Punting the Pundits: Morning Edition

(noon. – promoted by ek hornbeck)

Happy Birthday, Ringo.

Ringo Starr, at Age 70. The Beatles, Ageless.


Ringo Starr is turning 70 on Wednesday. It feels as though youth itself is now 70 years old.

I wasn’t yet 6 when the Beatles played their last live performance atop the Apple Corps building on Savile Row in London, January 1969. They split four years before I got my first Beatles album. Still, I can keep track of my teenage years by Beatles songs I happened to be enthralled with at the time. Forty years after they broke up, my 6-year-old son is learning to play “Eleanor Rigby” on the piano.

Ringo at 70: ‘I’m Not Hiding From It, You Know’

Ever since Ringo Starr  vowed, on a well-known cover of Buck Owens’s hit “Act Naturally,” that he’d become “the biggest fool to ever hit the big time,” the renowned rock ‘n’ roll drummer has done all right for himself. As a member of the Beatles and as a solo artist, Mr. Starr has sold more than a few records, won some Grammy Awards and even had a minor planet named for him. But on Wednesday Mr. Starr will reach a very special milestone: he turns 70 years old.

As you’d expect, he plans to mark the occasion with a little help from his friends, and anyone else he can round up. Finding himself in New York on the big day, he is celebrating with a private event in the morning at the Hard Rock Cafe in Times Square; Hard Rock International is honoring the day at locations around the world. (Details are at ringostarr.com.)

In the evening he will perform a concert at Radio City Music Hall with his All Starr Band, which includes Edgar Winter, Gary Wright and Rick Derringer.

Some advice for Goldman Sachs from William D. Cohan

Let Goldman Be Goldman

Poised as we are for the most comprehensive financial reform in this country since the Great Depression, it is time to fess up to the fact that it likely would not have occurred without a concerted effort by the Obama administration and the Democratic-controlled Congress to demonize Goldman Sachs.

There are good reasons, of course, why politicians have seized on Goldman for easy political gain. Among them are: the perceptions that Goldman figured out a way to benefit from the misery of others; that while many Americans were hurting from a recession partly of Goldman’s making, the firm continued to rake in billions in profits and pay out billions more in bonuses; that Goldman seems unable to recognize that but for an 11th-hour rescue by the American taxpayers, in September 2008, it would have gone the way of Lehman Brothers, Bear Stearns and Merrill Lynch; and that Goldman has proved repeatedly that it prefers putting its own interests ahead of those of its prized clients and the rest of us. Another likely reason is that the politicians simply looked at the recent public polling data, which put Goldman’s reputation below that of BP and Toyota, and realized that nothing spells political gold these days quite like bashing Goldman Sachs.

With all the important issues in the news that could be addressed in an op-ed, Maureen Dowd chooses to Kicking the Hornet’s Nest to recap Andrew Young’s book about John Edwards’ sordid indiscretion and Young’s roll in the deception. Gawd! I really feel bad for Elizabeth.

Young’s book is an amazingly sordid yarn about a fawning aide and the feckless pol he serves beyond all reason. The unspeakable in pursuit of the inedible, as Oscar Wilde called foxhunting.

We learn that in this era of immersion coverage, we can still end up with a shallow view of our candidates and their real – or Rielle – lives.

A man like Edwards can be extremely close to ascending to the White House and still be camouflaging his true nature. To paraphrase Raymond Chandler, if character were elastic, John Edwards wouldn’t have enough to make suspenders for a parakeet.

In the Washington Post, Sen. John Kerry rebuts Gov. Mitt Romney’s op-ed that opposed ratification of Pres. Obama’s Nuclear Arms Treaty with Russia

Even in these polarized times, anyone seeking the presidency should know that the security of the United States is too important to be treated as fodder for political posturing. Sadly, former governor Mitt Romney failed that test in arguing that ratification of the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) with Russia would be a mistake [op-ed, July 6]. He disregarded the views of the best foreign policy thinkers of the past half-century, but more important, he ignored the facts.

No threat to our national security is greater than the danger from nuclear weapons. Responsible political figures across the spectrum need to support every step possible to control the spread of nuclear weapons. New START is one of those steps. This view is shared by most who have taken the time to understand the treaty and the international context in which it was negotiated. Rather than pander to politics, we need to ratify this agreement quickly. Every day without its verification regime is a day without a clear view of Russia’s nuclear arsenal.

