Matt Bai is a Moron

Matt Bai is a moron who grew up under Ronnie and thought he was a great president simply because he was the only one he’d ever personally experienced and he’s not a very deep thinker.  He’s a preening poppycock of privilege who’s never had to work hard for anything in his life and thinks because he was born on third base he hit a triple.

Among his other idiocies is the opinion it’s ok to default on sovereign debt with the full faith and credit of the United States behind it because it’s owned by the ‘lesser people’.

NYT and Matt Bai Falsely Call Social Security Trust Fund a "Lottery"

By: Scarecrow Thursday August 26, 2010 1:30 am

So ignore Bai’s gratuitous insult that anyone concerned about protecting Social Security is merely worried about an outbreak of bipartisan agreement. Does the New York Times have editors? Surely someone there must know this entire framework is false, misstating how the Trust Fund works and even how bonds and debt are created.

More important, someone at the Times must surely know that a frequent canard of the Republican Party and Social Security opponents is to argue that the Social Security Trust Fund, which has a surplus of $2.5 trillion in US Treasury bonds built up since 1983 by higher payroll taxes paid by future retirees, is just worthless paper. And if it’s worthless paper, future beneficiaries will never be able to rely on the $2.5 trillion they paid into the system to help pay the Social Security benefits to which they’re entitled.

The canard was always designed to convince today’s and tomorrow’s elderly that they cannot rely on the US Government honoring its own Treasury bonds – in effect, arguing the US would be so irresponsible as to engage willy nilly in a sovereign debt default, not to mention breaking a sacred promise to its own people. The goal of the canard is to convince Americans they should not count on Social Security, or government in general, to help in their retirement. Give that money to Wall Street instead.

Social Security is “broke,” they claim; it’s “in crisis,” they continue, and if the Government were forced to pay off those bonds when the system needs to redeem them to pay benefits – just as the government planned – it would create a massive “debt crisis” for the United States. Everything about that story is false and malicious.

The Trust Fund’s bonds are just like other Treasury bonds except they aren’t traded. When the Trust Fund needs to “redeem” a bond to cover ongoing benefit payments, all that happens is that electronic entries reflecting the change appear on the respective governments accounts, and Social Security checks go out, as always, as scheduled. Calling this a “lottery” is stunningly false.

My emphasis.

Well fuck you Matt.  Next time we meet in person I’ll spit in your face like you deserve.

On This Day in History: August 26

This is your morning Open Thread. Pour a cup of your favorite morning beverage and review the past and comment on the future.

August 26 is the 238th day of the year (239th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 127 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1920, The 19th Amendment, guaranteeing women the right to vote, is formally adopted into the U.S. Constitution by proclamation of Secretary of State Bainbridge Colby. The amendment was the culmination of more than 70 years of struggle by woman suffragists. Its two sections read simply:

“The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex” and “Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.”

America’s woman suffrage movement was founded in the mid 19th century by women who had become politically active through their work in the abolitionist and temperance movements. In July 1848, 200 woman suffragists, organized by Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott, met in Seneca Falls, New York, to discuss women’s rights. After approving measures asserting the right of women to educational and employment opportunities, they passed a resolution that declared “it is the duty of the women of this country to secure to themselves their sacred right to the elective franchise.” For proclaiming a women’s right to vote, the Seneca Falls Convention was subjected to public ridicule, and some backers of women’s rights withdrew their support. However, the resolution marked the beginning of the woman suffrage movement in America.

n January 1918, the woman suffrage amendment passed the House of Representatives with the necessary two-thirds majority vote. In June 1919, it was approved by the Senate and sent to the states for ratification. Campaigns were waged by suffragists around the country to secure ratification, and on August 18, 1920, Tennessee became the 36th state to ratify the amendment, giving it the two-thirds majority of state ratification necessary to make it the law of the land.

The package containing the certified record of the action of the Tennessee legislature was sent by train to the nation’s capital, arriving in the early hours of August 26. At 8 a.m. that morning, Secretary of State Bainbridge Colby signed it without ceremony at his residence in Washington. None of the leaders of the woman suffrage movement were present when the proclamation was signed, and no photographers or film cameras recorded the event. That afternoon, Carrie Chapman Catt, head of the National American Suffrage Association, was received at the White House by President Woodrow Wilson and Edith Wilson, the first lady.

The 26th of August was proclaimed “Women’s Equality Day” in 1971 when a joint resolution, that was introduced by Rep. Bella Abzug, was passed. Each year the President issues a proclamation recognizing women’s equality.

WHEREAS, the women of the United States have been treated as second-class citizens and have not been entitled the full rights and privileges, public or private, legal or institutional, which are available to male citizens of the United States; and

WHEREAS, the women of the United States have united to assure that these rights and privileges are available to all citizens equally regardless of sex;

WHEREAS, the women of the United States have designated August 26th, the anniversary date of the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment, as symbol of the continued fight for equal rights: and

WHEREAS, the women of United States are to be commended and supported in their organizations and activities,

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, that August 26th of each year is designated as “Women’s Equality Day,” and the President is authorized and requested to issue a proclamation annually in commemoration of that day in 1920, on which the women of America were first given the right to vote, and that day in 1970, on which a nationwide demonstration for women’s rights took place.

 1071 – Battle of Manzikert: The Seljuk Turks defeat the Byzantine Army at Manzikert.

1346 – Hundred Years’ War: the military supremacy of the English longbow over the French combination of crossbow and armoured knights is established at the Battle of Crecy.

1466 – A conspiracy against Piero di Cosimo de’ Medici in Florence, led by Luca Pitti, is discovered.

1498  – Michelangelo is commissioned to carve the Pieta.

1748 – The first Lutheran denomination in North America, the Pennsylvania Ministerium, is founded in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

1768 – The HM Bark Endeavour expedition under Captain James Cook sets sail from England.

   * 1778 – The first recorded ascent of Triglav, the highest mountain in Slovenia.

1789 – Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen approved by National Assembly at Palace of Versailles.

1858 – First news dispatch by telegraph.

1862 – American Civil War: the Second Battle of Bull Run begins.

1883 – The 1883 eruption of Krakatoa begins its final, paroxysmal, stage.

1914 – World War I: the British Expeditionary Force fights a rear-guard action at the Battle of Le Cateau that briefly checks the German advance.

1914 – World War I: the German colony of Togoland is invaded by French and British forces, who take it after 5 days.

1920 – The 19th amendment to United States Constitution takes effect, giving women the right to vote.

1939 – The first Major League Baseball game is telecast, a doubleheader between the Cincinnati Reds and the Brooklyn Dodgers at Ebbets Field, in Brooklyn, New York.

1940 – Chad is the first French colony to join the Allies under the administration of Felix Eboue, France’s first black colonial governor.

1942 – Holocaust in Chortkiv, western Ukraine: At 2.30 am the German Schutzpolizei starts driving Jews out of their houses, divides them into groups of 120, packs them in freight cars and deports 2000 to Belzec death camp. 500 of the sick and children murdered on the spot.

1944 – World War II: Charles de Gaulle enters Paris.

1957 – The USSR announces the successful test of an ICBM – a “super long distance intercontinental multistage ballistic rocket … a few days ago,” according to the Soviet news agency, ITAR-TASS.

1970 – The then new feminist movement, led by Betty Friedan, leads a nation-wide Women’s Strike for Equality.

1971 – The United States Congress declares August 26th as an annual Women’s Equality Day.

1977 – The Charter of the French Language is adopted by the National Assembly of Quebec

1978 – Papal conclave, 1978 (August): Pope John Paul I is elected to the Papacy.

1978 – Sigmund Jahn becomes first German cosmonaut on board of the Soyuz 31 spacecraft.

1980 – John Birges plants a bomb at Harvey’s Resort Hotel in Stateline, Nevada.

1987 – President Ronald Reagan proclaims September 11, 1987 as 9-1-1 Emergency Number Day.

