Daily Archive: 07/25/2015

Jul 25 2015

Good Politicians

An honest politician is one who, when he is bought, will stay bought.

Simon Cameron

I like Simon, he has loyalty.

His corruption was so notorious that a Pennsylvania congressman, Thaddeus Stevens, when discussing Cameron’s honesty with Lincoln, told Lincoln that “I don’t think that he would steal a red hot stove.”When Cameron demanded Stevens retract this statement, Stevens told Lincoln “I believe I told you he would not steal a red-hot stove. I will now take that back.”

Banks revolt over plan to kill $17B Fed payout

By Peter Schroeder, The Hill

07/25/15 12:25 PM EDT

When banks join the Federal Reserve system, they are required to buy stock in the central bank equal to 6 percent of their assets. However, that stock does not gain value and cannot be traded or sold, so to entice banks to participate, the Fed pays out a 6 percent dividend payment.

The Senate proposal says it would slash that “overly generous” payout to 1.5 percent for all banks with more than $1 billion in assets. While the summary language outlining the proposal said that change would only impact “large banks,” industry advocates argued that banks most would identify as small community shops could easily have assets in excess of that amount.



While banking advocates make the policy argument, they also acknowledge they are facing a hard political reality – $17 billion is hard for members to pass up to help cover costs in a must-pass bill.

“It’s difficult to have a policy discussion when people are looking for a pay for,” said Ballentine. “That’s the issue we’ve been running into.”

The Senate bill is facing an uphill climb towards enactment, as House leaders from both parties have pushed the Senate to instead take up its short-term extension of highway funding and continue working on a longer-term proposal. But now that the Fed dividend has been identified as a way to raise billions of dollars, the industry now will be on high alert for it pop up elsewhere, when lawmakers are looking for a way to cover the costs of their preferred policies.

“That’s a genuine concern,” said Merski. “We’re going to remain actively opposed to this in any form.”

“Pay fors, they never die,” agreed Ballentine. “Perhaps we can take some of the spotlight off of this provision, which we think has served a good purpose.”

Bwahhahhahhahhah.

Jul 25 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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Trevor Timm: Hillary Clinton likely ‘mishandled’ secrets because too much is classified

The minute that private email server Hillary Clinton used for work emails as Secretary of State became a controversy, it was clear that evidence would surface showing that classified information passed through that address – despite her repeated denials.

Of course there was “secret” information in her emails – but not because she had attempted to cover up smoking gun Benghazi emails like conspiracy-addled Republicans hoped. It’s because the US classification system is so insanely bloated and out of control that virtually everything related to foreign policy and national security is, in some way or another, classified. [..]

The late Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart wrote in the famous Pentagon Papers case in 1971:

   For when everything is classified, then nothing is classified, and the system becomes one to be disregarded by the cynical or the careless, and to be manipulated by those intent on self-protection or self-promotion.

Almost 44 years later, it’s clear Potter’s statement has never been more true – as Clinton is now finding out.

Jeb Lund: Another mass shooting, and yet again we’re told: don’t politicize, pray

Following Thursday night’s shooting in a Lafayette, Louisiana, movie theater, Governor Bobby Jindal told people: “What we can do now is pray.” He told them today that we can pray. He will tell them tomorrow that they can pray. And then next time this happens, he will tell them again. The repetition is inevitable because this is what happens when the first response and the only response is the last resort.

Jindal spoke last night of the desperation we feel “when there’s no real good reason why this evil should intrude on the lives of families just out for a night of entertainment.” He is a master of gallows humor. Because between the idea and reality, the motion and act, falls the shadow of systemic inaction. As if these killers acted without tools, and as if people like Bobby Jindal do not labor to make those tools both widely available and unaccountable, ghosts within the system just as instantaneously as their victims become. Bobby Jindal has already decided that nothing else can be done – indeed, that God himself divinely ordained an inerrant amended parchment to forbid anything else to be done. So what we can do now is pray.

Robert Reich: Happy Birthday Medicare

Medicare turns fifty next week. It was signed into law July 30, 1965 — the crowning achievement of Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society. It’s more popular than ever.