Someone to clue Ruth Marcus in that the rich are NOT over taxed

Rich Trumka — the AFL-CIO president intercepts any attempted honorific with an easy, “Call me Rich” — comes armed with charts. His first one is, literally, in shades of gray. Its message is anything but.

Once, its bar graphs report, the middle class and the wealthy prospered in tandem. Between 1947 and 1973, the rich got richer, but the not-so-rich actually prospered more. The household income of the middle 20 percent of Americans nearly doubled, while the income of the top 20 percent of Americans rose the least of any group, 85 percent.

After 1973, the story changes dramatically. Income for the middle group inched up, rising 24 percent through 2006. But the top 20 percent grew at nearly three times that rate.

This graphic depiction of income inequality is, understandably enough, at the center of Trumka’s worldview, a perspective that became clear when he came to lunch last week at The Post. Growing income inequality is troubling. It would be troubling in the absence of a budget crisis. But that does not mean, as Trumka would have it, that the solution to the nation’s fiscal woes is always, or only, reducing income inequality.

In short, soaking the rich gets you only so far.

“Soaking the rich”? Really, Ruth, how elitist.

Why I no longer consider myself a Democrat.

So I’m in this really bad personal relationship right now. My boyfriend continually says he’ll do A or B, but he rarely (if ever) does. I am expected to do all the shopping   and cooking and laundry and dishes, but if I ask him to do any of the above, he says, “What’s your problem?”, and then he wonders aloud if it’s my “time of the month”.

In the beginning of our relationship (we’ve been together a really long time, see), he promised me so very many things. On some of them, he’s more than delivered. But on most of them, he’s either backtracked completely, lied outright, or is extremely dismissive and insensitive regarding my needs.

As of today, July 6, 2010, he can suck it. He, of course, would be the Democratic Party.  

Prime Time

Tougher than usual tonight.  I will actually be watching Warehouse 13.

Keith AND Rachel.  Letterman repeats, Leno has new content.

There should be Mets Baseball for me and Le Tour repeats if you haven’t already beaten your eyeballs bloody.


Jon has Julianne Moore pitching The Kids Are All Right, Stephen- Garret Keizer.  The always reliable Alton is covering mayonnaise (Miracle Whip guy myself).

Repeat of a new Chopped @ 1, might be worth watching at 10 pm.

Evening Edition

Evening Edition is an Open Thread

From Yahoo News Top Stories

1 Oil comes ashore in Texas as BP dismisses money worries


Tue Jul 6, 12:52 pm ET

NEW ORLEANS, Louisiana (AFP) – BP insisted Tuesday it can cope with soaring oil spill costs without asking shareholders for cash, as tar balls washed ashore in Texas, the fifth and final Gulf Coast state to be affected.

A BP spokeswoman denied the firm was planning to sell new stock to a strategic investor to raise money, amid reports that the British government is working on a crisis plan if the company is sunk by the disaster.

“We are not issuing any new equity,” she said. “We welcome new shareholders to come onto the shareholder register and we welcome existing shareholders who want to take a bigger amount of shares.”

2 BP chief executive ‘on visits to important partners’


1 hr 30 mins ago

LONDON (AFP) – British oil giant BP said Tuesday that chief executive Tony Hayward was visiting “our important partners” amid speculation it was seeking help to cope with soaring spill costs in the Gulf of Mexico.

“Our chief executive is on a general series of visits to our important partners,” a BP spokesman told AFP, declining to confirm reports he has gone on from a trip to Azerbaijan to visit Abu Dhabi.

The company is reportedly seeking the support of foreign sovereign wealth funds in the wake of the Gulf of Mexico oil disaster and the resulting collapse in the company’s share price.

3 Sarkozy caught up in L’Oreal heiress cash scandal

by Thibauld Malterre, AFP

1 hr 8 mins ago

PARIS (AFP) – Allegations of illegal donations from France’s richest woman plunged Nicolas Sarkozy into the biggest crisis of his presidency Tuesday, despite protests he is the victim of a smear campaign.

The French government reacted angrily to reports police had interviewed a witness over claims his presidential campaign received an illegal contribution of 150,000 euros in cash from L’Oreal heiress Liliane Bettencourt.

Sarkozy faces mounting pressure to address the allegations directly and calls for a clear-out of tainted ministers, including embattled Labour Minister Eric Woerth, who is at the centre of the scandal.

4 Britain outlines secret service torture probe

by Katherine Haddon, AFP

1 hr 15 mins ago

LONDON (AFP) – Britain unveiled details Tuesday of an inquiry into claims its security services were complicit in the torture of suspected violent extremists on foreign soil after the September 11, 2001 attacks.