1992 – Vaclav Klaus and Vladimír Meciar signed agreement of split of Czechoslovakia in Brno.

2003 – The Columbia Accident Investigation Board releases its final reports on Space Shuttle Columbia disaster.

2008 – Russia unilaterally recognizes the independence of the former Georgian breakaway republics Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

Morning Shinbun Thursday August 26

Thursday’s Headlines:

US new house sales hit record low

Satoshi Kon dies at 47; Japanese anime director


As economy slows and Fed voices conflict, markets look to Bernanke for guidance

Oil industry’s answers frustrate federal panel


EU reviews France’s Roma expulsion as Paris digs its heels in

Middle East

Facing jail, the unarmed activist who dared to take on Israel

Mousavi secrets ‘put his life in danger’


Japanese politician launches attack on ‘River Kwai’ Britons

US warns of threat to foreign aid workers in Pakistan


UN to improve DR Congo links

Latin America

Mexico: bleeding to death in the war on drugs

US new house sales hit record low

World stock markets fall as fears of a double-dip recession in the US fan fears for global economic recovery

Katie Allen, Thursday 26 August 2010 06.20 BST

The FTSE 100 sank to a seven-week low last night as fresh gloom from the US raised the prospect of recession gripping the global economy once again.

A record low for sales of new US homes combined with news of stuttering orders for manufacturers to underline fears that the world’s largest economy could be heading for a double-dip downturn.

Speculation grew that central bankers will be forced to step in with fresh support for the fledgling recovery as the US government said new orders for durable goods such as cars, machinery and household appliances rose a meagre 0.3% last month.

Satoshi Kon dies at 47; Japanese anime director

His boldly original visions and technical sophistication made him one of the most admired in contemporary animation. Among his films were ‘Millennium Actress,’ ‘Paprika’ and ‘Tokyo Godfathers.’

By Charles Solomon, Special to The Times

August 26, 2010  

Critically acclaimed animation director Satoshi Kon, creator of “Millennium Actress,” “Paprika” and ” Tokyo Godfathers,” died of pancreatic cancer Tuesday in Tokyo. He was 46.

In contrast to the musical fairy tales and comedy-adventures of American animated films, Kon’s films blurred the boundaries between fantasy and reality in unsettling ways. His boldly original visions and technical sophistication made him one of the most admired directors in contemporary animation. In Newsweek, David Ansen wrote that Kon “may be the most exciting Japanese animator since [ Hayao] Miyazaki.”


As economy slows and Fed voices conflict, markets look to Bernanke for guidance

By Neil Irwin

Washington Post Staff Writer

Wednesday, August 25, 2010; 11:02 PM

With the housing market retreating, unemployment lingering and top officials at the Federal Reserve in open disagreement over what to do, Fed Chairman Ben S. Bernanke is under rising pressure to offer solutions in an address Friday that is likely to be his most important since the end of the financial crisis.

The central bank’s policy intentions have been unusually muddled in the past two months, according to a widespread view among economists and people in the financial world.

Oil industry’s answers frustrate federal panel

The lead investigator examining the Deepwater Horizon disaster appears to be losing patience with vague or nonresponsive responses from officials including a BP vice president.

Rong-Gong Lin II, Los Angeles Times

August 26, 2010

Reporting from Houston – Federal investigators are showing increasing frustration at murky or nonresponsive answers from oil industry officials as they parse the causes of the worst offshore oil spill in U.S. history.

Since the hearings began in May, three BP officials with intimate knowledge of events leading up to the April 20 explosion on the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig have declined to testify before a joint Coast Guard and Interior Department panel, which convened again Wednesday.


EU reviews France’s Roma expulsion as Paris digs its heels in

The EU Justice Commissioner has announced an investigation into whether France is complying with EU repatriation laws by deporting Roma to Bulgaria and Romania. Paris is standing by on the policy, rejecting criticism.

IMMIGRATION | 25.08.2010

The European Union’s top justice official expressed concern on Wednesday over France’s decision to repatriate Roma people to Romania and Bulgaria, but stopped short of directly criticising the expulsions.

“It is clear that those who break the law need to face consequences,” Commissioner Viviane Reding said in a statement. “It is equally clear that nobody should face expulsion just for being Roma.”

Reding said her office was analyzing the situation in France to determine whether the repatriation complied with EU laws on free movement of people. She also said she regretted “that some of the rhetoric that has been used in some Member States in the past weeks has been openly discriminatory and inflammatory.”

Middle East

Facing jail, the unarmed activist who dared to take on Israel

Baroness Ashton ‘deeply concerned’ at court’s ruling in case of West Bank protest

By Donald Macintyre in Jerusalem Thursday, 26 August 2010

Baroness Ashton, the EU’s foreign policy chief, yesterday issued an unusually sharp rebuke to Israel over a military court’s conviction of a Palestinian activist prominent in unarmed protests against the West Bank separation barrier.

Lady Ashton said she was “deeply concerned” that Abdallah Abu Rahma was facing a possible jail sentence “to prevent him and other Palestinians from exercising their legitimate right to protest against the separation barriers in a non-violent manner”.

Mousavi secrets ‘put his life in danger’

By Omid Memarian


SAN FRANCISCO – Responding to pro-government critics, Iran’s defiant opposition leader, Mir Hossein Mousavi, has said several times in recent months that he would reveal “untold secrets” from his tenure.

Mousavi served as prime minister of Iran from 1981 to 1989, until constitutional changes abolished the post. He was a leading opposition candidate in Iran’s contested presidential elections last year.

Abolhassan Banisadr, Iran’s first president after the Islamic Revolution of 1979, who now lives in France, told Inter Press Service (IPS) that he believes Mousavi’s life is danger.


Japanese politician launches attack on ‘River Kwai’ Britons

A politician tipped as a future Japanese prime minister has said the British are not very likeable, but admitted the way British prisoners marched in The Bridge on the River Kwai demonstrated their best qualities.

By Chris Irvine

Published: 6:45AM BST 26 Aug 2010

Ichiro Ozawa, the former secretary-general of Japan’s ruling Democratic Party, also said he values US democracy but dismissed the American people as “simple-minded”.

The 68-year-old veteran politician, who resigned as the second most important official in the ruling party in June after coming under fire for campaign finance scandals, reportedly said: “I don’t like British people,” before praising British democracy and their discipline, citing the 1957 Second World War II film, The Bridge on the River Kwai, in which British prisoners of war march in orderly ranks.

US warns of threat to foreign aid workers in Pakistan

The Pakistani Taliban are planning to attack foreigners helping with flood relief efforts in the country, a senior US official has warned.

The BBC 26 August 2010  

The Taliban plan “to conduct attacks against foreigners participating in the ongoing flood relief operations in Pakistan”, the official told the BBC.

The official also said “federal ministers in Islamabad” may be at risk.

The warning comes as thousands flee their homes in southern coastal areas as floods sweep down from the north.

The UN says more than 17 million people have been affected by the monsoon floods, and about 1.2 million homes have been destroyed.

Some five million Pakistanis have no shelter, and urgently need tents or plastic sheeting to protect them from the sun.

‘Plans to attack’

“According to information available to the US government, Tehrik-e Taliban plans to conduct attacks against foreigners participating in the ongoing flood relief operations in Pakistan,” the official told the BBC on condition of anonymity.


 UN to improve DR Congo links


The senior UN envoy in the Democratic Republic of Congo has announced plans to improve communications and prevent any recurrence of sexual violence following reported widespread raping in the country’s east.

Aid groups reported last week that nearly 200 women and boys were sexually assaulted in recent weeks by rebels within miles of a UN peacekeepers’ base in North Kivu province.

UN figures show at least 154 civilians were raped and assaulted by rebels from the Mai Mai militia and the Rwandan Hutu Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) who occupied the town of Luvungi from July 30 to August 3.

