Tuesday, August 12, 2014

I ain't quite a ready for walkin'

This week on Virtually Speaking Sundays, Jay Ackroyd asked Stuart Zechman, "Why can't we have nice things?
On Thursday, RJ Eskow talked about Insiders vs. Outsiders.

"Exiting the Vampire Castle" is an important piece I wish more people who think they are doing good work would read. Look, you grew up here, you're bound to say stupid things from time to time. If everyone who might say something stupid is afraid to speak because they are going to get called out and branded a sexist/racist/size-ist/looksist oppressor for all time, it's not going to do a damned thing to improve the lot of women or minorities or anyone else. The first law of the Vampires' Castle is: individualise and privatise everything. While in theory it claims to be in favour of structural critique, in practice it never focuses on anything except individual behaviour. Some of these working class types are not terribly well brought up, and can be very rude at times. Remember: condemning individuals is always more important than paying attention to impersonal structures. The actual ruling class propagates ideologies of individualism, while tending to act as a class. (Many of what we call ‘conspiracies' are the ruling class showing class solidarity.) The VC, as dupe-servants of the ruling class, does the opposite: it pays lip service to ‘solidarity' and ‘collectivity', while always acting as if the individualist categories imposed by power really hold. Because they are petit-bourgeois to the core, the members of the Vampires' Castle are intensely competitive, but this is repressed in the passive aggressive manner typical of the bourgeoisie. What holds them together is not solidarity, but mutual fear - the fear that they will be the next one to be outed, exposed, condemned."

None of the obits I've seen before have mentioned it, oddly, but for many of us, this will always be Robin Williams: Mork and Mindy Season 1 Episode 1 Pilot.

Stephanie Kelton was RJ Eskow's guest on The Zero Hour.

Marcy Wheeler notes that the government keeps freaking out over The Intercept, thereby raising its profile. "The government has chosen to make it a Big Story that at least one more person has decided to leak the Intercept documents." Well, better that than having to admit their terrorist watchlist is getting to just be a watchlist of people who have nothing to do with terrorism.

Martin Longman in The Washington Monthly, "It's Not Easy to Hold the CIA Accountable [...] By any normal standard, John Brennan would be prosecuted for his actions. But he is being protected by the administration. I don't think this is best explained by the idea that Brennan is doing a good job in other respects. He's a major embarrassment to the administration and protecting him makes them look extremely bad. From the very beginning of his administration, I think President Obama has simply been afraid to take on the Intelligence Community. And his official rationale is morally bankrupt."
PS. Hail Hydra. Seriously, they had to call it Hydra?

The water news is scaring the hell out of me. Lots of places where you can't drink the water, or the water levels are frighteningly low. (Thanks to commenter ifthethunderdontgetya.)

Ever since they started lying about alleged falsehoods in Michael Moore's movies, it has been a right-wing tactic to make stuff up about why a particular critique from the left that might get people's attention is academically unreliable. It's not actually a surprise that they are accusing Rick Perlstein of various academic sins. It could be argued that his publisher's decision to put the notes online rather than in the book itself is a mistake (personally, it makes me pretty uncomfortable), but that says nothing about whether the book is well-researched and uses its citations legitimately and properly. Calling it "plagiarism" when the citations are marked in the text, even if you have to go online to read them, is simply wrong. The citations are marked and accessible, it's not stolen material. Perlstein discussed his new book, The Invisible Bridge: The Fall of Nixon and the Rise of Reagan, as well as the phony attacks, with Sam Seder on The Majority Report.

Mark Regev, deciphered: "This is good. The video above was created by Alex Nunns, who subtitled a BBC interview with Israeli spokesperson Mark Regev. The interview follows the Israeli bombing of an UN school in Beit Hanoun that killed at least 16 Palestinians." (Thanks to commenter ksix.)

