Wednesday, July 29, 2015

They decide and the shotgun sings the song

They told me the radiation treatments would make me tired. They did. On the last day, they said, "It'll get worse before it gets better." They were right, but they didn't tell me how much worse. It's like my entire body is in open rebellion. Also, alien skin. Yikes. I really gotta post these links before it's suddenly September.

Stuart Zechman was on Virtually Speaking with Jay Ackroyd to discuss The Liberal Policy Agenda and popular politics.

Apparently, Barney Frank wants me to support Hillary because William Kirstol is always right. Barney Frank is tight with the banksters, you know. The only trouble with this formula is that there is plenty of reason to believe that Hillary can't beat the Republican nominee, but Bernie can. And Bill Curry at Salon figures Bernie to win the nomination. The polls are not with Hillary.

Something strange happened at Netroots Nation. To set the scene for this, you need to know that a panel that immediately preceded the Incident was about police violence and that, of course, Bernie Sanders has talked about it all the time and in fact had done so twice in the preceding week. Bernie objected to the Clintons' Tough on Crime policies back in the day and has never changed his mind about it. So then up comes the event where two presidential candidates are supposed to address the crowd, and Jose Antonio Vargas had just asked Martin O'Malley about the sharp rise in arrests of black young people in Baltimore during his administration. So, you can understand the surprise of those in attendance when a bunch of black activists came in and appeared to accuse those present of "ignoring the issue" of police violence. Oliver Willis was not impressed. Sanders arrived at the event mere moments before he was supposed to go on stage and had no idea what had been going on; he reacted to the heckling that never let up much the same way he usually reacts to white hecklers. I'm told there was actually a lot of local infighting involved that no one from outside of the area would necessarily have been prepared for. Yes, Sandra Bland's death after a traffic stop raises lots of questions, but I'm not sure repeating a Twitter tag or even her name really addresses that. It did seem to some that it was really self-promotion. The Young Turks report. Josh Holland interviewed Charles Lenchner, co-founder of People for Bernie Sanders, and Imani Gandy, AKA @AngryBlackLady, separately on his podcast. Meanwhile, nothing has stopped the cops from making up silly stories "explaining" Bland's death, and there's still no explanation for her illegal arrest. Finally, Chuck Todd tried to sell the narrative but Bernie wasn't sitting still for it.

Elizabeth Warren's speech at Netroots Nation 2015
How Politico reported it

Warren is pushing to reinstate Glass-Steagall, but Hillary doesn't seem interested. She should be. "To this day some Wall Street apologists argue Glass-Steagall wouldn't have prevented the 2008 crisis because the real culprits were nonbanks like Lehman Brothers and Bear Stearns. Baloney. These nonbanks got their funding from the big banks in the form of lines of credit, mortgages, and repurchase agreements. If the big banks hadn't provided them the money, the nonbanks wouldn't have got into trouble. And why were the banks able to give them easy credit on bad collateral? Because Glass-Steagall was gone."
But it sounds like Marcy Kaptur's bill to restore Glass-Steagall is better than Warren's. In fact, it's curious that Warren's bill doesn't have these virtues.

Radley Balko enlisted attorney Nathan Burney, "author of The Illustrated Guide to Criminal Law, to draw up some cartoons to help explain some of the more complex issues in this area of the law." In this cartoon, "What is 'qualified immunity,' and how does it work?"
And on a related subject, the Dyller Law Firm on False Or Wrongful Arrest Or Malicious Prosecution.

Conservatives started attacking the Iran deal long before they had any idea what it was going to be, mainly because they think war is a good answer to everything. They still haven't read it but they are talking like Iran and Obama got together and bombed Pearl Harbor. The Rude Pundit knows what it's about, and here's Fred Kaplan's view of Why Israel, Saudi Arabia, and Neocons Hate the Iran Deal. Just knowing they hate it is a good enough reason to be hopeful. Funny how neocons never mind holding hands with Saudi Arabia, the country that exports extremist Wahabism all over the world, resulting in minor inconveniences like 9/11. (Not sure whether you can still get Nicole Sandler's interview with Alan Grayson about his concerns about the Iran deal, but you can try here.)

Digby at Salon, "The quiet Social Security revolution: How Democrats learned to stop loving benefit cuts. Duncan Black may turn out to be the hero of the 21st century.

