Sunday, February 17, 2013

You're giving me the same old line

Susie Madrak and Avedon Carol will be the panelists on tonight's Virtually Speaking Sundays. Listen live or later at the link.

Taibbi in Rolling Stone: "Gangster Bankers: Too Big to Jail" (And I no longer remember why I had Taibbi's review of Borofsky's book open, but it was worth reading.)
Dday in Salon: "Wall Street wins again" - the "Taksforce" was a sick joke.

Elizabeth Warren's trick question for bank regulators: "Can you identify the last time when you took the Wall Street banks to trial?"

Daniel Ellsberg on the NDAA: "The U.S. Government Sees the Public (As An) Enemy of The State"

Obama promised you a corporate rose garden. But some people heard something else.

Sam Seder and Adam Green unpack Obama's latest promises on Wednesday's edition of The Majority Report. (Hear the full show here.)
Sam talked to Atrios on Tuesday's show.
For Valentine's Day, Bobby Kennedy discussed getting arrested on the Keystone Pipeline protest with Sam.

Just in case anyone missed it: "The media didn't delve into the Simpson-Bowles part. Most didn't mention it. Medpage Today did, but then it isn't The New York Times, which simply noted in a news analysis that Obama gave a nod to put entitlement programs on the table."

Atrios (Duncan Black) in USA Today, "401Ks are a disaster: We need an across the board increase in Social Security retirement benefits of 20% or more. We need it to happen right now, even if that means raising taxes on high incomes or removing the salary cap in Social Security taxes."

Dave Johnson answers the magic question, "DO Companies Lay People Off Because Of Taxes Or A Minimum Wage Rise?" Well, of course not. If there's demand, they hire, if there's not enough demand, they don't. And right now there's not enough demand because people don't have any money to spend.

Remember when we imagined Constitutional Scholar Obama would at least undo a few of the most egregious legal outrages of the Rove operation? Well, Don Siegelman is still in prison. Why is he in jail? For being a Democrat.

Personnel is policy - Obama to nominate Walmart operative to run the Office of Management and Budget,
Blue Dogs on the rampage - but calling themselves something else when they band together with right-wing crazies to call for taking the bipartisan to screwing younger workers out of Social Security and Medicare benefits. When I hear the phrase "protecting current recipients and seniors", even I want to reach for a gun.

Alan Barlow in Mother Jones:: "How the NRA Hobbled the ATF" "In effect, the FBI is required to destroy evidence of a crime."

"For It Before They Were Against It: Catholic Universities and Birth Control"

It's still necessary to debunk the lie that government created the housing crisis.

"Tort reform" - making it harder to hold medical facilities to account, hiding evidence of abuse and neglect.

Dept. of Stupid Patents: Amazon patents the milkman.

One of 110 Stories of what Wall Street Broke, "We are not asking for a handout, we are asking for a hand up." I don't know why they called it that, because in this case, it's not even a hand-up, it's a please-get-out-of-the-way. (No one can tell me this is a business decision; this is ideology at work.)

A little progress in the UK - although this is really just undoing something stupid that was included in the Public Order Act - the arrestability of using insulting words. "In December last year, the House of Lords amended legislation to removing the word "insulting" from Section 5 of the Public Order Act. Despite both Government and the Labour front bench opposing, the vote was 150 in favour to 54 against - the lowest pro-Government vote of the Parliament. Realising that MPs were also likely to follow suit when the legislation returned to the House of Commons, the Home Secretary conceded defeat and agreed to accept the Lords' amendment. The amendment cannot now be overturned, and so will become law later this year."

It looks like the Canadian parliament had some fun with a subject no one disagrees on: Zombies.

Mayim Bialik is Amy Farah Fowler.

I'm not sure why I like this one, but I do: "I'm Shipping Up To Boston" by Dropkick Murphys.

Music for second-term presidents on the occasion of their first SOTU of the term: "Not A Second Time".


  1. Replies
    1. Vanden Heuvel was one of a group of investors that rescued The Nation's finances. She got herself a magazine and a platform for her dull opinions.

  2. As I recall, Seder and Green took the line that, sure, the SOTU was just rhetoric, but progressive rhetoric matters above and beyond the reality. Look at Reagan, who gave the country big government while capturing the national imagination with 'government bad/private sector good' speeches. But Susie's right - even on the face of it, this was not a progressive speech. RJ Eskow and Lambert Strether managed to parse it - what's the matter with others on the progressive beat?

  3. Definitely need to re-visit patent law.

  4. I love the redrawn map of the US - I'm just a map geek like that and I may or may not have redrawn state's boundaries myself.

    But I think it is hilarious that this guy thinks the electoral college is the biggest, most undemocratic issue with the way our state boundaries are drawn, and he cites "preserves the historic structure and function of the Electoral College" as an advantage for his idea. If you want to "preserve" the EC, all you need to do is reform it so that votes are allocated by the number of congressional districts, and take away the votes that are now based on Senate seats. Helluva lot simpler than reorganzing 50 states completely (and what's so special about the number 50, since most of these new states are completely different from their former selves.)

    Equally hilarious is the fact that he seems to completely overlook the most undemocratic and unrepresentative institution in America, the Senate. Abolish the Senate, and your electoral college unfairness disappears immediately (or at least the biggest unfairness does). If places like the Dakotas (which were originally intended as one state, but the R's figured they could wring another 2 R Senate seats of the territory, and so we got N & S Dakotas) lost their unfair influence in Washington, and the pork that flows therefrom, some of them might decide to combine to achieve economies of scale on state their legislatures and state agencies that currently serve tiny populations.

    Is this some sort of reflection of Americans' fixation on the President as the seat of all power and aversion to the messy process of actual representative democracy. An adoption of the Village(tm) mentality that abhors "partisanship" and worships unchecked executive power?

    1. What about the House? How democratic is it when a single representative has a district of 800,000 constituents? There's no way you can even dream of talking to all of those people.