Saturday, June 28, 2014

Ain't that peculiar?

This week's panelists on Virtually Speaking Sundays were Avedon Carol and Dave Johnson, who argued about why the Democratic leadership keeps sabotaging the Democratic Party and democracy. Homework for this one includes:
WikiLeaks, "Secret Trade in Services Agreement (TISA)"
"Secret Rahm memo to Clinton: Step up attack on immigrants. Be Nixon on crime".
Digby on "Triangulatin'90s style"
Populist Majority
"Why Blue Dog Mike Ross Will Lose His Run For Arkansas Governor"
"The Lamest Operation in America" - or how Emily's List siphons off liberal donations for losers.
(Also at Down With Tyranny!"Vive la libération: St. Louisans celebrate as their city is declared a George F. Will-free zone.")
David Atkins talked about his blog post "Wherein I sympathize with Erick Erickson" on Virtually Speaking with Jay Ackroyd. (Related story: "Crazy Mississippi runoff turns ugly: 'Poll watchers' head to black voting sites.")

"Obama alums join anti teachers union case [...] The Incite Agency, founded by former White House press secretary Robert Gibbs and former Obama campaign spokesman Ben LaBolt, will lead a national public relations drive to support a series of lawsuits aimed at challenging tenure, seniority and other job protections that teachers unions have defended ferociously. LaBolt and another former Obama aide, Jon Jones - the first digital strategist of the 2008 campaign - will take the lead in the public relations initiative." (via)

David Dayen, "Wingnuts and liberals' bizarre role reversal: Why Export-Import Bank politics are so perverse: Nowadays, Democrats are defending Ex-Im, and the right is calling it "corporate welfare." It wasn't always that way: A fascinating game of role reversal is playing out in Congress, where Democrats are teaming up with the Chamber of Commerce, and Republicans are using phrases like 'stop corporate welfare.' Many of the same politicians lined up on the other side of the debate just a few years earlier. What has turned Washington into a wonky remake of Freaky Friday? The reauthorization of the Export-Import (Ex-Im) Bank, a government-run enterprise that grants loans and insurance at below-market rates to facilitate large trade deals. [...] But pre-Internet liberals might want to get out their back issues of the Nation and Mother Jones at this point to jog their memory, for they will see article after article condemning the 80-year-old institution as a slush fund that allows the government to fund a series of nasty activities. Here's one from 1981 ('The Ex-Im helps sell nuclear reactors to dictatorships like the Philippines'). Here's another from 1992, about the Reagan administration using Ex-Im to funnel loans to Saddam Hussein's Iraq during their war with Iran. Even more recently, in 2011, Mother Jones reported on how Ex-Im loan guarantees helped build one of the largest coal plants in the world, in South Africa. (Ex-Im subsequently announced it would stop facilitating coal plant production - but only in December of last year.) [...] And Sanders certainly did not believe that financing for multinational trade deals would dry up without Ex-Im. He questioned the head of the bank in 2004, asking, 'General Electric, which itself is one of the largest financial institutions in America, cannot get loans anyplace else but from the taxpayers and the workers of America? Are you going to tell me with a straight face that GE is a struggling small business, a minority business in the barrio of New York, and they just cannot find financing?'" So, looks like we're lucky we have Republicans in Congress to finally refuse re-authorization of this piece of crap.

And here's a little reminder that stop-&-frisk and marijuana possession laws criminalize being black, because it's routine to stop and search black males, and to ignore whites who are at least as likely to be in possession of marijuana.

On The Majority Report:
Beth Schwartzapfel discussed her recent piece, "The Great American Chain Gang." Yes, there is legal slavery in America, they just call it something else.
Philip Mirowski talked about How Neoliberalism Survived the Financial Meltdown.

Of course, it could be worse. You could, for example, be a 95-Year-Old WWII Vet who the police shoot to death for refusing to go to the hospital. Will these cops be held to account? Even if the UK, it just doesn't happen. The police are the most dangerous people on the streets.

