed limit for the three inner E-ZPass lanes at the toll plaza from 15 mph to 25 mph, separating these lanes from the rest of the eight-lane toll plaza by a barrier. Two years later, the tollbooths adjacent to the 25 mph E-ZPass lanes were removed and overhead gantries were installed with electronic tag readers to permit E-ZPass vehicles to travel at 45 mph in special high-speed lanes.[9] Motorists using the high-speed E-ZPass lanes cannot use the Page Avenue exit, which is located immediately after the toll plaza.

In recent years, the bridge has undergone numerous repair jobs as a result of the high volume of traffic that crosses the bridge each day.

The Goethals Bridge connects Elizabeth, New Jersey to Staten Island (New York City), near the Howland Hook Marine Terminal, Staten Island, New York over the Arthur Kill. Operated by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, the span was one of the first structures built by the authority. On the New Jersey side it is located 2 exits south of the terminus for the New Jersey Turnpike-Newark Bay Extension. The primary use for this bridge is a connection for New York City to Newark Airport. The bridge has been grandfathered into Interstate 278, and named for Major General George Washington Goethals, who supervised construction of the Panama Canal and was the first consulting engineer of the Port Authority.

A steel truss cantilever design by John Alexander Low Waddell ], who also designed the [Outerbridge Crossing. The bridge is 672 ft (205 m) long central span, 7,109 feet (2,168 m) long in total, 62 feet (19 m) wide, has a clearance of 135 feet (41.1 m) and has four lanes for traffic. The Port Authority had $3 million of state money and raised $14 million in bonds to build the Goethals Bridge and the Outerbridge Crossing; the Goethals bridge construction began on September 1, 1925 and cost $7.2 million. It and the Outerbridge Crossing opened on June 29, 1928. The Goethals Bridge replaced three ferries and is the immediate neighbor of the Arthur Kill Rail Bridge. Its unusual mid-span height was a requirement of the New Jersey ports.

Connecting onto the New Jersey Turnpike, it is one of the main routes for traffic between there and Brooklyn via the Staten Island Expressway and the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge. Until the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge was completed in 1964 the Goethals Bridge never turned a profit. The same happened to the Outerbridge Crossing. The total traffic in 2002 was 15.68 million vehicles.

Jun 28 2015

On This Day In History June 28

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.

June 28 is the 179th day of the year (180th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 186 days remaining until the end of the year.

In common years it is always in ISO week 26.

This date is the only date each year where both the month and day are different perfect numbers, June 6 being the only date where the month and day are the same perfect number.

On this day in 1919, Keynes predicts economic chaos

At the Palace of Versailles outside Paris, Germany signs the Treaty of Versailles with the Allies, officially ending World War I. The English economist John Maynard Keynes, who had attended the peace conference but then left in protest of the treaty, was one of the most outspoken critics of the punitive agreement. In his The Economic Consequences of the Peace, published in December 1919, Keynes predicted that the stiff war reparations and other harsh terms imposed on Germany by the treaty would lead to the financial collapse of the country, which in turn would have serious economic and political repercussions on Europe and the world.

snip

A decade later, Hitler would exploit this continuing bitterness among Germans to seize control of the German state. In the 1930s, the Treaty of Versailles was significantly revised and altered in Germany’s favor, but this belated amendment could not stop the rise of German militarism and the subsequent outbreak of World War II.

In the late 1930s, John Maynard Keynes gained a reputation as the world’s foremost economist by advocating large-scale government economic planning to keep unemployment low and markets healthy. Today, all major capitalist nations adhere to the key principles of Keynesian economics. He died in 1946.

Governments ignore Keynes at their own peril.

Jun 28 2015

Punting the Pundits: Sunday Preview Edition

Punting the Punditsis 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.

Needless to day, after this week’s Supreme court rulings on the Affordable Care Act and marriage equality, the right wing heads will be exploding on all the usual Sunday programs. It might actually be fun to watch.

Thanks to ek hornbeck, click on the link and you can access all the past “Punting the Pundits”.

Follow us on Twitter @StarsHollowGzt

The Sunday Talking Heads:

This Week with George Stephanopolis: The guests on Sunday’s “This Week” are: 2016 presidential candidates former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders; and  Rep. Peter King (R-NY).

The roundtable guests are:  Family Research Council senior fellow Ken Blackwell; Democratic strategist Donna Brazile; ABC News political analyst Matthew Dowd; and ABC’s Cokie Roberts.

Face the Nation: Mr. Dickerson’s guests are: Chad Griffin, President of the Human Rights Campaign; Russell Moore, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention; Gov. John Kasich (R-OH); Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI); Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC); and Rep. Ellijah Cummings (D-SC).

His panel guests are: Peggy Noonan, The Wall Street Journal; David Ignatius The Washington Post; April Ryan, American Urban Radio Networks; and Reihan Salam, Slate Magazine.

Ocassionaly, it’s worth watching Peggy Noonan struggling not to slur her words and, often, failing miserably.

Meet the Press with Chuck Todd: The guests on Sunday’s “MTP” are: Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC); Mary Bonauto, Civil Rights Project Director, Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders; and Gov. Bobby Jindal (R-LA).

The panel guests are: Michael Eric Dyson, Professor, Georgetown University; Newt Gingrich, Former Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives; Charles Ogletree, Professor, Harvard Law School; and Kathleen Parker, Columnist for The Washington Post.

State of the Union with Jake Tapper:

This week Mr. Tapper’s guest is GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump.

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