Okay, the Chicago school system is officially doomed: "Senate Passes Bill Letting Schools Give Education Money To Financial Consulting Firms: As budget-strapped Chicago follows a mass school closure with a new plan to layoff more than 1,400 teachers, one set of transactions sticks out: the city’s moves to refinance $1 billion in debt through complex financial instruments called swaps."

Georgia claims that publishing its state laws for free online is 'terrorism'

Froomkin, "Justice Department Watchdog Complains He's Been Curbed: The Justice Department’s internal watchdog said Thursday that his independence has been undermined by the department’s refusal to let him see information derived from wiretaps or national security letters without special permission. The department’s Office of Legal Counsel issued a 68-page opinion Thursday saying that Inspector General Michael E. Horowitz’s office should not be granted access to several different kinds of typically confidential material unless there is a clear law-enforcement or counterintelligence purpose - and that the department’s lawyers, not the inspector general’s, would make that determination. That would appear to rule out many of the typical goals of oversight, such as rooting out fraud, incompetence, rule-breaking and cover-ups."

UK Police Confirm Ongoing Criminal Probe of Snowden Leak Journalists: A secretive British police investigation focusing on journalists working with Edward Snowden’s leaked documents remains ongoing two years since it was quietly launched, The Intercept can reveal. London’s Metropolitan Police has admitted it is still carrying out the probe, which is being led by its counter-terrorism department, after previously refusing to confirm or deny its existence on the grounds that doing so could be 'detrimental to national security.'"

Some days it just seems like Obama is taking the piss. It's bad enough they claim all these trade deals will "create jobs", which of course they won't, but they tacitly acknowledge that they will destroy jobs when they start talking about "trade adjustment" to give meagre help to those who lose jobs. And then insist we have to pay for it (even though hardly anyone will need it!)... out of Medicare! William Rivers Pitt on Killing a Nation With Euphemisms: TPP-Eats-Medicare Edition.

McKinney Police Chief says cop who attacked girl at pool party was out of line, fails to defend him.

I was dismayed to see people who should know better asserting that Donald Trump is the craziest clown in the GOP clown car. Leaving aside that these people clearly haven't noticed Cruz and Santorum, I have evidence that Trump is less crazy than most of the Democratic leadership, right here. A Democratic president should have said that years ago, dammit.

The Young Turks got together with Amex, interestingly, to make a documentary about the finances of the poor, Spent: Looking For Change. Being poor is expensive.

"Class vs. Special Interest: Labor, Power, and Politics in the United States and Canada in the Twentieth Century" - or why American pundits' explanation of the decline of unions is all wrong.

The tech start-up plan

I need to stick Stirling Newberry's website, The Sorcerer's Apprentice, over on my sidebar, as soon as I can remember how.

Dan Perkins celebrates 25 Years of Tom Tomorrow.
Tom Tomorrow on the gun argument

Porn Sex vs Real Sex: The Differences Explained With Food

'Lost' material by Monkees star Micky Dolenz released.

Book review comparing To Kill a Mockingbird to Go Set a Watchman

A generous gift from Ursula Le Guin to the writing community

Apparently, it's the return of Bloom County.

And, apparently, the Lone Gunmen are coming back from the dead!

Mr. Peabody adopts Sherman and invents the Wayback; plus, Rapunzel

Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly - together.

The Who live, 1978, final performance with Keith Moon, "Won't Get Fooled Again"

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

She's so glad, she's tellin' all the world

Jay Ackroyd got to interview a much-read and much-admired economist on Virtually Speaking: "Henry Jacob Aaron is an American policy analyst and economist. He is the Bruce and Virginia MacLaury Senior Fellow in the Economic Studies Program at the Brookings Institution, where he has been employed since 1968, author and co author of a plethora of public policy publications, including the seminal Setting National Priorities series analyzing the US budget."
And David Dayen and Digby talked about Greece on Virtually Speaking Sundays.

Atrios has a good, quick primer and summing-up of what's going on with Greece right here, a lot more straightforward than anything you'll read in most newspaper accounts. Read it all but here's the pull-quote: "Whatever it is, it ain't democracy. It's banksterocracy. The concept of central bank independence was, once upon a time, thought to be necessary to prevent irresponsible governments from doing, or being perceived as doing, irresponsible things with the money supply. Now the point of central bank independence is to hand immense power to a bunch of unelected unaccountable people engaged in revolving door careers with the banking system. Let's continue laughing at the silly Greeks and their silly corruption."
Meanwhile, the Germans (who owe their quick recovery after WWII and continued success in large part to the Marshall Plan and a generous welfare state), don't exactly have a leg to stand on when they whine about Greece not paying their debts, since Germany hasn't, either.