Prime Minister David Cameron told the House of Commons that the probe, to be led by retired judge Sir Peter Gibson, was expected to start before the end of the year and should report within 12 months.

He also announced plans to look again at how British courts handled intelligence and admitted that relations with the United States had been “strained” over the disclosure of secret information.

5 Celebrations and sadness as Dalai Lama turns 75

by Adam Plowright, AFP

55 mins ago

DHARAMSHALA, India (AFP) – The Dalai Lama turned 75 on Tuesday, a milestone marked by celebrations in his hometown-in-exile but tinged by sadness that his compatriots in Tibet were unable to honour the occasion.

Under relentless rain, the Tibetan spiritual leader addressed a packed crowd of 5,000 followers at his temple in McLeod Ganj, a hill station in the Indian Himalayas where he has lived since fleeing Tibet in 1959.

In a reminder of the situation in his homeland, where China views him as a dangerous separatist, he expressed regret that his followers there would be unable to pay tribute for fear of reprisal.

6 Cancellara back in in Tour de France lead

by Justin Davis, AFP

28 mins ago

ARENBERG, France (AFP) – Seven-time champion Lance Armstrong was one of the big losers on the Tour de France on Tuesday as the cobblestones of the feared third stage exacted a heavy toll on the peloton.

Norwegian Thor Hushovd took the stage honours, and with that the race’s green jersey, after an epic day of racing from Wanze in Belgium to Arenberg, during which seven sectors of cobblestones caused huge problems.

Overnight leader Sylvain Chavanel of Quick Step lost the race leader’s jersey to the man who gave him it on Monday, Fabian Cancellara.

7 Netherlands storm into World Cup final

by Martin Parry, AFP

16 mins ago

CAPE TOWN (AFP) – The Netherlands stormed into their first World Cup final since 1978 on Tuesday, beating Uruguay 3-2 to set up a title clash against either Germany or Spain.

Two goals inside three second-half minutes, from Wesley Sneijder and Arjen Robben, steered the Dutch into the decider and shattered South American hopes.

Veteran Dutch captain Giovanni van Bronckhorst gave his side the lead on 18 minutes with a stunning 35-yard strike before Diego Forlan produced an equally memorable goal four minutes before half-time to keep Uruguay alive.

8 Thailand extends emergency rule

by Boonradom Chitradon, AFP

Tue Jul 6, 8:09 am ET

BANGKOK (AFP) – Thailand on Tuesday extended emergency rule across about one quarter of the country by three months over lingering fears of unrest, despite calls from rights groups for the sweeping powers to be lifted.

The state of emergency, imposed in April after mass opposition protests broke out in the capital, will be maintained in Bangkok and 18 other provinces — out of a total of 76 — but lifted in five others, officials said.

Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said there were still reports of activity by the anti-government “Red Shirts”, whose protests in Bangkok erupted into the country’s worst political violence in decades.

9 BP shares rise on denial of plan to issue stock

By Kristen Hays, Reuters

Tue Jul 6, 12:50 pm ET

HOUSTON (Reuters) – BP Plc said on Tuesday that it could cover the costs of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill without selling new shares, despite reports it was talking to government-owned funds in the Middle East about buying a stake to ward off takeover attempts.

The speculation boosted the oil company’s shares even as oil from the slick spread to the coast of Texas, which had been the last U.S. Gulf state whose shores were untainted by the environmental disaster.

The spill is wreaking havoc on coastal ecosystems, fishing communities and a tourist industry seen as especially important during a time of high unemployment. Vacationers largely avoided beaches tarred by the leaking well during the three-day U.S. July 4 Independence Day holiday weekend.

10 Obama administration sues Arizona over immigration law

By Jeremy Pelofsky and James Vicini, Reuters

46 mins ago

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Obama administration on Tuesday sued Arizona over the state’s strict new immigration law, attempting to wrestle back control over the issue but infuriating Republicans who said the border required more security.

The administration argued the Arizona law, which requires state and local police to investigate the immigration status of anyone they reasonably suspect of being an illegal immigrant, is unconstitutional and would sap law enforcement resources.

The Republican-controlled Arizona legislature passed the controversial law to try to stem the flood of thousands of illegal immigrants who cross its border from Mexico and to cut down on drug trafficking and other crimes in the area.

