Thursday, November 12, 2015

Glad all over

Happy Dawali - the Festival of Lights, or "the festival of loud bangs," as we know it here, started tonight, and it was like a war zone out there with all the fireworks going off.

Digby and Gaius Publius discussed "Rachel Maddow and the Democratic forum in South Carolina; climate change developments: Keystone, ExxonMobil, RICO; the increasingly bizarre Ben Carson." on Virtually Speaking Sundays.

TPP is released; Bernie Sanders says "Now that the text of the Trans-Pacific Partnership has finally been released, it is even worse than I thought. It is clear to me that the proposed agreement is not, nor has it ever been, the gold standard of trade agreements."
* Mass Mobilization To Stop The TPP Announced, As Text Is Released
* And here it is! "The Transpacific Partnership: Leveling the playing field for American workers & American businesses." Yeah, right.

Brad Friedman wants to know if the Kentucky governor's race was stolen: "Lower down the ballot, many Democrats got tens of thousands more votes than Bevin. We see, again, the nightmare scenario I've warned about for so many years: a U.S. election where all of the pre-election polls suggest Candidate X is set to win, but Candidate Y ends up winning by a huge margin instead and nobody even bothers to verify that the computer tabulated results accurately reflect the intent of the voters." I'm saying this again: If Democrats aren't willing to fight for clean elections, you can blame them for the losses, because the GOP would not be doing this stuff if Dems were putting up a fight. That goes for gerrymandering, too. People need to stop telling themselves fairy stories about why we keep losing elections and start doing something about why we keep losing elections, and one of those reasons is that the Democratic leadership likes having Republicans around to blame their crummy policies on. Paper ballots, publicly hand-counted on the night, people.

"Salt Lake City Elects Utah's First Gay Mayor: Salt Lake City voters elected Jackie Biskupski as Utah's first openly gay mayor and only the second female top executive in the capital city, according to the unofficial election-night count."

Mathematician suspicious of election fraud hires lawyer to force Kansas to hand over voting records: A Kansas mathematician said this week that she had retained a lawyer and had scheduled a discovery hearing to force Secretary of State Kris Kobach to hand over voting records after they showed evidence of election fraud. 'I don't understand why those patterns are there, the patterns are very definitely real. But we don't know what's causing them or why they're there,' Wichita State University statistician Beth Clarkson told KSHB last month. 'They do fit what would be expected if election fraud is occurring, and that's very concerning.' [...] Kobach, however, went to court to block Sedgwick County from releasing voting records to Clarkson." Now, why would that be?

"Christian pregnancy centers freak out after California turns tables and forces them to disclose abortion rights."

Budget Deal Fine Print Axes Benefit for Married Social Security Beneficiaries

"Clinton proposes $12 federal minimum wage: CORALVILLE, Iowa - Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Rodham Clinton said Tuesday the federal minimum wage should be $12 an hour. Clinton said that figure would roughly match in today's dollars what the federal minimum wage was in 1968, the time when it was highest in terms of buying power." Except that if the minimum wage had actually kept up since then, it would be more like $21. So why is she saying $12? Why, she wants to show how moderate she is, asking for less than all those crazy lefties like Bernie Sanders and everyone else, dammit.

"There Is No Reasonable Case To Be Made For A Democratic Take Back Of The House, Not While Steve Israel Is Still There: There is virtually no serious coverage of the colossal failure of the DCCC under Chris Van Hollen and Steve Israel, two incompetent Pelosi allies who have presided over the loss of dozens of Democratic House seats in 2010, 2012 and 2014-- and for countless missed opportunities." The real reason Democrats keep losing seats is sabotage from the top of the party.

The National Journal has an important and illuminating article by John Judis on The Return of the Middle American Radical ("An intellectual history of Trump supporters") that everyone really ought to read, because I think these people can be reached.

