Thursday, May 1, 2014

Date it tomorrow but mail it today

John Nichols in The Nation, "Net Neutrality Will Be Saved Only If Citizens Raise an Outcry" - Candidate Obama sounded like he supported net neutrality, but President Obama appointed an industry lobbyist to head the FCC. It's time for the public to exert its influence, and yes, we do still have some influence - but only if we get together and do the business.
David Dayen talked about the FCC's position on net neutrality, and what you can do to try to get them to do the business, on Wednesday's Majority Report.

Digby and RJ Eskow were this week's guests on Virtually Speaking Sundays.

Matt Taibbi was an The Majority Report talking about The Divide: American Injustice in the Age of the Wealth Gap.

Matt Stoller is saying America is not an oligarchy - yet, which I might argue with, but he does make this point:

A lot of people are misreading this Princeton study on the political influence of the wealthy and business groups versus ordinary citizens. The study does not say that the US is an oligarchy, wherein the wealthy control politics with an iron fist. If it were, then things like Social Security, Medicare, food stamps, veterans programs, housing finance programs, etc wouldn't exist.

What the study actually says is that American voters are disorganized and their individualized preferences don't matter unless voters group themselves into mass membership organizations. Then, if people belong to mass membership organizations, their preferences do matter, but less so than business groups and the wealthy.

He heads the article with that great quote Martin Sheen has in Wall Street that goes, "The rich have been doing it to the poor since the beginning of time. The only difference between the Pyramids and the Empire State Building is the Egyptians didn't allow unions." (Yep, they told you all this back in 1985, but not enough people were listening.)

Ian Welsh on "The Prelude to the End of the American Era: And so it begins. Russia is not restraining the separatists, the Kiev government is finally really sending in the troops, Barack Obama and EU leaders claim they will impose real sanctions and Russia and China are set to ink a deal to export Russian Gas to China, the world's industrial heartland. If the sanctions are imposed, for whatever reason (Russian invasion or not), they will force the creation of a second economic, non-dollar bloc. Russia is not Iran, and China is not going to cut off Russia to please the West, rather the contrary. The creation of a real non dollar bloc which can make almost anything people want, and which has access to essentially all key resources from oil to rare minerals, metals and food is an existential threat to the hegemony of the West and its allies like Japan and Korea."

On All In, Chris Hayes talks to Thomas Piketty: "capital is a multi-dimensional concept'".
Krugman on The Piketty Panic from the right: "No, what's really new about Capital is the way it demolishes that most cherished of conservative myths, the insistence that we're living in a meritocracy in which great wealth is earned and deserved."
"Elizabeth Warren Simplifies Thomas Piketty: 'Trickle Down Doesn't Work. Never Did'."

"Obama Administration Argues in Favor of Right to Fire Public Employees Who Testify at Corruption Trials [...] Justice Sonia Sotomayor asked, 'What are you doing about the truth finding functions of a trial setting when you're saying or telling people, employee, don't go and tell the truth because if the truth hurts your employer you're going to be fired?' And, 'What kind of message are we giving when we're telling employees, [who are] subpoenaed [for] any reason in a trial, go and tell a falsehood otherwise you can be fired?'

The Fourth Amendment Takes Yet Another Body Blow [...] More important is Navarette vs. California, which has real potential to do some long-term damage. In this case, a 911 caller reported an erratic driver, who was then pulled over and eventually convicted of transporting four bags of marijuana. The police had no probable cause to stop the driver except for that one anonymous phone call, but the Court upheld the conviction anyway. Justice Scalia is typically apoplectic in his dissent, but nonetheless makes some good points" - Scalia being right for a change is itself big news.

Jonathan Cohn wrote an entire article called "Cause for Concern: Health-care costs are rising - and the experts aren't sure why prices keep rising" that doesn't mention the secret committee that decides how much to overcharge you for health care, with the connivance of our government: the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Perhaps Cohn needs to study the subject.
"Obamacare: The Biggest Insurance Scam in History [...] The industries that profit from our current health care system wrote the legislation, heavily influenced the regulations and have received waivers exempting them from provisions in the law. This has all been done to protect and enhance their profits."