11 Service sector grows more slowly, employment weak

By Ed Krudy, Reuters

46 mins ago

NEW YORK (Reuters) – The U.S. service sector expanded in June for a sixth straight month but growth was at the slowest pace since February, the latest evidence that the economic recovery is cooling.

Analysts said the data released on Tuesday by the Institute for Supply Management, an industry group, did not signal that the United States is slipping back into recession — something which has been a persistent fear in the wake of a raft of disappointing data.

The data on business activity in the service sector, which dominates the U.S. economy, follows weak reports in recent weeks on U.S. consumer spending, factory activity, employment and the housing market.

12 Special Report: U.S. data dogs on quest for sexier statistics

By Emily Kaiser, Reuters

44 mins ago

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Alan Krueger can wax poetic about data — literally.

The top economic adviser to U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, Krueger quoted poet Carl Sandburg in an 84-page research paper he co-authored proposing a new database to measure how people spend their time in order to understand what makes the economy tick.

“Time is the coin of your life,” Sandburg wrote. “It is the only coin you have, and only you can determine how it will be spent. Be careful lest you let other people spend it for you.”

13 Viagra-popping seniors lead the pack for STDs

By Frederik Joelving, Reuters

Tue Jul 6, 12:04 pm ET

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) – Even if you’re past your prime and have a hard time getting an erection, you might still need to worry about unprotected sex, according to U.S. doctors.

In fact, they report in the Annals of Internal Medicine, the rate of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) in older men taking erectile dysfunction drugs like Viagra is twice as high as in their non-medicated peers.

In both groups, however, the numbers are swelling. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there were more than six new cases of STDs per 10,000 men over 40 in 2008, up almost 50 percent since 1996.

“Younger adults have far more STDs than older adults, but the rates are growing at far higher rates in older adults,” said Dr. Anupam B. Jena of Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, who led the study.

14 Sri Lanka hardliners protest U.N. war crimes probe

By Ranga Sirilal and C. Bryson Hull, Reuters

Tue Jul 6, 8:42 am ET

COLOMBO (Reuters) – Police on Tuesday clashed with protesters led by a Sri Lanka cabinet minister who vowed to besiege the U.N. office until Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon dissolves a panel advising him on possible war crimes.

Sri Lanka’s government is furious at Ban’s appointment of the three-member panel on June 22, saying it is a violation of its sovereignty and a hypocritical application of double standards by Western governments engaged in the war on terror.

The panel is to advise Ban if any crimes were committed in the final months of Sri Lanka’s quarter-century conflict with the Tamil Tiger separatists, in which government forces won total victory in May 2009.

15 Oil seeps into New Orleans’ Lake Pontchartrain

By CAIN BURDEAU, Associated Press Writer

15 mins ago

NEW ORLEANS – New Orleans, which managed to escape the oil from the BP spill for more than two months, can’t hide any longer.

For the first time since the accident, oil from the ruptured well is seeping into Lake Pontchartrain, threatening another environmental disaster for the huge body of water that was rescued from pollution in 1990s to become, once more, a bountiful fishing ground and a popular spot for boating and swimming.

“Our universe is getting very small,” Pete Gerica, president of the Lake Pontchartrain Fishermen’s Association, said Tuesday.

16 Gov’t files suit to throw out AZ immigration law

By BOB CHRISTIE, Associated Press Writer

10 mins ago

PHOENIX – The federal government took a momentous step into the immigration debate Tuesday when it filed a lawsuit seeking to throw out Arizona’s crackdown on illegal immigrants, saying the law blatantly violates the Constitution.

The lawsuit filed in federal court in Phoenix sets the stage for a high-stakes legal clash over states rights at a time when politicians across the country have indicated they want to follow Arizona’s lead on the toughest-in-the-nation immigration law.

The legal action represents a thorough denunciation by the government of Arizona’s action, declaring that the law will “cause the detention and harassment of authorized visitors, immigrants and citizens who do not have or carry identification documents” while altogether ignoring “humanitarian concerns” and harming diplomatic relations.

17 Netherlands into WCup final, 3-2 over Uruguay

By BARRY WILNER, AP Sports Writer

27 mins ago

CAPE TOWN, South Africa – A Dutch treat: The Netherlands is in the World Cup final.

Long wasteful with its soccer talent, the Netherlands sure has found the right touch in this tournament.

Dutch stars Wesley Sneijder and Arjen Robben scored three minutes apart in the second half as the Netherlands beat Uruguay 3-2 Tuesday night to advance to its first championship match since losing in 1978 to Argentina.