"Sanders: I hate missing Senate votes: Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) says he does not like missing Senate votes due to his 2016 Democratic presidential campaign. 'My job [that] I'm paid to do right now is to represent the people of the state of Vermont in the United States Senate,' he said on MSNBC's 'Andrea Mitchell Reports. 'I will miss votes, but I'm trying to miss as few as I possibly can. I am extraordinarily proud to represent my great state in the Senate," Sanders continued. 'We're working very hard on a number of issues,' he added. "And while it is difficult and very time-consuming to be a full-time candidate and to be a full-time senator, that is at the moment what I'm trying to do.' Sanders was responding to a question about Sen. Marco Rubio's (R-Fla.) track record in the Senate. Rubio, a GOP presidential candidate, has come under bipartisan fire for missing votes for campaign events."

I would truly love to believe in the predictive infallibility of Western Illinois University's mock election, what with it giving Bernie Sanders an overwhelming victory. For some reason, though, I just don't. "History of the Mock Presidential Election: This simulation always takes place the year before the presidential election year, and three months before the actual Iowa caucuses. The genesis of this mock presidential election began at the University of Iowa in 1975 with two political science doctoral students, John Hemingway and Rick Hardy. In that year, students selected Jimmy Carter over Gerald Ford - long before anyone really knew of Jimmy Carter. In the years that followed, Rick Hardy expanded the format and engaged thousands of students at the University of Missouri-Columbia where students registered a perfect record of selecting the subsequent winning presidential party. In 2007 and 2011, Hardy and Hemingway teamed up again to conduct a massive campus-wide simulation at Western Illinois University. In 2007, Western students selected Barack Obama as president at a time when no one thought he could win! And, in 2011, students narrowly re-elected President Obama over the GOP ticket of Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan! How's that for reality!"

2 Louisiana Officers Charged With Second-Degree Murder in Killing of Boy, 6

Bernie Sanders on Israel and the Palestinians - He's still a two-state solution man, but at least he doesn't cheer when Palestinians get killed.

"Hillary Clinton's 2008 position on gun control wasn't what it is now."

Leaked Emails From Pro-Clinton Group Reveal Censorship of Staff on Israel, AIPAC Pandering, Warped Militarism

Wow, Matt Bruening really doesn't like Hillary, he says, "My beef with Hillary is mainly that she is an enemy of the poor."

Atrios found this one a few days back and I'm starting to think the Guardian needs to label these things as their "The Tories Speak for Labour" columns.

Cocaine Production Plummets After DEA Kicked Out of Bolivia

Charlie Pierce: "Here's a plan. Stop sending weaponry to a place if you can't keep track of it. Stop trying to sort out which people doing the slaughtering are the Good People doing the slaughtering. Best as I can figure out, we're supporting some people in Iraq that we're opposing in Syria, and vice versa, and now it seems we're arming all sides, occasionally by accident. I don't mean to shout, but, honestly...? They lost four Hueys? They lost a CN-235? A CN-235 is 70 goddamn feet long! Have they checked under the cushions of the sofa? This would all be funny if, you know, it were funny."

"How and why MI5 kept phone data spy programme secret"

"Only three states score higher than D+ in State Integrity Investigation; 11 flunk."

"NASA just saw something come out of a black hole for the first time ever ."

Neoliberalism's War on Workers: An Interview With Peter Fleming

Verso announces book "From leading feminist figures like Roxane Gay and Barbara Ehrenreich to a new generation of young women writers and thinkers" about False Choices: The Faux Feminism of Hillary Rodham Clinton.

"Fear Of The Walking Dead: The American Police State Takes Aim While zombies may be the personification of our darkest fears, they embody the government's paranoia about the citizenry as potential threats that need to be monitored, tracked, surveilled, sequestered, deterred, vanquished and rendered impotent."

Naomi Klein's interview with Johann Hari: Does Capitalism Drive Drug Addiction?

"Confessions of a Paywall Journalist: Thanks to a booming trade press, lobbyists and other insiders know what's happening in government. The rest of the country, not so much."

"Remembered, Remembered, The Fifth Of Novembered" - the Million Mask March.

Men Just Don't Trust Women -- And It's A Huge Problem

A glowing review of Rick Perlstein's The Invisible Bridge: The Fall of Nixon and the Rise of Reagan

Remembering Cleveland's Muhammad Ali Summit, 45 years later - mouseover the faces if you can't remember them all.

Eugene V. Debs and American socialism, a brief history.