Digby on the exoneration of the Central Park 5: "This case is actually one of the few that has a satisfying result but a lot of the credit has to go to the DA's office which actually endorsed the fact that they had wrongfully convicted these men. That is an anomaly."

Democracy Now!, "The Guantánamo 'Suicides' Revisited: Did CIA Hide Deaths of Tortured Prisoners at Secret Site? In one of the great mysteries of the U.S. military prison at Guantánamo Bay, three prisoners, two from Saudi Arabia and one from Yemen, died the night of June 9, 2006. Authorities at Guantánamo said the three men - Yasser Talal al-Zahrani, Salah Ahmed al-Salami and Mani Shaman al-Utaybi - had killed themselves. The commander at Guantánamo, Rear Admiral Harry Harris, described their deaths as an "act of asymmetrical warfare waged against us." But explosive new evidence shows there may have been a cover-up on how the men actually died. Recently discovered pages from the Naval Criminal Investigative Service suggest that the men died not from suicide, but torture."

Thanks to esteemed commenter jcapan for reminding me of why Bernie Sanders should not run for president: "In other words: We recognize this guy won't win - we're implicitly acknowledging that in the very petition calling on him to run - so don't worry, loyal Democrats, after we blow off some steam during the primary we will turn out in force for whoever isn't the Republican."

Hm, who would be deliberately committing voter fraud? Oh, right. "Now we learn about the curious case of Robert Monroe, a 50-year-old health executive who is accused of voting a dozen times in 2011 and 2012, including seven times in the recalls of Scott Walker and his GOP ally Alberta Darling. Wisconsin officials say it's the worst case of multiple voting in memory. Oh, and, did I mention he's a Republican?"

Why, yes, if Detroit is really planning to take people's water away, I see no reason why they shouldn't dump their unflushable waste on toney golf courses. I liked the first commenter's inventory of rights: "Things that are, according to conservatives, not a right: drinkable water, breathable air, food, jobs you can earn enough to survive on, health care, education, functioning infrastructure, voting. Things that are rights, according to conservatives: hoarding as many guns as possible, the legal standing to refuse to serve someone whose race or sexual orientation you don't like, sexual harassment of women, publicly exposing one's racism and bigotry and not getting fired for it, shooting people who look like criminals and getting away with it, the entire media and entertainment industry catering to you and only you, and, of course, delivering college graduation commencement speeches."

"Mass. abortion clinic buffer zones ruled illegal"
The Rude One says, "You Wanna Keep Harassing Women at Clinics? Then Let's Play." Great idea!

"City to fine owners of Little Free Libraries" - I hadn't seen this idea before but I love the thought of having a little "library" on your front lawn where people can just pull out a book and sit down and read it. "'We came back to find a letter from the code enforcement telling us it was an illegal dwelling or structure,' Brian Collins said. Collins put up a Little Free Library on Mother's Day in his front yard near the intersection of 89th Street and Ensley Lane. 'Given that nothing can dwell in here except maybe mice, I really didn't understand what that was all about,' he said."

John Oliver makes a deal: Sit through his discussion of the death penalty and be rewarded with a video of a tiny hamster eating a tiny burrito/

After everything sex has done for the internet, it seems an awful lot of important sites are biting the hand that fed them. Paypal cracking down on adult sites, a big image-hosting site banned adult content, Amazon weeding out porn books, and now Google refusing to make shortlinks for "adult" content.

Last month's feelgood story: "Ivan Fernandez Anaya, Spanish Runner, Intentionally Loses Race So Opponent Can Win"

I've really been enjoying these "This is what anti-pot messages look like to me" mock-ups.

Costume party

17 British accents (via)

This article on Merry Clayton's recent car crash injury includes a clip of just the vocal track on "Gimme Shelter".

I admit, I did not get why this old ad was supposed to be funny, at first.