18 EPA: Clean-air rule would overturn Bush-era plan

By MATTHEW DALY, Associated Press Writer

1 hr 42 mins ago

WASHINGTON – The Obama administration is proposing new rules to tighten restrictions on pollution from coal-burning power plants in the eastern half of the country, a key step to cut emissions that cause smog.

The Environmental Protection Agency said the new rules would cut sulfur dioxide emissions by 71 percent from 2005 levels by 2014 and nitrogen oxide emissions by 52 percent in the same time frame.

The regulation, known as the Clean Air Interstate Rule, requires 31 states from Massachusetts to Texas to reduce emissions that contribute to smog and soot and can travel long distances in the wind. The agency predicted the rule would prevent about 14,000 to 36,000 premature deaths a year.

19 Spain shrugs off bad economy, launches bull runs

By ALAN CLENDENNING, Associated Press Writer

2 hrs 59 mins ago

PAMPLONA, Spain – Spain shrugged off its economic woes Tuesday with tens of thousands of Spaniards and foreigners jamming a historic city plaza and spraying each other with wine as a firecracker rocket blasted off to launch the famed San Fermin bull-running festival.

The nine-day street drinking party got under way at midday with the traditional shout from the city hall balcony of “Viva San Fermin!,” followed seconds later by the firing of the firecracker known as the chupinazo. On Wednesday, daredevils will race just ahead of huge bulls running along Pamplona’s cobblestoned streets, and gorings are virtually assured.

The rocket was the signal to the revelers to erupt into the party mode that dominates Spain through August. Crowds dressed in the festival’s traditional white shirts and pants with red sashes sang and whooped while drenching each other with sangria, cheap wine and champagne.

20 French parliament debates ban on burqa-style veils

By ANGELA DOLAND, Associated Press Writer

35 mins ago

PARIS – France’s justice minister went before parliament Tuesday to defend a hotly debated bill that would ban burqa-style Islamic veils in public, arguing that hiding your face from your neighbors is a violation of French values.

Michele Alliot-Marie’s speech at the National Assembly marked the start of parliamentary debate on the bill. It is widely expected to become law, despite the concerns of many French Muslims, who fear it will stigmatize them. Many law scholars also argue it would violate the constitution.

The government has used various strategies to sell the proposal, casting it at times as a way to promote equality between the sexes, to protect oppressed women or to ensure security in public places.

21 Stamp prices going up again – 46-cent rate asked

By RANDOLPH E. SCHMID, Associated Press Writer

41 mins ago

WASHINGTON – Buy those Forever stamps now. The cost of mailing a letter is going up again.

Fighting to survive a deepening financial crisis, the Postal Service said Tuesday it wants to increase the price of first-class stamps by 2 cents – to 46 cents – starting in January. Other postage costs would rise as well.

The agency’s persisting problem: ever-declining mail volume as people and businesses shift to the Internet and the declining economy reduces advertising mail.

22 CIA and Pakistan locked in aggressive spy battles

By ADAM GOLDMAN and MATT APUZZO, Associated Press Writers

Tue Jul 6, 1:45 pm ET

WASHINGTON – Publicly, the U.S. credits Pakistan with helping kill and capture many al-Qaida and Taliban leaders. Privately, the relationship is often marked by mistrust and double-dealing as Pakistan runs double agents against the CIA and the agency tries to penetrate Pakistan’s closely guarded nuclear program.

Spying among friends is old news in the intelligence business, but the U.S.-Pakistan relationship is at the heart of Washington’s counterterrorism efforts. Any behind-the-scenes trickery could undermine those efforts as well as the long-standing hunt for Osama bin Laden.

One recent incident underscores the schizophrenic relationship between the two countries. Last year, a Pakistani man approached CIA officers in Islamabad, offering to give up secrets of his country’s nuclear program. To prove he was a trustworthy source, the man claimed he had spent nuclear fuel rods. But suspicious CIA officers quickly concluded that Pakistan’s spy agency, the Inter-Services Intelligence, was trying to run a double agent against them.

23 Australia: East Timor could process asylum seekers

By ROHAN SULLIVAN, Associated Press Writer

Tue Jul 6, 10:45 am ET

SYDNEY – Australia’s new leader proposed Tuesday that East Timor become a U.N.-approved processing hub for asylum seekers as a way to stem a recent influx of boat people from Afghanistan and other countries in Asia.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard pitched the idea as a regional solution to part of a global problem, but it was squarely aimed at defusing a thorny domestic political issue ahead of elections expected within months.