Latin America

Mexico: bleeding to death in the war on drugs

Another 72 corpses found in a new mass grave. Feuding cartels blamed for displays of mutilated bodies. Death toll in four-year crackdown passes 28,000

By Guy Adams in Los Angeles Thursday, 26 August 2010

The shootout left four people dead, but that was just the beginning. As dust began to settle on a ranch in north-eastern Mexico, thought to have been owned by one of the world’s most powerful drug cartels, the battle-hardened Marines stumbled upon their first decomposing corpse.

Minutes later, they found a second, then a third. By the time troops had finished searching the remote property, roughly 90 miles from the US border, a total of 72 contorted bodies had been laid out in rows beneath the summer sunshine. The 54 men and 18 women had all been recently murdered.

Ignoring Asia A Blog

‘Professional’ Liberals

Folks, I’ve never made a dime out of blogging.  Sure I’m scrambling like hell to set up some sources of revenue for this site because I want to create an endowment that will freeze your photons forever, but at $15 bucks a month I can skip the sixpacks (I don’t always drink beer, but when I do…).

You’ll pry my Mets cable package out of my cold, dead hands.

Jerome Armstrong is not like that.  He’s a paid pollitical consultant and expects a check to pay his bills and I don’t begrudge him.  I in fact applaud his bravery despite that to make observations like this-

The promise of a primary for Obama

by Jerome Armstrong, Thu Aug 26, 2010 at 01:48:37 AM EDT

That Obama will give us enduring war in Afghanistan beyond July 2011 seems a given. Will it come on the heels of his buckling to the Republican passage of the permanent Bush Tax cut package for millionaires?

And when I say lose the Party, I mean explicitly that he will face a Democratic primary in 2012, and hopefully, denied the nomination.

Some of you still might see this as far-fetched. But watch and see how losing 50 seats, setting the Democrats back below 200 in the House, has a way of changing the perception.

To which I’ll add just wait until the Catfood Commission reports.

Remembering Senator Ted Kennedy

(10 pm. – promoted by ek hornbeck)

Crossposted at Daily Kos and Docudharma

An Incomparable Record of Achievement

Senator Ted Kennedy – 1932-2009 by R.J. Matson, St. Louis Post Dispatch, Buy this cartoon

“Kennedys Never Complain”

No observation by Joseph Kennedy Sr. had as much lasting influence as a similar dictum: “There’ll be no crying in this house.”

The “House” he had in mind, I am certain, was the House of Kennedy.  He repeated this admonition to all of us, and he pronounced it with the force of moral law, and all of us absorbed its import and molded our behavior to honor it… To understand the profound authority of this charge to us is to understand much about my family.

— Edward M. Kennedy, True Compass, p. 41

There are another 10-15 editorial cartoons about Senator Ted Kennedy in the the diary I posted at the GOS.

Take a look at them.

:: ::

Senator Edward Moore Kennedy was a man of incredible decency and good manners.  Always true to his political convictions and beliefs, he, nonetheless, treated opponents in the same considerate and graceful manner as he did his friends, staff, and allies.

The youngest of nine children and born into privilege, Senator Kennedy had what his mother Rose called the “9th child sense” of trying to survive and thrive in a large family. It was perhaps in that environment that he mastered the art of reconciliation, a trait that would serve him exceptionally well throughout his remarkable and long legislative career.

Editorial Cartoonist Chan Lowe of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel is grateful that Senator Kennedy was never apologetic about calling himself a proud liberal when many others shied away from that label

Ted Kennedy by Chan Lowe, (South Florida Sun-Sentinel)

:: ::

It has become fashionable in the last couple of decades to hurl the term “liberal” around as an epithet.

Those who do so — and they tend to be those who do not even understand how they and their loved ones have benefited from so-called “liberal” policies — use the term as an amalgam of “communist,” “degenerate,” and “unpatriotic.”

Ted Kennedy wore the label with pride.

Whatever your politics, you should acknowledge that Ted Kennedy was a giant.  If you don’t, it says more about you than it does about him.

RIP Ted Kennedy by Nate Beeler, Washington Examiner, Buy this cartoon

Ted Kennedy by Joe Heller, Green Bay Press-Gazette, Buy this cartoon

In the United States Senate, he spent his entire career trying to make life a bit more bearable and a lot more livable for millions of minorities as well as the dispossessed and underprivileged in this country.  In that respect, he largely succeeded.  Considered a “liberal icon” for much of his life and, more so than scions of wealthy families who enter public service, his unlimited capacity for compassion and empathy ensured that all of us — the real beneficiaries of his legacy — live in a society made fairer by this giant of a man.

Thanks, Ted by J.D. Crowe, Mobile Register, Buy this cartoon

Lalo Alcaraz, L.A. Weekly, Buy this cartoon

Cartoonist Ed Stein — who used to draw for the now-defunct Rocky Mountain News and is now a freelance cartoonist — wrote this in his blog

Ed Stein

Edward M. Kennedy by Ed Stein, (formerly of the Rocky Mountain News)

:: ::

Ted Kennedy, the third longest-serving senator in history, left behind an unmatched legislative legacy.  He helped craft some of the most important bills of the last half century, and his influence changed this country for the better.  Medicare, voting rights, family leave, civil rights, immigration reform, greater access for the disabled, all bear his mark.  He particularly embraced the cause of the little guy, the under-represented, the disabled, the poor, the elderly.  Despite being the favorite liberal whipping boy of the far right, he was adept at reaching across the aisle to achieve a bipartisan consensus on many of his landmark achievements….

Still, it is proper to recognize his great success as a senator, and to celebrate the ways in which he made this country a better place for so many of its citizens.

Senator Kennedy was blessed with one advantage over four of his older siblings: the gift of longer life. Jack was 46 years, Bobby 42 years, Joe, Jr. 29 years, and sister Kathleen only 28 years old when their lives ended abruptly and violently.  Those tragedies and many others in the Kennedy Family would have diminished a lesser person.  Not Senator Kennedy.  Instead, he embraced service to family and country as not only his duty but sacred trust.  In doing so, he epitomized and prolonged memories of the era the country simply remembers as “Camelot.”

Kennedy Brothers by Steve Greenberg, Freelance Cartoonist (Los Angeles, CA), Buy this cartoon

Ted Kennedy by David Fitzsimmons, Arizona Star, Buy this cartoon

Edward M Kennedy, 1932-2009 by Jim Day, Las Vegas Review-Journal, Buy this cartoon

Editorial Cartoonist Bob Englehart of the Hartford Courant was present at Madison Square Garden for Kennedy’s memorable and passionate speech at the 1980 Democratic National Convention

Ted Kennedy by Bob Englehart, Hartford Courant, Buy this cartoon

:: ::

I was sitting in the press section behind the podium next to Jane Pauley.  She was wearing a short skirt that showed off her very pretty, tanned knees.  When I was able to intermittently focus on Kennedy’s speech, I had to agree that it was a real stemwinder.

From where we were sitting, we could only see the back of Teddy’s massive head, but his voice was loud and clear and we watched him on TV monitors.  When he finished to thunderous applause, he turned around to leave the podium.  He had the most pained smile I’ve ever seen on anyone before or since.  His face was as red as a strawberry pie.  I thought his head would explode.  I even stopped thinking about Jane Pauley’s knees for a couple seconds.

I never had the pleasure of meeting Senator Kennedy but every time I saw him on television or read about him, I instinctively felt that I knew him.  He was that rare political figure who engendered admiration and respect from strangers and an instant personal connection with average, ordinary Americans.  In that sense, he was quite unique.

Ted Kennedy by Jimmy Margulies, New Jersey Record, Buy this cartoon

Kerry Waghorn,

Ted Kennedy Tribute by Dave Granlund,, Buy this cartoon

So, Senator Kennedy, thank you for making our lives a bit better over the years.  You did good by your family, friends, and, most importantly, your country.

