Daily Archive: 07/14/2015

Jul 14 2015

Sports Teams Bilking Cities for Tax Dollars

John Oliver Takes On Greedy Sports Teams Stealing Taxpayer Dollars

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Cities spend massive amounts of public money on privately-owned stadiums. Cities issue tax-exempt municipal bonds that – wait, don’t fall asleep!

Jul 14 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”.

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Dean Baker: Hard Work With Jeb Bush

In describing his economic agenda last week, Republican president candidate Jeb Bush said that “people need to work longer hours.” While he quickly tried to walk this one back, there can be little doubt that Mr. Bush meant what he said. It came in the context of describing his plans to get to his absurd target of 4.0 percent annual GDP growth.

This isn’t the first time Bush had said that he wanted to get more work out of people. Back in April he called for raising the normal retirement age for Social Security benefits. (It’s not clear he realized that the retirement age has already been raised to 66 and will soon be increasing to 67.)

Certainly Bush is not alone. There are people in both parties who argue that people need to work more. This comes up in a variety of contexts, like reducing the number of workers getting disability benefits or weakening requirements for overtime pay. While Bush’s comments may have been poorly chosen for a presidential candidate, they represent a commonly held view in policy debates.

Kirk Douglas: An Open Letter to All Those Who Would Be President

If you want my vote in November of 2016, I am asking you to do something right now.

America has never formally acknowledged and apologized for the unspeakable evil of slavery. So I am asking Republicans and Democrats alike to apologize to the American people. Our continued refusal to apologize for slavery still shames and divides our nation. It is past the time to heal.

I have lived a long time — 98 years — and I have seen many incredible things. [..]

I hope to live long enough to see one of the candidates promise an apology for slavery. We cannot erase our history, but we can pledge that hatred will be banished from our great land.

Norman Soloman: Perpetual war creates endless consequences

Democrats who once spoke out against Bush’s militarism have enabled Obama’s

When the outgoing chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Martin Dempsey, began this month by issuing a farewell report on U.S. military strategy, the gist was hardly big news. “Dempsey to Pentagon: Prepare for the Never-Ending War” read the headline on the cover page of the National Journal.

The “war on terror” now looks so endless that no one speculates anymore about when it might conclude. “This war, like all wars, must end,” President Barack Obama declared in a major speech more than two years ago. “That’s what history advises. That’s what our democracy demands.” But midway through 2015, this war seems as interminable as ever. [..]

It does not have to be this way. America need not propagate what Martin Luther King Jr. aptly called “the madness of militarism.” But to turn away from perpetual war, many people will first need to overcome party loyalties and summon the kind of resolve that King showed in challenging the tragic folly of war policies coming from a Democrat in the White House.

Bill Blum: Is Antonin Scalia Off His Rocker or Just a Sore Loser?

Has Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia completely lost his mind? Or is he better understood as the court’s biggest sore loser, who just can’t accept the fact that his colleagues roundly rejected his blustery constitutional and statutory interpretation when they ruled last month in favor of same-sex marriage in Obergefell v. Hodges and Obamacare in King v. Burwell.

Although I favor sore-loser explanation over the Mad-Hatter analysis there are good reasons to answer both questions in the affirmative. They are not, after all, mutually exclusive. [..]

With his churlish response to Kennedy, the long arc of Scalia’s tenure is now clearly bending toward travesty and, even more importantly, isolation. He’s become the judicial equivalent of the proverbial old man screaming at the neighborhood kids to get off his lawn. He may be crazy or angry or a little of both. What matters most is that he’s on his way to becoming irrelevant.

Jul 14 2015

The Breakfast Club (This Land)

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.

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This Day in History

Bastille prison stormed during the French Revolution; Outlaw ‘Billy the Kid’ gunned down; Richard Speck murders student nurses in Chicago; Mariner 4 probe flies by Mars; Folk singer Woody Guthrie born.

Breakfast Tunes

Something to Think about over Coffee Prozac

Any fool can make something complicated. It takes a genius to make it simple.