"I want to imagine that this is what Fernando de la Jara intended all along when first constructing the sculpture. 'Someday,' the artist must have mused, 'years after all of Germany has come to marvel at the beauty and wonder of my work, some kid will jam his legs right in there 'for the vine,' and his cries for aid will briefly awaken the bright soul of Georgia O'Keefe from death's cold embrace, and her ghost will laugh so hard that her face falls off.' You know, something poignant like that."

More Firefly .gifs.

Marvin Gaye at The Bitter End

Friday, June 20, 2014

Who was that man? I'd like to shake his hand

Marcy Wheeler and BMAZ on Virtually Speaking Sundays about the military's war on media freedom, after Chelsea Manning's op-ed in the NYT, " The Fog Machine of War".

Lina Khan in The Washington Monthly, "Thrown Out of Court: How corporations became people you can't sue [...] All this may seem like an archetypical story of our times, combining corporate misconduct, cyber-crime, and high-stakes litigation. But for those who follow the cutting edge of corporate law, a central part of this saga is almost antiquarian: the part where Target must actually face its accusers in court and the public gets to know what went awry and whether justice gets done. Two recent U.S. Supreme Court rulings - AT&T Mobility v. Concepcion and American Express v. Italian Colors - have deeply undercut these centuries-old public rights, by empowering businesses to avoid any threat of private lawsuits or class actions. The decisions culminate a thirty-year trend during which the judiciary, including initially some prominent liberal jurists, has moved to eliminate courts as a means for ordinary Americans to uphold their rights against companies. The result is a world where corporations can evade accountability and effectively skirt swaths of law, pushing their growing power over their consumers and employees past a tipping point." Khan discussed the article with Sam Seder on The Majority Report.

Sammy also talked to Jack Schneider about The War on Teachers & Democracy. He diplomatically didn't say anything about his co-blogger, Michelle Rhee. Meanwhile, Alan Bennett wrote an attack on private education in the Guardian.

Sterling Newberry has a paper up on economics, "Recession and unemployment", which I haven't finished reading yet, but it's good to see him back in the saddle.

It seems Justice Scalia has a little trouble discerning the difference between not liking something and, you know, an establishment of religion. As a matter of personal offense, of course, the people who should be most outraged at public displays of false piety that harness the trappings and talismans of faith to political posturing and tribalism would be the Christians who should recognize this blatant flouting of the teachings of Jesus for cynical purposes. That is personal. But letting the government do it is an affront to the 1st Amendment, which one would think a Supreme Court justice might find just a bit, you know, unconstitutional.

On the other hand, the Supremes unanimously did something intelligent: they curbed software patents.

In The American Conservative, a thoughtful piece on Bowe Bergdahl as a GOP scapegoat for a host of warhawk/chickenhawk failures, and of course Obama.

I just love the way Charlie Pierce writes. "Here's Some Stupid For Lunch: We've kept a weather eye on Ruth Marcus, who writes a column at Fred Hiatt's House Of Hopeless Hacks, ever since she explained that 'potty-mouthed' teenagers - Her word, by the way - should know their place, and that their place was not mocking Sam Brownback, the Papist loon currently turning Kansas into Mordor. Recently, she joined the mourning over the loss to the Republic of the genius that was Eric Cantor." I don't know what the fuss is about, they just exchanged one No vote for another.

I expect a walk-back update momentarily, but it seems Glenn Beck admitted on the air that liberals were right about Iraq. I'm not holding my breath for the "liberal media" to make the same admission on CBS or in the Newspaper of Record. Of course, Beck's analysis of why liberals opposed the invasion are at about 180 degrees from anything any liberal actually ever said, but still.