:: ::

I found a few more editorial cartoons that have been published since I posted this diary.  Somewhere, Senator Kennedy is probably smiling at this minute!  🙂

Pat Oliphant, GoComics/Universal Press Syndicate

(click link to enlarge cartoon)

Dan Wasserman, (Boston Globe)

Jeff Danziger, GoComics/New York Times Syndicate

Mark Streeter, Savannah Morning News, Buy this cartoon

Stuart Carlson, GoComics/Universal Press Syndicate

(click link to enlarge cartoon)

:: ::

Heartfelt tributes continue to pour in for this remarkable human being.  Even some conservative editorial cartoonists — who rarely give Democratic leaders any kind of break — acknowledge the greatness of one Senator Edward M. Kennedy.  They know in their gut that the universality of policies championed by Kennedy benefited every American, no matter their political persuasion.

Jim Morin, GoComics/Miami Herald

(click link to enlarge cartoon)

Bill Day

Bill Day, (Memphis Commercial Appeal)

Charlie Daniel, Knoxville News Sentinel

Bob Gorrell, Creators Syndicate, Buy this cartoon

Joel Pett, GoComics/Lexington Herald-Leader

Tim Goheen, McClatchy Newspapers

:: ::

John Sherffius, (Boulder Daily Camera)  

For almost fifty years, I have represented people who are facing injustice. Life can be violent and grim, but I think of the Resurrection and I feel a sense of hope.  When I’ve started down a spiral of depression or negativism or loss, I’ve been able to see another side that can catch me on the way…

Life is eternal.  Work continues.  It is a calling, an opportunity to do things about injustice or unfairness.  It helps to have a goal.  I’ve always tried to have one.

— — Edward M. Kennedy, True Compass, p. 505

:: ::

Note: I first wrote a version of this diary on August 25, 2009 (the day of his passing) and have reformatted/updated it with quotes from Senator Kennedy’s memoirs, True Compass.  In the comments section I’ll post a few more editorial cartoons that I’ve found about the senator.

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Prime Time

So Fairfield heads home.  There’s more Little League World Series if you want to watch it, I’ll stick with the Mets’ typical implosion.

What I’d like to highlight for your consideration is Turner Classic’s To Have and Have Not.  I think it’s almost as good as Casablanca (best.  movie.  ever.).

Keith and Rachel all night long.


Dave hosts Christina Applegate, Tom Dreesen, and The Pretty Reckless.  Miss Universe 2010 presents the Top 10.  Jon has Drew Barrymore, Stephen Heidi Cullen.  Alton does Carrots.

Blood of the Father, Heart of Steel, the Venture Brothers Season 4 premier, is a little confusing because it has 2 timelines that go in opposite directions.  Fortunately Adult Swim screwed up the first broadcast and as a make good ran it for the rest of the week so I could figure it out.

You know Steve, you’re not very hard to figure, only at times. Sometimes I know exactly what you’re going to say. Most of the time. The other times… the other times, you’re just a stinker.

Yahoo TV Listings

Evening Edition

Evening Edition is an Open Thread

From Yahoo News Top Stories

1 At least 53 dead as car bombs target Iraq police

by Salam Faraj, AFP

1 hr 8 mins ago

BAGHDAD (AFP) – More than a dozen apparently coordinated car bombs targeting Iraqi police and other attacks blamed on Al-Qaeda killed 53 people on Wednesday, just days before the US military ends its combat mission.

The trail of bloodshed started in the capital Baghdad before stretching to the north and south of the country, hitting 10 cities and towns in quick succession in tactics that bore the hallmark of the jihadist network.

Some 250 people were also wounded, security officials said, as a total of 14 car bombs wrought havoc for police and soldiers whose ability to protect the country is under close scrutiny as US forces have drawn down.

2 Pakistan warns of new floods as UN says 800,000 cut off

by Hasan Mansoor and Emmanuel Duparcq, AFP

Wed Aug 25, 1:10 pm ET

HYDERABAD, Pakistan (AFP) – Pakistan battled Wednesday to save areas threatened by more devastating flood waters as the United Nations warned that 800,000 people in desperate need of aid had been cut off by the deluge.

The UN launched an urgent appeal Tuesday for more helicopters to deliver aid to those people reachable only by air, after floods triggered by a torrent of monsoon rains washed away bridges and vital access roads.

“As monsoon floods continue to displace millions in southern Pakistan, an estimated 800,000 people in need across the country are only accessible by air,” the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said.

3 Weak US housing, business data fuel ‘double-dip’ concerns

by P. Parameswaran, AFP

Wed Aug 25, 12:40 pm ET

WASHINGTON (AFP) – New US homes sales fell to their lowest level in about half a century and manufacturing orders came in far worse than expected, the government said Wednesday, fueling concerns the world’s largest economy could slip back into recession.

Adding to the recent slew of depressing data, the Commerce Department said sales of new single-family houses unexpectedly slumped 12.4 percent in July to 276,000 units from a month earlier.

July sales broke below the 300,000 mark for the first time in the data’s 47 years of history, baffling most economists who had expected sales to rise to 334,000 units.

4 BHP profits more than double as Potash battle looms


Wed Aug 25, 1:13 pm ET

LONDON (AFP) – BHP Billiton’s annual profits more than doubled on the back of surging commodities demand, it said Wednesday, one week after launching a 40-billion-dollar hostile bid for Canadian fertiliser firm Potash.

Profits after tax soared to nearly 13 billion dollars in its year to June 2010 as commodity prices rebounded on renewed demand for raw materials from emerging markets, notably China, amid the global economic recovery.

The world’s biggest miner added that it enjoyed record sales volumes for key commodities iron ore, metallurgical coal used in steelmaking, and petroleum.

5 Tiger admits errors, sadness in post-divorce interview


2 hrs 22 mins ago

PARAMUS, New Jersey (AFP) – Tiger Woods admitted Wednesday that his own misdeeds and mistakes doomed his marriage and left him and ex-wife Elin sad as they now try to help their children cope with life after the split.

Two days after their divorce was finalized and a day before he tees off in the first US PGA playoff event, world number one Woods spoke about the divorce brought about by his multiple affairs in a scandal exposed last November.

“My actions certainly led us to this decision,” Woods said. “I made a lot of errors in my life. That’s something I’m going to have to live with.”

6 I felt ‘stupid’, says Tiger’s ex as she breaks silence


Wed Aug 25, 11:25 am ET

WASHINGTON (AFP) – Tiger Woods’s ex-wife has broken her silence over the sex scandal that ended their marriage, saying the extent of his philandering had made her feel “stupid” and she had been through “hell.”

Elin Nordegren told People magazine that stress from the lurid tabloid scandal caused her insomnia and weight loss, and that in the days before her divorce was finalized she began to lose her hair.

“I’ve been through hell,” Nordegren, a 30-year-old Swedish former model, told the celebrity news weekly in an article posted Wednesday on its website which will hit newsstands later this week.

7 Get us out of underground ‘hell,’ Chile miners plead


Wed Aug 25, 11:52 am ET

COPIAPO, Chile (AFP) – Chile’s trapped miners say they are enduring “hell” underground, putting urgency into a rescue operation that is about to start but could drag on for months before providing salvation.

The 33 men, living in unimaginable conditions deep below ground for 20 days, pleaded with President Sebastian Pinera late Tuesday to save them, in an exchange over an intercom line dropped through a narrow drill hole.

“We are waiting for all of Chile to do everything to get us out of this hell,” said group leader Luis Urzua.

8 McCain wins primary in key US elections

by David Anderson, AFP

Wed Aug 25, 7:10 am ET

PHOENIX, Arizona (AFP) – US Senator John McCain claimed victory in an Arizona primary, easily fending off a challenge seen as a test of the country’s anti-incumbent mood as Americans decide in November who controls Congress.

But while several old-guard politicians handily won renomination in party selection contests, others like veteran Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska were under serious threat of ouster by political novices vowing to clean house in Washington.

McCain, a four-term senator and the defeated Republican presidential nominee, handily beat former congressman and conservative talkshow host J.D. Hayworth in Tuesday’s primary.