Yet Medicare continues to be blamed for America’s present and future budget problems.

A few days ago Jeb Bush even suggested phasing it out. Seniors already receiving benefits should continue to receive them, he said, but “we need to figure out a way to phase out this program for others and move to a new system that allows them to have something, because they’re not going to have anything.”

Bush praised Rep. Paul Ryan’s plan to give seniors vouchers instead. What Bush didn’t say was that Ryan’s vouchers wouldn’t keep up with increases in medical costs — leaving seniors with less coverage.

Medicare isn’t the problem. In fact, it’s the solution.

Dave Johnson: Oak Flat: The Latest Land Grab From Native Americans

A “sneak law” attachment to a “must-pass” bill gives sacred Native American land to a foreign mining company. How did this happen?

Do you remember that “Citibank budget,” where a budget bill to avert an imminent government shutdown suddenly had in it a Citibank-written provision deregulating certain risky financial trades? If Congress voted against the budget, the government would shut down, so Citibank got its way? This is how “sneak laws” get through. Usually We the People don’t get a chance to learn about them in time to do something about it, and this was one example.

Another example of this happened in last year’s National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2015. On page 1,103 of the 1,648-page bill is a provision giving more than 2400 acres of land in Arizona’s Tonto National Forest to Resolution Copper, which is part of London-based Rio Tinto and Melbourn-based BHP Billiton, giant mining companies. This was done by Arizona Republican Senators John McCain and Jeff Flake and Arizona Republican Rep. Paul Gosar.

The area is known as Oak Flat and is land that is sacred to the San Carlos Apache Tribe and Yavapai-Apache Nation. They compare it to the sacredness of Mt. Sinai in other religions. In 1886, the federal government removed the tribes and expropriated the land.

David Sirota: More 2016 Candidates Embrace the Donald Trump Zeitgeist … Including Hillary Clinton

Since announcing his 2016 White House bid, Donald Trump has been the central focus of the campaign-by one estimate, he has garnered almost 40 percent of all election coverage on the network newscasts. Clearly, The Donald’s attempt to turn 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. into Trump White House has attracted so much attention because the candidate is seen as a Bulworthesque carnival barker who will say anything, no matter how hypocritical, factually unsubstantiated or absurd.

Yet for all the hype he’s generated, Trump is not the only presidential hopeful willing to make utterly mind-boggling statements.

Take Hillary Clinton. Earlier this month, she said, “there can be no justification or tolerance for this kind of criminal behavior” that has been seen on Wall Street. She added that “while institutions have paid large fines and in some cases admitted guilt, too often it has seemed that the human beings responsible get off with limited consequences or none at all, even when they have already pocketed the gains.” Her campaign echoed the message with an email to supporters lauding Clinton for saying that “when Wall Street executives commit criminal wrongdoing, they deserve to face criminal prosecution.”

Clinton’s outrage sounds convincing at first-but then, audacity-wise, it starts to seem positively Trump-like when cross-referenced with campaign finance reports, foundation donations and speaking fees.

Joe Conason: Donald Trump’s Slur Stokes Phony Republican Fury

As soon as Donald Trump brayed that John McCain is “not a war hero” and went on to mock his suffering in North Vietnamese captivity, the righteous reaction of Republicans was entirely predictable. Nearly every would-be presidential candidate in the GOP immediately sought to wrap the loud-mouthed celebrity’s gaffe around his neck.

The incident presented an irresistible opportunity for Trump’s rivals to stoke public indignation against a merciless, infuriating, suddenly formidable opponent. No doubt some of them, like McCain’s close friend Senator Lindsey Graham, were truly incensed by Trump’s slur. Yet much of the outrage on the right seems insincere.

In denigrating a widely admired Vietnam veteran to advance himself, the casino mogul did nothing more or less than what other “conservatives” have long done for political expediency. Nobody should be shocked to hear a Republican chicken-hawk disparaging a heroic vet; such conduct is standard operating procedure.

Jul 25 2015

On This Day In History July 25

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 25 is the 206th day of the year (207th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 159 days remaining until the end of the year.