Alan Grayson is in - to be the Senator with Guts!

Glen Ford on Eric Holder's next trip through the corporate revolving door.

"TiSA WikiLeaked: Winners & losers of multinational trade deal [,,,] Leaked documents of TiSA (Trade in Services Agreement) negotiations reveal that the treaty is looking to undermine 'governments involved in the treaty' by supporting multinational companies instead of local businesses, according to a WikiLeaks press release. The revelations come just one week before TiSA talks resume on July 6. Negotiations have been taking place in secret since early 2013. [...] Even after the deal is finalized, WikiLeaks said that the TiSA documents are meant to remain secret for five years."

The Young Turks on What Abigail Fisher's affirmative action case is really about

America loved the marriage equality ruling - at least on Twitter.

Isn't it funny that Claire McCaskill's campaign stumping for Hillary is saying all the stuff that would make people want to vote for Bernie? Meanwhile, not sure this will endear her, either.

Just imagine if it had been the other way around. "Man Admits To Plotting To Massacre Muslims, Judge Sets Him Free Anyway."

"Florida Judge Says It's Illegal to Force Women to Wait 24 Hours Before Terminating a Pregnancy: Florida Chief Circuit Judge Charles Francis blocked an intrusive bill on Tuesday that was signed by unpopular Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R), reported CBS News. The bill would have required a one-day waiting period for women seeking to have an abortion."

The Prosecutor Who Says Louisiana Should ‘Kill More People' [...] Within Louisiana, where capital punishment has declined steeply, Caddo has become an outlier, accounting for fewer than 5 percent of the state's death sentences in the early 1980s but nearly half over the past five years. Even on a national level Caddo stands apart. From 2010 to 2014, more people were sentenced to death per capita here than in any other county in the United States, among counties with four or more death sentences in that time period. Robert J. Smith, a law professor at the University of North Carolina whose work was cited in Justice Breyer's dissent, said Caddo illustrated the geographic disparity of capital punishment. But he said this analysis did not go far enough. Caddo, he noted, has bucked the national trend in large part because of one man: Dale Cox.

GREECE'D: We Voted ‘No' to slavery, but ‘Yes' to our chains: [...] fact is that German Chancellor Angela Merkel, the Cruella De Vil of the Eurozone, will ignore the cries of the bleeding Greeks and demand we swallow austerity - or lose the euro. But, so what if we lose the euro? The best thing that can happen to Greece, and should have happened long, long ago, is that Greece flee the Eurozone. That's because it is the euro itself that is the virus responsible for Greece's economic ills."
* "Greece Nazi occupation: Athens asks Germany for €279bn"

Stanley Greenberg on A New Formula for a Real Democratic Majority - Basically, you want Democrats who sound like Democrats.

"The £93bn handshake: businesses pocket huge subsidies and tax breaks: Guardian's analysis reveals that hidden subsidies, direct grants and tax breaks to big business amount to £3,500 a year given by each UK household [..] Many of the companies receiving the largest public grants over the past few years previously paid little or zero corporation tax, the analysis shows. They include some of the best-known names in Britain, such as Amazon, Ford and Nissan. The figures intensify the pressure on George Osborne, the chancellor, just as he puts the finishing touches to his budget. At the heart of Wednesday's announcement will be his plans to cut £12bn more from the social welfare bill."

Lee Camp on Obama's Legacy - Gay marriage became legal because gay activists kept fighting for it, not because Obama did anything. Obama gave us TARP and undercut health insurance reform and prevented criminal banksters from being prosecuted and made sure the Bush administration paid no price for torture, but no, he is not responsible for gay marriage being legal.

A Johnson & Johnson's heir finds that the 1% really don't want to talk about how they've vacuumed resources out of the country.

I was always disappointed in the Cosby show for a number of reasons. For one thing, nothing about it reflected the genuinely funny comedian who warned me about ice cream and tonsillectomies or a $100 car or Sheldon Leonard. But there was also one very obvious other problem.

Macy's fireworks.

Your widely spread-out Grateful Dead Ripple moment.

This is not work-safe. And yes, I know someone who says that's just how it was where she grew up back home in Texas - they knew they couldn't "do it" until they got married, so they did everything else.