9 McCain wins Arizona primary, Meek victorious in Florida

By Tom Brown, Reuters

Wed Aug 25, 5:00 am ET

MIAMI (Reuters) – Representative Kendrick Meek won Florida’s Democratic Senate primary on Tuesday and will square off against Governor Charlie Crist and conservative Republican Marco Rubio in the closely watched November 2 election.

In a closely watched contest in Arizona, veteran John McCain claimed a commanding victory over conservative challenger J.D. Hayworth, after a bitter battle for the Republican Party’s pick to run for Senate.

In an election year marked by voter anger over a struggling economy, lost jobs and spiraling deficits, incumbent Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska was narrowly trailing challenger Joe Miller, a conservative-ex judge backed by former state Governor Sarah Palin, in early tallies.

10 Insurgents attack Iraqi police as U.S. pulls back

By Ahmed Rasheed and Waleed Ibrahim, Reuters

Wed Aug 25, 12:15 pm ET

BAGHDAD (Reuters) – Suicide bombers and other attackers killed at least 62 people in coordinated attacks on Iraqi security forces throughout the country Wednesday, less than a week before U.S. troops formally end combat operations.

The bombings also wounded more than 250 people, underscoring the fragility of Iraq’s security and the uncertainty of its political situation more than five months after an election that produced no outright winner and as yet no new government.

The onslaught was launched a day after the U.S. military in Iraq cut its strength to under 50,000 as President Barack Obama, facing a war-weary American public, seeks to fulfill a pledge to end the war launched 7-1/2 years ago by his predecessor.

11 U.S. to give more flood aid to Pakistan

By Augustine Anthony, Reuters

Wed Aug 25, 11:31 am ET

SUKKUR, Pakistan (Reuters) – The United States will divert $50 million from a development package for Pakistan toward relief funds, the top U.S. aid official said on Wednesday after touring a flood victims camp supplied by a charity with suspected links to a militant group on a U.S. terrorist list.

Officials in Pakistan and its ally Washington are worried that militants could exploit the disorder caused by the floods, and the government’s slow response, to gain recruits.

The United States, eager to see stability in Pakistan, a frontline state in its war against militancy, has so far been the most generous donor. It has provided 25 percent of aid commitments and contributions, the U.N. said.

12 Space-based detector could find anti-universe

By Robert Evans, Reuters

2 hrs 8 mins ago

GENEVA (Reuters) – A huge particle detector to be mounted on the International Space Station next year could find evidence for the anti-universe often evoked in science fiction, physicists said on Wednesday.

Speaking as the 8.5-tonne Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS) machine was being loaded into a huge U.S. Air Force cargo plane at Geneva airport, they said the 20-year research program would bring a huge step forward in understanding the cosmos.

“If there is an anti-universe, perhaps out there beyond the edge of our universe, our space-based detector may well be able to bring us signs of its existence,” U.S. scientist and Nobel laureate Samuel Ting told a news conference.

13 Afghans say withdrawal timeline "invigorates" Taliban

By Hamid Shalizi, Reuters

Wed Aug 25, 8:47 am ET

KABUL (Reuters) – U.S. plans to begin drawing down forces in Afghanistan from next July are “invigorating” insurgents, Afghan officials said on Wednesday, agreeing with a blunt assessment given by the top U.S. Marine.

Marines General James Conway said on Tuesday President Barack Obama’s plan to start withdrawing troops from Afghanistan from July 2011 had given a morale boost to the Taliban, who believe they can wait out NATO forces.

He also said foreign forces should only withdraw when Afghan forces are ready and able to take over — a view expressed this month by the commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, General David Petraeus.

14 Global outlook casts shadow over Fed mountain retreat

By Mark Felsenthal, Reuters

Wed Aug 25, 12:02 am ET

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Central bankers from around the world will assess a darkening economic outlook at their annual U.S. mountain retreat this week with discussion of printing yet more money to spur growth on the agenda.

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke is likely to signal his views about the uncertain prospects for the world’s biggest economy but he probably won’t give many clues on whether the U.S. central bank will pump more cash to keep the recovery going.

Other top central bankers will arrive in the Jackson Hole resort with concerns, too.

15 U.S. soldiers head home, hope Iraq on track

By Ulf Laessing, Reuters

Wed Aug 25, 1:57 am ET

CAMP ADDER, Iraq (Reuters) – Over “midnight chow” just hours before leaving Iraq, U.S. soldiers had no illusions about the challenges that lie ahead for the Baghdad government.

They said they hoped the U.S-led invasion to topple Saddam Hussein and the combat mission that ends on August 31 were not in vain and that Iraq was on the right track to stability.

“I just don’t want to have been here for nothing. As I came over here I want it to be for something,” said Staff Sergeant Robert Vaught, a convoy commander from the 1st Battalion of the 116th Infantry regiment at an air base in southern Iraq.

16 Chile to dig escape shaft, prep miners for long haul

By Alonso Soto, Reuters

Tue Aug 24, 5:34 pm ET

COPIAPO, Chile (Reuters) – Engineers prepared on Tuesday to install a big drill to rescue 33 miners trapped for 19 days deep in a Chilean mine, and will send down games to help them cope with a wait that could last until Christmas.

The rescue crews began sending hydration gel and medication through a narrow bore hole on Monday to keep the miners alive during the long rescue effort and set up an intercom.

To avoid hurting morale, officials have not yet told the miners how much longer they may be underground.

17 Rogue Afghan policeman kills three Spaniards

By Sharafuddin Sharafyar, Reuters

Wed Aug 25, 5:15 am ET

HERAT, Afghanistan (Reuters) – Two Spanish police and an interpreter were killed when an Afghan policeman they were training turned on them before he was shot dead, officials said, as protests against the killing turned violent on Wednesday.

The incident appeared to be the latest in a string of recent attacks by “rogue” police and soldiers, underlining the pressure as NATO-led troops try to train Afghan forces rapidly to allow the handover of security responsibility to begin from mid-2011.

“The incident took place during a police training course and two Spanish policemen and an interpreter of Spanish nationality lost their lives,” said Spain’s Interior Minister Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba told Spanish radio.

18 Bad news on homes, goods adds to air of recession

By DANIEL WAGNER and ALAN ZIBEL, AP Business Writers

3 mins ago

WASHINGTON – It’s starting to feel like another recession. Businesses are ordering fewer goods. Home sales are the slowest in decades. Jobs are scarce, and unemployment claims are rising. Perhaps most worrisome, manufacturing activity, which had been one of the economy’s few bright spots, is faltering.

“The odds of a double-dip are rising and uncomfortably high,” said Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics, referring to the possibility that the nation will tip back into recession. “Nothing else can go wrong. There is no cushion left.”

On Wednesday, the government offered the latest dose of grim news about the economic recovery: Companies cut back last month on their investments in equipment and machines. And Americans bought new homes at the weakest pace in nearly half a century.

19 Attacks in Iraq kill 56, raise fears of insurgents

By BARBARA SURK and HAMID AHMED, Associated Press Writers

17 mins ago

BAGHDAD – Bombers and gunmen killed at least 56 Iraqis in more than two dozen attacks across the country Wednesday, mostly targeting security forces and rekindling memories of the days when insurgents ruled the streets.

The attacks made August the deadliest month for Iraqi policemen and soldiers in two years, and came a day after the U.S. declared the number of U.S. troops had fallen to fewer than 50,000, their lowest level since the war began in 2003.

Powerful blasts targeting security forces struck where they are supposed to be the safest, turning police stations into rubble and bringing down concrete walls erected to protect them from insurgents.

20 Alaska GOP Sen. Murkowski in jeopardy

By LIZ “Sprinkles” SIDOTI, AP National Political Writer

Wed Aug 25, 1:08 pm ET

WASHINGTON – Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski fought to save her job Wednesday, locked in a stunningly tight Republican primary race against a political novice backed by Sarah Palin and tea party activists. The outlook was far brighter for another incumbent, Sen. John McCain, who won handily in Arizona.