"How We Imprison the Poor For Crimes That Haven't Happened Yet [...] 'Evidence-based sentencing' describes the use of data-driven 'risk assessments' in the sentencing phase of criminal trials. This means that people convicted of crimes are given a 'risk score' based on some formula that purports to predict what their risk is of committing more crimes in the future. Are you detecting a few possible problems with such a practice? Yes! I sincerely hope that you are! First of all, these formulas are obscure and not transparent; second of all, the formulas incorporate demographic information such as 'unemployment, marital status, age, education, finances, neighborhood, and family background, including family members' criminal history' which clearly skew them against members of certain socioeconomic groups; and, most importantly, this practice condones people being sentenced more harshly based on predictions of things they haven't done yet." Via Atrios, who congratulated us for being so generous to the poor.

Lee Camp on How To End Police Brutality AND Homelessness

You know, even for Ted Rall, I thought this cartoon was particularly bitter.

Thanks to BruinKid at DKos for telling me what was in Jon Stewart's piece on the invasion of foreign babies and immigration.

John Oliver on the Wealth Gap

The true corporate flowchart - It's all so clear....

David Simon encounters Governor O'Mally on the Acela.

"Why film schools teach screenwriters not to pass the Bechdel test"

RIP: Charles Barsotti, who drew cartoons for The New Yorker from the '60s right up until his death last June. In the most fitting tribute, many of those cartoons have been posted at the link.

Monsters terrorized by children

Fairy Tale Photos by Margarita Kareva
Stainless Steel Wire Fairies by Robin Wight
Marble and Stone Sculptures by Matthew Simmonds
Beautiful Glass Sculptures by Ben Young

Janis Joplin, live on Cavett, "Move Over"

The little girl in some of the pictures I've been posting is the Baby Hurricane, the child of the best sysadmin in the world. He's a lily-white English cavefish from the West Country, and the baby's mom is dark chocolate Carribean woman who works too hard. So Daddy brings the baby over sometimes to wreak choas in our house for a couple of hours and she just makes me laugh and laugh. In recent photos, she destroyed the District Line, walked on the beach, and held a tea party.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Sometimes I wonder, will I ever be the same?

Australian economist Steve Keen discussed his critique of neoclassical economics as inconsistent, unscientific and empirically unsupported, and his book Debunking Economics, on Virtually Speaking with Jay Ackroyd.

David Dayen, at Naked Capitalism, "Financial Predators Move On From Foreclosure Rescue, Enter Student Debt, Military Lending Spaces" - They're still allowing the originating scams on mortgages to continue, but at least they are starting to go after the rescue scams.
- at The Fiscal Times, "From Public Service to Lobbyist - The Revolving Door Is on Auto Pilot" - a little list of corruption atrocities.

Charlie Pierce, "The Tar Comes Home: Almost unnoticed with all the noise surrounding our old friends, the Keystone XL pipeline, the continent-spanning death funnel that aims to bring the world's dirtiest fossil fuel from the blasted environmental moonscape of northern Alberta to the refineries of Texas, and thence to the world, is the fact that a lot of the current mobilization by environmental activists is aimed not so much at the pipeline as at the poisonous glop it carries. Moreover, the controversy over the pipeline has almost completely obscured the fact that the extraction industries want to create a blasted environmental moonscape out in Utah, home of some of the country's loveliest natural moonscapes. Both of these elements have come together in the last week or so. Some 21 activists, many of them from the Ute tribe, were arrested last Monday for chaining themselves to the fence of a construction site in the Book Cliffs Mountains. This fight has been going on, largely out of the spotlight, for years and, once again, our oil-drunk neighbors to the North are behind it. Pretty soon, Joni Mitchell isn't going to be enough of an alibi, folks."

Dan Froomkin at The Intercept, "It's About the Lying: I don't want to understate how seriously wrong it is that the CIA searched Senate computers. Our constitutional order is seriously out of whack when the executive branch acts with that kind of impunity - to its overseers, no less. But given everything else that's been going on lately, the single biggest - and arguably most constructive - thing to focus on is how outrageously CIA Director John Brennan lied to everyone about it. [...] Figuring out how to right the constitutional imbalance between the branches of government, as exposed by this CIA assault on Congress, is very complicated. But doing something about lying isn't. You need to hold people accountable for it. History will assuredly record that President Obama lied about a number of things, particularly as he carried water for the intelligence community and the military. But he's no Cheney. So if you're the president, you fire everyone who lies. Starting with John Brennan."