 

On this day in 1788, Wolfgang Mozart completes his Symphony No. 40 in G minor.

The question of the Symphony’s premiere

There is no completely solid documentary evidence that the premiere of the 40th Symphony took place in Mozart’s lifetime. However, as Zaslaw (1983) points out, the circumstantial evidence that it was performed is very strong. On several occasions between the composition of the symphony and the composer’s death, symphony concerts were given featuring Mozart’s music, including concerts in which the program has survived, including a symphony, unidentified by date or key.

Most important is the fact that Mozart revised his symphony (the manuscripts of both versions still exist). As Zaslaw says, this “demonstrates that [the symphony] was performed, for Mozart would hardly have gone to the trouble of adding the clarinets and rewriting the flutes and oboes to accommodate them, had he not had a specific performance in view.” The orchestra for the 1791 Vienna concert included the clarinetist brothers Anton and Johann Stadler; which, as Zaslaw points out, limits the possibilities to just the 39th and 40th symphonies.

Zaslaw adds: “The version without clarinets must also have been performed, for the reorchestrated version of two passages in the slow movement, which exists in Mozart’s hand, must have resulted from his having heard the work and discovered an aspect needing improvement.”

Concerning the concerts for which the Symphony was originally (1788) intended, Otto Erich Deutsch suggests that Mozart was preparing to hold a series of three “Concerts in the Casino”, in a new casino in the Spiegelgasse owned by Philipp Otto. Mozart even sent a pair of tickets for this series to his friend Michael Puchberg. But it seems impossible to determine whether the concert series was held, or was cancelled for lack of interest. Zaslaw suggests that only the first of the three concerts was actually held.

Jul 25 2015

The Breakfast Club (Sweet Dreams)

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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Breakfast Tune: Eurythmics – Sweet Dreams banjo cover, Banjo Guy Ollie


Banjo Guy Ollie – Published on Jun 29, 2015 Here’s my third full song cover (after Metallica’s Enter Sandman and Game of Throne) on my 5 string Tenor banjo and Mandolin …and Bodhran drum for kick snare.

Huge , HUGE thanks to my friend Karen Weekes for the loan of her beautifully strong and haunting voice, as Annie Lennox was busy that week and I couldn’t get her to record.

Today in History


Andrea Doria begins to sink after a collision in the North Atlantic; An Air France Concorde crashes outside Paris; First ‘test-tube’ baby born; Golfer Ben Hogan dies; ‘A Chorus Line’ opens on Broadway.

Breakfast News & Blogs Below

Jul 25 2015

Health and Fitness News

Welcome to the Stars Hollow Gazette‘s Health and Fitness News weekly diary. It will publish on Saturday afternoon and be open for discussion about health related issues including diet, exercise, health and health care issues, as well as, tips on what you can do when there is a medical emergency. Also an opportunity to share and exchange your favorite healthy recipes.

Questions are encouraged and I will answer to the best of my ability. If I can’t, I will try to steer you in the right direction. Naturally, I cannot give individual medical advice for personal health issues. I can give you information about medical conditions and the current treatments available.

You can now find past Health and Fitness News diaries here and on the right hand side of the Front Page.

Follow us on Twitter @StarsHollowGzt

The Squashes of Summer

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Pan-Cooked Summer Squash With Tomatoes and Basil

This Proven├žal summer dish is delightful as a starter or as a side dish with fish, chicken or cooked grains.

Spicy Grilled Zucchini

This mildly spicy dish from southern Italy can serve as an appetizer or side. Cut the zucchini on the diagonal into long, thin slices, or cut it lengthwise.

Cumin-Scented Summer Squash Salad

The summer squash is lightly steamed in this North African salad.

Marinated Zucchini Salad

Raw zucchini can be a dull ingredient, but when it’s very thinly sliced it marinates beautifully, especially in lemon juice.

Shells With Summer Squash, Corn, Beans and Tomato

You can use canned beans for this dish, but if you happen to have cooked pintos or borlottis in broth, use the broth for the pasta sauce.