With 98 percent of election day precincts counted, Murkowski trailed Joe Miller by 1,960 votes out of more than 91,000 counted. The race was too close to call, with as many as 16,000 absentee votes and an undetermined number of provisional or questioned ballots, remaining to be counted starting on Aug. 31.

Murkowski would be the seventh incumbent – and fourth Republican – to lose in a year in which the tea party has scored huge victories in GOP Senate primaries and voters have shown a willingness to punish Republicans and a handful of Democrats with ties to Washington and party leadership. Miller is a Gulf War veteran and self-described “constitutional conservative.”

21 Germany may prevent employer Facebook checks

By VERENA SCHMITT-ROSCHMANN, Associated Press Writer

1 hr 57 mins ago

BERLIN – Ever thought twice about posting a party picture on Facebook, fearing it could someday hurt your chance at a dream job?

A draft German law is supposed to solve the problem by making it illegal for prospective employers to spy on applicants’ private postings.

The draft law on employee data security presented by Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere on Wednesday is the government’s latest attempt to address privacy concerns about online services including social networks and Google “Street View”.

22 Interview: Woods’ ex-wife went ‘through hell’

Associated Press

2 hrs 47 mins ago

WINDERMERE, Fla. – Tiger Woods’ ex-wife Elin Nordegren said she has “been through hell” since her husband’s infidelity surfaced but she never hit him, according to an interview released Wednesday.

Nordegren told People magazine she and Woods tried for months to reconcile the relationship. In the end, a marriage “without trust and love” wasn’t good for anyone, she said.

On Thanksgiving night outside their Florida home, Woods drove his SUV over a fire hydrant and into a tree, setting off shocking revelations that sports’ biggest star had been cheating on his wife through multiple affairs. The couple officially divorced Monday.

23 Ochocinco tweets apology for in-game tweeting

By JOE KAY, AP Sports Writer

18 mins ago

CINCINNATI – Chad Ochocinco has apologized for his costly tweets.

The NFL fined the Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver $25,000 on Tuesday for violating its restrictions on using social media sites before, during and after games. He’s the first player disciplined under the policy adopted one year ago.

He wouldn’t discuss the fine with reporters on Wednesday, but addressed it on his Twitter account, where he apologized to commissioner Roger Goodell.

24 NFL moving forward with 18-game season

By PAUL NEWBERRY, AP Sports Writer

25 mins ago

ATLANTA – NFL owners have shown widespread support for going to an 18-game schedule but want to implement the change as part of a new labor agreement.

Commissioner Roger Goodell says owners see two more regular-season games – and two fewer preseason games – as the most logical way to enhance revenues in a difficult economic environment. He says it will be one of the main issues in talks on reaching a new collective bargaining agreement.

The current deal runs out after this season. Players are eager to see how much of the additional revenue they will receive with an expanded schedule, especially since it could increase the risk of injuries or health problems after they retire.

25 Henson donates original Kermit to Smithsonian

By BRETT ZONGKER, Associated Press Writer

58 mins ago

WASHINGTON – The original Kermit the Frog, his body created with an old dull-green coat and his eyes made of pingpong balls, has returned home to the nation’s capital, where the puppet got his start.

The first Kermit creation from Jim Henson’s Muppet’s collection appeared in 1955 on the early TV show “Sam and Friends,” produced at Washington’s WRC-TV. Henson’s widow Jane Henson on Wednesday donated 10 characters from the show to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History.

She said the original characters provided five minutes of fun each night after the local news.

26 Chilean miners told to keep slim to squeeze out

By BRADLEY BROOKS, Associated Press Writer

1 hr 43 mins ago

COPIAPO, Chile – Just 35 inches (90 centimeters) around the waist – that’s how skinny Chile’s 33 trapped miners have been told they need to be to squeeze through the escape tunnel, the health minister said Wednesday.

Dr. Jaime Manalich said rescuers are applying a holistic plan to support the miners’ well-being during the months it may take to carve out the tunnel, including exercise and other activities to keep them from gaining weight.

“We’re working to determine a secure area where the miners can manage things. The space they’re in actually has about two kilometers of galleries to walk around in,” he said. “We hope to define a secure area where they can establish various places – one for resting and sleeping, one for diversion, one for food, another for work.”

27 Obama appeals stem cell ruling; some work to stop


Wed Aug 25, 6:34 am ET

WASHINGTON – Promising medical research is in disarray as scientists await an appeal by the Obama administration of a judge’s ruling that undercuts taxpayer-funded research using human embryonic stem cells.

The Justice Department said Tuesday it will appeal later this week a federal judge’s order temporarily halting such research money, a block that scientists and patient advocates said could irreparably set back the hunt for needed new treatments.

“The present ruling, if it stands, will be major blow to the hopes of many patients and their families,” said Dr. Peter Donovan, a stem cell researcher at the University of California, Irvine.

28 Gulf waste heads to landfills, some with problems

By GARANCE BURKE and JASON DEAREN, Associated Press Writers

Wed Aug 25, 6:34 am ET

NEW ORLEANS – The cleanup of history’s worst peacetime oil spill is generating thousands of tons of oil-soaked debris that is ending up in local landfills, some of which were already dealing with environmental concerns.

The soft, absorbent boom that has played the biggest role in containing the spill alone would measure more than twice the length of California’s coastline, or about 2,000 miles. More than 50,000 tons of boom and oily debris have made their way to landfills or incinerators, federal officials told The Associated Press, representing about 7 percent of the daily volume going to nine area landfills.

A month after the oil stopped flowing into the Gulf, the emphasis has shifted toward cleanup and disposal of oily trash at government-approved landfills in coastal states.

29 Boehner sees ‘ongoing economic uncertainty’

By MEGHAN BARR, Associated Press Writer

Tue Aug 24, 8:36 pm ET

CLEVELAND – House Republican leader John Boehner on Tuesday urged President Barack Obama to support an extension of tax cuts and to fire key economic advisers, arguing that more than a year of “government as community organizer” has failed to revive the economy.

In a speech to the City Club of Cleveland, Boehner said Obama needs to act immediately on several fronts to break what the Republican describes as “ongoing economic uncertainty.” He said the president should work with the GOP to renew soon-to-expire tax cuts enacted under President George W. Bush. Congress will tackle the issue when it returns next month.

The Ohio lawmaker also called on Obama to propose aggressive spending cuts and seek the resignations of Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner; the head of the National Economic Council, Larry Summers, and other members of his economic team.

30 China’s massive traffic jam could last for weeks

By ANITA CHANG, Associated Press Writer

Tue Aug 24, 8:37 pm ET

BEIJING – China has just been declared the world’s second biggest economy, and now it has a monster traffic jam to match.

Triggered by road construction, the snarl-up began 10 days ago and was 100 kilometers (60 miles) long at one point. Reaching almost to the outskirts of Beijing, traffic still creeps along in fits and starts, and the crisis could last for another three weeks, authorities say.

It’s a metaphor for a nation that sometimes chokes on its own breakneck growth.

31 Inspectors confiscate Philadelphia cupcake truck

By PATRICK WALTERS, Associated Press Writer

26 mins ago

PHILADELPHIA – A kerfuffle over cupcakes in the City of Brotherly Love has dessert lovers sour on Philadelphia’s confusing business regulations.

The Department of Licenses and Inspections seized a converted mail truck on Tuesday that’s used by a woman known as “the cupcake lady,” who roves the city selling 400-500 cupcakes a day.

The city says she did not have a proper permit to be running her small vending operation in the University City neighborhood, near the University of Pennsylvania. But the cupcake lady, Kate Carrara, a 35-year-old former lawyer, says the rules are just too confusing.