When Benjamin Netanyahus sounds like Joseph Goebbels. You know, I'm really sick and tired of hearing about how Palestinian terrorists "hide" among the general population and keep their weapons in (unused) school buildings. As opposed to - what? Living in and keeping their weapons in their massive military bases? The Israeli government is bombing civilians because they are trying to terrorize Palestinians into submission, period. It's the whole point of what they are doing.
"Hiding War Crimes Behind a Question"
"Analysis: Hamas history tied to Israel" (2002)
Humanize Palestine.

Political cartoon, 1988

Tom the Dancing Bug, "Corporate Sky-Deity Bless America"

An angry letter regarding Graham Chapman

Jonathan Ross at the Eisners

Fun with costumery (I especially liked the bunnies.)

Photos of Iceland in winter
Lace art on the city streets
Rare photos of interiors of Iranian Mosques
33 Pictures Taken at the Right Moment
Doorways from around the world
Paint the town blue
Baked demons
A dog-eat-dog Game of Thrones

The Four Tops, "Baby I Need Your Loving"

Sunday, July 27, 2014

One can have a dream, baby

Tonight's panelists on Virtually Speaking Sundays are Digby and Gaius Publius. Should be good.
Last week on Sunday, Susie Madrak talked with Jay Ackroyd.

Well, Obama finally mentioned something everyone expected him to deal with early in his first term: "Obama presses to end corporate trick for evading taxes: (Reuters) - U.S. President Barack Obama on Thursday hammered U.S. companies that avoid federal taxes by shifting their tax domiciles overseas in deals known as "inversions" and called on Congress to pass a bill to end the practice." In the olden days, of course, there was no incentive for companies to do this stuff since we deliberately imposed tariffs to make it more expensive to be a foreign company than to be an American company. We did that because we believed in a thing called "protectionism"; that is, protecting American workers - and the American economy - from unfair competition, either from subsidized foreign companies or from countries that allowed workers to be abused or even used as slave labor in order to undercut fair prices in the US. On Virtually Speaking, Dave Johnson spoke with Frank Clemente of Americans for Tax Fairness about how these little tricks work.

Corruption: With Albany rocked by a seemingly endless barrage of scandals and arrests, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo set up a high-powered commission last summer to root out corruption in state politics. It was barely two months old when its investigators, hunting for violations of campaign-finance laws, issued a subpoena to a media-buying firm that had placed millions of dollars' worth of advertisements for the New York State Democratic Party. The investigators did not realize that the firm, Buying Time, also counted Mr. Cuomo among its clients, having bought the airtime for his campaign when he ran for governor in 2010. Word that the subpoena had been served quickly reached Mr. Cuomo's most senior aide, Lawrence S. Schwartz. He called one of the commission's three co-chairs, William J. Fitzpatrick, the district attorney in Syracuse. And that was the end of that. "Zephyr Teachout to Andrew Cuomo: Resign Now"

"'We don't want politicians who've gotta be cajoled': Keith Ellison unloads to Salon" - interviewed by David Dayen.

"Chris Dodd Warns Of Coalition Between Populist Democrats And Republicans: WASHINGTON -- The rise of anti-corporate conservatives is a significant threat to the American banking establishment, according to former Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.), who warned a gathering of Beltway centrists on Tuesday about a potentially formidable coalition between hard-line banking critics in both parties. [...] 'There's a new right emerging in the country which is as hostile, in my view, to financial services, as many on the left have been over the years,' Dodd told an audience at a Bipartisan Policy Center event Tuesday. Dodd appeared to be worried that if these "hostile" folks got together they might make Dodd-Frank into a bill that does what everyone hoped it would do in the first place, or something. Why should bipartisan efforts to reign-in the banksters be a problem for the Bipartisan Policy Center? Well. "In D.C. political circles, however, 'bipartisanship' is often used as a shorthand way to describe policies and reforms that are friendly to corporations, favored by corporate elites, or both. This is sometimes referred to as being 'moderate,' 'centrist' or 'bipartisan' because traditionally such policies have been able to find support among both Republicans and Democrats."