50% female cabinet appointments lead to 5000% increase in guys who suddenly care about merit in cabinet.

You might recognize the name of the late Augustus Owsley Stanley III for other things, but he made lots of recordings of the music scene and they're all on tape and need to be digitized before they crumble. Spread the word and help preserve the works of the Grateful Dead, Big Brother, and a lot of other acts that he recorded.

The first ever photograph of light as both a particle and wave

I actually think The Huffington Post has a lot of nerve asking writers to let them use their work for free. Someone is making money off that site, and it should be the contributors, but it isn't, they aren't even paying their bills.

Bill Maher to Poor People Stop Thinking Your Interests are the Same as the Rich - Yeah, it's Bill Maher, but this is good stuff.

Brave New Films, Whistleblower: Halliburton provided contaminated water to Soldiers

You won't learn anything illuminating from this, but I had fun watching these two windbags slugging it out.

RICHARD NIXON TAPES: Archie Bunker & Homosexuality

"'It's going to be okay.' He told her this as he watched the engine continue to burn. He told her this as he watched it fall from the plane. He told her this as the fuel lines became exposed, fire overtook the aircraft, and the plane pitched downward. He told her this knowing that every single person on that plane was about to die." Now read the rest. Really.

The Clara Theory of this Doctor Who arc

This Holiday Greeting Flowchart should help you out with Bill O'Reilly's War On The Spirit of Christmas.

Of course, you could just buy a little stool, but then we'd miss the beauty and wonder of this ad.

Rich McCor's cut-outs

Share if you agree!

The one Christmas thing you have to do in November is shop for your Advent Calendar. I don't think I'll be getting this one but I know people who'd love it. And then there's this one. Oh, wait, there's more!

Filling in the gaps in the works of Thomas Kincaid

Chalkboard art

Well, lookee there, Google celebrates Adolph Sax.
* Oh, that reminds me, they did a little game for Halloween.

Lil Buck and Yo-Yo Ma: The Swan

Procol Harum - A Whiter Shade of Pale, live in Denmark 2006

How Dave Clark mostly wrote one of the most successful bands of the British Invasion out of pop music history.


  1. I'm holding a virtual book sale of all my current titles still in print. They're all affordable. Even if you don't buy anything, please spread the word. We desperately need the money.

  2. TPP is released; Bernie Sanders says "Now that the text of the Trans-Pacific Partnership has finally been released, it is even worse than I thought.

    It is very clear to me that Bernie Sanders deserves everyone's support in the Democratic primary, regardless of whether one plans to vote lesser evil on Tuesday, November 8, 2016.

  3. A great post, Avedon! Thanks and thanks again. I've shared numerous of these items on Facebook, and gave you credit for bringing them to my attention.

    I notice that a lot of Clinton's boosters are stressing not how good her positions are -- perhaps because they aren't good -- but how important it supposedly is that we have a woman president. Here's the thing: it isn't important, it isn't important at all that we have a woman president, just that it was not important at all that we have a black president. It's a nice detail, but if you really oppose racism and sexism, the plumbing or pigmentation of the President is not important. What we need is not a woman president or a black president, but a *good* one. (Obama has been mediocre at best, and often quite bad.) Sex and skin color are not qualifications. I'm not sure that even Bernie Sanders will be a good president -- but hey, isn't it important that American have its first Jewish president? He might be better than the rest of the field, and I'm willing to vote for him, but I am not a cheerleader for anybody, and I do not trust cheerleaders.

  4. The really not credible election results in KY reinforce my experience in the TX district that gave the progressive I supported exactly the same proportion of votes in each polling place for two separate elections. The right wing does not really want to be believed, it just steals the power and money, and runs.

  5. Funny how the yea votes flipped nay at five in the afternoon of the Ohio marijuana initiative. Seen that before, we have.

    Thunder, in Oregon we have the option to register as a Non Party Affiliated voter, which then penalizes us for or independence by denying participation in party primaries. I'm cool with. If I could, rest assured I would, and if he makes the ticket I won't be holding my nose. Else, yeah, it's a throw away vote, Green, Socialist, Working Families, but it's my vote to throw away, votes I don't throw away downstream.