Tiny, impoverished East Timor said it was considering the plan at Australia’s request, but expressed reservations that it was ready to host such a facility.

24 Feingold faces unexpectedly tough race

By LIZ “Sprinkles” SIDOTI, AP National Political Writer

Tue Jul 6, 12:07 pm ET

WASHINGTON – Add Russ Feingold to the list of Senate Democrats who find themselves in unexpectedly tough races, the latest evidence of the GOP’s success in widening the playing field that President Barack Obama’s party has to defend.

The Wisconsin Democrat faces a wealthy political newcomer with early backing from tea party activists in a state that has many independent voters and is known for doing its own thing.

Likely GOP nominee Ron Johnson is running an outsider’s campaign in a year that seems to favor outsiders.

25 First health overhaul provisions start to kick in

By RICARDO ALONSO-ZALDIVAR, Associated Press Writer

Tue Jul 6, 3:03 am ET

WASHINGTON – The first stage of President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul is expected to provide coverage to about 1 million uninsured Americans by next year, according to government estimates.

That’s a small share of the uninsured, but in a shaky economy, experts say it’s notable.

Many others – more than 100 million people – are getting new benefits that improve their existing coverage.

26 Police: Conn. priest stole $1M for male escorts

By JOHN CHRISTOFFERSEN, Associated Press Writer

1 hr 25 mins ago

NEW HAVEN, Conn. – The Rev. Kevin J. Gray was a popular priest who appeared to live humbly, forgoing a car and walking to Mass from another parish where he lived so that a Catholic charity could use his space at the rectory. Parishioners thought he had cancer and admired how he helped immigrants in his largely poor parish in Connecticut.

But after a routine audit of the church’s finances turned up discrepancies, authorities began a criminal investigation that they say unraveled a secret double life of male escorts, strip bars and lavish spending on the finest restaurants, luxury hotels and expensive clothing, financed with money stolen from the parish.

“About a million,” Gray told authorities without hesitation when asked how much he took from the church account, according to his arrest affidavit.

27 Empty Nest 101: College orientation for parents

By BETH J. HARPAZ, Associated Press Writer

2 hrs 28 mins ago

NEW YORK – Call it Empty Nesting 101: Colleges around the country are holding orientations for families of incoming freshmen. But these are not simple “Meet the Dean” receptions held the day before school starts. These are elaborate two- and three-day events, often held on midsummer weekdays, requiring parents to take time off from work and pay $70 or $80 in addition to lodging, food and travel expenses.

They’re packed with workshops, tours and speeches on subjects ranging from letting go to campus safety. Reed College in Portland, Ore., even invites parents to read “The Odyssey” and attend a lecture and discussion similar to what their kids will experience in a freshman humanities course.

You might think parents facing massive tuition bills would balk at more demands on their budget and time. But many colleges report that well over half their freshmen have family in attendance at these events, and lots of parents think the orientations are the greatest thing since “What To Expect When You’re Expecting.”

28 Alleged Army whistleblower felt angry and alone

By DAVID DISHNEAU, Associated Press Writer

2 hrs 39 mins ago

POTOMAC, Md. – With his custom-made “humanist” dog tags and distrust of authority, Bradley Manning was no conventional soldier.

Ostracized by peers in Baghdad, busted for assaulting a fellow soldier and disdainful of the military’s inattention to computer security, the 22-year-old intelligence analyst styled himself a “hactivist.”

On Tuesday, the U.S. Army charged him with multiple counts of mishandling and leaking classified data and putting national security at risk.

Angry Women Dominate the Tea Party

(4 pm. – promoted by ek hornbeck)

An Alternet story from yesterday contemplates the reason for women dominating the rank of the Tea Party movement. According to a Quinipiac poll the the TP is 55% women and Slate 6 of the 8 Tea Party Patriots are women and 15 of the 25 state coordinators are women. Like the men, they are predominantly white, Christian and “middle class”. It ain’t just angry white men.

July 5, 2010 Why have American women become so active in the right wing Tea Party movement? Could it be that they are drawn to the new conservative Christian feminism publicized by Sarah Palin? Without its grassroots female supporters, the Tea Party would have far less appeal to voters who are frightened by economic insecurity, threats to moral purity and the gradual disappearance of a national white Christian culture.