Glen Ford, "U.S. Funds 'Terror Studies' to Dissect and Neutralize Social Movements: The U.S. Department of Defense is immersed in studies about...people like you. The Pentagon wants to know why folks who don't themselves engage in violence to overthrow the prevailing order become, what the military calls, 'supporters of political violence.' And by that they mean, everyone who opposes U.S. military policy in the world, or the repressive policies of U.S. allies and proxies, or who opposes the racially repressive U.S. criminal justice system, or who wants to push the One Percent off their economic and political pedestals so they can't lord it over the rest of us."

Dean Baker, "More Confusion on Sovaldi and Government Granted Monopolies at the Washington Post" - WaPo says this drug for Hepatitis C costs less in Egypt ($900) than in the US ($84,000) because "Sovaldi is cheaper in countries where the government sets drug prices." But, as Baker points out, "This is almost the opposite of reality. The price is very high in the United States because the government gives Gilead Sciences (the drug's patent holder) a complete monopoly on the drug's sale. The price is low in Egypt because there is no patent monopoly and manufacturers are free to sell generic versions of the drug. That means the price in Egypt is closer to a free market price. The price in the U.S. is a price that is high because the government will arrest competitors."

Cenk, "Al Jazeera Journalists Targeted By Expanding Israeli War Machine?"

"How VA Reform Fell Apart In Less Than 4 Days" - Republicans complain about costs, but if they really meant it, they'd complain about bringing private commercial interests into the system to siphon off money. Privatizing any part of the VA is obviously going to cost more. So don't. Just fully fund the VA and fix it.

Ian Welsh on "The Barbarism of ISIL, the Taliban and Wahhabism and collapse of hegemonic ideology" - No pull-quote, it's one to read through.

The Democratic Party Apology Handbook

"Do what you love" is a mantra of elites.

A fitting tribute (Thanks, CMike!)

Solar Freakin' Roadways!

Mark Evanier's favorite Rockford moments

Buster Keaton .gifs - and, if you can read the shouty text below, you can find out who saved Buster Keaton's life.

Taral wrote a spooky little fannish story honoring a classic horror theme.

Doctor Who Pre-Movie Theater Introduction

Marvin Gaye and Kim Weston

Monday, July 21, 2014

She never got there, they say

RIP James Garner: "Through many films and two influential television series, Maverick and The Rockford Files, James Garner, who has died aged 86, developed a persona with a subtly different appeal. It began as original and accrued familiarity over the course of four decades: a coward who was the soul of honour, a hero likely to ride away, stick his finger up the barrel of his opponent's gun or get winded in a fight and complain of damage to his dentistry." It's got to be a national day of mourning for at least my whole generation. And the one compensation I ever get from these things is some great story from Mark Evanier about all the great stuff the guy did and when he met him and - but we don't get that this time. Lots of people saying good-bye, of course, he meant so very much. (BBC obit)
Watch Maverick, "Stage West"
The Rockford Files, "The Deep Blue Sleep"
And, of course, there is when Charlie meets Mrs, Barham and what he said to her. (And I know there is a clip of the whole scene in one clip somewhere because I've posted it before, but I just can't seem to find it now.)

Wired: "A California student got a visit from the FBI this week after he found a secret GPS tracking device on his car, and a friend posted photos of it online. The post prompted wide speculation about whether the device was real, whether the young Arab-American was being targeted in a terrorism investigation and what the authorities would do. It took just 48 hours to find out: The device was real, the student was being secretly tracked and the FBI wanted its expensive device back, the student told Wired.com in an interview Wednesday."

Frog Gravy: An Evening Spades Game, KCIW ‘PeWee Valley' women's state prison, near Louisville, sometime in 2009.