    Jeb? v Jeb? in a Dress!, Willard v Hillary, is not a choice. It's the status quo, just more of the same.

  6. Over here in the New World we can't get that Procol Harum video. I recommend settling for this for this sock hop version from a happier day not so long ago in France [LINK].

  7. Dean Baker points out that using a higher inflation rate calculation implies a lower real rate of growth rate for the economy and, conversely, a lower inflation rate calculation suggests that a greater rate of real economic growth prevails. Right away, I'm sure everyone sees where I'm going with this and how it ties in with Avedon's post.

    The minimum wage was $1.60 per hour in 1968 and, once adjusted for inflation, that is the highest real dollar value that the minimum wage ever has reached since a $0.25 an hour minimum wage was first established in 1938 by the Fair Labor Standards Act. If we were to use the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) inflation calculator which converts one year's price levels to another using the Consumer Price Index for all Urban consumers (CPI-U) as opposed to, say the Chained-Consumer Price Index for all Urban consumers (C-CPI-U) we'd find that $1.60/hr. in 1968 was worth $10.88 at the end of 2014.

    According to Table 10.1 in the Office of Management and Budget's Historical Tables the nation's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 1968 was $899.3 billion in nominal or current dollars (i.e. inflation unadjusted dollars). That was at a time when the population was at 200.71 million people, and therefore the nominal per capita (or per person) income in the country was at $4,481. According to the BLS calculator that nominal per capita income would have been worth $30,483 in 2014 dollars.

    In 2014 the GDP of United States was $17,244 billion (or $17.244 trillion), the population was at 318.86 million people, and therefore the per capita 2014 income in 2014 dollars was $54,080. As that 2014 per capita income amount is 1.77 times larger than the adjusted 1968 per capita amount this is a basis for arguing that in order to keep the hourly minimum wage should be at 1.75 times the adjusted $10.88 level from 1968 which would have set it at $19.04/hr. at the end of 2014- per capita GDP being, perhaps, the most meaningful measure of the dollar wealth of a nation.

    Alternatively, we could use the OMB's GDP deflator and again make 2014 our base year for the real dollar value we're using. (The deflator relies on a formula that makes certain chained adjustments (substitutions) and measures all prices in the economy, not just those for consumer purchases. It is considered the better tool to track real GDP growth across the years.)

    We would then conclude that $1.60 in 1968 was worth $8.54/hr. in 2014, and that the adjusted per capita income in 1968 was $23,929. From those numbers we would see 2014's per capita income as 2.26 times greater than 1968's and conclude that the minimum wage should be 2.26 times greater than $8.54 and therefore have been set at $19.30/hr at the end of 2014.

    And at this point we could start arguing the justification for protecting the share of the total economy going to low wage workers. We might begin by pointing out that Alan Greenspan and, especially, both Paul Volcker and Ben Bernanke used the Federal Reserve to protect capital's share of the economy by prioritizing the control of inflation over their co-equal legal mandate to minimize unemployment. The unemployment rate is the prime determinant of the level of wage rates, especially among low wage workers, and controlling its level has been of secondary concern to our government for more than thirty five years and counting....

    1. LINK for BLS inflation calculator
      LINK for OMB's Historical Tables warning- 360 plus page pdf. Find therein Table 10.1 for the GDP data I used and the GDP deflators. And can anyone explain why, for 1968 only, OMB's number for GDP is about 4.5% lower than the St. Louis Fed's and the BEA's? I went with the OMB's numbers because I wanted to use their deflators.
      LINK for Census information
      LINK for minimum wage levels over time

    2. [And, of course, it is only now that I see I multiplied $10.88 by 1.75 instead of 1.77 and therefore got $19.04 instead of the more correct $19.26 amount. I was wondering why my $19.04 was further than a rounding error from $19.30.]

  8. Couple of guys in the left field bleachers talking about the old days:

    YouTube 1 (BTW, that would be '96, not '86) [LINK]

    Same Part 1 but with a transcript [LINK]

    Then it's on to, "'Can't anyone play this game' these days?" and "It used to be you built your team through the minor league system but that's all gone now, all gone."

    YouTube 2 [LINK]

    Same Part 2 but with a transcript [LINK]