An alert from ql at Eschaton: "One of our pals has launched his own news site, The Halifax Examiner. Even though I don't live anywhere near Halifax, I subscribed because the issues covered are the same whether they occur in Philadelphia, Seattle or Halifax. From juicing the numbers as to how much revenue a convention center will generate to how a contract for a sewer plant is awarded, it's almost as if they are all using the same playbook. It seems no one else in the main stream press is covering these stories and they have a direct impact on our quality of life. I look forward to seeing how this develops. Good luck! "

"Recovered Economic History: ''Everyone but an idiot knows that the lower classes must be kept poor, or they will never be industrious' [...] Yep, despite what you might have learned, the transition to a capitalistic society did not happen naturally or smoothly. See, English peasants didn't want to give up their rural communal lifestyle, leave their land and go work for below-subsistence wages in shitty, dangerous factories being set up by a new, rich class of landowning capitalists. And for good reason, too. Using Adam Smith's own estimates of factory wages being paid at the time in Scotland, a factory-peasant would have to toil for more than three days to buy a pair of commercially produced shoes. Or they could make their own traditional brogues using their own leather in a matter of hours, and spend the rest of the time getting wasted on ale. It's really not much of a choice, is it? But in order for capitalism to work, capitalists needed a pool of cheap, surplus labor. So what to do? Call in the National Guard!"

"PRIVACY BREACH: Oklahoma posts ALL of your personal info online if you get arrested: Online court records in Oklahoma reveal your social security number, birth date, telephone number, address, and much more personal information before you're ever convicted of a crime."

Richard Wolff: We Need "Democracy in the Workplace"

Should politicians wear uniforms like NASCAR drivers to identify their corporate sponsors?

Iggy Pop Praises Justin Bieber (Under Torture) in Amnesty Ad

"Hobby Lobby Fires Employee For Divorcing Husband"

Quiz: How Well Do You Know America?

Obama's first term: a reminder.

Churchill on democracy

Leonard Cohen's Seven Immutable Laws of Business

Jeff Schalles dug up this old photo he took of me and John Shirley and Tess Kissinger.

Imagine my surprise upon learning that Frank Zappa was once a guest on The Steve Allen Show.

The Five(ish) Doctors Reboot - The Sequel: Colin Baker, Sylvester McCoy and Paul McGann in the Five(ish) Doctors Reboot. Photo: BBCPaul McGann has reported that a sequel to last year's online/red-button anniversary special, The Five(ish) Doctors Reboot has entered production. The actor, who appeared briefly in the original, was speaking at an event for Cambridge Union Society, which also saw "Reboot" co-star Sylvester McCoy speak back in May.


Congratulations: Andi Schecter and Stu Shiffman got married - woohoo!

RIP Gerry Goffin, 75. The Guardian has its own Six of the best, but here's some more breadth:
The Animals, "Don't Bring Me Down", Goffin-King 1966
Bobby Vee, "Take Good Care of My Baby", Goffin-King 1961
The Righteous Brothers, "Just Once In My Life ", Goffin-King 1965
Freddie Scott, "Hey Girl", Goffin-King 1963
Barry Mann, "Who Put The Bomp", Goffin-Mann 1961

Friday, June 13, 2014

It takes a lot to laugh, it takes a train to cry

How gay activists - led by GetEQUAL and Service Members United - won in the Obama era, when other progressive communities were stymied by Democratic inaction and hostility. AmericaBlog former Deputy Editor Joe Sudbay talked with Contributing Editor Gaius Publius on Virtually Speaking.
Dave Johnson and Joan McCarter talked about game-changers on last weekend's Virtually Speaking Sunday.

On The Majority Report, David Huyssen discussed his book Progressive Inequality: Rich and Poor in New York, 1890-1920, about why the progressive movement wasn't what was needed and was failing the public.

When It Came To Wall St., David Brat Actually Ran As Elizabeth Warren: "Brat told Internet radio host Flint Engelman that the 'number one plank' in his campaign is 'free markets.' Brat went on to explain, 'Eric Cantor and the Republican leadership do not know what a free market is at all, and the clearest evidence of that is the financial crisis - When I say free markets, I mean no favoritism to K Street lobbyists.' Banks like Goldman Sachs were not fined for their role in the financial crisis - rather, they were rewarded with bailouts, Brat has said."