David Dayen says, "The Costs of Obama's Housing Mistakes Keep Piling Up [...] When homeowners hear from a government looking to help them, and previous efforts along similar lines led to broken promises and foreclosure nightmares, you can't blame them for saying no. This is why, if you believe in an activist government that can help solve problems, failures of this sort become so debilitating. The housing policy disappointments reinforced the old Ronald Reagan dictum that the most dangerous words in the English language are 'I'm from the government and I'm here to help.'"

"I was poor, but a GOP die-hard: How I finally left the politics of shame [...] To make up for my own failures, I voted to give rich people tax cuts, because somewhere deep inside, I knew they were better than me. They earned it. My support for conservative politics was atonement for the original sin of being white trash."

ADVICE TO CONSERVATIVES (OFFERED NOT IN KINDNESS, BUT BECAUSE THEY'RE TOO STUPID TO TAKE IT).

"Everyone In Middle East Given Own Country In 317,000,000-State Solution"

Check to see if your website is being blocked in the UK.

John Oliver on Warren G. Harding's love-letters

George Takei on Bill Shatner

It's amusing to see some of our friends in pictures on the Forbes site.

The Iron Throne

Vocabulary word: squick

In Memoriam: "The KKK Took My Baby Away"

Saturday, July 12, 2014

It's a long, long way to Paradise

This week's panelists on Virtually Speaking Sundays were Jay Ackroyd and Avedon Carol, discussing the Supreme Court decision on religious exemptions from the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Homework for the show includes:
"Countering Conventional Wisdom: New Evidence on Religion and Contraceptive Use" - new Guttmacher report (.pdf) says pretty much all women use contraception, including Catholic women.
NYT, "Birth Control Order Deepens Divide Among Justices"
The American Prospect, "5 Men on Supreme Court Impose Substantial Burden on Women in Illogical Decision"
Salon, "Here are the highlights of Justice Ginsburg's fiery Hobby Lobby dissent"

- In The Nation, "The Real Reason Pot Is Still Illegal [...] People in the United States, a country in which painkillers are routinely overprescribed, now consume more than 84 percent of the entire worldwide supply of oxycodone and almost 100 percent of hydrocodone opioids. In Kentucky, to take just one example, about one in fourteen people is misusing prescription painkillers, and nearly 1,000 Kentucky residents are dying every year. So it's more than a little odd that CADCA and the other groups leading the fight against relaxing marijuana laws, including the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids (formerly the Partnership for a Drug-Free America), derive a significant portion of their budget from opioid manufacturers and other pharmaceutical companies. According to critics, this funding has shaped the organization's policy goals: CADCA takes a softer approach toward prescription-drug abuse, limiting its advocacy to a call for more educational programs, and has failed to join the efforts to change prescription guidelines in order to curb abuse. In contrast, CADCA and the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids have adopted a hard-line approach to marijuana, opposing even limited legalization and supporting increased police powers."
- In The Daily Beast, "Why Did America's Only Pot Researcher Suddenly Get Fired?" - They don't say so, but I'm willing to bet that Nation article could help them answer that question.

At Black Agenda Report, Bruce Dixon on "Why Elections Still Matter, Except When They Don't".

"Monsanto's Herbicide Linked to Fatal Kidney Disease Epidemic: Could It Topple the Company?" I really hope something will, because it's become increasingly obvious that Monsanto is doing more harm than good.

Noam Chomsky has some advice for people who support the Palestinians, but that whole two-state solution thing seems a bit dead to me what with what's left after the settlements. I'm not the only one who is starting to think that way.

Via some High Snark from Atrios, here's Kevin Drum baying, "The NSA Said Edward Snowden Had No Access to Surveillance Intercepts. They Lied."

Kentucky court strikes down gay marriage ban. Judge: "These arguments are not those of serious people."