32 Marines pour resources into mental health care

By KEVIN MAURER and JULIE WATSON, Associated Press Writers

1 hr 18 mins ago

CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. – They have been in harm’s way for years in two countries, in a branch of the military where toughness and self-reliance have been especially prized for generations. Now the Marines are struggling against an enemy that has entrenched itself over nearly a decade of war: mental illness.

Marines stressed from repeated tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan are seeking help like never before, and their suicide rate is the highest in the military after doubling in just the past three years. Even with more mental-health professionals sent to bases to help, they have had trouble keeping up with demand.

There have been times when staff at Camp Lejeune’s base hospital faced a choice of either staying with a Marine through lengthy treatment or leaving a case midstream to be able to keep up with the deluge of new patients.

33 Oops! Error might have cost NJ an education grant

By GEOFF MULVIHILL, Associated Press Writer

1 hr 43 mins ago

HADDONFIELD, N.J. – For anyone who’s ever entered the wrong number on a tax return and been denied a refund, or accidentally overtipped, here’s some consolation: A silly error on New Jersey’s application for the highly competitive Race to the Top education grants might have cost the state $400 million.

The federal government announced that nine states and the District of Columbia had won the coveted grants. New Jersey was the top runner-up.

A panel judged the lengthy applications on a 500-point scale. New Jersey finished just three points behind Ohio, which received the grant – and was only barely ahead of Arizona and Louisiana, which didn’t.

34 Vacationing Obama gets temp press secretary

By GLEN JOHNSON, Associated Press Writer

2 hrs 39 mins ago

VINEYARD HAVEN, Mass. – With his broad grin and aw-shucks approach, Bill Burton is a marked contrast with his boss, the always ready-for-battle White House press secretary Robert Gibbs.

While Gibbs comes off as combative and hot, Burton is low-key and self-deprecating. He always seems ready to smile.

Describing how Obama was spending his vacation on Martha’s Vineyard, Burton joked Tuesday, “This will probably get me fired, but I know that Valerie (Jarrett, a senior presidential adviser) did not do so well in Scrabble against the president.”

35 Other isolated survivors tell what kept them alive

By SETH BORENSTEIN, Associated Press

Wed Aug 25, 2:33 pm ET

WASHINGTON – Astronaut Jerry Linenger and architect Eduardo Strauch know the remarkable quality that keeps the trapped Chilean miners going: the immense power of hope.

Linenger and Strauch are living proof of survival amid isolation. They say that power is in us all.

Thirteen years ago, Linenger was only a month into his four-month expedition on an aging Russian Mir space station when a near-deadly fire broke out. That was the beginning of harrowing experiences that included a near-crash and an oxygen system that kept breaking down. A return was months away. It was the space equivalent of what the miners may have to face.

36 Poll: Local schools up, Obama education plans down

By DONNA GORDON BLANKINSHIP, Associated Press Writer

Wed Aug 25, 1:13 pm ET

SEATTLE – A new Gallup Poll has found fewer Americans approve of the job President Barack Obama is doing in support of public education, but they continue to have a highly favorable opinion of their local schools.

The drop in the president’s education approval ratings – as found in the random telephone poll of about 1,000 Americans in June – mirrored the drop in his general approval rating in other recent polls, said Shane Lopez, senior scientist in residence for Gallup.

The education poll released Wednesday was paid for by Phi Delta Kappa. It found 34 percent gave the president a grade of A or B for his work in support of public schools, compared with 45 percent at the same time in 2009. The poll has a sampling error margin of plus or minus 3 percentage points, except for questions asked of just parents, which have a sampling error margin of plus or minus 5 percentage points.

37 Volkswagen revamps Jetta for American tastes

By ANN M. JOB, For The Associated Press

Wed Aug 25, 11:49 am ET

Remember the old saying, “If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em”?

Officials at German automaker Volkswagen may be taking it to heart at long last.

Perhaps more than any previous VW Jetta, the redesigned-for-2011 five-passenger sedan is built for American tastes.

38 Eggs in the raw? Experts say give them a pass

By STEPHANIE REITZ, Associated Press Writer

Wed Aug 25, 9:44 am ET

HARTFORD, Conn. – Experts have some simple advice when it comes to eating runny eggs these days: Run away.

With salmonella concerns triggering the recall of more than a half-billion eggs in more than a dozen states, warnings are becoming more dire every day against eating undercooked yolks and translucent egg whites.

But what’s a home cook to do, especially when hit by cravings for eggs Benedict, pasta carbonara, homemade Caesar dressing or other dishes that call for raw or only slightly cooked eggs?

39 Signs of a mixed recovery along hurricane highway

By MICHAEL KUNZELMAN, Associated Press Writer

Wed Aug 25, 9:10 am ET

NEW ORLEANS – A mother of four feels trapped in the same New Orleans public housing complex from which she was rescued when flood waters ravaged the city. Ninety miles to the east on U.S. 90, an elderly couple in Biloxi, Miss., are resigned to life in a government-issued cottage surrounded by vacant lots where friends once resided.

Both households lie along the highway that runs the length of Hurricane Katrina’s fiercest front, and five years later, both have a hard time seeing very far up the road to recovery.

From the beaches of Mississippi to the funky neighborhoods of New Orleans, the imprint of the Aug. 29, 2005, storm has faded with each home that is rebuilt, every business that reopens and every tree newly planted by resilient residents and those who’ve come to help.

Full Body Scanners: Not Just For TSA Anymore!

(2 PM – promoted by TheMomCat)

Remember those full body scanners?  Guess what?  They’re goin’ MOBILE:

From Forbes,

American Science & Engineering, a company based in Billerica, Massachusetts, has sold U.S. and foreign government agencies more than 500 backscatter x-ray scanners mounted in vans that can be driven past neighboring vehicles to see their contents, Joe Reiss, a vice president of marketing at the company told me in an interview. While the biggest buyer of AS&E’s machines over the last seven years has been the Department of Defense operations in Afghanistan and Iraq, Reiss says law enforcement agencies have also deployed the vans to search for vehicle-based bombs in the U.S.

“This product is now the largest selling cargo and vehicle inspection system ever,” says Reiss.

Wowsers.  That’s creepy.  What’s even creepier? This.  Detecting “illegal immigrants” and drugs in vehicles?  What do they see that they don’t report?

One can only imagine the “terror baby” Republicans driving these trucks around or the anti-marijuana folks scanning for DFHs.  I await the fourth amendment interpretation under the Roberts court.

Obama Rocks!

(10 pm. – promoted by ek hornbeck)

Obama To Create 17 New Jobs By Resigning And Finally Opening That Restaurant

WASHINGTON-In an effort to counter the highest unemployment rate the nation has faced in a quarter century, Barack Obama announced Monday that he will create 17 new jobs by resigning from the presidency to pursue his lifelong dream of opening a cozy little down-home restaurant just off the Galesburg, IL exit on Interstate 74. “Now is the time for drastic measures, and the several line-cook and serving positions that will be generated by Barry’s Place are imperative to getting the economy back on track,” said Obama, donning a white apron over rolled-up shirtsleeves. “The hope is that this bold initiative will demonstrate to other American business owners that it is possible to break the cycle after they somehow get sucked into politics and things snowball so fast that they lose sight of what’s really important, like serving people the best slice of pecan pie they’ve ever tasted at a price that can’t be beat.” Vice President Joe Biden has reportedly followed Obama’s entrepreneurial lead by purchasing a secondhand cologne and condom vending machine that will be installed in the men’s bathroom of a Wilmington, DE offtrack betting parlor.

Hopefully he’ll also be soon hiring a new White House Economic Adviser, a new Treasury Secretary, and a new Fed Chairman. If he knows what’s good for him… and he ain’t no dummy, or puppet, or so I’m repeatedly assured.

You rock, B. You can do this. I have faith in you.

Punting the Pundits

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.