Chris Floyd: "US and European politicians won't explain it because any honest explanation would expose the emptiness at the core of all their proffered reasons for the Terror War. They can't explain it because the Terror War system -- including the increasing militarization and repression in their own countries -- has now become organizing principle of Western society. Or rather, it is the latest incarnation of what has been the guiding principle of Western society since World War II: organizing society and the economy around war, either active war or the ever-present "threat" of war (assiduously exaggerated -- or even manufactured -- at every turn). For government and big business, the immense power and profit and control they inevitably accrued from conducting total war on a global basis was far too enticing to give up once the war was over. The full mobilization of society's resources for war simply carried on; indeed, was expanded and amplified."

"Republicans Aren't The Only Anti-Gay Members Of Congress [...] On April 29, 2009, the House passed the Hate Crimes Prevention Act, 249-175, 18 Republican abandoning their hate-filled and bigoted leaders, crossing the aisle and voting with the Democrats. Boehner, Cantor, Ryan and McCarthy were against the bill and they had support from 17 of the most racist and conservative Democrats in the House"

"China Laughed When It Saw How Cheap Solar Could Be: Do you remember when Dr. Evil was going to hold the world ransom for $1,000,000? This is what we are facing today in Solar - the Dr. Evil ultimatum. The cost to get Solar to coal parity is going to be laughably tiny."

The technocrats who want to eliminate cash - and why we need to oppose them: "So there you have it: Let Yglesias and his technocrat-manager friends bring all money under the control of government and corporate financial institutions (never mind their recent performance record) and hard times will be a thing of the past! Does that sound too good to be true to anyone else?" I'm sure the idea of never having to use cash at a counter must sound great to anyone who has never, ever needed to send someone else out to the shops for something, but I have had days when I simply couldn't have functioned if I'd been unable to hand someone some cash. Like those times when you need to have someone pick up your prescriptions and you don't want them to have to pay for it, or those moments when you just don't have time to do two things at once. And when I buy something directly off of a friend, I don't see why I should have to find some way to make an electronic transfer to them instead of just pulling a couple of quid out of my pocket. And that's just what's on the surface, the everyday stuff. There could be a lot more important reasons to deal untraceably among honest people. Especially when you know how dishonest your government is.

The Mass Murderers' Conference

Adam Roberts in the Guardian, "War of the worlds: who owns the political soul of science fiction?: In the sci-fi genre, two diametrically opposed ideologies are battling it out as leftwing writers embrace otherness, while the rightwingers look up to authority"

"Bill Watterson's Strips For Pearls Before Swine", and "‘Calvin and Hobbes' creator Bill Watterson returns to the comics page - to offer a few ‘Pearls' gems".

"Saskatoon honours Joni Mitchell with new parking lot: After years of contemplation on how to pay tribute to an iconic Canadian musician, the City of Saskatoon will honour Joni Mitchell with a 400 space parking lot. The Joni Mitchell Paradise Parking Lot will be located beside a Wal-Mart and several other box stores located in the city's East End." (Okay, it's a parody site, but it was good for a laugh. Waitin' on the Tree Museum.)

This is from 2008, but still: "Where Are They Now - WKRP in Cincinnati".

The Band, featuring Paul Butterfield, "Mystery Train"

Paul Butterfield, "Two Trains Running"

Al Kooper and Steve Stills

Monday, June 9, 2014

Money for nothin'

David Margolick, senior contributor at Vanity Fair, discussed his book Strange Fruit: The Biography of a Song on Virtually Speaking with Jay Ackroyd. "He takes us back to 1939 when Billie Holiday first performed, and then recorded, one of the most extraordinary songs of the 20th century. The book reflects wide-ranging interviews, from Lena Horne to Pete Seeger, all of which describe how they were affected by the song." (.mp3) "Strange Fruit" has, of course, since been covered by a remarkable range of artists (I had some surprises looking around YouTube), but it almost never got recorded at all, because no record company would touch it.