"How is this painting 'pornographic' and 'disgusting'? You might think that in an art world that encompasses the Chapman brothers' phallus-nosed children and Jeff Koons' lascivious studies of La Cicciolina (sample title: "Dirty Jeff On Top"), you would have to sweat blood to produce a work so offensively sexual it would be ejected from a top London gallery. This, however, was the fate meted out to Leena McCall's Portrait of Ms Ruby May, Standing, which was removed from the Society of Women Artists' 153rd annual exhibition at the Mall Galleries after being deemed "disgusting" and "pornographic", according to the artist."

I don't know whether to call this one "RIP" or "Independence Day" since it's really rather a relief that Richard Mellon Scaife kicked the bucket on the 4th of July, one day after his 82nd birthday. Few men have wreaked such destruction on America as Scaife did by financing his far-right gravy train of lies and distortions; beside his works, 9/11 is barely a squib. The Guardian's obituary is more polite, but Counterpunch pulls fewer punches, which is as it should be.

I think Laura Ingraham confused soma with chocolate.

I found a radio station called Absolute Motown.

"Be My Lover", live, with snake.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Make me an angel

Last week's guests on Virtually Speaking Sundays were David Dayen (dday) and David Waldman (KagroX), who discussed the hollowing out of the middle class in a slow growth economy, a solution for the absurdly high college tuition and student loan burdens as an example of counterproductive public policy, and #gunfail. And I was already going to link this story they discussed:
He got disgustingly rich by seeing the emerging patterns and knowing where to bet, and now Nick Hanauer says, "The Pitchforks Are Coming - For Us Plutocrats [...] But let's speak frankly to each other. I'm not the smartest guy you've ever met, or the hardest-working. I was a mediocre student. I'm not technical at all - I can't write a word of code. What sets me apart, I think, is a tolerance for risk and an intuition about what will happen in the future. Seeing where things are headed is the essence of entrepreneurship. And what do I see in our future now? I see pitchforks."

I hadn't been aware of the nanny from Hell story, but as Atrios points out, it's a real mark of how much we value kids that we expect to pay their caretakers (nannies or mothers) nothing. Don't like paying teachers much, either, for that matter. And Thursday, Sheila Bapat was on Virtually Speaking with Jay Ackroyd to discuss Economic and gender justice are the focus of Part of the Family? Nannies, Housekeepers, Caregivers and the Battle for Domestic Workers' Rights (reviewed here). Note that Alito actually invented a new category of employee just to prove that he is either stupid beyond credence or will literally say anything, no matter how nonsensical, to get an anti-union ruling out of it.

A new poll says Mitch McConnell's got trouble, but it also says this: "The survey shows that by an almost six-to-one margin, 80% to 14%, voters are more likely to vote for 'a candidate who wants to close loopholes to make sure millionaires do not pay a lower tax rate than the middle class.' Wide majorities of Democrats (87%), Republicans (70%) and independents (80%) support this position. The poll also reveals that by more than four-to-one, 76% to 17%, Kentuckians would be more likely to vote for 'a candidate who wants to make sure that the rich and corporations pay their fair share of taxes,' including 88% of Democrats, 57% of Republicans and 83% of independents. But they would be less likely by a two-to-one margin, 63% to 31%, to vote for 'a candidate who wants to cut the taxes of the wealthy and corporations.' Voters also said by more than a two-to-one margin, 66% to 27%, that they would be more likely to vote for 'a candidate who wants to end tax breaks for corporations that ship jobs overseas.'" What a shame McConnell is just going to be beaten by another "centrist" Dem and not someone who would campaign to give the public what it so obviously wants - and needs. Just think, if we had a politician who would simply vote for what most of these red state Republican voters want, we'd have more liberal policies than the "centrist" Democratic leadership is giving us.

"Flawed Oversight Board Report Endorses General Warrants [...] The board skips over the essential privacy problem with the 702 'upstream' program: that the government has access to or is acquiring nearly all communications that travel over the Internet. The board focuses only on the government's methods for searching and filtering out unwanted information. This ignores the fact that the government is collecting and searching through the content of millions of emails, social networking posts, and other Internet communications, steps that occur before the PCLOB analysis starts. This content collection is the centerpiece of EFF's Jewel v. NSA case, a lawsuit battling government spying filed back in 2008. The board's constitutional analysis is also flawed. The Fourth Amendment requires a warrant for searching the content of communication. Under Section 702, the government searches through content without a warrant. Nevertheless, PLCOB's analysis incorrectly assumes that no warrant is required. The report simply says that it 'takes no position' on an exception to the warrant requirement when the government seeks foreign intelligence. The Supreme Court has never found this exception."