Most Americans are not quite sure what to make of the sprawling right-wing Tea Party, which gradually emerged in 2009 and became a household name after it held nationwide Tea Party rallies on April 15th 2010, to protest paying taxes. Throwing tea overboard, as you may remember, is an important symbolic image of the colonial anger at Britain’s policy of “taxation without representation.”

Many liberals and Democrats initial dismissed the Tea Party’s emergence on the political scene as a flash in the pan reactionary group to the state of the economy and an African American President’s intervention that helped the banks, Wall St. and the auto industry.

But they haven’t “flamed out” yet and, as E. J. Dionne points out, they are a threat to the “internal unity of the Republican Party.

The rise of the tea party movement is a throwback to an old form of libertarianism that sees most of the domestic policies that government has undertaken since the New Deal as unconstitutional. It typically perceives the most dangerous threats to freedom as the design of well-educated elitists out of touch with “American values.”

So what is the attraction for women, especially white women? Do they see this as a conservative version of the Feminist movement?

Some are angry-mom-activist types who, like their heroine Sarah Palin, outgrew the PTA. But some would surprise you with their straightforward feminist rage. For the last few years Anna Barone, a Tea Party leader from Mount Vernon, N.Y., has used the e-mail handle annaforhillary.com: “The way they treated Hillary is unforgiveable, and then they did it to Sarah Palin,” she said. “I’ve been to 15 Tea Party meetings and never heard a woman called a name just because she’s powerful. I guess you could say the Tea Party is where I truly became a feminist.”


Rebecca Wales (spokesperson for Smart Girl Politics describes it as a group made up of “a lot of mama bears worried about their families.” The Tea Party, she says, is a natural home for women because “for a long time people have seen the parties as good-ole’-boy, male-run institutions. In the Tea Party, women have finally found their voice.”

Oddly they have even embraced some of the early Feminist movement slogans and mantras. One Delaware Senate candidate, Christine O’Donnell, has used Germaine Greer’s phrase “Lords of the back room” to describe her reasons for running for office. These women idolize Republican women like Sarah Palin, Michele Bachmann and Nevada Senate candidate, Sharron Angler and are eager to support them, against their own self interests.

New Shrill-

(T)here’s something else in David’s column, which I see a lot: the argument that because a lot of important people believe something, it must make sense:

Are you sure your theorists are right and theirs are wrong?

Yes, I am. It’s called looking at the evidence. I’ve looked hard at the arguments the Pain Caucus is making, the evidence that supposedly supports their case – and there’s no there there.

And you just have to wonder how it’s possible to have lived through the last ten years and still imagine that because a lot of Serious People believe something, you should believe it too. Iraq? Housing bubble? Inflation?

The moral I’ve taken from recent years isn’t Be Humble – it’s Question Authority. And you should too.

Le Tour: Stage 3

NASCAR in the Ardennes!

Well, it appears the major effect of yesterday’s crash fest in the rain is to let Chavanel take a 3 minute lead in Yellow and he is a major contender who could easily use this to put on an early move.

Garmin loses Vande Velde, is the most injured team by far, since the Schlecks don’t seem as badly hurt as early indications.

Most people will be starting bruised and sore.

There’s evidently some controversy about a ‘riders strike’ that resulted in that 3 minute gap.  I don’t think it’s necessarily that big a deal.  Lance is 6th overall and is part of the pack with all the other contenders who settled for the same time.

This happens all the time at the Tour and is generally held to indicate good sportsmanship.

To hear statements like

“They put on a dangerous stage and so when they put it on like that that’s the results they’ll get,” said Horner.

“They got all their drama on the descent and they lost it all at the finish and they got what they deserved.

There?s no place in the Tour de France for a stage like this.”

seems a little strident.

I’m more with Lance on this one- “These hills around here and the Ardennes are legendary, it’s part of cycling. Liege-Bastogne-Liege has been around for a hundred years and they do that on the snow.”

Cobblestone Carnage today.  Seven slippery rutted stages in the sun, not quite so much fun in the damp.

Punting the Pundits: Morning Edition

(9 am. – promoted by ek hornbeck)

Browsing the op-ed pages of the print media  and an open thread to vent. Pour a cup of coffee or brew some tea and contemplate the day.

Paul Krugman came down on Republicans who think they will get elected by punishing the unemployed by blocking Unemployment benefits.

By the heartless, I mean Republicans who have made the cynical calculation that blocking anything President Obama tries to do – including, or perhaps especially, anything that might alleviate the nation’s economic pain – improves their chances in the midterm elections. Don’t pretend to be shocked: you know they’re out there, and make up a large share of the G.O.P. caucus.