Jim Hightower: "5 Signs That America Has Gone Bonkers - And a Glimmer of Hope [...] It might appear that the U-S-of-A has gone bonkers. So let me clear up any confusion that you might have: Yes, it has! Yet, it hasn't. More on that in a moment. First, though - whether looking at the 'tea party' congress critters who've swerved our nation's political debate to the hard right, or at the peacocks of Wall Street who continue to preen and profit atop the wreckage they've made of our real economy - it's plain to see that America is suffering a pestilence of nuts and narcissists in high places. These 'leaders' are hell bent to enthrone themselves and their ilk as the potentates of our economic, governmental and social systems and they are aggressively trying to snuff out the light of egalitarianism that historically has been our society's unifying force. [...] Most people know that things are screwy, that this is not the America that's supposed to be. And therein lies the good news: The USA hasn't gone crazy - its leaders have and they can be changed." Hightower is always more optimistic than I am, but some part of me needs to believe.

As to what's actually happening, Sirota, "If the Left Had a Tea Party: Suburban Albany is not known for its rip-roaring weekend scene, but this most recent Saturday night, it was the momentary center of the political universe, as an underfunded political party was using its quadrennial convention to try to force America's most powerful and best-financed governor to submit to its demands. Though the Working Families Party's conventions are typically low-key affairs, this one had drawn 800 activists and operatives and most of the New York press corps - all to see if the party would endorse conservative Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo or run a third-party candidate against him." In the end they endorsed Cuomo, but maybe they got something for it. He should still be run out of town on a rail, though.

NY Times reporter faces jail time after Supreme Court refuses to hear appeal: A New York Times journalist faces jail time after the US Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal on Monday over whether the First Amendment gives him the right to protect his confidential source. James Risen, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, has repeatedly refused to name the source for his 2006 book entitled the State of War: The Secret History of the CIA and the Bush Administration exposing CIA abuses he had discovered. In particular, chapter 9 of that book disclosed an attempt by the CIA to have a former Soviet nuclear scientist subvert the Iranian nuclear program. Arguments presented in Risen's book, forced the US Department of Justice to search his phone, credit card and bank records to compile a case against a former CIA agent Jeffrey Sterling, charged under the Espionage Act, for allegedly leaking the Iranian story to the reporter.

Amazon plays Monopoly: "But the fact that it's entirely normal doesn't mean that we should casually dismiss this particular spat. Amazon's influence over the book business is now greater than anything Barnes & Noble ever enjoyed. The retail landscape is vastly different than it was five or 10 years ago. There are far fewer options for buying books. What Amazon's most virulent critics feared has come to pass. Having consolidated its power over the book publishing industry, Amazon is now exploiting it. If it continues to do so, unchecked by antitrust enforcement or meaningful competition, there's a very real chance that the quality product at the center of all this - the book! - will suffer."

"Pepper Spray Cop's Settlement Sets Dangerous Precedent [...] Lt. John Pike of the UC Davis police pepper-sprayed a group of sitting protesters in 2011. Amidst an autumn of federally-coordinated, violent police suppression of the Occupy movement, the incident in Davis was clearly one of the most heinous cases. A group of students had linked arms, sat down, and refused to move when the police came to evict their encampment. Lt. John Pike then casually exhibited a red can of military-grade pepper spray, nonchalantly strolled past the protesters, and doused them in orange gas, which led to the hospitalization several of the students. International outrage ensued. "Pepper Spraying Cop" became a widely-shared meme, and Pike was originally put on paid leave and eventually fired. The students sued, and a $1 million settlement was split between all 21 of them. Pike was just awarded $38,058 in disability payments, after claiming he suffered "emotional and psychological damage" from his attack on UC Davis students."