It would be nice to replace the creeps in the Supreme Court with people who are better, but that doesn't usually happen unless other things happen first. It's a mistake to just wait on the Supreme Court. It's also crazy-making to have people talk about how important it is to have a Democrat in the White House to make sure crazy judges don't get appointed when we elect Democrats who go out of their way to protect the nomination of someone like Roberts. Roberts is a radically crazy judge and that was obvious from the outset. People really have to stop thinking that sociopaths can't come in the form of soft-spoken or mild-mannered folk; actually, it is the mark of a really effective sociopath that they don't foam at the mouth.

Charlie Pierce, "The United States Of Cruelty: We are cheap. We are suspicious. We will shoot first. It does not have to be this way. Like Lincoln before us, it is time to do something about it."

Some people complained that they couldn't get the Beth Schwartzapfel Great American Chain Gang piece, so here's the direct link for "Modern-Day Slavery in America's Prison Workforce" in The American Prospect.

John Oliver on Hobby Lobby

Barbara Ehrenreich On Marriage Equality & 2-Party System

Annie Lowrey in the NYT, "Recovery Has Created Far More Low-Wage Jobs Than Better-Paid Ones" The deep recession wiped out primarily high-wage and middle-wage jobs. Yet the strongest employment growth during the sluggish recovery has been in low-wage work, at places like strip malls and fast-food restaurants. In essence, the poor economy has replaced good jobs with bad ones. That is the conclusion of a new report from the National Employment Law Project, a research and advocacy group, analyzing employment trends four years into the recovery.

Surviving the 'Pit of Vipers'

RIP: Frank M. Robinson (1926-2014), author, editor, fan, and Harvey Milk's speechwriter.
Felix Dennis, former hippie street vendor and eventual staff-member of the alternative newspaper Oz, who became frighteningly rich as your basic cut-throat magazine publisher in later years. Christopher Priest, who once shared a flat with him, doesn't remember him fondly.

The Guardian, 100 years ago: "'It is not to be supposed,' wrote a correspondent for the Manchester Guardian analysing the significance of the assassination 100 years ago on Saturday, 'that the death of the Archduke Francis Ferdinand will have any immediate or salient effect on the politics of Europe.'"

"Orphan Black Embodies the Female Gaze Better than Anything Else on Television: As a show chiefly concerned with the ways women's bodies are commodified and controlled, Orphan Black is careful not to view its female characters with that same hungry eye. This is a triumph: On so many shows, the camera works at cross-purposes to the high-minded themes."
"Fandom Fixes: Don't over-dude it, Orphan Black [...] Orphan Black is also the TV embodiment of the modern LGBT community's most perplexing question: Are we born this way? It takes that Pride anthem and flips it on its head, offering up clones created from the exact same DNA who have completely different ideas about sexuality and gender. 'Sexuality is a spectrum,' Delphine says in season one, after finding herself attracted to Cosima. 'But social biases codify sexual attraction, contrary to the biological facts.' And that certainly seems to be Cosima's take on it as well. She's attracted to who she's attracted to. 'It's the least interesting thing about me,' she says."

See the Earth LIVE! ISS HD Earth Viewing Experiment

Yes, kids get into everything.

Who's the mastermind behind this?

Where armor meets corset - and before you ask, yes, they are leather.

When radiologists take a selfie

Well, I had no idea that Harlan was a Scooby-Doo! character. It's the kind of thing you just have to look up.

Donnalou Stevens is hawt.

4th of July Cake Wrecks

Bonnie Raitt, "Angel From Montgomery", live.

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.

Whorhythmics

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