By the clueless I mean people like Sharron Angle, the Republican candidate for senator from Nevada, who has repeatedly insisted that the unemployed are deliberately choosing to stay jobless, so that they can keep collecting benefits. A sample remark: “You can make more money on unemployment than you can going down and getting one of those jobs that is an honest job but it doesn’t pay as much. We’ve put in so much entitlement into our government that we really have spoiled our citizenry.”

I’m with Atrios who tweeted that the White House must be listening to David Brooks

The Demand Siders don’t have a good explanation for the past two years. There is no way to know for sure how well the last stimulus worked because we don’t know what would have happened without it. But it is certainly true that the fiscal spigots have been wide open. The U.S. and most other countries have run up huge, historic deficits. And while this has helped save public-sector jobs, we certainly haven’t seen much private-sector job growth. It could be that government spending is a weak lever to counter economic cycles. Maybe monetary policy is the only strong tool we have.

(emphasis mine)

Heh. We also don’t know what would have happened if the stimulus bill had been bigger. David, the fiscal spigots have been barely dripping except for funding two wars. Sheesh

Mitt Romney, the man who hopes to be the Republican savior that saves the country, decrying President Obama’s worst foreign policy mistake

the president’s New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New-START) with Russia  could be his worst foreign policy mistake yet. The treaty as submitted to the Senate should not be ratified.

New-START impedes missile defense, our protection from nuclear-proliferating rogue states such as Iran and North Korea. Its preamble links strategic defense with strategic arsenal. It explicitly forbids the United States from converting intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) silos into missile defense sites. And Russia has expressly reserved the right to walk away from the treaty if it believes that the United States has significantly increased its missile defense capability.

Boston Globe columnist H. D. L. Greenway compares the doomed Afghanistan war strategy of Generals Petraeus and McChrytal to the titans Prometheus and Epimetheus

(Like the) mythical Titans, the brothers Prometheus and Epimetheus, much was expected of Generals David Petraeus and Stanley McChrystal. It was hoped they would provide coherent answers to why their country was doing so badly in its never-ending wars in Muslim lands. As Prometheus had stolen fire from the gods, had not Petraeus snatched, if not victory, at least something better than defeat from the anarchy, insurrection, and civil war that was Iraq? Hadn’t Petraeus provided the gift of light at the end of that particular tunnel?


So it is that the gods have punished Petraeus, too, for his new job will find him, like Prometheus, tied to a rock tortured by the pecking birds of Afghan reality. He and Obama can always hope that something will change for the better, of course. Hope was the last thing left in Pandora’s box that didn’t escape.

Crank it up

Cities on Flame

My heart is black, and my lips are cold

Cities on flame with rock and roll

Three thousand guitars they seem to cry

My ears will melt, and then my eyes

Oh, let the girl, let that girl, rock and roll

Cities on flame now, with rock and roll

Gardens of nocturne, forbidden delights

Reins of steel, and it`s alright

Cities on flame, with rock and roll

Marshal will buoy, but Fender control

Let the girl, let that girl rock and roll

Cities on flame now, with rock and roll

My heart is black, and my lips are cold

Cities on flame with rock and roll

Three thousand guitars they seem to cry

My ears will melt, and then my eyes

Let the girl, let that girl rock and roll

Cities on flame now, with rock and roll

Gringo’s Guide To The World Cup, Part 2, With Poll

(10 pm. – promoted by ek hornbeck)

There are two very big games coming up.  They are semi-finals.  That means that the winners meet to decide who takes home the World Cup.  The final final is on July 11, 2010.

The two games that are semi finals:

Tuesday, 2:30 pm EDT Uruguay v. Netherlands

Wednesday, 2:30 pm EDT Germany v. Spain

Join me below for El Prognostico.

The conventional experts pick the Netherlands  to beat Uruguay.  Almost everybody agrees with some caution thrown in.

The experts, including the venerable Marcelo Balboa think Germany will stomp on Spain because Spain’s offense isn’t working (that’s you they’re talking about, Sr. Torres).

There.  Now you know everything you need to know about this. And you have some good data.  Go ahead and vote in the poll (you get three votes in this poll, two, one for each of the the semis, and one for the final).  I assure you you know as much as any of the experts.  Just don’t bet the ranch on the results.

Choose One Lobster to Represent Neil Gorsuch on the All Dog Supreme Court

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