Woody Guthrie

Jul 14 2015

On This Day In History July 14

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

July 14 is the 195th day of the year (196th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 170 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1790, the citizens of Paris celebrate the constitutional monarchy and national reconciliation in the Fête de la Fédération.

The Fête de la Fédération of the 14 July 1790 was a huge feast and official event to celebrate the establishment of the short-lived constitutional monarchy in France and what people of the time considered to be the happy conclusion of the French Revolution, the outcome hoped for by the monarchiens.

The Fête de la Fédération in Paris was the most prominent event of a series of spontaneous celebrations all over France: from August 1789, Fédérations appeared in towns and countryside; on 5 June 1790, with lots of individual feasts to celebrate the new state of France, a constitutional monarchy. The National Assembly approved the suggestion by the Commune de Paris to organise a “general Federation”. Organised late, it was largely an improvisation. The idea was not to contest the legitimacy of the king Louis XVI, but to show the general will for stable institutions and a national reconciliation and unity. In the words of Jean Sylvain Bailly, astronomer and mayor of Paris: “We suggest that this meeting (…) be sworn on the next 14 July, which we shall all see as the time of liberty: this day shall be spent swearing to uphold and defend it”. Charon, President of the Commune of Paris, stated: “French, we are free! French, we are brothers!”.

The event took place on the Champ de Mars, which was at the time far outside Paris. The place had been transformed on a voluntary basis by the population of Paris itself, in what was recalled as the Journée des brouettes (“Wheelbarrow Day”).

Official Celebration

The feast began as early as four in the morning, under a strong rain which would last the whole day (the Journal de Paris had predicted “frequent downpours”).

14 000 Federated (Fédérés) came from the province, every single National Guard unit having sent two men out of every hundred. They were ranged according to their département under 83 banners. They were brought to the place were the Bastille once stood, and went through Saint-Antoine, Saint-Denis and Saint-Honoré streets before crossing the temporary bridge and arriving at the Champ de Mars. Deputies from other nations, “Swedes, Spaniards, Polacks, Turks, Chaldeans, Greeks, and dwellers in Mesopotamia,” representatives of the human race, “with three hundred drummers, twelve hundred wind-musicians, and artillery planted on height after height to boom the tidings all over France, the highest recorded triumph of the Thespian art.”

A mass was celebrated by Charles Maurice de Talleyrand, bishop of Autun under the Ancien Régime. The very popular General marquis de La Fayette, as both captain of the National Guard of Paris and confident of the king, took his oath to the Constitution:

” We swear forever to be faithful to the Nation, to the Law and to the King, to uphold with all our might the Constitution as decided by the National Assembly and accepted by the King, and to protect according to the laws the safety of people and properties, transit of grains and food within the kingdom, the public contributions under whatever forms they might exist, and to stay united with all the French with the indestructible bounds of brotherhood[ ”

It is noticeable that at this time, the French Constitution of 1791 was not yet written; it would only take effect in September 1791. La Fayette was followed by the President of the National Assembly. Eventually, Louis XVI took his oath

” I, King of the French, I swear to use the power given to me by the constitutional law of the State, to maintain the Constitution as decided by the National Assembly and accepted by myself, and to enforce the laws. ”

The style “King of the French”, used for the first time instead of “King of France (and Navarre)”, was an innovation intended to inaugurate a “popular monarchy” which linked the monarch’s title to the people, not to the territory of France.

The Queen rose and showed the Dauphin, future Louis XVII, saying :

” This is my son, who, like me, joins in the same sentiments.[5] ”

With the permission of the National Assembly, a delegation of the United States of America, led by John Paul Jones, founder of the US Navy, joined the feast. It also included Thomas Paine, James Swan, Georges Howell, Benjamin Jarvis, Samuel Blackden, Joel Barlow and William Henry Vernon. The delegation arrived at the Champ de Mars with its flag, the first instance ever of a US flag flown outside of the USA, and was cheered by the people.