Jane Hamsher: Obama Appointed Deficit Commission Co-Chair Alan Simpson: Social Security Is Like “A Milk Cow With 310 Million Tits”

Simpson has written a letter to Ashley Carson of the Older Women’s League (OWL) responding to a piece she wrote on the Huffington Post that is so offensive, sexist and ageist that…well, take it away, Alan Simpson:


From: Alan K. Simpson

   Sent: Monday, August 23, 2010 6:52 PM

   To: Owl

   Subject: To Ashley Carson re 4/27/10 article

   Ashley B. Carson Executive Director, OWL

   Dear Ms. Carson,

   Someone was good enough to forward me your column of “Enough with the Pink Panthers Bit” of April 27, 2010.

   Some of what you say is true. Much is not – but that’s nothing new about public life for me! I have news for you too, my friend. There may be no group called the Pink Panthers working to protect Social Security but I sure as hell am! I’ve spent many years in public life trying to stabilize that system while people like you babble into the vapors about “disgusting attempts at ageism and sexism” and all the rest of that crap.

   Now hold on tight, because you won’t like what I’m sending you. You may obviously be aware that the Social Security system is “in trouble.” If you don’t agree with that, then there is no need to read any further. But I wish to share with you the presentation by Stephen C. Goss, Chief Actuary of the Social Security Administration on May 12, 2010 to the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform. If you think the statistics on poverty for seniors are alarming – then you need to read this little pamphlet to know what is really alarming.

   If we can’t get a handle on this system and make it sustainable and assure long term solvency, and make some changes that are “minor” at the present time and will become “major” as each year passes, then take a look at the chart on Page 6 which I hope you are able to discern if you are any good at reading graphs – or anything that might challenge your biases and prejudices.

   Anyway, have a look at it and if you should choose, you might communicate with me. If you have some better suggestions about how to stabilize Social Security instead of just babbling into the vapors, let me know. And yes, I’ve made some plenty smart cracks about people on Social Security who milk it to the last degree. You know ’em too. It’s the same with any system in America. We’ve reached a point now where it’s like a milk cow with 310 million tits! Call when you get honest work!



Well, they are hitting back.  They’re calling for your resignation from the Catfood Commission.  We’ll certainly be interested to see if the White House cares about the fact that the Commission’s Co-Chair, a former US Senator,  goes out of his way to treat older women is such a patronizing, dismissive and bullying fashion.


Jon Walker: In These Sorry Times, Boehner Owes Geithner and Summers a Big Apology

House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) has recently called on President Obama to fire Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner and Director of the National Economic Council Larry Summers. Now I don’t know how Boehner’s mother raised him, but where I come from, that behavior would be considered downright rude. Where is the gratitude? I think John of Orange owes them an apology. Trying to get the two individuals whose actions played a major role in assuring that Boehner will be promoted (to the position of Speaker of the House after Republicans win big this November) fired is just bad manners in my book. If it weren’t for Summers’ terrible economic projections and horrible advice, combined with Geithner’s equally bad counsel, consistently putting the prosperity of Wall Street over main street while horribly mismanaging the HAMP program, Boehner would not be close to measuring the drapes for the Speaker’s office..

Joan Walsh: Mitch McConnell’s tax cut lies

Why does the GOP get away with saying tax cuts for the rich are “existing tax policy”? Or that they create jobs?

I don’t see the Park51 controversy as a mere distraction  from the country’s “real” issues of unemployment and economic trouble. What matters more than our nation’s tradition of religious and political freedom? But it’s clear to me that the “mosque” issue is this August’s version of last August’s “death panels” – another faux-Fox controversy manufactured by divisive right-wingers to keep us from focusing on our country’s serious problems.

What would Republicans do without the “mosque” flap, if they had to vigorously defend, in detail, their economic program? Sunday on “Meet the Press,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell was as preposterous as House Minority Leader John Boehner on the same show two weeks ago, blustering about having to account for how much extending the Bush tax cuts for the megarich – set to expire in 2011 — will deepen the deficit. Just as Boehner sputtered and refused to answer repeatedly, then blamed “this Washington game and their funny accounting” for the vexing fact that protecting the megarich will add $3.2 trillion to the deficit, so did McConnell obfuscate. “Why did it all of a sudden become something that we, quote, ‘pay for’?” McConnell asked host David Gregory, calling the tax cuts “existing tax policy.”

Joe Conanson: Harbingers of violence in anti-mosque movement

The top organizer of the Sept. 11 rally against the “ground zero mosque” praises racist thugs in England

One of the chief organizers of the upcoming Sept. 11 “anti-mosque” rally at ground zero has denounced Sunday’s protest, which nearly degenerated into a mob attack  on an African-American carpenter, as “half-assed,” “careless, unprepared, shooting from the hip and harmful to the cause of freedom and compassion” and an “ill-conceived botched mess.”

Pamela Geller furiously rejects any responsibility for the threatening, racially charged tenor of yesterday’s incident. But should anti-Muslim protesters here emulate her thuggish allies in the United Kingdom, nobody should be surprised when disorder and even bloodshed follow.

Ruth Marcus: Boehner’s cheap opposition strategy

There are times when I flirt with the notion that the country would be better off with divided government.

If Republicans took control, say, of the House, there would be pressure on both parties to behave more responsibly. The GOP would be pushed to stop carping and posturing, and start governing. Democrats would have political cover to make hard choices on entitlement spending, taxes and the like. As every politician knows, bipartisan cliff-jumping is a safer sport than going solo.

That’s the theory. Then there’s John Boehner.

The man who would be speaker outlined his agenda Tuesday in a speech to the City Club of Cleveland — economic policy reduced to, literally, five easy tweets. The Ohio Republican offered up a depressing blend of tired ideas, tired-er one-liners (“We’ve tried 19 months of government-as-community-organizer”) and cheap attacks. The cheapest: calling for the firing of Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner and economic adviser Larry Summers.

Katrina vanden Heuvel: Citizens United aftershocks

What are the consequences of the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision allowing corporations “unlimited spending in pursuit of political ends”? The world of campaign finance is new, confusing — and very alarming.


Passing the Disclose Act — which was recently defeated by yet another Republican filibuster — would be a modest step in the right direction; it requires corporations to show how they spend money in elections. But the deep reforms needed to truly put democracy back in the hands of the people will require a long and tough-minded struggle by all small-d democrats.

In the mean time, corporations are free to do a lot more than just donate to less-regulated 527’s. They have a blank check. As President Obama noted in his most recent weekly address, the Citizens United decision “allows big corporations to . . . buy millions of dollars worth of TV ads — and worst of all, they don’t even have to reveal who is actually paying for them. You don’t know if it’s a foreign-controlled corporation. You don’t know if it’s BP. You don’t know if it’s a big insurance company or a Wall Street bank. A group can hide behind a phony name like ‘Citizens for a Better Future,’ even if a more accurate name would be ‘Corporations for Weaker Oversight.’ ”

Bill de Blasio, NYC Public Advocate: Voters Can Shed Daylight on Corporate Spending

This has been a tough year for those who care about protecting our democracy from the influence of corporate money. In January the Supreme Court’s ruling in Citizens United gave companies the power to spend freely from their corporate treasuries in our elections. Last month Senate Republicans halted Congressional efforts to mitigate the negative impact of the decision by blocking passage of the DISCLOSE Act, which would have required corporations to show how they  spend money in elections. With Election Day less than 90 days away, we cannot afford to stand on the sidelines — we need to fight back and take on corporations directly.

I have been campaigning against corporate influence in our elections, demanding that individual corporations pledge to not spend money in politics. Last month, our campaign scored a major victory. After weeks of talks with our office, financial powerhouse Goldman Sachs agreed to amend its political contribution policy and not take advantage of the opening created by Citizens United to spend corporate money directly in elections. Building on this success, we launched a campaign demanding that Google live up to its self-professed policy of transparency and join its peers in the technology sector by fully disclosing its political spending. Our office has also developed a website  so that voters and consumers can keep track of corporations that are taking advantage of openings created by the Citizens United ruling to influence elections.

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