Matt Stoller on "The Con-Artist Wing of the Democratic Party" and Geithner's self-serving book: "There's another serious omission about this period in Geithner's career: his time as a Treasury lobbyist. As documents unearthed by financial analyst Josh Rosner show, in the late 1990s, Geithner, Summers, and Rubin lobbied for World Trade Organization rules forcing the liberalization of financial services across borders, at the behest of large bank CEOs. This matters because the entire book is about Geithner's reflections on financial crises, and one of the central causes of these crises was 'hot money.' 'Globalization had unleashed enormous sums of ‘hot money' that could instantaneously flow across borders,' he warns, 'while the aspects of human psychology that had helped produce financial booms and crises for centuries remained unchanged.' By presenting globalization as an inherent natural force, and not mentioning his role in crafting the policies that led to hot money flows, he misleads by omission. In other words, Geithner wasn't just a firefighter, but an arsonist. You wouldn't know this, because Geithner in the book laments free capital flows. But he wasn't lamenting them when it mattered (and the position of the US government's trade representative today is still that hot money is good)."

David Dayen, "Summers: Helping Homeowners Would Have Hurt Banks: I have a review of Mian and Sufi's House of Debt out today, and so does Larry Summers. His review is very strange. It starts off with almost unvarnished praise for the book, saying 'it could be the most important book to come out of the 2008 financial crisis and subsequent Great Recession.' He celebrates their data collection, largely agrees with their alternative rendering of the causes of the crisis, and pronounces it 'a major contribution' that should give pause to what Mian and Sufi call 'the banking view' of the crisis, essentially that the economy hinges on protecting and saving the financial system. And then, Summers calls them naive and says they didn't understand the reality of what policymakers faced in 2008 and 2009. Specifically, he says that 'We all believed in 2009 what Mian and Sufi have now conclusively demonstrated - that reducing mortgage debt would spur consumer spending,' saying they did not have a narrow banking view of crisis response. Yet almost every one of Summers' objections - to supporting bankruptcy judges rewriting terms of primary mortgages, to forcing principal write-downs, to buying underwater mortgages through a Home Owners Loan Corporation-type structure - comes with the warning that the preferred policy of mortgage debt relief would hurt the banks." There's a more detailed analysis of Larry Summers' Attempt to Rewrite Cramdown History here from someone who actually understands bankruptcy, unlike, apparently, anyone in the Obama administration.

Elizabeth Warren And Thomas Piketty Discuss Nature, Causes Of Economic Inequality

The price of austerity is one those who won't pay it are always willing to pay.

I suppose Stiglitz is being circumspect in his calls for higher taxation of capital, but surely everyone has figured out by now that there's a level of wealth that no one should have.

Torture isn't torture in California prisons, either.

"There is a certain ironic symmetry in the resignation of General Eric Shinseki as Secretary of Veterans Affairs" - but of course, it's so much easier to short-change the VA and blame everyone else than it would have been to simply fund it - and fix it.

John Oliver on Net Neutrality. Update, the FCC website couldn't handle it.

Theory And Practice - Conversations With Noam Chomsky and Howard Zinn

Here's the FULL PREMIERE of Lee Camp's new weekly TV show.

The Ansible obits tell me Ken Brown has died of pancreatic cancer at the age of 57. Damn, I liked him. He even occasionally commented here at The Sideshow.

I really miss Steve Gilliard. I just can't help thinking it would have been better if he'd been here these last seven years.

The Absurd Reason Why America Circumcises Baby Boys

When George Clooney made Roseanne work overtime

Wouldn't you know, the Anxiety Arts Festival London 2014.

The Comics Curmudgeon

Mark Evanier has a nice clip up of Holbrook's Mark Twain.

The Jazz Photography of Bill Gottlieb

Dire Straits