Live at Shea Stadium, "I Feel Fine".

Sunday, July 5, 2015

I thought our little wild time had just begun

"Legacy racism. Guns, statutes, and other artifact of our political, and social systems need to go, Fasttracking secret trade agreements. Commentary from Andrew Jerrell Jones, Stuart Zechman and Jay Ackroyd," on Virtually Speaking Sundays

The Supremes startled many people by deciding King v. Burwell in support of the PPACA and Obergefell v Hodges in favor of same-sex marriage, and Ben & Jerry's renamed its Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough ice cream to celebrate the latter decision. Meanwhile, Antonin Scalia impressed many with his incoherent dissent in which he (this is Scalia, remember) complained that the court majority was a threat to American democracy Didn't worry about that much in Bush v. Gore, did ya, Tony? The Mary Sue celebrated, and The Huffington Post asked the nearest hippie as per Scalia's advice.

Some people were just always cool, and they stayed cool even as they got older and greyer. Bernie Sanders is one of them, and the kids know it. "Brendan Eprile remembers the first time he saw Bernie Sanders on TV. Eprile was an 8-year-old growing up in Vermont, and he recalls 'being amazed, because I understood what he was talking about, unlike all the other politicians.' Sanders was on his soapbox about Iraq -or maybe it was economic inequality? In any case, the famously blunt independent from Burlington had him riveted. Jonah Ragir has a similar recollection. When he was young, he says, his grandmother was watching Sanders on C-SPAN in her California living room. 'I asked my grandma who he was, because he didn't sound like the other guys who were speaking,' Ragir says. 'He wasn't "boring" and he wasn't "lying," were the words I used as a little kid.'" And here's a completely different kid speaking up for Bernie.

At Naked Capitalism, Yves and Robert Scheer on The Bankruptcy of America's Elites: "And I have spent my life interviewing people generally around power, in government and so forth. I've traveled with Nelson Rockefeller and David Rockefeller. You know, I have interviewed people who became president, from Richard Nixon, Clinton, and so forth and so on. And if I were to try to explain, the big shift that I've seen is long-term as opposed to short-term, that most of the people I had interviewed in the first stage of my career, say somewhere up until 1970, were people that at least were concerned what their grandchildren might think. You know? There was either through family, inherited wealth, or going to certain schools, or there was some sense of social responsibility, you know, that you could find, that we have to leave our mark, we have to leave it a better place, we have to - and just for our place in history, that it mattered. Okay? So you could be concerned, oh, we'd better get with the civil rights movement, because otherwise we're going to fall apart, or we'd better care about the economic condition of the rest of the world, because otherwise it will rebel, we'd better worry about the living condition of our own people here or they'll rise up with pitchforks and toss you out. I think what happened is we went into this madcap period of short-term greed."

"Congressional Democrats Introduce Ambitious New Bill to Restore the Voting Rights Act." To me, that's not good enough. It should simply be illegal *everywhere* to try to prevent citizens from exercising their right to vote, including to use any method that is a known voter-suppression strategy. And that would overcome the Supremes' objection, too.

"Christie's Conspiracy: The Real Story Behind the Fort Dix Five Terror Plot [..] For the Duka family, the arrests marked a tragic turn. They had escaped the turmoil of the former Yugoslavia and managed to start anew in the United States, only to find three sons publicly branded as terrorists. Dritan, Shain and Eljvir, seized when they were 28, 26 and 23, would be convicted of conspiring to kill U.S. military personnel and sentenced to life in prison, devastating the Duka family and putting an end to their nascent American dream. Beyond the sensational headlines is the story of paid FBI informants with long criminal histories who spent a year working to befriend the brothers and enlist them as terrorists. This effort, both expensive and time-consuming, nevertheless failed to convince the Duka brothers to take part in a violent attack. Indeed, over the course of hundreds of hours of surveillance, the plot against Fort Dix was never even raised with them."

Ettlin thinks it's time to write a whole new state song for Maryland, to replace An anthem from the Confederacy .

Over here they're calling it TTIP, but even the Evening Standard is beginning to view it with alarm.

We really need to rethink our relationship with Saudi Arabia. And, of course, the oil industry.

I have a dumbphone, but it's not this dumb.

Hefner: classier than you think.

I thought this was fun.

And this looks like it will be fun for some of us.

Rainbow unicorn cookies

Simels is having fun going all gay all of a sudden.