Radley Balko and Policing and the deaf, and Marlee Matlin on what everyone should know about dealing with the police - especially if you are deaf.

"Pork" is the stuff that, in theory, your legislators bring back to your state to spend on its people - that is, on you. No matter that we know it doesn't seem to be happening that way at the moment, the whole idea that "earmarks" are necessarily wasteful is just another right-wing meme that works for them because it says that bringing money back to the people is actually not a good thing. Kudos to Atrios for trying to get people to remember this.

The New York Times finally figures out what David Dayen said two months ago: that the economy can't recover if people have no money.

"Parents Call Cops to Stop Kids From Handing Out Banned Book [...] Earlier this month, parents convinced Idaho's Meridian school district to ban Sherman Alexie's National Book Award-winning Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian over the objections of 350 students who signed a petition to keep it. According to the local paper, the Statesman, adults argued at a meeting that the book contains offensive words 'we do not speak in our home,' while others objected to a 'reference to masturbation,' and called the book 'anti-Christian.'"

If this sounds almost like something George Carlin would say, that's because he said something like it, but not about government.

"How to Starve the For-Profit Prison Beast [...] Introducing a cell phone into a correctional facility used to be a misdemeanor in Oklahoma. Now, it's a felony. This change did not happen for any reason other than a private prison lobbyist provided his client with a good way to make even more revenue off of people already imprisoned. Bumping this crime up from a misdemeanor to a felony means that when a person is caught with a cell phone in prison, he or she will end up staying in prison even longer; in most cases the new sentence will be added to the end of the existing one, instead of allowing people to serve time for both the crime that landed them behind bars and the cell phone infraction simultaneously. More prison time, more profits."

Dean Baker looks at the latest contribution from The Washington Post to the age war: "Robert Samuelson Is Badly Confused About the Well-Being of Retirees." Apparently, $12K a year makes you rich or something, so old people are really rolling in it.

Yes, what we really need is another Democratic presidential candidate who mocks Snowden. But then, we didn't really need another DLC troll, anyway. Just leaving aside the dynasty part.

This cartoon caught my eye - there's no longer anything radical about thinking the NYT belongs in the fiction section - but if you can stand Facebook, there's a story that goes with it.

Matt Bruenig on the incivility of the way Megan McArdle and David Brooks write about the poor. (via)

Was David Graeber evicted for political reasons? That's the author of Debt: The First 5,000 Years, and his tweet says, "There is a pattern here: almost everyone mentioned in press as involved in early days of OWS has been getting administrative harassment."

Political cartoon: The most transparent administration in history

The Donald Sterling thing really kinda defies credulity. I honestly don't think I've ever heard anything like it, and I've met a number of interesting racists in my life. It does expose a way of thinking that you really can't imagine any normal person having, and it's not just about race. This is what happens when you let people get way, way too rich. Fortunately, the NBA players all threatened to boycott playoffs, and now Sterling is banned for life from basketball, but jeez.

Headline that looks like it was create from MadLibs: "Arkansas ex-cop killed while trying to set anti-corruption blogger's hot dog cart on fire."

Vox Day's Hugo nomination has caused a bit of a dust-up in science fiction fandom, which has not escaped Brad DeLong's notice. But I'm linking to this because it gives you easy access to Lois McMaster Bujold's thoughts on the reader as the unsung collaborator in an author's work, which is really worth readying. For more on the kerfluffle, check out John Scalzi, PNH, TNH, and the ensuing comments.

"Original Chaucer manuscript in Aberystwyth goes online"

Anna tells me it's time to write a letter to Santa: "DEAL ALERT/John Martyn: the Island Years 18-disc box"

Cake Wrecks for National Princess Week

You know exactly what was going through Bruce's mind when he was doing this.

Acyrologia - now you know a high-falutin' name for it.


Jerry Butler, "Western Union Man"


  1. Sterling has also been banned from the Moonlite Bunnyranch brothel, and will not be allowed to appear on the Dr. Susan Block (sex-positive) Internet Show.

  2. Cohen and Mearsheimer on Ukraine.

    This is interesting too.

    These voices can only find an outlet on RT and you can imagine what will happen to the download speed if the FCC succeeds in destroying net neutrality.